Matt Bird writes all sorts of nonsense, but he dedicates a large chunk of his time to writing game walkthroughs.
The Empire has invaded South Figaro, and Locke has run off to deal with the situation. Meanwhile, Terra, Edgar and Sabin, now joined by Returner leader Banon, must take to rafting on the Lethe River to get to Narshe. Will they get there before the Empire can turn its eye on the frozen mountain town?
Before hopping onto the raft, make sure you have two, possibly three tents in your stores, as well as some Eye Drops to counteract blindness attacks from enemies on the Lethe River. You'll also want to put Banon in the back row. If he falls at any point, you'll receive an immediate Game Over. Minimize the damage to the old guy and have him use his Pray command every round to restore the party's HP while everyone else attacks. The enemies on the Lethe River are all aquatic in nature, and Terra's Fire works rather well.
As you make your way along the Lethe River, you'll occasionally be prompted to make direction changes when you hit intersections. The first intersection's direction makes no difference - you'll wind up heading to the same cavern save point regardless of the direction you take. Save and heal when you get here. It's particularly important to save here if you want to engage in a bit of power levelling in the next section.
|Monster||Common Steal||Rare Steal|
Hop back onto the raft and you'll zip out to another intersection, this one two-way. To proceed you need to go left. Going up will take you to a loop back to this intersection. Going up, therefore, seems pointless - except that it allows you to level perpetually against the experience-rich monsters of the Lethe River. Set Cursor Position to 'Remember' while you're by the previous save point and your characters will be ready to go with their best attacks during each fight. If you're feeling particularly bold, you can kill one or two of your characters and let the remainders soak up a ton of experience. (Just remember not to off Banon.)
Go left and you'll hit another cave with a save point. Use it, put your characters in the back rows, and get back on the raft. It will whisk you down one more set of rapids and serve you up to a strange, purple octopus that wants a bite out of the team's collective hides.
Despite his goofy chatter and strange looks, Ultros is one dangerous customer, particularly if any of your characters are still in the front row. He has a normal physical attack, an all-hitting Tentacle attack, a single character Tentacle attack and an Ink attack that can blind one character. It is imperative that you not use Banon to attack Ultros, as the octopus often retaliates against attacks with its single character Tentacle. This strike is strong enough to knock characters out with one hit, and Banon is easily the most vulnerable of the lot. Use Sabin's Raging Fist, Edgar's Tools and Terra's Fire (which does the most damage on average) to pummel down Ultros' HP while Banon Prays over and over. You'll eventually drive the weirdo away.
Unfortunately, you'll lose Sabin over the side of the raft in the process. Way to go, muscle head. Sabin's swept one way, the raft the other, and the party is really and truly split up.
What follows is a series of scenarios, each focusing on a different part of the party. One watches the raft as it speeds off to Narshe, another looks to Sabin, who's been swept off to lord knows where. The last scenario checks on Locke, who is in South Figaro. You can choose any of the three you like to start, but since Sabin is the only one where you can buy new equipment, we'll visit that one first.
(Note: You're pretty much done with the Lethe River as far as the storyline goes, aside from a quick jaunt through it in Terra, Edgar and Banon's scenario. Nevertheless, this isn't a bad place to revisit in the future. If you send a single character through the course with an all-hitting attack, you can earn them a ton of experience with little danger. This is also one of only two places in the first half of the game where you can learn one of Mog's Dances, once you have him on your team.)