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Consequences of the Past

Life is filled with bitter ironies and cruel contradictions, and Balthier's past is no exception. Long before Balthier was a sky pirate with his own air ship, he was a son to a man of great importance. Doctor Cidolfus Demen Bunansa-- as he'd call him-- a man who longed to wield the full power of Nethecite. His father was obsessed with a strength that was far greater than he could ever hold-- his rationality became blinded because he wanted to play God. Balthier describes painfully enduring his father's nonsense about Nethecite, which caused a great rift in their relationship.

Other than being the son of a legendary scientist, the player learns that "Balthier" was not his birth name. Christened Ffamran Bunansa, a member of the prestigious House of Bunansa, in his youth he displayed a knack for what would probably be airships, just like his father. "The prodigal Bunansa son", as Jules called him, Cid held high standards for his son. Before long, at the fresh age of sixteen, Balthier was forced to become an Archadian Judge, appointing him a responsibility that he was not willing to hold. This is probably due to his father's belief that power should be given to those who are fully capable of using it to the fullest extent. Cid, assumingly, made his son a judge with an intention to use him for political power, disregarding any objections Balthier had. Not only that, but the expectations Cid held for him, and the burden of holding that obligation-- Balthier simply could not handle it. After all, he was, once again, only sixteen.

From the eyes of an outsider, Balthier would be considered lucky; he was born into a seemingly upper class lifestyle and a family that had connections in the government. But the price he must pay for this kind of power was not worth living in something of a "prison". He became sick and tired of it all, so left his problems behind, leaving his family and homeland, as if though his past would not follow him. This is Balthier's greatest offence-- his most remarkable flaw, or so to speak. He ran away from the very same power that he watched destroy his father instead of acting upon it, fully knowing that man was not meant to be God. As some point earlier in his life, he must have become aware of the danger he lost his father to; if he stuck around any longer, he too could have been sucked in as well.

That doesn't say that Balthier never loved his father and vice versa. Although Cid became corrupt, he was still Balthier's flesh and blood. When the party receives the Treaty-Blade, Balthier comes upon a realization: that maybe his father was controlled by Venat all along, and that maybe Cid was not as mad as he thought. As Balthier tries to understand why his father did all of this, he hopes his answer does not involve Cid's conscious mind-- his free will. Was Cid fully conscious of his actions, therefore fully responsible? Perhaps his father wasn't given the freedom to make a choice, something Balthier so willingly took advantage of a little less than six years ago. Indeed, mortal man wishes to be God, but the reality is that man is finite and his limitations are crushing. It's questionable if Cid knew exactly what he was doing to himself. Yet, he continued to compete and strive, dreaming his dream, even though it was a futile dream, and even though both of them knew it.

As Cid's life comes to an end, he tells Balthier to save his pity elsewhere, blaming Balthier for not living up to his expectations. However, out of all the people in the world, Cid should have known his son best-- that Balthier would leave him. Balthier was not a child whose emotions and choices he could easily manipulate without question. Balthier is bright and clever; there wouldn't be an instance where he couldn't count on his own intuition. Both of them chose to chase a dream over each other; his father became obssesed with Nethecite while Balthier looked to the sky. So to answer Balthier's question, "Was there no other way?": perhaps indeed, if they hadn't given up on each other so easily.

"'I forgive you for what you did to me; but that you have done it to yourself--how could I forgive that.' Thus speaks all great love: it overcomes even forgiveness and pity...."
-- Friedrich Nietzsche