zanarkand
The Ruins of Zanarkand


The party arrives at the ruins of Zanarkand, the final destination of the pilgrimage. They make their way to the blitzball stadium, which has been converted to a temple. There, they meet the "unsent" Yunalesca, the first summoner (Yuna was named after her). Yunalesca explains to the group that there is no single "Final Aeon"; one of the guardians must choose to transform into the Final Aeon. Tidus continues to object, saying that this will not break the cycle.

Yunalesca was Yu Yevon's daughter; she came up with a plan to defeat Sin without harming her father 1000 years ago. She decided to use an Aeon (created by Fayth) to destroy Yu Yevon's armor (Sin) without killing Yu Yevon. Her plan worked, but there were two problems- the great power of the Aeon killed Yunalesca in the process, and Yu Yevon was able to rebuild Sin after a period of about ten years.

The religion of Yevon was formed by leaders of Bevelle when Sin first returned 10 years after Yunalesca defeated him. The main tenants included a taboo on militaristic machina in an effort to prevent another war and an insistence on using the "Final Summoning", the method Yunalesca used to defeat Sin. Some of the people of Spira then started to train as summoners, repeating the Final Summoning every time Sin returned, continuing up to the present day.

In an endeavor to end this cycle, the Fayth transported Jecht from the "dream Zanarkand" to Spira. Every Final Aeon that defeats Sin will become Sin. This is how Jecht became Sin while guarding Yuna's father, Braska, who defeated Sin 10 years ago. Jecht (as Sin) was able to transport Tidus from the dreamworld to Spira, hoping that he would find another way to defeat Sin.


The group speaks to Yunalesca

The group talks to Yunalesca, and the discussion does not go well- they end up fighting and sending her. During the battle, her true form is shown to be a horrible beast with the head of a Medusa. In Greek mythology, the Medusa was a woman with hair of snakes, and her gaze turned people into stone.

Atonement is mentioned here, analogous to the Judeo-Christian concept of atonement.

yunalesca
Yunalesca's true form, a Medusa
medusa
A 16th century Medusa by the Italian artist, Caravaggio

After the battle, we learn that Auron is an "unsent"- he was killed by Yunalesca when he confronted her 10 years ago. The group returns to Cid's airship to think of another way to permanently defeat Sin. Rikku comes up with the idea of using the Hymn of the Fayth, which Jecht always liked, to distract Sin, but this is not enough. Kimahri thinks of returning to Bevelle and questioning Maester Mika. They do so, but Mika is so shocked at Yunalesca's death that he, an unsent, dissipates and goes to the Farplane.

The Fayth of Bahamut, whose statue resides in Bevelle's temple, appears and speaks with Tidus and Yuna. They tell him of their plan to use the Hymn, which the Fayth agrees might work. The Fayth explains that Yu Yevon resides within Sin's armor. If they can get inside and defeat him, they will defeat Sin. All of the Aeons must be defeated, as Yu Yevon will take control of each one in an attempt to survive and continue using Sin. The Fayth reminds Tidus that when the Aeons are killed and the Fayth are then freed from their imprisionment and dreaming, Tidus, the "dream", will vanish.


Fiends
Ahriman is a fiend named after an evil spirit in Zoroastrianism.
ahriman
Ahriman

Sources:

The Final Fantasy Wiki. Image of Zanarkand ruins. Retrieved June, 2009, from http://images4.wikia.nocookie.net/finalfantasy/images/d/d4/Zanarkand3.jpg

Britannica Online Encyclopedia. "Ahriman" Retrieved June, 2009, from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/10282/Ahriman

Final Fantasy Wiki. Image of Ahriman. Retrieved June, 2009, from http://finalfantasy.wikia.com/wiki/File:Ahriman10.jpg

Wikimedia. Image of Medusa. Retrieved June, 2009, from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Medusa_by_Carvaggio.jpg

BlueLaguna. Image of Yunalesca. Retrieved June, 2009, from http://bluelaguna.net/viewimage/ffx/fmvshots/5109/386.jpg


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