The prologue takes place after the the Hero and his best friend, Prince Kiefer, have spent all day exploring the shrine exterior, trying to unlock its secrets. According to Kiefer, it is forbidden for anyone to go exploring in the ruins, which just makes him want to figure out the truth behind them.
After a lengthy introduction to the setting of Estard, the duo of explorers enlist the aid of Dermot the Hermit to decipher the castle tomes concerning the crypt. By following the sage's guidance, the two pray before the statue in the courtyard of the shrine and the massive gate gives way in response.
The shrine was created by The Almighty as His fail safe against the Demon lord's assault on the world in wake of his own weakening powers. The pedestals housed within activate portals through time that send the chosen one to islands beset by the monsters serving the demon lord's will at the precise moment of their darkest hour to bring them to salvation.
Through the will of The Almighty, the shrine does not create parallel universes through it's functions--each island restored immediately appears in the present alongside Estard as if the rout had never taken place. NPCs in each area will reference other villages, castles, and regions as if they were present as well, even if they have not been restored by the party yet.
Once all eighteen regions have been saved, the Roamers can begin their ceremony to restore The Almighty Himself and bring lasting peace to the world.
With the correct Fragments on their corresponding pedestal, a person is capable of traveling to the past, protected from logical paradoxes by divine guidance.
The following areas include:
- Cave to Another World
- Cave to Yet Another World
As certain Regions are saved in the past, a Teleportal relating to that Region will activate and allow for shortcuts to an area of a region. The following are:
- Blue Teleportal - Rainbow Cove of Estard
- Red Teleportal - Burnmont of Emberdale
- Yellow Teleportal - The Oasis of Al-Balad
- Green Teleportal - Sanctum of the Cirrus of Aeolus Vale
These teleportals correspond to the locations that most strongly resonate with one of the four cardinal elements, and lead the way to the resurrection of the spirit who dwells there.
- Grave of Earth and Fire - Opened after speaking to the guide in the Shrine of Mysteries. East of Estard Castle and has the Saint's helm and Saint's armour. Made for the Nintendo 3DS Version.
- Grave of Wind and Water - On the path following the Grave of Earth and Fire. Has the Saint's shield and Saint's sword. Made for the Nintendo 3DS Version.
- Rainbow Cove - Accessed through the Blue Teleportal, Rainbow Cove is near the ocean area where a particular spirit resides. Aside from that the cave is filled with nothing but sandy grounds and water.
The Shrine of Mysteries was greatly simplified for the 3DS remake, limited to a pair of chambers and two basement levels. Rather than forcing the player to walk between four rooms to each individual plinth to set fragments, a ghostly faerie hovers above a balcony that stretches over the large central area and allows the player to access all plinths at once from a menu. As a further convenience, the faerie will also give hints as to where missing fragments may be found.
In the original CD release, the player had to solve a series of complex puzzles to wake the Ancient Fane from its rest. Several of these were dropped for the 3D Shrine, with the Arms of the Saints puzzle remaining. This puzzle would then be broken into smaller segments as the quest to retrieve the Arms was split across two new gravesites.
- In the 3DS version, the citizens of Estard and Pilchard Bay will state that man-eating bears are known to roam the forest surrounding the shrine, yet no bears are ever encountered on the island. Whether this is merely Arte-Piazza being conscious of the data limits of the 3DS cartridge or a rumor spread by the original settlers of Estard to keep potential ne'er-do-wells from the fane is unknown.
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