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“A mysterious young woman, born with the gift of magic, and enslaved by the Gestahlian Empire.”
Terra offers our first look into the world of Final Fantasy VI as a ruthless killer without emotion under the Empire’s control. After breaking free, she embarks on a quest to rekindle her emotions and discover who or what she really is. What exactly will she find on her way?
Gamers without a deep understanding of the Final Fantasy series may find themselves confused about the nomenclature surrounding these games. When the game Terra Branford is a part of was released in North America in 1994, it was called Final Fantasy III.
This makes sense in a way, considering this was the third installment of the series to reach shores outside of Japan. However, the unfortunate truth was that three other titles were available in the Asian country that were not distributed elsewhere.
The game the west knew as Final Fantasy III was actually the sixth in the series, with the third game launching in Japan on the Nintendo Entertainment System and featuring changeable jobs for the first time.
Fortunately, those of us living outside of Japan have finally been blessed with the entire series of games through ports and remasters in recent years. To avoid any confusion, Terra’s game has been rightly rebranded as Final Fantasy VI to represent its proper place in the series.
For the sake of this Terra Branford guide, we’ll be referring to this title exclusively as Final Fantasy VI.
No Main Character
Final Fantasy VI is one of the few series titles designed without one specific main character. Terra often becomes the face of the game, appearing on the box art, and is the first character you encounter as you play. She is in many ways the most prominent character during the first half of the game.
However, as the story progresses, it becomes clear that Final Fantasy VI gives attention to its full cast of characters, bouncing the spotlight around as the need arises. After one specific event, the overall focus shifts off Terra toward her sister-in-arms Celes.
Terra At a Glance
When we first meet Terra, she’s an 18-year-old young woman who stands 5′ 3″ tall outside of her Magitek armor. She’s an integral part of the Gestahlian Empire, having earned the title of Magitek Elite thanks to her prowess with the machine.
Terra is one of the few individuals in the entire world who can use magic, a fact that shocks your other party members when they see it for the first time.
Although she appears human, it’s revealed later in the game that Terra is the product of a human female and a male esper, giving her the powers she has. Being half esper, Terra can eventually transform into a magical being for a short time and boost her stats significantly.
Kidnapped as a child, Terra becomes a weapon for the Empire, fighting without any sort of emotion. After breaking free from this way of life, she struggles with the concept of love and wonders if it’s something she’ll ever be able to feel.
In Final Fantasy VI, Terra has long green-colored hair that she keeps tied back into a basic ponytail. Her sprite wears a red dress with like-colored boots and bracers alongside a purple sash and shoulder pads. Her eyes are depicted as being green.
Her concept art paints her in a slightly different light, with a purple cape instead of shoulder pads and white tights covered in a floral pattern. Most interesting is the contrast in her hair color, with the concept art showing blonde hair and a pink ribbon.
Being the only character shown on Final Fantasy VI’s box art, Terra is depicted with her conceptual blonde hair as she surveys the world from the top of her mech.
Once she changes into esper form, Terra’s look changes entirely. As an esper, Terra stands with pink, glowing skin and no clothing. She has long pink hair that flows below her waist and yellow claws she uses to attack with. Her eyes in this form are often shown as either yellow or green.
These events capture Terra’s incredible journey through Final Fantasy VI.
A Soldier Without a Voice
As Final Fantasy VI’s opening credits scene rolls, we’re taken to the outskirts of the mining town Narshe where three soldiers in Magitek armor march toward the city. One of these is a beautiful young woman named ????? who leads the way. A slave crown keeps her unwaveringly loyal to the mission.
The soldiers are a part of the Gestahlian Empire, the most powerful nation on the planet. In an attempt to become even more powerful, the Empire is on the hunt for espers – beings of magic have all but disappeared from the world. However, one has been discovered frozen deep in Narshe’s mines.
After dispatching the city’s guard with little resistance, the Magitek knights approach the esper. Preparing to capture it, the esper eliminates two of the soldiers before sending the mysterious girl into a state of unconsciousness.
The girl comes to in Narshe, having been helped by Arvis, a member of the resistance movement known as the Returners. Although her memories are spotty, the girl recalls that her name is Terra.
Now being chased by both the Narshe police and the Empire, Arvis advises Terra to flee through a hidden passage deep in the mines. Terra is injured as she tries to escape and is rescued by a team of moogles alongside the Returner and treasure hunter known as Locke.
Locke and Terra travel to Figaro Castle, free from the Empire’s reach. It’s there that the young King Edgar promises to watch over Terra until her memories return.
Emperor Gestahl has other plans for his lethal warrior, sending his general Kefka to bring her back. Kefka Palazzo sets fire to the castle at night, forcing Edgar, Locke, and Terra to flee. The two admit to Terra that they serve the resistance against the Empire, but Terra doesn’t want to be used as a weapon ever again.
Reluctantly, Terra agrees to meet with the leader of the Returners in the mountains to the south. Along the way, it becomes apparent to Edgar and Locke that Terra has the gift of magic, causing Terra to wonder if the resistance only wants her for her power.
The Return to Narshe
During her meeting with the Returner leader Banon, he calls Terra the single point of hope in the way against the Empire due to her unique abilities. While Terra processes this information, the Empire invades the area, causing our heroes to flee down the nearby Lethe River.
Fearing the worst for Narshe and its espers, the Returners regroup in the town and attempt to convince the city’s Elder to join the resistance. Of those gathering, the most notable to Terra is Celes, a former Imperial general who has recently abandoned its cause.
Celes, imbued with the ability to use magic after joining the ranks of the Empire, resonates with Terra as a kindred spirit. Since Terra is unable to feel love, she approaches Celes about the topic but is rebuffed. At this point, Terra continues to struggle with uncertainty about who she is, her feelings, and her place in this world.
During the meeting in Narshe, Kefka shows up with his army to claim the frozen esper for the Empire. The Returners mount a successful defense, but Terra comes in contact with the esper once again. This time, she transforms into a glowing pink being and flies into the distance.
Regaining What Was Lost
The Returners set out to find Terra, doing so in the town of Zozo. Terra is still lost in her glowing form but is under the careful watch of an esper named Ramuh. Ramuh tells the Returners to travel to the Empire’s capital of Vector to free the espers there, as one of them may offer some insight into Terra’s care.
Upon accomplishing Ramuh’s task, the remnants of the esper Madiun creates a connection with Terra. It’s here that Terra’s memories return, and we discover she is the daughter of a human female and Madiun, an esper male in the world of espers.
Terra also recalls the Empire’s attack on the esper world when she was two that cost the life of her mother. During the assault, Terra was kidnapped and forced to serve the Empire as an unwitting slave.
With memories restored, Terra assumes control over her esper powers and gains the ability to transform at will.
Stopping the Empire
Hearing that the city of Narshe has formally joined the Returners, the team begins making plans to take the fight to Vector. Even with their current resources, the crew lacks the manpower to stop the enormity of the Empire’s forces. Banon suggests having Terra speak to the remaining espers to see if they would join the fight.
With her rediscovered past and newfound powers, Terra agrees to travel to the Sealed Gate protecting the hidden world of the espers. Upon her arrival, Terra and her friends are ambushed by Kefka in an attempt to take the espers for the Empire.
During the ensuing battle, the Sealed Gate opens, and a multitude of espers pour out. The resulting chaos sees Kefka carried away and part of the cave collapse, blocking further access to the esper town.
The espers immediately take the fight to Vector, leaving the town in ruins. With the city decimated, Gestahl admits the error of his ways and vows to stop harvesting espers for energy. He asks Terra to reconcile with the enraged espers so no more lives are lost. Terra agrees, with Locke joining for support.
The Sting of Betrayal
As Locke and Terra sail east in the direction the espers fled, Terra meets up with the Empire’s General Leo during a sleepless night. Once again on the same team, Leo tells Terra how sorry he is that he did nothing to help her during her time as a slave to the Empire. Leo assures Terra that she can feel emotion, particularly love, with time and the right people.
Arriving in the mysterious town of Thamasa, Terra is taken by one of the locals named Strago to the nearby caves where they discover statues of the Warring Triad. Strago refers to the statues’ magic power and believes the espers would be drawn here.
Sensing Terra’s magical power, the espers emerge from the depths of the cave and agree to negotiate peace with General Leo and the Empire. Talks begin smoothly until Kefka appears, cackling that Gestahl’s repentance was only a ruse to draw the espers out.
Leo attempts to stop Kefka’s attack but is struck down alongside several of the espers in attendance. Enraged once again, espers burst through the Sealed Gate and attack only to be soundly defeated by Kefka.
Seizing the opportunity, Kefka and Gestahl enter the esper world through the open gate and locate the real Warring Triad. Using these statues, they summon the Floating Continent to conquer the rest of the world.
The End of the World
Terra and crew take the fight to Kefka and Gestahl on the Floating Continent to foil their plans. During the battle, Kefka uses the power of the Warring Triad to kill Gestahl before turning it on the world below. The resulting Cataclysm reaps unimaginable destruction, reshaping the world and sending our heroes flying to parts unknown.
Hope Among Ruin
What remains of the world is now bathed in ruin, with Kefka sitting supreme atop his tower. As the world struggles to recover, Terra finds herself in the small village of Mobliz.
Mobliz suffered greatly at the hands of Kefka, with the entire adult population being slain. Only the children and two teenagers remained when Terra finds the town. Choosing to stay and help, the kids there began calling her “Mama”.
After the party discovers Terra in Mobliz, they beg her to join the right against Kefka. She refuses, insisting she has to defend the town while also hoping to better understand the strange feelings she’s experiencing.
Later, a demon attacks the village, forcing Terra to use her esper form to defeat it. When the kids realize it’s her, they run to her without fear. Terra finally recognizes her emotions as love for the children she’s sworn to protect. Deciding to create a better future for them, she rejoins the fight to end Kefka’s reign of terror.
The Final Battle
In anticipation of the final fight, Terra’s friends worry they may have to destroy the Warring Triad, the source of all magic. Uncertain of the effect it will have on her, Terra presses on.
Striking the final blow against Kefka, Terra unleashes her esper form to help the others escape the crumbling tower.
As magic fades from the world, Maduin appears to Terra one final time, assuring her that she could choose to become fully human and live on if she so desires. With Terra’s power now gone, that thought remains in her mind as she falls from the sky.
Terra awakens on the party’s airship, having chosen to remain as a human out of her newfound sense of love. Before the final credits rise, Terra stands at the bow of the ship and removes her ribbon, savoring the freedom she has to live the life she desires at long last.
Final Fantasy VI is blessed with the fantastic compositions of Nobuo Uematsu that give the epic story a whole new level of depth. The song known as Terra’s Theme represents a central pillar as the story progresses through the first half of the game.
It is the theme played on the overworld map during the entire World of Balance, where Terra is featured as a prominent character. The song also appears at integral points throughout the story when Terra is faced with a difficult decision or receives a revelation.
My heart still melts every time those cellos start playing.
How to Play As Terra in Final Fantasy VI
Terra is a powerhouse in Final Fantasy VI and is clearly set up to be a magic-user from the beginning of the game. She is best in this role, with high magic and average stats in other areas.
Terra’s magical ability stems from being half-esper and allows her to learn new magic spells as the game progresses. Alongside Celes, the two ladies are the only characters that can learn magic in this way.
By the time you can control Terra, she already has access to the Cure and Fire spells. Below is the list of spells she acquires as the game progresses and the level she learns them:
Lv 1: Cure
Lv 3: Fire
Lv 6: Poisona
Lv 12: Drain
Lv 18: Raise
Lv 22: Fira
Lv 26: Teleport
Lv 33: Cura
Lv 37: Dispel
Lv 43: Firaga
Lv 49: Arise
Lv 57: Holy
Lv 68: Break
Lv 75: Graviga
Lv 86: Meltdown
Lv 99: Ultima
After the events in Zozo, Terra discovers how to tap into her esper half at will. This adds the Trance ability (called Morph in early versions of the game) to her list of combat abilities.
While in esper form, Terra does twice her normal physical and magic attack damage while reducing damage from non-piercing spells by half. Her active time battle (ATB) gauge changes to a green bar that slowly decreases over the course of the fight. If it depletes completely, Terra will revert back to her human form.
The length of time Terra can stay in her Trance form depends on the amount of Magic Ability Points (AP) she’s collected from monsters. The events that lead to her recruitment in the World of Ruin allow her to stay in Trance form twice as long as in the World of Balance.
12 of the 14 playable characters in Final Fantasy VI have access to a Desperation Attack. When a character has less than ⅛ of their health remaining, they enter a critical state and drop to one knee.
If this occurs, characters have a 1 in 16 chance of triggering a Desperation Attack instead of a normal one. These attacks are unblockable and completely ignore the enemy’s defense stat. The party member must be able to act on his or her own to launch a Desperation move.
Terra’s Desperation Attack is called Riot Blade. When unleashed, it hits a single enemy with an immense amount of magic damage.
When players regain control of her after the Slave Crown is removed, she is carrying a Mythril Knife, Buckler, Leather Cap, and Leather Armor. However, Terra has access to a wide range of weapons and equipment befitting a well-rounded character.
Although she can use a handful of maces and daggers, Terra’s main weapon is the sword. She can equip most of the swords in the game and make good use of them.
In versions of Final Fantasy VI with the Dragons’ Den, it’s possible to obtain the Apocalypse, an exclusive sword just for our green-haired half esper. It is obtained by defeating the Red Dragon at the end of the Flame Labyrinth within the Den.
Admittedly, the Apocalypse is slightly less powerful than the Ragnarok and Lightbringer swords that she and other heroes can equip. That being said, she does well with any sword that also boosts her magic stat.
Terra has access to most of the game’s armor, from robes to heavy gear. The same holds true for helmets and the entire gamut of shields.
Due to the dramatic shift that takes place at the game’s halfway point, many characters have to be obtained twice during the game.
World of Balance
Terra is the focus of the World of Balance and is the first character you meet while progressing through the game. You have no control over when Terra leaves or joins the party in this world.
World of Ruin
After the events that send the world into ruin, Terra becomes a recruitable character that can be entirely overlooked. If you choose not to recruit her, she will still appear after the final battle and play out the final moments of the story in the same way.
Assuming you want to recruit Terra (and why wouldn’t you?), you’ll have to visit her in the village of Mobliz. This can happen any time after the World of Ruin begins, even before the second airship is acquired.
Upon entering the town, head into the basement of the east house to meet up with Terra. She will state that she has to protect the children of the town, leading to a fight with Terra against a demon alone. The battle cannot be won, and Terra is wounded as a result. The rest of the party step in and drive off the demon for a time.
After obtaining the airship, travel back to Mobliz and locate the hidden staircase in the west wall of the western house in the village. Still recovering, Terra is unable to offer any assistance to the party when the demon attacks again.
The party fights the demon in her place, only to have two members blown away during the demon’s breath attack. Terra will join the fight in Trance form and permanently rejoin the party at the battle’s end.
The following characters had a profound impact on Terra during her story.
Interestingly, Terra and Celes are somewhat structured as opposites in Final Fantasy VI. Terra is the focus of the World of Balance, where the game shifts to Celes for the World of Ruin. Terra obtains mostly fire magic, and Celes learns toward ice magic.
Whether coincidental or not, Terra refers to the ground, where Celes points to the heavens. Since Terra is called Tina in the Japanese version, fans wonder how accurate this connection point is.
In any case, Terra looks to Celes for answers regarding her lost love and emotion. Thinking Terra is mocking her, Celes fails to answer the question.
When Locke rescues Terra in the Mines of Narshe, he looks to her as someone he has to protect. Since he failed to do so with the love of his life, he hopes to make amends in this way.
Locke even volunteers to travel with Terra to locate the espers who attacked the Imperial capital.
The Children of Mobliz
These children in the World of Ruin help Terra reconnect with her lost emotions. She falls in love with the children and chooses to pick up the fight with Kefka once again to protect them.
At the conclusion of the game, Terra chooses to become fully human because of her love for these kids.
Kefka is the man pulling Terra’s strings for much of her life. It is he who placed the Slave Crown on her head, commanding her to do unspeakable things in the name of the Empire. At one point, just to test her power, Kefka has Terra destroy 50 Magitek soldiers.
“I suppose a normal girl would have felt something from those words.” – When Edgar flirts with her
“You all helped me understand what it means…to love.” – To the children of Mobliz
“Ugh… I can’t remember a thing…” – After having the Slave Crown removed
“Is it true you’re a thief?” – To Locke
“When I first saw you I thought you were some kind of bodybuilder who strayed from his gym…” – To Sabin
Terra appears in a handful of other games in some capacity, but always as a supporting character.
- Dissidia (PSP)
- Dissidia NT
- Opera Omnia
- Record Keeper
- Brave Exvius
Read on to check out answers to some popular questions surrounding the half-esper heroine.
Question: How Powerful is Terra Branford?
Answer: In Final Fantasy VI, Terra is well-versed with swords and armor and can be a strong up-front attacker. She excels even more from the back row as a magic caster, having the second-highest magic stat to Relm.
Question: Is Terra Blonde or Green Haired?
Answer: Depending on where you look, Terra can have either one. In concept art, she is depicted with blonde hair and a ribbon to hold it in place. In Final Fantasy VI, her sprite and avatar’s hair is green.
Games like Dissidia Final Fantasy NT make the most of this, creating character skins that show Terra with either green or blonde hair depending on which you choose.
Question: What Class is Terra Branford?
Answer: Terra’s character class is listed as Magitek Elite due to her ability with the machine. Kefka states Terra once eliminated 50 Magitek soldiers in under three minutes.
Question: Where Do I Find Terra in FF6?
Answer: In the World of Ruin, Terra can be found in the westernmost house, downstairs behind a hidden bookshelf.
Terra’s struggles take her down a difficult road of fear and understanding as she rises to the challenge of battling the evil plaguing the world around her. Although Final Fantasy VI doesn’t have a main character, her impact on the story makes her as close as they come.
There are only a few places during the game where you’re required to take Terra with you, but hopefully, you’ll discover how powerful a character she is during those moments. Between powerful magic, decent attacks, and a Trance form that lets her make the most of each, Terra is a formidable ally to have on any team.