Quickenings, or "Mist Knacks" in the Japanese version (I'm kind of glad they changed that name), are something like limit breaks in FFXII powered by Mist. Unlocked on the license grid, each character has three quickenings, level one through three which utilize the same number of MP bars as their respective level. When activated in battle, different characters' quickenings can be chained together to deal more damage. Chaining a lot of quickenings in succession can do some massive damage, which is useful for some of those painfully annoying bosses in the game.
Northswain's Glow: Level: one, power: 90. ...I have no idea what a Northswain is, but apparently it has a glow. Dictionary.com defines "swain" as "a male admirer or lover" or "a country lad." Basically, a young man. Maybe there's a reference to something here that I'm missing? Hmm. I'll go with "random RPG quasi-fantasy gibberish" for now.
Heaven's Wrath: Level: two, power: 140. Pretty self-explanatory name. This one invokes sort of a "judgment" image as Ashe floats up in the sky and lets loose some divine wrath on the unfortunate enemy.
Maelstrom's Bolt: Level: three, power: 230. A "maelstrom" is a large, powerful whirlpool. Though I see no whirlpool here. Hmm. Pretty intimating imagery nonetheless.

revenant wings

Quickenings work a little differently in Revenant Wings. Each playable character gets only one quickening, which is obtained after defeating an Esper in a certain mission. The quickening bar will build up gradually during a battle, and when it fills it can be unleashed to for effects such as area damage, healing, or stat modifying. Ashe's quickening, "Empyrean's Edict," is obtained with the Esper Famfrit after completing Mission 77, "Darkening Clouds Gather," available after the start of chapter 9. The quickening blocks enemies from summoning Yarhi. In ancient Greek mythology, "Empyrean" means the highest level of heaven, said to be the home of the element of fire. An "edict" is essentially a proclamation. Heaven's Proclamation? Makes more sense than Northswain.
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