@natetodamax: I read that a little differently, from what I gathered the Caels had already defeated the Urans and had a sort of peace agreement, but were in secret working on the Calamity to wipe them out. Zulf is understanably enraged that they were trying to wipe out his home and people under a peaceful guise. I'll try to pay attetion on my new game+ and see if I'm getting that right.
From what I remember Rucks tells Zia about the Calamity being a "last resort". And going through Zia's dream in who knows where, it seems like the whole plan of the Calamity was put into action because of Zia's failed escape with her "boyfriend". If you ask me the Mancers got spooked of the idea of an Uran trying to escape Caelondia and went about causing the Calamity on that.
If you're having problems with the Stinkeyes (green one eyed spike balls) and the spawns they come out from, remember that they will stop moving if you face them. I found that if I gathered the max amount that will spawn, run to a spawning green tree so that it would be between me and the Stinkeyes, turn around THEN start poking at it with whatever I had, it could be done rather leisurely. It's a good idea to clear the other enemies (turrets, rattletails, Ura) before trying this out.
And if you're having problem with he general Ura just be patient and wait for them to dash and attack with your shield up. The resulting daze can easily get you a couple free hits in that should kill them outright.
I went about The Singer/Kid's dream with the Musket/Hammer and the Survivor's dream with the Pike/Musket.
At the end of NG+ when I decided not to save Zulf the narrator stated something like "The Kid once saved Zulf, he isn't going to make the same mistake again". I wonder did he refer to my first playthrough of the game when I saved Zulf at the end, or did he mean the first time I met Zulf and saved in the NG+.
I think Rucks referred to when the kid "saved" him in the Hanging Gardens where he first meets Zulf. If i remember correctly you talk to Zulf after you pick up the core, leaving the whole area to collapse without it's power. If you remember the first thing the Kid says to Zulf is "We have to go, please."