Two weeks had passed without any sightings of the Ascians. I was certain that their lull in activity was not a sign that they were cowed by my display of strength in Haukke Manor. I had a feeling that it would only be a matter of time before they showed up again so I spent the down time training in the ways of the Arcanist. My grimoire had become rather tattered since I received it as a gift from Azarashi and it was far past time to have it replaced. I spent some of that time studying and training in Limsa Lominsa at the Arcanist’s Guild until tales of my exploits had reached the ears of a resident Marauder.
Alka Zolka was the strangest Marauder I had ever met. They usually preferred to carve things up with their axes, causing as much damage as possible. This Lalafell, however, was more interested in academic pursuits and had requested the aid of an Arcanist for an archaeological endeavor. He told me of the ancient civilization of Nym that resided in La Noscea ages ago, famed for military tactics that turned back would-be invaders time and time again. He had managed to purchase a number of Nymian tablets from an antiquities dealer, but they had been stolen en route. Together we tracked down the group of thieves, defeated them, and reclaimed the tablets.
We found stashed with the Nymian tablets a blue crystal bearing a strange mark that reminded me of an open book. Upon picking up the crystal there was a sudden flash of light and when I blinked enough to see again I came face to face with a small humanoid flitting in the air in front of me. She was a cute little thing with pale skin and white hair. She wore clothes that looked like they had been made of plants and she hovered in the air before me by flapping a pair of butterfly-like wings.
I was taken aback by this turn of events, but Alka Zolka was excited. He quickly translated one of the tablets and discovered that this creature was a fairy, a familiar used by the ancient Nymian Scholars. The gem I had picked up was a crystalised Soul of a Scholar, and in time I’d be able to use it to learn long forgotten stratagems.
I had just finished a transcribing one of those ancient Nymian spells into my grimoire when I received a call from the Waking Sands. Eos, my fairy companion, hefted one end of the book and shut it before sitting atop it and watching me take the call. According to Minfilia, the Maelstrom had reports that the Kobolds were on the verge of summoning their Primal Titan. I would need to report to Maelstrom Command to meet Y’shtola and receive a debriefing. Eos jumped from her seat on my book, flitted about me quickly, and landed on my shoulder. I collected my grimoire and belongings and left the Arcanist’s Guild for the upper level of Limsa Lominsa.
Upon arriving I was surprised to see that Admiral Merlwyb herself had arrived to greet me. The intimidating Roegadyn captain was brief, ensuring me that I would receive full support from the Maelstrom when it came time to make my attack on Titan. As the Admiral left I began to wonder how I was even going to proceed to that point. I had never encountered Titan before the Calamity and knew very little about the Primal. Luckily Y’shtola arrived and had an idea. She told me of the Company of Heroes, a famous band of mercenaries who had overcome the odds and defeated Titan many years ago the last time the Kobolds had been able to summon him. According to Y’shtola, one of the members of the Company of Heroes was currently living at the Grey Fleet Mills in Lower La Noscea. I set off immediately to seek aid from the brave warrior.
To say I was a bit deflated upon seeing this member of the Company of Heroes would be an understatement. The Roegadyn Marauder who went by the name of Trachtoum was a slovenly drunkard of a man who apparently lived off his title as “best axeman” of the Company of Heroes. I explained to him the situation and he seemed to be a bit confused at first which I figured was a side effect of the swill he had been drinking. I persisted and he seemed to remember, claiming that he and the rest of the Company of Heroes had bested the dread Primal Tidus.
“Don’t you mean Titan?”
“Nah, that’s what we’d call him. We’d say ‘Oh, there goes ‘ol Tidus again’.”
I looked to Eos dubiously and the little fairy simple shrugged her shoulders. Trachtoum could tell I was doubtful and refused to tell me any more information. I didn’t want to return to Limsa Lominsa empty handed so I apologized and asked him to go on.
Once more he refused, but told me that he’d loosen his lips if I performed a favor for him. He told me that there was a rats’ nest near one of the windmills, the rats had been getting into the grain, and he wanted me to destroy it. I suppressed the glare that I wanted to give him and found the nest with ease. A dozen vermin later I had returned to the Roegadyn.
Trachtoum seemed surprised that I had easily dealt with the rat infestation but assured me that had I not been there, he gladly would have done it himself. I began to wonder if I had just done something that he himself was supposed to do but felt that it was all worth finding out how to defeat Titan. Trachtoum looked like he was ready to speak, but then he peered at me closely. Feeling his eyes on me and already having had enough of his foul smelling breath I decided it was time to use that glare I had been saving. It must have been a good one because the Roegadyn staggered back.
He then told me that he didn’t think I had what it took to defeat Titan, that he’d only tell me the Company of Heroes’ secret tactics if I proved myself worthy. He said that there had been a large goobbue seen recently trying to get into the stores of flour and that if I wanted to know how to defeat Titan, I needed to defeat the goobbue first. I found the goobbue in question west of the Grey Fleet Mills and dispatched it quickly. When I returned to the Marauder once more he was shocked in awe that I had once again performed such a task so dauntlessly. He inspected me closely once again and informed me that he still wasn’t sure I had proven myself just yet.
I very politely informed him that if he didn’t tell me his secrets to defeating Titan I’d be forced to take his axe and place it somewhere no axe had ever gone before. Our conversation was interrupted by one of the resident millers who entered the small tavern looking for Trachtoum. This miller was even angrier with the Roegadyn than I was. He began shouting about how the Marauder was always in the tavern getting drunk rather than doing his job and dealing with the threats to the mills. Trachtoum was quick to tell the miller that he had just slain the very same goobbue I had disposed of.
“I lifted this very axe up above me head and cleaved the beast in two,” Trachtoum boasted.
“Oi! The only thing I’ve seen you lift since I’ve gotten here was that tankard of piss you’ve been guzzling.” I turned to the miller, my hands on my hips. “I’m the one who killed that goobbue, and the one who destroyed that rats’ nest.”
The miller looked between me and Trachtoum. I could tell that he didn’t quite believe the Reogadyn’s claims but he shrugged his shoulders and said that we’d have to settle the argument the “Lominsan Way”.
I had never participated in a boulder breaking contest before and could only assume that the rules of the contest were also neatly contained within the name of said contest. Break your boulder first, you win. And yet, I couldn’t help but feel the need to ask for a clarification. “Is my rock supposed to be three times bigger than his?” The miller shrugged his shoulders, made an offhanded remark about poor help, and left it at that. So I had to somehow break this boulder half as tall as me before Trachtoum could break his. That seemed fair, right?
The miller counted us off and we each rushed our boulders. I figured a direct assault of concussive ruin spells would be the best way to do it and began throwing blast after blast of Ruin spells at the boulder. I spared a glance over at Trachtoum who was busy swinging his axe down on his boulder. It seemed that the lazy Roegadyn does lift afterall. Even though he was hitting the boulder with all his might his axe continued to bounce off of the rock. The weapon was made for slicing limbs off, certainly not for busting boulders.
My own rock was beginning to crack under my assault and I continued throwing magic at it. The ringing of steel on rock stopped suddenly and was replaced by a hissing sound. I looked over to see what Trachtoum was doing and noticed that he had retreated several yalms away from his rock. Sitting in front of it was a black sphere, the fuse quickly burning away. I was moving before I had even registered that the Marauder had decided to use a bomb. I picked it up and tossed it as hard as I could just in time. It exploded mid-air, far enough away to leave me and the boulder unharmed.
I had forgotten to mention the most important rule of the boulder breaking contest. Apparently, the only thing against the rules is killing your opponent. I wasn’t the only one to forget that because just as I recovered from the shockwave of the bomb Trachtoum came rushing at me swinging his axe clear at my head. I stumbled back over his small boulder, Eos finally leaving her perch on my shoulder. The little fairy got up in the Roegadyn’s face, pointing and waving her finger at him menacingly. He swung his axe at her but she moved through the air too quickly only to return again and continue chastising him. I took the initiative and hit my boulder with a couple more blasts of Ruin. It finally cracked in half and I was triumphant.
Defeated, Trachtoum was quick to admit that he had never been a member of the Company of Heroes. I wasn’t surprised. He said that he had met one of the Company’s former captains in Costa del Sol. He had seen how the man was put on a pedestal for being one of the brave warriors that had defeated Titan and knew that if he claimed himself to be of that band of mercenaries he too could be considered a hero. Unfortunately for him, he was too lazy for his own good. If he had just put a little more effort into his act, he could have possibly pulled it off. Great “Tidus” Slayer indeed.
I arrived at the beach resort of Costa del Sol just as the sun was setting. I gleefully took in the sight of bikini-clad beach-goers and dancing girls but had to forego the festivities in order to find the veteran from the Company of Heroes. Wheiskaet had taken up an acquisitions job at Costa del Sol after retiring from the Company of Heroes. I found him near a hut that served as a bar making a list of supplies he would need to order for the resort operations. I approached him and introduced myself as a member of the Scions of the Seventh Dawn and an officer of the Order of the Twin Adder before telling him why I sought him out. After telling him that I needed information on how to defeat Titan he seemed hesitant.
Wheiskaet explained that he was reluctant to send someone of unknown character off to their deaths at the hands of Titan. He would need me to perform a task for him to prove my worth. He offered me a herring and a knife and told me of a Nix that had been harassing customers at the resort. I was to use the herring as bait and bring back one of the Nix’ legs as proof of my victory. I was growing tired of running errands for people in exchange for information but had no other choice. I set out for the eastern cape where the Nix had been sighted and set out the herring. I hid behind some rocks and waited. It wasn’t long before the large, bulbous frog emerged from hiding to gobble up the fish. I attacked the beast while it was still eating and killed it with ease, severed one of its legs with Wheiskaet’s knife and returned to the resort.
When I returned Wheiskaet explained that an unfortunate incident with a former employee had forced him to treat all strangers with suspicion. Apparently, his former employee had gathered as much information from Wheiskaet as he could and went gallivanting off to gods know where, proclaiming himself to be a member of the Company of Heroes. My quick deed had proven that I was nothing like the former employee and Wheiskaet was ready to give me tasks befitting my skill.
He offered me a deal. Two highly distinguished individuals, whose identities he neglected to tell me, were scheduled to visit Costa del Sol within a week. Master Gegeruju, the owner of Costa del Sol, wished to welcome them with an elaborate feast. Being in charge of acquisitions, it was up to Wheiskaet to obtain all the exotic ingredients intended for the banquet. If I could obtain the items on his list before the night of the banquet he would be more than happy to tell me how to defeat Titan. Not only was it a race against the clock to obtain the ingredients in time, but I would also need to do so before the Kobolds summoned Titan. Wheiskaet told me to seek out one of his old companions stationed at Camp Tranquil in the South Shroud who would be able to help me obtain the first ingredient. Knowing that I had no time to lose I left immediately for Limsa Lominsa to catch a flight to Gridania.
First and foremost, I had taken my own screenshots for this entry but, silly me, I forgot to actually upload them from my computer and now they're inaccessible from work. So I had to borrow some more from the internet. Perhaps later I'll come back and put in the pictures that are actually supposed to be here.
This entry made me start thinking about all the references and allusions that Final Fantasy XIV has to just about everything under the sun. Not even counting the allusions to previous Final Fantasy entries and mythology that we've come to expect by now, I've seen call outs to modern day things as well. There was a quest called "Call of Booty" and an achievement called "Dragoon Age". A miner levequest called "Get to the Copper". How about the NPC "Immodest Mouse", or the FATE "Smells Like Tree Spirit"? Seriously? These allusions are amazing. There's even a FATE called "It's Not Lupus" where you fight a giant enemy crab, namely Cancer (the zodiac). Oh my god, you just put a House reference into my Final Fantasy. So for this entry I really wanted to get in on the allusions and throw in a meme. It's not really an obscure one, and I'm sure you might pick up on it and chuckle. And now that I think about it, there's actually two allusions in here. Can you guys figure them both out?
This entry also made me start thinking about character development. Not in the sense of how a character changes in the material, but how the character changes by the material. I'm not sure if I've mentioned before, but Rosalyn Sable is an original character of mine from a separate work. I base most of my game characters off of my original characters and like to use them in different works. It's almost like a writing exercise. Take an existing character, throw them into a different setting, see how you can make that character work and if you can take something away from it. Rosalyn Sable, in her original appearance, is a mathematics prodigy with an incredibly rough upbringing, but she always seems to be mischievous. I've often described her as having a cat-like grin. She's a sniper, aptly dubbed "The Ricochet", and that's transposed over into other works. In a short story she was a markswoman in a Robin Hood-esque setting. In Final Fantasy XIV, she was an Archer.
In Final Fantasy XI I played a Mithra and my main job was Blue Mage. It would have been more apt to make Rosalyn a Ranger who specialized in guns, but Ranger was an incredibly expensive class and I equated ammunition to "paying to play", even if it was in-game currency. I really enjoyed the tortured soul aspect of the Blue Mage, the fight against a monster inside your own soul, which is an aspect that I used with another character later down the road. It wasn't until XIV that I really started to make some changes to Rosalyn herself. The way I've been writing her for this, with the post traumatic stress disorder, I'm beginning to wonder if that could be worked into the original character. The scar across the nose, as much as it is an aesthetic thing, I find it befitting her for some reason. And, despite always imagining her as an American character, I'm starting to read her dialogue with a British accent. I really blame Doctor Who here, because every time I have Rosalyn say "Oi!", a bit of a speaking mannerism to appear tough in my opinion, everything else after it just comes out sounding like Catherine Tate. You know. "Oi! Space Man!" Or better yet "Am I bothered?"
I've rambled on here quite a bit now. I'm sure I'll have plenty more to say concerning the effects of a work on a character in the future. There will probably be one more post before we get to the next dungeon, Brayflox's Longstop, then one or two more before we fight Titan. It's one hell of a fight. Please look forward to it.