myaru: (Default)
I'll do Fire Emblem 10, since the Tellius games were like... the pinnacle of my FE obsession, I suppose. Next in line would be FE6.

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1. The first character I fell in love with/was drawn to (gameplay/personality, where applicable):
Micaiah. She was competant-- she didn't die all the goddamn time Laura, Jill, Leonardo, EVERYONE ELSE. FFS guys, can you try to survive at least one hit each? That alone will make me like a character at least a little (and hate another one too much), but her conflict, especially in later chapters of the game, was really compelling. Moving on to Elincia in Part 2 was the biggest disappointment of my life, and I was fucking thrilled to go back to Daein and Micaiah and her willingness to commit war crimes in the name of a country and people she loved for some inexplicable reason. It made her interesting.

This might surprise some people. I didn't lose my love for Micaiah until I started liking Sanaki a lot more. It felt a little like I couldn't have both, but that's not why I went that way - just how I see the change in affection now.


And seventeen more... )
myaru: (Fire Emblem - Sanaki dreaming)
If we come to a point at which I'll have to check a script to have a discussion, I pretty much won't bother. I'll shed a tear for losing the argument and move on. That said, though, I think I need to let you all know that I've revised my list of Tellius favorites to include Lekain and Valtome, and potentially Lekain/Valtome, but only because Oliver is too glorious to devote his person to only one other individual.

But in all seriousness, I wish I had given these guys more thought when I was still writing fic. If I rewrote the Summer Chronicle now, they'd be much better developed, I think, even though the game gives me no reason to imagine anyone but Hetzel might have redeeming qualities. Oliver is... questionable. He switches sides, but he does so in the creepiest way, and continues to creep until the end of the game., and so I'm just not sure I can take him seriously. His conversations are priceless, though. He's got that in his favor.

Lekain, on the other hand, is either pure evil (Micaiah, Reyson) or "deeply scarred" (Rafiel), and completely delusional. That's kind of hard to work with. Valtome isn't much acquainted with sanity either. Seliora and Numida hardly do anything. I have to wonder how these men arranged the death of an Apostle and made people believe the herons actually killed her. (I could swear there are townspeople in some chapter or other that do not in fact believe it, but like I said: laziness and scripts do not work well together.) And it's not that I doubt people were angry enough to believe at the time, but that the senators themselves were trustworthy enough to listen to, lulz. Look at them! And do you really expect me to believe the nobility was against Misaha across the board, and completely behind these jokers?

... where was I going with this? Right: I was going to attempt to solve this problem. Cut for totally serious and super-clever headcanon. )

.

If I were going to rewrite the Chronicle, I supposed I'd have to be more clever. It could be so different, though! I regret that.

I have not yet gotten a shipping notification for my FE13 pre-order, which is just as well - I'm still reading A Dance With Dragons and will probably finish it before going back to gaming. I have to admit I'm not burning to get my hands on it, anyway, because even the little bit I know about it is... questionable. Kind of like Oliver.
myaru: (Fire Emblem - Micaiah)
If you happen to like Crimea and Gallia, please do continue on - that's okay by me and I'm not trying to change any minds. It's been forever since I played these games, anyway; maybe I forgot something.

I'm sure I've mentioned somewhere around here that Elincia's chapters bored me to death when I first played Radiant Dawn. Friends told me I would've liked them better if I had played Path of Radiance first, and playing PoR did add a bit to her situation; in general, the characters were likable enough in the prequel that I thought having memories of PoR in my head would make all the difference when approaching Crimea in RD, or even in fanfic.

Not so, as it turns out! And if you think about it, I liked the Greil Mercenaries just fine while playing RD, having never seen the first game - they stand on their own as a group and as characters even without the prequel. Elincia and her group were the only problem characters. The entire storyline was a problem, actually, because it's so generic, but it goes much deeper than that. When asked why I don't write or read fic about Crimea or the Greil Mercenaries very often, my response is usually: "Because they're boring," which makes it sound like I hate the characters, but that isn't it at all. They're boring unpacks into something much more complex.

Look at Crimea's story: they break off from Begnion (peacefully), have a few wars with Daein, and then-- nothing for a while, until Ashnard suddenly invades and murders the king and queen. Elincia is suddenly the quintessential Lost Heir or Dethroned Princess, whatever you want to call it, who has to gather allies and take back her throne while sighing over her hero. Yay. Exciting. About the only unexpected thing that happens (besides Ashnard's surprisingly interesting personality) is that Ike isn't interested in his princess.

Fast forward a few years, and now there are some nobles who are unhappy with how she's ruling, and they stage a rebellion. Predictably, she wins. Yay. You know what was less predictable? What was going to happen in Daein, which I really wanted to see, but instead got stuck watching Crimea for however many chapters.

In the interim, the Greil mercenaries save kittens from trees and fight the occasional bandit, sometimes for free! (What kind of mercenaries are these, again?) Ooooh, life on the edge.

There's nothing to do in Crimea. The only characters among the mercenaries with any depth are Soren and Greil, with the possible exception of Shinon - but only because you can come up with so many theories about why he sticks around when he's clearly not happy - and Oscar. Mist, Titania, even Rhys, don't yield much after a bit of gentle poking. And Greil is most interesting before he starts this group - Greil-fleeing-from-Daein, Greil-grieving-over-the-medallion-incident, Gawain-serving-Daein, those are the interesting aspects of his character.

I'm not trying to say that the mercenaries don't have stories or backgrounds. The three brothers have a surprisingly developed background, and we can piece Titania's past together pretty well also. They have substance. The problem is... well.

Oscar is three things: formerly a knight of Crimea, a cook, and a big brother. I suppose he might've had a hard time trying to raise the other two, and he probably regretted leaving the knighthood, but felt it was the only thing he could do. Right? That's cool. I like that. Sounds depressing! There's room to write about regret, and life decisions, and stuff - until he joins the damned knighthood again. Then what? I suppose there's still room to write something, but I don't know what, since nothing ever happens in Crimea unless you're Kieran.

Titania? Uhhhh.

Rhys? I like him, but... what would I write about? His parents, I guess? I don't know, not much emotional depth going on here.

(That last sentence up there goes 200% for Gallia.)

As for the Crimean court... well, Elincia has conniving nobles, but Begnion does that much better and provides a bigger cast of characters with which to do it. (See: almost all of Radiant Dawn, which is driven by the shit Begnion's senate is pulling, and has been pulling, for a very long time. Sanaki's relationship to her council is a strong parallel to Elincia's, right down to succession concerns.) Crimea has rebuilding and rebellion, but Daein does that better by virtue of being under hostile occupation and starting a real civil war, instead of just trying to. Crimea is divided on the matter of laguz, but so is everyone else - and the issue is much more dangerous in Daein, and more complex in Begnion.

Despite PoR being about retaking Crimea, and despite the fact Crimeans (or people who align themselves with the mercenaries) make up a huge chunk of the cast, we hardly spend any time there. It practically doesn't exist. It's a cardboard backdrop for the real play, which takes place in other countries.

That's why I don't like Crimea.

As for Gallia, well. I feel like it's there so we can have cat girls. Skrimir was pretty fun, I'll admit, but to be honest, all I envision when I think of Gallia is forests, forests, and more forests. And cats marking trees.

Look at this, even when I put Gallia in the subject line, I hardly talk about it at all. But what is there to talk about?
myaru: (Xenosaga - zomgbackflip!)
Whoa guys, breaking news: the herons aren't ripped off from Tolkien - rather, clearly, Tolkien traveled forward in time and ripped off Fire Emblem! See here:

[Sauron] chanted a song of wizardry,
Of piercing, opening, of treachery,
Revealing, uncovering, betraying.
Then sudden Felagund there swaying
Sang in answer a song of staying,
Resisting, battling against power,
Of secrets kept, strength like a tower,
And trust unbroken, freedom, escape;
Of changing and of shifting shape, of snares eluded, broken traps,
The prison opening, the chain that snaps.

Backwards and forwards swayed their song.
Reeling and foundering, as ever more strong
The chanting swelled, Felagund fought,
And all the magic and might he brought
Of Elvenesse into his words.
Softly in the gloom they heard the birds
Singing afar in Nargothrond,
The sighing of the Sea beyond,
Beyond the western world, on sand,
On sand of pearls in Elvenland.


From The Silmarillion, Chapter 19: Of Beren and Luthien.

Alas, Sauron kicked his ass. I was sad. These elf dudes are fsking insane, let me tell you; Reyson takes after them quite strongly! However, if we're going to compare Reyson to anyone, I think Fingolfin is a better parallel. Finrod Felegund isn't quite as crazy.

So anyway, there you go: elves turning into herons.

This book? It's heaven in a binding. Why did I not read it through before now? Reading in fragments does not do it justice at all.
myaru: (Fire Emblem - Altina)
After looking over my own fan fiction to catalog the ones that were actually inspired by speculation (contrasted with the stories that started out simply as "what if?" or other types of fic ideas), I realized the only really heavy speculation I did in Fire Emblem fic was about Lehran, and by extension the world before the flood - with a few exceptions for Hatari. So, for example, I have several takes on how he could have met Altina (Forever Spring, An Offering, and meme fills), several tries at his early years in Begnion and with Sanaki (especially A New Leaf, but also The Child-Like Empress), and a lot of speculation in The Summer Chronicle on how and why he can cast magic.

The one I picked at most often was Lehran's seeming immortality, and which I'm sure was one of those haha, there's Myaru fangirling again things, and which I never really resolved, because canon says nothing. Call of the Heron (speculating it's about primordial origins), the Elysium arc I did for Thirty Kisses, in which I speculated (via Sanaki, this time, chapters 3-5) that Ashera's blessing rendered the body undying and indestructible just as it did weapons and armor (and, further, that Ashera can control growth and decay); I had planned on using the same idea for Summer Chronicle, also. On my hard drive I have a fic that speculates Lehran's line just lives longer, sings prettier, and dies prettier. (I mean... there was more to it, but that's what it boils down to.)

Everything else I write is aimed at Lehran. The bird tribe fic post-game, everything about Serenes, all of my speculation about heron culture, etc. I need to find a new obsession.

Actually. What I should do is take this character type, which I love so much, and so consistently, and build my own. I kinda sorta started a project like that, but maybe I should drop Lehran fic and take the original one more seriously. That's the point of exercises like this one, after all - to find the things you love and try to write about them. But I think I tried with Lehran so many times because I couldn't capture the essence of his character in any one story, even though other parts of writing about him got easy - too easy, even. I created my own set of triggers (the long hair fetish thing, for example) and used them too much. I recall having the same issues with Krelian, the only other character I've fixated on so narrowly.

This isn't to say I didn't do ANY other speculation. I built a version of Hatari for myself, and I'd really like to finish that one outstanding fic project about Rafiel and Nailah. The Summer Chronicle also did a lot of speculation on spirit charming, which is a Tellius-related topic I'm very interested in apart from my favorite characters. So it's not all Lehran. Just... 95% of it. :/

Lesson: I need to move on to other interests. Very soon.

.

A long time ago I also speculated via fic that Soren might display some kind of weird expression of his dragon heritage - like this bit of art right here, actually. Almedha's unusual strength led me to believe dragons were stronger in general, even in their humanoid forms, which made me wonder if Soren might not inherit some of that later. But his build in the games doesn't support that, I realize now.

Too bad, because the idea of Soren accidentally cracking a table in half with a sneeze is funny.
myaru: (FE - Sephiran - the bitterness)
I've written about this before: Branded + laguz = no loss of birthright and the speculation on why laguz lose their birthright in the first place, so this is partly me building on the first one and changing my mind about the second one.

My ideas in the first one are self-explanatory, but the second link, in short, speculates that laguz lose their power when they breed with beorc to create a better balance in the union, which would lead to more stability, which would lead to stronger families, etc., with the idea that it would promote evolution. Please note I'm using the term "evolution" generously, as I kinda sorta don't really care to research it properly or make a scientific argument. Ditto for genetics. I'll leave that to the science nerds on my Flist.

I was looking back at a half-serious post about what combining beast/bird laguz genetics would look like illustrated by Punnett Square (answer: hilarious), and ended up thinking that there might be something to see there after all. I'm not going to pull out genotype examples or anything; it made me wonder, though, if the laguz/beorc problem could be as simple as assuming that each parent has an equal contribution to make, and an uneven distribution of power screws that up. So, for example:

laguz A + laguz B = let's say each parent contributes half of what the child inherits, so A gives half of his birthright, and B gives half of hers;

beorc A + beorc B = ditto;

laguz + beorc = there's only one birthright to pass down; it's most beneficial to give it to the child, who will carry on the line;

laguz + branded = they both have equal birthrights, so there is no loss

laguz + carrier = only one birthright, see laguz/beorc ("carrier" meaning someone who was born with laguz blood, but isn't branded, eg. Sanaki).

Also, re: the carriers, I think in this version of the equation they'd be wild cards, because they're still carrying a birthright - their children might end up having brands, which would mean the carrier in question would be contributing an equal portion, so there's potential for the laguz to come out of it okay. The opposite might be true of the Branded individual, come to think of it. If brands are passed down only once the previous bearer dies, as [personal profile] amielleon speculated, that could complicate things further.

Unfortunately, this undercuts the essential equality we're supposed to believe the two races have, because the beorc always come out on the bottom, so to speak, not having any power or birthright to speak of unless you count magic. (Which I think is a flaw in the game's argument. I have a hard time accepting "reason" as a birthright, but that's another topic.) It's also pretty silly and one-dimensional. I'm personally still in favor of laguz/beorc pairings leading to a single people - the Branded - who bear the best characteristics of both, in balance with each other.

In theory.

I've seen authors speculate on this a little bit, but the only pairing that comes to mind is (of course) Naesala/Sanaki, where this birthright thing would be a huge problem for both of them - unless you assume that Sanaki has something to offer (genetically speaking, ha ha?) that will neutralize Naesala's loss. Then again, it's more ~romantic~ for him to take the risk and not care if he keeps his birthright or not. I don't think that's quite in character, but that's one way to look at it, I guess.

So, I've kind of come full circle here; the above was how I first looked at the laguz/beorc problem, before I decided it should have something to do with the cosmic balance, and now I'm back again. To be honest, I think the most logical way to handle this in a story would be much different - Lehran's past is the backbone of the racial divide on Tellius, but I think the designers could've come up with better reasons for that and left his birthright alone. Why can't we use real genetics and pretend that laguz parents can pass on some of their attributes without neutralizing their own?

I'm thinking that's just not angsty enough. It's too logical! We need our weepy herons to be weepy, and some tragic inter-racial romance thrown in for good measure.

.

Not really satisfied with this post, but whatever. It looked so much better in my head.
myaru: (Fire Emblem - Rafiel and Nailah)
Today's post was going to be about the various forms of birthright in Tellius, but conversations happening around here keep coming back to the way IS handled their depiction of herons. It's kind of on-topic! We don't know what the designers were thinking, but we can guess based on the illustrations. The conversation generally splits into two issues.


1. Herons are predators, not vegetarians.
An egret's diet consists of fish, frogs, and bugs. I see pairs of them hunting in the water near our bus stop, and they're definitely trying to grab something with their sharp beaks. Those things aren't for show. (Proof!) I've never seen one scavenge for berries-- just saying. Their calls, while not actually ugly or abrasive, aren't any more sing-songy than the ones my cat used to make when she got all excited over the birds outside the window.

To be honest, when this conversation happens in PoR--

Ike: As long as you take care of yourself, I have no complaints. But isn't there anything I can do to help? Maybe we could have a special supper. Certain foods tend to restore energy.

Reyson: That's very kind, but my diet... Heh. It's fairly limited. You know, I used to be disgusted by my thin, frail body. So one time I performed a little experiment. I got all the foods that Tibarn likes-- raw meat, cold fish, insects--and ate them. I ate them all.

Ike: That doesn't sound good. What happened?

Reyson: I stared death in the face for ten days. You've never seen a laguz so green! I guess we herons are just meant to eat fruits and nuts for our entire lives.


--my first thought is, "Well yeah, if you eat RAW MEAT when you usually don't consume any kind of meat at all, of course it's going to make you sick." Besides that, all sorts of bacteria come with raw meat-- come on. What would've happened if Reyson ate cooked meat, or cooked fish, or specially prepared raw fish? Some fish and meats are more easily digested than others. For that matter, some vegetables and plant matter are ridiculously hard on one's system.

I figure we all already know this. The question is, why?

Which brings me to point two, which I've mentioned before, but which has special bearing on this topic:


2. The herons are clearly "inspired" by Tolkien's elves.
Visually, that is. You might say this explains why FE's herons can't eat meat - on the surface the elves look pretty vegetarian. When I was looking up notes on elven eating habits - and you bet information like that exists! Ah, Tolkien - quite a few people had the same idea, because they're so attuned to nature. Supposedly. But when the question gets asked on forums, the conclusion is usually that yes, even Tolkien's elves eat meat. They enjoy hunting. Killing animals for sport and not using the meat or the rest of the carcass (say, deerskin), is even less in line with their apparent nature than chowing down on venison. Also, this quote came up:

From the Hobbit - Flies and Spiders

There was a fire in their midst and there were torches fastened to some of the trees round about; but the most splendid sight of all: they were eating and drinking and laughing merrily. The smell of the roast meats was so enchanting that, without waiting to consult one another, every one of them got up and scrambled forwards into the ring with the one idea of begging some food.


While I came across other quotes, this one was the most direct. Another good one is from the Lay of the Children of Hurin:

On a time was Turin at the table of Thingol
there was laughter long and the loud clamour
of a countless company that quaffed the mead,
amid the wine of Dor-Winion that went ungrudged
in their golden goblets; and goodly meats
there burdened the boards, neath the blazing torches


Hunting game was a respectable pastime back in the day, so speculation says the elves probably ate venison, rabbit, boar, wild birds, etc. I could swear I saw a mention of elves serving excellent salt pork, but I can't find it now. So in any case, some of Tolkien's elves eat meat. Really good meat. Enchanting meat. It could be that he changed his mind about that later, but I can't recall anything that would make me think so. More informed readers might have a better idea of what the author wanted. I think it's arguable, though.

And let's not forget that elves are stronger and hardier than men, which FE's herons are most definitely not.

So: if it's not Tolkien's influence that inspired the designers to make herons vegetarian, what did? I have an idea, inspired by a base conversation before/during 4-F-4 in Radiant Dawn:

Nasir
Lehran ... attempted suicide several times, which is an unthinkable taboo for anyone who has sworn to serve the goddess.


If taking one's own life is unthinkable, it isn't much of a stretch to speculate that those dedicated to Ashera's service simply don't take any lives at all if they can help it. I've had this in my headcanon for a while: characters like Sanaki almost never eat meat in my stories because they're dedicated to the goddess and her tenets, and one of those is the sanctity of all life-- maybe. We don't really know, but that's how I read it.

Nasir has already commented on the piety of the Serenes herons. My theory is that they abstain from meat voluntarily, but that they are not physically incapable of eating it. Now, if you just don't eat meat, ever, then trying to have a steak for dinner will probably wreak havoc on your digestive system-- but that doesn't mean you're incapable of consuming it by nature.

Let's also keep in mind that hawks generally don't eat pastries, and yet Phoenicis apparently makes some awesome desserts. Just throwing that out there.
myaru: (Fire Emblem - Sephiran)
Earlier this year I wrote a speculative post about the Serenes family tree and what we know about herons. This is kinda sorta part two of that series. The herons are unique among the laguz clans, it seems, because they're the only ones who use magic - and the game implies that it's part of their laguz heritage, which I am personally dissatisfied with. So basically, I have a lot of questions that need answering, and which will never, ever be answered by canon. Probably. Old age seems to be affecting my memory.

My big questions are:

1. Why are galdrar unique to herons and heron-descendants (eg. Apostles)?

2. What makes seid magic different from conventional magic, and why?

3. Do the mechanics of seid magic bear any resemblance to real music / musical theory?

4. What are the mechanics of the discipline?

5. How powerful can one singer or one galdr get?

6. What does "reading hearts" have to do with the rest of their talents?


Like always, I will use Lehran as my primary example, because he's the character who achieved the most significant feats with seid magic, and also the only heron who has lost his birthright, but the others will show up too - don't worry. It's not a total fangirl fest.

Since Lehran lost his ability to sing galdrar along with his ability to transform, the game tells us flat out that seid magic is a laguz trait of the same general caliber. He can use seid magic because he's a heron. No one outside the bloodline can do this. But why? It seems to use the same language conventional magic does, so there aren't any special linguistic differences; it has to be sung, but that isn't drastically different from any other type of chant. In Archanea I believe magic is bound to tomes, which is why mages have to use books to cast it, and the same might be true of Tellius - magic seems to come from spirits (hence spirit charmers being able to do fantastic things, supposedly), so perhaps the seid magic chants draw directly on the spirits, while beorc mages need that focus to channel it.

(I don't like that mechanic either, but I'll let it go for now.)

Problem is, even if the herons speak to the spirits directly - and there's no saying that's how the magic works - why is it so closely linked with their heritage? A human mage should theoretically be able to crack the code and learn how to sing the correct chants. Unless there's something literally different about their singing voices, versus their normal speaking voices - since nobody comments on those, at least - I don't see why there should be a difference. There is one moment in PoR that might give that some basis:

[Path of Radiance, Chapter 17: Day Breaks]

Mist: Did you...hear a sound just now?

Ike: Huh? No, I didn't.

Mist: Really? I guess it was just me then.

Lethe: That sound you heard, was it high-pitched, like the chiming of a bell?

[...]

Nasir: It is said that those of the heron clan all practice the art of seid magic. Perhaps this sound is related to that?


However, Tibarn and Ulki comment on the same sound, and claim they've never heard its like. This moment is probably Leanne's awakening, and the sound might have been the spell that kept her asleep breaking. You could speculate that Reyson just hasn't been singing galdrar since his rescue, perhaps out of mourning, but I find that unlikely.

So: I still find the linking of seid magic with the heron bloodline unreasonable. But a lot of things about them are unreasonable:

[From Chapter 16:]

Nasir: The heron clan possess no fighting skills. Their tribe survived by living a life of peace and piety within their forest. Unlike other laguz, they never focused on developing their strength for the purposes of combat. [...]

[From Chapter 17:]

Nasir It involves arcane songs known as galdrar. The effects of galdrar on the listener depend on the lyrics and melody. For example, a galdr can restore lost strength and vitality to those who hear it. And if the singer is of royal blood, the galdr may be powerful enough to move its listener to extraordinary feats. I've even heard tales of a galdr that could give one the speed to do the work of two men. The galdrar grant many powers.


Fire Emblem as a series likes to attribute special power to music and dance; from FE4 onward, we get units who either dance or play instruments that can refresh their comrades during battles and give them extra turns. Tellius is just giving us a new spin on that gameplay mechanic with herons. Unlike previous games, however, the world is claiming that ability is special, while the others make no attempt to tell us that Tethys or Ninian are especially mystical in character - though Ninian may be a bad example for other reasons. Neither Elphin nor Lalum display special power. I always assumed the explanation I was supposed to think of was along the lines of music bringing respite, and therefore reinvigorating your troops on a long march.

Galdrar are also music. Are you trying to tell me that music, as it exists in Tellius, is restricted to pretty, tweeting bird laguz? I don't think we see any instance in-game of musical performance. I think that would be ridiculous, but it's one possible explanation, I guess.

I speculated galdrar might've been a gift from the goddess, but in that case, Lehran's Mantle, which was discussed here (locked entry) and prevents him from taking any kind of physical damage, should have also passed on down the generations, and we know the younger herons can be hurt. It's most likely an ability they evolved with. Don't even get me started trying to speculate on what kind of environment would make singing a trait to select for, because I have no idea - unless you want to go with my stuck-up-heron-culture headcanon, in which they purposely select for beauty and musical pitch.

What Nasir says, coupled with Lehran's apparent ability to summon spirits (unless that was Ashera's doing, or unless he became a spirit charmer to achieve his goals), makes the "seid magic calls on spirits" seem most likely, but again: why would that be unique to them?

There's no answer to that, pretty much, except, "because the designers wanted it that way," or maybe, "to make them special." It's great as far as making Lehran's Medallion a pain in the ass. I considered heron abilities as a parallel to the beorc ability to use magic, as the laguz characters say at one point that in general, laguz just can't use magic; however, Lehran knee-caps that theory by being able to use both light and dark magic, as well as staves. He can kill stuff!

I remember giving Rafiel some item that's supposed to do damage according to one's magic stat, and it did, like, one HP damage. He also got 90+ experience for killing the soldier in question, who I primed especially for this purpose, so... I don't know why I'm including this anecdote, except to say that Rafiel, the oldest and presumably most powerful of the siblings, can't cast magic worth crap. Clearly it's not a matter of age or experience. (He gained four levels that way. It was awesome.) Normally I don't use game mechanics to determine things like this, but that's a big, fat, glaring difference between Lehran and everyone else, so. Light and dark have some things in common, though, so I don't know - maybe his ability has something to do with his proximity to the goddess.

My god this is getting long. One more thing: mechanics.

Galdrar can apparently make miracles, more or less. In light of that, the appalling weakness of the herons seems more like a balance; great power with a great flaw to balance it. But herons can only do these amazing things under special circumstances. In the original post, I talked about layering galdrar, i.e. getting more than one person to sing, makes a spell stronger. If galdrar work like music, that makes some sense; adding harmony to the melody creates a stronger, more melodic piece of music, etc. But like regular mages, they also need amplifiers:

[Path of Radiance: Reyson-Tormod supports C-A]

Tormod: That song of yours...does it work on everything?
Reyson: You mean the chant?
Tormod: Yes, whatever it was that made that drab forest bloom with color.

[...]

Reyson: Why don't you tell me more about what you have in mind?
Tormod: Well, I was hoping you would...you know... use your magic chant to transform all that sand into soil.
Reyson: Sand into soil?
Tormod: Exactly! Rich, fertile soil that will yield a bountiful harvest. We'll build our village there.
Reyson: That is...utterly absurd!

[...]

Tormod: No...I mean... It was just incredible how you forgave the apostle like that and breathed new life back into the forest.
Reyson: That was only possible under very special circumstances.
Tormod: Why? I don't get it.
Reyson: It was Serenes Forest. For my people, there is no more sacred a place. And the galdr I chanted was a part of an ancient clan ritual performed on a very holy altar. Most importantly, my seid magic succeeded because Leanne was by my side. That galdr holds little force when I chant it alone.
Tormod: Then all we need is Leanne!
Reyson: You're not very quick, are you? Even if both of us chanted the galdr until we collapsed from exhaustion, there's no way we could turn sand into soil. Even if the desert was a fertile valley eons ago, I don't have the power to restore it. Have I made myself clear?


In addition, during chapter seventeen, Reyson seems to think he can sing the Dirge of Ruin by himself as long as he has the altar. Herons have philosophical problems with this song, but apparently it exists - and as usual, destruction is easier than creation. I wonder of Lehran is responsible for that galdr; he would've had some use for it during the war.

What I'm thinking here, is... the only reason for seid magic, and herons specifically, to be so different from both laguz and beorc, is their favored standing with the goddess. Lehran is apparently immortal because Ashera loves him. I've always speculated the goddess could give his power back if she really wanted to, but I don't like that theory for a lot of reasons, so I don't push it in fic.

However, his galdrar had the power to affect the goddesses. Yune gave him permission to lock her in the medallion, but the fact remains that he confined a divine essence into a little bronze ornament with the power of his songs, and his songs also had the power to calm the chaos enough to prevent her awakening - hence affecting her, in a sense controlling her. Reyson can destroy an entire army (er, well, large fighting force) as long as he's in his own forest. That link is the only detail I can think of that might lead to an explanation. In an earlier quote, Nasir describes the herons as pious, so goddess worship might have played a large part in their daily lives. For all we know, galdrar are prayers. Maybe they're not singing to spirits, but to the goddess, who controls them.

And now the question I have to ask is: which goddess? Ashera, Yune, or Ashunera? My money is on the last.

I guess the "reading hearts" thing will have to wait for another time, but that's also pretty unusual - and it bears a resemblance to the goddess's abilities, so that's interesting, if I'm going to follow the speculation that seid magic is linked to the goddess.

I'll do that later.
myaru: (Fire Emblem - Sanaki dreaming)
The other day I was kicking around the idea of an Archanea version of Hetalia in comments to someone else's meta, and I think it would be either hilarious or depressing - or potentially both at the same time, with some head-desking thrown in. That is one fucked up continent-- er, archipelago. Whatever! The point is, I stopped speculating because I'm a timid fangirl at best, and am convinced I don't know Archanea well enough to pull such a thing off.

Tellius, on the other hand, is fair game. And I think it's an interesting topic to explore because, depending on who writes the story - a Crimean, a Begnion senate loyalist, or a supporter of the Apostle - the finished product could be very different. What does Begnion think of Crimea-- really? What does the province of Persis think of the province of Gaddos? For that matter, maybe a citizen of Asmin looks at Daein differently than a resident in Tanas would. And this is assuming the resulting satire came from Begnion. I know I'm biased, or I'd argue that they're the most interesting source because of their varied citizenry.

So what this is really going to be about is cultural bias, stereotypes, and international relations. I guess. That sounds too academic for me to be writing it.

The laguz are the lynch-pin of cultural bias on Tellius. Daein and Crimea were originally Begnion territory, but broke away when they disagreed with the empire's policies - Daein wanted to be more aggressive about laguz subjugation, and Crimea wanted to be nicer. Begnion took its sweet time recognizing them as countries, and as we see in the game, the senior senators are contemptuous of Elincia's claim to authority within her own borders. We know the empire looks down on them, but Valtome doesn't represent the entire nation; how a Begnion author would depict the other two countries would depend heavily on whether the author is a laguz sympathizer or not.

(Also, note: I'm assuming the artist would be beorc, because laguz don't appear to cultivate literature with the possible exception of herons and/or dragons. It's conceivable - even probable - to me herons would pass knowledge down via oral tradition, considering their talents, but I still like the idea of Rafiel the Linguist too much to go with that. An educated Begnion slave or former-slave might have the skill, knowledge, and motivation to do so, especially after the game.)

Digression, sorry! Alas, since we know very little about any of these cultures, this isn't going to be a huge or thorough entry. I can only extrapolate from my own interpretations.

From Begnion's POV, the Crimeans are basically copycats; Melior is a watered-down version of Sienne; the cultural influences are probably still there. The nobility is jumped-up nouveau rich, the queen might be equal to a senator - maybe - but depending on how you interpret the comment that Elincia's grandmother was a pegasus knight (and depending on that knight's rank within the aristocracy), it seems Crimean royalty equals Begnion peerage at best. There's no hint of such an exchange between Begnion and Daein, though that doesn't mean it never happened.

Interestingly, there doesn't seem to be any inter-marriage between royal families. Both Elibe and Archanea allowed for that (Etruria-Bern and Archanea-Aurelis), but the countries on Tellius seem too xenophobic; there's either some inequality going on, or some irreconcilable racial difference, in the case of the beast and bird laguz. I find the differences in prejudice between Daein and Crimea to be a weak excuse for so little interaction, personally. I'd speculate resources as another point of conflict, which could be true, but the line between the two is so clearly defined (in the form of a bridge, no less!) that it's hard to follow that to its conclusion.

Anyway, re: political exchanges between Begnion and Daein, I think these points make all the difference:

390: Formation of Crimea
The Begnion senate divided into two. Led by the powerful senator Caradock, the side that wished to find peace with the Laguz became independent. At Crimea they formed their own country, and made peace with Gallia. At the same time they began to make up with their motherland, Begnion.

[...]

405: Formation of Daein
The view of Beorc and Laguz equality increases in popularity, leading to the loss of power of those who back the sub-human view. Led by the senator Hengist they left for independence and established their own country at Daein.

410~425: Daein-Crimea War
Daein requested for Begnion's aid to invade Gallia, but Begnion refused. Daein also requested of Crimea, but was refused as well. Realising that they could not defeat Gallia by themselves, Daein invaded their neighbour Crimea instead.


Along with the note that Kilvas and Daein were the targets when Begnion tried to reassert its power, I think it's possible the group that formed Daein was such a minority that they didn't demand the senate's respect. One pissy senator in Daein, versus a powerful voice and half the senate in Crimea - that's a big difference. That Daein evolves into a culture of strength and cruelty to laguz probably contributes to lowering Begnion's general opinion of the place. Depending on how sympathetic you are, they're either warmongers or barbarians. Or both?

Also, theory that Melior is a knock-off is go!

So back to laguz. If you hate laguz, Daein will look more sensible (so maybe Daein's a rustic, militaristic hero on behalf of the beorc race? this is dangerous ground), while Crimea looks like a wimpy, impressionable crybaby who has been fooled by laguz propaganda.

If you think laguz are okay, Crimea looks like the more humanitarian, moral sibling (make her a priestess of Ashera), while Daein is a barbaric, warmongering idiot who is constantly picking fights.

Of the laguz, the only two that might be viewed favorably are the herons (pretty white-winged birds that tweet) and dragons (monolithic!), and even then we don't really know. Begnion's prejudices are too deeply entrenched, and I bet even well-meaning advocates of laguz citizens are constantly tripping over their own racial assumptions, never mind cases like Muraim, who were trained to deny their own heritage. I guess Kilvas and Phoenicis would be dirty pirates (pff, cultural difference? they're both bird tribes, what's the big deal?), while Gallia would be some kind of primitive, slathering beast.

...

... you know, I think I'm going to stop here. This is taking the game's blatant racism parallel into areas canon never dared to go. Even Hetalia doesn't go there, really - it just ignores things like the Holocaust and the Rape of Nanking, which are in themselves revealing about where the author is coming from.

Colonialist racism vs. erasure. Cheerful stuff! Feel free to discuss it in the comments, but I'm not sure I can do it justice. In all fairness, I don't think the game does either, but I'm not savvy enough on the topic to throw out specific criticisms.
myaru: (Fire Emblem - Micaiah)
I was going to post about FE6, specifically Mildain and the expectation that he's going to die young, but there's some research I decided to do before writing it, and that'll require a considerable amount of reading on my part - on Milton, Charles I of England (some of you should see where I'm going with this already), and poisons. If anybody knows a good source on plant-based poisons that would produce the effects we see in Mildain's supports, it'd be awesome to hear about them! Though I wonder if his periodic blindness couldn't be explained by a fall from his horse.

So! Instead you get spoilery speculation on Kilvas, because that doesn't require any outside reading.

.

My speculation starts here (source is from Serenes Forest):

420: Formation of Kilvas
Because of differences within the bird tribes, the Ravens left Phoenicis. At the nearby island of Kilvas they established their own country.

425: Begnion Empire's invasion
Feeling that their dominance has started to fade, the Begnion Empire, using the Goddess's name, sent troops to begin an invasion to restore their dominance of the continent. The invasion started with new powers Daein and Kilvas.

428: Kilvas' surrender
Kilvas refused Phoenicis' reinforcements and surrendered to Begnion. Also the Daein troops, concentrated at the capital of Nevassa, continued the resistance.

[...]

478: Treaty of Sarasa, Kingdoms of Daein, Kilvas and Serenes established
The war entered a seemingly neverending state. Begnion, worried about their great losses, finally decided to find a way to stop the war. In the end, by the intervention of Goldoa, peace talks were held within the Sarasa region of Goldoa. Begnion signed a treaty of peace, with the conditions that they had to return their conquered lands to Daein and Kilvas and recognize them as official countries.


I speculate the king of Kilvas at this time, presumably Naesala's uncle or someone (even though this makes no sense in a culture of strength), signed the blood pact either at this time, or around the time of the Treaty of Sarasa in 478, which resulted in Begnion "recognizing" Daein and Kilvas as nations. We're never given a timeline in the game, but Lekain does tell this little story late in chapter three:

Lekain
Calm yourself, young king, and listen. I'll tell you an interesting story. Long ago, a foolhardy king signed a blood pact with the empire to take back his lost kingdom. In exchange for his country, he vowed complete obedience. He soon broke the terms of the pact and began to disobey the empire. Presumably he didn't understand the power of the oath he'd sworn... Would you like to hear what happened after he defied the empire's will?

Pelleas
...What?

Lekain
It was quite tragic. One man died on the first day. He was only a peasant, so no one really noticed. Two more died on the second day. Three more on the third day. I think you can see where this is going. The wave of mysterious deaths spread across the kingdom like a contagion. After thirty days, the king finally realized that this was the curse of the blood pact, the price of infidelity. He apologized to the empire and pleaded with them to lift the curse. His plea was graciously accepted on the one hundredth day. By then, the king had lost half of his subordinates, as well as his lovely wife and child. That country remained under the control of the senate for a very long time.


Lekain's description doesn't bring a laguz nation to mind-- but we don't know about any other entities who have signed blood pacts and also been in Begnion's service for a long time. It could refer to Ashnard's father, but the details of that situation (as described by Almedha and Sephiran) are different enough that these could be two different incidents. Also noteworthy are the illustrations during Lekain's retelling, which imply he's talking about the raven king.

It's possible Naesala was the king who signed this pact. In the interest of writing an adventure story in Kilvas with Naesala at its center, I decided to speculate instead that, after the plague incident, he decided his predecessor was an idiot and took matters into his own hands, along with the throne (it was conveniently there) and a blood pact he didn't know would be following him (which was also there, and rather inconvenient).

Which is more likely? I think it depends somewhat on Naesala's personal history, and even his age, actually; the bird tribes supposedly live up to a thousand years, though among ravens, Nealuchi is the oldest at somewhere around eight hundred. Naesala could have been a young leader, perhaps even leader of the movement in which the ravens broke away from Phoenicis, and then perhaps fell into Begnion's trap simply because he was inexperienced. It could be he was more idealistic in his youth, and was only soured after a few hundred years in Begnion's service.

Alternately, Naesala could have simply been in line for the throne, and via investigation of the plague, or a confession from the previous king, he found out about the pact and got rid of the guy - before or after the apology, as I don't think it matters who begged the senate for mercy - in the hope that doing so would free Kilvas. Then he found out that it doesn't work that way.

Now that I write it out like this, I like the first option a little more. It gives the friction between Naesala and Tibarn some depth. I don't think the assumption that they founded their nations is inappropriate, though it feels like a bit of a stretch.

I might be forgetting hints in the script that would clarify this. I really should play RD again - to take notes, if for no other reason.
myaru: (Fire Emblem - Altina)
During the course of my FE obsession, I ended up spending quite a bit of time thinking about world details for Tellius, as that's what I wrote most often. FE games are sparse on story as it is, and details about the world - things you can see in an RPG just by running around in towns and looting civilian treasure chests - are non-existent. Daein Keep has different BG illustrations than Crimea's royal palace or the Mainal cathedral, but when you visit houses during battles? Recycled BGs. This is especially bad in the older games (especially FE8, rar), but since this is about Tellius, I'll let that go and not rant. For now.

So anyway, because I wrote about a hundred and sixty stories based in Tellius, and one really big one that demanded scads more detail than the game ever gave me, I ended up with a lot of random regional and cultural notes left over from panicked sessions of "oh god what kind of exports would Begnion specialize in IT ACTUALLY MATTERS THIS CHAPTER DAMN YOU NAESALA" and stuff like that. :D;

May as well braindump them, right? This'll be my only reference, as I've been doing this by memory and probably mixing things up. What was it Hetzel sold off in a panic? Oh yeah: olive groves.

Most of the games seem to have some grounding in ancient Greece, and this is especially apparent in Archanea and Tellius. That's usually where I start, but I have to disclaim: that doesn't mean my choices have any grounding in history or reality whatsoever. If I decide that Begnion shall have tomatoes, even though historically that's a New World crop and wouldn't be around for either Plato or Diocletian, by god I will give Begnion tomatoes! Also to be kept in mind: unlike other FE continents (Archanea, Elibe), Tellius has only been isolated the last thousand years. Before that you can speculate all you want, and my speculation says there was cultural exchange going on between the continents before the goddess went nuts, at least to a limited extent. Therefore, Kilvas and Hatari might have a few crops in common for no apparent reason. :D

The list will be in the order I developed the countries, which means Begnion is at the top, and Gallia isn't here at all. Sorry, Gallia. I don't love you anymore. In fact, I never loved you. It was an act.

.

Begnion
The problem with Begnion is that you get the impression of a huge, bloated, corrupt government, but see almost none of it. I tend to lean toward Byzantine examples because the religion around Ashera seems to fit better with that model, but the divinity of the Apostle (according to the timeline, which is perhaps mistranslated?) causes some problems, as that seems more like an ancient world thing: worship the emperor as god, etc. Also, the Byzantine senate was somewhat lacking in power, so the Apostle-Senate power dynamic probably maps better to the old Roman Empire. It goes like this, and gets kind of long. Nobody cared this much about Begnion until I hit the fandom, and no one will care after I leave. Still, I persevere! )

There's MORE, but I'll spare you regional cuisine, dress, and architecture, all of which were pretty randomly chosen. One day I just decided that Culbert would be famous for octagonal wardrobes that are supposed to go in the middle of your room and be all carved up to look pretty. Yeah. To be fair, I followed that with other details from the same inspiration, but. :/

.


Hatari
Much shorter list here, mostly food, and also a little more generalized, because I've only written one and a half fics in this place and haven't thought about it nearly as much. There are wide cultural gulfs between Hatari and Tellius, so I decided to go with details that reflect that. I feel bad that they're vaguely appropriative, although I mainly used the plants/fruit and weather patterns of the areas in question, not cuisine or other cultural elements. I don't know what to do about it. The game doesn't give me anything, but I don't want to run too far. :/ In my fics, Rafiel comments on the following: )

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Serenes
Since nothing is left of this place except a stone altar and some trees, I have total creative freedom! Except for the part where the herons are blatant rip-offs of Tolkien elves. I love my herons, I really do, but - they are. IS + LOTR = OTP?

I can probably summarize this by saying that the populated areas of Serenes probably look a lot like Lothlorien. In a Rafiel story which has never seen the light of day, I played with the idea that the herons sang the trees into various shapes and configurations for their dwellings, so they could live in them without killing anything, or having to hunt for dead wood. For the rest, I imagine they use stone, and maybe they sing that into submission too. They probably cultivated native fruits - I said cherries, peaches, and every kind of berry imaginable - and traded for things they couldn't, like flour or grain. I bet the forest has plenty of native, edible nuts and leaves. I was contemplating a meal involving day lilies, or squash blossoms.

Oh, and we can't forget the fluttery white silk. And the fine gold and silverwork. And the fauna wandering around and mingling with the herons because they're totally harmless, etc. Oh elves.

I mean, herons.

.

Extensive headcanon ends there. After that I've got fragments, like Melior having a corner on the chocolate market because of their alliance with Gallia (which grows the plant), and Kilvas and Phoenicis being home to whatever tropical fruits are left on Tellius, which is the real reason it sucks that Tibarn declared war on Begnion, at least from a senator's point of view. I think I've written Daein + food once, and it involved sharp cheese, salame, and dark bread. I do actually have some ideas for Daein culture, but they're only half-formed, and I don't think I'd articulate them very well. As it is, this post isn't very coherent.

When I think about that, though - the culture that might be behind Daein - I almost want to write about it.

Almost.

I also had an Oscar fic I never started, but which I would've loved writing too much, as it centered around his cooking. Sigh.
myaru: (Fire Emblem - Altina)
1. In which I'm not really a coffee lover
The Coffee FAQ is pretty damn thorough! Color me amazed. However, they didn't have the answer to my question - that took four searches and several (unrewarded) leaps of faith. I really, really wanted to know what to do with a Turkish coffee ground, because I'm stuck with a pound of it and don't want it to go to waste. Can a fine grind like that be put through a normal drip brew process - i.e. will it work if I dump it into my regular coffee maker? This guy says it's a bad idea, but it doesn't sound like it'll turn to sludge and overflow, which is what I was worried about.

So. Hm. I guess I have to find a cezve and try making Turkish coffee first. Doesn't sound too hard. It does sound like a pain in the ass, but maybe the process is faster than it sounds.

This is what I get for being lazy. I thought, "hey, instead of doing all the work myself, I'll let Starbucks grind my coffee instead!" and the ever so enlightened barista gave me coffee powder instead of the coarse grind I needed for cold brewing, because their machine has three settings, and he thought I meant I would really steep it like tea. OH WELL. Not his fault, I guess. It's mine for not knowing what the hell Turkish coffee was, and that I should ask for french press instead, which is closer to what I need.

Maybe I should stick with tea.


2. History / writing source
I found Rome: Republic to Empire completely by accident while looking for Roman military structure, and it's a nice resource - better than the last one I linked to, written by a Classics teacher, and it comes with a ton of sources. It's still not a substitute for a history tome, but so far it looks good.


3. Fire Emblem, in regards to Ashnard...
This is going to sound weird, and I don't know how many takers I'll get, but... is there anything you guys would like to see written about Ashnard? Canon, AU, I don't care, though canon (or close to it) might be the most helpful.

I don't know what to try. It's hard to come up with ideas. Should I use Almedha? A prince Soren AU? Uhhh yeah. No idea.

Anything I write will be short, more of a snippet, and quite possibly full of fail. But I'll try. I need to learn how to write him.

Since this is public, the forum is open to anyone, including people not on the F-list, but anon commenting is disabled so I don't die of spam. :/ I got really tired of deleting stuff. Too busy playing Dragon Age.
myaru: (Fire Emblem - Altina)
Sometimes I love FE so much it hurts, especially Tellius; at others, I hate everything. Right now I'm in one of those obsessive, loving moods-- for FE9/10 specifically. Maybe this is because Tellius was my first love. It seems I can never get away from it.

So, Serenes. This being a strategy rpg (and I add 'rpg' because I'm feeling generous with my genre terminology) we weren't given very much information about the culture, and a lot of what we do get only kind of adds up. I'm going to start with obvious stuff and eventually work my way to useless speculation about the structure of the heron clan. And since Lehran is the oldest heron there is, and the biggest troublemaker, I really have to start with him.

Bear with me. It'll be over soon. I swear I won't fangirl that much.


1. Lehran is weird, you guys. And this matters for his descendants.
There's a very Tolkien-esque design sensibility to the herons (their features, coloring, clothing), their language, and the very little bit we see of their artwork (the altar). They remind me very strongly of the elves as depicted in the LOTR movies, specifically, and while I think this is pretty obvious, I've never seen anyone discuss it. The pronunciation of Lehran's katakana name echoes a familiar name, as does his appearance when compared to the other herons, but I'm not reading much into this.

Part of the reason I speculated Lehran was different from other laguz (even other herons) in Call of the Heron is the ambiguity of his timeline. He is ancestor to Rafiel, Reyson, Leanne, and presumably Lorazieh. We don't know how old Lorazieh is, but since Lehran went into seclusion right after Begnion was founded, it seems likely Lorazieh was born before the three heroes got together and fought Yune. Lehran had to be an adult before that point, and must have already had some kind of relationship. Fandom seems pretty squeamish about remarriage (seriously, I recall forum topics where people were like, "but how can Lehran be ancestor of the herons AND the apostle? HE CAN'T HAVE REMARRIED, THAT'S EVIL."), never mind such liberal, sinful things like sex out of wedlock, but I see a few possibilities:

  1. The script is lying, and Lehran isn't ancestor to Lorazieh. However, I checked the original, and it definitely says 'ancestor' (whereas our version calls Lillia et al 'descendants,' which is a more flexible term) but doesn't specify Lehran as a leader, interestingly. More on that 'white-winged royal' thing later.

  2. Lehran had a fling. Maybe herons did it that way before the Massacre. Maybe they don't believe in marriage! Maybe he was a headstrong kid and there was an accident.

  3. Lehran was married before Altina, and his first (or second, or third--) wife parted ways with him - amicably, or I guess he could've gotten tired of being a family man, or maybe she went and died. Or, haha, maybe Lehran liked the idea of having multiple wives. WHO KNOWS.

  4. Something I'm not thinking of probably goes here.


[profile] r_amythest and I had a long discussion about this, and came to the conclusion that he might not be ancient, and that his "madness" after losing his abilities might've been exacerbated by teenage angst, but he would've had to be a busy teenager to father two lines in close succession. Not... totally out of the question, considering my usual heron headcanon.


2. Breeding
Other conversations we've had over the last month or so covered the issue of his age, which isn't just ambiguous - it's obnoxious with how inconsistent the information is. Designer Q&A says the bird tribes have a lifespan that tops out at around a thousand years. However, if Lehran is there to meet Ashera four hundred years after the game (though [profile] r_amythest argued the theme of the games points at it being 1200 years later instead), and this is after already being more than eight hundred years old (since he had to have time to mature before Altina's era) then he's already breaking records. Add to that whatever time he needed before Altina to father a line of heron royalty, and he's breaking records for the dragon clan (~2000 year life expectancy) too. And if Lehran can live that long, what about his descendants? (How about WHY he can live that long?) How old is Lorazieh? Does this oddness pass down the genetic line, or what?

And it goes on and on. )

God. All I've accomplished here is an explanation of my own headcanon. I was going to make up crazy things about heron culture, but this is way too damned long. I'll call it "part 1" and just never get to the second part.
myaru: (FE - Sephiran - the bitterness)
I'm getting that feeling again - that "write a ship manifesto for Lehran/Sanaki" feeling. [livejournal.com profile] r_amythest had me looking at the original Japanese script to clear up a discrepancy in the information about Lillia (Reyson's older sister), and it got me thinking about the vast - and I mean VAST - differences between the original script and the translation we got. Maybe it's just the limited samples I've seen, but they did a lot of simplifying and in some cases added subtext that was never there to begin with.

I mention the latter because Sanaki's interaction with Sephiran is one of the areas suffering from an overload of translator opinion, and I'm not just talking about the addition of ~paternal love~ - I mean the complete rewrite of her in-battle conversation with him in 4-5. Complete. Rewrite.

At the very least, I think a comparison would be educational for all parties, including myself.

...

... Oh. And. Just in case someone asks, this is what I was checking out.

[From the English RD script]

Tibarn:
"...But I did always wonder why Heron Queen Lillia passed down the galdr of release..."


That's a mistranslation. "白鷺王女" means "heron princess," so no, the game is not hinting that the Serenes royals have a circular family tree or that Lilia is both Reyson's sister and mother, no matter how hilarious that would've been.

So anyway. Maybe I'll do the Japanese-English script comparison, but I've never been much for ship manifestos. I'd have to pull out a Japanese copy of Genji for this one, and maybe some fun things from say, Victorian literature, and then I'd have to dig up that bio major's note that said 30 generations of separation =/= incest, and yeah. Too much trouble.

But I could. That's the important part. MY THEORY IS AIRTIGHT.

LIKE THE SERENES FAMILY TREE.

That doesn't make any sense.


You guys keep making me want to play RD again. ;_;

.

EDIT:
Unlocking because it might be useful.
myaru: (Fire Emblem - Sanaki - stars)
Okay, so, I was going to make a big English-majory post out of this, but I'm too lazy for that - and I never was a very good English major, come to think of it.

Today I finished and inked that Sephiran drawing I mentioned and decided to get off my ass and finish the Sanaki art as well. While studying Sephiran's design, I realized something kind of funny: there's a lot of eye imagery in the details. The embroidery on his purple sash, the lining of his coat - which is stylized, so it's not immediately apparent, but if you compare it to the other examples I'm going to mention, it's definitely an eye.

The same lining appears on Zelgius's cape. It's all over Sanaki's costume: her headband (it's folded, so only half of the eye-shape is showing), on the purple scarf-thing (shit, what do you call it? >.>), on her red mantle behind the bow, and the half-eye repeats in patterns all over her clothing. I thought that was awfully interesting - and then I realized it was in Micaiah's Light Priestess costume too. The cuffs of her sleeves, as far as I remember off the top of my head, and she wears a red circlet that emulates Sanaki's headband; the pattern on her cloak, where it's pulled and clipped in the center of her chest, echoes the pattern on Sanaki's, with a similar eye shape.

Not surprising. The meaning is obvious: anybody with a strong connection to the goddess, symbolically or literally, is so far displaying this design element. That stylized eye is on Ashera's dress, and a jewel hangs from her headdress that inspires the same idea. With that in mind, it's notable that the senators all wear similar decorations, as they're also supposedly in the goddess's service, but their costumes never quite complete the symbol as far as I can tell.

I wondered if it might mean different things depending on whether the person serves Ashera, Yune, or Ashunera, but the latter doesn't display any of this imagery, and seems to be more about nature than about visions of the future, which is what Ashera and Yune represent. The Apostles, of which Sanaki is one, are supposed to "see" Ashera's dreams and be able to prevent natural disasters and such, and Micaiah's ability at the beginning of RD reflects that strongly. Also, the two goddesses are sort of like manifestations of different visions - one of order and control, one of change.

This came to my attention because I've always been bad at designing costumes, and I was trying to figure out how to do something different for Sanaki. Once the eye thing hit me the job became easier, although it's still giving me trouble.

So yeah. Look at me, reading too much into everything. :D I did come up with a few more details, but they're spoilery and don't add much to the point.

That said, I still don't know what to do with Sanaki's pants. Stupid things.
myaru: (Fire Emblem - Sanaki dreaming)
I've wanted to write about Marcia for a long time. She's one of the few characters in Crimea that I always liked, and always wanted to see. This had nothing to do with her being from Begnion. She never spends time there in-game, but I thought her backstory - such as it is - was interesting, because even if the games never elaborate on this, it sets her up for some serious divided loyalties. I think she genuinely likes Elincia, and that's why she stays to serve in Crimea instead of returning to Begnion for good. Her brother's decision to stay there probably also influenced her. But there are some holes, here: for example, the Holy Guard doesn't seem to be a place you serve without being sure you want to be there. Nor does it sound like a place that would accept anything less than unconditional dedication to the office of the Apostle, whom they protect with their lives.

We have two extreme examples of other pegasus knights / holy guardians in Tanith and Sigrun, who show us absolute, uncompromising loyalty on one side and uh, Sigrun is just really nice I guess? Loyal to the bone, but with some capacity for reason and logic in her sense of duty. But we also get Catalena, who joins up with the senate instead of Sanaki, and brings up the question of what, exactly, the Holy Guard is supposed to be loyal to.

Maybe none of them really know. Maybe their mission calls for loyalty to the throne, not the individual, or the ruling powers (which would include the senate); we don't know. Marcia seems like the type who wouldn't give a damn about the "ruling powers."

So why did Marcia serve in the Guard? She wanted to go back after she helped her brother - her supports with Tanith in PoR make that likely - and yet she ends up leaving again. Why? And what made her decide that helping her brother trumped her duty? Does she miss her old comrades? This next question was out of the scope of the story, but how does she feel about that choice? Does she ever feel like she deserted something important?

These are the questions I started the story to answer. I may or may not have succeeded. The fic has me doing several things I'm not good at, to begin with:

Lots of rambling and insecurity about the things I'm not good at. )

This isn't my first attempt at writing Marcia. That would be here, and you can tell. XD I tried again for challenge six, I think, and never finished it. I think I have a better hold on her than on Makalov (this was my first try for him). Sigrun, Sephiran, and Sanaki got hardly any screen time, which is too bad since I'm more used to writing them. I really wish I'd gotten a chance to throw Lekain or Culbert (especially Culbert) into a scene to hammer in the 'decadent and corrupt nobility' thing, since that came up in Marcia's conversations with Elincia (something like "Oh, the Crimean nobility has nothing on the guys in Begnion! They had a new trick every day."), but I couldn't.

Probably the weakest point in this story is, unfortunately, how I approached Marcia's relationship to Makalov. The games give us very little to go on, and I found Makalov completely useless in both games, so I paid zero attention to him as a character. I think my idea of the progression of their relationship is okay in terms of canon, but may not strictly fit in. It needs more time in-story, at the very least.

I don't know if I'll ever edit this to make these changes, but this is what made me so iffy about posting.

That, and the fact that it's nine-fucking-thousand words long. I'm so sorry. >_> Never again (for FE contest). I hope.
myaru: (FE - Sephiran - the bitterness)
Tellius post. I cut the spoilers that'd make sense, but you know-- abstinence is the better part of valor. I'll let you take that how you will. :P

.

One of the reasons I'm so fascinated (obsessed?) with the goddess and Lehran is the way both characters embody the themes of the story. Since Ike and the Greil Mercenaries are the mouthpiece, of course you get all of this "believe in yourself!" and "believe in your friends! / I fight for my friends!" nonsense from them, but what you don't get there - and what you do see in my favorites - is what happens when you don't believe in those things. I just think that, as subjects for fic, the characters who screw up the worst are the most interesting and flawed. Say all the nice things you want about Ike - he isn't terribly flawed or deep. I think Soren and Shinon have the corner on that topic among the mercenaries, and everyone else is kind of shallow.

La la la massive spoilers about Ashera, the dark goddess, Lehran, you name it. )

Since that's a big part of "growing up" and Tellius is basically about gaining the maturity to stand on your own feet (as an individual, as a culture), I found these parts of Lehran and Ashunera extremely interesting. The implication to me is that, until that veeeeery last scene, neither has really matured, and the world has moved past them. Here, they finally admit to their shortcomings and resolve to be stronger.

So, even though I feel like an idiot for it, I find that scene very... emotional? Though Ashunera is more forthcoming about it than Lehran. I suppose he said his due during the last battle.

So, on the topic of even more spoilers - a scene that has plagued me forever... ) I just want to know. ;_;
myaru: (Fire Emblem - Sanaki dreaming)
Silly me. Why did I never make the connection between laguz/beorc pairs in the Tellius games and Genesis 6, or the story of the Watchers? That's... interesting. I don't know if there's any substance to the comparison, but it's a fascinating thought that I think I'll take a little farther, just because I like the Watchers.

It's especially funny I didn't think of this earlier when I was making so many careless parallels between Lehran, Altina, and the Annunciation. :P :P Well. Depending on your interpretation of it, anyway. I read an interesting essay on the precise mechanics of Gabriel's whisper and Mary's conception, but we'll just leave that for some other time, shall we. It probably wasn't the most scholarly piece on the topic, but it was... well, interesting.

I think the parallel might work for Lehran, but after that it gets iffy. Anyway.

I can't leave you with just the above, so let me just say: these yaki-imo (sweet potato) pretzel sticks are the best pretzel/cookie stick snack to ever come from Japan. Someone deserves an award for these things.

Call me a heretic, but I don't think Pocky is all that great. Just saying.

I guess the Almond Crunch is okay.
myaru: (Fire Emblem - Nyna)
Some of the Suikoden icons were submitted to the icontest community, and some were meant to be, and then-- well.


+ Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon [x19]
+ Fire Emblem RD/Fuuin [x3]
+ Suikoden series [x9]

.

. . .


Here I have delusions of grandeur - and no clever poetry for you today. )
myaru: (Fire Emblem - Rafiel and Nailah)
1. Branded + Laguz = no loss of power
Assuming my previous theory on the balance between races is true (i.e. that the loss of laguz nature is a matter of balancing unequal power distribution), it's possible the odd abilities associated with Branded - great strength, superior magic ability, Sacrifice, ability to hear Ashera and sing galdrar - are close enough to laguz abilities to create some kind of cosmic equality. Perhaps not in every case, but someone like Micaiah, who possesses most (if not all) of her laguz progenitor's abilities, is really only lacking in wings and the ability to transform.

The jury is out on whether this re-balancing would involve just the laguz blood (and therefore include carriers like Sanaki), or if it requires a certain strength of inheritance, or if the Brand would be the deciding factor.


2. Mark of the Apostle = divine interference
My impression was that brands appear randomly, and usually when the carrier is a child. We don't know very much about this, but if there were any consistency in the way it came down the bloodline, people like Zelgius would have some clue regarding their eventual er, tragedy.

The Apostles, however, were always firstborn children. There's no information on whether or not the mark went to every single generation, or if it skipped. I'm thinking it didn't, because thirty-seven empresses in an 800 year period makes it sound pretty consistent. If other brands act differently, it suggests some interference. Since both Yune and Ashera show some ability to hit Micaiah with their foresight even while asleep, it's not out of the realm of possibility. They don't have to be aware of what it is to shift the probability of the ability to awaken them.


3. The dragon and bird tribes can mate
Surely they can. I'm thinking of dinosaurs being the ancestors of avians. :D :D :D Okay, this isn't a real theory, it just amuses me.


4. It'll take a hell of a long time to restore the heron clan
Given Ena's 15-20 year pregnancy, and assuming it implies longer pregnancies for longer-lived races (and it's already implied their childhood stages are stretched out), I'm guessing Leanne will only have kids once every twenty or twenty-five years - and that's if Naesala is diligent. He probably will be. But Leanne will need to take a break eventually.

That really sucks for Leanne. XD However, it might be possible that a mix of the bloodlines - in this case, raven and heron - will modify that time period. Ravens probably have slightly faster pregnancies, seeing as they live on average what, only five to seven hundred years? >_> Herons obviously live longer, unless Lehran is just strange - and I have a theory for that, but it's stupid, and only belongs in fic.

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