The Resonance of Eorzea

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Latest Interview from Tanaka & Komoto!

Awesome latest interviews from GAME Watch at TGS and Eorzeapedia has it all translated here.   Exciting new info as well about beta and how quareEnix intends to go about conducting the beta in gradual stages.  pretty neat info as well about 'job classes' and weapon degradation (I'm now definitely gonna be a Disciple of the Land Gatherer AND do Disciple of the Hand Goldsmithing/Blacksmithing)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Latest FFXIV Video!

Awesome... simply awesome.  Square Enix updated the official website of Final Fantasy XIV for the Tokyo game Show.  Seriously awesome stuff. 

Unfortunately, the video is the only new info on FFXIV that was shown at TGS (yeah, I'm sorry too); but the news regarding the beta (as shown at the very end of the video) seems to have cheered up a whole lotta people globally.   I personally think it's SE's strategy of not wanting anything to take the thunder outta their precious FFXIII (which is due out in Japan in December).

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Square Enix YouTube Channel

Let's get straight to the core of things:  Tokyo Game Show opens up in Tokyo in like another couple hours and I intend to stay glued online for all news regarding FFXIV.  In the mean time, here's Square Enix's You Tube Channel which I firmly believe will start getting updated as TGS progresses.

Monday, September 21, 2009

New Info today (again!) from Corinth & Elmer...

...on Eorzeapedia xD

Awesome work Corinth and Elmer, and we look forward to all the spectacular news that both of them will bring us.  Also be sure to check out previous entries of her blog that show the floor set up for Square Enix's booths etc (also visible on SE"s Tokyo Game Show info-site).  The image is posted below but read more on her blog if you're a real FFXIV fan, keep posted on Eorzeapedia, FFXIVCore and Zam starting from Thursday the 24th, 2009... the long awaited TGS will begin!

Additionally, most definitely check out Elmer's progress and updates on JPButton as he brings us live streams of the events in the first two business days of TGS!

The Duskwight...

...As written in my Elezen's on-going "history", he has a high fascination with the Duskwight (so do I).  And while surfing the net, I kinda came across a few intriguing images of "Dark Elf-sh" races.  Now we must remember that nothing in Square Enix's official description of the Duskwight says that they are "dark-Elvish" looking... but something about their name "Duskwight" just kinda adds a sinister feel to them. 

Hence why I'm just posting up these fan-fic images I found on several sites (credit to the artists given below) pending the time that we get more info from TGS as to how that they really look like.

Okay, so I guess if they'd look like the above images if they resembled your typical Dark Elves from a slew of other MMORPGs.  But what if they were just like every other regular Elezen?  Light Skinned or normal skin tones, normal hair colours and hues etc.... perhaps they'd look like these:

-I think the Duskwight are going to look rather promising... they don't all necessarily have to be sinister-looking, yes? 

***Note: Credit to various websites and the artists for the wonderful and creative images above; including Warhammer, Atlantica and Shaiya related online fan-sites***

Latest Info on FFXIV

This just in from Gamasutra and it's basically an adress speech that Robert Peeler gave to the Game Developers Conference in Austin.   I found it to be a very sound explanation about the various factors that Square Enix faced regarding the production and execution of FFXIV (and lessons lernt from managing FFXI)... and it was such a great read that a couple friends suggested that I post it here to also spread the word.  Click on the link to get a gist of the speech (interesting stuff) xD

One part of the address that really struck a good chord with me was this part:

Plans for Final Fantasy XIV

Square Enix plans to introduce new MMO Final Fantasy XIV next year for PlayStation 3 and PC -- and many loyal FFXI players are interested in it; many are curious about transition benefits; and many new gamers who have not played XI will probably try the follow-up -- and the community teams have to deal with all of these situations.

"We need to address the players' concern that FFXI will recieve support in the future," says Peeler. The goal is "supporting veteran FFXI players to try and experiment with FFXIV as well as support their FFXI accounts."

The community teams identify important fan sites in Europe and North America and work with them to help spread the message of the game and act as player advocates, says Peeler. "We work directly with several fan site leaders or major player advocates in contest promotions, getting the message out, and in developer Q&A."

Fan site leaders are invited to the fan fests by Square Enix (who pays for their flights and accommodations) and set up booths to show community interaction. The benefit? "The player advocates can communicate the trust they have in us to the community."

Yes indeed... "The player advocates can communicate the trust they have in us to the community".  That is so very very true. 

In Hydaeryn, Will We Have... (Volume II)

...a Biggs and Wedge?

I mean... why not? lol    The Biggs and Wedge factor has been a Final Fantasy staple since like... what... FFVI?  I was recently looking back on the awesome story of FFVI ...(its characters, storyline, Tanaka's alleged statement that it's the nearest template to what FFXIV might be)... and came across these two fellaz.  And the memories kept flooding back!

Did you know that they have been involved in about 3 or 4 Final Fantasy games (they are actually a homage to  Star Wars characters Biggs Darklighter and Wedge Antilles).  So will we see them in FFXIV?  Hmmm...

In Hydaeryn, Will We Have... (Volume I)

...a Cid?

Seriously, no Final fantasy is complete without having a Cid... he's been in every installment since like Final Fantasy II.  he is almost always an engineer, inventor, scientist, creator, pilot of airships and in one or two incarnations, I believe he was even a monarch and high-ranking aristocrat or governemt official.  My personal favourite remains the FFVII incarnation (Cid Highwind)... I always wondered about that "Highwind" last name: was that Cid a far far far descendant of Kain Highwind?  (yes, I'm being silly :p)

Speaking of Cid, this brings me to another set of characters... I'll be right back pronto pronto...

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Governments of the City-States..

Yeah... that's todays speculation topic:  the leadership and system of governments found in the three city-states of Eorzea.   TGS comes next week and my excitement about finding out more info about the game in general has me speculating so many factors of Eorzea.  So far, we are only given a brief overview of the type of government for Limsa Lominsa which is a Thalassocracy style of government.   To simplify I'll just go get the definition of a thalassocracy from the Wiki:

The term thalassocracy (from the Ancient Greek: θάλασσα, meaning sea, and κρατείν, meaning "to rule", giving θαλασσοκρατία, "rule of the sea") refers to a state with primarily maritime realms—an empire at sea, such as the Phoenician network of merchant cities. Traditional thalassocracies seldom dominate interiors, even in their home territories (for example: Tyre, Sidon, or Carthage). It is necessary to distinguish this traditional sense of thalassocracy from an "empire", where the state's territories, though possibly linked principally or solely by the sea lanes, generally extend into mainland interiors; under such a definition, empires such as the British Empire were not thalassocracies.

Please note that the term can also simply refer to naval supremacy, in either military or commercial senses of the word "supremacy." Indeed, the word thalassocracy itself was first used by the ancient Greeks to describe the government of the Minoan civilization, whose power depended on its navy. Herodotus also spoke of the need to counter the Phoenician thalassocracy by developing a Greek "empire of the sea.    The people of Limsa Lominsa... (we are all still speculating that they are made up of a Roegardyn majority)... however address their leader as "Admiral" and the present 77th Admiral of Limsa Lominsa is N'bolata Tyata.  Is he or she a Roegardyn?  The name 'N'bolata' suggests this... but if I'm wrong, perhaps it's a Mi'qote or Hyuran?

Anyway, to maintain shipping routes, the thalassocracy employs a powerful navy known as the Knights of the Barracuda, who patrol the Eorzean seas, ensuring safe passage for all those who do business with the nation.

Now that we have that established, what kind of government do we hope to see in Girdania and Ul'Dah?

What if Girdania has a "Theocracy", which is rule by a religious elite?    For the Elezen, that will sound... dunno... a bit more like tham and traditional towards how we percieve the world of "Elves".   A more concise way of stating it would be that they might have a "Theocratical Monarchy" which is a form of government that has a monarch, but his/her power is strictly limited by the members of an 'elected' or 'nominated' religious or divine enclave (usually made up of the priests who are from perhaps aristocratic bloodlines). 
I think this style of government more suits the description of the Elezen much more closely than just a plain  theocracy (that sounds grossly bland or fanatically rigid)... and if they do have a monarchy, something tells me that the Elezen will likely have a Queen.  Yep... a female at the helm of the priest-style government.   Dunno why my instincy keeps telling me this, but it sounds somehow plausible and should make room for some seriously awesome stories.

The race description for the Elezen appropriately denotes that they are a noble and proud race (similar to the Elvaan of San d'Oria) and in Vana'diel, they had a monarchy style of government.   Although the royal family of the Elvaan (House d"Oraguille) were somewhat dysfunctional, it went on to underline how interesting the storyline was (Prince Trion ftw!)... and of course, my Paladin character was a seriously loyal Elvaan through and through (heck, even the king adopted my character as a potential heir to the throne.  So now that we have the "Elves" again in Eorzea, it'll be only fitting that they will have a monarchy.  And as far as military system is concerned, maybe the Elezen will have an elite Order of Dragoon Knights?

The Queen will no doubt have a few impatient, restless, power-hungry male relatives around her (can we have an Amen for awesome royal drama?)... maybe a younger brother, male cousin or uncle who uses his influence (maybe as the general of the military?) to has cede thousands of Elezen over to the side of the Duskwights?  

Hmmm... interesting thought, yes?

And Ul'dah... with all their "technological' advancement, (and obvious similarity to FFXI's Bastok), I think they will have a "Constitutional Republic" which is rule by a government composed of representatives who are voted into power by the people.  Anywayz, we'll find out soon enough.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Transportation within Eorzea... perhaps Magitek Armour...?

...What will it be like?

Today's journal entry is dedicated to speculating on what kind of transportation we might have in FFXIV.  So far, there seems to be the all-famous Chocobo (which are pretty much a stipulated trademark of the Final Fantasy games).  Speaking of chocobos, I know that we've already seen the new reincarnation of chocobos for Eorzea but here's one screenie i found recently:

Not bad ehhh...?    This is an example of the Phoenix, which is one of the mounts found in Atlantica Online and honestly, they look strangely similar to an armoured chocobo.   Well... kinda.

Moving along, it's known that we'll have stunning airships in Ul'dah and gorgeous sea-faring ships in Limsa Lominsa... but what kind transportation are in Girdania?   Methinks we Elezen (I'm still insisting that Girdania will be the ultimate home of the Elezen and Duskwight) will have some sort of mount/steed; perhaps some awesome massive cream-coloured tigers or unicorns... like these:

... or maybe even glorious-looking dragons (yes, please).

However, here's the kicker... the one speculation of transportation system that could possibly get all of us screaming jubilantly:  What if FFXIV had the all too awesome "Magitek Armour" (used by Terra in Final Fantasy VI)?

Seriously though, this might be a very possible possibility.  Lets condense the facts:   In one of his recent interviews about a couple weeks ago, Tanaka vaguely hinted that the Magitek might be available.

Now, being that the technological advancement system of Eorzea seems to be an incorporation of "high sci-fi meets medieval", it makes sense that a place like Ul'Dah might be the hub of technology (if we go by the concept art of the three starter cities that shows Ul"Dah having airships)... and will likely be where we players will have to (quest?) to own our personal Magiteks (won't that be seriously seriously awesome?).

Even if we can't have personal Magiteks... (I'll still keep my fingers crossed though)... the fact that they are present in the game and could be perhaps rented for a duration of say, 20-30 minutes to get to one's destination will be a truely awesome touch.

Hmmmm... well, TGS is next week and hopefully we'll know more.

***Note: Credit to various websites and the artists for the wonderful and creative images above; including Atlantica and Shaiya related online fan-sites***

Monday, September 14, 2009

History of my Elezen...

Yeah, that's a very rough first sketch of how my character is going to look like (left image)... I kinda draw that in a hurry but I'll go back and sketch something worthwhile later on.  He has bronze-skin, long dark-silver hair, emerald eyes, tall and the cut physique of an Achilles-level Warrior.  He'll be built for heavy pwnage... yep, I seriously mean that).  The image on the right however is one that i just found on the net (made by "Yama on Deviant art I think, so all credit to the artist)... the detailed armoury and emerald-turquise hues of the textiles just kinda seemed so "Girdanian" lol.

This whole journal of his history and back-story yada yada is a continous work in progress so I'll be editing and/or adding more back-story to this "history" as time rambles along.  Some of the images used below are from official game sites and other fan-re 

For location: I'm still tentatively using Girdania mainly because speculation remains high that the city-state really is the 'hub' for the Elezen.   The additional objective of this 'history' is not only to fully focus on the core idea of how I want my character to be in Eorzea but also to use as a blueprint for how he exhibits his beliefs and outlook on the happenings around him (especially with the Garlean Empire).

I had started drafting this around the first week of August out of pure speculation and for the fun of it... yeah, plus I wanted to test my writing skills cuz I hadn't written anything in soooo long. This was around the period when Square Enix loaded us with the new information about the city-states, races, Guildleves.

I then edited it for the first time when a thread on the Zam Forums had started a short competition whereby you could intoduce your future FFXIV character. At the time, I was kindda like: "Awesome, I get to post up the few paragraphs that I had already written for my character..."

However, while posting it up on one of the FFXIV fan-sites I kinda had to go take care of some RL stuff and ended up clipping off a substancial amount of the original draft because I hadn't finished editing it... plus I was under the impression that I could jump back onto Zam later on and edit it.   But unfortunately I couldn't.  So yeah... I was bored today and finally decided to post it up here.   And remember: Like I said, it's still very much a work in progress.

I have also added a few pics from other games like Last Remnant and Final Fantasy IV basically (and purely) for emphasis purposes (also because I'm a huge fan of those games).   Be rest assured that as time progresses and we get more in-game footage and screenshots of the real Ala Migho, Girdania, Ishgard etc, I'll be adding them here pronto.  All the images used in this particular journal entry below remain the property of SquareEnix & Level-5 and are just used here for FFXIV-related fan-fiction.

That said, the template for my boy's personal character is still being worked on and right how, he's a blend of Edge from FFIV, Prince Nuada from Hellboy II, Prince Luzaf from FFXI, Lord Excenmille from FFXI, and Grazel (chap in the bottom right of the screenie below, taken from the White Knight Chronicles).  However, the long hair and physical appearance kinda reflect my Elezen a widdle teeny bit (for the mean time)... that said, I've always liked Caesar (the chap in the top left of the image).

When one reflects on the templates of characters I've chosen above, it's obvious that the re-occuring characteristic that keeps exhibiting itself is one of a highly strong-willed yet noble blooded warrior with a very deep rooted belief that he has to protect all that is dear to him... no matter the cost.     I kinda believe that when one selects a hero, one should strive to make him or her 'believable'... and as such, he/she should have their weaknesses, their short-comings, their flaws, their failures... and yet with a wonderful side of noble loyalty, compassionate honor, and equal amounts of self-discipline to understand the very thin limits of order and chaos.

The Elezen I want to build has a massive sense of resentment towards the Garlean empire and he's regularly battling within himself not to lose himself and his sense of honor to sheer rage that will cloud his judgement about how he sees the other non-Elezen races around his world.   He has a very strong conviction of how the world is, how the world should be, and how the world is not... and how he hopes to survive, live and excell at sustaining protection towards all that he holds dear: his family, his honor, his nation.

Which is one of the reasons why I particularly LOVE this youtube video done by Steshette... it's my favourite fan-made video of one of my favourite villians in cinematography:  Prince Nuada.   The soundtrack used is "Modred's Lullaby" and not only highly fitting for his charcater, but one that makes any viewer to truely understand him on a deeper level.

Anyway, here's the pre-final draft of my future Elezen character; the man himself... codenamed "Tarvëon" for now.

***History Of Tarvëon, Son Of House Padelliant-Daniffen***

The tall, silver haired Elezen came forward with lithe confident steps, gave a curt bow of salutation towards the Guildleve administrator and introduced himself:

"I bid you humble greetings in the benevolent name of the Twelve. I am Tarvëon of House Padelliant-Daniffen, native resident of Girdania upon this continent of Aldenard; and I recently began learning instructions within the Discipline of War.   I am here to partake in the quests you have available here because I firmly believe that one can only protect those dear to him if he shows exceedingly strong prowess in the arts of war."

He made a curt gesture of emphasis with his hand and continued...

"It is my hope that my passable Gathering and Fishing abilities will come of some use as I complete my guildleve quests and missions; and most importantly I am hoping that the rewards furnished me here from the completion of my leves will empower me to be strong enough to seek out the city-state of Ishgard.  That said, May I make one minor inquiry of you...?"

His dark green eyes narrowed as he hesitated and continued:

"...Should you come across any information of the elusive Duskwight brethren, I plead that you enlighten me with whatever documentation that you may have gleaned.   There is so much I wish to learn from their society"

The noble Elezen had a weary disposition towards bureaucrats in general... make no mistake, he did not despise them, but he did find them unncessarily tiresome and something of a hindrance especially when it came to the completion of urgent tasks.   However, in this time and place, he needed their services and until additional avenues of information could be available to him, he would have to make do with whatever the Guildleve agencies could glean for him.

Tarvëon gave a gesture of farewell and made his way towards one of the more secluded yet elegant cafe in the genteel business district of Girdania, which in actual fact was a personal favourite area of his.    Once he had settled down comfortably into the corner table that was his customery spot and ordered some exquisite cold sweetened herbal-tea, he took the time to observe the passers-by made up of several new adventurers.     

Indeed, the consolidation of the Guildleve system all around Eorzea had not only strengthened the political alliances between the city-states, but had also created a surge of new adventurers in every major city.  The fact that an attack by the Garlean Empire continued to loom ominously over the entire region only strengthened the resolve of the citizenry to continue to find methods to defend their way of life.

As he reflected more about the current state of the world and the Garlean threat, his mind eventually wandered and began reminiscing about his siblings.   The Garlean Empire...

He had a consistent icy-cold resentment for the Garlean Empire and his anger held water for the sheer fact that they had been ultimately responsible for his parents deaths.    They had both died during the Garlean attack on Ala Migho; at a time when they had just accepted highly lucriative positions within the Girdanian Consulate.   The couple had left for Ala Migho three weeks earlier than their scheduled mandate so as to spend time vacationing in the all-famous city, which was arguably the most powerful city-state of all the six city-states of Eorzea.   

Speculative image of the residence of House Padelliant-Daniffen on the outskirts of Ala Migho prior to the Garlean Empire's attack (screenshot taken from the official White Knight Chronicles game and is by no means a direct representation of the real city-state of Ala Migho in Eorzea)

Tarvëon and his two siblings were to join them several weeks later once their parents had finished all the necessary international documentations, financial endorsements and had fully completed the renovations of their splendid new residence. He had been so excited and eagerly anticipated meeting the other strange but highly interesting races that were bound to be all over the fabulous city-state of Ala-Migho.

If his beloved parents had waited another week, they would not have been in that doomed city... and if he and his siblings had followed their parents as was originally intended, their whole family would have perished; and the lineage of House Padelliant-Daniffen would have become extremely compromised.

Speculative image of the residence of House Padelliant-Daniffen on the outskirts of Ala Migho after the Garlean Empire attack (screenshot taken from the official Last Remnant game and is by no means a direct representation of the aftermath happenings that occured in the city-state of Ala Migho)

No matter how many times Tarvëon told himself that such was fate and that he and his siblings had been spared for a divine reason, he could never erase the fact that his parents would likewise have been alive if they waited another week.  The tragedy felt even more immense because there were a substantial number of Elezen who firmly believed that they had no business extending diplomatic relations to any of the other city-states... and to them, the other five city-states would always be considered "leechers"... land-grabbing parasites who left their own homelands and came to Eorzea to deplete the lush natural resources of the Elezen who were and always will be the ancestrial race of Eorzea.

His grandparents had firmly believed in this ancient ideal; however his parents considered themselves forward modernistic thinkers and wanted to join the growing group of a new generation of Elezen who believed that their race should extend a hand of friendship not only to the industrious Hyuran, but to all races of the region.  Tarvëon was only eight years of age at the the time and was understandably too young to fully understand the gravity of the undertaking that his parents believed in... but he had always considered them to be exceptional people; his light, his guidance, his heroes... and thus, whatever they did, he was immensely proud of them.  

Now that he had matured and fully understood the machinations of politics, the economy and society in general, he had began to think his grandparents may have been right from the onset.   Gridania had been able to maintain its forest-like beauty for eons because its inherent citizens understood the harmonious balance of nature; which, was why it prospered in agriculture, leather work and lumber.   The city-state thrived on being self-sufficient and the people had always taken great pride in maintaining their limited contact with the other main city-states.  

Yet, if one examined it from another perspective; there was indeed safety to be found in numbers hence the loose alliance put in place by the remaining five city-states was a very practical idea.  Plus, Tarvëon had to admit, inter-state trade had surged the gross income of all the city-states enormously.  So if Ala Migho did not succomb to it's fate and all the city-states continued their repeated joust for hegemony and domination against each other, what kind of world would Eorzea have evolved into?
Elite warriors like these may have continued to be the standing military forces for several of the City-States of Eorzea.  (Image of Lord Kagekiyo from the official PS2 and PS3 Genji games and is only posted here for speculation purposes)

Tarvëon's trail of thought was briefly broken by the arrival of his drink.   He gave a silent courteous nod to the Lalafellian server and took a sip before returning to his reminescing. 

In the initial shock of the surprise attack on Ala Migho, the citizenry had hastily gathered a resistance force; and his parents, not only accomplished diplomats but very accomplished warriors who always put their honour and noble intentions foremost, immediately offered their services and joined up with the resistance... and were swiftly killed soon afterwards.    Details of the news that arrived back home here in Girdania confirmed that although they founght with sheer valor, as was to be expected of any that held the blood of Padelliant-Daniffen, they had mercifully died swiftly.

In the aftermath that followed, the other five city-states swiftly formed a loose alliance to meet the Garlean threat head-on... and the entire region were baffled when the Empire suddenly halted their offensive and retrated.

Naturally, this cause an unprecedented amount of speculations:    Had the Garleans come across a powerful barrier that inevitably halted their advance?  For it was no secret that the Twelve gods and goddesses had always held Eorzea as being very special to them... so did they do something to prevent the empire's assault?    On the other hand, the less religious but more financially inclined citizenry of the region believed that Ala Migho might have secretly been dealing all kinds of merchantile commodities to the Garleans... and when whatever business arrangement they had soured, all relations between the two nations had swiftly progressed into a full scale invasion.   

There was of course a third group of "critical thinkers" who believed that the Garleans themselves might have had some troubles of their own:  low resources to continue the assault, a sudden change of succession and authority within the Imperial heirarchy, civil unrest at home that clamoured for the government to disram...or perhaps they themselves got invaded by yet anorther unknown entity/nation.  Or, even more sinister, was a thought that perhaps the Garleans were using plain reverse psychology whereby they wanted to toy with the remaining five city-sates until such a time as their choosing was right to wage another full scale attack.

Whatever the reason, Tarvëon's grief was absolute and the fact that the Garleans retreated after causing what he felt was such senseless mayhem had only hardened his heart against them.  His older brother Këondar, two years his senior, and his younger sister Lyanaë  who was now grown up and had just turned nineteen all felt the same sentiment.   Or at least, used to.

Tarvëon's younger sister Lyanaë, aged Nineteen (image from manga-related online sources on  conceptual art)

When the tragic news had arrived, he and his two siblings immediately became the responsibility of their grandparents and although their life from then on was definitely without hardships, it was no news that the family's fortunes had began to dwindle even further.  Apparently, their parents both had pragmatic dreams about how to restore the wealth of House Padelliant-Daniffen (who had made their past immense fortune in the leather work business) and were already on their way to realizing this dream when Ala Migho happened. 

Këondar of course, only ten years of age at the time, had taken it the hardest because not only had he lost both parents, but he had boasted to all his peers that his parents were about to start rolling in gil because of their new positions of high connections in Ala Migho. 

Këondar, beiong the eldest, had absolutely believed in their parents dream of re-establishing the House's influence; for although the family were considered a slightly high-level aristocratic family, the House Padelliant-Daniffen had been highly respected because of their past honor and valor.  This was because the House had earned their way to nobility several centuries ago from being elite Ishgardian Knights with a very loose blood relation to some of the High Houses in Ishgard.

Five generations ago, at the behest of the then reigning Seedseers, a branch of the House then relocated to Gridania to become Wood Wailers.  The head of the family at the time, Leo'Tarveon (the very ancestor after whom Tarvëon was actually named), not only wanted to help foster relations between the two city-states but also wished to merge his Dragoon skills with the Lancer school of taught held by the Wood Waliers of Gridania.  

As such, the esteemed noble family were granted lands and they also adopted the surname of the patron Saint Daniffen due to several honorable deeds their ancestors had performed during that period.  The "Padelliant" part of their House name had come from came from their Ishgardian roots.

However, these days respect within the nobility now thrived on having sufficient wealth to maintain a high measure of influence, both here in Gridania and at the powerful city-state of Ishgard.    With no more inter city-state battles or wars to be fought and the age of noble chivalry having diminished, the respect between Houses now thrived on wealth.    Thus, one could begin to imagine how deeply Këondar was determined to pick up the mantle of their parents in securing a financial future for the House.     

Distraught at having also lost face in the presence of his peers, he had sworn to make his fortune any which way possible... and as such, the moment Këondar turned twenty-one, he took off for Limsa Lominsa to become a Knight of Baraccuda, for it seemed the sea-trading routes were triving ever more bountifully.    Although he wrote now and again, his letters were always so secretive yet so vague that Tarvëon was never really sure if he  had actually joined the Knights of Barracuda... or become a pirate.

Këondar at age twenty-one, shortly before he departed for Limsa Lominsa

The brothers had always been very close since they were toddlers and had depended on one another in being pillars of support for their younger sister.  But Këondar's biggest weakness had not always just been his extremely cold, ruthless yet reckless ability with ranged weaponry... but his erractic bouts of impatience; which was why even though Tarvëon had repeatedly pleaded with him to wait until Lyanaë turned sixteen, he had instead left the moment she turned fifteen. 

And now, less than a year ago his sheltered younger sister, now eighteen and wise enough in the ways of the world, had become obssessed with the inner functionings of airships... and consequently ran off to Ul'dah to seek ways of studying the "Methods of Crystal-related Engineering".   True, Lyanaë had no talent for being able to understand instruction in the Disciplines of Magic, but she had a unbelieveable knack for all the principles of the Disciplines of the Hand; and thus had a strange affinity for those mechanical contraptions of the Hyuran race.  

Therefore it was hardly surprising when she soon gravitated to another elezen female named Ciane from House Oswalde who had visited Ul'Dah recently and had similar sentiments about feeding her urge for all things technological.    The two struck a forging friendship, and together, with funds from their families, made their journey towards Ul'dah.
Lyanaë's friend Ciane of House Oswalde, shortly before they departed for Ul'Dah.

Perhaps she would have heeded his repeated caution to her to be weary of the society of Ul'Dah if Këondar was also here to help talk to her... and perhaps their grandparents would have been able to stem her growing curiousity for seeing the world if only they could offer her more than just a minor job as an assiatant to a Tailoring Guild manager.    regardless, she was delightfully happy and had began to live her life as she saw fit... and the best he could do for her was regularly visit Ul'Dah and offer her brotherly support.

Bringing matters back to matters of the House, his grandparents were about ready to hand over tempoary sustainance of the House to him; but he did not, and could not accept such a responsibility.  That was Këondar's responsibility, and he knew deep in his heart that very very soon in the near future, he would find his brother. 

And together, they would find enough fame and fortune around Aldenard to help restore their House's influence in Girdania.  It would be no easy task, but he would do his duty to the best of his ability.    He knew he was strong of arm, heart and mind...and several times, his peers had mentioned that he had a pure natural ability for the Art and Disciplines of War.  

Tarvëon, aged Twelve (Image is actually of Hitsugaya Toushiro, one of my favourite characters in the Bleach series.)

In fact, since he was twelve, many had been mentioning to his grandparents that he was something of a wunderkind... a child protegy with the sword and the spear.   Often, he would dream and ponder which of the two weapon-paths he should master (the polearm spear of the Wood Wailer Dragoon, just like his father and ancestor Leo'Tarveon; or the Sword, just like his grandfather) ... and many times, the answer that always seem to come to him was ... "Both"

Kain and Cecil (from Final Fantasy IV), representing the Dragoon and Dark Knight class jobs

Regardless, he would also pick up basic principles of the Conjurer (Staff) in his mother's honor... besides, a worthy warrior also needed to be skilled at basic healing techniques on the battlefield.

However, what many people could not comprehend was why Tarvëon also spent much of his private time scurring the libraries and tomes for every ounce of information he could find regarding the Duskwight.    His grandparents had once spoken of them several years ago and even though they refused to mention this elusive race again, Tarvëon had from then on become engrossed with spending his free time learning everything he could about them.

His grandparents often chided him on his heavy curiousity with the Duskwight and would then usually try to engage him in some boring lecture of refining his sense of etiqeutte... mainly because they felt that he normally isolated himself too often from the more pleasure-oriented circle of nobles.   But he had no time for leisurely pastimes of the rich and silly... he had a personal quest to undertake and would honor the loyalty that this House had always felt towards Girdania.   

He loved this land very dearly; but to fully justify the intense sense of duty that his parents had died for, he needed to understand both sides of the coin: the notion of his parents that believed in extending a hand of true collaborative partnership with all the races... or the notion which the Duskwight held about maintaining a sense of close-doors towards the other races.

Whatever the case, he intended to do his parents proud... and would fulfill the dreams of Protëus and Lorranaë Padelliant-Daniffen in re-establishing the influence of the House.   

Note: The family genealogy for the House's previous four generations was thus: Këondar, Tarvëon and Lyanaë were children of Protëus, who was son of Laertës, who was son of Qhainë, who was son of Ramëssës.   Ramëssës had been the son of Leo'Tarveon, the elite Wood Wailer who had amplified the House's greatness through various legendary deeds for Ishgard and later Gridania.

(Speculative images of Tarvëon's parents: Lorranaë and Protëus  Padelliant-Daniffen shortly before their valliant sacrifices in the defence of Ala Migho.   Both images are taken from the great Yoshitaka Amano's concept sketches of Holy Dragoon Kain and Rosa)

He could now regularly feel the massive surge of ambition to become powerful enough to defend all that he held dear... and even though he was usually excellent at keeping his feelings at bay, his restlessness was beginning to exhibit itself more frequently.  Some of his peers and acquintances even mentioned that his usually calm and calculating demeanor now had a hint of icy severity ... and they were not really mistaken or far from the truth; for the noble blood that now boiled within his veins deeply wanted to be powerful enough to decimate the Garleans should they ever rear their blasphemous heads within the confines of Eorzea.

It was a promise.

The Elezen finished his drink and gracefully signaled for a refill.  As he waited, he flickered a measured eye around his surroundings and his beautiful face gave an amused smirk ... aye, with no more siblings around this city to hold him back, the fire of adventuring had truely truely been rekindled deep within him.    Indeed, there was much that Tarvëon had to reflect upon... and soon enough his first steps would involve making the journey first to Limsa and then to Ishgard.

The time had arrived... It was time to evolve and shape the determination within himself to become one of the most respected warriors in the land.    It was time for him to "become".

***Note: Credit to various websites and artists for the wonderful and creative images; as well to all the various people who emailed letters of encouragement while writing this.  Images of Rosa, Cecil, and Holy Kain used above remain the sole property of the legendary Yoshitaka Amano and Square Enix***

Friday, September 11, 2009

The City-States: Baroque, Venetian, Art Nouveau, Ancient Eastern and High Gothic themes?

I took a course last semester called History of Architecture... (the topic has such a massively broad scope that I actually still have to take the second part next Fall)... and recently found myself observing certain elements of 12th to 18th century style of architecture in the Eorzean city-states.

Ul'Dah is undenaibly very high-end Neo-Baroque, and not only is Baroque one of my favourite styles but it's also been one of the core themes of several of Square Enix games.   What is breathtaking about the image is how there is an undeniable touch of ancient Eastern architecture blended into the baroque stylizations... perhaps its that massive azure dome?  The image looks as if perhaps Bernini went into super, crack-induced overdrive and just created the quintesscial urban baroque city gilded with some Turkish-Ottoman minarets.

Next is Limsa Lominsa, which I already like to call "The Venice of Eorzea".   The fact that it's a place that sits atop several tiny islands show how carefully Square Enix developers researched their landsacapes:  and it definitely brings to mind the distinct elements of high Venetian and Palladian architecture (more of a high renaissance style but the elongated spiral rooftops also denote some Gothic themes).  

Lastly, Gridania... (image that I currently use at the top of my blog page xD)... do I also see some undeniably high-end "Art Nouveau" (with slightly High-Gothic elements) in there?  The extensive use of vegetation definitely adds to it's secluded glamour... most importantly, the undulating exteriors, sweeping curvatures, and arching roof-lines make me guess that SE were possibly bringing a few light elements of Gaudi's Sagrada Familai architecture.  Intresting thoughts all round, yes?  xD

****Note: Credit to Eorzeapedia for the original images prior to being edited to adhere to the above post***