975: The Legend of Dragoon: The Eighth Spirit – Chapter One

Title: The Legend of Dragoon: The Eighth Spirit
Author: PhoenixofShadows
Media: Video Game
Topic: Legend of Dragoon
Genre: Fantasy/Adventure
URL: The Legend of Dragoon: The Eighth Spirit
Critiqued by TacoMagic

Hello, patrons, welcome back to the Library!  This week we embark on a horrible fic based on a somewhat esoteric game: Legend of Dragoon.

Legend of Dragoon was a JRPG released for the PS1 very late in the life of the console.  In North America, this release was actually two months after the PS2 was on the market and everyone was already transitioning away from the older platform.  Because of this, the game never drew as much attention as it really should have, but rather was overshadowed by all the new titles on the PS2.  Even so, Legend of Dragoon was a little gem of a game that managed to do a lot of things right.  Without getting into too much detail, I found the battle system particularly engaging because of the pseudo-active approach the game took.  It was actually criticized for this very feature, since it required timing and attention to the battles rather than mashing the x button until everything was dead, but I found it a refreshing new look at a system that was otherwise already old by the time the PS1 was released.

I highly recommend giving the game a play.  If you’ve got a PSP or PS3, you can pick up an electronic copy in the PSN store for $6, a fair price for a great game.

The plot of the game is a hard one to sum-up because it was fairly tortuous, as with many PS1 era JRPS.  The big overriding plot is that there was an ancient war between the winglies, a magical race who ruled the planet, and the humans that ended in the cultural extinction of the winglies (and indeed near extinction of the species, though some still remain in hiding).  The war was waged primarily through champions of both races.  On the wingly side, they had champions paired with Virage, a creature born from the God of Destruction.  The humans, on the other hand, paired up with the dragons.  This partnership took the form of seven champions known as Dragon Knights, or Dragoons.   The war was appropriately named The Dragon Campaign.

11,000 years later, humanity has control of the planet and the war is all but forgotten.  However, starting in a small village called Neet, the war starts up again with the assassination of one of the last living Dragoons from the original Dragon Campaign, Zieg, and his wife.  From here, his son, Dart, inherits the powers of the Fire dragon and, 17 years later, begins his own journey to save the planet from the machinations of one of the last living Winglies to annihilate the planet.

The plot of the game is actually very complex and to go into any more depth than that would end in an infodump of epic proportions that would make SC proud.  So, instead, I’ll just mention plot points as they become pertinent.

So, how bad can a fic be that’s based on this game?  Do you even have to ask?

I only needed the title to know that I wanted to riff this mess.  Basically, the author created an 8th dragoon just so he could toss his own author-insertion into the game and make it all about him.  It ends pretty much as you would expect.  With a little twist that we’ll be getting to shortly.

As usual, we’ll start with a little peek at the summary.

On the continent of Endiness, 22 year old Stryfe is about to be drawn into an adventure that will take him through the history of the conflict between the Humans and Winglies known as the Dragon Campaign.

New, original character with a stupid name based on a misspelling of a word meaning essentially “battle?”

*SLAM*

Egregious Author-Insertion Stu: 1

May as well give him another because we already know that another Dragoon position has been created just for him.

*SLAM*

Egregious Author-Insertion Stu: 2

Together with his best friend Dart, and many of his friends he will meet on the way, Stryfe is not only going on the adventure to save the world, but to put the past behind him.

Displacing the main protagonist as the core character?  Check.

*SLAM*

Egregious Author-Insertion Stu: 3

Onwards to the fic!  But first, your standard author’s note.

Author’s Note: Yes, I know. I’m sorry for restarting this again, but this time will be the last time I restart.

Whew, good, glad we won’t have to see this fic resurrected yet again!  It’s been abandoned now for nearly 3 years, so I’m going to hold you to this promise not to drag this fic’s corpse back into the light of day.

I promise.

I will remember this promise.  I’d feel better if you pinkie swore that you weren’t bringing it back again.

Real life can sometimes get under my skin, thus affecting my writing.

Meanwhile, water is still kinda damp.

So, without further ado, let’s get down to the new story of The Legend of Dragoon!

All told, not actually that bad of an author’s note.  Lots of unnecessary information that doesn’t matter and shouldn’t be in the fic, but it’s among the least offensive author’s notes I’ve seen in the Library.

And, looking ahead, I don’t see any author’s notes at the beginning or end of the other chapters.  You’re angling for a redemption cookie, aren’t you, author?

Chapter I: The Day of Tragedy

Fair enough, canonically the whole plot of the game is kicked off on the day when Dart’s parents die trying to save their village from the Black Monster.

It was a normal day in the winter time, and a young boy named Stryfe was out in the fields playing with his best friend, Dart Feld.

Funny how Dart gets a last name, but Stryfe here doesn’t seem to need one.

Taking the snow from the ground and rolling it in his hands, Stryfe threw a snowball at Dart, who kindly repayed the favor by throwing one back at him.

Kinda daybook, and the prose is pretty dull, but it could be worse.  Maybe I’m wrong about this fic.  Maybe it doesn’t really deserve to be riffed.  Maybe I should just cut out here and let everyone finish off their day while I look for another fic.  Honestly, this thing isn’t starting out too ba-

Stryfe: Ouch! Hey, no fair, Dart!

Wait.  What the fuck is that?

Dart: You started it, Stryfe!

Oh gods, this can’t be happening.  Not again.  Please tell me it isn’t one of these!

Stryfe: Oh, now it’s on!

The two boys began playing a game of cat and mouse with each other, using the fields as cover while they hunted each other.

OH SWEET RAPTOR THOR!  IT IS!  It’s in pseudo-script format!  Why, gods of literature, must you abandon me in my time of need!?

Dude, so you’ve rewritten this fic more than once, and at no point did you think to yourself that maybe, just maybe, you should ditch this atrocious format?

Actually, it’s also possible that this format is unique to this rewrite, which means he replaced something else with this new format.  I shudder to think.

Though Stryfe looked happy on the surface, deep down he was tormented.

According to canon chronology, in this scene he’s around five, give or take a year depending on how the months line up.  How freaking tormented can he be beneath the surface?  Sure, you can be tormented/troubled as a five-year-old, but the psyche of a five-year-old is pretty shallow.  They don’t really have many of the mechanisms that allow them to bury this kind of stuff like an adult would.  If he was troubled, it would be reflected in his interactions with Dart.

Also, SHOW ME!

A year ago, his father had changed from a kind and loving man to a cold and senseless monster, beating up his mother even when she did nothing wrong and drowning his pain in numerous alcoholic beverages.

Wow, this is getting bad fast.  First, way to tell us all of this instead of showing it in an interesting way that might engage the readers.  It’s always a good thing when you can summarize the interesting bits with exposition in favor of bland daybook scenes.  Second, while I admit that this certainly would be troubling to Spite, this smells a lot like using a domestic abuse situation to give your OC a trajik past rather than an actual desire or ability to properly respect the topic.  I’ll keep my eye on this, but I’m pretty sure I know where it’s going.

Stryfe didn’t know the entire reason why his father changed, but the only thing he knew was that his grandparents were murdered by beings that his father continuously referred to as “The Winged Ones”.

Well_that_escalated_quickly_966

We’re less than two whole paragraphs into this fic, and already we have the Winglies showing up and killing random old people.  Because reasons.

Despite all of the recent trauma though, Stryfe tried to keep his spirits high, especially for his mother’s sake.

Fair enough, but you really should be showing us all this, Author.

As Stryfe came out of the brush, he saw Dart simply standing still, his gaze looking off towards something distant.

For crap’s sake, author, it’s called a transition!  You keep throwing us violently between thoughts like this and the whole audience is going to get whiplash.

Stryfe: Dart, what is it?

Dart: Stryfe…Th-The Village!

Stryfe: What!?

You know, Neet?  The place you live?  It’s over there, toward that portion of the void.

As Stryfe looked towards his and Dart’s home village of Neet, his eyes widened as he saw black smoke and orange flames covering every building within his sight.

Woof, that’s a really awkward way to phrase that.  Not to mention very passive.

His heart raced with fear as he realized that his mother and father, could be in danger.

*Snags the spare comma and puts it in his pocket*

If the author keeps that up, I’ll be able to sell these to the other librarians for a premium!

Stryfe and Dart began to race towards the village, hoping to find their parents still alive.

When Stryfe raced towards his home, he found it in flames, with the entire structure looking as if it could collapse at any moment.

*ALARM BLAR-*

SWENIA!  BABYSITTING!

*THE DRD ALARM SUDDENLY CUTS OFF MID-ALARM*

He tried to move his legs, but fear kept him from moving a muscle.

Hey look, a reasonable reaction to danger.  Still angling for that redemption cookie, I see.

Just then, he heard a woman’s scream coming from within, which caused his heart rate to skyrocket.

*Facepalm*

Dude, you need to watch your narrative prose.  The terms “heart rate” and “skyrocket” have no business being in the prose of a fic based in a quasi-medieval setting.

Stryfe: MOMMY!

If Stryfe knew it was his mother screaming, why was it “a woman’s scream” and not hers?  Does she have a proxy screamer in there handling the terror for her?

Racing into the burning inferno, Stryfe began digging through the debris, hoping to find any signs of life.

Author, you are very not good at inferno.  Trained firefighters have an immensely tough time going into a building that is even partially on fire.  And they’re kitted out with fire-resistant suits, fully-enclosed breathing systems, and axes.  Not to mention a metric-crapton of training.  How long do you think a five-year-old would actually last running into a burning building like that?

Finally, he found his mother, buried underneath a piece of the roof that had collapsed from structural damage.

*Rubs his forehead*

If the building has burned long enough that the roof is collapsing, then not only is everyone inside already dead, but so is any little kid who tries to run into it to save everyone.

Feeling his heart race, Stryfe began to try and lift the debris off of his mother before she was burned alive by the flames around them.

Kid, you’re about five minutes too late for that.

Despite his brave effort, however, Stryfe was unable to move the piece of debris off of his mother, it’s weight too much for the four year old to lift.

Author, something you should have considered when doing your rewrite:  proof-reading.   A couple passes of proof-reading might have spared your readers from sentences like the one you just wrote above.  Sweet crap, man, that was a lot of grammatical errors for just one sentence.

Then, Stryfe heard his mother call to him.

Sweet crap, really?  A death scene with final words while a building is on fire and collapsing and them?

“Son, I have to tell you: [sounds of the building collapsing].”

What!?  I can’t hear you over the building falling apart!

“It’s really important that [more collapsing].”

WHAT!?

Vitile: Stryfe…

The fuck is up with this naming!?  What’s his father’s name?  BoldurFaice?  Konflagurashun?  Deleenqwent?

What the hell was wrong with giving these people normal names?  Sure Dart is a little out there as a name, but most of the other characters in the game were pretty normal, and catered to the area within the game that they came from.  For instance one of the characters that joins the party later on: Albert.  He’s the king of an area that is recognizable as being influenced by Pre-Renaissance France.  A very, very fitting name for that character. How about Dart’s childhood friend?  Her name is Shana; again, normal name.  Other names in the game include Rose, Haschel, Lavitz, Meru, and Miranda. All of those are real names, sure a couple of them are more typically surnames, but they’re still real, non-ridiculous names.  There are a few outliers in the game, like Kongol, but even those are pertinent to the character (Kongol being from a burly, not terribly bright, race called the Gigantos).

Maybe you could get away with idiotic names like Stryfe and Vitile in a Final Fantasy game (let’s face it, their track record with naming is pretty spotty), but Legend of Dragoon featured very carefully picked names based on the multitude of cultures that exist within the game; making these slapdash “unique” names really stand out as particularly horrible.

Stryfe: Mommy?! Mommy, hang on! I’m gonna get you out of here!

Vitile: Stryfe, I want you…to have this…Please, take it…

Are we sure that this building is on fire and collapsing?  Kinda taking its sweet time, if you ask me.

Vitile held out her hand to Stryfe, holding an indigo orb shaped stone within.

*Facepalm*

This is obviously a dragon eye orb, which contains the heritage of a Dragoon.  In this case, the indigo dragoon.

Okay, let me tell you all why this is stupid.  The seven existing Dragoons are: Fire (Dart), Water (Meru), Earth (Kongol), Thunder (Haschel), Wind (Albert), Light (Shana/Miranda), and Darkness (Rose).  That’s it.  That’s all seven.  Of those seven, one is the Blue Dragoon (Meru) and one is the Violet Dragoon (Haschel).  Indigo sits between these two on the color spectrum, meaning that it doesn’t really fit into the game at all, as both the composite colors of indigo are already covered by existing dragoons.  It’s one of the reasons there isn’t an orange dragoon, it’s color is already covered by the red and yellow dragoons and there isn’t really an element that it can associate with due to all the primary elements already being covered.

So, what element is indigo supposed to represent?  Nausea?

 It was her lucky stone, and she was never seen without it.

So we’ve been told, anyway.

 As Stryfe took it into his hands, he realized that his mother had given up on escaping the burning house alive.

Thank you for spelling that out for us.  You seems to have a very high opinion of your audience’s ability to figure stuff out.

Stryfe: No…Mommy, no! It’s not too late!

It was too late before you and Dart had finished your game of snowy grab-ass.  Now you’re in an area of “way too late” which could claim your life as well as hers.

Vitile: Stryfe…You must…live…Escape Neet…while you…still can…

Stryfe: Mommy!

Vitile: Remember…That I…will always…Lo…ve…you…

Stryfe: MOMMY!

Bye token character that was put in the game to do nothing other than give the author insertion a Trajik past!

*Waves*

As Stryfe watched as his mothers’ eyes turn gray, tears began to fill his eyes as he reached for her lifeless arm. Before he could manage to touch her, another piece of the roof came down on him.

And he burns to death in the inferno, the en-

*BZZT*

Dammit.

Feeling his legs being nearly crushed as the debris fell on him, Stryfe tried frantically to get the debris off of him, but heat exhaustion and the pain from his legs sapped his strength, and he eventually collapsed from the strain.

And he burns to death in the inferno, the en-

*BZZT*

Oh, c’mon!

Just as he was about to pass out, though, he heard a middle aged mans’ voice call out his name and his mother’s name.

It’s token abusive father to the rescue!  Let’s see what crazy name the author gave you.

“Stryfe! Vitile!”

I keep reading that name as Vittle, and now I’m kinda hungry for a snack.

As his vision began to fade, Stryfe saw the man racing towards him and the house before everything went dark. When he began coming too, he faintly heard the mans’ voice again, alongside a woman’s voice and Dart’s voice as well.

Probably should have used a line break here to denote passage of time, but I’ll take this method over a scene tag.

“Put him in here! This fallen tree should shelter all of us!”

Stryfe: Ugh…Uhhh…

“Darling, Stryfe’s beginning to awaken!”

Stryfe: Uhh…Mommy…

Oooh, the man was Dart’s father, Zieg.  This must be the scene right before Zieg goes off into the fire to try to save the village.  His wife follows after him shortly after, and they are both killed by the Black Monster.  It’s actually somewhat likely that they die on purpose to give Dart time to escape the Black Monster, but that’s a plot point which is debatable, especially given something else that plays out much later.

Uhh, so what happened to Abusive McTokenpants?  Not that anyone cares.

Opening his eyes, Stryfe saw Dart, his mother Claire, and father Zieg standing over him.

You see?  You see how normal those names are!?  What the hell is wrong with you, author, that you can’t recognize how ill-suited your character’s names are to this source!?

His head was on Claire’s lap, and his legs were being wrapped up by Dart while Zieg was looking outside towards the village. As soon as he realized he was outside of Neet, Stryfe flew up frantically, but the pain in his legs caused him to lay back down.

Really, he would not have been able to get up in the first place after having his legs crushed by a large chunk of building falling on them.  You’re talking about a flaming log about six inches in diameter with burning thatch on it falling six or more feet onto the kid’s legs.  If his legs aren’t broken, they’re probably battered to a point where it will take a few weeks before he’ll be physically capable of standing.

Claire: Easy, Stryfe. You shouldn’t try and move, lest you tear the muscle tissue even more.

Listen to the woman, she talks the sense.

Stryfe: , please let me go! I have to save my mom! I have to save her!

Dart grabbed Stryfe, making sure he couldn’t move.

Dart: Get a hold of yourself, Stryfe! Dad just risked his life to save you from your burning home!

Stryfe: …did what?

Honestly, forgiving the fact that the author is still doing this atrocious formatting, this is a halfway reasonable exchange.  Stryfe is confused and in denial and they have to restrain him and try to talk him down.  It’s not particularly good dialogue, but it’s at least passable.

Claire: Zieg?

Zieg turned from looking at the village upon hearing his wife call to him. He seemed to he relieved that Stryfe was awake. Pulling out Vitile’s stone from his pocket, Zieg walked towards Stryfe and handed it to him.   As Stryfe took the stone from Zieg’s hand, Stryfe saw that Zieg had a sad look in his eyes.

Again, kinda reasonable here.  Zieg knows firsthand how important that stone is, so he probably would have pulled it off the kid to make sure it stayed safe while they made their getaway.

Stryfe: …Where is my mom.

Zieg: I’m sorry, Stryfe…I tried to save her too, but…The house collapsed before I could reach her…

Technically it collapsed before you could reach either of them, but she was dead before you got there.  Not too critical a hair to split since canonically only Dart and Luanna survive the burning of Neet.  Luanna isn’t too critical to the plot beyond outing the primary antagonist, Lloyd, as being evil just prior to him kidnapping the queen of Mille Seseau.

Stryfe felt his heart twist in pain when he heard those words trail across his ears.

*Clutches his eyes and falls out of his chair*

Gah!  That purple came the hell out of nowhere!

As he struggled to hold back the tears, he suddenly remembered that his father was in the village as well.  Though he had bitter feelings towards him, Stryfe looked at Zieg again, trying his best to keep the sorrow at bay.

Stryfe: What about…Dad?

Probably died offscreen in a nondescript way in order to drive home the point that he was a shallow plot element designed to add tragedy to the OC’s past as a way to garner sympathy.  That sound about right, Zieg?

Zieg only shook his head slowly in response.

Called it.

*SLAM*

Egregious Author-Insertion Stu: 4

Way to go, author.  You managed to trivialize domestic abuse in the very first chapter of your fic.

*Slowclap*

It was at that moment that it felt like the dam that was trying to contain Stryfe’s sorrow broke, allowing his feelings to flow like a raging current through his heart. As he held his mother’s stone close to his chest, Stryfe could only cry out in sorrow.

Deep sorrow.  Much feelings.

Just as Dart went to comfort him, Zieg wandered back outside.

Outside?  But, according to the narration, they’re crouched under a fallen log.  They’re already outside!

Even if you go by the actual scene in the game, Zieg and Claire never set foot in the hollowed-out log.

And suddenly, plot regurgitation!

Basically the scene where Zieg goes back to town plays out.  Shortly after he leaves, Claire comes back, says her goodbyes to Dart, hands him the dragon orb from his father, and then goes off to help Zieg.  There are a couple of unimportant changes where Stifle’s presence is acknowledged and he steals one of Dart’s lines, but otherwise the scene is straight-up regurgitated.

At this juncture, I’d like to point something important out: Style, other than the folded-in abusive father angle, has completely copied Dart’s backstory.  Calling him an original character seems to be a bit of a disservice to the term ‘original’ because his backstory, at its core, is just a carbon-copy of Dart’s.  They both live in Neet, they’re both around 5-years old, both lose their parents to the Black Monster attack, and both are given dragon orbs by their mothers just prior to their deaths.  Basically, Sticky is just an angsty copy of Dart with extra trajik folded in as a transparent and futile attempt to add something to differentiate him.  Talk about lazy, author.

The only bit of “interesting” that happens during the whole blob of plot exposition is this little line:

Upon hearing what Claire was going to do, Stryfe stopped crying and found the strength to stand up.

Hmm, able to overcome crippling injury through sheer force of strength?  I think that counts.

*SLAM*

Egregious Author-Insertion Stu: 5

As Stryfe awoke early the next morning, there was nothing but eerie silence as he looked outside the tree log.

For everyone’s reference, Dart does indeed hide in a hollowed-out log in the wake of the attack.  Since we aren’t going to get any scene descriptions, here’s what the setting is supposed to be:

Ahh, late 1990’s graphics.  Takes me right back to high school.

Fortunately, his legs felt well enough for him to walk normally again.

A solid night’s sleep is all that you really need to cure a fractured tibia.

After he woke Dart up, he and Stryfe walked down the path to find their home town of Neet completely changed.

GAH!  The pronouns!

The buildings that had once housed people they knew were now charred and ruined, and the trees and the field where Stryfe and Dart had a snowball fight the day before was now burned to their cores, leaving only lifeless charred ground and stumps in their places. While Dart went to look for his parents, Stryfe wanted to see what became of his home.

Speaking of lifeless, the prose in this fic is terribly drab.  There should be at least some emotional impact of seeing two very young children picking through the charred ruins of their village as they search for any survivors, but there just isn’t because the narrative is so soulless and flat.  It’s just a daybook of events and partial descriptions without any deeper exploration of what these two are going through.

The writing in this fic has all the emotional impact of a documentary on wallpaper.

When he finally found where his home once stood, Stryfe was completely devastated.

SHOW! ME!

Show me everything that you want me to see!  But if you can’t show me everything, at least show me something!

You can tell me that he’s devastated all you want, but until I see him falling to his knees with a wail of anguish as the truth of his mother’s death finally becomes real to him, I’m just gonna assume he’s standing there like a pile of vanilla pudding saying “This sucks, bro.  I’m like totes devastated and stuff.”

The only thing that remained of his home was the door, which now barely reached above the ground, while everything else was charred and burned to the ground.

The hell does that even mean?  The door is the only thing that remains, but it’s basically an inch-high burnt hunk of wood?  I’m sorry, but that doesn’t count as being a stand-out remnant of the home.

Stryfe even saw the place where his mother was, but her body was now gone, the only thing in her place was a small pile of ashes scattered in the shape of a body.

Dude, that’s super morbid.  Also highly inaccurate.

Let’s go really morbid!  If you don’t like morbid, skip the rest of this paragraph.  House fires, while hot, don’t actually burn hot enough to completely incinerate a body.  Typically anyone who dies in a fire is reduced to charred and blackened soft tissue around smouldering deep tissues and intact bone.  The remains are beyond identifiable recognition, but usually still quite distinguishable as human remains.  This is the kind of horrific sight Style here should be exposed to if he were to find a body after the blaze (though really, there should be so much debris that he wouldn’t find this without digging).  It would be a deeply scarring moment that, actually, would add something unique to the character.

Probably why we instead get the much tamer ashes in the wind scene.

In one day, Stryfe not only his home, but both his parents.

He also a word.

It’s amazing how this is totally different from Dart. In contrast, he lost both parents and his home in the same day.

See, Stryfe totally isn’t an angsty copy of Dart!

As he kneeled down on the ground, pounding the ground around him with his fists in a raging sorrow, a strange sound suddenly stopped him.

Damn, we almost, ALMOST got to actually see something.  Shame the plot tossed that sound in there to put a stop to it.

 He then saw that something was glowing in his pocket in the same area where he put his mothers’ stone.

Sweet crap!  Why all the awkward phrasing, author!?  You think trying to sneak up on the obvious information somehow makes it more mysterious?  It isn’t!  Just show us that his mother’s stone is glowing and stop trying to be all coy with the information!

Stryfe: Wha…what is?

Magic rocks.  They happen.

Taking out his mothers’ stone, Stryfe saw that it was faintly glowing with a pale light in his hands. Stryfe suddenly began to recall the same thing happening to his mother, when he saw her holding it once a year ago when he was three.

That’s another thing that’s grating about this chapter.  It’s not written in a way that portrays Stryfe accurately as a four-year-old.  He’s talking and acting in ways that point to him being much, much older.  If you sub in that Stryfe is eight or even ten, then it reads more true.  Which is a pretty good indication that the author doesn’t have a lot of experience with four-year-olds.

Among these things: it is unlikely that Stifle would remember a small, singular incident like a glowing rock from the time he was three.  I only have one memory from when I was three, and that was the day Lyle was born.

The only earlier memory I have is getting gassed with anesthesia the day that they did the reconstruction surgery on my right hand when I was just shy of two years old.  It’s a long story, but I vividly remember having the mask put on my face and absolutely hating the smell of the anesthesia.  Even today there are some plastics that smell similar to that anesthesia and it always puts me in a foul mood when I encounter those.

Anyway, both those events are rather major, life-changing events, and they are the only things I remember before the age of four.  I find it unlikely that a few moments of his mother looking at a glowing rock would even register.

Stryfe: Mother…

Holding his mothers’ stone close to his heart, time seemed to stop as he silently mourned the loss of his mother.

Again, this is not how a four-year-old grieves.  Not even an older child would grieve like this.

When Stryfe reunited with Dart, he found that Dart’s father had a remarkably similar stone like his mothers’, albeit it was red instead of indigo. As the two boys held the stones close together, the faint lights the two stones gave off suddenly became brighter, as if they were responding to one another.

Almost as if they were the same character…

Dart: Mom…Dad…

Stryfe: Mom…

Ugh, that’s a terrible haiku.

Gathering the little that they could of what was left, Stryfe and Dart began to wander through the continent of Endiness, traveling between the three regions of the continent until they finally found the south eastern village of Seles.

Remember, they’re supposed to be four and five.  If you’re having issues believing that, it’s because canonically there is no explanation of how Dart gets to Seles so the author tried to fill in the details and went with something stupid.  The two competing theories for how Dart got to Seles is that Rose found him and discovered he was not thralled by the Moon Child, so dropped him off at the nearest village, or that Shana’s family stumbled upon Dart when seeing the smoke and coming to check it out, and took him in.

It’s a plot hole in the main game with a lot of possible explanations.  However, two boys barely more that toddlers wandering around the continent is NOT on the table as a plausible explanation on how Dart gets to Seles.

There, they meet the mayor of the town, along with his adoptive daughter, Shana. The two boys quickly befriended Shana, and they got used to their new life in the village of Seles.

For crap’s sake, author!  You do realize how much of an appendage to Dart you’re making your character, right?  You just wrote a whole two sentence where they were basically one person!  Seriously, if you cut Slippy out of the story, all that happens is that a bunch of references to “they” are replaced with “Dart.”

However, as he entered his teenage years, Stryfe began to notice that his best friend was planning something. Something that involved the creature that destroyed Neet, which they learned about when they became old enough: the Black Monster…

This is a not-so-veiled reference to Dart’s crusade to kill the Black Monster.  At the start of the game, Dart is just returning to Seles after spending five years chasing the Black Monster.  This was actually done as a bit of a hand-wave in the game to explain why Dart can fight.  During the first few months of traveling, Dart meets Haschel, the master of the Rogue School of Martial Arts, and they travel together for a bit, ostensibly with Haschel instructing Dart in the art of combat.

And with that Chapter one comes to a close.  Not actually too bad yet, though we do have an uninteresting, trajik Dart copy who is threatening to steal the show.  You’ll all get to see just how bad this all gets over the next thirty-four chapters.  Until next time, patrons!

Wait, how many chapters are there!?

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44 Comments on “975: The Legend of Dragoon: The Eighth Spirit – Chapter One”

  1. TacoMagic says:

    I am wrestling with some wordpress weirdness this morning. For some reason, the edits I made last night, mostly to spelling and grammar, but also to a few scenes, were striped into two mutually exclusive saves, neither of which were merged into the version that posted this morning.

    I’m in the process of joining these two edits into the riff, but I’m having to do it manually to preserve the changes made by both. Please bear with me while I fix all this mess.

  2. AdmiralSakai says:

    Among these things: it is unlikely that Stifle would remember a small, singular incident like a glowing rock from the time he was three. I only have one memory from when I was three, and that was the day Lyle was born.

    The only earlier memory I have is getting gassed with anesthesia the day that they did the reconstruction surgery on my right hand when I was just shy of two years old. It’s a long story, but I vividly remember having the mask put on my face and absolutely hating the smell of the anesthesia. Even today there are some plastics that smell similar to that anesthesia and it always puts me in a foul mood when I encounter those.

    Anyway, both those events are rather major, life-changing events, and they are the only things I remember before the age of four. I find it unlikely that a few moments of his mother looking at a glowing rock would even register.

    Well, given that my earliest memory is also from when I was about three and involved me dropping a cup of chocolate pudding on the floor, I’d say it’s perfectly possible for Stuff to remember his mom looking at a glowing rock… he’d just be equally likely to remember his mom making a smiley-face cake instead.

    It’d probably be a better story than this anyway.

    • TacoMagic says:

      I think I’d have been more apt to believe that he had this memory if the audience been shown it, rather than just told about it. Memories are one of those critical “SHOW ME!” moments in writing, and a lot of these authors really drop the ball when it comes to that whole showing thing.

      Really, that’s like 90% of the battle. If you show the audience the memory, it’s a lot easier to believe that it’s actually a thing.

    • GhostCat says:

      I have a memory from when I was three of going to Disney World, but the only thing I remember is being terrified of Donald Duck. (I thought he was going to eat me.)

      I would think the only way Stipple would remember this event would be if it was important in some way – but the way it’s worded Vittle just had the stone in her hand, it glowed, and that was it. Nothing that would really stick with someone, especially someone that young.

    • Explodium says:

      Funny that you mention cake, as one of the earliest things I can remember is my 3rd birthday…specifically the cake. It was chocolate.

  3. AdmiralSakai says:

    “Put him in here! This fallen tree should shelter all of us!”

    Tree cave! Tree cave! How I’ve missed you!

  4. AdmiralSakai says:

    It was at that moment that it felt like the dam that was trying to contain Stryfe’s sorrow broke, allowing his feelings to flow like a raging current through his heart.

    I love how this author sets the scene, I’ve got a really good mental image of what’s happening to the village and how the characters react:

  5. AdmiralSakai says:

    So, what element is indigo supposed to represent? Nausea?

    Angst. Pretty sure it’s Angst.

    • TacoMagic says:

      Dragoon of Angst. His spells cause the status affliction: “Uncontrollable whining.” Anyone afflicted by Uncontrollable Whining is attacked by his own team for four rounds.

  6. GhostCat says:

    …a small village called Neet…

    :giggles:

    I don’t know if it was done on purpose, but “NEET” is a Japanese slang term; it stands for “Not in Education, Employment, or Training”. NEETs are stereotypically depicted spending a lot of time playing video games, watching anime, reading manga, and generally goofing off. It would be like naming the village “Slacker”.

    • TacoMagic says:

      Not sure. Could easily be a translation flub, and I can’t find the original Japanese name of the village.

      Also, bear in mind that this game was released 16 years ago, so if it’s more modern slang, it’s probably not related.

    • TacoMagic says:

      With a little more looking, I think Neet, since it’s in the area of the game that was influenced by pre-Renaissance France, may be a joining of the French words “Ne et” which would mean “And (then) not.” That would actually be kinda clever if it’s the case.

  7. GhostCat says:

    Despite his brave effort, however, Stryfe was unable to move the piece of debris off of his mother, it’s weight too much for the four year old to lift.

    Wow, the strain of trying to lift the roof took a whole year off Stryfe’s life!

    • TacoMagic says:

      To be fair, I was actually the one who said Stryfe was probably 5-years-old. Mostly because the author said the character is 22 during the course of the game, and the attack on Neet happened about 17 years prior to when the game starts.

      Depending on how the dates lined up, for instance if the attack on Neet happens in Winter early in the year and the events of Dragoon happen in summer/fall (which they do), it’s possible that Siphon could be 4 in Neet and still be 22 during the game canon.

  8. GhostCat says:

    Feeling his legs being nearly crushed as the debris fell on him,

    This is a very shoddy roof; it’s dropping chunks big enough to crush a grown woman one moment and the next it produces dainty pieces of debris that only pin a far less robust five-year-old child’s legs without damaging them.

  9. GhostCat says:

    Stryfe felt his heart twist in pain when he heard those words trail across his ears.

    :clutches face:

    MY EYES!!!

    • AdmiralSakai says:

      Actually, they trailed across his ears, but didn’t actually go into them, so I don’t think he could hear them at all.

      Although I’m imagining them making that q-tip-on-the-eardrum noise as they brush past, so maybe that’s why his heart turned into a Moebius Strip.

  10. GhostCat says:

    hallowed-out log

    Unless this was an especially religious tree, that should probably be “hollowed-out”.

  11. GhostCat says:

    The writing in this fic has all the emotional impact of a documentary on wallpaper.

    Except I’d probably enjoy a documentary on wallpaper, especially if they include William Morris and bubble wrap.

  12. AdmiralSakai says:

    Finally, he found his mother, buried underneath a piece of the roof that had collapsed from structural damage.

    As opposed to the pieces of roof that had collapsed due to… what, exactly?

  13. leobracer says:

    I sometimes miss the glory days of the PS1 era.

    Speaking of which:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=no2GNY4GHDE

  14. Herr Wozzeck says:

    Yes, I know. I’m sorry for restarting this again, but this time will be the last time I restart.

    No no, don’t apologize for that. Apologize for that that you made an obvious insertion-Stu before you even hit the summary.

    At least I owned up to the fact that MV was an egregious author-insert!

  15. Herr Wozzeck says:

    Funny how Dart gets a last name, but Stryfe here doesn’t seem to need one.

    Taco, knowing our track record with stupid names around here, why would you want him to get a last name?

  16. Herr Wozzeck says:

    Why, gods of literature, must you abandon me in my time of need!?

    Because the gods of literature hate us, that’s why.

  17. Herr Wozzeck says:

    Second, while I admit that this certainly would be troubling to Spite, this smells a lot like using a domestic abuse situation to give your OC a trajik past rather than an actual desire or ability to properly respect the topic.

    I’m just gonna go get the bolt tape to keep SC from going on a rampage.

    • Herr Wozzeck says:

      Way to go, author. You managed to trivialize domestic abuse in the very first chapter of your fic.

      Ack! Getting it faster!

  18. Herr Wozzeck says:

    If the building has burned long enough that the roof is collapsing, then not only is everyone inside already dead, but so is any little kid who tries to run into it to save everyone.

    Exhibit A:

    • Herr Wozzeck says:

      Sweet crap, really? A death scene with final words while a building is on fire and collapsing and them?

      Again, Exhibit A, in which the house has basically already collapsed by then, it’s just that it takes a little bit to collapse more.

  19. Herr Wozzeck says:

    What the hell is wrong with you, author, that you can’t recognize how ill-suited your character’s names are to this source!?

    Oh, oh! I know! He’s thinking less with his brain and more with the Rule of Cool!

  20. Herr Wozzeck says:

    You’ll all get to see just how bad this all gets over the next thirty-four chapters. Until next time, patrons!

    Wait, how many chapters are there!?

    *gulp*


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