1338: Legaia If Life Allows – Chapters Two and ThreePosted: February 24, 2016
Welcome back to Wednesday, patrons! So, what happened last time? Well…
Pretty much just a trajek pity party for Noa. She runs from Rim Elm with her brother Cort, now a baby, to the Biron Monastery, where they live in security under the protection of Gala. But, due to BLUE, Noa is not able to stand living there, so she leaves for her canon destination of Jeremi. When she gets there, she’s adopted by some local residents who are canon characters from the game, but they’re barely mentioned in passing within the fic, so are ultimately unimportant. She lives happily for a year before her self-baked trajeky comes home to roost. Cort hasn’t grown during their year stay, and worse, the townspeople have suddenly, and from behind, started to hate her and Cort. Likely because BLUE has been spreading rumors behind her back. Noa and Cort flee from Jeremi with “hunters” hot on their tail. Stuff happens and eventually Noa settles down in a random cave near one of the game’s fishing holes. After a while, Cort starts aging backwards because of his exposure to the mist. The exact mechanism of how that works is none of our business. Eventually he reverts to a lump of flesh and dies, at which point Noa stacks rocks on top of him for two days.
Man, the fic sounds so much worse when you paraphrase the plot, doesn’t it?
Anyway, that all leads us to now:
***** Chapter 2 – Unfulfilled *****
STAHP! We don’t need the asterisk parade every time you want to create a section. Doubly so for a new chapter.
For a fleeting moment, he thought that the woman beside him was the spirited girl of his dreams, then he saw the bleached hair, and what was obviously not a fighter’s body.
Bleached hair? Is that actually a thing in Legaia? Do they even have bleach?
I honestly can’t say either way on this one, but it feels out of place. Certainly enough that it derailed my brain. I mean, I know things can be sun-bleached, but generally you only see that in fiction with respect to bones or other inanimate objects.
Also, hi, Vahn. *waves*
Disappointed, as reality hit, he got up slowly, as to not wake the courtesan, and went to the decanter on the desk.
*Grabs the fic and shakes it over the spare comma pile*
If nothing else, I suppose it was nice of Shatner to volunteer to narrate the fic for our author.
Wine soothed him, but did nothing to fill the empty space in his heart.
Hold on a second.
Looking out to the moonlight bathed landscape, wondering where Noa might be, how she was faring, and if, at that instant, someone was holding her, his throat constricted, the longing painful his chest.
Holy crap, dude, lay off the Shatner!
Also, where the hell is this? He’s drinking wine next to a platinum blonde woman, yet he can see a moonlight bathed landscape. I suppose he’s at one of the many Void bars, but it’d be nice to know which one.
Why was he feeling this way?
Duh-hurr. Stupid man not understand emotion. Very confuse.
Didn’t he have fortune, power, and high rank?
Um… no? Is this actually Vahn here, or somebody else? Because Vahn would be fifteen and should be rambling around seeing the new world or searching for Noa. Neither of those things would do much to bring about power and wealth.
Granted, depending on how far you want to take the game mechanics, he could feasibly be wealthy from all the money you can amass fighting monsters. But everyone knows how I feel about utilizing game mechanics in that fashion.
Since becoming Drake Kingdom’s Hero, the honors had come rolling in, all wanted his friendship, and women showered him with their charms.
Fair enough, I suppose. Though that didn’t stop Noa from illogically becoming public-enemy number one. Nor did notoriety do more than earn her a job at the counter of the local item depot.
If I thought this disparity of reward was done on purpose, it would serve as a pretty good platform to make observations on cultural sexism. However, more than likely this is a symptom of short-sighted writing with an aim at wish-fulfillment.
It could also be casual sexism on the part of the author, but I’ll save that condemnation until I see more concrete evidence to support it.
Not many had shared his bed, in the eighteen or so months he had been at the castle, for their favors invariably left him drained, empty, and unfulfilled.
And either the author has completely forgotten that Vahn and Noa should be early teens right now, or he’s hoping to capitalize on readership from the often overlooked pedophile subculture of fanfiction.
Crunchy should be out in the lobby filling up the swimming pool with Brian Bleach if you need to cleanse.
After the ordeal, it had been expected that him and Mei would marry.
Two-out-of-four endings at most. One-out-of-four if you consider the loner ending to be Vahn leaving Rim Elm never to return, which is a plausible interpretation.
They had met one night, losing themselves in each other, giving free reign to their desires.
And this is why teens need either a chaperon or a no-questions-asked condom bowl somewhere in the house.
They were to spend all their lives together after all, so taking some advance was their right.
“Plus, sex is super fun!”
GAH! Swenia, what the crap are you doing here!?
“Just some stalking practice.”
Oh, it’s the both of you. We’ve got some pedophilia going on here, so you might want to grab the larva and run for it.
*Swenia picks up Jiwe and saunters out*
Or you can leave the room at your own pace, I guess.
But things had changed, and they both realized, before consuming the moment, that there would be no tomorrow in such an action.
Consuming the moment? Shit, are they both time eaters now!?
Also, what does that sentence even mean? It’s just sex, dude, not an apocalypse. I mean, they’re both inexperienced so it’s probably not going to be good sex, but even bad sex is just sex. Certainly nothing to lose your shit over.
So they had decided to remain friends, and never talk of what had almost happened, ever again.
Plot is the ultimate cock-block. Even more so than a toddler, and toddlers are masterfully accomplished cock-blocks.
“Glad it isn’t just Jiwe.”
Will you stop stalking me and leave me alone!
Shortly after, Mei was betrothed to Trevor, a carpenter from a nearby village, which had elected residence in Rim Elm.
Apparently Mei was always seeking a little magic on the side, despite a halfhearted attempt to jump Vahn’s bones.
Speaking of which, shouldn’t Vahn be traveling around right now? In all four endings, Vahn leaves Rim Elm. I mean, sure you can change the ending in your fic, but you need a bit more establishment if you’re gonna pull that.
Overall you need more establishment, author. Any at all would be good.
Vahn had decided to take on the King’s offer, become his majesty’s adviser, and remain at the castle.
Wait, what? What castle? What are we talking about here? I thought we were in Rim Elm! There’s no castle in Rim Elm! Hell, there isn’t even a king in Rim Elm!
As somebody who played the game, I can connect the dots and assume you’re probably talking about King Drake III in Drake Castle, author, but sweet crap, man, at least give me a transition before a jump like that!
It was there that the emptiness had hit him, the accursed void in his soul, the ache in his heart that he had tried to fill with wine, and whatever pleasures were available.
The formless void is a harsh mistress.
Also, patrons, if the violin music isn’t still playing, go back and hit the restart on it.
As in many legends, he had everything to be happy, but wasn’t.
Care to list a couple? Generally legends come in two distinct flavors: “Happily ever after” and “the gods fuck everyone.” Neither of those really fit.
Unless we’re talking Grimm faerie tales. Then it’s more along the lines of: “everything sucks.”
What you’re thinking of, author, is modern romantic comedy. And if you think that counts as legend in the world of Legaia, you’re more far gone than I thought you were.
Something was missing, or rather someone.
For those who aren’t yet getting the point that the author is hammering on here, see Cerbs in the lobby for a complimentary gonging.
He had the courage to fight beasts and monsters, but not to face himself, not to acknowledge his very own feelings.
You know, except in half the endings where he professes love to somebody.
Though, to be fair, Vahn is a silent protagonist, and, so far as they go, Vahn is among the blanker slates you’ll find in the genre. You can really characterize him however you want and probably support it. Though making him a coward of any kind is not going to hold much water given what he does in the game. As a rule of thumb, you’ll probably get more audience investment in your story if you don’t go the melodramatic twat route.
A few days later, Vahn was in his study when a castle servant announced, “Lord, thou hast a visitor, a monk from Biron monastery.”
A few days after what, precisely? Being all whiny in the bar? Sounds like that’s a common enough occurrence, so maybe narrow it down? Or maybe not add pointless word padding to the fic. That would work too.
The young man’s spirits lifted at the unexpected visit. Gala hugged him in a friendly, and totally out of character, embrace.
Much friendly, very surprise.
This is out of character for Gala, though. So either the author is calling attention to some big change in Gala, which could really be done in a better way than pointing it out in the prose, or he’s pointing out that he can’t write Gala in character.
In either case, the author also happens to be pointing out that he hasn’t bothered to establish any personality in these characters. Well, none beyond being whiny.
“You should take better care of yourself, my friend, you are getting soft.”
Okay, that sounds more like Gala. Nearly worth a redemption cookie, but it’s one entry on a very sparse list of things we’ve actually been shown.
“Gala, it’s so good to see you. What brings you to Drake Castle?”
You can feel the emotion overflowing from the dialogue, can’t you?
“I thought that you might be interested in hearing about Noa, but I fear that the news are somewhat bleak.”
Let me point out that there has been several months of rumors about Noa and her devil child. Given the inactivity of these two, we can only come to two conclusions:
1) The rumors were localized and took a long time to spread, in which case this news will be outdated based on what the audience knows.
2) The rumors weren’t localized, but neither of these two saw fit to help their friend. In this case, the news will be very specific and up to date.
Care to place bets on which.
That’s a sucker’s bet. It’s totally gonna be number 2.
The big man then gave his friend a report on the girl’s whereabouts, and the rumors about the baby, gotten from traveling Biron monks.
Wow, okay that was super vague. That could be anything from “She’s in Jeremi living with a creepy-ass baby” to “She living by fish and babby ded.”
Rage, then despair filled Vahn’s heart, as Gala informed him of the hunting parties, intent on destroying Cort, and of the people that had requested Biron’s help.
Called it! Way to be there for a friend, guys.
It’s getting hard to root for the heroes on this one, but there doesn’t appear to be an Empire to root for, so I’m at a loss. Maybe I’ll root for the inevitable heat-death of the universe.
“You see, Vahn, they are convinced that Noa has been bewitched by this ‘demon-child’, and wish to help our friend, but even our best trackers were unable to find her.
So wait, which side of this was Gala on? The phrasing here makes it seem like he was on board with sending hunting parties after Noa. Certainly he did nothing to stop the hunting parties that were tracking her and even put out more people to track her.
Even worse, he’s only coming to tell Vahn about it several months after all this went down.
Gala is the Empire in this one, isn’t he? Well, to give him credit, I never saw it coming. Gala is the last person in the world that I would have expected to go evil. Especially since he has no motivation to be evil.
She is still a wolf, in many respects, and will not be found if she doesn’t wish so.”
Despite not being able to shake the hunting parties. Until she was able to get the protective fish together, of course.
“Are you telling me that Cort was somehow reborn? I guess that makes sense, after what happened to Rim Elm inhabitants. But why did she leave like that? I never had a chance to talk to her, maybe even convince her to stay…”
Don’t play stupid, dude. The last thing the Rim Elm Elder does before Vahn leaves is to tell Vahn that the baby is Cort and that Noa left in secret to care for him. So Vahn not knowing this is an extreme break from canon without any explanation.
Author, we know you didn’t like the ending, but how can you hate an ending enough to want to rewrite it if you didn’t even bother to pay attention to it in the first place!?
“She did it for you.” Said Gala with sadness.
No, she did it for Cort. The game flat out tells you that via the Elder.
This is basic stuff you’re screwing up, author!
Vahn pointed an accusing finger at the monk, “What do you mean? That I’m responsible? She ran away, without a word of farewell, and you kept things from me!
Presuming we believe this setup, which is a huge presumption given how stupid it is, Vahn has a point here. Gala is an awful friend. But, also a damn good evil mastermind.
Man, I need a drink.”
So do I.
*Pulls the whiskey off the shelf and pours himself a drink*
“Fool!” exclaimed Gala, knocking the goblet out of Vahn’s hand, “You’ll never drown your shame and pain!”
*Takes a deep swig*
Maybe not, but it sure takes the edge off the stupid.
he then grabbed the smaller guy, that was way too shocked by his friend’s actions to react, and placed him in front of a mirror.
PCC Suddenly Mirrors! Need to make a friend face himself? Need a mystical mirror-spirit to answer all your earthly questions? Have to turn and check your too-cool hair at a dramatic moment? The PCC will be there with a mirror in any corner of the formless void just when you need it!
“Look at yourself! You’re wasting away, what has happened?”
Bad case of plot, man. I’d tell you to quarantine yourself, but I’m pretty sure you’re already terminal.
“I don’t know, I don’t know what I feel, I don’t know what to do, I don’t know if I can face her…”
Which doesn’t really matter if you can’t even find her. Just saying.
“Well, I know about what happened in Sol, Vahn. She confided in me, and I think that you’re both making too much out of nothing. It was just a kiss after all.”
If you’re going to inject a random, plot-altering kiss into an existing canon, you better damn well better be ready to establish it. Hell, give me a flashback of exposition or something!
That aside, Gala, stop swinging between being utterly incompetent and having good points. It’s giving me literary whiplash.
It had been during one of their stays in the tower-city, Gala was spending some time with the monks on the top floor, and Vahn had treated Noa to a show and dinner.
Oh, so we are getting a flashback. This really should have been back during the first mention of the kiss, but whatever, I’ll take it.
She had been delighted, eating an impressive amount of food for her size, overjoyed at what she considered her ‘first date’.
Which is showing way, way more cultural savvy than she normally does due to her her wolfy upbringing. Realistically, she shouldn’t even know what a date is, much less the purpose of one well enough to be excited about it. Well, more excited than usual, anyway.
They even ordered some mulled wine, which had immediately gone to the girl’s head, making her giggle uncontrollably.
To be fair to the girl, she is twelve. I’d find it pretty worrying if she could hold her liquor.
Those moments had been happy ones, forgotten were the Mist, and, for one insane instant, Mei.
Given how quickly you guys broke it off when you were in bed together, I don’t know if that instant was so insane.
Author, you need to be a little more genre savvy. You’re allowed to remember and understand things that happened in your own fic. Especially if they happened on the same page.
He couldn’t remember how it had happened, but Noa was all of a sudden in his arms, her smiling face near his, her breath warm on his skin. Drawn by impulsiveness, he had pulled her close, kissing her mouth passionately.
With all the impressive kissing skill at the disposal of a fourteen-year-old.
That had to have been painfully awkward to be part of; almost as bad as having to read about it.
The red-haired girl had responded, with equal vigor, and desperate need.
Authors, just so you know, research is super important when doing fanfiction. Otherwise you neglect little details like the age of your romantic pairing. Makes it far less likely that you accidentally write a bodice ripper starring a preteen if you know that little factoid.
And then she had pushed him away, her green-eyes wide with shock. Prey to overwhelming sensations that she couldn’t understand, she had run, heart racing wildly, her mind utterly confused.
Okay, well that’s much closer to the expected reaction. Let’s hope we never speak of this again.
Vahn had looked all over Sol, finally giving up, and finding her asleep, in the suite they had rented at the Inn. Shame for his lack of control, and unfaithfulness to Mei, had kept him from talking about the incident, and Noa didn’t seem inclined to bring it up either.
Okay, yes, they are never going to speak of it again. Good. Now, for the Brian Bleach injections.
For those playing at home, I offer the following translation to the above quote: I’m adding a critical scene of character building, but need it to have no impact on the plot because I’m too lazy to rewrite the whole game.
So things had remained unspoken, and the young man had avoided situations where temptation could appear.
Such as the months they would have had to spend in close quarters together while traveling around fighting evil. Yeah, way to avoid that temptation, Sparky.
“I went too fast, I freaked her out, how she must hate me for that.”
Which is why you two spent those aforementioned months in close proximity. Because she hated your guts and couldn’t stand the sight of you.
Get over yourself, bro. Maybe it’s possible for her to make decisions that aren’t based on you. Sort of like her decision to leave with Cort. Although that apparently was supposed to be for Vahn’s sake. Somehow. I’m sure the plot will explain that.
“She doesn’t. She felt guilty because of Mei. That is why she’s never bothered you about it, and left Rim Elm without a word. You have to understand, she had little understanding of relationships at the time, and her feelings for you scared her.”
Yeah, no. Again, that was entirely about trying to protect Cort from the potential reprisal of the villagers.
Vahn’s eyes regained their flame, as decision, sharp and sure, came to him and he asked Gala
Oh great we have a redu- wait, that’s not the redundancy siren. The hell is that?
*Eliza barges in with a squad of Darkwraths dragging a giant hose behind them. They spray down the entire riffing chamber then quietly leave.*
Ah, the fire alarm. I might have known. Thanks, Vahn, I do so love being cold and wet.
“My friend, would you come with me, and help me find her?”
Only if you answer one little question:
WHY THE FUCK DID IT TAKE YOU SO LONG TO ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING, YOU LAZY BASTARD!?
Seriously, it’s been months, what the hell have you been waiting for?
He said no, dude. You’re both shitty friends and he’s making sure you stay that way.
“I will accompany you as far as the entrance to the mountain range, where she’s hiding. But this is something you’ll have to face on your own.”
Ahem, let me quote you from earlier:
even our best trackers were unable to find her.
So, the only way you know exactly where she is would be that you called up the plot and asked. This, right here, is why it’s a good idea to keep the plot on your speed dial. Still, he should have phoned up the plot a lot sooner. Like six months sooner.
Then again, maybe he didn’t spring for the premium service plan and ended up playing phone tag with the plot’s tier 1 support.
And that’s the end of chapter two! Since it’s pretty short, and chapter three is even shorter, let’s just soldier on and knock that out right now, too.
***** Chapter 3 – The Search *****
Since they already know where she is, I guess that would be why the chapter is so short.
Ever since the Seru had gone from the world, magic was disappearing.
The correct tense is: had disappeared. Seru were the source of all magic. If they’re gone, so is the magic.
Travel, as many other activities, had to be done by conventional methods.
Which shouldn’t be that big of a deal. You spend like ninety percent of the game traveling by foot.
A few things, like healing potions, fortunately still held part of their abilities, but it was clear that a new era was dawning, where technology would prevail.
Wha? Either the healing potions are magical things that shouldn’t work anymore because their source of power is gone, or they’re based on herbs, which weren’t magical in the first place.
Either way, healing potions are very much a game mechanic thing, so they shouldn’t really be brought up regardless. Bringing them up as an exception to the “no more magic” rule makes it seem like you’re trying to have it both ways.
Oh, who am I kidding, it reveals that you’re trying to have it both ways. No “seem like” about it.
To Gala’s relief, the journey to Jeremi did wonders for Vahn, whose mind was made up, finally having a goal to pursue.
Uh, why are they going to Jeremi, again? Gala already told Vahn that they need to go to the mountains, which is quite a ways north of there.
Noa might not return his feelings, but at least he would know for sure.
Not if you go to Jeremi instead of where you actually need to go.
Whatever the outcome, she needed help, and he still considered her as a close, and dear friend.
Which is why he’s going to the place where she no longer lives. Good jerb.
Though, really, it’s Gala who’s screwing this up since he’s the guide.
They stopped in Jeremi for supplies, incognito so as not to stir-up another witch (or rather demon-baby) hunt.
Ah, so they need to stop for supplies. Should probably have opened with that information instead of Bogarting it. Even so, it’s not that far between Rim Elm and Jeremi. I’m not convinced stopping at Jeremi for supplies is the best way to utilize your time.
When they finally reached the foot of the mountains, Gala made camp, and addressed his traveling companion.
42 Wallaby Lane.
“You’re on your own now, Vahn. I believe that she is somewhere in those tall peaks you see to your left, they’re treacherous to climb, and an excellent place for someone that doesn’t wish to be found. I will wait for you here.”
You do know that in real life mountains are fucking huge, right, author? Pointing at a mountain range and saying, “She’s in there somewhere,” is like pointing at Colorado and saying, “She’s in there somewhere.”
Gala is either being a huge dick here, or he’s ready to wait a long, long time.
It was worst than trying to find a needle in a haystack, but the search had to start somewhere, and our friend was determined to comb the whole region if need be.
And if she’s as good at hiding as Gala says she is, you won’t find her even if you do search everywhere. Still, flying off on a half-cocked plan as part of an emotional reaction is way better than knowing what the hell you’re doing, right? Because romatz.
Their using of Ra-Seru had made them stronger, faster, and more resistant than normal Human Beings, so there was a good chance that he would be able to reach places that even Biron monks couldn’t.
Basically he keeps the Ra-Seru physical enhancement because reasons. Even though Noa didn’t seem to benefit from the same effect when she was trying to outrun the hunters with her lead babby.
Getting harder to ignore the casual sexism.
After two days, his optimism began to wane.
Dude, you’ve got a mountain range to search. If you’re starting to flag after only two days, the next few dozen years of searching are going to go really poorly for you.
This part of the mountain range was pocked with crevices, and caverns of various sizes.
Seems like a pretty good area to search, actually. Set up a little camp near the closest water source and start searching. Can’t take but six or seven months to make a thorough search of the area.
He was about to go back to camp, to restock on supplies, when his keen eyes noticed something unusual.
You’re out of supplies after only two days!? Next time maybe you should hire somebody who knows what the fuck they’re doing, like a tracker or something.
Puny trees were stubbornly clinging to a steep climb, near where he had just explored, and some of the smaller branches were bent.
You’re in mountain goat country, moron! Bent branches would be pretty common!
The worst part is that this is going to work. And knowing that makes me want to throw things.
It was obvious, to any trained tracker that chanced to see it, that this was a path used by a Human, for mountain beasts didn’t leave such a pattern.
First, Vahn isn’t a trained tracker, he’s a fifteen-year-old martial artist who lived in a small village on the coast all his life. He’d be about as good at tracking somebody in the mountains as a shepherd would be at navigating an oceanic vessel. Second, animals bend branches all the time. Watch an elk thrash through the forest sometime. They don’t care how much foliage they smash. Third, if there is something special about this “pattern” you better damn well have researched tracking and be able to show it to us. Otherwise it comes off as conveniently vague.
Gods! This fic is getting lazier with every damn paragraph I read!
Vahn climbed with renewed vigor, fueled by hope. He was nearly at the top, when the small sampling he was holding to came free.
Not my hors d’oeuvres sample platter!
*Watches the sampling fall off the mountain*
He desperately tried to grab onto another one, which also detached itself.
Not the three-meat sampler entrée, too!? What did it ever do to you?
As he fell, he had time to realize that the roots had been tampered with, it was a most clever, and deadly, trap.
Meant to kill climbers who are incompetent enough to grab onto plant-life instead of going for sure holds. So, a clever trap aimed to kill only the trackers who suck at their job.
Smrt stuff here.
He brutally hit the ground, and darkness engulfed him.
How does one brutally fall off a cliff, again? Is it like doing a Falcon Kick on the way down or something?
Sound reaches far, in the crystalline mountain air.
But war, war never changes.
Noa was picking wild-berries, when she faintly heard the thud resulting from one of the numerous false, and bobby trapped, trails she had built as a defense against hunters.
Bobby, no! First you kill my meal, and now you’ve got poor Bobby trapped on your trail!? You monster!
She went to investigate, and make sure that the intruder wasn’t seriously hurt.
Seriously hurt, my ass. You loosened plant-life up a steep climb with the intent to make a climber fall. That’s deadly intent, kiddo. You’re going over there to make sure they are dead, and if not, finish them off.
On the plus side, free corpse to loot.
The man was lying on his back, eyes closed, a trickle of blood escaping from his lips, and more of it matting his dark hair.
It’d totally be worth a redemption point if she caused Vahn’s death. Though I suppose brain damage is a good enough start.
Also, neon blue hair still doesn’t count as dark.
“No, it can’t be!” she exclaimed in shock, and hurried down the treacherous path.
And with that the chapter ends. But it ends on a weirdly vague note. So I’ve gotta ask: Why are we sneaking up on the identity of the ‘man’? Everyone knows it’s Vahn, so there’s no need to pretend like we don’t know who it is.
Anyway, that’s enough of this fic for now. Join me next week as we *hurf* finally get to the mild sex scene.
Until then, patrons!