The Healer and the Vagabond *EXPLAINED*

~ intro ~ I ~ II ~ III ~ IV ~
~ return ~

Not sure if I want to add any explanations or even notes to this one (for now, anyway), because it'll be explained by reading the actual thing, whenever I get back to it. I do want to show off the colors on this page though, because they're quite lovely.

“Mags always said anything lost could be found. Remember that song she taught us? What is lost, that can’t be found?
Bella blinks several times and murmurs, “I do, yes.”
“Well, I think maybe magic wants to be found. And I think maybe we’re the ones who are supposed to find it.”
“What, like
fate?” It’s the first thing Agnes has said since they stepped outside, and both her sisters flinch from the venom of it. “Like destiny?” Fate is a story people tell themselves so they can believe everything happens for a reason, that the whole awful world is fitted together like some perfect machine, with blood for oil and bones for brass. That every child locked in her cellar or girl chained to her loom is in her right and proper place.
—Alix E. Harrow, The Once and Future Witches

Let's get the simple stuff out of the way.

the very first image you see when booting up DQXI on PS4 or PC. [it's the startup splash for the vanilla PS4 and PC Definitive Edition, vanilla PC uses some concept art, no idea about the others]

I will readily admit this one may or may not be reaching, I made it really early on into my fandom days okay

party chat arrangements as the game progresses, in order: after Sylvando joins → Act I's full ensemble → when Kai tags along → when Snorri tags along → after Erik regains his memories in Act II → Act II's full ensemble → when Rab is inspecting the falling Lantern → when Atsuo tags along → and the gang all together in Act III.

by @honotandokkin on twitter

Yeah, I'm sure everyone knew this moment was gonna show up. But what did it take to get here?

Unlike everyone else, who come with their full skill trees unlocked as soon as they join in Act II if they didn't already, when Erik and Serena rejoin the party, neither of them can access theirs until the resolution of their emotional arcs. Both Erik and Serena cannot reach their full potential in battle until they come to terms with their relationships to their sisters. Wow!! A marriage of narrative and game mechanics!! We got actual ludonarrative harmony on our side, baybee!!

These are things explicitly conveyed in the narrative. Let's look at some stuff that isn't very obvious.

If you pay close attention to the party’s resident drifter, you’ll notice that Erik doesn’t like to be noticed much.

While resting at campfires, every party member has three possible activities they can be found doing, based around three total arrangements at the site. Most are just typical downtime pastimes. The sisters drink tea. Rab, Jade and Hendrik can be found training. Serena and Sylvando play their instruments. Depending on their placement, everyone can be either close or some distance away from whatever conversation you can imagine is unfolding around the fire.

However, in the arrangement where everyone is gathered around the campfire, Erik can be found laid back against a pile of twigs on the far edge of the firelight.

He’s not the only one, of course. All of Jade’s campfire positions are probably the most distant from the center of the campsite on average. Yet while she might be distant, she always sits facing towards the campfire, just a look over the shoulder from anyone sitting nearby.

Erik does not face the campsite. His body is obscured by the pile of sticks he rests against. Out of sight, likely wanting to be out of mind, closed off for conversation.

Is this a problem? Not particularly. Erik is just someone who wants to be alone more often than most—and we all get like that sometimes, don’t we?

But when you do it as much as he does, among an affable group of companions, it sticks out. Someone might wonder what’s wrong.

An oft-unnoticed in the jump from international XI to the XI S rerelease is an extra addition of the new scenarios that needed to be recorded—a slew of new voice lines for the party members to say in battle. Instead of just one or two generic voice barks spread across all their skills, the Luminary’s companions will now yell out an ability’s name or a catchy phrase when using skills, defending, pepping up—or using recovery items and abilities on certain party members.

As another way of conveying character relationships, depending on who’s healing who, lines can range from encouraging, to pushing (Veronica to Serena, Hendrik to Sylvando), to snide (Erik to Hendrik, Veronica to Rab), to rather panicked (Erik to the Luminary, Hendrik to Jade and Veronica), to respectful (Serena to basically everyone, Erik to Jade), to concerned (Veronica and Rab to Jade).

On a first listen, the exchanges between Erik and Serena likely won’t sound particularly remarkable. Both will quietly ask the other if they’re okay or alright, respectively.

And yet, that lack of emphasis is what makes it remarkable. It sounds like something one would ask the other at other, less intense times. Like it’s also asked outside of battles. Like something that they might say to each other on a regular basis. Like something they use to mind each other in everyday occasions.

Like they might notice something wrong with the other, and want to remedy it.

(The Luminary cannot convey anything to anyone while healing, because he is silent. This has little to do with shipping, yet everything to do with Dragon Quest XI.)

~ intro ~ I ~ II ~ III ~ IV ~
~ return ~