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Fluff and Gameblogging

So I wrote two Moogle Fluff stories for ff_exchange this week (quickies to help tide over people who are waiting for late gifts): a Baralai/Gippal AU and a bittersweet Balthier/Ashe. Both of these stories came from bunnies that bit me hard and wouldn't let go, especially the first -- I spent a whole day at work thinking about it, writing down snippets so I wouldn't lose them, rushing through dinner so I could collect them into a story. That's a rush I haven't had in ages. Nice.

Lots of other nice stories and art over there, too, if you are looking for something to read. Moogle Fluff is almost closed, but the Chocobo Down prompts should be going up soon. Something for everyone! I know I'll be browsing the prompts.

Note that I have now written three stories this round, and two of them have been FFXII. I am getting more comfortable with writing in that universe all the time, and struck by more bunnies, and it's been fun. I figured the replay would help in that respect, but it's gone far beyond my expectations, and I'm probably only about halfway through.

Speaking of that replay... Have I really not updated since Jahara? I'm currently poking around hunts and making money after the escape from Draklor. A lot has happened since I wrote my last update, and unfortunately I don't quite have all my thoughts collected any more, but a few memories and impressions:

  • Al-Cid! What a great character, and how well does he play off Ashe? And how irritated does Balthier seem by him? I really wish the game had done more with him.

  • Do all judges change their name when they assume the mantle of judgeship? Or maybe just Judges Magister? Reddas uses an alias (Zecht); so does Gabranth. Or is Reddas the alias, taken when he turned sky pirate, as Balthier changed his name when he left? If the game answers this question, I don't remember it

  • Ahh, the Phon Coast. This time around, I saw inklings of a Balthier/Ashe ship before we got there, but as with my original playthrough, this is the scene that really crystallizes the idea. I adore that scene -- learning the truth of Balthier's past, his resignation to the fact that he can't run from his father's insane schemes anymore, discovering that Ashe's marriage to Rasler was arranged, but that the affection between them was true, Balthier's fear that Ashe will claim the magicite and its power as her own. As it happens, I got to that point in the game a week ago Saturday, and watching the scene put a key line of dialogue in my head, just in time for lassarina to need the story that would contain it. Sometimes, the universe arranges things properly.

  • Balthier in Archades is interesting, and the interplay with Jules with all its suggestiveness about his backstory. There's a character that was fully drawn with only a few strokes. The creators of this game did a good job with that, I thought -- populating Ivalice with characters that seem like real people with histories and motivations. Bit players, secondary characters, most of the party. Unfortunately, I think one character gets really short shrift in this respect: Ashe. Because she drives the plot with her decisions, her character changes in whatever way the machinations of the plot needs it to change. So she jumps around in ways that don't always make sense if you're thinking of her as a character rather than the motivation for the game. It's too bad, really -- I think the plot would have been much stronger if they had developed her changes more slowly.

I'm sure there is more, but it's late and I'm not thinking of it. More later...


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 24th, 2009 11:27 am (UTC)
I believe Gabranth changed his name not as a result of assuming the mantle of a judge, but rather to cover his origins; or at least that's the assumption I operate under.

As far as I know, Zecht chooses to become Reddas to hide from his past, rather than Zecht being his chosen name as a Judge, but again, I might be crazy.

Some nosing about in the FF Wiki (http://finalfantasy.wikia.com draws a lot from Ultimania), tells me that Zecht was born Foris Zecht, and chose the name Reddas when he went to Balfonheim.
Aug. 24th, 2009 12:59 pm (UTC)
That does make sense. I had also wondered whether the judges were using their last names or their first -- would Bathier have been Judge Ffamran or Judge Bunansa? Given that detail about Zecht, it seems the latter.

Once I finish this replay, I should really sit down with that site and learn more about the background. How good is the Ultimania for FFXII? I know I have some serious quibbles with the FFX one, given how it doesn't always connect with what we saw in the game (Lulu's age being the most glaring example).
Aug. 24th, 2009 01:02 pm (UTC)
I don't read Japanese, so I don't know the full details of the Ultimania (I usually only know what I need-to-know for a specific piece I'm writing). I have a little bit of a quibble with one thing on the FF Wiki, which says that Zecht ran the 9th before Gabranth took it over, but I'm not sure that that makes any sense--I was of the impression that Gabranth was already a Judge Magister before That Whole Thing With Raminas, although I guess it would make sense to use that as a test of his loyalty. Then again, Zecht-running-the-Ninth is not Ultimania, but fanon assumption, as far as I know.

I still maintain that no matter WHAT he says, Balthier is not as young as the strategy guide says he is. He's lying about his age.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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