There are always consequences to being a part of a world. If you think about how each person who lives or dies has a story of their own or is part of someone’s story, you’d get the feeling that the one of the most terrifying things about being in the world is knowing you have an effect on people that can subtly or greatly the course of their personal story.
I tell you about the awe-inspiring and terrifying power of connectedness to others because someone told me a tale. It’s a tale that I didn’t think much of at first, but am now raring to experience and complete, once I am able to do a certain dungeon’s hard mode.
That dungeon is Tam Tara Deepcroft, and I will tell you my own notions on this tale spun by Pacoeltaco on the FFXIV subreddit. This is the tale of a young woman named Edda, her adventuring band, and the severed head she carried in a box after our first fateful meeting.
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!
She Who Carries Potions
You first encounter Edda and her adventuring companions Avere, Liavinne, and Paiyo Reiyo at the entrance to the level 15 dungeon, Sastasha. Of these, Avere is noteworthy because Pacoeltaco noted in his analysis that they might be in a relationship. It is also entirely possible, however, that Edda is projecting romantic feelings onto the fellow, who seems to be a jerk based on the limited dialog provided to him.
Spurred on by tales of heroes like you (or of you, more like), Avere, Edda, and company want to complete Sastasha for fame and glory, but unlike the adventurer you are, they do not have an innate Blessing that allows them to constantly rise from death.
They also don’t have a competent healer, as it seems Edda knows less about casting healing conjurations and more about throwing potions instead. At Sastasha’s entrance, Edda announces she was only able to buy two potions for their excursion from the money given to her.
She Who Carries the Dead
The crypt called Tam-Tara Deepcroft is a level 16-or-so dungeon when you first encounter it. It’s meant to be a resting place for rulers and nobles, but has since fallen into disrepair and ill repute because of cultists.
As one of many adventuring bands hoping to tackle the Deepcroft, your task is stop the cultist menaces and whatever else they’ve summoned in the depths. Edda’s adventuring party is also there.
While you manage to complete Tam-Tara Deepcroft, Edda’s party is not so lucky. Avere is dead. Their adventuring group disbands, and as a parting shot, Liavinne reminds cruelly tells Edda, “I’m leaving as well. I doubt this comes as any surprise, but I never liked you. I only suffered you for your healing, and you couldn’t even do that one thing right.”
She also tells Edda to stop dragging her guilt around like a severed head… which is, in fact, all that is left of Avere.
The innkeeper, who witnesses the breakup of their party with you, advises you that there’s not much that can be done, and that this is a common occurrence. The thing is, she doesn’t quite know you’re an uncommon fellow, and would a little kindness to a woman who’s lost everything been a small consolation?
She Who Weds the Dead
The problem is unresolved and left hanging for most of the main story. You’ll even come across Liavinne during your level 30-something quests, and she ends up dying and being carried by you to a waiting wagon a burial.
Eventually, after completion of the main story, you come across a quest from Paiyo Reiyo – the last remaining former party member of Edda’s. The quest is called Corpse Groom and is the introductory quest to Tam Tara Deepcroft, Hard Mode, one of the new additions in Patch 2.3: Defenders of Eorzea.
Paiyo asks you for help as he’s been given an invitation to a wedding… in Tam-Tara Deepcroft. Except it’s a wedding for Edda and Avere. Obviously, some bad juju is going down, and it’s up to you to investigate.
You Who Left Her Behind
Throughout Tam Tara Deepcroft Hard Mode are some lost folios, all of which point to Edda’s state of mind growing more crooked till it breaks completely from her travels.
Case in point: Folio Entry 2:
“I could not have hoped for a more romantic first visit to Mor Dhona. The crystals that pierce the landscape glowed in all their majesty, as if to celebrate our future together. And as we lazed by Silvertear Lake, watching the waves lapping at the shore, the sun took its leave behind the horizon, that we might enjoy a moment of intimacy.
‘I want us to be together forever.’ You first said these words to me years ago, and you said them to me again tonight. I am so happy to be with you.”
For all intents and purposes, Edda has learned Necromancy rather than White Magic, and has used the souls of the dead and sacrificed living people so she wouldn’t be alone. Not only did she resurrect (and attach wings to) Avere’s severed head; she’s also resurrected Liavinne, whom you have to defeat along the way.
If it weren’t for your interference, Paiyo Reiyo would have been sacrificed to further enhance Avere. Edda falls to her death, smiling all the while.
The question that comes to me, contrived as it may seem, is simple: if her connections with people and her mind were so fragile, would my interference long before completing Tam-Tara Deepcroft have helped to ease her pain?
The answer in the game is simple: they don’t want you to ask that question. You’re a silent protagonist, and even then, your actions are bound by the need to complete a storyline. There is no scenario, among the millions of people playing Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, where Edda receives a thoughtful word or concern from others.
In the real world, however, I have that luxury to care. I’m lucky enough that a Reddit post, and a compelling, albeit a twisted, J-horror-like storyline could make me care about human beings more.
That said, I’ll leave you with Paiyo Reiyo’s last vision of Edda. In death, Edda, at least, will never be alone again.
Victor Barreiro Jr. / Victor Barreiro Jr. maintains the the Landmark/Everquest Next and Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn columns for MMORPG.com. He also writes for news website Rappler as a technology reporter. You can find more of his writings on Games and Geekery and on Twitter at @vbarreirojr.