The Lore Train – A Starlight Miracle

15 Dec 2016

Those players who have been around since Version 1.0 will notice a familiar face during the Starlight Celebration this year. Didn’t recognize him? Don’t remember who he was? After partaking in the festivities, join us in a walk down memory lane, as his return is something of a Starlight miracle. There might be some new revelations in there, as well. (Wink wink, nudge nudge.)

After the return of so many features from the Lominsan side of 1.0 (shout outs to Rostnsthal, Travanchet, and the devs who brought them back), I was just beginning to lobby for the return of Damielliot. On the list of next-best lost-quests, he’s pretty high up there—and it turns out that he’s a favorite of World Lore Creator Banri Oda-san, too.

Imagine my surprise then when our old friend simply walked out of the Phrontistery children’s ward and started offering me Starlight Celebration quests.

Damielliot is the son of Faustigeant, former master of the Alchemists’ Guild, and the late Eolande Quiveron, former Syndicate member as owner of Frondale’s Phrontistery. In Version 1.0, he appeared in Echoes of 1562 as well as in the present day of 1572. (He didn’t age in those ten years, but this was likely due to the extended childhoods of the Elezen.)

In the Ul’dahn introduction to the main scenario, Echoes of 1562 revealed that Minfilia’s father was brought into the care of the Phrontistery after being mauled by a goobbue during a parade. After he died, however, guildmaster Faustigeant callously rushed the body’s removal from the sick rooms to make way for other patients. Damielliot lingered behind to comfort the young Minfilia and warn that the cost of not burying the dead far exceeds the gil required to do so (as they may become ashkin if not properly returned to Hydaelyn). When a funeral was later arranged (a series of events possibly spurred by the boy’s warnings), he even hired a mourner to be in attendance.

By 1572, Damielliot had begun to fall into bizarre fits of sleep, sometimes unable to be roused for days at a time. Faustigeant dedicated himself nigh wholly to saving his son, even seeing that adventurers recruited into the guild aided in finding rare herbs and preparing experimental remedies. (Loremaster Banri Oda actually included a throwback to this in 3.0: the sleeping potion used by Lolorito to spirit away Nanamo Ul Namo before her assassination by Teledji was concocted by Faustigeant while attempting to find a cure for his son. To Oda-san’s frustration, however, not many people remembered the plight of one of his favorite characters.)

Anyroad, later in the main scenario, Damielliot was found wandering the Phrontistery as the adventurer rushed in looking for F’lhaminn, who they had seen injured in a vision of the past and confused it for the present. The inquiry leads the Echo to take hold of Damielliot—revealing more events of 1562—but the toll it takes on his mind causes him to collapse back into slumber and he is rushed back to his sickroom.

This was where the Alchemists’ Guild story arc began, and why so many of us have strong memories of it. Adventurers who joined the guild were tasked with procuring the resources to attempt to wake Damielliot. Upon stirring, however, it appeared that he was again reacting to the presence of the Echo; he spoke of sensing a strange power and recognizing the adventurer from a decade past. This anomaly garnered much attention among loremongers. For a time, I even suspected that Damielliot might be an undiagnosed Woken, but in retrospect Occam’s Razor suggests that he was simply confusing the past and the present (like we did) due to our impact on his memory.

As the one-day Warrior of Light became popular with the other children of the ward, who looked up to Damielliot, they begged to hear the ending to a story he had begun and never finished. A young boy from the forest was kidnapped by brigands, he had told them, hoping to ransom him back to his parents. Having thrown him on chocoback and fled far north, they were set upon by a great dragon whose wings had blown the bandits from the chocobos as it attacked. The story had been left on this cliffhanger, but in a fortunate twist of fate, the adventurer found someone who knew of the tale when sent to Gridania to fetch herbs for further remedies.

The Gridanian believed that this story was The Boy and the Dragon Gay, a tale forbidden in Ishgard. From where Damielliot had left off, the Gridanian believed, the boy would have fallen into a ravine during the attack. Broken and helpless, he would be surrounded by wild beasts, but another dragon—young and feeble like him—would take pity on him. Charring the beasts and driving them away, the dragon would befriend the boy and, in time, they would fly the northern skies together as life-long friends.

After providing the latest remedy to Damielliot and finishing the story for the children, the boy begins to awaken … but the Echo takes hold of him once more. The adventurer appeared in his memory, in the mountains of Coerthas, where he had fallen into a ravine. He spoke of his parents being made to pay a ransom and that he had to find them before they went through with it, but the vision abruptly ends. Damielliot’s “dreams” and strange mumblings were immediately forgotten in the excitement surrounding the success of the remedy, and the narrative never looked back, leaving loremongers to pick at them for years to come.

So Damielliot was the boy from the story the whole time, right? Wrong, actually! That tale is far older and has been warped much since its inception. (You can read about it in the Great Gubal Library!) In the original tale, the dragon that attacked the bandits had long been the boy’s friend and was coming to his rescue having sensed him in danger. The grievous injuries suffered by the boy led the dragon to offer him to drink of his blood that he might rise again, transformed. Thus the boy would take wing and never be heard from again.

So what of the Echo we experienced via Damielliot? I believe the answer lies in how the story changed over time. To really highlight those changes, let’s review a slightly-less-than-canon version of the tale, lost to the final testing phases of Version 1.0. In this telling of The Boy and the Dragon Gay, the kidnapped child was an impoverished lad from the city who always dreamed that he was as free and powerful as a dragon. Laying broken in the ravine, the dragon that came to his aid was a feeble child of the one that had attacked the brigands. The two would go on help each other throughout many struggles and become life-long friends.

I suspect that this lost version of the tale is the one the Gridanian knew, and that Damielliot had changed the beginning when telling it to his friends. Why? I suspect that Damielliot was once in Gridania for treatment when he was kidnapped by brigands, just like the boy in the story. The kidnappers planned to ransom him back to his wealthy Ul’dahn parents, but were attacked by a dragon, just like the brigands in the story. This experience would have left a profound mark on Damielliot, and so I suspect that he incorporated it into The Boy and the Dragon Gay when he told it to others. I suspect that the truth was simply lost as the story changed forms; as Damielliot wandered the warrens between reality and dream, and as the adventurer wandered the warrens of the past in memories not their own.

Moreover, I would not find it surprising in the least if both Damielliot’s kidnapping and his mysterious illness were threads of a Monetarist-backed conspiracy aimed at bringing down Eolande Quiveron. After all, the Encyclopædia Eorzea states that her death, blamed on the Calamity, might have been an assassination at the behest of the same faction I now accuse of harming her son. In a sad twist, you can find Eolande herself wandering the Palace of the Dead, crying out for her child.

It’s not hard to see why so many latched onto the young Elezen’s fate, either, but now we need worry no longer. Since 1572, he has overcome his illness (perhaps because his mother is no longer on the Syndicate…) and has grown up to manage the very children’s ward where he spent so much of his childhood. It’s a heartwarming end for a character many fretted over, and it’s heartwarming to know that Oda-san was able to give him the closure he deserved.

Happy Starlight Celebration, everyone!
See you at Heavensturn!