Sunday, May 26, 2013

Abandoned Tales Archive: Athos' Tale

Yeah, this is going to be a series of articles (I have quite a few unused tale ideas to share). In the previous article we discussed the unused gaiden tales, but my discarded ideas aren't limited simply to follow-ups to the existing tales. In case you couldn't tell by this article's title, at one point I'd developed a potential tale for Athos. Originally, I'd planned to leave a significant portion of FE7's cast out of Elibian Nights; by the time I pondered an Athos Tale, every other FE7 cast member had an appearance in some shape or form. I developed two concepts to give Athos an appearance as well.

Concept 1: I'd call the first concept the less developed of the two, certainly. This was the straight up "break up" fight between Athos and Nergal, at the end of which Nergal would receive his trademark burn from Athos' Forblaze. For years, Nergal had been experimenting with quintessence, turning the life force of living creatures into power, with which he intended to open the Dragons' Gate. The tale begins shortly after Athos discovers Nergal's secret, and begun with the Archsage confronting his longtime friend. This confrontation blew up into a full-scale fight, which began as a one-on-one match between Elibe's most powerful magicians. Eventually, Athos was joined in battle by the Divine Dragons of Arcadia, overpowering Nergal and banishing him from Arcadia.

Concept 2: This concept was planned to be a two-part tale. The first would show Athos meeting Nergal in the desert, where I'd planned to pit them against Elibian Nights' version of the "bandit brothers," William and Edgar (named, of course, after two authors from which we referenced; Edgar Allen Poe and William Shakespeare). After the initial meeting would be an interlude showing their developing friendship and scholarly exploits in Arcadia. The second map would have them joining the Manakete and Nabata's contemporary guardian in defending Arcadia; these events, however, were the direct result of Nergal's actions, a plot to bring him captives on which he would perform his first experiments. In the libraries, he'd discovered documentation on quintessence, which fueled his desire for power. This effort began as an attempt to open the Dragons' Gate and reunite with his lover, an Ice Dragon. Eventually, Nergal forgot why he even wanted to open the gate in the first place, consumed by his quest for power. The tale was intended to shed light on the relationship between Athos and Nergal, show the beginning of Nergal's gradual progression to villainy, and explore the motives behind his eventual descent into madness. In this concept, the focus was split between the two of them, as Athos grappled with the events unfolding around him; he found true companionship and stood by as his newfound friend began a lustful quest for power, a willful negligence in the face of evidence of Nergal's malicious intents.

What happened? Well, first off, around the same time I was developing this, Nintenlord went and started a hack called Athos Mode. Guess what? The first chapter mirrored my plans for the first half in my second concept. They say great minds think alike, right? Well, I suppose ours' must roll around in the same gutter. Although Nintenlord's hack never got past its first chapter, I decided to back off of the concept.

Beyond that, Elibian Nights had always been confined to a certain era: post-FE7, pre-FE6. An Athos Tale would break that convention, and while that breaking would open up an entire realm of possibilities for other tales, this was a Pandora's Box that I chose not to open (I've gotta finish this game someday, ya know). I decided to keep the hack's focus intact. This, in conjunction with my respect for Nintenlord (my mentor and good friend), was enough to shelve the idea for good.

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