Hello folks! Hope you’re doing well.

The official trailer for FFXIV patch 5.3 arrived early yesterday morning (that is to say, Thursday evening, Japan time.) In addition to being beautiful as always, and containing a lot to be excited about for the game, it also contained… well…


FFXIV Patch 5.3: Reflections in Crystal

Now, FFXIV does have a noted history of threatening characters in trailers. Many of those threats have turned out to be empty. But I’m not willing to hold my breath here. This is too thematically appropriate, too true to the characters, too… right, even if it hurts to admit that.

Raph and I both know what we signed up for. It’s been promised by the story since the first.

August 11th will be…  an ending, at best. Raph’s final ending, at worst. There are yet ways that this could shake out and still preserve what’s left of his soul, but that topic would be worthy of a post in its own right, and the final deadline is right around the corner now.

In the meantime, my little attempt at spicy fanfiction continues to make progress over at AO3. If y’all had told me, when I first started playing this game two years ago, that 330+ people would eventually read the R-rated work I’d produce based on it, I would have asked you where you found access to the good shit outside of Washington. (Yeah, yeah, almost everyone has it these days, don’t @ me for making a lousy joke at the expense of my home state.)

The others continue to grow, too. The kudos (AO3’s equivalent of Facebook likes) are coming in slow and steady. I’ve even gotten a couple of comments now, which is a huge boost to my confidence. The last time I got actual feedback on a written work from strangers was prior to 2015.

It’s frustrating to admit how desperate I’ve been for this, since the rational part of me is well aware that people often don’t have the time or energy to engage these days. I was also raised with the understanding that if the same thing (silence) keeps happening over and over, maybe it’s not everyone else, it’s you. But I also thought my work was good — not just fanfiction good, but proper stories in their own rights, worthy of the time and effort I’d put into them.

I’m going to do my best to keep up with this, regardless of what happens to Raphail once August arrives. If need be, I’ll transform him into something or someone that can survive the experience.

An alternate take in which his eldest brother Allaz survives the events of their childhood to become the Warrior of Light instead isn’t unthinkable. I’ve always had a soft spot for him, and I hated having to say goodbye to him so early in Raph’s past! I even have a character design saved for him. If I ever get serious about playing on an RP server sometime, I’m thinking that’s the way to go too, since Raph is pretty tailored and specific to the story version in my head at this juncture.

But I’m hoping it won’t come to that. I want Raph to survive. I want this to be the silver lining that G’raha has always stood for, even if it means saying farewell to who he has become in the years since he went to sleep. It may break Raph’s heart to do it, but I know he wants that too. Beneath the husband, son, brother, and friend that he’s always been, he is and has always been a survivor at his core. If there is any way out of this, they will find it, together.: it’s what I’ve always written for the two of them, and I see nothing to suggest that Square-Enix and Ishikawa-san feel otherwise.

If not, then they will bear that grief together too.

One last time.

I can only hope I will be as brave.


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