Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Happy birthday, to my magical (virtual) wife Miriel

Today's a special day - at least, that's what the game that's all but Krazy Glued into my 3DS is telling me.  It's my virtual wife's birthday.  

How did such a momentous day sneak up on me, and why is it significant?

The first question is easy to answer - we were only married a few weeks ago on a quiet battlefield at an altar built from the mangled bodies of our fallen enemies - but the second is a bit more involved, and serves as an explanation for everything that makes Fire Emblem: Awakening great.

My main character first met Miriel way back in the second chapter of the game, and I chalked up the initial infatuation to adolescent low level attraction. I knew that marriage was a thing in Awakening, and that characters could couple up (and eventually have kids) so I didn't want my character to dive on one of the first dating prospects we came across.

As time and battles wore on, however, Miriel began to win my character over with her demure personality, cute glasses, and ability to dismissively melt the faces off of enemy troops with fireballs and bolts of lightening. Yet as she did her best to impress me, my character  - sly boots that he is - was being courted by graceful Pegasus Knights, tomboyish Cavaliers, and snide Troubadours (to say nothing of an aloof, and slightly demonic wererabbit).

Still, my character and I couldn't help going back to his first love. The Cavalier was needed to protect an effete nobleman archer, the Pegasus Knight helped move our warband's leader into the thick of battle, and the wererabbit... just kinda scared me.  Miriel, however, needed my main character.

For all of her intellect and frightening magical power, she was about as resilient as a box of stale pasta.

Soon, my character was able to move past his desire to play the field (I kept him away from FAQs and online game guides so as not to spoil his surprise) and commit to Miriel.  It was difficult to win her over again as my character had been spreading his Support Conversations around the camp pretty freely, but soon they were slipping back into their usual banter.

Then, after an otherwise unremarkable random encounter, I saw the sign that we were waiting for: she wanted to talk.  She was ready to take our "A" support rank up to the "S" level.

I hesitated briefly before clicking on her, glancing quickly at a Fire Emblem Wiki to see what other girls would come into my character's life: there was a moody Dark Mage wearing a full-body stocking, a sultry Wyvern Rider confident enough to wear open-back armor, a coquettish weredragon of the lolita persuasion, and an austere Samurai princess with a grudge.

Suddenly, sane and sensible Miriel started looking irresistable and we both took the plunge.  I pressed the A button.

The marriage itself was a brief and somewhat awkward affair, and afterwards conversations between us all but stopped (a phenomenon that many married couples can relate to), but Awakening let me fill in the gaps with my imagination. I didn't need to take Miriel on every mission with my main character, but I knew he'd want her beside him.  Soon, she became a permanent fixture in my roster.

As a reward for this roleplaying, Awakening would occasionally provide brief glimpses into their relationship when I went looking for treasure on a battlefield map.

Admittedly, this wasn't the sort of treasure I was after (would it have killed them to have this conversation as they were digging up a Master Seal?) but the metaphorical treasure was almost more valuable in the long run.

Sure, these conversations wouldn't help me promote my Mercenary to Hero any faster, but they helped provide my imagination with a bit more material to work with as Miriel and my character continued their life, romance, and adventures together.

And that, my friends, is the greatest treasure of all.

...second to Master Seals, because - for fucks sake, Awakening - would it kill you to give me a steady supply of these things?