Yeah, I’m not even going to attempt to avoid spoilers here. Like, at all. So, y’know, reader beware.
Yesterday, I wrote about some of the lore bombs that got dropped in the newest trailer for Shadowbringers. Today I’m going to take that, stretch it out, mix in some of trininomad’s comments, and see what we end up with. I’m sure this has something to do with the fact that I’m also working on a poetry explication essay, so my brain is currently primed to read, analyze, and overanalyze. When I quote the trailer, I’m drawing those quotes from this reddit post by u/RainbowMc.
We’ll start with the last line, a well-timed move on Square’s part because we’re all talking about it.
“[Zodiark and Hydaelen] are gods after a fashion, yes…the eldest and most powerful……… of primals…”
While reactions to this were a bit on the stunned side, and the potential ramifications are quite interesting, it’s not like this was an entirely new idea. I’ve seen it put forth before that the Warrior of Light may be tempered by Hydaelen much the same way that others may be tempered by the lesser primals. Since an individual that’s already tempered cannot be tempered again, or untempered, this would seem at least plausible.
I have also seen, in this theory by u/Polenicus, a good argument that The Echo, at least, is not the same as being tempered. He proposes that we see other people such as Tenzen who possess something similar to the Echo without technically being considered a Warrior of Light.
That theory also touches on the real root of these problems, the fact that Hydaelen was previously referred to as the creator of “our star,” or at least co-creator alongside Zodiark. Literally called the “mother crystal.” I’m not sure I buy the idea put forward of a larger “First Crystal” which was broken, creating the “shards” of H&Z, though it does seem to make sense logically. It has a lot of due with the beginning of those three lines the trailer.
“Through prayer and sacrifice the will of the Star was made manifest.”
Due to the overall flow of that bit of conversation, we are led to believe that this line also refers to Zodiark and Hydaelen. While it doesn’t exactly prove the First Crystal as being false or non-existent, it does show that neither of the H&Z pair can be a true Creator, as they come into existence via prayer and sacrifice. Since non-existent beings don’t tend to pray or sacrifice, this implies that either sapient creature pre-date them or that “the Star” is itself capable of these things without the need for other beings. This would be mirrored in trininomad’s comment yesterday “I suspected that Hydaelyn and Zodiark were never sentient creatures initially but gained awareness thanks to some sort of worship.”
This brings us to the next point, the nature of Aether. We know that everything is, on some level, composed of this energy. When sufficient strength of will is exercised by an individual or group and enough ambient Aether is available then a primal is formed. A physical manifestation of their desire that is in turn capable of dominating the Aether and free will of most individuals. I’ve always had an issue with one of the stated goals of the Ascians that was mentioned in yesterday’s comment “they were weakening Hydaelyn by deliberately encouraging the creation of primals to draw on the aether.”
I had a hard time figuring out how that could be the case because I assumed the physics of our world would hold true in the fantasy one, that when we defeat a primal the aether is dispersed instead of being destroyed. At the very least, this is how it’s said to work in the world consumed by the light.
“The eternal light of these creatures has confounded us for nigh on a hundred years. For each we have put down, another has risen up in it’splace. Born of the self-same aether relinquished by it’s predeccesor.”
Now, maybe my own assumptions are flawed, but I had always assumed that when a primal was destroyed that energy dispersed and any surplus would eventually solidify in crystalline form. Part of the problem, then, is that when primals are created, most of the power used to create them is derived from these crystals, not Hydaelen. It’s possible, of course, that there is a smaller “base” amount of aether drawn from Hydaelen when this happens, which would then be released in the ambient environment instead of being returned to her. The ascians could still whittle away her power in a “death by a thousand cuts” sort of way. Being a primal, the only way she could restore her own aether pool would be to absorb it from living creatures much as the other primals do, though she could conceivably absorb it from the crystals as well if they were offered to her.
This is one of the bits that I’m looking forward to in Shadowbringers. The Thirteenth is a world consumed by the darkness Zodiark and the First is a world consumed by the light Hydaelen. I look at the corrupted creatures, the voidsent, coming from the Thirteenth and look at the corrupted creatures, the sineaters, in the First and cannot help but see it as ultimately malevolent.
“Thats how the Sin Eaters came to be.They were once living creatures. Or people that were caught in the path of the flood. Once the change is wrought, there is no going back.”
“Sin Eaters […] must be fed with aether… living aether.”
They sound as though they are beings tempered by Light, consuming aether to sustain their form, like little mini-primals. If the voidsent are the same thing, what happens to their aether when it’s dissipated in our world? Not really a question I intend to get into here, but an interesting one.
“How many years have I waited for this moment? For the one possessed of Her Blessing?…For you?”
What happens to someone who possesses the Blessing of Light from Hydaelen when they also accept and embrace the Blessing of Darkness from Zodiark? Do they become the Warrior of Balance? Guess we’ll find out next month, yeah?
Y’all take care, if there’s one thing I learned from Minecraft, it’s that we should be careful how deep we dig, especially when digging straight down.