Let's get this thing started!!
It's been a little while since we cleared our last scenario, but now there's only one left~~
We load up our clear data from last time, and head to the character selection screen. Ventus's brother Briza was murderered 5 years ago, and so Ventus became a Carrier to try to solve the mystery behind the murder and avenge his death. The bio also talks about meeting the first dragon which I'm pretty sure never explicitly happens in the story (well, I mean, something happens that I guess is supposed to be that, but without this bio, you would have no idea that is what is happening?? I think??????
But, well, that's the SaGa way.
The developer note says that if you're "willing" to work as a Carrier, then "go for it." It says you'll be financially secure with the job, so it might be a good place to start the game... But, uh, Carrier's wages are measley crap. Maybe it gets better later... But it is a terrible source of income early in the game, at least. The biggest draw to Carrier business is that it gives you access to an unlimited number of adventures that continue to scale upward in difficulty -- so you have basically unlimited opportunity for character growth. As you go on, too, this means the treasures you find on the roads will be a good source of income... but that has little to do with your job as a Carrier and it takes a while before the funds are really helpful. But that's also partly because the carried-over market rank is throwing all of this good stuff in our face early when we don't have nearly enough money to buy it...
But, uh, yeah, let's just play the game.
Vent's story begins in Wanda, which is labeled "Carrier Central." Despite the fact that it always says this and the fact that we're starting the game as a Carrier, I never really... thought about what this meant until now. Like, this is the big Carrier headquarters, I guess. Like, all towns have a branch of the Carriers' Guild, but Wanda is like ... Carrier... Central. OK, I guess that's not really a big deal but for some reason I just... never really realized this was the big Carrier hub until writing this JUST NOW so I feel kind of stupid. Also it explains why there are so many people here and why the carrier dude is unique here.
We begin the game in the Carriers' Guild itself, with said unique carrier dude. And of course, Ventus, who we have met previous in Kurt's scenario for just a bit. Ventus comes in asking about the last delivery of Team Lafarle, the Carrier group that his brother was a part of. Dude just tells him to go home, saying that Carriers don't talk business with outsiders. Now, if Ventus has been a carrier for five years now, why has he never once been to this place so no one recognizes him? Actually... thinking about it now, Ventus is only 19, so maybe the bio just meant his brother died five years ago, but he's only just now becoming a Carrier. Wow, actually, that makes a lot more sense. I mean, not that it's unreasonable for a 14-year-old to run around this world on their own when Josef was totally cool with 8-year-old Judy going through Jade Forest and the Vale of Swords on her own.
Anyway, Ventus corrects Dude and says that he is a Carrier (and not a kid!) and that his brother, Briza, was a member of Lafarle. The whole place errupts into a hubbub of people talking about Briza and wondering what this little punk has to do with him. Ventus seems surprised that his brother was so famous, which is another thing that would not make sense if he'd already been doing that for five years. So I guess he just started being a Carrier. I don't know how I can be so oblivious to things when I'm playing and just kinda go with whatever is thrown at me and then when I write about it suddenly notice everything lol. Well, actually, when playing, I didn't read the bio this time so I had completely forgotten that Briza's murder was supposed to have been five years prior to the events of the game.
After hearing that Ventus is Briza's brother, Dude gives him the order receipt thing of Lafarle's last mission. Apparently, their last order was to deliver wine to Fugar in Longshank. Ventus asks for a job to Carry to Longshank because he could "use the work," but Dude doesn't want to trust any packages to a "scrawny thing" like Vent which he's just going alone. But Ventus begs for anything at all to Carry, and Dude gives in to his whining and gives him a letter written to his daughter who is the head of the Longshank branch. Despite getting his requests fulfilled, Ventus takes this time to make fun of the poor guy and he shoos him away. As he's leaving, though, the guy asks for his name, and we get a voiced line of Vent saying, "My name is Ventus!"
Pretty much all of Vent's voiced lines are super dramatic, but like... fittingly so. Like, Ventus is a full-of-himself kid who thinks he's the greatest person on the entire face of the Earth (or whatever this place is called) and thinks he's like... the big hero in some kind of story. Well, I mean, he is, but it's not like he's supposed to know that. When you select him on the character select screen, he even says, "I am the man!" and stuff lol.
And so, we're off on our first Carrier mission. Unlike normal adventures, Carrier missions are accessed from the Carriers' Guild instead of the inn. Once you accept a mission, you can't travel between towns freely by using the world map -- exiting a town immediately puts you on the road to the next town on the way toward your destination, and you essentially just complete a "travelling" adventure from town to town like this. Yup, a whole game full of travelling adventures!
It's not nearly as bad as it sounds, though, because you have control over what missions you take, and there's very few actually required to clear the game. And we still have access to subadventures like normal, and we're going to be having normal story adventures from the inn, too.
Let's take a quick look at Ventus's Makings. His Ability Makings are great for defenses, with his Strength and Magic Making both being 3 as well, which isn't terrible. He also has a 4 in Earth Making (the max!) and a 3 in Fire Making, which is pretty good, meaning you can build him in a large variety of ways. He's pretty well-rounded character and really open to the player's freedom of choice, which is pretty fitting for his much more 'open' style of gameplay.
And with that, we've looked at the Makings of every character in the game! Yeah, we're not going to be meeting anyone new this time -- sadly, once you've cleared all but one adventure, you'll have seen every character before since everyone appears in two different adventures. The only exception to this is Iskandar, so if you save Ruby's scenario for last, you'll be able to have one new character at least. But can you imagine doing that snorefest as your finale?
Ventus starts the game equipped with a spear, which isn't a bad weapon choice for him, since he doesn't excel particularly at Strength or Skill. It's also one of the best weapons to start the game with because it has a lot of powerful early-game arts that can dish out plenty of damage, as well as access to Grasshopper, which is strong in its own right with the ability to Stun. No need for martial arts here!
After wandering the road for a bit, we run into a weird castle place and decide it's cool to just barge right in. This is the same castle we explore in the subadventure Abandoned Castle, with the crazy old necro King, but most of it is blocked off to us for the sake of this little adventure.
After a little exploring inside, we come across some weird-looking guy harassing a girl who we know from Mythe's scenario as Tiffon. There's a wine bottle floating above her head, which flies off the screen, and then she shouts, "Stay away!" I guess the wine bottle floating and then flying is supposed to show that it is in her possession, something I also just completely let go by without wondering what it actually meant before. But it's actually kinda cool realizing that we come across this scene seeing Tiffon protecting the bottle from this guy.
And if you can't tell, this guy is a vampire. I don't know why, but vampires like to cover their face in this game, if you remember Vampire Clyde from the end of Judy's scenario. He also has red eyes. And I don't know if this was just a him-and-Clyde thing, but maybe all vamps have blond hair, too?
Ventus, being the twerp that he is, decides he's going to save the "damsel," who honestly at this point is probably way stronger than him anyway.
A battle ensues against the guy, who promptly beats the crap out of Ventus. This is a scripted-to-lose fight, though it is a legitimate battle. I don't know what would happen if you managed to win. I feel like it would be next to impossible to win at this point in the game, though. But I'm curious if it's possible and what happens. I remember seeing something about what happens if Laura and Dagul Bos die simultaneously during Henri's big showdown. I don't remember what happens now, though, lol.
Anyway, there are some voiced lines during the battle, but I can't understand them and there are no subtitles in battle. He says something about "family blood," though. The vamp disappears and Ventus gets up to ask Tiffon if she is okay.
But Tiffon just tells him that she didn't ask for any of this, again referring to Ventus as 'kid.' He gets annoyed, but she reminds him that he was the one who jumped in and started fighting on his own -- it had nothing to do with whether she needed it or not.
We regain control of Ventus, but all we get to do is walk a little bit before he finds a copy of the Carrier order that we were given in Wanda by Dude. He realizes it has blood on it, and that the vampire said something about "family blood," so obviously the only logical conclusion is that we now know that five years ago that same vampire killed Briza at this very spot. Excellent crime scene investigation work, Vent. Makes complete sense to me. And apparently to the universe this game takes place in, because we're supposed to assume that that was what really happened, I guess.
The screen fades to black and we get a voice clip of Ventus yelling his brother's name. Then we get to go to the panel selection screen. After that, we arrive in Zomar, where we see a little flashback in the pub of Briza talking to one of the members of Team Lafarle. She says that she has something she wants to talk to him about after they finish their delivery to Longshank, and then they gossip a little about Fugar. The girl asks Briza if he doesn't drink when he makes a comment on Fugar's obsession with the wine, and he says he "prefers to see the world with a clear head." So we can already tell that Briza is infinitely more mature and cool than Ventus ever will be. He's also kinda more handsome, too, with his long hair and not-so-kiddish look.
After the flashback, we cut to present-time Zomar, where Tiffon's portrait replaces the picture of the girl from the flashback, and just so happens to be the same size and pose and everything... and yeah, I was super oblivious and this meant nothing to me at all when I first saw it.
Ventus catches Tiffon spacing out and asks her if she's "thinking about an old beau" and she just slings some insults at him. He tries to hit on her, which she sees as utterly ridiculous, telling him to run home to mama. People being blatantly dismissive toward Ventus is one of the best parts of his scenario, honestly, hahaha.
Tiffon walks away, but as we're about to leave, she returns and apologizes for her behavior (seriously, though, no apology is necessary). Ventus shows his class by calling her a "hot babe" and wondering why she looks so familiar. And yeah, still didn't mean anything to me.
We go through another little travelling mission from Zomar to Longshank. There's really not anything to say about it because it's a very short trip. When we arrive, we head to the Carriers' Guild to deliver our item. The cute guildmaster here is surprised to see a letter from her dad, and then starts to look for some easy work to give to Ventus since Dude said in his letter than Ventus was a noob twerp. Then she brings up Briza, and Ventus is again shocked at how popular he was. She says that it wasn't that he was amazing or anything, but he just sort of stood out. Nuage appears and confirms that everyone knew Briza "at that time." Then he says "carrying is life" and Ventus makes fun of him.
We're gifted a little cutscene of Ventus's face, looking very twerpish.
And with that, we're finally given a little bit of freedom. Since we're no longer on a carrier mission, we can freely go to any town through the world map and do some shopping and stuff. But for now, we're going to visit Fugar's place, since he might have a clue about Briza.
Fugar has a guard out front his house who doesn't want to listen to Ventus or Tiffon, and makes sarcastic remarks about how he's hearing sounds whenever they talk. Even when Tiffon says she has information about Dragonheart (the wine), the guy won't budge. Ventus eventually threatens to get Fugar to punish and fire him for not doing his job (like Ventus would have any influence over this lmao) and somehow that works. The guy makes a "tch" and runs off to request an audience with Fugar for them, and then lets them in when he returns.
We finally get in to talk to Big Daddy Fugar, who thinks we actually have the Dragonheart with us. When he finds out we don't, he doesn't seem to care to talk to us anymore, and grumbles a bit about how the carrier who was supposed to bring it five years ago died on the way to Longshank, against their contract. Ventus starts to get heated, but Tiffon shuts him up. She tries to extract any information she can about Dragonheart from Fugar, but it proves fruitless as he really doesn't seem to know anything.
Outside, Ventus grumbles himself about how useless the trip was, and how it's going to be annoying to gather information now. Tiffon tells him that he needs to reform Team Lafarle, but Ventus seems surprised that she even knows what Team Lafarle is. She says that he had talked about it before, and Ventus accepts that and walks off. Alone, Tiffon says "Whew" to herself. And yeah, STILL I did not realize that we were supposed to recognize Tiffon as someone who knew Briza. I know, I know. I just really am this unobservant and stupid lol.
And with that, our adventures in Ventus's scenario are underway. I've actually played like, most of the way through the story (as in, this time, I know I keep mentioning that I played through most of it before), and this scenario actually has probably the most developed narrative of all the scenarios. So that's pretty great that I ended up choosing this one to end on. The story is actually pretty interesting, so look forward to that~