While there are undoubtedly a great many moments which I found memorable while
playing Etrian Odyssey-and indeed, more to come, with both the sequel and those parts of
the first game I haven't yet seen-my favorite memory is a somewhat unusual choice. The
quest to survive on B8 for five days, while frustrating and almost tedious, felt like a great
accomplishment when all was said and done. It was also an opportunity to get into my
characters' "heads" and imagine what they might really be like.
Becca, the Protector, was the leader of the group, and had been since before their first step
into the Labyrinth. She burdened herself with decisions about the guild's recruitment,
exploration team, and finances. She also troubled herself with the most difficult task of all:
defending her group from the endless hordes of deadly monsters. Becca took it all too
personally whenever someone fell in battle.
The Dark Hunter, Lena, used her keen senses to record the paths the party traversed as
they explored the unknown. Pat, the troubadour, was always working to cheer everyone
up, even as things were grim. The party's final core member was a Medic, Mint, who
though somewhat absentminded, always strove to improve her skills.
For this task, Becca felt she needed one more party member, naturally, and so came the
question of who the fifth should be. Ultimately, she settled on Damon, the alchemist, whose
powerful Lightning strikes frequently proved useful, despite his somewhat cold personality.
With all the preparations they had made complete, they carefully made their way down to
the eighth level, and after drinking out of the refreshing spring, were anxious to begin their
ordeal. Initially, they explored the floor more than they had in the past, feeling brave and
confident, especially with the spring nearby.
After some time, Pat was struck down, in an unlucky ambush. With no worries, the group
revived the Troubadour with one of their Nectars. Several hours later, it happened again,
but they once again revived their companion. Although there were no more, Pat
encouraged them all not to worry. They were becoming stronger after each battle.
Eventually, Damon was the victim of an unfortunate fate, and worse in this case, the party
could not save him in their current position. It had been thirty-eight hours since their quest
had begun, according to Becca. The next few days would be miserable. The group
retreated to the room containing the spring, and, finding that it was safe, rested there for
several hours, aside from the leader. She paced back and forth in the small area until day
broke once again. In the morning, she urged everyone to continue fighting. "This is only
proof that we must become even stronger!" The exhausting battles continued on, broken
by the cherished trips to the mystical pool which was responsible for their continued efforts.
As the fourth morning set in, Pat was brought down once again. Though the Troubadour
had not contributed much to the fighting, the absence of the cheery and relaxing songs was
sure to be missed. From that moment on, the remaining trio spoke not to each other.
Their heads swam with fear and regret. Could the three of them, alone, survive, when two
had fallen? Had they failed in their duty to each other? Afraid to worsen the situation, they
kept their mouths shut and continued with silent resolve, directed by Becca's movements
and the tip of Lena's whip.
Finally, as it seemed the hell would never end, they entered the spring, and drank, as they
had so many times. As they moved for the door, the leader suddenly turned around and
motioned Lena and Mint to stop. She opened the backpack containing their many
belongings and the numerous items they planned to bring back to Etria, retrieved a small,
golden thread. Then, she smiled.
The three picked up the limp bodies of their companions and placed their hands on the
wire. In a split second, they found themselves all in the town square, as the excited
townspeople ran out to greet them. They had not been seen in five days, and many did not
believe they would ever come back. Becca's smile, though weary, did not fade. Not as she
told the townspeople that everything was alright. Nor when she paid for the revival of her
comrades and greeted their once again healthy selves. Not even as she collapsed on the
bed in the Inn, still in her full armor.
Early the next morning, the guild assembled themselves, to see her, already there, grinning
and excitedly telling them all that they would have a well-earned day off.