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I'm hesitant to post this while the discussion's ongoing, but I wanna file away my thoughts on the topic on my own LJ.

muggy_mountain asked three FFX questions on her LJ, including, "What happens to the Unsent when they die? Phoenix Down works on them, but...aren't they dead?"

Disclaimer: The following essay is uber-geeking, based on the premise that the game is presenting consistent, fully-thought-out canon, not simply things that look cool or are convenient for gameplay.

Maechen: The Al Bhed have a theory, you know. They say the pyreflies are just reacting to visitors' thoughts and dreams. But only the dead appear on the Farplane. No image of the living has ever been seen. It's a great mystery! But maybe...Maybe the dead leave a bit of themselves in the hearts of the living. And that little bit borrows the pyreflies' power for their paranormal performance! Or maybe not. Who knows?
[...]They may be called "pyreflies" but they aren't really "flies," you see. They're those lights you see whenever a fiend dies. The little fellows are responsible for a few fantastic phenomena. Visions of the past, spheres, fiends-- these are all the pyreflies' doing. In fact... pyreflies have something to do with aeons, too. The dreams of the fayth reach through the spirit of the summoner... And that which is unreal becomes real for all to see! Or maybe not. Who knows?

Unified Theory of Spiran Metaphysics
With a Dose of Jungian Psychology

There are a number of non-living states of existence in the world of Spira, most of which seem to be sustained by magical, animate energy particles called pyreflies. Or, as I think of them, "Mitichlorians with a glue gun." They translate psychic images* into visible images, or, with a material substrate on which to build, corporeal forms.

*[Psyche means "soul". In Freudian and Jungian psychology, psyche ("mind, soul") is the sum total of one's conscious thoughts, the part that says "I think, therefore I am", and also unconscious urges, fears, irrationalities, instincts, and the "deeper" parts of your mind of which you aren't consciously aware. ALL of them constitute your "Self". In the real world, "unconscious contents" manifest visibly in dreams, poetry, and myths, whereas in FFX, pyreflies can make those "psychic images" manifest in the real world. As Maechen puts it, "that which is unreal becomes real for all to see."]

Okay. Back to those "non-living states of existence" in Spira. Here they are:

1. Zombies are dead bodies kept animate by some icky form of magic, but NOT pyreflies. The soul is gone. Healing magic works in reverse.

2. Fiends are the souls of the dead still clinging to this world. They're corporeal, can be healed, but are no longer human. To me, it looks as if the dead souls have lost almost all their self-identity, and all that's left are fragments of the unconscious self. The pyreflies are preserving them in a mutated form that visibly manifests what little is left of their souls: primal animal/vegetal urges, pain, madness, etc.

3. Unsent are the souls of the dead clinging to their self-identity through some powerful emotion or purpose: some focused bit of the psyche that death can't break down. I believe that unsent retain the original matter of their dead bodies patched, reassembled and preserved by the pyreflies, which act as magical life support systems after the body's processes give out.

My reason for thinking this is that the unsent usually retain their original shapes, although they are susceptible to wounds, signs of strain/aging (see Auron), and healing magic.

Evidence that they retain their original bodies (or some form of biological matter):
–Seymour's body is hauled away by the Guado before Yuna can send him.
–Before turning into his first "Boss" form, Seymour absorbs the dead bodies of Kinoc and three of his guards. His first "boss" form is larger than he was by about the same amount of matter as those he absorbed.
–in the Mt. Gagazet battle, after killing a bunch of Ronso, Seymour appears in a third, larger form with a huge bony exoskeleton. I suspect he absorbed the Ronso as he had Kinoc. (Possibly, Yunalesca's creepy forms are made of all the summoners and guardians she's killed).

Evidence that maybe they don't retain their original bodies:
–In Zanarkand, Auron kneels and briefly dissolves into pyreflies to show Tidus his memories.

I've waffled back and forth on whether the pyreflies are patching and repairing the original body, simply acting as artificial life support for it, or whether they've dissolved the body into basic building blocks/atoms/energy (as when Seymour dissolves Kinoc and his guards) and reassembling it like a transporter beam using the blueprint of the Unsent's self-image and (possibly) others' memories of him/her. Because Auron disappears into a puff of pyreflies, I'mn now leaning towards "reassembled matter" as opposed to "body on magical life support".

Either way, I think there's biological matter being held together by the pyreflies based on a mental memory of the person. Seymour apparently has learned to manipulate the pyreflies into making new shapes that seem to manifest the inner twistedness of his psyche, the way fiends seem to reflect the unconscious, "primitive" parts of the soul.

Fans debate whether Auron's white hair and signs of age are a conscious attempt at camouflage, a choice, since other unsent don't seem to age. I think it's not so much physical aging as premature aging of his soul reflected in visible form. As camouflage, it's lousy: he looks far older than 35. Also, if he were able to manipulate his pyrefly-constructed form, he would have kept his eye.

I'm also not convinced Seymour consciously designed his mutated forms. I think he simply stuffed an excess of pyreflies, magic, and dead bodies together and said "Go!" The first time we see him shapeshift, he's clearly in pain and not in control of his body as the shape change occurs.

4. Fayth

Lulu: The fayth are people who gave their lives to battle Sin. Yevon took their souls, willingly given from their still-living bodies.
Lulu: Now they live forever, trapped in statues. But when a summoner beckons, the souls of the fayth emerge once again. That's what we call an aeon.

Fayth are non-corporeal images of the dead person, which retain the appearance of the dead person. They can go through walls.

Lulu's description sounds to me like an esoteric rite to mimic the way pyreflies "naturally" preserve the unsent, using a statue instead of biological remains as a housing/anchor for the soul. "Fayth" refers both to the ghostly image of the person (e.g. Bahamut appearing as a little boy), and the portrait preserved as a fanciful statue under glass. Hymns and a temple help maintain the magic that knits soul and statue together. The Fayth is not bound within its statue the way Unsent are bound to their bodies: it can wander around, so long as the statue is preserved.

This reminds me of ancient Egyptian metaphysics. For them, the soul of the dead could exist after death only so long as there was a mummified body, even though the mummy stayed in the coffin and the soul went to the Duat (Farplane). Early on, the Egyptians started making realistic portrait-statues of themselves to serve as backup bodies, in case the original mummy was lost.

5. Aeons are the fayth manifesting an external, physical form through a summoner. The summoner's body acts like a lens, allowing the pyreflies to manifest the dead person's spirit not in terms of their former appearance, but as a fantastic, powerful representation of their inner souls. Aeons are like fiends, except that instead of manifesting only broken, primal, splintered fragments of the psyche, aeons incarnate the "better" parts: aspirations, virtues, inner character, courage, dreams, spirit. That's why, if you go back to Macalania Temple late in the game to talk to Shiva's Fayth (as opposed to aeon), what you see is not a sexy ice goddess (her inner self) but a frumpy-looking Mother Superior nun (her appearance while alive).

In psychological terms, the aeons are incarnations of the total self, conscious and unconscious, instead of mostly the conscious self (unsent) or unconscious self (fiends).

The odd thing about aeons is that, unlike fiends and unsent, they can't be built on the matter of the Fayth's body, since they appear and disappear each time they are summoned. They manifest through the summoner, anchored in some way to the foci of the statue and summoner's body.

Perhaps the physical forms of aeons are actually summoned from the summoner's surroundings: the animations seem to imply matter being pulled forth from soil, air, clouds, fire. (Yes, the aeons are a weak point in my theory that the pyreflies are assembling bodies from real matter.)

6. Final Summoning Aeons - We see two final aeons: Braska's Final Aeon for certain, and perhaps Anima. The script suggests that Seymour's mother sacrificed herself for the Final Summoning, but Seymour didn't use her because he wanted to live, and he wanted power. That explains why Yuna says, "His aeon... it was so powerful."

Braska's Final Aeon involves complications. We meet Jecht as a Fayth inside Sin -- that's the Jecht whom the party meets at the end of the game, and whom Tidus catches after he collapses. We also see his Aeon inside Sin. This is problematic, because (a) the laws of physics may be different there, and (b) Jecht may be a special case, because he's from dream-Zanarkand.

We also get two flashbacks that provide clues. In Zanarkand, Jecht says "Make me a Fayth". In the next scene, he's walking away from Yunalesca's chamber with Braska, and claps Braska on the shoulder. Either (a) the second scene's Jecht still resided in his original body, because the transformation wasn't yet complete or (b) he was already a Fayth, but unlike Bahamut and all the others, his Fayth is solid. Because Tidus catches him at the end of the game, I'm pretty sure it's (b).

My guess is that Yunalesca can convert people to Fayth by using their real body the way the lesser aeons are "housed" in a statue. In other words, her power is so great that she doesn't need the additional "battery" or "technology" of a fayth statue: she kills the person, keeps the body alive as an unsent, and then the summoner can call the aeon as usual.

Just as aeons are more powerful than ordinary unsent, Final Aeons are tremendously more powerful than ordinary aeons.

Why? Because they're doubled. Love is, essentially, carrying an image of the person you love in your soul: your love is anchored to your impressions about, memories of, and feelings for them. So, while an ordinary aeon is built on the pyschic contents of one soul, a Final Aeon is founded on a doubled soul-image: the person's self-identity, and the summoner's impression of him/her. The "Beloved" image may not be factually accurate, but it can be powerful, maybe even more powerful than the person's sense of self.

An alarming thought: the Final Summoning may build the Aeon partly from the matter of the summoner's body.

7. Sin: Sin is very odd. It's solid, but it's only a vessel; it has no soul unless there's a Fayth/Aeon inside it serving as a host for Yu Yevon. At Operation Mi'ihen, Tidus has a vision of the freshly-killed Crusaders walking around inside Sin (the same crystalline grove appears inside Sin during the endgame). I suspect that Yu Yevon has found some variant of what Seymour was doing with Kinoc and the Ronso: absorbing the bodies of the dead in order to fashion their bodies into "unholy armor". When pieces break away from Sin's carapace, they turn back into fiends, broken remnants of the person (or amalgamations of several people) they had been.

7. Tidus and Jecht. Originally they were simply figments of the Fayth's imagination, dreams. But the magic Yu Yevon used to animate Sin's carapace seems to have interacted with Dream-Zanarkand in some unique way, imbuing ordinary dreams with a vital spark such that they becomes independently self-aware. At that point the pyreflies can make them real, temporarily (like the aeons) or -- in X-2, after their "psychic images" have taken root in the memories/hearts of "real" people -- in reality.

And that, as they say, is that. Or maybe not. Who knows?


( 33 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 6th, 2009 04:04 pm (UTC)
Frumpy!Shiva deserves a story to be written about her.

I realize full well that Square-Enix probably did not work out canon in this much detail. However, having abandoned a classical studies PhD for a degree in mythology at an institution that argues mythology is the residue of psychology at a cultural level, I could not help but be intrigued by the meta of FFX, which manages to posit mitichlorian plot devices while keeping the style firmly mythic.
Jul. 7th, 2009 10:47 pm (UTC)
Read this a few days ago (ff_press lurkage) and was seriously impressed.

The thing I always wondered, what of the pyreflies themselves? The Farplane suggests that they're to Spira what rocks are to us; together, they span almost everything, but can be broken up and exist on their own--albeit it's a rather useless existence once they're pebbles. They form around the psychic lingerings of emotions, giving form to what might need it, but why? How? Is it just their way? Are they conscious enough to have instincts, even emotions? Are they malevolent, benign, or just instinctual?

My theory (and this is the theory of someone who hasn't slept in a few days, so bear with me if it's ridiculous), is that pyreflies are fragmented pieces of what's left of the dead - their emotions, their memories, their lingering desires and regrets.

As far as I know, before Yu Yevon summoned Sin, there were no Summoners, and therefore no sendings. Therefore, did all people become fiends, or did they naturally "ascend" to pyreflies in such mass amounts that it created an influx of the pyrefly population? We're not told if the Farplane existed at such a time, although considering Shuyin's actions, it's likely that if it did exist, it wasn't used in the way it was used in FFX!Spira. If people who died did naturally become fiends even before Sin existed, than it would explain why fiends run rampant even one thousand years later.

Considering Spira's death toll, if all the pyreflies in the Farplane are made up from the "souls" of the deceased, it's not an outrageous number. Sometimes, they end up latching on to those whose will is so strong, they cannot fathom the idea of leaving the mortal coil, and manifest outward from that, creating unsents - basically, tying into what you said of re-animated biological matter.

I'll admit, I'm curious about what was done with the dead before Sin and Summoners came along. Yuna states that those who accept the possibility of their death while still alive don't need to be Sent, but as far as we know, that's another one of Yevon's spoonfed lies.

Uh... sorry for the novel. I ramble. XD
Jul. 8th, 2009 03:00 am (UTC)
I like the novel very much.

I like the idea that the pyreflies are the last remainder of the dead souls, and that certainly ties into the meta that Square-Enix came up with for Final Fantasy X-2, where they posited that the "Lifestream" of FFVII is the same as the pyreflies on the Farplane in FFX.

I'm always afraid of overthinking game backstory, even though it's so fun to try. I remember being frustrated when the new Star Wars movies turned The Force into mitichlorians -- it seemed like a labored rationalization. Or rather, de-mythization. But I like your idea that the pyreflies are something spiritual, not simply chemical or physical. Vital energy, left over from the dead... the "fossil fuel" of spirit as opposed to matter, retaining a faint hint of sentience and vitality.

As for summoners, I think they did exist prior to Yu Yeven. In the speech where Maechen tells us he was a summoner, Maechen also mentions Yunalesca's Final Summoning, so she was also a summoner. Nor do I think they were the first.

It sounds to me like the war between Zanarkand and Bevelle was largely summoners vs. machina, and it was only after Sin came that Bevelle gave up its machina. Zanarkand was destroyed, but Bevelle absorbed many of the trappings of its defeated enemy, including the art of summoning, the Hymn of the Fayth, and even calling their new Sin-inspired religion "Yevon" after Zanarkand's ruler. This was apparently part of Yu Yevon's and Yunalesca's clever ploy to beat Bevelle in spirit, since they could not win in fact.

My reason for thinking this comes mostly from what Bahamut (the creepy kid) tells Tidus when he falls back into Dream Zanarkand on Mt. Gagazet:

Bahamut's Fayth: A war between Zanarkand and Bevelle. Bevelle's machina assured their victory from the start. Spira had never seen such power. The summoners of Zanarkand didn't stand a chance. Zanarkand was doomed to oblivion. That's why we tried to save it--if only in a memory.
Tidus: What did you do?
Bahamut: The remaining summoners and the townspeople that survived the war... They all became fayth-- fayth for the summoning.
Tidus: The summoning... You mean Sin?
Bahamut: No. I mean this place. A Zanarkand that never sleeps.

In X-2, we learn that Shuyin went to Bevelle to seize Vegnagun (their most powerful machina) after all the summoners were ordered to the front lines, including Lenne, his beloved.

So I think the pyreflies always existed, just as you describe them: some part of the vital force of living things left behind after death. If they existed, then it makes sense that summoners arose in Spira to manipulate and realize that resource.

The question is whether the icky magic unleashed by Sin is what turns naturally "neutral" pyrefly magic sour, so that the souls of the dead come back as fiends. Or did fiends exist before? There's some hint that they did: Tidus tells Wakka there were a few in his Zanarkand, but "it's a big deal when one shows up." Probably that's an echo of how it used to be. Maybe over time the number of pyreflies --and fiends-- has grown, as more and more unhappy deaths happen to people over the years.

I think Sin and Dream Zanarkand were the pinnacle, not the beginning, of the art of summoning, and later summoners would probably never match those achievements.

Thank you for posting and joining in the discussion!
Jul. 9th, 2009 02:27 pm (UTC)
I have already scooted over to muggy_mountain's meta entry and have unleashed the teal deer, but I am going to BUTT IN HERE ALSO. Hope you don't mind >.>

PS: this is a little jumbled and disorganized, sorry!

The nature of the pyreflies has always bothered me -- they've always struck me as an integral part of the Spira universe, like gravity. I admit it -- my first instict was that pyreflies as one of the actual building blocks of Spira -- like atoms for us. I attempt to explain!

I seem to remember that in one of the tutorial-type things when you're first learning how to do magic it says that magic is done by manipulating pyrefly energy. Everyone in Spira has some limited ability to interact with pyreflies, but what makes a mage or summoner is much finer/more powerful control of pyerflye energy. If I am not making this up, then when Lulu calls her black magics, she's using pyrefly energy. Pyreflies seem to react strongly to memories and intent, so perhaps that is how black magic works here? The mage harnesses the energy and focuses on, say, water. And the pyreflies coalesce/convert to water.

To add to the idea of pyreflies being able to make physical matter/phenomena is Sin's armour/body, that fiends are corporeal, and that aeons seem to me to manifest directly out of pyreflies. So I'm slowly inching towards the idea that living things might themselves be made of pyreflies? This ties into what happens to dead bodies in Spira. Consider Auron's run-in with Rin.

Rin: I wonder...Would that be Sir Auron, by any chance?
* Yeah! That's him.
Rin: Ah, as I thought! I've been wondering since I saw him at the Mi'ihen Highroad branch. (Approaches him) Sir Auron! I wonder if you remember me? Ten years ago, at the beginning of Lord Braska's Calm?
Auron: Yes, I should thank you.
Rin: Not at all. I could not leave a wounded man to die. However, I was surprised when I saw you gone the next morning, with that wound. An ordinary man would not have been able to walk.
Auron: I'd rather...drop that subject, Rin.
I always parsed this as Auron died, right there, that night, of his wounds. This is when he became an Unsent. So either his Unsent-ness animated his corpse, or it makes no difference, because an Unsent is pyreflies is body. Or an Unsent is separate and Auron buried his own body >.>

But to keep going -- remember when Seymour absorbs Kinoc and those guards and Guado? As far as I could tell, everyone but Kinoc was hale and living. Kinoc himself seemed dead but not Unsent. But Seymour just absorbs them, leaving nothing physical behind. So again, I'm inclined to think that bodies themselves are made of pyreflies, and was dying does is severely weaken the bond that holds the pyreflies together. Sending severs it completely and irrevocably, which is why the Guado hustled Seymour away from Yuna.

Also, correct me if I'm wrong -- but when we kill humanoid folks in battle, do they dissolve like fiends or um... vanish like machines/machina? I seem to have the impression that they dissolve, but my memory may be faulty!

This still leaves the problem of zombies, as THOSE seem to be simply animated bodies. However -- we only meet undead enemies in areas of very high pyrefly concentration, right? Underneath Bevelle and in Zanarkand, and both are places of intense misery. Also, Zombie status can afflict your party members, as Yunalesca does. Repeatedly. It might be that Zombie status is more like a corruption/perversion of the pyrefly-bond rather than magic that animates bodies. This might make sense, considering how awful the places we meet undead are? Maybe. It's a thought.

I had some other thoughts but his the comment limit. Sigh!
Jul. 9th, 2009 02:29 pm (UTC)
Oh! Sorry for the spam! I just wanted to note something about how I usually go about meta. I almost never have only one theory of how a certain world or idea works. I like to play around a lot, and enjoy writing stories that use totally different versions. So, generally nothing I say is very set in stone or of great personal attachment re: me and my fics and fanon. They're just thoughts I like playing around with =)
(no subject) - auronlu - Jul. 10th, 2009 06:31 am (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 9th, 2009 02:27 pm (UTC)
Miscellanies continued from above
Auron! I really like the idea that his aging is neither conscious choice nor his body growing older but the aging of his spirit. I have another thought along this line, though: he spent most of his time as an Unsent in Dream Zanarkand. It's possible that this, too, had some weird effects on him. Just a thought!

The fayth! I had a thought while reading your meta -- what if fayth statues grew around the bodies? The bodies are sealed/preserved in the statue to kind of super-glue the pyrefly bond in place. And then the statue eventually grows to resemble the inner soul/aeon of the fayth more and more. Like, take a look at Bahamut's statue. He's supposed to be the oldest of the aeons, and he has barely any human parts showing. His head isn't even human anymore. Just part of his back and most of his left arm (I think even his hand is turning into claws). Compare to the other statues, who are all more human. Check out Anima especially. We know she is the most recent aeon, and she is nearly completely human. What we see of her body is all human still, and the aeon stuff is all outside her, like it's slowly encasing her. All the others have at least partly merged with their aeon parts, while she looks like she's still being absorbed. This is more a thought than a theory!

Excuse me, I think I like this idea enough to try incorporating it into a fic at some point >.>
Jul. 10th, 2009 06:38 am (UTC)
Re: Miscellanies continued from above
Another quote by Auron which is a bit confusing, because it sounds as if the aeons come from somewhere else and aren't tied directly to the identity of the Fayth (but I think that's wrong; the aeons are so clearly spiritual, fantastic, dreamlike representations of the fayth's personalities/inner selves):

Tidus: Wh-What's that?
Auron: A fayth. They join with the summoner, and together receive the aeon. They are human souls, imprisoned in stone by ancient Yevon rites.

i had taken that to mean souls imprisoned in pre-made stone statues, but I love your idea of the stone growing around real bodies, and I don't think your idea contradicts canon. I'd love to read it! A disturbing, poetic image.

Also, come to think of it, our talk about pyreflies as being components of living matter may explain why, when the fayth are Sent at the end of FFX, their statues seem to crumble to dust. The pyrefly-matter -- the "glue" -- has disappeared, and what's left falls apart like the sides of DNA molecules with the "zipper" molecules down the middle removed.
Aug. 18th, 2009 09:16 am (UTC)
One of... god knows how many. Haha.
Fffffff this is months old but I'm going to comment on it anyway. 'Cause I love FFX theory and new ideas from other people is refreshing and fun. ._. I loved to debate Kingdom Hearts theory back in the day... but I don't have as many people to talk Spiran theory with. T_T SO I'M REVIVING THIS. *cough* Anyway. Hi, you might remember me though I don't blame you if you don't (I have a horrible memory), I wrote a fic about Braska's final summoning (There Nevertheless Remains) that you found and reviewed on Fanfiction.net. I'm still in love with Jecht/Auron/Braska (J/A/B... Jaurska... =w= I prefer Jaurska, it's fun to say), and every now and then I'll go on a fanart/fanfic hunting spree... and that's how I wound up here.

ANYWAY, this is going to be divided into multiple posts (I'll just comment on this first one) because I'm going to get rambly. It's almost four in the morning and I haven't slept, so, I apologize in advance if I become nonsensical.

On fayth and aeons -- I don't know where I got the idea from, but I've held the idea that aeons were the fayth's dreams given form through the summoner. It makes sense to my brain. The fayth Shiva dreams of beauty and strength and freedom, perhaps. The fayth Bahamut, who in my head has always had more spunk than what he showed us in X/-2, dreams of a giant god-awesome dragon. The fayth Jecht dreams of... a superpowered Jecht. XD And Anima's dreams are all twisted, so of course her aeon is the thing of nightmares.

It is also my belief that all the fayth are bound together -- they have a soul-bond, the way they have one with their summoners. Because if the fayth are as you say, then they aren't connected to the dreaming fayth on Mt. Gagazet, who are really the ones dreaming Dream Zanar, so how would the aeon-fayths know all of that, and how would Bahamut be able to travel into the Dream?

I think they join a collective... fayth-soul-network or something. They especially would need to be unified somehow in order to make the plans to bring Jecht and Tidus to Spira, and some way to let Jecht know that they need to bring Sin into Zanarkand to pull Tidus out. Or however the hell that works. (It's kind of funny, though. THE FAYTH ARE CONSPIRICISTS!) This idea, of course, opens up lots of opportunities for the-fayth-interacting-psykicklee crackfic.

Another question -- Auron "rode Sin" (hahahaha 8D<3) to get to Dream Zanarkand. How the hell does THAT work? (Speaking of Auron, I thought he didn't completely dissolve into pyreflies... And Tidus saw the memory as if from Auron's eyes. Huh. How does that work, too, I wonder?)
Aug. 18th, 2009 09:17 am (UTC)
Two of four it's looking like.
On Final Aeons -- Wait, what? Jecht claps Braska on the shoulder emering from Yunalesca's chamber what? laskdjfaldkjf HOW DID I MISS THIS? I really don't recall this at all and it doesn't make sense in my brain. D: And -- If Yunalesca bonded the fayth-soul to the body instead of to a statue, why the heck does Zaon have a statue and why does Jecht have official fayth statue art?

I like the idea that Sin's body breaks away into fiends -- explains the Sinspawn and whatnot. The turning-bodies-into-armor thing makes sense for the first summoning of Sin, but from there where does Yu Yevon draw the bodies from? Unless... Ohhh. Unless Yu Yevon uses the Final Aeon as a starting place. Yeah? I think that's actually said somewhere in the game, that Yu Yevon turns the Final Aeon into the core of Sin. Crazy idea: Yu Yevon possesses the Final Aeon and uses its form to start killing people to absorb their bodies... Fffff, though, not sure I like it.

Back to fayth -- If the fayth's souls are bound to the statues, how are the dark aeons still around? It's true that Bahamut only appears to Yuna inside the Farplane, but... Well. I guess the aeons were possessed and became fiends and therefore could survive without their fayth, but the way Bahamut thanked Yuna, it made it sound like they were actually possessed. But how were the aeons out and around without being summoned? and aghhh that part never made sense to me.
Re: Two of four it's looking like. - auronlu - Aug. 18th, 2009 09:34 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - spiralstarfall - Aug. 18th, 2009 10:47 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - auronlu - Aug. 19th, 2009 01:45 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - spiralstarfall - Aug. 19th, 2009 07:48 am (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 18th, 2009 09:17 am (UTC)
Three (haha my keywords surprisingly apply, kind of)
Another fun, last questions -- Bevelle had its machina and Zanarkand had its summoners. But there was no Sin and not many fiends (evidently)... So what the heck did they need summoners for? I mean, I guess summoning is pretty and all, but, haha. And who would willingly become a fayth? My guess is that the art of summoning came long, long before 'modern' Zanarkand, and the original purpose was forgotten -- and so it became just that, an art form, just for show and just for pretty and whatever. To become a fayth was a priviledge because your dreams/soul would make a beautiful aeon and etc., etc. In my personal fanon Bahamut's parents offered Bahamut up to become a fayth -- because, seriously, he looks like he's nine years old. :/ And Valefor looks like she's thirteen or something. So...

(Am I the only one bothered by the fact that they reused the sprites of Ifrit, the Magus Sisters, and Valefor in X-2? Ifrit looks like Yaibal -- I laughed so hard -- and the Magus Sisters are actually just sprites of everyday Spiran folk. Valefor makes her appearance at Yuna's concert and also in the Mi'ihen Highroad machina mystery. D: What the heeeck.)
(no subject) - spiralstarfall - Aug. 18th, 2009 10:44 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - auronlu - Aug. 19th, 2009 01:35 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - spiralstarfall - Aug. 19th, 2009 07:56 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - auronlu - Aug. 19th, 2009 08:38 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - spiralstarfall - Aug. 19th, 2009 09:30 am (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 18th, 2009 09:18 am (UTC)
Pyreflies. Well... I read through the comments and there are a good number of ideas, but what I think is that all of them are right. My friend had the idea that pyreflies don't have just one definition, but there are different kinds of pyreflies. Pyreflies that are the soul (or parts of it), pyreflies that create matter, pyreflies that are concentrated memories (see: Zanarkand ruins)... etc. Which makes a lot of sense to me, because then that explains what seems to be the contradictory nature of them. I do believe also that pyreflies are the building blocks of Spira -- but I also believe that, essentially, pyreflies are energy. Which also ties back to the whole "Lifestream" thing, I think.

When you talk about pyreflies you also have to remember the Moonflow. The pyreflies are drawn to that river for some reason -- Old fan theory was that it was the moonlilies that attracted the pyreflies, but if so, why? One theory my friend and I had was that the pyreflies come from the city under the river, but God only knows why they emerge en masse at night. Maybe it's like a ghost phenomenon -- The city collapsed into the river at night?

(Of course, when talking about the Moonflow we also have to wonder why the hell Auron was such a bitch about not staying the night to watch the river glow. :| Because, let's face it, Auron would understand all too well about wanting to see everything. I noticed that his posture seems... off in that scene, like he was physically in pain or something. Which led my friend and I to speculate that the Moonflow's pyreflies also react to emotion, and can magnify it and such. Our idea was that when Jaurska travelled across the Moonflow the second time, it was at night and the pyreflies were all pretty... and started empowering Jecht and Auron's subconscious feelings... and then as soon as they got across and camped for the night... =w= Buahahaha. */slash fangirl theory*)

Okay. I think I'm done. ... I'm pretty sure I'm done. >.>
I lied - spiralstarfall - Aug. 18th, 2009 09:26 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: I lied - auronlu - Aug. 18th, 2009 09:53 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - spiralstarfall - Aug. 18th, 2009 10:28 am (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 18th, 2009 09:32 am (UTC)
Re: One of... god knows how many. Haha.

I'm replying to this before reading all of it, but your idea that the summoners (real, physical) are making real, physical the dreams of the fayth works perfectly well, as a variant of what I was saying.

Dreams = part of the unconscious = part of the self, unfettered by logic and self-criticism and judgment. It's what your heart/soul is like, without constraint, without reason saying "I can't fly" or "that's a big ego trip". Sometimes dreams are twisted up.

It also makes perfect sense that the fayth are all plugged in somehow, aware of each other. The fayth of dream-Zanarkand must predate the fayth of most, if not all, of the pilgrimage-related aeons by generations, yet they seem to be making a joint request of Tidus and Yuna, working in concert.

ETA: Uh oh. You are right. He didn't completely dissolve into pyreflies, my mistake (see below)

Edited at 2009-08-18 10:24 am (UTC)
(no subject) - spiralstarfall - Aug. 18th, 2009 10:33 am (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 29th, 2010 08:21 pm (UTC)
This is a reaaaally late comment, but I happened to stumble upon this and I think it's fascinating! It's good to see I'm not the only one who muses about the plot holes mysteries of this game.

About your theory about the Final Summoning Aeon; pyreflies can create an image of the person you love, right? As we see in the Farplane. So, perhaps that's why Jecht retains his own form (or maybe all Final Fayths do at first, who knows?)? Your theory is logical and I support it, I just thought I'd add this little note.

"An alarming thought: the Final Summoning may build the Aeon partly from the matter of the summoner's body."
Interesting you should say that. I don't think it's ever explained why the Summoner dies when summoning the Final Aeon (or I might just have a bad memory). Rikku says in Home that "the Final Aeon is gonna kill [Yuna]", but she doesn't say how. She might mean the Aeon physically grabs the Summoner and kills it with its hands, or maybe she means it absorbs the Summoner's energy/life/pyreflies/soul/ whatever you call it.

"Sin is very odd. It's solid, but it's only a vessel; it has no soul unless there's a Fayth/Aeon inside it serving
as a host for Yu Yevon."
But in the ending FMV, we see Sin explode in pyreflies when Yuna sends her it and her aeons. It Sin's only mass
without soul, how is that possible? At first I thought this might be (because of) Yu Yevon or the Final Aeon, but
it's clearly Sin that explodes into pyreflies (not to mention Yu Yevon was tiny and Yuna didn't have a Final Aeon).

I also have an interesting theory about the whole Tidus/Shuyin and Yuna/Lenne connection, but I'm still missing some things, and seeing as you like to muse about this as well, maybe you can help me? I keep giving myself headaches trying to solve this, ugh.
My theory is; Tidus is the dream-version of Shuyin. Simple as that, really. Shuyin actually existed in Real Zanarkand and Tidus was "him" in Dream Zanarkand. It explains the similar appearance and the fact that they were both the star blitzball player: because they couldn't both have been the star at exactly the same time (1000 years ago), could they? (I also suspect that the Bahamut Fayth kid dreamed Tidus, seeing as he appears in all Tidus' dreams/visions).
But this doesn't explain Lenne. In fact, Lenne is a mystery to me altogether. They say she was a Summoner, BUT: When Lenne lived, Sin didn't exist yet (Sin appeared after the Machina War, which was when Lenne was already alive for quite some years). Then why was she a Summoner? Summoners exist to defeat Sin, to send the people killed by him so that they don't become fiends. What was her purpose then, if Sin didn't exist yet? Hell, the Fayth didn't even exist yet!
(It's also strange that there is no Dream-Zanarkand!Lenne; if Tidus had had a soulmate-girlfriend in his hometown, we would have known, right?)
Could it be that the Fayth were selective about what they dreamed, maybe in order to prevent another war/another Sin?

I'm also trying to figure out how Sin traveled to Dream Zanarkand. GAH, Squeenix, stop giving me migraines!

You don't have to answer if you don't know/don't want to. I just thought I'd offer my two cents xD
Definitely mem'ing this!
Mar. 30th, 2010 07:48 am (UTC)
Oo, welcome to the party! Summoning-meta is pretty much the heart and soul of my geekery. I have ulterior motives for this. Since I was not quote satisfied with parts of X-2, I've been writing Love Her and Despair, a dark AU alternate X-2 set 13 years after Yuna accepted Lulu's offer to become her fayth. Hence, I've got Lulu as a Final Aeon, and Isaaru and Auron having to deal with what she's become.

I digress. You observe:

"...pyreflies can create an image of the person you love, right? As we see in the Farplane. So, perhaps that's why Jecht retains his own form (or maybe all Final Fayths do at first, who knows?)?"

Who knows indeed! But that does tie in with the way the approach to Yunalesca's lair shows echoes of people from the past. The tricky bit is that Fayth and dream-echoes don't tend to be solid, and I believe that was also true of Chappu, Yuna's parents, and Lady Ginnem when we glimpsed them on the Farplane. So Jecht is somewhat more solid.

I have moved a bit further in my thinking on the Final Aeon since this post.
-- Given: Regular fayth are people who sacrifice themselves and let their bodies be bound into statues.
-- Suppose: The fayth of the Final Aeon is unsent. Instead of being bound into a statue, the Fayth of the Final Summoning remains somewhat tied to his/her physical form. Willpower + Yunalesca's mojo allows this fayth to exist as unsent, sans need for a statue. That would also account for Jecht disappearing in a puff of pyreflies at the end.

You're right: Sin seems to outlast Jecht's death. Not Yu Yevon, though. The final FMV is misleading: it shows Besaid Village applauding Sin's demise, then Sin exploding into pyreflies, and THEN we see Yuna dancing on the airship's hull, and Sin -- now solid -- explodes again! There is also some confusion with the dream-Zanarkand Fayth disappearing, and Tidus hanging around for about 10 minutes afterward. So the timing in that FMV is obviously somewhat artistic. More realistically, I think that Sin exploded into pyreflies after (a) Yu Yevon was no longer summoning it and (b) possibly the Fayth Wall on Gagazet was contributing to maintaining Sin, although it's hard to tell whether they were helping with that or just Dream-Zanarkand.

Which brings me to Tidus/Shuyin and Lenne.

I think you are spot-on with Tidus:
-- Shuyin was a man who existed 1000 years ago.
-- Everything in Dream-Zanarkand, where Tidus lived, is a virtual reality simulation contemporary with Yuna. Tidus wasn't really from 1000 years ago; that's just what people assumed when he showed up and started talking about Zanarkand. Instead, he's part of an ongoing holographic simulation based on the memories of Zanarkand's fayth -- people who died a thousand years ago. They remember Shuyin. They vaguely reconstituted him, only not exactly, just as people we meet in dreams often have characteristics of people we know in real life, but aren't quite the same.

I like your idea that Bahamut may have shaped Tidus somewhat manually, borrowing a likely character that he hoped would break out of the simulation and do something more.

I also suggested in LHaD that Lenne may have influenced how Tidus came out; he seems to be a fuzzy reflection of Shuyin's good parts with none of the bad. How Lenne could be affecting dream-Zanarkand I don't know, but all fayth appear to be on the border of the Farplane, suspended between life and death.

As is Sin.

(Cont'd below)

Edited at 2010-03-30 07:48 am (UTC)
(no subject) - auronlu - Mar. 30th, 2010 07:49 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ladygunblade - Mar. 30th, 2010 06:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ladygunblade - Mar. 30th, 2010 06:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - auronlu - Mar. 31st, 2010 05:25 am (UTC) - Expand
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