Bravely Second: Altair and Vega (Story Analysis)
I've written an article in the past already talking about the basic details we have on the Celestial Realm and its residents. But one thing I can't seem to find anyone talking about, caring about, or even remotely wondering about is the story of Altair, Vega, and Deneb. I know the game gives most of their story away, but I think it can be useful to talk about it. I did lose track of some of the parts of the story as I played through the game, mostly due to the one error their story has, and that being that it is spread out a bit too far, like butter over too much bread. I ended up forgetting parts and not understanding the story later as it came along. So I decided to make this video not just for myself, but for anyone confused at all about the story of these three Celestial Beings, but mostly Altair because he's the one we know the most about.
Just a quick note, I found a fun little moment while rewatching cutscenes for this where everyone in the tent is dreaming about Yew eating bomb fragments. So, let's start with Altair. As he has admitted, Altair is from the Celestial Realm, and therefore is a Celestial Being. He shows the same ability as the player to enter the body of someone or have some form of influence over their actions. He is brought into Tiz's lifeless body at the beginning of the game by the Soulstone, which no one knows how that works. They probably should've read the instructions. Anyways, Altair gets dragged into Tiz, bringing him back to life because he is soulless, and the player is currently following Yew around, not him.
Along with his signature vegetable metaphors, since he would never eat them back in the Celestial Realm, Altair makes his presence known very slowly and carefully, giving the party hints as they get stuck in situations. He uses the Purple Pen to leave notes in Yew's Journal, and talks to Yew when they're alone. Sounds creepy, like a possession, but he meant no harm. Or creepiness. Probably. Hopefully.
Then we have Old Sagitta. This is where we actually first hear of Altair, before we know it's him. There are three articles, or reports, that the party finds in the ruins of Old Sagitta, the first being the celebration at the completion of the spatiotemporal compass, or the Space-Time compass. It also says that he worked for the Dimensional Bureau, which seems to be the organization Ringabel may be working for currently. Anyway, Altair made time travel, whoopty do. The next tablet mentioned that the compass was stolen, and the leader of the base it was stolen from appears to be the original founder of the Sagitta people, if that makes sense. This old Sagitta guy basically said that his people would forever defend Luxendarc against the Ba'als to atone for his sin of failing to keep the space-time compass safe. I'll take more about the theme of sin in another video, maybe.
The third tablet was about Altair's death at the age of thirty four. Now this is very strange, as that's pretty young for such a genius, especially one who invented the soft-boiled egg cooker, pressure cooker, sewing machine, safety razor, stethoscope, anesthetics, artificial limbs, microscopes, suspension bridge, windmills, water wheels, threshing machines, furnaces, dock designs, sailing vessels, cruise ships, gunpowder, small firearms, automatic firearms, torpedoes, armoured vehicles, battleships, and the airborne battleship Sagittarius. I think we can all agree that Altair is either a freaking genius, or just stole all of these ideas when he took them to Luxendarc.
Then Altair finally appears to them by commanding Tiz's body, and when Geist the Bloody appears and starts attacking Sagitta Village, he helps them out by revealing that Geist's Undo ability is just a small manipulation of time, and through flooding the battlefield in SP, the energy of time, it weakens the Undo ability enough to allow the party to beat him. Afterwards, Altair reappears a few times to the party, continuing to lend him.
Now let's actually talk about his past. In the Celestial Realm, Altair was a scientist, and his research was some top level stuff, with the space-time compass being his biggest goal. Now one day, as he was at a ski resort going up the ski lift, there was a girl in the seat next to him. On the way up, blizzard strikes, and the lift gets stuck. Altair reached out to a nearby tree and plucked a magnolia for the girl to calm her down, and though she was thankful, he never got her name.
A little while later, Altair's higher up's were getting a little jealous of his achievements, so they demoted him and sent him off to another laboratory, where his funding would be cut. Just a big ol' screw you. Well, obviously Altair got pretty pissed over this, and ran out into the acid rain that the Celestial Realm appears to have from years of heavy industry. But then, as if by fate, the same girl appeared again and shared an umbrella with him to save him from the rain. They talked, and now enter Vega. She turned out to be working in the same lab as him, and that made things better. Together, they worked on the space-time compass, but never finished it.
One summer, Altair asked Vega to go to a carnival with him, where he admitted that he loved her. To which she told him the same. You can notice during the time Altair's talking, that the shadows moving in the memory representing him and Vega are the models for Yew's Dimensional Officer outfit and Magnolia's Research Lab Coat, just in case you haven't figured out that Altair and Vega's relationship are paralled by Yew and Magnolia's.
And then they became a couple. Finally, winter comes, or at least as it seems during Altair's explanation of the memory in Via Celestio. They went out to dinner, and Altair made the big move, and asked her to marry him. Though they were in love, they still worked hard as scientists, but most of their money that they earned just went back into their research, and so Altair could never afford a ring for her. He felt guilty about this, but Vega told him it was fine.
Now we reach the climax. The Celestial Realm was apparently in danger of being destroyed, so everyone was leaving. The day before they were to leave, Altair had finally saved enough money to buy Vega a ring, and he gave it to her that day. The next day though, as they were boarding a ship to head to a safer world, a place by the name of Luxendarc, something happened, and Vega did not make it on the ship. Heartbroken but unable to do anything, Altair continued off to Luxendarc with his fellow voyagers, where he became a genius for being the next Billy Mays. While spending his time in Luxendarc, he completed the Space-Time compass, and then passed away from colonic disease. But his love for Vega allowed him to remain in spirit, just as Vega's love for him kept hers going as well.
Then Providence found Vega, and used her feelings of loss and despair, combined with her precious memories of her and Altair, to create the Ba'als. But eventually, the party got her back and they beat Providence, the end, everyone's happy. Except for Tiz, who basically died. Until Deneb, Altair and Vega's friend, who turns out to be the narrator of the game, randomly shows up to show her gratitude by travelling back in time to give Tiz the hourglass in Bravely Default, explaining how it got from the moon in Second to Tiz at the start of Default, and then bringing him back to life. And, Altair and Vega just up and left. Just like that. But, I suppose it's fair enough, after all, they were separated for so long, they shouldn't be torn apart ever again.
Now this probably won't come as a surprise, but Altair and Vega's story and names come from a Japanese festival called Tanabata. It's a celebration of the meeting of two old folk tale deities Orihime and Hikoboshi, who are represented by the stars Vega and Altair. Yes, stars. The story of these two though is also similar to the events of Second. Basically, Orihime used to make clothes by the bank of a river and worked all day every day, and was sad that she could never meet anyone. Then one day, her father arranged for her to meet Hikoboshi, a cow herder, who lived on the other side of this river. They met and immediately fell in love. However, they became so distracted with their love that Hikoboshi's cows accidentally strayed all over the heavens and Orihime stopped weaving clothes, making Orihime's father angry and making him separate them across the river. They were only allowed to see each other on the seventh day of the seventh month, and on the very first time they found that neither could cross the river due to there being no bridge. Then a group of magpies came by and promised to build a bridge with their wings for her to cross. Magpie, huh..?
It's things like these that make the Bravely games so great. Wonderful characters with fleshed out backgrounds and history, and then connecting the player into that universe and also taking from our world as well. Altair is easily one of the most interesting characters of the series, and I hope to see more characters like him in the future.