In most of the games I’ve played, when given the choice between creating a human or some other race, I usually choose some other race. The same held true for Final Fantasy XIV for a long time as I created characters who were Miqo’te, Viera, Elezen, Lalafell, Au Ra, and even Hrothgar briefly. I had no desire to make the human-resembling races of Roegadyn or Hyur because they didn’t feel fantasy enough to me, odd as that sounds. But recently, my feelings changed because I was reminded of something that has brought me great joy in my life.
That something was my fantasy fiction books that I’ve been writing since I was 12 years old. While there are races in the books aside from humans, a majority of the characters in my books are humans. When I first started writing those books, I found it easiest to write humans because I am a human. I do have feline people in my books, which is probably why I love Miqo’te so much, but no elves, dwarves, ogres, or orcs. I knew of those other races and had read books containing them but for whatever reason, I didn’t want to write about them.
My desire to write about such races didn’t really change until I started playing World of Warcraft. I was never fond of Warcraft’s human models and was instead immediately drawn to blood elves and night elves. I didn’t want to play a human in Warcraft because I didn’t want to play as something resembling me, I wanted to fully escape into the fantasy world. Hence I made many, many elves, some trolls, draenei, vulpera, etc.
Over the years playing World of Warcraft, I’d periodically create a human and try to play him or her for a while, but they never lasted. Their movements just felt awkward to me, especially compared to the grace of blood elves and night elves. I did enjoy the newer customizations they introduced for the humans, but they still had the same body mechanics. I’m awkward enough in real life, I don’t need to be so in a fantasy game.
However, when I asked a good friend if they’d be interested in reading my fantasy books and they said yes, I began to remember how much I loved all my characters from those books. My very human characters, awkwardness and all. One of my main characters in those books is a young woman named Larcsana Lonnel and she wields a bow, and thus I decided to give a female Hyur archer a try in FFXIV.
The Hyur Midlander woman I created doesn’t resemble that main character really, aside from being human-like, but I almost instantly fell in love with her. I named her Lavanda Lua. In Portuguese, lavanda means lavender and lua means moon. I just thought the idea of Lavender Moon as a name was lovely. Plus it has the same L first and last name as the main character from my fantasy books. Not a total coincidence. 😉
Lavanda’s hair is a purple lavender shade with a darker shade of purple highlights and I chose a uniquely Midlander Hyur hairstyle for her that I think represents her “spiciness” a bit. You see, while Lavanda has a lovely name, she’s a bit averse to being overly lovely, ie she doesn’t enjoy wearing dresses and she has no problem getting dirty if the occasion calls for it. She’s happier in her thigh-high boots than fancy shoes and if you get her from pants into a skirt, you can bet she’ll grumble about it (while also having a knife tucked up under it somewhere.) I will undoubtedly change her hairstyle periodically, but that original style will always represent her “roots.”
Lavanda has light blue “freckles” on her cheeks that in the right light resemble stars that twinkle around the moon at night. She also has Hyuran tattoos on each cheek and they’re a shade of purple to represent the lavender flower she’s named after. Her eyes are two different colors, similar to her hair colors and the overall effect is quite stunning in my opinion.
Training as an archer in Gridania among Elezen who can be less than friendly to outsiders, Lavanda’s thick skin and take-no-nonsense attitude serve her well. But when she doesn’t have her guard up to defend herself, she has a deep appreciation for the forests of the area. She loves visiting the Lavender Beds to admire the houses, sit among the flowers, or swim in the water. Swimming in a shirt, pants, and tall boots is impractical, but Lavanda still feels uncomfortable wearing “proper” swimwear.
One of the quirky things I love about Lavanda is the voice I chose for her. It’s a bit more harsh than overly feminine and the sounds she makes when shooting her bow make you want to give her some space. Playing her with that voice makes me feel like she’s a bit more like me. While I can be pretty and sweet, I’m also tough, protective, and tenacious.
The Hyur have very human attributes and mannerisms, and the female run seems a bit stereotypical, but it’s probably about how I look running, so I can’t complain too much. Although Lavanda looks nothing like me really (I’d love her body though) I do see more of myself in her than I ever expected to in a human-type race in a roleplaying game. It’s safe to say that I won’t be deleting her because of how much I love her, and also because I’ve already started thinking up stories about her adventures in Gridania and beyond…