Caithe and Faolain.
Two of the Firstborn sylvari – one born of Night, the other born of Dusk. Together the two left the Grove to explore Tyria, to see their world for their own. They became friends and lovers, but they are no longer.
That fact is not for a lack of trying on either of their parts, though.
I’ll admit that these two have intrigued me for a very long time. Caithe of course I instantly liked from the start, along with my love of the sylvari in general, and as I wrote about last week, the Nightmare Court – and it’s leader, Faolain – is also something that caught my interest. The fact that the two had been friends – one of the main characters of the game, and the leader of the evil sylvari faction (for a lack of a better term) – I thought that was neat, and was hoping it would be explored in-game.
And then Edge of Destiny came out, and it became clear that Caithe and Faolain’s relationship was not one of merely friends. They had been far more than that to each other.
(On a sidenote, I was amused at so many people completely missing that fact, to where Ree stated that yes, they were lovers.)
Their story – what we know of it, anyway – is the classic example of star-crossed lovers, of love gone tragically wrong. Two young friends who set out to explore the world and fall in love, until events tear them apart. Faolain is described as being a dark contrast to Caithe, having black hair, nails, and eyes. Caithe is a melee fighter; as a Thief she takes advantage of weak points in her enemies to bring them down quickly. We don’t know what profession Faolain is, other than that she is some sort of spellcaster; with her sorcery to back up Caithe’s physical fighting, the two would have made a formidable team.
We do not yet know what happened between the two of them. We don’t know what event it was that cause them to begin to walk towards the Nightmare. We simply know that it happened, and while Faolain embraced it fully, Caithe was able to step away before it took her as well. I am fervently hoping this is explored in-game (and I have an inkling that the Twilight Arbor dungeon will do just that). But, at the moment that Faolain fell and Caithe turned back, the two were separated from each other, no longer able to remain together as lovers.
And it’s pretty clear that this fact deeply hurts both of them, and that they still very much love each other, though they cannot be together.
Faolain, for her part, is desperate to have Caithe back at her side, and to bring her to the Nightmare Court. She does all she can to accomplish this. During Edge of Destiny, she poisons Caithe, with joining the Court being the only way to safely remove the poison, and then proceeded to shadow her throughout the book. When the poison made Caithe ill enough to nearly kill her, though, Faolain brought it back into herself, which turned her arm thorny and rotten, but leaving Caithe alive and well. Even as the head of the Nightmare Court, she’s not willing to kill her love, and harms herself to heal Caithe. Still, Faolain is determined, stating to Caithe that “Your heart belongs to me”. She wants the two to be together again – and for Caithe to be at her side in leading the Court.
Caithe is more of an enigma. During the book you do not see much that indicates that she still misses and loves Faolain, but she also strikes me as the sort that will put duty above personal matters. She is one of only two people who have seen Zhaitan and lived; she knows the threats the dragons bring. She is fully focused on that fact, and even after things fall apart in the end she wants to try and keep fighting on. But in-game…she’s a bit different. Time has passed, and reuniting the group is something that seems impossible. She’s instead turned her concerns to more local matters, while waiting for someone else brave enough to help her face the dragons.
There’s also a very melancholic air about her, though. She’s not happy, and there are hints all over of that fact and that it’s tied to Faolain. In the story parts that I played, Caithe dodges the subject of the Nightmare Court’s leader whenever it’s brought up, saying she doesn’t want to talk about it. You can find a book in her home titled “Long Distance Relationships: 10 Ways to Make it Work”. During the most recent stress test Dak was playing his sylvari and I tagged along for part of his personal story, where I caught part of a conversation between Caithe and Trahearne where Trahearne said that it was good to see her trust someone again. Though time has passed, Caithe still loves Faolain, and still wants her back. And it definitely strikes me that she would do almost anything, short of turning to Nightmare herself, to be back with her.
And so we have two sylvari, torn apart but still deeply in love with each other, still wanting each other, and both more or less heartbroken by their separation. Both willing to do almost anything to get the other back…but for the two things that would work. Caithe will always walk the edge – I’ve mentioned how much darker than other sylvari she is – but she will never embrace the Nightmare. And Faolain won’t – or can’t, if what Caithe said about never being able to turn back – give up Nightmare. The two are doomed to always plead with the other, but never to succeed. That barrier will always be there. And eventually things will come to a head between the two. As the dungeons are part of your personal story but revolve more around the members of Destiny’s Edge, if there is a big confrontation between Caithe and Faolain, it will likely happen in Twilight Arbor, the Nightmare Court dungeon.
Part of me can’t wait to see what happens, and very much hopes that more of their backstory is revealed during that. But another part of me dreads it, because whatever happens it will likely not be good for either character.
There will be no happy ending for Caithe and Faolain, no matter what happens.