Character Study: Braham (Part 2: Ottilia)
We left off with Braham at the end of Flame and Frost: Retribution, with Rox and the Vigil, continuing to raid Molten Facilities, rescuing more 'steaders, but primarily looking for Ottilia, whom he has a crush on.
At some point (presumably while Last Stand at Southsun is going on,) Braham finds Ottilia in Hoelbrak and brings her back to Cragstead. There she says she liked Hoelbrak better because it was more beautiful, "vibrant and alive" compared to Cragstead which is still damaged.
We point out in some surprise that she lives here, doesn't she care about it?
Ottilia acknowledges this, explaining that Braham had brought her back. She tells us that nobody had ever done that for her, and sighs over how amazing he is.
Amused, we say "So it seems," and the conversation ends.
Later, Braham approaches Ottilia and tries (awkwardly) to make small talk, asking if she's glad to be home.
She supposes so, but is more glad that Braham is here too.
Braham tries to answer, but he quickly stumbles over his words and can't find his answer.
Ottilia giggles, calls him adorable, and runs off.
(Teenagers having crushes! Who would have thought this would feature in GW2? XD).
Presumably, Braham tries to start conversation with Ottilia a few more times, which ends in embarrassment, and nothing seems to be going anywhere for Braham until the first Dragon Bash - held in Lion's Arch - begins.
Finally, Ottilia makes her own move and initiates a conversation with Braham, suggesting they go on a hunt.
Braham, presumably caught off guard, is confused and trips over his words until he manages to ask what she wants to hunt, naming jotun and Svanir as possibilities. (Both active enemies of the norn.)
Ottilia replies airily that she wants a new rabbit-fur vest and would rather fight rabbits (weak little creatures, and also very adorable, and who remembers the Bunny Spirit?!).
Braham, confused about hunting them, repeats "Rabbits?"
Ottilia ignores him and brightly informs him time and place, leaving Braham in the dust still scrambling for words.
Braham, of course, still shows up the next morning and hunts rabbits with her, but rabbits aren't really his preferred enemies and he sees it as a sacrifice he has to make to win over Ottilia.
I imagine they don't keep going on rabbit hunts for very long, but I'm sure similar encounters - awkward, Ottilia charging ahead and taking the lead, Braham stumbling over his words and perhaps not being super happy with where it's going - happen between them while the Commander is busy during Sky Pirates of Tyria.
After that, though, during the Bazaar of the Four Winds, there is apparently some sort of Wolf Spirit Appreciation Day, and Braham gets himself a plan, gathers himself and approaches Ottilia with remarkable composure, asking if she wants to go to Wolf's shrine together.
She says no (ouch), and explains that she'd already gone. Most people would take that as a rejection and just leave.
Braham however, is not daunted by this and keeps his cool. His backup plan plan kicks in and he asks if they could eat together that evening.
Ottilia then flat-out tells him she's going with someone else, a fur trader, and asks Braham rather nastily what he does for living, legend, or fame.
He is finally at a loss for words (perfectly understandable) - he'd saved Cragstead, hadn't he? He's spent the last four episodes (several months!) taking care of it! What kind of a question is that? But he only manages to stammer out a confused "what?"
Ottilia sneers that he's just "growing old in Cragstead like all the others." She leaves, calling "I'll send news of my travels. Promise!" over her shoulder.
As far as rejections go, that's a pretty awful one. Braham is, of course, devastated, and during the next episode (Cutthroat Politics), Braham gets to watch Ottilia making plans with her fur trader, telling everyone who will listen that she's going to Hoelbrak with a merchant who travels the world.
Rox visits Braham at some point and finds out about all this mess, and eventually drags him to the Queen's Jubilee to keep Braham's mind off of Ottilia.
For a while, this works - Braham admires the set-up and the show the humans are putting on, but eventually his attitude starts getting more grouchy.
Rox, casting around for something to say, suddenly exclaims "wait, Kuh-bam? This whole time I thought you were saying "Kuh-Braham!" Braham is rather affronted by this, and Rox keeps the dialogue going, eventually claiming that she'll start going around saying "Kuh-Rox" and "Kuh-Frostbite."
Eventually, Rox runs out of things to say and subjects to bring up, and just grumbles, "Try concentrating on the good time we're about to have instead of the vicious harpy who broke your heart."
This sets Braham off and he starts ranting about Ottiiia, saying he'll never love again. He manages to curse out rabbits before Rox takes him to the battle arena.
In the next four episodes (plus the Marionette instance from the Origins of Madness), during the Tower of Nightmares story arc, he is mostly fighting Scarlet's minions alongside Rox and getting to know Marjory and Kasmeer. It would be easy enough to believe that here, he's doing just what he started during the Opening Ceremony - attempting to "bury my pain in the joy of combat."
But I think he got over his lovesickness quickly enough (although, as far as we know, he has never loved again). He was spurred by something else Ottilia said: "He's a fur trader. What do you do? [...] Exactly. Nothing."
Braham decided to find a way to build his legend, possibly from a desire to win back Ottilia (although I doubt it), but also to spite her. Perhaps he also had another woman on his mind: Eir. He was fighting beside the mighty Dragonslayer, after all, so Eir would have at least crossed his mind. Whether he wanted to best and surpass her, or whether some small corner of himself, feeling alone and abandoned, thought this was how to win his mother's attention, we'll probably never know.
But I want to emphasize that he did decide to fight alongside the Commander. Unlike Ottilia, we've proven that he and us are likeminded, similar people - we work well together. We're passionate in our defense of Tyria (unlike Ottilia), and also good friends and loyal ones - also unlike Ottilia (or Eir). Because of this, he's decided to fight beside us. That's no small honor. Braham's greatest desire when we met him was to take care of his people and mourn the ones who died.
But now, he's chosen us to be his friend and ally, because we've proven we're worth it.
Credit to the Gulid Wars 2 Wiki (and especially its editors!) for the pages on Ottilia and Braham, and also the admirably well-documented S1 story mission pages that detail all the dialogues I pulled from four episodes to know what Braham's been doing!