Consider the following: there is a war going on between the world of the angels and the world of the demons (superficially corresponding to heaven and hell). The leader of the angels, Lugh (a pagan deity if there ever was one!) gives a glass vial to four fairies inhabiting the world of humans (superficially, Earth) to brew a magic potion, the famed Naoverie, which will bring peace between the warring races. The fairies boob and lose the bottle. It is found by a naive, inoffensive schoolboy called Liam, on whose shoulders this responsibility now falls. The angels and the fairies will both supply him with herbs to mix the potion. But the archdemon Cifer (who looks like Cernunnos, but whose name clearly refers to a Judeo-Christian entity) has heard of the plan and sends his own servants to thwart it - not by destroying boy and bottle as would be the most sensible thing to do, but by supplying Liam with herbs of their own. Thus starts a game of daily herb-mixing (or going to the fairy grove to pick herbs and be laughed at) and receiving four to eight visitors a day for tea and a chat - unless an angelic and a demonic visitor drop in at the same time, in which case they will exchange insults and leave in a huff. There is a war on, you know.
I read a review of this game at one of the few English sites on BL games and thought: this I have to see. Perfume power! A whiff of fairy formula, and world peace is assured! Not to mention the random way in which the game mixes up European pagan and Christian mythology. The game plays in what is supposed to be a ancient Irish setting and is chiefly highly absurd (spot the shamrocks in Liam's sitting room) and concerning both sex and violence, definitely in the all-ages category. The war is a very genteel affair with not a drop of blood spilled, and there are no mosaics because none are needed. The game is only as BL as you make it, because as well as getting love endings with respectively one of four angels, one of four demons, one archangel and one archdemon, the main character could simply decide to succeed in creating the fragrance and get a reconciliation scene, almost succeed and become the new teacher at his school, or mix his herbs wrong so what should have been general love and peace between the angel and demon races becomes a love tryst between two of his visitors, accidentally witnessed by a deeply embarrassed Liam who will have a hyperventilation attack and go "Ooooh! (name) and (name) are making out?". Again, there's nothing that requires mosaics.
The only warning the game needs is one of dental decay, because it's tooth-rottingly sweet. The game intro starts with a syrupy song and the story of how God ("Jii-sama", English spelling: "Ge") created three worlds: Flaithis, the world of light where the angels live, Rirudana, the world of humans (and elves and fairies, obviously) illuminated by the light from Flaithis and, in the perpetual darkness of Rirudana's shadow, Annwyn or Annwn, world of the demons. Mythology experts may protest that Annwn is not hell and not an underworld, and they would be right, but these are just bits of, to the Japanese, exotic lore tossed into a cute game. Next, in the dome that is Rirudana's sky, four coloured sparks - the four fairies, of the small and butterfly-winged variety - cry out something about "glaumerie", their excuse for losing the bottle. Enter incredibly cute little boy in strange school uniform-type outfit who is supposed to be between fifteen and seventeen, the age when most boys start to shave, and, in the matriarchal warrior society of ancient Ireland, would be getting their first taste of armed combat. He finds the bottle - ooh, isn't it pretty - and runs into the four angels who would otherwise have supplied herbs to the fairies, and who fill him in on the details of his task. Angels, in this game, look just like humans, except for feathered wings which are usually completely hidden. Once he's back in his quaint whitewashed cottage with its clean rustic living room, still digesting this strange event, four demons drop in and inform him that they, too, will be regular guests from now on. The demons also look like humans except for leathery spike-topped wings which are also usually completely hidden, and the almost perpendicularly pointed ears that anime elves are outfitted with, only twice as long. These monumentally long and rigid ears will support any number of ear-hangers without flopping over, yet fold away invisibly when their owner is lying on his side. Finally, the room is filled with white light and Lugh Himself appears to reassure the puzzled, frightened boy. All characters - angels, demons, humans, even the little fairies - have big fleshy hands with pointy nails. It's cute; a bit like hobbit feet. And it places the game firmly in the realm of fantasy.
Fragrance Tale is very much into sets. There is one set of angels: an easily angered white-knight type, a very gentle and angelic one, a dreamy loner who seems to be lost in a world of his own, and a strict Victorian parent's idea of a Good Child. There is one set of equal and opposing demons: a loud pushy troublemaker, an intellectual aesthetic, a grim, forbidding hermit with a kink, and a pesky little brat. The first two demons explicitly associate themselves with the elements of fire and water, the alignments of the other characters can be guessed. Their herbs are respectively a branch, a leaf, a flower and a small bunch of berries, white for the angels, dark purple for the demons. Their respective leaders are white and black versions of the same basic design. The native equivalents of the two-times-four herbs are coloured green/brown: a branch, a leaf, a flower and an acorn. They can be had from a third set of four, the fairies: an aggressively pert girl in red, a painfully shy girl in blue, a high-spirited boy in green and a sarcastic boy in deep purple. The angels have what sounds like modern European (ie. "foreign") names, the demons' names sound pagan, the fairies have abbreviated names of gems in the same colour as their outfits. Liam gets a set of three beakers to mix herbs in (parallel of the three worlds?) and on every seventh day has the opportunity to go to the fairy grove and make three picks from the four available types of herb. (Sometimes, there are none available and he gets "00". And the fairies will always laugh at him for his choice. Jealousy because they lost the vial?) For otherworldly herbs he relies on his eight visitors, who visit during the eight time slots in the day. For each visitor there are five consecutive events: one event at home, two outings, on the second of which he may be given a gem, one night visit and a chance for Liam to pop the question. The night visit happens when Liam is on good terms with the character and has had enough daytime naps; the other four events happen each time the relationship bar has lengthened by a quarter. Each of Liam's three beakers holds two bits of herb, so that six herbs a day are put in holy water and added to the bottle. If they're left in the beakers for any amount of time, their effect becomes that much weaker, and they may be adulterated by visitors giving Liam something extra to pop in. The whole game lasts 71 days, ie. 6x6 days for mixing (every seventh day is for gathering) and one extra day for a last-moment adjustment. It's one big math puzzle, and I confess I haven't cracked the code. The love endings are easiest, they require only the herb of the target character supplemented by the local herb of the same type, and giving the right replies during conversations.
Lacking real plot or story, the game leans heavily on the characters, so let's introduce them:
The archangel and head of Flaithis (Irish for "heaven"), a world that's literally in the clouds. An extremely solemn, serious person with long white hair, a strangely shaped circlet and bigger starched cuffs than even the Victorians would have thought sane. Deeply revered by his subjects, who are of course well practiced in reverence, he's usually accompanied by white light and New Age-y music. From what little characterization he gets, he comes across as omniscient and loving in an abstract, distant way. His kindness is shown in the voice dramas but doesn't come out so well in the game, where his desire to end the war might as well mean "let's tame the renegades for once and for all". Since the real Lugh is a less well-known god than Loki, the latter's name is usually pronounced correctly, but Lugh is always "Ruu".
Onward Christian Soldiers! Coming from a part of the world where Christianity is more than an amusing foreign religion, my first reaction to this character would be to bar the doors and get out the heavy artillery. Too honest to play the Spanish Inquisition's trick of "we're torturing you to save your soul", he would nevertheless, in his zeal to protect the universe from harm, be happy to genocide the demons and any other perceived "enemy". Then again, being leader of the Imperial Guard of Flaithis obliges one to take a high-handed, authoritarian tone; in his spare time, he's romantic, chivalrous, and the perfect prince on a white horse. Easily inflamed by what he sees as ignoble behaviour, and practically humourless, he's an easy target for the likes of Nadhew. His name, pronounced "adoru" in Japanese, might be something to do with adoration (a thing angels are very good at). The "r" may have been written as "l" because "adder" doesn't make a noble-sounding name, unfortunately the game-makers didn't realize that "addle" is a verb meaning "to make rotten". Incidentally, "adel" is the Dutch/German word for aristocracy. Coincidence? As the Japanese do like to dabble in German...
Update 2007: it was very likely borrowed off a game character called Adol ("adoru") Christin, young adventurer and general do-gooder in the series of Ys games, filled with biblical references and containing a race of fox-tailed elves with unusually long ears. In which case it has nothing to do with aristocracy, since that character is a simple peasant boy.
Supposedly an angel of feminine beauty, this is, simply put, a wet blanket with a feeble voice. Anime characters being drawn alike, the only way in which Philyth differs from the other angels is slightly bigger eyes and loads more hair. And, oh yes, he's voiced by a woman. He's very polite and high-minded, never looking angry or speaking harsh words - his whole being emanates "mummy's not angry, mummy's just very, very hurt" - and overall so bloodless that he makes me want to bite. Apparently he finds the war very distressing and wants everyone to be friends - schmaltzy, anyone? To the patient player, he will display a rather hidden sense of humour. His outfit resembles a monk's habit, and he's depicted holding a book, suggesting higher education. His name ("firisu") is a pretentiously spelled version of a common girl's name, but may be an allusion to the filidh, a Celtic caste of poets/seers who were halfway between druids and bards and, of the three, most open to Christianization. I suspect that like many consonants in old Irish words, the "dh" is silent, but since "dh" is the modern spelling for the Germanic eth, a d-shaped letter with a voiced "th" sound, it's easy to pronounce the word as "filith". Yet another coincidence? Then again, maybe he's holding a book on etiquette.
I'm told this character, whose name is pronounced "soryudo" for language-technical reasons, has that quality rare in angels: a mind of his own. It may explain why he's so popular with the fans. Or it may be that this mind is also extremely broad; few things shock him, he's fairly Nadhew-proof and doesn't share his side's horror of demons. Appearing to out-top all other characters, he is a gentle giant, often lost in thought and laughing "oh, nothing" when anyone asks what he's thinking about. His outfit looks old-world naval, as if he could leave on a galleon to discover the Americas any moment. Both game and voice dramas suggest there is much more to this character than meets the eye. He knows things that others don't, and is very interested in the universe and what makes it tick. He also sleeps irregularly. He's a mystery figure without the attraction of mystery, as it were. There's nothing mysterious about his name: it's a normal French name and was probably chosen for its resemblance to the word "solitude".
Meet wet blanket number two, Flaithis' answer to Rapunzel, and I have thought of using that long, long braid to strangle him. He's a nice enough kid, wanting to do the right thing and screwing up and then - out come the tears. He does something during his visit - drops a cup, I think, it doesn't even sound broken - and cries. He twice takes Liam flying and accidentally plummets down, the second time into water; I hear "gomen" and he's crying again. He'd be a happier, more well-adjusted person if he wasn't so accident-prone. Like most anime characters, he looks much younger than his given age; both he and Loki barely look thirteen, and what makes it worse for him is that he's wearing schoolboy shorts and crosses all over his clothes. Like Liam, he is proof that Eyes Can Be Too Big; when he closes them, half his face blanks out. During visits, he sits with his knees bashfully turned inwards, and when given a non-smiling answer will look mortified. What kind of child abuse produced such a pitiful creature? An ant could squash him.
Head of the demons and ruler of Annwn. He rarely appears, but when he speaks, his voice comes right out of the earth. He has Sittra's taste in fur and Claydle's taste in hardware. As befits a creature half pagan, half satanic, he has long black hair, burning red eyes, curved horns on his head and enough metal jewellery to build a bridge out of. In all, he looks quite sexy, and it's too bad he gets so little screen time. If this character were fleshed out a bit more, I think he'd be Nadhew squared. All that's shown of him is that he's impressive enough to win the respect of his totally irreverent subjects - even Claydle speaks of him as "Sifiru-sama" - has an uninhibited sex drive, and likes little boys; or maybe he's just not fussy. His name suggests the Christian devil - Lugh-Cifer, Lucifer, get it, haha - and is ironic in two ways: "Lucifer" means "light-bearer" (in Dutch, it's the word used for matchstick) and the "Lu" bit in both "Lugh" and "Lucifer" has the same etymological origin. Like all demons in the game, he has fearsomely long ears, half of their length hung with metal.
Nadhew is a cross between Tarzan of the Apes, Conan the Barbarian and the kind of llama that the Monty Python team warned the audience about. Messy-haired, under-dressed, over-muscled, tanned bronze in a supposedly sunless world, and wearing a leopard-print wraparound and a boa constrictor-type pet snake in a charming shade of lime green, he is a running joke and clearly aware of it, often grinning all the way into his ear. Not exactly gentle, he likes to shock and scare timid people and take the piss out of anyone else. He fancies himself the leader of the demon team - not that they listen to anything he says - and talks at twice the necessary volume but, as this suggests, his bark is infinitely worse than his bite. When he's not swaggering around or bullying people, he likes to stuff his face. He's probably fairly representative of the population of Annwn. The game spells his name "Na-Dhew", which may be an attempt to literally romanize the pronunciation - "na-dyuu" - since in the default English pronunciation, the "d" is part of the first syllable. The name might have been borrowed from an Irish king called Nuada, which sounds different, but which was also spelled Nud, Nod, or Nuadhu; and that does come close. Incidentally, this Nuada was Lugh's uncle.
The oldest of all characters given an age (and they're pretty young, for immortal beings - but maybe the age tag gives information about their physical/mental state of development, not how long they've been around), Sittra is radically different from your average llama-eared bat-winged ruffian, and not just because his wings have feathers. His priorities are beauty and intellectual freedom, in that order; he's not interested in war, but his remarks on the liberating nature of darkness imply that he sees Flaithis as the banana republic on cloud nine. He is what I'd call genuinely civilized, and can be as pleasant and polite as an angel, but unlike an angel can also choose not to be, and when that happens, he's scarier than Claydle. His position at the top of the age ladder suggests experience, and he's certainly wiser than his colleagues and their angel pendants. Either character associated with water is "feminine", but where Philyth is intersex, Sittra is a drag queen. Not in the way he dresses, because none of the demons wear specifically "male" or "female" clothing, but the eye makeup is geisha style, and judging from a Japanese fan page, so is his manner of speech. His voice is extremely unctuous and amiable - again, except when he's angry. In a less vulgar, more manipulative way, he's just as gropey and mischievous as Nadhew, causing Liam some awkward moments. His name is a common girl's name in India - "Sitra" - but also an alternative spelling for both "sitar", an Indian instrument, and "sutra", a book or collection of teachings (yes, like the Kama Sutra, not the Karma Sutra as it's sometimes misspelled) and so has the same connotations of music and learning as Philyth's might have. The second "t" is there for good reason: it represents an extra syllable. As Japanese can't deal with consecutive consonants, one solution is to insert a silent vowel, usually, "u", making the spelling "si-tu-ra"; unfortunately Japanese has no "tu" sound and instead uses non-silent "to", resulting in "si-to-ra" which may end up being pronounced as "s'tora" or even, ironically, "s'tura".
A glossary on a Fragrance Tale fan page drily defines "Darkness" as "Claydle's favourite subject". All demons appreciate this force which is the essence of their being, but this one has a special tie with it, both in his destructive psychic powers and his affinity with the Black Arts (an entirely Christian concept, the closest the Celts came to "black" magic was invoking their nightmarish Old Gods). He doesn't display much of either in the game (Liam's living room just doesn't have the right ambiance) but it's said even demons keep their distance from him. Not that he misses them, for although he execrates all of Flaithis and is fiercely attached to his homeland, he's not so attached to its other inhabitants. He addresses everyone except Cifer (and sometimes Liam) as "kisama", which roughly translates to "you worthless waste of space". He's described as cold, sadistic and somewhat bloodthirsty - his preferred sexual practices may be inferred from the chains on his outfit - but what the character guides keep missing: he's a recluse. Where the other demons make themselves comfortable on Liam's sofa, he always sits with arms and legs crossed, his head withdrawn between his shoulders, and says as little as possible. This is the only demon visitor where Liam has to take the initiative - and who takes evasive action! A person could live next door to him for twenty years and never notice he's there. Yes, he'll hurt, maim and kill; but not without provocation. The name doesn't ring any cultural-mythological bells, but as it's pronounced "kreidl", I did a Google search on similar names which turned up "Credne", assistant of a famous surgeon who made a new arm for Nuada; "Creidne", a warrior (female) and former incest victim whose name, a militantly feminist page tells me, means "honour", which would suit his unflinching character; and, phonetically closest, "Creiduladd", Latinized: "Cordelia", goddess of flowers - definitely not a match! I should add that he has no sense of humour and consequently doesn't get on with Nadhew.
This spiky-haired young troublemaker has a harsh, raspy voice that goes well with his abrasive appearance. Like Tim's outfit, his cloak is adorned with the (in this case, entirely imaginary) symbol of his world, and I can't look at his knee-pads without thinking of skateboards. A younger, less aggressive version of Nadhew, whom he deeply admires, he similarly divides his time between food and pestering people. He's said to be hard to dislike, which I can understand as, not inhibited by "manners", his whole being expresses FUN! He's an affectionate little glompmonster, a cute bundle of scratchy fluff, and his supposed cruel demon nature pales into insignificance beside the sadism of real-reality adolescents. Notably, he won't torment anyone he likes; he only pesters Liam once and after that, just upsets the boy with gifts and unexpected visits. He's as amusing as a kitten playing with a knot of wool, and likewise should not be left in the living room unsupervised. Need I even add that Loki is the name of the Norse god of mischief?
An impudent, bossy cow in a red dress who's ignored by the lads but manages to both intimidate and scandalize Sapphy. And, oh yes, one of the fairies from the grove, like the other three below.
A fairy in a blue dress seemingly made for an expedition to the Arctic. She's so shy that she has trouble talking, her voice comes out of a very tight throat. She's constantly ashamed of either herself or her companions and gets ribbed by Emel and snapped at by Ruby. And the one time she's alone to meet Liam, who should accompany him but Claydle.
A freckled fairy in a green outfit, and the closest thing to a leprechaun. His voice grates even more than Loki's, and he's always laughing. His name is pronounced "Emeru" - why not go the whole hog and call him "Emerald", one might think, but in Japanese that makes five syllables.
This should probably have been "Amethyst", as amber is a resin, not a stone, and his suit is purple. He has a funny little cap with a feather and likes to sigh over his companions' behaviour.
Liam's wise old teacher, but obviously not from the druidic tradition, as Liam is shown carrying school books, and the druids did not allow their knowledge to be set down in books! More a product of the missionaries, he looks like a monk without the shaved head (or maybe it is shaved under the headdress - meaning Liam will also have his head shaved when he becomes the next teacher - what a ghastly thought) and carries a staff in the shape of a Celtic cross. His name is clearly an abbreviation of "philosopher", literally "lover of wisdom", where ironically the "wisdom" part has dropped off. He respects all the otherworldly visitors equally, which can sound odd as I don't expect to hear a certain pest being called "Loki-sama" by anyone but himself.
The focus of everyone's attention. Somewhere in his teens, he might be an orphan, or just moved into a house of his own to be closer to school; he has no life outside school, although growing his own food and and herbs should take a big bite out of his time, and I never hear of parents or family or even visits from school friends. Possibly because he has no social life, he isn't nasty in any way, and doesn't expect anyone else to be. This has a disarming effect; he'll put equal trust in a bashful angel and the arch-fiend of hell, and if his visitors misbehave, he'll be surprised, then cross, and indignantly complain. Because he doesn't think of grovelling even when scared, the hostile characters can't quite push him into a victim role. His obvious unawareness of exactly who he's dealing with and what the stakes are allows him to remain as he was before this peace mission happened to him: bright, cheerful, hospitable and completely unprejudiced.
Once the intro is over and done with, the game plays as follows: in the morning, click on the desk to mix the herbs. They may be added to the bottle, or left to soak for a bit and added later. If they're added before the end of the day, Liam loses one of the eight visitor time slots and so receives one visitor less. The herbs mixed, a click on the couch and he takes a nap - this can also be done at any time of the day, and uses up one time slot - or else a click on the table will summon his first visitor. The visitors come in order of how well they like Liam, which is shown by the relationship bars in the stats screen opened by clicking on the cupboard. On the first day, everyone drops by; on subsequent days the time of visiting depends on relationships, so that two characters may use the same time slot, or there will be no visitors at all for a certain time slot, and Liam has to wait. The living room has a stool and a couch. Angels perch themselves politely on the stool, demons sprawl on the couch. Therefore, two angels or two demons can't visit at the same time; if they have the same time slot, one of them will not come. If an angel and a demon have the same time slot, one will enter shortly after the other, and they'll have an argument and leave. (The angels will apologize, the demons will just be cross.) In that case, Liam won't get a herb from the second visitor, and the relationship with either visitor will not improve. The game can be saved between visits by clicking on the cupboard and guessing which button is the "save" button; there are five pages for a total of fifty save slots.
Each visitor has his own way of knocking on the door: Nadhew and Loki give it a hearty bang while announcing themselves, Addle gives a sharp rap, Tim and Philyth knock timidly and Claydle's knock suggests that if the door isn't opened fast enough, it will shortly be off its hinges. They will all bang quite hard a second and third time and, if still not admitted, will leave in disgust. On admitting a visitor by clicking on the door, there is a voiced greeting, again typical for each character, and Liam is given one piece of herb, for which he thanks the giver and offers them a seat. The seated visitor asks Liam a question which is answered by choosing the pink button (smiling reply), the purple button (serious/surprised reply), one of three coloured buttons that represent the others in the team, or a fourth button representing the enemy's world. So, for Tim, the buttons would be pink-purple-Addle-Philyth-Solude-Annwn. What Liam's actual reply will be is a gamble, and the whole question/answer part is unvoiced, a pity as this is where the characters are rounded out. Fortunately, the game can be saved before picking an answer. The visitor will then smile, or look sad/angry, and in the first case either say goodbye or offer a second herb - this is voiced again - in return for a second answer. A one-question visit means one herb and uses up one time slot; a two-question visit means two and uses two, meaning one visitor/herb less that day. A visitor from the other side may also show up in the second half of an extended visit, again arguing and leaving without giving a herb, so for a "peace" ending rather than a "love" one, it's best to give noncommittal answers to keep visitors happy and visits short. After their voiced goodbyes, characters may add an extra comment or offer to come by at night - but only if Liam has been taking his naps. Every seventh day, Liam can go to school, get advice from Phiele and have random herbs delivered to him by the fairies in the evening, or go to the grove, make three clicks on any of four trees to request the corresponding herb, be laughed at, go home and have his picks delivered by the fairies in the evening.
The game ends either when Liam gets his love ending event (and answers the questions right, or he loses all relationship points with that character) or on day 71 when the bottle is full and the mixture is a certain colour. Unless you know what you're doing (and I didn't) the mixture will be red - failure! Liam will go to the wood and meet the demon he is closest to. He'll greet his supposed friend and ask why he's looking so grim. Then, the small print of Lugh's agreement will be revealed to him (talk of a pact with the devil!) and the demon will laugh at his shock and yell something like "die!" to which he yells "noooo!" and if he's less popular with the demons than with the angels, that will be that. If the demons like him, he'll be taken to Annwn and presented to Cifer, which from a demon's point of view must be a big honour, but Liam doesn't look too happy about it... That's Cifer's love/lust ending, a fairly inevitable one for the newbie. The endings themselves are not stored in a CG gallery, as is custom in BL games; the events are, but what the player gets is not a still frame but a replay of the event, complete with choices and different outcomes. Not having the patience to suck up to the angels day after day in the hope of an event, I hacked the save file to unlock all events, including the love trysts. All events are completely voiced and, a few tear-jerkers apart, quite funny, including Claydle's first floundering attempts to intimidate Liam (after which he just gives up, deciding humans are soft in the head) and Loki's bedroom visits. And if you've ever wondered how Tim would respond to Nadhew's advances... Suffice it to say that this is the only time in the game when Tim looks angry.
The game was ported from Sega Dreamcast to PC and then to PS2. It's one of the few games that doesn't need a CD in the drive while playing and, better yet, can run on an English Windows, although for lack of the right font, the text will be illegible - but I can't read it anyway. It looks more aesthetic with a proper font, and serious players will need the text to be legible, as the questions that Liam is supposed to answer are not voiced. A real shame, that. Extras are: a fandisk with art and sound clips called the Fragrance Tale Voice Collection, two drama CDs of which the synopses are on the next page, the A4-sized Fragrance Tale Artbook (containing pictures of all the still frames in the game plus the first sketch of the characters, showing that some came out right first time while others were drastically remodelled) and a few wallpapers on Takuyo's website, including a cute one of Loki in a Santa outfit. One thing about the game art: it's very pretty, but tiresomely recycled. Neither the fan disk nor the art book add much new material, while the first voice CD has some original art on the sleeve but... brrrr... They should have hired the artist who did the original character designs. This game needs DirectX and will play on a 266Mhz. (By putting a Japanese fanpage through Babelfish, I found out that the first edition of the PS2 port includes a small voice drama with "several years later" cameos for Liam's love endings. Arrrgghh!! I'm still not going to buy the PS2 port but do hope the CD becomes available separately.)
What would happen if Nadhew and Sittra reincarnated as twentieth-century
humans and decided to start a certain type of agency? Check out Zettai Fukuju Meirei, the story of a rough guy, a smooth
guy and their lays.