Hi! Thank you so much for reading Krystoff’s route. I’m sorry for such an awkward and unconventional story format, but I hope you were able to enjoy it anyway. I’m going to word vomit about it now!
THE ORIGINAL DRAFTS
You’re not supposed to play favorites with your children, but Krystoff’s story is the one I absolutely wanted to tell the most out of The Duenkhy cast. Not even really because I had that clear of a vision for the plot or anything, but Krystoff was just such an immediate joy for me to write and characterize, and out of the love interests, he’s the only one that Jun starts out not really liking, so I was excited to see their romance blossom. Banter is one of my absolute favorite things to write. Jun is generally very calm and easygoing with the other characters, so it’s fun to see the meaner side of them that Krystoff coaxes out.
If you weren’t around for the beginning of the conception of Duenkhy, let me explain this again. Originally I made a pretty extensive Ren’py demo for it in a proper visual novel format. And actually, I wrote what I’ll refer to as “the original drafts” of everyone’s routes. Yeah, there’s an entire completely written game that never saw the light of day because I just never got around to dumping in visuals and coding the routes. Cassius original draft was the only one that ever made it into the playable demo.
Those drafts are trash by the way. Even though I worked really hard and collectively wrote hundreds of thousands of words, I may never let anyone see that version of the game.
HOW THINGS TURNED OUT
Krystoff original draft was almost entirely different from what I ended up rewriting to post here. Originally, saving money to permanently move into the duenkhy neighborhood was a factor for Jun, so Krystoff properly hired them as an assistant. I completely threw this out because it caused a strange relationship imbalance where it felt like Krystoff only knew how to keep Jun around by throwing money at them, LMAO. I mean, that’s not super out of character but that’s not how I wanted things to play out. Most of all I wanted to encapsulate that sort of Beauty and the Beast “being trapped in a beautiful and affluent man’s depression mansion” scenario. Well, Jun isn’t trapped, but they sure don’t have anything else better to do. Kidding.
Most of the family drama for Krystoff in the original draft revolves around Rotys’lav, and I don’t think their parents ever directly made an appearance. This time around I really wanted to show the parents, but they still ended up being a little inconsequential, lol. I was just really enamored with the idea of subverting the “dead human mom” trope by having Angkit actually be not only secretly alive, but also training to magically overpower her extremely evil husband. It ended up just being a silly parent kaiju fight but that’s fine.
I’m happy with how uniquely estranged from every member of his family Krystoff is. Despite Royts’lav easily being the most malicious and self-serving, Krystoff actually had the most familial love for him because he was actually some small part of his upbringing. Things will be hard for him in a new way now that his family is essentially completely gone, but at least Jun is there for him. Makes you wonder what happens to him when you do the other routes, huh?
Jun’s history is a little mysterious on purpose, by the way. It was my idea that you learn different things about them in every route and kind of piece together the full puzzle. I honestly don’t know if I’ll ever be able to finish writing new versions of the other routes, at least not right now, but I’m happy with with snappish, self-motivated Jun that develops in Krystoff’s route. Did you notice their hair growing as the story goes on?
Yes, Jun’s eye loss is permanent after the events of this route. They really come out of Krystoff route worse for wear. Also, if you noticed that they stopped wearing their skull mask almost entirely partway through the story, it’s because there’s a curse on the mask that prevents leaving the sector. Once a need to exit and re-enter Krystoff’s sector became a factor, the mask was an inconvenience to them. Its main function was also to protect them, but as they grew comfortable around Krystoff, they started to trust that he’d be able to protect them better than the mask would anyway. I promise this wasn’t just because I wanted to draw Jun’s face more.
What’s the thesis of this route? Really, not much of anything. Krystoff and Jun realize they have a lot in common in terms of personal baggage and the maladaptive ways in which they bottle that baggage. It was relaxing to write a story that doesn’t need to mean anything. I just wanted you to imprint on Krystoff. I hope it worked.
KRYSTOFF AND THE OTHERS
I didn’t get to show nearly enough of the rest of the cast in this route, sadly, especially Rafael because he and Krystoff have a VERY hard time communicating with each other, lol. So here’s some of my thoughts on Krystoff’s relationships to the rest of the cast. Maybe I’ll write side materials of ensemble cast eventually.
- Krystoff and Calisto: I think I made this relationship the clearest, but they were dating for a bit while both of them were in really bad places. Calisto was trying to distract himself from feeling displaced on land, nursing an extremely one-sided crush on Lady, and dealing with general loneliness/depression. Krystoff has a hundred years of mutually manipulative and codependent relationships under his belt. So you can imagine things went south really fast for these two. Post-main story, I think maybe they can start to pave over their rocky history and enjoy banter with less malice.
- Krystoff and Lady: As mentioned a few times in the story itself, Krystoff holds Lady in high regards and Lady sees him as childish and tiresome. She‘s a little more able to understand Krystoff’s idiosyncrasies than most, both because they’ve been around the neighborhood for so long, and because Lady is excellent at reading people, but she just doesn’t see him as worth the effort it’d take to pry through his layers of bullshit lol. That requires someone patient like Jun. All that said, she doesn’t hate him or anything and would probably invite Krystoff to events and hangouts without much thought. Post-story, I think her loyalty to Jun would give her no choice but to warm up to Krystoff.
- Krystoff and Cassius: In the original draft, Krystoff purposely torments Cassius to scare more negative energy out of him. The story framed it as a necessary evil, but it was hard to like Krystoff when Cassius was so afraid of him, so I just wiped that out from the story entirely. Krystoff can gather energy passively. It’s not something he’s as driven to seek out in this version of the story since it makes him secondhand miserable anyway.
(As a quick aside, original draft Krystoff was way more of a chaotic trouble maker. He’s a lot more aloof and pensive now, although he still delights in making things hard for people.)
So, the timid Cassius still finds Krystoff overwhelming and intimidating, but I think their relationship would be a lot more neutral. Krystoff likes to tease, but Cassius offers zero resistance or self-defense, which isn’t as much fun to Krystoff. I think this would lead to Krystoff being fairly hands-off around Cassius.
By the way, lots of duenkhy don’t realize this, but object heads basically kiss with their hands, hence Cassius’ discomfort with shaking hands casually. He still does it if he has to because he knows it doesn’t hold the same significance to other species. Anyway, Krystoff DOES know this and purposely played dumb when he shook Cassius’ hand when they met at the bar, LOL.
- Krystoff and Tor: These two are like water and oil but that makes for a cool lava lamp so it’s not actually all that bad. Krystoff fundamentally does not know how to deal with Tor’s big and effusive energy, and Tor is so genuine and unflappable that he’s not a good target for Krystoff to tease. This leads to them, strangely, getting along fairly well despite a huge lack of common interests (Tor is an IT guy and Krystoff has a distaste for modern technology). (It’s because he doesn’t know how to use computers.)
- Krystoff and Rafael: These two don’t get along at all because Rafael takes everything literally, sometimes on purpose, and this drives Krystoff up a wall. Rafael is also just too blunt and abrasive for Krystoff to really enjoy his company. Likewise, Rafael finds Krystoff nonsensical and irresponsible, so there’s a pretty big lack of mutual respect here.
- Krystoff and Shawn: You may have noticed, but Shawn dropped completely off the radar after the introduction chapter. Well, you pretty much don’t hear from him unless you do his route. He’s self-quarantining. But Krystoff can read his energy from afar and even he slightly fears Shawn just from that. Makes you wonder.
- Krystoff and Jun: Well, the whole story is about them so you get the gist of their relationship. But in the original draft, there was actually a bad ending where Jun decides to throw away their humanity and become an apparition like Krystoff, and the two become evil together. I echoed this idea loosely with Krystoff’s mom. It was a pretty neat ending but obviously has no place in this story format. I suppose there’s room for Jun to become an apparition one day post-good-end too, though, huh?
So what about them post-story? I think they take a good long while to just enjoy a mundane routine and recover from the trauma that the main story inflicted upon them. They get very intimate with each other very quickly once the barriers of “uncertain about each other’s feelings” are gone. I don’t think they’d ever get married or call each other any particular relationship labels, but they become very close and gentle with each other. Sorry to say, but Krystoff is so traumatized on the idea of families that he will never ever want children for as long as he lives. So that’s that.
^ And yet I designed a fanchild anyway. She isn’t real but she’s cute.
OTHER ODDS AND ENDS
I like to try to match my characters to seiyuu because I’m a loser and it’s fun to be able to imagine a proper voice for them. Plus most seiyuu sing and it’s the ultimate dopamine to pretend it’s my character singing. Here’s Krystoff in my mind, and here’s Jun. Bonus boarded Krystoff set to Shoutan speaking. Wheeeeeeeee
Here’s canon complicit Junstoff (that’s their ship name, fun, right?) R18. If you want to read that. LOL
Here’s a goofy character playlist I made while writing the route. Half the songs are just “I happened to be thinking about Krystoff while listening to this” but oh well.
And here’s a whole bunch of art.
I just kept redrawing the same picture to put different outfits on it, to help me remember what Krystoff (and Jun) were wearing in a given scene.
A concept for a form Krystoff might have taken to look more like his brother, before he realized he hates his brother.
This has no basis in canon. None.
Doodles for a humanoid form for Regenald. Does it have any basis in canon? Who knows.
Krystoff with Ankora, who isn’t a part of this particular story/timeline, but they’d probably meet at some point. Ankora is a character from another body of work I’m currently ruminating on.
^^^ Non-canon species swap AU.
Time for the truly, truly stupid art.
And now for “comics” and stuff…
THANKS FOR READINGGGGG