Genshin Impact: Nara Varuna and Sumeru's place in the Traveler's journey
If you’ve already finished the Aranyaka world quest chain, the most intricate and long-winding world quest chain in Genshin Impact yet, you will be familiar with the figure of Nara Varuna.
The quest chain, which begins with the mystery of children in Vimara village going missing and returning without memories of being taken, introduces us to the other race of creatures living within the lush forests of Sumeru: the Aranara.
Warning! Spoilers ahead for the Aranyaka world quest series. If you haven’t completed The World of Aranara, Varuna Gatha, Dream Nursery, An Unwavering Culinary Dream, Starry Night Chapter, Agnihotra Sutra, and Festival Utsava, take caution in reading. You have been warned!
The Aranara are plant-like spirits who were ruled over by Queen Aranyani – Greater Lord Rukkhadevata – until her death.
They are only visible to children, as they can only be seen by those who have the capability to dream, something that the older citizens in Sumeru cannot do. They live in the mystical realm of Vanarana, only accessible to us when we learn the Rhythm of the Great Dream.
As we adventure with the Aranara to save Rana and help keep the forests of Sumeru safe from Marana (the Withering), we learn about a certain figure called Nara Varuna.
Who is Nara Varuna?
Nara Varuna was a significant part of Aranara history, as this person aided the Aranara during a calamity hundreds of years ago.
During that calamity, black rain and dark mud poisoned the forests and water supply, threatening the lives of the Aranara and Sumeru's ecosystem.
The Golden Nara, as they were described, helped “heal” the Varuna Contraption, a device created by Greater Lord Rukkhadevata that was a key part in the flow of rain and water in Apam Woods.
They did not disclose their true name to the Aranara, so as time went by, they were called Nara Varuna instead.
But during the quest chain, bits and pieces about Nara Varuna and who they were are revealed by certain Aranaras.
Aside from being described as “Golden”, a word which has only been attributed to the Traveler, the Aranara remarked many times that the Traveler looked very similar to Nara Varuna.
In our first encounter with Arapandu in “Varuna Gatha”, he states that Nara Varuna is “...a golden and brave Nara, just like Nara (Traveler)".
Nara Varuna also spoke about having a sibling to the Aranara involved in the “An Unwavering Culinary Dream” quest chain, which included the “siblings” Araphala, Arapacati, Arasaka, Arachatora. Nara Varuna notably introduced the concept of siblings to those otherwise unrelated Aranara.
Nara Varuna also states to Araja – the village chief of Vanarana – that their sibling would arrive one day to also adventure with them.
Another interesting thing to note is that when a player chose Lumine as their Traveller, the pronouns for Nara Varuna will be changed to “he/him”, while playing as Aether will change the pronouns to “she/her”.
These instances, and many more unmentioned, in the quests lead to one conclusion: Nara Varuna is our missing twin.
As if that isn’t confirmation enough, we were also given the 'Aranyaka', a notebook that Nara Varuna used to record their experiences with the Aranara. However, it's original contents were lost and the Traveler used it to record his own experiences instead.
An expected twist?
But at the end of the Aranyaka questline, the Traveler will find a page titled 'Someone's Letter' which is filled with things written by Nara Varuna that has somehow survived.
Those writings not only served as additional evidence for Nara Varuna being the Traveler's twin, it also gave us a glimpse into their state of mind at the time.
One of the most important lines point towards the Abyss Twin being hopeful for a reunion with the Traveler, referencing an Aranara saying about 'Sarva'.
Interestingly enough, Sarva is a Sanskrit word that means "whole" or "entire". It may be that Sarva is the Aranara word for 'Heaven'.
"...When the time comes, I will have so many things to say to (him/her). Just as the Aranara say, "We shall meet in Sarva." I hope things can still be salvaged then."Someone's Letter
It’s interesting to know how much of our Twin is embroiled in the history the Aranara, Sumeru, and Teyvat as a whole.
Considering how the repair of the Varuna Contraption is hinted to have occurred several hundred years ago (probably just after the disappearance and death of Greater Lord Rukkhadevata after the Archon War), their adventure could be most likely right after the destruction of Khaenri’ah and their separation from travelling companion Dainsleif.
Considering how our Twin has travelled across Teyvat and is now working with the Abyss Order to attain their still unknown goal, it begs the question: What have they gone through exactly in the years they’ve travelled without us, and why are they now leading the Abyss Order?
Their history with the Aranara hinted to us that our Twin had yet to develop their cold, hard exterior.
What this means for the future
I think there's a great significance in the fact that it was in Sumeru that we first met beings other than Dainsleif that have a direct connection to the Abyss Twin.
After all, Sumeru is the fourth out of the seven nations of Teyvat that the Traveler steps into. The Nation of Wisdom is, both literally and metaphorically, the midway point of the Traveler's journey.
The middle part of the hero's journey is usually where the crossroads lie, where they have to make some tough decisions that will greatly affect where they will end up once their story concludes.
Perhaps it was the same way for the Abyss Twin.
Their time as Nara Varuna, helping the Aranara as well as learning their ways and views on the world, helped push them towards eventually becoming the leader of the Abyss Order.
Maybe seeing how much the innocent Aranara suffered during their time with them helped steel their resolve and rebel against Celestia.
All signs are pointing towards a similar outcome for the Traveler's time in Sumeru.
Just look at how much of a rollercoaster the Aranyaka questl line was, add to that the still ongoing Sumeru Archon Quests. It's safe to say that the Traveler will leave the Nation of Wisdom greatly changed, just like their twin did.
Who knows, maybe things will end up like how Nara Varuna hoped.
After the Traveler journeyed through the very same places in Sumeru their twin did, so too will their paths lead them back to each other.
Or, as the Aranara say, they shall meet in Sarva.
Yan Ku is a full-time dog parent, part-time (gacha) gamer, and part-time writer.
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