Mirrah

Mirrah is a nation shaped by its geography. Located to the far east of Drangleic, it is constantly beset by invasion from its neighbors — an existential threat that the country has to contend with every single day. Because of this, Mirrah’s military is its most valued asset, resulting in it becoming a country of knights. According to Lucatiel, your average child of Mirrah isn’t recognized as an adult until he or she has joined an order of knights and earned a reputation on the battlefield. So much of the populace has been needed to defend its borders that participation has basically become a formality. It is proof that you played your part in preserving the nation and protecting your friends and family, that you had the power to stand on your own two feet and hold your own against any adversity. And if you weren’t an aristocrat or someone of similarly high wealth and status, you were basically forced to join the army and risk your life every day in the hopes of success carrying you to a better position down the line anyway. It isn’t an easy life in Mirrah, but its people have pride in surviving so far.

My country, Mirrah, is a country surrounded by various others and always simply in the midst of wars. So you’re recognized as coming of age by joining an order of knights and distinguishing yourself on the battlefield.

Most seem to start as standard life infantry for their local lord from a very young age and spend most of their youth training their technique or fighting on the front lines. If they survive a few battles and earn some achievements in the process, they can be promoted to the lord’s knights. While this may seem relatively easy to accomplish, the training leading up to it likely prepared them for this advancement. In order to master this traditional order’s unique sword technique, recruits must meet a high skill cap, so all of them either have the talent or put in the effort to earn their vows to the feudal lord. The Mirrah Knights are the elite, glorious defenders armed with both the strength and experience to hold back the enemy. And as their shields decorated with what appear to be blazing flames signify, they have not only the power to survive but the resolution to die for their country. Rising through the ranks in Mirrah doesn’t automatically better your chances at survival, but it does afford you some glory and luxuries that your common peasant in the army couldn’t ever dream of.

The knights wear finely-sewn hats and vests and the like while off the battlefield. Such fancy clothes are just for pure pomp and etiquette, but they still show off the knights’ riches and status. Mirrah knights live better than anyone born among the poor — the rewards for their merits, loyalty, and everyday hazards of the job. It’s also doubles as a lure for the able but needy wanting to escape destitution. In terms of style, the clothes resemble renaissance Spain, which is the intent. According to game director Yui Tanimura in the Dark Souls II: Design Works interview, Lucatiel’s design had originally been intended for a Don Quixote-type character before the idea was scrapped and recycled during the game’s turbulent development. This distinctly Spanish flair could be why the name Mirrah (ミラ) resembles the Spanish word mirar (ミラル) meaning “to look” or “watch” — fitting for a country always on guard against enemy invasion. And this culture certainly goes beyond just Lucatiel, for the rapier forged by a Mirrah blacksmith is dubbed Espada Ropera, the formal Spanish name for rapiers meaning “dress sword”, complementing the knights’ fancy clothes.

On the subject, the blacksmith Llewellyn, or Lind, (リンド) makes this rapier and other products from geisteel, or “gran steel” (グラン鋼) in possible reference to the Spanish grande meaning “big”. True to its name, the steel is a rare and hard to produce but excellent alloy invented in Mirrah and used in creating its weapons and armor. Considering this, it is probably used in the creation of the Mirrah Knights’ armor, though we are provided no examples of what such armor even looks like let alone is forged with. The closest example is the equipment worn by Creighton, a knight of Mirrah who has slightly modified his armor. This leads to the description questioning if it is actually an elaborate fake, but Cale confirms that Creighton was a bloodthirsty killer who had become a “pariah” of the Mirrah Knights and thus was once a real member. (item descriptions in Dark Souls III (DS3) reaffirm his membership) His equipment is therefore unquestionably authentic if somewhat different from the standard armor worn by the Mirrah Knights. So, what are the differences?

Iron mask made from an unusual technique. Personal effect of Creighton the Wanderer.

The design of the eastern country Mirrah’s order of knights is seen, but were original improvements made? Its appearance is somewhat different from the regular one. Might be an elaborate fake.

Crieghton’s iron mask and chainmail are said to be made using an “unusual technique” befitting armor of elite soldiers, though there is no mention of the iron being geisteel. With that in mind, these alleged modifications may be referring to his cape and the actual mask since the helmet and chainmail themselves resemble those worn by Cale, a Mirrah light foot soldier. They at least can’t be referring to the distinct image of a blue stag’s head adorning his surcoat, as this exact same image is emblazoned on the surcoat of Benhart — the deer’s antlers are also depicted on the warrior of Jugo’s old parma. This well-worn and slightly smelly armor is equipment that Benhart picked up during his travels because he took a liking to them, so Creighton can’t be wearing a Jugan crest at the very least. It is thus more than likely the crest of Mirrah. (a fact later made explicit in these items’ descriptions in DS3) Stags often symbolize pride and protection, and Buddhism considers deers to be symbols of peace, harmony, and longevity — making it is the perfect coat of arms for a country like Mirrah.

While none of this clarifies if geisteel was used in forging the knights’ weapons or armor, it does emphasize their importance to the country. And so, Mirrah established specialized orders of knights beyond the traditional one. One such chivalric order are known as the “wizard knights” in English, but are more accurately called the “Magic Knights”. (魔法騎士団) This subtle difference is important since they were not practitioners of sorcery or similar schools of magic. Rather, the Magic Knights share a Mirrah knight’s pride in sword duels despite learning magic — all because the magic they learn is miracles, namely Magic Barrier and its far more advanced counterpart. Much like the spells’ creator, the knights want to level the playing field so that they can compete with sorcerers and the like, who generally have an advantage at range against heavily armored knights. They are simply fighting fire with fire, learning the minimum amount of magic their pride will allow in order to counter all others. The order is thereby closer to holy knights than wizard knights, which says a lot about their culture.

Miracle which covers the whole body in membrane of magic protection. Boosts resistance to magic, fire, lightning, and dark.

This miracle imparted to be able to give one a “rock-like” body is widely imparted to the Magic Knights of Mirrah.

The Holy Water Urn is a vessel filled with clean water from a secret spring located within the “old capital” of Mirrah, implying that it like most countries in the setting is actually a city state. More importantly, the spring it hides has had divine properties since long ago, hence why it is holy water that heals the skin of most while burning the skin of cursed Hollows. The pots are proof that this water is in fact harvested and shared with others, though they are hard to come by because the nation has been entrenched in war. And assuming that this holy water functions similar to that of Gwynevere’s Divine Blessings, it also explains how Mirrah has managed to hold out for so long with enemies on all sides. Even the most serious injuries can be cured with this blessed water, which would drastically reduce the mortality rate and thus prevent the country  from collapsing due to attrition. Mirrah’s location made it perfect for fighting in defensive wars, but it may also be the underlying cause of them.

The fact that both the holy spring and the metropolis are described as fairly old suggests that the latter was founded upon the former. Perhaps a god like Gwynevere had at some point blessed a previously ordinary spring — there is a god of blessings called Hanleth as well as a god of tears associated with water and a distaste for death called Caitha. Or maybe it was blessed by institutions worshiping the Anor Londo pantheon like the Way of Blue. The water might have even somehow naturally accrued the power of sunlight while underground. Whatever the case, the potent powers of the spring make for a solid basis for Mirrah as a city and nation. The country certainly recognizes the value of the spring considering they have managed to keep its location secret, though not its existence based on the Holy Water Urns’ description. And knowing that there is a massive water reservoir that can heal any injury gives plenty of incentive for neighboring peoples to try conquering the city hoarding it. The holy power Mirrah possesses is thereby a curse plaguing its citizens as much as it is a blessing protecting them.

Bottle filled with pure water. It, which was originally water for healing, is a taboo for Hollows and burns their skin.

The water which gushes forth from a secret spring that is in the old capital Mirrah is imparted to have retained divinity from long ago. It isn’t easy to acquire since that country has been smeared in war.

And so, it is unsurprising to discover that miracles are the most widely accepted form of magic in this proud country of knights. Reverence for the divine lies at the heart of Mirrah, so if a knight stoops to practicing any magic, it will be from sacred texts. This is at least true for the Magic Knights, but they are not the country’s only order. Aside from the traditional knights, there is also the Shadow Knights, an order whose existence is only known through old tales due to the secretive nature of their work. Unlike most Mirrah knights, these “shadows” hide in the dark of night and cast sorceries that let them fall greater distances or silently sneak up on unsuspecting foes. In other words, they serve the same role as the sorcerer spies of Vinheim, expert assassins of society’s seedy underbelly who will use any means to fulfill their all too often unsavory assignments that are best left unknown to the general public. This goes against the fundamentals of the code of chivalry, of course, but the shadows don’t care.

The Shadow Knights’ short daggers are long swords whose blades were snapped off near the hilt, an obvious sign of their disregard for the dignity of a knight. The best of them even stoop so low as to sell their services to the highest bidder, mercenary work that would be unbecoming of a knight with any sense of pride in serving his or her country. And perhaps that is ultimately for the best. The Shadow Knights are simply willing to do what the rest of Mirrah’s orders will not. Their continued existence indicates that they have become an essential part of foreign espionage and domestic politics, so even those who sell out their country for enemy coin evidently haven’t brought their homeland to ruin. The benefits of assassinating without ceremony or process outweigh the risks of an occasional turncoat. Consider that Mirrah is at risk of being subjugated on a daily basis. No matter how proud they are of their survival up until now, everyone has to make compromises to stay the course. The Magic Knights do so to deal with the reality of magic, and the Shadow Knights do so to deal with the reality of people.