The Monumentals


At its core, Demon’s Souls is the story of a hero setting out to defeat the demon king, an all too common premise in modern Japanese fantasy. But it is easy for this thought to never cross the mind, in large part thanks to the underlying conflict between the Old One and the Monumental placed at the forefront. Whereas the Old One brings a larger horror lurking behind the demon king’s threat, the Monumental brings a moral quandary plaguing the hero’s journey. Should heroes be drafted when they are clearly not — at least not yet — able? What about when the world is at stake? And does it matter who is doing the drafting? Even if they bear responsibility for it all coming to pass? It is nothing too complicated, but the nature of the Nexus and its key facilitators does make the “good guys” feel a little less clean in a game with an already grim tone characterized by our, painful, death.

Rhyme for Reason

The Monumentals were originally part of their own human culture, though what they called themselves during that time goes unmentioned. Because of that, I will simply refer to them by how they are currently identified. According to the last Monumental’s Japanese dialogue, their civilization had “controlled” the world prior to the First Scourge, suggesting that they were the predominant pagan society during the Classical Era. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the world was “united” as the localization claims, and the Monumental does later reference the leaders of other “small peoples” (小人) existing concurrent with them. Considering that these other peoples include giants, this is more likely referring to them being lesser in status than in stature. In other words, the Monumental civilization was the undisputed major power with the hegemony to influence the surrounding minor powers, much like Boletaria during the Medieval Era.

Their authority over world events likewise wasn’t “benevolent” as the localization words it per se, though it was explicitly based upon their use of the soul arts. Evidently, the Monumentals’ mastery of magic surpassed that of neighboring nations, making them the most advanced and thereby powerful pagan culture in their day — presumably the largest as well. As to how their society functioned beyond that, the Nexus is a temple decorated with statues of hooded women, bringing pagan priestesses and occult witches to mind. Indeed, the stereotypical witch hat that Yuria wears is attested to in legend as if it was a common sight in this era, meaning that these literal “magic women” (魔女) were themselves the norm. This by extension implies that witches specifically were the center to the Monumental civilizations’ religion, and for good reason.

Very long ago, we controlled the world due to the soul arts.

Rigidly firm, dirtied three-cornered hat.

The witch hat described in legends is actually used by witches, apparently.

Yuria’s magical arts are completely different from your typical sorcery. Witches like her don’t comprehend the power they possess, but they can nonetheless manifest it as their heart desires. Much like divine miracles and demon arts, their will and the emotions behind it are the deciding factor. Witchcraft thus cannot be learned because it is intuitive, no different from breathing. This is why Freke and Yuria each derive different spells from the same demon souls, the former creating arts which are much more intellectual applications of the soul’s power whereas the latter invents magic better reflecting the soul’s fundamental nature. It is no surprise then that witches seem to be born with such power. Legends claims that these women are born with a Ring of Magical Nature in their possession, indicating that their own “magic nature” (魔法天性) is similarly innate. And considering that the ring increases the amount of magic we can memorize, we can infer that nature means greater magical potential in particular.

A witch’s sorcery differs from Lord Freke’s sorcery. Lord Freke comprehends the demon’s soul and considers the power itself. A witch’s sorcery simply manifests that power in accordance with the demon’s soul. If demons are cursed, so too is a witch’s sorcery cursed. They’re not anything like the arts of man, which you call Lord Freke’s…

The sorcery of that woman there, Lady Yuria, is of quite a great interest. Her sorcery differs from mine, rather they are arts of emotion and feel closer to miracles. Perhaps it’s because she’s a woman…? Is having it all beyond my grasp…?

Taken together, and women seem to occasionally be born more in touch with the power of their souls than others, a talent which doesn’t manifest in men — much to Freke’s displeasure. Perhaps it is because they are uniquely child bearers, which would imply their direct involvement in forming an independent soul for the offspring. But regardless, this gives certain humans of the feminine persuasion a strict advantage over their male counterparts. They not only have an easier time first manipulating souls, but a higher ceiling to their power level as well. Any society aiming to be optimal in the magical field would easily notice this detail. In that case, it would only be natural for the country which ultimately became the predominant magic civilization to have had female magic casters as its highest caste. And with religious rituals and magic rituals being synonymous in this Classical Era, this caste would be part of the culture’s pagan faith.

Simply put, the Monumentals’ rise to the top was probably based in part on singling out witches to be priestesses, allowing the best possible magic casters to shape society — their speed in developing magical arts and technologies surpassing their peers. The last Monumental reinforces this notion. The official profile affirms that the character is supposed to be androgynous, with most using terms for young boys (小僧 or 坊主) when referring this mysterious individual — perhaps because these Japanese terms were originally used for Buddhist priests whom the Monumentals vaguely resemble. Indeed, the deluxe edition art book clarifies that the character was designed with statues of Buddha in mind, wearing simple, unsoiled white linen robes and the face of an “innocent child” to help convey a holy purity and enlightened aura. This makes it easy to identify this magic temple’s leading figure as some kind of boy monk. However, the Japanese description for the Friend’s Ring explicitly identifies the Monumental who gifted it as female. And if she is a woman, then the same might be true for the rest of the Monumentals found alongside her.

A mature boy, or perhaps girl. Her culture and manners, or perhaps the impression of her appearance, also differ from the norms of this world. She sits in the depths of the Lynchpin Temple and talks to the hero who slayed a demon. The past the Keyman recites is…

There is no doubt that the Monumental civilization had witches as their spiritual if not temporal leaders, all because they had an insatiable desire to pursue the soul arts for power. This greed is what led them to the discovery and eventual awakening of the Old One. However, the latter requires that they had understood the power which this slumbering demon possessed first, which requires time to study the embodiment of nothingness and its ability to energize souls. In short, the Monumentals didn’t awaken the Old One right away, and so may have found it as early as the beginning of their civilization. How then did it fit into their culture? Was it just an intellectual curiosity, or was it something more divine?

And then, we awakened the Old Beast due to our insatiable pursuits.

The Talisman of Beasts (獣のタリスマン) is an old wooden amulet made in the Old One’s shape, making it more accurately a talisman of the beast; the magic-imbued wood may even be a piece of its tree body. This indicates that someone from long ago was both familiar with the demon’s form and worshiped it as a god, calling upon its power when casting magic. And who else would meet this criteria except for the one civilization which had found the beast and considered magic power to be the greatest good? The Monumentals did ultimately choose to seal the Old One within a temple, essentially enshrining it there. Was this a “house of god” (神殿) simply because of the Archstones and Monumentals preserved there with them, or was it because the sealed demon had originally been considered their deity?

If the Monumentals did worship the Old One for its power, then it was their arrogance for thinking that they could benefit from their demonic god without consequence, the Crestfallen Warrior believing that they just revived it at their own convenience. However, we cannot lay blame on ever single citizen of this civilization. While the last Monumental is very broad in her language, she only ever speaks about those who ultimately became the Monumentals as a collective, suggesting that the fault lies with the civilization’s witch priestesses specifically. They were the ones pursuing the soul arts on the country’s behalf, so they would be the ones with regular contact with the Old One and directly involved in any decision to awaken it. At the very least, there must have been one particular person or small group who did the actual deed, no different from how characters broadly blame “man” for the actions of specific individuals. We might even know who.

The Maiden in Black is a solemn female magic caster trapped in the Nexus like us, wielding a lamplit staff to help keep the temple operational and first summon us there. She is also a demon with all the powers therein, as evidenced by the Soulsucker spell derived from her soul. The spell’s description further reveals that she was previously one of the old demons, dating her lifetime to the First Scourge — that she was also the most dangerous implies her to have been an Archdemon in particular. And despite Freke’s insistence that she would welcome death for being “violated” by demons, the last Monumental indicates that she would be a demon by choice even if she wasn’t bound to immortality. Most humans turned demons we encounter desired the power of demon souls to achieve some end, but we are provided no indication of why this mysterious Fire Keeper sought the Old One’s strength. Instead, she demonstrates a loving nostalgia for the beast, treating it like a mother would a baby, and chooses to be with it in eternal slumber at the end. This zealous love for a harbinger of the apocalypse betrays her history.

Magic that manifested from the soul of the demon “Fire Keeper in Black”. Absorbs souls from touched opponents.

The fire keeper who manipulated the power of souls and helped demon slayers was once one of the most dangerous old demons.

Has the fire keeper helped you well? She is captured in this Lynchpin to help demon slayers and lead the Old Beast to slumber again. Otherwise, she would be a demon by choice and all…

Beast… over here… The new demon you wanted, right… Now, be a good baby…

What is the background for the person or persons responsible for waking the Old One? A powerful witch who was raised in a culture which considered magic power to be supreme and had become a priestess for a religion which potentially revered the demon as the supreme magical being, someone who loved power more than people. This lines up perfectly with the sorceress who at some point made contact with the Old One, became deeply attached to it, and ultimately assisted with its quest for world destruction. In other words, the Maiden in Black may well be the exact one at fault for the First Scourge, a product of Monumental society’s obsessive pursuit of power who still loves the beast and its dominion over souls to this day. They certainly treat the demon witch like she has.

Aside from being made unable to truly die, the maiden has had her eyes covered in what looks like black wax, with her official profile confirming that she remains barefoot to help her better feel her way around despite the filth. And like some kind of cruel joke, the blind immortal is expected to protect the Nexus’ light so that her prison remains operational. Considering this and her gloomy demeanor, we can only imagine what else was done to break this former world threat into the Monumentals’ obedient tool for sealing her demonic master — the witch’s simple desire to sleep for eternity with her beloved beast, believing that is the state they should be in, is certainly a radical shift in her motivations. And in spite of this harsh treatment, the last Monumental only laughs at her expense, clearly never regretting an ounce of it. Is it just because she betrayed her kind for demonhood, or is it also because she represents everything that was wrong with Monumental civilization? In the end, she is the only demon, human or otherwise, that they managed to capture, aside from the Old One itself.

A mysterious woman who summoned the hero to the Lynchpin Temple. She is wrapped entirely in black cloth, possesses a long lamplit staff, and the upper half of her face is covered in something like black wax. Is she barefoot so that her feet can feel around for confirmation?

The last Monumental reveals that her people battled the ancient beast and its demons, eventually leading the original back to slumber. Considering how slowly the deep fog has diffused in the years since the Second Scourge began, this conflict must have lasted for quite a long time to consume most of the world before the Monumentals finally succeeded. And if the world was on the verge of destruction, then it must have been a hard fought battle. Indeed, the Old One has oddly-shaped spears sticking out its back as if they rained down upon it; the same can be said for the beach where we encounter the beast. From this, we can infer that the Monumentals attempted the magic equivalent of tactical missile strikes, at least some of which was done from the Nexus.

After that, the world was on the verge of destruction by the colorless fog and demons it produced. We somehow led the Old Beast to slumber. However, by then, many souls were lost and most of the world was swallowed in the thick fog and vanished.

The same peculiar spears flank the temple’s largest statues of hooded figures, one hanging upside down beneath the other like a bizarre mirror as sunlight shines down upon them from a hole in the ceiling. The top statue holds a staff in one hand and a sword in the other, dropping the latter to shatter the magic barrier blocking the central pit below. This is our only exit, and it requires us to fall down the massive shaft until the light at the other end of the tunnel blinds us, at which point we regain consciousness face-down on a beach. And there with us is the statue sword, stuck in the sand just like the spears. By all indications, it is the Nexus which loads these spears into a statue to then drop upon targets below, which would imply that the actual temple is floating somewhere high in the sky.

It is odd that we find ourselves on a temperate beach when the temple was discovered in a hinterland of icy mountains according to the official Japanese website’s prologue. With the Old One freely spreading the fog across the world, this beach cannot be some dimensional space within the Nexus where it was sealed. Taking the spears into consideration, and it is most likely the remains of a battlefield from the First Scourge — that would explain the broken columns and doorways half-buried in the sand there. Perhaps the ruins were once a Monumental city, but they nonetheless indicate that the Nexus is transporting us to a completely different location. In that case, the temple must be flying through the sky via magic, moving over this beach location during the final leg of our journey so that we can confront the Old One lurking in the fog there. Indeed, the form the Nexus takes requires that it be a flying temple.

The game’s platinum trophy features an angular stone object resembling a nail. Every other trophy employs a recognizable character or item model, so why use something so abstract and nondescript for our ultimate achievement? Because it isn’t just a random shape, but the exterior for the hub area from which we access so much of the game. The dimensions of the “nail” mesh well with the Nexus’ layout, especially the long taper to the bottom where the exit shaft would be located. Moreover, a cut codex entry confirms that the temple is built from a mass of rock shaped like a lynchpin. And just as the Monumental describes the awakening, battle, and subsequent sealing of the Old One, the accompanying cutscene shows a floating rock resembling this “lynchpin” unleashing some sort of magic from its bottom tip against a mass of bramble resembling the beast; the surrounding sea of flames even lines up with the beach ruins, some of which have been seemingly melted by intense heat to varying degrees.

Lynchpin Temple

Temple of an old people that King Allant discovered at the limits of human-inhabited land. It is made of a giant, lynchpin-shaped rock mass. It is connected to the various parts of Boletaria via magic stones called Keystones.

By every indication, the Nexus was the “lynchpin” to the final battle. In fact, it may have been the headquarters spearheading the war against the demons even back then. While the localization mistranslates this as blacksmiths, Boldwin actually complains about the temple not having enough tools for him to smith with. That by itself is odd, since you wouldn’t expect a house of god to have any tools for forging weapons and armor, especially one which largely hasn’t had human contact since the interim between the two Scourges. This therefore implies that blacksmiths were working at the temple during the First, meaning that soldiers were regularly coming to be armed there. Evidently, the last Monumental’s nonchalance in dealing with demon slayers and handling the Old One comes from plenty of experience. The priestesses waged a more conventional war before, supplying and commanding armies while their massive temple lobbed down projectiles and magic spells from the air until the indestructible beast was at last lulled to slumber.

This temple, at any rate, doesn’t at all have enough smithing tools. That is, the ores I can use to even forge weapons are limited, but well, put up with it. It’s only because of my arms that smithing work can be done in a place like this to begin with.

However they managed that feat, the Monumental civilization used the opportunity to capture the Old One within the temple. As to where the Nexus would contain a beast of that size, it was most likely the Pantheon. While now honoring heroes, this section at the very top of the facility nonetheless enshrines souls that had been similarly imprisoned there. Dendou (殿堂) is likewise used to refer to both a “Hall of Fame” and a more conventional “shrine” to gods or Buddha. This makes it ideal for sealing their old god, using the demon’s soul to lock away the rest with it — converting the entire “body” into a soul form alone would make storage feasible. This also fits with the notion that it was imprisoned in the deepest “depths” (奥) of the Nexus. The Monumental’s profile uses the same terminology for the higher level we must ascend to reach her, so the level even above that would obviously qualify. And from that perspective, there is nowhere “deeper” into the building than its highest point.

The Nexus was clearly prepared to facilitate the Old One’s capture. That said, the system obviously wasn’t perfect. The captive was able to break free of its magical restraints and escape outside with ease, hence the need to first render it unconscious. And despite that attic being the most defensible area from outsiders, a human did still manage to breach it. Perhaps this was with some difficulty. The solid stone door fades like an illusion at our touch as we pass through, seemingly at the Monumental’s behest. But that roadblock evidently wasn’t insurmountable. If there were any additional traps or other safeguards, they are no longer active for us to witness. Whether due to lack of time, resources, or competence, the ruined civilization settled for the Nexus we see now — which is, to be fair, still a flying temple most humans could hardly be expected to access. It would have to suffice to contain such evil.

Bedrock for the World

Once the beast was sealed, it was time to clean up the foggy mess left in its wake by making the stone temple a bedrock for existence. To bind the remnants of the world diffused by the fog, the Monumentals created the Archstones. True to its name, each “Keystone” (要石) acts as a foundation, a place for the untethered world to go. In this way, they bind reality together like stitches in patchwork. Even shards seem to reserve this great power, though these fragments are too unstable to be used without crumbling apart afterward. And while the Archstones apparently don’t hinder the fog’s erasure of existence in any way, their role in cleaning up the gaps left in its wake explains why most are shaped like baku, dream-eating demons in Japanese folklore. They anchor the fluidity of the conceptual into rigid reality. However, this bestial shape doesn’t encompass all of them.

The last Monumental states that only six were entrusted to other civilizations’ leaders, but this is most likely referring to the six housed at the temple, each depicting the leader and society associated with it at the time. The leaders carry their own green oval crystal, the same embedded in a six-side pillar during the cutscene where the Monumental describes this event. These six crystals thus seem to be the Archstones’ cores, the source of their power. We find many more of the smaller stones in the actual areas, each linking back to their corresponding stone in the temple like a branch — indeed, reliefs of the six-sided pillar portray the green crystal like a seed from which flora branches out. Therefore, in entrusting “one” Archstone, the Monumentals were in fact leaving many individual stones in their care, covering more ground in a network to widen an individual Archstone’s area of effect. As the description for a Shard of Archstone relates, they now “dot” the various lands.

In order to connect what little of the world remained, we entrusted six Keystones to lesser men’s leaders. To the ambitious king of a small country, the king of the diggers who go underground, the intelligent queen of the Ivory Tower, the chief of the wandering poor, the priest of the Shadowmen who worship death and storms, and the giants of the North.

This Archstone network centers on the Nexus, a “lynchpin temple” (楔の神殿) which acts as the proverbial cornerstone holding together all the bindings on reality. Of course, this power isn’t limited to places. Our own spirits are bound to the Nexus after death, shackled with the Nexial Binding to preserve our autonomy. If we regain our bodily form only to die again, the soul simply returns to the Nexus. If we elect to use this bond and return of our own accord, the body will be left behind. After all, only our soul is bound to this place, though it is easy to forget since we keep most of our items. Considering the principles behind phantoms, these items are most likely just our spirit’s copies, hence why we lose the dispossessed souls we carry around as currency; a soul cannot spontaneously generate a soul. Nonetheless, our immortality shows that people too are part of the reality that the Archstones can bind, and they can do more than just preserve a soul’s consciousness.

This place is the Lynchpin Temple. It is currently the cornerstone of the northern land called Boletaria. You cannot leave this place. But, currently only five Keystones lead you to the necessary pieces…

The smaller stones’ eyes seem to hold particular power over phantoms. The Stone of Ephemeral Eyes looks like other shards which crumble after just one use, hence the name “Ephemeral Eye Stone”, but we use this one to convert our spirits to flesh rather than send them back to the Nexus. We can find more stable fragments, but they have all had their powers somehow altered. The last Monumental possesses Blue Eye Stones which phantoms can use to send a “soul sign” to their location in the diffused worlds within the fog, from which others can summon them. The Maiden in Black possesses White Eye Stones which can then send the owner or other phantoms back to their original world. Black phantoms possess Black Eye Stones as corrupted as they are, allowing ordinary phantoms to invade other living humans as such dark spirits and sacrifice those lives to restore their own. Demons possess Red Eye Stones which allow the user to send red soul signs for voluntary invasions with both parties’ souls on the line. But despite these differences, all of them still manipulate the soul form in some fashion.

With power over people as much as places, making a physical body immortal is just as feasible. For the Maiden in Black, she wears a binding on her corporeal leg, allowing her to revive in her body until implicitly freed whilst lulling the Old One back to slumber. As for the Monumentals, they became “human sacrifices” and can no longer be considered mortal men. Like us, they are bound to the Nexus, but unlike us, their physical bodies are seemingly indestructible. As she explains, this sacrifice was necessary for restoring the world. The Archstone undoubtedly contain their own power, specifically magic power given that the cutscene closes in on the green crystals just as the Monumental describes the soul arts. However, this soul power is evidently finite and requires feed to replenish it. That fuel is the souls of the Monumentals. The last needs to occasionally meditate in order to “maintain thought”, implying that her soul’s consciousness would disappear if she didn’t regularly focus herself. In other words, to be a Monumental is mentally draining, all because ones acts as a battery for the Archstones.

We who entrusted the Keystones sealed the slumbering beast in this Lynchpin, forbade the soul arts, and became human sacrifices for recovering the diffused world as Keymen ourselves. Now, most of the Keymen are lost and only I remain.

Stop, it is futile. I am a Keyman, no longer human.

… Forgive me. Could you let me mediate a little? Without that, a Keyman doesn’t maintain thought.

Naturally, this battery can reach its own limits. All but one of the many Monumentals have been “lost” and look no different from corpses, their candles extinguished. She blames this on the fact that “time is long” in Japanese dialogue. And since they cannot die by conventional means, their souls being completely drained is likely to blame. Indeed, they are no longer living beings, so what would be left to animate their nonhuman bodies? This role as a battery probably also makes them incapable of leaving the temple. This doesn’t stop them from interacting with the world, as the last demonstrates when helping us find the tear in the fog through some sort of magic, but it does make the Nexus more of a prison for them than for us. Perhaps they felt the need to atone for their culture’s transgression, or perhaps they simply believed themselves solely capable of performing this duty. Either way, they chose to become “Keyman”, (要人) entities just as “necessary” for holding the world together as the Archstones themselves.

Decree in Vain

During all of this, the Monumentals also announced a prohibition on the soul arts and all knowledge related to the soul. Regardless of whether they had realized the deeper cosmological significance to the Old One, the survivors undoubtedly pegged magic as the source of their problem. Mankind suffered the consequences for using the soul for power, an example it couldn’t ignore. If humans cared for their and their descendant’s futures, they needed to leave the soul alone to quietly fulfill its intended purpose. What would be the point of sealing the beast and restabalizing reality if another fool under similarly arrogant pretensions undid all their hard work? Every human must be in agreement that knowledge of the soul is too dangerous to continue circulating. To be fair, there is no denying that the nations who received Archstones, among others, obeyed this decree, leading to later generations’ ignorance about the soul and magic for centuries. However, the actual efficacy of this ban is another question entirely.

Various items originate from a distant country known for forging katanas, which seems to serve as a proxy for Japan in the game’s setting. Much of this equipment is worn by a character named Satsuki, a Japanese name. This includes the ronin’s ring, ronin being wandering samurai who have no master to serve or care for them — for this reason, the ring reduces the wear from using weapons, which would definitely hinder them on their solitary journeys. He is also officially named “Master Satsuki” (マスターサツキ) in obvious reference to Japanese swordplay, which typically depicts mastery of the blade through single, decisive strikes — this is why the master’s ring improves the damage of “fatal” attacks at the expense of all others. Both rings are made from straw rope, specifically the kind used at sacred spaces in Japan like Shinto shrines. Taken together, and there is clearly a country like medieval Japan existing somewhere similarly far and away from the rest of the setting, likely to the east — the introductory map does depict the beginnings of an entire other continent on that side. If so, then the soul arts seem to have never died out in the East.

Ring made with straw rope. Reduces weapon wear.

One of the rings of a distant country which produces katanas. It is said that a unique spell has been applied.

Both rings are associated with religion and exhibit a magical effect through the country’s unique crafting techniques, much like pagan items in the West. The so-called holy arrows, or “toad eye arrows”, (蟇目矢) also originate in medieval Japan, affixed with peculiar-shaped head that makes them physically harmless but able to produce a whistling sound that Shinto shrines use to exorcise evil spirits; its in-game counterpart is used for a similar purpose in “conjury” (呪術) ceremonies, and deals only magic damage. While jujutsu literally refers to “spell arts” like sorcery, it has more primitive and spiritual connotations compared to majutsu, indicating that this magic blade is created by a more tribal, ritualistic culture — again, befitting pagans of a less “sophisticated” era. Clearly, there exists a religious tradition associated with magic that has survived to this day.

Even in a non-religious context, there is Makoto, a “bewitched” or “cursed katana” (妖刀) named for a giant of presumably the same distant country. In Japanese culture, cursed swords are typically possessed by evil spirits, bringing calamity that earns them their negative reputation. In that case, the giant’s soul is probably inhabiting the katana. Satsuki does say that Makoto “chooses” its owner, and a “bewitched” blade cutting wounds that won’t heal and sucking the wielder’s life energy fits the modus operandi of a resentful spirit, especially when oni are usually villainous horned giants in Japanese folklore. This would first require that someone actually put the giant’s soul in there and inscribe the blade with his name, since before legends of its long and shady history were first recited.

Bewitched katana with a shady history that is recited in legends since long ago. “Makoto” is the name of a giant of a distant country.

Cuts by the long, unique blade, which has cut up countless, seriously tear up the skin and never heal again. It is one of the cursed weapons said to devour the user’s energy and steal their heat, but nevertheless those taken with this bewitched katana never end.

Special arrow used in conjury ceremonies. Sound comes flying out of it, and it is said to exorcise evil with that sound. It is magically enhanced.

This stand-in for Japan has been manipulating souls for a long time, and it isn’t alone. The Kris Blade, or “kris knife”, (クリス・ナイフ) is a small straight sword used as a catalyst in specifically old conjury ceremonies, the same as the holy arrows. This is why it is engraved with runes and improves both the effectiveness and damage received from magic. The weapon’s description makes no reference to the country of origin, but the dagger itself originates from Indonesia, where it has had cultural import as a magic talisman, sacred heirloom, and spiritual vessel since ancient times. In short, a similar pagan culture with roots in antiquity must exist in the game’s setting, likely also located somewhere on the eastern continent. And once again, these supposedly unsophisticated pagans have been using the soul arts.

Small straight sword used in conjury ceremonies. Old runes are engraved close together on its blade.

It is a catalyst for old conjury ceremonies, and the user gets greater magical efficacy but also greater damage received from magic.

If these eastern religions and their magic practices have remained this whole time, then they clearly didn’t obey the Monumentals’ ban on magic. How could they? With how disconnected the eastern continent is from its western counterpart, the information disseminated between them has apparently been limited. Satsuki is the only easterner known to have traveled to this part of the world, and what few eastern items have crossed over to western shores are almost exclusively found in places situated on the easternmost end of the continent. Also, despite some of these traditional items possessing magic power, the link between magic and the soul still wasn’t realized in the west until Boletaria discovered the Nexus in recent years. The East’s knowledge of the soul arts never reached the West, so why would these distant eastern nation have even heard about the Monumentals’ prohibition to western countries?

In that case, the last Monumental’s idea of the “world” might be smaller in scope than first impressions provide. If they truly controlled the world as she claims, then this can only be in reference to the known world, the western world where the Monumentals and the countries we know they influenced all reside. This also dramatically decreases the extent of the Old One’s destruction from most of the planet to just a major chunk of the western continent. Since the East wasn’t directly affected by the First Scourge, there was no push to excise magic from its varied cultures like in the west. Isolated as they were, these eastern countries have been able to enjoy the benefits of the soul arts without being tempted to wake an ancient evil hellbent on the world’s destruction. Conversely, the west was never pressured to compete in understanding and developing the “magic” it now shunned and persecuted as tradition. For all intents and purposes, the two continents may as well be different worlds.

With at least the relevant parts of the planet rejecting the soul arts, the magic temple in the sky had to also seclude itself. This is likely the reason for the Nexus moving to the hinterlands at the limits of human habitation. As to why the Monumentals didn’t move even farther, they were in all likelihood limited by proximity to the Archstones. If the Monumentals must remain near the temple to maintain their link to the Archstones, the temple should be bound by similar constraints. Therefore, hovering around that limit would be as far as they could go without affecting any connection. To be fair, remote regions are by their nature sparsely inhabited at best, so the chances of human contact was slim, and the Nexus did go undiscovered for centuries. So long as humans knew to stay away, there would have been no problem. But as the last Monumental put it, humans are a fickle sort.

In their zeal to forget the soul arts, they eventually forgot the history that went with it, including the nature of the stones they were given. Abandoned in obscurity, many Archstones ended up broken relics for rats to occasionally gnaw on. The Monumentals were likewise left to slowly die off as each exhausted their power of thought, until only one remained. Perhaps the Monumentals didn’t think that far ahead, or perhaps they simply expected humans to maintain some level of contact even after the ban. Regardless, they couldn’t wait around in obscurity forever, so perhaps it was prudent that the Nexus be rediscovered when it was; it may have even been intentional. But if so, any recruitment attempt failed. Instead, mankind rediscovered the soul arts and ended up unsealing the Old One. The only saving grace is that the Nexus remains operational, giving humanity a chance to overcome this Second Scourge.

We sealed the Beast, prohibited knowledge of the soul, and connected the world via Keystones and Keymen, but time is long and humans are foolish, fickle creatures. Many Keymen were lost and the Keystones completely forgotten. And then, he, Allant who didn’t know his place, awakened the Old Beast again.

Fragment scraped off Keystones that dot various areas. Transfers the user to the Lynchpin Temple.

Even though the Keymen once entrusted the Keystones to lesser men’s leaders, they were eventually forgotten and occasionally gnawed on by rats.

For one, the last Monumental has saved various people, transporting both the living and dead to the Nexus so they can help slay the demons or assist in some other manner. The Monumental acknowledges that eternally imprisoning people there if they don’t might earn her their antipathy, but she is willing to be hated if it means the world is saved. And while the Crestfallen Warrior chides her people’s audacity to make innocents work to clean up what was originally their mistake, she at least tries to support us to the best of her ability. Aside from gifting the Blue Eye Stone and Friend’s Ring for our cooperation, she also sets up the pantheon on the uppermost floor. This Hall of Fame enshrines the souls of every demon slayer truly gone, letting memory of our achievements live on if not our being. And if the world is saved, we elect to replace her as the soul shouldering the world, proving that her people’s sacrifice had not been in vain.

Have you been to the Hall of Fame chamber above here? The souls of demon slayers who had fought the same as you are enshrined there. Eventually your soul too will be enshrined there. That’s all we can do now. For the heroes who have toughed battles due to our sins.