Boletaria


Preface


As the first castle map to lie at the core of a Souls setting, Boletaria could have easily been made just a generic medieval European-style kingdom. Instead, it became a deconstruction of that romantic image, setting the brutal tone for game Director Hidetaka Miyazaki’s first fantasy title. In fact, in terms of pure attention to detail in its worldbuilding, this area wouldn’t be surpassed until Lothric in Dark Souls III, which unsurprisingly drew heavy inspiration from Boletaria. This is in large part due to the synergy between the stories of the castle and its characters. The kingdom was as much shaped by its people as they shaped by it, creating a particularly organic narrative to form the foundation for the game’s themes. While the linear map may not be the most memorable part of Demon’s Souls, it is the crux from which all future Souls titles ultimately trace their start.


Eternal Chivalry


With its present-day borders reaching the limits of human civilization, Boletaria is the northernmost land that we visit. At the kingdom’s center lies a giant stone castle situated snug among the area’s steep, rocky mountains, crowned by the High Tower which seated the King and thus symbolized the nation. To its left at the base of the mountains is the country’s capital. It was certainly an ideal place to settle. Aside from the grassy hills around it, there is also a river flowing nearby, with a large lake visible in the distance — the apparent source for the river. And thanks to these features, we can place this locale just north of center on the world map, which marks a settlement along the same side of a similar river leading to a similar lake further north. But despite its scenic beauty, the walled city has clearly been given nowhere near the same level of care to defend as the King’s abode.

This veritable fortress’ natural defenses are reinforced by a moat in front of the inner castle, accessed by a single stone bridge. Surrounding that is the inner ward that the kingdom’s knights call home, giving them every incentive to fight tooth and nail to defend it. But to even reach the ward, one need cross the walls encircling it, again only accessed by a single drawbridge. And to even reach that, one has to travel along the Lord’s Path: a long, narrow, elevated roadway along the cliffs with multiple fortified checkpoints and a second, underground passage to safely resupply and flank from. Before that, one must cross a river and breach the gargantuan outer walls, supported by barracks with their own garrison. And to attempt that, one has to break through another secure checkpoint built into more mountains, the road before it stretching down a narrow valley. Suffice to say, the Boletaria Royal Castle (ボーレタリア王城) is probably the most secure dwelling ever to be designed in this setting and speaks to how protective its people were of the monarch. This is because the royalty descend from the country’s hero king, Doran.

This so-called Last Hero is more accurately the “Lone Hero”, (1人の英雄) with the Old King proving to be a Mythic Era figure. Doran’s set is uniquely made from old brass, thus likely fashioned in a Bronze Age. The statue erected at his grave also depicts a man in knightly armor with long, wild hair, presenting Doran as more primitive and uncivilized than modern knights — the barbaric Old Hero had a similar unused design. Moreover, he wields the Northern Regalia, a weapon left behind along with the Old One in the earliest days of mankind’s existence. Evidently, Doran found the sword, perhaps present when it was first left, and used it to help establish a nation. This speaks well to the Old King’s abilities, since it requires strength, dexterity, magic, and faith to wield. Indeed, his Eternal Warrior’s Ring is a “ring of one who keeps battling”, (戦い続ける者の指輪) and boosts stamina recovery speed, implying that the king’s vitality is why he became so legendary — to the point that he is believed to have eternal life. Doran had the talent, will, and endurance to become so incredibly strong, and his Japanese dialogue definitely insinuates the king’s own “recklessness” in facing challenges head-on.

Old bronze ring possessed by Old King Doran. Raises stamina recovery speed. The brave who protects the Boletaria Royal Family, Doran, continues to live for eternity as a demigod.

Do you mean to slaughter the Old King? Fair enough. Pursuing recklessness to the end is probably the nature of a king. But…

All of this implies that Doran earned his kingship in battle. Further supporting this, his bronze helm portrays a bearded man with a crown, and the entire set is inlaid with jewels, as if the man essentially lived on the battlefield rather than on a throne with comfy raiment. The Old King was a warrior through-and-through, fighting tirelessly to protect his people and rewarded with their obedience to his will. This begs the question of who he was fighting against. Boletaria is described as a small country during the Classical Era, so it is unlikely that Doran was an invader and conqueror. In fact, his status as protector of the royalty plus his grave’s location at the gates to the royal castle suggest that the demigod is more the kingdom’s first line of defense. This makes sense given Boletaria’s strong association with knights, gallant warriors sworn to protect God and country per their code of chivalry — the kingdom was even initially named after the FightingFantasy RPG series country of “Galantaria” when Ostrava’s profile was first posted on the official Japanese website. In that case, who, or what did the national hero defend against? Wyverns.

Doran’s armor set has the highest fire resistance followed by the brushwood armor, which Boletarian royals have long owned. Forging such armor is natural if the royalty’s age-old enemies were fire-breathing dragons. Moreover, the latter armor is actually “brushwood-dyed”, (柴染) colored like kindling as if to bait out fire attacks from some simple creature. Boletarian knights along the outer wall even possess the purple flame shield, an old and mysterious weapon also extremely resistant to fire. Purple is commonly considered a royal color, indicating that the royal family had awarded these knights’ ancestors with such shields long ago. Indeed, the knights’ arms are proof that Boletaria’s King invested them with their role. Those who first swore fealty to the hero king and took up arms against those terrorizing their homeland would naturally be rewarded with shields and armor for battle, plus titles and land once the fighting was settled. These proud “knights” would then pass down such equipment through the generations even as the history behind it was forgotten. But while the origin to its design has become unknown to the world at large, the royalty likely still remember.

Heavy metal helmet. Part of old armor that has been owned by the Boletaria Royal Family since long ago. Staves off fire types especially.

Recently, it is known as the equipment of Biorr of the Twin Blades. It is awfully heavy and greatly harms stamina recovery.

Old greatshield painted in vivid purple. It is quite heavy.

Its characteristic design is nevertheless of unknown origin. It has become a weapon of many mysteries.

Highly effective against fire.

The most recent Boletarian king is responsible for the creation of demon wyverns currently terrorizing his kingdom, but what inspired him to derive flying lizards from the deep fog? While dragons don’t feature prominently in Boletarian architecture like knights do, soldiers and knights within the castle’s main citadel do possess the fire-resistant kite shield depicting a yellow dragon on its face. And although the shield is chiefly associated with the region south of Boletaria, the idea of the creature is clearly familiar to the northern kingdom, too. Considering his position, the king most likely learned about wyverns from his family’s legends. Ostrava’s dialogue and the Northern Regalia’s description imply that the royalty preserve the story of Doran and his weapon used to single-handedly protect his people and found their nation. That being the case, these tales should also mention his opponents, whose fearsome image in a Boletarian king’s mind would naturally serve as a worthy basis for demons.

In Boletaria, there is a legend of two swords and a lone hero. The two swords are Demonbrandt and Soulbrandt. Two swords which cut beings that become enemy to man and cut the beings of man. The lone hero is Old King Doran. He is the “one who lives for eternity”  who serves as the hero of Boletaria’s founding and protects the two swords…

All of this ties Boletaria’s origin to defending its people from a dragon menace. Thus, a small country honoring chivalry was born under the rule of its exterminator, called a demigod in death if not in life. That isn’t to say that he had actual divine lineage, as the term commonly describes humans elevated to divine status for their heroic feats and superhuman abilities; it is perfectly reasonable for the king’s subject to have treated their savior as more than just a man. Moreover, it was beneficial to his family. The Archstone featuring a Boletarian king of the Classical Era depicts him with a halo, a symbol of holiness. Monarchies commonly justify their existence upon some form of divine right to keep their dynasties in power, and what better justification than lineage to a demigod? Whether the product of gratitude or propaganda, the masses ultimately revered Doran enough to think his descendants as the only rightful rulers, and who were the royals to refuse such privilege?

This religious element can be seen in Doran’s burial: interred in a mausoleum by the castle gates, his sword split into its two components and jammed into the headstone. While this particular section of outer walls is relatively difficult to reach, the grave would still be more secure behind them. But the legends attest to the demigod continuing to live to this day, eternally protecting the swords so that only worthy souls acquire it — surely, the hero himself can defend his crypt from invaders. But even though we can encounter Doran in the flesh there, the legend itself is likely fictitious. The old king wields the Northern Regalia separate from its components which we can acquire, one still enshrined directly behind him. Since such duplication is usually the fault of the deep fog, the weapon most likely manifested along with its owner’s body thanks to their legend. Doran’s soul was presumably buried with his body and so could become a phantom. And since he is an ageless immortal protector in legend, the magic power made his spirit corporeal and bound it to that behavior, similar to the principles behind demons. The king shaped Boletarian religion, and now it shapes him.

In other words, nothing would have stopped someone from looting the fabled blades until recently. Unsurprisingly then, the royal family has been extremely protective of its legacy. Despite being buried with Doran, the swords are still considered royal property, heirlooms for Boletarian kings to retrieve as they please. And while few seem to have actually taken advantage of this fact, royals are nevertheless allowed sole access to the mausoleum, as we can only acquire the key to enter from a Boletarian prince. Perhaps the royalty itself created the legend of an immortal hero to scare off grave robbers, but it serves the family well to protect and even elevate its legacy, regardless. That being the case, their reasons for not actually making use of these hallowed swords may be more noble.

Aside from making sure to preserve memory of their history amongst themselves, the legend also makes Doran’s descendants vaguely aware of the world’s beginnings, which is more than can be said for most. Indeed, Doran quite explicitly judges us based on our soul, so he was undoubtedly aware of its existence and the power it could possess. Whether the old king actually lived during the days that the blade was first left upon the Earth or somehow became privy to primal lore, he was undeniably closest to the Creator. And so, after saving his people with a magic weapon, the monarch may have willed that his successors avoid relying on it, hence passing down memory of the malice and terrible demon associated with the regalia. His descendants could not, or would not, destroy the symbols of their legitimacy to rule, yet they would respect their ancestral teachings and avoid the temptations of magic. This would explain why Boletaria alone has left no evidence of widespread use of the soul arts during the Classical Era: magic was limited to the founder whose lineage the masses worshiped.

One who seeks the sword of royalty. Show your power and the value of your soul before that Old King. Prepare yourself, one who seeks.


Fall and Rise


As noted earlier, Boletaria was a small kingdom, a minor power during the days that the Monumentals reigned supreme. But even without the soul arts propping up its civilization, this humble nation managed to maintain autonomy even as the deep fog spread. That isn’t to say that the First Scourge had no effect on the kingdom’s state of affairs. While the opening narration refers to Boletaria’s last king as “Allant the Twelfth”, it is more accurate to say that he is the “twelfth generation King Allant”. (12代オーラント王) Allant proves to be a surname, so it wouldn’t make sense to call him Allant XII — we don’t call Henry VIII “Tudor II”. The implication isn’t that this is one of twelve Boletarian Kings who happened to be named Allant, but the twelfth in a continuous line bearing the Allant name. And by using the average 25-year-length of a generation, we can date this dynasty’s origin to roughly 300 years ago, lining up perfectly with the estimated end to the Classical Era. With all the strife and anxiety that an imminent apocalypse is sure to bring about, a radical change in administration isn’t unexpected.

In short, the threat of the Old One most likely contributed to the Allant dynasty’s rise to power, toppling the old regime while carrying on its legacy. The Allants were apparently still related to the old royals, as they continued to pass down the family legend. But the man who became the first King Allant had evidently been displeased with the nation’s current state of affairs, and his subjects ultimately agreed. This would be the king whom the Monumentals gave his own Archstone after the First Scourge, described as “ambitious”. (野心ある) Indeed, this man must have been ambitious to have started a dynasty, supplanting his own kin. In doing so, he also betrayed his views on his country’s direction up until that point. All that time, Boletaria had remained a small fry on the world stage. Perhaps this King Allant felt envious of living in the Monumentals’ shadow, but regardless, he clearly dreamed of a grander future for his kingdom than his relatives had ever allowed. And he found his opportunity come Scourge’s end.

While the rest of the continent largely declined from prohibiting the soul arts, Boletaria seems to have been mostly unaffected. As mentioned before, the kingdom’s only cultural connection to magic came through its Lone King, and with the ban likely came scrubbing any memory of the soul’s involvement in his heroic feats. Coinciding with this was the rejection of its pagan faith. We can see what looks like a Christian church at the center of the distant capital, and one of the city residents is a vocal devotee to the Temple of God. Boletaria’s people clearly adopted the new religion sweeping the continent, therefore discarding their beliefs in an eternal demigod — maybe forgetting that they ever did. And even if the royalty alone made sure to remember these details, Doran’s story is now only seen as the stuff of legend. The masses’ respect for their Kings remained, but any divine right would have thereafter been justified by the one God of the temple. Still, this meant that Boletaria’s military strength went basically untouched.

Presently, Boletaria is known as a major power, literally a “large country” (大国) in stark contrast to its humble beginnings. What changed in these last few centuries? The balance of power, and the family of rulers. A minor yet ambitious ruler had been surrounded by declawed giants. Why wouldn’t he go for their jugulars? With its armies always relying on their own strength to defend after their first King, one can envision Boletaria rolling over its neighbors as the King pressed the advantage, dreaming of his kingdom becoming a great nation. And after his death, that dream would be carried on by his successor, so on and so forth until twelve generations had passed and Boletaria stood a superpower. As a Boletarian prince, Ostrava at one point addresses his father the King as chichiue, (父上) an antiquated term used by samurai families, so we can be certain that the Boletarian royalty were a military house at heart. The Allant dynasty brought their diminutive land to new heights, stretching far and wide across the region.

It is no good, there is nobody… Why… Why did something like this… Father…

Ostrava notes that Boletaria’s people are plain and modest folk, perhaps a vestige of their origins. But he also gives praise to their reliable strength and dry warmth, things likely sharpened by years of military conquest. The soldier’s lotus is so-named because it is given to Boletarian soldiers when they depart for the front line. Considering that the blue flower staunches bleeding when ingested, this semi-symbolic gesture is intended to wish them well in battle and maybe help ensure their survival. It is a ceremony for wives, friends, and children as they see them off — a practice which would only develop due to frequent wars away from home. Everyone in the nation had to be strong for the inevitable sacrifices made to expand their borders, and there could be no nonsense when the victors finally made it back. However, this love for their fellow countrymen may have dulled their compassion for foreign enemies. The spiked shield is an unusual weapon seldom used, yet some Boletarian soldiers do carry it, and they alone. This suggests an overall cultural shift toward an offensive-minded ethos, especially brutality.

Boletaria was a magnificent country. The king, the knights, the people were simple and poor but were steadfast and had a dry warmness to them.

Blue flower petal that floats on water. Cures the user’s bleeding.

In Boletaria, it is loaded with semi-symbolic meaning and handed over to soldiers who are heading to battle in ceremonies for their departure.

Shield with countless spike on its face.

It is supposed to be used in attacks and possesses a piercing attacks.

One of the unusual weapons that is actually seldom used.

The so-called dreglings are actually “slave soldiers”. (奴隷兵) Unlike the regular army, these low-ranking slaves were forced to serve as footmen in “impossible battles” as the dregling merchant puts it, and hardly equipped for the task. Their arms and armor are patched together from pieces of rag and fabric, scraps of metal or leather, and offcuts of wood, leftover from the stuff used to fix up the regular soldiers’ weaponry according to the deluxe edition art book. The metal scraps are also used to weld together the cracked skulls or other broken bits, likely performed by the slaves themselves absent proper medical treatment. Indeed, the art book confirms that they receive the bare minimum necessary to keep them alive and functional, and their scars come from abuse as well as combat. In short, Boletaria didn’t treat its slaves well, keeping them only to die wearing down the enemy before the regular army comes in to finish the job — this explains their station solely along the outermost castle defenses. And who are these slave soldiers if not domestic criminals and prisoners of war, the most common kinds of slaves throughout history?

Whether o great knights or us slave footmen, all had their souls robbed by the demons, and went nuts. Because of that, those guys attack sane humans one after the other… Well, the great Boletaria’s finished. Although, they don’t force us into impossible battles, so maybe we ought to call ’em our gracious demons? Heheheheheheh.

Given the Boletaria’s situation, this enslavement of captives is completely logical. Recall that the kingdom was originally small and so wouldn’t have the manpower to rapidly expand its borders as it had. The country’s unprecedented growth in only a few centuries had to be supplemented by additional troops to offset the inevitable losses from continuous wars. One solution was training war dogs outfitted with bladed muzzles to help tear through the enemy lines. Another was conscripting the conquered. By enslaving the soldiers captured in battle, the Boletarian army could endlessly recycle its losses with new slaves while minimizing its own casualties. And by keeping them barely alive and equipped for fighting, the kingdom prevented much chance of a slave uprising even if they greatly outnumbered the soldiers and knights; it just needed to set a few examples.

From the river bridge is a side gate to an execution ground in front of the outer wall, where a surprisingly many dreglings arise among the corpse piles as black phantoms. More souls can be seen frantically trying to escape the pit where many of the dead have been unceremoniously dumped, their bloodied bodies seemingly let out into the river. Aside from abusing them into submission, Boletaria publicly executed and displayed what slaves did rebel, all for enemy and wall sentry alike to see. The message was clear: die now, or maybe die on the battlefield. And the ones sending this message were the kingdom’s “beheaders”, (首斬人) executioners specially armed with large, heavy guillotine axes designed to sever heads in one swing. Since their axe-wielders can possess it, this group might have included regular soldiers. The army are already physically abusing the slaves, so it may as well behead a few on the spot — more than a few if the axe’s well-worn quality is any indication.

Long-used decapitation axe.

Handle is thick and short, and it has weight, but cuts the cervical vertebrae in half with one blow.

It is despised as a weapon of beheaders in Boletaria in particular.

However, the only character actually wearing a beheader’s cloth-and-leather uniform is Miralda. Known as the “Condemner”, (断罪者) which doubles to mean “Decapitator”, this woman seems to be the King’s foremost executioner, and takes her job very seriously. Despite not appearing to be a foreigner in concept art, she has somehow acquired an exotic Master’s Ring to improve her optimal strikes, thereby guaranteeing her “fatal” blows are in fact be fatal. True to her Latin name meaning “amazing”, Miralda fully expects her opponents to die, and the woman is quick to punish insubordination. This manic love for the job is presumably why she is considered mad. Indeed, the executioner is also known for her beautiful voice despite sounding anything but, so this may refer to her singing, which would imply that she commonly sings whilst performing her duties. With someone as terrifyingly merry as her wielding axes as abhorred as those, Boletaria hoped its slaves had the motivation to step up as the vanguard; it certainly worked.

Insubordinate who defies the royal will. Best you receive the judgment of Miralda.

Dead, are you? Naturally.

Upon first entering the tear at the southern end of the deep fog, we find ourselves in an aqueduct to a larger settlement, internally named a “fortress”. (砦) Although we cannot explore much of this area in-game, a distant viaduct heading to somewhere behind the visible buildings can be seen crossing a large body of water, and cut content reveals a town on the other side, the viaduct closely lining up with the broken bridge crossing the river to it. This is a Boletarian colony along the southern border, with its own garrisoned outpost. And based on the swampy topography bridging rivers to seemingly open ocean, we can place this settlement somewhere along the similar southern coastline visible on the world map. Comparing the colony’s location with Boletaria’s capital, and anyone can see that the Allants had come far in fulfilling their first king’s dearest ambition. Boletaria is unquestionably the dominant power of the Medieval Era, all thanks to its unscrupulous strategy and renewed warrior’s spirit. No longer was there a Lone Hero — now stood an array of renowned knights side-by-side against the kingdom’s enemy, chief among them being Alfred and Metas.

The former was known as the Tower Knight for his gigantic shield, the largest known great shield in the setting. Due to its immense weight, it is next to impossible for most to wield, yet Alfred possessed the strength to do it, standing tall and steadfast against any threat — it is probably for that reason that the Tower Shield is known to stalwartly repel any ill intent directed at it. As impressive as this is, he was equipped with more than just a shield. Biorr identifies the three black phantoms guarding the inner castle as the souls of great knights, so the one wielding the Tower Shield must be Alfred. If so, then it shows that he also wore the immensely heavy brushwood armor. Even with the aid of the Ring of Great Strength, it is still impressive that Alfred could essentially make himself into a walking fortress, and his royal-owned armor suggests that he had particular favor with his liege. His use of the scraping spear further indicates that he liked to safely whittle away at enemy defenses from behind his own.

Gigantic shield used by the Tower Knight, one of Boletaria’s heroes.

It is said to continually repel all malicious intent, but is awfully heavy, and handling it is next to impossible.

Among those roughly known about, it is the largest greatshield.

Metas on the other hand was known as the Penetrating Knight, localized as Penetrator. Despite the localization claiming him to be a knight of the lance, this is simply an erroneous translation of said title; the man is only stated to have wielded the penetrator’s sword, and Alfred is the one seen wielding a spear. Nevertheless, his exceptionally long straight sword is best suited for thrusting jabs, and thus requires equally exceptional strength and dexterity to properly wield — Metas rose to the challenge. Light Weapon is a spell derived from the knight’s demonic replica, functioning as a more powerful version of Enchant Weapon. The fact that it symbolizes the Penetrating Knight’s giant sword implies Metas to be a better than average swordsman, his title further indicating that he could pierce any defense. And while the black phantom wielding the penetrating sword wears a mix of the chainmail, plate, and fluted sets, this is presumably to convey someone with his own unique set of armor — Metas would neither want nor need to be weighed down like Alfred, after all.

Very long straight sword that was used by the Penetrating Knight, one of Boletaria’s heroes.

As its name suggests, it demonstrates high might with thrusting attacks in particular. Because of its nonstandard size for a straight sword, high strength and dexterity is needed to use it.

Of course, neither knight’s equipment resembles the armor of his demon incarnation. Rather, both demonic forms appear to be modeled after the statues erected at the entrance to the High Tower. We are given no indication that Metas and Alfred’s titles predate them, however, so these statues probably aren’t depicting some past heroes. In that case, they are most likely intended to represent the two key roles of Boletarian Knights. The Penetrator and Tower Knight demons are internally named the “King’s Sword” (王の剣) and “King’s Shield” (王の盾) respectively, which would suggest that the statues leading up to the throne room carry similar symbolism. By ornamenting the seat of the royal government, the two figures denote how the knights are at once their liege’s means to attack and his foremost defense. This by extension implies that Alfred and Meta each represent one of those two archetypical roles. Whether they conformed to those expectations or were simply singled out for such specialties, it would nevertheless indicate them to have had particular status among all the knights. That said, those two weren’t the only ones with such fancy designations.

Biorr and Vallarfax are known as King Allant’s Twin Fangs, or Twin Swords, (双剣) implying that they had typically worked as a pair. Biorr also speaks highly of his friend, claiming that Vallarfax had been sharp in both wit and swordplay with the courage to back either. In contrast, Biorr implies himself to be merely a bruiser. Perhaps he is just being humble, but he is undoubtedly the Alfred of the Twin Fangs. Clad in brushwood armor and armed with a greatsword, crossbow, and brushwood shield, this large, strong man is definitely the heavy attacker among Boletaria’s famous knights, and so was given a Ring of Great Strength to help make his equipment bearable just like Alfred. Some might say that Vallarfax mirrored Biorr since the ring’s English description suggests that it was given to the Twin Fangs, plural. However, Japanese can be tricky with plurality, and the description later only mentions Biorr, so we can only be sure that one was given to a Twin Fang, not necessarily both.

My friend, Vallarfax of the Twin Blades, was a magnificent knight. Unlike me, he was a great man who was excellent in wisdom and courage without having only a sword.

Even if he wasn’t the brightest in mind, Biorr is certainly the brightest in character. Described as simple and pleasant in his official profile, the knight seems to always keep an amiable disposition even in dour circumstances, the kind of person who will apologize for not having a gift to show his gratitude. Moreover, he is explicitly open-minded, even taking pity on Yuria despite her being a witch — as far he is concerned, no girl deserves such abuse and persecution. The only thing that he seems to not tolerate is evil, never letting any bad deed go unpunished with courage and righteous fury. He is a genuinely honorable knight, a true warrior at heart, with a deep love for his King and kingdom. In essence, Biorr embodies everything that Ostrava loves about Boletarians. If he has a flaw, it is his strange habit of instantly sleeping anywhere on the spot — and he snores, loud. But even this is usually only after surviving truly tough opponents, perhaps due to his self-admittedly old age. That said, he never describes him as the “elder” Twin Fang like the localization claims, so we cannot even say if Vallarfax was much younger.

One of the King’s twin blades, two knights who serve King Allant. He is excellent in large size and physical strength, wears heavy armor, and wields a giant sword (greatsword) in one hand. He is an open-minded, simple, pleasant military man. He will apparently “sleep anywhere with a big snore”.

Ah, you. You freed the witch girl from that tower! I’m grateful. Whatever the reason, they shouldn’t persecute a helpless girl like that. His Majesty would undoubtedly say that too…

But regardless of whether Biorr is exaggerating his friend’s strengths, there is no denying that all four’s valor earned them their renown. However, even these famed knights apparently saw no dishonor in the male slaves sent to die paving the way for their successes. Not even Ostrava, whom Biorr heralds as wise and maybe too kind, bats an eye at the existence of the dreglings in his country. He readily identifies what they are, yet his outrage is directly solely at the demons and soul-starved sowing anarchy. But, this prince’s apathy is no surprise. We see such slaves power the very lift used to climb the High Tower, so the young royal has grown up with this caste system as part of his everyday life. As far as he is concerned, they are just part of the scenery, and that says much about the royalty. The family finally reigned over a great country, but at what cost? Knowing how long that the kingdom had survived as a minor power, Boletaria’s wars seem frivolous, its victories built upon atrocities. And the weight of its sins would inevitably bring it crashing down.


Lonely at the Top


The twelfth and last King Allant was perhaps the most ill-suited for his lot in life. Biorr describes his liege as affectionate toward the commoners, an implicitly uncommon trait for a royal. And above all, he despises iniquity and deception. One can imagine that the one-time boy prince had loved to hear the family legends, listening again and again to the stories of chivalry, heroism, and the choice between good and evil. Such tales were likely to water the seeds of the young Allant’s righteous heart, solidifying his loving compassion for his fellow man as he grew up. However, for royalty, vice and foul play is the name of the game. Whether it be a dagger in the back, a claw at the throat, or a throwing blade through the skull, keeping spies to covertly find and dispose of your political enemies before they do the same to you is a necessary evil for any King, and the latest King Allant would be no different. This wicked reality destined the benevolent young man to march a path riddled with thorns, and they would leave their scars.

His Majesty was a great king. He was tough and full of drive, affectionate toward his people of the lower classes, and detested vice and foul play.

Hand-to-hand weapon protruding sharp claws. Attack attribute becomes slashing. Its wicked appearance is no exception. Equipment of the spies kept by the King.

The troubles began even before the former Prince Allant’s coronation, or one might say with it. In order for him to have ascended the throne, his predecessor must have abdicated or perished; given the kingdom’s constant expansion, the latter is more likely. Indeed, the tragic loss of the previous king, presumably his father, in battle would explain the new monarch’s first actions. Upon taking the throne, the King went to the royal mausoleum and retrieved Soulbrandt, which he would carry with him for the rest of his life. As a Boletarian royal, Allant was fully aware of the implications behind both blades, yet still he left Demonbrandt where it rested, specifically because of the nature to its power. The King foresaw no need for a weapon whose strength correlated to acting less demonic, only more. In other words, he knew that he would be killing many humans going forward. And there is only one reason to take up a sword: to go to war.

Demon-cutting blade handed down in the Boletaria Royal Family. White blade that serves as opposite to Soulbrandt, part of the Regalia’s image. It demonstrates especially high efficacy against demons.

The power of this blade increases the farther the user’s soul is from a demon. Thus, Old King Allant didn’t choose this blade.

Soul-cutting blade handed down in the Boletaria Royal Family. Black blade that serves as opposite to Demonbrandt, another part of the Regalia’s image. After taking the throne, Allant always had it in-hand.

The power of this blade increases the closer the user’s soul is to a demon. Thus, Old King Allant chose this blade.

Biorr notes that his kindhearted King was also tough and determined, but this apparently didn’t come natural to him. He needed a legendary blade representing malice at his side as a constant reminder to steel his resolve against his better nature. As the rest of Boletaria celebrated conquest, King Allant abhorred it. He recognized the horrors and injustice of endless expansion, saw his dynasty’s self-centered greed for what it was. And yet, filial piety demanded that he shoulder the dream of the Kings who came before, to not let his father die in vain. Moreover, it was the way of the subjects he loved and represented. Who was he to deny their honor and glory? Allant stood alone in a sea of warmongers, and had to be swept up in the tide. The new King thus stifled his human heart and carried on Boletaria’s campaigns and slave practices. The man’s profile notes him to have been a great and wise ruler, but that would have only been the case for Boletarians. To the neighboring nations, he must have looked like a demon.

The tragedy of the man’s life couldn’t stop there. The existence of his one and seemingly only child Prince Ariona requires a mother, yet neither father nor son mention the woman; neither does anyone else in the kingdom. If she isn’t worth mention even as a scourge of demons rages across the kingdom, then Boletaria’s Queen has been out of the picture for a very long time, and such absence holds ominous implications. The same can be said for his mother and any other family who could support the conflicted King. Whether it be thanks to epidemic, suicide, or political machinations, most of the other Boletarian royals ended up dead by the time he reached his twilight years. Each loss must have brought him much heartache, but nonetheless, the King pressed on with what family he had left.

Aside from Ariona, there is also Lord Rydell. This middle-aged man is nonetheless regarded as the “Little Allant”, (小オーラント) suggesting that he is a younger close relative of the elderly King Allant — for the sake of simplicity, I will assume younger brother. Befitting this relation, Rydell has received some title of nobility. And he isn’t just any lord, but the “frontier lord”, (辺境卿) meaning that he was stationed in some remote part of the country along the border. Human civilization neighbors Boletaria to the east, south, and west, leaving the north as the only possible frontier for him to reside in. Indeed, one of the cut areas was a snowy, mountainous map internally named the “Northern Limit” (北限) in obvious reference to the hinterland of icy mountains at the limits of human civilization mentioned in the prologue on the official Japanese website. As to why a royal was sent so far from urban development, it was likely by choice.

Rydell was apparently the adventurous sort, wearing the Dull Rat’s Ring which only benefits those whose life is in peril. The description for the Phosphorescent Pole likewise reveals there to be many legends of his exploits. This wasn’t the kind of royal to enjoy lavish parties safe behind castle walls; he needed to be out there in the wilderness, taking risks. A more rugged lifestyle certainly explains the lord’s choice in wear. Instead of fancy apparel, Rydell dresses in simple hard leather and a little chainmail for moderate protection against various threats without heavily hindering mobility. Instead of a noble’s sword, he wields an iron knuckle. He was an explorer, a thrill seeker. Even in its simplicity, his ring is still made of gold, so Rydell was hardly estranged from his royal roots. But if he had any royal duties, it was to guard the border and marry, both of which clearly suited his interests.

Simple gold ring engraved with a small animal. Raises defense power if HP falls below 30%.

Personal effect of Lord Rydell, who was called Little Allant. There is a Sharp Cornered Rat Ring that serves as its counterpart.

When we encounter Rydell’s phantom locked in Latria’s Prison of Hope, he seeks a memento of his wife left on his corpse, proof of his love for a woman whose death preceded his. We can find a body if we free him and receive the Dull Rat’s Ring he owns. The cadaver bears Rydell’s Phosphorescent Pole, only snapped in two, along with the soul of a legendary hero worthy of a man with the frontier lord’s history. At the same time, the body wears the black leather set of a thief, and such a legendary soul is already core to his ghost, hence why we acquire it from his black phantom. But even if it is a mere corpse looter, it still carries nothing resembling a memento — which might explain why Rydell’s freed spirit becomes corrupted in pure black world tendency. And if his corpse was looted before our arrival, then the item he seeks is most likely the Clever’s Rat Ring, counterpart to the Dull Rat’s Ring found among the corpses piling before the prison’s automated ballista.

If both are Rydell’s personal effects yet only one sees his use, then the other must be the memento of his wife, a personal possession she had worn in life. The gold bands feature the titular “cornered rat”, (窮鼠) with their differing power boosts mirroring each rat’s reaction to a perilous situation. The “dull” rat acts defensive while the “sharp” rat acts aggressive, wordplay which applies to swords as much as intellects. This implies that Rydell’s wife was an even bigger risk taker than him, with a wit to match. In that case, it is easy to imagine why the lord married her and continues to cherish her memory — it is also easy to see why she left this world all too soon. Whether he also lost her to accident or malicious intent, Rydell still found himself without any family except the King and his son. Both royal brothers could bond over their shared loss if nothing else, and their personal connection likely lays at the heart for the Medieval world’s rediscovery of the soul arts.


Golden Age


According to the website prologue, King Allant discovered the Nexus at the northern hinterlands. This begs a few questions. How come a magic relic which had avoided human contact for centuries got exposed by the King? What reason did the monarch have to be on the frontier so close to the border that he could spot this giant temple? Rydell would be the obvious answer. As the King’s brother, it would be reasonable for the lord to receive the occasional family visit or pass on reports about the border. This presents plenty of opportunity for Allant the Elder to learn the existence of the Nexus, and there is good reason to believe that Rydell knew something that would entice his sibling to come see for himself. After all, the lord’s most storied exploit was stealing the Phosphorescent Pole from a witch of the sky.

Long rod inlaid with blue jewels that emit phosphorescent light. It is bladeless and lightweight, but magically enhanced and also slightly restores the user’s MP.

The matter where the frontier lord Rydell steals this from the witch of the sky is one of the most popular even among legends of him.

Although it cannot cast sorceries, the pole arm is nonetheless a magic staff, named for the phosphorescent light emitting from the blue gems inlaid at either end of the rod. Infusing crystals with light falls in line with established principles behind the soul arts, and this magic light causes the pole slowly restores the wielder’s MP. Combined with its refined and rather detailed craftsmanship, and there is no doubt: this wasn’t the work of an amateur. But who is exactly this witch who originally owned the rod, and why is she associated with the sky? In an era largely devoid of magic, can we really believe some random female magic caster in the northern wilderness produced such an elaborate item? Unlikely. That leaves it to be a relic of the Classical Era, and there are only two characters who fit the bill during this period: the Monumental and the Maiden in the Black. If the Nexus is a skyfaring temple, then any of the women there can be considered a witch of the sky. Likewise, a Monumental origin fits perfectly with the Phosphorescent Pole’s excellent artisanry.

We can therefore infer that Rydell happened to find and somehow infiltrate the Nexus, stealing this staff from its resident witches. And having lived to tell the tale, he would naturally share it like its other adventures. But how was he to process what he saw? A massive temple of bizarre geometry suspended in air through arcane arts cast by mysterious women? A blind maiden trapped there lighting flames? Strange, androgynous children side-by-side in meditation? Surely he would feel compelled to spread news of this amazing sight, but who first aside from his wife? Perhaps his brother the King, who would have every reason to be concerned about a building hovering around Boletaria’s border — it was a matter of his kingdom’s national security. And after learning the details, it is feasible for King Allant to want to investigate for himself, following the frontier lord’s lead in locating the Nexus and exchanging contact with its residents.

Whatever the exact means, Allant ultimately came face-to-face with the soul arts powering the temple and learned the true nature of magic. Inside each man was a “soul” which provided tremendous power to wield. With this knowledge in his hands, King Allant acquired the soul arts and brought them back to his kingdom, which flourished in the wake of their dissemination. Boletaria invented several new spells during the Second Scourge, so such ingenuity had likely been true even before the calamity. The utility of even simple spells is easy enough to visualize, from lighting stoves to filling a glass of water. And since magic spells haven’t been incorporated into the Boletarian military, Allant’s focus seems to have been aimed at improving the lives of the citizenry. Perhaps the King hoped to put an end to Boletaria’s wars and shift gears to maintaining its now vast territory. Regardless, this focus on raising the wider populace’s quality of life made the major power bloom into an even greater country.

The king of the northern country of Boletaria, Allant, discovered a giant Lynchpin Temple in a hinterland of icy mountains at the limits of human-inhabited land and acquired soul arts. The soul is apparently a new power that was hidden within man.

Stockpile Thomas mentions that he and his family were originally citizens of the capital, where he once picked the Ring of Herculean Strength up off the main street. This ring is similar in both appearance and effect to the Rings of Great Strength used by Boletaria’s greatest knights, but was apparently discarded by some ordinary city folk. Thomas recognized its value, sensing the mystical power contained within, but is still embarrassed by how he came about the item. But if something so unique and high quality has become another forgotten trash by the roadside, how commonplace were such rings? With the reintroduction of the soul arts, each Boletarian, rich or poor, had the means to explore all the possibilities of magic within themselves, and most were likely to take advantage of that fact. This ring may well be one of the byproducts of this experimental phase.

Ring of Great Strength (left) compared to Ring of Herculean Strength (right)

Indeed, Thomas himself is no stranger to luxury. The baggage carrier confirms that the Jade Hair Ornament had belonged to his daughter. This is odd since jade has historically been a symbol of wealth due to both its beauty and scarcity, especially in Asia. However, her father wears unremarkable leather and lacks an aristocratic diction, and Ostrava claims that the kingdom as a whole was relatively poor; Thomas’ family is unlikely to be particularly well-off. So then, is jade just not as valuable in this setting, or was Boletaria so prosperous that the rare mineral was something even a poor man in the capital could afford? If the latter, then it reveals the domino effect that the soul arts had on Boletaria’s economy, freeing a lower class man to spare some expense for his beloved child. Boletaria may not have been the most cultured or developed nation on the continent at the time, but it was on the rise.

Perhaps accelerating that prosperity lay behind Prince Ariona’s trip abroad. If the young man is as wise as claimed, then surely he recognized the benefit of learning from other, more advanced cultures. And nowhere was more advanced than the region to Boletaria’s south, not Southern Boletaria as the localization mistakenly claims. This would explain why he dresses like a knight native to the region and goes by a false identity as Ostrava. His goal wasn’t just to visit the heads of state of foreign governments, but see how their people lived their day-to-day lives, contrast them with his own. While the prince naturally considers his homeland more charming than anywhere he toured, he does find handiworks worth bringing back to the motherland, including the newly-invented brass telescope he rewards us with for saving him the first time. Still, even incognito, it would be dangerous to leave a prince to tour foreign countries by himself, and so he must have been accompanied by at least one bodyguard.

I learned of many advanced countries in the south, but I still don’t know a more charming country than Boletaria.

Unusual handicraft using warped glass. Can clearly see distances.

It is probably a thing of the relatively advanced region south of Boletaria.

Descriptions for Biorr’s weapons and armor note that they have “recently” become known as his equipment. This is relevant because he is not the sole owner of such equipment, as Alfred so perfectly demonstrates. In that case, why has he become the first person that comes to mind when thinking upon the armor? Most likely because he is the only wearer who has been outside of the country in recent memory. Biorr entered Boletaria after the fog consumed his country, meaning that he had left on his own public tour sometime beforehand. Why then was one of the Twin Fangs away from home at the time? To accompany Ariona. Aside from the conveniently overlapping timing of both their ventures, Biorr learns about Ariona’s presence within the fog from the dregling merchant, who only surmises that “Ostrava” is some rich’s noble’s son. For him to have immediately recognized the prince from just one man’s description, the knight had to have been intimately familiar with the royal’s disguise. Taken together, and the King’s blade was probably assigned as Ariona’s escort for this trip by his liege.

Oh yeah, I saw a normal human besides you. Thin, dressed in very nice armor, and talked about a mission. Surely, he be some noble’s son? Definitely possesses nice things, he does…

I heard a strange story from a peddler slave soldier, but… He said his Majesty’s son, Prince Ariona, has entered Boletaria alone.

The royalty weren’t the only Boletarian’s out on expeditions. If we defeat the Vanguard at the colony, we will warp to a ruined temple in a volcanic depression. Cut content reveals that this area would have originally been accessed from a tunnel opened at the back of the Vanguard’s boss room, and we can see large rocks suspiciously blocking the general location of this area. Despite the presence of a demon resembling the Dragon God in this area, there are slight differences between the two enemy models, and the ruins’ architecture and icons are completely dissimilar from the temple in Stonefang. These are not the same enemies or areas, though they do bear a connection. While we will die before seeing them properly, two mobile wooden ballista stand out in front of the temple, completed with floor levers. This nonsensical setup suggests that this area is just a prototype for the Dragon God boss fight, recycled for the tutorial. The “Dragon God” is therefore just a stand-in for a big, scary demon needed to instantly kill us and progress the narrative; humorous, but not to be scrutinized so heavily.

In other words, Boletaria’s marshland outpost was built right next to some other old ruins in the mountains, which include an active volcano. This extinct southern civilization was presumably one of the many existing during the Classical Era, its faith and facilities abandoned along with the soul arts. Perhaps the outpost’s location there is entirely coincidental, but it was nevertheless convenient for a kingdom exploring arcane arts of a bygone era. Laid by the tunnel exit are wooden barrels and boxes loaded with sacks of supplies otherwise only used in Boletarian territory. Strewn about the complex are over half a dozen corpses carrying full moon grass, souls of famed soldiers, or fragments of hardstone and sharpstone acquired mainly from Boletarian forces. Combined with the crude tunnel to the outpost, and the Boletarian military was clearly exploring these ruins, most likely in search of artifacts or other lost knowledge. Indeed, back at the capital is a Thief’s Ring, an “old” item apparently found in such ruins. Boletaria pioneered not only the creation of new arts, but the collection of old. Things couldn’t get any better; conversely, they could always get worse.


Madness in Melancholy


Seated alone atop his High Tower, King Allant could see the fruits of his labor. Under his wise reign, Boletaria had reached its zenith, the white of his hairs reflecting his now many years. However, it was also an omen that the specter of Death was over the shoulder. Soon, he too would be just another name in history, told to children in tales as was the case during his youth. And what legacy would be he remembered by? For perhaps the first time, the King looked back at the shadow he left behind as more than just a King in his dynasty. And what Allant the man saw was unspeakably ugly. An empire built on cruelty and bloodshed, maintained through murder and deceit. Where was this honor and glory that the knights heralded? The people’s smiles were dependent upon sacrificing foreign freedom, and no one batted an eye. It is simply the Boletarian way. And with the soul arts, the ignorant masses only engorged upon further luxuries, never feeling the need to reflect on their society’s atrocities.

This was the peace and prosperity that Allant suffered through so much tragedy for? This was to be his legacy? He didn’t alleviate Boletaria’s wickedness, he only tried to hide it. And what good did that bring him? To see not a citizen care for the loved ones he lost along the way? All of that labor left him with nothing. Why did he even kill his heart and turn a blind eye for all these years? Because of filial piety? Royal duty? Ah, yes, those shackles that society impressed upon him from the day he was born. It wasn’t his choice to commit evil, it was this world which had entrapped him against his better nature! This world is rotten, spoiled by the misdeeds of humans from his and every nation for generations since the very beginning. What hope did he have to escape such malice? There was none. He can only despair at the futility trying to change anything for the better. Thus, in his solitude, the monarch fell into depression, his disaffection with humanity reflected in his royal appointments shortly before the Second Scourge.

Sycophants within the King’s court were rewarded with more authority over the kingdom’s day-to-day operations. Armed with large, heavy crescent axes and the command of soldiers, these officials abused their power to oppress the masses, presumably criminalizing many to have thrown in prison or executed at their leisure. This explains why they are internally named wardens, or “jailers”, (獄吏) and can be found overseeing the dungeon in the inner ward’s barbican. These positions over men lent to many a vice. Aside from gluttony as evidenced by their rotund bellies, the officials also satiated their lust. Yuria was captured after infiltrating Boletaria, but the witch wasn’t locked up like the others. Instead, she was imprisoned at an isolated tower spanning the moat between the inner ward and the inner castle, and subjected to “shameful” deeds. She wasn’t alone if the corpses found with her are any indication, and the fact that one boasts about it to Biorr speaks to their depravity. It no surprise that the uniform hat representing the officials had earned the people’s resentment. These men are truly the worst Boletaria has to offer, and they do it all with a smile.

Hat worn by the King’s ministers. If it is this hat, you can be a minister!

The fat ministers who appeared just before demons had run rampant in Boletaria and curried favor with King Allant oppressed the masses with faint smiles. It is said that this hat became subject of resentment for the people exclusively as a detestable symbol of them.

The uptick in corrupt bureaucrats wasn’t just a domestic affair, either. Most item descriptions concerning the officials refer to them as “ministers”, (公使) specifically ministers of legation who are sent to foreign countries for diplomacy. This is why we can find them outside of Boletaria. They have been doing government work not just at the capital, but in the neighboring countries as well. This is especially relevant since Rydell claims to have been locked up by the King’s minister, not just any vassal like the localization purports. While we don’t actually encounter them in Latria, they are included in concept art, and it fits their implicit duties. The frontier lord had most likely been sent to serve as an ambassador for Latria, where the legates working under him conspired with the local government to throw the phantom in the Prison of Hope. His captors were then most likely killed following the more recent change in administration there. In that case, not even a royal was beyond their villainy.

Naturally, the common folk think that the King has gone mad. Indeed, madness is the only description for allowing such wicked men to run amok. Surely, the ruler’s years of wisdom and experience saw through the empty flattery heaped upon him by these overtly shady individuals. And yet he has left them to their own devices, permitting tyranny on his behalf. But Allant simply didn’t care. What does it matter? The world is rotten anyway. It is not like preventing a little more is going to make a difference. The people lost not their King’s rationality but his moral fiber, which they fail to comprehend. As the dregling merchant remarks, how are commoners to understand what a man so high above their station thinks? Allant knew the world better than them, for a King alone can see the malice keeping it all running day after day. It wasn’t just Boletaria, all nations were slaves to ill will. Man was given this choice, and time and time again, they have chosen wrong, leaving everyone to suffer through conflict and strife from the very beginning. There was no escape from this fate. This was their existence.

His Highness? His head went nuts, right? Well, not like we of humble birth understand what Mr. Eminent thinks.

But then, an epiphany: if existence was corrupt, then wipe it all away. End the tragedy for not just you, but all people. The whole of mankind will surely be grateful, because no one really wants to go on. They just can’t imagine how to escape it otherwise. But Allant knew. The old tales of his youth spoke of it. God had left a poison to end all the tragedy, steal our souls which we have so abused. And he now knew where to find that poison, sealed deep within that temple. All he need do is release it. How convenient that Rydell had been sent to a foreign country far from his borderland home right around the time that his older brother suddenly departed for the Nexus. Indeed, the fact that his possessions are scattered around the prison implies that the royal was imprisoned there before his death, presumably by the same legates who later captured his ghost. And would the King’s ministers have really acted on their own? Their master would let no one stop him, certainly not his daring little brother. He had spent his entire reign becoming a demon for his people — it was about time he actually was one.

You have probably seen it too. The world was a tragedy from the start. Thus, God left a poison called the Beast. In order to steal souls and end all the tragedy!

I have already had enough of a world rotted by the likes of malice…

As the website prologue reveals, the depressed monarch sought further power from the Old One, awakening it so that he too might become a demon. In the midst of his melancholy, he clearly still wanted to be someone special, to have some control over fate. In that case, let him lead the crusade against malice! From his perspective, there is no cause more noble than the end to existence, so the idea of becoming one of the demon’s agents likely tickled his righteous ego. But once again, fate toyed with him. When we encounter Boletaria’s last king at the heart of the Old One, he is a malformed monstrosity. His body has turned to black sludge, pieces of large, twisted bones randomly jutting out of the mire. The only remnant of who this creature once was is Soulbrandt, still “held” in his “hand” like always. But even with the blade, the King can hardly be considered a threat; he can barely even briefly lift his gooey frame off the ground. How could a demon be so pathetic? The answer lies in this “King Allant” boss’ Japanese name: “Allant the Failed-to-be”. (なりそこないのオーラント)

But, Boletaria’s prosperity didn’t last long. Allant, who had reached old age, entered the depths of the Lynchpin seeking further power and awakened the Old Beast sleeping there, giving birth to the colorless thick fog and demons.

Last king of the northern major power of Boletaria. He is known as a great, wise ruler, but it is said that he was captured by melancholy at the height of old age and awakened the Old Beast in the deepest depths of the Lynchpin.

Simply put, Allant’s transformation was botched. He hasn’t become a proper demon. This begs the question of what went wrong. The King is neither the first nor the last human to attain demonhood, and the others all appear to retain their original form. At the same time, he implies that humans-turned-demons no longer have a human body. Did all of them have their bodies break down and reconstitute the appearance of humanity while becoming fundamentally different? If so, then something failed during Allant’s transformation, probably because of him. Cut content confirms that we would have initially confronted the boss in his human form, with the pitiful monster he has become instead serving as a generic enemy meandering just outside of the Old One. In other words, the developers made a conscious decision for him to be the only being of this kind stemming from the ancient beast. There is something unique about his situation that resulted in failure. More than likely, it was his temperament.

Depression is the sign of a broken heart, the loss of the will to go on. Symptoms of this can be seen in the Crestfallen Warrior: lack of conviction, general apathy, suspicion and doubt toward everyone and everything. Why wouldn’t they also manifest in King Allant? With someone so softhearted consumed by such melancholy, it is possible that he hesitated with making such a momentous decision, even if only for a moment. The power of possibility is merely potential, it requires a will to decide its course and bring it to fruition. And if Allant’s heart — his soul — wavered in the midst of his presumably magical transformation, then his body might follow suit, resulting in a half-baked product. Simply put, only those fully committed to forsaking their humanity can become demons. And like always, the idealistic ruler struggled to do so on his own. But whether or not a flicker of conscience was to blame, he apparently cannot get a do-over. There is no going back, in many ways. Indeed, even if imperfect, Allant had still gained the powers of an Archdemon, and for him that was enough.

Limited only by his own imagination, Allant derived various demons from the fog. These included the aforementioned wyverns of legend and replicas of his knights based on idealized iconography. In short, they aren’t the genuine articles, just conceptions made manifest in reality — shams invented by a sham. Nowhere is this more clear than with Allant’s duplicate of himself. While the Old King Allant at the royal castle may look like the real thing down to his weapon, the name for the demon’s souls confirms that is a “false king” (偽王) merely wearing his guise. Of course, the two aren’t entirely unrelated. Descriptions for the soul and Archstone refer to this boss as the “King’s Incarnation”, (王の化身) making it a kind of avatar he controls and acts through. Indeed, the true king is able to communicate with us from the Old One after slaying his demon in the High Tower, so there must be some magical link allowing him to see and speak through it, perhaps the “wings” of fog pointlessly extending from its back. Regardless, this is an excellent workaround for an imperfect demon, the fake possessing no less power than might have been expected from the original. And with that, the crusade could begin.

Keystone left by the demon “King’s Incarnation”. 

The Old King Allant who was in the King’s High Tower calmly overlooking it all and displaying tremendous power was instead no more than a demon in his guise. The King is at the root of the Old Beast.


Scourge of Treachery


King Allant finally returned to the capital through his proxy, unleashing his demonic creations upon the castle and city alike while he calmly watches it all from his now partially-destroyed throne room. Almost overnight, Boletaria fell to ruin, burned and clawed at by wyverns while everyone within was attacked and killed or robbed of their souls, with few exceptions. The dregling merchant has evaded death and safeguarded his soul by selling wares for more, pilfering valuables off of whoever the lizards torch next. Thomas abandoned his family in a panic and fled, only to end up booted to the Nexus. He assumes that they were killed afterward, and later confirms that the corpse with the Jade Hair Ornament strung-up at the castle gates was in fact his daughter. Next to her is another woman dressed in a witch’s robes, minus the characteristic hat, and carrying some old spices used for magic. It is possible that this is his wife or another daughter — he at first mentions plural in Japanese dialogue — but the witch may just be another resident. Regardless, they demonstrate the inhumanity most experienced.

Giddily joining in the mayhem are the capital’s corrupt officials, who are clearly not soul-starved like the mindless soldiers they continue to command as part of their various traps throughout the castle. If King Allant ordered them to trick and lock up Rydell, then it is possible for him to have secretly recruited them for this planned apocalypse beforehand — it may have even been the point of his laxed selection process at the time. In that case, these evil bureaucrats’ survival in this hellscape is to be expected. However, while the official have been spared for the moment, they are still human and thus expendable, as the Penetrator demon demonstrates by skewering one as he toys with us.

But they were at least treated better than Boletaria’s upstanding and ever faithful knights. According to the description for Cursed Weapon, the Penetrator demon has impaled many a knight. Considering that this enhancement spell derived from the demon’s soul drains the caster’s life force with each empowered strike, this was likely the biggest insult — what greater dishonor was there than to be slain by an imitation of the greatest among them? Their King’s playact of the knights’ self-inflicted strife makes a mockery of their pride. This betrayal must have hit the real heroes especially hard if they became black phantoms — ironic that the subject of their rage and resentment seems to now use it to control them.

Magic that manifested from the soul of the demon “Penetrating Knight”. Greatly enhances caster’s right-hand weapon, but that weapon is cursed. (equip catalyst in left hand and use)

Symbol of the giant sword wielded by the Penetrating Knight. That sword penetrated many knights who faced the demon.

But rather than die or be starved of his soul, Vallarfax fled to the southern edges of the fog. Biorr claims that Boletaria’s destruction was unavoidable if even Vallarfax couldn’t stop it from his liege’s side. Even if the knight is overestimating his friend’s abilities, there is no doubt that the fellow Twin Fang saw combating the calamity alone as a lost cause — if there was any hope of saving this kingdom, they would need outside help. Still, there is no denying that the man was incredibly strong. Vallarfax escaped from an unprecedented “tear” in the fog which he himself presumably created, allowing anyone to come and go as they please. From there, he was able to relate the circumstances to others. Ostrava’s Japanese dialogue confirms that Vallarfax died after reciting this legend. Evidently, the knight had been mortally wounded fighting through who knows how many demons and soul-starved during his flight. And yet, even on death’s door, he was still able to breach the fog and share what he knew; a true hero.

But, just one of Allant’s Twin Blades, Vallarfax, escaped from the thick fog from a tear and told of Boletaria’s destruction.

He was beside his Majesty, yet Boletaria was destroyed. If so, you could say nobody could stop it…

But now, things are dire. Vallarfax died with the legend, Biorr entered the tear many years ago and went missing, and the others were probably swallowed in the fog with Boletaria and ravaged by demons along with the people.

Once Vallarfax’s story reached Biorr’s ears, the knight was in disbelief that the King could be in any way responsible, assuming it to be jealous scribes spreading slander. Regardless, he decided to enter the Deep Fog and see the truth for himself, leaving Ostrava behind. Based on Biorr’s dialogue, this was most likely because he had accurately foreseen Ariona being at the most risk both physically and mentally, perhaps even promising the prince that he would quickly return so as to ease his anxiety. But although he had managed to infiltrate the inner castle, Biorr was ultimately defeated by his comrades’ dark spirits and the accompanying wyvern and thrown in the inner ward’s dungeon. According to Ostrava, he has not been seen since entering the fog “many” years ago, so he had been kept alive and sane for some time. Perhaps it is a small mercy from his King for his loyal service until then, or perhaps it is some sadistic prank by the fat officials. Either way, Biorr’s experiences have shaken his faith in his sovereign.

His Majesty invited this calamity and all that… it’s no more than nonsense of scholars jealous of his Majesty. So it should be no more than that…

But, currently beside his Majesty are the black souls of great knights and a fire-breathing, flying lizard. For even I lost to them and was captured in the dungeon. You should be plenty careful yourself…

Although initially still in denial, Biorr clearly recognizes that Vallarfax’s alleged words are consistent with everything he has seen. The knight rails against the fat officials, even calling them “gnat bugs” as a pun on “flabby bugs” in a surprising show of wit, but no amount of confidence in the King’s character can rectify the reality. Why has the King allowed these disgraceful men to run amok in his castle? Why is he allowing this chaos to continue? Why is he protecting himself with the corrupted spirits of his best knights while demonic fakes do as they please? Biorr’s utter disgust at Boletaria’s current state invariably cracks his rosy memory of the monarch, and he ultimately doesn’t protest our attempts to confront the old king, even aiding us in this regard.

You intend to challenge his Majesty, right? Don’t play dumb. If you’re a demon slayer, it’s quite natural.

His only concern left for the royalty is that Ostrava stays safe after he learns that the prince has more recently entered the fog, likely having grown impatient with waiting on his escort to report back. Biorr requests that we advise Ariona to return to the Nexus so that the surviving Twin Fang can help however he can, but the game never permits this. Instead, it falls upon us to save Ostrava at every leg of his lone journey. With each step, he finds himself in further disbelief that these horrors were what his father intended. Much like his patriarch, Ariona seems to be a romantic, expressing his own love for the family legends and his country’s knights. He even seems to have carried the key to the royal mausoleum since before leaving home. Although the prince initially expresses doubt about the veracity of the tales, he clearly always has them in mind, especially during this crisis.

However, Ostrava won’t be the one to reenact the legends. When the prince finally confronts the King, he can no longer ignore the truth. While we are not to privy to their conversation, the father evidently made clear that he was a demon who willed all this to happen, not even caring that his son would be caught up in the apocalypse. There was no hidden motive to justify these horrors or ignorance of their existence like the prince had been rationalizing; his beloved parent has simply become a nihilistic monster. Heartbroken, Ariona returns to the bottom of the High Tower, disassociating the demon he just saw from the father he remembers — if only he knew how right he actually is. His only solace is that we might fulfill his last wish to kill the demon king and save the world from destruction, using the legendary Demonbrandt if necessary. After we pass him by, with or without hearing his piece, the young man commits suicide, the subsequent appearance of his black phantom confirming the emotional turmoil these revelations threw him into.

Ah, so it’s you?… Above here is my father. No, just a demon that took the form of my father, Allant, isn’t it? Saying that I would inquire about his true intentions and reason with him, I continued my reckless journey, but apparently it was a conceited farce… Please. Please kill my father. He has already become nothing more than an enemy to the world of man…

With that, King Allant was truly alone. His brother had died in prison long ago, the resulting phantom apparently manifesting outside his confines — only to be subsequently recaptured and thrown into a separate cell. There is no blood left to give the monarch joy. He has rejected it in favor of villainy. Fog has already consumed most of the land to the north, and his castle is now a nest for his demonic pets, who feed on the soul-starved at their leisure. Not once did the King seriously consider humanity’s thoughts on this insanity. He simply made the decision for the masses he governed like he always had. It doesn’t matter who or how many raise objection; in his mind, the world is beyond saving, so everyone must think that way too —he wants them to. And as a result, we have all been dragged into one old, disconnected elite’s selfish pity party. Perhaps it was this narrow mindset which makes our triumph over his avatar so surprising. Never did he imagine that there would be a monster greater than him: a human who would nonetheless rob so many other humans of their souls with unwavering conviction.