...Then came the orders to deal with the Müllenkamp occupation of Duke Bardorba's Manor where, Fate crossed his path with that of one Sydney Losstarot. The result of that meeting set Ashley on the road to Lea Monde. Ashley Riot was last seen one week later, at the Duke's Secondary Residence. Immediately after his visit to the mansion, the Duke himself was reported dead. The VKP has named him the prime suspect in the Duke's murder, and has undertaken investigation.
Ashley Riot, the most reliable of all the VKP’s Riskbreakers is now the prime suspect in the murder of Duke Bardorba. Two months have already passed since the search for him commenced, yet not a single trace of his whereabouts has been uncovered. Within the VKP, it is widely believed, though unofficially so, that learning the truth behind the whole mystery is impossible.
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"Reinforcements? I am the reinforcements."
Ashley is a calm and just soldier of the Riskbreaker militia. A loyal agent with a strong sense of duty. After graduating as valedictorian from the VKP Academy, Ashley worked as an elite soldier. Following the tragic death of his wife and child at the hands of fallen knights, he transferred to the Dangerous Criminal Taskforce, a.k.a. ‘Riskbreaker’, the most danger-ridden post in the VKP, where he remains today. Straightforward, emotionless and unmoving he comes back safely time and time again, even the most difficult missions he brings to a flawless close with an iron will.
Power Tattoo: Is branded with the Rood Inverse at the end of the game, which also functions as a special key during new game plus.
Psychic Link: Through his connection to the Dark, Ashley gains the ability to sometimes see through the eyes of other people (Merlose and Samantha).
Rosencrantz: "The symptoms resemble those of case ... 72, was it? Borrowing another's eyes and ears — Clairvoyance, if you will. All people are tuned to a certain "rhythm"; some can find a like rhythm and jump on board."
"True seers can join one regardless of their rhythm. But not you. Not yet..."
Repressed Memories: The justification for your gaining skills - Ashley always knew them, but his guilt caused him to lock them away. "Ashley has regained this skill from repressed memory."
Shrug of God: Was Ashley's family really killed or did his guilt as an assassin made him do a Heel-Face Turn? There is evidence pertaining to either view, and the creator isn't exactly forthcoming with answers.
Synchronization: When Guildenstern realises that Ashley is seeing through Samantha's eyes he immediately backhands her, breaking her connection with Ashley and causing some blood to run from her mouth. When the scene cuts back to Ashley he is bleeding in the same way
Tragic Keepsake: Ashley begins the game wearing his wife's rood necklace as his only accessory.
"There are many would-be prophets in the land these days, but Sydney is ...different. His prophecies ring true, and those enraptured by the way he hums revelations — as though they were simple ballads! All say the same: "He is a miracle."
Leader of a cult that worships the ancient priestess Müllenkamp. Sydney is a self-professed Prophet who preaches to his followers about human weakness and the end of the world. Sydney can precisely describe the past of those he meets, and it is rumoured that he can manipulate others at his will. His charisma has attracted many zealous followers, prompting Parliament to declare Müllenkamp a threat to state security.
Artificial Limbs: It may appear that he simply has armored arms with creepy claw gloves on the end but later in the game it becomes clear they are entirely artificial when Rosencrantz slices one off, only for Sydney to calmly pick it up and slot it back in place with no adverse effects.
"I gave my limbs to the gods. Perhaps I'll add yours to the offering."
Sydney: It is a wretched rule that does not value human life.
True Companions: He and Hardin consider this of each other but throughout the story it becomes increasingly clear that Sydney is keeping secrets from Hardin. In the end it is played mostly straight despite the lies. Sydney is visibly pained when Hardin is injured and later apologises before sending him to safety.
"You are not the only shepherd here, Sydney!" "Watch your crook, lest it be wrenched from you."
Leader of the Crimson Blades, he graduated from the Academy at the top of his class with a sterling record. It was not long after that the Cardinal himself heard of his talents and loyalty, so Guildenstern found himself assigned a generous position. While refined and elegant in manners, from his speech and habits one can paint a picture of a man to whom the ends justify the means.
Hypocrite: Despite condemning the users of Dark, he and many of knights in the Crimson Blades are the users of dark magic.
Kick the Dog: Not only is Hardin already wounded, completely at his mercy and had already given him the information he sought when he runs him through but also he stabs him in the lung to give him a very slow death instead of simply finishing him off.
"Not religion, Sydney. Revolution. A fresh wind to blow away the disease of the land. For our realm is SICK. It suffurates with profiteers! Fawning merchants licking the boots of the nobility! They do nothing and blame others for their failure; they steal men's dreams and twist them to nightmares... We must cleanse this corruption. There must be strong, unwavering justice. And there must be fear to enforce that justice."
According to the survivors, our comrade Agent Riot headed out for Leá Monde before noon. Of course, the reports were vague and we cannot deny the possiblity of inaccuracies. Yet given that there is only one path to infiltrate Lea Monde, this office believes those reports to be valid.
"Agent Riot, I presume? I'm your partner, Callo Merlose. But please, call me Cal. How was your journey?"
Though still young, Callo Merlose is a top notch Inquisitor, a member of the VKP’s Information Analysis Unit, a team specializing in the collection of information, espionage, and analysis, sifting through tangible and intangible evidence for information that can help in criminal investigations. With a Ph.D. in both criminal psychology and religious psychology, Callo entered I.A. as a specialist in the analysis of cults and religious terrorism; her proficiency in information analysis has drawn the attention of the veteran analysis officers in spite of her young age.
Miss Exposition: At the start of the game she is paired wth Ashley due to her knowledge of cults and throughout the game provides (or is given) further background information on a variety of subjects.
Psychic Link: At certain points in the game Ashley is able to see through her eyes and learn what Sydney and Hardin are up to (though Merlose herself is unaware of this).
Quickly Demoted Woman:Callo is on the box and is hinted to be the brains to Ashley's brawn, but Ashley's good intentions (keeping a non-combat agent out of combat) backfire, as Callo meets an abrupt Sydney from nowhere and is taken hostage.
Heart Seer: The Dark grants her the ability to see a person's soul directly and compell it to answer. Demoted from sidekick, promoted to seer..
The Watson: Through her eyes Ashley is able to learn much about Müllenkamp and Leá Monde.
"Show them who they're dealing with! Torch the chambers and kill the hostages!!"
Sydney's right-hand man, and a key commander of the Müllenkamp Cult. They led the assault on the Duke's Manor together, but Harden held the responsibility for caring, or not caring, for the hostages. Unlike the multitudes of Sydney's other followers, Hardin did not enter the cult under the spell of the prophet's sermons or bewitched by his charisma. Instead, incredibly distrustful of a world where injustice was commonplace, the former police officer was attracted to the anti-establishment elements of the Cult. Both Hardin and Sydney consider each other their truest friend. Sydney confides his secrets in Hardin, and in return Hardin trusts Sydney completely. If doubt or confusion ever arises between the two, it is never long-lived.
Lima Syndrome: He is very protective of, and kind to, young Joshua because of his dead little brother]].
"Your memory fails you. The Dark holds no power over me... Nor do I recall us ever being friends. My friendship with the Duke is fleeting as well."
An enigmatic man, he shadows Ashley's movements for reasons unknown to all but himself. He claimed to be a replacement for Callo: a more experienced Riskbreaker sent by the VKP to supplant an inexperienced Inquisitor. A transparent excuse, considering any Riskbreaker knows they always work alone and mid-mission changes in plan never occur. Rosencrantz knows a surprising amount of information about the Müllenkamp Cult's inner workings, Sydney's powers, and the true form of the Dark. Indeed, he knows way too much to be a simple agent of the VKP. It appears that he is double-crossing several organizations at the same time.
Anti-Magic: Is somehow immune to all magic spells and compulsions. (Though Break Arts work on him just fine.)
Devil in Plain Sight: Everyone knows he's a traitor to all sides, yet no one really cares about his hidden plans and even Ashley dismisses him as an obvious lowlife liar during their first encounter and simply walks away.
Exact Words: "Fear not sweet Rosencrantz, I will not kill you." Says Sydney right before animating a giant statue which kills him instead.
Limit Break: As a former fellow Riskbreaker Rosencrantz is the only other character able to use Break Arts.
No Sell: Subverted. Rosencrantz' immunity to magic fails him near the end of the game when Sydney uses an illusion to trick him into throwing away his sword. It is unclear on why this happens but Sydney hints that is is due to them standing in the Temple of Kilitia where Müllenkamp is/was strongest.
"Coward! Ye are a stain on the escutcheon of our order!"
While a cleric and technically a proponent of pacifism, Duane joined the infiltration of Lea Monde brimming with plans to eradicate the heresies that abound there. Since his training focused on the priestly, he lacks skill with physical weaponry. However, a considerable array of strong offensive magicks makes up for that short-fall. Gifted with a talent for leading others, Duane was given charge of a small platoon. To his subordinates, he is haughty and merciless.
"We are prelates of the Lord, scum. We are not here to bend aught, we are come to cleanse!"
Duane's younger brother, and similarly a cleric and participant in the take-over of Lea Monde. A comely youth, he has none of his elder brother's harsh tone or vicious manner, remaining coolly polite even to his enemies. Yet hidden behind the elegant niceties lies a needle sharp mind and an ice cold heart. Of all the Crimson Blades involved, Grissom perhaps has the greatest faith of them all — in God and himself. He has decided that it is his personal mission to "purify" the Dark. As for overall power, Grissom outstrips his elder brother by a considerable margin.
"It is not that! I... No training could prepare one for this."
Another Crimson Blade participant in the infiltration of Lea Monde, Commander Samantha looks like she should be hunting for wedding dresses, not demons. She earned the rank of "Commander", but upon walking through the Dark-drenched streets of Lea Monde, uncertain of what new monster waits around the corner— a core of fear and confusion began to grow within her. In the end, Samantha is at heart a normal girl.
Informed Ability: Is one of the Commanders of the Knights of The Cross but spends most of her time in Leá Monde looking like a simpering schoolgirl.
Psychic Link: As with Merlose, Ashley is able to sometimes see through her eyes. Unlike Merlose however Samantha can sometimes see through his at the same time. Her dying thought is to Ashley begging him to save Guildenstern from the blood-drenched future her lover was chaining himself to.
Sacrificial Lamb: Guildenstern sacrifices her as the pure soul needed for the right of succession.
Guildenstern: "Forgive me, Samantha. I need your soul. Our cause needs a martyr."
Samantha: "Y-your cause... There is no ... place for me ... for our dream... (slumps to knees)
Guildenstern: "I love you, Samantha. As God is my witness."
Samantha: "I...too, once thought so..." (falls from the roof)
"So you're the one they speak of. They will sing songs of your death here!!"
Yet another commander in the Crimson Blades. A heavy-set, muscular man, Tieger uses his inborn strength to swing his Heavy Axe around like a feather, crushing enemies with a single powerful strike. You wouldn't guess it from looking at him, but he is an intelligent and quick-witted man, being very fast on the up-take. Tieger is incredibly proud of his position as a knight and commander, never once straying from his personal, strict moral code. He is very friendly with his fellow Blades, regarding the bond of friendship as a very serious thing.
Heroic Sacrifice: He remains behind to face (what was) Grissom and cover Neesa's retreat.
To Grissom"And now the slowest dance begins, partner. 'Tis a fine tomb we shall share."
"Ah, how goes the battle, you mean? The city is ours, dearie, more or less."
A cordial woman and a commander oft depended on by Guildenstern. Though she is a woman, she has more than enough skill to match blades with a man and come out on top. Her chosen weapon is the Heavy Mace, and she swings the huge, cumbersome thing like a light stick. She holds no doubts about her work, and she never questions orders. In contrast to the other female commander, Samantha, Neesa is frank, blunt and not very feminine.
Duke Bardorba's son, conceived in his twilight years. Still an innocent, angelic little boy, he is the Duke's irreplaceable child, his "light." During the occupation of the Manor by Müllenkamp, Joshua was taken hostage along with the mansion's servants and the rest of his family. However, he alone was allowed to live, taken with Sydney to Lea Monde. Sydney is no fool. He was well aware of how the Duke values Joshua. Perhaps this is just another step in Sydney's plan to force the Duke into a certain course of action.
Big "NO!":Doubly subverted. Joshua clearly attempts this when Hardin is stabbed by Guildenstern but not only is there no voice acting in this game but Joshua himself has been mute since the events of the game began, resulting in a very heartfelt, but ultimately silent NOOOOOOOO!
"Indeed, Valendia might still be at war with itself, were it not for the Duke's heroism. Yet he wields much of his power from the shadows. Even after his retirement, his grip on Parliament is unrelenting"
He participated actively in the Valendian Civil War 36 years ago, earning recognition as one of the heroes who brought that conflict to a close. Thanks to the merits of his valour his political say always held especial weight, dominating the Valendian Parliament for a very long time. Though he retired his position several years prior for reasons more than just his health, the Duke's influence in Parliament has hardly diminished. In addition to his ‘official’ Parliamentary duties, the Duke was also charged with ‘monitoring’ the Dark, making certain some incidents never reach public attention. Common rumour names him the benefactor of the Müllenkamp Cult. Despite his increasing age, the Duke's mind hasn't fogged in the slightest and though ill he retains all of his dignity. If he does have a weak-point, it is certainly his young son Joshua.
Luke, I Am Your Father: He and Sydney are secretly father and son. While both of them know this, non of the other characters do (save Hardin). It is a shock to both Ashley and Guildenstern when they learn but it explains much of the plot when they do.
The Man Behind the Man: He is known to control parliament from the shadows and was also secretly financing the Müllenkamp sect before they turned on him at the start of the game.
Synchronization: His life is linked to that of his son, Sydney's, when one dies so does the other. This was originally done to save the life of Sydney when he was born.
We sent men to monitor the abandoned mineshaft that leads to Leá Monde. All were found dead. At the entrance other bodies were found: Two knights of the Cardinal's Crimson Blades.
Our men were murdered with swords, but the knight's wounds show they died by their own hands. At present, we have taken the bodies into our custody, and our specialists are continuing the examination.
— Excerpt from Graylands Incident Investigation Report, Section 3.14
Based around the ancient Kiltian dancer-priestess Müllenkamp who lived over 2,000 years ago, the religious cult of Müllenkamp traces its origins from the very founding of the city Leá Monde.
Leá Monde is an old town, with a history of over 2000 years. Its walls have seen many battles — They are stronger than the mightiest forts of Valendia, and as the sun wheels through the sky, the beauty of their shifting colors surpasses that of any palace.
The grand cathedral that towers over the town center is a symbol for Leá Monde's indomitable spirit, and is the holy ground of the devout Iocus priesthood. At its height, Lea Monde was a thriving community more than 5000 people strong. 25 years ago, a great earthquake brought that chapter in Leá Monde's history to a close.