A recap of the events told in Soul Chronicle. Beware of possible spoilers.
Legend speaks of Soul Edge, a sword that bestows great might upon any who lay claim to it. The cursed sword, however, also devoured the souls of those it slays, turning its wielder into a fearsome killing machine.
The sword was thought to be lost to the passage of time until the sixteenth century, when the dread pirate Cervantes de Leon discovered it. With Soul Edge taking the form of two longswords, it compelled Cervantes to begin a reign of terror as he slaughtered any who sought the sword, until he was confronted by two warrior women: Sophitia Alexandra, a Greek woman blessed by the god of smithing Hephaestus; and Taki, a ninja from the demon-hunting Fu-Ma clan of Japan. Sophitia managed to destroy one of the longswords that comprised Soul Edge in Cervantes's possession, but shards of the wicked blade became lodged in her body, mortally wounding her. Before Cervantes could land the killing blow, Taki fought and destroyed him, then took Sophitia to safety.
After Cervantes's death, however, there still remained the other longsword that comprised Soul Edge. This blade would be found by Siegfried Schtauffen, a German swordsman whose mind had been twisted and unwell who sought out Soul Edge. Upon laying his hand upon the sword's hilt, Siegfried's body was flooded with Soul Edge's dark energies, and his mind was broken and taken over by its malevolent will. In a flash of light, Soul Edge transformed into a humongous zweihander sword, and Siegfried's body became encased in armor of deep blue: in that instant, he became the Azure Knight, Nightmare.
Raising Soul Edge in triumph, Nightmare unleashed a column of violet light that blanketed the sky, its glow reaching out from Spain across Europe, Asia, and beyond: the "Evil Seed", which served as a prelude to catastrophe that would forever reshape the world.
Enter Kilik, a martial artist in training at the Ling-Sheng Su temple. Adopted by the temple's monks after being abandoned by his parents, Kilik dedicated himself to his staff training and became the temple's star pupil. Training alongside him was a young woman named Xianglian, a swordswoman who would become like a sister to Kilik. In time, both were named bearers of two of the temple's treasures: the staff Kali-Yuga and the mirror Dvapara-Yuga. Xianglian's mastery of the sword would, by all rights, mean she should bear the sword Krita-Yuga, but her father had stolen the sword from the temple years ago, and it remained missing ever since. In addition, she thought it wouldn't be appropriate to bear the sword and instead asked to bear Dvapara-Yuga.
The night before the ceremony to pass the treasures, however, tragedy befell the temple. The light of the Evil Seed blanketed China and was drawn to the Kali-Yuga, driving many within the temple to murderous rage. Kilik tried to stop the fighting, but the monks and students in the temple were beyond reasoning, the Evil Seed compelling them to kill anyone before them. Xianglian was among those driven mad by the Evil Seed, and Kilik was forced to kill her in self defense...
When Kilik comes to, he finds himself in the temple of the martial artist known simply as the Edge Master, who warns Kilik never to take off Dvapara-Yuga: Xianglian had given it to him with her dying breath, and the sacred mirror was now the only thing keeping the evil that contaminates Kilik's soul from running rampant. Edge Master explains that Kali-Yuga had the power to absorb energy, and had become saturated in energy from the Evil Seed, which also caused the massacre at the Ling-Sheng Su temple. In time, however, the evil in Kilik's soul would grow stronger until it completely overwheled him. If he is to keep the darkness within him at bay, he would need to train...
For the next three years, Kilik dedicated himself to Edge Master's training until, at last, he was given his final assignment from the elderly master: head west, seek out Nightmare, and destroy Soul Edge.
Kilik's journey leads him to a port in India, where he meets the Ryukyu-born pirate captain Maxi, who offers to help Kilik make his way west. Before they could set sail, however, a swarm of Lizardmen led by the golem Asteroth lays siege to Maxi's crew, slaughtering everyone except for the captain. Asteroth, sensing the darkness in Kilik's soul, takes Dvapara-Yuga from him, allowing the evil in him to overwhelm him. It is only through Maxi's help that Kilik is able to regain Dvapara-Yuga and his senses, and drive off the Malfested.
As they continue their journey west, Kilik meets a Chinese swordswoman named Xianghua, who bears a striking resemblence to Xianglian in both appearance and swordsmanship. She joins Kilik and Maxi in their search for Nightmare and Soul Edge.
During their travels, Kilik has an encounter with the mysterious soldier Grøh. The two fight to a standstill, and Grøh departs, but not before advising Kilik to head for Ostrheinsburg Castle, where Nightmare is based. Afterwards, Xianghua reveals to Kilik that she is actually a soldier of the Ming Empire, which had fallen into chaos. Her emperor had given her a top-secret mission to seek out the "Hero's Sword", in the hopes that it could restore peace to the war-torn nation. Kilik advises Xianghua that the "Hero's Sword" is actually evil, and Xianghua vows to see the truth of the matter for herself.
Along the way, he meets Edge Master, the two martial artists becoming fast friends. Edge Master advises Mitsurugi that Soul Edge is in the possession of the dread warrior Nightmare, with Mitsurugi determined to seek out the "Knight of Mare", defeat him, and claim Soul Edge for himself.
His search leads him out to the deserts, where he becomes separated from Edge Master. Shortly after noticing his companion's conspicuous absence, he is confronted by his hated rival: the Fu-Ma ninja Taki. Mitsurugi manages to best Taki, but Taki declares she had bested Mitsurugi by keeping him distracted before departing.
Afterwards, Mitsurugi finds a letter from Edge Master, who apologizes for leading him on a wild goose chase, but explains he did so to provide Mitsurugi with a challenge: after all, Soul Edge attracts powerful warriors, so what better way to keep one's skills sharp? While initially perturbed by the deception, Mitsurugi takes it in stride and vows to challenge Edge Master to a duel when next they meet.
Ivy's own investigation into this supposed secret to immortality, which she blamed for the fall of her family, led her to learn of Soul Edge, a demonic weapon sought after by many. She takes it upon herself to see the wicked blade destroyed, and to that end, sets about using her own knowledge of alchemy to create a weapon for this purpose: sword and whip in equal measure that would obey her will. The means to create such a weapon eluded her, until a mysterious benefactor breathed life into her new weapon, the Ivy Blade. Thankful to this benefactor, who referred to her as "Dexter Purpure", Ivy promises to repay her debt to him.
She travels to Ostrheinsburg Castle, where she meets the benefactor face-to-face: the Azure Knight, Nightmare, who asks for her aid in resurrecting his own father. Such an endeavor would require the sacrifice of many souls, a task that Ivy sets herself to.
However, as Ivy set about slaying sacrifices for Nightmare, she became increasingly troubled with her task, and even moreso with the casual brutality displayed by her colleague, the violent golem Astaroth. Eventually, she decides to cut her ties with Nightmare, only for Astaroth to confront her, mentioning her to be a "spare vessel".
Troubled, Ivy goes to confront Nightmare, only to be approached by the ninja Taki, who reveals startling truths to her: first, Nightmare the wielder of Soul Edge, and thus the target of her hunt. Second, it was with Soul Edge's power that her whip-sword was forged. But most startling of all, she was a "daughter of the cursed blade": her biological father was the previous wielder of Soul Edge, Cervantes. Ivy is in denial over the facts staring her in the face, but in time, she begins to believe there may be truth in Taki's words...
Nonetheless, after her fight with Taki, Ivy learns that Nightmare is gone, presumably defeated. Soul Edge's location is unknown. Even still, Ivy makes it her life mission to rid the world of Soul Edge's taint, by destroying the cursed sword, then destroying her own whip-sword.
However, even after his body had been reduced to ash by hellfire, Cervantes would return from the dead with the help of Nightmare and a fragment of Soul Edge. At first, he did naught but gaze pensively out at the wreck of his old flagship, the Adrian, with no memory of the man he was. When a former crew member challenged him, however, Cervantes's memories came flooding back, and with them, the desire for power that can only be satisfied with reclaiming Soul Edge.
It would not be enough to simply take back Soul Edge, though: Cervantes would need more power if he hoped to claim the cursed sword and keep control over it without becoming a thrall. To gain that power, he would need to harvest the souls of strong warriors. To that end, Cervantes set out throughout the land, slaughtering any warriors he crossed paths with to consume their souls. During his killing spree, his memories of his battle with Sophitia came flooding back. To rid himself of the painful memories, Cervantes set out for Greece to kill her.
His journey leads him towards a temple of the gods. Before he could enter, however, he felt an immense pain, not unlike when Soul Edge was shattered. The pain brought back memories of a "spare vessel", a child of the cursed sword.
He made his way to Ostrheinsburg Castle, where the energy he felt from Soul Edge suddenly disappeared. All he finds within is a single fragment, but that one fragment had power enough to restore his memories of the "spare vessel": his own daughter, Ivy Valentine, whom he meets not long after. Both father and child fight, with Cervantes determined to take Ivy's soul and use it to restore Soul Edge. Cervantes overpowers Ivy so completely, however, that he decides to spare her life, until her soul is strong enough to resurrect Soul Edge...
It is while recovering from these injuries that she met Rothion, an aspiring blacksmith with whom she would fall in love and eventually become betrothed to. When she went to a temple of Hephaestus to ask for his blessing of their union, she is instead given a new task: Soul Edge has a new wielder, and is quickly regaining its lost power. Thus, Sophitia was once more tasked with ending its reign of terror, in addition to purifying its evil influence. To that end, Hephaestus gifts Sophitia with the power to purify evil, and gives Rothion blessed metal with which to craft new weapons and armor. Rothion obliges, even though this would mean Sophitia would take leave to carry out a dangerous mission, and promises to pray for Sophitia's safety.
Sophitia's journey to Ostrheinsberg Castle, saving those malfested by the Evil Seed and cleansing them of the evil forces possessing them, ends in her discovering the cursed sword to be gone from the castle grounds. She eventually tracks down Siegfried, who had been known as Nightmare during the time he was under Soul Edge's thrall. While Siegfried tries to rebuke her offers for help, Sophitia persists and manages to cleanse him. While the evil sword's energy still lingered in him, Siegfried regained a sense of peace and well-being from Sophitia's blessing, and journeys off to destroy Soul Edge himself. Believing she had completed Hephaestus's task, Sophitia prepares to return home, but not before praying to her patron god for Siegfried's safety...
It is when he was running through the slums that he encountered a young orphan girl named Amy, who saved his life by misdirecting the soldiers looking for him. Even though she had done so merely to annoy the soldiers, Raphael was touched by this gesture: thus, he swears undying loyalty to her and takes her under his wing.
The two flee from France and make their way to Spain, where Raphael improves on his swordsmanship under the tutelage of a Spanish duelist. He also teaches Amy how to fence, so that she can protect herself. In time, however, he began to realize that a life on the lam was no life for Amy. Thus, he makes his way back to France, protecting Amy and fighting off assassins along the way.
Raphael eventually enters into the employ of Lord Dumas, a wealthy noble who provides shelter and money to him and Amy. Without a son, Dumas asks Raphael to be his heir, but only in exchange for sending Amy away, fearing that she was a hindrance to him. Unwilling to part with Amy, Raphael would assassinate him and take his title, estate, and wealth for himself.
While exploring the estate of his benefactor, Raphael stumbles upon a tome that outlines the Evil Seed, and how it could be used to advance humanity's evolution. Thus, Raphael makes a fateful decision: for the sake of Amy, he would craft for her a "perfect world"...
Such is the case of Zasalamel, a man who left behind a tome detailing the history of Soul Edge, Soul Calibur, people and events connected to them, and himself.
Legend says that Soul Edge was an ordinary sword that eventually became cursed after becoming bathed in the blood of countless people. Those who laid their hands upon Soul Edge became slaves to its malevolent will, slaughtering with abandon until they died; hence why few know of the cursed sword's existence. There did exist, however, one who had a mind and will strong enough to resist Soul Edge's influence: a "Hero King" whose name is lost to history. In an age where warfare was rampant, the Hero King was able to bring about lasting peace with Soul Edge and rule over the world. He would, however, lose the sword in a fight that ended in the death of his son, which also created Soul Calibur, Soul Edge's counterpart.
While Soul Edge is seen in throughout history, Soul Calibur is practically unknown due to the Guardians of the Spirit Sword, a secret society that took and refined the holy blade and kept vigil over it to ensure it would never be used for evil. Very few were allowed to wield Soul Calibur, such as a legendary British king who ruled over much of Europe with Soul Calibur. After this king's death, it is believed the Guardians of the Spirit Sword retrieved it. There also existed the Aval Organization, loyal knights of the Hero King who kept themselves hidden while seeking out Soul Calibur and disposing of "outsiders": those who were aligned with Soul Edge or were otherwise a danger to mankind.
Soul Edge would remain hidden from history until it was retrieved by the dread pirate Cervantes de Leon, who began a reign of terror in Europe until he was defeated and half of the cursed sword was destroyed. Shortly afterwards came the "Evil Seed", the unleashing of Soul Edge's evil forces upon the world. The Evil Seed caused a sharp increase in the appearance of the "malfested": those whose minds and bodies are twisted by Soul Edge's influence. The Evil Seed also beckoned the wielder of Soul Edge, the Azure Knight known as "Nightmare", who dealt a devastating blow to the Aval Organization.
As for Soul Calibur: very few instances of its appearance are known. The last known appearance of the spirit sword was in a Far Eastern temple, along with a power-absorbing staff and an evil-suppressing mirror which helped to mold Soul Calibur into the sword it is today. The sword is no longer at the temple, however, and the temple, which would become known as the Ling-Sheng Su temple, would fall into ruin following the Evil Seed: only one student of the temple remained after a massacre that claimed the lives of everyone else living within.
As for Zasalamel, himself, he is actually a member of the Guardians of the Spirit Sword. He was excommunicated from the Guardians after violating their strict edicts. Afterwards, Zasalamel discovered the ability to perpetuate his life for eternity: the art of reincarnation, which allowed him to be reborn after dying. Unfortunately, with unending life came a terrible price: the pain of death, which he suffered in every cycle of reincarnation. In time, he would seek out a true and permanent death to end his curse. He sought out Soul Edge in one of his previous lives, but all he managed to accomplish was becoming a thrall for the cursed sword until he died and was, once more, reborn. Thus, Zasalamel remains trapped in the cycle of death and rebirth...