Several months have passed since the events of the previous game. Memoria kicks off with Geron, now recognized (by some) as the Hero of Andergast, searching for a magical cure that can transform Nuri back into a fairy. His investigation leads him to Fahi, a traveling merchant who, it is said, possess magic that allows him to transform any object into any other object. Fahi offers Geron a deal - he will put his magic at Geron's disposal, if Geron can solve the following riddle within three days:
As the stone rules over the scarab, so rules the scarab over the stone. Enter if to you the answer is known. If not, then forever your life I'll own.
This riddle was inscribed over the door of the tomb of Malakar, a Moghul mage of a bygone age who wielded a powerful Mask of unknown providence and power. Fahi believes the riddle is the key to understanding the story of Sadja, a princess of Tulmidya who looted Malakar's tomb, took his mask and his staff, and participated in the battle against the demons in the Gorian desert centuries ago. Fahi and his daughter have had persistent dreams of Sadja's life, and want to understand how her story was resolved.
Of course, it's not as simple as a word game. Geron starts having dreams of Sadja as well, and resolves himself to sorting out the mystery of Sadja's life in addition to solving the riddle and keeping Nuri safe.
Throughout the game, the perspective of the player keeps switching back and forth between Geron, acting in the Low Fantasy present, and flashbacks of Sadja, acting hundreds of years before in the High Fantasy past. Their stories are interrelated, although neither of them understands that at the start...
The page contains unmarked spoilers for Chains of Satinav. Read at your own risk.
This game provides examples of:
- Affectionate Nickname: The Staff calls Sadja "Sharisad" (butterfly).
- All There in the Manual: As in the last game, there are many offhand references to Dark Eye lore.
- Anti-Hero: Everyone but Geron fits the bill. Sadja is a hero who is only out for personal glory, and is willing to do anything (mostly good things, at least) to get it. The Staff is callous and mostly cares for self preservation, and even after Character Development he remains just as callous. The Blood Knight soldiers fighting the demonic army in the past and Holier Than Thou clerics who refuse to help them are at odds, but both have their negative and positive traits. Bryda is restless and looking for excitement, but is still a more traditionally heroic character until her desire to change the world for the better leads to her nearly causing the end of it.
- Amnesiac Hero: For a given value of "hero," the Staff qualifies as this. ben Halif was a servant of Malakar who was looking for the Garden of Oblivion, but couldn't find it — as punishment, Malakar used the Mask to wipe the man's memories before imprisoning him in the staff.
- Animate Inanimate Object: The "demon" is in fact the staff, whose power to alter the form of any object has grown to the point he can now transform himself into a wooden man.
- Anti-Frustration Features: The forest maze is easily the most annoying part of the game, being both randomized and difficult to navigate on account of the paths looping around to previous sections even when that doesn't seem to make sense. If you stay in the forest maze long enough, you're given the option to just skip right to the spider at the end. In fact, skipping actually has no negative consequences, even when it comes to achievements. The two related to the maze can be earned without actually figuring the maze out, and the spider achievement comes after the maze.
- Back from the Dead: The Garden of Oblivion is technically capable of this, but it would take a pretty convincing lie to make Satinav believe it's even possible, much less true. Halif beats the odds through Sadja's ability to use his magic. By his telling, she entered the Garden and used his power to turn herself into a ruby identical to the one she possessed. The mages found this ruby and, deeming it damaged, reenchanted it to reverse the power of the Mask once more. Centuries later, Halif tells this tale and so it must be true, and Sadja is reborn in the present.
- Born in the Wrong Century: Bryda feels like this defines her life. A prodigy of a mage who dreams of adventure, she wishes she'd been born in Sadja's time, when heroic princesses made epic journeys to fight demons, and other such wonders. She goes so far as to bring the "right" century to her using the power of the mask.
- Bittersweet Ending:
- In the past, Sadja wishes to fight in a grand battle against an evil demon warlord, and thus become remembered for all time - but in stopping Kasim she drops the only weapon the forces of good have against the demons on top of their heads, killing everyone in her brashness, including the demons, ensuring that no one survived to remember her deeds, as well as losing her newfound love. She ends up so depressed that she tries to destroy her own mind, only to fail because she cannot read.
- In the present, Geron tries everything he can to save Nuri and change her back into a fairy before her becomes a raven in mind as well as form, but is not able to complete a quest he barely understands before she loses all of her memories forever, and along the way he is forced to kill Bryda. In the end, his only choice is to turn Nuri back to normal despite the old her being gone, or let her go to be a raven for the rest of her life and move on. Sadja is brought back after centuries by her lost love, free to live a new life.
- The Butler Did It: The fifth member of the mob is not one of the three adventurers who Geron interrogates, but the barmaid.
- But Thou Must!: When telling Sadja's story in the last leg of the game, it doesn't matter what options you choose. At the end, Bryda cuts in to finish it, insisting that she wanted to make sure it was done right. In fact, she does this because the ending she chose is necessary for her plan.
- Cargo Ship: In-universe, the Staff, formerly a human named ben Halif, takes a shine to Princess Sadja as soon as he sees her, despite being a 5-foot length of enchanted wood. His feelings for her are strong enough that he spends all the centuries since the battle trying to give her story an ending.
- Colony Drop: In the final battle, Sadja sends the Ominous Floating Castle crashing down on the battlefield, killing off both sides and ending the war.
- Cruelty Is the Only Option: No matter what, Sadja has to use the petrification spell on one of the council member in order to keep her hands on the helmet. She never changes him back either, though it's at least implied that the spell is reversible by other means.
- Defector from Decadence: After pulling every trick in the book to stall the army from unjustly killing Fahi's family without outright committing treason, Bryda ultimately has to attack her fellow soldiers in order to keep them from harm. Since she was the combat mage's star apprentice this hits her hard, even if she was disillusioned by how repressive and snobbish they were. Despite doing the right thing, she seems rather melancholy when explaining this because it means she has nothing left, hence her state of mind when making the final wish.
- Demonic Possession: Not demonic per se, but in order to grant her wish, the Djinn of Time possessed Bryda - ousting her mind and using her as a conduit to spread reality-altering magic over the entire world. The upside of this is that she might not have been conscious when Geron has Satinav rip her into nothingness to stop the Djinn.
- Determinator: Geron carries over this quality from the last game. Sadja demonstrates a determinator streak, too, particularly when she attempts to fight a powerful sorcerer using nothing more than scrounged items and a weak magic staff after the gods themselves appear to have rejected her. Even the Staff himself is a determinator. He spent nearly five centuries learning the power to animate his staff form into a working body, all to learn the fate of the princess.
- Did You Just Scam Cthulhu?: Satinav is the master of time, and any attempts to change it are generally met with the death of the one who dares try it. However, provided you enter the Garden of Oblivion and exit with a convincing lie, you can change reality to your liking so long as nothing exists to contradict it. If Satinav finds out, though, the liar and their changes are undone.
- Divine Intervention: Whenever someone is discovered trying to circumvent fate or deceive time itself, Satinav will personally stop them from doing so by painfully "ripping them to pieces" and removing their souls from existence. Since the heroes' plots both directly involve circumventing fate and deceiving time, this makes everyone involved very nervous.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: With a few exceptions, the Andergastrians don't recognize that Geron is the one who defeated the Seer, and consequently treat him almost as badly as they did in the last game.
- When using the mask for the first time, Sadja insists that the incantation is too complex to remember, so she has the Staff read it and repeats it in turn. She actually cannot read it at all.
- When the mask is first enchanted with the reversal ruby to confer the Staff's powers on the wearer, Sadja uses it to turn the mage into a tiny gemstone, rather than the large stone statues that the Staff usually creates. It is through this that the Staff can claim Sadja turned herself into a ruby, allowing him to bring her back.
- When Sadja is threatened by Kasim's minion, Sadja gets into her head and correctly guesses that she is one of the many destitute girls Kasim likes to play around with. This came to no surprise, seeing as Sadja was also like her once.
- Friend on the Force: Bryda, though in the magical military rather than the police. When a misunderstanding makes her order go after innocent people, the two have to do a lot of manipulating to keep anyone from getting hurt without costing her her position, which they fail to do.
- Giant Spider: There's one at the end of the forest maze. You get the "Level Up" achievement for scaring it off.
- Glory Seeker: Sadja, who when it comes right down to it is doing all of her heroic deeds not necessarily to defeat evil, but so that she will be remembered for all time. She's a heroic example and clearly does care about doing right by people, its a very clear and exploitable Fatal Flaw, and in the end she utterly fails, though she gets a second chance a few hundred years later. Likewise, The Djinn of Time's actions are truly benevolent from his point of view, in that his gifts prevent people from having to suffer loss and pain, but he clearly has a chip on his shoulder from being Satinav's minion and it's clear that just like Sadja he mostly did it so that people will see him as even greater than his boss.
- Humiliation Conga: After betraying Sadja and trying to rob a pair of Amazons in his escape, Rachwan's life becomes one misfortune after another: first he's captured and tied up upside down for hours, then his hands are turned to stone when he tries to betray Sadja again, after which she forces him to be her servant until she gets to Drakonia, at which point she inadvertently wipes all of his memories away. If he wasn't such a nasty person, you might feel sorry for him.
- Jerkass: As a child, Prince Kasim would routinely pick up girls from off the street so he "befriend" them, which meant gloating to them about his status, having them abused by his guards for no reason, and belittling and demoralizing them every turn, only to toss them out and get a new girl once he was done with the last. As an adult, he's gotten even worse. In the same time period, Rachwan is a disgraced Proud Warrior Race Guy who embodies a lack of honor, fleecing the person he's supposed to be protecting for basic food and supplies, attacking and robbing them when they don't, and robbing people without pity. He bites off more than he can chew with the last one, however.
- Jerkass Gods: Played with. The Djinn of Time describes Satinav as cruel and petty, but he ultimately comes off more as a Rules Lawyer without pity. It is his job to keep causality straight, and thus he refuses to alter history no matter how badly mortals have suffered and takes swift punishment on those who circumvent the timestream - he only ever takes action against those who are attempting to mess with reality in the first place. On the flipside, The Djinn of Time himself nearly gives Kasim the power to rule the world and nearly allows Bryda's wish to radically alter reality, but that's because he's entirely neutral about who he gives his boons to - his wish is to actually help people by removing the pain of loss.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: This is one of the Mask's powers. It can totally wipe a person's knowledge of their history, and even their name. And all of this knowledge gets stored in the Mask, where it can be retrieved by successive wearers.
- MacGuffin Delivery Service: Twisted - Sadja's initial goal is to bring the Mask of Malakar to the (non-evil) Prince in Drakonia. Then the trope gets untwisted as it turns out the "Prince" is Prince Kasim, who is very definitely evil.
- The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: Nuri getting soul-swapped into a bird might have saved her life, but her fairy soul can't adapt as well as the human soul it previously hosted. The longer she remains, the more of her memory is lost, and ultimately she'll just be a talking bird. Once it reaches this point, Geron can opt to change her back and remind her or totally give up on getting her back.
- Modest Royalty: Sadja appears to be this. In reality, she's a commoner pretending to be a princess.
- Multiple Endings: By the end of the game, Nuri has totally forgotten about Geron and is quite content to be a raven. He's given the choice to restore her body, but her memories are gone regardless, or to let her remain a raven.
- Never Learned to Read: Part of the game's Twist Ending — it turns out that Sadja was never a princess. She was an illiterate commoner with a fake tattoo, and just stormed into Malakar's tomb without regard for the riddle. Besides making the entire riddle business a Red Herring, this also meant that she could not have read the memory-erasing spell on the Mask of Malakar.
- No Antagonist: Except for Kasim and Rachwan, none of the "villains" in either era are evil, and all of them are acting by what they feel is right - most are even right from a certain point of view. Few are even truly antagonistic once more is learned about them:
- The "demon" that petrifies the townsfolk in the beginning is actually Sadja's Staff, having survived and gained power over hundreds of years. Despite the ability to petrify armies with a thought (and being a bit callous about using it), he's actually not antagonistic at all and would rather keep to himself - he only petrified those people in defense of an ally who was being unfairly persecuted. He ultimately even gets exactly what he wants with no downsides.
- The people of Andergast are racist, classist and are far too quick to impose their order with force, but beyond the initial powderkeg are only acting out of fear and reacting to what they think is an attack, not realizing they're just making everything worse. Few of them are bad people once you actually get to talking to them. This is especially true of the military, whom the heroes are weary of but still mostly civil with (and in some cases friendly towards).
- Satinav is the callous protector of the timestream with the power and will to Retgone anyone who steps out of line, but despite being a present danger in many of the heroes' actions he is ultimately working to keep reality as it is supposed to be. Despite a few hints here and there, he is ultimately entirely neutral.
- The Djinn of Time allows great evil to spread across the world and is ultimately responsible for everything that happens in the story, but is actually a questionably benevolent (if incredibly conceited) being with Blue and Orange Morality who seeks to defy Satinav's rules and give people what they want, so that they can be happy. However, he doesn't pick and choose between those whose wishes he grants and sometimes goes well overboard in making them come true, leading to...
- Finally, despite being the last "enemy" faced in the story, Bryda is the least villainous of all. The staunchest ally Geron has during the plot, she is an entirely helpful and goodhearted mage who is so disillusioned with the authoritarian and world around her that in the end she wishes to change it into an Adventure-Friendly World - a wish she believed wouldn't have any negative consequences at all, and which she might not have made were she aware that it would result in nightmarish reality altering waves of darkness engulfing the world. Nevertheless, Geron is forced to kill her (or rather, convince Satinav to wipe her from existence) in order to save the world.
- Non-Standard Game Over: Played for laughs. The game opens with Fahi asking you if you like riddles. You can say no, at which point he asks you to leave. Roll credits. You get an achievement for it.
- Ominous Floating Castle: The floating castle outside Drakonia, though it's on the side of the good guys.
- Only Flesh Is Safe: The Repair/Destruct power can only affect non-living objects.
- Place Beyond Time: The Garden of Oblivion is a garden that, according to the will of Satinav, can in no way influence the world beyond it. Anything that happens there never happened until someone leaves the garden, at which point they can speak of the events and Satinav will deem them reality. One may also lie to Satinav, but if he finds out it's a fatal mistake.
- Puff of Logic: The Garden of Oblivion allows people to essentially dictate history to Satinav and he'll take them at their word, since he cannot see within. If someone lies about what happened and is proven wrong, though, the speaker will be erased and so too are their changes.
- Pyrrhic Victory: The final battle is technically won, but only because Sadja dropped the entire floating castle on the battlefield, killing pretty much everyone and leaving no one to tell the tale of what happened that day. Worse, one demon survives and grabs the Staff, and the elemental adept rescues her before she can save him. Sadja is so depressed that she disappears into the Garden of Oblivion and is never seen again.
- Rage Against the Heavens: In the final battle, Sadja is told that the gods have refused to bless her dagger. Understandably miffed by their rejection, she insists that she'll do the job without them.
- Royal Brat: Kasim as a child.
- Scenery Porn: Look at those painted backgrounds, man. Look at them!
- Screw Destiny: Sadja is hellbent on making her own way in the world, claims of the impossibility of it be damned.
- Shoot the Dog: Geron is forced to prove that Bryda lied to Satinav about Sadja (and undo everything they did together) knowing that doing so will cause Satinav to rip her to pieces, in order to stop the effects of her out of control wish. Having to do so clearly affects him very badly, both before and after the deed is done.
- Shout-Out: Bryda gives Geron a magic lens that can show traces of magic when you look through it, and mentions that it was invented by a "Magister de Hoto". This is a reference to another Daedalic game, The Night of the Rabbit: Jerry's coin is used in much the same way in that game, after the Marquis de Hoto enchants it for him.
- Taken for Granite: One of the Staff's powers, which can be used to turn things into anything stone but usually takes the form of a stone pillar that has parts jutting out depending one how they were standing when petrified in the present. While in this state, the victims are fully aware but unable to act, but also basically immortal so long as the stone is never damaged (and even so, they can be fixed). Sadja ends up surviving to the present day by turning herself into a ruby.
- Undying Loyalty: The Staff is unfailingly loyal to Sadja, if a bit snarky at times. So strong is his loyalty that, five centuries after she should logically be dead, he is determined to discover one way or another what became of her. And when the answer proves false, he makes an even better one.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: A bunch of racists decide to get drunk and drive a foreign merchant out of town. This not only results in a poor fate for them, but causes what would've otherwise been a relatively simple quest to spiral into a military manhunt and multiple tough decisions on the parts of the heroes that ultimately result a the nigh-apocalyptic climax for something that could've been a lot more low key.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Albeit in a character who is aware of this. Bryda is a textbook restless heroine who has amazing abilities but is stuck in a monotonous life, seeking something more wondrous and amazing over the horizon. She wishes the world could be one of adventure, heroes and villains, and amazing magic, but the problem is she lives in a Dark Fantasy Crapsack World where her people are haughty, elitist and have long since taken the wonder out of the fantastic. She jumps at the chance to join a would-be hero in a quest to stop a monster, even rebelling from the chance to be a military elite to the right thing, but she's eventually forced to accept that the world just isn't going to change. So she naively tries to get the Djinn of Time to make it change, but that nearly destroys everything and in the end Geron is forced to kill her to save the world.
- You Can't Fight Fate: Satinav wrote all that was, is, and ever will be in his Book of Time, and woe be to any who dare contradict him. He doesn't like that. However, the story implies that he is recording what he sees happening in the timestream rather than creating is, and the Garden of Oblivion allows one to lie to him, in that he has to take that person at their word since he is blind to what happens in the Garden. But it's best to tell the truth, lest he catch you in a lie and act accordingly.
- You Wouldn't Shoot Me: Sadja eventually deduces this of Kasim's servant after escaping from the Garden of Oblivion. The story was that Sadja was tortured for the true name of the mask and then killed. By escaping, her very presence is a contradiction. Killing her would invalidate the story, so the servant lamely tries to force her back down. Satinav strikes her down and undoes the change.