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View Full Version : Anything and Everything There is to Know about For Honor's Lore



Archo-Vax
08-19-2017, 08:17 AM
To see my other Threads on topics such as this, read these in the following order: http://forums.ubi.com/showthread.php/1721198-Regarding-The-Highlander-s-Weird-Faction-Choice-Reiterating-on-For-Honor-Lore : http://forums.ubi.com/showthread.php/1722577-The-Gladiator-and-Highlander-s-Trailers : http://forums.ubi.com/showthread.php/1723671-YouTube-Comment-on-For-Honor . The first contains vital prerequisite information, and the other two are tertiary in comparison.

Alright... time to piece together these convoluted shards of glass and try to make a mirror.

Just to make things clear: real-world history is completely erroneous when it comes to For Honor. For Honor exists in it's own universe, with it's own history, locations, events, and setting.

For Honor's lore-history can be divided into 6 main sections. "Years B.A.D" stands for "Before Apollyon's Death", and "Y.A.D" stands for "Years after Apollyon's Death". What "modern day" is, when it comes to For Honor, is near the end (or possibly earlier) of what has been, so far, a seven-year-long war between all three Factions. You see this in the ending cutscene of the Story Mode, just before the credits roll, where Ayu, Stigandr, and Holden Cross have just finished spending a few hours telling each other each of their stories leading up to the aforementioned seven-year-long war.

If you see an asterisk placed behind listed Events that are clumped together, it means that I'm not certain of the exact order of said Events.

Timeline:

Pre-Cataclysm Era = A period of unknown duration, and at an unknown amount of time ago, wherein all Factions, supposedly, lived in peace and/or were isolated from each other.

Events:
N/A

Extras:
In this era, the empire which was lead by "Centurions" was what the modern Iron Legion traces it's lineage to. This ancient culture was believed to have been lost in "the destruction"- The Cataclysm. Remnants of it's grandeur still endure in the modern day in the form of reclusive enclaves in the wilds. This civilization lived in the region directly west of what would become modern day Ashfeld.

In this era, Valkenheim was the site of a vast Nordic Empire, only to be swallowed by the Cataclysm.

The Cataclysm = A period of unknown duration in which the entire planet was ravaged by apocalypse-level natural disasters, causing millions of deaths, and changing the topography of the world drastically. The populations of each Faction were decimated, and resources which supported their civilizations were suddenly in extreme scarcity. This marks the end of the previous era. It was not one event, but many. Lands rose and fell- the skies rained fire, ash, and worse things- and seas rose and then retreated.

Events:

Unknown Date - The region in which the ancestors of the Knights of Ashfeld lived was rendered a barren desert, causing them to expand east and southeast, into what would later be called "Ashfeld" and "The Southern Deserts", respectively.

Extras:
N/A


The Millennium of Bloodshed = A period lasting around 1000 years, almost immediately following The Cataclysm mainly consisting of near-constant warfare between the three main Factions. At first, it was about the struggle over scarce resources- the need to survive. Soon after, all Factions involved forgot what started the war in the first place, and were fighting for reasons that none understood. All anyone knew anymore was "those guys are the enemy, and we all hate each other".

Events:

Approximately 1000 years B.A.D - The Fall of the Last Sanctuary in Ashfeld. From what can be presumed, this was what can be considered the ultimate low-point for the Iron Legion during TMB. The ancestors of modern Ashfeld's Iron Legion held out for six years against 100,000 desperate, starving warriors. We can make the assumption from what we know the Knights consider a "Sanctuary" (basically, a very large, very fortified castle) that they had been reduced to a single fortress(which they then promptly lost) in the 1000-year-long conflict. The judgment must be made, then, that the Knights somehow managed to come back from this crushing defeat, and eventually pushed the Vikings and Samurai out of Ashfeld some years/centuries later- their ultimate victory. One has to wonder how genius of a leader there had to have been, back then, to manage a feat like that.

Unknown Date - The Vikings, lead by their powerful Lords, completely vanished, sailed across "the sea" (presumably to the east of the Austramar bay) and didn't return when the sea froze over. During this period, Vikings almost became a complete myth. Presumably, they were looking for less resistant lands to pillage. This might have been when they came into contact with the Highlander's culture on a far-off island, somewhere. Until they came back.

Unknown Date - The Knights of Ashfeld cleared Valkenheim of most of it's vast forests, revealing ancient ruins of the Warborn Clan.

Unknown Date ("Centuries Ago") - The Vikings returned from across the sea and reclaimed their ancestral lands of Valkenheim.

Unknown Date - The ancient Viking Lords officially yielded Ashfeld to the Knights, in the Geyser Fields to the northwest of Mount Rust.

Extras:
N/A

The Degradation = A period of lasting from (Unknown Date) to 7 years B.A.D- it immediately followed The Millennium of Bloodshed. It was triggered by the Iron Legion successfully pushing all other factions out of Ashfeld. The Samurai secluded themselves deep in The Myre, and were rarely seen or heard from.
In this, all the main factions suddenly ceased their fighting- characterized by an uneasy malaise and tentative peacefulness. It is here that all three factions began to decay and rot in their own foundations, where gaps in their cultural foundations and infrastructure began to form.
Without the war to keep the civilizations "sharp", their respective strength and might started to fade. They would soon pale in comparison to the grandeur and might of their ancestors who fought in The Millennium of Bloodshed. The Degradation, reportedly, lasted "centuries".
---
The best estimate of how long The Degradation lasted is anywhere from four to two centuries. The Samurai are once said to have only resided in The Myre for five hundred years- that, despite living there for that amount of time, "we (presumably meaning the vikings and knights) still treat them like newcomers". Implying that the Dawn Empire only arrived on the continent five hundred years ago. This tidbit about the Samurai was made by Apollyon in one of the Observables in mission 2.5 - Reconnaissance. Given how Apollyon's tone changes in the intro to mission 3.6 - Apollyon, we can assume that all of the Observables are "said" just before the assault on her Blackstone Fortress.
So... a generous estimate would indicate that the Dawn Empire only got involved in The Millennium of Bloodshed during the last 100 years of it.

Events:

Unknown Date - Mount Rust, the volcano in the region called "Ignis" erupted. The ash from the eruption flew northward and settled over Valkenheim. The Viking Clans lost sight of the sun for months, crops and animals used for sustenance died, and were given two years of frozen-over rivers. Thus, the Viking Clans had a common problem, and only one solution: to raid and pillage for food and resources. They were united in their need for food. And ever since then, they continued to raid Ashfeld, yearly. The Legions of Ashfeld, who's past Warlords of old had already crumbled to anonymous dust, had stagnated and become complacent. Thus, they were not ready, and could do little more than hide behind their collective shield. Such was their fall from grace.

40 years B.A.D - The last time that any Knight last crossed the threshold of Valkenheim's territory at Gränsgård.

*Unknown Date - Apollyon is born in the scrublands of Ashfeld.
*Unknown Date - Apollyon's birth-village is sacked and looted by viking raiders.
*Unknown Date - Apollyon becomes a Warden.
*Unknown Date - A block of obsidian is cut into the shape of a round table, high in the mountains just north of Mount Rust- in the volcano's shadow. This is where the Blackstone Legion is first formed.

Unknown Dates - The Blackstone Circle once contained fifteen Commanders. Eight times, one would claim the title of Warlord of the Blackstone Legion, and would then be killed by the others for their perceived incompetency. Eventually, Apollyon took the title for the eighth and last time- leaving Seven leaders (including her) of the Blackstone Legion in their Circle.

Unknown Date - The Regal Legion is conquered and subsumed by the Blackstone Legion.

20 years B.A.D - The Iron Legion was on the verge of losing the rural areas (the scrublands) of Ashfeld to the Vikings, entirely.

Extras:
N/A

The Apollyon Period = A period lasting from 6 years B.A.D to 0 years B.A.D in which the Warlord of the Blackstone Legion, Apollyon, used her power to put a stop to the viking raids on Ashfeld, invaded Valkenheim and sent the Viking Clans into a famine, causing them to go to war with each other over food for a year, and bringing all Viking civilization to the edge of extinction. This started a domino effect, causing the formation of the united Warborn Viking Clans and the recreation of the Iron Legion.

Events:

5 years B.A.D - Hervis Daubeny defects from the Blackstone Legion, after only being a part of it for a single season, and forms his own mercenary Legion, shacking up in a small fort in the region called "Westhold". Said fort is said to have been controlled by ten different Warlords in the past ten years, prior. This triggers Apollyon to send her second-in-command, Holden Cross, to seek retribution from Daubeny as punishment for his betrayal. This results in the future Lord Warden being recruited into the Blackstone Legion.

Later that year, Holden Cross would send the very same Warden to reinforce the troops in the Sanctuary known as "Harrowgate" - the last Iron Legion Sanctuary in Ashfeld - which was being overrun by viking raiders. The Warden would single-handedly turn the fight around and help to send the viking raiders packing. After the battle was won, the remaining Iron Legion soldiers were too diminished to hold Harrowgate any longer after the fact. Apollyon's Blackstones had to take over, in what can only be called the complete erosion of the once-great Iron Legion. The deal was officially sealed in the Geyser Fields northwest of Mount Rust.

In that same year, the Blackstone legion officially had the viking raiders on the run, and in the mopping up efforts, managed to bring the rest of the scattered legions under Blackstone control. All of Ashfeld was Blackstone property. The future Lord Warden was sent, along with the renowned Conqueror, Commander Stone, to clear out the remaining viking outpost in Ashfeld. Along the way, the Warden encountered deserters, which would serve as the initial spark of rebellion in her mind.

4 years B.A.D - After clearing Ashfeld of foreigners, Apollyon would send her Blackstones into Valkenheim in her quest for war. Holden Cross, Commander of the Blackstone Vanguard would lead the charge into Gränsgård, the "gate" into Valkenheim. They break through and execute almost all prisoners captured at the fortified gates.

Later on, the renowned Peacekeeper, Mercy, is sent to clear the way to the market-town of Sverngård on the eastern edge of Valkenheim's coast by infiltrating and clearing out the Warborn fort of Dalborg which stood in the Blackstone Legion's way.
Sverngård was one of the focal circulation points of the Viking Clans's total food stores, and in winter (the season in which the Blackstone Legion assaulted it) most of Valkenheim's food for the year would be stored in it.
The legendary Jarl of Sverngård, Gudmundr, would be killed in the battle by the Warden.
Upon reaching Sverngård, the Blackstone Legion sacked the town under the leadership of the future Lord Warden and burned a large portion of the seed grain stored there. Had all the food been burned, the Viking Clans would have united. But, the Blackstones left just enough for two-to-three Clans, therefore inciting civil war.

3 years B.A.D - The Legendary Raider rose up into renown and fame after coming down from the mountains, and joining the Warborn Clan during the year-long starvation-induced civil war that ravaged Valkenheim, caused by Apollyon. In that year's winter, he began his campaign to unite the Viking Clans under one banner by leading an attack on a village called "Grön"- liberating it from the cruel and borderline psychopathic hold of another Raider named Ragnar. A petty warlord among Jarls who prospered on the misery and famine of the people under his jurisdiction.

Eventually, in that same year, in a matter of weeks and maybe a month or two, the Warborn grew to encompass many other Clans, and eventually, only two independent Jarls remained. The Legendary Raider, and a psychopathic Berserker named Siv, who had holed up in the fortress of "Skällaborg". With many Warborn soldiers and leaders imprisoned and enslaved in Siv's fort, it was only natural that the Warborn Clans's next target was Siv's Bearclaw Clan. And so he did. Killing Siv in a duel, and uniting all of Valkenheim's sons and daughters under one banner.
This consumption of the Bearclaws into the Warborn yielded the freedom of Stigandr. A renowned Warlord, who would, from that point on, serve as the Warborn's Jarl, and lead all of Valkenheim's people.
In order to save face from being captured, and in order to prove himself worthy of leadership position, Stigandr, in the final month of the year, single-handedly lead an assault on Odingård, the site of one of Valkenheim's main shipyards. After clearing Odingård of Blackstones, killing their resident commander, Julius Salavander, the Warborn Clans were set to take back their birthright.

2 years B.A.D - The Warborn Clans's Jarl, Stigandr, spent the next few months, into the next year, making preparations to lead an assault on the Samurai. The newly-created Viking fleet sailed southward, across the Austramar bay, and landed at Kaiyo Kabe- one of the Samurai's naval forts on the northern edge of The Myre. It was one of the few places in The Myre where a fleet could safely come to shore. The huge gate that dominated the fort used to be a canal, before the sea-level receded. The Warborn Clans believed the ancient port to be poorly defended, and were hoping for some quick spoils. It quickly turned into a bloodbath. Bloody, but manageable. The Legendary Raider was able to turn the assault into a decisive victory. Especially after he defeated and killed the Samurai Champion, a Kensei named "Fujikiyo", who's legend had reached across the sea- even into Viking territory.

After finding a safe way through the death-trap known as The Myre, the Warborn Clans began their attack on the city of Koto, having to fight their way across Sanctuary Bridge. The Legendary Raider truly earned his name in that battle... as the Warborn's victory was secured through the death of the great Samurai Orochi: General Tozen. And his apprentices.

During the chaos The Great Raid, the Emperor's Champion, who had been imprisoned for three years for speaking out of turn, was freed by his Daimyo and a few others who saw the opportunity to do so. As the Champion and his fellow members of his Daimyo's House fought to push the Vikings out of one section of Koto, the Blackstone Legion, lead by Apollyon herself, intervened.
The Blackstone Legion's goal, it seemed, was to capture every Daimyo (twenty in all) they came across as they invaded Koto, bring all of them directly to the Imperial Palace, kill the Emperor and his family; then, Apollyon in the flesh told all of them that the Emperor was dead, and would ask each Daimyo if they wanted to rule.
Those who refused were promptly executed on the spot, while those who (more or less) accepted the "offer" were allowed to live. Five did. Apollyon cherry-picked one of these Daimyo, a renowned Orochi named "Seijuro", who she perceived to be the best among them, and gave possession of the Imperial Palace to him. The rest of the Daimyo who passed her test were taken out of Koto and dropped off in the wilds around the city with nothing but their weapons and armor.
By happenstance, one of the Daimyo who passed Apollyon's test was the Daimyo who the Emperor's Champion owed his loyalty to- a Kensei named Ayu. As it happened, all of the Daimyo that survived Apollyon's questionnaire were war-criminals- psychopaths, and sociopaths of all stripes and colors who would undoubtedly tear each other to pieces and take their respective swings at Seijuro in order to gain the late Emperor's throne.
Ayu, knowing all of this full-well, decided to put a stop to the impending civil war before it began. What Apollyon hoped would be a civil war that would take years, only took a few days. She had overestimated the resolve of the three Daimyo that Ayu killed (later remarking that they were liars and cowards), and underestimated the Samurai's unity. In fact, it was the common enemy in the form of the Warborn Vikings which were still plodding about The Myre that served as a catalyst for the Samurai to unite around.
After kicking the remnants of the Warborn's raiders out of their swamp, Ayu set about gathering what remained of the Samurai's armies who hadn't sworn loyalty to Seijuro and launched an assault on the Imperial Palace. With the Emperor's Champion infiltrating the "fortress within a fortress" and giving Ayu's army a way in, Seijuro was defeated in a duel with the Champion.
Apollyon might have thought that Seijuro would be executed. However, at this point, Ayu and the Champion had long-since determined that Apollyon was the true enemy, in this situation, and was the one who would have to pay for the bloodshed.

0 years B.A.D - After two years of preparation, the Samurai were ready to send an army into Ashfeld. After the Emperor's Champion scouted the way to Apollyon's fortress through the region of Aemilianus, the Dawn Empire's full military might, along with the newly reforged Iron Legion's, crashed down onto the Blackstone Fortress- which sat in the shadow of Mount Rust. THIS was the day that Apollyon died... and the day that the Seven-Year-War began.

Extras:
N/A

The Seven-Year-War / Age of Wolves = A period lasting from 0 years B.A.D to 7 Y.A.D in which all three main factions warred with each other in the wake of The Apollyon Period.

Events:

Unknown Date - A group of Centurions (presumably large enough to make a decent difference in the course of a full-on war) comes out of hiding and joins the Iron Legion's army, under the Lord Warden's leadership, against the Warborn Viking Clans, and the Dawn Empire Samurai.

Unknown Date - The Shinobi, a previously unknown society of spies, assassins, and warriors comes out of hiding in order to assist the Samurai of The Myre against the Warborn Viking Clans and The Iron Legion Knights.

Unknown Date - The Iron Legion begins to draw troops from the likes of veteran gladiatorial arena fighters, to fight in the war against the Warborn Viking Clans and the Dawn Empire Samurai.

Unknown Date - The Warborn Viking Clans draw on the contractural help of the Highlanders to join in the seven-year-long conflict.

Extras:

The Age of Wolves is, basically, what we (the players) experience in the multiplayer Faction War. You know? That thing that everyone decided not to care about. The Seven-Year-War, as we're playing it, takes place before the meeting between Ayu, Stigandr, and Holden Cross in the ending cutscene of For Honor's Story Mode.

Characters:

The Lord Warden:
"The Warden has travelled to Ashfeld to lend her blade to a worthy cause. It has proven challenging".

The Warden was a young woman who had joined the Warden academy, because she believed in it's ideals. But she wasn't going to be defending the weak, fighting for what's right or for peace in The West's desert hills. So, she traveled eastward, to Ashfeld, to find a worthy cause to fight for. After all, Ashfeld is the place to seek your fortune.
So, when she arrived in Ashfeld, and ran into Hervis Daubeny. A fellow Warden who seemed to have a ragtag bunch of mercenaries. For a few weeks, she lived in Westhold Castle with her fellow mercs.
Then, Holden Cross showed up and used his forces to crush Daubeny's castle. As you know, the Warden was brought into the Blackstone Legion fold through getting Knighted by Holden. I suspect that that custom is what happens when one legion is defeated by another- the victor is free to demand anything of the loser. Including their death.

The Warden suddenly found herself with a much more powerful legion that seemed to be getting things done very effectively. When she was sent to Harrowgate to reinforce the failing Iron Legion ranks, there, she was surprised to see that the famed, legendary Iron Legion was getting it's posterior handed to it. News hadn't been getting to The West very often, in recent years. Then again, the bureaucratic types, there, didn't really care what happened in Ashfeld, so long as food was still being shipped from the farms, near the volcano. Despite having to save it, she still had a lot of respect for what the Iron Legion stood for. Of course, when the Blackstones had to take over Harrowgate, and thus subsume the Iron Legion, the Warden was not informed.
She wasn't really told that the Iron Legion was being consumed and absorbed into the Blackstones. Then again, she didn't really ask, either. When Stone joined the Blackstones, she didn't think much of it. Maybe he was a bit fond her, she didn't question it.

However, as she was sent to clear out the last Viking-occupied outpost in Ashfeld, she heard of talk of deserters. This was surprising to her, as these deserters were Iron Legion deserters. During the mission, she brings this up to Stone, as the idea of Iron Legion soldiers deserting seemed absurd to her. What she didn't know was that these soldiers were actually deserting the Blackstone Legion- they were trying to avoid having to submit to Apollyon's rank and file, since the Iron Legion was absorbed. Unlike the Warden, these deserters knew full-well how dangerous and destructive Apollyon was.

Stone, for his part, was confused by the Warden's lack of understanding of the situation, at first, and feigned ignorance when they both confronted the deserters. Even pretended to be just as confused and angry as the Warden. Perhaps, he was trying to keep the Warden from finding this stuff out the hard way.

When Apollyon came out of nowhere, and exercised her famed "Laws of Selection"... the Warden then understood the state of things in Ashfeld. But she couldn't exactly bug out. Not after having taken her oaths to the Blackstone Legion. For valor in battle and honor in service, after all. Doing so would be a death sentence. She'd seen how Daubeny had been treated for deserting the Blackstones.

The Warden's thought process after Mission 1.3 must have been something along the lines of: "oh. Well, I, uh... I kind of screwed up, didn't I? Well, whatever, it's probably fine, right? How bad can Apollyon and her Blackstones be?". She would soon find out.

The idea of forging into Valkenheim, exacting retribution for the yearly raids on Ashfeld, wasn't particularly great to her, but she was excited for more combat. What better target than the Vikings? If they were strong enough to raid Ashfeld every year, then it would at least be challenging. And putting a stop to the raids seemed good, too. Fast-forward to the sacking of Sverngård... and the Warden would have to quickly learn not to choke on her own foot.

Sverngård wasn't a proper fortress. It was barely deserving of the name, "military outpost". It was just a market town. Civilians. Merchants. In the Warden's mind, she thought that they would simply attack a few large fortresses to make an example and make it clear that the Blackstone Legion and Ashfeld were not to be trifled with, anymore. Instead, they were there to induce famine throughout Valkenheim.

That was the last straw. The Warden deserted, and went rogue, going into hiding. Establishing her own band of fighters. They used guerrilla warfare against Apollyon's forces. The Blackstone Legion, after the sacking of Sverngård, would put down many other rebellions. But not the Warden's. Four years later, she was joined by Holden Cross, Stone, and Mercy. It was then, that they officially recreated the Iron Legion, and began recruiting other disillusioned Blackstone soldiers. Little did she know, but her rebellion was only allowed to continue because Apollyon decided to let it do so. She, like she did with the vikings and the Samurai, pitted her own people against each other, and cherry picked the Warden's rebellion as being the best opponent for the Blackstones.

When the Emperor's Champion was captured spying on her recruitment drive, the Warden saw an opportunity. She figured that, if she could secure the Samurai as an ally, it would be one less thing to worry about when they brought the fight to Apollyon's castle. "The enemy of my enemy", and all that. So, she had a duel with the Champion, and managed to get on friendly terms with him. She granted the Samurai's armies passage through to the Blackstone Fortress.
She knew that she should have probably made this unspoken agreement more clear to her new Iron Legion, but there was work to be done. When Iron Legion and Dawn Empire forces began to siege the Blackstone Fortress, it would require all of her attention.

When the siege ended, and the two armies found themselves facing each other, the Warden and the Emperor's Champion weren't present to stop the bloodshed. It didn't help that the vikings decided to take that moment to run in and start killing. Thus: the Iron Legion, Dawn Empire, and Warborn Viking Clans would fight for seven years. A war that the Warden didn't start, but was forced to command as the new Lord Warden. Gods know she wanted to end it.

Holden Cross:
"A practical man of limited ambition but of endless talent. Apollyon's second-in-command and one of Ashfeld's Lawbringers. Holden Cross carries out the Blackstone Legion's judgements".

I suspect that Holden, unto and including the sacking of Sverngård, is going through something of a mid-life crisis. He was a part of the Blackstone Circle, second in command to the Warlord of the Blackstone legion. He, basically, was vice-president of all of Ashfeld. He is one of the greatest Lawbringers to have ever lived, and helped put an end to the Viking raids on Ashfeld.

What else is there to do? By the time he met The Lord Warden, he'd already reached the peak of his career. Mercy, in her own analytical way, seems to be rather convinced that he'd lost his way. His thoughts, throughout most of the Blackstone Legion's activities in Valkenheim must have been something along the lines of, "well. This seems to be it. This will be my legacy". He was only going through the motions. His life, at this point, was completely made up of: "carry out the Blackstone Legion's judgements. Do as Apollyon says. It's not like there's anywhere else to go, anymore".

However, this would begin to change.

When Apollyon spared Ragnar's life, Holden was surprised. Caught off guard. He'd thought that her Laws of Selection only applied to Knights. He, up to this point, thought that the entire point of the foray into Valkenheim was to wipe out the Vikings and secure a safe future for Ashfeld's people. Genocide. He must be very much a nationalist. He wouldn't have become a Lawbringer if he didn't have a pride for the Knight's laws and civilization.
But, when Apollyon started her schemes of "showing the Vikings who they really are" and breeding Ashfeld's enemies to be more and more dangerous, Holden must have realized that Apollyon's goals would only bring ruin to everyone. He wasn't a fan of the Vikings or Samurai, but Apollyon's plans would inevitably bring Ashfeld into the line of fire and endanger it's citizens.

All for the sake of some perverse idea that war is, somehow, a good thing. Yeah, when Apollyon took control of the Blackstones and made her intentions of creating war everywhere perfectly clear, Cross went right along with it. "War is the natural state of our species", must have struck him as: "Knights should be attacking it's enemies actively, not cowering behind their shields". At the time, he thought that the goal was to destabilize the other factions and give Ashfeld time to become greater and more powerful without the viking raids constantly hacking the society's knees, every year.

When he met her, he already trusted The Lord Warden, and regretted her departure from the Blackstones. When she made her rebellion against Apollyon public knowledge, it didn't take much for Holden to see an opportunity in it. In addition to everything else that's already been said: "how gargantuan of a task would it be to undermine and strike at the heart of the most powerful Legion in Ashfeld? Very". The challenge gave him the spark, and when the Seven-Year-War began, it gave Holden a purpose once more.

Commander Stone:
As a Conqueror, Stone understands the term "beaten dog", very well. He was an ex-convict, after all. Only earning his freedom after being conscripted into the Iron Legion's military. And shining bright as a diamond in the rough. When he reached his renowned status, it wasn't as great of an honor to be made Commander of the Iron Legion's forces as it could have been, since said Legion was on the verge of being destroyed. So, put in charge of a failing military force, and having to make due with what he was given, Stone's disappointment at only being given a single Warden as reinforcements for when the Iron Legion's last Sanctuary was being sieged, was immeasurable. He must have figured that, "hey, well- if we do get destroyed, today, at least I can say I didn't screw up with a clerical error, like those damned Blackstones".

But, he was pleasantly surprised to see that this Warden was no slouch. The siege was broken, and the vikings were pushed back. The Iron Legion was going to be subsumed by the Blackstones, but Stone couldn't find much of a reason to care, at this point. They only put him in charge of the Legion's armies when the damn thing was about to be mobbed by viking savages.

When the Warden's naivety and lack of understanding about recent events in Ashfeld became apparent to him, Stone defaulted to his usual tactic of: "roll with the punches; assume the role". He sort of just went along with the Warden's tiny crusade of going after the deserters, and did his best to delay any outright revelations for his new friend. He liked the Warden- she simply seemed like a decent person, and a good soldier. She was the main reason why he joined the Blackstone Legion, anyway. Her being the only positive relationship he actually had, at this point.

The deserters made his job easy for him when they decided to jump the pair. Though, the cat somewhat came out of the bag when Apollyon showed up. After that little incident, he went ahead started explaining what exactly the situation in Ashfeld was like. Though, he suspected she'd already figured it out.

When the Warden deserted, Stone was the first join her, when he had the opportunity. She was his best friend (or the closest thing to it), and he didn't particularly care for the Blackstones, too much.

Mercy:
"Mercy is efficient. She doesn't waste any movement or words. She is a natural predator".

From the way Mercy behaves, it becomes apparent that it must take an extremely specific kind of personality in order to be a Peacekeeper- the secretive organization which works to stop as many conflicts between the Legions of Ashfeld from happening as possible.
My diagnosis? There is very strong evidence to suggest that Mercy is a high-functioning psychopath.

She speaks extremely little, has an understanding of conventional morality, is analytical, talks to herself when alone, keeps a constant mental list of all the people she works with and seems to always think of said people while on her missions- making judgements and noting all occurrences, and is prideful in her work. Like all psychopaths, she is incapable of sympathy or empathy, and is only truly concerned about herself. Her interests, her advancement, her preservation.

Any sympathy she displays will be feigned - the logic, in her mind, being "hm. I should probably comfort this person, shouldn't I? It won't cost anything and it'll probably make manipulating them easier in the future" - and those around her will most likely think of her as being charismatic. If she ever does chose to interact with others. Her job as a Peacekeeper probably doesn't provide much time for socialization. And she's probably okay with that. Psychopaths are excellent actors, and are always hedging their bets. In the mind of someone with this condition, every single thing around them is either an asset or detriment. An ally or obstacle.

Things such as gratitude, loyalty, or love, to a psychopath, are always either nonexistent, or are turned up to eleven and made into an extreme, depending on the circumstance. And, yes, I am somewhat referring to the Anime concept of a "Yandere". Though, it's not very important. Or common.

When she comes across the bodies of hanged Blackstone soldiers, she remarks that when other soldiers see the corpses of their friends, they would "cry, and cringe, and rage". She comments that, sometimes she would pretend to share their grief, while on other occasions she would simply wish that she did.
From this, she seems to be aware that there is something "wrong" with her, and has a desire for said abnormality to not be the case. There is a disconnect between what she feels is right and wrong, what she reacts emotionally to, and what other people display. She's aware of this difference, and like any psychopath, will adhere to the moral conventions of society because doing so furthers her goals. She will, at least sometimes, attempt to imitate the emotional reactions of others around her in a bid to see if she actually feels something in response to certain situations.

To her, the only thing stopping her from committing a serious of gruesome murders is: A) the potential legal consequences, and B) the reward for doing so not being worth the risk/effort. If neither of those conditioners were in place, nothing would stop her from doing so. Certainly not emotional or moral dilemmas. It's all about consequence.

I suspect that part of the reason she became a Peacekeeper in the first is because she wanted to have an excuse for not having to constantly adapt to social cues. Social cues which she isn't fond of following, anyway.

Mercy seems to be slightly obsessive over her job. She repeatedly recites mantras to herself, such as "Doubt is death; Doubt is Death", and "Service is Life; Service is Life". Whether she taught herself these things and uses them as motivation for her role in the Blackstones, or if these things were impressed upon her in Peacekeeper training is unclear.

When Mercy deigns to tell The Lord Warden what the true purpose of the Blackstones in Valkenheim was, the Warden comments: "I think you know". This seems like a very specific line, meant to communicate a specific point. Mercy isn't actually a part of the Blackstone Circle. Nor is Stone. If she was, why would the Warden have to have made that comment? If she were part of the Blackstone Circle, of course she would know. So, what does this mean? Well, Mercy must have a reputation for coming across information that she isn't supposed to know. She always keeps tabs on everyone around her, and being a spy, it's only natural that she go snooping about. On Apollyon, she says, "Apollyon's darkness will cover the world, I think", and "we will leave this place a ruin".
No one else comments this, so she must be, either have figured out Apollyon's goals and motivations from her speech, or have gone snooping about in Apollyon's plans.

But, why would she do so? Surely, if she were found out, the punishment for doing so would be grievous. Well... what if it wasn't? She's a Peacekeeper. Maybe she has the pre-ordained right to scrounge up any information about and in the Legion in which she serves. "What they know could destroy legends... or create them", after all.

When the future Lord Warden deserts the Blackstone Legion, it is unclear what exactly makes Mercy go along with him.

On The Warden she says, in Mission 1.5, "I wonder who will betray that Warden", "Holden trusts that Warden. Well... maybe", and "that Warden is a decent person".

On Holden, she says, "Holden has lost his way. It's sad".

On Commander Stone, "Stone is trustworthy, I think. Rude, but trustworthy", and "Stone would be dead if not for that Warden. Hah".

Archo-Vax
08-19-2017, 08:18 AM
The Legendary Raider:
"The Vikings needed someone to unite them, so the Raider came down from the mountains ready for war".

The Raider has great pride in his people. He's a visionary. Analogous to a sort of: "Tiber Septim Lite". Like all Raiders, he is, as a rule, bloodthirsty- but is possessed of a tremendous pride for his Clan, and his people, in general, in particular.

Runa:
"Runa is tired of seeing the Warborn fall into disgrace. She will do everything in her power to raise her clan back to glory".

Not much more to be said than that. She's inquisitive and very spiritually minded. She asks the Raider in Mission 2.4 what significance he thinks the many statues of the Samurai at Kaiyo Kabe hold. She also asks whether he thinks the Samurai go to Valhalla. Odd, that she doesn't already know the answer to that, since she's a warrior priestess.

She also seems to have a bit of a sadistic side, since she tortures a Samurai soldier, despite knowing she wouldn't be able to understand any confessions he made.

Helvar:
A slightly insane bloke, with a dry sense of humor, who loves to fight.

Stigandr:
I, uh... I'm honestly not sure about him. He has a good sense of humor, and isn't very dark about most things.

---

The Emperor's Champion / The Jailed Orochi:
"The Orochi was jailed for speaking out of turn. There is no need to learn your lesson when you are the best swordsman in the kingdom".

The Orochi was deigned the greatest swordsman in The Myre. As such, he enjoyed many privileges while serving as the Emperor's body guard and enforcer.
But, when he was jailed for three years for speaking out of turn, he had plenty of time to think. And, as such, he learned the meaning of patience and humility.

Ayu:
"Ayu's House was exiled by the Emperor for a trivial act. She fights to regain her honor".

Okuma:
The amount of things Okuma has committed to and given to, for the sake of his House, is staggering. He has sacrificed much more for those he considers his extended family, than any of his friends could ever claim to. He's a Shugoki, after all.
As such, he doesn't talk much, but when he does speak, it's almost always couched with deep meaning or simplistic relevance.

Momiji:
She's a country bumpkin. A combat-thirsty, quirky, witty, smarmy, hamlet-dweller. Hence her fascination with the fact that The Emperor's Champion lived in a place so lavish and beautiful as the Imperial Palace. Probably creates a bit of a foil, for him, actually. She, who has known nothing but the simple life of village farmers (and protecting said village farmers, as per her position as a Nobushi), as opposed to him, who is literally the best swordsman in The Myre, and has known privilege due to his high rank.

---

Apollyon:

Just watch this, draw your own conclusions, and examine the things she says: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34nTMbV-lrE

Lore-Related Tidbits:

-In Mission 1.3 - The Blackstone Legion, there is an Observable wherein Apollyon refers to the fact that punishments like "The Cage" (when a criminal is put in a suspended metal cage and left to starve) were long-since outlawed in The West. But, that, "here in Ashfeld", such regulations are much less stringent. What does this tell us? Well, during The Cataclysm, the area in which the Roman Dynasty lived was transformed into a desert. So, it would stand to reason that the descendants of this Dynasty had to expand their civilization east and southeast, into modern Ashfeld. Due to the existence of the Eitriunten lake, life was able to thrive in the region. Also, the position of Mount Rust, and it's near-constant lava-flow, would provide a lot of nutrients for the nearby land. The result: lots of fertile land to farm in and around the Blackstone, Ignis, and Westhold regions. Thus: lots of opportunity for the trading and transport business.
So... what exactly is The West doing while the knights of Ashfeld are having to beat the other factions out of their territory? Well... it may be a sort of situation where there's a bit of a cultural and/or situational disconnect between the Knights living in Ashfeld and the Knights living in the area to the West of Ashfeld. The West could possibly be the bureaucratic, unscathed section of the Knight's civilization; where their food and water is provided to them by the peasants living in Ashfeld. That's probably part of the reason why there have to be Sanctuaries and fortresses in Ashfeld- for warriors to protect the farmers. I would wager that The West is where the Gladiators reside. Apollyon once refers to "the Royals". And the "Iron Commanders". Might The West also be where they reside?

-After Mount Ignis erupted, and the vikings started raiding Ashfeld, they would start to establish permanent residents in Ashfeld. Which would then be eradicated by the Blackstone Legion.

-The Legions of Ashfeld have a cultural habit of decorating their gates and doorways with statues and depictions of Wardens. Apollyon claims that to do so is a show of hypocrisy, and that the oaths of a Warden run much deeper than what any common Legion soldier can live up to.

-Almost every fortress built in Ashfeld was first built early on in The Millennium of Bloodshed, and ever since, subsequent generations have been constantly building new castles and Sanctuaries on top of the old. "Children playing at empire".

-Many of the machines of warfare (such as the battering rams and ballistas) that the Legions of Ashfeld use are of ancient designs- techniques handed down through the generations which modern Knights have lost the technical theory for- even in academic circles. Still- they know how to be the things and they work just fine.

-The seven leaders of the Blackstone Legion, after Apollyon took the title of Warlord for the final time, took demon names. Apollyon's name means "destroyer". Holden Cross's demon name is "Asmodai". Though, nearing The Apollyon Period, he preferred to go by his original designation. They did this as a warning to others and a reminder to themselves. That they are strong and must be sure of what they choose to do with that strength.

-The Knights living in Ashfeld, technically, all follow the same god. Apollyon, though, claims to have sat in their services and listened to their hymns- and has only determined that the many Legions of Ashfeld do not agree on the teachings of their deity and that most followers do not even live up to the ideals of said deity.
Many would think that this runs in contradiction to when she describes the various deities of the factions. How the vikings worship gods of Wood, Storms, and Stone. The Samurai worship gods of Fire, Wind, and Thought. The Knight's gods are of Iron, Steel, and Gold. But... each faction also believes in a God of Power- it being the only deity that all three cultures agree on. I would wager that the Knights in The West worship gods of Iron, Steel, Gold, and Power, while the Knights in Ashfeld only follow one of said deities. Which one is up for debate.

-The Vikings worship a god called "Fenris". Basically "Fenrir". I suspect that they worship the same gods as in Norse mythology, but each one is, in addition to it's existing spheres, also associated with, either "Stone, Wood, and Storms".

-Valkenheim's valleys are filled with horns, drums, and signals fires. Anything that comes into Valkenheim will never go unnoticed.

-The Legions of Ashfeld have always had better technology than the Viking Clans. The Samurai's contraptions, however, make the Knights siege engines look like toys by comparison.

-Each Viking Clan has it's own customs and members of each will often make offerings to their gods for certain boons. Strength in war, for example.

-There is a Viking joke about a fish and an archer.

-The Viking Clans have always warred with each other much more than they've fought with either of their neighbors. There have only ever been two occasions in which the Viking Clans have united. The first time was when they decided to pack their collective belongings and migrate across the sea. The second was when they started raiding Ashfeld upon Mount Rust's eruption.

-Vikings record the exploits of their greatest heroes in stone. The runes remind them of the debt of glory that must be paid to enter Valhalla. To die in battle is one thing, to die a legend is another. The more glory a Viking earns, the greater their legend when they are gone. Unlike other cultures, their gods require them to share that glory with the rest of their respective Clans and family.

-Through example, the Legions of Ashfeld accidentally taught the Vikings the art of siege warfare.

-There are many Viking fables about why they decorate their ships with depictions of monsters.

-During and after The Cataclysm, the Dawn Empire were forced to exodus from their homeland by way of ship. Possibly a similar situation to the Redgaurds and their homeland of Yokuda from The Elder Scrolls series. They encountered many different cultures in their search for a new home, and would not be as dangerous as they are without having learned from such peoples.

-The Myre, the vast swamp in which the Samurai live, serves as a natural barrier and shield for their cities. The Samurai of the Dawn Empire have lived there for long enough that they've learned how to navigate it safely. Others would not be so fortunate, and would probably be swallowed by the swampland before even getting a clue. It is a dreadful place for an (invading) army. It can swallow up an entire force without a trace- it's paths shift and change constantly with the ocean's tide. Boats are no safer when the defenders of The Myre have hidden catapults and fire arrows.

-The control and defense of The Myre is split among the many Daimyo Houses. Their defensive vary in quality, but none of their defenders lack in skill.

-The first, second, and third scout groups that the Warborn Clans sent into The Myre during the Great Raid never returned.

-The Daimyo Houses of the Dawn Empire fight among themselves almost as much as the Viking Clans fight each other. They would claim to be at peace, yet fight so many battle with each other every year.

-Decades before 0 years B.A.D - possibly between the eruption of Mount Rust, and the last time that the Knights entered Valkenheim at 40 years B.A.D - the Vikings once sailed a fleet into The Myre at high tide. By nightfall, no Viking stood in Samurai lands. It was something they would not forget.

-Approximately 1000 years B.A.D, The Myre was little more than an ocean- a part of the Austramar bay. Along it's shore, the Knights of Ashfeld had cities, there. Sometime between then and 600 years B.A.D, the sea-level retreated, and The Myre was transformed into a tropical jungle-swamp.

-To the Samurai: taking a person prisoner after a battle is to disrespect / dishonor them. To the Knights: it is a show of mercy. To the Vikings: it means to make them your slave.

-When their homeland was ravaged by The Cataclysm, their Emperor failed to escape the destruction. The next Emperor - "The First of the New Emperors" - who took control as their homeland was destroyed, is believed by some to be inherently false.

-The Samurai, as a culture, swear loyalty first to their respective Daimyos, and then to the Emperor and his family- they revere unity and honor.

-When the Dawn Empire arrived in The Myre, they had brought various animals and plants from their homeland their. They knew that their previous home was gone, and sought to remake it.

-The city of Koto is built upon a high mesa, which was the only part of The Myre that remained above-water. Koto was built on the remains of a Knight city. And that Knight city was built on the ashes of another, older civilization's fortress. A civilization which is nowhere to be found.

-The Imperial Palace was added to the city of Koto by the Second of the New Emperor's. A stroke of indulgence.

-The Seventh New Emperor of the Dawn Empire had a river diverted to pass through the Imperial Palace. It was used to carry away waste, irrigate their cliff gardens, and automate machinery.

-When the Samurai arrived on the continent, they were forced to live in the places that others wouldn't. In the fens and wastelands. All the better. That way, they had to tame the various dangers of the wilds and use it for their own purposes.

-Every attempt to build permanent structures in The Myre, other than on top of the mesa which city of Koto rests on, has resulted in disaster.

-The Dawn Empire is vast. Any untamed lands the Knights abandoned, any secluded region the Vikings could not reach: there, you will find Samurai.

-Just in the twenty years that Apollyon rose up among the Blackstones, The Myre experienced seven separate civil wars among the Samurai's Houses.

-Due to their extremely small population, the Samurai are under constant threat of extinction.

-The city of Koto is one of the most secure fortresses on the continent. It has been destroyed twice by fire and six times by civil war. Never by outside invaders. The Blackstone fortress could not withstand a siege for a tenth of the time that Koto could.

-The Dawn Empire's capital wasn't always in the Imperial Palace at Koto. It used to be far to the east- where the Emperor would live. For some unknown reason, one of the New Emperor's moved the capital to Koto.

-The Tenth New Emperor was a brutal warmonger.

-In the four years between the sacking of Sverngård and the death of Apollyon: much of the citizens in Ashfeld's wilds took residence in the Blackstone Fortress; the crumbling castles and ruins surround the Blackstone Fortress were constantly being fought over by highwaymen, thugs, and, criminals- which Apollyon allowed for, because each gang of criminals provided more soldiers for her Legion; the Iron Commanders whom lived in The West continued to send the Blackstone Legion reinforcements; and the Blackstone Legion had been putting down several rebellions from within- instituting martial law.

-The old cathedral in the plains to the east of the Blackstone Fortress, in the region of Aemilianus, was once part of a larger city. Most of it is gone, sunken into the earth.

-By the time the Blackstone Fortress was assaulted by the Dawn Empire's army and the recreated Iron Legion's forces: Viking looters were awash in all the lands; the new Iron Legion was already in a civil war against the Blackstone Legion; the Samurai's armies had been striking at it for weeks before cracking it open; and Apollyon had al of the escape passages blocked off.

-The Blackstone Fortress was taken from a petty Lord, one who called himself a "Noble", despite not living anywhere near The West. Apollyon seized the fortress from him. It is a castle, built on a castle, built on a castle, and so on- in an area called "The Shard". The Fortress has been the property of many Legions in the past.

Heroes:
The Heroes are warriors of legendary stature and status. Fighters with strength and skill of damn-near super-human levels. On the same tier as Gilgamesh, William Marshal, or Melankomas of Caria. On the small end, they're always at least six feet tall- nine feet on the large side. The Heroes are anything but "average". there are two types. The Disciplined, and the Storied. Disciplined Heroes are those who became what they are through specialized training by a specific group in each society. The Storied are those that were not trained in any particular fashion, but whom fit the description of their respective title, and gained fame through their exploits.

Wardens - Disciplined:
Their order, according to Holden, had long fallen into dust by the time The Degradation came around. I can only assume that, by "dust", he means, "degraded". The Wardens are still around, and are still being trained. So, their order is still taking recruits. Though, their actual quality of training may be a bit less reliable than it was back during TMB. And their grandeur. And their general power / scope / reach.
The Wardens, by all accounts, are taught to fight for what is right. To follow a strict set of rules, and traditions. They are the sight for sore eyes that anyone would be happy to see at a dark hour. The paragons of strength and morality that all should aspire to be. Chivalrous. Dutiful. But they're not blindly-loyal pawns. The lord Warden once says, "Being a skeptic is a death sentence, but doubt is a part of integrity". A Warden is obedient to his/her Warlord and Legion, but won't hesitate to speak out and act against what he/she perceives to be wrong. Or... at least, this is what they try to be.

Conquerors - Storied:
The Knights of Ashfeld, in recent years throughout The Degradation, have been forced to fill up their ranks with conscripted criminals. Conquerors, are conscripted criminals who just so happen to be really good at fighting, and just so happen to use a shield and flail. And happen to be seven feet tall...

Peacekeepers - Disciplined:
What they know can destroy legends or create them. The silent blade keeps the peace, and when wars rage, a Peacekeeper's work is never done. They are the Knight's assassins, spies, secret agents, and secret police. Selected from the desperate, the humbled, or the devoted. And sworn to secrecy by unbreakable oaths. Their job? To maintain peace between each Legion as much as possible, and to serve their respective Legions when at war with outside civilizations. When wars between Legions do happen, I suspect that a Peacekeeper would essentially serve as a double-agent. Serving their Legion, while working with their fellow Peacekeepers from various other Legions to end the conflict as quickly as possible. Where do they get their recruits? Most likely: the homeless, the poor, the legally condemned... or simply anyone who tries hard enough. Obviously, their intervention was, either, ineffectual, or outright countered when Apollyon's Blackstones started devouring Ashfeld and subsuming every Legion there ever was.

Lawbringers - Disciplined:
Judge, Jury, and Executioner. Judge Dredd with a Poleaxe. They know the Knight's laws like the backs of their hands. When a Lawbringer joins their order, they become exempt from their loyalty to their home Legion. They typically operate alone, and will seek out areas where lawful control over the populous has broken down. Where cruelty and criminals rule. What with Ashfeld being so separated from The West, it's only logical that the Knight's government would routinely release "Walking Court-Martials" into the comparatively rural Ashfeld. Got to keep the law, somehow.
If one ever encounters a Lawbringer, it is almost always bad news. Because, if a Lawbringer has come to an area near you, it probably means that you've got bandit gangs or criminal syndicates infesting your village and/or city. Good news is: as long as you yourself aren't the criminal, you'll be fine.

I suspect that Lawbringers possess some amount of autonomy. The ability to serve, assist, target, or shake down anyone of any Legion. They are the law, after all. "Iudex, Judico, et Carnifex". And no one is above the law. "Ego sum Lex". Not even the Warlord of the most powerful Legion in Ashfeld. "Accinctus enim Iudicium".

I'd wager that Ashfeld's Lawbringers are trained in whatever counts as "the capital city", out in The West. Their order is probably centered there. I'd also wager that the Peacekeeper's order is much the same. I wouldn't be surprised if the Lawbringers and Peacekeepers, typically, work in close conjunction to each other. Peacekeepers serving as intelligence agents, and Lawbringers serving as uncompromising dealers of justice.

All of this changed when Apollyon showed up, most likely.

Centurions - Storied:
The Centurions, since the end of the Pre-Cataclysm Era, have gone underground. For more than two thousand years (something like that), they remained hidden, whether by accident or on purpose, is unclear. The modern Knights of Ashfeld, The West, and The Southern Deserts remembered them, to be sure. Knew that their glorious dynasty was their ancestor. Yet, everyone believed the Centurions to be dead and gone.
When the Age of Wolves began, however, the Centurions reappeared. Whether by accident, or by choice is unknown. But, regardless, they came out of the woodwork and have joined their kin, the Knights of Ashfeld, in the war.

Gladiators - Storied:
The first few sentences describe arena combat. I can only assume that it's mostly similar to real-world Romans, since there isn't anything else quite like it to draw on. How a Gladiator's ultimate fate would be up to (primarily) the crowd. How Gladiators are entertainers, first, and trained killers, second. Gladiator fights rarely result in the death of an opponent, and having to constantly retrain new fighters after every bout would be expensive. Gladiators were also, mostly, slaves (the romans didn't discriminate based on race- their slaves were almost always, either, war prisoners from conquest, or orphans kidnapped off the street. Sometimes not even orphans- a slave trader might simply just kidnap a few kids) who, if they won enough fights, would be granted freedom.

There was one gladiator, named "Flamma", who was a Syrian war-prisoner who fought in the arena so much (for 13 years) that he earned the Wooden Sword on four different occasions- the key to his freedom.
But he never took the opportunity, and instead chose to continue fighting. Until he died of old age.
Of course, there's a weapon skin in the game named "Flamma". So... there you go.

Holden says that the "thrill of the fight has waned". And asks himself how these Gladiators would fare on a proper battlefield. The way he phrases that makes me think that Gladiator fights are, probably, commonplace in modern Ashfeld- even during the Seven-Year-War. The Iron Legion culture must have inherited Gladiator fights from the Centurion's dynasty.
Holden says that the Gladiators have "risen the ranks of fighters and have run out of challengers (what does he mean by "ran out"? Are there literally not enough fighters, anymore, or are these specific Gladiators simply deemed to skilled to fight in the arena? Gladiators are on the level of other Hero classes, so maybe it would be like fighting one of the Grunts/Captains from Skirmish or Dominion).... it is now time for Gladiators to fight for something greater than themselves".

So, what does this tell us? Well, the Iron Legion, in the Seven-Year War, is officially pulling out all the stops, and sending blood-sport entertainers into the battlefield. I suspect that the intensity of the Faction War will only increase, before it eases up.

But... all of this raises the question. Where did these Gladiators come from? The Iron Legion doesn't ever reference having slaves (they obviously understand the concept, as Apollyon refers to how, in Viking society: to be taken prisoner, is to become your captor's slave. Whereas, in Iron Legion culture, to be taken prisoner is seen as a mercy. For the Samurai, it's a display of disrespect / dishonor). The Conquerors are simply referred to as "conscripted criminals". And in the Gladiator trailer, they are never referred to as slaves, criminals, or POWs. So... I guess they're just professional fighters by choice.

---

Raiders - Storied:
The Raiders embody Viking ideals to a tee. Freedom. Fearlessness. A thirst for battle. And a pride for one's Clan and people.

Warlords - Storied:
Buff blokes who use a sword and shield. To be a Warlord is to be of service to all who need it: for life. To be a Warlord is a name that is earned- for a leader who doesn't charge in with the frontline is no leader at all.

Berserkers - Disciplined:
The Berserkers are a mysterious group. If an individual is chosen or gets taken by Berserkers in the wilds of Valkenheim, that person will have to learn to survive in the harshest of conditions the way that the Berserkers do. Away from the safety of walls, and villages, and numbers.
Regardless of the circumstance, when a warrior returns from being lost int he wilds of Valkenheim, he/she is always forever changed into a Berserker. For, if they survived the wilds, then there is no other thing they could be. When you live in solitary in Valkenheim's secluded wild lands, you either become food for crows, or you learn to be a Berserker. Survival by any means necessary.

Valkyries - Disciplined:
Warrior Priestesses. Trained religious officials, whom's job it is to secure the ultimate paradise, Valhalla, for those whom they deem deserve it. For those who never had the chance to earn glory through dying in battle. There are other paradises, of course- other paths for one to take. But Valhalla is the best kind of afterlife. The highest reward. A Valkyrie's job, ultimately, is never finished. Not only does she have to earn glory for herself, and for all of those whom she wishes to bring to Valhalla with her when she dies: but the very act of taking on the glory-burdens of others requires an ever-higher blood price of glory in battle.
They are your salvation, should you not have earned it yourself.

Highlanders - Storied:
One of the first things said about them is: "Ancient alliances have kept their land safe, but their oaths have come due. They join our war out of obligation.". So... right off the bat- confirmation of the Highlanders being mercenaries.

I have a hunch that it happened somewhat like this... back in The Millennium of Bloodshed, the Viking Clans united and left Valkenheim across the sea? Well, what do you think the Vikings did during that time?

Meaning... perhaps the Viking Clans tried to invade and pillage the Highlander's territory? I assume that the Highlanders come from, either north of Valkenheim, or on an island off of Valkenheim's coast. Perhaps, the Vikings weren't quite able to manage taking the Highlanders down. Anything that can stand up to the might of all of Valkenheim's children would definitely have to be formidable, especially if that population is small enough to go unnoticed by the other three Factions (Knight, Samurai, and Shinobi. I'm not including the Centurions, because it's not entirely clear if they actually have a full-blown civilization buried in the wilds of Ashfeld. Or just a few, untouched farming communities. Or maybe a single city-state).

So... recognizing of their battle prowess... what if the Vikings struck a deal with these Highlanders as... insurance? So, in exchange for keeping the Highlander's society hidden and safe from the outside world, the Highlanders (among a few other things, presumably) would have to sign a defensive pact with the totality of the Viking Clans. Remember, at the time, all the Viking Clans were united. Separate, but united.

Of course, in The Degradation, raiding Ashfeld didn't blow up in their faces. At first- for a few decades. Then, Apollyon showed up, revamped the Iron Legion's military with her Blackstones, kicked Valkenheim's door in, and incited war amongst the Viking Clans.

Stigandr (or it may be a different voice actor, not sure) says one last thing which caught my attention. "The elements battering their lands have made them strong. War has made them deadly". So... the Highlanders have gotten into a few wars of their own? With... other civilizations not including the Iron Legion, Viking Clans, Dawn Empire, Shinobi Enclaves, or the Centurions?

...

Well, then.

In any case, I wouldn't be surprised if the Highlanders have strong nautical roots, given their exclusive Symbols of jellyfish, and other aquatic creatures.

---

Kensei - Disciplined:
They are generals. Trained, professional battlefield generals. Whether serving their Daimyo, or serving as the Daimyo, they provide battlefield tactics and strategy for their respective Houses.
Every great leader since The Cataclysm, and the Samurai's exodus from their homeland, has been trained to be a Kensei. A Sword-Saint. Such training requires extreme strength and skill to properly use a Nodachi. Of course, just because the leader is trained as a Kensei, doesn't mean they actually fight like one. We can assume that most Daimyos and the Emperor have been trained in strategy and Nodachi use, but may still be Nobushis, or Orochis. Shugoki are probably exempt from this. They are, typically, trained from infancy to fight and die for their House and Emperor. Groomed for the role.

Shugoki - Disciplined:
The Shugoki, at one point, were of a different people than the Samurai. By the time The Cataclysm, and Exodus came around, however they served as guardians to the Dawn Empire. When The Cataclysm hit, they became as family to the Samurai- an irreplaceable caste of warriors. A vital sect of fighters. The amount of training and grooming and willpower that it takes to become a full-fledged Shugoki is staggering. Only the tallest and strongest are selected in adolescence. And after that, the training regimen for the next ten years is grueling. Strength of a demon, and unbreakable will. The life of a Shugoki is one of sacrifice and service to one's House. It requires you to put everyone around you first. None of these is a problem for Shugoki who pass their trials.
Real-life Shugoki were just as formidable. If I've heard correctly, only two ever died on the battlefield. And both occasions were when fighting against other Shugoki.

Orochi - Storied:
The Orochi are elite swordsmen who have become so good at using the katana, that they no longer need any other equipment. Allegedly the finest warriors the world has ever known. What separates an experienced katana-wielder from an Orochi, is that the Orochi has borrowed techniques and some kunai from ancient ninja texts. They probably all are emulating one specific historical figure who used ninja tech and form with a sword.

Nobushi - Storied:
They're the citizen militia / police force for their respective Houses. They protect the wilds and rural territories of their Houses, backwater villages and various hamlets, both from bandits and criminals, and from other Houses. A bunch of country bumpkins who have gotten really good at what they do. So much so, to the point that their respective Houses may or may not call upon them to serve in official military matters. Like a cop or P.I who somehow manages to get recruited by the FBI or CIA for his skills. Or a CIA / FBI agent who gets recruited into the formal military. I suspect that their tradition of wearing masks is a similar function to how executioners in medieval times would wear hoods. No one wants to be friends with an executioner- just as a Nobushi who apprehends or kills a criminal doesn't want them or their friends to come after his/her family. They do their work in the rural villages of their House, after all. Small community.

Shinobi - Storied:
The first sentence uttered about them is that they are a "secret society", suggesting that the Shinobi clans all live in some far-away offshoot of the Dawn Empire proper, and that the Shinobi have their own, self-sufficient population. They are stated to have been, largely, a legend or myth, and that the Chosen were not even sure if they existed in the first place. However, the Shinobi weapon (the kasurigama) "... echoes through our past and proves they are from our blood". "We now know that they are always close... ", meaning that the Shinobi Clans must have been spying on the Dawn Empire society and using it as a medium to the outside world. "They have entered this war and won't leave until their job is done".

Factions:

Roman Dynasty:
The glorious dynasty from which the modern Knight Legions descend. Lead by Centurions.

Nordic Empire:
The precursor to the modern Viking Clans.

The Legions of Ashfeld:
There are many Legions in Ashfeld. Each one is an independent army that serves to protect and rule over a specific area- usually around their largest fortress or Sanctuary. The many Legions of Ashfeld, if referred to in third person, would often simply be called "The Iron Legion", collectively- named so after the strongest and most powerful Legion in the land. Conflicts between various Legions are not uncommon, but are not a monthly occurrence, either. Should a conflict arise, it would almost always end in, either, a surrender, one Legion being defeated and subsumed by the other, or a stalemate.
Each Legion has it's own Circle- a group of highly ranked individuals who serve as advisors for the Legion in question's Warlord- it's leader. The Regal Legion had the Regal Circle, and the Blackstone Legion had the Blackstone Circle.

The Iron Legion:
The New Iron Legion was created when Apollyon, after uniting all of Ashfeld under Blackstone might, incited rebellion within her own territory. This rebellion took the form of the future Lord Warden, Holden Cross, the Peacekeeper, Mercy, and the renowned Conqueror, Commander Stone, all casting off their Blackstone yoke and recreating the Iron Legion. A tribute to the former Iron Legion which used to be the strongest Legion in Ashfeld, before and mostly during The Degradation. The old Iron Legion was subsumed by the Blackstone Legion. When the Blackstone Fortress was sacked, and claimed by the New Iron Legion, all of Ashfeld fell under it's banner.

Shinobi Enclave:
The secret society which exists to train spies, assassins, and stealth operators for the benefit of the Dawn Empire. They live separately, and require no recruitment. Their existence is (most likely) only known to the Emperor or Empress him/herself.

Viking Clans:
Each Viking Clan is a formation of various families and groups who have come together through shared cultural and social traditions. Each Clan is lead by a single Jarl. During the Millennium of Bloodshed, there were Lords instead of Jarls. Disputes and civil wars between various Clans are rather par for the course, when it comes to the Vikings. Alliances between different Clans are common, but are just as commonly broken.
When it comes to warfare: every individual is trained to fight. Every. Single. One. From childhood. For Valhalla, and such.

Warborn Viking Clans:
Clans never do truly "join" each other. You either slaughter or enslave another clan, let it live on on it's own, or dominate it, and make it a Vassal Clan. "The Warborn Clans" is basically shorthand for saying "All of the Viking Clans whom are unable to beat the Warborn Clan in combat".
As such, when the Legendary Raider united all of the Viking Clans under the Warborn's banner, they had effectively created a single fighting force out of Valkenheim's children, without sacrificing any of it's cultural diversity, or killing off huge swathes of people.

The Dawn Empire:
This Empire is vast, truly. The Myre is not the only places that it has dominion over. Simply the biggest. When they fled from their doomed homeland, every Emperor would be called a "New Emperor". There have been at least fourteen New Emperors since the Cataclysm. Probably more.
There has always been many Daimyo. Leaders of powerful political and cultural groups, called Houses. Each Daimyo is subservient to the Emperor. And each House competes with all the others, in order to have the next Emperor be of their own kin.
They war with each other, these Houses- despite how all of them claim to value unity and honor. They do. They just have a long list of caveats to go with it.

The Chosen:
Ayu's House. The combined Samurai forces by the time the Age of Wolves began. With her being the only commanding Daimyo in The Myre, by the time the Samurai marched to the Blackstone Fortress, she is, presumably, Empress. Seijuro's House is all but gone. And all the others would have had no choice but to adhere to Ayu's rule. Presumably, her House was called "The Chosen", before Apollyon ever came on the scene.

The Highlander Stronghold:
A people who (presumably) live on a single mountainous island chain. Their prowess in battle let them fend off the combined might of the Vikings.

Veldaz
09-03-2018, 01:58 PM
I'm getting a little tired of seeing Mercy be labelled as a psychopath. I know what it's like to be a monster and Mercy is anything but that.

For a start she talks to "herself" for the same reason EVERYONE ELSE IN THE GAME DOES SO. So there goes that logic for a start. It's called getting the players immersed into the characters based on what they say about themselves or their surroundings. A LOT of games do this. I simply refuse to have this of all things be a factor to why someone is a psychopath when so many other games do it. Especially when you ALSO complain about when she DOESN'T talk. Seriously, how do you win? Because then we'd have to say that every other game that does this has the players as a psychopath. Furthermore labelling someone as anything at all is YOUR perception and may NOT be the same as THEIR perception. What you might consider to be a psycopath might be another persons sanity and how they remain safe with peace of mind not putting others in danger. And Mercy shows EVERY indication of this. For reasons I'm about to get into.

Let's start with a few quotes of hers. "Doubt is death and death is doubt". Now let's think about this one for a moment. Doubt on the battlefield can be like hesitation. Doubt can indeed be a major factor into why YOU die and why OTHERS die. So in this light it's the opposite of what a psychopath is about. That covers "doubt is death". Which leaves "death is doubt". This simply means that it can be death to doubt others. This brings into the concept of trust for a start (and I argue Mercy herself seems to value trust since she comments on stone. It doesn't need to be talked about heavily and in detail) but in this case I think it has more to do with Apollyon being intimidating. I would not put it past her to have killed people that questioned her. We also see deserters being executed by her own hand of all things. So a reminder to yourself keeps yourself safe. Which is likely done on a subconscious level then a more conscious one. And to preempt subconscious actions being used for psychopath nonsense I am stating point blank that a majority of people in general do things without even thinking. In all honestly I actually consider "most people" to be a bigger danger due to this due to not being aware of their own actions at times but that's another topic. Suffice to say "live and teach". Among "live and learn". But I digress.

The next phrase is "Service is life, life is service". Now excuse me but this sounds like a phrase muttered by a common every day simple soldier. I'm not even going to go beyond that where this phrase is concerned. I find the notion of service to anything for the sake if it alone foolish myself. Have there be a REASON. Reasons like the warden states, which gives Mercy a wake up call to join him (in this case fighting for peace or something. Not the best plot hook but it counts). Granted it can be harmful when people lose sight of that but every day people lose sight of that. End of argument on that account. Either you're calling a large number of real life soldiers psychopaths if this is your argument or Mercy is just as human as the rest of us.

Now for her silence. She's silent to stay ALIVE. You do realise that, right? She makes it a habit in everything she does. Because if she makes a mistake on the battlefield then that's it. She can end up getting sliced, axed, speared... It's called being consistent. With some things the best way to guarantee the best results is to put that thing behind EVERYTHING that you do. Everything that defines who you are. She is also silent to be OBSERVANT. To make carefully calculated moves. And being silent by nature doesn't have to translate to wanting the worst of everyone around you. It simply means she's quiet by nature. And she has her reasons for it. That's it. You're only seeing what you want to see if you use psychopath as as excuse for it. Jack the Ripper from Metal Gear Rising is a psychopath (and one I can relate too at that). Mercy is anything but. Perhaps once in the past of which we do not see in the game (could make for some good lore), but at the state that is shown in the game she is not. I imagine having reasons to be a killer in the first place will get to you. But keep in mind this would be PAST events. Not present. Mercy may well have conquered her inner demons, so to speak, or she may not have. Due to her behaviour in the game though and how calm she seems it seems to indicate she's overcome any past demons. It's never really stated one way or the other. Having experience with overcoming "inner demons" among being silent at times myself (yea, I know, it totally contradicts the whole typing walls thing) it indicates Mercy hasn't shown any "mental conflict". She's a thinker but not an over thinker. Nothing seems to be weighing heavily on her mind. Even when the warden gave her a wake up call it didn't take long to do something. She took quick and decisive action (it isn't shown that way but had she done it ASAP on the spot she'd likely be fighting the whole iron legion in the burning village. That... would actually make an interesting secret none cannon mission thinking about it).

Now for the emotional detachment from the dead soldiers on the battlefield. For a start I could easily chalk this down to simple plot oversight. It's no secret that for Honor doesn't have the strongest story. Most other missions have allied soldiers as well. So, from a dev standpoint it makes you think "They need to be commented on". When you make a mission without allied backup and just toss in a few dead bodies chances are you can overlook it. Again, a LOT of games do this. So let's get that crystal clear before anything else. It happens. But for the sake of argument let's say that Mercy is indeed detached from the dead bodies on the battlefield. There's two factors at play here. 1: We're talking about an army that fights as a way of life. They WILL have people dying in their own army. See enough of it and you just get used to it. In some ways it can even be an honor (like with the vikings). Mercy is a veteran with years of service under her belt. Start commenting at every dead body you come across and you'll start DOUBTING yourself. Which conflicts SERVICE. Get it now? Furthermore if you start thinking like that on the battlefield it's going to put not only you in danger but also the people you are fighting for. It can make you pause which can puts lives in danger (not in this current mission but it circles back to habits). It doesn't mean you don't care. Mercy is fighting for a reason after all. It simply means you're remaining focused on the task at hand and are looking ahead at the bigger picture. I am also personally of the mind that not caring about strangers is a good thing, be they alive or dead. I feel nothing for a stranger. For they are a stranger that has yet to actually be there for me or make any effort to do so, unless they happen to be someone that is known to someone I already know (by this logic it's transit of property of "their happiness", somewhat obligation me to look after others that are known to me). Now if it was someone I personally knew and cared about then I'm sure even Mercy would stop and shed a tear. As would I. But this isn't the case here. They're "just another dead soldier". Yea, it sounds cruel and uncaring. But that's the simple fact of the matter and there's no sugarcoating it. Call it psychopathic if you want but a stranger is a stranger and I can't go bleeding my heart out for every single one. And just as importantly neither can Mercy. Maybe the game is trying to drive in the "silent point". But honestly, I think it's just simple plot oversight.

Of course if I was on a battlefield it would likely turn even my stomach to see what Mercy does AT FIRST. Things always take getting used too. But after you get so much experience you get used to it. You just end up seeing it over and over and over and then it stops affecting you in such negative ways. You have to look at it from the point of view from an elite veteran with years, potentially even decades of experience. And any good elite vet is silent on the battlefield for a good reason. It's not the same as the every day person. And it has to be looked at from the perception of where violence is the norm when it comes to the iron legion (since it's kind of their thing). Which is something Mercy ends up opposing by the way. Which totally conflicts with a psychopath that would want to see the world burn. You're going against your very "way of life" here too. Which in its own is somewhat psychopathic since you end up "fighting yourself", not to mention so many other people you fought alongside with. But let's just ditch the labels which can be used as excuses and focus on the core reasons.

At most Mercy has been conflicted about what to do. Which is to be expected considering that the iron legion is one massive army and Mercy is but a single person. She's a killer. She kills. It's what she does. It's how she lives. But what else has she got going for her? So what can she do other then go with the flow? Then the warden shows up and change happens. Maybe she's the same person after, maybe not. We never see. Call her what you will but I call this being human and operating withing normal social boundaries considering the environment she is in. Mercy is, for all intensive purposes, behaving in a very "normal" manner. She is someone that grew up being quiet and is content with that. And it doesn't put others in danger in and of itself. If anything it's the reverse. She prefers it. It doesn't make her an evil person that wants only the worst of the world. It is very different then isolating yourself altogether and hiding away because you hate the world or think only the worst of yourself. In all likelihood it's quite possible Mercy even considers that being quiet is the better approach in terms of keeping herself and others safe. Nor has she ever tried to speak or decide for others (giving credit to her silent nature), a mistake MANY people make of which she has not (unless I missed it). So I consider her SAFER then a number of most other people. Certainty safer then a normal every day person that would make the mistake of trying to decide for you as if it's their choice and not yours. Apollyon talks a bit more but she goes "That's just nature" (a clear excuse to not try to change things. I'm currently thinking of Megaman 6 where the phrase "Of my own will" is uttered to counter argue the destiny argument) or otherwise uses "should" logic as if it's a blatant fact for all. In other words she decides for others. On the flip side people that want "only peace" are also trying to decide for people like Apollyon. Which is bound to cause conflict and violence since there's no compromise (there is a middle ground between the two but it's somewhat technical). Somehow Mercy avoids this trap altogether. So I argue she's the smarter and apparently saner one out of the lot. Baring the moment she got called into question by the warden and decided enough was enough and decided to do something about Apollyon. Any true psychopath would have stuck with Apollyon or otherwise got out of dodge altogether.

Who knows. Maybe Mercy ended up caring about the warden and no one else. Whatever the reasons she's no psychopath. She is quiet but this is only because she is CALM and CALCULATED. Even a professional shrink can come across as a psychopath because they do nothing but listen and remain aware of the situation around them at all times. Can doing that get to you? At first, yes. Do you get used to it and keep yourself and others safe despite appearing a bit odd? Very much so. So you can imagine how offended I am when someone like Mercy is called a psychopath when I've seen people far far worse who actually ARE violent and have stopped caring about anything altogether. Mercy fights for something. She still cares. It might not be "appropriate to most others" she's fighting for something that, at first, she seems to believe in. Then she gets called into question and examines herself. Like any other sane and rational person would do.

Now compare that to Raiden from Metal Gear Rising slicing limbs off and going nuts once he stops deluding himself. Compared to that Mercy is a tame pussycat. She kills without emotion but it's only because she's an assassin that can't afford to feel compassion for her enemies. Would get in the way of what she does. Even 47 from the Hitman games is more psychopathic then her. For one thing he's not even killing on a battlefield and he does it more for money (technically killing is the only thing he knows how to do and it gives him a purpose)..

Anyway, starting to get off topic. But that's my stance where Mercy is concerned. Calm. Calculated. and in control. Baring events that can not be controlled or are otherwise very difficult too (seriously, it takes balls to do what the warden did). Honestly, if people look at you "like a freak" then it will drive anyone into being silent because they get sick of that ****. So maybe being seen that way is the problem to begin with when nothing is wrong with you at all. Get her a drink by a campfire without judging and maybe Mercy would open up more. The quiet types tend to do that once you ditch the whole "I know all about you" nonsense. Granted sometimes we do know when someone is deluding themselves but people get sick of being seen that way. If anything will make someone psychopathic it's that.

And again, Mercy clearly values the concept of trust (her comment about Stone). Compare this to someone that does not. who sees only the worst of the world. I don't care if you talk a lot or are a mute. If you got major trust issues to the degree where you stop even considering the possibility then I consider you a whopping big danger. This is why I am of the mind that Mercy is of sound body and mind. She's careful, can actually gets others to crack jokes at a campfire (we even see it in a cutscene) and she seems... content? She shows happiness differently then others. It's a good thing in some ways. People that are "only happy" tend to be the ones with mental problems. She's a realist. But also someone that will try to make change happen. Unlike Apollyon, or indeed a more normal person who Simpy "accepts defeat". As if that ever got results. It's also worth noting that mental issues are on the rise and therefor what is "socially normal" may indeed be what is actually harmful. Probably has something to do with the whole deciding for others thing.which fuels prejudice. Social norms can do that. So be very careful about the assumptions you make. Today it's just a video game character. Tomorrow it could be a snap judgement with a real living breathing person which might negatively affect their mental well being because of your negative perception of them when they're actually fine and can be trusted but you fear the worst easily. If it's a habit with this none real person then I fear how a real person who is silent can be viewed. Even if I don't care for a stranger there's still the possibility someone I know and do care about gets seen that way. Or otherwise someone I will know. Whatever the case put yourself in that position. Where you're "a bit odd and seen the worst of".

TheLastLinkachu
07-30-2019, 05:29 AM
"And that Knight city was built on the ashes of another, older civilization's fortress. A civilization which is nowhere to be found."
This 'lost civilization' is likely the semi-newly-introduced Wu Lin. I know next to nothing about the Wu Lin faction right now, and I suspect this is the case with most.