From Drakengard 3 Official Japanese Website
Translation by kho-dazat
One - Visitors
January 1st, 999 A.D.
On this, the first day of the new year, the faces of all the people within the Cathedral Capital were filled with joy. With my keen eyesight, I could tell that every last smile was a genuine one. Yes… I could see clearly the sparkle in their eyes, the laughter pouring from their lips… not a single person wore a troubled or forced expression.
Why should they? The scourge of the tyrants lord had been eliminated, the nobility that fostered them dismantled. The people had at last been released from their torment. How long they had prayed for this day to come!
The only person struggling not to frown was me. It was all I could do to keep from covering my ears and falling to my knees… despite my being an Intoner. For a moment I wished I had my sisters with me, but I shook those thoughts from my head. While having all five of us situated in the capital would surely be heartening to the citizens, it would not make sense to have them abandon the posts which I had only just assigned them to. It wouldn’t be long before I had to call them here in any case. Not much time remained before the ‘day of promise’.
Facing the people crowding the streets, I gave a wave from atop my steed. This caused them to cheer even louder, and I felt the animal tense beneath me. I am not fond of horses due to their strong odor, but in this case I could sympathize with the beast. We were both being forced to parade our way from the harbor towards the cathedral. I would have preferred to have snuck back after sunset; I wanted to be alone. My mind, exhausted from battle, sorely needed a rest. But I was not allowed to be so selfish. It was my duty as an Intoner to symbolize order and peace having returned to the world, even if that meant being made a spectacle of. And how could the innocent people know that their cries of elation were causing me, with my heightened senses, to feel as if my head were being split in two?
In the days following my return to the capital, I’ve been poring earnestly over the books in the cathedral library. I quite like it in here; the thick tomes muffle sounds from the outside, making it comfortably quiet. And while the smell of dust and must troubles my nose, it is nothing compared my usually having to take in the body odor of humans and animals.
That’s right… it’s not just my eyesight and hearing that are pronounced. All five of my senses, including taste, touch and smell are torturously sensitive. It wasn’t as bad when I was a child. Back then my senses were only slightly enhanced. But as I grew so did they, at a pace that far outstripped my physical development. Before long sounds and smells seemed to be assaulting me. I could no longer enjoy the taste of food due to it being too intense. Even the touch of my own clothes upon my skin made me feel deeply uncomfortably… those days before I developed a method of coping were very hard, and weighed heavily on my psyche. But all of us Intoners have one bodily aspect which develops excessively compared to the rest, as a side-effect of our strength. Perhaps it’s silly to expect that those as powerful as ourselves could hope to otherwise live normally.
I heard footsteps approaching. There were two pairs, one leading, the other following. They suddenly came to a stop, however, and seemed to hesitate for a moment before beginning to walk on tip-toes. Soon I heard a gentle knock at the door. From her thoughtful behavior, I could already guess who it was; my energetic yet very gentle younger sister, Two.
"It’s open. You made it here quickly, Two…" As soon as I had called her name, the door made a terrible sound and I heard her give a little shriek.
"I-I’m sorry…! I broke it…" Two stood in the doorway, eyes full of tears. In her hand she still gripped the doorknob, the door ripped off its hinges still attached. Just as my senses were overdeveloped, so too were Two’s muscles. While she looked quite slight, her arms and legs held the strength of ten men. It was easy for her to break things or hurt people, so Two usually took great care to restrain her movements. That this had happened in spite of her vigilance meant that her strength must have suddenly increased without her realizing.
At least her growth did not affect her appearance. Our sister Three’s hair grows at an incredible rate, so much so that she must constantly be cutting it. As a result she travels with a pair of scissors wherever she goes. Then there is Four and her nails; unlike hair which at least doesn’t hurt when it is cut, Four is constantly suffering from her nails splitting and breaking. She long had a habit of biting them to keep them down, and struggled greatly to stop doing it. The subject is still a sensitive one for her, and it’s sad to see her always trying to hide her hands. Our youngest sister Five is just the opposite, taking inordinate pride in her ever expanding bust. Four would always be muttering that such large breasts on one so young was vulgar and disturbing, but I wonder if she wasn’t also jealous, if not of Five’s chest than of her bravado. Seeing Five take such pride in her assets must be very frustrating for her.
"One, what should I do…?" Two’s voice brought me back to the present.
"Don’t be concerned. It was a very old door, already ready to come off its hinges. I’ll have someone fix it."
"Really." Two’s smile returned in an instant. Her guileless nature remained unchanged from childhood.
"Well! It’s nice to see you, Sis! I hope you’ve been well. It’s been such a long time…" Actually, it hadn’t. Not much time had passed since we’d suppressed a noble uprising together with her disciple.
"…ha ha. I guess it’s only felt like a long time, hasn’t it, Cent?" The man beside her nodded. He had a habit of running flipping his jet black hair that struck me as looking very affected, but Two didn’t seem to mind. In fact, she was completely taken in by her him, her disciple. Yes… every Intoner must have a disciple, who lives to serve and protect her.
"Are we the first ones here?" When I told her yes, Two’s eyes lit up.
"You hear that, Cent? We made it first! Isn’t that great?"
"Why, you always come first in my eyes, Lady Two…"
"Aww, Cent… you come first to me, too! I love you most in the whole wide world!" Two proclaimed with blushing cheeks. This was the way these two usually carried on. While it could be embarrassing to watch, I felt an Intoner and her disciple being linked by a strong bond of love was ideal.
…that said, if I left them undisturbed for too long they’d start getting overly affectionate, so I cut in.
"How do things fare in the Desert Country?"
"O-oh yeah! There was this huge minotaur nest, but we got rid of it!"
I’d meant how the nobility there were handling having been stripped of their privilege and whether she had reason to believe they were plotting something, but instead Two briefed me on her hunting monsters, offering shelter to misplaced people and maintaining a steady food supply. Well, I suppose if this was all she had to discuss it was safe to assume there wasn’t anything to worry about. The Desert Country is made up of just that, lifeless desert. Very little can be grown there and the lives of the people are hard. I had given Two the task of governing with the hopes she could lift their spirits with her optimistic nature. Having heard that she was well-loved by her people, with the soldiers in her employ ready to lay down their lives for her, I realized my judgement had not been mistaken.
"Say, would you mind if Cent and I inspected the cathedral to make sure it’s safe while we’re here? I’m sure you don’t." Before I could reply Two had already turned on her heel. I remembered she had wanted to do the same thing when she was here a half year ago, but didn’t have the time to. I suppose she wouldn’t let the opportunity escape her now. It really impressed me, how little her character had changed over the years. Her disciple gave me a bow before following her out, and I returned to my books.
The reason I was holed up in here wasn’t just because it was quiet. I was looking for something. I don’t know who gathered them, but this library was full of books from all over the world; one of them must hold the information I seek. I wanted an answer to my dearest question: What are the Intoners, and why do they exist?
My sister Four and her disciple Decad arrived much sooner than I’d expected, given the Mountain Country is furthest from the capital.
"I invited Three to travel with us, but she was so busy with her dolls she turned us down." Four said with an exaggerated sigh. The Forest Country Three presided over neighbored Four’s domain.
"That’s just her way. Don’t take it personally." Rather than having been turned down, it was more likely Four had been flat-out ignored. Three was the strangest of us sisters, with a love of dolls stemming back from childhood. Once she became focused on making her own no one’s words could reach her. She even forget to eat and sleep; she probably hadn’t even noticed Four was there.
"You’d like a report on my country, correct?"
"You are quick on the uptake as always, Four." Four’s expression beamed with pride, and she began to brief me on the status of the Mountain Country.
"Everything is going smoothly. I mean, how could it not? The population isn’t that large and the livable portion of land is rather compact. The former lord must have been a true dim-wit to make such a mess of things." That was correct. If the Mountain Country hadn’t been so easy to govern, I’d never have entrusted it to Four. Four is serious and intelligent, but rather immature. Faced with difficulty, she either recedes into her shell or spectacularly loses her temper. There was no way I could rely on her to deal with anything potentially overwhelming.
"It’s not the Mountain Country that worries me. Tell me about the Forest Country?" There was a reason behind Four’s visit to Three, and that was because I had requested she go take stock of Three’s land on her way here. Truthfully, I’d been worried; assigning Three to govern there had been a gamble on my part.
"Surprisingly, she seems to be managing well! It’s enough to make me re-evaluate my opinion of her. I can’t imagine having to deal with those awful Faeries or those snobby elves." The majority of the people residing in the forest were not human. It was home to faeries and secluded elf villages. But that’s exactly why I thought Three would fare best there.
Non-humans generally do not take well to humans encroaching on them. The key to co-existence with them is to give them ample space to themselves. The previous lord had tried instead to exert control over them, which hadn’t gone well. Three, who had no drive, would not make the same mistake. Also, it was a load off my mind having her in a place where not many had to deal with her. The fewer, the better…
"Ah. Excuse me, it’s nothing. Go on."
"That’s all there is to say! There are no problems in either my country or Three’s. With the wicked lords gone, the people lead happy lives. This past harvest was the first they’d ever have in which the fruits of their labor were not immediately robbed from their hands."
"That’s good to hear. Thank you." But though she had just told me there was no more to say, Four lingered.
"What is it?" I could clearly tell she had something she wanted to tell me.
"Are we really… going to fight her?"
"That’s why I called for you all." I said firmly, but Four continued, albeit timidly.
"I don’t see any point in such a battle…"
"Then you’d have us all killed?"
"No… of course not!"
"But that’s what not fighting would mean." Four cast her eyes downward dejectedly.
"One… you’ve changed…"
"I don’t doubt it. But so have we all." Of course we had. We were no longer children. We had to change, if only to keep a hold on our Intoner powers which grew in strength each day. I’ve forgotten, now… how old were we when we realized something was wrong with our bodies?
Why do we possess this power? To maintain the order of the world; I’d known this since I was a child. But how did I know it? Who taught that to me? Four looked unsatisfied, but silently took her leave. Her disciple, Decad, followed after her like a shadow. Their eyes had not met once the entire time they were in the room. Perhaps Four disliked having an older, mild-mannered man as her disciple. In comparison to Two, she was quite cold. But I noticed that Decad himself did not seem to mind her treatment. It could be that in itself frustrated Four even more.
As soon as I could no longer hear the sound of their steps, I resumed my reading. I had not once let up on my research, yet I’d still been unable to find a scrap of information on Intoners… or disciples, for that matter. Perhaps my way of looking had been flawed. It could be that we were not always referred to as Intoners, but by another name. But there is no way existences as powerful as we would not be recorded. Take our songs, for instance. They were nothing like the usual practice of chanting words to cast magic, and sure to peak the interest to a wizard. Yet none of the tomes on sorcery made any mention of us.
Why can’t I find anything? Was the existence of Intoners being purposefully omitted? Had someone wished to censor any mention of us? If so, why?
"Two told me Three isn’t here yet. And here I was sure we’d be the last to arrive!" Five said, tilting her head to the side. I wasn’t surprised. I knew the last one here would either be Three or Five; Three due to being wrapped up in her doll-making and Five due to surely putting off her departure until the last minute on account of her domain being closest to mine.
"That’s why I told you we didn’t need to hurry!" Said Five’s disciple. As long as he kept his mouth shut, he was a boy of astounding beauty, but as soon as it opened it was all for naught. I believe Four once dubbed him a cheeky little brat. I was of a similar opinion.
"Five, you never listen to a word I say!"
"Why, that’s just not true."
"It is so. Take last night, for instance. I kept telling you I was tired, and you still-" I cleared my throat, not caring to hear anymore of what the disciple was going to say.
"Let’s keep things short. How are things in the Ocean Country?" Of all the territories, the corrupt lords had the tightest grip on the Ocean Country. Most of the rich and influential nobles resided there, and those who remained hated us intensely for robbing them of what they considered rightly theirs. Of course, their wealth had never truly belonged to them; they had robbed it from the people. We had merely returned it to its rightful owners.
In any case, of all the places a potential uprising might occur, the Ocean Country ranked first. I had feared governing it would prove difficult for Five, but apparently my fears were unfounded.
"You needn’t fret. I’ve long since made all those naughty nobles my slaves." Five said with a giggle and a wink.
"Five has to own people body and soul, after all…" Her disciple said with a grimace.
Ever since she was small, Five couldn’t stand not getting what she wanted. As a result, she’d grown quite forceful about obtaining things. Be it an object or a person, Five would not rest until they were hers completely. This greediness often repelled others, but it seemed to be serving her well in regards to taking control over the entire country.
"And how goes the reconstruction of the harbors?" During our battle with the lord there, we had accidentally laid waste to most of the seafront. It was difficult to keep our powers in check while fighting, even though he tried to be careful. That was just how strong we had grown.
"Well. Trading ships from the East have begun coming into port."
"And that made Five very happy. She exchanged all her diamonds for what the Eastern merchants had to sell." The previous lord had been a woman, and her castle was full of extravagant dresses and jewels which Five quickly claimed for herself. While they ought have gone to the people, I let Five do as she pleased because I was also well aware of her tendency of growing bored with things. No matter how driven she might have been in pursuing something, her satisfaction upon obtaining it was never long-lived and soon she’d discard it.
True to form, Five had grown tired of the treasures within the castle and had deemed to replace them with something new. And she’d repeat this process time and time again, I was sure. But now her fickleness would stimulate the country’s trade.
Output was low in the Ocean Country as it did not have many natural resources. There was a fishing industry, but that was not enough to support all the people in there. Only through commerce and trade could it prosper.
"Not just the gems, I sold all the dresses, too. The busts on them had grown too tight for me, after all. My bountiful bosom still seems to be growing." I saw Five’s disciple give his shoulders a distasteful shrug at her words. On his face was a spiteful grin that was much at odds with the rest of his delicate features.
"Say that in front of Four and she’ll have your head!" He warned Five, which I found ironic considering how he himself said things to anger Four just as frequently. I didn’t see the point in voicing this, however.
Two’s muscles had grown stronger. Four had been wearing gauntlets which hid her hands, but going by the incessant clacking of her clippers, I could surmise her nails were growing as fast as ever. Of course I was painfully aware of my ever sharpening senses; even here in the library as I was beginning to be able to pick up sounds from the outside. And here Five was telling me her cup size had increased yet again. Would these twisted transformations continue to increase alongside our powers? As a child I had prayed for strength… yet now I feared how strong we might become.
"I understand. Thank you for your report."
Saying I had work to return to, I turned my back on them. I wasn’t lying; I was eager to return to my search. Even after all the reading I’d done, I’d yet to find anything remotely relating to Intoners. It was beginning to make me very nervous. Fearing I may find nothing in the end, I flipped through the book pages at a harried pace.
Three arrived exactly on the ‘day of promise’.
Deeply frustrated by the fruitlessness of my research, I had been in the library since the crack of dawn, surrounded by texts. Before I registered her footsteps I heard the sound of her scissors snipping. Behind her lazy footfalls sounded the even pace of her disciple Octa.
"What has two legs in the morning, twelve in the afternoon, and one in the evening…" The door creaked open and I was met by Three’s questioning face.
"…can you guess?"
"You’re late." Was my only reply. There was little point in trying to figure out Three’s riddles as they were mostly meaningless. As a child Three had been very quiet, but since she’d become obsessed with dolls she’d become much more chatty, perhaps as a result of talking to them.
"…has your hair stopped growing?" It had taken me a moment to notice on account of her awful posture, but I realized Three’s hair, which usually hung at her waist, was cut short at her shoulders.
"Oh, no. It’s that I’ve been taking care of my lady’s hair as of late." Said Octa with a laugh. That explained it looking neater than usual. At first glance, Octa seemed a friendly if somewhat eccentric old man. Unfortunately, eccentric didn’t begin to cover him…
"I see." So it was still growing at the usual rate. Of course it was. Why would Three be an exception?
There was a time in which we needed all the strength we could muster. But after the battle today, what use will our power be? What’s the point of it increasing?
"…I’m tired." Three yawned. When not working on her dolls she was extremely lethargic, and these words always preceded her lying on the spot, regardless of her location, to sleep.
"Don’t lay on those books. They’re antiques, you’ll damage them." Three, about to stretch out of a pile of old books, managed to just barely avoid them and lay on the cold floor beside them.
"Why don’t you rest in one of the bedrooms?" Traveling from the Forest Country took nearly as long as the journey from the Mountain Country. Surely both she and her disciple were exhausted, and we had nothing to discuss since I’d already heard about the state of her land from Four.
"What’s the matter?" I’d expected her to either fall asleep there or leave, but Three did neither. Instead she was playing with her scissors, expressionless. I could never tell what she was thinking, and I had a feeling her disciple couldn’t, either.
And yet… sometimes I was struck by the feeling that perhaps my strange sister knew more than I did. Perhaps she had already long ago grasped the answer to the question I was searching for so desperately…
"I won’t sleep."
"But you said you were tired."
"…white." Her inability to hold a normal conversation was also nothing knew. I turned to Octa.
"I have work to attend to. If you wouldn’t mind taking her…"
"But of course, my la-"
"Atop the leviathan, its scales whiter than snow, a pink blade." Three cut off her disciple with another riddle.
"Where does the tip of that blade point? …can you guess?" Three’s eyes stared straight into mine. She was no longer talking nonsense; I grasped the meaning of her words. The leviathan with scales whiter than snow… a white dragon, who carried on its back a woman with pink eyes. A woman who pointed her blade toward us… her sisters.
On her way here, Three must have caught sight of the enemy we were to fight this day, as had been promised.
"I suppose I’m out of time." I sighed.
In the end, I couldn’t find any mention of Intoners, our songs, our disciples… nothing. My search had been pointless.
"Who is right? Is it you, One? Is it Two… Four… Five? Or… could it actually be Zero?" Three asked with no hint of a smile.
"…all people believe that they are the ones who are right." Or else, how could they fight? No one was strong enough to dedicate themselves to a cause they knew was mistaken. They had to justify it somehow first. My search for an answer had been an attempt to justify my reason for fighting my sister today. Did that mean I doubted myself, my decisions?
"One?" Feeling Three’s dubious gaze, I realized I’d been laughing.
It didn’t matter whether I had an answer, a justification. Whether I knew what we were or why we existed wouldn’t change what I needed to do. I would fight this battle all the same. So what need did I have for doubt?
I closed the book I had been reading and rose from my seat. In the distance I heard the roar of a dragon. There was no mistaking it. The traitor was upon us.
"Let us meet her head on. Today we fulfill the promise we made."