| This article or section is in the middle of an expansion or major restructuring. You are welcome to assist in its construction by editing it as well. If this article has not been edited in several days, please remove this template.
- 1 First Trilogy: Revival
- 2 Second Trilogy: "Prequels"
- 3 Third Trilogy: Magic Cycle Ending
First Trilogy: Revival
IV. "King's Field IV"
Epsiode IV is led by Solomon—Sol for short—a deeply tanned and boyish young man. Tan because the world of Valecia is parched, reaching for death's door, sun-baked and bone-dry in all directions. Even the ocean floors are visible from the ancient shorelines.
All life would be dead, even in this age of heroes, if not for the thinnest atmosphere, odd oasis, and water-carrying monsters adapted to life without Valad—or indeed, any of the gods of yore.
IV. Setting: Melanat
Ep. IV is set entirely in and around the island of Melanat made famous by King's Field II. The trilogy begun by IV begins unspecified centuries or millennia after the period of the original King's Field trilogy. The surrounding Veld sea is a cracked, dry seabed. The names of these places have changed, but are still recognizable to players.
The lower half of the island sits exposed, naked without the waters of the old Veld. Roughnecks venture from all corners of Elegria to make their camp at its base. Or at least that was the case, until only recently.
The island, or volcano as it is more commonly known to this time, is shaken by fierce tremors coinciding with an uptick of monster reports in the surrounding areas. Historical records show this indicates that an eruption is imminent, and will be soon followed by an eruption of monsters. While scholars argue over just how "imminent" the geological event may be, everyone else is scrambling to evacuate the north of the continent.
IV. Playing: Solomon & Meryl
Sol, the default player character, comes equipped with a single menu-based magical ability called Fire. Fire engulfs Sol in a spherical field of ever diminishing, warm light. Just faint enough to make your way through absolute darkness.
No other abilities shall be made available to Sol. Fire alone facilitates all standard magic-based abilities. For instance its field acts as a Resist Fire shield, and Sol's weapon interacts with the field to launch magical attacks.
Sol can be accompanied by another player assuming the role of Meryl, or vice versa. Within the narrow script of the single-player narrative Meryl comes and goes as she wishes, whereas a pre-scripted Sol would necessarily carry out his quest very deliberately from beginning to end, leaving the player of Meryl to find creative things to do in the meantime.
Meryl possesses two magical abilities: Wind and Water. Her fields are more powerful than Sol's Fire from the very beginning, although she is more proficient with Water than Wind—as is typical of female elves of her kind.
Meryl's interaction with Sol is not dissimilar from the setup of Ico's Yorda except for the fact that she is his senior and wise beyond her years—or would be if she wasn't more than a hundred years old. To this end Meryl often acts as Sol's protector. However the tables become turned when the two must descend into Melanat's fire and brimstone underworld.
One-by-one the four magical fields throw open doors for our intrepid pair: Fire past vents of molten lava; Water within sunken labyrinths; Wind between winding gales and haunted castle walls; And Earth among the enumerable undead hosts littering the buried catacombs of Melanat.+
+The player is able to raise an Earth field by consuming a Dragon Fruit, and in addition to the fruit an Egyptian fruit bat assists Sol thanks to Meryl's ability to commune with the fauna of the island—an ability shared by all elves of her kind. The player may call upon the Bat as either Sol or Meryl. Because the bat subsists upon Dragon Fruit it can make its own Earth field.
IV. Act 1: Base Camp Sol
The player is treated to a cut-scene of Sol arriving to the site of future Melanat by way of a caravan consisting of camels and wagons outfitted in bright color. The caravan brings goods in and out of Melanat on a precisely regular basis, however no matter how long the player's game may take, the caravan will not be coming back.
The game manual explains the back story of Sol and Valecia since King's Field III. Because he is cursed with the gift of Fire magic his tribe has exiled him to the isle with the duty of preventing the eruption. The nomadic tribe has since headed south as far as they can before the eruption occurs.
- Normally the base camp is crowded and busy with the comings and goings of merchants and adventurers. But only a small population of characters now remain on site. One of the archeologist has convinced them that an eruption is unlikely to occur in their own lifetime, despite the daily tremors that can be detected as far away as the edge of the dry Veld sea.
The archeologist leads a whole team of assistants making their camp inside the volcanic isle. A new chamber has been discovered connecting to the ground floor complex. Sol is soon recruited and outfitted for the job of clearing out the monsters of the chamber, along with a couple of treasure hunters. A veteran adventurer passes on the job until more is known about the chamber. She is only interested in the thrill of combating monsters. She advises Sol to be wary of monsters he doesn't recognize, and offers both expert and general advice.
- The main base camp sits far below the shoreline of old Melanat, opposite the Dragon Fountain. A rail system permits direct access to the fountain from the outside. The poison waters of the fountains are now essential to life—their poisonous quality all but lost to a people who've never known another alternative to thirst.
Above the old shoreline constant sandstorms circle climbing walls many time over coated in molten magma sent down from the more magnificent of the isle's twin summits. Still miraculously the ancient spires of long lost castles can be seen peeking out on a clear day. Perhaps there are natural pockets untouched by the sands of time?
- The new chamber proves to be a remarkable find. One by one it leads to chambers further in. The archeologist worries that if Melanat was to erupt before the caravan returns; then all his team's efforts may be lost, like those before him—evidenced by the logs discovered within the increasingly vast tunnel complex.
Sol goes on like this until one day a mysterious young woman is met at the fountain. All are in attendance, to pay their respects of course. The people believe the sustaining water is the sole providence of her kind. She is a fountain maiden and has tended the fountain since before many of the old-timers had arrived only decades ago. As far as anyone could say she'd been there forever, agelessly, and the fountain's statue lent proof to this claim.
IV. Act 2: Underworld Climax
Gradually Sol's explorations lead away from the dig team. The adventurer at base camp, impressed with his Fire technique and fire for life, has convinced Sol that he has nothing to lose, and might as well make an effort to unravel the riddles of the island—and who can say: maybe even make real the primitive fantasies of his tribesmen and women.
Sol gets the feeling someone is watching him from afar ever since he began to adventure alone, going places with his Fire where no one would follow. Could it be the fountain maiden called Meryl? Or her people? "Are they concerned for my safety," Sol wonders. Perhaps. Perhaps not ... perhaps it's only his imagination. Or could the maiden herself be the true object of Sol's single-minded search?
There are three areas available for Sol to explore that are distinct from the central complex.
- Towards the summit there is evidence of natural life. Rays of light visible from the ceiling, descending growths, and natural springs. Something that looks like water and yet is not.
- Towards the outer walls there is a lost kingdom, at places buried under ancient lava flows, in other places protected by ceilings of sturdy construction. Ghosts make their home here according to a lone clock tower. They appear time after time only to reenact the court of an ancient king Harvine III.
- Towards the center of the earth there are vast caverns flooded by molten lava flows. The heat is made bearable only by minimal attire and Sol's Fire. It is beyond these flows that Sol discovers an underworld stretching ever farther down, seemingly wrapped around a section of Dragon Tree too vast too behold, and bathed in the furthest blue light.
It is during this portion of our story that Sol and Meryl become acquainted. However she is unable to follow Sol beyond the lava flows. If not for her official duties ... No. In her stead Meryl presents Sol with a sacred relic of her people: the magic sword Frostbite of Wind and Water. With the sword Sol is able to cut through his Fire barrier without diminishing its protective shield like qualities, while all the while demolishing the Fire and Earth borne monsters of this underworld; to wit—the elements of Wind of Water are death incarnate.
As Sol reaches toward the blue lit heart of that veritable abyss he is kept on his toes by ever increasing ever more menacing waves of monsters and tremors soon followed by aftershocks too subtle to be detected up top.
IV. Act 3: Lost World Resolution
THIS IS A ROUGH DRAFT
Sol inches ever closer toward the source of the blue light, until it is in his sight—for a moment's glance. The monsters' numbers have not abated; they will soon overwhelm Sol. He probably wonders if they will eat their kill or not. Another sword? he thinks to himself. Not so different from Frostbite. Could it be the cause of the tremors? What is such a thing doing here? Slowly the glow of the blue light fades.
- For almost any other game, this would be the end. There wasn't even a monster that you could identify as a singular "boss fight". Will first time players realize this is the climax? Or will they take it for granted. Will they appreciate the knowledge later on? Or will they appreciate the moment for what it actually is.
- The end of the game is usually cause for an elaborate cut-scene. Cue the cut-scene.
Next comes a series of moments from the game. Highlights of Sol's adventure. Scenes as seen by Meryl, often when Sol was not aware of her presence. These play up to the final leg of Sol's journey until we discover Meryl slowly making her way through the hot, oppressive underworld behind Sol, exactly as she refused to do.
Meryl doesn't follow Sol's path. She has knowledge of secret passages, even this far down, long abandoned by the fountain maidens before her. She emerges too late to save Sol. She yells for him but he cannot hear as she watches in horror monsters surrounding him until he is completely obscured from her view. This scene is silent and lasts four-and-a-half minutes, set to The Song of Solomon. The song by Kate Bush won't be licensed, it will play out of the player's personal library, or streamed by a streaming service. This is not a matter of licensing the song. It is to demonstrate that licensing music is an obsolete practice.
Meryl is overcome by emotion. As a pure-elf she cannot process the feeling. It's not a useful emotion, it's an unbearable emotion; nothing could prepare her for this. But she doesn't crumble, she burns, she wants to throw herself at Sol a hundred feet below, or that's all she can remember thinking.
Without realizing what is happening the blue light of the sword stuck into the colossal root of the Dragon Tree below transitions into a thick white mist. If you look very carefully at the gnarled root from which the monsters are now retreating from Sol's brutalized body you can just make out its superficial resemblance to the giant body of a long forgotten dragon, before right on cue the entire underground chamber is flooded by an indoor hurricane! complete with flopping fish and a circling leviathan that could only be the temporary incarnation of one of the Water dragons of yore. The Song of Solomon recedes along with the magical hurricane fading to the resonating hum of the Moonlight Sword (this hum is part of the song recording itself) and end scene.
- For the uninitiated, the hurricane is a master class Water magic field that Meryl could not normally produce on her own. Obviously (especially with the accompanying music lyrics) it's possible because of her overwhelming feelings for Sol in that moment, and is intended to be a memorable moment in video games. To say the blue light of the mystery sword transitions into a white mist is an optical illusion. The sword is in no way involved with the magical hurricane.
- Solomon awakes from being unconscious. Meryl has fallen asleep by his side after moving him to be beside the Moonlight Sword. She will not remove it herself because she recognizes it from legend, however the monsters will not approach the sword, it's very being seems to aggravate them. Solomon's life itself was insured by Meryl's bat friend, who accompanied Sol at her request, hidden among his supplies where Sol first discovered him. This is one of the effects of an Earth field—which the bat emits naturally owing to its Dragon Fruit diet—just as Sol's own Fire field illuminates the dark ever so and staves off heat.
Meryl suggests Solomon take the sword from the Dragon Tree. She is matter of fact about this, noting that not only will it protect them during their ascent, doing so will almost certainly put an end to the volcanic activity. Before arriving into the central complex Meryl insists on taking a detour through one of her secret passages. She explains that her people need to decide what to do with the sword before it can be taken outside. Meryl bestows upon Solomon the ancient title, "Merrel-Ur", or literally the outsider protector and consult to the fountain maiden. This permits Sol rare entrance into the unseen world of the "pure-blood" elves who live secretly in the upper reaches of Melanat's main island.
- Atop Melanat Sol is invited into a natural paradise, complete with the strange water Sol had tasted earlier dripping from the cavern ceilings below. The Elves are not able to drink this water even though they swim and bathe in it in a display that would be impossible to explain to his people. Sol doesn't know what to think. Meryl quizzically insists the water is for the animals who cannot live outside before attempting to explain ecology to Sol.
Sol and Meryl give the Moonlight Sword to the Elve's high priestess, whose solemn expression communicates disappointment to Meryl. After the welcoming of the "Merrel-Ur" later that day, night falls. That night Solomon dreams that his new friends believe him dead and do not recognize him; Meryl dreams of swimming and talking to a great blue whale peering up at the moon through ripples on the water's surface above.
- These dreams will only be experienced if playing the role of Solomon or Meryl. Upon awaking the high priestess' physician informs Sol and Meryl that they've been asleep resting for days before routinely inquiring about Meryl's dreams. Upon listening she replies, I see, and informs Meryl of the events of the preceding days. Solomon is not privy to this exchange, but it is included here in Solomon's story for context.
The Elves all know of this sword, the Moonlight Sword, it's unmistakable. It is decided (based on interpretation of the two's dreams and reviews of their histories) to attempt to open up a line of communication with the gods+. This entire portion of the game is not ran on rails. That's not King's Field's way. Sol can freely explore every area of the island for no particular reason after awakening. Meryl will follow him until the sword is handed off and should drag him back to the rite of "Merrel-Ur" if he wanders afar. During this event it is necessary to fight exhaustion or succumb to it quickly by not doing so. It's a losing battle either way.
It's possible that this section can represent a significant portion of the game and also serve as an end-game experimenting and continued exploration period before committing to the ending. In this case the focus of the game could shift to discovering/exploring possible romance scenarios between Solomon and Meryl. Meryl is destined to be exiled shortly after the final events of the game for breaking this taboo. This was already "decided" the moment she returned from her extended absence with Sol.
- +This is a 'deus ex machina' for certain. Perhaps the celestial keys-and-gates of King's Field 2 can be of use here? (Perhaps not.)
IV. End: Deluge (Elfos & Elwin)
V. "King's Field V"
VI. "King's Field VI"
Second Trilogy: "Prequels"
I. "King's Field"
II. "King's Field II"
III. "King's Field III"
Third Trilogy: Magic Cycle Ending
VII. "King's Field VII"
VIII. "King's Field VIII"
IX. "King's Field IX"