Bravely Second: The Great Plague And Sin (Lore Analysis)
The Great Plague. Yoko speaks at length about this event in Vampire Castle, during the final chapter of Bravely Second, and there is much to tell. This is the event that would eventually result in the creation of the Glanz Empire, through a long, winding path of guilt and sin.
Yoko is a yokai, a demon, who states that she has existed on Luxendarc for 4.6 billion years. In the distant past, she lived amongst normal people with no problem and even had friends that she cherished. One day, she came across two travelers who had come to Luxendarc on a “glimmering ship” from “another world”, heavily implying that the travelers were Celestial beings. The song that plays while Yoko recalls this moment is that of Altair and Vega’s theme, further empathizing that theory. Yoko took quite a liking to the two strangers, and began to show them around Luxendarc and helping them adapt to this world, as they tried to find a way to return to their own.
And then, the unthinkable occurred. Within the travelers’ ship, inside their laboratory, a rare disease from the Celestial Realm came into contact with an illness originating from Luxendarc, resulting in the creation of the exponentially multiplying Origin Plague. There was no time to waste. If the Plague was not contained immediately, it would wipe out all life on Luxendarc. Everyone Yoko knew and loved would die.
As she is a yokai, having an infinite lifespan and was unaffected by it, Yoko took the seeds of the Origin Plague within herself. She then asked the two travelers to seal her away in a cave, to keep the disease from spreading. The travelers fulfilled her request, and so Yoko slept for a thousand eons…
Over time, people began to believe that a god rested within the cave, so they built a shrine at the front of the cave and left treasures at its base as offerings to their “sleeping god”. The civilization that worshipped Yoko rose and fell, and knowledge of the yokai fell with them.
Flash forward, 24 centuries before the events of Bravely Second. A ship landed on the region where Yoko, still holding the Origin Plague within her, continues to hide. A man entered the cave – Foundar Geneolgia, the originator of the Geneolgia house, and the first Ambitious Man. He found Yoko, the first contact with a human she’d ever had in such a long, long time. After hearing her story, Foundar regrettably informed Yoko that neither he nor the world had the medicine yet that could kill a plague of that magnitude. However, with tears in his eyes, he promised that someday, one of his bloodline will find a cure for the Plague and return for her. A spark of hope flickered within Yoko, a foreseeable future where she’d be free of this curse was just on the horizon.
Jump to a point twenty years before Yew’s adventure. The second Ambitious Man, Griede Geneolgia, Yew’s father, arrived on the same shore as his predecessor. He approached Yoko, and claimed himself to be her savior. His plan was to take Yoko back to Gathelatio, where he would cure her of the Plague, so he moved her soul into the body of a young girl that had come on the voyage. On top of this, Griede collected some of the treasures and the shrine itself that was there, to fill the church’s coffers.
But, as was to be expected, his plan was a grave mistake. The girl took ill shortly after, and they were forced to dock in the nearest port. Griede had been the only one to know that it was the Origin Plague that was making the girl sick. Her grandfather begged for Griede to put the voyage on hold and to keep her in quarantine until further notice, but Griede pushed for them to return to Gathelatio.
A message was sent to the church – or as it was better known, the Crystal Orthodoxy – asking for advice on what course of action they should take. The Orthodoxy responded with Geist Grace, holder of the Exorcist asterisk. Leaving his son behind, Geist travelled to where the girl was being kept to exorcise her of any “demons” that lurked within. But one look and Geist knew that it was no demon causing the girl’s state of fever.
Some wished to use the ritual as an excuse to bind time for quarantine, but other prompted to go through and get the ritual over with, believing it would cure her so they could begin the journey home. While the girl’s grandfather, a Compassionate Man, and a Merciful Man wanted to keep the girl from moving to prevent any spreading of the Plague and thought the exorcism would delay their departure, Griede and a Covetous Man were impatient, and wanted to hurry home. Regardless, Geist reported the girl’s condition to the Office of Public Health, who order her barred from travel and into quarantine. Unfortunately, this is not dissuade those who wished to go home.
The Covetous Man, a figure within the church, approached the Merciful Man, claiming that the church’s medicines could cure the girl. Meanwhile, Griede appealed to the Compassionate Man, the girl’s grandfather, urging him that she deserved the finest care of the church. Both fell to these poisoned words, and so, the fateful decision was made.
The Ambitious Man, Griede, who knew the truth; the Compassionate Man, who wanted nothing more than for his granddaughter to be well; the Covetous Man, who desired to bring a bounty of wealth home to the Orthodoxy; and the Merciful Man, who caved and allowed for a dying girl to return home. These four ordered for the ships to depart, and so it was.
The voyage home included multiple stops at ports along the way, and each one was another seed planted. It was only once they’d reached their third continent that word had caught up to them. The first port they had docked at was under the midst of a terrible plague.
In an instant, Griede realized his fault, his sin against all of humanity. In an attempt for redemption, he tried to undo what he could. He gave every sailor in his a flagon of rum – poisoned rum. After that, he sunk his entire fleet. His ships, his men, the treasure, the girl that Yoko still remained in – he sent them all to the bottom of the sea, hoping that this would stop the spread. But nonetheless, Griede could not undo what was to come. He returned to Gathelatio with a small sum of treasure, cementing him a place of higher standing in the Crystal Orthodoxy. It’s entirely possible that the Orthodoxy had ordered Griede to abandon everything to simply spare Eternia, an action not surprising to those who knew the true nature of the Orthodoxy. But this is unknown.
Geist returned home with his own fleet, but only to find despair awaiting him. His son had become ill while he was away, and died. Grieving for failing to protect him from the Plague, Geist blamed himself for not stopping the other men, believing that he was the one responsible for this sin.
One year later, around the time that Denys Geneolgia was born, the Plague finally reached Eternia. After having struck countless other towns and ports, the Origin Plague attacked a small village in the outskirts of the Eternian mountains – the town now known as Gravemark Village, the former home of Braev Lee. Cries of anguish and pain echoed through the mountains, until there was only a silence.
At this time, Braev was a young priest, and supported Geist’s concerns about the Plague. He sought out his elders, petitioning that they attempt to use the power of the Crystals to heal the ill, but was being denied by the Orthodoxy. Instead, they sealed off the highroads and cut off contact with border villages, including his place of birth, leaving them all to die. Angered greatly, Braev left the priesthood and turned away from the church.
However, he still kept to his duty. Before leaving, Braev did two things. The first was to give his friend Norzen from the Office of Medicine complete authorization to conduct an investigation into the origin of the Plague. The second was to plant confederates into key positions of power in the Orthodoxy, allowing him to monitor the inner workings of the church through these followers.
Some time later, the strength of the Plague began to fade away – but not because some cure had been found. Rather, it had simply run out of people to kill. But this peace would not last forever, as the Second Pandemic approached. The Plague had mutated and developed a new strain, one that would certainly finish off those who remained, and it would soon be upon them.
Norzen and his researchers worked tirelessly, fighting against the deadliest disease Luxendarc had ever known. Many died for the cause. Unwilling to risk the lives of any more researchers, he tested experimental vaccines upon himself, eventually resulting in the loss of one of his senses. And then, just before she died from her work, one researcher made a discovery: felines had an immunity to the disease. She extracted their antibodies and transferred them into her daughter, with whom the remaining researchers tested until a working cure was found. The doomsday clock had been stopped, but at the cost of Minette’s mental state scarred from her mother’s negligence and the sins of the tests forced on her.
This was not the end of the tragedies though. While the cure was being developed, the world was revolting against the Orthodoxy for their crimes the First Pandemic. They had failed to listen to Geist’s pleas and let Griede bring the Plague right to them, and they had abandoned their people to save themselves. In a final act of glory, the heads of the Orthodoxy attempted to enact the Grand Ritual by overloading the Earth Crystal. At this time, Braev had been allied with Sage Yulyana and Lester DeRosso in an attempt to capture all four crystals at once, but when word reached his ears about the Grand Ritual, he set off against his recruiter’s words. His legion stormed the Earth Temple, and in the process the Earth Vestal was slaughtered. The Grand Ritual had been interrupted, but the Earth Crystal had been cracked and was leaking power. Braev took this opportunity to begin using its power to treat the ill, as can still be seen today in Eternia’s medical ward, thanks to the work and study of Vincent S. Court. This was the day that the Templar took Eternia.
With their power to govern usurped, the focus was turned to the church’s military power – the Crystalguard. The group was disbanded, ordered by Griede Geneolgia, one of the high houses of the Three Cavaliers. However, this too was out of self interest; Griede sought to protect those he cared about by abandoning everyone else. Of the Disbander faction, Houses Geneolgia and Camlann attacked those who tried to keep the Crystalguard together. This side was led by two large houses, under which a known swordsman named Jerome Balestra fought for. Balestra fought back against Geneoliga and Camlann, spilling the blood of countless foes, but in the end he fell.
The disbanders marched on. Gates were smashed, fires were set, manors burned to the ground. As he lay dying, Balestra entrusted the life of his son to his most loyal squire Angard. Janne Balestra was raised by Mr. Angard, and eventually took to his name, waiting for the day to stab the Crystalguard in the back for taking his father away, adding yet another sin to the Orthodoxy’s long list.
On the other side, Nikolai Nikolanikov had been tasked with actually a part of this attack on the now fragmented Crystalguard. Realizing how terrible their actions were, Nikolai felt nothing but regret as he gazed into the hellfire before him. Later on, he would petition for the renewal of the Crystalguard, and would recruit Janne to join him in seeking atonement for the horrors of that night.
But it did not end that night. The disbanding of the Crystalguard had some unexpected effects in various regions of Eternia. No longer soldiers to the Crystalguard, many took to banditry, pillaging the outer villages. Houses Geneolgia and Camlann formed private armies to deal with these bandits, and over time eliminated them all, destroying anything that opposed them to restore the illusion of peace.
In one village, the banner of the Lion was held high as members of House Geneolgia cheered, watching the village burn to the ground. “The witch has brought the plague, but we have burned her village to the ground!” These words were the last to fill Bella’s ears as she fell unconscious, her parents and sister already slain. She attempted to bring Donna back from death using every spell and rite she could find, no matter how forbidden, but no avail. Every attempt only ended in spawning monsters, except one: Cu Chulainn, in which she brought a statue to life that had been brought back by an explorer, from an ancient civilization… wiped out by a plague. Whether Cu Chulainn was the statue in front of Yoko’s cave is unknown.
In the end, the Crystalguard was reformed, and peace was believed to have been returned. But this was a result of burning all that contradicted that illusion, and burying everything else under the rug. The dead were mourned, the survivors rebuilt. Griede Geneolgia, ironically, would die to a common illness. The Orthodoxy would continue to lose power.
As for Denys, he believed it was the fault of House Geneolgia that the Orthodoxy had become so twisted, causing him and his father to no longer see eye to eye. When Griede decided that Yew would become the next head of the house, due to Denys not being fully of Geneolgia blood, Denys was outraged. His father then made him an offer: if Denys could find the Sword of the Brave and bring it to him, he would reconsider. Yew overheard this offer, and decides to find the Sword for his brother. Once he learned its location, Yew made way to Geyser Grotto to retrieve it. Denys followed in an attempt to stop him, but is too late. The pact was made, and the cost was Denys’ right arm, a narrative reflected by Yoko to mentally distress Yew later in the future.
Upon returning, Denys was disowned by his father, and after visiting his mother’s tomb, he wanders off into the world.
Along the way, he met similarly pained souls: Bella and Cu Chulann, Geist and Revenant and Minette. The group grew as they recruited more and more people who saw the world for what it really is, and about this time, the fight between Ouroboros and the Warriors of Light had come to a close.
Anne appeared before Denys and told him of a tool he can use to undo all of the sin his great house has brought unto the world: the Space-Time Compass. The group now has a goal. Denys Geneolgia is no more. He dawns the mask of Kaiser Oblivion, and the Glanz Empire is born, with one single desire burning in their hearts: travel back through time, kill Foundar Geneolgia, and stop House Geneolgia from ever being formed, preventing the Great Plague from ever happening, saving the Orthodoxy from corruption, and ending the pain of the world. In his eyes, he would be a hero, and perhaps in some regards that is true. But this wish is a sin unto itself, a sin for Denys; for he is too far trapped in the past to accept it and build a better future.