New Age of Ivalice
The Scriptures of Germonique
The book is large, bound in cracking, ancient leather with a lock sealing it shut. Upon opening it, many of the pages are almost illegible. However, there is a series of much newer, though somewhat aged, pieces of paper that are tucked inside. The writing is in New Ivalician and it seems to comment on the notes already present in the large tome. The book has a red stain in the shape of a hand on the cover, near the spine, where a hand would hold the book as if handing it to someone…
I opened the Scriptures of Germonique, entrusted to me by Elder Simon Pen Rakshu, and began to leaf through the pages. The words before my eyes were writ in a holy script of the ancients. Several illustrations were scattered throughout, but many pages were missing or damaged, and the script was exceedingly difficult to decipher. I was deeply curious as to what knowledge lay within.
As I was turning pages, faintly penned letters in modern Ivalician script occasionally caught my eye. Notes of an explanatory nature had been added here and there throughout the book. I wondered who might have written them.
Judging by the faded ink, some entries were more than a decade old, while others seemed to have been penned only in the last few days. As I touched my finger to one of them, the writing smeared. The ink had yet to fully dry. Every note was written in the same hand—- Elder Simon’s, I suddenly realized. He must have devoted a significant portion of his life to deciphering these Scriptures, line by painstaking line.
I relied heavily on his fragmentary notes as I continued reading. Apparently the holy script had been recorded by Germonique, a disciple of Saint Ajora. Germonique… The name struck a familiar cord. Half-forgotten history lessons rose unbidden in my mind.
And then I remembered. Germonique was the disciple who had betrayed his master, turning him over to the Holy Ydoran Empire. I was astounded that a libram penned by the same Germonique from my history lessons now rested in my very hands.
I could hardly contain myself as I turned the pages. And then I was assaulted by a shock far greater than the realization that I held a priceless historical artifact.
Originally I had thought the book to be no more than a collection of Saint Ajora’s teachings, as recorded by Germonique. How unprepared I was to learn what it truly contained. The tome served as an account of Saint Ajora’s life. The Saint Ajora described within was of a considerably different nature than the man about whom we have all been taught.
I had always known that Saint Ajora was no ordinary mortal. My faith in the Church of Glabados was not as profoundly complete as that of my lord brother Zalbaag, yet I did believe that Saint Ajora was a child of the gods, descended from the heavens to deliver humanity from its self-inflicted chaos. Or should I say, I had believed. All I had thought immutable was shattered upon reading the Scriptures.
Saint Ajora’s birth came in the midst of a golden age of technology, when airships yet plied the skies.
He was born in Lesalia, in the city of Bervenia. Moments after his birth, he rose to his feet and approached a well. Upon reaching its base, words of prophecy poured forth from his infant lips: “A calamity shall soon befall this well. Seal it up at once, that none may drink of it.” Some days later, the Black Death visited the town of Bervenia, and all those who drank the well’s tainted water succumbed to the plague and perished. Only those families who heeded the prophetic words of Saint Ajora were spared from death and malady. After the incident with the well, the people came to revere Saint Ajora as a portent of miracle and child of the gods. But it was not until he reached the age of twenty that Saint Ajora would become the savior of Ivalice, and take his place among the gods in Paradise.
Ivalice was not always united as it is today. Long ago, the realm was divided into seven kingdoms: Fovoham, Lionel, Limberry, Lesalia, Gallionne, Zeltennia, and Mullonde. Each warred with the others in a never-ending struggle to expand its own territory.
The conflict had continued for centuries, until an ambitious young king rose to power in Mullonde. This young monarch dreamt of uniting all of Ivalice under his hand, but the road to victory was a difficult and dangerous one. The king turned to ancient tomes and the dark magicks found within, summoning a demon from the netherworld to do his bidding. But once unleashed, the demon slew the king and set out to destroy the very world itself.
To combat this monstrosity, a great hero set out on a quest. Together with his twelve disciples, he collected the Zodiac Stones that had been scattered throughout the world, and the Zodiac Braves were born again. The Zodiac Braves soon defeated the creature’s minions and banished the demon back to its infernal plane, for this becoming known as the saviors of our world. The story is now a well-known legend. The Zodiac Braves have since appeared whenever the world balanced on the brink of catastrophe, only to vanish just as quickly once the crisis has been averted.
Similar catastrophe threatened the world in the time of Saint Ajora. The king of Limberry summoned a demon in hopes of seizing control of all of Ivalice, and once again plunged the world into chaos. And just as in the legend, Saint Ajora collected the twelve Zodiac Stones. And once again the Zodiac Braves rose to defeat the marauding demon.
However, the sovereigns of any age have small tolerance for the interference of well-meaning “heroes.”
Fearing the charismatic saint’s growing influence, the Holy Ydoran Empire dispatched soldiers to capture him and his devoted followers. Pharism was the prevalent religion in that day, and its priests feared Ajora’s growing influence. Ultimately, Germonique, the thirteenth disciple, was tempted by sordid coin, offering vital information that led to his master’s capture. The saint was executed upon the gallows of Golgollada soon thereafter.
But lest we forget, Saint Ajora was a child of the gods. The wrath of the heavens was swift and terrible. Immediately following the execution, Mullonde, the center of Pharist teaching, was visited by a terrible cataclysm and sank into the sea.
Saint Ajora then ascended to Paradise to take his rightful place among the gods. This was the legend with which I was familiar—- the very same tale told to every child of Ivalice. But the Saint Ajora described within the Scriptures of Germonique was a different man altogether. Ajora was no child of the gods. He was a mere mortal, no more divine than you or I. He was a revolutionary, who fought to realize his own ambitions. He was no lover of peace—-no hero who would sacrifice himself for the good of humanity.
Germonique wrote this of him:
As the founder of a new religion with a rising number of followers, Ajora was seen as no more than a nuisance to the empire. But Ajora was apparently more than just a religious founder. He was a saboteur who infiltrated enemy states to collect information and sow disorder. Ajora was a spy, dispatched to the Holy Ydoran Empire by a rival state.
Whatever he claimed to be, it was fact that the empire began to fear this upstart’s growing influence. Germonique was employed to collect evidence that would allow the empire to arrest Ajora as a spy. The thirteenth disciple was in reality no more than the empire’s instrument in a play to uncover Ajora’s true intentions.
It seems that Ajora indeed attempted to reassemble the Zodiac Braves. Germonique confirmed in his writings that Ajora even discovered some of the Stones. But what was his purpose in seeking them?
I do not know if the young king of Limberry actually summoned a demon. At the very least, I have failed to encounter even a single line within the Scriptures that records the event. Yet catastrophe did indeed befall Mullonde at the time of Ajora’s death. According to the Scriptures, the bulk of the city sank into the sea.
The footnotes provided further enlightenment. They expressed a different view, no doubt the personal opinion of Elder Simon.
“Although many spoke of their existence, none had ever set eyes upon these Scriptures of Germonique. Some might say they are fraudulent, written with the sole purpose of discrediting Saint Ajora. But I know this tome to be authentic.”
“When I served as an inquisitor for the Church, many others in the Holy Office feared the existence of this work. And the same is no doubt true for the High Confessor. They were all fearful of these writings, for everything contained within them is fact.” “After Saint Ajora’s death, the Church, which has capitalized on his considerable influence to seize power for itself, had only one task: to conceal his true nature as a human being. This one fact has to be erased from the annals of history. They needed to ensure that Saint Ajora be remembered as a child of the gods.”
“Their use of the Zodiac Braves, a legend believed throughout Ivalice, was a stroke of genius. It was a simple feat to convince the people that Saint Ajora had led the Zodiac Braves to defeat a demon. A demon that never existed…”
“I realize now that I had lost my faith the moment I began to read these Scriptures. And yet I feel no sorrow. Thinking back, I now know that my desire to know the truth was stronger than my faith had ever been.”
“But I have committed one great sin. I failed to condemn the Church for lying to our flock all these years. And why? I knew that if I were to share this book with the world, my precious library would be taken from me.”
“And to me there could be no pain greater, for this library is the only means of slaking my endless thirst for knowledge. My curiosity eclipsed my will to do what was right.”
Elder Simon wrote that Saint Ajora’s demon never existed. But I have seen the dark power of the Zodiac Stones with my own eyes. There is an evil presence at work—-something much more sinister than even the High Priest and his twisted plots. I now head for Riovannes Castle to rescue my sister from Weigraf and his ilk. I pray I make it there in time…