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Breath of Fire: A Tale of Two Sisters and a World Between Them

Philip Bloom

Spoilers for Breath of fire 1/2/3

Today, I'd like to address a generally misunderstood notion about the early trilogy in the Breath of Fire series; that being that the first three games are a cohesive trilogy following a single continuity. It is an issue that, to this day, I've never quite understood how it became so misunderstood. Granted, it did suffer from terrible translation problems, but the amount of confusion underlying these games seems excessive even considering translation. With that in mind, I shall be stating pretty strong views on the nature of the games, their story, and how they work together. There will, inevitably, be spoilers. There will, hopefully, be little room for disagreement, though I acknowledge this is primarily based on memory. However, for the larger scope of this editorial, this is more or less the content of the games, with no reliance on outside sources and minimal interpretation.

The Breath of Fire trilogy goes over the battle of two near immortal sisters, Myria and Deis, and the dragons that are caught between them. This story starts long before the first game, which we are told in a sort of joint historical/mythological manner throughout the series, and continues on until their supposed deaths at the end of the third game. The story, as it goes, is initially a bit vague, therefore I apologize for any lack of concreteness in this part. Eons before the first game, there was the world and the clans and the two sisters. One of these sisters, Myria, loved being worshipped and controlling clans, convincing herself, in fact, that she was a goddess and being treated as such by the lesser clans. The clans, for the most part, gladly worshipped what to them was a divine being of great power who could grant all their whims. This held for all of the clans until the dragon clan. This clan had established its own god via faith: Ladon, the god of the dragons. For some, they were unwilling to turn from this god and worship Myria. For others, they did, splitting the dragon clans apart.

Myria, obviously, found this undesirable, as she wanted to be loved and worshipped by all. Therefore, much like the petulant child she was at this point, she orchestrated the first dragon wars, with her allies, later dubbed the Dark Dragons, attempting to conquer all of the world that did not worship her. For the large part, they succeeded, taking over the world and driving back the Light Dragons, aided by the light of Myria who would grant their wishes. It is unclear from the mythos whether or not Deis herself saw what Myria was doing and chose to intervene or whether a young dragon came to her to ask for help, but a set of heroes gathered beside Deis and a young dragon from the Light Dragon clan. This group fought back against Myria and contained her in another dimension under a magical seal created by Deis and locked with seven keys.

Hundreds of years after these events is the stage upon which the first game takes place. The Dark Dragons have slowly but surely rebuilt their empire and effectively are the most powerful country in the world. The Light Dragons have, for the most part, splintered into their own little towns and cities, and are now being hunted into extinction by the rising Dark Dragon empire. Here, the story starts with Ryu, another young dragon whose town is being burned down by the powerful Dark Dragon army. It turns out years of hiding have weakened their powers such that they mostly cannot fight off the powerful monsters sent to kill them. From here, the story goes much as the previous one did, with Ryu gathering a collection of allies, fighting for the keys of power that Deis had made to seal her sister away, awakening Deis (who, by now, was suffering amnesia) to help him, and eventually battling a freed Myria after the keys are stolen and used to undo the seal. Myria, at this point, is still a young goddess who initially tries to charm the party into submission. There are a few endings here, but the story clearly follows the one in which Myria is revealed and then defeated by the power of Infinity, the secret power of the dragon clan which Myria has always coveted and feared. Myria, as she's defeated and sealed away again, reveals that this is not the end and that she has left something behind for her revenge. From here, the heroes go home to a hero's welcome, where Ryu and Nina get married, beginning the inevitable descent of Nina's clan as their gifts are diluted with the joining of royal blood with that of another clan.

Fast-forward hundreds of years to the future. The dragon clan is, for the most part, in absentia, though not like the last time. Aware of Myria's threats through Ryu, they hunt down the creature she'd left behind, her 'pet' or 'son', Death Evans. Unable to destroy it, entrenched as it is in a nest of demons, they create powerful seals and build a city underground from which to attempt to battle it while waiting on a prophecy given to them by their god, Ladon; namely, that a destined child would appear to battle it. Deis, like the last time, went to sleep again and only recently was stirred by the movement of destiny. This is the stage upon which Breath of Fire 2 opens, where the player follows the story of the half-bred Ryu. Ryu, early on, is discovered by the demons to be the child of destiny and in a two-fold strike is cut off from his family and the gate seized by the demons so they can begin serious work on opening it. Here I shall skip Barubary, lest I segue into a three page editorial on him alone. Needless to say, the young Ryu survives and meets, among others, a young princess Nina. Working as a Ranger, it is eventually discovered that they need flight in order to combat the nefarious workings of the church of Saint Evans, through which the machinations of Death Evans are orchestrated. Here, Nina undergoes a trial in which she battles a guardian of her people's heritage. Once defeated, this guardian reveals herself to be the original Nina (from the first game) who explains both how she was the start of their people's fall from grace and provides what is a hard to contest link between the two games. From here the heroes go on to devastate the church, then open the gates proceeding down into the underworld to challenge Death Evans directly. Here you find the dragon elders who have been guarding the sacred treasure of the dragon clan, the power of Infinity that was used to defeat Myria before. Ryu, obtaining this power, then delves deeper into the depths until he faces Barubary and then Death Evans. If you bring Deis along for this, Death Evans recognizes her as the legendary sorceress, even if she does not remember herself. Needless to say, the heroes win, Death Evans is slain and the world is left at peace.

For millennia this peace continues as the world advances and develops. Then the great war happens. The nature of this war is not made clear, though nuclear devastation is hinted, and most of civilization is set back hundreds of years. During this disaster, the seals holding Myria fall apart and she arrives at the devastated and broken city of Caer Xhan. Through her renewed senses - and the computers of Caer Xhan - she finds that humans were responsible for this destruction, so she starts working towards putting it back together in her own little way, separating slowly the destroyed areas from the non-destroyed ones, gathering followers, and generally working to unite her 'children' under her power. During this phase though, she comes across the still surviving dragon clan. The clan, by now, has aged greatly and is in its twilight, if still strong. Fearful of their power, and of being sealed again, Myria strikes out, creating an army of fierce, divinely empowered warriors to hunt down and kill every last one. The dragons took this several ways. Some resisted. Others hid. Others fled or stood and died. They had the power to strike back and defeat them, but they were afraid of using it and causing too much destruction, so instead they guarded the power and hid. During this slaughter, Deis awakens and, still weak from her slumber, challenges these warriors, seeking to prevent the annihilation of the dragon clan. Myria takes advantage of this to have them seal her in a prison so that she cannot regain her full strength and cannot meddle in Myria's affairs. The dragon clan, for better or worse, vanishes from the visible face of the world again and life goes on. Five hundred years pass.

This is where Breath of Fire 3 begins, with a single young dragon who had been sealed away for five hundred years being freed and running wild, slowly discovering what he is. This new young Ryu travels around the world until he meets Garr, one of Myria's divine warriors who had been questioning what happened during the dragon wars. Garr decides to try and push Ryu to the limit instead of killing him in order to see just what power the dragon clan was hiding. Naturally, this is revealed to be quite a lot of power, enough such that if the dragons had fought seriously they could've destroyed Myria's forces. The story goes on with Deis being freed, the dragon clan being discovered and gifting their prince, Ryu, with the hidden power of Infinity that they had been hiding away from Myria's sight. Brushing over that, we get to the end, where Myria tries to deceive, using charm and illusion and guile and beauty. When finally cornered, she reveals her true monstrous self in defense as Yggdrassil, the ancient tree spirit, gives Ryu and company the strength to stand against her. In the end, Myria is struck down, her base collapsing around her. Deis teleports in to comfort her sister and offer her understanding, but also to join her, to end it together as sisters.

Thus ends the trilogy of Breath of Fire, and thus is why the next two games in the series separate vastly in style, form, and structure from the first three, telling very different stories that were unconnected with the original trilogy. The story, as hinted at from the very beginning, had come to a close. Breath of Fire 3 ends with life carrying on without the need for gods. To continue the story, in other words, would despoil the vision of it.

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