From Melvien's Journal - The Ingrid Nobody Knows

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Oh! My oh my, what a surprise.
It has certainly been awhile.
And how goes your work with colonization?

Oh-ho.
So we've progressed that far already, have we?

Reminds me of the Great Expedition of old, it does.

According to the annals of history, they managed to delve fairly deep into the hinterlands of Ulbuka back then.
Though that was long before my time, before I was even born…

Still, Ulbuka is dangerous territory.
"It is brimming with evil and impurity; one mustn't go near it!"
I remember often hearing those words from my mother.
Please do be careful.
After all, exorcists are the only ones who can purge the evil.

By the way, speaking of exorcists – I hear the most powerful of them, the Weatherspoon prodigy, has returned to Adoulin.

Ah, you've met already, have you?
But I must say, that girl has changed considerably from the child she once was… Yes, she's very different now.

Oh dear.
I'm afraid I have overstepped my bounds.
Please ignore my words…


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Ingrid has returned.

She had been visiting the Middle Lands in order to learn more about the ways of the outside world.
Though she may have gained knowledge and worldliness, her personality has not changed a bit.

Heavens!
Still as fiery a temperament as ever.

Her face was quite the sight to see, that time her purgation ritual failed.
Stunned, and drained of all color, it was – white as a marble statue, yes.
Afterwards, there she was, chewing away on her nails as usual, her eyebrows knit tightly on her forehead.
She could have frightened a stone gargouille!
It was as if she herself were some demoness who had emerged from the underworld.

They don’t call her “the Merciless One” for nothing!

But…I can understand.
You see, I know what led her to become the way she is now.

It’s something only the current leaders of the Twelve Orders know about, but I should record it here in this journal…as a small honor to Ingrid’s good name.

*

Ingrid’s mother, Alucia, was also an exorcist.
Not only was she exceedingly beautiful, even more so than Ingrid, but her personality was as warm as a pool of sunlight on a cold winter’s day.

“Alucia the Merciful” She was called.
So merciful was she that she never forgot compassion, not even toward those who had already departed from this world.

But it was this kindly personality that was her undoing.

It happened over ten years ago.
There had been a rumor spreading that the undead were appearing at a graveyard outside of town.

Alucia was to go to the graveyard and perform a transcendence ritual.
A transcendence ritual is one in which the exorcist speaks to the wandering spirit, calming and releasing the restless soul.
This is how it differs from the purgation ritual, which forcibly banishes impurity.

Now, I’m no expert on the spirit and the soul, but apparently a successful transcendence ritual is cause for gratitude from the wandering spirit, as the spirit is finally released from the bonds of this world.

This is all just based on what I’ve heard from others, you understand.
I don’t know if it’s true.
Is the soul really something that can be influenced by the paltry power of a mere human being?
It seems like that’s more the work of a higher power – for example, the Goddess…
That’s how I feel.
“Release from the bonds of this world” all sounds very well and good, but who knows what the reality of it is…?

But I digress.
Alucia’s transcendence ritual was a failure.
A more common undead creature would have been just another day’s work—but this was a wily dullahan.
Disguising itself as a timid spirit, it tricked Alucia with this little speech.

“I have one regret left in this world. A music box I treasured in life is buried underneath a tree on the other side of town. Please retrieve it for me, as I long to hear its tune just one more time.”

The kindly Alucia did as she was asked, and dug at the roots of the tree.
There, she found the small, ancient music box…and opened the lid.

The Dullahan revealed his true form as soon as Alucia lifted the lid.
“Ha! A pesky exorcist used that music box to seal away my powers, but you have broken that seal! Now rue your foolishness!”

He then placed a powerful curse upon her.

When Alucia realized she had been tricked, she used all of her last remaining powers to recite an incantation of purgation.

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With a piercing scream that echoed in the night, the Dullahan vanished.
But, in the same instant, Alucia collapsed to the ground.
The incantation of purgation heavily affected her now cursed body.

As the sun rose on the graveyard, its rays fell upon a shattered music box and Alucia’s collapsed form.

Perhaps due to the weight of her own powerful incantation, Alucia lost all of her exorcist powers and was forced to retire. To add insult to injury, any name she had built for herself was ruined, as it became known that she was an exorcist who had allowed herself to be cursed.

It could be said that is when her only daughter Ingrid’s trials began. Her family faced expulsion from the Order of Weatherspoon, and Ingrid became their sole support. To endure the most grueling training and harshest criticism required in order to claw her way up as an exorcist of Adoulin, Ingrid needed an iron will.

And it was in that harshest of environments that The Merciless One earned her epithet.

People are inherently weak.
That’s what I believe – weak.
Each of us throughout the five races harbors some darkness in our hearts. And the harder we forge ourselves to resist one darkness, the easier we fall prey to another.

That said, Ingrid surpassed her mother and acquired power as an exorcist of Adoulin–power acquired as a result of and in direct contrast to her mother’s moniker of “The Merciful”…

Melvien de Malecroix


Melvien de Malecroix
Male Elvaan

The leader of the Order of Woltaris, one of Adoulin’s Twelve Orders. Perhaps because of his role as Adoulin’s Minister of Finance, he is a staunch proponent of the colonization initiative and insists that Adoulin’s success rests on the development of Ulbuka. He is hardly without detractors, who worry that his rapid-fire implementation of economic policies is bringing too much change too quickly to Adoulin. Recently, it is said that with the mountain of paperwork and the complicated nature of all the negotiations he must navigate, he often goes for days without sleep.


Story : Miyabi Hasegawa
Illustration : Mitsuhiro Arita


Category: News

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