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Epi-aina

Aina with the Epitaph of Twilight

"Epitaph of Twilight, I see you've reached it as well."
Helba


The Epitaph of Twilight (黄昏の碑文), sometimes rendered Epitaph of the Twilight, or just the Epitaph, is an epic poem written by Emma Wielant. It tells the story of a race of sprites, beings that cast no shadows, who are being devoured by a foe known as the Cursed Wave. When all seems lost, the armies of light and darkness forge an alliance to strike back against it. According to legend, when the Cursed Wave appears, three beings with shadows will set out in search of the "Twilight Dragon," who is foretold to have the power to defeat the Cursed Wave. The main story of the Epitaph centers around a human and two half-sprites with shadows who search for the Twilight Dragon. Halfway through their journey to the Wavering Peninsula at the edge of the world, where the Twilight Dragon is rumored to exist, they are assisted by Fili the White and Magi the Black, servants to Apeiron, King of Light, and Helba, Queen of the Dark.

The original version of the Epitaph was published on Emma Wielant's personal website, and never completed. The site had special security measures that kept people from normally saving, printing, or copying the text for themselves. Because of this, and because few people noticed the work until after her death, the original was thought to be lost, though some copies and notes, as well as a purported hardcopy, remained. Supposedly, the story of the Epitaph was used as the setting for Fragment, a game by the programmer Harald Hoerwick which later formed the basis for The World. However, since this was still only based on fragments of knowledge, much of The World's setting was created by the CyberConnect Corporation. It is often unknown which elements of the game came from the Epitaph, and which were additions. The text of the Epitaph was also added to a "blackbox system" in the game by Harald for the development of Aura, the Ultimate AI, and was discovered by Aina and Ovan within The Creator's Room.

Since the original Epitaph was lost, it is impossible to know how close the copies are to the original, though small pieces remain. Even in the real world, fan versions of the Epitaph float around. The passage of the Epitaph seen at the beginning of .hack//INFECTION was translated into Japanese by Norikazu Fujii (藤井紀和).

The Epitaph is said to begin at "Navel of Lake", also known as Δ Hidden Forbidden Holy Ground in The World. The following are the known fragments of the Epitaph.

Epitaph OutlineEdit

Translated from .hack//analysis and the CyberConnect2 website.[1]
    1. Conversation
    2. Turning Away from the Fields - The conversation between Apeiron, King of Light, and Helba, Queen of Darkness, at "Navel of Lake". Before the threat of the "Cursed Wave", the two form an alliance. Tells of the time until the three travelers—including Saya, the first being with a shadow found by Magi the Black and Bith the White—set off in search of the Twilight Dragon.
    3. Lilith
    4. The Travelers
    5. The Dividing Forest
    6. Shining Eyes - The night sprite, Lilith, who is pursued by the Dark. The reason Kendor the Tall participates in the search. Crossing through the forest where all get lost—the Dividing Forest. In the swamp, the first contact with the ancient monster Cubia. Saved from this danger by Lilith, the three shadowed ones, the seekers of the Twilight Dragon, gather here.
    7. Plaird the Sorrowful
    8. The Crystal Hill
    9. Light's Great Tree - The three seekers, Bith and Magi come to the city of Arche Heyoka. In a reunion with Magi's old friend—Plaird, a sprite who wanted to become human—the reason why Magi serves the Dark becomes clear. The rebellion of the "Crystal Hill". In a meeting with Dorin, who sleeps near "Light's Great Tree", they learn that if they go to the Wavering Peninsula beyond the "End of Land", which is past the "Keel Mountains", they may be able to learn the whereabouts of the Twilight Dragon, and that the only one who knows the way there is Tartarga, who is in the "True Underworld".
    10. Sconk
    11. Reunion
    12. The Bewitching Spirit of the Desert - They obtain Sconk's Tear Jar to protect themselves from Tartarga's guardian, Tortets. In the desert of the Dark, they meet again with Gendor's companions, who have come fleeing the Wave. Tells of the bewitching spirit who dreamed of a desert where the World Tree grows.
    13. The Dark Hearth
    14. (Unknown)
    15. Tartarga - The former inhabitant of the boiled underworld lake called the "Dark Hearth". Meeting with Tartarga in the "True Underworld". They learn that the way to the "End of Land" lies within the Great Temple of Arche Koeln in the "Land of the Beginning of Beginnings", but, pursued by Tortets, become lost in the tunnels of the underworld.
    16. The Dream of Lazeth
    17. The Great Waterfall
    18. Wandering in the Maze - The group has come out of the tunnels in the worst place, the Forest of Everlasting Darkness, and are trapped in Lazeth's dream. Within the dream, they encounter Cubia again. Saya's familiar and Cubia annihilate each other. Opening the seal on the Great Waterfall, they come to the Great Temple of Arche Koeln. Tells of the awakening of Gendor's sleeping powers in the Living Maze.
    19. Gate at the End of Land
    20. The Wave Comes
    21. The Keel Mountains - The group meets the gatekeeper of the "End of Land". At the same time, Helba's palace of darkness falls to the Abominable Wave. Apeiron's army leaves the palace of light. Not waiting to see the Dragon, the King of Light and Queen of Darkness move their armies against the Wave
    22. (Unknown)
    23. The Dragon Sighted
    24. The Night Before - Encounter with an ape wearing a hat, and the formation of the Armies of Light and Dark at the foot of the Rainbow. The Lake of Alba, which perished in a battle, and the riddle-asking dragon Sheraton. The group finally reaches the Wavering Peninsula. There, Saya's group parts ways with Magi and Bith. The retreat of the Armies of Light and Dark, and their formation for the final battle. Ends with the return of Magi and Bith to Helba and Apeiron. Tells of the situation on the eve of the decisive battle.
    25. Twilight Dragon
    26. An Ending (Incomplete) - Finding the Twilight Dragon, and the fife that signals the start of the Last Battle. The Dragon's unexpected words. Before the Wave, Magi becomes a point of light, and vanishes. The sprites who risk their very existence in their hopeless fight against the Wave. Dialogue between Saya's group and the Dragon. (The currently confirmed manuscript ends in the middle of this dialogue.)

Epitaph of The TwilightEdit

From the introduction of .hack//INFECTION and posted by W. B. Yeats

Also partly heard at Δ Hidden Forbidden Holy Ground and read by Aina in the G.U. Games.

Yet to return, the shadowed one.
Who quests for the Twilight Dragon
Rumbles the Dark Hearth,
And Helba, Queen of the Dark[2],
has raised finally her army.
Apeiron, King of Light[2] beckons.
At the base of the rainbow do they meet
Against the abominable Wave,
together they fight.
Alba's lake boils.
Light's great tree doth fall.
Power- now all to droplets turned
in the temple of Arche Koeln.
Returns to nothing,
this world of shadowless ones.
Never to return, the shadowed one,
Who quests for the Twilight Dragon.

The Phases in the EpitaphEdit

Found in an E-mail by Wiseman

Unknown where the Cursed Wave was born…
After the stars doth cross the heavens,
The sky in the East doth darken and air doth fill with mourning.
From the chosen land beyond the forest, a sign of the wave comes.
Riding the wake is Skeith, the Shadow of Death, to drown all that stands.
Mirage of Deceit, Innis, Betray all with the flawed image, and did aid the Wave.
And by the Power of Magus, a drop from the Wave doth reach the heavens, and creates a new Wave.
With the Wave, Fidchell, the power to tell the dark future, hope darkens, sadness and despair rule.
Gorre schemes when swallowed by the Cursed Wave.
Macha seduces with the sweet trap.
Wave reaches the Pinnacle, and escape none can. Tarvos still remains with more cruelty to punish and destroy.
And with the turbulent destruction after the Wave. Only a void remains. From deep within the void arrives Corbenik.
Perhaps then the Wave is just a beginning as well.

NotesEdit

  • This is the only part of the Epitaph to appear verbatim in .hack//Epitaph of Twilight. It is found in an ancient text in Apeiron's archives.

Epitaph 00Edit

Found at Θ Cursed Despaired Paradise

Shunning the field broken by Wave.
The shadowed girl whispers,
"Surely, I will return."
Alas, the truth unbeknownst.
Awaiting her at journey's end;
Eternal mourning for her land.

Epitaph 01Edit

Found at Λ Dying Madness Haunted Land

When the finger points to the
yonder moon,
The fool will not look at the fingertip.


Notes from .hack//analysisEdit

  • It is thought that Harald, who did not realize at first what a daunting task creating the Ultimate AI would be, particularly related to this passage, as felt foolish in his lack of foresight.

Notes from .hack//QuantumEdit

  • A variation of this quote appears in .hack//Quantum. It is shown on the login screen for the World. It reads, When the finger points to the yonder moon, the fool will not look at the fingertip.

Other NotesEdit

  • The third line of this fragment in the English version of .hack is a mistranslation of the original Japanese. It should read, "The fool will look at the fingertip."
  • The translation in Harald's Archetype, volume 3 of the .hack//G.U. novels, reads
When one points their finger to the moon,
Oh ye fool,
Shall gaze upon the fingertip.

Epitaph 02Edit

Found at Σ Chatting Snaring Twins

The whole cannot be changed.
We have already lost that chance.
Because the time left to us was short,
We were mistaken in our path.
But now do we realize,
We should change not the whole,
But the parts.

The probability of this verse referring to "recovering after a fatal mistake and changing some for the better" is sound.

Epitaph 03Edit

Found at Σ Resonating False Grasslands

Wave soars and shrouds the eyes.
No means to fight an omnipresent force,
The shadowless ones just grieve.
Why must it be a Wave?
Divide, if it would just...
Then retaliate, we may.

Epitaph 04Edit

Found at Σ Screaming Wind Sand's Fate Castle

Over the Keel Mountains,
Meets an ape with human speech.
The ape asks,
"What clings to you?
Bear it—you cannot.
Accept it—you cannot.
But hidden—it is from you.
Recite its name."

AnswerEdit

Your own name—the name of your shadow, your dark side.

Fidchell's ProphecyEdit

Recited by the Phase Fidchell the Prophet

Like a frenzied horse that is driven.
An unseen wind of plague shrieks across the border.
Pandemonium, wailing, and stench of carnage fills the air.
There is no place to run. No hope of escape.
Those who are mourned will never return.
The hands of time cannot be turned back.

Notes from .hack//analysisEdit

  • Listed as part of the Epitaph, but shown to also be relevant to the events of the .hack Games.
  • "Wind of plague" refers to the virus corruption.
  • "Border" refers to the servers, security zones, and the real world.
  • "Those who are mourned" refers to the belief that computers are infallible and dependable.


"Epigraph"Edit

From .hack//Another Birth Vol.2

:The Keel Mountains traversed at last,
we met a dragon that spoke thus:
"Sheraton am I, who interprets the signs.
An answer to my question, give.
If you can, complete my role will be,
and I will leave this land.
Though equally it exists before everyone's eyes,
grasp it not one person can.
Tell me—what is it?"

AnswerEdit

"The moment."

Mia's WordsEdit

From .hack//Another Birth Vol.3

Plaird of the Seven Sisters,
falling in love with a human,
Became a Shadowed One and was exiled from the Dark.
Hence, her name came to be called Plaird the Fallen.
At her wanderings end,
she settled in seclusion in Arche Haokar.
However, those days may not last.
A reunion may come, or may not.
Plaird's form vanishes at the coming of the sign of the Wave.

NoteEdit

In .hack//Epitaph of Twilight, Plaird was exiled from the Light, not the Dark.

The full version of the Epitaph

-Epitaph of Twilight-

Yet to return, the shadowed one.

Who quests for the Twilight Dragon

Rumbles the Dark Hearth,

And Helba, Queen of the Dark,

Has raised finally her army.

Apeiron, King of Light beckons.

At the base of the rainbow do they meet

Against the abominable Wave,

Together they fight.

Alba's lake boils.

Light's great tree doth fall.

Power- now all to droplets turned

In the temple of Arche Koeln.

Returns to nothing,

This world of shadowless ones.

Never to return, the shadowed one,

Who quests for the Twilight Dragon.


-Fragment 03-

The Wave soars and shrouds the eyes.

No means to fight an omnipresent force,

The shadowless ones just grieve.

Why must it be a Wave? Divide, if it would just...

Then retaliate we may.


-Phases of the Epitaph-

Unknown where the Cursed Wave was born...

After the stars doth cross the heavens,

the sky in the East doth darken and the air doth fill with mourning.

From the chosen land

beyond the forest, a sign of the Wave comes.

Riding the Wave is Skeith, the Shadow of Death,

To drown all that stands.

Mirage of Deceit, Innis, betray all with the flawed image,

And did aid the Wave.

And, by the power of Magus, a drop from the Wave doth reach the heavens,

And creates a new Wave.

With the Wave, Fidchell, the power to tell the dark future:

Hope darkens, sadness and despair rule.

Gorre schemes when swallowed by the Cursed Wave.

Macha seduces with the sweet trap.

Wave reaches the pinnacle, and escape none can.

Tarvos still remains with more cruelty to punish and destroy.

And with the turbulent Destruction, after the Wave, only a void remains.

From deep within the void arrives Corbenik.

Perhaps the Wave is just a beginning as well.


-Undefined-

Once their magic land did glow

With vagrant, ever-present light:

When sprites would play in flowing fields,

The twilight shining in their wings

As they swam through silky seas of mist,

Before the coming of the Wave.

Untouched by fear or pain they lived

Each minute with the utmost joy,

Till the cursed Wave did rise

Tearing through the dusky skies;

Consuming light and dark in kind

And leaving none to mourn behind.

So to the East the sprites did flee

Though burdened by the tragedy,

The truth was all too plain to see:

One by one their kind would fall

Beneath the torrent of the Wave

If none could stand before its gaze

And somehow fill that endless void.

King of light and queen of dark,

Apeiron and Helba knew of one

Who might defeat the Wave:

A mythic beast long said to sleep

'Neath the edge of the world's end

Sheathed by the Wavering Peninsula,

A creature of the greatest might,

The sacred dragon of twilight.

Thus Queen Helba chose Bith the Black,

Her strongest sprite, to join the quest;

While Apeiron sent Fili the White

To journey with them in his stead,

For Bith and Helba thought it best

That the king remain behind to rule

And calm the ever-spreading dread

Ere the dragon might appear.

So as the three prepared to ride

Through the aqua gate of Mac Anu

A fourth did come by fate's command:

One part human, one part sprite,

Alone for all his nameless might,

He fell in stride with Helba's steed

As she wordlessly agreed,

His will was worthy of their cause.

Through the Fatel Bog they sped

As onyx dust cloaked each in turn

From which arose a blinding pall,

A living shadow born to crawl

Betwixt reality and mind,

Till death, within them, was enshrined:

Each was shown their comrades slain;

Illusions of Skeith's mortal game.

Fili wept and knelt to pray,

While Bith did halt in stunned dismay

Ere turning back upon the path,

Desires crushed by failure's wrath.

The halfling tore about the swamp

Searching for the fount of death

Whose noxious fog had claimed the lives

Of those who'd stand against the Wave.

Alone the dark queen Helba rode

Remorseless through the baneful mire,

Cursing the Wave as she progressed

Bent solely on her noble quest,

And as she went the darkness lifted

Till she found her friends still living,

Mounted on their stagnant steeds

As if enchanted by some dream.

Calling forth an ancient rune,

The queen dispelled the evil bind;

Thus Skeith's hold was undermined

And as he slowly evanesced

Each realized they'd been possessed

While Helba foretold a prophecy

Of eight heralds with demons blood,

Eight phases of the Cursed Wave.

As the boggy mud grew dry

Gyle Mountain rose before them,

A deadly oft avoided peak;

The swiftest route to Dun Loireag;

For eons standing as a god

O'er looking men with its facade

While hiding at its center true,

A molten pit of which none knew.

As they neared the summit's height

Something waited midst their course:

A Chimera of the greatest size

With sleight blue malefic eyes

Exuding lust for their demise;

Then two, then four, then all around

The aberrations capped the ground,

Till hundreds stood in perfect stillness.

Charging forth as one they came

With rumbling fury at the four,

Who held a circle back to back,

Slaying beasts as they attacked;

Though as the horrors met their deaths,

Each vanished with its dying breath,

Unfleshly as a wayward thought

But for the bloody wounds they wrought.

Thus the ceaseless battle waged:

As each fiend fell another came

Till Bith cried out in dire need,

A lone chimera must be real;

The others conjured effigies;

Doppelgangers born to please

Their lord and master as slaves,

Incarnations of the Wave.

Deeming true the dark knight's words,

Fili beseeched her allies three

For time to let her mind's eye see;

Hence minutes passed as Fili prayed

Ere she raised her longbow high

And let a single arrow fly

Piercing clouds upon the sky

As though the shaft were blessed by god.

Falling with a feather's grace

The missile knew whom to embrace,

And like a tear from heaven shed

Smote its wrath on the demon's head,

Laying to waste the vile horde;

As Innis' power left the peak

Six words of spite he cruelly gave:

"You shall never stop the Wave."

Past the mount they traveled far

Through Dun Loireag the highland town

Till they reached the woods of Breade

Where lay a mark for all to heed:

A sphere enclosed by myriad lines,

One of many travelers' signs

Known by the halfling doubtlessly:

A labyrinth confronts beyond.

Foraging down countless paths,

Each branch producing two alike;

They hastened forth without event

Till Helba sensed a foul intent,

And turning, to her wonder found

A creature posing as a man,

Exquisite in his nakedness;

A mold no human could possess.

With arms spread wide the demon smiled

And Helba watched as though beguiled

While fallen twigs grew into trees,

Forming fast a wooden shield

Unyielding to the fiercest blow;

Then shrieks about the forest rang

As any beast with claw or fang

Descended on the narrow trail.

Besieged by creatures of the wood

They battled 'gainst undying foes:

Each pair slain would recompose,

Birthing four at instant pace

As Magus watched with grinning glee,

Entombed within his wall of trees

Which faster grew then could be hewn;

A trait which spelled the heroes' doom.

Thus the exalting onslaught went

Till Nameless conceived a final hope,

And drawing out a flask of spirits

Hurled it at the barricade,

Then blazed a spark with blade on blade

Setting to light a rampant fire;

A majestic funeral pyre

Felling the wall atop its maker.

Soon Breade was but a memory

O'ershadowed by the floral city:

Carmina Gadelica by name,

Of gentile and aesthetic fame;

Though swiftly too it fell behind

As Moyra Canyon darkly loomed,

Foreboding in its desolation

Ere the crossing had begun.

Hours aft the presaged end

Of that bleak and lengthy trek,

Moyra's cliffs still stood aside,

Mocking each benumbing stride;

Till Bith remarked in somber phrase

They'd passed the same formations thrice,

Spun by some malign device

So deftly one might never know.

Having spoke his solemn fear

A haunting voice then prophesied:

"Your graveyard shall this chasm be

For here you will remain with me;

Helpless as the Wave consumes

Everything you've ever known,

Leaving naught behind but bone

And fading whispers on the wind."

Searching for escape in vain

They rode the passage once again;

But Fidchell's brazen promise held:

Nowhere could the cliffs be scaled,

And though their course did never veer

While racing through the corridor,

They came to camp just as before;

Overcome by nauseous dread.

Dispel charms proved fruitless too;

Till Bith called for womanly aid,

Requesting they enchant his blade;

Then slowly marching down the path

For hours when he sensed at last

The entrapping portal's edge;

Driving hard his sword to earth,

Razing Fidchell's sorcery.


[Read "Fidchell's Prophecy" at the end of this writing]


Long past the crucible of Moyra,

They sheltered in a citadel:

Fort Ouph, so said its denizens

Where mind and body could be cleansed

Of any hardships one endured

Ere disembarking further north

Over the barren Veishus Plain,

Where most who crossed it would remain.

The horses thrived on unmarked land,

Rejoicing in those countless miles

Till suddenly in concert halting

As ebon vapours coalesced

At Gorre's inhuman behest,

Forging whole his grotesque form:

A tetra-legged mass of hate

Obscured midst a foul haze.

With putrid limbs the demon lashed;

Immense weight thrown behind each strike:

Through both guard and shield alike

The blows did wound unless evaded;

While each assault the heroes launched

Was somehow violently repelled:

Sheathed in armour craft of malice

The creature stood immune to challenge.

Battling with their utmost might

Each soon grew weary from the fight,

When Fili grazed the demon's hide

And felt its overwhelming sadness;

No longer could abhorrence lie

Within her for the wretched fiend:

T'was but a puppet of the Wave

Devised to delve for each a grave.

As pity laced her heavy heart,

Fili strode towards the beast

Whose crushing limbs were now repulsed

Ere they touched her ivory skin;

When came she nigh with rapier drawn

A single thrust did slay its brawn,

For mercy guided Fili's blade

Where scorn could never penetrate.

In time they reached Lia Fail,

Exhausted to the breaking point

Where healers did their wounds anoint

While speaking of the land beyond:

Knemisys was the desert's name;

Devoid of life's too fragile flame,

Though offering hope ever so slight:

The journey's end was now in sight.

Once their strength had been regained

A woman of unmatched beauty came;

And standing in the village square

With naught to clothe but flowing hair,

She beckoned with an outstretched hand

As her siren song did ring

Throughout the quiet frontier town,

Calling both the knight and halfling.

Doused by some seducing force

Helba charged to find the source,

But like Fili arrived too late:

Bith and Nameless stood entranced

By Macha's all-enticing spell

With which she did their blades compel

To set upon the women with

Whom they'd journeyed for so long.

Knowing well the quest would fail

If any were to perish here,

They could but dodge each fierce attack,

Unwilling to counter back;

Neither could Macha be harmed:

Protected by her servants two

No assault could carry through;

Such was the witchcraft's passion.

In desperation Helba cast

A seldom sober sorcery:

The banshee's cry for moments wailed,

Annulling the demon's hymn

And sealing Macha's fate therein;

For that lone unhindered instant

Was all the dark queen needed

To cut the bare seductress down.

So bidding to the town farewell

They forged ahead through Knemisys;

Uncrossed by any to return:

The arid distance was too great,

Yet they went without debate

To find whatever might await,

Knowing one predestined fact:

They'd not last the journey back.

Past untold dunes the horses ran

Till any sense of time was gone

And each grew jadedly withdrawn,

When, rising from the sands ahead

A small oasis lay outspread;

Water sparkling through the heat

Beneath a single godsent tree

Worth tenfold its weight in gold.

First they drank as ne'er before

Upon the tiny desert shore,

But found in frantic disarray

Just two fruits about the tree;

Soon both Queen and Halfling claimed

Their sex deserved the greater share,

While Fili spoke with fixed glare:

Equal parts were truly fair.

Bith alone did not take part

For something gnawed upon his heart;

Coming clear as swords were drawn

When words alone would not suffice;

Plunging through bark and wood his axe,

A shriek of fury tamed the fight

As the haven left their eyes;

Thus Tarvos met his swift demise

Presently the thirst awoke

As the demon's magic broke,

But soon their spirits soared anew:

Sand gave way to fluid ground,

A joyous omen that they'd found

The Wavering Peninsula;

Awash with instability

Such as none had ever seen.

Colours shimmered 'round the cape,

Blending aimlessly together

While hoof-beats danced about the land

Like echoes of a mindless band;

But all too soon this chaos paled

In contrast to the final phase:

Before the Stone of Destiny

Corbenik stood in mockery.

Titanic was his human form;

Eyes alight with vicious scorn

As he advanced with roaring strides

And spoke in truly humbling voice:

"You've journeyed far and suffered much

To perish by my flawless touch;

For as you now shall plainly see,

No sprite exists to stand against me."

Ere the final word had died

A pulse erupted from his hand

Which all but one could not withstand:

Nameless stood in disbelief

As Helba, Bith, and Fili fell

Unconscious to the shifting earth;

Saved by halfling blood alone,

He'd fight this demon on his own.

Enraged that any dared resist,

Corbenik charged into the duel

With staggering ferocity

Bent towards his enemy

Who spun ever-elusively

Away from each leaden blow,

Requiting with his lustrous blades

Like some pernicious serenade.

Despite the halfling's surest strike

Corbenik offered no respite,

For even as his steel drew blood

The lesion seamlessly would heal,

Till a voice in him confided:

Your weapons cannot harm this fiend;

Fight with those attached to life

To break his immortality.

Unequalled was the dark queen's verve,

So taking up her royal sword

And yearning for true faith's reward;

Nameless vaulted o'er his foe,

Driving the blade through flesh below

And landing on the other side

As the demon fell beside,

Both motionless for a time.

Soon burning with hellish fire

The fiend rose in satanic form

As the Halfling heard once more:

A weapon in accord with death

Will cleave this monster's dying breath;

Thus endowed with Bith's great axe

He snuffed Corbenik's second life;

Though doubt within him now grew rife.

From ash the demon rose again,

Empowered by the pure heart

And soaring high with angel's wings

As Nameless brandished Fili's bow,

Firing volleys at each chance

Till the fiend could fly no more,

And beaten to its very core,

Fell to earth one final time.

Once the sprites had reawakened

The voice resounded in their minds:

You have my sincerest praises

For vanquishing the Wave's eight phases,

Each imbued with twisted souls

Collected by their maker;

Each a brutal incarnation

Embodying the psyche.

Skeith, The Terror of Death;

Composed of deepest mortal fear

His morbid whispers silence cheer

Innis, The Mirage of Deceit;

Cloaked within a deadly guise,

One must see truth amidst his lies;

Magus, The Propagator,

In his presence species' thrive,

Ever able to survive;

Fidchell, The Prophet;

Predicating hopeless fate

To crush your will beneath its weight;

Gorre, The Machination;

Enrobed by vicious cruelty,

Immune to all but sympathy;

Macha, The Temptress;

Manifesting love and lust

To charm even the most robust;

Tarvos, The Avenger;

Envy and vengeance are the tools

With which he transforms men to fools;

And Corbenik, The Rebirth;

First compelled by all life's riches

Then drawn towards the reaper's scythe

Before ascending to the skies

On gusts of immaculate intent.

When this world was barely born

The Wave and I did battle here

For eons at same frontier,

Clashing once with utmost strength:

Our bodies spread across the land

Seeding all that now exists;

Substance did my form provide,

And he the spirit held inside.

I've waited for your coming since;

A specter sealed beneath this stone

Without a shape to call my own;

Thus I must entreat you all

To pay this last, most grievous cost:

Return to me what I have lost

That I might give my life to save

Those remaining from the Wave.

Each laid their hands upon the stone,

Vanishing as the dragon rose

In magnificent repose;

Feeding off his former tomb

Now serving as a holy womb;

The peninsula soon faded too:

Among the saddest kinds of loss,

Gone ere it could be forgotten.

In a breath the dragon flew

Back to besieged Mac Anu,

Where all the mages of the land

Had trenched their only stand

At the battered aqua gate

To stay the Wave in fervent hope

That the quest would yet succeed,

As Apeiron had once decreed.

Streaming forth in sheer delight,

The Twilight Dragon met the Wave;

Twirling 'round his adversary

Till inextricably entwined

They momently shone as one,

Like a swiftly dying sun

Whose embers flare with glory bright

Before it's taken by the night.

When the aura dissipated,

Wave and Dragon both were gone,

Though joy came not to Apeiron;

He knew this victory's true price;

The last and greatest sacrifice

Which Helba and her friends had made

At land's end so far away

For every voice that now did cheer.

Sprites have long since lost their wings

As they did their innocence,

The timeless dusk in which they lived,

And perhaps of all the saddest;

Of Helba and her servant Bith,

Of Fili and the Halfling too,

No memories remain but this:


-Fragment 00-

Shunning the field, broken by Wave,

The shadowed girl whispers,

"Surely I will return."

Alas, the truth unbeknownst,

Awaiting her at journey's end;

Eternal mourning for her land.


-----


[These may be placed  in some places during Helba's quest in order.]


-Fragment 01-

When the finger points to the yonder moon,

The fool will look at the fingertip.


-Fragment 02-

The whole cannot be changed.

We have already lost that chance.

Because the time left to use was short,

We were mistaken in our path.

But now do we realize, we should not alter the whole,

But change the parts.


-Fragment 04-

Over the Keel Mountains,

Meets an ape with human speech.

The ape asks,

"What clings to you?

Bear it—you cannot.

Accept it—you cannot.

But hidden—it is from you.

Recite its name."

[Your name - the name of your dark side]


-Epigraph-

The Keel Mountains traversed at last,

We met a dragon who spoke thus: "Sheraton am I,

Who interprets the signs. An answer to my question give.

If you can, complete my role will be,

And I will leave this land.

Though equally it exists before everyone's eyes,

Grasp it not one person can. Tell me - what is it?"

[The moment]


-----


-Fidchell's Prophecy-

"Like a frenzied horse that is driven.

An unseen wind of plague shrieks across the border.

Pandemonium, wailing, and stench of carnage fills the air.

There is no place to run. No hope of escape.

Those who are mourned will never return.

The hands of time cannot be turned back."


-----


[NOTE] This part has no meaning in the context of currently released details.


-Plaird-

Plaird of the Seven Sisters,

Falling in love with a human, became a Shadowed One

And was exiled from the Light.

Hence, her name came to be called Plaird the Fallen.

At her wanderings' end, she settled in seclusion in Arche Haokar.

However, those days may not last.

A reunion may come, or may not.

Plaird's form vanishes at the coming of the harbinger of the Wave.

by system administrator. :D

Characters in the EpitaphEdit

  • Apeiron, King of Light - The preserver of order.
  • Bith the Black[3] - An elderly sage. The black guide. A servant of Helba.
  • Bith the White[3] - A half-sprite who accompanies Saya. His relation to Bith the Black is unknown.
  • Crimson Knights - Warriors of the Dark, said to oppose to the Cobalt Knights.
  • Cobalt Knights - Warriors of the Light, said to oppose to the Crimson Knights.
  • Corbenik - One of eight names found in an ancient text. The Rebirth.
  • Cubia - An ancient lifeform.
  • Culhwch - Watchman of the Crystal Forest.
  • Dorin - A qilin (or griffin) who sleeps under the "Light's Great Tree".
  • Fidchell - One of eight names found in an ancient text. The Prophet.
  • Fili the White[3] - A young sage. The white guide.
  • Gorre - One of eight names found in an ancient text. The Machinator.
  • Gendor - A young man from a band of humans who settled in the Dividing Forest. One of the three travelers.
  • Helba, Queen of the Dark - The destroyer of order.
  • Innis - One of eight names found in an ancient text. The Mirage of Deceit.
  • Jinn of the Desert - A solitary sprite who lives at an oasis in the Desert of Dakk. He dreams of one day finding and planting the seed of the World Tree.
  • Lilith - A night sprite formerly loyal to the Dark. After a prank gone terribly wrong gave her a shadow, she was banished. One of the three travelers.
  • Macha - One of eight names found in an ancient text. The Temptress.
  • Magi the Black[3] - A half-sprite who accompanies Saya.
  • Magus - One of eight names found in an ancient text. The Propagation.
  • Plaird is the youngest of a group of seven water sprite sisters. She gained a shadow from falling in love, and wanted to become human.
  • Saya - The "little witch" who lives in the golden field. The first shadowed one found by Bith and Fili, she is one of the three travelers.
  • Sconk - A cowardly monster, and owner of the Tear Jar. Seeks shelter with Dorin when the Wave approaches.
  • Sheradon - An ape who wears a fez and looks down on humans.
  • Sheraton - A dragon who interprets the Signs.
  • Skeith - One of eight names found in an ancient text. The Terror of Death.
  • Tartarga - A tortoise who lives in the True Underworld and possesses ancient knowledge.
  • Tarvos - One of eight names found in an ancient text. The Avenger.
  • The Flying Stag - A six-legged stag with golden horns. After Saya helped it when it was injured, it led her to Bith and Fili.
  • The Traveler of the Dividing Forest - A shadowed one, and eldest of the people of the Chosen Land.

Places in the EpitaphEdit

TriviaEdit

CubiaHiddenOne

Wiseman calling Cubia the "Hidden One."

  • Though Wiseman says that Cubia is called the "Hidden One" in the Epitaph, no existing pieces actually mention Cubia as such.
  • The Twilight Dragon from the Epitaph is frequently invoked by serious players as a blessing. Wiseman is especially fond of this.
    • In .hack//XXXX, Aura invokes this blessing when she sends BlackRose to rescue Kite from Cubia.
  • In the areas where you find Epitaph 02 and Epitaph 04, Harald's memory fragments activate from floor to floor.
  • In Greek mythology, the Pleiades are nymphs (i.e., beautiful minor divinities of nature) and the seven daughters of the Titan Atlas and the sea-nymph Pleione born on Mount Cyllene. They were turned into stars by Zeus, and the Pleiades star cluster, which is named after the mythological Pleiades, is called Subaru in Japan.
  • While the name of the work is exclusively the Epitaph of the Twilight in the Japanese version of .hack, in the English edition it is more often referred to as the Epitaph of Twilight, although the former name is still used.
  • According to the Epitaph of New Testament, in reality the Epitaph was written by Kazunori Ito while he was working as a production assistant. Later, while writing for .hack, he saw a chance to incorporate his story.

Other NotesEdit

  1. Translations found at http://web.archive.org/20050320101119/homepage.mac.com/murgatroyd314/Epitaph.html
  2. 2.0 2.1 The Japanese version of the Epitaph used the Old Norse words Lios and Dakk interchangeably with "Light" and "Dark". This is where Lios's name comes from.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 An outline of the Epitaph found in Analysis and on the CC2 website refers to "Bith the White" and "Magi the Black". The Epitaph as known by Helba and various others in the series refers to "Bith the Black" and "Fili the White". It seems likely that these are the same characters, whose names differ between drafts of the poem.

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