AUTHOR’S NOTE: This is adapted from a post I ran over at Nintendojo in 2016 about a very niche video game. This page is loaded with spoilers, especially of Baten Kaitos Origins but also of Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean. If you haven’t played these games yet and you think you might, be warned. If you have played them, this will make the most sense to you. If you haven’t, you can read more about them here.
September 25th, 2016 marked the ten-year anniversary of the North American release of Baten Kaitos Origins, one of the last great GameCube games. I’d been thinking about the Baten Kaitos duology a fair bit at the time and even recounted my 2015 playthrough of the two games over at Nintendojo. I carried that playthrough out in chronological order rather than release order, since the second game in the series – Baten Kaitos Origins – is a prequel to the first game, Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean.
One of the big rubs of the prequel, Origins, is that raises as many new questions as it answers, questions that may never be answered. When I first finished Origins back in 2006, I found multiple message board threads (many of them now lost) of fans trying to make sense of what Origins made for its chronological successor, Eternal Wings. This bothered me enough that, way back in 2007, I actually sketched out an outline of a possible interquel that would try to close some of those holes. It has sat, gathering dust, in a folder ever since, migrating from computer to computer in a long, solitary journey.
As a full novel of fanfiction it will almost certainly never happen, for a multitude of reasons you can guess at. (Hint: I have a lot of other writing projects on the plate.) But since I did do the legwork on the plot, I thought it might be worthwhile to sketch the outline of that plot here, for posterity if nothing else. Like any fanfiction, it is merely speculative, although it does seek to clean up some loose ends.
The main issues I tackled:
- What becomes of Sagi and Milly after Origins? Sagi and Milly are two of the three main playable characters in Origins. Sagi, the primary protagonist, is a “maladieter,” a person implanted with a piece of a dark god named Malpercio, which he manages to reconcile with and draw power from during the game. (The player plays as that god-piece; for clarity here I use its historical name, Marno.) Milly is Sagi’s friend and, as Origins implies, future wife. Sagi and Milly help bring down the Alfard Empire in Origins. Between Origins and Eternal Wings, it is strongly implied that Sagi and Milly have a child named Melodia but the two parents later perish because of some sort of illness or other malady.
- What becomes of Guillo after Origins? Guillo, a puppet (sort of a magical robot), is the third of the three playable characters in Origins. Guillo loses his body at the end of Origins but the end credits imply that Guillo’s head still lives.
- What becomes of Hasseleh? Hasseleh is the floating continent Sagi was born in. It floats because power from an ancient war seeped into the ground there. (Most other continents float because of the power of objects known as End Magnus.) There is no record of Hasseleh in Eternal Wings.
- What are the Origins of Wiseman? Wiseman was the main antagonist in Origins; he’s fought twice, once in the past and once in the present. His nature and Origins are not explained and he is not present in Eternal Wings.
- What happens to Lolo after Origins? Lolo, a brilliant wood engineer, was an NPC in Origins. She is nowhere to be found in Eternal Wings.
- What happens to the Alfard Empire after Origins? In Origins, Alfard is decimated when the newly-crowned emperor, Balheit, tries to create a floating mechanical continent called Tarazed. Sagi manages to disable Terazed, which subsequently plummets out of the sky and (likely) kills a large number of the population who had moved there. At the end of Origins, a man named Geldoblame assumes the throne to rebuild the empire as well as search for the power of the mythical End Magnus, the large stored remnants of the ancient god Malpercio.
Plot Summary: Baten Kaitos: The Fall of the Heir and the Return of Darkness
Prologue – Alfard: Eleven years after Origins, Emperor Geldoblame of the Alfard Empire is celebrating the completion of his new, grand palace. After a decade of turmoil, he has finally succeeded in rebuilding his empire and has begun searching for the powerful End Magnus. So far they have found nothing, not even in his home island of Alfard. The empire’s scholars believe that the End Magnus can only be found with a special stone, but they do not know where it is. Geldoblame’s agents have been searching the continents, but to no avail.
Geldoblame is approached by a mysterious assassin who has just returned from the island of Mira in a scouting mission for information about the End Magnus. Mira is difficult to access because it fluctuates in and out of another dimension. The assassin explains that searching Mira may be also complicated because Sagi and Milly – two of the people responsible for destroying the floating Imperial fortress of Terazed – are there. The assassin, however, proposes an idea: to unleash a disease perfected by Empire scientists under a previous emperor, Olgan. The plague will kill off Sagi and Milly, and a large swath of the Mira population. Once the plague has run its course, the Empire can then infiltrate Mira’s capital, search for the stone, and kill Sagi and Milly without implicating the currently weak Alfard Empire. Emperor Geldoblame, who in addition to his desire for the End Magnus has his own reasons for wanting Sagi dead, agrees.
Part 1: The Plague
Chapter 1 – Mira: In the capital of Balancoire, the city is celebrating the eighth birthday of Melodia, the daughter of Sagi and Milly and the surrogate granddaughter of Mira’s leader, Duke Calbren. (On a hill off in the distance, an older man watches while standing with an adolescent of his own – a blue-haired boy named Kalas, the future protagonist of Eternal Wings.) During the celebration, Sagi’s god-piece, Marno, feels something strange creeping into Sagi’s body, weakening it. Sagi, following Marno’s guidance, follows the “trail” of the strange, invisible cloud, eventually spotting and giving pursuit to a mysterious assassin. After a long chase, Sagi, joined by Milly, confront and fight the assassin. The assassin is defeated, but commits suicide by jumping off a dock before Sagi can question him.
Chapter 2 – Mira: By now Sagi, Milly, and large numbers in Balancoire have fallen ill over the mysterious plague. Calbren, alerted to the Imperial source of the plague, is reinforcing the borders against future Alfard intruders, although he decides to keep the source of the plague secret for now. Sagi’s health is failing, even as his god-piece, Marno, is trying to understand the disease ravaging his companion’s body. Eventually Marno learns enough of the disease that he is able to communicate to Sagi information about the disease that doctors might use to fashion a cure.
Chapter 3 – Mira: As Mira’s doctors rush to create the cure, Sagi receives a message from his mother Gena that his home continent of Hasseleh has begun to experience violent earthquakes, and that the island itself seems to be slowly descending from the sky. Sagi, worried about his mother and the others on the island, insists on going to Hasseleh. The doctors warn him that the cure is not yet finished; if Sagi does not return as soon as the cure is ready it may be too late for it to work.
Sagi, however, is resolute that he must help his mother. Milly insists on joining him. Melodia, their daughter, is young but also very sick; Sagi and Milly leave her in Duke Calbren’s care. Milly promises they will return, but if they do not, that Calbren should tell her daughter that they died in the plague, so that she will not feel abandoned. Before they leave, doctors give Milly and Sagi masks that will help keep them from spreading the disease to others they come in contact with. Milly also brings along a pack containing the head of Guillo, their old puppet companion.
Chapter 4 – Anuenue: Slipping out of Mira, Sagi and Milly take to the sky in their old ship, the Sfida. Sagi worries about how he is going to help save an entire island from falling, and wonders who could help. Sagi’s god-piece, Marno, suggests that perhaps Lolo, the brilliant engineer from Anuenue, might be able to help. Milly, who in the past did not like Lolo, reluctantly agrees. They travel to Anuenue and find Lolo. After explaining the situation, Lolo readily agrees to travel with them. Lolo brings along fell-branches from her island’s magical Celestial Tree in hopes it may be useful.
Chapter 5 – Hasseleh: They arrive at Sagi’s home island. The island is shaking and dropping, faster now. Lolo determines that the island is falling because of power leaking out from when the Empire sheared off part of the island during an attack over a decade before. Lolo says that she is not sure she can save the island but will try. As she heads off to work Sagi and Milly travel to the town of Sheratan where Sagi’s mother, Gena, resides. Part of the town has collapsed from the earthquakes, although they are able to pull survivors. Gena and her orphan children are unharmed. Suddenly the island begins to plunge rapidly downward, straight into the toxic Taintclouds.
Chapter 6 – Mira: Back in Balancoire, Duke Calbren administers the plague antidote to Melodia, but for some reason she does not recover. Desperate, Calbren decides to try an ancient power that only a few people know of. He leads her to Detourne, the Mystical Garden … and the resting place of Mira’s End Magnus.
Part 2: The Fall
Chapter 7 – Hasseleh: Hasseleh drops through the Taintclouds. Milly and Sagi, choking, instinctively peel off their masks. As it descends below the clouds, however, it begins to slow; Lolo has managed to reinforce the island enough to soften its fall. The island lands on the surface of the land, the place known as Duhr.
Chapter 8 – Fallen Hasseleh: Although damaged from the fall, many of Hasseleh’s inhabitants have survived the fall. They are, however, stranded; Sagi’s ship has been destroyed beyond repair. They are trapped. Just as significantly, Sagi realizes that he is no longer sick, nor is Milly. Marno explains that when Sagi inhaled the Taintclouds, some of Malpercio’s power flowed into Marno and he was able to channel it to destroy the plague inside both of their bodies.
Chapter 9 – The Colliseum: Back above the clouds, the daily activities of the Colliseum – the arena where humans can battle monsters – are in full swing. One of the monsters is the black dragon, a powerful ancient beast that was recreated using a fragment brought in by Sagi two year before. Much to the surprise of its trainers, the black dragon breaks free of its restraints, laying waste to the Colliseum before flying away, down through the Taintclouds.
Chapter 10 – Duhr: Sagi and Milly, accompanied by Lolo, decide to head west in hopes of finding the Children of the Earth, the inhabitants of Duhr. Sagi’s hope is that they can get help to return to the skies above. The three travel for several weeks, across the barren landscape, over mountain range, and through a labyrinth, before finally reaching Gemma Village. There they make contact with the Great Kamroh, who informs them that, while they appreciated their help in the past, they are unable help them now. However, Milly’s bag begins to glow strangely. She reaches inside and pulls out Guillo’s head, which reacts to a nearby door. The door unseals.
Chapter 11 – Seginus: Inside the door, Sagi, Milly, and Lolo come face-to-face with the still body of Seginus, an old puppet just like Guillo. The three are pulled inside Seginus’s consciousness and do battle with the memories there. Sagi and his friends are victorius, and when they emerge from Seginus’s body Seginus is now moving … although it is not Seginus. It is Guillo, transplanted into Seginus’s body.
Chapter 12 – Duhr: Disappointed at the fact that the Children of the Earth would not help them but glad to have Guillo back, the four — Sagi, Milly, Guillo, and Lolo — begin the long trek back to Fallen Hasseleh and the city of Sheratan. They return weeks later to a city nearly empty; a few survivors inform them that a massive black dragon has been attacking Hasseleh, carrying them off to the northwest. Gena and her orphans are among the missing.
A short time later the black dragon reappears; Sagi and his friends fight it and drive it off. Marno tells Sagi that it looked and felt just like the ancient dragon they faced when they traveled back in time to a thousand years before. Guillo also points out that it bore a mark from the Colliseum.
Part 3: The Darkness
Chapter 13 – The Dragon’s Trail: Sagi and his friends set off to the northwest on the trail of the dragon’s flight. They travel for days. Eventually they reach rubble that they realize is all too familiar: the crashed remains of a mechanical island fortress that had once sought to dominate the sky: Terazed.
Chapter 14 – Fallen Terazed: Sagi and the others enter the ruins of Terazed. They make their way through the ruins until they reach the place where they find the kindnapped. Marno senses a powerful force and presently they find themselves face-to-face with the black dragon … and a powerful, floating force that the group quickly recognizes as an ancient evil they have faced before: Wiseman. Sagi, Milly, and Guillo do battle with both the dragon and with Wiseman, defeating them. The dragon dies but Wiseman does not. Wiseman boasts that he cannot be killed and shall return, his shining form flying away.
Chapter 15 – Return from Tarazed: Sagi and his friends return the survivors, including Gena, back to Fallen Hasseleh. There they decide that they must defeat Wiseman once and for all. Milly cries and points out that their daughter, Melodia is back up above and is an orphan, if she is even still alive. Marno tells Sagi that he believes Melodia has survived the plague. (As Sagi’s daughter, Melodia has a very small part of Marno in her.) Marno adds that one of the other parts of Malpercio, a part known as Ven, has saved Melodia and will look after her.
Milly asks Lolo if there is a way to escape back to the clouds. Lolo says that she hasn’t found anything yet on the surface that could help them. Sagi then tells Milly that they will have to trust Ven to protect their daughter, but for now they must survive and find a way to vanquish Wiseman once and for all.
Chapter 16 – Duhr: Leaving Guillo and Lolo to guard Hasseleh, Sagi and Milly set off in search of a way to defeat Wiseman. They return to Gemma Village, where the Great Kamroh says that their best hope is a fabled library to the far, far west, at the Ends of the Earth, which may have records from as far back as a thousand years. He warns, though, that it will take a long time to get there and is marked by many fierce monsters, which is why none of his people have ever tried to venture there.
Chapter 17 – Ends of the Earth: After a long trek to the far west, they Sagi and Milly reach the Ends of the Earth, where they are able to reach the ancient library. In the process they discover writings about Wiseman. They learn that Wiseman is an ancient being that was born with the magical power to absorb life around him. Over time he grew ever more powerful and, in turn, became ever more greedy with his power. The writer of Wiseman’s account was not certain how to defeat Wiseman, but speculates that a special device called an End Magnus might be able to do so.
Chapter 18 – The Search for Wiseman: Over the next few years, Sagi and his friends track and fight Wiseman repeatedly, defeating but never destroying him. However, Lolo and Guillo, working together with the Children of the Earth, are finally able to construct a special magnus much like the End Magnus. Fighting Wiseman in battle, they are able to trap Wiseman in the magnus … just as Wiseman once trapped the essences of others. Wiseman’s cycle of restoration is finally over.
Epilogue – The End of Darkness: It has been over nine years since Hasseleh fell from the sky. Sagi, Milly and the others, all now older, have carved out a life in Old Hasseleh, surviving and working to find a way back up to the sky. After several failed attempts by Lolo, she at last is nearing a solution. Unexpectedly, the sky begins to clear and the islands above begin to drop slowly to the ground.
Marno informs Sagi that Malpercio has finally been defeated, once and for all, and that Marno and his friends can now finally rest. Sagi asks Marno if he is leaving Sagi; Marno said he must; as the last trace of Malpercio, he must depart so that the evil god can no longer threaten the world. Sagi tearfully bids goodbye to Marno, who separates from Sagi and disappears into the hereafter.
All of the islands are now settled on the ground. While walking, Sagi and the others crest a hill, and off in the distance they hear a shout: an old friend named Gibari, who recognizes them from many years ago. With Gibari are others that Sagi and Milly don’t recognize … but also one teenage girl who looks much like Milly did at that age. Milly knows it must be Melodia. Milly is fearful, worried about how Melodia will feel about them being gone so long. Sagi replies that Marno has already taught him a great deal about forgiveness, and that they must ask the same of Melodia. Hand in hand, Sagi and Milly descend the hill toward their long-separated daughter.