The Verdite Trilogy: The Story of King's Field I, II, and III
Exploring the story behind The Verdite Trilogy and how it has evolved over time
The overarching story of the Verdite Trilogy is long enough that I considered it preferable that it receive its own dedicated article. King's Field, King's Field II, and King's Field III stories revolve around the Kingdom of Verdite.
Note that the games give you some setting information that gets complemented by their manual. We find the rest of the story piecemeal throughout the game itself. Because of the information being spread out, translation issues, deceitful characters, and that we don’t even know if FromSoftware just made the story up as they went, you shouldn’t take my word as gospel. What follows will be, in part, my interpretation of the information I found.
If you're interested in learning more about the games outside of their plot, I encourage you to check out 'King's Field - FromSoftware Before Demon's Souls'.
The Story Behind King's Field
A short video before the game starts, along with the game’s manual, reveals the following information regarding the game’s setting. There once was a small country, Verdite, that was surrounded by a deep forest. In the long past, there was a great war here where many people died, but a hero appeared and saved them. The identity of the hero and whether it was a person or something else remained unknown, and they quickly disappeared deep into the forest. This savior became known as the Dragon of the Forest, and people built a sanctuary in their honor. Eventually, only the legend remained and later turned the sanctuary into the royal family’s cemetery.
The legend states that the Dragon of the Forest would eventually return, bringing magical artifacts with it.
It’s said that the clan would later become the rulers of the land and used magic in order to take control and rule. It was they who built the royal cemetery there. As it grew, so did the excavations, and it was revealed the graveyard was masking the king's attempt to unearth magical artifacts.
Even though the king sent soldiers to search for artifacts many times, they found nothing. Until one day, the soldiers he sent never returned. When another force went to investigate, they discovered monsters who attacked the soldiers. The king ordered the commander Hauser to lead a force to regain control, but Hauser and his men were instantly overwhelmed. So the king spread the word in his kingdom and neighboring countries, offering a bounty to exterminate the monsters.
John Alfred Forrester (named Jeane Alfred Forester in subsequent games), the protagonist of this game, returns home from Granatiky, a neighboring kingdom where he was training his swordsmanship along with his friend Alexander. John, worried about his father, Commander Hauser, finds that he went to the cemetery - while he once escaped, he went back a second time to rescue his men. So John enlists as a mercenary to go to the cemetery and search for his father.
As you venture deeper into the game, you learn about a previous king, Randalf VIII, who was a powerful fire magician* and loved by his subjects. He died from a sudden illness shortly after taking the throne, but it’s rumored that his brother and successor poisoned him, Reinhardt II.* We should note that only those of royal lineage had magic abilities in King’s Field setting. This includes John Alfred as well.
Eventually, Reinhardt III becomes the king after his father’s death and sends soldiers to investigate the royal cemetery in order to find magical artifacts. At some point, he searches himself, and ends up getting powerful magic from dark forces.
While dead, Randalf’s spirit remains, and he’ll teach you fire magic and provide you with his old equipment to help you defeat the now corrupted king. You’ll also encounter the fairy Miria, who works for the dragon of the forest, warns you about the growing dark powers of the King, and gives you items to help you in your quest. Eventually, you will unseal rooms with equipment throughout the cemetery and restore, along with the dragon, the power of the Sword of Moonlight (yes, that one).
With his new powers, the king revives his father only to petrify him - likely to test his powers - and summons more monsters as its objective is now to take over the world. Your father fell in combat, and so will you if you aren’t careful when dealing with the king, who has taken a monstrous shape resembling some sort of hellish tree.
After defeating the king and monsters, and returning with the Sword of Moonlight, you become king. The end.
This game is straightforward with its story, a young man training his swordsmanship, having his strength tested in order to avenge his father and vanquish evil, being crowned king in the process and obtaining peace for your kingdom. However, all of this changes in the second game, as 10 years later a new threat will surface. Not only that, but what we know — or thought we knew — about King’s Field will drastically change.
The Story Behind King's Field II
The backstory of this game goes way back into the history of Kingdom Verdite and the Island of Melanat, so grab a cup of your beverage of choice before continuing. This will get a bit lengthy!
The Island of Melanat
In the past, there were three countries in the northern continent: Granatyki, Egret, and Verdite. In the middle of these three lies the Island of Melanat (where this game will take place) and controlled by forces of good and evil. High-elves discovered the island in ancient times and built a holy shrine. After they erected the shrine, monsters arose from the underground, killing them. The few who survived eventually succumbed to the island’s poison.
Thousands of years later, the three northern countries were unified by a powerful wind magician known as King Harvine. The king attempted to build his castle on the Island of Melanat, only to be attacked by the monsters and forced to retreat. The retreat and his lost men made it impossible to overcome the great war that would separate the northern continent into three yet again.
Legions of monsters emerged, again, from the island, now crossing the sea and destroying the countries of Egret and Granatyki. Now the people of Verdite live in fear, knowing that soon monsters would invade their kingdom.
The Legends of the Lands
Many villagers believe that on the island of Melanat there either lives a good god named Seath (a white dragon, and probably that Seath you already know), or an evil demon known as Guyra (a black dragon, who seems to be the basis for Kalameet). Legend adds that there are many valuable crystals that exist on the island. The legends encouraged many to reach the island. Those who arrived on the island found themselves unable to leave as the water there contains poison. Anyone who drinks the island’s waters becomes unable to survive without it.
The History of Verdite
A young warrior named Alfred returned to Verdite from the Island of Melanat, where he had been searching for his father, who had left many years ago to slay the evil monsters on Melanat. While he didn’t find his father, he slew many monsters and obtained the great Sword of Moonlight.
After his return and telling the story of how he defeated the former king, who had now turned into an evil black dragon, the villagers shouted that “Alfred is to be the new king of Verdite!” and so, they crowned Alfred as king.
The Fall of Verdite
There was peace in the Kingdom for the next several years until monsters appeared in caverns near Verdite. King Alfred went to destroy the monsters, only to realize that the Sword of Moonlight was stolen.
The king dispatched his soldiers to search for the sword, but it was nowhere to be found. What the soldiers found was a letter within the forests of Verdite. It was written in the ancient writings that only the descendants of high-elves could decipher, and it read: “Necron* seeks the power of the Moonlight Sword. He lives on a mystical island, in the midst of the northern continent. Necron controls the Island of Melanat.”
King Alfred sent his troops to the island, hoping to discover the truth about the island and find his magical sword. However, he never heard or saw from his soldiers again.
*It should be noted that Necron is an alias given to one of the characters, and it was created by the localization team, as it was "pope" in Japanese.
Several months later, the king’s best friend, Alexander, arrived at the castle of Verdite to visit King Alfred. The king told Alexander about the missing sword and the monsters near Verdite. Alexander proclaimed, with the king’s permission, that he’d go to the Island of Melanat to destroy the monsters and find the sword. The king granted it, and Alexander began his journey.
While crossing the channels to the island, Alexander’s ship faced attacks by the creatures of the sea and ended up destroyed. While Alexander drifted ashore, the king’s men were lost at sea. When Alexander regained consciousness, he found his equipment lost, yet he stumbled courageously towards the caverns within the island.
Manual Mistranslations To Consider
Before getting into the game itself, I’d like to talk about the section “The History of Verdite”, as it seems to tell the story from the first game: where we play as Alfred who is looking for his father, finding the Sword of Moonlight, and killing the evil king. Yet that didn’t happen on the Island of Melanat, nor was the king a dragon in the actual game, unlike what the manual states. Was this a case of retcon or was the western manual carving its own path? I checked the Japanese manual to be sure. I couldn’t find anything about the king becoming a dragon, and Menalat wasn’t mentioned from what I could see. With this information, I would argue these portions of information appear to be a mistranslation.
What Actually Happened on the Island
There’s some environmental storytelling that rarely concerns the main storyline, as well as more dot-connecting than in the previous game thanks to more interactions with NPCs and provided information. Because of the size of the map, and that NPCs might have additional dialogue as you progress through the story, it’s hard to know if you have the full context when receiving any new information.
With that out of the way, what I could piece together from the game’s playable content is that the high-elves of the island venerated Seath as a deity while they feared Guyra as some sort of demon. We also benefit from Seath’s equipment and fountains. Its water seems to counteract the poisonous water of the island, which is implied to come from Guyra.
They have also tied monsters on the island with Guyra, with another part of them being controlled by Necron — the humans that attack us are mere puppets. There are also humans on the island working on the mines to find crystals (with little luck). While they originally came to the island hoping to find riches, some find themselves unable to leave because of its waters and a part of them are working for Necron in exchange for necessities.
While merchants come to trade, those on the island complain about getting ripped off by what they offer. They also reveal through their work with Necron that it is also interested in crystals. Some show apprehension towards Necron, but the merchants seem to feel more positive about him.
Venture deep into the island and you’ll find the last resting place for the high-elves. It’s a resting place for their bodies only, as even their grudges have made their spirits roam around in the mortal world, attacking anyone who gets close.
In here, you’ll find a dragon tree that, unlike the rest of them on the island, can actually hold a conversation. It’ll explain that it was actually there before Guyra and Seath.
The tree will explain that Guyra is the shadow to Seath’s light, but that this isn’t strictly a matter of good and evil, as their aim is to kill each other. Guyra created the Sword of Moonlight, while Seath created the Dark Slayer, and they are looking for someone who can wield their weapon. The dragons have used those who feared and worshipped them in their feud against each other, without caring about what happened to them.
The elves were guarding a special crystal needed to obtain the Dark Slayer. If you have the elf key, you can swap them Indiana Jones style. By giving the crystal to a young elf called Leon Shore (who’ll also appear in the sequel) we’ll obtain the sword.
Necron (whose real name is Dias Bagil) was normal* prior to coming to the island. Considering that he’s controlling the souls of soldiers and that he’s overseeing the production of new monsters and Miria fairies(!), it seems Necron is doing Guyra’s bidding.
*Attested by his sister, Nola Bagil, and his friend, Fai Fadlin, who came to the island looking for him. Fai came to learn what became of Dias and distanced himself from Nola to keep her in the dark and not break her heart.
Crystal mining seems to be required to power the research centers where the creatures are produced. We barged in before the Mirias completely formed, Guyra still slumbering.
After defeating Necron, we can go to the place where Guyra is resting. By defeating the dragon, we'll be able to get the Sword of Moonlight and return it along with the Dark Slayer to the Kingdom of Verdite.
Then the game explains how, now that we had the Sword of Moonlight, we’re more powerful than gods and devils. We have nothing to fear, for we are the chosen man with the chosen sword. That last paragraph results from localization and is not quite the truth.
What actually happens is Alexander becomes angry and appalled over the dragons’ ploy to use others as mere pawns with the aim of killing their counterpart, uncaring for those that served and believed in them. Our efforts will bring peace to the kingdom for a mere five years, but that’s a story for the next game.
Considering that Guyra was looking for someone to wield its sword, that Necron stole the sword while working for it, the presence of monsters, and the new Mirias being made in order to find someone worthy of the sword, I think this re-contextualizes the previous game.
While not named Guyra in the previous game, the black forest dragon worked along with Miria to find someone to wield the Sword of Moonlight, which they later restored, so we can assume that the forest dragon is Guyra or works for it. Considering that the soul and magic manipulation Necron showed likely came from Guyra itself, we can assume that Reinhardt III’s powers came from Guyra as well.
Put in another way, Guyra is the culprit behind what happened in King’s Field. Because king Alfred didn’t slay Seath, Guyra used Necron to take its sword back and look for someone else to wield it.
The Story Behind King's Field III
The game opens up with a video before arriving at the main menu where we watch a soldier move through a field and enter a castle. We see a gargoyle come alive and fly around. Clearly, something’s up. Inside the castle, the soldier challenges the king, but the video ends before we know the outcome.
The narrator explains that the king of Verdite, Jeane Alfred, fell prey to a mysterious illness that weakened him. He recovered, but his personality changed for the worse. Rather than the warm king everyone knew about, he turned into someone cold to the point even Alexander, his dear friend, had a difficult time reasoning with him.
Darkness had taken hold of both the king and Verdite itself. Alexander goes to the tower where the Sword of Moonlight rested, only to find it broken and the Dark Slayer missing.
Alexander later meets with four aides, and gave them his elemental magic, finally using his light magic and his soul to power the Sword of Moonlight to seal the castle to prevent the king from rampaging. As he was dying, Alexander sent some words to Prince Justin Lyle, the king’s son, telling him to grow stronger to receive the power from the four mages, break the seal, and confront his father.
Ten years pass until Lyle is finally old enough to start his journey, receiving the Excellector sword from his caretaker, Leon Shore.
What We Learn From The Game
King's Field III has several connections with the previous game, with some long-dead characters being mentioned in both games, although these connections aren't particularly important to understand what happens here.
We have to go through the kingdom to find the four aides and learn fire, earth, water, and wind magic. The few people we see around will mostly talk about their plight, remember the old times, or hate us because of our association with the king. The situation is dire, and most have given up hope.
We learn about a commander named David Silviera*, loved by the peasants as he gave them hope, but they haven’t known what happened to him since he went to challenge the king. If you find his sword, the Capricorn, you can deduce that it was him being shown challenging the king before the game starts. It’s, also, explained that the Capricorn is too heavy for most people to wield.
*This is actually the name of an employee at Agetec, the company that published the game in America. His Japanese game is something like Rodom Voad/Ward.
People erected a statue in his honor, but most have perished at this point at the hands of the monsters that roam Verdite. There are those who died, those who lost, and those who became sick. As we progress, we’ll learn the stories of those who still live.
Besides getting magic powers, we need to increase the power of the Excellector (which grows as we slay monsters) and find the three parts of Ichrius Seal. Along with the Excellector’s power, this seal will become the Ichrius key and be used to break the seal of the castle.
To explain who is Ichrius, I must first talk about Sylval, who set three gods to oversee it, made the world Valicia. Eventually, two of the said gods returned to Sylval, leaving Vallad to oversee Valicia. The inhabitants of the world, like elves, dwarves, and humans, were created.
There was peace at the start, but the different races became divided. Humans constantly waged war against each other. To find a balance, Vallad created the two dragons, Guyra and Seath, but the plan backfired as they instead tried to gain absolute control by getting rid of their counterpart.
Vallad then sought Ichrius to resolve the situation (it’s explained in the lore books that Vallad considered life sacred, making it forbidden to just undo it). Ichrius taught Orladin, who then built a maze to protect and conceal the tree that communicated with Vallad.
While not directly relevant to the story, Orladin had two disciples: Thedeck and Shudom. Thedeck is the reason behind the northern continent's split after Harvine united it. He acted as Harvine’s right hand, but after Harvine was forced to escape from Melanat, Thedeck betrayed him and caused the war that split the continent.
Shudom created the Golems we see roaming around to find promeus, a rare and powerful mineral, ideal for making weapons and armor. However, Golems kept multiplying, and the more of them, the less intelligence each individual one is given. This soon led to Golems turning against their creator and the giants who served him. Shudom escaped from his creation with the only giant that was still alive and left to an island in the north (we get to see and talk with the skeleton in Melanat).
Near the coast, we find a shipwreck and the body of "Nora", which is likely a different translation for "Nola" Bagil, the sister of Dias Bagil (Necron).
The Game's Different Endings
The Bad Ending
If we get the broken Sword of Moonlight, break the castle's seal, and defeat our father, a cinematic will play, saying how Lyle succeeded his father to the throne, but has also grown heartless, showing the same eyes King Alfred did when he changed for the worse.
The Good Ending
If we go to the royal cemetery from the first game, battle the revived corpse of a high-elf, and have a fairy fossil, we can go past where we battled king Reinhardt III. This will lead us to a room where the lingering influence of Guyra will restore the Sword of Moonlight.
Having the unbroken sword when we defeat the king, his conscience will return as his soul leaves his body and he’ll bless us and upgrade the sword even further. Why? Because there’s another enemy left to kill. After we defeat the king, we can pick up his weapon, the Dark Slayer, and step into a portal to battle against Seath. Seath is the reason the king went mad and who controls us in the bad ending.
After the defeat of Guyra and Seath, true peace is finally achieved, the darkness that enveloped the kingdom is lifted, and Vallad takes our queen* to be and revives** her.
*Lyn Reinhardt, a childhood friend of ours dies during the course of the game while looking for her missing father. When we find her lifeless body, we can use her ring and drop it inside the magic fountain from the first game, and talk with Alexander's spirit, who'll remind us of our task, and also improve our sword magic abilities.
**As far as I could understand, there's no mention of any of this in the Japanese ending (which, by the way, had no voice-over), so it seems this resurrection shenanigan came from the localization team yet again.
The story of King’s Field morphed as it went on, getting more complex, with its scope increasing along with the other facets of the game.
It started with a warrior entering a monster-infected graveyard looking for his father who is then crowned king after saving the kingdom from evil; thenit is revealed that what you learned from the previous game is nothing more than a lie: true evil in no way was vanquished. Not yet.
The way they presented the story to us also changed. While the way these three play similarly, and there’s a good amount of missable information in the last two as optional dialogues and environmental storytelling, the last game makes it so the information regarding our main quest is front and center. The game will use a few videos throughout our journey to accomplish this. Any optional information gained from NPCs, or the world, revolves mostly around side characters or connections to previous games.
In the end, the King’s Field trilogy are games that require you to do leg work to understand the ins and outs of the story and its characters. Unfortunately, their releases actually play against the player, with the first game not leaving Japan officially, and the other two have less-than-perfect translations.
Despite these hurdles, there’s still a dedicated community around these games trying to squeeze as much from the games as possible.
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