Imagine, if you will, a few years from now in reality and maybe a few decades from now in Exandria—when the Critical Role gang has already started (and is well into) their new campaign:
Imagine the new party is off on an adventure somewhere deep, deep within the Vesper Timberlands or maybe the Alabaster Sierras—some remote place far away from civilization—when they stumble across an odd looking cave not unlike the one Vex and Keyleth encountered in the Feywild with the giant bear spirit. Just like that cave, it looks carved and manmade rather than natural, and it’s surrounded by piles upon mountainous piles of miscellaneous items left as offerings for whatever dwells within.
And of course they investigate it—because these might be new characters, but do our beloved Critical Role cast members ever learn to leave well enough alone?
So curiosity gets the best of them and they investigate the cave, only to be attacked by the powerful individual within—the one the offerings outside were undoubtedly left for. It’s a harrowing fight that they nearly lose, barely emerging with their lives, but somehow they managed and now the vast piles of loot are theirs for the taking.
Outside the cave there is mostly junk—broken furniture, rusty armor and blades, assorted knick-knacks. It seems strange. Where did all of this useless garbage come from? But inside the cave, things get more curious.
The interior looks as though it was crudely carved out and expanded from perhaps a smaller cave. It’s dark and dusty and uninviting, but what catches their eye is another small assortment of junk piles at the cave’s center.
The first pile they approach is quite unlike what they found outside. It’s a small mountain of (mostly) dead flowers, withered away, cracked and crumbling. Toward the top are a handful of fresher flowers in varying degrees of decay, the most lively of which are positively beautiful in their vibrant colors.
The next pile is even more strange. It’s smaller and mostly black ash scattered among a few expensive looking candle sticks and assorted, rusty tools. There’s some clothing in there that was once likely very fine but are now tattered and dirtied by the ash and a small handful of ruined books.
Next is a pile of daggers. Just straight up hundreds of daggers and… feathers? Specifically only black feathers and a few bird skulls. A couple piles of cloth that look like cloaks too.
By now, they realize whats happening, and so when they look at the next pile, they don’t touch it, even though it is clearly the most valuable section of this unique hoard. Piles of gold and platinum and gemstones and expensive jewelry and… brooms? There’s arrows, too—and a smaller, nearly attached pile of furs and crudely carved wooden statuettes of bears.
But there are two more piles—one made up almost entirely of broken instruments and fine paintings and… women’s undergarments—and another consisting of several fine weapons, mostly maces, and many, many small statues and symbols of the goddess Sarenrae. The latter has a distinct indent in it—a makeshift bed of a sort.
Outside, the dweller of this cave—a lone emaciated goliath with an odd beard—lays dead where the party slayed him. He attacked them in a blind rage; he hadn’t quite seemed in his right mind. At the time they hadn’t understood what the crazed man had meant when he bellowed, “You won’t take them from me again.”
They end the stream 2 hours early because everyone can’t stop crying and cursing at Matt. I’m crying too.
(Connected to Genius Loci ask) Well, I wanted to learn more about myths and stories they've appeared in and related myths from other cultures. And what they can and can't be the spirit of. Thank you!
For anyone wondering, the previous ask this is in reference to can be found HERE.
The thing about genii in Roman culture was that they were so ubiquitous, their existence was almost taken for granted. Everything had a genii. Places, things, animals, people. Pointing it out as something noteworthy would almost be as strange as thinking it significant that a flashlight ran on batteries.
It’s actually a fairly universal concept. Shinto is centered on the worship of the spirit of certain places and things. It also includes the belief that after a certain period of time (usually 100 years) an animal or an object can gain sentience. For example, kasa-obake are old umbrellas that have one leg, one eye,a long tongue and hop around causing mischief. There are similar spirits for sandals, teapots, writing brushes, you name it.
Kitsune when referring to fox demons are foxes that have reached over 100 years of age and can use magic to do mischief with humans. Tanuki with similar powers are also common.
There is a similar idea in pre-Christian Slavic mythology. Leshiy inhabit and protect forests while Domovoi do the same for houses. They’re tricksters and displeasing them is dangerous; they may do something as harmless as hide your keys or one shoe or they may simply take you away never to be seen again. These aren’t the only two examples, there are spirits of fields and moors and even bathhouses.
Generally, all over the Philippines, indigenous people believed in ‘spirits’. These are not spirits in the sense that they possess only a soul and no body - they possess a body, sometimes wear clothes, can own property, do normal people stuff, albeit they are unseen and generally possess more power than human beings. Depending on where they are from, they can be called “anito” or sometimes “diwata” (however, sometimes the term diwata can extend to deity, or the gods of Philippine culture). For uniformity, I will call them anito in this section.
There are generally two kinds of anito: the first are nature spirits (innately part of the element), and spirits of dead Filipino ancestors. Parts of nature being controlled by these unseen beings might have entered the consciousness because parts of nature seem to be very “human”. The waves, for example, can look calm or sad and then in other times, full of anger like in a storm. The trees would moan when the wind passes at night. Fires devour. Things like that. Either way, the belief is that these “human like” anitos can be appeased with offerings.
The spirits of dead ancestors, on the other hand, are believed to linger in the nearby area after death. Those buried in caves will becomes spirits of the cave. Those whose bones are kept in homes live in those homes with their families (often times, they still retain a seat in the table as they are believed to possess a body, only an unseen one). After a while, the line between the two kinds of anito blur because the ancestors’ names are forgotten but the reverence for the spirit living in the area remains. Other times, the name is retained and they are not forgotten by the community even after generations and generations.
Sometimes, the reverence for these anito turns them into a something like a ‘pantheon of gods’. This is more common in more complex Filipino societies with a means to track down the names of these anitos. Their stories then become part of the Philippine mythology.
There are also huacas which can be conceivably anything but tend to be things such as mountains, waterfalls, or human-made shrines. They are spirits that inhabit these places or sometimes spirits which actually are that specific place. Huacas also had the power to call to people. This could lead to someone gaining superhuman powers or becoming a religious specialist/leader able to communicate with huacas in general. There was actually a hierarchy in powers and honor given to huacas, but this changed depending on region and time.
These are by no means the only mythologies this applies to, these are only the ones our members are knowledgeable about and a bit of searching would turn up many many more. So in answer to your last question, just about anything could have it’s own spirit, you’re only limited by your imagination as a writer.
a spirit in the folk mythology of the basque people. his name is translates to “young bull”, and he is sometimes known as etsai. he is a cave-dwelling spirit who adopts the form of a young red bull, but being a shapeshifter, sometimes takes the shape of a man.
must we cry
in the caress
of aging moonlight, attempting to get points across
of brick & motor
against our backs,
pushed into corners,
that a day’s work
is never finished.
This unrequited lust
shall remain unchecked
until the walls
of our chambers spirit
Sifting through the rubble,
we’ll come upon pieces
of someone once known
deal, yet from a distance.
the clues on how to live
with what remains
will make the remainder
of our time here
a little more bearable.
I want to take a minute to explain my take on the Hound.
Basically he’s Guts’ equivalent to Griffith’s Femto, ie, the ~dark side~ of Guts, made out of swirling negative emotions like rage and fear and hatred etc. It’s likely due to the reality-warping brand on his neck that the Hound is given more form and will than most people’s dark sides, becoming more of a presence to Guts.
We know the Hound isn’t an external evil spirit trying to manipulate Guts or possess him because we see it in Godo’s spirit-repelling cave where Guts is guaranteed to be safe from mean external forces like ghosts.
Like, the nature of the Hound is basically spelled out in its first physical appearance:
This establishes that the Hound is a manifestation of Guts’ “malice” (among other negative emotions, like the fear Guts mentions). Godo says to Guts - “you ran away so that your own malice could burn within you.” That’s the dark flame Guts is referencing up there, which is essentially the Hound.
This also establishes that the Hound is real - it’s not just a metaphor for the audience’s sake, it’s a physical presence that Guts senses. It’s a part of Guts given ghostly form. When he argues with it he’s arguing with himself.
It’s explicitly compared to Femto a few chapters earlier, when the concept is shown to us, before it explicitly appears as an entity.
What Skull Knight means by “or else…” becomes clear on the following page where he finds Rosine’s behelit.
Reminding the audience that there are ways for men to become beasts.
We cut to Guts walking through a forest being taunted by all those asshole spirits, digging into his deep insecurities, locating sites of his self-loathing and using it to fuck with his mind.
They’re essentially voicing his thoughts for him.
Pointing out his inner darkness, similarly to how the spirit that possessed Farnese pointed out that she gets off on torture. They’re not making shit up here, what they say digs deep and fucks with people’s heads because it’s based on truth.
Here they explicitly compare the Hound to Femto.
And finally Guts’ response after they take off:
He’s completely right, and as we can figure out from the ominous shot of the behelit and the fact that this is Guts reaffirming his stupid self destructive revenge crusade, this isn’t the greatest attitude.
He is what he is, and the more he pursues revenge and soaks himself in blood etc the stronger the Hound part of him gets.
And just in case more evidence that the Hound is a part of Guts and not an external force is needed, there’s this:
“This… is my…”
After the armour transforms into the shape of the Hound, rather than Skull Knight’s Skull Knight:
Guts’ armour is Guts getting the power of his dark side that apostles get, without having to sacrifice a loved one first. If he became an apostle his monstrous form would look a lot like the Hound. If Griffith was in Guts’ place, his armour would look a lot like Femto.
It could have been days, weeks, months, Lance had lost track of time while being in the Galras hold and to his disappointment, none of the Paladins had come to his rescue. Or that’s what they had been drilling into his head the whole time, that the others would not come for such a useless paladin, that he could be easily replaced, why would they come for someone like him? The empty words didn’t mean nothing at first, but the longer he was there the more he started to believe that they were true. He knew in the back of his mind that he shouldn’t, there all a big happy family but he gave up on fighting those thoughts. When they finally managed to break his spirit he just caved in and let them do what they wanted.
Which didn’t take long, they had started to forcefully inject him with strange fluids, beat the rules of what a true Galra was, make him trust in Zarkons plans. That everything they were doing was for the better of the universe and sadly he started to fall towards the enemy, like a sheep finally caught by the wolf.
He wasn’t chained down in any more rooms, they provided him with much fancier, silk clothes that hugged his bruised body rather nicely. They were comfortable to move around in, they even gave him a nice pair of bright earrings that matched his piercing neon eyes. Unlike the paladins, they were treating him like one of their own.
But of course, it was only to use him to their advantage and just lured him into a false feeling of security.
In the intro scene, we see the illuminated hole from which the human fell from. You can see the light pour in from that little hole, revealing all the stalactites. What many don’t notice, is that it’s also an angel, with spread wings, staring down with its robed hands on a cane.
Think I’m crazy? lets have a look at the image with my crappy outline of that angel.
even the outline looks like it. still think its pareidolia like those people that see Jesus in their toast? lets see some bumpmaps, sharpness scan, edge detect, and black and white, all done by the computer, not based on what my brain tells me my eyes see.
now, in case you still can’t quite imagine the angel figure, here is a slight edit I did coloring the cane handle, and finishing the lines and filling in the space around the head, and editing the eyebrow/hole.
The delta rune, a prophecy of an angel from the surface who would come to the underground and free it of monsters… Whether it is by slaughtering them, or breaking the barrier, or leading the society to collapse. In the very intro to the game, your role and ending in the story is shown. It’s up to you which way you go about achieving your goal.
I like how Muria did everything in his power to prove that Griffith is not some kind of "evil heartless monster" antagonist type, but people end up misinterpreted him anyway. What a shame! Do you know why?
Yeah it’s really unfortunate bc he’s such an interesting complex character and I wish more people appreciated that. Tho I have a few ideas on why so many Berserk fans ignore most of the text and write Griffith off as evil from the start.
So while poring meticulously over screen caps with @exsiliumductoris, I just noticed something interesting about Vincent and Cerberus in DoC. Namely, when he is armed with it and when he is not.
Well first of all, the first thing I noticed is that in CGI animation they have the holstered Cerberus facing grip outward or grip forward, and on the gameplay model and cutscenes featuring it, they have the grip facing backward (as it should be on a thigh holster on the same side of his body as the hand he shoots it with).
^ Puppies facing down/toward the back of his body (the dog heads are the sights on the top of his gun, so the grip would be facing in the opposite direction)
^ puppies facing upward/toward the front of his body (meaning the grip is facing back)
^ and in this scene the grip is just straight up perpendicular to his body, flapping all around (though maybe it’s meant to be pointing forward and is literally just flapping too much because he’s running)
Now considering the shenanigans going on with Zack and Buster Sword in CC (i.e., he holds it facing one way in cutscenes and another in battle—yep, go check it out!), this isn’t entirely surprising, because why on earth would separate departments of Squeenix’s modeling and animation teams actually communicate with each other about details??
What IS interesting, though, is that while hunting for more inconsistencies like this, I noticed there are some times when Vincent is NOT wearing his holster/gun at all:
Every time he visits Lucrecia’s cave, whether he’s dreaming it or not.
The opening scene when he’s lounging on his hotel bed in Kalm.
At first I noticed the scene in Kalm and thought this was a continuity error, because as we know he is very suddenly disrupted by Kalm coming under attack immediately after this and jumps out his window shooting at things. But actually, there’s about a minute or so during which we’re shown Deepground attacking Kalm and not Vincent, and when we return to Vincent again he’s crouching in the window and holding his gun.
So here he is definitely without his gun at 07:19 (and by the way we know his cellphone is sitting on the table nearby from an establishing shot immediately preceding this)
One second later, he hears the missiles and turns his head.
And here’s the next time we see him, at 08:04, holding his gun. (We also know he has collected his phone from the table, because he jumps out the window then uses it later without ever returning to the hotel room, which is destroyed seconds after this shot.)
So, idk, there’s just a neat little tidbit in which we can presume that Vincent spent the 45 seconds in between hearing the missiles incoming and actually taking action going “oh shit where’s my gun, where’s my phone, where’s my keys, DID I TURN OFF THE TV??”
Also, did he like get in, go “ugh I can’t wait to take this damn holster off but I’m gonna leave my shoes on and chill” or what? (We briefly speculated that maybe his entire body is a prosthetic and Vincent is in fact just a head and this is why he’s always fully dressed at all times. >.> )
But okay, onto the actual possibly meaningful observation here:
^ This is from the opening animation, which is either a dream or a memory. Maybe he was actually physically at the cave at some point and is reflecting back on that time while sitting on the bed, or maybe he’s just totally only there in his head. (I have thoughts about both possibilities but I’ll leave it out of this post for current irrelevance.) He’s not wearing his gun or holster.
^ This is from the next time that he imagines being in Lucrecia’s cave, after he transforms into Chaos in Edge, chases Rosso away, passes out, and Shalua collects him and brings him to the WRO. In reality, his body is currently unconscious in Shalua’s lab, but in his head this is where he is and he’s unarmed.
^ This is where he currently is in reality, and it’s easier to tell when seeing this animated but Shalua left his gun and holster on him when she put him in there.
^ So here’s the next time that we see him dreaming of being in Lu’s cave. It’s hard to tell because of the soft lighting effects and blur but I’m pretty sure he’s still without his holster. This is after Rosso takes the Protomateria from his chest and Yuffie saves him (Vincent gets rescued by women a lot, I love it), so right now his body is in the Shadowfox van and Yuffie left him armed as well:
The next time we see him taking a spirit trip to Lu’s cave is when her data fragments crash into him when Shelke brings him the Protomateria. This one’s interesting:
Holster, but no gun! He’s literally wearing his empty holster, in his head. (Why??) This is the only time we ever see him with an empty holster when he’s not holding his gun in his hand, I think. (Idk, maybe they just goofed? I mean the way his hand is there looks like maybe they just used his “Vincent is currently holding his gun in his hand” model and just took the gun out and really didn’t bother adjusting his hand joints at all, which probably don’t have articulated fingers anyway.)
This is what Vincent’s doing currently in the real world:
Which, granted, doesn’t use a holster anyway, as Chaos!Vincent prefers to just materialize Death Penalty out of thin air:
And the next and last time that we see Vincent visit Lu’s cave is arguably the only time we actually seeing him do so in reality and not just in his head, and it’s at the end of the game, after the credits roll. There’s no good angle of his right hip/thigh while he’s actually inside the cave except maybe this one:
But if we are to assume continuity then this shot of him outside the cave with Shelke seconds later tells us he is not wearing his holster:
So, this one is particularly interesting because he actually went there physically in person and is unarmed, and idk but that just seems like a strange choice for Vincent Valentine. We know that this cave is in a remote location deep in the mountains, so did he travel there unarmed? If so, where did he leave his gun and why would he make that journey without his weapon?
Did he take it with him but he purposely takes it off when he goes inside the cave? Why? Does he leave it outside in some kind of show of respect or squeamishness about Lucrecia “seeing” him armed?
Or does he take it into the cave with him and then take it off for comfort purposes, like he seems to have done while lounging on his hotel bed in Kalm? Like, “Well I’m going to be here for a while and I’m not ‘on’ at the moment so I might as well make myself comfortable”?
Did he lose Cerberus when he lost Chaos? Why? And why his holster with it? (For the record, I’m leaning toward “no” on this one, but I suppose there’s no proof against it.)
Now, I didn’t scour every second of ACC and DoC, but I did scrub through both movies a bit and look for other scenes in which it might make particular sense for him to be unarmed, but I didn’t find any. This tells me two things:
This was done on purpose. Like, they didn’t just forget to add his gun in to these scenes. They made a conscious decision to leave it out.
This was purposely linked to Vincent specifically being in Lucrecia’s cave and his room in Kalm and apparently not anywhere else.
And keep in mind that they couldn’t even bother to give Hojo a second model in which he’s young or a Lucrecia a third model in which she’s pregnant but for some reason they went out of their way to give Vincent a “no gun or holster” model (and even a “holster but no gun” model) exclusively for use in scenes in which he is sitting in Lucrecia’s cave.
So that’s today’s Analysis By Ravy and I’d love to hear any thoughts anyone else might have on this curious but seemingly purposeful bit of Vincent behavior, or if anyone else can spot other scenes in which he’s unarmed and not a Turk or transformed.
Arthur pulled his shirt over his head, expertly using his mechanical
arm as though it were real. Looking in the mirror he could see the scars
along his shoulder where his lost arm and new one met. They used to
haunt his mind when he looked in the mirror, barely able to stomach his
But things had changed, Vivi had gotten him
to overcome his grief and with Mystery’s help he learned to love himself
again. The scars no longer screamed at him in angry reds, they had
cooled to soft whites, like melting snow slush.
remaining hand over the mechanics he checked to ensure everything was
attached and nothing had come loose or started to bow or chip. He’d have
to find a new polymer to make a soft casing to prevent damage, but that
was an afterthought that was soon buried under other ideas.
looked to the mirror again, the dark circles he had been accustomed to
over the last several months were nearly gone. His face looked happier,
his goatee was fuller, his spiky hair full of life and color. The
changes were all so foreign to him yet he felt better, more at home and
peace than ever before. How could such a small change do so much?
puffed up his chest in the mirror, he was starting to put on weight
again too, and he was liking the direction and results. He’d lost almost
too much, and with Lewis (and his cooking) back, well that wouldn’t be a
problem ever again. This time around, he wouldn’t skip going with Lewis
to the gym, or avoid things that made him uncomfortable. If only I had confronted those feelings earlier.
the master bedroom Vivi sat on the edge of the bed swinging her feet
back and forth as the bathroom door clicked shut. She wasn’t sure if the
door would click open before morning, but she was willing to wait as
long as needed for him to come back out.
She was glad that both of her boys had agreed to her idea, and that neither of them found it strange either. It isn’t normal, they’ll probably never agree to it. She
had told herself. She had all but convinced herself it was impossible
or unlikely before she had even asked. Maybe it was just a fear of
rejection or preparing for the worst, but her delight when she got a
somewhat enthusiastic yes from Arthur nearly melted her heart.
Lewis finally worked out that Arthur had lost his arm, granted it took a
bit too long and the melted slag on the floor had freaked him out badly
enough to finally ask what the fuck happened, he had settled down
enough to talk things through with his still living friends.
took a few weeks for Lewis to finally ask Vivi back out on a date, to
which she flatly rejected since his eyes would cause a stir if anyone
saw them. He moped around for several days before Arthur dropped a box
into his lap, saying something about the mood of the mansion being dark
enough already without Lewis making it more miserable than his goth
phase where he’d still make rainbow cupcakes with his sisters.
sunglasses hid his eyes perfectly, Lewis couldn’t find a brand on them
anywhere but thought nothing of it. At least, until he asked Vivi out
again and put them on to show that she couldn’t see his eyes behind
them. She had made a small gasp and whispered a small thank you to
Arthur. He asked her about it, and she said he had been working on
something to hide Lewis’ eyes in public since they would give away his
nature to other hunters and scare normal humans. She was impressed with
the simple solution.
It was then that he realized just how
much Arthur had cared about him returning to as normal a life as
possible despite now being a ghost unable to pass on, not that he was
going to complain about being around the living.
asked Lewis how he had felt about Arthur before the cave incident, Lewis
had difficulty being honest. Arthur had been his best friend since they
were kids. They knew each other so well that most people in school had
started to call them twins as they could always finish each others
thoughts and sentences. They were even teased about how in their year
nobody appeared between them in the yearbook. Seniors got a full page in
the yearbook, Arthur was on the left page and Lewis on the right,
smiling stronger than they had in years.
He and Arthur had been inseparable, at least until they graduated.
That was when Lewis started to help more around the restaurant and
Arthur had started to take college courses while still working at his
uncle’s garage. Arthur even introduced Lewis to Vivi, a girl he been
talking to at the local coffee shop for awhile, Lewis swore Arthur’s
blood had to be half coffee by this point. She had convinced them to
start a ghost hunting and paranormal investigation team with her boss as
their mentor. It wasn’t long before Lewis and Vivi had started dating
after that, leaving Arthur behind and not taking him with them on as
many cases. The investigations began turning into date nights, and
Arthur seemed to know it.
When Lewis finally sat down to
think over everything Mystery had told him about the nature of the cave
spirit, his history with Arthur, and Vivi’s question, it finally clicked
How many hints have I missed? Lewis pulled out his old laptop and
scrolled through his Skype history with Arthur. It was all there as
plain to see, the words, the phrasings, the teasing. He had missed it
all. He waited a few days before telling Vivi absolutely yes, a thousand
times yes; he needed time to cool down and think.
Taking a deep breath Arthur opened the bathroom door, still shirtless and
wearing only a pair of sweats the sagged a little too far down his
hips, commando felt better in bed he told himself. Vivi smiled. Lewis scooped up their new boyfriend.
Ahahahahahaha somebody shoot me please, the Lewthur ship is gonna murder me! Cave spirit took Lewis’ body and deceived Arthur into becoming his puppet! (don’t ask me how arthur got his left arm back DEMONS AND MAGIC, ALRIGHT!?) Corpse!Lewis’ design and idea is from themysterywat