In the latter half of the 16th century, a warrior on a divine mission for the ancient god of forge successfully shattered one of the evil blades. Tragically, shattering the sword produced the opposite effect of what was intended. The balance of power between the swords was destroyed, and the evil of the blades spiraled out of control; its malevolent energy diffused into the sky in a form of eerie light. The phenomenon, which later became known as the Evil Seed, scarred the world with its evil legacy.
The remaining sword possessed the body of a man who took the evil blade into his hands and embarked on a killing spree throughout Europe. Macabre accounts of merciless killings spread fear throughout the entire continent.
Yet the massacres ceased after three years. Fourmore years passed, and the horrors became a distant memory and people felt safe once again.
...No one knew.
Four years before, a spirit sword named Soul Calibur appeared from the East, as if to answer the call of the raging Soul Edge. No one witnessed the final battle to the death where Soul Edge was shattered. No one knew that the spirit sword was left behind in the vortex of evil to stop the demon sword's powers.
Most people were oblivious to the fact that the peace that followed was the result of this battle, and the spirit sword's existence remained a mystery.
Unfortunately, the peace was merely a facade; the evil blade began spreading its influence, quietly yet surely, throughout the world once again. People unwittingly transported the sword to every corner of the world in the form of metal shards. These pieces of Soul Edge still embodied evil powers. With Soul Calibur lost in the void, it was only a matter of time before the evil sword's dark powers infected the entire world.
The following tales of swords and souls are of those who pursued Soul Edge for their own convictions and reasons...
Hephaestus, the Olympian god of forge, was not the only god who took notice of the sword's power. But unlike Hephaestus, who bore misgivings about Soul Edge, the other god was genuinely intrigued with the weapon. To Ares, the god of war, the evil blade's cursed origins and nature were of little concern. He simply wished to possess Soul Edge for himself.
Ultimately, the conflict of the two gods' desires began to unfold in the human world.
Ares looked to a heretical order to help him obtain Soul Edge. The desert-dwelling cult worshipped him as Palgaea the Executioner. Receiving Ares' oracle to seek the sword, the grand priest Kunpaetku used the cult's black arts to create a golem. The grand priest named the golem Astaroth, bestowed it with a giant ax infused with a powerful curse, and sent it on a mission to search for the evil blade.
Kunpaetku secretly desired Soul Edge for himself, for the sword bore a power that even the gods sought after. But deceiving a god was no easy task. Little did the grand priest know that Ares' servant, Ker-the agent of death- dwelled within Astaroth.
Contrary to its creator's intentions, Astaroth sought after Soul Edge for the god of war. When Astaroth eventually found it, the sword was in a weakened state, having lost half of itself in battle. Deciding that his god would not be pleased with the blade in this condition, the golem followed the orders of Nightmare (who wielded the sword at the time) and slaughtered countless victims in order tostrengthen the unholy weapon. Astaroth became the subject of bitter hatred for those who managed to survive his innumerable massacres
Three years later, the blade had recovered its power, and the time wasnearing for Astaroth to take Soul Edge from Nightmare's grasp. But Astaroth never saw his opportunity. Of all the souls harboring hatred for Astaroth, one soul with an irrepressible desire for vengeance reached Nightmare's stronghold in Ostrheinsburg and destroyed the golem. This man sought to avenge his comrades who were slain by Astaroth.
Although from a human standpoint Astaroth was a wicked being, he was nevertheless the servant of a god. Immediately after his servant was destroyed, the infuriated god of war unleashed his punishment. The ground buckled beneath the man-who was already seriously wounded from the battle-and he disappeared into the earth. So sudden were these events that the man had nary a moment to rejoice in his victory.
Soon after the battle against Astaroth, the revenge seeker's friends defeated Nightmare and shattered Soul Edge. They searched for the slayer of Astaroth for some time, but they eventually lost hope of finding him and left. For a while thereafter, peace returned to the world.
Four years passed since that time.
Had Astaroth simply been a creation of a mere mortal, it would have been an impossible feat. Nevertheless, the god of war's divine powers and Ker, the agent of death, along with the soil in Ostrheinsburg made it feasible. The Ostrheinsburg grounds, sated with the blood of those slain by Nightmare and cursed by their deep-seated hatred of him, acted as the perfect medium for Astaroth's resurrection.
When he was destroyed, Astaroth lost much of the weaknesses he had obtained as a result of being created with the aid of human hands. Moreover, during his regeneration, his new body absorbed several Soul Edge fragments that were nearby. This made Astaroth far more powerful and merciless.
Eventually, Astaroth must have remembered his purpose, for he hefted his familiar ax and vanished into the mist.
Upon her return, Sophitia explained that Hephaestus, the ancient Olympian god of the forge and fire, had given her a divine oracle to seek out Soul Edge and destroy it.
Nobody believed her sister's fantastic story except Cassandra. She knew that Sophitia was not the sort of person who lied. She also witnessed the Asian woman extract a fragment of the evil sword from Sophitia's body, while treating wounds she received when one of Soul Edge's blades was shattered.
Therefore, it was no surprise to Cassandra when Sophitia disappeared again shortly before her marriage. She was certain that her sister had left tocontend with Soul Edge.
As if to answer the concern of her family,Cassandra's sister returned after a few years, her face glowing with contentment as she spoke of cleansing the lands contaminated by the evil of Soul Edge. Soon after, she married a blacksmith, had two children, and led a happy family life.
One day, after running some errands for the bakery where she worked, Cassandra visited Sophitia's home. As she looked into the sleeping faces of her sister's young children, she jokingly spoke to them. "Pyrrha, Patroklos, listen to me carefully. If you don't hold on tight to your mother, she might go running off again to carry out god's duties."
Cassandra's sister smiled and laughed, then assured Cassandra that she no longer heard oracles from god.
It was then that Cassandra's brother-in-law returned home after a day's work. The children jumped out of their beds and ran to greet their father, who carried in his hand a mysterious metal fragment. Fascinated with the metal scrap, the children grabbed it from their father's hand and tugged itaway from each other greedily. The way they fought over the piece of metal seemed unnatural-almost as if the children were trying to take back something that belonged to them.
Cassandra recognized the metal. It was a fragment of Soul Edge.
Knowing exactly what her children's reactions meant, Sophitia collapsed, shrieking.
Cassandra grabbed the metal away from the hands of the children quickly and shouted, "Dear Sister! What could be so terrible about this thing? What could this possibly do? Get a hold of yourself! And you call yourself the divine warrior who answered the voice of god?"
Filled with anger, Cassandra rushed out of the house and ran to the Hephaestus Shrine. "Why are you doing this to my sister? How can you claim to be an almighty god? Answer me!" she screamed at the shrine, her voice reverberating throughout the desolate holy ground. Cassandra collapsed on the floor, worn out from shouting. It was then that she saw the weapon. It was the holy sword blessedby the god of forge; Sophitia and her husband offered it to Hephaestus after their marriage. Even after all this time, the sword had not lost its gleam despite being exposed to the elements for four years.
Cassandra held the fragment of Soul Edge up to the blessed sword. The fragment resonated and gave off a faint wailing sound-almost as if it was frightened of the holy object.
She realized then that Soul Edge was still alive. But she could not allow her sister to carry the burden, with a family who depended on her. Cassandra decided that she would put an end to the evil sword herself.
Cassandra did not trust Hephaestus, but the power to defeat the evil was right before her.
As night gave way to dawn, nothing disturbed the temple's tranquility. Cassandra was nowhere to be seen. However, something was amiss-the holy weapon was missing from the temple.
As if to pursue her husband into death, the Countess fell ill and passed away soon after Count Valentine's death. This left Ivy as the sole surviving member of the Valentine family.
In reality, Ivy was not a true Valentine by birth. The Count and Countess found her abandoned in front of their mansion when she was an infant, and she was taken into the family as an adopted child. Ivy discovered this secret only after reading a will left behind by the Countess in her death. But this did not matter to her, for the Valentines were the only parents she knew.
Obeying the last wishes of her adoptive father, Ivy continued the search for Soul Edge and studied alchemy. During this investigation, she uncovered the true nature of the sword-it was an evil blade that feasted on souls. In order to avenge the deathher father, who was driven insane by the allure of Soul Edge, Ivy vowed to use all of her knowledge to destroy it. She invoked strange powers through occult rituals to summon a mysterious individual who gave life to the whip-like, mechanical sword she dubbed "Ivy Blade."
The sword, which had a will of its own, accompanied and protected Ivy on her journey to vanquish Soul Edge.
When she crossed paths with Nightmare-the one who breathed life into her sword-she agreed to assist him in the "summoning of souls." Little did she know that it was all part of the evil sword's plans.
Ivy realized it was Nightmare who possessed Soul Edge. She came to this revelation only after he was defeated and the evil blade was shattered. That meant that the beloved blade she had forged to destroy Soul Edge had life thanks to the power of the evil blade. She also learned the secrets of her true lineage.
Ivy's birth father... he oncewielded Soul Edge and was manipulated by its wicked powers!
Shaken by the horrifying truth, Ivy returned home and locked herself away in a dark laboratory. She tried countless times to destroy Ivy Blade, which was now a symbol of her self-hatred and regret. She could not, however, bring herself to actually break the sword. "I am the same as this sword... Yes, the blood of the evil blade flows through me. The same blood..."
Ivy Blade waited for its master's orders silently.
After months of soul searching, Ivy emerged with renewed resolve. Her goal was no longer to destroy the evil sword, but to completely wipe it out of existence. As a vow to her commitment, she renamed her sword "Valentine." And when she acquired information about fragments of Soul Edge being scattered throughout the world, she immediately departed on her new journey.
Ivy intended to destroy every fragment of Soul Edge, anyone who carried its tainted bloodline, and anyone contaminated by its evil. Nothingwould stop her from destroying the root of the evil, evenif itmeant killing the innocent-there would be no exceptions. The only thing that mattered was obliterating the evil sword's existence completely. "...Call me a monster, a demon if you must. I'll be happy to be called those names if it is the price I must pay to eliminate theexistence of the evil blade!!"
This was the beginning of her long, arduous journey. A journey where she would ultimately have to destroy herself and all that was related to her.
Ivy's adoptive family name "Valentine" became a symbol of her will to live as a "human" even though the cursed blood of the demonic blade ran strong within her.
The Ling-Sheng Su Temple had three sacred treasures, one of which was a rod known as Kali-Yuga. Becoming the successor of the secret art meant that this revered treasure would eventually be passed down to him. Tragically, the Evil Seed rained down upon the temple the night before the succession ceremony.
Driven insane by the Evil Seed, the residents of the temple butchered one another in a bloody riot. An elderly man found an exhausted Kilik the following morning and saved him from imminent death. He was the lone survivor of the ordeal. The Ling-Sheng Su Temple, which had once flourished with martial arts students, was forever obliterated from the face of the earth.
When Kilik awoke, he found himself in an old man's hermitage. Along with Kali-Yuga, Dvapara-Yuga, a mirrored sash that was one of the three sacred treasures, rested on his shoulder. Dvapara-Yuga belonged to Xianglian, anotherorphan at the temple who had been like an older sister tohim.
The Evil Seed had spun Kilik's destructive instincts out of control. When he regained his sanity, he was already wearing Dvapara-Yuga. He realized the sacred treasure must have cleansed the evil energy from his body. The only person who could have placed Dvapara-Yuga on him was Xianglian.
And he had killed her.
He had taken Xianglian's life. She would have survived had she kept Dvapara-Yuga on herself. Instead, she gave the mirrored sash to Kilik and lost her life after being overcome by madness. Why did she sacrifice herself in order to save him? And what was Kilik supposed to live for, when everyone he loved had been slain by his own hands?
After a long period of self-loathing and blame, Kilik concluded that the only thing he could do was to destroy the evil resident within him. "The root of all the evil is Soul Edge," the elderly man said. He said this as if he had been waiting for Kilik to reach this conclusion by himself. "You, along with Kali-Yuga, which absorbsspiritual energy, have been filled with evil power ever since that fateful night. Dvapara-Yuga is the only thing that maintains the balance between good and evil."
The old man, who lived alone in a remote region, turned out to be a martial arts advisor for the Ling-Sheng Su Temple.
Under the advisor's tutelage, Kilik learned the secret art of the Ling-Sheng Su style rod and techniques to control the evil energy within both Kali-Yuga and himself. In time, Kilik left on a journey to destroy the demonic sword. During his travels, Xianghua and Maxi joined Kilik on his quest.
They eventually reached Nightmare's stronghold but were surrounded by Nightmare's horde. Through Maxi's selfless actions, Kilik and Xianghua were able to slash their way through the endless waves of foes to reach Nightmare. They challenged their powerful adversary, and a fierce battle ensued. Ultimately, the power of Xianghua's Soul Calibur prevailed-they succeeded in destroying the evil blade.
Dvapara-Yuga shattered during the violent encounter against Nightmare. It was then that Kilik realized the evil within his body remained under control, even without the sacred treasure. During the long journey, he had gained the ability to suppress the demonic powers withinhim.
For some time, Xianghua and Kilik searched for Maxi, but could find nary a trace of the lost pirate. The two of them eventually went their separate ways- Kilik returned to his master in order to perfect the technique of neutralizing and purifying the evil energy over time.
Four years had passed since the fateful battle.
One day, Kilik sensed a malevolent aura- it had the same energy as the wicked, demonic blade. Soul Edge still existed! Merely shattering the weapon had not destroyed it. "If brute strength alone wasn't enough to destroy Soul Edge, would it be possible to absorb all of its powers into Kali-Yuga?" Kilik wondered. "Kali-Yuga can absorb anyform of energy, so it should be possible to keep allof the blade's evil power under my control. Then I can try to purify it over time..."
He then realized the enormity of his plan. Four years had passed since he'd begun his training, yet he had been unable to completely purify the evil inside his body. It would takea long time to purge the colossal amount of demonic energy possessed by Soul Edge, but it did not matter- his mind was made up. Kilik was willing to make the sacrifice as a means to atone for the deaths he caused.
Even if it took an entire lifetime.
Unfortunately, this proved to be a star-crossed encounter.
The hidden evil resident within Kilik attracted unwanted attention from a horde of monsters. The ensuing battle took the lives of Maxi's crew, who were helpless against these nightmarish foes. Kilik and Maxi were the only survivors of the bloody carnage.
After the massacre, Maxi traveled with Kilik andsworeto seek revenge for his fallen comrades. Maxi was certain that Astaroth, the leader of the monsters, would appear before Kilik once again.
Xianghua later joined their journey, and the three of them headed towards Europe. The travels through unfamiliar lands strengthened the friendships between Maxi and his new companions.
Eventually, the group made their way into Nightmare's stronghold. Nightmare, who possessed Soul Edge, commanded his horde to attack the intruders. Maxi recognized them as the same monsters that murdered his crew; he knew that his sworn enemy was nearby. Almost as if to acknowledge Maxi's presence, a hulking silhouette emerged from the shadows.
Maxi forced his companions to go on while hestayedbehind to confront Astaroth. He used every ounce of his strength and avenged his fallen crew by destroying the golem, but at a price- Maxi suffered grave injuries during the battle.
Immediately after Astaroth's defeat, the outraged god of war commanded the earthto swallow up the weakened pirate. Unconscious, Maxi fell into a river that flowed deep underground and was carried away quietly by its icy currents.
Above ground, the only trace of Maxi left behind was his nunchaku.
When Maxi awoke, he found himself resting on a riverbank. His mind was lucid, but he could not feel his extremities. He soon realized that he had suffered debilitating injuries that prevented him from moving freely.
Fortunately, a person from a nearby village rescued Maxi, and took him to the village. With his vast knowledge, strong sense of duty, and likeable personality, it did not take long for Maxi to be accepted by the villagers. After some time, his strength began to return, but his arms andlegs would not heal- it seemed unlikely that he would be able to return to his carefree, nomadic lifestyle.
Nevertheless, Maxi was satisfied with his new life. He had exacted his revenge against the one responsible for his crew's death. Although he was curious about Kilik and Xianghua's fortunes, as long as the peace continued, he believed that they had vanquished the root of the evil. "I wouldn't mind spending the rest of my life here in this village," thought Maxi.
Four years passed, then a rumor reached the village. "When the enormous man with a gigantic axe comes through... Nothing remains in his wake!"
Maxi had a horrible feeling that it was him. The more information he gathered, the more convinced he became that it was indeed Astaroth. "That freak is still alive. How can I be here, living peacefully, when I haven't avenged my crew?" Unfortunately, his limbs still refused to move.
As if he were reading Maxi's mind, anelderly village medicine man paid him a visit. "Ifyou wish to gain something of value, then you must part with something of equal value," counseled the elder.
Maxi implored the elder and convinced him to treat his injuries with his secret arts. The elder had found a peculiar rare metal fragment recently and used that precious item for the mysterious treatment.
Several days later, Maxi left the village with the promise to return one day.
In exchange for the restoration of his limbs to seek revenge, Maxi lost something just as precious as the slain comrades he swore to avenge- the memories of Kilik and Xianghua.
As a mercenary, Mitsurugi fought in and triumphed over countless battles. Every enemy who faced him in combat feared his invincible blade. That was until a newbreed of weapon was introduced. Rifles known as Tanegashima were brought in for practical use by the famous shogun Nobunaga Oda.
For Mitsurugi, who relied purely on his strength and skill, the Tanegashima was a serious threat. Simply by holding this "pipe," even the lowliest foot soldier could become a powerful force on the battlefield. Unable to accept such a preposterous notion, Mitsurugi looked for ways to defeat the rifle. Unfortunately, he could not find a good way to overcome the new weapon. Frustrated, Mitsurugi challenged Tanegashima to a duel, but lost when he was shot through the right shoulder.
But this did not deter Mitsurugi's spirit. He resolved to defeat the rifle by finding a powerful weapon that would enable him to achieve this goal. It was then that he heard a rumor from overseas about Soul Edge. At the time, a man known as Nightmare wielded the giant, grotesquely shaped blade. Hearing stories of its immense powers,Mitsurugi set off across the oceaninpursuitof the sword without a moment's hesitation.
He headed west towards Europe, where Nightmare supposedly roamed. Travels through foreign countries were difficult for Mitsurugi, who was unable to understand the languages of the places he visited. Nonetheless, hecontinued his travel, making ends meet by fighting battles as a mercenary. The added benefit of his mercenary lifestyle was that he was able to maintain his fighting form.
But time was callous and unforgiving. Eventually, rumors that Nightmare had disappeared reached Mitsurugi, and Soul Edge's trail ran cold. Mitsurugi was still unwilling to give up, and continued his search around the world's battlefields for signs of the ultimate blade.
Four years after his quest had begun, while visiting a castle near the Ming frontier, Mitsurugi stumbled upon the trail of Soul Edge. It was a metal fragment of Soul Edge that he came across by accident.
Walking past one of the back alleys ofthe city, Mitsurugi came to ahalt whenhewitnessed several assassins surrounding a gravely wounded man. When the assassins saw Mitsurugi, they pounced upon him, intending to leave no eyewitnesses behind. A vicious melee ensued, and Mitsurugi drove back the assailants, saving the man's life as a result.
The badly injured man handed Mitsurugi a piece of metal-perhaps he thought that he would be unable to accomplish his mission with his wounds. He asked Mitsurugi to keep it safe. He seemed afraid to let it fall into someone else's hands, but he would not explain any further. Without another word, the man vanished into a dark alley.
Looking at the metal fragment in his hand, Mitsurugi pondered, "If Soul Edge was so powerful, why would it shatter?"
Mitsurugi had a difficult time believing the man who gave him the fragment, but there was no denying the sincerity in the man's eyes. "Besides," Mitsurugi reasoned, "why would a man on the verge of death lie to a complete stranger?"
Soon after, a grave storycirculatedthrough the castle. Apparently, a servant of the Ming Emperor arrived at the castle, demanding the "Sword of Heroes." When the servant steadfastly refused to leave without the sword, the lord of the castle slew him, exclaiming that he could not turn oversomethinghe did not have. "War is coming," thought Mitsurugi.
He sensed the same storm brewing that he had felt before in countless battlefields.
Originally, he was the leader of a group of brigands known as the Black Wind, whose stronghold was located in the Black Forest near the Roman Empire. It was news of his father's death that drove him from his marauding lifestyle, resolving to find his father's killer.
Hearing word of a sword known as Soul Edge, he became convinced that he could slay his father's murderer if hefound thisultimate weapon. He searched through the battlegrounds in every region he traveled. Eventually, he came across a sword in a Spanish harbor that emitted a strange aura beside the corpse of its owner, who appeared to be a pirate. The dead body returned to life, covered in flames, as if to protect the sword. Upon defeating the apparition, he reached for the hilt of the mysterious blade.
It was then that he heard the voice of Soul Edge, the sword that feeds on souls.
It told him that if he used the souls absorbed by the sword, he would be able to resurrect his father. Accepting his new goal, the man's body began to surge with the evil energy of the sword. The energy became a beautiful pillar of light that pierced the evening sky and dissipated into the atmosphere.
From that moment on, the man became Nightmare, the evil knight who would strike fear into every corner of Europe.
Having determined that the power Soul Edge had at thatmoment was insufficient to revivehis father,Nightmare attacked village after village to nourish the blade. Not satisfied, he sought out those with strong souls to feed the evil sword.
The killings ended three years later, when Nightmare came across three sacrifices for his blade. One of them wielded a spirit sword called Soul Calibur, which possessed an aura that was the polar opposite of the evil power emitted by Soul Edge. The battle between the swordsmen took place in a vortex of hellfire and evil energy summoned by Soul Edge. After a raging battle, the evil sword shattered, and both Nightmare and Soul Edge fell into the collapsing void.
With Soul Edge severely weakened, Nightmare regained some of his humanity. Along with lucidity came the horrifying memories of the sins he committed, as well as the fear and anger of those who were slaughtered by him. Moreover, he realized that he had been the one who murdered his father.
Expelled from the void into an unfamiliar place, Nightmare disappeared intothe night-theevilswordstill in his grip. But Soul Edge was weaker now, and splinters of itself were left in Nightmare's footsteps.
He knew Soul Edge must never fall into the hands of another man. He set off to go as far away as possible from human settlements.
Yet each morning, he awakened to the sight of people slain by him during the night. While he slept, Soul Edge took over his mind and flesh, and he was burdened by this new guilt. Nevertheless, he did not choose to take his own life and end things easily. He knew that if he died, the sword would only find a new host to continue its evil ways. The only solution was to find a place where the evil could be imprisoned forever.
Initially, the balance of power between him and the sword were equal. But as time wore on, his control over his body became irregular, and the sword held sway over him for slightly longer periods of time.
The number of those who fell victim to the blade continued to grow. The sword healeditself gradually by feeding off the victims' souls. After four years, the sword had nearly recovered to full strength.
The fragments of itself lost during its escape...The evil energy dispersed as the Evil Seed...Soul Edge's shattered companion blade…the other Soul Edge...
With dominant control over its host body, Soul Edge, once again in the form of "Nightmare," began to pursue the fragments of itself that it had lost. It was on a quest to restore itself completely!
But at the same time, he continued to fight the evil sword's plans with the little sanity left within him.
Despite this experience, Yoshimitsu could not give up his desire to avenge his clan. He saw opportunity in a rumor that circulated within Japan during that time and decided to travel overseas. Soul Edge, the ultimate sword—if only he possessed that sword, he would surely be able to cut down an army at will.
Yoshimitsu traveled across the continent, chasing down rumors of the sword. When he finally reached Europe, he came upon the aftermath of a massacre. During that time, a series of mysterious killings wreaked havoc and spread terror across Europe. The bloody carnage before Yoshimitsu’s eyes reminded him of the slaughter of his clan.
He thought to himself, "No matter what the reasons may be, murderous hatred only begets deep sorrow and retaliation. And I have this hatred within me as well. Would my clan approve of my vengeance if they were still alive? ...Nonsense! Why am I doubting myself?!"
Yoshimitsu cut down the budding doubt within him, and continued his quest for Soul Edge. But as he continued his journey, he encountered many remains of massacres, one after another. With each ensuing encounter, the doubt within his heart took root. It was only a matter of time.