Part 21: Star Door 2: The Salt Pale-Primal Grounds-
Conquering the arena put me at 99 battles won.
Thank you, Joshua.
Enclosed is a report on the damage dealt to the former Principality of North Ambria by the Salt Pale.
Originally, 'Salt Pale' was translated as 'Pillar of Salt.' In case anyone isn't already aware: the word 'pale' can also be a noun, meaning a stake or a post. This door might not make a lot of sense without knowing that.
Also contained within is research on the pale itself.
Holy City of Arteria - Congregation for the Sacraments
I hereby present this report to you, Your Holiness, ever at the side of the Goddess...
This report contains classified information and may only be read by those with the clearance to do so.
Certain sections of the utmost secrecy have also been blacked out.
Progression of events after the pale's appearance:
July 1st, 1178, 5:45AM------
An urgent report came in from Haliask Cathedral in the then-principality (now a state) of North Ambria in northern Zemuria.
It stated that a giant white pillar 'so tall it appears to kiss the clouds' had appeared on the outskirts of the city.
Bishop Alexei, the one who sent the report, behaved as if extremely unsettled by what was happening.
By urgent order of the committee, two knights of the Gralsritter (the Eighth Dominion a.k.a the Roaring Lion and a squire), both of whom were working on another mission in a nearby nation, were dispatched to perform a formal investigation.
They hurried to the scene via the eighth Merkabah unit.
Please note that the Merkabahs had only recently been put into use at this point.
They arrived promptly...
and at 6:22AM, this was what they saw...
Enclosed is a photograph of the object now known as the Salt Pale.
At this point, however, it was far larger than the term 'pale' would suggest.
It was more akin to a massive tower that soared hundreds of arge into the air.
The two knights provided the following observation regarding the situation on their arrival:
'We were met with a mighty hailstorm blowing in our direction from Haliask--or so it appeared at first, till we eventually realized the storm contained not ice, but salt.
The object's surface is completely covered with salt, making it impossible to tell what it may actually look like underneath.
The surrounding air has become powdered salt, and it falls to the ground like snow falling on a tundra.'
The spread of that salinification process was startlingly rapid, and the affected area spread in the blink of an eye.
By the time the Gralsritter arrived, the entire landscape of the capital had turned to salt, and the lives of many who lived there, like the aforementioned Bishop Alexei, had already been lost.
Yet the spread did not stop there.
A day after the Salt Pale first appeared, a vast coniferous forest zone north of the capital crystallized and collapsed.
Bridges also collapsed, rendering all of the main highways out of the city unusable.
Please note that by this point, then-ruler Prince Balmund had already fled the country to a nearby nation.
Two days passed since the pale's appearance...
By this point, roughly half of the entire principality had become a sea of salt.
Countless refugees had fled to the southern side of the country because the River Greve stood between it and the affected area.
Finally, three days after the pale's appearance...
The salinification process stopped at dawn. As a result, the knights were able to advance on the capital of Haliask with the hope of investigating the Salt Pale.
That afternoon, they finally reached it...
but what they found looked completely different from when they first arrived in North Ambria.
In the center of the salinified area, they found an object that was a mere 2.5 arge in height.
Its surface was no longer blanketed in salt. Rather, it looked as if something had been carved out of it.
It is now believed that the pale's mass decreased as the salinification process progressed.
In its smaller state, the pale had lost its power to turn swathes of the country to salt, but its ability to salinify was still very much intact.
Anything that touched it, even for a millisecond, was instantaneously turned into salt. It was of the utmost importance to handle it with care.
In order to complete the mission without physical contact, the Gralsritter required the use of the sacred tool Gleipnir, which was delivered to them from the High Seat in Arteria.
Since then, it has been kept closely sealed away deep within the High Seat.
Still, while the recovery mission was ultimately deemed a success, the damage already caused was equally vast and significant.
No damage to the surrounding nations was reported, but it resulted in the destruction of three of the five administrative districts of the principality, including its capital.
Over a third of the population, along with travelers from elsewhere, lost their lives.
This is to say nothing of the emotional damage caused; due to its sudden outbreak, the hearts of North Ambria's people were overwhelmed with fear and uncertainty.
From a humanitarian and a religious perspective, a swift response from the Septian Church was all but necessary.
The decision was made to dispatch personnel to the region right away...
and upon arrival, they set about rebuilding the damaged churches and healing both the physical and mental wounds of the people.
Those who were left orphaned in the crisis were taken into gospel facilities, where they would be cared for until adulthood.
The northern region of the country, which had been turned entirely to salt, was placed under the church's control. It has been a restricted area ever since.
After some time, the country's former leader, Prince Balmund, attempted to rebuild the government...
but given that he had fled the country during its hour of need, caring only for himself and not his people, all authority he once had was gone.
The following year, the country's people led an armed uprising, and the Principality of North Ambria was no more.
Eventually elections were held, and the country became a democracy, thus bringing about the birth of the autonomous state we know today.
This was also when the former principality's armed forces reformed as a vigilante corps.
Given the extreme poverty of the state, however, the majority of said corps considered gathering foreign currency to be of the utmost importance.
This was how the large-scale jaeger corps known as the Northern Jaegers was first established.
Their elite finger-gunner teams are the equal of an entire company of ordinary troops.
As far as the rest of Zemuria is concerned, this is where the tale of the Salt Pale ends...
but a number of very important questions still remain unanswered.
Perhaps the most obvious of these is where it came from.
Despite the considerable size of the object and how it appeared on the outskirts of a populated city, no information is available regarding the moment it first appeared.
The most popular theory is that its appearance was due to something akin to spatial translocation, but hard evidence exists to support this--or any other--theory.
Of more importance, however, is its positioning in the teachings of the Septian Church.
The pale is clearly different in nature to artifacts, and appears to be a more fundamental 'manifestation of the Goddess' powers of creation' (committee report).
With the limits of our knowledge at present, this is as far as we can get to the truth.
There are some who have proposed it may be one of the Sept-Terrions, but no evidence has been found in legend or scripture to support this belief.
Nevertheless, these questions and many others need answering, and the Congregation for the Sacraments continues to study the Salt Pale to this day.
The most accepted proposal comes from those who believe the Salt Pale should be seen as nothing more than a gift from Aidios, and they continue to consider various means for Her church to make good use of it.
The most realistic of these plans is using it in the manufacture of a sacred tool used for execution.
Parts of the pale are cut away using high-pressure water and then surrounded with a cylinder made from salt crystal, allowing them to be fired directly into the target without requiring the user to make direct contact.
Should the bolt make successful contact with a human target, their whole body would turn to salt, killing them in mere seconds.
There are no known means for reversing or stopping this process.
This approach does not come without flaws; it seems unwise to be careless with an object we still do not understand the true nature of, for one thing. There are also humanitarian concerns with executing someone in this manner.
Still, it does bear mentioning that should there ever be a case where a target needs to be eliminated without fail, this would be the most surefire way to carry it out.
It should go without saying that research on it is intended to continue into the future.
ok dudes I know this mystery object caused an inconceivably horrific disaster and all but we should totally kill the shit out of people with it, it'll be hella
Appendix regarding the aforementioned sacred tool:
S****/** - Trial use begins of the sacred tool (top-secret work only).
S****/** - Permission granted to use in the execution of *********.
S****/** - Used in the execution of ********* (fired from bowgun).
Results were extremely favorable. No damage was caused to the surrounding area.
The target was also successfully erased.
Appendix: About the target:
The target, ***** *********, was orphaned by the Salt Pale when it first appeared.
A brief history of *** is as follows:
S1180 - Joins the Septian Church.
S1185 - Joins the Congregation for the Sacraments as an official.
S1190 - Promoted to bishop.
S1195 - Declared a heretic and excommunicated from the church.
Speaking of Weissmann: some unused art in the game files indicates that he and Rufina were originally supposed to know each other from the church.
Never trust a man with tiny hands.
Side Story [The Salt Pale] finished!
Received 3,500 mira.
Everybody must get stoned.