The Immortal Prophecies of Neleneus the Savant
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This is a repeat thread, these topics have been discussed multiple times throughout this community’s history. However, there isn’t much new to talk about, so I thought I’d try to revive this discussion.
First off, the prophecies of Neleneus the Savant, starting with #1:
The day of the Tyrants shall be numbered,
And it shall end with a new order.
The exiles shall return,
And with them, a new leader.
The people shall rejoice,
And Six of them shall rise.
When the Voice of a God speaks
So shall be the first sign.
That which was Lost shall try to return,
But now is not the time for that to be.
The Voice must be destroyed,
For it speaks not the truth.
So shall the last act of the Tyrant be,
Before the Wanderer comes.
With the guidance of a fool,
So shall a new Age begin.
The first prophecy seems pretty straightforward, not as ambiguous as its sequels. It seems clearly to prophesy Alaric’s rise to power (though that does make me wonder, how long ago did Neleneus live?). The only thing slightly confusing to me is "that which was lost shall try to return." I’m assuming that refers to the Abydos mages? But what does trying to return mean - trying to rejoin the rest of civilization in eastern Cythera? They must have had some presence in eastern Cythera, because they initiated people into their cult in the maze under Cademia. Perhaps the Undine always teleported them there and back, like Omen did Bellerophon? (Or is Omen’s Test merely a replica of the original Maze of Initiation?) I’m guessing the prophecy just means "the Cult of Scylla mages snuck back into eastern Cythera and tried to be accepted there, but it ultimately didn’t work out because the Tyrant decided to kill them."
The second prophecy:
Ye shall know the Signs of the Coming of the Second End.
They shall be plague, violence, and treachery.
The Traitors shall be guided as the Hidden were before them.
The Traitors shall not, however, fail as the Hidden.
Look ye, then, for the Omens Five, Proof of the End of the Age.
Sons shall slay fathers, in a game of Power. So is the first Omen.
The Seas shall rise, and the Dead shall walk. This is the second Omen.
A Stranger shall come, and with him Nightmares. This is the third Omen.
The Hidden joining the Traitors, to overcome the Master. This is the fourth Omen.
That which was sundered to four shall be joined, Opener of Ways. This is the fifth Omen.
Against these five Omens, none can stand.
And so shall pass the Age of the Unifier.
First off, the phrase "Second End" - refers to Alaric’s death? Without our knowledge of the plans for Cythera 2, Cythera appears to be a game about saving Alaric. But I wonder if "Second End" is a hint.
"Traitors" - most obvious interpretation is that the Traitors are the Comana brothers, but it’s puzzling that the prophecy says that they will not fail. They seemed to be dead by the end of the game.
"the Hidden" - could refer to the Undine (then who is guiding them?) or the Cult of Scylla mages/liches (then how do they join the Traitors?).
"the Master" - seems like it must refer to Alaric, though in the game fake-Pelagon is the one referred to as master.
I’ve asked Shorty about the prophecy and his explanation was something like this:
"The Comana Bros will be guided (by Undine) as the Cult of Scylla was before them, but the Comana Bros will not fail to upset the balance. …. The Undine (referred to by the same term as the Cult of Scylla because they became part of the cult) will join the Comana Bros to overcome Alaric."
I feel that this must be how we’re expected to interpret the prophecy, but I’m not altogether satisfied with the Hidden referring to different things in different places. Any other interpretations to post? I know we had some interesting ones generated during a Discord discussion a couple of months back.
And in the End of the Second Age, the Great Unifier shall pass.
Upon this leaving, shall chaos and disaster come.
Land and Sea shall part, the middle can not hold.
Air and Fire shall wreck havoc, and Night shall fall.
From the Night to the Next Dawn, what was One shall become Many.
The Bird of Two will bemoan his fate, and that of the Third.
The World shall be sundered before the Coming of the Dawn.
And shattered shall it be ever after.
The void shall not keep the parts of the Whole,
For the powers of the Four Directions shall form a Fifth.
The Four parts of the Opener of Ways, Made One.
This shall be the Key to the Fifth Element.
Those that walk the Fifth Element will Bring the Dawn.
And from those Walkers will be brought a New Order.
Only the Walkers of the New Order shall have the Unified Power,
And those of the Four Directions shall be at their mercy.
How much, do you think, of this prophecy would have taken place behind the scenes before Cythera 2 began, and how much would have taken place during the game?
The first half of this prophecy seems to make sense because of clues that Gandreas has given us. Alaric will die, the island of Cythera will shatter, Magpie will grieve. But all that about the fifth element (aren’t humans the fifth element?), I feel like we haven’t heard much about.
Since any discussion about the third prophecy is also a discussion about Cythera 2, I’m going to include some Gandreas quotes with hints about Cythera 2 (mostly from Seldane’s previous Gandreas quotes topic, but also from the 20th anniversary livestream):
It will involve the Undine, but it will involve some very big events..
The sequel is set "a ways" in the future from the first - and its critical that your character leave for certain key events to happen. Basically, the Undine have lost their most powerful artifact to the hands of their most hated enemy, who now has the opportunity to learn to use it and transcend even his current ability. And the sequel is set after that is "resolved".
(The sequel also requires a new engine, since a certain critical "feature" of the world isn't possible with the current one, and, as far as I know, has never been done in any other CRPG).
Omen will actually be part of "Cythera II:Shattered Realm" (or perhaps "Cythera II:Quest for Alaric") - after all, he has a major score to settle, and can turn up like the cockroach he is (though this time you might even have to trust what he is saying, or then again, maybe not).
Gandreas: Hint: Don't trust anyone - they may be helpful but everyone has their own motives.
This applies to Omen, Magpie, all the Seldane, urSlyph, Tavara, the Mages, even Alaric - basically everybody that has any interests in the actions of the hero/heroine. There is no "good" or "evil" there.
gandreas13: After 20 years, here’s the spoiler: [The Crolna] is an anagram for Loc Nar, which is from the film Heavy Metal.
gandreas13: It was supposed to hint that "hey, this might give me power, but it will go bad for me in the end if I use it"
gandreas13: Don't trust anyone
Mercy453: Don't trust anyone... sounds like a hint about Cythera 2
Mercy453: We trusted the Seldane when we beat the game, now there's going to be consequences
gandreas13: Cythera 2 would have had the subtitle "Shattered Realm"
Mercy453: I wonder if the island of Cythera would have been shattered, or the entire Reality.
gandreas13: It would have been broken into separate floating chunks (which would occasionally line up to let you get from one to the other)
gandreas13: Yeah, one of the first parts would have caused you to find Magpie, who would be driving around a cart with an ornate coffin in the back
Mercy453: Oh my! Was Alaric in the coffin?
Neleneus prophecies discussion in "Omen’s little reward"
First prophecy discussion
Second and third prophecy discussion
Third prophecy discussion
Seldane’s collection of Glenn Andreas quotes
Thanks for making this thread, BW!
Since the livestream, this topic felt like the last important thing to discuss. Tree of Life was confirmed an incomplete side-quest, Seldane as a language with historic inspiration, and then the hints given about the Cythera sequel.
Looking back through the prophecies, I'd thought of a couple comments as well.
In the first prophecy, I agree with your uncertainty about the Lost returning. See, I'd initially figured the "Voice of a God" referred to Alaric and the Lost being the mages, but then with the Voice being destroyed as the last act of the Tyrants, it must be a reference to the Cult of Scylla, which makes sense given the religious overtones tying them together. But that does leave the question of Lost. It makes me wonder as to the nature of the Scylla themselves. Perhaps a subservient species to the Undine or exiled or something, but are they trying to come back in opposition to the Undine? Or are the Undine themselves the Lost? Tavara said the Undine played him for a fool with Abydos, but he was clearly still associated with them during the times of the Cult, despite UrSylph saying the "traitor" attempted to subvert the humans by worshipping false gods.
Again, I agree with most everything you say about the second prophecy. I'm also baffled why it says the Traitors do not fail since that seems to invalidate the Comana brothers. But from what we know about the Cythera sequel, it's not clear that we actually saved Alaric at the end, so I guess they didn't fail? If so, it's also unclear whether or not they were responsible for Alaric's fall or something more insidious (recall gandreas specifically called out "trust no one" when we spoke with Jhiaxus during the livestream).
The Hidden does seem like the Undine since they joined forces with the Traitors, but my initial thought was the Cult of Scylla. That feeds back into prophecy one where the connection between the cult/scylla and the undine is not completely clear.
In this case, I think assigning Master to Alaric is the most reasonable interpretation. The in-game mention of Master is interesting though. Perhaps the Hidden are the scylla and they are trying to overthrow the Undine? Comana may also have been trying to overthrow the Undine in the same way Tavara was working with them while seeking personal revenge.
The third prophecy beginning with the end of the second age and passing of the Great Unifier lines up with the first and last line of prophecy two, suggesting to me that the "Second End" is a reference to the second age ending.
The rest is really open to interpretation. Are there more Air and Fire around to wreak havoc? We know the land will break into pieces, so is the One to Many Cythera itself or a reference to the crolna being broken again? The world is mentioned as being sundered separately, and so is the Opener of Ways (crolna from prophecy two) but as One.
The Fifth Element seems to tell us how the Cythera saga will end. I thought humans had been referenced as a fifth somewhere before but may be misremembering. These "Walkers" seem like something different. I suppose today that refers to zombies, but I expect here it refers to humans or a class of humans like evolved mages.
Those are my long rambling thoughts about the prophecies.
One and Two are mostly clear. I just question the exact nature of the Cult of Scylla and how they tie into the Lost/Hidden. That question affects a couple little things, but in the grand scheme of the things, we know the third prophecy is more concerned with Alaric's death and the havoc of the other elements until the "Walkers" appear.
I hope this covers a lot of the discussion that was had about the prophecies on Discord. Thanks again for making the topic!
... This reminds me I still need to make a topic about difficulty level in Cythera.