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Tales of Berseria World Mechanics

Malaks in the World
Malaks are a species that have lived in the world alongside humans since the ancient times. Though some malaks descended onto the Earth from Heaven, and some were born on Earth, both are, in the widest sense, beings known as seraphs. The Empyreans, figures of worship for the populace, were the leaders for the seraphs who descended to Earth. The rest of the malaks were said to obey and follow the Empyreans, but both the Empyreans and regular malaks are considered seraphs, and there is no difference in species between them.*


Main Characteristics of Malaks

-They have a long lifespan of more than several thousand years, but they can die from external factors including spiritual attacks

-Although eating and sleeping is not necessary for their survival, many do so out of habit, or as a pastime.

-All malaks have a specific elemental type, and they can induce supernatural phenomena mainly related to their given element (malak artes)

-Their appearance is determined by the characteristics of their souls, so there are some who take the shape of a human, and some who take the shapes of animals like dogs or cats. In the cases of those with human forms, their hair and clothes include colours that indicate their given element

-Although their bodies grow, once they reach the peak of their power, growth ceases

-Each malak carries a blessing. The area in which a malak’s personal power extends is called a domain, and their blessing reaches all within it

Birthplaces of Malaks on Earth

-Those who descended from Heaven
After they were born in Heaven, they descended to Earth of their own will thousands of years ago. Though they are rarely to be found in current times, the Empyreans and the malak Zui Fu are examples of these

-Those born from pure spiritual energy
They are born on Earth from the gathering of purest spiritual energy. Since malaks are not blessed with children, new malaks are mostly birthed in this way. In current times, most of the malaks in the world came into existence this way.

-Those reincarnated from living beings, such as humans
Humans or other living beings who die, then are reincarnated as malaks. These are rare instances, and the principles behind it, such as whether it requires resonance, is unknown. The reincarnated malak loses all memories of its past life, but retains its feelings. Very rarely, there are some whose memories return to them.

Relationship Between Humans and Malaks
Humans and malaks live in close contact in the world. However, without a high level of resonance, humans are unable to perceive malaks, and in current times, very few humans with such abilities still exist. Also, the malevolence that humans emit are deadly poisonous to malaks, so there are many malaks who live together in groups far away from all human contact.

It is said that there was a time when many humans could perceive malaks, and a period when Empyrean faith was high. Humans offered prayers to the malaks, and malaks gave blessings to humans. It was a relationship that gave mutual prosperity to both, but humans soon forgot their prayers to the malaks when they grew rich in material wealth, and so the connection between the two groups became weak.

The Main Connections Between Humans and Malaks

Humans
-Humans with high resonance could perceive and make physical contact with malaks
-The pure prayers of a human give malaks power
-Malevolence emitted by a human is poisonous to malaks
-Humans with a suitable disposition can become a malak’s vessel, and utilize the malak’s power in exchange

Malaks
-All malaks can perceive humans and make physical contact with humans
-Malaks can give blessings to the humans and things around them
-Malaks can be protected from malevolence if they have a vessel to dwell within

Sealing the Malaks’ Wills
Roughly 3 years after the Advent, the general masses have become able to perceive the existence of malaks. However, most of the malaks were in a state where their wills were sealed by the power of the Empyrean Innominat. Since they were now beings that acted only under the orders of the Abbey’s exorcists and not their own minds, both the exorcists and the general populace saw them as tools. Furthermore, even though the malaks regained their free will later, the people lost the ability to perceive them at the same time, so they were unable to come to a mutual understanding of each other. Many only learnt that malaks had wills of their own after Innominat’s influence was lifted.

Resonance
Resonance is a special power inherent in a small number of humans. It allows them to perceive the existence of malaks, daemons, and such. Humans are normally either born with or without resonance; generally, there is no way for them to acquire the ability. The strength of the resonance aside, only about 1% of the humans in the present world possess resonance. It requires more resonance to perceive a malak, than to perceive a daemon. As a result, only very few humans are able perceive malaks naturally.

In present times, after the Opening and the Advent, the Emyprean Innominat was revived. Under his blessing, high resonance manifested within all humans. As such, the general masses were able to perceive both malaks and daemons for a period of time.

Eleanor became the vessel for Laphicet, who was a part of Innominat. As such, she was often in a state of training that was, in a way, directly opposite to the kind that Shigure went through, where Morgrim suppressed his resonance. Also, while she travelled with Velvet and the others, she gained battle experience at a much faster speed than the other exorcists. Due to various such factors, Eleanor’s resonance has been increased. Therefore, she could still perceive malaks when the other exorcists lost their ability to do so.

Vessels
Vessels that can protect malaks from malevolence are essential to malaks who live amongst humankind. Malaks can contract pure humans, objects, and places as vessels. However, if the vessel is tainted by malevolence, the contracted malak will also be affected by malevolence.

Originally, the contract was built upon a connection where the malak ‘chooses the vessel’, therefore putting the malak in a position of leadership. However, when the Abbey sealed the wills of malaks using the power of Innominat, they succeeded in reversing the connection, putting humans in the roles of the leader and allowing them to contract the malaks as they pleased.


Examples of Vessels
Malak Laphicet
Exorcist Teresa > Exorcist Eleanor
The malak Laphicet’s two vessels were both exorcists. When his will had been sealed, the Abbey placed him under a contract with the exorcist Teresa. After he regained his own will, he formed a contract with the exorcist Eleanor as his vessel.

Malak Eizen
Van Eltia > Kharlan Coin
The malak Eizen uses objects as his vessel. The Van Eltia was made from a natant tree more than a thousand years old, which fulfilled the requirements necessary for a vessel. The Kharlan coin was used in ancient cultures, and can likely only be used as a vessel by a malak with the power of the Reaper.

True Names
True names are names in the ancient tongue, necessary for malaks to form a vessel contract with humans, or in some cases, given to the malaks by humans. The malak Eizen was named Ufemew Wexub (meaning Eizen the Explorer), the malak Zaveid was named Fylk Zahdeya (meaing Zaveid the Oathkeeper), and the malak Laphicet was named Maotelus (meaning one who lives). Generally, true names use words that express the malak’s characteristics and nature.

To a malak, their true name carries a special meaning. When one reveals his true name to a person they are not contracted with, between comrades, it can be seen as a symbol of utmost trust. In other cases, it resembles a confession of love. As such, true names are usually not divulged to others.

Oath
An oath is an arte formula that humans and malaks use to raise the power of their own skills or gain special abilities. By imposing limiting rules and taboos upon themselves, or by paying sacrifices, they are able wield powers that exceed their own limits. Huge sacrifices, or rules that are difficult to keep, yield powers that are correspondingly larger. However, if they break those rules, on top of losing the power they gained, they would be struck by a recoil of equal magnitude. Also, once an oath has been taken, it is impossible to cancel it.

Spiritual forms like malaks can make weak oaths by simply swearing something in their
hearts and imposing rules upon their own actions. Although the results would not be strong, the oath would still manifest. For powerful or complicated effects, it is necessary to go through complicated rituals and trials, as Magilou mentions in the game.

Normal humans have to go through more trouble than malaks, but it is possible for them to execute oaths if they go through the complicated rituals and trials. The knowledge of this possibility has been imparted only to a small group of humans, like the exorcists.

Although it is possible that the exorcist Artorius sacrificed his beloved brother-in-law and sister-in-law to an oath for the ability to seal away his own despair, there is no confirmation that this was a legitimate oath he took.

Examples of oaths
Exorcist Claudin
Oath: Do not kill anyone
Power: Extended lifespan
Claudin, who used to reign as king, received an extended lifespan of almost 300 years by taking an oath, and continued living as an exorcist. Furthermore, although he died because he broke the oath he swore, the oaths that allow humans to extend their lives only grants them about 300 years.

The exorcist Melchior also extended his lifespan using a similar oath to Claudin.

Malak Seres
Oath: To give up her own life as an offering
Power: To complete a special arte formula

The malak Seres gave up her own life to the oath in the end. In return, she received the power to complete the spell that had been placed within her body. This spell was a technique lost in the ancient times, and to repeat it required a large compensation, such as death.

Malak Laphicet
Oath: To become a dragon
Power: To greatly increase his own powers

To become the new Empyrean of void, the malak Laphicet decided to use an oath that changes his form into a dragon to greatly enhance his abilities. As a result, he can freely control the silver flames that purifies overflowing malevolence.

Blessing
Innominat’s blessing can be described as 'raising the level of resonance’ and 'calming the soul’. (It is a special case where he has two blessings, and it’s possible that this is the reason why he requires two sacrifices) But since the blessing is far too powerful, the results it brought were more like 'to erase ego’, and 'to erase both the positive and negative emotions = the suppression’.

Since Laphicet is a part of Innominat, the blessing he possesses is a weaker version of Innominat’s—to “raise the level of resonance”, and to “calm hearts and minds”. But when he took the Oath to become Maotelus, the quality of his blessing changed into a unique power: the “flames of purification”, which resets malevolence.

Although the details of the other malaks’ blessings are unknown, the truth of Eizen’s blessing is, without any misconception, 'To bless a person with strict but adequate trials, so as to incite necessary growth for him’. The blessings of most earth malaks are generally types which include growth (or to give life), to raise (up) and support. Eizen thinks that “This world isn’t too bad…”, which in itself already leads to him bringing to those around him what they often consider 'strict but adequate trials’. Though there are many injured or even killed by the trials, there are also those who survive and grow from them. Why the Aifread Pirates became known as the best pirates in the world, their ability to get past countless obstacles, not to mention their victories against the Abbey, could possibly all be attributed to Eizen’s blessing.

*In Japanese, malaks are known as seirei (聖隷) and Empyreans as seishuu (聖主). The name seirei came about because the seraphs were called “Those who obey the Empyreans” or 'Seishu ni shitagau mono’ (聖主に隷う「したがう」もの). Shortened to 聖隷, the term is then read as 'seirei’.

References

ToB Official World Guidance Book

Translated by Daidairo