Althena Questions? (Spoilers Intended...)

For discussion of Lunar: Dragon Song (Lunar: Genesis), the only Lunar game on the DS
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Althena Questions? (Spoilers Intended...)

Postby NeoNash » Sat Sep 02, 2006 5:24 am

Hey all to everyone (or anyone) who may remember me. It's been a long time since I've posted here, but Lunar DS has stirred the Lunar bug inside of me.

Anyhow, I have a few problems with how Althena and the dragons are explained in this game, and I was wondering what you guys thought. I may very well have an explanation for my problem, but maybe it's something that those of you with the "canon" history would have an easier time answering?

Anyhow, what I primarily don't understand is how Althena can die, and rebirth herself? In Lunar EB, Althena, as an entity is dead because she died as Luna. Lunar DS suggests that Althena somewhat regularly becomes human, either to escape harm (such as the case is with Ignatius) or to simply be amongst the people of Lunar. In these instances, would not the human body of Althena die, and the goddess would return to the Cathedral? Titus, I believe, explains that beings made of almost entirely magic can never truly die--only their physical shells, so like the dragons, when Althena in a human body dies, can't she always return? Why is she completely gone after Luna dies? Wasn't Luna's wish for humans and beastmen and perhaps even members of the Vile Tribe (specfically like Phacia) the same as Lucia/Althena's?

I mean, in Lunar EB, Althena is a thing of the past--she exists kind of like a life force all throughout Lunar, but with the ending of Lunar DS, and the intentions of that particular incarnation of Althena why didn't this happen?

I feel like the story of this game kind of contradicts the logic of its predecessors. It makes Althena, who perhaps is only a personification of the positive/additive powers of life, too concrete an entity. It also leaves a sense of ambiguity about the reincarnation process. Ignatius wanted to remove Lucia's soul, like Ghaleon would later wish to do so with Luna's, so Althena could enter her pure "Goddess" state of being. So, is there a cycle of reincarnation in the Lunar world? Where do souls come from? These are questions we can't answer absolutely in real life, but they certainly can be answered in an alternate/fantasy realm.

Also if Althena wished for the Vile Tribe to exist peaceably with its fellow inhabitants of Lunar, why did she keep them in or maybe just keep the Frontier, a lifeless place. The bitterness we see from Xenobia suggests that Althena cast them away, and at the end of this game we see Althena opening her arms to one of her enemies.

Is there any possibility that the Lunar in DS is an AU Lunar that we has less of a connection with TSS and EB Lunars? Sort of like a Wild Arms/Filgaia move? I just don't see as many threads connecting this world to the world we later see. Even though I think somehow this is the same Lunar, I kind of wish it isn't.

While perhaps, this Lunar can connect very very well with the Lunar we see in SSS, landscape issues aside, the world we witness and the changes we must take into account in EB don't work with DS, in my opinion. I don't mean to bash DS's story though--fundamentally, it is really good. I just really despise its execution. Jian would work so much better with more frequent dialog, and I mean stuff beyond his meager explanations on dungeon puzzles. Whoever translated the scenario into dialogue failed.

Bleh, sorry for this really unfocused mess. I just have all these ideas and questions, and I can't really formulate anything neatly at the moment. (Not the mood to write an essay over my confusion, hah). If anyone's willing to bounce ideas, question my questions, that kind of thing, I think I will make more sense. Dur.

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Postby Kizyr » Sat Sep 02, 2006 5:58 am

Jian: Oww... my head hurts...
Lucia: As well it should. You've been in a coma for three days!
Jian: Really? I had the strangest dream... I dreamt that you were the Goddess Althena, and I had to become Dragonmaster by killing the Four Dragons, then there was something about a fairy, and the Vile Tribe, and...
Lucia: What's the Vile Tribe?
Jian: Eh, no clue. Guess it was just a dream.
Lucia: Come on, we got a package to deliver.

And that's how Lunar: DS fits into the Lunar universe.

No, really, you bring up some great questions, and I'm gonna answer all of them later. But, I'll answer them when it's not 2AM. KF

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Re: Althena Questions? (Spoilers Intended...)

Postby Kizyr » Sun Sep 03, 2006 12:55 am

Ok yeah, jokes aside, here goes...

NeoNash wrote:Anyhow, what I primarily don't understand is how Althena can die, and rebirth herself? In Lunar EB, Althena, as an entity is dead because she died as Luna. Lunar DS suggests that Althena somewhat regularly becomes human, either to escape harm (such as the case is with Ignatius) or to simply be amongst the people of Lunar. In these instances, would not the human body of Althena die, and the goddess would return to the Cathedral?


Ok the implication I always got was that when Althena "died", it meant she ceased her cycle of death-and-rebirth. Typically, Althena is reborn as a human every so often (in Lunar: Walking School, they actually specify that she ordinarily comes every 500 years). Luna was her -last- time doing that, which is what she explained in both versions of Eternal Blue.

Since Althena is a goddess, her "soul" or whatever wouldn't die, but would still exist for her to be around and, whenever she chose, actively intervene by granting magic abilities (it's said that all magic flows from Althena, irrespective of whether or not she has a human form at the moment), or by being re-born as a human again.

With Eternal Blue, there was a transition between TSS and EB where she quit actively intervening in human affairs, and trusted in humanity to take care of itself. Even then, I'm not sure what purpose the Goddess Tower would've served otherwise; perhaps to contain or serve as the source of Althena's power on Lunar, but not her physical or incorporeal form itself (SSS implies that Althena's Tower is the center of the world's magic, and the "great evil" that's sealed in Pentagulia ends up being the Goddess Tower, so that much makes sense).

Titus, I believe, explains that beings made of almost entirely magic can never truly die--only their physical shells, so like the dragons, when Althena in a human body dies, can't she always return? Why is she completely gone after Luna dies? Wasn't Luna's wish for humans and beastmen and perhaps even members of the Vile Tribe (specfically like Phacia) the same as Lucia/Althena's?


The Dragons are definitely corporeal manifestations of the magic forces on Lunar (they don't actually represent elements, but forces of nature / "magic"). So, they're eventually re-born when a previous dragon "dies" (though, there can be two at once, like Quark and Nall).

Althena, on the other hand, could return as a human but chose Luna as her last human rebirth. Being reincarnated as a human again would mean intervening in humanity's affairs yet again, rather than trusting them to their own devices as she decided sometime after TSS.

I mean, in Lunar EB, Althena is a thing of the past--she exists kind of like a life force all throughout Lunar, but with the ending of Lunar DS, and the intentions of that particular incarnation of Althena why didn't this happen?


Maybe it took a few crappy events for Althena to finally stay out? Maybe there wasn't as strong a love between Jian and Lucia as there was between, say, Luna and Alex? I don't really know the reasons for it, just that after DS, Althena didn't quit her cycle of death-and-rebirth, and everything repeat after another 500 years (probably about the time that the Vile Tribe was mercilessly exiled to the Frontier).

I feel like the story of this game kind of contradicts the logic of its predecessors. It makes Althena, who perhaps is only a personification of the positive/additive powers of life, too concrete an entity. It also leaves a sense of ambiguity about the reincarnation process. Ignatius wanted to remove Lucia's soul, like Ghaleon would later wish to do so with Luna's, so Althena could enter her pure "Goddess" state of being. So, is there a cycle of reincarnation in the Lunar world? Where do souls come from? These are questions we can't answer absolutely in real life, but they certainly can be answered in an alternate/fantasy realm.


I don't think anything is ever said on human reincarnation. But deities, dragons, or "magic beings" (i.e., those that are corporeal manifestations of natural or magical forces) can probably take on a physical form periodically. Dragons seem not to have direct control over their own 'births', but deities seem to be able to.

Althena, for instance, chose to re-incarnate herself as a human periodically to intervene in humanity's affairs. Zophar was trying to revive his own physical form, but not as a piddly little human; he just needed humanity's help in order to speed along his revival.

Also if Althena wished for the Vile Tribe to exist peaceably with its fellow inhabitants of Lunar, why did she keep them in or maybe just keep the Frontier, a lifeless place. The bitterness we see from Xenobia suggests that Althena cast them away, and at the end of this game we see Althena opening her arms to one of her enemies.


The best explanation that I can figure on is that after DS Lucia died, things went back to the way they were yet again.

500 years before the events of TSS and SSS (quoted in both), the Vile Tribe rose up to oppose Althena and then was banished to the Frontier. That's what Xenobia and the others were bitter about. In DS, it seems like the Vile Tribe is chose to gather in the Frontier because it's beyond Althena's reach.

Jian would work so much better with more frequent dialog, and I mean stuff beyond his meager explanations on dungeon puzzles. Whoever translated the scenario into dialogue failed.


I have a bunch of notes scribbled in the storyboard margins saying stuff like "How do they know this? NPC dialogue? Zethos tells them?" The storyboard was rather bare-bones (like a storyboard is supposed to be)... unfortunately, the dialogue and full game also seemed like it was bare-bones! I still do say that it's a decent story for a handheld RPG, but there're plenty of ways it could've been fleshed out more. KF

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Postby NeoNash » Sun Sep 03, 2006 1:56 am

So in regards to the presence of Althena after she terminates her cycle of rebirth/death, is the energy that (EB) Lucia notes at the Blue Spire, the energy that is distinctly that of Althena's but which cannot be pinpointed, the power of humanity? Or is it the power of Althena which has been dispersed throughout Lunar? I mean, there doesn't even seem to be a Frontier in the EB Lunar--perhaps Althena's power rejuvinated that land? And if that energy is Althena, is it not possible that it could perhaps someday in the future take on a concrete form and presence? Or could it be assumed that Lucia, who was once a "satellite" goddess off of Althena's power, now a guardian of both Lunar and the Blue Star? I mean of course the power of humanity is something that Lucia now recognizes, but I don't think she completely lost her place as an immortal entity by recognizing or taking faith in it.

Back to a more DS oriented question: If the Dragons are the guardians of Althena, aren't they rather devoid of purpose in a Lunar with no actual Althena? I mean there could be evidence for this--the white dragon wings are very weak in EB, and Nall is more or less a glorified nanny. I doubt in the past any Dragon would resort to remaining in human form as much as Nall (and presumably, later, Ruby) does.

Also about the soul thing, I guess what I sort of meant but didn't ask was... if Ignatius/Ghaleon were all into removing the human aspect of the human goddess Althena, then what is the core goddess? When she becomes human, does a different soul "fuse" with the goddess? It is rather obvious that Lucia and Luna are very different people. The same goes for the incarnations of the dragons. Where does the magical entity separate from the individual one?

Also, if we're going to go back to Jian, I suppose my main issue with him was... "Wait, are you serious? 'Curse of Lost Equilibrium... this is the hero's plight? Are you kidding me?" I just am not very sympathetic for some twerpy delivery boy like I am a rising dragon master or demi-goddess pining face-tattooed archeologist. Jian has only one cool aspect which is when he more or less says he's had enough with what's good for the Goddess Althena, and that he wants what is good for Lucia. That is what discerns him from all the other protagonists, but otherwise, I don't feel like I know him that well. Lucia also just kind of floats along, you'd think for a game that wanted to illustrate the plight of the cycle of rebirth and death of Althena, there'd be just a little bit more angst in our bubble gum haired sidekick. Which I guess is what bothers me. Lucia, the way she is written, would have worked well as a "flying cat" but she doesn't quite cut it as a Goddess in human guise in my opinion.

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Postby phyco126 » Sun Sep 03, 2006 3:43 pm

Hey NeoNash, I remember you!

Now, as for the rebirths, I was always under then impression that 2 things happened that allowed for Althena to finally die as Luna. 1. She lost all of her magic when Alex rescued her in SSSC (quick note, I never played TSS so this is all based from L:L, SSSC, and EBC) and 2. She probably decided not to reincarnate herself on purpose, effectively dieing and no longer able to return to the Lunar world.

When it comes to the dragons, in L:L the blue dragon mentioned that he would not die, but merely sleep until he is re-awakened. I took that as his body may die, but his soul may sleep until he is re-awakened in a new body.
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Postby NeoNash » Mon Sep 04, 2006 7:15 am

Haha, and of course, I could never forget you Phyco. I was literally 13 when we both were new posters to these forums, haha. And now here I am, 4 days away from starting school at RISD as a freshman. (There will be no time for any video games of any kind... Lunar will gain another layer of dust.)

Anyhow, did Luna lose all her magical power at the end of SSSC? Or did Alex's love for Luna simply protect her from destroying herself due to the immense flow of magic? I thought it was more Alex who would lose his power protecting Luna rather than Luna losing all of her extraordinary powers. I agree that Luna's will to die a human is what probably ended the rebirthing sequence, but at the same time, my one great disappointment is that this game (Dragon Song) was supposed to show the "suffering" Althena endures through each incarnation. I suppose to an extent Lucia did demonstrate that, but it really wasn't as powerful as it could've been. I felt like it demeaned the intelligence of Lunar fans/the fandom when Lucia, who wasn't even done (designed/conceived) in a vein appropriate for the goddess as seen in the series thus far, was reduced to anime cliches. The powerful girl who once "overtaken" by her power can no longer feel her human heart making the ultimate sacrifice... ugh. It needed to be written with a different twist.

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Postby Alunissage » Tue Sep 05, 2006 12:26 am

Heh, wow, haven't seen you around for a while.

I'm pretty out of practice with this stuff at the moment and still have yet to play more than a third of DS in English, so there's little I can say. There was something I wanted to address, though...

Kizyr wrote:500 years before the events of TSS and SSS (quoted in both), the Vile Tribe rose up to oppose Althena and then was banished to the Frontier. That's what Xenobia and the others were bitter about. In DS, it seems like the Vile Tribe is chose to gather in the Frontier because it's beyond Althena's reach.

These two aren't necessarily contradictory. They may have chosen to live out of reach, but that's a different thing from being unable to return, so having their choice no longer be a choice could make them bitter. (Again, I haven't played that far in English so I don't know what the Tribe actually says in DS.)

Another explanation is that Xenobia's grasp of history may be faulty, and at any rate she's not one to tamely say that her team was on the losing side and deserved its punishment. She'd resent and hate whoever was able to beat her whether or not there was justice involved. For all we know, the "banishment" could've been a simple cause and effect thing like Dyne losing his magic in confining the Black Dragon -- Ghaleon saw that as a cause of bitterness and rage at Althena, while Dyne just accepted it as the price paid. In the case of DS's geography the bridge could've been knocked down, isolating the Frontier, or the only Tribesmen who could do the teleporting could've been executed, or somesuch.

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Postby Kizyr » Tue Sep 05, 2006 3:00 am

Alunissage wrote:These two aren't necessarily contradictory. They may have chosen to live out of reach, but that's a different thing from being unable to return, so having their choice no longer be a choice could make them bitter. (Again, I haven't played that far in English so I don't know what the Tribe actually says in DS.)


Actually, I didn't mean for those two ideas to be contradictory. Since DS occurs 1000 years pre-TSS/SSS, I think a rough timeline was something like:

1000 BA (Before Alex):
Vile Tribe forms, comprised of individuals with natural gifts for magic. Most Vile Tribesmen are human-looking. Ignatius takes over as the leader of the Vile Tribe. They gather in the Frontier in order to gain strength and power without being under Althena's watch.

After Ignatius's 'defeat', Althena expresses a desire for everyone to live with the Vile Tribe in peace.

500 BA:
Vile Tribe rises up against Althena. This time, Althena doesn't extend the same mercy towards them and banishes them to the Frontier. Around this time, there are still human-looking Vile Tribesmen (Memphis and Barua, from Walking School, e.g.). There may be the more demonic-looking ones around as well.

My own theory is that those whose hearts have already turned over entirely to darkness take on the 'demonic' look, and perhaps pass that trait onto their offspring. Those who have mastered enough magic to alter their shape are the only ones who can switch back (hence why every evil Vile Tribesman you see in human form has tons of magic capability).

1 AD (Anno Draconis):
Vile Tribe escapes from the Frontier under the rule of Xenobia and the Magic Emperor. At this time, most of the Vile Tribe are demonic-looking; only a few have the ability to switch 'back' to their human-looking form.

1000 AD:
By now, the Vile Tribe has spread out and mixed with the general population.

Now onto specific questions:
NeoNash wrote:So in regards to the presence of Althena after she terminates her cycle of rebirth/death, is the energy that (EB) Lucia notes at the Blue Spire, the energy that is distinctly that of Althena's but which cannot be pinpointed, the power of humanity? Or is it the power of Althena which has been dispersed throughout Lunar?


I think that the power of Althena, that which she would've used herself either while in human form or while directly intervening in humanity's progress, ended up being dispersed throughout Lunar. So, while Althena is the source of magic, things can sort of run on 'autopilot' (err, 'humanity-pilot', rather) without her and magic will continue to circulate throughout Lunar.

There still needs to be certain forces at work to protect the world, though, hence why the Dragons are still around. Of course, I already clarified that the Dragons are really corporeal manifestations of the magical forces at work in Lunar, which sustain it (hence why in TSS books it's indicated that, if the Dragons all die, then Lunar will cease to be):
i.e.,
- Electricity and Lightning (White Dragon)
- Flowing, of things like water and time (Blue Dragon)
- Gravity--my own supposition (Black Dragon)
- Fire (Red Dragon)

NeoNash wrote: I mean, there doesn't even seem to be a Frontier in the EB Lunar--perhaps Althena's power rejuvinated that land?


It might be more mundane than that. If there weren't any barriers between the Frontier and the rest of the world, no one would choose to live in the Frontier and they'd simply spread out into other parts of Lunar. There's no place in the EB map corresponding to the Frontier--it's not the Salyan Desert, because you can clearly see the Blue Star from there. It has to be simply 'off the map' from the Eternal Blue overworld.

NeoNash wrote:And if that energy is Althena, is it not possible that it could perhaps someday in the future take on a concrete form and presence? Or could it be assumed that Lucia, who was once a "satellite" goddess off of Althena's power, now a guardian of both Lunar and the Blue Star? I mean of course the power of humanity is something that Lucia now recognizes, but I don't think she completely lost her place as an immortal entity by recognizing or taking faith in it.


I think the big message in EB was that humanity has control over its own destiny, so Althena isn't a direct guardian over the world any longer (though all the stuff about the teachings of Althena and whatnot may still be valid, as is drawing on her power--spread throughout humanity--for healing and lifting curses).

While I think that power would gather together into the new Althena every time there was a rebirth, I think it's a conscious decision when Althena reincarnates herself (hence why she appears when there's a crisis about to come). Lucia could take on that power herself--which she did prior to being taken by Zophar--but by placing her faith in humanity, she no longer believes it necessary to take that power herself.

Really, Lucia was a lot like Ghaleon early in the game: she believed that humanity couldn't be trusted to take care of themselves. So she felt it was necessary to take Althena's Power herself and vanquish Zophar (so what if the world would have to be destroyed?). Placing her faith in humanity meant entrusting humans--Hiro and his party--to defeat Zophar instead.

Back to a more DS oriented question: If the Dragons are the guardians of Althena, aren't they rather devoid of purpose in a Lunar with no actual Althena? I mean there could be evidence for this--the white dragon wings are very weak in EB, and Nall is more or less a glorified nanny. I doubt in the past any Dragon would resort to remaining in human form as much as Nall (and presumably, later, Ruby) does.


Incidentally, I hit on the answer to this a little earlier, explaining that the Dragons are still around because they're manifestations of the magical forces keeping Lunar alive.

When the Dragons are weakened (or perhaps gone), that particular force might be weakened as well. In the EB novels, the capture of the Dragon Auras sparked certain changes in the Lunar climate--the lake around Larpa receding was due to the Red Dragons' captured power, for instance.

Nall also was rather unique in what he wanted to do. He spent a lot more time with humans than the other Dragons in his early life (he grew up with Alex at the same time). So I think he has a lot more of a desire for being around humans instead of sleeping in a cave the entire time.

NeoNash wrote:Also about the soul thing, I guess what I sort of meant but didn't ask was... if Ignatius/Ghaleon were all into removing the human aspect of the human goddess Althena, then what is the core goddess? When she becomes human, does a different soul "fuse" with the goddess? It is rather obvious that Lucia and Luna are very different people. The same goes for the incarnations of the dragons. Where does the magical entity separate from the individual one?


That's more of a difficult question... Given that the Dragons (e.g., Quark and Nall) and Althena incarnations (e.g., DS Lucia and Luna) seem very different from one another, my belief is that there is a human element to whatever incarnation of Althena exists after a rebirth. So, with Lucia, there was a human element; same with Luna.

What I think Ghaleon (and Ignatius) wanted to do was to remove this human element and not let the 'humanity' aspect cloud the judgment of the 'goddess'. I.E., Ghaleon and Ignatius thought that the Goddess' humanity was a liability, a weakness, while Althena herself thought it was a strength (and enough so to where she ended up entrusting her powers to humanity at large after Alex). It's more like two aspects of one personality, so I don't think there's a hard-and-fast distinction between the goddess part and the human part.

Although, Ghaleon believed that there was, which is why he was surprised that Alex was able to reach to Althena's human element (i.e., Luna) with a song, even after he'd tried so hard to remove that aspect from her.

NeoNash wrote:Also, if we're going to go back to Jian, I suppose my main issue with him was... "Wait, are you serious? 'Curse of Lost Equilibrium... this is the hero's plight? Are you kidding me?" I just am not very sympathetic for some twerpy delivery boy like I am a rising dragon master or demi-goddess pining face-tattooed archeologist.


I can't quite disagree with you there. It would've been better if Jian were completely paralyzed and Lucia + Gabryel had to take over (which also would've worked only if they were worth a hair in a fight). Although, it's better than Jian being turned into a frog. KF

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Postby Angelalex242 » Thu Sep 28, 2006 1:05 am

Althena in this timeline wasn't as strongly connected to Jian as she would later be to Alex.

She was probably even less connected to previous dragonmasters then she was to Jian, and more connected to dragonmasters between Jian and Alex, whoever those were.

So the 'humanizing' process of Althena is something that took thousands of years to occur. In fact, Ghaleon had it wrong. He was trying to get rid of the human aspect of her, Althena, meanwhile, can and did make a point of getting rid of her goddess aspect, becoming completely human and letting humanity run it herself.

In short, it took Althena several thousand years to do what Lucia EBC does in one game...go from impersonal being to mostly humanlike being.

Also, as to the lack of Fronteir...I don't think there IS a Frontier anymore by EBC. See, the Frontier exists as a place the magic of the goddess couldn't reach.

But, while Althena continues to exist, she's 'holding back' some of her power, keeping it for herself. So when she ceases to exist, the power she no longer bothers keeping revives the Frontier zone, and now all of Lunar has life on it. Perhaps Althena's last gift to the world as she left for good.
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Postby Alunissage » Thu Sep 28, 2006 9:31 pm

Refresh my memory... does DS specifically say that Althena has regularly incarnated previously? Or could her becoming Lucia be the first time? Either way, I'd hazard that she didn't always live with the potential Dragonmaster when she was human, and thus probably didn't bond with them in the same way. She has a strong bond with Dyne, surely, but that's as Goddess and Dragonmaster, not two humans (as it is with Alex and to a lesser extent with Jian).

And you needn't imply a slur with "it took Althena several thousand years to do what Lucia does in one game". If you're going by SSSC continuity the degree of humanity in her is irrelevant since her incarnation wasn't for the specific purpose of becoming human but to remove the goddess from the world, so that can't be taken as a measure. For that matter, there's nothing at all to suggest that she was ever as clueless about humans as Lucia, with the possible exception of Ignatius becoming dragonmaster... which is perhaps a mistake one would expect more of a human than a goddess, no? So I don't see where you're getting that from; it may be that Lucia at the end of EBC is only starting to reach what Althena was before Zophar arose on the Blue Star. But she had responsibilities and a job to do; she could hardly sit around singing to seagulls.

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Postby Angelalex242 » Fri Sep 29, 2006 9:59 am

Who said anything about a slur.

I just said Lucia had a quicker learning curve.

Anyways, in the EBC video, old Luna says, "I reincarnated, as I had had done many times previously."

Many had to have included more then one. So Lucia DS couldn't have been the first time. The first time was probably within 50 years of setting the Silver Star up, and then she did the 500 year cycle thing.

What she did for the other 450 years per cycle, I dunno. Sit around up there at the Goddess Tower?
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