People are capable of kindness beyond angels, yet we also commit sins that would put a demon to shame...Raogrimm
Raogrimm is a non-playable Galka character in Final Fantasy XI. He was the Talekeeper, a Galka who carries the memories of his people and functions as their cultural leader. He was also regarded as the greatest swordsman among his race.
Unlike most reincarnated Galka, a Talekeeper remembers his past life. Raogrimm was therefore identified and revered by his people even as a child. This fostered resentment among another Galka child named Deidogg, who was the same age as Raogrimm, but not given any special treatment. Though he was often mean to Raogrimm and disparaged him behind his back, Raogrimm appreciated Deidogg for being the only Galka to treat him as an equal.
Raogrimm spent his early days among the Republic of Bastok's mining operations. He witnessed the establishment of the Palborough Mines and predicted that the miners would soon encounter an underground Quadav temple. He was proven right but his Galka followers were unable to prevent their Hume associates from using explosives to destroy it. This would be one of many times that Raogrimm found himself frustrated by the unwillingness of Humes to understand the cultures around them.
As an adult Raogrimm made a name for himself in the wider world as a Musketeer. He was often sent as an envoy to San d'Oria and even gifted some of his armor to the kingdom. He traveled as far as Castle Oztroja to obtain materials with which to repay a debt to Deidogg. He defended his comrades from all threats but when ordered to kill Ni'Ghu Nestfender, an egg keeper, he reported his target slain while sparing the Quadav's life. He gathered no trophies and sought no glories. His reputation as a principled warrior spread far and wide.
While surveying Davoi Raogrimm caught Oggbi, a Galkan monk, and his Hume pupil, Cornelia, rummaging through the belongings of the local Orcs. When he took an accusatory tone with his kinsman Cornelia jumped to her master's defense. Recognizing Raogrimm as the Talekeeper, she asked what an upstanding Musketeer like him would be doing in a hole like Davoi. Intrigued by a Hume that would know of the Talekeeper, Raogrimm briefly bantered with Cornelia until Oggbi interrupted.
Raogrimm would later meet Cornelia in Bastok. She had just returned from Mindartia, where she had taken vengeance upon a Yagudo, and was confused by her feelings. Raogrimm suggested that true strength comes from having something to protect. He himself not only protected the lives of his compatriots but two hundred years of Galkan memories. Cornelia wondered if she would ever defend anything so valuable. Shortly afterwards she joined Raogrimm in the Mythril Musketeers.
Raogrimm accompanied Cornelia and Ulrich, a Hume warrior, on a variety of missions. Ulrich was the sort to complain about a lack of treasure when slaughtering a room full of egg-defending Quadavs and therefore created tension with the more compassionate Raogrimm. The two maintained some level of friendship, however, or at least created the appearance that Bastok's finest Musketeers were not adversaries. In truth Raogrimm and Cornelia had begun a secret and socially forbidden romance and Ulrich's heart grew increasingly bitter with jealousy.
Bastok's leaders obtained information pointing to a powerful energy source beneath Fei'Yin, a ruined Zilart city. When word leaked of the Republic's intentions to control this resource, its politicians saved face by inviting the Kingdom of San d'Oria and the Federation of Windurst to join the Mythril Musketeers in examining the site. Raogrimm, Cornelia, and Ulrich were therefore joined by Francmage M Mistalle, an Elvaan knight, Iru-Kuiru, a Tarutaru white mage, and Yow Rabntah, a Mithra ranger, in what would be known as the multinational expedition.
The unfortunate party accomplished very little at Fei'Yin. The swarming creatures and unusual devices roaming the ruins were more than the six heroes could handle. Unable to delve deeply enough to discover the ancient city's secrets they declared their mission failed. In an effort to salvage their time in the Northlands they decided to scout nearby Xarcabard instead.
The expedition split up to explore the snow-covered wasteland. Raogrimm and Ulrich found themselves alone. Unable to tolerate the Talekeeper's relationship with Cornelia or sympathy for Beastmen, Ulrich unexpectedly assaulted his companion. Though Raogrimm was the better swordsman, Ulrich gained the upper hand with his surprise attack and incapacitated his former ally. Admitting that he'd never liked the Talekeeper, Ulrich readied his blade to finish Raogrimm off.
Cornelia intervened, however, throwing herself between Raogrimm and Ulrich and taking the killing blow for the Galka. Ulrich, horrified that he had mortally wounded the woman he desired, fled back to the rest of the Expedition, telling a lie that Raogrimm and Cornelia had fallen into a crevice. Despite finding Ulrich's story very suspicious, the Expedition was convinced to return home without their missing companions. Abandoned to their fate, Raogrimm despaired as Cornelia died at his side. Succumbing to his own injuries, he was overcome by rage.
As his life faded into the frozen plains, Raogrimm's intense emotions resonated with a crystal hidden far below the Northlands. The energy resting there, possibly the power of the Dark Divinity himself, embraced the fallen Talekeeper and granted him a new form. He rose from death as the Shadow Lord, a being consumed not only by the fury in Raogrimm's heart but by the wrath of all Galka whose memories the Talekeeper carried.
Commanding a Kindred army the Shadow Lord made great strides against the people of Vana'diel. His first order of business was to exact revenge; he hunted down and killed Ulrich, Francmage, Iru-Kuiru, and Rabntah. The Shadow Lord then rallied the various Beastmen together, compelling them to accept his leadership. He initiated the Crystal War and nearly overwhelmed the Alliance of Altana which formed against him. The Shadow Lord was not invincible, however, and eventually crumbled to the blade of Zeid, a dark knight that had once been Raogrimm's countryman.
The Shrouded Land
Twenty years pass after the Shadow Lord's defeat. Eventually, due to the machinations of Eald'narche, he is revived and faces Zeid once more. This time the dark knight recognizes the Shadow Lord's true identity and calls Raogrimm out of his demonic shell. Reunited after three decades, the Galkas discuss the rage their people carry and how it consumed their Talekeeper.
They are interrupted, however, when Eald'narche arrives to examine his handiwork. Explaining that Raogrimm's encounter with the crystal had created a blockage that prevented his plans from advancing, the Zilartian prince celebrates the Talekeeper's return by summoning the Crystal Warriors to kill everyone present. Unwilling to see Zeid and his allies defeated, Raogrimm draws on the power of Xarcabard to become the Shadow Lord once more. The Crystal Warriors dispatch him easily but he succeeds in allowing the others to escape.
As he passes from the mortal realm Raogrimm is comforted by the presence of Cornelia's spirit. He learns that she and the other expedition members had drifted restlessly between reality and the dreamworld of Dynamis for the past thirty years. He also realizes that in the moment he became the Shadow Lord a piece of his soul had broken away and found a home in that unseen realm. Although Raogrimm is freed from his rage, the splinter's fury remains. In its lonely years it had become a towering darkness.
Wishing to be whole again, this new Shadow Lord, or Dynamis Lord, pulls at Raogrimm's spirit. The Talekeeper does not have the strength to resist for long. In desperation he calls out to the adventurers that had joined Zeid against his former self. He implores them to seek a path through the dreamworld and destroy the Dynamis Lord before he unites with him.
Unable to communicate further, Raogrimm leaves his fate to others. The spirits of Cornelia, Ulrich, Francmage, Iru-Kuiru, and Rabntah organize those who respond to Raogrimm's call. Their makeshift army winds its way across the dreamworld, visiting illusory versions of their home cities and the Northlands. They face the Dynamis Lord himself in a shrouded land derived from Xarcabard. Though his strength is far beyond what the revived Shadow Lord had achieved, they manage to shatter his obsidian form.
Finally freed from the last vestiges of rage, Raogrimm hears the voice of Diabolos, the creator of Dynamis. The avatar expresses regret at having allowed Raogrimm into the dreamworld, but notes that an incomplete soul like the Talekeeper's can never leave. Diabolos therefore puts Raogrimm to use by ordering him to stand watch until hatred no longer exists.
Raogrimm accepts this task and is surprised when his expeditionary companions appear at his side. Each feels some responsibility for the events unleashed by the Shadow Lord and is motivated to share Raogrimm's vigil. Cornelia assures him that he no longer needs to bear his burden alone. She commits to staying with him until the world itself is ended.