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Razgriz

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"When history witnesses a great change, Razgriz reveals itself... first, as a dark demon. As a demon, it uses its power to rain death upon the land, and then it dies. However, after a period of slumber, Razgriz returns, this time, as a great hero."
Albert Genette[1]

The Razgriz is a mythical, supernatural creature that supposedly resides in the icy Razgriz Straits in the Strangereal universe. It is capable of assuming human form and has the ability to manipulate the weather, as well as the lives of mortals.

The only known literary source of the Razgriz legend is the in-universe fairy tale A Blue Dove for the Princess, in which the demon is blamed for the fatal illness that befalls the titular princess.

Attestation

A Blue Dove for the Princess 03
"So, it was an evil being, wasn't it?"
― Dove
"... Nay. This story still continues."
― Old Tree[2]

According to the text, the Razgriz is a paradoxical duality between dark and light, "demon" and "hero", leading to several interpretations of its conflicting symbolism.

A Blue Dove for the Princess states that a period of wars plagued a certain land long ago. During these wars, a demon named Razgriz conjured a tempest that lasted for 70 days. The tempest, accompanied by a destructive hailstorm, killed every living being in the war-torn land, including the demon itself. Years after the tempest subsided, a traveler visited the area and healed it, helping others to resettle and cultivate the land. The traveler then departed, but not before claiming that he was Razgriz.[2]

History

""The demon returns as a great hero..." Huh, maybe it's not a fairy tale after all."
Marcus Snow[3]

It is unknown if the Razgriz legend existed prior to A Blue Dove for the Princess. Following the book's release, the legend spread and became well-known throughout Strangereal.

During the Usean Continental War in 1998, one rebel fighter commented that Phoenix's flying abilities were reminiscent of the "demon of the north".[4]

Razgriz Emblem - 800x600

The Razgriz Squadron emblem features a rendition of the demon's human form

The Razgriz legend became prominent during the Circum-Pacific War in 2010. Kei Nagase of Wardog Squadron believed that the Yuktobanian submersible carrier Scinfaxi was the Razgriz, commenting that the submarine seemed as if it "came straight out of the demon legends".[5] By mid-November, Yuktobania's second Scinfaxi-class submarine, the Hrimfaxi, was stationed in the northern Razgriz Straits, and the Yuktobanian Navy asserted that the Hrimfaxi was the Razgriz due to its station and sheer power. As the Hrimfaxi was sunk by the Wardog pilots, its crewmen believed the Osean pilots to be the "true" Razgriz.[6]

Following the sinking of the Hrimfaxi, the Yuktobanians began referring to Wardog as the "Demons of Razgriz", who rained death from above upon them and their country. Alvin H. Davenport once jokingly referenced this when responding to AWACS Thunderhead, using the fake callsign "Razgriz 3".[7]

After the pilots of Wardog faked their deaths, they resurfaced as the Razgriz Squadron in accordance with the demon's legend. Their allies and enemies referred to them as the "Aces of Razgriz" and "Ghosts of Razgriz", respectively. Their actions during the last month of the Circum-Pacific War were marked by astonishing heroism, which mirrored the Razgriz's return as a great hero.[1]

Poem

A poem in the form of loading quotes between missions in Ace Combat 5 provides an eloquent retelling of the Razgriz legend. The poem has since become popular in the real world among fans and non-fans alike. Although it is credited to Project Aces, the poem's exact author remains unknown. The poem's Latin translation is featured as the lyrics to "The Unsung War".

Amidst the eternal waves of time
From a ripple of change shall the storm rise
Out of the abyss peer the eyes of a demon
Behold the Razgriz, its wings of black sheath

The demon soars through dark skies
Fear and death trail its shadow beneath
Until men united wield a hallowed sabre
In final reckoning, the beast is slain

As the demon sleeps, man turns on man
His own blood and madness soon cover the earth
From the depths of despair awaken the Razgriz
Its raven wings ablaze in majestic light

The poem is separated into three stanzas. Each stanza is used prior to loading missions in three distinct parts of Ace Combat 5:

  • The first stanza loads for missions 18, referencing Wardog initially revealing itself as a powerful demon.
  • The second stanza loads for missions 919, where the 8492nd Squadron conspires to kill the members of Wardog.
  • The third and final stanza loads for missions 2027+, when Wardog performs clandestine operations as the Razgriz Squadron and return as heroes.

Trivia

  • The Razgriz is one of the only mythological beings explicitly mentioned in an Ace Combat game.
  • Unlike the rest of the poem, the reference to a "hallowed sabre" is left relatively ambiguous. It likely refers to Marcus Snow shooting down the "Demons of Razgriz", given that his callsign is Swordsman.
  • Some fans have compared the Razgriz to the Valkyries of Norse mythology, particularly the similar designs of the demons' winged helmets. However, while Valkyries decide which warriors live and die in battle, the Razgriz indiscriminately destroys all living things.
  • The Razgriz's gender is disputed among fans—especially whether Razgriz has a gender at all.
    • If the Razgriz is in fact a Valkyrie, then it would be indisputably female.
    • The lyrics to "The Unsung War" refer to the Razgriz using masculine pronouns, though the male gender is most likely used in an ambiguous, gender-neutral case.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Cutscene 28, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
  2. 2.0 2.1 A Blue Dove for the Princess, Chapter 7.
  3. ACES, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
  4. Final Countdown, Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy.
  5. Front Line, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
  6. Demons of Razgriz, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
  7. Desert Arrow / Desert Lightning, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.

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