Arknights Lore: An Interpretation of Ursus (Manga)

Ursus is a nation, deeply rooted in its past of conquest and glory, not unlike the Russian Empire. This entity has constantly been involved in territorial clashes, paying the steep price of blood and lives. The present-day Ursus, however, mirrors only a fragmented image of its former self, serving merely as a vessel for the Council amidst domestic turmoil and factional rivalries. Their former stronghold, Chernobog, has now succumbed to Reunion, and the once formidable Ursus appears impotent in its recovery.

But what sparked this downfall? Where does the reality lie, and what enigmas are shrouded within it? This is merely one interpretation of Ursus, and your perspective might diverge significantly. However, I implore you to lend an ear to the wisdom shared herein. Join me as we journey from the blood-stained peak to Chernobog, from the reign of three emperors to the solitary boy in the tundra, delving into the essence of Ursus.

Historical Arc: The Bloody Crusade and the Rule of the Triumvirate

The Ursus that we have gleaned from history is rather antagonistic towards the Infected. Not only do ordinary citizens harbor prejudice against them, but the ruling authorities also devalue their existence. An intriguing fragment from a dialogue between the Ninth and a Reunion member, however, reveals a different facet of the tale.

There was a time, some decades ago, when the Infected within Ursus weren’t subjected to the scorn they face today. A certain unnamed duke held sway then, and under his jurisdiction, they enjoyed a relatively tranquil existence within quarantine zones. This tranquility was disrupted when, following a pivotal defeat (either in a battle or a war, as per one’s interpretation of the original text), a new mayor succeeded the former duke. This succession marked the onset of deteriorating conditions for the Infected, culminating in their exile to the tundra, following a series of propagandist and corrupt practices that scapegoated them for the mayor’s avarice. Additional evidence of systemic discrimination against the Infected under the new empire law is found in Patriot’s memoirs, corroborating the notion that such persecution was not always prevalent.

The cataclysmic event believed to have precipitated these transformations is the Bloody Peak campaign. Numerous landmark changes punctuated Ursus’ history in the aftermath of the Bloody Peak Campaign – a transition of power at the helm, an overhaul of the political and noble class, mass execution of military personnel, among others. As per Hellagour’s profile, it is indicated that he vanished post the Bloody Peak campaign, fortunate enough to survive his ordeal. Hellagour, along with the Patriot, fondly reminisces about the former emperor, referring to him with the honorific “His Majesty”, a title not bestowed upon the succeeding emperors.

The Contemporary Era: The Siege of Chernobog and the Onset of the Lungmen Invasion

The question of “Why Chernobog?” has often plagued us since the beginning. Could the attack on Chernobog be merely an expression of the bitter resentment Reunion’s citizens hold towards Ursus and its inhabitants? Or could there be a more ominous intent behind the annihilation of Chernobog? More bafflingly, why did Ursus opt for passive observation?

Chapter 7 reveals that the old aristocracy and the military continue to maintain a firm hold over the Ursus frontier. Located at the edge and in proximity to Lungmen, Chernobog falls under the dominion of the new nobility. Interestingly, Chernobyl, which might have influenced the creation of Chernobog, was a Soviet endeavor to showcase nuclear energy as a novel and safe power source. We learn in Chapter 6 that Chernobog operates on a sarcophagus.

It appears that irrespective of the universe, humans are inexorably drawn to engage with matters beyond their comprehension or control.

Regardless, establishing such a city smack dab in the midst of the old nobility’s territories serves as nothing short of an affront, not to mention its proximity to Lungmen. What is Lungmen renowned for? It is a beacon of openness, inclusivity, and freedom. In stark contrast, the old aristocracy, which values lineage and heritage above all else, finds these ideals clashing with their interests. The old aristocrats, far from being naive, are acutely aware of their declining influence. They’re not about to allow their power to dissipate without a fight.

Enter Reunion. Reunion managed to infiltrate Chernobog successfully, resulting in its demolition, while Ursus’s military merely stood by and observed. Following this, Talula established a fortress to confront Lungmen, transmitting Ursus’s identification code, and yet Ursus maintained its silence. This peculiar nonchalance, despite Ursus’s significant waning over the years, is puzzling, especially since Patriot claims that Reunion could be dismantled should Ursus desire it.

Consequently, we are drawn towards the inference that Ursus might have deliberately allowed the seizure of Chernobog. As we gleaned from Chapter 7, Ursus needed a means to divert its internal tensions to avert its own demise, and war with Ian serves as their chosen panacea. Chernobog is poised to be their catalyst.

While the military can’t actively partake in such a conspiracy, it can opt for inaction. Despite surveillance on the old aristocracy, the ruling nobility fell short in tracking the Infected, along with those who had succumbed.

Koschey: The Scheming Old Serpent

Koschey, the “ancient serpent” who transformed Talulu, stands as a figure of power whose roots even the Patriot regards with apprehension.

Koschey was astutely aware of Wei’s character. He knew that Wei would willingly wage war if it meant saving Lungmen. The fall of Chernobog coupled with Lungmen’s demise would deal a devastating blow to the new nobility. The city they had crafted based on their ideology would cease to exist, as would the neighboring city that echoed their values. The strengthened grip of the old aristocrats at the boundaries implies an easier control over the influx and outflow in Ursus. As the new nobility loses its strength, the old aristocrats are set to reclaim their influence. All this subterfuge was conveniently veiled under the pretense of Ursus’s salvation. Thus, they effectively delivered Chernobog and its denizens into Reunion’s hands, gift-wrapped with a blue border.

Prospect: The Boy Traversing the Tundra

“I encountered a boy who claimed his brother would rather face the gallows than supplicate before his adversaries… Hence, he resolved to journey across the snow-clad plains, all the way through Ursus… Yet, he didn’t accompany us… He seemed the most idealistic individual I had ever met.”

Rhodes: A Global Sanctuary

Back in the 11th century, a hospital was established in Jerusalem to cater to the ailing and impoverished pilgrims. Following the First Crusade, the hospital’s abbot set up several hospices in Provence and Italy. Pope Paschal II initiated the formation of an organization on February 15, 1113, which would subsequently evolve into a formidable military force in the Holy Land. Their purpose extended beyond safeguarding the Crusader states, as they also attended to the sick and wounded. In 1310, they established themselves on the island of Rhodes, where they remained for over two centuries.

On Terra, a similar organization traverses the globe aboard a land craft. Comprising individuals from various nationalities, backgrounds, and beliefs, they are unified by a shared ideal – to bridge the chasm separating the Infected from the uninfected. This is the Island of Rhodes. They are the Knights of the Ark.

The pharmaceutical company housed on the Island of Rhodes was founded approximately three years prior, with Amia holding the reins as CEO. The organization’s primary aim is to provide treatment for the Infected, while on a larger scale, striving to reconcile the differences between the Infected and the uninfected.

Rhodes: A Beacon of Hope and Healing

Rhodes swiftly emerged as a dual hub for treatment and expertise in addressing Infected-related issues. Under the dynamic leadership of Amiya, the organization actively sought new recruits, offering them an enticing package of generous work and living conditions along with state-of-the-art equipment. This approach facilitated the attraction of talents and patients from across Terra, although, it must be noted, some chose to depart upon grasping the true objectives of Rhodes.

Undeniably, trust remains an eternal conundrum. Reluctance to place faith in an Infected-led organization is pervasive, seen among both the governing bodies and the Infected themselves. This skepticism has inevitably manifested countless hurdles. Many eventually come to comprehend the essence of Rhodes Island, while some, regrettably, do not.

However, it’s essential to understand that Rhodes is not simply a pharmaceutical company. The history of the Rhodes Island landship has a rich and lengthy past.

Many of Rhodes’ senior members are remnants from its predecessor, Babel, harbouring deep respect for the doctor for his role in the Kazdel Civil War. Simultaneously, the establishment of the pharmaceutical company marked the advent of fresh faces, who climbed up the ranks. Individuals arrived at Rhodes for various reasons, including treatment and research, and gradually integrated into the organization’s fabric.

Interestingly, those opting to serve as combat operators represent only a small segment of those joining Rhodes Island, with the majority focusing on logistics. Combat roles are purely voluntary, with individuals from civilian backgrounds permitted to revert to logistics roles without any repercussions for a year.

Rhodes has been a sanctuary for many Infected seeking aid they wouldn’t have found elsewhere. This includes individuals from various socio-economic strata, from the affluent like Mousse and Melantha, to those hailing from the lower echelons of society. Provided they are willing to contribute and embrace the cause and ethos of the island, they receive equal treatment, irrespective of their background.

Inhabitants of Rhodes Island often sport infection monitoring bracelets, whether Infected or not. These bracelets serve to track the infection’s progression and monitor bodily signals. Upon an Infected person’s demise, their body may crystallize and turn to dust, potentially causing secondary infections. Rhodes has implemented a bio-treatment room equipped with several incinerators. All Infected personnel associated with Rhodes will ultimately find their way to this facility.

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