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The Dark Lich is a major recurring villain from the Seiken Densetsu video game series, who appears in Seiken Densetsu 2 (known in occident as Secret of Mana) as the primary evil, and in Seiken Densetsu 3 as a potential final boss. He is an incredibly powerful demon warlock, who wants to overthrow the Mana Goddess and rule the world of Fa'Diel. To do so, he always sets out to release an ancient power sealed long ago: the Mana Fortress in Secret of Mana and the God Beasts in Seiken Densetsu 3.

Characteristics

Dark Lich is the most mysterious of the series' primary antagonists, for his origins are never explained. Given that plot elements were cut from the hastened release of Secret of Mana, and that the series' creator stated that most of the games are set in different continuities, much is left for speculation.

Dark Lich is a wraith-like, undead demon warlock, who feeds on life-force and seems to be a personification of sorts of Dark Magic. He has a strong hatred of everything alive and enjoys spreading ruin. He is one of the Great Evils of Fa'Diel, second only to the current Archdemon whose rule he openly challenges.

He is cruel, heartless, wrathful, power-hungry, callous, sarcastic and condescending; though collected, regal, imposing and courteous. He acknowledges the protagonists' merits and praises their successes, though he dismisses their worth, taunts them and is irked by their defiance. He remains in the shadows and acts through proxies, skilfully manipulating heroes and allies alike to further his goals, while never involving himself more than he absolutely must.

Dark Lich comes from the Underworld of Mavolia (the Mana counterpart of Hell), and he always acts through a wizard who sold his soul to it, who appears as the game's main villain while he is but a vessel. Secret of Mana establishes that he used to be an ancient warlock from eons before the story, whose immortal soul manifests by possessing humans as his vessels, killing them in the process. He reveals in the uncut Japanese dialogue that his evil might is too much for normal vessels, who crumble to dust after some decades. As such, he seeks a suitable host that could sustain him for all eternity. Also, destroying Dark Lich after his vessel broke apart would terminate him once and for all.

If one views Seiken Densetsu 3 as a prequel to Secret of Mana, then the Masked Mage is the aforementioned ancient warlock, whose destruction forced Dark Lich to pass from host to host during the following millennia. Also, Dawn of Mana, the prequel to Seiken Densetsu 3, features Granz the Masked Guru, and the corruptive force known as Thanatos Spirits, obvious references to Dark Lich's respective hosts. Dark Lich might be born from the Thanatos Spirits, and have modeled his hosts' persona after them and Granz, but nothing can be sure.

Secret of Mana

For ages I have been searching...for a human with the power to conquer this world... ...one born in the shadow of darkness, and raised in the twilight of Mana. Dyluck is the one. I cannot wait any longer. My body has grown dangerously weak! It is time! Using his body I will take the Mana Fortress, and rule the world for all eternity!
~ Thanatos revealing his plan before the final battle.

In Secret of Mana, Randi the primary protagonist draws the mythical Sword of Mana from a rock, unknowingly lifting a spell that keeps the monsters from Mavolia at bay. Emperor Vandole, who has been threatening the world for fifteen years, seizes this opportunity to take control of the monsters, before sending his generals break the seal on the eight Seeds of the Mana Tree (the earthly avatar of the Mana Goddess), causing destruction wherever they go.

Thanatos (Secret of Mana)

Artwork of Thanatos

By breaking this seal, Emperor Vandole plans to gain control of the Mana Fortress, an ancient flying castle and ultimate warship, which was sealed away inside a sunken island. With the dark powers he gained from selling his soul to Mavolia and the Mana Fortress under his control, Vandole could take over Fa'Diel. Randi sets out to restore the Mana Sword's power and stop the Empire.

Randi and his two partners, the girl Primm and the sprite Popoi, confront Vandole's generals as they attack the countries opposing the Empire. One of them, an extremely powerful wizard named Thanatos is draining the citizens of the Kingdom of Pandora of their life-energy, turning them into mindless puppets in order to topple the kingdom. The party first learns about him from the evil witch Elinee, who captured the king soldiers sent after her and teleports their captain, Primm's boyfriend Dyluck, to Thanatos. The protagonists defeat Elinee, who was in fact merely Thanatos' brainwashed slave and cannot help them.

Thanatos

the heroes confront Thanatos

Randi and his friends confront Thanatos in the Ruins of Pandora. Destroying the monster he makes them fight lifts his spell over the kingdom, but he teleports away with his hostages, leaving the party to wonder what he could be after, acting so different from the Emperor's other generals. Uncut original dialogue reveals that Thanatos works apart.

Later, he starts draining denizens of Northtown, prompting the party to storm the Northern Ruins. There, a brainwashed Dyluck drains Primm's energy and sends her to Thanatos, but Randi temporarily brings him back to his senses. Randi and Popoi rush to save Primm, but Thanatos telekinetically knocks them back before paralyzing them. Fortunately, Dyluck manages to transfer power to the party, dispelling Thanatos' magic. Irked, the evil wizard sends a powerful vampire after them and teleports away with Dyluck once again.

Emperor Vandole eventually manages to break the Mana Seeds' seal. However, Thanatos later reveals himself as the true mastermind of the plot. It was he who really commanded the monsters, while manipulating Vandole as a smoke screen and likely having influenced his deal with Mavolia. Thanatos seals the magic that could fully revive the Mana Sword, kills the now useless Vandole, and lets his accomplice Fanha deal with the party in her immensely powerful demon form. He later makes them fight his fellow general Gesthar, whom he turned into an undead cyborg, and reactivates the Mana Fortress.

Thanatos waits for the protagonists to reach the Mana Tree at last, and uses the Mana Fortress to destroy it under their eyes, telepathically taunting them all the while. The dying tree reveals that Randi's father Serin was the previous wielder of the Mana Sword who got killed by the Emperor and Thanatos at the start of the war, and uses its last power to restore the Mana Seeds and the Mana Sword.

The protagonists can now storm the Fortress and reach Thanatos, who is about to replace his decaying vessel with Dyluck, the perfect host he needs. Adding Dyluck's youth and energy to his own enormous power and controlling the Mana Fortress would make him fully unstoppable. Despite Primm's best effort, he possesses Dyluck who bids her a tearful farewell and manages to sacrifice himself before being fully assimilated. Without a physical host, the Dark Lich attempts to possess one of his foes, but they put a definite end to his madness.

Alas, the rise of the Mana Fortress awoke the Mana Beast, whom the party has no other choice than to fight to the death. Dark Lich, the Fortress and the Beast are no more, but so is the Mana Power and with it the sprites, including Popoi. In the end, Randi and Purim return to Pandora to heed a new Era of Peace, but Mana will not return until the Mana Tree is restored.

Boss Battle

Dark Lich (Boss)

Dark Lich (Boss).

Dark Lich is considerably powerful, but easy to defeat if the characters are strong enough. He has 6666 life-points, he casts all Shadow, Water, Wind and Earth spells at level 8 dealing huge damage, dispels magic buffs and casts effects that cause confuse, shrink, petrify, freeze, burn, paralyze, sleep or transformation into harmless Moogles. Cure and heal as much as needed.

Dark Lich is weak to the Light element, so cast the Light magic on your weapons, use the spell Lucent Beam, at least at level 6 and harass him without respite. If you keep attacking him, he will fall rather quickly. Weapons only work when he is fully materialized. Do not attack him with Shadow magic or you will heal him.

Dark Lich's victim

Dark Lich's most fearsome move.

When Dark Lich disappears and makes his flaming hands phase through the ground, it can knock out your characters and kill them in seconds so be very cautious. When his head appears you can attack him with spells, do it quickly to end this attack.

Seiken Densetsu 3

Before the game events

The game is set millennia before Secret of Mana, but whether it is a prequel or a distinct continuity is left to the appreciation of the player.

Belgar Oracle des Ombres

Belgar in Heroes of Mana

Decades before the game's beginning, Belgar, one of the most powerful mages in the Holy City of Wendel tried everything he could to save an ill young girl, but to no avail. Belgar began to study the forbidden Dark Magic, but she died too soon. Belgar's mind eventually became corrupted by dark powers and he kept studying Dark Magic, looking for a necromancy spell that could revive the girl, but people in Wendel began to fear him and to call him the Priest of Darkness.

At first, Belgar remained a benevolent mage, who kept Wendel neutral in conflict. In the game Heroes of Mana, set nineteen years before the start of the story, he fought in the war against the Ancient Kingdom of Pedda, who sought to invade the world. It appears that Inath, the boy king of Pedda, was corrupted by Anise: the avatar of the former Archdemon Medusa, who was using him to resurrect and return to power. Belgar served as a playable ally to the heroes and helped them fully destroy Anise, who took Pedda down with her. Alas, a few years later, Darkness ultimately corrupted Belgar's body and mind shortly after the birth of his son.

The Priest of Light banished the corrupted Belgar from Wendel, and the now dark wizard swore to conceal his face under a mask until Wendel was destroyed. He seized the Mirage Palace from the ruins of Pedda and took it to the Jungle of Illusions, before raising an army of monsters of Mavolia, rising in ranks until he became one of the Three Great Evils of Fa'Diel, along with the Dark Prince and the Dragon Emperor. It is not known if the Dark Lich was born from his corrupted soul or if he got possessed, but from then on, he and the Dark Lich became one and the same.

In the game

And how I've waited for this day! Underneath this mask is all hatred towards humanity.
~ The Masked Mage
Masked Mage (sketch)

a sketch of the Masked Mage

The Masked Mage is the least mentioned of the Three Great Evils, as the protagonists only hear of him when they meet him in person (or when they learn his death if he is not the final boss). Oddly enough, while his rivals could not act directly until the end due to being incapacitated, he remains in the shadows for no discernible reason.

The Masked Mage will be the final boss if the player choses Kevin the beastman prince, or Carlie the cleric girl, as the first of their three characters. If not, he will be slain by the game's chosen final boss. (The three final bosses share the same goal and act the same way.)

The Masked Mage plans to unleash the dreaded God Beasts on the world and to use their power for his own gain. To do so, he needs to sacrifice eight souls, to break the seal on the eight Mana Stones that keep the Beasts sealed. He sends his faithful servant the Death Jester to the beast kingdom of Ferolia, in order to manipulate the beastmen's resentment against the human kind to wage war against the Holy City of Wendel.

Later, Death Jester abducts a young priest mage from Wendel named Heath (who happens to be the Masked Mage's son), and brings him to his master. The evil wizard likely recognizes his son and brainwashes him. He then raises Heath's power to its maximum and makes him his right-hand-man and bodyguard.

With all Mana Stones unsealed, the game's heroes reach the Mana Holyland, where the Mana Tree is located, and gain the fabled Sword of Mana from the Mana Goddess. Then, the Masked Mage kills his two rivals' faction, and sends Heath and Death Jester to abduct the characters' Fairy guide in exchange for the Sword.

The villains use the Sword to set the God Beast free, fulfilling the Mage's purpose. From then on, the Mage patiently waits until the heroes destroy all the God Beasts, channelling their power into the Sword of Mana. After destroying the beasts, the heroes defeat Death Jester in the Jungle of Illusions and confront the evil wizard in the Mirage Palace.

Antagonists

the Masked Mage and Heath

A very pleased Masked Mage greets the heroes and tells them that the God Beasts' power lies in the Sword, and that he waited for them to absorb it before their very eyes, which would make him mightier than the Goddess herself and would enable him to become the new god of Fa'Diel. Hopefully, the Goddess manages to cancel, or at least to restrain this power increase. Irked, the Masked Mage teleports to the Mana Holyland to settle his score with the exhausted deity.

The protagonists manage to defeat Heath, who returns to normal and tells them the Mage's story before dying. The heroes track down their enemy to the Holyland, but too late; the Mana Tree is destroyed, the Goddess is dead and a Dark God is about to rise.

The gloating Masked Mage kills the Fairy and turns into the Dark Lich to deal with the heroes, but he is ultimately destroyed, and the Fairy's spirit fuses with the remnants of the Tree to become the Mana Goddess reborn. Yet the power of Mana will need thousand year to rise again, ending for good the era that the characters knew.

Boss Battle

Dark Lich Battle

The boss battle against the Dark Lich.

I'LL WIPE OUT HOPE TIL IT NEVER RETURNS! NOW, FEEL THE WRATH OF YOUR NEW GOD!!
~ (a seriously irked) Dark Lich

The Dark Lich is the easiest of the three available final bosses, yet should by no means be taken lightly for at level 50 and with 49846 life-points, he is considerably powerful and has deadly attacks. He casts Power Up, Defence Up and Speed Up on himself, and Leaf Sabre with which he drains magic-points with his claw swipes.

He casts the mightiest spells and special attacks of the Shadow, Light, Water, Earth and Wood elements; and his attacks can poison your characters or turn them into statues, snowmen or harmless Moogles, which must be cured. His most dreadful attacks are Death Spell (which instantly kills targets of lower levels), Ancient (a devastating rain of meteors on every target) and his most powerful spell Death Ecstasy: an even deadlier variation of Ancient.

In a black background, he uses Shadow and is weak to Light. In water he uses Water/Ice and is weak to Fire. In a desert he uses Light and Earth and has no real weakness. Attacking him with his current element only heals him. Never hesitate to increase your stats and decrease his own as much as possible. If you have Carlie at level 50 or higher, spam her Turn Undead spell without stop as it deals 999 damages on living-deads like him. Attack relentlessly and heal as much as needed, and he shall perish soon.

Dawn of Mana

Prêtre Masqué

Granz, the Masked Guru

In this prequel set millennia before Seiken Densetsu 3, the Thanatos Spirits spawned by Mavolia to corrupt people into demonic Grimslies and Granz the Masked Guru are references to the Dark Lich.

The evil King Stroud (who would eventually become the Dark Prince) sets out to open the Door to Mavolia all over Fa'Diel to take over both worlds. The human-looking immortal named Granz was once the lover of Anise, a priestess who became host to the Archdemon Medusa. (Later games retconnect Anise as an alias used by mortals to speak about Medusa without triggering her curse.) He gets turned into a Grimsly by a Thanatos Spirit and is fought and killed by the game's primary protagonist Keldric.

Boss Battle

The battle against the Masked Guru is very long, and takes place in a tower that gets gradually destroyed. Keldric must chase his foe all over the tower and use the Wind Devices to reach the upper floors, while avoiding the falling debris whenever a wall is destroyed. Granz flies around and uses powerful spells: a blast that cause all negative status and a poison mist. When damaged enough, he starts striking at close range with a sword or conjuring devastating meteors.

When Granz surrounds himself with a flaming barrier and casts Fire spells, Keldric must freeze his barrier with an Ice attack and strike to knock him out. When he uses a frozen barrier and casts Ice spells that can turn Keldric into a snowman, use Fire attacks. When Granz conjures Floating Masks that fire dangerous beams, Keldric must destroy them before attacking his foe.

Final Fantasy Brave Exvius

Ténébro (FFBE)

Dark Lich in Final Fantasy Brave Exvius

The Dark Lich makes a cameo in the spin-off Final Fantasy mobile game Final Fantasy Brave Exvius, during the Mana Mystery mode in which several monsters and bosses from Secret of Mana are fought in succession in a room of the Mana Fortress. The player can gather parties of characters from many Square Enix games, that if made powerful enough will obliterate anything in their path with successions of deadly combos.

Dark Lich is the second-to-last enemy, fought before the Mana Beast itself, and his battle theme "The Oracle" plays when facing him. He is very powerful and resists all status effect, but will not last long against a well prepared team. As expected, he resists Dark but is weak to Light. He can dispel magic buffs and put characters to sleep, and he casts strong spells, including one that drains your character's life-points and another that deals percent damage.

Brutal Mario (Hack Game)

Mario contre Ténébro

Mario fighting Dark Lich

The Dark Lich appears as a boss in the unofficial, hack computer game Super Kitiku World (also known as Brutal Mario) in which Mario has to battle several bosses from other game franchises.

The Dark Lich puts up a long and tough battle, divided into several stages determined by the screen's colour.

Powers and Abilities

  • Dark Lich conjures alternatively bolts of lightning, and four orange energy balls one after another. When two hats fall from the sky, Mario must grab the block inside one to strike Dark Lich's head.
  • The background turns into a desert and Dark Lich summons an angry-faced sun and several flying flames. Dodge until the sun drops the block and strike the boss. Beware for the sun starts blasting fiery rays below and Dark Lich's turns into a skull surrounded by circling rocks to prevent Mario from grabbing the block.
  • In water, Mario must dodge the gigantic beam fired by two dragon-like head on each side on the screen and the ice blocks floating. The block appears in one of the bubbles that pops out of the ground.
  • Falling icicles create pits on the ground, with two lightning bolts travelling along the grounds and fireballs erupting from the pits. Mario must grab the block that erupts periodically from the pits.