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The Dark Lich is a recurring antagonist from the Seiken Densetsu video game series, who appears in Seiken Densetsu 2 (known in occident as Secret of Mana) as the primary antagonist, and in Seiken Densetsu 3 as a potential final boss. He is an unfathomably 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 dreaded 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 people’s life-force and seems to be a personification of sorts of Dark Magic. He had 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, whom he openly challenges for dominion over evil. He is cruel, heartless, manipulative, wrathful, power-hungry, arrogant, callous, and sarcastic; though collected, regal, imposing, equanimous, and courteous. He acknowledges the protagonists' merits and praises their success, though he dismisses their worth and enjoys mocking them, and is irked by their defiance. He remains in the shadows and acts through proxies, 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 antagonist, 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 considers Seiken Densetsu 3 as a prequel to Secret of Mana, then Belgar 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 sequel to Seiken Densetsu 3, features the immortal 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.
Thanatos

the heroes confront Thanatos

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. The evil Emperor Vandole 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.

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.

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 Empire's interests.

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 influencing 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 then makes them fight his fellow general Gesthar, whom he turned into an undead cyborg, and reactivates the Mana Fortress.

Just as the protagonists reach the Mana Tree at last, Thanatos uses the Mana Fortress to destroy it under their eyes, telepathically taunting them all the while. The dying tree reveals that Randi's father was the previous Mana Knight, wielder of the Mana Sword who got killed by Thanatos, 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 searched. With Dyluck's youth, all the life-energy that he had him absorb and the Mana Fortress, he would be 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 masters every spell of the Shadow, Water, Wind and Earth elements at level 8, dealing huge damage, and he can confuse, shrink, petrify, freeze, burn and paralyze your characters, or turn them into harmless Moogles. Cure and heal your characters as often as needed.

Dark Lich is weak to the Light element, so cast the Light magic on your weapons, use the spell Lucent Beam, at level at least 6 and harass him without respite. If you keep attacking him, he will fall rather quickly. You can cast other spells, but 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

Belgar

Belgar in Heroes of Mana.

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.

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 then began to study the forbidden Dark Magic, but the girl died too soon. Belgar's mind eventually became corrupted by the dark power 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 his body and mind shortly after the birth of his son.

The Priest of Light banished the corrupted Belgar from Wendel, and the dark wizard swore revenge, vowing to conceal his face under a mask until Wendel was destroyed. He built the Mirage Palace in the Jungle of Illusions and raised 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 simply 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 character 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 remained in the shadows for no discernable 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 sharing the same goal and acting 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.

When all the seal on the Mana Stones are lifted, the game's heroes reaches 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 and their servants, and sends Heath and Death Jester to abduct the characters' Fairy guide in exchange for the Sword.

The villains use the Sword's power to set the God Beast free, fulfilling the Mage's purpose. From then on, the Mage keeps the sword with him and patiently waits until the heroes destroy all the God Beasts, channelling their power into the Sword of Mana. After having destroyed all the beasts, the heroes reach the Jungle of Illusions where they defeat Death Jester, and later the Mirage Palace,where they confront the evil wizard.

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 this power 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 comes back to his senses and tells them the Mage's story before dying. The heroes then track down their enemy in the Holyland, but they are too late; the Mana Tree is destroyed, the Goddess is dead and a new Dark God will soon 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

Dark Lich (Level 50 . Life-Points 49846)

The Dark Lich is the easiest of the three available final bosses. You can deal with him with no big trouble, but beware of his huge life-and-death and devastating attacks that can strike the whole party. Dark Lich casts the spells Power Up, Defense Up and Speed Up, whose effects are self-explanatory on himself, as well as Leaf Sabre which enables him to drain your magic-points with his claw swipes.

He also casts Poison Bubble which must be cured, and the mightiest spells and fearsome special attacks of the Shadow, Light, Water, Earth and Wood elements. Worse, some of his attack can turn your characters into stone, 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.

Dark Lich's main element depends on the background. In darkness he uses Shadow and is weak to Light. In water he uses Water and Ice and is weak to Fire. In a desert he uses Light and Earth and has no real weakness. Do not attack him with his current element, lest you heal him.

Use Kevin's pressure point to increase your attack power and never hesitate to increase your stats and decrease his own. 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 restlessly with your strongest spells and special techniques to deal with him quickly.

Dawn of Mana

Prêtre Masqué

Granz, the Masked Guru

In this sequel set millennia before Seiken Densetsu 3, the Thanatos Spirits spawned by Mavolia to corrupt people into demonic Grimsley, and the villainous Granz the Masked Guru evoke 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 immortal Masked Guru was once the lover of Anise, a priestess who became host to the Archdemon Medusa. He gets turned into a Grimsly by a Thanatos Spirit and is fought and killed by the game’s primary protagonist Keldric. (Later games retconnect Anise as an alias used by mortals to speak about Medusa without triggering her curse.)

Boss Battle

The battle against the Masked Guru is very long, and takes place within a tower that gets gradually destroyed by the boss' and Keldric's attacks. 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. The Masked Guru flies around the tower and uses powerful spells; like a blast that cause all negative status and a poison mist. When damaged enough, he starts fighting at close range with a sword or conjuring devastating meteors.

When the Masked Guru surrounds himself with a flaming barrier and starts casting Fire spells, Keldric must freeze his barrier with an Ice attack and strike him, to knock him out and pummel him. When he uses a frozen barrier and cast Ice spells that can turn Keldric into a snowman, use Fire attacks. When the Masked Guru summons Floating Masks that fire dangerous beams, Keldric must destroy them before attacking the boss.

Brutal Mario (Hack Game)

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, in Dark Lich's case Seiken Densetsu 3.

Sans titre

Mario fighting Dark Lich

The Dark Lich is fought in a place identical to the Mirage Palace and puts up a long and tough battle, divided into several stages determined by the screen's colour.
  • First, Dark Lich attacks by conjuring alternatively bolts of lightning, and four orange energy balls that charges at Mario one after another. Mario must wait until two hats fall from the sky, grab a block concealed inside one of them and use it to strike Dark Lich's head.
  • Secondly, the screen turns into the desert background and Dark Lich summons an angry-faced sun and several flying flames, that Mario must dodge until the sun drops the block needed to strike the boss. The problem is that the sun starts blasting below itself with fiery rays and Dark Lich's body disappears, leaving only his head surrounded by circling rocks to prevent Mario from grabbing the block.
  • Thirdly, the background becomes watery and Mario must swim to dodge the gigantic beam fired by two dragon-like head that appear on each side on the screen and the blocks of ice that float from the ground to the ceiling. The block needed to strike the boss appears in one of the bubbles that pops out of the ground.
  • Finally several icicles rain down and create several pits on the ground, then two parrallel bolts of lightning begin travelling along the ground and many fireballs erupts from the pits. Mario must dodge the lightning bolts, the fireballs and the pits, and grab the block that erupts periodically from the holes like the fireballs.

Gallery