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|“||I have acquired all. The immortality… And the ultimate power… I am the god… who purifies the world… under the fate determined by Soa! Death to those who rebel against fate. Death to all life! And may your death bless the new world to which I shall descend!!||„|
|~ Melbu Frahma, right before the final battle.|
Melbu Frahma is the main antagonist of the 1999 video game The Legend Of Dragoon. The former Emperor of the Winglies and undisputed ruler of all Endiness over 11,000 years prior to the start of the game, Frahma was infamous for his despotic and tyrannical rule over the other sentient races of the world: under his rule, entire species were forced into slavery throughout the land, his citizens became subject to a strict doctrine of eugenics, and the empire itself expanded into the underworld.
Eventually, his rule grew so arbitrary and oppressive that it prompted dissent from both within and without: the enslaved peoples eventually united into a vast army against Wingly domination, eventually acquiring a trump card in the form of the Dragoon spirits - the crystalized souls of dead Dragons, conferring mystical weaponry and magical power upon the wielder. Though only seven Dragoons were recruited, they were enough to oppose even the legendary magical strength of the empire. With the help of the few Winglies who were extremely sympathetic to their cause and the dragons they were able to lead into battle, these revolutionaries were eventually able to lay siege to Frahma's palace and slay him in battle.
Unfortunately, though Melbu Frahma's body was indeed slain in battle and lost in the collapsing ruins of his citadel, his spirit lived on - eventually regaining enough of its old strength to orchestrate the events of the game.
He was voiced by the late Kaneto Shiozawa in the Japanese version, and David Babich in the English version.
Last of the Wingly Emperors
Many thousands of years before the events of the game, Endiness was dominated by the magical beings known as the Winglies. The 107th race to be born from the fruit of Soa's Divine Tree, they believed that their status as the newest and most advanced of the species gave them the right to rule over those who had emerged before, and often claimed that the "lesser races" would lapse into extinction without their guidance - a tenet that became official through the oppressive and magisterial laws drafted in the great city of Zenebatos, even incorporated into the Empire's religious and extramundane dogma.
It is unknown how long the Wingly Empire remained active, how many Emperors ruled it over the centuries, or even if there were any attempts at reform by more conscientious monarchs prior to Frahma's rule; what is known is that Melbu Frahma ascended to the imperial throne over 11,000 years prior to the start of the game, and immediately exceeded all previous rulers in sheer cruelty and excess.
Under his leadership, slavery expanded to encompass almost every single species under Wingly rule, from the diminutive Minitos to the towering Gigantos. With Wingly magic ensuring military supremacy and most of the subjugated races too "feeble-minded" to serve alongside the scholars of the empire, the enslaved were used either for brute labor or for entertainment: gladiatorial games were popular throughout Frahma's rule, particularly in the Wingly capital of Kadessa, where humans, Gigantos and dragons regularly fought to the death for the amusement of the city's elite. Slavery, blood sport, purges and the everyday depravity of cruel and abusive masters took their toll on the enslaved, and many species became extinct through sheer unintended attrition. Any attempts at reform or pleas for leniency were rebuffed by Frahma, who claimed that the extinct races had always been fated to vanish from the world, and that it was the right of Winglies as the most powerful race in Endiness to enact the will of the Creator.
However, Melbu Frahma did not restrict his tyranny to the domain of slavery and oppression, nor did he limit himself to dominating the lives of the inferior races: championing a doctrine of eugenics centered around magical power, he charged one of the great cities under his command with the duty of assessing all Wingly pregnancies and aborting any potential offspring who lacked the magical potential required for true Wingly status. While the newly-christened "Birth City" went about controlling the beginnings of life, Frahma entrusted the city of Mayfil with the duty of controlling its ultimate conclusion: known as the Death City, Mayfil was to direct the souls of the dead to destinations befitting the Emperor's supremacist doctrine; on Frahma's orders, the souls of the inferior races were to be redirected to the Infernal world and damned to an eternity of suffering.
But even though these cities had given him dominion over life and death itself, Melbu Frahma wanted more: ultimate power still eluded him, and his ambitions drove him to increasingly dangerous and unpredictable lengths in his attempts to achieve it - and to defend it. When his second-in-command, Faust, began to overshadow even the Emperor's well-documented magical strength, Frahma was almost beside himself with envy and fear - especially upon discovering that Faust was able to duplicate himself in the form of an effectively indestructible apparition possessed of all of the original's magical skills. Fearing a coup, Frahma created a magical talisman known as the Anti-Apparition Agate in the hope that it might be able to destroy his lieutenant's ghostly body-double, though he never had the opportunity or the need to use it.
Body And Soul
Melbu Frahma's ambitions eventually drove him to investigate the origins of life on Endiness, the Divine Tree itself, hoping that he might be able to find some means of acquiring the power he desired. While there, he discovered that there was still one species yet to be born from the tree's fruits: the 108th life-form, the Virage Embryo - popularly known as the God of Destruction. A dormant entity of unimaginable power, the Creator Soa had given it life for the sole purpose of destroying his creation; at the very moment that life in Endiness stopped developing and stagnation set in, the Virage Embryo was to awaken from its slumber, end the world, then create a new planet to replace it.
Horrified, the Emperor did everything he could to prevent Soa's divine plan from reaching its final conclusion: separating the Virage Embryo's soul from its body, he transported the God's still-living body into a stationary position in space over Endiness, where it was eventually mistaken for an astronomical body and named "The Moon That Never Sets", so named for the fact that it never moved from its original position. Unfortunately, Frahma's ambitions quickly grew to eclipse his caution: though he was careful to keep the soul of the Virage Embryo contained lest it wreak havoc in its search for a body, he realized that the soul could also serve as a potent and influential wellspring of magical energies. Believing that this was the power he had been looking for, he imprisoned the God's soul within a crystal sphere that he kept on his person at all times, and used it to fuel and enhance his spells.
The existence of the Virage Embryo and Frahma's crystal sphere remained a closely-guarded secret: even once the Emperor began using the crystal's magic against the subjugated peoples of Endiness, few had any idea of where their master had attained his newfound power. Among the humans, one viewpoint that survived long enough to be recorded in myth was that Melbu Frahma had managed to enslave the gods themselves and force them to answer his prayers for ultimate power - a partially inaccurate perspective, but enough to encourage dissent among the ranks of the slaves.
Of all of the varied inhabitants of Endiness, the only one who knew the reality of the situation and remained in a position to oppose it was the Emperor's sister, Charle Frahma: a lifelong opponent of her brother's supremacist policies, she had been trying to convince Melbu to abandon his dictatorial and undemocratic lifestyle and allow the other races to live in peace for years, and though she recognized the threat of the Virage Embryo, she also believed that it represented the perfect opportunity. With the aid of a few like-minded Winglies, Charle created five magical signets intended to keep the Virage Embryo's body locked in orbit and limit the amount of magical power that Melbu could draw from the crystal.
In time, she hoped that the crystal's diminishing strength would eventually force her brother to reconsider his plans, enough to grant the subjugated peoples basic rights. Unfortunately, Melbu discovered the truth and commissioned a number of objects designed to destroy the signets whenever he pleased: known as the Divine Moon Objects, only three of them were completed - the Moon Gem, the Moon Dagger and the Moon Mirror. Much like the Anti-Apparition Agate, however, Melbu never had an opportunity to use them - in life, at any rate.By then, the Emperor had already made use of the crystal's power: in a public display of his newfound might, he bombarded the land of Gloriano with divine magic, scorching the land to ashes and killing thousands of human civilians. Unfortunately for Frahma, he had finally pushed the enslaved races of Endiness too far: soon after the destruction was complete, uprisings broke out all over the empire, the rebels gradually uniting under the banner of the human revolutionary leader known only as Emperor Diaz of Imperial Gloriano.
In time, Charle also joined the revolution, providing humanity with secrets and resources that allowed them to survive her brother's reprisals. However, it wasn't until the revolutionaries discovered the magical power of dragons that the humans gained their trump card: by harnessing the souls of slain dragons manifested as stone pendants, receptive individuals were able to transform themselves into Dragoons, warriors armed with mystical weaponry, power magical skills, the ability to command dragons, and even the gift of flight.
Though only seven dragoons were located, they were enough to tip the balance of power in humanity's favour, and the revolutionary war that followed became known as the Dragon Campaign. One by one, the floating cities of the Wingly empire fell from the sky and vanished into the wilderness below; even Faust's legendary Tower of Flanvel was shot down, taking its creator and master with it. Enraged, Melbu Frahma attempted to retaliate with trump cards of his own: not only did he commission the Dragon Block Staff to nullify the magical strength of his attackers and the Dragon Buster Sword to snuff out draconic life instantly, but he also created an entire race of monstrous giants known as Virages from samples taken from the Virage Embryo's body. However, though his creations exacted a massive death toll on the enslaved races and their Dragoon lieutenants, none of them could stop the revolution.
The Dragon Campaign ended with the Battle of Kadessa, in which the Wingly capital was besieged and overwhelmed by the revolutionary forces: though the Imperial defenders were completely successful in eliminating all but two of the Dragoons, they could not stop the invaders from wreaking havoc on the city's support structure. At the very heart of the city, Melbu Frahma himself patiently waited above the signet sphere for the enemy to arrive, determined to make a last stand worth remembering. He did not have to wait long, for the Dragoon leader Zieg Feld soon obliged him, bursting into the signet chamber and attacking him in a fury.
Though his opponent quickly turned the power of the crystal sphere against him, the Dragoon was simply too fast for any of his opponent's spells to connect, and though Frahma was armed with the Dragon Buster Sword, Zieg proved too good a swordman; less than a minute into their duel, Zieg impaled the Wingly Emperor through the chest. Enraged and unable to believe that a human had dared to strike him down, Melbu Frahma had just enough time to retaliate with one final spell before the two of them tumbled into the signet; the collision of magical energies not only shattered Melbu's crystal sphere and released the spirit from captivity, but also destroyed the signet instantly, destabilizing Kadessa and sending the city plummeting to the ground.
Before the city landed, Melbu Frahma finally expired in the ruins of the signet chamber, but with his final breath, he cursed his killer to eternal petrification. Despite the best efforts of his lover and fellow Dragoon, Rose, Zieg succumbed to the curse and was reduced to a statue, his petrified body vanishing in the final explosion of Kadessa.
Hibernation And Awakenings
Unfortunately for the newly-freed peoples of Endiness, Melbu Frahma was not dead: though his body had suffered fatal injuries, he had been able to preserve his soul within Zieg's own Dragoon spirit, allowing him to survive in a state of hibernation until the spirit was used. However, with Zieg being the only individual who was capable of actually using the spirit and effectively dead until such time as the spell wore off, this left Melbu in more or less the same predicament. Fortunately for the Emperor, it still allowed him the ability to withstand the passing eras and endure forces that might have destroyed him.
However, while the Emperor and Zieg slumbered, the world changed dramatically: with its ruler apparently dead and its armies defeated, the Wingly Empire was formally dissolved; as a peace gesture, the Divine Moon Objects were given to the newly-formed human kingdoms springing up worldwide; the surviving Wingly population retreated into seclusion, followed swiftly by the dragons, the Giganto, and even the last of the Dragoons. In their absence, the Virage Embryo's spirit took to incarnating itself as a human known as the Moon Child, psychically enslaving those around it in grand attempts to destroy the signets and reclaim its original body - usually while portraying its mission to destroy the world as a holy pilgrimage to purify Endiness. However, Rose became aware of the Moon Child: with help from Charle, she took on the mantle of the Black Monster, periodically slaughtering the Moon Child and all its followers whenever they appeared, relying on the immortality the rebel Winglies had given her in order to endure the 108 years between each manifestation.
Over 11,000 years went by, and eventually the spell of petrification finally lost its potency, allowing Zieg to walk the earth on human feet for the first time in millennia. Though shocked by the passage of time, the loss of so many friends, and the simple fact that the Dragon Campaign had become little more than a myth, he nonetheless decided to make the most of what the new world had to offer: at the time, Endiness was at peace apart from the occasional bandit attack, and nothing seemed capable of disturbing the serenity of the new human kingdoms - nothing that would require the services of a Dragoon, at any rate. So he hung up his sword, locked away his Dragoon spirit, and put his career as a warrior behind him, fully intent on spending his remaining years in peaceful retirement.
His quest for peace eventually led him into the northern kingdom of Mille Seseau, where he finally settled in the small town of Neet. There, he married a fellow outcast by the name of Claire, an exiled martial artist from the island of Rouge, and eventually, the two of them had a son, Dart. However, their happiness only lasted until Dart was about five years of age - exactly the point in which the outside world intruded upon Zieg's retirement.
Eighteen years prior to the start of the game, the Moon Child was born again as one of a pair of twin sisters born to the royal family of Mille Seseau; in the interests of avoiding a succession crisis, the second daughter's existence was kept a secret from most of the world, ensuring that everyone believed that the Moon Child was actually Princess Louvia, the heir to the throne. As such, it wasn't long before Rose followed the trail of portentous signs to Neet, where the royal entourage was taking the princess on a tour in commemoration of her birth.
At the time, Rose had no idea that the man she loved was still alive and married in the town she was about to destroy, nor was Zieg aware that the Black Monster was really his ex-fiancee; indeed, neither of them realized the truth until it was too late. When the Black Monster arrived in Neet and began burning the place to the ground, Zieg took Claire and Dart to the very edge of the forest bordering the town and told them to hide, before charging back into the burning ruins to confront the Black Monster. Unfortunately, he decided to fight fire with fire by transforming into a Dragoon, and at the very moment he summoned the power, Melbu Frahma awoke from hibernation: seizing control of Zieg's body, he abandoned the Dragoon spirit and fled Neet before the Black Monster could see him.
In Zieg's absence, Princess Louvia and her defenders were slaughtered en mass, the real Moon Child was separated from the entourage and lost, Claire was killed in action after following her husband back into the ruins, the orphaned Dart was left with Zieg's dragoon spirit, and Rose walked away believing that her mission was a complete success. Unknown to her, the Moon Child had really been adopted by a couple from the southern kingdom of Serdio, renamed Shana and resettled in Seles - alongside Dart.
The Emperor's Plan
Much like Zieg himself, Melbu Frahma awoke to find himself alone in a world that was completely alien to him: his empire was gone, his cities were either ruined or beyond his reach, his most powerful relics were in human hands, and his authority no longer had any currency in Endiness. Though Winglies still existed, their magic had declined over the millennia, partly due to the collapse of the ancient eugenics programs but mostly because magic as a force had begun to stagnate as surely as the rest of Endiness. Those who maintained their powers had no interest in following him anyway: Charle and her followers were still loyal to their ideals of cooperation and tolerance, the ancient researcher Savan had abandoned his attempts to rebuild the empire, and Faust had degenerated into a reclusive madman in his years spent hidden beneath the ruins of Flanvel.
With all his old sources of power lost, Frahma had to look elsewhere. Knowing more about the secrets of the Wingly empire than any human scholar, it didn't take him long to realize the Moon Child's true nature and identity, and after that, it was only a matter of time before his next plan formed: he had already harnessed the power of the Virage Embryo's spirit once in his lifetime; this time, he would seize the Virage Embryo's power from the heart of the Moon That Never Sets and become the God of Destruction.
However, numerous obstacles stood in his way: the Moon Child had to be located and secured; the Divine Moon Objects had to be gathered from the nations that had inherited them; the signets had to be destroyed; last but not least, the Moon itself had be infiltrated and subverted from within. Solving these problems would require a great deal of power and resources, and Frahma's magical abilities were still weak after so many years of dormancy: if he was to remove the obstacles from his path without risking death, he would need someone to act in his stead.
Trawling the isolated Wingly settlements for the few who might be receptive and gifted enough to serve him, he eventually found the perfect minion to enact his will upon the world, a bright young man by the name of Lloyd. A talented swordsman with a great potential for magic, Lloyd had often wondered at how his people had fallen so far without human intervention and witnessed similar falls from grace in the other species - even humanity had not escaped the eons without descending into stagnation. As such, it didn't take much effort to seduce the impressionable young Wingly to his cause.Approaching Lloyd perhaps three years prior to the events of the game, Frahma appeared to him in the guise of Emperor Diaz, disguising Zieg's face with the cloak and mask of the long-dead revolutionary leader. Claiming to be in support of the Moon Child, he claimed that the Virage Embryo's "blessing" would renew the world and put an end to the decline of its peoples, beguiling Lloyd with the possibility of rejuvenating the Winglies' power as a species.
Unaware of the Virage Embryo's true nature or the Emperor's secret identity, the swordsman agreed to serve "Diaz" if it meant engineering the rebirth of Endiness. However, even with Lloyd serving as a buffer, this was still to be a massive undertaking for the two conspirators, requiring both time and significant assets; fortunately Frahma had both, for though he lacked the political influence necessary to acquire the Divine Moon Objects, he had access to resources that would allow them access in one way or another.
Scouring the ruins of ancient battlegrounds, he provided his young accomplice with the Dragon Buster Sword, three of the lost Dragoon spirits, and the vassal dragons that had once served the spirits' owners. Through the Green and Purple Dragoon spirits and mastery of the Green-Tusked Dragon Feybrand, Lloyd was able to buy his way into the government of Imperial Sandora, the more aggressive of the two nations vying for control over Serdio; there, he became a mercenary adviser to Emperor Doel, instructing him on how to use the newfound magical resources in exchange for Serdio's Divine Moon Object. Though the Moon Gem was currently in the hands of Sandora's enemy, the nation of Basil, Lloyd was able to charm his way into their good graces as well and set himself up as an adviser to King Albert; this allowed him to act as an effective double agent, using his position to mislead Albert's and his generals while at the same time providing Doel with confidential military information that would give him the edge to conquer Basil and obtain the Moon Gem.
Half a year before the events of the game, Lloyd also sought out a means of obtaining Tiberoa's Divine Moon Object, recruiting a fellow Wingly by the name of Lenus to act in his stead: giving her the Blue Dragoon spirit and the Sea Dragon Regole, he allowed her to effectively seize control of the country - beginning with attacks on local shipping efforts, continuing with alliances with the infamous Gehrich Gang, and concluding with her abducting and replacing Princess Emille. With "Emille" set to inherit the Moon Dagger upon her 20th birthday and her allies among the Gehrich Gang ensuring that unwanted access to the princess remained effectively impossible, it seemed that Lloyd's efforts to obtain the first two Divine Moon Objects were well in hand. However, Mille Seseau's Moon Mirror was still out of reach for the time being.
Eventually, Lloyd's sources within Serdio reported that the Moon Child had finally been located in the village of Seles: now known as Shana, Melbu Frahma's prize was now living out her days in peace among the townsfolk, blissfully oblivious to her true purpose. At Lloyd's prompting, Emperor Doel sent out a small army to retrieve Shana and put her in custody - thus setting the stage for the events of the game.
Out of the Shadows
Though Shana is eventually rescued by Dart, Lloyd and Frahma's plan for Serdio nonetheless continues without a hitch: over the course of the first disc, the Sandoran army assaults Basil on all fronts, laying waste to settlements and military installations alike. Lloyd's deliberate misinformation to King Albert ensures that the defenders are unprepared for the attacks, and the presence of Feyrbrand and the Giganto champion Kongol grants the Sandorans a significant military advantage; though Dart is able to save the fortified town of Hoax with a little help from Rose (awakening his Dragoon spirit in the process) and eventually slay Feyrbrand, the damage has already been done. Less than a few days after the dragon's death, the Sandoran Empire mounts a successful invasion of Basil, occupying the capital and placing King Albert under arrest. While Albert is detained at Helena Prison, Lloyd is able to remove the Moon Gem from his body and escape the country with Dart and his newfound allies in hot pursuit.
Meanwhile, Lenus (still disguised as Princess Emille) is preparing to inherit the Moon Dagger on Lloyd's behalf. However, Dart and the other player characters have followed Lloyd to Tiberoa, where concerns over Emille's sudden change in behavior and the crime wave overtaking the country leads them all the way to the Gehrich Gang's hideout. Unfortunately, though they are able to eliminate the gang and discover the truth of Princess Emille, they arrive back at the palace too late: Lenus steals the Moon Dagger and flees for the Island of the Jailed Dragon, where she delivers it to Lloyd. Dart barely catches up with them in time, once again arriving too late to stop Lloyd escaping with his prize.
However, in Mille Seseau, Lloyd's plans go slightly awry: his attempts to seize control of the Divine Dragon fail when the beast proves too resilient to be tamed or influenced, and in the end, it breaks free of its centuries-old prison. Fortunately for Melbu Frahma, however, the Divine Dragon immediately seeks out the ancient Birth City - now known as the Crystal Palace of Mille Seseau - and destroys its signet sphere, taking a huge chunk of the building with it. Equally fortunate, Shana is able to protect herself and Queen Theresa from the assault by manifesting her powers as the Moon Child, the effort of doing so leaving Shana herself too exhausted to leave the city.
With Melbu Frahma having finally recovered enough of his strength to act on his own, the long-dead Wingly finds himself in the perfect position to claim his prize: in the aftermath of the Divine Dragon's dead, Lloyd is able to charm his way into the palace and kidnap Queen Theresa, using her to locate the Moon Mirror hidden in the ruins of Flanvel; while Dart and his allies hurry to intercept him, Frahma (still disguised as Emperor Diaz) is able to infiltrate Deningrad and capture the weakened Shana alive. However, before he leaves, he instructs the bewildered defenders to deliver Lloyd and the three Divine Moon Objects to him in the ancient city of Vellweb.
Assuming that "Diaz" is holding Shana hostage, Dart and the others reluctantly spare Lloyd's life and allow the bemused minion to lead them into the long-abandoned kingdom of Gloriano. Venturing into the abandoned capital of Vellweb, they find the Melbu Frahma waiting for them on the throne of Emperor Diaz, still disguised in the garb of his old nemesis. Believing that they have everything they need to let the Moon Child purify the world, Lloyd hands over the Divine Moon Objects, fully expecting to be introduced to the next phase of the plan.
However, at Rose's prompting, Frahma finally reveals the purpose of the Virage Embryo and the apocalyptic purification he hopes to unleash; realizing that his plan for a Wingly renaissance in a utopian Endiness was based on a falsehood, Lloyd attacks his master in a fury - only to be slammed through a stone floor and flung to his apparent death.
It is at this point that "Emperor Diaz" finally unmasks himself, revealing Zieg's face to the stunned onlookers - most prominently Rose and Dart. Now masquerading as Zieg for the time being Frahma explains as much of the situation as he is willing to, revealing the true identity of the Black Monster and Shana's true nature as the Moon Child. By this time, Frahma's magical powers have almost returned to their former strength, allowing him to easily deflect Rose's desperate attempt on Shana's life, before teleporting himself away with Shana in tow.
To the Moon That Never Sets
By now, unfortunately, Melbu Frahma is aware of the role that the signet spheres play in keeping the Virage Embryo's body away from Endiness. So, for the time being, he keeps Shana well hidden from Dart and the others, before setting off to the ruined cities of his former empire in search of the three remaining signets, armed with all three of the Divine Moon Objects.
His first target is Aglis, once the intellectual powerhouse of the empire and a major center for magical research, now an abandoned ivory tower sitting on the bottom of the ocean just off the coast of Rouge. However, the city is still active despite millennia spent underwater, thanks in part to the intervention of the researcher Savan; having put aside his plans for rebuilding the lost empire, Savan has been attempting to reinforce Aglis' signet with magical inventions of his own design. Upon discovering Dart and the Dragoons approaching Rouge, he carves a path through the ocean that will lead them into the city, hoping that they might be able to help him bolster the signet's defenses, most prominently the powerful psyche bomb; though Frahma is unable to reach Rouge before the pathway collapses, he is nonetheless able to attack Aglis by other means.
Once Savan and the Dragoons have successfully completed the psyche bomb, they journey to the signet chamber to oversee the final touches on the defenses, including the summoning of a Kraken strong enough to ward off all invaders. Unfortunately, Frahma is able to possess the Kraken and turn it agains the signet; though the Dragoons are able to kill the beast before it can finish its work, the sheer amount of magic used by both the attackers and the defenders triggers a chain reaction that ends up destroying the signet. Savan barely has enough time to teleport the group to safety before he is killed in the ensuing explosion. Meanwhile, no longer having any use for the Moon Mirror, Frahma smashes it.
While the Dragoons make the acquaintance of the flying creature known as Coolon (Savan's last gift to the group), Melbu Frahma moves on to the city of Zenebatos: the heart of governmental legislation and justice in the old empire, the city is much more accessible to the former emperor, for not only does it lie far above ground, but the city is still occupied and managed by the automated Lapto constructs. Recognizing Frahma as its master, Judge Nomos grants him access to the signet chamber as soon as he arrives; by the time Dart and the others have finished wading their way through the maze of bureaucracy that prevents them from entering the chamber immediately - and fought off the three executioners that Nomos has arranged to block the path through the courtroom - the signet has already been destroyed. Worse still, Frahma's magical talents now allow him to fly, ensuring that he has a headstart to the last of the signets.
The final signet lies in Mayfil: though apparently disabled over the course of the Dragon Campaign, the Death City's machinery is actually still in working order, and still pumping the souls of the lesser races into the Infernal World; worse still, the demons of the Infernal plane have taken over the city, ensuring that the enchanted mechanisms of the city provide them with regular bounties of souls. While Frahma ascends through Mayfil, Dart and the others do battle with these various demons and the trapped souls of the dead, apparently doing enough damage to end Mayfil's control over the dead. However, they barely reach the signet in time, and Frahma is able to destroy it before they can stop him. With the final obstacle between him and the Virage Embryo's body gone, he sets off to retrieve Shana.
Once the Moon That Never Sets has descended to its appointed place atop the Divine Tree, Frahma is able to infiltrate the Virage Embryo's dormant flesh by air and implant Shana at it's heart. As the two of them begin to merge, the interior of the Moon begins to change and warp, altering itself to fit the psyche of those intruding on it: once Dart and the others finally arrive, the terrain shifts into a vast collage of environments and scenarios from the past, allowing the crazed Wingly enough time to oversee the merger between the Virage Embryo's body and soul. However, despite every obstacle thrown in their path, it is not long before the Dragoons finally arrive at the core, but before they can rescue Shana, Frahma drops from the ceiling and steals Dart's Dragoon spirit. With Zieg's body still recognized as the spirit's master, Melbu Frahma is able to transform into a Dragoon and battle the intruders almost to a standstill.
However, over the course of the fight, Zieg suffers mortal wounds. Seeing that the merger is almost complete, Frahma finally abandons Zieg's body and reveals his true identity, manifesting himself as a spectral replica of his former self; then, he forces Shana out of the Virage Embryo's body at the pivotal moment of assimilation and takes her place as the God of Destruction's soul. In a matter of seconds, he has formed the core of the Moon That Never Sets into a new body for himself, and is ready to begin stretching his divine muscles; however, just as it seems as though all is lost, Lloyd arrives for a rematch: over the course of their short battle together, he is able to actually wound the newly-crowned God of Destruction, and though Frahma's riposte kills Lloyd almost instantly, he is able to provide the group with two final gifts before he dies - the Divine Dragoon spirit for Dart, and the Dragon Buster Sword for Rose.
Armed with these gifts, the seven Dragoons attack Melbu Frahma head-on. Eager to show off his newfound powers, the God of Destruction bombards them with grandiose displays of magic, taking on the shape of a tentacled monstrosity, an otherworldly and wraithlike nightmare, a futuristic and ultramodern piece of machinery, and a hovering demon reminiscent of a deep-sea fish. He even transforms the core of the Moon That Never Sets into a moving recreation of the history of Endiness, allowing the Dragoons to battle him across time: beginning with the planet's formation from void and nothingness, it then moves through the days of barren wasteland before the Divine Tree, the fall of the first rains, the flourishing of life across Endiness, the formation of primitive cultures, the widespread expansion of mighty empires, and ends with the downfall of all life on the planet. The final stage of the battle takes place on an endless mountain range of decomposing flesh, broken only by rivers of boiling blood and active volcanoes - the new God of Destruction's apocalyptic designs for Endiness made manifest.
In the end, Frahma's attempts to show off give Dart and Rose the perfect opportunity to land the killing blow, the fallen Wingly emperor finding himself once again undone by his own vanity; in the ensuing breakdown of the Virage Embryo's powers, both Frahma and the Moon That Never Sets are finally consumed by a massively destructive explosion, ending the dual threat of the ancient tyrant and the God of Destruction once and for all.
Melbu Frahma was always a totalitarian and blasphemous despot at heart: cruel, prideful, manipulative, and sadistic, he exhibited no empathy towards the species under his dominion or his fellow Winglies. Even his own family were not exempt from poor treatment: when still in regular contact with his sister, Melbu actually went so far as to commission the Divine Moon Objects from her, knowing that Charle's devotion to him meant that she could never refuse a request from her brother - provided she never learned what he planned to do with the devices. He was unrepentant for this deception, just as he was remorseless for the hundreds of thousands of people who died over the course of his reign: according to his philosophy, the species that had become extinct had been fated to die, and the Winglies had simply been carrying out the will of Soa.
Winglies are often stereotyped as xenophobic, egotistical, and self-absorbed as a result of the crimes committed during the empire's history, a belief usually contradicted by the presence of more sympathetic Winglies in the records of this time. However, Frahma was every bit as narcissistic and bigoted as the stereotype suggested, codifying his love of himself and his race into a series of laws that punished the other races of Endiness for the crime of existing, and even moved to purify his own people by cleansing them of individuals who didn't live up to his lofty standards. His narcissism was so pronounced that he could barely even countenance the fact that his subjects might actually want him dead: upon being impaled by Zieg, he could only utter an outraged snarl of "How dare you," clearly incredulous that a former slave would dare to attack him - and even succeed.
His only redeeming qualities, pragmatism, and caution, gradually vanished as his lust for power begin to spiral out of control: though he was careful enough to prevent the Virage Embryo's apocalyptic purpose from coming to pass, he could not resist using the God of Destruction's spirit to further his ambitions nonetheless; in the end, he gladly abandoned all notions of realistic power in favor of destroying the world and rebuilding a new one for him to dominate, gladly enacting the fate he had once tried to avert in pursuit of his unquenchable hunger for power.
Powers and Abilities
Melbu Frahma's powers varied through his life: as a Wingly, he possessed most of the abilities commonly displayed by his people - innate magical talent, flight, a preternatural speed and grace, and an extremely robust lifespan. A schemer at heart, he used his impressive intellect to find methods of expanding his powers far beyond the norm, obtaining both the Dragon Buster Sword and the crystal sphere over the course of his search. Though the true extent of the crystal sphere's power remains unseen thanks to the signet spheres, it' is known that he was capable of unleashing enough magical power to scorch Imperial Gloriano almost off the map - which might account for why much of the country has been reduced to desert from Vellweb onwards. However, the Emperor also possessed sufficient willpower to cast one final spell even as death approached, not only petrifying Zieg but finding a means of living on within the Red Dragoon spirit.
Upon being "killed" by Zieg, Frahma was reduced to an incorporeal wraith trapped inside his killer's Dragoon spirit; even once Zieg finally used the spirit again and inadvertently allowed the ancient Wingly to possess him, he was still too weak to act on his own. Much of Frahma's time in exile was spent recuperating while he worked to use his powers through the human body he now inhabited, eventually succeeding by the events of Disc 3; indeed, Rose can only remark with suspicion at the magical powers that "Zieg" is somehow able to manifest without utilizing a Dragoon spirit: over the course of the possessed Dragoon's time in the spotlight, he telekinetically captures Shana and the Divine Moon Objects, imprisons Lloyd in a sphere of magic and slams him through a stone floor, repels Rose with a blast of energy, teleports himself and his captives to safety, controls the mind of the Kraken from several miles outside Aglis, and even demonstrates the ability to fly under his own power for long distances. However, Frahma does not use these abilities in his boss battle: when finally backed into a corner, he resorts to stealing Dart's Dragoon spirit in order to buy time for the merger to reach completion, armoring himself with Dragoon armor to protect his fragile human shell.
As the God of Destruction, of course, Melbu Frahma's power was all but infinite, limited only by his imagination.
- Unlike other Winglies, Melbu Frahma exhibited a number of unique facial features, including luminous green eyes, dark gray skin, and glowing tattoo-like markings on his forehead. To date, it is unknown if this is meant to be a side-effect of his use of the crystal sphere or some kind of body modification traditionally used by Wingly emperors.
- In all likelihood, Melbu Frahma made the final battle a great deal easier for Dart and Rose: had Shana been allowed to become the God of Destruction, the Dragoons may have hesitated at the prospect of killing a friend, guaranteeing an advantage for the Virage Embryo. By assuming direct control of the God's flesh, Melbu gave the group a target that nobody minded attacking - and wasted precious time showing off his power for good measure.