Welcome to Penumbra, a small tribute dedicated to Tenebrae from the video game Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World (also known as The Knight of Ratatosk). This site was create during Amassment's yearly One Page, One Month marathon. Since Tenebrae is somewhat of a minor character in the story, this site is rather small. In the future, however, I hope that I will be able to expand it and add some new content. For now, enjoy!
At the end Tales of Symphonia, a new tree was planted to replace the Giant Kharlan tree and the new tree was meant to support the two worlds Sylvarant and Tethe'alla. The spirit and ruler of all monsters, Ratatosk, made the previous Great Tree his home. When the tree was destroyed, he transformed into his core form and went dormant.
All of Ratatosk's servants, known as Centurions, went dormant along with him. In order for Lord Ratatosk to reawaken, all of the Centurions had to be woken from their dormant state. Tenebrae, the Centurion of Darkness, met the young adventures Marta and Emil in order to reawaken Ratatosk and bring the balance back between humanity and monsters.
Centurions (based on the name for the Roman soliders) are the the loyal subjects of Ratatosk. In Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World (and most other games in the Tales series) there are monsters of 8 different elements: wind, water, fire, electricity, earth, ice, light, and darkness. Centurions of a specific element oversee all monsters within their respective element.
Tenebrae is the Centurion of Darkness, and as such, he has influence and control over monsters with a Darkness element. Centurions are able to call forth monsters and manifest them when in need. The Centurions are meant to "form ties" with the monsters in order to maintain the balance of the world. While the Centurions were asleep, more and more monsters were cutting these ties and leaving behind their Centurion overseers.
Centurions also have an active and dormant state. Most of the Centurions fell dormant when Ratatosk did and require someone to reawaken them. When Centurions "fall asleep" from losing their power, they return to their temple or may even return to Ratatosk himself (if he were awake). When Centurions are in their core state, they emit a large amount of energy that can negatively impact those that it came in contact with. Within the game, one of the main antagonists appears to be Lloyd Irving from Tales of Symphonia. They believe Lloyd to have gone insane from Centurion core poisoning, when in reality, it was a character named Decus who had gone insane from using the Earth Centurion, Solum's, core. Certain individuals may not be impacted by their power but can "feel" the cores and can tell when they are near.
Centurions can also form pacts with humans which will allow humans to use some of Ratatosk's power. Tenebrae forms a pact with Emil and thus making him a Knight of Ratatosk, in order to protect Marta who has Ratatosk's core encased in her forehead.
Tenebrae, the Centurion of Darkness, is a cat/dog-like creature that is loyal to his Lord Ratatosk. He takes his Centurion duties very seriously (as he should, or the world would fall out of balance) and despite being the overseer of the darkness element and overseer of monsters of the darkness element, has a good heart and soul.
At first glance, Tenebrae looks like a large black cat. He has a long body, ears, and a tail. The most striking element of his design is a clawed hand at the end of his tail (and his little butler-like coattails). Throughout the game, he is often called a dog, or "doggie", which seems to aggravate him.
Tenebrae is thought to be based on the Ahuizotl (literally meaning: water dog). The Ahuizotl is a create of Aztec myth and was said to be a small dog, with pointed ears, that lived near water and used its additional hand to capture prey. The only thing that Tenebrae has in common with the Ahuizotl is its design, since Tenebrae hardly acts like a monster.
Tenebrae has the ability to change his appearance by disappearing or melting into shadows, then appearing in his physical form again. It is unclear what Tenebrae's actual form is, since he has the ability to change into almost anything. (At one point in the game, he transforms into a fishing rod.) One could assume that he is a shadow and takes on his dog-like appearance since it is not-threatening.
His personality seems contrary to what one would think of from a spirit of darkness, especially his appearance. My first impression was that he would be a conniving character or, later in the game, have a change of heart and decide to backstab the protagonists. However, Tenebrae is the polar opposite of what I expected. He is often kind and patient to other characters, when he's not being snarky. This can be seen in many of the skits in the game. One example is when Colette tries to come up with a nickname for him:
In other instances when he interacts with characters, the girls like to talk about how "cute" he is. Since he is a Centurion, however, he seems to be devoid of most human feelings and emotions. However, there are times when he tries to relate to how other people are feeling or thinking. Some of the other characters feel like Tenebrae is too uptight, which causes him to be somewhat self-conscious. His mannerisms and way of speech seem somewhat more "high-class" compared to the other characters, he also tries to give everyone appropriate terms and names for various monsters. Most of the characters ignore him and he is forced to give in to their less enticing conversations.
When in a battle with Alice, Tenebrae sacrifices himself for the party, holding a ticking time-bomb monster out of harm's way. Marta and Emil then track down Tenebrae's core in order to revive him, grateful for his sacrifice. Along their journey, Tenebrae warms up to Emil (in both forms) and Marta and shows that he never was a bad guy just because he was the Centurion of Darkness, and shows that he is capable of forming strong, human emotions.
Tenebrae is one of the two Centurions that are currently awake at the beginning of Dawn of the New World. The other is Aqua, the Centurion of Water who had latched onto a mysterious man named Richter.
Tenebrae leaves on a quest to gather the Centurion cores in order to awaken the sleeping Ratatosk and bring balance back to the newly joined worlds. Along the way, Tenebrae finds Marta, the young girl who has Ratatosk's sleeping form in her forehead. After Marta escapes capture from Richter, she runs into Emil, whom Tenebrae then makes a Knight of Ratatosk.
Emil Castagnier is a whining child and an outcast of his home town. For some reason, no one wants to be near him. He has little to no personality and is unsure about himself. Why does Tenebrae ask him to become a Knight of Ratatosk and protect Marta? Why does he then ask him to go on the quest to revive all of the Centurions?
It is something that Tenebrae had known all along but did not mention to either Marta or Emil, for their own good. Tenebrae is loyal to Emil because it turns out that he is actually Lord Ratatosk himself and that the core on Marta's head is a decoy. Emil was actually working with Richter when they went to plead for help from Lord Ratatosk. During that time, disaster struck, and Ratatosk planted his subconscious into the Emil shell. Over time, Emil grows and learns to accept that he has a dual personality. One is "him", the personality that Ratatosk created to keep himself safe, and the other is Ratatosk himself.
Tenebrae helps Emil come to understand this (as he tells him, bluntly, that he is Ratatosk. Tenebrae has little tact.) and then guides him to the Ginnungagap. The home of Tenebrae and also Ratatosk. Once all the cores were brought to the Ginnungagap, the void which the worlds left behind, Ratatosk can fully awaken and bring balance back to the world.
Tenebrae acts a major plot point in the game but is a minor character. Most of his appearances include him telling people what to do or just being overly snarky, which is his most entertaining characteristic.
If you would like to use one of these link buttons to link back to "Penumbra", please right-click and save to your own server. Link back to http://love-gala.org/tenebrae. (Donations are always appreciated!)
If you have a Tales of Symphonia or Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World-related shrine and would like to link exchange, please let me know! I would be more than happy to. So right now, please enjoy these links to other wonderful shrines.