SPOILER WARNING: This story includes spoilers for Acts I, II, III, and IV of Genshin Impact's Sumeru Archon Quest as well as the Aranyaka quest line. If you haven't finished those quests yet, read on at your own discretion.
In Genshin Impact's most recent versions, one of the driving forces of the internal conflict in Sumeru has been the rise of the followers of the Scarlet King, who believe that the dead god of the desert would soon be ressurected.
As we followed along in Acts I, II, III, and IV of the Sumeru Archon Quest, disgruntled Eremites and Desert Dwellers aired out their unsavoury opinion of the late Dendro Archon Greater Lord Rukkhadevata, calling her a traitor that murdered their beloved King Deshret.
But the story of Rukkhadevata and Deshret has been muddled by time, tinged with misinformation and the grudge formed from centuries-long discrimination Sumeru forest-dwellers have harboured against those who inhabit the desert.
As we found ourselves in the desert after escaping Il Dotorre however, our adventure unearthed the truth about Rukkhadevata and her role in the story of King Deshret.
Love, Utopia, and Marana
In the olden days, Sumeru was ruled over by three god-kings: King Deshret, Greater Lord Rukkhadevata, and The Goddess of Flowers.
These god-kings were close friends, but King Deshret held romantic affection for the Goddess of Flowers, joining forces with her to create an ancient kingdom called “Ay-Khanoum” (translated to “City of the Moon Maiden").
However, the Goddess of Flowers died. According to legend, it was because of the “malice of the burning sun and yellow sand”, but the true reason is most likely lost to time.
The loss of his beloved led the Desert King to descend into madness, creating a “Utopia” in her honour.
Due to his tragic insanity, Greater Lord Rukkhadevata decided to leave the desert commune and create an Oasis of Rainforests on her own, which would later become the forested regions of Sumeru we are all familiar with.
Although King Deshret created the utopia with the intentions to eradicate “worry, schemes, and slavery”, he would doom his people by releasing forbidden knowledge upon them, creating the harrowing illness known as "Eleazar", as well as cursing the land with "The Withering" (Marana to the Aranara).
Eleazar and the Withering are two of the biggest problems that have plagued Sumeru for centuries, if you don't count all the shenanigans that the Akademiya have recently been up to.
Greater Lord Rukkhadevata, who now governed over the Aranara and the rainforests, returned to King Deshret’s dying utopia to mitigate the devastating effects of the curse, instructing the priests to build temples that could channel her divine power of life.
The damage left by the forbidden knowledge, however, left his people reeling from its effects, and so, King Deshret chose to sacrifice himself to hold the curse of forbidden knowledge at bay. Whatever was left of his utopia convened to create Aaru Village.
The creation of the temples of life also greatly weakened Greater Lord Rukkhadevata, causing her to revert to a child-like form.
This reveal may have been overshadowed by the fact that King Deshret and Greater Lord Rukkhadevata aren’t enemies, as the Akademiya scholars made the Eremites and Desert People to believe.
But upon finding this out, the Traveller, as well as players, may have realised exactly who Nahida is.
Memory, dream, and rebirth
In our adventures with the Aranara, we learn about the cycle of life, dream, and memory, and how these concepts interact with each other.
Like the brave Arama — he lived his life as an adventurous and caring Aranara, and when his true purpose came, chose to become the Ashvattha Tree to provide us with the Bija.
The Arama we knew and grew to love stopped “being himself”, but became “Ashvattha”. If we look at the Ashvattha tree in Old Vanarana now, we still know it’s Arama, just that he’s in a different form.
All Aranara also go through this cycle. And like how plants wither, return to feed the soil, and become new greenery, we can say the same happened for Greater Lord Rukkhadevata.
After her power was exhausted, her time as “Rukkhadevata” ended, and she became "Kusanali". She's not exactly the same person, but her essence is still there.
That is why the sages couldn’t recognise Greater Lord Rukkhadevata in Lesser Lord Kusanali.
Sumeru as it is now was shaped by one big tragedy from the past that has left seemingly irreparable wounds on the region and its people.
While there were those that have tried, and are trying now, to mend these rifts, it's a truly herculean task.
Looking at our own world, it's a tragedy that every single one of us should be familiar with. And that makes the (Genshin) impact of the tragedy of King Deshret, Greater Lord Rukkhadevata, and Sumeru that much stronger and moving.
Now that the sages have forsaken Lesser Lord Kusanali in favour of creating a new god with Il Dotorre through Scaramouche, Kusanali’s plight has finally come into light as the rag-tag team of Traveller, Alhaitham, Cyno, Dehya, and Candace join forces to save the nation of Sumeru from imminent destruction under the hands of the Fatui and Tsaritsa.
And in the final act of the Sumeru Archon Quest in Genshin Impact version 3.2, maybe Sumeru itself will undergo this rebirth.
Genshin Impact version 3.2 will be released on 2 November. The upcoming version also adds two new characters in Nahida, also known as the Dendro Archon Lesser Lord Kusanali, and Layla, among a ton of other new content.
Genshin Impact versions 3.0, 3.1, and 3.2 will have shortened run times of five weeks instead of the usual six weeks, likely to catch up to the game's original release schedule after the release of version 2.7 was delayed back in April.
Yan Ku is a full-time dog parent, part-time (gacha) gamer, and part-time writer.
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