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|“|| Look at reality. God didn't answer our prayers... Is that because we didn't have enough faith? Even if we didn't have faith, Sophia did. Why did she have to be sacrificed? Is god dead...? Is he just not there...? Maybe god never existed to begin with! If god doesn't exist in our world, then... I will create god with my own hands! Sophia... Please guide me... I will destroy all false pretenses of love, for you...
Karellen (Krelian in the English localization) is a major character in Xenogears. Karellen is an antagonist and it is debatable if he is the main antagonist of the game. Nonetheless, his actions have caused much suffering at the time of Xenogears.
By the time of Xenogears, Karellen is the leader of Solaris, despite that he was once Solaris' enemy, as the saying goes: "If you can't beat them, join them."
Karellen was born in the year 9465. Using the power of science and technology (nanomachines), Karellen is 534 years old as a result of his life extension treatment, and retains the appearance and health of a young man. He may be biologically immortal due to his receiving of transhumanism. Despite possessing the power of immortality and having apparently cured unwanted aging and death, he hasn't shared the fruits of his labor with the rest of humanity (only a select few), likely because he feels humanity is undeserving of it. Instead, he wishes for the elimination of the human race.
As the main antagonist, Karellen is a man of contradictions. He commits horrible atrocities and suffering on a global scale, which he deems "sins", such as biological experimentation (Mugwort and Rattan), all in the name of "god".
Karellen is an intense and sensitive character that tries to suppress his emotions, but ends up having a really hard time doing that, ultimately having to face the guilt and responsibility of what he has done.
Karellen's actions are the result of the sorrow of having lost his unrequited love Sophia, his resentment at those who caused her death (Solaris), and his lost hope, love and despair for people and humanity. Sophia's death turns him from a gentle and benevolent man into a hardened misanthropic scientist who has lost faith in humanity, as well as a holy man in search of a real God to save human beings from themselves. His ultimate plan is an Ark plan that he refers to as "Project Noah".
One constant characteristic of Karellen is that he always thinks of himself as a man and agent of "God". Karellen's original goal (Project Noah) was to "resurrect god" and he intends to create a "deity" (initially, Deus) of his own. At some point in time, Karellen analyzed Razael's Tree in Mahanon and learned the truth of Deus' dark nature, as well as the Wave Existence. Karellen's goal then shifted into "go to the place of god" (reunite with the Wave Existence). Karellen still intends to revive Deus, but only because Deus' resurrection is necessary for the Wave Existence to return to its higher dimension (and by extension, all of humanity and all life would return to waves and be one with the Wave Existence in this higher dimension). This is how Karellen plans to "save" humanity -- by erasing humanity altogether.
Karellen was born in the year 9465 in the country of Nimrod, which at that time was the largest country on the surface outside of Shevat. His mother Elazaru died of an unknown cause - possibly illness. As a young man, Karellen joined Nimrod's military, the main supporter of the Nisan sect.
At the age of 23 in 9488, Karellen was sent to kill Sophia by the Emperor of Nimrod, Kusel Laodicia. However, he found himself unable to do the task. Instead, Karellen befriended the 13 year old Sophia, and helped her recover since she suffered from a congenital illness. He eventually and gradually fell in love with Sophia (despite the 10 year age gap) and ran away with Sophia for 7 years.
In 9493, on a trip visiting away from home, Lacan was pulled into the conflict over rule with Solaris and there, he met Karellen. Lacan mistakenly thought Karellen and Sophia were together and so Lacan and Sophia don't fully reunite.
In 9495, Karellen and Sophia returned to Nisan and he joined the Nisan military. Soon, Lacan and Sophia became reacquainted. Both Lacan and Karellen loved Sophia, but Sophia seemed to have more feelings towards Lacan (naturally, given the relationship between the Complement/Antitype and Contact), which angered Karellen.
At some point in time, Karellen was studying under Taura Melchior, his teacher. Karellen borrowed a book from Melchior about a form of molecular engineering found in the ancient ruins of the Zeboim civilization. It was a copy of Kim Kasim's research report, but it was incomplete.
At the end of the war in 9500, Sophia sacrificed herself while helping clear a route for allies to escape. Her death drastically changed Karellen, who began to question god's existence. No matter how much Karellen screamed, cried, or shouted to God, all he got was silence in return. Karellen chuckled and said to himself, "Hahaha... I see... That's it. If god doesn't exist in our world, then... I will create god with my own hands!" From that point onward, he became determined to create "God" himself and begin Project Noah.
In 9501, the Diabolos Collapse occurred due to Lacan becoming Grahf, wiping out almost all of humanity. This, coupled with Sophia's death, devastated and destroyed Karellen emotionally and spiritually. He refused to believe in a God that would let this happen existed. He completely lost faith after calling out to a god that would not respond, and also lost faith in humanity, strengthening his resolve to fulfill Project Noah.
At an unknown point in time (the game doesn't go into detail, but presumably between 9501-9510), Karellen met Myyah Hawwa, and she told him about the truth of the many mysteries of the world. She told him about Deus, and he agreed to join her side in their mission to revive Deus. Karellen's "god" became Deus.
In 9506, Karellen met Cain, the Emperor of Solaris. Due to Karellen's knowledge of nanotechnology, which he had learned from the Shevat sage Melchior, Karellen made himself quite useful to the Emperor, although Cain would eventually be a hindrance in Karellen's mission and Karellen would desire to assassinate Cain. Later that year, Karellen successfully revived 8 of the Gazel Ministers as computer data in the SOL-9000. Due to his vast knowledge and skills, Karellen quickly became the most powerful and important person in Solaris, even more so than the Emperor and Gazel Ministry. While they were to the public, the ones in charge, Karellen had become the true leader of Solaris.
A few years after meeting Cain, in 9511, Karellen, using nanotechnology, was able to permanently extend the life of not only himself, but also Queen Zephyr and the 3 Shevat sages: Gaspar Uzuki, Taura Melchior and Isaac Balthasar. Karellen did this to them as punishment for Shevat allowing Sophia to be killed, and so that he would be alive because he realized Deus' resurrection would not occur for several hundred more years.
In 9698, Karellen forcibly put genetic Limiters into all the Lambs to prevent any future uprising.
In 9959, Karellen initiated the fifth stage of the Malakh Plan. He came into contact with Myyah's 996th incarnation.
In 9975, unable to locate the current incarnation of the Contact, Myyah cooperated with Karellen to clone an artificial Contact of Emperor Cain using Emperor Cain's DNA: Ramsus.
In 9985, Myyah contacted Karellen and told Karellen to abandon 10-year-old Ramsus. Myyah possessed Karen Wong, Fei's mother, and alerted Karellen of the new Contact's existence, so Karellen and Myyah trashed Ramsus.
In 9991, Karellen plans the third invasion of Shevat.
The first mention of Karellen is by a member of the Gazel Ministry, who says that Karellen is going to Aquvy in order to intercept a ship (the Thames) that has discovered the ruins of Zeboim. Within Zeboim lies Emeralda Kasim, the quintessential nanomachine creation. The Gazel Ministry, however, considers Karellen's search for Emeralda "exorbitant." Soon afterward, Karellen makes his first appearance in the game, aboard the Solaris ship Ezekiel. Karellen orders his test subjects, the Wels, to attack the Thames.
Later, some of the game's heroes arrive in Zeboim and discover Emeralda, but Bishop Stone arrives on behalf of Karellen. Stone claims, "if Karellen uses the nanomachine colony, at least we can save some chosen people." Stone proceeds to escape with Emeralda. Karellen is later seen reporting to the Gazel Ministry that he has obtained Emeralda; Karellen also reminds them that he revived them and will not take orders from them. In a later meeting with the Gazel, Karellen announces that he has gathered all the data that he needs from Emeralda, and so he does not care what happens to it.
Karellen is next seen using one of his clones of Emperor Cain, whom Karellen has kept alive via nanotechnology, in order to speak to the people of Solaris. At this point, Elehayym Van Houten reveals a key plot point to Fei Fong Wong: Karellen is the real leader of Solaris. Fei suddenly blacks out and remembers his previous incarnation, Lacan, speaking with Karellen in Nisan 500 years ago. Karellen begins mentioning something about saving people's lives, especially Sophia's, but at that point Fei awakens.
Fei and Elly enter Karellen's laboratory in an effort to rescue the rest of their party, but Karellen captures them as well. Karellen discovers that Elly has the 'Urobolus Ring' and is the 'Mother.' He also calls Elly "beautiful" and says that she has not changed "since then." After Karellen exits, however, Citan Uzuki helps the party, including Elly, escape.
Back on the Ezekiel, Karellen again speaks with the Gazel Ministry. He says that he has sent Ramsus to handle Fei. When a Minister questions Karellen about his amicable past with Fei (Lacan), Karellen responds, "I've thrown away all feelings of human emotion. All I need is her." Karellen then contacts Ramsus and tells him to retrieve Elly, but Ramsus ignores these orders, since he is only concerned with defeating Fei.
Karellen appears in another discussion with the Gazel Ministry. Here he reinforces the importance of Elly to him, but also says that since he can get her any time, it does not have to be now.
Presumably, this delay is because of Karellen's conspiracy against Cain. The Gazel Ministry states that Cain "dares to go against our objectives." After the Ministry harasses Ramsus by calling him "worthless," Karellen initiates his plan. He tells Ramsus—Karellen's creation who is able to kill Cain—that Cain's existence divides Ramsus' power. Ramsus, desperate for more power in order to defeat Fei, complies with Karellen's orders. In a key statement, Karellen tells Cain, "I try to lead the people 'in my own way.'" Ramsus then successfully assassinates Cain.
After Cain's death, the Gazel Ministry uses the Gaetia Key in order to make Mahanon rise from under the sea. In Mahanon, Fei and his party discover Razael's Tree, but Karellen appears and takes it, along with Deus. With Grahf's help, Karellen captures the party; Karellen needs them as bait in order to lure Elly to him. Karellen takes the party to Golgoda and crucifies them.
Elly goes alone to Golgoda. Karellen offers to let the rest of the party live if Elly can defeat two Gears. She does so, and Karellen keeps his promise. Karellen then returns to the Ezekiel after announcing that he is going to take Elly with him.
On the Ezekiel, Karellen meets once more with the Gazel Ministry. At this point, Karellen betrays them, claiming that since they have activated the Gaetia Key, he no longer needs them. While he is erasing them, he strongly rejects their claim that they could have become god; Karellen says that humans can only entrust themselves to god.
Karellen then constructs the Ark of Merkava by using his knowledge of nanotechnology and Razael's Tree. Karellen takes Deus and Elly with him to Merkava. While Fei and the party attempt to rescue Elly in Merkava, they meet up with Ramsus. At this point, a flashback shows that Karellen created Ramsus as an artificial contact, but discarded him after learning from Myyah Hawwa that the true contact, Fei, was born.
After defeating Ramsus again, Fei and his party reach Karellen and Myyah. Karellen says that they helped him assemble all of the parts of god, and proclaims that it is time for the resurrection of god. Ramsus then appears, questioning his purpose in life, and lashes out at Myyah and Karellen. Ramsus seemingly kills Karellen, but since Karellen's body is mostly composed of nanomachines that essentially make him immortal, he quickly revives. Myyah also survives, merely taking over Elly's body after her first body is killed. Karellen enters Deus with Myyah, who now possesses the body of Elly. Eventually Fei's party manages to destroy Merkava, but Deus' completed form emerges from it.
After a long battle in Deus' core, Fei's party defeats Deus. From there, the Wave Existence, the real 'god', escapes from Deus. Karellen then explains his ultimate goal to Fei. Because humans live in an imperfect state that is filled with sadness, Karellen wants to revert everything to the perfect, unified state of waves. Karellen says that this place is filled with the love of god instead of the false love that humans experience. After that, he summons Urobolus, the final incarnation of Myyah, to fight Fei.
After Fei defeats Urobolus, however, Karellen chooses to release Elly. Elly tells Fei that Karellen was deeply saddened by Sophia's death and actually loved people greatly, and so he tried to make it so that no one would experience loss again.
- Elly: "Fei... It was Karellen... Karellen released me... I came to understand after becoming one with Karellen... His heart was so full of sadness. That is why he desired for he and I to become one with god... Because that would be the return to the beginning of everything... He told me... "You should be with him..." That is what he said... You see... He already knew! Yes, he already knew... how I felt, how you felt... But there was nothing we or he could do... He had no choice but to go forward... even if it meant he lost all feelings, lost everything that was human! For all humankind's sake... There was no going back... Even looking back held too many memories... And he would have... just wanted to go back... Even though he couldn't... So please forgive him... Karellen loved people more than anyone else..."
- Fei: "I... I, somehow... knew it all along... I just knew he was really that kind of person..."
Karellen appears after Fei almost sacrifices himself to save Elly in the dimensional rift, implying that he witnessed the act and that he now finally understands the "love" which Sophia once explained to him 500 years ago. Karellen says that now that there is no more god, this is now their planet and he won't be returning. Karellen reveals he has chosen to "walk with god" by following the Wave Existence back to its higher dimension via the Path of Sephirot. Fei begs for Karellen to reconsider, but Karellen smiles sadly and solemnly replies, "No..." and that he can no longer live as an ordinary human after everything that has happened.
Karellen affirms his choice that he is going to "walk with god" by returning to the Wave Existence, even if it means he will never return or see Fei and Elly again. Karellen turns away and weeps, accepting the possibility of non-existence. Two wings bloom on his shoulders and he says, "Actually, I envy you two." as he disappears.
After the end of the credits, a golden feather is seen falling over the Kadomony's stasis pod, possibly hinting his presence.
- "Even so, there was a time when I did some pretty vicious things... I lashed out at random... Everyone around me feared me... Even my friends. I lived a life surrounded by people who looked at me with fear in their eyes. But she was the only one who wasn't afraid of me. She would just smile. Peace of mind... She was the one who taught me what that was and how I could receive it... She taught me how to live as a human..." (in a flashback)
- "We were sacrificed as pawns... In order to protect their own authority... Sophia was... Is this the ideal world we've been searching for? What have we been doing? Heading toward Sophia's ideals? Is this our salvation? This isn't fair... Sophia was sacrificed... for those bastards... Sophia said, if you just have faith the path to what you hope for will open. But look at reality. God didn't answer our prayers... Is that because we didn't have enough faith? Even if we didn't have faith, Sophia did. Why did she have to be sacrificed? Is god dead...? Is he just not there...? Maybe god never existed to begin with! If god doesn't exist in our world, then... I will create god with my own hands! Sophia... Please guide me... I will destroy all false pretenses of love, for you..." (in a flashback)
- "What may be an eternity to man is a moment for god. I have no need for hesitation."
- "I see... So you've seen the research facility. Presently, the Solaris researchers are working on genetic engineering down there. It's just a nest for fools who've learned the despicable pleasure of... ...playing with their own organic creations. They seek only serendipity and inhumanity. That is not my place. I specialize in molecular engineering... Nanotechnology."
- "Elehayym, you are beautiful. When I look at you, I appreciate the artistic aspect of the human form, its elaborateness... I can't help but feel the importance of that. As if my molecular machine is unworthy of you. You haven't changed 'since then'. Just like the 'other one', Lacan..."
- "I've thrown away all feelings of human emotion. All I need is her."
- "Well then, I shall be taking this girl with me! As for the rest of you... Why don't you just wallow there pathetically while you meditate on your own lack of any real power."
- "Did you really think you were acting on your own free will? You are all just parts of the system. Created only as weapons of invasion and oppression... You are just terminal interface weapons." (to Gazel Ministry)
- "God? Who said you'd be God? What impertinence! We are humans. We were created to be terminal interfaces of God. It is the same for you, who were once humans. Man cannot become God. We can only entrust ourselves to God." (to Gazel Ministry)
- "May all your worries cease. Rest in peace... ancestors of mortal man! Now, it is just you and I... Sophia!"
- "Put simply, you served to help bring all the parts of god together, here, for me. You're a bunch of stupid fools. It's as if you're all clowns..."
- "Yes. It is indeed time for the resurrection of god."
- "Lacan... Why such reluctance to become one with the god? What attachment could you possibly have to this wretched old world? What meaning can be found in living out such a short existence... hurting others, hurting yourself, grinding one another down... only to inevitably die and return to dust? Why, everything we could ever desire is here... No need to be troubled by the need for love... For this place is filled with the love of god."
- "How can you be so sure? Humans will never come to understand each other. You said that she is the person you love. But can you say that you even truly understand each other? All humans do is place themselves at a comfortable distance from each other and call that 'mutual understanding', 'spiritual unity', or 'true love'... but it is all lies! Man cannot associate with others without first deceiving themselves. That is the way that they were created."
- "And what if that 'will' itself was predetermined? What then? ...Humans are just primitive life forms that have no such thing as free will... Mankind has merely been allowed to live in an imperfect state... "as is", "as will be"... It is for this very reason... because humans have this wretched 'will' or whatnot... that humans must experience sadness and loss. For someone to gain something means another must lose it... It is impossible to make humankind share limited "things" and "affections"... So I came to the conclusion that everything must be reverted back to where it all began. To go back to when all was one... waves, and nothing else... It is not my -Human's- ego... It is the will of the 'Waves' ...the will of -god-..."
- "Show me this power of humans! Show me this -love- that you say can make you independent of god..."
- "There's no time. This place is about to be destroyed. Now there is no more god. This is no longer their planet, this is your home planet that you are now standing on."
- "Since that time, I have stopped being human. I have committed so many sins that any attempt at living as a human is impossible. The only one who could have forgiven me is..."
- "Always the peacemaker, eh Lacan? But, regardless, I cannot go. It is something I have already decided. I'm going to walk with god, even if there is no place left for me upon my return."
- "Actually, I envy you two."
- Karellen, understandably, calls Fei "Lacan" and not "Fei".
- Karellen may be an hebephile or ephebophile. He met the 13 year old Sophia when he was 23, so there would be a 10 year age gap. It isn't entirely certain when he became seriously attracted to her.
- In his final scene, Karellen says, "The only one who could have forgiven me is..." It is unknown if this final word is "god" or "gone" because there are no English subtitles. In the Japanese version, he says "kami" ("god"), so it is probably that.
- Despite once being a military figure, Karellen is always seen with long and luscious hair, as opposed to short. This shows the difference in values in the future.
- During the game, Karellen appears with blonde-colored hair. In the Nisan flashback scenes, however, he has midnight blue-colored hair. The hair color change is never explained in the game or in Perfect Works leading players to either think it is a continuity error, or to come up with their own theories.
- A mainstream theory is that the nanomachines that keep Karellen alive caused his hair to change color. However, other characters who are kept alive by nanomachines (e.g. Queen Zephyr, Taura Melchior, Isaac Balthasar, Gaspar Uzuki) do not appear to have undergone a similar change. It can be argued that Taura isn't human, and Isaac and Gaspar already have light-colored hair.
- An alternative theory is that Karellen merely chose to change his hair color at some point because simply he likes blonde hair, perhaps after Sophia's death or when he joined Solaris.
- Another possibility is that Karellen, due to his leadership role, changed his hair color to further exemplify and emphasize the image of a 'perfect' first class Solarian, the majority of which are blonde or pale-haired.
- Solaris' idealization of blonde-haired and blue-eyed people is an allegory for Nazi Germany idealizing the Aryan "master race". Cain mentions he wants to become the leader of the "Anonelbe", which is a mistranslation of Ahnenerbe, and a reference to Nazis (who Solarians are an allegory for). Cain believed he would became a new central ﬁgure for this new "kind" and believed "Ahnenerbe" would rescue human beings. Karellen and Cain can be compared to Adolf Hitler.
- The name Karellen is a reference to a character in Arthur C. Clarke's novel, Childhood's End. In their respective stories, both characters take it upon themselves to serve as a guiding force for all of humanity, with the intention of helping it to evolve to a higher form. Coincidentally, the author and Karellen's voice actor both share the surname Clarke.
- Karellen's ultimate goals and final plans bear a striking resemblance to the theological idea of apocatastasis.
- His Xenosaga countered could be considered to be Wilhelm.