|War of Prayer|
|Part of Human-Beast conflict|
Space battle between human and beast forces at Arin's orbit
|Casualties and losses|
|Total casualties: ~1,000,000,000
(military and civilians)
~15 EX-Type Two
~8 Blue Flowers
The War of Prayer (Korean: 기도전쟁), (CC 430 - CC 432) was a massive war between Humans and Beasts that affected the whole Knight Run universe. The main focus and "ground zero" of the war was at Planet Arin, a core planet that is widely recognized as the de facto capital of humanity. The fall of Arin greatly hampered humanity's ability to wage war and effectively ended the nascent start of the Age of Humanity. To complicate matters further, other important human worlds were also successfully attacked by Queen E-34. E-34's end goal is the eradication of every single human in the entire universe.
The historiography of the war is subdivided into four phases:
- Silent War - E-34 starting the war with the quick yet effective take over of Arin;
- Interlude - Formation of New Alliance and E-34 paralyzing humanity's counter-attack attempt by striking their rallying points;
- Arin Recovery Campaign - New Alliance finally resumes the overall initiative to retake Arin, eventually slaying E-34;
- Search-and-Destroy - the chaotic last phase resembling a guerrilla insurgency with New Alliance pursuing E-34's Flower Garden.
The War of Prayer destroyed the then ruling establishment of a precarious status quo balance between AE and the Knight Order. AE was a military, political, and economic union of various planetary governments of space-bound humans. On the other hand, the Knight Order was a partisan, non-government organization composed of highly-disciplined and talented individuals possessing superhuman traits. The Knights, due to their abilities, can fight the beasts better than AE, thus making the latter dependent on the Knight Order as "mercenaries with principles". ME-0 implies a growing conflict between AE and Knights due to differing interests, and mutual distrust and suspicions. The common threat of beast invasions had traditionally prevented the two powerful entities from openly fighting each other while simultaneously providing a rationale for some degree of cooperation.
The fall of Arin likewise caused a power vacuum and the lost of hierarchical organization. This gave the impetus allowing Master Knight Dry Leonhard, Deputy Chief of the Eastern Order, to assume paramount leadership of humanity. Dry then established the New Alliance, an ad hoc loose coalition of Knights and AE factions, either under his influence or favorable to his strong leadership against Beasts. The New Alliance's sole goal was to retake Arin and therefore only a reaction to the appearance of E-34 and her brood which assimilated human technology and thinking. The New Alliance was later superseded by the Alternative League (AL) which combined the planetary governments, AE, and Knights into a centralized, unified government under Dry Leonhard.
The story of Main Episode-0 Pray is on the War of Prayer from the Arin front; it additionally covers other ancillary narratives. Another Episode-2 A Village Where You Are shows the War of Prayer from the perspective of the Tobal front. The extra chapters of AE2 also serves as an epilogue to ME-0/War of Prayer. Succeeding episodes in the Knight Run series are set in the aftermath of the war.
In the series, the war was ambiguously referred by New Alliance/Alternative League as the "War of Prayer" (기도전쟁) to shroud Pray Mayer's involvement. This was to prevent the general public from finding out that a Knight (particularly, their Top Sword) was the actual cause behind Arin's destruction. In Main Episode-1 Hero, deliberate efforts were shown to restrain access to this information to only a limited number of high ranking officers and politicians. Therefore, the naming of this war uses "Gido" (기도) instead of "Pray" (프레이).
"Pray War" remains an alternative, correct translation for the war's name. However, since it does not sufficiently meet the heavy socio-political meaning embedded in the original Korean semantics, "War of Prayer" is adopted instead.
- (Introducting narration to the war)
- "One day, the Central Order cut communications to the outside with the excuse of conducting a defense drill, this was timed with the outbreak of massive solar wind. Soon after, with a warning period of barely 10 minutes, the hardly-used invisible mode to conceal the base was activated. Central Order, now functioning as a perfect fortress, a feature not used for a long time, was completely isolated from the outside...
- ...Meanwhile all space ports were ordered to close due to the solar wind and strategic military operation. Disobeying ports were hacked and forced to shut down. The Arin government tried to protest against this one-sided decision. They had no choice but to obey, since the Central Order had superior authority...
- ...Then, at Newta desert, a vast and now invisible testing ground for the Central Order, seven Guardians, huge fortress type beasts, were spotted. Guardian, a space fortress that stays in the stratosphere and bars the planet from the space. Extensively fitted with both Jamil Engines that extend a perfect ECM over communication and radars and Chamild Engines that distort light and control the atmospheric opacity, these special fortresses can isolate an entire planet from outer space. Due to the Guardians, together with the restriction on transportation from the solar wind, no one knew this planet had been under the silent war for a week already."
Prior to the outbreak of the War of Prayer, humanity was already on the verge of winning the Human-Beast conflict. All bio-gates have been destroyed; the Absolute Defense Line was just completely secured; less Queens were appearing; and, existing traces of erosion addressed. AE and Knight Order jointly acknowledged the beginning of the "Age of Humans". In celebration of this renewed Golden Age, Mother Knight prepared AB Swords Number 1200. Key Sword and Number 1200. Human Age, to reflect pax humanity. The appearance of E-34 was then made when humanity attained initiative against the beasts. Despite this advantage, E-34 was able to drastically overturn the situation in a matter of days.
- Main article: Arin
Arin was the most important core planet of AE and, as such, is pegged as the control point of the Absolute Defense Line. It was humanity's foremost hub in politics, economy, socio-culture, and military. The planet boasted innovative technologies, impeccable defense, and the presence of several inter-galactic organizations. Due to the level of Arin's security and its general centrality, nearly all critical data are stored or backed-up within the planet's systems.
Central Order, the overall supreme command of the Knight Order, is also based in Planet Arin. It therefore hosts Core Temple, the Knight Order's headquarters, as well as Mother Knight, the founder and nominal leader of the Knights. Facilities for production of anti-barrier materials are also primarily located at Core Temple. As such, fabrication of AB Swords were mostly done at Arin. Countless artifacts were preserved and sent to Arin for studying (e.g. Avalon, Aurora System, MJOLNIR, among others) under the auspices of Knight Order/Central Order; the same applies to recovered Beast parts, such as Balisarda which was taken from Cross Eye Alpha and Beta.
Prior to the War of Prayer, the Arin planetary government held the most prominent voice in inter-galactic politics and can easily influence the government of other human worlds. The self-defense military of Arin, the AUA, was also one of the largest and most powerful in the universe with the capacity to commit expeditions to the frontiers. Due to their power and influence, Arin exercised some degree of independence from the AE and Knight Order yet still cooperated with them in fighting beasts.
- Main article: E-34
E-34 is an Elise-type Beast Queen, the most aggressive and invasive type identified. She is the direct descendant of E-33. E-34 far outshines other Queens due to the extent of her damage inflicted to humanity (overall casualties and costs), her success in hacking Central Order, and the integration of human technology and intellect into her brood. This made her own species of beasts stand out for having the ability to understand human knowledge and, particularly, practice Pray Style. E-34 is recognizes as the "worst threat" to humanity, surpassing the twin Queens E-99 and E-101 a title that was once held by her progenitor (E-33).
E-34 was given "birth" by E-33 with the complete appearance of a female human, although she retained the innate beastly nature to be hostile against humans. E-34 then lived as a human that was soon to be known as Pray Mayer. Eventually, she willingly succumbed to her Beast Queen nature due to severe emotional and mental suffering caused by the denied proximity from her child/sister, Anne Mayer. Anne, strained by the overbearing relationship with Pray, accepted a plea bargain agreement that would have her transfer to Northern Order in exchange for Pray's shortened sentence for murder. On the other hand, Pray was to be incarcerated in Central Order and be temporarily released to conduct suicidal missions. The whole ordeal without Anne distressed Pray so much that it prodded her into realizing that she could force Anne to go back once humanity is erased from existence.
E-34 prepared herself for the coming war by hacking into Central Order, taking over control of their systems, and eroding the massive core of Avalon to turn it into a plant. She also began raising her own brood in secret. Some of her Beasts had been mobilized to be predeployed near Arin's military bases. E-34 also hid an extensive plant facility in the Newta Desert from where she could launch Guardians to blockade Arin.
E-34 decided to launch a surprise invasion during Talk Day, an annual universe-wide event wherein inter-galactic travel is temporarily halted to give way for faster inter-galactic communication. Absence of warp travel would effectively prevent the arrival of reinforcements to Arin while her brood completes the invasion. Coincidentally, a solar storm was expected to pass by Planet Arin on the same day as Talk Day. This event would disrupt electronics and naturally jam transmissions. With such an advantageous opportunity, E-34 cemented her decision to strike on Talk Day.
Some weeks before Talk Day, Central Order, through E-34's hacking, scheduled a maintenance update of Arin's planetary defense system. The update would leave Arin vulnerable as the defense system would have to be momentarily shut down. Despite objections from Knights, AE, and the Arin planetary government, the update still pushed through due to Central Order's insistence.
Course of the war
- Main article: Second Battle of Arin
Action during the Silent War phase was only limited to Arin but it was the first combat that opened the War of Prayer. On Talk Day, E-34 and her brood surreptitiously captured Planet Arin in mere hours, although this was preceded by six months of careful preparation. By pure chance, the Knights discovered the existence of E-34, as well as her erosion, within Core Temple, just before Talk Day began. This forced the Beast Queen to immediately massacre all Knights inside Core Temple and take over it ahead of schedule.
Despite the suspicious lack of activity from Core Temple, E-34 was still able to maintain secrecy until she unleashed her built-up brood army as planned. E-34 ordered her brood to prioritize establishing orbital superiority - a move that mirrors fundamental human military strategies. Her position was further bolstered by the destruction of the Arin warp gate and by forming a blockade composed of more than 20,000 beasts. With Arin's orbit under her control, E-34 was then able to isolate the planet even with the lapse of Talk Day and the solar storm. Meanwhile, the surface was slowly, but surely, being eroded with constant advances of beasts. Human ground forces were overwhelmed as their military bases were immediately attacked at the very onset of hostilities. Elements of AUA, AE, and Central Order that survived the initial invasion were able to regroup for an immediate counter-offensive but this dissipated with the intervention EX-Type Zero Blue Beetle.
Political, industrial, and residential centers were also overran by E-34's beasts. This caused a massive influx of scattered civilians wandering aimlessly with no government direction or protection. Amidst the chaos, the Zail Family provisionally assumed command of the remaining military forces and the responsibility for the civilians.
Central Order fell during the invasion and thereafter, effectively ceased as an organized entity. Consequently, the structure of Knight Order and its power balance with AE was put in disarray. This proved pivotal in shaking the reigning status quo in human political structures. Filling the political vacuum and lack of security, the New Alliance was created by Dry Leonhard to spearhead humanity's efforts for a counter-attack as well as to assert some semblance of order under his authority.
- Main article: Battle of Valtia
It took one week for humanity to receive definitive news that Arin is being attacked by beasts. By then, E-34 had already completed her invasion and had effectively established a blockade. AE and the rest of Knight Order were in chaos and could not properly respond to the situation. The Deputy Chief of Eastern Order, Dry Leonhard, then announced that he is organizing a rescue effort by his own initiative, separate from the AE and Knight Order structures which were taking too long to make a decision. Most elements of AE (mainly from the military) and Knight Order, also frustrated by the lack of resolve/direct action from their respective leaderships, volunteered to join Dry's initiative and they were assembled as the ad hoc New Alliance with Dry as their Supreme Commander. The New Alliance's official purpose was to liberate Arin from the beasts, and to exterminate E-34 and her brood. However, it was hinted that the Leonhard Family had other, ulterior motives for New Alliance - it was a method to grab political power and legitimacy for them to assume universal leadership/governance of all space-borne humans.
The New Alliance designated Valtia, Naricapha, Dalita, and Puyan as rallying points for their rescue/counter-attack (known as the Arin Recovery Campaign). The planetary governments of these systems announced their membership and full cooperation with New Alliance. Unfortunately, humanity had thought that they are being attacked by just another Queen; they have not realized that E-34 was unique from her predecessors and that she was tracking their movements through her hacking.
E-34 then launched large-scale raids on all the rallying points simultaneously. She caught New Alliance off-guard by using the IFF codes of Central Order, AUA, and the Arin planetary government. With such codes, the brood disguised themselves as human fleets fleeing from Arin and were thus given priority usage of the warp gates by the AE Gate Administration. When the brood arrived at their targets, most of New Alliance were still busy preparing and were not in a combat-ready state. E-34's raids were a decisive victory that destroyed New Alliance's military capability, and, by extension, crippled humanity's overall martial strength. E-34 fulfilled her objective of substantially delaying any initiatives for a human counter-attack/rescue attempt of Arin. Furthermore, the raids forced the abandonment of the hit planets which lowered industrial production and increased social burdens. Humanity's morale and confidence was shattered and it had to concede in prioritizing a defensive posturing over any attempts to retake Arin. Meanwhile, New Alliance was also forced to defer any military actions and the recovery of their forces, as they had to instead provide humanitarian assistance to the population of their devastated rallying points.
The AUA's expeditionary forces regrouped at the ruins of Valtia with Anne Mayer as their nominal leader. They decided to break away from New Alliance and conduct the Arin Recovery Campaign on their own, due to Dry prioritizing damage control instead of an immediate rescue initiative of Arin. Ultimately, New Alliance was able to stifle the AUA from going rogue but Dry and Anne reached an accord allowing AUA to proceed.
Arin Recovery Campaign
- Main article: Third Battle of Arin
The Arin Recovery Campaign was the climactic fight contesting Arin between E-34 and her brood (who were occupying the planet) against New Alliance and the remaining Arin survivors (in behest of humanity). This phase began when the AUA Relief Force managed to link-up with what remains of the Norton fleet just outside Arin's orbit. Together, they launched the Landfall Operation that successfully broke through the beast blockade and enabled Anne Mayer's insertion to the planet surface. Upon reaching the surface, Anne led the Arin survivors for an assault of Core Temple, E-34's Nest, despite their high casualties. Just when the assault showed signs of faltering, New Alliance's main force made a timely arrival which reinvigorated the war effort and contributed to the assault's success. Amidst the cover of the assault, Anne infiltrated E-34's throne chamber where the two fought an epic battle. E-34 initially overpowered Anne but the latter was able to get an upper hand near the end.
With the slaying of E-34, humanity emerged with a pyrrhic victory however the War of Prayer still raged on. Although the majority of E-34's brood withdrew to the Beast Graveyard, some of her beasts stubbornly remained on Arin's surface and continued their Queen's objective. Moreover, New Alliance failed to destroy E-34's Flower Garden which warped out after the apparent death of E-34 to attack other core worlds.
The 10-day Second Battle of Tobal simultaneously occurred alongside the Third Battle of Arin.
After the defeat of E-34, the Flower Garden, E-34's specialized brood for independent aggressive operations, followed through their Queen's objective to eradicate humanity. The Flower Garden scattered to various critical Human Worlds, identified beforehand by E-34, that greatly contribute to humanity's military and industrial strength. E-34's Blue Flowers had the ability to produce beasts and were each commanded by an EX-Type Two.
The New Alliance pursued the Flower Garden in an exhausting cat and mouse game spanning the dilapidated borders of the Absolute Defense Line. Other beasts were also emboldened by E-34 to once again go on the offensive from the frontiers. Further complicating matters, hostilities between AE and New Alliance hampered cooperation between space-borne humans which often resulted to armed conflict. AE was desperately clinging unto its declining legitimacy to govern in the face of New Alliance's successes and proven commitment to spearhead the Human-Beast conflict.
The War of Prayer continued for two more years after the Third Battle of Arin when all of the active Blue Flowers had been suppressed by New Alliance.
With E-34's apparent death, the majority of her brood withdrew from Arin and the New Alliance immediately re-established human control of the planet however beast presence was not fully neutralized. New Alliance effectively abandoned Arin after evacuating its population and recovering all salvageable materials/technologies.
During the course of the Arin Recovery Campaign, five core planets were devastated, multiple fleets and armies were lost, and billions of civilians were killed. Moreover, the Knights were critically depleted.
E-34 far surpassed the twin Queens E-99 and E-101 as the worst threat so far. E-34 did not just decisively ended the Age of Humans, she nearly brought the downfall of humanity when they were at the peak of their recovered strength.
Humanity's confidence and trust of the AE was shattered which marked the start of a new establishment/order in universal human politics. The New Alliance, hereinafter, enjoyed receiving recognition as humanity's "true" guardian against the beasts in lieu of AE. Supremacy gradually shifted to Dry Leonhard's Alternative League (AL) - the restructured version of New Alliance meant to replace AE as the unified human government. AL consolidated their power by purging resisting AE entities and manipulating public opinion, which in turn further boosted their legitimacy. Succumbing to internal and external pressure, AE legally dissolved itself and recognized AL as its successor.
The existing Knight Order system also collapsed in the wake of the war. The fall of Central Order, the overarching HQ and supreme command of Knights, signified a new era of Knight hierarchy under Dry Leonhard and the AL structure. The Knight Order, at large, was then forcefully reorganized as the Temporal Order; this was accepted by the Eastern Order and Southern Order but the Northern Order and Southern Order resisted. This created a rift between the Knight branches that eventually spiraled into open armed conflict - the first war between Knights.
EX-Type Zero Fear recovered the body of E-34 before spearheading the withdrawal of the fallen Queen's brood to the Beast Graveyard. The Beast Graveyard is located in a remote pocket of the known universe where beasts have been observed coming and going for unknown reasons. The exact status of E-34's brood is still unknown yet many suspect that they are merely biding their time to invade again.
On the other hand, E-34's Flower Garden continued E-34's objective to eradicate humanity which further protracted the War of Prayer until the Flower Garden's eventual demise with New Alliance's unceasing efforts to hunt them all down. Some of E-34's Blue Flowers retreated to the Beast Graveyard as well. The end of all active movements by E-34's Flower Garden marked the end of the War of Prayer.