Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Grace Bernelli and the Art of Dying

This post is dedicated to DeSanggria, who receives certain SMS on her mobile phone to the dulcet tones of Grace Bernelli.

Grace Bernelli

Grace Bernelli, formerly of the Brestian Army, Intelligence Officer, member of the Special Forces. Gunsmith, sniper, riflewoman, pistolero, shotgun user. A favorite character of many Granado Espada players, and an RNPC who often gets the spotlight in promotional images and posters.

What is it about her that drives people crazy?

Maybe it's in something that she says: "Ars Moriendi", a Latin expression that translates as "the art of dying". I know, it sounds morbid, but bear with me. [Besides, she said it - I didn't.]

"Ars Moriendi" was originally the title of two books written in the 15th century; the first one was the long version entitled Tractatus artis bene moriendi [alternatively, Speculum artis bene moriendi]. This book was comprised of six chapters.

The second Ars Moriendi book was a condensed version of the second chapter of the Tractatus.

Both books talk in some detail about how "to die well" within a Christian tradition, and had their backgrounds in the Black Death, which took place some 60 years earlier, and the consequent upheavals in society. They became the first in a long Western literary tradition of guides to death and dying, providing their readers with the protocols, rites and rituals associated with a "proper" death, that is, one that has a right outcome as set forth by Christian orthodoxy.

More information on Ars Moriendi at Wikipedia.

As I read up on Ars Moriendi, I thought about those parts of Grace's life story that I've read so far [and inasmuch as I have not yet completed her pioneering quests], and decided that her outlook in life tended to be a blend of the samurai and of the soldier.

As a member of a specialist unit, she may have been sent on missions that were more dangerous than most, or those that ordinary soldiers were simply not qualified for, or those that carried extreme risks.

As a defeated combatant, she was subjected to oppression by the victors - and it was apparently so bad that she had to flee to the New World.

As a former intelligence officer, she undertook solo investigation missions into some of the wrongs of Granado Espada, going on perilous quests to the Tetra Ruins and to Prison de Joaquin, and going up against some powerful enemies in the process.

Maybe her version of the art of dying involves heroism, honor, and uncovering even the most dangerous truths. She would think that dying in the line of duty would constitute a good death. But before she gets to that point, she wants to have done all the good that she can.

So maybe for Grace, Ars Moriendi is a guide to both life - an honorable and truthful one - and death - one in which she remains true to her ideals.

And that's not a bad thing to live for.

4 comments:

DeSanggria said...

wow..this is one awesome, informative post. thanks for providing this insight to the art of dying. this truly befits the personality of bernelli.

thanks as well for this dedicated blog entry (tats akech!). now i have another favorite RNPC in my list. hehe.

p.s.: this post deserves to be blogspotted, imho. ;)

NineMoons Family said...

@ desanggria

they will have to give me something else if the post DOES get blogspotted. lolz.

this post came about because of your text-message tone kaya dapat lang na ma-dedicate sa iyo ^^

definitely I love Bernelli. as soon as my mains hit vet siya naman ang isusunod kong i-train! para may super damage dealer on raids and stuff ^^

Anonymous said...

wow... this is a hot post!

NineMoons Family said...

@ anonymous

thanks, glad you liked ^^