"I know you might not make it in time, but I'll wait for you until the very end."
"Dear sister…are you leaving me again?"
Once there was a village nestled in an isolated forest of Northeastern Japan, known as All Gods Village. It was small, and the residents had very little contact with the outside world. It was, however, the subject of several rumors and of the attention of many curious folklorists. Many of these rumors centered around the honoring of twins in the village, or the occasional disappearance of outsiders who went to visit there. Some even whispered of sacrifice and gruesome rituals.
These rumors were far from unfounded, for the village was built on top of a gateway to hell, which threatened to spill over and engulf it in darkness. Every few decades, a ritual was performed to appease this abyss – a pair of twin shrine maidens would be escorted down to the site of the Hellish Abyss, and the elder twin would strangle the younger. The villagers believed that this would reunite the spirit of the twins, which had been separated into two at birth, and allow them to become one complete being. The body of the sacrificed twin would then be thrown into the Abyss, where the energy released from the soul reuniting and the pain of the sacrifice would calm it. The red mark on the neck of the sacrificed twin would turn into a bright red butterfly, which would forever roam and protect the village. The ‘Remaining’ twin would become a living guardian of the village, and identical red butterfly marks on both their necks and the neck of the deceased sibling. Thanks to their important task in protecting the village from evil, twins were worshiped by the villagers as guardian deities, something almost more then human.
Sae and her twin sister Yae were born in All God’s Village sometime in the late 1800s, very shortly before or sometime after December 13, 1874. Their father, Ryokan Kurosawa, was the village’s Ceremony Master, who was given the task of presiding over the rituals that kept the Hellish Abyss at bay. Because of their family’s high position of authority and their inevitable fate, Sae and Yae didn’t have many friends among the people of the village. The other children were frightened of them, the few adults that met them were too respectful of their position to treat them like normal children, and their father was often distant. Growing up, they only had each other to turn to for comfort and support. At some point they became close friends with the Tachibana twins Itsuki and Mutsuki, but their devotion to each other always came first. The twins were inseparable, and Sae could not imagine a life without her sister.
The Tachibana and Kurosawa twins both knew that either one or both of them would be forced to complete the Crimson Sacrifice ritual for the sake of the village. As they got older and began to understand the full implications of their duty, Yae and the Tachibana twins began to believe that the ritual was wrong. It was cruel and unnecessary; there had to be another way to protect everyone, they thought. However, this did not change the fact that someone had to perform a ritual. When the time came, Itsuki and Mutsuki performed it in the hopes of sparing Yae and Sae the pain, with Itsuki making a promise to Mutsuki that he would help Yae and Sae escape should the ritual fail. It did fail – Itsuki killed Mutsuki, but his twin did not become a butterfly. In one year’s time, Yae and Sae would be forced to perform the ritual again. Itsuki quickly got to work making plans for their escape.
Sae, however, didn’t really want to leave – she wanted to stay and complete the ritual with her sister. She feared that if they didn’t become one, she and Yae would someday grow apart. Though the thought of letting that happen was unbearable, she didn’t want her sister to suffer either. More importantly, she was terrified of being left behind. As long as she could be with Yae, she would follow her to the ends of the earth.
A few months before their ceremony was due to occur, a folklorist named Seijiro Makabe and his assistant Ryozo Munakuta, an old friend of Itsuki’s, arrived at the village. They were given a very warm welcome, which made the twins and Itsuki suspicious. Outsiders who visited All God’s Village were often sacrificed in the gruesome ‘Hidden Ceremony’ to calm the Abyss until the date when the Crimson Sacrifice ritual could be performed. The twins and Itsuki suspected that this was Ryokan’s plan for Makabe and Munakuta. Sae and Yae were able to warn Makabe beforehand, giving him a key and telling him to escape through the side door of the Kurosawa house. Though he did not escape, he sent Ryozo back home. He was eventually sacrificed, which calmed the Hellish Abyss just enough to last until Sae and Yae’s ritual.
Their attempt to flee didn’t happen until a day or two before their ritual was set to occur, a while after their cleansing had begun. Sae and Yae had spent that time in the joined Kiryu and Tachibana houses, free to roam them as they wished but unable to venture outside. The plan was simple; the twins would escape though an old underground passageway near the Kiryu house, which had been unsealed by the pinwheel keys Itsuki had found earlier. Meanwhile, after leading them all the way to the passageway's exit in the forest, Itsuki would go back into the village and created a distraction. Though he was captured and locked up in the storehouse, it was worth it. Thanks to him, Sae and Yae had managed to get a good head start before anyone in the village noticed they were gone. Had all gone as planned, they would have met up with Ryozo in a safe place, far away from All God’s Village. Naturally, things did <i>not</i> go as planned.
Sae was much weaker then her sister. As she ran, she lagged behind Yae. She begged her sister to slow down, but Yae knew they couldn't afford to do so. Though Sae tried to hurry, she couldn't, and ended up falling further and further behind. When they were only a short distance from the village, she fell from a short cliff near their path, and the impact knocked her out. That night, the villagers found her…but not Yae.
There was still time before the ritual, but not much. There was no sign of Yae. Sae was sure, however, that her sister would return in time. They had promised to stay together, after all. The failed escape attempt didn't bother her nearly as much as waiting for Yae's return did. In fact, she thought that completing the ritual would be the right thing to do. Shortly after being returned to the village, Sae asked if she could visit Itsuki in the storehouse, and finally saw firsthand the disastrous impact of her escape attempt. Itsuki was dead; she arrived to see him hanging from the ceiling of his cell. Sae, shocked, couldn’t bear to look at him. Immediately, she became plagued with guilt – this was their fault. If she and Yae hadn’t tried to run away, Itsuki would still be alive.
Hours passed. The ritual grew ever closer, and Yae did not return. She wouldn't break her promise, Sae thought. She <i>wouldn't</i>. But the longer she was forced to wait, the more worried Sae became, and the more terrified the villagers were. Twins were necessary to perform the Crimson Sacrifice. But they couldn't simply do nothing - that would only ensure their doom. Finally, the time and date of the ceremony arrived, and Yae had not returned. In a desperate attempt to calm the Abyss, the villagers sacrificed Sae alone, hanging her from one of the Torei gates that led to the ritual site and then throwing her into the opening.
This final effort was a failure.
"If all the ceremonies fail, the gate to hell will open, the dead will pour out, and the skies will go dark." This is the Repentance. The Hellish Abyss spewed forth a cloud of darkness, wiping All God's Village from the map and trapping it in a never-ending night. Corrupted spirits poured from the open Abyss, with Sae and Seijiro Makabe leading the way. Together they slaughtered the villagers, Sae laughing manically all the while.
From that night on, the village was cursed to repeat the events leading up to the disaster endlessly. Any wandering passerby who stumbled past the Twin Deities Statue in the forest that once stood guarding the village would be spirited away, caught up in the endless night and led to their doom at the hands of one of the many spirits that wandered the abandoned village. It was here that Sae remained, still waiting for her sister’s return. This cycle continued until 1986, when the twin sisters Mio and Mayu Amakura were led to the village. Sae immediately latched on to Mayu, who was the corresponding 'younger' twin of the pair, possessing her and using her to replay the events that led up to her death…only this time with Yae, in the form of Mio, present for the ritual. Though the twins tried to escape, Mio was eventually forced to perform the Crimson Sacrifice. This finally lifted the curse on the village, and put Sae’s spirit to rest.
Sae Awakens in Nautilus at an early point in her timeline - immediately after falling from the cliff, but before she wakes up and the villagers find her.
<small>Note: All Gods Village followed a more traditional system of deciding which twin was 'younger' and which was 'older', confirmed in documents found later in the game. The firstborn twin was considered the younger - the sacrificed twin - while the twin born last was considered the elder. They continued to follow this tradition even after the Twin Order law was passed in Japan nationwide on December 13, 1874. I used these terms in my descriptions for the sake of clarity. This is also where the estimated birth date for Sae and Yae comes from.</small>
To say that Sae is dependent would be an understatement. Her life has been an incredibly lonely one, with only the companionship of her twin sister as the exception. Because of Yae, she has never had to be alone, and thus the very idea of being without her – without anyone - is impossible for Sae to bear. Her entire state of mind is dependent on Yae's presence. This is, in fact, her main motivation for wanting to do the ritual - it's her deepest desire to be with her 'other half' forever, and never have to live long enough for them to grow apart or take on separate lives. This attachment is not merely an obsession, however. The feelings and desires of not just Yae, but all of those she has grown close to (as demonstrated by her behavior toward Itsuki) weigh even more heavily on her then her own; she absolutely doesn't want to see the people she love suffer. That is yet another reason she wishes to go through with the ritual - doing so will allow the villagers, who have cared for her all of her life, to continue living peacefully. Doing so, however, would have made Yae suffer, and letting that happen was, initially, an even more painful thought.
It's probably not surprising that, in general, Sae is very timid. In pubic she is normally polite, but quiet, never taking a very aggressive stance in any conversation. Even amongst her closest friends (including her sister), she has trouble speaking her mind. She is well-behaved, and in normal circumstances she doesn't like to act out or do anything that will make others angry. As an extension of this, perhaps, she lacks courage and boldness. She is completely terrified of standing on her own and taking control. Because she has spent most of her life in relative isolation from others, she is generally awkward in social situations. She doesn't start or carry conversations easily with anyone except her sister, and possibly Itsuki and Mutsuki. She is also very intimidated by authority figures and very respectful to those in positions above hers. Because she is physically very weak, she also never enjoyed games that required a lot of energy, though she does take pleasure from seeing other people enjoy them.
Sae undergoes dramatic changes when she returns as a spirit after her failed ritual. She is, essentially, no more then a tool for spreading the wrath of the Abyss. The curse that corrupts the dead of the village feeds on her resentment and confusion toward her sister for not returning to complete the ritual after Sae was recaptured. She is an embodiment of vengeance - toward the village for not correctly performing their ceremonial duties, and toward her sister for leaving her behind. She will attack any living person who finds themselves trapped in that endless night, reaching out and strangling them, all the while laughing uncontrollably. The girl who was once Sae is still partially preserved, however, and it is this part that continually relives the events of that night. Though her limited awareness of the world around her, she still continues to cry over Itsuki's unfortunate death and to wait for her sister, asking over and over again why they tried to run away at all. It was ultimately this remaining piece of Sae that possesses Mayu and leads Mio to the abyss, so that the sacrifice can finally be performed.
When Sae was alive, she was a normal human, and in-game is never described as having any strange abilities. Considering her in-game parallel with Mayu, however, it's very likely that she has at least some sort of sixth sense that gives her a mild awareness of ghosts and supernatural phenomena.
As a ghost, however, Sae is much more powerful. The most important thing to note is simply that, if she grabs you, it will hurt a lot, and at full power she is impossible to escape. If you let her hang on, she will kill you right away…but if you escape, and have no way of healing, she will kill you the second time she grabs you. Thankfully, Sae moves very slowly, though she will rush forward and leap when she gets close enough to attack you. She can also create a red mist around herself that makes her immune to damage, even from the Camera Obscura, though she can only hold it for about a minute. She has the ability to teleport and walk through solid objects, and her laughter can be heard over very long distances…in other words, the ability to be really scary at really opportune moments.
To be added.