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Himiko

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Himiko (卑弥呼) is the absolute monarch of the ancient island nation of Yamatai, and the main focus of the series of in-game collectible documents known as the Ancient Scrolls. She is the primary antagonist[1] of Tomb Raider, manipulating Mathias to do her bidding. She returns as the Primary antagonist in the second run of Dark Horse's Tomb Raider Comics, where she attempts to return to Yamatai and reclaim her throne.

History Edit

Background Edit

She is described as the beautiful, yet inscrutable, enigmatic, ruthless Sun Queen who ruled Yamatai thousands of years ago with the support of her Stormguard. She surrounded herself with a cadre of priestesses, known as the Priestesses of the Sun. No men attended to her. She was believed to be able to communicate with the spirit world and to control the elements. She was worshiped by some of her subjects of the island. Her subjects were not unhappy; under her rule, agricultural production was consistently high, and thus no one went hungry, her taxes were reasonable, and her Stormguard fiercely protected the nation from any foreign threats. Her life ostensibly spanned 72 years, from c.170 AD to c.248 AD. However, Himiko was actually the only monarch to ever rule Yamatai, and her lifespan actually lasted hundreds of years.

This is because she secretly extended it using a very sinister practice. As she grew elderly, she would choose one of her priestesses ostensibly as her successor. The priestess, who was given the title of Daughter of the Sun, would be trained in languages, warfare, and all of the other necessary skills of a monarch. This was considered an unparalleled honor among the people. At a time of her choosing, Himiko would conduct a ceremony which ostensibly would transfer her power to the priestess, making her the new Sun Queen. But the reality was very different. In a secret ritual, Himiko actually transferred, not her power, but her soul, into the young woman, destroying the priestess' soul and permanently taking over her body. In this way, she continued her life and rule. No one apart from the General of her Stormguard knew the true nature of the "succession", since he alone was tasked with escorting the priestess to the Chamber of the Sun, where Himiko waited alone to perform the ritual.

Trapped in a Decaying Body Edit

Himiko performed this practice countless times, effectively becoming immortal through the de facto periodic murder of one of her priestesses and the taking over of the young woman's body as her own. Finally however, it ended when, at some point during the Kamakura period (c. 1185-1333 CE), one chosen Daughter of the Sun, a priestess named Hoshi, discovered the truth. Horrified, and realizing Himiko's evil, she resolved to end her life, denying Himiko her chosen body, thus foiling her plan and saving future priestesses from suffering the same fate. Using the Stormguard General's stolen dagger, she committed suicide on the verge of the transference.[2]

The corruption of the ritual left Himiko trapped in her decaying body, unable to die, yet not alive. Her rage at this manifested in a curse on the entire island, destroying the nation and its citizens. Her Stormguard became undead Oni, fiercely protecting her decaying form for all eternity. Furthermore, the curse also caused unnatural weather to cover the island, such as clear skies in one area, and snow in another. Most sinister of all, Himiko's consciousness manifested itself in constantly stormy weather surrounding the island. These storms were unnatural, driven by her rage and consciousness, and would actually vary in intensity, to deliberately cause any and all ships and aircraft that ventured near the island to be wrecked or crash on it. Any survivors were kept from leaving by the same storms, which would either kill them or force them to abandon their attempts to leave.

Appearance of Mathias Edit

In 1982, a group of mercenaries arrived on the island when their aircraft crashed after being ensnared by Himiko's storms. They tried numerous times to escape, however all attempts failed. Their leader, Mathias, sensed the malevolent presence in the storms. He did not join the men in their final escape attempt, instead watching on the shore as they were all killed, leaving him alone.[3]

Wanting to unlock the power behind the storms, he searched the island for clues, discovering pieces of the truth, while avoiding any other survivors that came to the island and ruthlessly dispatching any of them who got in his way. But he soon found that he needed help. He therefore began recruiting other survivors to his cause, forming them into a the first of a band of cultists devoted to the twisted worship of the Sun Queen, though with no intent to share what true power he may discover. Thus was formed the Solarii Brotherhood.

Believing the Sun Queen was guiding him, he directed the cult's efforts toward finding a suitable young woman, that would allow the completion of Himiko's ritual and finally allow his escape, calling such a female "The Key".

Arrival of the Endurance Edit

Decades later, the MV Endurance, carrying an expedition to find Yamatai, which included the young, nascent archeologist Lara Croft, was wrecked on the island, ensnared by the storms. The team also included aspiring documentary filmmaker Samantha Nishimura. Samantha was the Documentary Producer/Translator of the Endurance's expedition. She also believed herself to be Himiko's direct descendant. She, Lara Croft, and the other six members of the expedition team survived the wreck.

Mathias encountered Samantha at a campfire, at which he also encountered Lara Croft. Tending to Samantha's injuries and listening to her stories of Sun Queen and the Stormguard, Mathias realized that she she was The Key. He abducted her while Lara slept, intending to use her to complete Himiko's ritual, taking her to the Solarii base. She was later rescued by Lara. However, Mathias had made a deal with the leader of the expedition, the archeologist James Whitman. An egotistical man who would sacrifice anything and anyone for his moribund career, Whitman agreed to abduct Samantha and bring her back to him in return for career-reviving access to the secrets of the Yamatai civilization. Mathias used Whitman to distract the Stormguard, at the cost of Whitman's life, allowing him to gain access to the Chamber of the Sun with Samantha. There, he began to perform the Himiko's ritual to transfer her soul into Samantha's body.

Attempted Resurrection Edit

Himiko Dying

Himiko's vessel being destroyed.

However, Lara Croft had done her own investigation into the island's secrets and discovered the truth about Himiko and the curse on the island. Realizing Mathias intent and convincing the others of what she had discovered, she made her way to the ancient monastery where the Chamber of the Sun was located with their help. As Mathias initiated the ritual, Lara was able to fight her way through the Solarii Brotherhood, the Oni Stormguard, and get to the Chamber. Arriving, she found Mathias overseeing the transfer of Himiko's soul from her decayed form into Samantha's body. Lara stabbed Himiko's body through the heart with a flaming torch. This ended the transferrence and seemingly destroyed Himiko. Without her rage to supernaturally drive them, the storms surrounding the island dissipated and normal weather over the island was restored. Lara killed Mathias when he tried to kill her for interfering, and made her way with Samantha back to the other survivors. With the storms gone, they were able to escape via a repaired boat.

Bonded to Sam Edit

Sam Himiko

Sam Possessed

However this was not the end of Himiko. She still managed to latch, at least a small part of her soul to Sam and live on within her, causing her to be violent, and to even have blackout periods. As a result, Sam is arrested for assault, and placed in a mental ward.

After Sam is transferred to Halberg Institute in Sweden, she apparently reverted to some degree of normalcy, even making friends with a nurse, however, Trinity took over the institute and put Sam in the care of Dr. Taffe, who seemingly caused Sam to take a turn for the worst, allowing Himiko to start exerting greater control over Sam's body, this came to a head one night when Sam escaped the asylum, killing a nurse in the process.

Whilst in Germany, Himiko realized that she was probably drawing attention, which would lead to Lara picking up her trail. Since Lara had already once succeeded in stopping her gaining full control of Sam, she would likely try again in order to save her friend. She sent out scouts to hunt for her, when her suspicions were confirmed, she ordered them to follow and kill Lara.

Upon learning that Lara was searching for and acquired The Mirror of Wei, Himiko became enraged as the Mirror was the only thing that could possibly remove her soul and destroy her once and for all. Himiko's forces were soon able to locate Lara and one of her followers threw a grenade in the house they believed Lara to be in. However, Lara had anticipated this and had already left the house, causing Himiko to think she was finally dead, allowing Lara to follow her with the Mirror of Wei in hand. Believing that Lara Croft to finally be dead Himiko ordered her army to head to Yamatai, unaware that Lara was still alive and following her with the mirror, to save her friend.

Final Defeat Edit

Himiko continued on her journey towards Yamatai. She was tracked by both Lara and Trinity. Trinity attacked the compound. Lara used the confusion to attempt to abduct Himiko, trying to reach Sam. Himiko managed to wrestle herself free from Lara and escape in a van. However, Lara ran her off the road by launching a motorcycle in the van's path.

Lara took Himiko to a barn, where Jonah Maiava was waiting with the Wei mirror, was well as a series of other mirrors, making it impossible for Himiko to open her eyes, without gazing on the mirror and having her soul extracted.

Himiko Soul Trapped

Himiko's final defeat.

Himiko and Sam began to fight for control of Sam's body, Himiko demands that Sam obey, as she has belonged to her since before she was born, and that Sam's body was rightfully her property.

Himiko managed to break free of her confines, using a knife she had hidden on her person earlier, however, Sam gained enough control to stab herself in the stomach, much to Himiko and Lara's horror. Before losing consciousness Lara told Sam to open her eyes which she weakly did before blacking out. Himiko still conscious, was forced to look upon the Wei Mirror as the sunlight shone upon it. Himiko's soul was sucked from Sam's body and trapped within the Mirror, along with the countless others Himiko had used the mirror on, ending the Sun Queen once and for all. Sam was rushed to the hospital, and survived her self-inflicted stab wound.

Powers and Abilities Edit

  • Witchcraft: She has been described by legend to be highly skilled at witchcraft. However, in he knew vessel, Sam, she may have some of he mystical power, but not all of it, due to lesser control over the new body.
    • Essence Transference Ritual: Through her soul transference ritual, Himiko had learned to bind her own soul to other bodies, effectively allowing her to start a new life in anew body.
      • It was revealed in issue 9 of the arc Choice and Sacrifice that Himiko had the souls of the Priestesses she would inhabit removed with the Mirror of Wei, which would allow her to take full control of them.
    • Possession: She has managed to attach a part of her soul into Sam's body. She does have some mystic power, but now its very minimal. While she is influencing Sam's actions, when her influence is much stronger than normal, a very minor amount of her mystical power shows up and her eyes blacken as a result.
    • Pyrokinesis: She also possessed pyrokinesis, which was seen when she caused icy mountains to have fire. Legends also describes her producing fire.
    • Atmokinesis: She has powerful atmokinesis. She uses the weather and lighting to slay her targets. She even caused huge storms around Yamatai, despite her being trapped in a decayed body. Her storms were so powerful that no one could leave the island.
    • Telepathy: She may have minor telepathic power, as Mathias stated that he is mentally connected to her.
    • Cursing: She was able to curse her Stormguard, turning them into undead warriors, with improved physical prowess. She even cursed the island of Yamatai, so that no one can leave, unless they die or she dies. However, when she dies the curse is lifted, thereby showcasing that the curse on the Stormguard and the Island is tied to her existence.
    • Omnipresence: Himiko appears to be aware of everything that happens on and around the island.
    • Superhuman Strength: While possession Sam, she has displayed a certain degree of superhuman strength. Despite the fact that she does not have an athletic build at all, she was able to toss full grown and well built men with ease and even kill a nurse with ease.
  • Intimidation: A combination of her ruthlessness and supernatural powers made everyone fear her.
  • Leadership: She has led Yamatai for a significant amount of years before being trapped in a decaying body.

TriviaEdit

  • While she does not appear physically until the very end of the game, Himiko could be considered the true antagonist of the game as she is the cause of the storms and the reason the Endurance crew is stranded on the island. Also, every inhabitant on the island (apart from the Endurance crew) reveres and serves Himiko, whether it is the Solarii Brotherhood, the Stormguard or the weather itself. Throughout the game, Mathias claims that Himiko speaks through him and that he is her loyal servant.
  • Himiko means “sun child” or “sun priestess” in archaic Japanese.
  • The Sun Queen's inspiration may be Himiko or Pimiko, who was an obscure shaman queen of Yamataikoku in ancient Wa (Japan). She occupied herself with magic and sorcery, bewitching the people. Though mature in age, she remained unmarried. She had a younger brother who assisted her in ruling the country. After she became the ruler, there were few who saw her. She had one thousand women as attendants, but only one man, similar to Himiko in the game who was only attended by her priestesses and her Stormguard general.

GalleryEdit

ReferencesEdit

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