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Al-Balad

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Al-Balad (formerly Dune) is a village located on a continent north of Estard in the game Dragon Quest VII.

History[edit]

The people of Al-Balad were led by their queen, Fertiti. In order to protect her people, she asks her people to build a great Likeness in honor of the Earth Spirit who protected the people. The Likeness was almost completed when the monsters attacked. They took control of the Likeness and captured Fertiti and the priestesses. Afterwards, they forced the men to change the face of the Likeness to reflect the face of the Demon King. They ordered the women to pray to the Demon King to give him strength. The men who were used to build the statue were locked in the basement of the Likeness. The monsters demanded that a woman from the village be sacrificed to the statue of the Demon King.

In order to protect the village, the people kept their young women in a storeroom guarded at all times. They also do not trust anyone who is not from the village. The village chief's son, Hadid, has been in the castle trying to bury his compatriots who died in the castle but is interrupted by a grave robber.

Past[edit]

The party goes through the teleportal and notices that they are in a desert and yet it is so cold. They try to go to the village but are rebuffed by one of the villagers who prevent access to the party. With the town being closed off to them for now, they enter the Temple Palace. There the party notice that there is blood all over the castle as if there was a big battle. Looking around for anyone, they find Hadid. Hadeed tells them that the people who were killed here were abandoned when the queen supposedly chose the monsters over them. He tells them that they were building the Likeness to protect the people of Al-Balad. However, the monsters took that as a challenge and attacked the people and changed the statue into that of the Demon King.

Hadid tells them to go to his village and tell them that he had sent them. The village guard relents after finding out that they met Hadid at the palace.

There they find that the village is under constant threat by the monsters. The villagers find themselves lost without their queen's guidance. Khalid, the chief, asks the party to find his son. Under this request, the party returns to the Palace.

While they are searching the palace, a Skeleton squire catches their scent. The monster is overjoyed to find live humans in the palace to play with. Hadid comes at this moment and helps the party defeat the monster. After landing the finishing blow, the monster yells out that he was Queen Fertiti's favorite and, at that moment, shows that he has her pendant, the Seal of the Sands, that was the emblem of the country. Hadid believes that she had given this to the monster to spare her own life.

After the fight, Hadid offers to take the party back to Al-Balad but sandstorms outside prevent that from happening. So the four of them decide to stay at the palace until the storm dies down. While they are there, Hadid and the party dig graves for the fallen and bury their bones throughout the night.

In the morning, Hadid escorts the party to Al-Balad. When they arrive, they meet with the chief. There, the party learns of the reason that Hadid left the village: He was looking for any trace of the Great Serpent of the Nihil. Hadid shows his father Queen Fertiti's necklace. He curses her for abandoning her people in the time of their greatest need. Just then, Hadid's mother arrives to reprimand her son, telling her that Queen Fertiti's sacrifice shows great strength and character. She tells him that, in her old age, if monsters were to attack the village, she would not be able to flee. It is due to the queen's actions that the people of Al-Balad are able to remain safe in the village. Her original intent was that the Likeness would keep the monsters at bay and protect her people, even the most helpless and weak. She tells him to never forget that kindness requires great strength as well before retiring to her room. Hadid continues to remain skeptical of her actions considering everything that has happened so far.

Just then, Chief Khalid notices something hidden underneath the gem on the Seal of the Sands. He pulls free a folded piece of parchment and is shocked upon reading its contents. The chief then hands it to his son to read it aloud. It reads:

"My beloved subjects, I pray that you are safe and well. Rest assured that I have come to no harm. I do, however, have sad news to impart. The construction of the Likeness of the Great Evil has been completed. Its completion is why the skies have darkened. Why Mother Nihil runs high and angry. The monsters increase in number with each passing day. No doubt, you are already finding it impossible to fish, or hunt. Hunger must be a daily reality for you, as it is for us. The enslaved men of Al-Balad are alive and well, but I know not what will become of them now that they have served their purpose. And I do not intend to find out. I must uncover the secret of the Likeness's dark power before those who trust in me can come to any further harm. If I can calm the waters of the Nihil, the men will be free to make their escape. I have already bribed he who guards them, though the price was great... But although relinquishing such a sacred heirloom weighed heavy on my heart, it allowed me to secrete within it this letter to you. He to whom it was given often haunts the Temple Palace. I can only hope that one of you, my faithful subjects, will find him there, and in punishing him, find also my message.

Your eternal servant, Queen Fertiti.
"

Hearing this letter, Hadid suddenly leaves and decides to find the queen. For that, he needs to find the Great Serpent. Hadid leaves to go to the Nihil river to find any trace of the Serpent. Chief Khalid, after learning that the party helped Hadid bury the dead, gives the party the Seal of the Sands, an emblem that shows the people of Al-Balad they are trusted friends.

The party, after gaining information about the Great Serpent, heads to a bank at the Nihil river. There, they find Hadid investigating the water. He doesn't find anything, including fish. He asks the party if they have heard anything about the Great Serpent.

The party return to the present where the Roamers Encampment was located. There they find the Dig Site. A scholar named Dr. Digsby is investigating a fossilized bone. The party asks the scholar about the fossil and he explains that its an aquatic creature that made its home in a large riverbed. When the party tries to tell him that it is the remains of the Great Serpent and try to take it back to Al-Balad, the scholar refuses. He tells them that this fossil is a piece of history and he will not let it go. The party then decides to show him the Seal of the Sands. The scholar remarks that he has seen this emblem in his books. He notices that the Seal is new. With this, he believes that the party has the ability to travel through time. He tells the party that he will give them the fossil if they take him through time. Seeing as they have no choice, the party takes him with them to Al-Balad's past.

After reaching the Temple Palace, the scholar is in awe. He sees the castle and goes on about what he can learn from studying the castle in the past instead of reading and studying about it in the present. Finding the fossil of the Great Serpent insignificant by comparison, he gives it to the party.

The party return to the village and learn that the chief has fallen ill. The villagers believe that he is not long for this world. Hadid returns just in time to hear the last words of the chief. The chief tells Hadid that he wants him to succeed him as the next chief. Hadid initially refuses, saying that he hasn't found the Serpent yet. The chief notices that the party has the fossil of a creature that possesses a golden horn. The chief realizes that this is the remains of the Great Serpent itself. The chief asks a favor of the party; he asks that the Great Serpent be returned to the Nihil. With this, the chief dies.

The village is in mourning over the loss of the chief. The village journeys to the Nihil to pay their respects to the late chief. They prepare his body to be floated down the river. As his body floats down the river, Hadid reminds the party to place the Serpent's skull into the Nihil. The bones drop to the bottom of the river. As the villagers and the party are about to leave, the Great Serpent is suddenly resurrected. With the Serpent reborn, the creature is now able to carry Hadid and the party to the Likeness where they can rescue the Queen and the rest of the villagers.

The party makes their way to the Likeness where they encounter a priestess who will tell the party that the Queen will be killed because she has refused to pray to the Demon King. At that moment, two Oinkubuses appear to force the priestess to pray again. The party defeats them. The priestess thanks the party and tells them that the Queen is held captive by the monsters. Hadid leaves the party to go and find the Queen. The party follows after him.

Deep in the Likeness, the party reunite with Hadid, who has found the queen. He tells them that the monsters have killed all the people in the palace. Fertiti relates her disappointment in herself for trusting the monsters. Hadid tells the queen that he will defeat the monsters and save Al-Balad. The queen realizes that he is injured but he goes on anyways. The party speak with the queen after him and she tells them to follow Hadid because he is hurt.

The party traverse the dungeon and find Setesh the Punisher, the leader of the monsters in Al-Balad. He is gloating over the defeated body of Hadid. He tells him that it was foolish to fight him while injured. The party confront the monster and is able to defeat him. Afterwards, Queen Fertiti appears and tells the party to remove the rubies in the Likeness's eyes, which give power to the Demon Lord. Removing the eyes causes the entire Likeness to crumble.

The party, the Queen, and Hadid float down the Nihil where they are found by the villagers of Al-Balad. The party awakes from unconsciousness and sees that Fertiti is praying over the body of Hadid. Through the power of the Earth Spirit, Hadid is revived to the joy of the villagers. The party is praised by the villagers as saviors of the desert. They allow them to rest in Al-Balad village after their exhaustive battle.

The party awakens the next day and head to the Temple Palace. There, the villagers are helping to rebuild it to its former glory. The Queen invites the party to return when they are finished. With that, the party returns to the present.

Shops and Services[edit]

Item shop (Past)
Item Price Attributes
Medicinal herb 8 Restores a small amount of HP
Antidotal herb 10 Cures poison status effect
Holy water 20 Temporarily wards off monsters
Bunny tail 270 +2 Style
Lucida shard 500 +10 Style/Removes confusion status effect
Dieamend 800 Protects holder from instant death spells once
Item shop (Present)
Item Price Attributes
Medicinal herb 8 Restores a small amount of HP
Antidotal herb 10 Cures poison status effect
Holy water 20 Temporarily wards off monsters
Bunny tail 270 +2 Style
Dieamend 800 Protects holder from instant death spells once

Inn[edit]

Price per person
25 Gold coins (Present only)

Other notable attribute[edit]

   Save icon.png    This is a location where the game can be saved.

Treasures[edit]

Al-Balad (Past)[edit]

Al-Balad Present[edit]

Greta's Cottage[edit]

Nearby Monsters[edit]

Past[edit]

Present[edit]

(After the Demon King's resurrection)

Known residents[edit]

  • Elder Khalid (originally a nameless Dune Chief) - Elder of Al-Balad in the past and father of Hadid
  • Hadid
  • Elder (originally Dune Chief) - Elder of the present Al-Balad and father of Sa'id.
  • Sa'id

Landmarks[edit]

  • Temple Palace - The royal palace of the desert. It was once the greatest edifice in the desert, before it was abandoned and monsters took over.
  • Banks of the Nihil (originally Nila River) - A great river to the north that flows between the village and the Likeness. It is the home of the Great Serpent. However, when the Likeness of the Great Evil was completed, the rivers raged constantly and all the fish disappeared.
  • The Likeness - A mighty sphinx that was constructed to look like the Spirit of the Land before monsters attacked and forced the people to change it to one of the Demon King.
  • The Oasis - An oasis located northwest of the village in the present. There is a teleportal here which leads to the Shrine of Mysteries. Later the gems acquired from the Hidden Pyramid are used to awaken the Earth Spirit from his slumber.
  • Greta's Cottage - The residence of an older woman who was the winner of the Best Dressed contest of the Excellence Grading Organisation in her day. Greta can be approached after visiting the EGO to receive a letter recommending that she is removed from the contest. Additionally, her residence remains free of monsters even after the Demon Lord is resurrected.

Etymology[edit]

Al-Balad means country or land in Arabic. In the PSX version, the chief is named Zarathustra, an ancient Iranian prophet whose teachings developed into Zoroastrianism, which eventually became the main religion of ancient Persia.

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