The Hellish Abyss, known in Japanese as the Utsuro (虚: Void, Hollow), is a setting in Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly. It is the central ritual site of All God's Village. The abyss is where the sacred Crimson Sacrifice Ritual is performed, and it is both feared and revered in village folklore.
The Hellish Abyss is a sacred site steeped in village folklore. It has long been regarded as a gateway to the land of the dead, however, its origin has never been made clear. The abyss is also the center of the earthquakes that occur in the surrounding region. After some periods of peace, the land surrounding the abyss would quake, which the villagers would take as an omen of future disaster and misfortune. In order to calm the abyss and prevent the evil energy it holds within from seeping out, sacrifices are made to appease it. An ordinary human sacrifice was not enough, however, and this need gave birth to the Crimson Sacrifice Ritual.
The Crimson Sacrifice Ritual entails the sacrifice of the younger twin sibling. Identical twins are born relatively frequently in All God's Village, and they are thought to be special, holding power above that of ordinary humans. By completing the ritual, the souls of the twins are thought to become one, and the immense energy created by that process, in turn, seals the Hellish Abyss for years. The sacrificed twin becomes a Crimson Butterfly, and journeys to the other side of the abyss, while the remaining twin guards the earthly realm.
The Crimson Sacrifice Ritual occurs only after twins are born and raised to a certain age. During the time between, the Hellish Abyss would occasionally rumble, and measures must be taken to momentarily calm it. Because of this, the villagers also practiced a Hidden Ceremony, wherein an outsider to the village is taken in and made into a human sacrifice. The sacrifice, named a Kusabi, is mutilated and cut, but kept alive so that the pain would act to pacify the abyss when they are finally thrown into it. More pain suffered by the Kusabi would hold back the darkness of the abyss for longer, however, this ritual's effects were temporary, meant only to delay disaster until the proper Crimson Sacrifice Ritual is held.
Although the abyss is revered the sacred site of these rituals, it is primarily feared as a passageway into the land of the dead. The rituals described are performed to appease the abyss and prevent the darkness from escaping and corrupting the village, A catastrophe villagers referred to as The Repentance. Merely speaking of the abyss is viewed as a taboo in the village, as any exposure to the abyss is known to inflict suffering. A ceremonial tome found in the Kurosawa House describes the taboos surrounding the abyss:
- "The gate to hell is called the Hellish Abyss.
- Gaze not upon the Repetance
- Eyes that glimpse the abyss will be blinded by the Dead Souls
- Speak not of the Kusabi
- The mouth which utters Fear will be made speechless by the Master
- Listen not to the Gate
- Those who heed the Hope are turned heartless by the Sacred Promise
Yet another tome clearly summarizes the villagers' beliefs regarding the Hellish Abyss and the rituals performed for it:
- "If the ritual is not performed, the ＊ will open.
- In human wretches shall burst forth from the ＊,
- villagers will be engulfed by the ＊,
- and the sky will be plunged into darkness.
- We must think of this disaster as a repentance
- for our failure to fulfill our duty to the ＊,
- which grants us life.
- We must accept that this is the reason for our existence."
Fatal Frame II: Crimson ButterflyEdit
In Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly, the Hellish Abyss is the final destination of Mio and Mayu Amakura's venture into the village. As Mio investigates the village's customs, she learns of the Hellish Abyss, and the curse that had befallen the village. The final Crimson Sacrifice Ritual was to be performed by Sae and Yae Kurosawa, twin sisters of the Kurosawa House. The sisters were very close to each other, and, not wanting to undergo the ritual, decided to escape the village on the eve of the ritual. While running through the surrounding forest, Sae falls down, and the two are separated. Sae is eventually found in the forest by the villagers, while Yae seems to have escaped completely. The villagers, desperate to quell the abyss' quakes, are faced with no other option but to perform the ritual with Sae alone. Sae believed that her sister would come for her, and waited until the very end for Yae's return. Yae did not come back, however, and Sae was hung by a rope and thrown into the abyss. Because the ritual was not complete, it failed, and the wrath of the Hellish Abyss was not contained. Darkness erupted from the abyss, and with it came Sae's corrupted spirit, and the vengeful ghost of the Kusabi. Sae and the Kusabi laid waste to the village and killed the remaining villagers, and the darkness overtook the skies.
Because Mio's sister, Mayu, is sensitive to the paranormal, she is readily possessed by the spirit of Sae Kurosawa. She leads her sister all over the village and eventually to the Hellish Abyss, where she urges Mio to complete the ritual together. Mio reluctantly agrees, and, grasping her sisters neck, strangles Mayu. Mayu's body is then tossed into the abyss, while Mio, realizing what she had just done, is immediately wrapped in regret and disbelief. Mayu's crimson butterfly emerges from the abyss and thanks Mio, who chases it out of the village, crying and apologizing for what she had done. Many more butterflies flutter above the village, and as they rise into the sky, the sun breaks the darkness and the souls of the villagers and sacrifices are finally put to rest.
Mio is then shown some time later, overlooking a lake that now covers the village area. Presumably, the water from the newly built dam encompasses all of the village and has flooded the Hellish Abyss.
In the "Hellish Abyss" ending available on harder difficulties, Mio and Mayu do not perform the ritual, and instead Sae is cast from Mayu's body and falls back to the abyss. In the process, however, Mio accidentally catches a glimpse of the abyss, despite being warned by Itsuki to never look into it. Gazing down, she sees the trapped souls of the dead that lie at the abyss' bottom, writhing in agony. The sight was so piercing that Mio was struck blind permanently.
- The words "Hellish Abyss" are never written in village texts. Instead, it is crossed out by a ＊ ( × in Japanese versions) wherever the words are meant to appear.