|“||Do you understand? People... can only grow stronger because they experience pain. I'm still standing right now, completely fine, all thanks to what you did to me.||”|
Silis Artia (シリス・アーティア, Shirisu Ātia) is an English private investigator working for the European agency St. Crystelle Offices. In 2002, she infiltrates the religious cult SAMPLE as Miss Rucott Diaz (ルーコット・ディアス Rūkotto Diasu) - only to forcibly wind up the temporary 'wife' of Bride, the cult's leader. Under the influence of drugs, she is herded aboard the luxury cruise liner Exit, where she eventually regains her senses and takes her revenge upon Bride.
Silis has some degree of confidence in her skills as a professional, enough so that she feels comfortable enough to quietly make fun of the SAMPLE believers when she's in the church.
Though initially shattered by the events she witnesses at the hands of SAMPLE, Silis is ultimately a strong-willed individual, declaring to Bride that all the trials he'd put her through had only made her stronger in the end, and she is completely willing to get revenge on him for his monstrosities.
After her ordeal, Silis is filled with nothing but hatred for SAMPLE.
Silis grew up in England and attended Hillroam University. After graduating she immediately found employment with St. Crystelle Offices, a European investigation agency, and earned her colleagues' trust by doing both legal and illegal jobs.
One month in the summer of 2002, Silis' employer taps her shoulder and says that she has a new assignment. According to her boss, a client approached the agency because their son had joined a religious organization and eventually ceased regular contact with his parents. She is to go undercover inside this organization and investigate. He hands her a CD with the details and tells her to give it a look over before deciding whether or not to take the job. It isn't something he'd force anyone to do.
The CD briefs Silis on SAMPLE, a cult that partakes in child abuse - worshipping a child's screams of pain or their death itself in gratitude for the child "taking on all the misfortune in the world." She decides to take the job and approaches the organization as Miss Rucott Diaz. The application process is surprisingly easy; the only question she is asked is who referred her to the organization.
After three days, Silis is finally allowed to meet the leader of the organization. Dressed in the red and black garb of SAMPLE, Silis waits alongside other SAMPLE members inside a church in Tokyo, Japan for the leader to arrive.
When the moon reaches its apex, a young man enters the room, accompanied by men and women in red and black uniforms and a dozen children who are clad in white. He prattles admiringly over video games, and asks the totally silent congregation to 'settle down' before admitting that as an introvert he is very nervous to be surrounded by everyone at this time. He asks the believers to welcome newcomer Miss Rucott to the fold with a round of applause.
Silis steps forward and thanks him, internally making fun of the people around her. She thinks that it's as if these eccentrics started off as some sort of school club - though with all the kids and elderly folks that doesn't seem to make much sense.
The man informs the congregation that Silis grew up in England and that her hobby is baking cookies, babbling that he can bake cookies too but is too afraid to let others try them. Silis silently calls him an idiot and suppresses a smile, thinking that that this will be an "easy job."
His next words make her freeze. He reveals that 'Rucott' graduated from Hillroam University - and now Silis is alarmed because Hillroam University is her alma mater, not 'Rucott's'. He continues to recite details of Silis' past, and Silis realizes that SAMPLE knows she is an undercover agent. Though horrified, she manages to keep her face neutral. The man identifies her as an undercover agent, and praises her for bravely storming the unknown. He invites the crowd to give her another round of applause, and Silis grows more and more confused as the believers shower her in adoring compliments.
The man finally introduces himself as Bride, the leader of SAMPLE, and simpers that it is a pleasure to make her acquaintance. Silis' mask finally shatters. He informs her that their faith is rooted in their incomplete holy book (it's actually a binder), which he opens in front of her. It is blank halfway through, indicating that more will eventually be written inside it.
As Bride rambles on, Silis wonders how a half-baked idiot like him could possibly be their leader. After she tries and fails to ask a question, Bride claps his hands and declares that he'll now temporarily become the leader. His two secretaries hand him two syringes, which he plunges into his neck simultaneously. Silis silently screams, and he assures her that it's just dextrose he's injecting. He can't handle acting as a leader without his brain full of sugar. Bride hands the syringes to the women and moves to the altar in the middle of the room, where he removes his glasses. Silis observes that the atmosphere has completely changed.
Bride leans back and moans, his bones cracking. Once he falls silent, the other believes stop smiling. Silis looks around and concludes that she has made a horrible decision in coming here - there is something very 'off' about these people. Bride smiles at her, but his eyes remain emotionless. Silis lets out a soft scream, her sense of reality slowly slipping - Bride is practically a completely different person to the shy young man he was before. He intones, "Welcome former Silis Artia, now reborn as Rucott Diaz."
At least, Silis wants to think he is a different person. It is as if Bride has shattered and reformed, like a mixed up Rubik's Cube instantly righting itself. He has become complete with dextrose.
Bride spreads his arms wide and invites the congregation to sing, before conducting the children in a tuneless song. Silis notes that the children are blindfolded, and have headphones clamped over their ears. Chains restrain their feet, and their hands are bound behind their backs.
Silis can feel no emotion from their voices, but something about them reminds her of "desperate yelling" - and she realizes the children are screaming. The congregation seems to find the singing euphoric, much to Silis' repulsion. Finally, Bride signals for them to fall silent, his expression filled with joy. He then covers his face with his hands and lowers his head, chuckling.
Silis finds everything about Bride abhorrent, and despairs at the thought that her life now depends on his mercy as he closes the distance between them. He informs her that she will have to temporarily marry him and remain his wife until they find the "true bride." Once that is accomplished, she and Bride will divorce and she will be free to die a peaceful death. Silis is overcome with a terrifying sense of loss.
A group of seven or eight armed Southeast Asian men burst through the front doors, and Silis screams and collapses into a heap. Bride remarks to Silis that these men are not their allies - they've had trouble with them before, and he'd hoped they could all get along. Such a pity. He signals for his congregation to fight.
The next thirty minutes are filled with carnage. On her knees, Silis watches the believers engage the men in battle, serenely smiling even though they are horribly injured. Bride delivers a speech as the bloodbath dies down, and explains to her that it's not that the believers don't feel pain - it's just that they "make it so that pain is not something antagonizing." He then inserts the contents of a syringe into Silis' neck.
With the fight over, Bride picks Silis up and helps her out of the church, talking all the while - though it is unclear if she can hear him. He lays her out on the back seat of his car, and after talking with a bandaged man gets in the back seat as well, signalling the driver to drive away.
By August, Bride has 'married' Silis and the two prepare to board the luxury ship Exit in Yokohama Harbor, accompanied by around two hundred other SAMPLE members. Still under the influence of drugs and barely conscious Silis responds to everything Bride says with a monotone "...yes." Bride concludes that her yeses mean that she will allow him to kill her, and he thanks her for an excellent answer. His ensuing kiss leads Silis to briefly regain a hold of her senses, and she weakly screams in protest. One of Bride's secretaries knocks her unconscious.
On the first night of the cruise, Silis lies upon the bed in hers and Bride's suite room with a change of clothes, more aware than she was before. She is cognizant of her situation but has no way to move forward or escape, foggily replaying the events of the bloodbath in her head over and over. In the end, she can do nothing but lie there and listen to Bride converse with his followers over Immortals and their man Viralesque aboard the Entrance.
Afterwards, Bride attempts to leap upon the bed, only to fail and hit the corner of it with his side. After some flustered excuses, he holds out a hand to Silis and suggests that tonight's reception party will cheer her up. He reminds her that she only has 'a few days left', and hopes that as his wife she will experience as much pain as possible.
At the reception party in Ristorante Cuculo, a stage magician called Luchino B. Campanella performs magic tricks for the diners. Luchino involves audience member Sylvie Lumiere in one of his magic tricks, and she smiles when he hands her a rose. Bride - who'd been taping the trick with his camcorder - mumbles that it is delightful Sylvie can still find joy in life after three hundred years of living. Silis murmurs a dazed reply.
On the second day of the cruise, Bride confers with his communications leaders in his suite room while Silis lies prone on the bed. Moving to her bedside, he remarks that since he doesn't know how much longer she has, he'd like to say now that he's very much in love with her. Without malice, he whispers that he'd like for her to suffer beautifully.
On the third night of the cruise, Silis continues to lie upon the suite bed - only now she is dressed in a white gown patterned in red and black. Bride and the children are with her in the room. The radio transmits sounds of screaming and gunfire, and Bride is surprised that seajackers are infiltrating the ship. He presses a switch in his hand, and a recording of the children's own screams is transmitted to the children through their headphones. The children reflexively begin singing their tuneless song in response. Eventually, they and Bride vacate the room, leaving Silis alone.
The songs and screams of the children trigger Silis' memories of the church bloodbath in vivid detail - this is the first time she's heard the song in person since that day. Upon recalling how Bride inserted a syringe into her neck, she screams and bolts upright. The memories have shocked her back into sanity, and she looks around and takes stock of her current situation, suddenly fatigued.
Silis forces herself to get out of bed, and she changes into a red and black underdress which Bride had packed for her. Once dressed, she carefully opens the door and finds the hallway empty. Her memories of the past few days are hazy but intact, and she runs down the hallway in search of Sylvie, intending to both help her and ask for her help. Help to either escape from Bride...or 'take care' of him.
The P.A. system crackles to life, and a man introduces himself as part of the Mask Makers - aka the seajackers currently invading the ship. Silis immediately recognizes his voice as Bride's.
Silis finds Bride just as he is flung over Exit's guardrail, which he snatches hold of at the last minute. Once she reaches him, she grabs his arms to ensure that he won't fall into the ocean. She wants to tell him something important - not him, the "insane cult leader," but him, the "insane husband who took [her] as his wife." Silis declares that people can only grow stronger because they experience pain, and she adds sarcastically that it's thanks to what Bride did to her that she is standing on the deck, 'completely fine.'
Her next words, she says, are for the 'insane cult leader.' With a smile of pure elation, Silis orders him to die painlessly like the weakling he is, and holds him in place until the Entrance skids against the Exit once more; the impact severs Bride's arms. Although she doesn't hear Bride scream, she is satisfied to see the blood splatter as his arms are flung onto the deck of the ship.
In the aftermath of the incident, Silis overhears an upset Claudia Walken rage over the kidnapping of her friend Illness, vowing that she'll hire a private detective to find her missing friend. Silis approaches them, commenting on Claudia's need for an investigator. Claudia asks doubtfully if Silis is a detective. Silis introduces herself as Rucott, and replies that while she isn't a detective herself, she knows a woman called Silis who works at a huge investigation office. The office will look into anything so long as someone pays them. She adds that she (as Rucott) also has experience with the people in red and black uniforms.
Silis hides her true self with a "fake smile" during the conversation, completely consumed with hatred for SAMPLE.
The narrative at the end of 2002: (B Side) Blood Sabbath notes that Silis eventually rises in the ranks of her company thanks to her connections to Claudia and the accompanying job fees.
- According to Bride, Silis' hobby is baking cookies.