The Apprentice is the protagonist and player character of The Arcana game. They live and work with Asra at their magical general store.
The Apprentice has no official design, gender, or name. The player can choose their name and pronouns, but their appearance is left to the player's imagination and is purposely left vague.
The Apprentice's past is largely left to player interpretation, but there are several set points.
The Apprentice is said to have frequently visited their aunt at her magic shop in Vesuvia, and at some point became the owner of it. They met Asra nine years before the start of the game during a Masquerade. He had been giving fortunes and selling masquerade masks behind the shop when they met. Immediately after, the two would watch Nadia's carriage as it arrived in Vesuvia. After this event, the two are implied to have started something of a romantic relationship, although Asra later tells the amnesiac Apprentice that he was frequently away from them and could not often act on his feelings.
It is revealed in all three routes during Book XIII: Death, majorly in Asra's route, that some time three years before the start of the game the Apprentice and Asra had an argument over whether to stay in Vesuvia as the Red Plague began to hit, or leave and let the plague run its course. Ultimately, the Apprentice wanted to stay to help the people, while Asra left as he had wanted.
In the wake of Asra leaving, the Apprentice sought out a way to help the people and cure the plague. They ended up being taken as an apprentice under Julian at his clinic.
After an undetermined amount of time, they ended up contracting the plague, presumably alone, as Julian realizes during his route in Book XIII that he had been too wrapped up in trying to find a cure to realize they were sick.
Like many of the victims of the plague, the Apprentice was brought to the Lazaret. In their last known moments, it is revealed that the Apprentice apologized for something or to someone. Their remains were then burned in the crematorium and then scattered on the beach. In Asra's route, he grievously recollects not realizing what had happened to the Apprentice until it was too late. He traveled to the Lazaret in search of them and, digging until his fingers bled, found only charred bone and ash.
Night of the Masquerade
The first night of the last masquerade, concurrent with the presumed murder of Count Lucio, was the backdrop to the Apprentice's revival at the hands of Asra. He brokered a deal, presumably with the Magician, to bring them back to life in exchange for part of his heart. In Nadia's route, the Star reveals that, since the Apprentice's original body was cremated at the Lazaret, a special kind of vessel was needed to bring them back to life, specifically the body of one of the Major Arcana: the Fool. Lucio also intended to transcend his plague-ridden body by harnessing the body of the Fool. Due to Asra's interference in Lucio's ritual, however, Lucio was left without a body, condemned to hover in a realm in between. In the aftermath, The Apprentice was revived, the Count was thought to be murdered, and several characters lost their memories. The Apprentice later realizes this is how they were the only one Lucio could steal a body from and why he refers to them as a "thief."
Although the Apprentice is implied to have been a powerful magician in their own right, after their revival they lost the entirety of their memories and, consequently, any skills they had. Their earliest memory is waking up in Asra's arms, being comforted. Asra had to re-teach the Apprentice how to speak and perform magic, among other things. Many of the people in town began to think of them as his apprentice, although Asra insists it is beneath the Apprentice to view themselves as such.
Any time the Apprentice would be reminded of their past, their mind would shut down, causing them to enter a catatonic state. The only way to fix this was for Asra to remove the memories he had initially returned. Eventually, he stopped trying altogether, afraid the catatonic state would become permanent. Instead, he taught the Apprentice to clear their mind whenever something too familiar caused a headache.
Overwhelmed by his feelings for the Apprentice, but unable to reveal them out of fear it would hurt them, Asra began to frequently undertake long journeys, leaving the Apprentice to tend the shop alone. The Apprentice is mentioned to frequently get into trouble when left alone.
The game begins with Asra leaving on one such journey, much to the Apprentice's chagrin. He ends up leaving his tarot deck with them. The Countess Nadia arrives at the shop soon after Asra's departure, seeking the Apprentice specifically due to their reputation among the townspeople. After reading the cards for the Countess, she invites them to the palace to assist her with a mysterious task.
Asra is the Apprentice's teacher in magic and possible love interest. He lives with them at their magic shop in the Center City district of Vesuvia. The two have a close and comfortable relationship, although it is later revealed that Asra has strong romantic feelings for the Apprentice that he keeps hidden.
The two are revealed to have met 9 years prior at a Masquerade, when Asra was selling animal masks outside of the Apprentice's shop. Story implications imply that the two became romantically involved after their first meeting, although Asra explains that they were never quite as involved as he would have liked.
3 years prior to the beginning of the story, the two had an argument over whether to stay in or leave Vesuvia, as the Red Plague was becoming serious. Asra wanted to leave so they would be safe, but the Apprentice felt morally obligated to stay and help the people. The two separated on sour terms, Asra fleeing the city as promised and the Apprentice finding work at a doctor's clinic. The Apprentice eventually contracted the plague and died alone at the Lazaret. Asra, full of regret, returned to Vesuvia to find the Apprentice. To his horror, he realized he was too late, finding only ash and bones left on the shores of the Lazaret. Full of grief and feeling incomplete without the Apprentice, Asra became determined to bring them back.
While working at the palace under the guise of finding a cure, Asra frequently showed how he missed the Apprentice by focusing all his efforts on their revival. He magically carved their name into the base of his favorite tree and sadly told Faust that they had gone to a place he could not follow.
When Asra succeeded in reviving the Apprentice, he gave them half of his heart as part of his magical deal. Upon realizing the Apprentice's memory had been wiped clean, Asra focused his time and energy into reteaching them everything they knew. When reminders of their past left them in a catatonic state, Asra kept his romantic feelings to himself to keep them safe. However, due to how overwhelming these feelings were, Asra frequently left on journeys when the Apprentice was well enough to care for themselves.
In the prologue, Asra can reveal how he feels towards the Apprentice, but this gives them a splitting headache and Asra quickly takes the memory away. During Asra's route, a mutual affection for each other allows the Apprentice to retain the memory of Asra's love for them. The Apprentice notes during their first kiss that Asra kisses with an edge of desperation, clearly having wanted them for a long time.
Asra is incredibly self-sacrificing in regards to the Apprentice, valuing their safety and happiness above all else. If a relationship is pursued with him, he has the ability to focus on the Apprentice entirely, often ignoring his own needs and the needs of others to his detriment. Learning how to let the Apprentice become more independent and to focus on things beyond them allows for the two to have a healthy relationship, balancing and supporting each other in a positive way. Asra loves the Apprentice completely, although it is only seen in his own route. In other routes, he is supportive of the Apprentice's relationship with anyone else (with the slight exception of Lucio) never displaying a shred of jealousy.
Julian is a possible love interest for the Apprentice. It is revealed that during the Red Plague 3 years prior, Julian had a clinic where he treated victims of the plague. Here, the Apprentice worked under him to assist in finding a cure. The extent of their relationship is unknown, but he later appears guilt-ridden for not noticing that they had become sick with the plague. However, both of their memories of each other were subsequently wiped after the last masquerade.
Julian is first met during the prologue when he breaks into the shop, looking for Asra. He ends up cryptically warning the apprentice about Asra before leaving. Upon arriving at the palace after Countess Nadia's summons, the Apprentice learns that Julian is thought responsible for the murder of Count Lucio, and that it is their job to help find him and bring him to justice before the return of the masquerade. Despite the fact that they are tasked to condemn him, he does not seem overly concerned with hiding from the Apprentice, and during the two's infrequent meetings he often flirts with them.
During Julian's route, he is quick to backpedal after the Apprentice shows a romantic interest in him, citing that being with him would be bad for them. He frequently pushes them away in the beginnings of their relationship, and often does things that are dangerous for himself to protect them. The Apprentice can show him that asking for help is sometimes necessary, and that doing things together rather than alone is often the better choice when solving problems.
Nadia is a possible love interest for the Apprentice. Nadia and the apprentice do not appear to have met prior to Book I, when she arrives at the Apprentice's shop late at night for a reading. The Apprentice did, however, witness her arrival to Vesuvia 9 years prior, but neither remember this occurrence. Nadia is first met during the prologue, where she seeks out the Apprentice, having heard about their reputation. Despite her dislike of magicians, she is oddly drawn to the Apprentice, and explains that her oft prophetic dreams have led her to them. After a tarot reading assures her of the Apprentice's validity, she selects them to aid her in putting a plan of her's into motion. Upon their arrival at the palace, she explains her desire to throw the Masquerade once more, a celebration that, when last thrown, ended in Count Lucio's murder. However, she firstly requires the Apprentice's assistance in catching her husband's killer, the fugitive Julian Devorak.
Portia is a possible love interest for the Apprentice. During the prologue, the Apprentice meets Portia after bumping into her as she exits a fortuneteller's booth. This causes her to spill the pomegranates she was carrying, which the apprentice can help her pick back up. If the apprentice assists her, she is taken with their kindness. Either way, Portia quickly recognizes the apprentice as the magician Nadia has called to the palace, revealing herself as Nadia's head servant. Portia escorts the apprentice to the palace and remains amicable with them whenever she attends to them. Due to her likable personality, the Apprentice befriends her with ease. The two remain friendly throughout all the routes.
During her own route, she and the apprentice quickly become partners in crime, frequently getting into mischief together as they attempt to solve Lucio's murder. Portia opens up more fully when around the apprentice, revealing several personal facts to them, including the fact that Julian is her older brother. The apprentice likewise has the ability to help Portia realize her full potential, giving her more confidence in herself and her abilities.
Prior to the beginning of Book I, Muriel is a stranger to you. Still, he seems to be concerned for you in his own way and offers you frequent warnings of the palace. In Book IX Part 1, although The Apprentice does not remember Muriel, it is evident that Muriel remembers The Apprentice because of Asra's constant requests on Muriel to check on them.
Somehow Lucio appears to know who you are, though you cannot recall ever meeting him. Lucio tells The Apprentice ideas about Asra, but The Apprentice is often told by Asra to ignore what he says, hinting that Lucio is trying to manipulate The Apprentice. In the most recent books, both Book XII: The Hanged Man and Book XIII: Death depending on the route you're on, Lucio has begun to claim you're a thief. In Asra's route in Book XIII, you begin to hear Lucio through supernatural means.
- The shop where the Apprentice lives and works was passed down to them by their relatives.