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This is from an item description in Dark Souls 3 for ウォルニールの聖剣

深淵に落ちたウォルニールは
だが真の闇を恐れ、生まれて初めて神に縋った

I recall that しかし can be used to express emotional impact beyond its function as a conjuction, but I'm not sure if that's what's happening here, or if there's another nuance to it.

The official English translation doesn't help me much. I don't see any particular nuance carried over. (And since I don't fully understand what role だが plays, I'm not suggesting that the translation should be different)

When Wolnir fell to the Abyss, he was gripped by a fear of true darkness, and pleaded to the gods for the first time.

I can't find a monolingual definition for だが that describes more than its typical conjuction usage.

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The example is actually, quite literally translatable into English:

ウォルニールは だが真の闇を恐れ
Wolnir was, however, intimidated by the true darkness...

Yet unlike English, it is close to artist's license to move sentence adverbs (or whatever should come earlier in a sentence) immediately before the predicate. This reordering is utilized for various (stylistic) needs of delivering (or impressing) the whole prior part uninterrupted.

The normal order is:

だが深淵に落ちたウォルニールは真の闇を恐れ、生まれて初めて神に縋った

but the point of this particular sentence is a little hard to take. Without the knowledge of plot, my best guess is either it implies "Wolnir previously did not fear the darkness" or "Wolnir did not believe in gods". I don't think だが's placement will help much for clarification.

Since the technique belongs to the rhetoric realm, some otherwise ungrammatical examples are seen:

遠い国の女の子の、私は親になりました (< 私は遠い国の女の子の親になりました)

enter image description here

見るものすら焼き尽くす 今や烈日となった (< 今や見るものすら焼き尽くす烈日となった)

enter image description here

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  • I see, so would it be fair to say that this could be rewritten in a more conventional manner as something like ウォルニールは深淵に落ちたが、真の闇を恐れ、生まれて初めて神に縋った? Or is it not clear what だが is contrasting? If it helps, the full description can be read here
    – Leebo
    Commented May 9 at 9:59
  • @Leebo It doesn't change the form, only position, so must be だが深淵に落ちたウォルニールは真の闇を恐れ~. It's not particularly clear what it's contrasted with in that context. Maybe semantically just like what you reworded. Commented May 9 at 10:30
  • Thank you for expanding the explanation.
    – Leebo
    Commented May 9 at 11:28
  • And with regard to this being difficult to understand on its own, that's normal for Dark Souls, where nearly all of the story info is given in short snippets like this on items. So it may be intended to stand alone in a slightly mysterious way, but at least I know how it's structured now.
    – Leebo
    Commented May 9 at 11:47
  • This is also quite commonly done with 「しかし」, though I feel like it’s more common in works from a few decades ago Commented May 9 at 22:47

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