Jean Descole* is the primary antagonist of the prequel trilogy in the Professor Layton series, set before Curious Village.
He wears a black hat similar to a tricorn hat but with a higher crown, a white fitted mask over his eyes, a white feather-boa, a black suit, and black and white shoes. For most of his appearances, he also wears a grey and dark-brown cloak, tied with a purple ribbon. He has been seen three times without the cloak, once where he doesn't have the feather-boa and twice when he doesn't have the mask on (his face does not appear). He also, from the back, appears to have brown hair.
Though he can be quite calm and cunning, he can easily lose his patience and temper, especially if events don't go according to plan. He can become somewhat violent when angered. However, he goes above and beyond to make sure innocents don’t get hurt in his schemes. This characteristic actually exposes his identity in The Last Specter, when, posing as Doland, he corrects Luke’s predictions on the specter’s attack sites so the areas can be evacuated beforehand. This casts suspicion on Doland & ends Descole’s charade. He knows Layton and his parents, and Layton himself was puzzled when the point came up until Azran Legacy. Extremely clever, he focuses mainly on science, but dabbles in archaeology, parkour running, and several types of armed and unarmed combat. His life ambition is to discover the greatest secret of the ancient world, the Azran legacy, before Targent does so.
Descole was born under the name Hershel Bronev to Leon and Rachel Bronev. He lived his early life in a small town with his little brother, Theodore. His father Leon was a passionate archaeologist who investigated the Azran civilization, and after plenty of studying became aware of their legacy. This eventually led to the Targent, a criminal organization (by then, almost a cult) interested in the Azran Civilization, to break into their house and kidnap both Leon and his wife, leaving Hershel and his brother as orphans.
The children eventually found Roland and Lucille Layton, who wished to adopt. Unfortunately, they could only adopt one child, which they wanted to be Hershel. However, since they didn't know who Hershel was, the actual Hershel (Descole) gave his name to his younger brother Theodore (Layton) as he wanted him to be happy, not to mention Theodore was too young to be left alone, causing him to be adopted in his stead.
The young Descole eventually started to focus on studying the Azran Civilization tirelessly in the hopes of beating the Targent in finding their legacy, so he could have his revenge on the two reasons why he lost his family: Targent and the Azran. A while later, another family was found to adopt Descole, and they adopted the remaining child, giving him the name Desmond Sycamore.
Desmond spent most of his life under this name, and eventually got married and had a daughter, having a normal life with them. Sycamore probably met also around this time his butler Raymond, who would be faithful with him during his entire life. However, when he thought he was happy and could move on from his past and live for more than just revenge, both his wife and daughter died due to unknown reasons, possibly due to Targent. This was most likely the moment when he created his Jean Descole disguise.
Professor Layton and the Last Specter
At the start, Descole is reading the legend of the Specter: "Long ago, in a lawless age, a pack of bandits invaded a small village. Amidst the chaos, a terrified young farm girl played her flute to drown out the madness. As the music spiraled high into the sky, a giant specter appeared above her. She begged the specter to destroy the bandits, and it swiftly obeyed. The town was saved; the specter vanished as quickly as it appeared. But the farm girl knew that in times of danger, she needed only to play the flute, and the specter would appear again." When finished, he told his servant that it was time to "pen the next chapter."
He appears throughout the story as a mysterious and suspicious character. During this time, he met with local chief of police, Levin Jakes, several times in order to discuss Layton's interference with his plans.
Shortly before the game's events, he kidnapped Doland Noble, taking his place, then Brenda Triton, as she had become suspicious of 'Doland'. Clark Triton knew about this, but had been blackmailed by Descole into keeping quiet. The swap was soon discovered by Professor Layton, who deduced that he had designed and built the 'Specter' that had been terrorizing the townspeople. The professor figured this out by saying that he was the one who passed along Luke's warnings, the latter knew where his "specter" would appear because of the low water levels. The professor noticed that due to Toppy, not all the predictions were correct, but people were still evacuated from where the "specter" appeared so they wouldn't see what it really was, which means Descole didn't even need Luke's predictions.
Having his cover blown, Descole summoned the 'Specter' robots; actually having built several. He climbed aboard one, and combined them all into one massive machine, the 'Master Specter'. He accidentally bought time for Loosha to escape her captors while summoning the robots. After briefly fighting Loosha, he then chases Layton, Luke, and Emmy around the town center, lunging at them with the machine, and throwing debris from the destroyed houses at them.
Eventually, he manages to corner the three. But, before he could do anything, he was defeated; Loosha and the Black Ravens had destroyed the dam's flood-gates. The sudden torrent short-circuited the 'Master Specter'. He fled the scene soon afterwards.
In the post-credits cutscene, he was seen leaving Misthallery in a horse-drawn carriage, talking about how Layton was more than he expected.
Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva
Early on, Descole can be seen watching the opera with his wolves. When the ship explodes he was in one of the submarines along with his servants and the Detragan, while the other one went back to Britain. Eventually, Descole was revealed to be the mastermind behind the game for Eternal Life. He imprisoned Luke, Janice, Amelia and Marco in the King's Chamber after they solved Puzzle No. 004. After sending Luke, Janice and Marco to another part of the castle, he went up to the Detragan with Oswald. Amelia was brought in later, and was wired up to the Detragan to be another host for Melina.
However, Layton and co. managed to save Amelia, with Janice secretly stealing the key for the Detragan in the progress. When Layton exposed her as Melina, Descole kidnapped her, and told the group his real motive. A year or so before, he had discovered Ambrosia. Soon afterwards, he had deciphered the two harmonious songs from the Seal of Ambrosia; A Song of the Stars and A Song of the Sea. When played simultaneously, Ambrosia would rise again. Nevertheless, just as he had worked this out, Melina, the only one who knew A Song of the Sea, died. So he helped Oswald build the Detragan in order to resurrect her.
Then he activated a platform that extended outdoors above the castle. He began playing A Song of the Stars on the Detragan organ along with Melina's singing. The first attempt failed; causing little more than an earthquake. When his second attempt was also unsuccessful, he got mad, converted the Detragan into the Detra-Gigant, and used it to try and force Ambrosia to appear.
Professor Layton and Luke used the flying machine they built earlier to rescue Melina. Trying to stop them, Descole set the Detra-Gigant to eradicate the two. Melina noticed this, and tried to stop Descole, so he threw her off the machine. Flying the contraption to its limit, Layton managed to bring Luke close enough to Melina to pull her back up. Descole attempted to kill Luke with the Detra-Gigant's drill 'tail', but impaled Layton's flying machine instead. It exploded, seemingly taking the professor with it. However, Layton had survived, and climbed back up onto the Detra-Gigant. Descole challenged him to a sword fight.
Following a brief duel, Professor Layton explained the reason why Descole had failed to raise Ambrosia: he had only identified two songs in the Seal, but there was also a third: A Song of the Sun. Layton played two of the melodies on the Detra-Gigant organ while Melina sang her song, and they successfully raised the lost city of Ambrosia.
Furious at being bested, Descole attacked Layton. The resulting conflict damaged the control panel of the Detra-Gigant, causing it to go haywire. It started shaking and swaying around violently. Amidst the destruction, Descole accidentally fell from the ledge of the Detra-Gigant, and plummeted down below. Currently, it is unknown how he survived this.
Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask
After Randall fell through the hole in the Akbadain Ruins, Descole sent him letters to explain his past. He lied to Randall; however, Randall, having suffered amnesia, didn't know any better. So Descole sent Randall, posing as the Masked Gentleman, letters telling him how to perform his dark miracles in an attempt to unlock the Infinite Vault of Akbadain.
Descole doesn't appear, in person, until the epilogue of the game. He at some point in the story swaps places with Angela. The Professor reveals to everyone that he was the one trying to get the Mask of Order and he posed as Angela to get to Henry and continued to pester him about the Mask of Order. Descole goes off once the Professor found him out and declares that he's already won.
After the credits Desole finds another part of the Azran legacies. The first is Misthallery, the garden of Healing, and the second is Ambrosia, the city of Harmony. Upon discovery, however, Bronev claims it and nearly unmasks Descole but is stopped by Descole's butler, Raymond.
Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy
For most of the game, Descole operates without his guise, showing his identity: Desmond Sycamore. It begins with the discovery of the living mummy in Froenborg. Having found all of the three legacies, The Golden Garden, The City of Ambrosia and The Nautilus Chamber of Akbadain, Descole achieved to find (apparently thanks to the three legacies) the location of the living mummy, a revolutionary discovery.
Professor Sycamore sends a letter to Professor Layton, reporting his findings and asking for help. Professor Layton, Luke, and Emmy travel to Froenborg in the Bostonius, Sycamore's aircraft, piloted by Raymond. When they reach Froenborg, they meet with Sycamore in the cave, and manage to liberate to Aurora from the ice wall. However, before they can take her, Targent appears and kidnaps Aurora.
An aerial chase begins aboard the Bostonius to recover Aurora. Professor Layton and Luke infiltrate the airship and manage to take her, but during the flight, they fall in a forest near the village of Kodh. After searching for Aurora all over town, they located her on the lake, and she manages to make the ruins appear that were hidden in the lake. When they enter the ruins, Aurora speaks for the first time and tells them they have to find the five aura stones to discover the Azran secret.
Before starting a journey around the world to find the five stones, Professor Layton and company return to London to prepare for the trip. During their stay, they must solve a case of theft at the museum. After researching and visiting the commissariat, Professors Layton and Sycamore, with the help of Grosky, manage to discover the culprit of the theft, Leonard Bloom, and also show that he is a member of Targent who infiltrated the police.
On their journey around the world, they visited several villages in different areas. In each of them, they had to face some kind of enigma to get one of the stones. Sycamore does not show any suspicious behavior during the trip, but in Mosinnia mentions his wife and daughter, who died long ago. Along their travels, they met with soldiers sent by Targent to find the stones.
After getting the five stones, they realize that one of them is false, which leads them to travel to the base of Targent, the Nest. Once there, they learn that Bronev wants to talk to them, so they come to his office at the top of a tower. Bronev asks Professor Layton to join Targent and even makes it a blackmail with a threat to his parents, but Desmond Sycamore manages to convince him that it is a trap. After ignoring the request of Bronev and besting him in a coin game, he acquires the last egg, which joins together with the remaining four to form a key. At this point, Sycamore reveals that he is, in fact, Jean Descole. Trying to avoid fleeing, Professor Layton confronts him, but Descole escapes with the help of Raymond and is directed to Froenborg to discover the legacy.
When Professor Layton and company reach the cave of Froenborg, Descole is found there, but before they can do anything, Targent appears and steals the Azran key that Descole had. However, because of an Azran weapon detector, Targent is unarmed and Professor Layton can get the key. This is short-lived, though, because Emmy holds Luke hostage with a sharp crystal, revealing herself as a secret agent from Targent, and insists Layton hand the key over. Bronev gets the key and enters the sanctuary. Layton is forced to create a temporary alliance with Descole, much to Luke's dismay, and they traverse through the next areas of the sanctuary. During this time, when Luke is in danger of death, Descole protects him and jumps in his way, resulting in a near-death injury.
After this dramatic scene, he reveals to Professor Layton that they are brothers, and Leon Bronev is their father. In a flashback, it is explained that Descole's birth name was Hershel Bronev, and that he lived with his brother and parents happily and peacefully until Targent came along and kidnapped Leon and Rachel Bronev for their knowledge of the Azran. This left the two brothers as orphans, until one day the Layton family came along, expressing an interest in adopting one of the boys. Since the Layton family only wanted to adopt the boy named Hershel, the real Hershel gave his name to his brother so that he could be adopted in his stead. While "Hershel" was adopted by Lucille and Roland, Descole was left alone, planning his revenge on Targent.
After activating the sanctuary and have released the golems, Bronev regrets activating the Azran Legacy. To "disconnect" the golems, they are all asked to step into the light beams produced by the prism of the room of light, and Descole returns, having mildly recovered from his injury. He willingly joins them in stepping into the beams of light, sacrificing his life (along with the others) for the sake of humanity. After that, Aurora, who could not step into the light, attempts to bring them back to life, and succeeds. When the Golems are disconnected, and after Aurora has died, the sanctuary begins to collapse. Layton and company escape, but not before Layton sees Descole in the distance, who wishes him farewell.
At the end of the game, after the destruction of the temple and the arrest of Bronev, Descole is seen with Raymond aboard the Bostonius, leaving Froenborg. Descole states his goal has been completed, and Raymond reminds him that with himself and the Bostonius, he can go on another adventure, which he ultimately decides to do.
Spoilers end here
- Main article: Gallery:Jean Descole
- Along his life, he has had three names: Hershel Bronev (during part of his childhood), Desmond Sycamore (his real name after becoming orphan) and Jean Descole (the name of his alter ego, created by him for the purpose of revenge).
- His real name, Desmond Sycamore, appears to have no significant meaning besides the "Des-" prefix, which most probably inspired the name of his alter ego, Jean Descole. However, his last name, Sycamore, may be a nod to his area of profession, archeology. Sycamores are trees known for living for an especially long time, alluding to the ancient history of the Azran that Desmond studies.
- The name Jean Descole can be traced back to French roots: Jean being a popular French name, and Descole possibly deriving from the French word désolé, meaning "sorry". This could be referencing to his separation from his brother in the past, or even the death of his wife and daughter.
- In Eternal Diva, it is shown that he can play the piano.
- Like Don Paolo from the previous games, Descole is also a master of disguise as shown in both Last Specter and Miracle Mask.
- Also like Don Paolo, he seems to have the ability to change his size, as seen when he disguises himself as Doland Noble.
- Again like Don Paolo, he has a preference for using machines and robots to accomplish his goals, though with greater competency.
- Descole appears to have been the one who owned the Crown Petone Opera House, and to have employed Oswald to compose "The Eternal Kingdom" opera.
- Descole's first name, Jean, isn't mentioned until Eternal Diva; thus, it's not heard in Last Specter nor in Miracle Mask.
- Even though Layton didn't hear Descole's first name being said, he still knows it, as he says "...assisting you was the scientist, Jean Descole." It is likely he has heard it elsewhere.
- Also in Last Specter, it is revealed that Descole has terrible handwriting.
- Professor Layton, Jean Descole, Anton Herzen, Randall Ascot and Rufus Aldebaran are currently the only characters who are known to be able to sword-fight/fence.
- Although Descole's mask was taken by Bronev at the end of Miracle Mask, Descole seems to have another one spare, as he is wearing one in Azran Legacy. This is also true when he lost his cape in Eternal Diva, Miracle Mask, and Azran Legacy; Descole also lost his feather boa at the end of Miracle Mask.
- Also, while dueling with Layton in Azran Legacy, he loses his sword, yet he has one when destroying the Azran statues. This suggests that he has a spare sword.
- Though Descole tries to kill Luke in Eternal Diva with the Detra Gigant, he protects Luke from an Azran trap in Azran Legacy (injuring himself in Luke's place), which shows that whilst he appears cunning, cold and heartless, there is a noble, caring side to him. It could also mean that Descole, while traveling with them as Desmond, did grow to care for the people who worked alongside him.
- He is shown to be able to fly the Bostonius alongside Raymond, taking control when necessary.
- US Version
Descole is a self-proclaimed scientist whose noble mannerisms conceal a cold, calculating mind. He will stop at nothing to achieve his own ends. He seeks some kind of relic from an ancient civilization, but no one knows precisely what.
- UK Version
Descole is a self-proclaimed scientist whose noble mannerisms conceal a cold, calculating mind. He will stop at nothing to achieve his own ends. He seeks some kind of relic from an ancient civilisation, but no one knows precisely what.
While disguised as Doland Noble
- US Version
When Descole kidnapped Doland, he donned the guise of the faithful butler to begin orchestrating a terrible plot from behind the scenes. He is a genius in his own right, but he has lousy handwriting and is a terrible butler.
- UK Version
When Descole kidnapped Doland, he donned the guise of the faithful butler to begin orchestrating a terrible plot from behind the scenes. He is a genius in his own right, but he has lousy handwriting and only mediocre servant skills.
- US Version
A man who would drag someone into the heart of darkness to achieve his own ends, Descole is a coldhearted scientist who remorselessly manipulates people like puppets. He holds a vested interest in archaeology and had Randall perform a myriad of devious acts for him.
- UK Version
A man who would drag someone into the heart of darkness to achieve his own ends, Descole is a cold-hearted scientist who remorselessly manipulates people like puppets. He holds a vested interest in archaeology and had Randall perform a myriad of miracles for him.
Scientist, archaeologist, inventor - Descole is a man of great intelligence, and also Layton's brother. Thoroughly acquainted with Targent's ruthless methods, his only purpose is to bring them down. If Sycamore represents the man's hope, then Descole is the manifestation of his despair.
As Himself (Desmond Sycamore)
An academic who is widely considered the authority on the Azran civilisation. His demeanor is usually gentle, but his temper flairs at the mention of Targent. Despite his appearance, he is actually older than Layton, and sometimes speaks of a lost wife and child.
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