Part 11: Hopper Rouley and the Totally Not Evil ChurchmanHopper Rouley and the Totally Not Evil Churchman
Last time, we played as the mighty warrior Lo Pheng and completely chumped one of the main villains of the game about an hour in. This time, we follow Lo Pheng as he -
Aw, fuck! I mean, yay. This is a family-friendly LP!
: What could this backwater Odalan town have done to incur the gods' wrath? Why Albius? There are dozens of other towns that look exactly like it. Is there some secret motive? You're filled with an overwhelming sense of foreboding.
See that curse power replacing the strixes? We're going to get to that in a few updates.
I'm going to interrupt the narrative here to dispute the resistance claims. Albius is Thorn's hometown, and he did indeed confront Dorpkhal, but he didn't do much to resist him. He just kind of sat there, didn't get injured, and then ran off too late to save his wife.
Lo Pheng, on the other hand, fought and defeated Atraakh, saving Reet and the other women in the process.
Guess which is better?
: A vagabond, damn it. Why is it never a damsel? Hey, daydreamer! Snap out of it! Do you have paperwork? All right, let's see.
Meet Mushom. He likes women. He would like you to know that.
: Nothing-until you let me into the city. I'm no baron, either. Call me Hopper. You sound like a Jeranian, commander.
This is, presumably, a major choice, and we get to another feature of the game.
No one actually knows what a lot of these choices do. Hell, even on Steam someone was asking how to avoid a particular bad ending, and the dev didn't know.
Let me repeat that.
The dev didn't know how to avoid the bad ending.
: The kingdoms of Berkana are still peaceful, I hope.
: (Shrugging it off) Of course! We're not attacking, we're helping a neighbor. The local Burgomeister sent a carrier pigeon, so we... wait, what business is it of yours?
: None whatsoever. It's just that I didn't know Jeranian pigeons are so valuable that they'd be kept by the Burgomaster.
: (Looking around) What does this have to do with pigeons? Now I'm confused. The Reaping has almost begun here!
: Why do I smell burning human flesh?
: Does it stink? Really? I don't smell a thing. Gotten used to it, I suppose.
: Gotten used to it? What took getting used to? Should I turn tail and run?
: Is there anywhere to hide? Anyhow... A monster appeared. It sealed the gate and used its-whatchacallit?--magiciary, or sorcering. The folks in town started beating each other to a pulp. It wore off, just like too much drink does. That's when we came to the rescue.
: (Smirking) The nobles fear the plague, so we're burning the corpses. Almost everyone in town has ulcers on their necks, but the Temple servants are applying some kind of ointment to relieve the pain. It seems as though the Reaping has begun, but with slower momentum.
: Do you replace the bell ringer often?
: You don't like the tune? Doesn't bother me. I've gotten used to it. Or are you after the job?
: I'd consider if, if the pay's decent-but I don't like the noise. Hasn't the bell ringer gone deaf yet?
: (Shrugging) The locals say that if not for the ringing bell, there'd have been many more corpses by now. Looks like the ringing brought some of the crazies to their senses. Not instantly, but the sound broke through whatever was clouding their minds. As for the bell ringer... not my responsibility.
: So is this the Reaping, or not?
: What else could it be? I can't be sure, but I trust my gut. The Reaper, the plague, the signs... it all fits.
: Oh my, you've seen a Reaper?! Every ancient manuscript I've seen says that everyone collapses in the presence of a Reaper.
: Manuscripts! What do I care of your manuscripts?! When the Reaper came, the townsfolk fell flat on their faces. Some passed out, but this one merchant was sharper than the others. He saw something. Do you think our detachment coming here was a coincidence?
: I admire your effort, Mushom. You say you're a talker, but really haven't said too much. You've been listening intently this whole time, but I've nothing to hide. I am what I am-a scribe, a book lover, and a healer. A Jack of all trades, really.
: That's enough chit-chat for now.
: I agree, I don't have all day. You're not a beautiful lass, so we're done chit-chatting. Welcome to Albius.
Not pictured: guards.
: Not with defenses as good as mine! Thing is, I have orders. If I were to see a scribe at the gate, I am to send them to Cardinal Coronzon. Why, well, that's none of my business.
: (Pondering) Did you say Coronzon? I used to know a man by that name.
: (Nodding to the guards) If you're the cardinal's good friend, you might have better luck that our prince. They don't get along, you see. My men will escort you. Goodbye for now.
: You arrive at Town Hall with an escort of guards. One of them-a tall, hulking man-stays behind as the others leave. He sizes you up, then points to the entrance of a nearby shop. He obviously wants you to go there. The ear-splitting peals of the bell make you wonder how the cardinal stands it.
Naturally, we're talking to him. He called us a nerd!
: You face the giant warrior, smiling your friendliest smile.
I thought the latter was funnier.
: (Smirking) No thanks. I like my horses sturdier. Still, yours is a funny one. How'd you even manage to train it? You must not be short on patience.
: Look after her, Ake, and you shall see that I pay my debts.
: I haven't lent you a thing and I'm not gonna. Your horse ain't going anywhere, and neither are you. You're not leaving town till[sic] you've spoken to the cardinal. He and the prince argued about that, actually. Treeg's glum because the Temple seized the right to inspect all scribes and mages coming to town.
We get the options to go to the bell tower, go to the gate, annoy Treeg, or go talk to the cardinal like Ake wanted. Naturally, I go harass royalty. What could go wrong?
: (Irritated) Who are you? I've been told that a certain scribe has arrived in town. Would that be you? A healer and a wandering sorcerer with a license? Hopper Rouley... Your face looks familiar. Have we met?
: (Bowing) We met in your palace, Your Highness. About three years ago. I has[sic] just earned my scribe's license. I spent a whole year going through your archives...
We take the middle option. No one knows what this choice does either.
: I don't care, as long as I don't freeze my ass off. Just tell me, scribe... healer... whatever-why in Terminum are you in Albius?
: I am telling you, Your Highness, it's not a matter of my absent-mindedness, just pure curiosity. It's truly a great feeling-seeing everything for yourself... and then writing it all down.
: Aren't you afraid of getting entangled in the chaos? Don't you see what's happening in town now? You can't be that foolish. You are a scribe after all. Why didn't you just run away and not look back?
: I would be ashamed of myself for shying away from such misfortune. I am a healer, after all, even capable of some magic. And magic definitely played a role in this. Perhaps I can be of assistance?
: (Contemptously) I don't believe in do-gooders. Sorcerers are powerless against the Reaping. As for Temple healers-I've got those in spades. Not much help though. Besides, nobody even cares about some ancient scrolls with all the madness going on. You're not quite sane yourself, scribe.
: If you're as clever as you scribes pretend to be, tell me this-was the bell ringing during the last Reaping? And if it was, how did they stop it? Is there a clue in your scrolls about how to silence it?
: It did indeed toll, but differently... and not for days. I mean, how do you even keep this up? Anyway, stopping the bell is child's play. Just get the chimesman off the damn thing.
: (Disappointed) Do you have any idea how many men I lost in Town Hall? I don't need a scribbler, I need soldiers. So much for your usefulness. Go visit the Cardinal, and see if he can find you aught to do.
We are unceremoniously dumped outside again.
: So here you are, Blance, And I here I was, thinking not a single fly would come to this pile of dung.
The music immediately starts dropping minor chords and male choir all over the place. It's kind of hilarious.
: We have two flies now, including you. And, once again, you're a cardinal, Coronzon?
: So you're a vagabond again. They told me you now call yourself Hopper. I liked "Blance" better. I've always been amazed by your passion for changing names. Only Amma stayed Amma. Your coming here is no coincidence, is it? What else did she predict?
Decisions lie before us!
What should we tell this eminently trustworthy man?