Part 18: Chapter XVIII: Worent You Glad I Didn't Say BanaKnock Knock.
: "Ershin says that it would be wise to leave now, before the faeries do something else to us."
But first, loot.
Well, this here's the village of Worent. However, we got a sweet new fishing rod from that birdie, so let's check that out.
The Bamboo Rod is a bit more finicky, and instead of its power bar climbing at a normal rate before resetting when you cast, it slowly increases, then zooms up to the top, and bounces back down at a reversed rate.
At its peak, its casting range is much more improved. Let's not waste too much time fishing, though. To Worent!
The ultra-cool Worent song.
Worent is a town in the plains full of the Woren, who are basically semi-nomadic cat people with short tempers and a heavy focus on martial prowess and the sanctity of the tribe. They're sort of vague Native American analogues without bringing anything offensive and developing into their own niche, in the same way Ludia is a little like an amalgam of Western countries and the Empire is sort of like Imperial China/Korea. Talking to the NPCs around here gives you a feel for their culture and such, a simple folk who are worried for Cray, and are willing to go to war for him.
: "I hear the Empire uses them instead of horses. That may be so, but I havent had much luck training this one!"
So that's what the nautilus thingies are.
This girl and crying boy are brother and sister. While their dialogue changes, it always is some variation of the boy complaining that his sister hit him and the sister bragging. The man in the corner is their father and thinks it's adorable, as it reminds him of him and his wife when they were that age. Woren women can, and often do, kick as much ass as the men do, which explains Katt. If you accept this is the same group of cat people.
This guy is swinging a double-ended caber pole around over his head, bragging that he needs to stay in top shape at all times. I'd call that being in pretty good shape. Let's look in this building.
Oh hey, it's Terrifying Tutorial Lady! Let's skip to what she has to say.
Sadly, she has absolutely nothing to say that I haven't told you.
This house is where the Elders are. Let's pop in for a visit.
: "Sounds like Cray's gotten himself into quite a fix!"
: "How dare Ludia treat you like that! This is an insult to the entire Woren nation! This means war!"
: "That's right! We'll show them they can't treat us that way!"
: "Hold it! Hold it! Don't get your fur up! That's always been the problem with us Woren - too many people that are hot under the collar!"
: "That's right!"
: "Humph...so what should we do, then? I mean, Miss Nina came all this way to tell us about the trouble that cub managed to get himself into."
: "That's right! It's been a long time since we saw you, little Nina. You've grown! Why, I can remember when you were only this high..."
: "Enough of that! There'll be time for that later! We need to think about what to do!"
I like how the three elders have their own little personalities even though they're almost bit characters. The first is pensive, The second has an explosive temper, and the third is a doddering old man who agrees with whoever's talking. You can have little chats with them every now and then to see how they think of the plot. It's a neat touch.
: "Hmmm...if only Tarhn were here! She'd know what to do!"
: "Um, excuse me...Who is Tarhn?"
: "She's the wife of the previous chief, rest his soul. In other words, she's Cray's mother."
: "When Cray became Chief, she decided to leave the village, and went out to live on the Golden Plains."
: "Decided to live a nomad's life, she said."
: "Tarhn might have been able to think of something, but I'm afraid there's nothing we can do..."
: "If I were younger, I'd get on a horse and go looking for Tarhn myself, but I'm too old for that now..."
Nina and Ryu have a short chat that hammers home that we should really go look for Tarhn but that's not necessary to transcribe.
Let's check out the basement!
Aww hell yeah.
Pretty damn useful, actually, despite the lowered defense. Let's head outside and see if we can-
Boss Video IX: Kahn 2
SCIAS USING SHINING BLADE
Yeah, that was about as much warning as you get your first time through unless you notice Kahn on top of the Elder's house. You can actually go up and talk to him and he threatens to beat you senseless...once you go downstairs.
: "Forgive me, Master...I lost."
Behold, the greatest character portrait in the entire game.
: "Hey, you! Don't pick on Kahn like that! He's not as strong as he thinks he is!"
A few minutes later...
: "You're going to have to face facts - you're not exactly a strong fighter, you know."
: "Huh!? B-but Master...you...you mean...I'm weak?"
: "Well...I wouldn't say that exactly...um...you're...um...I don't know...if you stay here and help me around the house and all, you'll probably strengthen up pretty good...I guess."
The poor lug. When we go back up, he's gone.
: "He ran off because you picked on him...now what am I supposed to do!?"
Man, I kind of feel like a dick now. We apologize to Una.
: "So it's okay if I train you instead then? OK! First, I want to teach you how to be Wild. Your attacks may not hit as much, but they'll be a lot more powerful! OK, who wants to learn?"
I...huh? Okay! We won't be putting anybody under Una, though, as all our characters need their attacks to be pretty accurate for now. She focuses heavily on HP, Attack, and Defense, at the cost of AP and Wisdom.
: "You can only improve your skills through trial by combat. Come back once you've done more than 1,500 damage with a combo attack......Bye!"
Hey, we've already done that one! Fun fact: healing your party counts as 'damage' as numbers are involved.
: "How's it going? Are you fighting a lot? Hmmm...it looks like you're getting good at combo attacks. Good! All right, I'll teach you Pilfer!"
This goes straight onto Ryu. Our next skill will be at 3,000 damage in one combo, which will take some doing. Let's go rent a horse!
: "Headed to the Golden Plains, are you? Wait there just a second."
: "What? None of you have ridden a horse before? Forget it then! Do you know how long it takes to learn how to ride?"
The whelk gets all up on Ryu...then lets out a little and starts circling around him happily.
This freaks the fuck out of Ershin. The two circle Ryu for the rest of the scene as the whelk chitters happily. Sadly, I didn't think to take a .gif of this.
: "Well, what about the whelk? Could we take that instead?"
: "Whelks are a lot harder to control than horses! And I've never seen one that wasn't hard to handle! They're unfriendly, temperamental..."
: "Ummm...it seems to like Ryu, don't you think?"
The woren looks over and notices the whelk playing with Ryu and Ershin.
: "Um...well, maybe...well, if you're going looking for Tarhn, I guess you can take the whelk. Tahn's camp is somewhere in the northeast - look for the smoke from her campfire."
Oh joy. The Golden Plains.
: "Be careful, and have a safe journey."
Ryu rides off unsteadily on the whelk, which sways a bit.
Off screen, a loud crash is heard.
The whelk is happily circling around Ryu once more, and Ershin waddles over as Ryu gets up.
: "Ershin says that while you can use the Dragon's Eye to control the whelk, it may take some time to get used to riding it."
: "That may be true...but the Golden Plains are too big to try and search on foot. Ryu and the whelk are our only hope. Good luck, Ryu. We're counting on you."
That "too big to go on foot" thing is total bullshit, by the way, but we'll roll with it.
Ryu salutes, floats off again, and crashes spectacularly offscreen once more.
Notice the complete lack of a stutter. Every now and then, Scias sobers up for a few moments, and every time it's kind of a bit unnerving. It usually means he's got something very important to say.
These four lines give Scias mountains of characterization, and are representative of why I think people saying he's a shallow character didn't look hard enough. He's so confused that someone's being altruistic that it jars him out of his usual silence, and he speaks perfectly despite either his drunken haze, paralyzing shyness, or general speech impediment, depending on your preference. Yet when confronted, even just by being looked at, he reverts.
He's a mercenary, down to the core. The concept of acting without being paid in return is totally alien to him at this point. In fact, if you talk to him in camp between the meeting with the elders and going to the Golden Plains, he mentions that he actually likes the idea of a war between Worent and Ludia, as he would make a ton of money from the need for mercenaries.
: "Well, you're right...there might not be any benefit for us. And it's true that we don't know if out plan will work...still, it just wouldn't feel right to sit around and do nothing."
Scias's character development, while it is a quiet one, is one of the more profound in the entire game. Much is inferred and only gotten by talking to him at camp during a few parts of the game, but it's there all the same.
Those of you who have played the infamous Desert of Death from Breath of Fire 3 are probably screaming in terror and throwing crucifixes at the screen to get the evil out right about now. Don't worry, the Golden Plains aren't nearly as bad. The Plains are one giant area you can wander around in, but there's no bullshit hidden items to find, no heath loss, or anything like that. The only aggravation comes from finding your way through it and the wandering monsters.
When you're near a map edge, it fogs up to show the boundary.
Oh yeah, during this section, Ryu's on his own, meaning if he gets knocked out it's game over. Combined with the fact that the fucking Nut Men are the only monsters that live here, running away from everything is pretty much the way to get through this part.
The Whelk moves pretty briskly, and soon we get a little birdie to follow.
This rock is pretty much the dead center of the Plains, to the best of my knowledge, and can be found by going completely straight from the place you appear in.
Nut Mages aren't that bad, really. They're fast, they cast Flare, but they have even LESS health than other Nuts, meaning any solid hit murders them.
Some bird-following, rock-location-memorizing, and GameFAQ consulting later...
Well, we're out of time for today, but we'll pop in for a chat next time.