The Let's Play Archive

Jade Empire

by Doc M

Part 21: Breaking the Curse

Episode 19: Breaking the Curse

Last time, we spent some time on the Way of the Closed Fist in order to complete the Zither of Discord sidequest, one of the few quests in Jade Empire where the writers remembered Closed Fist wasn't supposed to be stupid evil. With that, we have finished everything in and around Tien's Landing, and now all that's left is one more round of conversations around the party campfire before we leave for the Imperial City. Of course, I promised to show off the alternate ways to finish the Matchmaker quest, so that's what's first on the agenda for today. This update will consist entirely of dialog and the only slightly important bits are in the party member conversations, so it's not the most exciting thing in the world but I want to get this stuff out of the way so the next update can start from the beginning of Chapter 3.

We begin in the teahouse, where one of the eligible bachelors of Tien's Landing is hanging out and judging people. This is Yaoru, and I'm not sure why you'd ever pick him as a potential match for Ai Ling because he is a dickbag of the highest magnitude.

Yep, it is not easy being as intelligent as Yaoru, and normally it's not worth trying. I believe he'll want to hear what we have to say on this occasion, even though we're obviously beneath him in every way.

Heavy emphasis on "might"

Ai Ling is looking for a husband.

Ai Ling? Surely you jest! The infamy of that woman's gang leads me to believe she is barely above a beast... though I hear she is fair to gaze upon.

[Failure] A match for me? I would be offended were the suggestion not so ludicrous as to be completely dismissible. Ai Ling is no match for me!

Whoops. Of course. How silly of me, let's try that again.

And then he could address her as "m'lady". This can't fail.

Perhaps you are right. It could be a worthy challenge to try and affect the grand metamorphosis on this ugly caterpillar; my reward may well be a gorgeous butterfly. Very well, I consent to a meeting with Ai Ling herself. Take me to her, that we may move events to their ultimate conclusion.

The only conclusion Yaoru deserves is getting punched in the face and slinking away to complain about how females just don't appreciate his personality and clearly superior intellect.


That's not Ai Ling, you moron.

Actually, Wu is just standing in an unfortunate spot between Ai Ling and Yaoru.

"I am so sorry about all of this, I swear"

Ai Ling is too good for this idiot.

No, I believe the intention was to insult you and tell you to fuck off, like any self-respecting person would do in her situation.

However, we're supposed to convince Ai Ling to give this loser a chance, so we'll use Intuition. Charm might work as well, but Intimidation isn't going to cut it here. The game isn't bothering to even spell his name right, which is quite fitting for this chump.

Look, I know I've got a bad reputation. But I'm looking to make a clean start. It won't be easy to change, but I'm willing to try.

I suppose I can't reasonably ask for more than that, can I? Perhaps this union has potential after all.

He really should be counting his lucky stars at this point because nobody in the room has assaulted him yet.

Well, I guess it worked out. Kind of.

Poor Ai Ling, she might be a brutal gang leader but she's done nothing to deserve this rat doing an impression of a man. Let's see how the third and final path of the Matchmaker quest goes, it certainly can't be much worse than Yaoru here.

Big Tian is found right next to the boathouse. You may remember that the chufty farm boy is not the sharpest tool in the shed (or even the second or third sharpest) and has absolutely no social skills whatsoever, but his heart is more or less in the right place.

Well Tian, you just might have the opportunity of a lifetime.

Pretty? Yeah, sure. As for the rest... uhh... maybe we should go ask her about that.

Big Tian really didn't know what he was getting himself into when he came to town in search of a wife.


Yeah, I ain't never been to the big city before. Usually I stay out on my farm. But my old father told me it's time to get me a wife so... you want to get married now?

You aren't really the sharpest knife in the rack, are you, Tian?

Big Tian is the kind of guy who goes straight to the point, mostly because he doesn't know any other way.

Hey, that's what my old father always says about me! He also says the key to farming is hard work and happy thoughts.

A farm, eh? I've spent my whole life living in the town. I'm not sure I want to leave Tien's Landing.

The Intimidation option is the only one that works here. Not because Ai Ling isn't convinced, but because the merest mention of Ai Ling's gang will cause Big Tian to freak out and run away screaming.

Well, I guess he's a better option than Yaoru at least. Chumin the craftsman is pretty much the only real choice here, to be honest. Let's just get our reward from Ai Ling and then return to our proper timeline.

That seems like it'd be an interesting conversation, but we're not going to be around to hear it.

We're now done with what might have been and have returned to the main playthrough, so let's have a chat with our party members before we tell Kang the Mad to prepare the Marvelous Dragonfly for takeoff.

I still think BioWare did a pretty good job with Dawn Star's facial animations and expressions, considering the hardware this game was designed for.

Wild Flower, on the other hand... well, you can't win them all, I guess.

I certainly hope that part's in there somewhere.

Let's just all make fun of Sky for a little while, that always improves the mood.

Then it is time to walk around the camp and talk to everybody. Starting with Dawn Star.

Now we have everything we need to follow Master Li's captors to the Imperial City. I am eager to do so, after all the resistance we have encountered. Our time in the forest was very troubling to me. To see such distance between the concerns of men and spirits... is something I am still getting used to. I have been sensitive to these things for as long as I can remember, but it was not always such a disturbing talent. There used to be harmony.

I suppose things might get a bit out of whack due to all the ghosts wandering around lately.

It makes me wonder how deep the trouble goes, and what mortals like us are supposed to do about it. What do *you* think? Master Li thought you were tied to this somehow. Can you comfort me?

Your appreciation is just what I was looking for, and I am grateful. I know we will do what we can, even if the world moves in ways we cannot fathom. I am glad that we can talk like this. It soothes my mind. I hope we can continue another time.

We shall do that.

I want to talk about what Inquisitor Lim said about you.

That is... an old wound. My departure from the Lotus Assassins was not gentle for either side. My immediate companions, those who were my brothers, fell by my hand. Lim was not among them. He would have died if he was. I was labeled as the one who deserted, and I am occasionally recognized. The result is always the same. Another death, more blood spilled. Such a waste for a hatred they cannot even understand.

Strength is the way of things, and death is the end... or should be. Some do not respect either. They have enough of one to defy the other.

There's clearly a story here, so let's hear it.

I did some harsh things while with the Lotus Assassins, but they no longer follow a path I recognize. They are a mirror of Death's Hand, and he embodies corruption. You will see, as you get close to him. He draws out the worst in everyone and displays it for all to see.

From what Zu is saying, it seems the Lotus Assassins used to be... a little bit more honorable, I guess? They still killed a bunch of people because that is kind of what assassins do, but it sounds like it was Death's Hand's influence specifically that made them into the murderous thugs we're familiar with.

For now, we should make our way to the Imperial City. That is where they took your master and where we will find the heart of the Lotus Assassins.

Zu has nothing else to say at the moment, so we shall move on to the next person.

Wild Flower has nothing important to say either, but if we ask what she thinks of our current situation we at least learn a little bit about her. Apparently, flying is something she's always dreamed of doing, and she's obviously very excited about it.

Well then, let's see if Henpecked Hou can tell us more about himself or his wife.

My wife ensures that I work very hard every day to become the best bun master in the Imperial City. Perhaps the best in all the Empire. Though I was one of the most respected fighters in the Empire before I met my precious bride, she made sure that I became something more... or less.

As I mentioned before, my style requires that I drink. She detests drinking, though there are things she detests even more. Like talk of us... separating.

Oh. Good.

Life is not all bad though. I may have lost all my dignity and self-respect. along with my ability to fight or even make a tight fist, but I am a bun master of some renown.

Hou really needs to stand up for himself and sooner rather than later because none of this sounds healthy in the slightest.

Uh, right. That's settled then, I guess. Next, we'll go ask the Black Whirlwind what he did before he was with Lord Yun.

Anyway, by the time I was old enough to swing an axe, my father was dead and my mother disowned me. 'Course, killing my father might have given her reason. I think she did it out of shame. My father beat me and my brother senseless and made our lives miserable. Either way, that was the end of my childhood.

This story isn't going to get any better, is it?

Hold on, that doesn't sound right.

Whirlwind hasn't exactly displayed much in the way of wits in the (admittedly short) time we've spent traveling with him.

You'd think a seven year old might be an easy target, but I soon learned just where to cut a man to make him squeal like a pig. Ahh... those were the days.

Wonderful. We'll hear more of the Black Whirlwind's exciting war stories later.

Give me a bit to digest what has happened, and then I promise to regale you with the story of how I found him.

Sky has nothing new to say, so we have only one thing left to do and that is to talk to Kang the Mad.

Once we press the button to pick this option, we are officially done with Tien's Landing. The title of this update refers to the fact the Tien's Landing section tends to be where Jade Empire LPs go to die, but we're getting out of this dump right now so consider the Tien's Landing curse broken on this occasion (admittedly the updates did slow down for a while, but all's well that ends well).

Let's get out of here.

VIDEO: Liftoff!

Next time: The heart of the Jade Empire. The Imperial City.