Part 28: Revising History
Welcome back. Last time on Last Scenario, we finally got off our asses and started to seriously investigate that whole demon awakening thing. We started with Alexander's tomb, where Lorenza was able to confirm that she felt several sleeping presences deep underground. But since we can't exactly dig in such a hallowed place, Randolph has suggested we further our research in another site: the Ether Well north of Nolan Vale, where Lorenza felt a similar presence. In gratitude for our help in the civil war, the Empire has furnished us with a ship that will allow us to get to Nolan Vale easily. Of course, having our own ship means that the entire ocean is now open to us, and that means that while we'll be heading to the Ether Well today, we're first going to do some exploring. Let's get to it.
She's seen every corner of the planet, I tell you. Make yourselves at home. You want to depart, let me know.
And we're immediately given control. Just like Moritz said, we can talk to him to set sail. But there's a couple of things to see on the ship itself, so let's take a look around first.
One of the first things we find out about our new ship is that we can't actually leave it while we're controlling Hilbert belowdecks. I'm pretty sure the only reason this staircase is here is in case we hit some plot while in the ship and have to step outside. Once we're actually sailing we can step on and off the ship from the world map.
The door on the right leads to what appears to be Moritz's cabin, but it's empty.
To the south is the crew quarters. The redhead here is a Hex player, but he doesn't have any new tiles.
Really, the only reason to ever take control of Hilbert belowdecks is because of these guys off the crew quarters.
The man on the left runs a basic accessory shop, while the woman on the right sells items. There's nothing notable on sale here, but it's convenient to have the shops available at pretty much any time.
Lastly, if we head back to the bridge and go west, we find what I think is supposed to be our cabin, though there's a rather significant lack of beds.
Anyway, that's all there is to see on the Brunhild, so it's time to shove off. Moritz will give us a brief explanation of how the ship works when we get moving for the first time.
Okay, just a few words of advice. We can travel any sea or ocean you want, no problem, but getting off is a little trickier. We can only land on beaches, so make sure there is one where you're going. Remember to look at the map if you're ever lost. You can find all the places you've visited before on there. All right, let's go!
And we're off! With our new ship, virtually the entire world map has opened to us all at once. But as Moritz said, we can't go just anywhere--we can only get off at beaches, which all look like the sand around the port here. Rocky cliffs like those that make up the rest of the land's edge on this screen can't be landed on. We can press the interact button while on a beach to get on and off the ship, while pressing the cancel button while sailing will allow us to control Hilbert belowdecks again.
We also have a map. We've actually had access to this since the moment the game started, except it's quite likely that the average player doesn't know how to open it because a) the game never tells you how and b) the button to open it isn't used for literally anything else in the game. (If you're playing along, you need to bind a key to RPGMaker's X button.)
There are three types of dots on the world map, though it can be a little hard to differentiate the various colors. Towns are represented by blue dots, dungeons are represented by red dots, and purple dots designate, well, everything else. We can use the menu on this screen to highlight any location we've been to previously if we've forgotten where it is. But since there's a much faster way to show you guys the major locations we know of, have an MSPaint:
Our final destination for this update is going to be the Ether Well, the northwestern-most dot on what little we can see of the Kingdom continent. Of course, we've got an entire planet's worth of ocean to fill in now, so let's just do a bit of sailing and...
... that's more like it. I'm not going to bother filling in every pixel of the ocean since the Brunhild is actually pretty slow and it'd take forever, but now you should have a sense of the major landmasses of the world. I've also added numbers to the map to highlight all the new points of interest we can now visit, going in a west-to-east then north-to-south order. So let's take a world tour, shall we? I'd suggest opening the map in another tab so you can follow along.
(Oh and ignore the minimap during said tour, since the shots are out of chronological order. All the upcoming music cues are for each specific location--the Brunhild track plays while sailing around.)
First up at point #1 is this small island in the north-center of the world. The land here seems to funnel us towards this patch of desert.
The desert is actually an enterable location, though as you can see, it's pretty featureless.
Heading in any direction eventually just spits us back out on the world map. Presumably there's something to do here, but whatever it is, we can't do it now.
At point #2, we can land on the northern edge of the Kingdom continent. There's a town a little ways southeast of where we landed, but...
... we have to go through this small patch of forest to get to it, and the path is blocked by these strange green stones. The stones are animated and appear to be giving off small arcs of electricity, but they don't respond to any kind of interaction. So this is another location we'll have to come back to later. In case it wasn't obvious yet, that's kind of going to be a theme of most of the locations we can reach now.
That said, point #3 does not fit that theme. In the northwest of the Kingdom we find the snowy town of Gleston, and there's actually quite a few things we can (and should) do here. We're going to be exploring this town in juuuust a minute, but I want to finish the world tour first.
Point #4 isn't an enterable location, but there does appear to be a ruined castle in the mountains on the eastern side of the Kingdom continent.
Point #5 is arguably the most intriguing of the locations we can enter right now. The small shrine here is known as the Gate to Elysium.
Sadly, it appears we can't go hang out with Daniel and crew just yet, as there's a rather imposing-looking door right at the entrance that will not open.
Point #6 is another feature on the world map. As you can see from the map, the Kingdom is divided into two continents, and there's a large bridge between them with a town at each end. The bridge itself is impassable, but it doesn't block access to anything.
Point #7 is a building way out in the middle of nowhere known as the Hermit's Hideout.
All that's in this area is a house, but like so many of the locations we've visited so far, we can't do anything here.
At point #8 is a tower that looks an awful lot like the Tower of Punishment. The island that it's on is surrounded by a second, ring-shaped island, and while we can land on any point of the larger island, there's no way to get the Brunhild into the water in the center. So we'll just have to find some other way of getting there later.
Points #9 and #10 are locations we've visited before, but have never seen on the world map. #9 is the Northern Outpost...
... and #10 is Farin Island. In case you were wondering where they were located.
Point #11 is located at the southern tip of the southern Kingdom continent, where there's a town just out of reach. But there's a wall blocking access to the bay the town sits on, and like with the ring-shaped island, we can land on the sandbar but can't bring the Brunhild over it.
Point #12 isn't really a point, but rather a large landmass. There's nowhere to land on it and we can't see anything from the coast, but the interior of the island is out of sight, so it might be worthwhile to remember this is here in case there's something in the center.
Point #13 is an island with another tower similar to the Tower of Punishment. We can actually enter this one, too.
This tower is the Tower of Penance, and as you can probably tell from the name and appearance, it's another optional dungeon related to the Tower of Punishment.
But, surprise surprise, we can't get in, as more of those strange rocks are blocking the way. Not that we'd really want to enter this place anyway at our current level, but this is getting kind of annoying.
And finally, at point #14 we have an island far to the south with a cave on it.
But the path to the cave is blocked by those strange rocks as well. At least this one has a chest nearby.
And what a chest it is. The Meteor Shell is the ultimate non-elemental attack item, dealing around 1000 damage to a single enemy. This will definitely be getting saved for a rainy day.
So yeah, that concludes the tour. We may have access to almost all of the world's oceans right now, but for the most part the only new places we can reach contain a whole lotta nothing at this point. The exception to this rule is the snowy town of Gleston we found earlier. While the plot will eventually mandate that we come here, it's still worthwhile to visit early for several reasons.
The main reason is Gleston's amazing weapon shop. If you'll recall, I said last update that there wasn't much point in buying weapons in Herzog, and that is because Gleston's shop is available at the same time. In addition to having stronger weapons available, all of the weapons here grant a +15 boost to a particular stat. The Quickload Bow grants +15 SPD, the Master Lance grants +15 SKL, the Mercury Sphere grants +15 RES, the Vizier Staff grants +15 INT, the Light Tomahawk grants +15 DEX, and the Throwing Shields grant +15 VIT. I do some selling to pick up new weapons for Hilbert, Matilda, and Ethan, and by the time we come back here I'll probably have enough money to get Lorenza a Vizier Staff as well. Good haul.
In the nearby inn we also find a merchant who acts as an item shop. He's the first person in the game that we can buy Gold Dusts from, making it very worthwhile to stop by.
And to top it off, there's a Hex player wandering around outside who has a couple of new tiles for us.
If we bother to talk to the NPCs around town, we hear a lot of talk about a nearby government research facility. Given that Gleston is in Kingdom territory, I don't think it's too much of a stretch to infer that said facility is probably the place where Ethan was imprisoned.
That said, while there's an exit at the north end of town that presumably leads there, it's blocked by a soldier who won't move. Why the game won't let us kill him and waltz on through is beyond me, but them's the breaks.
Now then, that's enough world traveling for one day. It's time for us to head to our objective, the Ether Well. To get there, we land at Nolan Vale...
... and make the simple trip through the Nolan Hills to reach our destination.
The enemies here are low-leveled enough to not be a threat at this point, though if you still have Matilda's Crescent Moon, you might want to equip her with something else since almost all of the enemies here block or absorb light. It doesn't take us long to reach the room that was originally guarded by the Sentry Pillars.
And as we enter the room beyond, a scene starts.
You said there were sentries in the previous room, yes? But there's nothing here for them to guard. That means there must be a passage here that leads further down.
It's possible. We didn't check very thoroughly.
It's... a bit weaker. It's probably still far away. But it's also slightly different. Beneath Herzog, I could feel many different presences. Here, there is only one.
In any case, you can probably come along with us for a bit more. If it becomes too overwhelming, let me know.
Fade to black...
And with that, we enter a new area of the Ether Well. From here on out, the enemies will actually be level-appropriate.
Most of them are just palette swaps though. The Bright Apparition is pretty much the same as the Light Stalkers that can be found earlier in this dungeon, in that they suck. All they ever do is attack physically for about 70 damage. The Warrior Spirit on the left is slightly more of a threat, as in addition to attacking physically for 50 damage, they will also counter most attacks with Counter-Attack for about the same. They're not much trouble though.
A little ways in we find a long staircase down. It looks like we'll be heading rather far underground for this dungeon.
At the bottom of the staircase is a door and a path onward. The door leads to a small treasure room.
It's not a bad haul. The Wind Crest is an attack item that casts Gale.
As we're leaving the room we run into one of this dungeon's new enemy groups. This fellow is the Sirius Lux, and he's backed up by two Starshine flunkies. The Sirius Lux is a gimmick enemy with a boatload of HP and a scripted set of attacks. On its first turn, it will use Lv1 Ray Burst to hit one character for 40 light damage. On its second turn it will use Lv2 Ray Burst to hit everyone for 70, and on its third turn it'll use (you guessed it) Lv3 Ray Burst to hit the entire party with both 105 damage and enfeeble. Then it will repeat the cycle.
The Starshines are the weird ones though. They're incredibly weak, going down to two physical attacks, but what's more odd is that they don't actually do anything, and die immediately if the Sirius Lux goes down. I guess they're just there to get you to waste your attacks on them, giving the Sirius Lux more turns? I'm not sure.
Anyway, we continue on and hit our first pillar-pushing puzzle of the dungeon. Apparently the architects of the Tower of Punishment weren't the only people who liked them.
This puzzle's pretty simple. You have to push the pillar onto the switch to open the door...
... but putting it in the correct spot blocks the way.
So you have to push it past the switch and then push it back into place from the other side.
The next room contains the final new enemy of the dungeon, the Eyestalker. Eyestalkers suck even more than Bright Apparitions. They can attack physically for 60 damage or use Eye Beam to inflict 35 damage and blindness, but their HP is abysmal and it's rare for them to live long enough to even attack. Next please.
The room itself contains a Resistance Capsule, which goes to Lorenza...
... and two doors which lead to the same room. The bottom one leads to the lower floor.
And the top one leads to a chest with a Purple Herb, and the pillars near it can be pushed out of the way. So I'm not sure why there even is a second door in the first place.
The next room contains a save point and is appropriately referred to by the menu screen as the "Crossing". We'll be heading east first.
The path to the east contains a long hallway that ends in another puzzle room. The door onwards is open to begin with...
... but if you walk in front of the design on the wall, it will close.
The solution is to push the pillar in the way of the design's "sightline", and then walk behind it. There's a bit of treasure in the next room for our trouble.
Pretty good treasure, to boot. The Key Tablet II is our fourth, giving our entire active party four spellcard slots. The Absorbing Jacket, on the other hand, is a body armor that makes the wearer immune to dark damage. It has lower VIT than the armor Matilda and Ethan are wearing and Lorenza already has the Reflective Jacket, so Hilbert puts this on.
We head back to the "Crossing" and head north this time. The only way onward in this room is a door--the path to the west just loops back around to the western door of the "Crossing."
The next room contains the dungeon's final pillar puzzle. This one's a bit more involved than the previous ones.
First, we push the northern pillar past the northern switch and a little south...
... then we push the other pillar onto the northern switch...
... and then come back to the other side to push the first pillar onto the southern switch.
Beyond the door we find a whole bunch of staircases. We must be getting pretty deep now.
The staircases deposit us at another fork, the northern branch of which leads to another treasure room.
It's all right. The Golden Helm goes to Ethan for a +5 net boost to VIT. Yay.
Following that, we head back to the fork and down yet another staircase...
... through a conspicuously empty chamber...
... and reach the dungeon's final save point.
But as we try to continue into the next room, Lorenza stops.
Are you okay, Lorenza?
I can't go any further than this. I'm not sure if I can stay in control if I get any closer.
Do you mind waiting here, Lorenza? We'll go take a look inside.
Yes, I'll wait. Go ahead.
We'll be back in a moment.
Hilbert and Randolph enter the room, and Lorenza stays outside for a short moment. But then--
You'd better come look.
Don't worry about that. You have to see this for yourself.
Fade to black...
Unbelievable... This whole wall, it's completely covered with...
Forget about the wall. What is -that-!?
The camera pans up to show us something... decidedly non-demonic.
I don't get it. Weren't we supposed to find a demon down here? Who is this woman?
More importantly, she's a...
Did your father never tell you anything about this place?
No, I was still too young to... Oh no! I understand now! The Awakening!
The Awakening? What do you mean? That's supposed to be when the demons from the Great War come back to life. What does that have to do with this?
I just remembered what that woman we met at the valley said! "The Awakening may free my people." Now I understand what she meant!
I... I'm not really following you.
It doesn't make sense. We thought there would be demons sleeping here, but there's only a Havali woman here! And what about the other places? They're the same! I felt the same way when I was beneath Herzog! Didn't my people vanish from the land that's now the Empire? Maybe some are left in hiding, but... I think there are more of them, sleeping underground like this. That's what the Awakening means!
Hold on, you're saying that the Awakening has nothing to do with the demons?
I think what she's saying is much more serious than that. I'm starting to wonder if there were such things as demons in the first place... Yes, it's true that my original theory was that the Havali were nearly wiped out by the demons before they turned on us humans, but... If you take the demons out of the equation, then...
So that's what you meant... The war 300 years ago was actually fought between mankind and the Havali.
I'm sorry. That was thoughtless of me to say.
What I'm saying is, it seems like for some reason the Havali were branded as "demons" due to the war.
Lorenza falls to her knees, and the screen begins to shake soundlessly.
No... What is going on? What... What are we? I can't-- I can't stop it.
What's going on?
The camera pans up to the wall again, where strange clouds are starting to dissipate off the sealed Havali woman. And then--
The woman floats slowly to the floor.
You... are you the ones who freed me? Thank you. You've done me a great favor. I'll repay you in any way I can.
Who... Who are you?
Hmm? You came here to release me, and you don't even know who I am?
Do you know her, Lorenza?
I don't think so...
Haha... so after all that happened, I've already been forgotten?
If you don't mind me asking, why were you sealed here?
Why? You don't know anything at all, do you? Very well. You freed me, so I'll answer your question. But first, I want to know something myself. What year is this? How long have I been sleeping?
Let me think... In Havali years, it should be... Fifth Cycle, year 677.
677!? That has to be a mistake.
M-Maybe I'm off by a year, but...
(That long ago? Then... she was sleeping here long before the demon war took place...) Can we go back to my last question? Why were you sealed? Who sealed you?
Hah. It's such a pathetic story.
That young man. The elder's son. He couldn't kill me, because he was in love with me.
Did you say grandfather!? You are Barasur's granddaughter!? You... hgggg...
Tiamat blows everyone back with a magical burst of energy and sprints out the door.
No, she's still nearby. Be careful.
Lorenza... if it's true what she was saying, how is it possible that your grandfather was alive 345 years ago? Do your people live that long?
I... I don't understand. We don't live any longer than you. My grandfather is old, but not unnaturally old.
This isn't the time to worry about that. That woman didn't look all too stable. We'll talk about it once we're safely out of here.
Matilda's right. Let's focus on getting out first.
And control is returned to us. Now would probably be a good time to save.
Once we head through the next door...
I... don't know. Honestly. I haven't seen him in fifteen years, but maybe... probably...
Haha... to think that after all this time, he'd still be around to suffer my wrath.
But you said--
He said it was an act of love, but he still had me locked up for three centuries. There's no one I hate more than him. Now that I'm free, I can finally get revenge! What are you looking at, girl? Do you think you can protect your granddaddy? You're welcome to try. No, I won't even give you the choice to run.
Wait, what? What happened to repaying us in any way you can?
BOSS FIGHT: Tiamat
And where the fuck did that giant cleaver come from? Whatever. Tiamat is another boss who gets her own battle music, so this fight is officially Important. It's an awfully chaotic tune, which fits her mental state quite well, I think.
So, remember how I said that you shouldn't equip the Crescent Moon to Matilda in this dungeon? Yeah, well, now would be a good time to reverse that, as you can see.
Ethan kicks off the battle with the first of what is sure to be many castings of Guardian. P-Shields on the entire party are very helpful in this fight.
As you might expect, Tiamat has a number of powerful attacks. Her first move is Fist of Darkness, which, despite its innate dark alignment, is a physical attack. That means that the damage you're seeing is halved by the P-Shield.
She also has access to Fist of Light, which is basically the same thing, just with a light alignment attached instead.
And she has magical moves, too. Her most dangerous attack is probably Bright Apocalypse, dealing heavy light-aligned damage to the entire party.
But if she wants to be a real jerk she'll use Unstable Energy to inflict moderate damage and chaos to a character. Fortunately this move is very rare--I had to re-record the battle to even see it.
Interestingly, Tiamat is the first boss we've seen who is capable of defending. She's scripted to do this every few turns, and it halves all physical damage she takes. Of course, it also means we get a free turn, so I'm not sure why she bothers.
Anyway, this is a battle you want to end quickly. And one of the best ways to do that is to bring Matilda in with her Crescent Moon. This damage is while Tiamat is defending.
Still, don't forget to grab her steal, as Sacred Orbs are extremely valuable. This isn't one you want to pass up.
More than anything else, I'd call this battle a damage race. While Tiamat's attacks are very strong, most of them don't cause status effects, and that means we're usually free to respond with the strongest attacks we have. Keep on the offensive as much as you can, and she should go down right around the point where you run out of MP.
Winning the battle nets us a Primal Ward, an accessory that makes the wearer resistant (though not immune) to fire, ice, and lightning. Not too shabby, but I prefer status protection.
Ugh... I've been trapped for too long. I'm not at full strength yet. Girl, what's your name?
Lorenza... There's one thing I don't understand. What happened to Barasur? He couldn't normally have survived this long. Don't tell me... he was sealed too? The Elder of the Havali being locked away himself... no, that wouldn't happen.
Of course! That would explain the sudden disappearance of the Havali 300 years ago! Lorenza, do you... Lorenza?
Fade to white...
So it could be any moment now?
Look! It's happening!
Did you sleep well?
Mmm. I had a nice dream.
Barasur is another character who doesn't get a portrait here, though I think that's just because we can only see his back at the moment.
I didn't expect that there'd be two months between my awakening and Lorenza's.
That's the timespan according to lore, yes, but we still have to go out to confirm it. But now that Lorenza is awake, that means more will follow soon.
But only those of pure blood will wake up by themselves. How many will there be?
A few hundred, maybe. There's no way of telling exactly. It may take several years for it to finish.
Then... it's time to say goodbye, father.
I see. You already made up your mind.
I know that it's selfish, but I don't want Lorenza to get involved in this.
I know it's more than just that. You're not sure if what he intends to do is wrong.
Yes... if our people choose that path, then maybe we have no right to go against it.
In any case, there's no need to decide yet. If we wait, the situation may change. As long as our people are asleep, they will be safe. And as long as we are gone, they will not awaken.
It's true. Even if I am the elder, I am too old. I don't have the strength left to perform the Awakening. If I tried, it would only mean my own death. Futile as it may be, I will stay here and serve as opposition to Ortas.
I wish you well.
Meodar... I have a selfish request of my own. If you are leaving here, then...
Yes, I understand.
Thank you. I hope we'll meet again one day...
Fade to white...
I'm back home?
Oh, Hilbert? What happened? How did I get here?
Are you okay now? You fainted right after the battle, so we brought you here to recover.
Oh... I don't remember, but I feel fine now. What about that woman? Where did Tiamat go?
We don't know. She ran away, and we didn't pursue. I haven't seen her since...
Is something wrong?
I remembered... a little. Because of what she said, I recalled something I heard long ago.
I was maybe two or three years old at the time, so I have little recollection of it.
So... you were actually born over 300 years ago?
Yes, but like I said, I was too young to remember much about it. It seems like the biorite allows us to sleep for very long times without aging.
I remember Randolph saying his people found out that the stone had some kind of healing properties. I guess they have a lot more work to do. But...
Does it bother you that my people are the "demons" that you were fighting against?
No... I mean yes, it does bother me, but not because I think your people are evil or anything.
If that's so, then what -really- happened? Did the Havali attack us? Did Alexander die not fighting demons, but your people?
I couldn't tell you.
I think there's still something important missing, something that explains why you were called demons. And I think the same thing would explain what's going on in the world right now.
So... what do you want to do now?
Yeah, I was thinking about that too. The truth is, I don't really know. I'm thinking we should just go back to our ship, and maybe return to Herzog. We don't have to decide right away.
Yes, that's true.
Well. That was certainly quite a twist. Control is returned to us here--we're now in the abandoned house near the Ether Well. As Hilbert said, we no longer have an immediate objective, so might as well return to the ship.
Once we enter it, however...
Ethan? What's the matter?
Look, it... it's gone far enough already. There's no point in keeping this up any longer. I did what I promised, but things have already gone beyond my expectations. It has to stop now.
Next time: We've debunked one of the myths of the past. Now it's time to debunk a myth of the present.