Part 103: Disney/Game of Thrones Elodie - Part 3
You have nothing more to learn about Voice.
As you are walking through the great hall, a freak gust of wind suddenly blows out all the candles in the room.
(How strange. There must be an open window somewhere.)
You receive a letter from Briony hinting at some of the complicated family drama that has been going on.
(Her father keeps alternating between wanting a divorce and being afraid of losing his home.)
There's an extra section at the end of the letter written in code.
(Her uncle and his stepfather? Her uncle and her mother?)
(No wonder she was trying to hide it.)
(Well, I hope she'll be happier now.)
Things have been so unsettled lately... Everyone's on edge. We need
You could hold a tournament.
What a good idea!
Knights, jousting, musicians... all sorts of competitions. Everyone loves a contest.
What will you offer as prizes to the winners?
The winners will have the option of taking up royal appointments.
It's a recruitment drive!
Very well. I will draft the announcements.
You leave him to his work. As you move through the hall, your eye falls upon a vase of flowers. Pretty, but apparently not getting enough water. The leaves on one blossom have shriveled.
(That spoils the whole display!)
You pick off the dead leaves and adjust the floral arrangement, muttering under your breath about blind butlers.
(There! That's so much better.)
You continue up the stairs to your room, where a maid is waiting for you.
My lady, a gift has arrived from Kigal.
From the Duke?
No, my lady. A merchant house, I believe. It was sent with a shipment down the Cavalla River.
You tear open the brightly colored paper, to find:
There is a little card with the box - 'With Our Compliments, The House of Kraellat'.
Subsequent investigation shows that no 'House of Kraellat' exists in Kigal. Someone has tried to kill you... but you don't know who.
This is the week of the general tournament. Nobles and commoners alike have turned out to compete against each other.
The people will be pleased if you participate in their games. However, it would expose you to danger.
What event do you wish to take part in?
You take your place in line for the bardic contest.
When your turn comes, you take your seat at a beautiful wooden harp and let the notes fall like rain.
Your voice weaves a spell of love and loss over the crowd. After such a performance, the judges cannot help but name you the champion. All the winners are announced and displayed to great cheers. As near-Queen, you place flower garlands around their necks.
My lady, your father wishes to speak with you. He says it's urgent.
I'll be there in a minute. There's someone I have to talk to first.
You wait for the maid to leave, then hurry off to rendezvous with your agent.
Musician: Your Highness, I had a quiet chat with the workers on the cargo ship which carried the poisoned chocolates. Seems someone was bribed to take that package on board, not in Kigal, but further down the river in Merva. I had a look at the card that came with it and checked it against your correspondence -
For a moment you are mildly annoyed that she's somehow managed to get into your personal mail and read it without asking you, but then, that is the sort of thing you hired her for.
Musician: - and the handwriting does bear a certain similarity to a prominent noble. You won't like this.
What is it?
Musician: Your aunt Lucille, the Countess of Nix.
Musician: I can't be certain, and even if she wrote the card doesn't mean she's behind the poison. But I'd be careful. If something happens to you, who benefits? Who inherits?
My uncle Laurent, her husband.
Musician: If you'd like, I could travel to the ducal seat in Merva, see if I can find out more.
Yes, fine, go.
(Maybe this is all a clever trick, or a misunderstanding...)
(... and Dad wants to talk to me, which is probably more bad news.)
You find your father standing over a map of the coastline, his face grave.
Ships have been sighted on approach from Shanjia. Not tradeships - this is a warfleet.
Within a week they will be in Novan waters. Within two they could reach the capital.
Then we will fight to defend ourselves.
You can try to use the treasury funds to hire additional soldiers, but it may be difficult on short notice.
No, it's too late for that.
You will need to draw up a naval strategy for our ships to carry out. You could choose to act as admiral and lead the fleet in person, but the danger to you would be very great. Unless you think your personal skills will make the difference, I would strongly advise against it.
No, there's too much to do here. I can't go to sea.
Do your best, and Nova will survive.
You have unlocked a new outfit!
Ships close in on each other, angling into range. The Shanjians have half again as many troops as you do. It doesn't look promising. The eventual outcome... is not in your favor. The Novan ships are sunk or scattered, as the Shanjian forces press towards landfall. Many good soldiers were lost today, and Nova's troubles have not ended. Since you have failed to repel the invasion, the Shanjian fleet will soon land and their troops will begin to progress towards your capital city. Your remaining soldiers will hold them off as long as possible, of course, but the main strength of your military has been exhausted. Nova's future looks bleak.
You have nothing more to learn about Public Speaking.
The invasion of Nova is proceeding. Your coastline is under Shanjian control. Soldiers have marched through villages, trampling fields and frightening citizens. A diplomatic delegation from Shanjia has requested access to the castle to discuss terms - most likely, for your surrender. You lack the strength to hold off their armies, and surrendering now will save many lives. It would seem that you have no choice. You prepare yourself as best you can to meet with the representatives from Shanjia.
You expected diplomats and a military representative, a general or an admiral. You did not expect the handsome man decked in jewels who now stands before you - a man announced by your servants as Togami, King of Shanjia.
(King-consort, he should be, if even that much. He's a common musician who married his way onto the throne.)
My dear young lady. How difficult this must be for you. So much responsibility at such a tender age.
You yearn to slap the false sympathy off his oily face, but you force yourself to remain calm.
War benefits no one, don't you think? Such a terrible waste. Better to settle things in a civilised manner. A contest. A game, so to speak, with Nova as the stakes. Should I win, then your domain will submit and accept me as Overlord with no further resistance. Should I lose, then my army will leave your domain in peace and shed no more blood.
What sort of game?
It is well known that Nova is ruled by Lumens. As it happens, I too possess the powers of a Lumen. I propose a formal duel. My powers against yours. The winner takes control of Nova, the loser... dies.
But I'm not a Lumen!
Saving it for the coronation, were you? Such a pity that you'll be unprepared. Well, then. Go and find your crystal. Becoming a Lumen is a very simple matter. Then we can have our duel.
What's the point? You know I can't win. Why don't you just kill me now?
Because that's not the game. You want to save your people, don't you? I want to fight a Lumen. If you refuse, then the war will continue. I'll sweeten the deal. If you meet me in a formal Lumen challenge, I'll call off the invasion even if I win.
I swear it by the gods. Nova will be free and safe.
Why take that risk? You're winning the war.
It's not your land that I want. It's your crystal. To gain your power, I am willing to wager my own. Shall we begin?
(I don't like this... But what choice do I have?)
(He was a musician, once, before he married his way into power. Can I use that?)
Wait! We're civilised people here.
And if I might die... I need to compose myself first.
You have only one chance for this, one hope to touch the heart of the man beneath the monster. You know so little about him, but he is a father who was once a musician. Music may reach him where nothing else can. And so, you begin your favorite song.
You were afraid he would be impatient and order you to stop, but it seems that at least for a moment, he is listening.
... Pretty. What is it?
Something my mother used to sing to me. She was the Queen. She was always so busy, but she loved me. When she had time to be with me, to hold me, to play and sing... I miss those moments.
Are you crying? How pathetic.
Don't you sing to your children?
That is no business of yours.
If we fight - if I defeat you somehow, then your children will miss those songs.
Well, then. Perhaps you had better lose.
And what happens then?
When you've killed me and taken my crystal. What do you do then?
You came from nothing and made yourself a King. But that wasn't enough for you. So you pushed the boundaries, you conquered territory, you came after Nova. After me, do you go home to your children? Or do you go after another crystal, another domain?
Be quiet. You know nothing of the world.
You have the world! But if you're not happy, what's the point?
From the shocked murmurs on the part of the Shanjian delegation, you can guess that no one has dared to talk to the King like this in a long, long time. You hold your ground, meeting his eyes with your own, willing him to listen to you.
It doesn't have to be like this. You and I - we could be friends. We could learn from each other. We could be part of something greater than ourselves. A new peace. And you can sing to your children.
I... have not sung in a very long time.
I'll teach you my songs.
You hold out your hands to him, open and empty.
We can do this.... together.
For a long moment, he stands frozen. Then, at last, he sighs, and places his hands in yours. And, just like that, the war is over.
The Shanjians have retreated to their own territory, and the mood throughout Nova is one of cautious optimism. It is not so easy to replace the lives lost and the damage already done, but it is still a relief to believe that it's all over and nothing worse is coming. Small celebrations are being planned in many towns and villages.
Your popularity is rising. It would seem that everyone loves you. Almost everyone.
Musician: I have a great deal of news to report. Everything we suspected was true, and worse. Were you aware that your Aunt Lucille is a Lumen?
Musician: I found her journals. They were in code, of course, but no match for my talents. Your aunt intends to take over Nova and rule as an unstoppable mother-daughter Lumen team.
Charlotte is a Lumen?!?
Musician: No. Your aunt intends to give her your power. And your crown.
Where are the journals? I want to see them.
Musician: If I had taken them, she would know her secret was exposed.
Then there's no proof?
Musician: 'Proof' is a thing that rarely exists, Your Highness. There is always doubt.
(If this is true, then she has to be stopped at once, whatever the cost.)
(If it's not true, I would be attacking my own best support. My family. There may be a way to test whether this agent is telling the truth...)
These journals... did they say anything about what magic Aunt Lucille was trying to train Charlotte in?
Musician: Well... It sounded like she already has some kind of healing power, but that can't be right.
No... it's true.
Thank you for your services. Go now. I will deal with this.
You will now have to decide what to do about the Mervan serpent's nest.
(Was Uncle Laurent involved in this, or was it all Lucille?) (And Charlotte... How much did she know?)
Let's not go overboard here. We are trying to be a (mostly) Disney princess. Let's kill only Lucille.
With a heavy heart, you sign the orders.
Time has slipped by you so quickly. Only two weeks remain before your birthday celebration, and your official coronation as Queen. Have you done enough to build a stable Nova? It is traditional for the palace to provide entertainment and refreshment for the common people when a new monarch is crowned. It is a rare opportunity for the poor of the land to dine like nobles. The size and scope of any such feast depends on what expense the royal treasury is willing to bear.
(Roasted meats, cakes, chocolates, wine, enough for everyone! And I can give out commemorative cups and coins!)
The castle is buzzing with preparations for your upcoming coronation. Ministers press you with details for your favorite colors and flowers and so on.
You are happy to collaborate with the designers to ensure you are shown off to the best possible effect. You are still so young, after all. Good design will help a lot in making you look like a Queen. Others are more interested in the subject of your marriage. Whomever you decide to marry will be elevated to the highest ranks of the nobility, which could mean a major shift in the balance of power. Therefore, everyone is talking about the top candidates, even though you're under no obligation to marry so young. Talarist, the Duke of Sedna, is one option. Certainly he expressed interest in marrying you earlier. Your union would bring stronger ties to the domain of Talasse and improve the situation along the Elath border. Then there is Banion, the Duke of Maree, a powerful and eligible noble only about ten years older than you. There's Kiran, the new Duke of Lillah. He's close enough to your age that you remember meeting him at school, where he was already becoming quite handsome. Lillah is a powerful territory, and he has family ties to much of Nova. It would be a good match. Except, of course, that you are responsible for the death of his mother. If he ever found that out... There's Linley from Kigal, whom you danced with at the gala. He's only two years older than you and a nice fellow. He is not the official heir to Kigal - his father has so far refused to name one, waiting to see which of his children is most talented and dedicated to the duchy. But whether he inherits it or not, he will at least have strong ties to that region. There is Kevan, the Earl of Io. Although he is only an earl, his family connections could make him politically useful. However, considering the 'family secret' Briony shared with you, could he ever be a proper husband? There's little Adair, the eventual Duke of Elath, although at twelve he's only a child. At least he's almost old enough to understand the concept of romance - some people think you ought to marry Gwenelle's half-brother Anciet, who hasn't even turned nine yet! There are two or three minor earls around the age of twenty who might be passable alternatives, and of course you could decide to ignore noble traditions entirely and marry a commoner... if you were prepared to deal with the uproar. While you will need to marry eventually, you are still very young. You could put this decision off until later. However, a clear succession contributes to the stability of your domain. Are you leaning towards any option?
Who did I choose? You'll have to see for yourselves.
There's no time to pursue that thought at the moment, but perhaps in the future...
Selene's been meaning to talk to us since week 18. I guess we should finally talk to her.
So. Your efforts to access the treasury have not been successful. We still require your crystal.
(She said before, if I couldn't get into the treasury, she might have to kill the guards...)
Don't worry. I'm working on it. It'll be fine.
As you say.
Selene, couldn't you wait just one more week?
You have nothing more to learn about Elegance.
At this time last year, you were celebrating your fourteenth birthday. You were in the school gardens, surrounded by your friends. A teacher brought you tea and cakes, while a wealthy merchant's son wove a crown of flowers for your head. It didn't matter so much that you were a princess then. Your title was something for the future. Many of your peers would be Duchesses or Earls or the like, someday, but not then. You were children. Your parents could not attend on the actual day, but they did send wonderful gifts, some for you, and some for you to share. And a week later, they came for a visit, and your mother took you with her through the countryside in a splendid carriage. It was the last time you would ever see her. You wonder if, wherever she is, she can see you now. You are fifteen years old, a legal adult. You have worked and studied and suffered and prepared, and now the time has come.
She calls upon the gods to deliver peace, wisdom, and prosperity to you, and through you, to all of Nova. And then she calls upon you, for your oath of rulership.
Priestess of the First Circle: Will you guide and govern and protect your people to the best of your ability, according to law and custom?
Priestess of the First Circle: Will you to the best of your power uphold the ideals of love, honor, justice, and mercy?
Priestess of the First Circle: Lords and Ladies assembled: I present to you your undoubted Queen, who has sworn you her loyalty. You who have come to give homage, will you do the same?
One at a time, the head of each duchy approaches your throne and kneels to swear his or her service to you and your heirs.
Priestess of the First Circle: People of Nova, I give you Elodie, daughter of Fidelia, your true sovereign. What say you all?
People: LONG LIVE THE QUEEN! LONG LIVE THE QUEEN! LONG LIVE THE QUEEN!
(Thank you! I will!)
The next event is up to the Goonocracy to decide. What should we do next? I think we are done with playthroughs for now, because a lot of events would be repeats. The reason why I am no longer having an "evil Elodie playthrough" is because a lot of the fun "evil" events are mutually exclusive. So, if "evil Elodie" wins the vote, I'm going to essentially do a montage of events.
Personally, I would recommend voting for the evil Elodie montage next. It is definitely entertaining.