Part 114: Evil Elodie Moments - Part 4So now we know how Elodie can take revenge on the commoners as a whole. But what about individually?
The first dance is for us.
He guides you gently around the dance floor, never rushing you. It's fun to dance with your father, but the look in his eyes is so sad.
After this, you must choose your own partner. There are a number of men who hope to catch your eye. The Duke of Kigal alone has brought three eligible sons, all near your age.
You look around the room at all your possible partners - which is to say, everyone. No one may begin dancing until you do. You can pick whomever you want and you will not be denied.
No doubt every noble family with eligible sons has dreams of a royal wedding. Your choice will raise some hopes and dash others. Feuds could be born here.
The Duke of Kigal has not yet named any of his sons as his official heir, but his second son, Linley, was always kind to you at school. If you wished to show favor to Kigal, Linley would be your choice.
The Duchy of Elath is currently held in regency for its young lord Adair, who is only twelve and a head shorter than you are. Elath is a rich territory, and at least little Adair wouldn't try to take any liberties.
Dancing with Banion, the Duke of Maree, could be quite awkward if you did not actually wish to marry him. He has been waiting years for a powerful heiress to accept his suit.
Not all nobles are created equal. You could choose someone charming and unimportant, like the Earl of Mima, a territory too minor for anyone to consider it a threat. However, the major families might eat him alive afterwards.
If you wished to distract attention from your marital prospects, you could choose someone clearly ineligible. One of your uncles, or an older family man like the Earl of Ishtar, or even a woman, though that would be mildly scandalous.
As a Queen, few would dare comment about your choice of companions, but until you have provided an heir to the throne, there is great pressure on you to make an appropriate match. That doesn't mean you have to give in.
Brin, the Duchess of Hellas, is an attractive and unmarried woman. What might people think, seeing the two of you together?
According to rumor, she is inclined in that direction. But what does she think of you?
The most important woman present, after yourself, is Arisse, Duchess of Lillah. She is married, elderly, a mother and grandmother many times over, but might be flattered by the acknowledgement of her status.
Or, if you truly wanted to set the court on its ear, you could demand your first dance with a mere servant. A maid - like Alice. The assembled nobles would be outraged.
Have the maid Alice brought here. I wish to dance with her.
All sound in the room stops, save for little Adair's nervous laughter. Still, you have given a royal command, and thus someone goes to find the maid. A few minutes later, Alice is pushed out into the glittering throng by a pair of burly manservants.
I... If you insist, my lady...
Dutifully, she places her hand in yours. Dancing with a real partner feels quite different from dancing with your father. You knew him, knew his steps like a part of you. Now every move is a mystery.
Unfortunately, you lose track of which steps you're supposed to do when, and trip over your own feet. Oops! As soon as you relax your grip, the maid flees to the safety of the kitchens.
Making Alice uncomfortable isn't quite as impressive as incinerating a horde of defenseless peasants, but a true evil princess never neglects the minor cruelties!
Speaking of cruelty, there are a few points where Elodie can force Alice to accept regifted presents such as flowers and embroidered pillows. This only works if Alice is terrified of her murderous queen, meaning Elodie's hidden Cruelty stat needs to be fairly high. There are two good ways to raise this:
1.) Executing and murdering people - Harmless diplomats, treacherous nobles, and peasants begging for mercy are all excellent sacrifices in Elodie's quest to give Alice random crap.
2.) Hunting - Since it does not cause civil wars and peasant revolts, this is my preferred method of raising cruelty.
Elodie can unlock the hunting activity with a 50 Horses stat. If she is even slightly afraid, killing helpless animals will put her fears in perspective, making her less afraid and more depressed. If Elodie is even slightly angry, she will instead find that their deaths are a great way to deal with her rage, making her less angry, more cheerful, and more cruel. However, since her anger keeps decreasing, she cannot hunt every weekend.
If Elodie visits the dungeons while even slightly willful though, she will grow more willful and more angry. Alternating between these two activities while mixing in a few murders pretty much guarantees that Elodie will be as cruel as necessary later in the game.
It's a cushion, finely embroidered with the design of a running horse. It's well done, and clearly required hours and hours of needlework, but it's also fairly useless.
That's nice... I guess.
(Horses have been important in Lillah since even before it was part of Nova. But this isn't a horse. It's just a pillow.)
(Why couldn't she have sent me a horse?)
Would you like to have it?
But... the Duchess sent that pillow to you.
I don't care about her.
All right, my lady. I thank you for your gift.
Hundreds of animals died to give Alice this pillow. We can only hope she appreciates their sacrifice.
Later, after a successful battle against the Shanjian fleet...
A few are from wealthy families and can be ransomed, but most are common sailors and soldiers. What do you intend to do with them?
No mercy. Kill them all.
Anyone who goes against me will be wiped out.
As you walk out of the room, you pass one of the maids, who appears to be in some distress.
Your Highness... Your Majesty...
Is there a problem?
No, my lady... I am your loyal servant, always...
Now that the issue of the prisoners has been dealt with, an enormous festival is held all over Lampsi island to celebrate your victory over Shanjia. People are hanging your portrait outside their homes and decorating it with flowers like a shrine.
Everyone loves you.
Apparently, Alice is the only person in Nova who hesitates at the idea of executing all prisoners. This kingdom deserves Evil Elodie.
Well, it looks like that's it for the commoners Elodie gets to torment...
(It's the Duchess of Ursul! Maybe I should go and say hello.)
Then you notice that seated beside her is a woman in the robes of a priestess. They are very close together, their hands gently touching as they speak.
(Looks like she's busy!)
You turn and walk in a different direction, so as not to disturb them. At that moment, you notice something unusual. It looks like someone just left the palace grounds by going over the hedge. Was that a servant? A thief? Or... an assassin?
You clamber up a nearby tree to get a better view.
There! You see a boy, a bit older than you, hurrying away from the palace grounds as he munches on an apple. Your apples! He was stealing your apples! It's too late to catch him now, but you will remember...
Another commoner to torment? Evil Elodie will always remember!
(That's funny, I thought owls were nocturnal. I guess I was wrong.)
A young gardener has also paused in his work to watch the bird's flight.
Wait. You've seen that boy before.
You're a thief! You stole my apples!
I saw you sneaking out of the garden.
Sure. You saw me in the garden, because I work here. Name's Evrard.
I don't remember any Evrard working here.
I'm sure a princess doesn't know the name of every servant in this big place.
Actually, I do.
Well, you've caught me. I snuck into the palace to steal an apple and a look at a pretty girl. What are you going to do about it?
Nothing... as long as you leave now.
I didn't expect a princess to have a sense of fun. Maybe we'll meet again sometime.
He winks at you and saunters off towards the hedge.
(All of my friends are at Gwenelle's party and I don't get to go.)
(I sent her a note with my regrets and a gift, and she accepted, so at least she's not upset. We can get together sometime after my coronation when things are less hectic.)
Something taps against your window-frame.
You walk to the window and look around, seeing nothing, then down to the ground below. It's - that boy! The apple-thief! He grins up at you and waves, beckoning... he wants you to go down there?
Just what you needed - a little excitement! You dodge your way through maids and ministers until you can reach his location.
What are you doing here?
Brought you something. Want one?
He holds up a basket of cookies, studded with dark blue-purple berries.
Well, they don't look poisonous...
You give in to temptation and pick a cookie for yourself.
This is good!
My pa's a baker in town. I'm learning from him. He does the cookies, though. I mostly do bread.
Is this your way of paying me back for those apples you stole?
Nah. I kinda heard you might need cheering up.
I do not need cheering up!
Oh. Well, in that case, give the rest of these to my sister Alice, okay, princess?
He presses the basket into your hands and walks away.
(That ill-bred, disreputable, overreaching... jerk!)
You really can't see the point of wasting time worrying about decorations when there's so much else to worry about.
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 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.
That boy, Evrard... If you ordered blueberry bread for your coronation festivities, you might be able to see him again...
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?
There's no time to pursue that thought at the moment, but perhaps in the future...
This could be the beginning of a beautiful tale of a peasant winning the heart of a princess, a heartwarming story of love transcending class barriers and forever changing life in Nova... Unfortunately, someone told Evrard that Elodie has spent this playthrough hunting as often as possible, raising taxes, flogging his sister for clumsiness, and causing the deaths of at least 1,040 people according to the casualty reports.
Evil Elodie can't even have a happy ending without taking cookies away from small children!