Part 13: Clean Slate Part 2: The History Lesson Within A History Lesson.Clean Slate Part 2: The History Lesson Within A History Lesson.
Lysander finds a dying Ariel, heals her and they resolve to go back to Gallia together.
Arius contemplates suicide but is dissuaded by Nova, so then Arius decides that he has to stop Lysander from reaching Gallia and coming back with a fresh army to torch Guardia.
On their journey they have repeated run ins with some recurring antagonists, the Wyvern's Fang Cult, a group even more extreme than Gallia, in that they'll even murder humans they feel deviate too far from the norm.
Arius has a dream about Molly, Lysander's sister, who is repulsed by Gallia's genocidal tendencies.
The two siblings part ways never wanting to see each other again.
While defending the town of Harrol from some nasty necromancers (there's a subplot that while Gallia in theory is against undead, they signed a treaty with the Necromancers Guild, called the Treaty of Thanatos, so the necromancers would essentially be their enforcers in lands far from the Gallian homeland) Arius has ANOTHER few flashbacks. One about slaughtering a human family hiding elves, and one about...
His now wife, Lynnia, and his... young son Leonard Barca.
This scene's a bit jarring since before now he acts like a total psychopath but here he's like a normal husband/father, joking around with Leonard even while telling him he's gotta go and Kill Every Elf.
Also apparently Lysander's evil armour gets Lynnia going...?
After the battle of Harrol, Arius comes to a realisation that to help himself move on from Lysanders crimes, he has to not just settle for stopping Lysander from torching Guardia, but to go all the way, and tear down the Gallian Empire.
Meanwhile, somewhere far north, Lysander and Ariel are very lost. Lysander expresses doubts that he even should go home, since he hates the politics surrounding him and his job. He just wants to be a soldier and lead Gallia into a brilliant, human only future. He hates politics playing with the lives of men and women.
In his own words, Gallia is run by rich greedy pigs hoping to send the people to the slaughter. Lysander hoped the Guardia mission would let him gain enough power to get rid of all those corrupt types and establish humanity as the rightful rulers of the world, purifying the taint of the other races, in accordance with the dream of Vincent Gallius and the will of Arcadius. Gallia is now a joke, he declares.
For her part, Ariel tries to ingratiate herself with him at every turn, and tells him what she thinks he wants to hear. She's not nearly as naive as she acts. She acts like she has no idea what Lysander means but she definitely does know. Lysander though, is the one other person she cares about besides herself, so she'll even act like an idiot if she thinks he'd like her more for it.
Meanwhile, the party meets up with Seth again and he shows off his own party in turn.
Zala, a fire elemental.
And Mina Lolian.
There's also a third guy called Alko but whatever.
Anyway, they camp together around a fire, briefly... but Seth basically tells Arius and co. to go home and let him take care of Lysander... Of course, an argument starts and it even comes to violence, with only Galdar and Mina abstaining from the fight. They manage to break it up but the two parties go their separate ways, racing to be the first to nail Lysander.
Meanwhile Guardia gets attacked by Wyvern Fang cultists and only Turnus' equally foul-mouthed, tsundere ninja love interest is there to fight them off. Well, and Ivory, the psychic elf with a crush on Arius, who has foreseen something very bad in his future. Her trying to find and warn him about that led to her being captured and forced to lead the cultists back to Guardia.
They meet Britsus the kobold, who takes out these three guys on his own. He'll go on to write a very important book about the Wyvern Fang Cult someday...
After the attack is foiled, Shurikra and Ivory resolve to take care of the Wyvern's Fang Cult themselves.
Meanwhile the main party are about to reach the frozen island town of Boreal (a place we'll be visiting in Master of the Wind too before all that long) via an underground tunnel, and find massive ice wall blocking their path. While Galdar spends several hours burning a tunnel into the ice wall, Nova gives a history lesson to a very bored Turnus (and Arius).
Humanity was one of the youngest races and never learned to live in harmony with nature like the others, so they began building cities and formed the first knighthood. Women were forbidden entry into the knighthood, presumably for fear of their safety, as were non-humans.
Then a 'wave of necromancy' assaulted the world and soon everyone wanted to join the knighthood to fight it, but only human men were allowed.
Then someone important appeared, someone who'll also be coming up in one of my favourite MOTW sequences.
A knight who looked upon the prejudiced knighthoods with disgust. He saw lies and dishonesty in everything they did, and set out to make his own knighthood.
Where the other knights claimed the favor of Arcadius, this traitor knight looked elsewhere.
You might remember the history puzzle from the church in Arc I where one entry mentioned a rebel who tried to summon Perditia to Solest.
This traitor knight trained himself in necromancy and dark magic which were forbidden by the knights, and built a castle out of pure magic. People from all races and both genders all over the world joined him as he travelled.
And then, yes. He tried to summon Perditia.
The racist, sexist knighthoods attacked and... Nova notes history doesn't record what the outcome was. Some say the dark knight was killed in the siege. Others say he was felled by another, a man who wasn't even part of the knights. Or even that he joined the dark goddess in her evil realm.
We might come a bit closer to actual answers in the course of MOTW.
But the exact nature of the knights fate didn't matter. The statement had been made.
Other knights follow suit and the knighthoods tore themselves apart in a civil war.
Then, reconsidering all the bloodshed that had happened, humanity began to reconnect with nature and the other races.
And then a bad thing happens. The Rain of Fire.
The continents were pulverised into islands and all the major cities just disappeared.
After years and years of rebuilding, people began to suspect the Rain of Fire was sent by the gods due to a great sin committed in the past...
When he basically got a vision (allegedly) telling him that the original knighthoods had it right, and that the Rain of Fire was a punishment for abandoning those honorable ways. Also that only genocide is the only acceptable path in life.
And so Vincent Gallius started the Gallian Knighthood which grew into the Gallian Empire over a... couple hundred years I believe? It's not stated here.
I want to point out now, that Volrath had just moved to New York days before 9/11, and was so affected by it he both made this game to take his mind off it, and pretty recently tweeted that he never expected the Game of Thrones finale of all things to give him flashbacks to 9/11. Also he's flatout out said before The Rain of Fire and its aftermath is allegory for 9/11. So have fun with that.
Anyway, more'll have to wait since this is getting lengthy too!