Part 28: ARC III: Part 6: More of a rant, really.ARC III: Part 6: More of a rant, really.
We rejoin the majority of our heroes at the scorched Guard Post.
I can't believe these morons think I did this. What an insult.
What are you talking about? This whole area has been burned... you're a fire elemental... I think you know where I am going with this.
Fool! If I wanted to destroy this area, there would be nothing left here at all! Whoever did this couldn't even get the entire guard office!
You can barely see the captain at the door towards the far top left.
Let's keep this brief. It's almost dinner time.
CAPTAIN: ... Are you Stoic?
CAPTAIN: I've heard of you! What are you doing in these parts?
Just investigating some threats in the area. Whatever information you have on the attack would be very helpful.
CAPTAIN: To be honest, I didn't see much of anything. We have one guard who was close to the attacker, though. Hopefully he's feeling well enough to talk.
Lesson one. When investigating a crime, we must maintain an air of professionalism. Save the chit-chat for later.
Ah! Thanks for the tip, B-Man.
Lesson two. Do not call me that when we're on the job!
GUARD: Don't worry about it... Captain. It's more comfortable... than you might think.
You saw who did this?
GUARD: Kind of... it was dark... but once the fire lit everything up... I could see the guy.
Guy? So we're talking about a male fire mage?
The fire elemental is female. She's off the hook.
CAPTAIN: I suppose so. Shame he was too injured to tell us earlier.
Hey, he's not burned!
His skin isn't burned at all... Even though he got attacked by a fire mage. That's pretty weird.
... You're right.
CAPTAIN: Isn't that odd...
No burns... but there is one dark spot on his armor.
CAPTAIN: What happened to you, soldier?
GUARD: Hard to... Hard to say... But felt like I was struck by lightning.
CAPTAIN: Lightning? There wasn't a cloud in the sky the night of the attack!
GUARD: I know... doesn't make sense... but just the same... that's what it was like.
There must be two mages. It's the only explanation.
He said he only saw one.
The other one must have been disguised or hidden somehow.
Couldn't the same guy who cast the fire spell also know lightning magic?
Do you know how difficult it is to learn two schools of magic? It's much more likely we have two mages on our hands.
Whatever you say, B... Uh, Stoic.
CAPTAIN: You have my thanks. Good luck!
We'll go back towards the monastery for now and wait for Shroud. When he arrives, we'll camp out by this base tonight. Take turns keeping watch.
And then we cut to Cade and Evrind resting after their first Monk Technqiues class.
Yeah... and those were just preliminary exercises. We'll be doing more demanding stuff later.
Seemed like you weren't having any trouble at all.
I'm a bit ahead of the others. Only because most people in my family are monks. You did pretty well yourself. Most new people can't take it at first.
I'm gonna head back to my room and probably go to bed early.
I think I'll have a look in the library.
Gonna start studying already?
Well, there is that test in our history class.
You don't need to worry about that. Tyer just wants to see what we already know.
Just the same, I could use... a refresher.
Suit yourself! I'll see you around!
So off to the library!
Cade needs directions to world history books and the librarian kept shushing him instead of helping.
Hi. This library is just...
Huge, isn't it? This is my favourite part of being a student here.
I'm just looking around. Are you studying?
Do you even have any assignments yet?
I hope you're not going to make fun of me like Evrind does. I just like to have an early advantage, that's all.
Cade begins looking through the shelves...
What are you looking for?
I'm... uh... looking for some viewpoints... on current religious trends since Gallia fell.
I see. You're not going to find any of that there.
It takes a while before historians can agree on some definitive account of current events. By the time they do, it's no longer current.
Someone always thinks that they are being misrepresented, or that the author is writing with an agenda.
To be honest, all history is written with an agenda. Events that recent don't have a certain historical distance, however.
The monastery is very selective when it comes to what they add to the library's collection.
Somebody has to have written something I could read.
I'm sure of that, but all of the really controversial manuscripts aren't in here.
Where are they?
The Tower of the Sun. It's an old monument in the woods right behind the grounds.
Great. I'm headed over there.
Ha ha ha! You can't just walk in there! It's locked and only administrators can get in!
Oh, for Arcadius's sake!
Why do you care so much about that stuff? That isn't what you will have to know for our classes. I'd advice you to read up more on the events before Gallia fell rather than what's been going on since.
Yeah, maybe... I don't know much about that either.
I can help you. Grab a few of those books and sit down.
Then we're treated to a montage of sorts.
Well, you can't really investigate a spiritual experience. That's the genius of it.
I get it... You can make whatever claim you want, and nobody can prove you wrong!
Exactly. Gallians specialized in using religion to bolster themselves instead of trying to help others.
The people certainly did. The other rules of the city, though. That was another story.
What do you mean?
At that point, the Emprie was already in decline. The Council at that time had grown incredible lazy, and now there was this young general who was on his way to conquering the entire elven kingdom. He made them all look like incompetent fools!
Conquering an entire kingdom at twenty-six... can you imagine?
I was hoping to have my own armor shop by twenty-six...
Hee hee! Sounds good! I'll cast holy enchantments on the armor so we can jack up the price!
You go ahead... I have a few more things I'd like to look at.
You may turn out to be a born scholar! I'll see you tomorrow!
So the one thing Cade wanted to look at might be looked up in a tower, forbidden to students. Oops.
Bones' pacing and stops when Finley speaks.
I'm sure he has his reasons. We'll have to keep watch ourselves tonight. With Zala coming along, we should be able to take on whatever trouble we may have.
Cades reasons are...
He fell asleep in the library.
Finally! You're worse than Gabriella!
Just lost track of time, I guess... What are you doing here?
Just dropping off a book. Don't you have a class soon?
Yeah... my comparative religion course.
Better hurry! I'll see you in history class later.
We make our way over to the classroom.
Which, of course, has an altar in it.
Hi there. I'm amazed I was able to make it.
The professor seems to be running late.
That's a lucky break.
I'm excited for this class. My sister took it years ago and said it was wonderful.
"Enough of that, though. My name is Professor Ferril and this is Comparative Religion.
This is my favorite class to teach because the subject matter always seems so important. Almost any problem in Solest can be attributed to something we will discuss in this class. Let me get my bearings here...
We might as well start with what everyone knows. There are two deities who had a hand in creating our world. Arcadius and Perditia.
Arcadius created most of the races who hold power in today's world. These include humans, elves, dwarves, minotaurs, griffins, and dragons."
"Perditia is said to have created orcs, ogres, kobolds, goblins and lodites."
"Then of course, there are several much rarer creatures in Solest whose origins can't really be determined. Fairies and elementals, for example."
"It is worth noting that these origins alone do not determine which of these two figures a person chooses to worship.
Kobolds throughout history have been more likely to serve Arcadius, while humans seeking Perditia's dark power gave rise to the practice of necromancy.
There has always seemed to be tension between the two of them over the course of history, but Arcadius remains a great mystery to us.
Some claim they know his will, but proof is always nowhere to be found. On the other hand, there are certain events we see throughout history which defy traditional explanation. The Rain of Fire is perhaps the most significant of these events, but there are smaller instances of these unexplained phenomena through all the ages.
Perditia behaves in the opposite manner. She has explicitly shown a desire to wrest power from Arcadius by using her divine powers to influence world events. She faded from prominence shortly before the Rain of Fire, which began the Fifth Age.
For most of the time between then and now, the Gallian Empire ruled on high. Their extreme actions reignited a violent debate about the nature of Arcadius which began in the Third Age with the old Solendian Knighthood.... And that's the time period I think is most relevant to this course.
In the Third Age, we saw the beginning of these fundamental questions.
What does Arcadius expect from us?
Doe he expect anything?
Why has he never shown himself?"
STUDENT: How can we even be sure Arcadius is male?
The feminine form of that name would be Arcadia, DUH.
... I think.
FERRIL: Exactly! That's the kind of question you should be asking... though nobody brought up that particular one in the Third Age unless they were in the mood to be persecuted.
At the time that humans were having this debate about Arcadius, Perditia was also at her most audacious.
So for these first few classes, we are going to discuss in great detail the time period between the start of the Third Age and the end of the Fourth Age, which spans the war between the Solendian Knighthood and the necromancers of Thaniel Mortrus, Blacksteele's Rebellion and the Solendian Civil War that brought all of this to a head mere years before the Great Rain of Fire. This is all very complicated material, but I am confident that your textbooks, combined with our discussions here, will make sense of it.
We've actually already heard a brief 'summary' of Blacksteele's Rebellion. That's the story of the knight who turned from the knighthood and Arcadius out of disgust with their bigotry, and turned to necromancy and Perditia instead. But, as Volrath points out in that episode of the VLP, Nova was raised in Gallia, and so she relayed the Gallian propaganda version of it to Arius and co.
No time to talk now. Our history class starts in a few minutes. We have to hurry downstairs.
Selene hurries off.
And this guy has a crush on her.
And then we hurry off to World History class.
A little bit, I guess. Who would have thought Library tables were that comfortable?
Hee hee! Next time, at least sleep on the carpet!
Who is who?
That man down there.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-F85XEb1PXk Coma by Apocalyptica. This plays for this scene and the next.
Evrind and the suspiciously familair sprite head over.
I'm Selene Endymion.
Wonderful to meet you. I am called Ketsu.
I... Name's Torlin.
Hello, Torlin. I will see you all in class then.
I didn't want to... For some reason. He really made me feel uneasy.
It must have been his power.
I could sense it too. His mastery of holy magic is almost overwhelming. Those receptive to magic can often sense it in another person.
You did not seem afraid.
I've met him before. he is a good man, but I used to be intimidated too... But there's nothing to be afraid of.
What were you chatting with him about?
Nothing important. Let's hurry up and get in there so we don't miss his lecture.
"from the end of Gallia's reign. I shall tell you all now of the prophet Lysander Barca."
Gather 'round friends, and I will extol unto you the many virtues of the Fuhrer... Adolf Hitler!
Shh. Let him speak.
His is a name I suspect many of you know. He became famous early in his life for how swiftly he climbed the ladder of success within Gallia.
He passed the entrance test to the Knighthood when he was only sixteen years old. Within three months, he had been promoted to captain.
Years later, his role in helping the city repel an elven attack earned him a Golden Crest of Gallia. This was an honor only given to the finest warriors.
After one of the city's Lord and General's fell deathly ill, Lysander was selected as the most qualified man to replace him. He was only twenty-six.
He dispelled doubts about his age with his brilliant siege of the elven capitol. He died defending Gallia in the final battle with the rebellion.
This is the story everyone knows, but Lysander's accomplishments are much greater. The rebel leaders who now rule Gallia would like to diminish the power of his life story, but those of us who have looked deeply into the final days of Gallia's history know much more than that simple outline.
You see, Gallia's greatest enemy was not Sarnath Alleni and his rebellion. Nor was it Arius Sherron or Dasani of Boreal.
Gallia's worst foe was its own leaders. That council of blowhards who became so invested in their own status that they allowed their great city to fall.
Wouldn't Lysander be considered a leader of Gallia?
The trouble began when Chairman Marcus Gallius died. He was an elderly man, but he had always seemed in good health.
He had no surviving children, so that meant the end of the family which had ruled the city since Vincent Gallius founded it four-hundred years ago.
The question now was... Who would replace him? High-ranking officials fought bitterly for the chance, and the most scheming of them all was Warrick De Cafer. When De Cafe was named Chairman, he appointed a new council. Though Lysander and Marcus Gallius had been close, he knew his first duty was to the city of Gallia and not a particular person. For the time being, he cooperated.
Eventually, Lysander returned from a long mission to find that the city was not as he remembered it.
This is literally the second thing that happens in the next Clean Slate update.
The council had been shamelessly manipulating the citizens of Gallia. They exaggerated an almost non-existent threat from the other races, but downplayed the very real danger of the rebellion. When Alleni and his cohorts used fire mages to decimate Gallia's navy, Lysander was prepared to take the blame and throw himself at the mercy of Gallia's people. However, the council did not want the city's defenses to appear weak or the rebellion to appear effective. They continually pressured him to lie about the extent of the damage and other matters concerning the battle against the insurgents.
Lysander realized that the very safety of the city was being undermined by these crooked tactics, and had no choice but to slay the council and take on the task of governing the city himself.
Wow, more spoilers. I better get cracking on Clean Slate before Ariel's thing gets brought up...
He killed them? What a surprise. Here I was thinking that Gallians might solve a problem without murder.
Shh! You two are being really rude!
Lysander now had full command of the city, but the damage had been done. The treachery went far deeper than he could have imagined.
He discovered that Warrick De Cafer indeed arranged for the murder of Marcus Gallius as part of a plan to usurp the city council and consolidate power for himself. Removing De Cafer and the rest of his council was not enough to heal the wounds to the city's integrity.
This new cancer of corruption continued to cripple Gallia, and even cost Lysander his wife. All the while, the rebellion continued to gain ground.
When Arius Sherron and Sarnath Alleni managed to gather a small group of dragons to help them occupy the city's military barracks, the two sides of the conflict were poised for a final battle.
The death of Lysander's wife caused him to question his own faith in Arcadius. Given what he had been through, it is hardly surprising.
He was told by... a friend... that death was a very real possibility if he confronted the rebels. Perhaps it was wiser to abandon Gallia and start a new life elsewhere. The temptation was overwhelming, but he did not give in. He could not abandon his fellow citizens.
HM. Wonder what friend of Lysander could accurately predict two future outcomes like this?
They've been introduced in Clean Slate already. Also this whole choice Lysander has to make kind of reminds me of Achilles' in the Iliad, a little bit.
He stayed and fell in battle, just as had been predicted.
TYER: Are you all right?
Yes... I apologize. Surely you see now why I had to speak to you, and why I have spread this story as much as I could.
Since the end of Gallia, Lyander Barca's true accomplishments have gone unheralded. He saw that the city was failing its people, and died fighting for it anyway. He saw within the corruption... the end of the Gallian way of life before it came. That is why I and many other (SIC) have come to see him as a prophet...
And why we regret that his name is so often associated only with those wars in Rellenia.
"I can't take this anymore! You regret that Lysander is associated with the wars in Rellenia?!
I regret the deaths of thousands upon thousands of elves that his army slaughtered! What gives him, or you, or anyone else the right to sentence someone to death simply because they're not exactly like you?!
TYER: Young man, please! Despite what your beliefs are, he is still a guest and he has a right to his opinion!
This "opinion" gets people killed! It's a stain on the face of humanity that Gallia ruled as long as it did! I won't listen to any more of this insanity!
Cade storms out.
Oh thank heavens. This took like four hours and my backs killing me. Well, this still isn't the end of this school arc. And next time, Stoic, Finley and Zala'll do their best to track down two mystery mages.