Part 48: ARC V Part 3: The First Flashback.ARC V Part 3: The First Flashback.
Now, when we left off, a lot of different people were headed towards Nuntak Isle (or already there, in the case of Solik and Rana). Our heroes were headed there to find the shack Cole Marin wrote his book in, and Sparrow is headed there to keep an eye on Solik who is up to... something that would be detrimental to The Hand. Stoic also seems to be familiar with the place.
The plains always look nice from this far away.
Indeed... and in this case, they are a reminder that we are not yet even halfway to Nuntak.
I'm grateful for the chance to rest up.
You must realize what an opportunity it is for a historian like me to be able to talk with you.
Oh boy, here it comes.
I've read what there is out there about your exploits with Volrath Blacksteele and Stephen Farmast, but--
Good. I don't feel like talking about any of that.
As you can see, Laurel walks off around this point.
That's because my life to that point wasn't very interesting.
Just the same... I would love to hear about it.
We got a tip from Laurel that you were gonna tell some stories, and I don't want to miss it!
I don't want to either. I'll be honest.
Hee hee! Sorry!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtKQzzi82yY Stoic's Theme. Jean Jacques Burnel - Desire (Revenge Is Mine)
"That's how my childhood was, though. As I grew up, Solest was well into The Fourth Age.
All the bloody wars of The Third Age were long over. It was a calm time.
The biggest city in the world at that time was Solendus, home of the Solendian Knighthood, and they were in their prime.
It had been about 200 years since they crushed the necromancers during the wars of The Third Age, and their membership was thriving.
Hard to believe that city doesn't even exist anymore. Totally destroyed by the Rain of Fire. Now there's ocean there...
But maybe I'm getting ahead of myself.
The Solendian Knighthood had a far reach, but they couldn't be everywhere. We hardly ever saw hide nor hair of them in Nillen Valley where I grew up.
The valley was to the north... though not quite as north as a place like Boreal. It was chilly and rugged, a great place to get exercise and learn survival skills.
Like any community, my hometown had its fair share of miscreants who would harass the locals.
It was pretty hard to find a knight there, so those of us who knew something about combat had to take matters into our own hands."
The new arrival steps forward and asks:
????: Why do you three look so panicked?
????: What? I thought we were finished with those miscreants!
RIGHTMOST BURNEL GUILD GUY: We've suffered enough indignities at your hands!
There's a REALLY short scuffle, and three of the bandits escape.
Blueshirt was apparently about to execute the one guy they KO'd when he's stopped.
Then blondie rushes over and narrowly stops his friend from being grabbed or stabbed or something by a guy running out of the woods.
GREENCLOTHES: Wow... How did you know he was there?
"Especially in this case. That armor was unmistakable... The design is still used all over the world.
We were dealing with a Solendic Knight."
GREENCLOTHES: Thank you, sir! Quite a surprise to see a Solendic Knight in these parts!
KNIGHT: Indeed. These lands are quite far from Solendus, but we hope to expand our reach in the years to come.
Blueshirt's the one saying this.
KNIGHT: So I have heard. I suppose I should tell you the reason behind my visit.
I am a recruiter from the Solendian Knighthood, and I have traveled far and wide seeking out the next generation of knights.
KNIGHT: It should go without saying that after the impressive display you put on today, all of you have proven yourselves worthy.
BLUESHIRT: What do we need to do if we want to pursue your offer?
KNIGHT: Merely follow the traditions of the generations of knights before you. Make a voyage to Solendus, and participate in the Great Test.
GREENCLOTHES: Sounds a bit intimidating!
KNIGHT: Ha! After today, I'm sure you would all pass easily.
What are your names by the way?
GREENCLOTHES: I'm Wisel Scure.
BROWNCLOTHES: Ivito Attam.
BLUESHIRT: Enkur Solberg.
If Enkur sounds familiar... Well, the guy behind the some of, if not all, the custom art for MOTW goes by Enkur, BUT also Enkur was the name Solik used to provoke Stoic back in Rellenia. Seems like he might be noteworthy in some fashion....
????: ... I'm Zeno Slade.
IVITO: Thank you, sir. It's a great honor.
Stoic's Theme closes out here.
"Looking back, I wish I could have been so easily content. My mother, Elea, brought in some extra money by selling the fruit she grew in our garden.
She had big dreams for me... and they involved the knighthood."
ZENO: You already heard about it, eh?
"Now when are you and your friends planning on taking the Great Test?"
Zeno slowly backs up...
ELEA: Oh, but you must not delay! Go while you are all still fresh in the scout's mind!
KRATES: What's wrong, son?
ZENO: ... Nothing. I just... need to take a walk for a few minutes.
ELEA: Okay, but don't wander too far! Dinner's almost ready!
I hope someday you will tell me your name.
FAIRY: Eh, who needs em?
ZENO: But aren't you grateful you can address me by name?
FAIRY: Nah, I just do that cause you humans are used to it. If you didn't have a name, I would just look at you and say hello. Serves the same purpose.
FAIRY: What's wrong?
ZENO: I've come to a realization that's pretty inconvenient.
I really dislike the Solendian Knighthood and don't want any part of it.
FAIRY: Wow! Why is that?
ZENO: Well, you should know... I just don't like how they act as if humans are the most important people on Solest. Why should we be?
What have we done that other races haven't done ten times in the past?
FAIRY: Excluded other races?
ZENO: I actually think the elves did that at some point.
If Queen Arianna is to be believed then they went full Gallia on the 'Perditian Races', so uh... Yes, but even worse.
FAIRY: Oh... Maybe you're right. That's a long while back, though.
ZENO: I just don't believe in it. I mean, how could I call myself your friend and join a knighthood which would exclude you for no good reason?
FAIRY: Oh my goodness. You shouldn't make a big decision like this just because of me!
ZENO: Well... it's not just that. That's just one reason why it doesn't feel right. Any of it.
FAIRY: I feel happy and sad for you at the same time.
ZENO: What does that mean?
FAIRY: I'm happy because I can tell you're very special. But I'm sad because... I know those things that make you special... will make your life very hard.
I've always really loved this line. Zeno just looks at her and then looks back out at the water.
"I didn't feel like rushing into the world outside the village. I knew I would one day... but I wanted it to be for something I believed in.
My problem was I couldn't find anything to believe in. Though others had no trouble."
ZENO: Good morning, gents. What brings you all here?
ENKUR: Get your stuff together. We're hopping a carriage to Solendus!
There's a brief pause here...
WISEL: Why, he asks. To take the Great Test! Now get ready!
ZENO: I... really haven't prepared.
ENKUR: Take it easy now. We'll wait.
An even lengthier pause as Zeno looks back into his house for a little before turning back to his friends.
ZENO: I... I'm not going.
WISEL: Not a good time? We can wait a few days if that's what you need.
ZENO: No, that's not it. I'm not going... at all.
ENKUR: Why the hell not?!
ZENO: Because... that's not what I want to do with my life.
WISEL: Are you kidding? You're a natural! You're the best fighter out of all of us!
Enkur looks at Wisel, who looks at him in turn.
WISEL: Well... I guess it is close between you and Enkur, but you get the idea.
ZENO: Maybe... but I can't. I'm sorry, but it just doesn't feel right.
"You walk around the woods by yourself and you just think everything to death! You went home after we met the recruiter and somehow convinced yourself this was a bad idea when it's the perfect path for you. Snap out of it and let's go!"
ZENO: Enkur, that's enough.
WISEL: But... it's not the same without you. We're a team! We always have been!
ZENO: I know, but... but we knew that wasn't going to last forever.
ENKUR: Well, I certainly didn't expect it to end this soon. I'm really disappointed in you, Zeno. This is pathetic.
IVITO: Guys, calm down. This is what he wants to do, and he would stand behind us if we made this decision.
WISEL: But what will you do?
ZENO: I wish I knew.
ENKUR: *sigh* I can't believe you would stab us in the back like this. Well, fine.
Whenever your head is on straight, you should be able to pass the Great Test. Hopefully, we'll see you then. Come on, guys.
IVITO: Good luck, Zeno.
"My father didn't say anything. He just stood quietly, which was just as bad. You could almost see his disappointment in the air, it was so thick.
My mother... she had plenty to say.
It's a funny thing. You grow up and people are always telling you how important it is to find your own path, to listen to your heart.
We hear all of these bedtime stories which emphasize that... but when you actually achieve that, when you actually pursue that independence...
You get treated like some sort of heretic."
This always made me think of someone rejecting a family tradition of joining the military more than anything else. But it could fit a lot of things, like turning down a scholarship at some fancy college.
Oh, come on! It couldn't have been that bad!
Hush, let him continue.
Well... Almost everyone.
ZENO: Yeah... this is it.
FAIRY: You seem nervous. I don't blame you... but at the same time, I think you should try and be optimistic. I've seen a lot of people who didn't get treated well where they grew up. They had to go somewhere else to find respect.
ZENO: I hope that's true. But it's not my biggest priority right now.
FAIRY: What is?
ZENO: For a while, I felt like I had found myself when the guys and I started to look out for the people here. Everything seemed right until this knighthood business began.
I just... I don't know anymore.
FAIRY: You like to help people... your own way. It's okay to admit it.
ZENO: ... Yeah. I'd like to do that in the future, but I don't want to feel like I'm selling my soul to some group who claims to be helping people, but is also creating these silly divisions.
FAIRY: It's settled. I have to give you this.
ZENO: Give me what?
FAIRY: This belonged to someone I knew a long time ago... in the first district I was ever assigned to.
I want you to have it.
ZENO: Wow... thank you.
The fairy flies up to Zeno's head and...
ZENO: So... want to come with me?
FAIRY: I wish... but I still have to serve here. I bet I'll see you around sometime, though.
ZENO: I hope so.
FAIRY: Be good to you.
*chuckle* Okay, you too.
We get an intermission save screen here but I decide to include one last scene in this update.
What's the matter with you? You keep laughing and it's really strange.
The looks on the faces of all those fools... I can't remember the last time I felt so content.
You should be more careful! You don't exactly blend into a crowd anymore.
No... I certainly don't. That's true in many ways.
The sound of of footsteps startles Rana and she races back and forth a couple times.
Calm yourself. It's just some villager outside.
The more time that passes since my resurrection... the more power I feel. No wonder this transformation has held necromancers in thrall for centuries.
All of my skills returned to me... and then some. Goals I once dismissed as simple dreams in my youthful days are now finally within my grasp.
Now I shall reap the secrets of this island and direct this world's history onto an exciting new course.
And what an experience for you, Rana. You shall be a witness to sights other necromancers waited their whole lives to see but with no success.
When we are finished here, you will have earned the right to call yourself a true necromancer.
Then you will be free to choose your own path... What will you do?
I... I'm not sure.
Well, there is plenty of time left for you to decide. I suspect you will look back on our exploits as a great inspiration.
So... when I'm a necromancer, I will be on my own?
Yes, your apprenticeship shall be at an end. You won't need me anymore.
Well... then can I find an apprentice?
Hmm... After you have a few years of experience under your belt, I don't see why not. But it's a lot of work! Even with a prodigy like yourself.
Maybe... but I think I would like the company...
*chuckle* You're very interesting. How on Solest did you find yourself in this profession?
I just discovered I had a knack for it, I suppose... but I am very grateful for all you and the Guild have done for me.
It's nice to... belong.