Part 54: ARC V: Part 9: The Forrest Gump of Solest.ARC V: Part 9: The Forrest Gump of Solest.
So it seems like Lun Calsari might be working on something (solo?). The Something Classic group divided in half to work on two different projects some time back, but Luke Wacholtz was not listed as part of either team. In one of the comments on that tweet I posted, he clarified it was paid work too, so it must be something he has some confidence in starting. If it is a solo project, it'll be interesting to see how he's come along as a creator since The Way ended, fifteen years ago.
So, last time our heroes had just escaped Enkur, who has been trapped in a cave for about 900 years in the form of the Ultimate Skeleton. They then came up with a plan to confront Solich and Rana by going around and climbing the mountain to surprise them without having to fight Enkur directly.
Of course, we immediately run into a problem.
Who cares? So we take a little dip in the ocean. Don't be a baby!
No, idiot! Trudging through water that deep will take too long! Enkur will catch up to us.
Is there another route we can take?
Stoic says yes, back the other way.
So now we can finally follow the northwest path.
If we have to do anymore pillar jumping, this wind will affect how far we go. Let's keep that in mind.
Not at all foreboding.
So when the rain's coming down hard like this, it's accompanied by the sound of wind. It increases the amount of power you need to jump (or decreases if you're going with it!), but the indicator on the power metre doesn't change. I think it affects the power needed by only one increment but I didn't bother trying. I just waited for the wind to stop.
Uh oh. Branching paths...
Oh, and you still get encounters on the pillars!
Hmm... This is the furtherest you can aim... Can you jump on these tiles...? You can't walk on them...
Apparently not! You can see that flat-top pillar on the north of this little isle though. That's probably how you're meant to reach this chest.
FUCK that pillar.
The way to progress is north but we have a chest to plunder.
Shroud can't jump far enough normally to reach this pillar though... So we have to time this jump to go WITH the wind. Except there's another complication. You can't just aim anywhere, you have to work out the precise spot to aim.
There's nothing on this isle unless I missed a secret... besides the start of the next set of pillars.
Very well. If you recall, I had just left Elissa's lair after being resurrected.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wspO6SfqCo8 Elissa's track again. The OCRemix hosted remix of a Eco the Dolphin track by GrayLightning.
Townspeople flee as Zeno very slowly makes his way into town.
KNIGHT 2: By Arcadius! Stop right there, skeleton!
ZENO: Ugh... What... are you doing?
KNIGHT: We had better just destroy it.
MEPHESTO: Only fools and tyrants attack someone who has done no wrong. Stand down, both of you.
MEPHESTO: That's an order, knights!
MEPHESTO: *sigh* You're walking, but you haven't fully adjusted yet. Come on.
Mephesto got the other knighthood leaders to let me stay in the army's fort. I was surprised they didn't put up more of a fight.
The looks on some of the faces... Perhaps the aftermath of Volrath's rebellion had taken just as much of a toll on them as it had on us.
I took a few days to let the shock of my transformation wear off somewhat. After that, I was in for a few surprises.
Wow, I'd completely forgotten Dalton was in this flashback. Well, it's not like he's really important to the story or mentioned much or anything, but given the fact he was the adventurer meddling with Thanatos' plans and destroyed Mephesto the first time he was resurrected...
DALTON: Don't be intimidated by these thrones. They aren't meant for us. We're just having some fun with them.
MEPHESTO: Dalton here knew Volrath Blacksteele very well.
ZENO: ... You did?
DALTON: Oh yes. We go very far back. We both grew up in Solendus, though he was a couple of years older than I was. He was always looking out for me, just like an older brother. We fell out of touch for many years, however. He passed the Great Test, and I didn't.
GWYNETH: Quite ironic, really.
ZENO: I'm surprised I never saw you back at our castle. He didn't believe in the concept of the Great test. He certainly would have allowed you to join us.
DALTON: I'm sure he would have... Though I didn't find out about that movement until it was far too late.
Looking back... I think he got the raw end of the deal after all. When I wasn't able to join the knighthood, I left the city and really found myself.
That little girl runs over and starts jumping.
DALTON: Not now, Sylvia. Daddy's busy. Wait a few minutes, okay?
GWYNETH: Dalton, he already knows that part of it. I think Mephesto wanted you to tell him about the day of the battle.
ZENO: The battle? You mean the one at Volrath's castle?
DALTON: Yes. We were the ones who tried to stop Volrath and Sandahar from trying to call up Perditia's dark powers.
We knew who Sandahar was... and what he was capable of. If he managed to fully complete that spell, Solest itself would have been in danger.
Once that dark power started to come out... Volrath finally saw that creep for what he really was. He joined with us and we managed to subdue Sandahar.
Volrath... he didn't make it.
So, Dalton was probably the protagonist of the game about Volrath's rebellion that was never finished. Wonder how Thanatos would have tied into that plot? Maybe as a side villain like Solich is now? Or the mastermind that gets dispatched before his minion? Well, curious thing to add here is that uh, way back in ARC III when we first learnt about the Forbidden Spell of Rebirth, Solik said that Thanatos was revived as a lich by... Volrath Blacksteele.
ZENO: Thank you. I'm... glad to have more insight.
MEPHESTO: I thought it was something you should know. I couldn't bear to see that happen to anyone else. We can't lose more visionaries like gim to this conflict.
GWYNETH: Once we defeated Sandhar(sic), I dispelled the dark magic in the area. I thought that was the end of it, but now I'm not so sure.
I hear about the skills of the sorceress currently allied with Stephen Farmast... and I wonder if that's where it really went.
ZENO: You're saying... that Elissa somehow tapped into the power left behind from the spell Volrath and Sandahar cast?
A familiar looking person walks on in.
FIONA: I thought so...
It's you, Zeno. By Arcadius...
Come on, let's talk over here.
FIONA: You don't ever have to apologize for what you are to me... or anyone who was in our knighthood. You know that.
ZENO: Uh... How have you been?
FIONA: *chuckle* A lot has changed since we last saw each other.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OshTocyMPIQ Epica - The Alleged Paradigm.
ZENO: Your son?! So...
FIONA: Yes. Volrath was his father.
ZENO: I understand now. That was why you left the castle before the battle.
FIONA: It's true. And at the time, I was so furious he made me leave him. But he was right.
No matter what, we had to make sure his future was secure. We had to try and give him the chances we never had.
The two look at each other and then look back out at... whatever they're looking at.
FIONA: I thought so. Seeing me must have brought back memories of all of us... especially her.
I couldn't believe my ears when I first heard that. She was like a sister... It must have been even harder for you.
ZENO: I had never met anyone like her. And in the years since, everyone I have met just doesn't... measure up.
FIONA: Yeah... I sure know that feeling.
I always felt like I had pulled the rug out from under him... Like he just could not understand why I loved him so much.
To me, it was always obvious... But never to him.
I tried so hard to... make his world a little brighter. But to this day, I still wonder if he was ever able to ignore those doubts and accept how much he meant to me.
ZENO: He did.
"But if he had actually done that..."
FIONA: ... He wouldn't have been the person we knew.
ZENO: So what brought you to Solendus? *Chuckle* It's certainly the last place I would expect to see Volrath's son.
FIONA: Ha! Me too! But... I had nowhere to go when I left. And this city is where I grew up.
I did everything I could to keep Warren's father a secret. But somehow Stephen Farmast found out. You can imagine what he had planned.
I realize that someday Warren will be making his own choices, but he is not yet an adult... and I don't want him taking part in any war... on either side.
Stephen wouldn't accept that. When he tried to force Warren to join up with his army, it was Mephesto who came to our rescue.
He has a lot more sense and perspective than the other knighthood leaders... Probably because he's been around so damn long.
It makes me furious what Stephen's done in Volrath's name. Our son is too young to restore our family's honor... but I'm not.
We can't stop now!
I'm not sure if Stormblade is the grandmaster yet but do recall his family name will be stained for most of a millenium due to the knighthood collapsing beneath him.
MEPHESTO: You won't, will you? Well then, you can fight off Stephen and Elissa yourself!
Are you going to allow this to come to that? Or will you just let it go?
Stormblade storms out as Mephesto continues shouting at him.
"The knighthood I remember was above these lies and distortions, Stormblade! You would do well to remember that!"
MEPHESTO: He's upset because I'm protecting Roland Porre from him.
ZENO: Who is that?
MEPHESTO: A young kid from Solendus who took an interest in the knighthood's history. Suffice it to say that the chapters focused on recent history don't paint a nice picture.
Stormblade's doing all he can to keep the publc(sic) in the dark, something I don't approve of.
*sigh* The knighthood is through no matter what happens with Stephen and Elissa.
ZENO: Really? What's going on?
MEPHESTO: Every day, we get more resignations from knights. People who have donated to the knighthood for generations now want no part of it.
I've seen this coming for a while now... and it's all because of your hero. At first, I resented him for it.
This knighthood meant a great deal to me in my younger days... but now that I see how the officials behave when they are under stress, I understand why it had to be done.
ZENO: I've been meaning to ask you... You once said you were undead at some point. How is that possible? Or did I just hear wrong?
MEPHESTO: No, you heard right. I consider this my "third life." My first life ended in battle against the necromancers centuries ago.
Thaniel Mortrus, my old enemy from those times, came back as a lich. I guess he couldn't resist the idea of having me under his control.
Though I didn't get used to my skeleton self in time. Didn't take long for that body to get destroyed.
After that, he managed to cast a rare spell that can fully restore life. He used mind-control to keep me in line, but that only worked for so long.
So he's gone... and I'm still here.
ZENO: So... it is possible to be brought back as a human even if you're undead?
MEPHESTO: I suppose I'm proof of that. But I don't think it happens all that often.
I know what you're thinking... and don't do that to yourself. If you spend your existence waiting for that, it will just leave you with disappointment.
You may look different, but you are the same man. You have nothing to be ashamed of, Zeno.
DALTON: Ah, it was easy.
GWYNETH: Save the jokes for later. We have a serious problem.
MEPHESTO: What's going on?
MEPHESTO: They want to mount an attack on the city itself? That's even more bold than usual. What has them so confident?
GWYNETH: I thought you might ask that. Some scouts reported that she's recently been traveling with some... creature.
It... resembles a skeleton... But it's enormous. Human bones, but the creature is the size of a minotaur.
MEPHESTO: By Arcadius... what sort of sorcery has she mastered now?
Well... it's obvious that we can't allow them to reach the city walls. Gather the army. We will engage them in the forests.
Stephen appears on the battlefield.
So she rushes over to attack him, abandoning her fight with a witch looking girl. At the far right there. Also getting strong Kefka vibes from this text.
FIONA: Save your self-righteous bluster. Your soul is long gone, you opportunistic ingrate!
Gwyneth covers her back by taking on the witch.
STEPHEN: Dead set on fighting me, are you? Fine then, let's settle this.
He leads Fiona offscreen.
Now Elissa shows up!
ELISSA: I couldn't agree more, general.
The same dramatic choir track as when we first saw Enkur starts playing.
ELISSA: You should have seen it coming, fool! After all, I see you have recruited one of my earlier attempts.
But now your entire force shall fall before my ultimate triumph. Destroy them all, Enkur!
ZENO: Enkur? It can't be...
Enkur effortlessly hurls a few men around the screen.
MEPHESTO: We have to get to Elissa... Who knows what else she has in store for us. Dalton! Gwyneth! Come on!
When Zeno backs out of the way, Enkur follows. This lets the others go after Elissa but...
"Don't you see how pathetic this is? Look at us, we're both not even human anymore! Yet we're still stuck in this loop, fighting over and over again!
Let's end it now... before we destroy each other for good!"
Zeno and Enkur have a brief fight. Enkur pulverises a boulder into rubble with one blow, and every time he hits Zeno, Zeno's propelled a decent distance.
"... But I doubt it. Each of his blows felt like getting hit with a dozen hammers at once.
I had managed to keep him away from the other soldiers... but once I was gone, I knew he would wreak havoc.
I thought all was lost. But then..."
There's a roar, and then...
ELISSA: You and all those who follow you shall suffer for your insolence! You will see destruction beyond anything you have ever imagined!
You pitiful children of Arcadius shall fight and kill one another until you are no more! I may die... but you will all burn!
That's another roar, and a brief blackout of the screen and then Elissa's gone. Enkur groans.
Then Enkur flees to the north.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHbaL56eta4 'Volrath's Castle' aka 'Caught in a Web' by Epica
"Her death disoriented Stephen as well... enough for Fiona to gain the upper hand. It proved to be the last battle in the Solendian Civil War.
Mephesto's prediction had been accurate. Too many people could now see how the Solendian Knighthood had declined.
Facing no new membership, and a tide of knights leaving... it collapsed.
I remained in the area for several decades. Thanks to Fiona, Warren turned into a young man of great character. He never became as famous as his father, but he spent his whole life active in causes designed to help others.
A quiet way to honor his parents. Fiona never married.
I found out that my old friend Wisel had left Stephen's knighthood not long after my death. He did get married, and had a whole bunch of kids.
I was glad. At least someone in the old group deserved a happy ending. I spent a great deal of time with them.
But the years went on... and eventually everyone around me grew old and passed on. One day, I realized I was living in a city where I knew no one.
I drifted back to the Nuntak area. It seemed like the only place where I had any roots. On my way there, I ran into a bit of trouble."
Now, I took the liberty of recording this next sequence, since I felt it'd work much better this way. Hopefully, it won't get copyright claimed.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tlXF79I3gDY IMPORTANT WATCH
Anyway, even after all that, we still haven't seen how Stoic sealed Enkur in a cave in the middle of nowhere... But we did see a bunch of other interesting things. Well, interesting to me, at least.
Also I think you can see where the thing about the Rain of Fire being basically Solest's 9/11 comes from. I've not seen Volrath explicitly say that himself, I believe, but as we've covered ages ago, he had just moved to New York at the time and started making Clean Slate to take his mind off of it.