Part 57: ARC VI: Villains Ascendant.ARC VI Part 1: Villains Ascendant.
At long last, the penultimate arc.
But before we get into that, I thought I should add somethings for the sake of when this LP (hopefully) is uploaded to the archive. Firstly, I bought Volrath an account after the Arc V finale update and he's been kind enough to take the time to post in the thread.
Volrath posted:Hey, everyone. I wrote this game and since this thread was brought to my attention I've really been enjoying it. I've seen a lot of commentary on the first few hours of the game but now we're coming up on the endgame stuff which didn't get as much so I'm excited for that.
I don't want to take up too much attention since our host is already doing a fine job discussing the story, but since I'm posting I'll say a few things about Sparrow and that whole plotline. It was mostly inspired by Roger Stern's run on the Spider-Man comics in the 80s, the Hobgoblin stories in particular. The "false unmasking" at the end of Arc IV was something that the Hobgoblin pulled like 3 or 4 times before he was finally unmasked.
Seraphic Neoman posted:Was there any hints of that twist? I cannot remember.
It's mostly lines of dialogue that read differently once you know the truth. Auburn's speech to Goma after beating him in Arc III and her sarcastic comment to Finley in Arc IV that "I left my costume at home." And there's one more clue that's been there the whole time. Her last name, Iliaca. Google "fox sparrow" and take a look at some of the details.
I really appreciate everyone's interest in the storyline, it's nice to have people talking about the game so long after it's release. Peace bros.
Anyway, there was also more subtle hints like Auburn and the Sparrow both being hire by Kovak in Gallia. The original Sparrow donned the costume to protect his wife and stepchildren and then died in the 'collapse of his home'. Auburn's hometown collapsed when she was very young and then she was taken in by a thug named Goma.
The game does try to lead you to believe the Sparrow might be Rayne Mistral, Cade's missing elder brother, but it's a red herring. One you might figure out ahead of time since at one point The Hand discusses Rayne Mistral in such a way that it's very unlikely he's the Sparrow without their knowledge.
Anyway! On with the show! In the next scene we have no music to start, just birdsong.
"the Harrol Community.
Thanks to the jobs and revenue provided by his group's activities, our town has blossomed from a struggling village into a vibrant city which shall benefit not only our people but the people of Solest as a whole."
This might just be only the second scene in the game featuring Ketsu without 'Coma' by Apocalyptica humming ominously in the background. The other time was the resurrection of Ariel.
"However, what means more to me than a framed letter of praise is being able to see the difference our work has made in this community.
Lifting people out of poverty has long been a central tenet of The Palm of Arcadius. Now, thanks yo your hard work, we will have a suitable headquarters where we can oversee our efforts to improve the lives of Arcadius's children all over Solest."
Wow he just cannot give up the hand thing.
Anyway, people start to clap. Then there's yelling and... Ketsu cries out 'Arrgh!' and falls after a bow shot sound effect plays.
Everyone runs everywhere, yelling and screaming, except... bizarrely, Cari. Maybe she's frozen in shock at the sight of her beloved brother being shot dead? But she's a psychic and--
I do believe that's Violet in the front row. Haven't seen her in ages, actually Evrind (monk kid, little bro of Dican) was there with the Hand too and we've barely seen him since Arc III. Also Vec and Emma are there but Kovak is absent so he must be in a cell or something still.
Well, good work! Now, we just have to do something about Ariel and make sure the case against Equipment King is airtight.
""The Palm," but you know them better by their real name... The Hand!"
Yeah, let's do that!
Huh?! What do you mean no?! Come to the think of it, why didn't you warn us about this, Cari?!
You're supposed to be the all-seeing mystic, and you just stood there while those animals attacked him!
MAYOR: What's going on here?!
"Vec... Should we do something?"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LETrhOP90p4 'Intro, The Silent Force by Within Temptation'
... Is this the same faceset she has in Clean Slate? Can't remember by now.
Master Ketsu... What in the name of Arcadius is happening?
You will soon see.
What?! Cari, I am seriously not in the mood for this right now! You had better explain yourself!
Ah hell, he's in his final form already. Isn't this a tad early for that?
By the gods! That's... It's just like Dasani.
Oh right, it's also very bad for a whole different reason.
It's me, Cleon. Don't worry.
Now you see. I was frightened when I first dreamt of this attack, but some time later I began to see it could work in our favor.
I always imagined my dedication to Arcadius would eventually yield this honor... But I did not expect it so soon.
It appears our new friend's treachery has expedited things.
"Like that horrible Boreal woman. If he was able to manage whatever trick she had up her sleeve, perhaps there's more to him than I thought."
She still has a grudge against Dasani, haha. She was one of the only people to ever get under Ariel's skin, even though she lost their duel, which I briefly covered in one of the Clean Slate updates.
There's still something so familiar about him... I can't place it.
She teleports away.
I don't like this... Something doesn't feel right.
We are witnessing history, Violet. In times past, centuries would go by before a person appeared who could achieve this power.
What sort of power?
It is not a power to fear, friend. I am pleased some of you are still here to tell others what you have seen today.
For centuries, humanity has struggled with the mystery behind Arcadius's whims.
But now, he has blessed me with these wings and untold power... Power enough to enact his will.
How long I dreamed of this honor... and now I have finally earned it.
Damn, Tyranda's pretty gutsy.
"But then again... If you manage to get into his realm... They've seriously lowered the standards."
More troublemaking, huh? Why are those guards taking so long?
I told them not to come.
And they listened to you?
I didn't say I asked.
That's all well and good, because I'm going to flatten this junior assassin myself!
Stand down, Lieutenants.
The music stops.
"I'll handle this."
Ketsu takes flight.
Ketsu takes out Ty as Morias runs up.
And the teal haired woman on the bench reveals herself to be Pilc.
Ketsu effortlessly dodges a jump attack from behind.
Thank you for the warning, Cari.
The woman with the pink hair has psychic abilities! Neutralize her!
I think not.
Krom takes a rather fancy looking attack of multiple slashes and some kind of starbust effect.
Get behind me, Krom!
Pilc turns into some kind of flying lizard.
I believe Morias tries shooting next, but whatever he does, Ketsu dodges it by displaying his master of strafing back and forth.
Damn it! He's quick! And my traps are useless as long as he's airborne!
Douglas the tiger comes up stealthily but Ketsu nails him with holy magic.
I'm not sure he needs the help.
Shadehorn tries to get the drop on Cari but Ketsu swoops over to foil him.
Cowards! Face me instead of staging these pitiful attempts to attack my subordinates!
Arrgh! Watch the wings! He's made them as sharp as blades!
Ketsu dispels Pilcs transformation...
... destroys a shot from Morias in mid air...
... and then blasts Morias with a holy spell, all in rapid succession, without the second or two of casting time we normally see mages require.
It would require a massive reserve of magical strength, which this odd transformation appears to have given him.
You fools are only now realizing how thoroughly outclassed you are. I've been able to defeat you all without the aid of my three lieutenants.
They're not quite as powerful as I am, but they are all far ahead of their peers when it comes to their chosen specialties.
So even if you had somehow beaten me, they would have finished you! You see? You never had a chance!
And who are you?
I am General Cyneric Alkugash the Third. I have fought against your type of slime all my life, and I do not intend to concede defeat simply because you seek to outdo your predecessors in terms of arrogant bluster.
Come on, then. Let us see if your dark goddess stands behind you the way Arcadius guides me.
Then Ketsu blasts Cyneric with a swirly starry looking spell.
This situation is growing dire. We must regroup.
Pilc stands by Tyranda, who stirs.
Come on, Morias. Snap out of it, buddy.
Impressive. I thought that spell would at least knock you down.
Not a chance.
Cyn marches forward as Ketsu slings a slew of spells at him.
Fall, damn you! Why won't you fall?!
Orcs do not fall to one such as you.
*Chuckle* I can see through your bravado. You have not fallen, but you are weak.
If you really are a general, then you surely have realized by now that you can't win.
Toutens... fall back.
... No, it isn't. Not yet, at least. But it will be soon for all of you.
You fools expect to leave here alive?1
Cyneric takes off.
"I shall be the instrument of his will, and we shall finally see the end of all their foul races!"
Just like so many far-right types, you JUST FUCKED UP, Ketsu, by saying the quiet part way too loud instead of just kind of loud.
That almost sounds like...
Yes. I'm afraid I've terribly misjudged this entire situation.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9bX6pGKH0M 'Emotional Battle' aka Soul Calibur II OST - 'If There Were Any Other Way'
Hmm? Mina Lolian? Don't tell me you intend to fight me as well. You were so welcoming when we first arrived here.
Unfortunately, I thought your intentions were pure when you said your group would help Harrol.
But they are! They are the purest intentions possible.
There is nothing pure about ignorance and bigotry... and that's all this Gallian drivel has ever been.
Like the general, I too have dedicated my life to protecting the other races of Solest from the likes of you.
I did not fight against Gallia's armies only to see their hateful cause take root in my hometown!
She uses a wind spell to blow away Ketsu...
And a second to propell herself...
So Ketsu's counter misses.
Enough of this! You're going to get yourself killed!
Ketsu counters with his own spell, and Mina dodges too
*Chuckle* You would say that.
You know... an old friend of mine, Turnus Worrell, used to say that he found no greater satisfaction than seeing a fanatic realize all of his rigid rhetoric could be proven dead wrong by those he put down.
You can only succeed in simplifying the world for so long.
Then they engage in a melee and Mina comes out the worse.
No man-made weapon can stand up to these wings... and no unbeliever can hope to defeat someone Arcadius has chosen as his messenger.
And Ketsu nails her with a spell.
Get her some care. She deserves to experience the sort of moral defeat she wished upon me.
I think we are done here.
Nothing at all? But we were able to track him all across this island before thanks to your powers.
The difference is that this time he doesn't want to be found.
He knew we were tailing him, but he wanted us to find him in the hopes that seeing me would get Enkur riled up and ready to wreak some havoc.
Dark magic is the natural opposite of holy magic, so most dark mages are able to protect their minds against telepathy.
Seems clear we won't find him that way.
Notably, Lysander neglected to do this despite being a dark mage and a general because he didn't think it'd be useful in combat. Gahaha.
In his defense it's supposed to be rare, but still... I suppose it's not something dark mages have up all the time either, since Solik had his mind read by Cari way back in Arc III, which upset him.
I fear you're right... But I don't know what else we can do.
Also if Solich really needed to get away he could probably like float or walk on the bottom of the sea.
Yeah... It may be best for us to just cut our losses and head back to civilisation. There's still Equipment King and The Hand to deal with.
One of us should find Shroud and tell him we're preparing to depart.
Sheesh... Who wants that lovely task? Should we draw straws?
Baron, that's awful! At times like these, we need to be more supportive, not less.
*Sigh* I know, but have you tried talking to him lately? He's like a living statue or something.
You tell him something... He listens... but you know it doesn't matter. He's just... shut himself off.
He will be fine in the end. We'll tell him our plans before we sleep this evening and then catch a ship tomorrow morning.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X130NPh92HM 'Defined By A Mask' aka. 'Mask of Kemosabe', Bubba Ho-Tep OST
He uses a wind spell to clear some rocks away from a hole.
I can't believe this... She kept it.
This'd be the copy from the monastery that was stolen from the carriage way back and it was assumed it would have been burnt. I believe Marin took the copy we got from his shack with him.
"In my sessions with the officer who interviewed me, I emphasized my credentials as a writer and a historian in order to get a job working inside The Hand's archives.
This would give me an opportunity to access detailed information about the cult's activities."
"crimes under society's nose. Their leader, Ketsu, often spoke on behalf of the group at very public events, while those who attended such gatherings had no clue of the dark dealings he and his upper echelon were involved in."
Why do I know that name... *Gasp* That guy at the monastery! ... I knew he was no good.
"Those who knew him described him as obsessed with the historical implications of The Rain of Fire, which is seen by those with Gallian views as a seminal event which snapped Solest's people out of complacency and led to a rebirth of the supposed true values of Arcadius.
But centuries had passed, and Gallia was gone. The Rain of Fire was too far in the past to have any of the fearsome power it once had."
"position much longer than his two counterparts."
Dican and Voyd would have been the other two lieutenants back then, probably. Danika replaced Dican after his death.
"He had originally joined The Hand as a young adult, and Ketsu assigned him to take charge of a key component of his overall master plan. He would lead squads Hand agents to various towns in Solest in hopes of--"
Yeah, I'd say that's true. But I wanted to get a look at this northern side of the island before we set out.
By Arcadius... Such rugged beauty. It's breathtaking.
Man, it feels like its been ages since we've seen Gino.
I dunno, G-Note. I think all the scary stuff that went on here kinda ruined the scenery for me.
You look like you're straining... Everything okay?
Huh? Oh, that's my backpack. I just keep getting more guns and this bag has gotten heavy.
Laurel walks on screen from the right, behind the dialogue.
Hmm... I've been looking for a chance to get more familiar with those guns of yours.
You should! They're the weapons of the future! I'll let you check them out while we're on the ship.
Perhaps I can even come up with a way to consolidate them...
Not a trace. I'm not sure he's even still in Overmoss.
*Sigh* Great. Laurel, can you help out with this?
He's not gonna like that.
Well, he hasn't given us much of a choice!
I'll find him.
Cade jumps in surprise.
... Yes. Sorry, but we're just wondering where you are.
... Just taking a walk.
Cade... I'm sorry I didn't tell you about Auburn. I... could have made it easier on you.
I doubt that. But it doesn't even matter anymore.
Doesn't... Cade, what's going on? What are you planning?
What?! Are you out of you mind?!
Cade runs across the bridge.
We need a ship to Harrol immediately! When is the next one due?
DOCKWORKER: Oh boy... you picked a bad time for that.
Why, what's going on?
DOCKWORKER: The docks are a mess! It will take some time to get them back in good enough shape to deal with ships.
By Arcadius! How in tarnation did that happen?
"Then... just like that, it was over!"
"Freak windstorm?" Of all the stubborn, impulsive...
... What's so good about it?
Hmm... Not all that much. But there's no reason to lose hope. I think we can make a strong case for your innocence.
Kovak bangs on the cell doors.
I'm glad you're getting this out of your system now... We don't dare say it in the courtroom.
By Arcadius, that little punk was right all along. I know he and his sidekicks are behind this... and that miserable Ketsu has abandoned us!
Friends like him we don't need. A shame we learned that much too late.
But we can't end it like this. Not after all we've accomplished.
*Sigh* I'm not a young man anymore. I don't have much time left... I can't spend it here.
You're my best friend, Vec. We've worked together for decades. If anyone can get me out of this, it's you.
I shall do my best.
Rana comes up to the top deck, and jumps in surprise when she sees Cade.
Please go away.
And you're going to honor that decision even though he's not here... You're a good friend.
A better friend than you.
To Bones and Finley, maybe. But you've always been kinda snippy and cold to Laurel.
... You're right. I've made all the wrong choices.
It's just... Once I got in so deep, I was afraid to try and get out.
I don't remember saying that I wanted to hear any of this.
Even when we first met those people in the cult... I knew something was wrong then.
Yes. I know they are your enemies. We heard quite a bit about the trouble you had caused them.
Are you on this ship so you can meet up with them in Harrol?
No... I'm not even going to Harrol. It's just the first stop on this ship's route.
But... while you were with them, did you learn much about their operations and stuff?
Yes, plenty. What would you like to know?
Heh heh. Keep this up and you might get on my good side. Now where do I start...
And that's the opening cutscenes out of the way. We'll be starting with actual gameplay next update, as Cade/Shroud does something very rash.