Part 62: ARC VII: The Great Awakening.ARC VII: The Great Awakening.
So, when we last off... Rayne was captured and shocked to learn that Ketsu had everyone else he needed already...
Solich has somehow found or resurrected Elissa Brightwey...
Auburn's joined our team...
Laurel's earned her own wings...
And Stoic, learning of Ariel's resurrection, suggested we speak to Arius and Nova Sherron.
So, let's get to it. We're starting with a very illuminating scene.
Ariel's walking down a hall as Ketsu leaves a room.
It's hard to say goodbye. I hoped my mother would at least live to see the Great Awakening.
But now... I don't think she will last the night. For all the power I have been given, I still have no way to halt the passage of time.
Well, you could try necromancy.
lol. Brief pause here.
That's not funny.
???: It will happen to you one day... Provided you don't get yourself killed again in the meantime.
*Chuckle* I never understood you, Erva.
You were one of the greatest psychics of all time, but you never wanted to use your power for anything!
I never figured out why Lysander found you so useful.
If Erva sounds familiar, it should. That's Lysander's psychic friend that shows up a few times in Clean Slate. She feared her own powers and refused to use them for anyone -but- Lysander.
And even when she read Arius's mind and discovered he wasn't Lysander, she refused to intervene to change the future she'd seen: Two Lysander's, one of which strikes the other down.
ERVA: We don't all view people as tools, Ariel. Lysander valued my friendship more than any of my skills.
Turns out I was wrong about you in the end. I'm impressed with what you've accomplished since I died.
*Chuckle* He even thinks you're his real mother.
ERVA: ... So you figured it out.
Took me a while, but I did.
But now that you're about to bite it, who's going to keep it going?
ERVA: That will be up to Cari.
You know... This whole "Great Awakening" thing sounds very familiar. How much research did he do on Lysander when he was putting this group together?
ERVA: ... It was exhaustive. We even found some of his journals inside the ruins of the Great Gallian Fort.
Thought so. This idea of using the best elemental mages... Lysander used to talk about it often. He was going to look into the details once we put the rebellion down. Unfortunately, that didn't happen.
ERVA: Is that so? I have a hard time imagining he would have gone through with it after what you did to Lynnia. I think he would have retired.
Retire? At 33 years old? You're nuts. I would have gotten him back into the spirit.
In any case, I'm glad the plan's coming together, because I always thought it had a lot of merit.
Lysander used to say, "The future of warfare shall belong to those who control the elements."
Guess I'm done here. Good luck wherever you're going. Send me a letter if you can.
Ariel starts to leave but-
"He has worked so hard."
Heh, sure. I'll help.
None of that!
Hey, he might not even have those wings if it wasn't for me! But don't waste your time giving me problems. Your mom's gonna croak any second.
Cari dashes into Erva's room.
I wonder where Galdar, Mina and Violet walked off to.
Not sure... We might have been able to ride here with him if someone hadn't complained so loudly.
Whatever, B-Man! We were all thinking it, I'm just the only one who said it. Who wants to share a carriage with a minotaur? They're huge!
I can't say I disagree. We're still using carriages from Gallian times, when other races weren't considered.
Perhaps, perhaps. I just think someone in his position deserves at least a smidgen of respect.
Bleh bleh bleh. Nobody ever worried about showing me respect.
Mmm... Wonder why that is.
Well, let's not waste any more time.
Before we head into Guardia, let's take a short walk.
It's not a "thing." It's a dragon. Show some respect.
Wow, I've never seen one.
I wasn't even sure they existed. Guess that settles that.
The dragon turns and walks into the sea.
It doesn't really look the same but... A beach somewhere around Gallia is where an amnesiac Lysander washed up after his ship was sunk. He'd been on his way to destroy Guardia, since it'd been constructed as a honeypot trap for Gallian dissidents.
Ariel was on the Guardian council.
Anyway, let's finally go to Guardia.
So where's Galdar's place?
He didn't say. Let's go take a look around.
Seriously can't believe this was the final faceset...
... Arius? It's me... Stoic.
Though I'm not wearing my war uniform at the moment.
... Ah, yes of course!
By Arcadius, I haven't seen you in ages! What brings you here?
I wish it was purely social.
But we have very serious matters to discuss with you and Nova.
I thought as much. But let's do introductions first.
Right. These are my friends. Cade Mistral, Finley Donner and Auburn... uh...
Iliaca. Don't feel bad. A lot of people have trouble pronouncing it.
This is General Arius Sherron. I served under him during the final battles against Gallia.
Nice to meet you, General.
Go easy, please. I haven't commanded troops in 30 years, so "General" is a bit of a misnomer.
At the moment, I'm on my way to a party hosted by my old friend Turnus Worrell.
I invite you all to attend as well.
He will be delighted to see you, Stoic.
And it will give you a chance to speak with all of us at once. After that, you are welcome to stay the evening at my home.
It's the least I can do for someone who helped free us from Gallia's rule.
Awesome! Where's the party at?
He tells us it's at the town beachfront and departs.
So are we sure that this is really a resurrected Gallian big shot and not someone with a similar name?
Has to be. She looked to be in her thirties as far as age goes, but I heard her talking about her memories of the wars and stuff.
So unless she was fighting these battles as an infant, there has to be some resurrection involved.
Or she could be very ill. Or lying.
Bones suddenly jumps in surprise after the telepathy sound plays.
What's the deal, man? You got ants in your bones?
It's Ivory. She wants to see us.
Huh? Who is Ivory?
She's an elven psychic. Hugely powerful, much more so than Laurel. I suppose we should see what she wants before we meet up with Arius.
She also fought the Wyvern's Fang Cult along with Shurikra (Turnus' GF) and Britsus the kobold. Britsus writing a journal about that adventure is what enabled Solik to discover where the Altar of the Abyss was.
Ivory had cast a seal on it, but she had apparently neglected to maintain it the last 30 years so it weakened to the point where Rana could break it.
Anyway, we're informed Ivory's home is on the east side of town.
The drama about how long it was taking to finish these towers and how they didn't have weapons was part of what lead Arius to figure out the Guardian Council was up to no good.
Let's go see Gino while we still can.
I couldn't wait! This family is a legend when it comes to weapon sales!
The owners of the weapon store were minor characters in Clean Slate. One of the first things Arius did was rescue the son of the owner when he was abducted by Seth, I believe.
Elsewhere in town, there's a conversation where Finley suggests someone start selling guns and gets a response like "Those things The Baron uses?"
Finley is overcome with excitement that someone has heard of the Baron.
"can go tie a stone to your legs and jump in that fountain!"
Calm down guy
You too, friend.
No need to introduce your companions, I know all their names. I am Ivory Aleska.
... Hi. Uh... How can we help you?
I know that you all have had confrontations with The Hand of Arcadius, particularly you, Cade.
I practically lived with those jerks for the last week or so. We actually came here to get some help dealing with them.
You must have absorbed so much knowledge about their operations! If you allow me to place my hands on both sides of your head, I can see it for myself.
No! No way!
Huh? Come on, Cade!
Just... Just ask whatever questions you have and I'll answer them. Sorry, that's all I'm willing to do.
Oh, I see... You have had a bad experience with some abusing psychic powers.
I never liked this mind-reading crap to start with, and then that woman at the tower... It was horrible!
... It's alright. She's not Cari.
Cari... who is... Is that a psychic?
Yes... A very powerful one.
"Given my abilities, my allies trusted me to track them down. But... I never could. For years, I searched for them... and for Christine.
If they have their own elite psychic in their ranks, it certainly makes sense. She could resist my probing."
Christine? Don't know that name.
She is the reason all of this has a very... personal dimension for me. Christine was my apprentice. The only one I ever had.
Even though she had some latent psychic ability I helped her develop, her real skill was with enchantments. I have never seen such a brilliant enchanter.
With my assistance, she created a special veil that would allow a psychic to control which thoughts could be picked up by other psychics.
The potential it had for reconnaissance wa sso exciting... Oh, but now I'm rambling.
She disappeared several years after... well, I should let him tell you.
Huh? Him who? What are you talking about?
... Nothing. Forget I said anything. I don't want to step on anyone's toes.
You're staying with Arius, correct? I will visit later, and then we can discuss The Hand further.
I'm in textbooks, am I?
That is amusing. That incident was during the time when Arius and his companions were traveling Solest in pursuit of General Lysander.
Shurikra was in charge of defending Guardia, and she asked me to help deal with The Wyvern Fang Cult.
This was a group of fairly psychotic miscreants who we later learned had mastered the Forbidden Spell of Rebirth.
We would defeat their members when they tried to attack Guardia, only to find the same cultists back on our shores within weeks!
I bet they cast that spell about two or three dozen times. Finally, our friend Britsus constructed a raft that we used to sail to Sill Island, home of the altar.
There is an ancient temple of Perditia there... and once we found the altar and defeated the Fang leaders, I used an old ritual to seal the altar's power.
Do you need the altar to cast the rebirth spell?
In theory, no.
But I know of no dark mage who has cast it without using the altar. It is said to still retain some of Perditia's power.
We have very good reason to believe your seal was broken.
Really? And how... Oh goodness. Ariel D'eleficent? Are you certain?
"At least Shurikra and I did. Then Britsus had to write his book. I'm sure that played a role in whatever recent use the altar has seen.
You cannot unring a bell.
By Arcadius... We shall have quite a bit to go over with Arius later."
Well... Dasani and I were in the same squad during the last battle with Gallia, so you could say we... bonded on the battlefield.
It was so sad when she died, though given how short human lives are, it was not a surprise. I also got to know Lily very well over the years.
The younger one, Laurel... I only met her a couple times. The last time I saw her, she was much younger. I sense that she has been traveling with you recently, so perhaps I will have a chance to see her again."
"You hear someone giving a compliment, and then you realize they are thinking the exact opposite.
Or you can tell when someone is simply lying to try and impress others. It makes you quite cynical after a while. Psychic power is not always pleasant.
But I do enjoy spending time with Arius and his family... They are all very genuine people. I look forward to our discussions latr."
Well, that's all we have to ask about, so let's go!
Ha ha ha! And I always thought blondes were dumb.
Uh, I hope you just meant blonde women... Of course, I'm a redhead guy myself.
I know you are, Blondie.
Still... That Cari wench has purple hair, so figure that one out.
There are many psychics that do not become as prominent as the ones we have met... I wonder how many there really are... Constantly reading our minds.
Sheesh... This stuff makes me paranoid enough already.
Lighten up and let's get to that party before it's over!
I believe it burnt down when Seth blew it up to murder the Guardian Council. He even nearly got Ariel at that time.
Oh boy. There's... a lot of words in here. I might just do a supplementary update with all this instead of dropping it all here in the middle of this update. There's also a test based on the content of these books to win an item.
Continuing around town...
Anyway, that guy goes on to say Shurikra made Turnus give up the shack and buy a nice place on the beach. Turnus then donated the shack to Guardia to be used as a shelter.
A lodite in a wagon on the edge of town makes magic weapons. His name is Ted.
Anyway, to make this sabre he gives you a list of ingredients to track down. The actual labor will only cost 250 gp.
This is a bit of a scavenger hunt like when we remade Mina's Spear in Harrol.
In the bank just south of the wagon...
MAN: Yes! Feel free to take one, if you like. They no longer have any value, but they are very historic!
Wow. Haven't seen one of these in a long time.
We get a Solendian Coin, which is one of the ingredients.
SCIENTIST: Volcanic ash, you say... Why yes, I do have some! Straight from Boreal! Did you know there has not been an eruption there for over three centuries?
You don't say? It sounds like they're overdue for one. Any day now.
I don't mind if you take a small pinch but I wonder why you possibly want it.
We were told we needed it for a weapon we're trying to craft.
SCIENTIST: Ah, alchemy! Well it shall serve you well. This ash is highly effective to enchanters.
We grab the ash and...
???: Hi! I'm Aero!
Whoa! It talks?!
AERO: Hey, don't call me "it!" That is not cool!
Where did she come from?
It's a girl? How do you even know?
AERO: Oh, now you're pushing it!
SCIENTIST: I'm not sure, to be honest. I was mixing a lot of chemicals one day, and boom! When the smoke cleared, there she was!
She's a great help around the lab, so I don't mind!
AERO: Solest is okay. I'll stick around for a while and then head back home!
SCIENTIST: You should hear some of the stories she tells... giant trees... all sorts of wild stuff!
AERO: Sheesh, enough with the staring. I wish this place was more used to leebles.
Uhm. Sure. Let's move on.
The last ingredient is the seashell so....
The Hall of History had a book called Dragon Lore that I'll type out in full in the next update, but about the dragon we saw here earlier...
The book said seeing a dragon was such a rare and momentous event that the view is meant to be conferred a benefit depending on the colour of the dragon.
Blue dragons were seen as symbols of wisdom and understanding, and those traits would gradually pass on to those who had seen it.
You know it.
Very nice. Very nice indeed.
Only one though... Maybe we'll get another good sword later.
Oh well. We're done now. Time to go to this party. We go the beach and are immediately confronted by Turnus.
Also there's an assload of conversation here.
Oh... You don't have to.
What?! No real man turns down food! Now pick your fish! I got your cod, your haddock, your salmon...
That's better! "I don't have to." What a bunch of crap. Your fish will be ready in a few minutes.
So! Now we get to wander around the party and talk to everyone.
Well, well. Alko's here. He was one of Seth's party, along with Mina and Zala. Half-elf Shadow Mage if you've forgotten.
Cade Mistral, nice to meet you.
I've got a lot of respect for Mina. She and I worked together for a long time, along with Zala and Seth.
You're all a very tight knit group.
Yeah... Did you get a chance to meet Ivory? Do you know if she's coming?
It didn't seem like she was going to show up. Why do you ask?
Oh, Zala's here too!
Heh, nothing to be ashamed of. She's got this cute mystic chick thing going, I could see the appeal.
Ha ha ha! Alko, you should write that on a card for her!
*Sigh* I never get to hold onto my dignity for long at these get-togethers.
The conversation ends here, but you can talk to him again.
Yeah. A guy named Voyd. The others were the ones who tangled with him, though.
I'm a shadow mage myself, but probably not on his level.
I have to admit I sometimes get the magic schools mixed up. Is shadow another element?
Nah, shadow is an offshoot of dark magic, sort of like necromancy in that sense.
Mages who are interested in things like stealth or reconnaissance often specialize in shadow magic rather than just the basic dark magic.
An expert shadow mage won't be seen or heard by his enemies until it's far too late. And you're able to walk through solid objects like walls or trees.
We're not invincible, though. Telepaths can sense us, though there are some dark magic spells which can hide your thoughts.
A kobold's nose is almost always powerful enough to catch our scents, however, and none of us have been able to find a way to get around that.
Appreciate the information.
One last time...
No wonder she has a temper.
So what's going on with laurel? Why all the secrecy?
Sorry, man. You're not going to pry it out of me. She'll know right away if I squeal!
Then there's a pause.
Do you ever feel like you're in over your head?
Yeah, you better believe it.
"I just thought we would be chasing vampires and thieves."
Well... There's a lot of petty crime out there, that's for sure.
But if we really want to do good in the world, we have to go further.
At least, that's what I think. Because there will always be bank robbers. But maybe one day, there won't be any groups like The Hand.
If it feels like too much... I would understand if you wanted to get out.
No way, man! If I felt like that, I would have bailed a long time ago!
Oh, it does.
That's part of the "hero" thing... and by now, you're a full-fledged hero.
Wow! You really mean that?
Thanks! That's just... wow.
I like this little chat a lot. So proud of this goober.
We only just found out. The different last names are a killer.
Ah, yeah. Funny how that works out. Maybe now you can get some good real estate deals.
Ha ha, hey! No family favoritism! I don't even decide the prices anyway, that's not my job.
I just walk the property with you and tell you how great it is.
I've been thinking about getting a small place in Port Arianna at some point.
Yeah! Just stop by the office when things have settle down and I'll help you out!
On to Violet.
Well, I don't think I would have put it like that.
You're Shroud... Your roommate is Stoic... Your neighbor is The Baron... and she's The Sparrow!
I really encourage friends to call me Auburn, especially when I'm not in the costume.
But how can you guys get along? Didn't you fight all the time when you were in costume?
I won two out of three.
Yeah well, don't get too high and mighty about it. There's always someone better, as you never failed to remind me.
Ha ha ha!
Man, when you snuck into our room at Cassie's place in Artagel and took Wyre's report... and then left that obnoxious note...
You're lucky I would rather hug you than smack you.
Oh dear! Let's not start a brawl right here... Might put a damper on the party.
You needed that. I've always liked you, Cade... But Shroud... he's kind of a know it all jerk.
Oh boy... Should have realized it's still a bit of a sore subject.
You know... I have an idea. But I'll tell you later. I gotta think it over for a little while.
I never our family was so important.
I don't think most of our ancestors felt our hereditary skill was all that important, either.
I didn't even hear the Mistral name around the house all that often as a child, given that my mother took her husband's family name.
"It only becomes useful when someone like Ketsu wants to use it for fear and destruction."
"Is that even possible? Can we do that?"
We can... though not without a great effort. I don't think too many of our ancestors wanted to try... for obvious reasons.
If the world at large knew more about the true potential of elemental magic, and what the five "original families" are capable of, I fear that it would have terrifying ramifications.
The Solendian Knighthood looked down on magic, and while Gallians allowed it, their primary military concern was always strength in numbers. However, as our society moves forward, warfare will only become more advanced. Magic may play a larger role somedya.
We can only hope our conscience keeps pace with our capacity for destroying the world around us.
"He and Vanessa were married in Harrol, and most of the Mistrals came to the ceremony. Afterward, he moved south to where you grew up.
I meant to visit him, but shortly after they left town, the necromancers began their attempts to dominate Harrol. I met Seth and then went to war."
"He was such a giving person. I don't think he ever told anyone "No."
Except The Hand, from what you've told me."
When I was born, Gallia was long gone. Yet you're saying they were married during the Empire's reign.
But he didn't join the war effort. I guess I should be grateful, since I might not be alive if he had.
He was not a warrior. I think you get your combative side from your mother. Arcadius knows, Rayne has it in spades.
But doing good was still important to him. Do you know why he moved his farm so close to Rellenia before you and Rayne were born?
... No. Why?
The Gallia invasion had completely destroyed their agriculture... to say nothing of the city itself.
... I never knew that. Thank you for telling me.
Did you ever visit the farm? You mentioned you had seen me when I was a baby.
I did manage to visit once. You couldn't have been more than two years old.
But when he died... I couldn't make the funeral. There was a dispute between the new council of Gallia and the elves, we feared war.
That's still not an excuse. If you and Rayne ever needed me... it was then. I hope you can forgive me.
It wasn't your responsibility.
I'm not sure about that. But I won't let it happen again. After all... I'll probably retire soon.
You and Violet will be trying to come up with ways to get rid of me!
*Chuckle* I doubt that.
... Yeah. Sorry about Finley.
Ha ha ha! No harm done. Blunt as it was, his point was not without some merit.
Um... I'm not sure how to respond to that.
Heh, come on. Don't be so timid. You're a good guy, and I've enjoyed meeting new family members. Bring on a few more!
Mina's like 50, Cade.
I appreciate that. Mina and I have been together for some time, so I am glad to have your blessing.
Must you talk about me as if I'm not here?
Auburn! What kind of question is that?
Lighten up! It's a part of life. I don't know why we can't talk about it.
Keep in mind that these are our family members you're interrogating. It's not something I ever wanted to know.
FOr Arcadius's sake.... Galdar, you might as well humor her.
It turned him into a real damn pretty boy too. Seth wasn't so lucky with his magic rock. He looked like a sleazeball.
... I didn't need to know that.
Auburn made this party so awkward.
"And in a way, they are. Genuinely hateful, at least. Those who still believe in the ways of Gallia have learned to become craftier than their predecessors. In the heyday of the Empire, Gallians would attempt to kill me on sight. This group was content to sit and negotiate with me as an equal, while still plotting against my entire race."
That's all in the past now. Now you guys have to work on shutting it down.
Easier said than done. Especially when squads of them are still presumably stationed inside.
Hmm... How about apartments? You could fit a lot of people there!
*Chuckle* Perhaps. Though we may have to do something about the decor...
No, not at all. I always knew that Gallia did not represent the entire human race. I worked alongside many humans during those times.
Though they are younger than other races, humans are no less complex. I met both General Lysander Barca and Dasani of Boreal.
It does not get much more different than that. Arius was a... special case, but he will surely explain that to you better than I.
... Wow! That's really good!
"Someone offers to pay the bill at the restauraunt, and people sit there and go "Oh no, don't do that!" It's like a god damn power struggle.
I say if someone wants to pay my meal or cook me some good food, bring it!"
They called you stupid?
Well... probably, but that's not what I meant. It just always bothered me that they expected everyone to go along with their idiotic reasoning.
They come up and they're like "Do what we say because it is the will of Arcadius?" I'm like "Okay, what do I tell the Perditia people? Cause they're saying the same crap as you and they have just as much proof... none!" Let ths gods tell us themselves if that's the way it is.
And even if they did, I probably still wouldn't do it. You ever hear of the harm test?
No... What's that?
It's something I apply to rules and stuff like that. For example, why do we have laws against theft? Who cares if I take something that's not mine?
"Are any of us humans actually hurt by their existence? Obviously not. So you can throw out that rule as crap.
I'm not going to kill someone based on an... opinion. I don't like rice, but I'm not going to try and destroy all the rice in Solest, for Arcadius's sake!"
We've heard this rant for forty years! Everyone here agrees! So why do you have to keep going on about it?
You see the oppression I deal with? Oh well, back to the grill.
Yeah, we did. Never could nab them, though.
After Gallia fell and the new government got itself together, I came back here for a while... But I got bored. So Shurikra and I went back to the city.
I spent another 15 years doing reconnaissance work for the guards. Just like the stuff that I used to do with Galdar and Seth back in the day.
We expected some violence from disgruntled crazies who missed the empire, but after a while we started to notice some patterns.
After a few incidents where a non-human had been attacked we noticed the descriptions of the attackers were pretty damn similar.
We suspected that they were hoping if they kept this crap up, people might be inspired to join them. Then we had a really bad incident.
A couple in the city had become local heroes after the war for sheltering people of other races that were being pursued by Gallia.
Their agents snuck into the house at night and killed them both. That was the last god damn straw. We starting(SIC) bringing down some real heat.
I even called in Ivory to help us track them down. Not even she could find them... Which is not normal. Still... All that crap in Gallia stopped.
I had no idea things with them would get so out of hand... if only I caught them then.
Yeah, I met her a couple months ago. Finley saw her a few days ago, from what I understand.
Turnus and Lily -nearly- hooked up when Arius' party passed through Boreal.
Wha? I dunno... She's pretty.
She and I had a thing going during the wars. I wish our culture allowed for multiple wives.
Well, I mean, if they're okay with it. But Shurikras right there dude.
That would be awesome!
Don't get me wrong. I've had a good life and I'm happy I stuck with Shurikra... But sometimes I wonder.
You jerk! Why don't you tell them about that drunk you used to hang around with in Port Vincent!
"There you go. Three reasons why that was a stupid comment!"
Ah, what do you know?
Well, that's all for Turnus.
"But once we do something public like this, forget it. Believe it or not, he's mellowed out a bit as he's gotten older.
He was far worse in his younger days. That said, I've given up on trying to teach him some manners.
He was always careful with the kids, though. Almost like he didn't want them to turn out like him.
*Chuckle* Saldly, they grew up and moved out.
We tease and nag each other constantly, but he would challenge Perditia herself to a fight if he thought it would protect the kids... or me."
*Chuckle* That almost always winds up being the case with that type of person, doesn't it?
"That always helps me keep it in perspective. You stay around here long enough and you'll get used to him. Everyone else has."
That's it. I remember that from Stoic's stories.
That must blow your mind that he actually met your ancestor.
Unreal, isn't it? He met both Dalton and his wife, Gwyneth. I think their daughter, Sylvia, was born at the time as well.
I made him tell me stories about them a couple months after Gallia fell, when I got to know Stoic a little better. I've read a lot about them, but nothing compared to hearing those tales. Stoic's quite a storyteller.
He'll never admit it, but he really is.
Now, to finally speak to Britsus Konne!
YEAH HELLO YOUR BOOK HAS CAUSED US A TROUBLE
No sir. I'm Cade Mistral.
You're an author, right?
Only one book so far. But yes, it is an aspiration of mine.
I chronicled the conflict between a group of warriors from Guardia, including myself, and the Wyvern Fang Cult.
Yeah... This was the incident involving the Altar of the Abyss and all that other resurrection stuff, right?
Correct. When we fought our way into their inner sanctum, we discovered they had been using that dark, powerful magic.
But... your book revealed the whereabout of the altar. Are you sure that was responsible?
What nonsense is this? Clearly the location of the altar was known before I wrote the book, or there would be no book. Plus, Ivory sealed it off.
Besides, the altar only assists the spell. Anyone hoping to use the Forbidden Spell of Rebirth must know the specifics... and few do.
You obviously didn't mean any harm... But we know that the altar has been used recently.
You don't say. Perhaps it should be sealed again.
He must have been there for the raids on the kobold settlements. I was actually living here before Colter launched that campaign.
Colter? Who is that?
Friend, the fact that you need to ask is a source of great satisfaction. Back then, everyone feared the First Sorceress of Gallia.
She led the raids on the kobolds, and caused a great deal of terror before that. She mastered three schools of magic!
What the hell?! Was she stronger than Ariel D'eleficent?
There's a pause as Britsus considers this.
Hmm... Interesting question. I'm not sure.
I think Ariel was more unstable, which probably made her more dangerous. But it was close.
When I arrived in Gallia to join up with the rebellion, I heard about those raids. It made my blood boil.
Though I battled her, it was not I who struck the last blow. It was Dasani herself. I was still glad to witness it, however.
Talk about getting on the bad side of your ex-girlfriend.
Did those kobold settlements get rebuilt after the war?
Not especially. Most of the surviving kobolds simply dispersed... Some of us into cities and towns, others into the wild.
Onto Zala now.
You've probably heard the basics. He was a dragoon... The last one. Gallia drove them to extinction.
What were dragoons? Like... dragon men?
Sounds crude when you put it like that, but I guess that's close enough. They(SIC) were never all that many of them to start with, and they were peaceful.
Not that Gallia cared about that. The dragoons never saw it coming. They were wiped out until the only ones left were Seth and Villea, his companion.
They came here to Guardia and thought they were safe. But then the Gallian officials who were pulling the strings had Villea killed.
Whoa, wait a minute. Gallians ran this place? I thought it was anti-Gallia.
It is now. But that's a whole different story that Arius can tell you later.
Seth had become close with Galdar and Turnus, but when Villea died, he didn't trust anyone. He wanted to take down Gallia for good.
He started recruiting allies to that end, including me. Mina and Alko joined up too.
As your stupid friend pointed out when we first met, he challenged General Lysander to a duel and it didn't end well. I still owe him a singe for that.
... You really cared for him, didn't you?
Hmmph... Isn't it obvious? But that didn't matter in the end. He never forgot Villea... And I thought trying to start a romance would be insensitive.
Don't say it didn't matter. Who doesn't want to be loved?
Eh, I don't want to talk about this crap anymore.
It's not your fault. These things hurt forever, you know?
Yeah... I know.
It's nice that you care. I'll be fine, though.
Well, you're already above average. Most people don't meet any. Or if they do, they don't know it.
Hmm... Good point. You do look human.
We look human... but we're not. Most of the time Gallia couldn't tell the difference, thankfully.
So aside from your powers, what's different?
We live about two or three times longer than a human does... and we don't have parents or families the way all the other races do.
We are born from the elements, so we just tend to appear. In the past, I think we had more of a society of our own, but hiding from Gallia scattered us.
Elementals born during Gallia's reign, like me, had it tougher because we didn't have our brethren close by. We had to discover everything on our own.
I was "born" during a forest fire, and the family that found me shortly after assumed I was human. I spent most of my life thinking that as well.
"What happened when your family tried to bathe you? Or when they went swimming?"
The fear of water is instinctive... That would be pretty sloppy work by the gods if it wasn't.
I was told that when they tried to bathe me, I screamed bloody murder. I bit, I kicked, I was fighting for my life. Their hands would also get really burned.
Thankfully, our bodies don't take on an unpleasant odor if we are not bathed in the way that humans do. The heat from our bodies melts away things like dirt.
I also don't need to consume any liquid, though we eat solid food like humans do. I like my meat really dry.
Cooking for Zala's great, man. Doesn't matter if it burns or anything.
"You know that "curse" in Boreal? They brought that on themselves by wiping out the ice elementals. The cold got out of control.
That's what our lore says, at least. Makes sense though, doesn't it?"
Yeah, I can see that. Haven't heard any other reasonable theories about the weather up there.
In the end, I like it. You feel closer to Solest itself... I wish all the races could feel that.
Onto Bones, then.
Ha ha! Besides, if it really was a class reunion, it would only be you and Enkur shooting the breeze at the bar.
Don't joke about that! Just reminds me that he's still out there somewhere... doing Arcadius only knows what.
But I am enjoying this. Not only is it gratifying to catch up with my old allies, but it puts my mind at ease.
I'm sure you've gathered this by now, but this crowd is very influential. Their clout will surely give us much needed support against The Hand.
Particularly Arius and Nova. They have the ear of Sarnath Alleni, Chairman of Gallia's Council, and the former leader of The Rebellion.
I've been talking with him and he has already agreed to take a trip to Gallia in order to convey our findings to the council.
Once the Gallian leaders denounce The Hand, other towns will follow. Before long, those lunatics won't be able to show their faces anywhere without getting tossed in jail.
No more lectures at the monastery, no more construction projects in Harrol.
I just hope we still get to be the ones that toss them into the cells.
Heh heh heh. Me too.
And talk to Bones a second time...
And onto... Nova!
It's a nice city... And I've been seeing a lot of towns lately.
So I hear! I'm impressed with what I've heard about you so far. Stoic has given you a ringing endorsement.
*Chuckle* The feeling is mutual. I've heard a great deal of endorsements for your work.
It's not typical. But he's not a typical man.
Yeah... I kninda like that idea. Women don't need to have our names forced on them... Though I have to admit, I am attached to "Mistral."
*Chuckle* To be honest, it was not a statement of gender equality. He had other reasons for making that decision.
I don't know how much of my husband's unique story you have heard, but his original last name... was Barca.
Now, pretend you're me finally playing ARC VII like seven years ago and you haven't seen anything of Clean Slate.
Barca? As in Lysander Barca?
Please, Nova. If we have to rehash that, let's wait until the party is over.
When I first saw this I thought the reveal was going to be that Arius was Lysander in a more... normal way, and he'd always been a double agent, or defected to the rebellion after Ariel slew his wife.
Yes... And water.
That's what interests me. I know wind magic... but it seems healing isn't tied to any of the elements.
That's correct. In some ways, healing magic is the most mysterious of all... and also the easiest to master.
None of us really knows why, but I always preferred the interpretation that Dasani had.
What was that?
She thought that Arcadius was trying to make a philosphical point. In other words, the ease with which we can master healing magic was meant to send a message about what our priorities should really be. Just food for thought.
Yes, I was a human amabassador to the fairies for a great many years after Gallia fell.
Wow! That sounds like a great job!
You get a lot of hugs.
They have their system pretty well-oiled by now... What were you responsible for?
No kidding. Most of us humans are too proud to admit something like this, but I went there to learn from them.
Not so much to learn from the structure of their government... After all, most towns have their own systems which more or less get the job done.
It's their attitude that we could stand to emulate. They are totally selfless creatures, and they spend their entire lives helping just because it's... nice.
Of course, the downside of some of that is they can be manipulated easily. I should tell you what went on when we visited their headquarters.
Ah, that business with Yaled the Hammer? Heard all about it. I still have fairy contacts, and one told me that story a few days ago.
I still find them very myserious, and I know I'm not alone. I mean... where do they come from?
"They live a long time... about four hundred years or so... But when they die, a new one appears right on the spot.
The new fairy knows she has to be assigned to a part of Solest, but she doesn't know the details. Obviously there's a training program in place.
Once they are fully educated, they are either sent out into the world or they remain at headquarters to do administrative work.
After they serve for two-hundred years, they have the option to retire. Not many do, but sometimes you see one of them break the trend."
Wow, slow down. I'm still getting over the "birth." They just know what to do straightaway?
Your guess is as good as mine. There are a lot of mysteries like that, and I've heard theories that would blow your mind.
Theories about their birth?
Not just that. Did you know that a lot of scholars think that fairies actually have the power to turn back time?
What? But... that's not even possible, is it?
"So you start to wonder..."
That kind of frightens me. I guess there was no way we could ever really know.
*Chuckle* Sorry in advance for the sleep you're surely going to lose thinking it over.
Now to speak to the daughter of the Sherron's.
... Wow. Hi. I'm Cade Mistral. Very pleased to meet you.
Wow, Cade's taken with this anime babe. Anyway, theres a brief pause.
Grace Sherron... The name sounds familiar. I might have heard it in class.
If you did, it was probably referring to my grandmother. I'm named after her.
AH, okay. Refresh my memory... What's her claim to fame?
I'm pretty sure she means grandfather... Though Nova did have two little sisters.
That's right. This family's got a nice history of sticking it to Gallia.
You could say that. I never had a chance to meet them... They died before I was born.
Ah, that's too bad. Sorry to bring it up.
It's okay. I'm proud of them.
And with that, it's finally time to speak to Arius.
Sir, I just want to say quickly that I truly respect everything you and your family have done for Solest.
Well, thank you for that.
In truth, everyone here deserves that thanks, and I am pleased to see that the next generation is carrying on our work.
Though I must say, the costumes are a unique touch.
You sure about that, honey? Turnus has been wearing that martial arts uniform for decades... he may be more of a pioneer than we realized.
*Chuckle* I'm not so sure if it's still a "costume" if it's all a person ever wears, but you may be right.
I appreciate the hospitality you all have given us, what brought us here was very serious.
About The Hand, correct? We have heard you have done wonders in terms of unearthing the truth about them.
Yes, and some of what we found is deeply disturbing, maybe even more so for you...
Ariel D'eleficent has been returned to life.
There must be some mistake.
Ariel D'eleficent is dead! She died by my hand, and she deserved to have a much more painful death.
You are too young to have encountered her, so you may be confused. Stoic, can you substantiate it?
I haven't seen this firsthand, so I was skeptical myself. However, Cade said the woman introduced herself as Ariel and his description of her abilities matche dup with the genuine article.
We all remember that Ariel was an exceptionally powerful mage whose prowess could not easily be duplicated.
We also have been in several encounters with a lich named Solik Darmanus, who bragged of using the Forbidden Spell of Rebirth recently.
Recently? That island is close to our shores. Wouldn't Ivory sense their intentions?
Cari the psychic likely took care of that. This necromancer made some sort of deal with The Hand to cast the spell and restore Ariel.
The Forbidden Spell of Rebirth is no simple matter to cast. A hair smaple is required... and it was discovered after her death that Ariel was a member of the Midnight Guild, who are known to stow away hair samples in anticipation of a potential rebirth. So one was probably available.
That said, I still am skeptical. I will believe it when I see it.
Enough for now. We will discuss this later.
Arius tells us to let him know when we want to go to his home. I do so right away. Bones also mentions we may be leaving early in the morning so take care of anything we need to do in town blah blah blah.
The most pressing issue is this "Great Awakening" plan of theirs. Cade has told me only snippets so far, but it was enough to know it must be halted.
I will let him elaborate since he found information inside The Hand's tower in Harrol.
"Ketsu, The Hand's leader, is looking for younger people with similar ancestry... for each of the elements.
The reason is that we are supposedly more capable of casting massively destructive magic that could wreak havoc on an entire town.
Once he has all of them he's going to launch a synchronized attack on several towns at once."
But why? What could they possibly gain from... from such mindless destruction?
He wants to remind people of The Rain of Fire so they get all scared and start hating the other races again... or something like that.
"That way, they can get out into the world and make the case that Arcadius is angry with the human race for rejecting Gallia.
He's modeling it after the fear campaigns waged by the early Gallians after The Rain of Fire."
The really sad part is that would probably work. There are still a lot of alienated, angry people in Gallia.
They're just waiting for a good reason to try and revive that philosophy.
Did we mention that Ketsu also has those holy mage wings?
Oh yeah? Well... nevermind.
Lol. He nearly spoiled it right there.
What? Is that--
Don't! Just forget I said anything.
... Right. Does The Hand already have the children from the other families?
They were hoping to have his psychic try and overpower my brain until I was willing to go along with their scheme. I'm sure the others got the same treatment.
The only good news in this scenario is they won't start The Awakening without me or my brother, Rayne.
Hmm... Are you sure? Four out of five disasters isn't bad.
She has a point. If Ketsu gets frustrated, he may decide to put side whatever completionist urges he may have.
Not a chance. You haven't heard him talk like I have. You don't know his ego. He wants the attack to look like this divine convergence of the elements.
He and the others have been planning this for over a decade, they won't jump the gun now.
What I can't figure out is how Ariel would fit into this.
Can't help you there. I don't know why they brought her back. Especially because she hired mercenaries to try and kill him.
Hmmph. Isn't that how Ariel makes friends?
"But since he is obviously a very powerful holy mage, and she was a legendary dark mage... she may be playing some role I'm not aware of."
If they really have brought our worst enemy back to life, I can't help but wonder if they have other things in store for our family.
That reminds me... I meant to ask... Where is Leonard living these days?
Uh... It has been longer than I thought since we last spoke.
Leonard? Who is that?
My older brother. Well, half-brother.
I suppose all I can really do is start from the beginning
Dad... do you want me to tell the story instead?
No. It's okay.
Whoa, wait. Can you go back to the first part of that?
Stoic, you know the first half of this story, so I apologize in advance for wasting your time, but your companions may need this information in the future.
That's an actual screenshot from Clean Slate of when Arius and Lysander split.
"Gallian officials were stationed here undercover, and when Lysander arrived he planned to lead the attack on the non-humans and human rebels here.
But on the journey here, his ship ran into some tough seas. He was thrown to the edge of the ship, hit his head and lost his memory.
When the villagers here found him, they had no clue who they were dealing with. He spent weeks in their company becoming a different person.
That person... is me."
I mean, when I first saw this, I didn't know about Clean Slate, so I was reeling at what seemed to be a completely needless and bizarre twist.
I thought I'd seen everything.
Come on, man! That doesn't happen! You don't see some evil version of me running around!
Yet here he stands. If it is possible, it sounds like dark magic.
Good point. Lysander did know some dark magic.
"*Chuckle* I married the man and I still have no idea where he came from!"
We may never know. Just like we don't really know what caused The Rain of Fire.
I'm afraid I can't do much about the implausibility of what happened. A popular answer is "Arcadius works in mysterious ways."
Scholars have been having this discussion for forty years. We should just move on with the story.
Another actual Clean Slate shot.
"I felt the same attachment Lysander had felt towards him. Shortly before the last battle, his mother had been murdered by Ariel.
Lysander had placed him in the care of Erva Ellester, a friend of his. She was a psychic who concentrated on mysticism... visions of the future.
She felt that using her visions to try and influence the present was immoral, and so she stayed out of the war altogether.
When she learned Lysander was dead, she entrusted Leonard to me."
"But the truth about his father hung over us. He thought I was Lysander, and we feared he was too young to understand what happened.
For Arcadius's sake...
We didn't understand it ourselves. And the poor kid was already dealing with the murder of his mother.
Grace was born several years afterward... and it was a happy time."
"After he had a few days to digest it all, he told us he wanted to make a journey to Gallia alone. He hoped to try and better understand his roots.
We suspected this was a healthy idea, and he was old enough to travel on his own. We only cautioned him to keep his lineage quiet.
Months passed... eventually a full year. We began to fear for his safety. Eventually, we went to Gallia ourselves.
Turnus was a reconnaissance agent in the city at the time, but he could unearth nothing. We also brought Ivory, who did not sense him anywhere.
Ivory went with us to cities all around the world... still nothing.
The only conclusion we could make... was that he was dead."
"After all, we had another child. So we threw ourselves into making the best life for Grace that we could."
*Sniff* You could have looked longer if you wanted... I would have been okay.
We thought Ivory's inability to find him meant he was surely gone. But now... She tells me that you have met a psychic from The Hand.
"Telepaths can feel when our probing is being blocked by dark magic, even though we can no longer read the thoughts of our target.
I sensed nothing in our search for Leonard. Aside from death... The only explanation is another powerful psychic."
Before the war ended, Lysander was the sole ruler of Gallia. He had taken power from the council by force.
That makes Leonard the heir to the empire, a concept with certain appeal to Gallian sympathizers.
It feels foolish to hope... But I can't help but wonder if Leonard is a prisoner of this group in the same way that these young mages are."
"I suppose it is possible they have another plan involving him. Would Ketsu try to install him as the new ruler of Gallia if the empire returned?"
But he was raised by these two. It's hard to imagine he would go along with that.
I don't think the kids from the elemental families would either... but that's why he keeps Cari around.
It's certainly something worth investigating once we encounter The Hand again.
That's all we can ask.
"Once we inform Sarnath and the others about what they have planned, I'm sure we will get their full support.
Then you will have the backing of the city's army when you next confront The Hand."
Hmm. Yes. He has been through a lot of pain and heartbreak lately.
*Sigh* Come on! What do you want from me? I'm here, aren't I? Even though you didn't want that.
That one was his idea. He wanted you with us from day one. If it were up to him, he would have told you the truth long before you found out.
I advised against it because I didn't trust you... And I was right.
You know it all, don't you?
Solest has a habit of proving me right.
"As long as it stays that way, we don't have a problem."
Guess that's the best endorsement I can hope for. Would you mind if I made use of your deep reservoir of knowledge and asked what we do next?
My guess is that it could be a waiting game for a while. Arius will confer with Sarnath and the other Gallian officials to arrange for support when the time comes.
It won't be quick. Nothing in politics ever is.
You're not quite as confident in that prediction... I can tell.
It just... seems too easy. This... Awakening... how are we going to know when it starts? And will they really wait for Cade or his brother?
Can't help you there. Cade thinks they will, and he knows them better than we do.
Well... If he's right, I suppose we just head back to Port Arianna and recuperate for a while.
Now that sounds like a plan!
It's been a while since I made a weapon like that, but I should manage. I'm still shocked about Laurel. She should get her own party, not just a weapon!
Well, maybe we can do that when she gets back. In the meantime, keep that quiet. I wasn't supposed to tell anyone about it.
Hopefully she will forgive me for telling you if she gets a new weapon out of it.
I udnerstand. I'll start working on it soon.
Thanks, man. You're awesome.
No time for that! Boreal is in great danger, and so are several other towns!
What do you mean, Ivory?
I'm sensing mass panic from Boreal... and Port Arianna... and Artagel... By Arcadius, there's so much at once!
... Wow. You called that one, Stoic.
Get used to it.
No! This doesn't make sense! There's no way they would start The Great Awakening unless... Oh no.
So what are we dealing with here? Five towns in danger at once? We'll never make it in time!
There's one way.
Yes. I'll summon them immediately.
You're a summoner?
No, not in that sense. Her family has a longstanding bond with a griffin clan. She can alert them at will.
Ah yes. I remember that clan. We will prepare while you call them.
Are we sure that even this will be fast enough? Some of those towns are days away by ship!
*Chuckle* Have you ever flown on a griffin? It will be enough, trust me.
... What a nightmare. I can't believe this is happening.
They have your brother.
I hope not.
But if I've learned anything from all this, it's that a pessimistic outlook is usually closer to reality.
Aw come on! At least we know it's going on!
Come to the think of it... Ivory, are you able to sense what exactly is causing the panic in each town?
I can... If I concentrate.
Do you know if anyone is frightened because of a tornado or other really strong winds?
Yes... At the Sacred River Monastery!
Right. Then that's where I'm going.
Artagel... Boreal... Port Arianna... And Rellenia.
No way I would let anything happen to Port Arianna!
I will go to Rellenia.
I'll head to Artagel.
Laurel just told me she has Boreal covered.
What? You can hear her from here? You're not even a telepath!
Laurel is in Boreal now, so we have no choice but to trust her.
I don't trust them to leave us alone. That's why we will stay here and stand guard. But you all need to move quickly.
Right. Let's go!
The griffins take off VERY quickly.
"He's on a griffin! That's awesome!"
CAPTAIN: Ah, we're glad to see at least one of you heroes.
Look at this mess. I'm definitely up against a water mage. I can't believe it's already this bad.
CAPTAIN: A water mage? No water mage could do this!
Mallory's that blue haired girl on the roof to the right.
You see something, Mallory?
MALLORY: YEAH, I... hey, wait a minute! How do you know my name?
She was his date to Kovak's party.
Uh... The Baron knows all. Continue with your thought, please.
MALLORY: Well, I was on the docks when the waves started to get bad... and I thought I saw a figure out near the horizon!
I had better go deal with this miscreant. I just hope it's not too late.
CAPTAIN: This town has been around a long time. We have procedures in place for dealing with floos... but at the rate this water is coming in, we can't keep up!
If there really is a mage behind this, he must be stopped before we can make any progress!
"Hey! Enough already! The whole town's going to drown!"
She nails Baron with a water spell.
"Ugh! I hate wet clothes. We probably shouldn't get hit like that too many more times."
I said leave!
Oh, no you don't!
"What are you even doing here? A girl your age ought to be writing in her journal and getting asked to dances and stuff like that!"
I have no need for such trivial things!
Too... watered down?
I don't need a life like that when I can help reclaim the world for Arcadius!
"This is already a tough shot, and she can use that water wall. My timing will have to be perfect!
Heh heh... That would be a problem for anyone but The Baron! Let's do this, Griffy!"
The griffin shrieks.
So you want to hit enter when the wall drops like this.
If you don't, she'll blast Finley. I don't know how many hits Finley can take because its extremely easy. When you've had The Baron shoot the child five times,
We have to shoot her even more.
It's a one on one fight so it's not very complex. She buffs herself and attacks, and you do the same.
How did you...
"I wonder if Ivory can cure her of the crazy!"
It is not yet a full eruption, but it may get to that point if we don't stop it.
WOMAN?: What will we do?! This will destroy the entire town!
We will do everything we can! In the meantime, take shelter! If your home has a basement, that should be safe enough for the time being.
WOMAN?: ... Okay. Damn, this is so crazy!
She runs off.
"Laurel, my discussion with Ivory Aleska confirmed our suspicions. A mage in the employ of The Hand is somehow responsible for this.
I know, I always thought it was impossible myself. But somehow the volcano has been awakened from it's long slumber.
Arcadius bring you good luck, Laurel. All our hopes rest on you."
Chard paces back and forth in a panic.
Nobody is as powerful as him! Probably not even you! He just walked in and immediately started to make that volcano go off! You've got to stop him!
I sensed your panic... But I still need to ask. Wasn't this your goal all along?
Are you crazy?! Why would I want to rule an island full of nothing but charred ash!?
Casting fire spells on the volcano was just a team-building exercise! I never thought this could actually happen!
A trio of ember mages flee with extreme haste.
"Must be an illusion! We can't let her interfere with The Awakening!"
... Okay, she looks pretty badass. But look at her HP and MP. She had the highest at 300+ before, and Stoic had the highest HP before this at... 300ish too I think? Barons HP was only 269 just before!
She's got some new moves. That Divine Power gives a status effect called FULL POWER which boosts all stats.
That's even better damage than Stoic.
There's more on the way.
One guy shows up to the south, and some more from the west.
Hmmph! Play Arcadius with my island, will you? I think not!
Chard starts shooting the guy at the south as Valkyrie takes on the western bunch. After another short fight...
Valkyrie flies off.
I'm Laurel Hargrove, and I too have been given this gift... though I plan to use it for very different ends. Who are you?
I'm Aiden Sear! Have you come to assist me?
You weren't listening. I can't allow you to do this... It will destroy the entire island!
Yes! And humanity shall see the error of its ways!
How will you avoid sharing the same fate as your victims? You're right here at the heart of the eruption!
I shall become one with the fire... The way my family was always meant to.
Goodness... I can sense you really believe that.
Valkyrie flies over his head as he tries to flamestrike her.
After a few turns of beating on him, he warns Valkyrie that while she does seem to have Ketsu's abilities, even Ketsu was never able to withstand his greatest ability. So of course, the fight is over on the next turn.
"Without him to cast additional spells and move the process along, the cursed cold should overpower the volcano once again.
He managed to melt almost all of the ice in the meantime. If I wasn't able to find him... Oh, okay. I'll check.
The damage to his mind is horrible! This must be the work of The Hand's psychic. Almost all of his personality has been closed off, to the point where he's just a walking advertisement for Ketsu's warped viewpoint. This psychic must be just as powerful as you or me, if not more so.
Between the two of us, I hope we can undo this damage."
A giant bolt of lightning strikes nearby.
"Any mage who thinks he can destroy a whole town this way is either really confident or foolish.
The Hand is a lot of things, but they're not fools. I must be up against one tough cookie."
I am, but I'm here to help. Sheesh, I sound like him now...
These here lightnin' bolts have been strikin' the ole town all day now! They be growing more rapid too!
We're not dealing with a natural thudnerstorm here... This is the work of a lightning mage.
So me nose was right! I done smelt something unfamiliar over near the edge of the cliffs!
You have the scent?
Ha! Tis what I do best! Let's get our wits about us and put a stop to this here trickery!
The griffin shrieks.
You were right! She's casting the spells from on the other side of this wall!
Sparrow dodges a bolt, and endures another spell as she takes a swipe at Levina, who teleports away.
Yarr! What be happenin?!
"Fighting a lightning mage this powerful on top of a big mountain might as well be suicide. There's nothing to shield us from the bolts.
If we chase her downward, we should ne able to find some more cover!"
Levina was hurling lightning at them as they followed her down these ledges.
The will of Arcadius? How are you so sure of that? Did he write you a letter?
Don't mock me! I want to understand what makes humans turn on their creator!
All flippancy aside, I don't understand you either. This kobold is my friend. Why should I turn on him based on some claim you make without proof?
Are you even aware of what has been done to you? Is there anything left of your real personality or is it all Cari's instructions?
I... I don't understand.
Why must we be fightin, lass? I would offer to take ye out for a drink, but I be tryin' to quit and I don't think yer old enough!
You... I... Stop it! You won't ruin my mission, I don't care what you say!
She flees into the cave.
"Those caves eventually lead down to the ground. If you can chase her out, we'll trap her."
How ye know so much about these here caves?
You kidding me? I know every hiding place and tunnel is(SIC) this whole damn desert. That's the story of my youth.
But forget that. You've still got her scent, right?
That I do! Get yerself ready and ole Bubba will do the rest!
So we have this mechanic again.
So we follow her scent through signs like this... until we get lead offtrack by a rat that scurries into a hole.
GODDAMN BAT BASTARD
You should know by now that runnin' won't be doin' you any good. Ol' Bubba can track you for miles.
S... Stay back!
Now don't be doin anythin' scruffy. Let's be makin' peace and get outta here before anyone...
This is probably by far the hardest of the one on one fights and it's still easy as hell if you remember the complicated tactic of healing now and then.
Thanks. Maybe I should finish off this nutcase and make the world a little safer.
Dah! Tis awfully brutal of ye! She's just young and sick in the ole head!
Don't worry. I'm not actually going to do it. Cade would be awfully upset with me.
Maybe that psychic in Guardia can fix up her mind.
There's a loud rumbling sound...
"Don't be ridiculous! He can't stop an earthquake!"
This is not a natural earthquake! Leave the city now!
The griffin shrieks.
They take off to the north.
"You stay here and watch for Hand goons. I'll check this out."
The griffin shrieks again, and as Stoic draws close to the boulder, he's thrown back a bit, but he repproaches it.
Yeah and we haven't done this for ages, feels like. Anyway, you have to do it thrice.
Bardo casts an earth spell at Stoic, but--
Yes. My full name is Vector Crag and this... is my nephew. He's been missing for seven years.
Missing? Are you sure you didn't sell him to The Hand for some extra capital?
"Just another reason why we never should have done any business with them."
This is my mission, uncle. I must destroy this place in order to bring humans back in harmony with Arcadius.
No! It's not about Arcadius! They are just using you to hurt their foes!
If you side with them, I have to hurt you too!
He hits Vec, who staggers back
I wouldn't want to fight my own nephew either. Step aside.
Quick'n easy despite Stoic not having healing. Got tons of powerful items though, not that you really need them.
Pff. Not even close. You should know how much it takes to even hurt an earth mage that strong.
What are you doing here, anyhow?"
I came to oversee the process of closing the Equipment King branch here. We can't afford to keep all our stores open and pay this fine the courts have imposed.
Isn't it nice to know that this chaos is what your business was helping to provide to the public?
You have already made that point. I can assure you both Mr. Kovak and I deeply regret our association with The Hand... Now what do we do with him?
He will be tough to restrain. We need a psychic who can keep his destructive urges in check long enough to reverse this mental damage.
I suppose I should take him to Ivory Aleska.
Nobody in my family had seen him for so long... We all thought he was getting a unique education opportunity.
The word "unique" could be used to describe this situation.
Shana used to speak so highly of his intellect... and now we have to worry about brainwashing.
Who is that? His mother?
"She really believed in the value of education, and became a teacher herself."
Is she his aunt, then?
There's a pause here.
I wish. She eventually pushed me aside in favor of a more... dangerous suitor. They hid non-humans in their basement, which did not end well for them. Ah, but why am I getting into this?
None of us felt like celebrating.
Well, well, the elf king himself has strolled up.
I wanted to spare you the frustration of having to start another reconstruction effort.
*Chuckle* Well, we appreciate that! We were lucky you were here.
We weren't sure what was causing the quake... I can't believe there are mages this powerful.
The Hand is deploying them to attack several towns at once. Hopefully my allies have secured the others.
... I see. I'm not sure what your overall plan is for halting The Hand's meance, but I urge you to keep Rellenia in your thoughts.
Their plans may extend to other areas, but there has always been a pervasive hatred between them and us. They will not leave us alone for long.
I hope it will not come down to a second attack.
"until he returned it after the war. Now I would like you to have it."
... Me? Are you sure?
Very sure. Let it be a rebuttal to all those who would challenge a skeleton's capacity for heroism.
I know you will return it once The Hand is finally stopped. For now, I have a journey to make.
I hope we meet again under better circumstances.
And we have howling wind here!
"Hmm... So far, the place seems in better shape than I expected."
Yeah, once I sat and thought about it for a while, it made sense.
How long has the wind been going like this?
Most of the day...
It was gradual, though. But now if it gets much worse, the buildings could start to crumble.
Have you seen the mage who is casting the spell?
What? This is a mage? No way. It's too powerful.
I take it you didn't learn much about The Great Awakening while you were among The Hand.
"All the students at the monastery are human!"
Right, and they are hoping that the survivors get frightened enough to restart the campaign against the other races.
... But that's...
"There's not much honor when it comes to blind hate.
There are mages in four other towns causing this kind of trouble. That's why my team split up... So I could use some help.
If you care about this place, will you help me save it?"
Yeah... I'll help.
The griffin takes off with a shriek.
My guess is he would cast the spell from a place where he could see most of the monastery.
... I think I know a spot. Come on.
We'll have to walk around the base of the tower to reach the path up there.
No time for that. My wind spells will be faster.
Uh, Cade... Do you think... Do you think that Dican knew about this?
If it's any comfort, my brother is mixed up in this too.
I'm almost positive it's him up there casting the spell.
Okay, here we go.
I hope his mind hasn't been completely warped by Cari.
Cari gave up on trying to alter my mind, so she decided to just take away the control I have over my own body! It's apparently much easier for her.
... So that means he's casting the spell even though he doesn't want to.
Is Cari nearby?
Cari's that far away and she's still controlling you?
Yes, and if you try and stop me, I'm going to wind up fighting back!
Damn it. What the hell do we do?
If we can knock him unconscious, that should cut the link between their two mins. She won't be able to regain control if she's not here.
I don't like this, but I won't lie. I don't particularly want to be responsible for this place's destruction. Just be careful, I didn't come here alone.
Evrind conjures his clones to fight the mooks.
Sorry about this, bro.
Rayne warns you when he's about to cast his earth spell. Or if...
That's about the only notable thing about this fight. Otherwise, his attacks are pathetically weak.
Cade then heals Rayne.
Oh, we're in for it now.
I had no idea he was here too! Stay back, Cade. You don't know how to fight him.
Rayne tries to cast but nothing happens.
Arrgh! Damn it!
Still too worn out from the beating your little brother gave you? That's amusing.
Shroud dodges a spell and his own... misses somehow.
That won't work! You have to--
Hey, shut up!
Honestly, if I knew beating your old man would cause this much trouble, I would have just ignored him.
Oh, I'm so sorry your murder of our father caused you trouble. You selfish pile of crap.
You killed their father?
You guys are making it sound worse than it was. He attacked me. Is it really my fault that he lost?
Well, enough of that. I'll be nice and finish you off quick. You won't even see it coming.
Bring it on.
Also, Evrind flees to the north...?
What is going on? There has to be an explanation.
"I designed that two-part spell specifically with his skills in mind."
Two part spell... and that hit him. So that means whatever magic he's using to nullify these attacks can't be used twice in a row.
*Gasp* That's why he started talking after he dodged my wind spell! He needed to kill time until he could cast it again!
Try that again!
The griffin swoops Cleon, and then Shroud blasts him.
"Come on, Rayne..."
How did you wind up here? Did you go after Ketsu by yourself?
... Must run in the family.
Cleon conjures a pillar of earth.
"What is it? I'm in the middle of a fight!"
"Failed?" What do you mean "failed?" The entire thing?!
Well, what about my vacation?!
Oh, thanks a lot! Fine, I'm on my way.
*Chuckle* Looks like my allies were successful.
"See you later, twerp."
How are you feeling?
Not... Not good. I think this is it for me.
Shroud casts another healing spell.
I don't think... that will do it. He really tore me up.
I was wrong. I wanted you to stay out of this whole thing.
But... you have to fight.
I will fight. And you will too!
I know that... that some of the choices I made... were hard on you. But... I was trying to protect you. I'm your big brother... That's my job.
Rayne! Hey! Don't you dare give up!
If you follow the trail all the way up that mountain, there's a nice clearing. People like to study up there when the weather is decent.
If you had stuck around longer than a week, I might have been able to show it to you.
Anyway, your brother will live, but that was a serious injury. He will be out of commission for a long time.
He could use the rest. I'm not sure when he will wake up, but I don't have time to wait. If what Cleon said is true, Guardia is now in danger.
Hopefully I won't be alone this time. But even if I was, someone has to protect the good people here and in all the other towns on Solest.
With that in mind. I don't have much of a choice.
Yeah... That makes sense. Good luck, Cade.
Shroud and the griffin depart.
Years ago, in like 2013 or 2014, something like that, I made a friend play The Way at the same time I replayed it. That was the last time I'd played it before my LP of it. After we finished that 'simuplay' he asked if there was another good RPGMaker game like that.
I told him "Well, There was Master of the Wind... it wasn't finished last time I played it though." But I checked and discovered it was finished. So I excitedly told him that and we both started playing it.
At some point he pulled ahead of me. Around when I started Arc VI, I think he was starting Arc VII. When Andau died, he had vaguely said something sad happened.
When he saw this cutscene, he said to me, and I still remember this very clearly and think about it a lot for some reason, "Why, why would you kill off this character of all characters?" and seemed pretty upset by whatever had happened.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dwessumj-lk <--- DONT MISS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Important!!!!!
I remember feeling devastated the first time I saw it too. I don't even know why.
Volrath has told me that that loss has always seemed keenly felt by the biggest fans.
A lot of scenes with them kind of always make me sad, because of it, now.