Part 64: ARC VII Part 2: The Great Aftermath.ARC VII Part 2: The Great Aftermath.
So, last -real- update we left off on the tragic death of Gino and some citizens of Guardia, as Ariel dropped a 'Dark Bomb' on the towns central pond/monument thing.
About Gino's death, Volrath told me it was a bit of a hard choice for him to make, but in the end, he felt the player had to feel just how bad The Hand is rather than just being told that. Seth dies right near the end of Clean Slate for the same reasoning, and it won't be too long before I finally get around to doing that update. Just wanting to see one specific scene still before I do that...
Also, Ketsu was revealed to be Leonard Barca, Arius/Lysander's son.
The Valkyrie's appearance shook Ketsu pretty badly too, but Ariel didn't particularly care. There's a good reason for this. Ariel single handedly fought, defeated and nearly executed Dasani shortly before the Gallian Wars began in earnest. Dasani was every bit the warrior and holy mage that Laurel is (maybe even more so?) but in her defense, Dasani was middle-aged at that point in time.
And on the bright side, only Guardia suffered much from Ketsu's Great Awakening plan.
Volrath also had a comment about the most recent update, the library one, where I speculated he might have forgotten or changed his mind about Vincent Gallius' life:
"Cool I had forgotten a few of these details. There are two issues with that Vincent Gallius book, one being intentional. It simplified what he claimed to have been told by Arcadius, he was too savvy to come right out and say “god says you die.” The other issue is that I have given his story much more thought in the years since we finished MotW and if I ever find a way to resurrect World Remade I’ll sort it out for good."
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ng17ZSGrRsw 'An Answer to Hate' aka Hidden Evolution by Ed Van Fleet.
This is not an easy fix.
That's for damn sure. And if Ivory hadn't foreseen the attacks, all those towns would look like this.
I have to admit I still don't understand all of this. I see the rationale for them to attack this place, but why all those other places?
Their beliefs are so rigid, they can find an excuse to attack any town. He had six places in mind all along, based on what I saw in their library.
Port Arianna and Artagel are both very racially diverse... and Rellenia is obviously full of elves.
Boreal is synonymous with anti-Gallian views because of Dasani and Lily.
The monastery is the only one that surprised me. Ketsu even gave a lecture there.
Ketsu... By the gods.
I fought him and had no idea he was really Leonard. I'm a little ashamed.
You can't blame yourself or anyone else for not recognizing him after all that's happened.
But as for the monastery, attacking a religious institution increases the chance that the events will be looked at through a religious perspective.
That's what he wants. If you hadn't stopped your brother, it would have been easy to make the argument that Arcadius was punishing the students there for not falling in line with The Hand's viewpoint.
Why attack so many towns at all! You can't recruit people if they're all dead!
There were survivors here. There would have been survivors in the other places, too.
And that's part of the plan. You need them to spread the fear.
MAN: Thank you so much!
WOMAN: You've saved so many of us!
The dog barks.
OTHER MAN: Did... Did Arcadius send you to save us?
"However... he did not attach instructions. All I can do is use them in the service of what I feel is right. The values I hold in my own heart."
OTHER WOMAN: But you don't even feel Arcadius wants us to survive?
Our hearts tell us what is right. But people like Ketsu and The Hand have stopped listening. Believe me... This is all about securing power for themselves, not Arcadius. Some of you heard Ariel. Ketsu's mind has literally been molded to serve their specific purpose.
How can anyone trust his claims of divine influence?
You're quite welcome.
Over at the far top-left...
Easy, my friend.
You're tired and you shouldn't expend so much energy.
Arius walks towards the top-centre of the screen.
Turnus' group moves down a bit so they can see him.
No. It's my responsibility.
I failed you... but at least we have these heroic folks to assist us in the aftermath.
A man with blue hair at the bottom left moves closer to Arius.
"The only way you could have failed would be if you hadn't tried."
But... How can you say that? You family is standing right near where your house used to be. You've lost so much...
The man looks back to his family, they look at him, and he turns back to Arius.
MAN: I didn't lose anything important.
A bit sappy........................ buuut that is one of the things I like about this game.
I think what we must do now is head to Gallia. Sarnath will have his hands full trying to keep this incident from inspiring any violence there.
Yeah... They have worked long and hard trying to calm that old Gallian bloodlust. But someone has to stop The Hand and save Leonard.
That will be our job, sir.
Yes. Now that their attack has failed, they will likely take some time to come up with a new plan. But when they emerge again... we will be ready.
The damage to Leonard's mind has clearly been extensive. But if we can get him away from the rest of the group, there may be hope.
That won't be easy. He's powerful and totally determined.
Arius and Nova fought hard to allow him a chance to grow up without Gallia's hate. If possible, Leonard must be saved. I have faith in you.
... Yes. I know.
What will be your first step?
For now, I think it would be best for us to head back to Port Arianna. It's safe, thanks to Baron. However, we can not allow fear to run rampant.
We must spread the word as fast as we can about the true reason for the flooding... and the other disasters.
We will leave tomorrow.
So we get to wander around Guardia a bit first.
Rayne's Spear is only slightly more powerful than Mina's, but turns Shroud's physical attack into a wind element attack.
She still lives in Gallia. I suppose I'll have to break the news when we go.
How you holding up?
But you know what is on my mind today?
The Altar of the Abyss?
Yes. It is so close... and we probably could get hair samples from most of the dead. Unfortunately, I do not have either the skill or knowledge needed.
Not many do, from what I've heard.
Well... If we can't bring them back, I can only hope they are in a better place.
If you talk to him again, he mentions he might hire a necromancer, and that the Midnight Guild has a base in the area. Though, he says he does not know how the others would react.
Wonder what the guy in the squid outfit thinks. They kicked him out of the bar for being a weirdo.
Apparently so. Arcadius only knows where they will scurry off to now.
The dog barks to get Valkyrie's attention when we talk to it.
She's gonna bail on us and go back to Boreal!
What's the plan?
I'm taking the three Hand children here in Guardia back to Boreal, so I can work on restoring their minds. Aiden, the fire mage, is already there.
Ivory has volunteered to come as well. With Lily, that's three of us. I hope that's enough to get the job done.
I dunno, Finley.
That sounds pretty reasonable.
... Yeah. *Sigh*.
I'm just... I'm just going to miss you.
Feels like you just got back, and now you're leaving again.
I'll miss you too...
But at the same time, you will never be far from my thoughts. As you know, I mean that very literally.
Yeah, but that's not the same as you being here.
Oh yeah, I meant to ask.
How were you able to connect with his thoughts from so far away?
I'm not entirely sure.
He was right beside me when I was transformed... that must have something to do with it.
We've bonded in a way that I've never felt before.
I know I can't stop you from leaving, but I did want to give you this.
This is... from Gino?
I asked him to start working on it right before that Awakening thing. They just found it over in the wreckage.
"... his final creation.
Thank you. I will put it to good use."
Guess we should just go.
Goodbyes get lame if they go on too long.
It's not a big goodbye... We'll be together again soon.
Good luck, Laurel.
Cade, rule 2!
Good luck, Valkyrie.
Finley rejoins the party.
You're still in that costume? Didn't you get any sleep?
Kind of awkward talking to her after Finley.
I'll catch up on that once I'm back in Boreal... too much to do here after that ordeal.
So... How did this happen?
"The timing was impeccable."
But... what happens?
Does Arcadius talk to you? *Chuckle*
Did he tell you that Ketsu was an accident?
Ha ha ha!
No, I have yet to hear an explanation for that screw up!
On a serious note...
What I've experienced isn't something I can explain to anyone else. It was very powerful... and very personal.
Guess I had to be there.
That's good enough.
It never mattered to me whether or not Arcadius was on our side.
Having you on our side is good enough. I'm proud of you.
I... That means a lot to me.
Even before he said that, this was probably the most pleasant Cade's been to her.
Nearby, Grace lurks behind the tree that acts as a memorial to Seth.
Seth's tree has seen better days.
I'm... sorry about Kets--
I mean, Leonard. We'll do what we can to save him.
I know you will.
It's just... to see him turned into this monstrous tool of hate... It's hard.
You didn't know who he was before this... He wouldn't hurt anyone. I... I just wish I could do more.
"This has been one hell of a vacation, that's for sure."
I meant to ask...
When's the last time you saw Emma?
Back in Harrol.
She was still with Vec, but I don't know what's going on since the trial.
I really bungled it with her.
I guess it was for the best, since Auburn and I have way more in common.
Yeah, you're both nuts.
*Chuckle* Don't we all.
I want the best for her, too. But you have a lot more pressing things to worry about.
Can't argue with that.
Well, take care of yourself.
I would tell you not to do anything too foolish, but I know better than that by now.
Say, I was wondering... All your friends that came to the party... are they okay?
A lot of them decided to start their journey home that evening. I'm grateful for that. Enough people were hurt already.
Fine, I guess. I've been sleeping so much lately.
I heard your mind was mistreated while you were in Harrol. It takes a big toll on your entire body.
Eventually, you will recover.
You just need a lot of rest, which your... vocation doesn't allow for all the time, unfortunately.
Cade, she knows everything! It's amazing!
Sheesh, don't let Bones hear that. He might get competitive.
I'm old, so that helps.
We were talking about Coromant for a few minutes just now... She once visited it during Gallia's reign.
Cade... I... I would like to go back there sometime. No rush... Just if we happen to be in the area.
We'll see where our search for The Hand takes us. You ready to go?
Auburn rejoins the party. Just Bones left.
This guy has the same sprite as the guy who owned the weapon store and both he and Gino were lying in it's vicinity after the attack, so yeah.
Yeah, I think so.
I was just reminiscing with Turnus here.
Nothing like horrible destruction to start a trip down memory lane.
Wait, I did have one more question for you.
It's about your recon work in Gallia. I heard something in Rellenia that was intriguing. Were you involved in the incident involving Shana Kovak?
Oh yeah. You bet I was!
That was the case where she and her husband were killed in their home a few days after they were given a proclamation by Chairman Sarnath.
You were telling me about this before.
We always expected The Hand was behind that, but we never did find proof.
Her last name was Kovak?
According to Vec, she was Don Kovak's sister.
Kovak has been helping the guys who killed his own sister?!
Bet he feels like a prized ass.
I wish I could tell them.
Maybe they would give us some money.
I wouldn't hold your breath on that one.
I don't even breathe, so that's no problem. Guess we should be off.
Take care, man.
I'm only here because I wanted to warn... Who is that?
Solik looks at Elissa and then back to Rana.
Never mind that for now.
What were you saying?
All this has gone too far!
The Guild knows about Overmoss and they aren't happy.
Hmmph... The Guild.
They could use the inspiration. Those fools have let the followers of Arcadius intimidate them into irrelevance.
You can't take this lightly!
They could take you into custody!
They would have to find a way out of their own bureaucratic swamp before they could do any such thing. I'm not overly concerned.
What's happened to you?!
I don't even feel like I know you anymore!
Are you going to assist me or no?
There's a lengthy pause here.
Rana runs away.
No, it is the mortals who are wrong!!!
Solik turns to Elissa.
Come. The Altar is not far.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KXqkc5m3jNw 'Goodbye' aka Epilogue (Relief) by Apocalyptica.
So where's Cade?
... This is where Gino's tent/workshop was. Now we'll never know how he made the interior look like a proper building.
He's at the probate office settling Gino's estate.
That may be the hardest lesson of all. There will be times when you just can't save everyone.
Doesn't matter how many how many times you go through it... Never gets any easier.
"I failed him.
Maybe... Maybe I'm not cut out for this.
I'm not strong in the way that you and Cade are."
That's nonsense. You have proven yourself several times over. That is obvious.
You saved this entire town by yourself. You think any fool could manage that?
Of course you're a fool!
I just wish Solest had more fools like you.
Gino had no regrets.
People like him make the world better just by being who they are. All he ever expected from his friends was loyalty.
The only way any of us could truly fail him would be to quit.
And I know you won't do that.
Finley looks back to the grave and then back to Bones.
The Baron doesn't quit.
This scene actually gets me pretty teary eyed, though I am a big cry baby.
I'm glad the two more frictious relationships in the party are being... made... less frictious? Smoothed out? Now we just have to hope Bones will get over his grudge against Auburn someday.
Still on the Epilogue track too.
Sure... Though I'm not sure why you need me.
MAN: You're here because you are one of the beneficiaries named in Gino Toro's will.
... I am?
MAN: Mr. Toro's parents died some time ago. He was an only child and never had any children of his own. It appears he considered you his only family.
You and one other gentleman... The name here is "Bones?" Is this someone you know?
That's my friend. He knew Gino just as well.
MAN: I see...
He will have to stop by himself and sign some papers if he wants his half of Mr. Toro's inheritance.
The will divides his assets evenly between the two of you. If you take a look at the will here, you will see the details.
That's a... That's a huge number!
Makes sense to me.
He has no kids... didn't even have a house. He just lived in that tent and stayed close to the outdoors.
What the hell am I even going to do with all that?
MAN: You have plenty of time to figure that out.
For now, let me fetch the appropriate papers for you to sign.
"With this... and the money I've saved from my time with Equipment King... We have a future."
I didn't -really- get this like five or six years ago, even though I'm not like wealthy or anything... But since then I've become very aware how so many families live on even less money than I do, and I don't get all that much to begin with. So I really do understand what Auburn means here now.
... Yeah. Guess so.
Epilogue cuts out here.
Anyway, we can wander around Arianna. Not much to see, though. I take a walk over to the barracks to see Ercello for old times sake.
The skeleton says he's Femir. Cade realises, to his relief, that Ercello must have been released. Talking to the guard captain upstairs confirms it.
Well, don't go summoning violent and angelic rock bands again wherever you are, guy, and definitely don't... uh... Well. He used them to beat up his one female bandmate when she refused to perform anymore.
That was bad enough to begin with but it sounds lot worse now.
Unfortunately the other two aren't here anymore. Let's check our apartments.
"You and Bones were really close with him... Can't even imagine."
It's a tough time for us. But... What have you been up to?
Equipment King's just about broke, so I guess I'm on my own again.
I made enough working with them to give me a bit of a head start, but it's only a matter if time before the costs catch up with me again.
Sad thing is... when Equipment King bailed, I was thinking of asking Gino to join me.
But what about those designs?
Yeah... That's a good idea.
Barry... Bones and I inherited just about everything Gino had, including his notes and weapon designs.
I've got a little experience with weapons, but not nearly enough to do justice to Gino's stuff. Why don't you use them?
Yeah... And if you put up a notice that you're recreating his work, word will probably spread. He had a lot of connections all over the world.
Tell you what... I'll even give you a small portion of his inheritance for you to coast on for a while.
You... You would do that?
After everything that's happened?
I never wanted you to fail, Barry.
I just hated Equipment King's crime and deception. Hopefully this will prove that.
I... I don't even know where to begin thanking you! This... This is amazing! I gotta... I gotta brainstorm! I gotta plan!
I'll see you guys later!
He runs back inside.
"Our" money, huh?
Ooh, you're fresh!
We can't keep it all for ourselves.
This is the right thing to do.
"See you tomorrow, Blondie!"
DOORMAN: Cade, I also found some leftover mail.
These are all from the monastery? What's their deal?
Guess I owe them some tuition.
Better head back to the apartment and figure this out.
Did you seriously give them your real address even though you used a fake name? The hell, Cade.
Probate was... interesting.
I'll let you see the will for yourself.
By Arcadius! Is this number accurate?!
That was my reaction too.
Half of that's yours. You just have to sign a few papers to get it.
I... I don't have any use for this sort of money. This is... This is unexpected.
Looking at the date, it seems he updated this right before we left here to go to Rellenia.
Did he leave Finley anything?
Nothing money wise. I guess he felt Finley didn't need the help.
But there were a handful of designs for guns that he was working on.
I'm a little worried about him. He's taking this very hard.
"But now The Hand has basically vanished... So I don't know what else we can do."
We all could use a distraction.
Hmm... I might have one.
I have some unfinished business at the monastery. We could take a trip out there for a change of scenery.
Hmm... Zala said she was heading back to her place there. Maybe I could visit her. Alright, let's go do that.
We'll leave tomorrow morning.
Voyd drops invisibility as he walks into this room.
... Yeah? So?
I didn't want to bring this up while she was awake... But something strange is going on with the three of them... her, Master Ketsu, and Ariel.
I don't know all the details of what happened when they went to Guardia, but Master Ketsu has been acting really odd.
He's been through a lot, Voyd.
His mother just passed on and now we have to contend with another winged holy mage who is out to destroy us.
The old hag passed away, huh. Good riddance. She wasn't even that bad at the time of the rebellion, but I guess getting old and lonely does things to you.
... I don't think it's just that.
Call it intuition or what have you... but there's something else going on, and I think Ariel knows what it is.
I still don't think we should have brought her back. Sure, she's a great mage, but you can't trust her.
She tried to have him killed! But apparently Cari saw that coming and felt it would lead to good results.
Her intent to betray us was still there, regardless of how it turned out in the end. I don't like that she's with him so much lately.
"I'm gonna cut up a few vegetables. Anyone want some?"
You might be on to something.
I don't think Ariel's done deceiving us. But I've been betrayed before, it's nothing I can't handle.
Truth is, I don't trust anyone outside of this room. You guys are the only friends I've ever had. Well... Dican too... but... you know.
Rayne claims Cleon's a complete monster that cares for nothing but his own comfort... but maybe he cares about these two?
We all miss him... It's been hard.
Whatever happens, we keep looking out for each other. The lieutenants stick together. That's all that matters.
Not really much to say at the end here besides... Not much gameplay this update. I'm not even sure why the game bothers giving you 10k gold. Maybe in case you're not that great and used all your items? Anyway, I once saw ARC VII described as basically a very long boss rush but that's not quite true, since boss rushes usually imply no healing between fights. I know we'll be fighting a boss without any mooks or attached dungeon first thing next update though... Think there's a short donjon after that?
Also, the scene I've been waiting for is definitely in the next update, so the update after that will probably be the long awaited finale of Clean Slate. Look forward to it.