Part 68: ARC VII Part 5: Auburn.ARC VII Part 5: Auburn.
Anyway! Last time Solik was finally knocked out of the game, and we met the Midnight Guild Leader, King Bane, who seem to be honestly trying to have the guild turn over a new leaf.
Well, at least the necromancers who follow King Bane are trying to turn over a new leaf, there's apparently some dissension in the ranks about that.
Seraphic Neoman posted:I again kind of find myself not disagreeing with Solic, but like Bane said, he's letting his ambitions get ahead of him. He's probably even right about the thing with the wings, though he's equally blind that the altar probably had no connection to Perdetia at all and was simply a giant magic battery of some make.
Solik's one of my favourite characters in the game and a big part of that is due to how idealistic his view of the world should be is. And he has the charisma and attitude to pull off making his 'the ends justify the means' thing kind of sympathetic, rather than just seeming like a shithead or something. He has a little bit of fun with being a mad necromancer too.
Another thing is, I think a lot of villains in Solik's position would be ranting about how they'd rule the world as a benevolent dictator and completely destroy death as a concept and everyone lives in in an unending state of stasis whether they want to or not.
Meanwhile Solik's all, "Yeah, Peridtia'll replace Arcadius as the dominant religion (after we kill them all) and then we'll have necromancers in every village and eliminate accidental deaths, reduce murders by a ton and people that die of natural causes can come back as skeletons to watch over their descendants if they're worried about them for whatever reason and I'll go down in the history books as the guy what done it."
Anyway! The Hand has played its next hand: Trying to recruit and start racial violence in Gallia.
And far from Gallia... The boat trip back to Port Arianna from Altar Island would take a long time, so our heroes have decided to make a stopover in Artagel for various reasons, including picking up Bubba.
What... What sort of world do we live in where this happens to a man like him?
We're gonna get those guys!
Once we rest up for a bit here, we're gonna keep looking.
I just hope we can find some kind of
lead on The Hand soon... So far, we haven't had much luck.
Well... You're welcome to stay here
as long as you need to.
I... I'm going downstairs for a while.
Cassie heads back down to her shop.
The more help, the better.
Blondie, can I talk to you about something
Remember what we talked about back in Guardia
before we left?
Oh... About Coromant?
You want to go there?
If we can...
It isn't a long walk.
Sure. Let's go.
Off we go! Downstairs, there's another familiar face, though.
Yeah... I've tried to stay distracted,
but it's still hard.
By the way, I had a chance to read your book...
Why didn't you tell me what you knew about my father?
I tried, Cade... but the time was just
never right. I didn't know much, just the rumors. I knew Garrett supposedly died in
Also Finley essentially told you not to spoil the book unless it was dramatically appropriate.
I also knew that one of Ketsu's senior officers, Cleon Brasidas, was an
earth mage. To me, it was an easy connection to make.
Did you know Cleon from your time undercover
with The Hand?
He is not someone easy to forget. He has been in Ketsu's employ for a long time.
Don't worry, Cade.
He'll get what's coming to him.
I learned a little bit during my last battle
with him, but I still don't understand how he can totally avoid attacks that way.
Well, once this is all over, I hope we can
talk at length for a sequel book.
Cassie has nothing to say, so let's head out.
So this has appeared. For some reason. Also I get the ref. Feels like just yesterday the Double Rainbow video was a thing.
You know that guy died this (2020) May? Pretty sad.
We've been earning all of those essences from boss fights for a while now.
Sparrow can't equip the new armor, but Shroud can.
Anyway, almost everyone says something new but there's not much particularly interesting.
Bubba's still off the drink!
Time to leave town.
The Fairies are out for the day. Coromant is just south of here.
Not much has changed, aside from being a little dustier.
So... what made you want to come here?
I'm not sure.
Maybe it was seeing the same kind of thing happen in Guardia...
Or maybe it has something to do with Artagel.
Where did you live?
The house here at the corner... That was
our neighbors. We were the next one down.
So let's hop to it.
"Everyone thought that if the violence hurt someone, it would be someone else... Never you."
I have a question for you that you probably won't like.
Well, out with it.
As someone who experienced the destruction here firsthand...
How could you go along with Kovak and set those fires in Rellenia?
I guess I didn't make the connection. We weren't out to
destroy any buildings there... After all, homeless people can't afford weapons.
In terms of what I'm capable of... I set pretty small fires. Meanwhile, Torin was beating people half
to death in the woods.
I actually thought Voyd was responsible for the beatings and robberies. Maybe he helped a little. But this expalins how Torin knew Sparrow was another 'copy mage' way back.
You two worked together on that one.
He was unstable...
Crazy even. I didn't like him much.
That was obvious.
You killed him.
"I'm not like you.
I'm not... good."
Look, I... It's not that simple.
I used to think it was, and that's how I've lived the past few years of my life.
But things have been different.
I got so angry with Equipment King and The Hand that I started caring less and less
about the rules. I didn't mind breaking them sometimes.
You're trying to be nice.
It's not the same. I don't even have... principles like you do.
I'm only helping you against The Hand to stay out of jail.
Wait a minute.
You saved your friend from the Ember Mages in Boreal and you helped rescue me when I was in trouble.
You don't think that's principle?
You've got them... *Chuckle* You just don't make them known like I do.
Everyone within a wide range of you knows what you stand for!
Well, that's part of the "hero" thing.
You'll do it eventually.
Oh, yeah right!
I'll never do that!
You say that now...
Only a matter of time...
Heh heh heh.
You hit like a girl. Honestly, I should have figured it out after our first fight.
Low blow from Cade over here.
What?! That's it, buddy!
You wanna go right now?!
I'm only kidding!
Let's check out your basement instead.
"The hard part was having no idea what happened to the rest of the family...
What a dumb little kid I was. It was obvious they were all dead."
This scene ends and then I examine the piano.
"My mom wanted me to grow up to be a real classy woman. Her dream was for me
to be a dancer or part of a symphony orchestra.
First she gave me a violin.
I made some progress, but that one was really difficult.
I did a few wind instruments and then we got this.
Couldn't even fit it upstairs with all the other furniture taking up room.
So Evander and a few friends hauled it down here.
If my mom had lived to see the tough chick I turned out to be... She would be
Still... I really liked the piano. It was easily my best instrument.
Young Auburn plays rather splendily for her parents.
Auburn plays.... something, quite badly and then stops.
Ah, screw this!
That wasn't so bad!
It was terrible.
Hey, wait a minute...
Cade, come look at this.
There was a little piece of paper wedged between two of the keys.
This was written by my father! But... How?!
I never found this when I was trapped down here!
Well, what's it say?
"I knew you would come back one day, Auburn.
Go to our old spot where the cacti form an L-shape. You must know the truth."
What the hell's he talking about?
I remember that spot...
It isn't far. But... if he left this here...
That means he didn't die when this place collapsed.
But if he survived...
Why didn't I ever see him again?
Let's find out.
"I have been watching you from afar, but I could not bear
to face you after all that has happened. The loss of your mother and brother, and the horrors
you have experienced are my fault.
I have tried so hard to protect you from both my old foes and the savages here in Coromant.
Instead, I have made things infinitely worse. If you wish to know more, find the well that
belonged to the weapons shop."
... What does he mean by old foes?
I... I never knew that.
Marin said he joined the rebellion towards the end of the war.
He worked with the new leaders for a while and then left the city.
The "old foes" he's mentioning there were probably people here who remembered his
service to Gallia and wanted some payback.
Marin said that Evander found a new family... I just didn't know that one of the children
involved was you.
Did... did you ever meet your real father?
My older brother barely remembered him and I never even saw him.
He left after he found out my mother was pregnant.
Supposedly he couldn't cope with another child. It didn't come up at all
until Mom starting(SIC) seeing Evander.
She didn't mince words.
"He never had a real family, and he was grateful to join ours. For him, raising two kids was a gift... not some burden.
He made us feel loved...
And because of that, he'll always be my true father. Blood ties are overrated."
Didn't want anyone to be able to connect
you to this place?
So where's this well?
There's a couple wells here, so we go looking at them. At the second well...
Auburn thanks him as he hands over a note.
The tribe of mages responsible for the destruction went missing for some time, and I
have stayed hidden because I feared that if I were sighted, it would inspire them to
come back and finish what they began.
Unfortunately, it appears my attempts at secrecy have been unsuccessful.
I have reason to believe another attack is imminent. I will do whatever I can to
make sure that does not happen.
I shall leave another note in the wreckage of the watchtower."
So what happened after you finally got
out of your basement, anyhow?
The one who kidnapped your friend.
Tanisa was there too.
I barely knew her before the attack, but we became best friends afterwards.
Goma... He was our lifeline.
It's too bad that he went so far off the rails... He really was quite dashing in his
younger days. We wouldn't have made it if it wasn't for him.
He taught us both survival skills and he taught me fire magic.
In the flashback, Tanisa backs up as Auburn practices casting fire magic, and Goma approaches her.
She always did have a knack for getting in deep trouble.
Bit of an understatement. And it sheds a lot more light on what Goma could reveal that would upset Tanisa enough that she shoved him off a cliff.
You can actually come up here right from the get go, but there's nothing to do until now.
Nobody in town even knows another attack is imminent. I must act soon.
It is not likely that I will survive, but this is my burden to bear.
I hope that once you feel strong and confident enough, you will leave this
barren place for a brighter future.
I have watched these surroundings chisel you into a warrior,
but a life spent here is ultimately one wasted.
You must leave this behind and claim a new tomorrow for yourself. If I survive
the days ahead, perhaps I can help.
Look for the debris that resembles the symbol of Arcadius."
If he kept tabs on you for a few years...
Do you think he saw you wear his Sparrow costume?
He must have.
The first time I put that thing on was only about two years after I found it.
I was thirteen, and Tanisa was in trouble as usual.
Younger Auburn cuts down one of the thugs hassling Tanisa, and the other two flee.
"It was the first time either of us had actually killed anyone. We had always left that
to Goma. I expected to feel so much regret after it happened.
But the thing is... I didn't.
In fact, there was a horrible joy. I knew the Sparrow costume would leave an impression, but not like that.
Seeing the other two freak out and run away... For the first time, I felt like I had some control
over what happened to me in this dump.
What exactly is the symbol of Arcadius?
I never learned that.
It's a sword...
Sometimes with balance scales on the hilt.
Let's see if we can track that down.
Auburn, when I met you, Henna and Colleen, I felt like that was the point at which my
life truly began. I wanted to forget the past forever.
But the past did not forget me. My time as a Gallian soldier has now come back to haunt
all of us. Those who still hate the Empire want to punish me.
I felt I had no good way to deal with the problem. Fighting back would confirm all of their
worst accusations... But only if they knew it was me.
And so, I created "The Sparrow." It worked for some time, but the costume's fearsome
reputation has inspired much unwelcome invetsigation.
They found out where I lived and punished everyone else here along with me.
Now all I can do is hope that you will be able to reclaim your life.
Please come to the building that was once the mayor's office."
"They caused trouble constantly... and may of them were mages, so they could do a lot of damage."
Sheesh. This place was controlled by Gallia and then it was
full of complete chaos. Too bad nobody could find a happy medium.
I'm surprised you stayed here as long as you did.
As long as we had Goma to look out for us, we felt
there was hope... but that wouldn't last.
"He killed him and claimed Tanisa as his own. I grabbed the costume and tried to intervene.
He wasn't scared at all. He mocked me.
He asked why I was letting "Sparrow" fight all of Auburn Till's battles.
It made my blood boil because I knew he was right.
I had gotten addicted to the fear that costume could draw out of people...
Fear that you didn't get by being a tall redhead.
I didn't want to fight him...
And even if I did, I wasn't sure I could win.
So... we ran."
Flashback Auburn uses a smoke bomb to flee with Tanisa.
"And when I had to face him in Boreal, that's just what I did."
When I left Coromant, I wanted to leave Sparrow
behind. I couldn't look at the costume without thinking of all the horrors I dealt with here.
But when I learned that Don Kovak was searching for someone tough to be his bodyguard...
Well, who's tougher than Sparrow?
Certainly gave me an edge over whoever else applied for that job.
I shouldn't have done it... But I wanted to stockpile money for some bright future.
Once we're done with The Hand, that can be our next project.
I hope that's true. Anyway, the mayor's building is in better shape than most of the town,
so we should find it easily.
Cade blows away the rubble.
Used to look fancy too. Of course, the clans have long since taken everything useful that was once in here.
I wonder where that last note is.
I guess either in here somewhere or upstairs
in the mayor's old office.
The bucket in the corner has this nice item. We go upstairs.
"The moment of truth comes at last. I have learned that the next attack on Coromant will
be tomorrow. None of you will see it coming.
Perhaps I should have settled this earlier, but I wanted to leave this trail for you
because I fear for your future.
I hope one day you will leave this wretched place, but I am not sure if it will leave you
so easily after all the trauma you have experienced here.
It breaks my heart that your childhood was destroyed in this brutal fashion. But you must
not let this horror define you for the rest of your days.
As you may already know, The Sparrow costume is just as much of a curse as it is a blessing.
But you must not let it take you over.
If you want to reclaim that costume and give it a new purpose, that is your choice.
If you want to abandon it altogether, that is another possibility.
Or you may construct a new identity all your own. Whichever it is, it must be something you can take some pride in.
I have assembled various tools and accessories inside this chest that may prove useful to you.
Some adjustments may be necessary.
Now I must confront my old foes for what will be the last time. This old body of mine probably
does not have another fight in it, but I must try.
If tomorrow comes and goes without incident, I have been successful.
Auburn, you and Henna were the best children any man could ask for.
The second act of my life was more than worth the troubles of the first and third.
I hope the drama of your life is a long, lighthearted one.
Let's see what he's got in here.
That is some costume. What are you going to call yourself?
There's a long pause...
We fade out and when we come back, Auburns changed back into her regular clothes.
Sheesh, we gotta sleep in that crowded
upstairs room of hers?
Let's go to the hotel instead.
I'm fine with that!
I don't have any musical talent, so I'm not going to judge.
Anyway, so I recorded the rest of this, and the next scene because the next scene has a character moment/gag that wouldn't work quite as well if I explained it in images and text.
^^^^^ MAKE SURE YOU WATCH THIS!!^^^^
Will there be any left?
What about Mr. Kovak?
This seems suspicious.
I am surprised myself... But I think you
might have some information my allies and I could find useful.
Where is Bardo?
He and the other kids involved in The Hand's
plot are being treated by psychics in Boreal.
I hope you have left him in good hands.
Now then... What is your business?
"I suspect you may know where this hideout is."
Maybe I do.
Why should I share that with you? You're the reason I'm closing this store now.
Not your crimes?
You might want to think about that... But I came prepared for that question of yours.
The Hand/Ketsu's usual theme starts up here. Coma, by Apocalyptica.
Vec, you've mentioned Shana before... Wasn't she Mr. Kovak's sister?
That she was... and she and her husband were murdered
under extremely mysterious circumstances. You never did find out the truth, did you?
Nobody was ever arrested for the crime.
Vec backs up in shock.
Those investigating that crime were certain it was The Hand...
Back in one of their earliest incarnations.
What are you saying?!
The Hand doesn't kill people! That's absurd!
You owe them nothing.
They abandoned you when Kovak was brought to trial, they poisoned your
nephew's mind... and now this.
Where are they?
I've heard of it.
It is deep in the mountains west of the elven capitol.
... Crush them.
It will be my pleasure.
"They have such potential with this power."
"Given her powers, I obviously wasn't able to learn much about her in Guardia, who is she?"
I had never heard of her until I learned Erva Ellester was her mother.
While this conversation is going on, Aiden Sear is walking around looking at bookshelves at the bottom there.
Erva Ellester was a noted psychic in Gallia... Like me, she moved
beyond telepathy and into the realm of mysticism... Visions of the future.
Not even Dasani ever mastered that.
How did you do it, Ivory?
I'm an elf.
I had many, many years to practice.
A human reaching it is far more impressive, given their life span.
It seems to fade with age, however. I have not had a vision for at least twenty years.
Is Cari a mystic too?
Given what we have seen of her power, I would guess that she is.
What puzzles me about all of this is that Erva was a very principled woman.
Lysander was the only person she would talk to about her visions.
She was against using her telepathy or her visions to affect the future.
That lesson clearly did not get passed on to the next generation.
Oh well... At least we have made some progress, especially with Aiden.
And with this Great Awakening mostly averted, The Hand has been routed for the time being.
Everyone looks at Aiden. You may notice Kenda Brine has also woken up (Blue Hair girl in bed)
Another plan... smaller... in case the Awakening failed.
"Subdue her now!" is the full line.
The telepathy sound effect plays after Kenda gets her one spell off. I could of swore her name was Kendra earlier. I'll have to check.
She gets back into bed.
I... I guess.
So a full scale attack on one city rather than six at once... and of course it would be Rellenia.
That finished what Lysander began.
Bane himself warned Stoic that followers of the Gallian ways always held a special antipathy for the elves.
Laurel, I know you are worried about your allies. Rejoin them. Ivory and I will continue the work here.
Send word to Sarnath Alleni and the rest of Gallia's leadership.
We may need a defensive force in Rellenia.
Perhaps I should have tried to defeat Ketsu back in Guardia. I did have the advantage of surprise.
But I was so worried about the victims of the attack.
Enough second guessing.
You will soon have your chance.
HEALER: Well... Can't really call Pearlton a city.
I suppose it would be Rellenia.
Then I will go there.
Goddammit, not again Rayne! Don't get yourself into deep trouble now!
I'm not quite used to just walking around town in it, but I guess you guys will draw more attention.
With you showing off that upper leg, I'm not so sure about that.
You know you love it.
You sure Vec was on the level? He's got plenty of reasons to sabotage us.
The Hand has burned that bridge well.
Laurel told me something similar. I guess one of the Awakening kids tipped them off.
She sent word to the Gallian council and is now coming here.
I know ye explained it Finster, but that still be mighty eerie!
I suppose we should relay that information to Bane.
In the meantime, I'll see if I can find Gabriella
and the Toutens at their camp.
Right. Let's head for the palace.
The Sword of Elven Kings has an instant death effect. Yes, I only just remembered to equip it. It probably wouldn't have made -that- much of a difference on Altar Island.
Evander's Legacy doesn't have anything special that I noticed.
Anyway, I head straight to meet with Bane.
Annnd I decided to put the rest of this updates scenes in video form for reasons. I just felt some of them would work better that way, especially the last two.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oqvIj8m4KJE<<<<<<< MAKE SURE YOU WATCH THIS
Stoic's point about underdogs being silenced by the status quo is something I still have mixed feelings about.
It was something I actually discussed with my friend and he was of the opinion that even in that kind of circumstance anyone that sided with a group like The Hand probably had that sort of inclination to begin with.
It's not like people become neo-nazis because they see neo-nazis get punched... unless they're like... you know. Just waiting for an excuse or are like extreme-centrist types that love debate and decorum overmuch. Or the kind of person
that if called out on a mistake by a minority double down and go NOW YOURE FORCING ME TO BE A NAZI BY CORRECTING MY MISTAKES WHEN IM TRYING TO BE A GOOD ALLY and etc.
To be fair, this is sort of addressed by Stoic's answer to Finley. He implies he's thinking specifically of older people who might have been kids when Gallia went down, or grew up under Gallia's reign, which is something I can see.
On a lighter note, the campfire scene is another one I've always really liked. Something I've always felt more RPGs, both western and eastern need to do more is show
their characters at a sort of... relaxed and vulnerable moment like that.
I think Grandia is one of the best examples of that, honestly. One of the most memorable things about that game to me, is resting at inns or other places shows the party and sometimes NPCs eating dinner and talking about whatever. I always really loved that. And this scene too.
One last note. Whatever copyright shenanigans was once -entirely- blocking the Ghost in the Shell 2 track used in the Forbidden Spell of Rebirth scene has apparently been greatly reduced
and you can now view Ariels revival in time to the music as Vorlath once intended here:
I'll have to go back and add it to the relevant update later.
Volrath already sent me a comment about the first video in this
quote:A couple notes about the scene with Finley’s sister. The only reason she has purple hair is that for the life of me I could not find a suitable green haired sprite with a face to match. I couldn’t ask Shad (the artist) to do it when he was up to his neck in battlers so I came up with this bullshit about her dying her hair. Also for whatever reason the wrong music played during the shocking line about money not being the most important thing. It was originally a scarier sounding jingle to illustrate her sheer terror.
Anyway... Next time we finally take the fight to The Hand, all proper like.
And the Second Battle for Rellenia and the fate of the elves will begin.