The Let's Play Archive


by The Dark Id

Part 36: Episode XXXIII: A Dream of Words

Episode XXXIII: A Dream of Words


That's it! No more side quests! On with the main quest. I need to blow off some steam...

"And people say I have anger issues..."
"Perhaps you both could seek counseling, mmm?"
" can cram that advise in your letters to the editor section, book."
"You will not refer to Grimoire Weiss as some housewife read periodical!"
"That's better, hu-"
"Some people actually give a damn about what those say."
"Stupid sheep!"

Ahem. Right, then. The Forest of Myth is located in the northeastern reaches from the Northern Plains. It is a rather uneventful trip. Though, I did pick-up the Sheep Whisper trophy (100 sheep killed.)

Music: His Dream

Welcome to the Forest of Myth. This is the only other location besides The Aerie that survived from the very first version of the game. It is an...unusual area... Weiss and Nier have a short discussion upon entering the town. Kainé has elected to wait outside as usual.

"Such silence bodes ill. There's trouble on the way, I'm sure of it"
"That's what I love about you, Weiss: You're such an optimist."
"Such cheek!"

The Forest of Myth is quite a small area and rather sparsely populated. It would seem most of the residents are hanging out indoors in their tree stump houses. Though, there are a few townspeople loitering about. Let's strike up a conversation...

"...Real bright and talkative, Popola."

The Mayor of the forest isn't too difficult to find. He's chilling out in the middle of town outside his house. He also has the glowing word bubble above his head and all. Oh well, let's see what nonsense has befallen this town, shall we...?

Note: I am letting this next part speak for itself. If there are any instances of italics, it was something in-game, not my addition.

"Be...ware...the wor...ds..."
"The words? What do you mean?"
"Contagious...words... Those...who...dr...eam..."
"Those who dream?"

"Hold a moment... There is a strange new sensation in my mind."

Weiss's voice rose in a quizzical way.

"It is NOT quizzical!"
"What's going on here!?"

The villager's body shuddered as he slowly opened his eyes.

"Perhaps we should start by asking this man."
"...Wh-who are you?"
"I'm Nier. This is Weiss. We heard something happened to this village, so we came to see if we could help."

The villager stared at Nier and Weiss.

"If you can speak to me... I must have caught you in my dream."
"How's that again?"

The villager explained.

In the past weeks, a mysterious disease called the Deathdream had spread across the Forest of Myth. Those who caught it were cursed to fall asleep and live forever within the world of their own dreams. The village mayor had determined that the Deathdream was spread from person to person by spoken words, but before he could learn more, the disease took him as well.

Weiss stared at the mayor, his mouth twitching slightly.
"Now see here," he said, "are you saying that we have been absorbed into your dream?"
"Um, well...yes," said the mayor. "I think you have."
"Oh, crap," said Nier. "So that means we've caught the Deathdream?"
Before the mayor could confirm Nier's suspicion, Weiss exploded with rage.
"Ridiculous! Preposterous! Completely unfathomable on every conceivable level! I don't even recall falling asleep!"
The mayor attempted to take Weiss' complaints in stride.
"That's just how the Deathdream works," he said, brushing aside the book's remarks.
"My remarks shall not be brushed aside, fool! And it would behoove you to remember that this world allows me to view all of its narration!"

The mayor twisted his mouth into an embarrassed grimace, then quickly changed the subject to who Nier had seen-and what they had discussed-since coming to the village.
"Something there must have caused you to enter my dream," said the mayor. "A certain conversation, a specific word...something!"
Nier and Weiss racked their brains, but could find no easy solutions. There were simply too many words to consider; too much random chatter; too many meaningless conversations.
"Grimoire Weiss does not engage in meaningless conversations!"
The mere suggestion that Weiss chose his words carelessly seemed to sting his pride.
"It does not 'seem' to sting my pride, you bloated gasbag of a narrator! It has demolished it utterly!"
Irritated, Weiss looked skyward, as if searching for answers in the heavens.
"I was doing no such thing! Just leave me alone already!"
The anger created by his harsh words bled over to Nier like a contagion.

"Wait," said Nier suddenly. "Did someone say contagion?"
"Yes, I believe so. What of it?"
"Well, that villager told us to watch out for contagious words, right?"
The mayor leaned forward with renewed interest, pushing a startled Weiss aside in the process.
"Well, he must have said something, right?" asked the mayor. "Some specific combination of words? What was it?"
"It was about dreaming, or something that dreams, or... Oh, what the hell was it?"
"A sheep!?" cried Weiss suddenly, blurting out the first thing that popped into his head.

The others stared at him for a moment before slowly shaking their heads. After a few more minutes of thought, Nier's face suddenly lit up.
"I remember!" he said. "'Those who dream.' That's what he said-I'm sure of it."
At this, the mayor produced a thick sheaf of papers from his pocket. He flipped through them a few times before finally nodding his approval at Nier.
"That sounds right," he said, as a stray sheet of paper fluttered to the ground. "My notes also mention something about that. I bet it was the last thing you heard before you fell asleep."
The mayor shook his head, his worn pencil stub tracing lines across a lone piece of paper.

"For the last month, I've done nothing but study the disease we call the Deathdream, he said. "I mean, I'm the mayor, right? It's my job to protect people from whatever comes along. But I never expected a couple of outsiders to start entering people's dreams." The mayor paused, a grimace crossing his face. "I should probably be taking notes or something."

Weiss immediately fired back.
"I applaud the force of will it takes to research a disease in your dreams," he said, "but perhaps we should bend your efforts to escape this place instead of trying to understand it."
The mayor's hand tightened around his pencil, snapping it off at the tip.
"I've tried to escape. From the very first moment I realized I was locked inside my own dream, I've been looking for a way out...but I don't think it exists. I mean, this is my dream, right? If there was an exit, I'd know about it."

He paused for a moment, his unfocused eyes staring at nothing.
"My village was beautiful," he said to no one in particular.
"And it was filled with the most wonderful people you could ever hope to meet. But this disease took hold, things...changed. It's like someone took a sponge and soaked all the color out of our lives. I just want us to be whole again. I want us to be free." The mayor's voice took on a note of steely determination. "And I won't stop trying until it happens."

Nier nodded in agreement.
"Huh? Wait a second, I didn't nod. Why are you-?"
"Look. If we can be of any help," said Nier, "just ask."
"Now hold on! I did not just say that!"
"Silence!" cried Weiss.
The grimoire looked from Nier to the mayor and back again, his face filling with confidence.
"Grimoire Weiss's face is always confident, thank you very much! Now see here, Mayor. You told us that nothing can exist in this dream without your knowing it. But yet you seemed surprising to see us when we first arrived, yes?"

The mayor slowly raised his head, realization dawning on his face.
"Oh my god," he said. "You're right. You're right! I had no idea you were coming!"
"The human imagination is a limitless engine," said Weiss, "and dreams are the fuel. If you can imagine an exit, then it must be so. With your permission, we shall search it out."
"Thank you," said the mayor. "I don't know how I can repay you."
"Payment is not required. We are as eager as you to be done with this place."
The mayor suddenly felt as if he could breathe again. He'd almost forgotten what it was like.
"Good luck, you two!" he called at the departing forms of Nier and Weiss. "We're all counting on you!"

Music: Silence

As Nier slowly faded into the misty forest, the mayor was struck be a sense of déjà vu.

I saw this man once before, he thought. But where...?

Music: Yonah's Theme ~ Guitar Plucks ver. 2

Nier's mood darkened as he trudged through the forest. Hours earlier, when the beauty of the place was still a new thing, he'd been confident they could get in, find the exit, and be home in time for dinner. But the deeper they went, the more the forest closed in around him. The mist made it difficult to see more than a foot in any direction, and moss-covered rocks seemed determined to twist his ankle. More than once he'd been forced to steady himself on the rough bark of a tree, and his hands now left small trails of blood on everything he touched. Additionally, Weiss was proving to be a spectacularly poor traveling companion. Unhindered by either terrain or physical effort, he spent most of his time urging Nier to pick up the pace and grumbling about their slow progress.

Finally, after Weiss muttered something about legless turtles being more adept at navigating the environment, Nier snapped.
"You know what, Weiss?" he cried. "Go to hell. We're stopping. I need to rest for a few minutes before I throw up."
Nier leaned against a tree and tried to stretch the knots from his back. "How can this stupid forest be so goddamn big?" he muttered to himself.

The moment the words tumbled from his mouth, a cacophony of insects sprang to life. As if infuriated by his lack of respect, every imaginable form of buzz, click, and hiss roared out with a volume that rattled his teeth.

Nier slapped his hands over his ears and screamed to be heard. "Weiss! What the hell is going on?"
Nier could see Weiss's mouth moving, but he might as well have been shouting in a tornado. The insects screamed. The forest howled. And then, just as Nier's ears seemed ready to tear from his head and go running for cover, the sound diminished. Hesitantly, Nier removed the hand from his left ear and listened to the creatures of the woods.

Zree! Zree! Zree! Zree!
Shak-k-k-k! Shak-k-k-k! Shak-k-k-k!
Chk-chk-chee! Chk-chk-chee! Chk-chk-chee!
Woo-woo-wooma! Woo-woo-wooma!
Shik shik seeek! Shik shik! Shik Shik seeek!

As the insect symphony dimmed another decibel, Nier began to detect patterns in the sound. This isn't random, he thought. It's not just white noise. It's...something else.

Music: Riddle Challenge

The insects weren't just calling out; they were asking a question.

One with it suffers. Two with it is ideal.
Three with it is dangerous. What is it?

"By my pages! Is this a riddle?"
"I guess so. This kind of thing happens a lot in dreams, right? Maybe it's the key to getting out of this place."
"Then I leave it to you to answer!"

The sound of the insects stopped as suddenly as it began. The forest undergrowth parted before Nier like a rippling wave, opening a new path.
"These forest arthropods are making a road for us!" said Weiss with glee.
Pleased at passing the test, Nier moved on with new intensity.

Yonah's Theme ~ Guitar Plucked ver. 2

The path offered his body relief from the undergrowth, but gave even greater cheer to his mind. As long as they were on a path, their journey had a purpose.
"I guess the forest has accepted us, huh?" said Nier after a bit.
Weiss spun around to face his companion.
"Do not mistake the will of this forest for some happy pet you can suddenly befriend! We have no idea where this path leads."

As Weiss finished speaking, the pair turned a corner and found themselves facing a clear forest spring. Smiling, Nier picked up a small rock and sent it skipping across the surface of the water.
"Good heavens..." said Weiss.
His surprise was understandable. Each time the rock struck the surface of the water, a musical note rang out. When the rock finally stopped moving and sank to the bottom of the spring, the ripples it left behind came together to form words.

Music: Riddle Challenge

I enter through the window, but I break no glass.
When night falls, I vanish. What am I?

"Absurdly easy!" barked Weiss. "Now answer it."
Nier grit his teeth and tried not to reach out and strangle his companion. He's right, after all. This one is pretty easy.

Music: Yonah's Theme ~ Plucked Guitar ver. 2

"Hey, look!" cried Nier, awaking Weiss from his daze.
"There's a house or something over there."
Glancing in the direction of his friend's extended hand, Weiss saw a small cottage nestled among the trees.
"That's weird, isn't it, Weiss? I mean, who would build a house all the way out here?"
Nier walked over and pounded on the door. After a minute of solid banging, the door cracked open and a small man peered out. His body was cloaked from neck to toe in a large black cape, while his face was obscured by mist.
"Um..." began Nier. But before he could get any further, the cloaked man held a hand up and began speaking.

Music: Riddle Challenge 2

I have four legs in the morning and two at noon, but I end
the night with three. What am I?

Nier tried to ask the cloaked man who he was and what he was doing there, but he simply repeated the question.
"If you wish to engage this man in conversation," said Weiss, "it seems we must answer his riddle."
"Yeah, I suppose," said Nier. "Well, at least it's an easy one."

Music: Yonah's Theme ~ Plucked Guitar ver. 2

With that, the man flung his garment aside, revealing his true identity.
"Y-you're the mayor!" cried Nier.
The small man slowly shook his head.
"I am not the mayor you know. Now listen to my words: Long ago, I saw a version of you that was not yourself."
"You saw... Wait, you saw what? I'm sorry, I don't understand a thing you just said."
"It will make sense in time. At present, I simply congratulate you on cracking the seal of the Deathdream. Now you must go to the man at the forest entrance."

With that, the man turned on his heel and slammed the door behind him. As Nier watched, mist seeped up from the ground and enveloped the cottage, erasing it from existence.

When Nier and Weiss returned to the forest entrance, they found the mayor leaning against a tree. As soon as he caught sight of the duo, he sprang to his feet and scrambled over to them.
"Good gravy!" he cried. "You made it! You actually made it back!"
His left hand grasped Nier's and pumped it so fiercely it threatened to dislodge from the socket, while his right seized Weiss by the cover and swung him through the air.
"Gah! By the heavens, stop shaking me, fool! We have not even told you if we were successful or not!"
The mayor smiled broadly and shook his head.
"I'm just happy you're alive! I didn't think I'd ever see you again."
Nier withdrew himself from the mayor's eager handshake with a slight smile.
"We broke the Deathdream's seal," he said. "At least, I think we did."

The mayor's face beamed as Nier filled him in on the details.
When the tale was done, the three of them laid down on the forest ground and fell asleep.

"Wait a second!"
"That's crazy! Why would we just lay down and go to sleep? This is one hell of a story..."
"Cease your endless prattle and go to sleep, fool! Fighting against the rules of this place is futility itself."
Nier and the mayor obediently reclined atop the grassy earth.
"Have you forgotten?" continued Weiss. "It is words that control the Deathdream, words that allow us to move from place to place. No matter how unnatural they seem, the words are absolute. Therefore, if the words tell us to sleep, then sleep we shall. And once we do, the story will continue."
With that, the trio found their eyes growing heavy, their breath slowing.
"This is the first time..." began the mayor. "The first time I have felt tired...since I was...imprisoned here..."
His words were cut off by a loud, long yawn, and he remembered nothing more.

They might have slept for an hour or a year. When they awoke, things had a slightly more real quality to them. The mist felt thicker, the leaves greener... It was clear that they had awakened from their dream.

Nier shook the mayor's shoulder gently. "Good news," he said. "We made it."
"Oh, wow," said the mayor in an awed voice. "We did. I'm back." He blinked once, twice, as though not quite believing the sight before him.
"You two have no idea how much this means."
"The Deathdream had started to spread through our village, and I wanted to... Well, I thought I could figure out how to stop it, but I guess that wasn't the case. I must have caught the disease and become trapped in my own dream."

The mayor started to stand, then collapsed back to the earth. He stared at his legs as if trying to remember how they worked, then glanced at Nier and shrugged. Without a word, the fighter reached down and pulled the mayor to his feet.
"Real life may take some getting used to." A wry smile crossed the mayor's lips.
"You shall relearn in short order, I am sure," said Weiss. "For now, you should return to your home and rest."
"No," said the mayor, swaying on unsteady feet. "No, I can't. Some of the villagers are still trapped in the Deathdream. I have to save them."
The mayor slowly made his way to the Divine Tree in the center of the village, then bowed his head and prayed silently.
"This is a holy tree," he explained when the prayer was finished. "It's the guardian of our village's history...and memories."
"Superstition will only make our mission harder," muttered Weiss. "We should not put our faith in the gods."
The mayor shook his head, "Not the gods: the words. Legend says our tree is home to a powerful magic known as a Sealed Verse."
Nier and Weiss could not contain their surprise. It seemed a goal had been found in the most unexpected of places.
"I say," muttered Weiss, "this is certainly a stroke of luck."
As the three of them said their good-byes, Nier mentioned the strange man who had given them the third riddle and the mysterious words he had left them with.

"I once saw a version of you that was not yourself?" muttered the mayor. "What in the world...?"
Lost in thought, he stared into space for a long moment.
"You know," he said softly, "this is going to sound weird... but I had a feeling I'd seen you before, too."
Nier tried to keep a straight face and failed, but the mayor didn't seem to notice.
"Déjà vu, right? Anyway, I figure it's just some kind of illusion created by the Deathdream. It probably doesn't mean anything."

Nier gave the mayor a nod and a smile, but inwardly his thoughts were racing. There's something wrong about the mayor and his words. ...I wish I understood what the hell was going on here.

That riddle would prove to be the most difficult one of all.

Music: His Dream

"Now I can finally return to a normal life."
"This is one of the most bizarre diseases I have ever encountered."
"I know. That's why I have to help the other villagers, no matter what."

Welp, that was a friggin' mouth full, eh? But, that did count as another dungeon and the penultimate Sealed Verse is now returned to Grimoire Weiss. The ability to shove spectral spikes up Shades' asses is now within our powers. Spiffy.

"Yes...all a touch too easy, if you ask me. It's almost as if someone was guiding us to this village..."
"You think too much, Weiss..."

Forest of Myth Flyover and Chat

Music: His Dream
Music: Yonah's Theme ~ Guitar Plucks ver. 2
Music: Riddle Challenge
Music: Riddle Challenge 2

Yonah Render