Part 56: UPDATE 51: The Sleeping Goddess
This awesome holy sword really couldn't go to anyone but Freddie. He's been sitting on that not-particularly-great fire blade for quite a while, and he deserves some goddamn spoils. As a reward for long and dedicated service, Doreauxgard (remember him?) gets the Laevateinn.
I've also got another Totila. Sexwale gets it. And in a real blast from the past I upgraded Robert from a Sum Mannus to an Ice Blade. Ah, memories.
But enough of that crap. One more mission! I'm raring to go! Let's go stop that resurrection! YEAHH!
UPDATE 51: The Sleeping Goddess
We've definitely been here before. Last time Zeda wasn't around (that we know of), but a current dead guy and a current Generic Army unit leader were. This time it seems slightly more ominous.
: "The same aura as our own... The power of our goddess!! Baldwin, you must be feeling it as well. The awakening is near!"
A bit late for Baldwin to be having second thoughts if you ask me. He already stabbed his brother to death over this and now he's getting cold feet.
: "Weren't you hurt because of this woman?"
Are they talking about the time she cast Dark Quest on him? That didn't really seem like so huge of a deal, but Baldwin seems pretty embarrassed!
: "Hehehe... No need to worry. Her mind is gone. The despair of losing her love has pushed her over the edge. That made my job easy... Now, she's merely my puppet."
Emo kids: twice as likely to be magically controlled by witches. You heard it here first.
Enter some guy!
: "They will reach our army in no time."
: "Shit... Damn that kid!!"
Freddie can be middle-aged or even a centenarian by now, keep in mind. You can pace around on the map to your heart's content if you've got a lot of time to spare! The game is just assuming (understandably) that you won't do that because you're probably not a crazy person.
Baldwin and Redshirt leave. I dunno, Baldwin should be careful he doesn't miss the Resurrection or he won't get anything out of it!
She's talking like Danika's her cat. "Ooh, does Dan-Dans want her supper? Does she? Who's the cutest little demigoddess in the world? Is it you? IS IT YOU?"
: "Please be patient. I'll be right there."
"Your resurrection is very important to us. Please stay on the line and a mysterious hag with unknowable motives will be with you as soon as possible. (smooth jazz)"
She literally pulls this sword from hammerspace. It's unclear to me how it got from Yumil to Zeda, or maybe there's more than one of it or something, but it's apparently an important part of the ritual.
: "What's wrong, Mari? ...You can't do it? That's impossible! Even if you don't know, your blood should. The knowledge you inherited from him... the knowledge which encompasses both good and evil should tell you! ...The arcane words needed to communicate with the gods!"
: "I don't know."
: "W, What!? ...I have control over your mind..."
: "And even if I knew, I wouldn't do such a thing! That's it... Your time is over!!"
DUN DUN DUNNNNNN
: "...I'll tell you everything. Listen to me, Mari! This isn't for us... It's for your father!"
DUNNNNN DUNNNNNNNNNNN DUNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN
: "What are you saying? I have no father..."
DUNNNNNNNNNN DUNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN okay that's enough
: "The reason why you were born, your feelings toward Yumil, and... the fact that you're here with me right now... All these were according to your father's plan! This is the fate prepared for you by your father, who was the sage of Zeteginia... the fate given to you, for you to follow. You understand now, don't you? Mari... You cannot escape your fate!"
The Sage of Zeteginia is Rashidi, another dude from MotBQ and Saradin's old boss. Basically he was that game's answer to Zeda -- shadowy figure manipulating events to bring about Ogre Battle and the reign of demons on earth, etc etc. Sort of. He was more straightup about it than she is -- he was a boss fight, actually. I guess Mari was part of a contingency "what if I am bested by a 12-year-old SNES player" plan he had going that whole time. He has children in place to bang every upcoming messiah figure in every religion, just in case.
: "My feelings... for Yumil... Even that was planned!?"
"that's just plain creepy, ew ew ew"
: "Yes, Mari. Yumil's destiny, his love for you... Everything was planned beforehand... Don't go against........ your fate......"
: "I won't..."
Looks like you just did, kiddo.
: "Th... ...This can't be..."
Mari's getting herself quite an impressive Cutscene Body Count!
: "Yu...mi...l...? Yumil... Yumil! My lord...!!"
Interesting approach. Seems more likely to work than Pruflas's was.
She just keeps on stabbin'. Starts making quite a mark.
: "I'm... sorry..."
Nothing so far. Rashidi's blood wasn't quite specific enough on this point, I guess.
okay this counts
The mark Mari made on the ruins is instantly healed! MIRACULOUS.
Yeah of course we cut away after that.
: "Freddie... Are you alright? Is your heart not absorbed by hatred and sorrow? Are you able to control your anger?"
: "I'm okay... Destin."
seriously dude Yumil's been dead for like two weeks, all we did just now was beat up a douche with fratty hair
he didn't even die in front of us
: "...This will probably be our last battle. Don't lose to yourself."
: "Let's get started..."
: "We must capture Keryoleth and prevent Danika's resurrection."
Same start and end points as we had last time, despite the fact that we're coming from the other direction this time. Par for the course.
: "This battle will determine the future of this land. All we can do is fight the best we can."
...that's it, apparently. I'm starting to think Hugo's heart just isn't in it anymore since we technically won the war. Can't say I much blame him.
: "If we prevent the resurrection of Danika... Lodis' scheme... will our battle end there?"
"at this point i wouldnt be surprised if they tacked on a few more missions just to keep us guessing actually"
: "I've been thinking lately, if... I'm actually the one who's escalating this war... If I involved Yumil, this kingdom in this war... Destin... The path that I've walked upon, the actions I took... Was I right?"
: "Man does not live on his own. Everything in this world, living or not, affects each other. It's not that the world is changed only by you. You're just one of many factors that determine the course of the future. Freddie, don't look back. If you were wrong, just make sure you don't make the same mistake again. The past cannot but changed, but the future holds infinite possibilities. ...Right?"
This is the game reassuring you that you scored a high chaos frame. Destin tends to be its avatar for grading you on that.
Interesting tidbit about that briefing: Hugo's name and portrait didn't actually show up once in-game. Not even during the map session. Technically speaking Hugo could have spent that whole scene asleep in his chair while Destin did all the work (ie not much work). I think that'll be my personal canon for it, actually.
Two enemy units are visible to our Sheen-enhanced eyes at the beginning of the mission.
Mayfield is demon-by-numbers; he's on the attack. Cevellini is a huge pain in the ass (causing me to exchange Ankiseth for Europea); he's guarding the stronghold of Natashkan.
Mayfield's only briefly threatening moment was right here when he managed to combo me. Decent damage; not TOO bad but decent for a couple of Saturoses.
Saradin and Sexwale one-upped the shit out of them, though.
Looks like we've got another (boring) challenger.
Thank you, come again. I'm basically wiping out double-Ogre units in my damn sleep these days. Remember when Ogres were big and scary? Remember Ariosh's unit? Ah, to be young again.
They keep trickling in. I'll just streamline this by putting enemy formation and eventual death in the same line.
Easy come, easy go.
Baldwin, quit stalling and just let me get there and thwart your goddamn evil plan already.
After those attackers were dealt with I decided it was time to get underway (mostly out of impatience). Sheen takes care of this stronghold for me after Europea clears all the dead people off it.
Meanwhile I sent Gilbert and Hector to liberate the North. There's an Ahzi Dahaka up here and fuck if I'm gonna send Sheen all the way up there to deal with it for them. Screw that. Deal with it yourself, Gilbert. You've done harder.
Against Gilbert the Earthquake only hits two corner units anyway (due to Mary Jane's ability to fly). No big deal at all.
Took a couple fights, but Dolbo fell soon enough.
Oh, I guess they're still attacking? Sure, great, less walking for me.
Ugh. A Pumpkinhead unit and a Sphinx unit. Great. I guess the challenge was bound to arrive eventually.
ow ow ow ow ow ow
That's what you get, jerk. You get engulfed in a series of giant fireballs. And now I'm gonna make a PIE out of your HEAD. <>
Not even Sphinxes are a big deal anymore -- they're harder to meatshield for than Pumpkinheads, meaning you probably just have to tank the one hit before you can finish them off. Easy peasey.
Another set of two units trickles in. This is a pretty obvious desperation ploy on the part of the AI -- it knows defending its holdings will get it nowhere, so it's just sending everything it's got at me now in the hopes of overwhelming me.
The thing about a Hail Mary pass, though, is that it can pretty easily be caught by either team.
And your best will get you absolutely nowhere if it's not good enough.
One mildly clever ploy is sending this one unit here on such a path that my northern units are too far out of the way to intercept it. If I were really dumb and left my HQ open, this would Game Over me right here and now.
Fortunately for me I'm not really dumb and I left Troi in charge (which is pretty much the exact opposite of leaving it open). Nice try, Baldwin!
One final wave. He's sticking with this strategy pretty admirably considering how monumentally it's been failing so far.
Ecstatic to be finally let out from under the heel of their demonic oppressors, the inhabitants of Gypsanville welcomed Hector's unit with open arms. The irony inherent in that action was immediately ordered stricken from all official records.
All the other strongholds in the area fell just as easily, since their custodians have already been kind enough to throw themselves on my swords.
And that should about do it. It's go-time.
I see you're surrounded by demons, Baldy. What's wrong? Out of Templars?
Hm. Looks like we're fighting on a generic outside background. I'd really been hoping we'd be doing this, like, on top of the Stonehenge thing itself. I guess this'll do.
Other battalion names you could pick to maximize this line's humor: "Yankees" (although I'd have to veto that one personally as a proud New England native); "The Torpedoes" (which would actually have been really awesome in retrospect except people would have been calling us "the the torpedoes" in dialogue all the time); "damn damn" (which would have made a whole lot of the game make no sense whatsoever).
: "Why do you keep interfering with my plan!?"
"all i wanna do is resurrect the queen of the netherworld to bring about a reign of demons on earth, and gain ultimate power which i would then use to completely subjugate your nation for political gain; why you gotta be hatin"
: "Your scheme ends here. Danika will not be resurrected!"
: "Don't get me wrong! There's no need to worry about Danika. I broke the seal solely to be blessed by her, so that I gain the ultimate power! And then, I... will kill a god. ...I'll kill Danika."
"using the power directly supplied by her, meaning i'd pretty much need her cooperation to pull it off, but i'm sure she'll have my back on this, she seems cool"
: "You even intend to use the queen of the netherworld? Kill the goddess Danika...? Do you truly believe such a thing can be done!?"
: "...Don't forget, Danika is only a demigoddess. I doubt that she is immortal. I will become a legend... And be remembered as a god."
: "Man can never be a god. ...The ultimate power isn't meant for humans! It will only create chaos."
: "You don't get it, do you? ...I will use my power to eliminate chaos. When confronted with the impossible... people can accept the existence of a god. I'll gain the ultimate power, exceeding my human capacity... and that of the darkness. I'll become a god! I believe that since ancient times, heroes and gods were born like this. ...Rejoice! A new hero is born, from the ashes of your dead."
Baldwin's theory: Gods are born when they get blessings from other gods. Okay. Sure. That totally sounds like a sustainable idea.
Let's just get out of here and get some more dialogue. I could stick around for slightly longer to try to kill off one or two of Baldwin's flunkies, but I'll just end up taking more damage and possibly killing Baldwin before being able to heal it (although who knows, maybe that's just me hubrising it up). More talky.
: "Stop this! We don't want any more hatred... any more sorrow! ...We've had enough!"
: "What am I to stop, without accomplishing anything? The seal placed upon this land will be broken. Danika will awaken in a short while. There's no turning back. I made deals with the denizens of the netherworld. I killed my own brother. I have nowhere to return to. ...I want the ultimate power! Even if I'm called a heretic, that's fine as long as I can possess the ultimate power."
Baldwin kind of has a point here: he's in too deep to go backsies now. Even if this turns out to be a colossally terrible idea (which it probably will) he's got nothing to lose. Might as well go all in.
: "You made this kingdom... and Yumil... suffer... for that!?"
: "I don't listen to weaklings! ...Convince me with your strength!"
Right so where were we?
Baldwin healed both of his Daemons with items between battles, but neglected to heal his meatshield. That'll probably be a fatal mistake.
He casts Crag Press. Not particularly well, either. Yumil at least had tier-2 combo magic rather than tier-2 solo magic.
YEESH. Okay, that's not so bad. It's really not! And that's all he's got. He's done now! My turn.
Freddie and Zemeckis being asleep means I have time to heal them anyway.
DAMMIT JUST FRIGGIN' DIE
Ellipses, promising. Standing up straight, not so much.
DAMMIT WILL YOU PLEASE JUST COME BACK HERE AND DIE ALREADY
Baldwin runs back to the ruins to find a rather awkward scene.
T rating: Shits and damns abound. Still no F-bombs.
Yeah he somehow managed to fail to see the dead demon hag until this moment I dunno.
Zeda starts wriggling around on the ground and somehow metamorphoses into a Gorgon. That's all she was this whole time? That's not mysterious at ALL, I've got two of those fuckers working for me!
She crawls toward Baldwin and speaks.
: "...for... Lady Danika... ...awak... ...Finally... this world... our... god...dess......"
And she melts. Yeah I guess that's appropriately witchy.
uhhhh mari, you know baldwin, you know him pretty damn well, stop talking nonsense.
Don't tell me... amnesia?!?
you were talking to her
Yeah that makes sense actually.
: "...Woman! You won't have it! The ultimate power is mine!"
He sweeps her the fuck out of the way with his sword. It serves its intended purpose, but she's not quite dead. Maybe she'll live through the cutscene!
: "Grant me the ultimate power!!"
"Yeah I know you actually saw that girl do it, plain as day, but she's dead now and you gotta bless SOMEbody, might as well be me. You see anybody else around? No. Get blessin'. Chop chop."
Oh right, Freddie's still here too.
There's a magicky-sounding noise and Baldwin is instantly cast aside by nothing in particular. Yeah I'd call this whole plan of his a pretty catastrophic failure right out of the gate.
Freddie's the only one left. What an awkward situation for him! What would you even say?
"so, uh, hi"
"maybe you could try, like, NOT being resurrected, that seems like a fun time too right?"
okay that's quite possibly even worse of an idea of what to say than i had
: "No... You're not Yumil... Who are you!?"
"there could be any number of magic flying ladies passing through these abandoned ruins for any number of reasons, never hurts to check"
...of the earth..."
: "I was once known as the goddess of fertility, a long time ago..."
Yumil's theme starts playing here. Note that she really doesn't particularly look anything like Yumil.
: "...Danika, queen... of the netherworld..."
: "...You, too, call me by that name..."
ooh, major faux pas
I guess he DID already call her by the name of his male dead best friend, might as well keep jamming that foot even farther in his mouth.
: "Within me lies another who knows you."
: "The color of your hair... and your eyes..."
"don't really look particularly like yumil's; they're WAY too blue, but let's just ignore that for the purposes of this cutscene"
: "Are you... Are you Yumil?"
"There's no other explanation for having the same hair and eye color as someone else; you MUST be him in drag. I will accept NO OTHER EXPLANATION."
: "It all started... with a mistake."
lemme guess... condom broke. Yeah that's a bitch and a half to deal with if you can't get your hands on Fantasy Plan B.
: "After being enticed by Demundza, king of the netherworld, into eating the fruit of the netherworld, my mother put me in a deep sleep. So I would not succumb to the Infernal Aura, my soul was separated from my body and I went into a deep slumber. I was never to awaken, unless I was summoned... as long as people did not want me to return as a god."
yeesh, that's... quite a plan b
I'm not sure if this makes Berthe really really pro-choice or really really pro-life.
: "A man who yearned for my power... his heart woke me. '...I want power...' He yearned for power to protect his beloved. I gave him my blessing... my power... and demanded reparation, to offer me a vessel... so that I can fully awaken..."
: "A vessel?"
yeah another weird poorly-localized JRPG repetition, but I think in this case that's actually a valid place to ask for clarification.
: "As I made contact with his feelings, I... felt my own loneliness. My heart was filled with sorrow. I could not bear to be alone... My desire to reawaken being strong, I demanded a vessel to hold my soul. I don't know what happened to him after the covenant was made... Except... the person you hold close to your heart was the vessel... the Child of the Covenant."
Ah. See, stripped of all the cryptic language this is all stuff we already knew, really.
: "The sword, the token of the covenant, accepted his blood and my knights obeyed his commands. When his heart came down to me, I felt him. ...I felt his deep sorrow. ...I did not want to wake up. I was filled with unbearable sadness..."
Well, um, you see, I had to go and... the... uh, the proletariat needed... my dad killed a guy and... stop looking at me like that!
Baldwin is apparently (a) still alive and (b) not impressed with a floaty lady's sob story about a guy he once knocked out with a stomach punch.
: "No... I won't accept this... won't... forgi... Damn him... I will... the worl..."
She doesn't take very kindly to HIS whining, either.
And he's down again. Danika's still not looking so hot.
WHOA this ain't good
JESUS CHRIST, BALDWIN, YOUR GHOST IS EVEN MORE ANNOYING THAN YOU
I'm not really done with this game yet, am I?
What... have I...
...What... I... have done...
...You... must n... be... awa...k..n
All is...... plan...
...wanted... stay... the...
The day... covenant...
...accepted... my... blood...
I... was... afr...
...curse.... kill them all....
...I wanted.... ...brother...
......No.... ...ack... revenge...
...with my plan...
Get out of here!
A number of people present here, dead and otherwise, appear to say some various cryptic things through Danika. She's sure not looking any less crazy for it.
You should maybe stand back, Freddie?
Whoa, that's... um. That's different.
Freddie should have known he was too late to keep Danika from coming back when he got there and she was already back, so I guess he'd been counting on his own ability to talk her back down into the grave or something. That didn't work.
Her claws spew Acid and Rotten Breath, respectively. It's not too bad as long as they don't cast them on the same character.
Personally Danika is more of a Lava Shot kinda gal. She gets two Lava Shots, though. Careful you don't get screwed.
Well I sure am getting nowhere fast.
Let's try a Pedra. I'll get the Interrupt back pretty quickly anyway.
Yeah it might be time to regroup.
The entire Generic Army is thrown back beyond this swamp, and endless demon units start pouring out of those two flower things. That purpley stuff is "Malefic Woods" terrain. It's new.
It's a good thing Freddie's got such a good healer 'cause everyone coming out of that left flower goes straight for him and he's got no backup.
Danika's a tough nut to crack, but she's got no items. Keep coming at her over and over with everything you've got and she'll eventually go down. Right? Right.
Fighting in the Malefic Woods gets you this cool battle background. It's pretty awesome and I wish we'd gotten a chance to see it at some time in the past when it wasn't TENSE AS SHIT.
Those demon units that the flowers spawn ain't shit. Just plow through them with your whole force, be liberal with your item use, and keep whittling Danika down, and eventually you'll be rewarded with something like the following:
No reward this time. Why the hell would you get a reward? Who are you gonna use it to kill? YOU JUST KILLED A GOD. RELAX.
NEXT TIME ON OGRE BATTLE: Resolutions.