The Let's Play Archive

Rondo of Swords

by Einander

Part 44: The Successor

The next update will be a special bonus update; chapter 38 will follow as usual. That bonus update contains the second big vote of the thread! Look forward to it.

Or don't, if you prefer. I'm flexible.

Chapter 37: The Successor

Apparently Igraine can do that? Between the dreamspace manipulation, the flying, the ability to create life and resurrect the dead (as zombies, but still), AND the combat applications, Darkness is kind of overpowered... Especially since Darkness users can still use other elements if they want to, if Igraine and Galahad are any indication.

Inside my heart?
Right. If you want to learn more about yourself, you must move forward...

So why do you still stand before me? By what logic are you convinced that you are real?

You might recognize that set of win and lose conditions. You have a choice, but there's nothing pushing you one way or the other; there's no way to get a Game Over on this map.

This is definitely the trippiest battlefield so far.

For all intents and purposes, this chapter is a prolonged cutscene. Prince Serdic is the most threatening enemy here, and that isn't saying much.

That said, each opponent is level 45 and gives appropriate on-kill experience. Serdic entered at level 47 and he'll be level 50 when he leaves.

The Light is passed down through the royal bloodline... so where does your Darkness originate? You possess the power of the Darkness...

I'm very interested in studying you more closely.

I doubt that any of these characters have said these things to Serdic, and I doubt that Igraine is beaming Arios's thoughts into Serdic's mind. So what the heck is going on here? I don't know. As best I can tell, all of this is Serdic's subconscious connecting dots. (And, occasionally, making images of people yell at him, because he has self-loathing issues.) Regardless of the source, it seems to be here for exposition, so the actual information in this stage is trustworthy... Probably.

You're returned to your starting position each time another Ghost of Exposition Present appears. Arios has Fire Raid, but he won't use it unless you have eight or more Move, enough to ensure he can't run first turn. Even if he does use it, it's 100 damage and Serdic regenerates.

But then, why are you so much like him?

Are you really a mere double?

Why did no one ever question Serdic's identity? Because of their similarities in appearance, yes, but also because he was wielding a blade only usable by those with Major Altrius Holy Blood.

It's something so obviously true to everyone that no one ever bothers explaining it to the player. Spanta is very strong and very famous, so it's a fairly reasonable kind of narrative cheating.

This does raise very interesting questions about the fact Serdic just handed the Holy Blade to ??? and expected that to work. Had they tested this before? Was ??? "commissioned" by Bretwalde, or did Serdic really just find him by chance? But if this was all some plot, then why was ??? injured when Prince Serdic found him?

Aegil's lines are also an all-but-confirmation of the fact that she knew Prince Serdic... Fairly well, apparently, if she feels qualified to judge how similar they are. She doesn't know about Serdic and ???, but that doesn't mean much; if Bretwalde was working with the Order to make homunculi clones, then it was probably best not to tell the Order's oldest enemy about it.

This version of Aegil is still in her first tier Healer class and only has Prowess (+experience). She's completely harmless, and so naturally you have to kill her to progress.

You've done well in coming this far. Lay down your sword and rest...

Well, if anything, this tells us Igraine probably isn't playing puppeteer to the phantoms. She's not the malicious type.

Marie only has Cure Drop.

...Probably not. I'll lay it out for you, then. You're just an artificial copy of Serdic. That's why you seem so much like him.

What do you think? Funny, isn't it?

What could a copy like you hope to accomplish? To unify the continent? You're the only one who wants that. You do know that, right? And yet you insist on doing it. Well, fair enough. But I'm going to stop you.

Yeah, good luck with that.

This is a level 45 Prince with a Ceramic Ring, meaning he has about 3/4 of Serdic's base attack, a much worse weapon, and -20 defense. It's kind of pathetic.

Which, in retrospect, is appropriate. I doubt Serdic thinks very highly of the person he used to be.

There's no need for you to suffer any longer. Cast aside your sword. It's not too late for you to stop fighting, even now.

It's not your fault, Serdic! There's no need for you to fight!

Igraine is telling the truth.

Serdic doesn't have to be here. Bretwalde is safe, Grand Meir is devastated, and it isn't in any shape to resume its conquest. His responsibilities have brought him nothing but grief. His promise to Serdic brought him this far, but the man is dead. It only binds him if he allows it to, and there are others who can take up his burden. Even with the Sword of Darkness, Gauss is a single man.

Sometimes, you just have to move on.

Narrator: The Divine Empire of Bretwalde suddenly ceased all hostilities against the Grand Meir Empire. As the Divine Empire withdrew, the Grand Meir Empire hounded its troops... But the Grand Meir forces were in shambles, and its military strength was already decimated. By the year 384... The Grand Meir Empire was no more. Due to its emphasis on military strength, its collapse after losing the war was inevitable. Also that year... The Divine Emperor Serdic suddenly disappeared. No one knew where or why he vanished, and no one ever saw him again after that day. Pope Aegil assumed leadership of both Verona and the Divine Empire.

Narrator: The nation mourned Serdic's death. His name lived on for generations, becoming a Bretwaldean legend. While the nameless youth who stood in his shadow was swallowed whole by history...

Serdic and Igraine live the rest of their lives together in quiet, happy obscurity. Everyone except Aegil gets a good ending.

The game does treat this as a full, valid ending, complete with a "save for NG+" prompt. Oddly enough, you also get this ending if you're somehow defeated on this stage:

Notice how Prince Serdic has 99 MC and 2 OB? That's from killing Serdic. (I had to give Serdic the Ceramic Ring and South Medal and remove all his skills for this to happen, and I still would have won if I hadn't wasted my last turn -- Arios's Fire Raid will take Serdic quite close to death when he spawns, but he'll just barely hang on. Regeneration and Seven Sins take care of the rest.)

Presumably this is because, as mentioned, this stage is so very easy. If you lose, it's because you chose to lose.

But if Serdic was the type of man who ran away from pain and responsibility, he wouldn't have come all the way here, would he?

Leaving immediately will result in a Narrow Victory. Defeating Prince Serdic and then leaving results in (strangely enough) a Complete Victory, while leaving when Igraine speaks up again will result in an Overwhelming Victory. I'm guessing the turn 1 Narrow Victory is a special case, but the rest comes down to turn counts, and someone messed up when making the victory conditions; enough Rings will allow you to defeat the mages the turn after they spawn, but that still isn't enough to achieve a Complete Victory that continues on to 38. Maybe if you one-shot Prince Serdic, but... Even a very well-kitted Serdic does just above half life. Maybe it's possible if you're level 80+, but otherwise that's really not happening.

It's largely irrelevant, though; there are no items, and even 60 more experience doesn't matter much this late in the game.

This track plays during the final scene, after the rewards screen. It's one of the game's better ones, I think, and it plays fairly rarely.

I can't stop being what I am.
But I promise you this. No matter what happens, I won't give up. This life is the result of all their actions... I need to protect their legacy.
You really are a dummy, Serdic. You never listen to anything I say.

This is about as much information as the game will ever give on Serdic's birth (he's a homunculus created and based off of Prince Serdic, giving him the Holy Blood) and why Igraine is so attached to him (she helped raise him). Route A fills in a little more about ???'s time at Egvard, but not much. This is mostly because everyone who could give us answers is dead.

At the same time, though, the implicit statement is that all of that doesn't matter. Serdic's chosen to finish this of his own will, even when he had the choice to walk away. He's not here because he has to be, or because he was ordered to. The reason for his creation only matters if it matters to him, and it doesn't.

Is it enough? That's all a matter of how comfortable you are with unanswered questions.

Total resets so far: 16 (+0)

Next time:
Castle of Darkness