Part 24: The greatest battlePart XXIV: The greatest battle
Last time we saw Gaius Brutus, he'd been arrested and sent to Maadoran to answer for the crime of killing Lord Antidas.
As you'd expect, Gaelius enjoys the theater of the trial.
: My Lord, it is the Imperial Guards who were attacked. Our only crime was to defend ourselves from an unprovoked attack.
: We were sent to notify Lord Antidas that the Imperial Guards have invoked the Charter.
: The Charter's provisions are very clear. If Lord Antidas had issues with them, he should have sought the counsel of his peers, not attacked the men who were doing their duty.
: I didn't judge Antidas. The Charter did. If memory serves me right, it was written by men whose blood was as noble as yours, my Lord.
Yikes, this isn't going well. Time for the last resort: dialogue skills!
: Another month and we'd have lost Teron to raiders. Would you consider it a better outcome? Would the interests of House Aurelian, as well as those of the lords of this city, have been served better, if raiders were allowed to turn Teron into a stronghold, from which to attack Maadoran?
We fail, of course.
Gaelius, you magnificent bastard.
: An axe.
: How about a shield?
You can also shove the snarky commentary!
The game neglects to equip the items, so I have to waste AP doing it. Age of Decadence!
Not that it matters. The fight consists almost entirely of me blocking their blows.
We've got nothing but the dinky axe and shield, a neurostimulant, a bronze sword, and a tunic. Carrinas mentioned smuggling our inventory to Maadoran -- maybe the local fort has it.
This day gets better and better!
: Well, he did succeed...
Not the best call, Pavola.
: What happened?
: Back to peace and quiet? That's all you dream of?
I feel so honored.
Is everyone in the Imperial Guards a sarcastic douchebag?
Vitus is just outside.
: Do you have my things?
Much better. Off to Strabos.
I regret this already.
: I can assure you that I'm as happy about it as you are.
Well, my stats are weighed in favor of a combat build, so I like to think so.
: That's me.
Don't flatter yourself.
Night falls. I spend a few seconds looking for something to click on until I realize I need to talk to Strabos again.
Has Strabos been sitting here for hours? Did he have us follow him to the shitter?
: I thought the Boatmen would send more men.
It's tempting to let Hamza kill Strabos, but we need his information. Sorry, Hamza.
Hamza, as you'd expect, is pretty tough. He starts out by entangling you, then inflicting you with Poison and likely Bleed. Healing draughts and antidotes are a must.
We win in the end.
: And Gaelius hopes to control them?
: You seem to know the Ordu well.
Add rank hypocrisy to Strabos's list of flaws.
: How do you know all that?
Hamza has nothing noteworthy on him, so I left that part out.
: My orders are to hold the pass against the Ordu. I'll require your best weapons and armor.
: What do you mean "just for show?"
No wonder the Imperial Guards hate the Ordu -- their presence means the former has to get off its ass and do something.
I've heard of sea water and oil being used for quenching, but piss and blood? What fucking maniac thought that up?
Off to Harran's Pass.
Is "Bass" pronounced like the fish or the musical instrument?
: I expected a bit more.
"Disappointment" is the word of the day when it comes to the Imperial Guards.
: What about the Ordu?
It's raining heads! Hallelujah, it's raining heads!
: Was it necessary?
Seriously, the Guards are making the Boatmen look well-adjusted.
A simple "please" would do.
Okay, off to the Ordu camp.
Instead of being nice, we're going the opposite route.
: Who are you to question Lord Gaelius? Now that you've agreed to serve him, you will do wise to remember your place.
: That of any vassal, of course. You and your men will be given food and lodging in exchange for faithful service and obedience. You will lead your man as their khan, for as long as my lord is pleased with your service. If not, another will take your place.
Shit. Nothing we say will work.
These two can be tricky. Stacked bleed effects are likely. The biggest obstacle is their agility; my THC is only around 60%.
Luckily, I can block most of their attacks and I die only once.
Death Count: 44
Sure, why not. Poisoning isn't beneath us.
Usually we'd have to pass a Sneak check, but since we don't have to be subtle anymore, it's an automatic success.
: What are you going to throw at them? Boulders?
Poisoning the well gives us time to make adjustments to our armament.
Our alchemy isn't high enough to change anything, but we do have a robust Crafting skill.
That's all we can do.
Quite a few men on our side, but who know how many Ordu will show up?
There are about 15 Ordu warriors. Tough, but not impossible.
are you fucking kidding
We don't have to actually fight 100 people. Most are static models.
The fight went easier than I expected. My first playthrough was death after death after death, but this was relatively smooth. Belgutai should be the first target since he poses the most danger.
Hey, we're winning! Albeit at a snail's pace.
We're pushing the Ordu out of the fort!
Reinforcements! It's about time.
If you convince the Ordu to leave, Carbo gets upset and calls you a big sissy.
Oooh, we're gonna meet the big cheese. Let's talk to Bass first.
Oh good, another tyrant.
: And if you're not?
I want to stress that Gaelius is the best of the bunch when it comes to leaders in this game. Strabos is a greedy and amoral thug, Antidas is a mediocre ruler with delusions of grandeur, and Paullus is a dictator. We don't know much about Levir and we haven't met Meru yet, but their chances of being likable are slim. Fucking Darista inspires more confidence.
What have I gotten myself into?
Next Time: First world problems