Part 37: 20-2: The Skogr BannerUPDATE 38: THE SKOGR BANNER
: We don't know how they'll react. I'll take the baby, but you stay here.
: Are you sure? I know what the Valka said, but I...
: I've put someone in harm's way before and it cost me dearly. I won't make the same mistake again.
Oddleif nods, and the dredge child is quickly brought to you. Everyone is waiting for your next move.
You take a deep breath.
BGM: WE LIVE AS WE WILL LIVE (you should play this)
Someone pushes the Skogr banner into your hand, and it weighs as heavily as the child in your other arm. Dredge stand shoulder-to-shoulder beyond the gates. The warbling stops as you approach, and their many yellow eyes turn in your direction like a field of sunflowers. You force your legs to move.
Well, here we are. Our last effort at peace, here at the end of the world.
It's been ages since we saved that dredge baby. Back before we knew why Iver was called Yngvar.
Back when there was still hope.
Back when Rook was alive. And Eyvind was just a nice magic wizard who definitely hadn't ended the world.
Things were a lot less complicated back then. The Skogr caravan just had to keep running until it found safety. But there is no safety to be had.
Now, the very people we were fleeing from--the dredge--are dying outside, and will shortly kill all of us as they're warped by the darkness. Unless Alette can switch from being the Sundr-Slayer to the best diplomat in the history of mankind.
You all voted to save the dredge baby and take it out with us. Let's hope the dredge see it as a goodwill gesture rather than a threat.
Because if we screw this up, Alette will die. Like Rook before her. There is no plot armor. It's the end of the world, we're not guaranteed a happy ending, and even Alette is at risk.
There should have been an option to go out with Egil.
The dredge nearby look with curiosity at the dredge child. The air is still, as if itself afraid to breathe. You raise the banner.
You see, the dredge aren't the real threat. Alette doesn't know the specifics, though Oddleif largely figured it out last update. The dredge are just following their leaders, and their leaders are first-generation Sundr who know nothing more than war and destruction.
But Eyeless is dead. Ruin is dead. Raze is dead. Bellower is, well...not dead, but also not in play. These dredge just want a chance to live, like everyone else.
But mankind, on the other hand? Mankind will tear itself apart with hatred.
If there's one thing we've seen so far in The Banner Saga, it's that death and tragedy are inevitable, and usually not worthy of a skald's tale. Varl like Krumr are the exception rather than the rule. In a lot of cases, heroes can die like Vognir, the 2nd-in-line to the varl throne waaaay back in The Banner Saga's prologue. No glorious death. Sometimes just some dredge sneaks up on them and that's it. Sometimes it's literally "just some guy" throwing a spear at his would-be savior and he gets lucky.
And kills the Sundr-Slayer. That's probably how this tale ends for a lot of otherwise good men and women.
But that is not Alette's fate. A stoneguard clad in red armor--one of only two red stoneguards we've ever seen in an army that's otherwise entirely clad in black--sees the dredge child and intervenes on our behalf.
Alette lives. For now, anyway, because Arberrang is now at war with itself. The strength of the Skogr clan will determine whether the good guys survive.
As for how this could have gone: it all depends on if you saved the dredge baby waaaay back.
The peace offering:
Hero of Skogr takes the baby, goes alone: dredge stoneguard blocks the spear. Hero survives.
Hero of Skogr either leaves the baby to die, or leaves it inside the gates of Arberrang: nobody intercepts the spear. Kills the hero. Oddleif becomes POV for the balance of the Saga.
Hero of Skogr and Oddleif go together: Oddleif pushes the hero out of the way and gets speared. If you're playing as Rook, she dies in his arms, her last words are "I'm sorry." This is what happened to me. Rook lost everything in my Saga. Alette has a chance at a better outcome. If she learned how to mend from Eyvind (and this iteration of Alette did, she manages to stabilize Oddleif long enough to get her inside the gates and have Zefr do a more competent job.
In other words, all of you voting between A and C weren't really voting on a particularly different outcome because of what you selected for Alette back in The Banner Saga 2.
Of course, just because Alette is alive doesn't mean we're out of the woods.
Every single thing we've done to this point will stave off the end of the world a little bit longer, buying Iver a bit more time.
Iver has roughly 2.5 weeks to travel the "Inner Earth" and figure out a way to undo this. The day counter will no longer increment. Now it decrements. It's a doom counter now.
: This has been coming since Meinolf died.
: As I said, I could not have come sooner. How quickly things fall apart. Listen carefully. I devised a shield of light that holds back the darkness, but its reach is limited. By joining their efforts, the menders may be able to encircle all of Arberrang. It will mean positioning them evenly across the walls, and if madmen are running wild in the streets, killing indiscriminately...
: How long can you keep this spell of light going?
: Assuming the plan works at all? I don't know. Perhaps if we rest in shifts...
: It depends on our food supplies, and stopping the warped from slaughtering our menders. They told me you fought off a Sundr. No small thing, but that will be nothing compared to what is coming.
: And the other Valka? Juno and Eyvind? Can they put an end to all of this?
: We...crossed paths. They continued into the darkness.
Alright. We have 17.5 days to make it work. Let's not screw up and chew into that counter.
Men fight dredge. Men fight men. The fighting curls around you like wildfire, until you are engulfed in it, despite your best efforts. One bare-chested, shrieking madman charges at you, but is crushed into the dirt by the heavy stone bludgeon of a nearby colossus.
We have a new ally. Meet Bastion.
The game is silent on this point. I don't know if this is intended or not. But here's how I see it, given how much of Banner Saga 3 is big on repeating the past (see the shot-for-shot recreations of places and even scenes that I've done with Iver's party in the Darkness.)
I think Bastion is Bellower's child. Bellower was the only other dredge who wore red armor. And just as Bellower chased you to the farthest corners of the globe to avenge a dredge baby, Bastion saves a life in exchange for saving a dredge baby.
Bellower's child or not, Bastion is awesome. Doesn't get the strength/armor resist passive that Kivi has, instead getting the "splinter" passive that all dredge have. It's a weakness. But since we don't have any dredge allies in the camp it doesn't really matter. He gets tremble (the armor knockback skill) and drumfire (the "maim big units and heal armor" skill).
And with 22 armor he can tank the heck out of everything. Plus he starts at level 13.
So we'll give him the title "The Unmoved" and make him even tankier.
Egil gets "the Hopeful" even though at this point he's kind of outclassed. Only took pretty much the entire Saga to do it, but he's not needed anymore. We'll keep him around. He will make a good battery for Alette.
I know you all said you wanted Hakon and Oddleif, but I also figure you'd like to see Bastion. And Canary was toward the top of the vote totals and you get a minor bonus if you field a team of all 4 races and win.
We have to stop the rioters from killing our only chance at...well, not survival, but of delaying our demise in hopes someone else can save us.
The menders SUCK. Woeful willpower means they can't mend anything and they also take up the turn order. Fortunately between Bastion and Ubin it's going to be tough to get to the menders, and Alette will wreck anything that gets too close.
Rioters are really only dangerous in cutscenes. In combat they drop pretty easily.
: Get those menders up on the walls! And keep everyone else away!
The darkness touches the crackling walls, oozing over the edges. Wicked shapes titter and lurk on the other side, just beyond sight.
: Menders! NOW!
The darkness has surrounded Arberrang. There's nowhere left to run.
But for the time being, the one surviving Valka outside the Darkness has enough power to put a protective bubble around the city. That will stop the Darkness itself, but not the warped. We're still under siege, and every mender that dies on the walls will bring us that much closer to our doom.