The Let's Play Archive

The Banner Saga Trilogy

by FairGame

Part 38: 21-1: The Inner Earth


Bear with me; I'm in my own race against time with my work schedule. I absolutely will finish this LP, but if I don't have it finished by this weekend things are likely to slow down...significantly.

Anyway, time for Iver to save the world. We hope.

Not off to an auspicious start, what with Juno and Eyvind being the only people who know how to jump down the giant hole to the inner world.

You touch the ground lightly, then heavily, and your stomach lurches. Your face still burns from the wound Bolverk gave you. Walking feels like you've never done it before.
: I made sick in my hat.
: This is the inner earth.
: This is a cave. I'm not impressed.
: Reserve judgment until we emerge.

This is uncharted territory now. We're nowhere on the map we could have previously looked up. We're inside the world and instead of being underground we're in...another world. The light spell is still necessary, though. Things seem just as warped here as topside.

Dytch is sitting on the ground. He appears to be missing a leg, but at second glance it's been swallowed up by a deep, narrow hole. The floor is riddled with them, like a coral reef.

A ring of Ravens draw their weapons like an iron flower blooming. Juno raises the light inside the circle and you all stare breathlessly out toward the void. It's a good thing, too. "Shields!" you shout, as creatures rumble out of the darkness.

We field 7 units on this map, though Dytch is stationary and as such can't use his stealth. He can still use Rally to give willpower, though.

The warped opponents aren't that scary except for the 23 strength warped scourge destroyer. And...what the hell are those other things?

We've never met a normal Borur, but these are the warped kind. They're really annoying. They dig beneath the floor and resurface seemingly wherever, doing acid splash damage when they emerge.

To make matters worse, 3 of our 4 DPS units are 2x2 and can't really navigate the battlefield. If they fall in a sinkhole, they'll spend the fight stuck.

A borur digs.

And digs.

And...surprise! You can't defend your squishies because it just goes wherever it wants. Though in this case it doesn't do any damage because Kivi and Iver both either can ignore armor or divert armor damage. It's a poor use of the "divert" talent, since that's more "turn so that an incoming blow doesn't scratch your armor" and not "magically make acid not melt your armor." But

Iver decides these things have to go. Now.

Castaway, once buffed by umbrage, is a ridiculously awesome sniper.

This isn't a wave battle, so Krumr just walks over and kills the babbling warped stonesinger.

: I'm regretting this already.
He examines a limp tentacle.
: Courage. We'll see stranger things before we're done.

We continue going...wherever it is that we're going.
: This cave is only an entrance the Valka use.
: Each of the towers in the north is a different entrance to the inner earth.
: It used to look a little different before the darkness.

Let's hope it looked different, because upon exiting the cave, it still looks like warped hellworld. Albeit warped hellworld with a tower and a broken orb in the distance.

: That tower is our only goal now.
: That thing stands out like blood on snow. It doesn't belong here, does it?
: No, it was built by the Valka. It's where Eyvind and I will undo this.
: What is that enormous dome laying behind it?

: And when do you plan to explain any of this?
: There may come a point when I have little choice. That point is not now. IT will not be a short conversation. Or a happy one.

: I fear there is no restoring it now.

There's not much of Iver left. On the other hand, he only got stronger when he lost an arm. Krumr pretty obviously only has one good eye. Maybe this will make Iver stronger?

: And I'm afraid there is something else you should we fell, I could feel a change. In Arberrang.

18 days to save the world. We push onward.
: Gods, I can't see the ceiling.
: There's no ceiling. We're inside the world.
: Did it always look this dead?
: No. This place used to be full of life.
The caravan moves slowly, taking in the strangeness of the place. What did it look like before the darkness, you wonder?

: Pass my foot up your ass...
You ignore the bickering, though everyone seems a bit testy.

A short rest probably wouldn't be the end of the world, no pun intended. Much better that than to fight weakened and take a 6-day injury.
Oli's feet are propped up on a rock with a flask in his hand before you've finished speaking. His smile dares you to say something, but you think twice on it. A short while later, the Ravens are reluctantly ready to move again.

Time seems to pass differently in the inner world. We've barely moved and gone from 18 days down to 14.

: Are you talking to me?
: Dammit, every time. I need a better introduction.
Dytch continues as you walk, stumbling over his own awkwardness as he goes.
: Anyway, listen. This is going to sound weird but I'm going a bit loopy, cooped up with these people.
: I can see that.
: And everyone keeps threatening me with death if I don't leave them alone...

: Look at this! This is the least safe place!
: Yes.
: I know, I'm supposed to be the quiet guy, right? Everyone thinks I'm sneaky. Well, look. I'm only "sneaky" because nobody notices me. Does it ever get to you, being ignored all the time?
: No, that doesn't hap--
: I get chatty when I'm nervous. I hate this place. I hate being stuck in this bubble, like a fish.
: Fish don't get stuck in bubb...
Dytch continues babbling at you while you walk.
: ...killed that guy later...hunted him down and stabbed him in the face. Nobody's called me "Backflips" since, but now I'm stuck on a ship, months out to sea, right? Lots of vile stuff happening out on those ships, I can tell you. Debauchery. Made me think twice about going completely nude when we stopped at those hot springs. I still did, but you know what I'm saying...
: Um.
: the gods, fifteen years now, if you count my stint in regional theater. Hard getting work in theater. Always in the background, right? No surprise. I did a lot of carpentry for them, actually. Lots of furniture. The secret is you rub vinegar into the wood. That was about when I just gave up and started working for myself. The only honest money I ever made was selling a song I wrote about chicken...
: That's...
: ...and I knew something was up the first time I stole something. It was fruit. Like, a whole basket of fruit. And the basket. That's the only reason anyone noticed: a ton of fruit was suddenly gone. So the fruit monger shouts for guards. Fruit monger? Whatever. Anyway, the guard walks right past me. He bumps into my shoulder, doesn't even turn around! There's guards running all around me, stopping other people. Never even look at me, and I'm holding this basket of fruit.

: But now I'm wondering what else I could get away with. Taking jewelry? Sleeping in the king's keep? Murder? Turns out I've gotten away with a lot of murder.
: ...
: And I get the feeling they think I'm creepy, if they even notice at all. But anyway, now she's in a panic to get all the goats back in their pen. Everybody's looking. Then her husband starts screaming at me. "Freak! Big-nosed freak!"
: Maybe we should keep it down.

The last shout echoes noticeably. Shortly after, you spot movement. The Ravens curse Dytch as they draw their weapons.
: How is this my fault? We're glowing like the freaking sun festival down here!
: Stop shouting, Dytch!

Goddammit, Dytch. He has to go on this fight, so we'll sit Castaway.

: This is MY fault?

I need Iver to take care of the nearest pod of enemies. If they close ranks they can mess up my casters before I get my umbrage spam off.

There, no worries.

I have Eyvind zap something with the Valka spear to end wave 1 in the nick of time and also make him eligible for promotion.

Phase 2's not a problem when you have Iver running around with 51 strength.

The prize.

This actually improves morale. We're in hellworld, but some things keep the Ravens in good spirits.
Across colossal cliffs you spy countless pockets carved into the stone.
: Those are the sculptor's homes.
The massive web of stairs and chambers must have been a beehive of activity before the dredge fled from the darkness.

We're not dealing with this...whatever it is.

The thing meanders to and fro, sometimes bumping and sliding into walls. After long observation you believe that its many eyes have been made useless. The caravan then leaves with haste, and you feel a twinge of pity for the mangled thing.

The detour costs us 2 more days, though.

We've gotta start making up for lost time. Only 9 days left for life.

: They break easily enough.
He shatters a cluster with a loud smack from his shield.
: Yeah, and the sound will turn the heads of anything that isn't already looking in our direction.

We can't keep wasting time doing it the safe way. Let's just see if Folka and the rest of our shieldsmen can clear a path.

No time wasted. We keep moving.

One week left for Arberrang.

: Maybe for small folks. Let's skirt the edge.
I hate doing this, but I'm not risking one of my varl on the crossing. Getting to our destination does us no good if we can die, and given that it's clear anyone can die it's not worth the risk.

Unfortunately, it's a bad choice and we burn another day looking for an alternate route.

5 days left.
: Step lightly. The ice may hold, but let's not test it.
: I swear something beneath us is moving.
: It was an ocean. Surely there are many things still there. Some bigger than others.

Say, what's that ahead of us?


Oh, faen.