The Let's Play Archive

The Chzo Mythos

by Quovak

Part 23: Trilby's Notes, Part 6: Strict Screening Processes

Trilby's Notes, Part 6: Strict Screening Processes

Before we explore beyond the hybrid of flesh and ceramic, this is the final hallucination I've been able to see. I fully accept that there may be one or two more, but after playing this game three times and spending a fair bit of time chugging soda and tranquilizers, these are all I've found. I'll go back and get more screenshots if people let me know there are others.

On the roof, we can see that this hotel is about a foot from an entire horizon's worth of ocean. There's no geography to contradict, seeing as this island is entirely fictional, but that won't stop Yahtzee from contradicting his own geography if we pay attention long enough.

We've gone through this routine before; I'm assuming you won't miss it.

A sturdy tree, this. It took us from dawn to dusk, but we have it down.

Having taken that long due to the unconventional strategy of cutting the tree at a point 15 feet above the ground. Inefficient, but foreboding.

I'm tired, father.
Twas indeed clever of us to investigate this island, eh, boy? I have never seen such a gigantic oak, nor do I expect to again, but its wood shall keep us in the business of carpentry for years to come!

80 years earlier, language hadn't become archaic yet. Good to know.

Father, look at those stones.
Why must you always look everywhere but at what matters? This is your-

I get the sense that Yahtzee got bored writing these flashbacks and eventually decided to just make them cut to the chase really, really quickly.

Throughout this, the Tall Man flickers in and out of invisibility, a technique I'd think he would use more often (that is, at all) in modern times. The lumberjack's son, fitted with all the survival techniques that apparently let people survive in Yahtzee's universe, decides that staging the world's smallest stoning will be more effective than running away from the pre-occupied, strong, and clearly magical figure.

(No, he doesn't throw it forcefully or even as a weapon; he gently tosses it in an arc as though he wants to play catch with his new dad).

It goes about as well as you would expect, which, since this is the Chzo series, means you should expect the opposite of whatever seems most reasonable. The Prince decides to head out and get an ice pack instead of taking revenge on the kid who tormented his soul wood in addition to hitting him in the head.

Suddenly, the ocean became a peninsula with some buildings on it, I think. It's hard to make sense of exactly what's being seen in either this shot or the one from the non-evil world.

The alternative is that the slightly lighter orange/blue is land, in which case there was a far-away city being seen from the top of a non-existent hill in the normal world and a building the size of Georgia in the evil one. I'm assuming the first one.

edit: To me, even the darker shades look like water, and it doesn't really make sense to show land as almost identical to water, but I can also see how it would seem like a larger land mass. Still, I don't think the lights are from a town, since some are clearly in the water (boat lights?), and, even if that is the case, the castle is still ridiculously huge. It's an awkward perspective and unintuitive way of communicating depth regardless.

Maybe I'm just blind in an oddly selective way.

I must have shifted into the dark world during the vision. Siobhan?
Thank god, I thought I was all alone.
What happened to you?
I don't know. After you... knocked me out in my room, I woke up and everything was like this. The hotel's ruined, there's blood everywhere... I saw this horrible man!

The idea is that she became horribly depressed due to realizing the abusive nature of their relationship. She doesn't seem to hold it against him, though, and is more than ready to run back to him for some perpetuation of domestic strife.

Tall, thin, long black coat?
You know him?
Enough to know you're lucky to be alive.

I remember those times he look ominously at me but otherwise didn't bother me, as well as that time I kicked him and suddenly felt good enough to not consider him a threat anymore. I also remember all those times people dispatched him by getting on their knees for a second. Then I remember him killing off a whole tribe because somebody carved a crate. He's a bit unpredictable.

He didn't notice me, so I ran up here to hide.
How did you get past the doll?
What doll? Trilby, what the hell is going on?

I think Yahtzee was trying to go for a Silent Hill "They look like monsters to you" kind of self-doubting horror. It might work if this were ever brought up again or if the alternate realm weren't explicitly stated to be an objectively real place (not yet; there will be the obligatory info dump next update)

I told you what would happen if you followed me into the shadows.

It's your fault for liking a racial minority and letting me kick you in the face.

Take these tranquilizer pills. When you calm down, the hotel will go back to normal. I don't need to run away anymore.
Trilby, wait. Where are you going?

Dialogue has been replaced with the taglines to really bad B-movies, spoken as the lead-up to Trilby putting on sunglasses while walking away from an explosion.

This is why you should have compared notes before abruptly splitting up for no reason. Notice the immediate whiplash from "It's time to end this" to "I have no idea how to end this" a full ten seconds later.

Wait a second, I never got around to reading the letter I took from under that rock.
Trilby, I am very close to ending this. Meet me in the hotel basement, I must show you my discovery. -Lenkmann.

I still say that this game at its worst still tends to be miles ahead of 5 and 7 at their best, but I'm not sure it's possible for Yahtzee to foreshadow this "plot twist" any less obviously.

Victim 1: The Woodcutter

1. The first of those against whom the Prince sought vengeance was the Woodcutter, he who had held the axe that first felled the Tree. The Prince came to him and his son, and he struck the Woodcutter down, and the Woodcutter knew the name of the King.
2. And the Prince turned to the Woodcutter's son, and he said "You I shall let live, for you are young and are of the innocent, and that you may go among your people and tell them of what I will wrought."
3. And the Woodcutter's son fled, and told all of what he had seen, but the Men of Technology are arrogant and his words were unheeded.

The Prince: Friend to children everywhere.

In case you can't tell from the final victim page and lack of any remotely useful items, we're almost done with the game. As always, we get to travel back to the farthest possible area from where we were, where there's suddenly a three-inch hole we can crawl through. This can be quite easy to miss.

Around here, reality shifts happen every few seconds. Quite convenient that we happened to investigate a hotel containing soul wood and five different items relating to all the major events in the history of the soul wood on the day that magically affects the soul wood. Equally convenient that wood doesn't decay (the Tall Man mercilessly slaughters worms and harvests fungi, I guess?)

This was it, I was certain. The remains of the tree that Boyle and his father cut down, its wood being later used to construct an inn, a harpsichord, a shipping crate, and an idol. I could feel that same scrabbling in my mind that I had felt just before all of my visions. This time it was the stump itself that seemed to be beckoning closer.

Cabadath, a Celtic druid, awaits the return of his friend and colleague Galdn, who brings news of the invasion of Anglesey by the Roman Suetonius Paullinus. Having fallen out of favor with his fellows for certain radical beliefs and activities, Cabadath lives in solitude in this remote forest clearing, and prefers not to travel himself.

Yahtzee claims to have made a point of getting his history at least fairly accurate, and the thread has pointed out that his "politically correct history" was actually more accurate than my complaints about it were. In this case, Yahtzee does describe something that actually happened, except for the fact that Paul(l)inus attacked in 61 AD, about a century after this. So close, Yahtzee, so close.

Also, July 28th means absolutely nothing when you factor in an isolated area from two centuries ago, nor does it mean anything in a more objective sense due to the length of Earth's orbit around the sun averaging slightly more than an even number of days (that is, there's only a rough correlation between how long it takes the Earth to rotate and how long it takes to revolve around the sun, so trying to attribute this date's consistency to anything besides cosmic calender-watching is equally meaningless). But I eventually digress.

You bring news?
They could not be deterred by our sorcery. Even you, out here, will be brought down within days.

Remember my discussion of geography? This site is right where the soul tree will grow, which is all of 100 feet from the ocean. The imagery and descriptions (like this being a clearing in a forest) utterly fail to reflect this.

And the great druids of Anglesey bow so easily to this brash foreign power? Perhaps the activities for which I was ostracized could yet spell an answer. You know of my dealings with the Ethereal Realm?
I know what you claim.
Come inside, and I shall explain.

The Ethereal Realm, also known as the Realm of Magick when Yahtzee wants to be a bad fantasy writer or the Realm of Magic when I transcribe text and omit extraneous Ks, is the "dark world" that you shift into when you get sad or walk around for a minute. This and all of its ramifications will be explained to you step-by-step by someone ( Lenkmann ) next update.

In my dealings with the Ethereal Realm, I have learned of many powerful demons and elementals. But there is one spoken of only reluctantly, a beast possessing of awesome power [sic].
You plan to summon a demon?
A pain elemental. Indeed, the ONLY pain elemental, ruler of a desolate wasteland where none venture. And today is his day, the day when the boundaries between our realms weaken, and he glimpses our world.

Again, this will be textdumped next time, but the basic idea is that July 28 is when the realm of magic and realm of technology (us) can interact with each other. Once again, a date is a pretty horrible thing to use as a constant as though it's a law of the universe(s), but consider this the first in a long line of "magic" as a cop-out explanation.

Even if you could conjure such a thing, how would you have it defend our land?
I have much knowledge in the ways of magic. With the correct bindings, any demon can be forced to my will. All that remains is the summoning.
Cabadath, it pains me to see you build your hopes on such nonsense.
Be silent, and watch! You shall see your nonsense soon enough. In the hall of death, and by the light of Belenus' gift, I summon you. I feed you with pain. I call you with madness. And I bind you by your true name.

You may still be wondering why Chzo got the series named after him, considering the name has shown up two whole times (once as graffiti) and we're 70% of the way through the games. Basically, if you think this game makes use of retcons, just wait until you see what 6 Days can do.

I have reached out to you through the void, Chzo! Show yourself!
Cabadath, please, stop this!

It... It is larger than I... anticipated... But Chzo must obey the rules of magic. It is bound, I can command it!

Chzo Flashback: Goes from hubris to downfall in seconds flat. The Greeks should find a way to take notes and retroactively apply them.

It is far more powerful than I thought! Galdn, help me!
Forgive me, Cabadath.
Galdn! I beg you! DON'T LET IT TAKE ME ALIVE!

Chzo, of course, has no use for meat. It feeds on pain. It does not kill its prisoners. Cabadath's agony was a particularly rare morsel, and Chzo ensured it would last.

Yeah, you were probably thinking that there was a reason the Prince's soul was tied to a tree, but nope; Chzo just liked trees. I'm not sure why he decided that turning something that can die into something else that can die was a good way to ensure that it wouldn't die, but I guess making Cabadath into a rock would have been a bit boring.

For five centuries, as the tree grew, he knew torment beyond even his most depraved imaginings. By then, his body was warped, and his mind long fallen into soulless dementia.

Incredibly unsubtle explanations of most of this will come next update. Until then, speculation is, as always, encouraged.

Creator Commentary
When doing the rooftop scene, I was using my usual technique for depicting increasingly distant objects: have them fade slowly into the sky colour the further away they are. Perhaps I overdid it a bit.

I seem to remember thinking that the rooftop scene was daytime. The lights were added to the buildings to make it clearer what they were supposed to be. In retrospect the sun should have been way, way brighter.

Since you mentioned the sea apparently not being close enough, I should point out that, in the Cabadath flashback, the location is given as the 'Clanbronwyn Peninsula'. The intended implication being that flooding or the rising of the sea levels caused the area to be cut off from the mainland at some point. Either naturally or magically to keep the tree undisturbed.