The Let's Play Archive

The Chzo Mythos

by Quovak

Part 24: Trilby's Notes, Part 7: Not Quite Through Peck's Stages

I'm actually resuming a once-per-day update schedule, if only briefly, since I don't want to do the entire ending in one update. What follows is a lot of text without a lot of action, as I feel that putting it all in one post would be a bit excessive.

Trilby's Notes, Part 7: Not Quite Through Peck's Stages

You were supposed to leave.
I couldn't. Abed... the professor... he's dead.

Post-flashback, it appears that Siobhan felt that being stalked through a dark and oppressive world with giant castles wasn't really all that bad. As such, she decided to walk through the entire hotel and check out the bar before deciding whether or not to leave. When weighing her options, she seemed to consider Abed's death as a reason not to bother leaving and instead crawl through dark holes in the ground into narrow caverns with only one exit. Best case scenario, she's trying to find a thief who lied to her, knocked her out, dug through her stuff, and then left her on a(n evil) roof after a few sentences of conversation.

I know. He was killed by the shadows, just like they will kill you if you don't get away from here.
What is this place?
This cave is the center of the reality shift.

Trilby's character gets a bit derailed around this point of the game, in case you couldn't tell.

Nice to see a friendly face.
Amazing, isn't it? Of all the things Sir Roderick could have used to murder his son, he chose that idol. Infusing the poor retard with Chzo's magic, allowing him to come back infinitely more powerful than before.
Certainly pretty lucky.
Lucky? Chzo had to wait two thousand years for that opportunity, the opportunity to create the bridge. The bridge between the realms, over which Chzo will cross into our universe and purify mankind. Our order has waited two hundred years for the prophecy to be fulfilled.

I have to say, I really like this element. Coincidences are much easier to accept when it's really obvious that they're far from ideal, and openly acknowledging the problems with this setup goes a long way towards excusing them.

Two hundred years ago, the prophet Jack Frehorn founded the order of Blessed Agonies. It was only in recent years that the events foretold in the book of Chzo began to occur. And it mentioned you.
You were the one prophesized to guide the Bridgekeeper to his destiny. But you didn't finish the job! All three aspects of John DeFoe had to be destroyed to create the bridge. Body, mind, and soul. You only destroyed the body. His soul and mind remained.

Time for a bit of plot analysis. This body/mind/soul divide comes up a lot, and it's been foreshadowed a few times already. For example:

These pictures are the Tall Man's Body, Mind, and Soul. The first is Body, and the other two represent one or the other, up to our interpretation according to the commentary. If you want, you can be boring and pretend the middle one is the tree at night.

Had I known about this... I wouldn't even have done that.
They were quite adamant that I should try to persuade you to join our cause and fulfil [sic] your foretold duty.

The Prince is Chzo's servant, and Chzo wants Trilby to destroy parts of John DeFoe. Note how this doesn't really tie in to what's been happening at any point in this game.

Is that why you were helping me?
They thought if I guided you through your visions, and showed you the appropriate passages from our holy books, you'd understand that the prophecy is real.
You honestly believed I'd join some insane cult just because you handed me some leaflets?
Personally? No.

Again, incredulity goes a long way. Unfortunately, Yahtzee's going to fall into the trap of throwing so much against the wall that it doesn't really work when you try to piece it all together. He also fell into the trap of including cultish ramblings on the same piece of paper as notes from Lenkmann, giving away the twist somewhat.

First, though, some competence.

A knife in my gut brought an explosion of ice-cold agony. I heard the pitter-patter of my blood on the rocky floor. The pain, the surprise, and my exhaustion went together to cause immediate unconsciousness.

Followed by the framing device completely falling apart. I'm pretty sure that, even retrospectively, nobody would write this.

I awoke to find myself splayed upon the stump, blood still slowly leaking from my wound. In my injured state, I could barely move. My limbs refused to respond. I was as weak as a newborn.

A knife wound to the stomach would be incredibly painful and debilitating, but I'm pretty sure this (passing out and then being unable to control any part of your body) is slightly exaggerated. It gets worse.

I was afraid you'd miss this.
What... are you doing?
We need a connection to Chzo to help administrate his coming. And today might be the only opportunity we have all year to summon the Tall Man.
You're going to bring that... THING... into our world?
With a standard ritual of Blessed Agonies, and an offering. And then he will guide us to our destiny.

So, in a plot twist that should surprise nobody, Lenkmann is a crazy cultist. However, he doesn't seem to actually know anything about his religion, since he's basically trying to manipulate Chzo and the Prince in a manner that has no religious precedent but while aiming for a result that has a precedent of mass murder. I'm also not sure why they need to be "guided to their destinies" considering they know full well exactly what they need to do (Lenkmann will lecture us about it almost immediately).

So why did you... stab me? What if I'm already dead by the time he gets here?
You won't be. Men like you, Trilby, die on their own terms. They don't let their life slip away from one measly knife wound. Hush now. Cabadath is coming.

Trying to not let Lenkmann succeed at... something is your overall goal in this puzzle, which, as I've mentioned, is very good. It does, however, force a pretty big story/gameplay divide as you realize the implication that Lenkmann is as bad at this as everybody else.

I call thee from the north.
Why are you summoning the Tall Man? What possible... use could he be to you?
You've been experiencing flashbacks, I know. He assumed our lord could be summoned with any old basic demon summoning rite. He is very nearly a God. A God of pain. It takes a great amount of magic and a much more complex ritual to summon one such as he. He will guide us, and teach us.
The Tall Man is... Cabadath, right?
I'm glad to see you were paying attention.

A lot of this is easy to miss, since it depends on you asking questions, but there's plenty of time to do it. As always, I'm editing it into a more complete block of text for easier reading.

The stump... it's causing the reality shift.
Partly it's today's date, too. July 28th is the day when the border between the Ethereal Realm and the Scientific Realm weaken [sic]. It is the day when Chzo takes his yearly gaze upon our world, and the day when the Tall Man is given leave to exact vengeance on those who torment the wood that is his soul.

There's no reason for the idol to be down here except to expedite a later cutscene. Really, gathering Cabadath's soul and calling Cabadath on the day Cabadath kills people who even look the wrong way at his soul doesn't seem incredibly sound in any degree. And I had such high hopes for this villain when he cut to the chase and just stabbed me.

And what do you get out of this... madness, Lenkmann?
Their will is my will.
Lenkmann... I work for the government... we can help you. Let us go... and we can protect you from the order.
I love the Order, and this task they have given me is my greatest honor. A thief such as yourself could never understand such devotion.
What is this... Order of Blessed Agonies? Some kind of cult?
We are the worshippers of Chzo, the practitioners of Blessed Agony. Only through pain can a man be purified. We are the purest of them all.
My attempts to move only made things worse. I felt a stab of pain, and something snapped behind my eyes, filling my vision with spots.

Something snapped three feet above where I was injured due to the strain of talking. Lenkmann went a bit overboard for intentionally stabbing to wound.

What does the... prophecy say about me?
The book of Chzo prophesized the creation of John DeFoe the wraith. It states that when his Body, Mind, and Soul are destroyed in conjunction, the Bridge between the realms will be created. It also states that you were supposed to guide this process. But we can expect one or two inaccuracies in a prophecy written so long ago.

I'm not going to spoil 6 Days too much, but it's based in part on the idea that a 300 year gap between DeFoe's body and soul being destroyed is close enough to "conjunction" to basically count. Also, you have to respect blatantly cherry-picked fundamentalism.

Siobhan has nothing to do with this, Lenkmann!
On the contrary, it is important that all three of us be here. It is part of the ritual.
What are you going to do to us?
To bring Cabadath to us, we must tempt him with the three Blessed Agonies. The Blessed Agonies of the Mind, Body, and Soul. I am well conditioned to act as the mind. The girl will have to suffice as the soul.

Lenkmann is pretty much the worst evil cultist ever. "An ancient druid tried summoning a god with some of the most powerful magic out there, but I'm pretty sure I'll have more success as long as I kind of wing a ceremony with whoever I happen to have on hand."

Agony of the mind is rather appropriate, I'd say.

I was losing blood steadily. My arms and legs were limp and unresponsive. I couldn't move.

It was becoming harder and harder to breathe. Air rattled in and out of my lungs like a buzz saw.

I present you with the Guide, failed in his duty, for thee to judge.
My vision was clouding up around the edges. It seemed like my stubborn will was the only thing keeping me alive.

Somebody mentioned that the reason for Trilby to be declared MIA was because Lenkmann gathered the notes up. However, it directly points out that they were retrieved later by a different group, which also makes you wonder about what connection Lenkmann actually has with the government. Either a crazy member of a cult was able to pass the background checks to enter an organization trying to stop the goals of said cult, or Trilby just blindly accepts the word of anybody who says they're a coworker.

On an unrelated note, however, time for the best puzzle solution in the game. We need to spoil Lenkmann's plans, but we can't exactly... do anything. The answer is directly told to us about ten times, but there's still a lingering sense of doubt that this is the right answer. It's a great way of playing with the player and I love it.


Again, though, Lenkmann taunting you by directly saying this doesn't really work when you consider he wants the exact opposite to happen. Gameplay-wise, though, no complaints.

He's dead? No, that's not possible! Master, please, no!

Yeah, that went about as well as anybody sensible would expect. Alas, poor villain who had the potential to be moderately effective.

Leave me alone. I'm dead.
Not yet. Not fully. Your mind and soul are drifting apart from your body. With enough power, there is still time to pull them back, but you must have the will to return.

Most of this scene was added for the Special Edition, but it pretty effectively foreshadows what will become a big part of 6 Days. It also makes the final cutscene even longer; typing "die" is the last piece of interactivity in the game.

Forget it. I've had enough. Today I gave everything I could, and I still died.
There is still work to be done. You have not yet completed your duty.
Just let me sleep.
Stronger men than you have tried to fight destiny. Past, present, and future are all different faces of the same die, and few can see them all at once. But I can, and the future demands that you live. Return now. I have marked the path.

I love this line. It's basically Yahtzee just flat out admitting "Shit, I made way too much work for myself by setting 7 Days so far after this". Backpedaling from 7 Days is about half of what the series consists of from this point on.

Please, just let it end.
Pleading to me is useless. I am just as much a prisoner of fate as you are. The future your actions are destined to bring about has already taken place. Without your part, I would not be here to restore you to life. So you see, by my mere presence your decision is already made.
Who ARE you?
A murderer... and a madman.

Next time, the second half of the textdumps. Let me know if the marginally less critical tone I had in this update worked any better than what I've done in the past.