Part 6: Cleopatra Jones and the Attack on Trap RiverCleopatra Jones and the Attack on Trap River
Last time on Tyranny, Cleopatra asked the Scarlet Chorus to honor their deal and induct a prisoner, and we were given three options of various cruelty to ensure her loyalty. Goons voted to have Variah Kel bash her friends to death with a rock. Was that the right decision?
It was! The Scarlet Chorus is pleased with our vicious, bloodthirsty ways!
What a happy story!
: We're no closer to finding the oathbreakers' position, not with this cryptic mess. She promised us answers and all she gave us was gibberish!.
Description isn't really necessary.
: Who are you?
: [Read the parchment for yourself.]
Well, Cleopatra can't read this, and she's smarter than the average Disfavored.
: [Show him the parchment.] Can you read this?
: Well, let me see... I can't... umm ...hmmmm... Uh huh...
: You hold the parchment in front of the bound Sage and his eyes dart down the length of the missive. He reads the words a second time, nodding in silence.
: So... I don't know exactly what it says but... I'm half certain that's Sage Selwin's handwriting. I'm sure I could decipher that in a few hours' time. Don't NEED my hands free, but... I think better when not tied to a post. I know, I'm weird that way.
Here we see the sheer ineptitude of the Scarlet Chorus at play again.
: It can't hurt to give him a few hours.
Alright goons, I need you to vo - ahahaha no. Lantry here is another party member, and he's a mage in Tyranny, so he gets to join the team. He also rules.
: Untie him, give him a chance to translate.
Oof, a typo. More importantly, we are forgetting someone. Kyros' authority supercedes all, and the Fifth Eye seems to have forgotten that. I'm a little disappointed we can't use that to smack him down, but we're reinforcing the theme that these armies are a threat because they're more loyal to Ashe and Nerat than Kyros.
The Fifth Eye is pretty great at seizing opportunities. Lantry is not going to win a trial by combat after being tied to a post for who knows how long, and if we intercede he gets an apparently completely legal crack at getting the Fatebinder out of Nerat's hair.
: Fine. But I'll be his champion - this one needs to live.
: The Sage is unbound from the post. Stiff legs nearly buckle as he attempts to walk, and his arms flex and flail in their new freedom.
: Wiping sweat and grim from his brow, the Sage steps close to you with a nervous smile.
I'm guessing someone didn't want to render hundreds of models.
: If they got this worked up to fight the enemy, I venture the war would be over by now.
: Begin the chant of gathering - let the warriors know that tonight's entertainment will soon commence!
A pair of Scarlet Furies and two horde jerkoffs step up.
: Our claimants have been assembled. Now let the trial of the oathbreaker begin!
We have two levels to give to Lantry. I'll be discussing character talents in future bonus updates.
These guys suck. Unfortunately poor Lantry goes down, but he's just knocked out. He'll be fine.
: That was fun. Your warriors almost put up a good fight.
There's some more stuff going on here than meets the eye, but we gotta chat with Lantry.
: I thought I'd die tied to that post. The Sage looks down as his rope-worn wrists in disbelief. Now hand me that parchment, I'm certain I can decipher it.
: Well much of the parchment was weathered, but I could make out the important parts of the text. The note makes mention of a meeting spot west of Tripnettle.
: Something's amiss. There's a lot of fight in you for an old scholar. Now you're offering to join this expedition...
: I've met Sages every bit as cuttthroat as hardened gang bosses. They act the part of doddering scribes, but don't let that fool you.
: Smart for someone your age to be so mistrusting. But I'm not with the oathbreakers, if that's what you're fishing at. I worked for them under duress, but I've no love of them. I'm not about to pledge to the Chorus, and the Disfavored wouldn't have me. Still, I consider myself a Kyros-fearing vassal of the Overlord's empire all the same.
Now, that's not quite what Lantry was talking about earlier when he said the oathbreakers weren't paying him any more, but we need party members so we'll let that slide. Note the phrase "Kyros-fearing". We haven't seen any religion in this game so far, and it's set in the Bronze Age, where people believed that if you didn't do the right rituals to placate the gods your crops would get blighted and whatnot. This is our first indicator that Kyros hasn't just taken the position of rulership, but is so powerful there is no god but Kyros.
I legitimately do not understand dialogue option number four or how we got there. Was the assassination plan to send...one beat up old man and tie him to a post for hours?
: So you won't be a parchment weight during a fight... good to know.
: You're offering to come with me? Why?
: Because the alternative is... what? Living here with these illiterate brutes? My old study is under a river of fire and there's no family missing me.
We did that. We burned Lantry's home. Oops!
: Fine. If you are so eager, come with me.
: I know I may seem old and frail, but I know how to step lightly and how not to get killed - really, I won't slow you down. Lead the way, and let me know if I can be of service.
: Are we done here? Let's hightail it to Tripnettle. If your new pet doesn't behave himself along the way, I'm not above clipping his ears.
TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:
: Oh, look, it's that asshole Fatebinder who pissed away Chorus lives in the attack on the Vellum Citadel. Want to help us interrogate this prisoner?
: I wanna be a winner! Let me in the Chorus, and I'll spill the beans! I like to WINNN!
: You're lying. You know nothing.
: Check that guy's boot, he had the letter.
: This is unreadable! What is this crap? Kill her.
: I believe you promised to induct her into the Scarlet Chorus.
: Oh yea? What should we do with her?
: Have her kill her friends with a rock. That will show her loyalty.
: Well, shit! We're no closer to figuring out what this crap means!
: Excuse me. I speak jive.
: Who are you?
: I'm Lantry. I was a scribe with the rebels, but they're not here so... you guys need any help?
: I can't read this, so...take a look?
: I should be able to decipher this in...a few hours.
: You can't read this? Then you must die!
: We lose nothing by doing this.
: That Edict will kill us all! We can't waste hours on this!
: Untie him.
: Oh, are you ordering me around? Only Nerat can order me to release a prisoner. It's time for trial by combat!
: Please, help me.
: Fine. I will fight for him.
: Aww, yiss!
: EVERYONE! THERE'S GONNA BE A FIGHT! COME LOOK AT THE FIGHT!
: Any volunteers? Good! Fight!
: Horrifying ultraviolence!
: Well, you win, so unfortunately the Sage lives. You are free to go, old man.
: Git gud, scrubs!
: That ruled! The conscripts will learn from this!
: I thought I was dead. Hand me the parchment? Oh, yeah, it says there's a meeting point in Tripnettle Wilderness.
: "Hours", huh? Well, that sounds like a job for a Fatebinder.
: Come along, Fatebinder, I can show you the way.
: Whoa, hang on! For an old scholar, you sure can fight - and now you want to join me?
: Don't underestimate Sages, they can be vicious fighters.
: That's smart of you, but I hate the oathbreakers. They made me do it. I don't want to join the Chorus, and the Disfavored are too racist, but I love Kyros! Kyros! Yay!
: But yes, we Sages train to fight and we used to fight the rival wizard schools around here. I used to travel alone a lot, I had to learn to fight.
: So you won't be useless...good to know. But why come with me?
: What else am I going to do? Also, I can chronicle your history as the Binder who proclaimed an Edict of Kyros twice.
: Cool, come along.
: Damn, let's just go!
So there's a bit more going on here. Fifth Eye doesn't like us. Fifth Eye also confirmed the allegiance of the Chorus is to Nerat, not Kyros - a dangerous thing to say period, and moreso in front of a Fatebinder. Of course, we don't actually have the resources to do anything about it. We are in the middle of the Chorus camp and Fifth Eye not only omits to pay fealty to Kyros but challenges our authority. Despite what Fifth Eye says, we actually do have the authority to do this - remember when we intervened to help out that merchant?
Now, Fifth Eye tries to make it look fair by calling for "volunteers" and we end up fighting not four Horde randos, but two elite Scarlet Furies. Verse herself tells us that Scarlet Furies are rare and - spoilers - the Fifth Eye has similar telepathic abilities to Nerat. We will never know for certain whether we were supposed to die in this fight, but I'm pretty sure the entire thing was once again staged for the benefit of the Chorus and an opportunity to get rid of that pesky Fatebinder so Nerat could continue screwing over Ashe. Oh well.
Lastly, Lantry is pretty obviously manipulating us here by stalling saying it will take hours to decipher the parchment rather than the five minutes it just took him, but honestly, who cares? He's probably not being completely truthful about his relationship with the Vendrien Guard, but he's our only ally right now who's not beholden to those fuckup Archons. He's not spying on us for Nerat, he's not going to go on and on about "The Great General", he just wants to live. He didn't waste any time once we saved his life. The thing about Lantry is that it shows just how destructive and wasteful the tyranny is - someone like Lantry, who is highly educated, a healer, and a warrior, would be highly in demand in any functioning state but is tossed out like refuse in the land of Kyros.
Oh well, I have one last thing I want to ask Lantry before we hit the road.
: Tell me about your magic.
: Can you teach me anything?
: Sure? I can show you how to blend your own inks, train birds to think you're their mom, how to turn a goat into parchment... but I'm sure you'd prefer to learn some magic.
: If the School of Ink and Quill still mattered, I'd maybe be more tight-lipped but... if we're going to travel together, you should know how to mend wounds, especially if I'm killed.
Lantry, if you get killed, I have the reload button. There is no stupid black pyramid from nowhere in this game.
We are absolutely going to take him up on this.
: I would be honored to learn a little of what you know.
: [Follow his instructions]
Two typos in one update, oof.
: We'll talk more later.
: Indeed - I've a finite appetite for discussing myself, and I'm more than sated. Let us press onward.
TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:
: Can you teach me anything cool?
: I know healing spells?
: That rules! Thanks!
Now we can make healing spells! Lantry has a lot of more, and usually has more than us. That yellow spell uses the Vigor core sigil, which we don't have and can't recreate. I leave it alone for now, all it does is give +2 might and +2 vitality (physical damage and hit points). The leftmost spell in Lantry's bar is the touch healing spell, which heals ~25% of the target's HP.
I also load Lantry up with our array of attack spells, because there is no reason not to do this and two CC mages are better than one.
We can buy the Vigor sigil off the Scarlet Chorus camp merchant. He also sells us the expression to make our spells cones, which is the best area for our attacks we can get at the start of the game. Cone spells are really good.
Cleo levels up and we teach her lore. The Fatebinder skill trees...are kind of weird, and I'm planning to do a bonus update on it as well.
This is up next, and we absolutely need it so Cleo can have more spells to cycle through before she has to start punching people.
I start messing with the Vigor sigil and - holy shit! 30% more damage for the entire team? How have I never used this spell before? This goes right on Lantry.
Before we leave I go to chat with the Fifth Eye.
We kind of know about all these subjects, except...
: Who's the strongest in your camp?
: I am, naturally.
: What happened to her sisters?
Let's just leave.
TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:
: Who's the strongest person here?
: Obviously me.
: Well, the Archon is mightest, but I'm pretty hardcore, the trainer over there is, and Verse is really strong but got all her sisters killed.
: What happened?
: Verse got the morals and ruined everything.
: Uh, let's talk about something else, I'll tell you later.
There are two soldiers in camp we can chat with. Some takeaways:
The Fifth Eye is mentally linked to Nerat.
Our objective, Ascension Hall, has something called a "Spire" that holds some kind of monsters called "Bane". I'm sure this isn't important.
We're doing this. If we don't do this we can't get to Ascension Hall and its Spire. We know it's a trap because Nerat said that we would encounter Eb and her inconsequential resistance. All the stuff the Archons fucked up? It's about to bite us in the ass right now.
The first thing you want to do on this map is take an immediate left. Why?
Hell yeah! It's the last sigil from character creation!
Unfortunately, it kind of sucks. Well, specifically, we don't have the rest of the sigils to make it good. The other spell we can make with it is a cone that roots and removes buffs from people, which is...kind of bad on a squishy mage because we're rooting people right next to us.
You would think it would have powerful life steal attacks from this description, but in reality it just does debuffs. Oh well. NOW we can deal with the fuckups.
The thread correctly spent a lot of time pointing out how badly this was going to end for the Disfavored.
Oh yes, we can't just fuck it up, we need to ruin it further with infighting. You may remember Nerat sent the Scarlet Chorus elsewhere, so why is Quip here? Keep reading.
So yes, the Blood Chanters are all conscripted Tiersmen mages from the School of Wild Wrath, which we helped capture. I guess Lantry and the Sages won that war.
: What is happening? Shouldn't you be on the other side of the bridge?
I love the little dialogue models so much.
This is why the Chorus is here. Bitter Quip is here with his unit of Scarlet Furies to swoop in and take credit after Nerat set the Disfavored up to fail. I assume Eb can't keep the river lurching up forever, so my guess is that the Furies are supposed to step in when the Disfavored are completely destroyed. For bonus points the Disfavored can't even fight Eb's magic because Kyros sealed all their mages out of the valley. Oops!
We are given the opportunity to take sides. Cleopatra is a diplomat.
: A member of the School of Tides is alive and working with the Vendrien Guard. I assure you, she's the culprit.
: That would explain it. I saw a woman dressed in blue at on[sic] the other side of the river - didn't seem like she fit with the others.
: Had we focused our strength into one perfect lunge, we could have crossed the bridge before the enemy knew what was killing them. But it's not too late, we can use the Scarlet Furies to -
Why are all the Disfavored commanders so fucking dumb? Nepotism
Look, it's the return of Reasonable Scarlet Chorus Man!
: Well we can sit and wait for Kyros' Edict to kill us, or we can do something.
We have several options here. The Athletics option just has us smack him repeatedly while he grins like a shitlord. Verse gets all hot and bothered and Barik gets fearful. This leads us back to the top two options, where Bitter Quip forces us to order Antio to grovel. Really. However, as we have good subterfuge...
: [Subterfuge 32] I suppose I'll have to tell the Voices of Nerat that his agents were soft and cowardly in the face of opposition.
The Voices put him up to this, didn't he?
: Just like that? The Disfavored warrior crumples his face in his palm. No, wait, I won't question it. Yes, thank you, thank you.
: Yes, you had best be thanking me. And the Fatebinder. We've saved the Disfavored time and time again, what's one more?
: Listen up, for this to work, my Furies need a moment to get out of cover. Fatebinder, you need to run up the east bridge. Don't get yourself killed, just draw their attention. I'll signal my Furies to send a rope across while you have them occupied.
Of course we are ultimately cleaning up this mess, who did you think we were working with?
: There's no time to waste, let's hope your gang delivers.
Antio turns to you, nodding with a heavy frown. Thank you Fatebinder, and good hunting.
TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:
: Maintain defensive posture!
: Wow, you really fucked this one up. Most of our troops are dead, a bridge has been destroyed, and the rebels pushed us back across the bridge. Aren't you supposed to be the master race or something? Whatever, if I ever need to argue before Tunon that abortion should be legal I'm using your mother as exhibit A.
: I needed your Scarlet Furies! Don't mock my strategy because you sabotaged it by holding elite troops in reserve! That's stupid and you're stupid!
: Fatebinder! Glad to see you! I'm here with my bros in the Scarlet Chorus thanks to you, and I love it.
: Weren't you supposed to be across the river?
: We rushed the bridge! We had them, they were running away, but then...
: The whole river just lurched up and drown the bridge! The only soldiers we have left are my Scarlet Furies that I directed into a flanking position. Pretty smart of me huh?
: We had to retreat, and then the rebels counterattacked. We managed to stave them off, but now we're back here and we lost most of our troops.
: I'm a diplomat, and that means no blowing my temper and calling everyone involved a "stupid motherfucker". Not gonna do it. Not one stray comment about their inappropriate love of animals. The rebels have a water mage, she did this.
: It couldn't have been me falling for a feigned retreat and leading our entire force into a trap, a force we can't replenish because we're stuck in this valley. It was that woman I saw! Yes! Now, I know my shitty "rush the bridge" plan failed, but if I get the Scarlet Furies we can do the same plan! I'm a genius!
: PUT THE PASTE POT DOWN!
: Well we have to do something, otherwise the Edict kills us all.
: I'm telling you right now, I'm not throwing away my Scarlet Furies on this idiotic plan.
: I'm telling Nerat!
: So? This was his pl-uh, yes! Antio's in charge, tell Nerat that I helped!
: I-...yes, Fatebinder. Thank you. Not gonna question it. Now, I have these lead shoes we can all we-
: Considering how often me and the Fatebinder saved the Disfavored, you owe me big time. Anyway, I have a plan that doesn't suck. Fatebinder, you go to the east bridge and create a diversion, and the Furies will sneak over the river on a rope.
: Let's go! Thank you, Fatebinder!
Yet again it keeps getting worse. I kept harping on how the Disfavored were set up to fail, and every time we think we've seen new heights of incompetence these morons keep showing we're nowhere near the bottom of the barrel. Antio really didn't need Nerat's help to fail. So far, our experienced military commander of "Kyros' elite iron legion" has:
-Failed to recognize a feigned retreat after the fact and believed they were actually winning the battle until the river just "happened" to lurch up
-Negated the numeric superiority provided by the Scarlet Chorus conscripts by throwing them all into a chokepoint where the Vendrien Guard could hold them off
-Instead of learning from his mistakes wasted time bickering with Bitter Quip
-Got most of his command killed
-Tried to repeat the same idiotic plan again - after we told him it was Eb's trap - with the remaining troops and was barely talked out of it.
It's funny, because I took the portraits for these two off the Tyranny wiki, which describes Antio as a frustrated Disfavored commander being sabotaged by Bitter Quip because Quip doesn't want to lose the Furies. It's technically true, but Quip is 100% right here. Maybe we should make Antio grovel.
Alright, let's go.
The irony is not lost on me.
We send Barik out first to draw aggro. For some damn reason half the Vendrien Guard can teleport and this is usually bad for poor Lantry and Cleo. However, this time we have a 30% bullshit DPS bonus. These two guys go down quickly. On to the bridge!
These two guys are ready to greet us.
The Vendrien Guard just pull up the drawbridge. Remember, Antio's plan was to just rush everyone onto the bridge and attack it again. Antio got most of his command killed or incapacitated with this plan. Antio is a moron.
: [Lore 32] Your heraldry, House Matani? Apologies that your river must be dirtied with this conflict.
: Your friends seem to have misplaced most of their squad, guess they're somewhere in my river? She shrugs sarcastically. My family's been protecting this river for six generations, so it's easy to lose track of all the looters and vagrants we've had to feed to the eels.
: Let us across, and we will grant you mercy.
: As amusing as I find this soon-to-be corpse, it would appear that our distraction has paid off. He nods off to the west.
: Satisfied, she turns to leave, calling out to you as she does. I wouldn't keep standing there, Fatebinder. The river's currents are quite unpredictable.
TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:
: Nyeeeeeeah! Oh, a Fatebinder, that's different.
: A pleasure to meet you, Matani, and apologies for dirtying your family's river.
: Uh, thanks, I guess. Anyway, all your troops are dead, nyeeeeeah!
: Surrender and you'll be spared!
: Ha ha, that dumb bitch doesn't get that our distraction worked! Let me point it out loudly!
Gee, thanks Barik. Way to point out our stealth ambush to the enemy.
Antio is both a fuckup AND a war criminal, good to know.
Now, the Quipster here seems almost competent. Just wait.
: What is the plan now?
: Plan now is to lower that bridge. My warriors can't swim in their armor. The lighter troops, he points squarely at you can move across the rope, then lower the bridge. We'll meet you on the other side.
: Crossing by rope, are we? Barik clears his throat and shifts his weight awkwardly. In that case I might recommend that I go last.
I just want to point out that Barik is able to make this crossing with no issues. Antio's heavy troops could cross by rope. We could have kept making dick jokes with Sybil to get the Disfavored across, but Antio is a fuckup and Bitter Quip is just giving him the rope.
TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:
: Good job! My troops have the rope and are ready to join you in combat!
: Alright, now wwhat?
: You need to lower the bridge, because my men can't swim in their armor.
: I should go last, I'm pretty heavy.
: Get in there! Go! Go!
This is the counterweight to the Chorus' political abilities. Bitter Quip has so cleverly played the situation that his Furies alone are incapable of fighting the enemy and now Cleopatra has to step in and clean up this mess. Again.
We make it across the river, something Antio's heavy infantry could do, but considering Antio's general level of competence I'm not surprised he didn't think of this.
This starts a general melee with us and a few Scarlet Furies on one side and a stack of armored warriors and enemy Sage on the other.
The Sage casts this ice spell which makes everyone slip, but it doesn't save them from getting slaughtered.
The Furies decide they've gotten too badly beat up to continue. It's a funny thing about the Scarlet Chorus, they don't really train warriors fighting together because the entire structure runs on infighting, so when they run into coordinated, heavily armored opposition they tend to crumple unless the Blood Chanters are around.
These guys run off screaming about how the Vendrien Guard can't protect them.
You can't actually talk with the rebels, but you can scare one off with the middle option, so we do that.
The general strategy for these battles is the same throughout the game. Barik and/or Verse engage the enemy melee line and keep them taunted. Any mages in the area start cycling through their cooldowns to burst down the front line. Once the front line is dead focus fire mages and archers. Repeat until victory.
There's a crate near the drawbridge where we find some of the missing iron. This is the very same iron Graven Ashe was covering up.
Yes. I'm sure you will.
We push into the village.
There are small two-man patrols of Vendrien Guard who try to delay us while villagers run off screaming.
It doesn't work.
This is the reputation we have with the local population, and no one seems to connect this with people joining the rebellion. It's like how in World War I the Germans kept performing mass executions in Belgium and were legitimately shocked the Belgians continued to resist.
Another two-man patrol goes down.
We give this to Verse so at least someone is happy.
I would make fun of her, but the Vendrien Guard have been holding off both Archons. Even though the Archons are self-defeating idiots, the Guard still deserve a lot of credit.
: Brave warriors of the Vendrien Guard, these foreigners and sellouts mean to burn our homes and butcher our families. Summon what strength you have and show Kyros the price of taking our land.
Take a look at that sword.
Earlier in the game posted:
I can't. I just can't. The companions all have personal quests later in the game. Barik's quest is about how badly his loyalty to Graven Ashe personally fucked him over while the whole time he screams about how great Ashe is and how he will never betray him. Now, the game does mention that bronze weapons are as good as early iron weapons, but Kyros is all about the symbolism of iron. The highest tier of currency is the iron ring, which is worth more than the bronze rings. If Kyros says iron is better, than it must be better.
Darkness at Noon posted:
A short time ago, our leading agriculturalist, B., was shot with thirty of his collaborators because he maintained the opinion that nitrate artificial manure was superior to potash. No. 1 is all for potash; therefore B. and the thirty had to be liquidated as saboteurs.
it also doesn't hurt that the Disfavored weapons are forged by magical wizards.
The actual battle is the same as all the others.
It was kind of the enemy to all bunch up so they could be all stunned at once.
Let's go confront Sybil.
: I'm not here for slaughter. I'd prefer to talk.
: Really? The trail of my dead friends says otherwise. What is there to say, Fatebinder? Unless it's 'sorry for all the murders' followed by a big swig of hemlock, it's too late for words to solve anything.
Decisions Lie Before Us!
We can kill everyone, fight Sybil but let the villagers go, or let everyone go.
Our orders are to take the crossing and settlement. Interpret them as you will.