Part 11: Cleopatra Jones And The Terrible Realization That Everything Has Gone To ShitCleopatra Jones And The Terrible Realization That Everything Has Gone To Shit
Last time on Tyranny, we were given the wonderful choice of which Archon to support because the stupid fucks couldn't work together. But, what if we just fucked off into the wilderness and accepted death?
The Road Not Taken posted:
Time to leave the camp.
Just run around the world map. Keep doing it until the timer expires.
That's it. Kyros wins. The Disfavored, Scarlet Chorus, and us all get blasted away and no one dares resist Kyros under fear of annihilation. This was Kyros' plan all along. Do you think it's a coincidence that the youngest and least experienced Fatebinder was sent to pronounce her second and most likely fatal Edict by accident? Do you think Kyros was unaware that Nerat had - among other things - tortured and killed Ashe's son? It neatly solves the problem that the Scarlet Chorus needs to be subdued and that Ashe can never be trusted given his history. Keep this in mind going forward, it ties in to my interpretation of the game.
Anyway, back to our real playthrough.
I'm not going to actually take the top option in the LP save, we might need a good word from our newfound friend Ashe later.
: The Disfavored will lead.
Nerat is about to fuck everything up in 3...2...1...
Excuse me, what the fuck?
That's more like it! Just to be clear, if we'd picked Nerat Ashe would be having a similar freakout here.
This is violating so many of Kyros' laws right now it's not even funny. Both us, Ashe, and Nerat are protected by Kyros' peace.
Ashe gets the first blow in.
Nerat calls upon the terrible power of JJ Abrams to escape with lens flare.
: I saw you step in front of me, thank you.
Note that I sure as hell didn't, and I was playing the game! The cutscene was that Ashe hit Nerat, Nerat exploded and vanished, and nobody actually hit us. I guess we blacked out? This is actually kind of important, as either Ashe saved our life and we owe him, or he didn't and he's taking credit for shit he didn't do.
The thing about Graven Ashe is that he's in love with the idea of being seen as an honorable general who protects his men, rather than actually protecting his men with good tactics, he protects them with his regeneration aura. I can't actually tell you whether he saved you or not - for the record, if we'd joined Nerat, Fifth Eye would have pulled us out of there before everything went to shit. Incidentally, the Archons will always break down and start fighting each other here, even if you joined the rebels.
: We will have to take Ascension Hall without the Chorus' help.
Yep, you read that right, we're getting drafted into doing all the work again. Notice how Ashe was bragging to Nerat a minute ago that his strategies led to victory? Now notice how the Iron Marshal is taking over all the strategizing and plan explaining? To be fair to Ashe, he just got into a fight with another Archon, so I can't blame him for taking a moment to rest. That said...it's not a good look.
Of course we're going to war against the Chorus, Ashe and Nerat have been waiting for this for as long as Ashe has served Kyros.
That's kind of rude.
: Barik's armor makes a discordant sound of iron bending under pressure. Everyone assembled in the room looks at him.
What is this about? I've been dropping hints throughout the LP, but we can ask Barik about it once this whole rebellion is over.
: Verse is with me.
Oh, yes, Ashe did kind of violate a blue flag back there. Remember Magician's Folly? You can get away with a lot in Kyros' empire if you're powerful. Of course, this is the Bronze Age, so pretty much every society let nobles murder slaves and get away with it with a fine.
: [Lore 41] She can't tell us about the Scarlet Chorus or the Voices of Nerat if she's dead.
Incidentally, Verse has been putting her life on the line for us the longest of all our party members.
Ashe can be just as cruel as Nerat when the need arises. There's a reason the rebels were discussing Disfavored labor camps.
: You are playing a dangerous game, Binder. If you wish to hold a venomous serpent so close, I will allow you your own self destruction.
TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:
: FUCK YOU! EAT A BAG OF DICKS! UNLESS YOU WOULD ENJOY THE TASTE OF BAGGED DICKS, THEN DO NOT DO THAT!
: Well, now that we're all here, let's talk about the operations. How did the taking of the Outer Valley go?
: Fifth Eye?
: The oathbreakers fell before, us, we captured their captain, and...
: I TOLD YOU NOTHING! GO FUCK YOURSELVES, KYROS LOVING BITCHES!
: Uh, all the random people whose souls I've eaten sometimes get control, heh heh! Anyway, we totally have all the intelligence we need and I'll tell you all about it some other time! For realsies!
: Why am I stuck with this asshole? So, Fatebinder, this was a success?
: Yes, we demoralized the enemy and everything!
: Thanks for the save!
: Anyway, how did the river crossing go?
: We secured the river, even though those mean rebel mages killed a ton of our men. We won that victory, us, the Disfavored, who totally did all the work.
: Then that poopy Fatebinder decided to enslave the village instead of burning it! BAWWWWWW!
: Anyway, any idea what happened to the enemy captain?
: I let her go.
: On one, hand, my enemies are fighting each other. On the other... PAY ATTENTION TO ME! Hey Ashe, I tortured and killed your son! He betrayed all the legion's secrets! In direct comparison to that rebel captain, he looks like a weak coward! Oh, the voices in my head got away from me again, heh heh
: You sick fuck! Fatebinder, I will not work with this pervert! I'm about three seconds from violating the truce, and you must choose a legion!
: We need both.
: Fuck you!
: No! My Scarlet Chorus, whom I suddenly care about! I'll get both you fuckers!
: Beating time!
: Horrifying technicolor violence!
: Thanks for the save.
: Not to brag, but just an old soldier's reflexes. Really, I'd have done it for any guest.
: So now we need to take Ascension Hall without the Chorus.
: And now we know who are enemies are. Anyway, we should kill Verse, she works for the Scarlet Chorus.
: No, how is she supposed to tell me about Nerat's plans if you do that?
: You think you can turn her? I think she should be tortured to death, but I won't stop you from doing something stupid. Anyway, I must go, go talk to Erenyos for the plan.
It's safe to say that we and Nerat are no longer friends.
We don't get the option to refuse. We're in the shit now, and someone has to shovel it - and, to be clear, Cleopatra has already demonstrated that she's the only person who can shovel this shit.
: What of the Scarlet Chorus? Will you ask me to fight them as well?
Look how bad it's gotten. The Iron Marshal is not only admitting to breaking Kyros' law, she is asking the Fatebinder to join in violating Kyros' Peace. This isn't just any law, this is the big lie Kyros sells to the followers of the Overlord as to why they should be in charge.
Earlier in the game posted:
: Kyros ultimately brings order - why resist unity and prosperity?
Sybil correctly throws the Disfavored/Scarlet Chorus conflict back in our face, and now the Iron Marshal is all but admitting the Peace is something to be cast aside when it is deemed convenient.
: I'll join you for this battle, but I'm not amused by this little fight between armies.
This of course pisses off the Iron Marshal, who starts scrambling to justify their actions. This is nonsense. The Scarlet Chorus, left to its own devices, can take Ascension Hall. Nerat is a powerful enough mage that he could just walk in there and blast the rebels to death. The real struggle is not for the survival of the legion, the real struggle is to get a little fiefdom that can be filled with Disfavored labor camps and sex slaves. That is not me exaggerating, that is what the legion did during the conquest. Ashe may have saved our life, but these are bad people. Look at what the Iron Marshal says. She is "offended" by having to break the law. This is the language you use when discussing idiots insulting you on the internet. Meanwhile, the Scarlet Chorus are described as "gangrenous" and compared to a cancer that needs to be cut out. What does that say when we put it in the context that the Disfavored are incredibly racist against most of the Chorus' forces?
TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:
: I'm so excited! We're gonna go to Ascension Hall and kill all those rebel mongrels and Scarlet Chorus fuckers! EEEEEEEEE! Fatebinder, are you in?
: Are you asking me to fight the Scarlet Chorus?
: Look, that's kind of a violation of Kyros' stated purpose for ruling, and it's very illegal, and I know your job is to enforce Kyro's laws, and it makes me mildly sad that I have to break them. But the Scarlet Chorus are a bunch of poopyheads! That's why we can just trample all over Kyros' laws! YOLO!
: I will join you, but I don't find the prospect of trampling Kyros' Peace to be amusing.
: Ok, yes, we're betraying everything the Overlord supposedly stands for, and we'll cross that bridge when we come to it, but right now we need to take Ascension Hall so Ashe can be the king! It's self defense, obviously!
: See you at the citadel, Graven Ashe protects!
This bears repeating: Kyros the Overlord is subtly encouraging Ashe and Nerat to violate the most closely held tenets of Kyros' law and trample all over their long-term credibility to deal with a short-term problem Kyros created. Kyros' Peace is a lie told to calm the peasants, except literally no one in the Tiers believes it (as they have told us multiple times).
'You are ruling over us for our own good,' he said feebly. 'You believe
that human beings are not fit to govern themselves, and therefore----'
He started and almost cried out. A pang of pain had shot through his body.
O'Brien had pushed the lever of the dial up to thirty-five.
'That was stupid, Winston, stupid!' he said. 'You should know better than
to say a thing like that.'
He pulled the lever back and continued:
'Now I will tell you the answer to my question. It is this. The Party
seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good
of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long
life or happiness: only power, pure power. What pure power means you will
understand presently. We are different from all the oligarchies of the
past, in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who
resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the
Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never
had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps
they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a
limited time, and that just round the corner there lay a paradise where
human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that
no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is
not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order
to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish
the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of
torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to
Now, of course, this is much less of a revelation in the Bronze Age than it is in the modern day. When the foreign invaders showed up at your gates to enslave all your women and steal your stuff, they are not going to be spouting rhetoric about just wars and the brotherhood of man, they are simply here to steal your daughter and your cash. Thus we end up with this weird justification where Kyros is trying to justify keeping the people down for their own good...in an era where people didn't really care because everything was run by kings and tyrants and god-kings anyway.
The NIV Bible posted:
So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. They said to him, You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.
But when they said, Give us a king to lead us, this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. And the Lord told him: Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will claim as his rights.
Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king. He said, This is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. Your male and female servants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.
It's clearly a parable, but I'm not certain that it's stronger for being set in the Bronze Age with magic replacing surveillance technology and industrial weapons. The classic comparison is the Lord of the Rings, but Tolkien is clearly extolling the virtues of individual heroism, feudal nobility, and faith in God against the mechanized authoritarianism of Sauron. It works because Tolkien believes in the virtues of the era. You could argue that the developers are arguing that Bronze Age virtues are better than the modern authoritarianism of Kyros, but that's a really tough sell.
Moving on! We have a game to play instead of my ramblings!
This guy actually has stuff for sale!
Most of his stuff is crap but he has this sigil that I've never been able to find because I always exiled him. Oops!
You can use this sigil to make armor spells! Now, you might be thinking, "does the game want us to swap out armor spells for various opponents?" Maybe there's a fire-breathing dragon who's flying around the Tiers dropping leaflets that say "Kyros sucks and Kyros' Peace is a lie". The answer is sadly, no. You can still get through every single combat in the game mindlessly cycling through your collection of CC DoT AoE blast spells and you will never need these.
That said, this does give you some really strong buffs.
Let's get going.
Remember how the Disfavored assured us that despite the low number of Earthshakers they would be able to trivially crumple the walls? I remember.
Is that your thing, Verse?
: Want me to cause generalized trouble, or did you have plans for me?
: The enemy Sages are working some sort of protective magic that's keeping the wall held together - I need you to silence this resistance. Head east and secure a way over the wall - my troops aren't dressed for scaling. Kill the Sages, the Earthshakers will clear the way... and we'll meet you inside.
Earlier in the game posted:
: The best the Chorus could accomplish would be leaving a ramp-shaped pile of corpses propped against the walls for my warriors to use. Their fortifications are not a concern. Even under-staffed, my Earthshakers could breach the masonry in short order.
Now you might be noticing that the Archon of War is not here. I legitimately have no idea what he's doing, but as an Archon he is probably personally powerful enough to break this siege. Instead, we get...two mages assaulting the wall who are being stonewalled, and a bunch of infantry who is apparently incapable of changing into lighter armor to climb the wall. No, they don't even have catapults or ballistae or anything, what are you, nuts?
TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:
: Hi Fatebinder we're apparently not capable of breaching these walls on our own and Graven Ashe is having a tea party or something so we need you to scale the wall by yourself and let us in oh you'll do it thanks do it in the name of Kyros who I legitimately just shit all over 15 minutes ago thanks bye
Tunon sent us a message in the middle of the battle.
This is really bad. Tunon is basically telling us he knows everything is going to shit and that he hopes we return safely.
This is the "thank him" reply. In other words, we have some very serious legal violations to report. We will send that, and maybe Tunon can give us a week off or something.
There's a bunch of guys between us and the wall. They are all the same Vendrien Guard enemies we've seen before. They fall to the same tactic of "Have Barik pull aggro and stunlock them to death."
This is not even a particularly high Athletics check.
The Sages know a bunch of sigils we don't, but are still vulnerable to frostfire damage and die.
More XP packets walk into the meatgrinder.
We can't proceed until we kill these two Sages.
This lets the Earthshakers shoot a big laser at the wall and blow it up. Great success!
The Iron Marshal runs into the courtyard and starts yelling for the rest of the Disfavored to do their damn jobs.
The camera pans over to the main gate...
...where a bunch of Blood Chanters appear and start casting a fire spell.
They blast the gate in now that the Sages are dead.
Eb and the rebels panic and fall back into the citadel. Great, now that all the Kyrosian legions are here we can all work together to -
This should come as no surprise.
These stupid idiots are playing this game when we have literally three days before Kyros executes us all.
: So...about the Edict.
: The Commander looks back at you, and gestures north. We'll stall them, you make a break for the inner sanctum.
TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:
: The Scarlet Chorus is here! All you bitches get out! Nerat is going to be king!
: It's stabbing time, Chorus punks!
: There is an Edict of Kyros that is going to kill us all if we don't take the tower.
: Oh, right, that. We'll stay out here and fight the people who are ostensibly on our team, and you can do all the work of actually subduing this insurrection!
The game has us cutscene run into the fortress - all four of Cleopatra's party - while the Disfavored and Scarlet Chorus troops, both of whom are sworn to the service of Kyros the Overlord, start butchering each other instead of Kyros' enemies.
This guy runs off in cutscene mode so we can't kill him.
I hope nobody in the thread is mad that I'm eliding these combats, because it's the same formula against the same enemies again and again.
Stun all the guys with lightning.
Use illusion to knock them prone.
Enemy sages have an annoying technique where they disappear for a bit but don't do anything. It's a waste of everyone's time, as you just murder their friends and then murder their solitary asses.
Their options are to die and take the Kyrosian armies with them or to be slaughtered standing against Cleopatra. I don't think any of that is conducive to being "the same".
These guys are spellcasters, so they are able to inconvenience us slightly. The AI doesn't seem to understand that rotating through spells to keep people stunlocked is good, so NPC casters will waste time with stupid crap while you need to micromanage every mage on your team to get them to actually cast spells in succession rather than throw knives or other stupid crap.
This makes them eminently freezable.
If you're playing along, read the scroll on the table. It gives us a new core sigil, the sigil of force. If you somehow missed lightning it's in this room as well. Weirdly I don't think any of these sages threw force spells at us.
Most of the force spells kind of suck, but this spell is baller and goes right on Cleo so she can buff pre-battle and stun harder. You are free to ignore the rest of the school.
The final battle of this floor is a bunch of archers and javelin throwers with two melee guys, meaning Lantry goes down in 5 seconds as all the ranged guys focus him.
They get blown up, but Verse goes down at some point. Putting Verse on any kind of AI control is kind of risky. She has three stances, one of which improves her dodging. She has an entire skill tree based on evasion and evade tanking. If you leave her in AI control, she will shift to the stance that dumpsters her defense stats and get killed. The AI in this game is...real bad!
It turns into the standard padded sumo battle where the outcome is predetermined by numbers and you just gotta grind through it. There really aren't any abilities that can turn the tide of a battle or break you out of a death spiral, it's just boring ass grinding.
The oathbreaker archers carry poisoned arrows. I'm not sure if the devs are trying to make a statement about how trustworthy they are or if this was just an ability they came up with without thinking too hard about how poisoners are abhorred by virtually every culture's warrior codes. It's a war crime then and it's a war crime now.
They're finally fucking dead!
All we have to do is go up the stairs and fight the rebel leaders, and then the rebellion will be over and we can go back to Tunon's court and he'll let us take a nap or something.
However, there is something I'd like your input on before we proceed.
Decisions Lie Before Us!
We will, after seizing the tower, get the opportunity to betray Graven Ashe and the Disfavored and seize it for ourselves and Tunon. Are we betraying Graven Ashe, or staying the course with the Disfavored?
There will be more opportunities to betray Ashe later.