Part 12: Cleopatra Jones and the Great BetrayalCleopatra Jones and the Great Betrayal
This is it. Beyond these doors lies the end of the rebellion.
Tyranny lets you buff outside combat (unlike Pillars of Eternity, which it shares an engine with) so do that now.
My attempt to send Barik forward to bait is ruined by the cutscene force marching all of our characters into position where we can be surrounded.
This was the end goal of the rebels all along - to spit in the eye of overwhelming force like some glorious hero from the Norse sagas. Does it accomplish anything? No.
Unfortunately, we did not release Florian and we must now butcher Arri and the Vendrien Guard.
: What did you hope to gain from your rebellion?
: You already use Kyros' currency, speak the language. Military control is a formality.
What does it say about Kyros that despite having this economic and cultural advantage they were unable to subjugate the Tiers?
: Seems your uprising amounted to nothing but dead kinsmen.
: How did you know the Archons were feuding?
: We are hopeless, not witless - our eyes and ears tell us much. Arri covers her mouth, stifling a smile. I will die happy knowing your invasion will grind to a halt as the two Archons tear each other to pieces over the title of victor. Perhaps my only regret is not living to see which child-king will win.
: [Lore 41][Bluff] You bring a lot of magic to fight directly beneath the Spire. Trying to bury us all? Just what sort of inbred fool are you?
The Sage nopes the hell out, because apparently dying at the hands of your enemies is better than being crushed to death.
: Get back here! Arri shouts at the fleeing Sage, but to no avail. What was I thinking, bringing cowardly scribes to a sword fight. Eb was right about the lot of you!
Remember those two Sages who singlehandedly held off the entire Disfavored legion until we scaled the wall? I remember. Arri doesn't. Great leadership!
If anything Arri is a foil to Graven Ashe. Both are nationalistic commanders who are invested in their soldiers, and both fought Kyros to free their homeland. The difference is, of course, that Ashe knelt before Kyros while Arri is going to fight to the death and die a free woman.
: Any last words?
We're thrust back into Tyranny combat. The game starts playing the boss music, but don't be fooled - this is not a difficult fight. Once you deal with the teleporting asshole (have Barik taunt them) you can continue with the traditional strategy of magicing everyone to death.
The AI has some mean spells but they're just not coded to capitalize on it. Eb has a few of her unique abilities for this fight, but they're mostly worse than spellcasting, scale off of might (despite being arcane blasts and whatnot) and generally don't save her from being blasted to death by an angry Fatebinder.
Or rather, submission - both she and Tarkis Arri will kneel down and surrender rather than die.
Such is the fate of all who oppose Cleopatra.
The Iron Marshal and these two dipshits run in.
I'm not going to lie. The betrayal vote was an absolute blowout, and much of the thread agreed with the sentiment that our worthless allies didn't deserve the credit.
: [Betray Alliance] NOW you arrive? I shed blood to take Ascension Hall, this place, the Spire, the valley - it's MINE. All of you, begone!
: Sputtering up blood between belly laughs, the captain snickers with delight. Kyros' pawns divided in victory... priceless!
This is of course an extremely idiotic thing to do as our garrison is all of four people, one of whom is sworn to the Disfavored.
Erenyos gives us one last opportunity to back down, but to be honest, the Disfavored have been screwing us over this entire time.
: [Betray Alliance] [Attack] If you won't take me seriously, draw your iron.
By seizing power we've proven ourselves little better than the Archons.
The same strategy works for this fight as every other: rotate through all the magic spells until Erenyos and the two idiots are dead.
Erenyos surrenders after we make our incredibly dubious legal declaration.
Yea, we...don't have any friends except Tunon right now, and we certainly don't have a garrison.
Oh go fuck yourself. Your little band of idiots achieved precisely nothing without Cleopatra to babysit you, and you whined as we carried you near the finish line where you abruptly veered off the course to go fight the Chorus.
: I lay claim to Ascension Hall, let us be free of this Edict.
: You feel a tug in your chest as a warm energy begins to form around you, before you know it, you feel as if you are lighter than air.
Cleopatra floats up off the ground...
...and absorbs the power of Kyros' Edict of Execution.
This causes a giant fuckoff explosion which reveals...
We are immediately teleported to the top of the Spire.
: This is certainly a change. The wind ruffles the feathers in her hair, and Verse quickly smooths them down. A damn cold change. She peers over the edge. Think I could land on my feet if I jumped? Not that it would matter for long.
: Kyros be merciful - what now?! Barik spins around on his feet, looking about, trying to take in as much as he can through the narrow visors of his helmet.
: Every way you look, mountains rise up along a distant horizon. The rivers and forest below bring to mind maps of Vendrien's Well, and you quickly trace the Matani, the Irenev, and all the numerous waterways of the region.
: Higher than you imagined it, this is indeed the pinnacle of the Spire at Vendrien's Well.
: How did we get... all the way up here? Arri strains to stand up, clutching her side.
: I claim this Spire as my lawful court.
: Getting down is the easy part. We'll place a note on your person and odds are it won't get lost in the splatter.
This was also requested by the thread.
: [Write down your declaration of control.]
: [Tuck the note in the gauntlet. Push her off the edge] Let's see if Graven Ashe can protect you from this.
This is just cruel.
Cruelty? This! IS! TYRANNY! (Also the name of the achievement you get for doing this).
: I haven't forgotten you, Captain.
: Leave. Now.
We could kill Arri here, but why? The rebellion is broken. The Spire is ours. Three minutes ago she was rambling about how she wanted a glorious martyrdom to rally others against Kyros. We could kick her off the spire in a highly symbolic execution, or we could just...let her go. So far her crime has been killing people Kyros obviously wanted dead anyway.
We already made an example of the unfortunate Iron Marshal. Ashe won't take it well, but he was literally going to steal all the credit after we did all the work.
: Serve me well and all can be forgiven.
We kind of need Eb. Seeing as she single-handedly wasted tons of Disfavored with cutscene powers, she would increase the odds in our inevitable last stand by a decent amount.
Eb is also a mage in Tyranny, so of course she gets to come along!
TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:
: The Peacebinder? Huh. Well, we can't make peace, but we're ready to fight. That said, we're going to kill you. This place has a lot of history, where better to settle this? It's been a privilege and an honor, my brothers.
: What did you hope to gain from all this?
: We got our dignity, and you can never take that away! We can show a shining example to lead others to resist -
: You do realize that you use Kyros' currency and speak Kyros' language, right? Us invading you is just a formality.
: That - that doesn't mean anything!
: To summarize, Kyros can still mess you up without military power.
: And all you got were dead kinsmen.
: Oh yea? Well, we killed a bunch of you, and do you really think the Archons won't start a civil war?
: How do you know about that?
: We're not stupid! Enjoy your civil war of idiot against idiot!
: I'm gonna beat you for that!
: Uh, you can't use magic in here! You'll bring down the ceiling!
: Nope nope nope I'm out.
: Get back here! Oh well.
: Any last words?
: Yes, tell the Voices of Nerat thank you for his help! He really kept this rebellion going! Now let's fight!
is brutally beaten by Cleopatra and the gang
: Fuck you! The rebellion won't end here! Everyone will rise up and -
: Wow, you did all the work! Thank you!
: Wait, you made me do all the work, and you want the credit? GET OUT! This is Jones Tower now!
: Oh my god they're fighting each other! That's making my bleeding out more palatable!
: Hey, you sure about that? I don't want to fight you.
: Get out your damn weapon. Gee, that was fast, maybe if you hadn't lost all your soldiers fighting the Scarlet Chorus like some kind of moron we could have taken the hall together.
: Just so you know, I hope you all choke on dicks and die.
: How could this happen? We were supposed to ride the Fatebinder to victory and steal all the credit! You ruined everything!
: Hey, Kyros, I claim this hall in your name to end the Edict. Thanks!
: Wow, everything got all glowy and we're at the top of the Spire. That's wacky!
: Well this is different. That's a long way down...
: Kyros be merciful, what the fuck?
: How did we get up here? Ow.
: What is this? Did Nerat screw us over again?
: The Edict is gone!
: I claim this Spire.
: Wow, you suck, Fatebinder. I bet Tunon's gonna beat your ass. When I get down, I'm gonna tell Graven Ashe, and he's gonna murder you as soon as I figure out how to get down.
: No need. I'll give you a note, and it should survive the fall.
: How could you? This is betrayal!
: Betrayal? THIS! IS! TYRANNY! kicks Erenyos off the ledge
: I'm going out with dignity to hint to the player that this might not have been the right thing to do! Ow!
: Hey, what about me?
: You know what...I don't need a martyr...you can go.
: I...what...I don't...thank you Fatebinder, I don't deserve this.
: What about me? I'll join your party.
: You're a mage in Tyranny. Welcome aboard.
I really want to know what "near-victorious offensive" the narration is referring to, because the offensive I saw got stalled by two sages and Erenyos explaining that her troops couldn't *possibly* scale the wall, then the people Graven Ashe attacked under banner of truce showed up and she got distracted fighting her nominal allies.
This is a good thing, because if they'd stormed the citadel we'd be fucked.
Yea, we have no friends and two hostile armies. The only thing we have going for us is that we answer to Tunon, and if he decides we overstepped it's game over.
In a very real way Tarkis Arri got what she wanted.
This ends act I of the game. I'm going to go a little further, because I'd like to get through our meeting with Tunon.
The Spire is a pretty obvious symbol of us acquiring power. We literally tower above the common man but we're also a big target that can be seen from below.
: Noted. I should make haste to the Bastard City.
: The dizzying energy from the Spire falters. Whatever force awoke the powers that reside here gutters and fades, though a faint hum persists in the sculpture at the center.
: The humming from the curious sculpture pulses and builds in volume, as if to draw your attention.
Anyway, this is our first spire, and we have a ton of upgrades and whatnot!
There are five spires, and they can each be upgraded to do different things. We will be using this to utterly snap the game in half and get high level magic way earlier than we're supposed to. Anyway, I hire Revos. He has some cool sigils for us.
Oh, yes, everyone hates us.
Let's chat with Eb, there's something we need from her.
: Cleopatra Jones will suffice.
: First order of business, I should speak with Tunon.
: I'm improvising. Any suggestions?
: My first suggestion would be to build a boat, something durable, and take our chances on the high seas far from Kyros.
In other words, nothing has changed. Before, if we didn't get the power to break the rebellion, we would be killed by our allies. Now, if we don't get the power of the Spires, we will be killed by the Archons.
: What do you know about the Spires?
: Not nearly enough, apparently. To me, they've always been axioms of navigation - you can triangulate a lot of things with a sextant and clear view to a Spire or two.
We'll get to these.
: That's all I have for now.
: Well short of Tunon giving you orders on pain of death, you have the luxury of action on your volition - though the Scarlet Chorus are likely to come for you.
: Your assistance will be most helpful, thanks.
: Have a moment? Let's speak further.
: I have some questions for you.
: Let's speak of magic.
: What can you tell me about your magical tradition?
: Now you know that's a very personal question. The knowledge I have is a centuries old gift from the Archon of Tides - I would sooner discard my life than the sanctity of that gift. I will speak in generalities only.
Two things: This is not true, and Eb's magic is fucking awesome and we want it.
: Can you teach me what you know?
: Tell me about how you influence Terratus Grave.
: I command you to teach me what you know.
So, normally, turning over the Tidecasters gets you enough fear with Eb to take the first option and bully it out of her. However, Cleopatra has another option.
: [Eb Loyalty 4] I understand this knowledge is important to you - I assure you, it will be used for great things.
We're also teaching Eb five or six different core sigils, so I think it's fair.
: You know what... you're right... secret's already out - and I should know better than to taunt someone of your... temperament.
(this is the same dialogue as if you'd used fear)
: Besides, we Tidecasters love a good bit of destructive nonsense, and I know you can be trusted to carry on that essential pillar of our teaching.
So, yeah, all those Core Sigils we've been collecting? Those are the symbols of Archons, and we use them to fuel our magic. No, we do not have or ever get the sigils of Tunon, Ashe, or Nerat.
It's a metaphor for political power - the Archons embody it, the mages gain power by association, and everyone else is a peon. Kyros, of course, violently subjugated most of the other Archons.
: I'd ask that you use this knowledge wisely but... it's not like I do. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm talked out for the moment. Perhaps another time.
TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:
: Oh, my, the Queen of the Penis Spire? How should I address you?
: Just call me Cleopatra, please.
: What's your plan, if I may ask? Everything's going nuts.
: First, I'll speak to Tunon. Then..no idea.
: Well, we should get on an escape boat. But we can't, so I recommend you find more Spires.
: Do you know anything about them?
: Not much, just that they're omnipresent but people avoid them because they're connected to the Oldwalls. Kinda spooky.
: Thank you, I'm glad to have you along.
: Thank you for not turning me into a Zach Snyder reference.
: Can you teach me the Tidecasters' sigil?
: That's very personal and between me and the Archon of Tides, no.
: Pleeeeeeease? I'll use it to do cool stuff.
: Ugh, all right. I shouldn't taunt the lady who likes kicking people off Spires, and I know you'll use it to create cool explosions. Here goes! Now, after betraying my Archon and my school to Kyros' Fatebinder, I'm done talking.
The Gravelight core sigil, named for the moon of Terratus, is supposed to represent gravity magic which is why it has life drain attacks. This should not be confused for the Atrophy sigil, which despite having been invented by a bunch of life-draining mages just hands out worthless debuffs. Gravelight rules, because you can throw around a bunch of lifesteal (and buff fighters to drain life on hit) and just keep the squishy mages topped off for the few attacks that come out of the stun zone.
We need to examine the mysterious device again.
: As you start at the symbol, the chill of the wind abates and your chest swells with warmth. The air finally feels welcoming, your lungs sated at last.
Again, the Spires represent the power to rule over others. We'll discuss this more in the Act I Postmortem.
: [Touch the sculpture]
Having acquired real power as the person who put down the rebellion, that is going to change us. "Jolt of enervation" still makes me cringe, though, those two words do not work together at all.
: With this connection made, you feel your awareness pull from this place - not as a traveler, but as one glimpsing the world from impossibly far away. In this moment, there is nothing you cannot see, though you see it nearly all at once in a flood of sensation that is difficult to parse.
Ignore the magical bullshit. This is us being able to see greater heights from our position of newfound power.
: Though you haven't seen it in person, you are certain this is a vision of Lethian's Crossing, for nowhere else are the Tiersmen brave or desperate enough to settle at the intersection of Bane-ridden Oldwalls.
We are going to have quite a bit to say when we get there, I hope you have your Dante handy.
Spoilers: Entering the Oldwalls is against the Law of Kyros.
: [Drift closer to the Spire.]
The goal of power is to gain more power. It doesn't even matter what our motive is. Do we want to stave off Ashe and Nerat? We need power. Do we want to govern the Tiers more effectively so people aren't constantly rebelling? We need power. Want to build a hospital or a university or something to benefit the Tiers? We need power.
: [Drift into the Oldwalls entrance]
Power, of course, leads to the temptation for more power.
: The deluge of sensation is over, but the positions of the other Spires still linger in your mind. From your vantage point atop the Mountain Spire, you can easily spot the mysterious structures, each of them rising high above their distant surroundings.
TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:
: Dost thou desire...the POWER?
: Woah! It's doing magic stuff! Be careful, but I want to see what it does!
: That's a lot of power.
: I feel dizzy.
: I am Spire, the granter of power. Do you seek...the POWER?
: Go to the Mountain Spire, and you will find...the POWER!
: Whoa! When you move it gets all magical and shit!
: Hey, you just resolved an Edict. Pretty sure that's related to this Spire wackiness, and thus it's your duty to figure this out. If you forget, I'm happy to remind you!
On the way out our party members get chatty.
: You made a lot of enemies during the battle of Vendrien's Well... if the Disfavored and Scarlet Chorus stop fighting each other, one or both might get the notion to crush you underfoot.
: No doubt this is all part of Kyros' plan - a test to decide whether Graven Ashe or the Voices of Nerat should rule.
Keep this in mind! This is about to become important in a few minutes!
: Have you heard of Edicts being broken before?
: Most of Kyros' Edicts were either worded to end in a manner of the Overlord's choosing, or the Edicts have simply continued in perpetuity. That's not to say there haven't been stories of broken Edicts - they're just uncommon.
: The oldest is, I think, Golbraith and the Edict of Sorrows, and that tale dates back to around the year 110. Aside from you, the most recent was the Edict of Twisting Grasses, back in 380.
: Noted. Now let's get going.
TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:
: Wow, you broke an Edict! That's nuts! Of course, everyone wants to kill you, and if either the Chorus or Disfavored stops the civil war they could crush you underfoot. I imagine Kyros is furious as the civil war is stopping the conquest.
: Probably part of Kyros' plan to see who deserves to rule the Tiers.
: When I was a Scarlet Chorus prisoner, people talked about "Tunon's Dilemma" - everyone believes the Archon of Justice HAS to nominate the greater general of the two to rule at the end of the war. Anyway, everyone's watching you and trying to kill or manipulate you - no pressure.
: Ever hear of Edicts being broken before?
: Yes, but only when things were done the Overlord's way and they were allowed to end - no one has ever defeated an Edict with brute force.
: Thanks, let's go!
This conversation brought to you by DLC.
Little awkward talking about the Iron Marshal ever since we kicked her over the ledge.
: Relax, Barik. Just tell me what's on your mind.
: What are you talking about?
: I have been encased in this... he raps a gauntlet against the shards of corroded iron and bronze that sweep across his chest.
: I will happily make your case to the Archon.
: Thank you, Fatebinder. His salute rings like a poorly-cast bell.
This starts Barik's personal quest, which is to remove his shit-encrusted armor. The quest goes places, we'll say that right now.
TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:
: Hey I know we've had our issues, but could you help me? My shitty armor was fused to me by the Overlord's Edict of Storms, and I want to ask Tunon if he can have it removed.
: Sounds good, I'll ask him when we see him.
This of course clashes with the conversation we have with Barik two seconds later.
: Are you okay in there, Barik?
: Are you mad about something?
Barik has drunk the Disfavored kool-aid hook, line and sinker. He's a perfect example of what Nietzsche calls slave morality - rather than making his own judgements, he judges everything as Graven Ashe would. If it's good for the Disfavored, it's good for him. If it's bad for the Disfavored, it's bad for him.
: It was my right as Tunon's Fatebinder to choose a side.
: And you made no choice whatsoever. Well done. You will find the Tiers a friendless, unsympathetic place.
: Let us be clear on one point - you have my blade, but my heart belongs to Ashe and the North. I am a weapon bound to you only by duty. Nothing more.
TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:
: Hey, Barik, you mad?
: You betrayed Graven Ashe! Fuck you!
: I had the right to choose a side.
: Yea, and now you don't have any friends! Well done! Even I'm only here because of my orders from the Iron Marshal!
This conversation doesn't really work with the one we just had, and I would imagine Barik's duty is to leave and not work with the traitor who executed Erenyos. Oh, well.
Oh, we got a missive.
Oh, shit shit shit shit. Bleden Mark is Kyros' personal assassin, the Archon of Shadows. This is kind of bad - think the head of the NKVD and you'd be right on.
Bleden Mark posted:
It appears you've gotten yourself into a bit of trouble - but was it treachery or merely a misstep? In the heat of combat, gut intuition is not infallible, I'll give you that. Of course, most do understand they'll be little more than a warm splatter on the ground, should they decide to fight both foe and ally at once. Your saving grace is the Spire's awakening, which has floored even the Adjudicator. However, if you defy the Overlord again, the Court will have no choice but to also openly denounce you. I would caution you to tread more carefully should you truly wish to walk among the righteous and chosen. This path you now skirt is one of darkness and death. Will you keep closer to the light or the shadows, as they say? Choose correctly - or I'll be compelled to kill you as I have slain countless detractors and Archons before, understand?
However, perhaps most luckily for you, as an acting agent of the Court, you still have a chance for redemption. Your penchant for mayhem has brought discord on our conquest and ired our allies. Should you become caught by one of them, my guess is they'll have an interesting punishment awaiting you. Come to an agreement with Ashe or Nerat, and we all would rest easier. Do hurry - if you'd like to live a little longer.
-Bleden Mark, Archon of Shadows and Court Blade
If we hold the missive over candlelight we get a very different message.
Mark wants a meeting. We'll go do that after we report to Tunon.
We don't have a choice. Mark is a powerful enough Archon to give Ashe and Nerat pause. He probably has some plan for us, let's go talk to Tunon.
These guys are merchants who work with Tunon. They don't have anything cool and so we move on.
Welcome to Tunon's Court.
Already Tunon's appearance is telling us quite a bit. Tunon wears an emotionless mask that conceals an inner darkness, much like Kyros' laws feign benevolence and impartiality to conceal a lust for power.
The way to gain favor with Tunon is to treat him with the respect due his station. Do not lie to him, do not remain silent when he expects you to speak, do not interrupt him.
: Silence! The contradictions in your statements will be examined, and falsities threshed from truths. If we find you have perjured yourselves, Bleden Mark will see to your fate. The Archon turns, and you feel his gaze upon you.
: The Voices of Nerat may have killed Graven Ashe's son, or worse...
: The Archons could not agree on who should lead the siege and descended into accusations of treachery - it seemed a mutual spat.
So, funny thing - Tunon is also a capable war leader, as he led the attack on the Bastard City and personally sunk half of it with his powers. Is it me or does he look skeptical of this claim?
: I took the Citadel and satisfied Kyros' command. To this end, are my means not justified?
: What is best is always justified, but what is justified is not always best. We expect results - and in that regard, you have not entirely failed us.
: The Court will ponder the testimonies we've received, and judge the matter in its proper course.
: For the time being, you will continue to travel on your own accord and dispense justice to both sides of this civil war. If your presence is required here in Court, we will find you.
TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:
: Your honor, with the evidence we've presented, the Scarlet Chorus huffs farts.
: No u
: You're both lying sacks of shit and if I find your lies I'm going to have Bleden Mark execute you. Fatebinder, what the hell happened with the Archons?
: Well, Nerat maybe killed Ashe's son?
: If true, I could destroy him for that. What exactly happened with the Archons?
: They started arguing like ten year olds and yelling about treason.
: I see. And the siege?
: I did what Kyros commanded and took the citadel, was it not justified?
: On one hand, the Archons are fuckups, but that was not the right way to handle it. Still, you didn't fuck up entirely and you ended the rebellion. I need to think, go and wander the Tiers and stuff. You're on Anarchy, we're done here.
So normally Tunon would pull us aside and ask us to gather evidence because he suspects one of the Archons of treason. It's pretty interesting and we have a lot of meat to dig into with his character, but...we're on Anarchy! That means we'll be getting missions from our new main man Bleden Mark, a man who gives nearly as few fucks as Cleopatra does. Sadly, that is an adventure for the next update.
We didn't even get any Wrath from Tunon for our little stunt. Huh.
One last thing - this guy wants to know how the hell we plan to stand independent without an army, but tells us he owes us for giving the Chorus the Tidecasters and teaches us the Sigil of Emotion. Score!
It's a weird grab bag.
Next Time: Chilling with Bleden Mark.