Part 27: Cleopatra Jones and the Ineptly Run Mercenary CompanyCleopatra Jones and the Ineptly Run Mercenary Company
Last time on Tyranny, we did a bunch of sidequests culminating in us meeting the stupidest narcissist who proudly bragged in front of a Fatebinder about killing her wife. Goons sentenced her stupid ass to death.
: [Attack] I've heard enough, you disgust me.
Really this conclusion sums the character up perfectly. Upon being confronted by a Fatebinder, a mage, a towering Beastwoman, and a Scarlet Fury, Deya thinks she's somehow going to fight her way out of this with a hairpin. What a moron!
TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:
: Did you avenge my wife?
: Sandro told me everything, specifically, that he saw you kill her.
: Caught me lol, despite my clever plan to lure a Fatebinder and be above suspicion. Fuck Sandro, and fuck Phaedra! They both sucked! I just married that annoying woman for her money, and she nearly died! But she didn't because of that Sandro jackass! By Kyros' sweet titties, we'd make a great couple! Ha ha ha! Anyway, want a bribe?
: You disgust me.
: Well, fuck. Die! *attacks war party with hairpin*
She dies horribly. She drops her necklace which gives +1 Finesse. It's there I guess.
Killing this worthless failure gets us to nearly two wrath because we didn't tell anyone, despite the game never actually giving us the option. No, we can't go get Sandro and go to Eldian. Look, Tyranny, you're usually better about this stuff. I would expect this from Numenera, not you.
I'm going to elide this random encounter - we find a bunch of orange berries, we use our Lore to discern they're not poisonous, and we eat them for a buff.
Welcome to Deserter's March!
Are you ready for internal politics of the Bronze Brotherhood?
: He went too far! Death is inevitable in war, but slaughtering innocent settlers? What possible reason could he have had to kill them?
There is literally a Kyrosian army unit sworn to Tunon stationed in the town. I do not understand the Brotherhood's position at all.
: Everyone calm down.
: Locke looks back and forth between you and Myrek and sighs. You are right, Fatebinder. He addresses Myrek. Have your men lower their weapons and I will have my men do the same.
: Fatebinder, I implore you to help us. I want to avoid more bloodshed if at all possible.
We are given a choice of whether to talk to Locke or Myrek first, so of course we pick on the reasonable guy.
: It would seem not everyone in the Brotherhood agrees with Raetommon's methods...
: No. We might be mercenaries, but we aren't murderers. Myrek is a loyalist, so he follows Raetommon's orders without question, no matter how crazy they are! Myrek isn't an evil person, he just has a hard time thinking for himself and is easily manipulated.
In other works, Myrek is Boxer the horse who must work harder until he is eventually sent off to be made into glue.
: Do you know where I might find Raetommon?
: Why does Raetommon want the Forge-Bound Master?
: If I only knew, I might have been able to prevent this. Raetommon has become increasingly unstable since Kyros' forces tried to take Lethian's Crossing from him.
: Perhaps he means to better arm the Brotherhood. We can always use quality weapons, so getting a hold of Forge-Bound iron would be an exciting prospect. With Kyros' forces on the move, that would be welcome.
I'm pretty sure that killing these guys only has a point if you want to farm Brotherhood Wrath, which...eh?
: [Leave] I will speak to Myrek.
: I don't care if you trust me, but you will listen to me if you want to stop all this bloodshed.
Myrek is the classical authoritarian follower who believes his leader is the "magic helper" who can solve all his problems.
: Why are you in Deserter's March?
: So if Raetommon sent you, you know where he is.
: [Subterfuge 44] [Lie] I just need to talk to him. You want all this to be over, don't you?
This is sadly why we're here.
: Keystone? What's that?
: Why did Raetommon take the Forge-Bound Master?
: How can you follow a man who kills his own men so indiscriminately?
: Yes! Myrek makes the declaration vehemently. I know everything he does will be good for everyone. We just have to trust him!
I regret nothing about reusing this portrait.
Admit it, you weren't going to keep track of these Brotherhood jackoffs anyway.
: [Lore 44] If the men Raetommon kills are traitors, the Bronze Brotherhood must have a lot of them.
: Myrek purses his lips, his eyes moving back and forth and he considers your words. You might have a point, Fatebinder, but I still don't trust your motives. I am not going to turn over the leader of the Brotherhood on speculation.
: Raetommon invaded Lethian's Crossing and attacked everyone - including his own men.
I didn't see that part, all I saw was him throwing away his men worthlessly. There are a few instances in which the dialogue directly contradicts what the game shows (like Graven Ashe saving us from Nerat) and I'm not sure which we're intended to go with.
: Locke thinks Raetommon is acting in his own self-interest. He wants you to see Raetommon for who he really is.
: No! He's doing what's best for Lethian's Crossing! Myrek looks conflicted. Isn't he? He shakes his head.
: Yes! He must be... He trails off, confused.
Despite what you might think we can't actually convince him. We're given the choice to go back to Locke, but I apparently screwed something up and we can't convince him.
: I tried, but if he can't be convinced, he will have to be killed.
: You are welcome to try, but he is stubborn. I don't think he will change his mind.
: Myrek, please - following Raetommon will only end in your death. He can't be trusted. He killed his own men. He endangered the entire city for his own selfish needs!
Now the thing is there is absolutely no reason for Myrek to be doing this and it doesn't help Raetommon at all. He has some men. His job was to gather reinforcements for the men Raetommon pissed away like an idiot. If he engages the rebel Brotherhood now he won't be able to complete his mission - but because only an idiot could follow Raetommon at this point, here we are!
TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:
: Fatebinder! Please help me talk Myrek down! He's not a bad person, he's just an idiot who is loyal to Raetommon and who is easily manipulated.
: Dude, Raetommon is a worthless idiot who's getting you all killed.
: Raetommon! Raetommon! Rae! Rae!
: I'm sorry, but he's regressed into a childlike state where he can only repeat Raetommon like some kind of Pokemon. The island demands his death.
: Really? I can convince him. Don't do this, Myrek!
: You betray Raetommon? YOU MUST DIE!
We are forced to kill Myrek. Locke is very sad about it.
: If you want to find Raetommon, search Myrek. If anyone knows where that madman has gone, he would.
We loot Raetommon and take an "Oldwalls Keystone". Lock gets excited and sends us back to Twin Rivers. Off we go!
Along the way we find this on a dead Disfavored. It's pretty clear that the Kyrosian forces are done with the Brotherhood's shit and are massing to wipe them off the map once and for all. More astonishingly, the Brotherhood has pissed off the Disfavored to the point where they're either willing to risk fighting two wars at once OR pissed off both armies into declaring a truce to wipe them out. Good job, idiots! You could have just kept accepting Nerat's money.
We swing by and tell Sandro the witch is dead and he thanks us for our efforts.
This is the point where Cleopatra Jones personally throws her allegiance to the laws of Kyros right into the gutter. We'd already done a few shady things - such as claiming the Spire - illicitly, but right now we are publicly and visibly going into the Oldwalls with an entire town and mercenary company who know about this. We have in our possession an item which can undisputedly be linked to the Oldwalls. Even with claiming the Spire we were still doing that for the greater glory of Kyros, and we've had enough evidence to suspect this is all bullshit, but this is the part of the game where we are dunked in the river Lethe and cleansed of our delusions.
No going back now! In we go!
We're accosted by this Brotherhood patrol.
: Myrek gave me the keystone.
: Well, there was an altercation between some of your Brothers and Myrek didn't survive.
: Brothers fighting Brothers. Ferris shakes his head. We have bigger problems and shouldn't be killing each other! I supposed it's the price we pay... But that doesn't explain why you're here.
: What happened here?
I want you all to keep this in mind. Raetommon had some way of making the Bane flee, and yet abandoned his men to die outside the Oldwalls. I can't stress enough how this guy not only didn't have the winning hand, but played it completely incompetently.
What an incompetent idiot.
: What is the Brotherhood doing inside the Oldwalls?
: Ferris looks at you like you're crazy. I don't see how that is any of your business, really... but, I suppose I also don't see how it would hurt to tell you since you're already here..." He shrugs.
: Ever since Raetommon spend a night inside to prive he was worthy to be the First Brother, he's spent more and more time in here. He said he mapped out the path so he can get through without attracting the Bane. And we've never had a problem as long as we stayed in this room.
: We can hole out and no one knows we're here! You're the first one I've seen in here who wasn't part of the Brotherhood.
It keeps getting worse! Raetommon deliberately left Welby and the men he thought might be disloyal out to get killed by the Bane. Remember, he left them outside and now we know he sent the Bane out. It's a deliberate purge of his own men at a time when he needs every mane for his plan of
1) Fight the Bane but somehow don't take losses
2) Fight Graven Ashe and the Disfavored, who are better equipped and supported by sorcerers.
: Give me that torchkey.
Sounds good, Eb, you're wearing next to nothing and I'm sure he hasn't seen a woman in weeks.
: If you think you can get it from him, go ahead and try.
I assume this is supposed to be a reference to her hair and not a reference to Your Least Favorite Political Badmen, but who knows?
: Because I'd wager you all my rings for your torchkey that you can't handle more than... two minutes of this? I'm certainly happy to find out for sure.
: Eb signs another gesture into the air, halting the drowning spell.
: Nicely done.
: [Leave] I'll be back.
TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:
: Who are you and how did you get the key?
: Myrek gave it to me after he died when the Brothers started fighting each other.
: What a mess. We've been here since Raetommon came in and made all the Bane run out the door! He was giggling like a madman! It all started when he had to stay in the Oldwalls overnight and then he became obsessed! He told me to stay here and guard the torchkey.
: Give me the key.
: Hey Fatebinder, may I?
: Go nuts.
: What are you gonna do, snowflake?
: Welcome to Guantanamo Bay.
: Ack! Fuck! Here, take it, you poopy woman!
Alright, we need to talk about this scene. There's a lot going on here, and this feels very much like the writers taking time out of portraying an allegorized fantasy tyranny to step into the wonderful world of 2017 politics. "Snowflake" per Miriam Webster was first used as an insult in 1860 in Missouri against slaveowners and their defenders to imply they cared more about white people than black people. That usage faded until Fight Club became popular and "snowflake" was applied to the overly sensitive whoever to argue they weren't special and needed to shut up. The word wasn't even invented until the 18th century! Ferris is clearly using snowflake as an insult here - after Eb threatens him - and it's very hard to decouple this from the modern usage. I'll assume that's intentional, as the authors very deliberately drew from the modern day to make this Bronze Age game.
Eb immediately opens by waterboarding the guy, torturing him until he gives us the key that we need. It's clear this is painful, as the words "choking" and "retching" are used and he is literally brought down to one knee as he gasps for air. This isn't some abstract magic bullshit pain ray, this is an allusion to an actual torture method used by the CIA and the Spanish Inquisition. This isn't even something Eb resorts to reluctantly, she steps in before we even have the opportunity to convince the man and makes casual banter about gambling.
Torture is the weapon of Kyros.
Literally one of the first things we can do in the game is order the captured Vendrien Guard commander to be tortured to death, and that leads to his crucifixion at the side of the road. Think back to how we found Lantry at the Scarlet Chorus camp and all the people being tortured there, or literally everything Nerat does.
This entire segment is very strange to me, because it can be read as a juvenile power fantasy of shoving alt-right assholes into the trash or showing that Eb is a ruthless torturer. The first reading is just embarrassing on the part of the writers and is comparable to Terry Goodkind, so we'll leave that alone. The second reading is more interesting and we're going to go into it more.
The game portrays Eb as the face of the rebellion known even to the Archons. Nerat and Ashe discuss her and her powers in the war camp without mentioning Tarkis Arri - the actual war leader - at all. It is Eb who comes to meet with us to negotiate a prisoner exchange, telling us that unlike Kyros, they don't slaughter their prisoners. It's a clear declaration of moral superiority, combined with the rebellion actually caring about its captives as opposed to the sheer contempt shown by the Scarlet Chorus. Yet in the face of this rather slight resistance Eb casts all this aside and tortures this man for being suspicious of the person entering the forbidden secret area. The game makes it very clear this is an expedient - either Lantry or Sirin can get you past here, or you can use Subterfuge to lie and say you want to swear fealty to Raetommon. You don't need to torture this man, but Eb steps in and does it anyway. It casts her, and by extension the entire Vendrien Guard, in a new light, and I'm afraid a rather unflattering one. The official basis for the rebellion is that the rebels are better than Kyros morally and that Kyros' cruelty cannot be tolerated (the unofficial basis, is of course, Arri the "Apex patriot"). The actual rebellion has Eb swearing allegiance to gain a privileged position in Kyros' regime and now torturing a man because it's the easy way out. The Nietzsche abyss quote is overused yet relevant here - if you cannot tell the difference between the behavior of the resistance and the tyrant, why follow the resistance?
Next time: I hope you like Bane!