The Let's Play Archive


by TheGreatEvilKing

Part 47: Cleopatra Jones and the Chat With Barik

Cleopatra Jones and the Chat With Barik

Last time on Tyranny, we prepared to go to the Blade Grave and finish up Act 2. Today we're... not doing that. Now, I want to point out that despite the new update, the party vote is still open, so if you haven't voted, do so!

First things first: We're going to forge the piece of Cairn into a sweet staff that we're honestly out of weapon slots to use, but maybe Lantry would like it. Not pictured: selling a bunch of random crap to get the money to pay the Forge gang.

I could have sworn that this should proc Tunon's second trial - another Fatebinder - but apparently not. As this thwarted my plans for the update, we're going to talk to Barik instead.

We haven't actually talked a lot to Barik aside from his sidequest, which is I still maintain is the best part of the DLC.

: I'd like to know more about you.

The man's been with us almost as long as Verse and has put his life on the line for us.

: Did you seek the trade of war, or did it find you?

: Both, I suppose. I knew fighting was in my blood, and the Disfavored offered me a chance to take my skills to bring peace - otherwise I'd have wound up some brigand or an enforcer to a crooked merchant. Barik taps his scabbard, looking away in thought.

Barik has, sadly, drunk far too deeply of the Graven Ashe kool-aid.

: You think Ashe and his legion bring peace? That's cute, but it doesn't hold water from where I'm standing, big guy. I've seen them spill as much blood as any Chorus gang.

This raises so many questions! Where are the Disfavored getting food? The standard in the Bronze Age is that you loot everything, because that's both how the army is paid and how you supply it. We're not close to a waterway, and no word has been made of Ashe buying food. Hell, the Disfavored treat the local merchants like shit.

: [Say nothing.]

: Enough of this. You're making us look foolish before the Fatebinder.

: May I continue my story, or do you plan on interrupting again? Barik waits until Verse makes a rude, dismissive wave before continuing.

: The Disfavored needed recruits in anticipation of the march south. They offered to care for my mother and brother as long as I stayed with the legion, which is a better guarantee than you'll find anywhere else.

: Tell me about your name.

: 'Barik' is a shortening of my Northern surname, which has been passed down through the generations since Graven Ashe assembled his army. I go by it because I wear it with pride. The proper form is Barikonen.

: What's the story with your armor?

I'm not sure why I asked this. Barik gave us the lowdown in our quest to get it off of him.

Oh, because we are gonna see just how deep the kool-aid goes.

: What happened during the Edict of Storms?

: When we heard that Kyros would proclaim the Edict, we rushed into the field to battle the forces of Stalwart. I was shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the legion's most decorated veterans, and my pride blinded me to the danger.

We are going to need to talk about this.

: Go on.

: As we surrounded the citadel, I heard the opening peals of thunder - as did the scout I was busy trying to kill. Then the winds hit like an avalanche. Many of us begged Kyros for deliverance...what else were we to do?

: The winds knocked the legs of our offensive out from under us. All the decorated soldiers I brought to the battle were swept up and dashed to pieces, their armor and bodies mixing with the dirt of a tornado that spun in maddening revolutions.

: A piece of the citadel wall broke off and nearly crushed my skull. I only remember a few scattered moments from the storm, like the flying bits of bronze and iron cutting my flesh, the severed limbs of fallen soldiers tumbling through the air...

Before we proceed, let's talk about what just happened. Graven Ashe is an incompetent fuckup throwing his troops away into an Edict he knows is coming to maybe rescue his daughter. This is not just me saying this, that is actual evidence of incompetence you can present to Tunon for the Archon investigation. As a result the Disfavored are critically weakened - losing "all the decorated soldiers" under Barik's command - and failing to achieve their nominal objective of rescuing Graven Ashe's daughter.

Yet despite Barik's imprisonment in his own shit being entirely Kyros' and Ashe's fault, he's super deep in the kool-aid. Now, critical thinking isn't exactly Barik's strong suit, to be fair. His orders to accompany us come from a woman we killed personally killed, and he professes undying loyalty to the legion even though we've personally had him kill a ton of Disfavored, yet despite all this he's still here. I cannot help but wonder if he's secretly persona non grata in the Disfavored and they deliberately dumped him on Cleopatra to get rid of him. Yes, Erenyos mentions in the war tent that "Barik's band" is being prepared to attack Echocall Crossing, but then they immediately turn it around and give it to the idiot Bitter Quip has to deal with. There will be more to this as we go through the game.

: What happened to Graven Ashe's daughter when the Edict hit?

: How did you survive when everyone fell?

: That is a mystery to me as well. Did Kyros hear my plea for mercy? Did this heap of scrap metal protect me, imprison me, punish me? He rubs the back of his helmet with his gauntleted hand - a pantomime of a gesture his armor prohibits.

Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to find any instance in this game of Kyros being merciful. I'll wait.

: Looks like pretty solid protection.

We can confirm he's stuck in there because we kinda did most of his sidequest.

: Do you handle your own repairs?

: I try to keep the surface oiled to slow the spreading rust, and I bend the plates from time to time. But repairs? Maintenance? No.

: Back to my questions about you.

: As with all Disfavored, I assume you grew up in the Northern Empire?

: That's right. I grew up in Battle's Rest, then trained at Fort Resolution before they marched me out to support the Second Cohort. I hope to spend my rusting years in Fretten Shore... unless of course I die in glorious battle, which would be preferable.

: My mother is good with the soil, my father with rings. He spends his time away on one merchant's errand or another. Still, I'm lucky to say they're both alive.

This is a direct reference to his habit of running off and impregnating foreign women and leaving his children like Verse behind. Back up the tree!

: Tell me about the Disfavored.

: Feh, iron-clads. The massive Beastwoman hacks and spits at the ground.

: Come. Tell Beastwoman all about lumbering prey that bleeds rivers but still defies death twice and three times from Beastwoman's killing-claws.

: Have you fought in any notable battles?

: I served in Stalwart for the better part of a year. Faced the enemy everywhere from Coral Run to Sentinel Stand. I lost count of the battles. Seems like we fought every other day. A sigh echoes in the cavern of his helm.

: Some of our best victories took place there - fighting an enemy worthy of our iron. But we were not successful enough to please the Overlord... and the final intervention was harsh on us all. Barik takes in a deep breath, his arms folding as his posture stiffens.

: Tell me about Graven Ashe.

: Is oldest of iron-clads. Is fat alpha with gray fur. Yep? Laves pain away to protect pack.

: Barik glares at Kill-in-Shadow.

: How did he come to serve Kyros?

: Before the uniting of the Northern Empire, Graven Ashe served as a warlord in the service of one of the local kings that defied Kyros' rule. Incredible as it may seem. Ashe stood against Kyros' rule.

: Though his army was dismantled by Kyros' overwhelming numbers, Ashe's forces performed admirably. It was said that he and his troops claimed seventy-seven lives for each of their own.

The "overwhelming numbers" part is a hint that Ashe was brought down by the Scarlet Chorus. We know this because Mark told us, but it's also amusing that the foundational myth of the Disfavored is about how they got their asses handed to them by Someone Definitely Not Our Archenemy The Scarlet Chorus.

Weirdly the Disfavored version leaves out Ashe's legitimate greatest triumph - their killing of the Archon of War. I suspect Ashe and the rest of the Archons would prefer not to spread the idea that Archons can be killed.

: Kyros took an interest in the military genius that bloodied his army. Graven Ashe was summoned to a conclave of Archons - and though he was sent in chains, he left as an Archon - having been granted a position of power in Kyros' great host of war.

: Thus the Disfavored were born. All of us today trace our line back to those warriors that impressed Kyros with their will and tenacity. The only difference is now we fight on the winning side.

We're taking the politically correct option.

: He made the right choice to save his troops.

Notice anyone who's missing from this calculus?

What Barik Just Said posted:

: Graven Ashe served as a warlord in the service of one of the local kings that defied Kyros' rule

Who was this king, and who were his people? Remember, the forces invading Graven Ashe's homeland weren't the Archon of Public Relations and the Archon of Being Really Nice, the opposition was Nerat and the monstrous hellhole known as the Scarlet Chorus. It is entirely plausible to me that a conscientious king would order his troops into battle to save his people from being anywhere near the Voices of Nerat, an insane man who tortured his own family and has his followers butcher each other for sport. Graven Ashe wants you to believe he's an honorable general who believes in loyalty and honor for his troops - but he betrayed the king he swore allegiance to and the people he swore to protect. Under any kind of feudal system that makes his word worthless. We know the people he swore to protect got screwed by Kyros because Sirin told us so.

Earlier in the game posted:

Now the myth is that Ashe's betrayal of his king and the people in it to the man who murdered his son is the mark of a caring man who wanted to preserve his soldiers. This is absolute nonsense, yet we keep seeing it over and over again. Ashe rushes his troops into avoidable situations where they'll take heavy losses - first directly into the Edict of Storms and then into the Matani river. More importantly, it's clear that Ashe is more interested in keeping up the appearance that he cares about his troops then actually caring about his troops. Notice how Ashe is in his own tent in Act 1, and he never seems to spend any time out and about talking or checking on his troops? Let's bring this back to Barik. Barik is a soldier who was fused into his own armor as a result of the Disfavored campaigns and the Edict of Storms, yet instead of going to Graven Ashe for help he comes to us and we get publicly smacked down by Tunon. Graven Ashe is an Archon who is the full beneficiary of Archon's Privilege, and his appeal would go a hell of a lot farther than ours. Yet instead of actually helping Barik, he just kind of sits in his tent and makes Erenyos interact with our companion instead.

: What else do you know of his past?

: As an Archon, what magic does he wield?

: Ashe works his magic through us - his soldiers. When we do battle, Ashe seems to know the events even before our runners have given word. Most importantly though, he protects us. It's... a bit tricky to explain unless you've experienced it.

: I can think of countless times I've been struck by a spear, or hit with an axe, and even run through with an arrow - and in each of those moments, the pain and injury just ceased to be.

: How do you feel about Graven Ashe?

: How do I feel about him? Archon Ashe is the bravest, warmest, most compassionate General who ever lived. He's a living icon of leadership and courage.

: Barik tilts his head slightly to the side - as far as the suit's limited range of motion permits.

Ah, yes, that noble Archon who hid in the back and made us do all the work at the Mountain Spire. That "icon of leadership and courage"?

Look at how low the standards are! This is like praising someone for managing to smoke crack without setting their house on fire. For bonus points the Vendrien Guard meet all of these criteria. Tarkis Arri doesn't kill for sport. She doesn't waste time issuing pointless commands, and the Vendrien Guard are a disciplined fighting force that is capable of conducting defensive operations and withstanding a siege.

Earlier in the game posted:

Can you imagine Graven Ashe doing anything like this? The Disfavored mythology presents surrendering to Kyros as some great sacrifice accepting defeat to spare his soldiers, but the sacrifice is that he gets to be a powerful Archon who doesn't have to obey the vast majority of the laws and is still allowed a private army to take slaves and steal shit. Pelox Florian - even though he had to be talked into it - is showing more leadership than Graven Ashe ever showed in his entire life. Even though he's a rich noble, he still led the men in hand to hand combat against Kyros' soldiers, wizards, and a Fatebinder trained by Bleden Mark himself. Ashe just hides like a coward in the back.

One of the great tragedies of fascism is that it can call forth incredible loyalty and courage from its soldiers in the service of leaders who absolutely do not deserve it.

: Back to my questions about the Disfavored.

: What can you tell me of your time in the legion?

: I joined the legion three years before the conquest of the Tiers began. Though handy with a few weapons, my size made me the perfect addition to a phalanx.

: I've served with the Stone Shields ever since. Proud to say, I've stood front row, right corner in over a dozen battles. That has been my place ever since the Iron Marshal gave me the assignment.

: What of the other Disfavored lieutenants?

This is where things get weird.

: Tell me of the one they call Iron Marshal.

Earlier in the game posted:

You might expect Barik to be upset that we kicked her off the tower to her death. You'd be wrong.

: She takes it upon herself to train and harden our greener recruits. Not only that, she has a keen eye for talent and how to foster it for leadership.

Why are we discussing her in the present tense when we kicked her off the ledge?

: What of Cairn's disciple, Radix?

: An Earthshaker who swore service to Cairn a few years before the conquest. Since Cairn is gone, the cult now follows Radix. Unlike his Archon, at least he knows how to follow orders.

What? You personally helped kill him. Why are you...forget it.

: I heard that Cairn was unpredictable, even by Archon standards. He would wander the lands in isolation, and many of the Earthshakers have patterned their studies off of his example. Guess you've got to be careful who you pick as your guiding standard.

: To his credit, Radix seems to appreciate the honor of fighting alongside the Disfavored - Cairn was always peeved to be invited in the glory.

: What of the scout master, Maric?

: Maric is a devoted leader, and Ashe seems to hold his counsel in high regard. Both set their troops ahead of themselves, which I'm sure is why they work so well together.

Uh huh.

My guess is that he's a developing Archon too. Who knows? He never appears on any route save the Disfavored, so who cares?

: What of the veteran warrior, Varimas?

: He is the finest of us, second only to Ashe! Varimas is an Evocatus - a soldier who lived to see the end of his term of service. It's rare for anyone to survive that long, much less willingly return.

: Back to my questions about the Disfavored.

: Why didn't the legion prevent the uprising of Vendrien's Well?

Right, of course. Dammit.

: I would say the Vendrien Guard are really the only guilty party - it was their rebellion, after all.

Goddammit Barik! Stop with the White Man's Burden bullshit! The Disfavored got completely stalled until Cleopatra went and did all the work herself.

: What more can you tell me of the legion?

: The Disfavored accept only the finest warriors. We are all volunteers and soldiers by trade - not farmers and fishmongers pressed into service.

: What if a capable Tiersman wished to join?

It is hilariously ironic that Barik uses the word "fealty" here, while he admitted that Graven Ashe stomped all over his for the chance at free power and slaves. This entire setup is also the triumph of Kyros. How many people are there who can feasibly claim descent from the people who stood with Graven Ashe? How many family lines are ended by throwing the Disfavored into combat? This myth is absolutely amazing for Kyros, as every Disfavored lost is extremely difficult to replace, and the best part is that Graven Ashe's power base is so tied up in this myth he can't adapt and start training Tiersmen troops to Disfavored quality without his soldiers deserting and his power being broken.

: So why is the legion called the Disfavored?

: What was the legion originally called?

I would bet real money that the old name of the legion was tied to the kingdom it was to defend, and amusingly, the army is named something so contemptuous as a sign of just how subjugated they were. Yes, Graven Ashe resisted Kyros and was a military genius, but Kyros eventually won and restored Ashe to his rightful place as a vassal. It never seems to cross Barik's mind that the name "Disfavored" is an insult or that Kyros views the entire legion as worthless and disposable. After all, the Disfavored got hit by both the Edict of Storms AND the Edict of Execution! That's more Edicts than most of Kyros' enemies get!

: Let's speak of something else.

Back up the tree!

: I have some questions about the Scarlet Chorus.

: The allies that were supposed to help us conquer the Tiers? Common criminals, every last one of them.

: What do you know of the Voices of Nerat?

: The Archon of Secrets? All I know are rumors, hearsay, speculation, but that's as much as anyone knows of the Voices.

: Some accounts tell that he's actually dead, and the Overlord has trapped the minds of his foes in the same body to torture them all. As likely an explanation as any I've heard.

: Do you know anything of his powers?

: I'm no scholar of sorcery, but as I understand it, the Voices of Nerat is a thief of minds. They say he can swipe your thoughts and make them his own.

: Do you think him disloyal?

He's not wrong! We saw Nerat send the Disfavored into an obvious trap, but I suspect if we asked Barik for proof we would get some variant of "Green flame man bad".

: I heard his tears can turn cheese into milk.

: What do you know of his associate, the Archon Sirin?

She's right there.

: Sirin is the Archon of Song, and one of the youngest of her rank. She can influence human emotion with her voice alone. The Voices may be the conductor of the Chorus, but I'd argue Sirin is their greatest asset.

She quit, my guy. She's right over there.

Back up the tree!

: What can you tell me of their troops and tactics?

: What do you know of their warriors?

: Most Chorus rats are untrained peasants handed a knife or a pitchfork. It doesn't take much to qualify you for the front lines. One only needs a beating heart, and even then the Chorus could make do.

Come to think of it, it really doesn't speak well of Nerat either that after encountering serious opposition from Ashe's heavy infantry he continued his garbage human wave tactics. It works for controlling the Chorus, true, but as an offensive army they're still trash.

: Of course, not everyone in the Chorus is an infirm child or sickly old crone - some ex-soldiers and madmen join, and the fighting elite of the Chorus form a clique known as the Scarlet Furies.

: What sort of magic does the Chorus use?

We know, but I'm curious to see Barik's take.

: The Blood Chanters are the mages who follow the Voices of Nerat. Like the Chorus itself, their order is not stepped in tradition and antiquity - rather, built on knowledge stolen from other guilds.

: The elders of the Blood Chanters are traitors from the School of Wild Wrath. As fickle and dangerous as the fire they worshiped, they were outlawed by every Realm and hated by most sane folk.

I don't think we ever learned that the Wild Wrath school were a bunch of crazy pyromaniacs everyone hated, but that is exactly what Nerat would love.

: So when the Voices of Nerat offered them an alliance, many of the Wrath mages accepted the offer to set fire to the Tiers.

How the hell did this army fight before it had Blood - you know what, the more I think about the Chorus, the less sense everything makes.

: If the Chorus is a mob, how is it led and supplied?

: The Voices of Nerat gives orders to his elite commanders, who in turn send instructions out to the gang captains. But beneath that hierarchy, it is chaos.

: Whole gangs will break from the larger force and disperse back into their homelands. The Chorus is inefficient beyond words, and yet more bodies keep coming in to replace those lost in the mess.

: Inefficient? Every weakling lost in the shuffle is one less burden to those in the Choir still dancing to the song of battle. Our ways must be harsh, otherwise the stupid and the soft will inherit the chant.

It's a hilariously bad policy (which has its roots in historical social Darwinism) and it has the hilariously simply response that a strong person only needs to have one bad day and their skills are lost to the Chorus forever. Did your mage blow up a bunch of guys only to get backstabbed for leadership of the gang when he's exhausted? Congratulations, you just lost a powerful mage that you will never get back!

I'm also unclear why the stupid aren't supposed to be in this army if standard combat doctrine is to charge at the Roman Legions with only a butter knife, but again, I don't make the rules, I merely make fun of them.

: The Chorus has a lot of mouths to feed, so the conscripts that can't or won't fight are made to gather food and water - else, I'm told, they're fed to the pigs... becoming food and water, in a sense. Barik shrugs.

It is kind of nitpicky, but how are the Disfavored getting food? Historical armies relied on foraging and confiscating crops.

Caesar's Commentaries on the Civil War posted:

Pompey, being cut off from Dyrrachium, as he was unable to effect his purpose, took a new resolution, and entrenched himself strongly on a rising ground, which is called Petra, where ships of a small size can come in, and be sheltered from some winds. Here he ordered a part of his men-of-war to attend him, and corn and provisions to be brought from Asia, and from all the countries of which he kept possession. Caesar, imagining that the war would be protracted to too great a length, and despairing of his convoys from Italy, because all the coasts were guarded with great diligence by Pompey's adherents; and because his own fleets, which he had built during the winter, in Sicily, Gaul, and Italy, were detained; sent Lucius Canuleius into Epirus to procure corn; and because these countries were too remote, he fixed granaries in certain places, and regulated the carriage of the corn for the neighbouring states. He likewise gave directions that search should be made for whatever corn was in Lissus, the country of the Parthini, and all the places of strength. The quantity was very small, both from the nature of the land (for the country is rough and mountainous, and the people commonly import what grain they use); and because Pompey had foreseen what would happen, and some days before had plundered the Parthini, and having ravaged and dug up their houses, carried off all the corn, which he collected by means of his horse.

XLIII.—Caesar, on being informed of these transactions, pursued measures suggested by the nature of the country. For round Pompey's camps there were several high and rough hills. These he first of all occupied with guards, and raised strong forts on them. Then drawing a fortification from one fort to another, as the nature of each position allowed, he began to draw a line of circumvallation round Pompey; with these views; as he had but a small quantity of corn, and Pompey was strong in cavalry, that he might furnish his army with corn and other necessaries from all sides with less danger: secondly, to prevent Pompey from foraging, and thereby render his horse ineffectual in the operations of the war; and thirdly, to lessen his reputation, on which he saw he depended greatly, among foreign nations, when a report should have spread throughout the world that he was blockaded by Caesar, and dare not hazard a battle.

Both Caesar and Pompey are commanding Roman legions, and those men are plundering and foraging for food! This is with naval resupply! I have no idea how the hell Graven Ashe is getting food for all the Disfavored without plundering and foraging - is he using some magic never before discussed? You can't really transport food overland, because the people and animals transporting the food eat it in transit. I bring this up because Barik criticizing the Chorus for...doing what historical professional armies did to find food is incredibly bizarre, and makes no sense as a rhetorical device to portray the Chorus as inept and incompetent. If anything, the Chorus having dedicated logistical units while the Disfavored don't is a point in the Chorus' favor.

: How do you think the Scarlet Chorus convinced so many Tiersmen to join?

: It began with Sirin - she had a song that got whole villages marching to her will. And once the peasants killed their neighbors or cousins in service of the Voices, it either hardened them into warriors or broke their mind for servitude.

: Lots of criminals and drifters joined the Chorus, too. It seems like the scum of the Tiers just needs promise of glory and sanctioned debauchery to turn on their neighbors.

: It's not pretty, and it shouldn't be. The Chorus is a forge - all the dirt of the Tiers goes in, and the finest bits are refined into weapons.

: There are many that join the Scarlet Chorus because they wish to join the winning side. It's a shame that such patriots were not born to proper Northern stock - too weak or too slight to be Disfavored.

Barik, it's my job to make fun of your shitty racism, and I can't do that when you self-own that hard.

: The Disfavored turn away all people of the Tiers? That seems selective to the point of foolishness.

Special plead.

Back up the tree!

: What can you tell me of the Tiers?

: What is your assessment of the local forces?

: There was a time early in the war when I would have feared the Younger Realms working together. Imagine that? He chuckles.

We're probably going to get useless information on the people we've met, but we are going to encounter the Unbroken next chapter.

: Tell me about the Unbroken.

: The Unbroken Union of Stalwart. May they rot in the decrepitude of their fallen realm. Barik squeezes his gauntlet into a hard fist.

: Much as it pains me to admit it, in all the realms of the Tiers, the Unbroken have been the only foe worthy to meet the Disfavored in battle.

But they're not Northerners, so instead of trying to recruit these experienced and battle hardened troops, the Disfavored let them all go over to Nerat because they're morons.

This is going to become hilarious in light of future events.

Back up the tree!

: What do you know of the Younger Realms?

: Before we marched on the Bastard Tier, I recall Graven Ashe giving us a speech as we stood assembled at Fort Resolution. He told us that the Younger Realms lacked the sense to make a stand against us.

It's funny, because the picture he's painting is of an army who was literally handed the keys to the kiddy pool and fucked it up so badly that Kyros had to step in to hit the Edict button, and then they still managed to march into the Edict and lose a ton of soldiers. It's like a Christmas miracle without Christmas!

: It didn't help that they're afraid of magic, and relied on their battlefield prowess to stage a defense.

: What do you know of the Beastmen?

I'm sorry, thread, we're about to get dumb racist shit.

: They drilled us on Beastman combat before the invasion, but it did little to prepare us. The local savages are lacking in brains, hygiene, and the ability to arm themselves - yet the prime hunters of their species are formidable.

Barik, you will not shut up about how superior training will always win out whenever we talk to the Stonestalkers.

: Aside from being rapacious killers, the Beastmen make good haulers and laborers - once you've killed the half that won't follow orders.

Back up the tree!

: You seem like a more than capable fighter.

: Is true. Packmate has survived many more killing-blows than other iron-clads Beastwoman has slaughtered. Makes Beastwoman's blood beat quick-quick. Makes for best hunt. Yep.

: Packmate should show skills to Alpha and Kills-in-Shadow.

That is literally the nicest thing she's ever said about Barik.

: Through the dark slit of his helmet, you get the impression of Barik rolling his eyes. He clears his throat and continues.

: I trained with the spear and shield in my youth, but gave it up the day I earned Disfavored iron. I can still throw with some accuracy, but it's a challenge these days. He knocks twice on his helmet.

The Disfavored fight in a phalanx. A phalanx is a spear formation. You know what, screw it, clearly nobody did the research on Bronze Age soldiers.

: I heard rumor that Ashe has an unbeatable swordfighting technique.

Ashe fights with a mace. We saw him at the war tent.

: [Barik Loyalty 2] You flatter the legion's reputation, but the Archon does make sure we are competent swordsmen. Observe.


Now, back up the tree!

: [To Barik and Verse] Have either of you noticed that you fight particularly well together?

: The thought has crossed my mind from time to time. During the many battles of the conquest, we found ourselves standing back to back with enemies on all sides on more than one occasion.

: Do you think this is because of your shared heritage?

: If you want to attach some arcane meaning to the whole thing, be my guest. I couldn't tell you for sure. I doubt that a capable tactician could explain why certain soldiers learn to rely on each other.

It's kind of amazing how every fact Barik says flies completely in the face of his core beliefs.

: How do you think this is possible?

: I would suggest that our fighting styles complement each other, but they do not. I would suggest that we get along, but we do not. We don't even finish each other's -

: I want you two to train together.

: Absolutely not. Our fighting styles are incompatible, and any Disfavored lieutenant will tell you not to join at the hip soldiers who can't stomach each other.

: [Subterfuge 69] [Bluff] If neither of you is up to the challenge, then I won't force the matter.

: [Verse Loyalty 4] Now now, let's not be too hasty here... I say we look at this as an opportunity in disguise. Barik, what of your longing for glory and renown? All across the Tiers, people will know us by our carnage.

: I would rather be known for my fair execution of Graven Ashe's will, but I am not above engaging my.. baser instincts. I will make the attempt if it means spilling the enemy's blood more efficiently.

: Sounds like we're of one mind. Well, damn it, Fatebinder, but you got us to agree on something. Maybe there's hope for the fight yet. Barik, shall we begin?

This teaches them a combo!

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Barik, I know almost nothing about you, tell me about yourself.

: I come from a long line of Disfavored warriors who served Graven Ashe, and the legion offered to take care of my family, so here I am! I was an elite fighter, but the Disfavored trained me up super hardcore! Anyway, my name is short for "Barikonen", my surname, which has no other distinction but being passed down by some guy who helped Graven Ashe fight Kyros and then lived to fuck!

: Remind me what happened with your armor?

: Oh, as soon as we heard Kyros was going to proclaim the Edict of Storms Graven Ashe had us all run into the blast radius to rescue his daughter. We lost a ton of highly experienced and near irreplaceable troops, and I got fused with my armor and my own shit!

: Hell yeah good history shit!

: So give me the lowdown on the Disfavored and Graven Ashe, what's their deal and why are they called that?

: They suck lol.

: Graven Ashe is the greatest general ever! He came to serve Kyros when he waged a war against Kyros, but was defeated by "superior numbers" that definitely weren't the Scarlet Chorus! Kyros was like, wow, that man is a genius, and invited him to join the forces of Kyros in a way that totally didn't betray the people of the North Ashe was sworn to protect! Kyros named us the Disfavored because we were SO COOL, and we get to be winners!!!!1!!!!! Ashe surrendered to save his troops like a real hero - he never told me so, but I know!

: Uh, sure, yay.

: He wields super cool magic that heals his troops and lets him know where we are at all times! He's the greatestest man ever! Such a paragon of courage and leadership!

: So, uh, been with the Disfavored a while?

: For years! I was always at the tip of the phalanx, and we had four super cool lieutenants that I will describe in the present tense despite helping kill half of them. Anyway, the Disfavored are so good because we only let pureblood Northerners join!

: So what if a capable Tiersman wished to join? And why "Disfavored"?

: Nope! This is all about our glorious shared history when we betrayed the North for Kyros, and not being racist would undermine that! Also we're only known as the Disfavored, and it's very rude to ask about our original name!

: What do you think of the Scarlet Chorus?

: Nerat sucks! They suck too! They're a bunch of inept dumbasses who - get this - forage for food!

: Lol no u.

: What do you think of the Tiers?

: Lol Tiersmen, except that the Unbroken could go toe to toe with us and the Beastmen ambushed and kicked our asses.

: Can you teach me some moves?

: Sure.

: Ok, so I think if you and Verse trained together you could do something really great. Unless you think you're not good enough?

: Oh, huh, I've unlocked a combo move, something I've never done with any Disfavored members. I better not think about how all the stuff Ashe fed me doesn't match the real world and makes me sound dumb. La la la.

We can sum up this conversation in four words: Barik is always wrong. You can see the discrepancies as a neutral observer reading what he says - Graven Ashe is a military genius, Graven Ashe was defeated by the Scarlet Chorus. Graven Ashe is a paragon of loyalty and courage, Graven Ashe betrayed his king and country by defecting to Kyros for power. Disfavored troops are the most well trained in the land and nothing can approximate the fellowship based on what people who had sex generations ago went through, Barik and Verse can reach new pinnacles of cohesion tighter than any Disfavored phalanx. The Tiersmen are stupid idiots who can't fight, the Unbroken are capable of meeting the Disfavored in open battle. Graven Ashe cares about his troops, Graven Ashe ordered his elite forces into an Edict he knew was coming. Kyros admires the Disfavored's courage and tenacity, Kyros renamed them the Disfavored and won't allow their old name spoken. Idiots on Reddit like to talk about how the Disfavored aren't just fascists because they have their own lore and traditions (nevermind that Eco defines fascism as the cult of tradtion!) but the lore and traditions make the Disfavored out to be classic fascists per Eco- the cult of tradition, the emphasis on blood and soil, the fact that it all falls apart under the slightest criticism, the glorification of death seeking, life as permanent warfare - it's all there!

Anyway, the party vote is still open! Choose wisely!