The Let's Play Archive


by TheGreatEvilKing

Part 52: Cleopatra Jones and the Beginning of the End

Cleopatra Jones and the Beginning of the End

Last time on Tyranny, we saved a small child's life by exploiting a legal loophole to troll Kyros and restore the land of Stalwart from its storm-ravaged state.

Today we're going to ruin Kyros' whole career.

Sadly Barik doesn't have too much to say about us proving that Graven Ashe sucks.

: Let's discuss some immediate concerns.

: What do you think of our circumstances?

: The Overlord will not stand for civil war between the Archons. I would like to think that Tunon would broker peace between the two but... there is too much hostility between Graven Ashe and the Voices of Nerat.

Remember, Barik is always wrong.

: What are your thoughts on me and my deeds?

: The Disfavored loathe you... each day I spend with you no doubt harms my standing in the legion. I am bound to not kill you while you sleep, but know that I could likely win the legion's favor with such a move.

Off we go.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Anything new to say now that we've kind of dealt with your whole Edict thing?

: Nope! Civil war bad and I can't believe the Overlord is allowing it, and the Disfavored hate you but I've got your back!

Off we go to finish the Blade Grave.

The thread discussed it a little, but the Anarchist path through the Blade Grave really sucks. The memorable part about Amelia, her baby, and Sentinel Stand is entirely optional, so if you are just done with Act 2 at this point and want to speedrun the Blade Grave you can just do it.

:hist101:: The only ones traveling this way could be those who brought down Duskwatch. If that's you, then I'll die with a curse on my lips.

: Do you need aid? I could dress those wounds.

There's a reason Mark gets pissy every time we show compassion for our enemies.

: What happened here?

: A battle, from the looks of it. He turns into the wind and sniffs. Not a terribly impressive one, but a bloody one.

:hist101:: He raises his head and takes a look at you while wincing. The Scarlet Chorus. They've been driving us across this wasteland, pressing their attack at every turn. Looks like they finally got us cornered in this place.

With the Edict gone, the Unbroken couldn't use the storms to hide and got found and killed by the Chorus.

: I have pressing questions.

: I suppose I'll just leave you be, then.

:hist101:: The man bursts into a coughing fit, and an ugly torrent of blood spurts from his mouth. His gasping for air turns into gurgling as he finally slumps over and stops moving entirely.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

:hist101:: Man, I sure that's not the fuckers who fucked us at Duskwatch Fort. Fuck those fuckers.

: Can I help you? What happened?

: >:(

:hist101:: Thanks, but no. I'm just gonna die free. dies.

Fortunately he's not pissed at us yet.

:hist101:: Who treads on Unbroken lands? The guards' voice trembles with fatigue. Everyone who comes to Trapper's Junction is involved in the war somehow. State your intentions, I'm not above killing you just to be safe.

: I'm looking for the Dauntless blade. Heard of it?

Well, yes, that's kind of what we wanted. You're also turning your back on five hundred years of Stalwart history by ineffectually trying to murder Herodin, but hey, who am I to judge?

: He looks you up and down, nodding as some truth comes together in his mind. Even this far south we hear of Tunon's agent who broke the siege at Vendrien's Well. If you've come to make history repeat itself, then allow me to correct you. The Unbroken will not lie down as easily as the Vendrien Guard. He draws his weapon slowly.

: So you're the wretch who caused us so much trouble in the Stalwart campaign. I've been looking forward to this day.

: What's your status here?

: You expect me to offer up some advantage for you to exploit? I think not, Fatebinder. There's a detachment of Scarlet Chorus nearby, and none of us is wearing the Voices of Nerat's sigil. That should tell you plenty about our current status.

Fun fact: If you are playing the Chorus route the goal is to recruit Mattias and his men into the Chorus. He goes along with it. This makes all of his bitching here seem extremely hollow.

: Stay your blade. I'm just here looking for Dauntless.

This is just such a weird thing to say, because this war never had any dignity to begin with. It was a war of aggression at the behest of a tyrant whose claim to the land is "I have the power to conquer it". The standard Disfavored and Scarlet Chorus MO is to round up the local population and enslave them - standard for the bronze age, but awful in the barely disguised allegory for the modern era. Kyros blasted both her own troops and the Unbroken with a magical thunderstorm that annihilated armies and starved the civilian population of Stalwart. Now, Mattias is a military aristocrat, and they are prone to romanticizing war while the peasant levies die all around him, but he and the Unbroken come across as so full of shit that all their whining about traditions are just nonsense.

Last Update posted:

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

:hist101:: Hey Mattias! It's that mean Fatebinder lady!

: I know you! You're that Fatebinder! Well, we held off the Scarlet Chorus with our skills, and you can't break us!

: Oh, I've been looking forward to this.

: You know where Dauntless is?

: Screw you! I can respect a patriot even if they stand for a shitty country, but you're just here to steal our stuff and appropriate our culture! I fight for Stalwart traditions, like following the, wait...knowing Stalwart's! Yea! You've taken all the dignity out of this racist war of annihilation by just looting! How could you?

It ends about as well as you'd expect.

We get this nifty axe which would be great on Cleo, but she's out of weapon slots so it goes to Sirin.

In this process I discover that the Staff of Cairn is actually more bonkers than I thought, as it gives Sirin a stupidly high Wits bonus. She might need it!

This is the last group of Unbroken we actually need to kill.

On the way out I accidentally run into a Chorus camp.

They drop this order from Nerat, as well as a unique sword that goes into the pile of weapons I will never use.


On the way we get a berry encounter I proceed to ignore.

Dauntless is of course surrounded by Bane, both because we needed trash mobs to fill time and because Stalwart's traditions are in tatters. The family that's ruled sovereign for five hundred years is gone, the land is controlled by invaders, all the farmland lies fallow due to the Edict, and now a foreigner is about to claim their most prized artifact that demonstrates the right to rule, or at least be respected.

I cut out the Bane battles because they're boring and suck. Yes, that is Dauntless sticking out of the stone like Excalibur.

We throw it onto Cleo as a badge of office.

: Dauntless... I saw that blade carve up too many friends during the Stalwart campaign. The locals rallied around it, sang anthems when it was drawn. It's every bit as meaningful to the Unbroken as Sentinel Stand.

Maybe they should have gone to the Oldwalls instead of fucking around fighting the Disfavored over a fortress they can't get into.

: If ever you needed a sword big enough to cleave the Oldwalls in half, that would be it. Careful where you point that thing.

: Congratulations. You pulled a great big sword out of a stone. I mean, I guess it's a pretty powerful weapon, but it looks filthy and probably weighs a ton. I hope you don't expect me to carry it.

I didn't hear any complaining about the last two artifacts I dumped on you, kid.

: As you grow accustomed to the sword's weight, your thoughts are drowned out by a perpetual buzz of voices - fragments of inspiring speeches, glorious battle cries, and the anticipation of triumph to come.

I've been saying this about the artifacts all game, so it's nice to see at least a bit of confirmation. All hail the Unified Tiers! All hail Cleopatra Jones!

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: In a bit of heavy-handed symbolism, you pull Dauntless from the stone, granting you the right to rule Bri- er, Stalwart.

We get this missive on the way out of the Infested Oldwalls.

We're going to tell him it was the right thing to do. Why not? We've done enough terrible atrocities that we can spare a bit of political capital to do the right thing.

Let's go back to Bleden Mark. We got all the artifacts, he said he was using us for something, what does he need us to do?


: You have done well in the Tiers. I would judge you are a hunter second to none - save for me.

You tell yourself that buddy.

: Remember years back, when I told you justice is just the name for the biggest sword in the realm? Claiming the Dauntless is part of establishing your own might, your own authority. Even if you dislike its heft, I'd advise you to keep the blade close - it has symbolic value beyond its martial applications.

: How much authority can the Dauntless really provide me?

This is a good question! We have a lot of soft power, but we don't have a standing army or anything.

Translation: We have to put in the work, but we can still use our narrative of the Unified Tiers to continue getting people to follow us.

: [Heft the sword] I could use some practice with wielding its weight.

Come to think of it, by borrowing Mark's Binding of Shadows we're subtly weaving his story in to support our own.

: Really? Now you want to spar?

: He sighs, but you know him well enough to tell he's secretly pleased with the request.

The game is giving us some not-so-subtle hints here that, yes, we are getting powerful enough to take him on in earnest.

: He grins. Let's not get too distracted.

: I'll admit I'm surprised. After such great efforts building trust, you chose - or, perhaps cannot help but follow - the solitary path.

Such are the choices of a protagonist controlled by the internet.

: I have seen what you can do. You are no mere wild talent, you are something far more unusual... and more dangerous. The other Archons will fear you, envy you - hate you in almost every manner.

Well, fuck. We all knew the day was coming when we'd piss off one of the major power players and have to go against them directly.

: If they are marching against us, Vendrien's Well would be the likely place to attack.

It's both symbolic as the first Spire Cleopatra took and our main base of operations.

: Wait, I have questions.

There's only one real question that matters at this point.

: If I didn't know better, I'd think you're as dogged as me.

: I need to know why you're helping me.

The thing about the solitary path is that in real life we would get isolated and destroyed. The smart Anarchy path that we took actually does leave us with a fair few allies we can't call on. Right now we have Bleden Mark, who has a direct line to Kyros which is probably what saved our ass, but we also have good relationships with the Forge-Bound (weapons production), the Stonestalkers (fearsome warriors), the Lethian's Crossing villagers (rich merchants) and other people the narrative doesn't really acknowledge as potential allies for Cleopatra. There was discussion in the thread of how silly it was that you can't recruit the rebel factions as an Anarchist, and I agree! The thing where you get railroaded into fighting Agathon after Janos sends you to help him makes no sense whatsoever, especially as unlike the Kyrosian armies, the rebels swear to obey you.

: I'm adhering to my duty to uphold justice, I just have my own style of it.

This has been true throughout the playthrough.

This is also true, at least as far as practical applications in Kyros' empire. Despite being the second-highest court official, Bleden Mark is clearsighted enough to see that Kyros' justice is just a rigged game to keep Kyros on top.

We will probably never know the truth, but it's worth noting that Mark sees all the factions the way we do. The Disfavored and Chorus are monstrous, as are Ashe and Nerat. The Tiers leadership is incompetent and bad enough that the Bastard City had a big pro-Kyros riot. The game repeatedly tells us that if the Tiers had unified and made a stand they would be able to resist Kyros, but the leadership was too busy backstabbing each other over idiotic power plays.

: You're helping me because you're bored? I don't believe it.

Rest assured, we'll be seeing more of Mark. With that we leave, we've a city to defend.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Nice sword! Keep it close, it's a great symbol of authority over Stalwart. You want to spar? Damn, you broke my blade in a totally symbolic way!

: Does this mean I can levy the Unbroken into my personal army now? I'm really low on troops.

: Lol, no, that's the rebel path. Here we're playing everyone against each other at the behest of Kyros, maybe. Speaking of troops, you've pissed off Nerat so much he's marching armies to attack Vendrien's Well. Go deal with that, and then meet me here.

: Before you go, why are you helping me?

: Lol I ain't sayin shit.

The game isn't kidding. Nerat is pissed off enough that he's attacking our Spire - and remember, the Spires ultimately belong to Tunon. Kyros' Peace and law just went right out the window, though in Nerat's case I imagine he has some dumb technicality he found from a lawbook somewhere. Yes, if you piss off the Disfavored enough, they march instead.

Fortunately our teleporters work and we can just enter the Spire.

Thanks, Mark!

: The truly maddening thing is not that Nerat has sent a teeming throng clamoring for your head, but that he has sent yet a slice of the warriors he has amassed in Cacophony. Assuming you survive this day, we'll need to -

It seems the Spire has something to say about all the Scarlet Chorus outside.

The spire device begins rotating and this miniature sun appears in an animation I can't convey via screenshot.

As a musician myself I completely understand Sirin here.

: The Spire is now fully awake, its long-dormant currents of energy dance to your presence.

: The Spire often communicates in visions. Perhaps this is its way of saying it has something to discuss.

: When I broke the Edict of Fire, I was flooded by an intuition of how it all works. I could try proclaiming it without Kyros' words.

Remember all that power we gathered? This is what it's for. We can also pretend Kyros gave us an Edict, but where's the fun in that?

We're not the only person who believes this. Remember when we asked Kills-in-Shadow what we should do, and she told us to learn Edicts so we could destroy Archons?

: There's still so much that doesn't make sense.

: I'll second that! Seems like just yesterday I was training you to take a punch - now you're the... what do I call you... the Archon of Spires?

: The Spires in the Tiers are linked - just how far does this connection go?

: [See where the visions take you.]

: Your perceptions feels[sic] stretched about the peninsula, your thoughts speeding along the Oldwalls that wind their way through the Tiers.

Oh, there absolutely should be, we are seriously discussing casting our own Edicts at this point. Nunoval's stated job is to defend the status quo. Nunoval is all in on this madness!

: [Touch the Resonator.] Enough navel gazing. I know what I need to do.

Things are about to get interesting!

As a result of our time and effort spent assembling our myth of the Unified Tiers, and Cleopatra as the rightful ruler, we've amassed a ton of power. People in the thread were asking about what the power bar did, and the answer is that it allows us to cast Edicts just like Kyros the Overlord.

It's not just a story thing either, we can later choose to blight a region of the Tiers with an Edict that will grant us buffs and hurt our enemies. Since we've broken the Edicts of Fire, Stone, and Storms, we can use either of these three Edicts.

We began the Conquest in Fire, we ended the Conquest in Fire, and it seems only fitting that we smash the forces of Kyros with Fire.

Cleopatra floats into the air...

..and the Spire responds, shooting a beam of light and fire skyward.

Nunoval has exactly the reaction we'd expect.

: I had a feeling that might work.

: A feeling?! You had a FEELING it would work, you shit?! He laughs with disbelief and nearly dazed. You've grown far too much and too fast... I don't know if I should be proud or terrified. Yet I can't help but feel both in great measure.

Down we go!

As we leave Ascension Hall we can see that the Courtyard is ablaze.

The camera shifts to show the remnants of the once mighty Scarlet Chorus army, as this lone Scarlet Fury looks around watching her friends die.

In a blind panic she turns and runs.

Death Knell is leading the gang. We met her before, she sent us to recruit a village that was secretly an ambush to get us killed. She talked about how she liked to poop and eat. It looks like she got promoted while we were gone, and her career ends today.

: She turns to her soldiers and lets out a primal howl, her warriors echoing the battle cry in dissonant tones.

In her defense I suspect Nerat would have her tortured to death were she to retreat from this.

: [Lore 71]: Fools, did you not hear me proclaim that Edict? Either I cast that Edict by myself, or did so with the Overlord's blessing - think that through very carefully.

The mages actually start the fight with the "Terrified" status condition. They're right to! Until now, according to Kyrosian history, Edicts were the sole province of Kyros the Overlord. There's been the barest hint that maybe someone else could use them, from Tunon of all people.

Earlier in the game posted:

: Enough talk! You will be trampled and forgotten. Only the Voices of Nerat will remember your name!

Oh he'll remember all right. Death Knell is nervously trying to convince herself that this really is a fight she can win.

She is, of course, wrong. This is the big end of act climactic fight, and it's a trivial snorefest.

Even these dumb reinforcements can't save the Voices of Nerat's troops from getting completely blown away.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Hey, Fatebinder. I was sent by Bleden Mark to help you out. If you go down, I will claim the Spire - but Bleden Mark didn't say I couldn't fight the Chorus. Let's go!

: All that said, there are a ton of guys out there and Nerat has legions more at his camp, so we're going to need to do something about tha -


: This music sucks.

: What the fuck?

: The Spire often communicates with me through visions. I think it has something to say?

: I sure hope it has a missile launcher or something or we're kind of boned here.

: You know, I do know the words to the Edict of Fire and kind of get how it works, maybe we could try that?

: That's insane. Only the Overlord can pronounce an Edict...but maybe the Overlord will hear you and help us? What do I call you now...the Archon of Spires?

:30bux:: The Tiers are unified under your command. What would you have done?

: In the name of Cleopatra Jones, Archon of Spires, Heir to the Sages, Wielder of the Magebane Helm, Defender of Azure, and rightful Regent of Stalwart, let the Scarlet Chorus army at my gates be purged in flame.

:30bux:: Done.

: Holy shit! It worked! This changes everything! Only Kyros should be able to do that! How did you-

: I thought it might work.

: Everyone is watching you now. You're not some local ruler - you have a claim to be Overlord of the Kyrosian Empire! But first you need to waste all those Chorus losers. I'll be up here keeping them away from the Spire, you go and destroy them while they're completely outmatched! Good luck!

:freep::rant::2bong:: :supaburn:

: I totally didn't need that giant army to conquer your spire! Me and the five guys right here will do it just fine!

: In honor of your stupendous intellect, I will break it down. Either I have the power to invoke Edicts, or you are fighting Kyros himself. Does that sound like a fight you can win?

: That's not an Edict, right, wizards?

:prepop:: Oh shit oh fuck that's a real honest-to-Kyros Edict we're all gonna die.


: :commissar:

As payment for their unjustified assault on the rightful ruler we attaint all their possessions and go back inside. The Iron Marshal's corpse is here, too, and she drops another copy of her sword.

Act Two is over.

Remember how in Act 1 we discussed that when you play stupid power games, you win stupid prizes?

Now we have it. Kyros is barely keeping all these power-hungry assholes in check by a mixture of force and subterfuge, and now he's up against the greatest threat he could face - someone with a similar amount of power that even the Archons fear. Kyros did this to herself.

Yet Kyros is not nearly out of options, and has a few aces up her sleeve...

Notice how differently we are being treated! At the beginning of Act 2 we were summoned to Tunon's Court, which makes sense, as we were a regular Fatebinder whose only authority was on his behalf.

Now he is sending emissaries to treat with us.

: Nice to see you but... how'd you get up here?

Seriously, how do all these people keep getting up our Spire?

: Isn't it obvious? Calio shakes her head with an agitated scowl. The bigger question is - how did you do the most convincing impression of the Overlord Terratus has ever seen?

This is incredibly heretical. Remember, according to Tunon, the crops grow and blight by the will of Kyros, and Kyros is much wiser and more powerful than anyone can ever be. Calio is the head of the Fatebinder order, answering only to Tunon who answers directly to Kyros. This isn't some guy on the street, this is the upper echelons of the Kyrosian power structure.

: No one's entirely sure what to make of you these days, Cleopatra Jones. They all say you spoke an Edict of Fire - not a proclamation of an Edict of Kyros...but your OWN Edict of Fire, your own mystic conflagration.

: You're no mere Fatebinder, of that much we can be certain. You've proclaimed and broken the Overlord's Edicts perhaps one too many times?

Here we see the inevitable collision with reality all tyrants face. The best pop-cultural reference I have is the scene in Downfall when Hitler starts ranting in the bunker because his generals point out the army he's trying to order into combat no longer exists, but we have other examples, such as the black Union soldiers destroying the Confederates in combat or Stalin refusing to believe Hitler is invading him. Thus we're stuck with this Empire-wide cognitive dissonance between two assertions:

1) Kyros is invincible, and no one has the power to wield Edicts like he does. This makes her the best ruler due to supernatural wisdom and strength.

2) Cleopatra Jones just used her own Edict.

: If I had known you could do this when I first met you, I'd... maybe have tried in earnest to kill you? I hope for the sake of Terratus that the right person has inherited this gift.

: I don't know what to make of you, Fatebinder. Proclaiming and breaking the Overlord's magic, claiming these awful towers... it should come as no surprise that an Edict is within your grasp, but I still find room for surprise.

: You're powerful in ways that gang bosses and mages aren't. You commanded this... this place to do your budding, and unleashed something incredible on the world. That isn't the work of a Fatebinder. If anything it's the work of an Archon.

Kills-in-Shadow is one step ahead of everyone else, as always. Do we really think the Overlord can tolerate this?

: I don't have any idea how you're able to do this, but it isn't power that any scholar can wield. This is something else. You're not some ambitious hedge-mage who learned it out of a book. You're more like an Archon, where it just comes naturally.

: I genuinely didn't know I had it in me.

: You didn't know if it would work and you decided to play with the arcane equivalent of a mountain tipping over? My confidence in you swells, Fatebinder.

Um, :actually: it's Archon now.

: It's only natural to have doubted yourself. The Edicts have always been the magic of Kyros and Kyros alone! Anyone claiming to be able to cast an Edict would be presumed crazy. And yet, a sane man watching what you just did would see the power of the Overlord in your voice.

We're now number one on the Overlord's hit list, and for good reason! If the Overlord grants independence to the Tiers, his entire empire falls apart as we've just proven the Overlord can be resisted. Six Archons invaded the Tiers. Cairn mutinied. Sirin joined Team Cleopatra. Graven Ashe and Nerat started a civil war that the Overlord is encouraging because it stops them from questioning her. Bleden Mark is playing his own game that led to this. Do we really think the other Archons are going to stick with Kyros if they think Cleopatra can offer them a better deal and also win? This was tolerable as long as we were careful to stay in the shadow of Kyros. Vendrien's Well was claimed in the name of Kyros. We went and stopped the rebellions in the name of Kyros. We ended the line of the Regents on terms set by Kyros. Now we're doing our own thing taking privileges that previously only belonged to Kyros.

Thus Kyros is going with the same play she always goes with - turning all the Archons against each other. If we had somehow reached out to Ashe and Nerat and offered to combine our Edicts with their armies he'd have a real war on his hands - and a deliberately weakened military that might not win!

: So I was just given permission to kill or subjugate the Archons?

: Oh, it gets better than that! With a smile, she tosses a small bit of metal your way, and when it's in your hand you recognize it as a small brooch in the style of Kyros' insignia.

This is a tacit admission of weakness on Kyros' part. We aren't being made an Archon because Kyros decided to reward us for our service, our power has forced Kyros to recognize that, yes, we do have the power of an Archon and thus we have this sad attempt to rebrand it as Kyros-approved. Have you seen Tunon wearing a Kyros pin? How about Nerat? It's a rather transparent attempt to spin Cleopatra's rise as Kyros's plan the entire time when the real plan was for us to die in that valley. Kyros didn't intervene before because we could at least weaken one of the warring Archons so they'd be easier to destroy later, but we've beaten the odds and are now public enemy number one.

: What if we don't fight? Why not ignore this order?

: If you wish to loaf on your hindquarters, have at it. But I doubt the other Archons will ignore this order. Every Archon in the Tiers has been given free reign to slay the others - none are protected by Kyros' Peace. It is no longer a crime for Ashe or Nerat to kill you... or the other way around.

There you have it folks. Kyros is so desperate to end this threat that she's thrown the stated reason for the Kyrosian regime to exist right out the window. If Kyros' Peace can be arbitrarily revoked at any time, then what's the point? Before we had a tacit agreement to leave the civil war alone while Tunon said publicly that it was very bad. Now Kyros is just straight up declaring that civil war is actually good and abandoning all pretenses of idealism to justify a naked power struggle.

We of course have the leverage that if we get another Edict dropped on our heads we set Kyros' ass on fire.

: What of the Court? Have you heard what Tunon and Bleden Mark think of this?

Kyros just threw them under the bus too! Now, to be fair, Tunon has been described the entire game as the second most powerful being on Terratus that even the Archons fear - but even he cannot cast Edicts like we can! I keep pointing out that the reward for loyalty to Kyros is death at the hands of Kyros, and now Tunon - a man who reshaped his nation to join Kyros voluntarily, and who has dedicated his entire life to faithfully supporting Kyros and upholding her laws - is now able to be legally killed by the likes of Graven Ashe, an untrustworthy traitor who is nevertheless "Kyros' most loyal general".

Neither Tunon nor Mark really crave power for power's sake. Tunon wants power to help people in his own twisted way, and Mark is just sick of all this dumb bullshit and goes along to be left alone.

: Thank you for delivering this message. That will be all.

Damn. It seems the Fatebinders have also realized the system is a trap and are looking for better masters. Whatever happens, win or lose, the Empire will never be the same - too many will remember that Kyros' power is not unique and aspire to claim it.

: I accept. Thank you.

Sirin never wanted power, she just wanted some people in her life who wouldn't treat her like shit.

:sickos: Waste Nerat, you say?

Damn, this is brazen. This is Tunon's trusted emissary sent with the orders of the Overlord himself, and she's literally offering to proclaim an Edict for us.

: I'm certain I have it in me again to cast another Edict, but I'm not sure I want to play recklessly with this power.

Devastating our own lands is also kind of stupid.

Damn! Yes, Calio is kind of our friend who was slipping us information, but as that whispering rumor drawn scene showed, powerful people are making these calculations all over the Empire. How many Archons we haven't met are privately debating whether to join team Cleo? If Cleopatra somehow gets the upper hand on Kyros, do we think anyone is going to remain loyal to the end? This entire system is based on Pavlovian responses - there's no ideology to uphold or ideals to fight for. The people of Stalwart had their traditions. The people of the Empire just have a fear of Kyros or a lust for her stuff.

: I know I'm mostly sober, but just so we're clear, you DID just issue an Edict, right? Lantry taps his quill to his tongue, unsure of what next to write. First you cast an Edict, then this full-on war of Archons... this whole chapter of the Chronicle is... it's reading like fiction.

The people of the Tiers have been living in the cultural shadow of Kyros for so long that no one knows what to do or how to think.

: A rumbling mutter stirs from under Barik's helmet, devoid of any cogent words.

Poor Barik is having everything he fought and suffered for called into question lately.

I remember stating that Kills-in-Shadow was intelligent but uneducated, and I'm revising that statement to one of the smartest characters in the game.

: One last thing. Hesitating before she leaves, Calio taps the parchment she's been holding to her forehead with a self-deprecating scoff. All this talk of you being the second coming of the Overlord and I almost forgot my duties.

: This is a court summons from Bleden Mark, Tunon's assassin. I suggest you read it carefully as part of your preparations. Your survival may depend on it.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Oh, man, cool Spire! You slaughtered everyone who would oppose you, so it's yours now. Seriously, everyone is going nuts. They say you have the power of the Overlord, to cast your own Edicts.

: You're an Archon, Cleopatra!

: Your power is legitimately terrifying and I worry what we've unleashed on the world.

: I don't even know...this is insane! This shouldn't be possible!

: :sickos: We're going to go north and kill Kyros and ALL those motherfuckers!

: Oh, man, this rules! Why didn't you say anything?

: I had no idea this was possible.


: To be fair, it's supposed to be impossible. I'd think you were on crack if you told me you could cast Edicts, but... you cast an Edict!

: Well, you have the personal attention of the Overlord, now! Speaking of...first, the Overlord has declared, quote "I'll try turning them against each other, that's a good trick!"

: Are you telling me it's completely legal for me to murder all the other Archons?

: Yup! We just threw Kyros' Peace right into the trashcan! Oh, by the way, here's your official Archon pin. Kyros officially made you an Archon, so you have all kinds of spiffy new privileges! In all honesty, it's just a PR move made so Kyros can pretend to be in control, just roll with it.

: What if we don't fight? This serves no purpose!

: I mean, you could try that, but Ashe is a deluded fascist and Nerat is a grudge-bearing sadist, and they both hate you! Good thing for Kyros too, if all the Archons in the Tiers teamed up she'd have a real fight on her hands, and his armies barely took the Tiers even with liberal use of the nuke button.

: What about Tunon and Bleden Mark? They're OK with being able to be legally killed?

: Tunon was pretty cold, but Mark was ready to stab a bitch. They're probably not going to submit, so this might not end well. But, I want you to know, the Fatebinders are sitting this one out, because we have no idea how the chips are going to fall.

: I submit to Cleopatra because this is stupid.

: Thank you, Sirin.

: No problem, now go waste Nerat.


: So, uh, could you do another Edict? Could I read one? Pleeease?

: I can, but I don't think it's a good idea to throw them around casually.

: Thank fuck.

: Oh. Good point. Anyway, when you rule Terratus, look me up - I'd love to have a master who doesn't treat me as disposable and I'm sick of doing menial crap when I know I could do more.

: Holy shit!

: Well, the Chorus is vindicated.


: Oh! I forgot! With all this talk of me secretly hoping you beat Kyros, you've got a summons from Bleden Mark. It's encoded, and good luck, Archon!

Verse, Barik, and Lantry pipe up that we can finish their quests now.

I think this missive bugged out and came a bit late, but it's nice of Tunon to confirm we've got friends.

This is of course blatant bullshit out of character for Bleden Mark, so let's see the real message, shall we?

Shit just got real now! Let's take his advice!

Decisions Lie Before Us!

The first thing we're going to do is talk to Bleden Mark, and maybe we can figure out a way for neither him nor us to have to die. However, we've got some options as to what to do next: We can:

Do Lantry's quest, do Verse's quest, waste Ashe and Nerat,, or do Tunon's trial.

Barik's quest requires us to interact with Graven Ashe, and Verse's quest may change how the Nerat fight unfolds.

Choose wisely!