The Let's Play Archive


by TheGreatEvilKing

Part 54: Cleopatra Jones and the Odd DLC Quest

Cleopatra Jones and the Odd DLC Quest

Welcome back! Last time we rained fire down upon the servants of the Overlord and completely shattered the balance of power on Terratus. Today we're going to finish what the Scarlet Chorus started.

These are a little out of order as I had to restart the recording session after failing to talk to our buddy Bleden Mark. Apologies!

: In knowing why my armor clings to me, I think I began feeling it grow into me. Has it buried itself deeper within me, or do I imagine this? He sighs.

Barik, why the FUCK would we do that?

: No, Ashe will bow to me... or he will perish.

You actually can get Ashe to submit on the Disfavored route. Maybe we'll even see it!

: Perish? I... I know that you possess a power that echoes the Overlord's...but to challenge the Archon of War... now that Kyros has lifted the peace between the Archons... He shakes his head roughly.

That Edict broke more than the Scarlet Chorus, it seems.

: That you can does not indicate that you should.

Barik, the man literally ruined your life after getting all your friends killed to rescue a daughter who very much did not want to be rescued!

Barik! No! Snap out of it!

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Nothing makes sense! When I am confused, I blindly follow Graven Ashe. You should too!

: No, he will bow to me or die.


How to proceed with the quest?

Verse is up next.

Unfortunately, I forgot she had the helmet enabled. I turn it off in the next area, but the deed is done.

: I burn inside. When I dance, it's like I'm trying to let out the fire, to quench it in blood. Instead... I just end up stoking the flames.

: I think I follow.

Translation: Verse is trying to quench her anger with violence, and only making it worse.

: I've always had such a strong connection to my Furies. That bond made me feel... I don't know exactly. Like part of something?

: Now it feels like they're in me. They rise up when I dance, each time a little more restless.

: When we were going after Krokus and Irissa, I could almost hear them, like they were whispering to me, tugging from somewhere deep.

: The Voices of Nerat.

The idea with Verse's quest is that she's secretly terrified of becoming a real monster.

: Kyros' bloody balls, yes. The Voices of Nerat.

: If you don't want to turn into him, don't be like him.

: Force yourself to stay human.

: What does that even mean? You cast an Edict of Kyros. Are you still human? Is Graven Ashe, or Tunon for that matter? Seems to me that it's not a choice you get to make.

: What is it?

: After we spoke to Essa, I slipped a scout some rings to keep an eye on the place and send word if anything out of the ordinary happened. She cracks her knuckles beneath her calloused palms.

: Apparently there have been some strangers lurking about. I'd like to head back to River's Break and see if we can't grab one. Maybe dig a little knowledge out of him.

: I'll make it a priority.

: Thanks. Who knows? Maybe we'll dig up something we can use against the Archons.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Dammit. Fatebinder, I keep resorting to violence to fix my anger and I keep getting more anger and trauma! Now I hear the voices of my sisters

: The Voices of Nerat?

: Yes! I don't want to become a monster like him, what should I do?

: Do what you can to stay human.

: How? Literally every powerful person I know is some kind of inhuman - you cast an Edict, Graven Ashe is a weird blue man, and Tunon is a walking shadow hiding behind a mask. I don't think I can. Anyway, can we visit Essa? Some weird shit is going on down there!

: Sure.

: Yay!

Now we turn to Lantry. Lantry's quest is called "Annal Sects". I am not expecting anything good out of this, and I think it's telling no one in the thread voted to do his sidequest. Lantry is a cool character, but everything to do with that fake history was garbage.

: What's that you say, buxom nubile lasses with an interest in old men who know history? You need a definitive tractatus on the trials and tribulations of the Archon of the Tiers? Well you're in luck!

: [Subterfuge 70] Are you sure history hasn't just edited or forgotten those who could rival the Overlord?

This is a very good point, seeing as Kyros controls all of history and executes people for seeking the truth.

: Yes, but maybe a rival casts an Edict, Kyros kills the rival, takes credit for the events....

: Well... as of now, I've seen with my own eyes that the Overlord is NOT unique in this regard... and I suppose you're all the evidence I need to throw suspicion on the record.

: Happen to know when Kyros first cast an Edict?

: Good question. In parts north, it's commonly held that Kyros' Edict of Dust was the first, but it was cast in the Year 11 - it was just the first Edict to ripple across the whole of Terratus. If you lived somewhere that used to have antelope, you probably think that's the first Edict of the Overlord.

: Antelope? Is that an animal?

: Yes, or it was, at least, until they were all wiped out by the Edict of Dust - or that's at best we've pieced it together from records. From what we've gathered from their skeletons, they were some sort of mute Beastman that ran on four legs.

: Antelope are not like Beastwomen, she counters, flexing her claws once, twice, three times in annoyance.

Now this is interesting. We can infer that Kills-in-Shadow is accurate here from what we know about antelope - they're prey herbivores that aren't sapient, whereas Lantry is comparing them to fictional Beastmen. Going off of that it's not hard to guess that Kyros is just taking credit for the Silverback tribe's achievements - after all, if the Overlord can wipe out entire species, how dare you stand against her? If the Silverback tribe can wipe out a species, perhaps they could fight Kyros. Calio is very clear that we should not listen to superstitions when she's trying to help us blend in.

: Old ink mystic tells many strange, stupid tales. Thinks to know everything.

Presumably the Shadowhunter tribe had an oral tradition that preserved this, while the Sages were literally digging through the wreckage left by Kyros. How distorted it is, we will never know.

: Also safe to assume Kyros will try to 'solve' me in some fashion.

All of the 'loyal to the Overlord' options are added by the DLC for...reasons we'll get into. I'm not a fan.

: We'll find out soon enough. We should get going.

Oh, dammit.

: More bits of creative history?

: Despite the madness of late, I've been finding time to read further.

: Well, I've been uh, cleaning up the records, so to speak, and scouring the texts for more... creative changes.

: You found a message? Explain.

: Back in the day, as it were, she and I had a shorthand for communicating in code. Lexeme has many notes to herself written in some corners and... well, I can read her scribbles.

I think the idea is that these are the last historical records that remain that Lantry can shape into something less terrible? It's really weird, because we have the Silent Archive - that contains everything the Sages ever wrote - and an Archon's lifespan to decipher it. Oh well!

: You have a cottage? I thought all Sages lived in the Vellum Citadel.

: Oh sure, but most of us elder Sages get persnickety and long for some solitude after decades cloistered with the others. Besides, I did field study, so I was rarely expected to be anywhere at any given time.

Sirin, that's very rude!

: That's all I need to hear. Let's go find it!

I'm not in a hurry to do this one.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Aww, yiss! Sexy ladies are going to be all "oh Lantry, did you know the Archon" and I will be able to tell them that I did and then it's NAKED TIME! Anyway, you've probably got the Overlord's personal attention now, being the only other person to cast an Edict.

: Are we sure Kyros didn't just erase other Edict casters from history?

: Hmmm....

: When did Kyros first cast an Edict, anyway?

: So, some people think it was the Edict of Dust that killed all the antelopes, but it was most likely the year 0 when Kyros hit the Cloud Barons with the Edict of Storms.

: What's an antelope?

: It's an animal kind of like a Beastman, but they were all killed in the Edict of Dust.

: Uh, no, here is an accurate description of an antelope, they were not like Beastwomen, and they were wiped out by the Silverback Tribe.

: ...huh. So, want to finish up my stupid fake history sidequest? I need to stop by my house to get a book.

: You have a house?

: Yeah, nobody wanted me around so...

: It's cuz you're fuckin boring!

: Sure, why not.

Anyway, it's time to talk to our main man Bleden Mark.

What's up?

: Fatebinder - no, Archon. Welcome back to Ashweald. You've been busy.

: His eyes brighten with interest.

: You cast an Edict and became an Archon of... of something different, indeed. You're not some wild talent breathing fire, pissing mercury, or transforming into an animal... you're tapping into the Overlord's vein of magic.

Mark, I cannot remember the last time we used stealth in this LP.

Oh. Oh wow. This, incidentally, is the only way to get the Edict of Nightfall, and it's the second-to-last one.

: And what about me? Are you also wondering how to handle me?

Huh. He did straight up say he was going to use us, after all.

: That so?

He's not wrong! He could have tried to kill us at any time to stop this madness, and yet he just gave us another Edict as a show of good faith. It's also the Edict he's personally immune to, because Bleden Mark is a smart bastard.

: So level with me - what would convince you to swear fealty to me over Tunon?

This is the only route where you don't fight Bleden Mark at the end of the game. I'm not throwing that away now. Don't worry, we will have plenty of opportunities to do the Bleden Mark battle in the next playthrough.

: And what of Tunon?

: If he won't acquiesce to you, that's your problem to solve. Perhaps with my help - when the time is right.

This is serious enough that we don't get our customary exposition session.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Nice Edict. Anyway, here's another Edict. It blots out the sun in an area, you can cast it, oh, and by the way, I thrive in the environment it creates so if we need to gank somebody we can combine our powers. Everyone's out to get you.

: Should I be worried?

: Nah, I recruited you onto my team a long time ago. We're in this together.

: Can...can it be... my team?

: Fiiiiiine.

: Yaaaaay! Seriously, what do I need to do to get you to forsake Tunon?

: Kill Ashe and Nerat. Then we can deal with Tunon together if necessary, but if you confront Tunon now, I'll be forced to fight you. Take care.

So, Bleden Mark is still getting what he wants out of this. He wants us to kill Ashe and Nerat because they're "festering problems", but for who? "Everyone" is a valid answer, but is he speaking for Kyros? Himself? Cleopatra's future supporters? One thing's for sure, they're isolated and alone without any friends.

As for why Mark will fight us if we confront Tunon, he wants proof we can actually take on an Archon. No one likes Ashe and Nerat and they're going to die alone. Tunon - and the law - is a powerful opponent that virtually no Archon can take on. I mentioned in the postmortem that the law is extremely lax toward Archons - but if Tunon can get a conviction on an Archon, death is certain. We won't be seeing that this route.

Verse has more chatter about the Edict.

: I saved your skin, didn't I?

: Sure did. For now. Like I said, I'm not trying to prod you or suggest you made the wrong call. As someone who likes to stay discreet until she has the opening to strike a killing blow, I find your little public gesture of dominance..., well, quaint. Charming, in a dumb way.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: That Edict was dumb, but it was also AWESOME!!!

There was some question in the thread about Sirin's side quest. Well, here's the result!

: Is something bothering you Sirin? You seem sad.

: You've made a breakthrough? Seems like that would be a good thing...

: It's simply... not what I was hoping for, I suppose. No matter... She shakes her head.

: That sounds like a pretty incredible thing to know about.

: I guess? I mean, sure, it's something nobody else knows yet. Except maybe Kyros.

: I'm certain that weaving my song into my own music will strengthen it... or at least let more of my power slip through this stupid hat.

: Your voice will shake the Tiers.

You can be a real dick to poor Sirin, geez.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: :qq:

: You ok, Sirin?

: Uh huh. I just decoded the music, and it...I still can't break out of this helmet....

: Well, you learned a new really powerful song, right? The Tiers will shake!

: Not just the Tiers, the world! Thanks, Archon, I'll help you forever!

This upgrades Sirin's helmet to an artifact!

Ignore the sudden background change, it's from the previous deleted session.

Barik, meanwhile, is troubled about the Edict.

: This can only mean trouble for us. Kyros doesn't tolerate competition.

: What do you suggest I do next?

That's not helpful at all!

: Enough for now. Let's be off.

: Of course, Fatebinder. Barik bows stiffly.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Ooooooooh! You cast an Edict! Kyros is gonna be maaaaaad!

: So what do I do about it?

: Fuck if I know.

We get to Essa's house only to learn that it's been burned down.

: Careful, Verse. It could be a trap.

: One with all the subtlety of a Beast in heat, maybe. Her hands slip closer to her weapons.

Click around...

: We'll find whoever did this.

: Let's. I've got some questions that need answers.

: Here's hoping these bastards don't want to talk. I really hope they don't want to talk. She pops her knuckles, nodding.

: I can make them answer any questions you ask, Verse. All I have to do is ask nicely. Sirin smiles sweetly, though her eyes harbor a wicked gleam.

: Stay out of it, Songbrat.

Basically you click all the magnifying glasses - one is that iron weapons were used to pry the door, the house was burned with magefire, there are tracks leading away, and the assailants fought each other showing it was the Scarlet Chorus. I'm summing this up in the interest of not transcribing it. Skipping ahead!

: Sages did this?

: If you know of another organized society of magic users who like to control information, I'll happily look their way.

That describes the Fatebinder Order to a tee.

: We've got a burned farmstead and multiple fire wards set around it... that reeks of our missing fire mage Catorius.

Earlier in the game posted:

Krokus is a lying sack of crap and we killed him.

: Could Catorius have been conscripted?

: We can always ask him when we find him, assuming I let him live long enough to form an answer.

It's a metaphor for the DLC.

: The Disfavored used to hold those walls, so that could go a ways toward explaining their arms being scattered about here.

: [Leave] Let's find him.

: Lead the way, boss.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: They killed Essa! THOSE BASTARDS!

: We'll get them!

: Yes. Now, player, I need you to click on all the icons. Thanks, player! I suddenly deduced that this is Catorius the maybe-cannibal fire mage, and he's at Fort Squander. Don't question it. Let's goooooo!

Fort Squander is incredibly tedious.

What's this?

That's... probably bad! It's like we unleashed a flood of crazy new ideas by overturning the world order, or something!

Inquiring further leads us to this:

I guess we just... control Apex somehow? Sure.

I try to lure the Bane away.

The problem is that we can only lure it to the existing areas and screw over the Stonestalkers or the Unbroken or Lethian's Crossing. That kind of sucks, so I ask the Tunon gang for help.

Calio offered to join us anyway.

Tunon's not happy about this, but we're not quite to Wrath 1. Yet. On to Fort Boring!

The "scrubs" line sounds less like a ferocious Bronze Age berserker and more like a videogame playing DLC intern. As far as I can tell, it is an archaic insult referring to a talentless person that originated in America. Still...

: Unless it's a trap.

: Let's say you and I go bind ourselves some fates.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: It's time to PvP some scrubs and noobs! Come on, Fatebinder!!!!!

The fortress, is, of course, full of scrubs. It's conveniently in a spiral centered on Catorius to waste our time with trash mobs. Let's skip to the main event, shall we?

: Verse. Archon. His eyes flicker to you, and he bows his head slightly.

: [To Verse] I assume he's one of your sisters' killers?

: None other. I've seen those smirking lips a thousand times behind my eyelids. I've put a lot of thought into how I'll go about cutting them off. Her tongue runs the length of her upper teeth.

Jesus this is clunky. We don't need all these hand movements described, we can infer what is going on from the dialogue!

: More to the matter at hand, however, I am one of the three survivors of the group that met your friend's Scarlet Fury patrol in open battle in Apex a few years ago.

: You seem pretty damned matter-of-fact about it for someone whose remaining life is measured in hours.

: So long?

: You think I'm going to make it quick, kindling-cock? No. No, I'm going to savor this, nice and slow. She barks out a laugh.

: Catorius wrings his staff with both hands and regards you with narrowed eyes.

Per the wiki, Catorius here is always bugged to believe you spared Krokus. We killed him.

: That wasn't my fucking call. Verse's weapon appear[sic] in her hands.

: Hold, Fury! Aren't you the slightest bit curious about why the man who killed your Fury friends holds a tent in the middle of a Kyros-forsaken Scarlet Chorus encampment? He holds out a flat, filthy palm.

: [Athletics 70] Got something to say, Sage? Spill it before we spill you.

: Simply put, I am a creature of the Voices of Nerat.

For all his faults, he does care about Verse.

: The Voices? What... what are you trying to say?

: The Chorus took me and everyone in my village almost four years ago. My wife included. I think you'd like Marion, were she not wrapped up in all of this. She's broad of shoulders, muscled like a Beastwoman, her spirit full of oil and fire. He taps his staff thoughtfully.

: Marion sounds like the name of no Choirman I ever met.

The purpose of the Chorus name is to break down one's identity to better subsume them into the Chorus, so good on him I guess.

: [Subterfuge 70] Let me guess - the Voices used her to control you.

: So you cut a deal. Her upper lip curls back, revealing a sharp, yellowed canine.

: I told them I'd do whatever they wanted, so long as they kept her out of their more... sacrificial operations. He lets loose another long sigh, shoulders sinking slightly as if under a growing burden.

Tunon would have a field day!

I do like that the DLC gives us concrete confirmation that Nerat was sabotaging the suppression effort the entire time.

: The Voices thought Verse and her sisters expendable.

: Bullshit. Each Fury is worth two dozen conscripts! A sisterhood that dances together like ours? There's no more vicious force on the whole fucking field of war!

: I think you're right. Or something like right. We weren't supposed to kill you, and we weren't supposed to take you alive. The Voices wanted you to witness your squad's deaths. The Sage nods vigorously.

: But you didn't kill us all. You took Geyser. Verse's words carry the chill of winter.

: You expect us to believe Nerat cared enough about one of his own to purchase her back?

: I'm not sure it matters what YOU believe...

: You lie. Red Geyser - my sister - is dead. Mismatched eyes glare from beneath a lowered brow.

: If so, she was killed after we left her with the Archon.

: Which I suppose brings us to the present. The Voices left me with standing orders - if you ever figured out the truth of it, I was to bring you to them. So that's what happens next. He rubs the bridge of his nose.

You know, the more I think about it, the less sense the party that ambushed Verse makes. Irissa was a resistance fighter, Krokus was apparently in league with Disfavored spies... I assume they all joined Nerat for some reason, but what a mess.

: [Subterfuge 40] Help us and we'll help you.

We...could break her out. Cleo has the personal firepower of the Edict, forbidden Oldwalls magic, and an entire country paying her taxes. I think we could make this work.

: Then we kill the Archon of Secrets.

: I can and I will.

: What do you want, Verse? I trust you to make the right call.

: Easiest choice I've ever made. I'm going to enjoy this dance, Catorius. For Red Geyser. Verse grins at Catorius.

Dammit, Verse.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Evening, ladies. How goes it?

: You killed my sisters! You must die!

: You're not going to ask why I'm in the middle of a Chorus camp as a Blood Chanter despite murdering all those Scarlet Furies?

: What are you talking about?

: I work for... Nerat! He wanted Verse to watch as we killed her sisters, but we took one alive and ransomed him to Nerat. I didn't like doing it, but Nerat has my muscle wife, and if I don't comply he'll kill her. Incidentally, did you know I helped plan the rebellion on Nerat's orders?

: She's dead, you liar!

: Nerat told me if you figured out the truth to bring you along. All the trash mobs have returned!

: I could just... kill Nerat for you and free your wife. Verse, what do you think?


So, Catorius has some powerful spells. This is the AoE confuse from Illusion, but he also has the Scorching Missiles meteor spell that Cleopatra loves so much.

I'm not gonna sugarcoat this. This fort is extremely boring. It's full of killable Chorus trash mobs and unexciting loot. I'm cutting out the escape because it's just an exercise in tedium.

Verse speaks for the player here when they're subjected to more Tyranny combat. Even with our turbomagic these guys are just boring ass sacks of HP that do nothing and require a fair amount of grinding.

: You still with me, Verse?

: Yeah. Way to yank me out of the moment, Binder. I was close to enjoying myself.

: Lapsing into silence, Verse stares up into a sky still smeared with the smoke of the Burning Library, puts both hands on her back, just above her hips, and stretches, jutting her pelvis forward until her spine releases a series of satisfying snaps.

: Nothing's simple in your wake, is it? With the Voices, I listened when I was supposed to listen, reported everything I heard, killed what he told me to kill. Black and white. Black and red, anyway. She smirks.

: I guess it was always complicated, I just ignored the complexities. I can't operate solely on gut instinct anymore. My gut would see this whole damn peninsula burned to cinders, and then what? She massages her right eyebrow.

: Terratus rewards strength. I didn't think I was strong enough to move in, well, influential circles. And that, I don't know. Makes me nervous.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Fuck all you assholes! Everything's so complicated now! I used to just do whatever Nerat told me to, but now that's not working! I didn't think I was strong enough to make my own decisions? Eh, lol, whatever.

Verse continues to doubt whether she's on the right path and whether she's becoming a monster. In her defense, Catorius did a ton of awful things to save his wife, she's hardly attacking the innocent. To complete the quest, we need to go back to the Mountain Spire.

This is what the Edict of Nightfall does, incidentally. I don't cast it because that's a fair chunk of our power bar, and we might need it later.

: Verse.

: [Lore 75] It sounds like you're trying to justify your own tumultuous feelings.

: She splays her fingers before her, apparently taking a vested interest in the grime beneath her nails.

: It feels like all that's in front of me is a gorge so wide and so deep there's nothing to see but wide open air. She looks at you.

: I'll burn that bridge when I come to it.

: Damn. Fatebinder, you're sounding more like me every day. I wonder if the Voices saw this coming when he tossed me on law dog detail. She releases a peal of laughter.

: The Archon of Secrets will fall by my hand.

: Your confidence inspires. It's positively fucking infectious. She smirks.

: The Voices has more years behind him than a person can rightly imagine. If anyone's ever dug up a way to cheat the void, it would be him.

: How would he do that?

At first I was tempted to write this quest off as the game going up its ass with psychic mindbending crap.

Then I realized that the thing with the sisters and their echoes is just window dressing.

: You have to keep control of yourself.

Catorius, Irissa, and Krokus did what they did because the Voices wanted Verse to endure the trauma of losing her family, as he did.

Earlier in the game posted:

: Figure out who Verse is and stay Verse.

The irony is that Verse worked her way up from the bottom, whereas Nerat was rewarded for selling out his family. This entire quest is just Nerat trying to bring Verse down to his level because he's a loser.

: Now you're going to have me asking how I'm not myself. Don't try and turn me into a Sage.

: We've got shit to do, right? Don't let me hold you up. And thanks, Fatebinder. Archon. Archbinder. Verse grins.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: This is confusing! I'm getting the shit gaslit out of me by the Voices! He's not an immortal monster who can't die and who can take over my head... is he?

: Nah, just stay yourself.

: Uh...ok....

I know people having been waiting this entire thread for this. We're going to go to Nerat's base and shove his face in.