The Let's Play Archive


by TheGreatEvilKing

Part 57: Cleopatra Jones and the Quest to Get HIgh

Cleopatra Jones and the Quest to Get HIgh

Last time on Tyranny we fought our way into the Disfavored's camp, where Graven Ashe hid behind his men like a coward and sent them all to their deaths because he thought they were useless assholes. We completely destroyed the Disfavored forever, as without their Great Leader they had no motivation or selves whatsoever.

Today we wrap up some loose ends.

As you might imagine, Killsy has some stuff to say about the death of her most hated enemy.

: Alpha to Kills-in-Shadow smells good. Like mountain doe. Makes Beastwoman's blood stir, run hot-hot. Makes Beastwoman want to hunt, bite, rut.

Please don't involve Cleo in any of those things.

: Alpha to Kills-In-Shadow slayed Disfavored called Graven Ashe. Was best death. But Beastwoman would have liked to rend muscle from bone, rip-torn skin, mauled and mangled - more. Not much. Just some more.

: The Beastwoman sighs, languishing at the thought.

Lady, we killed Ashe so hard all the Disfavored died. Except Barik.

: Wanted to tap last drips of blood, swallow final cries of dying whimper. Wanted to watch die, more-than-five-times over.

: Had any good hunts, lately?

: Good, yep. And many more-than-five.

: The Beastwoman flexes and curls her claws in the air, the pitch blackness of them suddenly striking - a stark reminder of their power, their ability to kill.

And we're off.

: Never mind.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Damn, Archon, you're fine today! We murdered Graven Ashe and it ruled! I just wish we could have hurt him more than exposing him as a liar and a fraud and killing him in front of his men. We could have made him watch Batman vs Superman, or something!

: Hmm...any good hunts lately?

: Murdered a whole pack of those Chorus assholes!

Hilariously, murdering Graven Ashe does not get us max wrath. Oh well.

I swap out Killsy for Lantry, both to prepare for his Annal Sects quest (ugh) and to read the runes in the Oldwalls.

I'll spare you the long and uninteresting backtracking and get to the details: we grab the Sigil of Timeless Form III (duration) and the Sigil of Stunning (electrical spells can stun on hit) from the Blade Grave, and the level four strength sigil from the Lethian's Crossing one. There are some Bane and backtracking. What more do you want?

Along the way I research the last Edict. It's kind of an odd one - it vaguely implies that we can discriminate between friend and foe, so I don't know if this works like the chain letters where if you like Cleo attractive people bump into you on the street and offer you free money but if you hate her you trip on your toilet and die.

Our reward for bringing the Blade Grave torchkey to the Crossing is... a poison recipe. Wow.

I end up starting the Scales of Mercy for the hell of it. It's another artifact we don't need, but why not?

I also grab Eb because I really don't want to take Sirin along for Annal Sects. This turns out to be the correct decision.

: Perhaps there are others besides me and the Overlord?

: I should certainly hope not! Terratus isn't large enough for Kyros and... and it's certainly going to get very interesting if the two of you start... waving your Edicts to and fro.

: I would have felt if someone else were proclaiming Edicts. I knew when this one activated the Spire! From what I know of Kyros, the Fatebinder is definitely a wrinkle in some carefully laid plans.

Lantry is less willing to entertain the idea now.

: I can replicate her powers, but I'm not just like the Overlord.

Sirin's just trolling us here.

: I mean his...

: You say that now, let's see if you still feel this way when the reality sinks in and your mastery of this newfound power solidifies. The world now bows to your mere utterance - each day you will grow stronger while the world becomes weaker in comparison.

Eb that's even worse than Sirin.

: Enough about me for the moment.

: Grab your things. I've need of your skills.

: Of course. It's about time to stretch the old sea legs.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Hail, Archon! You're becoming like the Overlord!

: Are you sure there's no one el-

: Nope.

: I'm nothing like her -

: Him lolololol!

: You say that now, but you have a TON of power and that tends to corrupt. Well, Terratus is going to become a nightmare if you and Kyros start throwing Edicts around. At least I don't have this power, or I'd become Eb, Archon of Sexy Times! Woo!

We get this random encounter to hunt a giant snake. I oblige, in the secret yet forlorn hope that the game will give us something interesting to fight. Unfortunately it's a subterfuge followed by a frost magic check, that gives us two pieces of raw meat I will forget and never use. Moving on!

: It'll take more than a few Archon-led armies to do me in.

: Glad to hear it! She laughs.

: You bested the Archon of War... that's an incredible feat. A legendary feat, provided the Overlord doesn't rewrite the telling of it.

: I suspect I know why you're here. She glances at Barik.

: Getting him out of that armor is no simple feat. It's a part of him now, fused into his muscle and skin. Anything that gets him out of it... well, it'll be akin to peeling him like a potato. The outside'll come off, sure, but it's going to take some of the good stuff with it.

: Thoughts, Barik?

: I'm listening.

: [Lore 72] Because of the iron in it.

: What was the purpose of this rite?

: They used it for taking malformed armor off the dead without further mangling the corpse.

More evidence that Kyros planned to discard the Disfavored as soon as they were either broken or no longer useful. Graven Ashe really was a big moron.

: Go on.

: Will Archon blood serve?

We are an Archon, we can spare a little.

: Tarkis Arri had noble blood, didn't she?

: If we can find her. A wise woman would have fled as far from Vendrien's Well as her treacherous feet would carry her. His teeth grind together.

: Though were she wise, she'd never have taken up arms against the Overlord in the first place.

: If you can find her, and if she shares blood with the royal house of Apex, that would work. A lot of 'ifs', though.

: That's not a bad idea. Would it work?

That's the statue from the beginning of the game that was weeping blood as we were sent in to put down the rebellion.

: I'm well familiar with the statue. The Sages wanted to pry into it, but the Vendrien Guard wouldn't let them anywhere near, save for those who fought in their ranks.

: Is it the bloody tears of a dead queen? A portent of the blood to be spilled in defense of Apex? Improbably mineral-rich water? Given that the waters turned red when Kyros' forces invaded, there's likely a metaphysical, if tenuous, tie to the Overlord.

Thus we can go back to the very beginning of the game.

We are accosted by... DARK BANE!

Seriously, they're just normal bane that have names like "Dark Wisp" and are more annoying to deal with. I'm not sure if this is supposed to be our Edict making everyone have crazy thoughts, Barik overcoming his massive mental resistance to no longer be Ashe's abuse victim, or what?

After the second-to-last trash mob fight of this playthrough, we're given the option to leap across, have Barik toss us, or use Barik as a bridge. There is no reason to not leap the gap unless your Athletics is trash or you want to be an asshole.

I also feel I'm missing the symbolism here - is the idea to rub in that freeing Barik from his fascist convictions could only be done after he realized the blood he shed? I get the statue weeping blood when Kyros invaded, is it some kind of baptism?

: She helps you roll the barrel into the workshop, and the two of you dump the noisome liquid into a large, copper tub.

Geez, lady! Keep your pants on!

: Trundling over to the basin, Barik places a hand on its lip.

: He flops heavily into the vat without a word and lies there motionless.

There's not much we can do, as we're not a hardcore enough healer or liar, so...

: [Take Barik's hand.]

: You slip your hand into Barik's gauntleted paw and squeeze. As the smith draws forth the next shard, Barik returns your gesture, the metal of his shell biting into you as your tendons pop under his strength.


This is a painful process, both physically as we get Barik out of the armor, and metaphorically as we strip away the memories of Dear Leader to reveal he's a lying fraud.

Hope you all wanted naked Barik, goons.

: You okay, Barik?

: His eyes flicker up to you, brows knitting into a scowl, lips twisting to a grimace.

: The dishonor of our actions has hollowed me, Archon. I may never be unsullied again.

Barik. You just got a baptism in blood that removed the unjust metaphorical hold of Ashe and Kyros. Dude...

: I'm glad to see you free of the Overlord's shackles, even if the result is... in need of some polish.

Barik, remember when Graven Ashe told me to kill your sister in front of you?

: Now I can actually draft your official portrait for the Chronicle. You have no idea how much this omission has haunted me.

: I'm keeping the alloy we pulled of him[sic]. In exchange, I took the liberty of forging the sample you brought me before into an axe I hope is worthy of you.

It's an artifact axe, so, yes, it is. The only problem I have with this deal is that she didn't bother telling us about it, but some ruined scrap armor (admittedly, probably magical) for an artifact axe and freeing Barik? Score.

: Thank you, Lycentia. For everything.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Holy shit, you're back! How!

: It's gonna take more than some incompetents to stop me!

: Fair. You killed Graven Ashe, holy shit! I think we can get Barik out of that armor now, but we need a barrel of royal blood.

: How about a trolley? I know a girl in Numenera, she coul-

: How about that crying queen statue from the beginning of the game?

: Should work. Go get me some.

:ghost:: OoOoOoOoH! DaAaRrRk BAaAnNeE!

: Here you go.

: OWWW IT HURTS! OW! Hey, it's gone! No clothes! Woo!

: Nevertheless, I feel extremely bad because Ashe is dead.

: Well, I'm keeping the shitstained armor, but I made you a sweet artifact axe, we cool?

: That rules, thanks!

Meet Hobo Barik. We can't progress with the quest until the next event procs, so we're going to have to ...go do Lantry's. I am really not looking forward to this.

We can finally kit out Barik in all that heavy armor we've had no use for all game, when we might have seriously done the last of our boss fights. You'll see.

This is the event we want.

: As much as I hate the thought of befouling these waters, perhaps you could convince the legionnaire to cleanse a layer or two of filth from his carapace? It would be a nice change of pace for the Tiers' estuaries to wash away some of the Overlord's foulness for once, instead of the reverse.

Eb, we all heard you say you would bang Barik during that game, we know your real motivation.

Let's try subtlety.

Goddammit Barik. I guess we order him.

This is how Barik reacts when an attractive woman tells him to get naked.

Meet Clean Barik!

Let's go into Lantry's house.

These stupid assholes show up to waste our time with the game's last trash fight. Just...go away! You don't need to die painfully at the hands of three mages with focused rain spells, one of whom is an Archon. Just fuck off!

: You come here in scarlet whining about past debts? I owe you nothing. And now you're trespassing in the only corner of Terratus I call my own.

: Princess?

: You disguise yourself once... it becomes this recurring topic. Lantry shakes his head with a frustrated wag of his hand.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

:smugwizard: It's time to waste MORE time with a trash fight, princess!

: You cross dress ONE TIME!

They die. Moving on!

It's another one of those deals where you click the room for descriptions to proceed. Lantry left some dank weed behind and regrets it. He likes birdwatching, and has a ton of books.

: Thank Kyros, it's still here! I'll only be a moment.

Rather telling that Lantry swears by Kyros despite us being all but in open rebellion against her. Him. Whoever.

: An hour passes as Lantry flips through the pages of his book, slowly spelling out a coded message as he goes.

: Find anything?

: Understood.

: Apologies. I'm uh... slow, but I'm cute? I'll get this figured out shortly, trust me.

: Find anything?

: [Glare silently.]

: With a gruff clearing of his throat, Lantry dives back into his task with nervous energy.

: What did you find?

: Any idea what's hidden there?

: How do you know this isn't a trap?

: So are we done here?

: Indeed we are, thank you for your patience.

: [Leave.] Let's get going.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Let me take like six hours to decipher the secret code. Done!

: What is this, and why are we doing it?

: Lol it's a surprise.

Oh no. Oh, NO! Now do you see why I left Sirin behind?

: Did you drag me all this way to make some new mind-altering ink?

Dammit Lantry!

Actually, there are many ways you can be a dick to him I learned per reddit you can apparently torture the Sigil of Life out of him then leave him to die in the Chorus camp so you know what, the man's been through enough shit. Whatever floats your boat.

I am kind of disappointed about all the lying.

: Cause what?

: Though his mouth moves to form words, nothing reaches your ears. The world begins to tremble as your breath expands to fill the whole of your body with vigor.

Yeah...we're super high now!

Oh dammit!

"A calm of tranquil haze", huh.

So this is the Flashback Drug, which is why what I do in the next five minutes made some sense at the time.

: [Remain calm.]

: [Address the Voices.] What are you doing here?

: The better question is, what are you doing here? We're trying to have a private moment with Lantry here. Do you mind?

: Wait, you already have someone there? How do I meet up with this person?

: [Address the Voices.] Just how long ago did you and Lantry meet?

: We COULD tell you that, but wouldn't it just be us telling you what you think we think the answer is?

: Lantry is one of many agents we seeded throughout the Tiers years before this war. One can never plan too far in advance.

He does have a point.

: [Address the Voices.] What will be forgiven?

Clearly not Lantry, you tied him to a stake and were going to eat him.

: Sorry, but even in your dreams we hate your guts with the searing rage of a thousand hemroidal bears.

: Yes, my answer is yes.

: We're going to have a beautiful future - serve well, and you just might be part of it.

: The Archon's head spins slowly, each time its face passes you, the expression on the mask becomes more and more twisted and taught, until at last its features are no longer a face.

: The vision of Nerat fades into a swirl of flames. Your surroundings ripple, distorted by the heat of a blinding summer day that seems barely tepid to your touch. A new figure emerges from the fire.

: [Remain calm.]

: Our defenses rival that of even Sentinel Stand Keep, yet you would waste our efforts building for the day they fail? My dear Lantry, stick to your Chronicles. Your job is to record our decisions, not to decide what the record will be.

: You know I hate it when you talk like that! Even the most addled scribe learns that covering your ears and doubting a fact doesn't make it go away. If we surrender before war breaks out, we have a chance to -

: So am I seeing your memories? These are some unusual berries.

: I see now why Lexeme's notes mention these berries will probably cause permanent insanity.

: You think me incautious? You think you're the only Sage telling me what MUST be done? You impertinent little fuck. I know you have others swallowing the lies you ink them! Your absent-minded charade doesn't work on me. You poison their minds against me and have the gall to pretend like you're some well-meaninged mentor trying to be the kindly champion of the concerned student.

: Do you think I am BLIND to the Overlord? Because I do not act with your reactionary zeal does not mean I fail to act at all. We are of course taking precautions. A failure to plan, is a plan to fail, after all.

: [Remain calm.]

: Then we are lucky that several dozen Sages are in line to inherit the Scrivener's Eye before it falls to you. But you worry too much, my dear Lantry - the way you see the world, we win either way.

I'm convinced Chiasmus is the other Chorus agent, just from that last line. There's no real evidence either way, and it doesn't matter.

The Scrivener's Eye, by the way, is the Lantry-only accessory we picked up from the library.

: The Chronicle will note your hubris.

: So how did you describe the School's passing in your Chronicle?

: I think I... may have touched upon a certain provost being exceptionally daft, but, for the sake of history, I did emphasize that ALL of the Sages were responsible for the School's collapse.

: I uh, apologize for even mentioning the matter. I will take my leave.

: Always a pleasure, brother Lantry.

I'm assuming this was a consensual relationship as the Fatebinder doesn't react to Calio with horror, but who knows? It does confirm the vibes I got before the DLC came out that Calio was into the player.

: Flames assault your senses and the vision of the Sage changes before your eyes.

Oh dammit, Lexeme! You dragged us into that DLC shithole!

: [Lore 77] [Try to follow along with Lexeme's magical gestures.]

: I know you're immune to flattery, but I assure you, you have some sort of natural accent and I can't replicate it for the life of me!

Considering how smart Lantry and Cleo are, this is high praise.

Huh. So Bleden Mark isn't common knowledge, good to know.

: [Remain calm.]

: Laugh all you want but... everything I'm hearing leads me to believe Kyros will be here soon. I'd wager that by the year 430, we'll be overrun with Disfavored.

The Conquest posted:

: Well considering the Princess of Stalwart has all sorts of eyes and ears across Terratus, if you have it on good authority, it simply MUST be true.

: I'm trying to be serious here. When the war starts, field study will get curtailed, and we'll have a fight on our hands we can't survive.

: This princess term demands an explanation.

: So it turns out you can convince a lot of dumb people - especially young nobles with more rings than sense - to give those rings to a noble cause.

This is just such a weird inclusion. We knew that Lantry was a spy for Nerat, but he's never really given us the idea that he's a con artist or particularly shifty. He went around and did adventures for the Sages, sure, and they stole Eb's tidecasting, but there's nothing that really screams that he's untrustworthy or unscrupulous. He gets very upset at cruelty.

: [Remain calm.]

: What I want is... irrelevant. We'll burn that bridge when we come to it.

: Was it what you were hoping to experience?

: Well I... don't know what I was expecting, honestly. I think I just wanted to talk to the Lexeme I remembered.

She's still alive and down there, you know. We sentenced her to help with the Sleepless, and she seemed pretty lucid.

Incidentally, the achievement in the corner is for doing this quest. Only 1.5% of Steam Tyranny players completed it. Draw your own conclusions.

: The Lexeme she has become is... not the person I thought I loved.

I'll say. That lady seemed smart and the Lexeme we met was a total idiot.

: Has correcting the record afforded you some peace?

: The Chronicle certainly seems safer in your hands.

: You honor me, Archon. But I'm merely doing my duty as a scholar.

: And you're certain your understanding is more accurate?

: I doubt she'll be pleased by you undoing her work.

: So be it. When she sullied the Chronicle, she lost the right to speak on behalf of history.

OUCH. Let's leave option four alone, I doubt either of us would like that particular dialog.

: [Leave] Ready to keep moving?

: Thank you. I think I needed this last interaction with Lexeme before I... replace her pages in the Chronicle.

: Well then... enough chatter for now. Let's be on our way.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: The joke's on you, player! I came here to get REALLY HIGH! Now... to the flashback zone!

: It's a-me, Neratio! I'm recruiting Lantry for the Chorus! Also, just an FYI, I can talk in this spooky dream, and fuck you, Cleo!

: This sure is a flashback. Who's next?

: Hey! It's me, the leader of the Sages you've never heard of! It's all going to be fine! We don't need to worry about Kyros! Fuck you, Lantry!

: But -

: Ahh that's a relaxing fart. It's all gonna be fine. Next!

: Remember me? I'm good at magic, and I'm gonna stay to chronicle Kyros' invasion! w00t! Also, that princess scam you pulled was hilarious!

: But -

: Thank you for that, Archon. I needed to come to grips with my past somehow. But I also wanted to see Lexeme again, as I remembered her, not as part of some shoddily written DLC writing bad histories about a Nerat festival that no one would care about. Let's go.

I'm not really sure how to feel about this quest. The idea that Lantry would seek solace in drugs to try to make sense of his past is spot on for him, but they don't really do anything we haven't seen before. We knew he spied for Nerat, we knew he tried to get the Sages to surrender, failed, and Kyros had Cleopatra rain fire upon the Citadel. We knew he had a relationship with Lexeme and that she was good at magic. We honestly learn more about the player character (Calio had a maybe consensual sexual thing with them and Bleden Mark's training is from hell) than we do about Lantry. I like Lantry as a character, and really feel he was done wrong by these DLC quests.

I decide to go for Round 2 semi-blind, figuring we'll see something about the Fatebinder's past we haven't seen before. This is a mistake.

: [Barik Loyalty 3]: I... suppose I could try a little.

Oh no.

Barik and Graven Ashe dancing?


Oh shit! Tunon's got MOVES!

I guess we're all naked now, except Barik. See, the code to remove everyone's equipment is bugged, so weapon slots 3 and 4 (which you unlock via Fatebinder talents) isn't removed, and Barik seems to be immune to everyone's great joy.

I... I don't want to know.

NOPE. The worst part is that there's no saved loadouts, so not pictured is me going through all the random vendor trash I have and re-equipping everyone with artifacts. I'm not sure if this makes Lantry a borderline date rapist or what the fuck this is! It's implied that it's just naked dancing, then there's that status effect... look, every time this game tries to introduce sexuality it just comes off as broken or juvenile. It's not like 100 Years of Solitude or something where the family's incestuous ways ultimately damn them and show how fucked up they are, it's shit like Rape Math.

Moving on! We have one final dialogue with Barik.

Absolutely fucking not.

: Hair shorn and face shaven and clean, you can make out the tracery of scars that crisscross his skin.

: Feeling any better?

: Yes, the pain has faded significantly. The memory of it, however... I suspect that shall remain with me until I draw my last breath.

Barik's not fully out of the woods. It's hard to come to terms with the fact that all of your life - where everyone around you told you were an honorable and good person - was spent in the service of evil.

He's not wrong! We've been double-crossing both of Kyros' armies, the Court of Tunon to a lesser extent, and possibly the Unbroken.

: Give it a try then. Redeem me.

I'm really curious to see what this is. We know Barik's dad is a dishonorable asshole who cheated on his wife and abandoned Verse. We know Ashe was a gutless coward who sacrificed scores of his men to postpone his death slightly.

: I would appreciate that.

My guess is we're supposed to believe that these guys talked a better game than they actually performed and that some value is in their words.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Everything I worked for is shit garbage. What do I do now? Can I even trust you, because you're unscrupulous?

: I could use some help and guidance.

: Ok.

With that we have nothing else to do in this run. I guess we could dick around and research stuff, but I don't care and neither should you. We're already crazy powerful, let's go talk to Bleden Mark.

Bleden Mark is not fucking around now. No more free exposition or sword practice.

A lot of people complain about how you're railroaded into opposing Kyros, but what did you think was going to happen? Kyros rewards loyalty with death, from the very first character we met (Aurora) to the deaths of Nerat and Graven Ashe. Cleopatra's adventures have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt the Empire stands for nothing but its own power. There is no other option at this point - we either face Tunon and Kyros, or perish.

: [Take the dagger.]

Let's at least take the option that doesn't make us look like a dumbass. Do you think Bleden Mark offering to help us fight Tunon and Kyros isn't recognition? Do you think we have a choice to not fight the Overlord? What do you think that dagger means?

: With a soft hiss, wispy tendrils unfurl from the curved blade. They bite at you, swiftly slicing a sharp mark as the dagger dissolves into the palm of your hand.

Bleden Mark can't go back either now - I would imagine Tunon or Kyros would know instantly what this means.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Are you a bad enough dude to accept my services and take on Tunon AND Kyros?

: Yes.

: So be it. Shit just got real. Next time you see me, we will fight Tunon.

Next time: Cleopatra faces the consequences of her actions.