Part 78: Governor Boris and the Unjust TrialGovernor Boris and the Unjust Trial
Last time on Tyranny, we became the next Kyros. Today we're going to kill Graven Ashe via bullshit show trial. Let's begin!
You can do the trial before dealing with either Ashe and Nerat, and on non-Anarchy paths there's a very good reason to do so.
Yeah, Mark knows exactly what kind of monster you are.
We get the "wow an Archon" chat from Eb and Lantry again, but this time we can bring up our Lawbreaker past.
It begins again.
: [Bow to Tunon]
: I first want to make it clear why we've assembled today. After the collapse of Vendrien's Well and the start of the civil war, it became clear to me that there must have been some great fault on the part of the Archons.
: We come together to root out the source of our troubles, and determine which of the Archons has sown more chaos during the war.
We're not going to see this idiot again, so she'll be .
: Tunon turns to aim what you can only assume is a stern look. He refocuses back onto you with cool stoicism.
Cool stoicism, really? Oof.
: Much has happened since I dispatched you on that mission.
: With Kyros' mandate that only one Archon may rule the Tiers, the verdict is now more important than ever. We cannot allow this conquest to descend into total anarchy.
What do you think it is now? Remember, Tunon never leaves the court building. The conquest IS total anarchy. we've got people who aren't Kyros casting Edicts, a massive civil war, multiple rebellions we had to put down... the list goes on and on.
I'd forgotten Tunon did this here.
: The Scarlet Chorus makes for a strange ally, but I've learned much from them.
Blood Mulch will be represented by as he never appears again and we're reaching the end of the LP.
: So you voice no claim of devotion, only their useful function? This is interesting to note.
This is what you asked us to do, Tunon! It's not like he has an aversion to using people - on the rebel path he tells you to use the Tiersmen and then dispose of them when they're no longer necessary!
The funny thing is that if we'd said we loved the Chorus we'd still get the opportunity to indict Ashe here, even though as a Chorus fan we have a clear motive to throw Ashe under the bus because we're kind of in a civil war with him.
: Graven Ashe, Archon of War.
This Archon trial is an unjust farce for a lot of reasons.
: And so the charges are declared. I'm confident you've come with prepared arguments and research, as is expected of your station.
: Tunon passes her an empty look until she regains her composure, and turns back to you.
: In accordance to Kyros' legal custom, you will state the crimes against the Archon and offer up your evidence. The court will weigh your claims on their merits.
: Understood. I won't withhold any legitimate claims from the court.
We have enough evidence to get Nerat, but I believe Tunon just yells at you if you try to get them both. So yes, we are absolutely withholding evidence here, because we have the tools to make a power play to gain command of the Chorus and use them as our personal army.
: Yes, I'll back up my accusations with hard facts.
: The Archon is guilty of incompetence, Your Honor.
: Incompetence on this scale is no laughing matter. Lives and opportunities alike may be lost if a military commander performs beneath their expected rank. It's shocking to imagine Graven Ashe failing at the task before him.
: During the Stalwart campaign, the Disfavored marched on Sentinel Stand even though an Edict was imminent.
: I'm familiar with the legion's march. It was a determined mission to rescue a lost unit of soldiers, among them the Archon's daughter. The reports that reached my ears spoke of great bravery, and yet many lives were lost.
Shit. Well, we have more evidence. Note that it's our word of stuff we've seen, but we don't have to produce any witnesses or anything.
: I am finished arguing for incompetence, Your Honor.
: The Archon is guilty of hoarding forbidden knowledge.
: A difficult truth to bring to light. The fact remains that Kyros is the keeper of wisdom across Terratus, and there are avenues of study denied us under her immutable law.
: If the Archon of War is educating himself of forbidden matters, then it is worth deeper scrutiny.
: I found a dead civilian in the Oldwalls of the Blade Grave. The Disfavored sent him there looking for an artifact.
Noticed anyone missing from this trial yet?
: This displeases me greatly. If the legion thought they could trespass on the Oldwalls by enlisting another to the task, then they were mistaken. The error in judgment could cost them the Archon's life.
That's right! Graven Ashe isn't here to speak in his own defense! We can throw as much shit as we want at him, and the only person who will speak up is the Disfavored commander over there, who clearly isn't up to the task of taking on either Tunon or the Fatebinder in a legal battle.
: I have submitted enough evidence for this charge, Your Honor.
: I accuse the Archon of sedition most foul.
: Sedition, you say? Treachery, rebellion, insubordination. This is a serious claim indeed. Archon Graven Ashe may have an inconsistent history, but his loyal ties to Kyros are well established.
It's also hilarious, because Ashe is the guy who stayed loyal to Kyros while our buddy Nerat funded and started the rebellion. We know this because Verse's quest outright tells us this, along with the rebels thanking Nerat and the merchant Bronze confessing that Nerat armed the rebels with iron.
: Graven Ashe exchanged prisoners with the Vendrien Guard, and willfully prolonged the siege.
Look at how outmatched this poor woman is here. Give her two sentences and she contradicts herself and damns Ashe further.
: If the Great General engaged with the enemy for his own self-interest, then he is not as dependable or forthright as I once imagined. Even in loyalty, he brings great shame to the legion.
: Graven Ashe's daughter colluded with the Unbroken, producing an heir.
Even Tunon acknowledges this is bullshit, but it's kinda bad, and again - there is no one here competent enough to speak for Ashe. Ashe is a fascist asshole, true, and this is a poetic and ironic punishment, but as a form of justice it's a complete clown show.
This is the best this lady can come up with. She is not a trained lawyer and has no prep time. Off the top of my head, a competent attorney could point out that Amelia Ashe was literally held captive in this guy's castle and bring up all the consent issues with that, maybe even in a way that makes Ashe Sr. look competent. Hell, point out that Ashe was so loyal he lost both his children in Kyros' service. However, Ashe isn't here, and can't defend himself, so...
We, the Fatebinder know Amelia really loved him and chose to fight at Herodin's side, but this is a setting with mind control magic and of course the usual forms of Stockholm Syndrome. Sirin is an expert at manipulating people and could be called to the stand right now.
: I make no more claims of sedition, Your Honor.
This is a privileged Archon. How many death warrants do you think Tunon signed based on some dude lying about that mean girl Kimmy who wouldn't make out with him?
: The Archon has perpetrated vile acts during this campaign. I accuse him of war crimes.
: I see. In a time of war, much is done for the sake of one's loyalties - but there are those who have justified monstrosities in the name of conquest. The court always desires its Archons to fall within Kyros' laws. I would be surprised if Graven Ashe perpetrated misdeeds on this scale.
Yeah we're gonna fuck him up.
: The Disfavored encroached on a Scarlet Chorus operation in the Stone Sea.
The implication of Tunon's statement is that the civil war is an allowable priority as long as the South is conquered for Kyros. The entire purpose of this trial is to stop the conquest devolving into anarchy...except we have a totally legal civil war. The civil war isn't the insult. It's batshit doublespeak at its finest.
Winston sank his arms to his sides and slowly refilled his lungs with air. His mind slid away into the labyrinthine world of doublethink. To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again: and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself. That was the ultimate subtlety: consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word 'doublethink' involved the use of doublethink.
Kyros' laws are immutable, but the Peace-violating civil war is 100% acceptable if the Disfavored eat their vegetables before their civil war ice cream.
And she blunders right into it again.
: I found evidence in Lethian's Crossing that the Disfavored spilled first blood in the civil war.
: Then the ire and conflict between the two armies has deeper roots than what transpired at Vendrien's Well... this is a damning accusation indeed.
No, it isn't. Remember, people desert the Scarlet Chorus all the time! We don't know what happened at that massacre site, only that the Disfavored wanted to cover it up. For all we know those Blood Chanters were planning to start a breakaway empire and only the quick-thinking Disfavored stopped them, then panicked because it was a possible violation of the Peace. Remember, the Disfavored are illiterate morons. Again, if Ashe or legal counsel was here these arguments could be made.
: The Earthshakers wanted to use Cairn to blight the Stone Sea and starve Scarlet Chorus soldiers.
: Are we not at war with this rabble, Adjudicator? Discuss the legalities of it all you want - the numbers of these red-clad savages needed to be thinned out to bring order to the Tiers.
B...but how the fuck does this work with the totally legal civil war?
What the actual fuck? So they can have a civil war as long as both sides are equally supplied?
: Tunon nods. Agreed. The transgression here is obvious.
It's something you won't notice on your first playthrough, because you're worried about Tunon's warning that he WILL fuck you up for insufficient evidence and you're probably grinning like a moron at the can of whoop-ass you're going to unleash on ol' Craven Ass. It's really easy not to realize how little sense this all makes and how the Disfavored commander is clearly in over her head.
: I have exhausted my evidence of war crimes, Your Honor.
: I have made my case to the best of my abilities, Your Honor.
: Very well. I have weighed your evidence against the charges.
Yup. Based on the words of one guy who literally works for Ashe's enemy in the inexplicably legal civil war, with no opportunity to defend himself or hire counsel aside from the poor lady who is part of Ashe's embassy to the Court and completely terrible at her job, we just sentenced Ashe to death in absentia. When I said this trial was absolute horseshit I meant it. Remember, this is how the privileged Archons are treated! Remember poor Lady Lucretia who lost her house and got a random farm near the Scarlet Chorus Creeper Camp? She was damned lucky to make it out alive!
This is the best you can do, huh?
Blood Mulch is lovin this shit!
So, yes. The way this is supposed to work, a Fatebinder accuses you of some shit, Tunon either agrees or disagrees, and then Bleden Mark goes out to go murder your ass before you even know you're on trial.
: You're to execute the Archon of War, Graven Ashe.
: I'll leave it to your expertise. You are the Court's Blade, after all.
No wonder Mark thinks the entire system is full of shit.
: The assassin shrugs in his offhanded, unconcerned way. He snaps you a passing, wry smile as if to say it's no skin off his back, and then turns to the Adjudicator fully, utterly and wholly dismissive of you.
: Go about your assignment, headsman. Trouble the Court no longer with your displays or your bravado, and be quick to return with the guilty party. We will abide here until you return.
: The Adjudicator turns to attention[sic] to the Disfavored and Scarlet Chorus petitioners. Even through his stoic mask, the intensity of his gaze is evident.
Now, the thing to remember is that this lady has been at Court at least after Vendrien's Well. Aurora, the first NPC you meet, is also part of this delegation. As far as I know her Disfavored activities have been petitioning and liasoning with Tunon. Her only crime is being a shitty lawyer.
: She will forfeit her rank and serve the Court - a grevious indignity.
: As fair and compromising as ever. Tunon nods.
: Nunoval, escort this one from the Court. The time for discipline and reintegration will come after our business is concluded.
I'm pretty sure that means torture. The army delegations leave the Court.
: Patience, student. Bleden Mark approaches anon. The Archon of Shadows is as swift as he is deadly. Tunon nods in approval.
: With a swift, jarringly shrill hiss of shadows, the Court's infamous assassin cuts from a swath of darkness, coalescing faster than the eye can follow into the form of a man - an Archon - dragging a thrashing, swearing and snarling second Archon with him.
: The... the North will remember this indignity, you ungrateful farce! My legion will come for you, and there will be no shadow dark enough for you to hide from their justice! A fresh wound going down Ashe's face drips blood into his beard, staining it deep red.
It's not clear to me what would happen if Ashe asked to present his side of the story. On the Anarchy and Rebel routes Tunon similarly prejudges you but you can ask for the trial and have him declare you innocent. It's not clear if this is a privilege that would extend to Ashe, or if he's just turbofucked and unable to face his death with dignity because he's a coward.
: To see such an Archon brought to his knees is a pitiful sight, indeed.
Oh, NOW he recognizes it! What did you do about it? You were the one who broke the truce in the war tent and attacked Nerat, officially kicking off the civil war. Nerat sucks, Ashe sucks, and Boris sucks, but on paper the combined strength of the Scarlet Chorus, Disfavored, and a man who can cast Edicts is a threat large enough that it could snowball into the end of Kyros' empire.
Mark kills Ashe and we don't have to fight him later. We can even loot his artifact mace. We don't get the elixir hidden at the camp, but I'm on easy baby mode so I don't care.
Would have been nice if they played the scream, but this is the reward for Ashe betraying his country to serve absolute evil.
: You have made quite a name for yourself, Fatebinder. Stories of your deeds have spread throughout the Tiers and all of them have reached this court. Some actions have consequences. We will see what your actions have wrought.
Um excuse me, Boris is an Archon now.
: Am I on trial, Your Honor?
: Yes, and I would ready yourself to form a defense - because your testimony could augur your doom.
Time to go into this trial with no prep!
: Yes, Your Honor.
: At least your civility remains intact.
We get the same spiel, but I brought Sirin. So Tunon asks, as the last time, for our companion's opinions, and...
Yeah, have you been neglecting the companions and doing shit that they hate? They won't hesitate to turn on you here. In Sirin's case we did all that awful shit for the Scarlet Chorus like murdering Amelia and ignoring her when she told us that we were doing the most immoral thing possible, and we didn't bother to talk to her or anything.
Lantry and Eb give the same glowing recommendations though. Tunon does not react.
It is entirely possible to fuck up this trial because of your conquest actions. All these options are bad! The first is bad because you should say Edicts ASAP, 3 is bad because they're not covered under Kyros' Peace, and...
: The Disfavored were active in the region. I wanted to give them time to pull their patrols back.
: Yet they did not. Indeed, did not the Archon of War specifically entreat you to issue the Edict immediately, a request that you ignored? Tunon shakes his head. Do not try to hide behind the shields of the Disfavored, Fatebinder. The Overlord turned her wrath as much on the soldiers who failed her as the Regents who defied her.
Didn't we prove that Graven Ashe was a traitor and maybe we shouldn't listen to his requests?
Same question, same answer, next!
Yea, we're pretty much fucked on this one too.
: The Archon of Secrets demanded it. How was I supposed to earn his trust if not by indulging his hungers?
Remember, our original mission was to infiltrate the Chorus and see what the hell was going on. I have no idea what the hell this became in Tunon Triplethink Territory.
Earlier in the game posted:
: They say the Voices of Nerat holds you in higher regard than most. Use this alliance to enter his confidence. It seems unlikely the Archon of Secrets is more honest with friends than with rivals - but to his friends, he has been known to divulge much.
Remember, the only way out of killing Zdenya is betraying the Chorus. I think the middle one is supposed to be the mitigation option because it echoes Tunon's language?
Earlier in the game posted:
I'm not sure why the other option is killing her honestly, but the point stands. If we don't do this, we can't do the mission Tunon explicitly asked us to do!
: It's a tactic I picked up from watching your interrogations.
: Tunon says nothing, his alabaster mask expressionless.
Yeah, we're not getting out of this with a not guilty verdict.
: You credit me with starting a civil war? Adjudicator, I'm flattered.
Cover your ass, or you might be next!
: Tunon motions for silence.
: I judge you with failing to execute the most basic duties of your station. Don't make the mistake of inflating your importance in the Court's eyes.
Yeah, we can't win this one.
: [Attack] I challenge you to a trial by combat. Prepare yourself, Archon.
: After everything, it falls to this? I expected more of you, Kyros expected more.
This is the only time, as far as I'm aware, that this portrait is used.
Mark is first. Incidentally, if you win the trial Mark comes to kill you anyway and Tunon just says fuck it and declares trial by combat.
: [Say nothing, prepare to fight]
It's Tyranny combat. Mark has some unique moves, like an AoE shadow blast and the ability to summon clones of himself. He also screams in agony when you set him on fire, because the game very much does not want you to see this as heroism.
No one is getting a happy ending. At least Mark is free from the system he hates.
: Look at you - the surprise of a lifetime...
: He gasps, drowning as his lungs fill with blood.
The light in his eye dims as his pupils seep blackness, expanding to fill the whole of his eyes. A look of meaning passes between you, his fingers digging into the ground.
I choose to interpret this as Mark realizing that he's looking at the next Kyros and that the system will forever triumph in this Bronze Age land of mass illiteracy.
: Don't die too easily. Won't look good for me.
: This is your end, student. No mercy for traitors. Only the cold embrace of the grave.
: You will be judged at the end of a blade.
Same crap, Easy Babby difficulty so he loses a lot of moves.
I've beaten Tunon multiple times and never seen this dialog.
: Say what you will, Adjudicator.
This is kind of odd and I believe you only get this if you don't wait for the verdict and start fighting. On the most basic level it's a hint that yes, you can win the trial on any route (although I suspect Sirin sunk us). It shows that we didn't actually beat Tunon by drawing out his doubts - if we get a guilty verdict he realizes that he's defied the laws of nature for too long and Kyros isn't all powerful when you kill him. I think this is him trying to return to his original idealism? Alternatively he's more disappointed than angry at the Fatebinder? Either way it seems like a meta warning from the devs not to skip the trial because you're missing out on some of the themes.
I'm pretty sure this is the same reaction regardless of whether Sirin asked Tunon to execute you for being an evil piece of shit or not, and as far as I know you can't bring it up again. You also need her because she's an Archon and allies are thin on the ground right now.
Tunon collapses into the floor and shatters, completely at odds with him raising his arms to the heavens, but very symbolic of the mask being broken. Despite all the doublethink and cruel laws, I still find Tunon an ultimately tragic figure. Pour one out for our buddy.
TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:
: Today, the Fatebinder is going to present evidence against one of the Archons for fucking up the conquest. Someone has to be blamed, and sure isn't me or Kyros. Ok, Fatebinder, who are you trying? Be sure to have evidence or I'll be real mad!
: Graven Ashe.
: So, you're BFFs with the Scarlet Chorus, right?
: No, we hang out, but I am a totally neutral observer who is not prosecuting our enemies in the civil war to gain personal power. That would be very wrong!
: For some reason I believe this. Cool, let's go.
: Graven Ashe is too cool to be guilty, mannnn!
: Shut the fuck up. Fatebinder, hit me with the charges. Remember, we need a lot of evidence to get through Archon's Privilege!
: He's an incompetent dumbass who marched his entire army into a storm I literally warned everyone about.
: On one hand, he was trying to rescue his daughter, but a bunch of expensive elite troops died...what else you got?
: He was totally hording forbidden knowledge by sending random people to grab shit from the Oldwalls!
: Come on, mannnnn!
: That is a megacrime! What else you got for me?
: Sedition! Ashe did a lot of sedition! He made a truce with the Vendrien Guard to exchange prisoners!
: Uh, that's a lie...but I bet Ashe was secretly setting a trap...although he never told me that...who did I sleep with to get this job again?
: Damn he is a super criminal. What a bad man. Continue.
: His daughter banged the Unbroken Regent and had an heir! Don't mention she was a prisoner in their castle, don't mention that...
: Generally, we don't do blood treason around here, but today we do! Wheeee!
: B-b-but what about Nerat?
: Meh, whatever. Turboguilty! What else you got?
: War crimes! He encroached on a Scarlet Chorus operation in the Stone Sea.
: It is very bad to eat the civil war ice cream until they've finished their conquest vegetables!
: What the shit? It's a civil war!
: What else you got?
: The Disfavored started the civil war by murdering a bunch of Blood Chanters.
: Ha ha! Fuck you, you're going down!
: A huge megacrime. Next?
: Oh, the Disfavored were going to blight the land in the Stone Sea forever to screw the Scarlet Chorus.
: It's a civil war!
: Kyros' Peace! Kyros' Peace!
: You know, he's right, the laws of quota and sharing state that servants of Kyros will be fed in times of need, so this is a huge legal violation!
: Yes. That is a big crime. They should have had their civil war in a way that respects Kyros' Peace. Next?
: Holy shit how is this working? That's all I got.
: Excellent! Based on your totally unbiased testimony with no ulterior motives and the fact the only advocate Graven Ashe had was this poor, probably illiterate woman way out of her weight class, I sentence Graven Ashe to death in absentia! Justice wins!
: Incidentally, this woman is now guilty by association, as are the rest of the Disfavored! Should we kill her, or just torture her into serving the Court?
: Uh... spare her, I guess?
: Alright. Mark, go bring me Graven Ashe so we can kill him.
: You wanna do it kid?
: Nah I'm good.
: What the fuck bullshit is this? I'm gonna have the Disfavored kill everyone in this court!
: Everyone, look at this bitch!
: Fuck you! You get that Kyros turned us against each other to keep us down? If only I had acted on this information instead of marching my irreplaceable soldiers into obvious traps!
: As a reward for your loyal service finding out that Ashe was the real traitor, I'm going to put you on trial! Hope you prepared a defense! Hey, Sirin, what do you think of Boris?
: He is a complete monster and I would kill him if I had the ability.
: No Boris is cool.
: So, why did you delay the Edict of Storms?
: I wanted to save our loyal Disfavored troops.
: That is turbo mega treason! You should have obeyed Graven Ashe, the man you just proved was a traitor who deserved to die! Why were you in the Oldwalls?
: I only went in there to chase the trespassers.
: I guess that's understandable. So, why the HELL did you send Zdenya to the Voices of Nerat?
: You told me to gain his trust so he'd squeal, and that was the only way to do that.
: NO FUCK YOU DUMBASS DO WHAT I THINK NOT WHAT I SAY!!!! Now why do you remain silent when interrogating people?
: I learned it from you.
: So did you start the civil war?
: Wait, you seriously think I started the war?
: Any closing remarks?
: This trial is fucking bullshit so I'm gonna pull a Dinklage. En garde!
: Son, you have disappointed both Kyros and me.
: Ah, shit, the kid got me. Don't die or I'll look like a chump. Guess everything will be terrible forever...
: That was mega illegal and I will fight you now.
: Ugh, I am dying. Please remember justice. It is very important.
: Yay! Pleasedon'trememberwhatIsaidaminuteago!
On that note we can loot the bodies.
Tunon drops his staff, which is one of the few weapons in the game that deals Corrode (poison) damage. Make of that what you will.
We also get his mask, which has an interesting description. Copied from the wiki which is verbatim the game:
Face of Judgment posted:
This mask of stern and unforgiving iron was previously worn by Tunon the Adjudicator as a symbol of impartiality.
Even before he assumed his mantle of Archon and lawbringer, Tunon's obsession with fair procedure extended to his face, which he did not trust to audience a trial without expressing some unintended bias. This mask replaced a previous variation made of wood, and was assigned to Tunon when he became the Archon of Justice.
In keeping with Tunon's severity, his mask is extremely uncomfortable. How he wore this for uninterrupted centuries is a mystery. His mask is nothing if not an extension of one of his core philosophies: that everyone should feel protected under Kyros' Law, but no one should feel safe.
This is entirely consistent with what we've seen. Anyone and anything can be brought down by the law and the proper application of unfair bullshit like in absentia trials, and the threat of Tunon's wrath hangs over the player constantly no matter what they do, even though on paper they're one of the most loyal servants of Kyros.
Ashe has a hilariously named accessory and his mace, which has another description.
Before he became an Archon, Graven Ashe wielded Peacemaker in service to his king.
Each of the Great Northern Warlords was gifted a weapon of extraordinary power, and all of them (save this one) are said to hang in Kyros' trophy gallery. In spite of its age, the iron is lovingly preserved and treated with regular applications of oil. The word "ABSOLUTION" is carved down the length of the haft in runes that predate Kyros' dominion. It can be inferred that Ashe added this personal touch after his fall to disfavor, though he would never achieve what he sought.
The Great General kept Peacemaker close at all times, and shared its history with no one. Legends dating back centuries imply that its lightning-wreathed head changed its aspect every hundred years - cycling between fire, water, storm and Gravelight in no discernible order. Even the name - Peacemaker - is a topic of scrutiny. The name only became a matter of record after Ashe surrendered to Kyros- implying that Ashe made his peace when he laid the hammer at Kyros' feet.
Much as the Disfavored could never please Graven Ashe, Ashe would never please Kyros and thus never find absolution from the original sin of betraying his King.
Next time: The, erm, alternative way of getting Barik out of his armor.