Part 79: Governor Boris and the Cowardly SurrenderGovernor Boris and the Cowardly Surrender
Welcome back! Last time on Tyranny, we set Graven Ashe up in a show trial so we could eliminate a rival - er, establish Kyros' wise justice. Today we will finish our task of seizing power for ourselves.
Tunon and Bleden Mark are still dead.
The game still tracks Bleden Mark favor in this act 3 random encounter that can fire after you kill Tunon and Mark. I choose to believe the Fatebinders are absolutely terrified after you ganked Tunon, but who knows?
For this next part, we need a companion with either Fear or Loyalty 4. Barik is at max loyalty (somehow) so we are going to bring him along for our confrontation with the Voices of Nerat.
The guards salute us instead of making some idiotic doomed last stand this time. It probably helps that we've been running around helping all of the various Chorus lines and killing all the people they hate.
I really wish there was some way to convey Nerat's gleefully insane laughter through the screenshots.
: We don't have to do this, unless you always do whatever Kyros insists.
Nerat and Boris would be better off working together against Kyros, but if you haven't noticed Nerat is kind of a treacherous murderous psychopath.
Nerat is fucking losing it right now, as the stress of pretending to be everything to everyone is getting to him.
: [Lie] I would rather supplicate myself before you, Archon.
It's not like we have any integrity left anyway.
: No gesture of fealty is complete without its offering. No rings or promises will do - no, the offering must be made sacrifice before us...
: A sacrifice he said, and a sacrifice we meant.
: The flames licking his shoulder flare up, momentarily forming a pair of question marks.
What do you expect is going to happen? Were you not paying attention?
Nerat sums up this path eloquently in a few sentences. We have trampled our morals - if we ever had any - to gain greater and greater power, so what exactly is the sacrifice of a companion here?
Sirin gives us a big hint, presumably to disguise the fact that she just tried to have us killed. Also that first line is hilariously dickish - Sirin is also an Archon.
: [Nod to your companion.]
: What are you muttering about? If it's anything other than 'goodbye and thank you for your service,' we will be most displeased!
: The flames under his robe appear to be burning completely out of control, whipping around his mask and sleeves like green tentacles.
: I agree to these terms. You can have one of my companions.
Not to be outdone by his earlier actions, Boris heroically throws his last scruple under the bus.
It's interesting that any Fatebinder, no matter how evil, feels the need to apologize to Barik.
: Barik, I'm sorry.
Like I said, I can't bring myself to hate Barik, because the game is very clear that if he'd been raised as not a fascist he would be a truly noble person. Much like he did for Graven Ashe, Barik is now sacrificing himself for another master who sees him as expendable - but now you are that master. The circle is complete.
: Ever the loyalist. Prepare yourself for a second cage, Barik of the DIsfavored.
Barik walks to stand before the Voices.
Nerat hits him with some kind of mind magic.
Barik's dead body crumples to the ground as Nerat clutches his head in agony. Barik is fucking dead!
Barik's model bursts from Nerat's body as the game makes it clear some kind of internal power struggle is happening.
Time to go nuts!
Clearly something is going wrong in Nerat's crazy head.
The struggle concludes with Nerat looking at his body as if it weren't his own.
This is all with Barik's voice actor, by the way. If you don't have loyalty or fear 4 on the sacrifice, Nerat just eats them and you do the boss fight. I believe Nerat summons copies of the many, many people you sent to their deaths. However, we took the coward's way out and dragged Barik down with us.
So we cynically exploit Barik's devotion to turn him into a monster. Classy!
: Are you okay in there? Do you have... things under control?
: Well, this is... strange, but I'm glad to have you back. You can help me lead the Scarlet Chorus.
It's not much of a compensation for losing the party member and unique magic items, but this is literally the end of the game and there are no fights left.
Whichever Archon is alive last gives you the warning that Kyros' extermination force is on the way.
: What would you recommend?
: My head is so heavy with ideas that it feels like I'm trapped in armor again. Not all of them are good, either. The Voices of Nerat had some pretty crazy thoughts, most of them having to do with hanging flayed skins.
: Were it just me in here, I might say... striking back? That feels right. Sending a message to Kyros.
TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:
: Woo hoo! Ashe is FUCKING DEAD! I'm so happy, you can be in my sick ass book! Are you ready for ARCHON THROWDOWN?
: That only benefits Kyros.
: HELL NO! Now I can be KING OF THE TIERS! It's gonna RULE, and I'm not crazy!
: Uhh...what if I submitted to you, instead?
: And now, my dastardly plan is revealed! To prove your loyalty, you must make one of your companions lie down on this trolley! Ha ha ha ha! HA HA HA HA!
: Psst I bet you could have someone on the inside so to speak, if you had someone loyal enough.
: Stop muttering! Who am I eating?
: Sorry Barik, but you're standing between me and free unlimited power.
: I see. I swore to stand between you and all your enemies, and I will be loyal to the end. I hope you choke on me, Nerat.
: Ha ha, get fucked! I'm eating your brain now - fuuu!
: Hey, it's me, Barik! I heard you needed my help, so I figured why not come back? I'm a complete and utter monster now, but I think I can keep this collection of insane madmen under control.
: Thanks for coming back! You can help me seize control of the Scarlet Chorus!
: Alright, but Kyros is sending an army to waste our asses and you should totally Edict that.
Yeah, Barik is permadead and we killed him. Were the game longer I'd expect our other companions would be having second thoughts right about now, but Act 3 is kind of rushed unfortunately.
Barik's transformation is honestly perfect for the end of Nerat. On a metaphorical level, of course the strain of being all things to all people is tearing Nerat apart (I am reminded of the man who pretended to be insane in a mental institution only to actually go insane) and the reveal of the "true" Nerat as a power-obsessed frothing madman is exactly what we'd expect. Barik becoming the new Nerat makes perfect sense not just on a metaphorical level but on a practical one as well - this is an authoritarian regime where whatever horseshit the leaders trot out needs to be accepted at face value if you don't want to die. Kyros is beyond time? Sure! Kyros is all powerful? Why not. That man in the shitty smelling Disfavored armor is actually the Voices of Nerat? Sounds good to me!
The Orphan Master's Son, Adam Johnson posted:
The answer, citizens, is that this was not the genuine Commander Ga! Look at the photo of the real Commander Ga on the wall behind this imposter. The man in the picture had broad shoulders, a crenellated brow, and teeth worn down from aggressive grinding. Now look at the spindly man wearing the Commander's uniform - sunken chest, girl's ears, barely the notion of a noodle in his trousers. Certainly it is an insult to do this imposter the honor of being called Commander Ga, but for the beginning of this story it will suffice.
He commanded, "I am Commander Ga, and you will treat me as such."
Even though all her instincts told her this was not true, she was wise to set aside her own feelings and trust the guidance of a government official, for he bore the rank of minister. When in doubt, always look to your leaders for proper behavior.
In the quoted novel, the protagonist kills Commander Ga and takes his place, and because the citizens of North Korea are conditioned to believe that Kim Jong Un invented the cheeseburger - or rather, because they're conditioned to act that way because their lives depend on it - he can walk into Ga's house and live his life. Practically we condemn Barik to the same fate as Nerat - Barik must be all things to all people if he wants to keep his position, and he must quickly become willing to do the same vile things Nerat was willing to do to keep power.
Seven Toes can't completely hide the cognitive dissonance, but we've come full circle. At the beginning of the game, we were attempting to reconcile Kyros' laws with reality, and now we can force everyone to believe that Barik is Nerat under threat of death.
It's time to deal with Kyros.
: [Relax for a moment, ponder the situation]
This is probably the biggest argument in favor of the interpretation that this was all part of Kyros' secret plan, and it's honestly up to the reader to decide whether the Archon believes this because it's the truth, or because the Archon hasn't fully shaken their conditioning having been raised to believe that Kyros is immortal and all powerful.
Oh come on!
: [Affirm your loyalty to Kyros and send news of your successful conquest to the Overlord.]
Yeah, we're taking the surrender ending this route. Arcanuse had a great point that we are nominally covered by Kyros' laws and did everything Kyros asked us to do, so Kyros attacking us makes her look like the bad guy in the eyes of the Archons. How well does the game handle this?
It's hilarious that the backing out option is the sensible option, but we're gonna go full Reddit loyalty because after all, it worked so well for Tunon and Ashe, right?
: [Speak into the Resonator] In the name of Kyros, I, Boris claim the Tiers for the glory of the Overlord.
Of course, the sensible reason to do this is because you don't want a hellwar right now. Half the Tiers are blighted by the Edicts of Storms and Fire, the Scarlet Chorus need time to get used to their new leadership, and the Archon could really use the time to solidify control.
: Magnified by the power of the Resonator, your victorious words thunder across the valley, and out to the world beyond. Seconds later, you hear the reverberations of your voice echoing off the mountains. Louder than any stroke of thunder or earthquake, your declaration of triumph rings out across Terratus.
We get two achievements: The Chorus Line is the one for winning with the Scarlet Chorus, and Apocalypse Later is the achievement for surrendering to Kyros.
This is the closest we ever get to seeing Kyros. Don't bother speculating, Kyros is deliberately an archetype.
The loyalist ending kind of wants to have its cake and eat it too. The marketing of the ending was that you are 100% Reddit loyal to Kyros because you didn't get the game at all and thought that Kyros being a peacebringer handing out free food was 100% the actual goal of the Kyrosian regime. If you look at the map, however, the Tiers are explicitly not covered in Kyros' red blood area. The Scarlet Chorus armies are loyal to the Archon, not Kyros, and while on paper Kyros commands here in actuality we can have a big party in the Oldwalls and as long as we keep it officially on the down low Kyros can't do shit.
Kyros is forced to acknowledge us because we played by the rules of Archon Club and never actually made a point of rebelling against her. After all, she said we were an Archon and that all the Archons were to kill each other to seize power. We told everyone we did what Kyros wanted us to. Sirin and Nerat show us precedent.
Earlier in the game posted:
We - and Kyros - know the alternative here. As Arcanuse pointed out, we can start Edict bombing the capital while telling all the Archons that Kyros has broken faith, and hey, that capital is full of loot...
This is not to mention we have a fairly large army of professional murderers and sorcerers loyal to us whom we can back up with Edicts, making it so that the Kyrosians would have a fair fight for the first time in centuries.
This gives the "loyalist" game away - you're not surrendering because you really want to get in Kyros' pants or whatever, you're stalling for time while you rebuild your army to take on Kyros and amass more power to fuel the inevitable Edicts you're going to need to win that war. Of course, it doesn't hurt that your army is basically traumatized murderers who don't do well on garrison duty.
Yes, you're just as bad as Kyros.
Having actually centralized power by seizing control of a real army instead of a bunch of nonexistent hobos conjured by the magic of ending slides, we don't have a complete clusterfuck of rebellions but instead a reign of terror.
The racists get their homeland back, but we also gain the farmland necessary to support our new army.
The Stonestalkers are boned, but they don't form a significant portion of your powerbase so who cares.
The ending slides have moments of incoherence like this one, where it really doesn't matter that Radix is dead because Ashe died and they all crumpled like good little fascists.
Not sure why we don't have the option to kill the kid AFTER we throw off the shackles, but my guess is that that would cross the line for the Scarlet Chorus members and we can't afford to deal with that right now.
Once again, the tyrant screws over a bunch of people for the sake of keeping power.
This also seems like something we'd want to fix immediately so we could loot the Sage archives for anything that would be useful for the inevitable hellwar, but who knows? The endings of this game are not entirely consistent.
You've become Kyros! Do you get it, player?
We're even falling into the same trap of screwing ourselves in the long run to maintain power in the short.
I've read rumors you can ignore the event and another Fatebinder defends the tower in your absence, but I'm not sure I believe them.
The game's not even trying to pretend this is some kind of good ending, like it did in the Anarchy path when we unilaterally proclaimed ourselves dictator for life.
We also just reinvent the Kyrosian wheel. Remember, the Archon has been steeped in Kyrosian culture for so long and forced to do so many atrocities that this is going to be their fallback. You do not give a servant of a tyrannical regime the ability to reshape thing in their own image for them to suddenly come up with ideas like habeus corpus or a jury of their peers. Every single "innovation" of this government is just more Tyranny.
Bleden Mark subjected the Fatebinder to brutal training, so it's understandable they have some PTSD about it.
Oh, and Barik turns the Chorus into something far more dangerous than they were before.
Verse continues ganking people as long as we give her money, much like Kyros and the Archons.
I thought we'd get a different ending, honestly.
We don't have high enough loyalty with Killsy to get her to stick around, but we have a threat to scare people with, I guess?
We further traumatized a child. What did you expect would happen?
That's Tyranny! Specifically, the surrender option, which I don't think is as bad as the marketing made it out to be, but it really can't decide whether you've gone full reddit Kyros loyalist or whether or not the entire thing is a ploy to rearm and prepare for the inevitable war. The ending is fitting - a ruined land with the Kyros banner raised over it, and - on the Scarlet Chorus route especially - there is no escape. You are Kyros, from following in her footsteps by raising the Spires to negotiating the loyalty of merciless sociopaths whom you must keep happy to stay in power. There is no hope for anything better on Terratus, simply a revolving horrorshow of whoever the latest tyrant is - and even then, this is the Bronze Age! There are no people writing about the inherent rights of man, and very few people can even read much less argue down a Fatebinder in Tunon's court. There are no concepts of rights at all - even Archons have privileges which can be revoked by Kyros, such as Kyros' Peace or the farce trial in absentia. This ending makes it clearer the Archon is more of the same - disappearances in the night in Lethian's Crossing, retaining the Voices of Barik as spymaster, and even reinventing the same Fatebinder system Kyros and Tunon used to keep order. The player character has become a monster, and their damnation is eternal.
I have two more bonus updates. One is the trial of Tunon we never got to see, where Fatebinder Furia gets tried for preventing a rape, and the other is one last retrospective on the game as a whole. Then we'll be done with the LP and I can focus on...ATOM. Oh well!