The Let's Play Archive

White Knight Chronicles I & II

by nine-gear crow

Part 6: Ballroom Blitz (Part 2)

Before we continue with the LP, let’s take a moment to discuss how dumb everyone on either side of this conflict is, and how Belcitane only managed to get the upper hand because Valtos was just that much dumber than him.

Okay, so Belcitane’s plot is equal measures of smart and stupid. First of all, it hinges on so many things going just exactly right for him just to make it up to this point. Sneaking into Balandor using the general activity and commotion of Princess Cisna’s 18th birthday as a smoke screen? Smart. Doing so disguised as an incredibly obvious and attention-grabbing circus troop? Not so smart. What if anyone from the Castleguard between there and here demanded that this completely unknown entity of a circus present itself for an inspection on the off chance that they might not be above board?

I mean, one guard wouldn’t even let our friend the hooded man go without being inspected on the grounds that he was slightly suspicious before he got mind-raped into submission. Are you saying to me that this was the only competent guard in all of Balandor? Everyone else just waved them through to do their thing? Because I’m pretty sure keeping that army and Pyredaemos under wraps for the entire afternoon and most of the evening was a VERY difficult task, especially when pulling off misdirect on the scale of an entire circus act.

Belcitane also happened to pick probably the worst possible time to try and pull off this attack… Or at least he would have had Valtos not been incompetent. Ideally, with both the Princess’s birthday celebration and the arrival of Archduke Dalam’s diplomatic envoy falling on the same day, there should be just as a rule of thumb a heightened security presence in Balandor specifically for those two events, just in case someone actually tried something, like, oh, attacking the castle with an army and a giant flame-shitting hell beast. Not only that, the army should be in a state of extra-special vigilance seeing as how the man they’re playing host to is notable thus far for nearly burning Balandor Castletown to the ground as part of a long and racially engrained war between the two great kingdoms. We’ve seen that Cyrus is leery towards Farians on principle, so why not make sure every available soldier is on hand around the clock between now and when Dalam departs just in case he maybe tries to pull off the same thing Belcitane just did? You know, trust-but-verify?

And then there’s the issue of the Farian detachment currently in Balandor with Dalam. Dalam brought a large number of soldiers with him to this peace treaty confab, including members of the Farian Red Guard, their own version of the Castleguard. Belcitane decided to pick a fight with not just one, but two whole armies and two whole nations. You’ll see in a couple of screenshots later on and in the videos that there are Farian corpses dotting the floor of the castle, meaning that the Farian army was involved in this fight too, quite heavily, I might add. What was Belcitane’s plan if the two nations put this whole ‘peaceful co-operation’ thing to the test and joined forces to fend off his army? Suppose they were able to mount a co-ordinated defence against Pyredaemos? What then?

But alas, none of this happened because Valtos is a naïve idiot. In the name of welcoming Dalam in peace, he doesn’t post any additional guards or troops inside Balandor just in case something terrible happens either accidentally or intentionally. In the name of making buying his daughter’s happiness with empty gestures, he allows a strange, unverified, unknown circus troupe into the city to perform a show that she doesn’t even get to attend anyway. And because he’s unable to foresee any possible danger on this, the most important day in his entire reign thus far, he doesn’t even bother to secure his castle from the most obtuse of infiltrations by a trio of commoners who got inside with a wine wagon as their potential cover. He was even legitimately pissed off that that guard came stumbling into the throne room in an obvious panic and interrupted his party instead of immediately asking what the problem was.

Then there’s also the boneheaded decision to schedule the treaty negotiations for the same day as Cisna’s 18th birthday celebration, thus taking two high profile, high priority target events and combining them into one gigantic extremely high profile and high priority target event that practically calls out to any potential ne’er-do-well to try and start something during it. I’m assuming that there is at least an armistice on between Faria and Balandor at the moment that has allowed for Dalam to even come here all the way from Faria, so what is the risk in putting a little more distance between these events? Now, we’re not going to get a peek inside Farian internal politics until the second game, but I’m going to assume that up to this point, Dalam had enough control over his country that he could hold off going back to war for maybe another month at the very least, right? Plus, there’s been no signs from everything we’ve seen thus far that Balandor is under any potential threat of falling back into war with Faria, so again why not put a buffer down so you can be better prepared to negotiate a treaty unencumbered and uncompressed by the concerns surrounding a royal birthday party too? But alas, no.

So Belcitane scores first blood because the story demands it, not because he pulled off a particularly clever gambit or ploy that outmaneuvered Valtos and Dalam's troops and intelligence in a creative way. Instead, because the attack must happen in order for the story to start properly, they don’t even bother coming up with a convincing reason for it happening, and so King Valtos comes off looking like a complete idiot who gets blindsided on his home turf on a day when you’d think the entire apparatus of his regime would be on its game like nobody’s business. I mean, yeah, when it comes to it there is little you can do to argue with a walking tank outside of throwing out your own walking tank to meet it head-on, but a little more prep work would have solved a lot of these problems before they even got to this point.

As such, the failure continues unabated.

CUTSCENE: Dial R For 'Regicide'

Meanwhile, like literally 20 feet away.

This is what you get when you don’t use certified contractors.

Cisna: (Worst birthday ever.)

King Valtos: Cisna! Quickly, this way!

They run towards the staircase to nowhere, I mean the upper levels of the castle, in a desperate bid for freedom.

King Valtos: Hurry! Quickly!
Cisna: (No, I’m just gonna take my time and die.)

Valtos comes to a dead stop half way up the stars, a look of shock and horror in his eyes.

Oh dear.

CUTSCENE MUSIC:Regicide” (Unreleased Track)

It’s this guy.

King Valtos: Darth Vader!
General Dragias: I’m sorry, what?

Hang on. Where the hell did Dragias come from? The evil army burst in through the front door of the castle, which is actually down several levels from the throne where Valtos and Cisna are right now. Yet Dragias is coming down the stairs from higher up in the castle and in front of his troops’ point of ingress.

…Did he parachute onto the roof or something?

Because if that’s true, that’s AWESOME! I want to see that happen.

Someone draw this happening!

King Valtos: How did you…

General Dragias: Unlike everyone else in this story, I’m competent. That’s how.

This can’t end well…

King Valtos: I peed a little.

General Dragias: So much for dying with dignity.

And with that, Cisna has been a firsthand witness to both of her parent’s violent, senseless murders. It’s a tow’fer, folks. And talk about bookends, while her mother’s death shocked her into silence, her father’s death shocks her back into locution.

Cisna: Father…

Cisna: I wanted to kill you first! This was not how I planned this!

Cisna: Father, please! Please don’t die!
Cisna: …Yet.

King Valtos: Ah, Cisna… At last, I hear your voice again. How I have missed… Missed the sound of it.
Cisna: Father!

King Valtos: Seriously though… What was that about… killing me?
Cisna: Please father, don’t speak. You’re hallucinating.
King Valtos: I’m bleeding through… my spleen.
Cisna: Ew.

King Valtos: Go… You must. My… beautiful daughter.

Cisna: No, I won’t leave you! I don’t want to be alone. Please, father. No.
King Valtos: I tried to fix you up with a husband, but all you said was—

Cisna: No!
King Valtos: Pretty much. HRUGH! Oh crap, I think I’m actually dying now. Farewell my sweet daughter. Carry me in your heart as I carried your mother: blatantly and obtrusively. And… Urgh! Avenge my death…

General Dragias: How Shakespearean. Oh well, time to go two-for-two.

Dragias readies his blade for the coup de grace.

Cisna: If you strike me down, I will become more powerful than you could ever—
General Dragias: Heard it before. Spoiler alert: no, you won’t.

And just like that, Cisna’s glorious reign as Queen of Balandor comes to an end after a middling 15 seconds, tops.

ZOUNDS! What madness is this?


Cisna: My… hero?

Yeah, don’t count on it, darling.

General Dragias: Okay, what the hell? REALLY? How old are you kid, like 12?

And yet a flash of bravado and a quick semi-competent sword move appears to be enough to knock Dragias off balance and provide a window for their escape. I swear, it’s like this guy has upper body strength of a 70 year-old man or something.

Leonard: Princess! This way!

General Dragias: Whatever…

Um, far be it from me to question your tactics, general, but they’re not running away all that fast and this castle isn’t that big. You sure you’re not going to go after them or anything? I mean, to just up and leave seems kind of lazy, if you know what I—

General Dragias: I said WHATEVER!

Oh, screw you then. Christ, even the bad guys half-ass their way through stuff in this game.

Cisna: Father!!

Leonard: Come on! We have to go, or they’ll kill you!

Cisna: B-but… my father!!!
Cisna: …’s crown! I need that to prove I’m Queen now!

Leonard has no concern, however, for the Viking funeral Cisna has planned for her dearly departed father and continues to forcibly drag her down the stairs, nearly causing her to trip over her own dress and come tumbling down right on top of him because he's a klutz. All the while, tears continue to stream down Cisna’s face as she realizes just how much of a catastrophe tonight has turned into.

Leonard: Quick! This way!

Yeah, like you know your way around a castle you just stepped foot in for the first time 20 minutes ago and have only seen through peeking glances amidst a throng of people. Jackass.

He suddenly stops mid-step, having spotted something ahead of him. Something shocking, from all outward appearances.

General Dragias. …But how? He was heading up the stairs in the opposite direction! How is he down here giving orders?

Mysterious villain is mysterious.

General Dragias is not capable of teleportation, FYI.

Or maybe a plot contrivance, I always get those two mixed up.

Anyway, the battle continues unabated despite the presence/absence of Schrödinger’s Dragias.

Leonard: This way!

You keep saying that like it means something. Well, this part of the castle has gone completely to shit. Let’s check in with Cyrus and Archduke Dalam to see how they’re making out in the meanwhile…


Cyrus: Your Excellency! Archduke Dalam!

Archduke Dalam: …Tell everyone my last words were… ’Fuck Ban Nanazel.’ I hate that guy…
Cyrus: Seriously! You weren’t even stabbed or anything! How did this happen?

Because the plot demands it to happen! Dalam’s eyes roll back into his head in that classic “I’m dead” expression, and he collapses in Cyrus’s arms.

Rest now, O mighty Lord of the Awesome Chair. You will be avenged, I swear it.

Castleguardsman: Gods… I can’t believe it.
Castleguardsman: Seriously! Nobody touched him!

Say what you will about Cyrus’s prejudices, the man takes his job seriously. Failure is NOT an option for this man. This is the face of a man who has just realized the crushing truth that he is a character in White Knight Chronicles, Failure: The Game.

Cyrus: Damn! This was a mistake. Our peace just died with him.

Another Castleguardsman: Your Grace… Sir Cyrus! The King!
Cyrus: What about him?

The guardsman rushes in to tell Cyrus the awful truth, in one of those clichéd inaudible whisper to deliver shocking news type moments.

Cyrus: Aw shiiiit, I am soooooo FIRED!

CUTSCENE: Escaping the Chaos

Is there ANYWHERE in this castle that’s not on fire?

We return to Leonard blindly dragging Cisna through the inferno to what he foolishly assumes will be somewhere safe.

Of course, it’s pretty impractical to go running around in a full-length ball gown. Add in her being wracked with grief and shock, and it’s only natural that Cisna trips and takes a spill on the carpet.

Seriously, how has everyone not died from smoke inhalation or something yet? Everyone who even survives this massacre is a shoe-in for Black Lung, at the very least.

CUTSCENE MUSIC: "Recollection"

Leonard: Come on. I won’t let them get you. Not you.

You’ve known her for like four minutes, how attached to her can you possibly be, anyway?

Cisna: Who are you?

Leonard: I’m Leonard.

Cisna: Why did you…?

He of course flashes back to their fateful meeting in the garden. He remembers it perfectly, like it was the most important day of his small, menial life. Cisna? For her, it was Tuesday.

I have no idea how he’s able to remember the look on his face back then, but whatever.

Leonard: Well…

Leonard: It’s just, I care about you, you know?

Cisna: What?

Her first time talking in ten years and her dialog thus far has consisted of W5 questions. Wonderful.

Also note the look of confused disinterest on her face when Leonard tells her he’s got feelings for her.

Leonard: Uh. I mean…
Leonard: What? Girls? Ew. I don’t like girls. Especially princesses. Yeah… Ummm…

On the one hand, this is an anime-as-hell physical overreaction to the realization of unintended intimate contact with a member of the opposite sex. And yet, still, good on Leonard for having a momentary flash of higher brain function and realising he’s being kind of creepily physical with a) a woman FAR above his social standing, and b) someone he’s known for less than five minutes, their present situation be damned.

I get the impulse to want to physically comfort someone during a time of crisis and severe emotional trauma, but maybe wait until you’re out of the danger zone and there’s no risk of the architecture dislodging and crushing you to death before you try and make it to first base with your new Queen, eh sport?

Leonard: We all do… care about you, I mean.

Leonard: Your kingdom loves and needs you!

Cisna: Yeah, nice save, prettyboy.

This is the face of a woman who is not buying what he’s selling, yet going along with it because she realises this random peasant boy who’s come out of literally nowhere and has no reason to even be here is probably her best shot at seeing the sunrise tomorrow morning.

Leonard does the gentlemanly thing and offers his future Empress of All Creation a hand back to her feet. …In the midst of the giant smoking ruin of the castle.



Well they make a lovely couple, don’t they? So I suppose it’s only a matter of moments before Cisna joins the party too. We’ve been lacking a straight-up mage character so far, so maybe…

Why is the game laughing at me again?

Also, again pointing out how short Leonard is. He’s barely taller than Cisna

A loud crash startles our two budding lovebird and they look to see what fresh hell approaches.


Pyredaemos lumbers its way closer and closer to Leonard and Cisna. What few Balandor soldiers who stand between them and the fiery beast probably don’t stand a chance, yet they throw themselves at it regardless.

Cisna: A lordship to the man who kills that beast in my name!
Castleguardsmen: It will be done my, Princes—OW! GODS! IT BURNS!
Cisna: When this lunacy’s over with, I am totally getting myself one of these things.

Leonard can do nothing but look on in horror as the soldiers all get trampled by Pyredaemos. But he’s startled by a familiar (to us) voice crying out from the distance.

Mysterious Man: Are you survivors?

What kind of dumb question is that, Maxwell?

Mysterious Man: This way! To the cellars!

Okay, it’s good that you have a practical destination in mind, dude, but like again, how do you know where the cellars are? Have you been here before or something? If so, why were you sneaking into the city like a shifty creep at the start of the game?

Dutch angle…

Zoom in!

Leonard: Let’s go!
Cisna: Yeah, because I clearly have no say in the matter. This is only my goddamn castle, you know. I barely know YOU, let along this guy!

But, alas, Leonard isn’t one to think these kinds of higher thoughts, especially in the midst of a crisis. So he takes her hand (at least it’s an upgrade over dragging her around by the wrist) and absconds with her in the direction of the suspicious caped man with the wild hair offering a convenient escape from the chaos.

Although complications love to unfurl themselves in this game and a whole pile of rubble comes falling down from the ceiling, right in Leonard and Cisna’s path.

Leonard: Dammit! We’re trapped!
Cisna: No we’re not, I can see the way around it from here. We could hop over it, for crying out loud.

Leonard: Oh gods! There’s no way out.
Mysterious Man: Oh for gods’s sakes!

Luckily, Leonard does realise there is in fact a way around the pile of rubble, and he escorts Cisna towards the man in the robes and towards the cellars.

Meanwhile, on the other other side of the castle:

Yulie: Leonard? Where are you? Leonard!!!

Save yourself, dear. He’s not worth it.

Orren: Oh crap… Ah, Yulie…

Castleguardsman: Hrugh!

The enemy soldier spots Yulie and makes a b-line for her. Because nothing says “I’m a badass, fear me,” like murdering a defenceless 90 lb. girl with purple hair.

I feel like the Jaws theme should be playing right now.

Yulie: Oh gods, I regret everything!

Nice work, Leonard. You leave your best friend and adoptive sister to die horribly at the hands of some mook soldier while you run off to save a girl you’ve known for like five seconds, total. Our ‘hero,’ ladies and gentlemen.

Oh well, goodbye Yulie. Give Fiora my regards when you see her in “female RPG characters killed off two hours into the game Heaven”.

But wait! Look at this! Maxwell Sheffield himself comes charging out of the smoke and flames to save the day!


Mysterious Man: Am I interrupting something?

This angle is just all sorts of weird. I’m getting vertigo just looking at it.

Mysterious Man: Can you stand?
Yulie: Aw! Mistah Sheeeeeefieeeeld!

Unlike Leonard, Max here doesn’t both to help Yulie up, probably because he knows she’s capable of standing on her own. And he’d probably break a hip trying to help her up again. Look at him, he’s in his early 50’s. By JRPG standards, the guy is practically mathuselan.

Yulie: Uh-huh!

Yulie: Hey, buster! Where were you when I was about to get cut in half back there?
Orren: I just killed like five guys who were trying to sneak up on you.

Yulie: Reeeeealy now?

In all seriousness, there’s very little I can do to patch up this part of the game for the Avatar, no matter how much narrative bullshit I use. We’ve beat this point into the ground in the discussion already, but it bears repeating: the Avatar character is a non-entity story and action-wise. The game takes great pains to ensure he or she has absolutely no role in the plot and does not involve himself or herself in any actual scripted fight scenes.

The 113th Congress of the United States is a more productive entity than the Avatar, who becomes, in essence, an avatar for the wasted potential of White Knight Chronicles as a whole.

What can I say beyond that? I’m trying. The game isn’t even meeting me half way.

Yulie: Eh, whatever.
Yulie: Let’s go!

And so, inspired by an actually competent leader, Yulie and Orren rush out into battle along with the mysterious stranger, a battle that we don’t get to see, because it involved the Avatar actually doing some physical fighting, and God forbid we get to see any of that.

Also, I apologize for the medieval leather pantyshot I’m closing out this chapter with. It’s simply a sad combination of a bad camera angle, screenshot timing, and the fact that Yulie’s default clothing was custom designed to be the perfect blend of anime and fantasy and to specifically allow for maximum pantyshot potential. I would say “in all fairness, at least she’s 18,” but that’s not a valid excuse, especially here of all places. I wanted to try and play through the game using everyone’s default equipment for consistency’s sake, but I’m seriously considering equipping Yulie with an actual pair of pants to try and mitigate a lot of these needless fan service-y moments because they’re something I’ve come to absolutely despise in JRPGs lately.

See what I mean about fate intervening? The old man just appearing out of nowhere was completely random, but you know what? I wasn’t about to look a gift horse in the mouth.

He seemed to know what he was doing, which was a lot more than I could say about Leonard, so I decided right there that it might be worth it to stick with this guy, if only to make it through this night alive. Yulie thought much the same. Neither of us really stopped to ponder what happened to Leonard at that point.

Personally, I kind of hoped he’d been killed in the melee.

Little did I know though he was rushing blindly into an encounter that would change the course of history for Balandor, Faria, and the whole damn world.

Had I known then what I know now about what he was about to get us into, I’d have rushed after him and killed him myself…