Part 27: Who Better Than Canyon?
God, Ive been waiting MONTHS to use this joke.
CUTSCENE: Boarding the Gondola
We begin this chapter back in the Free City of Greede, where Team Caesar has somehow made it back to well in advance of Cyrus and his merry band of desperate sycophants.
I guess its because they have access to the World Map screen and Cyrus doesnt. Ah the perks of being Player Characters. SUCK IT DRAKE!
Take a shot.
I swear, one of these days, I will go back and count up just how many lines of dialog Leonard has across both games compared to how many of them are comprised solely of the word Cisna. I have a feeling the result will make me want to step in front of a train.
Yulie: Its alright. Shell be fine.
She offers a hand in support, and he just walks away like an oblivious moron.
God, look at that heartwrenching look on her face. He has gone from outright ignoring her to actively being a dick to her in the name of Cisnas panties.
You are too good to even be friends with this this human shitsack, Yulie.
Caesar: He looks like his dog just died
Caesar: Hmm? Was it something I said? Heh heh.
Youre not helping things, Caesar.
CUTSCENE: A Drunken Fool
We now shift scenes to catch up with Team Cyrus and take a moment to contemplate how an impudent, drunken, self-loathing racist like Cyrus is still a better character in the grand scheme of things than Leonard will ever be.
Well, at least theyve made it to Albana. Thats progress. I guess.
At this rate, theyll make it to Faria by the end of game 2.
Cyrus slams his fist on the table.
Cyrus: The snake!
Cyrus: Sarvain acts as though Balandor is his to rule! Arrogant fool. Damn him!
Let me stop you right there, Romeo. First things first: until Team Caesar gets around to rescuing Cisna for real, Balandor essentially is his to rule. Its kind of his right by dint of being the highest ranking surviving member of the Kingdoms government at this present moment.
And number two: you were the head of the army, for gods sake, and the Kings adopted son! Either of those positions carries significant weight in the world of castle politics and the game of thrones (NEEPS NUNCLES AND NIPPLES ON BREASTPLATES! WINDS OF WINTER WILL NEVER BE PUBLISHED!). If you didnt like the way he was conducting things, then THROW HIS ASS IN JAIL! You had the martial authority to do it. If anyone else disagreed with you, throw their asses in jail too until people get the message and then wait until Cisna gets back to decide what to do with them after that.
Once again, I wonder whos the bigger idiot here, Cyrus, for being Cyrus, or me, for arguing with this games Saturday Morning Cartoon logic?
In the end, Cyrus decides to forego logical arguments about medieval political theory and just skip right to getting his drink on.
CUTSCENE MUSIC: Reflecting (Disc 1, Track 18)
Oswald: Please, sir. Keep this up, and youll be in a terrible state when we reach Farias borders.
You didnt know these guys had names, did you? Theyre never spoken aloud in-game, to my knowledge, but theres an Avatar quest in the second game where all four of them appear and are named. This dudes name is Oswald, and hes apparently the vice-captain of Cyruss squad. The girl to his right (or your left) is Anecia, the young guy is Noel, and the bald guy is Warren. .
I actually had to play trough that damn quest to get their names for this chapter because two of them have speaking roles in it.
Noel: Captain, you really should stop drinking.
Shut up, you pansy. That tankard is the only thinking keeping this idiot from starting a war right now. You should be encouraging him to drink himself to death. Then again, if youve followed him this far, youre probably as committed to starting a war with Faria as he is.
Cyrus: Heh heh ha ha ha hah hah hah!
He slams his mug down on the table and we get to hear Nolan North do some sweet drunk acting.
Cyrus: Im not a captain anymore. Just a drunken fool.
Your words, not mine
Noel: Sir, please.
Cyrus: All I am All I was, I owe to King Valtos and Queen Floraine.
Cyrus: Were it not for their kindness, Id be either starving or dead.
He also does a little swirl with his fingers around the lip of the mug which is a nice little touch.
Cyrus: His Grace treated me as if I were his own son, his flesh and blood.
Cyrus: Until then, no one had ever loved me. No one!
Again with the backstory exposition long after we might possibly care about it. Isnt Akihiro Hino a masterful writer?
Cyrus: And I will honour him!
Cyrus: But first I need toBLUAUGH! Hoo! Thats better! Now where was I? Oh yeah!
Cyrus: Im going to give my life to Balandor!
Oswald: Sir, the King was truly a great man
Spoken like a man who just now realised his boss is leading him on a suicide mission and there no way in hell he can talk him out of it.
Oswald: (Yep. Were so boned.)
Cyrus: The King. Yes.
Now we get to hear Nolan North do some cry acting. In all fairness, the man acts the shit of out this scene. Its just that, well, its in this game
Cyrus: He was a great king and an even better father.
Cyrus: Father. Guide me.
Cyrus: Tell me what I must do.
Ghost King Valtos: Dont attack Faria.
Cyrus: Wait, what?
Ghost King Valtos: Please, my son. Dont destroy my dying dream. Respect my wish for peace.
Cyrus: Can you speak up a little? I cant hear you.
Ghost King Valtos: Do not. Start. A war. With Fariah, fuck it, Im dead, what do I care?
Ghost King Valtos: Also: Floraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaine!
Because that joke is deader than Valtos and is still funny to me.
Oswald: Captain Cyrus.
I gotta confess, Im both slightly dyslexic and a fast typer, so when I was just starting out this LP, would often accidentally spell out Cryus rather than Cyrus, probably subconsciously, now that I think about it. Probably based on scenes like this.
Well, this is about the last were gonna be seeing of Cyrus for this game.
Thank you, Akihiro Hino, for this invaluable narrative digression. White Knight Chronicles just would not have worked as a story if we didnt see Cyruss meaningless whiplash slide into self-pity and alcoholism.
CUTSCENE: Grazel's Threat
CUTSCENE MUSIC: Grazels Theme (Disc 2, Track 16)
Oh thank god, were back with some interesting characters. Wait, how the hell is Kara there on the Monoship? She just got on the gondola in Greede.
Maybe the Dragias armour is capable of teleportation?!
Surely there was a better way of imparting the message of this scene without breaking the reality of the story completely, right? I mean, Grazel has an evil Bigelow at his disposal. Why not use that to communicate with Kara, because its been established already that the party only hears and sees things even in front of their faces when its plot relevant to do so.
Instead, we get a just because scene. The audience has figured out that Kara is General Dragias at this point, but because the game hasnt officially revealed it yet, weve got to suffer through nosebleed-inducing logic trauma like this because Akihiro Hino is incapable of thinking four dimensionally.
Grazel: Just what are you waiting for?
Grazel: Do you want to die like Belcitane?
Hey, shitlord! What is it with you and murdering all the interesting characters this game has to offer, anyway? Were your parents killed by interesting characters, or something?
Grazel: Youre pathetic; just as bad as he was. I was just telling Shapur how useless you were.
Grazel: Right, Shapur?
Anyone remember when Dragias was this sick intimidating character who wouldn't even take God's bullshit, let alone Belcitane's? Yeah, that mystique is definitely gone now that s/he's getting talked down to by a toothless schmoz of a villain like Grazel.
Grazel: I hope youre not actually starting to grow fond of them?
Kara shakes her head.
Grazel: In any case. Pactmaker or not, it surely cannot be that difficult to kill someone who trusts you with his life. Mark my words, if you dont act soon, our relationship
Grazel: Is over.
God, all this needs it like a dramatic lightning strike in the background.
Kara bows and exits Grazels office.
Grazel: Im totally an original badass villain, right? Right?
Shapur: Of course you are, my lord. I quake in terror at your villainy.
Grazel: What would I ever do without you, Shapur?
CUTSCENE: The Not-So-Grand Canyon
So back with Team Caesar
Welcome to the second largest and most pain-in-the-ass area to get around in in this game: Frass Chasm.
Caesar: Of all the places. He had to pick Frass Chasm
Id like to imagine Orren and Kara are waiting for the opportunity to push Leonard off the edge of the paddock to his death, but theyre both unintentionally stymieing one another because they dont want there to be any witnesses around when they do it. As such, Leonards existence continues unabated.
Yulie stretches out, happy to be on solid ground again.
Yulie: Its beautiful!
Caesar: Im guessing you dont know what the word frass means.
Frass is informal shorthand for insect shit.
Literally. Were in Insect Shit Chasm right now, essentially.
Thanks, Level-5. Or rather, thanks D3, because this place is merely called "Insect Valley" in the Japanese version. "Frass Chasm" is a name born out of the game's localization, and is the only place in the game to have an out-and-out name change from the source material.
Leonard: Why? Whats frass? Is it bad?
Orren: Nah, its completely harmless. Ill point it out to you when we find it. Rub it all over your face.
Leonard: Wow. Cool.
Orren: Im gonna miss you when someone finally does the world a favour and kills you...
Kara: I hope you like insects
Orren: And Papitaurs.
CUTSCENE: Cisna's Gambit
CUTSCENE MUSIC: Melody of Light (Disc 1, Track 20)
Hologram Cisna: Well, well. Its the charge of the Idiot Brigade. How many innocent people did you get killed on your way here?
Orren: Does Setti count?
Hologram Cisna: I dont even Wow, I was joking. Eh, hell, lets get down to business.
Hologram Cisna: Leonard, are you alright?
Hologram Cisna: And by you I mean that Incorruptus you still havent figured out how to use properly.
Leonard: Fine. Whats wrong?
Hologram Cisna: I should apologize. Not just for putting you in danger again
Hologram Cisna: As much as it amuses me.
Hologram Cisna: But also for convincing Grazel to make the trade here. That was my idea.
You Machiavellian bitch. I KNEW you had it in you!
Hologram Cisna: With each passing day, more memories keep coming back to the surface.
Hologram Cisna: Memories from a much older time
Hologram Cisna: When my people, the Athwani flourished.
Hologram Cisna: Now, I know that I share their blood. Its as though visiting the ruins opened some door, and now Im rediscovering who I am.
Orren: An insane tyrant who sacrificed untold lives to win a war and then had her empire crumble to shit around her through civil unrest?
Hologram Cisna: Yep. I always knew I was destined for greatness. Its nice to finally have some proof to wave in peoples faces.
Eldore: You Youre her!
Hologram Cisna: You dont know the threat the Knights pose. If they were to come together, that would be it.
Hologram Cisna: The end of the world foretold in the prophecy.
Hologram Cisna: But there is a way to stop it.
Leonard: Tell us. How?
Leonard: Im haplessly co-dependant and need others to hand me the answers to my problems.
Hologram Cisna: We must stop the Knights from coming together by destroying them.
Its little moments of understated badass like this that make Cisna one of my favourite characters in this game. The plot of White Knight Chronicles is bonkers and I have never in my life seen a protagonist as inaptly mishandled as I have Leonard, but Cisnas development is one of those rare gems.
Shes a damsel in distress who actually grows stronger, savvier, and more self-confident through her captivity. She has been on screen in this game for probably 45 minutes total, and she has a stronger and more complete character arc than Leonard will have after 80 hours of being in this story.
Hologram Cisna: And for that, we must find a sword called Talion, the only weapon up to the task.
Hologram Cisna: I just said that.
Orren: Yeah, thats his *thing*.
Hologram Cisna: Ugh.
Caesar: Hey, digging the name.
Talion means an eye for an eye. Its derived from the Latin talio meaning retaliation or punishment equal to the injury sustained.
Hologram Cisna: Thaumus Rock was built to honour the warrior Thaumus, a troll who fought the Knights and became a great hero.
Hologram Cisna: Before he marched into battle, the wise men of Athwan forged Thaumus a sword that could pierce the Knights armour. They named the holy blade Talion, which means an eye for an eye.
Hologram Cisna: Shut up, Im talking.
JESUS! How are you doing that?!
Hologram Cisna: If you could find that sword, then perhaps you could destroy the Black Knight.
This is our first reference to trolls playing a larger part in society in the ancient times than they do now. A bit of troll culture, both current and modern, is explored in the game outside of the storyline material, but really nothing beyond titbits of interest. It's covered a little bit in the "Elise Reports" Level-5 released online as supplementary material alongside the Japanese version of the game, however. So I'll be translating and posting those in the OP.
The tl;dr version of troll history is that they were a great and civilized people in the Dogma Era but the absolute collapse of civilization and the Dark Age brought about by the Dogma War and the simultaneous collapse of Yshrenia and Athwan led to the trolls becoming the savage, tribal brutes we see in-game today.
Still, wouldnt that be awesome to have a troll party member of our own? Kind of like Kongol from Legend of Dragoon, only on a massive scale.
But again, my creativity is outpacing Level-5s competence.
Caesar: So thats why you picked Frass Chasm, so we could track down the sword.
Caesar: Thats quite a gamble, Princess. The Magi will be at the Rock, too.
Caesar: If they get to it first, guess whos in trouble?
Hologram Cisna: Yes, I know. Its risky, but its also our only chance.
Hologram Cisna: And ballsy stalemate-breaking gambits are apparently in my nature. So what the hell.
Hologram Cisna: Find the sword, Leonard. You must.
Leonard: Okay. I promise.
Hologram Cisna: Ill try to act like that phrase still holds some meaning to me.
Hologram Cisna: Hurry before something terrible comes to pass. And deep down, I know that I will.
Hologram Cisna: Especially because youre involved with it.
Hologram Cisna: Something truly frightening.
Hologram Cisna: Please dont let it Leonard.
Hologram Cisna: And associates. Seriously, dont let him fuck this up. Im actually worried this time.
And of course because Cisna is a Lucy-With-Football-level troll, she lets Leonard barely touch her holo-hand before
Hologram Cisna: END COMMUNICATION!
Your romantic leads, ladies and gentlemen. The only reason Cisna is showing any affection towards him at this point is to keep him on a tight enough leash so as to mitigate the damage hes bound to cause whilst catering to her master plans.
Leonard is a pawn in a game of globe-spanning chess between Cisna and Grazel that will stretch to the last minutes of game 2.
Kara is suddenly troubled by Cisnas Lets Murder the Shit out of the Black Knight plan.
Eldore: You looking to send a message to someone?
Kara: Hrmph. What are you talking about?
Hell, if Kara could slip out of a space the size of a U-Haul truck box that was occupied by four and a half other people for an extended period of time to go get bitched at by Grazel on the monoship, surely she can find a way to slip out of sight in a giant insect-infested canyon, right?
Eldore: Once again, I will not voice my completely warranted concerns with your allegiance and abilities until it is absolutely too late to do anything about it. Because I suck like that.
AREA MUSIC: Frass Chasm (Disc 2, Track 10)
Oh hey. Gameplay. Its been a while since we've seen you, hasnt it?
So Frass Chasm is essentially another giant dressed up hallway. There are branching paths that come in to play in some online quests, but once youre able to eyeball the route to the next objective marker on the map screen, its frustratingly straight forward.
The only downside to this place is that its loaded with enemies, and this is the point in the game where the difficulty starts to spike right the hell up in advance of the end run, so just getting through the chasm in and of itself can take a couple of hours because if you dont kill everything in your path, everything in your path will sure as hell kill you.
Theres three new enemies in Frass Chasm. The first one is the Umbral Flower, a pallet swap of the Fatal Flower from Greydall Plain. These little bastards love to poison you with their regular attacks.
Next up is the Troll King. These armoured trolls are buffed up versions of the standard trolls from Balastor and Greydall plains. Occasionally youll come across a rare Troll King with a shield in addition to a hammer. Those ones will occasionally put their shields up and cast Faultless Defence on themselves, meaning they cant be harmed by either magic or physical attacks and that can often last like five minutes at a time and is often fatal for under-leveled characters.
The only saving grace is that you can sometimes break the shield, halving the trolls defence stats and scoring a piece of loot for your troubles.
Lastly, theres the Killer Scorpions. These are the wind elemental versions of the scorpion enemy type.
I was only able to get a clear capture of this one as it was dying and about to disappear from the field.
CUTSCENE: It's Coming...
The party runs past a carving of Thaumus. But you know that disaster follows this group like teenage girls follow Justin Bieber on Twitter, so this is not an ordinary running past an innocuous object shot.
The whole canyon starts to shake and dirt begins to fall from the overhang above their heads. In the distance a great screaming roar can be heard, like the frickin Langoliers are coming to consume this never-should-have-been reality.
The party comes to a dead halt.
Leonard: Wha whats that?
Eldore: Get ready. Its coming.
Leonard: It? What kind of it?
Orren: Yeah, could you maybe give a guy some more warning than a damn pronoun?! Gods, youre a useless mentor.
CUTSCENE: The Windwalkers and the Greaver
Down on the canyon floor, a massive dust cloud is tearing through the place, though its not the dust cloud that Eldores worried about, so much as whats inside it.
The rock formation gets easily bowled over by it, and
And were back into Vagina Dentata territory. Thank you, Blind Sally, for making this a thing in my LP.
The beast lumbers forward, more force of nature than creature at this point.
But out of the creatures shadow and the billow of its dust cloud zips a tiny airship.
Several tiny airships, actually.
They follow it in close formation as it rampages through the canyon.
It charges past the partys position in the gorge.
In the midst of this aerial scrum, we also get our first sighting of Osmund, the Best Papitaur.
The ships form up for an attack run on the creature.
God, how I wish Osmund was actually a full-time party member. Hes got like 20 minutes of screen time and 2000x the charisma of Leonard.
He yanks back on a lever
I love how the thing youd expect to be the bomb that detaches actually opens up and drops these things. That was a nice little misdirect.
The bombs detonate over the creatures hide.
It starts to slow down a little
Finally it comes to a complete halt.
Massive wounds open up on its back and thick green gas begins seeping out of its body.
A scoop on the front of the plane opens up and starts sucking in the gas
Until a pair of sacks on the back end of the plane inflate and the craft rocks backward like a pair of parachutes just opened behind it.
They all start cheering, their mission apparently a rousing success. Well, at least someone in this game is able to set a goal and obtain it without significant loss of life.
Osmund, trouncing the main characters in the competence quotient since five minutes ago.
And just so the SPCA doesnt come crawling up my ass, the massive beast is just fine and back underway, its wounds all healed up and no worse for wear.
CUTSCENE: An Excuse To Stop For The Night
Leonard: What was that?
Eldore: A greaver. A type of creature unique to this canyon.
Yulie: Urgh. No wonder Kara asked if we like insects. But who were those people attacking it?
Caesar: Oh, those would be the Windwalkers. Theyre a tribe of Papitaurs who live in the Chasm.
Caesar: You saw their gliders? Well they survive by chasing after the greavers and harvesting the gas they give off. That stuff fetches some pretty coin back in Greede.
Caesar: Trust me, those little stink-jockeys are loaded.
Orren: Hey, thats racist I think.
Yulie: Well I wouldnt want their job.
Leonard: Come on then. We need to hurry.
Eldore: No, wait.
Eldore: We cannot go any further while the greaver gas still lingers. Well camp here for the night.