The Let's Play Archive

White Knight Chronicles I & II

by nine-gear crow

Part 27: Who Better Than Canyon?

God, I’ve 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 it’s because they have access to the World Map screen and Cyrus doesn’t. Ah the perks of being Player Characters. SUCK IT DRAKE!

Leonard: Cisna…

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: It’s alright. She’ll 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 Cisna’s panties.

You are too good to even be “friends” with this this human shitsack, Yulie.

Caesar: He looks like his dog just died…

Yulie: Hrumph.

Caesar: Hmm? Was it something I said? Heh heh.

You’re 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 they’ve made it to Albana. That’s progress. I guess.

At this rate, they’ll 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 thing’s first: until Team Caesar gets around to rescuing Cisna for real, Balandor essentially is his to rule. It’s kind of his right by dint of being the highest ranking surviving member of the Kingdom’s government at this present moment.

And number two: you were the head of the army, for god’s sake, and the King’s 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 didn’t 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 who’s the bigger idiot here, Cyrus, for being… Cyrus, or me, for arguing with this game’s 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 you’ll be in a terrible state when we reach Faria’s borders.

You didn’t know these guys had names, did you? They’re never spoken aloud in-game, to my knowledge, but there’s an Avatar quest in the second game where all four of them appear and are named. This dude’s name is Oswald, and he’s apparently the vice-captain of Cyrus’s 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 you’ve followed him this far, you’re 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: I’m 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, I’d 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. Isn’t Akihiro Hino a masterful writer?

Cyrus: And I will honour him!
Cyrus: But first I need to—BLUAUGH! Hoo! That’s better! Now where was I? Oh yeah!

Cyrus: I’m 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. We’re 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. It’s just that, well, it’s 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: Don’t attack Faria.
Cyrus: Wait, what?
Ghost King Valtos: Please, my son. Don’t destroy my dying dream. Respect my wish for peace.
Cyrus: Can you speak up a little? I can’t hear you.
Ghost King Valtos: Do not. Start. A war. With Fari—ah, fuck it, I’m 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, I’m 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 we’re 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 didn’t see Cyrus’s meaningless whiplash slide into self-pity and alcoholism.

CUTSCENE: Grazel's Threat
CUTSCENE MUSIC:Grazel’s Theme” (Disc 2, Track 16)

Oh thank god, we’re 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 it’s been established already that the party only hears and sees things even in front of their faces when it’s 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 hasn’t officially revealed it yet, we’ve 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: You’re pathetic; just as bad as he was. I was just telling Shapur how useless you were.

Grazel: Right, Shapur?

Shapur: M’lord.

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 you’re 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 don’t act soon, our relationship…

Grazel: Is over.

God, all this needs it like a dramatic lightning strike in the background.

Kara bows and exits Grazel’s office.

Grazel: I’m 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…

Caesar: Ugh!

I’d like to imagine Orren and Kara are waiting for the opportunity to push Leonard off the edge of the paddock to his death, but they’re both unintentionally stymieing one another because they don’t want there to be any witnesses around when they do it. As such, Leonard’s existence continues unabated.

Yulie stretches out, happy to be on solid ground again.

Yulie: It’s beautiful!

Caesar: I’m guessing you don’t know what the word “frass” means.

“Frass” is informal shorthand for insect shit.

Literally. We’re 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? What’s frass? Is it bad?
Orren: Nah, it’s completely harmless. I’ll point it out to you when we find it. Rub it all over your face.
Leonard: Wow. Cool.
Orren: I’m gonna miss you when someone finally does the world a favour and kills you...
Kara: Uuhh…

Kara: I hope you like insects…

Orren: And Papitaurs.

Orren: …Fuck.

CUTSCENE: Cisna's Gambit
CUTSCENE MUSIC:Melody of Light” (Disc 1, Track 20)

Hologram Cisna: Well, well. It’s 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 don’t even… Wow, I was joking. Eh, hell, let’s get down to business.
Hologram Cisna: Leonard, are you alright?
Hologram Cisna: And by ‘you’ I mean that Incorruptus you still haven’t figured out how to use properly.
Leonard: Fine. What’s 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!

Leonard: Huh?!
Yulie: What?!

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. It’s as though visiting the ruins opened some door, and now I’m 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. It’s nice to finally have some proof to wave in people’s faces.

Eldore: You… You’re her!

Hologram Cisna: You don’t 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.

Yulie: No…

Hologram Cisna: But there is a way to stop it.
Leonard: Tell us. How?
Leonard: I’m 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.

It’s 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 Cisna’s development is one of those rare gems.

She’s 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.

Leonard: Talion…
Hologram Cisna: I just said that.
Orren: Yeah, that’s his *thing*.
Hologram Cisna: Ugh.

Caesar: Hey, digging the name.

“Talion” means “an eye for an eye.” It’s 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, I’m 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, wouldn’t 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-5’s competence.

Caesar: So that’s why you picked Frass Chasm, so we could track down the sword.

Caesar: That’s quite a gamble, Princess. The Magi will be at the Rock, too.

Caesar: If they get to it first, guess who’s in trouble?

Hologram Cisna: Yes, I know. It’s risky, but it’s 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: I’ll 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 you’re involved with it.
Hologram Cisna: Something… truly frightening.

Hologram Cisna: Please don’t let it… Leonard.
Hologram Cisna: …And associates. Seriously, don’t let him fuck this up. I’m 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—


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 he’s 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 Cisna’s “Let’s 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: Hmmm.
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. It’s been a while since we've seen you, hasn’t 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 you’re able to eyeball the route to the next objective marker on the map screen, it’s frustratingly straight forward.

The only downside to this place is that it’s 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 don’t kill everything in your path, everything in your path will sure as hell kill you.

There’s 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 you’ll 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 can’t 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 troll’s defence stats and scoring a piece of loot for your troubles.

Lastly, there’s 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… what’s that?

Eldore: Get ready. It’s coming.
Leonard: It? What kind of “it”?
Orren: Yeah, could you maybe give a guy some more warning than a damn pronoun?! Gods, you’re a useless mentor.

CUTSCENE: The Windwalkers and the Greaver

Down on the canyon floor, a massive dust cloud is tearing through the place, though it’s not the dust cloud that Eldore’s worried about, so much as what’s inside it.

The rock formation gets easily bowled over by it, and—


And we’re 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 creature’s 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 party’s 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. He’s got like 20 minutes of screen time and 2000x the charisma of Leonard.

He yanks back on a lever…

I love how the thing you’d 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 creature’s 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 doesn’t 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. They’re 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, that’s racist… I think.

Yulie: Well… I wouldn’t 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. We’ll camp here for the night.