Part 30: Can I Defect Too?
Am I giving too much away here?
CUTSCENE: The Legend of Thaumus
We leave Baccea and Osmunds explosion fetish workshop behind and get back underway to Thaumus rock.
Yulie: Whats Thaumus Rock look like? Is it big?
Kara: We shall see
On that note, Caesar stops the party for a little more worldbuilding exposition.
Caesar: Do you guys all know the legend of Thaumus?
Leonard: No, only that he was a troll warrior.
CUTSCENE MUSIC: The Legend of Thaumus (Unreleased Track)
Caesar: Well, you remember the reason he was a hero, right?
Orren: Ordinarily Id say yes because we just heard it yesterday, but then again Well look who Im standing beside. Please proceeded, Eldore-lite.
Caesar: He fought the Knights back in ancient times.
Yulie: Did he win?
Caesar: Nope. The Knights killed him in the end.
Caesar: Back then, see, they were WAY scarier than they are now. And a lot stronger too
Orren: And you know this howoh, fuck it, I dont care anymore.
Caesar: Still, Thaumus took the Knights on all on his own. Sure, he was eventually killed, but what a guy, huh! He managed to defend this canyon to the very end. He became like a god to the people here.
Caesar: Before long, the tribes he sacrificed himself to protect were carving countless monuments in honor of his bravery.
Caesar: And the greatest of them was, yep, you guessed it
Caesar: Thaumus Rock.
Yulie: Wow. Great story.
Caesar: Well, yeah. When have I ever told a dull one? Seriously.
Toot toot! All aboard the Caesar train!
Eldore: Thats enough talk.
Orren: What, is it time for you nap, Uncle Killjoy?
Eldore: We have to move. Come on.
Caesar: Yeeees sir
Im going to be cutting gigantic swaths out between Baccea and Thaumus Rock because Frass Chasm, like everything else in this game is pretty samey once you get over the initial wow factor of the greenery and waterfalls and cliffsides.
The only legitimately new and interesting feature in the canyon are these things. Youve seen them in the chapter outros where Orren wraps up things but now I actually get to explain what purpose they serve in the game itself.
As you can see on the map here by those little dotted arrows, these giant dandelions are our way across the canyon from one stretch of hallway to the next.
You can see a lot of them have two arrows pointing in different directions. This is because they take you on different routes depending on an alternating wind current running through the canyon. North winds take you on the uppermost of the two paths, while south winds carry you along the lowermost path. A lot of the time it doesnt really matter which path you choose as you more or less get to the same place, only one direction will land you on a spot with a chest on it while the other lands you somewhere that you cant access said chest.
Near the central area of the canyon there are a few dandelions that will take you in wildly different directions and can really screw up your run if you dont have the route to where you want to go planned out in your mind already.
For the purpose of the run to Thaumus Rock, we need to hit every dandelion with the wind blowing north, otherwise were screwed. Luckily, if you time it well enough you should be able to hit all of them with north winds. If you dont, its just a matter of waiting around until you see the wind change directions.
You can gauge the wind direction by watching the individual seeds floating off the dandelion head.
Sure, why not
So yeah, its as stupid as youd imagine it being. A grown ass man plucks a 9-foot tall dandelion stalk from the ground
And goes gliding across a several thousand meter gorge clinging to it for dear life like hes Mary Poppins or something.
I just keep waiting for him to smash into the canyon wall and fall to his death.
And of course, either all six party members are holding on to the stalk with him completely unseen by the player, or each of them had to cross the canyon one-by-one the same way.
God, and I thought the jetpack on Gall was the stupidest mode of transportation ever.
Along the way through to Thaumus Rock we get a couple bits of Live Talk that comment on the recent developments to the narrative.
Caesar: Hey, whats the one thing you would protect?
Orren: Take a shot
Yulie: If I were a parent, Id want to protect my kids.
Eldore: Serves me
Kara: Why dont YOU tell us first?
If only people used the Knights to protect instead of destroy.
Kara: The Knights were seen as monsters
Leonard: I hope I never wind up a bad guy.
Eldore: Weve yet to unlock much of the Knights true power
Ah, Leonard; a person so intellectually deficient hes worried about accidentally turning evil. Then again, considering hes got a train of ghosts following behind him like downed Colossi in Shadow of the Colossus, I would applauded the game if it did something like subtly have Leonard drift into villain territory with every life snuffed out through his acts or non-acts of incompetence.
Kind of like how Hammer from Xenogears slowly goes crazy as it dawns on him that hes the Jar-Jar Binks of Team Fei and he just cant hack being a useless walking joke any more.
Caesar: That Thaumus was one buff troll.
Kara: That troll should have quit while he was ahead.
Like I mentioned last time, Pygmy Greavers start appearing in Frass Chasm now. If we come back here after we clear the storyline section here, well encounter another thinly-disguised pallet swap of these guys: Poison Greavers.
About halfway to Thaumus Rock, I switched to the Avatar for some reason, because he needs a little more love and were not going to be seeing all that much of him until about mid-to-late game 2.
Orren: Knowing my luck, this thing is going be the one plant in this canyon that wont support someones weight
For the curious: Orren is 62 tall and weighs 165 lbs. He is both the tallest and heaviest of the six party members.
There are two areas between Baccea and Thaumus Rock where there are a pair of Pygmy Greavers.
For what, just whip out a Knight, line them up one beside the other
And double tap.
See what I mean about these dandelions taking you in wildly different directions depending on the wind?
Leonard: I can see my house fromOw! Orren, why are you kickiMEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.
And that was how I met your mother.
This little outcropping is the way to Thaumus Rock. Finally.
Kara: What am I doing?
Caesar: What you want to do. Why cant you see that?
This exchange actually came after the Direspider boss fight, but I figured Id include it here for posterity because I missed it the first time. Karas definitely conflicted about her place in the group and knows that shit that cannot be taken back is about to go down at Thaumus Rock for better or worse
Lets watch, shall we.
CUTSCENE: Betrayal at Thaumus Rock
Team Gigantic Moron comes running up to the base of the Rock.
Yulie: Thats them.
Leonard: You ready? Lets go get the Princess.
Orren: Gods, please, surprise me this time.
CUTSCENE MUSIC: Grazels Theme (Disc 2, Track 16)
Grazel: Welcome, my persevering friends. I am most honoured.
Yeah, I bet you are
Caesar: So, hes the man in charge.
Grazel: Now, to business, shall we?
Grazel: Give me the Knights Arks in your possession.
Leonard: As soon as you release the Princess.
Grazel: No. I asked you first.
Leonard: Why you!
Orren: Oh shut up. Youre not the badass you think you are. Youre barely the ASS you think you are.
Grazel dont take to kindly to Leonards limpwristed attempt to act threatening, so he pulls a sword on Cisnas throat.
Cisna: Ugh. You godsdamn twat. Just my luck Im gonna die because you want to try and show some bravado for once.
Caesar: I think we better do as he says, Leonard.
Cisna: Smart answer, Boy Shakira!
So in a repeat of the Sand Maze Ruins ploy, Goofus and Gallant step forward and deposit their Arks in no mans land between the two parties.
Shit, were getting our Recycled Plot Points on early, arent we boys? I thought we didnt start rehashing things beat-for-beat until game 2?
Leonard: There. Now give us the Princess!
Leonard: [INSERT INEFFECTUAL PANTYWAIST WHINE HERE]
Grazel: Release her.
Shapur: At once.
And now we get to see the Magis uselessly over complicate delegation chain in action. Grazel orders Shapur, whos standing right behind him, to release Cisna, and then Shapur passes the order down to the mooks who are standing right beside him. He just involved himself needlessly in the process.
God, thats Shapurs role in this duology there in a single image: an unnecessary process complication.
She looks back, almost like she doesnt want to go. Stockholm Syndrome, much?
But then she books it towards Team Maybe Were Actually Going To Rescue Her This Time Open Parenthesises Question Mark Closed Parenthesises.
She gloms on to Leonard like a freakin parasite when she gets to him, yet when she speaks, its in a vacant, almost brainwashed tone.
Leonard: Huh? Cisna!
Take two shots Maybe?
Caesar: Whats wrong with this picture?
Orren: Shes showing actual affection for Leonard?
For once, Eldore remains silent in a reaction shot. Sorry folks, no Charles Shaughnessy Emotive Grunt counter for this chapter so far.
Eldore: Why aren't they doing anything?
Caesar: Of course!
Caesar: GET AWAY FROM HER!
Cisna(?): Surprise, MOTHERFUCKER!
Well, there it is. After three straight failed attempts at rescuing her, being around Grazel for probably a solid month now and seeing how the Magi work from the inside, and realising shes the reincarnation of an insane warmoungering tyrant who once plunged the world into total war for global domination, Cisna has finally snapped and decided to just straight up murder Leonard.
And here you thought Betrayal At Thaumus Rock was talking about Kara, didnt you?
So the Once and Future God-Empress of All Creation, Long May She Reign decides to pull a Kara and stab Leonard right in the face. Because that worked out so well the first time someone tried it, right?
Leonard: Oh shit. I should probably be doing something right now
Leonard: Yeah. That was it.
So because Leonards a classy gent, he punts Cisna right in the stomach.
And sends her flying back on her ass.
Our Hero Leonard: murderer of innocent beings through accident and incompetence, and puncher of 90 lb. combat-averse women.
George Costanza is more of a legitimate badass than Leonard is at this point.
DOWN GOES CIZNAH!
Again, the way this game treats is female characters. The one person who has been a consistent beacon of optimism and altruistic ideals is shoved in the stomach and launched into the dirt. Yeah, she pulled a knife on a guy and tried to stab him with it, but there are less brutal ways of dealing with it than TAKE A DIRT NAP, BABE!
Caesar steps forward to try and help
Only to get Karas sword upside his face again.
Kara: You should have known better. Remember? Only the Pactmaker is able to touch the Knights Ark.
And with that, Fake Spanish Kara is gone for good, at long last. Catherine Cavadini sounds better using her normal voice anyway.
Kara: If anyone else wants to take the Ark, the only way is to break that bond and kill the Pactmaker.
Caesar: Right. Silly me.
IE: The exact same ploy they tried on Belcitane. God, its like they learned from experience or something.
WHY THE FUCK CANT YOU PEOPLE SEEM TO?!
Kara: Youre a sweet man. Too sweet for your own good. Its time for you and Leonard to die.
Leonard: Kara! What in the world are you doing?!
Yulie: You mean Youre a SPY?!
Yulie: Man, I just though you and Caesar liked it rough. I didnt know you were threatening him last night.
Eldore: Um Er AhYES! I am completely SHOCKED and APALLED by this utterly unexpected turn of events. I had NO idea you were working for the Magi. Kara, how could you? I am so ashamed
Orren: No ones buying it, geezer.
Eldore: The idiot will.
Orren: Touché. dickhead.
Kara: Hah. You all really are far too trusting.
She looks adoringly towards Grazel.
Grazel: Now. Lets finish this
Grazel: Shall we?!
Leonard: Why is everyone stabbing me today?
Yet, before Sephirnot can deliver the long-awaited coup de grace to Shit-for-brains, the whole cliffside starts shaking like a 9.0 eathquake just rocked the place.
Grazel: What now?
Shapur: My lord! Look.
The carving of Thaumus begins to split open and the bright blue light of Athwani Magic Bullshit begins emanating from the crevasse.
Kara: The Rock!
IF YA SMEEEEEEEEELALALALALALALALALALAALALA!!!!
God, I want Dwayne Johnson to just show up right now, Rock Bottom Leonard off the cliff and take the Ark for himself. If The Mummy, Fast & Furious, and G.I. JOE are any indication, the man is Franchise Viagra. Hes the only way wed ever a) see a White Knight Chronicles III and b) have it be anywhere close to being decent.
This is the face of a man who knows how to sell shit, even if the shit he is selling is shit.
Grazel is none too pleased that Cisna is apparently having a heart attack now or something.
Grazel: Its Cisna!
Grazel: Shes using magic from the ship!
Cisna(!): Surprise, MOTHERFUCKER!
Okay, so it was a decoy Cisna. How sad. I would have commended the game if it actually had the balls to throw a hard right curve at the audience like that.
Take a shot?
They run right around Grazel like hes a damn idiot and diveroll to their Arks.
Grazel: Its like theyve done this before or something!
With the statue of Thaumus split open, Talion appears from the ether, emitting ghostly pulses of energy as it floats there waiting to be claimed by someone.
Leonard: Theres the sword! Talion!
CUTSCENE MUSIC: Tense Battle (Disc 1, Track 30)
Kara decides fuck this noise, if youre not acting, I will and springs forward.
And now we finally get our proper Kara into Black Knight transformation sequence.
Kara: O Dinivas, deliverer of dark and dread
Kara: Ruler of ancient shadows
Kara: Grant me your power!
Leonard: Kara It was HER?!
Leonard: SHES the Black Knight?!
Orren: Welcome to A Week Ago, jackass! Nice of you to finally stop by!
Oh, yeah, theres still Decoy Cisna to deal with. I wonder what shes going to
Decoy Cisna: Adveni!
Of fucking course she would.
Im still somewhat amused by them taking the most generally placid and non-violent character in this whole series and have her character model pull off such psychotically murderous faces.
I love these little moments of providence where the LP and the game briefly align before going their separate ways once more.
Not-Cisna goes and transforms into
Lamia Comitis, probably the most-killed boss entity in the game, if Level-5 bothered to keep track of per-enemy kills like Bungie, EA, or Activision do with their online games. Ill explain why momentarily.
Leonard: Uh oh!
Take a shot? I DONT KNOW ANYMORE! THE DRINKING GAME IS GOING OFF THE RAILS!
Leonard & Caesar: Verto!
(USER WAS PUT ON PROBATION FOR THIS POST)
I dont even give a fuck any more.
Its go time, ladies.
BOSS FIGHT: The Black Knight & Lamia Comitis (with commentary by nine-gear crow and Blind Sally)
Caesar: Nighty Nite, Ugly!
So like I say in the video, its damn near pointless to focus on Lamia Comitis at all at this stage of the fight. Shes got too high of hit points and defense stats to really do anything and shes got some really hard hitting attacks.
What you need to do is focus on Kara completely. Shes the weak point for this stage of the fight. All you have to do it get her down to 3/4s health and the cutscene triggers.
Lamia Comitis is the actual threat between the two of them, but trying to take her on at this point is suicide.
Kara: You will not stand in our lords way!
Caesar: Leonard, Ill hold her off!
CUTSCENE: The Spirit of Thaumus
After we smoke Kara, the next cutscene starts playing. Kara and Caesar both rush towards Talion to try and claim it for their respective sides.
And yet when they both lay hands on the, the Athwani Magic Bullshit Barrier keeps them from actually touching the blade.
It blasts both of them backwards.
Kara: Why cant I take it?!
Leonard: There must be some way.
CUTSCENE MUSIC: Recollection (Disc 1, Track 14)
Cisna: Leonard, can you hear me?
HOORAY! Order has been restored.
Take a shot.
Leonard: Is that you?
Cisna: No, its the damn decoy who tried to murder you. Who else would want to bother burrowing into your head Except maybe termites, you dumb wooden
Caesar: Is that the Princess? But how?
Cisna: My body is slowly regaining more and more of the ancient powers. This is one of them.
So Cisnas telepathic now apparently.
This ability will never be used again by her after this scene.
Say it with me, thread: PLOT CONTRIVANCE!
Cisna: Listen, Leonard. You must get the sword first!
Again, shes reminding him because hes forgotten what theyre even here for. She knows him better than he pretends to know himself.
Cisna: The Ancients must have built some kind of protection around it.
Cisna: Only the one who is true to Thaumuss spirit can lay hands on it. Do you understand?
Cisna: Fuck. Okay. Caesar, you must get the sword first! The Ancients must have
Caesar: Yeah, thanks, heard it already.
Leonard: The spirit of Thaumus?
Mearles drawing of One-Eyed Thaumus flashes through his pea-sized brain.
Leonard: I think I know!
Caesar: What is it?!
Goofus runs and leaps and does the only creative, intelligent, and heroic thing I will ever cop to him doing in either game
He rears his fist back
And punches the statue in its right eye.
He feels something in his grip and begins to pull back on it.
CUTSCENE MUSIC: The White Knight (Disc 1, Track 13)
Caesar: Nice work!
Behold the holy blade Talion.
Eldore: Of course! Thaumus had only one eye, but look at the carving! It clearly shows him with both.
Eldore: Anyone who knew about Thaumus would immediately see the discrepancy.
Eldore: THAT was the key to unlocking the protection of the Ancients.
With the real Talion now claimed from within the statue, the phony Talion fades away to nothing.
Grazel: Grr! Damn him.
Grazel: Kara! Stand down.
Kara: But Lord Grazel!
Grazel: I said stand down.
Grazel: That sword will ruin everything. Remember the plan.
Grazel: We need all the Knights in one piece.
Now Decoy-Cisna has a little oh crap moment as she realised shes now on the hook to take out Leonard and Caesar on her lonesome now that Grazel has withdrawn the Black Knight like a smart person would in the face of a Knight Killer-equipped enemy.
Ha hah, Cisnas plan has gone to shit because Leonard hesitated. The road to the Final Awakening continues unabated. Nice try, dear.
Cisna: Blow me.
Yeah, I just cant get excited about this. Whats the use of a Knight Killer sword if its never actually used to kill another Knight with.
Yeah, sorry for spoiling that, but come on, its White Knight Chronicles, this game only pantomimes game-changing developments. It never has the balls to follow through on anything.
So now that weve got Talion, Lamia Comitis is a little easier to deal with, but not by that much.
Notice also Leonard has a few new abilities to play around with now that he has Talion equipped on the White Knight. Sonic Blade is gone, and in its place is Strong Slash, Shield Bash and Divine Slash. The one to spam for this battle is Shield Bash because Lamia Comitis is weak to impact attacks.
So I mentioned earlier that I bet Lamia Comitis was the most-killed boss ever in WKC, right? Thats because it was the end boss of the Demithor in Peril online questthe go-to quest for griding Guild Rank points to level up your GR.
GR or Guild Rank was tied in to the online half of the game and was essential at times for even basic progression in the main game. GR determined damn near everything: what items you could purchase at shops, items you could and couldnt bind, what quests you could go on, what weapons and armour you could and couldnt equip, what skills you could learn, even how high of a level you could progress to.
All of these things were locked down by your Guild Rank. The level cap in particular was incredibly egregious, because I think it locked you down to like level 50 or 60 if you dont have a high enough GR when the games actual max level cap was 80. The Japanese version eventually bumped that up to 90, but the patch that enabled it was never localized for the North American version of the game because D3 was much of an localizer as Level-5 was an publisher.
So that mean you had to grind hours of your life away doing the same repetitive quests that paid like 50,000 GP to clear a 6.5 million GP level threshold. Ive done the cold calculus enough times to know how many hours and days it takes to clear certain Guild Rank thresholds using Demithor in Peril as your benchmarker.
See what I meant about the online portions failure making certain parts of the game nigh-unplayable?
I fucking hate this broken game.