Part 63: Storming Redhorn Isle
Wherein we storm Redhorn Isle.
And wherein I finally payoff all those Cisna bitchslaps Yshrenia so hard it breaks Grazels jaw jokes Ive been making throughout this LP.
OVERWORLD MUSIC: The Continent of Nadias (Disc 1, Track 15)
With our brief Arc Knight-related detour out of the way, its time to launch the climactic invasion of the Yshrenian island stronghold/capital. And for Cisna to prove to the world once and for all who the real supreme ruler of Nadias is.
Someones day is about to get ruined spectacularly, and its not the character voiced by Kari Wahlgrens
CUTSCENE: The Lines Are Drawn
We catch up with the action finding Balandors navy steaming towards the island at flank speed, no doubt with Cisna screaming at everyone in earshot to go faster.
Im also weirded out by the fact that Balandors navy is comprised of essentially a fleet of floating castles. This is both awesome, ridiculous, and Im pretty sure impossible, but if theres one thing weve learned thanks my unending hype machine for her, its that Cisnas will can bend the fabric of reality. So OF COURSE this is entirely possible in White Knight Chronicles-world.
The camera pans up to the sky, as a smattering of tiny specks crest over the break in the clouds.
Above the fleet, the Shahgna is flanked by the entire Windwalker air force, and whos that at the tip of the spear? Chanko Osmund himself. Rock on, Osmund.
God, I can see why Grazel is such a sourpuss now. If I had to live in a shithole like this, Id want to try and take over anywhere else too just to have somewhere else to go every once and a while.
Out of the mists surrounding the island comes the Yshrenian fleet, with their squadrons of fighters taking to the air to counter the Baccean forces overhead.
And for whatever reason, the Yshrenian fleet is also comprised of towers on barges for reasons.
CUTSCENE: The Battle of Redhorn Isle I ~ The Queens Speech
We fly into the tower on the Balandor flagship, which I wouldnt be surprised if its just the central tower from Balandor Castle itself transplanted ontop of a battle barge.
Hell, maybe we just missed some kind of Balamb GARDEN-type transformation with Balandor Castle itself transforming into a massive battleship and shoving off from Balandor Castletown, because weve officially run out of money at this point and Akihiro Hino mortgaged his house to fund the meager remains of the game from here out.
Now youre starting to see the real genesis of LP Cisna here. I mean, who but a massive raging egotist with an invincibility complex rides into battle in what is, for all intents and purposes, an armed and armoured version of her throne room.
This is a woman who wants to enjoy watching everything Grazel has spent the last three years painstakingly building crushed to dust and ashes from the comfort of her 12 foot-tall velvet throne.
And shithead is there too, still desperately trying to hang on to being a character in this game, and failing spectacularly.
Our protagonist, ladies and gentlemen. A lad who has spent the past nine hours struggling for breath battling fantasy pneumonia.
Whats he going to contribute to the plot for this chapter? Ill give you a hint: NOTHING!
Cyrus: There they are.
Cisna: This is it. At last the time has come.
Cisna: Im going to enjoy this sooo much.
Cisna: Cyrus, connect me to the troops.
She rises to her feet and takes a moment to steady herself for her Big Moment in the duology.
Cisna: All my dreams of conquest They never told me it would be so So Underwhelming.
CUTSCENE MUSIC: The Battlefield Flower (Violin Version) (Game 2 OST, Track 18)
And so to the tune of a single violin that swells into a kickass action theme that you all should probably listen to, the girl who entered the game a simpering mute gives her make the other son of a bitch die for his country instead speech.
Cisna: To all those who fight in Balandors name,
Cisna: And my name too. Mostly mine, never forget that,
Cisna: Hear me well.
Cisna: These waters will soon become a battlefield, as the Yshrenian fleet meets us with all their might.
Cisna: I know your fears.
Orren: I dont fear anything Yshrenias got to throw at us down there. I fear YOU.
Cisna: You fear our battles thus far have not prepared us for the violent clash to come.
Caesar and Kara share a knowing glance at this sentiment.
Cisna: Nonetheless, we MUST survive this trial. We must put an end to our conflict with the empire
Cisna: and secure a victory that is ten millennia overdue.
Cisna: MY victory. Mwahahaha!
Cisna: And I tell you we will. It fills me with pride to know my kingdom stands together.
Cisna: One nation under ME.
Cisna: Now let us drive Yshrenias vile ambitions into the ground!
Cisna: And raise MY vile ambitions in their place.
Balandor Army: RAAAAH!
Also, hey Oswald, glad to see you didnt die following Cyrus on his suicide quest.
She looks around the bridge at her loyal men and women (because all the disloyal onesreal and imaginedhave been flayed, tarred, and mounted on the bow of the flagship as grotesque figureheads to her unyielding might) and readies to give THE order.
Cisna: Execute Order 66wait, no, I mean
Cisna: Make them die screaming my name!
And as the music swells into the kick ass action part of the song, we transition to the kick ass action part of the cutscene.
Get ready for one massive, mostly uncommented on fully CG battle scene between Balandor and Yshrenia.
This ones the budget-buster, kids.
Balandor begins the battle by firing first.
Ya know, I admire a game where the heroes are the ones to come out swinging at the start of a fight. Then again, after 40 hours of the heroes getting rope-a-doped and end-ran by the villains up till this point, Cisna stepping up to the plate and showing off her big brass cannon balls is a welcome change of pace from Leonards pantywaist bitchitude.
I should have just had a big silent movie title card here just saying EVERYTHING BLOWS UP.
It would have been quicker and easier.
And now were ripping off Pearl Harbour. Maybe the thread was right. Maybe Akihiro Hino IS the Michael Bay of JRPGs.
CUTSCENE: The Battle of Redhorn Isle II ~ The Push
The party watches the slaughter from the Shahgnas flight deck. Because, you know, its not like three of them have Knights that they could be out there using to make this whole thing go by any quicker.
I mean, two of them are fight capable, and the Arc Knight is capable of leapfrogging the distance between the Yshrenian ships quite handily (I have proof of this, but will be a while in coming. ).
Oh yeah, we dont have the budget for Cutscene Knights any more, and the Arc Knight doesnt technically exist, just like the Avatar. Nevermind then.
Lets just say that Team Competent Pactmakers is sitting this round out because Balandors got this one in the bag and they want to save their Knights for taking out Grazel personally.
Kara: There are even more of them than Id imagined.
Orren: Just how many desperate idiots did Ledom trick into joining this kooky cult, anyway?
Caesar: Hey, Rocco, cant you put us on the front lines?!
Rocco: Oh n-n-no! If we get any closer, we will be blown to smithereens!
Okay, so theres the games excuse for us just watching impotently as Cisna steamrolls over Yshrenias Orktek navy: Roccos a wuss whos scared of a few million bullets.
In all fairness, his concern is understandable. I mean, if Karas Character Shields could fail at a critical moment in the last game, then anyones can, and who knows if Father Yggdras up for doing a mass resurrection this time around. Probably not.
Caesar: Well, we gotta do SOMETHING!
Yulie: Ah! Over there!
Another fleet of ships appear on the horizon on the battles flanking side.
Well look at that. Straight out of WarCraft II: The Tides of Darkess, its the Farian Navy, which also has a full fleet of tower ships, or rather pagoda ships, because Faria is Elf Japan, lest we forget, and proving definitively that this is apparently a thing now in the world of White Knight Chronicles.
At this point, I really think this track should be playing over this cutscene, given how much theyre ripping off Final Fantasy IX again with this whole each fleet out Big Damn Heoress the next bit.
Okay, Caesar. Youre up next. Whats Greede bringing to this fight? Find out next chapter! Its a doozy.
Oh, and Faria has a fleet of airships too. Because, fuck it, why not. The games almost over anyway.
But thats not all Mius bringing to the table here
Its like a beautiful cascade of fireworks, evoking a sense of wonder and joy and
Cisna x Miu, Best Destruction Sister 4Ever.
...You know, it almost makes you wonder where Miu got the energy for that cannon.
Miu: Fire the Mana Cannon!
Father Yggdra: What! No! Nooooooooooooo
Father Yggdra: I should have never let her talk to that Princess.
Father Yggdra insert c/o: System Logoff
And with pretty much the entire Yshrenian fleet one-shotted in a rain of hot microwave death from Mius flagship, thats the signal to the rest of the Farian destroyers to start PEW PEWing the irradiated remnants of Grazels loyal army of schmucks.
Stop it! Stop it! Hes already DEAD!
And now its time for the air forces to get in on the horrific dual-sided slaughter thing.
They came from
And as Cisna and Mius flagships pull abreast of one another, we get to see the culmination of King Valtos and Archduke Dalams dream at long last, their children standing together in friendship and
Cisna: Miu! You magnificent bastard! I read your book!
Cuz this chapters just chock full of Patton references.
Miu: Queen Cisna, are you alright?
Cisna: Yes, thank you. You couldnt have timed it better.
Cyrus: Lets not waste this opportunity! Put us back on the offensive.
Just a reminder: Leonard is still in this scene just off camera, slumped against a couch and barely breathing.
Im just pointing this out to make sure you never forget how superfluous Leonard is to his own goddamn video game.
Balandor Solider: Yes Sir!
CUTSCENE: The Battle of Redhorn Isle III ~ The Act of God
So now we hop over to Megatron, Starscream, and Soundwaves side of the battle (Ill leave it to you to parse whos who in this relationship), as the trio are gathered around Grazels funky magic hologram table to get a StarCraft-eye view of the battle.
Im assuming that Grazel has some kind of satellite or spy plane high overhead thats relaying this readout to them, anyway.
Ledom: What is this? A Balandor-Farian alliance?
Why, its almost like theyve been cooprating peacefully since the start of the second game. Who could have foreseen this development?
Im going to give Ledom the benefit of the doubt here because he IS the smartest person in the game, and just assume hes playing dumb to not make Grazel look bad, when hed figured everything was pointing in this direction a LONG time ago.
Because Ledom knows in full frustrating detail that Grazel is Yshrenias Leonard: someone whose dumbass presence you just have to tolerate until whatever nebulous voodoo hes been working on comes to fruition in the near future.
Grazel: Heh. You know that I wouldnt have it any other way.
Spoken like a man desperately trying to cover up his fuck ups with I meant to do that!
Shapur: How shall we proceeded, My Lord?
Smugass McAndrogyne gets up off of his Douche Throne to make a dramatic point.
Grazel: Shapur, fire up the Act of God.
Dun dun duuuuuun!
Grazel: I feel they need a vivid illustration of what theyre up against.
Grazel: Two can play the indiscriminate destruction game, Cisna. Just watch
Shapur: At once, My Lord.
Look at that face. Shapur is going to walk out of the room bent forward at that angle because hes hiding the biggest destruction-boner ever right now.
Dare I say it?
SHAPUR IS LOVING THIS SHIT!
As we return to the U.S.S. IM COMING FOR YOU, GRAZEL!, klaxons start blaring and red lights start flashing, letting everyone on the bridge know that Something Bad is about to unfurl.
Balandor Solider: Your Grace! Were picking up a huge spike in magic on the island!
Cyrus: It cant be!
Cisna: Aw what the shit?!
Deep on Redhorn Isle, past a veritable forest of defensive turrets and perched high on a hill is one very particular cannon.
Are you still there?
Seriously, this thing looks like a Portal turret, now that I really think about it. But alas, no, this is not proof of collaboration between Yshrenia and Aperture Laboratories, much to my disappointed consternation, no, this good little children of the Internet is the Act of God.
And you dont name something the Act of God without a damn good reason to.
This is going to be painful.
CUTSCENE MUSIC: Infernal Beast ~ Pyredaemos (Game 2 OST, Track 14)
Ya know, I dont really know why they named this track after Pyredaemos. Yeah, its a slowed down and more menacing version of Pyredaemoss theme, but its never used in conjunction with Pyredaemos in the second game. Its used to unveil the Yshrenian army, the Act of God, and one last Big Scary Thing coming up in the next chapter.
Pyredaemos uses the original Attack theme from the first game when it shows up in the second game to make an impassioned argument in favour of not playing the game anymore.
Watch this thing just explode on them, because, you know, Failure is the operative word in the title of this LP and all.
Oh, hey Miu, Cisna, thats a lovely fleet youve both got there.
NOT ANYMORE, MOTHERFUCKER!
So yeah, apparently the Act of God fires Tsar Bomb-sized shells. And can do it repeatedly.
This a problem.
CUTSCENE: The Battle of Redhorn Isle IV ~ The Plan
Caesar: Wh-what the hell?!
Even the Shahgna is rocked by the blast from the Act of God.
Yulie: What just happened?!
Kara: Ah! It cant be.
Eldore: Just tell us.
Orren: You just killed irony right there, old man. Just saying.
Kara: The Act of God. Its a giant cannon installation on Redhorn Isle.
Kara: Id thought theyd never complete it.
Caesar: And that is what its capable of?
Caesar: Tell us these things sooner!
Good on Caesar for calling her out finally on the games patented withhold crucial information until after the fact shtick. Jeez, Kara, youre usually more on-point than this. What? You didnt think to mention the giant cannon capable of firing off NUCLEAR WARHEAD-YEILD MAGIC SHELLS at approaching enemies to Cisna before we headed out, just as a heads up even if its probably inoperable.
Then again, if were going by LP Cisna, she probably wasnt even listening.
Kara: Your Grace, before we head to Redhornd Isle, I need to warn you about
Cisna: So wait, you were one of the people who was General Dragias, right? Which one were you again?
Kara: The one you threatened to kill on the Monoship. Die screaming my name, if I remember correctly.
Cisna: Yeah, you never really did. Did you?
Kara: I had other things on my mind at the time, like getting stabbed by Shapur, fused into an unholy abomination with my own Knight, and realising I had found the man I loved while my life bled out of me. Ghh! Thats not the point though! This is important! Theres a massive cannon on the island that
Cisna: So you WERENT the one who offed my father?
Kara: That was Ledom. You were there. You saw it. In the Retrospection. Remember?
Cisna: But you were in the castle too that night.
Kara: Yes, leading the Magi soldiers. I had no idea Ledom was evenWhat the hell am I saying? You need to know about the Act of God! For all we know Grazel may have gotten it operat
Cisna: Trust me, babe. The only act of god youre gonna see out there is me annihilating Grazels forces, like Biblical style. Now get out of my way. I need to go mount a few corpses to the bow of my flagship before we leave.
Kara: Fuck it. I hope hes got it up and running then.
Eldore: That rules out bringing the fleet any closer.
Kara: The Act of God has tremendous range to go with all that firepower.
Kara: Balandors ships dont stand a chance against it.
Yulie: We cant just give up.
Eldore: Kara, just how well do you know Redhorn Isle?
Kara: The island has been developed heavily since I was last there, but the basic layout should be the same.
Eldore: Rocco, connect me with Queen Cisna.
Rocco: Roger that!
He beep-boops on the controls and we crossfade to the God-Empress of All Creation, Long May She Reign herself, probably in mid-hissy fit on the bridge of her flagship.
Cisna: Eldore, is everyone alright?
Eldore: Yes. Never fear, Your Grace.
Eldore: I would like to suggest a plan.
Eldore: Throw the idiot into the cannon.
Orren: Works for me!
Cisna: You want to infiltrate the island using the Shahgna and attempt to destroy the Act of God?
Cisna: Thats far too dangerous.
Eldore: Aye, perhaps. But what other choice do we have?
Cisna: Very well.
She sighs, resigned to the knowledge that if they fuck this up her number of usable Knights shrinks instantly for 3.0005 down to .0005.
Cisna: Just promise me that you will come back alive.
Cisna: In fact, I command it!
Ooo, is LP Cisna pushing her way up through Game Cisnas exterior a little?
Eldore: We will.
Everyone bows their heads in agreement, except for Orren. Out-of-universe, this could just be that Level-5 didnt want to bother animating any more movements for the Avatar in cutscenes, because fuck the Avatar (and fuck you too, while were at it). The in-universe perspective, of course, is that Orren would never promise LP Cisna anything, nor show her any sign of respect, even something as insignificant as nodding deferentially to her even when she cant see it.
AREA MUSIC: Aboard the Shahgna (Unreleased Track)
So now we get to explore the Shahgna for literally no reason other than to talk to the rest of the party. There is no shop onboard like there was at the start of the game to buy or enhance new weapons or armour for anyone (meaning whatever youve come into this section with, youre stuck with for now), nor is there a save point aboard for you to heal, repair, or save, or abandon the mission and head back to the world map if you feel so inclined.
So this entire bit is completely pointless.
Eldore: Once weve destroyed that giant turret, our army can come ashore.
I dont know why this line is in parenthesises. Maybe Orren is psychic now?
Kara: Heh Life is funny sometimes
Good on Kara for still having a sense of humour about the unending stream of utter bullshit that has been her life thus far.
Yulie: (Ill be back soon, Leonard. I promise.)
Orren: Oh, get over it, please.
Yulie: I AM over it. But he needs me. Hes an adult-sized two-year-old, for gods sakes!
Orren: I am so not down with your baggage, BTW.
Yulie: Just Lets get this war over with and then we can talk about my baggage, K?
Orren: Thats a first. Usually you ignore me.
Eldore: Shut up and give the order already, Niles.
Eldore: Alright, lets storm the island!
Yulie: Take us in, Rocco!
Caesar: Here goes nothing.
Kara: Once we land, we need to be ready for anything.
Orren: TO GLORYYYYY!!!
CUTSCENE: The Battle of Redhorn Isle V ~ The Landing
So its too dangerous to join the fight on the frontlines, but not enough so that Rocco wont plough the Shahgna head-long into Redhorn Isles entire flack screen.
I swear, Redhorn Isle is like the unholy result of a Bowser/WarHammer 40K Ork team up. Grazel just has to use the place as-is, because, well, would YOU want to argue with an Ork landlord about DIY rental improvements?
Theres another blink-and-youll miss it bit here: Osmund personally shepherds the Shahgna down to the island with his glider.
Just goes to show you that even in the midst of a high-casualty battle such as this, hes still looking out for Rocco.
Balandor and Faria are also providing cover fire, as all their hopes rest on the Shahgnas metal wings.
Now, see, its stuff like this that gives me a grudging respect for Rocco. He might be a fuck up accident-prone klutz, but hes also one of the best pilots on Osmunds roster. Doubly so, because Windwalkers have been dropping left right and center in this fight so far.
Shapur: My Lord.
Shapur: It appears they have infiltrated the island.
Grazel: Wise move on their part.
He swivels his big giant Evil Throne around for no reason other than to be dramatic.
Grazel: And the only one.
Grazel: How kind of them to dance right into our clutches.
Shapur: My Lord I cant hear you when you turn away from me like that.
Grazel: Lets give them each a nice warm welcome.
Shapur: What? Umm Ah Whatever then.
Shapur: (Gods, I hope he just meant kill everyone, otherwise hes going to be piiiiiised.)
Also, look at that smirk on that fade out.
SHAPUR IS LOVING THIS SHIT!
Okay, so Im just going to pause here and drop a little bit of information that might just possibly change the bland, unexciting image you hold of Shapur in this game. Apparently this was published in a supplementary material to the game, so who knows of its even canon or not, so take it with a grain of salt and just remember that Akihiro Hino hasnt really mastered that whole not on the page, not on the stage aspect of writing yet.
But anyway, apparently before Shapur defected from Faria and joined the Magi, he burnt his hometown to the ground and went about systematically hunting down and murdering every single person who either knew him or knew of him before he fled the country, just to ensure that there would be no one left alive who knew anything about him.
Thats disturbingly thorough.
After that we get a brief interlude of Rocco taking the Shahgna skyward again thats literally just two seconds long.
AREA MUSIC: Redhorn Isle (Game 2 OST, Track 4)
And thus we simply walk into Mordor. This might not seem like it initially, but this is for all intents and purposes the final dungeon of the game, even though weve still got one more plot area to visit. Thats because the ACTUAL final dungeon is a no-effort antechamber to this games Final Boss Gauntlet, but well get to that in Chapter XVII.
In the meanwhile, please enjoy Redhorn Isles rocking area music, which really sets the very definitely final dungeon tone, despite it not actually being so.
Caesar: Well, looks like were still in one piece.
Eldore: Weve not much time. To the cannon, on the double!
Eldore: Head for the Act of God!
Kara: Hurry! Before they fire that thing again!
Yulie: Hang on, let me just pinch myself Yep! We actually survived that.
The Magi are dug in incredibly deep on the island. You probably cant go 20 feet without running into another detachment of soldiers and armaments of some kind.
Yulie: Is there some reason they chose a volcanic island for their base?
Orren: Because Grazels a clichéd twat?
Orren debates just leaping in an ending the torment once and for all, but then decides against it because burning to death in lava would fucking hurt.
Eldore: Were going to make it through this alive!
Yulie: Because the Queen ordered us to? Or just because?
Kara: Eldores right! Weve come too far to die here.
Caesar: Riiight. The power of positive thinking makes us invincible.
Orren: I dont know about that, but Im pretty sure the power of frustrated rage makes ME invincible. So lets quit yapping and mess these pricks up already!
This is also the point in the game where soldiers go from being just a general nuisance to deadly foes.
These two Axemasters nearly kill Orren with two simple attacks.
We also encounter Black Knaves Mk. II on Redhorn Isle. These guys are like the elite trolls weve been encountering thus far. You can see that they have a massive clawed shield on their left arms.
Well, theres one sure-fire way to deal with this.
Orren: O Swordo, emerald champion, master of the ancient hammer, grant me your power
Orren: What the shiiiiiiiaaaaaaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAHHHH!!!
Knight design c/o: Blind Sally
Uhhh Thats not my Arc Knight
Orren: Aw what the hell?! REALLY?! Godsdammit, Framboise! Just my luck. Piece of shits defective.
Orren: Eh. Whatever, I aint letting this stop me.
Orren: Yep. Tell your friends. A giant pink dildo Knight just whooped your ass.
Caesar: You got a problem with giant pink Knights there, buddy?
Orren: You wear yours remarkably well, for what its worth.
Orren: Gods. How do I get out of this chickenshit outfit?
Orren: Im having a loooooong chat with Framboise about this when we get back to Balandor.