Part 77: Two Knights In The Desert
Behold the culmination of shitty puns in this LPs chapter titles.
EPISODE 3 A New Enemy
One episode too late, but whatever.
So were here in the Lagnish Desert for the third Avatar Story chapter. Our primary objective is to scout the desert for any signs of Yshrenian Remnant activity and look for signs of a connection between the Magi and the mysterious woman who stole the Ark Core from Orren at the end of the last chapter.
AREA MUSIC: The Lagnish Desert (Disc 1, Track 24)
We begin this chapter at the Flandar foothills entrance of the desert. Balandor has fortified the area into a chokepoint to ensure that whatever Yshrenian forces currently in the desert cant escape into the mountains or receive reinforcements from Greede territory in the Great Caldera.
Cyrus and his merry men are on the scene to spearhead Queen Cisnas Operation Stay Down, Motherfucker, Stay Down!
Lets get the lay of the land by chatting it up with the Turks as, outside of the online quest The Lost Legion, this is the only time two of them technically say anything in the game.
Anecia: We still dont know what the enemy is up to here. Lets not give them any time to mobilize. We came here with the entire corps, didn't we? We should be out there searching for their base camp.
Oswald: The enemys movements are too well planned. Striking out blindly with a large force could spark a senseless slaughter if were caught off guard. We need to distract the enemy and make them come to us.
Balandor Solider 1: Were keeping watching over the area. Sir Cyrus can fill you in on the details.
Balandor Solider 2: Believe it or not, Yshrenias still been seen mobilizing troops after all these months.
Balandor Solider 3: *sigh* This fights not over yet
Noel: Ah, there you are! Everyones waiting for the order to move out. Please to speak with Cyrus near the embankment when youre ready.
Warren: The longer we wait here, the more were at a disadvantage. And were already behind the curve on this one, it seems. Surely the Captain is aware of that, right?
Orren: After that whole Im going to attack Faria, because racism, thats why! thing last year Im not even gonna speak to Cyruss level of tactical awareness.
Warren: Youre a smarter man than most of us here, Master Orren.
Well since talking to Cyrus is the only way to proceed from here, lets go talk to Cyrus.
Cyrus: Youre here Follow me and Ill fill you in on what the situation here is.
Yeah, nice to see you too, Cyrus.
Orren: Wait, arent you Chancellor now?
Cyrus: And youre a mayor from what Ive heard. But what would you really rather be doing?
Orren: The call to adventure is hard to ignore, Ill give you that one.
Cyrus: Besides, if I hear the words tax reform one more time, Im liable to throw the entire Privy Council in the dungeon for a month.
Cyrus: I see. So that Ark Cores fallen into the hands of the enemy. This is very bad. Whats more, it looks as though the Yshrenian armys remnants are cooperating with her in some capacity. Wed heard rumours of someone beginning to manipulate things behind the scenes, but now weve got hard proof.
Orren: What, my word alone?
Cyrus: Youre too short-tempered to lie about things.
Orren: Thanks I guess
Cyrus: And now shes appeared here in the desert. If we act quickly, we should be able to recover the Ark Core from her.
Cyrus: The Yshrenian forces are poised to move out soon, however, so we dont have much time to act.
Cyrus: Prepare to move out! Well attack the enemy encampments in the desert and recover that Ark! Oswald, your squad will cover the northern desert. Anecia, your squad with will take up position in the south.
Noel: What about me and Warren, sir? Do we cover the east and west?
Cyrus: You two get to stay here and braid my warhorses hair.
Noel: B-but !
Cyrus: Meanwhile, I will accompany Orren and focus on the central desert. Good luck everyone. You have your orders. Move out!
Cyrus: Things are tense right now, I appreciate the help, regardless.
Like weve got a choice anyway.
Well, here we go again. Im getting flashbacks to our hunt for the Moon Maiden, what about you guys?
Weve now got Cyrus back in our party for the duration of this chapter as a guest character. Ordinarily speaking, if you were playing this straight up, Cyrus would be scaled at defacto 4th party member status, like he usually is. But because the game is hilariously modded for this part of the LP, hes merely a Batman in a party of Supermans, Wonder Womans (Wonder Women?), Green Lanterns, Flashes, Martian Manhunters and whatever the fuck Leonard is supposed to be. Still impressive in his own right, but obviously outmatched by everyone around him.
One glance as the map screen shows us what our objective for this chapter is: theres 8 clusters of Magi troops and armaments in the desert and we need to run around and take them out.
You get meaningless bonus points for each one you defeat. You only need to clear out 6 of them to unlock the boss and clear the chapter, but do you get more numbers and useless items if you Make the Eight, so to speak.
And now begins the boring part of the update: gameplay.
The first detachment, found right outside of the Royal Army staging area is a group of soldiers and a lone artillery cannon. Its the games way of easing you into things.
I tell Eldore, Yulie, and Cyrus to hang back and let Orren concave a few faces because I need to build up enough AC to transform for the boss fight coming up shortly.
Technically speaking, I should actually have a full 15 AC at this point, but the game has this really weird thing to it where if you mod a characters stats, that character then has their AC allotment frozen at the level where you modded it from, which in this case was the very beginning of the game where everyone only has 7, the bare minimum needed to transform into a Knight.
Its best practice if youre playing the game straight to take out the heavies first, as they can do the most damage to you. But I mowed through all the soldiers first and only now am going after the cannon.
Leonard spent half the game in a coma, Orren spent it becoming a being who can hit things with a hammer hard enough to make them explode instantly.
Sure, Shit For Brains could probably have done that too if Id modded him up to the level the rest of the party was it, but I said hes never going to shit up the active party again, and I stand by that.
After all the enemies of each group are defeated
The objective marker denoting their location blinks off.
Group 2 is a bunch of soldiers and a Black Knave.
They go down off screen and I run off to take out some of the local wildlife.
The third group of enemies is located in the Sand Maze Ruins.
Remember when Leonard let Lena die here because he fucking sucked. And then Kara fake-rescued Cisna so that Belcitane could swoop in and rekidnap her again? Good times.
Who the hell was Lena supposed to be anyway?
This bunch is a little more dug in than the last few groups. Weve got a Zore Crystal, a trio of cannons, and a couple of Magi mages too.
Again, the man can swing a hammer so hard it causes things to explode.
The Zore Crystal goes down much the same.
Again, this would be much more on the impossible side of the scale if we were playing this straight.
Cyrus: Did he really just let some random woman die here?
Orren: Right where youre standing pretty much.
Orren: So wait, did Kara ever tell either of you who Lena was supposed to be, anyway?
Eldore: Not at all. Why do you ask?
Orren: Man, that is just gonna bug me
Group #4 is a quartet of Assassins led by one Master Assassin.
Requiescat in pace, bucko.
With group 5 we up the ante even more as we face a pair of siege towers and an Ancient War Machine in addition to a compliment of soldiers.
And heres more screenshots of Orren, The Strongest Man Alive.
One shot and that towers coming down.
Hes also so fast he can dodge bullets.
And down comes tower 2.
This poor guy on the far left just got nailed by another one of Yulies elemental attacks.
And heres Cyrus showing hes up to snuff still, effortlessly dodging this soldiers swing like hes lithe and agile Cutscene Cyrus instead of clunky and limited Gameplay Cyrus.
And Yulie gets the killshot with another rain of elemental death.
Time to take on the tank.
Not even a tank shell to the face at point blank range is enough to stop the Man Who Killed Madoras anymore.
And down goes the tank.
This cannon is the last part of this Magi detachment.
And now its a part of the scenery.
This group here is the last one that you need to take out before the Boss Battle for the chapter opens up.
You can see here just before this one blinks out, the objective marker for the Boss appears on the screen in the far right of the map. If we wanted to, we could run towards it now and trigger the battle, but lets be completionist about this thing, shall we?
Aside from the Magi presence in the desert, the only unscripted enemies to show up are just stat-hiked versions of the usual Lagnish Desert suspects. Boars, Scorpions, and Vespids. Thankfully, there arent any giant enemies lumbering about right now to slow your progress even further.
Group seven is a just a redo of the last big group of enemies, not much to this one that we havent seen already.
So lets move on then and get some beauty shots of the desert and the mountains in the background.
Hey, White Knight Chronicles! Your Final Fantasy XII is showing again!
The third to last group is just a bunch of schmucks and another Black Knave.
Easily dealt with.
North of the ruins we find another Zore Crystal and its defenders. This is the penultimate group you need to defeat.
And then on the ledge here you find another group of Assassins and a Master Assassin.
Taking this lot out satisfies the games sub-mission requirement.
Now were free to just hop over this ledge and head for the boss battle.
On the eastern extreme of the map is where we find the main Yshrenian outpost that the Balandor forces were planning their attack on.
Well, you know that if theres a boss battle coming up here then SOMETHING has probably gone horribly wrong in here, right?
We come back out of the fade to black to an actual-ish cutscene.
Orren and Cyrus run towards the oddly quiet encampment. And in a welcome change of pace, Yulie and Eldore are erased from existence in a cutscene this time around because theyre not technically here for this part of the story.
They crest the hill to find the army detachment that had assaulted the base ahead of us wiped out and the mysterious woman from the Flandars standing in the midst of the pile of bodies.
Yeah, this really aint good, is it?
Orren: Lady, you and I need to have a little talk about that thing you swiped from me, and by talk of course I mean burry my hammer in your skull!
She doesnt look the least bit concerned. Although the way that mask is covering up her face, she doesnt look the least bit anything, in all honesty.
She holds up the Ark Core, and Oh shit.
Well, at least our villain has a name now. She hasnt spoken it aloud, but the cutscene subtitles identify her as Shem Or Sem, or Semu, depending on how you want to romanize セム (Semu).
Im picking Shem because it sounds the least lame of the three, and it is an actual name.
So now we get to see Shems Knight transformation sequence. Its a move-for-move copy of the spear variant of the Arc Knights transformation sequence, only with a purple colour pallet instead of a blue one.
Shems Incorruptus form is a silver and purple Knight made from the Armato Arc Knight armour set and wielding the Yrgane spear as a weapon.
Its got the same golden Tron lines on its body that the Demon Knight exhibited on its body. These lines also show up on the second tier versions of the storyline Knight armour DLC for the Arc Knight.
Sadly, thats the only way you can get them to appear on the Arc Knight itself.
Shems Knight (which is literally just called Shems Knight in-game) also has one other feature that makes it unique from the Arc Knight: nestled between the wings of its chest armour is a halo-like structure positioned just off its shoulders like halos appear in Hindu, Bhuddist, and Sanskrit artistic stylings.
Just for the sake of the LP, however, Im going to dub this thing the Silver Knight, for obvious reasons.
So the Silver Knight is another one of those impossible without multiplayer bosses that will make you thankful you bought a Game Genie or other such save editing device.
With that said, its time to fulfill the promise of the title of this update.
Orren: O Swordo, emerald champion, master of the ancient hammer, grant me your power
Shem starts the battle off before she even tries to attack you by throwing up a Regen spell on herself, just to make this fight even that much more difficult for you.
Here we go now.
Again, just on a visual level, youd think something amazing was about to happen with these two titans about to square off with one another, but no, its just the same old boring shit for the five trillionth time.
Shem starts things off by taking a lunge at the Arc Knight.
Orren gets a nice hit on her
But she scores a spear hit of her own too.
I spend much of this battle just toying with her to get some decent shots of her Knight because were not going to be seeing it all that often in the Avatar Story, despite what an interesting looking antagonist it makes.
Again, theres nothing really to comment on here
All you need to do is knock her down to a quarter health and the battle promptly ends.
She staggers back in defeat as shes knocked out of Knight form.
Okay, this is actually kind of terrifying. A powerful and competent villain who has the heretofore unseen ability to transform without even a proper Ark. All she needed was the bloody crystal that powers it.
This woman is clearly playing on a higher level than the rest of us are, even if we just moped the floor with her.
Shem: I must go, my planet needs me.
Cyrus and Orren look on in frustration as Shem ninja leaps away in the direction of the Nordia Tunnels.
Cyrus: This would be a good time for you to, you know Transform!
Orren: I just fucking DID! Werent you paying attention? This thing aint like a pair of pantsI cant slip it on and off whenever I want to. Dont you fucking do this, boozer. Dont you Me eh me.
Cyrus: Damn! She got away!
Cyrus: That woman The way she was able to call upon the power of the Knight like that. Was she a Pactmaker?
Orren: Somehow, I doubt it. Though anythings possible these days, I guess.
Cyrus: We cant let her get away again this time! We need to follow her, now! At least she cant escape to the east. Theres nothing but open sea past the desert that way.
Orren: And the armys blocking off access to the Flandars in the west
Cyrus: And Oswald and Anecia are covering the north and south quadrants of the desert. The only route available to her then is towards the Nordia Tunnels.
Orren: Well, looks like I know where Im headed then.
Cyrus: Ill contact Balandor via Bigelow and tell the Queen to send troops to the Greydall exit of the Tunnels.
Cyrus: Come on! Hurry!
Pulling a Knight out of her ass like that without a proper Ark? Oh yeah, this lady had to go down. Weve had enough Grazels, Shapurs, and Madroases, thank you very much. And no, Im not just saying that because I suddenly felt my status as the most powerful human in existence being threatened.
For now though Urrrgh. It was back into the dark, dank spider hole that was the Nordia Tunnels.
Will we find an actual story to this so-called Avatar Story down there?
Who the fuck knows?!