Enderal first time, impressions

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dyslexicfaser
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- Anyhow, time to get this show on the road.
My minimap markers take me to an unassuming (though admittedly beach-front) house. In the front room is a man beating a very fancy toy horse into shape. He seems a nice enough chap, although…

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Yeah, I’m not going to call you that. I only call very specific people ‘Daddy’, and you don’t have any kind of glistening six pack or flyaway silver hair, okay?
The Prophetess actually has a very minor freakout over the fact that ‘Daddy’ looks very much like her daddy. You know, the monster from the dreams who wants her to join him in death.
Which, with a Black Stone involved, who knows what’s possible and not? I’m just kind of glad Ryneus’s Daddy isn’t like the Prophetess’s; if Ryneus dreamed Silvergrove into being, it’s sure as hell nicer than her usual dreams. … So far.
My first inclination is to assume the ‘Daddy’ is some kind of standard template the High Ones use for their visions and her dreams are Black Stone related too, but that’s kind of reaching.
Just… watch out for sudden spontaneous combustion, Prophetess. And don’t ask what’s for dinner.

- Ryneus’s room is honestly totally awesome. I want, like, all of this shit for my room back in Ark. Captured butterflies fluttering away? Posh pillows and rugs in bright colors? Books and maps spread carelessly over the desk nearby? A wooden rocking horse compatriot of the new fellow being worked on in the front room? There’s just so much… stuff, it feels eminently comfortable.

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Totally sweet. This is the room of a main character, no doubt about it.

- We talk for a bit, and I get the feeling that Ryneus isn’t cut out for a life of crime.

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‘Oh yes, my backstory doesn’t hang together, hm? Well, I, don’t remember, what is the linear progression of time anyway, really, can we just go look for butterflies?‘
Ryneus wants to play in exchange for giving me the Stone, natch.
Well, there’s this bit where Ryneus’s dog grabs a toy and runs off right in the middle of my asking for the Stone, and I have to chase him down.
High One with the furry fetish, is that you?
Well, the dog runs all over town but never does turn into glowing red smoke and talk shit at me, so it’s probably fine.

- We get back to talking about the Stone without further incident. Ryneus wants me to grant him three ‘wishes’, which is Pretentious Kid talk for ‘do fun stuff with me.’
Now, I have the option to be a cunt about this and say stuff like ‘Ain’t nobody got time for that, give me the stone kid, now!’ but of course I play nice on the grounds that for all I know, Ryneus could turn me inside out.
So I chase a dog around for a while and show off my bow skills and catch him some butterflies. I go for the optional ‘catch all fifteen butterflies’ when I could have stopped at 7, on the grounds that if Ryneus turns out to have ultimate power over life and death I should be the best big sister I can be.
It’s around the first ‘wish’ (skeet shooting on the beach) that my suspicion is pretty much borne out: the sun never sets in Silvergrove. It hovers over the horizon in a determined sort of way, giving plenty of light at all times and fantastic sunsets over the beach.
The Guardian said I could stay the night while the Bonerippers prowl outside, but I have all the time in the world.
After all, what kid, given infinite power over all he surveys, would wish for anything as lame as rain or darkness? Let summer reign, and the good times last for-ev-er.

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- I wonder, is it just my suspicious mind, or are these two intentionally voice acted poorly?
I mean, it’s not the worst voice acting I’ve ever heard, but this game normally has such tight voice work for its main characters. Then you get these guys who are just so happy and tranquil and taaalk sloowly and enuunciaate their woords.

- Ryneus does have this cute hopping animation while we’re talking in his room, though.
Kind of weird when I’m trying to be all ‘I need the Stone for world peace’ and he’s hopping back and forth and stuff, but yeah. Cute.

- So for the third of Ryneus’s wishes, he wants me to go to a hidden cave under a waterfall, containing a locked door.
Well, he’s either got something cool to show me or he’s already plotting where to hide the body, but either way let’s get ‘er done.

- Turns out he just has a really nice painting of us on the beach backlit by the sunset to show me! It’s really nice.
When did he have time to paint this exactly? Stop asking questions, human.

- Ryneus’s third wish is for me to stay with him forever.
Which is kind of sweet but also … well, we all know how it goes from here, right?
The world outside is dark and cold, but here in Silvergrove it’s always great and everyone’s healthy and there’s no rain or clouds and I’m tired of being alone, you know?
The Prophetess unfortunately needs everything spelled out for her. Because of course the kid is alone, everybody else is people puppets or something! He lays it all out for me, that playing tag with the townsfolk is like playing tag with himself.
He is himself, but they are also himself. Like that.
He’s scared, though. Even a normal little kid can have that nonsensical fear of everyone just… going away, for no reason, and never coming back, and it all being your fault. And most little kids haven’t been unwanted, tossed away by a father who never wanted him because he was born malformed.
But then you contrast that understandable, irrational fear with lines like “I never wanted them to be trapped here, but it was the only way to make them love me, you know?”

- The whole backstory comes out now, about a Silvergrove afraid of the malformed youngster dropped on their doorstep.
Endraleans aren’t exactly the most understanding of folk, you may have noticed.
The story begins with an old woman dying in front of Ryneus’s house. Of people coming in the night and dragging Ryneus out of bed. Of his stepfather trying to fight them off, and getting knifed in the dark.
And of the stone whispering, whispering…
And then things were better! The next morning, his father was alive. Ryneus was normal, just like all the other boys and girls. Everyone was nice to him.
Because it’s what he wanted, and in Silvergrove, what Ryneus wants is what happens.
Except with me.
Ryneus can feel the Prophetess’s difference. That it feels like part of me is far away (hopefully not trapped in that dream prison with Aixon, but who the fuck knows).

- I still need that stone, though. And of course, there’s a hook hidden in the apple. This is Enderal.

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Even if removing the stone brought back their free will, the people of Silvergrove haven’t eaten real food in years. The stone tells Ryneus that. And Ryneus’s body is a product of the stone.
So, Prophetess. How much do you want it?
Enough to end this land of Always Summer? Eh. Into each life some rain, etcetera.
Enough to kill a few dozen people? Sure, I do that before breakfast some days, and most of the villagers don’t even have names.
Enough to consign a poor kid to a twisted and painful life as the local version of the Hunchback of Notre Dame?
I look inside my heart of hearts and think, the Order will probably take him in. Bad things happen to good people all the time. C’est la vie.
The connection isn’t quite there, the way it is with Jespar and Calia. Ryneus is still just a video game character.

- Silvergrove without the stone is, of course, darker. Overcast and gray.

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Corpses litter the streets, gray and wrinkled, starved to death in an instant.
There’s one sitting on ‘Daddy’s’ favorite bench outside their house.

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Inside the house, there’s no sound. No background music. Only a quiet, intermittent cough from the back room.
The house is… less, than it was. No metal toy horse, no warm yellow light from hearth and candlelight, no hammering. I gird my loins and enter.

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Oh, I think. That’s a really good character model.
The warm and welcoming room is lesser, colder, and covered in spiderwebs.
The quiet ‘We did it, sister’ hits pretty good.
He can’t walk. By the time I come back with a horse for us to ride, he’s almost gone. One of his last lines is a delirious ‘You were right, [Daddy]. Sometimes all you need to do for a wish to come true is to hold on to it long enough.’

Oh, I think. There’s the knife. I was waiting for you. Yes, yes, through the ribs and up into the heart, you know the drill by now.


The Takeaway:
This was an interesting quest.
The ‘run around town doing little errands for the kid’ portion was filler, but I wish it had actually been longer! If I’d had to run down to the tavern for date pies and listen to what’s-her-name talk about what things were like when she was young (‘I dunno, they were nice I guess, not as nice as since Ryneus came though’) and play hide and seek with Ryneus and his little kid friends and actually meet the villagers properly, that would have helped form a connection that SureAI could have used to make it hurt more.
I felt kind of bad for Ryneus having to go back into a monstrous body, but the villagers? I could give a shit.
I was actually kind of worried when the emotional punch in the cave behind the waterfall just… failed to land? Maybe because I’d figured the broad strokes of all this out ahead of time.
Heading back into the village and listening to Ryneus breathe out his last on the bed finally did the trick, and I’m not sure what changed between those two points that got the emotions rolling. The character model curled up on the bed? The house itself being bare of all the fun little kid things fake-Ryneus had? The kid’s VA bringing his A-game right at the end?
Not sure, but it did a lot of much-needed heavy-lifting on the emotional side of things that was missing while I was convincing this kid to give up his perfect fake world for a much shittier, crueler, if realer one.
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Wonderful write-up. I've been anxious for you to experience that since only the heartless would not get walloped emotionally. And you're right about the VA, I lost it when he said he wanted me to be his sister. And during that last screenshot you showed, when the soft piano came in. Truly a Song in the Silence.
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Just chiming in to say "Thank you!" for your awesome summaries!
It's always a joy to read them :)
dyslexicfaser
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- Before heading back to Ark and turning in the last Black Stone, I swing by a dungeon in the Silvergrove area called Old Yogosh.
Going by the dead miners, the one Keeper draped artistically over a fence, and the many (before I got to them) living mercenaries, I can guess what happened; the same thing that always happens to Enderal’s poor working class. The mercs seem to either employ or are employed by a Nehrimese scientist brooding over a book about Skaraggs.
Skaraggs are the barbarian types who made my armor, so I’m pretty interested: the book is actually a great little story right out of Lovecraft’s playbook. I wish I’d taken screenshots of the book, but from memory:
The book is an autobiography of a soldier, captured by the Skaraggs during war. Mostly through raw sex appeal he convinces them to spare his life (that is, one of the Skaraggs falls in love with him). In time he finds his way into the forbidden caves, discovers a mural containing the faces of his fellow soldiers who have gone missing. Well, as anyone who has starred in a Lovecraft mythos story would tell you, reading about the Dread Old Ones is your first mistake. He starts losing time, fugue style, and the Skaraggs figure out that he was a naughty boy who went where he oughtn’t.
I’m not entirely sure if the Skaraggs were feeding prisoners to whatever monster was inside the mural, or if they’d sealed it in there. Considering he woke up from another fugue state with the entire tribe murdered after they were planning to murder him for his trespasses, I’m leaning towards the seal thing.
It actually ends pretty well, as so few archeologist protagonists of Lovecraft do; he managed to make his way down the coast, and the farther he got from the cave, the more he came back to himself. After stumbling into a village, he basically spent the next few years piecing himself back together and… that’s it. Happy(-ish) ending!

- I was trying to figure out if the book involved Old Yogosh in any way, but as far as I can tell it’s just a cool story.
In the process of working my way through the dungeon I do a miniquest that partially floods the place in the process of turning on the water for all the Powder Desert. Kinda hoping this is going to result in trees and oases sprouting up next time I ride through, but I suspect it’ll be like when I gave a bunch of Red Vynroot to the Order but still see ‘fleshmaggot sufferers’ all the time whenever I wander through Undercity.

- At the end, there’s a great deal of fire (ever-burning and pressure plates), and charred-black corpses (in funny existential torment poses, stuck in burning, hanging cages, and piled in - well - piles).

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Poking one of the piles (because, you know, that’s how I do) causes this new friend to emerge.

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Mildly terrifying, but you know. 6 seconds of timestop goes a long way to taking the bite out of single boss encounters. Stab stab stabstabstabstab done.

- Back at Ark’s sun temple, I overhear a tidbit from one of the rank and file: Sakaresh (that’s Calia) has been consecrated to the First Sigil. Has she been moving up the corporate rankings while I was away? Good for her! Not everybody gets a fancy title out of the gate like yours truly.
Order titles go from Novitiate through First Sigil to, I think, Fourth Sigil for guys like our dear old disapproving jerk-dad Signet Leader Jorek.
But of course, because nobody in Enderal can just say a nice thing about anyone, the guys I’m listening to add, ‘Good for her’ and ‘Dunwar would have deserved this so much more, but well, who am I to question Malphas’s will?’, both in the smarmiest, most passive aggressive tones ever.
See, Calia? This is where keeping the fact that you can turn into an ass-kicking demon quiet comes back to bite you; maybe fear isn’t as good as love, but it’s still better than naked contempt.

- I also notice in my inventory is a butterfly in a jar: a Moonglow Moth, the kind Rynaeus had be catch for him. I wonder when…?

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- I trot over and me and Lexil the Archmage pop the last Black Stone into The Machine. Flashes of light, rumblings, Lexil getting knocked ass over teakettle, all that.
He assures me that with this… with this, this might just work!
Obviously, things can’t just work, it’s not good storytelling. Magic seems to be… not working at the moment. ‘The sea of eventualities’, Lexil calls it, which is pretty rad in a bookish sort of way. I’m to go find Yuslan Sha’Rim, who was supposed to be magically sealing the gates before the Nehrimese get here. Apparently we can do that!
Yuslan, remember, is basically the last Order Nehrimese mage of note after Constantine and Lishari got murdered. The one that seems to be haunted by an old girlfriend or something. It kinda reminds me that we never did figure out who murdered her. That plotline seems to have fallen by the wayside with Coarek invading and the Beacon and so on.

- Now I’m kind of amazed we can do it at all, but obviously we can’t just seal Ark away from all danger just like that! S’not good storytelling.
No no, what we need here is an invasion. The Nehrimese, sailing right into the harbor, just as I always wondered why they hadn’t already. I like to think that the inlet full of giant spiders, the beach full of soil elementals, the graveyard of undead and the beached ship full of bandit marauders to the south of Ark bought us some much-needed time.
Tealor joins Yuslan, me and some guard captain whose name escapes me.
Tealor Arantheal turns out to have some magic after all: for our little pow-wow, he puts up a spooky green barrier, presumably to keep out the cannon shells dropping down on the Noble District.
I suspect maybe it's been awhile since Tealor Arantheal threw up his last barrier spell. I mean, this thing seems to have holes like good cheese.
Dogs?

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Guards who seem to think they’re under attack by the air around them?

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The important thing is that you tried, Arantheal.
We have a quick huddle, decide it’s time to murder us some saboteurs, throw back the invaders, bar the gates, have Yuslan bring up the barriers, and then it’s just taunting Coarek from the battlements about how he smells of elderberries.

- Me and Tealor team up to wander through the marketplace, killing an infiltrator who seems to have killed one of the two chickens that wander around the bounty board (also a few nameless NPCs, but I walk by that chicken every time I visit the magic box that holds all my shit, our bond is much deeper). He gets my sword all up in his guts, as is the fate of all chicken-murderers.
Around the back, two infiltrators are dead and already stripped of their gear. Weird. Maybe there’s another Bethesda protagonist around here someplace.
We link up with a small squad led by some guy named Harlejan. He’s appropriately surprised to see Tealor Arantheal down from his little mountain and breaking heads, which, you know, fair enough. There’s some speeches.
More fighting, working our way through the harbor district, this time against proper Nehrimese soldiers led by some named lady mage. Considering I cut her down though, I’m not going to remember her name. I’m pretty sure it’s not Coarek’s righthand woman, she seemed like more of a rogue type.
Also looting; Nehrimese Shields are worth a lot of gold, but so are City Guard Cuirasses, and the infiltrators each pack a pair of rune daggers that aren’t tremendously valuable but are light and easy to carry. Looking back at the many naked looted corpses strewn here and there across the harbor district, I can’t help but feel the moment is undercut somewhat.

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- So we go push some levers to bring the portcullises down (why do we need the portcullises down for Yuslan to put up a barrier? Who knows), you can hear Harlejan bringing up the cannons through the walls somehow, at one point I have a brief Future Vision flash of a bunch of voices shouting stuff like ‘You heard him, go!’ and ‘Retreat!’ and ‘Gah!’ and such...
Busywork, basically.

- Somehow or other, Harlejan and one of his nameless Guardmooks get trapped on the other side of the magic barrier when it goes up. He’s all ‘Grandmaster, open the gates’ and Arantheal looks down and says ‘... No.’
Which, hey, I’m in full agreement with the hard choices, because I see who’s stalking up behind them.
So Harlejan pleads at us for a good five seconds, and then… yyyyeah.

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That asshole. Samael, Coarek’s evil-looking executioner pal. Well he tears the souls right out of Harlejan and Guardmook #1.
And then Coarek strolls up like he’s late for a Sunday brunch.


The Takeaway:
As great as Yogosh’s character model is, I kinda wish he’d come out of a painting or something, to link up with the story. Oh well!
The invasion isn’t bad. Yuslan gets to show some spine, Arantheal gets to take charge, I get to murder a bunch of guys. I mean, it suffers a little from being compared to the last three quests I went on that had real character beats and cool plot twists and such, but it's not bad.
I do feel like it stretches disbelief a little that Coarek can just walk up to our walls for a chat when we know Harlejan has been readying cannons and ‘firespitters’ and so on while me and Arantheal were pushing buttons. It might have been cooler if, say, Harlejan got to turn the cannons on him and Samael blew them the fuck up or something with his naughty black smoke magic. It’d hype Samael up more and make me feel bad about such a badass getting trapped outside and mined for cheap drama.
Zorg
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Nice. I am looking forward to your decision in the next episode ;)
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- The Nehrimese mage Yuslan Sha’rif put up the entropy barrier, Samael on the other side tore out a couple of souls to set the mood, and I killed a lot of infiltrators, but now it’s Coarek and Arantheal’s show.
Coarek makes the first shot across the bow, claiming surprise that Arantheal is even here getting his hands dirty.
It is true that I’ve been the one actually schlepping Black Stones around and killing entire villages of monsters, but Tealor Arantheal has also had the unenviable job of corralling a bunch of hidebound Endraleans to do what he wants them to do, and that’s a Herculean feat in its own way.

- Coarek has this habit of saying things that sound fair and reasonable on the surface but are also not really those things if you think about it for a minute.
‘Don’t make this conflict bloodier than it already is’... after sailing into our harbour and trying to murder everyone. So his rhetorical strategy makes it sound like we’re the bad guy for trying to resist the invasion. For a story about fighting ascended smoke monsters and the end of the world, some bits of Enderal feel way too real.
Arantheal fires back with overflowing sarcasm.

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Pretty fantastic tough guy lean on Yuslan’s part. His head turns back and forth to watch who’s talking, it’s neat.

- Yeah, so obviously Arantheal isn’t opening the gates any time soon.
Coarek says that in that case, he wants to see every prisoner crucified by nightfall, and all Endraleans are to be killed on sight.
Not that he takes enjoyment from this, you understand! Coarek considers himself a rationalist; it’s those religious people who choose dogma over reason that bring this on themselves.
Arantheal refusing to submit to Rationality (and by extension, Coarek, its advocate) is the last proof he needs that Enderal is beyond saving.

- Tealor Arantheal is not happy when we head back up to the Sun Temple, natch.
But his day is about to get worse: our old disapproving pal Sigil Leader Jorek is laid out on the ground when we get back, with a small crowd standing over him. According to Natara (that’s the third leg of the leadership of the Order; Tealor as grandmaster, Natara the Tuchessa his 2IC, and then Jorek mostly by virtue of being there from the start with Natara and Tealor) he’s the one who let the Nehrimese invaders into the city.
I could see this going either way, really.
Jorek is just as old a hand in the Order as Natara and Tealor, he could have felt slighted that they got to be the heads while he’s still out leading patrols and doing initiations and stuff. He’s been played as being kind of bitter about the whole thing.
But then, if the Tuchessa was the one sliding help under the table to Coarek, she’d want a convenient patsy to take the fall. She’s been bucking Tealor’s commands to focus on the Beacon as superstitious hoodoo when they should be focused on more earthly concerns.
Arantheal, sounding at the end of his rope, orders Jorek imprisoned.

- The good news keeps coming; Archmage Lexil and an elderly lady named Magistra Yaela are arguing about a ‘Numinos’.
I think Yaela’s new to the plot, presumably because Yuslan has never shown any interest in the Beacon and aside from him and Lexil all our name-worthy mages are dead, and we needed someone to help hold up this conversation.
She’s got some fire, but she’s no Constantine Firespark, I’ll tell you that.
Apparently when we rebuilt this thing we neglected to acquire the very heart of the machine. All that stuff about getting the black stones for power? Without the Numinos to aim the energy, we basically just built a giant mystical bomb at the top of our city.

- I also get to listen outside the door while they interrogate Jorek! That happened a lot faster than I thought it would.
So turns out Jorek is a drunkard and a cap dust addict, and Tealor Arantheal and Natara have been covering it up for him. That seems like the sort of corruption I’d expect in the highest offices of the land here in Enderal, sure.
A bottle of cap dust was left by Lishari’s dead body, remember. Jorek denies the charge, and to be fair that seems like a pretty easy frame job.
Jorek also doesn’t know anything about the mercenaries Coarek has been hiring, but maintains that letting Coarek into the city would have been better in the long run. Just stop building the machine, sue for peace, live under Coarek’s benevolent rule, like that.
I mean until the High Ones blow up the whole goddamn world, but in fairness I was there for all of that and I’m still not 100% sure I believe it. Jorek and Natara are kind of the sanest ones in this story.
They give Jorek some good lines:

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Jorek actually seems kind of concerned about the fate of all the little villages and farms now that we’ve refused to let Coarek into the city, but I say if they’ve managed to survive the dead rising and the pirates and everything else, one more murderous threat in Enderal isn’t so much.
Also, some spicy accusations about Tealor sharing Natara’s bed, you know how it goes.
Tealor fires back, calling Jorek a ‘hollow man’ without talent or principles. And then, uh.
Well, Sigil Leader Jorek isn’t going to make it to stand any kind of trial.
Tealor just cut him down right in the middle of a ‘You’ll all see I was right!’ rant.

- Tealor Arantheal told me to take a nap, and…

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Yeah, naps have historically been a pretty bad time for me in this game. Guess it’s time to go see Daddy again.
Kinda puts things in perspective, in a ‘it can always get worse’ kind of way.


The Takeaway:
Just cleanup from the invasion and setup stuff for the next round of quests, seems like. I appreciate that Jorek has half a point, although frankly I wouldn’t trust Coarek as far as I can throw him. Although I’m willing to be convinced on that point, given say, 5 minutes alone with him and a steep battlement.
I don’t like him. Villains that talk about peace and rationality if you just do everything they say and believe what they believe kind of tarnish the ideals they espouse.
Zorg
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Yeah, it's funny how the self-declared rationalist Coarek is the real religious fanatic, someone who solely acts on dreams he got from "high ones" promising him "ascension", while the order uses research to figure out what the cleansing is about.

Unfortunately this episode was a little short, so my last comment was premature :wink:
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11.06.2017 22:43dyslexicfaser hat geschrieben:

- A bulletin stuck to a pillar directs me to a guy near the bathhouse who has some work he needs done. Well, first, turns out there's a bathhouse. It's pretty cool, although there's nothing actually going on inside.
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It looks like you should be able to deliver a pretty righteous cannonball into the pool, but alas not. Pathing issues.
This is so embarrassing. Despite 200+ hours of playing Enderal, I had never came across this bathhouse. I don't know how I missed this in your post but when I saw a clip of it in a video, I didn't know what or where this was. Goes to show that even veterans can completely miss things. :oops:
dyslexicfaser
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So, dream sequence time.

- I kind of wish you could scroll back out at this point and your character model was replaced by a small child, but I guess locking it in first person is a good step in the right direction.
On the other hand, it’s not like being level 45 and covered in heavy armor would save me when my childhood house inevitably catches fire again, maybe that would be a good option too. Embrace the contradiction.

- Daddy is still hairless, burned, but not as crazed as usual.
We have a pretty civil conversation, where Daddy thinks I’m as lost as all the others. ‘I know you still didn’t find it,’ he says.
My line is, ‘You’re wrong, Daddy. We found the torch, and I found the fire.’
I’m guessing this is the Beacon and the Black Stones to power it? The Beacon kind of looks like a torch, we just gave it power...

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‘To listen,’ he adds.
Pretty good zinger there, Daddy.
Me and Daddy have a seat at the table in silence – the bagged corpses of Mommy and Sister are thankfully gone – and listen.

- See, in the next room over, we get to hear Daddy and Mommy having an argument.
‘You make me very, very unhappy,’ Daddy says. And then…

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It’s not muffled at all, no matter what the subtitles claim, and actually sounds like an extremely satisfying meaty thud. Daddy wants to know whose child it is, growing in her womb. She claims it’s his, of course, but… well.
‘What am I to do, Lord?’ He asks.
‘Oh, thanks, Lord,’ he says, in the tone of someone who has received a revelation. I give it 50-50 that he’s either hearing the voices of the High Ones, or has just gone off the deep end into full religious mania.
A child born of sin is tainted, you see. That’s why, when it’s born, he wants to drown it in the trough outside.

- Yikes. If ‘I’ set that fire after all… I can see why. To be so powerless to do the right thing…
Daddy – the Daddy in front of me – claims that there’s no more time. He has to go. He’s craving it, you see. Crisp, bloody meat.

- The Prophetess wakes with the line ‘Save them… we need to save them… Light the Beacon…’ on her lips.
I’m not sure what’s going on there either, unless… unless she considered ‘saving her family’ to be ‘lighting the torch’, and is relating the fire of her childhood with the ‘torch = Beacon’ idea raised earlier and her helpless family with the Order members still living?
I dunno, bit of a stretch, but probably something metaphorical like that.
I am suspecting that lighting the Beacon is either not going to save the day, or straight up bring about the Apocalypse all the faster. In a genre like this, suspicious dream visions are usually pretty spot on, and Daddy has no faith in the Beacon at all.
Plus… well. We miraculously find a mysterious old blueprint from ages past, we acquire the power stones that we already know have the High Ones whispering their lies through it… I’m seeing a lot of ways this could go wrong.

- Jespar is waiting for me when I wake up.
He’s apologizing for that thing from last time, presumably when I found him surrounded by prostitutes and he told me he’d sell me to Coarek for a gold piece and shit.
There’s an option to ask about that line, but I figure it’s all water under the bridge by now.
I mean, I’m not 100% sure he wouldn’t, but it’s kind of like 90% believing in him and 10% percent believing that even if he sinks the dagger I do wear a lot of armor and can stop time now.
… Maybe 80-20?
I believe in him more than not, anyway.
He asks about my relationship status with Calia, which is presumably the decision point Zorg was talking about earlier. Unfortunately for my OT3 (why have Calia and Jespar not been on a quest together, I need that snarky rogue/virtuous paladin-monster combination in my life, SureAI) I’m pretty sure I can’t just romance everybody.
Heck, get Tealor Arantheal in on this, my heart is big. It can contain multiple waifus.
Anyway, I go ahead and claim me and Calia are just friends (she was pretty clear about not starting anything because she’s a monster and I’m… kind of also a monster, but I still haven’t told anybody, what the hell, me)

- I swing by and meet Lexil the Archmage and Yuslan to get my new marching orders. Yuslan isn’t sure this is wise, which sounds pretty credible when I learn that Lexil’s plan is apparently, to put me on a spaceship.
See, what happens is that a Starling broke into an Order storeroom looking for materials to finish constructing his spaceship. The name’s Kurmai, which turns out to be the starling you meet when you first show up in Ark. He gives you a quest for hammerbird eggs.
Mostly at the time he was notable for referring to himself as ‘he’, as in: Kurmai says, ‘He wonders if you’re quite well in the head.’
But when the Order went back to his workshop, they noted a lot of similarities between his work – which he claimed was done using ancient Starling blueprints – and the Beacon. So he didn’t even get horribly murdered for being an infiltrator or whatever!
The plan is to finish the spaceship and send someone – let’s be real here, it’ll be me 100% – to the goddamn moon along with Kurmai.
Well, they call it the Star City, where Starling lore says the Ancient Fathers came from. But basically that.
On a hunch and a prayer that the Beacon builders and the Ancient Fathers are one and the same, or coworkers or something.
Woo boy.

- Also as a side note, Lexil says that ‘the nightmares’ are becoming worse (did I know everyone was coming down with a bad case of nightmares? I don’t think I did), Red Madness is catching, and the Nehrimese are setting up guard posts throughout the land. They seem to be settling down for an occupation.
I suppose it’s too much to hope that the Red Madness and the Nehrimese problems will solve themselves? Or rather, that the former will solve the latter? Probably too much to hope for, yeah.
RE: Red Madness, Lexil hypothesizes that the High Ones are drawing strength from the chaos, or the Cleansing is approaching (or we activated the Beacon recently? Bit of an out there theory, but it does fit the evidence...). Civilians are vanishing from town – through the entropy barrier? – and showing up out in the wilderness, crazed and murderous.

- Wandering about the city on some last-minute business before heading out, I notice laborers with city guard overseers here and there fixing the city, and that all exits are thoroughly barred.

Bild

The only in and out of the city is by teleport scroll. I was wondering about that, honestly.
Also some of the civilians that hang around to give the zones of Ark more color remember me and Tealor fighting back to back through the marketplace, which is kind of neat.

But now it’s off to the Powder Desert to visit Kurmai’s workship.


The Takeaway:
The day after the siege, my nightmares might be over (if the figments in my dreams can be believed), there was some serious broken home stuff going on in the Prophetess’s past, I picked Jespar as my waifu, and now I’m guess I’m flying to the moon and gonna play among the stars.
This reeeaaally feels like Lexil is stretching. Possibly because he’s half-Starling himself, so the idea of the Star City is really appealing to him? Have we really exhausted all other options here?

Yeah, yeah, I’m going...
Ragnarok
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Quite interesting thoughts you had on this sequence! ;)
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