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Well, I recently beat this game, and...I really enjoyed it!  Wasn't perfect, by any means; for example, the gameplay somehow managed to be even MORE unbalanced than Gaiden itself was...but I still enjoyed myself.  And while the plot itself still had a lot of the doofy elements of Gaiden, the writing behind said plot went a long way to helping resolve it.  Plus, I liked how much they expanded upon Act 5 (in the original Gaiden, the game just sort of...ended.  It felt like the entire Act was written under a deadline).

That all said, I also realize that the plot definitely had some loose ends that should have been tied up.  So, I've decided it'd be fun, theory crafting ways this can all tie together.  So without further adieu...

 

Number 1: If Rudolf Could Beat Up Mila...Why Didn't He Just Beat Up Duma, Too?  Why the Overly Convoluted Plan?

As far as I know, Mila and Duma are equals.  Otherwise, their long war before the Pact wouldn't have ended in a stalemate.  So logically speaking, Rudolf could've just taken the BOTH of them out, just with the information available.  But, I feel like that can be explained.  I don't know the exact timeframe for all of Echoes' events, but... I think think there are two easy explanations.

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1) Maybe beating up Duma WAS Rudolf's original plan...and then Mila messed that up by sealing Falchion.

2) Where Mila's followers were namby-pamby pacifists, Duma's followers were scary dark mage types. If Rudolf went after Duma...it wouldn't have just be "Rudolf vs. Duma".  It would've been "Rudolf vs. Duma + The Entirety of the Duma Faithful".  Perhaps Rudolf didn't think he could take the both of them at once.

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Going by theory No. 1, Rudolf might've decided he wanted to try his luck with Mila, first.  Perhaps he feared what Duma would do to his family and kingdom if he failed to take him down.  So, instead of marching into a fight he wasn't sure he could win, he picked a fight with Mila first, knowing that she was about as strong as Duma.  Then, if he emerged victorious, then he'd know he could beat Duma, too.  So Rudolf marches to Mila, does his thing, wins the fight...

...

.......

Aaaand then Mila seals the Falchion!  Rudolf marches back to Rigel, planning on defeating Duma, and then gets stopped in his tracks when Mila figures out what he intends to do.  Because remember; Mila's still selling the mental effects of degeneracy.  She's not in her right mind, and she doesn't want Rudolf killing her brother.  That's theory No. 1.

So going by Theory No. 2, well...let's face it.  The Duma Faithful are a HECK of a lot scarier than the Mila Faithful ever were.  So scary, in fact, that Rudolf felt that he needed to send Alm away with Mycen, instead of just crushing the cult himself.  And that makes sense.  Even assuming he could round up the army he needed to fight the Duma Faithful, his army's screwed the moment he himself gets taken down. 

Falchion is the one thing in their world that can kill Duma.  So all the Duma Faithful would need to do is focus all their firepower on Rudolf.  Do that, and the entire effort collapses.  It wouldn't matter how many men Rudolf had with him.  Hence, why Rudolf felt the need to turn to his utterly nonsensical, overly convoluted plan.  It's risky as all-get-out, but, well...Alm and Celica are the prophesized saviors.  It's not much, but, it's still better than nothing.

Do either of those sound like reasonable explanations?  Or is there something I'm forgetting about (like, maybe Rudolf beat up Mila many years AFTER sending Alm away?  Like I said, not sure on the exact timeframe of everything that happened).

Edited by FionordeQuester

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Say that Rudolf did defeat the gods in the end. Exactly what do you think will happen? He wouldn't be praised. He would be outright hated. He was the man that laid ruination onto Valentia, because the gods have been Valentia's benefactors. Rudolf would have been targeted even by his own men

I feel that the attack on Zofia worked in two ways. The first way was to make it so the Rigelians would not disapprove of this, nor would the Duma Faithful, as they all resent Zofians for how they selfishly hogs the profit and food to themselves while Rigelians suffer. Second is that it would also allow Zofians to learn how to endure hardships more and that they are now without a god, and Rigelians would see how a nation without a god is faring. And what better way to prove that than for the Zofians to rise up and start fighting back against the Rigelians, who are supposed to be the stronger of the two nations in terms of military power? 

Alm defeating Rudolf and then taking down Duma allowed for now Rigel to be without a god, but Rigelians are already used to going through hardships, and there was a several year time gap for Zofians to start coping with hardships as well. And with Alm and Celica, the new royals who people have grown to love already due to how they have become somewhat of heroes through their journey, allows for them to be accepting. 

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I think the game itself  does delve into this question and its pretty much your first guess. Mila sealed the Falchion away precisely because she was worried about it being used on Duma. When listing her mistakes to Alm she tells him she foolishly sealed the Falchion out of concern for her brother. 

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3 hours ago, omegaxis1 said:

Say that Rudolf did defeat the gods in the end. Exactly what do you think will happen? He wouldn't be praised. He would be outright hated. He was the man that laid ruination onto Valentia, because the gods have been Valentia's benefactors. Rudolf would have been targeted even by his own men

I feel that the attack on Zofia worked in [the following ways]...

Or perhaps Rudolf would have been praised and revered for having the strength to kill literal gods.  Remember, this is Rigel we're talking about.  They're obsessed with strength.  Not to mention, Berkut might have turned out a much better person, had he been allowed to live without Duma's influence.  Perhaps most importantly, Rudolf might've gotten away with NOT getting almost everyone in the Rigelian military killed.  For example, Xaizor, Magnus, and Mueller were all good men; all they wanted to do was serve their master.  Lawson too, to a lesser extent.

But let's assume that Rudolf would have had to face all the consequences you mentioned.  Alright, fair enough.  And it's great that his plan with Alm DID work out like it did.  But...

How would Rudolf had reasonably known his plan would work?  What if the prophecy had been hogwash?  What if Alm's village had gotten polio or something?  What if Alm himself turned out to have autism?  What if Mycen died before he ever got a chance to finish Alm's training?  What if Alm just turned out to suck at fighting?  What if Rudolf had been assassinated before he could ever start the war?  What if Alm had never found Falchion (which was buried deep inside the Duma Faithful's stronghold)?  What if Zofia DIDN'T end up winning the war (which they had every reason not to; in fact, the Deliverance was almost quashed before it even GOT to Rigel)?  Heck, what if the soft, spoiled Zofians had just rolled over and let Rigel have their way (like Celica did with Jedah)?  Or what if the Zofians had decided "you know what, screw these Rigelians.  Let's just genocide the whole lot of them for revenge!"

You're looking at all these enormous variables that no man can possibly account for.  Why would any reasonable man spend 16 years carrying out a plan that could easily fail in at least seven different ways...when you can just end things immediately?   Rudolf may have struggled with all the things you just mentioned, but it's still a darn sight better than risking everything on a 16 year long gamble. 

It'd be like if Donald Trump decided to try and exterminate everyone in the Middle East, reasoning that it would help Israel and Palestine band together an FINALLY get over their longstanding feud.  It'd STILL be a stupid plan, even if it ended up working.

Edited by FionordeQuester

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1 minute ago, FionordeQuester said:

How would Rudolf had reasonably known his plan would work?  What if the prophecy had been hogwash?  What if Alm's village had gotten polio or something?  What if Alm himself turned out to have autism?  What if someone  found Alm, anyway?  What if Mycen died before he ever got a chance to finish Alm's training?  What if Rudolf had been assassinated before he could ever start the war?  What if Alm had never found Falchion (which was buried deep inside the Duma Faithful's stronghold)?  What if Zofia DIDN'T end up winning the war (which they had every reason not to; in fact, the Deliverance was almost quashed before it even GOT to Rigel)?  Heck, what if the soft, spoiled Zofians had just rolled over and let Rigel have their way (like Celica did with Jedah)?  Or what if the Zofians had decided "you know what, screw these Rigelians.  Let's just genocide the whole lot of them for revenge!"

You're looking at all these enormous variables that no man can possibly account for.  Why would any reasonable man spend 16 years carrying out a plan that could easily fail in at least seven different ways...when you can just end things immediately?  

Sure, it wouldn't have been ideal.  Rudolf may have struggled with all the things you just mentioned.  But it's still a darn sight better than risking everything on a 16 year long gamble.  It'd be like if Titania let the Black Knight kill Greil, reasoning that this would ultimately help turn Ike into the hero that Crimea needed.  It DID end up doing that, but...there's no way she would have been able to predict that.

You are addressing a LOT of what ifs. 

Keep in mind that this is a remake, and they are moving the majority of the original plot of Gaiden into the new era. Rudolf's plan was in fact a Batman's Gambit, where literally anything could have gone wrong.

However, keeping to how this remake works, if there's one thing that I feel Fire Emblem has proven in the majority of their series, is that destiny and fate are extremely powerful forces, meaning that prophecies that are tied to fate, is something that cannot be easily altered. 

For example, in FE4, Claud learns that the Battle of Belhalla will result in their inevitable defeat, but he knows that it cannot be avoided no matter what. 

If the prophecy foretells that it was meant to be the one with the Brand to save Valentia, then it's very likely that Rudolf trying to do it himself would in fact result in his own loss. He was not destined to stop anything. Furthermore, one other thing there is is exactly who would fight alongside Rudolf? Alm and Celica had fought alongside many allies that did agree that it was time for the gods to step down, and even then it took some convincing from Alm to get Clive and some of the others to agree. Rudolf would have been by himself, because not many, if any Rigelians for that matter, would support the assault on Duma at all. 

However, as for the plan that went by, Mycen is a very strong and skilled warrior from Rigel. He was strong enough to ultimately defeat several Zofian knights and Slayde rather easily, and his skill is very well renown. Mycen had trained Alm ever since and was making him become strong and teaching him many forms of tactical prowess. However, take note about how Mycen actually actively told Alm that he wasn't allowed to leave. This is a form of reverse psychology. Rather than telling Alm to go and risk Alm getting cold feet, he was telling Alm not to go and spurring on Alm's desire to get out and do something. When Alm made the decision to go join the Deliverance, Mycen left him alone without saying anything and waited to see the results. 

It was a very calculated move on their part. If Alm truly was worthy of being the bearer of the Brand and saving the others, he would not lose so easily. When they liberated Zofia castle, Mycen confronted Alm and asked if Alm was ready to make the choice to keep going. It was still part of the plan, because if Alm was able to say yes, it strengthens his resolve and makes him push forward. 

Many things are left to chance, but in the end, they did believe in the prophecy, and it did play out. 

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1 hour ago, omegaxis1 said:

You are addressing a LOT of what ifs. 

Keep in mind that this is a remake, and they are moving the majority of the original plot of Gaiden into the new era. Rudolf's plan was in fact a Batman's Gambit, where literally anything could have gone wrong.

However, keeping to how this remake works, if there's one thing that I feel Fire Emblem has proven in the majority of their series, is that destiny and fate are extremely powerful forces, meaning that prophecies that are tied to fate, is something that cannot be easily altered. 

For example, in FE4, Claud learns that the Battle of Belhalla will result in their inevitable defeat, but he knows that it cannot be avoided no matter what.

Well then the question becomes..."Why did Rudolf do anything, then"?  If fate and destiny are so strong, then why have the war to start with?  If anything, I'd think he'd want to try and reduce Rigel's warlike tendencies.  Or heck, just let Alm defeat Duma, and then let Zofia come to it's own decision on what to do about Mila (like, maybe Celica deposes Mila herself, after seeing how she lets Lima IV run amok).  

You really don't want to be meddling in the affairs of foreign cultures, after all.  Just look at how Vietnam turned out.

Edited by FionordeQuester

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20 minutes ago, FionordeQuester said:

Well then the question becomes..."Why did Rudolf do anything, then"?  If fate and destiny are so strong, then why have the war to start with?  If anything, I'd think he'd want to try and reduce Rigel's warlike tendencies.  Or heck, just let Alm defeat Duma, and then let Zofia come to it's own decision on what to do about Mila (like, maybe Celica deposes Mila herself, after seeing how she lets Lima IV run amok).  

You really don't want to be meddling in the affairs of foreign cultures, after all.  Just look at how Vietnam turned out.

I just said it. And Rudolf himself said it too. He had to draw first blood. He had to become the villain that first took the gods and caused havoc. The Rigelians wouldn't oppose him attacking Mila because of how Rigel has resentment towards Zofia. And by taking the gods, Zofia learns hardships and Rigel learns that they don't need gods in the long run when Alm leads Zofia to defeat Rigel. 

As for let Alm defeat Duma... how? Or even for that matter, HOW would Rudolf stop the warlike tendencies? How does Rudolf quell the anger that Rigelians have for Zofians? Or stop the Duma Faithful for that matter? Or hell, how would Alm even grow strong enough to defeat Duma if he doesn't grow stronger through his journey? Mycen training him isn't enough. It's just one part.

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14 minutes ago, omegaxis1 said:

I just said it. And Rudolf himself said it too. He had to draw first blood. He had to become the villain that first took the gods and caused havoc. The Rigelians wouldn't oppose him attacking Mila because of how Rigel has resentment towards Zofia. And by taking the gods, Zofia learns hardships and Rigel learns that they don't need gods in the long run when Alm leads Zofia to defeat Rigel. 

But here's the thing; the only thing guaranteed by the prophecy is that the gods would be deposed by the brand-bearers.  As far as I know, there's NOTHING in that prophecy that guarantees that Zofia would actually survive the invasion (or just devolve into the Mad Max-esque hellhole Celica had to trek through).  

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As for let Alm defeat Duma... how? Or even for that matter, HOW would Rudolf stop the warlike tendencies? How does Rudolf quell the anger that Rigelians have for Zofians? Or stop the Duma Faithful for that matter?

And you're thinking getting 90% of his military killed off was the better alternative?  All those brave men he sent to their graves for a war he never intended on winning?  Berkut growing up into a raving madman, instead of getting the chance to live like Alm?  At least in my scenario, he could've possibly spared folks a lot of bloodshed (and given Berkut a better upbringing).

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Or hell, how would Alm even grow strong enough to defeat Duma if he doesn't grow stronger through his journey? Mycen training him isn't enough. It's just one part.

He's got the prophecy.  I mean, wasn't that basically your argument in one of your previous posts?  That the power of fate and destiny would ensure that Rudolf's plan for Alm wouldn't go awry?  Well if that's the case, Alm would've beaten Duma with or without Rudolf's help, right?

Edited by FionordeQuester

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6 hours ago, FionordeQuester said:

2) Where Mila's followers were namby-pamby pacifists, Duma's followers were scary dark mage types. If Rudolf went after Duma...it wouldn't have just be "Rudolf vs. Duma".  It would've been "Rudolf vs. Duma + The Entirety of the Duma Faithful".  Perhaps Rudolf didn't think he could take the both of them at once.

Wasn't this mentioned somewhere in the game?

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1 minute ago, Sock said:

Wasn't this mentioned somewhere in the game?

Was it?  If it was, I don't remember.  Speaking of which...

5 hours ago, Etrurian emperor said:

I think the game itself  does delve into this question and its pretty much your first guess. Mila sealed the Falchion away precisely because she was worried about it being used on Duma. When listing her mistakes to Alm she tells him she foolishly sealed the Falchion out of concern for her brother. 

You know, I thought about that.  But Mila didn't specifically say it was Rudolf she was worried about; so I wasn't sure whether it was explaining why Rudolf didn't do anything, or whether it was just explaining what it's doing in Duma's Tower.

...That said...by George, I think you're right!  Thinking of it now, Mila HAD to have sealed it after Rudolf had already beaten her up!  Otherwise, the Falchion wouldn't have worked on her!  I never thought of that, so...thanks for your insight, Etrurian Emperor :D: !

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12 hours ago, FionordeQuester said:

But here's the thing; the only thing guaranteed by the prophecy is that the gods would be deposed by the brand-bearers.  As far as I know, there's NOTHING in that prophecy that guarantees that Zofia would actually survive the invasion (or just devolve into the Mad Max-esque hellhole Celica had to trek through).  

Actually, the memory scene has Rudolf explaining the prophecy:

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Rudolf: Indeed. Two children with such a mark are prophesied to save Valentia from ruin. And now my son has been born with it. I also hear tale of a newborn Zofian princess who has this selfsame mark.

So it wasn't merely in regards to defeating the gods, but rather to also save Valentia as well. Defeating the gods is one part of it. And in hindsight, the prophecy is fulfilled as Alm and Celica do save Valentia, not just from the madness of the gods, but from their influence as a whole, as now they no longer need their powers to survive.

12 hours ago, FionordeQuester said:

And you're thinking getting 90% of his military killed off was the better alternative?  All those brave men he sent to their graves for a war he never intended on winning?  Berkut growing up into a raving madman, instead of getting the chance to live like Alm?  At least in my scenario, he could've possibly spared folks a lot of bloodshed (and given Berkut a better upbringing).

Why do you think Rudolf gave that speech at the end? No matter how much you cut it, the Rigelians were not going to simply let someone they believe to be Zofian to just march in, because they are battle hungry men that have lost their kind heart. Even if Rudolf tried to order them to stand down in the beginning, they would eventually not heed Rudolf's words. In fact, this would be viewed as an act of weakness in fact, and would set Rudolf to get overthrown by someone.

Furthermore, you're ignoring that the Duma Faithful are people that Rudolf cannot lower his guard on. If he makes any kind of moves that would tip them off too much, they will act. Remember that they are the ones that are closer to Duma than even Rudolf. 

So yes, Rigel ultimately did have to lose. And in the only way possible, through fighting. Because if they lose in the fights, Rigelians that value strength would have to acknowledge the Zofians. 

13 hours ago, FionordeQuester said:

He's got the prophecy.  I mean, wasn't that basically your argument in one of your previous posts?  That the power of fate and destiny would ensure that Rudolf's plan for Alm wouldn't go awry?  Well if that's the case, Alm would've beaten Duma with or without Rudolf's help, right?

Yes, it is a prophecy. But even then the prophecy always calls that the person must endure trials and tribulations. They aren't automatically in god tier mode. That's why there's always the case where the chosen ones are always met with many trials and battles.  

Furthermore, recall what Mycen sad about Rudolf to Alm:

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Mycen: That day marked a change in him. He donned the mantle of one who would destroy the old world order— one who’d free men to live by their own power, even if they hated him for it. He knew such heresy would bring forth those who wished for his death. So for that death to come at the hand of his beloved son was…a mercy. He told me himself that he could imagine no more peaceful end.

Also, a lot of your arguments involve Rudolf simply LETTING Alm kill a god. Or just Rudolf killing the gods himself. However, are you seriously underestimating religion right now? Religion is a powerful force that really can make people commit incredible deeds or terrible atrocities. So the very act of killing a god is such a blasphemous act that even if logically it was right and it was foretold, it is definitely going to incur some form of religious backlash. This war ultimately resulted in the Duma Faithful being mostly wiped out, as they have all fallen into madness due to the power given to them by Duma. Because Mila has taught more kindness and they were without Mila for several years, they were able to avoid the madness just in the nick of time. But the Duma Faithful weren't that lucky, and thus they mostly met their end. 

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21 hours ago, FionordeQuester said:

Do either of those sound like reasonable explanations?  Or is there something I'm forgetting about (like, maybe Rudolf beat up Mila many years AFTER sending Alm away?  Like I said, not sure on the exact timeframe of everything that happened).

17 hours ago, omegaxis1 said:

If the prophecy foretells that it was meant to be the one with the Brand to save Valentia, then it's very likely that Rudolf trying to do it himself would in fact result in his own loss. He was not destined to stop anything. Furthermore, one other thing there is is exactly who would fight alongside Rudolf? Alm and Celica had fought alongside many allies that did agree that it was time for the gods to step down, and even then it took some convincing from Alm to get Clive and some of the others to agree. Rudolf would have been by himself, because not many, if any Rigelians for that matter, would support the assault on Duma at all. 

Well he was sort of destined to defeat Mila even without a prophecy. Did a damn fine job of that.

Reason 1 is pretty much what I go by. You have ask yourself, why did they include Mila sealing Falchion? And I think the answer is to cover up the massive plot hole in Gaiden where Rudolf didn't just do so himself. Also on the time frame, yes, he beat up Mila many years after sending Alm away. It was three years prior to the start of the game. So recent that the likes of Celica at the southern tip of the continent didn't even know.

I find it funny how you're meant to be headcannoning the problems away, but you ended up attacking the plot holes in this thread XD You might want to check out this thread I made regarding the subject.

 

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34 minutes ago, Jotari said:

I find it funny how you're meant to be headcannoning the problems away, but you ended up attacking the plot holes in this thread XD You might want to check out this thread I made regarding the subject.

...The irony was not lost on me :P: .  The way I explain that is "you have to know what the problem is before you can fix it".

3 hours ago, omegaxis1 said:

[Before I go any further with this argument]

So, I want to make sure of something.  You're not feeling like I'm ignoring and/or fighting against you, right?  For me, there's no irritation or anything; I'm looking at everything you post, thinking it over, and typing up what I felt based on what you said.

Just wanted to be clear on that.  Sometimes, I've had what I thought were healthy debates suddenly turn sour, just because I didn't pick up on how the other debater was feeling :(: 

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32 minutes ago, FionordeQuester said:

...The irony was not lost on me :P: .  The way I explain that is "you have to know what the problem is before you can fix it".

So, I want to make sure of something.  You're not feeling like I'm ignoring and/or fighting against you, right?  For me, there's no irritation or anything; I'm looking at everything you post, thinking it over, and typing up what I felt based on what you said.

Just wanted to be clear on that.  Sometimes, I've had what I thought were healthy debates suddenly turn sour, just because I didn't pick up on how the other debater was feeling :(: 

I uploaded this video years ago thinking I'd be able to link it all the time, but never found a use for it. Perhaps you can.

 

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37 minutes ago, FionordeQuester said:

So, I want to make sure of something.  You're not feeling like I'm ignoring and/or fighting against you, right?  For me, there's no irritation or anything; I'm looking at everything you post, thinking it over, and typing up what I felt based on what you said.

Just wanted to be clear on that.  Sometimes, I've had what I thought were healthy debates suddenly turn sour, just because I didn't pick up on how the other debater was feeling :(: 

I'm not pissed, if that's what you're wondering about. 

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6 hours ago, omegaxis1 said:

I'm not pissed, if that's what you're wondering about. 

Perfect.  Then, without further adieu...

10 hours ago, omegaxis1 said:

Yes, it is a prophecy. But even then the prophecy always calls that the person must endure trials and tribulations. They aren't automatically in god tier mode. That's why there's always the case where the chosen ones are always met with many trials and battles.  

Ok, but...the whole point of a prophecy, as far as I can tell, is that it's meant to be an immutable fact.  There's not stopping it; it's going to happen one way or the other.  So any attempts to "hurry it along" or "stop it" are useless at best, or outright harmful, at worst.  

In fact...you asked me if I was underestimating the power of religion?  I most certainly am not.  I myself am an ardent Christian; to the point where all of my LP updates end with "God bless you"!  And, maybe this is my Christian bias showing, but...

One of the Bible's most important lessons is that humans should never try to mess with things that are beyond their pay grade.  If God has something he wants to do, then he's going to do it His own way, in His own time.  Nothing good ever happens when humans try to fulfill God's promises by themselves.  For example, Abraham attempting to conceive an heir with a concubine, instead of trusting God to give his barren wife a child (a situation that ultimately ended with the poor concubine and her son being driven out).

And that's kind of the perspective I have with any divine prophecies I come across in video games.  Rudolf is just one man!!  Instead of trying to decide what Zofia does or doesn't need, and what deep moral and philosophical ideals Rigel could or could not handle...Rudolf should've just stuck to running his kindgom, and raising Alm and Berkut as best he could.  Him thinking he knew best when deciding a foreign country's fate...to me, that's nothing short of arrogance.

 

Edited by FionordeQuester

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7 minutes ago, FionordeQuester said:

Ok, but...the whole point of a prophecy, as far as I can tell, is that it's meant to be an immutable fact.  There's not stopping it; it's going to happen one way or the other.  So any attempts to "hurry it along" or "stop it" are useless at best, or outright harmful, at worst.  

Untrue. It isn't immutable fact. I said that it's something that cannot be easily altered. Though I gave an example on how the Battle of Belhalla could not be avoided, it's proven in Awakening that destiny can be changed. However, it is something that very few can do. That's also why there are cases of things being called "self-fulfilling" prophecies. People see the prophecy and try to go against it or with it. Rudolf fully believed it and thus he went to lengths to make sure that it was fulfilled. 

10 minutes ago, FionordeQuester said:

In fact...you asked me if I was underestimating the power of religion?  I most certainly am not.  I myself am an ardent Christian; to the point where all of my LP updates end with "God bless you"!  And, maybe this is my Christian bias showing, but...

One of the Bible's most important lessons is that humans should never try to mess with things that are beyond their pay grade.  If God has something he wants to do, then he's going to do it His own way, in His own time.  Nothing good ever happens when humans try to fulfill God's promises by themselves.  For example, Abraham attempting to conceive an heir with a concubine, instead of trusting God to give his barren wife a child (a situation that ultimately ended with the poor concubine and her son being driven out).

Though I was just saying that religion is something very powerful like in real life, I didn't actually focus on trying to get the actual real life religious texts here. Especially since religion in Fire Emblem are polytheistic, and most of the gods aren't even gods, but just entities that are like gods.

12 minutes ago, FionordeQuester said:

And that's kind of the perspective I have with any divine prophecies I come across in video games.  Rudolf is just one man!!  Instead of trying to decide what Zofia does or doesn't need, and what deep moral and philosophical ideals Rigel could or could not handle...Rudolf should've just stuck to running his kindgom, and raising Alm and Berkut as best he could.  Him thinking he knew best when deciding a foreign country's fate...to me, that's nothing short of arrogance.

And this is where I point out what I said above. Self-fulfilling prophecy. Rudolf sought to fulfill it, but he knew damn well that the Duma Faithful would not. In fact they were planning on killing them in Gaiden/Echoes. So Rudolf keeping Alm in the castle is very dangerous and would potentially lead to Alm's death. 

Separating from Alm and training him to fulfill his prophecy is what Alm had Mycen go make it do. 

Of course this is still in the end a huge Batman's Gambit, but in these cases, there is not way that Rudolf can actually control everything that would happen. In fact, this is even proven by the very fact that Rudolf had Camus, or Zeke, get a rather high ranking position in the Rigelian military despite being accused of being a spy earlier. It helps that Camus is arguably the strongest warrior in Archanea, but despite Zeke's position, Zeke ended up having been threatened by Jerome. 

So it stands to reason that there really was no way that Rudolf could fully control his men if they would do these kinds of things. 

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On 3/26/2018 at 10:51 PM, FionordeQuester said:

He's got the prophecy.  I mean, wasn't that basically your argument in one of your previous posts?  That the power of fate and destiny would ensure that Rudolf's plan for Alm wouldn't go awry?  Well if that's the case, Alm would've beaten Duma with or without Rudolf's help, right?

Fate is an interesting conundrum. Whether the world is governed by free will or predetermination, the best answer, which you don't have a choice in if all is predetermined, I read in Jacques the Fatalist- going about your life doing the things you would want to do as if you were free.

Ultimately, if fate ruled over Alm's deicide, what is to say it didn't also ruled over Rudolf's actions? We don't know all of what was in those "Valentian Revelations" which I hear the prophecies in question are- perhaps there as a line that goes "When the north should force itself upon the south, the fields will be sowed for the hero's rise and the gods' demise". If such a line existed, then Rudolf had no control over his actions.

On 3/27/2018 at 10:31 PM, FionordeQuester said:

And that's kind of the perspective I have with any divine prophecies I come across in video games.  Rudolf is just one man!!  Instead of trying to decide what Zofia does or doesn't need, and what deep moral and philosophical ideals Rigel could or could not handle...Rudolf should've just stuck to running his kindgom, and raising Alm and Berkut as best he could.  Him thinking he knew best when deciding a foreign country's fate...to me, that's nothing short of arrogance.

 

Odin Sphere tackles a fate and prophecy story of its own, with the Book of Armageddon being the end of the story. There are several moments when Armageddon could have been stopped, and with it much needless destruction:

Spoiler

Odin had the perfect opportunity to annihilate King Valentine- he was even begging for it at the moment! But Odin just calls him sad and lets Mr. "I want to destroy the world!" live.

Odette keeps Galloon alive despite it being rather clear he is the "Lord of the Netherworld" the prophecies describe, and she restrains him knowing this when Ingway is invoking Darkova against Odin. Why didn't she just kill him? Fun in torturing him? Was he too strong to kill? They don't say. She also somehow fails to notice the escape of Valentine, which would be a HUGE problem! 

Gwendolyn, Mercedes, and Cornelius, the first the prophetic slayer of Leventhan, all let him live as a baby. Despite him being named explicitly in Armageddon.

But for some reason, despite it being pretty clear that these things were part of Armageddon, nobody takes the right action to stop it, they don't even try. The dragon Hindel also knows Oswald will kill him, but lets it happen anyhow and just sits there waiting for it. Acceptance of fate and doing your role within it is the ideal of Odin Sphere. Defying prophecy ends with Armageddon being true Armageddon- the end of Erion, nothing surviving barring maybe Leventhan; obeying prophecy actually lets the world live on.

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If I am the one writing this, then what I say is that Rudolf felt that all he could ever be was a weapon and a despot. He is a scorpion and if left to his own devices, then he would sting everyone close to him. Look at Berkut, he basically raised Berkut to be a litmus test for Alm's strength and in doing so, completely tore Berkut apart to the point of going mad with envy and craven lust for power, the power to beat Alm and be the ruler everyone told him that he should have been. 

As for Mila, I think she wanted their world, the one she and her brother created, to survive, because in doing so, both she and her brother still lived in a way. They left the best of themselves in the humanity of the people and lands they created, there's beauty in that. But then the madness and old age of dragon gods set in, and In the end she knew that they both needed to die, but also knew that she would never be able to kill her brother or herself. And so she relied on the very humans that she created to put both her brother and herself to sleep, but as usual, both humans and the gods they worshiped were not infallible and lunacy evolved from a well intended plan. 

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You know, I just realized...I never actually updated this thread to talk about some of the other controversial stuff in this story.  So, here's another one...

 

Number 2: Celica's Characterization:

Me personally, I thought it was actually pretty perfect.  Yes, she gets a lot of flak for her decisions in the endgame; and I've also heard that Alm's characterization kind of screws with the whole "Might vs. Love" theme that Gaiden had going.

However...I would argue that in this case, the pair were never intended to represent that theme.  Instead, that job was shifted to Berkut and Rinea.  Berkut ends up an unhinged madman that's obsessed with power, and Rinea ends up as a passive observer that ultimately gets sacrificed by her wacky boyfriend.  

THAT is where the whole "Duma vs. Mila" theme comes in.  Berkut/Duma's approach is destructive, and destroys everything around it.  Rinea/Mila's approach is useless, and is ultimately inadequate in solving the problem that really matters (human evil).  

With that in mind, I'd argue that Alm and Celica are more on the midpoint of the spectrum, rather than on the far ends of them.  Celica is NOT weak, nor is she passive.  If anything, she's anything but.  And Alm is obviously as great a person as they come.  So if there's any difference in how effective they are in solving the story's problems, it's because of their backgrounds, not because of their attitudes.  Think about it...

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Alm: A Rigelian that grows up in a village of Mileans, as well as the tutelage of a battle-tested Rigelian General.  A wise Rigelian General at that.  Wise enough to know the strengths and limitations of both Duma and Mila's approach.  In this way, Alm gets a balanced upbringing; one that grants him Duma's strength and Mila's love.

Celica: A Milean that grows up in a covenant of Mila worshippers.  Her only role models are her wicked dad, her powerless mom, and the passive Milean priests who still fully buy in to all of Mila's doctrine.  A doctrine that seems to comprise mostly of "Don't worry!  Mother Mila will make it all better!"

She...is decidedly not so lucky as Alm was, in regards to fostering a balanced viewpoint.  Actually, the reason she was as eager to fight as she was is because of all the loss she suffered.  She was powerless to save her family, powerless to prevent herself from being taken away from Alm, and now fears being powerless to save Alm and the rest of Valentia's people.  So there's still a BIT of Duma in her, just in that she's tired of being powerless.  But...it's still not enough, as the events of Chapter 4 show us.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So, the point of Celica and Alm isn't "don't be too much like Mila or Duma".  The point is "don't rely so much on the gods".  Alm did things in his own strength, and won.  Celica and Berkut tried to seek Mila and Duma's help, and got their souls taken for their trouble.

That was ultimately Celica's weakness, not her lack of strength.  Because as far as strength goes, she was determined enough to march through an entire fricken continent of brigands, pirates, zombies, gargoyles, dark mages, fricken DRAGONS, and a whole slew of other things that would've sent most people running home to mommy.  And she was strong enough to lay down her own life and soul to save others.  There is absolutely nothing "weak" about either any of that.  

And why was she "fooled" by Jedah's offer?  Well my opinion is that she wasn't...At least, not really.  She KNOWS people like Jedah are as untrustworthy as they come.  That's why she questioned his honesty when they first met. 

But the thing is, Jedah never really tried to convince Celica that he was some sort of benevolent guy.  He still waved his freak flag loud and proud, even as he was conversing with her.  And furthermore, he never actually lied to her about anything he was saying (up till the whole "I'll spare Alm bit").  Celica tested the truthfulness of his claims, and found almost every one of them to be true.

So really, Jedah was offering her two choices.  She had a "bad" option (with a 5% chance of working out well), and an "unthinkable" option (with a 0% chance of working out well).  She could...

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1) Let Mila and Duma die, and GUARANTEE the death of everyone and everything on Valentia (because remember, her mindset is "we need the gods and goddesses").

2) Trust the obviously untrustworthy dark mage in the hope that maybe he's telling the truth (and up till then, he HAD proven everything he said to be true), and will maybe give Valentia a second chance at life.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In other words, she was facing the choice of "probable annihilation of all things" and "guaranteed annihilation of all things".  And she chose the "probable annihiliation" option.

This...by the way, is why I made such a stink about Echoes' lack of atmosphere in the "Things You Missed From the NES Version" thread.  Echoes does a horrible job of showing just how desperate things are supposed to be.  And in this case, I believe it's to the detriment of Celica's characters.  Because had things truly appeared to be as bad as they supposedly were, Celica's choice would have made a lot more sense to most casual observers.

So in short...

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Berkut & Rinea: "This is what happens when you're too much like Duma or Mila"

Alm & Celica: "This is what happens when you try to depend on gods"

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Edited by FionordeQuester

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36 minutes ago, FionordeQuester said:

You know, I just realized...I never actually updated this thread to talk about some of the other controversial stuff in this story.  So, here's another one...

 

Number 2: Celica's Characterization:

Me personally, I thought it was actually pretty perfect.  Yes, she gets a lot of flak for her decisions in the endgame; and I've also heard that Alm's characterization kind of screws with the whole "Might vs. Love" theme that Gaiden had going.

However...I would argue that in this case, the pair were never intended to represent that theme.  Instead, that job was shifted to Berkut and Rinea.  Berkut ends up an unhinged madman that's obsessed with power, and Rinea ends up as a passive observer that ultimately gets sacrificed by her wacky boyfriend.  

THAT is where the whole "Duma vs. Mila" theme comes in.  Berkut/Duma's approach is destructive, and destroys everything around it.  Rinea/Mila's approach is useless, and is ultimately inadequate in solving the problem that really matters (human evil).  

With that in mind, I'd argue that Alm and Celica are more on the midpoint of the spectrum, rather than on the far ends of them.  Celica is NOT weak, nor is she passive.  If anything, she's anything but.  And Alm is obviously as great a person as they come.  So if there's any difference in how effective they are in solving the story's problems, it's because of their backgrounds, not because of their attitudes.  Think about it...

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Alm: A Rigelian that grows up in a village of Mileans, as well as the tutelage of a battle-tested Rigelian General.  A wise Rigelian General at that.  Wise enough to know the strengths and limitations of both Duma and Mila's approach.  In this way, Alm gets a balanced upbringing; one that grants him Duma's strength and Mila's love.

Celica: A Milean that grows up in a covenant of Mila worshippers.  Her only role models are her wicked dad, her powerless mom, and the passive Milean priests who still fully buy in to all of Mila's doctrine.  A doctrine that seems to comprise mostly of "Don't worry!  Mother Mila will make it all better!"

She...is decidedly not so lucky as Alm was, in regards to fostering a balanced viewpoint.  Actually, the reason she was as eager to fight as she was is because of all the loss she suffered.  She was powerless to save her family, powerless to prevent herself from being taken away from Alm, and now fears being powerless to save Alm and the rest of Valentia's people.  So there's still a BIT of Duma in her, just in that she's tired of being powerless.  But...it's still not enough, as the events of Chapter 4 show us.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So, the point of Celica and Alm isn't "don't be too much like Mila or Duma".  The point is "don't rely so much on the gods".  Alm did things in his own strength, and won.  Celica and Berkut tried to seek Mila and Duma's help, and got their souls taken for their trouble.

That was ultimately Celica's weakness, not her lack of strength.  Because as far as strength goes, she was determined enough to march through an entire fricken continent of brigands, pirates, zombies, gargoyles, dark mages, fricken DRAGONS, and a whole slew of other things that would've sent most people running home to mommy.  And she was strong enough to lay down her own life and soul to save others.  There is absolutely nothing "weak" about either any of that.  

And why was she "fooled" by Jedah's offer?  Well my opinion is that she wasn't...At least, not really.  She KNOWS people like Jedah are as untrustworthy as they come.  That's why she questioned his honesty when they first met. 

But the thing is, Jedah never really tried to convince Celica that he was some sort of benevolent guy.  He still waved his freak flag loud and proud, even as he was conversing with her.  And furthermore, he never actually lied to her about anything he was saying (up till the whole "I'll spare Alm bit").  Celica tested the truthfulness of his claims, and found almost every one of them to be true.

So really, Jedah was offering her two choices.  She had a "bad" option (with a 5% chance of working out well), and an "unthinkable" option (with a 0% chance of working out well).  She could...

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1) Let Mila and Duma die, and GUARANTEE the death of everyone and everything on Valentia (because remember, her mindset is "we need the gods and goddesses").

2) Trust the obviously untrustworthy dark mage in the hope that maybe he's telling the truth (and up till then, he HAD proven everything he said to be true), and will maybe give Valentia a second chance at life.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In other words, she was facing the choice of "probable annihilation of all things" and "guaranteed annihilation of all things".  And she chose the "probable annihiliation" option.

This...by the way, is why I made such a stink about Echoes' lack of atmosphere in the "Things You Missed From the NES Version" thread.  Echoes does a horrible job of showing just how desperate things are supposed to be.  And in this case, I believe it's to the detriment of Celica's characters.  Because had things truly appeared to be as bad as they supposedly were, Celica's choice would have made a lot more sense to most casual observers.

So in short...

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Berkut & Rinea: "This is what happens when you're too much like Duma or Mila"

Alm & Celica: "This is what happens when you try to depend on gods"

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Jedah categorically lies about everything except that Mila and Duma are going mad. He promises

A) To let Mila go free

B) To let Alm go free

C) To use Celica's soul to restore Duma to sanity.

He A) reveals that he has neither the means nor the intention to release Mila. B) Immediately tries to use Celica herself to kill Alm, and C) Doesn't even want Duma to be sane in the first place! His line before the final battle essentially says that if Duma wants to be crazy, he gets to be crazy because he's the god.

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Just now, Jotari said:

Jedah categorically lies about everything except that Mila and Duma are going mad. He promises

A) To let Mila go free

B) To let Alm go free

C) To use Celica's soul to restore Duma to sanity.

He A) reveals that he has neither the means nor the intention to release Mila. B) Immediately tries to use Celica herself to kill Alm, and C) Doesn't even want Duma to be sane in the first place! His line before the final battle essentially says that if Duma wants to be crazy, he gets to be crazy because he's the god.

Alright, but Celica didn't find any of that out till after it was already too late.  Jedah was offering the chance to release Mila up to the very end.  And most everything else he said?  About Mila and Jedah succumbing to madness, about how they were fated to destroy each other, about how Mila has sealed herself away(which he said later on), how Celica's soul could set Duma's path to rights (pay attention to how he worded it the first time he met her)?

Everything he said was either true, or not proven false until it was too late for Celica to resist.  He always phrased things in a way that left just enough wiggle room for Celica to think maybe he's telling the truth.  And I don't think he was actually lying about whether or not Celica's soul could ease Duma's madness, so much as he just thought it might be able to.  I mean, yes, he has the quote of...

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jedah: Silence, girl! You know nothing of what you speak. And if suffering is the gods’ will, what of it? Without their strength at its foundation, Valentia cannot sustain life.-

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

But I never took that as him lying about C).  Rather, he just hoped Alm and Celica's souls could help Duma, but was ready to serve Duma either way.  Like...

"Ok, I'm hoping my master returns to sanity...But if not, oh well.  He's the boss"

Edited by FionordeQuester

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24 minutes ago, FionordeQuester said:

Alright, but Celica didn't find any of that out till after it was already too late.  Jedah was offering the chance to release Mila up to the very end.  And most everything else he said?  About Mila and Jedah succumbing to madness, about how they were fated to destroy each other, about how Mila has sealed herself away(which he said later on), how Celica's soul could set Duma's path to rights (pay attention to how he worded it the first time he met her)?

Everything he said was either true, or not proven false until it was too late for Celica to resist.  He always phrased things in a way that left just enough wiggle room for Celica to think maybe he's telling the truth.  And I don't think he was actually lying about whether or not Celica's soul could ease Duma's madness.  I took his quote at the end to mean something more like...

Jedah: Well, if Alm and Celica's souls restore Duma to sanity, that's all the better.  But if not, oh well.  Duma's the boss, either way!

Well regarding the final comment first (because that makes sense as a way to do things), he does also proclaim that he wants an age of fear and chaos, which he'd be more likely to get out of crazy Duma than sane Duma. He also says this in front of Celica, when she could still resist (and renege her consent, but whether that's necessary or not is just as frustratingly unclear as Jedah's motives).

Jedah also doesn't provide anything for Celica to trust him. She meets him with healthy skepticism at first, demanding to see Mila before making any decision. Instead of complying with Celica and escorting her up Duma tower, he tries to kill her friends and forces her to fight for her life to make her way to him. There she discovers that, while he didn't lie about Mila's state, he certainly misled her about it. It barely even feels like he showed Mila off willingly considering Celica had to fight her way to him (and he probably could have just as easily used his crystal ball magic in their first encounter). Then he separates her from all her friends. The friends he's already proclaimed trespassers and shown a desire to kill (and sure enough, while Alm and Celica are doing their whole dance around a dragon, Saber and co are fighting for their lives). Que meeting with Alm and his whole line about wanting fear and chaos.

So to sum up, Jedah is a leading figure of the nation at war with her homeland, attacks Celica at every opportunity he gets, blatantly says he wants to kill her friends, laughs manically at everything he says, withholds information until it's convenient, and doesn't even offer her a cup of tea when she's forced to barge into his house. I get Celica's motivations, she wants to save Mila and even failing that Duma, and is willing to sacrifice her self to do it. But Jedah is written is such a two dimensional way that lacks any nuance, it really brings her down. The writing around him is squarely to blame. He's does absolutely nothing to garner her trust and everything to make himself seem untrustworthy, and then, shocking twist, he proves to be completely untrustworthy.

The biggest problem are the tower and swamp fights. They just don't make any sense narratively. Celica wants to be there, and Jedah wants her to be there. So he has no reason to try and kill her, and she has no reason to trust him after he actively does that. It's a case of them wanting to have their cake and eat it in regards to Gaiden. They want Jedah to have a bigger presence in the game by introducing him earlier, but they also want to keep all the maps the fights that were in the original game, without much care as to how to the two conflicting points don't gel together.

Edited by Jotari

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Well, the "fear and chaos" thing...again, Jedah isn't really offering her a good choice.  I mean, he says he'll free Duma, but he probably knows that Celica doesn't trust him completely.  So I imagine he's still kind of relying on Celica choosing the lesser of two evils.  Ted Bundy instead of Adolf Hitler.  An atomic bomb instead of a nuclear bomb.  A scantily clad 14 year old, instead of a scantily clad 5 year old.  "The Room" instead of "Manos: Hand of Fate".  

He promises more than that in their first meeting...but he steadily lets more and more of his true nature shine the more Celica's spirits have been broken.  He starts off pretending to be calm and reasonable in his first meeting, then lets his true nature show the more Celica's bought into his nonsense.

I mean, I know that doesn't sound like something that makes a lot of sense...but this sort of nonsense happens all the time in real life.  For example, a skilled cult leader (like Jim Jones) pretending to be a paragon of goodness and virtue at first...but then gradually let their freak flag fly higher and higher the more invested their recruits get.  First they give up a bit of their time, then a bit of their money, then a few of their friendships, then one of their jobs...and it goes on and on until finally, the poor sap is in too deep to feel they can turn back, even if they wanted to.  

As for the "Swamp" and "Tower" fights...yeah.  Those are definitely big problems that came from Echoes trying too hard to be faithful to Gaiden.  I will definitely agree with you on that much!

 

Edited by FionordeQuester

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6 hours ago, FionordeQuester said:

Well, the "fear and chaos" thing...again, Jedah isn't really offering her a good choice.  I mean, he says he'll free Duma, but he probably knows that Celica doesn't trust him completely.  So I imagine he's still kind of relying on Celica choosing the lesser of two evils.  Ted Bundy instead of Adolf Hitler.  An atomic bomb instead of a nuclear bomb.  A scantily clad 14 year old, instead of a scantily clad 5 year old.  "The Room" instead of "Manos: Hand of Fate".  

He promises more than that in their first meeting...but he steadily lets more and more of his true nature shine the more Celica's spirits have been broken.  He starts off pretending to be calm and reasonable in his first meeting, then lets his true nature show the more Celica's bought into his nonsense.

I mean, I know that doesn't sound like something that makes a lot of sense...but this sort of nonsense happens all the time in real life.  For example, a skilled cult leader (like Jim Jones) pretending to be a paragon of goodness and virtue at first...but then gradually let their freak flag fly higher and higher the more invested their recruits get.  First they give up a bit of their time, then a bit of their money, then a few of their friendships, then one of their jobs...and it goes on and on until finally, the poor sap is in too deep to feel they can turn back, even if they wanted to.  

As for the "Swamp" and "Tower" fights...yeah.  Those are definitely big problems that came from Echoes trying too hard to be faithful to Gaiden.  I will definitely agree with you on that much!

 

The difference between Jedah and an actual cult leader, is that Jedah offers absolutely nothing to gain trust. Cullts pray on the weak and insecure by giving them a place to be accepted and valued. Jedah never does anything even vaguely nice. He just offers Celica a particular form of suicide and she's all for it. I don't mind Jedah being evil and gradually showing his true colours, but he needs to do something before then to convince Celica he's not lying his ass off (which again, he totally is). 

The first scene is pretty decent, he approaches her with a rationale suggestion, and Celica appropriately mistrusts him. It's just that from there, he never tries any other tactic, instead, getting more and more overt in his evil, yet Celica becomes more and more convinced that he shares her motives and will keep his end of the bargain (which he doesn't).

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