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Saturday, January 4, 2014

Valencian Politics, the Armada, and the Grand Design


Our first trip was very much a quiet, in-and-out operation inside the backdoor of Valencia. However, with the cliffhanger ending in the Marleybone and Aquila expansion, the promised return to Valencia seems to be close at hand.

Woah, What Just Happened?

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Prisoner Number 42391

At the end of Aquila, we get an important few pieces of dialogue that I'd like to repeat.

El ToroNow we hold three pieces to Kane's two - in the race for El Dorado, we have taken the lead! 
Bonnie AnneCaptain, look at this! The markings on this stone - they're just like the ones in the Mechanical Birds! What is this thing? 
UlyssesThat? The Rosetta Stone, an ancient heirloom. It once stood in the port of Rosetta, in Krokotopia, at the height of the Old Empire. The inscription praises Emperor Squakius Maximus in three languages: Old Aquilan, New Aquilan, and Krokotopian.  
Gracie ConradBishop said the symbols in the Birds were Aquilan - we could use this to translate them! 
Ulysses: Is this Stone of use to you? Take it! All that is mine I have again because of you. May it bring you fortune and wisdom. 
Bonnie Anne: Right, let's get this thing to the Admiralty back in Marleybone. Hawkules, come here! 
Hawkules: Done! Now, the time has come at last for me to leave Aquila behind. To Barleycorn! 
Bonnie AnneMarleybone. 
HawkulesWhatever. ... 
Mycroft BonesThe clockwork birds have been bedeviling our cryptographers for months. The markings are Aquilan Linear B, but nobody can read Linear B! But we have scholars who can read Linear A and Krokotopian, by Rover! This stone of yours is just the ticket! ... I fear there are only two minds in all Marleybone that could decode this quickly. My dear brother is not available: he's under retainer for the Crown, dealing with the fallout of that business with the Krokonomicon. The other is in the Glass House Prison. Go there and tell them you need to speak to Meowiarty. Give them this - they'll let you in. ... 
MeowiartyPlease. A substitution cipher, feeding a transposition cipher and keyed off an asymmetric grid. Child's play. It translates to... interesting. Oridinarily I never work for free, but the conquest of Marleybone is hardly in my interest. Here's how it works: Decoded, the message is a verse of Classical Aquilan epic poetry, but some of the words are wrong. Subtle. Designed to foil a machine, I expect. Taking sequential letters of each wrong word, the message is this: I know how to defeat Kane. Find me in Valencia. Seek Caligostro. G.  
Mycroft BonesDefeat Kane? This is either the most crucial intelligence of the war, or it's a trap. You will find out.

After THAT, it would certainly make sense that we're returning to Valencia, but for what? Intelligence? Or will the showdown for Kane's two pieces play out this early? I have some theories about Kane, but first, it's important to know the true state of Valencia.

Pulling Strings

There's one key fact that we don't get in the storyline that we DO receive from Blind Mew on the official Pirate101 message boards.

Valencia is a monarchy, run by a unicorn king. Kane is indeed the supreme commander of the Valencian military, and he answers to King Casimir. Anything else you've heard about figureheads or powers behind the throne is nothing but seditious rumor.

King Casimir, huh? I got inspired and put together an image to the right.

This begs the questions, however - who's really in control in Valencia? Is it Kane? The mysterious female clockwork? Or King Casimir? Who's manipulating who?

Watching With Ten Thousand Eyes: Back to the Beginning

The mystery of the clockwork birds leads back to the Toymaker, who's been watching us carefully and spying on the Armada for quite some time. Destiny has a lovely theory that he may, in fact, be a play off of Leonardo da Vinci. After all, some of his designs are strikingly similar to the clockwork machines and forts, as she illustrated in her posts.

Da Vinci had no children, but he did adopt a boy as a sort of apprentice. His name was Gian Giacomo Caprotti da Oreno, better known as Salai, which translates to "The Devil" or "The little unclean one." Suppose for a moment that this brilliant Toymaker had an adopted son as well...

Birth of Kane

Leonardo and Salai (or his in-game equivalent) are out and about one day. Perhaps they're on a ship, making their way about Valencia, when suddenly, a pirate vessel from some foreign place appears on the horizon. The ship comes closer... uncomfortably close. Before they know it, their own ship is under attack, and da Vinci's son Kane (coincidentally meaning "little battler" by some translations) is mortally wounded by a crossbow (also how Salai would actually die during a duel).

Leonardo, terrified at the idea of losing one of his closest companions, attempts to use his expertise to "fix" his son. A half-man, half-robot creation. And thus, his son is restored. Of course, he is now very different-looking, though he retains at least a portion of his skin-colored face.

A World Free of Hurt

Valencia has officially entered the Polarian war - in which Polaris has betrayed and significantly weakened both its allies and enemies. To win the war, the leaders of Valencia turn to da Vinci in a desperate attempt to save the once-great empire of the Spiral. And so he agrees to invent the first clockwork soldiers. Unfortunately, after winning the war, politicians would be politicians, and they were feeling invincible. They continued building clockworks, who controlled their navy, until they got out of hand. But at that point, it was too late, and a new era of leaders had arrived.

Bigger problems existed at a personal level. Da Vinci soon realizes that his creation is TOO good. It has begun to affect the actions of his son, causing strange thoughts and habits that he didn't have before. The son he once knew became a body for his father's creation to harness. He had become a real puppet.

Now free of da Vinci's guidance, Kane used what he knew to save others who suffered similarly to himself - they become his court of elite clockworks. And so Kane, with new-found power in the Valencian monarchy, took to creating a world by his standards. One where no one would ever experience what he had had to. One without pirates, so that the fateful day on which he was wounded would never find itself repeated.


One-Third or Dark Corner?

When we visited Valencia the first time, it seemed a lot like some of the other worlds. It suggested to me that Kane and the clockworks are the essence of Valencia, which we now know is not true. It also seemed to me that there'd be maybe two or so more skyways surrounding the machine, and then the interior of the machine itself. Similar to the way that MooShu is set up. Blind Mew suggests that this might not be the case:

I won't confirm anything at this time, but I will suggest that the situation in Valencia is pretty complex. Note that when you saw said destruction and Clockworks out of control, you were in a pretty remote part of Valencia. The situation is very different in the shining center of Valencia.

This lead to a follow-up question asking if the machine is the geographical center of Valencia as the skyway makes it appear, but I did not receive a direct answer. He states that "the visual metaphors reinforced the story nicely." If you notice, the other side of the machine has a much stormier sky. Does that mean that as we near the center of Valencia, it's even darker and more littered with clockworks? There certainly seems to be potential for future Valencian areas.


Perhaps, then, the machine is actually in a smaller part of Valencia. It's taking out any non-essential pieces to Kane's idea of a perfectly harmonious world achieved in an ironic way. And who knows... perhaps that's his mother or a much more persuasive being filling the role of the female elite clockwork. Is she calling the shots? And so what else is this machine for, anyway? Blind Mew has a few thoughts.

The Machine... It is the testament to Kane's vision, the manifestation of his genius, and the instrument of his will. In terms of Kane's Grand Design, The Machine is both means and end. We will reveal what it's for in good time.

Power Corrupts...

Something wasn't making sense to me. How was it that Kane could operate on such a vast scale and even have treaties with MooShu? Did someone miss the whole "remaking the Spiral" thing? And what of Valencia? If it is as Blind Mew says, and Kane does, in fact, answer to King Casimir, why isn't he making some changes?

Perhaps Casimir is working with Kane. Their visions could hardly be the same, however. Casimir would surely desire a much wider range of influence for himself and Valencia. Kane has his "Grand Design" idea already in play. And whatever it is that's in El Dorado, it's going to solidify his plans and bring the Grand Design into full swing. However, secrets of El Dorado are a discussion for another day.

... And Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely

These thoughts lead to one logical conclusion that Blind Mew seems to confirm, if only just through hints - Valencia's politicians are even worse than... expected.

Trust me, when we go back there, by the time you leave you will have seen Valencian politics up close and personal - indeed, you may know more than you wanted to learn, or more than is safe to know.

It seems that there's more than one enemy here. But can we fight a whole world of corruption when what is perhaps our only form of support is being destroyed by a massive sky-machine? 

Defeating the Ultimate Enemy: A Question of Morality

Blind Mew confirms that our next skyway begins with "C" - Cadiz, perhaps? Wherever it is, it must be in search of Caligostro, who must be a person and not a place, considering the fact that Cagliostro was a real Italian explorer. Plus, in the world of DC Comics, he's described as an immortal and descendant of Leonardo da Vinci (this'd have to be a lot of coincidences at this point). And so "G" must be da Vinci, or whatever he may be called in-game (and based on Kane and the puppet show, my guess is that he's human). Or perhaps "G" simply knows the story of da Vinci and Kane.

Avery describes Kane as a being very much superior to any human. He would not be so easily destroyed by the slice of a sword or firing of a bullet, especially not after his first encounter with pirates. No, the best way to beat Kane is by using what remains of da Vinci's son inside to overtake the machine-controlled being he has become. This will be very difficult with Kane, but perhaps more easily accomplished with wild cards not so perfectly converted, like Phule. Is there any hope for him? (Political references mastered right there.)

When we go to defeat Kane, what will da Vinci be thinking? Is he hoping to save his potentially lost son? Will the future of the Spiral depend on the defeat of this individual? Perhaps the question of good and bad and morals and lack thereof will finally come to the forefront of Pirate101 in what's sure to be the showdown of the arc.

Checkmate?

If we are to destroy the Armada and the machine, Valencia's entire navy will be gone, leaving it defenseless, but not free of corrupt politicians. Is there any hope for this dark world? And what could possible be so powerful in El Dorado that it would allow Kane to rework the worlds of the Spiral?

Thanks for reading. And as for that Spiral, I'll see you there! Note: Illustrations here are for entertainment purposes only. Endorsement or denouncement of political parties should not be inferred. Credits: Thanks to Destiny for ideas on which this post was built about Leonardo da Vinci. Read one of her posts HERE.

21 comments:

  1. I think I saw on the Pirate101 website Valencia page about "Da Finchi"

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  2. There are some holes in the theory. I remember Blind Mew said Kane is all robot. He hated the idea of having him be a cyborg. I can't find to where he specifically says it, but he also says Kane fits the trope of creations turning against us, signalling that Kane is a robot and not half-human (Link from Message Board: https://www.pirate101.com/forum/a-pirates-life/finer-points-of-the-story-for-blind-mew-8ad6a4153bffbb2f013c025562580538). Also, there already is a Da Vinci in P101. He's known simply as Da Finci,implying he is either a Unicorn, Crab, or Guinea Pig (residents of Valencia), not human as seen in the puppet show.

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    1. Or a finch lol. Probably the most likely answer since Hawkulese is a hawk, Marco Pollo is a chicken (which is not a native species to Valencia), it can only be assumed that COWpernicus is a cow and as we find in both games, animals that may be native to one world could be in different worlds. A Swedish citizen could live in Italy in real life but not be Italian so it is the same premise. Examples of this are Monkey King (he may be a monkey but lives in Moo Shu not Monquista), Ghost Dog in W101 (He is a dog but lives in Moo Shu not Marleybone), any Marleybonian explorers in Krokotopia, Celestia, Zafaria, and Azteca and of course Marco Pollo who lives in Valencia although being a chicken. Da Finchi is likely to be a finch but as you said Swordroll's theories have a few flaws. Kane can't be a "cyborg", and the king of Valencia gave all power to Kane following the Polarian wars also mentioned in the Valencia description on the website. So in reality, King Casmir really has no power anymore so he couldn't possibly be a "secret villain" other than one only Valencians may fear.

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    2. Fortunately, Da Finchi can very much be a bird and not be "G" who is likely also the Toymaker and human. We can bypass that "hole" entirely by stating that G and Da Finchi are close friends.

      If I recall correctly, Kane gave control of Valencians as a source of the armed forces for the Polarian War, but the Polarian War is over. Casimir is very much in charge, Kane is simply a powerful figure who continues to control these armed forces. There have to be politicians behind the Armada. You can't sail your Supreme Commander into a world of peace and prosperity like MooShu to ask for treaties. As mentioned in other comments, Casimir is likely after the riches of El Dorado, while Kane has plans of his own... but that's another post.

      Right now, the Armada is not this out-of-control force destroying everything, which was surprising given that that was the picture painted for me in Valencia. Truth was, we visited a very remote part. I think the page you mention also talks about people wondering if the Valencians are going to end up paying for their use of the clockworks - so they're on the fence now, but still accepted by most worlds of the Spiral. They stopped Napolenguin, and they roam the skies of places like MooShu not because they're invading, but because of diplomatic agreements. This could very much be a relationship like we see in so many movies where we're seeing one person in charge and one right-hand man who has the same evil desires, but he ends up overtaking the other in some odd moment of realization: "Oh, so he's the worse of the two." Beyond that, look at Blind Mew's quotes in this post. It would be silly of me to claim that politicians aren't involved or that we won't be seeing them up close and personal as we visit more centralized Valencian locations, which, as the "visual metaphors" seem to suggest, won't be full of kind-hearted individuals ready to open their doors.

      As to the cyborg, perhaps it was just a really awful choice of colors for their faces. But that has yet to explain why these machines can make conscious decisions, and then observe actions of others and respond accordingly. What the clockwork elites themselves have done - that's technology we don't even have today. I would like to think that there's something less "magical" about them than the fact that they're just smart robots, or that becomes every other Sci-Fi movie for the last who-knows-how-long. I would hope that there's SOME twist to it - is the female "clockwork" really a human (not a cyborg, completely human)? And lastly, with the giant chess metaphor here, who's playing? We still have to wonder about Phule as well, and why he's the way he is. In Khrysalis, we have Shadow Weavers taking the bugs there and turning them into more Shadow Weavers... is it unreasonable to assume that Phule is a failed experiment, and that there might be other such experiments in Valencia? Again, I'd be pretty disappointed if these key plot areas weren't addressed.

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    3. @Swordroll:

      I kinda wanted to explain why I don't think their cyborgs, but wanted to do a post on P101 central for it. But, I kinda thought of the clockwork elites similar to the replicants of Blade Runner. You said that smart robots have been in media for a long, long time, but in those cases, their usually done in a message of either "Don't play god, or else" (Frankenstein) or even them just being evil. To that degree, you don't see smart robots that question morality, what it means to be human, but gladly being picked up (The Geth from Mass Effect, the upcoming movie "Her"). But you said it, how can the elites make conscious decisions and respond if they aren't human, when technology today can't do that (we have ships that can fly and an animal crew, I think we can suspend some scientific disbelief and just say magic.) I think that will be an issue raised in coming expansions, if anything other than human (beside the animal crew). can be "truly" alive.

      Also, to bring up an idea: Could G stand for Grandfather, like our Grandfather. The birds have been in places we've been going in all of our journey, as if watching our progress. We're never told if our mom or dad had any living relatives, or maybe, other children. So, maybe Kane mistakes that the birds are soulfully watching him, when in reality, they're watching us, hoping for us to decode it. Or maybe, he's watching both of us, and the bird Bishop got was, in truth, meant for us.

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    4. We don't know if he's human, after all a human in Valencia might attract a lot of attention. I think the human picture was Bishop's perspective of things and what he thought the man might be. However, even though Kane might know whom the guy and what he looks like Bishop may not.

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  3. I want to let you know that there is an in-game (or in-game mention) of Leonardo da Vinci. He is called Da Finchi. He's mentioned here: https://www.pirate101.com/free_game/worlds/valencia
    You kept saying da Vinci, when Da Finchi has already been described.

    Also, as it's described on the Valencia page of Pirate101:

    ...With Clockwork ships protecting merchant ships and stamping out smuggling and piracy, Valencia is growing even richer....
    As the Unicorns turn inward, distracted by their endless revels, Kane grows ever more powerful, and rumors are emerging that the Armada may have an agenda of its own. Some wonder what price Valencia will pay for their success...

    The Unicorns could be driven by greed now that they're merchant economy is well secured. Kane is looking for an world made entirely of gold and treasures. I think it would make a lot of sense if King Casimir were intrigued in finding El Dorado in order to reap the gold there. Kane, obviously, sees other possiblities aside from the material gold. The Builders of El Dorado, like the Celestians, built a powerful treasure that was envied by all Spiral in habitors. I'm sure Kane is stringing the Unicorns along, promising praise and treasure for finding El Dorado (wouldn't Valencia get a lot of attention for finding this lost world?) while Kane keeps his eye on the prize.

    I also think the Armada is working extremely similarly to the Dai Lei from Avatar: The Last Airbender. I don't know if you're a fan or have watched the series, but the center of the Earth Kingdom was called Ba Sing Se, which means impenatrable walls, because the city was build with 2 walls of immense strength. The Dai Lei, a secret service that ran under the kings eye, hypnotized the people into believing they're completely safe as long as the stay within the city and follow the rules. The Armada could be working very much the same way.

    I like your theory about Kane, but I think Kane plays more closely to the I, Robot, 9, and Terminator films. He's a complete sentient being of technology and artificial intelligence. Like many sci-fi films, he plans to surpass the flaws of Human (or organic) existance and replace it with the perfection og artificial life (which is his Grand Design plan to rid the Spiral of Pirates). However, the motives you have suggestion would make a very sympathetic background, such as Malistaires.

    ~Cunning Finnigan Sharp~

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  4. Could that piece of concept art with the large dock be the commons area for this new skyway that starts with C? As for the unicorn musketeer which hasn't really been popular but the cape has a rose on it, the same rose Ridolfo Capoferro (promotion for him and Kraken Skulls companions?) has on him from his first promotion onward so maybe it is the symbol of the rebels in Valencia and we could possibly see more of these sign on our way back like on ships, clothing, housing, you get what I mean.

    The ships though for this update, that is what you forgot unless you think they will give us one as a quest reward because last time was in Cool Ranch/MooShu (depends on what time you call it) but it leads be to believe we may see maybe a Valencian Merchant origin which may just be Renaissance themed with the wings made by Da Finchi.

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    1. That concept art piece there? J. Todd Coleman said it was a ship yard, if I remember correctly. So it could be in Cadiz, though I wouldn't guess it's an island full of allies.

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  5. I have an theory on The Grand Design. If you type in "The Grand Design -Pirate101" in Google something interesting pops-up. Apparently a SPIRAL Galaxy is described as the Grand Design. And so, with this knowledge I present my theory which is; The Grand Design is a layout or plan for something. Maybe for after the Armada conquer the Spiral. As for El Dorado, maybe it's a giant battery or weapon or even a vault with a missing piece to the Grand Design.

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  6. Oh, and one other thing. Maybe this Female Elite is a singer? And El Dorado has the song of creation stored on a scroll or something and Kane plans in using it.

    Lastly, Monquista, Azteca, Polaris, Marleybone, and Valencia all play a part in this plot one way or another. So I think if we need more answers we should dwell into Real Life references such as El Dorado of Pirate101 and El Dorado of the Legend.

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    1. really? I think robot birds were insane. now this? mamamia! plus, I thought the unicorns like captain steed

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  7. um what is up with the random dude standing there after every article

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    1. Well, I hosted my "Read More" image on a site called TinyPic, and they replaced my old image with someone else's. I thought I moved all my images to my own site, but apparently I missed that one. I've now corrected that!

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    2. interesting, the first quote was blind mews response to my question. But I'm happy to see it here none the less!

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  8. Oh...my stars and gunners! Very clever using Diego, but I doubt he's that evil

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    1. Uh... that's not Diego. That's King Casimir. Note the crown on his head :)

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    2. That is actually a Diego concept made to look like what King Casimir might.

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  9. I think Kane was created by a scientist working for the local government. Kane insisted on making more of the Clockworks so he could win the war. However, as soon as the war was won, he murdered his creator, stole the blueprints, and built more and more clockworks. I know Avery said the VALENCIANS built them, but at that point, wouldn't Kane basically lead Valencia? So basically, he takes Valencia over and is hiding the Grand Design in the Works. Your Pirate will destroy the Grand Design inside the Works, but then Kane reveals the Works IS the Grand Design, and it turns into a laser cannon and makes a bunch of different empty Spiral Worlds go BOOM.

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  10. We know that KI likes to reference Doctor Who every now and then. When I first heard about the Toymaker it reminded me of this guy: http://tardis.wikia.com/wiki/Celestial_Toymaker
    although I couldn't find anything to conclusively link them. If so the toymaker is not anybody you want at a party :)

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  11. There are some brilliant theories here. I think the toymaker being Da Vinci or someone connected to him seems very likely. This has make me very excited for the Valencia expansion.

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