Quest#104: Ace Assassin: Dual Dragoons is a Quest hosted by Flipz, with set design primarily by Kintobor. This Quest introduced both Diana N. Justus and the Ace Assassin story arc, while following up on the characters and consequences of the Dastan Trilogy, Quest#59: Rito's Resolution, Quest#66: WANTED! Steerpike the Poisoner, and Quest#100: To The Tower of Babel.
In early AI 253, with the recent disappearance of his son Nuitan and the dangers of the previous year's Foundation Day Ball fresh on his mind, Count Noctus Shadeaux set out to train a number of elite bodyguards for his children. The two candidates he selected were Darius Kaan, a brash but effective operative recruited by the Shawes, and Sirone Valishter, one of his own personal guards recruited after his mugging at the hands of Heroes two years earlier who had also already served as a tutor to his daughter Bellanotte for a time. Unbeknownst to the Count, however, Darius and Sirone were both best friends and fierce rivals, and that relationship would soon spark disaster.
Though both best friends had worked together frequently, as the more cautious and responsible member of the duo Sirone ended up saving Darius' life on countless occasions. Over the years, Darius grew both grateful toward and resentful of Sirone's skill and responsibility; although Darius valued their friendship, he secretly worried he was forever destined to be the lesser, weaker friend. While this resentment was largely ignored, the Rogue's insecurity began to gnaw at the back of his mind.
Sirone's younger brother Arryn still lived in Duplovia with their parents; however, just months earlier the Valishter parents were killed in a tragic carriage accident on their way home from a performance by The Mercutio's Smile circus troupe. Devastated by the loss, Sirone immediately began seeking increasingly desperate means to raise enough gold to bring his brother to live with him in Eubric, eventually learning of Count Shadeaux's mysterious yet lucrative bodyguard program.
Seeing a chance to raise money for Sirone while proving his superiority, and ignorant of Sirone's participation in the program, Darius too signed up for the training. Once selected, Darius and Sirone were initially trained separately in the ways of the Dragoon, with the intention of the two being sent to Charis together at the conclusion of their training to receive a Dragon egg from the local population. However, upon seeing his friend already trained as a Dragoon, once again one step ahead of him, something in Darius snapped, and the man fled for Dastan to find a stronger Dragon partner and prove himself the better Dragoon once and for all. Seeing no alternative, Sirone set off in hot pursuit, seeking to save Darius once again from his own folly.
A Suspicious StartEdit
After recruiting the Heroes, Count Shadeaux and the Dragonlord briefed the Heroes, with the Dragonlord promising to accompany them personally to Dastan to smooth over the complex and unexpected diplomatic dilemma with the Emperors of the desert nation. Together with self-proclaimed "Ace Assassin" Diana N. Justus, the party first faced a choice of how to reach Dastan, accepting the ship and aid of either Captain Bartholomew Horningold of The Bonapartes or Dr. Nicole Tesla of the Ji Pei-aligned Tritech Corporation. Choosing to embark on Dr. Tesla's airship, the Bostonius, the Heroes' journey went relatively unscathed until the final morning of their voyage, when they were attacked by a flock of flying foes. With the assistance of Dr. Tesla and her G.E.M. Automaton the Stealth Shadow, the Heroes fought off the ferocious feathered fiends, but soon after the Dragonlord discovered that the incident had not been at random, but instead was a work of sabotage--and moreover, that he himself had been the intended target. Disturbed by this new revelation, the party bid farewell to Nicole and her crew, and departed near the Dastanian capital of Drakencourt.
Dealings in DrakencourtEdit
In Drakencourt, the Heroes were soon greeted by Mallelio, a Sage who had been a frequent friend and ally of Heroica in several Quests past. After a meeting with Emperor Septrine, his daughter Ella and her ex-Hero bodyguard Tarn, and the Dragon and Rito ambassadors Vipera and Flavius, the Heroes were informed that the two Dragoons had successfully found partners in youngling Dragons Kreika and Velqoriel and were wreaking a path of destruction across the desert in their duel, a path leading straight through Domus and, if left unchecked, across the Lost Forest of the Babaleth and into the densely-populated Charis. Though short on time, the Heroes chose to accept the Rito's offer of equipment and aid, but upon making a brief stop at Mallelio's house to prepare they were accosted by Nemor, a representative of the Tethusial, and Tarban, a representative of the Pongcanae, who demanded answers as to why the deconstruction of Brunt's Wall had been halted. After failing to trick Tarban into incriminating himself, Knight of Heroica Kiray Nastayo found herself attacked by Tarban, who quickly summoned reinforcements to help him stand against the party. Though victorious, Tarban's associates successfully managed to poison both Nemor and the party's Cleric, Yuji Daeth. With Daeth out of commission, Mallelio accompanied the Heroes as their new healer, and the group set out for the Rito Settlement
Road of the RitoEdit
As they hiked on into the night, the Heroes shared stories of their pasts, with Diana and Kiray sharing secrets of their troubled childhoods while Actaeon and Warlen reminisced together of their own personal history. All too soon, the Heroes found themselves at the Rito settlement, where they were greeted enthusiastically by Denerii and Julius. That night, Siercon pondered the meaning of a prophecy he had received from Ella, while Germ received his own vision of the two Dragoons destroying Domus. In the morning, the Heroes awoke to the sight and scent of smoke on the wind, and together with Denerii the party set off to Domus.
The situation in Domus was grim. While the bulk of the party was confronted by U'Daras, new leader of the Dragon Knights and named heir to a throne, Siercon and Mallelio set out Emperor Victor Phyllius for his account of the events in Domus. Upon hearing that the Dragoons' duel had destroyed Domus and that it was Sirone's Dragon companion Velquoriel who had lit the town ablaze, the party was conflicted: would they try to take the Dragoons alive, as Count Shadeaux intended, or would they deliver their own justice. With the party sharply divided on the matter, the Heroes debated all the way into Babaleth.
Trailing the Dragoons into the cursed Lost Woods at the border between Dastan and the Babaleth Darklands, the party soon stumbled across a lone Fairy under attack by the Dark Druids of the Archdemon Rosier the Seductive. Though the party successfully fought them off, Germ became separated in the chaos, finding himself in the direct clutches of Rosier. Meanwhile, the Heroes finally found the dueling Dragoons, only to learn that their enemies were perhaps more misguided than malicious, and certainly less united than they had first believed.
Here Diana made her stand; she would not let the lives lost go unpaid in kind, and announced her intentions to bring about her own brand of justice--no matter what. She revealed the truth of her past--daughter of an assassin named Jupiter Justus, she had been taken from him by her angry mother who seemingly hated her father more than she loved her daughter; with the help of soon-to-be surrogate caretaker Walbartan and family friend Nikolaus Steerpike, she poisoned her mother and escaped to join The Wolfgang like her father before her. Actaeon and Kiray chose to stand at her side, while Siercon, Warlen, Mallelio, Diana, and the recently-returned Germ stood firm against the Assassin. All sides fought valiantly, but with a single killing bolt Diana slew Sirone, ending the fight in her favor. Her victory was short-lived, however, as Velquoriel, enraged by her partner's death, attacked both his killer and the party members who had fought to save him. With the reluctant help of Darius and Kreika, the party vanquished Velquoriel, with Denerii sending the Dragon to rest alongside her companion.
With one Dragoon dead and the other depressed, it seemed the mission was at an end, but it was not quite to be. As Ella's prophecy to Siercon predicted, the Dark Druids had come out in force to capture the Heroes, and only through the aid of the Faries were they successfully evacuated to their realm, The Faerie. There they met Euflear, leader of the Fairies and former Veteran of Heroica The Fey One, who requested a meeting with The Dragonlord.
With Euflear's help, the Heroes reappeared outside the entrance to the Lost Forest, where The Dragonlord and Emperor Septrine had been awaiting their arrival for six weeks (thanks to the unusual flow of time within the Faerie). When the Dragonlord demanded an account of the Heroes, Darius at last explained his and Sirone's motives, and the truth behind their rivalry. Though he tried to release Kreika from their bond, the Dragon expressed his loyalty to Darius, promising to stay with the young Dragoon no matter what. After bidding farewell to Euflear, the party returned to Drakencourt with Mallelio and Denerii, the latter of whom expressed her gratitude towards Warlen, Siercon, and Germ by promising to train them as Winged Warriors when the time came. With the dust settled in Dastan, the Heroes sailed for home.
On the voyage home, Diana was left with an important decision: repeat her sabotage from their first flight, risking her friends for her last chance to kill the Dragonlord as the Wolfgang had ordered her to, or else abandon her mission to ensure the safety of her friends. With time running out, she chose to throw her mini-vibrataphone overboard, choosing her friends over a shot at her foe.
Back in Eubric, the party returned Darius to the Shadeaux, but to their surprise the Dragoon immediately quit, ending his association with the House. With a cryptic warning that the Wolfgang would bring disaster to Eubric and Heroica both, Darius flew off on Kreika, promising to seek out Sirone's brother and one day return. Diana, impressed by Actaeon and Kiray's loyalty, promised to increase their standing with the Wolfgang, and with a kiss on Kiray's cheek she set off herself into Eubric's back alleys. With the Quest successful, Count Shadeaux gave the party their reward, as well as improved reputation with his House, and the Heroes returned to their Hall.
While the destruction of Domus has yet to reveal its full repercussions, it is likely that the toll of the reconstruction efforts contributed greatly to the illness of Emperor Phyllius, which would prove problematic the next time that Heroes came to visit the Empire. Socially, Nemor's heroic sacrifice greatly improved the Tethusial standing within Dastan, while Tarban's death further demonized the Pongcanae population and somewhat radicalized them, leading to their support for Sven's rebellion.
With Sirone dead, Darius was forced to seek to save Arryn on his own. It is currently unknown how successful he has been in his mission.
Although Diana failed to kill the Dragonlord, she was not discovered, and was able to more thoroughly integrate herself into Heroica. She has participated in several (off-screen) Quests since her first mission, improving ties and influencing the organization to look at the Wolfgang in a more sympathetic light.
Quest#104: Ace Assassin: Dual Dragoons
- Quest Master: Flipz
- Assignment: "Heroes of Heroica. There is a grave threat to my ancestral homeland, and Count Shadeaux and I have agreed that the aid of Heroes is required. Meet us at the docks--and promptly! Time is of the essence." ~Dragonlord, Veteran of Heroica
- Party Requirements: At the request of the Count, we need four to six Heroes, preferably of a low Level.
- Reward: 100 Gold per Hero, or more if the Count is pleased with your results.
- Warlen Melimane, Level 1 Mage (The Chosen Minifigure)
- Siercon, Level 6 Mage (Siercon and Coral)
- Actaeon Artus, Level 1 Ranger (Actaeon) *Party Leader*
- Yuji Daeth, Level 1 Cleric (Daeth)
- The Demon Germ, Level 1 Rogue (samuraiturtle)
- Kiray Nastayo, Level 4 Knight (KingoftheZemkp)
This Quest was heavily inspired by Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies, with the "Dark Age of Heroes" and the theme of "the end justifies the means" being heavily emphasized by Diana. Additionally, the "Mood Matrix" mechanic from that game heavily influenced the mechanics of the Diplomacy job trait within the Quest, though so far said mechanic has not spread any further. Music from the game was matched to every fight, as well as several key emotional moments, and the game's Japanese cover art directly inspired the Quest banner.
Originally, Diana was intended to die as the final boss of the Quest, but her chemistry with certain Heroes led them to display unwavering loyalty for her, resulting in an unplanned PvP battle in the finale. Similarly, the Dark Druids, Fairies, and Marilith were an eleventh-hour addition when Sandy revealed to the QM notes about these unused elements from the then-ongoing Quest#100.
Similarly, if the party had all chosen to side alongside Diana, Darius had been expected to be the Dragoon killed, as he had the least backstory and the least sympathetic motivations. Darius' survival directly caused Chasing Echoes to be planned as a full Quest rather than a background event.
The backstory notes for Darius and Sirone involved a love triangle between them and Bellanotte, with Bellanotte being enamored with Sirone, Sirone being enamored with Darius, and Darius being enamored with Bellanotte. Since this was cut from the final Quest for pacing, the only part of this that is confirmed to be canon is Sirone's affections for Darius.