Operation story: 11-1

From Arknights Terra Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Previous None Next 11-2
Male Victorian Soldier icon.png
Indistinct Officer
Nobleman A icon.png
Noble Gentleman
Noblewoman icon.png
Noble Lady
Nobleman B icon.png
Obscured Merchant
Male Victorian Soldier icon.png
Victorian Officer
Londinium Manor Indoor
Londinium Manor Garden
Manor Hall

Before operation

Twenty-six years ago, the Duke of Cumberland's manor was host to a dinner party, with the King and the nobles gathered all in one place. It was there that news arrived of Victoria's blade, Kyngasycath, the Sighs of Kings, going missing.
<Flashback starts here>
Twenty-six Years Ago...
5:11 P.M. \ Overcast
Residence of the Duke of Cumberland, Auchterigg District of Londinium
<Background 1>
Sullen Voice Your Majesty... I've just received word. Those two pitiful Members have died in their cells.
Impassioned Voice An end they deserve. It's time Parliament understood they serve Victoria, and not the businessmen stuffing their pockets with coin.
Sullen Voice I understand your eagerness. Still, some are worried. Your pressure on the Court has terrified a great deal of Members who had been observing the situation. They may act with impropriety in days to come.
Impassioned Voice They should be fearful! They'll better know their places.
This unbroken succession of wars whiles away the riches our forebears accumulated over the ages, yet certain greedy condorwings have been reared–fattened by them.
Sullen Voice I'm not looking for you to back down, but if we could just go a little slower...
Impassioned Voice A little slower! As if the condorwings know when to stop. Why don't you look for them to feed a little slower?
If we don't put our new tax policies in place, then once the enemy sees fit to pounce on Victoria and tear her flesh apart, even the mercenaries will leave us without a second thought!
Sullen Voice If they consider themselves soldiers clear of mind and honorable of heart, they will stand by your side.
Impassioned Voice I'm afraid the Red Dragon thought as much too, before he was forced to share half his crown.
We all saw the end that befell him.
Sullen Voice I promise you, no matter the hour, you will have Cumberland's loyalty.
Impassioned Voice Of course, "Cumberland the Ever on High"–how could I doubt where you stand?
But you see, Robert, Victoria is in her hour of need, this very moment. The right of kings is waning upon this swathe of soil.
Sullen Voice Why does Your Majesty think so?
It's your birthday the day after. Everyone is hoping to catch a glimpse of your visage. The servicemen are impatient to pay their respects to you, and the populace's cheers are sure to drown out the parade in turn.
Impassioned Voice This year, perhaps. But what of next year? And when it comes time for my Alexandrina to succeed the throne?
Robert, we will make our exit, sooner or later.
Sullen Voice Your Majesty! You–
[A Victorian officer opens the door and walks into the room.]
Victorian Officer Your Majesty, Your Grace.
Pardon me for bothering you without permission, but I've just had a report–
There has been an intrusion in the Palace underground. The Sighs of Kings is unaccounted for.
Sullen Voice ...What?
Victorian Officer And... so is Her Highness Alexandrina.
The Guard have sealed off all areas of connection, and the search is underway, but no leads have surfaced for the time being.
Sullen Voice Her Highness Alexandrina and the Victorian Realmblade have gone missing at once, in this sensitive a situation?
No. No noble would be this brazen. But...}
Your Majesty, I assure you, I will personally handle this affair, straight away. I'll...
Impassioned Voice Don't be flustered, my old friend. Alexandrina's long-time mentor accompanies her. I trust no one will pose a threat to her safety.
Sullen Voice Her mentor? As in...?
Impassioned Voice He treats Alexandrina very well. I can't recall if he's ever even shown me the same level of concern.
As for our Sighs of Kings, no matter where it is, it will play its role.
Sullen Voice You mean... the role of a Realmblade?
Impassioned Voice Hah. It'll be grasped by a righteous ruler before those academics conduct their endless research on it. That is what a Realmblade stands for.
And we all look forward to the coming of that day.
Sullen Voice ......
I understand.
Impassioned Voice Robert. For your daughter, and for mine.
Sullen Voice Yes, Your Majesty... and for Victoria.
<Background 2>
[The younger Allerdale Cumberland runs through the garden, tended by Ailshie the maid.]
Maid Ailshie Hold on, Miss, don't run so fast–
Allerdale I have to, Ailshie! I need to see my father!
I know he's at home today! If I'm not quick enough, he'll be off God-knows-where again!
Maid Ailshie The Duke's been up to his ears in business recently, but if he knows you want to meet him, I'm sure he'd be willing to spend the time with you.
Allerdale I don't want him to spend time with me!
Maid Ailshie Then what are you in such a hurry to see him for?
Allerdale I... I need to tell him, loud and clear, how I don't want to go to County York.
Maid Ailshie Don't you like the country? The manor out there's a lot more land than it is here. You used to love playing in the meadow, and you always had the farmers' kids there play cricket with you.
Allerdale I love it there!
But it's hardly even summer yet–this time of year, we usually stay in Londinium. Plus, isn't it strange to you how it's just me and Mum going this time?
Maid Ailshie Calm down for now. I hear from the Manchesters' butler how a lot of the noble houses' Masters and Mistresses are summering in the country early this year. It might just be one of those new trends in society, you know?
Allerdale Don't give me that.
Ailshie, Dad's hiding from me. He wants me out of here. Why? Because I keep asking him to teach me swordsmanship, or because I can never get any Gaulish into my head? Is that why he has a temper at me?
Maid Ailshie Miss Allerdale, maybe it's not my place to say this, but...
Allerdale Well, my manners tutor isn't here right now, and I don't give two tosses what you should be saying or not.
Maid Ailshie ...I can only offer my own opinion.
Miss, His Grace loves you very much. No matter what his decision is, it's going to be for the good of you and the Madam.
Allerdale If he wants good for me, that's more reason he shouldn't be sending me off.
I... I'll miss him. I'll miss him a lot, you know.
Maid Ailshie Ha, ha... Oh, come on, you. What's the blushing for?
Allerdale Because that's the kind of thing only little kids say!
I don't want Dad to think I'm attached to him! I need to be stronger, and then I can become a Steam Knight sooner, just like my great-great-great-great-grandmother–
Maid Ailshie But, you know, you are a child still.
You should try telling him everything you've been feeling. He's a gentle, generous Duke, and a kind and caring father. I'm sure he'll understand you.
Allerdale So you'll let me see him?
Maid Ailshie I always support you in your decisions.
But you'd best be a little slower, so's you don't trip on the plants, or else Mr. Jim the gardener'll skip dinner again out of shame for getting you hurt.
Allerdale Tell Jim it's his fault if his plants hurt me!
[Allerdale runs off.]
Maid Ailshie *sigh* Really, what do we do with you?
And make sure you mind your skirt, Miss Allerdale... You've got an audience with His Majesty at the dinner tonight!
<Background 3>
[Two nobles are having a chat.]
Noble Gentleman Have you seen Charles Lynch anywhere?
Noble Lady The newly appointed Steam Knight, was it...? Incredible achievement at his age. I'm sure plenty came here just to mob him.
Noble Gentleman Shame he rushed off not long after he arrived. I hear every Steam Knight garrisoned in Londinium got orders to move.
Noble Lady ...Is it Sargon or Leithanien this time?
God save Victoria, no more wars. Every time one happens, I have to sell off a few more of my grandfather's paintings, rest his soul.
Noble Gentleman It's an order direct from Parliament this time.
Noble Lady ...Parliament?
Oh, of course... the Steam Knights sit under Parliament, don't they? You always get word so quick.
Noble Gentleman The more you're informed, the better you invest, especially in these times. This goes far further than how much pound sterling we make or lose.
We're deciding the nation's future, and that's precisely why we need to be in touch with more of the wisest.
Major Lynch is...
Noble Lady I think the proper title is Sir Charles now.
Noble Gentleman Sir Charles is a diligent and upstanding knight, loyal to our nation, to Victoria.
He's been aboard his high-speed warship defending us at the northern border for close to ten years, now. Countless meritorious deeds. Selected to be a Steam Knight, even at his young age. There's no telling how far he'll go.
Noble Lady I hear he used to live in Londinium, I think right here in Auchterigg? Come to think, I've never heard anything about his family.
Noble Gentleman No matter his family, he's a pillar of Victoria.
Those with the honor of joining the Steam Knights are much different stuff than in times past. You know the type, the court suck-up playing sycophant to the monarch.
Noble Lady Do I hear you ribbing at someone?
Noble Gentleman No, no, no, I would hardly. All I'm saying is, you see how His Majesty is surrounded by such fine company like Sir Charles, while there are people out there who've done nothing but rest their own laurels on their ancestry's honors. They're a pale shadow in–
Allerdale ......
[Allerdale walks toward the nobleman and, in anger, hits him.]
Noble Gentleman Oh, dear... whose child is this? What are you barging about a dining hall for? You'll be dragged off forthwith if you bother His Majesty or His Grace!
Noble Lady The dress... the hair color... Richard, she's...
Allerdale The Cumberlands are NOT suck-ups!
We deserve steam armor! We'll charge enemy lines and give our lives for His Majesty and Victoria!
Maid Ailshie Miss Allerdale!
Sir Lord, Lady Martha, dreadfully sorry... the Miss is just feeling unwell right now, she doesn't mean to be rude to the guests. I should have put her to bed, the blame is mine.
Allerdale What do you mean the blame is yours, Ailshie?!
No one is allowed to sully the Cumberlands' honor!
I'll become a brilliant steam knight, like my ancestors were!
Just wait until I grow up... I–I'll prove it to all of you!
Maid Ailshie Miss!
Allerdale ......
Excuse me.
[Allerdale runs off...]
Maid Ailshie *sigh* Don't run so fast!
Sir, Madam, I need to fetch Mistress Allerdale. If you'll pardon me.
[...followed by Ailshie.]
Noble Lady Well, then. Our Miss Allerdale seems to be a fine, outspoken young girl.
Noble Gentleman Ah-heh... I thought we wouldn't have the chance to meet Miss Allerdale until the function tonight. How lucky of us, wouldn't you say, Martha?
Children can always afford to be innocent and naive. But whoever you may be...
You won't get away without growing up.
<Background fades out and in>
Allerdale pants and gasps as she runs down a long, long passage.
She meant to seek her father, and she has no idea why she squeezes her way into this tiny room instead. It's far from both the ballroom and the Duke's study, practically neighboring the attic.
It's probably her fit of temper in this moment. She doesn't understand why her dad wants her gone, let alone why those posh-dressed visitors would say such things about the Cumberlands.
Every time life doesn't go her way, like when she loses a cricket match, or when her father the Duke misses her birthday party, this is where she comes, so she can have a chat with her old friend.
I Wanna Be A Steam Knight.png
Allerdale They've all forgotten! You were the mightiest knight the Steam Knights ever had!
But my father taught me that true heroes aren't afraid to give their lives, and they're even less afraid of being forgotten... so I shouldn't have argued with them.
I really want to grow up soon... and then I'll become one of the glorious Steam Knights too, and rout all our enemies!
I'll make every single person who ever talked down on the Cumberlands too ashamed to lift their heads!
I probably can't be as mighty as you were. But it'll be enough if I can just be half as... no... two-thirds as mighty.
Oh, but my father's said that as a Cumberland, I must hold the loftiest goals in mind! So...
You'll watch over me, can't you? I won't disappoint you, of course not!
[Footsteps are heard.]
Allerdale (...Is someone here?!)
(Is it Ailshie?)
She doesn't want to be dragged back to the hall so soon, so she stoops down, and with a single step leaps behind the steam armor she knows so well.
The dilapidated suit shields her as if it was protecting the young desendant. Her dainty frame is completely concealed.
Strangers' footsteps encroach.
Most of her view is blocked by the suit; Allerdale can't make out their faces. The most she can glimpse is their distorted reflections.
<Background black>
[An officer and a merchant discusses something.]
Indistinct Officer Time's short, and chances are few. We need to confirm a few things.
Obscured Merchant Are you sure this place is safe?
Indistinct Officer It's as secluded as any nook or cranny gets. The rest of the visitors are all in the ballroom, still. No one's noticed us leave.
No, someone has.
Not everyone loves to hang around in opulent halls with nothing to do, Allerdale thinks to herself.
Obscured Merchant I don't understand. Why not choose today? The lion's finally left his den for once, and hardly any of the Guard are here.
Indistinct Officer An assassination can't solve anything, and it won't.
Obscured Merchant Don't tell me you're scared of the gallows, Mister Dutyman.
Indistinct Officer Compared to your fear of poverty, I'd say getting hanged's a lighter affair for me.
Obscured Merchant I'm SICK of spending my days with my brain and my wallet in others' hands. Chop-chop, please.
Indistinct Officer Even if the elder dies, there's still the cubs. The crown will remain seated firm on their heads, muzzling us like draft animals.
Obscured Merchant If we can kill one king, we can kill a second.
Indistinct Officer Easier said. Listen, we have to be patient.
The Steam Knights have all been sent out. By the time they return to Londinium, the dust will have settled.
Obscured Merchant What will they do then?
Indistinct Officer The same as those paragon few. They'll do nothing for their own gain, and everything for Victoria. Even if it won't be handy to support our actions, they'll understand the decisions from on high.
Obscured Merchant Then that leaves the Royal Guard.
Indistinct Officer At the parade...
...contain every Knight of the Tower... the key is seizing the city Defense Forces...
...some dukes got fed up with it long ago...
Allerdale's face presses against cold plate, but sweat nevertheless drips down her forehead.
It grows harder and harder not to move a muscle, not to mention keeping her breathing stifled. The voices of the two figures grow gradually out of reach, then suddenly are right before her.
For a blink, she quivers, trying as hard as she can not to let her body slip into view, curling even her toes in.
Obscured Merchant Has this lousy thing always been here?
Indistinct Officer First-generation steam knight armor.
Obscured Merchant First-generation! That's over two hundred years ago. It's antique by now, isn't it? I'm sure it'd fetch a pretty price.
Indistinct Officer Haven't you seen the family crest? It's House Cumberland's steam armor.
Its old owner once stood before the Gaulish artillery in this, braced for three whole hours, just so His Majesty could flee unscathed together with his shattered people.
Only during battlefield cleanup did people realize half this suit had been blown away, and the one inside may well have died soon after bombardment began–
–but even dead, knights still persevere in protecting their own king and kin, reluctant to fall so soon.
Obscured Merchant And here you're the one of Gaulish blood–I'm surprised you like reminiscing on these nobles' heroic deeds more than I do.
Indistinct Officer Fundamentally... I just bear respect for those we can call heroes.
Their belongings and your measuring of things don't mix. Even if this duke's home is razed to ash one day, the Cumberlands would never sell off this armor.
Obscured Merchant Hah... damned noble sense of honor, am I right? Utterly meaningless, in my view.
He's welcome to watch from his ivory tower all he likes, along with the rest of the dukes. No matter who the city's ruler nominally is, it won't make the dukes' authority any worse for wear, at least for the moment.
Indistinct Officer If he took the prudent path, then he wouldn't be Cumberland.
Why can't he just let go of his loyalty to the lions? With colossal change about to greet Victoria, you wish he'd recognize where his loyalty should lie, sooner rather than later.
[Loud chatters are heard outside.]
Obscured Merchant What's going on down there?
Indistinct Officer More men than you can count have surrounded the Duke's manor.
Obscured Merchant What?!
Indistinct Officer Quiet. Listen carefully.
Victorian Officer Intruders... Palace underground...
Blade... thieved...
Seal off all major streets in Auchterigg... no one in or out...
Obscured Merchant Can you hear what they're saying down there?
Indistinct Officer They're searching for someone.
Obscured Merchant Who?
Indistinct Officer His Majesty's entire Guard has moved out.
Obscured Merchant They couldn't know we're meeting here... could they? What do we do, sir?
A faint noise comes from in front of them, a sound like someone gently drawing breath.
Allerdale's heart pounds.
<Flashback ends here>

After operation

The young heir apparent appears before the masses bearing the Sighs of Kings. As cheers fly, the undercurrents stir to life. A storm is nearing Londinium.
<Background black>
...Allerdale, it's no good habit to eavesdrop. Listen to your father, now.
Only lowly scoundrels would hide away in the dark to plot the demise of another.
Maybe they do it for their own benefit, but such stolen victories never last for long.
Allerdale (Urgh... lowly scoundrels, both of them...)
She doesn't want to be caught barefaced, especially not by these awful people. It'd disappoint her father, and bring shame on the Cumberland name.
If she can just climb out of the window...
<Background 4>
Indistinct Officer We need to seize the moment.
The soldiers are counting heads right now. We'll mingle with the crowd in the confusion. That way, nobody will realize we were ever gone.
[A book fell.]
Obscured Merchant ...Did you hear something?
Indistinct Officer It must be some little house pest. Don't overthink it. How's a room so cramped going to hide anyone?
Allerdale Phew...
She carefully, gingerly cowers inside the shadow. Her most loyal ally–the tremendous suit of steam armor–becomes her shield.
Her fingers feel to the edge of the window, and if she can just climb over and out, she can avoid this duo's line of sight, and climb down the gutter pipe.
Her skirt's filthy by now. Ailshie won't be happy about this.
But as long as she's not caught...
Allerdale Agh!
She doesn't understand what happened.
The sky and ground seem to spin before her eyes, the inside of Allerdale's head whirling with. Her hands and legs lose all purchase, her grasp and footing touch nothing but thin air. She plummets straight from the second story.
The garden scenery screams like mad towards her head, but before she hits the stiff soil, a soft yet ample cushion catches her.
A cushion from where?
No, it's not even a cushion.
Allerdale feels herself gently placed upon the ground.
She turns to looks behind–
The Chosen Heir of the Lions.png
And creatures confined to legend stand before her.
They must have leapt out of a fairy tale just a moment ago, stood there imposingly in the garden. They really do exist.
Their golden fur gleams scintillant as the sun. The one at the head has pupils of deep brown, and they are now calmly staring at Allerdale.
Allerdale, brought by her father, has had several audiences with His Majesty, and seen generations of portraits of the Aslan kings hung on the palace walls.
But this is the first time she cannot help the urge to bow her head before such a gaze–for the ones before her seem more awe-inspiring than any monarch.
Yet a Cumberland does not bow so lightly. Allerdale makes a conscious effort to keep her head held high, as high as it can go, and only then does she notice that the one in the center carries a human astride him.
A girl who must be even younger than her, dressed in sumptuous ceremony, languidly sat atop his back akin to plated gold.
In his mouth is held a sword... a sword that outsizes the girl by far.
A deep, resonant voice arises in Allerdale's head.
"Allerdale Cumberland.
You will meet Vina again, someday."
This is the first time Allerdale meets them, and the last as well.
In the over twenty years to follow, this sight will recur in her dreams, dreams of that august, golden presence, of the girl who was there with them–
Until, like the master of the beasts prophesized, she once again meets the one named Vina.
<Background 2>
[The officer sees the lion pride along with the girl with the sword – who is none other than HRH Alexandrina of Victoria, the heiress of the Victorian Aslan dynasty.]
Victorian Office Look, that... that's...
Her Royal Highness Alexandrina!
Inform His Majesty immediately, we've found Her Highness, she's in the garden right this moment–
Wait, I'm not seeing things, am I? Isn't that... the missing...
Her Highness–she's found the Sighs of Kings!
God save Victoria!
God save the King!
Cheers instantly erupt throughout the garden.
Servicemen, nobles, servants... everyone swarms for the place, eyes on Her Highness bearing the symbol of royal power.
What a miracle it is!
Hot tears fill the people's eyes, and one after another they reach their hands out in joy.
Maid Ailshie Miss Allerdale... what are you doing here?
[Ailshie approaches Allerdale.]
Allerdale ...Ailshie.
You can't see them?
Maid Ailshie Them? Who do you mean? Her Highness Alexandrina?
She's the only one there, you know.
Allerdale No, them, they're golden...
He just said something to me too.
Maid Ailshie Did something happen to you? Your skirt's dirty to high heaven... are you alright?
Allerdale I... I'm not sure.
Stars... stars fell into the room upstairs.
The steam knight... armor... it gave those scoundrels a beating!
Maid Ailshie I don't understand what you're telling me.
Allerdale Ailshie, I feel really dizzy.
Maid Ailshie You need some proper rest. Who hasn't lost their head, seeing all of this? Far too much has happened today.
<Background 3>
Noble Lady Did you see? Her Royal Highness Alexandrina came back with the missing Sighs of Kings!
Noble Gentleman The cheers from the gardens were practically shaking all the windows and walls. Hardly anyone believed their own eyes. Her Highness Alexandrina in the flesh–and her age, how young is she still?
Noble Lady "A miracle," everyone's calling it.
Noble Gentleman Yes, a miracle, of course it is.
The greatest difference between miracles and coincidence is that miracles never descend for no reason in the time and place they do.
It'll be His Majesty's birthday soon... How could I not consider this magical affair a splendid portent of things to come?
Noble Lady Do give that a rest. They put on this whole auteur-styled drama for the merriment of anyone watching.
What I'm suddenly minding is the opinion some dukes have of His Majesty and our Duke of Cumberland...
Noble Gentleman Leave it there. All worries on the backburner, now. The dinner party's about to begin.
Noble Lady You're quite right. Let's enjoy everything here to the fullest–
Noble Gentleman & Noble Lady God save Victoria!
<Background 1>
Impassioned Voice ...It seems the people's attentions are on Alexandrina's adventure.
Sullen Voice Your Majesty... you knew beforehand Her Highness would enter the cavern underground?
Impassioned Voice It was a fine opportunity. With me out of the Palace, the diligent guards could more easily chatter, or perhaps sleep on the job, and thus let this little intruder of ours slip by.
Sullen Voice So you planned all this.
Impassioned Voice Half was his fine improvisation. He does like a harmless little practical joke on us humans now and then.
Sullen Voice If he went along with this, does that imply he, too, considered this a necessary deed?
Impassioned Voice ...Londinium will be soon for summer. Awfully stuffy days, and torrents of rain from time to time. You're planning to send Allerdale and the wife out of the city yourself, aren't you?
Sullen Voice Your Majesty! My intention has always been but one, I simply...
Impassioned Voice Robert, you adore your daughter, as do I.
We are to wager everything for Victoria's present, but they are Victoria's future. On the off-chance we do fail...
Sullen Voice We will not, Your Majesty. I will ensure the worst case does not happen, if it takes my very life.
Impassioned Voice I'm filled with great courage and confidence at our prospects. Still, it doesn't hinder me from planning just the most minute escape option for Alexandrina.
She'll be ruling Victoria sooner or later. Is it so wrong to have her get to grips with this city in advance?
And a similar farce still more or less served to right the balance, on this stifling-seeming afternoon.
Under all this pressure, the people's spirits need a little boost. That is what we're met here for.
Of course... we all have some premonition. Hence why we made these calculations, correct?
Sullen Voice ......
Impassioned Voice Come, Robert. Once you're done with your tea, we'll be due downstairs.
<Background 2>
Allerdale I hear music. That's the band Dad and His Majesty invited?
Maid Ailshie Yes, Miss Allerdale. The dinner party's about to begin.
Allerdale Everyone's so happy.
Maid Ailshie Aren't you, too?
Allerdale Ailshie... will the days go on like this forever?
Me and you, and Dad, and Mum... we'll always be together?
Maid Ailshie I don't know, Miss Allerdale. But I believe nothing ever stays completely the same, just as the flowers in the garden.
Allerdale ......
No. There are some things that will never change, Ailshie!
I'll grow up to be a Steam Knight, just like Sir Lynch! No, even greater than Sir Lynch!
I'll protect you all, and I'll drive every scoundrel away.
I'll uphold the glory of Cumberland, just like my great-great-great-great grandmother!
I promise this, Ailshie! You'll see!
Maid Ailshie Miss...
Allerdale ...I'm not leaving Londinium. You're not allowed to leave either, Ailshie.
I'm going to tell Dad–
This is my home. Just like every Cumberland's done before me, I'll keep it, I'll protect it, until my life is over.
I swear.
<Flashback ends here>