Cliffheart: Heart of the Cliffs

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Operator Record
Heart of the Cliffs
Cliffheart icon.png

"The climb is easy; the descent is hard."

Unlock conditions

  • Raise Cliffheart to Elite 2 Level 1.
  • Have at least 50% Trust with Cliffheart.
Characters
Kjerag Warrior A icon.png
Mountaineer
Backgrounds
Mount Karlan Path
1A
Mount Karlan Path Snowing
1B
Kjerag Manor Room
2
Kjerag Guestroom
3
Kjerag Street 1
4
Ensia volunteers to climb up the mountain to fetch some medicine for a dying civilian, but runs into a snowstorm on the way back down. She has to ask for some unexpected help.
<Background 1A>
[Ensia aka. Cliffheart scales through Mount Karlan.]
Ensia Hmm...
That crevice over there should be close enough...
<Flashback starts here>
<Background 2>
Ensia Weiss, how long do you think it'll be before my brother comes back?
Weiss Based on what the Master said before the trip, about three or four more days.
Ensia Eh... That's still pretty far from now.
[Someone knocks the door.]
Ensia Huh? Is that him...?
.No wait, is it my sister?!
Weiss The Saintess went to the Vine-Bear Court months ago. With everything she must attend to, there's no way she'd be here. No need to get antsy; I'll get the door.
[Weiss aka. Courier opens the door.]
Ensia Oh, Auntie Tarja! What brings you here?
<Flashback ends here>
<Background 1A>
[After some climbing...]
Ensia Okay!
That's one step closer!
The cave's not really all that high up, so I should be there soon.
<Flashback starts here>
<Background 2>
Ensia Tearstone?
Weiss It's a kind of light blue ore, only found in a cave halfway up Mount Karlan. Legend has it that it's the condensed tears of Kjeragandr.
<Flashback ends here>
<Background 1A>
Ensia Almost there!
<Flashback starts here>
<Background 2>
Ensia So Uncle Tarja's condition got worse, the tearstone that was supposed to last over half a year was used up by autumn, and no one on either side of the mountain can lend him any more?
How could this happen...?
Weiss According to legend, tearstone can only be mined one palmful at a time, for that is the size of one of Kjeragandr's teardrops.
If any more are extracted at once, then they lose their effectiveness.
In fact, you were the one who retrieved the one Mister Tarja was using. That was two years ago though, so you might not remember it.
Ensia Oh, right, I remember now!
Weiss, think you could bring Auntie Tarja with you and drive around to see if anyone else has any tearstone?
Weiss Milady, you...
Ensia I'll keep looking around the house. I remember picking up a little one to use as a decoration, but can't remember where I put it.
Weiss Are you sure?
Ensia Y-Yeah, I'm positive. As soon as I find it, I'll grind it down for Uncle Tarja and decoct it.
And if you do manage to find one, you don't need to come tell me. Just head straight to the Tarja household.
Weiss Please be careful, milady.
Ensia It's... It's not like I'll be doing anything dangerous, just looking around the house! Anyway, get going already! Someone's life is on the line here!
Weiss Alright.
I'll get the car ready. Missus Tarja, come with me.
[Weiss take Tarja, Ensia's aunt, with him.]
Ensia turns her head and takes a look at the ashen-gray sky.
For now, the clouds aren't too dense, and not even a single sign of wind can be seen through the window.
Ensia Weiss's intuition is as sharp as ever.
If it weren't for Uncle Tarja's emergency situation, he definitely wouldn't have left me alone.
Seriously, he's way too much of a worrywart. The snow won't be coming down hard until later in the evening anyway, and the cave isn't too high up. Just a quick climb up the cliff.
<Flashback ends here>
<Background 1A>
[Ensia continues climbing.]
Ensia Welp, up we go!
Now all that's left is to head in and mine some tearstone. Shouldn't take long!
Ensia closes her eyes and silently bows to the holy Mount Karlan.
<Background fades out and in>
Ensia Success! Fits perfectly, right inside my palm.
Still, I may have been pulling a fast one on Weiss, but tearstones are so pretty. Maybe I really should grab a few more for decoration next time...
That said, I can still see the marks I made on the walls here two years ago. Nothing's changed at all.
Ensia stands at the mouth of the cave and looks down the mountain. She can still see the smoke from the Tarja household.
Ensia Just wait for me. I'll get you your tearstone in no time flat!
[Suddenly a blizzard kicks in as Ensia is about to leave.]
Ensia The wind's kicking up?!
<Background 1B>
Ensia Crap, that snowstorm's coming in a lot sooner than I thought.
Welp, can't get down the cliff anymore. Better take shelter in the cave and wait it out...
Wait, no. Uncle Tarja's still waiting for that tearstone, and who knows when the storm will stop?
I'll have to descend from the other side then.
[Ensia hikes through the blizzard...]
Ensia Hmm... This route seems usable, but which way am I...?
This tree looks familiar... Wait, haven't I been here already?
[...but she is lost in the heavy snow...]
Ensia I'll make a sign with my climbing rope. At least that way I won't be going in circles.
[...and goes through the path she had been.]
Ensia This path is... going in the exact wrong direction.
Ugh, this snow couldn't have come at a worse time.
<Background 1A>
[The blizzard subsided a bit, but Ensia is still lost.]
Ensia I think I've come a pretty long way...
The cave is on the side of the mountain where it meets the lake, but I've been heading towards the lake this entire time...
I guess I'm already trespassing on Paleroche land then.
Stepping into another clan's territory without notice...
Even though her brother never went out of his way to discuss the other two clans with her, Ensia is no fool.
She knows that the Paleroche and Silverash clans have been at odds ever since Enciodes returned to Kjerag.
And before his latest trip, he specifically warned her not to have anything to do with the Paleroches unless absolutely necessary.
The situation in Kjerag was too delicate, and even a single careless whisper could trigger an avalanche.
Ensia Maybe I should turn back before they find me. Wait out the snow before heading back down...
No, I can't risk it. Doesn't look like it'll be stopping anytime soon.
This is a matter of life and death here! Time is of the essence!
[Ensia drops down a ledge.]
Ensia At least the snow's thick enough that I didn't get hurt by the fall...
Hmm, I can see the settlements at the foot of the mountain.
And the lake too.
[Ensia continues her trek.]
Ensia Feels like I've been trekking through the mountain's backside for forever. How is there still more trail...?
I can't even see the lake anymore...
I can tell I'm still descending, but this trail is way too long—
Suddenly a figure emerges through the wind and snow and into Ensia's field of view, like a miracle.
Ensia Hello? Hello?!
Can you hear me? I'm over here! Over here!
The figure notices her immediately and walks straight towards her.
Ensia Thank Kjeragandr! Are you a hunter from the mountains? How far are we from the bottom?
Passerby If you follow this trail down, you'll be off the mountain in about an hour and a half.
Ensia An hour and a half? Still that far?
There wouldn't happen to be any shortcuts?
Passerby There are, but none that can be used in a snowstorm this fierce.
Ensia I have mountaineering equipment! See this big ole backpack? I've got an icepick, climbing ropes, rock nails, the whole shebang!
Passerby Hmm... It could be worth a try then.
If you head back a bit to where you just saw the lake, there's a steep little trail covered in snow.
Ensia Thank you! By the way, I didn't get your...
Before Ensia could finish her words, there was nothing in her field of view except the wind and snow. As if Kjeragandr had deliberately hidden her guide from her.
Ensia She's gone?!
Well, whatever. Let's head back and give this a shot!
<Background fades out>
[Following the direction given by the mysterious woman, Ensia made it through the blizzard.]
<Background fades in>
Ensia It worked!
That must've saved at least half an hour! Now to find a place where I can rent a burdenbeast or—
Mountaineer Stop! Who goes there?
Ensia !
Hello, I don't mean any harm! I'm...
[A mountain warrior of the Paleroche clan approaches Ensia.]
Mountaineer Huh? Aren't you the second daughter of the Silverash clan?
Ensia I can explain, I—
Mountaineer Hmph, I'm just patrol the mountain. Save your explanation for the head of our clan!
<Background 3>
The fragrance of the hot tea and sweets prepared by the servants still wafts from the table, but the two in the reception room do not sit, nor does a single drop or crumb pass their lips.
[Arctosz Paleroche, the patriarch of the Paleroche clan, is questioning Ensia.]
Arctosz Tell me, what's going on here?
Ensia I'm sorry! I didn't mean to trespass into your territory!
Arctosz Everyone who gets caught says that.
Ensia I mean it though...
Arctosz So you're telling me you were taking a walk in your backyard, enjoying the snow, and just happened to end up near the lake?
Ensia No, I went to mine tearstone from a mountain cave, and it started snowing right as I was about to leave. Since I couldn't get down the cliff near my house, I headed the opposite direction, towards the lake.
Arctosz Did you not see the dark clouds? You chose now of all times to mine your tearstone?
I've heard enough.
Ensia No, Mister Arctosz, let me explain—
Arctosz The second daughter of the Silverash clan has trespassed on Paleroche territory.
I'll have your brother explain the situation once he returns. If his answer satisfies me, I'll let you go.
Ensia (He's going to wait for Enciodes?!)
(But Uncle Tarja is sick and can't wait any longer!)
(I need to get this medicine to him right away! Which means my only choice is to—)
(But now that it's come to this, I don't know what Mister Arctosz's demands will be, or if my brother will be humiliated...)
(Damn it, none of this has anything to do with the clans! Just because I'm a Silverash...)
(......)
(I'm sorry, Enciodes! If this causes any trouble, I'll make it right, I swear!)
Arctosz Judging by the look on your face, it seems you have something to say.
Ensia ......
I sincerely apologize for trespassing into the lake area, and I'll accept however you choose to handle this matter.
But I went to mine tearstone in order to save someone's life...
Arctosz Using another's life as an excuse is an awfully tasteless joke, Ensia Silverash.
Ensia I'm not lying! Uncle Tarja, who lives in the mountains, is seriously ill and needs a tearstone to save his life. That's why I went up there!
I'll accept whatever punishment you have for me, but I ask only that you send an express train to deliver the tearstone in my backpack to the Tarja household in the mountains. Please, I'm begging you!
Arctosz ......
If you claim to have mined tearstone, then show it to me.
<Background fades out and in>
Arctosz Hmm... this is certainly tearstone. But isn't it a bit too big?
Ensia While I was up there, I made sure to test if it could fit in the palm of my hand.
Arctosz At least SOME of the Silverashes still remember a few of Kjeragandr's old teachings.
And you want me to deliver this to the Tarja household in the mountains, correct?
Ensia Yes!
Arctosz Hmph.
I suppose I can oblige.
Prepare the swiftest burdenbeast! I'll be heading to the mountains with Ensia Silverash!
Ensia (Thank goodness...)
(—Wait, back up, with ME?!)
Mister Arctosz, do you mean to say...
Arctosz If the situation is as you described, then your trespass was truly unintentional.
Paleroche has no desire to raise a fuss over something like this.
Ensia I thought you would—
Arctosz Would what?
Ensia N-nothing, nothing at all!
<Background 4>
Ensia Thank goodness...
You have my deepest gratitude, Mister Arctosz! If we waited any longer, we might've been too late! Truly, I can't thank you enough!
Arctosz You harvested the tearstone. It was your life to save. There's nothing to thank me for.
Ensia No, you deserve it! Would you like to stop by my house to rest for a bit? Uncle Matterhorn should be back shortly, and maybe I can let him—
Arctosz doesn't utter a word, simply gazing down at the excited Ensia like an immovable crag.
Ensia ......
Sorry, I'm getting way ahead of myself.
Arctosz Don't worry about it.
Ensia Mister Arctosz...
Arctosz Did you need anything else?
Ensia I still remember back before Enciodes returned. You were never close to me or my sister, but you didn't keep your distance from us like you do now.
Arctosz If anyone's responsible for that, it would be your dear old brother, don't you think? While I am willing to believe that you harbor no ill will, I dare not ignore the possibility that you're a part of his plans.
Nor do I dare assume that I can beat him in on the battlefield of political intrigue.
Ensia Is my brother... really that odious a person to everyone else?
Arctosz I can tolerate his scheming, but I cannot turn a blind eye to him trampling all over our traditions.
Ensia But not everything from outside is bad! Like, what if there were a better cure for Uncle Tarja's illness in some—
Arctosz ......
Ensia had only finished half her sentence when she sees the expression on Arctosz's face. She realizes then that a single gesture of aid from the patriarch of the Paleroche clan does not mean she has shortened the distance between them.
Arctosz I can see that you and your brother are completely different kinds of people.
But both of you are true Silverashes.
Ensia ......
Doesn't that also make you a true Paleroche?
Arctosz Ah, of course.
Ensia But you're still helping me.
Arctosz Do you think I should have sentenced Tarja to death, or continued to detain you?
Ensia No, no, that's not what I meant!
I just... don't quite understand.
Arctosz Then keep mulling it over. You still have a long life ahead of you.
Let's go.
Hold onto your own stuff. You were so excited to leave that you forgot your bag.
[Arctosz leaves alongside Ensia.]
<Background fades out and in>
Weiss Is that you, Lady Ensia?
Ensia Weiss? It's me! Over here!
[Weiss runs to Ensia and hugs her.]
Weiss I was worried sick about you—
<Background 2>
Weiss Promise me you'll never do something that risky ever again!
Ensia But I'm perfectly fine, aren't I? The tearstone got delivered in time to boot. Maybe I ran into a snag or two along the way, but all's well that ends well.
Weiss Ugh... You're just as stubborn as the Master.
Ensia Hehe.
Weiss By the way, you may not know this, but part of the reason he left the country this time was to develop tearstone as a resource.
Ensia How so?
Weiss He'd already asked Victoria's scientists to study it earlier, and it turns out the reason tearstones can cure illnesses is because they contain a special substance.
And taking more or less from the cave at once does not change its efficacy.
If we can make an industry out of mining and refining tearstone, not only would that boost Kjerag's economy, but our medicine could also benefit people in other countries.
You won't have to risk your life to harvest it anymore.
Upon hearing Weiss's words, Ensia couldn't help but think back to what she saw in the cave.
The crystal-clear tearstones embedded in the rock wall, almost pulling her into a trance. As if they really were Kjeragandr's tears.
Twice had she plucked them from that wall for Uncle Tarja's sake, and the traces of her theft were left clearly in those vacant holes.
They mingle with dozens of other such scars, each of indeterminate age.
Ensia suddenly becomes uneasy, as if there were a conflict between her brother's development plans and the pristine beauty of the cave.
In an attempt to dispel some of her unease, she tries to change the topic.
Ensia By the way, what are we doing for dinner?
Weiss I heard Matterhorn mention that today's entrée will be braised beastmeat. I'm quite looking forward to it.
Ensia I didn't even realize I was hungry until now, but my stomach started growling as soon as you said that!
Weiss Glad to hear you have a healthy appetite. Anyway, I trust you'll sort out your mountaineering bag as usual, while I go help out in the kitchen?
Ensia Okay!
<Background fades out and in>
Ensia Oh Weiss, you joker...
!!!
This afternoon, you—
I was just about to thank you when you vanished without a trace before you could tell me your name!
[The woman who helped Ensia before walks in.]
Passerby Yet I arrived here all the same. Here, it's a letter for you.
Ensia For me?
From... my sister?!
Kjarr Allow me to introduce myself. I am the Saintess's head maid, but you can call me Kjarr.
Ensia Enya's head maid?!
Could it be that she knew I'd be climbing the mountain today, and sent you to guide me?
Kjarr As if. I was heading down to do some shopping and bumped into you by chance.
Ensia Then, you'd better not tell her that I climbed down the mountain in the snow!
Let's see here... I wonder how she's doing in the Vine-Bear Court...
<Background fades out and in>
Ensia Phew, sounds like it's going well.
By the way, Kjarr, thanks for delivering this! I'll tell Uncle Matterhorn to make dinner for—
Kjarr Shh! I snuck in here.
Ensia Snuck in? But why?
Kjarr Think about it. What would Weiss do if I graciously knocked on the front door, claiming to be the Saintess's head maid? He'd definitely report it to your brother.
From Enciodes's perspective, people from the Vine-Bear Court slipping down to bring you mail when he's not around is more than enough reason to go on high alert.
Ensia Oh...
Fair enough.
Kjarr Anyway, I'll wait for him to return before I formally introduce myself to everyone in the family.
Ensia Gotcha.
Kjarr, this letter doesn't say anything about it, but Enya's still upset at him, right?
Kjarr To be honest, yes, I believe so.
Ensia Do you think she'll end up siding with Mister Arctosz in the end?
Kjarr You've known the Saintess much longer than I have, and should know far more about her place in the Silverash clan than I do.
She may be very upset at your brother, but you are still a sister to both of them.
Otherwise, you wouldn't be receiving this letter at all.
Ensia But she's now the Saintess of the Vine-Bear Court. Even if she wants to protect me, what can she do in our current situation...?
It's like how I had a run-in with Mister Arctosz today, and discovered that he's not a bad person at all.
No matter who they are, as long as they're involved in the struggle for power or profit, they'll always—
......
Kjarr So that's what you're worried about.
Come. Let's cheer you up a bit first.
The Saintess's cheerful and optimistic little sister shouldn't be acting so gloomy.
Ensia Mm...
Kjarr The Saintess is not someone who will allow herself to be led around by emotions. She knows better than anyone how much responsibility sits on her shoulders.
But the actions she ends up taking depend not only on your brother, but also on you.
You are not his tool. You have your own path to walk. Choose it, and you will definitely have an influence on them both.
I can't promise anything, but it's possible that the path you take will eventually form the bridge between them.
Ensia ......!
I see... I'm starting to get what you mean.
Kjarr Then I'll be heading back. It's hard keeping away from Weiss's prying eyes.
Ensia So soon? I haven't even had a chance to properly thank you.
Kjarr We'll being seeing each other a lot more in the future.
Bye for now, Ensia.
Ensia See you later, Kjarr!
Ensia watches the door close in front of her and sighs softly, before painstakingly folding the opened letter back up and stowing it in her pocket.
She then turns around and begins to organize her backpack.
Halfway through, she feels something strange inside her bag.
She digs around and places what she finds in front of her.
Two pieces of candy.
One is from the Paleroche clan's reception room.
She racks her brain hard to figure out where the other piece came from. Only then does she recall eating it once as a child. It was found only at the Vine-Bear Court.