Episode 08

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The eighth episode of Arknights' Main Theme and the end of the Shatter of a Vision story arc as well as the first part of the Arknights storyline is titled Roaring Flare.

Synopsis

Reunion to Ruin

The good old Reunion when they lived a peaceful life

It is a question why Reunion has chosen a violent path unlike Rhodes Island. However, this is not how Reunion was in the beginning. It was originally founded by Infected common folk fleeing from the harsh persecution of the Ursine authorities which Talulah and her dear friend Alina visioned to build a harmonious, peaceful society for the persecuted.

At that time, Talulah lived with an old couple in a village who had taken her in and hidden her from Ursine police looking for Infected. One day, Talulah injured a member of the patrol unit during an inspection, and the old couple were ratted out for harboring an Infected. The old man presented himself as the Infected to the police in place of Talulah, and was killed. Talulah retaliated by setting the officer on fire with her Arts. Alina] Talulah's friend who had also come to see the couple as her own parents, revealed that she was also Infected. She also revealed that it had been the old man's plan all along to stop the inspections by proclaiming himself the Infected, as he was trying to save Talulah's life. Talulah was enraged by the injustice of the world, declaring Ursus to be her enemy, but Alina told her to leave before she could do any more damage.

Talulah later gathered an army of Infected just as worn down and angry as she was. She trained and protected them unconditionally, creating the Reunion Movement to protest against Ursus' cruel treatment of Infected. They made an alliance with Patriot, incorporating both his Shieldguards and Frostnova's Yeti Squadron into their army and enabling the Infected to more effectively fight back against their persecutors. Talulah even drew up plans to build or seek out a small-scale nomadic city for infected. She ultimately wanted Reunion to leave the NorthWestern Tundra and go to war with Ursus, arguing that they would soon exhaust the resources of the region and be left to die. However, Patriot refused to entertain the idea even after two years of collaboration, knowing the Infected would stand no chance against Ursus. After the argument with Patriot that day, Talulah found Eno and Sasha, whose lives she saved by taking them in under Reunion's protection. She even found Alina, now a teacher, and persuaded her in time to join Reunion as well.

Eventually, however, peaceful methods become an impossibility. Ursus troops began raiding the Originium mines in the NorthWestern Tundra, committing a genocide against Infected. Reunion was forced to wage war against Ursus to save as many Infected as possible. They were able to capture a small nomadic city, but tensions rose when a faction within Reunion broke off from the group and demanded to take the nomadic city for themselves. Talulah wanted to let them take the city, but Patriot insisted that they kill the traitors and take it back. Talulah was hesitant to kill her fellow Infected, arguing that Reunion could not hope to be united if they stooped to that level. However, weeks later, Talulah found Alina fatally wounded after Ursus patrol guards raided a village and executed many Infected. Though Alina begged her not to seek vengeance, Talulah inadvertently set fire to everything around her in her grief.

This was not the last of Talulah's troubles, however. One day, the Ursus Royal Guards attacked Reunion forces, forcing her to negotiate with them. They attempted to persuade Patriot to join their side, and once again be considered a member of the Ursus army; they also revealed Talulah's status as Duke Kashchey's daughter. To the rest of Reunion, they offered a place in Ursus' Army, where they would be protected from the genocide waged against other Infected. Talulah tried to quell the unrest, but was soon overtaken by her own anger when she came across evidence that Ursus hunters had trapped Infected in a storehouse until they died from starvation. Kashchey's words came back to haunt Talulah as she gave in to her rage and annihilated the hunters, setting the village on fire...

The Kitten and The Aegis

Rosmontis and the Shieldguards united, two fortresses against the ultimate evil

In the present, the Rhodes Island team led by Amiya, Rosmontis, and Guard heads towards the control tower of Chernobog to stop the city's impending collision with Lungmen. Meanwhile, the sealing layer on the control tower, which slowly blocks off every entrance, begins to rise. The Shieldguards then ally themselves with Rhodes Island. They proclaim that they want Talulah dead for the lives that were lost for her sake, especially their Captain's, invigorating a fury within Rosmontis. She lets Amiya go alone to the control tower while she and the Shieldguards stay back. Then, using her psychic Arts, Rosmontis singlehandedly shreds the sealing layer to make way for Amiya. The effort incapacitates Rosmontis, but Amiya is able to soak up the negative emotions caused by the use of direct Arts. Just before they are about to reach their destination, they receive an emergency call—Ursus' Third Army is infiltrating the city. To make matters worse, many are disguising themselves as Reunion fighters, attempting to sow enough chaos to ensure the collision goes uninterrupted. Under Rosmontis' command, the Shieldguards stand firm against the might of the Ursus army and provide cover for Amiya as she runs towards the control tower alone to confront Talulah.

A Pitiful Songster

All Kal'tsit can do is stand there in silence and stare at the white crystalline being that can no longer be called an Infected.

Beneath the city's underground structure, the team led by Kal'tsit and the Doctor head towards an ancient device known as the Sarcophagus to cut down its power source and disable the engines. They come across hordes of Herdified Sarkaz, who have been mutated by Mephisto's Arts, guarding the passage to the Sarcophagus. Kal'tsit deduces that whatever is controlling the Herd has most likely taken over the Sarcophagus already. Kal'tsit and the Doctor discover a giant avian monster at the Sarcophagus—it is Mephisto, who has been transformed by the device into a creature which spews Originium dust everywhere and is capable of causing an Oripathy superspreader event. The team defeats the monster before it can become a biohazard and quickly shuts off the power to the Sarcophagus. Now, the core city has lost its power source, but the emergency brakes still need to be pulled.

Kal'tsit takes the remaining time to explain the Sarcophagus' past and her connection with it to the Doctor. About twenty years ago, the Boris Group of Ursus discovered some strange technology in the mountains. Kal'tsit joined a team of scientists assembled to figure out the machines' inner machinations to keep them from blowing the city up. She allowed them to siphon a small bit energy from the device to provide an energy source to the city other than Originium, which propelled Chernobog to greater wealth and development. Still, some of Kal'tsit's students eventually figured out the artificial limit placed on the amount of energy they could take from the device, which leaked to the government. The scientists wanted to seal the Sarcophagus, tired of the endless wars Ursus would wage if they fully used the Sarcophagus' power. After having his family threatened by Ursus' secret police, Sergei, Misha and Alex's father, turned the data over to the Boris Group. This led to the massacre of all the scientists in the sarcophagus except Sergei. The Doctor finally broaches the subject of their past, and Kal'tsit tells them that three years ago, she carried their injured body into the sarcophagus, which is only able to heal their pain. She then reveals the reason why she is so abrasive towards the Doctor: they had killed Theresa, someone both they and Kal'tsit had considered a friend, three years earlier. Now, Kal'tsit professes that she will work with the Doctor, but that she hates them for what they've done. The Doctor then suddenly remembers a forgotten memory: a woman named Priestess, who promised them they would meet again.

The Lord's Descent

The Red Dragon versus the True Lung, the blood-bound battle of the Double Dragons

When time Amiya reaches the top of the tower, she witnesses a fierce, fiery fight between the two sisters, Talulah and Ch'en. Ch'en wants to use this battle to end their past conflicts, and Talulah even welcomes her to take away her life. Trying to pacify the two, Amiya taps into Talulah's mind. She sees Reunion's beginnings and its lofty goals, to Alina's death and the turning point of the movement. It is from here Amiya realizes something: the current Talulah is not her true self, but has been possessed by Kashchey through his mind-manipulation Arts. Although Talulah had "killed" him the day she fled from him, his soul had actually been living inside her all this time, waiting for an opportune moment to strike. He was the true mastermind behind Reunion's atrocities and eventual devolution, and had waited for Talulah to become enraged enough for him to mind control her. Kashchey realizes that Amiya is the Lord of Fiends, who he refers to as the "enemy of humanity," though he is surprised that she is a Cautus and not a Sarkaz.

Amiya and Ch'en united against the Deathless Black Snake

Seeing no way to hide, Kashchey finally unveils his true form. His true identity is the vile Ageless being named the "Deathless Black Snake," who views himself as the incarnation of the Ursus Empire. Kashchey tries to manipulate the pair, but Amiya refutes his lies. She demonstrates her will to change the future by unleashing the power of her rings—the new Lord of Fiends has finally awoken. She explores Ch'en's memories and is able to replicate her Chi Xiao and techniques with this newfound power. Amiya and Ch'en then rush Kashchey together, the dual Chi Xiaos cutting through his Arts.

After a long and climactic fight, Amiya and Ch'en bring the Black Snake down. However, Kashchey threatens to slit Talulah's throat, killing both himself and her. Amiya and Ch'en are able to bring Talulah to recall who she is, and she slowly begins to resist against her father's control. Knowing he is about to lose control of her body, Kashchey seemingly admits defeat, promising that there will always be another Talulah and another Chernobog for him to manipulate. He then leaves Talulah's body. W suddenly runs in with the key to stop the core city from moving. Amiya decides to trust W just this once, and she inserts the key into the device...which does nothing. All hope seems lost until the recently awakened Talulah reveals that she has the actual key to the emergency brakes, which finally brings the city to a halt right outside the range of Lungmen's guns.

After two weeks of turmoil, the Chernobog-Lungmen crisis has finally come to an end.

Into the Coming Storm

"A place too small to house their passion, words too weak to express their remorse."

In the aftermath, Kal'tsit and the Doctor arrive on the scene. The two sisters reunite and exchange words for the first time in many years; however, Talulah is soon taken into Rhodes Island's custody as a bargaining chip to prevent either Ursus or Yan from turning Rhodes Island into a scapegoat for the crisis. Without a leader, Reunion is effectively disbanded. However, some remaining factions have decided to go their own way. Guard decides to stay back with the former Reunion fighters and reinvent the movement. Meanwhile, Nine gathers her own faction of surviving Reunion members to continue its work. W admits her wrongdoing to Amiya and re-recruits the Sarkaz mercenaries that she had previously led. The Shieldguards bid their farewell to Rosmontis and others, stating that they will meet them again someday. Crownslayer flees from Chernobog and plans to to head back to her hometown in Siracusa.

Wei Yenwu and Ch'en meet for the first time after the disaster at the graves of Talulah's father and Ch'en's mother. He recounts the events of the past, when Kashchey had told Wei's jealous twin and the shadow of Londinium about Edward and his sister's relationship. Wei had been forced to choose between the lives of the unborn Ch'en and Edward; he had chosen his niece, but at the cost of his sworn brother's life. He offers Ch'en (and Talulah) the chance to return to Lungmen, but she decides to remain with Rhodes Island. Wei also asks Rhodes Island to take in Lungmen's Infected refugees, signifying his changed attitude towards the Infected.

Meanwhile, at Rhodes Island, the Doctor manages to convince Kal'tsit to list FrostNova alongside other operators killed in action, officially inducting her as an operator posthumously. Though incarcerated, Talulah is still affected by the curse of the Deathless Black Snake and is haunted by Kashchey's words, but she vows not to rest until she finds and ends him.

Far within the palace of Ursus, Islam Witte tells Emperor Fyodor that the traitors from the Third Army have committed suicide before they could be prosecuted, infuriating him. Although the Emperor is sympathetic to the Infected, Witte advises him that such an unpopular view will affect his popularity and political standing.

Operations

Harder operations are in orange-red; cinematic operations are in dark gray.

MainR8-1TR-18M8-1R8-2R8-3M8-2R8-4M8-3R8-5M8-4R8-6M8-5R8-7R8-8M8-6R8-9R8-10M8-7R8-11M8-8JT8-1JT8-2JT8-3END8-1
Extreme ModeH8-1H8-2H8-3H8-4
SecretEG-1EG-2EG-3EG-4EG-5
Additional information
  • All operations are worth 44 Originite Prime icon.png.
  • The player must include an Elite 2 Amiya that is not a Support Unit to the squad (the level does not matter) to run JT8-2. Once JT8-2 is cleared this way (the rating does not matter), the aforementioned is no longer necessary.

Secret operations' unlock conditions

Secret op. Condition
EG-1
If you wish to prove yourself before a legend, you must first approach perfection.
Clear R8-8 with Talulah, the Fighter having more than 50% HP when she entered the Incursion Point.
EG-2
Though some friends may be willing to share your pain, you should perhaps reach out to them.
Clear M8-6 with all four Shieldguards and Rosmontis not defeated/knocked out.
EG-3
Who can truly choose their own life?
Clear M8-8 without defeating Mephisto, "The Singer" (the player must let him enter a Protection Objective).
EG-4
Split flame with sword, defeat the past with the present, and confront the chaotic with one's self.
Clear JT8-3 with the Guard version of Amiya in the squad.
EG-5
Every journey has a destination, but this world knows no end.
Automatically unlocked after watching EG-1, EG-2, EG-4, and END8-1 for the first time. The first three can be done in any order.