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Tearjerker / Pyre

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  • The fact that, under those masks, under all the snarl and disappointments thrown at each other and at you, all the Exiles are the people who once deserved better.
  • Only the victor of a Liberation Rite may take their freedom. By its very nature, winning your friends' freedom means denying someone else theirs, many of whom never deserved to be exiled in the first place.
  • The purpose of Nightwings. All other triumvirates got stuck in Downside all because someone decided not to turn up for years. Their initial anger is almost understandable.
  • The news that only one Exile can leave per Liberation Rite. Seeing your Fire-Forged Friends disappearing one by one can be hard to take in. It's mitigated by receiving Messenger Imps that tell you how much better they're doing, but it still stings.
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    • Worse? Since the Rites only grant freedom to those who participate first-hand, You, The Reader, can't ever leave the Downside. Even Hedwyn punches the wall in Blackwagon over this. Arguably made even worse when the very last Liberation Rite ever gives you the choice between one more of your Nightwings, Oralech the original Nightwing who was denied freedom, or yourself.
      • A little Heartwarming, but if Volfred is still with you before you start the Final Liberation Rites and when you select to hesitate on choosing which of the Nightwing members you wish to liberate, he'll telepathically reassure you that no matter what, all the Nightwings will stand with you and will respect whatever choice you made. Knowing full well that only one of them can be free, they will accept whatever fate bestow upon them and continue on trusting their Reader.
      • Choosing to liberate Oralech over yourself or a fellow Nightwing results in a Flat "What" from Oralech, and he is truly thankful for the opportunity you've given him.
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  • Choosing to liberate Pamitha despite herself willing that she be stuck in Downside to atone for what she did to her sister. Every other Nightwing celebrates, but you and Pamitha alone know the truth of it.
  • In one optional dialogue inbetween Rites, Hedwyn states it thus:
    Hedwyn: "...in the end, no one's responsible for our own problems except us."
  • The second to last Rite, upon knowing that the Rites is ending. The other team simply didn't bother showing up anymore, knowing their hope are dashed anyway, leaving your team to a pitiful little opposing pyre.
    • Unless it's the Dissidents you're up against, who don't see the Rites as a means of Liberation, but find satisfaction just in participating. At least one Triumvirate is still dedicated to the Rites, if even for the wrong reasons.
    • If you win the penultimate Rite by default, the victory splash uses your characters' sad portraits, and they don't give the victory cry, acknowledging that they won because your opponents have given up all hope of regaining their freedom.
  • Some of the ending states that what the Nightwings, other Exiles, and so on can become by the end of the game are very depressing.
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    • If Lendel was never freed, he refuses to believe the Rites are gone for good, and wanders the Downside for the rest of his life, trying to find a way out. Not that he fares any better if he does get Liberated.
    • The worst of these is easily Oralech, who, after being denied his freedom for the final time should you win against him, is Driven to Suicide. If you don't decide to liberate him, that is.
  • As you unlock more of the Book of Rites, you can see how hopeful the Eight Scribes are, for their Commonwealth to be a better place that's founded on more humane principles than the oppressive Empire. Meanwhile, you're fully aware of what the Commonwealth has become.
    • On a similar note, the triumvirates the Scribes set up. Despite the noble ideals and aspirations the Scribes hoped they would embody, their modern incarnations are, at best, shadows of their former selves, and at worst, outright mockeries of what they once stood for.
  • If The Fate win a Liberation Rite, it seems as though the elderly Dalbert is about to ascend. He embraces his foster-son Almer, then quickly transfers his anointment and shoves his son into the exit despite Almer's protests. Though this seems like a heartwarming moment, their separation goes rather poorly for everyone: Dalbert retires, permanently withdrawing the Fate from the Rites; without his father's guidance, Almer becomes a recluse whose only real connection comes if the Vagabond Girl is liberated too; and Dalbert ultimately dies alone in the Downside.


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