The Second Sky: Major Spoilers

Welp, I’ve seen the secret at the heart of the world.

It’s one of those peculiar moments that calls the mindset of the whole game into question, like the end of Prince of Persia (2008), or confronting Gehn in Riven. As I anticipated, Beethro gets back to his own time just in time to stop Former First Architect from starting the Turning early. Beethro doesn’t even really have to do anything once he’s there; just showing up is enough to derail FFA’s plans. The thing is, though, this just stops the Turning from happening ahead of its proper time. Its proper time is 98 days from now.

I’ve mentioned before how Beethro is, at core, a seeker of knowledge, or at least of explanations. His chief motivation, from Journey to Rooted Hold onward, is a desire to find out what’s really going on. Heck, that’s why he went back underground in the first place: he just had to know what was beyond that unopenable door in King Dugan’s dungeon. The Second Sky has been surfacing this side of his personality even more than usual. And so it is that, on meeting the mythical being responsible for the Turning, a being made visually impressive simply by existing at a much larger scale than the rest of the world, his reaction is to ask a whole lot of questions. “Tell me about the Turning”, he insists, “I need to know!” And what he learns is that it’s inevitable. It’s not a product of villainy, not something he can fight or puzzle his way through. It’s just a part of how his world works, a pattern far older than his civilization, no more stoppable than the tides.

This makes Beethro contemplative. What do you do when you know your world is about to end? “I always assumed there’d be something useful to do”, he says. “Maybe all that’s left is to be ready for the worst.” For once, he doesn’t bother asking the Truth Vessel that stops by any more questions. It’s a sense of resignation you don’t often see in videogame heroes.

But he does at least decide to go consult the Patrons, on the basis that they seemed to be on his side before, and to have some kind of plan, and any plan is better than no plan. The player who’s been through all the DROD games and has seen a number of events from points of view other than Beethro’s has a better idea of what’s going on: the Patrons are already in the process of evacuating the surface. When this was revealed back in DROD RPG, I thought they were doing it to protect everyone from First Archivist’s army, but no, it’s always been about the Turning.

However, nothing can go smoothly in this world, due to either Beethro’s interference, or the Empire’s incompetence, or both at once. General confusion down below, helped along with suspicion about surface-dwellers, has resulted in the erection of defenses intended specifically to keep Beethro from returning to Rooted Hold. Meanwhile, Tendry from DROD RPG has a cameo in which he declares his intention to free his countrymen, who he still thinks of as prisoners rather than evacuees, and Beethro, not knowing any better than him, wishes him luck. Things are primed to go wrong in the grandest way. And once they do, Beethro will have something useful to do again: picking up the pieces, resolving the mess he helped to create.

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