Part 28: The Best Defense...
Welcome back. Last time on Exit Fate, we forced a stalemate between the Matrech Guard and the Kirgard 3rd Legion, led by Jovian. Of course, certain people above us didn't look too kindly upon us going neutral instead of attacking Kirgard. Daniel was arrested for treason, and did not offer any resistance as he was taken in, saying that he had to take responsibility for his actions and explain himself to the people. Will it work? And if it doesn't, how the hell are we going to get out of this mess? It's time to find out.
Music: Suspicion 2 - Suikoden V, "Standing Firm"
We begin this update in Ryan's office in Matrech. Oh fuck, we just gave Vosch the perfect ammunition, didn't we? This can't be good.
You can't defend him any longer! This is a direct attack on the country!
Please calm down, Governor. We don't have all the facts yet. We shouldn't jump to any conclusions.
Jumping to conclusions? The evidence speaks for itself!
We're running out of patience, Chancellor, and so are the people. They will reach the same conclusions as we have, and you will lose their support if you do not take action. The future of the very nation you've built is at stake here!
And goddamn it, we've lost Miller's support as well. Ungrateful bastard.
A signal of unity to the people of this country is necessary. What better way than to make an example of that Kirgard man who embodies exactly what we struggle against? That traitor deserves it!
Erin decides to stop in.
Yes. Daniel Vinyard is in our custody.
Captain... the governors are telling me that Colonel Vinyard has brought our nation to the brink of destruction. What is your take on the matter?
Noooo, stop turning on us
Regardless of what his reasons were, he kept information about Kirgard's plans from us and disobeyed direct orders. I will not make any judgments about the future of our country, but he has disgraced the State Union with his actions.
Fade to black...
Nice to meet you. My name is Beau. I'm the lawyer who will be representing you in court.
A lawyer? I never asked for one.
At least someone's still on our side
Angel? Angel hired you to defend me?
It would be in your best interest to allow me to help you. I don't want to come across as arrogant, but my case history is good.
I had my reasons for what I've done, and that's exactly what I'll say in court. I don't need anyone to bend the truth. I have to do this myself, or I'll never be able to convince them.
Ah, but Mr. Vinyard, even if you have your reasons, can you really express them in such a way that it will sway the court? You may believe that you are right, and perhaps you are, but that's not enough. Being right does not mean being perceived as such. It's my task as your lawyer to understand your motivations and properly convey them to the court, in the form of a plea built upon the foundations of the state law.
Harsh, but he has a point. I like this guy already.
And may I remind you that the law states that if you are not satisfied with your lawyer, you may replace or remove him at any time? Truly, you will lose nothing by allowing me to organize your defense.
I don't know... I can't help but feel that if my message passes through someone else, it will lose its effect. But... the Elysium army specifically hired you to defend me. If you've been there, you must've seen it. All those people... they've followed me this far of their own free will. They did everything I asked of them. When I asked them to risk their lives for me, they did it. And now... all they're asking back from me is to accept your help on their behalf.
I will do my very best to live up to my client's expectations. First of all, and most importantly, you'll have to tell me your side of the story.
I hope you have a while. It all started several months ago, and a lot has happened since then...
Fade to black...
However, I don't think most of it will be revelant to our case. Let us first go through the actual charges against you. Now, first and foremost, there is the charge of treason against the State Union. This is the main charge, and the most serious. It is also likely to be the only charge we can contest. Now, let's see...
Definitely. Maybe not to the ones in charge, but yes, in my view the choice I made was in the best interest of everyone, including the State Union.
Well, then the next step would be to convince the judge that your standpoint is correct, or in the very least justifiable. Treason, after all, is defined as taking actions to harm one's country, in this case the State Union of Zelmony. If it turns out that your decision was indeed beneficial to the country, then there would not have been any treason. Even if the judge decides that your actions hurt the State Union, but not intentionally so, the charges would be significantly weakened.
So if they decide that it was just bad judgment on my side, the sentence would be a lot lower?
Now, we should move on... It seems that out of all the decisions you've made, one in particular was questionable. I'm referring here to your refusal to inform the State Army of the upcoming Kirgard attack.
That's understandable, but I had my reasons for that.
Please tell me as much as you can. Any detail could help.
I won't lie. At first, the reason I told no one else was because I simply hadn't made up my mind yet. But I don't think this is relevant. By the time I did make a decision, there was still more than enough time left.
But even then you remained silent. Why?
To explain that, I have to explain why I made the choice I made.
As an officer serving under the Chancellor of Zelmony, the 'right' thing for me to do was to fight alongside the Matrech Guard. We could've defeated Kirgard that way... but don't get me wrong, it would still have been a very bloody battle. Besides, it wouldn't have brought down Kirgard. It would've rendered them incapable of continuing the war for now, but they would've definitely been itching for revenge. Now, had I chosen to join the Kirgard forces... Well, I don't think I'd have to explain to the court why I didn't do that. Finally, if I had chosen to do nothing, the outcome would've still been either of the two I just mentioned. The only difference it would've made would be even more casualties on both sides.
I see... now what in particular moved you to intervene like you did?
Well, I think it's very simple actually. You see, through our combined efforts, we managed to defeat General Keyser and his 2nd Legion in Mayfall. That was something they never anticipated. We struck back with unexpected force. But I think the plans for Leonius's attack were already being developed when Keyser was defeated. Jovian... I mean General Knight joined in on these plans, giving them no fewer than three ways of achieving victory. But Leonius was defeated, and although we lost Highland, we reclaimed Mayfall, and Matrech's defenses were still impenetrable. General Knight was already underway at that time, and turning back would've been too dangerous. To put it shortly, this was Kirgard's last chance of truly defeating the State Union.
If anything, I was hoping it would reduce the strife between Kirgard and Zelmony somewhat.
Ah, that is an interesting point... In the end, you were just protecting the lives of your men. I'll leave it at that for now. The trial is still a good month away, but we should waste no time with our defense. I'll return in a couple of days after I've done more investigation on the matter, and most likely there will be more visits after that.
And as he waits, Daniel dreams...
Fade to white...
Music: Sadness - Final Fantasy VII, "On That Day, Five Years Ago"
We catch a glimpse of a memory, but...
... something doesn't seem quite right...
But just then, there's a brief flash, and the memory abruptly restarts.
What!? But it's only been a few days!
There's no time to wait, and there's no question about your guilt anyway. Now come with me. Everyone's waiting.
Fade to black...
Music: Trial - Final Fantasy Tactics, "Dycedarg's Theme"
Please calm down! It was out of my control! I was only informed of the date of the trial last night. It's extremely unconventional, but I'm afraid it's not illegal. Due to the nature of the charges, they want to reach a verdict fast.
So there's nothing we can do?
I'm afraid not. Thankfully, I was already expecting this case to go to court quickly, so I was able to finish my work as well as I could. Trust me, Mr. Vinyard. We do stand a chance.
I wish I shared your optimism.
Angel and Shiro are with her.
Governor Vosch is here too?
He is only here to watch, I believe.
Yeah, I'm going to have to agree. Doesn't he have some governing to be doing, or something?
Are you sure about this?
Yes! We've come too far to let it end here.
For Ayara and I there's never been any doubt, but you, Lord Shiro, you are a respectable citizen of Zelmony. Do you really want to go through with this?
Also, Bast agreed with our plan, so I will go along with it.
I told you, Colonel Windsor! We can trust Lord Shiro!
It's a good thing you're with us. Thanks to your status, it was easy to get inside. With the preparations we've made, our plan can't fail.
Let's at least wait for the outcome of the trail before we take any rash action.
It should be noted that there's no fade to black here--we're just panning back and forth between Daniel and the spectators. This is the fastest trial I've ever seen.
But this witness they just called... I wonder what that's about.
Let's watch for now.
Yes, that's right. I recently moved there from the State Army, and I'm now a lieutenant there.
Now, Mr. Vinyard came to see you shortly after that, didn't he? Could you describe the court what he said to you?
Uh, yeah... About three weeks ago, he approached me and a few others. At first he just asked some innocent questions, like how we felt about being in the Elysium army and how much we trusted him.
But then he asked you a very unusual question, didn't he?
That's right. When our answers seemed to please him, he asked us...
Oh for fuck's sake.
I knew it from the start, that something was wrong. This is all a set-up!
Hmm... Let me handle this.
Say that my client indeed has plans for a coup d'etat. Why, then, did he stop Kirgard's forces from attacking the capital? As I have already shown, my client's actions have in no way caused harm to the State Union. He prevented an attack on the capital and the loss of many of our countrymen's lives. Is this a logical course of action for someone who seeks to bring down Zelmony?
What you're saying is true, as long as you're assuming Mr. Vinyard is a Kirgard agent.
I'm sorry, I need a minute here to properly convey my response to this. Ah, here we go...
He had to ward off Kirgard so as not to endanger his own plans.
These are completely unfounded accusations. There is no situation in which the choice that my client made would be more beneficial than some alternative, unless his aim was to prevent the battle and subsequent loss of lives. If he indeed wanted power himself, wouldn't the obvious choice be to weaken his enemies? He could have stood aside while the State Union and Kirgard fought each other.
The colonel doesn't stand a chance like this!
I wouldn't say that. His lawyer is doing a good job countering their arguments.
Let's hope for the best...
However, the evidence for his betrayal of the State Union is inconclusive, and arguments to that end do not sufficiently explain his choices.
All right Beau! I think we owe you some dr--
--oh god. Oh god what does that mean
Although nothing has been conclusively proven, strong suspicions still exist. Furthermore, the defendant disregarded a direct order and withheld critical information. Since the entire nation is currently at risk, such actions can be construed as treason by themselves, due to their potential to divide the country and sow confusion. This, combined with existing suspicions and the fact that the defendant has only recently become a citizen of the State Union, forces me to declare the following sentence.
This may be our only chance, sir! We can't let this happen to you!
Do you really want it to end here, Daniel? Are you giving up your fight?
I guess... I've already passed the point of no return.
Music: Fuse - Xenogears, "Fuse"
Sir! Let's get out while we can!
Damn, we left poor Beau holding the bag
Fade to black...
We run into Col outside the courtroom.
I heard commotion inside? Did you have to run?
Quick! Hand back our weapons!
Oh, of course!
And with that, control is returned to us.
We uh... don't exactly have the best party at the moment. I'm glad Shiro was one of the winners in the last vote, at least.
We'll do what we can.
We don't actually know where we're supposed to be going, but anywhere is better than here. Let's head right first.
Almost immediately we run into a group of soldiers. There are no random battles in this area, but occasionally a group of soldiers will show up as we're running and try to stop us.
They aren't too much of a threat, but the first battle takes awhile since we only have two characters that can hit reliably and no mages.
They go down eventually.
And Angel immediately gains 25 levels. Sadly, she and Col won't be of much use to us here since their weapons are still almost entirely unforged.
Anyway, the path to the right is a dead end, but we do get another copy of Fireball out of the deal.
To the left, we find some more soldiers.
Yeah, Angel's not doing much. We can fix that, but we'll have to get out of here first.
The Star Gown is the next tier of robe, granting 6 PDF and 5 MDF for 4 weight. This will go to one of our mages once we get the chance.
We continue on. There are a few more courtrooms here, but all the doors are locked.
Along the way I give Fireball a whirl, since I don't think we've seen it in action yet. This is pretty good damage considering Daniel's the one casting it.
We hit a fork...
... but the path to the west is just a dead-end storeroom.
That said, the way to the south isn't much better.
Do we have to fight our way through?
Are we going to make it in time?
The camera pans to the southern gate.
Do you want to take on the leader of the Elysium army?
We made it!
Let's hurry back to Elysium before the rest catches up with us.
Fade to black...
Music: Kirgard - Suikoden V, "Harbor Town by the Lighthouse"
Wait, what the hell? When did you get here?
We managed to get everyone out safely.
Good to hear. Guess it turned out like we were expecting, huh?
Yes, he was definitely set up. They were going to convict him of treason one way or another.
Good thing we got you out in time then, right?
Jovian... What about the rest of you? Are you all okay with this? You'll be seen as accomplices now, you know.
Music: Suspicion 2 - Suikoden V, "Standing Firm"
God, this just keeps getting better and better, doesn't it?
The Matrech Guard... ugh... It might just be a show of force... but they're probably being pushed to take you back by whatever means necessary. They wanted to get rid of you quickly, but as long as you're a free man, there's a good chance their plan could backfire.
What are you going to do, sir?
They've turned their backs on you, Daniel, after all you've done for them. There's no way back anymore. Are you going to hand yourself over to those people who've betrayed you and throw away everything you've achieved up till now?
But I can't ask my men to fight against the State Army, can I?
They know what's going on. If you tell them exactly what happened, I'm sure many of them will take up arms to defend you. It's fine if some of them refuse to fight. We can replace them with my own men.
God only knows where they're hiding, though. Wouldn't they kind of take up a lot of the castle?
Things haven't been standing still here.
There's no more time, Daniel! We have to get ready before the Matrech Guard gets here, so hurry up! If you have any last preparations to make, then do it quickly!
And we're given control again.
We can talk to Shiro, Ayara, and Carson, but none of them do anything interesting.
Angel, on the other hand, has shattered the fourth wall by abruptly turning into a save point.
Bast, as always, allows us to change up our war units. We've got a bit of shuffling to do.
First of all, Ljusalf gets rid of Joe (25 men, +0/+0, Evasion). As a sorcery unit, he doesn't really need Evasion, since if we're playing competently he shouldn't be getting attacked in the first place. He replaces him with our newcomer Angel (50 men, +1/+0).
Similarly, Outsider replaces Rorschach (20 men, +1/+0, Evasion) with Sally (30 men, +0/+0).
Bast gets Rorschach instead, since we want to have him fuck shit up on the front lines and Evasion will potentially allow him to do so for longer. He removes Deke (20 men, +1/-1) for a net +1 defense boost.
And while Keyser may be a defensive powerhouse, that just means we're going to be using him as a wall fairly often and Evasion will potentially allow him to take more hits. He gets Joe, removing Mike (30 men, +0/+0).
Fade to black...
Music: War Battle - Final Fantasy IX, "Consecutive Battles"
Hah! You think he's coming back to you after all you've done to him?
What!? So, as soon as it's convenient you run back to your Kirgard friends, huh? You'll pay the price for betraying our trust!
This is a fairly straightforward battle. Both sides are evenly matched and there's no fancy terrain to get in the way. This is just going to be a good old-fashioned slugfest.
Ideally, the strategy for this battle would be to turtle up in Elysium and let the enemy come to us. The Matrech Guard's ranged capability consists of a grand total of two scouts, and not a single sorcery unit, so we could easily snipe anyone trying to come into range. But the Curse of the Retard Allies strikes again! We're backed up this time by Jovian and a Kirgard 3rd legion unit, and they are itching for a fight. Jovian in particular is a cavalry and is going to be zooming out in front, forcing us to play catch-up and preventing us from constructing any sort of defense at the start. Allied units
On the enemy side, Erin is the enemy commander this time with a solid infantry unit. As usual, we're going to want to wear her down with ranged units before taking her on directly.
Jasper is also around, leading the charge with a pretty decent cavalry. It's nothing we can't handle, but those 675 men are something we'll need to keep an eye on.
Also, one of the generic infantry randomly has Evasion. This shouldn't be a big deal, but we'll need to make potential dodges part of our plan when he gets in range.
Not much to do on turn 1. Our infantry get in front and set up what passes for a wall.
Not much action on the enemy side either, though it looks like the cavalry may end up baiting Jovian over.
Yyyyep. He gets in some decent damage at least.
And his infantry makes an equally suicidal charge. All right, let's see what we can do with this...
Daniel, Griever and Keyser set up a wall. Griever's not really my first choice for this role, but I'd rather have her take damage than Bast.
Ljusalf sets up behind the wall and takes out the weakened cavalry.
Everyone else gets in position.
Thankfully, it turns out that it's not only allied cavalry who are happy to make suicidal charges. Jasper immediately takes out the allied infantry, but he's left himself wide open to nearly every one of our units.
Jovian takes a beating from the other cavalry and both enemy scouts and falls not too much later. The characters leading our units all have little quips when their unit is killed. I think this actually is the first time we've seen one, since all of the units we lost in previous war battles were generics.
This is the way things stand at the end of turn 2.
Ljusalf kicks things off on turn 3 by attacking Jasper.
Following that, our next priority on this turn is to take out the enemy scouts, since without them Erin has no choice but to run headlong into our formation. Shiro snipes the one he can reach.
And Griever makes a heroic charge to take out the other scout in a single blow.
Keyser finishes off the first scout. He's now in Erin's range, but if there's anyone I'd prefer Erin to attack, it's him.
Then we sandwich Outsider between our infantry and sorcery units to end the turn. Ljusalf is going to take a hit, there's not much we can do about that, but he'll survive.
As predicted, the enemy cavalry opens up by attacking Ljusalf.
Griever takes a few hits from the enemy infantry and gets crippled, but remains alive.
And Erin, unsurprisingly, goes after Keyser.
Bast continues the carnage. I wonder what percentage of his attacks so far this playthrough have been kills. He's certainly racked up quite a few.
Meanwhile, Outsider, Shiro, and Ljusalf cripple Erin. Now to clean up the rest of the enemies.
Daniel goes after an infantry. The enemy's counterattack is so ineffectual that Daniel immediately regenerates himself to full health.
Griever sets herself up as a shield for Ljusalf, however temporary, and Keyser stays put to end the turn.
Erin starts her turn by moving up one of her weakened infantry, but it's so terrified of Daniel that it doesn't attack. Uh, thanks for the free kill, I guess?
The other weakened infantry goes after Griever, but she manages to cling to life.
The stronger infantry move to the west for some reason...
... and Erin goes after Keyser again, but he evades. I knew putting that skill on him was a good idea.
Only four turns in and I think we may have this one in the bag. Also, this was the only shot I had with "Turn 5" in the picture for some reason
Bast opens up turn 5 by attacking one of the full-strength infantry, but doesn't manage to get the kill.
Daniel leaves the northern infantry just barely alive, and once again regenerates all damage he takes.
Ljusalf then snipes the only full-strength enemy left, leaving the entire Matrech Guard without a capable unit.
Now all that's left is to clean up. Outsider takes out the infantry in his range.
And Griever manages to get a kill at 4 men She's utterly fucked now, of course, but I couldn't pass up an opportunity like that.
Shiro moves to the west, and Keyser once again stays put to end the turn.
Griever gets taken out. But she had a bunch of utility in this battle, so I'm not too bothered. Godspeed
The other generic infantry just kind of shuffles around.
And Keyser adds insult to injury by evading Erin's attack again.
Let's end this.
thank you ma'am. Fittingly, Daniel strikes the final blow.
Everyone! Withdraw to the capital!
Music: War Battle Won - Suikoden V, "Cry Victory!"
I'm not even trying this battle again. Judging from what I've seen elsewhere online, a 100% efficiency rating requires every single unit, including Jovian and his ally, to stay alive, and that is just not fucking happening. An A-rank requires a 95% score or better, so we wouldn't have changed our ranking by keeping Griever alive. SCF, if you're still hanging around, I'd be interested to know how you expect the player to deal with Jovian's deathwish.
Our reward for the B-rank is another Diamond Dust, bringing our total to three. The A-rank reward is a Matrech Plate, an unbuyable armor that provides +16 PDF and +4 STR for 10 weight. The C-rank reward is a Velvet Scarf, an accessory that grants +4 SPD.
They'll think twice about trying to capture the colonel now!
They'll soon realize how much they've lost by abandoning Daniel.
Yeah, that's right. You brought our march to Matrech to a standstill all by yourself, Daniel. If it weren't for you, Zelmony would've long fallen by now. You'd think they'd be a little more grateful to you, wouldn't you? They just can't stand seeing a Kirgardian show them up like that.
Next time: Where on earth do we go from here?