Part 11: Chapter 8 - Mission
I'm going to start making a little bit more of an effort to point out music tracks in the game; there are several I don't like, but several I like quite a bit! (This is one of the latter kind.) Besides, I've already promised to leave bits of my team-makeup decisions down to You People, posting a little music isn't going to kill me. I might even go back and edit some into the previous updates! Man, that'll sure make this paragraph seem out of place to people who one day read this in the Archives!
As with the last Defence map, the most important things are Chokepoints, Chokepoints, Chokepoints. Oscar, helped by his Avoid bonus from his Support, will be holding the south exit against the Cavaliers. This is actually easier said than done, since they're quite capable of all attacking on the same turn thanks to their being Cavaliers, so whoever you put down there had better be up to scratch. Mia will hold the east exit against the Knights - she's got the Armorslayer, more strength to hold it with, and enough speed such that she can now double Knights using it. Boyd is going to take the west exit, because I don't really have much choice.
Hey, is it me or is one of those enemy units distinctly non-regulation?
Not just me! This unit here has a name and a face! In Fire Emblem, that's a dead giveaway for a recruitable unit.
Remember this menu? It's not really that interesting - it's the one we use when we want to end turn. It has a couple other options on it, most of which are uninteresting, but the Unit menu sometimes comes in handy.
It shows us a big table with eight pages of data on all our units. There's all their numbers, HP, stats, equipment, skills, etc, but on the seventh page...
...is listed the names of everyone each unit can Talk to. So now we know that, to recruit Ilyana, we just need to talk to her with Ike. Simple!
Then I suddenly think to maybe move Soren down here so that maybe one of the Javelin Cavaliers will attack him. Don't worry, he can take it. We end turn now.
They don't attack Soren. They attack Oscar. He attacks them back.
The second of these, being a tactical genius, decides to use his remaining Move to stand right in front of Oscar so no other enemy can attack him this turn.
Mia is, of course, activating her Vantage skill, but it isn't helping, since she's not OHKOing the Knights with it. She is, however, dodging their attacks sometimes, since she can actually retain enough AS to have a meaningful Avoid stat now.
Oho? Attacking from a range of three squares?
That's because this guy's using a Longbow, a bow that... well, can attack from three squares away as well as two. It's quite useful, and quite annoying in the hands of an enemy, but...
It's quite inaccurate.
I continue to be astounded by what Boyd manages to accomplish.
Anyway, the Daeins all jam into the chokepoints, and we're set for another Defence map.
Well, if you won't attack Soren, Soren will attack you.
Oscar takes a step outside the chokepoint (though he's still got it blocked), to minimize the odds of a stupid Javelin guy blocking him again. The things Fire Emblem makes me account for.
As surprisingly capable as Boyd was in holding the Knights off, I don't trust him anymore, so Ike comes over instead.
Ike is also capable.
End of turn 2.
This time, the melee Cavaliers all have a go at Oscar.
He gets a timely and decent level out of it all.
Meanwhile, Mia gets hit. We don't want this happening too many times.
This turn of events has annoyed Mia.
So she crits in response.
The danger of leaving a squishy but critty character in a defensive position is that they might get hit, kill the attacker and then free up the space and get hit again. Fortunately, though, Mia dodges the followup, and besides, she's not that critty. Yet.
Oh, and the Longbow isn't that powerful, so it's not much of a concern.
Some idiot picks a swordfight with Ike. It ends predictably.
Oh come on. Some people just do not deserve to live.
Sadly, the guy survives with 1 HP, while Ike gets an acceptable level. Note that his resistance has caught up with his defence, despite the not insignificant difference in the beginning.
There are a few priests mixed in with the enemies. So some enemies can run away and be healed.
This turn, we are charged with the somewhat daunting task of beating a path to Ilyana, making her defect, and not having her squishy and suddenly-endangered self or any of our guys killed in the process. Soren gets us started.
Boyd returns to help.
Boyd is still fired later.
Finally, Ike gets to where he needs to be.
Huh? Who are you?
I... I... I'm a traveling mage. My name is Ilyana. This castle... Oh...
Hey, are you all right?
I'm sorry... This rain is so c-cold. I feel like I'm f-freezing...
You don't look too good. Are you sick? Do you need medicine?
You're awfully kind, aren't you?
You know, you don't look like any Daein soldier I've ever seen. Are you really one of them, or have they press-ganged you into service?
I was traveling with some merchants, but we got separated. I came here to escape this rain, but some soldiers in black found me. They thought I was a Crimean refugee.
I tried to tell them who I was, but they wouldn't believe me. They said they would put me to the sword if I didn't help fight you. I'm... very sorry...
Don't apologize. You didn't have any choice. If it had been me, I'd have done the same. But listen, I think I've seen the merchant convoy you were traveling with in the castle! There was a weapons vendor named Muston, and I think a woman named Aimee sold items...
That's them! Oh, that's incredible! Are they all unharmed? Where are they?
They're fine, they're fine! In fact, we've all come to an agreement, and they're traveling with us now. I don't see any reason we should go on fighting. If you're with them, we can protect you from Daein.
We'll hold off the enemy troops.
No... I'll fight, too.
But you're sick... You'll need some help.
This isn't the full force of Daein soldiers. More of them are waiting in the forest. You need me.
... Well, I wish you weren't right, but it sounds like we will need your help.
I'm just glad to get away from those awful black-clad soldiers.
At this juncture, I mean to have Ike heal himself, but then I find he has no Vulnerary.
But Ilyana has one! That's just great.
Ilyana is a pretty decent mage, really. Her stats are pretty much on par with Soren's given her level. Her specialty, such as mages in this game have specialties, is Thunder magic, which is kind of like the Axes of magic; powerful, but slow. Thunder magic also has higher than normal crit rates, and, oh yeah, it's quite heavy - the Thunder tome weighs 3, and the more powerful Elthunder tome weighs 6. So there's that to bear in mind.
Ilyana also has this interesting little skill. Shade is basically the opposite of Provoke; it makes the AI less likely to attack a unit so long as another unit is in range. Its powers are limited, though; nothing - but nothing - can distract the AI from chasing a potential one-round-KO.
Anyway, there's a nearby Myrmidon packing a Steel Blade - an exceptionally heavy, if powerful, sword. So Ilyana effortlessly doubles him.
Well, gee, no wonder she's cold.
Higher tier spells are, of course, flashier than basic versions.
Titania comes over to help Ike form a wall behind which Ilyana can potentially-not-die.
Oscar continues fighting his fight, and pops back to the base for a heal.
Mia uses a Vulnerary, and that's turn three.
Uh oh! Javelin guy gets a shot in on Rhys.
But Rhys dodges like a boss. The rest attack Oscar and get more crippled/killed.
Mia takes a nasty hit.
Over by the west entrance, one enemy attacks Ike and the others suicide on Titania.
This guy was stuck behind the defensive line, and he attacks Ilyana instead of Soren despite her Shade skill.
Capital work there, Soldier.
Ilyana's definitely pulling her weight.
Meanwhile, Boyd can't double a Priest.
Soren comes over to lend Mia a hand.
Mia gets a heal from Rhys and goes over to give the Longbowman a piece of her mind. She's using her Iron Sword now, so she won't be murdering Knights, but she will be dodging a lot.
This has been turn 4.
Well, that certainly takes the sting off a bit! I think we've got a keeper here.
Then they all heal, by Priest or by Vulnerary.
Boyd distracts the last enemy on the west side.
Reinforcements! Two Soldiers come in from the southeast (also note the Knight there; he's the boss)...
And two Knights from the north.
Since Boyd weakened this Myrmidon, Ilyana can finish him.
Let's see if we can't do something about this lot.
At the very least, I can kill this goddamn Priest by leaving Mia out in an exposed position on how HP.
Titania appears to help lessen the threat.
And then Oscar swoops in to rescue Mia.
Any unit can "Rescue" (or, basically, "carry") a non-mounted unit if the Rescuee's weight does not exceed that of the Rescuer by more than 2. As you can imagine, this makes mounted units quite good at rescuing, as they have high weight. There's a catch, though; carrying a unit reduces your Speed and Skill by 1/2, so you'll be less accurate, less dodgy, and much slower.
This should be fine. And yes, I have carefully made sure that none of those southern Cavaliers are within moving range of the Castle. That would be bad.
Sadly, Rhys is once again in harm's way.
And he doesn't dodge this time.
The other Cavaliers attack Ike.
With varying effectiveness.
This guy is starting to annoy me.
This guy isn't.
Titania flattens that one archer and runs into the western route away from the castle. I want the boss dead, and Titania's the only one who can really afford to leave the others on her own.
Another Priest down. This one drops a Pure Water - an item that does, essentially, the same thing as a Ward staff.
And now we have some intruders to deal with.
We deal with them.
Mia is set down. Five seconds after making this move, it occurs to me what a terrible idea it was, and it takes me at least two minutes to think of an alternative to restarting. I do think of one, though.
Perhaps I should elaborate. Mia was on low health and that Knight is right there, as is a Mage (and Mia has low Resistance). So I obviously need to heal her. But Rhys is also on low health, and he can't heal Mia without going into the range of the Longbowman. Ike could help (there's only one Cavalier left in the south, so Soren is safe), but he can't get Rhys out of Longbow range and I am disinclined to Rescue him.
To make my matters worse, Rhys doesn't get any better at not taking damage. Or much else at all, really.
My brilliant plan involves... well, surprisingly little. Specifically, it involves not killing this Knight, as Ike might otherwise been inclined to do were he not a part of my brilliant plan.
You see, I have been checking the enemy Unit order. It does exist! It involves checking the boss's stat screen, then pressing down on the left stick to browse through the other enemy's stat screens one at a time. The order in which they come up is the order in which the AI will move them.
And the Knight moves before the Longbowman.
If we had attacked him with Ike, even with the Iron Sword, he would have gone on to do one of two things on his turn. Either he would have run way to heal, or he would have attacked Ike regardless, and died (which is, from the point of view of my situation now, the same outcome).
As it is, though, he survives.
Therefore, the one square from which the Longbowman can attack Rhys is occupied when his turn rolls around.
Pain tastes like suceess.
Also, less significant enemy failures.
Oh, and a guy attacks Titania. He doesn't know any better.
Enemy healing, reinforcements, yada yada.
For the first time this playthrough, Titania will be in danger of death if I fuck up here. Exactly two hits from this boss is the maximum, and even then she'll be on 1 HP.
It's time for Ilyana to head back to base, although she's going to bait some Knights in the meantime.
Ike, Mia and Oscar clean out every enemy except the Longbowman from the east, and Soren takes potshots southward.
Once again, I have to call on Boyd to hold a chokepoint.
End of turn 7. Close!
Less great, but still within parameters!
Not really important, but funny!
Man, sometimes I'm tempted not to put Boyd in the firing line just on account of the luck he seems to have. Sometimes. Briefly.
Don't worry. Only the boss can do significant damage to Titania, and he's about to die.
That's more like it!
And this is why I went to the bother of sending Titania out here; Kamura was carrying the Soldier Band, which grants bonuses to HP an Defence.
There was also a slightly interesting option of Boss Dialogue with Ike, if we'd been silly enough to bring Ike out here:
You fool... What are you doing on the front line? This is no place for an officer! If you die, your army loses. Soldiers fight; officers lead. That is the foundation of war!
Hate to tell you this, but I'm not an officer, and I'm not in the military. I fight with my men, and I bleed with my men. I lead the Greil Mercenaries. If I can't fight, I've no right to lead.
Bah! This is war, not some child's game! The only thing that matters here is who fights and who dies.
We clean up the enemies in the middle...
Boyd continues to disappoint me...
And Oscar finally accomplishes an objective I've had since this mission began: killing this Priest.
Good work, Oscar.
This is why I wanted this particular Priest dead. Red Gems serve exactly one purpose; being sold for 2500G.
And Mia finally kills the Longbowman and steals his Longbow. And we heal Ilyana and have her troll the Knights one last time.
Oh, why not?
Anyway, here's the end of turn 8, and the enemy phase is just a formality at this point. It is impossible for any of the enemies to deal anyone enough damage to kill them.
This is, of course, assuming they even hit.
Well, this was a fun mission.
My favourite part was when I had to use AI exploits to get out of a tactical fuckup.
Thank you, Soren.
Notice how Soren's gotten a few unspectacular levels but always seems to be getting Speed despite having a 40% growth?
Anyway, lots of reinforcements appear. This is just flavour.
Everyone, fall back to the castle! Regroup! Regroup within the castle!
The plot requires us to be on the verge of defeat at this point, so everyone except Ike, Soren and Titania obligingly disappear inside and the group casts aside any notion of chokepoint holding.
And even when plot-defeated, Ike is still murdering everyone in sight.
Haa... haa... Ah...
Blast! Not yet... Not yet... We will not fall!
Mist? You're not supposed to be out here! I told you to stay--
I don't care!
There's no way we can escape! This is it, isn't it? We're all going to die here, aren't we?
Don't be foolish! No matter what happens, I'm making sure you and Rolf get out of here alive! Once you're out of danger, you go straight to the palace and stay with Princess Elincia.
No! I'm not going anywhere. I'm staying here with everyone! I'm staying with you!
As long as I'm with you, I'm not afraid to die. We'll see Mother and Father. We'll all be together again.
Thank you, Brother.
But one thing... you're not going to see Mother just yet.
I'm going to protect you. I'm not going to let you die. I gave Father my word.
But it all ends here. Prepare to die!
Wh-what happened? What was that?
The only thing more remarkable than the timing of the arrival of the two laguz was its coincidence with the exact moment the game mechanics suddenly decided to allow charging through and killing multiple units in a single action.
Glaaarr... blasted... stinking... beast...
So, uh... Are you two from the palace? Did the king of Gallia send you?
Your hair is blue. You are Ike. Is this correct?
That's right--I'm Ike. You saved us back there. Thank you.
Ranulf told me Ike is not a bad stranger. Mordecai and Ike... We will become friends.
He's a beorc. A human. You know all humans have two faces.
Beorc? What's that?
That's what you are.We with the power are laguz. You soft, hairless things with no power at all, you are called beorc.
What did you say?
Lethe! You are being bad. The king forbids this. We cannot fight with beorc!
Most beorc call us by hated names, look at us with eyes filled with scorn. "Sub-human"? Hss! Is that how beorc treat their friends? Is that how beorc treat their allies?
You're right... Some of us use that name far too readily. I guess if we had thought about it, we'd have realized it's not a polite term, but we didn't know you by any other name. I'm sorry.
You knew no other name for us? Are we really so little to you, human? You, who forced us into slavery? How easily you forget. But we laguz! We remember. We remember how we have suffered at your hands. The king can say whatever he likes, I will not trust you. I warn you now... never speak to me in such a way!
Come on, now, we're all reasonable people, there's no n-
...the fuck, Soren?
Scum! Those who use that name are enemies of Gallia!
Grrr, grraa, sub-human... Enemy... He is enemy...
You think you're humans? The only thing human about you is your conceit! You filthy, hairy sub-human!
Also, you two are the best fucking emissaries ever.
... Ike, I'm sorry... I have hurt you... I did not intend to hurt you.
Mordecai, this injury is nothing. I'm fine.
Soren? SHUT THE FUCK UP.
And where the fuck did you get that Wind tome from?
Good question. Can someone give me a good reason why you deserve to not get torn to shreds by Mordecai? Someone? Anyone?
He hurt you! He could have killed you! We can't let him get away--
If you hadn't provoked him, none of this would have happened. Right?
But--I only... I'm sorry...
It's a poor excuse, but we recently lost... some companions. We're tired, and we're not thinking clearly.
Ike forgave Mordecai. So now I forgive Soren. No one need be angry.
I apologize as well. My behavior has been unkind. I forgot our mission, and I have blundered terribly.
The king wants to see you. We are here to guide you to the royal palace.
The best. Emissaries. Ever.
Don't really know why they bother showing this.
Lv 6 Mage
HP: 20 (45%) Spd: 9 (30%)
Str: 1 (25%) Lck: 6 (45%)
Mag: 8 (50%) Def: 3 (15%)
Skl: 10 (45%) Res: 10 (50%)
Move: 6 Con: 5 Wt: 5
Equip: Wind (E), Fire (E), Thunder (D)
Ilyana is to Soren what most axe users are to most sword users. She's a little slower, but much better built for wielding those annoyingly heavy Thunder tomes, what with her being fully five times more likely than Soren to get Strength on a level up. The other thing that might be a bit of a problem for her is Speed, although this admittedly becomes less of a problem the more Strength she picks up.
Her Shade skill isn't that useful, primarily because you can't plan around it because it doesn't always work. The best use for Ilyana, really, is killing units like Knights - really slow enemies with no resistance, that Ilyana can double even with Thunder tomes thereby getting the most mileage out of their increased Mt.
Next Time: Yar har ho! Yo ho har!