Part 16: Valley: Stray Boss: PersonaSuperstition has it than in places heavily charged with magical energies one might encounter ones own dark shadow, which would seek to steal your body and place in the world. A rational mind dismisses this foolishness, but the rumors still persist that it has occurred.
- excerpt, Legend Cycles of the Ancients
Shadows of Izel
Today our mission took a new turn
Video- Stray Lead In
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We found him. Master Leto.
(I cant die here! Not yet!)
That voice Ashley!?
Master Leto, y-youre still alive! Im so glad!
Ashley, whatre you doing here!?
I came to save you!
You foolish girl !
Huh !? On no, youre injured!
Dont worry, its just a scratch
Let me take care of your wounds!
(Dont bother taking care of him. Its pointless.)
(Hell be dead soon anyway.)
And then it appeared.
Im finally free! Isnt it amazing? Arent you happy to see me?
Im finally able to meet you after being imprisoned for so long!
No I I dont know you!
Ashley, we are one and the same!
No! Youre not me!
Shes right, Ashley. Shes you.
Well, shes a part of you that youve been suppressing.
It looks like Beseks allowed her to take shape
If you dont acknowledge her as part of you, shell continue to haunt you!
That That THING isnt me!
Listen to me! It IS you!
Its a side of you Ive been helping you keep at bay these past few years And I think shes here to kill me for it.
Leto he told me what this was all about.
Her deepest desire is to awaken in you and become that vessel.
If you kill your persona, you can abandon that fate but it comes at a cost.
To remove that part of yourself, youll be losing a piece of your destiny.
He speaks the truth.
He has achieved his purpose here. Now, he will die
And so will you!
Now that shes tasted what its like to have a real body, shes even more eager to take over yours!
Hahahahahahaha! Yes! Ill be Ashley from now on!
Im the one wholl become Izel!
Shes losing control Shell try to claim your body!
Dont worry about me Ill make it home.
Your life depends on this battle !
Master Leto !
Die for me, Ashley, so that Izel may live!
My own shadow attacked, aided by an army of dead Protectors raised to serve as her puppets.
Video- Stray with Commentary
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We use our standard team setup for this. I sort of wish I had a good Majin for this map but everything Ive got is pretty vulnerable to Sacra and will be ripped apart.
Were up against a really horrible group of enemies this time. A mix of Priests, Priestesses, and Acolytes back up Ashleys Persona. The generic enemies actually have varying skill sets. The Priests have Seal Attacks and sometimes Sealsphere. The Priestesses can do some mix of healing, buffing, attacking with single target Sacra spells, Sacrasphere, and Sealsphere. The Acolytes have Fracture Attack and a brutal special called Wild Swing that can nearly kill someone in a single blow. Theyre all level sixteen and are all pretty nasty. Now lets look at Persona.
Personas pretty interesting. Its got Ashleys Sacrasphere, Cura II, Salva, and even Punishment. It also has Dark Attack for special occasions. Its stats are a bit better than Ashleys would be at the level, but its got weaker resistances to physical attacks and magic.
Its worth it to talk about why this enemy team is so bad. There are a LOT of incoming Sacraspheres potentially, which if we get bad luck can mean a lot of people Confused. We need to make sure we dont group people up more than we need to so we can minimize the number of people who might get Confused, and we also need to make sure we dont just throw ourselves into the enemy and try to fight them all at once. This is going to flow right into our Deployment strategy.
We dont take the lure of deploying in the center, instead deploying hard to the left. What well do is charge around and try to kill the grunts on that side quickly so were never fighting many enemies at once. Wed like to kill as many of Personas allies as possible before we kill her, but shes incredibly aggressive which makes it very hard to just ignore her.
I cant lie to myself anymore!
I need to do this!
Ahahahaha! Are you ready to die, Ashley!?
Ill kill all of you! Anyone who stands in my way!
I wont let you do that!
How? Im gonna kill you too.
Persona starts by casting Salva on herself and starting her advance. We start sweeping around the left corner, though we are probably advancing too quickly with our vanguard and that might haunt us later.
Right! Lets do it!
One of the priestesses tries to Seal Ashley and fails. She runs up and nearly kills it in response.
Theyre merely my puppets!
I am too powerful for you, and soon, I will be Izel!
Ares runs up and executes the Priestess Ashley started on. I probably should have speared it from behind Ashley instead of slashing it from the side, but I wasnt thinking about my rate of advance properly at this point. I push everyone up to try and support Ares and Ashley. Ares tries to Bleed a Priest and fails and to make things worse the Persona moves up and confuses her with a Sacraphere. Ashley hits the Priest with one herself, confusing it as well. The Priest runs over and whacks Persona, and then Ares stabs them both, leveling up. Ashley finishes off the wounded Priest, but Ares ends up paying the price, falling to a Wild Swing and then Sacrasphere. Another two enemies also start moving towards Ashley, though I actually wanted this to increase my experience and gold gains for the map.
Im here, arent I? You cant ignore me any longer.
If youre in front of me, then you cant be PART of me!
Ashley hits the Persona and her Acolyte friend with a Sacrasphere, confusing the Acolyte. Ashley withdraws closer to our partys support, and the Acolyte whacks the Persona in the head with a powerful attack.
Dont tell me thats all youve got!
Youre no match for me!
The Persona then decides to get serious and hits Ashley with Punishment, which doesnt do a huge amount of damage but does Seal her. I send Glynne to start softening up the confused Acolyte and respond with my own Punishment on Persona. I could easily kill her now, but I really want to milk this level for some more experience so I dont.
This is a battlefield! Therere plenty of corpses!
What did you do !?
We throw everything weve got out on Personas allies while trying to keep everyone whos taking hits healed up and out of Personas direct range.
Yes and I couldnt kill you because HE interfered
But youll die right now!
Glynne finishes off the confused Acolyte and moves to engage our two new friends. I desperately try to keep him healed with Ashley, Yuri, and Irina to make up for the attention hes drawing. Between the enemy Acolyte and Priestess were taking quite a lot of damage on him, though. Persona, finally out of Sacraspheres, runs over to join the lets whack Glynne with things club. We just keep trying to keep the Persona from getting to our ranged group while also dragging down the support crew and keeping Glynne alive. Even worse, the enemy starts healing itself. Glynne is forced to withdraw for a bit after being Fractured.
I keep the pressure up on Persona and her friends to force them to waste turns healing while also removing Glynnes status and healing him back up. Sadly Im not able to confuse either of the generic enemies with Ashleys Sacrasphere or this would have gone a lot easier. Glynne makes a last ditch effort to kill the Acolyte with a Crows Beak, but just isnt quite able to finish it off. They manage to take him down, but this does leave the Acolyte in position to be killed by Reyna. I start throwing everything I have left at the Priestess, including Ashleys last Sacrasphere.
Good thing you have me to take your place!
I dont want to be Izel!
The Priestess makes a fatal mistake by attacking Ashley up close, as its out of magic to throw around.
Ashley, just what ARE you!?
Dont you think we have bigger issues right now ?
We keep throwing everything weve got at the Priestess and then finish it off with Ashley. We end the whole thing with a combo from Ashley and Reyna, which causes Reyna to level up. He gets a new skill, Wisp Raid, which is a unique area of effect Bow attack.
Ashley, help me! You need me!
I dont want to disappear! No! Nooooooo!
We may have defeated it for now, but I can still feel it squirming inside me. And as Leto said, there was a cost
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Master Leto! I need to dress your wounds!
Dont bother, child Its too late, anyway.
I know it sounds pathetic, but Im done for.
Master Leto, youve got to hold on! You cant give up !
Ashley, please listen to me. Your journey isnt over. You must complete your training as a priest and cleanse your curse.
Theres a Majin up ahead who can help you with it. He lives in the deepest, darkest, unholiest depths of Besek. Go to him.
And you should know Glynnes been secretly keeping an eye on the Popes sect for me. I have complete faith in you both.
Hmph. I suppose I couldnt ask for better company to see me off
Glynne Im counting on you to continue your work
Of course, Master
Master Leto We came so far, and yet we failed to save him. And even worse, it was my fault he died.
I I killed him!
I killed Master Leto!
Ashley, thats not true!
It wasnt you!
The blame for his death rests solely on me!
Perhaps it does
Reyna! Shut up!
You must now bear the burden of his death.
You dont know what youre talking about! Cant you see shes in pain!?
But its a good pain. Its the pain of remembrance and devotion. Its her burden to carry that pain with her forever.
Thats the only way a mans legacy live son.
What do I do now ?
I cant tell you that. Thats for you to decide.
You could go back to the Church and mourn his death, or you could fulfill his dying wish
Fulfill his wish?
Ashley, we may never find the Majin he wanted you to find, but well help you search.
I I think Im
But Ive made a decision. I wont let his death be in vain. Im going to find this Majin and remove my curse, and then Im going to find the Eternal Poison. Im sure with that we can find a way to make his dream of rebuilding the Church come true.
He may not be with us anymore, but with the Eternal Poison, we can still achieve his dream of rebuilding the Church. His legacy.
I think I know what we should do next, if were to find the Majin he spoke of.
How do you know so much about this place?
Im not foolish enough to go into Besek without doing some research on it.
My hometown has a collection of lore about Besek.
I read about a Majin named Doom Shade.
Legend says that he drank from the Eternal Poison and, as punishment, was banished to the abyss.
He may be the one Leto spoke of.
Thats just a myth, right? Its not real.
Would High Priest Leto have sent you to him if there wasnt at least some truth to it?
You might be right, but
Then its decided.
We wont let Master Letos death be in vain. Lets keep going!
We returned to Isapolis, sad but with a new resolve.
Muse: I didnt know Reyna was a man! Im so surprised!
What? You already knew?
Then you should have told me! You know how much I love gossip!
Komori: So everyones been gossiping that Reynas really a man.
I dont know what the fuss is about. It was apparent to me from the very start!
A keen observer like me can tell just by how he carries himself!
The fortuneteller seemed to already know what had happened.
Shivan: Keep your wits about you and you make your next decision
This step is of the utmost importance. Choose the path you believe in most.
Alexei seems to think hes seen the woman who runs the bar, Iryth, before. That cant be so, of course.
Alexei: The food that Iryth cooks It tastes so familiar to me
Was she at the dining hall of the Knights Academy? No, it cant be !
Ares would probably have already decided she was bored and left if we werent in such constant danger.
Ares: I noticed you like to travel in a group.
Ill join with people if I need to, but you cant beat the rush of going solo.
Try not to break any hearts, okay?
Youll understand what I mean when youre a little older.
The Count could tell something was wrong, though he decided not to ask what.
Is something the matter? Your eyes look a bit watery.
Something terrible must have happened to make a brave girl like you cry.
I do hope you feel better. Those tears do not suit such a pretty face.
I hoped Leon knew something about the Eternal Poison, but hes not turned up anything.
Leon: Huh? The Eternal Poison ? The mystical item that grants your wishes?
Many people have come here to look for it, but theres no information at all!
I think itd be best if you just forget about finding that thing.
Basil: You look exhausted. I think you should get some rest.
Please dont push yourself too hard
The Koona dont really seem to like the Count much.
Toma: Syawla! Ydoom dna hsifles si Master D!
Im trying to convince Evan to give the Church a second chance, but its a hard sell.
Hey, Evan. You sure you dont want to join the Church?
Evan: Magic is a black art. In my time, this would never have been allowed.
It is unfortunate that after 200 years, the Church has stooped so low.
Now, Evan, please listen
This magic has been granted to us by the noble goddess Atona.
Its the one weapon we have against the Majin.
The Church has a duty to protect the people from harm.
Is it so wrong for us to use this power for the greater good?
Evan: But, Miss Ashley
It must be hard to accept something that was denounced in your time
Evan: Hm, alright. I shall pay one more visit to the priest.
Many things have changed since my time. Perhaps I should think about this more.
I hope you change your mind about us.
Zadikus and I had a good sparring match, and that opponent Ive been sending for is finally almost here.
Zadikus: I just wanted to thank ya for whatcha been doin for me !
It was a good match, now.
Hehehe, glad I could help.
Zadikus: So, wheres this opponent of mine? He comin along?
Oh, hes on his way right now!
Zadikus: No foolin? Gosh, hes sure takin his sweet time
I think there were some delays
I really had to push him into it.
Zadikus: Really!? Im getting all excited now!
Well, Im sure hell give you a challenge.
Zadikus: Honest? Im gettin them goose chills all over!
Whos my big opponent?
A black bear.
Funny, he turned all white. Anyway Keiko was wondering what the difference between our Church and Stag was.
Keiko: Will you tell me more about Stag and Valdia?
Okay, Stag originated from the Church of Valdia.
Its a new religion.
They follow the same goddess than the Church of Valdia does: Atona.
But the teachings themselves are different.
Keiko: Why did they split?
The Stag movement was initially small, and its followers sought reform.
The Church of Valdia persecuted them, and they eventually fled to the South.
Thats why the Teachings of Stag flourishes in the southern districts.
The followers flocked there so they could practice their beliefs together.
The areas usually called the Stag Domain.
Keiko: Hm, I guess I understand.
Keiko: Looks like things are complicated in any world.
Keiko: Well, I should get back to my research.
Alright, see you later!
I had been wondering something about Nolstein since the first time, and decided to ask.
You follow the Church of Valdia, right?
Nolstein: I guess so. Why?
Because you didnt know that Church members cant get married.
Thats common knowledge. I thought it was strange you didnt know.
Nolstein: Well, I dont believe in the concept of an absolute God, per se.
Salvation cant be gained by simply praying to some mystical being.
You see, I am not particularly fond of putting faith in the intangible.
So thats why you dont have much knowledge about the Church of Valdia.
Nolstein: Are you mocking me? Im very knowledgeable! Im a scholar!
No, I didnt mean it like that
Marion decided she needed to head out and look for her companion.
Hey! Are you feeling better?
Marion: Well, I cant just lie around forever.
Yeah, but if your injuries dont heal right, you could be in trouble later!
Marion: Dont worry. Its nothing serious.
Are you going to search for your companion?
Marion: He is very dear to me. I dont know that I can go back without him.
Then come with us!
Marion: I cant impose on you more than I already have.
What are you talking about!? Im a priestess! Dont worry about it!
Marion: Oh, Ashley Not everyone can be saved by religion.
Marion: Please, take this, for all youve done for me.
Feinnes Notes: Valkyrie is notable, because its an awesome female only spear that causes Slow. Ares can use this to brutal effect.
Marion: Our paths may cross again, in Besek.
Marion: You too. Farewell.
Im sure shes going to resume her search for the Eternal Poison as well. If that story about Doom Shade is true, maybe it can also tell us where the Poison is. Well just have to wait and see.
- journal entry