Part 58: Valley: Stray Boss: AshleyThou shalt not suffer the heretics, with their cursed blood, to live.
- excerpt, Valdian scripture
A Mirror, Darkly
We did meet Ashley in Besek, as it turned out.
Video- Stray Lead In
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Useless body ! MOVE!
(No, I still have things to do )
She reacted about as well to Retica as one could expect.
Youre a heretic, right?
Im sorry, but according to Church law, all heretics must be killed.
I dont even know who you are!
And wh-wheres your proof that Im even a heretic? Im a human.
Why do you have silver hair? Why do you hide your neck behind that scarf?
Look, I dont know why youve come here
But now that Ive seen you, I cant let you leave. The Church of Valdia has strict policies on dealing with heretics.
Im tired of your narrow-minded Church! Im tired of the Majin telling me I have cursed blood!
(What do I do? Do I fight her?)
Dont worry, itll al be over real quick.
If youre going to attack me, dont expect me to go down quietly!
I was disinclined to allow Ashley to kill Retica, though.
D-Did you just say Thage!?
What are you doing here, Ashley?
Are you really Thage?
The boys my servant. I own him. You werent trying to damage my property, were you?
This heretics with you? Youve gotta be kidding, right?
Is there a problem with my choice of companions?
Thage, you know hes a heretic, right?
His kindll bring misfortune to our world. He needs to be executed!
As though Ashley has any right to judge whether someone is human or not.
Im a priest! A Protector of the Faith! I swore an oath to do the Goddesss will!
The Churchs teachings seem to have taken over your sense of reason since the last time I saw you.
Retica is a heretic, but hes also a human.
Hes no human! His blood is impure!
Prove it, Ashley! Show me hes not a human!
You dont mean ?
Theres nothing to be gained from continuing this argument.
So its time for us to fight?
You have a better solution?
Some things cant be resolved with words.
Click For Video with Commentary
Our swing position is taken by Irina this time, because she came at a crazy high level and therefore is awesome. Like, I could even see her unique skill this playthrough awesome.
Ashley, Reyna, and Glynne are joined by three each of the high level Priests and Priestesses we expect in Valley. There are no Acolytes though, because we have Reyna and Glynne instead. Lets look at the NPC versions of Ashleys party.
I really wish we could have asshole cheater NPC Glynne instead of the real one we got, hes pretty beastly here honestly. Hes vulnerable to physicals but his crazy high Defense stat means were way better off using magic against him. Just watch out for his Crows Beak, its goddamn devastating.
Heres Reyna. Hes also got surprisingly solid defenses and lots of Evade skills, so be mindful of what you use against him. He has a few casts of Pyro II and a single use of Wisp Raid to throw out before hes down to just bow shots. You should really just try to pound him down asap, though, hes got crazy power for a ranged attacker. Luckily hes vulnerable to Dark magic, so youve always got Malusphere if worst comes to worst.
And heres Ashley. Ashley has solid defenses, powerful Light magic, and can heal. Shes got a single use of her Punishment special, so be mindful of it. Shes not as tough as the Persona we fought with her party way back when, and we already pretty much know what sorts of things screw up Ashley because we played quite a lot of maps as her.
We are going to play this the same way we played the fight with Persona, were going to deploy down one side so were fighting the enemy in small groups. Its going to work even better this time because Thage pretty much excels in situations like this.
- MURDER GLYNNE
I dont want to fight you, Thage. Back down.
Why do I have to repeat myself? Im not backing down.
If theres no choice but to fight you, then I will.
Alright, shall we begin?
We push the party to the corner. Ashley and Glynne throw some buffs around, we expect them both to start moving towards us soon because they are crazy aggressive. Thats fine, though, because well have massacred anything on this side by then.
Huh? What do you mean?
Im curious what that means
Be quiet if you dont want to end up in this librum.
We start the fun by charging Raki straight into one of the Priests and landing a Bleed on him. This group were up against has very limited ability to remove bad status effects, so landing them is always a good strategy against them.
We cant make exceptions to its laws!
Its just lies paraded around under the Goddesss name.
She may exist, but she has no hand in what happens here.
Do you think youre doing Her will?
Reyna meanwhile opens the show for Team Ashley with a Pyro II on Raki, which officially Does Not Impress me.
Our dogma doesnt need to be explained. Dont question it.
If you know anything, Ill force it out of you.
I throw out a Malus IV onto the Bleeding Priest, which proves exactly one hit point short of killing it. It swings and misses at Raki then runs away. Since Raki is a Windrunner, he gets Dual Attack this level and doesnt get his unique move Steel Roar until a bit later. Dual Attack is pretty nice, though, and I have no complaints.
A heretics impurity surpasses even death.
What? What does that mean?
We push Retica up so we can get a heal on Raki. The near Priestess throws a Sacraphere on Retica and Thage, fortunately not managing to Confuse Retica. We get him healed up and spread some magic defense buffs around with Yuri.
I know, I know
Strengthen your resolve and believe in the Church.
We try to get started on Reyna, but I didnt realize how well he evades Pierce on this map and he manages to avoid Rakis bite. Ares then goes for the near Priestess, since shes a soft target. Ashley wastes a heal on the Bleeding Priest who ran away and is far enough from the party that he isnt even coming back in, which is great. Then Reyna sort of scares me, he uses Wisp Raid on Thage, Alexei, and Retica. My efforts to improve Thages physical defenses pay off quite well, and shes almost unhurt by it. Alexei levels up from being shot, always nice. Thage heals herself back to full by hitting the Priestess with a Malus II, and Retica finishes it off. Glynne is close enough to hit Raki with a Terra spell, so I need to finish Reyna off asap. Raki slashes him in the back and Ares Bleeds him with a sword slash, nicely setting up the take down to come.
Now is the time, before you face the Goddesss judgement.
If you want to protect the ones you love, surrender.
I have no loved ones anymore. No one I need to protect.
But you wont be the one who decides if I live or die!
Ashleys also getting in on the show, but she cant move far enough to hit more than Raki with her first Sacrasphere. Reyna throws a Pyro II at Alexei and then moves, and I decide hes just got to die and finish him with a spell from Thage. We throw heals onto the melee and refresh the magic defense on them in preparation for more magic coming at them, which gets Yuri a level. Annoyingly I had Irina a bit too close to the front and Glynne manages to spear her and Alexei. I throw Raki and Alexei at him, managing to get a Fracture through his physical status resistance that should seriously reduce the threat he poses in theory. I then send Ares out to Bleed Ashley. It works, but she dishes out a singularly brutal counterattack in response. She then throws a Sacrasphere that annoyingly manages to Confuse Raki.
Thage, how do you ? Do you have it too ?
What happened to you? How ?
In the depths of darkness, I met evil.
We arent the same, though
Im really glad Ive got Irina because she comes with Divinus, which can cure that Confuse. I want to get some extra money and experience so I send Thage up a bit to blast the guy who ran away a while back. It puts her in a slightly exposed position but we just need to make sure Ashley is blocked well. Then Glynne surprises the hell out of me by having enough juice even Fractured to finish Ares with a Crows Beak. Im not going to risk him doing anything else bullshit and Raki trashes him with his Dual Attack. I send Alexei to block Ashley and get a good hit on her, and were engaged by a new Priest who will be the last generic well see join the fight this time. Ashley irritates me by killing Irina with a Punishment. But now Im down two people. And do you know what that means?
Heres a big advantage of having a huge summon range, I can summon Arkanos to act as a solid wall between Ashley and Thage. Ashleys not got shit she can do to Arkanos, she can throw herself at him all day and not make much of a dent. The Priest gets Bled by Raki and then falls to Alexeis Bonecrusher, leaving Ashley all alone and Bleeding. She heals herself up and backs up, but that just lets us get her stuck between Raki, Retica, and Arkanos. Shes got nowhere to go, we just need to decide how we want to bring her down.
The Church of Valida trains its Protectors to fight.
She mustve had training from High Priest Leto.
We keep everyone healed up so theres no nonsense. I have Retica in a great position here, Ashley cant move out of his line of fire so hes guaranteed to be able to join a Combo against her.
Does your church enjoy prying into other peoples lives?
You should examine the life youve chosen for yourself.
Are you really the Thage I knew?
Do you know anyone else named Thage?
Ashley ends up moving, so instead of Raki and Retica I finish the job with a Thage/Retica Combo, even getting Retica a level out of the process.
Your Churchs laws were made by selfish humans.
Saying its in the Goddesss name doesnt impress me.
Its really her own fault for forcing the issue.
Video- Stray Lead Out
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I guess you wont see the error of your ways until its too late. I lost, so Ill back down.
But that child will only bring sin and misfortune.
Let me worry about him.
Then I dont have anything left to say
Will you keep moving onward?
We cant turn back until I have finished my journey.
You should know, I met Princess Lenarshe in Besek.
Or rather, she WAS Princess Lenarshe
What do you mean she was Lenarshe?
You wouldnt understand.
Alright, well, Ill keep that in mind.
Take care, Thage.
(I guess some things dont change.)
Good to see her one more time, all in all.
I dont care if youre a human of a heretic.
I am a heretic.
Doomed to live alone, shunned from the world Cursed, impure
Retica, I dont have time for your complaints.
But heretics bring destruction! Thats what everyone says!
I dont think YOUD be able to cause much destruction.
Im not worried about your blood.
Dont ask me any questions right now.
As long as the Oath of Obedience is on you, youre still my servant, dont forget.
There are some important things I need to know about the situation, though.
You knew, huh
You dont disguise your motives well.
A Majin killed my mother.
In the Church of Stag, we believe the Eternal Poison can grant immense power.
And I want that power, to avenge my mother.
If I can find it, nothing else matters.
And where is this Majin you want to kill?
Somewhere in Besek Somewhere thats especially dark and unholy. Somewhere only the most evil Majin live.
(But I dont have much longer )
Theres still a chance well find the Majin youre after.
But this place
I know, I know. I may never find him. Lets keep looking for the Eternal Poison.
Im glad youre thinking straight.
Lets move out.
(I dont have long )
(Ill be dead soon )
(But I have to keep going )
I think I know how to find Reticas friend.
Muse: They say the Third Stratum forces you to give in to the light or the dark!
If it were me, Id go light, cause no one can see you dance in the dark!
But thats just me. You should follow your heart!
I wonder how genuine the Counts concern really is.
Besek has been roaring with activity lately.
The Koona are bringing me regular reports. Theyve been very excited.
Be careful. I should be more saddened if something were to happen to you.
Ares has been getting bored, but I have a feeling the next Stratum will change that.
Ares: I cant stay in one place for too long. Im starting to get a little bored.
I think the sense of adventures gone.
I guess it was fun fighting the Majin
But I may need to get my thrills somewhere else, soon.
I need to figure out what Alexei eats and get some for everyone else.
Alexei: Hm, cheering you on is making me hungry
How about dining with me before you head out?
Im not sure how to break whats going on to Elizabeth.
Elizabeth: Its rare not to hear insults flying from your mouth.
I never insult people. I make logical, well-grounded arguments.
Your friend, Maximilian Izdoul. You know the truth about him, right?
Do you see him often?
Elizabeth: Weve already discussed this. I talk to him quite regularly.
What are you trying to say?
Another time, perhaps
Elizabeth: Fine then
I mean its just awkward. Almost as awkward as trying to get useful information out of Shockburt.
Shockburt: A lovely face like yours shouldnt be so frustrated by the Eternal Poison.
What do they say? Rest and wait for good fortune to come to you?
I cant rest until I get some information.
Shockburt: And thats why youre upset.
So youre sure you didnt hear anything from the Majin in Besek?
Shockburt: Sadly, even an educated gentleman like myself cant understand their words.
Shockburt: But that isnt all youre worried about, is it?
Its none of you concern.
Shockburt: Youre right. We all have our secrets.
Yes, and I wonder what sort of secrets YOURE hiding
Shockburt: Im sorry, but if I told you, they wouldnt be secrets anymore.
Were resting up now to set out to look for the Poison, and hopefully find Reticas Majin while we do so. I suspect itll make itself obvious when the time comes.
- recovered text fragments