The Let's Play Archive

Eternal Poison

by Feinne

Part 58: Valley: Stray Boss: Ashley

Thou 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”

Click For Video

Useless body…! MOVE!
(No, I still have things to do…)

She reacted about as well to Retica as one could expect.

You’re a heretic, right?
I’m sorry, but according to Church law, all heretics must be killed.
I don’t even know who you are!
And wh-where’s your proof that I’m even a heretic? I’m a human.
Why do you have silver hair? Why do you hide your neck behind that scarf?
Look, I don’t know why you’ve come here…
But now that I’ve seen you, I can’t let you leave. The Church of Valdia has strict policies on dealing with heretics.
That’s it!
I’m tired of your narrow-minded Church! I’m tired of the Majin telling me I have cursed blood!
(What do I do? Do I fight her?)
Don’t worry, it’ll al be over real quick.
If you’re going to attack me, don’t 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 boy’s my servant. I own him. You weren’t trying to damage my property, were you?
This heretic’s with you? You’ve gotta be kidding, right?
Is there a problem with my choice of companions?
Thage, you know he’s a heretic, right?
His kind’ll bring misfortune to our world. He needs to be executed!

As though Ashley has any right to judge whether someone is human or not.

I’m a priest! A Protector of the Faith! I swore an oath to do the Goddess’s will!
The Church’s teachings seem to have taken over your sense of reason since the last time I saw you.
Retica is a heretic, but he’s also a human.
He’s no human! His blood is impure!
Prove it, Ashley! Show me he’s not a human!
You don’t mean…?
There’s nothing to be gained from continuing this argument.
So it’s time for us to… fight?
You have a better solution?

Some things can’t be resolved with words.

Video- “Stray”

Click For Video with Commentary

Ally Team:
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.

Enemy Team:
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. Let’s look at the NPC versions of Ashley’s party.

I really wish we could have asshole cheater NPC Glynne instead of the real one we got, he’s pretty beastly here honestly. He’s ‘vulnerable’ to physicals but his crazy high Defense stat means we’re way better off using magic against him. Just watch out for his Crow’s Beak, it’s goddamn devastating.

Here’s Reyna. He’s 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 he’s down to just bow shots. You should really just try to pound him down asap, though, he’s got crazy power for a ranged attacker. Luckily he’s vulnerable to Dark magic, so you’ve always got Malusphere if worst comes to worst.

And here’s Ashley. Ashley has solid defenses, powerful Light magic, and can heal. She’s got a single use of her Punishment special, so be mindful of it. She’s 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, we’re going to deploy down one side so we’re fighting the enemy in small groups. It’s going to work even better this time because Thage pretty much excels in situations like this.

Tactical Objectives:


I don’t want to fight you, Thage. Back down.
Why do I have to repeat myself? I’m not backing down.
If there’s 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. That’s fine, though, because we’ll have massacred anything on this side by then.

Huh? What do you mean?
I’m curious what that means…
Be quiet if you don’t want to end up in this librum.
My apologies.

We start the fun by charging Raki straight into one of the Priests and landing a Bleed on him. This group we’re up against has very limited ability to remove bad status effects, so landing them is always a good strategy against them.

We can’t make exceptions to its laws!
It’s just lies paraded around under the Goddess’s name.
She may exist, but she has no hand in what happens here.
Do you think you’re 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 doesn’t need to be explained. Don’t question it.
If you know anything, I’ll 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 doesn’t get his unique move Steel Roar until a bit later. Dual Attack is pretty nice, though, and I have no complaints.

A heretic’s 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 didn’t realize how well he evades Pierce on this map and he manages to avoid Raki’s bite. Ares then goes for the near Priestess, since she’s a soft target. Ashley wastes a heal on the Bleeding Priest who ran away and is far enough from the party that he isn’t 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 Thage’s physical defenses pay off quite well, and she’s 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 Goddess’s 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 won’t be the one who decides if I live or die!

Ashley’s also getting in on the show, but she can’t 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 he’s 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 aren’t the same, though…

I’m really glad I’ve 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 Crow’s Beak. I’m 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 we’re engaged by a new Priest who will be the last generic we’ll see join the fight this time. Ashley irritates me by killing Irina with a Punishment. But now I’m down two people. And do you know what that means?

Here’s a big advantage of having a huge summon range, I can summon Arkanos to act as a solid wall between Ashley and Thage. Ashley’s 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 Alexei’s 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. She’s 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 must’ve had training from High Priest Leto.

We keep everyone healed up so there’s no nonsense. I have Retica in a great position here, Ashley can’t move out of his line of fire so he’s guaranteed to be able to join a Combo against her.

Does your church enjoy prying into other people’s lives?
You should examine the life you’ve 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 Church’s laws were made by selfish humans.
Saying it’s in the Goddess’s name doesn’t impress me.

Battle Result:

Raki 14->15
Retica 13->14
Alexei 15->16
Yuri 10->11


It’s really her own fault for forcing the issue.

Video- “Stray Lead Out”

Click For Video

I guess you won’t see the error of your ways until it’s too late. I lost, so I’ll back down.
But that child will only bring sin and misfortune.
Let me worry about him.
Then I don’t have anything left to say…
Will you keep moving onward?
We can’t 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 wouldn’t understand.
Alright, well, I’ll keep that in mind.
Take care, Thage.
You too.
(I guess some things don’t change.)

Good to see her one more time, all in all.

I don’t care if you’re a human of a heretic.
I am a heretic.
Doomed to live alone, shunned from the world… Cursed, impure…
Retica, I don’t have time for your complaints.
But heretics bring destruction! That’s what everyone says!
I don’t think YOU’D be able to cause much destruction.
I’m not worried about your blood.
Don’t ask me any questions right now.
As long as the Oath of Obedience is on you, you’re still my servant, don’t forget.

There are some important things I need to know about the situation, though.

You knew, huh…
You don’t 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 that’s especially dark and unholy. Somewhere only the most evil Majin live.
(But… I don’t have much longer…)
There’s still a chance we’ll find the Majin you’re after.
But this place…
I know, I know. I may never find him. Let’s keep looking for the Eternal Poison.
I’m glad you’re thinking straight.
Let’s move out.
(I don’t have long…)
(I’ll be dead soon…)
(But I have to keep going…)

I think I know how to find Retica’s friend.

Muse: They say the Third Stratum forces you to give in to the light or the dark!
If it were me, I’d go light, ‘cause no one can see you dance in the dark!
But that’s just me. You should follow your heart!

I wonder how genuine the Count’s concern really is.

Besek has been roaring with activity lately.
The Koona are bringing me regular reports. They’ve 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 can’t stay in one place for too long. I’m starting to get a little bored.
I think the sense of adventure’s 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?

I’m not sure how to break what’s going on to Elizabeth.

Elizabeth: It’s 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?
Elizabeth: Yes…
Do you see him often?
Elizabeth: We’ve already discussed this. I talk to him quite regularly.
What are you trying to say?
Another time, perhaps…
Elizabeth: Fine then…

I mean it’s just awkward. Almost as awkward as trying to get useful information out of Shockburt.

Not good.
Shockburt: A lovely face like yours shouldn’t be so frustrated by the Eternal Poison.
What do they say? Rest and wait for good fortune to come to you?
I can’t rest until I get some information.
Shockburt: And that’s why you’re upset.
So you’re sure you didn’t hear anything from the Majin in Besek?
Shockburt: Sadly, even an educated gentleman like myself can’t understand their words.
I see.
Shockburt: But that isn’t all you’re worried about, is it?
It’s none of you concern.
Shockburt: You’re right. We all have our secrets.
Yes, and I wonder what sort of secrets YOU’RE hiding…
Shockburt: I’m sorry, but if I told you, they wouldn’t be secrets anymore.

We’re resting up now to set out to look for the Poison, and hopefully find Retica’s Majin while we do so. I suspect it’ll make itself obvious when the time comes.
- recovered text fragments