Part 96: The Power of FafnirUpdate 5: The Power of Fafnir
Now that we passed the Grand Duchy's test, Cass will tell us about quests. (It's the same spiel he gives in Classic Mode.)
Welp, I'll make sure to put 'em up when we got some, so yeh better come back an' accept 'em! Haw haw haw!
Except we can't take any at this point in Story Mode. But Cass does have new talk dialogue for us.
Looks like the world famous Midgard is finally takin' an interest in our grand old Labyrinth. Haw! Good to hear! Guess our Labyrinth is gettin' pretty famous if yeh came all the way out to see it!
We're not here for the Labyrinth.
Huh? Yeh're not? Well... that's a downer... Then again, looking at the two of yeh lanky punks, I'd be against lettin' yeh blunder around in the Labyrinth anyway.
It sure is famous.
Right? Right!? I mean, yeh can only find somethin' rare like this in High Lagaard! ...Whassat? There are other Labyrinths? Well. Fine then. Thanks for ruinin' my little moment.
In Story Mode, there's actually a bar patron we can talk to that isn't in Classic.
Hmm? What's Ginnungagap? Oh, you mean that huge chasm. That's been there for ages. Nobody knows for how long... I remember it being there when I was a child. My grandmother always told me that it's a very important place, so we shouldn't go near it. Why? I'm not really sure. I'm not even sure my grandma knew... It's just the way it's been since the old days. That's just how that place is.
Now let's head out to Ginnungagap.
We've no idea what awaits us within the ruins. Please ensure that you are both well prepared.
Once your preparations are complete, I will guide you to Ginunngagap.
Very well then. Let us be off!
As you move forward, a gaping abyss slowly comes into view...
Whoa... How deep does this thing even go?
As you walk along the ridge of the immense gorge, you spy an ancient ruin built within the crevice, along the cliff face.
You stand stock still before the mysterious man-made edifice at the bottom of the ravine. The temple is so silent that you get the sense it swallows all sound. There is an air of ultimate stillness about it... Though dilapidated from the lack of upkeep, you can tell by the atmosphere here that it is a holy place.
A blue overlay effect appears on the screen.
You note a bizarre voice echoing through the heavy, still air, and look around.
What's wrong, Knight?
May as well tell him the truth.
I thought I heard someone.
Huh? I didn't hear anything...
Maybe it was your ears ringing? We're pretty far down, after all, and it's so quiet here.
You listen closely once more, but the voice is not heard again. The temple in the ravine maintains its eerie silence... Could the sound have been a figment of your imagination? You cock your head and frown, before Arianna speaks.
Well then, Sir Knight. Shall we begin our expedition into the ruins of Ginnungagap?
I'm pretty sure I heard something, and that gives me a bad feeling. Let's get out of here.
Never mind, let's bow out.
Arianna's reaction to your comment is one of perplexity.
Let us... 'bow out,' you say.
The woman pauses for a moment, looking left and right until she spots the bow and arrows on Flavio's back.
Ah! Well put, Sir Knight! You wish for us to draw out our bows and be ready for battle before we embark!
Although... My understanding is that Sir Flavio is the only one among us who wields a bow. Is that correct, Sir Flavio?
Flavio, standing next to Arianna, responds to her bright query.
Well, yes... I mean, mine's been restrung and it's ready to go, but the rest of you carry swords, so...
I mean, that's not important! Knight! We just got here! You can't want to bail out already!
It's bowing out, not bailing out!
...Yeah, okay, we get it. Can you please stop now? We're here to explore this place.
Yes. Sir Flavio already has his bow out, so let us follow his lead, draw our own weapons, and begin our exploration.
With that, the woman takes a step towards the ruins.
I am told that in the depths of these ruins is a place known as the Hall of Sealing. Let us make for there first.
You nod your assent to the woman's suggestion and begin walking into the silence of Ginnungagap.
Screw this, let's leave.
C'mon, we need to find that hall to perform the ritual in.
Fine. Let's just head further in.
A dead end, it seems.
Oh well. Let's try somewhere else.
The guild decides as one to go back to the way you came and continue exploring.
I get into a fight with a Sunflower. They're kind of dangerous, charging up and then hitting your party with a fairly strong Fire attack if you don't dispatch them quickly.
That bizarre sound--or rather, a voice--you heard upon entering is audible again. You stop, trying to pick up on it.
How strange... It sounded as if it might be intelligible words, but you can't hear it clearly. The voice sounds close yet far; low yet high... It leaves you with a very curious sensation.
Let's tell them about the voice.
The woman tilts her head in response to your claim.
I can't recall hearing anything of that nature. What about you, Sir Flavio?
If neither of your guildmates heard the voice, could that sound have been your mind playing tricks on you...? Doubtful though you are that you were hearing things, you say no more and return to exploring the ruins.
You hear that bizarre voice again and stop.
There's no knowing where the voice is coming from, but you are quite certain this time that you heard it. You tell your companions that you heard the bizarre voice again.
Again? If it's happening more than once, that's a little creepy.
But why is it that we hear nothing?
As the three of you stop to discuss this, you sense something odd in yourself.
It's as if your arm has a will and life of its own. You can sense it pulsating...
The sound of footsteps can be heard.
Okay, that one I heard too. Sounded like footsteps...
Might we not be the only explorers present here in Ginnungagap? Perhaps their voices are the ones that Sir Knight heard...
Flavio has a cautious look around the area, but the footsteps have already disappeared, leaving only the suffocating silence. You decide to proceed with caution.
The young man acting as an advance guard signals for the two of you to stop.
Might it be whoever was making those footsteps?
There's no telling. I think it was a pair of people, from the sound of it.
Footsteps are audibly heard.
You listen, and just as the young man says, you can hear two sets of footfalls.
Footsteps are heard again.
Stop right there!
A hoarse, panicked voice is heard from further within, reacting to the young man's sharp tone.
Oh, like you wouldn't freak out if a voice suddenly called out to you from the shadows!
The pair who comes into view before you is a man clad in metal armor and a robed young girl.
Who are you? Identify yourselves!
You're sure on edge. Can't you see we're just two innocent explorers from a dirt-poor guild?
These others are Sir Knight and Sir Flavio, my escorts.
Knight, Arianna, and Flavio, huh? Well, nice to meet you too.
But why are you here? There aren't many who should know of this place.
Why...? Well, you know how it is.
The protector behind the girl smirks flippantly as he continues.
There's tons of good explorers in the forest, and trying to make your fortune in the upper strata isn't easy nowadays.
This place, on the other hand, is pretty empty. So our chances should be better here, right?
You came here instead of the Labyrinth because... there was more profit in it? There's something shady about you, old man.
Trand's not a bad guy. He just says things.
So he's lying!?
Though you are engaged in conversation with the pair before you, their voices slowly become distant to your ears. Instead, the strange voice you have been hearing since entering these ruins returns, its inscrutable words clearer than ever.
The mysterious voice echoing in your mind is now clearly audible.
What about the man behind you? He's acting weird.
Hm? Hey, yeah. Something does seem off about him.
When you come to your senses after the light fades, you find yourself standing someplace unknown to you. It is not where you were a moment ago, and you are here alone. Seeing little other choice, you elect to move onward...
We no longer have our map. And all we can do is just to move down this long hallway.
At the end of the hallway, I turn left to find this door.
Their appearance is obviously monstrous, but strangely enough, you sense no hostility from them. Seeing that you have kept your composure, the figure before you speaks in a high-pitched, artificial-sounding voice.
You will now yield to the pact and gain its power.
This fearsomely powerful art changes a human into a monstrous shape. Proceed with the ritual. When you have passed every trial, you will become a foundation to protect these lands.
And we're back.
He's out of it. It's weird.
Are we getting through to him? He doesn't seem unconscious...
A growl is then heard.
Wh-What was that just now...?
Something's here. It's coming.
That's... not a monster I've seen before.
This isn't gonna go well. Alright, time to run. Right now. Let's move it, folks!
What!? Aren't you a protector!? Why is running away your first plan!?
What's wrong with a protector running away!?
Everything! Is that shield just for show!?
Don't sell me short, kid! Of course it's just for show!
Arianna, look out!
The monster moves to attack.
Sir Knight!? Sir Knight's appearance... It's...
It can't be...
Yeah, it's me.
Video: Mercenary Boar
I hate to do this to you, but taking screenshots of battles will be a huge pain with the way I'm handling things. So unfortunately, any major battles are gonna be video only. I'll be skipping to the aftermath in screenshot form, though.
But your two companions, having seen your transformation, rush to your side, clearly agitated.
Sir Knight! Are you all right!?
I don't know what happened.
Wondering what could have caused such fright in her, you look for yourself...
The arm is no longer the one you've known your whole life. It has become something twisted and grotesque...! When combined with what happened to you in the battle, something is clearly and dreadfully amiss... As you stare at your arm in shock, Arianna speaks up.
Sir Knight... W-We must get you to a doctor at once! Your arm, and that strange form you took earlier... I fear that you may be horribly ill!
I know diseases. Ones that cause physical changes are rare. I'm intrigued...
With that, the black-robed girl sits beside you and examines your right arm with great interest.
I-Is all going to be well?
I don't know. I've never seen a phenomenon like this.
The girl looks you in the eyes before continuing.
Mr. Sword, do you feel pain anywhere? Have you ever undergone a transformation like this before?
You decline to answer, when something strange suddenly tugs at your mind. If feels a bit like deja vu... as if you've known this condition before... Your closest friend, who had been watching you lose yourself in though, sighs and stares at your arm.
It's just like that day...
The young man breaks his stare and looks at the ground, muttering to himself. While the princess frets and your friend looks away, the black-robed girl touches your arm and offers her opinion.
These claws are hard and sharp. They're not human. I don't think you're sick... It's some kind of power emerging. I don't know what the power is. But it must have been triggered by something that happened to you after coming here.
The girl looks at you expectantly.
I heard a voice.
You tell the others that you heard a voice, and were granted the power of Fafnir after obeying it.
A voice and a power... My duty was to travel here and perform a ritual. But the details of that ritual have long been lost to history... I suspect that the change which took place in Sir Knight is related to these ruins and my ritual.
...Did you just say, 'ritual'?
Yes. I am the daughter of the Duke of Caledonia, sent to undertake the ritual which must occur every hundred years. For it, I had to come here to Ginnuungagap in person, and so I requested Sir Flavio and Sir Knight as escorts.
I see... And you're fine telling us this straight out? We only just met.
Ha... You may not think it of me, but I am quite a shrewd judge of character.
Oh dear... You don't have an ounce of guile in you, do you.
I understand. Instead of trying to figure this out, we should explore on ahead.
Knight's arm is all twisted up, and you're saying not to worry about it?
I would prefer that our fears for Sir Knight be assuaged first, but...
Though your twisted arm was shocking to look upon at first, you don't feel in ill health otherwise. Exploring further may shed light on your condition as well as fulfill Arianna's goals...
I mean the arm is kinda freaky, but other than that...
B-But... are you certain? Please do not overburden yourself on my account...
Despite the woman's concern, you assure her that you are fine, and she relaxes somewhat.
Of course. Well then, let us trust that the cause of this phenomenon will be revealed further within.
You all agree to Arianna's decision and decide to check out the rest of this area.
As you search for a way to proceed, you come across a steep precipice. Before you spreads a moat, whose water is much too deep to step into.
Ah! Look over there!
You look at where Arianna is pointing and spot another path on the far side.
If we can reach there, perhaps it might lead deeper into Ginnungagap?
The joy in Arianna's voice indicates she believes it to be a great discovery, but Chloe calmly rebuts her.
How do we get across?
Hm? Ah... True, we cannot cross to the other side from here.
As Arianna's enthusiasm deflates, you feel another set of eyes staring at you. You turn to find the knight Bertrand looking at you and Arianna, as if wanting to say something.
...Is something on your mind?
When you put the question to Bertrand, who had been staring at you, he is startled for a moment before shaking his head.
No... I was just looking at you folks because you reminded me a little of people I used to know.
Offering these words as an excuse, the man shifts his eyes away from yours.
Ruins like these have plenty of ways to deal with intruders. Our problem right here must involve one of them.
Essentially, then... Er, hm, what was your meaning there?
I'm saying there might be a device someplace that'd turn that lowered walkway into a bridge.
Lowered walkway...? What bridge?
You, Flavio, and Arianna all look down after hearing the armored man's words.
Lo and behold, there is what appears to be a walkway just above the water, which stretches across to the other side.
How do you know this?
Well, I can't prove it or anything. I just mentioned it because it seemed likely.
I see... Do you mean this?
Your friend had been searching as he listened to the conversation, and now flips over a tile to reveal some sort of device. The device has a lever attached, which Flavio pulls.
One of the bridge pieces moves up.
Another bridge piece moves up, but stops halfway.
Oh, come on! It was going so well!
Well, it's an old mechanism. It could be broken, for all we know.
No...! We cannot brook a malfunction!
Easy there, kid... You should be happy we found the device. If it's broken, then we just need to fix it, that's all.
Y'know, the other day, I was talking to this weird guard at the bar in town. Strange guy. He talked my ear off about all kinds of bridges. Old ones, metal ones... He just wouldn't shut up on the subject. If anyone would know a way to fix up the mechanism here, it's him.
You could have started with that.
Yeah, yeah, sorry.
Come now, Sir Knight. He told us in the end, and that's what matters.
Thank you for telling us of this, Sir Bertrand. You've been most helpful.
Nothing to thank me for.
Although, if you HAVE to, I'd prefer to be thanked in rewards, not words.
Rewards, you say...?
Yep. Cash, jewels... this old man isn't picky.
What...? U-Um... Wh-What should I do? I'm far from my homeland, and didn't think to bring much money...
I'd rather have food.
The princess seems so nonplussed by their demands that you feel compelled to step in on her behalf.
Enough. Let's find this guard.
Deducing from the knight's tone that he isn't being serious, you suggest you all go search for this guard.
Yeah, you're right. Let's stop teasing this poor sheltered girl and hurry back to town.
The group resolves to return to High Lagaard in order to meet with this expert on bridges.
Let's take a look at our newest party members.
Bertrand and Chloe already come with a few skills. Bertrand is a Protector, and his job is to protect our party and reduce the damage they take. I don't suggest reclassing him. At all. A few fights are actually designed around having a Protector, so you'll just cripple your party if you do. His Force Boost is Shield Protect. What it does is when Bertrand casts a Guard skill, anyone who's covered by the skill will have any damage they take reduced by 50%. Sounds great, except the Guard skills already reduce damage enough on their own. And it might cause you to not have Perfect Defense available when you really need it. Speaking of which, Perfect Defense is one of the best defensive skills in the game, as it prevents your party from taking any damage for the turn. However, it can't block stuff like Ailments, binds, or debuffs, unless they were a secondary effect of a damage skill.
Chloe is a War Magus. She is a combination of a healer, support, and damage dealer. So she's kind of a jack of all trades sort of character. She's pretty good at all of them, though. In fact, she's actually one of our best damage dealers in the party. She can dish out damage on par with Knight in some circumstances. But as the game goes on, she's better off used as a support. Not because her damage falls off, her best damage skill still hits like a truck in the late and post-game. It's because at those points, her support skills are far more valuable than her offensive ones. Her Force Boost, War Edge Mastery, enables her War Edge skills to inflict their secondary effects on enemies that don't have ailments. (Otherwise, the secondary effects don't kick in.) Her Force Break, Fairy's Robe protects the entire party from ailments, binds, instant death, and debuffs for the turn. However, it doesn't work against skills that dispel buffs. It's pretty powerful, and Chloe's a really good party member.
And I guess I should talk a little more about Knight, now that he finally has his Force skills. Transform is the class' central gimmick. Knight isn't too much to talk about in his base form, but once he Transforms, he's completely healed, his max HP is doubled, and his damage output gains a 50% boost. He also gets access to several skills that he can't use in his base form. His Force Break, Ignition Ray, hits a single enemy with composite Fire+Ice+Volt damage. The damage on that scales with levels. Also after that fight with the Mercenary Boar, his battle sprite replaces his right glove with that metal gauntlet.
Ragnar didn't talk about this enemy much in his Classic playthrough, but these guys are kind of dangerous to a Story Mode party. Especially if you encounter them before running into Bertrand and Chloe, as their physical attacks hit hard at this point.
Anyways, we can't proceed further into Ginnungagap thanks to a broken bridge, so we need to leave.
Well... last I talked to him at the bar, he said he was working as a guard for the Grand Duchy. His name was Brucke. Don't think he told me exactly what location he was assigned to, though.
Then perhaps it would be best if we asked the Minister. If we know his name, perhaps we can find out where he is posted.
Ngh, the Duke's Palace...? Every time we have to go there, I'm a nervous wreck...
Actually... we were unable to proceed. There was a bridge within Ginnungagap that we were unable to move...
What!? To think that your way forward would be blocked, thusly...
Pardon me, but we've heard that there is someone very knowledgeable about bridges among the guard. I believe it was a guard named Brucke. Could we ask to meet with him? We would like to ask for his advice.
Ah, of course. I will have someone send for him at once. Please wait a little while.
Is something the matter?
Well, you see... it seems your timing was rather unfortunate. The guard in question has just left for the Labyrinth. He's on patrol duty at the moment. I'm afraid I can't say for certain when he'll be back. Patrol duty has been known to take quite some time.
Can't you call him back?
If only I could. Anyone in the Labyrinth is often hard to contact by conventional means. ...If you are in a hurry, perhaps it would be faster if you pursued him yourselves?
Us, enter the Labyrinth...?
As I recall, the guard in question is patrolling the lower levels of the first stratum. It seems you have the aid of the two from Midgard, and it appears as though the other two are rather skilled as well. There should be no problem. If you so desire, I can even make arrangements so that you will receive aid from us.
A hand from the Grand Duchy, eh... Doesn't sound like a bad idea.
B-Bertrand...! He's right in front of us!
Minister Dubois, I am truly grateful for all your help... I will gladly accept this kind offer.
Do not worry. It is no trouble to me at all. Now then, I merely have to register you as a guild of this country. What should I mark down as your guild name?
A... guild name?
Sir Knight, would you choose one for us?
Well? What will our guild name be?