Ah, 9, a chapter of many firsts. Its the first Fog of War chapter (sort of, more on that later). Its the first level with a promoted enemy. And its the first with a boss who very definitely does not deserve for Lyn and company to leave him in a pool of his own blood.
Eliwood, a shrewd diplomat, saves Lyn and her merry band by convincing all the local Lycian cities to remain neutral instead of helping Lundgren. As part of the agreement, he cant help her directly, but he doesnt need to now since Lundgren doesnt have many loyal forces available. So Lyn hurries back to Caelin, passing through the fief of one General Eagler. Lundgrens machinations force Eagler to try to stop them, at the cost of his own life, even though he knows them to be innocent of the charges leveled against them. Lundgren has also sent another old Caelin officer to capture Lyn, apparently counting on the mans stubbornness and tendency to strike first and ask questions never, but this one turns his coat and joins her cause, sealing Lundgrens defeat.
This may be the first time we hear Eliwoods lovely leitmotif, One Heart. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQp7ekauEGc
AND THEN ELDERLY GENERALS ATTACKED
Wallace ambushes the group and says hes there to capture Lyn. The cloud of testosterone as Kent, Sain, and Wallace all bluster at each other becomes so thick as to cover the map in Fog of War.
A pair of guys like Sain and Wallace would probably have gone on for most of an hour boasting about how the other has no chance if Lyn hadnt interrupted them.
And he likes her eyes so he joins up.
Battle Preparations & The Map
There isnt actually much to do in the way of preparations. I leave all my junk units behind except for Kent. You see, Eagler has some unique dialogue if he attacks Kent which Id like to see.
Count em up, only 5 enemies + the boss on this map. As you would expect, its not that simple. Youll fight approximately 20 reinforcements coming out of the various forts. That forts are possible enemy spawnpoints is a consideration to bear in mind for the rest of the game.
The only other complication is that a couple of turns in, fog settles in and cloaks the map. On this level that doesnt really hurt much since theres so few enemies and you know where theyre coming from, but it will be more of a problem later on.
Ha ha ha haaaa! Look! A giant walks among you!! My defense is impenetrable! Come! Break your weapons against me! Wallace, Chapter 9 Normal Mode Only
The first character to join the group in a long while and the last in Lyns story, Wallace basically just joins up to be a living example of the power of promoted units for new players going through on Normal difficulty. An old general of Caelins rather pathetic army, hed retired and become a farmer until this crisis began and Lundgren called him back to service.
Hes loud, proud, and has vowed to put down the plow till the enemies of Caelin are broken and cowed.
Honestly Im surprised he doesnt talk in all caps. There isnt much to him other than loudly boasting about his combat skill and laughing uproariously at his boasts about his combat skill. His reason for joining your group is stupid, his reason for doing pretty much everything else is stupid, he apparently is so dumb that he wanders into the wrong country every time he tries to travel anywhere, and he more or less pops up for no reason and hijacks the spotlight as often as he can. Im not really fond of him.
Wallace basically doesnt exist. He joins at the very end of Lyns story, then vanishes until very late in Eliwood or Hectors story. Or possibly hes never seen again. If you take the route Im going for, hes never seen again. Statistically he actually shapes up decently compared to Oswin of the same level, but is slightly worse overall. Inferior stats + greatly inferior availability means hes terrible compared to Oswin. And Im not, honestly, that fond of Oswin anyway.
Go Go quickly Please for the marquess for all of Caelin. General Eagler, Chapter 9
Kent and Sains teacher and a man both of them respect, Eagler is the general of Caelins forces. The people of his fiefdom are quite fond of him and its made clear that the only reason hes fighting you is that Lundgren has some of his friends or family hostage. Sadly, we never find out just who those people were or whether Lundgren actually left them alive or not. Its clear that Lundgren had a spy watching Eagler even during the fight since he makes sure to loudly repeat that he will not let you pass and that youre definitely just pretenders to the throne. Lyn, apparently, does not even consider just taking some different route into Caelin and sparing this poor man. As Ive said before, she really has no qualms about killing people under any circumstances as long as its convenient for her.
General Eagler is the first promoted enemy you fight and he is BAD. This guys stats are nearly as terrible as Jeigans in FE1. Worse in some ways. His only real asset is fairly solid defense, but youve been fighting lots of Knights and the strategies that work on them work on him. The game wants you to crush him with Wallace, but you can just as easily run him over with a decent level Lyn or Sain or Kent as long as you trick him into equipping the wrong weapon before you attack.
First things first, got to visit that village and grab the torch. Torches are excellent items in real fog of war chapters, but Ill talk about that when I have a real fog of war chapter to deal with. More importantly for me, theyre worth 100 gold per use, so I am NOT using this one.
Remember the conversations about why the commoners arent taking down Lundgren in the last chapter and how Kent explained its because theyre afraid? Now that you guys are actually here and its clear you have an actual chance, they start handing you gifts and wishing you luck taking Lundgren down left and right. It reminds me of something Boromir said, Valour needs first strength, and then a weapon. The commoners arent cowards, but they know they dont have the means to fight Lundgren on their own. But when the means to get rid of him are presented in the form of Lyns company, they show their courage by risking his reprisals to help out.
This is just so often the way things really are, you know?
With that, the battle is joined.
Lyn nets another excellent level. Shes turned out quite well. Its a shame I wont be able to use her much in Hector mode.
While Lyn holds the south against the swarms of Brigands, Sain does a quick raid against the enemies I can see up north before the fog sets in. As you can see, fog of war does not hide terrain but it does conceal enemies. For example, there is a soldier 4 squares to Sains left, but he doesnt appear on the map at the moment because Sains vision range is only 3 squares.
People get into their defensive positions to hold the line till the reinforcements stop. Lyns Mani Katti is running low, but by my calculations she will probably take down every reinforcement with one use of it left.
Youll note I dont do things like try to block off the chokepoints and whatnot because first there arent really many good ones on this map and second theres no need. Enemies will always attack people in range this turn, never charge past them in hopes of hitting someone weaker next turn. So I just keep Lyn and Sain well away from the people I dont want fighting and the AI does my defensive walling for me.
Solid and much less crazy. Sain killed a LOT of guys to get that level.
He just finished killing something like 4 guys last turn alone and there are still plenty more. This from a map where there were only 5 starting enemies.
Alright, well the sword of legend is broken and unusable, but it served its purpose. I killed a lot of enemies with it and since it was free, that means I saved something on the order of 500 gold with it. And Lyn got to decent level
The enemy reinforcements destroyed, I start advancing and Sain visits that house you might have noticed. The villagers sadly comment that Eagler is a good man and doesnt really support Lundgren.
Because of Lyn, mostly. We could have just gone around Eaglers estate. And Kent and Sain I guess, they could have just suggested a different route to begin with.
Wallace joins with some solid gear including a Knight Crest. This is the only promotion item in Lyns story and the first weve seen. For those who dont know how this works, every unit in FE7 can get to up to level 20 in its class. (Almost) every class has an item which allows those units to promote, instantly becoming significantly stronger and gaining the ability to get to level 20 in their new class. So ultimately a unit could gain as many as 38 levels (start at level 1, rise to level 20, promote to level 1 of better class, then rise to level 20). Units who have done this are generally referred to as level 20/20. Youre allowed to promote a unit as early as level 10 in its base class, but doing so is often a bad idea because thats 10 fewer total levels you can gain, so your final stats will inevitably be lower.
Most later titles let you promote units much more flexibly. In FE9, for example, your units promoted automatically when they got beyond level 20 in their base class. In Awakening you could promote and demote your units pretty freely and even have them change class to a completely different sort of unit and level up as one of those.
Im generally fondest of 6, 7, and 8s system though. If anything, I think 7 was too generous and they should have given you fewer promotion items over the course of the story. Limited promotion items of any given type made you make interesting choices. That required strategic thinking.
Holy cow, I thought the level was over but suddenly a brigand jumps out of the fog and attacks Nils while every else is far away.
A rescue drop of Sain solves the problem quickly enough. Its a good thing Nils dodges so well.
As I mentioned, Eagler is the first boss to have unique dialogue with different characters. Some of these are really good stuff. Unfortunately, you cant discover most such dialogue on most runs because it only comes up when you fight the boss and chances are not all of the characters with special dialogue are strong enough to survive a round of fighting. Eagler is so weak that thats not a problem though.
Here he kind of implies in his conversation with Kent that if the two of them had just thought to bring something that proves Lyn is who she says she is, this whole disaster would have been prevented. Oops.
Sain has much less patience than Kent and just points out that he and his friend were only doing what the true Marquess told them to.
And his generic line of dialogue for people he doesnt know.
It took Sain 5 rounds to kill Eagler. They just kept missing each other repeatedly
No words to describe it. They should have sent a poet. So beautiful.
Yeah, NOW she asks about that.
And Sain and Kent explain that he was their friend and teacher and Lundgren must have been twisting his arm. Lyn rightly becomes angry with Lundgren for doing something so vile, but doesnt even stop to consider that she could have just not had the man killed.
And thats the level! Now for one last enemy cutscene.
Lundgren doesnt know that his neighbors are not going to send troops and that Wallace has changed sides, so hes sure Lyn is finally done for and decides to reveal the truth to his dying brother.
And while hes admitting to murder, attempted murder, and treason he decides to throw in some petty insults too!
There must be some sort of unpleasant history between these two, but sadly we never really learn it because Lundgren only has one level left to live.