The Let's Play Archive

Fire Emblem: Blazing Sword

by Melth

Part 24: Chapter 19 and The War Room Part 19 (Choosing Between Alternate Chapters)

Here we go! Since at least chapter 17 we’ve been hearing about Valor, also known as the Dread Isle. The place has such a sinister reputation that only a half-mad pirate captain is willing to sail to it for any price and no one is known to have ever braved its unknown dangers and survived.

One of the things I rather like about this game is that the reason Valor is so dread is a mystery never fully explained. Yes, at the moment it’s occupied by the Black Fang, but they won’t have been there for more than a year. No one in living memory has returned from it, so there must be some other danger lurking on it- possibly besides Nergal and whatever minions he had before the Black Fang. Even during the Scouring it was already covered in strange ruins and the place is associated in some way with dark magic because the two greatest dark wizards in history gained their power there.
One gets the impression that Black Fang members are always going missing around here, never to be seen again.

The creepy, forlorn background art, ominous music, altered color scheme, fog and night levels everywhere, the fear and trepidation expressed by even people like Hector, and the presence of several mysteries never fully explained as well as numerous others first time players will be trying to solve really evoke a sinister atmosphere quite well.

There’s no doubt that Valor was a huge influence on me and my writing and my tendency to GM dark fantasy and horror games and I regard the Pirate ship to Dragon’s Gate section of the game as one of my favorites.

Chapter Summary:
Hector and company have arrived at the fog-shrouded and densely forested Dread Isle, now with a confused Ninian in tow. Fargus bids them farewell and pledges to wait up to 2 weeks for them to return, sending one of his crewmen with them. As they enter the misty forests, no one knows what to expect. The first person they come across is Leila- dead and left for them to find. Moments later a Black Fang named Uhai and his men spring from ambush, warning Hector and Eliwood that even if they can defeat him, they have no chance against Nergal’s unimaginable power. It’s Nergal! And his awesome musical theme! This is the first we’ve seen of him- in fact, it wasn’t even certain clear for a while that he was a person rather than a place. Ostia’s spy network knows nothing about him- no one has even seen him- even though his sinister and possibly inhuman minions have been everywhere and have even seized control of the most dangerous organization in Elibe.

Holy cow, dragons? This is the first mention of dragons period in Hector’s story and in Eliwood’s story it’s the first since the opening narration explained that the 8 legends defeated them a thousand years ago.
Suddenly the plot is not just about a boy trying to rescue his father anymore.

(Hearkening back to my exposé after chapter 14, this conversation makes it 100% clear that Elbert is not and has never been in favor of Darin’s little Nergal-backed rebellion).

And here’s our first glimpse of Ephidel under that hood! This chapter really reveals a lot of secrets, but it raises far more questions than it answers. Also it’s revealed that Nergal has no respect for Darin and no use for him now but to send him into combat against Eliwood. Afterall, a certain idiot threw away his armies and his realm and his status. Now he’s not good for anything but maybe fighting as one of Nergals’s many, many warriors.

Nergal REALLY loves mocking his enemies and explaining to them just how thoroughly he’s defeated them. And he’s pretty much always right. This time he explains to Elbert that Elbert having freed Ninian and Nils was for nothing because Eliwood is unknowingly bringing Ninian right back. Now he’s going to kill Elbert’s son and undo all Elbert’s work at once.

Well that sounds ominous. Also I love Nergal’s smug smirk. He does that a lot.

Leila has been eavesdropping and now hurries to tell Hector all she’s learned.

And Ephidel noticed her. Or, more likely, Jaffar did and informed Ephidel since Jaffar is about to reveal he’s been right behind her.

And also in front of her at once. There are a lot of critical animations that involve people making duplicates or illusions of themselves somehow. I’m not really sure how we’re supposed to interpret that.

See this time we knew what happened because they used their rather good combat animations to show us the action rather than having the sprites on the map just slide around. Why they didn’t do something like this for several other such scenes I’m not sure.

Also look at that architecture. The Dragon’s Gate is a weird and scary place full of giant green torches, statues dozens of times bigger than people, glowing green stone, and bottomless abysses.

At first glance, this really looks like a rare moment of Ephidel succeeding at something, but stop and think about it:
He just found out Leila had been eavesdropping. So he had her killed by someone actually competent (at least he didn’t try to stab her himself or she’d still be with us today). But wait! He forgot the part where he’s supposed to find out who the heck she really is and who she’s working for- and whether there are any other traitors in his organization. It’s only several chapters later that Hector reveals to Ephidel that she was an Ostian spy! At this moment he has no idea. He also doesn’t consider the implications: he’s been allowing this woman who was secretly a traitor to be privy to all kinds of secrets and special missions completely unsupervised. There’s no telling what kind of things she could have done to sabotage their plans- like leaving Marquess Hausen alive for one example- or how often she possibly listened in on these secret conversations before and reported them to her superiors.

By immediately having her killed instead of interrogated, he ensures he never finds out any of this potentially critical information, doesn’t know what his enemies know, and doesn’t find out about any other spies or traitors in their midst.

Furthermore, by telling Jaffar to drag the corpse out for Eliwood to find as a ‘warning,’ he accomplishes nothing or less than nothing. First of all, he doesn’t even know she’s connected with Eliwood’s group. She could have been, say, a spy for Bern. Or actually just working for some old Black Fang members who don’t like the way Nergal has taken over. In which case leaving her for Eliwood to find doesn’t really even send them a clear message. But it’s worse than that: other Fangs are surely going to see the body being dragged halfway across the isle so news will get out that Leila was found to be a traitor. Besides potentially causing morale problems, this also warns anyone she was working with that Ephidel could be looking for them and thus gives them a chance to hide or escape. Plus if Leila IS working with Hector or Eliwood, then Ephidel is needlessly tipping his hand here by revealing both that they found her and that they know Eliwood is coming.

Who’s really the fool here, Ephidel?

So, after they land, Hector finds Leila. Evidently Jaffar propped her up against a tree or something since they don’t realize she’s dead immediately. This is potentially another moment where it would have been better if we didn’t see the previous scene with Ephidel having found her out.

Agh. It’s the most heartrending scene in the game. And everything Matthew says is just perfect. You can just hear his voice cracking as he tries to keep up his cheery demeanor. And no one knows what to say to him.

The others leave him alone to bury his love. One gets the impression that respect for the dead and not posing them like mannequins for their friends to find is a big thing in Sacaean culture.

And check out that background.

Lyn’s been taken hostage! Here’s our introduction to Uhai, who Eliwood will spend the rest of the story lauding for his honor and decency. Having let Jaffar leave Leila posed for everyone to find, he charges out of the fog, grabs Lyn by surprise, and threatens to murder her if the others don’t hand over the girl he’s been sent to abduct.
Truly, Uhai is a consummate gentleman and a credit to his organization.

Pherae doesn’t negotiate with terrorists! Lyn never seems mad at Eliwood later for having refused to hand Ninian over and thereby put her life at risk. She’s quite brave. It also probably helps that Eliwood shows equal or greater courage when he himself is in a similar situation later on.

Evidently Uhai realized that Eliwood really was not going to hand Ninian over so he’d have had nothing to gain from following through on his threat instead of just having his men attack them all from ambush.

He warns them to just leave Ninian and flee because even if they defeat him, they cannot even comprehend- let alone hope to stand against, Nergal’s overwhelming power. Eliwood insists on fighting on even though he admits they don’t know what they’re up against.

So true. Some might argue that taking someone hostage before battle and threatening to kill her to coerce her friends into doing what you want is also shameful, but apparently Uhai doesn’t believe that.
In any case, he releases Lyn so he can kill her in battle with the rest of them and seize Ninian by force, as any good person would do.

The War Room, Part 19

So as many of you already know, there are 2 chapters in this game which have 2 alternate versions: Four Fanged Offense (Chapter 24 of Hector’s Story) and Pale Flower of Darkness (Chapter 27 of Hector’s Story). The map, the enemies, and the time limits and treasure and everything are completely different, so if you’re serious about max ranking, you should figure out which ones you want to do early. This chapter here is probably your last chance to change your mind and start preparing to do a different one.

The easy version of Four Fanged Offense to get is a small, fog-shrouded map where you fight Lloyd and can recruit Wallace.

The harder to get version is bigger, has no fog, and has Linus as the boss and Geitz as a recruitable ally instead. You get this version if the sum of your lords’ levels is 50 or higher.

Linus’s version has a much, much larger turn allotment than Lloyd’s and also has slightly more treasure relative to its funds requirement as well as treasure that’s far easier to acquire. Having no fog also makes it easier to strategize.

On the other hand, Lloyd’s level is easy to complete in just a turn or two if you don’t care about XP or treasure or recruitment, potentially allowing a bigger turns savings even though the budget is far smaller. Further, training all your lords so heavily to unlock Linus’s version can be a tall order on HHM and could potentially cost you turns here or there over the course of the story leading up to that chapter.

All in all, I think Linus’s chapter is the superior of the two. For one thing, using the lords heavily helps boost your XP score and none of them is good enough that you can skimp on training them early and then expect to be able to start using them late in the game. Plus Lyn can easily be pumped 8 or so levels in her own story, so all in all the ‘cost’ of getting Linus’s level isn’t as bad as it looks. For another, the only way to save serious time on Lloyd’s story involves sacrificing way too much funds and XP to be worth it. Linus’s level lets you save major time while still harvesting lots of XP and getting all the treasure and is a much easier level due to the lack of fog.

The easier version of Pale Flower of Darkness to get on a max ranking run is probably Kenneth’s, which is a relatively simple map consisting largely of a snowy exterior and one huge building. It involves taking heavy fire from annoying long ranged magic. You get this if the total XP gained by Serra + Priscilla + Erk + Lucius is > that gained by Dorcas + Bartre + Guy + Raven. Only post-Lyn’s story XP counts.
The harder one to get is Jerme’s, which is a much more complex map of numerous small buildings which have to be unlocked to see into them while outside the snow turns on and off.

While nearly everyone agrees that Linus’s level is > Lloyd’s for max ranking, people are much less sure about Kenneth’s vs Jerme’s. I’m not entirely sure myself since it’s been a long time since I saw either on HHM, but I crunched the numbers on turn allotment and treasure required and treasure available and noticed the following:
Kenneth’s level has more assets available than Jerme’s, but some of those assets are significantly harder to get and even if you get absolutely everything, it doesn’t actually make up for Kenneth’s level having a higher funds requirement.
Additionally, Harken is far easier to get on Jerme’s version of the level and is absolutely, without a doubt better for max ranking than Karel. Getting him on Kenneth’s level will require deliberately playing badly and wasting many turns doing little, despite having a lower turn budget than on Jerme’s level.

I also consider Jerme’s level to be both easier and more interesting. All told, it looks superior to Kenneth’s to me.
But unlocking it comes at a hefty price. Of the units you must train to unlock it, only Raven is actually great. Guy is mediocre at best. Bartre is horrid early game and decent late game. Dorcas is decent early game and horrid late game. Of those required for Kenneth’s level, Serra and Priscilla are both absolutely mandatory to some degree. Erk and Lucius are both good.

I consider Jerme’s level itself to be better than Kenneth’s for max ranking HHM and the numbers back me up pretty solidly. The question is whether it’s enough better to be worth the serious cost of pumping levels into worthless units like Dorcas and bad ones like Bartre and Guy and not using Erk and Lucius much. And that I’m not sure about. I’m going to go for it though.

Battle Preparations & The Map

It’s a fog chapter! I ran Matthew onto the middle with a torch right away to reveal as much of it as possible to make this map picture, but there’s still a lot unseen. As usual, FoW chapters are pretty luck-based and have a lot of trial and error to them. At least this time it seems thematically appropriate…

Units Allowed: 12 + Dart
Units Benched: Lucius (As I mentioned in the War Room, I want to do Jerme’s level instead of Kenneth’s later in the story. That requires not using Lucius much even though he’s very good).
Units Added: Eliwood (His rapier is effective against many enemies here and I need to train him hard to get him ready for unlocking Linus’s chapter), Lyn (Ditto), Lowen (Serious movement is beneficial here and he can fight effectively against Pegasus knights, pirates, AND nomads- just not all 3 at once), Guy (I need to use him a lot to unlock Jerme’s level instead of Kenneth’s and he’s at least capable of fighting the pirate reinforcements decently), Serra (It’s a big map and I need to split the party, so 2 healers will be needed)
Useful Units Rejetecd: Erk (Again, I need to stop using him for a while to unlock Jerme’s chapter)
Objective: Kill Uhai (He’s in the bottom right area)
Secondary Objective: Recruit Fiora (Flies in at the beginning of turn 3) with Florina
Secondary Objective: Kill the runaway enemy thief for his Torch staff
Secondary Objective: Win within like 20 turns or something to unlock 19x
Reinforcements:Due to fog it’s hard to be entirely sure, but I believe there’s a pirate spawned in the top left ocean, a Pegasus knight spawned on the top right ocean, and possibly a nomad somewhere in the bottom right woods on every turn from 2 or so to at least 6.
Turns Allowed: 10

You know, this chapter isn’t actually that difficult- except the fog and related nonsense almost guarantees at least one guess-and-check restart. There really aren’t a lot of tricky objectives to accomplish, no items to steal or anything like there are in the Eliwood’s story version. You just need to make sure the thief is killed before he runs off the right side somewhere. The reinforcements are more a nuisance than a threat. And they actually let you bring a ton of units for once!

All in all it’s an easy chapter except for the fog and the short time limit. You just need to thin out the huge enemy standing forces a bit and then the rest will collapse.

I lost my first attempt on turn 1 because there turned out to be a huge flock of Pegasus knights on the top right of the screen and they killed Raven when he didn’t dodge any of them. This is just one of those things it’s impossible to know while you’re deploying. And since the smart move is to move Matthew toward the center, you won’t find it out before moving your top right units either. Oh well. There’s another nasty surprise in the bottom left- arguably even more devious because half of those Pegasus knights fly out early and thereby make you think there’s none left, but the other half will wait for someone to walk in range- but I happened to put Hector in their range rather than someone more vulnerable, so they were no problem for me.

I re-thought this formation quite a few times . It was tempting to put Florina in the bottom right spot because from that position she can one-round kill the enemy thief before he has a chance to escape if you have Matthew use his torch to reveal him. However, she’s far too likely to then be killed so I didn’t do that.
This was what I went with on my first attempt. Lyn, Matthew, and Sain pushed through the middle while Raven and Serra and Dart looped through the top right and everyone else but Guy took on the main enemy force to the south while Guy killed the pirate reinforcements.

This is what I went with on my second, successful attempt. Finding out about the Pegasus knights to the top right meant I needed to have Lowen go there instead of Raven and also take my time on that side. Raven instead took the bottom side and I had Dart join in the middle area fight.

Canas’s and Florina’s positions are the only ones that let me efficiently occupy the southern forts to defend myself on the first turn. Sain is in reach of the snag he needs to attack but not so close that slower units are pushed back too far to reach the middle island. The others are just pushed as close to the area they’re going to as is feasible.

Everyone who can use a javelin or handaxe has one as usual, and Sain has been given the horseslayer while Raven gets the longsword and nearly everyone has a vulnerary now since I’ve been conserving those pretty well. Giving the horseslayer to Florina might also have been a good option, but I wasn’t sure how easily Sain could take on Uhai without it. Plus it would slow her too much to often be worth it.

Lyn has been given an iron axe and Florina a spare iron lance to pass on to Dart and Fiora.

One of the pre-battle comments that’s actually meaningful, Matthew explains that Leila wouldn’t want him to spend his time mourning her when Hector needs his help. He’ll bury her when they’re done with Uhai.

I really like Matthew and this level is one of the main reasons, as I’ve said before.

The Characters:

“I’m here, Captain! Ready to serve!” -Dart, Chapter 18

One of Fargus’s braver but weaker pirates, Dart is extremely loyal to his captain. This turns out to be because Fargus defied tradition to save his life and took him in a couple of years ago when he had no idea who he was after winding up half dead on the docks of Badon with amnesia.
Secretly, he’s Rebecca’s long-lost brother Dan who left to find adventure with Wil. They parted in Badon and never ran into each other again till now. He’s lost his memory and doesn’t recognize either of them, but they figure out it’s him in their supports. He spends most of his time trying to be a ferocious pirate and intimidating no one or getting outsmarted by people. I suspect brain damage.
Kind of like Sain he’s a semi-joke character, but has enough serious moments that I think he’s well-done overall. And it’s interesting to try to find out the truth about him. But he has a lot less personality to him than Sain so he’s not really as fun.

Dart is one of the best units in the game, but he’s completely un-usable in a max ranking run. He starts off fairly weak but easy enough to start training, and then he grows amazingly. He has, bar none, the best Strength growth in the game and an absolutely staggering 60% speed growth. That’s more than myrmidons like Karel. And though his HP growth is poor for an axe user, his base is so enormous that that doesn’t matter. The only stats he really lacks badly are skill and resistance, but those are really unimportant.
Further, the Berserker class is pretty much indisputably the best infantry class in the game. Dart winds up able to cross rivers and oceans with ease as well as mountains with only moderate difficulty. And only berserkers can traverse peaks at all. They get to use axes, which are probably the best late game weapon, and they even get a nice +15 crit rate bonus, same as swordmasters. But whereas swordmaster crit damage is just ok, a berserker getting a critical is instant death.
Dart even has decent out of combat utility courtesy of solid Con combined with being able to move easily over terrain others can’t, which makes him semi-decent as a rescue dropper.
However, the only way to promote him is to get one of the most secret items in the game – the Ocean Seal. And this item costs 5x more than any other promotion item, so it must never be used. Essentially, if you promote Dart, you cannot promote anyone else. And though he’s really good, he’s not as good as 5 other good units combined. So I’ll train him to 20 unpromoted probably, but he won’t be on my late game team.

"The pain of being the sole survivor… It had me trapped" -Fiora, Chapter 19

Florina’s sister, Fiora has a terrible case of survivor’s guilt as a result of getting her entire unit killed on the Dread Isle shortly before this chapter begins. Actually come to think of it, that’s less survivor’s guilt and more her genuinely being a complete screwup who got the people who trusted her leadership killed. Still, her plan to throw her life away by singlehandedly attacking the black fang would have been quite irresponsible and have wasted the sacrifice of her followers, so it’s a good thing Florina talks some sense into her.
She’s probably the most mentally healthy and normal of the three Pegasus sisters, which is kind of saying something. And she has cool-looking armor. All in all I kind of like her as a character and I really wish it was her rather than Florina who was the main Pegasus knight in this game. But she needs more screen-time. Her supports reveal her to be a very formal –uptight even- person with a strong sense of responsibility to both her sisters and her country and a lot of them are pretty interesting even though they’ve little plot importance.

She and Florina are quite similar statistically, but Fiora is a good deal tougher at the high levels. Florina’s main statistical edge is in luck. Florina’s main strategic advantages stem from being available in Lyn’s story and thus easy to train up ahead of time and give stat-boosting items like the angelic robe too. All in all Fiora is quite good, probably better than Florina overall, but it’s hard to get her rolling due to her late join time and the fact that Heath will soon be making his grand entrance and blowing them both out of the water.

"I am Uhai! I am the Soaring Hawk!" - Uhai, Chapter 19

Be prepared for Eliwood to not shut up about this guy for the rest of the story. “I met Uhai and he was a great guy!” “Hey, you seem like a decent Black Fang, did you know Uhai?” “Man, remember that time when we had to fight Uhai and he totally didn’t deserve to die?” “The existence of Uhai proves that Jaffar is a good person!” But… actually Uhai is pretty bad. At the very least, he was not ‘honorable’ as people like to describe him. What’s more, unlike many other Black Fangs, Eliwood actually knew the kind of bad stuff Uhai did.

Uhai allowed Jaffar to disrespect Leila’s body in his territory, a deed which Lyn described as “Beyond foul.” While they were mourning the loss of Matthew’s love, Uhai then ambushed them- unarmed and unprepared- and took Lyn hostage, threatening to kill her if the others didn’t hand over Ninian.

Only when Eliwood refuses to hand over Ninian regardless and his hostage ceases to be useful to him does he release Lyn

And while he knows Nergal to be wholly evil and to be using the Black Fang, he insists on then attacking with his giant army in order to capture Ninian and kill the rest.

When defeated and dying, he then betrays the Black Fang by telling Eliwood where to find the Dragon’s Gate, thereby ensuring the deaths of dozens and dozens of his comrades. For no reason.

Uhai isn’t good and he certainly isn’t honorable- he fights dirty, as any smart person would when up against a group as dangerous as Eliwood’s little army. He isn’t even actually loyal to the Fang. But for some reason he, rather than Legault or the like, is forever touted as the iconic ‘good’ Black Fang member.

In HHM he’s about the same kind of threat he was on Eliwood’s story, which makes him much less of a big deal relatively speaking. Still, that Killing Edge is not to be messed with and he’s quite well equipped in general. He also benefits from being on a forest and hard to approach due to thick woods all around and his longbow lets him attack most people for free at least once. All in all he’s fairly hard to kill, but not actually that dangerous if you fight him carefully and you have plenty of time for that.

Playing Through:

First things first, Sain needs to break the snag so he and the others can start fighting through the central isle- it’s the quickest way to get to Uhai.

I happen to know from last time that there’s a lone Pegasus knight on the right side of the screen who can just reach that forest. I want to take it out promptly and Dart is perfect for that, but he needs an iron axe first. That’s why I gave one to Lyn.

And before I can move anyone else intelligently, I need to light a torch. Matthew could have moved a space closer to the front, but that would have exposed him to ranged attackers who would stand on the snag bridge and thereby block Sain and slow my progress. It’s better to make more of those guys attack Sain and therefore die right away so I can have everyone fight more effectively next turn.

As I mentioned, Lowen can deal with pirates or nomads or Pegasus knights easily, but not all 3 at once- which is what he’d be up against if he charged in there. Instead I’ll take the woods here and wait to attack targets of opportunity after thinning their numbers.

Canas prepares to soften the enemy for Florina to finish. Note that even with no magic growth, he could 2-hit kill this enemy cavalier already, and cavaliers are tough. Canas hits like a truck. He’s also already sturdy enough that I can trust him to survive an attacking enemy wave as long as he has that fort to stand on.

It was efficient to kill that cavalier with an iron lance, but for the incoming nomads I want her to have a javelin. Always remember you can trade to switch the items of someone whose turn already ended.

So you can see my groups for each front here. Lowen (with a little assistance from Guy and Serra to start) will be taking on the whole right area. Lyn, Dart, and Matthew will try to cut through the middle area fast enough to let Sain get a crack at Uhai quickly.

And everyone else (except Florina who’ll need to go back and recruit Fiora when she appears) will be slowly making their way along the bottom.

Lowen missed so Guy couldn’t finish that nomad even if he could stand up to 2 pegasus knights- which he can’t. Instead he’ll get out of their range and in position to deal with the pirates coming out of the top left.

The rapier is just essential for training Eliwood, he can’t do much of anything without it.He’s still kind of struggling here because there are just too many forests on this level. The enemy almost always has terrain boosts.

Lyn is much better off, in part because the Mani Katti is just better but also because she got the speed to double everything while my Eliwood is still only quick enough to double a few things.

Ugh, another bad level for Matthew as he softens up a pirate for Dart or the like. And I can see that there’s no way I’m getting to the required 20 speed by 19xx even with a decent speed-bless. Things are going to be tough.

Florina retreats to be in position to talk to Fiora and also to help with that nomad who I missed twice.

A poor level up, but it’s still one step closer to Linus’s level.

Meh, not bad.

The enemy thief is getting away. But I think I can see a way to kill him. I need to use Dart, Lyn, and Matthew to carve a path south for Sain. Then he can charge through and take the thief down this turn.

Florina recruits Fiora. Unfortunately you cannot trade with green units and you can’t trade after talking, so I can’t immediately give her the iron lance she so desperately needs.

But I CAN move. And if I move here, Fiora can then move next to the nomad, take the spare iron lance herself, and THEN finish it. After Guy weakens it of course. No one has hit the thing yet.

There we go, not bad odds.

Raven vs pirates is not a fair fight. He completely wrecks everything on this level- even the northeast Pegasus knights on average, mine just didn’t dodge that one time. With his longsword he’d be surprisingly effective against Uhai, though admittedly not a match for that Killing Edge yet.

I am getting a nice luck bless. Believe it or not, this is actually a really slow hard mode raven (but decently strong).

My plan worked, that thief is not getting away. Even if Sain double misses, it’ll be effortless to lance him next turn.

Yeah this is just ridiculous any way you slice it. Early in the map some Pegasus knights flew out of that area, giving you every reason to think there aren’t more just standing there. But no, there’s 2 more just watching their comrades die and then waiting for someone to move in range to fly out and kill and make you restart. Fortunately for me, it happened to be Hector in the lead at the moment.

Lowen is now making pretty good progress, though he took a big hit from that steel axe pirate and then the nomad. Still, he can probably take on the remaining Pegasus knights since he’s Lowen.

This is just not a good join level for Fiora; she can’t beat the cavaliers, no Pegasus knight likes to fight pirates, and the map is cluttered with nomads to run up and instant kill her out of the fog. So I’ve got to take every chance like this to net a kill.

Even if they do reward me with bad levels like this one.

Lowen can probably handle things and Serra doesn’t belong anywhere near Pegasus knights, so I’ll send her to the middle instead.

Next turn, Lowen kinda sorta got beat within an inch of his life when he didn’t dodge anything and then missed his counterattacks, so now I have no real choice but to move to a forest and use a vulnerary. Fortunately I’d had the foresight to put him in range of a forest last turn to begin with.

At the moment I can’t see Uhai or his guards, so it’s worth a second torch to reveal things.

There they are! The unusual looking nomads are female ones actually. There are different models for males and females of quite a few different classes, but you almost always just fight the men except on Hector’s story for some reason. For whatever reason, males and females of the same enemy class often have different stat caps but the same stat growths. There’s no one pattern to it though. Really I have no idea what they were going for there.

Guy has been fighting 1 pirate per turn and gets a level out of it. This is a terrible HHM Guy. Just… ugh. And I have to keep using him to get Jerme’s level.

Lowen finally kills those bad Pegasus knights for a lousy level.

Canas shows everyone how it’s done. This guy is unbelievable even when he’s average. Am I actually going to get a good one?

Meh, but he does need more speed and he’s good as is.

Other than Canas, my levels this chapter were pretty cruddy.

So pretty much every Black Fang from now on has a title, almost all of them being birds. Soaring Hawk, Owl, Shadow Hawk/sometimes mis-called the Shrike, Mad Dog/Rabid Hound, White Wolf, Death Kite, Shrike (for real this time), Blue Crow, Angel of Death…

I didn’t want Sain to get the kill, so I ran Hector into longbow range. This means Uhai can attack him for free, which means Uhai won’t die, which means I can feed him to someone else next turn. That’s probably worthwhile.

Son of a gun, he chose to attack Sain and therefore certainly die instead of attacking Hector for free. Why? Anyway, he now betrays the rest of the Black Fang by telling us where to find their secret hideout. So honorable.

Sain gets another fantastic level. Welp. The thing is, he’s about to cap everything. And then never grow again. I really don’t want the bosses to keep attacking him when there are much juicier targets around. But I can’t retire him from the team, no one else can take his place until I can promote Raven or Canas.

What if the Sacaens have been lying to everyone about that?

Unlike Eliwood, Hector has the appropriate attitude toward this wretched hive of scum and villainy. It’s also clear that he was really quite fond of Leila, although the nature of their relationship is never really explored. Given the way he talks about her from time to time, I begin to wonder if he had some sort of unrequited love for her. On the other hand, he’s definitely not jealous of Matthew or anything. Maybe the whole Ostian court is just really close-knit. Though that makes the gigantic number of traitors in the next game kinda weird.

Let’s go meet Kishuna!

Total Restarts: 9 (Stupid hidden flock of lucky pegasus knights)
Turn Surplus: +10 (It’s pretty easy to finish that chapter early and there’s no real loss for doing so since there aren’t many reins coming)
Things I Regret Missing: The lockpick on chapter 11, that darned archer on chapter 11, this one brigand who attacked Marcus on chapter 12, 2 more brigands who ignored everyone else to attack Marcus on chapter 13x, and 2 archers who ignored Hector and Dorcas (DORCAS!) to attack Marcus on chapter 14, like 10 more enemies I could have killed if Hector could have survived one more turn on chapter18, and Uhai who decided to take a 100% chance of death to Sain over a free hit on Hector