The Let's Play Archive

Fire Emblem: Blazing Sword

by Melth

Part 54: Chapter 32x (part 2) and the War Room Part 34 (Magic Swords)

Playing Through:

Hector’s slowness will be one of my biggest obstacles on this chapter, so the first thing is to rescue drop him as far as I can. That berserker has a swordslayer so Eliwood with his killer lance is a fairly natural pick (especially since Hector will be in support range). Sain or Heath with a silver lance would be even better, but Eliwood is good enough and since he’s slower I want him in this spot (the furthest he can get to).

Raven is faster than Hector and I don’t have enough people to rescue-drop them both, so he’ll be walking.

Just as planned, the group covered as much ground as possible, no one tripped over anyone else, and only the guy best prepared to deal with this berserker is in his range.

I planned to have Raven tank the chokepoint here, but just critting this guy is a nice bonus and minor time saver.

The enemy moves in and the first reinforcement spawns. Those guys up there have tomahawks, the most dangerous all-around weapon on the level. I can’t have them just attacking whoever they please and I need them cleared fast so Heath can get to work.

Raven is in the back, so he’s the natural choice for taking out the closest enemy, which he has juuuuust enough power to do.


These berserkers are dodge-y fellows (Eliwood weakened this one). I had to stop and rethink my exact formation here so I could accomplish the maneuver Heath and Sain now set up. It was easy to end up tripping over our own feet as it were.

Perfect! That seals the deal, this is now not merely a pretty good but a great all around Hector. He’s definitely recovered from his level 10-20 slump. His Res has always been awful, but I don’t plan on having him fight Nergal anyway.

So Heath rescues Eliwood and then Sain drops him. Only Eliwood belongs there because that berserker has a tomahawk, as do the ones on the right, and even one of the ones on the left. Now they can’t attack anyone who can’t counter and Eliwood even gets his support bonuses.

And Sain completes his move, handaxe equipped. The enemy has been nicely walled off.

Next turn, Raven kills one weakened tomahawker and Heath kills the next, pressing in close to get to the chest. Meanwhile, Merlinus is being run down by one Berserker (there’s nowhere safe for him this map, but I can get him behind Heath next turn and he can dodge well exactly as well as Kishuna on his throne).

You guys are on a roll!

Others press as far left as they can manage, using trading to keep swords equipped so the enemy can’t get any devil axe or tomahawk hits.

A pretty meh level for Eliwood. Still, more Str is helpful here in particular.

Here’s the status at the start of turn 4. Merlinus can indeed get behind Heath after Heath gets the treasure, but first Raven must move. Meanwhile, Sain and Hector and Eliwood have to do what they can to press on as fast as possible.

Another copy of the game’s best staff.

Heath flies back, Axereaver at the ready, and Merlinus takes cover.

Sain clears a berserker from the path. This level would be pretty meh if he hadn’t capped Str and Speed a long time ago.

This fellow here is the second unmoving door guard, so I need to start attacking him pronto if I want him dead.

A pretty meh level for Raven on the enemy turn as he holds the position near the stairs.

Heath clears the newest reinforcement there to destroy the long term threat, but Merlinus is still under fire. Fortunately he hasn’t been hit and could tank one anyway.

I can enter the final room now. That was pretty quick.

Another meh level for Raven, but he’s capped both Str and Speed now (as he always does early with his HHM bonuses). HP and Skill probably will too if he gets to 20. So, you know, standard Raven. Mine’s doing well on Def though and that’s his biggest weakness, so I’m glad to see that.

Yes! The one and only HHM swordslayer is mine. There were many, many times when it would have been nice to have, but none as important as the next battle.

I realize Eliwood will actually want an axereaver in particular for this next room since his goal is survival and weakening the enemy, not killing for now. A silver sword would kill more but dodge less. Sain can handaxe this guy from this spot anyway.

Eliwood took some bad hits is the reason he needs the axereaver (and this vulnerary).

Pretty awesome!

Turn 6, Kishuna’s morph army has both figuratively and literally disintegrated. He’ll get more reinforcements in the coming turns, but not enough to overcome my ability to kill them as fast as they spawn now.

Heath is guarding Merlinus and making for the next chest.

And Eliwood, Hector, and Sain sweep this room.

Excellent. He’s going to cap Str, Skill, Speed, AND Def at this rate. This is Hector at his finest.

The last berserker drops the door key. Sain sends Merlinus the killer lance he borrowed from Eliwood. It was a low priority weapon to begin with and has served its purpose.

I could have rushed to open the door immediately on 7 but that would spawn reinforcements immediately and then I’d get blocked. It’s faster to open it when everyone is ready to go.

Sain was positioned to take out this first spawn of the left stairs. Notice that even with a terrible devil axe, these enemies are always a 25% true hit chance from ruining your run if you don’t maintain the weapon triangle. Here I gambled I didn’t need it, particularly since Sain will be going to a safe environment.

Meh. I’d be loving some Def, but he’s only .2 below average there.

Heath keeps playing defense, taking out the last rear reinforcements for now, and gets another good level. Speed is capped already. Str isn’t far off. His Def has been his greatest bless so far and continues to be.

An interesting, but pricey weapon. This is the only one available in the game. And other than exactly one next chapter wielded by an enemy, it’s the only one to appear at all.

Raven opens the door.

Hector and Eliwood immediately move to control the flow of reinforcements.

Not bad! He might actually cap Luck! Just like a Sacred Stones character.

Kishuna is not impressed.

Sain’s killer axe crit does not change his mind. He’s been killed by us before. By Sain with a crit in fact. Kishuna is a connoisseur of being attacked with giant weapons at this point and a mere killer axe crit by the guy with the second highest Str growth in the game is too conventional for his refined tastes. That silver lance crit before at least had an amateurish charm to it.

Well I could win easy now- could have won a turn or two ago probably, but I’m going to sit it out and rack up kills and levels since I have extra turns on the clock.

Operation: Cap Everything proceeds according to plan.

Heath starts flying back. Raven has the bottom left stairs controlled, but more reinforcements are about to appear elsewhere.

Many of them in fact.

This speed bless is nuts. He didn’t even have this much of an edge at the beginning of the game when he was gaining like nothing else.

Looks bad, but Str and Speed are capped.

Same, but still just not that good. Sain hit his wall a long time ago and has only been growing weaker relative to the opposition since.

Considering his HHM bonuses, he’s not so impressive except for that awesome Def (and the fact that his now average speed capped a long time ago).

Nothing else to gain. Alright, it’s turn 14, I’m out of time to kill. I’ll weaken Kishuna and then finish him. But he deserves a really special sendoff doesn’t he? Something even the master of surviving Sain criticals doesn’t see coming.
Eliwood does the honors.

And Kishuna, amazed and impressed, gives him an excellent level up. Eliwood is massively above average overall, though it’s not really well distributed.

So what did I kill him with?

Magic. I just killed Kishuna with magic!

I can’t think of a better end for Kishuna- or this LP- than killing the magic seal with a magical attack. It’ll be hard to top that.

The War Room, Part 34

I thought about putting this part in earlier, but didn’t want to spoil the ending more than I had to. I also thought about putting it way earlier in the LP but since I never used the things before now and was planning this a while it seemed premature. Plus this is the first level where one gets the Runesword, so now I can talk about the distinction.

In the GBA FE titles there are 3 types of magic swords, one for each type of magic: the Light Brand attacks with Lightning, the Wind Sword attacks with Excalibur, and the Rune Sword attacks with Nosferatu. These are very rare weapons. In fact, the Wind Sword outright does not appear and is not obtainable in FE6 or 7 (except via the double dash bonus disc which provides all sorts of unique and crazy items) in 7. I believe there is exactly one available in 8: one of Queen Ismaire’s starting items when she’s unlocked in the postgame. There are 2 light brands available in 7, I think 2 or 3 in 6, and a technically unlimited number as random drops in 8 I believe. Rune Swords are almost as rare as wind until 8 when they’re a fairly common drop. The only available one in 7 is squirreled away in this most secret of chapters and other than that it only appears in the hands of one enemy next chapter.

What’s special about these swords? Well first off, they’re versatile weapons (1-2 range). Since there is no javelin equivalent for swords, that makes them quite special on its own. But secondly, they work by unique rules all their own.

When attacking with the Light Brand or Wind Sword at 1 range, they’re normal (pretty strong) swords. But at 2 range the character uses a unique animation and does a magic attack instead. Here’s Eliwood beating down some Berserkers:

Same animation as the Lightning light spell and Eliwood holds the sword up over his head among other things. This counts as Light, not a sword, for all purposes. It has weapon triangle advantage against dark, disadvantage against anima, and no position in the mundane weapon triangle. It doesn’t give sword rank XP either. The sword’s stats (hit, weight, Might, etc.) are unchanged. However the attack still works very differently.

First, it cannot score a critical (perhaps to avoid having to make a separate critical animation for each character for each sword on top of the magic animation already).

Second, it is reduced by Resistance instead of Defense as all magic attacks are.

Third, only half of the character’s Str applies for damage.

The result is more damage if ½ wielder Str < (Enemy Def- Enemy Res) and less otherwise. As it turns out, this inequality is rarely favorable. Plus the weapons are irreplaceable and hugely expensive, so they’re not worth using except in very special circumstances like this level.

The Wind Sword also has the effect of being super-effective vs air units (like the Excalibur spell)

Oh and the Runesword is even more unique. First of all, it does a magic attack at both 1 and 2 range, never a standard weapon one. But that’s good, because its magic attack isn’t Flux, it’s Nosferatu. The wielder is healed by all damage dealt. That’s amazingly useful, gamechanging even. Unfortunately, the sword costs a huge amount per use and there’s not much time for it.

Back to Playing Through:

They’ll never really know. Hector ran in yelling ‘no mercy’ without ever knowing who he was killing. The chapter is called “The Value of Life” in part to underscore that this was wrong- just as it was for Nergal to throw Kishuna away.

Which, you see, all morphs do (And Nergal told Kishuna to go rot away into dust). This is probably tied in with them having no quintessence to harvest.

That at least they figured out.

Which is very interesting when one thinks about it. See, the characters have been assuming all morphs HAVE to look like Nergal’s generally do with golden eyes, black hair, fair skin, and red lips. Athos describes them as bewitching. Nergal describes Limstella’s beauty as well as her strength perfect and calls her a masterpiece and describes Sonia as a failed work and no match for Limstella in any way.

And when he describes Kishuna as a failed morph, he makes no mention of his different appearance having not come out right, just his weakness and inability to fight. (Contrary to the assumption by many fans that Nergal rejects Kishuna for being a magic seal, he doesn’t make mention of that at all so it might or might not have been deliberate).

Plus, of course, the morphs on the final level do not look the same as the previous ones and Nergal says he gave them the appearances they do have deliberately.

In short, it looks like almost all the morphs have black hair, gold eyes, and red lips because Nergal thinks that’s beautiful (and apparently so do several other people including Brendan and Athos). He’s been trying to make every morph look like Limstella- and getting pretty darned close. Some people suggest this is because his almost- but not quite- entirely forgotten wife Aenir looked like this. There’s really no evidence either way for or against that.

Nils confirms that it was a morph and then reveals that he could hear Kishuna’s voice- probably not a real voice since he seems incapable of speaking and since the others would have heard it too.

Hector changes the subject as fast as he can while Unshakeable Faith plays once again. The tune has lost a lot of its drama because of this badly misplaced interlude after Victory or Death. If they did have to make this sidequest spin off of Victory or Death instead of Sands of Time/Battle Preparations, they could have at least transplanted the final scenes of VoD that are supposed to lead straight to Light to after this sidequest like they do with the material from Living Legend that ends up after Genesis.

And that’s a wrap. Poor Kishuna. No one ever understood him. And given his demonstrated ability to just escape at will from what should be deadly attacks, it seems that he chose to die here at the hands of Hector and other people who just thought he was soulless and inhuman rather than linger on.

He leaves many questions, as a man who can’t talk should. One I used to wonder about is “Where do his morphs come from?” We know he can’t be creating them himself because 1) In a special dialogue on The Value of Life, Renault describes the morphs there as Nergal’s creations and 2) Nergal said explicitly Kishuna couldn’t harvest quintessence and that’s one of the things that makes him view Kishuna as worthless later.

I think there are three possible answers. By far the best is that these are other rejected morphs. Renault- who has had the opportunity to personally observe Kishuna wandering as well as other morphs on the dread isle- says that, “Those…things…that he discards… They lose their way… and wander. And he cares not.” It seems plausible that with nowhere else to go- and many of them still eager to serve Nergal- these discarded morphs band together. Nils, when Kishuna summons his band of morphs on Genesis, comments that “He’s called some friends.” I’ve always assumed Nils was just speaking figuratively and could just as easily said “allies” or “accomplices” or whatever, but since Nils apparently can sense Kishuna’s emotional state, maybe he really did mean that they were friends.

Another possibility is that they were morphs created by Nergal with the purpose of protecting Kishuna back when Nergal cared about Kishuna but realized he couldn’t defend himself. That would explain why they’re so tremendously powerful. Kishuna’s morphs are among the strongest ever fought- even the ones you go up against in 19x. If Nergal wanted to make sure Kishuna wasn’t harmed- despite his aura that makes people angry and the tendency of people to see him as a monster- he might have given Kishuna some very strong morphs whose sole purpose was bodyguarding for Kishuna and who could not be re-tasked later. The best evidence for this is just that it would have been unwise for Nergal to throw away such strong servants without cause if he could order them to serve him again. But on the other hand, Nergal is throwing away really strong morphs all the time. He doesn’t save Ephidel, he kicked out the amazingly useful Kishuna for not being powerful in the one way Nergal wanted, he kills Sonia himself for only being moderately amazing in her fight against Brendan if you don’t do Night of Farewells, he threw Denning’s whole contingent at the party just to pretend he had an infinite reserve of morphs to send after them, and he gave Limstella some kind of power that would inevitably destroy her despite her being his favorite.

Last and weakest, they might be a guard force tasked with ensuring Kishuna really does go somewhere and rot away into dust rather than causing problems for Nergal. Evidence for this is circumstantial at best. But after he screws things up for Aion, he is next seen hundreds of miles away with a much bigger and more aggressive retinue. Maybe they were jailers meant to kill him if he went near Nergal- Nergal might not be able to kill him afterall due to his anti-magic field. Or perhaps the second group was meant to force him to fight against Eliwood and co and prevent them from reaching Athos (hence they keep fighting after Kishuna abandons them if attacked except for the small group right around him who go with him, same as his original group on 19x do). When that didn’t work, Nergal just decided to keep him locked up in a nearby tower instead where at least he couldn’t do any harm. You can build a narrative out of it that makes some sense, but there’s no evidence really. And it contradicts what Renault said- on the other hand, we KNOW Renault was wrong about some of what he said. Wrong or lying.

Another interesting question is is Kishuna, in fact, the morph of Renault’s friend? Many fans have speculated this is the case, but I don’t think so myself (but not for the usual reasons exactly). The basic theory usually goes like this: Kishuna was Nergal’s first morph (explicitly wrong), Renault’s friend was Nergal’s first morph (quite possibly also wrong), so they’re the same.

“Evidence” commonly presented include that we know Renault had a morph of his friend made and it was an early morph and that Kishuna was an early morph, and that Renault has a quote at the beginning of The Value of Life, and… that’s most of it actually. But Renault’s quote on this chapter has absolutely nothing to do with Kishuna. All he says is that these morphs were created by Nergal and that Nergal is not invincible and that he knows that. And like 80% of characters have a quote on the chapter after they’re recruited introducing themselves to the tactician as Renault does. But everyone says something on Light, so there’s no way to really give Renault such an introduction to the tactician quote too.

The most common “counterevidence” is that we know Kishuna was NOT the first morph because Nergal tells Kishuna that he’s the only morph (so far) he’s given emotions and that consequently he should have a name, not just a number. ““…I name you Kishuna. You are the only morph to whom I’ve given emotions. It won’t suffice simply to refer to you as a number.” –Nergal to Kishuna, Flashback, Genesis And then people arguing against the Kishuna = Renault’s friend theory say that Renault’s friend was the first morph. But that’s not really clear. The two relevant quotes are this one to Canas “When Nergal first created his morphs, he was not alone.” In a support conversation and also the battle conversation between Renault and Nergal, “You desired to bring back your dead friend. You were my experiment, and I completed my morph. I’m grateful, Renault.”
But Renault’s quote to Canas shows he was present for the creation of more than one morph- and he presumably would have left after the morph of his friend turned out to not be what he wanted, suggesting it was not the first. Also, the “experiment” in question seems to have been something done to Renault (not the creation of the morph itself)- perhaps explaining his unnatural long life and youth (like Nergal and the morphs). Recall this quote from Renault to Canas about himself, “This mercenary volunteered freely for Nergal’s experiments, knowing they would make him less than human…” The fact does remain that Nergal uses morph singularly, so if one ignores the fact that Renault says he was around for the creation of several, this could be interpreted as Nergal saying the morph of Renault’s friend was the first morph. But again, that’s at best far from explicit and at worst contradicted by Renault’s talk with Canas. It seems far more likely to me that the morph of Renault’s friend was the first successful morph by some kind of milestone of Nergal’s, with the others having been initial half-successful attempts.

Ultimately though, whether Renault’s friend was the first morph or merely a very early one is not particularly relevant. True, if Renault’s friend was merely a very early one then it MIGHT have been Kishuna, but I think there’s a fair amount of better evidence against this:
1) No interaction between Renault and Kishuna. Renault is present in the village in 19x and can be in The Value of Life and even gets a tactician intro quote where he could have said something about Kishuna, but doesn’t.
2) No flashbacks to Renault. If Kishuna had been created with Renault’s help and for Renault, wouldn’t Renault have been present for his awakening? And especially since Kishuna’s Value of Life flashback is meant to show us how horrible his life has been, wouldn’t it have been appropriate to show Renault rejecting him too? That would have added a whole other layer of pathos. And Renault describes “What you (Nergal) gave me,” stating explicitly that Nergal gave him the morph in question. I’m picturing something like Monica from FE8 myself honestly.
3) Kishuna is decidedly not soulless or an empty vessel. Nergal created him explicitly to have emotions and apparently to ask philosophical questions about the nature of a morph’s existence from its own perspective. True he can’t speak, but we know he feels. Would Renault really not have noticed that? And Nergal affirms that what he gave Renault was an empty vessel, while he had created Kishuna not to be one.
4) Nergal names Kishuna. I’m like 90% sure Renault’s friend had a name already. Nergal doesn’t say, “You are Kishuna,” or “Hey Renault, his name was Kishuna, right? And can you fetch me a beer while you’re over in the kitchen?” No, he says “I name you Kishuna.”

In short, I’m pretty darned sure that Kishuna is not Renault’s friend, but I also think it’s worth noting the usual evidence presented (that Renault’s friend was the first morph) is not necessarily true.

And for a final question, which I find most interesting of all, when did Nergal have his change of heart? In short, when does the flashback seen in 32x occur? It is entirely clear from the 23x flashback that Renault is entirely wrong when he says Nergal never cared about his morphs at all. What happened? At what point did the man Athos knew- bewitched by the power of stealing quintessence but still seemingly human in emotion and with enough affection left for his friend that Athos attacking him hurt his feelings badly and that he viewed his morphs as something like people- become the Nergal of today.

As I said before, I suspect that his “building up his power slowly” and his “power growing beyond our ability to contain him” came about because, as he had done in the past- and as all shamans do- he made more of what Teodor called “reparations to the dark”, giving up more of himself in order to grow stronger. This process made him forget his own children in the past, it could surely make him forget why he created a particular morph.

Assuming that that theory is correct and that Nergal’s slide into total jerkishness wasn’t just organic character development, when did that happen? It can’t have been just after fleeing Arcadia, badly injured- or at least not entirely, because Kishuna didn’t exist then. One plausible possibility is that it was just before opening the dragon’s gate- so a year or two ago. Afterall, he’s very cautious in dealing with dragons and would want to be “fully prepared.” Perhaps he traded in what was left of his wretched soul then for more power to make sure whatever dragons came through didn’t just obliterate him.
Another possibility is after Elbert stabbed him. He nearly died there and would have been desperate- both to survive and to gain more power. And indeed after Cog of Destiny when Nergal makes his comeback tour, Eliwood says that ““His power… It’s so much more than before.” Maybe that’s just from the quintessence of the Black Fang, but maybe that’s not all of it.

Now this last idea might seem odd to people because most assume his rejection of Kishuna occurred long ago. But did it necessarily? I used to assume so until this playthrough. Now I wonder if it actually happened between Genesis and The Value of Life. In Genesis Kishuna was apparently angry. He trapped and attacked the party with his friends and fought cleverly to kill them. Nils said he was very hostile then. Remember how Sonia put it on Night of Farewells, “You are the sinners who hurt my lord Nergal!” She goes on for a while about how much she wants to kill them over that. Evidently hurting Nergal makes the morphs who look up to him as their creator very angry. But then when Nergal recovered, Kishuna went to find him and Nergal, having made more reparations to the dark, no longer understood why he’d created him or cared about him as anything but a useless weapon. And he told him to go off and rot somewhere. Which seems to be what Kishuna is doing in 32x. He doesn’t teleport into that tower as the map begins like he does the underground area in Genesis. He’s just standing there already. And he doesn’t try to escape as we know he can.

This interpretation definitely seems to explain his behavior in Genesis and The Value of Life well and fits with a plausible time period and reason for Nergal’s change in character. But one detail that still needs to be explained is what Kishuna is doing on 19x. One explanation is that he’s out scouting for Nergal. After all, Nergal probably doesn’t fully trust the Black Fang. And he doesn’t care a whit about them. Kishuna might have gone or been sent to check out the intruders, not caring that his presence got Aion’s forces slaughtered. One possible reason is that Nergal might have assumed Athos was involved in this latest plot against him. Afterall, Athos is his greatest enemy and aware of most things that happen on the continent and also in communication with several heads of state including Uther of Ostia. Kishuna would be by far the best person to send to spy on- or kill- Athos.

This would also explain the location of Kishuna’s secret lair right next to where Athos lives which is apparently unknown even to Athos. Nergal is watching and has a trap set (Kishuna and his men) to prevent the heroes from getting to Athos since that would be disastrous. Afterall, he found out from 19x that Athos wasn’t working with the heroes then.

But why did Marquess Araphen Aion call him “That good for nothing?” Maybe the same reason he insulted Uhai. Perhaps Nergal didn’t call Kishuna a good for nothing, perhaps that’s just Marquess Araphen Aion looking down on everyone who isn’t himself. That would also explain AIon’s men not attacking Kishuna. If Kishuna was known to be a rogue agent, why tolerate his sabotaging the battle?

That’s my interpretation, although I can think of others.

Oh, and here’s a timeline of Nergal’s life (with some speculation I’ve mentioned before):

Before the Scouring – Nergal is already an adult and an accomplished scholar and sorcerer with a huge library who is married to a dragon and lives right by the Dragon’s Gate which already exists and which his children know how to operate despite the journey through being dangerous.
The Scouring- Nergal is studying magic at his library on the dread isle. Not far off, the enigmatic Bramimond is also studying dark magic, using techniques Nergal knows about and has writings about in order to trade in his self-identity for power in order to slay dragons. Some “Bad men” capture Aenir, Nergal’s ice dragon wife. These are quite possibly part of a human army, maybe led by one of the 8 legends, purging the area of dragons. Nergal leaves his children at his home with instructions to go through the gate (not being the first dragons to do so) in 10 days if he doesn’t return while he goes to rescue Aenir.
The Scouring- Nergal knows he can’t possibly match the power of the 8 legends or whoever has Aenir- particularly if it’s Bramimond- so he does the same thing Bramimond did in hopes of getting the power to save his wife, but tries to maintain enough of his identity to remember his true mission. He fails. No mention is made of an uber dark sorcerer nearly the match of Athos or Bramimond fighting on the side of the dragons, so it’s a safe assumption he never fights at all. He completely forgets what his purpose was and just wanders off. Aenir dies. Ninian and Nils pass through the gate. On the other side, they have much political power and are the ones who run the gate.

(All of this suggests that Nergal and his wife were involved in operating – or maybe even creating- the gate. He was afterall a great scholar and sorcerer and lived right near it at the time and his children knew how to use it and even ran it or helped run it on the other side. That would also explain why Nergal’s wife in particular was targeted. She had important knowledge about the gate and where the dragons were going and if they were coming back and so on. Nergal might also have known Bramimond. That or the two greatest dark wizards who ever lived studied similar techniques at the same time on an island like 10 miles in radius and never talked to each other is implausible)

500 years later- Nergal has forgotten who he originally was and never returned to his library. His children and any dragons who knew him assume he’s dead. He’s started a new life as a traveling wizard. In the well-known wizard hangout Nabata, he happens to run across Athos. The two have no idea they were ever on opposite sides of the war and Athos probably has no idea Nergal is already 500 years old at all. The two are both equally powerful and knowledgeable, suggesting Nergal has been hard at work studying those 500 years. Athos’s grammar leaves it unclear whether it was just one or both of them who were idly wandering the Nabata desert at the time. POSSIBLY Nergal had built the lair in the desert that Kishuna used 500 years later at this point and just never brought it up. Pent is just wrong in that case with his guess that the magic seal built it. None of them known Kishuna was a morph at that point though, so they don’t know the connection to Nergal. POSSIBLY Nergal had actually been living in Bern. We know he has a lair there later and it seems to be his home base when not on Valor. As far as Athos knew, Nergal had no connection to Valor. Otherwise he might have seen the whole Dragon’s Gate thing coming. WILD SPECULATION: the water temple is Nergal’s lair or was built by him. The aesthetics seem more than superficially similar to Athos’s water temple place in Nabata – not just in that it’s a giant underground area full of appearing and disappearing bridges but also in that the backgrounds when Nergal is in his lair talking to his morphs look exactly like Athos’s palace backgrounds but more dimly lit. Maybe Athos’s palace was built in large part by Nergal when they were friends and inspired by his own.
Some time later- Athos and Nergal have become friends. They are charting the desert and may have been for a while. Then Athos finds Arcadia. They build an oasis and hide the town and are greeted and taken in as friends by the villagers. They find very good libraries there and begin studying furiously and learning all kinds of things.

At least 200 years later, possibly much more- Nergal has begun draining human quintessence using dark magic he learned in Arcadia. Presumably these same books contain knowledge of creating morphs, hence Nergal knows a lot about it in theory. Perhaps, as books of draconic knowledge, these secrets are in some way related to creating War Dragons or other artificial beings. Both seem to be regarded as abominations and defying the natural order by the divine dragons. The divine dragons and Athos join forces and attack Nergal, nearly killing him. Conceivably some divine dragons are killed in the process, helping explain why there are so few later and why Athos is confident that Nergal believes Nergal could kill them and take their quintessence in battle if he returned.

All the remaining time but 20-30 years later- Athos believed Nergal was dead. In fact, Nergal hides out in Bern, concealing his existence (and that he’s slowly regaining and increasing his powers) from Athos.
He has NOT created morphs in this time. He does that only with Renault, and he works with Renault only starting less than 30 years ago.

30 years ago- Renault is an honorable and respected mercenary in service to house Caelin. That is the last time Wallace saw him. Possibly the battle in which he lost his friend happened immediately, possibly he was just campaigning or serving elsewhere for a while.
Lucius’s age -3 to 30 years ago- Renault’s friend dies in battle (Possibly in Bern?). Renault is horrified and would do anything to bring him back. Including agreeing to work with a dark sorcerer who claims he can restore the man to life. Nergal needs someone strong- like the legendary mercenary Renault- to do experiments on and to kill powerful people for quintessence. Renault fits the bill. Nergal’s experiments allow him to collect quintessence and prevent him from aging- just like Nergal himself and his morphs do not age. This is why he looks so similar to Wallace years later- so much so that Wallace says it cannot be him, he should be an old man now. Renault runs around killing people for Nergal harvesting quintessence. Athos is apparently unaware of this- which may be part of the point.
Lucius’s Age -3 years ago- Renault murders Lucius’s father, a mighty warrior, in front of Lucius. Lucius assumes that he’s a thief, not the minion of the greatest dark wizard in history out to steal a life force Lucius doesn’t even know exists.
Lucius Age- 3 to over 13 years ago- Nergal is able to create the first morphs. Renault leaves his service in disgust.
Still over 13 years ago- Nergal creates Kishuna. Nergal is not without human feeling and finds morphs existence and nature philosophically interesting. Without Renault or any others he may want companionship.
13 years ago- Sonia has been created. Limstella seemingly has not. Jaffar is only a few years old and has been recruited by Nergal somewhere around this time. Nergal and Sonia go to the house of a famous family of mages in Lycia knowing that they know the secrets of the dragons (Whatever exactly those are). They kill the family but take the infant Nino.
Nergal continues to build up his morphs and his personal power. Somewhere in the window from 13 to about 2 years ago, Athos learns of Nergal’s return. Probably much closer to 2 years.
10 years ago- That moron Brendan Reed forms the Black Fang as a league of allegedly heroic but actually awful murderers for hire with a good PR division
At least 2 years or so ago- Nergal has created Limstella (and probably Ephidel). He and Sonia are evidently separate enough and have been for long enough that he’s mostly forgotten about Nino
Around 2 years or so ago maybe- Athos decides Nergal is probably going to make a move for Arcadia next to get dragon quintessence and sets a trap for him. Nergal does not show up. Nergal instead goes to the Dragon’s Gate and calls out to the dragons. On the other side of the gate, Ninian and Nils hear the voice of their father- perhaps only partially remembered. Ninian has been one of the people maintaining the gate and an oracle. They open and pass through. Nergal and Limstella are waiting for them. But they don’t have much quintessence to steal so Nergal has to come up with new plans.
About a year and a fraction ago- Nergal has Sonia marry the Black Fang. Jaffar may have already joined the group. Ephidel exists by now probably. Nergal begins taking control of the fang.
Just over a year ago- Ninian and Nils escape and are pursued. Ephidel begins visiting various Lycian marquesses to foment rebellion.
Just under a year ago- After meeting Lyn, Ninian and Nils are captured by the Black Fang now under Nergal’s command.
6 months ago- Elbert is attacked by Nergal and vanishes.

Total Retarts: 39 (I’m not counting various 1 turn checks of probabilities of surviving the first turn with a warp rush I wasn’t going to use)
Turn Surplus: 2 (I could have saved many turns but decided to farm XP).
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, Uhai who decided to take a 100% chance of death to Sain over a free hit on Hector, the chance to finish shopping properly with my silver card on chapter 21, the armorslayer that I would have acquired if not for a stupid minor mistake on chapter 22, these 3 wyvern riders who decided they preferred a 0% chance to hit Isadaora and then 100% chance of death against her to fighting a low level Heath, those 2 pegasus knights at the end of Crazed Beast that I just didn’t have enough time to feed to Bartre, the confused pirate and final archer on Night of Farewells, like 5 charges of Fila’s Might and a Luna tome I should have Hammerned on Cog of Destiny, the Pure Water on The Berserker, and the 2 or 3 Victory or Death Valkyries who only lived because Erk’s Elfire broke just before the last turn.