Part 5: Bands of Mercenaries
Now, to meet her grandfather, Lyn heads west, to Lycia, and to her destiny. A mountain range seperates the Sacae Plains from Bern. There are many bandits lurking here, the cruelest of which are the Taliver. They wreck havoc on both Sacae and Bern, and their savagery knows no bounds. On her tenth day away from the plains, Lyn witnesses their atrocities herself.
: The entire area is in ruins. Why doesn't their marquess do anything to help?
: Taliver Mountain is home to a gang of vicious, ruthless bandits. No marquess holds power here. My village was near here, on the other side of the mountain. My people were... The Taliver bandits came at night. It only took one night. The survivors numbered less than ten, including me. They're soulless beasts. I will never forgive them. Never.
: I am not running away. I will be back...someday. I'll be stronger... I will break their swords beneath me like twigs beneath a stallion's hooves. I will avenge my people. I'll do everything in my power.
: When the time comes, bring me with you.
: Don't forget me either.
: Sain, Kent...Oh! You too, Art? I...You're...Thank you.
Oh dear...I think I know where this is going.
: What are you going to do to apologize? Huh?
: Uh...I...That is, I...
: Hey, she's quite a catch, eh, buddy? I bet the boss'd give us a pretty penny for her.
: Yeah. She roughed me up a bit, so I figure fair's fair. It's no more'n she deserves.
: What are we going to do with her flying mule?
: Don't you dare touch her!
: What? you just watch your mouth, girlie!
: Do what you will with me, just... Let her go. Please, I beg of you.
: Ha ha ha! Silly twit! Pegasi can only be found in Ilia. They're rare beasts, worth far more than you by far! We can sell it for a mountain of gold. Let it go? HA!
: No, you can't...
: C'mon! Let's move!
: There seems to be some sort of commotion over there.
: That's... That's a pegasus. Could it be?
: Ah! Lyn?
: Florina! What are you doing in a place such as this?
: Lyn! Is it really you? I... I...
: Come now, no crying!
: You are acquaintances?
: She's my friend. This is Florina, a pegasus knight in training from Ilia. She's a little uncomfortable around men.
That's a slight understatement. We'll see just how uncomfortable by the end of the chapter.
: Tell me, Florina, what happened here?
: Well...um... When I heard that you had left... I decided to follow you. Then I saw this village. I flew down to ask if they had news of you. I didn't see those two, and...well...
: Did your pegasus land on them?
: Well, I... A little...
Florina, you do not land on someone "a little," either you did or did not drop a flying horse on them. This is not exactly rocket science.
: She admits her fault! She stepped on my friend, and now she's got to pay!
: Did you apologize, Florina?
: Yes. I told them I was sorry many times over. They just wouldn't listen.
: Don't cry, it's alright. Listen, she's obviously sorry. Can't we just let this pass? You don't appear to be injured or anything.
: No chance. The girl goes with us - by force if need be!
Yeah, saw this one coming a mile away. For that guy who wanted me to show how the game just dumps a whole bunch of guys on the map out of nowhere, there you go. It's like fucking Doom, with mercenary closets.
: Lyn... I...
: You're a pegasus knight, aren't you? You can fight, can't you?
Oh right, I have weapons. And a flying horse. Why did she not just fly away after seeing they weren't hurt?
: Listen carefully, Art. We're facing bandits. They're underlings, but we can't take them too lightly. Let's clear them out of here. Are you ready? The layout around here might make it difficult to fight. The same holds true for our foe, too. If we use these walls just so, they may ensure our victory.
: Lyn... Who's that?
: This is Art. He's still an apprentice, but he's my tactician.
: Oh, I see... Uh, Art? Pleased to meet you.
Okay, here we go. First priority are the red-roof houses. These are villages, and we'll get something good by saving them. If an enemy brigand gets to them before we can, they'll destroy and we lose that village's reward permanently.
First though, let's look at Florina. She has a Slim Lance and a Vulnerary for equipment, and her stats are the typical peg knight spread. Luck, Speed and Skill are going to be their high points, as well as an above-average Resistance.
First things first, let's send Lyn to the closest village.
Villagers: Leave us alone, you thugs! We've got no more gold for you!
: No, wait! Please! We're not bandits! We want to help the village. Please listen!
???: Remain inside, everyone. I'll go see what's happening.
You should click this.
: My name is Lyn. My colleagues and I are just travelling through here. We saw some bandits about. We're going to deal with them, but we need you to go and warn the villagers.
: Hey! Wait! The name's Wil. I'm a traveler of sorts, too. Listen, these villagers have been kind to me. Mind if I fight with you?
: Not at all. We need all the help we can get! Welcome aboard, Wil!
And just like that, we have a new party member. Let's see what's he's got.
Not bad. Pretty even across the board, which is typical for an archer. Being an archer though, he has the capability to fire a space away, so we can make use of these walls. It'll let us attack them without being able to be attacked back. So, we send Wil to attack the mercenary directly above us.
It is important to note that archers can't counter a unit who is right next to them, so you're generally going to want to keep them in the back, away from harm. Next up, Florina. We'll have her finish off the mercenary.
Nothing like slamming the full force of a pegasus into your enemies. Kent moves east and kills the archer, and Sain moves up next to the forest. The enemy archer hits him for all of 1 damage.
: What? Where!? Oh, that's Wil.
: Hi! You're one of Lyn's friends? What... What is it? Are you unwell?
: I'm sorry, Wil. Her name is Florina. She's timid around men, and you... You've got a bow.
: Oh! I see! You must be a pegasus knight! I apologize for frightening you, but I do understand your fear of bows.
: I...um... I'm sorry... Even looking...at a bow...frightens me ever so much...
: Of course, I understand. But you should really only fear the enemy's archers, not your own.
: Yes...Of course...
Goddamn, Florina. Are you even capable of saying something without using an ellipsis? Anyway, the main point here is that flying units are vulnerable to bows, something we'll have to be careful of, but not get to exploit for quite a while.
Anyway, the map:
First thing this turn is to send Florina to the other village.
That's good. With so many bandits, we weren't sure what to do. It's not much, but please, take this money. There's an armory to the southeast of us. Equip yourself as you see fit, and help us, please.
Nice, we finally have some cash. Florina heads south to rejoin the group, as Sain attacks the bandit. Lyn, Kent, and Wil all move east. Sain kills the bandit during the enemy phase, and does 10 damage to a mercenary. The archer tries again, but because Sain's in a forest, he does no damage at all. This is a quirk of the AI, and I'll save how to fuck with them for another mechanics update.
Wil moves up and kills the mercenary, and Kent moves south past him, heading for the Armory. Sain switches from his sword to his lance, and Lyn and Florina move east. A brigand tries his luck agains Sain, but even with the weapon triangle disadvantage, he dodges and hits back. The other brigand goes after Kent, and the archer continually tries to be helpful, failing miserably.
Wil takes a shot at the brigand, but only drops him down to 1 HP. Sain follows up for a level up.
Now that's looking better. Speed would have been better than Luck, but this is pretty good. Kent attacks his bandit, but catches a second axe to the face. Said bandit is killed in the enemy phase, but Kent is hit by both the mercenary and archer, leaving him at 4 HP.
At this point, I figure it's safe to send Florina out for a little experience.
I was tempted to send her after the archer earlier, but given that these were her combat numbers, I was wary of what would happen afterwards.
As it turns out, such worries were unfounded. Wil kills the mercenary and Kent heads for the Armory.
The armory is where you can buy new weapons and sell shit you don't need anymore. Kent grabs an extra Iron Lance, and the rest of the crew heads north.
Kent heads north and dumps his extra lance with Florina and uses one of his vulneraries to heal up. Wil grabs the extra vulnerary from him, and everyone continues north.
Time to end this. First, a look at our enemy.
No worse than any of the other bandits stat-wise, but his Steel Axe does make him a bit more formidable. Since he's content to sit there and do nothing, Wil moves up and takes the first shot.
: We're not listening to any of your stinking apologies!
Wil lands for 7 damage. Next, we move Kent up.
Kent. Axes. Face. Bad.
The Mani Katti we got last chapter is quite a blade. It's lighter, more powerful, and has a much better critical rate than the Iron Sword.
For comparison's sake, here's the Iron Sword stats. As pointed out in the thread, even a legendary blade is going to break if it's used too much, so it's good to keep a couple of spare weapons around to use on regular foes.
: Begging for your life so soon, wench?
: Are you...Taliver bandits?
: Taliver? Those greedy monsters? We're nothing like them! Those fiends will even kill women and children! We're from Ganelon, and we know a little something of honor. We don't harm women, for one thing. Heh heh heh. After all, why kill what you can sell?
: If you're not Taliver, then there's no reason for you to die here today. If you would like to tuck your tails and flee, do so now.
: You... You... No more courtesies! You're going to learn to watch your tongue!
Sometimes, a certain unit will provoke special conversations with bosses. Usually, it's the main lord or someone with a personal connection to the enemy. Also, those bastards have no honor, they kill everyone! We have some, so we keep the people alive that we can sell! Rationalization!
: You'll live to regret this... My brothers... The Ganelon bandits will not let this stand...
And another level up for-
: Florina, why did you follow me? It's so dangerous.
: Do you remember the knighting ceremony of the Pegasus Knights of Ilia?
: Yes, you join a band of freelance soldiers to further your training. Is that what brought you here, Florina?
: Uh-huh. I wanted to talk to you before I set out. But when I went to Sacae, I heard you had left with some strangers, and...
: You were worried for me? Thank you, but I'm more worried about you. Listen, most mercenaries are men, right? Bands of men? I can't imagine you being at all comfortable around them.
: I know, I know. It's just... I've always dreamt of being a pegasus knight. I imagined I would just...work it out. Somehow. After today, I'm not so sure. Maybe I should just...give up...
: Florina, don't cry...
: Yes, there's no reason to give up your dream!
: You should come with us! With the addition of Wil here, we're a fine group of soldiers, and freelance to boot!
: Wait, did you just include me?
: Of course! We were destined to meet here! It's fate! Come now, Lyndis's band of mercenaries is as good a training group as you'll find anywhere!
: Sain... This is no joking matter!
: I can give you details later. This is all a bit rushed. However, Sain is right. Will you come with us, Florina?
: Travel with you, Lyn? Truly? I would be so...so happy!
: Fantastic! Beauteous Florina! I am a knight of Caelin. My name is Sain...
: Eeek! Stay back, don't get so close!
: Ah... Beautiful, and yet so modest!
: I beg your forgiveness. Calling us mercenaries...
: No, I approve. We can't leave Florina on her own. She requires special attention though. Can I count on you?
: Yes! You have but to ask.
: Is it really all right if I travel with you?
: Oh, yes. Of course! If you're willing, Wil.
: Actually, I'm very grateful. Truth be told, all of my money was stolen, and I'm at a bit of a crossroads. I would be honored to count myself one of Lyndis's Legion!
: This is getting stranger with every day, Art.
If you're familiar with Gandichan's Path of Radiance LP, you've probably seen Marcia, the "Death Goddess of the Skies." Florina is more or less the fan-favorite Peg Knight of Blazing Sword, and there's a good reason. She has no bad growths aside from Defense, and it's very, very rare to have a bad Florina. I'm personally more a fan of another one, but we won't be seeing her for a long, long time.
Wil has pretty even stats across the board, so he doesn't really stand out. Of the three archers in the game, he'll be able to take the most beating, and he'll be the strongest, but I prefer the one we'll meet in the beginning of Eliwood's story.