Part 7: Beyond the Borders
Now, she rushes for the border of Bern. If she can reach it, Lycia itself is not far off. For a moment, Lyn stops to imagine the face of a grandfather she's never seen.
: Once we cross, we'll be safe from the bandits, right?
: We should be. I doubt they'll be willing to pursue us across the border.
: Lycia at last! It's been a long time. Tomorrow, we'll dine on a feast of Lycia's finest foods! And the mistress of the inn at the crossing is said to be a beauty. Ah, yes... Food and love. No better way to restore a man's soul! This is going to be a fine evening, eh, Kent?
: If your behavior is as deplorable as ever, we'd best stay elsewhere. We're not here for sightseeing!
: Oh, come now! That's not fair!
: Kent, the inn will be fine.
: Lyndis! You are truly an angel from on high!
: It's nothing. Forget it.
: Ah! We'll finally be able to get a good night's sleep.
: Oh, no... Those bandits are persistent, I'll give them that much.
And right on cue...
: What? Not again! They're still after us?
: Heh heh heh. Don't think you're getting away so easily!
: You leave alive, and everyone'll think the Ganelon Bandits have gone soft!
: So? We care nothing for you or your reputations! We must get to Lycia! Get in our way, and you'll pay!
: Cheeky little thing, aren't you? Let's get 'em lads! And no holding back just 'cause there's women with 'em. Wipe 'em out!
I...er...that's it? I was expecting something a little more...I don't know, numerous? I mean hell, we've got more units than they do.
: You told me you were certain this was the correct path.
: What's your point, Erk? What are you trying to say?
: ...I swear, you are NOT the woman I agreed to escort...
: What? What's that supposed to mean?
: I heard someone was needed to escort a frail Lycian priestess to Ostia...
: Yes, and I'm that priestess.
: Frail? You? Serra, you have no need of any escort to protect you. Even the most hardened criminal would flee in terror after five minutes in your company. I'll return your money. Gladly. Now will you please go on to Ostia alone?
Damn Erk, bitter much?
: NO! You're MY escort, Erk! MINE! You're so clean and tidy. A noblewoman like myself can't be seen without a proper escort. Your personality's nothing special, but you're not bad to look at.
: I believe that's my line. And I have to take you all the way to Ostia? I only hope my nerves can endure the journey.
: What are you mumbling about? You're so gloomy! Hm? Something's happening over there. Let's take a look!
: Ah. Of course. The first opportunity to get involved in trouble, and she jumps right in. No amount of money is worth this. Hoo...
: Erk! Take a look! Fighting those bandits... It's a young girl!
: Fool! Keep your voice down!
: Eh? What's this? You in league with that she-devil?
: Ah... This is so wrong...
: Gyaaa! I'll take care of you with one swift stroke!
: Eeeeeeek! Eeeeeek! Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek! Erk! Help me!
: So...loud... Serra! Behind me! You there! See if you can match me!
Well that turned out well.
: Look, Art! Someone's over there!
So...yeah. This is the map. It's...well, to call it "piss-easy" would be an understatement. It's only 7 enemies, and after we recruit those two, we'll actually have more units than them from the start. Let's just get this over with.
: Why are you fighting these bandits?
: ...It just happened.
: That's not true! Those ruffians thought that we were with you! You got us into a terrible situation! Now, how are you going to get us out?
: Serra, if you'd not been so meddlesome, this all could have been avoided. My apologies. Please trouble yourself with us no more.
: But...if you're going to have to fight anyway, shouldn't we team up? It will end things faster, right?
: That's true. Yes! That's a good idea! Erk! Go and help those ladies.
: But I... Fine.
: Very good. My name's Lyn. So tell me, will you join arms with us?
: Yes, we'd be glad to. My name is Serra. This is my escort, Erk. Be a good boy, and go fight now, Erk.
I feel ya buddy. With that, we now have two more for our ranks.
Clerics are your standard healers, with the exception that they can't heal themselves with their staves. Serra comes with a Heal Staff and Vulnerary.
Erk, on the other hand, has nothing but a Fire book, so we'll get a Vulnerary to him at some point. His stats are pretty much what you'd expect out of a mage.
: I'm Serra. Nice to meet you. By the way, see this contrary mage here with me? His name is Erk. I think he's been hurt.
You think? He's only got an arrow sticking out of him.
: I am Erk's employer. "Master," I suppose you could say. What I'm getting at is... I was thinking of healing him free of charge. I know, I know. I'm generous to a fault. Hm? Why are you looking at me like that? Praise my generosity!
Even Art isn't taking any of her shit.
: Anyway, that's the deal. Please direct me to him.
Ugh...I hate her so much. Why is she the only healer until Chapter 14? Anyway, her Heal staff is good for healing [Mag + 10] HP, so she'll patch up 12 damage right now.
: If I'm going to fight, however, I will show you the true power of magic!
Erk goes and kills the archer who attacked him last turn. Kent, Sain, and Wil move north, as Lyn and Dorcas head east, and Florina flies over the lake to attract the mercenary. Kent is attacked by a brigand in the enemy phase, and Erk and Florina both dodge attacks from mercenaries.
Kent and Sain both take a shot at the brigand, and Wil comes in and gets the kill for a level up.
Dammit, come on.
Erk and Florina kill the mercenaries, Serra heads north, and the rest of the crew continue east.
Kent, Sain, and Wil continue moving northeast, Serra heals Kent back to full health, and Lyn, Erk, Dorcas, and Florina continue moving southeast. Serra is attacked by a brigand and dodges, as Sain takes 2 damage from the archer.
Wil and Kent attack the brigand, and Sain attacks the archer. The main group continues southeast and we start dealing with the boss.
Bug hasn't learned any new tricks from his companions. He's still standing right next to a forest, and we've picked up a mage now, so we can bypass his relatively good defense and hit his terrible resistance. Dorcas starts off the charge with a hand axe toss.
Sure. Dorcas lands for 6 damage, and we end the turn. Serra is attacked by both the brigand and the archer, but only the archer connects for 6 damage.
Let's end this. First, since the way is clear, we send Florina up to check out the armory.
Ranged equipment here. Florina grabs a pair of javelins. Next, we finish off Bug. Dorcas lands again, as does Erk to drop him to 7 HP. Lyn is more than happy to clean up the spoils.
Well, could be worse, I suppose. Really could use some defense though. With the top group, Wil finishes off the brigand with style.
Twirling arrows makes you 200% more powerful. It's a proven fact. The brigand also drops an Iron sword, which is useless to Wil. Sain kills the archer, and the chapter is done.
: What a surprise. You are very strong, Lyn.
: Your staff is a wondrous thing. Healing powers amaze me.
: Only those in the service of good can wield them.
: You helped us tremendously. Well, it's time for us to go.
: Take care. Goodbye, Lyn.
: What have we here? Another wildflower? Perhaps a butterfly? What an absolutely delectable creature.
: Oh my! Are you one of Lyn's companions?
: Please, call me Sain.
: I'm Serra. I serve House Ostia.
: Serra... What a lyrical name. I am in service to Castle Caelin.
: Oh! So is Lyn a member of the marquess's family?
: She is the granddaughter of our lord, the marquess.
: Hmmm... Such an important person.
: Serra... What deviousness are you contemplating now?
: Tee hee! Having a person of power in your debt is never a bad thing!
: You can't be serious...
: Oh, Sain! Do you think we could join the lady Lyndis's company? She seems like such a nice person, and I would ever so much like to help her.
: Of course! We couldn't be happier! Why, we were only just saying how we needed some more fighting power!
: Are you being hunted or something?
: Yes, it's an inheritance dispute. Assassins everywhere.
: Oh my! In that case, my healing staff and Erk's magic should come in handy.
: Well, I, er... It sounds...dangerous...
: Your staff and magic would be extremely helpful! Please wait here! I will go and speak with Lady Lyndis on your behalf.
: This is fantastic, Erk! Our good deeds will earn us gratitude beyond imagining!
: I... I... I think I'm going to be ill.
Leaving behind Lyn and co, let's see what's going on in the castle.
: Yes, Lord Lundgren. She's en route to Araphen...
: Fool! Send out soldiers to meet her! Hold nothing back! Do anything to finish this now! First the old man, and now the girl... They cling to life like a drowning man to a rock! Double the poison's strength! If he struggles, hold him down and pour it down his throat! Once the girl is gone, Caelin is mine. I will let no one stand in my way!
Erk is our first mage, and he's an interesting case. None of his growths are really good by any stretch of the imagination, so what you usually end up with is a terrible, borderline unusable Erk, or an amazing Erk that knocks it out of the park. Unfortunately, there's generally not a whole lot of in-between, but there are plenty of replacements for Erk, so it's far from the end of the world if he doesn't turn out.
Serra is the first of two dedicated healers, but you're probably going to be using the other healer a lot more, with her having better stat growths and better mobility. Also not doing Serra any favors is the fact that healers take a long time to level, since they can't actually engage in combat. By all means, use her until there are better options, but don't get too attached to her. There are much better alternatives once the other healer joins and people start promoting.