Part 25: Imprisoner of Magic
they venture deep into the forest's heart. Lyn moves in utmost silence, cautious not to alert any hidden enemy. However, following on her path, a new Black Fang shadow appears.
: This would appear to be the place of which Uhai spoke.
: So if we move west from here, we'll reach the Dragon's Gate, right?
: OK, let's go!
: You have a pallid look about you.
: ...Oh, it's you, Marcus.
: Is something amiss?
: You heard what Erik said when we were in Laus, Marcus. What do you think?
: That Lord Elbert was involved in a rebellion plot? It must be a mistake. Your father is loyal to Lycia; he would not break his oath.
: You're right, I can't believe he'd be involved in this conspiracy. Yet, why do I feel so anxious? When I think of my father, I can't catch my breath.
: Lord Eliwood, do not mistake your feelings. That feeling that strikes you when you think of Lord Elbert? It springs not from a distrustful heart, but from concern for your father, who needs your help. He is involved in something larger than all of us, and this is all happening so fast that it's easy to lose sight of that.
: I see... You're right. Thank you, Marcus, I feel a bit better.
: Glad to be of service, my lord. Bah. The air on this accursed isle... It's disquieting.
: ...It feeds the despair already lurking in our hearts. If you hadn't been here for me, Marcus, I-
: Eh? Something is happening ahead.
: It's Hector, let's go!
: It's because of that clattering armor you're wearing! I'm just saying we have to move cautiously. Nothing more!
: I know! And I'm saying that I'm doing my best!
: Quiet, both of you! Armor or no, if you two keep shouting like that, every enemy from here to Pherae itself will hear us!
: We must proceed with caution. I can't believe Uhai was the only Black Fang in these woods.
Oh the pains of not being in Hector's story; you'd actually know what the hell they were talking about, though it's pretty obvious from when Eliwood cut in.
: Targets are approaching from the far side of that mountain to the east.
: Hmph Uhai must have failed after all. I'm not surprised. We're talking about the shallow wisdom of a Sacaen nomad, after all. He possessed a certain rough talent, but no mind for planning. Our units are in place, are they not?
: Ha ha Good. Very good. In confined spaces like this, my thunder magic devastates. The battle has already been won I cannot lose. Combat is an equation. Those with intelligence have a natural advantage. Those imbeciles will not reach the Dragon's Gate. Never. I will bury them here in this forest!
: Ninian? Are you all right?
: Beware! The enemy comes!
: Oof! We won't reach the Dragon's Gate if we stay on the defensive. Hit their commander, and attack the ruins!
It's go time. The name of the game in this chapter is strong and accurate units. Not for the mooks, they're all mages and knights and are pretty easily dispatched as usual. Rather, there's a special friend of ours that'll be showing up and just being a major pain in the ass. He's the one we want strong units for.
Our group this time is Rebecca, Marcus, Canas, Priscilla, Raven, Oswin, Hector, Lyn, Dart, Guy, and Fiora. Due to our special friend, Canas is going to be useless on the front lines, so he'll be hanging back to guard Merlinus.
Directly to the south of our position is a ruin to visit. Fiora will be stopping by here, deal with the nearby enemies, and then join Canas in guard duty.
Our destination lies here, to the west. The pegasus knights will pretty much charge straight for Merlinus, but hey, that's what Canas and Hector are for.
Aion is either a joke or a monster, depending how you do things. Combat-wise, he's the first real magical boss, and given that resistance is low for pretty much everyone (our units and enemies alike), he can do some real damage. Of special note is Bolting, which only has five uses for a damn good reason. It's the B-rank anima tome, making quite damaging, and oh yeah, it has a range of 3-10 tiles. Fortunately, it's heavy as shit and quite inaccurate. Also not helping things is that he's quite nimble, and hanging out on ruins means that even units like Guy are going to be struggling to put up accuracy numbers in the mid 70's.
: The enemy commander is readying his troops beyond that mountain. I can fly over the mountain and direct you, but getting too close could prove to be dangerous. Bear that in mind when you give me my orders.
Hardly necessary Fiora, because you're not going anywhere near there. Let's send you to the south ruins instead.
: I'm Renault. I'm on a pilgrimage.
: A bishop!? Forgive me...
: What are you doing here? You don't appear to be with the black-robed group I saw earlier.
: No, we stand opposed to them. This is a battleground. You should conceal yourself, Your Excellency. This battle is nothing that need concern you.
: I'm sure that I cannot convince you to lay down your arms. That being the case, I give you this.
: This is
: It may help you live longer. Even if you face the misery of defeat in combat, you might yet find another road if you but live.
: You have my gratitude.
: May you be watched over and protected in your venture.
: Thank you. And you as well, Your Excellency.
Oh boy, how helpful. Another one for the stack. Fiora takes first blood on the second turn, but Raven claims the first level.
Aside from this being a good level, this is actually really convenient given what we have to do this map. Rebecca finally breaks her iron bow on a mage, and Eliwood finishes him off for another level.
Well it's not great, but he did need some speed, and skill will be handy for later.
Dart leads the charge into enemy territory, and gets his first level after one-shotting a shaman.
An...odd level, I suppose. Fiora follows up on another mage.
At the start of the enemy turn, these chucklefucks show up.
: Wha-What?! The magic power of this place The source is distorted I I can't use any of my magic!
: Lord Aion! Disaster! A magic seal!
: A magic-- That good-for-nothing has shown his face?! Curses I'd not foreseen this!
Yes. That big red diamond he's projecting? No one inside it can use magic. Period. This is a huge pain in the ass as it makes healing difficult, but it's also a huge boon given that Aion is now completely helpless as long he hangs out. Let's have a closer look.
Jesus christ, this guy is insane! Yeah, he's got a huge chunk of HP, he's fast as hell, and has pretty solid defense. Furthermore, he'll run during the enemy phase of the turn you attack him in, so you only have one shot at killing him. And you know what? We're going to kill the fucker anyway. The morphs he has with him are substantially more dangerous, as the knights are packing Silver lances, and the snipers Silver bows. Fortunately, none of them move, letting us pick them off at our leisure for mountains of experience.
Anyway, Dart knocks off another knight, gets another level.
Oh come on, what is this? Rebecca shoots at a knight, and despite managing to miss him once, still gets a level out of it.
Now this is more like what we're talking about. Not that it makes up for the string of 7 levels before this, mind you. As we approach Aion, a peg knight comes in to attack Guy. It ends poorly for her.
Ugh, strength Guy, strength...
At this point, we've cleared out the area around Aion, and all that's left is to deal with Kishuna and his buddies. A pair of mages appeared back by Merlinus, but that's why we left Fiora and Canas back there. Rebecca and Guy start working on Aion, but we won't be killing him right away. Kishuna will flee the turn after we kill him, and maximum dictates that everyone must die.
: Thunder, hear my cry!
Yeah, no such lucky, buddy. While they deal with him, the bulk of our group heads north to deal with the morphs. Canas and Fiora finish off the mages near Merlinus, and Canas gets a level out of it.
Meh, pretty good, I guess. Really want some speed on him though. Hector goes after the first knight, and misses with his second blow. He still gets a level from it, though.
Now you're just mocking me. Dart finishes the job.
Better. Raven does some damage to the first sniper, and picks up a level in swords. Oswin finishes him off for a level.
Eh, he hasn't gotten much skill so I'll let it slide.
Haha, that's great. Without any terrain bonuses, Oswin is taking 4 damage from a silver lance, and hitting back for 11 with steel.
Dart finishes the second knight, and Raven gets to work on the other Sniper. He kills him the next turn for another level.
It's beautiful... With the morphs gone, it's time to deal with Kishuna. After a little inventory management (among other things, Guy passes his Killing Edge over to Raven), Guy gains a level keeping Aion at about 2 HP.
Better, but you need more strength.
Alright, I think we're good to go. First, Aion bites the dust.
Now that's just shameful.
This should give you an indication of how annoying it is to actually kill this fucker. Marcus probably has the highest skill in the group (second maybe to Guy), and with a top of the line sword can still only manage a 66% hit rate. Thankfully, he lands.
Oswin is next, and this is more or less the "make or break" attack. He, too, lands, dropping the fucker to 18 HP.
Annoyingly, neither Lyn nor Raven manages to critical, but Raven gets a level.
Meh. Rebecca goes for it, but misses, and in comes Hector.
Great. Going to have to have Fiora pull someone out so Eliwood can come in.
Wait, what? Uh... Alright then. Let's get the hell out of here.
: Yes, somehow.
: Eliwood, I'm sorry. I said things I shouldn't have.
: No, I was shouting without thinking. I was wrong. Forgive me.
: No, it was my fault. If I hadn't
: Eerie power?
: I don't feel it any longer, but It was meant to make us uneasy. Was it connected to that area where magic was nullified?
: Now that you mention it, I was so irritable I couldn't let even the smallest thing go by without complaining. What could that have been? The Black Fang couldn't use magic either. So it wasn't an ally of theirs
: Who knows?
: It's gone now, so no sense in worrying about it. We should concentrate on pushing forward.
: Hmm. Let's make haste to the Dragon's Gate.