Part 31: Four-Fanged Offense
Bern: the greatest military force on the continent. The Lycian League has always enjoyed close relations with the kingdom of Bern. Recently, however, King Desmond has begun to flaunt his military strength. Lycian nobles can no longer move freely within Bern's borders. Eliwood and his group enter the country in the guise of simple travelers.
: Incredible. Even in a remote village like this, they've heard announcements for the prince's coming-of-age ceremony.
: Well, Prince Zephiel's ceremony is only ten days away. There's no helping all the excitement.
: They've no idea what's happening Carefree fools.
: Tell me, Hawkeye, do you know the location of the Shrine of Seals?
: I've heard it's north of Bern. But the location of the shrine itself is secret. I doubt if anyone outside the royal family knows how to reach it.
: So, if we want to reach the shrine, we'll have to contact the royal family, is that it?
: Without revealing our identities or our motives? There's got to be another way to find where it is.
: Lord Pent?
: I'm privy to the highest secrets of military information in Etruria. When we learned of the shrine's existence, we investigated. However, none of our operatives returned. Bern's defenses are formidable.
: So, even if we reach the shrine, we're as like as not to be captured?
: Most likely. And if your identities are discovered, Bern will see it as an excuse to invade Lycia.
: That, above all else, must be avoided.
: That's where I come in.
: What do you mean?
: Duty demands that I attend the post-ceremony festivities. However, I will greet the queen privately before the ceremony.
: Privately? You can do that?
: Queen Hellene was born in Etruria. She and I are related, albeit a distant relation.
: Most likely, she'll not say much, but anything will help, will it not? Rest assured, even if I fail, I will not reveal your presence.
: Lord Pent! That's-
: If we do not return by tomorrow, return to Lycia and come up with a new plan. Understood?
: If you fail, what will become of you?
: Everything will work out. It wouldn't be a bad life. Abandoning my position Living on the run with Louise
: If I'm with you, my lord Pent, I care not where we go.
: I pray for your success.
: Please do! Let us proceed, Louise.
: Come back safely! We'll be waiting for you!
: What is it, Hawkeye?
: I was holding this for the master.
: It's a Heaven seal!
: Mm There are only three in existence.
: What is Archsage Athos's plan?
: I'm to give it to them when the time is right.
: I see.
: I I might not know the right time when it comes. I want you to take care of it.
: Thank you, but what if we do not return?
: You will. You and Louise without fail.
: I understand.
: Lord Hawkeye, we we will most certainly return.
Hm...Only three in existence? That's not a coincidence at all, no sir. Certainly not the same number of lords as we have.
: Yeah! Lloyd! Linus! What is it? Are you working?
: I suppose we are.
: How about you? Where are you off to in such a hurry?
: I have a job to do, too! I'm carrying messages for Mother, so I have to do my best! See you! Let's do something when your job is finished.
: She's a good lass.
: Yes. Hard to believe she's that woman's child.
: I know what you mean, but we have to lay low
: Why don't we try and gather some information on the Black Fang?
: Hm? Information?
: Yes. Black Fang's headquarters are here in Bern. The location was never disclosed to me, though. The Black Fang is so much different than it once was. Any information we could gain would be beneficial.
: That's a good idea. Thanks, Legault.
: Think nothing of it.
: Let's split up and go. Try to blend in.
: We'd better be careful.
: Especially you, Hector.
: I can't tell if they're friends or not.
: Tee hee
: Is something funny, Ninian?
: It's just Listen to you grumble, Lord Eliwood! You sound like you're their chaperon!
: Really? Is that what it sounds like to you?
: That's great
: Ha ha ha.
: I like it when you laugh.
: Excuse me?
: Oh, nothing. Come on! Let's go!
: I thought they were in Nabata!
: What does it matter where they've been? We've found them, so let's take care of them.
: I guess you're right Linus, go tell Father what's happening.
: Why!? They're right in front of us! You and I can finish this now!
: Moron. It's a precaution. Fangs cannot afford mistakes. Don't worry, I've underlings aplenty. I'll taunt the foe and draw them to the fortress in the north. I doubt I'll lose, but They've survived this long, so they must be tough. I might run into trouble. Deliver your report, then get back here with reinforcements.
: You can't be serious. They don't look like they can last long against you, the White Wolf.
: Just get moving, Linus.
: Understood. I'll be back soon, though, so leave some for me!
: Ah! Black Fang!?
: That's right. You have the honor of dying at the hands of the Four Fangs. Our commander is Lord Lloyd, the White Wolf.
: Eliwood! Is that the enemy?
: Counterattack! To arms, everyone!
: Come. You'll get your throats ripped out
Ah, Four-Fanged Offense. One of the more interesting chapters, it has two possible versions. This one, attained by having the combined total of your lords' levels be 49 or less, pits us against Lloyd. Having a total of 50 or more sends you against Linus on an entirely different map.
Lloyd's map is a fog-of-war map, but it's not nearly as bad as some of them are. We start here, in the southwest corner. The B-team is pretty much all here, along with Rebecca and the lords have come to join the fun as well.
Directly to the east of our starting position is a village. There's also a sniper hanging out here with an Orion's Bolt for us.
Another village, in the far northeast corner as well. Lloyd is hiding where the cursor is. There are a few ballistas scattered around the map, but they're mostly ineffectual. There's only like two archers on the entire map in the first place, and one of them is the sniper that starts right near us.
The team is going to split into two groups: Lyn, Hector, Heath, Florina, and Rath are going to go east, the rest of the crew is heading straight north, with a few stragglers hanging out in the main camp, because quite a few reinforcements are going to be coming out of those two fortresses. So let's get started.
: Oh, Art. I have few fond memories of my homeland. I'm a deserter. Yet I can't say I'm not a little glad to be here. I hope that, someday soon, I can clear my name and return home.
And who do we have here?
: This is the 75TH time! I could have SWORN Caelin was in this direction! Grrr Eh? Something's wrong Is it a sneak attack? You cowards, waiting there in the fog! My name is Wallace! The boldest knight in all Caelin (wherever it is)! If you're not afraid to die, show yourselves! Bwah ha ha ha ha ha ha!
Yeeeessssss. Wallace may be a joke compared to Oswin, but he is the best goddamn character. He can be recruited by pretty much anyone from Caelin, so Lyn, Kent, Sain, Florina, and Wil will all do the trick.
Now then, first thing to do is to clean up our starting position. Guy and Lowen oblige, and Guy picks up a level in swords in the process.
Lowen gets something significantly less useful.
Left on his own, Wallace will usually head north. Occasionally, he'll go murder the sniper instead, depriving you of the Orion's Bolt.
: I guess he's not here yet. Hmm! Fog's thick today. It's the perfect weather for taking on evildoers! Yet here I am again, running errands I wish I were more worthy, so that I could help out in battle.
: Don't Don't scare me like that, Jaffar. What's wrong? You're never late for anything.
: My last job took longer than expected.
: What? There are things that can slow you down? I would never have expected that.
: If you've my next mission let me hear it.
: Oh, right. Mother gave this to me Huh? Oh! Wha-What happened!? You're covered in blood!
: It's a scratch. Pay it no heed
: Scratches don't bleed like that! Let me see.
: Forget it. Next target hurry
: Jaffar! Come on, wake Wake up! What should I do?
Oh dear. If you pop into that house, Nino will have a quick little chat:
: Er Is there something I can help you with? I have an injured man here. Please keep your voice down! No, I don't know anything about the Black Fang! Leave, please! You'll upset my patient!
She tries so hard. Though given Jaffar's reputation, I'd have been surprised there are things that could slow him down too.
Legault, you are the worst. Wait, no, Guy's the worst. At least you can steal...
Damn sniper. Why can't you just die like everyone else?
This is your fault Fedule. I wasn't going to bring him but no, you just had to not give up on Guy.
If you're expecting it to get any better, it really doesn't. The arena gives me some good levels, but until then you can look forward to a lot of this. He did pick up the Orion's Bolt though.
We finally catch up with Wallace on turn 4.
: Ah! You there! You're Florina, aren't you lass? You should speak up, girl! I didn't notice you there.
: But I... Yes, sir.
: Wait... If you're here, that must mean... Is the Lady Lyndis with you?
: Yes... I'm here with Lady Lyndis and we're-
: That's enough. Say no more. Whatever it is, you can count me in.
: Oh...really? Are you sure?
: If Lady Lyndis is in danger, I can't sit by idly, can I? Show me the foe! General Wallace will crush them all!
The best character. Rath hits up the east village next.
: I was Prince Zephiel's teacher of history. The prince is a wise lad. He's the royal family's first prodigy. Yet King Desmond ignores the boy's talents, and they wither. Here I'd like you to take this. This is an Earth seal. This one item contains the powers of many: Knight crest, Guide ring, Hero crest, Elysian whip I am unsure why I would entrust this treasure to a complete stranger. I cannot explain it, but I have a feeling. For some reason, I believe you will aid the prince Strange Go on! Humor an old man and take it.
Cool stuff. Like he said, the Earth seal is basically the four promotion items rolled into one. Good for anyone that's not a Lord, thief, or Dart.
Surprise! Asshole reinforcements, but monks are hardly anything to write home about. Erk and Eliwood quickly mop them up.
Passable, I guess. That speed is important.
As we work our way north, I'm always confused as to how the long range weapons work. Why is it that an archer in a ballista can't counter another unit attacking it from range, like with Bolting or another Ballista? I mean, are they that lazy? "Shit, we're under attack!" "Eh, I'll deal with it next turn."
Goddammit Legault, you are not helping things. Heath gets to the north village this turn as well.
???: No need for alarm. For reasons of my own, I wear the garb of the Black Fang, but I'm a loyal citizen of Lycia, and I am not your enemy. A woman now leads the Black Fang around by the nose. When at last you confront her, use this staff. This woman is the ringleader you seek. Her name is Sonia. Do not forget. Sonia.
...Well alright then. The Silence staff does exactly what you'd expect. Any unit it hits acts like they're in Kishuna's anit-magic field and cannot attack or use staves.
Oh, well, hello there. Both of the assholes have Lancereavers, which Heath doesn't take too well. Heath, however, has a axereaver of his own, and when two -reaver weapons come together, the weapon triangle is flipped back to normal. Heath quickly disposes of one, and Rath the other.
A patch-up job from afar gets Serra a rather nice level. Physic staves are so much fun.
Reinforcements pop up in the north and south. Lowen trades blows with a myrmidon for fun and profit.
As does Eliwood. He's shaping up quite nicely, in fact.
The north cleanup effort continues with Rath's incredibly mediocre level.
Heath is stuck in the mediocrity pit for now as well.
But Rebecca puts up a pretty good level after shoving a ballista bolt up a brigand's ass.
Ah, there's the man of the hour.
Lloyd is very dangerous up close and personal. He's crazy strong, crazy fast, and he's a swordmaster on top of things. Fortunately, all he's got is the Silver sword, and for whatever reason he won't move...which kills any challenge that might have existed in fighting him. Also, fun fact, he and Linus have an A support.
Just when you think you've finally got everything all cleaned up, wyvern brigade out of nowhere. Heath, being awesome, criticals on one, and cripples the other two. He kills one the next turn, and Rath gets the other, leaving only Lloyd. And now, it's arena time. Skipping a hundred or two turns...
For someone I was ready to give up on way back when, Erk's made quite a comeback. Let's hope he keeps this up after promotion.
He picks things up a bit after those rather disappointing levels at the start. Not amazing, but he still has plenty of time to get it in gear and really knock things out of the park.
What a fucking joke. Less than a 3% chance of getting no strength in 10 levels, but our Guy is up to the challenge. Sorry son, you're going to the bench. For good this time.
I don't even know what the hell happened here, because Legault is usually pretty reliable. He didn't even cap speed, so uh...yeah. Sticking with Matthew.
Lowen's done alright for himself. Not very much offensive growth, but he picked up quite a bit of defense, so he might just be back to his usual tanking purposes.
Rath is pretty much average on all fronts, which isn't bad. Wish he hadn't gotten so many pairs of "HP, Strength" one level and "Skill, Speed" the next though.
This is a fucking spectacular Eliwood. I've seen ones with less than 10 strength, and I've seen ones with less than 10 speed, and neither of those things are good on a unit you're required to take to endgame. A little fragile, maybe, but otherwise he's in excellent shape.
Training this guy was a bitch, because I wanted to use Filla's Might instead of wasting Nini's Grace on a unit that was already practically invincible. Then he got put against a myrmidon with a silver sword and was dead in a single combat round. He didn't pick up a whole lot of speed, so we'll probably toss him the speedwing before next chapter.
Pretty typical of Lyn here, though her strength is a bit high (thanks to that Energy Ring from way back when). Who needs a swordmaster when you've got this?
Now then: Promotion time.
Rath picks up swords...
Heath, swords (for whatever reason, the GBA games gave Wyvern Lords swords. Usually they get axes)...
And finally, Erk gets staves. Unlike Lucius, he (and every other promoted magic user) starts with an E in staves, which pretty much means Lucius is the only non-dedicated healer aside from Pent who will ever really be useful as one.
Serra, by the end the map, has made her way up to L19, 87 EP. Damn it Serra, come on.
Finally, it's time to deal with Lloyd.
: Do not blame me for your fate. It is your own doing.
Yeah, rather than deal with his swordmaster bullshit, I throw Erk, javelins, etc. at him. Heath picks him off at the end.
Jesus, did everyone attend the Oswin school of post-promotion levels?
: I'm beaten. You are strong. Stronger than I'd realized.
: You're foolish as well. To waste sentiment on me, your enemy
: Peace. I've no plans on fleeing with a hostage. After I deal with you, I'll let the rest of them go.
: Uhai said the same thing.
: We battled your comrade Uhai on the Dread Isle He told us that he'd do nothing so cowardly as take a hostage. He fought with honor. You Black Fang are not evil by nature. So why is it that we fight?
: Uhai You spoke with him?
: Yes. With his dying breath, he told us the way to the Dragon's Gate.
: I see
: Will you join our cause?
: No However, something is amiss. You have been granted a brief reprieve until I have my answers.
: Tell us, what is your name?
: I'll tell you next time we meet. Be seeing you. Watch out for the woman named Sonia.
: Forgive me. I wanted to speak with him at least once.
: Don't sweat it. At least we learned a little something about our opponent.
: The Black Fang seems to have some honor after all. Perhaps they really are just being used by Nergal. We should talk to their head, Brendan Reed.
: Perhaps we can resolve this without any more fighting.
: I don't like it. Sounds like a terrible plan.
: Let's get back to camp. We might have some word from Pent and the others.
: I wonder what that was all about.
: They're not the gang of thugs Sonia made them out to be. How do I unmask that woman for what she truly is? Ah!
: Lloyd, the White Wolf. Such strong quintessence.
: Li Linus Tell Father
Whelp, so much for that. I'm sure Linus is going to have a perfectly rational and level-headed reaction to that, and totally not swear to murder us all.
: You I know you
: Uh-huh. We've met many times. I don't think I told you my name, though. I'm Nino! Sonia's daughter.
: What are you doing?
: Have you forgotten the law of the Fang? "Sacrifice the wounded to salvage the strong."
: That's not
: You should have obeyed the law Killed me, and then fled. Yet you didn't. Why?
: Bu-But Letting a comrade die? I couldn't do that.
: Don't be a fool!
: Don't move! Here! Lean on me!
: Don't touch
: Please, don't move. So much blood You're bleeding again. What do I do? It won't stop.
: Please don't die. You mustn't die...
: Brother? Lloyd! This is unforgivable! I will kill them all! Not a one will survive!
Yep. Making friends in Bern already. Now then, time to check in with the Bern Royal Family.
: Your Majesty 'Tis a pleasure to see you. What a glorious day that sees you grace us with your presence.
: Enough. Call the boy!
: Your son is practicing his falconry.
: You knew I was coming, and yet you sent him away. Hmph As crafty as ever, woman. Very well, you will have to do. It's ten days until the boy's coming-of-age ceremony. I would speak of it.
: At last Once the ceremony ends, our son, so long lingering in the shadows, will be received by all as the legitimate heir to your throne. Do you know how he has longed for this day?
: Cease your complaints. You and Zephiel, queen and heir of Bern, have never wanted for anything.
: We are here in this manse, while you live in the palace with that woman. You must be so disappointed that she bore you not a prince but a princess.
: Hellene! You go too far!
: My child, who through me carries the noble blood of Etruria in his veins, will in ten days be named as the right-born heir to the throne. Ha ha ha! No matter how you may dote on her, your illegitimate daughter, Guinivere, is destined to be nothing more than a baseborn shadow It is my son who shall reign in Bern! My son, Zephiel! Ha ha ha ha ha! How it gives me such pleasure to say those words!
: Have you said your mind? Well, I have something for you to hear as well.
: What could it be?
: Last night, from the palace,
Title drop! The Fire Emblem is always an item that shows up somewhere in the game. Sometimes it's an actual item (such as in Shadow Dragon), and sometimes it's merely a plot device, such as here.
: It can't be! Ha ha ha. You are so wicked, Your Majesty. Pray tell, who would believe such a tale? The Fire Emblem is Bern's greatest national treasure. No gem in existence is its equal. Stealing such a heavily guarded object is impossible, is it not?
: Unfortunately, I speak true. You know the importance of the Fire Emblem. It's the symbol of the heir, the heart of the ceremony. Without the Emblem, the ceremony must be canceled.
: No! Thi-This was your doing, wasn't it? How can you despise Zephiel so? He is of your blood. He is your beloved son, is he not?
: I have heard that Zephiel is a gifted student, a stunning fighter, excelling in all he tries. And I've also heard that he is much loved by the people.
: Yes! It is true. All of it! He is a worthy son.
: I excelled at neither books nor blades. I cannot say that I command the love of my subjects Zephiel and I are opposites in every way. It is hard to believe that he is my son.
: Mine or not, without the ceremony He will not be named heir. Mark my words, and prepare yourself, woman.
: Your Majesty! King Desmond! Please Please wait! He is your heir! Your son! Please What am I to do? Zephiel
: I beg your pardon, Your Highness. You have a visitor
: I will see no one. Send him home.
: Your Highness, I
???: It's all right. You may go. I will take care of this.
: Yes, my lady.
: Louise!? Is it truly you? Ah Louise
: What is it? Your eyes are so red. It's a shame to see such beauty marred by tears.
: There is something I
: If it please you, I would hear your troubles. My husband is here with me. Perhaps he will be able to lend you his aid.
: Lord Pent is also here? I see To be honest
Oh boy, I think I know where this is going.
: Sorry to have kept you waiting.
: How did everything go?
: I can't say it was a complete failure, yet
: What do you mean?
: We've a task to perform.
: What do you mean?
: Queen Hellene is looking for something. If we find it for her
: She will listen to our request, is that it?
: We have until the morning of the tenth day from today. What will you do? The decision is yours.
: We'll do it. It is most certainly a test we were destined to take.
Yyyyyyep. We're tracking down the Fire Emblem. Is it too much to ask for to not get caught up in these political games for once?
Lloyd's official art.