Part 34: Battle Before Dawn
They've been set loose in the palace to murder the crown prince, Zephiel. Eliwood hurries to prevent them from fulfilling their contract.
: General Murdock, the prince's bodyguard, should be away. The king concocted some errand to call him from Zephiel's side There are no guards around. This is an easy job, isn't it? I I can do this! This is my first mission, you know? I guess I'm a little nervous, but I mustn't fail. Mustn't let Mother down.
: Are you ready, Jaffar?
: I've no desire to be a part of your blundering If you fail, I will, without hesitation, finish the target and then you.
: Do not be so naive as to expect help from "friends." Remember that.
: I I knew that. Don't have to tell me I'm a member of the Black Fang, after all. Ha ha
: I won't fail. I will become worthy I will. Mother will be proud of me. She will see the daughter I've become, and she will love me.
: It's just like we were told, but something's strange. Listen! A voice! Someone's talking in the room!
: No Someone's praying.
: You're right It's the prince, isn't it? I wonder what he's praying for.
: My coming-of-age ceremony is tomorrow. As the prince of Bern, I've tried I've tried my best not to be an embarrassment to my father. I know I've not met with his expectations. But I will try harder. I will please him. I vow to do better. For him.
: Hear me: Tomorrow, I will be a man So this is my last wish as a foolish child. It's the same one I've asked of you every night for all these years, but Please, bring Father and Mother together again. Please, let the day come when Guinivere and I and her mother When all of us can live together happily in the castle.
: It's time
: Oh! Jaffar
: That will leave him unconscious for some time. Now, the time has come for you to do your part
: Do it.
: I cannot.
: What!? What did you say?
: To be accepted That's all He's just like me. No matter how I try, Mother always looks at me as if I were nothing. Her eyes are so filled with disappointment. She's never held me not even once
: Stop this foolishness! I told you! I will not permit you to ruin my opportunity!
: I know Do as you must, Jaffar. I won't resist. You can do it easily. But please don't hurt the prince. For pity's sake
: I'm ready to die.
Mercy? From Jaffar? What the hell?
: This is it. Come here.
: Bu-But if you do this Jaffar, you'll
: Don't worry about me. Hurry up. No!
Oh no...this isn't going to end well.
: Such magnificent skill. Is this why they call you the Angel of Death? Sonia told me that you were behaving oddly, but it appears her fears were groundless.
: I'm sorry! It's not Jaffar's fault! It was me! The prince I couldn't
: What's all this? Why is the girl still alive?
: You received Lady Sonia's orders, did you not? You were to dispose of the worthless little--
: Hold your tongue. You will not speak another word.
: So that's how it is? Jaffar, do you plan on betraying Lord Nergal?
: Ha ha So you have some human emotion in you after all. You always seemed just like those creepy morphs. I bet you didn't kill the prince, either. Maxime!
: Yes! I'm here!
: Take your men and put out all of the lights. Block all the entrances. Your targets are Prince Zephiel and two traitors. Finish this before we draw attention to ourselves. Go!
: N-No! You must come, too, Jaffar!
: Nino You must live. You are worthy of living.
: No! Wait! Don't go! Jaffar!
: The lights have been doused. That's the sound of fighting. What's going on?
: I don't know, but if they're still fighting, we might not be too late! Let's hurry, Eliwood!
: We have to get inside! We have to protect the prince!
Welcome to Battle Before Dawn. It's a big map with lots of stuff going on, but it's a lot of fun to play.
First things first. *Some* people just don't know when to give up, so we're going to be taking Canas for one more spin.
This does not make Canas any better of a unit, but I actually do appreciate having Luna for this map.
We start in the northern courtyard, and the best way to tackle this chapter is to split into two groups, preferably with a thief in each. From Eliwood over (excluding Dart), they're going east. Hector, Priscilla, and Harken and over are going west.
Nino (and treasure) is off to the west, and must be recruited with either Lyn or your main lord.
Nino is...problematic. First and foremost, she's a level 5 unpromoted unit when everyone in our troop is promoted and working on getting back up to 20, and promoted enemies are starting to show up more and more. On top of things, she has absolutely abysmal constitution (not even enough to wield a Fire tome without penalty), and her Elfire tome all but ruins her only good stat as of now. For now, the only threat to her is a monk who she can deal with, but the faster you get to her, the less likely someone like, say, a fighter will find her, and do a much better job of killing her.
Zephiel is still unconscious in his room.
Ahaha... He's got even weaker stats than Nino, and like her he's using a Silver Sword which is eating away at his already low speed (and therefore avoid, which is what he needs).
Finally, Jaffar (and again, more treasure) is off to the west.
If there was ever a definition of "RNG-proof" unit, it's Jaffar. His strength is all of a single point off the cap, and his speed and skill will either hit theirs or come awfully close to doing so as well. Ironically, Jaffar's biggest problem is that he will run out of uses on his Killing Edge before you can get to him more often than not.
Ursula is somewhere down here. Not close enough to Bolting Jaffar though, thankfully.
Also of note, when Merlinus reaches L20, he promotes and gets a horse. No more leaving a guard for his lazy ass, he can come along with us.
This is an average encounter with Jaffar.
This is how said encounter usually ends (that's his critical animation, if you can't tell).
: That man He's gone. What's going on? Ah! We're under attack! Coming this way 10 20 I have to get away No That's wrong. That's not the way. If I run, they'll simply follow and surround me Rather than run, I should wait and face them here.
After the first turn, Zephiel gets his ass up and hangs out on a Pillar. The extra 20 avoid definitely helps him, but you still don't want to see him fight too much. Chapter ends when he survives 15 turns.
Maxime will always rush Jaffar, which is fine, all things considered. He's not a particularly strong enemy, and there would have to be a ridiculous amount of RNG fuckery for him to survive Jaffar long enough to get one of your units in range of him in the first place.
Case in point. These numbers are with Maxime and Jaffar both on Pillars (1 Def, 20 Avoid).
On the east side is this asshole. The swordslayer is a very special axe that is like a swordreaver, except it gets a huge attack bonus against myrmidons/swordmasters. And of course, you're probably using a thief to open the doors and all, so guess who this guy loves to go after?
Jaffar's other big problem is that he loves to abandon the safety of the pillars to do shit like this. It's very easy to have him get swamped with mages/archers on top of Maxime, and that generally doesn't go too well for him.
Turn 3, and our first level is actually pretty good.
I love being able to go frame-by-frame through animations, because you never know when you find shit like Harken stretching to about double his height. I am suitably impressed that his first action was a critical though. For whatever reason, the hero dropped a lockpick.
The first big problem: It's almost impossible to beat them to the treasure, so a thief is all but mandatory to steal back one of the treasures.
It's amazing how much more fun Bolting is when it's in your hands instead of some mage who can't hit shit.
Oh goddammit Heath. What is this shit?
A sight you won't see very often unless you're using the tome. Or rather, unless it's you or a boss who still has five too many casts of it left.
The AI once again demonstrates its tactical genius by fighting a unit that can't hit back. Also, this guy actually doubled Erk. Siege tomes are heavy as fuck.
Well, had to happen eventually. The Delphi shield makes it so that a flyer isn't vulnerable to arrows.
We finally reach Nino on turn 5.
: The prince is in his room! Save him! I'll take care of anything that happens out here!
: Wait! You You're Nino, aren't you?
: What!? How--
: We overheard some things *fade to black*
: I'm sorry It's the truth. The Black Fang is no longer the group you thought it was. Nergal is using it to his own ends.
: Mother It can't be
: I'm not asking you to believe this all at once. But it's the truth. The only truth. Come with us! You're no assassin You must know the best thing for you.
Alright then, now that our main liability is out the way, we need to get Jaffar and Nino together to have a little chat. Easier said than done, especially since Jaffar isn't going to go anywhere, and if Nino goes that way on her own, she'll stroll into Ursula's range, and a single Bolting cast will probably be it for her.
So Priscilla grabs Jaffar and she's going to head east.
Second treasure in the east, the Rescue staff will warp someone from [Mag/2] spaces away and put them next to the caster.
Lowen picks up a mediocre level after killing a bishop. Said bishop also drops an Elysian whip, which is a little interesting, but I'm not going to complain (even if I'm never going to use it )
Harken's first level is similarly unimpressive.
Sorry buddy, those are mine.
Legualt relieves our friend of the Delphi shield...
...While Matthew picks up what is arguably the most important treasure in the game. The Boots will permanently increase a unit's movement by two, and there's only ever one pair of them in the game.
: Are you afraid to die?
Shit. Thank god Bolting's so heavy, because Priscilla's carrying Jaffar at the moment, and could easily be doubled by just about anything.
Heath, don't make me promote/start using Fiora. Because I will.
Legault lifts the thief's set of Lockpicks, and Canas kills him to get our Rescue staff.
Rath puts an arrow in a Hero and gets an unimpressive, but still very useful level.
Last treasure, another Brave weapon. I believe this actually completes the set.
I actually meant to heal Lowen before sending him over here. Would probably be a good idea now.
More POWER! Also, Dart hit S-rank in axes, which makes him slightly more accurate and critical-ly. Both of which are very welcome things on a Berserker.
Rebecca gets a spectacular level when she criticals a knight. I can deal with this.
On turn 10, we finally get Jaffar and Nino together.
: Nino? I told you to flee.
: No, these people came and helped me! Hurry, Jaffar! Come with me!
: Go. There's no need to save a life without worth.
: I am a corpse. I have been dead since the day I was born. Leave me
: No! If you're not coming, then I'm staying! I do not want you to die, Jaffar!
Is that...regret I sense in Jaffar?
Can't argue with results, I suppose.
Oh...Well, fuck. That's not good.
Ursula is fucking stacked, magic-wise. She's pretty easy to beat down with weapons though. Heath rescues Hector and gets him the hell out of Ursula's way. Meanwhile, Eliwood makes it up to have a little chat with the prince.
: Ah! Who are you?!
: We're here to rescue you.
: Let us protect you. Please, stay back.
: I will not.
: I know neither your name nor your motives. Why should I trust you?
: My apologies. But I cannot answer you.
: You cannot?
: I see. I place my life in your hands.
: If you were assassins, I would be dead already. I must trust you.
: Upon my knight's honor, you can!
I see so much has changed since you started warming the bench.
Now let's have a demonstration on why most people give a shit about Canas.
This is Canas with a regular tome.
This is Canas with Luna. That massive 28 resistance doesn't mean shit in the face of Luna.
Erk busies himself keeping Canas healed up, and in the process gets another great level.
: Lady Son ia
After round 3, Ursula bites it. And of course, Canas puts up another stellar level. And that brings the chapter to a close.
: What happened to those people? I have to make sure Mother is well! Hello! Is anyone there!?
: I'm glad you're well
: Why do you not kill me?
: If we did that, Nino might die as well.
: You didn't take the prince's life. So we won't take yours. It's that simple.
: So naive.
: You monster! I'll--
: Hector! Calm yourself!
: Some sins cannot be forgiven, but now We need all the help we can get to defeat Nergal.
: Jaffar You were planning on throwing your life away, correct? If you've come to regret so many of your past actions, then fight with us.
: Regret? Such emotions mean nothing
: If you want me to I will do it.
: That's good, isn't it, Nino?
: Mm! Thank you! Thank you!
: Ah! Hector
: Beyond hearing so soon? This is quite excellent quintessence. I believe Lord Nergal will be pleased.
Lovely, Limstella is one step behind us every time. How long before Nergal finally has enough quintessence because we keep killing off all his best men?
: Detaining me for so long, with no just cause! What!? No It can't be The prince
: Co-Commander! Commander Murdock! You You must come
: What's happened!?
: You recovered the Fire Emblem safely?
: Queen Hellene. Has no one told you? Last night in the manse
: Oh, something about assassins sneaking in, wasn't it? I've no time for such trifles. Quickly, the Emblem.
: Ah Without a doubt, this is the Fire Emblem. Ha ha! With this, my Zephiel holds rightful claim to the succession! Now, it will never pass to that annoying Guinivere Ha ha ha.
: Queen Hellene
: Oh, yes, I'd forgotten. Your promised reward. The road to the Shrine of Seals, was it not?
: I have a pressing question to ask of you first. What is His Royal Highness Prince Zephiel to you?
: I beg your pardon?
: His Highness Zephiel is your trueborn son, isn't he? Or is he, like the Fire Emblem, nothing more than a tool for securing the throne?
: How dare you! Such insolence! To whom do you think you are speaking!?
: You are free to possess your desires and aspirations. But your own innocent son How can you do anything that places His Highness's life at risk!?
: What? What do you mean? Of what do you speak
: Didn't you hear us? Assassins nearly killed--
: Lyndis, that's enough. I beg your leave.
: Wait right there! We are not finished! Someone! Someone stop those insolent children! Someone!
: My lady Queen.
: Murdock! I thought you'd been summoned to the castle by His Majesty.
: That's correct. I've only just returned. One of my men told me all that happened last night. There's something that I must inform you of, Your Majesty.
: Lord Pent, Lady Louise, I ruined a perfectly good opportunity. I'm terribly sorry.
: You said nothing that I did not agree with. Do not think long on it.
: Lady Hellene has changed. Before she got married, she was a kind woman who wanted to be a good wife and a good mother.
: She and the king are ill matched. She has suffered much. And now, she is obsessed with the succession. Such a sad life
: His parents are alive. Yet they're both awful. I feel so sorry for him.
: Even if it was just, I should have left it unsaid. I angered the queen, and in doing so lost the only aid we had in Bern.
: It's over and done with. No sense worrying about it now. Let's consider our next course of action. Wait! Who's there?
: Queen Hellene?!
: What are you Where are your guards?
: Your name It is Eliwood, yes? Take this book and this seal. My reward to you.
: Your Majesty?
: This book contains the road to the Shrine of Seals. The seal was a wedding present from Count Reglay from Etruria. I was saving it for Zephiel, but I believe at this time that you need it more. Furthermore, your path will remain clear for the next three days. No matter what happens during that time, Bern's soldiers will not move. I can make no promises about the king's own troops, though.
: You've done more than enough. You have my heartfelt gratitude. But, Your Majesty why all of this for us?
: I want to thank you, not as a queen, but as a mother. For saving my son, I am forever in your debt. Now, you should get going.
: Queen Hellene.
: Mother. Is something amiss?
: You You've endured much heartache because of me. I'm sorry.
: Th-That's not so!
: Zephiel My dear, irreplaceable son. From this day forward I want us to live together as one loving family. Your father and I and your sister, Guinivere, too.
: I am ashamed of the way I have behaved. The king may not forgive me for the woman I have been. Yet I shall make recompense, no matter the time. I want to change. If I speak to him from the heart, someday, he will understand. After all we are a family.
: That's right! He will see.
Aw, there's a happy ending after all.
: This is a Heaven seal. To receive something so valuable
: She really listened to you, didn't she? Let's take them and go!
: Let's make for the Shrine of Seals. Once we make it there, something's bound to happen!
And now one for Lyn. But that's getting a bit ahead of ourselves. Next time!
Nino is, on paper, bar none the best mage in the game. Hell, barring one very special unit at the absolute end of the game, it's hard to argue she's not the best magic user in the game, period. The catch, of course, is that she comes at level 5, unpromoted, when you should definitely have your main team all but finalized and being trained up. Training her can be a bitch and a half depending on how you do it, but it's very, very rare that you'll be disappointed if you do. For added fun, give her the Afa's drops and watch the magic happen.
Ursula official art.