Part 36: Cog of Destiny
Eliwood rushes to the sealed shrine. The secret road they follow is known only to the royal family They pass Bern's soldiers unnoticed and unhindered. They approach the castle
: That's the way, right, Brother? And now the time has finally arrived.
: Lord Linus, they're drawing closer.
: At last! Everyone, scatter! This fight will be Lloyd's wake! Let none of them escape!
Oh hey, been wondering where the hell you got off to. Good to see you're not dead yet. Be a shame to waste that opportunity for revenge.
: This is strange. We've made it so far without seeing a single soul.
: I'm afraid that's no longer the case.
: They're out for blood! Who could they be?
: And if I am?
: We are the Fang, and we serve the Mad Dog, Linus. You will atone for your sins with blood!
Yeah, yeah, same old song and dance. We've only heard this about 20 times or so by now.
: They're alive!
: What? What is it?
: Their battle lust It's not normal. Get too close, and they'll tear you apart!
: Why? Why do we have to fight? If we talk to them, they'll see.
: We are no longer Fangs. No We served Nergal. We were never Fangs. To them, we were never companions. Never.
: No No That's not true! That man mentioned Linus! Linus must be here! I need to talk to him! Linus will understand! I won't give up so easily!
Poor Nino...We're about to kill the last family she knows. Now then, Chapter 27 is a huge map, in fact it's almost too big, and ends up being a bit of a slog depending on how you play it.
Basically, in addition to all the troops already on the field, crossing any of the bridges marked 1, 2, or 3 will cause reinforcements to appear from points A, B, or C respectively for 5 turns. In addition, crossing the big red box will cause Vaida and some friends to spawn all the way back at the V mark, and for the next 3 or 4 turns, you get to deal with loads of wyverns coming in too. Did I mention that the victory condition is not to seize the throne, but a rout? Yeah, this map can take far longer than it needs to. Fortunately, it's a goddamn experience piñata, and almost any unit coming in is guaranteed to leave with at least a level or two, even if you sit them on the ass-end of the map.
Anyway, yeah, starting position. Vaida and co will pop in just to the right of Lyn.
There are ballista around, but the snipers in them are mostly ineffectual. Linus is the one to watch out for.
This is position A. Paladins, nomads, and cavaliers come out of here.
Position B spits out a general and a pair of knights.
And position C has a hero, mercenary, and myrmidon.
In the far southwest, there's a village you really want to get to, and the opportunity to go shopping. The armory stocks Iron and Silver weapons, and the vendor has mostly familiar items: Elfire, Shine, and Flux tomes with Heal and Mend staves available.
And then there's Linus. He's actually much easier than Lloyd, but that's not to say he's a pushover. He hits like a truck, is fast enough that it's difficult to double him, and his relatively formidable defenses are bolstered by the throne he's on. On top of things, the Iron Rune completely blocks all critical hits, so there's no cheesing him; you're going to whittle down his 58 HP and you are going to fucking like it.
Now then, strategy time. The village is actually the biggest problem, because without a flyer (for now at least), we need to go on foot, and the brigands have the advantage of "Not having to stop every five seconds to kill someone in the way." So the team is going to split into three. Lowen, Rath, Lyn, and Priscilla are heading north, to position A. Hector, Dorcas, Lucius, and Jaffar are heading towards position C and the village. Harken and Oswin are going to hold the center, and Erk, Serra, Dart, and Rebecca are heading for position B. Eliwood is going to hang out with Merlinus and wait for Vaida.
Only 43 enemies to kill. Before triggering any reinforcements at all. Oh yeah.
And of course, the first thing I do is cross every single bridge. Are you ready for this? Because I fucking am.
Some knights start by challenging Oswin. They've made better choices. A very Oswin-like level.
Silly myrmidons, you have to be able to do damage in the first place before those Killing Edges can do anything.
Take note. We started this turn with more enemies than we had last turn.
You people wanted prepromotes. Well, you're fucking getting prepromotes. You thought Raven had bad levels?
Another mediocre level from Priscilla. At least she got some speed with this one.
This guy can be a bit of a nasty surprise (as with all -reaver enemies), but he found Oswin instead. And Oswin met an enemy he couldn't kill with brute force alone. You know, in one turn. He's going to have an axe buried in his face next turn to rectify this.
Dart will be Dart, I suppose.
And Hector will be Hector. This comes immediately after a Hero with a Silver sword couldn't manage a single point of damage and was doubled in response. Hector is doubling Heroes. Now if only there were a swordmaster around...
Now this is more like it, Harken. The Hero caps are actually pretty low (25 Str, 26 Spd), so it's not out of the question that Harken could hit a few of them even with his prepromote growths.
Lyn and co. reach the north fortresses, where they'll weather the storm of troops for a few turns before pushing up to the far north fortresses.
Well now this is just embarassing. Speed alone salvages this level from "utter shit" to "bad."
Oswin, take...two...? Well it works, I guess.
Error: Insufficient murder quantity found. Enabling increased quantities.
As if to atone for Lowen's failures, Oswin goes 3 for 3 with criticals immediately thereafter.
Ah shit, gotta stop him this turn. Dorcas, time for you to stand there with a bow while people wail on you. There's a village to save!
We now pretty much have control over point B. Even if more reinforcements come in, Dart, Erk, and Serra are all in the immediate range to clear them out, so one source of this slog cut off.
Priscilla's second take goes about as well as Oswin's.
More power, more speed, and more defense? It's not even my birthday!
Yeah, I got nothing. Rath gets an acceptable level after stabbing a dude.
Dorcas gets a pretty awesome level (more speed ) after getting shot in the chest with a ballista. Whatever works for you, buddy.
Hector adds another notch to his kill count.
We also now control point C. Only have to get Lyn's group through now and we'll be in good shape.
Reinforcement control grants us a very Serra-like level. I have to give her credit, she keeps getting speed and magic, and I'm going to keep using her.
Another Swordslayer asshole hiding up near point B.
: I'd love to take them on, but Prince Zephiel insists it was they who saved him Pah What's this world coming to?
And Oswin has crossed the threshold up north. Stop one source of reinforcements and another one pops up in its place... Eliwood comes over to have a chat with her.
: So we meet again, boy. Are your little playmates doing well?
: You're that wyvern rider You're working for the Black Fang, aren't you?
: You're wrong there. I serve only Bern. I'm here on my own personal agenda. Tell me, boy. Are you the one who stopped Prince Zephiel's assassin?
: What? How did you--
: Hmph. So it's true, is it? That settles it. From now on, I'm traveling with you.
: What are you
: You saved Prince Zephiel. So, I owe you.
: But why?
: I told you. I serve Bern. Prince Zephiel is our future, our hope. You saved him when he needed saving, and now I will serve you.
: I see. I'll take you at your word.
: Really Then look for me. I'll be joining you shortly.
Well, painless enough. Now Eliwood has to dodge wyverns until Priscilla can get back down to help him and Vaida.
Also, this sniper has a Guiding Ring to steal if you really want it. I mean, I don't see why, you'd have to be using Erk, Lucius, Canas, Serra, Priscilla, and Nino for it to be worth using.
An uncharacteristic level for Dart after killing a sniper in a ballista.
Oh, why not, one more for Hector. This is defense capped, as well as Swords-B.
You never realize how annoying wyverns are to fight until you have to keep a relatively weak sword-user alive among them. Eliwood gets his ass into the forest, equips his lightest weapon, and I pray. Because if all of the wyeverns land on him, he's dead. Vaida can only take one out each turn, and Priscilla only has 15 HP so she's still sitting in a fortress healing. Also, I have Vaida kill the wyvern harassing Merlinus instead of one of the ones by Eliwood.
Finally, we get around to that village.
: Go. I saw nothing. I met with no one. ...Wait. Take this staff. Thank you for Prince Zephiel.
Aw hell yeah. The Warp staff is the opposite of the Rescue staff - it sends a unit adjacent to the caster to pretty much any square on the map, including ones that they can't usually reach (but not ones they can't actually stand on).
You know, this chapter is really boring. Let's get some needless spectacle in here.
There is no kill like overkill.
Well if you're going to get a shit level, you might as well get it in a decent stat.
Can't really complain after getting so many levels with magic, I guess.
Magic alone doesn't win any fights, but it does help, I guess.
Yep, that sure is a level. He also gets Bows-S.
: You're the one who killed my brother!
On the flip side, we're finally free to focus on Linus now.
Lucius gets this after a round with Linus. Not being able to be hurt by the Light Brand does have its benefits.
Rebecca abuses her longbow to great effect.
Priscilla has some fun with Thunder. Serra gets up to Light-C, and Lowen gets the final blow.
: At least I can see my brother again.
An acceptable finish.
Now, that brings the chapter to a close. However, there's another way to deal with Linus (or Lloyd, for that matter). Magic users have the easiest time, but if you want to get him off the throne, you can bring Nino up to have a chat with him. He won't attack her if you talk to him with her, but it really just opens up a whole nother can of worms, because after you do so, he'll get off the throne and start actively attacking your other units. It takes longer, but it's much, much safer to just let him sit there.
: Why? Why did it have to come to this ? I I don't understand...
: Just now I warped in, you know? I was watching you in my scrying crystal. The most important thing is that you've made it here.
: If that's true, why didn't you just magic us here in the first place?!
: What would that have proven? You cannot hope to succeed if you cannot trust your own strength. Your own power must drive you. That is the most important thing. Now then, shall we go? Underground Where Bramimond awaits.
: Bramimond? One of the eight legends? Is that who you're talking about?
: That's right. Of the eight legends, only Bramimond and myself remain. Your journey here was a bit of a test, I'm afraid. I had to see if you were worthy of wielding a legendary item.
: Legendary item?
: That's right. It's a weapon that we, the eight legends, used to defeat the dragons. With it, you will be able to sever Nergal's power at its roots.
: A weapon to defeat Nergal
: The legendary items are sealed in lands across this continent. The only one capable of removing those seals is Bramimond. Now if only we will be granted this one request.
: It's creepy Can't see a thing.
: Shh! Someone's here.
: Yes, I suppose that is me. What do you want of me, you who live above ground?
: We have a favor to ask. We seek something to help us defeat Nergal
: That is unfortunate, for I cannot grant that which you seek. Humanity would suffer were I to remove the seals.
: What do you mean!? The entire world is on the brink of destruction as it is!
: The entire world!? Why would I care about that!? The whole world can burn for all I care!
: By Father Sky Your voice The way you talk. It keeps changing. How many
: Bramimond has no self. He She It Yes, it is a mirror that reflects the person addressing it. It projects no personality of its own. There are as many Bramimonds as there are people facing him. Bramimond, do you remember me?
: Athos. Hmm, it's been many ages. I cannot fathom why you brought these people here. Why I sealed everything away Do you forget why? The legendary items are not meant for human hands.
: But we can't stop Nergal like this! We need your power to help us save the world!
: These people, they will not be seduced by power. They came here without my aid, using their own abilities. You observed them, did you not?
: It's true. They seem better, stronger than most humans. And yet, humans are frail. What guarantee do I have that they will not succumb to that frailty, Athos?!
: A guarantee? There is none. We simply ask that you believe in us.
: Once There was a man much like you. His gaze never wandered. It was ever fixed straight ahead
: The seals have been released. You may now do as you please. I'm tired. You will let me rest.
: Bramimond is certainly a mysterious figure.
: Mm I wonder what convinced him to release the seals.
: Interesting that I believe it was darkness. A completely impenetrable darkness, the nature of which is beyond the comprehension of normal men. Regardless, you must hurry. The seals have been broken. Nergal has surely sensed this already You must get to the blazing blade as soon as possible
???: You're too late.
: At last, my power is restored. Come, Ninian, Nils. This way. Open the Dragon's Gate for me.
: You mustn't go! Neither of you!
: Would you like to see my powers here and now? You may choose, Ninian. Obey me, or
: If I go with you, will you let my brother go?
: One of you should prove sufficient. As you wish.
: No! Ninian! Why!?
: Look after Lord Eliwood
: The gate will open, and I will gain unlimited power.
: Don't move! Nergal!
: No! Get down! Both of you!
I think we might be in trouble. Just a hunch.
: Camp. You and Nils were both knocked unconscious by Nergal's parting gift. Do you remember?
: His power It's so much more than before.
: If Lord Athos hadn't erected a barrier when he did We would have lost both you and Nils
: If he'd truly wished to kill you, even my power could not have saved you.
: Ninian To protect us, she
: Even if you catch him, you can't defeat him. Not as you are. If you wish to save the girl Ninian The power to topple Nergal lies within the sacred weapon. Do you understand, Eliwood?
: Yes, I know what I must do.
: But before you go take this, Eliwood.
: This is It's a
: That's right, it's a Heaven seal.
: I'm sorry, Lord Athos. These seals They do not find me worthy.
: Trust me. Take it, and hold it in your hands.
: Very well. ! It's !
And Eliwood literally pulled a horse out of his ass, as well as the ability to use lances. Regardless, we are officially in business now.
: Hm. As I thought. It finds you suitable.
: This is incredible. My body is overflowing with power.
: Way to go, Eliwood!
: Let's go. We have to get that weapon. We will defeat Nergal and rescue Ninian!
And with that, Nils has taken Ninian's spot in the party. As mentioned before, Nils and Ninian are treated as the same unit. They have the same stats, same inventory, and I haven't tried it yet, but I bet it'll trigger Eliwood's supports too because Nils doesn't have any.
Next time: A very fun gimmick chapter.
Vaida has suprisingly high strength and speed growths for being a prepromote, but with the exception of Luck, Heath is better in every single growth and comes far, far earlier in the game. Vaida's bases are pretty good, but only 13 speed is a bit of a liability this late in the game, and even my incredibly mediocre Heath has her beat in HP, Skill, and Speed. Really, her biggest asset is that she's strong and incredibly sturdy on the physical side, but don't let her near magic, or anyone with a decent amount of speed, or...yeah, Vaida's just there to replace Heath if necessary.
Linus official art.