Part 37: Valorous Roland
Here, a sacred weapon lies waiting, the seal guarding it broken. However, to retrieve the weapon, one must pass a trial. A long, seemingly uncrossable distance... Eliwood must overcome the challenge with the help of his friends. Eliwood's true strength will soon be sorely tested.
: This time, you will open the gate.
: So you intend to resist me to the end? You only joined me to postpone your own friends' deaths, did you? You never had any intention of offering your aid freely?
: ...Heh heh heh... Whether you wish it or not, it is all the same to me. I will call forth a dragon and claim its quintessence. I will harness a power never before seen on this world. And I will become this world's master. That is my desire. Ninian, you are but a tool to help me achieve that end.
: ...I don't want to help you. I... I don't want to do it.
: Don't want to? You are truly amusing. My dear, I am not looking for your consent. You are weak, and I am strong. You will bend before me.
: It's the same as when I sacrificed Eliwood's father. With enough energy, I do not need your acquiescence. Come, Ninian. Open the gate!
: No...no... No... Noooooooooo!
: So, at last... Your true form is liberated.
: Hmph. To where do you hope to run, beast? You'll never be human. Why do you cling to them so? What would Eliwood say if he saw your hideous form? Ninian, for one such as you, there will never be a place you can call your home!
What the hell just happened? "Beast?" So Ninian's...
: The air is so hot. It even hurts to breathe.
: Look down there. There's lava everywhere. Hey! Next to the path... Are those columns of flame?!
: Long ago, in the depths of this cavern... When Lycia was a single country, an altar was built.
: Here? In this place?
: There's something here that needs protection from those with evil hearts.
: That's correct. The weapons we wielded contained great strength. Power fearsome enough to cut down dragons... Today, the might in those remaining weapons is not what it once was. Yet they have been safeguarded to keep them from evil hands. This place... No one's stepped foot in here since Roland's death. Roland's presence still fills the air. All that reside here now are former soldiers who guard the sword. This is your trial, Eliwood. A few of you may enter, but only you can approach the altar. Go and prove that you have the strength to wield Durandal!
What better way to slay Nergal and dragons than to get the original Dragon-slaying weapon? Anyway, welcome to Valorous Roland.
This is definitely a gimmick map, but it's fun. The map is divided into three path, which ultimately converge at the north end. On the left, where Serra and Hector are headed, are lots of mages, with representatives of each school. Lyn and Lowen are heading right, which is primarily occupied by archers with an occasional knight. Eliwood gets the center path, filled with fighters, mercenaries, and myrmidons. Also take note of the off-color orange spaces; those are lava vents, and any unit standing on them at the end of the turn will lose 10 HP. No, the AI will make absolutely no attempt to avoid them.
Our objective, all the way in the back here, is for Eliwood to arrive at this space. Standing in our way, is this guy.
Georg is not to be taken lightly. He's got a full 60 HP, near max strength and defense, capped resistance, and he's wielding a Tomahawk (A-rank Hand Axe). And being a berserker, he has a guaranteed 15% critical bonus on top of everything. The Iron Rune we got last chapter is actually really useful for keeping the bullshit in check here, because it sucks having to redo the chapter when he picks off Eliwood with a critical ranged attack.
So let's get started with a quick Hector chat.
: You know how Eliwood is. Never wants to burden anyone else... Takes all responsibility on himself... Now, more than ever, we have to support him. Let's go, Art!
Dumb little shits. Four of them on the first turn alone, and these guys only have 20-25 HP with the exception of the fighters.
So let's see Eliwood's new act with his horsey. Not as flashy as his old one, I'm actually disappointed.
Now there's the Eliwood I know and love.
Huh, not a good start all around, really.
A lot of enemies are carrying items around, and you can pick up 3 or 4 elixirs and an extra Rapier for Eliwood if you have the space. Merlinus can't come on this map, so either make room beforehand or you're going to have to throw stuff away.
I, of course, did not account for this at all and end up pitching two of the elixirs. I already had 3 or 4 of them with Merlinus anyway, so no big loss.
And then Eliwood lances a dude right in the face.
Bah, stupid archer.
Fun fact, if a unit (mounted at least, I didn't try it with one on foot) attacks an enemy and would end their turn on a lava space, you get to move again anyway. Handy.
And where would we be without a Bolting asshole thrown in for good measure?
Another elixir. Lowen chucks the vulnerary for it.
Serra kills basically every single mage in the northwest corner for this level. I'd say it was worth it.
At the end of the side passages are these walls. It's in your best interest to attack them from range, unless you really want to try your luck with Georg. Also, Lyn picked up Bows-C by killing the Sniper up here.
Now this, I can deal with. Much better, Eliwood.
Nor am I really going to argue with this. God knows he's squishy enough, so more defense is welcome.
Welp, there goes an Elixer.
Now, let's tempt Georg.
: ...warriors...Georg...You trespass here... I will...cut...you down...
Oh are you fucking kidding me? This is what those Elixers are for, but rather than waste Eliwood's turn healing with one, Serra patches him up with a Physic cast. This is also the only thing in the entire chapter that hit Eliwood, on a 24% hit chance no less.
He follows this up with not one...
...but two criticals, and one-rounds the fucker. Well goddamn Eliwood, that was pretty awesome.
: ...Who...are...you...? ...You and ...Sir Roland are as one...
Well, the other non-existent defensive stat could use some work on him too, I guess.
Oh goddammit, there goes the other Elixir. Let's get the hell out of here.
: Their souls may now rest. ...At long last...
: Time for a reunion of sorts. Eliwood, move back. My old friend... The little knight, Sir Roland. Roland... Awaken, and answer my call.
: Good to see you, Roland.
: I feel much time has passed. Seeing you again... It brings back memories. Fighting the dragons... Old friends... All this time, lost in memory...
: It's been almost a thousand years...and yet, once again, the world is threatened by one who craves the might of dragons.
: ...The might of dragons?
: Heed my words, Roland. This boy is descended from your blood. Please, lend him your strength.
: I...no longer have flesh and bone in this world. I cannot... No, wait. Take this. Its blade shall serve as a vessel for my soul's strength.
: ...If you do such a thing, you will pass forever from the reach of this world.
: And yet my heart will be glad. If I might help my children, there is nothing else I need do. ...I ask that you see this through, my friend...
: I will...
: So you were able to see him, too? That was your ancestor, the warrior Roland.
: That was Roland? Look! Above the altar! A sword...
: Take it! It belongs to you now.
: ...What a wondrous blade.
: Durandal. The sword of sacred fire.
Ah yes, the game's namesake (FE7 is known as Fire Emblem: Blazing Sword). Unfortunately, Eliwood's going to be pulling an Ike and entirely forgetting that he has his legendary sword capable of murdering dragons until the absolute final chapter.
Speaking of though, from now until the end of the chapter is completely unskippable and the text is entirely on auto-advance, which is slow as hell. So yeah, this next part can suck a dick, I don't care how plot-heavy it is.
: Durandal, the sword of sacred fire. Its strange, isnt it? Ive never seen it before, and yet it feels so familiar
: I will use this to battle Nergal. Come! To the Dragons Gate What?! The sword Its glowing Watch out! Somethings coming
Welp, good thing we just picked up this Dragon-slaying sword, right Eliwood?
: It cant be
: Its a dragon!
: No! How is it possible!?
: Get back, everyone!
Wait, why is the dragon a neutral...unit... Oh. Oh no.
: I think so My body moved on its own. It was as if the sword itself was guiding my arm.
: The sword of sacred fire was made to combat dragons. With so much power, who can say what it might be capable of? But this ice dragon Surely
: Is something the matter, Lord Athos
: Ninian proved useless. Ive come for a replacement.
I have no idea what caused the game to freak out and make Eliwood disappear. But it was funny, so I kept it. Now back to your regularly scheduled plot.
: Nils will do for me what Ninian would not.
: Scum! What have you done with Ninian!?
: Its not what Ive done. Its what youve done, Eliwood.
: Eliwood, did you never once question it? Why the siblings were needed to open the Dragons Gate? Why did it have to be Ninian and Nils?
: The answer is simple. The Dragons Gate cannot be opened by humans. Why would humans be able to open a gate that was designed for dragons?
: Its pitiful, really. Poor Ninians plight. Coaxed by my honeyed words, she passed through the gate Though unable to return home, she refused to aid me and wandered lost and alone, until she was slain by the hand of the one she loved.
: What What are you saying?
: Can you not guess? Or is it that you are afraid to know? Very well. Let me tell you, Eliwood. The ice dragon there The beast slaughtered by your hand That is Ninian. The girl you loved. The girl you swore to protect. She returned to her true form and lost all human memory. Yet you, above all else, remained in her heart, and she came here
: Go on, look. Shes using the last of her strength to take human form for one last time. I believe there may still be time enough to say farewell. You know, of course, that you cannot save her.
: Nergal! You foul demon!
: Its not me. You, Eliwood. You killed her. You-
: I Aaaaaaahhh!
: Calm down! Get hold of yourself, Eliwood!
: I I
: Ah Eliwood
: Ninian Please, Ninian, dont die I What have I done?
: Im glad
: Youre unharmed, my lord Im glad
: Lord Eliwood Please Ple ase this land prote
: Ninian Ninian? You cant Answer me Theres so much I havent told you You cant Why
: Thats enough. You will await the end of the world trembling in the shadows of dragons!
: I will not permit it. Instead, I will see you perish in flame!
Okay, we are definitely in trouble now.
: Very impressive, Archsage Athos. However However, fire is no longer my foe! Look! Not even a legendary blade can cause me harm! At long last, I am impervious! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!
: Miserable, arent you, Athos? Yet out of respect for the great man you used to be, Ill leave. After all, 500 years ago, we followed the same path, did we not, old friend? Ha ha ha ha ha ha!
: Nils! Youre awake! Are you OK?
: Ninian! Ninian. Ninian!? Where is my
: Nils Im so sorry.