Part 4: Chapter 1 Part 2: Genoa-MarphaChapter 1 Part 2: Genoa-Marpha
Once again, welcome back to the LP. In this part we'll be recruiting Aira and having several conversations between members of our army. This is a pretty short and easy part, so let's get right to it.
Back to the game itself, last we left off Sigurd captured Genoa and met Shanan, prince of Isaac. Of course his aunt Aira doesn't know that we've helped him, so we might wanna fill her in.
Prince Shanan told me that you're the younger sister to the King of Isaac. He also said that you'd be hostile towards us since we're from Grandbell. But consider the facts. You have a young prince to protect. Is this war really worth risking your life over!?
My brother, the king, was prepared for death when he entrusted Shanan with me. We've come this far... But you're right. I can't risk my life for Verdane! I must see Shanan through until he's old enough to become a respectable king.
Then put down your sword. As a descendant of Baldo, the Crusader of Light, I will not betray you.
...Consider your trust reciprocated then. That's the way of the Isaacian warrior. For now I consecrate my sword to thee. But I still view Grandbell as my sworn enemy. Just so you're prepared for the day when that enemy may include you.
War sure can be cruel. Aira, warrior of Isaac... I pray that day never comes.
Aira's pretty badass. She's kind of a fan favorite for this game. She has a kind of cold personality, but she's loyal and respectable. Plus she's kind of great combat-wise, if a bit overrated. Let's take a look:
As Myrmidons and Swordmasters (Myrmidons being the modern version of Sword Fighters) usually do in FE, Aira has great Skl and Spd. She also has relatively good Str which is somewhat less common. If you'll notice, that "Iron" that she's carrying has a different icon than other swords. It's actually an Iron Blade. Blades are stronger swords that have 6 more Mt and 3 more Wt than Swords (an Iron Blade has 12 Mt and 6 Wt while an Iron Sword has 6 Mt and 3 Wt), they're twice as expensive, and they all require A ranks to use while only the Silver Sword requires an A rank to use. They're generally better, but the higher Wt means that a unit will have lower Evade and lower Attack Speed.
Aira has A rank Swords from her minor Odo blood, and good skills. Pursuit, Nihil, and Meteor which is like Astra in FE9 and 10. It has a [Skill]% chance to allow the user 5 successive attacks. If it activates Aira will basically kill any non-boss enemy she attacks. So yea, she's kind of great. Her two big flaws are low durability, especially against non-Axe users, and her lack of a mount, meaning she can't realistically survive against hordes of enemies, and she has trouble even reaching enemies a lot of the time.
Now Azel heads back to visit that village from earlier.
He has attacked our village on numerous occasions. It's been dreadful. And things had been so peaceful under the reign of King Batou... Anyway, we're all so glad that you've come!
Now sadly Azel going back for this village means Azel won't be able to catch up to the rest of the team for the rest of the chapter, but he gets some cash and he'll be able to grab another village to make up for it. He will want the money for an item we get at the end of the chapter. Now there's not gonna be much combat for a while, but there are quite a few conversations going on. We'll start with Aideen talking to Ethlin.
I suppose it makes sense that these two would know one another, since it's been established that Sigurd and Aideen were childhood friends.
Thank you so much. I'm ever so grateful. Here, please have this staff. I'm sure you'll get more use out of it than I.
This a Return Staff, isn't it? Thank you, Aideen! I'll put it to good use.
This Return Staff allows Ethlin to send a unit back to the main castle. It's pretty situational, but it'll come in handy next chapter, and it's helpful for getting people back to town to do the arena at the end of chapters to try and score some extra money and/or EXP. Also during this conversation (and most conversations Aideen has), a track called Aideen's theme plays. It's really very relaxing and fitting for a priest. Next we have Aira talking to Cuan.
I'm sorry, but I just have to ask you. Why did Isaac attack Darna? You had to have known Grandbell would get involved. I just can't fathom why King Mananan would do something like that.
Mananan is really a stupid name.
You actually know my father, Cuan!?
No. Not personally. But my father did. He had a very high opinion of your father. He also thought your brother, Prince Maricle, was an fine young man.
He said that, did he... That makes me proud. They were both highly respected soldiers. Neither would ever condone an attack on a defenseless people. The leader of Rivough... He's the one who besieged Darna, not my father.
Rivough is one of the castles in southeastern Isaac, nearby the Yeid Desert.
You're kidding! Why hasn't Grandbell been informed of that? Prince Kurth would surely reconsider his offensive if he knew that.
My father thought so as well. After executing Rivough's leader, he left for Grandbell's frontline, head and all, to explain everything. However...
My father was assassinated at the Grandbellian front. When Isaac heard word of the king's death, the people went into a rage! Maricle thus proceeded to launch a full-scale attack against Grandbell.
Whew... I just can't imagine Prince Kurth acting so rashly. Does Sigurd know about all of this?
No. Sigurd has his hands full here as it is. Besides, I don't think Maricle...
...survived? Prince Maricle knew he would perish in battle, huh...
He believed the future of Isaac rests in Shanan's survival. My job is to make sure Shanan grows up safe and sound.
I see... Well, don't lose hope, Aira. Someday the truth will come to light. In the meantime, I'll try to help you out however I can.
That's very kind of you, Cuan.
So we get an interesting piece of backstory behind the battle that started this whole mess. No way anything in that situation could go badly. Also during this conversation there's an interesting track that plays titled Isaac Palace. I'm not really a fan of it, but it's by no means bad. It's more or less the Isaacian theme, so it'll play in a few cutscenes involving characters from Isaac. That's it for conversations this turn, however after we end player phase things pick back up with Eltshan. If you remember from the last part, Elliot was moving to attack Evans while a knight from Nodion went to inform Eltshan of this.
Hmm... Elliot just couldn't stay out of this, could he... Lachesis, watch the castle. I'm going to backup Sigurd.
His troops shouldn't pose much of a problem, but do stay alert.
Eltshan and his Cross Knights then take the field to meet Elliot.
Just pull out right now. I know you're not ready to face me either.
Eltshan, are you mad!? Don't tell me you've sided with Grandbell!
Don't you realize you're running in direct violation to our superior's orders? The reverent King Agusty has no desire to wage war against Grandbell.
Only you would be foolish enough to take that old man seriously anymore. Besides, all the lords of the dominion have already unified against Grandbell.
Not all of them! Anyway, a war now would incur huge sacrifices on both sides! Our past is a testament to that. The noble class aren't the ones who suffer in the end. It's the powerless citizens who suffer, and I'm not about to let it happen!
As always your head is in the clouds, Eltshan. I knew it'd come to this sooner or later. Let's settle this once and for all. Men, Nodion is now the enemy! I want Eltshan dead!!
So it looks like Eltshan is one of the few nobles in Agustria who still cares about the people in his country. Now we won't be able to recruit him this chapter, but we will be seeing him again, so let's take a look at his stats now. They'll actually change between now and the next time we see him.
Wow so he's pretty godly. Of course that's to be expected since he has a holy weapon. Eltshan is the crusader of the Black Knight Hezul and the wielder of Mistoltin, an incredibly awesome sword that gives 20 Skl, 10 Res, and the Critical skill. Of course he lacks any skills of his own, even Pursuit, so his combat can't be that great even with 45 Attack. He does have five leadership stars though, so that'll help out his Cross Knights against Elliot. Now back to our units, Sigurd has a conversation with Aideen.
Oh, I'm terribly sorry to bring all of you from Chalphy into this.
No worries there. Everyone will just be glad to know that you're alright. We have things under control here, Aideen. Why don't you head on back to Grandbell?
No, I'm staying. There's bound to be more injuries further along. I want to help others in the service of the Lord.
Aideen... Didn't you leave the knighthood to become a nun? I think it suits you perfectly. I'd do well to learn a thing or two from you myself.
Actually, the sole reason I joined the nunnery is... Well, it's to aid the chances of finding my sister.
Oh right, didn't somebody in the Prologue mention that Aideen had a sister that went missing?
You must mean Brigid. She's been missing since your childhood, hasn't she... You still believe you can find her, do you?
That's correct. And when I do, I must give the Holy Bow Ichival to her!
So we have some not so subtle foreshadowing about a potential new character we'll maybe eventually meet, and a holy weapon that she may or may not get, if she ever shows up. Now we move our units up to meet the army of Axe Fighters near the woods. Midir and Lex kill a straggler and Midir levels up (+1 Spd)
A few things happen on Enemy Phase:
One, this bandit reaches the bottom left village meaning we actually do sort of need to rush in order to save it
And two, Elliot dies. Or, well, retreats.
So Eltshan kind of saved our asses there, because I don't think Ardan could've taken on Elliot's squad. I guess I could've Returned someone to Evans, but then they'd be out for the rest of the chapter, and who wants that?
Now we have some actual combat coming up:
Midir picks off that weakened Axe Fighter, Aira manages to grab her first kill, and I push forward with my other units. There's not a lot of strategy to this fight really. I more or less just charge the enemy's wall and leave my more durable units and sword units at the front of my wall to defend. Cuan gains a level (+1 HP, Def, Skl). You can kind of see in that last picture that I have Midir and Lex up ahead on the road to try to speed things up a bit by luring the enemies towards Marpha with Midir. This seems kind of dumb, but Midir is actually durable enough to take a few hits and has high enough Evade to dodge somewhat reliably (well about half the time give or take), and by doing this I can get my units to Marpha and that village more quickly because they don't get held up fighting in the forest. On Ally Phase Eltshan withdraws to Nodion:
Now, if I may have mentioned before, Aideen has a lover conversation with either Azel or Midir this chapter. I'll be showing off both conversations, and right now Azel is as close as he'll ever be to the rest of the team, so I move Aideen back to show their conversation. I loaded after doing this to keep Aideen from falling behind and to show Midir's conversation since only one can take place. Anyway, here are the conversations.
Yeah, when I heard that you had been kidnapped, I couldn't concentrate on anything! I came as fast as I could.
Your brother is Lord Alvis, isn't he? Did you get his permission before coming?
Nope... And he's not going to be happy with me either.
Then why did you do such a silly thing? Besides, I thought you hated fighting.
Well, I, uh...
What's that, Azel?
My humblest apologies for all you had to go through!
Midir, I'm just happy that you're not hurt. Let's put this all behind us. You did your very best, and that's all I could ever ask for. Do me a favor, Midir, and stay with Sir Sigurd's troops.
I'd be more than happy to. I am greatly indebted to him for rescuing Jungby Castle for us, and you as well!
So nothing really big plot-wise in either conversation, but one of the two will get +100 Love Points with Aideen. This is also the first instance of one of my absolute favorite themes, Conversation 1. It's very intense and dramatic, with a tinge of sadness. Truly excellent.
The rest of this turn is just cleanup. Aira finishes off the boss (levels up, +1 HP, Skl), Dew manages to steal from one of the remaining Axe Fighters and gains an empty level which really sucks since he really needs stat boosts in the beginning, and Sigurd gains a level finishing off the southern Fighter (+1 HP, Def, Res). In the end my army and the Marpha army look like this:
None of the Marpha army is actually able to reach our troops on Enemy Phase, except for one Archer who can reach Midir. This fight is also pretty simple since Axe Fighters are still joke units for the most part and Archers can't counter attack, so I stick with my same strategy of plowing through with my more defensive units in the front. Lex gains another level, as does Ethlin who I actually had attack instead of heal this turn (+1 HP and +1 HP, Str, Def, Lck, Res respectively. Really a great level up for Ethlin). I employ a similar lure strategy, but I have Fin act as bait this time with Sigurd and Noish guarding him (Fin and Noish level up +1 HP, Def, Skl, Spd, another great level up, and +1 HP, Def respectively). Lastly Dew talks to Aideen (man, she sure is popular).
I can't get it t'do nothin', so there's no point in me keepin' it.
Oh, this is a Warp Staff, Dew. Where'd you find it?
Umm... It was... over there! Yeah, that's where I found it. I betcha one of the gods dropped 'er outta the sky just for you!
Yeah right, Dew. Well, it will help out around here to have it. Thanks.
Aideen receives the Warp Staff which allows her to send a unit to any player controlled castle. It's similar to Return, but better since it offers more options. Dew's theme, Dew and Patty, plays during this conversations. Who is this Patty person mentioned in the theme name? Who knows! Probably nobody important! Let's just not worry about that for now. The theme itself is very lighthearted and bouncy, fitting for a thief. Not anything great, but it suits the situation.
We end up looking like this before Enemy Phase (though Midir moves back behind Ethlin). The wall hasn't moved forward much since I've had most of my mounted units hit and move back, and you can see my Fin/Sigurd/Noish diversion in the northwest. There's a little hole between Aira and Lex, though the way things are positioned the Fighters still can't reach vulnerable units like Midir, Dew, or Aideen. On Enemy Phase Alec levels up (+1 HP), and the enemy ends up looking like this:
Now we're just gonna do more cleanup. Ethlin kills the Fighter next to her, Aira kills the other Fighter, Alec and Midir take out one Archer while Lex and Fin take out the other. Aideen (who has been healing units every turn despite me not saying or showing it) levels up (+1 HP, Spd) and everyone else moves forward.
Now we'll take Sigurd and see if we can kill Gandolf.
First my girl escapes, and now my castle's under attack! Why am I so unlucky!?
Maybe because you go around kidnapping nuns? Anyway, Sigurd does decent damage, then Gandolf stupidly attacks him at one range on Enemy Phase instead of throwing the Hand Axe at him, bringing him down to 15 HP (if the math seems off, it's because Gandolf heals from being on the castle at the start of Enemy Phase).
Now it's actually important who kills Gandolf because he drops a Skill Ring
Now Skl isn't that useful of a stat, but Midir seems to be having some hit issues since he only has 7 Skl, so we'll try to have him grab it. First I have to weaken Gandolf with Cuan by having him throw a Javelin:
Then finish him off with Midir (after Aideen heals him):
Man, I blew it! I can't believe you're still alive!
Prepare yourself, Gandolf! I'll never forgive someone like you!!
Midir manages to kill Gandolf and levels up (+1 HP, Lck), as well as grab the Skill Ring.
Now let's have Sigurd seize and have yet another conversation.
Wait is that DiMaggio? Didn't we kill him in the Prologue? Well, here we have our first example of something this game does a lot: Reuse sprites. We'll see the DiMaggio sprite, as well as several others, reused and recolored many times throughout the game, generally for unimportant bosses and minibosses.
Please... just let me be on my way!
Grr! Sweetie, you best just shut your trap!
That's right, so get moving! Nothing gets under my skin more than scum like you! You apologize to the girl and then get out of my sight!
Alright already. Er... Sorry, miss. I's just havin' a little fun.
Er? You know who I am?
Yes, I met a woman here in the castle a little while ago named Aideen.
Aideen said something about me?
She did. You're just how I imagined you to be.
What's ah... your name?
I'm sorry. I... I must go!
Hey... hold on! I just wanted to talk...
I'm sorry. I'm glad we were able to meet.
(That woman longingly looks back toward Marpha and Sigurd, then leaves towards the forest)
Ahh, yes. That'd be Deirdre. She's a shaman of the Spirit Forest.
Deirdre... She's so beautiful.
A-ha! Even a man of your caliber falls readily fer a pretty woman. Perhaps it's love at first sight!
Sir, please. I'm serious. There was something about her... I hope to meet her again.
That might be a tad difficult. You see, the villagers of the Spirit Forest do not involve themselves with the outside world. Moreover, that girl you're so fond of is strictly forbidden from associating with men. The villagers believe a great catastrophe will befall us if that were ever violated. I'll get right to the point, Sigurd. Resign yourself of that girl.
That sounds like superstitious nonsense to me. No one should be forced to live like that. Deidre... we must meet again.
Hmm, so it looks like Deidre is the "Girl of the Spirit Forest" the chapter title refers to. And it looks like Sigurd has fallen in love with her at first sight. Well not literally because they're not lovers according to his status screen (yet), but you know what I mean. During this scene, a very relaxing track plays. This is Deidre's Theme. Again, not one of my favorite tracks, but it's good. Now, let's end our turn and see what our enemy is up to.
Father, you still won't listen after all I've told you!? Gandolf and Kinbois have failed, and the enemy'll be striking here before you know it. Commander Sigurd of Grandbell is by no means a bad person. Please, withdraw the troops!
Originally, Grandbell was preparing to strike us! That's why I allowed Gandolf's raid. I never intended for it to get this out of hand.
That sorcerer Sandima is behind all of this, isn't he... You, Gandolf and Kinbois have trusted him far too much. He has deceived all of you!
I believe you, as prince, have an obligation to command an attack on the enemy. Your negligence to do so could have grave consequences on the kingdom's future.
Father!! There's just no convincing you, is there... Alright, I'll do it. But if I make it back alive, Sandima, I'm taking you out!!
It was you who said that Grandbell was conspiring to take my kingdom.
What's that? Here I thought Verdane would work out somehow... You're just a bunch of savages. I've no longer any use for you. I'll be taking command of the troops from here on out.
What're you doing!? Guh! Uuaaaaahhh.....!
I think it's funny that they have to have Manfloy explicitly say that Batou's dead now, since his death cry is sort of lacking.
I can just tell them the king has fallen ill.
So be it. How are things otherwise? Is everything running as planned?
My humblest apologies. Our invasion of Grandbell has met with unexpected difficulties. A nuisance by the name of Sigurd keeps stirring up trouble.
Well, how about the Loputian blood link? Have you located Cigyun's daughter yet?
Well, as of yet nothing, but I...
You imbecile! Well, the boy... Cigyun's son is in Barhara at the moment. But he's of no use to us without the girl... Allow me to explain. Cigyun was a descendant of Prince Maira, the Loputo Emperor's younger brother. In short, Cigyun was the only surviving descendant of the Loputo Clan. Now Cigyun broke the Maira Decree by bearing two children. You follow me, Sandima?
Yes. By uniting the blood of her offspring, the Dark Lord Loputosu shall be revived!
Precisely. Now in order for us, the remnants of the Loputo Empire, to once again enter the world stage, we must awaken the Dark Lord at any cost. Sandima, you know as well as I what we've been through. We've spent the last hundred years in hiding deep within the Yied Desert, suffering extreme hardships, dreaming the day would come for us to rebuild the Empire. Well, that day is now upon us!
Understood. I will see my mission through, even if it takes my last breath!
Wow talk about exposition. So it looks like this shady Manfloy character is the cause of this aggression from Verdane. But it looks like this Cigyun person had Loputosu blood and passed it down to her son and daughter, and somehow Manfloy is planning to use them to revive the Loputo clan. And what did he mean by her son being in Barhara? Ok to be blunt with you, you have all the information you really need to figure out what's going on for the most part, and you'll get a bit more info in the next part of the LP to make it even more clear, but I won't spoil it for those of you who haven't figure it out (if there's anyone reading this who hasn't already played through the game, that is). Also it looks like Jamka has grudgingly taken the field as a enemy. Maybe we can convince him to join us in the next part. Until then!