Part 5: Chapter 1 Part 3: Marpha-VerdaneChapter 1 Part 3: Marpha-Verdane
Aaaand we're back. Last time we regrouped with Aideen and Dew, killed Gandolf, took Marpha, and met some strange lady named Deirdre. In this section we'll be defeating the dark mage Sandima and taking Verdane keep, and possibly even meeting some new friends along the way. Along the way we'll learn a bit about the game's plot, and maybe even a bit about ourselves. Or not. Anyway, the enemy is pretty far away from us now and there's a large forest impeding our forward movement, so I'm gonna speed things up and just hit the key points.
First Dew gives his money to Aideen since she can't really get money on her own.
Eventually Cuan makes his way to the village to kill the bandit there but doesn't actually visit the village (I'm saving it for Azel).
We spend a many long turns inching through the forest to meet the enemy army by that chokepoint. Those brighter green trees are Deep Forests that nobody can move through, so there's a one tile wide passageway that's very easy to chokepoint (this path was not open before taking Marpha). We'll be using this to try and get some easy EXP for our weaker sword users. I'll gloss over this because it is literally as simple walling in the axe users with sword users because our units will be next to unhittable (or in some units' case, literally unhittable).
Eventually Jamka reaches Noish and attacks, luckily Noish survives. For this next move we actually do need some strategy because Jamka is very lethal and can kill some of our units if he gets lucky with his skills (which we'll get to in a minute). Now he is recruitable if we have Aideen talk to him, but Aideen is two turns away so she can't reach him quite yet. However this is easily remedied by body blocking him with Aira and then moving frail units out of his range. Like so:
Now that Jamka's neutralized more or less (and his position actually blocks the Fighters from moving forward), we can safely move Aideen forward and have her talk to him.
I thought you went to talk to your father! Now you're fighting? What is going on!?
I don't know. Something was real odd about him. He just wouldn't listen to me. Everything's been upside-down since that Sandima showed up. My father and brothers have done anything he has asked them to.
So why does that bring you into battle? Please Jamka, don't do this! Let's return to Verdane and speak with the king once more. We're stopping this war! Sir Sigurd did not come here to invade your country. He was merely fighting to rescue me. Please, Jamka, listen to reason!
Alright, let's give it one more try. And I'm exposing that traitor once and for all. But no one lays a finger on my father. That's my one condition.
I'll see to it no one does. Thank you, Jamka. You really are a good person.
So now we have Jamka fighting for us. Let's check him out.
Well his stats and skills are certainly much better than Midir's, though he won't pass down Pursuit if he's a father (he is another predestined father for Aideen). His Killer Bow gives him the Critical skill (unlike in other FE games where Killer weapons simply have a higher crit rate than normal weapons, in this game they give the user the ability to actually get Criticals. As such, they're fairly useless for units that already have Critical as a skill). Pursuit, Continue, and Charge will allow Jamka to get in a lot of attacks fairly frequently, especially since he has good Spd and Skl. Sadly he also has no holy blood. As a unit he's better than Midir, but as a father Midir can be better because Midir can pass down Pursuit (even if he lacks other skills). Jamka's major drawbacks as a unit are his lack of a mount and his lack of one range attacks, but he'll still have his uses.
Now Sigurd leads the charge to speed this up a bit, followed by Aideen, Jamka, Aira, and Lex. Because of how long it takes mounted units to get through the forest, we'll actually only have a few units actually go up towards Verdane. Normally this would be problematic, but the enemies there are mostly Archers and forests are plentiful for cover so they won't pose much of a threat. Also Azel has finally reached the village where he finds a man with a very heavy accent.
I used t'live there once upon a time in a village hidden deep within th' forest. Th' legend goes that Saint Maira was exiled by his fellow Lopt clansmen for allying with us humans. That village is where all of Maira's descendants holed up t'avoid persecution. While I was there, a beautiful girl named Sigyn was living under th' village's custody. That was due t'her bein' th' last remaining descendant of th' Loputo prince. But Sigyn grew tired of th' forest life. She up and left thus breaking village law. She returned several years later expectin' a child. She gave birth to a little girl, but tragically didn't survive. Apparently, the village fortune-teller took after raising the child. I wonder where the child is now... If she's livin' she'd be around 17 or 18 I imagine.
More plot that isn't directly relevant to us right now. Though if you're paying close attention, you can probably piece together Manfloy's plan. If not, then you'll just have to wait and see. Now then, back up in the forest
Jamka and Aira pass through the chokepoint with no problems, so let's move Sigurd up now.
We move Sigurd up and- what's this now?
It's that woman from before!
I'm so happy to see you! I thought we'd never meet again.
Sigurd, listen to me. There's an evil priest at Verdane Castle named Sandima. His black magic is deadly, so don't even think of approaching him... Please!
I've put everybody in enough danger as it is... I'll go this one alone.
..... Then I'm going with you.
I have a Silence Staff with me. I can block magic with it as long as my magic power can overcome his resistance. I'll silence that Sandima... you'll see!
Whoa! Sounds like you could take him yourself! Wh.. why are you helping me?
I tried putting you out of my mind, Sigurd... but I just couldn't. Oh, I don't know what I should do...
I don't know why you're so afraid. If we both feel the same for each other we've nothing to fear. I... I believe I've fallen for you, Deirdre.
There's actually an alternate script for this if you've killed Sandima by the time Sigurd passes through here (no small feat), but it's kind of spoiler-ish. I might put it (and other bonus conversations) in a bonus part at the end of generation one.
Now, in the manga, this scene goes down quite a bit differently. Sigurd and his men try to charge Verdane castle, but Sandima destroys them from afar with his siege tome. I think it's Noish who gets wounded a lot. Anyway, the others then retreat, Sigurd and Cuan have an emotional moment where Sigurd blames himself for Noish's injuries and Cuan tries to comfort him. Sigurd then runs off into the forest and finds Deirdre bathing naked in the moonlight, and rushes to her. They have a sort of emotional scene, and their conversation ends up with them falling in love and Deirdre offering to silence Sandima, just like in game.
Anyway, now that Deirdre's joined, let's take a look at her.
Deidre has very high Mag and Res, crappy HP, Str, and Def, and decent other stats. Her Aura tome has 20 Mt (tied for the strongest non-holy tome in the game), and her Circlet gives her the Prayer and Live skill (Live heals the character a small amount of HP at the start of each turn). Her only skill that she actually has is Nihil, but she has major Narga blood and a purple dot in the middle of her holy blood wheel (which seems oddly familiar). As a combatant she's kind of interesting. She can't take a hit from any decently strong enemy, and she doesn't have Pursuit so she can't double. This means all she can do is one strong hit each turn.
While the game doesn't say it now, I noticed that before the chapter's end it had her and Sigurd listed as lovers, so I'm guessing if I ended the turn they'd have fallen in love. Now because she's Sigurd's scripted lover, she obviously births his kid(s) who will be the lord(s) in generation two so you'd think it'd be game over if she dies, right? Well actually unlike most characters, if Deirdre dies she is captured by the enemy until the end of the chapter when Sigurd will rescue her (as a side note if Cuan, Ethlin, or Fin die they'll simply retreat to Thracia instead of actually dying). I think she's also one of the few, if not the only, character who doesn't have Recruitment playing during either her recruitment conversation or a conversation with Sigurd after her recruitment.
Now, in her recruitment conversation Deirdre mentioned her ability to silence Sandima with her Silence staff (for those unaware, Silence is a status ailment that prevents a unit from using any sort of magic). This is almost required here because
Sandima has high Mag, Jormung (a 20 Mt tome), and Fenrir. Fenrir is what's known as a siege tome meaning instead of being used at 1-2 range it can attack an enemy that's 3-10 spaces away with somewhat shaky accuracy. Any units trying to approach him will be in for a rough time. Of course that's where Silence comes in. If we have Deidre use the Silence staff on him, it'll make him unable to attack for five turns. Unlike in other FE's where Silence has a percent chance to hit based on your unit's Mag vs. the enemy unit's Res, in this game as long as your unit has more Mag than the enemy has Res, the staff will hit (this applies for all status staves). So obviously Deirdre will be accompanying us on our assault against Verdane.
At this point since the fighting in the forest is done, I decide to have Aideen and Ethlin Warp/Return everyone except Sigurd, Deidre, Aira, Lex, Fin, and Jamka back to the home castle to make some progress in the arena (Aira actually used Marpha's arena off-screen).
Now I know this is odd, but trust me on this. While the other units go west to reach Verdane, Lex is going to the small peninsula to the east. You'll see why soon enough.
Eventually we make our way forward to start picking off some Archers. At this point I'm getting pretty cocky and playing a bit sloppily by rushing things, but on enemy phase I get extremely luck and dodge every single attack.
We have Fin move up to meet the rest of the army while the others pick off some enemies. On enemy phase the few remaining enemies gang up on Sigurd and Fin, but fail to accomplish anything significant.
Now we have Deidre Silence Sandima to neutralize his presence on the battle field. A funny touch that I like about Silence is that during its battle animation it plays the normal battle music and does a little attack animation. When the animation is done, the background goes black and white and the music instantly stops.
Just one of the small touches that makes this game great. Now then Lex has finally reached the end of that peninsula that he was heading towards for god knows what reason.
Upon ending his turn he stupidly drops his axe in the water and a kind of funny (if cliché) scene plays.
You are very honest! As a reward for your honesty I present you with the Hero Axe. Farewell, Lex...
No I have no idea how you're supposed to know this scene exists without the help of a guide, or who that woman is. There are actually a few hidden events like this that you'd have no way of knowing about but that yield great items. During this scene a track called "Gold Axe, Silver Axe ♪♪" plays. It's not really music so much as running water and splash sound effects. You'll notice that Lex specifies that it was an Iron Axe that he dropped. If you for whatever reason sold his Iron Axe or put it into storage, you won't get actually get this scene, another small touch that I enjoy.
Now Hero Weapons (referred to as Brave Weapons in later games) allow the user two consecutive attacks regardless of Spd or skills. It's like if Continue always activated. This weapon along with an item we get next chapter will really make Lex fantastic. Up north we clean up the remaining Archers then attack Sandima. Sigurd goes in first to weaken then Deirdre finishes to grab the Magic Ring.
Giving this ring to Deirdre is actually pretty important since she only gets one hit on enemies, so you need to make it count. It's vital for her to get far in the Chapter 2 arena.
He has sustained heavy injuries. He's very likely beyond our help.
Urgh... Sigurd, my apologies for all you had to go through. This was all Sandima's doing. He deceived me while conning my two sons in an attempt to take control of the country.
Yes, I'm aware of that. Please, don't overexert yourself. You just need some rest.
No, I'm already done for. But before I die, I have one last thing I must tell you. The evil that's rearing its head across the continent is all the work of the Dark Sect. They're out to destroy all that's good and hasten the revival of the Dark Lord Loputousu. Sandima incited our attack on Grandbell solely to further their cause. They have infested the world, Sigurd. You must stay sharp and not be led astray! Please absolve my failure to keep my citizens from harm's way. S... Sigurd, I beg of you...
King Batou... No... What IS this Dark Sect anyway...
Wow what a terribly awkward line to go out on, Sigurd. Of course we'll come to learn what this Dark Sect is in due time. During this scene a track called Victory 2 plays. It is a bittersweet rendition of Victory 1, the triumphant victory music that played at the end of the Prologue. I really like it, though I'm a sucker for bittersweet tracks.
In the manga there's a very badass fight between Sigurd and Sandima. Sandima basically runs away since he can't cast spells, while Sigurd chases him. Sandima attempts to catch Sigurd off guard and stab him with a dagger, but Sigurd doesn't take any of that shit and knocks it out of Sandima's hand. He then proceeds to beat the crap out of Sandima with his bare hands. He gets cocky, Silence wears off on Sandima, and he gets knocked down, clinging to the tower of the castle, about to fall to his death (they're on top of the castle at this point). Sandima's about to deliver the finishing blow, when Jamka nails him with an arrow between the eyes, as a sort of revenge for Batou. And of course Sigurd climbs up and lives.
Now then, when you think about it, at this time we've completed what we set out to accomplish: We've rescued Aideen and subdued Verdane. So what comes next? Well stay tuned to find out (yes I know how cheesy that sounds)!