Part 6: Chapter 5
There's some blink-and-you'll-miss-it foreshadowing going down here.
Come on. Let's greet our guest.
Oh, I... I'm fine... And you are?
The name's Greil. I'm the commander of this mercenary company.
My lord Greil... You are the one who came to my aid, are you not? I don't know how to thank you...
Hold on. The one who found you and brought you here is my son, Ike. If you want to thank someone, thank him.
Lord... Ike, was it? You have my gratitude.
I'm not entirely sure whether all this "Lord" business is supposed to be a in-joke in reference to previous Fire Emblem Main Characters being literal Lords, or a deliberate quirk of Elincia's resulting from her previously sheltered existence, or both, or neither. Better get used to hearing it though!
The place where Ike found you was evidently the site of a fierce battle between Crimean and Daein forces. Do you have some relation to the Crimean royal family?
I make no promises, but we may be able to help you. Will you share your story with us?
You took me in and cared for me. I will... place my trust in you.
You say you are the princess of Crimea?
That's an odd claim to make. I've never heard of King Crimea having any children.
That is... to be expected. My heritage, my very existence, has never been made public.
To avoid national turmoil. You see, I was born after my uncle, Lord Renning, was named as successor to the throne. So...
They kept you a secret to avert a possible blood feud. Yes, I'm willing to accept that for the time being.
You must know what's become of the king and your uncle. I would like to hear that news.
... My father and my mother are dead... They fell at the hand of Ashnard, King of Daein... My lord uncle and the royal knights are still battling the Daein army, I believe.
... I... fled the castle... to follow my lord uncle's orders and seek refuge in the kingdom of Gallia...
... Yes. We believed that King Caineghis would grant me sanctuary. So that's where I was going... But we were discovered by Daein troops, and I lost my escort of knights... My life--the life I have now--was purchased... with the blood of those brave knights...
Does King Daein know of your existence?
Yes. I was told the royals of each nation were informed of my identity in the event of dire circumstances...
If that's the case, they must be searching frantically for you.
Master Greil, my lord Ike, you said that you were mercenaries, did you not?
I beg of you! I have... no one... no one else to turn to.
...and there we have it. We have achieved Full Fire Emblem Sync. The plot of the game has begun. The last element is, of course, a prince or princess fleeing their conquered kingdom into a more friendly neighbouring country, with the aid of a small band of fighters.
Father spoke to her as if he believed she were telling the truth.
What is it, Titania?
Mm, it's nothing. I was just remembering something from the past.
From the past? Back when you were still a Crimean royal knight?
What? How do you know about that?
A long time ago, I overheard Shinon and some others talking about it.
They keep such loose tongues.
Was it a secret?
No, it wasn't, but... Much like I have more experience than you, I also have many more things to worry about.
Like Princess Crimea?
Well... yes. I myself was unaware of the princess's existence, but... Now that I think about it, she does bear a striking resemblance to both the king and queen.
So she probably is the true princess. I wonder what Father will do. Will he take on her request?
Commander, what are the Daein dogs saying?
"Turn over Princess Crimea and leave the area immediately. Comply now, or we will attack." Pretty straightforward.
What are we going to do?
That's what we're here to decide. One thing has been made clear by the arrival of our friends outside.
Yes, but what do we do now? I'd like to hear the opinion of everyone here. Titania, I'd like to hear from you first.
The blame for this war rests on Daein. If we ally ourselves with them,the company's reputation will surely suffer. Conversely, if we deliver Princess Crimea safely, our stock will risein the eyes of our primary employers. Our road is clear.
Soren, how about you?
There's nothing to think about. We must deliver the princess to Daein immediately.
Even if Crimea is in the right?
We are mercenaries. Our actions are dictated only by self-interest. If we want to ensure our future, we need Daein in our debt. They will win this war, after all, and nothing else serves us better.
Soren's a pompous, superior whelp, but he's got the right idea. Besides, the destination's Gallia, so it's a moot question. I don't care how much we get paid; there's no way under the sun I'm going to stinking beast country.
Princess Elincia... She does possess a certain regal beauty... There's a lot to be said for that, you know. However I do prefer country girls... A bit cuter, and not quite so standoffish... Oh! Forget I said that. Whatever you decide is good for me, Commander. Yep, uh-huh, yep...
I agree with Captain Titania. If we turn the princess over to the Daein army, we're essentially giving them permission to kill her.
I'm in favor of helping her. That's what heroes are supposed to do.
I believe... that none of this hinges on whether she's a princess or not. Refusing to aid someone in need is not something we should ever do. That's what I think.
That's right! Let's help her!
Please! We have to help her!
I agree with Titania. I say we help her and take her to Gallia.
I see. I think I know where you all stand....... Well then, here's my decision.
... Are you sure that's for the best, Father?
Yes. Besides, I think the choice has been taken out of our hands.
Open your ears and listen. Listen! All of you.
Huh?... What is it?
Uh... I don't hear a thing...
Idiot! That's the problem. Don't you think that's a bit odd? Complete silence, in all four directions.
Not only are the animals quiet, but the bugs are silent, too. And that's unnatural beyond belief. Which means...
It would appear they had no intention of keeping their side of the proposed bargain.
They were planning on lulling us into a false sense of security and destroying every one of us.
Probably so. But the deal is, we're not so naive or inexperienced as to fall for their trap. take your positions! We're going to settle this right now!
I'll go and hold the rear entrance. Ike! You're in command here! Don't let the enemy take the front.
... Got it! Be careful, Commander!
Hah. I'll give it a shot.
Which means they're not an opponent that will be easily fooled. We'll need something special.
Shall we continue with the planned attack?
No... Princess Crimea is somewhere within that fort. If we use flaming arrows to try to smoke them out, we might bring the princess to harm. We've been told to do our best to deliver her alive and uninjured. It would be preferable if they were to come out of their own accord. If they do, slay all but the princess!
Nothing interesting happens pre-fight except making sure everyone has a band and a fresh Vulnerary. Of course, you may have already noticed the first interesting thing about this map...
That's right, it's Intelligent Systems' favourite Hard Mode Difficulty Adding Mechanic; adding Fog of War! On Normal/Easy modes, this map is bright and clear like any other map; you can see where all the enemies are, and how many there are, and what weapons they have, and can plan accordingly. On Hard, however, not so easy. You have to scout around to find enemies, and you don't know what kind of foe is hanging around where, or where the boss is, or where the safe zones are.
Fire Emblem's Fog of War is pretty straightforward. Units can see three squares around themselves, although there are some exceptions and some ways to boost this. You can't attack a target unless you could see them before you move, and if you move through a space and an enemy is hiding there, then sorry, no turn for you. If you're fresh off playing Advance Wars, you might be expecting some additional mechanics along the lines of only being able to see into hedges from adjacent squares, or perhaps something involving high ground and vantage points. Nope; as I said, Fire Emblem's way is simple.
Oh, there is one thing; the enemy cheats. Spectacularly. What, did you think all that stuff about being able to hide and interrupt units applied to your units too? You naïve fool.
By the way, we're under siege, and this is a defence map. To win, all we have to do is not let any enemies enter the fort for six turns.
Also, do you still remember "Like Father, Like Son", the not-great music from the Prologue? Well, it looks like someone arranged that into a pretty good little tune. Seriously, this sounds like something someone might actually listen to someday.
Let's take a poke around, shall we?
Bingo. Soren opens the festivities, and immediately gains a level.
It is satisfactory. Fat lot of good that Fighter Band did though
Ike and Gatrie come down to finish the job, forming a handy defensive line in the meantime.
The other enemies are around this place somewhere. Boyd moves to scout around from this handy Healhedge.
He and Oscar complete our defensive formation. We're going to be holding this line for pretty much the whole mission.
Boyd immediately takes an arrow to the face.
So help me, Boyd. So. Fucking. Help me.
Oh, ow. This guy is using a Hammer, a specialized axe that is effective against armoured units. Even without the bonus damage, though, it hurts to be hit by it.
It's also exceptionally heavy, so Oscar doubles the guy in return.
Again, a good deal of the enemies here are lance users, so at least Boyd has the Triangle Advantage on them - plus he's standing in a Healhedge, so he's got even more extra Avoid. And health regen.
Which is fortunate, because he sure as fuck doesn't have anything else.
In the midst of all the enemies crowding into the chokepoints is this very clever archer who reckons the best use of a Steel Bow strong enough to actually do damage to Titania is to attack Titania... while standing right in front of Ike.
So, yeah, the chokepoints are pretty full right now.
Hammer-man's total lack of AS means Boyd can double him, and also that Boyd gets 96% hit odds on him (remember, kids, Avoid is calculated using AS, not Speed). His Hammer becomes ours.
For his part, Oscar rides forwards, prods an Archer, and then rides back. Wouldn't want to break the line! He then gets healed by Rhys.
Holy shit Rhys, you are not a combat unit, this shit is not necessary.
Ike, Gatrie and Soren all get stuck in. Could be a bit risky leaving Soren there, but the numbers say he can survive two archer attacks, so there. Besides, the archers probably won't attack him, what with the imminent counterattack and all.
And especially not when Rhys is right there! Well, I guess he found a use for all those stats after all.
Ike takes a few hits...
But is the better for it.
Yep, that sure was another turn of holding the line.
Ike kills this guy - falling to dangerously low health in the attempt - and the guy drops a Torch. Torches will temporarily grant a unit a large increase in vision in Fog of War maps - handy to have.
Rhys heals Ike back up and Oscar heals himself, Soren wastes a guy, and we brace for another push.
This is one of those happy coincidences of AI. The AI works with one unit at a time. It doesn't think "oh, one of my units is in the way, let's move it first" or anything like that - it just picks a unit, detects targets, and goes from there. The result is that this archer can't reach Oscar or Boyd, so it goes for Soren, despite everything the AI holds dear about avoiding counterattacks.
We are just fine with this.
This guy is outdamaging Boyd. That's just great.
Gatrie is still performing to specification, though. And this combat brings him to C-Rank in Lances.
Man, why'd I let him use the Steel Axe? Now Boyd's getting doubled.
All in all, the brothers aren't having the best showing right now.
Ike is, though! Our turn again.
Acceptable. Not amazing. I decide that Boyd is just valuable enough to warrant healing from Rhys.
The presence of this Javelin guy bugs me, so once Ike and Gatrie clear the way in front of them we send in Titania to assassinate him.
Also, we send Shinon down to have some fun and see what he can't draw out.
Here we go again.
I'll take this.
This is our first real time dealing with enemy cavaliers. The thing you really have to take into account about cavaliers is...
...that they can hit you and run away, leaving the way clear for you to be hit again.
Shinon's not worried, though.
Something is going on down there. I don't think we're going to be able to investigate, though.
Another turn for us!
Another spell from behind the wall results in...
...about the bare minimum requirements for a level up to be awesome. Soren can easily get by on just magic and speed - anything else is a bonus, really.
His fun had, Shinon retreats and Ike takes the fore once again.
These Cavaliers are Actually Fast. But Gatrie doesn't give a shit.
Most of the enemy is dead now; the next enemy phase and the last turn are really just a formality at this point. Said next enemy phase begins now.
It passes predictably.
And pleasingly. For Gatrie, every point of speed is a generous gift.
An Archer and a Soldier round on Boyd; he doesn't dodge the Soldier but does double him, though that's not really an accomplishment when the enemy has zero AS.
Ike is still laughing in the face of the Weapon Triangle.
It's the last turn, so everyone goes fishing for EXP.
Some don't do a very good job of it, though. Rhys hits C-Rank Staves while healing Soren, and even Titania and Shinon get to kill someone.
Ike gets his first bad level. At least he's working on that Resistance.
Yep, I think we're done here. Final enemy phase, come and get some.
I don't think so.
A Javelin and a Steel Lance guy manage to hit Ike, though.
Technically, they also hit Gatrie.
Oho? Look who showed up!
Well, we're done here.
Sadly, we didn't get to kill Dakova, but that's alright. We would've gotten an Ashera Icon, which is the stat-booster for Luck, but we can live without that.
Knowing your enemy's strength is vital to any strategy... Soldiers! Retreat! We fall back for now!
There's no question about it. We're enemies of the Daein kingdom now, aren't we?
Understood! Boyd! Come with me.
Right behind you, Brother!
Ah! We've got to hurry, too! Come on, Rolf! We've got to pack as much food and supplies as we can!
Uh, whatever you say! Let's go, Mist!
Titania! Take Shinon and Gatrie and make sure we have a secure road from here to the great forest. We'll make our way to Gallia through the sea of trees.
On my way, sir!
Rhys, you stay with me. I want you to help me pull essential documents from the library. Everything else we burn.
Ike! You're in charge of the princess.
I'm going to ready a horse for you. What should we have you do... I know--go to the mess hall.
Time will go by faster if you're helping Mist than it will if you're just sitting around waiting for me.
Oh, I understand. I can do that!
Please don't worry, Mist. I just hope that I don't end up slowing you down by getting in your way.
Don't be silly! You're so much better at this than I am. It's a big help! Are all princesses as good at this sort of thing as you are?
Ha ha! I wasn't raised at court, so my life was a bit different than other princesses. I cooked, cleaned, sewed... Why, I did all manner of things.
Really? That's surprising. I would never have guessed that by looking at you.
Let's see, I also rode horses, practiced swordfighting...
Ah, Mist. What's that around your neck?
OK, so I lied. There's one more requirement for a Fire Emblem plot.
I'm sorry, I didn't mean to...
... I guess I can show it to you, Princess Elincia.
And that is, of course, the Arbitrary Mystical Trinket.
This isn't our first time seeing this, of course. Sharp readers will, of course, have been seeing it crop up at least once per goddamn chapter.
Oh... It's a lovely... That's an incredible medallion, isn't it? I wonder what that light is.
It used to belong to my mother. It's all I have to remember her by. Hmm... I don't know where the light comes from. It didn't used to be like that. A while back, it just started glowing.
The world is full of mysteries, isn't it? One thing is clear, though... It certainly
I wonder what that light means...
Fortunately, it's completely insignificant to the plot, so there's no point worrying about it!
Aw, sorry Dakova, did you think that just because we didn't kill you this would end well?
Ge-General Petrine. I am deeply ashamed. By my honor...
Honor? I care nothing for your pathetic honor. Have you forgotten the Daein army's motto? Success or failure, life or death. Hey, you! Get this trash out of here!
If we had killed him, some other generic Daein soldier would've gotten the blame instead. Someone's got to take the blame, after all.
W-wait! General Petrine, have mercy...
Dog's breath! I'm surrounded by worthless imbeciles.
... The Crimean capital, Melior, is already under King Ashnard's control... The remnants of the Crimean army are neglible... Which means the only place left for the princess to turn is south, to the kingdom of Gallia.
Hah! So the girl, like her dead father before her, seeks the friendship of those hairy devils, eh? What an absolutely stupefying world we live in.
If she gains sanctuary in Gallia, capturing the princess will become that much more difficult.... The mercenaries she has escorting her are a powerful group, not one to be taken lightly. I will gather intelligence on them as quickly as...
It's not necessary. I will head up the pursuit of our wandering princess.
General Petrine, you will go... yourself?
If we know where the princess and her band are headed, there's no need for subtlety. I'll just hunt them down and kill them. Mercenaries? Hah! What're they to me? Remember, I am General Petrine! No matter who I face, I have never failed, nor will I ever! Ha ha ha...
No Bonus EXP (since the mission is a set number of turns), and no new units, so I guess we'll just skip straight to: