Part 8: Chapter 7 - Mission
It's possible the commander may have followed another road into Gallia. It's something we should consider.
... You're right. Getting killed looking for them would waste everything they accomplished by breaking away. I guess all we can do is trust that they're well and withdraw.
What? Really? Yes, let's go take a look.
There's no one here... Hm. I could've sworn I saw a silhouette, but... I guess it was a trick of the light.
Let's take a quick look around. If we don't find anything here, we'll head back to Gallia.
Curses! Daein troops...
And for no adequately explained reason, the Greil Mercenaries back into a corner. Right. So ends what must be the shortest pre-mission talking-section ever, but don't worry. We'll be compensated for this. Oh, lord, how we will be compensated.
Boyd and Oscar charge the Soldiers towards the middle of the map.
Soren comes over to fling magic over them, and Titania joins him to form a wall.
Note that Soren is starting to run out of uses in his Wind tome. He's got three left after this. This might be a little bit of a problem.
Ike goes north, and Rhys hangs around in the middle so he can go either way on a whim.
Now, where's that exit... Hm? What's that sound? Someone... fighting?
There's no time to dwell on this, however, it's the Enemy Phase!
Boyd continues not increasing his chances of not being dumped at the first opportunity.
An archer goes for the intruder, but she's not having any of that.
I never continue to be astounded by how useful Boyd manages to be despite how much the RNG Gods hate him.
A Hand Axe also comes flying at Ike, but he dodges it. Then a Javelin, which he doesn't. No matter.
As before, "other" units get a turn all to themselves. And unlike Marcia, this one will actually do proactive things, like...
Having a chat with Ike!
It is, but... who are you?
I'm Mia. I'm a mercenary, hired by Crimea to bolster the army's numbers.
An army mercenary, huh? So, uh, what are you doing here?
I got careless and was captured. They were about to send me to a prison camp when Greil saved me.
You've seen my father? Where?
Just a little bit north of here. Not too far away, though.
Really? So he's safe...
Huh... You're taking on a whole Daein battalion with these numbers? Nice. That settles it then!
This battle. I'm coming in on your side. You don't mind, do you?
It's fine with me, but... I don't know if you'll get paid just because I let you fight.
We'll worry about the details later! Great, so that's all taken care of. What next, boss man?
And just like that, we have a new recruit!
Then this asshole shows up. More on that in a second.
Mia is our first usable Myrmidon, and she's everything you'd expect her to be given that; extremely accurate, fast as fuck, and a little on the squishy side with middling Defence and HP, and no Resistance. She's got a bit of Strength, but anything heavier than an Iron Sword will slow her down - robbing her of her greatest asset in battle.
She brings us a Sword Band, which bolsters Skill and Luck growths, and also a Slim Sword, a sword that's weaker than an Iron Sword but extremely accurate, and also has a +5 to Crit. It's not the most useful weapon, but I guess it might maybe come in handy sometime. Maybe.
Oh, and there's this. I almost forgot, it's really that big a deal, but I just thought I'd mention that Mia will always attack first in fights.
She and Ike get to crippling the soldiers near them.
Boyd and Oscar dispose of a guy each, Boyd getting healed in the meantime. Soren, however, stays put - we're not using those last few Wind spells just yet.
Enemy phase, and Ike continues getting pestered.
No one seems to want to attack Mia.
Once again, I have done the numbers, and even if Ike gets hit with this counterattack he can still get hit with the Steel Lance the other Soldier has and live. He'd better dodge the Hand Axe, though (although the hit odds on that are ~25%, and with True Hit that becomes negligible).
Fortunately, he dodges the counterattack.
For our trouble, we get a Chest Key. These will allow us to open the treasure chests on this map and claim the goodies within. Each key is good for two uses, so there must be another one around here somewhere.
Mia does not attack, because if she gets hit (which is likely when facing a lance user with a sword), then a second attack from this Soldier would kill her, and we don't want that.
Down here, we have something of a problem.
I want this motherfucker dead, you see. That's not the problem though - well it is a problem, but not the one I'm talking about right now. Well, OK, let's go down a Problem Layer for a second.
This guy is a Thief. His singular goal is to loot all of the treasure chests on the map and then escape with the booty. We don't want that. We want the treasure. You can claim one item back by killing him, but beyond that the only way to get back stuff he's got is to steal it yourself, and since we don't have a Thief of our own... it is very much in our interests to kill him quickly. And, annoyingly, he's too fast for Titania to double. So, that's one of my problems.
The other problem is, of course, that with Titania otherwise occupied, there's a gap in our wall and Rhys is right there.
I see only one option; plug the gap with Soren (healing him in the meantime, of course) for a turn. Annoyingly, this requires Soren to engage a melee unit at melee range.
Then, like a total champ, Soren activates his Adept skill.
He takes a hit...
But is able to use all three of the last uses of his Wind tome to kill the Soldier.
There are some puns that even I will not commit to print.
So, yeah, proceed.
The first thing the enemy Thief does is run behind several enemies into the treasure room. You may wonder why the enemies tolerate a Thief in their ranks and allow him to loot all their stuff (Thieves are even listed as being a different faction from the enemies). I wonder this too. We could spend hours wondering this and get nowhere.
It suddenly occurs to me that I've left Titania in a room full of enemies, armed.
Nature takes its course.
Meanwhile, Ike is just having success after success...
...after success after success.
Another uplifting thought occurs...
Most of the enemies around Titania are Knights who can just barely survive her attacks.
...we have just trivialized a room full of heavily armoured opponents. I'm a genius!
Mia finishes up over in her corner, and Ike makes a run towards the treasure - finally healing himself.
Boyd and Oscar run in to take care of the newly crippled Knights.
Oscar has to break out the Short Spear just to muster up enough Atk to damage them. Yes, in retrospect, it was a great idea to send Titania in here with the express purpose of neutering the Knights.
...not really sure what to make of this one. Paladins, with their balanced growths, sure can turn out weird sometimes. Oscar also picks up Lances (C) out of this.
This might seem counterintuitive given that we can kill the Soldier standing in the doorway with a 100% chance, but since he's programmed to hold position, he'll attack Titania on his turn anyway, so we might as well take a potshot at the thief now, just in case...
See? Oh, also, it turns out thieves are worth a highly disproportionate quantity of EXP, so...
Titania gets an objectively disappointing level. Seriously, she's got in excess of 400% in stat growths, so anything with less than 4 +1s is you getting screwed. Goddamnit, we only get so many Titania levels!
Alright, Daein. Your move.
Ike loots a chest and gets an Armorslayer, an extremely heavy sword that's effective against Knights. This will probably go to Mia (even though it'll kill her AS dead), since Ike already has the Regal Sword.
We shuffle around and end another turn.
The thing about weapons like the Javelin/Short Spear that can attack at two different ranges is that it tends to make the AI not attack you, since you can counter anyone. Of course, when you're the only target in the AI's range, they become a lot more useful, since they'll all attack you, and you can counter all of them. Like this Soldier/Archer combo here.
The Soldier in particular gets his shit ruined, and drops the second Chest Key too.
Who are you?
Me? I am General Petrine, and my arrival marks your doom. Lament your fortune, dear children, for all hope is lost. You will not leave this place alive.
Do you know her, Soren?
If she's who I think, then she's one of the four generals who are King Daein's most trusted confidants. She is said to wield a flame lance of terrible arcane might.
Ha ha ha... You've heard of me? Why, I'm flattered. I'll try to make this easy on all of you. Give me the princess, and do it now. If I roast the girl along with you curs, I won't be able to present her head to His Majesty.
Sorry to tell you this, but the princess isn't here. She's been in Gallia for quite some time now.
What... nonsense is that? Do you expect me to believe you?
(I'm not going to dignify with cooperation the idea that we don't know who's speaking here)
Something tells me they were talking about you.
Greil casually crits a Soldier in the face.
Ike will actually run from wherever he is on the map to go and speak to Greil.
What're you doing back here, you dumb pup?
We got the princess safely into Gallia. When you didn't rejoin us, we decided to look for you. The mission wouldn't be complete until you returned.
...What am I to do with you? Still, you did well. Good work, Ike.
Ha! Ignoring me proves you've got more guts than common sense. So you're the commander, eh? Hmph! And I was waiting for some great hero. You're just another sellsword.
Ha ha. You know, I think I'll keep you! His Majesty, well... Let's just say he enjoys strong men. Yes, I do think you'll make a grand souvenir. You don't have to come along quietly, but I must have you alive. Dead men have no value, after all.
...So the rumors of mad King Ashnard's twisted games are true, are they?
Stop expositing in the back!
There's a rumor that King Daein gathers strong men from around the continent and sets them to fight one another. Those who live, regardless of their birth, are given influential positions. Don't know if it's true, though.
Oh... So that weird dame's got her eye on the boss now, does she?
Shinon! Gatrie! I'll distract the woman. You two grab Ike and the others and get out of here now!
But, Commander! We can't leave you here on your own!
Idiot! That woman's no threat to the commander. All right Come on! Let's go!
You'll not escape me. Not you or your little friends. You're far too tasty a treat to pass up.
You said your name was Petrine, is that right? Listen up. This place is nowhere near big enough. There's not enough room for a true contest between the two of us. I'm going elsewhere. You coming?
I'd like to flex my muscles without any distractions getting in the way. You?
Ha ha... You really do know how to sweet talk a girl, don't you? All right, I'm coming.
All right, men. I'm leaving you in charge here. Don't let even one of these Crimean vermin escape! Understood? I want them exterminated by the time I return.
And so Greil and Petrine run off to enjoy eathother's company.
And Ike runs the entire way back to where he was standing.
Come on, don't fall behind!
Then the boss and some reinforcements appear. Note the two in striking distance of Rhys and Soren. We might want to get on that.
There are two of them; a Soldier and a Mage. There's an obvious solution to this problem!
Go Team Mage-Wall! Rhys and Soren have the resistance to shrug off any and all magic attacks at this point (Rhys in particular will take no damage from the Mage), and since the Mage can't move, the Soldier can only attack Boyd, and Boyd has the HP to eat attacks from both enemies. Strategy!
Meanwhile, Gatrie obligingly gets back to skewering. Oscar hands him the Chest Key before galloping off to help Boyd.
Mia and Ike move into the range of the two enemy Knights - Mia holding the Armorslayer - in the hopes of drawing them out.
Enemy turn, and the situation to the south is proceeding exactly as planned.
There's another mage near Oscar, who gets lured into being countered.
Again with the surprise competence.
Ike gets poked, too.
Oh fucking fuck I forgot to actually equip the Armorslayer on her, didn't I?
Well, this is pretty much the norm for Myrmidons taking on Knights.
If she had been holding the Armorslayer, she almost certainly wouldn't have dodged this attack, although she still wouldn't have been doubled, since the Knight's AS is also practically zero right now.
I try to have Titania soften one of the Knights up, but she crits and kills him.
As much as I'd dearly love to feed Mia some kills, there's no tidy option besides having Ike kill this Knight, especially since I don't want Mia in range of the Soldier by the boss.
Oscar kills a mage, and gets a decent level, and, to my elation, his Fire tome.
He immediately strolls over to find Soren, who takes it off him...
And immediately uses it to start roasting the Mage.
We're back to wanting Strength again, since the Fire tome has 2 Wt. Soren's Speed is quite satisfactory, however, and his Magic is still ticking on up.
Rhys... is also levelling up.
Gatrie gets to looting, and finds this entirely mysterious item. We'll be explaining this later.
Time to mop up and move on.
The enemy has an Armorslayer, too! And they're about as well suited to using it as Mia is. This guy dies.
This guy just barely pulls through. Oscar and Boyd take some uninteresting hits, and it's our turn again.
Soren deals with the Soldier, and Mia gets shoved by Ike so she can come and kill the Mage.
Yep, that certainly is a Slim Sword.
Gatrie takes a point of damage from an enemy Knight and decides it mustn't happen again. The other enemies stay put.
The last chest contains a Ward staff. This will buff a unit's Resistance by 7, and the effect wears off one point per turn. Quite handy!
We clean up, heal, Rhys gets B-Rank in Staves, and we prepare to move on the boss.
Not a wimp, but a bit dim.
On our turn, Gatrie disposes of the Knight and Shinon moves on the Soldier.
Shinon, incidentally, has dialogue with Ike if you go out of your way to have Ike Talk to him;
Well met, Shinon. Are you unharmed?
Do I look injured? I'm as fit as ever. You must be disappointed Daein hasn't stuck me full of holes yet.
Guess it's time to tighten our belts and move on. Now that I'm gonna be dragging your worthless carcass around again, I'll have to work twice as hard.
Ike charges, and attacks not the boss but the Priest next to him.
That's right, we're pulling that most classic of Fire Emblem Gambits, charging-but-not-attacking.
The Knight wastes his turn on Ike.
The boss... is actually a bit dangerous.
You see, he doubles Boyd. With rather powerful magic.
He's a Sage - promoted mage - you see, and he's fast and powerful. So exercise caution.
Soren softens up the Knight for us. He takes a hit in doing so.
Oscar contributes a poke, too.
Not gonna lie, I saved a state here.
Didn't need, it, though.
...says he, getting a one-stat-level. Still, though, if there's one stat Mia needs above all others right now, it's Strength, so I'm less annoyed with this than I might have been. And at least it wasn't an empty level...
Titania softens up the boss for us.
And Ike brings it on home.
He picks entirely the wrong moment, from a dramatic perspective, to be awed.
Shinon gets a crit on this stubborn Knight, but he still can't kill him.
Gatrie, incidentally, can also Talk with Ike:
Hey, is that you, Ike? I heard you got the princess to Gallia. Nice work! You're quite the hero. ...But wait! So what in blazes are you doing back here?
You'll think it foolish, but I was worried about all of you.
Aww... You're going to make me cry, you silly pup! All right... sniff... Get it together, Gatrie. Tonight, you and I will share a meal sing a song or two!
I have to find my father. Where did he go?
Titania! Is my father...
Don't worry. Commander Greil's the better fighter. He'll be fine.
What's wrong? Ready to surrender?
And admit defeat? Me? Dont't be absurd...
Here they are! Over here!
Blast. Enemy reinforcements! Father! Let's get out of here! There are too many--
...Looks like I've got no choice.
Ha ha ha ha... So now, the tide has turned, hasn't it?
Hm... Looks like our luck's run out.
You have to survive this, Ike. I'm not going to lose you, not in this place. Are you ready?
What was that?
Stand your ground, all of you! Don't panic! I will personally slaughter the first man to turn his back on the enemy!
Pfeh. Worthless cowards, one and all.
Some of them seem to be retreating in reverse. That's not-
If you do not comply immediately, you will face Gallia's full strength!
Threaten me all you like. It's not going to frighten me off. If I leave, His Majesty will have me executed. I'd rather die here in battle, with my honor intact.
Holy shit. Three seconds of generic animation and three words of dialogue and already I am strongly inclined not to fuck with this guy.
The Black Knight...
As for your king, you have nothing to fear. I'll explain things to him. Take your men and go.
Tsk! All troops, fall back!
He's staring at you, isn't he, Father?
Yeah. He is.
"..." about sums it up, I think.
Lv 6 Myrmidon
HP: 21 (50%) Spd: 13 (60%)
Str: 7 (40%) Lck: 6 (45%)
Mag: 0 (30%) Def: 7 (20%)
Skl: 10 (45%) Res: 2 (25%)
Move: 6 Con: 6 Wt: 6
Equip: Swords (D)
Mia is not really a matter of "sword first, questions later" but more "the enemy can't ask questions if they have been sworded", and that's an attitude I can get behind. With 13 base Speed, 60% growth and 33 natural levels ahead of her, Mia will one day be a (figuratively) solid wall of Avoid coupled with a small bundle of Crit who can double all but the fastest opponents. She gets weighed down a bit by heavy weapons, but that 40% Strength growth will eventually correct that problem. The problem is, of course, her defences. When that Avoid fails her, she's going to be hurting, what with low-ish HP, and lower defences - 7 base Defence is nice, but that 20% growth isn't. Mia is best employed as the spearhead of an attack, followed by someone to establish a wall in the space she clears. Powerful she is, but survivable, she ain't.
Her biggest party trick is of course her Vantage skill, which will ensure she always gets the first hit in any melee fight. This might make a handy trick for luring injured enemies to their deaths. It's quite situational, though nevertheless cool.
To be continued!