Part 14: Chapter 10 - Preamble
Hello, Ranulf. I was hoping I'd see you. I'd wanted to thank you for everything you've done. I'm glad to have the chance before I leave.
Well, aren't you the dutiful one! Hey, that reminds me... you were born here in Gallia, right? I knew there was something odd about you. You're awfully friendly for a beorc, you know! Oh, you might not know, but a beorc is what--
I know what it means. It's what you call us humans, right?
Oh, knew that, did you? Well then, let me tell you something else.
Really? It's an insult to be called human? I'm glad you told me. I would never have guessed.
I should warn you, if you run across any laguz who call you that, be careful. They are no friend of yours.
Got it. Thanks. I won't forget.
Princess Elincia, may I have a moment of your time?
The king asked that I give you this. Please, accept it as a gift.
What? May I ask--
Within that leather pouch is twenty thousand gold pieces. Beorc currency, of course.
Oh... I truly appreciate this generous offer, but a gift of this magnitude is not something I can accept. King Caineghis has done so much more than necessary already...
The king is ashamed that he cannot, at this time, provide any personal support. Please. Will you accept his apology and acknowledge his desire to aid you?
No? Well then, let's try this...
I wholeheartedly endorse this plan.
Come on, Ranulf. You can't expect her to accept this. And it's an outrageous fee, no matter how you look at it.
Twenty thousand gold for the life of a princess? Perfectly reasonable. In fact, it almost borders on insulting! Consider how you have suffered, the lives you have lost... Ten, no, a hundred times this amount would not be unreasonable.
In turn, I will present it to my lord Ike... You will accept it, will you not?
I... I will. Thank you.
No, my lord Ike. It is I who must thank you.
[Received 20,000 Gold!]
Well, now that that's settled, let's move on. Unfortunately, we do not have any ships here in Gallia. If you are to find a ship that will take you to Begnion, you must return to occupied Crimea.
If there's no other way, then we'll just have to risk it.
No matter how cautiously you proceed, you're certain to run into Daein forces. Keep that in mind.
I understand. It's too bad we're so short on soldiers... Still, there's not much we can do about that now. However, I will review our supplies carefully before we depart.
Mordecai! And Lethe? Both of you? Are you sure?
None of the others could stand the idea of traveling with humans. I myself tremble with loathing at the thought of going to Begnion, but... When the king gives an order, obedience is the only option.
That may be, but having witnessed the combat prowess of the Gallians for myself, I know how fortunate we are.
We will not fail you.
Hsss! I've no intention of becoming friends! Do not forget that... And stay out of my way!
I will return once I've reported to the king. While I'm gone, please finish your preparations for departure.
It's technically possible (though pretty goddamn difficult, considering) to get Lethe and/or Mordecai killed in the previous battle; this has about as much effect on the overall flow of this conversation as you might expect.
There were no casualties, and no one suffered permanent injury. We fought excellently.
Sorry, Oscar, but we all know that Ike was the true MVP in that last fight, on account of what is now widely considered to be the greatest ever use of the Shove command on an enemy.
Unrelated: We are now rich as fuck. Probably best to not spend it all at once, though.
Another Base means another round of conversations!
I was trying to get back to my room, but I've lost my way. Can you tell me which way I need to go?
It's this way. Follow me. Hey! Not so close! Walk behind me.
Er... Pardon me. The king has ordered us to treat beorc with kindness, but... It will... take some time. It is difficult to fight that instinct. Perhaps some memory of the slavery our forefathers suffered at beorc hands flows in our blood.
I understand. I'll keep my distance.
Very well... Let's go.
Packing, huh? Want some help?
Do I want some...? Pfff! You're a hoot, handsome! I'm already done!
You're more skillful at this than I would've imagined. Or is it that Mist is woefully inept?
Aw, the Begnion pegasus knights were always moving around, so I learned to pack quickly. They used to train us on it all the time...
Go here... Pack this... Fun stuff!
Is that so? I can see that you have a strong sense of duty. Quitting the Begnion pegasus knights to join us must seem...
What are you saying? I'm a burden now?
Um... no. I'm very grateful you're here. As I told you before, we're short on personnel.
Oh. Good then! And I'm happy to be here!
My decision wasn't based solely on my desire to repay you...
You had other reasons?
Yes. I... I'm also searching for my missing brother. He may be a dolt and a scoundrel, but he's all the family I have in this world. Remember when you found me? When we were fighting the pirates? Well, I was trying to track him down. But every time I go looking for him, I end up in some dangerous situation with ugly boat monkeys trying to kill me.
Heh. So that's why you decided to join us, is it? I can understand that.
So, are you sorry you asked?
Not at all. The important thing is finding your brother as quickly as possible, right?
That's the plan!
Well, I doubt this will amount to anything.
You seem... depressed.
Look at who I'm trapped with! Of course I am depressed... And keep your worthless observations to yourself. All of you are so slow... I can't believe you're still not ready.
Sorry about that. If we were like you and didn't need to carry anything, it would be easier, but... We have weapons and things to get ready.
Weapons of steel are a human weakness. Without them, you cannot fight properly.
This... is not for fighting.
Then what's it for?
I use it to remove small bones from meat. It can also cut fruit into bite-sized pieces. It has proven quite useful.
What? If you've got something to say, spit it out!
You despise beorc, but you don't mind beorc-crafted tools?
If something's good, it's good. Denying something's obvious worth out of petty spite is foolish.
If every beorc could get along with us as well as you do, I'm certain...
This is a ridiculous conversation! I'm leaving now.
Aww, is someone's tough guy act beginning to falter?
Anyway, let's meet and greet our newcomers:
Laguz units, as you can probably imagine, work quite differently to Beorc units.
The first thing you should know is that they don't promote like Beorc do; they get their 20 levels, and that's it. They do, however, have somewhat higher base stats and still have pretty good growths - and the bonuses they receive when transformed help a lot, too. They gain EXP at a lower rate than Beorc, too. While their untransformed stats aren't bad, they can't attack or counterattack in this state. Their "weapons" have predefined statistics and never break.
Cats like Lethe have middling strength and defences, but are quite fast. That's... actually about all there is to say, really. Besides her Claws, Lethe brings the Beorcguard accessory, which nullifies bonus damage (such as fire magic). The in-game description incorrectly states that it "halves damage from beorc"... which sets you up for one hell of a disappointment.
Transformation is managed by the Transform Gauge - when it fills up, the Laguz will automatically and immediately transform, and when it empties, they untransform. All Laguz, regardless of species, gain and lose Transformation Points (TP) at the same rate; +4 per turn and +2 per battle when untransformed, and -3 per turn and -1 per battle when transformed. What is unique to each unit, however, is the number of points they start each battle with. Lethe starts at 16 - so she always starts the battle transformed.
Tigers like Mordecai are slower than Cats, but much stronger and much tougher. Their capacity to eat attacks is remarkable even when untransformed. Mordecai starts the battle at 0 TP, so it'll take him a while to get going, although he sure will tear shit up once he does. Perhaps for this reason, he comes with a Laguz Stone, a consumable that will instantly transform its user. He also comes with the Smite skill, which allows you to Shove someone two squares at a time.
The Armoury now stocks Iron Blades. They've got a whole 1 Mt over a Steel Sword, but they're much heavier. We buy one for Mia, and one for the Convoy. We also buy an Iron Lance for Marcia.
Then, we hit the BEXP.
Now, I want to forge a Thunder tome that either Soren or Ilyana can use to fuck shit up.
Here's a stupid thing. This is what it costs to make a Wind tome with comparable Mt to a Thunder tome.
Here's what it costs to make a Thunder tome that's as light as a Wind tome and as accurate, AND has 5 additional Crit. It's a third of the price. What the fuck.
I'm not forging it right away, because its name is up for decision.
Before we leave, let's see some more Supports.
Fire/Light (+5 Hit, +0.5 Atk, +0.5 Def)
Hah! Today is a good day. I'm feeling lucky! Maybe I'll meet someone to duel... Maybe my true archrival!
Ack! You scared me! Hah! Sneaking up behind me like that... You're a crafty one!
Um... sorry. Please let me pass...
Huh? Oh, sure...
So, do you want to duel? At dawn, perhaps? I love dueling at dawn! Awww... never mind. It wouldn't be much of a challenge. You're looking a bit sickly.
Sorry... I'm just feeling weak.
She looks so... fragile. Maybe I should watch her back. Just to make sure nothing bad happens to her... Oh well... back to sword practice!
Fire/Fire (+1 Atk, +5 Hit)
Oh... It's you? YOU!? RHYS!? Well, can't be picky, I guess... Hiyaaa! Take this weapon, cur!
Um... Oh, hello, Mia. What is this? A sword? Yes, I think that's right... Ooof! It's heavy!
Yessir! Who would have thought it was gonna be you!? Funny, that. Now... Get ready! En garde!
Yaaaa! Wait! S-stop, please! I don't know what's going on! I c-can't use weapons!
Whaaat? Oh, come on. You can use them a little, right? Riiight?
No! I've never even touched one before... B-but if you just want me to hold it, I can. Hmmm... I hold this end, right?
... Oh, this is so disappointing! I had my fortune read the other day, and the old crone told me that I'd soon come across my one true foe! "With white robes flowing in the breeze, your archrival rides toward you..." Oh, I was so looking forward to it!
Um... Sorry to disappoint you. I'm pretty sure that it's not me.
Aw, it's not your fault, Rhys. I was just prepped for a big fight with my archrival, and then you came walking by... Thought maybe it was you, you know?
Um... I can just stand here and hold the sword if you want to hit it a few times.
Nah, forget it. I don't want you to get hurt. I'll give up for today... Shucks.
Gee, do you think Mia has a bit of an obsession?
Alright, let's get outta here.
After his father's death places the mantle of leadership on his young shoulders, Ike agrees to continue as Elincia's escort.
The company heads to the Bengion Empire, the oldest and largest nation on the continent of Tellius. As Crimea is a former fiefdom of Begnion, the princess turns to them for succor, much as a scared child returns to a parent. Many in Tellius believe that without Begnion's might and influence, Crimea's reconstruction will be nigh impossible.
However, Begnion and Gallia have no diplomatic ties and are further separated by an impassable mountain range. So the company is forced to return to Crimea, where they hope to locate a ship to carry them to Begnion.
Accompanied by Ranulf the warrior who has volunteered to guide them, the company leaves Castle Gallia behind. With heavy hearts and wounded spirits, they begin the long march back to Crimea.
You know, I was thinking... Since this castle is on the way, we should probably stop by.
Um... really? Why? Is there something special about this place?
Why yes! There is! This is Canteus Castle! Daein seized it early on in the war Now, it serves as a camp for prisoners. I've even heard there are a number of Crimean retainers being held captive in the dungeon beneath the castle.
Princess, I'm hurt! Of course my information is reliable.
Yes, it would. I think it's worth the risk.
Stealth! Subtlety! Horses indoors!
The cells are certain to be locked, so in order to open them--
Logic would dictate that the keys will be in the possession of the jailer. We've no choice but to steal them. If we're lucky, the guards will have keys as well... In either case, we must move with caution. We don't want to trade blows with the entire castle garrison.
Which means we stay close to the walls and avoid being seen or heard, right? All right, then. Our first priority is to get our hands on the cell keys...
Hey! You there!
You're sorely lacking in social etiquette, aren't you? State your business.
I'll speak with Sir Greil and Sir Greil alone. Now take me to him.
Well. That is a problem.
Just who are you, anyway?
Call me Volke. Sir Greil hired me. I'm in... intelligence.
My father hired you?
You are Sir Greil's son, correct? You'll do. Sir Greil hired me to investigate something. You pay my price, and I'll give you my report. Deal?
That's a bit steep.
And worth every penny.
I don't have that much... Give me some time.
So, you're willing to pay?
My father hired you. He must have had a good reason.
Are you sure, Commander? We have no way of knowing if he's telling the truth.
We'll know when we see the contents of that report. Until then, let's have him travel with us.
So that's your plan, eh? Listen, you get the report when I get paid, and I'm not waiting around until then. I'll keep my information for the time being. Call me when you've got the gold. Stop into any tavern along your way. Tell the barkeep you've need of a fireman. You'll see me within an hour.
Come out with it. What are you asking?
Locks. Can you open locks?
Sure. Fifty gold per lock.
You're going to have him open the cell doors?
Is that wise? We've only just met him. There's no telling if we can trust him.
Okay, Voting T - ahahah, oh god, I shouldn't even joke about things like this.
If you ask for advice, you get the following predictable viewpoints:
What do the two of you think?
Under the circumstances, I think trusting a man about whom we know nothing is dangerous. I am opposed to this.
If we want to get those cells open, I think risk is going to be inevitable. If we don't have to steal keys, we can reduce that risk and improve our chances of rescuing the prisoners. It's worth a shot.
But of course we're going to hire him.
Volke, will you help us break into these cells?
As long as I get paid, I've got no complaint.
I told you before, didn't I? You're the commander. If you decide on a course of action, I will but follow.
What? Wait! You're not going to help us here?
Much as I would like to, I have a job to do. I will rejoin you when I'm finished.
Hmm... I see. Well, good luck to you then.
Yes, and to you as well!
Now it's Voting Time. Here's how this works.
Since our army is getting so large, we can't keep taking everyone on every mission. Consequently, an increasingly large portion of the team is going to be sitting out.
For each mission, there will be a set number of places. I will force pick a few of these (and the game will sometimes force us to take certain units) and the rest will be up for voting on. I'll say how many spaces are up for voting, you vote for that many units, and the most popular units get in the team. Simple!
For now, you may vote for anyone, and I won't complain, although as we go on I may start deciding that certain units are permanently out of the running. We'll cross that bridge when it arises.
If you wish, you may leave one or more or even all of your votes to me (please indicate if you're doing this!). Votes left to me will be distributed however I please. If you leave me multiple votes, I will cast them for multiple characters (IE, if one person leaves me two votes, I will not compound them into two votes for one unit).
This mission - and this mission only - has a special option which might override the usual voting process. You see, this mission has a Stealth Option, which obviously doesn't have very much combat and therefore would suit a smaller team better. Yes, a Stealth Mission. In a Fire Emblem game. Deal with it.
If you think we should take the Combat Option, then just vote like you normally would. Our team will be Ike, Soren, Mia, Volke, Mist, and four units of your choice.
If you think we should take the Stealth Option, then vote specifically for that. Our Stealth Team will be Ike, Volke, Oscar, Titania, Marcia, and one other unit of your choice. This team will still have to do some fighting, by the way.
The voting will be open for precicely 48 hours (give or take a bit).
And don't forget I still need a name for that Thunder tome. Weapon names must be 12 characters or less.