Part 17: Chapter 11 - Mission
That's +3 Mt and +10 Hit on a regular Iron Lance, and a little under 5x the price! Bargain.
It shall be wielded proudly (by Nephenee).
Speaking of, Nephenee gets a pretty decent level here. Her defences are going to be something of a sticking point in the coming chapters; whether or not she turns into a God Unit is going to depend largely on how her defence turns out in her first few levels.
Alright. We've seen a new and unique kind of Fire Emblem Bullshit last mission; now it's back to regular Fire Emblem Bullshit.
Sweep the entire town! Arrest anyone suspicious!
General Mackoya! Sir, there's a group of vigilantes who want to help us. What shall I tell them?
Hmm... Very well. Let them do as they please.
Pardon me, are you the commander of these forces?
Hmm...? Have we seen this guy before somewhere?
I stopped by to accomplish some brief piece of business, but... Your soldiers are now preventing me from setting sail. I need to leave this place.
I apologize for the inconvenience. However, we are trying to stop some Crimean soldiers from escaping. To that end we need the cooperation of all citizens... ship captains included.
My ship is a simple merchant vessel, sailing under the flag of the Begnion Empire. If I present such documentation, surely it will prove I have no ties whatsoever with Crimea.
Under Daein rule, such... Begnion papers are nothing more than fishwrap.
You called yourself, Nasir, correct? Protest too loudly, Nasir, and we may think you a Crimean sympathizer.
Hey, what the fuck. He just ran through an enemy unit!
Strengthen the watch on this ship. That man is up to something... I can feel it... No matter what happens, that ship must not be allowed to set sail. Burn her and sink her first!
Special guest? Oh, I don't like where th-
Oh! Sir Black Knight! I hope I didn't keep you waiting.
No, I just arrived. Let us proceed... I would hear your report.
There are no problems whatsoever. I've nothing to report, save the tedium of it all. The farther west we travel, the weaker the Crimean fighting spirit becomes. Each town displays less and less resistance--now they literally throw wide the gates at first sign of our approach! With duty as humdrum as this, I worry that my troops may become sloppy and lose their edge.
As a fellow warrior, I can sympathize with your plight.
I thank you for your understanding.
This town was not scheduled for subjugation until much later... Tell me, why are you here now?
Yes, as to that... Mere days ago, a castle that held Crimean prisoners of war was attacked and the captives freed. The perpetrators were Crimean soldiers accompanied by sub-humans. According to our intelligence reports, their trail led here...
The princess of Crimea is said to have fled to Gallia. If we can capture this band, we may gain information on her location.
Do you require my assistance?
I thank you for the generous offer. However, if you were to enter the fray, it would be over in a twinkling. My men are starved for combat. I would beg your restraint so that they may be allowed some... entertainment.
Your graciousness is greatly appreciated.
As for me... I think I'll play a little game of cat and mouse with these Daein fools.
The Gallian sub-human! After him! Don't let him get away!
Man, why can everyone except us move through enemies?
Well, at least that's three less guys for us to deal with.
Everyone, move out for the harbor! Try to avoid conflict with the local vigilante group if you can. Let's go!
So, then, to business! The business at hand being, fuck this map. Or, at least, fuck the first few turns of this map. The first few turns are, quite frankly, a lot of bullshit. As you can see, we've got a good few enemies to be dealing with, and also some houses.
One house is to the northeast, and it's guarded only by a few extremely low level Vigilantes, one myrmidon and a cavalier - as well as one of those suspicious Non-Regulation-Enemies. I think we all know where this is going. However, this really only serves to distract you...
...from these two houses. Oh, lord.
There are two thieves standing near these two houses. They are positioned such that they will reach the houses on turn 2. You might think that, seeing as they are thieves and not bandits, that they might be inclined to, y'know, steal the contents and run away rather than burning them to the ground, but no. They burn them.
So, all you need to do is rush the houses, right? Well, not really. For starters, the starting positions are such that you'll need several units to cover each house, because there are also a lot of regular enemies with the thieves, and they like to rush you such that you can't actually block the thief. On top of that, the enemies in the starting position and the vigilantes to the north thereof basically require you to split up your team so someone is in the back covering the mages and Rolf.
So, yeah, we're gonna have our work cut out.
Soren starts us out by killing one of the nearby Soldiers with Beyond.
Ike does for another. Note that Ike is already strong enough to wield Iron Blades without a penalty.
Oscar quickly skewers a third and hangs back to help Ike form a wall so our mages can move forward.
Meanwhile, Nephenee's up!
Nephenee is the first ever playable Soldier in the entire Fire Emblem series. Soldiers - up until now an exclusively enemy class - are lance users with generally balanced stats. The idea is that they have no specialties but are good enough at everything as not to be bad at anything. This of course makes it hard to guess how they're going to turn out, but Nephenee has, if testimony is to be believed, quite a good chance of turning out well.
Nephenee also has the Wrath skill equipped. Wrath is pretty good, although it'll take a bit for Nephenee to be able to effectively use it. Wrath will increase your Crit by fifty (!) when you are at 50% HP or lower. Wrath is one of those weird skills that never seems to be ideal; obviously, to deliberately use it, you need to get to low health, but Nephenee will, depending on turnout, either be not getting hit or not sufficiently hardy enough to be able to survive on that low health for very long. In particular, if she's not got good defence, the last thing you want to be doing is having her crit and kill everything, because it leaves her open to followup attacks. Anyway, Neph can be great, she'll probably be good, but for now we need to keep an eye on her.
There are five of these Vigilantes on the map, and you get 50 BEXP for every one of them still alive at the end. However, this is kind of a pain. They're extremely low level (Lv 1-2), but will still charge any of your guys they get near. And you have to go near them if you want to get the stuff from the houses. Plus, it's not like these guys are really that sympathetic anyway...
In any case, they don't deserve Gandhichan, so we'll just stick 'em with a regular Iron Lance instead.
Next up, here's Brom.
Brom's a replacement for Gatrie - so, in other words, he's a large armoured distraction. Fine by me! While he's strong enough to effortlessly wield most weapons, his speed isn't really up to much, so it's a good thing he's got all that defence because enemies are probably going to start doubling him soon. He has no Skills.
Brom effortlessly murders a Vigilante.
Rolf helps Nephenee clean up.
Marcia chips in, too!
We've got one more new guy;
This is Kieran - Red Cavalier, Excitable Idiot. Kieran is a counterpoint to Oscar, having generally balanced stats but with a bias towards Strength and Defence. His hobbies include axing people in the face and perceiving Serious Rivalries where none exist.
He comes equipped with the Gamble skill - our first Command skill. Gamble allows Kieran to attack an enemy with double the Crit chance at the cost of half the Hit chance. Crucial point - both the halving and the doubling are done to the battle numbers, not to Kieran's actual Hit and Crit. Thus, accuracy is capped at 50%, and Crit is almost never high enough to be worth it. Thus, Gamble is generally pretty useless.
Kieran doesn't really do anything this turn, except move along with the rest of the guys.
Now, you may have noticed a slight problem with my strategy; namely, that no one seems to be covering the middle house. Good! You're starting to appreciate the madness of this mission's first few turns!
Oh yeah, no mistake about it. And they'll as soon kill you as look at you!
Where are they?
They're over there... Cunning beast! We're just about to start flushing them out of hiding.
I see. If you find one, be sure to give me a call.
Somewhat annoyingly, the enemy Cavalier in the south decides to poke Marcia.
Somewhat bemusingly, the Cavalier in the starting corner passes on Soren and goes for Ike.
As you wish! Note that Ike is strong enough to wield Iron Blades penalty-free.
Oh, you fucker. Well, it's not the biggest problem we can have here.
He does give Ike this simple but effective level, though.
Now, this is our crazy plan paying off. Because we sent all our guys south, the AI responds in kind. This is great! There's no diverting the two Thieves, of course, but trust me - if even two or three enemy units crowd up the center path, they have a good chance of preventing you from being able to get to the Thief or to the house.
When our turn comes again, Marcia picks up some heals from Mist...
And flies up to engage the first Thief. This, incidentally, is why you want to hang on to the Slim Lance - it gives Marcia a reasonable chance of actually hitting the motherfucker.
She then moves a square north.
This was a holdover from the last time I tried this plan and had to reset; this thief was able to move past her and get to the house. In this case, however, he's too far away to have done that, but still. Paranoia. Never hurts in Fire Emblem.
Oscar takes care of the guy Ike missed earlier, and then prepares to set out North with Mordecai.
Soren gets a wonderfully timed Adept on this guy.
Kieran and Brom are going to hold the South against the mass of enemies down here. They're going to have their work cut out for them.
We're now clear of the bullshit part and into the mostly bullshit part.
The two mages up here are a big part of the reason why blocking the middle house is such bullshit. The two of them are enough to kill or seriously threaten either Oscar or Kieran, so it's a tall order for them to guard the house. And Marcia (our only high-Resistance fighter) is only just Resistant enough to survive them - even one extra physical enemy would kill her.
Down south, the rush begins.
This, right here, is probably the reason I didn't have to reset this run.
There are a lot of Cavaliers down here, you see, as well as a few Knights, and they all like to rush one unit - Brom, in this case.
It's a bit scary.
In lighter news, the Vigilantes have finally noticed Mordecai.
It's debatable if he noticed them, however.
Another goes for Oscar.
This is the last of the guys attacking Brom, and thank fuck for that dodge earlier, right?
Well, might as well be thorough, right?
Marcia goes dicing with death again. Remember, Pegasus Knights are vulnerable to Wind Magic.
Mia goes to stop this thief from sneaking by us.
Meanwhile, Volke gets his first chance for some actual combat! Thieves are quite fast but have very weak weapons, so Mages are one good target - although you have to watch out for magic counters. Archers are a safer bet.
Our southern contingent does what it can.
Brom gets healed.
And we brace for impact.
There's an enemy priest hiding in the back here. He can be a tad annoying.
There's an enemy Bow Knight up by the top house. He manages to actually damage Mordecai.
Vigilante, less so.
And now, Mr Unconformity wants a chat.
You are a vigilante. We must avoid vigilantes. You should flee.
You would speak so to the vigilante group that's hunting you? You're a kind laguz, aren't you?
Hm? My words are not good. You must go quickly.
No, you are the one who should flee. Leave the rest to me. I'll confuse the townsfolk and give you time to run.
I don't want to see any laguz harmed, so I joined these vigilantes as a double agent.
Hmm...? I am confused. But... you do not smell like an enemy. Our group must get on that ship. We are taking it to Begnion.
Will you not desist? It's much too dangerous. The vigilantes and the Daeins desire nothing more than to kill laguz!
Even so, we will go.
I see... If that's your stance, then I've no choice.
I told you, they're not my friends. I am an ally to the laguz. What? You need proof? There!
Why do you drop your blade? That bright metal tool is your only fang.
I want you to believe me.... Please. You must believe me.
... I believe you. I am Mordecai, warrior of Gallia. Who are you?
I am Zihark. Well met, Mordecai! Whoops! I don't think we have time for formal introductions. Let's hurry!
And he joins our team! That's just great.
Since the square in front of Brom is occupied by a Knight, the Cavaliers down south all come after Kieran now. Fortunately, he's got the Triangle Advantage on them, and so stands a better chance of survival.
Also, he kills one or two of them, seeing as they've been pre-injured by Brom.
He's even able to damage the Knight!
Its our turn again, and Mordecai's pissed.
This is our new recruit. Zihark is like Mia, only not. His growths are a little different to hers - but for the most part they're quite evenly matched. Zihark also comes equipped with a Killing Edge - a sword that's a tad more powerful than Iron but more famous for the +30 boost to Crit that it provides.
The other thing Zihark has going for him is his Adept skill - the same skill that Soren has, but with a higher chance of activating due to Zihark's higher skill stat. Oh, and the fact that he has the Earth Affinity, meaning his avoid is going to go through the fucking roof once his supports get going. Fun!
By the way, he gets a slightly different, and somewhat more amusing dialogue with Lethe:
Grrr! Flee. You're Crimean... I cannot fight you.
Hold on! Please!... I am not an enemy to laguz.
L-laguz...? How do you--
I joined this vigilante group because I knew it would afford me a chance to help you flee. Listen, I'll distract the townspeople. While they're worried about me you can make good your escape.
I cannot trust the word of a human.
... I see. Well, if I cut down these vigilantes, will you believe me?
One? Two? All of them? How many do you want? Just give the word and I'll start the cutting!
Hsss! Quiet! Why? Why would you...
I want to help you.... That's all.
... I see... You're not an enemy. That much I'll believe...
Thank you. Now, you must hurry away from this place.
No, I cannot flee. I have fr-friends with whom I must board a ship.
Will you not desist? It's much too dangerous. The vigilantes and Daeins want nothing more than to kill laguz!
I'm not leaving.
I see... If that's your stance, then I've no choice.
I will join your group.
Don't... Don't be ridiculous!
What's your name?
I am Lethe, but--
That's a good name.
That's beside the point! You--
I am Zihark. Well met, Lethe! Whoops! I don't think we have time for formal introductions. Let's hurry!
H-hold it! I have not agreed to this!
We don't want to waste that Killing Edge on these idiots, though, so he reverts to his vanilla Steel Sword.
Transformed laguz are large.
Oscar finishes the job.
Soren and Kieran clean up some more guys, and Nephenee finally breaks out Gandhichan against a Cavalier. Note that I've done the numbers and determined that she can survive both a counter from this guy and an attack from the remaining Knight, should it come to that.
Mia deals with the lingering Mage...
While Volke gets to ply his advertised trade for the first time.
Yoink! Now this priest is completely useless.
Let's actually visit these houses we've been so intent on guarding:
We've heard so many rumors about Crimea's defeat... That's why everyone in town acts like they do. No one has the courage to stand up to these fierce Daein forces. Everyone believes that if they just cooperate, life here will go on as it always has. Please, take this magic scroll. It was my brother's... He was murdered by the Daein army. Fight for him, too.
She gives us an Elwind tome, which I guess will have to go to Soren, since Ilyana can't use it yet.
Go on, get moving. I'll pretend I didn't see anything. Don't worry, just go! Wait a second... Here. Take this with you.
This one gives us a Dracoshield, which will give someone a permanent +2 Defence.
Just as a note, if you send Mordecai or Lethe to the houses, their inhabitants will freak the fuck out, although you'll still get your items.
Well, that's the worst of this mission's bullshit dealt with. There's one more thing, but we're already clear of it, so that's fine.
Oh, boy, this guy's really going to regret t-
Oh, c'mon, Nephenee, you just have to dodge the one time I'm banking on you being hit, don't you?
The one remaining soldier up in this corner, a Myrmidon, picks on Zihark.
A few of the boss's goons decide to try and intercept us.
Meanwhile, something interesting happens!
Now this is my kind of commander.
Even if we don't lift a finger, Mackoya's pups will take care of everything.
Battle glory awaits! Would you allow others to steal this chance from beneath your very nose?
Yawn. Go entertain yourself, will you? Fight a soldier or lance a peasant or... what you will. But for the love of flying, stop interrupting my sleep!
Yes? Have you changed your mind?
You'll wait here with the rest of us. We don't move unless we're attacked. That's the word from the top.
And here's this missions "last" dick move - having Jill suddenly appear in the starting area. She's only a moderate threat, but that's not the point. The point is, as any Fire Emblem Savvy Player will have immediately deduced upon noticing a named, enthusiastic, battle-seeking Wyvern Rider, that Jill is recruitable - but not now. She has to survive this mission to be recruited later, but once she attacks you there's no way not to kill her. So you'd better stay the hell out of her way.
Soren and Nephenee clean up in the south, and Nephenee gets healed. We prepare to move on.
Oscar softens up a target...
Hmm... again, full disclosure here, I saved a state at this point.
Continuing said disclosure, I reloaded it at this point and had Mordecai take the guy down singlehanded instead, leaving Zihark free to not get killed and Oscar free to visit the house.
We must close the front gate! Thanks for your help! Oh, I almost forgot! Please. take this as a token of thanks. Go on, take it!
This observant gentleman gives us a Killer Lance, which is a lot like a Killing Edge only it's a lance.
Mia and Marcia form up to defend against the two Cavaliers charging us, while Rhys and Volke cower behind them.
Said Cavaliers ignore the lot of them and go for Kieran instead.
I am irritated now.
Nephenee comes up to help, and...
...doesn't get any Defence. Fuck.
Volke passes the time by knifing a Priest. Note that the Priest is still shown holding a Staff, even though he has none.
Kieran, Ike, Mia and Marcia clean up.
Meanwhile, Oscar softens the last guy in his path...
Lucky this time?
Home stretch now!
Mordecai moves in to draw the boss out and everyone else moves in to cover him. The thing about the boss, you see, is that he has both an Iron Bow and a Laguzslayer, although Mordecai has borrowed Lethe's Beorcguard accessory for this mission so he'll be fine.
If, by "odd garb", you mean "fact that you are presently a tiger", then, sure, I guess.
You should not have left the forest. You cannot survive in human settlements.
Spoiler: Mordecai survives.
Mordecai also succeeds in drawing out some of Mackoya's friends.
They don't survive.
Oscar disposes of the one buddy that does survive.
I'm really annoyed now.
I don't like this plan, but I don't want this priest to be alive for the next enemy phase. The reason I don't like this plan is because Marcia can't get out of Mackoya's range after killing the priest.
(the extremely obvious alternative strategy that's already occurred to you didn't occur to me until after committing to this move. Derp.)
You are the ones who freed the prisoners from our castle, were you not?
And if we were?
Hmm... It appears my assessment was slightly inaccurate. I believed it to be the work of Crimean soldiers who had briefly regained their morale.
Sorry to disappoint you. We're nothing but a simple company of mercenaries.
Ha! Would you, by chance... Would you be the same mercenaries giving succor to Princess Elincia?
Enough talk. Move or die.
The combined efforts of Mordecai and Ike aren't quite enough to kill him this round.
Oh well. Only way I'll ever learn, I guess.
Well, we don't really have time to worry about him, because...
...Marcia's gotta worry about the boss with the Bow.
It appears that we have underestimated the courage of our foe.
Admittedly, this wasn't quite as dangerous as it looks, because this guy had a pretty low chance of hitting, but this is Fire Emblem - if it's nonzero, it's too risky if there's a death on the line.
Oh, for the love of - you guys just had to invoke the name of gandhichan, didn't you? Oh well. At least she's getting a lot of speed. That could keep her viable yet.
Oh, boy. In Hard Mode, this map has one last asshole manoeuvre to make; the Black Knight moves.
You do not want to get in his way. Holy fucking shit. This guys mechanical presence is every bit in line with what the plot has been telling us about him.
If we were phenomenally dumb, we would be able to see this dialogue:
We meet again, son of Greil.
Why do you challenge me? You are not worthy of being my foe. Flee while you are able.
You! Die! Die now! Aaaaaaaarrrr!
If we were also phenomenally lucky (impossible with our stats, by the way), we might go on to see:
...Oh? You avoided my blow. Will you be so lucky next time?
Although it is altogether more likely that we would go on to see:
Gwa, aah... ... I... I was not... strong... enough...
Did you truly think to challenge me with this pathetic band? It appears you never learned to exercise discretion... No matter... you would not have survived regardless.
However, being, as we are, not complete idiots, we instead run the fuck away.
Mackoya's being annoying again, and has run onto the ramp behind the Knight guarding the Objective square. The game's mechanics are such that we cannot melee him from the side of the ramp (although, curiously, you can use ranged weapons from said squares as well as from the usual two squares away), so we have to go through the Knight.
Kieran clears the way for us.
Oh, fucking hell.
You know what? I could have just had Oscar move off the square and send Mordecai to Arrive there, ending the mission, but I'm beginning to get annoyed now, and when I get annoyed, I get really, irrationally, angry.
So we weather another turn with Ike (taking advantage of his Support with Oscar)...
We take a potshot with Oscar, and then, just to cement how much I want to destroy this fucker, we send in...
So we were the ones guilty of miscalculation... How shameful... Your Excellency... The rest is... up to you......
You know what? It's Strength, Speed and +3 Avoid. I'll take it. He also drops another Master Seal.
Let's get the hell outta here.
One of Gallia's beast warriors... I've met you once before. Yes... at the castle near the sea of trees.
From where I'm standing, we've actually met twice.
I saw you that night... Standing in the light of the full moon. The night you murdered Sir Greil.
Ha ha! So you were the one traveling with the beast king, eh? Interesting. By measuring his aide's strength, I will naturally learn more of the king's true power.
Hate to tell you this, but my king is not to be measured against the likes of me. He is far beyond that.
All the better. Now then, let us begin.
The "no damage" tink! has never sounded so depressing.
You fight impressively. However, you are no match for me.
You... you were one of the prisoners...
This knight will not raise his hand to me.... Correct?
Go now, quickly!
If you insist! I'll give proper thanks when next we meet.
There wasn't really an appropriate place to put it, but Jill has a fair bit of somewhat interesting battle dialogue with Mordecai and Lethe which you'll probably never see. Here it is:
Oh! You are... such a young beorc. I have no wish to fight you. Go, little beorc.
You... you ugly sub-human scum! How dare you befoul the human tongue! You're just half-breed filth!
What? Grr... grrr... Grrrraaaaoooooowwwww!
And, when she dies:
Ur... rrgh... Done in... by a sub-human...
... Grr... rrr.. I am... sorry...
Why... do you apologize... You're... sub-human... You're my... enemy... Father...
A-hah! Cursed sub-human! How many true humans have you slain with those devilish fangs? As a Daein wyvern rider, it is my duty to purge this world of your monsterous evil!
If you are of Daein stock, I need not restrain myself!
Ur... rrgh... Done in... by a sub-human...
Sympathy... I feel... no... sympathy...
Seriously, it's like everyone except Ike gets to say this.
Anyway, we didn't kill Jill, so...
They're friends of the sub-humans! We cannot allow them to escape!
Uwaaaaaahhh... That was a good nap. Well, looks like the fighting's over. Form up.It's time to withdraw.
Listen to me, Jill. We're scheduled to return home tomorrow. If you were injured in a place like this, your lord father would not be pleased.
It's because of my father that I must not return home empty-handed. I must have something to show him! Please--
Simmer down, girl. The Black Knight has ordered us to withdraw. Would you ignore his word?
If we'd let Mackoya live, it'd be him giving this report. Instead, it's this guy. We'll be seeing him later.
I will not allow you to pursue that ship.
Who are you supposed to be, fool? You've no idea who you're speaking to, do you?
Gather your men.... Withdraw.
I will not repeat myself. Do it now.
Yes... yes, at once!
You say that a green-haired lass boarded that ship?
Y-yes! She had a very noble bearing about her... And she was beautiful.
Her name was... Ellie? Ellen? They called her something like that.
It's true! Princess Elincia... Ha ha! My luck has changed.
All of us, all the townsfolk, are ready to cooperate in any way we can! If you would keep that in mind... Um...
Believe me, I understand your... loyalty.
You there! Come here!
Get these two worms out of here. Find the hardest physical labor in this town and get these fools started. Work 'em from dusk to dawn without stopping. Work 'em until they can no longer move! You got that!
Yes, sir! Understood, sir!
Why? Why would you...
Stop your whining. How else am I to reward worms vile enough to sell their own princess to the enemy? Enjoy your payment, you greedy dastards! Ha ha ha ha ha ha!
Our own... princess? That's not... It can't be. It can't!
I'm sorry to have worried you.
Oh, no, I'm just happy to see you well. So very... happy.
This little scene ends abruptly, right here... unless you had the reckless stupidity to send Ike to attack the Black Knight and the impossible luck to survive:
Brother, you stupid fool! Fighting a knight as strong as that... You idiot! I was... so scared...
I'm sorry, Mist.
You really were frightened... I'm sorry, I truly am.
... All right...
Master Giffca! Owwwww!
The king told me to come and check on you. Don't move... Hm, you're plenty banged up, but nothing appears to be broken.
There's one among the Daein army whose power is overwhelming. To move with such speed with all that armor... I tell you, it's not right! And now, the king's forced to use you, his shadow warrior, to check up on me... Our ministers are as obstinate as ever. No matter what happens, they will not approve of an alliance with the beorc.
Nothing to be done about that. Every one of the older retainers has memories of laguz subordination. Even the king. If Princess Elincia were not King Ramon's orphan, I doubt he would be willing to aid her.
Perhaps you're right... At any rate, the princess and the others are now safely at sea.
And the watchdog? No signs of carelessness, I presume.
Of course not.Even the elders will bend their ears to hear what that one says--that one is "special," after all.
And how do you see this? Princess Elincia's drive for the reconstruction of Crimea. Does she have a chance?
Eh, who can say?
So this company, which has done nothing but flee, controls the fate of the kingdom? That's a dangerous gamble, isn't it?
All gambles are dangerous, Master Giffca. But no mistake about it, Daein's next target is Gallia. We must go home and prepare!
The hindrance that was Gawain is dead. The location of the medallion... will soon be known. Has our "worm" worked itself into the group?
Heh heh heh. All is going as planned. Now, we let them swim as they please.
... There is one thing. I met someone unexpected at the harbor.
The prime minister of the Begnion Empire...
What?!... Is that true? If he is nosing about, we must not make any mistakes. Did he give any indication he had caught on to our plans?
That... I do not know. He did tell me to deliver a message to you... "Overreaching ambition invites disaster."
Pah. Nonsense. Our only concern is the princess of Crimea and the medallion. We must wait and watch until such time as we can strike.
Be smart. You must not allow Gallia to bring their full might to bear. Understood?
... As you will.
We were three turns beyond the limit, because I just had to be spiteful, didn't I? Eh, it was worth it.
Incidentally, it bears mentioning that in Normal mode, you start seeing the "Clear Bonus" around this point (I believe it actually begins with the last chapter), which is just some BEXP that you get simply for clearing the mission. It is passed over in Hard Mode, sadly.
Lv 12 Axe Knight
HP: 30 (60%) Spd: 12 (40%)
Str: 11 (50%) Lck: 8 (25%)
Mag: 1 (15%) Def: 10 (40%)
Skl: 10 (50%) Res: 1 (30%)
Move: 8 Con: 10 Wt: 33
Equip: Axes (C)
What is there to say about Kieran, really? He's the Red Goddamn Cavalier. He rides up, he axes people, he optionally rides away. As long as his Speed growth doesn't suddenly fail him, he'll be just fine. His Gamble skill isn't really much use for anything unless you find him a Killer Axe or something, but even then...
Lv 8 Knight
HP: 28 (75%) Spd: 7 (25%)
Str: 10 (45%) Lck: 4 (20%)
Mag: 1 (10%) Def: 13 (55%)
Skl: 9 (50%) Res: 2 (25%)
Move: 5 Con: 13 Wt: 17
Equip: Lances (D)
There's even less to say about Brom. Brom is all about being hit several times and not taking much damage, and maybe occasionally dishing some right back. With that Speed, he won't exactly be spearheading your offensives, but he sure as fuck can stop the enemy's. Unless they've got mages. Still though...
Lv 7 Soldier
HP: 22 (55%) Spd: 11 (55%)
Str: 8 (40%) Lck: 6 (25%)
Mag: 2 (20%) Def: 9 (35%)
Skl: 10 (55%) Res: 3 (25%)
Move: 6 Con: 8 Wt: 10
Equip: Lances (E)
Nephenee is not, shall we say, plug and play. It takes a bit of effort to make her good, but by God, can she get good. Her immediate and only major obstacle is her Defence - it's OK, but it's not great, and its got a not-the-world's-greatest growth. But she's got quite acceptable Strength, great Speed and Skill, and a pretty great, er, Skill to go along with it.
If you can get a Nephenee with somewhat above average defence and a nice cache of HP (and we do have a Seraphic Robe kicking around...), Wrath will quickly become your favourite skill. It sure as hell will ruin the day of anyone who brings her to half health (unless they're a Knight or something), but it carries the risk of clearing the space in front of Nephenee and thus opening her up to further attack. Whether or not we can turn her Wrath into a boon or a liability is something we're just going to have to find out for ourselves.
Lv 10 Myrmidon
HP: 25 (55%) Spd: 15 (60%)
Str: 10 (45%) Lck: 6 (40%)
Mag: 1 (15%) Def: 7 (30%)
Skl: 13 (50%) Res: 0 (20%)
Move: 6 Con: 10 Wt: 10
Equip: Swords (C)
Zihark is pretty evenly matched with Mia. In fact, by the raw numbers, he's a bit better, with growths marginally ahead in Strength, Speed and Defence, and marginally behind in Magic, Resistance and Luck. I know, difficult trade-off, right? But seriously, though, the difference is slight enough that you can consider them even on the whole.
Where Zihark really shines, though, is his secondary stuff. He's got the Adept Skill - and enough provision of the Skill Stat to make good use of it - and he's got the Earth Affinity, so he'll both give and receive +5 Avoid with each support rank he gains. Useful!
Next Time: I'm on a - no, bad, bad-