Part 18: Chapter 12 - Preamble
Having narrowly escaped Daein's grasp, the Greil Mercenaries are pleased to feel the ocean beneath their feet as they set sail.
According to Captain Nasir, the voyage to Begnion will take roughly two months.
Blessed with temperate weather the ship's journey southward is smooth and steady. As it passes the midpoint of its trip, the ship sets a course along the coastline and begins to head east.
These seas belong to Phoenicis and Kilvas, the kingdoms of the bird tribes.
Both nations prey on human vessels for supplies and wealth, and their flying corsairs are feared across the seas.
Additionally, the southern portion of the continent contains the realm of the dragon tribe: the monarchy of Goldoa.
This country remained isolated since its founding centuries past, preserving its closed culture behind a veil of mystery.
It is these laguz-controlled waters that Ike and company must now cross.
What's bothering you? You've been moping around ever since we came aboard.
I'm... just a little seasick.
Seasick? You're such a bad liar. You never even get regular sick. You're not the type to get seasick!
Really, it's nothing.
Come on, talk to me. You've been doing so much lately. I just want the chance to help you for a change.
When everyone discovered Ranulf was a laguz, all those people--they changed, just like that. Up until that instant, they'd seemed like such kind and decent people. I just... I had no idea beorc prejudice against the laguz was so strong. Why do they hate them so much? How are we so different, Ranulf and I?
I have to say, at first, I was scared, too. When I saw how they could change... They can do things that we hu--I mean, we beorc can't do. They're not like us...
Mist, you can't honestly feel...
It's different now! Everyone's so very nice. But, you know, that's because of all the time we've spent together. I've seen how they are; I've gotten to know them. That's why I've changed. I'm not scared or nervous around them, but other people don't get that chance. I think that's why they're frightened.
Maybe you're right... Maybe people like me are the odd ones, the people who accept others as they are.
I wish more people were like that. I mean, no one really wants to fight, do they? Doesn't everyone WANT peace? I guess it's just hard to put all of those fears behind us.
You're right. It is very hard.
How do you find sailing? Have you gotten sick at all?
We're fine. But answer a question for me, would you? Why are you here? Why do you associate with the laguz?
What? No, you're not a laguz! I don't see any tail or anything!
Because I've chosen to live among beorc, I've taken certain steps to make sure I'm not recognized. I've had to change my attire, my feeding habits... I've done many things.
Why would you do that?
Laguz cannot survive in isolation, nor can beorc. If both races are to thrive, they must learn to coexist. I have spent many years searching for a way to make this happen.
You think that laguz and beorc can live together? After everything you must have seen? I'm impressed.
Ike, you will never truly understand a matter unless you look at it from each party's perspective.
... Whatever happened in the past does not justify what we do to the laguz now.
That is the thinking of an honest man. Keep things simple and pure. I like that. Still, the strength of your conviction comes from your youth and your innocence. Trust me: it will be tested. When your journey is over, how will you be changed? I pray your conviction is not lost to despair.
Talking to you is hard work.
Someday, you'll understand. For now, my role is simply to deliver you safely to Begnion. Ranulf has paid me quite handsomely with money from the king of Gallia himself, and I will not let him down.
We're out of our element here at sea, so you're all we have to depend on. Thank you for your help.
I will do what I am able.
Oscar? Again? Goddamnit, those Vigilantes really shouldn't be counted as equal to the other guys.
Lots of talking to do today!
What's going on?
Nasir, who is this?
A stowaway. I gather he boarded the ship at Toha.
What are you doing here? Why did you sneak aboard the ship?
You won't talk? In that case...
Ike, there's no need to be so rough!
I'm not going to waste my time playing games with this urchin. You want me to let you go? Open your mouth and start talking.
Owowow! Quit it! I'll talk!! ...That hurt! I thought you were gonna break my face...
Well? What's your name? What are you doing here?
I'm... I'm a thief, but... I didn't come onboard this ship to steal anything.
Stop scowling at me like that! You're making me uncomfortable.
It's not just you. Ike always looks like that. Don't mind him; just keep talking.
I'm... looking for someone. I heard this ship was sailing for Begnion, so I decided to climb aboard.
This person you're after is in Begnion?
I don't know. The trail went cold in Toha, and... I couldn't think of anywhere else to go from there.
Is it family?
The person you're looking for.
Yeah. I mean, we're not related by blood or anything, but... we're definitely family.
I'm trying to think of an example of a time in a Fire Emblem game where a choice like this came up and there was a point to turning it down.
Nasir, my mercenary company will look after this boy. He won't be a burden to you or your crew.
If that's what you want to do, it's fine with me.
Are you sure?
You're going to be put to work. I hope you're prepared.
Sure, no problem! I'll... I'll do whatever you need!
And we've got ourselves another Thief! And this one won't charge us to use him! How lovely. We'll get right on to talking about Sothe when we're done with everyone else who wants to chat.
Gah! Where've you been? You disappeared the moment we got on this ship!
Don't worry about it. I'll be there when you need me.
It's not me; it's my sister. You've never once shown up for a meal, and she thinks you're dying of hunger.
Did we ever eat together while we were on land?
I don't want Mist roaming the ship with a plate of food anymore. So please, eat one meal a day with us.
You're going to charge me? To make you eat? And that's more than you charge to pick a lock! Why?
I don't like large groups. Bye. Call me if you decide it's worth it.
You and I haven't had very many opportunities to talk, and I--
You don't think you can trust me?
No, it's not that. I'm just curious-- I was surprised to see anyone in Toha who chose to fight on the side of the laguz.
I'm not from Crimea, but when I heard she had joined with Gallia, I envisioned my perfect world, one in which the laguz could live normal lives, free of oppression. However, when I came to Crimea, I found things were no different there than in any other beorc nation.
It was the same for me. I couldn't allow myself to ignore these problems any longer.
I'm happy to hear it. Of all the beorc I've ever met, you're the only one who shares my conviction.
Zihark, is there... some other reason you defend the laguz?
I don't follow you.
You see, I was born in Gallia, or so I've been told. I just wondered if you had a similar reason guiding you.
My reasons are... extremely personal.
No, it's no problem. I wanted a better understanding of what kind of man you are, and I have that now.
Can I ask what that is?
You are a good man. I'm glad to have you along.
I'm glad to be here. I feel I'm finally able to do the kind of good I've longed to do for years.
Please excuse Ilyana's eyes during all this. I don't know how the hell that happened.
I'm... seasick... When I was traveling with the merchants, we sometimes used... ships... Every time was the same... Urp... I'm... sorry.
Did you travel with Muston and the others for a long time?
About four years, all told. I had just left home, you see... I was all alone, and I couldn't find work. In my hometown, I had so many people I could depend on... but once I left, everything changed. If Muston's group hadn't found me by the side of the road, I'd probably be dead by now.
Hm... You seem to have led quite an adventurous life. It's a bit surprising.
I find it hard to imagine that you couldn't find work, though. Your magic skills are amazing.
Aren't they, though? Hee hee! I'm always happy when people notice... Whew... Wow! I feel so much better now. I'm actually starting to get hungry.
I'm glad to hear it. Just stay above deck, and when you start to feel sick, look off at the horizon, all right?
Good! We wouldn't want you to lose the sole basis for your entire character, now, would we, Ilyana?
Shall we go through some more supports? Yes, let's!
Water/Water: Atk +1, Def +1
Oh, no! Come back here, you! Hm. Where did that thing go? I could have sworn it fell around here somewhere...
Looking for this?
Wow! M-Mordecai... You scared me.
I am sorry to frighten you. I found this. Is it something you lost?
Oh, I... Yes, that's... Some of my clothes were dying on the line, and a breeze carried one of my scarves away... Thank you, Mordecai.
You are welcome.
Oh, uh... Well... I'm sorry; it's nothing.
If you say so. I will take my leave of you now.
Ahhh... What's wrong with me? I can't believe I couldn't do it. Why can't I be more like Ike? He's so casual, so calm all the time. I can't keep panicking like that.
Earth/Wind: Avo +7.5, Hit +2.5
Hi, Kieran. How are you?
What the... Oscar! How I loathe that name! Don't give me such pleasant greetings! I care not for them!
What did I do now?
Oh ho! Don't tell me you've forgotten our second year of enlistment! The year we completed horsemanship? There was a final race to end the year... My beloved horse and I were flawless, but you beat us by the smallest of margins!
Huh? Oh, are you talking about that race you challenged me to? Yeah, that was fun... But I thought the distance between us was at least three lengths--
Ha! LIAR! Deceitful, lying, squinty coward! That was the very moment I marked you as my archrival! Don't pretend not to care!
Uh... wow. I had no idea--
But why!? I must know why you left the Crimean knighthood without a word of explanation! I devoted myself to training with my horse! I worked day and night so I could best my archrival... And thanks to my extreme devotion... I didn't realize you were gone until six months later! Delinquent! Reneger!
Wait a sec... Kieran. How is that my fault?
Earth/Heaven: +5 Avo, +5 Hit
Hiyaaaa! Haaaaaa! Hm? Who's there?
Lethe. Were you watching me?
Yep. I'm curious... Our future success will depend in large part on how well you humans fight. We laguz can't afford to lag behind.
You always need the upper hand, eh, Lethe?
Relax. It's not like I'm going to claw you in the back during a battle. There's no point in it. Besides, you humans are the only ones who use dirty tricks like that.
Oh, I see. So every laguz fights fair and square?
Most of us. Not all. Although we know when a laguz is about to use a cheap trick. We can smell it. I can sniff out a trap from a mile away. Even in the dark. You can hide from my eyes, but not my nose.
Lethe? Will you teach me how to fight like a laguz?
Sure, I'll take you on. But it's going to hurt! When I fight, it's with claws out.
Good. I look forward to it.
Water/Wind: +1 Atk, +1 Def, +5 Hit, +5 Avo
Aim... and release!
Can I talk to you for a moment, Rolf?
Sure. Just hold on and let me tighten my bowstring. I've got to be ready... You know, just in case some Daein thugs try to jump us.
So... What do you need, Mist?
Let's not fight in any more battles, Rolf. I really don't think we children should be fighting in this war.
Huh? Why are you saying this now?
Let's go back to being kids. If this is what it's like to be an adult, I don't want any part of it.
You're right, Mist. Fighting scares you. You don't have to fight. Don't worry... I'll fight for you!
That's not what I meant, and you know it! You've got to stop fighting, or it's all meaningless.
I can't do that. I have to slay our enemies and defend our own. I'm a man, now...
Slay your enemies? Is it that meaningless to you? Like picking a flower or squishing a spider. They're human, too.
Do you understand that, Rolf? The enemy... They're human, just like us. They're not paper targets pinned to a tree.
I don't want to hear it.
I don't want to hear it!! Got it?! They're trying to hurt us! Kill us! I'm just stopping them. I'm protecting all of you.
Wait... Rolf! Oh... Please understand...
Light/Fire: Def +1, Hit +10, Atk +1
Yep. I get antsy if I don't train every day... Kiyaaaa! Haaaaaa! Whew!
Would you mind if I joined you for a while?
What? You want to train? Really? Well, no, of course I wouldn't mind. Um... Why?
I was hoping to find some way to... defend myself I hate being a burden on everyone.
Rhys! You're a healer, not a fighter. That's not your fault. I don't even think you know which end of a sword to stick in someone! Maybe...
I just wonder if you'd be happier had you not rescued me. Perhaps living in peace with your parents is more your style.
Oh. I don't know. That life wasn't easy. I have a small, frail body, and there were few jobs for me in our village. My parents were always worried about me. I was sick all the time, and constantly getting bumps and scrapes... They only agreed to let me follow you because you were a strong mercenary group! They figured I would be safe.
... There must be safer jobs out there! You could be a fisherman. Or a botonist! Do you like plants?
Oh, that would bore me to tears! ... Titania... I love this job. I don't want to quit. I was a sickly child, and I didn't get out much. I used to sit inside and listen to the other children play... In those years, my uncle took me under his wing. He was a mercenary, too. He used to spin unbelievable yarns about his exotic travels and fantastic battles... It inspired me.
I had no idea!
Kinda funny, isn't it? You know, I shouldn't say this, but... Sometimes, when we fight one long battle after another... It makes me happy. I feel like I belong.
You're a big part of our company, Rhys. I'm glad to hear you say so.
Earth/Earth: Avo +20
How's it going, Ike?
Oh, hey, Oscar. I'm fine... Actually, I'm kind of worried about something.
Can I help?
Well, I was trying to figure out how we should fight the laguz bird tribes.
That's odd... I was just thinking about the same thing. When they turn into their true selves, we are forced into a kind of battle that is difficult for us.
You're right about that. The laguz are so strong. I've even seen them shatters boulders with a single blow. I feel like our weak points are as visible as a lit torch for the bird tribes. What's more, my sword is useless if they take to the sky...
My advice is to keep engaging them. The more we fight, the more we learn. Of course, it won't be easy.
No, but I'm sure we can do it. That's a good idea! Thanks.
Ah... Well... sure. You're pretty amazing, Ike. You know that?
Hey, come on now. You're the guy with all the experience and talent.
Everything I have accomplished comes from hard work and practice. You're the son of Commander Greil. You have... natural talent. I'd follow you anywhere.
Uh... wow. Thanks, Oscar...
Alright! Let's meet our newest "recruit".
There are a number of things you need to appreciate about Sothe.
Actually, there's really only one thing you need to appreciate about Sothe.
Sothe doesn't promote like other units do. He's only got his
The elaborate expression for what that Blossom skill does is this; when Sothe gains a level, he gets his rolls according to his growth rates - which, when you look them up, are actually quite regular. However, if any of them fail, he gets to try again.
Expressed numerically, if Sothe's given growth rate (as a probability, ie, a number between 0 and 1) is X, then his actual growth rate is (2X - X2). Sothe's lowest growth rate besides Magic is 30%, which becomes 51% with Blossom. I'll let your imagination fill in the rest (but don't worry, a full breakdown will follow the next chapter).
Oh, and I guess there's the fact that he'll pick locks without charging us. That's something.
Since we're now into the point in the LP where voting dictates a not-insignificant portion of our team makeup, I'll be doing most of the BEXP levels just before the mission. We do get some now, however, like this quite-acceptable one for Soren.
And this one for Mist. Strength for the small girl!
There's also another one of those decisions weighing on my conscience. Rolf is about to start sorely wanting his D-Rank in Bows, but he doesn't have it yet, and I have no idea how long it's going to take for him to get it. I'm not putting this particular decision down to a vote, but I'll hear suggestions from the floor, as it were.
Know what we are putting up for voting, though? That's right - today's Forge. No restrictions today; it's the (Iron) weapon of your choice, or a tome.
Silly game. It's not like we're not coming right back later, is it?
(You've got three guesses what it is. Two don't count.)
Nothing. Nothing we can do anything about, at any rate. We're being followed by pirates.
Really? I don't see any ships...
Are those... birds? If they are, they must be huge...
Those are laguz, Ike.
Titania, Soren, you noticed them coming as well?
Yes, Soren and I saw them when we were discussing our plans from the aft decks.
I'd heard stories, but... they're really flying. Wow.
We're still out of their range, but airborne foes can be especially troublesome. I'd prefer to avoid them altogether. Let's see if we can outrun them.
From what I've been told, the flying corsairs of Kilvas and Phoenicis are far more cruel than any beast laguz.
Winged pirates... How am I supposed to fight against that?
Wha-what was that?
Oof... It felt like we hit something.
Move it, lads! Get the ship free!
Let's finish this quickly! It won't be long before Phoenicis or Goldoa takes an interest in what's happening here!
Ike, the crows are coming!
Pull everyone together! Looks like we're in for a fight!
I've done research in the past. All members of the bird tribes are vulnerable to wind magic. I think it's safe to assume that they are also as susceptible to arrows as any other flyer.
Wind magic and bows... All right! Everyone gather your weapons and prepare to meetthe enemy on the deck! I want a small group to remain belowdecks to protect Princess Elincia and the crew. We've never faced an enemy like this. I want everyone to stay together. Let's go!
We're under seige! What to do?! There's only one thing for it; It's time for a Vote!
Our Non-Negotiables today are Ike, Soren, Marcia, Rolf, Mist and Ilyana
There are four additional slots to fill using the remainder of our team. Choose from Oscar, Titania, Mia, Mordecai, Lethe, Volke, Kieran, Brom, Nephenee, Zihark and Sothe.
Yes, that's right, Rhys and Boyd are absolutely not coming. Holy shit, am I ever not fucking kidding about this; those two would get fucking massacred if I were to bring them. This mission is not a very pleasant environment for units with less than eleven speed, and those two are the slowest motherfuckers on our team save for Brom and Mordecai (untransformed) - combine that with Boyd's thorough Defence-screwing and Rhys's being-a-priest and you've got yourself a barrel of GTFO of my lineup.
You all know how voting works - you've got thirty-six hours and a bit. Go!