Part 52: Chapter 23 - Preamble
If we can march quickly and know that someone's protecting our backs, it would be a huge relief.
As you wish. May the fortunes of war be with the Crimean army. If you have need of soldiers, send word. We'll move out at top speed.
I'll be counting on it.
The information gathered at Palmeni Temple leads Ike ever closer to the hidden truths behind the war.
The assassination of Begnion's former apostle led to the massacre of Serenes.
A Serenes princess was kidnapped.
The medallion is stolen.
A complex skein seemed to connect these events, and now those threads have become clearer and cleaner. Ashnard's motives are still a mystery, but his silhouette lurks in the shadows of all that happens.
Ike returns from the temple and renounces all rights to the rule of Daein. Those rights are then passed through General Zelgius of Begnion to the apostle herself. The Crimean army absorbs another troop from Begnion, and with its might increased, marches on the Daein/Crimean border.
Its next goal is the Riven Bridge, a massive structure that connects the two countries.
Of course. What is it?
The soldiers say that tomorrow we'll be able to see the great bridge. Once we cross it, we'll be in Crimea.
That's what I've been told.
It feels like I've been away for many years. Crimea is the land where I was born and raised. To feel so removed from it... I feel now, at this late juncture, that I know almost nothing of my own country. It is an unreal experience.
I know what you mean. I don't have the sense that we're on the brink of being back in Crimea, either. I don't even remember this area at all. Maybe it's because I was born in Gallia and raised in the countryside. But countries are joined together like this all over the continent. I'm really in awe of it all.
Big? Hmm... Yeah, I guess you're right. When we left Crimea, it was spring... The snows were melting, the days were getting longer, and the weather was mild.
It's been almost a year since we departed. Only a year, but the distance we've traveled to get here has been long and hard... It feels like many years have passed us by. Yet this is the land where I was born and raised... Ah, my dear, sweet Crimea... How is it that you feel so far away?
For me, too, Crimea is my homeland. We're almost there... Let's go home.
It is as you say, my lord Ike.... Let's go home.
Oooh, what a romantic setting. Makes it hard to make an appearance! I guess I could just leave you two...
Huh? I know that voice...
My lord Ranulf! How nice to see you again!
What are you so darned chipper about?
Once I heard the news that the Crimean army had taken the Daein capital, I ran all this way to greet you.
How go things in Gallia? You're not engaged in open hostilities with Daein, are you?
What's that supposed to mean?
In light of your army's success, the elders have finally agreed on something.
So, is the Gallian army going to--
We're going to establish communications with them and create a united front. That being said, Gallia is here to support you. The Crimean army will always be at the center of the effort. Don't forget that.
King Gallia is being most gracious. That posture will allow Crimea to lay claim to any victories we achieve.
I don't believe you have the right to speak to me like that. Kidding. Actually, Soren just lectured me on the same situation when we received reinforcements from Begnion.
Of course. You were tutored by your nervous little staff officer. Now I get it... Has he snapped yet? He seems high-strung.
King Caineghis is always thinking of Crimea, isn't he? How can I ever repay him?
Princess... Let's win your country back. When that's done, please rebuild the bonds of friendship between our nations. That would be the ultimate way to say thank you, wouldn't it?
Yes! Yes, of course!
I didn't even realize it until now, but I've missed Ranulf. Haven't you?
If anyone has any objections, Mist is handling them personally.
No one? Good.
Soren! Are you in here?
Oh, no... How strange. I was sure he'd come this way. Yooo-hooo?!
That voice... It's the woman from the item shop, isn't it?
Commander! Ike? Where have you gone, handsome?
... Did you run in here to escape?
Look, whenever that woman corners me, it takes forever to get away. Let me hide in here until things simmer down.
Oh. Soren. Ew. I mean, um... hi. Why are you out so late?
Do you have some business with Ike?
Well, yes I do. I found a special something that I'd like to give to him. Do you know where he is?
Ike is... in a war meeting. If you have something for him, I can hold on to it for you.
Hmm... What should I do? You see, I have this new staff... The staff is VERY valuable. I'm not sure if I feel comfortable simply handing it over to someone who doesn't... understand that.
Oh hell yes.
A rare staff that can take any item, no matter how battered and worn, and repair it completely.
Why... that's right. You're quite knowledgeable, aren't you?
If I may continue, I believe that there is only one of these in all the world. It truly is priceless. And you want to give this to Ike?
Well, I do want to be helpful.
... If you truly wish to capture Ike's attention, bringing him staves and whatnot will avail you nothing.
What? Really? Oh, dear... I was so hoping he would like it.
Food, however, would be much more effective than a staff. He's particularly fond of spicy meat dishes.
Is that so? Cooking is not something that I'm skilled at, but... Oh, I've got it! I know the perfect dish!
Ah, good! He will be very pleased! Um... what about the staff?
Hee hee! You can keep it as payment for the cooking tip! Take good care of it.
Soren, you utter asshole.
Worth it, though. I'm already thinking about using it on the Sonic Sword... what else, though...?
Sir, yes, sir!
Good for you, huh? Har har! ... Hic! You're in love with a pwetty wittle princess, you're fighting side-by-side with yer sub-human pals. Yes! Yer moving up! Oooo, look at you! It's big mister Ike! Leading the good life!
They're not sub-humans. They're laguz.
Aw, bless. Shinon's drowning his sorrows.
Here's the deal... Now that yer a high-class noble, you can't be running around with a... buncha broke mercenaries. All the other nobles... are gonna LAUGH at you! So... give it up! I'll do you a favor and take over.
I don't think so. I'm going to continue as commander of the Greil Mercenaries.
Screw you! You always get everything! Don't you ever want to give up anything? Nooooo! Not big important mister Ike! You've always been like this! You act like you're not interested in something, then you swoop in and... STEAL IT AWAY!
... Shinon, what's wrong with you? Are you feeling all right?
What do you care, you snotty whelp?! It's none of yer business! AND another thing! About the command of the company. If you refuse to give it up... at least change the name! Yer NOT... Commander Greil! Just because you're his son... That doesn't... give you the right... to use his name...
Shinon, are you sure you're all right?
We're stepping up the supports as much as I'm able; it turns out our coverage is a little behind. So, lots of supporting from now on!
Earth/Fire: Avo +5, Hit +2.5, Atk +0.5
Oh, Ike. What can I do for you?
I just came to see how things are going. How are you doing?
Fine. No problems.
No problems? Your face tells me otherwise.
Well... we herons are optimistic by nature. So it's hard for me to be on a battlefield where the air is thick with negative energy. It's... tiring. But I'm learning to adjust. I hope you'll let me fight beside you to the bitter end.
As long as you take care of yourself, I have no complaints. But isn't there anything I can do to help? Maybe we could have a special supper. Certain foods tend to restore energy.
That's very kind, but my diet... Heh. It's fairly limited. You know, I used to be disgusted by my thin, frail body. So one time I performed a little experiment. I got all the foods that Tibarn likes--raw meat, cold fish, insects--and ate them. I ate them all.
That doesn't sound good. What happened?
I stared death in the face for ten days. You've never seen a laguz so green! I guess we herons are just meant to eat fruit and nuts for our entire lives.
... I can't imagine. Raw meat? You must have been desperate!
I wanted so much to be like Tibarn. Big body, strong wings... With those features, I felt I could march into Begnion and revenge my brothers all by myself. I got on my knees and prayed to the goddess every night. Asking her for power... But to no avail.
I think I know how you feel... But it's better this way.
How do you figure?
You get sick from negative energy. Imagine if you tried to hurt someone! You'd lose your lunch!
Heh. I guess you're right... At one time, I was so angry about my lack of strength, so consumed by despair, that I considered forfeiting my life... But... I'm glad that I am alive. I got to see Leanne because I am alive.
Huh. You surprise me, Reyson. You're stronger than you look.
If you're talking spiritual strength, I think I'm the best there is!
Wind/Thunder: Hit +2.5, Avo +5, Def +0.5
No... you can't be. Sorry, I thought you were someone else. What's your name, young man?
Rolf, eh? What's a child like you doing in a place like this? The battlefield is no place for children. Why do your parents allow this?
I... don't have any parents. My dad left us... and my mom died.
Oh, no... I'm sorry. I didn't mean to drag up such a painful memory.
That's all right. This group of mercenaries is my family now. So... I look like someone you know?
My... son. Josh. My oldest. Josh is an adult now. But he looked so much like you, once. Long ago... I can't believe I thought you were my own son. I've grown old and senile. Ha! Foolish old man...
Where's Josh now?
I don't know.
I divorced my wife, and she took the children with her. I haven't seen them since. That was years ago.
Fire/Water: Hit +5, Atk +2, Def +1
Hey, it's you! What's up, my hawk brother?
Oh, it's the... large-armed beorc. I... um... haven't seen you lately. Unless we're in battle.
You got that right! Oh, I'm Boyd. We're buddies now, so you can call me by name.
Very well. I am Ulki. But I ask that you call me that name instead of... hawk brother.
Yeah, sure. Whatever you want. So, Ulki. What are you doing in a place like this?
I was listening to the little birds chirp. The song soothes me.
Really? ... Nope. I can't hear anything. You must have really good ears.
You know, I really envy you bird tribes. Being able to fly is the greatest thing ever! You're something else in a fight, too! I can't believe how you tear through guys. Oh, and it's weird how much we look alike! I mean, when you're not shifted. And except for the wings and stuff...
Oh, hey, sorry. I'm doing all the talking. Sometimes I just start rambling on... If I'm bothering you, just say so.
I am... the worst.
Huh? Hey! What's gotten into you?
Thunder/Light: Avo +5, Hit +10, Def +1
I'm busy. Come back later.
I really want to ask you something. Right now!
I'll pay for dinner again.
We'll eat somewhere more expensive tonight.
Sure! You can order anything you want!
All right, then. I think I can spare some time for my brother-in-arms.
Aw, thanks Shinon! I owe you one!
... Well? What do you want?
Well, actually... What I need to ask you is...
Spit it out!
Well, it's... Oh, I don't know. Do you really want to hear it?
Do that one more time, and I'll put an arrow through your eye!
W-wait! Just a minute! I'll tell you now... Are you ready?
A new girlfriend? Is she blind or something?
I met her in town yesterday! She's soooo cute! I'm telling you, she's the one for me!
Well, I'm happy for you. Oh, I see. You want to ask me what kind of gift to give her, right?
Tee, hee, hee! Yeah, that's right. What should I give her?
I know everything there is to know about gift giving, my friend. I'll tell you all about it over a fine meal.
Please do, romance master!
Fire/Earth: Hit +5, Atk +1, Avo +10
Eeeeeeek! D-Deputy Commander!
What a disgraceful little scream! You should know how to behave in front of your former superior.
But... Deputy Commander... Are you still upset with me?
I certainly am! State your reason for deserting your duty as a Pegasus knight! You were never one to run away! Even during the most intense missions... You were no coward, Marcia. I've even seen some knights leave because of a silly romantic distraction... But not you.
Well, if you must know... My brother went missing after he accrued a massive debt.
Yes. Men began coming to my barracks to collect their money instead of hunting down my brother. That's why I went to find him. I met Ike and his company during my search, and I joined after they saved me from a vicious band of boat monkeys. But I still didn't find my brother.
I figured that if I traveled with Ike, I'd eventually find my brother. That's why I'm still with them.
I see... So he skipped town because of his debts. As your former superior officer, I do feel some sympathy for you.
Nevertheless! You are still a deserter. It makes no difference why. You will still be punished once my mission is complete.
Awww... Come on!
If I was deserted for Makalov, I'd be pretty pissed too. Just sayin'.
Water/Water: Atk +2, Def +2
Is something troubling you, Ulki?
I want to ask you something.
Hm? What is it?
I understand you beast tribes can see well even at night. With the exception of Janaff, my kind cannot see at all at night. Even with my eyes wide open, all I can see is the darkness.
In perfect darkness, I cannot see. If there is but a little light, however, I can see as clearly as in the day. I use the moonlight, as should you.
I wish I could, but that is exactly what I mean. Your kind can see by moonlight, but the bird clans...
I long to soar in the sky, looking down upon the moonlit world... I would love to see the forest at night. What do the trees look like as night falls? Why are there dewdrops on the leaves in the morning even when there's no rain? The forest at night has so many mysteries. What light can you shed on them?
During the day, the forest teems with life. It is very different from the night forest. But the night forest is also alive in its way.
Is that so? I would love to see that, even once.
Wind/Dark: Hit +5, Avo +10, Atk +1
Oh, hello again! How are you? Have you been studying your grammar? Hmm... Let's check your makeup.
Shush! Now look up... Higher! Hmm... Not bad. A little light perhaps... But this helmet has got to go!
Aw, that's all right. Everyone'll stare if I take it off.
Why, my dear missy! Are you finally starting to believe in your own beauty?
Oh, I ain't--
Tsk! True ladies don't say "ain't"! And it's a dastardly lie, anyway. Look at you! You're gorgeous! A splendid face, plus that fantastic figure, and yet you hide it under armor? Oooh! I'm so jealous I could scream!
But I ain-- I mean, I can't hold my head up like you. I'm just a country girl.
Yes, it seems like a burden to always worry about how others see you. But I'll tell you a secret... People in the city are cold! They don't care about anyone but themselves!
Not you, Calill! you're kind.
Me? Oh. Hm... I guess I am. Well, perhaps not everyone from the city is so cold... Don't you give up, Nephenee! Trust me! You have charm! You'll be the talk of the society pages in no time!
Earth/Heaven: Avo +15, Hit +15
Hey, Lethe! You ready to punish me some more?
You're taking to my training with remarkable skill. I need to keep up.
You think so? Wow. A compliment from Lethe... Now that's a big deal!
What's that supposed to mean? You're not still holding a grudge about our first meeting, are you?
No, nothing like that. It's just... You're powerful, you know? If you compliment me, that means something.
Bah! You give me too much credit. ... Um... Say, Ike?
When this war is over, you should... Why don't you come to Gallia? I mean, not like I care, but--
Right! Well, you could learn even more if you trained in Gallia. It's hard living for a beorc. But if you can handle it, you could take the swordsmanship that runs in your blood to another level.
Only if you're my sparring partner!
Meh... Well, if that's what you want... I guess I'd be all right with that.
Then life in Gallia may not be so bad.
Oh? Well, good. It's settled then. Come see us whenever you're ready. I might even... look forward to it.
You have my word.
Aww. Look who's gotten over her prejudices.
Light/Fire: Def +1.5, Hit +15, Atk +1.5
Titania! I couldn't find you anywhere! With all the war councils and everything, I never get to see you anymore.
Hello, Boyd. You know, your recent performance has been superb. I can't even chew you out for old time's sake.
I don't want you to yell at me again. That's not why I'm here. I just... Is there anything you want, Titania?
I can't think of anything in particular. Why do you ask?
We got a big reward the other day, you know? So I wanted to buy you something. As thanks for helping me.
Aha! Now that you're a true warrior, you've learned some chivalry as well!
Heh. So, name it. Anything. New chain mail? Gauntlets? How about a killer axe?
Thanks for the offer, Boyd. But you earned that money. You should spend it on yourself.
Don't you get it!? I want to give you a gift!
Boyd? What are you--
Every time I look at you, Titania... I think that you're the prettiest person I've ever seen!
Uh... Um, thank you, Boyd... But I... Look, you and me, we're--
You're like a really nice mom or something! Um... I mean...
Wait, that's not... Oh, man... Look, that's not what I meant. I mean, it is, but--
How old do you think I am?
Well, let me see... Are you... younger than my mother?
... Yeah... Um... I gotta go!
Boyd! Wait up!
Boyd, ladies and gentlemen.
Fire/Water: Hit +7.5, Atk +3, Def +1.5
Whew! Aw, shucks! I give up! You got me! Phew! You're too much for me, Boyd.
You were close this time, pops. You've gotten a lot better. I think we can wrap up training soon.
I've gotten better, huh? You really think so?
You're like a full-fledged soldier! There's not an enemy around that wouldn't be afraid of you!
Oh, I'm so happy to hear that! I just didn't want to be a huge burden on everyone anymore.
Oh, stop it. Keep this up, and you could even be a royal guard after the war.
No thank you! I'm done fighting. When this war is over, I'm going back to farming.
Listen, pops. Tell me the truth. How do we mercenaries seem to you? I mean, to farmers? Simple people.
What? I don't get you, Boyd.
Well, the world is full of mercenaries, but most of them are just scoundrels who can't hold any other job, right? So when there's no war to fight, they wander the country side without honest work. A lot of them end up stealing from villagers or just turn into common cutthroats.
Boyd, you're not--
Nah, we're not like them. I know that. But... you can't tell that just by looking at us. I hear it when I walk through towns. "Careful! The mercenaries are back." "They're scrounging for money." It kinda hurts, you know? I mean, I don't care what you say about me, but when you talk bad about my family...
Well, Boyd. Here's what I think. Folks always judge, and they're usually wrong. That's just how they are, you know? You can't worry about it too much. But I like you. And I respect you, too. Shucks, everyone in this company has been just great! Anyway, that's what I think.
Thanks, pops. That's... good to hear. All right! Back to the training! Let's go the extra mile this time!
Huh!? A-again? G-give me a second, Boyd! Phew! Huff... Puff...
Thunder/Wind: Def +1.5, Avo +15, Hit +7.5
Get over it, Rolf.
Oh, come one! It was in your best interest.
Psh! What a stubborn brat. If you're going to be like that, I'll just leave.
YOU THREW MY BOW AWAY!!
Listen, Rolf. If I had let you onto a battlefield with that bow, you would have been killed. I prevented your death in advance... Heck, I saved your life! You should be thanking me.
I know that, Uncle Shinon, but... I put my whole heart into that bow! I just wanted you to be happy. The first time I went into battle, my feet were shaking because I was so scared. But then I held the bow that you made for me, and it gave me strength. And I said, "Rolf! You can do this!" I learned absolutely everything from you! That's how I've stayed alive this whole time.
...But why on earth... Why would you depend on me like that? I mean, I just taught you how to fire the bow on a whim.
But it still made me happy! My brothers never let me do anything. They still treat me like a baby. If you hadn't taught me archery, I'd be sitting at home right now! I hate waiting around while everyone is fighting for their lives. I mean, we all made it back yesterday but... What about today? Or tomorrow? At home, all you do is wait and wait and feel terrible. I hate it!
Rolf, I know how you feel, but... adults don't want to send kids to a battlefield if they can help it. Only a complete madman wants to be involved in the death of someone else. Especially if it's a kid. But the sad thing is, it's more about making ourselves feel better than saving the life of another. The fear of being responsible for a death is always in the back of minds, so we try to lesson the guilt as much as possible. Humans... most humans... feel the pain of others. Holding that back is a lot harder than you think.
Wow. I never thought about that.
It's a rough lesson to learn. Bah! I hate adults like nothing else. All ego and pride... Kids live a more honorable existance. But you're growing up fast. So the sooner you learn to survive, the better.
So that's why you taught me archery, isn't it? It wasn't just a whim!
...Well... Maybe... But if that's what you want to think, and it puts you in a good mood, it's fine by me.
Light/Fire: Def +1.5, Hit +15, Atk +1.5
What's the matter, big fella?
It's better if you don't talk to me at all, Marcia. Don't even give me a second look. I'm nothing but dirt. I'm worse than dirt... I'm... sludge!
Oh, boy... This about the other day, isn't it? When you got beaten down by--
Don't remind me! I was such a fool! I can't believe I let you see me get smacked around like that. I might as well throw in the towel now. I'm just a big loser...
No you're not! So Ike beat you that time. Big deal! Ike beats everybody! I was still impressed by your all-or-nothing attitude.
Really! You're both fierce fighters. Hey, what do you say to being my training partner one of these days? I want both you and Ike to teach me some of your fighting skills.
Great! It'll be a hoot! I'm looking forward to it! See you later!
... I was feeling angry at Ike for humiliating me like that... But maybe it will all work out after all. Until later, my sweet Marcia!
Light/Earth: Hit +7.5, Def +1.5, Avo +15
Hi, Ilyana. I'm bumping into you all over the place these days.
Yes, you're right....
What's wrong? You look a little... different today.
Really? How so?
Yes, definitely. You're looking cuter than usual.
Yeah, definitely a little cuter.
You're hungry, though. I can tell from the feral look in your eyes.
Feral?! Excuse me?
You're a bit of a celebrity among the men in the unit. They say you lure them in with your cute face and then run off with their snacks.
Oh, yes they do! You're a beef jerky theif, aren't you? I know about the apple pie incident, too. Yeah... I know your tricks. Is it true that you don't remember their names, even after they buy you an expensive meal? That's just terrible.
No! It's just that... I collapse into a coma when I get too hungry! That's why I've got to accept everyone's generous food offers.
Then at least remember their names! Even if you had ulterior motives, everyone likes... Er... Is kind to you.
Don't apologize to me. You didn't take my apple tart.
Well, shall we get going?
You're hungry, right? I feel bad about preaching to you, so this dinner is on me.
Are you sure?
I'm sure. I can't have you going hungry on me. However, I'm not rich. All I can afford is two dinners.
That's... so kind. That should be enough. I'm so happy! Oh, thank you so much... Um... Er... Ike? No, wait! Um... Bill? Lance? Sword guy?
Zihark! Oh, I really appreciate it...
Heaven/Thunder: Hit +15, Def +1.5, Avo +7.5
Oh, Lethe! I thought about what you said, and I deci--
I hear the dragon knight we fought in Talrega was your father. Why? Why did you stay with us? Choosing a band of mercenaries over your own father?
...Fate works in strange ways. Had I not known about Commander Ike and the mercenaries... Had I not known about you laguz... I'm sure I would be with Daein even now. Taking pride in my work as a Daein soldier and offering my life for Ashnard. I wouldn't have hesitated to smite you all. But now I have learned the truth...
This isn't like the time I chased your ship from Port Toha, hoping to win fame and approval from my father. When I joined you, I acted on my own accord. For the first time. I chose what I thought was a righteous path. Even if my decision forced me to face my own father... It's too late to change things now. That's why... I'm here.
Will you... shake my hand, Jill?
I have heard of a huma... a beorc custom where the shaking and holding of hands shows friendship. ...I... understand you, now. I empathize with your choice and admire the strength it took to make it.
Lethe... Uh... Yes. Of course. Please, let us shake.
If we listen to each other and are willing to compromise... I know the beorc and laguz can come to live with each other. I'm sure of it.
Water/Wind: Atk +1.5, Def +1.5, Hit +7.5, Avo +7.5
Well, hello there, Brom.
I was just talking to one of those younger fellas. He said you don't talk much to other people.
Th-that's because I'm a country girl and... I'm embarrassed.
What are you embarrassed about? There's nothing wrong with country!
You know I have a heavy accent! They'll make fun of me. I can't talk well like you, Brom.
Oh, that's cow plop and you know it! Everyone in this army is so danged nice! They wouldn't ever laugh at you! Don't be so uptight. Just pretend you're back in your own village.
You smile whenever we talk, right? Aw, you have a beautiful smile. It's a shame that you hide it. Come on, try smiling now.
Um... all... All right.
Come on now, smile... Smiiiiile...
Aw, Brom! It's embarrassing. Like... like this?
That's right! That's it! Yee haw! That's the smile I want to see. You're a good-looking girl, Nephenee! The young fellas in the company won't leave you alone if you keep doing that! Say, why don't you find a nice guy here and take him back to the village!
S-stop Brom! I'm embarrassed!
Wow, that's a lot of supports. I may have underestimated the... volume... way back when. We'll sure be making it up now, though.
Today is a joyous day for many reasons, and here's one: the Armoury now stocks Silver Lances and Silver Swords (but not axes or bows). These are pretty damn powerful - but for their hit rates, they're about on par with our blinged out forges, and cheaper at that.
But it gets better...
The Forge is also offering Silver Lances and Swords! That's right; it's time to start thinking about Ultimate Weapons.
As you can see, they're quite expensive.
And let's not even think about adding Crit.
Something to think about, anyway.
I feel like BEXP!
Did someone say "speed cap"? Because I think I heard someone say "speed cap".
This is pretty solid, right here.
Why the hell not?
Why, nothing can possibly darken my mood after all this.
Y-yes, General! Do you think it will work?
Sometimes the simplest of traps offer up the best results. Lure the enemy in, and then finish them off one by one. Got it?
We will not allow them to gain the comfort of their homeland! Any who do not fight to the death will face my lance!
Yeah, I think that's highly unlikely.
What is it?
I haven't seen Nasir around. What's happened to him?
He was declared an enemy combatant and locked up.
What? Hey, I understand you being irked that he didn't mention testing you and all, but treating him like a criminal is too--
Testing me? What are you talking about?
Huh? Oh, um... Nice weather, eh?
We're going to talk. Now.
In all the fuss and plot it's sometimes easy to forget exactly who doesn't know what. We know what Nasir was up to (well, some of it), but only because Soren figured it out, and he hasn't told anyone yet. So...
You're telling me he was a Gallian spy? None of this makes sense to me...
He worked for us on behalf of the king. But... Daein? As a laguz, he would have absolutely no reason to work for them.
But there was a Goldoan named Ena who was working as a general for Daein.
...Are you serious?
Yes, we were forced to fight her in the Daein capital. When we attempted to capture her, Nasir intervened and allowed her to escape. He betrayed us.
What? Hold on a minute...
No, even so, teaming up with Daein is just too much... hmm......
I hate to interrupt whatever it is you're doing, but we've arrived at the bridge.
Let me speak to Nasir. Please!
Once we've finished this battle, we can go together. All right?
OK, so you know when I said that nothing could possibly darken my mood, earlier?
Dozing off on the battlefield... You've got a lot of nerve, don't you? Hey! Wake up or I'll burn you to a crisp!
Zzzzz... Snort! Huh? Wha--? Uh... Right! Has the enemy arrived?
Yes, they just got here. Now get out there and do your job.
Oh, I'm all over it. Yaaaawwwnnn...
They're already in battle formation and waiting to give us a warm welcome. Aw, that's charming!
That's just what I want.
Oh ho! Well said. And by the way, I thought I'd join you today.
Not as a Gallian, but as part of our army, right?
If it's a problem, I can always sit this one out.
Of course not! Thanks for your continued support, Ranulf!
Ha! The pleasure's all mine! Let's go carve us some Daeins!
One pleasant surprise - the only pleasant surprise in this mission - Ranulf is now joining our team.
We've got ballistae.
We've got feral laguz.
We've got Siege Assholes.
We've got Haar.
And we've got Petrine.
And oh lord have we got another surprise waiting. But later.
Before we get to Voting Time, it is my sad (maybe) duty to announce that we are finally going to remove some units from the general voting pool, because we're getting on in chapters and there are some people it's just too late to do anything useful with. As exhilarating as it's been knowing that you all might just vote Boyd into my team and not leave me enough votes to meaningfully object, we're past the point where it'd be funny. It'd be a major pain to even scrape the occasional kill. It just isn't happening. Which brings us here.
Let's give a big hand to Boyd, Rhys, Ilyana, Lethe, Mordecai, Kieran, Brom, and Makalov. Also Sothe, although I may yet call on him if I ever really decide I need two thieves again. They've actually all performed pretty competently in their time (except Makalov), but time and Unfavourable Random Numbers (or massive unpopularity) have led them to be left behind. So long, guys; may you find better favour and fortune in someone else's playthrough. Especially Boyd. Holy shit.
13 spaces to fill out. There's Ike and Mist, of course. Ranulf will be getting his customary free turn. Reyson will come in handy (once we deal with the Ballistae). There's a few Physics for nabbin', so let's bring Volke. I have a feeling Jill will come in handy, too. Aaaaaaand... hell, let's bring Muarim.
That leaves, surprise surprise, six spaces to fill with our newly trimmed unit selection. How will this affect the voting? Let's find out!
Choose from Oscar, Titania, Soren, Mia, Rolf, Marcia, Nephenee, Zihark, Astrid, Gatrie, Stefan, Tormod, Devdan, Janaff, Ulki, Tanith, Shinon, Calill, Tauroneo.
While you're at it, let's say, hypothetically, you had an Endgame Lance... what would you call it? (there will be more of these, so feel free to suggest names suited for certain characters... but also remember that the endgame team isn't anywhere near decided yet...)
You've got... eh. Two days? That sounds good. Let's go with that. Also, let's go.