Part 56: (Chapter 3, Continued)
We've reached the point now where Haar's lower speed is starting to have repercussions. Fortunately, his monstrous strength and defence still serve him well.
Jill, on the other hand, is not as absurdly powerful but is still able to double. She'll take the odd hit too, but she's got Renewal on her for gradual health regen.
I'm not usually one for having units with overwhelmingly lopsided weapon specializations (i.e. Marcia here with SS in lances and C in swords) carry around weak secondary weapons, but they have one very useful purpose - defence. Often, the reduced damage is offset by being able to gain a weapon triangle advantage against a unit who you otherwise wouldn't be able to get one on. This works especially well for faster units like Marcia. Since this map has a lot of axe users (notably those dracoknights, whose attacks hurt), Marcia's Steel Sword is going to get a lot of mileage.
And of course, there's always the chance for a "fuck you, triple damage".
Our first treasure. It's not very interesting. It gets better, don't worry.
("Oh, dear, how do I say that? Their language is foul on my lips!")
Leanne and Naesala share a generic moment. It's funny because Leanne is making an effort to speak in
Marcia uses a Leanne-provided second turn to attack another enemy fighter.
Once again, she triggers Stun, and Corrosion too.
An OK level, too.
End of turn 1. We're all set for Jill and Marcia to get some serious counterkilling in.
I guess turn based combat is part of the setting?
Champions of the goddess! Crush these heretics! Give them the reward for rebelling against our goddess!
Damned ranged weapons.
There's another generic Purge priest hanging around near the middle of the map. He's less of a pain than Numida is, but still something to watch out for.
This crazy fool attacks Naesala of all people.
The first guy to attack Jill is crippled and gives her a pretty great level.
The first dracoknight comes for Marcia, and this is where using a sword starts paying off big time. Sadly, though, she gets hit despite the odds.
Notice how the weapon triangle advantage indicator arrows aren't showing? This means...
Someone's getting hit with Corrosion.
Elsleep guy targets Ulki due to his low resistance, and a mage warps in in the northeast corner.
Sanaki grabs her a dracoknight kill.
Cymbeline's map animation just looks ridiculous.
Thanks to Leanne, Micaiah is able to Physic Marcia and Recover Ulki in a single turn. That's great.
This is... alright, I guess.
Nephenee is now in combat range and begins the slaughter accordingly.
Marcia presses forward (being careful of the two archers to the east) and manages to bust out yet another stun on this guy.
Jill and Haar continue their double act, and fly east slightly to form a wall against which a horde of enemies may crash in vain. This ends turn 2.
A Bowgun. Seriously. A regular Bowgun. Not even a Crossbow.
Purge guy turns on Haar this time.
A small swarm of crossbowmen, warriors and dracoknights come for Jill and Haar, and Haar gets this pretty awesome level while holding them off.
And Haar gets put to sleep. Wonderful. Our turn again.
Best kept secret about Sacrifice: it heals condition as well as HP - at no extra cost! The reason I put a Recover staff on Micaiah is because of a) its EXP provision and b) its self-healing capacity; if Micaiah gets hit with Silence later on but has Recover equipped, she'll be instantly cured of it when her next turn comes.
Ulki has mustered the energy to transform and gets to taking out a straggler from earlier.
Jill and Haar together take out a crossbowman. There're a fair few of them in the middle area, and they're annoying because they mean we can't bring Marcia down here.
Marcia, for her own part, doesn't kill this archer but does corrode his bow away, neutralising him.
Our first serious treasure! Dragonfoe is a skill much like Beastfoe, except it's for Dragons rather than Beasts.
Oh, did I not mention that I had Sothe's inventory filled with random crap? This way, we can send our prizes to the Convoy instantly, and allow other teams to profit from them.
Anyway, that's turn 3 done.
Skrimir has wandered into Purge-guy's range and pays the price.
Ulki gets to defend himself.
And also to play with his new mastery skill. His opponent does not survive.
The mage reinforcement from way back when turns out to be a wind mage and goes after Marcia. Due to her high resistance (and magic's relatively low Mt compared to bows) it's not nearly as much of a problem for her as the archers are.
The Disciples inch forward, and they bring out their Physic guy.
It's our turn again, and Marcia goes for the bigger threat. Annoyingly, her second attack misses, but that's OK, because...
Sanaki is here to clean up. The mage can't really do much to ruin the plans of either Marcia or Sanaki, so this is a pretty agreeable outcome.
Ulki assassinates Purge guy for us. He is nice enough to drop a Concoction.
Nephenee finishes her first wave of guys, and prepares to move further south.
This is just wonderful.
These odds don't look good but Jill disregards them and activates Stun.
This... will do.
Micaiah uses the last of her HP to sort-of heal Skrimir. She's equipped a Physic staff in the meantime, so she'll be healed shortly.
Anyway, there's the end of turn 4.
The enemy mage decides Marcia is an easier target than Sanaki, but this turns out not to matter much.
The largest wave of enemies yet reaches Jill and Haar. Annoyingly, they just barely manage to not die.
The game decides, once again, that our guys are helpless and afraid, just so it can pull a followup:
That said, the Black Knight is pretty much the opposite of the Crimean Knights in terms of ability to carry a sense of being a big damn hero.
That said, though, like the Crimean Knights, this "rescue" will once again probably annoy you (the player) more than it will help. You see, this time round, the Black Knight is not player-controlled. He's an ally, so he'll promptly busy himself carving a bloody swath through your enemies, but... we want to be doing that ourselves, and the Black Knight means to deny us this.
Needless to say, the Black Knight's arrival is basically a prompt to hurry the fuck up and stop playing defensively, otherwise he'll steal all the EXP.
To cement this point, two dracoknights warp in.
Well, "offensively" is certainly one way we can play.
Sanaki and Marcia take out the northern mage and prepare to join up with their buddies.
Everyone else picks a dude and begins the murder.
We are, of course, careful to keep Micaiah out of enemy range.
This being the end of turn 5.
Magic is pretty much the only thing that Haar is still somewhat afraid of.
A dracoknight goes for Marcia and her sword-use pays off once again.
Her level doesn't, however.
Sadly, the enemies around Jill and Haar are mostly ranged types, who sit there plinking away and doing little to no damage while free of counterattack threats.
A mage is among them. We should watch out for him.
On his turn, the Black Knight disposes of a dracoknight for us.
On our turn, Sanaki disposes of a dracoknight and gets an OK level, notable only in its provision of additional strength. Now she takes only a -1 penalty for the lightest tome she has!
While everyone else is fighting, Sothe goes digging for treasure.
("Actually, I have a splitting headache, but worry not. I'll be fine when this foul war is over!")
We also see our first legitimate use of Skrimir. As you can see, he's quite effective.
Ulki uses the last of his TP to get another kill.
Jill goes magestomping and gets a fricken' great level.
Micaiah continues throwing Physics around and finally gets some more speed.
Leanne can talk to the Black Knight.
("By the goddess! You!")
You fear me? I do not blame you. I apologize for the circumstances of our last meeting. Be assured, Princess, I am not here to harm you. If you are frightened, I shall step away.
Yeah, the Black Knight kinda teleported into Phoenecis and kidnapped Leanne in PoR.
("Nothing good can come of his being here. He's a walking nightmare...")
Anyway, turn 6 is done, and although it looks like we've pulled ahead of the Black Knight, once the enemies are done moving there'll almost definitely be someone in range.
Meanwhile, Lekain has finally decided to run away. Probably because of the Black Knight.
It is vital that I not be harmed, for the good of the world to come! While it pains me to leave the field of battle, I mustn't put myself at risk.
Apparantly, it is possible to "kill" Lekain before he runs away. I imagine it involves an all out dracoknight charge, but I've never been bothered to try. The objective is rout, so it doesn't really matter, and in any case, he just runs away all the same.
Haar is magicked again.
Jill is having fun.
She's not unscathed, though.
Sure enough, the Black Knight gets a kill.
And these two guys appear.
Jill, Haar and Marcia (plus Leanne) clean up lots of guys this turn, and Haar becomes even stronger.
They suuure did. End of turn 7.
Save for the gradual inching forward of the enemies, and the Black Knight getting another kill, the period between turn 7 and turn 8 is rather uneventful.
Sothe can talk to the Black Knight, too.
Your faith is touching.
Well, you and the commander. Commander Ike will defeat you, you know. You can't run forever.
You are correct. We will soon meet again.
Shouldn't you sound more worried about that? You sound as if you're looking forward to fighting Commander Ike again. Don't delude yourself. You can't beat him.
We shall see.
Haar gets a stun off on a crossbowman.
Jill, meanwhile, is content merely to fly into the front of the next group of enemies and cripple one. The rest will come to her in their own time.
We're getting to the point where Elsilence guy is about to start attacking us, so we have Micaiah equip her Recover staff.
Nephenee takes the opportunity to heal.
I predict that the next enemy phase will contain a lot of countermurder.
The excitement caused by Jill's first counterkill dissipates immediately afterward.
Numida decides to start attacking Haar.
Are they somehow...deficient? You will perish for your defiance of the empire, vermin!
Numida's purges are somewhat threatening, but Haar can take them.
Elsilence guy targets Sanaki.
Silence, as you may have guessed, will prevent a unit from using tomes or staves. As such, the AI will only use it against your mages, for obvious reasons.
However, for this exact reason, Silence is nowhere near as big a threat as Sleep. This is because, as an offensive staff, Elsilence's success rate is influenced by its target's resistance. And mages tend to have quite high resistance. The result?
A quite ineffective staff.
This is something of an asshole move if you've got any lone units stationed over there. Otherwise... less so.
Anyway, it's our turn again, and once again that means it's time to make with the murder.
Some more guys have finally reached Nephenee. She's so happy for them.
This is another of this mission's top prizes. The Baselard is the SS-ranked dagger. It is absurdly powerful - equal in Mt to Ragnell - and has a 15% base crit chance. That's quite awesome. Of course, it's wasted on Sothe (who can't even equip it in any case), and, in fact, on thieves in general. If only we had someone who could actually use this thing...
It's time for us to start cleaning up this little eastern alcove. Jill obligingly charges straight over.
Being careful of enemy archers, Marcia rushes in to deal with the Physic priest...
Then ducks out.
Micaiah heads for the east, too. We'll need to deal with the two guys near there soon.
Turn 9, done. I don't think we need to worry about the Black Knight anymore.
Numida pesters Haar again. Some other guys do too, but for no damage.
Once again, Marcia employs a sword to avoid dracoknight hits.
She also gets a thoroughly underwhelming level.
Dracoknights attack Haar too, but there's slow enough that he can still double them.
Nephenee continues holding her little zone and getting passable levels. At the very least, it's progress towards hitting caps, I guess.
Elsilence guy uses his last attack to not silence Sanaki.
More guys appear right by Nephenee. Nephenee has no objection.
We need to clear the guys out from around Micaiah. First priority; these dracoknights, who could easily fly over and kill her.
Naesala flies over to help...
...and Micaiah ducks out of range.
Nephenee welcomes her new playmates...
While Sothe continues digging for treasure. He finds 10000 free gold.
Ulki is transformed again, and helping out again.
And Leanne is still weak as all hell.
End of turn 10.
Oh, fuck, how did I not notice this?
No matter. Marcia has enough health to eat this, and should be able to dodge everything else.
Jill is both more resistant and faster than Haar, so she's much less susceptible to Purge.
An injured dracoknight pilfers Numida's Elixir and uses it on himself.
Oh crap, a 71% hit ch-
-oh wait. Resolve.
Marcia then proceeds to Resolve-Corrosion him, and then, for good measure she Resolve-Stun-Corrosions him.
I fucking love Resolve.
She's gained two sword ranks this chapter. That means she can now start hauling around Steel Blades!
A silly enemy targets Naesala. He dies.
Marcia has 34 speed. This means she's now getting +34 to her stated Avoid per battle. So this guy actually has a 0% chance of hitting. Just thought I'd point that out.
She's also getting ~+15 to her activation rate for Stun [skill%].
Haar has now hit his final strength cap. He's now as strong as the Black Knight! Let that sink in.
Speaking of the Black Knight, he takes two ponderous steps forward for his turn.
Yet more reinforcements.
Now, just step over here and-
Hey, what the f-
You and I were born under the same fate.
"Same fate"? Do you also carry the mark?
Indeed. I don't know who you are fighting, or why. But attacking my kin in the desert is the same as attacking me. I will not let them leave this place alive.
My friend... May I ask your name?
When you ask someone's name, isn't it proper to give your name first?
S-sorry. I'm Micaiah.
And I am Stefan. Well met. Let's go.
Well, that just happened. Stefan is a returning character from PoR, where he was recruited in much the same obscure way as he is just now - by moving a particular character (Mordecai or Lethe) into One. Specific. Square. in a very large desert map. In fact, if you're using imported PoR data, they'll be able to recruit Stefan here. Otherwise, you have to use Micaiah. Now, let's see here...
If you've somehow managed to get this far without training Edward, Zihark or Mia, then you'll get on very nicely with Stefan. Otherwise, you'll find him to be quite substandard. He's good, but all the other trueblades are better, and have more growing room to boot.
Nevertheless, you shouldn't pass him up, for one very good reason; he comes pre-equipped with Vague Katti, the SS-rank sword, which you want.
It's quite powerful, and has a minor boost to crit rate to compliment the trueblade's innate crit rate.
Not only that, but it also grants +3 defence to the wielder, which is quite handy.
And, as a bonus, it fits in absurdly well with trueblade animations, unlike the ridiculously large Steel Blades we've had them toting around up to this point.
Haar, Nephenee, Sanaki, Marcia and Jill continue their casual murder, and-
-damnit Jill, again?! You are trying to compete with Haar. Haar. This is not the time to be pulling this shit.
Marcia fares a tad better, though only a tad.
End of turn 11.
Among the usual parade of useless attacks is another Purge.
Marcia's Resolve skill continues helping her not be hit by anything ever.
When our turn comes again, we get right back on the killing.
Ulki's first level in what feels like forever and it's thoroughly underwhelming. Why can't we have some strength?
Nephenee also gets speed and skill... and some other stuff.
Sanaki, of course, doesn't get speed. Or strength. Eh, magic and resistance though. Always handy.
This... happens too.
This has been turn 12.
This guy might have had a 62% chance of having a 20% chance of bringing Nephenee to quite low health had she not Vantage'd him.
The enemy gets nothing done, and the Black Knight takes another two ponderous steps forward.
Micaiah is probably not the best choice for fighting Numida.
Who are you, girl?
Duke Numida! I will never forget your oppression of the Daein people, or your cowardly flight from justice!
Ah, you're from Daein. You should know that I had nothing to do with that unpleasantness. That was all General Jarod's doing.
General Jarod was a scoundrel and a fiend, but at least he had a soldier's honesty in his villainy. You black-hearted senators nauseate me, weaving a dense tapestry of lies that you yourselves believe!
Jill is a much better choice.
As it turns out, lots of people have battle dialogue with Numida:
No one escapes from their past, Numida. We all have to answer for our crimes one day. Today is that day for you.
This is for the free people of Daein! Haaaa!
Don't you idealistic twits ever give up?
Ahhhh! What a fearsome beast! Only the dark god could create such a monstrosity!
What's wrong, little beorc? Frightened? If you cannot look upon me, you cannot hope to defeat me!
Ah, Duke Numida. Unbelievable that a coward like you was changed back from stone. Particularly surprising, given some of your more...impious transgressions.
I-I have no idea what you're talking about! I am a senator in good standing!
My country produces excellent spies, Your Grace. I know every atrocity you committed while in Daein. I actually hold quite a bit of incriminating evidence that would destroy you if it became public. It's a pity that all that work will be wasted, though, since this is the last day of your life.
I am Second Commander Tanith of the Holy Knights! Enemies of the apostle, beware!
How said that you still put stock in your laughable infant of a holy figure. Fool!
It's tragic, really, that the Holy Knights have wasted so much time and energy protecting a sham apostle! It's not too late, you know, to align yourself with the true chosen of the goddess.
The loyalty of the Holy Knights can only be commanded by one person, and that will never change. It is my duty and privilege to execute her orders and destroy the enemies of the apostle!
So, child, what the vice-minister said was true! Wicked infant! How dare you pretend to be divinely inspired while you heard absolutely nothing from the goddess!
Fool! Do you honestly believe that your dark god can triumph in the face of Ashera's divine majesty?
She's not my dark god. To be honest, I don't care about the gods. They have nothing to do with me.
What?! Then who do you fight for?!
I fight for my family, and I fight against tyranny. That is enough.
Marcia and Sanaki team up to deal with the two generals flanking Numida. They can only move one square at a time but both have ranged weapons, so they're something of a threat.
Haar hammers the other one.
Marcia (via Leanne) and Ulki take out the last archer.
And here's the situation as of the end of turn 13.
Marcia continues to not be hit by anything ever.
And to Stun people.
The Black Knight takes yet another two ponderous steps forward...
Well, I guess we should deal with our new dracoknight friends. First, though, Marcia cleans up the south. Yes, it's a Resolve-Stun Resolve-Corrosion.
The last person who can talk to the Black Knight is Micaiah.
I knew someone of your power wouldn't have turned to stone.
I am glad to see you're safe as well, Maiden.
Are you here to save us again?
I am only here to save you. No one else.
But, why? Why just me?
We will talk more when the battle is over. I shouldn't have said anything yet. Forgive me.
We fly our fliers up to meet the dracoknights.
Notice the lone enemy in the northeast? That's the archer that Marcia Corrosion'd waaaay back in like turn 2. He's been kept alive so we can stall the mission if we have to; we don't want to miss the last treasure. It's located where Numida was standing, so it can be a pain to get.
Anyway, that's turn 14.
First dracoknight obligingly targets Marcia. The rest fly closer to us.
The Black Knight only takes one ponderous step this time.
FOR FUCK'S SAKE GAME
This is the last treasure you can find here, and it's a hell of an item. It has two uses. One: a laguz unit can use it in battle to instantly transform and then remain transformed indefinitely for the rest of the battle. This is, of course, absurdly useful. Alternatively, two: You can sell it for a cool 37,500 gold. Something to keep in mind if you're out of money when outfitting your endgame team.
Marcia kills a dracoknight and gets a fantastic level. Haar kills a second.
Thanks to Leanne, Jill is able to come from quite a way away to dispense with the third.
Sanaki dispenses with one of the two remaining priests, and gets a terrible level.
Marcia, meanwhile, starts work on the last group of reinforcements.
End of turn 15.
One enemy falls to Marcia's counterattacks. The Black Knight takes two more steps.
Sanaki and Micaiah dispatch one of the mages.
Haar finally kills the leftover in the northeast.
Jill and Marcia each kill a guy, and we end turn 16. Looks like the Black Knight is gonna get one last kill before we're done.
While the second mage is distracted by Sothe, one of the reinforcements decides to aggravate Jill.
I... what the fuck. You were doing so well! Don't get me wrong, Jill is pretty fantastic right now, but the last few levels have hurt.
Well, let's let the man have his fun.
It is, of course, an Eclipse.
A little more cleanup...
Plus an OK level...
And Micaiah takes us out.
Maiden. I have a favor to ask of you. Will you come with me? My master awaits you at the Tower of Guidance.
The Tower of Guidance? If I may ask...who is your master?
You will see when we get there. Please take my hand. We will be there in the blink of an eye.
...I can't. I can't leave everyone behind. We have to get to the tower together.
Your allies will turn to stone with the light of judgment next shines. I do not wish for you to see it.
The light will strike again? When? Please tell me!
...Maiden. I will come for you again. Make up your mind by then.
Lekain got away, didn't he?
Yes, he did. But we'll have another chance.
I'm sure of it. I know he's going to attack us again. Don't know if that's good news or bad...
I know. We have to be ready.
Empress. Why so serious? Whatever it is, you can be sure that Sigrun and I will help you with it.
Tanith, let her speak.
When the last apostle was assassinated, and I was not yet born, Begnion went a long time without central authority. The people were frightened, both of the murder and the power vacuum. Without the goddess's voice, Begnion was lost. Sephiran once told me that when the senate confirmed my appointment as the next apostle, it was as if a sign of relief sounded across the country.
It's true. I still remember your coronation, the first time I ever saw you, Empress Sanaki. With your tiny hand in Sephiran's, you stumbled as you walked... A little girl, barely visible in the grand hallway of the cathedral. It was a moving sight.
I remember as well. The empress stepped on her cape and tripped a total of five times.
Tanith, that hardly seems appropriate.
I think the country's sigh of relief was unwarranted. I cannot hear the goddess's voice. I never could. This has perplexed me for years. At first I thought my youth was to blame, but this excuse grows thinner each year. There is no clear age at which previous apostles heard the goddess for the first time, but all of them had heard by now.
Empress, if this is about what Duke Gaddos said--
If I am not the true apostle, have I betrayed my people? Even unknowingly? You two are my most trusted friends. How would you feel about me if I were not the apostle? Be honest with me.
You would like an honest answer? Very well. It would change nothing.
If you thought that our allegiance was to the office of the apostle, well, you were wrong. Even from a young age, you have been working with Lord Sephiran to fight the senate on behalf of the people.
Our loyalty lies with you, Empress Sanaki. You will always be our empress. Please do not forget that.
...I am...blessed. Not by the voice of the goddess, but by loyalty like yours.
Be strong, Empress Sanaki. Even if you are not an apostle, you are still the one, true empress of Begnion.
Were we in more of a hurry, we could have cleared the mission in 12 turns and got 1750 BEXP for it, but I figured the treasure (and the training) was more important.
Next time: Another long lost friend comes back to us!