Part 69: (Endgame, Map 4) Requiem for an Unbelievable Emo
Your... sister... regrets all she has done. If you look closely at any of Yune's actions, and their unintended consequences, you will see they were all born of fear. Fear that you would expunge her from yourself. If you would but allow her back within you, this would surely never happen again.
It is because of her that I... I have done this thing that cannot be undone.
Every day my beloved children were killed, killed by others of my beloved children. With every death my rage and sorrow grew until I could control myself no longer. My emotions burst forth and I razed the land. Furious storms savaged the heavens, roiling waters rose in tremendous floods. Lives were lost beyond counting.
I will become a goddess to properly guide and protect my people. I will become perfect.
But... to nullify half of your being... We were terribly, monstrously wrong to suggest it. You shouldn't have to bear the weight of our foolish ideas.
I won't do it again. I love all of you, too. You paid attention to me. I don't want to go away. It would be lonely, and I don't like being lonely. I want to stay here with all of you.
If we here, of our own will, were to make a pledge to coexist, there would be no need to erase Yune, would there? In which case, we give you our solemn oath: never again will either the laguz or beorc seek the extermination of the other. Soan? Dheginsea? This is agreeable, is it not?
I do not accept your pledge.
I cannot believe you. You are living creatures created in our image. You cannot seal away your instincts with reason. You are like us. You feel profound sorrow, anger, fear... A conflict will surely arise to overwhelm your reason and discipline. You will be unable to master your emotions. And I may once again make the mistakes that have led us here. The only way to prevent this is to expunge chaos completely. Yune must not exist. My decision has not changed.
In that case, Goddess... Would you consider an alternative to such drastic measures? We shall use the power of seid magic to seal Yune in this medallion. Someday... and it may be in the far, distant future... Someday we may be able to earn your trust, Goddess. In the hope of that day arriving, refrain from annihilating Yune, please.
If the chaos and disaster that Yune begets can be averted, I have no objection. I do not know, however, if Yune will submit to such confinement.
Goddess Yune? Please hear me. I will never give up. Someday, I will see you restored to yourself. Please...
Do not look so sad. I will always be with you. I will sing to you. You will not be lonely. I promise.
Whose memories are those? I know him.
We made it. Finally...
You should know, Ashera may have changed since before her slumber. Order and chaos are meant to naturally balance each other out. If you take one away, balance is lost. I don't expect Ashera to have the merest shred of compassion. Talking to her will likely do no good.
We don't have much choice. If talking won't work, we'll have to use force. Otherwise, this has all been for nothing.
What do you mean?
Are you completely chaotic? Are you out of balance? As far as I can tell, you don't seem to lean too far in either direction.
Ashera and I see things a little differently... During my long sleep, I was wrapped in sweet, gentle music.
Yes, but more important than the song itself, I was never alone. There was always someone, singing comfort to me. Ashera shouldn't have isolated herself. She became lonely and bitter, and lost touch with her people...
What's wrong with it?
Those doors cannot be opened.
Sephiran! You're all right... I'm so relieved to see you!
Sephiran... There's something I need to tell you. I'm not a true apostle. I didn't mean to abuse your trust.
I've known that for some time, Sanaki. Don't forget that I was almost a father to you. It honestly doesn't make any difference to me whether or not you can hear the goddess.
Sephiran... Th-thank you... for having always been there for me.
Empress... Shouldn't you tell him about General Zelgius?
Yes... I suppose I should. Sephiran, Zelgius is dead... I know you put a lot of trust in him, but he was also closely allied with Daein. I'm sure you've heard of Daein's so-called Black Knight? Sephiran, the Black Knight was Zelgius.
Oh boy. Here we go.
Wha-?! Ike? What are you saying?!
A man like Zelgius could never serve conflicting interests... Never. Everything he did, he did for one master. Isn't that so, Sephiran?
Precisely. I felt it important to observe King Ashnard carefully... That was my goal.
Ashnard was famous for employing powerful men with no regard for their background or social status.
Obviously, he would have needed no convincing once he saw the bladework of General Zelgius.
Tell me, Sephiran, whose plan was that?! Ashnard's... or yours?!
Calm down, Ike! Sephiran? Would you please explain?
Sir Ike, I'm afraid your father's death was an unfortunate result of Zelgius's own personal agenda. I did not order Sir Gawain killed. However, I must admit that I did ask him to seize the medallion and hand it over to King Ashnard.
Is this the bit where he explains his master plan to us because he's certain we're all about to die?
My aim has always been to wake Ashera so that she might pass judgment on all the people of the world. What I needed was a war that would spread all across the continent. How could I achieve this? My attention turned to the young Daein prince... I could use the fiery Ashnard for my purposes. He was ambitious, a fierce warrior, and more than anything, he had an earnest desire to change the world.
We could use heron galdrar or a massive, continent-spanning war to throw the world into chaos.
Lord Sephiran, what are you saying? Are you saying you wanted this? You can't be serious!
Sanaki, my long life has shown me the people of this world deserve only destruction. The selfishness, the brutality... The disregard for others, the endlessly quarreling laguz and beorc. We have been given many chances to correct our behavior and ourselves, and have squandered them all. The only remaining hope for a peaceful, orderly world is for Ashera to wipe us all out and begin again. To fulfil my ambition of destroying all beings, I had to use you... I had to betray you.
This is some kind of monstrous joke...
Beyond just Empress Sanaki, you were trusted by a lot of people. Sephiran, I need to understand... Did you really betray all of those people?
I don't get it... Why would you wake the goddess to pass judgment on us? Tell us why! How could you want that?!
It wouldn't make any difference if I told you. You would have to live a few centuries before you could understand.
Years ago, my father went into hiding with the medallion. At the time, he got help from both you and Zelgius. Does this have anything to do with that?
Hmm, you seem to have sparked a distant memory of mine.
Answer me. Why did you do this?
This can't be happening! I won't fight you Sephiran. I can't!
Poor Sanaki.... You'll have no choice but to fight. The doors leading to Ashera are sealed by my very own magic. Killing me is your only way through.
Yeah, give it up, Le-
Goddess Yune... Why do you insist on calling me that name? I discarded it so long ago, Yune. I've changed. Lehran is a thing of the past. All I want now...is the end of all that is. Please don't stop me.
You're running out of time. At this rate, I wouldn't count on being able to face the goddess. I would hate to see you denied after coming all this way.
Well, now you know who brought you here and why...
Well, there you have it. Everything that's happened has been masterminded by this motherfucker right here. He purports to have a reason... but of course it looks like we're going to have to murder it out of him.
He is considerate enough to stand there and wait while our guys talk amongst themselves for a while.
That's all right. I know that you were in a tight spot.
I see. Then you should receive a blessing of protection from the goddess Yune.
We already have. We can fight Ashera now.
You'd lend us all of your might?
We swear upon the good name of the dragon tribe that we shall do our best.
An alternate version of this conversation plays if you killed either Nasir or Gareth. But since most of the dialogue is interchangeable, nothing is really different save the absence. If you killed both, you get nothing.
The following is a secret conversation that appears only during a Second Playthrough and only when you save both Nasir and Gareth.
This is one of the oldest and most heavily guarded secrets in all of Tellius. You'll find no trace of it in any histories or sagas.
If it's that important, maybe we should go somewhere else. Other people might hear us.
Hmm. What do you think, Nasir?
I called upon Lady Micaiah because I felt that she should know the story as well.
There will be no secrets from now on. Tell us everything.
As you wish, Your Majesty. In the dawn of this age, after the goddesses began their long slumber, the kingdom of Begnion was established. In those early days, laguz and beorc lived side by side in harmony and peace. Yes, that kingdom would become the Begnion Empire.
Despite their differences, Lehran and Altina loved each other very deeply.
The people accepted a marriage between a laguz and a beorc?
That was what King Dheginsea said. This was before the people thought of such differences. They saw only a queen and her husband.
At this time, King Dheginsea also created his own kingdom far from other laguz tribes and beorc nations. He believed that the dragon tribe was too powerful to interact equally with other tribes and peoples. That kingdom became Goldoa.
The news brought great joy. You see, the news was also quite surprising. There had been other unions between beorc and laguz, but until Altina's pregnancy, no children had ever been conceived. Indeed, hers was the first child ever to be born of beorc and laguz.
As close friends of both Altina and Lehran, both King Dheginsea and Soan rejoiced at the news. The child would be the first to carry the joined blood of both laguz and beorc. The king said that the baby would become a symbol of peace between the two peoples.
He could not transform any longer, nor could he sing galdrar.
It became apparent that the child of such a union neutralizes the laguz parent's powers. To make matters worse, the child bears only the characteristics of a beorc.
Lehran felt he was no longer a true laguz, and felt he could no longer act as a bridge between the goddess and the people of Tellius. He lost hope, and also his mind... at least temporarily.
King Dheginsea fell into despair. If people caught wind of this news, he believed it would create a deep rift between the two peoples. The king was especially concerned about the reaction from the laguz. They might interpret the birth as a herald of their eventual end. Some might even attempt to harm the child.
Lehran needed to hear the voice of the goddess then more than ever before... But he could no longer sing the galdr of release. Is that what happened?
Just so. Lehran was forced to make a very difficult decision to protect the peace between beorc and laguz. He decided to retreat into seclusion and consider the problem. Once he regained his sanity, he announced his decision.
Lehran was forced to ask the unthinkable of his wife, his aides, and close friends:
Lehran left the medallion to his tribe, moving to Goldoa under King Dheginsea's protection. He simply disappeared from history after that.
After Lehran had left and life returned to normal, Altina eventually welcomed a beorc husband. She raised the child she'd had with Lehran as though it were an ordinary beorc child, born of her new husband. Since then, marriages between laguz and beorc have been forbidden. It became known as a "crime against the goddess."
Even so, the taboo was broken several times over the next few decades. Usually no child was conceived, but when there was, it was swiftly covered up. The parents soon learned what it meant to bear a child who possessed both laguz and beorc blood. After they learned of the consequences, none of these parents ever rejected the edict forbidding it.
The child was to be raised by the beorc parent, and raised as a beorc child. That should have been enough to hide everything, end of story.
Fortunately, this mark looked very similar to the marks on those protected by spirits. They could pass as students of the dark arts for at least a few years. Unfortunately, the Branded lived much longer than beorc.
Most Branded chose to hide, living outside of ordinary society, and they disappeared into the shadows of history. Rumors had already begun to spread across Begnion, however. The Branded were shunned and cast out wherever they lived. Where the laguz held power, they persecuted the Branded and executed them in honor killings.
It was King Dheginsea's opinion that these were crimes that he had to carry on his conscience. From the beginning, he realized that he and the others in power had made a mistake. They understood that they should have revealed everything about Altina and Lehran's child. The people should have been told the truth. But since they'd kept the truth from everyone, the Branded were marked as unclean, persecuted wherever they traveled.
Father... You've had to endure this burden alone for so long.
It was the same in Lady Almedha's case. When she lost her powers after giving birth to the Mad King's son, King Dheginsea had no choice but to hide the truth from everyone. So he chose to hide Almedha from everyone. Better to deny her existence than be forced to explain long-hidden secrets.
In the process, he'd lost someone even more dear to him. Prince Rajaion. He deeply regretted his decision when he learned of the prince's death. The only choice left for King Dheginsea was to remain stubbornly neutral in all wars on the continent. He hoped--in vain--to keep the goddess from waking up before the thousand years had elapsed.
I'm such a fool... I had no idea what Father went through. All I did was deny what he fought for.
Your Majesty. You are the king now. ?You know that it is a sin to fight against the goddess, and yet you've chosen to move forward.
King Dheginsea left everything to you. You must succeed. Do not be afraid of what lies beyond. Forge ahead.
We also have time for admin. Kurth and Ena tune up their support, for +1 Atk/Def and +15 avoid - not too shabby.
Let's meet our new buddies.
Gareth is, unlike Ena, a red dragon specced like a red dragon. That means monstrously strong, and slow as molasses. He starts with S-rank Strike, which is pretty nice. Even with his low resistance, he's a big ball of survivability. He comes with the Blood Tide skill, like Ena.
Nasir is going to be our white dragon representative. He's got the stats you'd expect him to have, and he also has a Laguz Gem, bringing us up to three. To be honest, though, the fight we're about to engage in is... not exactly going to be challenging our laguz friends' staying power, and you can get the same effect with a Laguz Stone. Not that it matters, since there's only this and the very final battle left...
Nasir brings us a fourth Nihil scroll, and he has White Pool. White Pool will boost adjacent units' magic and speed by 5. That's pretty damn useful.
Both Nasir and Gareth are quite survivable as long as you keep them transformed and healed. Nasir has tons of magic and HP, so he's a great Imbue user, and Gareth can use Pure Water/Ward/terrain/healing if he has to. Even Renewal is an OK skill on Gareth, since he has more HP than anyone else we can recruit.
And now, a round of BEXP. Ike always appreciates strength.
Nice. That's strength capped... not bad for a mage.
Handy! Volke's last level caps his resistance, along with everything else save magic and luck.
Nephenee caps both strength and defence with this level. This leaves only HP and magic. Not bad at all.
Another two levels for Soren, and there goes his speed cap.
Jill gets 3 levels, including +3 strength, +2 skill, +2 luck, and +2 defence. Strength, luck and defence hit caps.
As much fun as all the Paragon + Praying has been, Sanaki has finally slipped out of usefulness, and as much as I'd like to include her in the fight against Sephiran, I'm benching her now. At least Nasir and Gareth can still contribute while standing around doing nothing.
So. This battle. What the fuck are those things?
They're Spirits. There's a kind for each element (of Anima), they attack with magic, and they can teleport anywhere on the fucking map.
Their one saving grace is that the magic they employ is unique, in the sense that it cannot crit, and it doesn't deal effective damage, ever.
Fortunately, the map features a lot of ward wood, so you can keep your less resistant guys parked there to minimise the risk. You can expect, however, lots of attacks on the vulnerable members of your team.
Speaking of terrain, you may also notice that we have several new types of terrain.
Besides the regular cover (light blue) and the ward wood (dark green, running in diagonal lines everywhere), there's also a dense blue square pattern (+5 avoid, +15 defence), some single squares of +15 avoid +10 defence (Sephiran is standing on one, of course), and a couple of 2x2 patches of Healcover (+15 avoid, 10%/turn HP recovery).
And here's the man himself. Once again, we're dealing with stat caps everywhere and lots of bullshit.
The good news is that he's not as dangerous an attacker as Deghinsea, in that it's actually theoretically possible to survive multiple attacks from him. His defence looks low, but that Rudol Gem in his inventory is giving him an arbitrary +10, and he's going to get another +10 from terrain, so actually, his defence is higher than his resistance. His speed looks scary, but he's actually being weighed down by that Creiddylad tome, so he's actually rated at 32 AS. He doesn't really use that Rewarp staff, though, so that's one thing to be thankful for.
Corona isn't a particularly worrying skill if you have more than 52 HP... but obviously you don't want to be getting complacent. Mantle, on the other hand, is more of a thing, especially since Sephiran has 40 luck. Don't worry though. He's still got a dick move up his sleeves, which I'll explain as such time as I carefully avoid it.
Oh, and he has AoE attacks. Did I mention he has AoE attacks? 65 Mt, 8 range, and thank-fuck-for 5 Mt lost per square of range.
Protip: Kill him fast.
I'm having some fun with Rolf's skills. Sadly he won't be able to use any of them, but it's nice to see the combo on someone.
Gareth and Nasir also get thrown Satori Signs, since we've got them lying around and everything. Gareth also gets a Talisman, boosting him to 11 -> 22 resistance.
The Thunder Spirits, and the Thunder Spirits alone, are slow enough for Kurth and other 32 speed-havers to double. Not that it matters since he can one shot this one, but there you go.
The magic triangle/s is/are in full effect with these guys, though.
They also don't get battle animations because they're just so generic.
Sometimes it's best to stand on a wardwood tile and attack from range than charge in with the melee weapons.
Of course, most of the spirits start out on tiles not adjacent to wardwood tiles, so you kinda have to attack from range if you want to be kept safe from magic.
The wonderful thing about having Nasir around is that his speed boost will frequently push people over the speed threshold needed to double enemies. And he boosts magic too! Soren and Nasir are going to get along very nicely.
Even Rolf is forgoing his range advantage for the extra resistance. Of course, he can one-shot the thing anyway...
These ones are all floating over cover tiles. This is annoying, because Ike can't kill them in one round now.
We attack using Parity! Parity is quite useful in these maps. Ike takes some damage in the process, but it's not like we have four guys here capable of using Physic.
Jill is not only moving to a wardwood tile, she's moving to a wardwood tile next to Kurth.
Reyson transforms. When transformed, he has high enough resistance to resist the spirits on his own while transformed.
End of the first turn.
Well, here we go.
All that pomp and ceremony, for... 2 damage to Nolan.
Two spirits immediately round on Soren because he can't counterattack at that range.
Some new ones warp in, and that's it. The spirits surrounding Sephiran all stay put. There's a reason for this.
There's a general mad rush forwards, and Soren gets started on Sephiran.
One of the attacks connects at least.
Elincia gets an... acceptable level.
This won't actually accomplish anything (Mantle), but it'll feel good.
If you're the one who's been pulling the strings behind all this, please tell me... Who... Who am I?
...I don't know. All I know is that you are a powerful practitioner of magic... I know you were an orphan born and raised in Daein. But that is all Izuka ever told me.
I think I'm going to be ill...
Be assured that you were essential to Daein's reconstruction, which was a vital step towards waking the goddess. Fortunately, Izuka was able to use you to execute my plan.
You are going to pay! You are going to... BLAAARRRGH!
We start clearing out the spirits around Sephiran.
Here's the thing about Sephiran and Spirits. The Spirits surrounding him all have a hidden souped-up guard skill. If any of them are still alive, they will intercept any attack that would kill Sephiran. Also, they respawn every turn. That's just fucking great. If you don't know about this, you can very easily end up wasting your offensive, and then Sephiran will proceed to recover all his HP and kill like three of your guys with AoE and siccing Spirits on you.
Nolan takes out the second.
Ike, Rolf, Fiona and Kurth will be doing the honours.
Fiona takes out the third spirit and Kurth gets a shot in on Sephiran.
And this is why you send high HP or Nihil bearing units only.
Rolf removes the final spirit...
No, not enough, not enough...
Why do you wish to know? You would achieve nothing by learning my reasons. You would help no one. I lost faith in lesser beings, and desire an end to them. That's all.
So why did you save me on that day?
May I ask you a favor, Ike? Tell me how you feel about it now. Can you bear recalling those horrific memories?
Yes... I'm fine, now. But I suppose at the time I wouldn't have been able to take it.
All beings endure tragedies for as long as they continue to live. It has always been the case that suffering is unavoidable. And this grim reality plays out over and over, in every country, under every ruler... As long as there are beings who feel, they will feel pain.
So what? We should all just give in and die? Put it behind you. Deal with it.
Do not make light of this...
I'm not. Sephiran, I'm extremely grateful that you once helped me through a terrible time. But I have accepted that occasionally we all have to deal with hard times. I've had pain, I've had suffering, and I have gotten up and moved on. I don't try to forget what happened that day. I just accept it... And neither that or anything else will ever stop me.
You are a strong man, Ike, son of Gawain. But not everyone is as strong as you...
Fortunately, I had a Battle Save made not two actions ago. Let's reload that.
Can't believe it myself. But the senators made an announcement! It must be true!
Pardon me? Has something happened to the apostle?
Oh, my lord sage! The apostle! She's...she's dead.
According to the senators' announcement, she was assassinated by the Serenes herons.
They look so gentle, like they couldn't harm a fly, but... They're nothing but beasts, no better than the other sub-humans!
Peace, friends! This is simply not possible. The heron tribe could never assassinate anyone, they...
She's dead, isn't she? Those damned sub-humans... Every last one of 'em's got to die! For the apostle!
That's the truth! They're nothing but monsters! Oh, I wish I could kill them myself!
You can! Grab a weapon! Grab a torch! Come on! We'll burn that forest to ash and wipe 'em all out.
...No, you mustn't...
GWAAAAAHHHH! Wings! From the sage's back! Wings... He's one of them! He's a monster!
You're nothin' but a lying sub-human piece of filth! How dare you pretend to be one of us! Get him!
The medallion must be quelled. I cannot allow this madness to come to pass! Judgment...the goddess's judgment...
...Lekain. You. Asshole.
Ungh! NO! Chaos... madness... So much... anger... so much... pain...
Why? Why was my family taken? Why? Why was my forest destroyed? The apostle did not deserve this fate... Killed by her innocence... her murderers free to seize power... This is monstrous! This world does need beorc. And the laguz...are deeply flawed. There is no need to wait for the covenant's thousand years.
Yune...help me. What should I do? ...What? Really? ...OK. I'll try.
Sephiran! You can hear me?! S-somebody help! He's wounded!
I'm sorry, Sanaki. The doors leading to Ashera won't open while he's alive. I can't save him.
That's correct. Thank you, Yune. I am sincerely grateful.
I'm sorry that this was your only goal, but I am happy to help you achieve it. Sephiran, I see now what you were going through. It must have been hard. I wish I could have helped you.
Please. Don't mourn for me. I'm not worth it.
I'm so sorry. I wanted to help you! I really did!
Forget about me. This path was my decision... my tragic mistake.
This is... the Rudol Gem. Wear it... in memory of me. It will protect you. Please forgive me... I'm sorry I... lied to you.
Zel...gius...is waiting. ...Al...ti...na...
Now, if you're on your first playthrough, there's a brief "noooooo!" from Sanaki, and then the party moves on to fight Ashera. But we're not on a first playthrough! We're on a second playthrough! And we did some stupid secret bullshit too! That means we get something a little more... interesting.
Ahh... Just in time.
You saved him! Thank you! Micaiah, thank you!
Micaiah is completely spent. She's sorry, but she won't be able to fight in the next battle. But there's no time. Hurry!
Y-your life? Sephiran saved the life of a goddess? Is there something you haven't told us about Sephiran, then?
He'll wake up in just a moment. Then you can ask him directly.
Oh. All right, I'll do that.
Why did you save him?
Should I not have?
I can think of a few reasons why you shouldn't have, yes!
Take it easy on him! He's had a hard day!
...unh... ...hhhuuunnn.... I... I'm alive?
Goddess Yune... Why? Why did you--
Because I want you to live! You've always taken care of me, and I couldn't bear it if it ended like this.
But...I've lost all my hope. All hope in the world and the people in it... I did what I did...for future generations, so they wouldn't have to live in this world. Please, Yune, let me die.
I won't, Lehran. I won't!
Lehran? Now he's some kind of hero-saint?
If death is what you really want, then I'm not going to let it happen on my watch. I don't care what you've gone through. I don't care how much you've suffered. What you've done is unforgivable.
Stop it, Ike!
You... You're asking me to turn my back on goddess Ashera?
If you really want the total extinction of beorc and laguz alike, then you can just lie here like a lump. If not, this is your last chance to start rectifying your mistakes. Think hard on that.
If you took longer than ten turns to finish Sephiran, I don't know what to tell you.
Next time: The Very Final Battle.