Last time, we had three cavaliers in function, if not in name. I began to wonder when we'd find a different type of unit.
On the way to do the rebelling thing, Siegfried and Co. stopped at the establishment of a famous blacksmith. There were other people, but Siegfried figured that they were customers.
Siegfried isn't a good judge of character.
Meet Kelik, a very important character, which I'm sure you could tell by his unique sprite.
He's facing down Jaled, yet another Armor Brigand, who happens to be working for Magnus. Let's see how he does.
Yup. If you couldn't tell by him being a swordsman, Blazer really wants us to think this character is cool, but he's only 90's cool, the kind of cool that just embarrasses you when you look at it.
After the not-so-graceful beating he received, Jaled retreats back to the throne. Believe it or not, this dialogue is actually very accurate with mechanics, but we'll see that shortly.
Meanwhile, another character makes her appearance.
Down, Siegfried. You're in, what, your mid-to-late 30's? Stop creeping on ladies ten years younger than you.
Anyway, this is Tamiko, a cleric. She's concerned about the blacksmith, who's being held hostage and forced to make weapons for the bandits.
Tamiko, being a healer, wants to aid the party, but she's actually going to be a bit out of her league. You'll see what I mean.
Tamiko comes well-prepared for her job. Her stats may be low, but she'll be able to catch up pretty quickly. Just not on this map.
Kelik's going to be annoying this chapter, since he's guaranteed to kill whoever he's attacking, and that means less experience for us. We can try to recruit him, but...you'll see.
Hey, looks like someone got Jaled that Elixir he asked for, and good thing too, since he's still sporting his injuries from the last fight. Theoretically, if we got him to down his entire elixir, we could steal one of his axes, but why would you do that?
Anyway, here's the reason why Tamiko's a liability this fight. Not only are there archers about, but a lot of the axe users have hand axes. Until we clear them out, having her go within range is just suicide.
So let's clear them out. These forest tiles will make a good staging area to clear out the lower portion of the map. I'd definitely recommend going low, since you'll just get overwhelmed otherwise.
Meanwhile, Siegfried takes the village. He and Kelik have business with one another.
No, it's not a Spear, just a Javelin. Gotta make a distinction about that.
For the time being, Tamiko's going to stick around down here. She'll be able to swoop in if needed, but she'll be out of range.
The gimmick of this chapter, I guess, is that Jaled is going to be gradually healing his HP back, which might fool you into thinking you need to rush. Honestly though, you can take your time.
The experience wasting begins.
Oh, I love this kid.
Meanwhile, down low, Shon becomes the center of attention.
I love forest tiles.
Yes, it is possible to lose Kelik on this map, and as tempting as it is, he's somewhat important.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on your point of view, he will move and attack during the ally phase.
And due to how the AI prioritizes targets, he'll deal with the archers first, which is good, because they're the biggest threat to him.
Protagonists, my friend. You didn't have a chance.
Because I'd like to take at least some of that experience, Siegfried moves within range of Kelik's aggressors.
And Shon weakens...
...Pulverizes the mercenary, netting him a level.
I don't care that he skated past two of the most important stats. It's more than one stat, and it works for me.
And Corben steps off of cover to wear down the hand axe brigands.
As expected, the brigands would rather try their luck against Siegfried than Kelik.
Still doesn't help them.
Despite Corben being an easier target, the AI still makes a try for Shon. Curious.
Although he does attract an archer.
Since I can't kill that brigand in one turn, Kelik's going to get him instead, so I focus my efforts on drawing in the enemies standing in front of the structure.
And Corben gets his own level. It's...
Well, he got speed, at any rate.
With only one enemy able to get to her, it's safe to move Tamiko up now.
Especially since Blazer's decision to give Vulneraries to a lot of enemies makes them a lot more likely to run and heal up. And since the AI doesn't know when they're healed enough, this archer's going to keep running until he's back to full. Works for me.
As expected, a lot of enemies try to pile on Siegfried, but that's not a good idea.
Not in the slightest. There's a reason why giving Siegfried kills is absolutely fine.
Moving Corben too close to this brigand made him choose to go down instead.
But that's fine. Corben's too fast to care.
And Tamiko's okay too.
Though it's not a bad idea to keep enemies off of her, regardless.
Getting close to another level next chapter. Blazer's decision to make maps larger and more populous really accelerates people's development.
Funny thing about Tamiko's healing, by the way.
All of Tamiko's staves grant 10 additional experience per use. This might have been intentional on Blazer's part, or it might be due to an autopatch that FEditor, a Fire Emblem editing tool, applies to ROM's. Either way, I'm grateful, since it means that Tamiko here is going to keep up with everyone else, easy. She might even pass the party after a certain point.
After another unnecessary crit, it dawns on me that I'm still using the Piercing Sword. I really need to pay more attention to that stuff.
Now then, let's nip this AI feeding frenzy in the bud, shall we?
Except we can't, because Kelik is a loner who doesn't need anyone else to help him with his problems. He is so 90's.
Before you leave this map, you absolutely have to visit this house here with Corben. It's of the utmost importance that you do that.
Because Corben lets himself in and finds...
A secret weapon.
In FE7 proper, the Emblem weapons were reskinned iron weapons of the same type. Here, they're a little bit more special, since they're effective against all enemies. It's not as great as it sounds, since effectiveness only doubles weapon might instead of tripling it, but that's still a point higher than a regular lance, AND it's infinite-use. Whoever equips this will never need an Iron Lance again. Really handy.
It's also the first of a four-piece set that forms a gaiden requirement 20+ chapters from now, so don't miss the other ones either. How would you know that it's there and that you need Corben to get it? Not sure, but this secret gets even better.
You visit the house with Shon? Another Piercing Sword. With Siegfried?
A Talisman! With Tamiko?
A friggin' Rescue staff! Although it's called the Savior staff in this game. Sounds great? Here's the kicker: you can only visit this house once. If you get the Talisman, no Emblem Lance for you, and the reward for completing the Emblem Weapons sidequest is very, VERY good. So for the sake of future rewards, these possible winnings will have to be set aside.
Back with Kelik, one of the AI enemies scores a lucky hit on him.
This immediately sets the rest of the enemies into a single-minded attempt to take him down, since they sense a possible one-turn kill.
What this translates into is two dead brigands on the enemy phase, and then this one in the ally phase. It's tempting to just rescue him and dump him on the other side of the map, but that'd take longer.
At the very least, we can finally clear out the bottom area and send Siegfried after the boss.
Protagonists. We can do whatever we want.
We can't do a lot of damage because, you know, Armor Brigand, but every little bit helps.
That is, except for the part where Kelik almost got himself killed because the allied AI was trying to make me lose. Unfortunately for the AI's efforts, our 90's boy was too good.
Still, we don't want to risk Jaled killing him on the enemy phase, so we have to kill him first. Corben weakens him...
And Siegfried brings it home.
Should have drank your Elixir, friend. Now it's mine.
As Tamiko grinds out a little experience fixing people's wounds, we seize and finish.
Hello, Jake from Shadow Dragon. Siegfried had commissioned him to make a weapon, and he created something that only Siegfried could wield, a Prf weapon, if you will.
Hmm, Tamiko and Raikiri. Seems like our hack's author is very fond of Japanese names, which seems a little off in this otherwise European setting. I don't have an issue with it, myself, but I can see why people would find that odd.
More to the point, this new weapon is effective against mages, which means that we have, more or less, an instant kill shot against all spellcasters. What sort of might are we multiplying?
Ah yeah. This thing's going to be fighting more than just spellcasters. It's just that good.
Don't have a merchant, so I had to drop a Vulnerary for it, but it's fine. These are commonplace enough.
Surprise, surprise. Tamiko, who used to live in Magnus, wants to aid Siegfried in his fight against Magnian aggression. But what about Kelik?
Well, he's not so receptive. The following conversation is hard to summarize in words, so let this highlight reel speak for me:
Kelik and Siegfried in a nutshell, ladies and gentlemen.
Next Time: We acquire some new talent. This game is starting to pick up.
Weapon Ranks: E in staves
HP: 18 (65%) Lck: 4 (30%)
Mag: 4 (45%) Def: 3 (25%)
Skl: 4 (45%) Res: 6 (40%)
Spd: 5 (40%) Con: 4
Tamiko's average in just about everything, which isn't a great position to be in. Still, whether through accident or on purpose, she'll have a fast experience growth, and if worse comes to worst, she's always a healer. She'll need all the luck she can get, is all I'm saying.