So Anakin was pretty fun, right? We'll be back with him shortly, but first, it's time for something almost completely unrelated.
Thank you, Captain Exposition.
: I think it's safe to assume the area is abandoned. We should probably get a move on it before somebody finds us. We've been here for a couple days now...
: Magnus must not have thought to defend such a remote area. Few would depict anybody attacking a rural fort.
As opposed to all those fortresses you see in the middle of urban areas?
: Hey, Kelik. Somebody else is here. I can feel it.
: What? You sure?
: No, but...
: ... Althares, when are you going to teach me how to do that?
More importantly, why can't you do that when I'm in control?
: Kelik, you appear surprised.
: Hm? Something happen?
: Shut up! It's you! Don't just pop-in like that!
: Ah. Sorry mate.
: As if Althares wasn't enough... I hear somebody else coming.
: Seriously? What's with the timings...
It's one of the disadvantages of being a protagonist, man. Trouble always has a way of finding you.
: You look like the one... are you the mercenary Kelik?
: Tell me your name and I'll tell you mine.
: ...I'm Ricardo, a humble messenger.
: ...My name is Kelik Zenair. What are you here for, and under what flag do you fall?
A last name. That's a rarity among FE protagonists, right up there with miss Jill Fizzart.
: I'm a messenger from Solum's Rebellion. There's terrible news to relay. Sir Siegfried was captured by General Howard two days ago.
: What the...
On the plus side, we got an opportunity to see Siegfried laugh like a psycho.
: You didn't know about this?
: Right after Count Pellenore's defeat I dismissed myself to meet up here.
: There is more. The message requests that you aid Anakin in Regalia and continue the resistance. Commander Siegfried's troops split apart after being cornered by Howard's forces. The rebellion was ordered to regroup in Atheya. I myself was sent to convey this message, though I had a difficult time finding where you were. I arrived here off of rumors and luck.
: ...I've little to say at this point. Levion, what do you think?
: We can join them... or continue on our own. Between the two, I have no preference.
That's some tactical advisor you have there.
: It's too sudden to make a decision right now. Ricardo, thank you for your efforts. Your job as a messenger here is done. See to it that you make it out of here safely.
: I see... Whatever may happen, I pray that we can restore the balance between the countries once again.
: Go ahead.
: I have to go to Atheya now.
: Oh, right... So he's there now, is he? It's your vengeance, and you're on your own schedule, so do what you want, Tekun.
Gotta say that I'm not really sold on these guys. The majority of them appear to be cynical in some manner or just really snarky, and I'm kind of glad that they don't take center stage all the time.
: By the way, were the bandits we were hired to take out any trouble?
: Nope. You don't see any scratches, do you? The villagers were a bit worried one person wouldn't be enough, but no one in this group will lose to simple bandits.
: Heh, that's true. I guess all bandits are the same. Weak.
Don't sell them too short. They're starting to learn about the idea of armor.
: That's where we're headed next.
: Hm... No worries. I'll come back in one piece.
Then, bad guys.
: Dammit, you're right. They've already cornered us... How did they get in here without us noticing?
: The soldiers... I recognize them. They appear to be a part of General Howard's personal legion.
: Recognition of an enemy? That's unheard of.
Not when their boss is wearing half a Darth Vader mask. That's the sort of thing that sticks out.
: Howard? The one who captured Siegfried?
: Yes, indeed.
: Urgh... they must have come from the other side of the fortress. How'd they find us?
: It's possible that someone saw the messenger ride this way. Does it really matter though? I feel unsafe just standing here. Can we leave?
: If we get into a fight with him, we won't be able to focus on escaping and we'll get trapped fighting outrageous numbers.
Hey! Stop reading the chapter's code!
: We should try and do as little fighting as we need to. Our priority is to escape through the back entrance. Even if you can take Howard, Levion, don't get near him. It's not worth the risk of getting surrounded.
: Once one of us reaches that area, we can head out of this place. We're only three people. We can escape quickly.
: We'll do that. Levion, I need you to find an area that we can use as a base for attacking Yulia and conquer it. Honestly, an old fortress or encampment will suffice for us. I have a feeling we'll need it for later. You're also free to do anything else you think might be helpful.
: But didn't Siegfried say to regroup in Atheya...?
: Didn't Siegfried get captured?
: Whatever... I don't care...
There's loyalty for you.
: Also, we can't forget that I had Karina scout out Regalia. If I'm right, the rebels Siegfried sent there a while ago should still be there by the time Karina gets there. She'll take care of things with them for the time being, but we'll have to meet up with her and Sieg's forces eventually.
Now then, get primed for what will be the most
: And to be honest, I had already made my decision a while ago. I just didn't want to risk that soldier spreading the word around. More importantly, Magnus is blocking the path to my goals... no, all of our goals, in more ways than one, and I won't let my pride stop me from taking the necessary measures to put Magnus in its proper place. We're all sick of these stuck-up soldiers looking down on us anyhow. It's only about time we show our faces and hit'm where it hurts. And now, if there are no objections to that, let's do this.
I'm beginning to take back my objections to Anakin as a motivational speaker.
: Objections? Hell no. I'm all fired up now... and more than I've ever been!
You can try to sell it all you want, but that really didn't do it for me.
Can't say this rendition of the Ridley battle theme really appeals to me either. There's too much repetition for not enough of a payoff.
So now that we've got control of him, here's the prat in question, sporting a brand-new weapon. This is not the Raison Runes blade, but it's good in its own right. Notice that, much like with Karina's HP growth, Kelik's sword has a very odd number of uses. I'm not sure why Blazer picked that one in particular.
Otherwise, he's got very good bases for his level, and his growths are pretty darn good too. Some folks have asked me, just for personal reasons, not to use Kelik in my playthrough of this game, and I'm sorry to say that I'm going to do it anyway. He's just too good for me to not use him just because I don't like him.
Levion is just right overkill for this part of the game, and his experience will show that. We will still be using him on this map, for reasons that will become immediately apparent.
Also of note: he starts with a C Rank support with Kelik. There are supports in this romhack, and I'll be showing them off once we get started with unlocking them.
Howard can be beaten by Levion, but he'll chew Althares and Kelik right up. That's fine though, because we're not supposed to fight him.
Should we do so, the game will not only poke fun at us, but...
Yup. What's annoying though is that Howard is not set to just stay put and stand guard. If you come within range, he will come riding up to hit you in the face, and then these guys will still act as if we were the one picking fights. What that means is that a decent portion of the map is off-limits for fighting in. How much?
Oh, just about this much. That might not look bad at first, but we haven't gotten to the other annoying part of this map.
First off, Althares will be lucky if he gets to do any fighting, since he'll be forced to take part in looting. And yes, we REALLY want this loot.
Kelik, meanwhile, gets to show off his new toy.
Despite appearances, the Flamberge is not, in fact, a magic weapon. Instead, it's a slightly more powerful sword with a ranged option. What that means is that it's subject to weapon triangle penalties when fighting lances, even if we're shooting fireballs at range.
This segues nicely into my other problem with this chapter:
You remember how Shon's intro had him fighting axe users, and Anakin's chapter that we just finished gave him a good support team that he could use his motivating powers on? Well, Kelik's chapter here is full of lances.
Lots of javelins too, so if you want Kelik to contribute, he has to expend the valuable uses of his Flamberge to do it, especially since a lot of these enemies are too strong for his iron sword.
Oh, and a lot of them like to hide in Howard's attack range, so if you want to deal with them using Levion, you pretty much have to fall back and waste time, since he doesn't have a ranged option.
: Do not underestimate the mercenaries. If they surrender, then take them peacefully. These men are far stronger than our occupation brigades expected. I don't want any man to die trying to kill this group...
: Yes, sir!
This is also absolute bull, since they won't hesitate to jam a spear up Kelik's nose if they can.
But enough negativity. We've got presents to unwrap.
One Fire Emblem tradition that Blazer thankfully did away with is the desert scavenger map, just giving us the boots outright. I think I know exactly who's going to get them, and it's not Kelik.
Another problem that you can run into by using the Flamberge is that Kelik isn't quite good enough to dodge attacks when he's at a weapon triangle disadvantage, but he's still too good when it comes to killing enemies in return. Naturally, this means that enemies can and will do giant suicide rushes at him, wearing him down through attrition.
On the plus side, that means that he levels fast.
Yes, of course there are reinforcements. Why wouldn't there be?
Darn right I'm keeping this.
Another issue our moody friend here has is that he's basically a slightly beefier myrmidon, meaning that he can't take hits worth beans. This will be problematic.
He starts with an Elixir for a reason, after all.
Fortunately, some of the enemies also have vulneraries, meaning that we can get them out of our air for a few turns.
I think I went through almost half of the Flamberge's uses in this map alone.
Though the levels were obviously worth it.
Sheesh, these numbers are crazy.
I had to break this wall to let Althares in, but the treasures are honestly not worth getting. One's this Mine here (that I actually plan to use, as opposed to the other mine), and the other is a Chest Key. A means to unlock a chest hidden in a chest...how poignant.
But as time is running low, and we really ought to be going, I first have Kelik clear a path here.
I think I see which direction he's headed in.
Then utilizing the power of Rescue, I have Levion carry Kelik over to the exit.
Even with the penalty from carrying someone, Levion can still easily hold his own.
This will leave Althares exposed, but that's fine. With the amount of health we invested into him during Siegfried's mode, he can take hits like a champ.
One last guy desperately tries to stop us from leaving. It doesn't work out.
Oh, and if you're curious:
One complaint I have about Blazer's custom animations is that they lack a lot of smoothness. Some interstitial frames would have helped with that a bit, as Kelik here attacks kind of jerkily.
As we make ready to leave, I take Levion's gear away. He'll be back with fresh stuff, so why not?
Let's blow this popsicle stand. I should mention that, as Althares mentioned, any person could have stopped here to end the chapter. I just thought it appropriate that Kelik would be the one to do it.
: If we run off into the forest, we should be able to evade their cavalry.
: Right! Let's blaze through this forest!
And that was Chapter 12. Pretty short chapter, but really annoying for the time it takes. This is definitely not a way to get acquainted with using Kelik, since it makes him a liability that has to be supported by Levion in order to survive.
This game is ridiculous.
Weapon Ranks: C in swords
HP: 23 (80%) Lck: 7 (55%)
Str: 10 (50%) Def: 7 (35%)
Skl: 10 (55%) Res: 5 (25%)
Spd: 13 (55%) Con: 9
It's been said that Kelik is basically a Blazer self-insert. Can't say as I'd really go that far, but he is unusually overpowered compared to the rest of the cast, with great bases and growths. His defensive stats aren't fantastic, but he'll able to dodge a lot of things and hit them back with great power. Also, he's got a support with Althares that boosts crit chance, and the two of them together with Tekun, who we'll see shortly, can be an overwhelming force.
On the negative end, he's got a forced support with Levion, who we won't see again for a long, long time. Speaking of the man:
Weapon Ranks: A in swords, C in lances, A in axes
HP: 52 (95%) Lck: 12 (15%)
Str: 20 (25%) Def: 20 (25%)
Skl: 22 (40%) Res: 12 (25%)
Spd: 16 (20%) Con: 14
Our first genuine Jeigan, Levion is still a very good character. His growths aren't anything exciting, but his bases have given him a definite use in the party, especially since Paladins can use every weapon type in FE7. Too bad that he's gone and won't be back for about ten chapters, at which point the enemies will have mostly caught up with him. Thank you very much, Blazer.