On to better things. This chapter is actually one of my favorites in the latter half of the game.
: I'm trusting in you to find the King and help protect him. We can't let Magnus get to him first, no matter what.
: Of course. I will take my leave, then.
I should note that Levion's been with us for all this time, but he just hasn't joined the party for battles. Don't ask me why.
: I've sent the messengers to everyone you told me to. I also sent a message to Chief Haas of the Phora, per Siegfried'(sic) request. Siegfried said that Chief Haas is a strong ally.
Not as strong anymore, honestly.
: Good. Speaking of Siegfried, how is he doing?
: He's still a bit anxious. He's been acting odd as of late, but... it's getting worse and worse. Do you think his time in prison hurt him?
: Probably, but... I'm not sure it's just that. I mean, he's always been sort of a reckless commander. I met him in the early days of his rebellion. I noticed that he usually just stormed fortresses without much thought of the consequences. And even now, it's as if though he's willing to throw any amount of lives away, as long as he defeats Magnus.
Hooray. Somebody's finally getting it.
: Hey! Don't talk about him like that! It's not THAT bad! Siegfried's only lost one battle. We've dominantly had success. I'm sure he's just under the weather. We should help him out.
: Ah! You snuck up on me.
: Alright Anakin. Let's go help the wounded.
: What? Help the wounded? Since when do you want to help-
: Let's. Go.
: O-Okay... Sorry Shon, gotta run.
You know guys, if there's someone who ought to know if there's something wrong with Siegfried, it'd probably be his own son. Just saying.
We now cut to the area where our chapter takes place.
: I can't do that. If you're lying, Master Galagar won't have any mercy on me. Come with me. Once we finish this mission, we'll release your commander.
: That wasn't part of the deal, scoundrel. Our terms were clear. Don't feign ignorance.
: Oh, but I was informed that your comrade Ben did not follow through with the plan to the end, and he remains with the rebels...
The fellow with the monocle is named Eligor, and is it just me, or does his side of the argument seem a lot more reasonable?
: You're changing the subject. You think I'm a fool?
: Thus he technically broke our contract. It is directly related to our discussion.
: This is not a discussion. You will release Captain Drake, on your honor.
: Tsch... I'm afraid I cannot. Master Galagar is in charge of prisoners. If we lose this battle, he will definitely not allow your "Captain" to be released.
: You back-stabbing bastard... So this is how Magnus does its business. I'm going to destroy the rebel army. And after that, I will be back for your life.
Obviously, Eligor is using his leverage to force Risk to fight, but at the same time, there's nothing he said that didn't make sense with what we've been shown so far.
At the other end of the stage...
: You've grown more than I anticipated...
: G-General Levion! What are you doing here? How did you find us?
: I have much to explain. First, please recognize my alliance with you.
: I can't imagine you ever being our enemy, Levion. After all, you were once one of Blaine's greatest Generals...
One fade to exposition later...
: To his dying breath, he was thinking of Blaine...
: Scum! How could you kill him?! How could you...
: ...My apologies, Your Majesty. He had become deafened by the death of his comrades.
: ...It is a terrible loss. But somehow, we must move on.
: The rebellion is coming here as we speak. However, I fear Magnus may soon find this location as well.
: They can't possibly find us so soon. We are hidden by the trees, surrounded by mountains, far from civilization.
: Fear not. We shall protect you when the time comes.
Back to the rebellion.
: I apologize for anything I may have said. Sometimes war gets to us, myself especially, I suppose.
: You don't have to apologize, General. I just want to make sure you're okay.
: And you don't have to say "General", but you do anyway.
: It's proper etiquette--being respectful.
: So is apologizing.
Why are they even having this argument? Suddenly...
: We've had another take his commanding role, but....
: But since he left, he could easily relay information on where we're going, or anything else.
: Dammit... I never saw this coming.
: Neither did I. Risk was with us for a while, but never fought in the main division. He had us fooled. None of us expected him to kill the night guards and set fire to our supplies...
Show, don't tell, Blazer. All of our weapons and items are fine, so this doesn't even make sense.
: Well, we can figure Risk out later. For now, let's just hurry to the King's hideout. We have to protect the King.
That's a...lot of troops.
: We've found them! We've found the King! Once we kill him, an entire nation will be ours! And I will be one of its leaders! Come, soldiers! For our future glory, kill the King!
What, was Eligor on a loudspeaker? How'd you even hear that?
: Alright, everyone! Hold out! They can't have too many troops deployed so far out from their base, and the recruits in the other divisions should be here soon. If we can stand our ground, our forces may outnumber their own before long! Until then, we must survive!
But before we do that, we've got promotions to hand out.
That constitution is still pathetic for a spear user, but now at least she can branch out into swords.
And Kevin's constitution is just perfect for learning axes. Plus that speed gain just makes me feel all warm inside.
Now then, there's no pre-battle dialogue, so let's hop right to it.
Chapter 21 is a real meat grinder. Almost every enemy is going to be coming right at us, and we start out in a pretty rough position. There's a decent variety of enemies such that high defense or high resistance units can't just tank the whole horde too. Surviving the initial assault takes a bit of strategy and placement, but if you can do it, the rest of this chapter shouldn't pose too much of a challenge.
Rather nice player phase theme too. One of my favorites.
As always, defense maps can be won by killing the commander instead. Eligor's a unique spellcaster class, the Sorcerer, because in FE7 Druids couldn't actually use Anima magic. If he has a major problem, it's that speed of his. Most of our units have enough HP to take a high-powered blast of magic to the face, but he can't take too many hits from our guys in return, so he'll have to depend on being able to finish people in one shot.
Levion's joining the party officially now, and he's the tank paladin to Howard's more speedy version. I typically use Levion more often, because what I want from my prepromotes is the ability to just lay into the enemy side without too many worries, and he's the guy for it.
Fun fact: if you pit Howard against Levion in Chapter 12, Levion tends to wipe the floor with him. Just thought I ought to share that. Don't know what happens to the story if Howard gets killed there, but I imagine that Blazer assumed that no player would actually be silly enough to try.
Leopold's here too, but he's only an NPC guarding the Blaine King. And no, that's not just me being formal.
The man is literally just called Blaine King. You might think that we're supposed to protect him, and there is a death quote if such an event occurs, but...well, you'll see.
Risk is over by Eligor, and he's quite a bit stronger than Ben. Of note, the weapon he's carrying is called the Undying Sword, and true to its name, the weapon has infinite uses, with 10 might, 9 weight, and 90 hit. It's not even restricted to myrmidon-types. The only drawback to it is the A rank requirement.
Now that the introductions are over, it's time to make a defensive wall. You don't want to rush into the enemy forces, because there are so many of them that your weakest units will get swarmed and worn down.
Even so, there are some noticeable weak points in our defenses.
Kelik is honestly better than Shuuda in every way. It's hard to justify continuing to bring him out on these things.
For instance, Kelik will actually get defensive stats from time to time.
: I will hurry you to safety. Leave the fighting to the others.
: Let us go, then. The battlefield is no place for a King.
: As you wish.
I mean, I guess you still have to guard the throne, but having the guy you're defending just walk off the battlefield is kind of unsporting.
You want to smack down these folks on the bottom as soon as possible, because they can flank your forces pretty badly while you're dealing with the folks coming from the left.
It's nice having an axe user with a speed growth.
I can't wait for Storm to get back.
In other news, this is Ace's chapter for redemption. Don't know what got into him, but he really strove to impress me in this run.
Seriously, I can't keep putting up with stuff like this. Your days are numbered, Shudda.
I don't know why I love this crit animation so much, but I do. It's probably the charm of it.
A magician with so much defense is also refreshing.
Like Itsuke, for instance.
One thing that you have to watch out for on this map is that the enemies all have a very respectable amount of skill. You're going to be seeing 40-60% chances pretty often, even on your dodgier folks.
Guess we'll have to take steps to correct that.
Jeez, and that's after a couple turns of wearing them down. This chapter's got almost the max amount of troops, and almost all of them are set to come after you.
Fortunately for the people who might have gotten unlucky with their units, this chapter gives you an out.
: The rest of our troops are on the way!
For the next few turns, four cavaliers are going to be spawning to help us. Or, depending on your point of view, get in the way and/or steal our experience.
Guess we'll have to take it all before they get here.
I've never seen a myrmidon with this much defense.
Good job actually getting some magic this time, at least.
Using her natural speed and the support from Ben, Emma is a very effective dodge tank.
Did I mention the sky-high resistance?
Kevin could stand to get more resistance himself, but being a physical wall is good too.
Naturally, having reinforcements on our side means that the enemy will also spawn reinforcements. Our progress forward is going to be slowed a bit by these guys, but we still have sixteen units.
I mean, look at what Kelik can do to this promoted guy who, for reasons unknown, doesn't move when we get close to him. Matter of fact, quite a few promoted enemies just hold their position. Kind of weird.
...Sure, why not?
Of course, there are exceptions to what I said earlier.
Not that it matters.
Anakin's two most important stats, bar none.
Kelik's two most important stats.
Emma...should get more stats next level.
For reasons unknown, Blazer decided to rename Luna, just like he did Shine. Guess he just felt like being creative that day.
On Turn 6, the game mixes it up a bit by adding these guys, along with the cavaliers.
No, that sniper doesn't move.
Boy, do I love effective damage.
Seems like everyone's in a speedy mood today. I'll take it.
Cia's the sage. Oh yeah.
Oh look! Shon's speed supplement arrived!
Some people don't need performance enhancers to succeed.
Now then, let's give Risk a talking-to.
: You don't need to. I don't expect someone like you to understand my thoughts.
: ...Is the Captain okay?
: They continue to keep him prisoner at the Palace.
: It figures that Magnus wouldn't keep their word. They don't have the slightest sense of "honor".
: You're saying that you expected this all along?
: I had hoped for better, but... I know my best chance for rescuing the Captain is in defeating Magnus. Otherwise, they have no obligation to do anything.
So if I understand this right, Ben understood that villains will never give the hostage away if you do what they want, so he didn't bother to do what they wanted in the first place. That's ingenious! Except for the part where they kill the hostage because you aren't doing what they want.
: You've really fallen backwards into things, haven't you?
: I'm frustrated. Nothing else.
: Can you take your frustration out on Magnus, perhaps? Instead of us?
: Throw everything I've done away, and choose another path? I don't know if I truly have such an option. But I don't care anymore. I only care about one thing. Magnus's thorough and brutal annihilation.
: He's as tough as ever... But at least he's back on our side. I'll have to explain the whole situation to the commanders later...
Yeah, I'm sure that the friends of the night watchmen who he killed will be completely understanding.
That same level again. I wonder how that's happening.
A convenient crit on Levion's part gives us a Silver Bow. Always handy.
Oh, he is out. Shuuda is SO out.
Forgot to mention, but Eligor WILL move if you get too close. Bit of a nasty surprise.
You've got two choices, man.
While I applaud Blazer's attempt at making custom animations, that's a real noodle arm there.
Well, aren't these folks familiar.
: Let's show our enemies the ferocity of Atheyan warriors!
: Chief Haas! Everyone! How'd you find us? Well, I guess now's not the time to discuss that. We could use some reinforcements!
As you wish.
So Arthur, Storm, and Haas are back. Little late in the story, unfortunately, because I really liked Arthur's progress. Still, there might be time.
They've also brought Liquid with them, but before you just dismiss him as a prepromote with stats, I feel that you ought to know the following:
Liquid has innate Lethality. He is an assassin with an axe.
Yeah. Betcha didn't see that coming.
Too bad that we're almost done cleaning up here, or else I'd demonstrate. But that can wait until next chapter.
Wish he could have gotten a bit more strength, but he's promoting, regardless.
Itsuke is pretty close too. Just gotta find someone for him to miss against...
Okay, time to implement operation Make Eligor Look Like a Pansy.
Although he honestly doesn't need much help with that.
Okay Ben, time to reap the spoils!
Worst part is that those are the actual promotion gains. FE7 was not very generous with its promotions.
As Itsuke misses dutifully, earning himself this wonderful final level...
We draw this chapter to a close.
No, I could imagine that.
Not only do we get a free Nosferatu (which is good, 'cause those aren't cheap)...
But killing Eligor instead of waiting for the chapter to end nets us the third Secret.
: I'm sorry we're late. Some of the new recruits held us back, and we got caught in a skirmish. We're now clearing out the enemy.
: Good job. Have the enemy soldiers surrender if possible. We don't want them living to fight another day.
: Yes, sir!
Uh...that doesn't mean what it sounds like, right Anakin?
It's Galagar, baby!
: It's Galagar!
: That bastard! We'll make him pay!
: No! Don't! If what Yue said was true, we don't want to get into a fight with him!
: Don't feign friendship with me, General of Magnus.
: Heh. You've won this battle. But you won't be so lucky forever, Siegfried.
: Since you're wondering, I didn't kill you back then because I didn't have orders to. That, and I was still a little... weak.
: Weak...? Wait... how did you know? How did you know what I was thinking?!
: Strong at heart, weak in mind. Your mind is frail, and so very easy to see through. Siegfried, the time when we meet again will not come to pass. Farewell, rebel! Hahahahahaha!!!
So just to reiterate: super strong magician, can teleport anywhere he wants, has multi-colored eyes, AND is psychic. If Galagar wasn't a clear villain, you'd almost be tempted to call him a Mary Sue.
: It's like power is just radiating from him.
: ...He and Siegfried will never meet again. What does that mean? And how could he read your mind? And his presence... I could feel the ether around him...
: We'd best watch our backs. We have no idea what he's plotting.
: Unh... I'm so tired... Let's not worry about it for now...
: We'll rest on it later. Right now, we need to talk to the King of Blaine.
Yes, let's have a chat with Blaine King.
: While we may call ourselves rebels, what we truly are is a group of freedom fighters who seek to prevent Magnus from conquering all of Solum.
: So, you claim the rebellion is true...
: Yes. We are living proof. However... we have heard of the incident regarding Blaine's army. We truly regret its loss.
: What do you wish from me?
: Nothing more than your support in fighting Magnus. We will take the front. If you can defend Blaine and supply us with...
: What you ask is impossible. The Royal Riders have been decimated. The soldiers who have not been killed, have been imprisoned. If not for your efforts today, Magnus would not have captured me, but killed me, and Blaine would be completely taken over. What little I have left must be spent on saving Blaine... As you can see, I am powerless to help you in your war.
Now, you might be tempted to think that someone would find this response reasonable, given what Blaine's been through, but this is Siegfried we're dealing with here.
: ...I see. So you aren't willing to help. Then my army and I will take our leave immediately. We will fight against Magnus on your lands, and you will be powerless to stop or aid us. We will drive Magnus out of Blaine's borders without your help. Then, it will be written down in history: "The 28th King of Blaine. He was of no help to the rebellion."
I mean, jeez, you want to twist the knife a little more? But don't worry, we're not done here.
: Same as before. The weaker ones are still tired from the battle yesterday.
: I don't blame them. We've been fighting day in and day out. But if they can't keep up, we're going to have to leave them behind.
: Can you tell them?
: Yeah, sure...
I mean, perhaps there's more to it, but what I'm hearing here is that Siegfried is taking people from who knows where and just ditching them in the middle of Blaine to find their own way back home.
Fortunately, there's a distraction.
: Commander Leopold? Why are you here? What of the King?
: The King is fine. He sent me here to give you this.
: His Majesty had a change of heart. He apologizes for his weakness. His Majesty had much care for General Zane... it was difficult to help his killers, even if it was a misunderstanding. Please accept this money and our humblest apologies.
: ...I see. But we don't need it.
Yes we do! Have you seen our finances?
: Hm? Oh. My apologies. Daydreaming is a poor habit of mine.
: Thank you for your offer, but we don't want to take money from Blaine. It needs it to rebuild its military and help restore stability to its cities.
: Then I will help you. I'll fight alongside you and help retake the cities of Blaine. If we are to travel to Alicia or Magnus after that, I'll continue to follow you. But I can't leave here without doing something to help you. His Majesty sent me for that reason. Let me join your army, General Siegfried.
Now, we have two choices here. The first one obviously gets us Leopold, but...
: Alright. But if you fight alongside us, we can't accept the money. We'll have someone go back and return it to Blaine.
: That's unfortunate... but it seems you won't be persuaded to keep it.
: Welcome to our army, Leopold. It's a bit rag-tag, and the bulk of our soldiers are inexperienced youth. I hope you don't mind.
: No, I don't. If I can fight on behalf of my nation, then I am happy.
Ultimately though, I chose not to, because there's something bigger at stake than just money.
: The King needs you to protect him. If something were to happen to His Majesty, I would feel boundless regret.
: Oh... I understand your sentiments. Then please, take this money.
: If it'll get you to leave, then alright.
: ...Wait. Take this, too.
: This is... Zane's lance?
: It's called Sylmeria. It's the royal spear of Blaine. It protects its user against arrows and magic.
: You want me to have it? I'm not so good with spears.
: Give it to whoever in your army can make use of it. Solum's Rebellion can't help but be outnumbered by Magnus. So you just have to beat them in every other field of battle.
: I understand. Thank you. And give thanks to the King.
: I will.
You see, while Leopold is a good unit, and I'll be giving him a character bio in just a bit, getting a rare weapon is more than worth the sacrifice. I think I know just what spear-wielding unit would like a high hit weapon that grants a bonus to resistance.
Next Time: It's the Heroes vs. the Zeros, and we beat the assassins at their own game.
Weapon Ranks: A in swords
HP: 44 (75%) Lck: 20 (15%)
Str: 15 (45%) Def: 11 (30%)
Skl: 22 (60%) Res: 10 (30%)
Spd: 18 (55%) Con: 10
We've entered into the part of the game where the prepromotes they fire at you are really awesome, with a few exceptions. It doesn't even matter that Risk has such a cruddy luck growth when he starts out 2/3 of the way to the max, and everything else is just fantastic for a Swordmaster, even though his strength might be a little on the lower end. But that's fine. He's Level 1, and will probably make it up in no time, if we want to use him.
Weapon Ranks: A in axes
HP: 39 (65%) Lck: 8 (35%)
Str: 18 (60%) Def: 10 (30%)
Skl: 10 (80%) Res: 2 (35%)
Spd: 18 (85%) Con: 13
Liquid is an axe assassin. I don't care what his bases are. Throw that man the Chainsaw, and the experience bonus from triggering Lethality will be showering him in levels in no time. And those growths...man, those growths. People take one look at Liquid's bases and they say that he's no good, that he won't amount to anything. Friends, you couldn't be more wrong.
Also, I know that isn't his default expression, but I love that Blazer made him an alternate expression so much that I'd like to think that it's his default one.
Class: Wyvern Lord
Weapon Ranks: B in lances and swords
HP: 43 (85%) Lck: 9 (25%)
Str: 17 (50%) Def: 22 (40%)
Skl: 18 (30%) Res: 5 (10%)
Spd: 18 (35%) Con: 12
Leopold might have filled in as a fantastic aerial tank, but those growths are not especially stellar. He starts out beautifully, but he's not likely to go too far from his base. It's possible that by the time they reach Level 5, Karina and perhaps Ben will have matched him or surpassed him in most of his stats. Getting the super lance and 10000 gold will have to make up for the fact that we don't have the Brave Sword now.