Part 4: The Bandits of BorgoChapter 3: The Bandits of Borgo
Their chase leads them into the mountains, where Bazba's Bandits pillage at will.
Eirika cannot ignore her countrymen's pleas for help. She leads her group in search of the bandits' stronghold.
: A few of them saw a lad matching the description of our bracelet thief. It seems a fair guess that the youth is one of these bandits.
: Bandits...Here in Renais, our homeland. I had no idea... Burning our villages...Stealing from our people with no fear of reprisal?
: It wasn't always like this. The knights used to protect the citizenry... However, with Renais in ruins and her army tattered, law and order are hard to find. It doesnt look like the Grado army is interested in maintaining order here. If nothing changes, Renais will continue this sad plunge into savagery.
: ...but are you all some sort of...mercenary troop?
: Why do you ask?
: I told him it was too dangerous, but he wouldn't listen to me!
: Please, you must calm yourself. Start at the beginning, and speak slowly.
: All right...Sniff. I'm Neimi. I'm from... I used to be from a village named Lark... Except the village is gone.
: Gone? What do you mean?
: Bazba's Bandits burned it down. Only Colm and I escaped. The other villagers... The bandits attacked them and...
: Neimi, what are you doing here?
: Bazba's Bandits... They have a hideout here in these mountains. That's where Colm... Um, Colm's my...uh...We've known each other since we were kids. He went to steal back something the bandits took from me...
: He went alone? That's a very dangerous thing...
: Yes, I know. Th-that's what I told him, but he wouldn't listen to me. If I lose Colm, too, I don't know... I...I'll... sniff...
: Wait, please don't cry. Don't worry. We'll find your friend and see that he's not harmed.
: Really? Really and truly? Oh, thank you! Thank you!!! I... I don't have much money, but.. I'll do anything to help.
: Your Highness? What will it be?
: If the thief we're after has gone to the bandits?lair as well... Well, it seems as though we share a common cause with Neimi. She is a citizen of Renais, after all. And isn't it our duty to defend our countrymen? Im only sad that we weren't here to protect her friends and neighbors... So, yes, I feel we must help her.
: Very well. Neimi, I trust you can lead the way?
: Er, yes... It's this way.
And like that, the group files right in. No security, no locked gates, nothing. These are some fierce bandits, all right.
: When I was little I used to go hunting with my grandfather. What I mean is I can-- I'm not bad with a bow.
: I see. You should remain behind and protect Princess Eirika.
: Let's give 'em a warm welcome, lads. You see a stranger, stick an axe in him!
Our first indoors map. Truly a milestone in our adventure. It's also a Seize map, so Gilliam's going to get left behind, more than likely. Such is the fate of knights.
As Neimi said, she's an archer, which means that she can't fight at melee range. This is why I'm not usually fond of them, since every other class in the game that fights at range can also fight up close. It doesn't help that Neimi starts off kinda weak, so we're basically babysitting two children in need of training at this point.
Bazba's not much tougher than Bone, but his equipment is a cut above. A lot of bosses from here on out are going to have multiple weapons, oftentimes a ranged/melee combo, in order to avoid being slowly plinked to death by people like Neimi. He's also standing on a throne, which, like a gate, provides 3 defense and 30 avoid, and unlike Breguet, he's got some speed on him.
A new enemy in this chapter, cracked walls provide a physical barrier to entry. However, like most walls, they cannot dodge hits, nor can they counter your attacks. They are, however, invincible against being doubled, and they do not provide experience. Overall, a most unsatisfying encounter.
On the plus side, you can train up your weapon skill by whacking at them.
Yeesh. Getting Neimi to a combat-ready level is going to take a while, especially since I'm also building up Ross at the same time.
Killing that brigand got us a Door Key, a single use item that - wait for it - unlocks closed doors. Too bad there are a lot more doors around here than just one. If only we had a...
: Ha! And not a soul saw me. These bandits are easy picking. I guess I might as well start with these chests here.
That's right, a thief, capable of using their 15-use lockpicks to open either doors or chests. We're going to need to have Neimi talk to Colm first though.
: Neimi?! What are you doing here? I told you to wait for me, didn't I?
: I couldn't... It's too dangerous. C'mon, let's go home.
: We don't have a home! Don't you get it? Look, just leave everything to me. I can take care of it in a flash, but I don't need a clumsy oaf like you tagging along.
: Oh, this is ridiculous. We'll talk later. Don't leave my side, Neimi.
: I--All right.
Colm's a stronger sort of thief than I'm used to. While he's obviously not very high in defenses, his speed will allow him to avoid most attacks and hit twice in every encounter.
I love the stylishness of this game's sprite work. Everything flows so very well. I feel that the animations lost a little of their charm when the series transitioned to 3D models, though they still look very nice.
While I have Colm loot the chests up top, scoring an iron lance, hand axe, and iron sword, Neimi demonstrates one of the series' mainstay items, the support conversations.
Put short, when compatible characters start a turn standing next to one another, they gain support points with one another. After they've gained a certain amount, they can have a short conversation to form a bond which provides passive bonuses when the two stand three spaces from one another. What bonus they get is determined by combining their affinities.
In this case, Neimi and Colm start with 80 support points, just enough to get their C support. If they formed a bond, Colm's Light affinity would give them both 0.5 Attack, 0.5 Defense, 2.5 Accuracy, and 2.5 Critical, while Neimi's Fire affinity would provide 0.5 Attack, 2.5 Accuracy, 2.5 Avoid, and 2.5 Critical, for a combined total of 1 Attack, 0.5 Defense, 5 Accuracy, 2.5 Avoid, and 5 Critical, shared between the two of them.
Every rank increases the bonus by a multiple, so a B rank is 2 times that, while an A rank is 3 times that. However, a character can only have 5 ranks in total, so at best, they can only have an A rank with someone and a B rank with someone else.
Support conversations are also an easy excuse for characters to discuss their issues with one another, so a good chunk of the characterization is found here. From here on out, I'll be posting support conversations between updates to show them off, but I'll be keeping whatever grinding of supports I do to myself, since you don't want to watch me stand characters by one another for several turns.
Anyway, while Colm works up there, the rest of the group moves through the bottom of the map, taking some small knocks along the way. Vanessa here is using a javelin, the lance version of a hand axe, which shares the same accuracy and damage issues with it. Given the bandits' lack of speed, I'm not concerned with going against type.
Though I admit this one had me a little nervous. Ross has 8 constitution and not a lot of speed to spare, so if he'd missed this strike, the brigand would have had two swings at him.
This freakin' kid.
That brigand dropped a Chest Key, which we use to, surprise, open a chest, getting us another javelin.
Enemy thieves are an annoyance on most maps besides this one, since their main goal is to steal from chests before you can. Their presence is such a bother that the game actually hands out bonus experience for getting rid of them.
Though if that's what I get for it, I think I might hand it back.
And you're not helping either.
Flanking the boss is a mercenary, a sword-wielding fighter.
The big issue with these guys is a combination of speed and skill. The speed lets them double your slower guys, and the skill gives them the chance for critical hits. Not a pleasant combo.
: Hope you've enjoyed your life, 'cuz it's about to end!
When fighting bosses, it's always good to trick them into switching to their worse weapon. Even when they're as simple as Bazba, you want every bit of an advantage you can get.
Seth's a pretty good guy for fighting bosses, since he'll often put them just at the right health for the kill.
: I'm the...mighty...Bazba... This...ain't--
Eirika! Not you too!
I'd call this chapter a total loss if Moulder didn't save the day at the last minute. And with that, we seize.
: What now? I told you not to worry. I couldve robbed these bandits blind on my own, thank you very much.
: I was... worried...
: H-Hold on! I'm sorry! C'mon! Don't start bawling!
: Aaah...sniff... No more...dangerous stuff... by yourself...
: Fine, fine. I promise. But you have to stop crying all the time. All right?
: I got your mirror back. Remember how you cried when we left Lark? You thought you'd lost this. I knew it was your mother's, and I knew those thugs had taken it. So I went and got it back! See what happens when you give me a job? Guaranteed results!
: Colm... Aa...Waaah... Colm...
: Hey Wh-why are you crying this time? C'mon! Stop! Knock it off! Please, Neimi...
: I think you'd best return Princess Eirika's bracelet to her now.
: Wh-what are you talking about? Are you trying to say that I--
Tickle torture. The fiend!
: ...Tell me, boy, is this the path you've chosen for your life? If this girl matters to you, you must quit this dark road.
: Uh, yeah...Right.
: We're leaving. Do not expect to be rescued again. Farewell.
: ...Hey, wait! Let us go with you. You can't just leave us here.
: Neimi and I... We've got no home to return to. No matter where we go, there's just gonna be more fighting. You're mercenaries, right? Well, then take us with you. I'm a handy guy to have around. I know I can help you out.
: I would prefer not, but I'll agree with Eirika's decision. Our duty is a grave one however. We've no time to waste shepherding you.
: That's fine with us. You just wait-- I promise you won't regret your decision.
: Here you are, Princess.
: Thank you, Seth. You know...Father gave me this bracelet when I was a child. It has only one match in the world, and my brother wears it.
: Lady Eirika, you must take care never to lose that bracelet. It is the proof that King Fado entrusted the future of Renais to you, his children.
: Seth...What is it you're not telling me?
: ...I apologize, Your Highness. When the time comes, I will tell you what I know. Until then, I...
: I see. If you tell me it must wait, then it can wait. I trust you.
: Then we should get moving again. We're safe from bandits for now, but I can't guarantee for how long.
: This... This is just the beginning, isn't it? If we hope to free out homeland, it will take battle after battle...
: I'm afraid so, Your Highness. The day you and Prince Ephraim win back the freedom and honor of Renais will come. But I fear it lies at the end of a long and treacherous road.
: I know. I must fight for that day. In the names of all those I could not save, I'll lead us home. Let's go. My brother awaits!
: Selena. Have you been back long? Tell me, how fares the campaign in Renais?
: Signs of chaos abound. Brigands ride without fear, and the peasant's cries fill the air.
: Hmm... If Grado's troops do not enforce public order, the situation will only worsen. And still, His Majesty has given us no orders. Perhaps, just this once, I should take the lead...
: What could His Majesty be thinking? Breaking our long-held alliance with Renais--invading without warning... He's never been this way before. He abhors violence.
: And have you noticed the recent promotions? Who are they are going to? Certainly not to the soldiers who have Grado's best interests at heart. I feel this invasion is the prelude to a much larger war. I feel as though His Majesty is no longer the man we knew him to be.
: Glen, it doesn't matter what any of us might think of our orders. We are his servants, and we will not question His Majesty's intentions.
: I know that, Selena. And yet...
: That's enough. Both of you. His Majesty summons us. Let's hope we can learn a little during our audience.
Soon, in the throne room of Emperor Vigarde...
: You are the hammers that drive the nails of the empire's will... You will continue to operate ...without hesitation... wherever I send you.
: By your command.
: In Your Majesty's name.
: Yes, sire...
: ...However, I know this... You, my Imperial Three, lack the strength to conquer the remaining nations alone.
: In the invasion of Renais, certain soldiers performed beyond expectation. I have chosen them to join you as new generals in the empire's service. ...Come.
: ...The performance of these men surpassed even your own. With the addition of these three... The empire will have six generals strong enough to conquer this land. Do you understand?
: I am Riev, given the name Blood Beryl by His Majesty. I know I am a newcomer, but I pray for your favor.
: Seems I'm to be called Tiger Eye... You're a fine lookin' lass, arent you? Yeah, I'm gonna love working with you.
: I'll save you worthless dogs from your own incompetence. You'll thank me later.
: Valter... You scum!
: Peace, Glen.
: Selena. Caellach. You will bring me Frelia.
: Yes, sire.
: Sure. Good as done.
: Riev. Duessel. You are charged with the defense of the empire. ...I will speak to you individually with more details later.
: Heh heh heh... Understood, Your Majesty.
: By your command, sire.
: Valter, Glen... I have other duties for you...
: Yes, Your Majesty?
: Renais has fallen, but Princess Eirika still eludes us... Her brother, Prince Ephraim, leads a resistance within our borders. Bring the siblings to me.
: Ha ha... Of course.
Interesting situation in Grado. We've got the old guard, loyal to the emperor, but suspicious of his behavior, and then we've got the new guard, corrupt or insane, one of which used to just be a common mercenary. We'll get to know more about what's going on in Grado later, but first...
Next Time: We meet a new kind of enemy and get a taste of magical power in Chapter 4: Ancient Horrors
Weapon Ranks: D in bows
HP: 17 (55%) Lck: 4 (50%)
Str: 4 (45%) Def: 3 (15%)
Skl: 5 (50%) Res: 2 (35%)
Spd: 6 (60%) Con: 5
I don't have much of an opinion on Neimi. Her stat growths are decent, so if you're willing to put in the effort, you could make something out of her, but she is still an archer, so until you can get her promoted, that defensive growth is going to force her to be very good at dodging. I usually just skip her and get her replacement, a promoted Sniper with some very good growths and bases, just because it's very easy for her to not do well with her levels, and her potential replacement is a lot more of a sure thing.
Weapon Ranks: E in swords
HP: 18 (75%) Lck: 8 (45%)
Str: 4 (40%) Def: 3 (25%)
Skl: 4 (40%) Res: 1 (20%)
Spd: 10 (65%) Con: 6
Colm, to me, is a good all-around character to have. Thieves have a lot of utility in the Fire Emblem series, and it's always good to have one around for indoor maps or maps with fog of war, and those come up fairly often. It's a fortunate thing that his growths are so good too. That means, if he does well with his levels, carting him around won't be a bother at all.