Part 5: Ancient HorrorsChapter 4: Ancient Horrors
Passing through the ancient forest Za'ha brings them close to Grado's border.
As they near the town of Serafew, Eirika's fears are assuaged by the lack of troops.
But never-before-seen terrors crawl in the shadows of the trees.
: Once we cross, we'll be in Grado... Renvall won't be much farther.
: That is, assuming we can cross the border without mishap... Oh! Look! Over there!
You had to open your mouth.
: Those strange figures... What...What are they? Are they...human? I've never seen anything like it. What could they be?
Perhaps the people in this village have an answer.
: How could such abominations walk our lands while the Sacred Stones protect us?
: Lute, please, it's dangerous outside the walls. Stay here in the village.
: Those are revenants, aren't they? They were the vanguard of the Demon King in the days of darkness. The Tome of Nazania describes them in chapter 2, section 7, paragraph 8.
: You know of them?
: Duh! I'm a prodigy. I can recall almost everything I see or hear. According to the book, revenants attack using razor-sharp claws. Sounds painful, wouldn't you say?
: Yes, er, well... Be that as it may, I must go aid those travelers outside. You should stay here within the safety of the village.
: Very well. I don't mind staying here. In fact, it seems the smarter choice.
: The thickest hide and the strongest armor are useless against magic's power. Yes, I suppose I could have studied swords, but only magic is worthy of me. Even if this village were to be assaulted by monsters, I could defend it perfectly.
: Head south and pass through this place before the fiends surround you!
: Who are you?
: My name is Artur. The temple has assigned me the task of cleansing the forest of these...things. There are so many of the fiends, though. I wonder if I stand much chance alone. So if you would, please flee now while you have the chance.
: Fiends? You're not talking about the same fiends that served the ancient Demon King? That can't be right... They're nothing but legends and fairy tales...
: Yes, I felt the same say when I heard. And yet here they are. This place is filled with them. I wonder how far they're spread... Surely they're not in Renais alone.
: But..why are they here? How?
: Beware, Your Highness! Something approaches!
And indeed, one of the floating eyeballs, known as a Mogall, draws close to the group.
: Please allow me to deal with this. Evil shade! May the blessed light drive you from this land!
Now, Artur, you're not being fair. Give the Mogall a turn.
: We ought to help. He can't fight them all alone. Do you have orders?
Welcome to the preparation screen. From here on out, we won't be using our entire fighting force, so we need to choose who to deploy in any given battle.
Sorry, Seth. Everyone thinks you're too awesome to use right now. We'll let you out of the box one of these days.
We can also survey the map we'll be fighting on and rearrange our party formation. Handy tools, but I'll mostly be doing that offscreen.
: If you can get there swiftly, I implore you to watch over her safety.
We'll see what we can do.
As Artur demonstrated, Monks are light magic users, which means that they're good against dark magic. Magic follows its own Weapon Triangle of Light>Dark>Anima>Light, but magicians tend to have really good amounts of resistance, so pitting magicians against one another tends to not go much of anywhere.
That said, he's perfect against these Revenants, which have no stats to speak of. They're basically shambling experience pinatas.
Assuming you can hit them, of course. Dealing with this one guy took a combined effort of Neimi, Colm, and Vanessa before he finally bit it.
In addition to the one to the south, which is where Lute is hiding, we've also got a village right next to where we start.
: Do you see that old snag to the south of here? Bet it would make a handy bridge if you could knock it over. Take a weapon to it and give it a few good whacks. That should do it. Here, take this and give it a try. It ought to do the trick. (Got an Iron Axe)
Thanks, fella. I really needed more of those.
Bonewalkers are your basic infantry units of the monster hordes, capable of equipping swords and spears. They're a step above revenants, but everything's a step above revenants.
Mogalls, meanwhile, are our first exposure to magic damage. Their Evil Eye is a dark-type magic attack, which makes Artur ideal for getting rid of them.
Alternatively, they're so low in health that any physical unit can just rip right through them.
Lowering my opinion of them even further while doing so.
These Bonewalkers show up at the end of Turn 2. Since monsters are so weak physically, the game will tend to throw a lot of them at us whenever they appear, which is fine, since that means more experience for us.
While everyone else is making their way south on foot, Vanessa is just going right over the river to reach the southern village, taking potshots at a Bonewalker she passes.
We're off to a good start with her.
Oh boy, these three. Put on some funny music, kids, because things just got ZANY!
: Those travelers are being besieged by the agents of evil!
: I cannot allow this to happen! Come! We must charge down these cliffs and rush to their aid!
: How about we find us a nice, gentle path down, hm?
: Ah...Yes, well...Let us hurry nonetheless. I simply cannot abide those wicked beasts running amok!
No, that isn't a hint that you need to wait for them to arrive. You'll have better luck arranging a dinner date with Godot.
In the meantime, Vanessa zooms ahead to the village.
: Your flesh shows no sign of putrefaction. It seems you're not a revenant. I've decided to join you in battle now. My name is Lute. Im a mage of superior wisdom and rare ability. I've been reading up on these revenants. They are, quite simply, no match for me. I am superior after all.
Alternatively, if we didn't want to send Vanessa, we could have broken this snag here. As the old man in the village mentioned, when we destroy it, it falls over and forms a bridge.
Lute, as a Mage, fights using the Anima school of magic, which is a consolidation of the old elemental magic system of the games made prior to the Gameboy Advance, and reintroduced in FE9.
Lute has a lot of levels ahead of her, but she's an okay magician to start with. At the very least, she's sturdy enough that the enemies she faces won't have her at a disadvantage if she's forced to fight up close.
Up top, Ross and co. band together to take down another zombie.
Ross softens it up...
And Colm is a major disappointment.
I hate you, Franz. I really do.
Good thing Artur's here to pick up the spare. I'd have liked more stats, but if I had to pick two stats for him to get, those would be okay.
Eirika gets in on the action too.
Well, she was needing more strength.
And four more revenants surge in from the top for Ross, Colm, Neimi, and sometimes Gilliam to tangle with.
And right at this point, Franz does something amazing.
All is forgiven, lad. All is forgiven.
After that, it's just zombies doing calisthenics...
Eirika demonstrating why she's the protagonist...
And Gilliam failing to impress.
The boss of this stage, if you can call it that, is an Entombed, a hulking wall of HP...
And not much else.
The end result of the fighting up above is a solid level for Ross.
And Vanessa finishes with style.
Welcome to the crew.
: Still, we'd best burn the bones to ash to be sure they don't return.
: I still can't believe what we've been fighting here... Id thought those fiends nothing more than myth and legend.
: Those revenants are said to be the least of the dark creatures. And yet, the weakest of them could outmatch any normal man. We cannot take this enemy lightly.
: Oh, yes. There are much worse then those revenants and the entombed... Let's see, there's the bonewalkers, mauthe doogs, gargoyles, baels... Why, I'll bet you just about any creature of lore could be walking again. Yes, we're in for some trouble. Even my fabulous power may not be enough.
: O divine light, show me... Is this a sign of dark days to come?
: By all that's holy, what is happening?
: Princess Eirika, perhaps it would be wise to return to Frelia and regroup. Pressing forward seems foolish in light of recent events. We cannot face both Grado's forces and more of those terrible things.
: Seth, I follow your point, and nothing would please me more then running for safety. But what of my brother? He and his men are still trapped in the same situation we are. I know full well that I may be leading us into even greater danger, but... Please try to understand.
: I do, my princess, and I vow to see you through this safely.
And who should arrive at just that very moment, but these three.
: I, LArachel, bestow upon you the honor at banishment at my blessed hands!
: Oh...Where are the monsters?
: Well, we just finished...
: Ah, glad tidings indeed! The heavens must be rejoicing! I am.. a tad disappointed however. After all, I did rush all the way here to show you the splendor of my might.
: What's shameful is the way you drag us around the countryside.
: Pardon me, but...who are you?
: Me? Since you ask, please allow me to introduce myself. It is I, the true light and glory of the sacred realm of Rausten...
: Stop! Lady LArachel, you mustn't continue! You cannot reveal your true identity here!
: Oh, yes, you're right. Oh, I get so careless sometimes! Now, I must ride off in anonymity. Oh, how beautifully romantic!
: Uh... Right.
: Fare thee well, strangers. Perhaps our paths will cross again. Come, Dozla! Rennac! We ride!
: Gwah ha ha! Let's go, Rennac!
: All right, all right.
Worry not, we'll unravel the mystery of the anonymous L'Arachel and her peanut gallery in due time. But first!
Next Time: We fight for gold and glory in Chapter 5: The Empire's Reach
Weapon Ranks: E in light magic
HP: 19 (55%) Lck: 2 (25%)
Mag: 6 (50%) Def: 2 (15%)
Skl: 6 (50%) Res: 6 (55%)
Spd: 8 (40%) Con: 6
If you want quality spellcasters, this is the game for it. Artur brings power, speed, and magic tanking to the table, and when he promotes, he'll be able to act as a backup healer too. His greatest weakness is his luck and defense. Without those, he's going to need to be more timid in his approach compared to his colleague. Speaking of her:
Weapon Ranks: C in anima magic
HP: 17 (45%) Lck: 8 (45%)
Mag: 6 (65%) Def: 3 (15%)
Skl: 6 (30%) Res: 5 (40%)
Spd: 7 (45%) Con: 3
Lute's largest strength is her natural genius, starting out able to use high-powered tomes without needing to train for it. In addition, that growth is going to send her power through the roof in short order, and her luck and speed growths will aid her in dodging attacks, giving her a bit more staying power in combat than her peer up above. Her big problem is her constitution. A mere Fire tome weighs 4, and there's nothing lighter in the magical schools, so she'll need to get a lot of speed if she's going to hit twice.
Naturally, Lute acts differently if you visit her village with Artur.
: Lute, help has arrived.
: Your flesh shows no sign of putrefaction. It seems you're not a revenant.
: Well, I should hope not! I wanted you to know help has arrived. Please be patient a bit longer...
: No, no. I insist on joining you in combat. I've been reading up on these revenants. They are, quite simply, no match for me. I am superior after all.
As you can see, there's not much difference between this "special" one and the vanilla conversation every other character gets, at least when it comes to Lute's lines. I find that a shame, since it feels like the writers were being a little lazy.