Part 7: Chapter 5x: Unbroken Heart
Time for a change of pace. Chapter 5x is the only side chapter in the game, and there are no requirements to reach it, nor any option to skip it.
We're inside Grado territory right now, near Renvall, one of their great fortresses.
What's the situation, Tirado? You have captured Ephraim, haven't you?
No. Prince Ephraim still fights in the lands north of Renvall.
And why is that? What has happened to all those mercenaries you hired?
They've proven to be less then adequate. Ephraim's clever. His band strikes quickly and then vanishes into the woods. We more than double his numbers, and yet he uses the terrain wisely to fight us. He has no army--just a small force of knights loyal to Renais. Prince Ephraim's reputation as a superb strategist would seem to be well earned.
Hmm... How interesting. The lad's beginning to whet my appetite. Tirado...Bring him to me as quickly as you can, will you?
As you command. Just grant me an army, and I'll bring him down swiftly.
What sort of plan do you have?
Master, I am your loyal adjutant, and you are my general. For you, my lord, I have many plans ready and waiting.
Really? Well then, let me hear them.
Very well. First, you and I will leave this fort and head north. Then, we will find Prince Ephraim in his leafy playpen.
But he's not easily found, is he?
Do not worry.
When the time is right, our friend will move on our behalf...
And on that ominous note, we join the heroes of this small story.
It's not looking good. Our weapons are in bad shape, and we're running low on food. We can probably restock at a nearby village, but--
No, that's not an option. We're in enemy territory. I will not involve innocents if I can avoid it.
Yeah, I knew you'd say that. I mean, it's because of stuff like that that we've stuck with you so far. But eventually, we do need to face reality. What are we going to do?
Word of mouth has it that the invasion of Renais has progressed quite far. I've heard that the capital has fallen.
Hm...So soon... Still, my father is in the capital, and he won't surrender easily. Forde, Kyle. Our mission here is to harry the troops, to distract their eye. Hopefully, we'll be able to give my father and Eirika time to escape. Kyle, have you heard anything from Orson? I sent him ahead to scout.
No word yet, and it's about time he returned...
I can confirm Grado presence at several points around our camp. Also, a large battalion of soldiers has been dispatched from Renvall. We shouldn't tarry here any longer than necessary...
Seems as though we've certainly caught Grado's eye this time. Should we retreat back to the capital, Prince Ephraim?
No. We press onward. We're going to capture Renvall.
All right, let's go.
Um...Are you...sure you're quite sane, Prince Ephraim? We've an entire army after us, and you want to charge their stronghold?
Forde! Watch your tongue! This is our prince you're addressing!
Kyle, please, it's all right. We've heard nothing from home, So what harm could a little reckless besieging cause?
Don't worry. I havent lost all sense of self-preservation. Renvall holds an important place in Grado's national defense. If we can get the upper hand and take control of it, then Grado will waste many valuable soldiers trying to take it back. I hope our attack proves useful to my father and Eirika.
I understand what youre saying, but... can we do it with our current strength?
Every soldier in this area is trying to find us. The enemy has us vastly outnumbered. Attacking the castle is a ridiculous idea. If the enemy thinks the same... then we may have our opening.
You have a point. I'm sure Renvall won't expect us to attack with these numbers. Either way, we can't run forever. And we're running out of supplies. What've we got to lose? Shall we get ready to go?
Yes. If we don't move quickly, we may never get another chance. Trust me. I don't pick fights I cannot win.
Yeah, he just walked right in. I mean, I could understand a thieves' hideout maybe not having all the security features, but when you're talking about something as big as Renvall, someone really should have invested in a gate.
To arms! Prince Ephraims circled around and brought the fight to us! If we capture the prince here, we can line our pockets with gold! Do you understand? We'll be rich!
Your wounds still haven't healed from that last battle, have they? Don't push yourself. If we're defeated, you must return to Frelia. Understood?
Let's go! Kyle! Forde!
What are you still standing there for? There's ass to kick.
Ephraim is the game's second protagonist, and specializes in lances, a rarity among FE protagonist. He also has his own unique weapon, the Reginleif, a lance version of the Rapier.
Forde and Kyle are this game's version of the archetypal red and green cavaliers, characterized by where they place their focus in stats. Typically, the red cavalier is focused towards strength and defense, while the green cavalier is focused towards skill and speed, but here, the positions are reversed. The most noteworthy difference is that Kyle has 1 point of constitution more than Forde, thus allowing him to use weightier weapons without tanking his speed as much. They're both quite good, I feel, and it's a matter of the draw as to which one does better.
You might also recall from the support conversations that Forde is Franz's brother. This will come up later.
Orson's another Oifey, although one that's a little in the way here, since we're focusing on leveling up the big three above. He'll be spending most of the level without his weapons, distracting enemies so that Ephraim and Co. don't get overwhelmed.
Compared to this group of ne'er-do-wells we've been assigned, the boss is a little underwhelming. The Steel Blade gives him a bit of extra power, but it also completely negates any benefit he's gaining from the throne he's on, just because it's so heavy.
Well, we've got a lot of ground to cover, so let's get started.
As mentioned, Orson makes a very good distraction. Despite the fact that their efforts are completely pointless, enemies will always go for confrontations where they have the highest chance of survival, and what better fight for that than one where the other side can't fight at all?
One thing that Ephraim benefits from in this chapter is that lances cover a wide range of enemy soldier types. He only really has to fear the axes of Fighters, and he's got his cavalier buddies for those.
Like the Rapier, the Reginleif does effective damage against knights and cavaliers. It makes these knights a lot less of a bother than they'd be.
And here's where I forget that the convoy's with Eirika, not Ephraim. Grudgingly, I have to dispose of the Elixir, since I'm sure as heck not getting rid of my weapons.
Forde's a pretty good sort when you want crits to happen, what with his skill.
This is only made better when you grab this. This weapon is the lance equivalent of Joshua's sword, and is very deadly in Forde's hands.
If you're curious, the other chest had an Elixir in it. Hooray.
Speaking of crits, the Reginleif also has the crit chance of the Rapier, often resulting in this hilariously over-the-top animation.
Meanwhile, Kyle's amount of defense makes him really tanky. He's like Gilliam on a horse sometimes.
You may have noticed that I'm jumping around a lot, but that's mostly 'cause there's not a lot to talk about. The level's a lengthy hallway full of confrontations with enemy classes that we've seen before, and the only important part is what you get out of those confrontations.
For instance, Kyle's apparent desire to be a knight instead of a cavalier.
In addition to taking hits for the group, Orson is also good for luring over enemies in small, easily managed chunks. Ephraim and Co. are really good in this map, but they're also only three guys, and can get overwhelmed like anyone else.
The Reginleif has a base attack of 10, by the way. That's 30 damage before any other calculations, for those of you not good at math.
Ephraim does not do very well in this chapter. It's kind of annoying.
However, Forde more than exceeds my expectations. His brother might be in a bit of trouble.
Kyle, meanwhile, decides that he's had enough strength and defense, and figures that he might as well diversify a little. I'm not complaining.
This little corridor here can be somewhat tricky, since the enemy spellcasters in the throne room can and will attack us over the walls, in addition to the shaman at the end of the hall.
Shamen are painfully slow with their attacks, both in a mechanics and real-world sense. It's a good thing that most of them have sacrificed speed for power, so they can't shoot twice.
One way to solve the problem of the wall is just to have everyone take turns with Forde's javelin. It works surprisingly well on normal, but I wonder whether it might be better to just sneak by on harder difficulties.
Ephraim, you're supposed to be the better protagonist! How can I hype you up when you're getting levels like this?
Not to say that he's entirely exempt from the whole thing.
I would be disappointed in a two-stat level normally, but strength and speed are both valuable assets for Kyle, so I'll let it slide.
Now for the boss. I wasn't sure how bad he'd be, so just to be safe, I had Ephraim chug a vulnerary instead of attacking. This turned out to be unnecessary.
Do you truly think you can take us with those numbers? Imbecile! You'll learn the error of your ways.
Ephraim's numbers are higher than yours, pal.
L-lord Tirado...It can't be... Were we...merely pawns?
That's better. And with that, we seize.
You were brilliant, Prince Ephraim! What a plan! What a battle!
I estimate at least half of the enemy troops are in the field. We took the castle, but we don't have the manpower to hold it in a siege. There's no point in lingering here. Let's continue on to Grado Keep.
I took a look around the castle perimeter... We're surrounded.
Grado's sent reinforcements? So quickly...?
What should we do?
...We must escape!
Yeah, with that force, escape doesn't look likely.
And what do you know, but it's King Slime himself.
You've earned your reputation. I must say, I quite admire your work. I take it you're the leader of this pack--the misguided Prince Ephraim.
I'm General Valter, the Moonstone of Grado's Imperial Army. Catching up to you has caused me no small amount of trouble. We've reduced your wretched home of Renais to ruin, and yet... you and your little band of bravos continue to be a thorn in our side. But that all ends here.
We'll see...You claim you've taken the capital of Renais... Tell me, how did you know I would attack Renvall?
Ha ha... Patience. You'll have your answer soon enough. Now, be good lads, and drop your weapons, will you?
Prince Ephraim, let us attack!
Listen to me, Ephraim. You're a smart man. You know it's futile to fight me. You cannot win. You cannot escape. Accept the reality of your situation, and surrender to me.
Heh heh heh... That's right. If you do, I'll let you live. I hold your life in the palm of my hand. Do not test my good humor. Now, come over here, bend your knee, and beg for your life. Show me how Renais dogs grovel.
You said your name was Valter, didn't you? Well, Im sorry, Valter, but I don't have time to waste playing games with you. So, we're going to knock you louts about a bit and then make our way out of here.
Fool... Have you gone mad? Do you truly believe you can fight your way past my wyvern knights?
Watch and see. I don't pick fights I can't win. Kyle, Forde. Are you ready?
My life has been yours since the moment I took my chivalric vows.
It's moments like these that keep me by your side, my prince.
What idiotic wretches you are... Prepare yourselves to be destroyed utterly!
We break to the east. GO!
Next Time: We poke our way through the fog in Chapter 6: Victims of War
Weapon Ranks: D in lances
HP: 23 (80%) Lck: 8 (50%)
Str: 8 (55%) Def: 7 (35%)
Skl: 9 (55%) Res: 2 (25%)
Spd: 11 (45%) Con: 8
Our secord and last Lord of the game, Ephraim brings very good bases and great growths to the table. Assuming the game isn't playing a practical joke, he ought to turn out better than his sister in many respects. Is he the best unit in the game? No, I don't believe so, but he is a very good unit. Good thing too, because depending on the choice we make, he's going to be a permanent fixture of the party.
Weapon Ranks: D in swords, C in lances
HP: 24 (85%) Lck: 7 (35%)
Str: 7 (40%) Def: 8 (20%)
Skl: 8 (50%) Res: 2 (25%)
Spd: 8 (45%) Con: 9
Franz's suave older brother can be a very decent substitute for the lad if he turns out to be a disappointment to his family. Forde starts out with very decent stats, and with any luck, he can hold his own in a contest between the two. Why is it just those two competing with one another and not him, Franz, and Kyle? Well...
Weapon Ranks: D in swords, C in lances
HP: 25 (90%) Lck: 6 (20%)
Str: 9 (50%) Def: 9 (25%)
Skl: 6 (40%) Res: 1 (20%)
Spd: 7 (40%) Con: 10
Call me biased, but I like Kyle a bit more than Franz or Forde. His stats are focused more towards the physical side of things, he's got great bases, and that extra point of constitution means that he'll be a bit better at hefting the more powerful weapons than Franz or Forde. Not to say that you can't run all three in a group. Cavaliers are pretty darn good in this game, and it'll be very easy to tag in any one of the three if one of them is flagging behind.
Weapon Ranks: A in swords, A in lances
HP: 34 (80%) Lck: 4 (25%)
Str: 15 (55%) Def: 13 (45%)
Skl: 13 (45%) Res: 7 (30%)
Spd: 11 (40%) Con: 12
Forget Seth. Orson's where it's at. The guy's got really good bases, excellent growths, and a very rare affinity. Once we get to a part of the game where he can actually get some good experience, Orson is going to be on fire. His main downside though is his luck. The guy starts out really poorly, and it doesn't get much better, so he's going to be a little prone to crits. That might be something to be concerned about.
Don't mind the pose, by the way. The guy's got some issues.