Part 8: Victims of WarPardon the lateness of this. University classes and all. This might slow down my updating a little, but not too much.
Chapter 6: Victims of War
Passing through Serafew, the group crosses into the Grado Empire. From here forward, there is no doubt that they are walking through hostile territory.
In hopes of avoiding unnecessary trouble, Eirika and company head for a sparsely populated region of Grado.
However, it is too late. Their movements are already being tracked.
: You have ascertained Eirika's whereabouts, have you not?
: I have. I sent some of our men to follow the princess as she fled Serafew. They tell me Eirika and her friends will be coming this way shortly. Our ambush is ready and waiting. There's no way they can escape. Like rats in a sack, as they say. Heh heh heh...
: Very good... Won't that wretched Valter be delighted. Now about this Princess Eirika... I hear she's quite a handful. They say her paladin withstood Valter's lance... Tell me, Novala, are you certain you can handle this assignment?
: Don't worry. Everything is under control. I've brought along a certain something from Renais. It will negate whatever futile resistance they offer. Ha ha ha...
: Heh heh heh... Pray it goes as you say. Very well. Do what you must. I must return to the capital.
: Will you not stay and see how Eirika looks in captivity?
: Unlike two other layabouts I know, I do not have such time to waste. I have much to do for our master. A mountain of tasks awaits me. My time is far too precious to waste on the likes of that royal whelp. Trifles such at these are best left in the hands of servants...such as you.
: Y-yes, of course... Then...travel well.
: You should have watched. You might have learned something. I will capture the princess, and I will replace you at our master's side. You will stew in regret, and I will enjoy every moment.
You might have noticed that it's always just Eirika and Seth who appear in these little sequences. That's because they're the only characters who are guaranteed to always be there. While everyone else just dies, Seth will retreat instead when defeated in battle, and then be unable to fight because of "injuries."
: Accept your fate. You have nowhere to flee!
: What?! Who are you? And where...where did you come from?
: You're as beautiful as I'd heard... And you're even wearing your bracelet. I suppose we should begin there. Would you surrender your lovely little trinket?
I've long determined that these "Ah!" moments are the game's equivalent of a gasp. Either that or characters keep discovering lost treasures mid-conversation.
: My bracelet... Why do you want it?
: His Majesty desires it. That's reason enough. Once I present it to him, he will make me a general, and I will be famous. Come, hand it over. Do it quickly, and I'll leave you alive.
: Princess Eirika, you will do no such thing.
: Of course not.
: Obedience will save you pain. You came all this way to aid Prince Ephraim, have you not? A fool's errand. Ephraim fell before the empire's might. As we speak he wastes away in a cell in Renvall, meekly awaiting his execution.
: My brother?! You lie! A pitiful worm like you could never defeat my brother!
: Bah. Protest all you like. It does not change the truth. Ephraim has lost, and it was Grado that defeated him!
: You're not going to acquiesce, are you? Very well. Bring me the child.
: Look familiar? She's a citizen of your precious Renais. Now give me the bracelet! Do it, or the child dies!
: No, please... You win. But I must have your word the child will suffer no harm.
: Princess, wait. That bracelet--
: It's not worth a child's life. Forgive me, Seth.
: Yes...there can be no mistaking it! Next, your weapons. Take them off and hand them over.
: No. Surrendering our weapons would be tantamount to suicide. You demand too much of us.
: I see years of peace and idleness have not dulled the wits of all Renais's knights. Well then, my hostage has no more use to me, does she? Ah, such a waste.
: Have you heard of the giant spiders prowling about this region? They'd appreciate a nice, hot meal, wouldn't you agree?
: You can't--
: Ha ha! This will be a delight to watch! These fools will curse the day they were born to Renais!
: Why...why would you... How can you do such a thing?
: This is WAR! There are no rules here! In war, you can do anything! Anything! You curs of Renais have lost! Your idiotic ravings mean nothing...
: Enough. Hold your tongue.
: I... We, the people of Renais, have long honored our allegiance with the Grado Empire. And you invaded without warning. You ravaged our land. You killed my father... Even then, I told myself, I must not hate Grado or her people. If I gave in to my hate, the bond between our lands would be lost forever. I refused to hate. Instead, I lived for the day our nations would know peace again. But... If this is Grado's true face... If you could extinguish Renais without pity, without remorse...
: Impudent girl! Do you expect your words to save your countrymen? They will not. Your beloved people will all die, as will you.
This fellow sure is fond of his teleportation. I hope he doesn't use this skill against us. (he doesn't)
: If you must curse someone, curse your dear princess.
: Help, someone!
: Cry! Scream! HAHAHAHAHA!
: We're going to be fine. Someone will rescue us.
Oh, don't worry. I'm sure that dear ol' dad here has already come up with a plan.
: I had no idea how much stronger I'd gotten...Why, I bet I could take on my dad or just about anyone! I knew if I worked at it, I'd become a great warrior!
As I mentioned before, promotions in FE8 are not linear. Instead, characters get to choose between two classes on promotion. Ross could have become a Fighter...
But you decided he should be a Pirate, and I agree. Not only is this the only chance to get one, but the promotion gains will serve the young lad a bit better. And the fact that he can walk on water now is pretty cool too.
The reason why I'm bringing Colm on this mission is because of his vision range. Thieves can naturally see further in fog of war. One way to exploit this, naturally, is to shift him around in the formation during the preparation phase, allowing you to see a wide swath around the group.
Another way to increase your vision range is with that torch that we found with that red-armored recruit in Chapter 5.
When a unit uses a torch, they effectively gain a thief's vision range for a turn, and then they slowly lose that vision bonus one square per turn. Stick that on a knight or someone equally sturdy, and you won't even have to worry about sending them ahead of the group.
One boon that this level offers is the ample supply of forest tiles, allowing the group to move ahead while staying partially in cover. These mountain tiles to the north are also helpful, since there are cavaliers up there, and they have to ride past them.
Neimi earns first blood on this outing.
And she was doing so well, too.
Meanwhile, everyone else just takes cover in a forest, in anticipation of the giant onslaught to come.
I completely forget to visit the lower village on this run, but there's nothing important there, anyway.
: I heard there are monstrous spiders living in the mountains to the east. They're said to be poisonous, so I stocked up on antitoxins... This antitoxin's strong stuff. No need to worry about poison with this around. Hey! Why don't you go ahead and take one. Go on, you may need it. They might still eat you, but at least they won't be able to poison you! (Got Antitoxin)
Yes, there's poison in this map, but it's really a non-issue. You can't even sell the Antitoxin for much.
On the enemy phase, I have some ridiculous luck.
Not this. It's pretty ridiculous, but what I actually mean is...
Look at this mess. Every single one of those enemies took a swing at someone, but they all either missed or bounced harmlessly off of Gilliam.
We don't. Miss, I mean.
Not to say that a lot of my characters wouldn't bounce off of Gilliam, but that's not what I was talking about.
Besides, you can't even target your own allies with attacks, so I wouldn't be able to attack Gilliam if I wanted to.
And what would be the point in it? Whoever did it wouldn't hurt Gilliam that much, and he'd probably hit them back. Complete waste of a turn, that would be.
Why am I even talking about this? Let's just get back to the fight.
So as I said, there's poison in this fight. Poison is a status ailment that harms a party member for 2 or 3 points of damage a turn. A bit dangerous if the first hit sent you down to critical levels, but otherwise, it's just helpful for me, since it gives Moulder something to do.
Believe it or not, but you guys actually made the right call in leaving Franz on the bench this round. A halberd is a special axe that's effective against mounted units, so if this fighter had lunged at Franz out of the fog...that might have been bad.
Gilliam dislikes this level.
Hey! No fair! Only I get to do that!
Another turn, another bunch of dudes to kill. Thankfully, that's almost the last of them.
Ultimately, we can't get all of them, so we form a wall instead. My personal philosophy is to always hunt down the fighters before the healers.
Too bad the enemy doesn't share my ideals.
Two can play at that game!
And so it was that Ross became a Pirate and started pummeling defenseless priests. His father must be so proud.
Colm here demonstrates another thief trick. If he has more speed than his target, then he can steal whatever items they may be carrying. Too bad you can't steal weapons yet, but that brand of hilarity only cropped up in FE9.
Meanwhile, Moulder becomes a better healer. If he's ever going to go into battle upon promotion, he'll need to get something more, but just building up magic will suffice for now.
Neimi cleans up...
Boy, isn't this familiar.
...While Artur resolves to learn how to dodge better.
At the same time, Colm tries to weasel his way out of fighting. And it just might work, at this rate.
When rescuing the civilians, there are three ways to do it. One way is to transport the family out of the starting area, one by one, but that's the boring route.
Another way is to defeat Novala before the spider he mentioned arrives.
For a magician, he's pretty tough. That skill in particular will make it dangerous for people with low luck to approach him.
: Eeek! S-s-spider... Nooooo! Go away! Please, somebody, help! HEEEEELLLLPPP!
But the way I prefer, and I'm sure you'll agree with me, is...
(Wo)Man vs. Wild, baby!
Shut up, little girl.
The mage fighting alongside Novala has Thunder, the next level of Anima magic. In the hands of a skilled mage, that could have been dangerous, but this chump is just wasting it.
Decent mage-fighting level, and Ross will need it, because...
: No! It can't be... They've made it this far?! Grrr... Must I do everything myself!?
Despite suffering a poisonous sting at the spider's...feelers? Limbs? Mandibles?
Whatever. Vanessa prevails. The beast is dead.
Now it's time for Novala and his minions.
Normally I'd complain, but did you see that level Lute got earlier? That more than cancels this one out.
: Aah... Is this...the end? No fame? No...glory--
Joshua, meanwhile, has no excuse.
: You're safe now.
: Wa... Waaaaaaa! I was so scared... So very, very scared.
No thanks to Dad of the Year over there.
: If you would like, please take this... And thank you again.
As you might guess, this is the archer's promotion item. It'd also promote nomads, the mounted archers, if they actually existed in this game.
: He ordered to keep me silent until the proper time arrived. However, with all that has happened, with Emperor Vigarde's actions... I feel it imperative that I tell you everything, Princess Eirika. Are you ready to hear the secret of the bracelet you wear?
: I am...
: As you know, Princess... Renais houses one of the legendary Sacred Stones.
: Of course. It's in the temple. It's supposed to be a ward against evil.
: Yes, the true stone is. But the stone in the temple is nothing but a forgery. The real Sacred Stone of Renais lies beneath the royal castle. Guarding it is a powerful seal, an infinitely complex lock of sorts.
: What? Is this true?
: Yes. King Fado confided in me himself. The Sacred Stoned banished evil long ago and possess power beyond our ken. The ancient kings of Renais felt it prudent to seal ours away. They feared its power could be misused. They thought to remove the temptation. The keys to break the seal were hidden, too... Forged into bracelets...The very ones that you and your brother, Prince Ephraim, wear.
: Our bracelets? How could Father keep this a secret from me for so long?
: They must know nothing of the bracelets. Tell them only if some great peril strikes." These were King Fado's exact orders. Prince Ephraim knows nothing of the bracelets' secret, either. The king told me this out of fear that something might happen to him. So that, when the time came, the two of you would learn the truth.
: The bracelets have such meaning...
: Yes. And we are the only living souls who know the secret of the Stone of Renais. At least, that's what I was given to believe. And yet...
: Yes, quite clear at that... I don't know how, but Emperor Vigarde must have learned the secret somehow. And now, his troops pursue the bracelet, and we are no closer to knowing his motives.
: He would use the bracelets to unlock the Sacred Stone and destroy it in secret...
: Which means that my brother... and his bracelet...
: If he's been captured, they may have the bracelet already, and he may be--
: Princess, we must take Novala's words to be true. We must hurry to Prince Ephraim. The enemy soldiers who fled the battle will have reported our location by now. If the prince is being held prisoner at Renvall... I fear they might execute him once they learn of our approach.
: You're right. We've no time to waste. We must hurry to Renvall! Let's go rescue my brother!
Wait...how did Seth learn his name? Check the conversation again. He never said it. Oh well, no sense worrying about it.
Next Time: We got shot at by really wimpy siege weapons in Chapter 7: Waterside Renvall