Part 13: Chapter 9A: Distant BladeChapter 9A: Distant Blade
Carcino is a young nation ruled by a council of merchants, and it is an ally of Frelia.
Carcino council leader Klimt, a staunch opponent of Grado's imperialistic actions, has pledged Carcino's support to Frelia in this conflict.
Eirika believes there is nothing to fear in Carcino, but she is wrong.
: And yet you cannot locate the Stone of Renais. Glen. Valter. Find the children of Renais. Find them and take from them the bracelets that they wear. Glen, take Eirika. Valter, take Ephraim. Find them. Conquer them.
: Yes, Your Majesty...
: Ha ha... Eirika, eh? She's a ripe little peach. And her brother, Ephraim... He's better prey than I'd imagined. I can feel my blood rushing at the thought. This might be fun after all.
: Caellach. Riev. Shatter the remaining Sacred Stones. Caellach, take Jehanna. Riev, take Rausten. Go. Crush the Sacred Stones they house.
: Heh heh heh... As you will. I'll begin making arrangements for Rausten's downfall immediately...
: Bah! Why am I stuck with Jehanna? Accursed ill luck. I became a mercenary to escape that wretched place, and now I must go back?
: Duessel. Go to Frelia. Take the Frelian army and punish Ephraim. Selena. Remain in the capital. Soon, I will have new orders for you.
: Yes, sire.
Well, that was informative. Since we're bound towards Rausten, perhaps we'll run into Riev along the way.
: You were supposed to remain in the palace.
: You left so abruptly, without any warning or farewell. You and Ephraim have only just arrived, and already you leave on another quest? Well, I'm your friend, Eirika, and I won't let you go into danger without me.
: Does King Hayden know of this?
: No. He'd just say I forbid you to go on this foolish errand," like always. But I'm so worried about you.
: Thank you, Tana. I appreciate your concern, but King Hayden would--
: You and Ephraim, my father and my brother... You're all fighting together, fighting for a noble cause. I cannot be left out. I will not be left out. Please, Eirika.
: ...Oh... All right. I never could refuse you anything. Come on. Let's go, Tana.
: Thank you, Eirika!
And thus did Tana worm her way into the party. I suppose it's better than the other way she joins the group, but we'll see that in probably a couple weeks or so.
: If we can find passage across the North Sea, we will reach Rausten in 10 days.
: It smells of the tides... This is a busy place, isn't it?
: It's a trade center. Peoples of all nations pass through here. Do not become so enthralled with the sights and sounds that you forget your mission.
: I won't. I'm a mercenary by the name of Erina. I'm traveling to Rausten to receive a commission.
: Let us look for a ship then, Erina. The docks are this way.
: Is something amiss?
: Seth, that woman over there? Is that...
That's right, it's those three. And as always, they're engaged in matters of great importance.
: Flavorful without being overwhelming, refined without being banal...
: Gwah ha ha! Right you are, Lady LArachel!
: You look familiar...
: Oh! Aren't you--
: We've met before, haven't we? You arrived with your companions when we encountered those creatures... Your name is LArachel, is it not?
: A wonder and pleasure that we should meet again so soon! It is providence!
: Oh, and if you have not yet tried one, these pastries are also divine. Would you care for one?
: Uh, thank you... No, wait... That's not why-- We're actually on our way to the Theocracy of Rausten. We're rather in a rush and need to find passage on a ship...
: Oh, dear. I'm afraid you'll find none to assist you. No ships are leaving port.
: You see, I find myself heading home once more to my beloved Rausten as well! And actually, I'm quite well known with the powers-that-be here in Port Kiris. So I ordered them to ready the finest passenger vessel for me. But both merchants and passenger ships alike are too frightened to set sail. It seems a giant ghost ship has been sinking every ship it finds... Would that I could confront it, I could stop its foul villainy in a moment. Alas. It's such a shame.
A ghost ship, eh? That's a total red herring if I've ever seen one.
: Yes, yes... Uh... That is troublesome. Still, I must get to Rausten somehow.
: You needn't worry too much. After all, if the sea is closed to you, simply follow the overland route!
: The overland route? I've heard that's a terribly roundabout path to travel.
: Oh, it is, but don't you see? The hardships of the road, they are truly blessings! They will toughen you and strengthen your resolve when you need to face great evil. For example, I have been tasked with a great trial in order to better me. I understand my path, O unknowable forces of providence! I, your faithful servant LArachel, shall overcome! With faith and divine strength!
: Now, listen, LArachel! You might be thrilled about going the long way, but--
: Come now, we're leaving. Dozla? Rennac? Don't fall behind!
: Gwah ha ha! Wait for us, Lady LArachel! Come on, Rennac! We run 'til we drop! The first one to collapse from exhaustion is the winner!
: Help... Why is this happening to me?
: ...Uh, Seth? Isn't Rausten in the other direction? Aren't they heading toward Frelia?
: ...It's nothing you need concern yourself with, milady. Our only concern now is to decide our next course of action. An overland journey would be very long. However, it seems that may be our only choice at the moment...
: I agree. Whatever shall we do...
Green chest hair...thank you, Intelligent Systems.
: Dastard! Away with you!
: No need to get personal! You know, there's a pretty price on your pretty head. Sorry, but I need that gold.
And go. Binks is not a very complicated man.
Though teleporting all the way to the other end of the harbor in a single transition is a pretty neat trick.
Our objective this map is to kill Binks, but we've also got to worry about pirates destroying these houses. This is one map where you can't afford to dawdle.
Apparently getting kidnapped by Breguet has made Tana a little twitchy about knights. The Heavy Spear is the armorslayer of the lance family, and it's also way too heavy for her to be using. I switch it out for a slim lance and an iron lance off-screen.
Stat-wise, she's pretty well off, especially for a level 4 character. Vanessa may have some competition on her hands.
Binks is the first warrior we've seen, and he's a pretty good one at that. That chest hair is going to be hard to penetrate, and he's got a bow for range and an axe for close up. What's more, since warriors don't have any weaknesses like knights and cavaliers, we can't cheat on this one using Eirika.
Perhaps sensing her tenuous position in the team, Neimi opens with a great level. But will it be enough?
While everyone else goes around the harbor, Ross takes the direct route towards the lower house.
This pirate he's harassing has an Ocean Seal, the promotion item for pirates and thieves. Colm isn't doing too hot, so Ross pretty much has dibs on it.
Speaking of mediocrity...
At the end of the first turn, this pirate comes out of the top of the map. There's only one in normal mode, but if we were playing hard, there'd be another pirate already on the move.
Notice this sniper here. This sniper is our first regular enemy to come promoted, but there'll be others. In normal, he's kind of a non-issue, but in hard, you'd best be approaching him with Seth, because anyone else is going to get rocked.
In lieu of having a paladin or knight to tank hits, the cavalier trio is going to be forming a wall fairly often this mission, since they're the next best thing, defense-wise.
I'm planning on sending Vanessa to back up Ross, but I'm going to have to be careful, because the game designers anticipated players trying to just fly over to the house and dropped two archers there.
8 damage. One shot of 8 damage, no less. This sniper is pitiful.
That's a lot of speed that Joshua's getting. I hope that when he caps it, he focuses on something else.
Meanwhile, thanks to Franz spontaneously turning his lance into a scythe...
Forde and Kyle are able to double-team the pirate, ending the threat to the middle house.
Now, this pirate here. As you can see, if left to his own devices, this guy can reach the house in two turns. We'll need a distraction.
Vanessa, you're up!
This leaves Vanessa free to curve around to the house while Ross distracts the archers.
Back with the main group, Eirika scores herself a Killing Edge from a hapless Myrmidon.
And Tana isn't quite impressing me yet.
Not much of note in the armory, but the magic shop has the next tier of anima and light magic.
Not this again...
One of these soldiers is not like the others.
: Carcino's mercenaries will arrest the princess of Renais shortly. Our duty here is nearly ended, and I expect no further hostilities. If you must fight, however, remember that the whole empire fights with you!
: Um, Commander? What should I do?
: Who are you?
: Sir! I'm Amelia of Silva, sir! I'm new. I was only assigned to your command today. I wanted to fight for the empire!
: I don't need your life story, fool! Recruits are in front! Grab a lance and move!
: Sir, yes sir! This lance... Stab the enemy. I'm not afraid... I'm a citizen of Grado. It's my duty to fight. And I'll fight my best!
Well, if that's not an obvious recruitable party member, I don't know what is.
First house down. That was the hard one.
: Wh-what do you want? Gimme a break... Leave us out of this stupid war of yours! We don't want anything to do with it! Or... are you just another victim, like the rest of us here? Well, regardless... Here. Take this, and go do something about all this fighting, will you? (Got Rapier)
A spare Rapier for Eirika. That's handy.
I like catching these interstitial frames. They're fun to look at.
That? Not so much.
Her task complete, Vanessa hops over to assist the group.
We might have a contest on our hands.
And that's the second house. All that's left is Amelia and the boss.
: My, oh my... It's about time they left. I'm finally done getting ordered about without getting paid. Huh? Oh, don't mind me. Just talking to myself. Here, I want you to hold on to this for me. Don't tell anyone. Oh, and don't say a word about seeing me to Lady LArachel, all right? Deal? (Got Dragonshield)
Another Dragonshield. Fantastic! I'm going to have to do something with all these stat boosters I'm getting.
Kid, if you do that one more time...
Well, he was needing some more skill.
At any rate, at least Franz can't mess up recruiting people.
: What? What?
: Are you one of the locals? This is a dangerous spot. You should hide. Here, come with me.
: But... But I'm...
: I'm Franz, a Knight of Renais. What's your name? What are you doing here?
: I-I'm Amelia. I'm... Actually, I'm a Grado soldier. I'm supposed to be fighting you.
: Really? So, uh, you're my enemy?
: ...I guess... Are you... Are you going to make me your prisoner?!
: No! No, I wouldn't do that. But...this is a problem.
: What should we do?
: First of all, you must listen to me and do as I say. We'll talk to Princess Eirika later.
: What? NO! My commander told me Eirika's a cruel and merciless fiend who--
: Oh, that's utter nonsense. I've never heard the princess utter an unkind word to anyone. I understand why you're frightened. You think we're the enemy. But if you'd only trust me... Will you come with me?
: Mm... Well, all right. I'll trust you, Franz.
No, this isn't a joke. Amelia's another trainee, this time of the spear-wielding persuasion. If we choose to bother with her, she could make for a somewhat mediocre cavalier, of which we already have too many, or she could become a speedy knight, which is a hilarious combination if her stats grow right. But...well, you'll see her growths at the end. I'll leave it at that.
Since the game doesn't toss her a light ranged weapon to start with, training her is a risky affair.
Still, she manages, and with her boosted experience, she gains...
...I can already tell that you guys are going to send her on every map now.
And without further ado, it's time for the best levels you've ever seen!
...Hurts, doesn't it?
Given what just happened, this is practically a perfect level.
But this? This is wonderful by any metric. Welcome to the team, Tana.
Now, the boss.
: Blast! This ain't right! These guys are too tough... 5,000 gold ain't nearly enough for this!
Taking on Binks is tough, but since bows can't be used at melee range, we can cheese him a little.
Emphasis on little.
Good thing he's slow, so he can only do this once.
Once he switches to the axe, we can soften him up with Neimi and Lute...
Bring him to the brink with Eirika...
For a very tolerable level.
And finish with Franz.
: Th-that stinkin' Pablo... He...lied to me...
That's it! You're benched. You are so benched.
: Yes, I believe so... Who are these men? They don't appear to be Grado Imperial troops.
: Judging by their crude swordplay, I'd say they're mercenaries. We can expect more of them in the area, too, I think. Wait here.
: We were just doing a job.
: Who hired you?
: I may be nothing but a hired blade, but I have my honor. I won't say a word.
: I admire your professionalism. I guess we have no use for you.
: No, wait! I'll talk! Carcino! It was Pablo of the Carcino Council of Elders!
: Councilman Pablo?
: That doesn't make sense! Carcino and Frelia are allies. Why would they target me?
: I don't know... Could be they've decided Grado's going to win. They want to be on the winning side. Some of the others opposed Pablo, but I heard he had 'em all silenced but quick. That's all I know, I swear it.
: I believe you. Go.
: We were careless. We should have seen this coming. Carcino's a young and ambitious nation ruled by power-hungry merchants. And Grado grows more powerful with every passing day. So it's no surprise Carcino's merchant lords would throw in with Grado now.
: Prince Innes was to pass through Carcino on his way to Jehanna... If Carcino has betrayed us, then he ran headlong into enemy territory...
Right on cue...
: I know you... You were a messenger riding with Prince Innes.
: Yes, and I have news of him. Prince Innes is in danger! Carcino's merchant army struck and cut through half our men. The prince is trapped in a siege. He has no means of escape, and--
: No more! I understand. Return to Frelia and deliver your message!
: What of Prince Innes?
: Leave him to us. The prince's troubles should burden you no more. We will see him to safety.
And that'd be the end of it if you didn't save the houses. But since we did...
: Have Lady LArachel and her man, Sir Stubble-chin, gone yet?
: Aren't you-- Yes, they no longer appear to be in the city.
: Whew... I'm finally free! No more getting bossed around by that witless ninny! Thanks. I owe you one. Take this. Now that I'm free again. I think I'm just gonna wander about for a while.
: ...What a strange relationship they have.
: Lady Eirika, I think we ought to be leaving soon.
: Yes. We must hurry to Prince Innes's side!
Sweet! Doing good feels great!
Next Time: We discover the motivational power of dance in Chapter 10: Revolt at Carcino
Class: Pegasus Knight
Weapon Ranks: D in lances
HP: 20 (65%) Lck: 8 (60%)
Str: 7 (45%) Def: 6 (20%)
Skl: 9 (40%) Res: 7 (25%)
Spd: 13 (65%) Con: 5
Whatever complaints I have about Tana don't stem from her stats. She is a very good Pegasus Knight, and starts at such a low level that she's got a lot of room for improvement too. It's almost guaranteed that she'll cap her speed before promotion, and she'll probably get some points in other areas too. Overall, a very good unit, and it's a tossup as to whether you should use her or Vanessa. Or just use both. That's always an option.
Weapon Ranks: E in lances
HP: 16 (60%) Lck: 6 (50%)
Str: 4 (35%) Def: 2 (30%)
Skl: 3 (40%) Res: 3 (15%)
Spd: 4 (40%) Con: 6
Amelia. Freakin' Amelia. If there's ever a character who can run the range between hilariously powerful or painfully bad, it's her. Mediocre growths, lousy bases, and showing up at a stage where training her is very difficult all combine together to create a character who desperately needs to get lucky early. Compound that with the fact that the cavaliers and knight who she'll be competing with have a lot more time to build themselves up than she does, and you've got a sticky situation. I'll be working on her, believe you me, but it won't be easy, and if she doesn't impress me at the end of her first tier, she's out. Simple as that.
If you talk to Amelia with Eirika instead of Franz, you get this:
: Who are you?
: What? What?
: Are you from around here? You should find someplace to hide. These men are after me. It's not safe.
: But... But I'm...
: I'm a Grado soldier. I'm here to stop the princess of Renais...
: Huh? You're with Grado?
: And you're Princess Eirika? But the commander said Eirika's a cruel and merciless fiend...
: What? No, I'm...I don't know what Grado's officers have been telling you, but... Our two countries are at war, so I suppose they can say what they want.
: ...Mistress Eirika... I, uh, I surrender. I won't fight you.
: I became a soldier because I admired General Duessels sense of honor. But the generals have been very opposed to this war from the beginning... And now I see you, and you look so sad about all of this. I don't know what's right anymore. I'm just a soldier, but I want to decide for myself. I want to understand the truth myself, to see it with my own eyes.
: ...I see. So...does this mean you're coming with us? I suppose I should ask your name then.
: Amelia. Amelia of Silva.