Part 16: Chapter 12A: Village of Silence
With the assistance of Saleh, Eirika makes her way up into the mountains. Little does she know, but a new threat awaits her up there: oxygen starvation.
: Master Saleh, is it much farther?
: We're close. It's only half a day ahead.
: I would ask for a moment's rest before continuing. We are all exhausted. We can go no farther today.
: No, Seth. I'll be fine. We must not be delayed by my weakness.
: Whew... Hah... I didn't realize we'd be climbing so high.
I can definitely sympathize. I live in an area very close to sea level, so when I attended a two-week camp up in Colorado, I could barely run for ten seconds before feeling winded.
: ...As I warned you before we set out, the footing here can be treacherous.
: Do you people truly live in this place? These barren crags seem unfit for human habitation...
: Material wealth brings strife. We've no need of these things. In this, we are of one mind with the Great Dragon.
: The Great Dragon?
: Ah! Princess Eirika, watch out!
: More monsters... Master Saleh, do these creatures normally inhabit this region?
: No... Those things come from Darkling Woods. It's been a long time since they've wandered this far afield. It's as the elder says... Evil omens take many shapes.
: It looks like those fiends have noticed us as well. We should move, Eirika.
We'll get to that shortly. We've got other business to attend to.
: This armor used to be too heavy for me to wear, but now, it's no problem! I've come a long way. That's right. I'm a real soldier now! But I'm not about to stop. I'm just getting started!
You're not just becoming a soldier, Amelia.
You're becoming a knight.
: I hope he is safe.
Now why would you think he was in danger?
: Hey! Wa-wait a moment. We can work this out... You, uh, aren't interested in talking, are you? Aaaaaa...
Look at this kid barely outrun a zombie. That takes talent.
: I've got to get back and warn everyone... But... I do wonder if Grandmother is all right.
Don't worry about Ewan. Unlike some horror movies you may have seen, monsters actually leave houses completely alone, so we can take our sweet time reaching him.
No need to concern ourselves about Saleh either. The guy can fend for himself just fine. Perhaps a little too well, as a matter of fact.
I was a little mistaken about the mission of this chapter. Despite the boss-like appearance of the Maelduin standing in front of a gate, this map is actually another Rout map, and that isn't a gate at all. My bad, I suppose.
The Tarvos and Maelduin have the movement speed of a mounted unit and use axes primarily. They're also pretty beefy, but compensate by being unable to hit a blessed thing (keep this statement in mind for later).
To begin, I have Vanessa thin out some of the flying units up north. This turns out to be a bad idea, because in doing so, I crossed an invisible line. What did it do?
It gave Lute unnatural luck, of course.
But it also signaled these monsters to arrive at the end of the next enemy phase.
These too. I'm guessing they intended for you to accidentally cross that line when the bulk of your force was further upwards, because this is just a nasty pincer attack.
Interesting little graphical glitch, by the way. I'm guessing they don't expect you to read fast enough to notice it when you're swiftly panning over units.
Deploy makeshift barricades!
It works, sort of. Amelia isn't at the point yet where she can effectively block attacks, but give her time.
This gargoyle thinks it's being clever. Too bad I'm most cleverest.
And yes, I do have to use Saleh once. But just once, I promise.
This gargoyle has a horseslayer, but it doesn't work against flying horses. I help myself to it once it's dead.
Not much else to report, other than Lute's continual streak of not-bad levels.
So many gargoyles. For Neimi, it's paradise.
I'd like to give a big shoutout to the Hatchet. Ross started with it, and its ranged capabilities and decent weight and damage have served him well.
Why am I bringing it up now? No reason.
That's a step in the right direction, Amelia, but I'd like a little more than that.
In retrospect, putting Vanessa way out ahead of everyone else was kind of stupid.
I can only blame myself for this level.
That's a dancer level.
Well, no harm in having Tana assist.
Good thing he missed on the enemy phase. I would have been mildly put off.
Seriously, pegasus knights got no love this chapter.
None at all.
And then Eirika gets into the fun. I'd use that Restore staff I picked up last chapter, but guess who isn't a high enough rank to use it.
Guess I'll have to settle for the next best thing.
So after all that silliness, yet another spider comes down to play.
Tana has had enough from spiders.
Those are decent stats, but it's still not great.
Now that the situation's calmed down enough, we can retrieve our young pupil.
: Ewan... You're safe.
: Oh, Teacher! It's you! You probably had to fight a ton of creatures to get here! You're the best! I hope I can study with you forever.
: I've told you before... My mission is my life. If you wish to learn magic, you'd be better served by another.
: No way. I wanna be just like you. Why would I go study somewhere else? Wait... You've gotta go out on a mission again, don't you! Take me with you! I've practiced a lot. I can already use all the magic you taught me!
: ... Well, you seem quite adamant. All right. You may accompany me. I think being with me might be safer than remaining on your own.
Yahoo...If he starts talking about how Eirika looks like a goddess, I'm ditching him back on Tatooine.
Yes, another trainee. It feels like just yesterday that we finished training the last one. Ewan is the magician trainee, a Pupil, and he starts out with the ability to use Anima magic, but he can ditch that for another school if we want.
He also comes with another Energy Ring, which is always nice.
Compared to finding a party member, this one will seem downright mundane.
: I can't believe monsters have appeared here in the realm of the Great Dragon. What is this world coming to? This staff will help to protect you against the beasts. Please travel safely.
A Barrier staff is essentially Pure Water. Same resistance boost, same decrease-over-time effect. The difference is that Pure Water can only be applied to the person who uses it, while a Barrier staff can be used on anybody by a healer, so no need to waste a turn putting it on.
Too bad it's C rank, though, so L'Arachel can't use it quite yet. It's got 15 uses of 17 exp each, so it's effectively worth two levels and a half, and unlike heal staves, which can only be used on injured targets, it can be used anytime on anybody. Really handy training tool for healers, Barrier staves are.
I love how huge the Tarvos' axes are. Really makes them more imposing.
Someone brought this up in the thread, but the spriters really did a good job at making the trainees seem awkward in their attacks. You had Amelia, who looked like she could barely lift that spear of hers, and now you have Ewan stumbling back and forth while doing the normal spellcaster theatrics. It's a fun break from the stylish maneuvers of the more experienced classes.
You thought we were done with gargoyles? Well...we are now. Aside from a couple stragglers to the right, that's the last of them for this chapter.
Lots of easily avoidable attacks hitting this round. I wonder if it's a sign of bad things to come, or just the RNG being in a foul mood.
One advantage Ewan has as a trainee is that not a lot of enemies have resistance, so he can do some decent damage, even in his puny state.
Why do trainees have to crap out on me?
Why would a gargoyle go for Ross? He's got an axe, and there's a pegasus knight in range.
Oh, I get it.
With the combined damage from the boss and the gargoyle, had they both hit, Ross would have died that turn. The fact that the gargoyle's sacrifice meant that the boss would be able to attack at range undeterred was merely icing on the cake.
Goodbye, hatchet. Ross will have to move on to better axes.
Elsewhere, an entombed gives Gerik a free level. I don't know why entombed specifically are so valuable, but they're almost always a guaranteed level to whoever pops them.
And Gerik gets slightly more invincible.
Since his experience just wrapped right around, he's able to level again off a gargoyle. It's not great, but I'm not asking for much from him.
For whatever reason, there's a vendor right next to the boss.
Aside from Restore staves that L'Arachel can't use, there's nothing in here we haven't seen before. I grab one anyway, just in case.
Gargoyles are good eatin'.
Honestly, I don't know if you can call this a boss. Just look at that hit chance.
: I'm sorry, Elder. I searched to the west, but I found nothing.
: Is that so... Hm? Who's that with you?
: I am Innes, prince of Frelia. The circumstances of our journey have led us here. We would like to pass through.
: Hmmm... We of Caer Pelyn have turned away from the world outside. The Great Dragon alone holds all our honor and esteem. In this place, princes and pauper are equals. Do you have a problem with that?
: ...No. I understand.
: Hm... Well then, be welcomed as guests in our homes. I see some of you are injured. You should use this rock moss. We have little beyond what we need, but we will prepare food and bedding. You can rest as long as you like.
: We've no wish to trouble you. We'd just as soon pass straight through.
: Don't let your pride drive you to foolishness. That girl there looks like she's ready to collapse at any moment. She's ill from the height of the mountain. Saleh, prepare some tea for the lass.
: Thank you, Elder...
: Call me Grandmother, child. That is what the villages call me.
In actuality, Grandmother's name is Dara, but since everyone calls her Granny, we'll call her that instead.
: This Great Dragon...
: Ah, the inquisitiveness of youth. Come, lass, listen to my words. The Great Dragon is...a blessing, one that watches over all mankind. Why, in days long past, when the Demon King appeared...
: Demon King? Are you speaking of the legend of the Sacred Stones? The hero Grado used the power of the five Sacred Stones to defeat and seal away--
: No, no, that's not right at all. Ah, how quickly did mankind forget its debt to the Great Dragon. To hear the story now, one would think humans alone brought about victory. That is a gross mistelling of the tale. Only through the Great Dragon's strength could the Demon King be sealed away!
: The Great Dragon and the Demon King...
: Mankind may have forgotten its debt, but the Great Dragon never forgets. It watches over the bones of the Demon King in Darkling Woods. It keeps the Demon King's dark brood from swarming the world of men. The Great Dragon's vigilance alone has kept us safe from their blind rage.
: Is that so? I'm... I'm sorry, I never knew...
: Hmph. You don't need to know everything, but you should remember that.
: Yet, Grandmother, we encountered those creatures on the way here. And they have begun to appear in the land we live in as well. What does this mean?
: Ah... You have seen the effects of the omen that has appeared in the south. There is an energy there that has fouled the air and darkened the sky. The Great Dragon left Darkling Woods and went south to investigate. We of the village wished to protect the Great Dragon, so I sent my grandson, Saleh, as long as well. But they became embroiled in battle, and the Great Dragon disappeared. Since that time, there's been no sign of the Great Dragon either here or abroad. We grew worried and directed Saleh to look for any trace of the Great Dragon. I am worried that the source of that foul energy may be responsible.
: A foul energy... From the south?
: Is the Great Dragon you speak of...one of the Manakete?
: Manakete?!? How dare you speak so of the Great Dragon!
: I-I'm sorry.
: But if you've seen the noble Myrrh, perhaps I can proceed more quickly. You see, our Great Dragon took the form of Mistress Myrrh in her travels. And you tell me that you have seen the Great Dragon yourself, lass?
: Yes. Myrrh was with my brother.
: He leads a force of men against Grado. Myrrh rides beside him.
: Saleh, this is urgent! You must leave for Grado at once and rescue the Great Dragon!
: Understood. I will...
: Oh, where are you off to? If you're going to Grado, the swiftest route takes you through Jehanna. It would be to your advantage to join us in our journey for a time. It's far safer then being on your own.
: You have a point... Mistress Eirika, protecting the Great Dragon is my duty. Please allow me to travel with you on the road ahead.
: Not at all. All of our guidance comes from the Great Dragon. Saleh.
: Yes, I know. The road to Jehanna lies here.
: Grandmother, thank you so much for everything.
: I know you'll help the Great Dragon, but please look after Saleh as well. He's not very personable, but he's the only grandchild I have.
So that was Granny. To think that if we'd chosen Ephraim's route, we'd have missed out on that huge wall of exposition. What a shame that would have been.
Next Time: We get trapped between two armies in Chapter 13: Hamill Canyon
Weapon Ranks: A in anima, B in light, C in staves
HP: 30 (50%) Lck: 11 (40%)
Mag: 16 (30%) Def: 8 (30%)
Skl: 18 (25%) Res: 13 (35%)
Spd: 14 (40%) Con: 8
Saleh is kind of dull, really. He's got great bases, but he won't advance very far if you use him, and his personality isn't notable or memorable enough for me to advocate him based on that either. If you want to go the Sage route, Lute would probably be a better choice, and she's a more entertaining character, to boot.
Weapon Ranks: E in anima, changes to D in dark depending on promotion
HP: 15 (50%) Lck: 5 (50%)
Mag: 3 (45%) Def: 0 (15%)
Skl: 2 (40%) Res: 3 (40%)
Spd: 5 (35%) Con: 5
Ewan is yet another trainee-the last one, I promise-and has the same strengths and weaknesses. What he brings to the table is a potentially very strong caster, but you better have someone standing between him and the enemy at all times, because he's made of wet tissue paper. You could have him go mage, but Lute will probably blow him out of the water, so you'll most likely have him go shaman for dark magic instead. Honestly, I don't usually use him unless I have the training areas handy, which I don't in this run. I guess next chapter will have to suffice, because I'm training him anyway.
Naturally, Ewan has some additional recruitment conversations. With Tethys...
: Oh, Sister!
: Ewan! Are you all right?
: Yeah. I tried to fight those monsters. And you know what? I killed four of 'em! With my magic! That's pretty good, huh?
: What am I going to do with you? Anyway, it's not safe here. Come with me, Ewan.
: ... You-you don't believe me... You watch and see. I'll show you how far I've come!
: Ah, hello!
: Ewan! How wonderful. So youre safe, are you?
: Yep. I took care of a whole mess of those things. More of em might show up at any time, so Ill just follow you to the village. Thats all right, isnt it?
: I guess so... Its probably safer than leaving you here by yourself. Lets stick together, Ewan.
And anyone else.
: You were one of the people with my teacher, weren't you? You think I can fight at your side? I can use the magic my teacher taught me. Well, what do you say?
You don't want to know what I have to say about you right now, kid.