Part 17: Chapter 13A: Hamill CanyonChapter 13A: Hamill Canyon
This largely barren desert nation is infamous for its mercenary forces.
The Queen of the White Dunes governs Jehanna with Grace and Honor.
When he was young, her son left Jehanna. His whereabouts remain unknown.
After passing through Caer Pelyn, Eirika arrives in Jehanna. There, she finds the nation embroiled in combat with Grado's forces.
But first, it's time to go to our favorite place.
: That can't be! That's impossible!
: There's no mistake. Look for yourself. I've brought his corpse with me. That's him right over there, isn't it?
: No... Brother...
: Not a pretty sight, eh? You'll be hard pressed to ready that for a proper burial. But listen, Cormag. There's no reason for you to grieve. After all, who is better than you to replace your brother in His Majesty's service? Picture it: General Cormag, the new and improved Sunstone, eh?
: Who did this... Who is responsible? Who!?
: Glen's last orders were to find and subdue Eirika. 'Tis a pity I was delayed. I arrived to witness the final blow myself. I watched Eirika run her blade right through his chest and then flee.
: Eirika?! Where is she now?
: ANSWER ME!
: ...In the eastern mountains of Carcino. The forests are thick in that region. It won't be easy finding her, but...
: Gone already? I've sent a gift your way, Eirika, but I trust you can handle it. You're my girl after all. I need you to be strong for me... Heh heh... ha ha ha ha ha!
Fun fact: Eirika won't gain a point of strength this chapter.
: Go on. What news do you bring?
: Prince Innes! You're alive and well! When the reinforcements rode into Carcino, you were nowhere to be seen... We thought perhaps the enemy forces had reached you and... It's good to see you well, milord.
: I'm sorry to have troubled you. But remember, the duty I bear is a harsh master. It will not let me die easily.
: Of course. Prince Innes...
: Yes, what word do you bring of Frelia? Speak!
: Yes, Your Highness! Frelia has invaded Carcino and engaged the traitor Pablo's mercenary army. With aid from the elder Klimt, we are crushing the foe where we find them. Pablo's faction is retreating ever southward, toward Jehanna...
: Towards Jehanna? They must be planning to join with the Grado forces there.
: Pardon me, but I must know... Do you have word of my brother?
:: Yes. Prince Ephraim has forced them surrender of Grado's fortress at Rigwald. He is now marching onward toward the imperial capital.
: Toward the capital...
: It's too strong a force... Even for Ephraim.
: No... I believe in my brother. I know he fights still. The bracelet tells me so.
...What else does the bracelet tell you, Eirika? I'm genuinely curious now.
: LArachel. We're going to break through the Grado lines and join the army of Jehanna. You should keep to the rear where it's safe...
: No, I will stay with you. Confronting evil boldly is the sworn duty of any ally of justice. And it may be that Grado's goal is the Stone of Jehanna... I cannot stand by and let it be destroyed.
: LArachel? Where did you come by such information?
: Hm? That...uh, well...the...wind whispered to me in the night.
: The wind? Whispered to you?
No weirder than a bracelet talking.
: Yes, that's right. ...And according to that gentle breeze, there are knights riding this way from Rausten even as we speak. If we can but hold out until they arrive, the battle will surely be ours. Come, Eirika. Let us be on our way.
: W-wait a moment. LArachel? Who are you?
Nice formation. Wonder who set that up.
: Mm. Everything's in place. This Princess Eirika supposedly defeated General Glen. I wonder... If it's true, then she's a foe to be reckoned with, and no doubt. Still, there's no reason to worry. I can best her. I know it.
: You'll take her, I've no fear. We fought as mercenaries together, and I know what you're capable of. I could search the continent over and not find a man to match your skills.
: I'm honored to hear you say that. But I've no interest in the titles and trapping of Grado's Imperial Army.
: Don't say that. You're glad you came with me, right? You know we were both sick to death of living like desert rats. I'm going to be king one day. This war is just the beginning.
: Ah... It starts again.
: Word has it that the Knights of Rausten are riding from the north. They're mine. I can trust this mess to your capable hands, can't I, Aias?
: You remember what they called me when we were mercenaries, don't you? I was never once wounded on the field of battle. Not once... My skill is not garish and loud like yours, but I've never known defeat.
: Yes, that is true. I'm depending on you, Aias.
: ...All units prepare for battle.
: We've word that Pablos mercenary army is closing in from the rear. You must be cautious.
: All we have to do is hold them off until the Knights of Rausten arrive. If we can do that, victory is as good as ours. Let's get started, shall we, Eirika?
This is a small battlefield compared to ones we've been on, but there's still a bit of a ways to travel from end to end. As the text implied, all we have to do is hold out, but we're going to do a little beyond that.
By the way, if you took too long recruiting Amelia on Chapter 9, or just plain didn't bother to do so, she'd be here as a level 4 recruit, in which case, good luck keeping her alive. I had enough trouble keeping Ewan from getting killed on this map, let alone a recruit version of Amelia too.
True to his strategist name, Aias is decked out for a number of occasions. That short spear gives him range, his class gives him access to all three main weapon types, and he's covered behind a wall of rangers, cavaliers, and knights.
Note the Swordslayer. That's not a Swordreaver. Don't get the two confused. A swordreaver only doubles the weapon triangle bonus against swords. A swordslayer, on the other hand, gives him effective damage against them.
Yeah, you don't want that sort of power tripled against you.
The rangers are nothing special. I'm given to understand that normal and easy mode just start off promoted classes at their bases and level them up from there, which is why the stats are so bad on what should be a real danger.
Thank goodness for that, I say. There's enough to worry about in this chapter already.
You might have noticed the two priests in the back of the formation. One's got the usual status effect staff, but the other one has a Physic staff. That's a long-range healing staff. Very useful in our hands, but we can only steal items in this game. Real shame, that.
That said, he does have 2500G on him. That's all a Red Gem is, you know. It's not like you can do anything but sell them.
By thread request, I'm finally deploying Seth. Good thing too. Those are nice bases, but the bosses are beyond those numbers at this point.
That's enough setup. Let's get this thing started.
These ballistae are actually spaced close together in a pretty good way, to the point where you're going to get shot by one unless you're standing right next to the other. Good thinking on Aias's part.
Too bad my units are more maneuverable.
Training Ewan is problematic on this map. Lots of ranged units, lots of units with high mobility.
Still, what's life without a little risk?
While everyone else is setting up a basic perimeter for the first assault, Gerik is running back towards the forts in the northwest. You'll see why in a second.
Also, I don't know why, but this map was not kind to me on hits. Made it a little irritating to get through.
No need to worry about the second ballista unless you're Lute, Ewan or Moulder. Matter of fact, with the archer's low skill, the only person it can even crit on is our healer himself.
For the next few turns, these forts are going to be deploying a merc and a fighter. But that's no real issue for Gerik.
The first of these mercenaries has this baby: a Zanbato. I think the description says enough. Aside from its effectiveness, though, there's not much going for it.
I put Neimi on ballista duty for this fight. It's not much damage, but it's good for softening enemies up for Ewan.
Nice mage level, but how about some defense, eh?
Clearing out the first wave results in varied success.
But the upside of it all is that Seth finally gets some action.
Seth's horse would rock the moonwalk. All that running in place...
How's that 0 Defense treating you, Ewan?
Staff accuracy is a sum of 30 + (5 times Magic) + Skill. That seems like a high chance to hit, but then you figure that the avoid formula is 5 times Res plus 2 times each space between you and the target, and you realize that status effects are just not a good investment in this game.
Kind of a pain on the rare chance they do hit, though.
The range of a long-range staff is the caster's magic divided by 2. Under normal game rules, that means that this staff user has to run up dangerously close to our guys in order to land his effects, but at higher difficulties, priests can be evasive little buggers.
I'm not shy about using special weapons if I have to. The Horseslayer will be helpful for Amelia, since she doesn't have the power yet to just use iron or steel lances.
And at this rate, she won't have that power.
Seth's time spent killing Rangers pays off...sort of.
This may seem like a dangerous place to run Colm up to, but there's a trick that I know of that'll keep him safe.
Real boy wonder we're building up here.
"Wait," I hear you say, "Won't killing that archer expose Colm to assault from two angles?"
Not precisely, my verbose friend.
It is true that the knight can attack Colm from that angle, but he's the only enemy who will attack him, because of the priority the AI gives to certain units. I'm not sure about the specifics of who goes when, but from what I can tell, the AI will always move healers last, meaning that they're effectively barricades against assault if you use them right.
Good thing too, since Colm can't dodge to save his life.
It has been a very, VERY long time since that strength number has moved.
More speed is nice, I guess. He'll need it if he's going to be hauling dark tomes. Those aren't light reading.
...ba dum tish.
You know, if you wanted to be a warrior, you could have just asked.
One priest down. I really wish we could loot the dead, but no, unless specially marked, their gear just vanishes into the ether.
Onward and upward for Lute. She's not going to cap her magic, but she'll be better off than Saleh upon promotion at this rate.
And that's the second priest. Colm's capped his speed, so hopefully he'll move on to actually being able to give or take hits.
It's at this point that Seth and Amelia do a little swap. I've got a plan on how to deal with the boss, and the Horseslayer slows Seth down less than the Heavy Spear.
At the same time, Gerik's shutting down of the northwestern reinforcements gives him a really great level.
: The key is defeating the enemy commander, but...
This just isn't my day.
The key to defeating Aias is lances. Swords are right out, since he's got the swordslayer, and axes are too risky, since he's got the sword here. I don't know why he picked the silver blade to contest Seth's horseslayer, but I suspect it's because of its superior attack power.
At turn 5, three cavaliers sprout from the forts here, and two more from the forts above. They'll do this every two turns until turn 9. There's not much to fear from them, since they're just iron lance/sword users.
Something else comes on turn 5. Something pretty great for us.
Yes, Cormag, and he's brought friends.
Easily disposable friends.
If we were going Ephraim's route, we could have had Tana fly over and talk to him, but here, it's gotta be Eirika. Real shame, that, since he's going for our archer.
Amelia's going to be getting a lot of training out of those cavalier reinforcements.
And for once in this battle, the dice roll my way.
Leaving Eirika free to talk this crazed lad down.
: And you're...
: You don't know me, but you know my brother well enough. I'm Cormag. I'm the brother of Glen, general of the Grado army, whom you killed?
: This is no longer war, and this is not a battlefield. This is a duel, and I fight to avenge my brother. He died in combat, and I'll not foul his name by murdering you unarmed. But I will have vengeance.
: Hold! What is the meaning of this? Glen... Are you telling me General Glen is dead?
: Do not play me for a fool! You will not... Your lies do nothing but stain your honor. Nothing more.
: You've got it wrong! You're making a mistake. Your brother and I never fought. He lowered his lance and left the battlefield to confront your emperor.
: ...My brother? You lie! Where is your proof?
: I've no proof. But... Here are the words he spoke to me. He told me he believed I possessed a gentle heart when we met before. He said I had not lost that quality...
: ...I see... Those are indeed my brother's words. But then who? Who benefits from--
: What is it?
: ...Princess Eirika of Renais. I would be your ally.
: I don't care why you're fighting. I've no interest in your goals. I want nothing but revenge, and I will have it. If I can kill Valter with these two hands, what care I if Grado brands me a traitor?
Wyvern riders are the knights of the skies; very strong, very sturdy, and very flammable. Unlike knights, Cormag's actually going to be pretty fast too, and he brought his own promotion item. How courteous of him.
Let's fast-forward a few turns.
Notice the kind of sloppy positioning. That's because my units are intentionally blocking them from their scripted position, so they're moving to the next most convenient spot.
: Grr...I've misread the situation. I can't believe I've been forced out of Carcino. It's those accursed Frelia Knights riding down on us from the north. If things don't change quickly, I'll be forced to appeal to Grado for aid. We must prove ourselves worthy allies of Grado. We must have them in out debt! First, I'll use my magic to bury those enemies in the distance.
Not sure what he's talking about. All my units except Seth and Amelia are right up in his face.
Pablo hasn't changed much since the last time we saw him. The only noteworthy addition is that Purge tome, light magic capable of hitting a unit 3-10 spaces away, but we aren't going to let him use it.
The guy to watch out for in this crowd is this warrior. Like Aias, he's got a swordslayer, but unfortunately for him, we just got a very powerful spear user.
But first, a short update on Seth and Amelia.
They're doing fine.
End of update.
Back to business. Neimi begins disassembling this formation.
If you had to pick one stat besides HP and Luck, that would be the right one.
Beefed up with Barrier magic, Gerik has nothing to fear from Pablo.
: Grrr... I've got more money then you've ever seen. What say you? Join me, and take a seat of power at my side.
: Argh... It can't be...I... You can't have my gold... It's all...mine...
Who will be the first to cap strength?
As I said, -reavers and the swordslayer are chumps against their opposing weapon.
In the midst of all this wholesale slaughter, Colm snatches a Body Ring. That's the constitution booster (+2 as usual), and would be very helpful for people like Marisa or Lute, who are kind of struggling under the weight of their weapons.
Otherwise, the killing continues as usual.
On the other end, Amelia's grown to be quite the powerhouse.
Every little bit helps.
It's too bad that other trainees can't emulate her example.
And Cormag gets in on this leveling action too. I like it.
Guess it's time to finish this thing.
: You've pierced the battle formations I'd perfected... No one's ever done that. Renais's tactician has earned my highest regard.
You had a decent run, Seth. Now it's time to go back into the box.
: All troops! Retreat at once!
Alternatively, if Aias is still alive, he gets to be the one to say:
: Rausten knights?! That means Caellach's-- Curses... All troops! Retreat at once!
: The Knights of Rausten! Just as LArachel said... Reinforcements have arrived in Jehanna!
: However, it seems that all has worked out in the end.
: Well done. You may lift your eyes.
: Princess? LArachel, youre a--
: What? Oh, you mean... Don't be silly. This is nothing. Please don't concern yourself.
: I do believe, milady, that your disguise has been penetrated.
: Oh... I suppose there's naught to be done about it now. Very well, Eirika. You've found me out! The beauteous wanderer who's been your boon companion is none other then... the jewel of the theocracy of Rausten, Princess LArachel herself! I was acting under divine order to strike down evil in this land.
: ... Is that so? But why did you...
: The truth is... The princess was enflamed by the words of the court troubadour, Saaga... She forced us to allow her to journey forth anonymously on a quest for justice.
: I-I see...
: Princess. This is from King Mansel.
Gems and free handouts. This game is just drowning us in cash.
: What's this? War funds? Oh, what a grand uncle. He's just so thoughtful. Princess Eirika of Renais. Rausten will not yield to Grado. Together, let us defeat the empire in the name of righteousness!
: The palace of Jehanna was attacked by Grado forces and has surrendered.
: What? How did that...
: And the queen? Is she safe?
: That remains unknown.
: She may yet live. We must hurry.
: The palace has already been occupied by imperial troops. The Grado army is being led by Lyon, the imperial prince.
: What it is, Eirika?
: It's nothing...
Next Time: Open door number three, and you get killed by mages in Chapter 14: Queen of White Dunes
Class: Wyvern Rider
Weapon Ranks: C in lances
HP: 30 (85%) Lck: 4 (35%)
Str: 14 (55%) Def: 12 (25%)
Skl: 9 (40%) Res: 2 (15%)
Spd: 10 (45%) Con: 11
Offensively, Cormag's going to be a monster. He starts out at level 9 with his strength close to max, and he's very likely to cap it and gain enough speed and skill to match. Defensively, he's got some issues. Good base defense, don't get me wrong, but with those growths, he's not likely to improve it, and that resistance is going to really be a problem. Still, I would definitely use him, as his maneuverability, combined with his offensive capabilities, allow him to be a very versatile unit.
So what happens to the bosses if they don't die before the level ends? Pablo just vanishes from existence, but Aias gets his own special scene.
: Hey, Aias.
: That was something awful. I never expected to see you get beaten so roundly.
: Yes. It was a complete failure. The Rausten knights arrived far more quickly then I'd anticipated. But it doesnt matter, does it? Whether I won or lost? You were planning on abandoning me from the start, weren't you?
: ...Yeah, sorry. I'm not going to let things end for me here. I want to rise... To climb higher and higher. I will not be chained to my past. I will not be chained to you. I truly apologize, but you die here. Good-bye, my friend.
Yeah, we won't be seeing Aias again. Poor guy. He had some style.