Part 20: Chapter 16A: Ruled by MadnessChapter 16A: Ruled by Madness
Pardon the strangeness of the opening portion, but I saved on the deployment screen and missed the narration. I hope this will be easy enough to follow.
After the twins' absence, seeing their home ruined by war brings them terrible grief.
...has been assigned to guard Castle Renais. However, he switched allegiances, betraying his oaths of loyalty to his homeland.
Eirika marks her homecoming by vowing to see Renais healed.
And now, we return to our regular programming. I'll try to avoid that gaff in the future.
: What has happened to our home? What has happened to Castle Renais? How did it come to be so ruined? So desolated?
: Spies report that the castle is being held by the traitor Orson.
: Orson... In retrospect, I realize hes been acting odd for a while now. He seemed so... dispirited.
: His wife passed away some six months back. The loss may have been too much for his mind to bear. His love and devotion for his wife were well known among the knights.
: Now, he sits alone in the kings former bedchambers. He makes no effort to govern. No one is allowed to enter the chambers, and he takes no meals.
: What could he possibly be doing?
: I do not know. The spies had no insight into his behavior. He does nothing to deal with the dark creatures and bandits roaming the land.
: Region after region is revolting, and Orsons reign is already crumbling. Left alone, it may very well collapse under the weight of its own neglect.
: We cannot allow the situation to reach that point. Were going home, Eirika. Were going to the castle.
: I hear you, Ephraim.
: What is it, Myrrh?
: I-I will fight with you. Now that Selena has returned my dragonstone to me...
: ...Ill do what I can until its power runs out. Lets take back your home.
: Are you sure about this?
: For the two of you... I simply want to help.
: All right. I understand. But you must make me a promise. You are never to stray from our sides. Got that?
: Of course...
Guess the rumors of a dead wife were a little exaggerated.
: Of COURSE I know what today is. I'd never forget your birthday! I have a present for you, dear. I think you'll like it...
Or he's hanging out with the fantasy equivalent of a Realdoll. Groovy.
Naturally, this sort of behavior does not go unnoticed.
: What do you think hes doing back there? Ive heard lots of bizarre rumors from the master of the mess hall. ...Do you think he needs help? Could he be dangerous?
: I dont care. Im here for the money. As long as I get paid, Im happy. But on the subject of rumors, have you heard the stories of the secret treasure? Theres supposed to be some fabulous wealth hidden in Castle Renais. I tell you, if I find it, Im gone.
: See what joy your treachery has brought you? I told you treason would be sweet.
: Get out. This is Monica and my place. I will not have our home disturbed by anyone. I did as you asked. I betrayed Renais. My promise has been kept.
: Heh heh heh...How long are you going to continue this nonsense? Eirika and Ephraim have joined forces. Even now, their united forces march toward the capital, toward you.
: You cant imagine theyll forgive you for your treachery, can you? I expect the sin of your betrayal has shattered you entire familys name. And after all you did to free your wife from the cold clutches of the grave...Its a shame shell be sent back there dangling from the hangmans noose.
: No! That cant happen--
: Heh heh heh...Oh, but it can, and it will. Unless you do something to stop it. You understand what is required, dont you? You have your orders, Orson. Heh heh heh...
: ...Monica, I'm sorry. I have something I must do. Please wait for me here. Oh, darling, don't look so sad. I'll be back soon, and then I'll never leave. I must do this to protect our happiness. You understand that, don't you? All right then. I'll be back.
: Arent people amusing?
: Urr...Why...This terrible...Uh! Urr...gaa...Ahh...Err...
: Oh my, your nasty little illness rearing its ugly little head again? Theres no need to worry. The pain will pass shortly...Leave everything to your humble servant, Riev. Heh heh heh...
Well, that's a little bothersome. We'll get to that later though.
For now, we've got a throne to seize. Compared to some maps we've been seeing, this one is as straightforward as it gets. No people to recruit, no special terrain, just a whole bunch of guys between you and your objective, plus some chests on the side.
Orson hasn't improved much since he was in our party. They've given him fancier gear, but that's about it. We've still got to deal with the usual headaches associated with thrones, but otherwise, we've got weapons to take down horses.
Flanking Orson is a pair of sages with long-range magic. That sounds like it'd be quite imposing, except...
See this range the game is showing? That assumes that the sages move. They don't. Their range actually extends to where my cursor is pointing, which means that they aren't a threat until you're right on top of them.
Also, we've got this:
As Myrrh stated, she's joining our group, and she brings with her a fancy power. This Dragonstone she carries is what's giving her those huge bonuses, and she needs them, given her starting stats.
Let's give it a whirl, shall we?
I must say, the first time I played this game, I don't think I was expecting that. The Dragonstone only has 50 uses though, and unlike our weapons, we can't find or buy a new one or repair the one we have. There is one way we can renew the Dragonstone's charges, but that's technically cheating. I'll get to that in a chapter or two.
In the meantime, those defensive boosts make her a juggernaut.
There's also something a little special about her levels. Have you noticed what that might be?
In other news, since you folks gave Ewan the Metis's Tome, I'm going to be showing off just how effective boosted growth rates can be.
After this first level, I mean.
Good thing our healers are still doing well.
Because our mages are kind of just coasting along.
Speaking of mages, it might interest you to know that Myrrh does not use up Dragonstone charges if she doesn't attack someone, but she still gets the defensive benefits of it. That makes her a very effective magic tank.
Though magicians in normal mode are wimpy enough that it usually doesn't matter.
Amelia is the most peculiar of knights. I love it!
Oh yeah, one last benefit to being a Manakete...
Ridiculous experience gains. The game knows you've only got Myrrh for a short number of uses, so it makes the most of them.
Same with the levels.
In other news, Seth is a little weak right now. Still, that means that he can set up enemies for other characters.
He's got other uses too, of course. You see that group of clustered shamen and druids?
Most of them have Luna, so you can't bait them over with Myrrh. She's kinda slow right now, and Luna magic doesn't care about how much resistance you have.
So you have Seth do it instead. It helps that you guys gave him an Angelic Robe, so he's got enough health to easily tank Luna if it hits him.
Oh yeah, and don't forget that just because the enemy sages won't move, that doesn't mean they still can't hit you from 10 spaces away.
After you pass a certain boundary, these guys pop in. That'd be problematic if they had hard mode bonuses, but these great knights are just sardine cans full of delicious experience right now.
I figure that I might as well nip the siege tome problem in the bud early, so I send Myrrh in ahead of everyone else. I feel a little bad about having to hit twice with her though. Too many occasions like that will effectively cut her time with us in half.
This will help.
Ross needs to gain his last level, so I have him fight some of his brethren.
Way to end on a high note.
Since Seth can actually get some decent experience out of these guys, he grabs a quick kill too.
Sheesh. I make such a big deal about how awesome you are, and you disappoint me time and time again. Meanwhile, I downplay Neimi, and she turns out to do awesomely.
By this logic, Knoll must be Superman.
Yeah, this could have been bad. One of Myrrh's weaker areas is luck, so she's prone to crits, but she didn't get critted her whole time on this map, despite taking hits from three or four dudes with decent chances.
Bolting is the long-range anima tome. It usually hurts worse than this, but I suppose that goes without saying.
This guy's Physic staff is free to take. If I remember right, it's the only one you'd get if you didn't know about the secret shops, and that's a crying shame.
It's time for Ross to live up to his family name.
To be frank, he could be doing better in everything except strength and HP. Still, if you need to pound in some human-sized pegs, he's the guy to do it.
Becoming a berserker has also given him a +15 boost to his crit rate. Always handy.
Check out the size of that maw. She could probably swallow the guy whole and just skip the fire entirely.
Moving on up.
Cormag's due for a promotion next chapter.
In all this fighting, don't think that Colm's missing out on a chance to show his stuff.
Sure, beating up a mage isn't what you'd call impressive, but at least he's taking care of his problem areas.
(note: everything is a problem area for Colm)
Flying away won't save you, hero.
More speed and strength is always preferable.
Just in case you were foolish enough to go for the eastern treasures instead of the one to the west, the game sends a thief after it.
Too bad that with boots on, Amelia can run as fast as a thief.
In other news, it's barely been any time at all, and we're already to Orson. I'm going to be reining in Myrrh a bit more to keep her Dragonstone from shattering, but I figured that she'd get a lot of love for her debut.
Now then, first order of business is to clear this priest out of the way.
When you see her luck growth, you'll agree that this is basically a perfect level for her.
Yeesh, those are bad odds. Still, he's not much better off.
: Sir Orson.
: You're an impressive knight, Seth. You would sacrifice your life for king and country. Not even a moment's pause. It's a pitiful, unrewarding life, through and through.
: It is my charge. It is my hope. Sir Orson...Prepare yourself.
: Monica and I will live here happily together. Forever...
Yeah, this is not happening this turn.
Oh look, a L'Arachel level!
While the guys up above work out their differences, A few members of the party take advantage of the experience shuffling up the hallway.
There we go.
Another near miss, though Myrrh would have survived a single crit in this case.
And we beat the thief to the chest, scoring the ultimate throwing axe.
And then we beat the thief.
All that luck is going to make Amelia a dodge tank in plate mail. It's wonderful.
Next turn, the guys get their act together.
And Ross finishes the fight.
Way to impress, Ross.
Oh no, my door key. What will I do?
How about stealing twelve of them in return?
The carnage continues.
With great gusto.
And a couple of half-assed efforts.
Faced with the realization that he can't outspeed Colm, the thief resorts to violence.
It doesn't end well for him.
And the leveling party ends with a whimper.
Ephraim has a small bit of sport hunting down a thief who spawns in the east, but it's not enough to get him to level 19. Maybe next map.
Nothing left to do but level up L'Arachel and loot. The chests on the east side had 5000 Gold, a Knight Crest, and a Talisman. Yay.
: What is it?
: ...This way. This is the room Orson was holed up in.
Oh...this is gonna be tough to explain to the missus.
: You, youre Orsons...
: ...What?! This...is horrible...
: This same magic was used to control Emperor Vigarde. Shes already dead, and her corpse was used to...
The worst part is that I can imagine a lot of nerdy folks who'd be in to something like this.
: Who? Who could...
: You neednt look any longer, Eirika. Lets go outside.
Monica: Darling. Darling...darling...
: ...You cant say this thing is truly alive anymore. Ill...
: No... Ill do it. ...The two of them spent every day in here, did they? Orson was mad. But I think he was happy...
: Mmm... We can repair the castle, and what was stolen, we can do without. But the wounds and suffering inflicted upon the people of Renais...
: Its too late to undo their pain. Once I become king, I must set our country right. I doubt the people will give me a warm reception, though. I did abandon them. All I can do is try to win back their trust, no matter how long it takes...
: Princess Eirika, Prince Ephraim. You should look outside.
: The king has returned! Our king!
: Glory to Renais! Long live King Ephraim!
: ...Theyre not cheering for you. They cheer because Orsons misrule is at an end. They cheer the possibility of a better tomorrow, not the deeds we did today. But how will the hearts of the people move tomorrow and the next day? That is for you to decide.
: I will not let their hopes and dreams be shattered again. I will be king. Like my father before me, I will dedicate myself to their happiness.
: And I will do all I can to help, Ephraim.
: Before Renais fell, King Fado entrusted me with this message: Raise the twins' bracelets in the hall of kings. The seal will be broken. The resting place of the Sacred Stone will be revealed..."
: I understand.
: So were supposed to raise our bracelets over our heads, right?
: Lets try it, Eirika.
: Im ready, Ephraim.
Wonder twin powerrrrrssss...
...slide a throne? Oh well, it'll be a neat trick at parties.
In true RPG tradition, the secret treasure room is this needlessly fancy thing, when the whole idea of a secret treasure room is that almost nobody is supposed to see it.
: Yes. This is one of the five stones that defeated the Demon King.
: If Lyon had acquired our bracelets, the stone would have been destroyed by now. Together, we protected the only power that can help us stop Lyons insanity.
: Yes. Its the only hope left to us. Hope for you and me, and the last true hope for peace...
: Lets get back, Eirika.
: What is this? Are they reacting to the light of the stone?
What's nice about FE8 is that it gives you the option of promoting your Lord character at the crucial plot point, rather than forcing it upon you. I don't want to do that yet, since Eirika and Ephraim are still both level 18, so...
The game gives Eirika and Ephraim the Lunar and Solar Braces, respectively, their own special promotion items that I can use at my leisure. I've never tried this, but I suspect that you might be able to go without promoting them at all, but that's a stupid idea.
: I cant believe the bracelets contain so much power...
: I wonder if Father anticipated all of this long ago. When I was growing up, I never thought about becoming king. I only wanted to be a good soldier, a good warrior. The best on the battlefield. Father never understood what I wanted, but... I never understood him, either.
: It was the same when Grado invaded Renais. I should have stayed home to defend the kingdom... Instead, I raced off to fight for personal glory.
: Brother... I dont think you know how well Father understood your feelings. When I last saw him, he was concerned for nothing but our safety...
: Eirika is correct. King Fado asked after your exploits every day. He always told me what a fine king you would one day make.
: Now Prince Ephraim, Princess Eirika. Please follow me. The Sacred Twins of Renais should be near the stones reliquary.
Or just packed into a couple of boxes. That works too.
: Ah, here we go. This lance can only be one of the Sacred Twins of Renais. Please, Prince Ephraim, take this sacred relic and feel its weight.
: So this is one of our Sacred Twin relics, is it? Ive never seen them. Look, theres a name inscribed here. Siegmund, the Flame Lance.
Ephraim doesn't necessarily need strength, but you can never have too much of it.
: And this blade is sister to the lance, the other Sacred Twin of legend. Princess Eirika, if you would?
: Of course. Theres a name carved here as well. Sieglinde, the Thunder Blade...
Eirika, however, is going to love the strength boost. Don't worry about the weight. She's going to get +2 con when she promotes, so it won't be so bad.
: These are the ancient weapons of our ancestors--the weapons of heroes. They were enshrined generations ago, to be used only by the king... and only in times of dire need. Such an awful power they possess, and yet we need them to restore peace. Ive seen enough of the horrors of war, but I cant turn my back on it. If we merely turn our eyes away, we surrender our world to atrocity. And so, I must fight. Ill do whatever I must do to bring back the peace we once knew.
: Yes. Here it is...
: Wow! It truly is spectacular. This goes some way to brighten the dark shadows that loom over us.
: Our countries' Sacred Stones have been shattered by Grados men. The Stone of Renais is our last remaining weapon.
: No, its not. You have forgotten the stone of my beloved Rausten. Remember, there were five Sacred Stones for our five nations. The Stones of Grado, Frelia, and Jehanna are gone, but hope is not. We have the Stone of Renais, after all, and that of Rausten is safe. Our road is clear, my friends. I must guide you to Rausten.
: Youre right. LArachel, were counting on you to lead the way.
: Of course. And you will all be welcome to stay in the palace. And, Eirika, you shall be my guest in my own private quarters! Let us be on our way.
And to Rausten we must go. But before we can do that...
Next Time: We learn an unnecessarily complicated super move in Chapter 17: River of Regrets.
Weapon Ranks: None. She has her own weapon.
HP: 15 (130%) Lck: 3 (30%)
Str: 3 +12 (90%) Def: 2 +15 (150%)
Skl: 1 +12 (85%) Res: 7 +20 (30%)
Spd: 5 (65%) Con: 5
No, that's not a typo. Myrrh's HP and Defense growths are above 100%, which means that she gets a guaranteed point in them every level plus a chance of getting another one. A shame about that luck growth, since her Dragonstone doesn't give bonuses to that, and she's not likely to get more. That will make crits an ever-present problem for her. What's more, she can only attack 50 times, since her Dragonstone is unique and can't be replaced. So while you can depend on Myrrh, you shouldn't use nothing but her, since she's such a scarce resource.
Orson's old travel buddies have something to say to him if we bring them to battle. So that's Forde...
: Sir Orson...Why did you have to betray us? Your departed wife is weeping in shame.
: You're wrong, Forde. My wife is happy. We are so very happy.
: Sir Orson! You betrayed your master, Prince Ephraim, to Grado. Have you forgotten what it means to be a knight?!
: Kyle...You know nothing...I am happy now.
Also, you might have noticed that Ephraim got no reaction out of him. That's because he only has a special response to your main lord. Since it was Eirika this time:
: Orson...Why would you betray us?
: Princess Eirika... If anyone could understand my feelings, it might be you. For the one I love...I betrayed everything. My country, my lord and master...Everything...
What's he trying to say about Eirika?