Part 23: Chapter 19A: Last HopeChapter 19A: Last Hope
Constant strife with dark creatures has made the group's progress near impossible.
Princess LArachel of Rausten suggests they pay a visit to Rausten Court. It is here that the final Sacred Stone is sealed away.
LArachel rides cheerfully toward her homeland with the company in tow.
We were headed there anyway, but thanks to a certain someone...
: Uncle, I've returned.
: Of course I'm safe, Uncle. Evil can never defeat the forces of righteousness!
: Ha! You're exactly right, my dear! Now tell me, who are our guests?
Pontifex Mansel, a testament to the fact that the Theocracy of Rausten is just nutty in general.
: I am Eirika, Princess of Renais. I come to you today as an emissary of Frelia.
: And I am Ephraim, Prince of Renais. I come with Eirika to warn you of the danger our world faces.
: It began when...
Fade to exposition...
: ...Hmm, I see. That is a tough tale to swallow all at once... However, I have heard of the fell creatures in Darkling Woods. LArachel. You will need the Stone of Rausten if we have any hope of victory.
: That is so, Uncle. I would like permission to open the temple seal.
: Hmm... There's no need to rush yourself so, LArachel. You're home again, in this blessed haven. You should rest.
: How can I relax until I know that our Sacred Stone is safe? At the least, I'd like to ensure that the temple seal is intact. Oh...
: Is something amiss?
: I think we'll take a night to rest after all. Everyone is so exhausted. My dear friend Eirika especially has had a very trying time of late.
: Don't look so sad. It wreaks such havoc on your beauty.
: LArachel. I... What should I do? Lyon was one of my dearest friends... I feel so helpless. There's nothing I can do to help him...
: Your friend is gone, Eirika. All that remains is the Demon King, masquerading as Lyon. For the good of all humanity, he must be defeated. Ah... If only it truly were that easy, though.
: Eirika... I never knew Prince Lyon. I cannot pretend to understand the sadness you must feel. However, I do know this... If the Lyon you hold so dear were here with you today... What do you think he would want you to do?
: I can't...
: There's no need to rush, Eirika. Take your time and think it through. You need to find your own answer. Now then, it's about time we found ourselves something to eat. It's hard to be optimistic on an empty stomach.
: Yes, I'll be right there. Thank you, LArachel.
And everyone had a good dinner and left in the morning...right?
: Such a diligent soldier.
: Huh?! Who goes there?
No, no, here. I'm over here.
What's wrong? I'm right here. Heh heh heh...
: Is the darkness too deep for you to penetrate? Can't you see what the night is hiding?
Got it in one. Not that it helped you any.
: Heh heh heh... Humans will never conquer darkness. The guardian of light, Rausten, will drown in a never-ending night. Come, my pretties. It's time to go. The day of Rausten's destruction has at long last arrived!
: We think it's Grado's men, fleeing from Frelia's forces. However, they've breached the palace defenses at multiple points.
: The imperial guard is at a terrible disadvantage of numbers right now. It's less a battle than a slaughter. I'm not sure they will be able to hold out until the Knights of Rausten arrive.
: How has this happened? Our sacred capital invaded? I must...
: Uncle, please, you must keep yourself safe. We can take care of this. Is everyone ready to go?
: Prince Ephraim and I will handle this.
: Seth, its all right. Eirika can take care of herself. Isnt that right, Eirika?
: Yes. Im sorry if I troubled you. Lets go. We have to protect Pontifex Mansel.
That's this map in a nutshell. It's another survival map, and we've got 13 turns to do it in. We'll want to also protect the guards around here too, since they're part of a bonus objective. I gave myself a personal challenge when I did this to not let a single guard die. We'll see how that works out.
The little man has a tome with a high crit chance, but it's weighing him down. If we want to end it early, it wouldn't be too much trouble to take him down.
: The day of our triumph, our vengeance! Self-righteous fools of Rausten! Where are your miracles now?! March on! March, minions of the Demon King! Your time is upon you! Tonight, we claim not only Pontifex Mansel's sad life, but also Rausten's Sacred Stone! Heh heh heh... You cretin, Mansel... I will have my revenge. You should never have excommunicated me. The Demon King will be your new master!
And that's all we hear about Riev's backstory. The champions of light gave him a pink slip, so he decided he'd turn in his resume to team evil instead. They determined that he was over-qualified.
: You were so selfless. Your generosity seemed to flow from a bottomless well. Im so sorry, Lyon. I couldnt save you. But I know what you would have wanted. I know it as I know my own name. So watch, Lyon. I will defeat the Demon King.
Or, you know, the demon king's army, but baby steps.
As we start out, I should mention that there is a secret shop on this map, but it's not that great.
Two staves and promotion items. Physic staves are very, very good, but they're not worth making the trip when there are so many other bases to cover.
Amelia's got a tiny smidge of experience left to gain before she hits level 20, so she whacks the one enemy that's visible.
Why do these trainees always choke at the last second?
Now, normally those guards would be swarmed by the enemies coming out of the south side, but with a healthy application of Warp...
Plus some assistance from Tethys...
We can send two folks in to plug the gap.
Oh come now, Ephraim, I'd expect that from your sister.
Colm's holding east for treasures and something more.
And you'll also want someone with high move up above. How would you know that you need to do all this?
Well, you wouldn't. You only need to keep four of these soldiers alive, after all, so it's to be expected that you'd lose a few in the first turn because there were folks you couldn't see in the shadows.
Like these Fighters, for instance, positioned just perfectly so that when they moved, the knights would run over to fight them and get horribly massacred.
The only ones getting massacred tonight is them, despite Colm's resistance towards improvement.
We'll be rounding out our Brave weapon collection this map too. Multiple attacks for everybody!
Except for this loser.
Who cares about dancer levels? You don't need strength to dance.
It's time for Amelia to become ginormous.
Fun fact: Amelia only gets hit once this chapter, and she activates Great Shield when that happens. She also gains swords and axes, in case we decide that she's not awesome enough with lances.
Her partner in crime isn't doing too badly himself.
The treasure room is right here, but I'm sending Rennac north first to pickpocket a dude.
That archer right there, to be exact. Don't be worried for Cormag; he's wearing the Fili Shield for just this occasion.
Besides, he can take care of himself just fine.
If you want a picture of the fighting down below, imagine a wyvern knight striking people in the face with a lance.
Fact is, the first eight turns of this battle are nothing but endless fighting and reinforcements down here. You've got mage knights, warriors, paladins, rangers, swordmasters, and great knights pouring into this small section of hallway every turn. It's crazy fun.
Rennac has secured the statue, but he may need an evac. Lotsa dudes up here too.
Moulder, regrettably, spends more time healing than killing. In retrospect, I could have probably had Lute up here instead. She's the one who needs training in staves.
Since the fighting up top is just heroes, warriors, and snipers, there's no issue with Cormag switching to swords.
Can't crit if you can't hit.
Ephraim penalizes me for that comment.
Cormag grows more mighty.
While Joshua avoids a potentially fatal situation.
All that skill will benefit him greatly in whichever future career he chooses, which is to say that I'm going to make him a swordmaster.
Well done, nerd.
And boy, are you so lucky that I have to take you along.
First treasure! It's our own Bolting tome! Lute's gonna have some fun with this.
Amelia could get absolutely nothing for the rest of the game, and she'd still walk over everyone.
And that's the most defense I've ever seen a pegasus knight get. Must have been the change of steed.
I want to bench you so bad.
And Amelia becomes steadily more gargantuan.
Turn 6 brings thieves into play next to both treasure rooms. They're not tough in the slightest, but they're carrying poison swords.
Can't really deal with them right now, though. We've got other problems.
Like archers who want to take hits, for instance.
Gerik's in a tight spot, so L'Arachel whips out the Rescue staff. I'm going through so many utility staves these days.
Maybe I'll eventually use Silence for something.
Curiously, promoted staff users appear to only gain half experience from staves. Or maybe it's just Lute.
Ah, Joshua, I knew it was worth bringing you along.
That's not the best level, but Neimi's still doing okay.
Fending off his brethren gives Colm a little less suck. He's ready to promote.
Good thing I bought an extra Ocean Seal.
These are terrible gains, but it's not like Colm was going to kill anything the old-fashioned way.
If you look closely, you can just barely see him swing backwards. Assassins are all about hitting enemies almost faster than the eye can see. They've also got another trick, but you'll see that in a second.
In the meantime, let's go back to people who aren't terrible.
Speed, Ross. Speed!
Oh yeah, and we got the next treasure. The Runesword is a blade version of Nosferatu, draining health from enemies it strikes. It can also cast the spell from a distance. A blade that strikes at resistance isn't a bad idea for certain assassins who can barely scratch enemies normally.
Eirika's just lucky that she got a super sword dropped into her lap.
That level could be a little better, but Tana's disappointed me less.
And to be fair to Joshua, he'd already capped his skill and speed.
And where the heck did Innes's growths go?
Oh. That's where.
All out of might. Actually, he's got room for 1 more point of strength, but a guy's gotta pace himself a little.
So here's a pair of knights. Colm's not going to be able to beat them by himself, and Lute's out of range. So what's a guy to do?
How about warping someone over the wall? You can't warp someone into the fog of war, but everywhere else is fair game. Too bad that's the last of the staff, but we don't need it anymore.
It served L'Arachel well, too. 80 Experience a pop is pretty darn good.
More setting up walls in such a way that the knights won't become curious enough to come running and get themselves killed in horrible ways.
And Neimi promotes too!
This one's a no-brainer. The Sniper can only use bows and occasionally can hit with 100% accuracy, while the ranger gets a horse and swords.
Really great gains, too.
Hey Amelia, when I said you wouldn't need any more stats, that wasn't an invitation to slack off.
Nice level, but not speed.
Speak of the devil...
The Assassin's special ability activates whenever he gets a critical hit. Upon doing so, it has a 50-50 chance of either just critting like normal or killing the enemy instantly. Against bosses, that becomes 75-25 in favor of critting, but that's still a pretty good chance.
You want to know the sad truth of the thief's promotions? They both cap at 20 strength. How pathetic is that?
Took you long enough.
Hooray for dark magic tomes. Now if only the possible wielders weren't both dragging their feet.
At this point, the only reinforcements are coming in on the east end.
And Colm's falling back into old patterns.
: Once it is destroyed, darkness will consume the world. What will you do? Will you cower in fear? Heh heh heh...
Don't ask why I had L'Arachel get within attack range. He can't hurt her in any considerable way, so it doesn't matter.
Fortify! Really great staff, this. It heals everyone on our side within a certain radius for a very generous amount. The last chest had 5000 gold in it, but we aren't going to see any more shops from here on out except on the world map.
Tana and Lute gain a couple levels while covering Rennac and...
It's time to beat a boss. Notice the critical evade granted by Ross and Amelia's support. A lot of that is Amelia's luck, of course, but supports can be handy too.
And Gerik grabs the final blow.
: Heh heh heh... No! No! Its been so long. I got carried away. Id best stop and withdraw for now. Follow me. Come to Darkling Woods... The Demon King awaits your pleasure...
I knew Gerik would get there eventually.
: Yes, we did it somehow. I wonder if everyone else is OK.
: Eirika? Did you find your answer?
: Yes. Thank you, LArachel. Your words guided me.
: My-my words? It was nothing...Come, we should find the Sacred Stone. If anything were to happen to it...
: LArachel? Your face is flushed. Is anything amiss?
: N-no, its nothing. Nothing at all!
Read into this what you will. Their support pegs them as very good friends, so I see this more as bashfulness than love, but it's so vague that it could be anything.
: Its glorious radiance suits my complexion, wouldnt you say?
: This is it. The last one. The last remaining Sacred Stone.
: It is. And the time to defeat the Demon King draws near.
: We should be leaving. We have to act before those creatures gain more momentum.
: Yes. We should make haste. The poison spreads. It is growing ever stronger.
: Darkling Woods... Where the Demon King fell...
: You've only just returned, and you have to leave?
: Uncle, defeating evil is the highest calling I can perform.
: Of course, my dear. It is a divine calling, but...
: You needn't worry, Uncle. After all, I'm not on my own. I have my friends.
: I see. You've been blessed, LArachel. Blessed with many good friends.
: I am indeed, Uncle. And they, in turn, are blessed with me! Farewell, Uncle. I shall return. Once evil has been vanquished, we'll all return safe and sound.
: Hold on. Not so fast now. I have something I wish to present to Princess Eirika.
: Yes, Princess. I'd like you to accept this gift.
: What is it?
: Oh! Aren't those... Aren't those the Sacred Twins of Rausten?
: That's right, dear niece. These are the weapons of Saint Latona, most holy father of Rausten. Here, we have glorious Ivaldi, and its twin, the divine Staff of Latona. I will also spare some funding to feed and arm your forces. After all, these is much that you must do before you leave these halls.
This could be used by any number of people, but the weight is more suited to Moulder than Artur. The defense is good for any light magic user, since they're all so fragile.
Latona is a three-use staff that heals everyone on the map to full and cleanses their status effects. Not much else to say about it.
We also get 10000 gold, but that's pointless.
: So they are the blessed Latona's most sacred relics... Is this allowed?
: I know the law, LArachel. The relics must never leave the temple, with the sole exception of the occasional ascension ceremony, but I think that, when the world needs saving, we can make the odd exception.
: That's my uncle!
: You will return them, of course... once you've finished your task. Princess Eirika, I would have your oath on this.
: Of course. You have my word.
Minus some wear and tear, of course.
: Darkling Woods is home to naught but demons now. Indeed, I hear tell that none who enter its borders ever leave again. We ought to stock up on supplies in town before we set out.
: Yes, we must be as prepared as possible before we set out. I dont want to take any reckless chances with our lives.
And now, our reward.
: My beloved countrymen! The combat was fierce, but you protected the palace honorably. The valorous Knights of Rausten shall live on in story and song!
: Thank you, my lady. As always, it is our honor to serve. Princess Eirika, before you leave, please take this sword. We pray for your swift and safe return!
: I appreciate your gift. I swear I will not allow your valor to be wasted!
: As long as the righteousness of justice fills our hearts, how can we lose? Men, I ask that you watch after my dear uncle.
: You have our word, my lady. In the twin names of justice and order!
Hooray. A sword that casts Lightning, the weakest light magic spell in the game. Bear in mind that we got a life-draining sword for free. Kind of a gyp, really. Still, a magic sword's a magic sword.
Next Time: We have a graveyard smash in Chapter 20: Darkling Woods