Part 24: Chapter 20A: Darkling WoodsChapter 20A: Darkling Woods
Are you ready to enter the endgame? Then prepare...
...to notice that a new dungeon has opened up. The Lagdou Ruins has monsters in it, surprise surprise, so we could theoretically go there if we hadn't made a solemn vow not to cheat with the alternate encounters.
On another note, here's Artur. I was getting tired of Ewan, so I decided that Moulder would be the dark magician instead, so I needed a replacement light magician. I could have, in retrospect, used Saleh instead, but the guy bores me.
Not the best promotion gains, but the only upside to being a Bishop is being able to walk right over monsters, and it's not like we'll be seeing a lot of those in the future.
L'Arachel also promoted to a Valkyrie, gaining the power of light, which she'll completely ignore in favor of just using staves some more.
And while we're at it, why not Gerik too? Just look at that constitution. The idea of a man that strong having to resign himself to swords and bows just makes me weep, so I made him a hero instead, giving him axes.
And now, it's time to...
Take advantage of Rausten's varied lineup of goods. The game dropped 15000 in our lap last chapter, so not shopping would just be criminal. It's not like the big bad guy set up a gift shop in his temple of doom or anything, so this is our last chance to round out our inventory.
Okay, no false alarms this time. Everyone's ready and properly outfitted. It's time to march into the maw of easily-defeated death.
Four of the fives stones have been destroyed, leaving only the last stone intact. The last stone must be protected to stave off the Demon King's restoration.
Eirika and company challenge the demons of Darkling Woods. According to legend. the original possessors of the Sacred Stones defeated the Demon King in Darkling Woods.
His foul blood seeped into the land, corrupting every seed and every root. The once-pristine forest was transformed by the flood of disease and venom.
Legend says the Demon King's corpse lies there still, not dead but dreaming. Dreaming of when the last stone is crushed, and he will rise from his bed of rocks and worms and return to the surface.
Within Darkling Woods, hideous fiends roam in increasing numbers, as if responding to some unheard call...
Where's a duo of singing birds when you need them?
: A moment more, and my rebirth will be unstoppable-irreversible. None remain who can stop me now.
That man has his cloak tied around the top of his head. Who does that?
: You can clothe yourself in human flesh, but you cannot hide your foul mien. Eight hundred years wasnt long enough, Demon King.
: One of the dragonkin, hm? Ah. Ive seen your face before, lizard. Yes, during that accursed battle so long ago. When those wretched men bound me in their fetters. They fought with an ally from the dragonkin at their side...I believe his name was Morva.
: The protection of the blessed stones is lost. The dark is rising. Malevolence given will and form now walks these lands unopposed. Ancient king of shadows...they appear to be waiting for you.
: Very perceptive. And now I am here. I must tell them their wait is over. I must tell them I have been reborn. Begone, dragon. I am changed. I can no longer be stopped by the likes of you.
: I live and breathe to protect mankind. I cannot abandon them to you. Now, as it once did so long ago, these woods will witness your defeat.
: So, your dragon blood still runs so hot that you would dare to try to stop me? Dragons. That reminds me...
: Tell me, Morva, was that your daughter?
: Myrrh left this place long ago to test the limits of your influence. Could she have?
: Could she have what? Pray, continue.
: You will answer me. Your reply will determine...
: Ha ha ha ha ha...Such information had no use to you now. You have dared to challenge me. You have no time for joy or sorrow. No, best to focus now on this, the moment of your death. I would hate for you to miss it.
Well, we've seen how powerful Myrrh is, so Morva ought to walk right over Lyon, right?
: I know... I can feel it too.
: This is Darkling Woods... It was here the heroes met the Demon King and with the Sacred Stones defeated him. Ive heard the lingering energies of that battle are the source of the monster. But I never imagined it would be as bad as this...
: Its worse than before... Its grown so much stronger. Simply standing here is a struggle... But we dont need to worry. My father is here. Hell take care of everything.
: Your father?
: Over there. On the other side of that swamp is the Black Temple of the Demon King. My father stands guard near it. This is where my father and I have lived for as long as I can remember.
: I see. So this forest is like a home to you.
: Uh-huh... I get to see Father again. Im so happy. My foster father leads the dragon tribe. In the last great war... both of my true parents were killed. Morva took me in and raised me as though I were his own child.
: So thats how you came to live here...
: My father holds back the monsters that are born in Darkling Woods. Hes so strong, and so very gentle. One day, I hope to be like him...
: Myrrh, whats wrong?
: Princess Eirika, Prince Ephraim, were under attack. A horde of those foul beasts is headed straight for us.
: Myrrh, are you well? If youre ill, we should get you to--
: No, no... Its nothing. Ill fight with you. Ill fight, and well drive back the dark children.
The game never outright says it, but when that scene is followed up by this:
I think we can get an idea of what Myrrh felt just then.
: Im leaving this to you.
: Heh heh heh... As you wish. Please proceed with the rites of resurrection, sire.
And we are dumped into the thick of it from there. We'll have quite a few enemies to plow through on our way to the temple, and due to the abundance of hidden triggers, we're also going to get quite a few reinforcements.
Almost all the enemies are promoted, for what it's worth. All that really does is make them more valuable, since their stats leave something to be desired.
Riev's leveled up once since we met him last, but he hasn't changed that much. Same old issues with being weighed down. But he's only a small part of the problem.
The real issue here is with Morva. Like Myrrh, his weapon is giving him various boosts, but Wretched Air also ignores defense entirely. If he hits, and he likely will, you're taking 36 damage. At least he isn't that fast. That's a small mercy.
New enemy on this map, by the way. The Cyclops is all bulk and not much else. Think of him as the berserker of the monster army, minus the crit.
: It happens soon! The Demon King will be restored to all his former glory! And I, his faithful servant, will bask in his radiant power... Then, oh, then I will have my revenge on those who scorned me! The Demon King has created for me a fine weapon--a draco zombie! This fierce beast and I will guard the Black Temples entrance. As long as we stand watch, no one will interrupt his rituals. We will drown all who dare approach in this virulent mud! Heh heh heh... Heh heh heh heh heh!
Yeah, yeah. We'll see who's laughing when this is over.
Lute opens with a charge of Bolting.
Make that two charges. Not a great thing when you've only got five.
Don't ask me why I brought Knoll instead of Ewan. I guess the kid ticked me off with his levels.
It pays off in the end, more or less.
Joshua's also finishing off his training on this map.
This isn't a good sign.
And the anti-hype train keeps rolling on.
Myrrh's got to bulk up a bit, so I send her at the enemy hordes.
It's good, but it's hard to mess up growths like that.
At any rate, Joshua's got his own destiny to fulfill.
Yeah, he could be an assassin. With that skill growth, he'd be a darn good assassin, but I think his strengths lie more in having +15 crit.
Plus, the cap for strength is only 20. Let's see if that actually matters.
It gets better, I promise.
Honestly, with the rich amount of weapons they throw at you this chapter, you almost don't have to shop.
Myrrh gets a couple more levels. I almost don't have to show these off.
With the rich weapon variety comes a lot of dangerous weapons too. If Joshua hadn't been promoted, that would have chewed him up in a single blow.
As I mentioned, there are quite a few batches of reinforcements. They're more valuable than threatening, though the repeated shots of Evil Eye are rather bad for Cormag.
Yeah, that's more than a little unsettling, and it's very tough to whittle them down too if you're not using magic or one of the many Sacred Twin weapons.
Oh yes, and I didn't expect this, but Riev moves.
: Why do you not despair? Why do you not surrender?
I believe that's the first time he hasn't opened a conversation with a laugh.
L'Arachel gets a unique line with this guy, and we'll see that later. I thought she'd have it last chapter, but it's apparently this one.
For now, just get lost, little man. You smell.
: Heh heh heh... Even if you defeat me, youre too late to stop it. The one true demon... will rise...
That's okay. Knowing how villains like the Demon King act, you wouldn't have lasted two days anyway.
I had a good feeling.
Amelia: still untouchable and unbeatable, except by herself. I had to retake this once due to her whacking herself with the Devil Axe.
I love how even dark magic is useful against creatures in a Bishop's hands.
I think there's a lesson to be learned there.
Everyone's a little dinged up from fighting, so L'Arachel breaks out the Fortify staff.
You saw that effective radius, right? Everyone on our side just got healed to full in one shot. Fortify is awesome.
Amelia is pretty awesome too.
A new round of counter-kills gives Myrrh four more levels.
I'd be worried for the Dragonstone, but we're almost done with the game. She'll make it.
But will her enemies? Notice the capped defense. She's coming at them with 35 defense in total, and the Dragonstone is effective against monsters too. This is just a slaughter.
Lute's capped her anima magic, so let's witness the wonders of...
Holsety, the ultimate wind magic tome from Fire Emblems 4 and 5? No, Excalibur is just borrowing the effects from the Wind Sword.
Magic is magic.
At any rate, he's getting more magic than Ewan's been getting.
Past the cyclops, we have gargoyles, or Deathgoyles, I should say, since they're the upgraded form of gargoyles.
Plus some Wights with uncanny aim.
Artur gets his revenge.
Neimi's good at thinning the ranks of all these fliers.
And I'll be honest, strength and skill are fine.
But skill alone is atrocious.
More implausible hits. I should mention that Innes missed twice on 70% chances just before this.
Yeah, I did mention those Evil Eyes.
Cormag comes out okay though.
Fool me once...This Swordslayer actually drops off the monster, so now we've got one too. Guess how many swords we'll run into from here to the end of the game.
Speed and luck? Knoll was trying extra hard for this level.
Right idea, but you're not even in Amelia's league.
And the dodge tank just gets dodgier.
Moulder doesn't need much to kill monsters with magic. Good thing too, since he isn't getting much.
Given what he's already got, it's tough to be mad at the guy.
Best myrmidon in the series, right here.
More reinforcement deathgoyles. This'd be a bad situation to be in if we were playing hard, since we're trapped between a bunch of mobile flying units.
As it is, they're leveling fodder.
Yup, best myrmidon.
And things are looking up a little bit for Innes.
And in typical form, Neimi just has to upstage him.
Half experience from using staves is apparently something that all classes have to face. It's going to make leveling L'Arachel a little tricky, unless I actually have her go onto the front lines.
I didn't show it off on the Gorgon chapter, but here's Shadowshot. Surprisingly, it doesn't hit.
I need to train up Moulder's dark magic, so I finally drag out the Hammerne staff and repair his Eclipse tome.
Despite being nigh-useless, Eclipse does provide one of the largest weapon experience boosts in the game. I wish you could actually kill someone with it, since you gain double weapon experience for killing someone with a weapon.
You've seen Druids, of course, but there's another option for Knoll that only exists in this game.
This ridiculous-looking bundle of robes here.
Nice gains, though.
We'll show off how it works in a second, but we need to soften up Morva first.
Like most monster bosses, Morva isn't one for words.
Yeah, having Myrrh face down her own father puts a bad taste in my mouth.
But it had to be done for the viewers.
So here's what a summoner can do.
Each summoner has a little warrior that they can summon again and again.
The guy doesn't have much of a life expectancy, since he can't block anything, but he's good for blocking corridors and softening up enemies. It's like having your own disposable NPC.
Just don't expect much out of him. He's only got an iron axe, after all.
Following Morva's death, all that's left is cleanup.
Some levels are good...
Others...not so much.
: We have to stop him before he can begin the ritual. Lets waste no time, Brother.
: Um...I...I just met with my father. I had not seen or spoken with him for quite a while.
: You saw your father? Then we must speak with him-
: No...He told me he couldnt see you. He said it wasnt a good idea for him to meet so many people. As the tribal chieftain, he feels he should maintain his distance.
: Is that so...Thats too bad.
: But he offered me words of encouragement and praised my efforts thus far. He told me in his kindly voice to come home to him safely. I will do my best to honor his faith in me.
: He sounds like a good father.
: He is...Mistress Eirika...Ill do all I can. For my father--and for all of you as well. I will help you, and we will defeat the Demon King.
: Are you sure you want to go with us, Myrrh? You had so wanted to be with your father...
: Yes...Im sure. Once we are finished dealing with this evil, I will have time then. Lets hurry, Mistress Eirika.
: Myrrh...I understand. Lets get moving. The faster we can end this nightmare, the better.
: From this building...a repulsive energy oozes. The Demon King...Hes here.
...I don't have anything to say about this.
Oh hey, it's that guy.
: Lyon...Its almost time. Your beloved Eirika is on her way.
: Eirika...Dont...come. Its...already...
: Ha ha...Lyon, prince of frailty. To believe that a weak man like you thought to oppose me...Youre an arrogant little insect, nothing more. And now, youre dead...I will devour you, and you will be lost forever.
: Urr...ugh...Uh! Grrraaaaa!!
: Ha ha. Does it hurt? Are you suffering? Oh, but it does not end for you yet. Oh, no. Ive left you this one shard of awareness for a reason. I want you to watch yourself as you crush Eirika. You should thank me! Ha ha...hah hah hah!
Wait, so did you consume him or didn't you? Make up your mind as to how this possession works, game!
Next Time: We finish the job for the first time in the Final Chapter: Sacred Stones
I have not been able to confirm this first-hand, but L'Arachel apparently has something she can say to Riev.
: Heh heh heh. The young lady of Rausten... The more cruel and gruesome your death, the more that cur Mansel would weep, am I right? And that would make me so very, very happy.
: Do you think your words will frighten me? I am the princess L'Arachel! Slaying demons is my forte! You who have sold your soul to the soulless... I grant you release from your wretched existence.
And that was Riev. All the generals of Grado are either dead or on our side. All that's left is the prince himself.