Part 41: Chapter 13B: Fluorspar's OathChapter 13B: Fluorspar's Oath
They learn from soldiers and villagers that Myrrh had been captured by General Selena, one of Grado's commanders.
This is patently false, by the way. You'll see for yourself.
She was last seen heading east. To regain their companion, the group will now be forced to fight.
Ephraim steels his heart to the reality that he must face Selena.
Yeah, this is not a happy chapter.
As we can see, a thoroughly unkidnapped Myrrh has come to the marsh on her own.
: The description was accurate. It looks like an ordinary gemstone. If only His Majesty hadn't ordered me to bring this to the capital immediately... I've heard reports that Prince Ephraim and a Frelian army have landed nearby. If I didnt have those blasted restrictive orders, I could--
: ...Return it...
: You... You're--
: Return the stone to me... Please...I'll do anything.
: Why do you want the stone? Who are you? You're not from Grado, that's for sure.
: Without the stone, I... Please, give it back to me.
: Answer my questions!
: My name is Myrrh. I come from Darkling Woods. I was betrayed, and my stone was taken from me. I was imprisoned, caged, to be transported somewhere. Prince Ephraim came to my rescue. I've been traveling in his care ever since.
: You're with Ephraim? I can't let you leave. Maybe I should take you back to the capital with me.
: Tell me, has anyone around you-- Have you noticed any changes in the people around you recently?
: Changes? What do you mean by that?
: Anyone near you... Has anyone been transformed, either in spirit or demeanor? Does anyone act in such a way as to appear a different person altogether?
: ...How could you know...
: The darkness is to blame. I've come here to stop it.
: ...You will tell me more. If I find you are lying, I will punish you. Do you understand?
: Yes. Are you ready? I will tell you everything I know.
I'm glad the game has these tasteful fade-outs. No need to sit through the plot again.
: Myrrh, I think I understand everything you've told me.
: But I cannot believe it. How can I allow myself to believe it? If it's true, then... then His Majesty is already--
: Dame Selena... What's that?
: It is a fluorspar... His Majesty presented it to me when I was promoted to general. This gemstone is proof of my commission. It's one of Grado's treasures... I received it years ago, but I remember that day like it was yesterday. His Majesty smiled so kindly. His voice was filled with dignity and affection...
: Dame Selena, you love your emperor, don't you?
: What are you--
: I can see it. Dame Selena, I can see how much you treasure...
: ...His Majesty is most compassionate.
: My family couldn't afford our taxes. No one could. We were desperate. Some of us considered...horrible things to make enough money to survive winter. Then, supplies began to arrive. We were told they came from the emperor himself. He sent them to us, a poor frontier town who couldn't even afford to pay taxes.
: Neighboring kingdoms must have thought the emperor mad, I can only guess. But His Majesty did not care about his standing among kings. He cared for his people. He saved us.
: That spring, I went to the capital and became a soldier, then a knight. I wanted to dedicate my life to the emperor who had saved it. I felt I understood his dream, I felt I shared his vision...
: Dame Selena...
: Myrrh, this wave of dark energy you spoke of... Can its evil really change a person that completely?
: Yes... All trace of this person would be consumed...destroyed.
: How can this process be reversed?
: ...I see.
: Understood. Tell the men we meet them head on. Myrrh. I release you. Return to Prince Ephraim's side.
: Dame Selena...
: I apologize, but I cannot return your dragonstone to you. I vowed never again to fail in my duty to His Majesty. If you want the dragonstone back, tell Ephraim he must defeat me.
: But that's--
: Go now! This place will soon run red!
: Their commander is a Grado general... It's Selena Fluorspar.
: Selena... I've heard she wields the power of the thunderstorm... that she uses its might to attack from afar without mercy.
: Prince Ephraim, I urge you to exercise caution when faced with such magic.
Yeah, that Bolting tome is no joke. Until we wear it out, it'll be a bad idea to go anywhere near her.
Which, given that she's in the middle of this long, winding map, will make things even more fun. We've got to kill everyone, but since we have little choice but to take the scenic route, that won't change how we approach it too much.
We've got some promoted units on this map. This sniper's an improvement over the chumps we walked over in normal mode, but he's still not too hard to deal with. Just be sure that whoever lures him over can eat a high-powered arrow to the face.
Got a great knight here too, and he's as sturdy as the name suggests. Note that he's got a red gem to pickpocket. That's why Colm's on the field.
This guy too. The little good-for-nothing has a lot of work ahead of him.
But first, how would you like to sit through even more talking?
: Now where in blazes is this Ephraim?
: From this distance, I can't tell which army is Frelia and which Grado. We'll have to move in closer if we're to sort this all out.
: Oh, what an adorable girl. It's all right. Come here...
: You're a bit young to be on your own. Did you get lost then?
: There's no reason to be afraid. This fellow's a bit scary to look at, but he's not so bad.
: Come now... Hmph. But she is right, you know. If you keep looking so scared, you're likely to hurt my feelings.
: Please, little one, tell us your name.
: I am Myrrh. I wish to return to Ephraim's side.
: Ephraim? We're supposed to be guarding someone by that name... Can you help us find him?
: Yes... He's over there.
: Myrrh! You're safe. Thank goodness.
: Ephraim... I'm sorry. I... I...
: It's because I forced you to bring me with you... I didn't want to be a burden to you any longer. But all I've done is made you worry... I'm...sorry...
: It's fine, Myrrh. I'm the one who should be sorry. I failed in my promise to watch over you. The battle's about to begin. I want you to move to the rear.
: Ephraim... Those aren't bad people. I spoke to one, and she listened--
: All right. I'll do my best to persuade them to join us.
If you thought that meant that you could recruit Selena, you're sadly mistaken.
Good ol' Gerik, tromping onto the battlefield with a ridiculously huge weapon and enough strength to carry it almost completely without penalty. He's every bit as vicious as ever, and will be a definite asset to us.
Tethys is also going to be extremely useful. Giving our characters extra turns will really come in handy. And both she and Gerik come with extra goodies for us.
Now then, as the battle begins, I line up multiple units along the side of the river, including our main man, taking cover in a forest tile.
The archers here are some real pests, and I like to get rid of them early so that the fliers have mostly unrestricted access to the skies.
As for Ephraim...
: Therefore, I...
I considered several people for this role, but Ephraim has the desirable characteristics of a lot of speed and luck, decent resistance, and the ability to actually use forest tiles. Tana only had three out of four, and she had to worry about archers too. Didn't work out so well.
Oh dear, Killer weapons...The only times they actually went off was when I didn't need them to.
Franz and Gerik will be largely clearing the east side. It's a hard job, but they've got the right stuff.
And more of it.
A shame about this guy. If he'd used his hand axe instead, we'd have had the halberd to ourselves.
Marisa's a little underleveled compared to the rest of the gang, but I'm giving her targets that are easy to kill.
In theory. I suppose I don't have to say that her weapon didn't crit.
Am I just cursed? Does this happen to other people too?
Good thing that my weird luck goes both ways, right into that guy's crotch. Oww...
Oh yeah, shoulda mentioned. Three pegasus knights and a brigand spawned in last turn, and do so again at the end of this turn.
Let's talk about these pegasus knights, shall we? They're rather irritating, is what they are. As you can see, they're using steel lances, which lower their speed to pitiful levels, but that's fine, because they only need to hit once to reduce our own pegasi or spellcasters to low health. Good thing the swamp spreads them out a little, since there's so much space.
The brigand, fortunately for us, does not cut across the river, opting to instead go around. That gives us an extra turn to catch up.
That's the third shot. Noticing a pattern yet?
Meanwhile, L'Arachel validates our decision to have two healers on this map. We should do this more often.
This turns out to be unnecessary, but I have Tana parked and ready to grab the village if we don't stop the brigand in time.
While Marisa's inability to crit on anything forces Lute to take the kill instead.
That's okay, she doesn't mind.
Have I mentioned how much I love Gerik's sturdiness? He's very sturdy.
I assure you that these are separate screenshots.
The brigand's right there, but Franz, with Tethys's help, can take down this sniper instead.
I suppose I could have made it clearer, but I switch to the Steel Sword. That extra point of damage makes all the difference.
You really need to count squares when doing stuff like this. Cormag's just a tile or two away from diverting Selena's attention towards him.
He may be a tough guy, but he's not suited for fighting magic.
Ah, Fire Emblem AI. The brigand could have made a break for the village, but there was a target in range.
Colm didn't see much combat this chapter, unless you count the times where he served as a distraction.
And the middle section of the swamp is now clear for travel.
Word to the wise: don't just click through the menu options. I thought I was aiming for the fighter with the Killer Axe here.
But that's a concern for later. Right now, Duessel saves the village by blocking the path.
And Tana shows these girls who the real mistress of the skies is.
It's her. She's the mistress of the skies.
Lute keeps on defying my expectations. In that case, I should continue to assume that she'll die horribly.
Cormag continues to show his mettle.
Unfortunately, we've got a new problem: pirates. If left unchecked, he and a buddy who spawns in next turn will reach the village in three turns. Better get a move on.
As I send Cormag south to deal with this problem, I stop to kill a cavalier along the way. This turns out to be a bad idea.
Sorta like bringing Franz.
As I mentioned, crits when I don't need 'em.
Didn't need that, either.
This is why I should have given the area here a wider berth. By the fact that I'm showing this frame instead of a frame where Cormag dodges and I get to express my delight in avoiding death, you can probably guess-
-That he dodges death in a different way. There aren't enough characters in this game to do an Iron Man run of it.
And snatching Marisa's elixir brings him back from the brink.
While Duessel does...something, let's get depressed.
: Dame Selena often visits our village when she's on patrol. She even came to our aid when we were attacked by bandits.
This chapter really lays on the guilt for what we have to do. Regardless, we get a Talisman.
Ephraim's across the river, so we can deal with this guy.
And a careful bit of positioning distracts the first pirate from his goal. That should buy us some time.
Meanwhile, Duessel attracts over the Speedwing mage...
And starts unpacking the great knight, who has also roamed over to play.
But before we take him out, Colm's got his own job to do.
Oh, for a knight killer that isn't spear-shaped. I've got an Armorslayer, but Franz is only a D rank in swords, though Gerik could have used it.
Speaking of Gerik, he's taking Colm off of L'Arachel's hands so that the great knight doesn't whack her with the hand axe.
Natasha, you did good. You did very good.
Yeah...after all that fuss I made about protecting L'Arachel, I walked Tethys into range instead. How many times have I cheated death in this run?
Oh yeah, the guys flanking Selena are all Luna mages. Good for them, I guess.
Don't mind the archer. He's only got an iron bow.
You have no idea.
: Did you come to warn us about the fighting going on? Thanks so much. Here, please take this staff. Oh, go on. Don't be shy.
The staff she refers to is a Barrier staff, which would come in quite handy if Selena wasn't all out of Bolting.
Yoink! And given that Rennac is coming up next chapter, that may be Colm's last heist for a while.
You may be wondering why I'm using a lance instead of an axe. It's because of that merc there.
Granted, effective weaponry is only as effective as the guy wielding it. We'll put that sword to better use.
Similarly, Cormag's just too tough to care about iron bows at this point.
What he should care about is boosting his stats.
The way you unlock the boss conversations in this map is a little different. You have to have Ephraim or Duessel stand on or past these bridges at the end of their move.
Following a short intermission...
: Indeed I am. And you are Prince Ephraim.
: I know you've spoken with Myrrh. Withdraw your troops. You must know the emperor is not rational!
: Yes, I know.
: Then why? Why do we still fight?
: I am a general of the empire. His Majesty's word is law.
: That's ridiculous. You know the emperor is deranged, and yet you follow his orders?! Is that truly loyalty?!
: Prince Ephraim, you cannot understand. I know the path I'm given is foolish. Yet I am a knight, and I have no other.
: Selena, please! Surrender! I have no wish to see you die here!
: Me? Die? Prince Ephraim, you misunderstand me. I have no intention of dying. Madness though it may be, I will be the one doing the killing today.
I'm afraid not. As you'll see, we have a sizable advantage in this fight.
Good job gaining strength, Tethys. That'll really be good for something.
There's a troubadour with a sleep staff just sitting to the north of Selena, but Colm can't kill her, so I have Duessel do it instead. Waste of time thief...
On the plus side, we get an Energy Ring out of it.
Why this particular level all the time? It's so bizarre.
: General Duessel... I must offer you my apologies. I called you a traitor, but I was mistaken. Your loyalty never wavered, not for an instant.
: And yet you must know that I have no intention of withdrawing. So let us not waste words. Let us settle this with steel, my friend.
: That's how it is to be, then? One of us dies by the other's hands?
: Yes. It's the path I've chosen. I have no regrets.
: I see... Well. I, too, must follow the path that I have chosen.
: Very well.
As you can see, it isn't even a contest. Anything on a horse is easy prey for Ephraim's spear, so Selena didn't stand a chance.
This doesn't feel like much of a victory.
Following Selena's death, all the foes who were holding their position now move freely.
For all the good it does them.
L'Arachel and Natasha are both doing very well. It's hard to choose between them.
And since I need something to lighten the mood, here's Gerik's conversation with Ephraim.
: Are you Ephraim?
: Yes, I am, but...
: I'm Gerik, mercenary commander. Prince Innes bought our swords and sent us here to join you. Any problem with that?
: Innes sent you?
: Yeah, and the prince had a message for you as well. He said, I've no need of assistance, Ephraim, but I'm sure you do." That's all. I figured you would know what he was talking about.
: Well, that's definitely from Innes. Regardless, your aid is welcome. Please join us in our fight.
Not much of a fight left, really.
As if to spite my efforts to make her crit with her special sword, Marisa decides to get in on that superfluous critting action herself.
She's really starting to make me mad.
We might have some promotions on our hands soon, given Garcia and Franz.
: ...General Selena possessed a curious stone. Myrrh, is this the dragonstone you lost?
: Yes, it is. But I'm saddened by its return. My dragonstone is here and yet... My heart is heavy with remorse...
: Ephraim, can you tell me why this had to happen? Dame Selena was a good person. She was filled with joy when she spoke of the emperor. Why did Dame Selena have to die? Why did we have to take up arms against her?
: I'm sorry... If I could have convinced her to lay down her arms, I would have. It was simply not possible. I had no choice. She had to die. I know you don't approve, but you must know I have my reasons.
: My apologies... Ephraim, I... I am not seeking to blame you. It's just that...I grieve for her.
: I ventured out of the forest, chasing after that dark energy. I thought perhaps that I could negate its evil force. Is your cause so different from Selena's?
: What can we do to end this without any more good people dying?
: I don't have any answer for you. But I will continue on toward the capital, and perhaps I will find one there. I will learn the truth begin this madness.
At any rate, at least beating up Vigarde won't be half as unsatisfying.
Next Time: We learn about the demon behind the man behind the man in Chapter 14: Father and Son.
Total Resets: 37
Naturally, we can also talk to Gerik with Marisa.
: Oh, Marisa! So Ewan found you after all, eh? Sorry for the trouble. Appears the guild made an error. Blast it all. I should have double-checked everything myself.
: No worries. I'm with you now.
: Have you taken any wounds? They send you all the way to Taizel, after all. What ill luck that was...
: I'm fine. I'll fight at your side.
: Ah, that's comforting. We've been hired to guard a Prince Ephraim. Before we do, though, we'd better take care of these enemy troops, huh? Let's move, Marisa.
And we can have Ewan talk to Tethys.
: Ah! Sister!
: Ewan, you've completed the task you were given, haven't you? This is a dangerous place. Please, go wait at the inn. I'll be there to collect you as soon as I'm able.
: No way! I want to fight, too. I've become friends with Prince Ephraim, you know? We're going to take out the big, bad evil empire.
: Wait just a minute, Ewan! Ah! Ooh, that troublemaker.
I think I like Ewan's energetic nature. He's certainly less annoying than some child characters I can think of.