Part 42: Chapter 14B: Father and SonChapter 14B: Father and Son
A noble warrior to the end, Selena fought with great honor, never once using Myrrh as a hostage.
Ephraim renews his vow to pierce the veil of mystery surrounding the Grado Empire. Selena is added to the list of innocents who Grado must account for.
The center of the Grado Empire. Emperor Vigarde should have been here, but...
"But" what? He's still here.
: It looks like it hasn't changed at all since the last time I was here. Eirika and I came here once long ago with our father. Duessel taught me the lance, and I studied history with Lyon. I never imagined I'd come back here armed for battle.
Hey, someone's reminiscing about Lyon? You know what that means!
: -the evil of the Demon King, and his wicked soul was locked within the Stone of Grado. The Stone of Grado came to be known as the Fire Emblem. To this day, it's kept safe and honored as a national treasure of the empire. ...I think that's about it. For more on Grado's life, read Founding Emperor Grado." It's comprehensive.
: ...It's so thick. ...And the letters are so small.
: But you have to read it. You don't want Father MacGregor to discipline you again.
: ...I'm no good with books. The problem is they don't move. I get bored silly. I understand so much better when you explain it to me, Lyon.
Words hurt little Ephraim brain.
: Yes, but...it's kind of weird to be helping you all the time. It's just that I admire you, Ephraim. I want to be strong, like you--brave and handsome... I've got an idea. Why don't you teach me to wield a lance, Ephraim? I can't let my defeat to Eirika go unchallenged. I look foolish.
: It's a deal. We practice tomorrow, though. If you want to beat Eirika, you have to take this seriously.
: Just go easy on me, all right?
If you want to simulate the next few seconds, try shaking your head back and forth very quickly, unless you're wearing glasses or have someone reading over your shoulder. That wouldn't be very bright.
: Another tremor... They happen a lot, don't they? Are you all right, Myrrh?
: Yes, I was startled. Ephraim, this place... Did it always shake like this?
: Yeah, Grado's been prone to earthquakes for a long time. Tiny tremors like that happen all the time. Don't worry.
: Really? Um, Ephraim?
: What is it?
: I can feel it--from inside the castle, I can feel the darkness. I feel a broad pool of darkness deep within its walls.
: Perhaps it's coming from the throne room. That's where Emperor Vigarde, the man who started this, is. Let's go.
: Have we been foolish? When you died, I couldn't accept the loss... I... If only I'd been stronger... Urgh!
: Oh, Prince--
: ...What's wrong? Why such an unusual expression on your face? I'd rather you didnt look upon me as though I were some horrid beast.
: I...I beg your pardon.
: Did you say we were under attack? I want all of you to strike the foe. Bring your weapons to bear on Ephraim. Is that acceptable, Father?
: Do... do as he says.
: Understood! Right away, Your Majesty!
: ...Command Grado, Emperor Vigarde... Destroy Ephraim...
And so begins a really long and tedious chapter. The recording for this chapter alone was longer than the entire final chapter, plus the epilogue and the ending credits.
Part of it is thanks to this guy. He's big, he's burly, he's sitting on a throne, and he's got a ranged spear with a high crit chance, making it risky to send most of my troops after him. We'll see how that pans out.
Then you have that one area with the doors, guarded by longbowmen. They're not too big a threat, but they cost me my first run.
But the big problem, the one that really grinds this chapter to a screeching halt, is these bozos.
The druids in the throne room are even worse. Remember that staff range isn't fixed. It's your magic divided by two. These guys (and they move, by the way) are the biggest pests of this chapter.
As presented, this chapter suggests to the player that they ought to go up both sides at once. I don't subscribe to that.
By the way, the magicians on this map, of which there are many, are really powerful, so that Barrier staff from last chapter won't go amiss.
And if this chapter wasn't complicated enough, here's a new wrinkle.
: With my expert eye, I judge this card to be an incomparable treasure. Once this is all done, I think I'll just scamper off on my own...
Yes, it's Rennac. Fortunately for us, he's a little simpler to track down, since he'll nab the treasure in the upper right, make a beeline for the one on the upper left, and then leave out the left side, so we won't have to chase him over the entire map.
And we'll want to recruit him. The idea of leaving the looting to Colm makes me unsettled just thinking about it.
But for now, our objective should be building up our low-level dudes.
Assuming they cooperate.
Garcia's going to have fun with the Swordslayer. Given how powerful axes are, three times axe is too much axe for almost anyone.
Unfortunately, two can play at that game.
Rennac's looting spree begins. Saves me the trouble.
And Lute caps her magic early like I knew she could.
So as I said, I don't agree with the idea of splitting the party. With so many status effects and reinforcements flying around, it's just not safe.
While the folks in the left side hunker down, Forde gets taught in the traditional style.
Sometimes the old ways just work.
Tired of this joke yet?
We've been getting all sorts of dudes from the sides. Soldiers, mercenaries, myrmidons...you really want to wait a bit and let the enemies run out before advancing.
In the east, Marisa has to get creative to get her training in.
Especially with Tana hogging all the kills that should be going to her.
With the longbow dudes on the sides, you want to send people up the middle of their lanes, even if the knights guarding the doors have javelins.
Don't worry about Duessel. He doesn't have time to sleep.
And the healers continue to make our combat units look bad.
I figure that now's as good a time as any to deal with that bishop. Sleep's just inconvenient enough that I don't want it around.
And not a moment too soon, since Rennac's on his way.
Get used to druids hitting Forde with berserk. I made fun of the accuracy of staves, but when you're comparing 20 magic to 4 resistance, it's really not a contest.
Faster and more accurate! That's the stuff that Garcia needs.
L'Arachel and Forde are going to be the best of friends this chapter.
Opening the door to the middle part of the stage has spawned reinforcement magicians: mages in the left, and shamen in the right. Yet another reason not to blitz both ends at once.
Not everyone's going up the left. Gerik and Marisa, with Natasha and Tana's aid, are training their abilities.
With all this speed, she might make a good assassin, assuming the Shamshir ever actually decides to crit.
Tana is still Tana. It'll be hard for Vanessa to catch up to this.
Lots of Luna users on this map. No crits, but the threat was always there.
And Forde's inability to avoid being hit with a staff presents me with a poser. I could block Rennac from going to the upper left, but that'd be hard to do while also fighting mages. I have no choice this time but to do the costly option.
: You there, hold.
: Huh? ...You're a man. Sorry, pal, but I'm not interested in men.
: What are you doing here in the castle? You seem to be weighed down a bit. Helping yourself to the treasure?
: Ha! I've no idea what you're talking about. Now, wait a minute... You couldn't be... Aren't you Prince Ephraim?!?
: Hm? I'm Ephraim, but...
: I-I thought so. You're the one they call the Beast of Renais... I've heard tales of how you've looted and pillaged your way across the land...
: H-Hold on! Calm down! You won't get any treasure by killing me. If you want these goods, it'll cost you. 10,000 gold.
: 10,000 gold?
: Yeah... Is that too high? Fine, then you get my sword as well. I'll join your army. So that's me and the treasure for only 9,980 gold! What do you say?
: You know, I have no idea how I got pulled into this conversation. 9,980 gold, eh?
Does Colm's strength make his mother cry from beyond the grave?
: Here's 9,980 gold. Is this sufficient?
: Huh? M-may I really take it?
: Sorry? You set the price yourself, didn't you? Now that I've hired you, I intend to get my money's worth.
: You..aren't going to stab me once I've taken your money, are you? Once the fighting's all done, you won't burn me at the stake or anything?
: ...What rumors are these people spreading about me?
Only the best kinds.
Nice thing about our new friend is that all his stats are respectable, even his resistance. Lute can't even match him at the moment.
Though she's taking steps to correct that.
Franz is here now, and profiting from the support he and his brother share.
A shame that supports can't do anything about growths.
Now then, folks, let's give a warm welcome to:
150 damage! Apply directly to the forehead.
Now that the other Druid is all out of berserk, the second one is taking his place. Also, we've got shamen. Lots of 'em.
Back with my duo of inexperienced sword users, I decide that it's a good idea for a sword user to charge a trio of guys with javelins.
The things I do for experience.
The bizarre amount of success that L'Arachel and Natasha have been experiencing lately is getting sort of awkward.
They're not the ones I'm worried about building up.
But nevertheless, they're determined to make everyone else look bad.
Oh, and there's a longbow guy with a Body Ring.
Forde does not like dark magicians. He's getting hit with everything, from Kraken's Tickly Tentacles...
To MacTavish's Irish Fury.
Secret Shop is thisaway. I buy me some staves of the long-range healing variety.
I don't believe we've seen the Silence staff before.
It has a fun effect to it, where once it goes off, you hear a loud pop and then every noise just stops. The music, all sound effects, everything in the battle, even if it misses. It's like Silence doesn't so much prevent sounds as it shatters your eardrums.
There seems to be a general theme of opening doors and summoning reinforcements in this battle. In this case, shamen, some with Nosferatu tomes.
Annoyingly accurate ones, to be precise.
Figuring that Silence is a bit of a problem when there's also Berserk flying about, I have Garcia deliver the mighty thwack.
Someone has a promotion in his future.
The bottom room is getting a little crowded. Fortunately, they're mostly Luna dudes, so it's no real problem.
Strength, eh? I figured that'd come up eventually.
Even Colm gets in on the fun. Luna, after all, doesn't care if you've got 1 resistance or 20.
While fighting off swarms of dude with ineffectual dark magic, Colm nicks the first treasure. The other two are a Hammerne staff and 10000 gold with which to pay Colm's replacement.
Though I think I may have goofed a little with the formation.
No need to worry about that though, as we've got some more stat buffs. It'll be fun to pass these out.
I didn't realize this until after this chapter, but it seems that the small fry archers always go before the sniper. Good thing too, since he activated Sure Shot on Marisa instead of Tana.
I'll grant her this one. She's been doing well enough to merit it.
Marisa has no such privilege.
While all this has been going on, Ephraim and co. have been sitting in front of this door for three or four turns, and I'm getting bored.
Man, when Garcia decided that he'd flip his awesome switch, he picked a good time to do it.
Small degree of bad news: opening the door yields magicians and shamen. Again.
And the remaining druid has, surprise surprise, a Luna tome. Poor choice of weapons.
Since the priests only have physic staves, it's a simple matter to crush the reinforcements.
The boss might be a harder matter. The fastest way would be to beat him with magic, but the reprisal is more than Lute can handle. I gotta tell ya, I was really tempted to have her throw on an Angelic Robe.
While I dithered on the matter, L'Arachel gained a not-so-stellar level to balance out her perfect one from before.
And Lute amused herself in priest-hunting. If only she'd also gotten defense to go with that HP.
As it was, I was forced to go for the gun.
: Why did you kill my father?
: Answer me, Vigarde! ...So you really have lost hold of your senses, haven't you?
If you go by the joke where ellipses are a stand-in for flatulence, this fight becomes a lot more amusing.
Fighting the emperor isn't easy, especially since his ability that negates attacks is a percentage based on your level. In this fight, he had a 1 in 5 chance of avoiding damage altogether, and he took advantage of it.
Which meant more dithering.
: Your Majesty... It's too late, isn't it? ...Forgive me.
The polar ice caps are melting away...
I got so bored that I started hunting down the longbow guys I'd left alive.
Good thing too, since the sniper drops his.
After we seize, Vigarde's body reappears only to vanish again. Its last words were......
: What? Is this... Vigarde's corpse--it... It disintegrated.
: It must be some type of dark magic. Regardless, the capital has been captured. I'll lead a patrol through the castle. There may be enemy soldiers remaining.
: I'll go with you. Lyon may be somewhere within the castle.
And look who it is.
: I've been waiting for you. Looks like you've beaten my father. I thought you might... You really are powerful, arent you?
: Lyon! Is that you? Lyon, you must tell me! What has happened here in Grado?
: Why are you in this place? Your father... Emperor Vigarde, why didn't you stop him? Don't tell me you're caught up in this madness, too! Answer me, Lyon! You always told me you wanted what your father wanted--peace!
: I... I...I... Urgh! Let me tell you something, Ephraim. I've been waiting for this moment for a very, very long time.
: I will make the world Grado's-- No, MY plaything. I've been planning this my whole life. Why else would I befriend you and Eirika? I needed to learn where and how to attack and destroy Renais... Thanks to the two of you, I learned all I needed to know.
That's Lyon's big theme in Ephraim's side. While he loved Eirika, Lyon also envied Ephraim's abilities, and why not? The guy was basically the lazy jock to Lyon's hardworking nerd.
: What?! Lyon... You're wrong. We never--
: And then my chance arrived. I replaced my useless father, readied my tools, and set my plan in motion. I began by destroying Renais... And then I murdered your father.
: You... You lie, Lyon! You could never--
: Shall I tell you a story? Would you like to hear of your father's last moments? You'll laugh really. Your father's such a weakling, and yet he tried so hard...
: Lyon! No more insults to my father, or I may forget myself!
: Oh, are you angry, Ephraim? But, not even you can stop me now. The Stones of Grado and Frelia are dust, and Jehanna's is soon to follow... ...Which leaves only two more... I will destroy them one at a time... I shall see my dream fulfilled...
: Ephraim, you are in my way. Therefore... Ergh...How bothersome. I truly do wish to be your opponent, but I'm not yet at full strength. Let's meet again, shall we? Assuming you live, of course. I'll grant you the honor of dying at my hand. Like father, like son, eh?
I guess that's why there aren't any Rewarp staves in Magvel. Everyone keeps using them to make dramatic entrances and exits.
But if you thought we were done with the plot dumps, you'd be dead wrong.
For there is only one master of exposition, and it is Knoll.
: Wait. You're not a Grado soldier. Who are you?
: I am Ephraim of Renais. And who are you?
: That's an odd question for an executioner. My name is Knoll. Until recently, I was one of Grado's top researchers in arcane matters.
: So why is it you are locked up here?
: You need not answer if you do not wish to. Tell me, what is Lyon attempting to do? I still have things I intend to ask him.
: You wish to speak to Prince Lyon? You really don't know anything, do you?
: What do you mean? Is there something wrong with Lyon? What do you know?
: ...... I'll tell you all I know, if you would like. However, I think you will not thank me once you hear it.
: The emperor's health worsened, and then he...
: Hold. What are you talking about? One year ago? That's before Grado's invasion of Renais began. And I just saw the emperor. I killed him with my own hands.
: Allow me to continue in the order in which everything occurred. One year ago, the emperor died of the illness that had plagued him. Prince Lyon was devastated. He fell into an endless despair. He felt unworthy to take the throne, unable to rule without his father.
: He then began to look for a way to overturn his father's demise. He wanted to resurrect him--
: Wait, resurrect him?
: Yes. As you know, the Stone of Grado is possessed of...unique powers. It was once used to seal away the Demon King, and it alone held the dark one's soul. It burned within with the Demon King's rage, and we called it the Fire Emblem.
You thought we were going to go the entire game without seeing the titular name? The Fire Emblem is always different, and sometimes isn't even important to the plot, but it's rare that a game will go by without a "Fire Emblem" of some kind showing up.
: Prince Lyon and a team of mages skilled in ancient lore hoped to harness its energies. I remember the joy in Prince Lyon's eyes when he spoke of using it to save lives.
: Prince Lyon told us he intended to use the Fire Emblem to restore the emperor. His death had been kept from the public, but rumors were beginning to fly. We knew we had to hurry, before the people learned the truth of the emperor's death. Prince Lyon dedicated himself to research, skipping meals, foregoing sleep... And then...
: What happened?
: I wasn't there, so I did not witness it firsthand. By the time I arrived, the deed had already been done. The Fire Emblem had been shattered, split in two. One was a Sacred Stone, and the other...
Yes, a flashback within a wall of exposition. This puts Granny's lectures to shame.
: Prince Lyon! What's happened? Prince...
: Oh, hello, it's you... What was your name again? Ah yes, Knoll. You're one of my researchers. I've glad tidings for you. My father is back.
: The emperor?
: Your... Your Majesty! This is incredible! Prince Lyon, what miracle is this? It cannot be! What--? What is that stone?
: This? This is the Dark Stone. It bears even more power than any Sacred Stone. I extracted and condensed all of the magic bound within the Fire Emblem. The Dark Stone's power is what gave my father back the spark of life.
: The Dark Stone...?
: Now that the Dark Stone is mine, I have no need for this empty husk.
: P-Prince Lyon! The Sacred Stone... What have you done?
: They are all in the way. The Sacred Stones, I mean. Four more remain, and they must all be destroyed. The only stone we need now is this Dark Stone of mine.
: His Majesty ordered the invasion of Renais, as Prince Lyon asked him to. Father MacGregor grew concerned with Prince Lyon's health. He tried several times to dissuade him from his path. Prince Lyon executed him personally. I, too, was branded a traitor and arrested. My execution was scheduled for tomorrow.
I hinted at this way back when we met Natasha, but it's far too coincidental to not be the case. Ephraim and Eirika's teacher and Natasha's mentor must have been the same man, whose face we never got to see. A shame, because with a name like MacGregor, he would have had the mightiest beard.
: Lyon... Where is he now?
: Would that I knew. Prince Lyon frightens me now. He is...transformed...
: He's... Lyon is my friend.
Ephraim's sort of in denial right now, but I don't blame him too much.
Our scene shifts to Grado's Sacred Stone chamber, where it's time to unwrap our first goodies.
: What is it? What is this place?
: This is the former resting place of the Stone of Grado, the Fire Emblem. We've kept the Sacred Twins of Grado here as well. If we're still lucky, they may still be here.
: The Sacred Twins... Those are the ancient weapons once wielded by the founders of our nation. Let's see if I remember my studies... Emperor Grado's were the magic tome Gleipnir and Garm, the black axe.
: That is correct. You know your history well.
: Yeah, it's something I learned long ago from Lyon.
: Well, let's see if they're still here, shall we?
: Prince Ephraim. Here... I've found the Sacred Twin relics.
: And here they are... Yet I don't understand. The Sacred Stone was destroyed, but these were left untouched? Why?
: I know not... Perhaps... No, never mind. It's an idle thought. Prince Ephraim, please take these relics with you.
: Is that all right?
: Yes. I want you to have them. And maybe... Maybe someone else wanted you to have them as well.
Well, I wanted him to have them. We've now acquired Gleipnir and Garm, one of which is a little more useful than the other, since I'm not planning on doing the glitch again.
But wait, I sense a new plot dump challenger!
: You've come at a good time, soldier. I want you to take a message to Frelia. Actually...
: We've received dire news from Jehanna! It's about Princess Eirika and Prince Innes... They're under attack by Grado forces led by Tiger Eye and Moonstone.
: Caellach Tiger Eye and Valter Moonstone... They're supposed to be the most powerful of Grado's imperial generals. For them to have abandoned the capital and led the battle into Jehanna...
: The Knights of Rausten have ridden to the eastern front to aid Frelia, but the enemy attacks have been brutal. I fear for their survival.
: We march for Jehanna immediately! We will rescue Eirika.
: B-but even if we leave now, we will not make it in time...
: We'll make it. Rest easy on that. Eirika is my sister. That one will never lay down her blade. And I am Eirika's brother. There is no way I'll let my sister die!
Although we might postpone our rescue to go digging in the sand first.
Next Time: Bringing the gang together from a different perspective. It's Chapter 15: Scorching Sands again.
Total Resets: 38
Extra Conversation Branch:
While we did acquiesce to Rennac's demands, we could have always said no.
: Sorry, but I don't actually have the gold to hire you.
: What? You're lying now, aren't you? Rumor has it you've stored away so much gold, you groan from its weigh...
: Whoa! H-hold on a moment! You're not going to kill me just because you can't afford my price, are you?
And if Forde hadn't been a victim of the staff jerks, we could have had L'Arachel say exactly what she said in Eirika's version. It's almost entirely unaltered. What a shame.