Part 55: Three feet of steel down its damned throat
So, we've been had. Zera's been using us as his personal Valmar courier and we've just handed him the keys to the Apocalypse. Nuts.
Elena coming to St. Heim was the luckiest break of Zera's life - a dedicated follower of Granas with three points out of seven in the big Valmar race, right on his doorstep and asking for help. He already had one more piece on his side in Selene and obviously knew about Melfice as well, presumably intending to take his Pieces by hook or crook if he ended up with the thicker Valmar soup. He does a quick background check on the party and strikes gold - Ryudo happens to be Melfice's brother.
A likely story. He'd been keeping tabs on Melfice's quest for POWER and SWORDS and whatnot, so he steers Elena's party in the right direction and ducks out until one kills the other and consumes the Body, getting him every piece of Valmar in one fell swoop. He is, of course, missing one thanks to Ryudo's little debacle with the Horns, but that's for later.
Speaking of Melfice, he was way ahead of us before the game even started - he'd already attacked Mareg's village, taken the Claws and made it to the Great Rift. He didn't have an Automata handy to figure things out for him, so he ended up in Cyrum, where we came in. Presumably, he'd never met Zera in person and had no idea why he wanted the Granasaber, or he would've been a good brother and told us about him in his dying moment of clarity. It's still a little unclear how he knew Ryudo was searching for it, since I'm pretty sure nobody in the party ever mentioned it, so I'm going to blame someone in Cyrum. Maybe the King. Maybe Hemble.
Anyway, with Melfice out of the picture and Tio in the party to do what he couldn't, Elena & co had a clear path to the Body. Having gotten Selene's confirmation that all the Pieces are now accounted for, Zera throws what I can only hope is a man-sized switch labeled VALMAR and signals the moon to prepare for revival, bringing about the Day of Darkness.
Speaking of Selene, she was probably possessed second, after Melfice - I assume the Heart was sealed in St. Heim with whatever Valmar Blueprints taught the Pope how to end the world. Had the Wings stayed put for just a while longer, she probably would've had a slightly more convoluted version of Elena's journey, ending up with four or five Pieces and facing Melfice for the rest. Unfortunately for her, she quickly fell behind and got thrown under the bus for her troubles.
Totally foreshadowing. Anyway, it's time to ride the moon taxi.
VIDEO: Liftoff (just the next few screenshots)
What an odious thing. The smell... that is the root of destruction.
So that's Valmar's Moon...
Tio, just plunge it in.
Firstly, I love that Mareg can SMELL from hundreds of miles away, in space. Secondly, Ryudo's delivery on that line is terrible. Thirdly, really? Millions of square miles of moon, just plunge it in?
As the upcoming dungeon will prove, this is patently false.
It is still inactive! The revival of Valmar has not yet begun!
Don't give a damn. Need to get Elena back. Now!
While sharing an aesthetic with the Body, the Moon feels like a lot more of a slog.
Nyarmot (reskin of Twin Ogre)
HP: 9200 (from 1670)
Attack: ~2000 (4 hits)
Special: -1 on hit
Abilities: Burning Sun (~2600 damage, , Cancel)
For the first time since the Baked Plains, our party is only three strong, multiplying the threat level of any given enemy. Unfortunately, none of the fights on the Moon are interesting. Nyarmots are an exercise in casting Snooze over and over again.
Imagine this for about an hour and you've got every fight in here, assuming you don't skip most of them. (you should skip most of them)
Good treasure, though.
Salamadile (reskin of Chameleon)
HP: 7400 (from 1700)
Special: -1, on hit
Resistant to , Weak to
See above, but add a weakness to getting dodged. Next?
Evil Maneuver (reskin of Skull Snail)
HP: ~14000 (from 1950)
Special: -1, on hit
Abilities: Zap! (~2800), Block Needle (~2300, , )
Resistant to , Weak to
For whatever reason, these guys have miniboss-level HP values in the hard hack. They're fairly threatening if they have friends, as they need special attention in the form of silence and move block. I don't usually fight many of them, though, because it's just too tedious.
This part's pretty evil. These Salamadiles are easy to miss if your camera isn't angled right. When you run past them, they jump out and try to surprise you.
These things mark the end of the first part of Valmar's Moon. Activating them creates a bridge:
Valmar's Moon 2 has no new enemies, but it does have these bone gates, which open when you cut their tendon.
They exist only to facilitate this little insult.
Treasure of note includes the game's resistance to all status effects accessory, the Mystic Veil.
Valmar's Moon 3 introduces these little pressure... polyps. Most of them do nothing, a few are traps, a few unlock paths/treasure. You get the gist.
Also there's a river of blood. That's always nice.
Dragon Knight (reskin of Dragonoid)
HP: ~14000 (from 2130)
Special: -1 on hit
Abilities: Stram, Lightning Ball (~2300 damage in an area), DragonZap (~4000)
♫ don't let them cast dragon zap ♫
Ryudo! Look! Elena!
Without the Light, the soul suffers and is drawn to Darkness, craving more than the hollow teachings of Granas can offer.
Nothing can save the world... except the Revival of Valmar!
Then all I have held to be sacred... all we have struggled for... has been for nothing...!?
Ah, you are mistaken. Your actions have served me well! Ha ha ha! But why are you troubled? Why do you yet sorrow?
I wanted to save people, but now...
In order to prevent the Day of Darkness, in order to make Valmar go away, I lied to even Ryudo...
Let me tell you why you suffer. Your prayers are empty, for the Age of Miracles has long since passed.
So, I have been praying to a dead god? It is... hopeless...!?
Yes... it is painful. This I know all too well. But your suffering has to come to an end. Come, I shall give you peace.
... I have no more reason to live...
Very well. I shall release you from the source of your misery. I shall remove the Wings of Valmar which you despise!
I don't care! Anything that gets in my way is going to get three feet of steel down its damned throat, ANYTHING!
HP: ~46000 (from 29000)
Abilities: A bunch of support spells and Demon Summoning
HP: 8000 (from 4800)
Abilities: Desperate Blow (~1500 damage, suicide)
Bet you didn't see baby monster coming. Anyway, it comes with four Bits and no abilities that deal damage other than its melee attack, which can be dodged. The bits are also dodgeable and do laughable damage even with their suicide ability. Demon Summoning makes another Bit, which by the way are also babies:
This fight is pretty much unsalvageable. There's basically no way it could be made genuinely hard, let alone interesting.
Ryudo, why did you come...?
Well. Welcome, Ryudo. Your arrival has been well timed, as the preparations for Valmar's rebirth are complete!
What the hell makes you think I'm going to let you do that? DAMMIT!
Elena, come and be cleansed of this foul soul. I have said the words, and I bear the symbols... the time has come!
A Dark soul? Millenia!? Dammit, open UP!
Pleased to meet you. You may call me Zera.
O Millenia, Wings of Valmar. The time for the Revival of Valmar is come! The time for you to be made complete!
Sheesh! That stupid Elena! Sure, it was my desire to become Valmar...
...But you kept trying to keep me away. You never thought for yourself, Elena... You... You were always just following orders...
You never thought about what's right and what's wrong... you never knew what is really important.
What is wrong, O Wings of Valmar? The time of Revival is come!
Just because I fell in love with you, I ended up incomplete like this. Pathetic!
I wanted to be completed as Valmar so that Elena would disappear and I could remain by your side, Ryudo...
That strikes me as a bit of a post-hoc motive for her actions.
But I don't care anymore... At this rate, I'll become Valmar... and destroy the world.
I might even kill you too, Ryudo. I don't want to become such a monster...
O Wings of Valmar, what is wrong? You are the key to the Revival of Valmar! You will rule the world as a god! Come!
Urgh... O Wings of Valmar, for a demon who is to bring destruction to the world, this attitude is unbecoming.
Your resolve has been weakened by the souls you have devoured. Weak and feeble souls. This is but a farce.
What's wrong!? Stung by the beast you thought you controlled, Zera?! Return Millenia! Return Elena, as well! NOW!
Hoo hoo hoo ha ha ha! ... Oh well. Then I shall do it as planned! O Valmar! I shall now release your power!
VIDEOS: The Revival of Valmar (FMV plus voice acting, "Video ends" to skip screenshots)
My mortal body discarded, I shall become the will of Valmar and create the perfect, ideal world! Now the time has come!
Don't toy with me. This guy can't...
... My power... is draining... I'm... I'm b- being devoured!
Hahahahaha! All is for the new world, as I will it.
Ryudo! I'm, I'm disappearing!
ZERA! STOP IT! ELENA! MILLENIA! Zera, stop spouting MADNESS! Your perfect world? It cannot exist!
YES. A world with one perfect God! The end of death! The end... of life.
After the Day of Darkness, only my WILL shall remain! My perfect, absolute WILL!
DAMMIT! STOP! ELENA! MILLENIA! RETURN THEM!! RETURN THEM TO ME!
Go ahead and shout! LOUDER! Your voice shall sound across the world and stir the slumbering God!!
What!? This cannot be!?
Heh heh heh heh... What do you think you can do now? Come, relinquish your power.
Elena is me. The two of us will live on. No matter what.
What? No Horns!? Where are the Horns?
Hmph... No matter. The Revival of Valmar has begun! Now I shall become the WILL of Valmar!
Elena!? Where's Millenia...?
Grrrrr... Valmar stirs even now. We must make haste to the Granasaber.
But the Granasaber's energy is nearly...
NO... I won't leave Millenia behind.
Millenia would not wish it so... There is no honor in a wasted life. Come, Ryudo - our race is with time.
Ryudo! Stop! If we do not leave now, all has been for naught.
We must make our escape from this place! Yet, our path remains blocked... Come, there must be a way to break from here.
... I couldn't stop the Revival of Valmar or even rescue Millenia... I, I couldn't do anything...
Even the eagle knows nothing but darkness while still unhatched, yet while it has life, it struggles to free itself.
So must you seek to break from your prison while still you breathe - even unto death, for in life there is hope. There is fire.
Live, Ryudo. Fill your veins with fire.
We're going to have to fight our way to the Granasaber, so it's a preeeetty good idea to revive and equip Elena, as she doesn't exactly rejoin our party in the best of health.
HP: 9000 (from 3600)
Special: / on hit
HP: ~12000 (from 3600)
Special: -1 to a random stat and on hit
Abilities: Tremor, Berserk Launch, Leg Drill
These are all mandatory fights and the miniboss music plays for them, but they're not at all scary.
VIDEOS: Escape (search "holding up" to skip screenshots)
But the Granasaber has almost no power left...
Make do somehow. You must escape!!
Granasaber, lend us your power. Please, FLY!
Stay there! I can handle this!
Uhnnn... Go, Tio. I am OK. I will be right there...
Mareg, I cannot leave you behind.
Hey, Granas, are you listening?
This is my first and last prayer to you. If you have any power left...
Take them away!
Away to safety!
Elena, you holding up?
Ryudo... why did Millenia save me? I understand why she saved you...
...but why me as well? I tried to rid myself of her... I tried to make her leave...
Doesn't matter anymore.
I was only concerned with myself... my own safety... Why would she care to save me?
No use dwelling on it. Mareg and Millenia are gone...
Just what do you expect me to do now, Millenia?
I think I know now what a "heart" is...
But... it is a thing filled with sorrow. I would rather have never learned of it.
Mareg... twice now you have showed me what it means to have a heart...
Mareg and Millenia both said we should "live." I do not know how, Ryudo. What comes next?
I don't know... but we must act. As Mareg said... There is something I must do...
Though I lose my life, yet must I act. Yes. There is something...
Since SC put into special moves is forever sunk into that character, this Missanga can be used to recover what we've spent.
VIDEO: Siege (just the next few screenshots, keep the music playing)
We have officially Fucked Up.
If this continues any further, not one brick shall rest atop another.
DAMMIT! I've had enough! There will be no more terror, no more sorrow. We will stop them. This I swear.
Official Art: Granasaber