The Let's Play Archive

Rondo of Swords

by Einander

Part 6: Reunion

Chapter 5: Reunion
(Or, "The End of the Prologue")

Buckle up; this is a fairly long one. Lots of conversations, and the structure of the map means they're rather rear-loaded.

...mind, what with transcription, it likely feels much longer to me than you.

This is the second song I'd recommend listening to, after the one I added to update 1 and the errata post. It's not much at first, but I'm quite fond of where it goes from about the twenty-five second mark on.

As a rule, the soundtrack is fairly heavy on trumpet and percussion, at least to my untrained ear. I'm much more a piano person, but it may be more to your taste. If you're interested, look at the uploader's channel; he joined Youtube in 2007, posted no public videos until November 2012, and then posted 31 Rondo of Swords OST tracks. Nothing before or since. YouTube activity is a strange and wonderful thing, isn't it?

Let's rush him, Your Highness... Before he can strike again!

When a man like that is cornered, things usually turn ugly.

I like Margus. Some degree of that is affection carrying over from his gameplay utility, but another part of it is that for all of his weird flirty behavior, he's also a very good knight. His conversations with Kay make him feel like a convincing mentor character, and he's obviously got a good head on his shoulders. He also doesn't ever get too weird about it -- he flirts, but he doesn't harass. It's an aspect, not the dominating feature of his character.

If only all characters of the archetype could show that degree of restraint.

...We have no choice. In order to save both of them, we'll charge on my signal!

Damn... Where's that Imperial Army!?

No portrait for the Ga Soldier here.

Ga Soldier: Maybe we shouldn't have relied so much on the Empire...

Shut up! Just hurry over there and hold them off!

Ga Soldier: Yes, sir.

This country WILL be mine, dammit!

Jaglat is kind of a missed opportunity. If he's just a greedy asshole, we're unlikely to stop and think, 'man, that guy kind of has a point.' The most interesting bad guys are ones we can sympathize with, even if we disagree. I'd rather have a patriot than a puppykicker.

Okay, imagine that Shalem can't easily organize to repel the Empire. That's reasonable; they're a tribal civilization, and they don't seem to have much centralization. Consider that Darsin went into the Ga tribe's area as the Na tribe representative, not as some kind of chosen representative of the rest of the tribes. He seems to have a decent amount of influence, though, considering that Serdic spent months in Shalem without the tribes raising a fuss, the Ga aside.

But this does raise a point -- Darsin and the Na may not have the backing of the rest of Shalem. The others may not be interfering, but that doesn't mean they're happy about it. We don't hear much about tribes other than the Na and the Ga, but again, Darsin went in alone. So let's revise the scenario a little in light of that, to see if we can take these pieces and make something more interesting with them.

Okay, the tribes gather together and the majority decide that they can't afford to harbor the Bretwalde royals. Some groups agree with Na, saying that now is their opportunity -- Bretwalde has been a friend to the tribes of Shalem, and it provides a good excuse to go to war with the Empire. After all, recent history suggests that Gauss will come for them soon enough. In the hands of the hero Altrius, the holy sword Spanta is said to have conquered the Darkness ages ago. (Note: We haven't been told this outright yet, but reread the map scroll for Chapter One; Bretwalde is the country Altrius founded.) If it possesses anywhere near so much power as the legends say, then it will be a powerful weapon against the Empire. If they give up Serdic, they give up the holy sword.

The opposition isn't disagreeing because they want to ally with the Empire or because they want to wrest control from the Na, who currently lead the tribes (or, at least, it isn't mostly because of that); rather, their argument is that while the Empire needs to be defeated, they can't afford to pick this fight right now. They need to build up resources and train men and prepare for invasion, and if they're attacked now, it's going to be incredibly costly to Shalem. Sending off the siblings will buy them time.

So the Na defy the rest of Shalem, sheltering Serdic regardless. Eventually, Jaglat, representative of both the Ga and the will of Shalem, kidnaps Marie. Once you hear the news, you're forced to charge in to what you know is a trap. That would be this stage.

This would do several different things. One, it makes Jaglat someone you can relate to. Two, Spanta is going to be more important soon. Bringing up the legend we've seen allusions to also reminds us of the curse on the blade and shows us why the Holy Sword is so important to Bretwalde. I don't think it's a spoiler to say that Spanta can be uncursed eventually, and when that happens, it's the most powerful weapon on your side by a large margin. The OB this purification unlocks is similarly powerful. So Spanta is Important. Three, it provides drama that's lacking here -- you wouldn't just be fighting one tribe alone, you're fighting several tribes with the backing of one or two of your own. Maybe have a small allied army fighting off to the side, on a part you can't easily reach. Four, it reminds us that the Empire is scary. This is important, considering that the game lets us defeat their leader on the first stage.

But I digress, especially since we haven't seen how this arc does end yet! Let's get back to what's actually happening.

Same group as last time; no new characters. Right now, getting the Black Ring and getting Margus to level 9 has resulted in somewhat lopsided levels; we'll fix that soon enough.

We bring everyone. Everyone has a role, and it's not like we're lacking for slots. Selmer is going to be particularly useful this time around (well, by the standards of what he's working with).

Not much happens in terms of skills; Margus buys Invoke Life 3 and that's it. Last map didn't involve much murder.

Suffice to say this map will make up for that.

As mentioned, Jaglat is our objective. He moves surprisingly early on, and he's surrounded by a fairly tough crew.

Also, he hits really damn hard. In a halfhearted run I did for conversations, Margus got hit for 149 damage. Margus. Yeah.

We'll be killing everyone, of course. There's no reason not to.

It's a complete circle. The prison area to the right is surprisingly lightly guarded. However, sending too many people that way means Jaglat might go that way too, and that's problematic.

As mentioned, Jaglat moves. This means that while you can split up, and you should, you'll want to eventually reunite your groups -- otherwise, the group on the side Jaglat is ignoring won't do much in the final clash. Where Jaglat goes, the rest of his men follow. They're all pretty standard.

The new type of heavy knight doesn't have ZOC, but he does hit quite hard and he's very tough.

You'll notice the three cells in the shots above. There's something in each of them. Yes, even the one that looks empty. There are spots with hidden items in this game, and the most you'll get is some strangeness to the placement. What, did you expect Rondo of Swords to tell you something?

In the cells, you'll find Marie and Ansom. We saw Marie's stats before. There is, however, something new about her:

She's picked up her first spell, Cure Drop. It's the game's healing spell, singular; there are no others. As you might have guessed before, Marie is our first Light mage and healer. She has one of the smallest skill lists in the game and no promotion, but that's because everything she learns is relevant to her job.

(The other skill, White Light, improves the speed at which the user recovers from status effects. It's not very useful; statuses are rare outside of very special circumstances, and the most dangerous status doesn't wear off naturally. Get the +status resistance skill instead if you're worried.)

She's one of the best characters in the game for a good many reasons. The first is her OverBurst. If you use it at the start of the turn, it's full-party healing. A *lot* of full-screen healing -- it's a strong effect. It gives her a lot of experience with every use too.

You'll see the second reason soon.


Son of Emir Darsin, ruler of the Na tribe in the Shalem Federation. Has known Serdic since childhood.

Ansom is even better!

As you can tell from looking at his attack, Ansom hits hard. He also has some actual durability, unlike Mages. Not much, but he can take a hit. And the astute may have noticed that when I explained how enemy Archers work, I specified "enemy." Yes, allied archers work differently: He has an attack range of 5 (6, once he reaches his third class, and up to 9 once he masters the True Arrows skill), and he
can attack at range after moving. Ansom is the best mage-killer, bar none, and probably the best ranged character period. He's also very good at eliminating archers.

Even outside of that application, Ansom is incredibly powerful. Sure, Ansom may only be attacking one enemy at a time, but that enemy WILL die, up to and including some bosses or ZOC heavies. You may pause here and think, "Wait, what? his attack doesn't look *that* high." Oh, it isn't, but his damage is. You'll see why I say that in about seven more maps. He's going to have quite a debut...

His OverBurst is pretty much the same as Brave Ray. It's 5/6 the strength, except it's on Ansom, so it's better. You won't use it much, but it's the only way Ansom has to hit multiple people, and if he
does get to use it then the target is dead, no question and no exceptions.

That said, there is one massive dick move here. Okay, so Ansom is Serdic's childhood friend, has a battle sprite and a face, and clearly supports his cause. Seems like a shoe-in for an automatic join, right? You know, like Selmer. No, that's not the case; if you don't talk to him here, he doesn't join you. At all. Ever. No second chance. As I recall, he speaks in the stage aftermath even if you don't recruit him, so it isn't about leaving him in the cells. He is a very sensitive soul, apparently, and does not take kindly to being ignored

Let's get started.

Kay and Margus are going to be going off to the right to rescue Marie and Ansom. Serdic, meanwhile, will take Sasha and Selmer and go off to the left to 1) eliminate that group there and 2) pull Jaglat off to the left. If he comes at us from that direction, then we can push toward the prison cells, and the vertical hallway just before them is an incredibly convenient staging ground to end the map. Jaglat's aggressive AI lets you pick the battlefield -- take advantage of that.

That said, we shouldn't split up or move in immediately. The group of enemies near the start is aggressive, and we can't quite reach any of them from our starting position. If we charge forward, we're just giving them opportunities to attack a large swath of our group.

To that end, we cluster up on the edge of the range of the closest enemy. He can attack Margus and Serdic if he takes one specific path, so we know where he'll end up. It also puts his back in our direction of travel, which will make it easy for Margus to take him out while he's charging towards the Archer.

In retrospect, it would have been better to switch Serdic and Margus. I'll explain why in a moment.

Just as planned.

Selmer casts on the further enemy; I want him to get a bit more experience. If he levels up to 6, he'll get enough MP for another cast of White Dust, so this is effectively free. I was a little leery of finishing yet another stage without him running out of MP, and it looks like I was ultimately right; Selmer just ran out when this stage ended.

Serdic finishes.

This is what I meant about the positioning. If you count tiles, you'll see that if Margus was just behind this enemy, he'd be able to hit him and move two tiles in front of Kay. Kay is sitting just outside of the Archer's range of six, so this would let Margus attack the Archer.

Unfortunately, the Archer is sitting in a chokepoint. There's only one direction in which to attack and both Kay and Margus will terminate right next to him, so it's either Kay or Margus who gets to attack him. Margus still hits a little harder, even with Kay's skills.

At least Margus is able to one-shot the Scout. It'd be problematic if an enemy killed Selmer -- he's actually fairly important this map.

Margus tanks an arrow. It does the typical pitiful damage.

Kay fails to kill the Archer. Margus moves up into its face, preparing to kill him next turn. He's going to have to -- you can't backtrack, remember, and Kay's high move means he's going to be doing the vast majority of the prisoner rescuing.

On the other side, we look at the attack range of the Scout. It's six, so it terminates one tile behind and to the side of the Warrior here.

Conveniently enough, we want the Warrior dead anyway. Selmer moves up, but he has 4 move and that's very slow.

Unlike many games, enemy Archers can and will shoot you at one-tile ranges; their range is 1-6 inclusive.

I won't be keeping Sasha, but it won't hurt to get her some experience, and I haven't shown off her OB yet. Unfortunately, that doesn't happen this map.

Sasha may die to two arrows, but Serdic's MC means he has targeting priority. Having her there behind him is perfectly safe. It also accomplishes one nice thing: the right Scout at the top there can attack us in one of three ways, finishing in any of the other directions. If he goes up, we can use the bottom-left corner to stay out of his attack range; if he goes left, we can take him out with the left archer; and if he goes down, we can take him out with the bottom archer. Any of these are good outcomes.

Note Selmer's position.

On the other side of things, we have this Scout to worry about. If we do the same sort of trick we did with Serdic and Sasha and end two tiles inside his range, using the wall to cover a second side, he's forced to attack in a way that leaves him in our path. We can kill him without slowing down at all next turn.

Like so. Margus killed the Archer and passed through Kay just before this, and Will of War restored him to nearly full health.

Serdic takes a beating.

That damage screenshot is included for a bit of math. Notice it did 45. Serdic has 53 health left. There isn't a variable factor in damage, so I'm sure he can take one more arrow. So long as he doesn't take more than one arrow, he'll be just fine.

Luckily, we can kill the Scout and one Archer this turn, so we get on that.

Times Eternal Rage ((20% HP/MP regen * skill level) after gaining a level) would have been useful: 1

I'm counting this for SCIENCE. That skill has always seemed kind of awful, even on tanks.

(This would be a good time to mention that though Eternal Rage claims to restore MP, no one who learns magic has the skill. It'd be quite good on a mage. On a front-liner, not so much.)

...oh, wait. Margus's OB gives him a metric crapton of experience when he uses it, doesn't it? And it uses HP... *checks* ...annnnnnnd Margus can't learn Eternal Rage. That figures.

Kay can at level 9, though, in case you want to make his OB merely "really bad" instead of "astoundingly awful."

Sasha finishes and terminates on the tile to the bottom-right of Serdic. Notice that Selmer has already acted; he casted White Dust on the Scout. Turns out he's exactly six tiles away from that spot, which makes it really weird that the Scout ended his turn there...

(Remember this; it'll come up again in a little bit.)

You open these cell doors by ending your turn next to one. Kay starts on saving the prisoners.

We're not stealing the item on the ground in that cell. We're
liberating it. I guess it was locked up as an enemy of the state or something? Don't ask me.

Serdic takes an arrow. Jaglat and his men are on the move -- that entire delegation up there is moving towards us now.

Okay. A Warrior's come down, so it's just him and the Archer here. We do have to kill him -- we'll lose too much time if we run down into the bottom-left corner. The Scout doesn't have enough range, so he can't attack Serdic. I should be fine as long as the guy doesn't counter. Counters are pretty uncommon, and attacking from the side further decreases the odds, so--

...what. You are goddamn kidding me.

(When a character dies, it pops you back out the map. They say a vocal line and then disappear, just like enemies do. There's no portrait.)

(vocal, no text)
I'm sorry... everyone...


(I write my posts in my head as I play, and sometimes I stop and write a bit that's particularly important. The above was written about thirty seconds after the actual event. SRPG SSLP live commentary!

By the way: I do these by screencapping as I play, so no video. I savestated just as Serdic started the attack, to ensure I wouldn't be tempted to load state and cheat. I really didn't expect him to actually get countered, but I knew I'd be busy staring and swearing to screenshot it properly if it did happen.

I was. I know myself pretty well!)

Right then! That marks the first death and first reset of the run, I'm sad to say. (Feel free to speculate on the final number; I've never kept track before, so I don't know what to expect.)

On my second attempt, I do essentially the same thing -- the fundamental plan was sound, and nothing really different happens. The convenient thing about having screenshots the last run is that you can just do the exact same thing again!

I didn't actually think of the Serdic/Margus positioning switch until after I placed him again. Oops. In retrospect, Serdic should have also gotten the +5 defense amulet Sasha is wearing; in the final run, she goes the entire map without ever being hit. That's the power of MC and good positioning!

The one difference is that instead of casting with Selmer on the last Scout, I have him move up, so he can cast on that cheating son-of-a-bitch
fine gentleman if he moves into place again. Serdic attacks first, so he gets one less kill and Sasha gets one more.

(I also write bits before I do them, sometimes, as part of brainstorming. Then I change the tenses afterward. My writing process is very eclectic.)

You'll notice the Warrior moved to avoid Selmer. Enemies can see your spell ranges. (...which seems a bit unfair, because you can't see theirs.) But that's fine; that gives us enough space to let Serdic and Sasha kill the Archer and end their move outside of his attack range. This is why Margus will always have the Black Ring; 6 Move is okay, but 5 Move is painful.

So we do. Selmer moves up so he can cast on the warrior, depending on how he positions. That's the end of the left side's turn.

Margus can't quite reach the cell door, so Kay attacks the Scouts and opens it. The surviving Scout will attack both of them, but that's a minor concern; as soon as you talk to Marie, she becomes a friendly Other unit, and she has healing spells. Between that and the waiting while the left group retreats, we have plenty of time to get our health back; outside of the Scout, there's just one Archer left on this side.

Next turn, the Warrior on the left side moves up.

I don't need to learn a lesson twice. Sasha attacks him first this time. Can't counter if you're dead.


Anyway, Marie has all of the conversations you'd expect: She talks to all three of the Bretwalde group. Maybe Ansom too, but they're both computer-controlled and hell if I can get them to stand next to each other. Those three can walk with her at can talk at any time.

Ansom, meanwhile, will talk to whoever frees him and to Serdic. Serdic can also free him, but this results in the exact same conversation.

Trying to get Selmer over there to talk to him was... interesting. That would be how I found out how much damage Jaglat does.

Time gets a little non-linear here. Try not to mind it; all the important bits will be covered.

Marie and Kay:

Thank goodness you're all right, Princess. If anything happened to you, I don't know how I could face our departed King...

Don't look so forlorn, Kay. See? I am fine. Besides, I am at fault -- it was I who came to Shalem on my own, only to be captured.

This reminds me of last map's Kay-Margus chat.

Regardless of what you may have done, Princess, it is on our heads that we were unable to protect you. A knight obeys his liege's orders, and guards their lives with his own.

...You haven't changed at all, Kay.


I mean to say that you are as steadfast as ever. However, Kay, that is one of your strongest qualities.

Your Highness, I beg you not to tease me so.

I mean no teasing, Kay; only praise.

In that case, I have cause only for rejoicing. My sincerest thanks, Princess.

The way Kay and Margus seem so comfortable with Marie, and vice versa, also suggests that they're actually fairly important among the Knights. I'm glad they didn't send Serdic off with two random unknowns -- it feels more real this way.

At a later point, Kay goes down into the empty cell.

The Coral Amulet gives +11 defense. That... is a lot.

Marie and Margus:

On behalf of my departed father, thank you for your service in protecting my brother, Margus.

You honor me, Princess. To receive such a compliment from someone so... beautiful...

I'm torn on whether to interpret the pause as Margus trying to be sauve or sniffing back tears.

Probably the latter. It's more amusing.

My god! A conversation with a girl where I'm not being humorously shot down! It's... it's so beautiful.

Comic relief is a tough life. Savor this moment, Margus; it's going to be a while before its like is seen again.

*giggle* Oh, Margus. You've said such things as long as I've known you...

Only to you, My Princess. Only to you...


Really and truly. Look into my eyes and you'll see that I speak the truth.

I understand... I believe you.

I am glad to hear it.

But Margus... you mustn't make women cry, all right?

Oh, er...

She even does what might be light-hearted flirting with him! No wonder he's so happy.

Or he's getting humorously shot down again, which is probably more likely.

Poor Margus.

By the way, this is what he actually did. I didn't actually screenshot killing the archer. All of my brainpower was occupied with dread of transcribing these conversations. Back to transcribing conversations!

Marie and Serdic:

Marie, eh...?

What? Elder brother, is that you?


I haven't seen you since our mother passed away...I suppose it's been five years now. You've changed, elder brother.

As have you, Marie. You've grown even more radiant... it's a pleasant surprise.

Oh, elder brother...

...I regret that I was unable to protect Bretwalde.

Don't talk that way... I'm happy enough to see you here, alive.

Here... alive, hm?

Elder brother?

It's nothing. We have much to discuss, but first, we should take our leave from this place.


This is the conversation you receive if Serdic is the one to rescue her. This is the one you receive if Serdic talks to her after she's rescued:

...I'm sorry it took so long to come and rescue you. You must have been lonely.

Notice that he never says "yes, it's me," not in either conversation.

No... this happened because I did as I pleased, without a thought as to the consequences. Don't blame yourself, elder brother. Besides, my loneliness was cast off the moment I saw your face.

Consider this line in context and it's very depressing. You can tell he feels really, really bad about this.

We have much to discuss, but first we should take our leave from this place.


The Margus and Kay conversations can take place at any time and are the same regardless. These two conversations are only available if Sasha and Selmer are the ones to rescue her.

Marie and Selmer:

And you are...?

I'm Selmer, a magician from Almeria. I've come to help Prince Serdic on my master's orders.

My elder brother?

Yes, he's right over there. I'm sure he wants to see you right away.


Marie and Sasha:

Are you all right, Princess Marie?

You are...?

Don't you remember? It's me, Sasha.

...Sasha! You're the one who's always at Emir Ansom's side!

Yes. We should leave this place, quickly. Prince Serdic has been worried about you.

My elder brother is...? I see! Thank you, Sasha.

Margus also used his OB while we were waiting, since he had it charged and it's free experience. A *lot* of free experience. Marie's OB will be used the same way after she joins; "there's nothing Marie really needs to do. Ehh, may as well get her an extra level, I don't think I'll need this OB later."

Ansom and Margus:

Oh, it's you, Margus. I'd be grateful if you untied these ropes.

Easy enough... there you go.

So soon? Mmm, my wrists have been rubbed raw. Damn that Jaglat... I don't enjoy being tied up by other men.

I couldn't agree with you more!

Your agreement is strangely vehement...

Wait, what? How could you make that comment about being tied up "by other men" and not have it be the obvious bondage joke? Does Ansom only like tying himself up or something?

Math interlude!

Three facts about this screenshot:

1) This is Marie after casting level 1 Cure Drop three times.
2) It costs 10 MP for Marie to cast the level 1 Cure Drop spell.
3) All three of these statements are true.

This the second reason Marie is incredibly good. All other ways to do the same thing come much later in the game.

Ansom and Kay:

Emir Ansom, are you all right?

Yes, thankfully.

Can you stand?

If I were to say "no"... would you carry me on your back, Sir Kay?

No. I would get Margus to do it.

Hmm... I'm tired of waiting here. Very well, I'll stand.

Your effort is appreciated.

Best conversation? Best conversation. This is how you do humor with two low-key characters.

Ansom and Sasha:

Sasha? You're all right...

I was going to say the same to you! I can't believe you stayed behind by yourself... You're always doing this! Acting recklessly, trying to solve things on your own!

You flatter me.

It wasn't a compliment! I'm really angry at you! Do you have any idea how worried I was?

...I'm sorry. I was trying to keep that bastard Jaglat from laying a hand on you.

Young Master? What do you mean by that?

You're... you know... important to me... You're my vassal, after all. Wh-What's with that look?

Oh... It's nothing. Let's leave this hellhole, and quickly.

Ansom: Hits on both genders, but weak on the follow-through.

Cure Drop animation!

I'm pretty sure that crystal in her hands and then above her head there is Rikka. It's the other sacred emblem of Bretwalde. Doesn't that look kinda fragile? If it's that important, should you really be making it hover above your head like that? I mean, what if you drop it?

Also, I was wrong: It looks like allied Other units can gain experience in battle, and they keep it when they join. They don't, however, get the bonus experience at the end of the level.

I guess you could let Selmer murder the three bandits he has MP for in his introduction; that'd make it a little easier to use him. He's still kind of bad, though.

Anyway, we're on the homestretch! ...and then I get to type out the end-of-level conversation. Bugger.

Selmer and Ansom:

Allow me to introduce myself. I'm Selmer, a magician from Almeria. My Devotion is to Ice.

What is an Almerian magician doing here?

My master has ordered me to help Prince Serdic.

I see. You said your Devotion was Ice, right?

Yes... What of it?

In that case, do you think you could make the air a little cooler? It's so humid in here... I can't take it anymore!

Wouldn't it be easier to leave the cell?

I dunno, being in the cell might be important to him. Apparently Ansom likes being tied up sometimes? But not by other people.

I'd missed this conversation in previous playthroughs (for obvious reasons), and I don't remember if Devotions are brought up anywhere else. Remember how I said there's one mage specializd in each of Ice/Lightning/Fire/Darkness? I didn't know that the elemental specializations in this game were actually a background story thing and not just a gameplay matter. Huh. Cool to know, at least.

Ansom and Serdic:

I'm glad you're all right. But it seems Emir Darsin wasn't so fortunate.

Wow. That was graceful, Serdic.

I'm glad you're alive and well. Unlike your dad.

Who is dead. So very, very dead.


Serdic? You're kind of a dick.

The Emir gave us his hospitality, and I was unable to repay his kindness.

Okay, actually, he's just feeling bad for himself, but... Dude. Seriously. Give him some time before you spring that on him.

My father wasn't the sort who'd care about that. If you would mourn him, do what you would consider to be right. That's the most fitting way to repay him.

Then we can begin by avenging his death.


Oh thank god, gameplay.

Anyway! See where Selmer is? This allows him to snipe most of the corridor with White Dust, because magic goes through walls.

One of the two closest tiles that's out of its range is at the end of the hallway, exactly five tiles away from Serdic.

I'd like to take this moment to remind you that Brave Ray is exactly five tiles long. And that the AI doesn't pay attention to OBs when it's moving.

Due to the damage formula, Level 2 Brave Ray does 1.5 times the damage of level 1 Brave Ray, and level 3 does 2 times the damage of level 1. Level 1 Brave Ray, meanwhile, does about 1.5x the damage of a normal attack -- slightly more, since it multiplies attack before defense is considered. So we'd need about four Serdic attacks to kill this guy, and skills make Serdic our strongest physical damage dealer right now. (Ansom hasn't technically joined yet.)

If an enemy has the "heavy armor" sprite, they're tough, no exceptions. Treat them like sub-bosses and defend/attack appropriately.

Selmer casts on the top Attacker, who is in range of White Dust. No one else is. That same top Attacker here can reach Serdic to attack, so Kay stops him from going up -- we'd rather have the enemies clustered closer together. That'll make it easier for our group to hit them all at once.

Kay's a little low-leveled. This attack brings him to level 7.

All of the remaining enemies have 5 Move. They can't reach us to attack.

Selmer casts on Jaglat.

Now it's time to milk as much experience out of this group as possible.

Jaglat dying will end the map, so we want to kill him last. But the heavy armor knight is exactly seven Move away from Kay in a straight line through Jaglat, so Kay needs to kill Jaglat if we want to kill everyone.

Duelist lets Serdic kill this one particular attacker, even at relatively high enemy HP.

Kay gets several kills, adding up to a whopping 163 experience.

This is quite a haul! This is the point of the game where higher ranks of victory start really mattering -- the rank rewards will now include various Proofs fairly often, and a higher rank can increase the number you receive. I've seen rewards of up to three of the same Proof. There's a degree of randomization, though.

The Jade Amulet is +9 Defense. The Hunter Proof is a second Archer promotion item, and the Battle and Capt. Proofs are for warrior/knight types like Kay, Margus, and Sasha.

Emir Darsin...

Thank goodness you're all right, Princess!

Thank you, Kay. I'm glad to see you haven't changed at all.

This is more than a little goofy, considering Kay was the one who recruited her in this run. You had this conversation five minutes ago.

It's true. Five months or five weeks, Kay is always Kay...

What does that mean!?


Marie, there's one thing I'd like to ask you.

And what is that?

Why did you come to Shalem? You knew the danger, didn't you?

And ??? is suddenly very, very afraid that he just flubbed his disguise...

Elder brother.

...but it's okay, apparently!


The reason I came was to deliver a message to you from the Pope of Verona.

From His Holiness?

And then he wanders right into what is possibly another, even bigger mistake.

He uses "His Holiness" here. I'm going to spoil a minor thing, because by all rights Serdic should know this: The current Pope of Verona is a woman. (It probably has to do with the fact she's the best at holy space lasers. The space laser split between the genders in this game is 5:3, and men are not winning. You try telling her she can't be Pope.)

Anyway, either 1) they say "His Holiness" anyway (which is dumb), or 2) this is supposed to be a slip, gasp!, and ???'s education as Serdic's body double didn't involve instruction on who the Pope is in a world where the Church is a major social and political force (which is dumber).

Or it's a translation/localization mistake, and they forgot to script-check later. Somehow. This is kind of a big mistake to make, but they translated an ice spell as "Yumil Magna," so who knows.

That is what I was told.

No one blinks an eye, though. Weird.

A coronation ceremony, eh? But...

Is something the matter?

And there we go. You thought the conflict right now was the conquest of Bretwalde? Nope. That's the long-term problem. The immediate one is Spanta's curse. Serdic is currently not powerful enough to deal with the Empire problem.

Right now, Serdic is not King, and he can't be King until the Holy Blade is pure again. The curse on Spanta weakens him in combat and ensures he can't wield his full political authority.

Whoever created this curse really knew what they were doing.

If that's so, then there may be something we can do.


I can feel magical power from that sword. And where magic is concerned, my master, Arios, may be able to intercede.

I see. Then our destination is...

The Magic Nation of Almeria.

You may wonder, by the way, why I've been so focused on getting Margus to level 9. I'll go ahead and a spoil a little of the next update for you:

Resets so far: 1

Next time: More than you ever wanted to know about Errands. It's a small update, so expect it tomorrow.