Yo, I've been sick, sorry for the delay.
Chapter 16: Oaths and Promises
Screenshots will be mixed with text dumps. I reset a bunch of times, so gameplay isn't consistent.
We begin with Ordanze, Val, and Andrei in the southern forested area.
Ordanze: Tch... First rain, now fog.
Andrei: They went down about here?
Ordanze: I'm sure of it.
Andrei: Then let's go an-
Val: Hold on, Andrei. There's no sense in running out blindly into the fog. If there are enemies about, then they could be anywhere.
Ordanze: Lady Laraya... Please, be safe.
The camera pans north to the cave, where Laraya and Josie are.
Josie is somehow doubled by the boss (who is riding a ballista on the cliffs to the east). She eats a shot.
Laraya: Are you alright?
Josie: I'll be fine. That archer's got a good eye, even in this fog. No matter how high or low I fly, they keep targeting me.
Laraya: ...We were lucky enough to drive off that first ambush party when we did. But this second one might be too much. We need to find Ordanze and the others.
Josie: Laraya, fall back further into the caves with your soldiers. I'll hold them off here and see what I can do.
Laraya: Josephine, please... I can't let you do that. You're injured. And your dragon is looking even worse.
Josie: T-Trust me, I'm fine. I've dealt with worse.
Laraya: I believe you when you say that, but I won't have you die here for me. How could I explain that to Lady Valentine and the others?
Josie: ...Alright, I understand. But what are you going to do?
Laraya: I'll distract these foes. Go and find Ordanze.
Josie: You're going to fight?
Laraya: It's time I took up the oath of the sword once again. Please, Josephine, leave it to me.
Josie: Hmph, if I do find him, he's not going to be to happy about this... But I'll do as you wish. Be careful, Laraya. I'll try to return as quickly as possible.
Laraya: I just hope Ordanze is safe. Sword, guide me...
Josie flies south, killing a wyvern goon in the process.
Josie: ...I won't let you get anywhere near Laraya. If you want to fight, then I'm right here.
Josie: These soldiers are tougher than I thought... I'm sorry, Karan...[.....][A] I know that you're hurt, but I just need you for a little bit longer.
That sounded like a dragon! Come on Val, we have to do something! Stop shouting. You're going to give us away![.][A]
Josie: Those voices...
She finds the group.
Josie: Andrei, Valentine, is that you?
Val: What's happened?
Josie: They've got ballistae set up on the cliff edges. Karan and I have been taking a beating everytime we try to get up into the air.
Ordanze: Where's Lady Laraya?!
Josie: Ordanze? Good, you're still alive.
Ordanze: I asked you a question!
Josie: We managed to fight our way forward on the ground to some caves on the other side of the lake. She said that she'd hold them off while I came to find you, Ordanze. I'm sorry, but I just couldn't do anymore to help up there.
Ordanze: She's fighting?
Josie: We can trust in her, right?
Ordanze: Yes... we can. But we should still hurry!
Josie: And you two... it's good to see you again.
Andrei: It's not just us. Ash is here, too.
Josie: Really? He's back with us? ...What a relief.
Val: You don't look so good. Are you going to be alright, Aunt Josie? Mm... I think it'll be up to you to get rid of the ballistae, but I'll do what I can to help. Please, don't push yourself too hard.
Cut to prep screen.
Figured I'd show you this thing:
Notice anything wrong here?
Anyway, there's a few things going on here that need to be talked about.
First, it's a fog map. Yay.
Second, there are units within the fog that drop things, like this shaman with a Void tome.
Third: There are archers and ballistae hidden in the fog.
The person we have to defend is alone on the other side of the map. This is horrible. Absolutely tedious game design. Many of the units that appear to fight her are 1-2 with strong weapons and magic.
That Holy Edge is 1-2, so she can deal with ranged units if you want to use the sword. The first enemy that attacks her also drops a Salve, so she has a bit of healing.
It's perfectly possible, though, for her to die after a turn or two. Her survival is pretty luck-based.
Just before the chapter begins, we have her talking to her troops hiding in the cave:
Soldier: Milady, don't you think you should remain inside? There are people inside who are willing to fight.
Laraya: Then I have confidence that they'll be able to protect the injured if they get by me.
Laraya: I don't want any of you to move from this position. It's far too dangerous. Am I clear?
Soldier: Y-Yes, milady!
Laraya: To my left... Across the bridge. Over the lake, as well. This will be difficult.
Josie also has something to say:
Josie: If I know Laraya like I think I do, then she's more than capable of holding off a fair number of those soldiers. But even her senses aren't good enough to see through all this fog. And I doubt I drew all our enemies this way. ...Maybe I should go back.
The objective is to defeat all enemies, but you also are required to keep Laraya alive. When first playing this, I also expected that you had to defend the cave, but you don't. In fact, the cave tile is counted as plains, so you're shooting yourself in the foot by standing there.
I reset a few times before figuring out that I should park her on a forest.
Now, you'd think you probably want your flying units to rush across the lake to help Laraya, but:
Surprise! There's an archer waiting for you, and he has a dirty trick up his sleeve. That bow, which is effective against knights for some reason, uses a different effectiveness pointer than the normal flying effectiveness. This means it cuts straight through the
negate flying effectiveness item. Sucks to suck.
Here Gemma has the item that's supposed to negate the effectiveness.
Have some resets. Eventually I just start using savestates and start pushing through the islands.
Oh yeah, here's Ash trying to be a magekiller. Both his prf magekilling tome and the tome that negates resistance really don't help.
Man, Isaac, you're the real magekiller!
Here's where we're at on turn 5. Fun surprises are ahead.
Or the mass of wyvern reinforcements that spawn on turn 7, right on that mountain to the south.
And there's no way to get Andrei, who was dealing with units from the right, out of the way.
Another reset. Eventually I find a way to keep him from dying.
The boss also leaves after some text:
Danielle: ...They're closing in. Is that not enough?
SV: ...You've disappointed me.
Danielle: ... ...
SV: Oh well... Yes, return for now.
Some clever tanking and mopping up later, and the only remaining enemies are hiding up north.
We get up there to deal with them.
Notice anything off here?
Anyway, we clear out the goons, and I notice some goons are coming up behind.
Before I add the last text dumps, have some important screenshots:
Gemma and Clare talk
Gemma: Hey Clare, we did a job for Tiomare before, didn't we?
Clare: Um... Yeah, I think so. Guarding imports, or something.
Gemma: Oh, yeah, I remember now! You think Lady Laraya'd remember something like that?[
Clare: Why would she? It's not like we spoke to her or anything, did we now?
Gemma: No, I guess not... Well, never mind, then.
Clare: What were you thinking?
Gemma: Oh... nothing much.
Clare: Alright then. ...Gemma, promise me you'll be extra careful out there, ok? They have ballistae set up.
Gemma: Come on Clare, you know you don't need to tell me that.
Clare: I know... But dealing with ballistae is exactly why I had to let her go, remember?
Gemma: Oh... right. I'd forgotten about that. But I've got this under control, so don't worry.
Clare: Well, if anything happens, you just let me know.
Ordanze and Laraya talk
Ordanze: Lady Laraya!
Laraya: Oh, Ordanze, you're here. I'm so glad.
Ordanze: Please, you need not fight any longer. Lady Valentine's people and I can handle this.
Laraya: I'm sorry Ordanze, but I can't do that. I won't sit back anymore and have my people be harmed. That is my decision.
Ordanze: ...I understand. But please, be careful.
Josie and Laraya talk
Laraya: Josephine? I thought I told you to-
Josie: They were closer than we'd thought.
Laraya: Thank goodness. But you didn't need to come back for me.
Josie: What kind of friend would I be if I didn't?
Laraya: I guess you're right. Now, let's fight together.
Josie: Of course.
Finally, the ending:
Laraya and the group meet up.
Laraya: ...It looks like that's the last of them for now.
Ordanze: Are you alright?
Laraya: Of course.
Ordanze: ...I'm sorry, Lady Laraya. I should have been more wary of our surroundings.
Laraya: It's fine. This is no one's fault.
Ordanze: But... you were forced to fight again, and I know that you don't-
Laraya: Ordanze! Listen, all that matters is that we've pulled through, even if there has been some damage.
Ordanze: ... ...
Laraya: ...I'm fine, I promise. I'm more worried about you, in fact. You look exhausted. Just go and rest for a while, and I'll sort out everything here, alright?
Ordanze: ...Yes, M'lady.
Ordanze sods off.
Josie: He just never stops, does he?
Laraya: No, but that's why I'm glad to have him. Anyway, are you doing alright now, Josephine?
Josie: I feel a lot better, knowing that I didn't leave you to die. And we're in good company now, so I can get patched up in no time.
Val: It's good to see you again, Lady Laraya.
Laraya: Same to you, Lady Valentine, Lord Andrei.
Val: I'm grateful that you came to help us, but what exactly prompted you to do that now?
Laraya: Well, a couple of weeks back, Tiomare was assaulted by soldiers- not unlike the ones we've encountered today. If it weren't for your Aunt's timely arrival, we may not have made it away as safely as we did. We heard that you and your force were on the move towards Egardia, so we were coming to join up with you.
Val: And now you've come so far, only to be attacked again... Will you still be able to help us out?
Laraya: Of course. My soldiers will need some time to recover, though. If you hadn't come to help us, I don't think we would have been able to fight them off.
Val: I'm glad we made it on time, then.
Josie: So, Red, what are you up to, exactly?
Val: We're heading back to Olva. I know that we were supposed to wait for Uncle Rayden to contact us, but we need to get some answers for Ash.
Josie: It's... complicated.
Andrei: It's... complicated. Ash could probably explain it a lot better, but he thinks he might be able to learn something about his magic if we find Legato.
Val: Exactly. And also, you've probably already noticed, but these soldiers that we're fighting aren't quite right. It's like they're not really even alive anymore, or something.
Laraya: Yes... I could see that much within them. A truly sad fate. Anyway, if you'll excuse me, I'd like to go and check on my people's condition.
Val: ...That is aright, isn't it, Aunt Josie?
Josie: Hm? Yeah, I guess so. I don't really know what to make of the whole situation during the past few weeks, anyways. To be honest, I had expected Rayden to have at least made contact by now or something.
Val: I hope he's alright.
Josie: Yeah... ...So, it's Legato you're after, you said?
Andrei: That's right.
Josie: Hmph... Should've known he was involved, as usual. Hey, where is Ash anyway?
Val: He's probably... Oh, Aunt Josie, before you go, there's something else you should know...
We pan down to Ash who is alone near our starting position.
Ash: ... This feeling... I understand it now. "Before I have no choice." I'm hollowing, aren't I? That's what's been happening to me, ever so slowly. I'll be just like one of them... again. ...I wonder how much time I have left.
V: La la la...
Alicia is standing on the beach, apparently singing to herself.
Ash: You've got quite a voice there.
Alicia: Oh, Ash... I didn't think anyone was watching me. How is everything?
Ash: Everything looks alright. Val should be able to sort things out with Lady Laraya. ...What are you doing here?
Alicia: I just needed to calm myself. I've been feeling a little bit off since we set off from Egardia. I think it's just because I don't really know the people around here just yet.
Ash: ...Is that really the problem?
Alicia: ... ... No, it isn't. I have no idea why I'm trying to lie to you.
Ash: Are you worried about facing Bran once again?
Alicia: ...When we come face to face with him, I'm sure he'll fight us until his last breaths. It's likely that I won't even get a chance say anything to him. I'll just be a traitor in his eyes.
Alicia: Even despite that, I don't know if I'm ready to see him die before me.
Ash: You don't have to do that to yourself, Alicia.
Ash: You don't have to come with us to Olva if you don't want to.
Alicia: No, Ash, I do. I need to see and hear the truth from him. If Legato and Matthias have been using him, and he knew about what happened in Egardia, then that's not the man I swore an oath to serve. And if that's the man that we come across, I'll get rid of him, myself.
Ash: ...I see.
Alicia: ...Thanks for letting me get this all out of my system, Ash. But I'd like to be alone for a little bit longer.
Ash: Alright. But just one last thing.
Ash: Have you felt anything... different, recently... in your mind?
Alicia: ...Hmm. Well, ever since we encountered that guy, it's been a little bit more difficult to concentrate on my magic. But that's about it. I guess I'm just a little shaken.
After this, Josie shows up:
Josie: There you are, Ash! Goodness... I haven't seen you for months now and you don't even think to come and say a word to me?
Ash: Oh, I'm sorry... I was busy with some things.
Josie: Well... I'm glad you're alright either way. I underestimated your capabilities, it would seem. More to the point, Laraya and I would like to hear from you.
Josie: Alicia, is it?
Alicia: Yes, Lady Josephine?
Josie: I originally thought you to be cut from the same cloth as Legato and Bran's other subordinates. I guess I was wrong. So I'm sorry for the way I've spoken to you in the past.
Alicia: It's alright, I understand. And if you ever deem your original judgement to be correct, then you may cut me down, if you wish.
Josie: Well, maybe I'll keep that in mind, then.
Alicia: ... ...
Aaaand that's it. Tune in next time for whatever this is.
Final thoughts: Fog, ballistae, reinforcements (especially ones that spawn at out previous spawn point), and solo, hard-to-defend units makes this chapter unnecessarily reset-heavy. Once you learn what's hiding in the fog and how to push past the initial enemies, the chapter becomes very boring. Also, the forests in the beginning of the chapter make it incredibly annoying to start, especially with the goal of the chapter being that you need to get to Laraya quickly.