Update 10: Corruption

♪ Rain ambience ♪

But they were more afraid of an attack than they were of the storm. Let's end this quickly.
The thieves have taken Conand Tower as their base... There it is in the distance.
Miklan must be more skilled than your average thief to have overtaken a place like that.

♪ Calm Winds Over Gentle Waters ♪

This tower was built for both surveillance and defense. It will be difficult to seize it.
You know your history, Gilbert. If I recall correctly, you're from the Kingdom, aren't you?

What do you know about House Gautier?
House Gautier has always placed great importance on whether or not someone bears a Crest. Margrave Gautier has two sons. A Crest never manifested for his eldest. It's not hard to imagine why he left and wound up in this sort of life.
There's no reason that Crests should have the power to dictate someone's destiny. Don't you agree, Gilbert? He was just another victim of cruel fate.

Uh, I think Gilbert was lying to us there. Sylvain's older brother didn't "leave," he was forcibly disinherited because he didn't have a Crest.
♪ As Swift as Wind ♪

Ah, damn, I was hoping the elder Gautier brother would give up quietly.

As voted by the thread, Caspar will sit out from active combat this chapter. He'll be deployed as Petra's adjutant.

Nothing too bad on this map, though rushing the left side quickly can result in you getting overwhelmed. It's also dangerous to hug the walls on the way around it, since the Archers can reach over the walls from ranges we can't counterattack at.

The chest in the bottom right contains an Armorslayer—a sword that deals effective damage to armored units.

Miklan isn't too threatening, but there is a slight chance he can seriously fuck someone up. The Lance of Ruin is absurdly powerful as a weapon, boasting 22 Mt and 20 Crit, but it's kind of inaccurate, and Miklan's low Dex means he can only manage Hit values in the 40 to 60 range against most of our units.

However, that Crit chance cannot be negated by anyone in our group—no one has near enough Lck to fully negate it, and their Prowess skills aren't high enough to provide much Crit Avo yet—meaning that if Miklan manages to hit, he also has a 10% to 15% chance of killing whoever he's hitting. Yes, that did actually happen to me when I tried Maddening. I was also out of Divine Pulse charges when that happened.

I was very annoyed.

Something else to note about the Lance of Ruin, and Hero's Relics in general: units without Crests can use them, but they lose 10 HP after combat. This isn't damage, so it can't kill the unit, but it's still pretty significant.

Beyond all of that, Miklan follows the standard series Knight trend of being problematic for physical units, but also dying the instant a magic user breathes in his direction. He's also extremely slow—0 AS—so pretty much everyone in our group can double him.

It's worth noting that Miklan can move off of the heal tile he's currently parked on, but I have no clue what triggers that. Sometimes he moves, sometimes he doesn't. Happens on Hard as well as Maddening. I don't really get it.

Oh yeah, there's a special enemy in the top left of the map, a Fortress Knight—the advanced version of Armored Knight. Pretty much everything I said about Miklan, minus the Lance of Ruin stuff, applies to him. Slow as hell, dies to Magic very easily but can deliver one (and only one) powerful punch. Defeating him will reward us with an Accuracy Ring, which gives +10 Hit to whoever holds it.

I'm not sure why, but the five melee units in front of Miklan are carrying Vulneraries.

The deployment formation. Magic users go near the back, since they have greater reach than weapon users. I should've moved Petra to Hubert's spot, but oh well. Linhardt's at the front for Stride usage.

Time to deploy.
♪ Fódlan Winds ♪

The first bit of the map is a bit of an empty slog, so let's make it go faster with Stride.

S-stay away!

...Nice shot, Bernie.

Nice level too, jeez.

Small, but I'll take it.

...You missed your Mag growth, but got Lck. Sure.

Two player phases pass as I slowly move everyone up. You can see just how much skill and class mastery experience Lysithea gains with Mastermind.

Enemies approach from the lower floors! Watch the rear flank!
And the first wave of reinforcements arrive. Thankfully, we're a decent distance from them for now.

The Hand Axe is pretty powerful in Edelgard's hands, even if it does result in basically everything doubling her.

Mire Β having 2-3 range is very, very useful.

Some turns later, I'm slowly bunching most of the group up here. I know reinforcements are gonna spawn here...

Oh yeah, I turned off combat animations during the enemy phase to save everyone, including myself, some time.

Man, the Crest of Cichol is useful.

I move Sylvain way up, and...

It's an ambush!
These reinforcements are miserable on Maddening, where reinforcements can move on the same turn that they spawn. They don't do that on Normal and Hard.

The thief guarding the Armorslayer decides to heal instead of attacking Ferdinand. Damn.

Later, guard Thief.

I like that level a lot, though Spd would be appreciated too. Ferdinand's getting decently bulky, which is ultimately what I want from him.

Dammit, Hubert.

No crit, but it'd be unreasonable to expect one anyway.

Thoron saves the day.

Edelgard does her best to draw these two enemies at the front away from everyone else.

And Abby tried her best to weaken the weapon user.

Well, later, Gilbert.

And more of these reinforcements. Like I said, these are awful on Maddening.

For someone intended to be a heavy armor unit, Edelgard has nice Res.

Still takes an uncomfortable amount of physical damage, though.

This wouldn't have happened if you didn't miss, Hubert.

Even without Persecution Complex, Bernadetta hits pretty hard with a Killer Bow.



This is gonna hurt, okay?!

As cool as that was, please get Spd, Dorothea.

There we go, that's how you're supposed to do it, Abby.

I don't want Edelgard to eat a counterattack, so I have her use a gambit.

Ferdinand grabs the Armorslayer, using the Chest Key the guard dropped.

Spd's good!

And down goes Gilbert.

Most of the group prepares for the group of reinforcements that are advancing from the start of the map.

Edelgard's going to try to deal with this Armored Knight.

...Or that could happen...

Eh, whatever, I can just keep healing her.

Helm Splitter is good.

This'll work well. Petra's only in the range of that one Thief at the front.

Not gonna work twice.

Alright, we're still in good shape.

You tried, random armored bandit, I'll give you that.

Bernadetta finishes off the Thief that hit Petra.

Petra gets a level from the Thief that Sylvain weakened. Hooray. +1 Hit, +1 Crit, and +1 Crit Avo. I'm sooooo happy.

Meanwhile, Caspar gets something better.

Linhardt's an effective magic tank.

Ah, dammit, I wasn't expecting that.

Much like Linhardt, enemy magic users can't even scratch Dorothea.

That Mage thought he was safe.

He was wrong.

And now his friends are less safe because of him, because his death gave Bernadetta an incredibly good level. Good job, guy.

Sylvain gets out of the Authority E Extra-Hell Zone.

You will be slashed down!

Unnecessary, but cool.

While the rest of the group moves up from the rear, Edelgard and Abby will take care of the Accuracy Ring guy.

Nice, nice.

And snagged. This'll be nice on bow users, since attacking at 3 or greater range with bows incurs an accuracy penalty. You don't really notice it with Curved Shot because of its +30 Hit, but it's there.

Abby gets a nice level after healing Edelgard.

A few turns later, and everyone's getting caught up. Time to start baiting out enemies.

It's over.

...Okay then.

That'll do nicely, Hubert.

Getting down to just a few enemy units now.

Plink at us all you want, it only makes us stronger.

Even when you miss.

Going up directly against the wall was the worst mistake that Archer could've made.

Also, that level's bad. Str isn't what I want on Sylvain, he needs to get some early Mag.

Later. Just six enemies plus Miklan are left now.

Ooh, you're gonna regret that.

Get back!


Alright, Ferdinand, you've been getting decent levels. Please be a good wall.

Yes, like that.

I'm not too worried yet. She'll hit that Mag growth enough over the course of the game.

Gods, bow users are so versatile in 3H.

Ferdinand finishes off that Armored Knight with a poke.

And Mire Β shows its worth yet again.

Two enemies left, and one of them's at critical HP.

Nice try.

Shatter Slash: +4 Mt, +10 Hit, 1 range, costs 3 durability. After combat, inflicts Def -5 on foe for 1 turn.

A decent utility combat art. It unfortunately doesn't stack with Seal Defense, though.

And now, only Miklan remains.

Who better to bait him?

♪ Wrath Strike ♪

I'm here for the Lance of Ruin, Miklan. Hand it over. I don't want to humiliate you, but I will.
Hmph! Hurry up and die already. If not for you... If it hadn't been for you...
Shut up! I'm so tired of hearing that. You've always blamed me for something that isn't my fault.

Phew, thank you, Sylvain, for dodging that hit.

And now Miklan is at 8 HP.

Very good, Petra.
♪ No music ♪

♪ Dark Clouds Gather ♪

♪ Wrath Strike ♪

What the— Miklan?! Is that you?!
That form...

So, this is our introduction to Monster enemies. They're a lot to take in at first, but they're not that complicated.

The least we can do is put an end to his suffering.

Alright, let's go over a few things.

Firstly, monsters have multiple HP bars, each with their own HP value. Depleting one of them with overkill damage does not transfer the overkill amount to the next HP bar.

If a Monster is able to attack a unit on the enemy phase, it will prepare a Staggering Blow to use on the next enemy phase. This is an AOE attack that cannot double, but often deals a lot of damage, and often comes with nasty side-effects.

Monsters are also protected by a 2x2 barrier, tiles of which are damaged after one attack, and broken after two—this includes attacks dealt in one round of combat, so doubling a Monster or using a Brave effect on it will shatter an undamaged barrier. While barriers are up, they (usually) halve all damage dealt when attacking that tile, and prevent critical hits. Shattering a barrier tile will daze a monster, causing them to become unable to counterattack every other attack. If another barrier is shattered while a Monster is dazed, they're put back in the dazed status again. Shattering all of a monster's barriers stuns them, rendering them unable to act again until the next player phase; it also rewards you with some very rare ore, depending on the monster type.

Latent abilities are abilities that activate when a monster reaches a certain amount of HP bars left. In this instance, after we deplete the Black Beast's first bar of HP, it will activate Magic Bind.

Magic Bind: If unit lands a hit, targeted foe is unable to use magic for 1 turn.

Not that dangerous. If we deplete the second bar of HP, it will activate Death Blow.

Death Blow: If unit initiates combat, grants Str +6 during combat.

Much more dangerous, especially since the final HP bar takes longer to deplete than the previous two. However, the Black Beast is the only enemy left on the map, and you have enough units to dispatch it pretty quickly with some basic planning and gambit usage.

Oh yeah, gambits affect monsters differently than they do standard units. Monsters can't be rattled, meaning they don't receive the stat debuffs and inability to move from being hit with a gambit. However, the initial barrier tile targeted by the gambit is guaranteed to be shattered, and any other tiles in the gambit's area of effect will be damaged, or shattered if they were already damaged. Hitting a Monster with a Gambit also guarantees that they will attack the unit that used the gambit during the enemy phase. This forced targetting is overwritten if the Monster is hit with another gambit.

Monsters all also have either very low or 0 Lck, and 0 Cha. They're very vulnerable to critical hits and gambits.

Lastly, the Monster enemy type is assigned to all Monsters, but they also sometimes have secondary types. The Black Beast, for example, is classified as a Dragon enemy—the first one we've seen, in fact. This means that Ruptured Heaven is deals effective combat art damage against it.

You can see here that it's an incredibly bad idea to let the Black Beast engage us on the enemy phase.

For more than one turn, anyway. Abby with Nosferatu can not only usually dodge the Black Beast's attacks, but can also counter them.

That animation and particle effect means that the Monster is preparing a Staggering Blow.

Let's stop that.

Sylvain might be out of Fire charges, but he still has his gambit.

You can barely make out the bottom-right barrier being shattered, beneath the effect that indicates the Black Beast being dazed.

It doesn't take much to shatter a lone monster's barrier.

The Black Beast's Rsl gives me a good excuse to show off Luna Λ for the first time.

Also, what the hell, Lysithea?

Out goes the first HP bar.

...I should've used that earlier.

Dammit, Dorothea, Spd!

Why is this happening?!

Well, Bernadetta's certainly grown a lot this map.

Final HP bar.

Linhardt gets level 9 off healing Petra. Spd's good.


Str, please.

Nothing happens, since the Black Beast was stunned. However, it can now freely counterattack us.

Unless we attack from 3+ range, that is.

Eh, fine.
♪ No music ♪

It is done. Let's retrieve the lance and depart at once.
Miklan...my brother...

Sylvain... I wonder if he feels guilty over what his parents did...
♪ The Spirit Dais ♪

Upon that sight, it makes sense that your students were upset. I wonder if those Relics truly hide such power? Yet even still, that power seems familiar. That form as well...

...I hope not. I don't think Abby would like being turned into a monster.
♪ Gazing at Sirius ♪

I have already heard Gilbert's report about what happened. See to it that you keep what transpired at the tower to yourself. People would lose faith in the nobles should rumors spread of one using a Relic and transforming into a monster. All regions of Fódlan would fall into chaos. We must avoid that at all costs.

Yes, of course.

Will I share the same fate...
If someone without a Crest were to wield the Relic you possess, they would likely meet the same fate as Miklan. You, however, have been chosen. You are worthy of wielding the Sword of the Creator, so there is no need to worry.

As you wish.

You have my gratitude. I can see that I was right to trust you with this.
Please report back. I will tell you of your new mission for the coming moon at that time.

I opted to not to take the Lance of Ruin at this time. If you have Sylvain in your house, you can choose to keep the Lance of Ruin. This will cause Abby to lose support points with Rhea, but you do actually get the Lance of Ruin weapon, which is incredibly powerful this early in the game. Reminder, it has 22 Mt, 20 Crit, and only weighs 9. If you shattered the Black Beast's armor, you even get Umbral Steel, which is used to repair all Hero's Relics, including the Lance of Ruin.

Opting not to return the Lance of Ruin means we'll get something else down the road, along with it, though.
♪ Arcana Code ♪

I returned it.

About House Gautier?
Yes, Miklan was discarded by his family because he was born without a Crest. Eventually he became a masterful thief and gathered enough ruffians to capture a fortress. Right or wrong, he was a gifted leader. He could have been a great asset to Fódlan. What a waste.

But one cannot measure a leader's worth based solely on whether or not they bear a Crest.

Why is everyone obsessed with Crests?
People believe Crests are blessings from the goddess, that they're necessary to maintain order in Fódlan. But the people are wrong. Crests are to blame for this brutal, irrational world we live in. Their power is granted only to a select few, whom we elevate and allow to rule the world.

Do that, and people will have no choice but to rise and fall by their own merits.

I am 100% all for getting rid of the influence of Crests, and possibly the Church of Seiros, but not if the result is a "meritocracy." Meritocracies do not exist. The term is just a smokescreen for oligarchies.
♪ Spiderweb ♪

Perhaps I did.
It is true that our teacher possesses a rare talent. Even I cannot deny it. The ability to wield the Sword of the Creator is concerning...
I've already explained this to you. My power alone is insufficient. That's why I'm borrowing power from those people. If our teacher can wield it in my stead... I believe that would be for the best.
It's a risk. A dangerous one. You leave me no choice but to take matters into my own hands. Please excuse me.

If all I can rely on is my own ambition, my path won't be easy. Is it so risky...to reach out my hand?

My regret. My grief. My whole life. I've thrown it all away...into the darkness...

for just this moment lost in time
i am finally me

...yet still i hide
behind this mask
that i have become

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