Update 102: The Most Painful High School Reunion

Skipping past the parts we've already seen...
♪ No music ♪

♪ Unfulfilled ♪

I will kill that woman, I swear it. Do not look upon me with scorn in your eyes!
What are you talking about?
You... It can't be! You're alive?!
Hmph. If that is the case... That can only mean you are another Imperial spy. Did you come here to kill me?
Answer the question.
Of course not.
I'm glad you're safe.

♪ A Lonely Figure ♪

What have you been doing the past five years?
I have been dead, more or less.
Why do you say that?
What do you hope to gain, asking me that? There are more important matters at hand...

And traces of those who were here long ago. And thieves, crawling from the woodwork, attracted by the promise of treasure. Heh... Since the monastery fell, order in this area fell right along with it. You must have seen the state of the town near Garreg Mach on your way here. Vile thieves run rampant. They pillage and loot to their heart's content.
I must kill them. Every last one.
It's time to hunt down their nest.
What do you plan to do?
I told you. I will kill them all.
Even thieves are just trying to survive...
It doesn't matter what their reasons are.

Or do you condone their actions?
Do you believe that the pillaging and slaughtering those rats live for is justified?! It is reprehensible, and they must be put down! I intend to give them a taste of the pain they have inflicted on others.
Even if it means becoming a rat myself. I swore to at least do that much... I will not let them down...
How many thieves are there?
It doesn't matter.
All that matters is killing those who deserve to die.

Dimitri... I'm on my way.

♪ No music ♪

♪ Dark Clouds Gather ♪

♪ Chasing Daybreak ♪

I couldn't put it off any longer.

We've got three extra grapplers to deal with on Maddening. Fantastic, three new pro gauntlet users.

The years have not been kind to Dimitri in terms of his mental health, but they haven't been bad for his combat capability.

Royal Lineage+: Grants Avo +20 while unit is at full HP. Multiplies experience earned by 1.2.

In particular, he's got the absolute strongest Part 2 lord ability. It's basically Ferdinand's personal ability, but it trades the +15 Hit for an extra +5 Avo. Given that Dimitri doesn't need too much help with his Hit, the extra +5 Avo is very appreciated.

Not pictured: the King of Lions Corps, Dimitri's personal battalion. At level 1, where it starts on this map, it gives +5 Phys Atk, -2 Mag Atk, +10 Crit, -5 Avo, +1 Prt, and +10 Cha. At max rank, the stats increase to +10 Phys Atk, +5 Hit, +15 Crit, and +5 Prt—incredibly powerful, as you can probably tell. The -5 Avo sucks big-time, though. Its battalion is Wave Attack, which is Ashes and Dust, but melee, with +1 Mt and +10 Hit. It also deals effective damage to armored units, instead of flying units, sadly.
♪ The Dream is Over ♪

So, I had two attempts that ended with this, which is the fundamental problem with AM Reunion at Dawn: Dimitri does not have Canto, and therefore cannot retreat out of enemy attack ranges. Adan, at least, has the Crest of Flames for some RNG defense. It's incredibly easy to get Dimitri stuck in a spot where he just gets way too many enemies attacking him, which inevitably leads to him biting it.

Amping up his Prt as much as possible, and throwing Swordbreaker on him, will only go so far when you've got multiple bow users taking potshots at him, draining 20% of his max HP with every round of combat, thanks to Poison Strike.
♪ Chasing Daybreak ♪

Best I can do for now is park Adan in a forest tile, and wait until the coast is relatively clear for Dimitri to start moving past the starting area.

This is what I meant when I talked about the snipers. This jerk just drained 39 HP from Dimitri.

All I can really do is park Dimitri on this bush and hope he evades more attacks.

This is where I remembered that the levin sword+ counts as a magic attack, and is therefore not subject to tile evasion bonuses.

It's over!

Feels good to take out an enemy gauntlet user.

This isn't good.

...Oh, for fuck's sake, I skipped over the units coming in. I'll just paste the text here.
His Highness! And... Professor? We must speak later.
I know it's been five years, but I never expected the monastery to end up like this.
Oh! I haven't seen any of you in such a long time! I'm so glad to see you're alive.
We'll help out from here! It's over, thieves!

Yep. Our initial reinforcements the three Blue Lions least suited to direct combat, plus the worst unit in the game.

Look at where Mercedes and Annette start. See that fucking gauntlet user there? He, effectively, is pinning them in. I can't move either of them into the danger zone, they are guaranteed to die. Ashe and Gilbert don't fare much better, though they've got at least a little more room to move, depending on how the enemies spread out.

I'll save my words on Gilbert for his unit writeup, but suffice to say, I think he's the worst unit in the game. He's not unusable, but you'd have to be really desperate to use him over pretty much any other unit, even if you did a no-recruitment run and, therefore, only have Seteth and Flayn in addition to the base Blue Lions roster. And as one final "fuck you," because he's not a student, he's susceptible to getting one-stat levels, which absolutely do not help his case.

Mercifully, Mercedes can easily reach Dimitri from this area, so Dimitri can at least not be at 1 HP.

Annette being with her, in my case, also means I can double-Physic.

To add insult to injury, the only things Gilbert comes with are a steel axe and a fucking intermediate seal. Thanks, dude, real helpful.

Okay, Dimitri.

That might say 0x2, but in reality, Dimitri managed to dodge 13 damage from Poison Strike.

Gilbert can keep himself alive against one enemy, but will fall incredibly quickly once more enemies—incluidng, possibly, bow users—get involved. He also has zero counterkill, or even counterattack, potential. You also have to worry about enemies getting close to Ashe.

Basically everything I need right now, just could've used some Mag.


High Def doesn't mean shit against Poison Strike.

These snipers are going to make me scream, I swear to the gods.


There's no real point to having Dimitri attack, might as well just have him heal.

Even without Annette's Mt-boosting support, Mercedes would've been able to kill that assassin, mercifully.

I had a choice of healing either Dimitri or Adan, since both are in pretty bad situations right now. I have slightly more faith in Adan, so I went with Dimitri.

A Concoction puts Adan back to near-full HP, anyway.

Moving those two into the danger zone was a serious mistake. I really should've just kept them in place.

Like a fool, I forgot to load Ashe up with weapons, which leaves him with no way to guarantee a kill against this mercenary that will almost certainly kill him.

Best I can do is rattle the mercenary and hope for the best.

♪ The Dream is Over ♪

There was absolutely no reason to do that. Even if Ashe and Gilbert can get out of their starting positions, what are they going to do? Ashe is stuck with an unforged iron bow, and Gilbert is...Gilbert.

And then I tried to have Ashe and Gilbert double-team the mercenary. All that got was a "death" for Gilbert.

Gilbert, incidentally, since he's treated like Dimitri's retainer for Azure Moon for...reasons...does not die. He only retreats when defeated, a familiar Fire Emblem trope for player characters whose presence in the plot is not easily written around in case they die.

However, Gilbert does have Classic mode death dialogue in the game's files. It's just impossible to see because the only route you can get him on, Azure Moon, treats him like a retainer who cannot die.
Your Highness, I entreat you... Please, protect Faerghus...
Since we're on the topic of "retainer death quotes that are impossible to see," Hubert's got a similar thing going on—you can only get him in Part 2 by playing Crimson Flower, but his importance to Crimson Flower's cutscenes means he only retreats upon defeat, rather than dying.
Your Majesty, I die so that...you may seize your destiny.
Hilda does the same retreat-on-defeat thing when playing Verdant Wind—don't think we actually saw that, but she does. Since it is possible to recruit her on other routes, though, you can actually see her death dialogue.

There's a lot of unused stuff in Three Houses that's only been added to The Cutting Room Floor recently, stuff that's just wild to think about—Adan, Abby, all of the houses' students, and Cyril have death screams for Part 1; Jeralt, Rhea, and Sothis all have near-complete sets of battle voice lines; there's an unused version of To War at Gronder for, presumably, Silver Snow...all kinds of fun things like that. Really does make it seem like Three Houses mostly came together in the final months of development, after spending a while floundering.
♪ Chasing Daybreak ♪

Anyway, ultimately, my only choice here is to leave these two in their tiny safe zone.

This seems familiar.

Huh. Did the RN queue not get advanced?

...Clearly it did, or Dimitri wouldn't have dodged that gambit. Odd.

Not gonna complain about my life being made easier.

Mercedes still cooks that assassin.

Here is something to believe in!

You, die.

We're really thinning out the initial crowd. The worst appears to be behind us.

I say mthat, but there's still...that mess...near Ashe and Gilbert.

It's over!

Man that felt good.

These two can finally move.

I'm...not sure if I should be calling this a good level? Do I consider it a good thing that Dimitri, as he is now, is gaining power? I have no idea.

Adan's moving up to try to deal with the mess of enemies that's pinning Ashe and Gilbert in that corner.

Not enough for a kill, sadly.

Okay, we'll play it your way.

Vantage can't save you when you've got 0 Hit.

Dimitri takes the Chalice of Beginnings out of the convoy and equips it.

That's Wave Attack. Loses a lot compared to Ashes and Dust, because it's melee, but it hurts just as much as Ashes and Dust does.

No hesitation!

Adan is now four-for-four with Windsweep levin sword+ crits.

Too bad the level doesn't reflect the impressiveness.

Ashe and Gilbert are now free to move, thankfully.

Well, that sucked.

Ashe managed to avoid almost-certain death and, instead, counterkill that sniper with an unlikely crit. Well done, my boy.

Once you get out of the starting area, things get much better.

Gilbert may be absolute shit at counterattacking, but at least he can take attacks from enemy sword users.

Hey, you three, where the fuck were you before now?!


I've got you!

That's the Ashe I remember from my first run: master of the unlikely crit.

Dammit, Felix.

Oh yeah, didn't mention it, but enemies have weapon prowess Lv5 abilities by this point, making them even more accurate and evasive.

Sylvain breaks this wall.

Breaking the wall was a poor idea, because I forgot that Pass exists.
♪ The Dream is Over ♪

Pass basically negates the idea of chokepoints.
♪ Chasing Daybreak ♪

However, there's another way to safely open the wall: unlike how gambit splash damage normally works, where it can't kill enemies, it can break walls.

I much prefer getting rattled to being killed.

You got Mag, that's what.

Dimitri acts as bait.

That sure is a strong start for Ingrid in Part 2.

Felix has a lot of physical power behind his attacks, but he is surprisingly frail.

The thief not having Axebreaker means Sylvain can finish him off.

All of the rounds of combat Dimitri has been in means his battalion is already maxed out.

Gilbert's got a gambit, at least. He's not fully useless.

He can also manage 70 Hit against rattled enemies! With a combat art! That's gotta be worth something.

Would've been cool if some of the enemies at the start could've been stuck with the shitty venin weapons.

Pretty much just Pallardó and his lackeys now.

Skipping ahead, Adan will begin thinning out Pallardó's creeps.

Thank you for your assistance, levin sword+.

Hunt them like beasts.

That's one of Dimitri's actual gambit lines.

Ingrid, with the help of Stride, is able to take out that sniper.

There's one nice part about Reunion at Dawn with the Blue Lions: Ashe's personal ability, so I don't have to worry about keys for all these doors and chests.

Skipping ahead again, Felix...fails to rattle this assassin.

It falls to Ingrid, then.

Annette helps a lot with opening things.

Ashe and Annette's great adventure to the back end of the map.

Still unsure whether to call these "good levels" now.

Here is something to believe in!

Oh, hey, grapplers have Defiant Spd for a Maddening ability.

Defiant Spd: Grants Spd +8 when HP is ≤ 25%.

A dead ability, really. Does nothing for them, we're not going to leave enemies alive at 25% HP or less.

Got the most important treasure from the map.

I don't think I've ever shown this thing's forged version.

Cursed Ashiya Sword+: Requires Sword rank B. 1 range. 14 Mt, 70 Hit, 50 Crit, 8 Wt, 20 durability. Drains 5 HP from the user after combat. Cannot drain the user's HP below 1. Requires Black-Sand Steel x8 and 3750 gold to repair.

This thing is too good. It's just too good. Sure, its hit is low for a sword, but the Mt and crit more than make up for that.

That's the last normal enemy on the map.

Got the second most important treasure from the map.

Let's end this.

No extra lackeys at the end on Maddening.

Meh. +1 Crit, at least.

Just moved Adan and Ingrid to intercept Pallardó.

It's over.
♪ No music ♪

The hardest map of Part 2 is done.

This does not mean that things will be easy from here on out, but it means we're done with the worst of it.

♪ Calm Winds Over Gentle Waters ♪

Why are you here?
Did you forget? We all made a promise on this very day five years ago.
Dimitri, weren't you the one who asked that we all meet up here?
Don't be silly! Of course you remember our promise. That's why you and the professor are here, right?
Your Highness... I have been following news of your whereabouts for a while now. I am relieved to have finally found you.
Do not call me that. I am not a prince, but a walking corpse.
Why would you say that?
That is what we all believed, but it is not so. I can see with my own eyes that you are alive, Your Highness. But the jail cells in Fhirdiad are as solid as they come. How did you manage to...
What happened?

♪ A Lonely Figure ♪

I see. We will be sure to honor his loyalty, Your Highness. As for the state of the Kingdom, the lords from the western regions have declared their fealty to the Empire, starting with House Rowe. Cornelia's band of traitors now refers to Kingdom territory as the Faerghus Dukedom. They've made Fhirdiad their stronghold as they continue to invade the eastern region.
She is a mage who has served the royal family for more than 20 years. There is much to tell you. I will explain everything in time.
Well, it's not like all of the Kingdom's lords have sided with the Empire. There are plenty of houses, like mine and Felix's, that remain stubbornly opposed.
Your Highness. Please allow us to take up arms at your side once more. What we need more than anything isn't soldiers, money, or supplies. We need the legitimate heir of Faerghus to overthrow the Empire and reclaim the Kingdom! Such is your duty. It is yours alone to bear and well worth fighting for. Only you can gather our troops and lead us back into the light.
You are still needed, Dimitri.
I see. So, you all agree that we must fight back.
And you see how that woman...how the Empire cannot be forgiven. That we must wipe them all out until not a single one of them remains...
Wipe them all out? Umm, I don't think any of us here are suggesting anything that extreme...
...Professor... There is something I would like to ask you. Please join me inside the monastery.

♪ Spiderweb ♪

There is still much I would like to ask you... But I think that's enough for now.
Is Rhea safe?
On that day five years ago, during the battle with the Imperial army, Lady Rhea went missing. Since then, the Knights of Seiros have continued searching for her...and for you. I hear they have yet to find any promising leads. As the Empire has yet to release a statement, it's hard to imagine that she has perished. And yet... Ah, never mind. Once news of your survival gets out, everyone will flock back to the monastery.
What happened to the Kingdom?
After that battle, a certain...incident took place in Fhirdiad.

♪ A Dark Sign ♪

I was once a knight in service of the royal family... I resigned from the Knights of Seiros, and returned to serve the Kingdom.

Oh, but it's true. The only one who could slip past the bodyguards and kill so efficiently is the young prince. You can't deny it.
Rufus is Prince Dimitri's uncle! His Highness is incapable of such an atrocious crime as murdering his own blood!
Ah, but they were never very close, were they? It's a well-known fact among former retainers. There are even rumors that Rufus was originally involved in the Tragedy of Duscur... Perhaps His Highness believed those rumors and murdered Rufus in a fit of rage.
But I'm afraid none of that matters now.
Cornelia. Do not tell me that you...
The decision has been made. His Highness will pay for his crime with his head. His sentence will be carried out the day after tomorrow. On that day, the royal bloodline will come to an end.

With His Highness's death, the royal bloodline of House Blaiddyd was erased from this world. True to her word, all we could do was watch as she tore the Kingdom apart before our eyes. Since the execution and the prince's corpse were concealed from the public, there have always been those who believed His Highness was still alive... As for myself, I only began to hope three years ago, when I chanced upon some compelling rumors...
What rumors?
An Imperial platoon attacked without warning. Incident after incident of Imperial generals being slaughtered in Kingdom territory. It is said that each died in such a brutal, gruesome way that...it is hard to imagine they were killed by human hands. I followed the rumors to location after location. Eventually, I had seen enough. I knew the rumors were true.

Five years spent brutally murdering Imperial soldiers...

Next time: we attempt to get a resistance together.

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