Update 112: Arianrhod Island

♪ The King of Lions ♪

Did something happen?
Not really... There is just a problem I must now clean up. Do you know of Arianrhod? It is a fortress that also goes by the name of the Silver Maiden.
I've heard of it.
Yes, I had thought I might have mentioned it before. It is a fortress city that is lauded as the strongest in the Kingdom. The land around Arianrhod was once entrusted to Count Rowe... When he turned to the Empire, the Silver Maiden went with him. Now, one after another, the lords of each region are leaving the Empire at the call of the eastern lords... But I am sure the Empire has no plans to relinquish the Fortress City, given its strategic position on the front lines of their war with the Kingdom. Unless we can take back Arianrhod, the Kingdom will continually be attacked at its weakest points.
I was thinking that we need to deal with it soon, and that we need to investigate the status of the enemy's force, but...
Is there a problem?
I am afraid so. We confirmed that troops departed the Imperial capital, headed for Arianrhod. If they are followed by a second and third batch of reinforcements, then the difficulty of taking back Arianrhod will increase exponentially.
But, that does not mean we are entirely without recourse. I am just at a loss as to when the soldiers will arrive.
Let's go.
Right away? You never cease to amaze. Your answers always bring me joy. OK. Let's gather everyone immediately. We'll begin the war council for the departing troops.

♪ As Fierce as Fire ♪

Well, that was pretty straightforward.

Two snipers, an extra axe user, and two new magic users. I'm sure they're not anything special.

Oh, hey, Hubert. You've got 69 Atk with Meteor. I'd normally say "nice," but I don't like flaming rocks dropped on my head.

Officer Duty: Grants Mt +5 with gambits.
Miasma Δ: Allows unit to cast Miasma Δ. If Miasma Δ is already available, then unit can cast it twice as often.
Fiendish Blow: If unit initiates combat, grants Mag +6 during combat.
Heartseeker: Adjacent foes suffer Avo -20 during combat.
Commander: Nullifies instant death effects, status effects, and movement effects, and greatly reduces damage from enemy gambits.
Paragon: Doubles experience earned.
Dark Magic Uses x4: Quadruples the number of uses for dark magic.

I wonder what joke led the dev team to constantly stick Paragon on enemy versions of Hubert.

Anyway, he's only got one use of Meteor. Bait it out with either someone who has super-high Rsl (he'll have 75 Atk with it when initiating combat because, remember, Fiendish Blow), or a lot of Avo. I do mean a lot, even 70 Avo would only reduce Hubert's Hit down to 62. Alternatively, you could park a unit with super high HP and the Chalice of Beginnings within Hubert's attack range, and even with low Rsl, they could probably survive the attack—at which point they'd counterattack Hubert and probably kill him.

Don't let Hubert live long after he's burned his one use of Meteor, though, because he's got Luna Λ. Enemy Luna Λ on Maddening should terrify you, and for good reason.

...Ah. Hey, Professor Hanneman.

Crest Scholar: Use Rally to grant Mag +4 to an ally.
Black Tomefaire: Grants Atk +5 when using black magic.
Black Magic Uses x2: Doubles the number of uses for black magic.
Fiendish Blow: If unit initiates combat, grants Mag +6 during combat.
Seal Resistance: If unit damages foe during combat, foe suffers Res -6 for 1 turn after combat.
Unsealable Magic: Prevents unit from being silenced.

You...you sure do have Bolting...

Well, to be truthful, it's not just him. See all of those warlocks around him? They all have Bolting too. Four uses each, all with Black Tomefaire, and the Maddening-exclusive ones have battalions increasing their Mag Atk, even.

Inexplicably, though, they all lack Reason prowess levels, and instead just have Hit +20. Still, a very large section of the map is very hard to approach, given the layers of Bolting that multiple tiles are covered in.

Ah. Hello, generic enemy war masters.

Fistfaire: Grants Atk +5 when brawling.
Axefaire: Grants Atk +5 when using an axe.
Crit +20: Increases Crit by 20.
Tomebreaker: Grants Hit/Avo +20 when brawling against magic users.

Enemy war masters are...strange. Statistically, they're a straight upgrade from enemy brawlers and warriors, but ability-wise? They basically trade Defiant Spd/Wrath for...Brawling Prowess Lv3.

Brawling Prowess Lv 3: Grants Hit +7, Avo +13, and Crit Avo +7 when brawling.

Defiant Spd on grapplers is useless enough that I guess this is an upgrade? Compared to enemy warriors, though, losing Wrath is a big downgrade, though the innate Crit +20 is still scary. Honestly, I'd have expected the devs to toss Quick Riposte on these guys or something.

Holy fuck.

Infirmary Master: Adjacent allies gain Crit Avo +10 during combat.
Swordfaire: Grants Atk +5 when using a sword.
Magic Bind: If unit lands a hit, targeted foe is unable to use magic for 1 turn.
Darting Blow: If unit initiates combat, grants AS +6 during combat.
Axebreaker+: Grants Hit/Avo +30 when using a sword against axe users.

That's, uh. That's not the Manuela I was expecting. 59 AS with a wo dao, giving her 52 Atk and 65 Crit. 79 Avo, too. I, uh... Jeez.

For all her terrifying stats, though, Manuela's Res is shockingly low, and she can only attack at 1 range, given her lack of Counterattack. She also lacks Keen Intuition, so it's easier to kill her from long range than it is to do the same to Petra.

I'm giving Caspar, and Sylvain a fair shake. I didn't bring Dedue, though, I swapped him out for Constance after this screenshot.

It's Ashe's turn to be armed to the teeth.

Bring it, Hubert.
♪ The Leader's Path ♪

Her Majesty was right to send me here.
Hubert. So, you have come here in command of extra troops from the Imperial capital... I had hoped to take the fort while it was poorly defended, but now... Well, there is nothing to be done. We must defeat him and then take Arianrhod.

♪ Tempest of Seasons ♪

If I remember correctly, there should be devices somewhere that let you deactivate the traps. However... Arianrhod has been in Imperial hands for a while now. They may have changed how things work. But there's no point in dawdling. Let's just make a point to disable any devices we come across.
See all the bear trap tiles on the map? Those are spike tiles. Functionally, they're like the burning ground in Ailell—they have a higher Mv cost to go through, and inflict damage at the start of each turn.

There's two levers we can try to pull to disable these—one near Hanneman, and one to the south of Manuela. There's no guarantee that they'll work, though!

Constance can outrange the enemy Bolting users, so I have her work on taking some of them down.

Zapping this war master will also make pushing into the north easier.

Sylvain's triumphant return begins with him acting as bait.

Dimitri's in the range of two separate Bolting users, so I use the Sothis Shield to reduce the hurt coming his way.

I don't like those Hit chances.

On turns 1 and 2, and every third turn after both of those, a paladin will spawn from the east. The only way to stop these is to kill Manuela.


That could've been very bad. At least it draws some heat from Dimitri.

Using Blaze there was...a bit unnecessary, but whatever.

Might as well let Marianne get a kill.


I don't think the AI will ever learn to not group up like that.

That's two Bolting users down.

I'm sure it'll be fine.
♪ The Dream is Over ♪

Turns out it wasn't fine.
♪ Tempest of Seasons ♪

Thank you, Dorothea.

Much better.

Oh yeah, there's enemy bow knights out. They're kinda rare, huh?


holy shit that was lucky

This should help me clear out the center...

Constance uses Ward on Ingrid, for Ingrid has a very special mission.

Ingrid moves up, and Annette dances for her.

I have her go for one of the Bolting users. Hanneman is immobile, so he can wait.

Well, at least I didn't lose a use of Agnea's Arrow for that.


I contend that Gilbert cursed Ashe and that made this level happen.

♪ Paths That Will Never Cross ♪

Well! That could've been bad.

Ingrid yet lives, however, and she's about to make it that warlock's problem.

Poor guy, never stood a chance.

Alright, this guy's easy pickings now.


I'd call that a fatal mistake, but honestly, Hanneman's fatal mistake was me not recruiting him.

How's that his fault, you may ask? It isn't.

There's no joke there.

Yet, even if I die, someone will follow my work, and another after that. Such is the way of scholarship.
Really wish I'd grabbed Hanneman on at least one other run this LP. I like him a lot more than my disuse of him would imply.

No hesitation!

Does a weak crit like that count as style points?

Anyway, time to say goodbye to the father of crestology.
♪ No music ♪

♪ The Dream is Over ♪

I wonder what led Hanneman to fight for the Adrestian Empire. We haven't really gotten a good look at his character up until now, huh?

Well, for the time being, his reasons die with him. Let's move on.
♪ Tempest of Seasons ♪

A crit would've been sick there.

Observe how much damage that war master can deal with just one hit. Using gauntlets.

Apparently my lack of crits there were channeled into an extra use of Bolting.

I can't lose!

My boy pulls through once again.

Stopped recording after that and forgot to record the enemy phase. Oops!

Sylvain really hasn't turned out so hot.

I think I might just...go for Hubert, over taking out Manuela's group on the right.

This'll do it!


A good weapon can do a lot to make a bad unit usable, but I'm sure you knew that already.

Wow, been a while since we had a 90+ displayed Hit miss.

Luckily, Dorothea, with help from Annette, can kill that paladin from full.

An opportune point of Def.

Oh, cool, there's bow knights here.

Alright, this should—

Not such a bad idea, honestly. But you failed to account for me.

Wow, two paladins. What a great contingency, Hubert.

Is what I would say if these weren't infinite reinforcements. Once you reach the bottom part of the map, Hubert will spawn two more paladins on the turn you do so, the turn after that, and every third turn from then on.

Don't try and stop me!

Not a kill, sadly.

+1 damage stat, +1 Crit, +1 Cha. Not bad at all.

Oh that sucks.

Dimitri is very squarely in alarm range right now.

Man, imagine if an alarm noise played when any unit was at low HP.

Okay, things are a bit dicey, let's hurry it up. Good thing I had one more use of Stride.

I'll have your head!

Getting that kill in one round is very important. Caspar is rewarded with an excellent level for pulling off this feat.

With that sniper out of the way, Dimitri can beeline straight for Hubert.
♪ Paths That Will Never Cross ♪

If we attacked Hubert with Adan, he would say this.
First Gronder Field, and now here. You certainly have a talent for getting in our way.

Maybe not the most satisfying conclusion, but a win's a win.

Here's Manuela's battle dialogue, since we didn't fight her.
Oh dear, Professor. Fate can be so cruel. Spilling the blood of your students with your own hands... How can you carry on after that?
You've grown into a fine, handsome man, Dimitri. Bit of a shame you've also become a violent beast. Men like you make the Silver Maiden cry.
Oh? I suppose it is a shame, Professor Manuela. Perhaps I should have appeared before you holding a bouquet of flowers, rather than the weapon that will end your life.
Manuela? It's not like you to show up anywhere sober. What's the occasion?
I thought maybe we could talk. I could help you see the error of your ways. Or we could just try to kill each other over what we believe in. You ready to do this?
No... But let's get to it.
You may have noticed that all of the battle dialogue on this map uses neutral expressions! It's weird, sort of like those unused lines from Fhirdiad. The extra strange thing here is that Manuela and Dorothea's battle dialogue—which is copied verbatim from the other instances in which it can happen (SS/VW Enbarr Castle [for player Manuela vs. enemy Dorothea] and a later AM chapter [again for player Manuela vs. enemy Dorothea])—is missing expressions, where it has them in the other instances.
♪ No music ♪

If we'd let Hanneman live, he'd have his own retreat line, too.
If Hubert is gone, then I see no reason to remain. Time to go.

We failed to get Hubert, but at least we have recaptured Arianrhod. Let's clean up the wreckage and return to Garreg Mach. Well done, everyone! The day is ours!

If you were curious, that chest on the west end of the map had one piece of umbral steel in it. Didn't feel like going for it.

A bog-standard A-rank battalion. 105 endurance, +7 Phys Atk, -2 Mag Atk, +5 Hit, +15 Crit, -10 Avo, +5 Prt, +10 Cha at max rank. It's got Linked Horses for a gambit, which is neat. Only one use, but it hits a 3x2 area.
♪ Somewhere to Belong ♪

Are you tired?
I think all of this work is just catching up with me. Just pretend that yawn never happened.
By the way, I wanted to thank you for your help with the Arianrhod campaign the other day. You were exceptional. Your leadership was key in taking back Arianrhod safely.
We all contributed.
Indeed, everyone gave their all for victory. I am always being saved by those around me, it seems.
It seems that after taking back Arianrhod, many things are changing within the Kingdom. Specifically, the lesser lords of the land surrounding Arianrhod have pledged vassalage to the Kingdom.
The knights they possess may now be added to the Kingdom's army.
And if that happens, I would like to leave them in your capable hands.
Also... Ah, my apologies. Here I am, simply throwing one report after another at you.
Aren't you overdoing it?
Perhaps. It is certainly true that I have been stuck in my quarters lately, dealing with more official business and other such tasks than ever before.
But that is something I have been putting off for far too long.
Though it is exhausting, filling in the blanks of five years and several months must be done.
I am going to tackle them all, one at a time. That is one small part of my atonement. So, Professor... I have been doing all of the talking, but I assume you came here for a reason.
I thought we could all celebrate our victory.
A victory celebration, you say? You know, this reminds me of that time I dragged you to the dining hall. Do you recall?
I do.
If memory serves, that was after the mock battle between the houses... It was a wonderful time. We had just finished our mission, and we were invited to join in the celebration... You know, every once in a while, I do long to be part of the group as well.
But do you think that it is really acceptable? For someone like me to quietly join in the merriment?
Everyone's waiting for you.
Thank you, Professor. Now then, let's go. Together.

Well, that sure was a paralogue. No real significant rewards, just a chance for some EXP. It's the only time you can fight Hanneman and Manuela as enemies after the mock battle, I guess.
♪ Scales of the Goddess ♪

Adan has mastered Enlightened One, so he can become a mortal savant now.

Hey, look, supports!

Dimitri/Felix A.
♪ Recollection and Regret ♪

Always so ominous. Well? What is it, Felix?
Sometimes you have an animal's face, contorted with anger and bloodlust. At other times, a man's, with a friendly smile. Which is your true face?
Do not waste your breath on questions with such obvious answers. They are both the real me. My father, my friends, Glenn... They all meant a great deal to me. And they were all brutally slaughtered. I alone survived.
If I do not shoulder the anguish and regret they must have felt, who will?
Hah. So, that's how you justify your atrocities.
What do you mean?
"I will fulfill my duty to the late king." My old man used to say that over and over, like a mantra.
How nauseating. No one seems to understand. The dead won't acknowledge your loyalty. They don't care.

You are wrong.
No, I'm not. The dead are dead, the living are living.
You have to respect that boundary. If you keep stringing gravestones around your neck, you'll snap.
Even still... I cannot forget them, nor can I let them go.
Then keep those thoughts to yourself. If you're too weak to do that, abandon your throne. Become a grave keeper.
I'm not immune to emotion, you know. Far from it.
I haven't gone a day without questioning why my father and brother had to die, while I survived.
I'll bear this pain until the day I die, but I refuse to wallow in it. I have more important things to do than blubber for my whole life.
Heh. You know, Felix, you really are growing more and more like your brother.
Always so sarcastic, and constantly looking for a fight. But deep inside, more than anyone, you—
What are you getting at?
Oh... It's nothing. But allow me to thank you. Your perspective has opened my eyes.
Hmph. Not my intention. I couldn't stand the pathetic look on your face. That's all.
I see. If you say so, then we will leave it at that.

♪ Scales of the Goddess ♪

For all his bravado and prickliness, Felix really is one of the more loyal members of the cast.

Dimitri/Mercedes A.
♪ Somewhere to Belong ♪

Something like that. And you?
Oh yes, that's why I'm here. I love how calm and peaceful the cathedral is this late at night.
It really is...
Coming here on a quiet night always makes me think of those who aren't with us anymore.
We've lost so many in this war. Too many to count.
I hope they all get to live in eternal happiness at the goddess's side...
These prayers are all I have to offer.
You are a kind soul, Mercedes.
I think you're kind too, Dimitri. Sometimes to a fault.
Kind? Me? No, not at all. I am just...a killer. A disgusting monster.
But why do you kill? For the sake of your loved ones? Those who have passed? Real monsters kill for selfish reasons. They're incapable of expressing sorrow when they kill. So please...don't call yourself a monster.
Mercedes... I...

The people who have died...who I have killed. I cannot let myself forget them. I know that, and yet... Whatever my feelings, it is all the act of a monster.
It's sad, but the truth is that people forget. You may be afraid to forget your past, but you'll never be able to revisit it. Living in the present is the best we can do. We owe it to those who can't come back.
If someone had said those words to me five years ago, I would be a different man today.
What do you want to do now, Dimitri? Continue fighting for those who have died?
Not as a king, but as my classmate. What do you want to do?
My own dreams... I have never given it any thought. What about you? What do you want, Mercedes?
I want to keep sewing and training with you, even after you've become king. I want to be your friend.
But... I have no right to stand beside you.
Please, I can't hear any more of this self-deprecation!
I just want to be by your side. Is that so much to ask?
I want the same thing. If you allow it... I wish to stay by your side.
I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels that way. Let's spend a little more time here together. Just the two of us.

♪ Scales of the Goddess ♪

Dedue/Gilbert B.
♪ Recollection and Regret ♪

It was you who saved His Highness from prison... We—all of us—thought you were dead.
My wounds were severe, but I managed. So long as I draw breath, I fight for His Highness.
Is that so...
But in my absence, you have protected him. Thank you, Gilbert, for returning to us.
I left once... I have wondered if I will be forced to leave once more, after this battle is done.
Would you accept that? I imagine not.
Of course not.
You are still Gustave at heart, even now. I am not fit to replace you. Not yet. I still have a great deal more to learn. For now, all I can do is continue to be a shield for His Highness.
It is unlike you to be so talkative.
I could not be silent.
So long as you understand... I will leave the Kingdom some day. It may not be until the day I die, but the time will come... This war... I'm a much older man than I was when it began.
Sooner or later, someone must take my place. Do not try to carry the weight alone, Dedue.
There are many talented and well-trained officers. Work together with them to assure our king's future.
Do that, and when the time comes, I will rest well.
Thank you for the advice. However...
It is too soon to treat you like an old man. You still have at least ten years of service in you. Faerghus—no, His Highness—needs you. As do I.

A fair point. There's no reason to let old age make one timid.
Even as I work to surpass you, I still rely on you.
Is that so? Well then, we have more fighting ahead of us, Dedue. We should get to it...
For the future of Faerghus.

♪ Scales of the Goddess ♪

Caspar/Ashe A.
♪ A Gentle Breeze ♪

Caspar! I-I was just... Hey, hang on a second.
Did you come here to feed the cat too?
Feed? Well, I don't know what you're...wait. Did you say "too"? Is that what you're doing?
I have been for a while. I had no idea you were doing the same.
I was just worried about the guy! I didn't want someone else to find him and hurt him.
I figured it would be best to watch out for him. You know me, defender of the helpless!
More importantly though, what's your excuse?
I didn't want him stealing more supplies, so I figured I'd take care of him.
Guess we're not so different after all, are we?
Yeah, I guess we're not...deep down.
Since you're here, why don't you feed this little guy what you brought him?
Oh yeah! I've got something good.
Looks like it...
Hey, where did you get that?
Uhh... Get what?
It looks awfully fresh. You didn't take that from the kitchen, did you?
Is that some dried fish and vegetables?
Looks like someone's leftovers.
I, uh... Never mind how I got mine! What about yours?
I'm a defender of the helpless! You really think I'd steal some food for a cat? I got it by fighting an old guy in the dining hall! I won it fair and square!
You started a fight over that?!
No, the old guy started a fight! Then I took his dinner as a prize!
Aww, you love this meat, don't you? And you love when I fight, don't you?

Well, this cat's happy, so I'll let you off easy just this once. You're lucky he's so cute...

♪ Scales of the Goddess ♪

Deep emotional bonding, born from a cat. I love it.

Annette/Gilbert A+.
♪ No music ♪

Of course.
I...I read all your letters. You never stopped writing them, did you?

♪ Somewhere to Belong ♪

So why didn't you send any of them? If you had sent even one, we would have...
Each time I thought to send one, I could not do so. Such behavior belittled my penance.
Time passed, and with it my feelings of guilt toward you and your mother grew. Even though I wrote the letters, I could not send them.
I would always talk about it with Mother... If only he'd write us, at least once, we'd say.
We waited and waited...all those long years.
I am sorry.
I'm tired of hearing it, so just stop. Your apologies change nothing!
Send those letters to Mother. She'll be happy to hear from you.
I cannot.
In that case, why don't I send them?
I have given them to you. They are yours to do with as you wish.
All right then, I'll send them. You don't get to take it back afterwards.
Father... You should know that they made me happy.
Knowing that you were thinking of us all along.
We were worried about you, Mother and I. Neither of us ever came out and said it, but... We thought maybe you hated us, were trying to forget all about us...
Never. I swear it on his late majesty, and on my homeland.
I see. All right...then swear. Swear that some day, when this war is over, you'll come back to us.
I hear you, Annette. I will return without fail.
No matter what. That's a promise you just made. If you break it, I'll never speak to you again.
Yes. I promise.
Great! Now I'm positively elated! I can't wait until we're all a family again!
I look forward to it, Annette. More than anything.

♪ Scales of the Goddess ♪

Holy shit, Gilbert promised to return to his family.

Next time: we save old friends from death at Adrestian hands.

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