Update 113: March On

♪ Three Crowns ♪

♪ No music ♪

♪ Anxiety ♪

Derdriu won't fall. Have some faith in me, will you?

Understood. You two join up with the troops in the city.

Judith, are you ready?
As ready as I'll ever be. It's been years since I last battled in the city streets.
Don't go messing up because your vision has weakened with age. Take the defensive for now.
Yeah, yeah, I get it. You hang in there, too, boy. Your wounds from Gronder Field haven't fully healed yet, have they?
No, but it's not like I can sit this one out. I have to make my daring escape, after all.
And for the last time, stop calling me "boy"! That's an official order from the leader of the Alliance.
Understood, Leader Man. I wonder if our little ray of hope will show up... We fought on opposite sides at Gronder, didn't we?
They'll come. You can count on it. If anyone can bring him back, it's Teach. Teach will talk, and he'll listen. But more than anything, I've seen their skill and their abilities... I believe in them.

♪ Beneath the Banner ♪

It seems the Imperial advance has been stalled by guerrilla skirmishes. The Alliance forces are holding out, but they won't last much longer...
That must be Judith of House Daphnel who joined up with Claude's troops.
To think Judith, a true hero, would find herself backed into a corner like this...
It is not so. The Alliance has only drawn the enemy so deeply into the city to allow us to attack them from behind. Brilliant.
They're planning a pincer attack?
I believe so. He put his soldiers into position purely on the belief that we'd come... I can't believe Claude would risk everything on that belief.
He has placed all of his hopes on us. Let's make sure we live up to his expectations, Professor.
Here we go. Let's move!

♪ As Fierce as Fire ♪

Man, it's been a while since we last visited Derdriu, huh? That was all the way back in Silver Snow, for...Alois and Shamir's paralogue. The map that was so boring I talked about the way that Alexander Ultimate's enrage unsettled me.

We're never going to be free from Maddening-only bow users.

The party for today. Our endgame-ready group is slowly coalescing.

We'll get a better look at the boss after we've begun. Let's go.
♪ No music ♪

We've got a soft time limit. Claude and his assistants can hold their own for a while, but not forever.

Blaiddyd? I see... That idiot failed, it seems.
Hurry up and kill the leader of the Alliance. With him gone, Derdriu will fall.

♪ The Long Road ♪

I'm gonna try, man.

Why is this hero so evasive?


Vantage remains annoying.

Our first encounter with an enemy mortal savant on Maddening.

Seal Magic: If unit damages foe during combat, foe suffers Mag -6 for 1 turn after combat.

Their Maddening enemy ability is incredibly underwhelming.

This turn is not going my way.

Guess I've got to!

Bernie to the rescue.

All that, and I still have...this entire mess...to deal with.

A slight gamble pays off.

Well, the Mag is timely.

Starting on turn 1, and repeating every third turn until we seize those tiles, reinforcements will spawn at the north (a hero), northwest (another hero), and west (a paladin).

On the same schedule, on Hard and Maddening, reinforcements will spawn down here at the southeast. On Hard, there's only one paladin per reinforcement spawn. On Maddening, there's two.

But the guy's so helpless, I feel sorry for him. So, I'll do what I can to protect him.

Hilda's pretty good at blocking the bridge to Claude's area...in theory.

She probably won't be able to hit the heroes, but they don't deal much damage to her.

Way to make me look like a fool.

Annoyingly, there's 1-2 range weapon users near Hilda.

Yeah, uh, unfortunately, I don't think our favorite pink-haired axe user isn't going to survive for long. I just can't get to her fast enough.

Oh, sick, enemy Physic users are about.

For healing herself, Hilda has...vulneraries...

To get to the harbor, first we have to get rid of the enemy mercenaries. There's no other way.

Judith's not a great fighter, but she at least manages to avoid being doubled by heroes.

Mercifully, Claude thought ahead and brought his own Physic users. That should buy Hilda some time.

Dimitri's going to try to handle the southeast units. He's super strong, he may be able to do that on his own.

Apropos of nothing, here's Arundel, the boss of this map. His magic repertoire is...shall we say, lacking.

Commander: Nullifies instant death effects, status effects, and movement effects, and greatly reduces damage from enemy gambits.
Canto: Allows unit to move again after completing certain actions, if there is movement remaining.
Black Tomefaire: Grants Atk +5 when using black magic.
Dark Tomefaire: Grants Atk +5 when using dark magic.
Pavise: Chance to reduce sword/lance/axe/brawling damage by half. Trigger % = Dex stat.
Cavalry Effect Null: Nullifies any extra effectiveness against cavalry units.
Rally Dexterity: Use Rally to grant Dex +8 to an ally.
Defiant Mag: Grants Mag +8 when HP is ≤ 25%.
Defense +2: Increases Def by 2.

Him having Pavise sucks major ass, he's got a 37% chance to halve melee damage, on top of his 40 Prt and 42 Rsl. Luckily, though, he lacks any Reason ranks, meaning his Hit is pretty bad.

The most I can say about enemy mortal savants is that they're very resistant to magic damage.

That level sucks.

Even with Curved Shot's Hit bonus, Bernie can still only manage 48 Hit. Oof.

Guess I've got to!

Oh well, nothing Annette can't help fix.

Didn't stand a chance, really.

Oh, sure, go up that way, where I have no reasonable way of reaching you, why don't you?

Good thing Judith'll be safe soon.

Why would you heal the generic, oh my god

Well, uh, Hilda's doomed.

And my only Physic user is all the way back here.

Let's see you dodge this!

I'm just gonna one-shot this sniper with Bolting.

Saves another unit from having to move up.

Okay, I'm gonna do it!

Stay alive, Bernie!


I can't lose!

That helps.

That level...doesn't. +1 Crit, +1 Cha, at least.

Ashe ending his turn (through attacking, in this case) on top of the blue tile stops the reinforcements from it.

In the name of justice!

That crit saves me a use of that silver bow+. Neat.

How am I even going to approach that mess to the northeast?

Well, that saves Judith.

Please don't. Please just stay where you are.

I decided to gamble on this hero missing at least one of his hits. If both had landed, Adan would've died. Thankfully, my gamble paid off.

Oh, don't you dare!

Why can't you just hold still, Judith...

There's no way Hilda isn't going to die next turn. I'm not going to fix that in time.

Dimitri stays down near the start to finish these two off. In particular, this is the only place you can get an axe of Zoltan during Azure Moon. In Silver Snow and Verdant Wind, you can get it during The Enbarr Infiltraiton (SS Ch18, VW Ch19).

Leave my sight!

That's a lot of damage, but even if it hits—and that's a big "if"—Felix'll live.

I don't think I've shown off Hunter's Volley, the Sniper-exclusive combat art, yet. Let's give it a shot! If one of these hits whiffs, or the first one deals fatal damage but is reduced by Miracle, Ashe'll get another shot at killing this bishop.

I can't lose!

Hunter's Volley has a unique animation.

And it ended up being unnecessary. If the attack goes to the second hit, then it has another unique animation.

Annette uses this turn's dance on Ashe, so he can get out of the danger zone.


Dodge that, jerk.

Sylvain rides up, to act as sniper bait.

Adan does basically the same thing.

Nothing is more foolish than dying in vain. Let's get to the harbor and finish off the leader of the Alliance!
At this point, Arundel becomes mobile, and starts moving towards Claude. One weird quirk of his AI here is that he won't attack any player units that are within his range on his first turn of being active.


♪ The Dream is Over ♪

Yeah, that was just cocky on my part. No real reason to risk a forced rewind there.

I rewound time and had Adan position at just the edge of the danger zone, leaving the two fortress knights without any targets on this turn.
♪ The Long Road ♪

...Wait, where are you going now?

I'm sorry, Hilda...

♪ The Dream is Over ♪

Hilda! Why didn't you retreat?! I counted on you retreating...
I don't really know how you'd keep Hilda alive on a Maddening run, to be honest with you. I'm not exactly taking things slowly here, and I'm still a ways away from where she was. Even if I was moving quickly, getting enough units up there to mount an actual counter-offensive against that deathball would be challenging, to say the least. Best I could've done was do everything I can to get Mercedes up to the center so she could reach Hilda with Physic, but...well, getting someone still stuck with 4 Mv up to the center of the arena, on pace with the rest of my team, would be annoying at best.

If we'd managed to keep both Hilda alive, we'd be rewarded with a giant shell at the end of the map. I'm not all that bummed about losing that rewards, though I do wish I could've demonstrated some kinda super-smart strat for all this. Just a reminder that I'm not exactly a great player, I suppose.

Oh, you don't just lose out on rewards if you fail to keep Hilda alive.

Several reinforcements, including two falcon knights, spawn in. Fantastic.
♪ The Long Road ♪

However, the fliers can't double Claude, or even deal much damage to him. They also get overkilled by Failnaught.

Judith, for the love of the gods, stop.

Right, this is a bit chaotic.

This pretty okay axe is mine now.

Let's give this a shot again. Another benefit of Hunter's Volley is that it gives +15 Hit.

I've got you!

The use of Hunter's Volley was more for safety than anything, really.

I can't lose!

Stay alive, Bernie!

Just gonna snipe that flier before she sneaks up on me.

Bolting, how I love thee.

Here is something to believe in!


how do i keep getting 69 damage crits

♪ The Verge of Death ♪

...That was way less scary than I thought it'd be.

Things are quickly spiraling out of control.

Sorry, but this is war!

Is that all?!

I guess the defensive stats are good.

...Screw it, let's just end it.

We won't get to see Arundel's actual Agarthan form, but it's pretty reasonable to assume that he's Thales in disguise—in part because the two share a voice actor.

Oh you piece of—

Just going for some EXP before the map ends.

Before we kill him, Arundel has battle dialogue for Dimitri.
You would raise a weapon against your uncle? You've grown into a savage of a man, just like your father.
You are rather calm for one in your position. Or did you forget that this is a battlefield?
Perhaps this is no time for words, Uncle. There will time for that after we have settled things here.
Another rare typo, with "there will time for that." The voice acting puts a "be" where there should be one.

Later, loser.
♪ Farewell ♪

You know something. What did Cornelia... No. What did my stepmother do?!
You are not qualified to look into the darkness...
You and Edelgard... Do your best to kill each other... You are family, after all. There it is...the light...

With that, the impostor who was likely Thales dies. While we never directly confront the Agarthans on Azure Moon—as in, there's nothing like going to Shambhala—it's safe to assume that the death of their last leader has them in shambles.
♪ No music ♪

For keeping Judith alive, we get a goddess icon.

♪ No music ♪

Then again, even if we had managed to capture him alive, judging by the way he was acting...
We can think about that later.
Teach is absolutely right. We should take this rare opportunity to let off some tension.

♪ Golden Deer and Crescent Moon ♪

Same. I haven't seen you since the nightmare that was Gronder. You really did come to help us... You must be a bunch of soft-hearted suckers, eh?
If you really felt that way, you would not have set up a defensive battle in the hopes that we would come. It worked out, only because we made it in time... Were you really so confident that we would answer the call?
Of course. I knew you wouldn't hesitate to put yourself second and come running to our aid.
You know him well.
You and I are cut from different cloth. I wouldn't make a move unless I could gain something from it. You've always been just the opposite. And of course, I've always been fond of taking dangerous risks. After all, I sent that express messenger before you had even recaptured the Kingdom capital. If all went to plan, I knew you'd recapture it soon, and then respond to our request for aid. It was riskier than usual, I'll give you that. But it was the only card I had to play, so I took the gamble.
You cross too many dangerous bridges for my liking.
I know, I know. But...that ends today.
What do you mean?
Here, take this. Use it however you see fit.

The legendary bow, Failnaught... Isn't this the Hero's Relic of House Riegan?
Hold, Claude. This must be one of your jokes. You cannot truly intend to part with this...

♪ Beyond the Crossroads ♪

Just what are you planning, Claude?
If you're going to lead Fódlan, then the Alliance lords will follow you. Back in the day, the Alliance split off from the Kingdom. I'm just putting us back together again. Oh, and I've already gained the support of the other lords at the roundtable conference, so you can stop looking at me like I'm crazy. All that's left is for me is to officially step down as the leader of the Alliance.
What will you do now?
I'm leaving Fódlan. There are things I have to do. Dreams I need to see to fruition. That's why I became the Alliance leader to begin with, actually. But it left me no time for what I was really after. You'd better not take on too many responsibilities yourselves, or else you'll end up in the same boat.

It's up to us to break free of that weight and follow the path that we believe in.
Oops! I almost forgot the most important thing. If you're looking for Rhea, apparently she's being held captive in the Imperial capital. It doesn't sound like they intend to kill her, but there's no telling what they're planning.
You have my gratitude, Claude.
Gratitude? Thanks but no thanks. As far as I'm concerned, we're even now. I don't know how many years will pass until then, but let's promise to meet again. And when we do... don't be too hard on me, Your Kingliness.

So... Yeah! No joke, we actually get Failnaught, the real thing, the only time you get one of the three lord relics (Aymr, Areadbhar, and Failnaught) on a route where you don't play that lord's house.
♪ Calm Winds Over Gentle Waters ♪

What are you talking about?
Didn't Lord Arundel say something about you and Edelgard being family?
To claim that the king and the emperor are related... Could it be?
Ah, I suppose I never told you, though I do recall mentioning it briefly to the professor... Lord Arundel spoke the truth. My stepmother was Edelgard's birth mother. Political turmoil drove my stepmother out of the Empire. Father fell in love with her at first sight and they married.
I lost my birth mother before I was old enough to remember her. My stepmother filled that role for me.
But she lost her life in Duscur nine years ago, along with Father.
Hang on. I didn't even know she was your stepmother.
Did my father know about this?
Yes. All those who were close to my father knew, including Rodrigue. But to speak openly about it would have caused a scandal, and so she was our secret. No one in the general public knew about her. Naturally, the fact that Edelgard and I are stepsiblings was kept a secret as well.
I'm finally beginning to understand what you went through five years ago. I mean, Edelgard is the only family you have left, isn't she?
To find out someone so precious to you is actually your most hated enemy... How heartbreaking.
But wait! You two were born and raised in two different territories, right? So you probably never met until you were both at the academy. I mean, don't get me wrong, I think the idea of fighting family is just about the worst thing ever.
But hopefully the fact that she's a stepsister who you never really knew helps with the pain... I don't know, it was just a thought.
I am afraid that's not the case. Though it was only for a short time, Edelgard once called Fhirdiad home. It was a long time ago, but she was a cherished friend of mine.
Wait! I remember now! She was that girl, wasn't she? The one you gave a dagger to!
Heh, so your little girlfriend was Edelgard.
Sylvain. If you have any more foolish things to say, please hold them for later.

She may be a hated enemy now, but the emperor is your old friend and your stepsister. Can you bring yourself to kill her?
I will kill her...if I must. But if there is any chance that the world she seeks to create could be a just one... Then I... I would love to see a future in which I may reach out my hand for her and have her reach back. That said, I have no intention of letting my personal feelings cloud my judgment. Too much is at stake.
Your Highness... I think you should meet with the emperor and at least try to talk to her.
If there's any hope of ending this war without more bloodshed, we have to try. Besides, killing your own family... I'm sorry, but it's not right.
I...I think so too. And you are right that we should at least try.

♪ The Leader's Path ♪

Yes, Your Majesty. I have confirmed it via countless channels. I advise that we accept this as a drop of joy amid a pool of sorrow.
Pretty words, but I'm afraid we can't rest until the joy outweighs the sorrow. And for that to happen, it now seems we must confront them all at once. Dimitri, who took back Fhirdiad... Claude, who managed to protect the Alliance... And that professor, who is successfully mobilizing the Knights of Seiros...
What will you do, Your Majesty?
Pull back our forces. In the west, to Arianrhod. In the east, to—
Fort Merceus, I presume? There is no better place for such a confrontation, after all.
Indeed. And dispatch the Death Knight to guard it. He can buy us some time. In the meantime, I will—
Forgive me, but I must speak bluntly. I do not agree with what you intend to do. Though slight, there is a chance that once done, it cannot be undone.
Even I cannot always choose the direction my path leads me. There is no other way. And so, I must walk on.

That bodes ill.

Next time: Fort Merceus, but actually really different this time.

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