Update 31: From Cradle to Grave

♪ Three Crowns ♪

Though her own losses were great, her foes had no choice but to surrender. Archbishop Rhea commanded the Knights of Seiros, leading from the front lines against the Imperial army. But amidst the chaos of battle, she vanished, and her whereabouts remain unknown. With this single attack, the Adrestian Empire officially launched its offensive against the Holy Kingdom of Faerghus and the Leicester Alliance. The unification of Fódlan has begun.

♪ No music ♪

♪ Three Crowns ♪

Nearly five years have passed since the fall of the monastery at Garreg Mach, and war continues to plague the lands of Fódlan. Fhirdiad has been captured. The Holy Kingdom of Faerghus is in shambles. The Leicester Alliance is on the verge of collapse, fractured by two opposing factions—those who support the Adrestian Empire and its ruler, and those who seek her demise. Meanwhile, under Emperor Edelgard's rule of law, the Adrestian Empire continues to expand its reach. The path to a new Fódlan, unified by Imperial strength, may yet be in sight.

♪ The Spirit Dais ♪

Your body is awake. Your eyes must open now, and you must find the strength to stand upon those legs of yours.
Like so much rain, a pool of blood has fallen to the ground... As spears and arrows pierce the earth, it weeps. And even now...it weeps. In order to survive, they kill. And so, the people of this world are lost in an abyss of suffering. They weep as well.

I'm still sleepy...
You are a complete and utter fool! Have you not changed one bit?! Get on your feet. Right now! I'll coddle you no more! You are just like a child, always needing me to hold your hand...

I know there was no portrait and the name was printed as "???" there, but in-game, the voice acting is very clearly Sothis.
♪ Calm Winds Over Gentle Waters ♪

Where am I?

What do you mean?

What year is it?

The millenium festival...

The monastery.

Abby shakes her head.

My students are waiting for me.

♪ No music ♪

How has it already been five years? Time stops for no one, I suppose.

♪ Unfulfilled ♪

A whim.
Highly doubtful. So you were alive...

I was dead.
Joking at a time like this... Well, if you don't wish to tell me, I won't try to persuade you.

I can't.
As expected. I knew your answer before I had even asked the question.
That means...we're enemies now, you and I. My teacher, the time for discussion has come to an end!

♪ Calm Winds Over Gentle Waters ♪

It's been a long time.
Yes, it has been... But this is no time for casual chatter!
After you disappeared five years ago, do you have any idea how dire the church's situation became? Where were you and what were you doing all of those years?
Fade to black, Abby explains all of what happened to Seteth.

There's a dummied-out choice in the script for just saying "I was sleeping." instead. I imagine that didn't quite get all of the context across.
You slept for five years... In that case, I suppose there is nothing more to say.
You should know that Rhea also disappeared after the battle at Garreg Mach five years ago.

Was she murdered by the Imperial army?
It is possible. However, the Empire has not made any such statement as of yet.
Even if that were the truth, there is no way for us to confirm.
We have searched all over, but we have reached an impasse. Unless we do something, our efforts to find Rhea and rebuild the church will be stalled indefinitely. Our opportunity to strike back is close at hand... Sadly, we are short on military strength.
However... Now we have you.
Do you recall what Rhea told you five years ago?

I remember.
Then I beg of you... Please, heed her words.

Why me?
There is a very good reason...but it is not yet time to divulge it. Just know that without you, we have no hope.

♪ No music ♪

Vile thieves! Even with the knights gone, I cannot believe they would dare trespass here!
This is unforgivable! Come, Professor. Let us give chase!

♪ Three Crowns ♪

She has extended her reach to the Kingdom by inciting a coup and continues to draw its former lords under her influence in pursuit of controlling all of western Fódlan.

Left unattended, the monastery at Garreg Mach has fallen to ruin...and become a haven for thieves.

Well. Things sure changed a lot in the past five years, huh? Dimitri sentenced—it's not made clear in this intro, but he was sentenced to death—the Leicester Alliance breaking apart, Claude and Lorenz fighting each other, the Adrestian Empire on the verge of controlling all of Fódlan...

Hell. Abby picked a bad time to, effectively, die and come back to life...
♪ No music ♪

♪ Chasing Daybreak ♪

So we're just thrown into it, huh? No battle preparations? 2 against 36? Sure.

I would like to take this moment to say fuck this map. It is a massive spike in difficulty compared to any map in part 1, for reasons that will make more sense in a bit, and also because you do not have access to the battle preparations menu. Every unit on this map is stuck with whatever inventory and battalion they had at the end of Chapter 11.

This is an especially big issue on Maddening, where the inventory of and abilities equipped to Adan/Abby and your lord—either Seteth, Dimitri, or Claude (Crimson Flower does not play this map, and therefore Edelgard is excluded)—can make or break your entire run. If you don't have the right combination of items and abilities, especially on Azure Moon (Blue Lions) where Dimitri is landlocked and not all that survivable, you can easily put yourself in an unwinnable state. My Blue Lions Maddening NG+ got stopped cold by this map, and I'm still bitter about it.

Firstly, enemies start packing Silver weapons here. Not only does that mean they hit harder, but they also gain a decent amount of AS.

While we're here, look at Pallardó. He's as weak as his weakest lackeys.

Seriously, this map has some nasty surprises in store.

The one small mercy this map affords you is that all weapons in any unit's inventory are fully repaired for free.

Christ, look at how many aggro indicators go on Abby when she takes one step forward.

Chokepointing is obviously a good strategy on Hard, but on Maddening, every unit near the starting zone has Pass, meaning you cannot chokepoint them. That's another part of what put me in an unwinnable state—keeping Abby alive isn't as hard as you'd think, especially if you have White Magic Avo +20, but keeping Dimitri alive is an exercise in frustration.

Oh yeah, the archers don't help.

All I can really do is stall for time while I wait for something to happen.

Seteth being a flier means he can at least kill a unit and then get to safety. Spoilers, but Claude has the same luxury.

Dimitri doesn't. Mrgrgr...

I cannot, for the life of me, remember how I did this map on my first run, where I did not have Nosferatu dodgetanking available.

What are you doing here?! Never mind, we'll have to talk later! Help us with these thieves!
gasp! Dorothea! Caspar! Petra! Just who I needed!

So, the gimmick of Reunion at Dawn is that you start with only Abby and your route's lord, but as the turns pass, the other students that started in your house will show up at the various corners of the map.

Again, Blue Lions get a massive shaft here, since the first units you get in the Danger Corner in the northwest, where there isn't any safe cover, are... Ashe and a mystery unit who is extremely slow. In the southwest, which isn't much better, you get... Mercedes and Annette. Right next to a gauntlet user with Tomebreaker. So not only do you have to worry about Dimitri potentially biting it, you have to worry about everyone biting it, since the map is cramped and there's basically nowhere that's safe.

With all of my might!
Everyone has new battle voice lines, to accompany the changes they've gone through over the past five years.

Oh, the two turns where I didn't have you all felt like an eternity.

Holy shit, Abby.

Time for your last dance.

I missed you all.

I mentioned new voice lines earlier. In general, in battle, Petra's more determined, Caspar treats fighting as a life and death scenario and, therefore, way more seriously, and Dorothea sounds...very jaded about war and fighting, and her role in it. I can't say I blame her.

The enemies on this map drop a bunch of items. They're not especially rare, but I won't complain about having some extra Silver weapons in the convoy.

You are in my way.

And now Abby can be evasive against axe users, too.

Hope you're ready!


Apologies for the lack of tactical analysis, but this map really is just a brutal slugfest at the start. You need to kill a lot of units very quickly, or you will get overwhelmed.

Jesus lord, that would've been a nasty hit if it landed.

Seteth did you seriously just whiff a 91 Hit

at least Petra was on standby

Good lord, Abby's just gunning for excellent levels immediately.

Lend us a hand! Let's beat them back!
Bernie! Lin! Ferdie! Everyone's here!

Except Edelgard. That...goes without saying.

For their voices, Linhardt is...about the same as ever, really. Ferdinand, similar to Dorothea, sounds jaded, though not quite to her extent. Bernadetta goes through the most drastic change in her voice lines, going from being constantly plagued by anxiety mid-fight to being able to focus on combat.

Azure Moon shunts Felix, Sylvain, and Ingrid up to the northeastern corner, meaning you get your units who are most capable of actually surviving physical combat last. Rude.

Oh yeah, everyone's got Talk dialogue with Byleth. I don't really have the time to see it all, so let's just paste it here.
Ah, Professor. You have not changed a bit. I am so glad to fight alongside you again.

So what have you been doing these last five years? Sleeping?! Why, I must say I'm a bit envious.

I'm so glad I get to see you again, Professor!

Took all my will to come out here today. But seeing you again, Professor? That's worth a little torture!

Do you remember our promise from five years ago, Professor? Today's the day.

I went back to Brigid once...but I had to be returning to Fódlan.

Is it possible for "old habits die hard" to have positive implications? Because I think that applies here.

Jesus, Seteth, way to overperform.

Well, I guess I can't complain about Spd on Linhardt.

Ferdinand is so good.

To survive, I will win!

I really need to get Petra Close Counter one of these days.

Hm. This surely isn't a bad idea.

♪ The Dream is Over ♪


So, I skipped ahead and showed something I ended up rewinding away to talk about a change in Part 2. You know how when units "died" in part 1, they just pulled back due to severe injuries? That stops in Part 2. Units full-on die in Part 2, complete with (genuinely, imo) sad death quotes and (also genuinely) sad music, which you might recognize from Jeralt's death.

It doesn't show up when you turn off animations, but when a unit suffers a fatal blow in Part 2... First, the camera freeze-frames for about a quarter of a second after the attack lands. Then, the unit does their death animation in slow-mo, complete with an echoing death cry. Then they give their death quote as the camera pans over their body, before combat ends and their corpse fades out.

It's hard to describe without sounding a bit silly, but the way your units die in 3H affects me heavily, and makes me scared to make tactical mistakes even more than in Part 1...

I generally won't be showing death quotes unless they arise from major tactical errors, but I think they're interesting—and also very saddening, in some cases—so here's all of them for every unit we've recruited this run.
So this is how it ends...

This is as far as I go. Why must it end here?

Don't blame yourself. It's my fault for being weak.

Was there any more I...could have done?

I'd hoped to relive those glory days...but it wasn't meant to be.

My dreams and pride...lost. Must I die on foreign soil?

Where's my weapon? Damn it! Can't see...anything.

Heh, I'm not afraid. I figured it would end like this...

Why...can't I stand? Need to keep...fighting.

I go now to meet the goddess...

Glenn... I'll see you soon. Death isn't sad, not...really.

If only I'd lived...just a little longer.

I have no regrets. I'll be with the goddess soon...

I'm...dying for someone else? I can't believe this.

I have lived many years...yet...there was still more I wished to do...

Mother... I will see you soon.

If I die here, you must save...

Finally found so many reasons to live...

Not like this. I haven't repaid my debt to Lady Rhea.
Caspar, Ingrid, Marianne, and Shamir's all hit me really hard. They all do, but those four in particular... I teared up just pasting them in, heh.

You unfortunately miss out on the voice acting for each of the death lines, which are a large part of what makes them sting so hard.
♪ Chasing Daybreak ♪

Right, this time, let's keep Linhardt out of the danger zone there.

Petra's close to 30 Str/Spd. She is seriously scary. I talk Bernadetta up a lot, but Petra's just as much, if not a bigger, terror.

You can't just line up like that. You make it too easy for me.

With all of my might!

I've thinned the herd out massively by this point. Only a few enemies left.

Hey, Dorothea, that's...a good level but the quote made me feel bad...

Ferdinand is so good. His stats are a bit lower on average than the rest of my units, but his incredibly high mobility more than makes up for that.

I'm not going down!

Oh yeah, I almost forgot, Seteth has a 70% chance of cancelling counterattacks when using combat arts. That's...that's pretty good. Pretty good, yeah.

Mostly just shuffling units around to grab treasure chests after all of the non-boss enemies are felled.

That should do it for that thing I mentioned.

Cursed Ashiya Sword: Requires Sword rank B. 1 range. 13 Mt, 70 Hit, 40 Crit, 8 Wt, 15 durability. Drains 5 HP from the user after combat. Cannot drain the user's HP below 1. Requires Black-Sand Steel x5 and 2500 gold to repair.

There's some good shit in these chests. The Cursed Ashiya Sword is a Devil Sword but with a lower penalty, higher stats, and look at that fucking Crit jesus christ It's not even that heavy!

There's some boring stuff too, like this plain ol' Armorslayer.

Oh, hello, this thing's special.

Axe of Ukonvasara: Requires Axe rank A. 1 range. 19 Mt, 65 Hit, 20 Crit, 15 Wt, 30 durability. Deals effective damage to cavalry units. Restores 12%/20%/33% max HP every turn; amplified for holders of the Crest of Gloucester. Requires Mythril x3 and 2500 gold to repair.

19 Mt, 20 Crit, and effectiveness against armored units? Christmas came early.

Boring. That's the chests taken care of.

♪ Wrath Strike ♪


What the—

Well, that's just rude.

Have the courtesy to stay dead when I kill you, jerk.
♪ No music ♪

That man used to be a merchant here at the monastery. He must have fallen on hard times to take up with those thieves...

♪ A Promise ♪

We all gave our promise to be meeting here when the millennium festival arrived.
Though the one who came up with that plan is not here... Edelgard. Still, how incredible that those present gathered despite the terrible state of things...
Pfft, the most incredible part of it is that you didn't oversleep and miss the reunion!
So, that is the reason... Professor. The monastery is safe because of your devoted students.

You can count on me.
Ah, so you have finally accepted your destiny.
On the very day I return to Garreg Mach, you awaken and return as well.

What's your reason for being here?
Actually... Well, it will be easier to just show you. Come with me to the Holy Mausoleum.

♪ A Dark Sign ♪

Allow me to explain... After the Battle of Garreg Mach, there was a change of regime in the Kingdom. House Blaiddyd suffered a series of brutal massacres, which claimed the lives of Dimitri and Regent Rufus. The Kingdom capital fell and was absorbed into the Empire as the Faerghus Dukedom, which is now under Cornelia's control. Some still resist the Empire. As of now, Rodrigue of House Fraldarius is at the center of such efforts.

The front lines are ever in motion, but the war effort has stagnated overall. In short, both the Kingdom and the Alliance have been swallowed up by the Empire and are on the verge of collapse.
We must gather our generals and soldiers under your command and reverse this dire situation.

♪ Somewhere to Belong ♪

What are you doing here?
I forgot something important at the Holy Mausoleum...
I told my brother that I had to go back for it no matter what, and so here I am...
After we finished here, we were going to continue our search for Rhea. But now that you are here, things have changed. We must not waste this opportunity. We shall send word to the knights scattered all across the land. The time has come for the Knights of Seiros to return to action. We are counting on you, Professor!

Next time: we get our bearings, and figure out what to do in this brave new world.

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