Update 51: Did Someone Order a Bunch of Reinforcements?

♪ The Forgotten ♪

We don't get any umbral steel in Cindered Shadows, so the Sword of the Creator gets its durability replenished after every chapter.

The Ashen Wolves may seem tough, but they're harmless. Honestly? Things can get pretty boring down here. But here's a little piece of wisdom from me to you—boredom's a luxury. Trust me. I know these things.

Incredible, really, that those who faced oppression on the surface are able to find sanctuary here. Oh, not to say that there's no helping the situation in Fódlan. To do just that is our duty and our honor.
Even so, I find the idea...rather lovely.

And a secret fourth house to boot. Secrets upon secrets—oh, I'm just itching to know them all! I'm sure Rhea knows all about this place. Gods, how many secrets does that lady have?

Weird deity.

It's completely different from the one in the monastery. And their collection is amazing. There are forgeries and banned books. Legends, spells, and heresies. Doubt I'll catch a single wink tonight.

I doubt everyone here, or even a majority of them, are criminals.

Actually, it's Balthus. You've probably heard of me. In the Alliance, I'm known as a...how should I put it?
An outlaw?
Right answer! This guy's notorious for picking fights and shirking debts. He's got a whole army of bounty hunters chasing after him.
I may not look it, but I was once a noble from a minor house. Life's full of twists and turns.
I know you, Baltie. I'm pretty sure you got yourself into this mess.

The scrap heap contains rusted weapons.

I didn't expect to find much, but there's actually plenty of gear we could salvage. I'm told we can take anything we can use, so it might be good to check on it now and again.

I am. And you are Constance of House Nuvelle. I recall hearing of your disappearance. I never would have imagined you'd end up in a place like this...
Your presence is equally curious. What business could you have here?
Don't tell me it was idle curiosity.
As I believe you are well aware, we were chasing after a suspicious individual.

Yeah, I've heard all about you. But I never figured I'd see you down here, chasing after someone and getting lost in the process.
An underground house, huh?
That's right. And so we're clear, the Ashen Wolf House isn't affiliated with the Officers Academy.
Since we're not part of the academy, it's really just in place for us. Can't go to the surface either. We've all got our reasons. We're a unique bunch from all walks of life. Once you get to know us, I'm sure you'll love it here.

Abyssians like their privacy. If you go snooping around, there's bound to be trouble. Wait, did I introduce myself? My name's Hapi.

Once you've talked to everyone in Abyss, you're automatically prompted to move on.
♪ No music ♪

♪ Dark Clouds Gather ♪

We'll discuss that another time. For now, tend to your mission. Don't worry. No one will die. We'll get everyone out safely. Once the trap is set, shift your focus to protecting the Abyssians, just in case things go south.

What was that about?
Oh, it's you.
I was just heading off to ambush our attackers. You'll help with that, won't you?
Oh? Does that mean your enemies are drawing near?
Very good! Heh. The scouts I sent to the surface spotted some mercenaries. We closed off the entrance they used last, but it seems they've already found another.
This is bad! We've got to evacuate everyone from Abyss as quickly as possible.
That won't be necessary. They'll be back soon.
Huh? Who?

Sure, but if we do nothing, we'll die a lot sooner. I assume the corridor is successfully camouflaged?
But of course! Our decoys shall prevent those scoundrels from chancing upon our living quarters. Do note that I am the bait upon your hook. If we fail, I shall be left dangling in the wind.
Aha! But it must be done, I fear! And so I will most happily accept the starring role in this—
They're at the entrance. They'll be coming in from the east.
The east... Good. We're well placed. Go ahead and draw them deeper into Abyss, just like we planned.
Why are they targeting Abyss?
I'd like to know that myself. But first things first. We've got to make it through this encounter.
Launching small counterattacks on the surface won't accomplish anything. It could also earn us the scorn of the church, if it gets messy...which it will. That's why we have to lure the enemy underground before we take them out. I know the perfect spot.
Admit it, pals. You're knee-deep in this, just like us. There's no turning back now, right?
Of course not! If there's any way we can help your cause, we won't turn our backs on you.
That's right. We will not stand idly by while danger befalls the innocent people of Abyss.
If we can capture the enemy, we can perhaps learn the reason behind their relentless attacks.
We'll fight at your side.
Excited, are you? Fine. We could use more bodies to throw at our enemies. Thanks for volunteering.
How insensitive! Your lack of excitement stings.
So long as they're fighting with us and not against us, I don't care how excited they are. Let's get to it!

♪ Woven by Fate ♪

I heard about this place from someone back in town. It hasn't been in use for a long time.
I figured it could prove useful, so I spent some time clearing out the debris that was blocking the entrance.
It seems to be a revitalized ruin... Perhaps it was originally a reception hall or something similar.
Perhaps. Honestly, all of Abyss feels like a ruin.
Ahaha! This place is magnificent! It is just spacious enough to contain my glory! I shall not hold back here!
Large. Isolated. I wonder if it would be OK for me to sigh here...
If Hapi sighs, monsters come running. No, I'm not kidding.
I'm not sure what you could possibly mean by that...
I wish, Hapi, but no. Absolutely no sighing. And, Constance, be glorious in moderation. Understood? This place is so big that if it collapses, all of Abyss will fall with it. The whole reason we're luring our enemies here is to avoid damaging Abyss. Don't lose sight of that.
I am well aware of our aim!
Sure, but that doesn't mean we can trust you to show restraint.
Don't get carried away.
Do you truly believe that I would destroy Abyss in my efforts to save it? Preposterous!
That would cause trouble for Elfie too. If the underground collapses, he's the one who will have to answer for it.
Who is Elfie?
You must know Aelfric, yeah? He's a big wig in the church, but a friend of Abyss. He's the one who opened up this place to folks with nowhere else to turn. Folks like us. He gave us a home, a new life.
It is Aelfric himself who put forth the idea of establishing the Ashen Wolf House. Sadly, he faces opposition within the church, and so he cannot openly deploy the knights to aid us.
That means Aelfric relies upon us to protect the people who live here. Us...and now you. I hope you're ready, Professor. We're counting on you.
We won't let you down.
Reliable, aren't you? We'll owe you one.
Time to knock some sense into their thick skulls. They picked the wrong strangers to mess with!

♪ As Swift as Wind ♪

I'm itching for a fight.

The Ashen Wolves will be joining us this time, as you might've guessed.

...That's a suspiciously empty map. I don't like the looks of this.

All of the enemies are generics—that doesn't mean they're weak, though. The holy knights have Aura and Fortify. Annoying.

Sadly, the Ashen Wolves don't retain their levels from the first map. However, Constance is sporting a very particular spell that she didn't have in the first map...

Bolting: 3-10 range. 12 Mt, 65 Hit, 15 Crit, 18 Wt, 2 durability. Cannot trigger follow-up attacks.

Iiiiit's Bolting! Finally in our hands! Constance is the only unit with a Reason strength that learns Bolting—the two others who learn it are either not built for magic (Hilda), or have a Reason weakness (Manuela).

I swap Edelgard to warrior for this map. She loses a lot of Def, but I'm not particularly fussed about that right now.

Now's a good time to mention Trickster's mastery art: Foul Play.

Foul Play: Trickster only. Unit can swap places with an ally within 1-5 tiles.

With this and the Fetters of Dromi, Yuri can pull some ridiculous positioning tricks.

Let's go.
♪ No music ♪

♪ The Shackled Wolves ♪

Heh, they actually fell for it. Let's get this done!

We'll need to take them all out, or they'll just keep coming. Let's pull together.

Ugh. I hate when I end up in positions like this, where the enemy can very easily reach me but I can't reach them.

It'll be a shame to mar this pretty arena with a bunch of fresh corpses, but here goes!

First order of business: beat the shit out of one of the holy knights. Balthus doesn't have Tomebreaker, sadly, but he does have Brawl Avo +20, which is basically the same. Just wish I could've stacked the two...

Be careful who you choose to follow. Ha, I suppose it's too late for that now, isn't it?

That's Yuri in Cindered Shadows in a nutshell: fast, can deal decent damage to magic users, but has problems actually getting kills.

Hapi and Constance pull out of the assassins' attack range. I tried having Constance use Bolting on one of them, but she whiffed, which made me rewind. Missing Bolting is grounds for burning a Divine Pulse charge, in my eyes.

Oof. I know switching to warrior came with risks, but that was a lot of damage Edelgard otherwise wouldn't have taken.

You can't repair the Vajra-Mushti, so use them wisely.

You're a real pain in the neck, you know that?

You'll not find it so easy to escape from the darkest depths of Garreg Mach!

Whiffing on a 90 Hit chance, huh?

This just isn't my day. Rewind!



I deserve that, after that bad luck.

I'm about to scream.

New plan.

Thank the gods that wind magic is accurate...

Fuck me. Defeating all of the enemies that the map started with immediately makes reinforcements spawn.

More visitors already? Allow us to offer you a premature burial.

Damn brat. I'll sue!

Balthus comes with Healing Focus, so he can maintain his own HP.

Yuri can also chip heal five times per map.

At least the valkyries over there get slowed down by cavalry having extreme movement penalties on stairs.

Can't say I disapprove of getting Def, but Str would've been nice.

Gonna need you to hold still.

Just need you to dish out meaty hits, Hilda.

I guess I have to.

That's nice, Lin.

There, the imminent threats are immobile now.

Oh yeah, both of the valkyries are toting Excalibur.

Excalibur: 1-2 range. 11 Mt, 100 Hit, 15 Crit, 8 Wt, 4 durability. Deals effective damage to flying units.

Don't let Constance near them.

This is why you don't let Constance be near them.

The obvious solution, then, is to lock them in place and debuff them.

Wish that had Str.

Close to wiping out this wave.

With the help of her C support with Abby, Edelgard gets a kill on that fortress knight.

The rattled debuff on the valkyrie means Constance can narrowly survive an Excalibur.

All we have here are your buddies' carcasses. Maybe you should turn around and go home.
And now, warlocks, grapplers, an assassin, and a wyvern rider.

Also, fortress knights, more grapplers, and a valkyrie.

We've got a big storm coming.

This is almost certainly safe. Yuri is naturally evasive, and that Avo floor gives him +40 Avo.

Suffer not an enemy flier to live.

I have to lock that grappler and assassin down, or else Claude will get very overwhelmed on the enemy phase.


Really shouldn't have switched Abby off of swordmaster.

Claude can counterkill mages real good.

Balthus blocks off those grapplers.

And that's two warlocks locked down.

Careful with Constance's positioning, again!

What would I do without Hit-boosting axe combat arts?

And then Dimitri freezes both of the fortress knights.

Edelgard draws the valkyrie's attention. She's standing on a Res tile, so she's got +2 Rsl, at least.

Good start, Constance!

Quit bugging me!

...I just wanted some long-range chip damage, but that works too!

Alright, let's finish this wave off.

I'm burning through that iron bow fast. Need to slow down.

Jeez, will it ever end? I love a good brawl, but I'm sick of looking at these fools.
And here comes the last wave.


As fearsome as ever, and this time I don't have Lysithea to help.

It's not that hard to take the Death Knight down here, especially since Dimitri has Knightkneeler. I just didn't feel like trying since this was a blind playthrough and I was down to one Divine Pulse charge. That crescent sickle would've been so nice to have, though...

Since we won't be fighting him, let's see his battle dialogue.
Now, unsheathe your sword. Show me all that you are!
Some baggage you've got, pal. Just how many people have you slaughtered?
Your composure with that weapon... Your posture... It cannot be. No, it is surely just my imagination.
So Constance knew Emile in the past, huh? Wonder if she knew Mercedes, too.
I don't care what brought you here. Withdraw. Now.
And for everyone else...
I have no time for this. To your grave!
Once you've defeated him...
I've indulged too much. I take my leave. For now.
Honestly! What a nuisance.


Hot damn, Edelgard.

too close too close too close

Hm. Maybe the Death Knight can make himself useful for once, and take out some of these enemies for me.

The injured wyvern rider is an easy pick. And my boy unfortunately disappoints.

There's the Dimitri I know.

I hope this works...

Oof, that jerk's got a horseslayer.

Horseslayer: Requires Lance rank D. 1 range. 8 Mt, 70 Hit, 13 Wt, 20 durability. Deals effective damage to cavalry units. Requires Smithing Stone x3 and 825 gold to repair.

Don't let him get near Dimitri or especially Hapi.

In what universe do you think that would've turned out well for you?

Hey, Edie, nice level!

Well then! That went about as well as I could've hoped for.

Well done, Linhardt.

My dude, are you doing fingerguns when you use magic?

And that's that.
♪ No music ♪

First try. That was a bit nervewracking in the moment...

Good. Finally. Thanks for all the help, everyone.

♪ Dark Clouds Gather ♪

Aelfric, you're here! Well, shall we capture this fool?

♪ A Gentle Breeze ♪

I am relieved that I wasn't too late. I do hope my presence proved useful.
No doubt about it. We needed the backup.
You're with the church...
Of course, I have heard all about you from Her Grace, the archbishop. Allow me to introduce myself. I am Aelfric. The church has granted me custodianship of Abyss.
Pleased to meet you.
Indeed. And despite my responsibilities, I am but a humble monk.
The pleasure is all mine. I am sure you have already been told about Abyss's unique situation. For varying reasons, all of the inhabitants here are unable to live a peaceful life on the surface.
People like the Dagdans and Almyrans, who suffer undue persecution across Fódlan. The poor and the sick, who were forced into Abyss. Not to mention all the other unfortunate souls who ended up here.
I believe it is my sacred duty to provide a place for those who have nowhere else to go.

Enough, Claude. Please forgive my friend, Aelfric. We would love to hear more.
In all honesty, I understand his concern. I dearly wish I could provide a better life for my flock.
But it would appear that Her Grace and most of the church consider the existence of Abyss to be...something of a nuisance.
A nuisance?
I'm afraid so... Those within the church who would see Abyss purged are swiftly growing in number.
That's the church for you. They make a big deal out of helping the helpless...when it suits them.
We can't just sit back and accept the way things are. We've gotta fight the system!
Sure, I'm here to hide from literally countless bounty hunters, but I'm not the only one in need.
You're in a bad way too, Hapi. We can't just let the church walk all over us.
Too true. For the sake of all who dwell in Abyss, we must help dear Aelfric to turn the tide!
I am overwhelmed with gratitude. Your fervent support is all the reward I could ask for.
As for you, Professor, I must beg a favor of you.
What's the favor?

If you could find it in your heart to take them under your wing, I would be most grateful. Naturally, your official duties take precedence, so you need only help out when your schedule allows.
Wait a minute, Aelfric. Where's this nonsense coming from?
I second that question! We have no need of a professor when we have you.
Dear flock, I am a mere guardian. I can protect you, but I cannot enrich your minds. Though I call this gathering an academy house, I have long lamented that it isn't truly so. Now, I am blessed with the opportunity to correct this. The professor who stands before you has garnered a great deal of acclaim on the surface. A most trustworthy and esteemed teacher, to say the least. What's more, I happen to be acquainted with the father of this fine individual.
How do you know my father?
I met Jeralt back when he was a knight. I was born and raised in Garreg Mach, so I often had the opportunity to spend time with him.
Your mother, as well... She was a cherished friend of mine. I was even present for their wedding. With parents like yours, I have no doubt that you possess the kindness and patience necessary to guide these students.
It'll be fine. It's not like we're strangers anymore. Say, Aelfric... Don't you need to take care of those thieves?
Ah, right you are. Please, excuse me. Oh, and one more thing, Professor...
If ever you would like to hear more about your parents, I would be delighted to share my memories with you.

Well now. That's an interesting twist. Someone who knew the Eisners well...

Next time: the sun...

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