Update 55: I'm Ver-giant-rat That Makes All of the Rules

♪ No music ♪

♪ Legend of the Chalice ♪

Yuri! You scoundrel! You are unfit to speak to us, liar that you are!
Yeah, yeah, liar, blah-blah. Nothing I haven't heard before.
Look, pal. Enough beating around the bush. What exactly are you trying to accomplish here? Where's Aelfric? And what the hell are you plotting?
Questions, questions. You're wearing me out, Balthus. Fine, then. I'll lay it out for you.
Aelfric intends to reenact the Rite of Rising. He's preparing everything as we speak.
What is this silly rite, anyway? He trying to do some crazy magic to raise the dead or something?
Actually, yes. By offering up the blood of the Four Apostles in the chalice, you can bring someone back to life.
Saint Seiros performed the ritual 995 years ago, but not enough blood was given up. So the ritual was a bust. No clue what happened after that.
That's what Aelfric concluded after scouring the records, anyway.
And now, through extreme persistence, he's found and gathered the four of us, with our Crests.

You mean to say that he intends to drain our blood? To kill us?! Such an act would be unforgivable! An atrocity! I cannot die in this wretched hovel!
Yeah, that sounds painful...and permanent. Count me out.
Hang on—the number four includes you too, right? So you're gonna die too?
Yep. That's the idea.
And here I thought we were close, but all this time you've been skulking around, deceiving us. It hurts, Boss. Hurts bad.

Shut it. I've lived through hell and worse. After clawing my way here, you really think I want to die?
Then why throw your life away for the likes of Aelfric?
Some things are more important than my own life. Some things are worth protecting.
You're not making any damned sense!

That some sort of threat? There's not much you can do to me that hasn't already been done.
True. You took wing from the mud into which you were born and rose to such great heights. To break your spirit would take far too much effort.
Though, if I must, I will kill your mother in addition to your dear people.
Oh... So that's it. You were trying to protect your mom.
Precisely what is it you are hoping to accomplish, Aelfric?
To resurrect someone I lost long ago—no matter the cost. Surely there are those for whom you'd do similar.
Perhaps... Even so, never would we annihilate those we care for!
There's nothing I wouldn't do, nobody I wouldn't trade to see the light in her eyes once more...

Whoa... That lady looks real dead, pal.
She is...for now.

Well, this took a really goddamned weird turn, really fast.

For some reason, the game decided to split this cutscene in multiple internal parts, despite there being no real reason to do so. There's a loading screen happening here. That's my excuse for interjecting.

I accepted the regret I might feel from this long ago. As long as she returns, nothing else matters.
Yuri, if you think you'll be pulling anything funny, think again.
The Knights of Seiros won't save you. No doubt they're indisposed right now on some mission or other.
Well, that's a damn shame.
The whole evil villain look really doesn't suit someone as "pious" as you, Aelfric. Heh heh...
Yuri-bird, I could—
Not yet.

♪ Mask of Fire ♪

The sound of laceration is heard.

As recompense for being such a good student of my flock, I will gladly hear any final words from you.

For what...
For the goddess's descent. Can you hear it? She's coming.

Bells toll.
Bells? This late at night?

♪ The Shackled Wolves ♪

The ones you locked up and hid away.

Heh heh... Like I said, the evil villain look really doesn't suit you.
I know it was you who sent me on that mission that ultimately led to me landing in Abyss.
Overall, your execution was lacking. Lady Rhea has been on to you as well. Oh, and just so you know, I've been working for her since before I ever began working for you. She had me keeping an eye on you. Told me to inform her if you seemed to be planning anything.
But you took those I care most about hostage, which limited my options.
You chained up the Wolves and kept a tight grip on my rogues in Abyss to ensure I wouldn't betray you. I struggled with whether or not to tell her everything. After all, my allies' lives were on the line.
I deliberated on what to do next, knowing I'd have to rely on my own cunning to see this through. I waited for the chance I could rescue my mother and allies. All while paying lip service to you. Until today. The day you pulled all your forces in so you could attempt this ritual.
You're no villain, with that sticky conscience you call a heart tripping you up. Not like me.
...I see. You were one step ahead of me all this time. It matters not. The ritual has begun. There's no stopping it now.
Don't think for a moment—
That you're getting off easy, pal!

The sound of ropes being broken. Man, audio cues are a pain to describe.

I may be the Unbeatable King of Grappling, but I'm also bleeding profusely... You didn't wonder why it was taking me so long? Think next time, yeah?
I haven't the slightest what you two are jabbering on about, but please untie our ropes as well!
You're talking. Do it yourself. I dispelled the silence from you ages ago, or hadn't you noticed?
Oh! I see!

I...guess this sound is Constance and Hapi destroying their bindings with magic?

Wait, how does this make any sense? Both of them were talking just fine a bit ago, does silence only affect magic incantations, or— Oh, fuck it, I'm thinking too much about it.

♪ No music ♪

♪ Roar of Dominion ♪

Ugh! Why won't it cease? We are freed, and yet our blood still drains from us?
Hmmm. Well, this wasn't part of the plan. Haha!
This is no laughing matter! Our very lives are ebbing away!
Stop panicking, Constance. You know I'm never unprepared.
Hey, you've always got a trick up your sleeve, don't ya? I can hear your secret plan running our way.


Roar of Dominion keeps playing into battle preparations and the battle itself, much like the end of Part 1 of the main game.

First thing of interest: these vortex tiles. These are powering the Rite of Rising, and will continually cause the Ashen Wolves to be poisoned until one of our non-Ashen Wolves units steps on them.

Why couldn't you have had all these cool spells last map, when they would've been useful?

Commander: Nullifies instant death effects, status effects, and movement effects, and greatly reduces damage from enemy gambits.
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.
Battalion Wrath: If foe initiates combat while unit's battalion endurance is ≤ 1/3, grants Crit +50.
Transmute: If unit is hit with a magic attack during enemy phase, grants +3 to all stats until next player phase ends.
Seal Speed: If unit damages foe during combat, foe suffers Spd -6 for 1 turn after combat.
Seal Movement: If unit damages foe during combat, foe suffers Mv -1 for 1 turn after combat.

I don't quite get why he has Battalion Wrath, when no other enemies ever use battalion abilities, or Seal Movement, an ability normally exclusive to Dimitri's Riding aptitude, but whatever. Transmute is annoying. As is, y'know, Meteor. Approaching him is gonna be a real bastard. Also, he has 99 Def and 99 Res while at least one of the vortex tiles is active. Mildly inconvenient.

Small touch: much like the enemies at the end of Silver Snow, since Aelfric is a cardinal, he has presumably partaken of Rhea's blood, and as a result, has a minor Crest of Seiros.

Here's the map in macro. Choked with enemies, and we're, functionally, only fighting with the seven units at the bottom. The Ashen Wolves will instantly die the moment they step away from where they are. Yuri and Constance, being the farthest away from us, are especially stuck.

Oh, see those black magic users in the center? Those guys have fucking Bolting. And they're warlocks, so they've got four charges of it. I swear to the gods, half of the difficulty in this damn map is dealing with these pricks.

Not like bullshit circumstances have ever stopped me.

Can this really be the Rite of Rising... What precisely is going on?
Their blood is being drained and then transformed into...raw power...
Ugh... I... That's a lot of blood. Too much blood. This is hard to watch.

It is crucial to halting the Rite of Rising!
The vortices are repelling the Crests of the Apostles! We can't block them ourselves!
Look, we really want to help, but right now, we just can't. Please do what you can!

Oh yeah, we're on a time limit. 20 turns is pretty generous, at least.

The Bolting pricks mean business. Again, Edelgard is lucky that she has a massive pool of HP.

The yellow-tinted area is how much of the map is covered by the Bolting users. It's damn near impossible to step anywhere without having to be aware of Bolting.

Oh yeah, I'm also working on getting the Ashen Wolves out of the extreme danger zone. Just because they're part of the Rite of Rising, doesn't mean Aelfric's apostates won't hestitate to kill them the instant they step out of line.

We're near the end of Cindered Shadows, so I don't particularly care about wasting 3 uses of the Sword of the Creator.

Without the chalice's protection, I doubt anyone will survive.

At the start of the enemy phase on turns 1 and 10, Aelfric will cause 10 damage to everyone on the map except himself.


Told you Yuri's stuck.

Should've bought Dimitri a silver lance, or even just forged his steel lance, he could've counterkilled those assassins.


I restarted and I'm gonna try much the same strategy, except this time I had Lin lob off some fire at the fortress knight.

I also repositioned people so that Ashe doesn't get rattled by that Onslaught, too.

Now that's a good use of Bolting.

Alright, that's some of the initial opposition cleared out.

Alright, I really hope Contance can take that Bolting...

Oh, I guess Hapi seems like a better target. Sure.

Love me some Deadeye.

28% chance that Abby bit it there.

Again, I could've rewound to burn that Noa for an extra Bolting, but I really do not want to burn DP charges on RNG manipulation here.


It's over.

Western side's clear!

Aside from Bolting.

Too bad almost every non-Bolting enemy is headed for my short-staffed eastern side.

Balthus's Brawl Avo +20 makes him a decent option for baiting out Bolting.

Gods, there's so many damn fortress knights.

Yuri uses Foul Play to put Balthus closer to the Bolting users.

Eat shit, jerk. Balthus has got some Thorons coming his way, but he can hopefully dodge them.

Canto means Hapi can move forward, take out a fortress knight, and get to safety. Yay.



Godsdammit! Guess I can't do that.

Oh, now you dodge!

You can't just gather up like that, it makes things too easy.


Back off!

Taking out that sniper went about as well as I could've hoped!

Gives me the space Constance needs to come in and burn these jerks.

By the way, I'd like to remind you that Ashe's battalion has Retribution as its gambit. I could've just put it on Abby and had her eviscerate these jerks from several tiles away.

That'll hold the assassin in place.

Shall we dance?

Oh hey, that guy had a hammer.

Hammer: Requires Axe rank D. 1 range. 10 Mt, 60 Hit, 15 Wt, 20 durability. Deals effective damage to armored units. Requires Smithing Stone x3 and 925 gold to repair.

Probably for the best he never got close to Edelgard...

Things are looking much better now. Just gotta figure out how to deal with the Bolting users.

I've managed to make this apostate exhaust his uses of Bolting.

Hey, that assassin had an armorslayer!

Armorslayer: Requires Sword rank D. 1 range. 8 Mt, 80 Hit, 11 Wt, 20 durability. Deals effective damage to armored units. Requires Smithing Stone x3 and 725 gold to repair.

That probably would've been Edelgard's death, if he got close.

This guy's halfway burnt out his Bolting uses.

Hoo mama that could've been Claude's death!

Time to start getting rid of the Bolting users.

With a similar Foul Play to earlier, Balthus gets in place for punching a Bolting user's lights out.

A lucky Deadeye hit takes out a Bolting user.

Eviscerate reduced the chance of missing the kill, so I felt okay burning it, especially since I just repaired the Vajra-Mushti.

Doing pretty well!

Abby moves on top of Balthus's vortex.

Another map-wide 10 damage happens.

THERE. That's all of the Bolting users dead.

Edelgard stands on Hapi's vortex.

Hilda stands on Yuri's.

Hapi takes out a fortress knight, and can survive the Abraxas from this bishop.

Which would matter, if Claude didn't take the bishop out.

Dimitri stands on Constance's vortex, the final one.

Now that we've stopped the ritual, all that's left on the agenda is defeating Aelfric!
It matters not whose blood it is anymore. Even if I must use your blood to see this through, I will!
Stopping the vortices removes Aelfric's Def and Res buffs, and gets rid of the poison on the Ashen Wolves.

First order of business is making Aelfric uselessly burn both of his Meteor uses.

Bolting isn't of much use on Aelfric himself, especially since that'd activate Transmute, so Constance uses her second Bolting on getting rid of a fortress knight.

I feel some remorse over what I will require of you. But take it, I must. I will not shrink away from what is necessary.
That a fact? Then I guess a fight was inevitable.
Ever the brutish thug.

Balthus backs out and gets healed up for the next Meteor.

Constance has Rally Resistance, so I can make the next Meteor hurt a bit less.

There, I don't have to worry about siege magic any more for this map.

There, Aelfric's the only one left now.

Just because he doesn't have 99 Def and Res any more, doesn't mean he's not dangerous. In addition to his stats, he's on a pray stone, giving him +30 Avo, +2 Prt, and 30% HP regen every enemy phase.

You're not as angry as I'd have expected, Hapi.
I guess I'm used to betrayals by now. But that doesn't mean I'm going to sit on my hands and let you hurt me and my friends.
And here is where I did something very oblivious.

I meant to at least debuff Aelfric's Spd, if I couldn't damage him with Hapi, but all I did was activate Transmute. Swarm Ζ's debuff doesn't even go through if it doesn't deal damage.

Soon...soon, she will be brought back to me. Should anyone attempt to get between us, they will sorely regret it.

NO! Fuck, I could've lopped 50 HP off there! Dammit dammit dammit! Of all the goddamn times for the Crest of Blaiddyd to proc in all the times I've played the game, the one time it's useful, it misses!

Alright, Aelfric, you wanna play fucking games? You wanna taunt me with a useful Blaiddyd proc? Fine, we'll play some fucking games!

Yuri swaps Hilda out of Aelfric's attack range, and gets out of it himself, thanks to the Fetters of Dromi.

Claude takes a potshot and gets to safety.

Ashe takes a safe potshot. Every bit of damage helps.

Next turn, Dimitri runs in with another Tempest Lance.

Ashe takes another potshot.

And Hilda takes Aelfric's fucking head off.

How's that for some fucking games, you two-timing necrophiliac son of a bitch?

Phew, that felt good. For reasons I don't want to taint the LP with, calling a manipulative bastard some very vulgar but honest names is cathartic for me, at time of writing.

For those of you who are curious, here's the rest of the unique dialogue for battling Aelfric. The first one is for Abby, by the way.
I have not wanted any harm to befall you, as you are her child. She'd have wanted you safe. But if you insist on getting in the way of this, I have no choice but to strike you down.
In the end, like all birds of prey, you'll turn on your master as easily as you'd turn on your victims.
Nothing and nobody can shackle me. A caged bird never sings.
The bill has come due for your misdeeds, Aelfric.
It matters not. She is all that matters. She alone.
Ahaha! Then if words shall not sway you, let us proceed to actions!
♪ No music ♪

Fuck that map.
♪ A Lonely Figure ♪

Your mother lies here, waiting for us. Waiting for you! Don't you want her back?
Teach, is that true, or is he just trying to freak us out? If so...it's kind of working.
I have no mother.
There is no room for doubt. I know her appearance better than anyone. This...is her. An upstanding nun who married Jeralt, she died 21 long years ago...
You cannot expect us to believe that someone who died two decades ago is still in such pristine condition...
Incredible, isn't it? It's as though she remains untouched, even after all these years... Perhaps her body differs from others. Beautiful, ageless—perfectly preserved by some secret only she knows.
Whatever the case may be, it is strange, is it not? It's been 10 long years since I found her. I came across her body, frozen in time, deep underground. I have worked tirelessly to solve the riddle of her death and bring her back to life.

You are the cause of this! It was you who killed her! When she gave birth to a child who made no sound. Tell me what you've done to her! Why does her body remain while her spirit does not?!
I owe you no words on the matter. But I will tell you this...

Nothing more. Aelfric. Just as I viewed her, so do I view you. You are as my own child. Please, cease this futility.
You expect that I should believe you without question?! You see her lying here before you, and yet you "owe no words." Rhea, I am finished with you. The only thing that remains to be done is to complete the ritual.

Hurry! He cannot have gone far.
Let's end this.

♪ The Imperial Army is Upon Us ♪

Yes, we must stop him at once. Let's figure out where he disappeared to.
What about you four? You don't look like you're up for much of anything right now.
It'll take a lot more than that to stop me. If anything, I feel speedier with less blood weighing me down.
Probably for the best that he drained us, otherwise our blood would be boiling.
Ugh, speak for yourselves. I feel atrocious.
We must end this, and swiftly.
Count me in.
Then we're all on the same page. But first things first... Let me see that pretty face of yours, Boss.

Why the hell didn't you tell us?
I'm sorry I had to use you all. But there wasn't much choice—someone would've died for sure otherwise. It could've been any of you. It could've been one of my rogues, someone from Abyss... Who knows.
You imply that you didn't trust us enough! I am incensed by you, Yuri.
Use me or don't, but it would've been nice if you'd asked us first.
Look, I get it. Your people were being held hostage. You were between a rock and a hard place.

I need you...all of you. I've been a fool. Thank you for always being here for me. Even now.
All right, I think this fool gets the picture. Time to find that other fool and take him down! You'll help with that, yeah?
Haha! I love the lip on this one. Let's do this, Wolves.

Next time: we take Aelfric's head. For real this time.

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