You know how the last chapter felt kind of like filler? Almost like one of those early tutorial chapters? Well, chapter 7 is the one where everything happens all at once and we finally recruit Ike’s Radiant Dawn murder partner (though I’m going to have to find someone else to have her support in this game since I’m still aiming for that Ike/Soren Path of Radiance support). Things are about to get real.
After searching for Ike-dad and the two idiots for awhile and finding nothing, Titania notices someone in a nearby fort. Everyone agrees that they should check it out.
Surprise of surprises, it turns out to be infested with Daein soldiers. Immediately of note are the three treasure chests, which obviously have valuable stuff in them that we’ll want to get before finishing the stage. Enemies near each of the chests hold the keys, so we should be able to open them as soon as we get to that part of the level. For now, though, we start at the bottom-right and have to work our way up.
Before long, an allied NPC shows up on the right side of the screen and fights her way down to where the rest of the characters are (provided you haven’t already moved them far left). Ike can talk to her, and she basically says that she’s a mercenary working for Crimea who got careless and was captured, only to be freed by Ike-dad. As such, she joins our merry band of mercenaries and sucks right away. Don’t let that fool you—we’re going to have Mia and Ike support each other in Radiant Dawn, where she’ll quickly become a maelstrom of death and destruction capable of dodging most attacks and even destroying enemy weapons. Her and Ike will curb stomp entire parts of that game. I intend to use her throughout Path of Radiance, too, but know that at her best she’ll still be a shadow of her later self.
This thief will eventually appear on the bottom-left of the stage, and it’s important to kill him even if it means using Titania (who will start to be more of a factor now that Ike has a few levels under his belt). Thieves have an innate skill that allows them to steal items out of chests before you can grab them, which is infuriating. Then they escape and those items are gone forever. I started the stage by moving Ike and Soren around the right side and everyone else around the left, though, so Titania and the others were in range to clear out some nearby enemies and kill the thief.
Petrine shows up after awhile, but Ike-dad pops up along with her and lures her elsewhere with the promise of a one-on-one battle. He leaves Shinon and Gatrie behind at the top-left of the screen, though, which means they’re in perfect position to move down and grab the two chests on that side before reuniting with the group.
Another thing that happens when Petrine is lured away is that reinforcements arrive. This is something you need to take into consideration throughout the Radiant duology; even if you’ve cleared most of the map, it’s a bad idea to move your strong units away from the weak ones because you never know if/when/where scripted reinforcements will show up. In fact, by the time we reach the end of the sequel, entire groups of reinforcement will (literally) teleport in. These games get crazy.
The general strategy here is the same as it’s been thus far: have a stronger unit (but one that nonetheless could use the extra experience) step into the danger zone and have everyone else arranged around them in case extra attacks are needed to finish off enemies who take the bait. I’m using three groups at this point, with Ike and Soren on the right, Titania and Boyd’s anti-thief brigade moving up the left, and Shinon and Gatrie working their way down to Titania’s group.
Ike eventually makes it to the single chest in the upper-right part of the level, and there’s an Armorslayer sword inside. It’s just the thing to take on the nearby knights. As for the other chests, there’s a Miracle skill and a Ward staff. I had Shinon pick those up, and he gave the staff to Rhys. It could be useful for the rest of this chapter since the boss is a mage, but Ike’s resistance stat is high enough to take him on without any problem, and Soren is solid backup once the physical attackers are taken care of. Rhys has a high resistance, too, so he can safely heal so long as no physical attackers are left to hit him (and the boss will prioritize him since he can’t retaliate). Allies with low resistance like Boyd, on the other hand, need to stay away.
Once the boss is gone, Ike runs off to look for his dad. He finds Petrine struggling to keep up with him, only for her soldiers to unexpectedly surround the group from all sides. That’s when some laguz from Gallia show up and scare most of the enemies away. One transforms and demands that all Daein soldiers immediately retreat.
Petrine refuses, knowing that the penalty for doing so would be death anyway. That’s when the Black Knight shows up for the first time. He tells her that he’ll explain what happened to the king and that she doesn’t need to worry about retribution, causing her to acquiesce. This guy is clearly respected by even those high up on the Daein military ladder, and he’ll end up being an important character in both games.
The Black Knight then stares down Ike-dad and walks off. Dun dun dun.
It turns out that Elincia went and got Ike backup before even going to the king. Ike has his first conversation with laguz bro Ranulf, calling him a sub-human because Shinon is a terrible influence, but apologizes when it turns out to be an offensive term. Ranulf explains that bringing an entire mercenary group to the king would be excessive, so the plan is to have Elincia go while everyone else camps out in an old castle. Ike-dad is distracted, though, which Ike notes is out of character for him.
Oh, and the uncle who Elincia was hidden to protect the future reign of? Apparently he died. That means she has a straight shot to the throne, though! Yay dead uncle!
Ike-dad tries to sneak out, but Ike follows after him. They have a heart-to-heart about his dead mother before Ike-dad suddenly pivots and demands that Ike goes back to the castle. He obliges, but changes his mind soon after and runs into the forest to follow his dad. Presumably because he knows something is wrong? Or maybe because he’s in that “defying authority” part of being a teenager. Shrug.
Ike stumbles across his dad fighting the Black Knight in the forest. As good of a fighter as Ike-dad is, he doesn’t stand a chance here and is quickly cut down. The Black Knight then demands to know where the thing he came for is, but Ike-dad plays dumb and refuses to tell him anything. The Black Knight threatens to do horrible things to Ike and Mist to compel him to talk, but the beast king’s roar can be heard in the distance, which finally compels him to warp away.
With his dying breaths, Ike-dad tells Ike to live in Gallia and forget about taking revenge on the Black Knight. Once he’s dead and buried, though, Ike decides to instead take over the mercenary company and protect everyone. Teenagers.
Ike-dad’s axe in the picture above is called Urvan. In the next game, someone will literally steal it to give to Ike as though doing so is a thoughtful gesture. Seriously.