Having Nephenee become such a central part of my Path of Radiance strategy was unintended, but fortuitous; whereas she’s normally not able to handle very much during these early Act 2 stages, the bonuses from PoR have made her quite a bit more versatile. It’s not game-breakingly amazing or anything, but she and Brom are available for 3 out of this act’s 5 stages and having her able to take (and dodge) some hits will really help. Especially in this stage and the endgame stage.
This bit of narration is a recap with no new information. As mentioned before, Nephenee and Brom head to Crimea’s capital of Melior to tell Elincia about how Duke Ludveck is riling up villagers with the aim of taking the crown for himself.
They manage to make it there without any problems and tell her what’s happening.
Lucia mentions that they had suspected as much, but weren’t sure until now. Geoffrey wants to arrest Ludveck and his rebels, but Lucia tells him that they need evidence to bring to the royal assembly first. While not explicitly mentioned, it’s obvious that arresting him without evidence would only deepen existing divisions.
Lucia takes the lead for this chapter. She’s leveled up quite a bit and can dodge attacks well, so she’s going to fight forward with Brom and Nephenee while weaker units remain in the back during the upcoming stage. Mostly because it’s a stage with fog of war like Micaiah and the Black Knight’s chapter and it’s hard to know where enemies are coming from. That means their role isn’t to just beat enemies, but also move far enough ahead that others are lured out of the darkness to the group.
The first base conversation involves Heather talking about how she’s Elincia’s biggest fan and all of the horrible things she’d do to Ludveck. I’m pretty sure her deal is that she’s a lesbian, but this was before Nintendo was comfortable going further than merely implying as much. Anyway, Lucia explains that she’s going to go to Felirae on an information-gathering operation and asks Nephenee and Brom to go with her. They were already usable units as proven by the previous screen showing this chapter’s usable characters, of course, but I suppose it’s still polite to ask.
A second base conversation is somewhat similar, with Lethe and Mordecai having remained in Crimea (no doubt to help strengthen relations between the two nations) and offering Gallia’s help in dealing with Ludveck. When Lucia tells them that she can’t accept their help, Lethe deduces that it’s because it would further upset the nobles and cause more of a problem. She then goes on to lament the ridiculousness of politics. Lethe: “Attempts to compromise won’t get you anywhere. You should just kill him and get it over with.” Regardless, they’re both willing to join Lucia on her mission to Felirae, and when Leanne and Nealuchi (the only two who didn’t already show up as usable units) join the conversation, they also insist on coming.
The third base conversation involves Elincia sewing a good-luck charm onto Lucia’s collar since the two grew up like sisters. That good luck charm is a Talisman, which is a stat-boosting item that raises a character’s resistance stat. That’ll come in handy later on given how many magic-using enemies show up at the end of this game.
Then there’s the fourth and final base conversation, in which Geoffrey gives his sister an elixir. While I use healing items much more freely in this game than Path of Radiance, elixirs are valuable enough to save for the end of the game. There’s no sense wasting them when everyone’s health is low enough that a vulnerary or herb can heal them fully (or at least bring them close to that point).
I guess leaving a bunch of villagers alive in the last chapter was a good idea, because it earned a nice chunk of bonus experience. This may seem like a ridiculous amount compared to how much was acquired in the last game, but third-tier class changes ensure that more of it is required to level up, which balances out.
Items, bonus experience, and skills are faction-specific, so this army doesn’t have access to the bonus experience gained by Micaiah’s army. It isn’t lost (which could be a worry new players have upon noticing its absence), but will be waiting for us when we start using those characters again in Act 3. For now, the only bonus experience we can use is what was gained during the last two chapters.
Lucia arrives at Felirae’s castle and explains to Ludveck that she thought that Leanne and the other laguz might appreciate the region’s fruits. I don’t think Lucia is a very good spy, because this cover story is absolutely terrible.
That night, Lucia sneaks around and eventually finds evidence of Ludveck’s involvement fomenting dissent among the populace. Leanne and Nealuchi show up before long rather than returning to Crimea like Lucia had planned, having located her without any problems because again, she’s not a very good spy. They’re not the only ones, either, as Ludveck’s soldiers arrive before long. She states that there’s only one exit, which means that their only option is to fight their way out.
She says that there’s only one way out, and the only way to finish the stage is to have Lucia arrive at a glowing point at the top-right of the stage, but reinforcements show up at the bottom-left fairly late like there’s a second entrance. This is just more evidence that she’s not a very good spy. Anyway, this chapter is more stressful than it is difficult, with the fear of the unknown being a bigger factor than enemies, but moving right and forming a wall with Lucia/Nephenee/Brom (and keeping Leanne and Nealuchi far enough behind them that bow-users coming from that side can’t hit them) is pretty much the whole strategy here. There’s an early enemy who comes from above the starting point, but he shouldn’t be able to reach anyone if the group immediately moves right, and Nephenee moves to the left to kill him before having Leanne sing so she can move back to her wall position. Leanne can actually refresh two units when untransformed (all of the herons function slightly differently), but I didn’t make much use of that because I only noticed it toward the end of the stage.
Some miscellaneous things to notice: there are fires that can be lit to slightly illuminate the surrounding area, which might not seem helpful at first, but lighting the first fire gives you a better sense of where the reinforcement units are. Also, moving forward too far can be an issue since hitting an enemy in the dark immediately ends that character’s turn. As for the boss, he has a Secret Book (a stat-boosting item that raises a character’s skill by 2) and I wanted to steal it, but it got to be a hassle so I just killed him. Skill isn’t a stat that the characters I use struggle with anyway.
Lucia returns with the evidence of Ludveck’s wrongdoings, and since we left a cavern full of dead people behind, he realizes that we know what he’s up to and stops being coy about his intentions. We’ve officially got a revolution. Elincia authorizes Geoffrey and his royal knights to use military force against the rebels.
When Elincia assures Leanne that she’ll continue looking for Ike despite the problems facing Crimea, Leanne speaks in an understandable language, though awkwardly. Nealuchi explains that she’s been working on learning the language, and Elincia quickly remembers that Leanne can read minds (that being a heron skill established in the last game) and can tell that she’s more upset than she’s letting on.
Knowing that she can’t hide the pain all of these problems she feels responsible for have ended up causing her, she breaks down while Leanne comforts her.