This is the longest stage thus far, but far less story stuff ends up happening. We do get a healer, though, which is definitely helpful. Sothe also becomes a playable character here and can steal items from enemies (thieves could do this in Path of Radiance too, but I never had a good enough reason to do so) and open chests. He’s also our tank-type character who starts the game comparatively strong, but is eventually overshadowed. That means that his role early on is similar to Titania’s early in the last game: a tank who can’t be allowed to eat up all the experience.
While traveling along a road and talking about how they should probably avoid cities (one called Kisca is apparently nearby), a priest runs up and asks us to help. Their abbot is claimed to be sick, and Begnion soldiers are hoarding the medicine.
Sothe is familiar with the building, which means we know exactly where we need to go. The goal of the upcoming stage is to have Laura (the person who asked us for help and is now our new healer) arrive at the glowing spot at the top of the stage.
One of the first things you’ll notice is that it’s possible to climb up onto ledges. Radiant Dawn introduced an elevation bonus, which means that there’s a tactical advantage to being higher than the enemy. Basically, you do more damage and have a better chance of evading attacks when you have the higher ground. Exploiting height differences will eventually become a large part of the strategy, but for now it’s merely amusing that enemies and allies can climb up and down parts of the stage.
Like I mentioned before, this is a longer stage, though a large part of that length comes from grabbing items in chests and trying to let Micaiah finish off some enemies for experience without putting her in too much danger. I think that the light magic (Thani) in one of the chests actually lets her do bonus damage against units like the boss here, but using Sothe to slowly wear him down so that she can finish him off works just as well. Thani is useful enough to ration for later anyway.
After the stage, Laura suddenly goes missing. Sothe doesn’t want to leave Micaiah on her own, but she decides that they can cover more ground if they all search for her individually. She tells him that they’ll “rendezvous at Kunu Swamp.”
It turns out that Micaiah could sense Jarod’s presence and split everyone up so that they had a chance to get away. Both her and Laura end up his hostages.
Jarod decides that having the symbolic leader of the Dawn Brigade is good enough and that hunting down the rest of them isn’t important, and with that they depart.