Micaiah and Laura have been captured, but it’s not all bad: we get to meet up with some old friends in prison, and they’ll allow us to have access to the base menu during the next chapter. This is really the last of the truly brutal early stages (at least in Act 1), and this one is a doozy because we’re not only breaking out of jail, but trying to keep some NPCs who can’t defend themselves alive while we do so.
We end up in a cell with Aimee and Ilyana, who have been imprisoned by Begnion soldiers for some reason. The upcoming stage would be a lot easier if Ilyana had capped some stats in Path of Radiance and had bonuses here, but she’s going to be such a non-factor throughout the game that focusing on her there wasn’t worth it. Meeting back up with Aimee means having access to the convoy (and all of the buying/selling/forging that comes with it) in the next chapter, though.
Sothe shows up before long to rescue Micaiah, and Aimee starts to hit on him.
One of the other people in the cell is dragon laguz prince Kurthnaga, though he’s wearing a hood and claims his name is just “Kurth.” I don’t remember if Sothe or Aimee recognize who he is and choose not to make a big deal out of it or if that’s just a really good hood, but there are no signs that either recognize him yet.
Ilyana’s major character trait is exhaustion arising from constant hunger. It’s kind of stupid when you think about it, but it was a charming bit of simplicity (though even she has a back story) before character development in Fire Emblem games was reduced to everyone revolving around one or two traits like that.
This chapter is one best gone through slowly, and getting through it safely is bound to require every single character’s involvement. First, there are a number of enemies close to everyone’s starting position who need to be killed to make it safe for NPC allies Aimee and Kurthnaga, but reinforcements come from the left (and eventually from the top where NPCs will be if you don’t direct them to move with you). There’s also an enemy here named Aran who Laura can recruit, and lots of enemies can attack indirectly and do serious damage to Leonardo, Micaiah, and other low-HP characters. The guy on the escape tile even has a longbow that can hit characters from one square farther than a normal bow. On the bright side, several enemy units don’t move. The two armored knights blocking the path to the escape tile? They don’t move. Same with the longbow guy and the armored knight next to him.
Nolan, Sothe, and (to a certain extent) Aran once recruited can take a couple hits, so they play big roles here. I gave Micaiah that Thani spell from the last stage since it does tons of damage against a number of different enemies, and there was also a sword from the last map that Edward can use to can attack indirectly. Basically, tank-type characters move down the left while weaker characters stay close to take out the two reinforcement units who show up and pose a risk to the NPCs. Once those two are gone, everyone moves down the left side together. Nolan and Sothe eventually move into the boss’ range, and this draws a bunch of enemies to the group. This is probably the hardest part of the stage because the boss needs to survive long enough for Sothe to steal a skill from him, but using Nolan, Sothe, and Micaiah (with Laura healing everyone’s injuries—we’ll be able to buy new staves for the next chapter) worked out. Then it’s just a slow march to the escape point. You can even direct the NPC units to escape for extra bonus experience.
Our new allies are surprised by how ruthless Begnion is being with their occupation of Daein, and Jorge (I think he’s the member of Aimee’s group who you sell things to, though I always mix up him and the forge guy) tells Micaiah about a rumor that Ashnard had a son at some point. The thought is that the Dawn Brigade could find him and use him to unify the people behind Daein’s independence much like how everyone rallied behind Elincia and helped her retake Crimea. Revolution!