We’ve finally made it to Act 4’s endgame, or at least the beginning of the endgame. Unlike previous endgame chapters, there are actually five endgame chapters to play through here. Needless to say, a lot is about to happen. The only downside is that this is the point where we have to pick favorites because the number of characters who can be brought into the Tower of Guidance is incredibly limited, and a few I really wanted to include had to be left behind to make room for crucial units.
Everyone makes it to Sienne, and we get some more information here about the Tower of Guidance. Apparently it’s the spot at which the goddess is said to appear in “times of great crisis,” which I suppose is technically true. Anyway, the tower is supposedly sacred, and mortals aren’t meant to enter it, but rules are meant to be broken when you’re traveling with a literal goddess of chaos.
The Tower of Guidance is emitting a blinding light, which is probably not a good sign.
The city gate is shut, so Ike figures that they’ll have to force it open to enter Sienne and reach the Tower of Guidance. Micaiah’s group shows up not long after Ike’s does, but there’s no sign of Tibarn’s group. The gates suddenly open and everyone expects an attack, but it turns out to be Tibarn’s group, with Simba and Giffca in tow. It turns out that the beast king and his shadow were summoned by Yune (in their dreams, as per usual), and they met up with Tibarn’s group and already took care of the Disciples of Order who were hanging around the capital.
Yune then mentions that she wasn’t the only one who went around recruiting people, explaining that Ashera has recruited Goldoa. As in, all of the country’s dragons except for Kurthnaga and Ena (since they’ve been with us the entire time). One of the endgame chapters is 100% dragon laguz, and it gets pretty crazy.
I forgot to mention it amid the badness of that earlier desert chapter, but the prologue art of Naesala flying with Leanne and Nealuchi in tow kind of hit me in the feels. Naesala and Leanne can have a happy little ending of sorts if they support each other to an A-rank, so I decided to have them do so. That means bringing both of them into the Tower of Guidance, further reducing the number of slots for other units, but it’ll be interesting since it’s another of those things I’ve never done before.
This is another point in the game where there are a bunch of base conversations (five of them, to be exact), but they’re not summarized easily enough to condense their contents into a writeup under one screenshot like before. In fact, two of them have so much information that I’m posting them as videos instead of screenshots. Anyway, this first conversation is between Elincia and her people, and Renning joins the conversation to talk about how he wants to fight alongside everyone (and throws shade at princesses even though I’m pretty sure Elincia could murder the hell out of him). It’s a 3-star conversation, but you don’t get any items afterward, so I’m thinking that viewing the conversation recruits him. It’s difficult to tell, though, because as you’ll soon see, the number of characters in our army at the moment is dizzying.
The second base conversation is between Stefan and Yune, and we find out more about the Branded here. Basically, the Branded aren’t always the immediate result of a union between a beorc and laguz; sometimes their bloods only need to have mixed at some point in the distant past for it to manifest in an individual. We also find out that Amy (the little girl who Calill adopted) is Branded, which might help to explain how she avoided being petrified. Anyway, the Branded have “unnatural powers,” such as Petrine and Stefan’s combat skill and Soren’s strategic genius, leading the beorc to fear them. The laguz, on the other hand, ignore their existence entirely, and it’s not possible to hide among them because unlike the beorc who can only identify the Branded by their brands, laguz can instinctively tell what they are. Even the ones that can’t feel uneasy around them despite not knowing why. This is the reason why Vika was so jumpy around Micaiah back in Act 1.
Stefan eventually mentions that unions between beorc and laguz are said to be forbidden by the goddess, which is news to Yune. This causes Stefan to become hysterical as he recognizes that all of their persecution is the result of a lie. Oh, and Yune offhandedly claims that she didn’t create the beorc or laguz early in the conversation, which helps to flesh out the world’s history/lore a little bit.
The third base conversation is between all of our party’s dragons, and Nasir even makes an appearance. Almedha is despondent, still moping about Pelleas, and eventually Ena joins the conversation and things get awkward. You know, since Ena was engaged to Rajaion, who died because Ashnard held his sister Almedha’s baby hostage to coerce him into coming. Nasir eventually shows up (though he’s technically fighting on Ashera’s side), and we find out that Ashnard was deliberately antagonizing the dragon king to try and pull Goldoa into the war. He warped Rajaion and turned a search party looking for Almedha into feral ones because the dragon tribe is more prone than other laguz to losing themselves in the chaos of battle, and that would almost certainly have awakened Yune in Lehran’s Medallion. Nasir really only showed up as a favor to the king, as he wants Kurthnaga and Ena to return to him, but they both refuse and he leaves. He’ll be an enemy later on with the rest of the dragons, but we won’t bother engaging him because he joins us if he survives.
Simba stole Ike’s dad’s axe from his grave, which is pretty morbid. They claim that it’s because they were led there by the goddess, but I think they’re just a bunch of grave robbers. Still, the axe is called Urvan and it’s really powerful. Titania will be able to make good use of this thing in the upcoming chapters.
Finally, Volke pulls Ike aside and gives him 20,000 gold. It’s part of the 50,000 gold Ike paid him back in Path of Radiance. Apparently the contract ended earlier than expected or something and he’s returning the excess money. Ike tries to thank him for helping their cause, but he gets embarrassed and wanders off. Weird stuff.
By popular demand (not really), here’s 13 minutes of flipping through menus and micromanaging character items and skills! Since we’re about to choose favorites and in doing so lose access to a whole bunch of characters, this is the time to go nuts and remove their excess skills (and throw them into the convoy). We have two chapters of breakable weapons before Yune makes us choose a single weapon to focus on for the rest of the game, so long-range magic goes into the convoy for later while weapons like the Vague Katti and Urvan have enough durability to last. As for the skills, I tried to cram as much into each character as possible. Nihil and Parity in particular are hugely important because the last Endgame level has an enemy who can reflect any damage you do back at you if you don’t use one of the two. Even for all of the management, though, I still had to cut Elincia and Oliver to make room for Naesala and some of the other laguz royals, so Elincia had her skills removed and Oliver sent all of his staves to the convoy. Boyd also didn’t make the cut. That means that there was some further screwing around beyond what’s in the video.
Micaiah gets her class change as soon as we leave the base menu, so there’s no reason not to use bonus experience to bring her to level 20. Zihark, Mia, and Titania also receive enough bonus experience to reach level 20 since they’ve capped a bunch of stats. I don’t know what I’ll do with the rest of it; I’m deliberating using it on Volug or Leanne, but that’s a decision that I’ll leave for a later chapter.
Ike hitting the level cap before he could use any bonus experience means that he hasn’t capped all of his stats. Magic isn’t something that he needs to have since he’s not getting an Imbue skill, but luck and resistance could both be useful, so I use up my two Ashera Icons and one Talisman on him. His resistance stat is definitely the biggest worry, as a lot of upcoming enemies use magic and I’m pretty sure that the resistance stat is the one that determines a character’s ability to dodge Sleep staves. Which we’ll be dealing with in the next chapter. Which could be annoying.
When I was micromanaging items, I forged a new javelin for Nephenee. I also figured I should forge a throwing axe for Boyd, but since I eventually had to cut him from the team, it ended up being given to Titania instead. Its power and critical chance should help her take out some indirect attackers on enemy turns.
We go to enter the Tower of Guidance, only to be met with reanimated soldiers who Ashera has sent to fight us. There are a whole bunch of them and Yune starts to panic about their chances, but Ike snaps her out of it and they decide to send a small group into the tower while everyone else keeps the soldiers busy.
Yune decides to use her power to make Micaiah more powerful so that she has a better chance of helping out in the Tower of Guidance, and she’ll definitely be helpful, though mainly as a staff-user and long-range magic-user.
This isn’t like when we split up into different armies at the start of Act 4—anyone we leave behind will be unusable for the rest of the game. I had really wanted to bring Elincia and Oliver, but there are so few slots available that they had to be set aside.
You can only bring one heron with you into the tower (and you select which one here rather than in the previous menu), and since I’m working on building up a support relationship between Naesala and Leanne, it’s going to have to be Leanne. Obviously. We can’t hit that A-rank support if she’s not a part of our group.
Yune warns everyone that Ashera’s most powerful warriors are bound to be protecting her tower and that the fights will get tougher. That’s kind of obvious, but I really wanted to embed the picture above because I like the background art.
Lekain shows up and taunts everyone, as he’s the boss of this chapter. While he doesn’t similarly step forward to grandstand, Hetzel is also one of the bosses during this stage. The goal is to rout everyone, so despite Hetzel being an okay guy overall, we’ll be unceremoniously shuffling him off this mortal coil. The senators must die.
If you’re careless, you’ll probably bring Ena and Kurthnaga with you into combat. There’s lots of long-range magic (including Sleep/Silence staves, of course), though, and they’ll take too long to transform. That’ll force you to keep them back at the starting point while everyone else moves forward, and the problem with that is that reinforcements warp in at the starting point before long. Magic-using reinforcements who will double the dragons and kill them without much problem, in fact. It’s honestly easier to just leave them behind and stick with the more capable characters.
The Sleep staves are the only real problem in this chapter, though Lekain will eventually magically silence everyone. That means that giving Micaiah a Restore staff isn’t a bad idea, as it’ll remove any negative status from her at the end of each turn and allow her to remove a negative status from someone else. Otherwise, this stage is remarkably simple. Lekain warps around when you get near him, but the stage is small enough that you’re bound to have someone nearby. There are also long-range magic-users on both the middle-left and middle-right to consider (it’s especially important to keep Leanne out of range given how fragile the herons are), but that shouldn’t be a problem for long; I sent Tibarn and Simba left, Zihark and Volug right, and had Ike, Mia, Titania, Nailah, and Nephenee advance forward while Micaiah stayed behind them to wake up Ike whenever he was targeted with a Sleep staff. Basically, they pushed forward and killed everything in their paths.
The only really frustrating thing was that Hetzel kept putting Zihark to sleep, allowing a nearby enemy to get a free shot at him. Micaiah moved over and started waking him up, though, and while her Restore staff broke, it broke right after his Sleep staff did. It was a bit of a stalemate for awhile over there, but Tibarn eventually helped out and then all that was left was to mop up the few enemies who remained.
Lekain carried the blood pact contract around with him, so Micaiah destroys it. The curse is therefore lifted and Daein is saved, though we still have to deal with the whole “everyone is statues” problem before we can start celebrating.
This is a bit of followup art where the contract evaporates upon being ripped. And yes, this is another bit of art that I’m embedding almost solely because I like it.
Sothe notices that there’s a second blood pact on Lekain’s body, and it turns out that it belongs to Naesala. Having the threat of Begnion’s senate wiping out your entire country is a pretty good reason for acquiescing to their demands. Demands like selling your heron friend, or leading Tibarn into a trap, for example.
Yune talks about how people are unpredictable and how that makes her sad, but that it also makes her happy, and that this is why she loves people so much. Ike speculates that Ashera resents that unpredictability (since it clashes with her focus on “order”), but Yune tells him that she’s sure that Ashera once loved people.