This chapter is where we get all of our main weapons blessed (sadly, not our staves, so there’s no chance of infinite long-range healing), which means that the long-range magic saved up over the game will now become unbreakable. Using Leanne to refresh two units—ideally Soren and Sanaki because I made sure that they both have Adept—it’s possible to get 4-6 long-range magic attacks per turn. Sometimes even more than that if Soren’s speed is high enough to double an enemy from afar. That won’t be anywhere near enough to deal with this chapter’s boss, though, so we’re going to have to throw everything we’ve got at this stage to make it through.
Yune gets bored as they climb and starts telling everyone the story of creation.
Mythology is a bit awkward when paraphrased, so I’m going to give you the early stuff verbatim: “In the very beginning of this world… there was only water, until one day a girl appeared.” Then the picture above, where the girl is explained to have created trees and flowers and beings. Ike asks whether the girl in the story was Yune or Ashera, and she responds, “Both, really… and neither, actually.”
The girl grew lonely because all of the beings she created were unlike her, and she cried for thousands upon thousands of years. Eventually, however, the beings began to “grow and change, becoming more clever and sophisticated.” These were the Zunanma, who were last mentioned in chapter 15 of Path of Radiance, and even then, only briefly. As a reminder, the Zunanma were precursors to modern-day beorc and laguz. Sanaki mentions that people in Begnion are taught that the Zunanma were exclusively beorc ancestors, but Naesala mentions that the senators probably propagated that version of history to help justify their laguz slavery.
The girl was worshiped by the Zunanma as a goddess, and they called her the Goddess of Dawn because “her hair was as striking a color as dawn’s first light.” The Zunanma continued to evolve and change over time, “giving rise to a variety of races and tribes across the land.” This caused conflict between them, though, so the Goddess of Dawn stepped in and gave them the new names of beorc and laguz to try and separate the factions. Sadly, this only caused more conflict between them.
The Goddess of Dawn only wanted to bring an end to the fighting, but then the great flood occurred. Given what we’ve already learned, a few things can be deduced from all of this: the Goddess of Dawn split into Ashera and Yune at some point, and it was an emotional overreaction to the warring Zunanma in their original combined form that accidentally caused the flood and wiped out a huge amount of the world.
Yune stops her story, explaining that yet another stands in their way. Kurthnaga can sense his father ahead (because dragon laguz have an uncanny ability to sense each other), so we have a whole lot of dragons in our immediate future.
Yune tells everyone that Dheginsea has a powerful blessing from long ago, and that she has no choice but to give everyone a similar blessing because “in their natural state, the attacks of mortal creatures have no effect on divine beings.” Back when Ashera sent her strongest warriors (including Altina and Dheginsea) against Yune, she gave them a bit of her power and blessed their weapons. Yune plans on using that same trick against her this time around, telling everyone to make sure they have their best weapon equipped before continuing. Then the advance menu comes up.
We actually get three base conversations this time around, and the first involves Micaiah, Sothe, and Ike. Micaiah and Sothe share a bit of a moment, and then Ike shows up and Sothe gets embarrassed and runs off. Micaiah then takes the opportunity to tell him about when she and Sothe met, and she reveals that she abandoned him in Crimea back around the time of Path of Radiance (hence him joining Ike to look for her) because she couldn’t hide her slowed aging for much longer while he grew up next to her, but that she heard that war broke out between Crimea and Daein shortly afterward and went looking for him. After the war, they met back up in Nevassa where they had originally met. All of this helps to explain their promise not to keep secrets from each other that they made after reuniting. We also find out that Soren and Micaiah could each tell that the other was Branded.
In the second base conversation, Ike and Sanaki are talking about the Black Knight, and the topic of Sephiran comes up. Sanaki claims that “Sigrun always said that there’s no other master of the arcane arts who can compare with the Duke of Persis,” and Ike suggests that he suspects Sephiran of being involved with all of this because he’s unlikely to have been petrified, but Yune didn’t dream-convince him of joining up to help take on Ashera’s forces. Sanaki’s not having any of it, but Ike makes some good points. Anyway, she ends up giving Ike a Pavise skill, which nullifies all damage when it activates. No one has room for it, though.
The last base conversation is between Leanne and Micaiah, and Leanne gives her a Guard skill. Again, everyone’s already packed so full of skills that these extra ones on top aren’t very helpful, but I guess they could remove an unnecessary skill if a Pavise or Guard becomes necessary. The Guard skill allows an adjacent unit to take damage on behalf of an ally who they have a support relationship with. An enemy will have this in the next chapter, and it tends to be incredibly annoying.
Volug’s level-ups have been really disappointing. On top of that, I put Zihark and Volug in the wrong army at the beginning of Act 4 (though it ended up making the chapters much easier than usual), so he didn’t get his usual blast of experience. He’s really been hurting for strength, and his level-ups haven’t been giving much more than 2-3 stat upgrades anyway, so I got impatient and pumped enough bonus experience into him to max his level out. I might use a stat-boosting item to raise his strength, but he’s good enough for now. The dragons in the upcoming chapter attack indirectly, so Zihark is going to be taking the lead for this one anyway.
I don’t know if Alondite needs to be blessed or if it comes pre-blessed from its original Ashera blessing, but we only need the blessing to take on bosses who have the Mantle skill, and that means that we can leave Alondite unblessed and still use it against all of the dragons in the upcoming stage except for Dheginsea. Since Mia isn’t going to be a huge factor against bosses after Dheginsea, there’s no reason not to bless a Wyrmslayer, then. She can use the Alondite to counterattack enemies at range, then switch to the Wyrmslayer when she helps gang up on the boss.
As for the other characters of note, Nephenee equips the Wishblade (which can attack indirectly), Micaiah equips long-range light magic, Zihark equips the Tempest Blade (because the Vague Katti can’t attack indirectly and that quickly becomes a problem during later chapters full of magic-using enemies), Titania equips Urvan, Sanaki equips long-range fire magic, and Soren equips long-range wind magic.
Kurthnaga and Micaiah try to appeal to reason with Dheginsea and convince him that Yune and Ashera were awakened by the song of release rather than the war, but he’s not buying it. Violence is obviously the only way past him, then.
Nasir and Gareth (the red dragon who was with Kurthnaga when we first met him) are both enemies during this stage who sit in place near Dheginsea, and it’s best to leave them be; if the stage is finished and they’re still alive, they’ll be recruited into our group. That’s not to say that they’ll be useful, but I like to recruit every single possible character. Anyway, this stage is a long one full of red and white dragons. They’re surprisingly capable of damaging characters, even the fast ones (though not so much Zihark), and Dheginsea has an area attack that does a bunch of damage to any characters near him at the beginning of every few enemy turns, with it doing more damage the closer you are. That complicates things slightly, but the general strategy is actually pretty simple: rush down the center while strong units (like laguz royals and Nephenee) pick off any dragons that come from behind the group.
Units with ranged attacks like Ike, Mia, and Zihark fight their way up and eventually block off the top, dealing with a bunch of dragons near Dheginsea before Simba, Ike, Mia, Nephenee, and everyone else with the slightest bit of power take turns smacking Dheginsea until he dies. He restores health each turn (and has an attack called Ire that can basically obliterate a unit, so it’s a good idea to save units that don’t have Nihil or Parity until last to minimize the chances of that activating and ruining the whole stage), so taking him down in a single turn is advisable.
Dheginsea apologizes to Yune once he realizes that he was beaten because she gave everyone her blessing, and we find out that the rumor of her being a dark god was something he’s responsible for. Basically, he did everything he could to trick others into keeping the promise everyone made to Ashera. Yune forgives him.
He puts Kurthnaga in charge of the surviving dragons, including Nasir and Gareth.
Then Yune experiences another memory from the same individual. In it, the person is trying to convince Dheginsea to help their fellow laguz, but Dheginsea isn’t having any of it. Eventually the person in the memory gets frustrated with Dheginsea and decides to leave Goldoa and head to Begnion in order to “find a solution without” him. Back in the present, Dheginsea dies, and Yune starts to figure out whose memories she’s seeing, recognizing something familiar about all of them.
Kurthnaga receives a Formshift skill, which apparently only works on laguz royals (so we can’t put it on Volug to have him permanently shifted, sadly). Basically, we can now have Kurthnaga shift like Simba and Tibarn can. Nasir joins up with a Laguz Gem and we also have one from earlier (I think Giffca came with it), though, and these allow a laguz unit to shift into their transformed state for a full map, so Volug not being able to use Formshift won’t be hugely limiting or anything.