Lyn wants to stop off at a shrine outside of Bulgar to pray for the upcoming journey. The map narrative announces that Lyn will receive "a grand inheritance," and given the chapter title I'll give you half a guess as to what it is. If you said "Swo-," congratulations. Lyn explains that the shrine houses a sacred sword that the people of Sacae pray to at the beginning of long journeys. Wait, praying to a sword? I guess it's not all that strange for the setting. Fantasy worlds like this tend to take supernatural powers as a given, and if this is the titular Sword of Spirits, it could act as a... phone... to the... ambiguous spirits... I guess. Sain calls the practice "quaint
," and as condescending as that sounds, I have to kind of agree with him.
Kent interjects that a religion called Elimine is the most dominant in someplace called Elibe, which I assume to be either the continent or the world, unless Kent's suddenly talking about some random, third country here, and expresses happiness that this place preserves older customs. I guess Kent's not too fond of Elimine.
At this point a crew of bandits sweep in from the south and overrun the small shrine. One accosts the elderly shrine-keeper, who refuses to give up the sacred sword. The bandit asks what good a weapon is if it's unused, to which the obvious answer is "a deterrent," but the priest instead opts to invoke religious condemnation. It works about as well as you'd expect, and the bandit named "Glass" brushes him aside. Glass marvels at the sword's craftsmanship, but for some reason he can't draw the blade. The priest claims that the spirits have rejected Glass as the wielder and flees through a backdoor.
A woman fleeing from the shrine runs into our group and asks them for help, which Lyn is quick to promise. The intro is over, and oh fething Selk-spit, we're back in scripted tutorial mode
. Dammit, I thought I was done with this in the last chapter! The tutorial forces me to waste my first turn visiting the nearby houses for information. In a particularly jarring moment, though, the tutorial text suddenly refers to itself in the first person. Weird.... The first resident tips me off to a breakable section of wall to the shrine that will let me bypass the bandits guarding the front, the next informs me that cavalry units can't cross mountains, and the last gives me some story about the sword, the Mani Katti, which is apparently waiting for its rightful owner. Sounds fishy to me, and apparently to the NPC, too, because she says as much. The tutorial then tips me off that fortresses offer better protection than woods, and will heal my units slightly while inside.
Fortunately, with that out of the way, I'm back in complete control of my troops. The enemy force is made up of five Brigands, the same generic axe-wielding brutes I've been fighting exclusively up until now, and a single Mercenary unit, Glass, who wields a sword and is marked as the boss. Seems simple enough.
Despite the tip about avoiding the bandits to the south, if this game is really anything like SS, I want to kill as many enemies as I possibly can for exp. The road is blocked off by mountains, so I can only send Lyn that way. Kent will have to break in through the crumbling wall. Sain, I'm leaving in the back. I have no intention of letting a traitor soak up my precious exp, but I've decided against killing him off in case that guarantees that he'll come back at a much higher level later on, like Gerard in 14
The Brigands are dispatched easily enough, and I let Kent take out Glass given his weapon type advantage. Despite his name, the guy managed to take two solid hits and dodge two more, though Kent took him down without being in any danger himself. Glass didn't seem inclined to leave the spot he started on, even when my units came within his charging range. I guess the game's still taking it easy on me this early on. Lyn seizes the throne (wait, what? Why is there a throne in a rural shrine?) to end the mission, and the priest reappears to express his gratitude. He also explains that what prevented Glass from drawing the sword was his own spell, not any spirits guarding the blade. So even the shrine's own priest doesn't believe in this religion? Man, this Elimine religion must really suck to have not overtaken this area. Despite not believing in it, the priest allows Lyn to lay hands upon his sword as a thank you, in a scene much less creepy than my wording implies.
Oh, but what's this? A flash of light? Color me shocked! Lyn draws the blade from its scabbard, treating me to a fullscreen image of her reverently holding the glowing weapon. The priest immediately accepts that this means Lyn is the rightful wielder of the Mani Katti, apparently forgetting that the only thing stopping the last guy from drawing it was the priest's own spell. He also apparently forgets that wielding the blade in combat is "sacrilege," because he lets her take it with her as her personal weapon.
Outside the shrine, Sain pretends to be interested in the sword, but Lyn is too starstruck by the famous weapon to notice his sarcasm. Kent tries to give her some context by bringing up other legends of special weapons seeking rightful owners. I expect this will be a plot point later on, as I have to seek out the personal weapons of each of my chosen elite soldiers for the final confrontation with the dragon army. Kent butters Lyn up a little and she gets flustered by his attention, so Sain, not about to let Kent get closer to Lyn's pants than himself, cuts in to put an end to the conversation. The dialogue hammers the point home that only Lyn can use this weapon, and hints that I shouldn't overuse it. Well duh, what have I, never played an RPG before?
The screen fades out to black as the chapter ends, and... wait, no, it's a scene change. We're at Castle Caelin now? How the hell did I get here? Inside the castle, a severe old man questions a faceless soldier, obviously displeased that Lyn is still alive. Well hello, Grandpa Evil. I am kind of relieved that the game's not trying to insult my intelligence by pretending he's on the level right up until the inevitable betrayal. But, wait, the soldier addresses him as Lundgren? So either Sain isn't The Mole
after all and Grandpa really is on the level, or else they're setting their ally up to take the fall
if something goes wrong. I'm betting on the latter, which opens up the possibility of recruiting Lundgren at some point as an Enemy Mine
Lundgren trusts in the bandits of Northern Bern to take care of Lyn, and is more concerned with... assassinating Grandpa? So wait, is Gramps evil and Lundgren The Starscream
, or is this game subverting the trope
and making Gramps on the level? The screen fades out for real now, and I'm a little confused....