Fire Emblem: Awakening

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I’ve decided to try something new this week by tracking my progress through Fire Emblem: Awakening with a written game log. This is something I typically do via screenshots when I’m playing on my PC. I take a ton of screens, download them at the end of my session, and occasionally caption them before tucking them away in story folders… where they are almost never seen again. So far, I have a full gallery for Dragon Age: OriginsMass Effect 2, and DmC: Devil May Cry… that I never look through.

I can’t do this as easily playing Fire Emblem on my Nintendo 3DS, because I can’t figure out how to take screenshots with it. I don’t think the 3DS has that functionality.

So to keep track of my adventures, I’ll post them here… dodgy camera-taken images and all. To start, I’ll say that I plan to make my female character Sabe a mage, so for her asset, I go with magic; for flaw, I decide on luck, because who needs that when you’re skilled? This is all the customization I can do at the outset of the game, other than choose my character’s look. Though the physical customization options are pretty limited, the assortment of hair colors — at least 20, I believe — completely makes up for the rest.

Spoilers abound from here on out, but please, no spoilers in the comments about what’s to come! I’m taking this adventure mission by mission…

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Part 1: My New Friend Frederick (Prologue, Chapters 1 & 2)

After the tutorial battle, Sabe wakes up in a field with amnesia. Her rescuers are shepherds: Chrom, his little sister Lissa, and their friend Frederick. The latter is practical and incredibly suspicious of our hero. I mean, it sort of does seem like Sabe’s amnesia thing could be an act, so his edginess is making me love him already.

We head towards town, only to find it on fire. Plegian bandits have raided the city — and it’s a lovely, sunny day to put Sabe’s battle mage-y skills to use. But Frederick is the real beast of the battle, one-hitting enemies everywhere he goes.

Sabe IntroSabe’s battle skills win everyone over — even Frederick, it seems. After the battle, when they make camp in the forest (and Sabe devours the bear meat), Chrom and Lissa wake up in the night and sneak off to investigate something that feels not-quite-right. The game doesn’t show what happens with Frederick and Sabe still sleeping around the campfire, but I like to think they woke up and engaged in awkward conversation, like you do with friends-of-friends you don’t know that well who happen to be staying over, so in the morning you see each other looking kind of ragged and sleepy and you really want to brush your teeth before you talk to them because you don’t know them that well yet and it’s weird having them there. It can be a bonding experience.

So by the time a massive eyeball opens up in the sky and bizarre zombie-like creatures fall out of it, I like to think Sabe and Frederick have become good mates.

A boy in a mask also drops out of the sky and saves Lissa’s life in an adorable fashion. (It’s an itsy bitsy version of Marth.) In the ensuing battle, I feel like I’m getting the hang of the most basic strategy in this game, sticking Sabe beside Chrom and keeping Lissa not far behind to heal them when necessary. Enemies seem to enjoy maneuvering around Sabe and Chrom to attack the little girl with no way to fight back — poor form, guys — but Sabe and Chrom are always close at hand to save Lissa.

The battle gets a lot more interesting when newcomer Sully shows up. After deciphering whether Sully is a man or a woman (she’s a woman), I see that she’s followed by a pompous archer who confesses his love for her and asks for her hand in marriage. She refuses his advances with some brazen quips, clearly more interested in a meeting of her foot and his crotch than anything else. It takes the two of them quite a while to realize they’re on a battlefield and should probably stop quarreling so they can help fight.

The archer Virion is all talk and no show; at one point, his health is down to almost zilch and I really think I’m going to lose him. I ride Frederick over to save him, because Frederick saves everybody in every battle.

Sully
Sully

I also find a fantastic pairing in Frederick and Sully, mainly because they’re both a lot of fun at parties and they both ride noble steeds. They look kickass on the battlefield together, and at one point the otherwise-tough Sully says something to show concern for Frederick. He’s tamed the shrew! I can totally see them sitting in a tree in the future, and we know what comes after that…

After the battle, the party travels to the city of Ylisstol, where Sabe hears all about the saintly Exalt Emmeryn who is an inspiration to her people. And here’s a twist: Emmeryn is also sister to Chrom and Lissa! I knew they weren’t just shepherds! And if they’re royalty, that makes Frederick their cautious, ridiculously powerful guard dog.

Frederick
Frederick

Upon meeting Emmeryn, Sabe is made a shepherd for her skills and service. Chrom and Lissa are ecstatic… until this inspires Frederick to protest, accusing Sabe of possibly being a brigand or a Plegian spy! What about all the times they fought together?! And I thought they got past this when they awkwardly chatted at camp last night!

At least Chrom is appalled at Frederick’s suspicions, and Emmeryn trusts Chrom over Frederick. So it’s all fine… for now.

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Part 2: Apparently Violence Can Be the Solution… In a Game  (Chapters 3 & 4)

Moving on, the party heads to a castle to gain the support of Ferox in the inevitable war that’s coming, but the Feroxi knight Raimi assumes they’re brigands. The only way to win her over? Try to kill everybody. That makes sense.

The new and strangely overlooked party member Kellam can handle himself, so I send him to do a lot of the dirty work while Sully supports Frederick to deal some romantic damage. I’m not sure if this pairing is wise in terms of combat, but I’m loving it so far. And did I mention we now have Sumia with they party riding a pegasus?!

Stahl
Stahl

As for our hero, I pair up her with Stahl, who is easily one of the top three damage dealers in our party. I also love his funny, average-Joe personality, almost as much as I love Sully’s ready-for-a-brawl attitude. At one point, he even initiates a laid back conversation with Sabe when they’re just a few squares away from an enemy. And after defeating the enemy, he congratulates Sabe with, “That was all you!” even though I know it was all him. It’s always all him.

I decide the party should flank its way into the castle, so I move the strong fighters to the left and the rest to the right — only to discover they can only open one door. Fortunately, it’s the left door, so Sabe, Stahl, Frederick, Sully, and Kellam wipe out the rest of the longfort. Those five can handle themselves, so it doesn’t seem worth the time to maneuver the rest of the party over to the left side as back-up. I let them sit back and enjoy the battle sounds coming through the other door.

Once the party has killed most of her guards and tried to murder her, Raimi trusts them at last and takes them to Khan Flavia. But before Flavia can offer the shepherds full support in the upcoming war, she needs to win a tournament against the other khan to become leader of the entire land… I think. And guess who her champions will be? Our lovely team, of course. But the real surprise is the other khan’s champion…

Marth. Robin. Marth. Robin.
Marth. Robin. Marth. Robin.

Marth. He may just be Fire Emblem: Awakening’s answer to Robin in Batman. He’s tough. He’s adorable. He wears a mask. He takes on guys twice his size and wins. I’m not surprised Lissa is half in love with him whenever she sees him.

After the fight, Sabe visits the barracks and engages in conversation. She and Stahl are becoming friends, and get this: Stahl is into potion-making! (His father was an apothecary.) I adore alchemy, so Sabe and Stahl decide to work together to get Chrom a birthday gift; Sabe picks the ingredients, Stahl uses his skills to create the concoction.

Meanwhile, Frederick and Sully have unlocked some sparring time, which is awesome because this means they are totally going to fall in love. As for the other relationships in the game, I’m leaving them open as I gather more units and try to make the smartest combat decisions… but I don’t want to do too much online research about who has the most powerful babies, etc., on my first playthrough. Also, I’m playing on Normal Classic, so I have some wiggle room to make minor mistakes. It’s just so difficult being a practical tactician when I also get to play romantic matchmaker…

And finally, this conversation happens:

1111

2222

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Part 3: The Most Intense Battle So Far (The Longfort Challenge)

KellamOn the way to the next mission, I come across the longfort where the party first encountered Raimi and stormed the castle to win her respect and the khan’s support. A challenge is available, so I take it.

The battle that ensues is intense. The difficulty feels like it’s been cranked up to triple what it was in previous chapters, and I love it. Watching Lon’qu — the party’s newest recruit, who’s terrified of women, apparently — dodge enemy attacks, charge up his weapon, and lunge forward to chop away over half an enemy’s health at a time is thrilling. Frederick one-hit kills, as usual — but there’s a moment when I seriously think I’m going to lose him. (Luckily, Lissa isn’t too far to run over and heal him at the next opportunity.) There’s an awesome moment when our hero two-hit kills an enemy with her thunder magic in a single go. I’m also noticing that Sabe and Lon’qu tend to score critical hits more than anyone else, and sometimes it’s in retaliation for an attack against one of them.

In all the excitement — much of it consisting of breathlessly waiting to see if everyone can dodge enough hits to survive to the next round — I lose track of Kellam. It shouldn’t be a surprise to have momentarily forgotten about him, considering he’s so quiet that he laughs about being “invisible.” Still, when it’s his turn to move, it’s hard not to notice his armor, which looks like a massive metal mushroom.

The next thing I know, he’s on the ground, with the shocked exclamation, “They… saw me.” There goes the first of the party.

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Part 4: World’s Cutest Mage Award (Sickle to Sword Paralogue, Chapter 5)

DonnellThe party tries to recruit Donnel. They give him a shot. He’s a farm boy who’s village is being raided by bandits, and our hero and her party swoop in to help. If Donnel levels, he can join the shepherds — but he doesn’t quite get there. At one point, he goes in for the final blow, but the enemy holds on to one bar of health. How unlucky. Donnel is not meant to be a fighter yet, I suppose… and at least our party didn’t get him killed or anything. (I’ve heard he’s an extremely valuable member of the party, but on this initial playthrough, I’m not going to manipulate the plot too much.)

Sadly, Sumia falls on the battlefield. According to her bio page in the barracks, she’s just retired — not dead. I expect to see more of her in the story based on that information. Also, Sabe and Stahl team up as usual and act heroic together.

Next up is rescuing Mirabelle — Lissa’s best friend and sort of a condescending jerk to Sabe when they first met — from Mad King Grangel. What does he want in exchange for the hostage? The Fire Emblem from Ylisse… so he can destroy Ylisse. It’s just not a fair trade. In the midst of all the diplomacy, Chrom heatedly kills one of Grangel’s men, which initiates an all-out battle.

Sabe and RickenThe best part of the ensuing ruckus is one of our new party members: Ricken. He is by far the more adorable mage I have ever laid eyes on in any video game ever. He gets excited when I shop for him. He gets excited when he levels up and hopes he looks taller. He wears a witch-type hat and holds his spell tome like it’s a school textbook. He wants to be taken seriously, I know… but all I want to do is adopt him.

It seems Frederick and Sully are also getting along; their relationship has leveled to A status, which I think is just shy of being totally in love. I want to say they work well together, but in reality, watching them fight is just watching Frederick block all attacks and one-hit kill everybody he comes across. Sully’s becoming obsolete.

Uh, yeah... you tell him Sully.
Uh, yeah… you tell him Sully.

But the biggest news of the day is that Marth is not really Marth but a woman in disguise. She says that history has been rewritten; if it hadn’t, Emmeryn’s assassination would have led to the Fire Emblem being stolen, a great war, and the end of mankind. I wonder if this has anything to do with the initial vision, played out during the tutorial battle, which showed an enemy forcing Sabe to kill Chrom…?

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Part 5: Sabe Falls in Love! (Chapter 6)

Battling assassins is tough, and Chom dies twice — a game over situation. The party is in a palace defending Emmeryn, and it’s full of narrow staircases and tight corners. It takes time to learn how to protect Chrom and use the environment to the party’s advantage for ambushes around corners. In one glorious part, Frederick stands at the top of a staircase and blocks four enemies in a row, each time retaliating with a one-hit killing blow. He is amazing.

What’s more amazing is that Chrom gets to talk to one of the enemies in battle, which is brilliant, because Sabe is already half in love with this guy. The enemy is a redheaded assassin named Gaius, and he’s only in this for the loot; he doesn’t want to kill poor Emmeryn. At this point, we can ascertain that he’s a.) a nice guy, as far as thieves go, and b.) has something in his mouth.

At first, Sabe tries to murder him, as is evidenced here:

Sabe kills Gaius

Fortunately, she thinks better of it and lets Chrom speak to him. Gaius agrees to help the party defeat the assassins and save Emmeryn, as long as he can share in the loot. (He is a thief, after all.) For some reason, Chrom seems agitated when Gaius expresses an interest in candy. I’m not sure why this bothers Chrom, unless he’s worried our young Gaius is not right in the head.

Chrom + Gaius

Honestly, I love that Gaius is a candy whore who wears lollipops on his jacket. I’m not so sure fighting with a lollipop in his mouth is a smart idea, but the man can do what he wants. As someone who hates candy, I figure Sabe can give her sweets to Gaius and make him the happiest man-boy in the world. It’s a perfect match.

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Part 6: Trouble Ahead, But Love is in the Air… (The Secret Seller Paralogue, Chapter 7, Chapter 8, A Strangled Peace Paralogue)

After a very long break from Fire Emblem: Awakening, I’m finally in love with this game again and making up for lost time. The last time I played it was in the passenger seat of a car before falling very ill, so I weirdly associated my 3DS with getting carsick and then some… but no more!

First off, let’s talk romance. Sully makes the big move — like, the really big move — and tells Frederick she loves him. Frederick says he has a ring he planned to give her after the war, but forget that: they’re getting married now. I am so excited! It’s my first matchmaking success. Here’s how part of the weird romance goes down for them:

Sully Fred 1

sully fred 2 (2)

sully fred 3

Meanwhile, Sabe catches Gaius in the bathtub, leading Gaius to call her “Bubbles” and act extremely nervous that she’s blackmailing him. Talk about instant flirtation, it’s like the game knows that Gaius is the one I want. The funny thing is that this occurs shortly after Chrom walks in on Sabe in the bathtub… which clearly indicates that the party’s camp needs to improve its bathroom set up. (Or maybe Fire Emblem’s writers have a Bathsheba fetish.)

Gaius!!!
Marriage and stuff.

After pairing up some more, Sabe tells Gaius a secret so that he’ll stop worrying about the blackmail thing. This way, they each have a secret of each other’s to keep — so they’re even. Gaius also makes a pendant for Sabe after she admires one in town… and later, he gives her a ring. They be married, guys! Stat bonus time!

As for the battling and plotting and stuff, the Plegians attack our hero and her party for the Fire Emblem. Big surprise. A new Pegasus knight, Cordelia, joins us, but she promptly falls in battle. Why can’t I keep a Pegasus knight alive?! But after the team defeats the Plegians, Cordelia makes another appearance, so I guess she’s just retired. Sigh…

Pre-slap warning. It's only fair.
Pre-slap warning. It’s only fair.

When the shepherds return to the palace, Sumia is back! And she slaps Chrom across the face! No wonder she just retired instead of dying — clearly this girl is integral to the plot.

The Feroxi army is ready to join our party in the war, but we’re barely bouncing off the walls from the news when we find out Ylisstol has fallen, and enemies have captured Emmeryn to execute her. It’s clearly a trap, but this doesn’t stop Chrom from being brash and ridiculous about it:

Why evade a trap when you can waltz into it!
Why evade a trap when you can waltz into it!

Fortunately, Sabe is more of a tactician than the prince, so Chrom calms down enough to leave the whole saving-Emmeryn thing in Sabe’s capable hands.

Arriving at the next location, our party finds villages to save and two new recruits: Nowi, an awesome chick who’s been alive for over 1,000 years and can transform into a dragon, and Gregor, who has an awesome accent, an innocent boy face, and biceps that tingle when he levels up.

Gregor

We also acquire some Seals, which allow Level 10 characters to either change to a new character class or change to a more advanced class, depending on the seal. I use the first Master Seal on Stahl, moving him up to the advanced Paladin class. Stahl is already one of my top combatants, and according to my (limited) research, Paladins have more magic resistance than Great Knights (like Frederick), which should become useful in the second half of the game. I’m hoping that making Stahl a Paladin will give my party four major players: Sabe (the highest level character), Frederick (still a beast), Ricken (hits twice in a row to kill, even though he’s a little squishy when attacked), and now Stahl.

And here are some things that really should not have taken place on the battlefield, but did:

battlefield convo

Lon'qu

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Part 7: EPIC DRAMA!!! (Chapter 9)

Major spoilers ahead! This chapter is amazing.

The Plegians are planning their massacre for the moment we arrive to save Emmeryn. Our party sneaks to the Plegian castle, where Emmeryn is walking a very high plank to her execution — but Feroxi battle leader Flavia shoots down her executioner before this happens. And then it’s time for battle!

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While we run around the battlefield, Chrom meets two new recruits: Tharja, a very emo Dark Mage, and Libra, who looks like a woman but says he’s a man. I can already tell Libra is going to be useful to have around; not only can he fight with an axe, he can also heal people and ward them against future damage.

During the battle, Stahl is critical-hitting all over the place. Frederick and Sully get gushy about how they’re going to take care of each other and they won’t let the other one die and how they have a reason to live and that reason is their undying love, etc. And rather surprisingly, Gregor and Lon’qu make a wicked duo. Between the two of them, they get in three hits per turn, which makes me excited at the prospect of a long-term bromance between them. We shall see…

reversal of fortuneBut things take a tragic turn: We finally defeat the Plegians to free Emmeryn, only to have an army of Risen appear out of nowhere and kill all of our (non-playable) Plegasus Knight allies.

Our mortal enemy Gangrel then tells the party that his archers are lined up and ready to shoot Emmeryn if anybody makes a move — and he wants the Fire Emblem, too. Chrom is torn between fighting these enemies to avenge the deaths of the Pegasus Knights and staying put to save Emmeryn. When the game gives me a choice between sacrificing Emmeryn or not, I have Chrom choose not to sacrifice her, because that’s his character. He’s reckless and loyal, which in this scenario means that he will put his family and the kingdom’s need for a leader — specifically Emmeryn — over the Fire Emblem.

But it doesn’t matter. Emmeryn can’t let the Fire Emblem fall into enemy hands; after all, the Plegians want to use it to destroy her people. So she sacrifices herself. And even though I really want to keep fighting, Khan Basilio of Ferox orders our party to retreat… for now.

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Part 8: Always with the Wars… (Chapters 10, 11, & 12)

You know that point in a game when the hand-holding is over and the difficulty seems to skyrocket? I’ve hit that point with Fire Emblem: Awakening.

The war with the Plegians seems to be waning, as some Plegians are inspired by Emmeryn’s sacrifice. But first, we must destroy Gangrel once and for all. The first fighter to come across him is Sully… and Gangrel kills her. Nooooooooo!!!!!! Frederick swiftly takes his revenge. I mean, how could I let anyone else take that kill? With Gangrel bested, the Plegians surrender en masse, and the war is over. But it was at such a great cost. Frederick is just not my Frederick without kickass Sully by his side. I wish he had some words about her death, but so far he hasn’t mentioned it.

Two years pass, during which time Chrom marries shy, sexy dancer Olivia and has a baby:

omg baby

Also, Ricken and Nowi get married! This is such a fun match, because it’s like watching a little boy dressed up in a wizard’s hat playing with his imaginary friend, who happens to be a sexy lady who turns into a dragon. Also, she’s over 1,000 years old. I love it. When Ricken proposes, he has Nowi reach into a bag and try to guess what’s inside by how it feels; of course, it’s a ring.

I also choose new character classes for a lot of the party. This is a learning experience. Sabe is already up to level 20 when I use a Second Seal to make her a Dark Mage — should have done that sooner, as she lost a bunch of stats when I did that. But on the plus side, Ricken becomes a Sorcerer, Gaius becomes a Trickster, Chrom becomes a Great Lord (with awesome armor, by the way), and Lissa finally does some good on the battlefield as a Pegasus Knight. (She was sort of useless as a healer, because I couldn’t leave her alone on the battlefield without having her one-hit killed.)

Which reminds me… I’m now restarting battles when someone dies. I might let a few characters die now and again, but I just can’t sacrifice any more women! I need mothers here! Already I’m looking forward to my second playthrough, when I can make sure to get recruit Donnel, etc.

Peace doesn’t last long, and we soon learn that the people of Valm are ready to war with Ylisse, too — and over the Fire Emblem, it seems. Sabe, Chrom, and the rest of the party need as much as help as they can get, even that means working with our old enemies, the Plegians.

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Part 9: Back From the Dead?!  (Chapter 13, Paralogue 8: A Duel Disgraced)

It’s been a while since I updated my game diary here, and I almost forgot just how much I love this game. But I also almost forgot just how frustrating it can be. The problem I’ve started having in battles is that enemies can sometimes, out of nowhere, one-hit kill my characters. Typically, this happens well into a battle, when I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel — and then some valuable character gets killed and I have to start the whole battle over again. Usually that valuable character is Lissa. It’s driving me crazy.

I like permadeath when I keep my characters dead. It’s sad to see them go, but that’s the point for me. However, I’ve learned that some gamers think of permadeath differently: When their characters die, they immediately restart the battle or the level or whatever. That’s what permadeath is all about for them. It forces them to redo things to get a perfect playthrough.

But I’m impatient. That’s why I often fail at stealth in video games, at least in the long run. And since I’ve decided that there are certain Fire Emblem characters I have to keep around — especially since I need women so I can enjoy more offspring in this game — I now restart all battles where I lose someone important. This feels really weird sometimes. For instance, sometimes I’ll let one character die. I’ll take his picture for my obituary here, give a little sigh of sadness… and then when a valuable character dies, I restart and that first dude is alive again too! It’s like it never happened. It’s messing with my emotions in weird ways.

It’s just tough for me, guys. Not the death part, just the restarting all the time part.

Henry
Henry

Anyway, in Chapter 13 we automatically recruit Henry. I love this character. He’s almost as eccentric and adorable as Sabe’s husband Gaius, which is really saying something. When he levels up, he says, “When did I grow that?!” and he laughs hysterically after killing someone. I feel like he and Gaius should be best friends.

The map in Chapter 13 is a lot of fun. You have hills on either side of the map, so you can split up your team and stream them down the different paths — the middle road and each hill on the side. Sabe and Gaius take on the boss, defeating him on a bridge in an epic moment. I just love seeing those two fighting side by side.

Next up, the team helps a woman named Kjelle. She challenges some bastard to a duel because he killed her master… but instead of a fair duel, he ambushes her with enemies. Kjelle deserves some justice.

In this battle, I’ve decided Chrom and Frederick need to continue their bromance. Frederick must be so torn up inside about Sully’s death; he looks so lonely on the battlefield when he’s by himself. Having Chrom as his support feels natural and right given their long history together. After all, before either of them met their wives, they battled just the two of them. They should always have each other’s backs.

IMG_20140104_113923_810
Chrom and new recruit Kjelle.

But I start getting suspicious of something early on in this battle. At one point, Kjelle unleashes the Luna attack — which is a Frederick move. And I notice how tough she is, which reminds me of Sully. I can just see it coming. When the battle is over, who should appear but Sully!! She’s alive! She tells Kjelle that she’s her mother… so Kjelle is the daughter of Frederick and Sully! My first and favorite couple have a daughter who’s officially part of the group. It’s going to be brilliant.

IMG_20140104_154649_169As soon as I can get to the barracks, I check on Sully’s bio. Some bios declare when people died, but Sully’s bio just says she retired. This means she’s still with us! Poor Frederick, I’ve been feeling so bad for him when all this time his wife has been alive! Even though I may not see much of Sully anymore, it’s nice to know that rather than dying, she was just irreversibly wounded and can never join the battle again. That’s got to be tough for a warrior like her, but it’s way better than the alternative I have been thinking for the past several weeks/months… I feel like she just pulled a Sherlock on me.

Frederick and Kjelle have a talk. Frederick is ill from breakfast and tells Kjelle not to eat it — whoever cooked it is worse at cooking than Sully. Kjelle gets upset and says she was the one who cooked the breakfast… so I guess she inherited Sully’s lack of skills there. I’m going to love having her around.

In other news, Lon’qu and Lissa get married! Lissa thinks Lon’qu doesn’t care about her or want girls bugging him, but he confesses he likes having her around and then pops out the wedding ring. Awwww. Other teams I’m trying to pair up for marriage are Libra + Cherche (Libra’s a guy, right?) and Stahl + Maribelle…

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Part 10: Getting the Family Back Together (Paralogue 12: Disowned by Time)

Next, the party heads to the Ruins of Time, where a redheaded boy named Morgan seems confused as to how he ended up there. Risen are everywhere, so Sabe and company need to save him.

The map here is really cool. It’s like a series of ice platforms flanked by water, so you have to choose routes very carefully and use the environment for defense.

battlefield
The battlefield.
lissa
No, you’re not.

However, it made me realize how much I need to level Lissa, as she is one of only two riders I have that can fly over the water. I’m afraid to put her out there on her own, because she dies so easily from just one or two hits. It’s just like it was when she was a healer. When it’s safer, on an easy map, I’ll have to do some grinding to level her up…

Meanwhile, Henry has been a beast lately. He keeps laughing and saying, “I’m gonna kill you!” before delivering incredible critical hits. Lucina, who has been his support, is lucky to get a turn. When I switch them to have Lucina hit first and Henry support her, Henry goes, “Me! Me! Me!” and always tries to finish what she started. I’m really starting to love this pairing on the battlefield. In fact, at one point Lucina dies (bad positioning in the field from me, I put her in line of three enemies without thinking), so I start the whole battle over to save her. And then Henry dies and I have to restart to save him. Seriously, I have to restart this battle like 5 or 6 times. I don’t know why, but this one is a tough one for me, and as powerful as Henry and Lucina are when they’re on the attack, they’re usually the ones dying on me, too.

Gaius heals Morgan in battle! Their first meeting... =)
Gaius heals Morgan in battle! Their first meeting… =)

Anyway, it’s pretty obvious early on that Morgan, the redheaded boy we’re saving, is the son of Sabe and Gaius. He seems to have inherited Sabe’s face and expressions, Gaius’s red hair, and Gaius’s Trickster class, complete with an awesome green cape. He’s kind of like Batman’s little Robin, which I love. (I have a thing about Robin, I guess.)

When Chrom talks to Morgan during the battle, Morgan confesses that he doesn’t remember anything about his past or where he is, except that his mother is Sabe. Chrom says the same thing happened to Sabe. Maybe this time traveling amnesia thing runs in the family.

sabe and morgan

After the battle (after finally, finally making it through the battle, that is), Sabe and Gaius each get a chance to chat with their son. He is so cute. He tries to prank Sabe by leading her into a pitfall, but his excitement and nerves about the prank totally give him away. Meanwhile, he can’t remember his father, but Gaius says he’s happy to help him fill in the gaps as they get to know each other. It sounds like Morgan at least has happy memories of spending time with Sabe, training to become a tactician and stuff. They’re going to be such a cute family…

gaius and morgan

And I have a totally radical idea! You know how much I love Frederick and Sully. And now they have a tough-as-nails daughter, Kjelle… while Gaius and Sabe have a funny, energetic son. Can the two of them pair up? I totally want them to fall in love and get married and be a powerhouse fighting couple, if that’s possible. We shall see…

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Part 11: Reeking Boxes, or a Post About Leveling and Reclassing!

Since I’ve neglected a few characters (Miriel, Virion, Vaike… to name a few), I bought a bunch of Reeking Boxes and have been using them to call Risen to the map. I didn’t want to grind in this game, but now that I’m seeing how couples and kids work, I want to utilize all the characters I can to create more pairings.

The main characters I’ve been leveling are Lissa (who is married to Lon’qu), Maribelle, Miriel, and Virion. Miriel is a pain to level, but I’m forcing myself to do it even though I don’t care about her character, personally. I’ve also paired up Tharja and Gregor, and they get married! I use a Master Seal to promote Gregor from Mercenary to Hero, which gives him a much better outfit. Other than that, I haven’t tried out all of his skills yet.

Another pairing I’m going for: Libra and Cherche. I don’t know why. However, lately Libra has been talking to Cherche’s wyvern, Minerva, and seems to want to develop a very close relationship with this “noble creature.” It’s a little weird, but Cherche seems to dig it.

Also, you know who makes the most civilized couple ever? Virion and Maribelle! How did I not see this before? I used to not care for Virion, but now I see that he’s the funniest fop in the game, and he and Maribelle are such a posh pair together. Virion says he’s in love with her; Maribelle calls him a cad.

Virion and Maribelle
Virion and Maribelle

However, before this I had planned to pair Maribelle with Stahl, and so in one battle they just happen to be next to each other and the next thing you know, they’re getting hearts because Stahl killed a Risen in Maribelle’s vicinity. During the proposal, Maribelle says it’ll be hard work to be her husband… but Stahl insists he loves doing favors for her. I’m sorry, but that doesn’t sound like a healthy relationship to me. There was a time when I thought Stahl was so cute, I wanted Sabe to marry him, so I feel bad that he’s now with such a bitch. But hey, he’s easy-going, and he seems happy enough… I’m also just sad that I’m missing out on what would surely be an epic flirtation during Virion’s courtship of Maribelle. Le sigh

On the plus side, even though Maribelle is bitchy, I’m starting to like her a little bit. She has the funniest sighs in battle. After hitting an enemy, she gives this huffy sigh of superiority for what she’s just accomplished… and after killing an enemy, she gives a hilarious sigh of relief, as if that whole matter was disgusting and she’s just glad she was able to clean that up so well.

Lissa and Lon’qu are also funny together in battle. Lon’qu is always telling her to “pay attention,” and sometimes after killing, Lissa says, “I’m sorry.” At one point, in the middle of the field, Lissa told Lon’qu how handsome he looked – shameless flirting in the midst of war! This is such a bizarre game like that, I love it.

Meanwhile, I’m really enjoying Virion’s skills in battle. I’ve been sorely lacking an archer for the entire game up until now. Archers are wicked against riders, and besides that, the archer happens to be my favorite class in many games such as these.

The only thing with all this fighting Risen is that some of them are on horseback, and once you kill the Risen they evaporate or something… but the horses remain and slump over, dead. It’s really sad.

I always feel bad when it ends with a dead horse.
I always feel bad when it ends with a dead horse.

So I’ve bought a ton of Master Seals and been reclassing all my base class characters like crazy. Here’s what’s happened before and after the past several Reeking Box battles:

Lissa promoted to Dark Flier

Cherche promoted to Wyvern Lord (because I couldn’t let her get rid of Minerva, Libra is way too attached)

Lon’qu promoted to Swordmaster

Virion promoted to Sniper

Lucina promoted to Great Lord

Henry promoted to Dark Knight

Maribelle promoted to Troubadour

Kjelle promoted to General (Sully and Frederick must be so proud!!)

As for Sabe, I promoted her to Dark Knight:

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Since Tharja is already a Sorcerer, I decided Sabe should go the other route. The Dark Knight is basically like a Dark Mage as far as I can tell, except you’re on a kickass horse. You can still attack from two spaces away and everything, but you’re a little more durable being on a horse and you look awesomer. I love it so much, I made Henry a Dark Knight too. In another life, the two of them would have made the cutest magey couple.

Which reminds me of a problem I’ve just noticed: Henry can’t marry Lucina. I think it’s because Lucina is one of the children, whereas Henry was one of the originals. How sad is that?! They’re already besties, at least. And as I sorted through the marriage options for Henry, I saw no one. Too many women have died. He has no potential partner. That is just depressing, because I love Henry and I want him to sire a son!!

Also, I sometimes pair up family members now. Like I have father-child battles with Frederick and Kjelle pairing up, Gaius and Morgan pairing up, and Chrom and Lucina hanging. It’s kind of sweet. I’m soooo ready for more Paralogues now…

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Part 12: The Resistance!! (Chapter 15, Chapter 16, + Paralogue 16: Daughter to Dragons)

Sooooo… Since Maribelle is now taken (by Stahl), I’ve been pairing Virion with Miriel. I don’t particularly care for Miriel, so I wasn’t excited by this match at all – but it turns out, it’s surprisingly entertaining. While Virion flirts like mad with all the other women, Miriel cuts right through the bullshit and says she wants to do some research on his fortune-telling. I guess he tells people’s fortunes around camp, and they’re pretty accurate. He’s flattered that Miriel is interested in this. She also catches him off guard with her intellectual side, and their discussion is much more serious than his other flirtations. It’s kind of cool to see another side of him.

But the biggest news is the marriage of Libra and Cherche! They are a couple I just sort of threw together, not really knowing much about either of them… but they’ve become a power couple on the field. Cherche can fly over barriers, and Libra can deal damage as well as heal allies and even ward them against some future damage. It’s really awesome. Their conversations have been just okay – mostly covering Libra’s obsession with Cherche’s noble winged steed, Minerva – but their confession of love is the most amazing one in the game so far. I had to keep a record of it!!!

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He goes on to say that he’s a poor man and doesn’t have a ring for Cherche, but she doesn’t mind. So sweet. =) Though maybe part of my excitement about this proposal stems from my relief that Libra proposed to Cherche instead of her wyvern.

But on to the war! We make it to Valm Habor, where enemy troops are attacking a woman named Say’ri. We also should visit the homes to see how people are doing here. This means that the aim of the game is to get over to that side of the field as quickly as possible, before the woman can be killed and to check on people.

Sabe is by far my most powerful character, because she has over 60 health (compared to everyone else’s 30’s and 40’s health). I also pair up Henry with Anna, because it seems to me that Anna doesn’t have kids, so since Henry doesn’t have a match for kids either, they might as well go out and have some fun together, right? Anna is surprisingly powerful, too — I should be including her more anyway.

We visit all the homes and talk to the villagers there. They all speak about the Conquerer, a tyrant who burns down villages “for sport.” Nobody dares say anything against him in public (even though they’re shyly telling us about him), but one villager knows of a swordmistress who is coming to defeat him, and they’re all secretly behind her. The villagers also give us all kinds of goodies to help us when they see who we are and that we’re helping one of their own, Say’ri.

IMG_20140111_145050_261At the end of the battle, Say’ri says she’s part of the Resistance that opposes this tyrant, who is named Emperor Walhart. She says the emperor will eventually stamp out the Resistance unless they unite – so of course Chrom says yes, we’ll join her movement. Say’ri also explains that long ago, people worshipped Naga, or more specifically her priestess Tiki, who is known as the “Voice of the Divine Dragon.” But Emperor Walhart has locked her voice away… and that means our tribe’s first mission is to free it.

The gang heads to the Mila Tree to do just that. There’s a crazy moustache guy guarding it, and they seem to be pretty worried about our team approaching them. The tree itself is gorgeous with dappled sunlight streaming through the leaves, and the battlefield is really cool – it’s like you’re climbing on tree roots through a lake.

IMG_20140112_094727_206

IMG_20140112_102322_613What makes the battle trickiest, though, is that the commander stays at the far end of the battlefield, and his minions around him don’t move toward us at all. This means that Sabe and company can’t use the field to their advantage all that much, because the enemy won’t be manipulated into meeting in the middle. At least the fliers can cross over the water; I even set Lissa and Lon’qu up on the water at one point so they don’t get attacked by the land-based enemies, because Lissa is still a little vulnerable to the occasional one-hit kill. (I have to restart the battle when this happens once.) Also, enemies move onto the map behind our heroes, which means they either need to kill the commander fast to survive or get through a whole second wave of enemies. Fortunately, Sabe is stronger than the commander, so she and Gaius are able to kill him in one go.

After defeating him, they climb to the top of the tree to a beautiful temple where Tiki resides. Tiki says she’s glad that Chrom still has the Fire Emblem, but there should also be five Gemstones: Argent, Sable, Gules, Azure, and Vert. So far, all the team has is Argent while Tiki has Azure … but all five are needed. When they’re all placed on the Fire Emblem, they should be able to perform the Awakening. This will allow them to defeat Grima, but it’s too powerful a magic for men, which is why the Gemstones were scattered. Say’ri says her kingdom has safeguarded Vert for generations but it was stolen by that tyrant emperor, while Basilio says the West-Khans once safeguarded Gules but it’s been lost.

Tiki also lets one last thing slip: She says something about Sabe having the same power she does. When Sabe asks what she means, Tiki apologizes for saying that out loud. And that’s all we get.

The good news is that factions of the Resistance are answering the Voice’s call already. The bad news is that Emperor Walhart has a large army and will not go down without a fight, which is sure to be a tough challenge for Chrom, Sabe, and company. The team decides to send armies to the north and south, which should allow just their small party to sneak into Fort Steiger.

Afterwards, in the barracks, Morgan and Kjelle have their first chat. And I am super shocked to discover that Kjelle is rude to Morgan! When Morgan admires Kjelle’s strength and asks if he can watch her train, Morgan says it’s not a “puppet show” and that he should figure it out for himself. And that’s how it ends! What the hell, Kjelle? Poor Morgan. As Sabe, I’m a little protective of my fictional son in all this…

Next, the team heads to the Lost Manor to save a terrified redheaded girl. It’s like a haunted house. But the girl, Nah, tells herself not to be scared; she can turn into a dragon, after all. And yeah, she’s totally the daughter of Nowi and Ricken! Chrom, Sabe, and company hurry to help when they hear her scream.

I played a battle in this mansion before. It’s a weird place, because you have long corridors to go down without options on where to go next – until a wall crumbles somewhere to lead you to a new room.  But sometimes those walls rebuild themselves and another part of the wall crumbles, so the floorplan is constantly changing. Also, Risen can attack through walls, which means positioning is key. Fortunately, my party consists of a bunch of married couples, so everybody’s able to dodge the majority of enemy attacks. At one point, Chrom is super low on health but still manages to dodge five attacks in a row – my one dude who is not with his spouse, as he’s fighting with his daughter Lucina (just a C ranking at this point).

I have Nowi go talk to Nah, and they pair up. They are so cute together in battle, turning into dragons in unison and then doing their victory flips together after they defeat an enemy. As dragons, Nowi is greenish-blue as usual while Nah is reddish-pink in color.

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Nowi and her daughter Nah taking on a Risen!!

At one point, Stahl gets a Chest Key, so he and Maribelle head to a room with two treasure chests being protected by a beefy guard. Before I can get anyone over there to help, the guard takes down Maribelle. IMG_20140112_124358_509Noooooo! But at that point, I had gotten so far in the battle – and it was my second attempt at it – so… I let Maribelle go. She isn’t super useful anyway, as much as I’ve come to love her ridiculous sighing. Plus, it sounds like Maribelle retreats rather than dies, so she should remain around and I should be able to recruit her child still. I’ll just have to find Stahl another friend to fight with from now on.

Overall, it’s a long and difficult battle, and I’m hanging by a thread the whole time. Lots of concoctions are used. At the end of the fight, Nowi has a quick chat with Nah that’s really sweet. Nah says she tries to be strong and wants to protect everyone, just like Nowi, but Nowi tells her that she herself cries all the time, and it’s okay for Nah too as well. When they speak later in the barracks, Nah has a book and is studying to become a better manakete – to which Nowi says, “Ew. Do you always have to use such big words? I’m not used to thinking so hard!” It’s hilarious that Nah is so much more serious than her 1,000-year-old mother. All Nowi wants to do with her new daughter is make flower necklaces and play in the forest.

Awkward father-daughter bonding.
Awkward father-daughter bonding.

But afterwards, Nah talks to her father Ricken and insinuates that he might have only married Nowi because he got her knocked up. After all, Ricken is so serious and hardworking, while Nowi just likes to play all the time. At first, Ricken’s like, “I find that charming about your mother. I wouldn’t change her for anything,” (I’m paraphrasing…), but after Nah keeps asking why in the world he married her, he gets upset. Yet he doesn’t give Nah any straight answers. I have a feeling they’re coming…

— Ashley

7 thoughts on “Fire Emblem: Awakening”

  1. I love the game, I love it, I love it, I love it.
    are you playing in classic mode? (character dies, they’re gone for good).

    Not sure where you are at now, but it get’s interesting….

    1. Yes I’m playing on classic mode. Are you? I know I’m missing out on some good characters this way (when they die), but I’m playing on Normal difficulty for my first playthrough to just enjoy the spontaneity. So fun, glad you like it too. =)

      1. yes, classic mode, only way to play.
        I re-start the game if one of my characters die. I am a bit OCD on that end. I tend to save before each battle just in case. I do have a couple of tanks that can pretty much just battle on their own.

        looking forward on keeping track of your progress.

  2. Oh jeez, how did I ever miss this post?

    After reading the whole thing, I have a bunch of stuff to cover. NUMBERED LIST AHOY.

    1. Don’t worry about missing Donnel. I’m trying to avoid spoilers as best as I can, but since you seem to understand the mechanics behind why mothers are so important, I feel like I can tell you that THOSE characters (wink wink) you get later will outclass Donnel. He does end up being one of your best “adult” units statwise (after reclassing, of course), but a lack of reclass options and poor resistance means that he becomes less useful after chapter 11. Also, the grinding involved means he might not be worth the time investment.

    2. Don’t worry about pairings too much unless you’re in it to min-max. Yes, some pairings are better than others, but the game can be completed on Normal Classic using absolutely any characters and any pairings. Just use your favourites, even if they suck! I looked online after beating the game and found that I had some pretty horrible pairings, but I never had any trouble beating the game regardless. And if you find using some of the weaker characters is making things rough for you, the beauty of this game is that you can grind forever. Everyone can have max stats if you just grind long enough.

    3. I love everything about Frederick. However, for all his invincibility in the first few chapters, he has pretty bad stat growths, and you may find he’ll start to fall behind soon. Just warning you, because I took it pretty hard. It tore me apart when I had to bench him permanently, as that meant no more “PICK A GOD AND PRAY!” Sadness.

    4. Favourite characters?! Mine are Tharja, Frederick (of course), and Donnel, along with three spoilerific characters that I won’t mention. Tharja is far and away my favourite character though.

    5. I love this whole diary concept. I thought about doing this same sort of thing while doing permadeath all the way through (I play on Classic but always restart when someone dies…I need a perfect file). Please continue!

    1. Tharja is awesome, I totally agree. That’s good to know about Donnel, too. I DO want to replay this without permadeath and see all the characters in action, so I’ll figure out classing Donnel then. And I’m just waiting for the moment Frederick is no longer useful… I know the day is coming, I’ve heard the sad, sad rumors, but like you said, I love Frederick and always will. He saved my team’s ass way too many times.

      Also, I can’t wait to see what characters are coming up! I keep putting this game down for a week or so at a time while I play other games for reviews, etc, so I’m going slow and steady here… but I have a feeling this will be one of those Mass Effect-y games for me, where I will ALWAYS be in the middle of a new playthrough…

      If you do decide to do a game diary, I would read it in a heartbeat! I love game logs, but it seems they’re a little hard to find (at least in written form). Plus, with Fire Emblem in particular, I know I’d learn a lot from your playthrough!

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