: So, is there anywhere you want to visit first?
: There are two landmasses close to Santeem that I understand you've never been to. One to the north, and one to the southwest.
: Can you tell us anything about them?
: Precious little, I'm afraid. We never were a maritime power.
: Okay, fair enough. I'm also curious about the region east of Konenber. We could just start from the port and travel up the coast, away from Endor. There was a river going inland too, that we saw when we were at the lighthouse. It looked navigable.
: If we're going that way, could I bother you to suggest starting from the north instead?
: Burland is just north of Branca, and, well, I haven't been home in a long time. It was at peace when I left, but...
: I can get behind that. We'd just have to sail south from here instead of northeast to Konenber, and we'd end up covering the same ground in the end.
: The Kingdom of Burland... Pray tell, my good man, do you have a prince there?
: We do not. My liege's only heir is a young lady.
: Ah, well then. Pity.
: What are you going on about? What do you care?
: The old man's trying to get you married off!
: That doesn't make sense, there's no way he doesn't know better by now.
: Just asking, princess, just asking, no harm in it.
: If her closest retainers believe they can make that sort of decision in her stead, then there is harm in it!
: Right, thank-
: That's not what I meant!
: Okay, okay, you three can sort that out on your own time. Burland it is.
Mara levels up as we circle around the Riverton island, for 1 Str, 2 Agi, 3 Vit, 7 Int (dang!), 4 Luc, 6 HP, 9 MP, and the StepGuard spell. Just as in previous games, it costs 2 MP and protects us from harmful terrain tiles. I think the only place we've seen so far where it would useful is the Burland treasury, which is excellent timing any way you slice it.
We should reach the westernmost point of the Izmit region sailing straight south from the southwest corner here.
Welp, we haven't been here in a while. Let's go to Izmit on foot and get a feel for the local fauna; sea battles are few and far between, and they haven't been terribly lucrative either.
We arrive just before dawn, without running into any monsters. So much for wanting to pick fights.
: Ah, it's good to be back.
: Are you from here?
: No, no, I'm from Burland Castle proper, but this is still my liege's domain. There were monsters kidnapping children around here, and I was sent to investigate.
: Why would they-
: ...they must have been looking for me.
: Exactly. I foiled their plans here and decided to do my best to find you before they could.
: Ugh, bastards.
: Everyone here is talking about the strange dream!
: Hmm? That's new.
: You should talk to the people before you stay at the inn.
: Well, we've come a long way, but we'll heed your advice.
: Maybe it would be best to refrain from exploring any caves these days, young man.
: I'll talk with Pocos.
: Pocos should know it better than anyone!
: I'll take a strange dream over children in mortal danger any day!
: When will we ever be able to live in peace?
: Working on it.
: What kind of dream is it?
: It's creepy!
: Of course, a nice dream would be too much to ask for.
: The word spread, and no one will stay here. What should I do?
: I don't have any advice for that, but maybe renting us eight beds will help you out.
: Is it really safe to have everyone go through this?
: Eh, at least as safe as it is for the townspeople.
: Plus we won't have to find a way to put it in words for everyone's benefit, even if it's really weird.
: Alright then, I'll get the others. If you'll excuse me.
(Many thanks to TooMuchAbstraction for letting me know how to correct an emulation glitch in this scene!)
And for the folk who can't or don't watch videos... this is too important to just summarize, so here you go.
The character on the right plays a short flute melody, causing a staircase to appear; he climbs up inside the tower and appears next to the elf girl.
The screen fades to black, and the night-time jingle plays.
: So... would that be Necrosaro, then?
: Absolutely. There's no way it's not him.
: I know his voice. It is him.
: It's no surprise the folk in Endor thought he was human.
: Isn't he, though?
: He doesn't look like a monster either.
: That doesn't mean anything.
: Either way, I'm more interested in this elven lass.
: Her name... Rosa, was it?
: She has to be responsible for these dreams. What powerful magic!
: Right, these are a message. A cry for help.
: I don't think it's a cry for help. She's not asking to be saved.
: You're right. It's a warning. Saro's not a threat to Rosa. But she still wants him stopped.
: That makes sense. She's an elf, and Saro mentioned humans specifically.
: But they both said the world would be destroyed.
: Ah... that's true. Would he really destroy the world just to wipe out mankind, then?
: I wonder what he even has against us in the first place.
: Ehhh, we can be right dicks sometimes.
: And elves can't?
: My best friend was an elf. She died to save me.
: It just goes to show they're people, just like us. Some of 'em are saintly, some of 'em are Gum Pods, and I bet most are somewhere in between.
: Besides, our father was murdered by a human, and you don't see us trying to resurrect an ancient demon.
: But you did devote your lives to avenging him.
: ...we sure did.
: Anyway... Does this change anything for us?
: Nah, we're still after him all the way.
: We might want to look for this tower, though. Maybe Rosa can tell us more in person.
: It doesn't necessarily exist. We saw it through an elven dream spell. For all we know the entire place was a fabrication.
: But she has to be real.
: Yes, yes, almost assuredly.
: Better keep on traveling, then.
: Right! We're done here. Move along everyone, back to the wagon. We'll be following you shortly.
: It's good to see you well!
: You can have a strange dream at my inn! Isn't that exciting?
: Y-you could say that.
: I'd hardly say being kidnapped was a stroke of luck!
: Did he get hurt?
: No, of course not, I rescued him and brought him back safe and sound.
: Then it was an adventure! He really was lucky!
: If you say so, my lady.
: Just call me Alena, okay?
: I will not. That's out of the question.
: ...can you... do that?
: You can't.
: Ah... okay.
: Right, sorry!
: I love being a mother!
: That's why I don't mind being out and about in the dangerous places of the world, if it means folk like you can know peace. Please take care, ma'am.
That's it for Izmit. You'd think this village's role in the plot would be over by now, but this dream business is a Big Deal. It's obvious we don't have the full picture, but it's equally clear that there's more going on with Necrosaro than there was with the previous villains in the series. And that's not just because he actually does things instead of sitting around his lair waiting to be decapitated.
I don't think we're ever given a reason why Izmit in particular receives this message, but we know Saro's Shadow perished nearby not long ago (if you'll recall, it was the Chapter 1 boss), so maybe there's a connection there.
Aaaanyway, let's go to Burland next.
Oof, this guy caught us by surprise, but it tried to hit Alena and she dodged the blow with her Cloak of Evasion.
Tyranosaurs have 90 HP, 85 attack, 75 defense, and 40 agility, with no special abilities. They're vulnerable to Bang, Blaze and ice, slightly resistant to Firebal, wind and sleep, and highly resistant to Surround and Sap. They're definitely less dangerous than the creatures around Riverton, but these numbers are similar to what we saw in the Keeleon region.
This is a wide entrance, so we can take our wagon across the river without having to get the ship first.
Heh, looks like the monsters in here haven't been updated.
: Okay, first, I know that you know that I know that. Second... you're STILL here?!
: You knew? You're really somebody, aren't you?
: ...I give up.
Yup, no problem here. Maybe that soldier keeps the most dangerous critters at bay!
: Now this is home.
: These walls are impressive!
: Oh, but they would be nothing without their stout-hearted defenders behind them.
: Oh, lady Flora, I'm only glad I could help.
: I'm now living happily with Alex.
: My best wishes to the both of you.
: I hear that some people are gathering Zenithian weapons and armor in order to get to Zenithia.
: Wait, what?
: Zenithia is a place?
: Huh. And... you need to find weapons and armor to get there?
: Well, it's just a rumor.
: At any rate, it would be best to find this equipment before anyone else. No one else could put it to better use!
: We only suspected it! This is great news.
: They say the queen of a certain castle has it.
: Ooh, a queen.
: What? A queen means a woman king!
: Wow, okay, if you say so old man.
Just in case you skipped Izmit entirely for some reason.
: Dragons live in castles now?
: It's just an old man's silly talk.
: If you've heard this from the one I think you heard it from, I wouldn't dismiss it out of hand.
: The Ruler of Evil must be the monster that completed the ultimate evolutionary step.
: Oh, that would make sense.
: The ultimate... I'm almost glad Nara and Mara aren't here to hear that.
: It's written that Master Dragon, fearing the evolved monster's incredible power, imprisoned him underground.
: Shame he didn't finish the job. That's not much of a master, if you ask me.
: Now the Ruler of Evil is about to resurrect.
: So... we have to go to Zenithia and tell this Master Dragon about it.
: Which means we have another reason to track down Zenithian gear.
: We must inform Master Dragon immediately!
: We'll do it, sir. Ease your worries.
: That we did.
: How can we find Master Dragon?
: We're sailing all over the world, we'll run into him sooner or later.
: Perhaps, we don't need to find him because he should know it by now if he's really a master.
: Gah, yeah, that's a good point.
: What will they do with such a thing?
: Why does anyone even care about that stupid bracelet?
: Likewise, my lady.
: Are you under the impression that I haven't left this castle since we've received word of the kidnappings in Izmit? I don't know where to even begin correcting you!
: Oh, hmm, I believe miss Mara could assist us here.
: Right, we'll go get her once we're done.
: My liege, it is I! Your servant has returned!
: I am pleased to introduce the hero, Francois.
: It's an honor to meet you, lord Burland.
: And this is Princess Alena of Santeem, as well as her retainer Cristo.
: I'm glad you've found the Hero.
: My duty is hardly done, however. We're now questing for Zenithian artifacts!
: I learned recently that the Zenithian Shield was once in this castle.
: Oh hey, now that's some good luck for us!
: It seems that in my grandfather's time, the shield was given to the Queen of Gardenbur. Gardenbur is the Castle which rises from the heart of the eastern mountains.
: That's an excellent lead, Your Majesty. Thank you.
: What were my grandfather's intentions? I wonder...
: Well, seeing as you're not the king of Gardenbur, it must not have sealed the deal.
: W-w-well, we'll be on our way! Thank you again!
: A volcanic eruption blocked the cave with lava. The Magma Staff might be able to melt a pathway through the mountains...
: One more thing to find, then. I'll just add it to the list!
We leave momentarily to replace Cristo with Mara.
: Are you sure this won't get us in trouble?
: Oh, we've lost the key to this door ages ago. The king will be grateful just to have the room back.
: Welp, fair enough.
Alright, good start. We'll decide who gets it next time we're outside.
Last one went to Cristo, this one goes to Nara.
It won't hurt Ragnar to get this one right away. He gains one point!
: And to think we'd have the Shield already if it wasn't for His Royal Granddad who couldn't keep it in his pants.
That wasn't an amazing haul, but hey, we need money, the Helmet sells for 825 gold, it's all good. We use the Lamp of Darkness at this point and finish our sweep.
: Oops, you're not Alex. How embarrassing...
: Ha, it's just good to see you're in love. Please excuse us.
: So you've been keeping out of trouble, then.
: Thanks for saving me.
: It's only a matter of time before they manage to breach major cities. We need to act now.
Aaaand there's nothing new in the castle.
Cristo's low HP is something of a liability, especially since we want our healers to be tough, so he gets the Nuts, for 6 points. And Nara gets 3 points from her Strength Seed.
On our way back west...
Skullknights have 180 HP, 110 attack, 65 defense, and 40 agility; they can cast Healmore and summon Phantom Knights as reinforcements. They're immune to Blaze, ice and Sleep, highly resistant to Expel, Firebal, RobMagic, StopSpell and Sap, and vulnerable to Bang, wind and Surround.
That's a tough customer all around! It would be tempting to bring in Mara, but seeing as she has no upgrades to Bang yet and Blazemost wouldn't work, it's best to go with physical attacks at this time. Ragnar, Alena and Taloon do around 30 damage each, and Francois comes in with a 47 damage finisher.
Savnucks have 80 HP, 80 attack, 55 defense, and 38 agility; they can emit poison gas and cast Infermore (!). They're vulnerable to ice, immune to wind and StopSpell, slightly resistant to other magic damage and to sleep, and highly resistant to RobMagic, Surround and Sap.
I want to bring in Brey and get him to start spamming Snowstorm, but maybe we should see about taking one of the Savnucks down first because he couldn't survive four Infermore casts.
Gah, not good! We go Defensive, Nara replaces Alena, and Francois patches Ragnar back up.
Holy crap, Taloon literally took two blows for Alena, saving her life each time... but then Infermore took them both before Nara could get out of the wagon. We're still outnumbering the bastards though. We replace Taloon with Brey; hopefully Francois and Nara can keep us alive while Ragnar does his bloody work.
Due to the Defensive tactics, Brey came in with only an IceBolt, but it finished off the last Savnuck. Whew.
Just before the end of the battle, Nara takes exactly as much damage as she had HP. Man, this'll have been a struggle to the finish.
That's three casualties. We definitely don't want to get too comfortable! We Return to Burland and get everyone revived, for 1070 gold total. There goes the cash we found in the castle.
Okay then, take two.
Ah, right, casting Return brought the ship to the nearby river. We might as well sail east from here and see what's at the other end.
: I do believe that'll be the path to Gardenbur.
: If there ever was a cave here, it's gone now.
: Magma Staff it is, then.
Beleth have 125 HP, 90 attack, 80 defense, and 57 agility; they can cast Bounce and Firebane. They're highly resistant to almost all magic, with the exception of immunity to Firebal, and only slight resistance to Sap (and lightning, but we have no sources of lightning damage). Better let Ragnar, Alena and Taloon work on it, especially since we don't want to risk getting our spells Bounced back.
The Beleth gets put to sleep by the Sword of Lethargy on the first round. Taloon finishes it off with a 103 damage crit on the second, then Francois puts the Skullknight to sleep as well. Just when I think that could hardly have gone any better, Alena ends the fight with a 133 damage crit.
Aaaaand Taloon levels up, for 3 Str, 2 Agi, 3 Vit, 2 Int, and 7 HP.
We get in a fight with two more Beleth here, made notable by Taloon stealing a treasure chest from them!
Daaaaang. The Staff of Force is a +55 weapon that Brey, Cristo, Mara and Nara can equip. Just like its DW3 counterpart, it also reduces its wielder's MP by 3 per hit. I don't want Cristo or Nara to spend their healing juice on this, but seeing as Brey is still making do with his Venomous Dagger, I think I'll let him use it for a while. It takes his attack power to 67, which is 2 points more than Cristo's and 6 less than Nara's. Giving a Wizard Pilgrim-grade attack power is no joke.
Archbisons have 90 HP, 95 attack, 85 defense, and 39 agility, with the ability to "emit gales of scorching breath". They're vulnerable to Firebal, wind and Sleep, slightly resistant to Bang, Blaze, ice and Surround, and highly resistant to Sap. It's rather telling that this hefty fellow is the easiest foe we've met in this region. Francois uses his weapon to cast Sleepmore and takes it out of the fight immediately.
Cristo levels up here, for 2 Str, 3 Agi, 3 Vit, 2 Int, 2 Luc, 9 HP, and 3 MP.
...oh crap. We bring in Brey and go Offensive this time, but Francois is going to spend his every action casting FendSpell on people. There's no way we can afford to take five instances of wind damage every round.
Aaaand it works. Brey's Snowstorm and Taloon's Sword of Malice did the heavy lifting, but it also helped that the Savnucks mostly spent their turns poisoning us. Brey even levels up from this, for 2 Agi, 2 Vit, 3 Int, 3 Luc, 3 HP, 5 MP, and the Bikill spell! Just as it did in DW3, it costs 6 MP and doubles the physical damage inflicted by one ally. It can be a hassle to get him to cast it, but it's worth it when he does! And that's one Mara never learns.
Ragnar also levels up, for 3 Str, 6 Vit, 1 Int, and a ridiculous 14 HP.
: I do believe that's land's end, folks.
: Aaaaah, well... maybe we should have sailed here instead. Heheh.
: There are probably fewer Savnucks at sea, yes.
: Goodness, I hope so.
Welp, back to Izmit. At least we got good experience out of this! And a free Staff of Force!
Oh crap, I forgot about the dream and I got startled!
I didn't know this, though: whether it's daytime or nighttime in the dream depends on whether you decided to rest in the day or night.
In the morning, it turns out we have 5757 gold, so we'll pop to Riverton right quick to get Cristo his Sacred Robe.
He now has the second best defense power, barely behind Francois'. Dang but I dig a sturdy healer. Okay then, back to Izmit.
I'm pleased with how hard Brey is hitting in these sea battles. He never gets a stronger single-target damage spell than IceBolt, so it's good to see him knocking heads about with reckless abandon like this.
: Cave or house?
: Maybe someone in the house knows about the cave!
: Good enough, let's go.
That's a 10 per person inn right here.
: Ah, so are we. I suppose it wouldn't do to ask if you knew anything about it...?
: I suspect it's in the nearby cave.
: Ooh, score!
We learned a lot this episode, but we're sure overdue for a new dungeon.
: Who wants to bet this goes to Mintos?
: Oh, I know better than to take you up on this, young man.
: ...feels weird to hear that one.
: Welp, now we know.
: Um, hi?
: I reward those who bring them to me.
: Ooooooh, this is gonna be good.
I think I'll save that particular infodump for next episode. Next time: the Medal King, and maybe even the Zenithian Armor! Progress, sweet progress!