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Guardian of the Description Thread
So, the hour has come. Perhaps sooner than I would have liked. Still, since it's been such a fun ride, maybe it is time for another written Let's Play? The featured game is, of course...

Photo obtained via Wikipedia

...Suikoden 5! This is a freaking long game. I've typically clocked over 100 hours on previous plays of this game, and that's probably the number one reason I was so hesitant to start it. However, on the plus side, the game sees a return of the skill system introduced in Suikoden 3, and a party size of six makes a return. Yes, players have control over all the characters, unlike Suikoden 3.

As with the last two titles, the party may hold additional members that do not participate in battle. The number of additional members have been increased to four, and are not limited to purely support characters! I don't believe members can be switched mid-battle. However, this still allows for more flexibility in regards to fights, and various character recruits that need to have other characters in the party.

Also new to this game is formations, which have their own unique Unite-like command. They are similar to the Rush command from Suikoden 4, only there isn't a cooldown period between uses, and the formations tend to have their own advantages and disadvantages. I typically don't mess with formations too much, though.

As with the other written LPs, the goal of this LP is simply to achieve the 108 Star Bouns. As always, commentary and/or questions are welcome!

Table of Contents
  • Marriage Traditions
Session 1 - Prince Freyjadour went to Filgaia, and all I got was this stupid T-shirt!
Session 2 - A gathering Storm(fist)
Session 3 - Sacred shenanigans, Batman!
Session 4 - Goodbye Stormfist! Hello, Lunas!
Session 5 - Gizel's checkmate
  • Dr. Strangelove or: How I Stopped Worrying and Recruit Characters
Session 6 - Barrows of fun
Session 7 - Harry Potter Prince Freyjadour and the Prisioner of Azkaban Agate
Session 8 - The Fall of the House of Usher Barrows
  • Loyalist Army Assemble!
Session 9 - Maybe, at some point, we'll help out Lordlake
Session 10 - A promise kept, and a blessing of stars
Session 11 - Lelcar lamentation
  • Felana Wars Episode 5 - The Barrows and Godwins Strike Back
Session 12 - The Bandit Prince
Session 13 - Long live Queen Lymsleia!
Session 14 - The Queen's Campaign
Session 15 - Where's the Calvary?
  • Final Round! FIGHT!
Session 16 - Return to normalcy. Sorta.
Session 17 - The Queen joins the Loyalist Army
Session 18 - 108% Finale
Hi! Are you going to be on twitch or YouTube or something?

I would watch! It sounds interesting.
Guardian of the Description Thread
This is a written LP, much like the last two games. I've only ever gotten the courage to record myself twice, and only one of those times included an audio and video component. The other was strictly audio.
Wow! That's actually very interesting! I didn't know anyone actually did this sort of thing. It's like an in depth, step by step review and play through! I will read it when you post It! Now I have to go back and read the older ones...
Guardian of the Description Thread
Shall we begin? The introduction to this game...

...does not move me, or cause a desire to play the game, like the intro to Suikoden 2 or 3 has been known to do. That aside, let's name this Tenkai. Now, good-old Suikosource seems to think that, in the novelization, his name was Freyjadour. I was under the impression that the novelization of the game follows the game's referral to him via his title of "Prince", or other like pronoun that denotes his noble birth. For the purposes of the game, using this title allows for less awkward moments with the voice acting (compared to Suikoden 4 and referring to Lazlo when his name appears in the text-box). As for the novelization, it just seems to follow that they would use the title over a name, given that's how Suikoden 3's novelization was handled.

Likewise, I don't know if the force the Prince gathers has an official name. Suikosource seems split between "Royalist" or "Loyalist" for this purpose. However, I note there's a wiki that seems to prefer the names of Freyjadour for the Prince, and Loyalist for the army. So, I'm using those names. There is no question in my mind what the HQ will be called.

Er, sorry about that tangent! Anyway, after the initial naming, there's a bit of a cut-scene between the Prince's entourage, establishing the chracters a bit, before we dock at Sol-Falena.

No free-roaming yet. Gotta encounter Ferid, the King (and Freyjadour's father) for a silly father-son bonding scene before we meet the Queen. Upon asking what happened at Lordlake, we get a flashback, and experience it ourselves.

Lordlake looks like it came straight out of a Wild Arms game. It's a barren, harsh land, with wind blowing though vacant roads. We meet the town representivie, a Talgeyl, who asks forgiveness in advance for any disrespect shown to our persons. Given the situation at hand, well, I wouldn't really blame anybody for that to begin with. After all, it was the Queen that directed the Sun Rune towards Lordlake. Though you'll have to forgive me for forgetting what they did to invoke the Queen's wrath off the top of my head. That might come later in the game anyway.

So, I finally get in control of the party, and there's a save crystal nearby. Time for stat-stones? Time for stat-stones. The way they work in this game is really, really weird... you can see. It's kinda like how Suikoden 4's inventory codes worked, only worse. One, because of how the quantities are reported. Two, apparently, these codes don't work at all with the save-state feature! It's pretty much the same kind of sequence that I would be using if I were playing this game with a CodeBreaker on console. As with Suikoden 4, it behooves me to UGE as many copies of the items as I can to be efficent, but, that doesn't mean I have to be a fan of the process to make this work. That the game defaults to "no, don't use this item on this character" really gets to me during this process of stone-feeding as well. I understand the desire for a saftey precaution, and my case here is an exceptional one, but, it still pisses me off.

With that out of the way, let's explore this town! Predicibaly, there isn't much of anything here. What shops do exist doesn't have any inventory, and the inn won't let me stay. I come across the Rovere mansion in due time, and decide to explore it. I find a Medicine, and a cut-scene that smells of trouble.

Apparently, a boy by the name of Toma is missing, or is otherwise in danger. We somehow manage to convince the townsfolk to leave the search to us. We get into one fight...

...before I come across the event where Lyon spots Toma. I rush ahead to save the kid, with Lyon not far behind. Sialeeds sighs and make a comment before she and Georg join the fray.

The fight wasn't hard, nor do I think it's supposed to be. Yet, even so, Toma does not express any gratitude. He places the entire blame of Lordlake's situation on the Queen. I mean, I can see where he's coming from, and maybe Lordlake deserved some manner of punishment for what they did. I think the blame is more on the Sun Rune than Arshtat. It's true that she used it to make Lordlake this way, but, she was probably under it's inflence. Or, maybe it's influence became much stronger after such use? Might be hard to say, in the end.

Back to the present, the Queen has been listening to our story. She has a few choice words, moking Lordlake. The influence of the Sun Rune is showing, and I choose not speak, though Sialeeds and Lyon try their best to relay that Lordlake has seen enough suffering. Arshtat refuses to hear any of it, and continues on her rant. It is Ferid's intervention that finally snaps her out of it.

Now in the palace...

...Sialeeds and Georg shove off, leaving me and Lyon to search for Lymsleia. This feels like a perfect time to stop for today. I seem to recall finding Lymsleia an ordeal onto itself!
...Ferid isn't the king. There's no king in Falenan society. His rank is that of Queens' Knight Commander and that's the only rank he will hold. Even if the Queen dies, the throne will bypass him and go straight to his daughter or the nearest female girl child in the Queen's family line (note: not his family). He has no power bar that which is required to protect the current Queen and if another took over the mantle of Queen he would be expected to either give up his role to the Queen's husband/husband-to-be, or, if necessary, stay in the role but be loyal to that Queen until such time as she gets married/chooses someone else.

His only power exists if the Queen exists, so calling him a King would be very wrong. XP

Sorry to nitpick but it's such a huge part of the story (and backstory) that unfolds that it does need to be explained so that people don't automatically equate him with someone who would have power without the Queen. The history explained in the game would be very different if there had been a position akin to King.

His position is basically protect Queen and make with the (female) babies. Princes, too, get given the position of either being a stand-in for Commander position (if there's no husband for the Queen at the time) and marrying off for political peace.

Also, yay, subbed. ;p

spoilers for the thing that Lordlake did that pissed off Arshtat
The main twist of the game, if you recall (well one of them) was that the rune was hidden in a wardrobe all that time by someone Frey and gang considered a sort-of ally.

The Godwin faction built the Hate damn upriver from Lordlake. In anger the Lordlake residents tried to protest and someone used their mob mentality against them in order to get them to focus their anger on attacking the temple that held the Dawn rune... which was then stolen. Now Arshtat wore the Sun rune in the first place as a show of power against the Godwin and Barrows factions who were trying to make a power play over Lym, trying to force Arshtat to have her married off even younger than she is now and solidify a faction as an ally (they were also making noise over the gladiators and slavery issues that they didn't like Arshtat's talk of banning).

(They used the past against Arshtat in this, saying that the sooner Arshtat's line was secured to the throne, the less likely it would be that another assassination war would occur. Remember that they recently buried a lot of royals over the succession war - Arshtat, Sialeeds and Haswar (their cousin) were all in line for the throne. Sialeeds broke off her engagement with Godwin because she chose to never have a family that could be used against Arshtat, and Haswar became a priestess removed from the rest of the country for the same reason - so that no-one would get it in their heads to try and kill Arshtat and put either of them, or their children (if they ever had any) on the throne instead. So the pressure from the Godwin and Barrows family wasn't something she could just brush away and say no to without power to back her up because it made sense politically to marry off Lym as fast as possible and gain either faction as an assured ally against any issues the other would kick up. With the Sun rune she was sufficiently powerful to tell them to shut their faces, though.

Oh and don't forget that Armes was making noises about invasion at the time too. There was a reason they weren't invited to the Games.)

So she put the rune on to make them shut up. Unfortunately, the Dawn rune was stolen - one of the two runes that held the Sun rune in check and kept it from unbalancing the mind of the user. Since the theft of the rune was noticed at the same time as the riot at the temple, it was believed that someone from Lordlake stole the Dawn rune. This not only was considered a traitorous act (stealing an incredibly priceless treasure of the crown) - a crime that Arshtat couldn't ignore in any case - but also inflamed the influence and instability of the Sun rune on her, so that her reaction, which otherwise might have been a lot more just and mild, turned into a literal firestorm.

So, yeah, good job Salum, you fuck.

...I may love the story and backstory of this game as much as I love Suikoden II. ^.^;
Guardian of the Description Thread
Sorry about Ferid's precise position. My mind probably jumped to "King" as he's the husband of a Queen. However, yeah, politically speaking, he's merely the Commander of the Knights (and thus must ultimately answer to the Queen), and is also the only one permitted to produce viable heirs with her.

The Senate of this nation is also interesting. In theory, I think it's supposed to represent the voice of the people relaying their wishes/thoughts to the Queen. In reality, it's more like an arena where Godwins and Barrows vie for political gain (much like certain other real-life political entities). The Queen cannot entirely ignore the will of the Senate, (even if she recognizes that their "suggestions" may merely be advancing their political agenda, had has very little to do with the will/desires of the people) as doing so will create political enemies. She's supposed to keep the nation together, not tear it apart from the inside!

As an aside, I probably won't get to post the next update until Sunday. However, I did start the next write-up last night, and will play what I can today to make up for it!
Guardian of the Description Thread
Right! Let's get back to it!

So, Lymsleia isn't in her room. Of course. Like it would ever be that easy. Is she upstairs, in the room where the Sun Rune was sealed? Naaah, just a dude that chews my ear out about Runes. Lower level on the right? Naaah, we just have a run-in with some nobles bad-mouthing Freyjadour (male royals get no respect, I tell ya) and Kyle. Kyle suggests I wait for Lymsleia in the Guard room, but, I'm not quite done exploring yet.

Well, the lower level left side didn't really have anything for me, so, to the Guard room it shall be! There's a bit of cut-scene here where the basis of the political strife affecting Falena is laid bare. The senate of Falena is comprised of two major houses, Barrows and Godwin. Neither faction is any good, mind you, and push their own political agenda as much as possible. The senate has no real power, in practice. The ultimate decision lies with the Queen. Though, I mentioned before how she cannot entirely discount the Senate's decisions. However, what if Arshtat was removed, and young Lymsleia was forced to ascend the throne? What if her husband was a Barrows or a Godwin? I'll talk more of this later on.

I talk to all the knights in the room, and Ferid in the next room. When I try to leave, I finally encounter Lymsleia. Suffice it to say...

...she is very happy to see me. The feeling doesn't seem mutual, though? Anyway, we talk for a bit, which includes where I'm going next: Stromfist Castle. We're not right away, but the conversation inevitably turns to Lymsleia getting married. Ferid protests that she's too young to have a husband, but, it's also true that, you know, she's gonna be the Queen, and it's going to have to happen eventually. At some point, little sis turns to me and asks if I want to see her married. Well, I kinda have to agree that it's way too soon.

It also smells of a plot. Like I mentioned before, both House Barrow and House Godwin are vying for power. Removing the strong-willed Arshat and supplanting her with a weaker-willed puppet-Queen (in the form Lymsleia) is... probably what they are looking for? They are in for a quite a surprise, though.

Anyway, we're allowed inside the senate building with minor fuss. The official that has the list of applicants isn't in right now, as the Senate is in recess. I putz around a bit, and have a run-in with Salum Barrows, the head of the aforementioned Barrows faction of the senate. Oh, and his son too. Geeze, these guys creep me out every single time they are on the screen!

The official with the list hasn't returned yet. Hrm. Must be something else I can do before that can happen. Oooorrrr, it's some kind of time-based thing, rather than event-based. Okay, then.

Now that we've had a look-see of the list, and got a little background on Sialeeds (one of the contestants, Gizel Godwin, was her fiance!) the party splits up again. I've left with Lyon and Kyle, and Kyle's got it in his head to visit the Rune Shop. Apparently, the owner is quite the looker. Gee, I wonder who he could be talking about :P

That's not to say I won't visit the other shops here. Just that I'll visit the Rune Shop last. It does take me some time to find the Rune Shop, as I have completely forgotten the layout of Sol-Falana :P

Of course, the owner isn't in. Kyle expresses his frustration, as does the Rune Sage behind the counter.

I'll have to come back later when my party is more stable. If that's even possible. For now, I'm just another window-shopper. Sorry, dude. No sooner do I leave the shop than I overhear some trouble brewing. Looks like some people are arguing rather loudly about... I'm not really sure. At least one of them mentioned the Queen. Maybe I should break things up before it gets bad. Which involves a fight, but, nothing us three can't handle.

Kyle relays the gist of what that mess was about. Apparently, that group included some ex-mercs from Stormfist. Started bad-mouthing the Queen after getting sloshed at the tavern. Other patrons didn't take that very well, and they decided to take their differences outside. Which is... probably better than a bar brawl, though, in this case, maybe not by much.

I head back to Sun Palace, and get hit with a scene between Arshtat and Farid. Arshtat laments her desire to speak more positively towards her son, and the situation report of Lordlake. Yet, she couldn't help herself from saying what she did. The Sun Rune was rumored to have a seductive effect on it's user. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and all that. It was a gamble to even bear the Rune in the first place. Yet, with the Dawn Rune missing, it had to be kept out of the hands of those that want to use it for personal gain. Hi, Godwins. Don't discount Barrows, either.

Lyon/Freyjadour have their own little scene. Lyon suspects something's going to happen. If you ask me, I feel that the gears have been turning since Lordlake's uprising when the Dawn Rune went missing/stolen. Maybe even before that. However, that's not a conversation option that I have.

The day has arrived for Prince Freyjadour to make a visit to Stormfist Castle, as discussed earlier with Commander Ferid. We shall be the Queen's representatives until she arrives with Princess Lymsleia (among other dignitaries, no doubt) in about a week. At which time, the Sacred Games to determine Lymsleia's husband will commence. Got all that? Good. Now, go!

Lymsleia, of course, makes a fuss about only being able to see me off. Ferid calms her down, and explains to me that overseeing the Sacred Games is only one part of this journey. The other part is learning about the people of Falena, and the Sacred Games is as good an opportunity to observe Falana at it's best, and at it's worst.

I re-visit the shops, as Georg and Sialeeds were not with me before, and save at the inn for good measure before shoving off. We meet Kyle, and exchange a few words with him before going. You know, for the so-called "biggest fan" of the Barrows family, he barely shows it. He considers the Godwins an enemy, but, I don't think one needs to be a supporter of the Barrows for that opinion to arise.

Anyway, we talk among ourselves as the Feitas River carries us to Stormfist. We talk about the Queen, how she's changed since bearing the Sun Rune. At some point, we are set upon by lizards. We defeat the initial onslaught, but, more are trying to come aboard! Sialeeds is fast loosing her composure (she really, really dislikes lizards). A rain of arrows fires onto the beasts, and they fall into the river. And who sails up to escort us to Stormfist? Gizel Godwin. Lucky coincidence, or total setup? Who knows. Hard to say for sure.

Regardless, we arrive in Stromfist...

...and are greeted by Marscal Godwin, with Gizel joining a bit later on. I tell them that I would prefer to start my inspection right away, and Gizel escorts me to the arena. Personally, I think I could do without the escort (I really doubt I will be able to dig up any real dirt with Gizel in tow), but, this will have to do for now.

We observe a contingent of Dragon Cavalry practicing for the opening ceremony of the Games. While I would like to meet them (being future Stars, and all), that's not going to happen. Oh well.

We head into the arena proper, and overhear Eurum cheering on his champion, Zegai. This is a practice match against Childerech, who happens to be Gizel's champion. They both have impressive moves, but, Zegai comes out on top.

The tour heads upstairs to the accommodations for the Queen, the Knights, and the Prince. Rather lavish, one must say. To contrast such luxury, we head to the dungeon to see the accommodations for the gladiators, which is little more than a bleak prison. I do my best not to ruffle any feathers, but, it's clear Lyon does not approve of their situation.

The tour completes itself at the southern entrance of the arena. Gizel suggest we visit the town, which is fine, but, I really don't want him tagging along. Sialeeds wants to chat with him, so the two will stay behind to let me explore the town on my own.

If you thought for five seconds this meant free-roaming, HAHAHAHAHAH, yeah no. Not quite. One more event to see. This time with a leopard named Ernst and his trainer. The game doesn't tell he her name at the moment, but, I'm pretty sure they are both Stars. It is not time to recruit yet, but, if the guy we saw when the tour concluded is who I think it is, I might be able to get one step closer to a future recruit. Lemme look this up to make sure.

Yep, that's Gavaya, and talking to him now is considered a step to recruiting him later. Let's go ahead and do that before anything else, then save at the nearby handy-dandy save-point. Good thing, too, as going to the Inn also triggers an event. That goodness for save-states, and geeze, this game does not let up!
Guardian of the Description Thread
I profusely apologize for the late update. The last couple of days have distracted me from playing this game. However, unless something comes up, I should be more or less clear until next weekend! Now, what the heck was I doing? Oh yeah! Stormfist!

So, let's get that event at the inn I avoided last time, because I just wanted to goddamn save. I mean, don't get me wrong, state-states are good, but, I don't necessarily want to rely on them. Anyway, we're introduced to Marina, a lovely lady (there seems to be a lot of these lately) who's quite flustered by meeting the prince.

Of course, they won't let me stay here. Do I not have a place in the Arena to stay? As I can do little more here, I move about the town, seeing what's available.

There was a tutor next door to the inn, which isn't much. I keep heading in an easterly direction, and hit another event! Apparently, we were being shadowed. I have no idea what this guy is up to, and he claims he's not a spy. Eh, let's listen to what he has to say.

Guy's name is Shoon. He's a gladiator. Not sure who he fights for, but, he'll be tagging along in the party until we have a better place to talk about... whatever it is he wants to talk about.

Cut-scene with Gizel and Sialeeds. They talk a little about what happened between them, and how it was Arshtat that ascend to the throne. See, there was, at one point (sorry if I can't exactly remember when), a great deal of in-fighting about who would ascend the throne that threw Falena into chaos. Both Arshtat and Sialeeds are/were aware of that fighting (or were raised as children during it?), and vowed that such chaos would not rise again so long as they were alive. Some very hard decisions had to be made, though. Obviously, only one of them could ascend to the throne, and that was Arshtat. As for Sialeeds, no Sacred Games would ever be held for her, nor is she allowed to bear children. Would such children attempt to make a claim for the throne against the children of Arshtat, and possibly repeat the bloody history that the sisters are so desperately trying to avoid? Hard to say, but, they did what they felt they had to do.

Back to Freyjadour and company. Should I bother stat-stoning Shoon? I stat-stoned Kyle after the fight with the thugs back in Sol-Felana, but, I didn't mess with Miakis when she was in the party. I'm not really sure how long he's going to be in my party, but, eh, why not?

I can't re-enter the Arena (go fig), but, I can go south the the old part of town, and find a few more shops. You know, weapons, armor, items, Runes. The good stuff. I figure the next event that we're getting is going to be at the inn.

Sure enough, we get a room this time, and sit ourselves down. Apparently, the gladiators/prisoners are hearing voices, and they have an Armes accent! For a bit of backstory, Armes invaded Falena about ten years ago, and Arshtat (with a bit of help from Ferid) got the nation together into a unified front to smash them into oblivion. So, the potential that they are spies, or assassins, from Armes is not something I can so easily ignore, even if it is part of a setup. Which it might be.

Shoon doesn't want the nobility to know about this, which is why he came to me. While it's now illegal to abuse gladiators (one of mom's edicts), he thinks that trouble among the gladiators now would give cause for the nobility to start abusing them again. He tells this sob story of a guy who lost his eyes because he was too strong (this was his master?), but still managed to be great in the ring. Even so, guy still got sold, and sent to god-knows-where, shipped in a box? Don't look at me, I'm just the messenger.

Like I mentioned before, this situation is not something I can easily overlook, even if it's totally a setup. As much as I'd love to sneak in to the Arena to see what's what, I'm missing Sialeeds, and Georg thinks it would be ill-advised to proceed without her. Time to go fetch her. Thankfully, she's not hard to find. She's just outside the southern entrance of the Arena!

I get a Defense Ring for Sialeeds, then talk to Shoon to get dungeon-delving. You know, I was kinda looking forward to the game not interrupt me with cut-scenes every other turn I make. Yet, here we are, with two back-to-back cutscenes.

This guy is pretty hilarious, though.

There a few treasures to be hunted here, but, I make my way to a secret door. I meet with a group of fellows that Shoon recognizes, and it seems they were hearing the voices recently! Hrm. Let's look into this, shall we?

We overhear some tidbits of conversation. We can't really make anything out, but, the words "kill" followed by "Queen" are heard. Suffice it to say, we make a bit too much noise for our own good. Lyon seems to think the wall in front of us is similar to the door on the other side of the room, and Georg kicks it open. Two men flee while Zegai stands stoically. Zegai doesn't seem to be putting up any resistance, so, I go after the guys that ran. It's a winding path that eventually leads up to the surface, but, I find the guys, plus their buddies. We proceed to kick their butts.

As much of a cakewalk that was, now comes the icky part. Sure, those guys were from Armes, but you know what? So is Zegai. This disqualifies him from participating in the Sacred Games, and it's way too late for Euram to find a replacement champion.

Speaking of, Euram is there, professing his innocence in the matter of Zegai. Neither he, nor his father, had any idea Zegai was from Armes! I... kinda believe him. They were probably more interested in his combat prowess than nationality, and I've doubts the subject was ever broached. Zegai doesn't really talk all that much to begin with.

Zegai's fate is sealed, though. He'll be beheaded as an Armes traitor, but, that punishment will be after the games. I'm not sure if I can do anything about that right now. We get warped to our quarters in the Arena, and talk among ourselves. I think we did the right thing by preventing a plot to assassinate the Queen by way of Armes, but, that's not the only plot that exists with that aim in mind.

Cut-scene with Gizel and Mascal Godwin. Is it just me, or does Marscal kinda sound like Commander Margulis? Anyway, Gizel apparently floated the information about the secret passage. Armes picked up on that information, and took the bait. Barrows got involved by way of Zegai. My involvement to reveal the whole mess played perfectly into their hands.

The day of the Sacred Games have come... there hasn't been any major developments since Zegai's imprisonment, and the subsequent withdrawal of Eruam Barrows. There is to be a ceremonial match between myself and Shoon. And by this, the game means that I'm about to participate in the first Suiko-duel of the game. The basic rules remain the same, but, there is now a time-input element involved. The window for input is about three seconds long, and I'm not sure what happens if the player fails to input anything. I'm presuming that the action taken by Freyjadour would either be "Guard", or whatever action is the worst-case scenario versus whatever the opponent is doing. I'm not going to find out on purpose what happens, that's for sure!

When I come inside to brush myself off, Lymsleia barges in, yelling and screaming her head off about me winning, and if I continue to do so, I'll be bound to marry her. I guess nobody told her that duel was a cerimonial match, and has no bearing on the games whatsoever? I choose to say "Huh. I didn't know that." as a sarcastic comment, and to tease my little sister. Of course, that's not how Lymsleia treats that comment (she thinks I'm being serious), even if Lyon may understand as much. When Lymsleia learns the truth (Lyon does it regardless of my choice), she has some words to say to her bodyguard when she enters the room.

I hop into the Prince's room for the handy-dandy save-point. Hrm. Maikis is in my party again. Stat-stone her up? Naaaaah. I'm probably good.

Hey, has anybody else noticed that we haven't fast-forwarded to the end of the games when Gizel has been declared the winner? There has got to be some kind of upstart contestant, and a corresponding plot (by Godwins, no doubt) to remove that upstart.

Anyway, we watch a match of some guy going up against Childertch. Obvously, Childertch wins. The Princess is feeling a bit queasy. She's not used to people fighting for her... wait, does she understand that they are fighting for her? I tell my sister to tough it out, and let momster back me up. The next match the game lets me see is round eight. Lymsleia's proven herself quite tough, despite her earlier qualms. Anyway, this fight is between an orge of a man, Jenku and our aforementioned upstart, Belcoot. Lymsleia thinks Jinku's gonna murder Belcoot, Lyon thinks otherwise. She isn't even a fully trained Queen's Knight, but, she's got her Kensei - Judge Opponent skill down pat; the result of the fight is the exact opposite of what Lymsleia expected.

Lymsleia practically passes out after this, though. Ya did good kid, despite not being used to such things. Though, now that the games are in recess, we can probably investigate this Belcoot. Georg thinks he's in trouble, and we should make some haste. I have a run-in with Murad (*shakes fist at this recruit*), Nikea, and a dwarf (Gunde, I think?) before I find Belcoot tucked away in a corner near the inn. He's surrounded by a bunch of thugs that want him to drop out of the games. He refuses, of course, and the thugs go in to beat him up. Dude doesn't even flinch. Lyon won't stand for it, and butts in. That's usually my shtick, but, I was trying to be mindful of my actions here. Oh well. Let's beat these fools up!

They retreat, for now, but Belcoot's still in danger. So, we mosey over to the inn where we meet with Shoon before to get another event, and, because why not, the one inside the inn that follows.

So, here's the deal. Belcoot's not actually a foreigner. He's an ex-gladiator. He escaped some time ago, and desires more than anything else to completely abolish the gladiator system. I don't know how feasible that is, given how insistent the nobility is in this matter, but, he seems to believe it's possible if he marries into royalty. It's a noble cause, to be sure, but, there is one factor that he miscalculated on, which will come to haunt us later. I'm not going to worry about that right this moment, and use the nearest handy-dandy save-point.
The story of the gladiator who lost his eyes is a direct reference to Morgan from Suikoden 1. You find him in Qlon temple and he joins your crew as one of the Stars of Destiny. X3

The in-fighting over the throne happened between Sialeeds and Arshtat's and their cousin's mothers. So yeah, when they were children/teens. There was a lot of assassinating going on at the time with many people on all sides dying. Keep in mind that the Queens of Falena tend to intermarry with the Godwin and Barrows crew quite a bit, so there'd have been a lot of relatives with ties to the throne back then. Now there's only three. Of the Barrows and Godwin families, there's only a few members left in the main families. Gizel lost his own mother in the killing. So yeah, a lot of people ended up dead. It's a miracle that Arshtat, Sialeeds and their cousin even survived, being as they were the absolute closest links to the throne.

As to the whole reason behind the hubbub, their cousin's mother had a stronger tie to the throne (being the older sister) but it went instead to Arshtat and Sialeed's mother. This caused unprecedented fury over who really had the right to the throne, and both sides clashed over it, both using underhanded means to take out political opponents and threaten innocents. Thankfully the princesses were protected (likely due to the existence of the Queen's Guard). But yeah, it was a horrible time.

If you don't put in a command during the duel, it assumes you made a bad call and you get your ass beat on for that round. You won't auto-lose, but you will lose some health. Also, there's a lot of lose failsafes in the duel system (though there are some game overs tied to it, too.) In this case Lym would have been sad about you losing and Ferid would have been a bit upset that you made a bad showing, but nothing horrible happens. (Well, I mean, Ferid being upset is pretty bad in and of itself. Sorry Daddy! ;.; )

Also, the choices you make regarding your interaction with Lymmie do change some things later on. Bet you didn't know that~ ;p If you tease her too much she won't like you! (Though it's hard not to do so when she's such a little brat and over-exaggerates so much, I know. XD )
Guardian of the Description Thread
I know that later on in the game, we meet Haswar in Lunas. We may understand more backstory in regards to the ascension issue by then, or as the events at Lunas unfold. I definitely remember meeting this one guy there that seems to think that Haswar has the higher right to the throne than Arshtat. We're not quite there yet, though!

As for certain interactions with Lymsleia affecting the end-game, well, the author of the walkthrough I got way-back-when seemed to think it was possible. As were certain interactions with Lyon. So far, I don't think I've made any decision that's been different with previous play-throughs?

*Edit: For the most part, I've been going with my gut instinct based on the context of the situation about what choices to make. If I've screwed up already with the ending, well... no, I'm not restarting.
Lyon is a definite yes - your interactions with her change how she reacts to you at the end (and some of the scenes during that time). It's the same for Lym - some scenes change based on how much she likes you (and you like her, as shown by how you treat her through the game). It's an interesting little addition to the game that most people probably wouldn't pick up on unless they played through a few times.
Guardian of the Description Thread
We get some footage of Childerich and Belcoot doing some moves as the Sacred Games reaches to the final round. Obviously, the final round is between Childerich and Belcoot. However, the fact that we haven't heard anything from those thugs is kinda worrisome. I dunno. Maybe we should check in on the guy?

Good thing we decided to do that. Marina's been kidnapped! I don't exactly trust the patrol guards in this case. Can we rescue her ourselves? Sialeeds seems to think she knows where they might be at, given the kidnapping notice, and may have an alternate route to get there. Belcoot wishes to do this alone, but, neither Sialeeds, Lyon, or myself will have any of that.

Belcoot joins my party soon afterwards. After some preparation (stat-stones, weapon sharpening, etc), we head to the overworld map for the first time!

As an aside, if I must be honest, I was tempted to post the overworld theme from Wild Arms 4 as a bad joke, but, nah. I might do something like that later, but not now.

Anyway, for some reason, I expected this forest to be some distance from Stormfist. It's actually just a few steps away. And, of course, my characters have to make some commentary before I get to the dungeon-delving.

There isn't even much to this dungeon before we get to the hut. Georg and Lyon assess the situation as best they can, but, Belcoot is impatient, and runs on ahead without a plan. I admire the guy's guts, but, isn't that supposed to be my shtick?

I'm not sure if it matters what I say to these idiots. They are determined not to allow a "foreigner" to marry the Princess, and think that anybody who goes against their plan is a traitor to Falena.

I mean, they somehow find this logic acceptable.

Well, the thugs are now lying on the floor, and Marina is free. Somebody approaches the hut, which Lyon senses, but, the person isn't there when she turns around. That was fast. Hrm. I don't like it. However, there seems little else to do right now, save a return to Stormfist.

Cut-scene with Gizel. He detects a presence in the room, and calls out to it: Dolph. Apparently, this Dolph gave Marina something. There is some question as to whether or not she'll use it, but, Gizel is prepared either way. Oh, geeze, that is not good.

Back to Freyjadour and company. Marina's finally retired for the night, and many profuse thanks are given. Belcoot worries that he'll be disqualified for wielding his blade outside the arena. Sialeeds doesn't think it's an issue, as he used his weapon to save a person's life. Georg and Lyon chime in about needing to be focused on the fight tomorrow, and that he can't be distracted by this incident.

They aren't wrong, but, I'm feeling a bit off by this whole thing. I can't even sleep! I meet Marina just outside. I'm not surprised she can't sleep. Lots of stuff in running through her head. She thanks me for rescuing her, which is fine and all, but, I tell her to save her thanks for Belcoot. She wonders aloud about Belcoot marrying the Princess if he wins. Which, well, yeah, that's true. He would marry the Princess if he wins. That's what the Sacred Games are about. She probably knows as much about the reasons he wants to win as I do. And yet...

Next morning, Lyon comes to wake me wearing an eyepatch. Wait, what the hell happened?

Oh, geeze. Anyway, I head downstairs to be talked down by Sialeeds for missing breakfast. Hey, ANTIE, you'd miss breakfast too if it wasn't for Lyon!

...Is what I'd like to say, but, given Lyon's face, I let it drop. Meanwhile, Marina is seriously spacing out. I mean, as a player, I know she was given something by Dolph, and that if she's used it, Gizel would find that "interesting". However, Freyjadour, the character, doesn't know that. Georg might be thinking something is afoot, but, he does not peruse that line of thought.

We split up at the arena. While we cannot officially root for him as far as the games go, we wish him good luck in person. We proceed to the royal box, and watch the championship match.

Even as the announcer speaks his name, we can tell something is wrong with Belcoot. Dude can't even stand up straight! They fight, but, Belcoot just can't keep up. Childerich goes in for a finishing blow, but, it's so painfully obvious that something's wrong. I throw my weapon down into the ring, and Ferid rises to declare the end of the match. The announcer proclaims Childerich the winner of the match, which makes Gizel the finance of Lymsleia.

We send Belcoot to the infirmary. The usual suspects (ie: Georg, Sialeeds, and Lyon) follow me to check up on him. The prognosis is that he was put to sleep by drug or magic. It's not particularly likely that it was magic, as there are Rune Keepers that would detect such thins.On the other hand, if he was drugged, there is no evidence of that. Even if he was drugged, who drugged him, and when? We were with that guy all through the morning!

As if to answer, Marina comes barging in, crying her head off. She admits to being the one that drugged him, and it was in the soup she served him this morning! The good doctor protests that a drug that leaves no trace of itself does not exist. Lyon, though, knows of such a drug. It's a drug that should not exist anymore. "Should" being the operative term here.

Sialeeds goes off to talk to Zegai. I'm not sure what light he would shed on this situation. However, while we were talking, the idea was floated that the thugs from before were somehow working with the nobility. Marina expresses she did not get the drug from her captors, but from somebody else. That would be Dolph, but, again, that's player knowledge, not character knowledge.

As I go to fetch Sialeeds, a guardsmen informs of a message from the Commander of the Knights. There is to be a banquet in honor of the victor of the games, but, if I cannot make it for whatever reason, don't worry about it, he'll cover for me. Thanks, dad. I owe you one.

Anyway, we learn Zegai isn't interested in politics. He had no intention of assassinating the Queen. As for being from Armes, he was merely born there, and left the country at an early age. Not that such things matter to the more patriotic factions of Falena, of course. That he was born in Armes is enough.

How much of this Arshtat is aware of is not known, but, Sialeeds recognizes the situation as a plot by Gizel to win the Sacred Games. It would not surprise me at all if it was his idea for Lymsleia to get married in the first place. Not that Barrows is any better. They both have their own ambitions for the throne of Falena.

We relay our story to the Queen and the Commander of the Knights. However, we have no hard facts on the matter. Only theories and conjecture that happen to fit the facts. Our guesses may be correct, but, we cannot act without proof. Arshtat eventually devolves into one of her fits of madness. I speak up, even though it might get me into trouble. Thankfully, this gets her out of it. Man, I thought for sure I would at least yelled at, if not worse.

Next morning, it's time to leave Stormfist. Ferid suggests I re-visit who I can before I leave. I can't see Zegai, but, I can meet up with Shoon in the Arena's dungeon. Of course, saying good-bye to Marina and Belcoot is in order!

Belcoot insists that he wasn't drugged. No, it's more like, he recognizes that even if he wasn't drugged, there was probably a backup plan in place. That if he tried to re-involve himself in the situation, Marina would be the one to pay the consequences. He tells me to be cautious of Gizel (oh, you think) before I depart.

At the docks, we have some parting words with the Godwins. Georg comes by with Zegai later on. Ferid explains that we're going to take Zegai with us to investigate his ties to Armes. They're ultimately fine with that, but, is that because he's served their purpose? I dunno. I just get this impression that they already know we're not going to find any ties to Armes, and that we already know there's no ties to Armes. We're just keeping up appearances, really.

We get warped to the Sun Palace. Arshtat, Ferid, and Sialeeds talk about what they can do. While they may have suspected that Gizel would have emerged the victor all along, they cannot act out in the open. They must give the appearance that nothing has gone wrong.

Next morning, I am greeted by Lyon, followed closely by my little sister. Miakis arrives a bit later on, of course, and gets Lymsleia all flustered as such is part of her job. We meet with Sialeeds and Georg along the way to the throne room. Apparently, the Queen wants to see all of us.

As part of the ceremony and tradition of Lymsleia's marriage, she is to visit the East Palace to be purified, and relieve the blessing of the Dawn Rune. Yes, the Dawn Rune is not at the East Palace anymore, but, we will not let that small detail interfere with royal traditions!

So, now that I more-or-less know Miakis is going to be fighting, I stat-stone her as part of my departure preparations. I double-checked the walkthrough concerning character recruits just to make sure. Good thing I did. I can get a small scene with the ever-lovely Jeane at the Rune Shop (as if we didn't know she was the one Kyle was talking about before!), and the commentary by Lymsleia, and Lyon's reaction, is absolute gold. Miakis happens to have an empty Rune slot, and I use Jeane's services to buy a Fire Rune, and attach it to that slot. I can't be accused of window-shopping this time!

The East Palace is a short distance from Sol-Falena. Not as short as the distance between the woods where we found Marina in relation to Stormfist, but still very much close by. There's a few interesting treasures to be found before we engage in the Ritual of the Dawn Rune. Wherein we meet up with a woman in black. I know this to be Zerase, but, the game doesn't tell me that yet. Anyway, on to Lunas!

I meet an elf, Isato, near the entrance. The Oracle of Askigaga has been expecting us, it seems. Of course, I would expect no less from a person with "Oracle" as a title. When the Oracle sees us, she goes in for the hug-kill on me, then Lymsleia. What a way to introduce yourself!

This is Haswar, who I mentioned beforehand. She's a cousin to Arshtat and Sialeeds, which... I'm not exactly sure what that makes her relative to myself and Lymsleia. First cousin once removed, maybe? Anyway, she helped take care of Freyjadour when he was a baby, and did the same for Lymsleia.

As much as Haswar would love to spend some quality family time, there is business to attend to. She takes Lymsleia and Miakis aside to prepare for a ritual, and asks me if I can find some way to pass some time in, or around, Lunas. Oh, I'm sure I can manage, it. If my gut is right, I'm about to meet some future recruits very, very soon.
Guardian of the Description Thread
I'm not 100% sure how long Isato will be in the party, but, I stat-stone him regardless before proceeding with the game. I run across a cleric that believes Haswar should be on the throne, even if she doesn't desire it. This triggers a bit of a talk from Sialeeds about Nether Gate, and the fight for ascension. This was spoken of earlier, but, players learn more of this now. What Sialeeds says about the event (which lays it out pretty well, if you ask me) can be found underneath the hide-tag.

About twenty years ago, two sisters fought over the Queen's throne. Each sister was backed by powerful nobles and senators. Civil war seemed inevitable. And then, both of them started hiring Nether Gate assassins to kill members of the other side. Senators and nobles were found dead. The husbands of both sisters were assassinated too.

Finally, the older sister couldn't take it anymore. She surrendered the right of succession to the younger sister. Once the younger sister legally became the queen, the first thing she did... was have Nether Gate kill her sister.

That older sister was Cousin Haswar's mother. The younger sister was Arshtat's and my mother. The previous Queen. Arshtat, Cousin Haswar and I all watched that horrible conflict. So, when the previous Queen suddenly died only two years on the throng, we made a pact.

Haswar and I abdicated any right of succession, and we both vowed to never have any children. Arshtat the joined with Ferid to break up Nether Gate. We all made a few sacrifices to avoid civil war.

At the end of that blat, Haswar comes by, and asks me not to worry about such things. Lymsleia's meditation should be complete by now, so let's head over to the Conclave.

The next stage of the rite is about to begin. Men are strictly not allowed to participate in this rite. Well, no, let's just go with "bath", since that's what it boils down to, and the big reason why I really, really should be there. So, I'll have to excuse myself, as does Georg. Lyon doesn't even consider joining. I should be fine with Georg. However, ever the loyal bodyguard, she's going to stay by my side. As we leave, Georg comments about why Ferid thought Kyle should stay behind: he would give almost anything to take a peek in that bath!

We proceed back to the Oracle's Conclave, when Lyon stops us. She thinks she heard voices up the river! The area upriver is forbidden, so, Isato wants to investigate. Let's help him out, shall we?

Sure enough, there are people here...

...and they seem to be collecting gold dust! Isato confronts them, and they panic. They put out the light, but, fumble around in the dark, bumping into each other, and knocking themselves unconscious in the process. We capture them, and take them to Haswar.

So, these two are father and daughter. Logg and Lun. Logg goes to call Lymsleia a brat during their questioning, but, Lun recognizes us as the royal Falenan family. We'll let them go for a charge of treason but, defiling sacred land? I dunno. They seem harmless, but, not all things are as they seem, do they?

It doesn't seem to matter what I choose. Sialeeds picks up on the possibility that they are connected to the leader of Raftfleet. She thinks that going to Raftfleet, and negotiating with them directly, would be the wisest course of action. Haswar agrees, noting that Sialeeds always had a better head for politics.

You know, for some reason, I thought the music that's running in the Oracle's Conclave...

...was Lunas' theme in general. Weird how memory works, sometimes. Anyway, I visit everyone in their rooms, then go to bed. It's been quite a day, and tomorrow may prove an adventure onto itself!

Awww, little sister wants to sleep next to me? Isn't that cute? Sure, thing, sis. Lymsleia talks about how long it's been since we slept like this, and how we probably won't get another chance. She reminisces about how poorly she treated me, just because I wasn't in line for the throne. Yet, even with such poor treatment, I always treated her fairly, and sought her out when I came from from official business (see: coming home after observing Lordlake).

Next morning, Miakis and Lymsleia are off to Sol-Falena while the rest of us make to Raftfleet. Of course, Lymsleia is not particularly happy with this arrangement, but, what can ya do? Logg and Lun can't take stat-stones yet, so, I guess I'm shoving off to Raftfleet.

Okay, I know what you're thinking. I had the entirety of the Suikoden 4 LP to make this reference. However, as that never happened, I'm doing so here. Not even sorry about it, save the fact that I didn't think of doing it for Suikoden 4 :P

Anyway, onto Scene 24 Raftfleet which is a smashing scene, with some lovely action!

Raftfleet has a lot of services available. A blacksmith, an armorer, a Rune Sage, trading post. Like, I'm pretty sure everything I could ever want is here. There's even a bath (no attendant, though)!

We speak with Admiral Raja, and relay our story about Logg and Lun to her. Apparently, the three are related, as Sialeeds suspected. Logg's married to Raja's second-in-command, Kisara! Raja agrees that panning for gold in Lunas is a pretty serious offense. Kisara has a few words of her own, too.

Now, what Logg and Lun did was pretty stupid, but, Raja admits that she bears some responsibility towards their actions. Certain nobles are seeking raw gold, and that has sent the price through the roof, see. The thought is that the gold is for hiring mercenaries, as they prefer raw gold over coins. Barrows has been especially desperate about hiring mercenaries ever since the Sacred Games went foul. Hrm. I don't like it.

Raja assures me that Arshtat and Ferid probably already know about this (it certainly wouldn't surprise me), and to relax, and enjoy the sights and people of her town.

Before I leave the Dahak, I try and see how Logg and Lun are doing. I can only overhear them through the door, but, Kisara refuses to let them go until they've cleaned a thousand barfish. Well, er, let's let them at it, then, shall we?

Doesn't look like there's any characters to meet here, and I double-checked the walkthrough on this point just to be sure. Back to Sol-Falena, then!

I'm greeted by Ferid and Kyle when I enter the Sun Palace. Not much of a greeting, maybe, but, I figure I'm used to it by now, and they want to keep the matter of Raftfleet private. Ferid suggests I visit Arshtat, and it probably wouldn't hurt if I swung by to see Lymsleia.

Gizel's arriving tomorrow. Mother assures me that we will not simply allow him to have his way, and that we're not sitting around doing nothing. Making friends with Raja and Haswar should help me in the future, and that future might be coming sooner than we would like.

Lymsleia doesn't say anything unusual, I can't see Sialeeds, but, I can enter the Guard Room. Galleon doesn't say anything interesting, nor does Georg. Alenia thinks Lymsleia must be so excited to be engaged to somebody like Gizel, but, I'm not going to tell her otherwise. Zahak is a little creepy, though. He's heard about the incident with Raftfleet, and thinks a beheading is in order, and that responsibility should go all the way up to Raja. Hrm. I don't like it, but, let's get some rest. Tomorrow's going to be a big day.

Cut-scene with Georg and Ferid. Ferid is asking Georg to something that makes them both uncomfortable. Well, let's put it this way. Ferid expresses that he'll do this thing, but, for whatever reason he can't, he needs Georg to do it. He's the only person he can completely trust to do this thing. Whatever it is. I mean, I KNOW what they are talking about, but, it's left specifically vague for player intrigue.

Next morning, the Godwin family ship arrives. Gizel enters the throne room of Sun Palace with an honor guard, bows, and offers his hand to the Princess. She takes it, with some trepidation, but, perhaps the Princess is just shy. The banquet in honor of the impending marriage proceeds as it should. The look on my face is priceless:

I hate this situation. I hate how it came to be. It's one thing that we just fell into Gizel's plot, but, to suspect this would happen all along? What's even worse is that there's literally not a damn thing I could have done about it.

I get lectured by Sialeeds about how to be more tactful. Look at Ferid. He's talking casually with Gizel. It must be hard for him to do that, despite what we know/suspect, but, he's still doing it to not arouse suspicion.

I do my best, and mingle with the nobility. Kyle is hilarious, Galleon's a stickler for rules, Zahak thinks we could have had the marriage today, Alenia is lost in thought, and Miakis dares me to interfere with the wedding. Gizel apologizes for the absence of his father. Lymsleia isn't exactly happy, and can tell everybody's faking their smiles. Arshtat comments that I shouldn't look so glum. Ferid is the last person I talk do, and, to be honest, I am so done here.

That night, Gizel and Dolph come up to a pair of guards. They talk a bit, then the guards fall asleep. The food from the banquet was drugged! Gizel brought some Rune scholars with him. He wants the man in red (Hi, Killey!) especially watched. Heavily suggesting that they want the Sun Rune studied.

An assassin enters the Prince's room. However, we made our own preparations.

This assassin failed. It was a tough opponent, and if there's any more like this guy, we're in trouble. I worry about mom and sis, as does Sialeeds. Well, one thing at a time. Let's go downstairs.

When we do, we see a bright, red light from the window. Could Arshtat have used the Sun Rune!? Man, we REALLY need to hurry.

I turn the corner, and meet with Dolph and... Childerich? Sialeeds puts the pieces together. Childerich was never a gladiator. He's a Nether Gate assassin that posed as a Glatiator. As for Dolph, he has some history with Lyon. The names of "Mismar" and "Michafute" are exchanged between the two. Lyon pleads with us to run, but, Childerich is not going to allow that!

I beat them up pretty handily, but, they just get back up afterwards. I'm saved by Kyle (is that a Breath of Ice he's using?) and Zegai. The immediate plan is that Kyle will make for Arshtat and Lymsleia while Lyon takes me and Sialeeds to safety. Zegai would prefer to stay here (there's more fighting), but, Kyle talks him into coming with me.

Just as we leave the room, we have a run-in with Georg. He tells us terrible news: Ferid and the Queen are dead. I ask about Lymsleia, and Georg says to leave her to Galleon and Maikis. Fair enough. We can try to meet up later.

Sialeeds opens a secret door, which leads to a boat. Georg and Zegai rows us outta there, but we get to see something we never hoped to see.

The Sun Rune has returned to the Sealed Room. There's no question about it, now. Arshtat is dead. And now, Lymsleia is in Godwin's hands. Caught between Alenia and Zahak on one side (they are with the Godwins) and Nether Gate Assassins on the other, there's no way Galleon and Miakis can prevent that.

Next morning in the Eastern Palace, it has been posted that the Queen has been murdered by a Queen's Knight. We're staying there incognito for at least a little while, and the news is relayed to us by an equally in-disguise official. The Queen's Knight that was supposed to have murdered the Queen? Georg Prime. He's also charged with murdering Ferid, and taking the me hostage. Sialeeds does not seem to be mentioned, but, that's plenty of dirt to throw on Georg. As they are sending out search parties, it's not safe for us to stay here anymore. It's suggested that we go to Lunas. Fine by me.

When we get there, we're greeted by Isato. It doesn't surprise me to hear that the news has spread this far, even if it is just the vaguest of details. We haven't rested since the attack, so, we're thankful that Haswar will let us rest here. I tell Lyon she needs rest as well, and she excuses herself. I take a moment to sit down, and reminisce about my family. I'll never see mom or dad again, and who knows when I'll see Lymsleia next?

Cut-scene in the Sun Palace. Marscal has arrived, and is joined by his son, making their way to the Sun Rune. They talk about how Sialeeds and me escaped, but, they were able to put the blame on Georg. Marscal asks if Gizel tried to attach the Sun Rune onto himself, but, as one can see, the Sun Rune is still in the Sealed Room, on the statue. Marscal wants better results, now that they have direct access to the Rune, and the statue.

The Princess is being unreasonable an uncooperative, of course. Gizel has her locked up in her room for now to spare himself the headache. Gizel thinks she's too stubborn to commit suicide, and knows where to find Sialeeds and me. Well, I suppose it's not hard to guess, under the circumstances. Marscal wants us removed sooner rather than later. If we somehow get to Barrows, things will become complicated.

In Lymsleia's room, she's trying very hard not to cry. Crying would be like admitting defeat, and she refuses, absolutely refuses, to give the Godwins that satisfaction. Strong girl.

Back in Lunas. I'm alone for the moment, but, I find Lyon with Haswar downstairs. Though, I must admit, I try the doors to where Georg and Sialeeds are resting, but, the game won't allow me inside. We talk a little bit before Isato comes in, telling us a contingent of a hundred armed men are approaching Lunas. You don't send that many soilders to one place unless they're expecting to find something, or someone, noteworthy.

That our position was outed by a number of clerics gives some dread to the situation, but, really, we need to focus on getting outta here. Now. Isato will escort us as far as the forest. After exiting from there, we'd be in Lord Barrows' territory. We may be able to do something with their help, though, I can't entirely trust them either. If they won't help us, I suppose the only thing left is to go to Estrise, and leave the country altogether. It's not a pretty situation, but, it's what we've got to work with.

This marks the end of this particular chapter/section of the game. I'll be putting the game aside for a bit, but, hopefully not terribly long.
Guardian of the Description Thread
Aaaaaannnnnd, we're back! To recap briefly, Arshtat and Ferid are dead, Georg is being blamed for it, and the only hope I have in getting my little sister (and future Queen of Falena), Lymsleia back from the Godwins is the Barrows family. Great. Juuuuuust great.

As if our first impression of Barrows was bad enough, the first town we come across in their turf, Haud Village....

...doesn't exactly inspire any confidence in their ability to help me. Is the circus in town, or is the town, itself, a circus? Well, the town provides some services, at least. The appraiser here is of note, as he's a future star, and there's a small scene with him. No recruiting yet, of course, but, it's a nice-to-know thing.

As I try to leave via the east side of town, I'm spotted by a soldier. I don't think it's one of Godwins, but, our initial response is to high-tail it out of there regardless. However, it turns out to be one of Boz Wilde's men. He's from the town of Estrise, and one of Lord Barrow's friends. He'll be escorting us to Rainwall on his boat.

Georg thinks him coming by us here and now is a little too good to be true. Sialeeds doesn't think Boz is a liar, and our immediate objective is to go to Rainwall anyway. Might as well let him take us. Zegai parts company with us here, as he believes he won't be welcome in the House of Barrows, given the Sacred Games. I thank him for coming with us so far, then make for Boz's ship. I can't really do all that much more here anyway.

When I arrive at Rainwall...

...Boz tells me that Lord Barrows can't wait to see me. I can imagine. However, before I go and see the creep, I take a bit of time to see what's available here. Good thing I did, too, as I got a little scene with Alhazred, and watching this scene is considered a step in his recruitment process!

When I approach the Barrows mansion, I'm greeted by none other than Eruam Barrows. Guy's a veritable ball of energy, he's so happy to see me. He hurriedly brings me inside to see daddy (I feel he should actually use the term "daddy", but, oh well) as Sialeeds and Georg just shrug, and comment about how the guy never changes.

Inside the mansion is, of course, the floating fat man, the Baron Vladimir Harkonnen. Er, I mean, Salum Barrows. That, and...

...the lovely, and equally capable, Luserina. Apparently, we met each other ages ago, and she wouldn't be surprised if I didn't remember her from back then. Anyway, she's prepped some rooms on the second floor for us, and firmly believes that we can talk about our ordeals, that of the Sun Palace, and what we can do, for another day. Sounds good to me!

Before we get up the stairs, we are interrupted by Chuck, from the mail room storage room. He seems to think that I'm here to court the young mistress. Nothing can be further from the truth, I say! Not that the guy will listen, of course.

We have a look-see at the available rooms on the second floor. One is occupied by Salum's wife (Not sure if she ever gets a name) who's locked herself away in that room since the death of her eldest son. Across the hall from there is the room we'll be using. They are all quite spacious, of course.

Lyon doesn't think we can relax. She thinks Nether Gate can strike at any moment. Sialeeds thinks she's a little paranoid, but, Lyon has her reasons.

This makes a certain amount of sense, given the scenes in the Sun Palace, and her exchange with Dolph/Childerich during our escape. She goes on with how she was taken in by Nether Gate, and how, if she was with them for two more years, she'd be a murderer. Ferid saved her back then, and that's why she's do anything for him. She then turns to me, and asks if I can still trust her, even after knowing all this.

What kind of question is that? That fact helped us in regards to the Sacred Games (We know Dark Arcanum was used on Belcoot, and Lyon might even suspect it was Dolph that gave it to Marina) and during the assassination attempt on me. Also, it's not like you allow your training/life at Nether Gate to rule your life. You have ever acted the bodyguard, and I'm grateful for that. However, if you have to ask, yeah, I still trust you, even after knowing your past.

The next day, the revolving bridge activates, and a storm of Godwin soldiers cross it, making for Rainwall. Lyon wakes me to relay this information. How do they know we're here? Is it because it's a logical conclusion, given the situation at hand, or was our position outed again?

The stated reason that the Godwins are marching on Rainwall is to capture Georg Prime, and to bring myself and Sialeeds back. You don't send three hundred men to a place if you think there aren't going to problems. I think the Godwins know we're going to fight back. I'm not 100% sure if they expect Barrows to ask me to lead his forces in battle, nor am I sure they will expect me to agree to such a thing. It might make things "interesting" for Gizel, though, but, my choices are limited. There is also a certain amount of sense in standing against the Godwins, and in this way, say to them, "No, Georg didn't kidnap me, and I'll never forgive you for what you did in the Scared Games, even if I can't actually prove any of it." To say nothing about poor, Lymsleia, or the deaths of Arshtat, and Ferid.

At least I don't have to fight this upcoming war-battle immediately. The game gives me an opportunity to save, which I use. I want to do as well as possible for these war-battles, as it's part of Murad's recruit requirement, from what I understand.

Speaking of war-battles...

...rather than having separate turns for allies and enemies, everything occurs in in real-time. Sort of. There are various abilities players can use when an allied unit engages an enemy unit that pauses movement on the map. Of course, the results of a battle, regardless of ability usage, are displayed on-screen, and also pauses movement on the map. I suppose it's light on the real-time strategy mechanics, but, I would still prefer the turn-based strategy of yore.

Er, that aside, we suffered only 79 casualties this battle, mostly thanks to Boz and Freyjadour using the "Charge" ability. I'd call that a Victory+! I suppose "Charge" works similar to the "Critical" ability of Suikoden 2 in that it improves damage capacity. However, using "Charge" causes no casualties to be incurred for the skirmish. Pretty handy!

When I return to Rainwall, I'm a celebrated hero! I repelled the foul Godwins! I cleared Georg's name! Well, no, Georg's name is probably not 100% cleared. I just showed that he didn't kidnap me. Salum, however, refuses to keep his mouth shut. He makes a rousing speech about how he's charging the Godwins for the murder of the Queen and Commander of the Knights, and how I'm going to lead their forces into victory. Man, I am not happy about his grandstanding.

Back in the Sun Palace, Gizel tells Lymsleia that I seem to be formulating an army. She's pretty happy about it, but, Gizel suggests that she shouldn't be. He goes on to say that by rising against him, I rise against the royal family. He is, officially speaking, Lymsleia's fiance, and would presumably be the next Commander of the Queen's Knights. He tells the Princess that he will smash anyone that stands against the royal family, even if it's his own "brother". Good to know.

Back in Rainwall, Lyon comes to my room to inform me that reinforcements from Sable have arrived. Their commander is downstairs, so, let's meet him. He pledges his services to me. Not Salum Barrows, mind you. Me. Freyjadour. Of course, even with the might of Sable on our side, and a stream of volunteer soldiers coming in, we're still very much behind in the way of military might. So, naturally, since I'm the face of this movement, Salum wants me to go to meet with Raftfleet, and try to get them on our side. I'm not 100% sure I agreed to be a mere figurehead, but, Salum's previous speech made it appear as if I volunteered for the job. Of course, I'm not exactly in a position to make him angry by refusing him, and he knows it.

Is there a nagging in anybody else's head regarding Lymsleia? Like, I don't want to free her, bring her to Rainwall, only for Salum to turn around, and force her into a marriage with Euram. I'm not exactly sure how that would happen, but, I can't entirely ignore that possibility.

All that aside, there is one good thing than can come out of this. At long last...

...I can finally actually recruit Stars of Density, rather than smile and wave at them like an idiot. That said, there's still a few people I can only talk to during this particular section of the game, and those conversations are considered steps in recruiting them.

Would you like to have a look at the list? Sure. Let's post my quick-notes on the matter.

auto: Boz, Luserina, Logg, Lun
non-auto: Bastan (Part 1), Alhazred (Part 1), Murad (Part 1), Oboro (Part 1), Cornelio, <ReMiFa>, <FaSoLa>, Sairoh

I'm largely assuming Boz and Luserina have joined by now, even if there wasn't a prompt telling me so. Logg and Lun would join after we visit Raftfleet. I should be able to get Sairoh there too. Oboro should appear in Rainwall after that visit to Raftfleet, and I saw the scene for Bastan and Alhazred.

That leaves a scene/talk with Murad (he's in Rainwall), getting Cornelio and ReMiFa in Haud. FaSoLa is supposed to be in a forest southeast of Rainwall. The DoRiMe chorus are all non-stars, and I typically ignore recruiting non-stars, when they exist. However, I think Cornelio will not provide the music hall service unless I collect them all, so...

Right. I find Murad, have a chat with him, then off to Haud Village. Thence, to England Raftfleet. With Cornelio in the party, the battle music is slightly more orchestrated...

...which is a nice touch.

Predictably enough, Raftfleet will not join my cause. Or, rather, they don't want to be a pawn of the nobility. However, Raja does give me a piece of advice: help Lordlake. It was mentioned before by Dinn and Boz in the Barrows mansion that getting Lordlake on my side would be a huge help to our cause. I've doubts about their willingness to join me, though. There's only so much I can actually do for them.

At least Loog and Lun will let me use their boat in order to get to Lordlake. They owe me a big favor for saving their lives, and Raftfleet folk always pay their debts twice over!

When I get to Lordlake, and ask if there is some way I can help them, Talgeyl informs me that any attempt I may make to assist Lordlake now will be merely perceived as a Barrows plot, at best. Though, I can understand that some think that Arshtat's death was divine judgement. He also tells me about Hatred Fortress. It's been damming up the river, and thus preventing water access, for the two years intervening between when Lordlake was hit with the Sun Rune and now. And who's in charge of maintaining Hatred Fortress? The Godwins.

I head back, as the point has been very clearly made: as long as I'm allied with Barrows, there's only so many people actually willing to join my cause.

I double-checked the requirement for Sairoh, as he didn't join me right away. He needs to complain about the high price of salt first, which means checking the trading posts for rumors. The rumor running when I first talked to him and now is about soybeans. Hrm. Let's UGE some salt in my inventory just to be on the safe side. I still have a bit of down-time left in regards to FaSoLa, but, I'm not sure if it's enough to refresh the trading rumors. Even then, there's no guarantee that the new rumor will be about salt. It's probably random ;_;

I remember visiting Suikosource in regards to the items hack, and I specifically recall them not having any notes for trade goods at the time. I mapped them out myself (which was a bit tedious to map with the codes I do have), but, on the plus side, I seemed to have discovered a set of item codes that allows for a bit more efficiency on my end. Thanks, CheatEngine!

The rumor now is that salt has dropped in price. That's the right good, but it's going in the wrong direction! Well, I can still get the sequence with Oboro. That should eat up some time, right?

Eh, Oboro wasn't even there. I met his team, but, no investigations, and I'm pretty sure I investigate somebody while in Rainwall. Maybe later, then. FaSoLa could use a few levels...

Okay, Sairoh's good to go now. I'm not exactly sure how many batches of 16 units of salt I sold (five? four?), but, I also have to remember that trade goods don't usually stack. Oh, well. I'm use I'll use the extra potch somewhere along the line! Anyway, before I do anything stupid, I double-checked what's up with Oboro. I think I'm good with Oboro for now, so, let's get to it.

I report my findings to Salum. He's willing to set aside the fact that Raftfleet isn't going to join me/him. They won't be joining Godwin's side either, so, that's something, at least. He goes on to tell me that he's commissioned artists from Haud to design the flag for "our" army. I'm not even remotely interested, and would rather hear what updates he has for me. His response to that is that I shouldn't have to worry about such trifles, and I should just concentrate on being a figurehead. Oh, you'd like that, wouldn't you?

As he departs, he pauses, then turns to ask what I think of his daughter. Well, yeah, I think she's a lovely girl, but, I detect a hidden motive to the question. I ask why he wants to know. Of course, he initially says that there's no reason, save curiosity. He then goes on a rant about how capable she is, and mentions how she runs the mansion by herself. He also can't help but to add that it would be to our mutual benefit if I get to know her better. A lot better. Hrm. I don't like it.

That night, we have a discussion among ourselves. Sialeeds hates how we're not getting any information out of Salum. Georg comments that his intent is probably just to use us as figureheads. I mean, he literally told me that's what my role is. Sialeeds despises being a figurehead, but, realizes that we're not in a position to dictate terms. Luserina comes by, and asks if her father said anything strange to me. Such as us getting together. Sialeeds laughs it off, saying we'd make a cute couple. Luserina thinks this is no laughing matter, and Sialeeds eventually agrees. If he wants us to be together, if that's part of his plan, that is not a good thing.

Thankfully, this is something we don't have to deal with right this very second. Especially since everybody in this room suspects it's part of a plot. We should focus on the issue that's more immediate, which Georg summarizes quite nicely.

Man, if only we had some kind of tactician that we could rely on. Somebody that had my best interest in mind, and not Salum's. Sialeeds brings up a tactician that helped with the Armes invasion eight years ago. Now a prisoner of Agate Prision, she's nonetheless the kind of person we're looking for. The problem, then, would be springing her out of there.

Next morning, I'm joined by Lyon. I go next door to talk to Luserina about Agate Prison. Apparently, it's on an islet on the Feitas river, and is only accessible by boat. Gee, I wonder who I know that has a boat that can take us there? Luserina protests that I shouldn't go there, as it's too dangerous. Sorry, Luserina. A Prince has got to do what a Prince has got to do!

Luserina refuses to let me switch party members (this is the service she generally provides), so, I have to go to Raftfleet with just Lyon and myself. We're pretty hardy and capable, though. Though, now that we're talking about Agate Prison, let's have a look-see at who I might need to have a look-out for.

auto: Lucretia, Lelei, Cius, Raja, Kisara, Kyle, Chuck
non-auto: Retso (Part 1), Shinro, Oboro (Part 2), Murad (Part 2), Egbert, Takamu, Josephine

Funnily enough, I think I hit the event with Retso earlier. The fact that Raja and Kisara are on the list tells me I do something really, really cool for Raftfleet here to make them owe me one. Raftfleet folk always pay their debts twice over, you know!

Anyway, Logg is absolutely pumped that I want to break somebody out of Agate Prison. Lun is confused, but comes along regardless. We sail to a vantage point, observing the main entrance. We're not going in that way, of course, but, it's still useful reconnaissance. How Logg knows of another way in is a question I really don't want to ask.

Our other way in is through the Baska Mine. Much to our surprise we find a village down here! Lun mistakes them for children, but, something about them is a little off. Turns out these are dwarves. Not that dwarves are a "new" race. We saw at least one back in Suikoden 3 (Twalikin), and we had them in the original game too (everybody remember the Burning Mirror?). Even so, we've seen beavers and elves in this game, so, why be surprised by dwarves?

Anyway, we find Gunde, an old friend of Logg. Apparently, the two used to be fugitive runners back in the day. They even "almost" assisted a a gladiator in escaping from Agate Prison itself!

And by "almost", they mean that the tunnel that they dug was never finished. The person they were supposed to get out was moved elsewhere! Lun complains that they don't even know if this tunnel even connects to Agate. Regardless, Gunde proves a super-fast worker. Even if we're not in Agate, we're in a basement, and it behooves us to make as little noise as possible. Gunde, satisfied that the tunnel is now finished, leaves the party. I use the handy-dandy save-point, and will leave the delving of this dungeon for another time.
Guardian of the Description Thread
We come out from the basement, and find an array of cells. Well, we're in a prison, at least! I notice a guy dressed in red in one of the cells (Hi, Killey!), but, I can't even talk to him.

Further in, I notice a particularly well-guarded door. As we engage, one of the guards says they will protect Lady Merces at all costs. Lucretia Merces is the name of the tactician we're looking for, so, maybe...

Oh well. No time to talk. Just time to serve up a pounding of beats. Afterwards, the guards are calling us Godwin scum, planning to kill the person they are guarding. I, uh, think there's been a bit of a misunderstanding! We talk a bit more, and they give me a little run-down. While it's true that Lucretia was incarcerated here, Godwin wanted her execution. It was Arshtat that butted in, and spared her life. The guards came to see her as a friend, and have been terrified of the possibility that Godwin would come to finish Lucretia off. While Cius will let us pass, Lelei isn't so trusting. Lyon offers to allow them to confiscate her weapon as a symbol of trust: if we try anything, they can strike us down. I offer my weapon as well, but, Lyon won't have it. This is her duty. Why would a bodyguard give up her weapon? Lyon understand the point...

...but has her own point. They take us to see Lucretia. Thanks to Cius and Lelei, she expected somebody to come by, but, wasn't entirely sure if it was a Godwin come to kill her, or somebody that wished to use her expertise. We sit ourselves down, and before Lyon makes our request, she accepts. However, she wants to be sure that we want her to be our tactician. She was the one that advised Arshtat to bear the Sun Rune to keep it out of Godwin hands. She also points out that she was formerly the tactician for the Godwins back then, and still backstabbed them. She goes on to explain that she gives priority to her own judgement of the situation above her duty as a tactician.

I accept her terms, even knowing the risk. Now, to get her outta here. Thankfully, Cius and Lelei will fight with me to protect her. When we get outside the front gate, Cius and Lelei tell the guards outside that there are intruders (true), and somehow manage to convince them that moving the prisoner is the best course of action. With them out of the way, we use the nearby boat. Lucretia is guessing the Raftfleet is in trouble and that we need to hurry. However, she doesn't specify why she thinks that.

In the distance Lun spots a fleet of warships headed to Raftfleet. Lucretia thinks they belong to a General Luger. Of course, Logg and Lun are naturally distressed. They don't think Raftfleet can hold up to even one warship, much less a fleet of them! Luceria reminds them that this kind of situation is exactly what they broke her out of prison for, and notes that Luger's fleet isn't attacking right away. There may yet be time to do something, but, we still need to hurry!

They initially mistake us for Godwins, thanks to the boat that we're using, but, we eventually get to Raftfleet proper. We need to talk to Raja about the situation. What pretext is Godwin using to attack Raftfleet, anyway? They might not be completely loyal to them, but, they aren't loyal to Barrows (or me) either. They're neutral. Unless by refusing to swear loyalty to them, they are considered enemies of Falena? I suppose that would be consistent in regards to what Gizel told Lymsleia before.

Let's get it the skivvy from the horses' mouth, rather than guessing. I go to visit Raja, and find Sialeeds and Georg already there. What I'm told is that Luger's fleet delivered an ultimatum.

Failure to comply is subjugation by force. Or, if you want the dumbed down version, "Join us or die flying." Raja's not sure what to do. Luger was under her command, and trusted him with her life. She knows how formidable he can be. However, she doesn't want to just up and quit either. Lucretia has a plan, of course, but, wants to know if I want to aid Raftfleet. Of course I do! Doing so might also put them under Barrow's thumb, but, I think it's an important distinction that Raftfleet would owe me a favor, not him.

We get thrown into a naval battle, which isn't all that different, mechanics-wise, from the war-battle we had previously. I mean, we don't have access to Rune Cannons that fire from half a globe away, sadly, but, we'll make do with what we do have.

Our objective here is to either cripple Luger's ship (get it to half troops), or drown the rest of his fleet. Thankfully, about half of his ships run around, and cannot move, thanks to the closing of the sluice gates. The operation ends with 34 casualties on my end, and netting me the Victory+. Luger's fleet was also mostly intact (I rushed Luger's ship), so I hope that gives me some bonus points for Murad later.

I've saved Raftfleet, and they feel indebted to me. Which means, yes, they'll join my cause now! While Raja prefers to stay at Raftfleet, Kisara will act as Raftfleet's representative, and come with me to Rainwall. Logg and Lun have to find a way to get their boat back (we left it at Baska Mine, if you recall), but, as noted before, there's probably a couple of people that will join me now, if not soon-ish.

First and foremost is Shinro, as he's in Raftfleet. I know where Josephine is (Haud Village), but, I don't recall where Egbert and Takamu are off-hand.

Er, make that 26 casualties of that battle instead. There's a bug regarding the defense of Raftfleet, and I apparently hit it by resting/saving at the Raftfeelt inn, rather than ditching the town, and getting the associated event. I end up fighting it twice regardless, but, rather than take the risk of the game (or, rather, Murad) "seeing" the casualties of two battles, I load my game from before I fought it, did it again, then high-tail it out of Raftfleet after the fight concludes. I still recruit Shinro, though :P

The event in question is of Gizel and Marscal. News of Luger's defeat has reached the Sun Palace, and they are not amused. Well, it's hard to tell with Gizel, but, Marscal certainly isn't amused. They send General Novum to crush Rainwall, and our little uprising, once and for all.

I'm warped to Rainwall. Which is fine. I was heading towards Haud for Josephine, but, as long as I'm here, I should see what Murad says, and see what I can do about Oboro's step.

Looks like Murad has moved on, but, I can still do Oboro. I have to meet with the floating fat man first, and there's nothing interesting about his exchange with Lucretia. I mean, of course she mentions that I'm the one bringing everybody together, and that we should work together towards my goals, but he laughs it off, and spouts his own blurb.

I need to get one more event at the Barrows mansion before I can get to Oboro. Lucretia wants to know the truth about the Lordlake uprising. The official line is that the troops stationed at the East Palace were overwhelmed, and thus was the Dawn Rune stolen. Lucretia's not buying that, though. The troops stationed at the East Palace were Barrows' men, and she senses Salum is hiding something. We'll need Oboro's help in uncovering what that something is, and, being a valuable potential ally, she wants me to contact him.

Oboro's pretty confident in his abilities, but, I'm not going to be able to recruit him if I leave him, and his associates, to their work. Time for a bit of investigation, myself. Though, I'm not aware that the drunk that's now in the inn was vice-commander of Barrows' men during the uprising. As he leaves the inn, we notice a character shadowing him. We peruse them near the pier where Oboro's ship is moored, and overhear a bit of conversation between the two. They separate, and we get it in our head to follow the other guy. Oboro drops by, and thinks he knows where the guy is going, or knows how to find out. Of course, I'm curious to see how this unfolds.

We follow Oboro's mouse (don't ask) to the Barrows mansion. Apparently, the guy we're looking for went in there, and very probably works for Salum. We go back to Oboro's ship to consider our options. We're guessing that Norden (the aforementioned former vice-captain) is being bullied to be silent. Silent about what? Could it be about Lordlake? There's only one way to tell, and that's to talk to the guy. I'm continuing to be a part of this investigation, so, Lyon and I have to go incognito. Also, it seems the poor guy is back in the inn, knocking back a few. Hrm. Well, let's see if we can get him to talk. It might not be coherent, though.

We bring him to Oboro's ship so that we can get some privacy. He won't talk, and we won't force him to. We will, however, take him to Lordlake. He's not visited the place since the uprising, and there must have been a stream of memories seeping in as he looks around.

As we return to Oboro's ship, we are discovered by a troop of Barrows' men. They call us Godwin swine (or like term), and that they've seen us "snooping about" at Barrows mansion. I'm not going to give up, and we end up fighting them, and emerging victorious.

We figure the men moved in more to silence Norden then anything else. Norden realizes the situation, and his mistake, and agrees to tell us everything he knows about Lordlake's uprising. Maybe not right away, though. The poor guy may already be experiencing a hangover from the booze. ;_;

With that out of the way, Oboro can do his thing, and drops me off at Raftfleet. I talk to Murad (yeah, I know he won't join me for a while), but, more importantly, Logg's back! I can re-visit Baska Mines and Agate Prison for Stars!

As part of my visit to Agate Prison, Cius has a little blurb about Killey when I go near him. Much to his surprise, Killey lets himself out of the cell! Watching this scene probably counts as part of Killey's recruitment requirement, though, looking at my quick-notes, this scene might be mentioned later on in the walkthrough. Though, maybe more of a "this is your last chance to get this" thing? I'll look it up in more detail when I get there. For now, I should have recruited everybody that I could, and I've made my way to Rainwall's Inn again. Next update should be the defense of Rainwall, among other things. Stay tuned!
Guardian of the Description Thread
I enter the Barrows mansion, and Luserina comes down the staircase, babbling about a Queen's Knight. As if on cue, Kyle makes his own appearance. He relays that Miakis and Lymsleia are fine, even if they are confined to quarters. He also relays that Gizel tried to attach the Sun Rune to himself, but, it didn't work.

Salum is exceptionally amused by the news, blats about a theory that only a legitimate Queen of Falena could bear the Sun Rune, then goes off to tell Boz and Dinn. Yeah, I bet that's what he's doing. When he leaves, Kyle apologizes for not being able to save Ferid, Arshtat, Lymsleia, or prevent the Godwins from having custody of the Sun Rune. Frankly, I'm just glad to see him. I think he'll join my cause regardless of what I say (He was listed as an auto-star, as you may recall), but, it's the truth.

After this scene, there's an optional conversation with Kyle concerning my relationship with Luserina. I don't think my response ultimately matters, but, saying "There's been talk of an engagement" is true, even if neither of us are serious about it, or suspect that doing so will fall right into Salum's hand.

Lucretia is in a "watch and wait" mode. Yeah, that's probably the best thing to do. I reduce myself to the minimum party possible (Lyon and myself), then head upstairs and take a snooze.

That night, Salum Barrows comes by to see me. He's relaying a report of a General Novum, a guy on par with Boz, heading toward Rainwall. He then goes on to ask that if I manage to beat him back, if I will use the momentum of fame and glory gained by defeating such a man to become "King". He vehemently expresses that he's not suggesting that I usurp Lymsleia, but, to carve out "our" own nation. The wording here is exceptionally important.

So far, Salum as treated me as little more than a figurehead. There is no reason to think that he'll not attempt to seize power for himself, even if I agree to this plan. Of course, I have no intention of agreeing to this plan in the first place. Creating a new nation will not help to save Lymsleia. It certainly will not stop the fighting with the Godwins.

Whatever. I'll just pretend I didn't hear that. Dude goes on to admit that he has certain connections to Armes, and that with those connections, we'd be able to trample over the Godwins with ease. Peace would be restored, and a grand coronation would commence. Dude. No.

And if you believe that garbage, he's got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell as well. I tell him for the last time that I'm not fighting to become "King". I'm fighting to liberate Lymsleia, no, Falena itself, from Godwin's rule. I'm doing it because their policies and methods are deplorable. It never had to do with ascension. Maybe what I'm doing would still be considered civil war (even if there's nothing civil about it), but, it's important to fight for the right reasons in such a case.

Salum sighs and backs off for now. He makes a vague threat about "consequences" should I share this conversation with anybody. The same "consequences" that Norden had to deal with, no doubt. As an aside, agreeing to Salum's plan provides an alternate ending. I forget the exact details, but, I seem to recall a cut-scene at the Sun Palace with Lymsleia sitting on the throne, and Gizel standing next to her. Salum eventually has Freyjadour killed off, and Lymsleia laments how idiotic her brother was. However, we don't see that scene ;)

When I exit my room next morning, Lyon admits that she overheard the entire conversation. She's exceptionally glad that I refused his offer, and reports that General Novum has arrived with his men. Thankfully, I'm not locked into a conversation about the upcoming war battle when I reach downstairs. Let's go to the inn and save, shall we?

All right. Let's get this over with. I talk to the floating fat man, expecting that doing so will get me into the fight. It doesn't. He blats that victory is assured. Dinn and Sialeeds have no clue how he can be so certain of this. Kyle's talking about Lilei, while Kisara comments that there's very little Raftfleet can do in this situation. Lucretia, however, detects that Salum talked to me last night, and has an inkling what it was about. However, we can't get into details right now, but, she mentions "getting serious". Luserina is investigating an undisclosed matter for the tactician. However, this does not detain her from allowing me to swap party members. There is no need for this, though.

I talk to Salum and Lucretia again, and they both tell me to go to my room when I'm ready. Georg is there, and Lucretia enters shortly after we say hi. Time to lay down our plan.

Georg starts us off. He was sent to the southern forest, and found troops there. They didn't wear anything that gave away their identity, but, he's sure they're from Armes. What's worse, he noticed Euram was among the troops. This signifies their intent to join forces with them. Or rather, make it look like I made the deal myself as a point of blackmail in regards to his "new nation" plan. Not to mention a marriage to Luserina to bolster his position.

Sialeeds laughs this off, then goes to say that he's worse off than Godwin! Our nation is not some plaything for nobles to fight over! Lucretia has a plan, of course. She think we can make Salum be the "bad guy" in this situation, but, by doing so, he'll lose more than merely reputation. I have no particular allegiance to Barrows, so, I agree. Lucretia turns to Luserina, and asks if she's alright with this. She's clearly not happy with the situation, but, agrees that we have to stop her father now before he gets any real power. Strong girl.

We don't get any details on Lucretia's plan at the moment, but, rest assured, she has a plan. We go downstairs and meet the Lindwurm Mercenary Brigade, much to the annoyance of Lyon (one of them tries to hit on her). Whatever. I'm ready to fight, and have been for a while now.

As far as initial numbers go, our forces have 600 troops to their 500. Lucretia then advises me to draw their troops to the south, into the forest, then west to encounter our "surprise". We are expressly not to engage in Novum's forces head-on, as that would play into Salum's trap. From out current position, we should probably move to the south-east-ish to draw them into the southern woods.

Of course, doing so raises some eyebrows. Boz is understandably confused, as is Dinn, and the Lindwurm cavalry is disappointed, to say the least. General Novum thinks us cowards, and orders his men to strike the "dogs" down. After a bit, Lucretia sends a messenger. The message says that we've discovered an Armes army hiding in the southern forest, and to call a temporary cease-fire. We also propose to work together to drive them out.

The Lindwurm cavalry retreats, as this is a breach of contract. However, the Godwin scouts affirm the presence of the Armes army. They agree to the cease-fire, and allow me to control their units! Innnteresting!

With some perseverance (and save-state technology), I have zero casualties. Lucretia thinks there might be some trouble in Sable as the enemies retreat, and allows Dinn to attend to that affair. Meanwhile, General Novum will not pursue the engagement with us at this time. He wants to report about Armes, though, he's a bit perturbed that he'll have to settle things with Boz another day.

We return to Salum, and he does his best to relay his happiness over another triumphant battle. Of course, the question of how an army as large as the one we found in the woods could enter the country without being noticed is an interesting one. Unless they were under some kind of protection. Salum denies his involvement, reflecting the blame to the Godwins. Just then, Eruam barges in, breathless. He babbles about meeting with Jidan, and being chased by Novum's forces. He swears vengeance, and lets out a little thing that is not entirely insignificant.

Oh, they try to cover their tracks. They say that they meant that if they ever find the Dawn Rune, they'd use it on them. Nobody's going to buy that, though. Luserina speaks for us all, telling them that they are lying. She turns to me, and asks Sialeeds Lyon, and myself to follow her to the basement storehouse. Salum pleads with her not to go, but, we refuse to listen. Chuck, the storage guard, is adamant about not letting us through. I'm not sure if he knows what he's guarding, but, I won't let him get in our way. Not when we suspect so much about what's down there. I duel with him, and emerge victorious. When we go down the stairs, I can't help but to notice a wardrobe that's wrapped in chains. As I approach, I get an FMV of the chains unbind themselves, and the Dawn Rune attaching itself onto me. Well, crap. I've acquired the True Plot Rune.

Zerase appears out of nowhere (as is her want), utterly disgusted that a "mere boy" has the Rune, and what-not. She goes on to tell me that the Dawn Rune has chosen me, and that I must prove myself worthy of it, or she'll kill me and find somebody who she considers is worthy.

Back upstairs, Chuck had no clue what he was guarding. He was only told that he was guarding a "special gift" that was to be for Luscerina's wedding. Luscerina does not blame Chuck for being duped. There is only one person that should be blamed, and he's in the next room.

Salum cannot get a word in. Every time he tries to talk, he gets interrupted by accusations. Oboro eventually comes by with a sobered-up Norden to relay a tale. Underneath the hide-tag is the conversation.

My superior, the captain of the garrison, saw the mob coming from Lordlake. It was far too big for us to control, so he panicked. He orders us to seize the offensive and scatter them. Keep in mind, this was just as Lord Rovere was trying to calm them down!


I knew what would happen. I tried to tell the captain, but, he just wouldn't listen.

Incidentally, the "captain" Norden is speaking of is... young master Euram over there.

Euram! How thoughtless and rash could you be!?


Soon, not even Lord Rovere could calm the mob. In the end, we were the ones who got scattered. The mob smashed up the dam, but they still weren't done with their rampage. Someone insisted that they head directly to Sol-Falena to lodge a formal protest with the Queen. And so they went.

When Lord Barow received this report, he gave a secret order to his private soldiers. He commanded them to mix in with the rioters and incite them to attack the East Palace!

Norden was never at the East Palace, so, he doesn't know exactly what went on there. However, given that we found the Dawn Rune in Barrows' basement, we can largely assume he used the commotion to steal the Dawn Rune.

Things are beginning to piece together, aren't they? Salum used the Lordlake uprising as a backdrop to take the Dawn Rune for himself. His "new nation" he tried to weasel me into? It would be based on the power of the Dawn Rune, coupled with the help of his Armes friends, and the political clout of marriage to the royal family of Falena.

The marriage factor is an interesting one. I must think they would have preferred the marriage of Euram and Lymsleia. That would have been less messy. At least for them. I imagine they would probably have Lymsleia confined to quarters, just like the Godwins are doing now. I don't think there would be a need to involve Armes, or create a new nation, when they would control Falena more directly. Though, I'm sure having the Dawn Rune would still be a factor. However, loosing the Sacred Games made them change plans to what they ended up doing, which was to rely on a marriage between Lucerina and myself, and to rely on Armes (and mercenaries like the Lindwurm cavalry) for military backup.

However, now that we've revealed Salum and Euram Barrows for the traitors and backstabbers that they are, we cannot stay in Rainwall. Kisara is kind enough to invite us to Raftfleet. Boz has some parting words, as does Luserina. She's ashamed of her father and brother, proclaiming her devotion entirely to my cause. Sialeeds also has some final words for the Barrows ("YOU WORTHLESS FOPS! Man, I always wanted to say that to your faces. Feels good letting loose like that"). Chuck runs after us, proclaiming his loyalty to Luserina. This house is looking pretty empty now, both Salum and Euram have been soundly beaten. However, don't think they're broken people. They'll be back to haunt us later on, unfortunately.

I meet up with the Lindwurm mercenaries before I leave Rainwall. I try to hire them, but, they won't agree to that for now. Oh, well. Onto Raftfleet, and the next chapter of the game!
Guardian of the Description Thread
Last time we left off, Lord Salum Barrows tried to weasel himself into having his own little nation, using his daughter, Armes, the Dawn Rune, and myself in the process. We've since abandoned him and his tricks, and moved our base of operations to Raftfleet, on Kisara's kind invitation.

Before we get too much deeper into things, let's have a look-see at what characters are available at the moment via my quick-notes on the matter.

auto: N/A
non-auto: Oboro, Fuyo, Shigure, Zegai, Miroon (Part 1), <SoLaTi>, Viki

Oboro's crew can be recruited at Raftfleet, but not right now. Zegai can be found in Lunas' forest somewhere, I con't recall where. Miroon, I'm pretty sure, is in Yashuna Village's bath? Maybe I'm thinking of a different beaver. SoLaTi is in a dungeon in/around Yashuna. As for Viki, I'm pretty sure she has some involvement in the Ceras Lake ruins/dungeon.

I'm going to try to get these recruits/events in order. So, let's talk to Raja. We discuss the situation with Lord Barrows and Euram. Lucretia may have wanted a more amicable agreement with them, but, Euram's outburst practically forced events to flow the way they did. Luscerina beats herself up a little, and Boz assures her that it's not her fault. He was as close to Salum as anybody, and he still didn't know about the Dawn Rune! Both Lucerina and Boz swear to make the world a better place, or at least make less room in the world for people like Salum and Euram.

Raja turns to ask me what I want to do. I give it a quick think, but, I ultimately answer that we need to help Lordlake. For real this time. Sialeeds and Lyon happily agree. Kisara has Raftfleet move closer to Lordlake.

Cut scene to the Sun Palace, and our favorite Godwins, Gizel and Marscal. The news of nobles abandoning Barrows (either becoming independents, or allying with me) was something Marscal predicted. This is precisely what he expected out of Lucretia. He expects something similar to happen with me. He states that politics is all about karma, and that such is something they have to keep in mind, themselves. As for me having the Dawn Rune, their Rune scholars have made disgustingly little progress. They apparently have a back-up plan, though, which does not surprise me at all.

Back in Raftfleet, I have a new outfit. One I'll be wearing for the rest of the game. Lyon is quite excited about it...

...and tugs me all the way to Raja's room to show who's there my new threads. Sialeeds would have also liked a new outfit, but, Lucretia explains that the reason I have one is because everybody still thinks or me as a pawn/puppet of Barrows. I have to show that "Prince" is not merely an honorary title, or that my best interest lies in Falena, not whoever happens to have the political clout to fight the Godwins.

Maybe a new set of clothes isn't enough, but, it's certainly a start. Lucretia thinks it's also a good idea to name our army. We certainly don't want to be called "the rebels", or some-such! Kisara suggests Orange Army, or the Unicorn Army (both nudge-winks to Suikoden 2 more than anything else, I sense). Sialeeds floats the simplistic option of Prince's Army. As discussed earlier (I'm pretty sure of this), I will name my army the Loyalist Army.

Lucretia will manage our forces in lieu of Salum. She also sets forth our first objective as the Loyalist Army: for me to go to Lordlake personally. I'm not sure what that will accomplish, but, okay. However, I appear to have free-roaming. Which means it might be time to recruit some Stars.

We have something of a run-in with Dolph when entering Oboro's boat. He asks Lyon to join him, which she adamantly refuses, saying she's my bodyguard, and will protect me with her life. He gets a little creepy, asking if I wasn't there for her to protect, if she's go back then. Of course, Lyon won't have any that. She flatly rejects the murder the hypotenuse logic he seems to be using on her. Oboro comes by a bit later, and diffuses the situation. He's free for me to recruit after the events are done. You might note the lack of Sigiri on that list. She'll be a recruit later on, but, does not join with Oboro like Shigure and Fuyo are. Three down, three to go!

Because of Raftfleet's new position, it behooves me to take Logg's boat to Haud Village and make for Lunas forest from there. I meet a rather haughty elf by the name of Urda that wishes to visit Lunas. Sure thing. She meets with Isato there, thinking that he'll come back to their village (sorry, I didn't catch the name) with her on my say-so. This is not true. Isato is here because the Oracle protects their village by forbidding gold mining on the river in Lunas. More than that, it is his wish to stay here.

I leave Lunas, and it's woods, and Urda leaves my party, proclaiming she'll never give up. I go back in there, and find Zegai, standing next to a fresh zodom corpse. He initially refuses me, but, I try again, and he joins my cause.

That's all the people I can get at the moment. Let's visit Lordlake, and get spat on again. I mean, why should they think that I'm not out to use them in my own way? Hell, even the usually level-headed Talgeyl is bitter enough to see fit to poke fun at me. He apologizes, of course, but wants to put a face on Lordlake's suffering. We head to the clinic.

The good doctor goes on to explain that the lack of decent water is the biggest issue. Lyon floats the suggestion to move to Raftfleet, but, she doesn't understand. It's not about the fact that there's water elsewhere. It's the fact that these people love Lordlake, despite it's issues. That it's their town. It's where they belong.

We have to get water back into this town. That's not going to be easy, but, that's what we gotta do. Of course, Toma, the boy we recused earlier, overhears us, and initially refuses to allow us to help. Of course, we're insistent. He might not believe it, but, we want Lordlake's suffering to end as much as anybody in Lordlake itself. We'll need a plan, though. As you recall, Lordlake's water has been dammed by Hatred Fortress, currently under the jurisdiction of the Godwins. Attacking it seems to be the logical conclusion, but, doing so head-on seems like a really dumb maneuver. Thankfully, we have a strategist.

Toma will join me as a guest for the moment to keep an eye on me. However, before I go back to Raftfleet and talk with Lucretia, let me double-check to see if there are no further recruits at this time.

Nope. Looks like we're good. Anyway, Lucretia admits that we cannot take on Hatred Fortress with the numbers we have now. However, if we ask the beavers, of Beaver Lodge, they may be able to provide a weakness, as they were the ones that build the thing. Getting them to help me might be a task onto itself, though. They much prefer to be left alone, and have no desire to fight.

Just as I'm about to leave, Lucretia tells me she's come up with another plan, and requests the assistance of Cius and Lelei. I'm a bit curious about the details, but, I'll let her do her thing. There's a small cut-scene of Lucreatia and the former Godwin guards before cutting to the Sun Palace.

Gizel wants to see what happens when Lymsleia tries to bear the Sun Rune. He's fully aware what might happen as a result, but, he's willing to take the gamble. However, even with Jeane herself presiding over the Rune attachment process, the Rune refuses Lymsleia.

While what Jeane is saying may be true, I would like to note out that there has been no instance in any Suikoden game, at least that I'm aware, of a True Rune attaching by way of a Rune Sage. Tir chose to allow Ted to transfer Soul Eater onto him. Riou chose to bear Bright Shield, and may bear the Rune of Beginning. The player chooses who bears the True Fire Rune, and who bears the True Water Rune and True Lightening Rune follows from that choice. The Rune of Punishment chooses it's victims (that's probably the best term here), and found a potentially forgiving soul in the person of Lazlo. Arshtat's acquiring of the Sun Rune was off-camera: we don't know if it involved a Rune Sage or not, but, I find it difficult to believe that it did.

Anyway, we can't go directly to Beaver Lodge. We have to sail to Yashuna Village, and go the rest of the way on foot. Logg, if you would?

The place is infamous for their hot springs, but, of course, I can't use them. At least I get the scene with Miroon! There's a mountain pass between Yashuna and the lodge, and this is where we find SoLaTi. I'm the kind of terrible that went back to Raftfleet to switch up party members after SoLaTi was recruited.

We are treated to the warmest of welcomes at Beaver Village...

...and make our own way to the Elder's hut. The elder goes by the name Fuwalafuwalu, and we're also introduced to Maroon and Muroon. Of course, we had the inkling that the beavers were forced by the Godwins to make Hatred Fortress (thanks for the confirm, Maroon), and it certainly helps that we meet the beaver that designed the fortress (Muroon).

They don't mind taking down Hatred Fortress, but, Muroon says that such a fortress would only be "destroyed" by taking it apart piece by piece. Using a ram wouldn't put a dent into it. While the other two beavers do not believe that there is anything they can do, Maroon tags along for the moment, thinking there there has to be something that they can do.

When we leave the Elder's hut, I run across Lucretia. She is able to guess that we have the cooperation of the beavers, but no real way to take down Hatred Fortress. She mentions that she may need to rely on "him" after all, and asks me to visit a ruins at Ceres Lake. Whoever it is she's talking about is there, and may hold the key to saving Lordlake.

When Fuwalafuwalu emerges from his hut to see what all the commotion is about, Lucretia asks if the beavers could build something to save Lordlake. They are somewhat confused, but intrigued enough to go along for now. Meanwhile, I make for Yashuna to save, then to Ceras Lake.

I meet a man who calls himself Zweig at the entrance to a cave. He asks to see the Dawn Rune before we proceed inside. I'm providing a lot of trust here, and show him the Rune. A bit further in, we meet an old friend. Well, an old friend by series standards, at any rate.

Good ol' Lorelai challenges me to a duel. Usually, she's about how many people I've recruited. Not here. I have to prove my strength to her. Lyon wishes to duel for me, but, that's not going to prove my strength to her.

She's a bit harder to read than previous duels, but, I manage, and allow her to accompany me inside the ruins. This party's getting pretty full, so, I head back to Raftfleet to reconfigure, among other things.

The dungeon itself, being Sindar Ruins, has all kinds of tricks, traps, and nasties. I eventually end up staring at a door with a symbol above it that looks a lot like the Dawn Rune. Rather than let me use it on my own, Zweig pushes me forward, my arm outstretched, and the Rune activates the door. He suspected as much, and cautions everyone, especially Lorelai, that not even he knows what's up ahead.

A little further in is a scene where Zweig hypothesizes that Ceres Lake is an artificial lake created by the Sindar (sorry, I didn't quite catch all of it), and a boss fight. Afterwards, we reach an inner chamber, which also has a relief of the Dawn Rune. It seems to glow, but, the ruins, themselves, don't activate. Toma, ever impatient, asks where the key is that will bring down Hatred Fortress. Zweig believes that we've seen the key, and that there's plenty of it, probably referencing Ceras Lake itself. For now, we're to return to Raftfleet to report our findings.

However, there's one small little detail to sort out first.

Awwwwwww yeeeeaaaaah!

Guardian of the Description Thread
I visit Lucretia on the Dahak, and she has a small conversation with Zweig before she finally tells me what her plan is for Hatred Fortress. The ruins at Ceras Lake are acting as a sluice gate. Lucretia, therefore, intends to open the sluice, and let the water it's containing out. The torrent of water will crash into Hatred Fortress like a tsunami. Regardless of how the beavers built the thing, it will not withstand such a force.

As for the possibility that Lordlake might also be in the tsunami's path, Lucretia factored that. The building she wanted the beavers to make should, at least, soften the blow to Lordlake. Toma's not terribly certain about this plan, but, Lucretia seems to think that the beaver structure will perform it's intended purpose.

As for my own thoughts of this plan, well, let's review a few things. We need to take down Hatred Fortress to get water back to Lordlake. The fortress, itself, was a product of slave labor. Both it, and Lordlake's current state, represents among the worst things about Falena. However, what I might not know off-hand is that the people guarding the fortress did not volunteer to do so. They were drafted. If we flush out the fortress without this consideration, we're just acting on our own benefit, and not the benefit of Falena. Thus, if possible, we want to have as few casualties as possible.

Thankfully, Lucretia knew about the guards at Hatred, and has a plan to draw them out before we release the sluice at Ceras. Her plan is to perform a feint-attack on the fortress. Which is to say that we're making it look like we're attacking it head-on, but, there's obviously going to be stuff behind the scenes to draw the soldiers out.

Toma has an idea in his head. He wants to get some people from Lordlake to help. See, he used to think that everybody should help Lordlake, for all that it's been through. That they owed such to Lordlake. However, his travels with me have made him understand that even in the face of all the terrible things that have happened to me, I still do my best for Falena, and even help others out. Even the beavers are doing their best, and helping out, and they generally don't want anything to do with humans!

The victory condition of the ensuing war-battle was listed as "defeat all enemies", but, I highly suspect this is not the case. While I may have earned a Victory+, I sustained 159 casualties. That's probably the bloodiest battle yet. Though, that's saying quite a bit, I suppose!

Anyway, the ships have retreated, for now. There's still the soldiers on the ground. Lucretia will drive them out while I go to Ceras Lake. I'm not sure what kind of signal from her I am to expect, but, it's something she assures me I'll see. Zweig will come with me, as will Toma and Maroon. I've a funny feeling Lorelai will want in on the action when we get to the ruins.

We watch as Logg rams a flaming ship into Hatred Fortress. Other ships follow suit, and the soldiers stationed run around like maniacs. We also notice Raftfleet moving upstream. Presumably so that they would not get caught by the tsunami we're about to cause. Well, then. Let's cause a tsunami!

Sure enough, Lorelai is at the ruins, and has been waiting for me. At the end of the ruins, we get a nifty FMV of Hatred Fortress crashing down...

...the beaver's dam slowing down the torrent of water exceptionally well, and water returning to Lordlake for the first time in two years.

There's a little celebration on our end as well before we notice something in the middle of Ceras Lake.

In case the music inside the ruins didn't make it completely obvious...

...this is going to be the Loyalist Army headquarters. But first, a small interlude with our favorite Godwins first. Neither Gizel nor Marcsal knew about the Cerase Lake ruins. Gizel recognizes that he planted the seeds for making me the person I am today. Regardless, he wants Zahhak to clamp down on deserters, and to draft more soldiers, if need be. Only half the men that were stationed at Hatred Fortress have been accounted for, and they know there weren't that many casualties. As for Alenia, she's going to the West Palace with Jeane. Now, if the East Palace was supposed to house the Dawn Rune (which I now have), it goes without saying that there's some kind of Rune in the West Palace. I'll not divulge the details, as I'm pretty sure the game has not mentioned the Rune that's housed there, nor did we visit the West Palace in regards to Lymsleia's marriage ceremony.

Back to our newly designated headquarters, we need to come up with a name. We can't just keep calling it "the ruins". Sialeeds, who may be distantly related to Hobbits, suggests "Sindar Castle". Boz makes the suggestion of "Mohawk Head Castle". Lucretia tops them all.

I seriously wish I could use that name, even if Lyon and Raja thinks it's awful. However, Lyon has a meta-point: that's way too many letters to fit into the name-entry box. I mentioned earlier that this castle can only have one name, though, and that is Ceras Castle. After I name the place, both Zweig and Lorelai barge in, and tells me of a room on the upper-most floor that they need my assistance with. More Dawn Rune shenanigans, I assume?

We have a vision of the activation of the Sun Rune. Zweig speaks of a dynastic kingdom that ruled in this area a long time ago, but went mad, and used the Sun Rune to obliterate everything. Of course, who shows up to mock me, and my lack of understanding about stuff, but Zerase?

She's stubborn as always, refusing to explain anything. Yet, she says she's willing to help us. Lyon is very much against it, but, I allow her to stay. I mean, she's a star, so, yes, please, stay with us!

As I familiarize myself to Ceras Castle, I talk to Viki, and she hands over the Blinking Mirror. I was wondering when that was going to happen. So, now's about the time when we start thinking about who all is available. My quick-notes on the matter as follows.

auto: Zerase, Zweig, Lorelai, Talgeyl, Goesch, Toma, Silva, Wasil, Volga, Orok
non-auto: Muroon, Nordon, Baston, Wilhelm, Mueller, Zunda, Belcoot, Marina, Subala, Sorensen, Alhazred, Richard, Genoh, Killey (Part 1), Moshen

That's a lot of recruits! We've taken care of Zerase, Zweig, and Lorelai, at least. Having both Viki and the Blinking Mirror will certainly help with the others!

Both Toma and Maroon want to re-visit Lordlake. Go figure. Well, there's a few characters on that list associated with the place, so, why not? Did I ever post Lordlake's music? Before it was...

...this depressing tune. Now, its....

...this. Anyway, coming here nets us Talgeyl, Goesch, Toma, Silva, and Norden as stars/recruits. When I leave Lordlake, Maroon leave the party to return to Beaver Lodge. I can't force him to stay with me if he doesn't want to. Muroon, however, should be a different story. He's making some finishing touches on the ramparts installed at Ceras, and I invite him to stay. He agrees.

Bastan is an odd recruit. I have to bring him an unidentified painting, for one. That's not the odd part. The odd part is that players can hop in and out of his shop-screen with an unidentified painting in their inventory until his recruit-event hits. They might not get that event if they didn't see his earlier event, but, it's definitely an awkward scenario. It's also generally true that I wouldn't have an unidentified painting in my inventory until later on as well.

Before I get too much deeper into the recruits, there was a question about Killey. The walkthrough heartily recommends bringing Cius and Lorelai to Agate Prison at this point in the game. I don't know if this is the same event I got with him earlier, minus Lorelai. There is also supposed to be a scene with Killey, Zwieg, and Lorelai near the entrance of Ceras Castle. One way to find out, though.

What makes this super-awkward is when I head out to Logg's boat to take it to Agate Prison (Cius, Lelei, Zwieg, and Lorelai are in my party, by the way), and end up triggering the event with Killey at Ceras Castle. I must admit, I was not entirely expecting that, but, I'm glad it happened! I think the number one reason why this walkthrough suggests getting Killey's event in Agate now is because the a scene with him there has different/extra dialog if Lorelai is in the party.

Anyway, where were we? Ah, yes, Wilhelm and Mueller. You might remember the Lindwurm Mercenary Brigade. That's these two. Mueller might not care either way, but, Wilhelm won't join me unless he sees "some curves". Does a party of myself, Lyon, Sialeeds, Josephine, Muroon, and Zerase count? Nope. How about... Lyon/Sialeeds/Josephine/Kisara/Viki? Yep, that worked. Creep. Oh well. He's a star.

While Zunda might technically be next on the list, Marina runs the inn of Ceras Castle. Go figure that! Anyway, let's fetch her, and (probably) Belcoot in Yashuna, then get Zunda (and give Dongo an Iron Hammer) in the dwarf camp.

To recruit Zunda, I have to show her a window. Specifically, one in Lunas. I can't teleport to Lunas directly, though. I have to hoof it from Haud. The encounters are tougher now, and I didn't think to check the status of the weapons of my party. Stat stones can do wonders, but, having a weapon level of 1 (as opposed to 10) makes a difference too.

I don't have too many issues getting Subala (I largely prefer Yam Koo's fishing mini-game in Suikoden 2 to this fishing mini-game), but, recruiting Sorensen is another hike. I need to see an INTRODUCE scene with him, Babbage, and Lu in Estrise...

...and talk to a guard in/by the revolving bridge to get to where I can ask Sorensen/Babbage about stopping the bridge from revolving. To be fair, the controls of the bridge are on the Godwin side of the equation (what isn't, after all), and they used that fact to their advantage when I was based in Rainwall. While I'm no longer Barrow's puppet, it might behoove me to make sure they cannot use that advantage any more.

The dungeon, itself, isn't so bad, and I thought I needed to hoof it to the bridge from Huad, or one of Logg's drop-off points. However, the dungeon in question is one of Logg's drop-off points, so, that makes this a bit easier. I was a little concerned that Sorensen and Lu, being relatively low level characters, might be in danger. However, they came out all right in the end. As a side-note, this dungeon is usually where Baston's unidentified painting comes from. I think I had, like, five or six of the things before I was done.

Alhazred's another odd one. Getting his scene in Rainwall is one thing, but, I have to get a "Strange Book" from a rather suspicious fellow in Yashuna, and let Chuck hold it for me. At some point later on, when I talk to Chuck to use his service, he'll give me back the book. From there, I go back to Yashuna to return the book, but, the guy isn't there anymore. I'll find Alhazred in Estrise, and we'll visit Yashuna together only to find Euram Barrows posing as the seer. His goal, obviously, was to get back at me with a curse through the Book of Condemnation. However, the curse only affects the person who opens the book, and I'll give you one guess as to who did that. I defeat the boss, and got both Alhazred and a Rune of Condemnation for my trouble. As for the rest of the rectuits, that can be another time.
Guardian of the Description Thread
I apologize for the hiatus. However, I have recently returned from visiting my eldest brother, and his family. This should put me in the clear for this little side-project, among others. At least for a little while.

To refresh my memory, this should be the remaining characters:

auto: Wasil, Volga, Orok
non-auto: Richard, Genoh, Moshen

Both Richard and Genoh are in the Waterfall Basin. With Richard, I'll need to find Mueller, and tell him where Richard's at before he'll join me. Genoh's one of the more annoying requirements. He wants to see an old person in my party who's level is greater than, or equal to, Freyjadour's level. Alhazred might fulfill the first, but, he'd be hard pressed to fulfil the second. The guy started at level 5, and I trained him a little before fighting the Book of Condemnation. This makes him level 28 by the time I reach Genoh. However, Freyjadour's level is 35 at that point.

Under normal conditions, players would probably have to wait on this recruit until they get Levi. However, I have no qualms in using the virtual Codebreaker, and setting Freyjadour's level to be less than Alhazred's, and generally be a terrible person. As tempting as it might be to allow Freyjadour to re-earn those levels, I set him back to 35. Richard was distressingly not around, but, after I recruited Genoh, left that screen, and came back, he was there, and ready to report to Ceras Castle.

Holy hell, I had no idea Genoh and Viki had a Unite Attack. It's kinda funny. Viki teleports Genoh on top on an enemy, shell down. Genoh falls, creates a small shockwave to maybe affect other close by enemies. Of course, it's called "Oops!", so, maybe this is what we should have expected.

I couldn't remember where Moshen was off-hand, so I looked him up. Guy's in Lelcar. That means advancing the plot.

Lucretia correctly guesses that the beavers respectfully declined to join the Loyalist Army. The news from Georg is that Sable won't join us either. On one hand, Sable beefing up it's defenses means we probably won't have to worry about an invasion from Armes. On the other, Lucretia thinks that it's not a good thing that Sable is distancing itself from us. Boz volunteers to go and speak to the lord there on our behalf. We'll see how that goes.

I take a step outside, and find another event at the castle entrance. This time, it's a guy with a barrage of questions that sound like he's putting together a tabloid. Or, perhaps it's more appropriate to say that he'll be a future star reporter (pun absolutely intended).

Anyway, outside of wanting the latest scoop, he's also got a message from Lelcar. This is a request from Wasil to help protect Lelcar. Apparently, the lord of the town, DeBeers (the guy who put forth Jinke in the Sacred Games, if you recall that far back) has fled in terror. The guy is a known coward, so it's not really surprising that he fled. Lucretia comments that this is an interesting situation, then turns to ask me what I want to do about it. Well, since I've got nothin' better to do in this game...

Kyle joins me for the excursion, but, given that Lelcar is in Godwin turf, we have to go there incognito. We are to meet with Wasil, figure out what he wants, and, very probably, recruit the remaining stars on the current list.

Leclar, itself... a town divided into thirds. Not just physically, and how the town is build on the river, but politically as well. One third is pro-Godwin. One third is (was?) pro-Barrows. The other is (was?) pro-Roverie (the lord of Lordlake before the uprising).

That said, not even five steps into the town, and I meet Wasil, calling me "Your Royal Highness", and what-not. Kyle does his best to silence the creep, but, I'm getting the impression that any kind of secrecy I may have had has flown out the window.

I don't seem to have much choice but to go to Wasil's house to talk over what, exactly, he meant by the use of the phrase "protect". Apparently, what held Lelcar's citizenry together was their hatred/loathing of Lord DeBeers. Now that he's flown the coop, there has been spurts of in-fighting. Even as we approached Wasil's house, we saw a very vocal disagreement between some pro-Godwins and some pro-Freyjadour folk.

We also hear of Orok, and his men. They've been drafting soldiers, rather forcibly, for the Godwin army. Which probably has something to do with the order Gizel gave Zahhak. Kyle suggests we see what this is about, and Wasil agrees. Perhaps seeing it with our own eyes would put the town's situation in perspective.

Before I do that, I find Moshen's shop. He's the armorer here, and tells me he fully supports Godwin. I'm a bit dismayed, but, if I'm reading the walkthrough right, I can still spend 100,000 potch in his shop now, and still be able to recruit him later. Spending that amount of money at an armorer isn't hard to do. Heck, decking out my party with the best helmet he's got available is 270,000 potch right there!

I explore the town, and find another event, this time in the east part of town. A gathering of mothers are lamenting over having their sons taken by Orok's thugs. The situation escalates further, as one person suggests forming an angry mob to go after Orok. A man by the name of Volga comes forward, and says he'll deal with Orok himself, and alone. Kyle takes Volga aside, and suggests we try to save the villagers ourselves. He sorta lets out that I'm the Prince, but, oh well.

At Orok's mansion, Kyle manages to convince the guards outside that we're volunteering for service. The guards eventually let us pass, only to have the guy inside recognize Kyle, and get a few friends to enact vengeance on Kyle "stealing" his girlfriend. I mean, I would think that women, particularly in a Queendom like Falena, are allowed to make their own decisions about who they go out with, rather than be objects that men "own". I suppose that's not the point here. At any rate, we don't have much choice, save to force our way in, and save the villagers ourselves.

We find them downstairs, knocked unconscious. Possibly drugged. Orok comes down the stairs not a minute later, wanting to know who we are. He doesn't recognize any of us (despite literally everybody else being able to at this point), and talks about choosing the winning side. Apparently, he thinks the Godwins are the winning side, as even goes so far as to say that he'll make it worth our while to join with him. I really don't think he's in any position to give me what I want, so, I outright tell him I'm not going to play his game. This triggers a fight with Nikea and a bunch of thugs, who he's hired to remove troublesome folk like myself. Don't get me wrong, Nikea's a strong girl, but, my party's stronger.

After the fight, Orok is a bit angry at Nikea, and maybe rightfully so. Nikea led him to believe that she could win the Sacred Games. When he mentions as much, she remembers where it was that we meet before, and Orok's reactions changes entirely when he learns he was dealing with the Prince all along. He lets me have the sedated people that he's captured, but, he seemed to think that my involvement is going to cause more trouble. Whether that means for him, personally, or for Lelcar as a town, we don't know yet.

Just as we leave Orok's mansion, we get a cut-scene with Zahhak. He wants to know where Orok's recruits are. Of course, Orok is empty-handed, but, is not willing to dispense with the fact that we were involved. Of course, Zahhak already knew that we were in town, and orders a mobilization of forces Lelcar to stamp out the rebel elements in Lelcar. This isn't the deal Orok made with Zahhak. He was promised Lelcar would be left alone if he supplied the Godwins with troops, willing or otherwise.

Back in Wasil's mansion, it seems the men will recover in due time. Volga doesn't like how Orok gave up, but, both Lyon and Kyle suspect that he had bigger things to worry about. Lelei comes by, and reports that Godwin's vanguard ships have started heading toward Lelcar, under the command of Zahhak. Volga seems to think that Orok has betrayed Lelcar, and let Zahhak know of my presence here. Wasil's not too sure about that, but, regardless of that, I was asked to protect Lelcar. So, that's what I'm going to do. I'll save first, because I'm pretty sure this upcoming war-battle is the last one I have to do before I can recruit Murad. I will want as few casualties as humanly possible. Though, I want a low casualties regardless, I suppose.

If ever there was a battle where I would have liked a turn-based system, it's this war-battle. Fighting both land and sea fronts when said fronts are on opposite sides of the map, and doing so in real time, is something I just can't seem to process very well. Thankfully, it seems that if I remove all sea units from the war-battle, I can focus my attention entirely to the ground battle, and make my life simpler.

With this strategy, I loose only 35 troops before Zahhak is forced to withdraw. He sets the western islet on fire to cover his escape. We do not pursue his army. We're here to protect Lelcar. The best way to do that right now is to help put out the fire.

After fighting some rather staunch Godwin soldiers still in the area, we come across Orok, doing what he can to save villagers. The game fast forwards to after the fires die out. Lelei apologizes for the catastrophe, even though there was no way she could have predicted such a thing would happen. Vloga places blame on Orok, though, Wasil points out that if Zahhak had direct control, it would ruin the town. It was because of Orok that Lelcar could still manage, in it's own way. Meanwhile, Orok has a crisis of faith.

Thus, Lelcar has sided with the Loyalist Army 100%. Before returning to Ceras Castle, I recruit Moshen. This also closes this chapter, as far as I'm concerned.
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