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Guardian of the Description Thread
Perhaps a little earlier than expected, but, we have saved, quite arguably, the best game in the Suikoden series for the last.

Photo obtained via Wikipedia.

This was not at all planned! It just kinda came out that way?

Er, anyway, there's a lot of features that start in this game that we (generally speaking) see going forward in the series. Characters can to have up to three Runes attached to them at any given time. Shops in the headquarters grant access to all recruits that can be in-party, not just whoever happens to be in the party at the time. Players can sprint without needing a Holy Rune. Though, future games, being on the PS2, don't really use that feature, as running seems to be the default action for d-pad control from what I've noticed. There might be a toggle-option in Suikoden 5, but, I don't recall.

As before, I'm aiming for the 108 bonus, and generally best ending possible with this play-through. Questions and/or comments are welcome, as always.

Table of Contents
Session 1 - There are Highland gentlemen, and there are Highland gentlemen...
Session 2 - Barn Fort burning
Session 3 - Let's Muse over this attack, shall we?
Session 4 - This is where we start being Suiko-screwed
Session 5 - And we got trouble! Right here in Two River City!
Session 6 - Green Hell Zone, Act 1
Session 7 - Knights of the Round Table Matilda
Session 8 - The King has died! Long live the King!
Session 9 - Wampire Veekly
Session 10 - The war battles to end all war battles
Session 11 - The 108% perfect ending
Every misdeed has its own punishment, and every good deed has its reward.
I am definitely looking forward to this.

I must say that you have an excellent taste in games, Marrend-sama. ^_^
Guardian of the Description Thread
...but you, being from the City-States, cannot tell between the two.

Awkward references aside, watching the opening movie of this particular game never fails to cause me to want to play this game. So, if I wasn't already Suiko-screwed...

...I am most certainly am now. At any rate, we'll be using the Suikoden save-file stashed from the last LP, and transfer that data into this game. The only other game in this series that uses a save transfer is Suikoden 3. There's a bit of a trick to the 2->3 transfer, and I hope I can remember to talk about that when I get that far.

At any rate, as with most Suikoden games (Suikoden 3, you silly exception, you!), we get to name the Tenkai Star, and protagonist of the game. The official name for this guy is Riou, so, that's what we'll use.

After a brief scene, and talk with Jowy, we're left to our own devices. While this seems like a good opportunity as any to abuse stat-stones, I'm going to wait a tad on that for a bit. That, and the game seems to crash/freeze if I try hacking my inventory. Though, Medicine and Flaming Arrows are good? This makes no sense to me, but, whatever. Let's carry on for now.

We go around the camp-site, talking to our fellow soldiers. A peace treaty has been brokered between the Highland Kingdom (that's where our outfit is from) and the City-States of Jowston. Me and Jowy are pretty hyped to go back home to Kyaro, and are already out-of-uniform. Of course, going into the Captain's tent gets us yelled at a little, but, he's willing to let it slide for now.

We get ourselves some rest. We awaken to sounds of battle outside. It's a surprise attack! As soon as we leave our tent, Captain Rowd approaches us, and tells us to retreat along the mountain path to the east. About three screens in, Jowy pops out, and recognizes that the escape route that we are taking is the only way out. The enemy probably knows this too, and we decide to retreat back to base-camp, and maybe figure out a new plan with the Captain. Maybe he was caught off-gaurd with the surprise attack, and wasn't thinking straight?

However, not all is as it seems. The "surprise attack" was actually planned by a man with great ambition: Luca Blight. Yeah, he's totally not going to be a thorn in our side for a while. What's worse, though... that our good Captain was in on the deal. Well, then. That's not a good thing. We can't stay here, that's for sure! We'll just become "casualties of war" if we go east. Our only remaining option is to head north. We reach a cliff and a large stone, wondering what the hell is going on. Captain Rowd finds us, and sics some soldiers on us. Thank goodness for Buddy Attack!

Rowd falls back for reinforcements. We need to act quick. We're sorta in a jam, though. We can't exactly go towards the camp, and that current below is looking kinda dangerous. We could be screwed either way, but, we decide to take our chances and jump. Before we do, we make a promise to meet again at this spot should we get separated. We jump off, the screen fade to black, and we get to see some scenes from the past of Riou, Jowy, and Nanami.

When I come to, I see a familiar face (Hi, Viktor!) and I am escorted to his fort as a "special guest". Which translates to "prisoner". Viktor's fort has probably the most infectious tune ever...

...if you ask me. Hell, I find myself humming from time-to-time. Anyway, I get what sleep I can, and wake up the next day under the charge of Pohl. I do some busy-work for him. One errand involves going to Ruybe Village for some flour. This allows us access to a small party, involving "Captain" Gengen and Tuta.

Remind me again how much time was is supposed to be between this game and Suikoden 3? Darigaaz. Anyway, the item-hack seems to still be out-of-whack (I still don't understand this), so, off to Ryube!

Outside of the item shop (which has our flour), the place has an armorer, and an inn, where we take the opportunity to save. I don't think anything huge is going to happen quite yet, but, it can't hurt. Besides, this gives me a chance to maybe figure out what the hell is going on with the item-hack.

Yeah, I still don't get it. Why I can hack as many Medicine 9's into my inventory that I want, but, I can't seem to hack anything else? Hell, the Flaming Arrow Scroll that I was able to hack before isn't working anymore!? Frustrating.

Well, let's move on anyway. So, after one more task of busy-work, Jowy comes by and breaks me out. The escape isn't terribly successful, as Flik and some of his men are waiting up the stairs. I'm not feeling terribly lucky right now, so, I surrender. They bring us upstairs, for a brief interrogation. During such, I tell them about the "attack" on our forces by Luca Blight. Neither Viktor nor Flik like the sound of what I'm telling them, but, toss me back into prison for good measure.

That night, we make another escape attempt. Jowy seems to think that this is the best time, as they wouldn't expect us to escape so soon. He manages to pick the lock on the door with the spoon he asked for during a meal earlier. Upstairs, we notice a pair of guards go up another flight of stairs on the other end of the room. Jowy uses the flint and oily rag to set the rag on fire to create a distraction. We're not going out the front door, so, we go upstairs, and use the rope to climb down, and make our escape to Ryube. There, we find something of a festival going on...

...where I find myself as part of the main attraction. I'm not really sure if it makes any difference how much I move, or in which direction, but, I stick to my guns (tonfa?), and stay still. After the festivities conclude, we talk a bit to the carnies, and find out that they're also headed to Kyaro. To get there, we have to pass through North Sparrow Pass. They've heard rumors of a Mist monster up that way, but, if we travel together, we might be okay. Sure. Why not.

We come across a pair of guards on the base of North Sparrow Pass, and Rina, well, let's just say that she takes care of them for us. The game doesn't explicitly tells us exactly what she does, but, it does show her take one of the guards off-screen, do a quick fade in/out, and everything is hunky-dory. According to Rina, they merely had an adult conversation, but, Eilie seems to think otherwise, and I probably share her suspicions.

Right. North Sparrow Pass. This is our first proper dungeon in this game, which has some neat music...

...but, you could probably argue that this game has a lot of neat music. I might be better off linking the playlist I'm getting these videos from! In any event, while I'm not exactly happy that the item hack is still non-functional for reasons I cannot fathom, I push forward. There's an all-recover spring on the second screen to help things along a tad. Naturally, the rumors about a Mist monster were true, and we have to fight it to get to Kyaro.

The thing packs quite a punch, but, we manage. Ironically, we find a Kindness Drops scroll after beating it. Gee, that would have been useful during that fight! Anyway, we get to Kyaro...

...and part ways with Rina, Eilie, and Bolgan. Jowy has his own business to take care of, which leaves me alone to explore. Or, rather, get our first non-auto recruit in the form of Mukumuku. Service-wise, there is an item shop, and an inn. Yeah, let's save before we get the next event, shall we?

So, our next event is meeting up with Nanami...

...which is kinda humorous to watch, but, I would not want to be in Riou's shoes during said sequence.

Talk about a lasting impression, eh? Anyway, Nanami tells me that Rowd was in town, and even told her that we should report to him. However, she thinks we should make a run for it. Just as we're about to leave, a group of soilders come to arrest me. Neither Nanami nor myself will have anything to do with it, so, we fight, using Family Attack. Even if we beat them, we're still overwhelmed, and taken into custody. Jowy isn't fairing too much better. His family has basically disowned him, and he inevitably gets taken away as well.

We end up getting locked up in the same cell. Nanami wonders why we're being tried and executed as spies, and Rowd comes by to tell us exactly why: we know too much. Or, rather, we know the truth behind the "attack", and that truth is an inconvenience to Luca Blight. The guy wants a war with the City-State, and thoroughly believes in Highland's (or, perhaps, just his own) superiority over them. What better way to start a war than to whip people up into a frenzy, thanks to the massacre of the Unicorn Youth Brigade? If the people don't know the truth, the lie becomes the truth, see? Very sneaky.

We have something of a chance encounter with Princess Jillia of Highland (half-sister to Luca, but, we'll touch on this later) on our way to the scaffold. I proclaim our innocence, while Jowy speaks of Highland betraying us. Not that this does us any good, of course, but, it's the principle of the thing. I have no last words for Rowd. Yes, he's a jerk (and saying so is totally an option), but, what's the point of saying that now? Rowd waxes philosophically about us seeing our last sunset, and for him, it's just another sunset. Dreams of the future, and all that. The camera pans upward. The sound effects alter. When the camera returns, the soldiers lie fallen on the field, with Flik ready with his sword, Odessa. With two swift strikes, he cut us down and free us from our bonds.

Rowd escapes, despite Viktor's best efforts, and we make our way to save Namami. Except... she really doesn't need saving. She's kickin' ass, taking names...

...and coming up with this doozy that's... probably completely random. We escape pretty much the same way we came in, with Nanami wondering if we'll ever come back. Well, maybe we'll be back. Not any time soon, though, that's for sure!

We trek back to Viktor's fort, with a small exchange with the guards we passed earlier. We're still prisoners, but...

...yeah. Before I get to that, I looked up this weirdness with the item-hack, and apparently, the trick is to only have it on after loading the game, then to turn it off. Interesting. I seriously don't recall doing that when I emulated it before, but, my memory isn't necessarily something to rely on to begin with!

So, after who-knows-how-long of stat-stone feeding (sorry about being so insistent on this), we're ready to recruit fools people. We're getting lots of value out of Ryube today, as there's four people to recruit there. There's two in Toto...

...but one's not quite ready yet. As least, as far as I recall. I may look that up later. We also have a run-in with Pilika. She's the one that found Jowy, and it was her folks took care of him until he got it in his head to rescue me from Viktor's fort. However, the two have built something of a uncle-niece relationship. Before I visit her house, I visit the inn to recruit the one person I know I can, and save. It's been a busy day!

Characters recruited during this session:

(auto): (Riou), <Jowy>, Barbra, Leona, Gengen, Nanami
(not-auto): Mukumuku, Rikumaru, Mille, Shiro, Kinnison, Zazma
total (this session): 11
total (overall): 11/108

Guardian of the Description Thread
We get a cute little scene at Pilika's house with her folks, wherein Pilika asks us to visit Muse to get a Wooden Amulet. She hands over 70 potch that she's been collecting from doing chores, but, the item she seeks in Muse... being sold for 500 potch. I decide to cover the difference, not tell Pilika about it, and generally be a nice guy like that. This seems like it might be the point in the game I keep hearing about from Liberty where players can head past the Muse-Matilda border, and trigger an otherwise later-game sequence of events involving Futch and Humphrey? I'm curious enough to see how, exactly, this works..

...and I've never attempted such a huge sequence skip before. It's tempting, to be sure. However, I'm satisfied to know that it is, in fact, possible, and to show this bug. I'm assuming it's a bug. At least, I'm 99.999% sure that being able to push an iron door at all, much less how far I moved it in that screenshot, is unintentional.

At any rate, when we return to Toto, we find the place burnt down. We find Pilika just outside what remains of her house, crying. Through the tears, she manages to tell us how she hid, heard some scary noises, and when she took a peek, saw that her parents were dead. She reverts back to crying, and all Jowy can do to comfort her is to hold her close.

Apple is also in the area, and initially thinks we are survivors of this catastrophe. We're not, but, we're not with Highland either. When I ask what happened here, she tells us that this is the work of Luca Blight, seeking to entertain his men. She does some quick calculations in her head, and asks us if we can take her to see Viktor. Yeah, we can do that for ya. Just lemme double-back into Toto for a recruit.

Apple relays word of Luca's attack to Viktor and Flik. She also relays that Luca's goal is to take over the City-State. He can't leave the fort alone, as that will allow an opening from behind when he attacks Muse. The news might be a little hard to swallow for Viktor and Flik, but, they agree that they need to talk with Apple more, and formulate some kind of strategy.

We've tucked Pilika into bed, after she's cried herself to sleep. Jowy expresses that he doesn't know who to place his trust into anymore. We're wanted men to Highland, and the City-State probably views us as deserters, despite what we know. I tell him he can still trust me, despite everything that has happend, and he agrees. He knows he can trust me. Leona stops by to let us know that Viktor is calling for us. Before we do that, let's take some of these recruits out for some stat-stoning air, and training.

We report to Viktor and Flik. They don't know if they can win, but, they'll fight. Viktor shows me a few Fire Spears. One may recall how effective they were against Teo's armored cavalry in the original Suikoden. However, the Fire Spears have not been well maintained over the years, and we'll need the assistance of Tsai of the Divine Spear to get them back into working order. The task of convincing him to join the mercenaries, or at least fix the spears, falls to me. I agree, and take my hearty party to the forest of Ryube where he's supposed to reside.

Technically, I was there before during my recruit-run last session, but, obviously, he wasn't there during that time. He doesn't appear right off the bat when I return, but, after a scene, he comes by, and joins us as a guest. Players have the option to put him into the party, but, eh. When we return to Ryube, it's being burned down by Luca and his men, and can only watch as Luca himself executes two villagers. Jowy wants to go after him, but, Tsai thinks this is a terrible, terrible idea. I tend to agree.

Viktor's fort is pretty much the only thing left in this area now. It's also one of the few locations that could actually put up some resistance to Luca's forces. I'm pretty sure stopping him was never a consideration, but, can we even slow him down? I dunno. I just take Tasi up to see Viktor, Flik, and Apple. Tsai wastes little time. He does a brief introduction before getting to work on the Fire Spears. As for Jowy and I, well, I dunno about Jowy, but, I want to fight with them. Flik doesn't want anybody slowing us down, and is going to test me via a duel.

I beat him pretty handily, and am put in charge of a unit. We even get to name this unit! The game's a bit tricky on this point, as this name-entry is actually not merely the name-entry for Riou's unit, but, the name-entry for our army as a whole. So, of course, I go with "Dunan".

The next day, we enter a war-battle with the Highland army, led by Solon Jhee. We have reinforcements from Muse coming in ten days, so, our general strategy is to frustrate the enemy with whatever tricks and traps we can muster while holding out until those forces come.

As long as I'm here, let's explain war-battles a bit. With this game, war-battles play out in a turn-based tactical mini-game that might be similar to Fire Emblem. Each side takes a turn moving and/or attacking with their available units. Some units have special abilities that can be activated a certain number of times (such as "Fire Spear"). Other units have passive abilities that either allow for more/better movement (Flik is a mounted unit), or have a certain activation percentage when engaging, or being engaged by an enemy (such as "Critical" or "Evade").

However, the only unit we can actually control in this war-battle is Riou's. This is the tutorial, after all. However, we're pretty well set-up to us using a Fire Spear activation on a line of three enemies in a row. We even hit two of them! Lucky!

While we might have ended up winning that fight, we have no time to rest. The Highland army is attacking us again, this time, with Kiba at the lead. We let them come to us, but, it's no use. A surprise attack by Luca's troop from the south catches us completely off-guard. Rather than fight out of the pincer maneuver that they've gotten us into, we decide to retreat to Muse. Jowy and I go to fetch Pilika before we make our retreat, and are treated to a show of Luca's brutality up close and maybe a little too close for comfort!

Not only does he murder Pohl, he does so in front of Pilika. He then turns his attention to Pilika. We do our best to protect her, but, Luca's just too damn strong, and shrugs us off. There is a very brief sense of restraint on his part here. Or... maybe it's just me? However, I kinda think it might make a certain amount of sense for him. I'll place my thoughts under a hide-tag.

The impression I got is that the event in question occured when Luca was about the same age as Pilika is now. So, probably 7 or 8? I dunno. Anyway, the royal family came under attack by bandits/ruffians. While him and his father escaped, his mother acted as a decoy. He eventually learns that they raped his mother, either by evesdropping on the act itself, or by evesdropping on jerks boasting about it. Trust me, it's bad either way, thuogh one is certainly worse than the other.

Suffice it to say, he considers his father a coward, and will never forgive the City-State. Particularly Muse, for obvious reasons.

The big kicker to all of this is that Jillia was conceived as a result of the rape, and stands as a constant reminder to him of what happend, and how powerless he was to stop them. While he's absolutely, without a doubt, much stronger now, there is a sense of irony that he has given rise to so many tragides in his own right.

So, why the sense of restraint? Well, now that I think about it I don't know. Maybe he's remembering what happened to him, even as he rasies his sword, and this gives him pause? Maybe he just likes drama for the sake of drama? Maybe he's just looking to create a worthy opponent by making as many tragidies as he can, and seeing who rises from the ashes to attempt vengence on him?

Er, anyway, just before Luca offs us, an explosion goes off. This puts Luca off-balance long enough for Viktor and Flik to save our sorry butts. Luca swears that we'll regret living this day, and I don't doubt he'll do his damnedest to follow through with that threat. However, for now, we make our escape to Muse. Maybe, just maybe, we can take a breather when we get there.

When we reach Toto, Pilika starts going off on her own. Geeze, has this girl not learned a thing about going off alone? We follow her into some kind of cave. The end of which has a stone slab. After Jowy reads the inscription, he and I are teleported somewhere else, and greeted by none other than the Grand High Minster of Plot Development.

After another helping of flash-back cut-scenes (some of which depend on choices made earlier in the game) set to...

...this tune, we aquire our True Plot Runes. Well, they aren't True Runes, per say. They are aspects of a True Rune. Specifically, the Rune of Beginning. However, let us not compare this to the triad of Runes in Suikoden 5. While the Sun Rune exists separately from the Dawn and Twilight Runes, the Rune of Beginning does not exist separately from Black Sword and Bright Shield. However, those two combine to make the Rune of Beginning.

Jowy gets the "Sword" aspect (ie: Black Sword), that boasts the ability to cut through anything. For myself, the "Shield" aspect (ie: Bright Shield) that boasts the ability to protect anything. There is something interesting to note about these Runes. With most Suikoden games, spell slots on True Plot Rune take events to unlock. With this game, this is...

...mostly untrue. As you can see, only the highest-level spell is unavailable, and takes quite a bit of doing to unlock, as you might imagine. I'd like to note that the only game that doesn't require events to unlock spells on the True Plot Rune is Suikoden 3. Though, there are a lot of events that occur before acquiring the True Plot Runes in that game, so, maybe that strikes a balance.

In any event, we make our way to Muse, but, they've closed the gate, and set up a guard. Naturally, they aren't just going to let anybody in. We retreat to the oddly located (but still very much appreciated) White Deer Inn, and try to figure out our next move. Though, apparently, the proprietress' husband has a pass for the city. Maybe, if we help him with his treasure hunt, he could get us into Muse? I Hrm....

Characters recruited during this session:

(auto): <Pilika>, Apple, Tsai
(not-auto): Hanna
total (this session): 3
total (overall): 14/108

Guardian of the Description Thread
The White Deer Inn...

...may have an odd location, but, it's not entirely without reason. There is an ancient ruins near there, and Alex firmly believes there's a treasure in there. As mentioned last session, we're going to help him find out if his hunch is correct, or not.

This dungeon has a few tricks up it's sleeves. One such trick are doors like...

...this, that open when you place a plate that fits into the depression next to it. There's also a statue-moving puzzle, and a water-lowering mechanic, which also uses a depression-plate to activate.

At the end of it all is, naturally, a boss. You know, I kinda thought Black Sword didn't have any restrictions on it, unlike Bright Shield, and it looks like...

...I was right. What was that about a boss, again? At any rate, we find the treasure Alex was looking for, except... it's an herb? I'm not sure what, exactly, Alex was expecting, but, I doubt it was an herb. Oh well. Let's get back to the inn.

When we get back, we find that Hilda has collapsed. Exhaustion, maybe? I dunno, but, she has quite the fever. Jowy's off to get a doctor, but, I don't know where we might find one. There might be one in Muse, but, we all know he won't be allowed in. Alex spoke of a doctor that they used to see in Toto, but, well, yeah, probably not there anymore. Assuming the person still lives.

The only idea I can even think of is to use the herb we found in the ruins. Alex sorta dropped it in disgust at the entrance on our way ot of the place. Luck is on my side, as it's still there. I bring it back to Nanami. We don't know if it'll actually work, but, our options are limited. Thankfully, the herb works, and Hilda's consciousness returns, her fever gone in a matter of moments. Jowy comes back empty-handed, but, it all came out right in the end.

Alex hands over his city pass. Jowy's not 100% sure if this can get us into Muse, but, we gotta try. Just before the city-gates, Nanami relays her plan. The city pass is written out for Alex, Hilda, and their son, Pete. Her idea is for us to act out the parts. She's to be Hilda, Jowy is to be Pete, and I'm to be Alex. Jowy's understandably less confident about our ability to use the city pass, but, we make a go of it anyway. Suffice it to say, we get imprisoned for being suspicious characters. I gotta say, though, they both sucked at acting. Nanami went overboard, and there was no way Jowy could have possibly passed as Pete, even if he tried (which he didn't).

Next day, Viktor and Flik get us out. Right now, about the only thing I can do is see the "Clive" event. I can't recruit Clive right now, but, I need to see it to recruit him later on. After that, I leave off Pilika with Leona at the inn, and go to city hall to meet Anabelle, the mayor of Muse. Our chat with her is brief, but, apparently, there's something special about Genkaku, the guy who adopted and raised Nanami and me? We'll hear about it later. Ana's pretty busy, what with Luca Blight having an eye on Muse.

We're left to our own devices, but, Nanami won't let us leave the building until we see a scene with Jess. Apparently, they have a few uniforms of the Unicorn Youth Bridage that we were once a part of. Jess wants us to use them to get into the Highlander's camp, and find out how many provisions they have. Nanami's naturally worried that the job is dangerous (and it is), but, the game's not going to go anywhere until I agree to it. Welp.

However, after I get through this, I can recruit some people. There's only two people to recruit, mind, but one's something of a pain.

The Muse-Highland border is north of Muse, and not terribly far. At the gate, we're told of a path through the woods that we could take to get to the camp. Something about this feels a bit off, such as the possibility of Highland also knowing of this trail. However, we follow it regardless until the party has to split up. Inside the camp, we make our way to what we believe is the tent with provisions in it. We mostly stay out of sight, but, there's a guard by that tent. We're spotted, but, Jowy's quick thinking causes the guard to think that we're remnants of isolation the Unicorn Brigade. Which we... kinda sort are. Technically speaking. Anyway, we look around, and figure these provisions will last about two weeks. This makes Jowy thinks that their aim is to end things quick. Perhaps they're counting on Luca's propensity for violence? I dunno. I just know that we need to get ouuta here before we're discovered.

Except, of course, we're spotted by none other than our old captain, Rowd. We scamper around, looking to a place to escape, but, all the routes are blocked. The tents are no-go as well, except for the totally conspicuous one in the center, which has something of a surprise for us.

Jillia's remarkably amicable. She shoos away Rowd, and even serves us tea while the situation outside cools off. Our chat together was brief, but, even she's worried about Luca, and what he intends. We thank her for the tea, and make our way out. However, Rowd has placed an ambush for us, with the feeling that Jillia was hiding something. He sics some soldiers on us, which Buddy Attack utterly annihilates. Rowd isn't quite done yet, and Jowy volunteers to stay behind, and have me get Nanami (and the rest of my party) outta here. I agree, and run off. Rowd sinkers at this, but, Jowy uses Black Sword.

I met up with Nanami, and we get into a fight before we make a hasty retreat to the border. She's not necessarily worried about Jowy, even going so far as to say that he might be waiting for us at Muse. We don't see him along the way, nor is he already there. Hrm. Well, let's at least report to Jess our findings. Except he's with Anabelle in an important meeting that they won't let me disturb. Okay, now what? We go back to the inn with Leona, Viktor, and Flik, and tell them what's up. Viktor's none too happy about our news, and wants to see Jess. Flik will come as well, to make sure Viktor doesn't do anything too stupid. Though, Viktor's "trick" to see Anabelle involves giving the official that's blocking our way a fist in the face, so, what can ya do?

At any rate, I finally relay the information to Jess, and Anabelle profusely apologizes for Jess' involving Jowy and I. However, Muse must concern itself with it's defense, and cannot spare the manpower to go after Jowy in the case he was captured. Of course, this isn't happy news, but, I know what Luca is capable of. Then again, we don't even know if Jowy's captured to begin with. So, Nanami decides to wait for him just outside the city gates. I decide to join her, as does Pilika soon after. I don't really know how long we wait. Long enough for Pilika to nod off, at least. However, Jowy does, in fact, show up. It's a bit heartwarming to see the two girls run up to him and give him a hug. Kinda wish I took that screenshot.

A week later, Nanami wakes us up, and tells us about something going on at Jowston Hill. We meet Viktor there, who tells us there's a meeting of the various members of the City-State inside for the Hilltop Conference. While they don't recognize Viktor, they do recognize "Flik of the Blue Lightning". He's doesn't seem happy with that name, and Viktor's not happy either.

As for the Hilltop Conference, I'm... pretty sure they don't actually decide anything? They mostly throw insults at each other, and refuse to cooperate more than anything else. Though, the report of the Highland army approaching kinda breaks the meeting before any real decisions could be made. We go to the inn, where Anabelle and Apple await. Anabelle relays that gathering the forces of the City-State will take seven, maybe five days. I forget the exact number. At any rate, if Viktor and his mercs can hold off the Highland forces for at least two days, it would be much appreciated. Jowy and I volunteer to fight as well. Next morning, it's time for another war-battle. One of the enemy units converts to our side, if we manage to hit it. Thanks, Fire Spears!

The Knights of Matilda make a brief appearance before retreating. With their help, we manage to fend off the Highland army today. The next day, I dunno. Apparently, we've got some time on our hands. We go to see Anabelle about Genkaku, but, of course, she's still busy trying to negotiate for the defense of Muse. She asks if we can come back later. We can try, but, I don't know how much time we have before the city is attacked again. When we get back to the inn, Jowy displays some odd behavior. I go out again, and find him near city hall. For a brief moment, I saw somebody with him, so, I'm inclined to ask him what he's doing. He doesn't really answer me, but, asks if I could take care of Pilika for him is something should happen to him. Hrm. I don't like it.

We see a scene with Viktor and Anabelle that night, sharing a drink. A bit later, Nanami and I decide to mosey over and see if we can't finally get this story about Genkaku from Anabelle. Pilika wants to come with us, but, it's late, and we figure Jowy'll be back eventually like always. When we get to city hall, the guard tells us that our friend was here to see Anabelle earlier. Cut back to Anabelle. She lets Jowy in, but, wonders what he's doing there. Jowy pulls a knife, and says he's there for her life. She does her best to distract him, but, it's no good. By the time we reach her, the deed is done, her hour close at hand. Jess barges in, thinks we did it, followed by a report that the Highland army is here, now. Somebody was working with them from the inside! He thinks that's me, but, it's gotta be Jowy. Anabelle's last words was for us to live. Naturally, we can't leave Pilika behind, and make our way to the inn.

When we get there, Leona tells us that we're to make our way to South Window. We'll need to cross the lake from Coronet to get there.

Getting across the lake is gonna be an issue. There's a guard at the docks who will stop us if we try to approach the boats. Great. Just great. We go to the inn, and have a run-in with Eilie, Rina, and Bolgan. They've since moved on from Highland, and are also aiming for South Window, but, ran into the same problem we did. There's gotta be something we can do, though, right? I wander a bit, and come across a lone shack. We overhear a guy talking about crossing the lake come out of it, so, we try our luck inside. "Try our luck" being the operative phrase, as it's Tai Ho, who's not going to do anything for me, unless I win a game of Chincirorin. Funny thing about this mini-game. I never knew it was an actual game until recently. The more you know, and all that.

After I win, we hop back to the inn to fetch the others, then return to Tai Ho's boat, and cross the lake to Kuskus.

From here, South Window is... south. Huh. Who woulda thunked it? However, that's plenty for today.

Characters this session:

(auto): Rina, Eilie, Bolgan
(not-auto): Tuta, Anita, Gilbert
total (this session): 6
total (overall): 20/108
Guardian of the Description Thread
First, let me apologize a bit for the delay on this session. There was a bunch of RL stuff going on, plus Theme Roulette that I'm participating in.

At any rate, we get ourselves to South Window...

...and have a run-in with Viktor. He pokes a bit of fun at me, what with Eilie and Rina with me and all, but wonders where Jowy's at. Both conversation options trail off, but, I choose the one that relays that we think Jowy assassinated Anabelle. He asks us to visit him and Flik at the inn, and wanders off again. We follow, as we've little else to do at the moment.

According to Viktor and Flik, what allies we had are scattered god-knows-where. They seem to think they'll get here eventually. For now, Viktor wants to try to talk to the mayor, and see if he won't hire our rag-tag team of mercs. The mayor is happy to hire us, but, there's a small matter concerning North Window. Young women have been disappearing, and the troops sent to investigate the matter report some kind of monster is involved. He wants us to investigate it as well, possibly harboring his own suspicions. Viktor's none to happy about this, but goes along with it. One of the mayor's men, Freed Y, will accompany us.

After we leave, the game shows us an FMV, and shows us exactly what we're gonna be up against:

Maybe YouTube has the full thing, but, in my opinion, that screen cap speaks plenty. I know what you're thinking. Didn't we beat this guy last game!? We'll get to that. For now, we make a visit to North Window, and have a little run-in with Neclord. Viktor's as surprised to see him as anybody, but, we all know we shouldn't bother fighting him. Viktor says that the Star Dragon Sword is sleeping (waiting?) at the Cave of the Wind, to the south. All right, then. Let's hope we don't get sent into the past again.

Joking aside, this dungeon isn't much to write home about. We come across Khan (not the Star Trek villain, sorry), who tells us that Neclord was using a "Doppelganger Secret". So, the thing we fought back in Suikoden was not the real deal. It was a copy. I dunno, though. In a way, I feel like this is a cop-out excuse to make Neclord return. I get that he makes a good villain, but, like, I feel he wouldn't use that except as a last resort, and there was little-to-no indication to me that he felt any kind of danger in that game. Except, maybe, after we beat him? I dunno. I just... never mind.

Anyway, I let Kahn join my party temporarily, and meet up with Viktor's "old friend". We get into a fight with it, and beat it down. The sword also isn't happy with learning that Neclord still lives (unlives?), and will allow Viktor to use it again. We hop over to North Window...

...hoping to end Neclord for good, but, the vampire tries to trick Viktor. I'm not sure what Daisy's relationship to Viktor was, but, he pauses before deciding that it is, in fact, just a trick, and decapitates the dummy. Neclord retreats to haunt us another day, but leaves behind a boss for us to fight as a farewell gift. Viktor's none-to-happy with these results, applying much profanity to the matter (if the censors would have allowed it).

We start making our way to South Window, but, come across Filk, Apple, and the rest of our elsewhere allies instead. South Window has been taken over by Highland. It was an unconditional surrender, but still, the mayor's head was on display as a show of what it meant to go against Highland. It'll only be a matter of time before Highland sets it's eyes on this run-down place, and we've not to forces to put any pressure on the situation.

However, Apple thinks we may yet have a chance. In order to defeat such an overwhelming force with what little we have, we'll need a really good strategy. Apple's not confident with her own ability, but thinks she knows somebody who could be up to the task. A man called Shu in Radat was a fellow student of Mathiu. She used the term "brilliant", so, I imagine he was among, if not the best, student. After they let me choose who else is going, we hear a calm ditty...

...that gives one the odd impression that this will be our permanent headquarters, instead of the temporary ones we've been using up to now. Hey, does that mean we're Suiko-Screwed, and can get a bunch of recruits? Well, not quite yet, from what I can tell. We have to get Shu first.

So, at Ratat...

...we find ourselves a Shu, but, he's not particularly interested in helping us. In fact, he's of the opinion that war is good for business. Well, it looks like we'll have to find some other way to get him to join us. We encounter Shu once more at the tavern, and Apple even goes on her hands and knees to beg for him to join us. However, he proves stubborn, and leaves. Hrm. He's going to actively avoid us, so, we're gonna need some information concerning what he's up to if we want to meet him again. I find, and hire, a private detective for the job. He lets us know that Shu has an important deal, and it's happening at the bridge to the east of town. We should be able to get the drop on him before the other party arrives.

Shu's none to pleased to see us again, but, we strike something of a deal. He throws a coin into the river, and asks us to find it, and return it. If we do, he'll join us.

Apple's plan is to stop the flow of water, which means closing the sluice gate. We have to duel a guy for them to allow us to do that, but, that's the least of our problems. Even with the water level as low as it can possibly be, we have a lot of trouble finding the thing. Nanami seems to think that Shu pulled a fast one on us, and was able to replace the coin that he showed us with a stone at the last moment. She's not 100% sure, though, and we keep looking regardless of her warning.

By some miracle, I find it. Shu keeps his promise to Apple, and will join us at North Window. He can't help but to notice the Rune on my right hand as I show him the coin. He mentions Genkaku, and how he was an important figure to the City-State, but, will not go into any further detail. He also kinda looks at the coin funny, but, trails off as the camera pans to the bridge, with the private detective we hired earlier proclaiming a job well done.

I return to North Window, and climb to the plot-lockdown meeting room. Shu arrives faster than anyone expected, and makes quite an impression on Viktor and Flik.

His plan is for Freed to infiltrate enemy ranks, and spread a rumor that solders from South Window will be executed after the conclusion of the war. He also suggests we sent a unit by boat to the enemy's rear, and outflank them as the other units protect the castle. They would not expect such a maneuver, as Solon Jhee considers water an obstacle. Also, while the enemy forces are 20,000 strong, they probably left behind garrisons in the places they've taken. This means we're probably only looking at 10,000 to our 2,000. If the plan with Freed goes the way Shu thinks, the numbers become slightly more manageable: 5,000 for us 7,000 for them.

Next day, the enemy has us "surrounded", as per the plan. There's maybe a turn before my unit arrives, plus a support unit. While the support unit gets to Jhee first, and takes a blow, that's all that's needed for the soldiers of South Window to turn on the Highlanders, and take their own turn of attacks against them. They do pretty well, and soon enough, the enemy has to retreat.

We may have won the battle, but, the war is far from over. Shu thinks that Luca's unit will come to North Window, and if we want to survive that, we'll need to gather more power. To do that, we'll need a person that can inspire others. A leader that can actually unite the City-States. The City-State cannot afford another failure to coalesce, like it did with the Hilltop Summit. I'll give you one guess as to who he suggests.

Once again, the name of Genkaku is evoked. Namami and I still have no clue what the significance of the name of Genkaku is. They've been dropping hints that something was up, since, like, forever, but, no real information has been supplied. Until now.

As we know, this is not the first conflict between the City-States and Highland. There was one earlier, with Anabelle's father, Darel, facing against Highland's Han Cunningham. Darell was an amateur at war, and he lost Muse, and part of the Matilda Knightdom before Genkaku stepped forward and turned the tide for the City-State.

However, Han and Genkaku were apparently from the same town, and were pretty good friends, despite the war pitting them on opposing sides. There were times when the two faced each other, and had tea. After realizing how stupid and pointless the war was, the two worked together to form a peace treaty. Probably the self-same that Luca Blight broke.

Darell was none-to-pleased with the treaty that they drew up, refusing to give up Kyaro to Highland. Was it a matter of pride, or stubbornness? I dunno. All I know is that it resulted in a duel between Genkaku and Han.

Not once did Genkaku raise his sword in the duel, and eventually, Han knocked the blade away, and stood as the victor. Labled as a traitor, Genkaku left Muse without saying a word about his actions that day. It was eventually learned that Genkauku's sword was laced with poison. However, even with his good name cleared, Genkaku never returned to the City-States. He remained in Kyaro, now a Highland town, and stayed there for the remainder of his life.

The next day, I return to the meeting room, and relay my decision: I'm gonna lead this outfit. First, we need a name for this castle. North Window is a town that no longer exists, according to Viktor. So, we call it Dunan Castle. After doing so, Leknaat comes to say her piece (cryptic as always), drop off Luc, and the Tablet of Destiny. Next day, I meet Fitcher at the front gate before I shove off and to what recruiting I can. There's two people in Radat, one in Viktor's old fort (then to Toto), three in South Window, and one in Kuskus.

The next plot-arc is a doozy, so, I'll stop for now.

Characters in this session:

(auto): Victor, Flik, Freed Y, Shu, Huan, Luc
(not-auto): Richmond, Yoshino, Templton, Alex, Hilda, Adlai, Oulan
total (this session): 13
total (overall): 33/108

Guardian of the Description Thread
Trouble with a capital "T" that rhymes with "P" that stands for "pool"!

Er, anyway, back at Dunan Castle, I use my newly installed elevator to visit the war room. Fitcher is there, still looking for the leader of this army. He's a little surprised to learn the identity of said leader, to be sure. However, he makes a request for us to help Two River. He has no special authority, nor is this request official, but, he recognizes that if there's any chance of beating Highland, we all need to work together. I accept the invitation.

There is a bit of a hitch, though. There were bridges connecting the areas of Two River and South Window, but, they were destroyed by the Highlanders. We may have boats, but, we lack captains. Well, then. Let's go recruit one.

Fortunately for us, we already know of one. Amada, from Radat, who we dueled against to lower the sluice gate. We duel him again to get him to join us. For good measure, I go to Kuskus to recruit Tai Ho and Yam Koo. We bring Amada to the war room, and we can now cross the lake. However, before we do that, there's a recruit in South Window to get.


...isn't much to look at, but, there's a recruit for me here, plus the next Clive event, if I'm lucky. Apparently, I wasn't lucky. I was, as the game relays to me, 1 hour day late. Oh well. No huge loss.

While Two River is my next location, I take a small detour to Kobold Village... we'll be giving them some "shiny objects" momentarily. Not two steps into Two River...

...and I'm mugged by some winger brat. Welp, there goes my money! As I look around, I find an armorer from Zexen in the inn that I can recruit, and do so. As to the issue of the lack of funds, as mentioned previously, a visit to Kobold Village (and a friendly neighborhood item-hack) fixes that little detail.

Plot-wise, though, I still have no money. I chase the thief to the winger section of town...

...where I corner him, and ask for the letter of introduction back. He threw the thing away (go figure), and flies off to god-knows-where. Great. Just great.

I go back to the main section, and see a kobold threatening to lay down the law on Fitcher. I do my best to stop it, but, without the letter, the only proof of my identity is the Bright Shield on my right hand. That's enough proof, though, and we're allowed in to see the mayor.

The mayor welcomes us, and relays his desire to join with the Dunan Army. He's apparently heard of our little mishap, but, I tell him it's nothing to worry about. Really, it isn't. Anyway, we're given accommodations to the inn, and stay the night. Naturally, our thief from before has already partaken of the meal that was meant for us. Annoying, yes, but, there isn't a lot I can do about it.

Next day, Fitcher relays news of a Highland spy. When I go to see the mayor, he and Ridley are in argument. Ridley storms out, saying he'll defeat the Highlanders himself. Sounds like somebody's trying to take advantage of the racial tension present in this town. Of course, I didn't necessarily know there was any until now. Looks like we'll have to resolve said tension to get the full cooperation of Two River on our side. I don't know if we can achieve that before the Highland army comes, though. We might only be able to achieve it after the fact.

There are guards by the entrance to the Kobold section of town, so, we'll need to figure out some other way to get in there. As I re-enter the winger section, our friendly-as-ever thief comes by, and steals Fitcher's wallet. We chase him as far as an underground passage. We end up in the Kobold section, and have a small talk with Ridley. Apparently, there was a secret communique between the mayor and Highland, brokering peace, but gave the Kobold district to the Highlanders. Ridley's understandably cautious about it, but, putting a divide between the races seems like exactly the kind of thing Highland wants. Then again, if the rumor is actually true, Ridley's in a bad position regardless.

Back at the Kobold district's entrance, Fitcher paces about, wondering what we should do. When we get to the town square, we witness a meeting between the mayor and Kiba. They were talking peace. So, Ridley wasn't telling mere rumor? We talk to the mayor in town hall, and relay what we've heard. He... doesn't really say anything about the peace treaty involving giving away the Kobold district, but, he's not exactly a friend of the Kobolds either. He also states that the wingers are "useless". His words, not mine. Sounds like he fully intends to sign the treaty, and drive the wedge between the races, and make Two River all that much easier for Highland to take. He doesn't see that, though. He sees the treaty as a way to buy time. Time for what, I don't know.

We can stay at the inn, but, Chaco's grandmother is asking to see us. She humbly apologizes for her grandson's conduct, and tells of her own experiences with Genkaku. She believes in the light of Bright Shield, and that I will help this town. As for Chaco himself, well, he doesn't really care about that stuff, and refuses to return anything.

Next morning, we go outside, and find the mayor with Kiba his son, Klaus, and the Highland army. As we feared, the peace treaty was merely a device to divide the peoples of Two River so that they would not fight as one. It almost worked, too. As we retreat to speak with Ridley, the wingers start their own assault. We eventually convince the Kobolds to join the fray. We hold the line long enough for the reinforcements from the Dunan army to arrive, causing the Highlanders to retreat. Somehow, we turned it around. Two River should join us in full cooperation now.

Cut to the royal tent of Prince Luca. He has Solon Jhee decapitated for his incompetence with the South Window campaign. He's willing to forget that area for now, and focus on Greenhill. Jowy volunteers for the job, and asks for only 5,000 men, and the refugees from South Window and Muse. Luca isn't sure what he's planning, but, he's willing to take a chance on the newcomer. Naturally, he threatens that failure will result in another decapitation.

Back in Two River, I wake up in the inn, apparently knocked out during the fighting earlier. We return to town hall, where Two River officially joins forces with us! Sweet! Now for some recruitin'!

I've been generally glossing over the recruiting, but, there is a cute little ditty involving two particular recruits that I'll go over. It involves...

...these two. This pair is going to Kobold Village in an attempt to get Hix achieve his rite of passage. Or some-such. I bet these two would absolutely love to know that Neclord's still around. At any rate, the thought in Tengaar's head is for Hix to use the so-called Test of the Unicorn for his rite. Surely, such a deed would make him recognised? Hix is none too thrilled about this plan (when is he ever), but goes along with it, as Tengarr's insistance hasn't moved one wit since last game.

Tengaar ends up faking a fever that can only be cured by collecting various objects that are exceptionally suspicious in their supposed location. Some of the conversation options try to call this out (and hilariously so), but, to no avail. In truth, the items are planted, and, well, yeah, Tengaar was fine all along. However, it culimates in the forest north of Kobold Village, where the said unicorn is said to live, and it turns out that the rumor is true.

Hix is nervious as ever in front of the mythical beast, yet holds his ground. With a blinding flash, the unicorn disappears, it's voice echoing, wishing the pair good fortune. When we get back, Hix is ready to go back to Warriors' Village, but, Tengaar thinks they owe me a debt of gratitude, and the two join the Dunan army.

Characters in this session:

(auto): Amada, Fitcher, Chaco, Ridley
(not-auto): Tai Ho, Yam Koo, Clive, Taki, Hans, Sid, Gabocha, Hai Yo, Stallion, Shilo, Tetsu, Meg, Gadget, Wakaba, Tony, Hix, Tengaar
total (this session): 21
total (overall): 54/108

Guardian of the Description Thread
As much as having Two River's cooperation is worthy of celebration, we just don't have the time. Shu reports that Greenhill has been taken by Highland. Greenhill had a force of around 7,000 strong, and it was taken with a force of 5,000 strong. This surprises Viktor and Flik. I seem to recall us approximating Jhee's forces being about 2,000 stronger than ours during our fight against him, but, whatever.

We'll found out the details a bit later, but, for now, our focus is to extract Teresa, the acting mayor. The plan is to pose as students in Greenhill's New Leaf Academy. Shu believes Highland would leave the Academy running, and is our best "in". As such, our party make-up can only consist of school-aged characters, with the exception of Flik, who will act as our bodyguard.

Fitcher comes through for us, providing some enrollment forms. They're three years old, so, our excuse is that we were delayed by the war. The forms are not filled out yet, and Fitcher highly suggests we use fake names anyway. This is not a show choice, it's a name-entry that ultimately has no effect on anything as far as I recall. However, for the sake of hilarity, I use "Tir" for Riou, "Cleo" for Namami, and as for Flik...

...well, let's just say that he goes with "Flik". We poke our nose around town a bit, then run across a guard harassing a girl (Nina) in the town square, of all places. We decide to stand up for her, Flik making a good showing in his own right, and move along. Though, I get the odd impression that Nina very largely misread our intentions.

Anyway, we get enrolled in short order. Our papers, though old, were in order. We are given a short tour of the campus, but I make my own rounds. The Rune Sage class is of particular note, as it's being taught by none other than...

...the best, most renown Rune Sage in the entire Suiko-verse. They spare no expense at New Leaf Academy! Though, given Jeane's tendency to join various armies across history when simply asked, they probably only needed to ask her if she wanted the job.

At any rate, we leave the main campus, and see that Nina is making Flik out to be her own personal knight, Prince Charming, whatever other nomenclature comes out of her mouth. She's got quite the imagination, and ends up dragging Flik with her to show him the town and school. Poor guy. He gets all this unwanted attention.

We catch up with Nina again after supper in the dorms, with her sizing up Nanami as a potential rival for Flik's affections. Keep dreamin', girl, keep dreamin'. Nanami has no clue what this is all about, but, is nervous all the same. Next morning, we have a little run-in with Flik. He thinks that Shin is our ticket to see Teresa, and wants us to learn his whereabouts. He quickly scatters off, Nina not too far behind. Nanami is still clueless.

I make my way to the inn (as the dorms don't have a place to save), and find that it's surrounded by guards. They accuse the owner of keeping Teresa, and threaten to burn the place down. Shin comes by to remind Rowd (yep, he's back) that there was an agreement that no more harm would come to the citizens of Greenhill. Which may have prevented him from burning the place down, but, they still thoroughly searched the place, and presumably found nothing.

Our task now is to chase Shin. However, he's nowhere to be found. We retire, and have another run-in with Nina. She tells us about a "wandering ghost", and Nanami tries very hard not to show that she's scared. I poke fun at her a bit, but, we do hear some noises at night. We don't investigate them, and it's off to find Flik. I don't know what kind of progress he's made in our investigation, but, it might not hurt to see if he's learned anything. Nina's inside the main building, but, she's more angry at Nanami. Apparently, she's mistaking Nanami for the person Flik loves that is "always with him". If she had any idea how literal the phrase "always with him" is...

We find Flik just outside, and he has news from Fitcher. We're to meet him in the town square. Of course, there's a scene. He's surrounded by some not-very-happy citizens, proclaiming him "traitor", thanks to his Muse accent. Flik does some quick thinking, and offers his sword to some of them, saying that they should forgo lynching, and just decapitate him. Nobody takes him up on his offer, and he raises his sword, ready to strike. They leave peacefully enough, and we take Fitcher aside where we won't be seen.

Unfortunately, Fitcher doesn't know where Teresa is either. He can't afford too many more slips-ups like that. However, he lets us know that the Highland commander that took the city is coming in two or three days. We might want to be outta here by then. We have no real leads, though. We really need to pick up the pace. With Nina back of Flik's tail, and Pilika tired, there seems to be very little else that can be done today.

We hear the noises again, and this time, we investigate it. We chase a shadow across the dooms, and into a storage room. We come across a secret door, and the connecting hall leads to the main campus. Across the hall, we find... Flik? He's been tailing Shin, and he just spotted him. Around the corner looks like another dead end, but a switch in a bust reveals yet another hidden door. This one leads to a forest outside the campus. We eventually come across a well-hidden cottage. As if to confirm any suspicions we may have had, Shin comes before us, and it looks like we're gonna fight. Pilika's crying stops the conflict, as does Teresa coming out, and we're allowed in to talk to her.

We ask her to lend her strength to the Dunan Army, naturally, but, she's just doesn't seem up for it. Well, more like, she no longer sees herself as acting mayor. She then relays the happenings of Greenhill's defeat, which I will place under hide-tag.

That Highland was setting it's sights on Greenhill was obvious. However, they released Muse soldiers to Greenhill, and even released weapons and armor. A strange move, to be sure. Perhaps they wanted a fair fight? It doesn't quite fit their tactics so far, though.

In any event, the city was eventually under siege by the Highlanders, but, they made no move to actually attack the city. While the solders from Muse bolstered Greenhill's numbers, their food rations were not well supplied for those numbers. As the rations quickly dwindled, there were disagreements on how to distribute it. Disagreements turned into open conflict. The Muse soldiers took the storehouse by force, and prevented Greenhill solders/citizens from having any.

I don't know long the conflict lasted, but, the goal was achieved. Greenhill was no longer in any position to resist the Highland army, and they just bulldozed right in.

Apparently, Teresa blames herself, and absolutely refuses to join us. Both Nanami and Flik seem willing to give up, saying this whole venture was pointless. There's not much else to do today, so, we go back to the dorms, and spend one more night. Next day, we join up with Flik, and start moving out. At the town square, Rowd declares a 20,000 potch bounty for Teresa. Jowy comes forth, and makes his own statement. Pilika can't help herself, and moves toward her "uncle". Nanami follows, as do I. Face-to-face one more time, I ask Jowy why he's there, with Highland. I seem to recall him saying that he didn't trust them. He doesn't answer me, of course. Rowd tries to get us arrested, but, Fitcher makes a commotion, saying that there are spies (is he referring to us?), and there's a reward.

Well, we can't leave by the front gate, but, we might be able to sneak out using the path in the back of the school. Maybe even rescue Teresa. When we reach her, she's heard of the situation, but, is willing to give herself up in an attempt to spare Grinhill more misery. We'll have none of this nonsense, and follow Teresa all the way back through the forest and just outside the main campus. Shin decides to come to his senses, and stands before Rowd and his guards. We're not too far behind. After two fights, Nina and a number of citizens (both from Greenhill and from Muse) come to "protect their mayor". Nina finally convinces Teresa to flee, and Teresa makes a promise to come back one day. However, our priority now is to run. The citizens will do what they can to hold back the Highland forces coming after us. Let's make the best of their intentions!

Unfortunately, Rowd does catch up to us, but, Shin volunteers to stay behind, and kick some massive amounts of ass (off screen, sadly) so that we can get away. We have a bit of a run-in with Jowy, naturally. He asks me to relinquish leadership of the Dunan Army. Yeah, no. I can't stop now. Not while Luca Blight lives. He knows that. I have to drag Nanami away when Flik notices pursuers. We'll meet again, no doubt.

When I leave the forest, we get a little cut-scene of Jowy and Rowd. Jowy claims that he didn't see anybody suspicious come by, and Rowd dones't quite trust him. Especially since one of his men saw us come this way. However, Colgan and Seed back Jowy up, and remind Rowd that there's still a clamor in town that should be quelled. The captain isn't happy, but withdraws for now. It appears Jowy is doing his own recruiting, as both Colgan and Seed pledge their loyalty to his cause. This... might be a problem later on.

Speaking of recruits, there aren't too many to get this story-arc, and this is the time to get whoever remains! One's in Two River, I know. The other I don't recall, but, a quick look-up says Kobold Village. That should do it for this story-arc. Next story arc, I think, is the initial visit to the Matilda Knights! Keep watch on this space!

Characters in this session:

(auto): Teresa, Shin, Nina
(not-auto): Emilia, Jeane, Yuzu
total (this session): 6
total (overall): 60/108
Guardian of the Description Thread
It seems our castle's theme has changed...

...which is certainly of note. I don't think I noticed it before, but, this may also have been the first time I've been back since Greenhill.

In any event, we still need more allies. We managed to protect Two River, but, Muse and Greenhill are still very much no-goes. With South Window destroyed (it looks surprisingly well for a "destroyed" town, though), and Crom blocked off, we're pretty much left with the Knightdom of Matilda.

Word of our coming has arrived to the guards at the border, and they let us pass. Along the way, we come across a friendly, and very welcome, face...

...and long long after that, we are greeted by Miklotov of the Blue Knights. He escorts (ie: teleports) us to Rockaxe Castle...

...where Lord Gorudo of the White Knights (and leader of the Matilda Knights) await. Suffice it to say, Gorudo does not have kind words for us. When he sees me, he figures the "rumors" of us beating the Highland army must have been grossly exaggerated. If that wasn't enough, he has the gall to say that Muse fell before his knights arrived. That's not exactly how I recall it, but, whatever. We're supposed to be here to make friends. Except that doesn't look like that's going to happen any time soon. Great. I wonder what I have to do here to turn this idiot around?

That night, I get a visit from Leknaat, reminding me that the hopes of many lie on my shoulders, not give up, yada yada. Next morning, I try Gorudo again. News has come that the Highland Army is approaching the border. It seems it's a pursuit unit to track down refugees from Muse. Gorudo gives the order to mobilize, and I join the fray. This results in a very painful war-battle, as the refugee units are pretty pathetic (0 ATK, 1 DEF), and are nowhere near any allied units that can actually do anything. What's worse is that the allies units do absolutely nothing. Gorudo has no intention of saving the refugees. His only intention is to make sure the Highland Army does not cross the border. Actually, scratch that. His orders are that nobody, Highland soldier or Muse refugee, is allowed across that border.

Miklotov is not terribly pleased with watching those refugees die, so, he decides to go to Muse himself. Camus warns against this, but, Miklotov's mind is made up. He asks me if I can look after him. Well, sure, but there's some recruits to get first.

These two recruits are on the involved side, as it's something of a mini-quest. Highway Village has a familiar theme...

...and some familiar faces.

For a bit of backstory, Futch has been talking to one of the locals (Kent) about being a Dragon Knight. He mentions Black, and his death, of course. However, when a rumor arises that there is a dragon up north at Rakutei Mountain, Kent gets super-excited (Futch promised him a ride whenever he gets a dragon), and we have to save his butt.

While the rumor turns out to be true (we find a dragon hatching), Futch is still very much attached to Black. He doesn't want another dragon. Humphrey approaches the egg, and draws his sword to kill it. Futch stops him. Out hatches the whelp, and, eventually, Futch agrees to train the newborn.

With that job well done, it's time to check out Muse. And boy, are we in for a surprise!

Well. That can't be good. We investigate the town, but the one citizen we find alive isn't long for this world. We fight some Highland troops, then try to get what information we can from the poor guy, but, it's little more than ramblings.

Miklotov has had enough. He's no longer willing to stand idly by while the citizens of Muse are in danger, though we may not fully understand what that danger is. However, Gorudo is characteristically unflinching. He has no intention of invading Muse, or starting a war with Highland. As long as Matilda is left alone, he doesn't care what Highland does. Miklotov won't stand for that, and breaks his oath of allegiance. Gorudo, infuriated, asks Camus to apprehend the traitor, but, Camus refuses, thus breaking his own oath. Several Blue Knights and Red Knights also break from Gorudo. All join the cause of the Dunan Army, seeing in it's leader a more honorable master than Gorudo.

Well, maybe it wasn't exactly what we were aiming for. However, about half of the Blue Knights and Red Knights have joined us. Next day, the news is that the Highland army has reached Radat. Viktor gets it in his head to check the place out, and wants me to come with him. Shu is against the idea, but, I go anyway.

We see Kiba and Klaus attempting to dispel rumors of what happened in Muse, and seem successful enough. Klaus notices me, and lets me know of the marriage between Jowy and Jillia. Hrm. I don't like it. Anyway, we know for sure that it's Kiba and Klaus we're up against, and report back to Shu.

Shu claims that we don't need a strategy, but, he's got one nonetheless. He orchestrates a false defection from Ridley (playing somewhat off the the racial tension we observed in Two River), only to have him come back in full force in another war battle. When we win that fight, we have the option to either execute Kiba and Klaus, or to have them join forces with us. I think the choice is obvious.

Characters in this session:

(auto): Miklotov, Camus
(not-auto): Viki, Humphrey, Futch, Kiba, Klaus
total (this chapter): 7
total (overall): 67/108

Guardian of the Description Thread
The good news is that the Dunan Army now consists of 25,000 troops. This is roughly equivalent to one Highland company. The bad news is, there are three companies deployed against us. So, yes, we are still vastly, vastly, outnumbered.

We don't have the strength to retake Muse, or Greenhill. We've sent messengers to Tinto, but, there has been no response. We've gotten what support from Matilda we can. So. This is it. This is all the troops we can muster. At least locally speaking. However, Sheena is there to suggest getting help non-locally. Specifically, from the Toran Republic.

Freed's not particularly happy with the suggestion. He sees the Toran Republic as "Formerly, the Scarlet Moon Empire". Which has been an enemy of the City-State, and of particular friction with South Window. However, under the new leadership of president Lepant, maybe we can broker some kind of alliance.

The name the first game's protagonist has been dropped a few times now. By default, his name is McDohl, as that's his last name. By transferring data, the intent was probably to take the name of the protagonist ("Tir", in my case), and overwrite "McDohl" entirely. However, what actually happens is... well, I'm not 100% sure. My theory is that it uses "McDohl" as a base, and overwrites characters in that name with only the capital letters from the first game. So, the name of our Tenkai in Suikoden was "TIR", it would transfer over to Suikoden 2 as "TIRohl". Or... something like that? I don't 100% know if this is actually the case. All I know for sure is that the name this game has been using is "TcDohl".

There are at least two codes that can "fix" this that I am aware of. However, I seem to recall last time I played this game, there was a few characters that joined at level 99. I don't know for sure if it was a "Tir fix" that did this, or not, but, I want to leave it alone for now.

Anyway, to get to the Toran Republic, we can take a boat from Radat, and take it south, to Banner Village.

The encounters in the forest north of Banner aren't anything to write home about, though, they do have...

...a familiar tune to them. At the border, I meet Varkas, who escorts me to Gregminster.

A very familiar place in Gregminster, to be sure. I don't wait there terribly long before we present ourselves to President Lepant. Freed pleads with him to lend us the strength of the Toran Republic, as citizen of South Window. Lepant asks me why I'm fighting, and I answer to end the war. He detects in me the same kind of person that should be sitting in that chair as President.

They can only scrape together a force of 5,000 troops right this second, but, I have a choice as to who will lead them. Valeria is a pretty good fighter, and is a rival/unite partner with Anita. She quite possibly the only other Falcon Rune in the game, outside of Anita. Kasumi has a Shrike Rune (which may be the only one in existence in this game), and choosing her will allow me to recruit two other characters sooner, rather than later.

To be perfectly honest, I've always chosen Kasumi because of the recruits. Though, I seem to recall a cute scene involving her and Tir. Maybe, one day, I will choose Valeria. This isn't that day, though. Regardless of my choice, I am presented with a mighty gift...

...which complements Viki's service quite nicely. However, our business in Gregminster...

...isn't quite done yet. There's a recruit to get, plus visiting all the shops so that my shops gets more inventory. As for Kasumi, we hop by Rokkaku...

Just kidding! get who we can there. Apple and Ridley await we just outside Banner Village. However, before we visit the plot-lockdown room, there's some recruits to get. One recruit is another either/or scenario. Sigfried is the titular unicorn of Unicorn Forest, whereas Abizboah is a kracken, found later on, in Crom Mines (if memory serves). However, recruiting Sigfried with Hix/Tengaar is the kind of irony that's my cup of tea.

I can't help but to note that, while I'm out recruiting, there's a bunch of guards in Kuskus (I can really only go the the blacksmith and general store), and I'm chased out of Radat if I try teleporting there.

The war room has an interesting event. While our numbers have bolstered a tad, thanks to our alliance with the Toran Republic, Highland has been doing it's own diplomacy. Sasarai from Harmonia will join Luca's forces, with the plan of striking at Dunan Castle to finish us off in one go.

Ridley has been sent to Radat as a reconnaissance team. We learn that he's been surrounded, and is requesting reinforcements. I've never been able to rescue Ridley in this war battle. This time is no different.

The next day, Shu sets his strategy in motion. We don't need to take out the entire Highland Army. We just need Luca Blight dead. The line of succession would fall to Jillia. Or maybe we'd be dealing with Jowy instead? Either option should be more receptive to peace than Luca will ever be. Taking Luca's head proves difficult, however. For one, his unit has 18 attack and 17 defense. Kiba's defense managed to be 16, but, my highest attack is, like, 9 or 10. I can't even touch the guy. Tsai's Fire Spears were able to pull through, and damaged the unit. He got away, and blasted my team in the process. Ouch.

Ridley was saved by our friends from Rokkaku, thanks to some advance planning from Shu. Ridley has a letter from Leon Silverburg (who's been working Jowy), relaying that Luca intends on a night raid on our castle. It could be a trap. Or maybe, just maybe, we can get rid of Luca Blight for good. It's very risky, but, I decide to go for it.

Here, we split into three parties. The party leads consist of (in the order they will fight Luca) Filk, Victor, and Riou. The music during these fights is pretty slick...

...and he has, like, three actions. However, we do, eventually, bring Luca down, though it takes all three battles, and a duel to do so.

Geeze, he is not wrong about this. Maybe about other things, but not this.

When we get back to Dunan Castle, I faint, utterly exhausted from all the hard work I've put forth. Is it going to pay off now? Only time will tell.

Elsewhere, Jowy publicly, and officially, ties the knot with Jillia, thus making him King of Highland. Like I said earlier, dealing with anybody other than Luca would have a better chance of peace.

With the war apparently over, we can take a break from things. Nanami wants to take a walk, and visit a bunch of places. That probably means even more recruits are available, but, that'll be next session, though. We've done plenty today.

Characters in this session:

(auto): Kasumi, Sheena
(not-auto): Simone, Lorelai, Mondo, Sasuke, Lebrante, Badeaux, Feather, Ayda, Sigfried, Gordon, Tomo
total (this session): 13
total (overall): 80/108

Guardian of the Description Thread
There's seven recruits to obtain before we have to advance the plot. Well, technically eight, but one isn't a Star of Density. Usually, I don't mess with recruits that aren't stars (this is the first game to have them), but, in this particular case...

...I think I can make an exception. Though, "recruit" isn't exactly the correct term to use. Tir doesn't show up in the party-menu for Leona (You have to go to his house in Gregminster to put him in), and he's not in the shop-lists unless he's in the party. Oh well. Getting Tir into the party is generally worth the trouble.

One recruit, Annalee, is always awkward to get. You have to listen to her sing. As far as I can detect, there is nothing playing while she sings/animates. I dunno. If there is supposed to be some kind of song playing here, I've never ever heard it. My going theory is that it's supposed to refer just to the vocal track of this song...

...but it is bugged. For a bit of background, this particular song you can randomly hear/see in the castle as a "live performance" if all performers have been recruited.

In any event, we meet some guys in Kuskus that tell us there's a person from Highland in the harbor. This person turns out to be Colgan, and he relays that Jowy's now King of Highland, and that he's here to deliver a peace treaty. We escort him to Dunan Castle, and he hands over the letter to me in public view. We are to meet in Muse to talk it over. Klaus suspects a trap, while Apple thinks we can broker more agreeable terms. I don't know about more agreeable terms. Highland is still pretty damn strong. Despite this, I agree to go. As I leave for Coronet, Shu seems to have his own suspicions, and asks Viktor and Flik a favor.

We climb Jowston Hill, only to discover that, yes, this was a trap. Jowy is looking for our unconditional surrender, and Leon has archers on our back to make sure we go through it or die. However, Shu has made his own preparations. Viktor comes in the nick of time to save us, and we make a hasty retreat. Pilika re-joins her "uncle", and speaks for the first time in a long while.

Why did Jowy request an unconditional surrender, and why did he let us go? I dunno. There's probably 108 reasons why, but, the result is that this war is going to go on a bit longer than we thought. However, there are other matters to concern ourselves with.

Koyu, one of the Lampdragon Bandits, has come to ask our aid. Seems Neclord has decided to rear his ugly head again, though he's probably aiming for Tinto. We stop by the bandit hideout in the mountains between Tigermouth and Drakemouth villages, and the news isn't that great. Neclord turned some of their own to zombies, and the bandits destroyed the bridge so that the zombies couldn't get across. They confirm our suspicions about where Neclord is headed, and intend to go to Tinto to help Gustav. If I help too, surely, they will owe me the favor of joining with the Dunan Army?

As stated before, the other side of the mountain trail ends in Tigermouth Village...

...but there's a few recruits in Crom to get before we involve ourselves in Tinto, proper. Gustav pokes a bit of fun at me, but, recognizes that we really have to work together to banish Neclord, and the Highland Army. Next day, Ridley and Klaus have arrived, on Shu's orders. Geeze, how'd they get here so quick? With Viki's help? Anyway, little Lilly drops by to tell us a bit of news.

Sure enough, it's Neclord. He claims he's not with the Highland Army, but, I trust him about as far as I can kick him. Speaking of a lack of trust, Jess and Hauser are in the area, and have gathered some troops for Tinto. Of course, Jess still thinks I killed Anabelle, and raises his suspicions rather vocally. The two leave in a huff (or maybe just Jess), and Gustav tells me to to worry too much. Jess has been fighting in his own way. We need to focus our efforts on Neclord.

That night, I get a visitation from Leknaat, where she tells me nothing really spectacular, or new. I waltz over to Nanami, and she tries to get me to ditch the whole "Leader of the Dunan army" deal. Accepting this proposal will achieve an alternate ending, but it's not the ending we're looking for. Besides, we haven't played this game this far just to quit now.

Next morning, we hear news that Jess has gathered a force. His idea is sound. Killing Neclord will probably kill the undead army as well. The trick is that Neclord isn't going to be beaten by an army. Dude's got a True Rune, and has been bearing it for... hell, longer than Ted bore Soul Eater. Anyway, Jess' information as to Neclord's hideout may or may not be true, but, he's sending out the troops based on that information. Hauser abides by it, as Jess is next in line for being the mayor of Muse. As for us, we have to back Jess up, and take his gamble. Klaus wants me to stay behind, and takes to the field with Ridley.

We can't leave the town, but, we can get to the mines. The workers say that there was a collapse. There was supposed to be an investigation team, but, they haven't returned yet. We don't like the smell of it, but, we go in, and fight Neclord. Of course, we can't damage him. After the battle aborts, he tries to curse us, but, Bright Shield intervenes, and protects us. Time to get the hell outta there!

We escape frpm the mines, only to see that the town's been infested by zombies! That Necolrd works fast! What's worse, I fall over, exhausted. I dunno if it's just all the crap that's been going down, or if the recent activation of Bright Shield is taking it's toll. Maybe a little bit of both. Either way, Nanami lets me climb on her back, and she whisks me away, as my consciousness slips.

When I come to, I wake in Crom, as Tinto's been taken by Neclord. We don't know what happened to Jess and Hauser, and Lilly is also missing. Things aren't looking good for us.

When we leave town, we come across Khan. We're gonna need his help, plus the help of a person he mentions that can seal Neclord's soul. Or whatever's left of it. The person he's referring to, who he's constantly been referring to in the male pronoun is Lady Seirra of the Blue Moon Tribe. Quite literally the founder of that tribe, if I recall my lore correctly. We have to beat her up before she joins us, but, she does join, and whose Darkness Rune might come in handy later.

When we get to Crom, Serria hits on Klaus. It's a little funny, and Klaus has no idea who he's dealing with. Next day, we learn that Neclord's taken Lilly and Lo Wen (Koyu's sister). What, is this another bride-collection thing? Geeze, Neclord, you're a one-trick pony, aren't you? Well, we more or less know he's in Tinto, but, probably has the place crawling with zombies. If we go through the mines, we can approach from behind. I dunno, though. He probably knows about that route, and might have it guarded. Still, it's probably better than going through the front gate.

Sure enough, we fight a Stone Golem in Crom Mines. Neclord probably thought that was enough to take care of us. He was wrong. We face off against him in the highest place in town, a church, and has some really cool music.

We beat him senseless, and he tries to escape, but, Khan's barrier prevents that. In a feeble attempt to plead for his life, he gives back the Moon Rune to Sierra...

Er, let's try that again.

...but, Viktor has other ideas. He swings the Star Dragon Sword, and Neclord, no longer protected by the Moon Rune, finally bite the dust. Stay goddamn dead this time!

With Tinto, and it's surrounding regions, no longer in danger, Gustav allies Tinto with the Dunan Army. Jess has also seen the error of his ways, apologizes, and joins our cause. There's two recruits to get before we can call this done, and one of them is a certain former Queen's Knight.

Characters in this session:

(auto): Jess, Hauser, Kahn, Sierra, Marlowe, Koyu, Gijimu, Low Wen
(not-auto): <McDohl>, Maximillian, Annalee, Killey, Hoi, Connell, Bob, Karen, L.C. Chan, Tenkou, Raura, Georg, Gantstsu
total (this session): 20
total (overall): 100/108

Guardian of the Description Thread
With the troops from Tinto, we're in a position to make an attempt to re-take Greenhill. That night, there's a few things to see before I get back into bed. Except that there's an assassin there waiting for me! It's Lucia of the Kayara Clan!

She poses no real threat to me, of course. I have a choice to either let her go, or put her in prison. I don't think it really matters either way, but, I let her go.

Next day, we launch the attack on Greenhill. Shu's plan is to divide our forces. Victor, Flik, and Hauser will be in charge of holding the Muse-Greenhill border while Kiba and Klaus will lead the main attack force on Greenhill itself. I choose to go with Kiba. Darigaaz, this was a slog of a fight. The victory condition here is to defeat all units. Yuber and Lucia give us some trouble, but, we manage.

We find we cannot enter the main gate. Or, rather, it would take too long to try to ram the gate down. Teresa knows of a number of secret paths, though, and there's no way Shin will let her go without his protection. We fight some Highland troops on the way, and also a contingent of Kayarans lead by Lucia herself. We beat them all back, but, we'll certainly be seeing Lucia again this game.

We come out in the back of the campus, fight a few more troops until we come across the boss, a Bone Dragon, courtesy of Yuber.

We beat that boss, and the Highland Army withdraws. We've liberated Greenhill! However, Fitcher brings word that Shu wants us to report to Dunan Castle right away. When we get there, we learn that the Matilda Knights have surrendered to Highland. Something about that doesn't sound right, though. Gorudo was exceptionally confident that Highland would never invade, and even if they did, the Knights would just beat them back. Maybe he found himself incorrect in such assumptions, or it's a trap.

However, the bulk of the Highland military seems to be in Matilda. Apple thinks we should take this opportunity to strike at Muse, and Shu agrees with this assessment. We return to Greenhill as a base to launch our attack from. The game makes it sound like we have a little bit of wiggle room to explore the liberated Greenhill...

...but, in fact, we're still locked down in plot. Namami sees Lucia scamper off into the New Leaf Academy, and we follow her. Thankfully, we don't have to go terribly deep into the forest behind the main campus. Jowy asks me to stand down as leader of the Dunan Army. I can't do that. The hopes and dreams of a lot of people are riding on me. The same can be said of Jowy, actually. As King of Highland, the hopes and dreams of his people rest on him. He can't back down either. It's sad, and stupid that we can't resolve this war peacefully, but, neither of us have the power stop it.

With that done, we're... still locked down in goddamn plot. Well, I suppose I can tell Apple I'm not ready for the war-battle, but, there isn't anybody to recruit yet either. Well, then. Let's attack Muse!

The battle, itself, wasn't so bad. The Highland army retreated, leaving the Kayarans to fend for themselves. They buy a bit of time, but, our forces reach the gates of Muse. Something about this seems a bit off, and when we check the town out, we find a Golden Wolf in the Town Hall. We beat that back, hear some yelling outside, and see three more. Yeah, let's get the hell outta here.

We manage to escape Muse, but, the Highland Army's coming back. We retreat back to Dunan Castle to mull over what we can do. With this, we have the opportunity to recruit the last batch of Stars, and do so.

After all that nonsense, we talk to Shu in his office after a brief event. The next war battle will be a decisive one. Everything hinges on it. Are we ready? Hell yes, we are! We gather everyone into the war room, and Shu explains the situation. In total, we represent 25,000 troops versus the Highland Army's 55,000. His plan is to divide them with a two-front attack. Kiba will lead a charge to Viktor's old fort. He'll be a decoy to buy the rest of the Dunan Army some time to deal with Matilda. Kiba will only take 5,000 troops with him, but even then, we expect a force of around 30,000 deployed against our remaining 20,000. That puts quite a lot of pressure on Kiba, and it's a huge huge gamble on our part, but, we're willing to do it. I call forth a Spirit Bomb..., I mean, to have everyone lend me their strength. "Everyone", in this case, includes Leknaat. Her gift... to grant me access to Forgiver Sign. This spell heals with a base-value of 2,000 HP on the party, and any healing that was not used spills over to damage to an enemy unit. I can't explain it any better than that. However, that is one of the 108 bonuses of this game. The other will come later, if I don't totally screw it up.

Next morning, we see Kiba off, as he marches with his troops to Viktor's fort. We then re-visit the war-room, and tell Shu we're good to go. I have no regrets, and the time to move forward is now.

We trick the Highland Army to withdraw, and we're clear for Rockaxe. We're going to send a contingent of troops led by Hauser, Teresa, and Ridley to draw the enemy away from Rockaxe. Then, I'll sneak into the castle, burn the Highland flag there, and replace it with ours. We also learn that Kiba died bravely when defending the Mercenary Fort. Best not to let his sacrifice be in vain. Let's go, Uchioniko everyone!

Of course, we meet Jowy along the way. Of course we do. He's perfectly willing to settle things here and now, and is smart enough to realize that we both hold the hopes of our respective peoples. However, who comes to crash our party but Lord Gorudo? He has his archers fire on us, and Nanami moves to protect me. Without a second thought (no more than two seconds, to be sure), I call out to her. She manages to deflect most of the arrows, but, most isn't enough. She's hit by one, and lies critically wounded of the floor. I don't know who's more pissed off, me, of Jowy, but, we band together one more time and utterly lay waste to Gorudo and his flunkies.

As I hold Nanami's body, her consciousness fades. Is she... dead? I don't know. Shu and some troops approach, and Shu has them split up. One team to get Huan, and the other to burn the flag. With the flag burnt, the Highland Army withdraws, which gives us an opportunity to get Nanami to Huan's office in Dunan Castle.

We wait who-knows-how-long outside the treatment room. Everybody's there, waiting to hear the results. When Huan comes back out, he apologizes profusely. He wasn't able to save her. After some choice commentary from Viktor and Flik, he asks to see Shu in private. Not sure what that was about, but, the best way we can honor her death now, and that of Kiba's, is to end this stupid war. Let's do that, then. I tell Shu to mobilize the army, and he leaves the war room to make the preparations. As I leave, I fall flat on my face again, and am found by Freed.

Cut to Highland. Jowy is making a blood sacrifice of Jillia to the Beast Rune. Well, it's not really Jillia. It's a close-enough resemblance, though. So close, that Jowy seems to be feeling a tad ill after the deed. Hrm.

Back to Dunan Castle, I wake up, and see a scene between Apple and Shu before going back to bed. The next morning, we're as ready to go as we'll ever be. The war-battle that follows is all automatic. Shu is ready to die in the fire that he caused, but, Viktor gets him out. He's a little tired, and puts Apple in charge of our push towards the Highland capital of L'Renouille. This is the last war-battle of the game. Darigaaz, there's been a lot of those recently, haven't there?

However, it doesn't end with the war battle. We have to go inside, and find Jowy. However, before I infiltrate this castle, I'm going to go to Gregminster for some mighty help. There's also a few places I can add to Viki's teleport list, but, that, and the infiltration of L'Renouille, can come later.

Characters in this session:

(auto): N/A
(not-auto): Pico, Jude, Alberto, Vincent, Tessai, Pesmerga, Genshu, Mazus
total (this session): 8
total (overall): 108/108

Guardian of the Description Thread
Okay, apparently, there aren't any locations to add to the teleport list, but, there is a town in the same general area as L'Renouille that I can visit. Oh well.

So, our first obstacle in infiltrating L'Renouille is our favorite Grasslander. Well, it's less of an ironic title in the next game, but, with this game, Lucia has just been a pain. When we beat her, there's a small event with Teresa before I can continue forward.

Our next obstacle is Han Cunningham. This is the guy that was Genkaku's friend, and former bearer of Black Sword. We duel him, and emerge victorious. He apologizes for his weakness, and that of Genkaku's. He then tries to explain how the Rune of the Beginning can "end war", but he cuts himself off before he explains anything. Something to note, for sure.

Culgan and Seed are next. The Silent Lake that Seed casts makes this interesting, but, even without Runes, I still mop the floor with them. A scene with Jowy, Pikila, and Jillia commences after this.

Last, but certainly not least, is Leon Silverburg, who calls forth the final boss of the game.

We manage to beat the Beast (capitalization intentional), and proceed into the empty throne room.

Wait, empty!? Whaada mean "empty"! The hell? Where's Jowy? We can't do a proper search, as the castle starts to shake. Yeah, our priority should probably be to get the hell ouuta here.

A few scenes pass of me running down the halls of L'Renouille, then a cut to just outside, with some choice characters. Some cross talk about me possibly dying here, but, eventually, I'm seen running out of the castle. Everyone gathers around me, to give me a well-earned congratulations. We won. It's finally over. The screen fades to white. When it fades back, I'm back in Dunan Castle, with Eilie waking me up, and telling me there's a gathering in the war room. That's nice, and all, but, there's a place I need to go. Before I do, I take the opportunity to save on Floor 2.

Downstairs, I have a little talk with Viktor and Flik, then ask Viki to teleport me to Kyaro Village. From there, I walk to where it all began: Tenzan Pass. More specifically...

...the place me and Jowy promised to meet up waaaaaaay the hell back in the beginning of the game if we were ever split up. We talk a little, but, Jowy insist on dueling. I could wipe the floor with him, and he probably knows that, but, I just defend myself. I do not attack in any way. He tries to reason that as long as he lives, there will be fanatics that will resurrect the Blight family, or otherwise bring Highland back into war with the City-State. If we can make people believe that Jillia is dead, can we not do the same with Jowy? I dunno. Regardless, I stand my ground, and do not fight him.

Jowy's much stronger in round 2, and beats me within an inch of my life before the duel aborts. However, he's the one on bended knee, asking to take his Rune. Bright Shield and Black Sword are not, themselves, True Runes, so, it should be possible for one person to bear them both. I refuse him, and he continues to plead. Nope. You're going to live, Jowy. Live. The Runes activate by themselves to heal Jowy. Leknaat decides to drop in, and makes a comment about how the Rune of the Beginning can only be formed when the bearer of Black Sword fights the bearer of Bright Shield. Just as Sword clashing against Shield was the beginning of everything, so must the Rune of the Beginning be formed by it's Sword aspect clashing against it's Shield aspect. That, and the will of the 108 Stars of Destiny. Or some-such.

Jowy does not want to accept that he's been forgiven. That he's been given a second chance. Still, maybe, just maybe, he can forgo the name of "Blight", and start anew. On our way out of the pass, we come across Shu. While he may prefer that I stay behind and lead the new land of Dunan, she will not stop me from doing my own thing. There is just one last thing he needs to relay to me as strategist of the Dunan Army. A last request to one who fell in battle.

This is in reference to Nanami. Except she didn't actually die. When I stepped forward to protect her from the arrows in Rockaxe, this made her think that such an action is unbecoming of a leader. She thought it best if she stay away from me until the time comes that I would need a place to come home to.

Nanami asked Shu to keep the fact that she was actually alive a secret from me since she knew he wouldn't tell me until (or unless) it was absolutely necessary. However, the time has come for this to come out. From the sound of things, it seems she's waiting for us at Kayaro.

The fact that Nanami's still alive, and the re-brith of the Rune of the Beginning is the other half of the 108 bonus I was talking about. Though, as I understand it, there's a very very small window during the Rockaxe sequence that a choice of "Lookout!" or "Namami!" is displayed. I don't know how long the window actually is, but, the longer that choice-window remains open, the less likely it is that she'll survive.

There's a number of scenes in Kayaro here, and the place (presumably in Harmonia???) where Jowy sent Jillia and Pilika. The last scene is of Nanami and I walking across a bridge, with Jowy running to catch up to us, having said his own goodbyes. Then, the fate of the 108 scroll, followed by the credits.

Annnnnd, that's it! That's all the games in the Suikoden series! Final play-time for this game as of the last save point: 33 hours, 14 minutes, and 48 seconds. The save file to transfer to Suikoden 3 is the one I mentioned just above, after the fight with the Beast Rune, but before talking to Viktor and Flick on the first floor. Though, you could probably see that scene, and visit Hilda to save instead, but, saving just outside the plot-lockdown room, before making any real choices, might be safer.

I don't know if I'm going to do another written LP. If I do another one, I probably want to avoid another series-wide one. However, as things stand, I hope I was entertaining to my legions of admirers those who have been following along!

Characters in this session:

total (this session): 0
total (overall): 108/108

Pages: 1