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Chapter 10 - Watery Tarts

Quick Summary
Denim decided to do his own thing and Kachua just up and left him. What a cunt. The elite army of BADASS S traveled to Brigantes Castle to take out Zaebos for good, before he can harm more innocents. During our journey there we slayed a bunch of dragons, then took on the castle guard, and finally did a full body cavity search on Zaebos with our blades. Denim then took it upon himself to kill the Duke and lead Valeria to an age of peace.

Better a hypocrite than a dead idiot.

The Army
We're level 19 now, I had to level everyone up after Vahanna, because of the battles that followed. During that we obtained some fancy new gear. Lately everyone has had horrible performance, missing sure attacks, letting arrows through their guard, etc. Our low amount of ranged offense hurt us quite a bit, especially in the battle at Brigantes' West Gate. We recruited a new person to help with this: Jeff the Siren. He likes to cast Earth magic and take long walks on the beach, poisoning the ground as he/she goes.

Unit Spotlight - Siren
Our ranged game has improved significantly since acquiring a Siren; they're the female version of Wizards with better spell casting growth and less durability. They can cast all offensive damage spells as well as forbidden magic, which we don't have access to yet. They're a straight-forward class, casting spells and staying in the back of the lines. When a caster's INT reaches a certain threshold, the size of the AOE of a spell increases. Right now we're at the point where our casters can affect a 3 square radius, which is a whopping 13 squares of potential targets. All offensive damage spells do not miss the target, giving us an opportunity to do a lot of damage to the enemy if they're grouped up. The same goes for us and we've received our fair share of it. Our resident Siren is Jeff, who forces us to watch the Meteor and Acid animations 13 times whenever he/she strikes.

Jeff - Siren - Earth
HP 197 MP 97 STR 111 VIT 95 INT 161 MEN 140 AGI 104 DEX 113 LUK 50
Equip: Balder Staff, Balder Staff, Mind Ring
Spells: Meteor, Acid, Pain
Kills: 3

My oh my, how did I ever get along without you? It's nice having something to shoot back at the enemy and keep them damaged long enough for the melee guys to finish them off. The group potential is nice. The only downside is having to watch that damned meteor animation 13 times. You're already wracking up kills. I equipped you with two staves, because it raises your magic attribute, which in turn puts you above the threshold for the big AOE size. The spell "Pain" is limited use: it damages an enemy, but also damages their MP. Useful against mages that may or may not be packing a powerful spell which requires a lot of MP. It isn't that useful yet, but it will will be.

Jay - Octopus/Tiamat - Wind - Black Dragon
HP 239 MP 0 STR 207 VIT 130 INT 103 MEN 154 AGI 82 DEX 79 LUK 50
Kills: 35
Achievements: Charming, Quite Charming

I'm going to take a wild guess and say that you have about 8 levels to go until you can be a Tiamat, the attribute requirements are high and you still need 4 or 5 more kills anyway. Until then, I'm still enjoying your ability to charm enemies with Toxic Breath, although the damage is starting to fall behind everyone else and it didn't charm that much.Weird, because in all of the previous battles you were Charming, Quite Charming You're a beast of a tank and have 4 healing item backups on you at all times.

Rob - Golem - Wind
HP 140 MP 0 STR 193 VIT 140 INT 84 MEN 136 AGI 65 DEX 71 LUK 50
Kills: 2

Still trying to figure out the best way to use you. Your HP is so low that you're constantly in danger whenever there are mages around, but you can lug 4 items about so you've got that going for you. One time you actually hit an enemy, wow!

Peter - Earth - Terror Knight
HP 217 MP 30 STR 130 VIT 134 INT 105 MEN 124 AGI 135 DEX 135 LUK 48
Equip: Phlanka Axe, Tower Shield, Balder Chest
Kills: 37
Achievements: Boss Blocks

You did really well in the battle inside Brigantes, all enemy knights did very low damage due to your Terror effect, which has full effect on L-aligned characters. They also couldn't touch you, so I'm going to give you the achievement Boss Blocks. There was also an instance in one of my attempts at West Gate where you blocked at least 4 different ranged attacks, most of them having high hit chances. Not that it counts, since you didn't participate in the successful attempt. In previous battles your evasion rate has been higher than most everyone else's. All in all, I'm happy with how things are going here.

Josh - Dragoon - Earth
HP 214 MP 28 STR 139 VIT 129 INT 103 MEN 124 AGI 125 DEX 148 LUK 53
Equip: Fafniel, Balder Shield, Balder Chest
Spells: Incubus
Kills: 10
Achievements: Early Riser, One Hit Wonder

Zaebos dropped your brand new sword. It's a powerful non-elemental sword that has the dragonslay ability, heightening your dragon killing power. I was going to give you the DRAGON 2handed sword, but I thought this would suit you better since it's almost as strong, lighter, and you can use a shield with it. It will also allow you to equip the entire Dragon Armor set when I get around to obtaining it. Your damage is on par with Brian's and you've killed a few enemies in one shot. You're a real One Hit Wonder.

Jon - Berserker - Water
HP 226 MP 52 STR 131 VIT 119 INT 105 MEN 137 AGI 126 DEX 141 LUK 50
Equip: Phlanka Axe, Power Gauntlet, Balder Chest
Kills: 9

You guys were the least trouble of everyone in the battle of Brigantes West Gate, I did have to panic heal you, but that went for nearly everyone. Considering you were the first to walk into LOS of the archers, it was impressive that you averaged  about 75% of your total health most of the time.

Sagar - Berserker - Fire
HP 226 MP 47 STR 141 VIT 134 INT 97 MEN 137 AGI 117 DEX 134 LUK 50
Equip: Phlanka Axe, Power Gauntlet, Balder Chest
Kills: 6
Achievements: Cock Block

You served an important role in soaking up enemy bow shots on our way across the cold lake of Brigantes West Gate. I'm really looking forward to getting you a new axe, but for the most part you're doing alright. Even though you've had the same weapon for some time now, you're still smashing faces.

Logan - Warlock - Fire
HP 195 MP 106 STR 105 VIT 114 INT 151 MEN 126 AGI 108 DEX 126 LUK 49
Equip: Balder Staff, Mind Ring
Spells: Melt, Stun, Charge
Kills: 4

Unlike the other mages you serve some nuanced, but useful functions. On a map like West Gate Brigantes, where I know my guys are going to be taking lots of damage, I use you as an MP battery for Velika so she can keep casting Heal Rain. On a map where that's less of a problem, I like to hit a bunch of guys with your Stun spell. Now that your AOEs are 3 range, it is pretty good. Rarely when I feel like an enemy has overstepped their bounds, I use your Melt spell to de-power them.

Brian - Lizard Man - Water
HP 230 MP 4 STR 149 VIT 129 INT 77 MEN 131 AGI 136 DEX 111 LUK 48
Equip: Aqua, Balder Shield, Balder Chest
Kills: 17
Achievements: Murder Hobo

You got a brand new hammer, Aqua, from one of those damned Hawk Men. It's your element and you do pretty absurd damage with it. Your ability to wade in water helped in the West Gate battle, made traversing the small paths easier for Jay, who could not move in water. Your weapon is also the first unique gear piece to be obtained off of a fallen enemy, making you our first official Murder Hobo. Enjoy your achievement.

Gage - Knight - Fire
HP 209 MP 43 STR 145 VIT 117 INT 109 MEN 118 AGI 117 DEX 135 LUK 50
Equip: Fire Sword, Balder Shield, Balder Chest
Kills: 13
Achievements: Damsel In Distress, Stone of Shame

I auctioned a fire dragon off at Coritani and got you a shiny Fire sword. It is the fire element and has dragonslay. Not that it matters, but it's 1-handed, so you can equip a shield that you will never use to block. I haven't seen you block an attack in a while.Your levels are now being supplemented with Dragoon levels, because I figure you're not catching up in HP and might as well do some sort of respectable damage. One good thing came out of all of this: you killed the enemy leader at Brigantes West Gate with throw stone, giving you the achievement: Stone of Shame. This is a good thing.

Velika - Witch - Earth
HP 187 MP 85 STR 110 VIT 107 INT 131 MEN 136 AGI 131 DEX 139 LUK 50
Equip: Gemini Crossbow, Mind Ring
Spells: Charm, Jump, HealRain
Kills: 3
Achievements: Dragon Charmer

The other crappy hawk guy dropped a Gemini crossbow, giving you some extra kick behind your ranged attacks. You managed to kill a couple of people with it too. It's always funny when I decide to just have you outright punk a dude instead of trying to charm them or heal someone. I need to put some more levels of Siren into you, because your MP is not enough.  Logan has to Charge you in order for you to cast consecutive heal rains. As far as healing goes; it's better than nothing. I wish it could get bigger than 2 panel range, but I'll take what I can get. The amount you heal isn't much of an emergency measure as much as it is a way to keep everyone topped off if they've been hit by a spell or a ranged attack.

Dylan - Terror Knight - Wind
HP 221 MP 36 STR 137 VIT 132 INT 103 MEN 132 AGI 129 DEX 132 LUK 50
Equip: Dragon Sword, Balder Chest
Kills: 31

Don't ask how, but I managed to train up a recruited dragon into a Tiamat and sold it at auction for the powerful 2handed DRAGON sword. It's not THAT powerful, but it has dragonslay. I figured it'd be a better weapon for me until I find an axe that has my element, I don't think there is one though.

Here be dragons, in fact all we're fighting are dragons. Yes, I am including the Lizard Men in this, because they count as dragons. You'll notice I do a lot of save/loading here, because I was attempting to recruit some of the dragons. Gameplay note: Denim has an ability called "Recruit", which allows him to convince an enemy non-leader unit to join him. Units who are recruited switch sides and act as guests until the battle is over, then they can be hired officially. Recruiting is useful when you want a certain class, high attribute character, or that character has an item you want. Each character has a loyalty score, going to the unit's stat screen and highlighting the name will display that character saying something, which hints at their loyalty. Lower loyalty units are easier to recruit. In our case, I wanted high level dragons to auction at certain locations for special gear.

Anyway, we faced off against the dragons and most of the non-existent difficulty came from trying to keep the large dragons alive so Denim would recruit them. The Lizard Men were packing swords and some bows, which made things finicky, but we worked with it.

Battle 2 - Brigantes West Gate

You'll notice that I had 2 options for battle locations: some encounters consist of multiple locations, but in this game there aren't a whole lot of choices. I picked the West Gate because one of the enemies has an Aqua Hammer, which will be useful for Brian. I think this battle is my least favorite and most difficult fight so far, everything is in the enemy's favor:

West Gate consists of a high castle wall, a stepped area below it, and a huge lake between that and the starting area. On top of that, the areas where the enemy will be are juuuust out of range for our casters to hit very many of them at once. There are only 2 ways to get across and they're both narrow pathways. We face 5 Hawk Men, 2 Archers, 2 Sirens, and a Cockatrice. All but one of the Eagle Men and Archers have greatbows and a crossbow. The 2 Sirens are capable of casting spells with huge AOEs. Everything is our biggest threat, the Hawk Men can fly, the Archers can move through water, and the Sirens' magic hits all targets automatically for decent damage. All enemies have a height advantage on us, but luckily they're not quite smart enough to use the height of the castle wall. No matter how we cut it, we were going to be taking the first strikes and do a lot of healing. Cockatrice took the award for biggest wrench though; its petrify ability has a chance to ....petrify the target. On this type of map getting petrified is a huge downside, the unit can't move so the pathway is obstructed and the only person who can cure is whomever is carrying the Clear Staff.

I spent all week pursuing various strategies from rushing the other side to baiting the enemy to our side. Thing after thing went wrong, sometimes our frontline tanks kept failing to evade or the enemy would get a far shot on one of our casters or the Cockatrice petrified someone in just the right place. Eventually I decided to hire Jeff and that made things easier. One thing the enemy will prioritize over anything is healing. Damage an enemy enough and they'll use an item or receive a healing spell, whereas we can chance it and attempt to outdamage them.

I had Dragon Squad take up the lower path while the rest of us went across the upper path. Fortune favored them and only an archer, siren, the cockatrice, and Leader Orgeu went down. Logan spent most of the battle using Charge to give Velika and Jeff enough MP to do their thing. Velika had to use healing rain a few times to keep our melee guys alive. Jeff's spells kept the enemy hurting long enough to let us make our way across. On the lower path, the siren went down first while the rest were slowly killed. Up top Jon and Sagar hopped across the panels and soaked some arrows. With Gage, the three managed to take down one Hawk Man while Logan, Jeff, and Velika kept the rest busy or healed.

After all was said and done, Orgeu was the last and we took our time ending his life. To make his defeat more humiliating, I had Gage throw a stone at him to shave off that last 20 HP. FUCK you, West Gate.

Battle 3 - inside Brigantes

The penultimate battle of this mission and it wasn't nearly as difficult as the previous one. There were some surprises, we faced our first Terror Knight, Zaebos was carrying a powerful sword, and there were 2 Wizards in range to hit most of us with their big spells. Some knights with crossbows were there and if not properly blocked, could kill our mages with ease. There was also an exorcist, but is single target heals were not enough to save them. Two Amazons with slenders were a potential problem, but the least of our worries.

The two wizards rushed and exploded some fires at our faces, but at their own peril - for they were close enough for our bow peoples to shoot them to death. I had Peter take up the head of the spear, the Knights predictably rushed him and Josh, unable to do any respectable damage. Most knights in the game are L aligned, so they receive the full effect of Terror. Josh killed not one, but two enemies in a single strike, giving us the edge.

The big obstacle was getting rid of the two Wizards before they could take more turns. Ashley knocked a huge chunk off of one wizard and Velika used her new Gemini crossbow to finish him off. The other one went down to some magic and bow attacks. Logan disabled the one possible threat to our flank and the knights went down easily to our melee guys. The last to go before Zaebos was the exorcist. Our mortal enemy went down in a flurry of sword and axe and bow attacks.

The Story So Far
On second thought, let's not; it is a silly place.

Upon taking Coritani Castle, Kachua has a huge tantrum and walks out on Denim, because he is selfish and doesn't consider her feelings over the whole welfare of the ENTIRE COUNTRY. Well shucks to her. Denim learns that Zaebos is going to execute some dudes at Brigantes, so he heads there to stop the knight who had no significance at all in the story up until now. On the way our guys destroy some dragons.

Oh, you know, just murdering your entire vanguard at the West Gate.

WITH THE BLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD! I just have my friends do it for me.

Denim makes a strategic decision and attacks the West Gate of Brigantes Castle, a massive gambit as the success of the mission was not great. Inside Brigantes, Denim confronts Zaebos who really really tries to get Denim to question his ideals, but the guy is a buffoon and quickly loses his head. The captives thank Denim for his efforts and Denim has a very important realization: the ones who are to blame for everything are not the people of Gargastan or Walsta, but the ones controlling them - namely the Duke and the Cardinal. Just then someone comes in telling everyone that Coritani has fallen. Way to go, Denim, you forgot to post GUARDS at the castle you just took. Anyway, Denim has to meet the Duke to kill him, so that's where we're going next!

...than travel down to Florida with you old people. You smell like baked beans and Avon!