The Worst Fire Emblem Awakening Play Through Ever: Paralogues 1 and 2

The following post is part of my series “The Worst Fire Emblem Awakening Playthrough Ever”. Spoilers ahead for a six year old game.


Welcome back to the worst Fire Emblem Awakening play through ever. When we last left the Shepherds, we played through the most emotionally draining chapter of a video game this side of a UGF Pandas bowl game. In light of important storyline people dying, I’ve decided to take a break from the main story to play through two of the paralogue chapters. We’ll be playing paralogues 1 and 2, which range from terribly annoying (in the case of paralogue 1) to mind numbingly easy (in the case of paralogue 2).The goal here will primarily be to level units and supports, so I won’t be taking in most of my higher level units unless it’s for support building.

Paralogue 1: Sickle to Sword

Our chapter starts with Chrom being confronted by a young Pastafarian named Donnel. He’s begging for help to save his village, I think, though it’s hard to tell because he talks like Boomhauer. A brigand shows up and starts mocking Donnel, only to realize that Chrom is here and turns tail. Donnel introduces himself and explains that explains that his village has been attacked by bandits. He begs Chrom to save his mother and the rest of the village. Chrom, being noble but dumb, agrees.

We then shift focus to the brigand camp where their leader, Roddick, is receiving a warning from the aforementioned brigand who ran away from Chrom. Roddick hatches a plan to kidnap Chrom and ransom him, completely oblivious to Chrom’s plot armor. Roddick threatens Donnel’s mom who we never hear from again after this chapter.

Donnel, Chrom, and the Shepherds come up on the village under the cover of night. Chrom tells Donnel he should fight to grow stronger, which means we’re going to need someone(s) to drag him along through this level to be able to recruit him. Normally this would be a situation where Virion would come in handy, but he’s buried under Arena Ferox. So we’ll have to make due with Tharja and Christopher Robin as our ranged units, along with underleveled units like Stahl and Gaius. Chrom says more words, but none of them are important.

On the first turn, we use Gaius and Tharja to wear down a warrior before Donnel (paired up with Sully) gets the easy kill. Cordelia also picks up a kill, but most of this turn is spent getting units paired to set up for the next couple turns, as this will be slow going. Cordelia serves as our bait unit on turn two, but she does her job a little too well, getting a critical hit kill on the unit she baited out. Turn three results in even more good luck of the bad variety, with Gaius and Tharja getting a pair up kill, along with Stahl and his 5% critical hit chance critting a unit. Then on the enemy phase, Gaius gets BACK-TO-BACK critical unit kills because reasons. Fortunately, this issue doesn’t resurface on turn four, allowing Donnel to get another easy cleanup kill following Gaius tanking damage. Cordelia and Libra are running around picking up item spaces for support points while an enemy thief is trying to run away with a Killer Lance that I’ll totally be stealing from them. Donnel finally gets his level up on the enemy phase of turn five, taking his first damage in the process.

As we go into the second half of the map, Tharja and Gaius continue killing everything in their path, managing to pin an archer into a corner in the process, giving Donnel an easy kill. Cordelia and Libra team up with Christopher and Stahl to sweep the rest of the map. Chrom was also there because he has to be.

We end the level with Donnel excited that the bandits are defeated. Chrom congratulates him then Donnel announces his mother that he’s off to be all that he can be in the army. Chrom accepts the offer, realizing that Donnel will one day grow into a beautiful butterfly, capable of passing down massive growth rates to a child.

Paralogue 2: Sickle to Sword

Before this chapter, I did two rounds of reeking box battles so Donnel could hold his own here. Hence bringing him. That said, he’s still woefully underleveled and it almost went very badly.

At the start of the level, a random merchant is treating a soldier when Chrom and company wander upon him. It appears bandits are attacking Ylissean refugees fleeting to Ferox, as well as merchants travelling the road. Frederick insists that the honor of capitalism must be protected at all costs, lest people starve. Chrom agrees and we’re off to pick our units.

After selecting units, we’re greeted by twins. Their names are Vincent and Victor and I’m not sure if they’re actual twins or the adult film kind of twins, because they’re calling each other darling. Vincent and Victor are intent on pillaging the village. Vincent runs off so that Victor can command the bandit horde in their saking of the hamlet. Said hamlet is protected by an allied unit named Anna who appears to be a promoted unit. That can’t be good for the bandits.

I’ve brought a lot of fliers to this level for sake of leveling up, and we immediately get to work on that, with quick first turn kills coming from Cordelia and Maribelle. That said, my foolish ass had Donnel bum rush a unit, not quite getting the kill, and nearly died on the follow up turn. That’s enough of that for one day. Turns two through four mostly involved Sumia, Tharja, and Maribelle killing everyone at the top and right of the map that Anna doesn’t, however I lost internet and was waiting on my computer to reboot, so I didn’t take notes like a fool.

But turn five, Chrom finally makes his way up to Anna, mistakenly asking if she’s hurt before realizing (per his dialogue) that Anna is fine. In reality, Anna is living on 8 out of 35 HP, so she’s definitely not in the best shape. Chrom offers his assistance, which Anna accepts. Maribelle visits our concerned villagers, where they give her a Physic wand to heal Anna. This would have worked much better before Maribelle reclassed. Once we’re down to nothing but enemy units on the most southern area of the map, Victor and friends start to advance, only to meet the pointy end of Cordelia’s lance and Libra’s axe. My wife recently came to me after flipping through the Awakening artbook and asked why so many of the female units looked whorish. For examples, she used Aversa — which, yeah, I get that one — and Cordelia. The most virtuous female character in the game (arguably) — Cordelia. I laughed. A lot. I also let her get the final kill here out of principle.

Our anonymous merchant thanks Chrom and company, while Anna also passes along her thanks. She refers to herself as the Secret Seller and promises to give Chrom a discount the next time they meet, ending our chapter.

Endof Level Recap

There was a bit more leveling up in these two chapters than I expected. Add in the couple of reeking box levels for Donnel — as well as the collateral experience other units gained — and the squad as a whole is in a good place for chapter 10 when we get back to the main story.

Units

  • Vaike – Level 14 Fighter
  • Ricken – Level 13 Mage
  • Sumia – Level 13 Pegasus Knight
  • Cordelia – Level 12 Pegasus Knight
  • Miriel – Level 11 Mage
  • Panne – Level 11 Taguel
  • Chrom – Level 11 Lord
  • Tharja – Level 11 Dark Mage
  • Sully – Level 11 Cavalier
  • Gregor – Level 10 Mercenary
  • Gaius – Level 10 Thief
  • Nowi – Level 9 Manakete
  • Kellam – Level 9 Knight
  • Christopher – Level 8 Tactician
  • Lon’qu – Level 6 Myrmidon
  • Maribelle – Level 6 Pegasus Knight
  • Stahl – Level 6 Cavalier
  • Lissa – Level 5 Pegasus Knight
  • Frederick – Level 4 Great Knight
  • Donnel – Level 4 Villager
  • Libra – Level 1 War Monk
  • Virion – Level 2 Pin Cushion

Supports

  • Tharja & Gaius: None to C to B to A
  • Stahl & Christopher: None to C
  • Cordelia & Libra: C to B to A
  • Cordelia & Gaius: None to C
  • Sully & Donnel: None to C

Class Changes

  • None this chapter.

Every Internet Recipe Ever the Third

Welcome back to my wonderful blog! I know it’s been a long time since I’ve penned a new recipe for the hungry, humble souls that frequent this space. I’m deeply sorry for that, as I know that there’s some of you out there who wait with bated breath for what I suggest that you eat next. In fact, there’s at least one reader who hasn’t eaten a single morsel since I posted my recipe for fairy bread.

“Hi! I do love your food recipes! They’ve changed my life in ways I don’t know words to express. Your food is so good I have’t eaten since your last food post. Is there any chance you could post a new recipe? I’m getting quite hungry.”

Jan I. from Urtehonly, TN

Jan, know that I’m here for you. And know that I won’t make you suffer through an unreasonably long story that has nothing to do with my recipe like most food bloggers before letting you get to today’s recipe, which is blackened chicken alfredo.

But first, a story.

Back in 1798, the fledgling United States of America faced a decision. Would the nation, along with its then 16 states, become a nation built to become a tea powerhouse? Or would it rely on getting its tea from non-American sources.

You may or may not be familiar with the USA’s history with tea. In 1773, a bunch of drunk guys from Boston — and yes, I know that’s redundant — decided they wanted to make the world’s largest pot of tea. Because if there’s one thing that America’s good at, it’s breaking Guinness World Records. Anyway, the Brits, who apparently thought they owned the USA at that point told the drunks that the record didn’t count because they didn’t use a regulation-sized tea kettle. So when the Redcoats knocked on our door to start the Revolutionary War, we came outside and rang the doorbell because freedom doesn’t knock, freedom rings. And the USA never did anything that embarrassed the nation on a global scale ever again.

Moving back into 1798, the USA looked a lot different than it does today. We hadn’t yet completed the Louisiana Purchase, Ohio hadn’t yet become something people make fun of, and our national BMI average was only slightly obese. But there was a debate over tea. This wasn’t a taxation issue like the Revolutionary War. This isn’t the same as the modern day coffee vs. tea vs. cocoa vs. bourbon debate. This wasn’t even about telling gossipy rumors about other people that you clearly shouldn’t say. Nope.

This is about New Orleans.

I know what you’re thinking. Tim, New Orleans wasn’t part of the United States in 1798. You know what they say though — once part of America, always part of America. So even though New Orleans wasn’t officially part of the USA in 1798, it was in spirit. And what did that American spirit smell like? Baseball? Apple pie? Sawdust? Human rights violations that people conveniently ignore because they happen to people whose skin color doesn’t match their own?

It was tea. Delicious, warm, tea. But New Orleans is not a city conducive to drinking warm liquids. While I’ve never been to New Orleans myself, I have been to Miami, which is basically a less cultured New Orleans. I was sweating the second I got off the plane — and the airport was air conditioned! So instead of making hot tea like many people drink, or even instead of making cold tea as the Bostonian patriots did, the citizens of New Orleans dried their tea and turned it into a seasoning for their food.

It wasn’t long before the people of New Orleans realized that grinding up tea leaves and using them as a way to give your meat a good ol’ rub didn’t make the meat taste any better. Eventually, they replaced tea with spices of the land, such as paprika and onion powder, spices of the air, such as smoked paprika and smoked onion powder, and spices of the sea, such as sea salt and sea vinegar. And thus the great tradition of blackened seasoning was born.

But Tim — blackened seasoning isn’t black — you say, incredulously.

And you’re right, dear reader. I’ll have you know that Jan is getting hungry, so I really wish you wouldn’t take up all this time with silly statements that cause me to go off on tangents, thus preventing her from getting food. Yet here we are.

It’s called blackened seasoning because of what happens to the spices after you cook them, typically on a grill or in a frying pan. Blackened seasoning is typically made from a blend of spices that causes your eyes to undergo an illusory transformation when you add heat to them. While the spices don’t actually change colors themselves — that would just be ridiculous — your eyes will see the spices in a different light, much like humans think that chameleons actually change color and blend into their surroundings. They haven’t changed colors. We’ve just stopped caring about them.

Now that we’ve got all that out of the way, let’s get on to making our blackened chicken alfredo. We’re going to do this from scratch, just like the citizens of New Orleans would have in 1798.

The Blackened Seasoning

To make the blackened seasoning, just follow these simple steps:

  • Drive to your local grocery store
  • Walk down the spice aisle
  • Locate a suitable brand of blackened seasoning — remember, expensive brands are better because they cost more
  • Grab enough blackened seasoning containers to total somewhere between 12 and 16 ounces
  • Pay for your spices
  • Drive home
  • Empty your store-bought blackened seasoning into an empty, sterilized, artisan mason jar
  • Add a ring and seal to close the jar airtight
  • Cut an 8 to 12-inch strand of ribbon of the color of your choosing1Except black. It’s blackened seasoning, not a funeral, Melissa. and tie a bow around the jar near the lid
  • Locate one of your pre-made mason jar labeling cards that you have laying around the house
  • Use a black permanent marker to give your spice jar an artsy name

The Chicken

We haven’t talked much about meat on this blog and for good reason. People have a lot of opinions about meat. Some people think it’s only eaten by the uncivilized and brutish. Others think the only good animal is one that you can cover in barbecue sauce. Still others just want everyone else to shut up and let them eat their food in peace.

Look. I understand that there’s a major environmental impact that eating meat has. And part of me doesn’t like eating meat for that reason. But there’s another part of me that really fucking likes adobo chicken, bacon, and a properly cooked steak2Rule #2 of the internet: Always refer to how you like your steak as ‘properly cooked’, but don’t share what properly cooked means. No matter how you like your steak, you will piss someone off.. So, as with most things in life, perhaps moderation would be good here.

So about cooking that chicken. You’ll need the following ingredients:

  • Your blackened seasoning from the above step
  • 1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2-3 tablespoons of butter

Coat your chicken very generously in the blackened seasoning. You should be able to slap the chicken breast, have enough blackened seasoning fall off that it coats your dog that’s sitting on the floor, and still not be able to see the chicken underneath. I’m serious.

Melt your butter in a large, heavy, ripping hot skillet on high heat. Please note that you will set off every smoke detector in your house, apartment, condo, or local park making this chicken. This is the “love” everyone talks about that they add to their food. Or it might be panic sweat. I can’t really taste the difference.

Put the chicken in the pan and cook for approximately 5 minutes on each side or until the chicken reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Don’t try to be a hero and cook your chicken medium rare. That’s actually an obscure Italian cooking style called pollo con salmonella. If you’re not Italian, it’s against the Geneva Convention for you to make it. If you are Italian, stop showing off and just make the chicken the way I asked you to.

The Alfredo Noodles and Sauce

The Italians I mentioned in the last paragraph have already stopped listening to me and started making their own noodles and sauce. For the rest of us — and by the rest of us, I mean people who don’t have all day to cook — the key to making both your sauce and your pasta homemade while still having time to live your life is resourcefulness. Everyone has that one neighbor who leaves an apple pie out on their window ledge to cool. I’ve seen it in cartoons, so it must be true. Anyway, wait until they leave a freshly cooked pot of pasta on their window, then snatch it for your dish. Radiatori cooked al dente is preferred, but window scavengers can’t be choosers.

As for your alfredo sauce, it really is quite a simple sauce to make, requiring only two ingredients. Here’s the thing: they’re both in the name!

  • Alfredo = al fredo = with Fred-o
  • Sauce = sauce

Based off of this I recommend going on Craiglist, Fiverr, or Tinder and finding some guy named Fred to make your alfredo sauce for you. It’s in their blood. That said, if you’re pressed for time, bringing a half cup of butter, a cup and a half of heavy whipping cream, a metric fuckton of garlic, some salt, some pepper, and a half metric fuckton of parmesan cheese should get you there too.

Once you have all the steps above completed, cut your chicken into small strips and serve over a heaping bowl full of your alfredo noodles and sauce.

When you post this beautiful dish on your social media — and I know you will — be sure to use my hashtag #IMadeBlackenedChickenAllByMyselfWithTheHelpOfOnlyThatTinyWebsiteTheMcCormickCorporationSomeChickensFredAndMyNeighborsWindowPasta so I see it3After publishing this post, it seems that Twitter has implemented a new feature that limits the length of hashtags, meaning you cannot tweet this hashtag, because it it too long. Or too awesome. Please share your displeasure with this policy on Twitter by using the hashtag #FuckOffWithYourHashtagLengthLimitsTwitter..

Love,
A. C. Tully


The actual recipes that are parodied in this post can be found by clicking on the links below. No slight to the recipes I’ve linked — they seem like quality food how-tos. They just served as a base for me to be comically stupid.

Blackened Chicken | Blackened Seasoning | Alfredo Sauce

My Pokemon Gym: Fairy

Welcome to the sixth iteration of the My Pokemon Gym series. If you’re new to this series, I take a Pokemon type then build out my team of six Pokemon of that type as if I were the gym leader. Here are the rules:

  1. I can’t use legendary/mythical Pokemon
  2. I can’t reuse Pokemon I’ve used in previous gyms in this series.
  3. Forms of the same Pokémon can be reused, provided they have different typing. For example, if I used Rattata in a Normal gym team, I could use Alolan Rattata in a Dark gym team.

Want to read my other My Pokemon Gym posts? Go read the Fighting, Ice, Psychic, Grass, and Dragon type posts when you’re done here. All images courtesy pokemondb.net unless otherwise stated.

Wigglytuff

One of the big things I’ve noticed battling online for Sun/Moon is that people love their Intimidate leads. While Fairy type doesn’t have a ton of physical attackers to truly be negatively effected by this, why not take advantage of it? Wigglytuff hits shockingly hard thanks to Competitive, potentially allowing me to take out an early threat unexpectedly. If I don’t get my Competitive boost, the giant balloon will pack Stealth Rock to help set up the rest of my team for success.

Ability: Competitive
Item: Life Orb
Moves: Stealth Rock, Shadow Ball, Flamethrower, Psychic

Ribombee

I do enjoy tricking a Choice item onto an unsuspecting player. Ribombee is intended to be my cleric, carrying Aromatherapy to help heal my team. That said, I’d like to be able to trap someone in while handling this. While I’ve typically used Ribombee as a Quiver Dance sweeper in the past, the cleric role suits this tiny bee nicely, particularly if I’m able to get a healing berry out of the Trick.

Ability: Sweet Veil
Item: Choice Specs
Moves: Trick, Aromatherapy, Infestation, Toxic

Primarina

While the third slot on my teams is typically reserved for my mega evolution entry on the team, that won’t be the case here, as Fairy is a type littered with Special Attackers. Primarina gets a nice priority move in Aqua Jet, along with some thumping Special Attacking power with Moonblast, Energy Ball, and Hyper Voice. Petaya Berry helps this along, as I chose to reserve my Z-Crystal for the next member of my team.

Ability: Liquid Voice
Item: Petaya Berry
Moves: Hyper Voice, Moonblast, Aqua Jet, Energy Ball

Sylveon

I’m going with back to back Pokemon whose ability changes the type of Normal type moves. Though Sylveon is a Special Attacker, Last Resort hits hard enough that it’ll dent pretty much anything, especially if used as Breakneck Blitz. My Fairy team doesn’t have many Ground moves at its disposal, so putting Hidden Power Ground on something makes sense. Sylveon gets it by default as I felt it’d be a straight upgrade over Dig.

Ability: Pixilate
Item: Normalium-Z
Moves: Last Resort, Hyper Beam, Shadow Ball, Hidden Power Ground

Whimsicott

The lone entry on my team to not use a Fairy type move is here to toy with other Pokemon. Worry Seed is a woefully underrated move, potentially taking away great abilities to replace them with the decidedly average Insomnia. Using Whimsicott as a Defogger is nothing new, but I like the idea of running it in tandem with Worry Seed to deal with Toxic Spike setters.

Ability: Prankster
Item: Kebia Berry
Moves: Toxic, Hurricane, Worry Seed, Defog

Mega Mawile

Oh hey. Fairy type does have a physical attacker. By the time Mega Mawile comes in, its purpose is to clean up whatever the Special Attackers can’t take out. Stockpile helps Mega Mawile’s survivability if it’s in a pinch, but the hope is that it doesn’t need to use it. Ideally, it comes in on a Steel type, hits a Power Up Punch or two then starts sweeping with Iron Head and Play Rough.

Ability: Huge Power (Intimidate prior to mega evolution)
Item: Mawilite
Moves: Power Up Punch, Iron Head, Play Rough, Stockpile

Snow in Tunisia

The following post is a short story where those who support me on Patreon were able to vote and choose what this short story would be about and/or have as a theme. Since their poll ended in a tie,4LInk might show for patrons only? Either way, know it was a tie. I’ll be writing both short stories over the next couple months. This short story’s theme is to write a short story with a hidden pattern. See if you can find the pattern(s) in the piece.

If you wish to support me on Patreon and get access to bonus content like exclusive blog posts, podcasts, and me signing pictures that aren’t of me, you can do so here.


Beep.

$1.49.

Beep.

$16.25. Credit: thirty-six cents.

Nikki scanned her groceries at the self-checkout, growing increasingly aware of the expanding line of people waiting for registers behind her. It was a moment of social awkwardness she dreaded. There she was, a cart full of food, though one that was easily within the self-checkout’s arbitrary limit, doing her best to scan and bag all of the items by herself as people waited for their turn behind her. Granted, she wasn’t the only one using a register. There was an elderly man arguing with a store attendant over the fact that the self-checkout wouldn’t take a check at one register, while the final register was in use by a middle-aged woman whose cart was so full it looked like she could prepare seven square meals a day and still not be back to the store for a month. Never mind the fact that there were at least four registers with human cashiers at them that people in line could go to. That didn’t stop Nikki from feeling like the holdup was her fault.

Your total is sixty-four dollars and eighty-one cents. Please select your payment method.

Nikki paid for her groceries, loaded her bags of food into her cart, and walked towards the parking lot, hearing the man who had been behind her in line start scanning his flowers as she left. She loaded her groceries into the saddlebags of her motorcycle, returned the cart to its corral, then turned right onto Marlborough Road to begin her trek home. Nearly immediately, Nikki was greeted with a red light at the intersection of Elena Park Avenue. She turned her head to the right and stared at the large hill in the center of Elena Park, its slope covered in lush green grass and sighed heavily. One January in her youth, Nikki had gone sledding with some friends when she built up a little too much speed, barrelling past the end of the park over the sidewalk, and into the busy street. She narrowly avoided getting struck by a bus, though her best friend, Cassie Lowe, wasn’t so lucky. Cassie had chased after Nikki, and though the bus avoided them both, a car driving in the next lane struck Cassie at full speed, killing her instantly.

It was a cruel joke that Nikki had to move back here. Her parents pulled her out of school for two weeks following Cassie’s death. Then her father got a job in Tampa, letting them leave this godforsaken hellhole and never look back. But then Nikki graduated from college and got a job for a telecommunications company handling their social media marketing. When it was announced her company’s office was closing, her choices were to lose her job or to take relocation to an office that just so happened to be mere miles from where her childhood best friend died.

Nikki floored the throttle as the light turned green, speeding off into the distance. She refused to be that asshole on a motorcycle who is a danger to themselves and everyone around them because they drive recklessly, weaving in and out of traffic with dangerous spacing just because their bike will fit. But she couldn’t help but speed away from the intersection of Marlborough Road and Elena Park Avenue every time she came to it.

After a few minutes, she arrived home at 100 Newton Lane, apartment 121. She had promised herself these living arrangments would only be temporary — that she could (and would) find something better than living with a random roommate she found on Craigslist. She traded out of a random roommate for one she liked living with, Keith. For a guy, Keith wasn’t too bad. She wouldn’t have gotten engaged to him if he were terrible. But the apartment was a world suck she never seemed to free herself from, no matter her best intentions. Keith didn’t see any harm in staying as it was.

She carried the groceries inside, stepping quietly so as not to wake Keith from his slumber. Keith would typically sleep through the day, as he worked overnight as a security guard, though this particular day he was awake much earlier than expected.

“Hey,” he said as Nikki entered through the front door, lugging the groceries to the kitchen.

“You’re up early,” replied Nikki as she dug through her bags, looking for perishable items first.

“Some guy came by while you were gone wanting to know if I had accepted Jesus into my heart as my lord and savior. I told him if he didn’t leave I’d help him meet Jesus in person.”

“Don’t be a dick, Keith.”

“There’s no need to be proselytizing in the middle of the afternoon on a Wednesday!” Keith exclaimed. “Besides, if I wanted to know more about religion, I’d go to a church myself.”

“How will you know which one is the right one to go to unless someone tells you about how their god is better than someone else’s god?” Nikki retorted sarcastically.

“A great question that I’m sure no one has ever considered.”

Keith walked into the kitchen and wrapped his arms around Nikki’s waist, kissing her neck as he pulled her in close.

“Did you bring me anything?” he cooed into her ear.

Nikki grabbed a bottle of bourbon from one of the bags and handed it to Keith, who eyed the label carefully.

“A hundred and forty-four proof? How drunk are you trying to get me?” he asked.

“Yes.”

“I mean, it wasn’t what I had in mind, but I’ll take it.”

“Keep it in your pants for one more day, cowboy,” Nikki said. “You work tonight, then you’re off for two weeks.”

“It’s just a shame you couldn’t be off the whole time.”

“What can I say? Everyone wants me.”

Nightfall came, and with it Keith left for work, leaving Nikki to sip at her own glass of booze as she watched Jeopardy! on television.

“Next we move on to Jeff. You were in second place — what did you come up with? You said Libya, no, I’m sorry. That’s wrong.”

“It’s Tunisia, you twats!” Nikki shouted at the television.

“And you wagered — $169. It’s enough to keep you out of last, but you likely won’t catch our reigning champion. That is, unless Elsie is wrong. Elsie what did you come up with? Morocco. No, I’m sorry.”

“TUNISIA!”

“The city of Carthage was located in the modern day country of Tunisia. You wagered — nothing. With your winnings today, you now have a total of $196,225.”

Nikki turned off the TV, scoffing as she pushed the button.

“I could beat her,” she mumbled to herself as she got up from the couch and made her way to the bedroom. Nikki pulled a suitcase out from the closet and tossed in on the bed, unzipping all the pockets and readying it for her trip with Keith. While their trip was only for the weekend and the rest of the vacation would be spent at home, packing a suitcase and going anywhere was still a big step.

Nikki was reminded of just how big when she unzipped a compartment on the front of the suitcase to find the remnants of a luggage tag stuffed inside. It was a reminder of the second scariest day of her life. The plane she was aboard, Delta flight 256, skidded off the runway in Amsterdam and came to a crashing halt against a barrier. Fortunately, no one was hurt seriously. A few passengers were shaken up, an elderly man broke his hand, and there were a few bruises for nearly everyone aboard. Still, had it not been for that crash, she never would have met Keith, who was stuck in Amsterdam Airport Schiphol because of the crash she had been involved in. Four hours in an airport bar meant that Nikki missed her ride into town, but she met her future fiancee in all the chaos.

She stuffed the fading sticker back down in the bag, then slowly packed three days worth of clothing inside for both her and Keith. Maybe she could change his mind on this trip, or even on his vacation in general. Maybe she could convince him to move away from everything she hated, all the bad memories, the constant reminders of her best friend dying at the intersection of Marlborough and Elana Park. Maybe he’d listen to going somewhere that wasn’t a plot of land adjacent to his parents’ family farm on route 289 in upstate New York. Maybe it would stop snowing in the apartment.

It was snowing in the apartment. Again.

It didn’t matter that it was summer. This was the sign that it was all about to end. It began with the snow violently leaving the ground, leaving the streets around Nikki their natural color. She’d live her life each day as that day would go, only for the snow falling around her — regardless of if she was indoors or out — to signal that the end was coming. It had always been this way.

—–     —–     —–     —–     —–

“Hey hun?” Ricky Lowe shouted.

“Yeah?”

“Can you come hold the ladder steady? I’m trying to get stuff out of the rafters of the garage.”

Mina Lowe entered the garage and braced the legs of the ladder while her husband climbed to the second highest step. As he moved the items above the exposed rafters, a fine, white dust fluttered down to the ground below.

“Jesus,” Mina said, “how much dust is up there?”

“You’d think it had snowed up here,” replied Ricky. “It’s pretty thick.”

“What’s up there? Do I need to have Hannah come out and help?”

“Nothing much. Some old two-by-fours, a few sheets of plywood, Christmas lights that probably don’t work, a broken rake, a couple sleds –”

“Sleds?”

“Yeah. Hannah’s and Cassie’s from when they were little.”

Ricky pulled down a pair of plastic sleds, one bright green, one baby blue, both covered in a covering of the dust.

“Remember how they named them?” Ricky said. “Who names a sled?”

“Yeah,” Mina replied. “Keith and Nikki, I think.”

“After some TV show, right?”

“Yeah, something they watched.”

“Do we really need them anymore? Hannah’s about to leave for college and Cassie –”

Mina cut him off.

“Throw them out,” she said.

“But Cassie’s getting married soon,” replied Ricky. “Maybe she’ll want it for her future kids.”

“Then we’ll buy her a new one. I don’t want to give her the sled she was on when she got hit by a car.”

Ricky examined the sled carefully, noticing its cracks and chips.

“You’re probably right,” he replied. “Is that the garbage truck?”

“It’s two houses down,” said Mina.

“Hold tight. I’ll take these out to the guy myself.”

The Worst Fire Emblem Awakening Play Through Ever: Chapter 9

The following post is part of my series “The Worst Fire Emblem Awakening Playthrough Ever”. Spoilers ahead for a six year old game.


Welcome back to the worst Fire Emblem Awakening play through ever. When we last left the Shepherds, our heroes adopted a teenage dragon who is totally of age, a bunch of pegasus knights got slaughtered, and Chrom still sucked at diplomacy. I’ve decided to do some swapping around of some of my pairings in my child unit plan, though we won’t see too much of that in this post. That’s because this post is going to be a beast to write despite being a single chapter.

That’s right. We’re playing through that chapter of Awakening. We’ve arrived to chapter 9. Hold on to your butts. Even without taking into account the reeking box grinding prior to this chapter, we’ve got a ton to talk about.

Chapter 9: Emmeryn

We begin by looking in on a meeting between Aversa, Gangrel, and a random Plegian soldier. Said soldier fucked up his scouting report, so Aversa offs him with a sword. This is disconcerting because we know from all her official art that Aversa’s a Dark Flier class, which means she doesn’t even know how to wield a sword. Gangrel admonishes her for killing so many of their own soldiers which — yeah, I kind of get if you’re trying to win a war. Gangrel has planted a trap of some kind, but that’s all we know as the scene ends.

We cut to an Ylissean spy arriving back to Chrom, Basilio, Flavia, and Christopher Robin to tell them that Chrom’s sister, Emmeryn, is scheduled to be executed tomorrow. Apparently Christopher can tell the future, and he’s got a plan to change it that he’s not terribly confident in. Flavia’s busy being the best role model in the early game when we cut away and go to Validar. He’s also talking about Emmeryn’s pending execution, which is clearly not a well-kept secret. Validar is apparently talking to someone named Grima, but Grima isn’t talking back. Pretty sure this is how we got introduced to Emperor Palpatine too. And no, I don’t care enough to look up if that’s right.

Suddenly, we get a terrifying shaky jumpcut to Christopher screaming as he wakes up from a dream. Lissa calms him down and tells him that it was time to wake up anyway, as Frederick says it’s time to begin their march.

We get yet another cut, this time to a Plegian executioner standing with Emmeryn atop a cliff with a very long fall. Beneath the cliff, Gangrel is giving a rousing speech about how an eye for an eye is a great way to make things even. Christopher shouts for Flavia WHO HURLS A HAND AXE UP THE FACE OF A GODDAMN CLIFF AND KILLS THE EXECUTIONER IN ONE SHOT. If Flavia was in The Avengers, Thanos would have never snapped. It’s now time to pick our units, which is great, because all of those cut scenes put the game over its animation budget.

After selecting our units, Chrom shouts how we should focus on taking out all of the soldiers first and worry about Gangrel later. This seems like a reasonable plan, as all of the soldiers are between us and Gangrel. Gangrel shouts about how his soldiers are going to do the killing then scurries off to his royal hopscotching duties so we can finally start the level for real.

Turn one is all about pairing up then getting in range to actually attack the Plegian army. We get a brief cutaway between turns showing us a Plegian girl named Tharja who is clearly a mage who is disgruntled with the reasons behind the army’s fight. Much like Gaius earlier, I’m betting we can convert her to our side5And considering GaiusxTharja is my headcanon relationship for both of them, there’s added amusement to me.. Much of the opposing army’s attacks are focusing on a random ally unit we have. We meet him at the end of turn one. His name is Libra and despite all of the confusion Chrom is about to have when they meet, this is clearly a bishounen dude. Libra is a war monk and he’s throwing around critical hits like it’s his job.

We advance the majority of our units on turn two, choosing to leave Vaike/Maribelle and Nowi/Kellam back for the inevitable reinforcements that will try to outflank us. Sure enough, following turn two for Libra, a Plegian general named Campari begins complaining about the lateness of a wyvern brigade, so they’re definitely coming. We get Libra to join our ranks on turn three, which is annoying as he decided to jaunt off in the opposite direction of Tharja, meaning the aforementioned wyverns might actually get here before I clear the map. As turn four starts, we’re in an awkward phase where I can’t really advance far enough to do significant damage to the enemy, but I’m close enough that I’d bait out more units than I want if I’m not careful. So we let Libra and Ricken do the baiting out of single units while we prep to have Sumia get Chrom in to convert Tharja to our side on turn five.

Sure enough, the start of turn five brings the wyvern brigade, which Nowi and company are well equipped to deal with6Though Maribelle is still low enough of a level as a pegasus knight where she’d be a liability fighting a wyvern rider, so she’s just here to be Vaike’s pair up support.. In recruiting Tharja, I’ve realized she’s just the millennial stereotype of “we’re all marching to death anyway” come to life in her recruitment scene. This is kind of weird, as in the rest of the story she’s manipulative and abusive, so this is oddly out of character for her. Meanwhile, Ricken and Libra continue to critical hit everything under the sun. I get this for Libra, as he comes equipped with a Killer Axe and its inherent 30% crit rate. But Ricken currently has a 8% crit chance and gets no bonus from his weapon. I’ve decided I’m going to reclass Ricken to become a Great Knight, as Luna is going to be a great skill to pair with Ricken’s need to overkill everything. Yes, this will require grinding, but it’s for the lulz.

Turn six is short and sweet. Tharja kills a random mage that showed up. Vaike cleans up the rest of the wyvern brigade. Then Ricken hits Campari, only for Panne to crit him to death on the follow up blow. Good lord, their kid is going to be hilariously broken. Chapter over. We’ve saved the day! Here comes a pegasus knight troop led by Phila to save Emmeryn.

Except that Aversa planned ahead and brought some Risen archers with her. Gangrel the Mad King cackles madly as the archers slaughter the pegasus knights, killing all of them including Phila. Gangrel demands that Chrom surrender and beg for his life, which he clearly isn’t going to do. So instead Gangrel has the archers train their bows on Emmeryn and threatens to kill her unless Chrom gives up the Fire Emblem7Roll credits. *ding*. Christopher and Chrom then debate what to do before the player has to choose whether or not Chrom should choose to sacrifice Emmeryn.

As a quick aside, there is ZERO chance Chrom would ever sacrifice Emmeryn. It’s just not in his character to do so. Likewise, there would be very little chance Christopher would choose not to sacrifice Emmeryn, as her death would mean retainin the Fire Emblem, preventing apolcalyptic outcomes. Fortunately for the player, Intelligent Systems made it easy for you, as no matter what you choose, the exact same fucking thing happens.

After making our choice, we get a ton of bickering between Gangrel and Chrom before Emmeryn tells everyone to please shut the hell up. Regardless of the choice you make, Chrom will offer up the Fire Emblem to Gangrel, only for Emmeryn to say she knows what she must do. She gives a rousing speech about the importance of peace, then commits suicide by walking off the edge of the cliff she’s standing on. We see Chrom go through a blue screen of death moment, as well as a brief shot of Lissa’s significantly more tear-inducing breakdown.

Christopher is stunned. Chrom is furious. Gangrel is — well, he’s here too. Chrom attempts to attack Gangrel, but is stopped by Basilio, who has managed to get the Shepherds an escape route from this battle. The chapter itself ends here, with Chrom devastated he can’t take his sister’s body away to bury it.

Endof Level Recap

Well. That’s draining. Here’s where we are at this point.

Units

  • Vaike – Level 14 Fighter
  • Ricken – Level 13 Mage
  • Miriel – Level 11 Mage
  • Sumia – Level 11 Pegasus Knight
  • Panne – Level 11 Taguel
  • Chrom – Level 10 Lord
  • Gregor – Level 10 Mercenary
  • Tharja – Level 10 Dark Mage
  • Sully – Level 9 Cavalier
  • Nowi – Level 9 Manakete
  • Kellam – Level 9 Knight
  • Christopher – Level 8 Tactician
  • Cordelia – Level 7 Pegasus Knight
  • Gaius – Level 6 Thief
  • Lon’qu – Level 6 Myrmidon
  • Stahl – Level 5 Cavalier
  • Frederick – Level 4 Great Knight
  • Maribelle – Level 3 Pegasus Knight
  • Lissa – Level 2 Pegasus Knight
  • Libra – Level 1 War Monk
  • Virion – Level 2 Guy Who Should Have Taken the Fall Instead of Emmeryn

Supports

  • Nowi & Kellam: C to B
  • Ricken & Panne: A to S
  • Kellam & Christopher: C to B
  • Cordelia & Libra: None to C

Class Changes

  • None this chapter.

 

That’s it for this installment of the series. I think I’m going to do a couple paralogue chapter and what not for the next post. We’ll see though.