Olberic and Primrose are the next banter partners, so they'll be rolling here. Primrose is my obvious choice for Cleric since she loves ElemAtk and Speed, two stats that complement a healer. H'aanit gets some utility and axe attacks as an Apothecary (not that she uses any of it, as her bow is so powerful that True Strike is always the easy choice for her), and Olberic is a Merchant because, hell, why not?
On the way back to today's dungeon, I meet some Snow Leopards. They're more powerful than Linde, but not as cool.
Music: The Trees Have Eyes
This forest is your standard forest dungeon. Winding paths, lots of scattered treasures, navigation is a bit of a chore. The treasures are underwhelming, even the purple chest here is only 15,000 leaves.
The Serpent can poison, the Mushroom can inflict sleep, and the Wanderweed has a multi-target ice spell. Nothing too scary.
These owls also exist, I guess.
I've got an empty slot, why not.
Eventually we get to a clearing that hints to an obvious boss battle.
Video: Master's Tall Tale
So, what is today's out-of-nowhere boss?
Oh, just a freaking dragon. Sure.
(I have heard the legends, and Master's tales, too--but to see one in the flesh...)
Dragons are a big freaking deal in Orsterra. They are not very common, and as you may expect they are powerful creatures.
This leads to a flashback...
...Four times now. And the tale getteth longer with each telling.
Is that so? Hmm. I suppose each time I remembere more of the thrilling details, eh?
Thou believest me not? And yet I really-weally did!
...'Tis not thy smell.
Ohhh? Art thou blushing? Doe I embarrasse th--oof!
Ur-hrm! If thou insistest. But listnen, my girl... Hunters fighteth many kinds of beasts--some so wonderous and astounding thou canst scarce imagine them.
Some will haunt thy dreams, some will maketh thee snorten with laughter whenever thou recallst them... But leten me telle thee this, H'aanit.
What is it, Master?
Music: For Master
Z'aanta, for all his faults, is the one person that has always been there for H'aanit. He's the one to teach her all she knows, including what not to do! Most importantly, he's the father figure she needed, the person who will always believe her stories, no matter what.
And she's about to have a wild one to tell.
For the first time, H'aanit has to face life without her master. She no longer has Z'aanta watching over her. This moment is when H'aanit comes into her own as a hunter, her true coming-of-age story.
Video: Boss - Dragon
Music: Decisive Battle II
And what better foe to prove herself against, than a fearsome dragon?
The dragon may very well be my favorite of the Chapter 3 Boss fights. It has semi-unique gimmicks and, most importantly, isn't yet another physical bruiser, though it's good at that too.
First off, it has two turns the entire fight. Also, it starts off with three of its weaknesses locked.
We uncover most of its weaknesses in the first round. It does carry a nasty bow weakness, but it's smart enough to keep it locked away. It's a nice compromise I feel, because otherwise a spear or especially a bow weakness screams, "Please Break Me!".
The Dragon's probably signature move is Swept Away, which temporarily removes a character from combat. They return in three turns or so, but they cannot participiate or gain BP while they're gone, and if the rest of your party is KOed before they return, it's still a Game Over.
Otherwise, the Dragon has a powerful attack and an even more powerful Rending Claw attack. Nasty stuff.
That said, the Dragon has a mere four shields, so even with just two weaknesses we break through them easily.
And just in time for Cyrus to rejoin the fracas!
After the first break, the Dragon unlocks its sword weakness, but also goes up to seven shields.
The Dragon breathes fire, and it's quite nasty to deal with. Reflective Veil or even an ElemDef buff help out here.
Or we can just heal. That works too.
Rending Claw is nasty, and I probably should've thrown some PhysDef buffs up with Merchant.
Anyway, breaking through those shields is a bit more difficult, but still easy.
And hey, I even use Cyrus's Hunter abilities!
The Dragon's shields are now a massive ten, but now all weaknesses are exposed, including that delicious bow weakness. And guess who has two Hunters with Rain of Arrows?
The final weakness, appropriately enough, is ice.
H'aanit with a PhysAtk buff and her bow hits 7.5k with a True Strike. We're starting to brush up to that damage limit, slowly but surely!
Olberic gets swept out next. The Dragon gets a boost mode where they can sweep away two characters, which is something you really want to avoid if at all possible.
I avoid it.
Music: The Trees Have Eyes
H'aanit's been told time and time again that she's a capable hunter near the level of her master, but she's never had to really prove it until now. If slaying a dragon doesn't prove you're a hunter worth their salt, I don't know what does!
But for now, H'aanit has bigger priorities...
Now to leave the forest and...
The monsters are gathering here... The dragon that ruled this forest hath been slain. They will not attacken us; not for a while yet.
Now that I have the herb, I can finally face Redeye...
https://polsy.org.uk/play/yt/?vurl=https%3A%2F%2Fyoutu.be%2FwOztZX1Gm_Y>Video: Alaic's True Weakness
Music: The Frostlands
Thou waited for me? Susanna only asked thee to showen us the way in.
Of course he can.
Anyway. I'm done tarrying. S'pose I'll go on ahead.
Seems Alaic has a weakness after all, and it's certainly not beasts...
We end up back in Stillsnow, with some banters to get through.
Music: Town Veiled in White
As a boy, I heard many a tale of dragons and the valiant knights who vanquished them. And yet I thought the age of dragons was long past. Never did I imagine I would set eyes upon such a beast.
Master sayeth he once huntede a dragon...if only the once.
Now that is a tale I would very much like to hear.
If that is thy wish. But knowest thou that Master's stories growen more fanciful with every telling.
Or burneth a company of knights with one breath. Or smasheth castle walls with a single fell blow...
They at least aren true, if little else of his tale is.
I see. Then you and he have accomplished the same mighty deed.
Yes. Though he hath many faults, I cannot denyen he is a great hunter.
That last line from H'aanit in particular sticks out for me. That dragon fight was the moment H'aanit was no longer H'aanit, Z'aanta's gifted apprentice, but instead became H'aanit, expert hunter. It must be liberating to achieve something to put you at equals with the one who trained you.
Otherwise, it's more Olberic appreciating the art of the hunt, as he does all styles of combat. Now, for a completely different topic...
...What art thou sniggering about, Primrose?
What!? Thou speakest nonsense. He treateth me as Susanna bade him. As a guest of her home.
Oh, trust me. I know men. The way he acted toward you... It wasn't anything like the way he acted toward the rest of us.
Oh bless, look at you blush. Tell me, H'aanit, what do you like in a man?
I, er...don't--that is, uhm...
That...may be the point, Primrose.
Some incredibly awkward banter put aside, let's deliver these herbs and get what we need to take on Redeye.
Here, give it to me. It needs to brew for a spell before it'll work right.
Music: Enveloped in Kindness
Thou knewest it was there?
Listen, dear. If you couldn't slay that dragon, you wouldn't have a cinder's hope in a blizzard of surviving an encounter with Redeye.
Thou art not a woman to coateth her words in sugar, art thou?
Never seen much point in it, my dear. Now, why don't you tell me about that dragon while we wait for the herb to brew...
... I was never much for talking. It was Master who taught me how to weave stories.
Surely he was not that bad...?
Trust me, dear. What grain of eloquence he now possesses was drummed into him by yours truly. I'd think twice before you tell him your tale. He might be jealous, to hear you speak so beautifully.
'Tis true that he doth not enjoy being shown up. In anything.
You be sure to quaff it down in one gulp the moment Redeye's foul curse strikes you.
Too soon for that. You can thank me once Z'aanta is back to his old self again.
Music: Town Veiled in White
This item may be useful in the inevitable fight against Redeye. I say "may" because it's just as likely you may not need to use it at all!
And with that, one last banter.
What is it, Alfyn?
Oh, nothin'. Just admirin' the compoundin' in this potion. The old lady knows how to brew 'em, that's for sure.
How dost thou judgen a medicine to be good or bad?
Oh, that's easy.
Because I'm makin' a point. The answer's in here. Get it? A good medicine has heart and soul. The heart and soul of the one who made it--and that old lady has oodles of both.
Uh... Yeah, not touching that one.
We've got what we came for. Now it's time to take our leave...
Video: The Journey Continues
I am. And thou, one of the Knights Ardante.
At your service. I bear word from Lady Eliza. It is about the fiend Redeye.
...She hath found it?
Then that is where I will goe. Thanke thee.
If you will excuse me, m'lady.
Marsalim, the capital city of the Sunlands. It'll be quite the journey from the snow-covered north to the barren south.
Fortunately, we have a small going-away party to bid us well on our next journey.
Music: H’aanit, the Hunter
My pleasure, dear. There's always room under this roof for my favorite granddaughter. The burden of family is no burden at all.
H'aanit, dear. For all your cleverness you are as naive as a babe in the woods.
But I will hold you up with my prattle no longer. Go in safety, my dear...
And so H'aanit leaves to vanquish the foe that defeated her master. Can she succeed where her master failed? Is H'aanit truly ready to become a master hunter herself...?
That's a story for another day. For now, we have three stories left to check in on, and as usual you're choosing what's next.
Until then, more Side Stories to follow as usual.