Music: Dark Caverns
The bandits are holed up in this cave.
This chest is a bit tricky to find, but it's worth it. I give it to Primrose since she's a bit fragile compared to Tressa and Olberic.
Brigands abound, of course.
They're weak to a lot of our stuff, and it helps we have all elements besides light and all weapons besides axes.
The vendor trash items get increasingly elaborate.
Also there's pitiful ratfolk here to get wiped easily.
Even got a hat trick of bonuses here for killing it so efficiently.
Otherwise, it's a pretty short jaunt to our final destination.
Music: Creeping Dread
H-he sure does! He's stronger than all of you put together! You won't stand a chance!
Ye hear that, mates? This hedge knight's the strongest blade in the realm!
Gwahahaha! If he thinks he can best all of us, he's more madman than knight!
This ain't a fairy tale, boy. Real knights don't piddle away their days in the company of swineherds.
If he's a knight from the stories, a damsel in distress might serve as better bait. Reckon we should go back for the mum?
S-stop it! You won't be laughing when Sir Berg is through with you!
Sir Berg! Now there's a frightenin' name! Look, me arm's all a'tremblin'!
Reckon the boy's got more courage than the lot of you -- an' more wits, to boot.
B-but, Boss. Ain't no way the hedge knight'll follow us here. 'Less he's mad an' all.
Aye. It ain't like it's his own son or nothin'. Why should he care?
Why, indeed? Things could get interestin' though, if he does show. Always had a soft spot for men with more courage than sense.
Like the boy here...
Ahahaha! You hear that, men? The boy says he's too good for banditry!
What is it, Boss?
Video: Gaston's Challenge
'Ey, look! It's the mighty Sir Berg, in the flesh!
He is mad! An' how'd he get in here, anyway!? Where are the lookouts?
All the other brigands step back in fear. I mean, this is Sir Berg we're talking about.
Hang me, but I ain't never seen no one do that afore...
Clearly no common hedge knight, are you?
Just as you are no common brigand.
Oho! You know the man, do you now?
So it is his blade.
Music: For Redemption
How do you know Erhardt, rogue...? Speak, or I'll slice your throat!
Hah! Ye've got a score to settle, is that it? I can see it in your eyes. They blazed like fire when you said his name.
But if you're lookin' to ask questions of me, my good sir...
Video: Boss - Gaston
Music: Decisive Battle II
First off, click the music link holy crap. Decisive Battle II is my favorite track in this game, and it pairs especially well with Olberic's lead-up.
First off, Hired Help lets us choose between a few different groups for a price. Each boost point adds an additional hit, the weapon/element depending on who's chosen.
Mercenaries use swords, and are quite weak, but they target all enemies so are great for wearing down foes weak to swords.
However, they also provide a party-wide PhysDef buff, a minimum of two turns with two more per boost point. This is pretty important.
Because Gaston hits like a truck, and his comrades are pretty hardy themselves.
Fortunately, they're weak to most of our offense, to the point where any character can chip away at their defenses.
As usual, our priority is to take out the smaller foes before we focus on the big guy.
Olberic gets the Lion Dance to make him hit harder.
Gaston's charge up is good and bad. It's good in that it only targets a single character...
...but it's bad in that it's a one shot, even with a defense buff.
Gaston sadly doesn't share the weaknesses of his helpers, so we can't really chip away at him while we take out the others.
The guy is very hardy, too. Our characters at max-boost average 500 damage for their best attacks.
Time to get paid.
Oh, Gaston also knows Level Slash, and it hurts. It's not even a charge move like Helgenish's target-all move, so it's harder to prepare for since you get no tells.
The lack of party-wide healing certainly makes things more difficult.
To make things worse, the grunts also can use target-all attacks.
Things get very dire, very quick.
For awhile, it's a matter of rezzing others while I hope for miracles to happen. This attack onslaught is brutal and will take a character down to low HP quickly, and that's if Mighty Blow isn't activated!
Desperate times call for desperate measures. Gotta stop the attacks somehow, time to break them!
That's two boss battles in a row that a key Tressa evasion saves me from a wipe.
Tressa is clutch.
Fortunately, as I use Charge to slow down the damage, I luck out and finish off both brigands, which gives me a lot of breathing room.
Now I can revive my party and focus on Gaston himself.
Bludgeon can inflict the unconscious status effect, which is a stun. It's pretty nasty.
Eventually, I exploit his knife weakness to break him...
...and use the opportunity to find his other weaknesses while I put the hurt on him. Turns out he's also weak to spears, staves, and ice!
A fully-boosted Olberic shouts his iconic line.
My blade...is UNBENDING!
Cross Strike is wonderful here. Olberic has the muscle to deal massive damage to every foe he meets.
Though the other characters aren't really that bad, either!
The battle is still no cakewalk, however, but it's certainly more manageable.
Plus now we're in a much better position to break him before he does anything particularly nasty.
We eventually wear him down to where victory is in reach...
And with one last break...
...Olberic has the honors of the finishing blow.
A Healing Grape Bunch heals everyone's HP.
Of course I only get that after beating the boss that would've been crazy handy in.
Music: Dark Caverns
Now I will have my answers. How do you know Erhardt?
We fought alongside each other is all. Served together in a band of mercenaries. He was already an old hand when I signed up. Helped me out, showed me the ropes.
A sellsword... And where is he now?
Damned if I know. When our group disbanded, we went our separate ways.
So here I am. Times are lean, and a man's got to make a living.
Aye, I could. But honest work takes more wits than the gods saw fit to bless me with.
Choice or no, you must answer for your crimes.
Aye, I know the score. But I've got my men to think about, too.
Easy now, men. The hedge knight has the right of it. I've got more than enough blood on my hands. Live by the sword, and... Well, you know how it goes. A man has to own up to what he's done.
You do me a kindness, hedge knight. An' so I'll do you one in return... I told you I didn't know where Erhardt is. An' I don't.
Erhardt taught us both how to use the sword back in the mercenary band. You should find him in Victors Hollow.
And this man will tell me where Erhardt is?
He might. Then again, he might not. Still, if you want to find him that much, I reckon it's worth tryin'.
I saw your eyes, hedge knight. They were dead, like a fish.
Dead? Have I truly been...?
Gaston's no ordinary brigand. Even if he fell to such villainry, there is an air of honor within him. A shame things had to turn out the way they did, though, as he's still a criminal and must atone for his crimes.
Round up the thieves, and lock them in the village gaol!
Should have known it, the way your eyes lit up at the mention of Erhardt's name...
Music: Olberic, the Warrior
This guy's voice reaction is perfect here. Just a deadpan "...what."
I'd heard he lived, but scarce believed it...until today.
Let's be on our way. We've kept your mother waiting long enough.
Music: Olberic, the Warrior
(I shall find Erhardt...so that I might find the reason I wield this blade. To find a man named Gustav. And, gods willing, Erhardt himself. Victors Hollow, the man said. That's where I must go.)
(The journey will be a long one, and I've no more reason to tarry.)
Olberic, inspired by the good hearts of his new comrades, throws his sword in with them. And as we leave...
Video: A Fond Farewell
You have shown me nothing but kindness. I am forever in your debt.
It is we who owe you, friend. Were the choice mine to make, you would stay with us forever. But it is your life to live.
We won't ever forget all you've done for us, sir.
The next time any dirty brigands come after us, we'll give 'em a good kicking in your name!
We're no knights, sir, but you've taught us well. We can protect our home, at the very least.
...Glad to hear it.
I understand. Tell the boy I am counting on him to grow strong, and to look after his dear mother.
Thank you, sir. I will.
No matter how far your journey takes you, you'll always have a home here.
I'll be even stronger! And then...! Then...maybe I could...!
And so Olberic takes the long road ahead to find the answers he searches for...
We're halfway done with the Chapter 1 story quests! We still have to recruit four more characters, so it's time to choose our next one.
Next time, Cobblestone and probably a few Side Stories sprinkled between here and our next destination.