Chapter 1 - Departure for TruthEdit
Celica is awakened by the sound of a bell. This strikes him as odd, since he can't tell where the sound might have come from, but he doesn't let it bother him for long. Suri and Saria come in to give Celica his customary morning wake-up call, and he prepares to begin his day.
It's still before breakfast, so for the moment you're confined to Celica's mansion in Prea. Visit all the locations (Celica's room, maids' room, foyer, dining room, garden, cellar) to be introduced to Ekria, Haishera, and Marinia. Once you've seen and spoken to everyone, Ekria will tell you that breakfast is ready. The five of you settle down to eat, but you're soon interrupted by someone knocking at the front door. It turns out to be Revia and Refin, come to deliver a summons from the Maiden of Water. Revia is impatient to be on her way, but Celica (with considerable help from Ekria) manages to talk her into staying over for breakfast. Celica inquires about the summons; apparently something serious has happened, although the two soldiers have been out on maneuvers and aren't up on the latest news. Ekria mentions that a ship headed for the central region has recently vanished, and that the reliquary of the Church of Marsterria has been broken into and robbed - neither of which has anything to do with Rewinia. When the meal is finished, leave the mansion to go and have your audience with the Maiden.
Revia won't allow you to dawdle in town, so head to the castle. On your way in, you meet Duke Schauer, who greets Revia, then implies that he's not sure whether Revia's meant to be protecting Celica or the other way around. Sparks immediately fly between Refin, Celica, and the duke, and he ends up stalking off. Once he's gone, Celica asks who he was, and Refin tells him that he's the queen's cousin - and that he's very rich, and thus very influential. He also adds that Schauer was a suspected co-conspirator of the traitor Ranzov Kiernan, but Revia puts a stop to the gossip before anything more can be said. A little further into the castle, Celica's escorts stop to wait while he meets with the Maiden.
Celica and the Maiden waste no time in getting down to business; she asks him if he knows about the demon who was sealed away within Rewinia. Celica says that he's defeated demons before, and indicates Haishera's blade (to her annoyance); however, the Maiden tells him that he won't understand this demon's power until he's seen it. She's not ordering him to fight, however, merely to investigate the disappearance of some Rewinian soldiers at the Forbidden Grounds. This means nothing to Celica, but gets an immediate shocked reaction from Haishera; she tells him that everyone has heard of the demons sealed in the Forbidden Grounds. The Maiden asks if he knows the story of the Seven Elder Demons; he replies that it's a folktale about the seven daughters of one of the Old Gods. She says that while the story has passed into myth under the reign of the current pantheon, it is true nonetheless; when the Seven were free, the land itself was torn asunder during the conflict, creating the vast inland sea on whose shores Prea now sits. Returning to the matter at hand, she reiterates that the men sent to investigate one of the Forbidden Grounds have vanished; while it may be too late to do anything, she wants Celica to go and make certain. He agrees, saying that he had too much free time anyway. Their meeting comes to a close; she tells him that Revia will accompany him as a guide, with the finally ominous warning to kill the demon if he must.
Outside, Celica meets up with Revia and Refin again. Revia has no idea why she's chasing after fairy tales, but Refin says that the Forbidden Grounds are to the north - and that even during the recent war, Rewinia sent military resources to guard it. The three of you head outside, after which the soldiers bid you farewell for the time being.
You can poke around town if you want - the item shop, church, and magic shop are all open - but there's not much point at the moment, so head on back to your house. Ekria meets you at the door; a map has already been delivered detailing the location of the Forbidden Grounds. Celica tells her to make ready for an expedition. The maids get together and try to figure out whose turn it is to go with him, but he cuts them off, saying that he'll need all four at his side this time around - making all of them very happy. They briefly speculate about the possibility of burglars while they're gone, but Celica quickly puts a stop to talk of leaving Ekria behind to watch the house; they're up against a demon, and he may very well need her power.
Night falls; head back to your room, sleep, and - if you're so inclined - partake of your first H-scene of the game. Unless you spent a ridiculous amount of time grinding Saria's affection levels, Ekria, Marinia, and Suri will be your only options for partners at this point.
The next morning, all the preparations are ready for your journey. Chat with the maids around the house if you wish, then head outside to meet up with Revia. Lente Village to the north will be added to your map; before leaving, use the Look command a couple of times to pick up an extra CG of a girl in town, as well as a boost to Revia's affection level. With that done, head out of town, then up to Lente Village on the world map.
After some arguing with Revia over whether or not to use your authority to get free room and board, you'll get the option of checking into the local inn. Go in to get your rooms (and see Celica mistaken for a woman yet again). When you head upstairs, Haishera will comment that something seems strange - a powerful demon is supposed to be bound nearby, and yet there's been no sign of any sort of barrier. On the other hand, if the demon were free, the nearest village - Lente - would probably have noticed...
Spend the night, view another H-scene if you want, then head back to the common room the following morning. The maids are doing their part as temporary waitresses for the inn. Celica inquires about where the Forbidden Grounds are; the inn's manager comes in and says that the local commander's name is Ciruela, and all visitors need to go through her - but she hasn't come back from the Grounds yet. That said, the manager still tells you where they are, placing a third location on your world map. Once you're done talking people up inside, go out and head to the dungeon.
The Northeastern Forbidden GroundsEdit
At the entrance, you realize that there's still no sign of a barrier to keep things in - only one meant to keep outsiders away, hence the villagers' impression that the Grounds are only a legend. As you're about to head in, Marinia notices a number of footprints in the dust on the floor - they go in, but they don't come back out again.
You have six characters to build your party with right now, but since Saria is largely useless at this point in the game (except as a pack rat), you should bench her for the foreseeable future. Revia, Celica, and Marinia go in the front of the formation; Suri and Ekria go in the back. Once you have the party organized, head on inside.
1F - There isn't much to see in this entry cavern; there's a passage with a pit preventing your access, but you'll be back to check it out later. Head down the stairs in the northeast.
2F - Head south and west to the fork, then go north into the room with the four gargoyles. Examining the blue gargoyle will open the painfully obvious secret passage in the northern wall; follow it to a pair of chests containing three medium Recovery Waters and a Troll Ring. Return to the fork and go west. Just before you reach the stairs, Celica will stop to have Haishera read some ancient script on the walls: sealed within is Elteno the Black Flame, one of the Seven Elder Demons, who made war upon the gods and mankind. By controlling the power of fire, she made the earth to burn, the mountains to wither, and the rivers to boil - only by the power of the gods of heaven, sea, and wind was she contained. With that rather ominous warning of what you might be facing (if the prologue hadn't already spoiled it, of course), head down the stairs.
3F - Register your progress at the magic circle to the north, then charge yourself back up at the angel feather to the south, ignoring the locked door. As you enter the room to the west, you'll notice the smell of death - and further within, three empty suits of Rewinian amor. The armor's clasps and fasteners are still closed; the soldiers wearing them have simply vanished. Some of the metal is melted and fused, as if by great heat.
There's nothing down the little tunnels to the north and south, although examining the glowing walls gives you some speculation as to the identities of the three gods who sealed Elteno away. In the next room to the east is Rapshia's insect-familiar, busily violating Ciruela. It reacts menacingly as you approach; it's obviously been set to guard the area against pursuers, and engaging it will likely alert its master. Nonetheless, with a life at stake, Celica has no choice but to fight.
- BOSS: Weeping Knight
- The mantis-creature has some decently strong physical attacks, but nothing life-threatening if your health is topped off. It should go down after a couple of rounds of attacks and spells.
Rather than stick around and investigate after the monster's death, the crew takes Ciruela and brings her back to the relative safety of the Lente inn. A priestess of Elyun comes to examine her, and soon reports that while her physical injuries are minor, her mind has retreated in on itself as a defense mechanism. Only time will tell if she recovers, unless a way can be found to contact her spirit directly. Celica, of course, has such a method; although Revia balks at using it, she decides against waiting for Ekria to return from the dungeon. The "ceremony," as it were, doesn't take very long, and Celica quickly puts her to sleep and wipes her memory of the experience. Before going to bed himself, Celica stops to think; when he made contact with Ciruela's spirit, he felt a reaction like what he sometimes feels from Astraea - something dangerous.
Elsewhere, Rapshia senses something while resting at their campsite, commenting that it's sooner than he expected. He doesn't offer any details to Elteno, and she isn't interested in them in any case; she's impatient to be off carving out a new kingdom for the Seven. She tells Rapshia that he will break Lanjerie's seal next, to which he readily agrees; she warns him not to consider betraying them. He thinks to himself that a traitorous heart will commit betrayal one way or another, silently adding "Isn't that right, Celica?"
The next morning, the maids set about purifying Ciruela for her recovery. Ekria has returned from the Forbidden Grounds, having placed a new barrier which will keep most monsters from passing - though it's not as powerful as the old barrier, whose wards were damaged beyond repair. She adds that she found a passage leading still further into the dungeon, with another, unbroken barrier covering it; evidently Elteno wasn't the only being sealed up in there. If you're prepared to face the guardians, it may bear another look.
Head into the common room to meet Revia. A short while later, Ciruela makes her way in to join you. Once she gets over her initial shock at meeting both the White Dragon commander and the Godslayer in the same room, she tells them her story. However, her recollection is so frantic and jumbled that little useful information can be gained - all that is certain is that Elteno, one of the Seven, has been revived. Suddenly panicked, Ciruela asks about her escort; Celica coldly tells her that they're long dead and that amount of crying over them will bring them back. She returns to her room to continue resting, and Revia asks Celica to accompany her outside to get some fresh air. Before you leave, Haishera observes that Ciruela isn't telling you something - someone was there besides Elteno, and she either doesn't know or won't say who.
Outside the inn, Celica and Revia decide that they'd best go back to Prea and warn the Maiden of what's happened. The innkeeper agrees to keep Ciruela in her care until she's made a full recovery. As the party leaves Lente behind them, Rapshia senses that they're on the move. Elteno sneers at the scuttling little worshippers of the new gods, but the magician says that faith is simply how human beings manage to survive. Her reaction is somewhere between disgust and amusement, but she doesn't press the issue, leaving Rapshia to make the "preparations" he needs.