Mycen: Well done, Alm. We’ll end today’s training here. Your swordsmanship has come a long way. I’ve always known you had talent.
Alm: You really think so? You’re not just saying that, are you, Grandfather?
Mycen: Either I’m getting old or you’re getting better—and we both know I’m not old.
Alm: Ha! Well, good. Then that means you’re ready to let me travel outside the village.
Mycen: Hmph. Don’t misconstrue my words, boy. The rule still stands.
Alm: But why?! I’m not a child anymore. You just said I can fend for myself! If I meet with any dangers, I’ll have my sword and my wits.
Mycen: Alm, that’s not what this is about.
Alm: Then what IS it about?
Alm: Look, I’ve heard from the others. I know the drought’s made Zofia a scary place. People are starving, and many have turned to thievery and plunder. Brigands loot villages for a mere sack of grain, and soon they’ll be at OUR door! And don’t think I haven’t heard what the Rigelian army has been up to. They’ve been crossing the border for years in violation of the Divine Accord. And with that sacred bond broken, now the Terrors have resurfaced as well…
Mycen: …All true.
Alm: Zofia is full of innocent people who are looking for help. Please, Grandfather. I want to make a difference in a world bigger than a handful of houses. I want to see all the amazing places you’ve told me about— that Celica told me about!
Mycen: Suppose you do set forth with your sword and your wits. So what?
Mycen: Will the grand story of your life be how you met the end of a brigand’s axe? Before you dream of changing the world, learn your damned place in it. And no more talk of leaving.
Alm: …What’s his problem?! Why teach me to use a sword if you’re not going to let me fight? Every day in this place is exactly the same as the next. I know I’m meant for more than this! But you have to let me find it!
Alm: Huh? What’s all the commotion? It’s coming from the gates. Hmm…
Woman: Well, if it isn’t Alm! You all finished with today’s training? I still remember when you were only THIS tall, and now look at you. Sir Mycen has certainly made a strong young man out of you. I say “Sir” Mycen, but the story is your grandfather was once a famous general. General Mycen! Ha! I always wondered why such a fellow would end up here. Then again, the woods around Ram have become dangerous as of late. Perhaps it’s for the best that we have him—and YOU—to keep us safe!
Young Woman: *sigh* What I wouldn’t give for some food. It’s been years since we’ve had a proper harvest. Can’t grow much without rain… Why has Mila forsaken us? What’s happened to the Earth Mother? She’s killing us by withholding her blessings. The Rigelian Empire will seize our lands and we’ll be too weak to resist… You’ve heard how well trained their soldiers are, haven’t you? We’ve never toiled or fought for a thing, and we’re about to pay for it…
Young Man: It’s good to know our plight has the nobility so grief-stricken. King Lima dances at the end of Chancellor Desaix’s puppet strings. The king would rather eat grapes and frolic in a seraglio than actually rule. It’s no wonder the kingdom’s being torn apart by rebellion after rebellion. I wish someone would come along and save us from ourselves already. …What’s that? The Mother Mila? Pah! Like I’d waste my prayers on a goddess as useless as her.
Tobin: Alm! Hey. This fellow’s here to see Sir Mycen. He was just about to tell us more.
Gray: Sorry, pal, but I still can’t trust a man in full armor. Keep one hand on your hilt while you talk to this guy, yeah?
Tobin: A knight—can you believe it? What’s he doing in OUR village? You’d have to practically ride off the edge of the map to find this place!
Kliff: He’s sure come a long way just to find a whole lot of nothing… Whatever he’s here for, I hope he hasn’t brought any trouble with him.
Faye: Alm! How was sword practice? Everything go okay? Sir Mycen is far too hard on you… I hope you don’t have any new bruises!
Speaking to Lukas
Lukas: Good day. You must be Sir Mycen’s grandson. Alm, was it? My name is Lukas. I fight for the Deliverance.
Alm: The “Deliverance”? What’s that? Aren’t you one of the Knights of Zofia? The king’s knights?
Lukas: Oh, I see. I suppose that means word hasn’t yet reached your village. In that case, please forgive me for heralding such dark news, but… King Lima IV is dead. He met his end some days ago at the hands of Chancellor Desaix.
Alm: What? You’re saying it was regicide?!
Lukas: I fear so. It seems Desaix sold Zofia to the Rigelian Empire along with his soul. No doubt they promised him lands. Perhaps even a title. Upon Lima’s death, the chancellor and the Rigelian army seized Zofia Castle and began to visit unspeakable injustices upon the king’s people. Sir Clive—of the Knights of Zofia you mentioned—would have none of it. He formed an army to free us from Rigel and named it the Deliverance. However, we are outmatched and fast losing this war. We need a hero’s aid. And so I have come to the home of one of Zofia’s greatest heroes: Sir Mycen.
Lukas: Do you see, Alm? Sir Clive would not have sent me were it not urgent. Will you take me to see your grandfather?
Alm: Y-yes, of course.
Gray: Good goblets… I knew Zofia was in hot water, but is this guy serious?
Tobin: So there’s going to be a war?
Kliff: There already is one, from the sound of things.
Faye: But that’s…that’s awful! If Sir Mycen rides off to war, what’ll happen to Alm?
Kliff: You got me.
Alm: Lukas! Were you able to speak with my grandfather? What did he say?
Lukas: He said no. Sir Mycen made it clear he has no intention of joining the Deliverance.
Alm: What? But he’s ridiculously strong! He could defeat some stuffy chancellor with his eyes closed! Why would he refuse when so many people are suffering?
Lukas: I cannot speak to Sir Mycen’s thinking, but it seems we misplaced our hopes. I’ll have to return to our hideout and bring Sir Clive the ill news. Perhaps Mycen has simply grown too old for the battlefield.
Lukas: It was good meeting you, Alm. I must be on my way. Thank you again for your assistance.
Alm: He’s not old… He’s tougher than men half his age!
Alm: Lukas, wait!
Lukas: Alm? What is it?
Alm: I’ll go. I’ll join the Deliverance.
Tobin: Alm, what the hell?! You can’t do that! …Wait. CAN he do that?
Gray: I’ll admit, you fight like a beast and they’d be lucky to have your sword, but this isn’t sparring with your gramps, Alm. You’re volunteering to go to war!
Alm: I know what it is. And if Grandfather won’t do it, then I’ll do it for him. Consider my sword as his.
Lukas: Alm, I understand how you feel, but—
Alm: Sir Mycen has been teaching me to use a blade since I was a boy. I’ve received tutelage in military tactics, medicine, weather, terrain… I know as much about war as any man who has never seen one can. Let me fight for you with my grandfather’s gifts. I’ll prove he’s no cowardly old man. He’s a warrior who trains warriors.
Lukas: Hmm… That might just work.
Alm: Huh? Then you mean…!
Kliff: Oh, come ON! You can’t be serious!
Lukas: Why not? Alm presents a good case. He has a hero’s blood in him. …And clearly a hero’s fire. His presence is sure to raise the troops’ morale. And for my part, I’m curious to see what a self-proclaimed warrior can do. Especially now that he’ll be doing it for the Deliverance.
Alm: Thank you, Lukas… You won’t regret this!
Gray: I’ve seen a lot of cake-taking in my day, but this REALLY takes the cake!
Faye: Alm, you should back out of this. It’s far too dangerous! If anything were to happen to you, I’d… I mean… Just don’t do it, okay?!
Alm: I’m sorry, Faye, but I’ve made up my mind. But…maybe all of you could come with me?
Faye: Er, what?
Kliff: Splendid idea. Maybe we could all get impaled on the same lance.
Alm: I’m just saying we could do it together. …Fighting, I mean. Not the lance. Grandfather trained all of us, right? Not just me. You already know how to use a sword and a bow. So what’s the problem?
Tobin: Alm, are you insane? We were sparring with wooden fences and tree trunks! They don’t hit back!
Gray: Oh, sod it all. I’m not as bright as I’d like to think I am, so, uh…count me in!
Tobin: Gray! Not you too?!
Gray: Me too, Tobi-poo. It’s better than waiting for Rigel to reach Ram and kill/enslave us. Might as well bring the fight to them.
Tobin: But you’re gonna— I mean, once they— …Ugggh!
Lukas: You have my thanks, Gray. And the Deliverance welcomes you. In the end, we need every able fighter we can get. There will be much to learn, but I can teach you a great deal in battle. And you’ll be given a proper wage, of course.
Tobin: Wait. You mean we get paid? As in, actual money?
Lukas: Of course. Our soldiers work hard and sacrifice much. We would be remiss not to offer compensation.
Tobin: I’ve got little brothers and sisters who could use that gold… Ma and Pa struggle to make ends meet, but if there’s a way to help… Hmm…
Alm: Tobin, you don’t have to go if you don’t want to. Why don’t you all take a little time to think about it? Let’s split up for now and meet back here later. I need to go thank my grandfather and say good-bye.
Lukas: Take all the time you need, Alm. You should pay your respects to Sir Mycen.
Young Man: I heard what the knight said, but it sounds like a load of horse plop to me. Everyone knows it’s Zofia’s fault that Rigel invaded in the first place. King Lima refused to help the Rigelian Empire during their famine, remember? And we all know the emperor didn’t take too kindly to THAT little slight. Such a shame. The kingdom and the empire had been getting along so well. The king may be dead, but his choices live on. Ain’t that always the way of it?
Woman: My word. Can you believe it? The king—murdered! What do you suppose happens now? He has no heirs, you know. Not anymore, I mean. They say Chancellor Desaix himself murdered all of ’em in cold blood! Anyway, hope this “Deliverance” knows who they’ll be delivering to that throne.
Man: Alm, is it true you’re leaving the village? You’ll be sorely missed. Just be careful, hear? The woods outside Ram are dangerous enough… but once you’re through them, you’ll hit Fleecer’s Forest. The place is crawling with brigands. No one gets through that wood alive…
Alm: Grandfather, I’m home! Do you have a minute? There’s something I need to speak with you about… …Grandfather? Hmm, where is he? Grandfather…? Grandfather!
Tobin: …Ah! There he is. Alm, over here!
Alm: Tobin! Does this mean you’re coming with us?
Tobin: Sure am! I could tell Ma and Pa were worried, but I think they’ll understand. Listen, everyone, try not to be amazed when I show Alm up on the battlefield.
Gray: You know they don’t pay extra for that, right, moneybags?
Lukas: There’s nothing wrong with fighting for coin. Many people do. We don’t have any rule stating one’s reasons must be noble. Now then, Alm. Were you able to say good-bye to your grandfather?
Alm: I tried, but…I couldn’t find him.
Lukas: Well, that IS vexing. I suppose we could tarry here a bit longer if you—
Alm: It’s all right. Let’s go.
Lukas: Oh? Are you certain?
Alm: I can write him a letter. Come on, we can’t wait forever.
Lukas: So be it. I’ll defer to your judgment.
Recruitment and Quests
Kliff: You know, I guess I don’t mind going along. The Deliverance is fighting all across Zofia, right? Well, I’ve always wanted to see the world, and now’s my chance. …All I have to do is not get killed. Easy, right?
(If you refuse)
Kliff: Fine. Have it your way. Not like I was itching to leave anyway.
(If you talk again)
Kliff: Huh? Now you want me to come with you after all? Make up your mind!
Faye: I’m coming too! I’m staying with you no matter what! End! Of! Discussion!
(If you refuse)
Faye: You…don’t want me? Oh. I…I see. Then I guess I’ll stay here and just be…sad…forever… But you’d better come back safe, you hear me?!
(If you talk again)
Faye: Oh! Yes? Does this mean I can come with you? Pleeeeeease?
Greedy Old Man: Ram Village used to be known across the kingdom for its magnificent wine, but alas, it’s been ages since anyone made a new batch. Valentia’s fanciest nobles would send orders for Ram wine from far and wide. If there are any bottles left, they’re like to be aged to perfection by now. A wine that mature would taste absolutely incredible! I’d give anything for one more glass before Mother Mila calls me home…
Greedy Old Man: What I wouldn’t give for a bottle— no, even just a GLASS of Ram wine!
(If you hand over Ram Wine)
Greedy Old Man: This aroma! Berry… Leather… Straw… This is Ram wine for true! Thank you. You’ve made an old man very happy this day, so you have. …Here. I was saving this to go with the wine, but I want you to have it.
(If you refuse)
Greedy Old Man: Oh, the callow rudeness of youth! You whippersnappers have no manners!
(After sub-quest is complete)
Greedy Old Man: As a little thank-you, let me share some news I heard. If you follow the left-hand wall in the Thieves’ Shrine, you’ll find a tunnel. Hidden back there is a treasure chest— but also check the jars around it! One of them contains a secret bauble I hid there when I was young. If it’s still there and you can find it, it’s all yours.
Greedy Old Man: Thank you again for bringing me that Ram wine.
Indignant Woman: I was ACCOSTED on the way back from the capital the other day! I ran from those brigands until my sides were ready to split. So undignified! And while I’m happy to be alive, those thugs stole everything I bought. Oh, I never should have gone at all! You MUST go teach those ruffians some manners. I’ll make it worth your while! They should really feel it, so make sure to give 20 of them a sound thrashing! That will teach them to mess with the likes of me. Hmph! They’re holed up in the awful Thieves’ Shrine. As if they’d be anywhere else!
Indignant Woman: Get going already! Those 20 brigands aren’t going to thrash themselves!
(After defeating 20 Brigands)
Indignant Woman: Ooo! You look like someone who has just made 20 brigands’ lives miserable. I feel so much better already. Who knew revenge was so great?! Well, I told you I would make it worth your while, so here you go.
(After sub-quest is complete)
Indignant Woman: I hope I can call on you again if MORE brigands decide to mug me.
Leaving Ram Village
Tobin: Alm, are you sure about this?
Alm: Am I sure about what?
Tobin: Not saying good-bye to your grandfather. My ma and pa have all my brothers and sisters to look after them. I mean, sure, they’ll miss me— or I hope they will, at any rate— but family will help them get by, you know? But all Sir Mycen has for kin is you, and all you have is him.
Alm: I know. But considering he’s never let me take one step outside the village, I doubt I could have talked him into letting me join an army. Not that it would have changed things either way—I HAVE to go. Not just to prove him as a teacher, but to prove myself to me.
Gray: Well, you’ve always wanted to put Ram behind you, right? This is your big chance! Your first adventure writ large! We’ll call it Alm’s Epoch! Or maybe… The Tale of Gray! …Plus That One Guy.
Alm: Heh. I don’t think so. Although I admit there might be a little something to what you’re saying. It’s almost as if I feel someone calling out to me.
Gray: …So you really have gone crazy then. Welp, it’s been nice knowin’ ya!
Alm: Heh. Look, I know how it sounds. But it’s the truth.
Tobin: Do you think it’s Celica?
Alm: What? Celica? Where the heck did THAT come from?
Tobin: Oh, please. You two were inseparable while she was here. You barely made any time for us!
Alm: I guess that’s true…
Alm: Maybe it is her. Celica, are you the one who’s been calling me? I know that you’re out there… I just don’t know where. But I can feel it. I hope this journey will bring us together again…