The Strength to Carry On
With the three-nation treaty officially signed, Gawain intends to climb a mountain before leaving Dalmore, and the crew insist on joining him. As they trek through the mountain, Gawain explains he used to follow his father's training regimen of climbing this very mountain every day. Gawain descends into a familiar gorge and gets attacked by monsters just as he planned.
A three-nation alliance now exists between Feendrache, Wales, and Dalmore.
But relations among the new allies weren't always so rosy. In the past, Dalmore broke a prior alliance with Wales.
That betrayal stuck with Wales, making it difficult to broach a new alliance.
It wasn't until Gawain and the crew thwarted a scheme perpetrated by an unknown cabal and Pete, the commander of the Dalmore knights, that talks of a partnership could resume.
Gawain's efforts won back the trust Aglovale had lost in Dalmore.
Realizing they shared a common enemy, it was more important than ever for the three nations to set aside their differences and join together.
That is how the alliance between Feendrache, Wales, and Dalmore came to be.
Gawain: I have somewhere to go before I leave Dalmore. Do you mind if I have a little more time?
Vyrn: Ah, visiting your parents, right?
Vyrn: Gotcha, gotcha. It's hard to leave home. Take all the time you need to say what you have to say!
Gawain: Hmph. You're jumping to conclusions. I already stopped by their graves.
Vyrn: Oh? If not there, then where?
The crew members follow Gawain's gaze to a steep mountain in the distance. They can hardly believe their eyes.
Lyria: You're going to—
Gawain: Yes. It won't take that long. Please wait for me aboard the airship.
Vyrn: You seriously gonna climb that thing by yourself? What if something happens?
Gawain: You're jumping to conclusions again. I'll be—
Vyrn and Lyria: ...
Gawain: Fine. Tag along if you want, against my better judgment.
Lyria: Huff... Puff... Are we almost there, Gawain?
Gawain: Unfortunately we still have some distance to cover.
Vyrn: Well, can we rest for a bit? I'm not gonna last if I gotta carry Lyria the rest of the way up.
Gawain: You should've listened when I said to stay behind.
Choose: How are you not tired?
- How are you not tired?
- Give me a piggyback ride...
Gawain: I know this mountain like the back of my hand. It's nothing I can't handle.
Vyrn: Gee... So he's got a mountain of stamina too.Choose: Give me a piggyback ride...
Gawain: What! Pull yourself together, (Captain), and act like a captain should!
(Captain) grins at the agitated knight and says it was only a joke.Continue 1
Gawain thinks for a moment. He then squats down with his back facing Lyria and Vyrn.
Gawain: Get on.
Lyria: Oh, but—
Gawain: The sun will set if you keep dawdling, and I have no desire to tumble down a rocky mountain in the dark.
Vyrn: Hehe. Well, if you're offering!
After Lyria and Vyrn get comfortable on Gawain's back, (Captain) and Gawain continue up the trail.
Vyrn: Boy, you make mountain climbing look easy.
Gawain: A knight of Dalmore mustn't be defeated by the very terrain he's sworn to protect.
Vyrn: Hm, so are all the knights of Dalmore good at mountain climbing?
Gawain: Yes. Among the allied nations, no army can march through mountains like we can. Even then, I am by far the most experienced.
Vyrn: Yeah, you're pretty much the best all right.
Gawain: Don't flatter me. I had to work for it.
Vyrn: Hm, it's not like you to be all humble and stuff.
Gawain: Hmph... Being out here in the wilderness brings back memories.
Gawain: We all have to start somewhere, and at one time I was no different from the new recruits.
Gawain: After Father passed, Pete took over as knight commander. He kept in shape by participating in normal knight drills, and at first that was adequate.
Gawain: But he could never reach Father's standards. Even to my untrained eye I knew his combat proficiency and tactical competency were lacking.
Gawain: I soon understood why he'd never surpass Father: Pete's work ethic stopped as soon as he left the training grounds.
Gawain: Father was different though. On the few occasions I peeked into his journal, I saw his personal training regimen.
Gawain: Knight drills were already harsh, and apparently he trained even more before those drills.
Gawain: Wheeze... I'll never surpass Dad if I can't handle a mere mountain!
Gawain: Curse this body! I will not fail!
His father, Lot, devised his own regimen, and Gawain followed it in hopes of sharpening his physical and mental qualities as a knight.
It was so punishing that he almost felt like giving up halfway through, but he succeeded on willpower and guts.
However, there were consequences.
Florence: I know you want to get stronger, Gawain, but aren't you being too reckless?
Gawain: Nothing worthwhile comes without pain. My body will eventually get the message.
Morgause: You're following right in your father's footsteps.
Morgause: Once he latches onto something, he has to see it through—
Florence: H-hey! What's wrong!
Morgause: He passed out from overexertion. Let's get him to bed.
Florence: Ugh, he should try putting himself in our shoes for a change.
Gawain nods off into a deep sleep after receiving a dose of healing spells from his mother and sister.
In the morning, Gawain slips away for training before his worried family wakes up.
He stands at the base of the mountain and makes a vow.
Gawain: I yield to no one. Supreme might shall be mine.
Gawain: I shall become a knight who stands above my father's legacy!
Gawain: From that day forth I followed his regimen without fail until my body was thoroughly forged.
Vyrn: Wow, it's amazing how you stuck it out every single day.
Vyrn flips through a book containing Gawain's training regimen with a sort of awe.
Gawain: Hey! What are you doing with my journal!
Vyrn: You showed it to us while you were talkin', remember? I guess your mind was somewhere else.
Lyria: It looks like your training got tougher each day according to the journal. That's incredible.
Gawain: I had slumps as well, you know. Whenever my health failed due to burnout, I had to scale back for a while.
Vyrn: You're more of a go-getter than I thought. It's like setbacks don't actually set you back.
Gawain: My father often said, "Those who put in the work will have their day."
Gawain: Whenever those words ring true, I feel as if I'm getting closer to him...
Vyrn: That's deep stuff. You're pretty talkative today, Gawain.
Gawain: Hmph. I have thoughts and feelings too. Why couldn't you have stayed on the airship like I asked?
By the time Gawain finishes talking, he arrives at the edge of a gorge, which is partially concealed by a forest of trees.
Vyrn: Are we gonna be safe? This place gives me the creeps...
Gawain: Don't worry. It hasn't changed since I last came here.
Gawain: There was one flaw in my plan. Completing my father's training regimen only brought me up to his level, not above it.
Gawain: Then I found this place. I made it out alive, and I was reborn in every sense of the word.
With a hint of fondness, Gawain looks down at the gorge before carefully descending into it.
In an instant, the forest comes alive.
The trees shake violently as enraged monsters burst forth from their hideaways.
Monster: Urnk, urnk!
Vyrn: Yikes! What's with the stampede!
Lyria: Look out! They're heading straight for us!
Gawain: Heh... I see some familiar faces.
Gawain: Excuse me while I limber up. Stick to the high ground, and don't come down until I'm finished.
Vyrn: But those monsters look kinda deranged, and there's a whole lot of 'em...
Gawain: Yeah, that's why it's called training.
Gawain readies his weapon and welcomes the monsters' onslaught.
Where a Hero Was Forged
As a seasoned warrior, Gawain is unsatisfied by the lack of challenge posed by the monsters, but it wasn't always that way. He tells the crew a story from his youth, about the time he slipped while training atop a cliff and fell into a gorge. In addition to being horrifically injured, he also had to fight off vicious monsters to survive.
Monster: Urnk, urnk!
Gawain: Hraagh! Away with you!
Gawain: Sigh... That's it?
Gawain looks disappointed after defeating the monster ambush without breaking a sweat.
To the crew watching from a safe distance, the spectacle reinforces just how strong he's become.
Vyrn: Dang... He's a one-man wrecking ball.
Lyria: Um, Gawain? You said something about making it out of this place alive.
Lyria: What did you mean by that?
Gawain: It's a long story.
He cranes his neck upward at a tall cliff overlooking the gorge.
Gawain: I remember it was pouring that day.
Gawain: Fatigued from a full day's worth of training, I lost my footing and slipped off the cliff into this gorge.
Vyrn: Whoa... And you still walked away from it without a scratch, huh?
Gawain: Hah, after a fall like that?
Gawain: It's nothing short of a miracle that I was able to open my eyes again.
Gawain: I was in shambles. Broken bones, lacerations... Even bending a finger sent pain shooting through my body.
Gawain: Those monsters must've thought it was their lucky day. I was like a slab of fresh meat served up on a silver platter.
Gawain: This is no time to give in to the pain. Get up, Gawain! Move, damn it!
Gawain berates his body, and through sheer force of will, he manages to take a battle stance.
Gawain: If you're going to eat me, then come and eat me!
Gawain: If I don't win...
Gawain: (My life will have been for nothing.)
Gawain withstands the monsters' attacks, desperately waiting for the chance to counter.
Gawain: You can't kill me! I will survive!
Gawain: Haah! Take this!
Gawain: Huff... Huff...
Summoning forth all his energy, Gawain defeats the two monsters.
But just as he gets a taste of hope, a dreadful sound snatches it away.
Gawain: Haha... Hahaha!
Gawain: So be it. I'll go down swinging.
With more monsters coming out of the woodwork, Gawain's struggle to survive has only just begun.
Where a Hero Was Forged: Scene 2
A battered Gawain crawls home after fighting for days in the gorge, and his mother and sister chide him for his recklessness. Even so, he vows to return to the gorge for more training despite his injuries because he believes he has to risk his life in order to surpass his limitations.
After accidentally falling off a cliff, Gawain is battling for his life against hungry monsters.
Gawain: Don't look down on me!
Gawain: Huff... Huff...
Adrenaline had allowed him to fight without pain, but now that the monsters are subdued, he's no longer distracted from the impact of his injuries.
The frenetic battle has opened his wounds even further, and the trauma to his innards has only gotten worse.
He loses count of the days as he crawls through the gorge looking for a way out. He finally discovers a slope that he might be able to scale.
Gawain: Now for the hard part...
Gawain hears a shriek from above him. He grits his teeth when he sees a winged creature circling in the sky.
Gawain: Do I really look that tasty?
Gawain: Try and take bite out of me. In the end, I'll be the one feasting!
Gawain: Come on!
Gawain psyches himself up by hurling more insults at the flying creature.
It dives at him.
The door to Gawain's residence creaks open and a broken, disheveled man flops hard to the floor.
Florence: Who is it?
Florence: Gasp! Gawain!
Mother! Come quick!
Morgause: Oh, my poor child! What happened to you!
Morgause: I need to clean and dress these wounds! Help me, Florence!
For the first time in days, Gawain feels a calm warmth envelop his body, and he lets his consciousness drift away.
It only takes a day for Gawain to wake up.
His lips curl into a smirk when he sees that his entire body is bound in bandages.
Gawain: Haha... I look like a monster.
Florence: You have no right to be laughing right now.
Florence: Well? Are you going to tell me how you got these horrific injuries?
Gawain: I... fell. It was a big fall.
Gawain: It's the truth.
Morgause: That's enough, you two.
Florence: But, Mother—
Morgause: He doesn't want to talk about it, and you know how he gets when he's stubborn.
Morgause: But this time, whatever you're doing, it's too much. I want you to stop for me.
Morgause: You're a knight of Dalmore. Follow Pete's example and learn from him.
Morgause: For now, you just lie there until those wounds are healed.
As soon as his mother and sister are out of the room, Gawain lets out a deep sigh.
Gawain: (I don't enjoy worrying them, but I know one thing is clear.)
Gawain: (I need to fight with my life on the line. That's the fastest way to surpassing my limitations.)
Gawain, injuries and all, plans to return to the monster-infested gorge. In his mind, he sees this as the best path to attaining strength.
It doesn't matter how outlandish of a plan it may sound. Nothing will stop him from seeing it through.
Where a Hero Was Forged: Scene 3
Gawain concludes his gorge story by saying that the healing provided by his family had secretly imbued him with divine protection that allowed him to survive the harsh training in the gorge. As for why the monsters here are in such a frenzied state, Gawain says they're being affected by a nearby leyline, and he wants to secure it before the cabal finds it for their own evil purposes.
Gawain: I kept coming back here to gamble with my life.
Gawain: It wouldn't be farfetched to say that I'd lost my mind.
Gawain: But this gorge was responsible for much of my growth as a knight.
Vyrn: It musta been tough on your family though...
Lyria: They didn't say anything?
Gawain: No. One day they simply stopped bringing it up.
Gawain: Of course I knew they were still worried.
Gawain: But I had to get stronger at all costs. I didn't have time for their concern.
Gawain: And yet...
Memories of his impulsive youth causes Gawain to sheepishly smile. He runs his fingers along his chest.
Gawain: One time I took a particularly vicious hit from a monster. I thought my end had finally come.
Gawain: But when I saw how shallow the wound was, that's when I realized something.
Gawain: My mother and sister, without even knowing it, imbued me with a sort of divine protection when they were healing me.
Gawain: Ironically it was thanks to my family that I was able to charge into danger with reckless abandon.
Vyrn: So without that protection...
Gawain: I'd be long buried in the ground.
Gawain scans the area, wondering where the monsters might leap out from next.
Vyrn: What's the matter?
Gawain: I didn't come here to talk about my past.
Gawain: Back then all I focused on was getting stronger. I didn't care why the monsters were so strong here.
Gawain: I'm sure you can sense that the monsters in this area are different. Much more hostile.
Gawain: It's no doubt a side effect of the leylines.
Gawain: No one else in Dalmore knows about this place.
Gawain: So before anyone from the cabal uses this leyline for evil, I figured I should do something to keep it under wraps.
Vyrn: Well, you didn't have to do it all by yourself...
Gawain: Hmph. As I said before, no other knight in Dalmore compares to me.
I work faster alone—
Monster Horde: Groooar!
Gawain: But I feel generous today. There are more than enough foes to go around. Help me clear these monsters, and then let us find the leyline.
(Captain) and company enter the fray against the monsters so that they may pinpoint the location of the leyline in peace.
Where a Hero Was Forged: Scene 4
The crew defeats monsters inside a cave and find the leyline in its inner reaches. On the way back to Dalmore Castle to report the leyline's location, Gawain reiterates his commitment to stopping the cabal and asks the crew for their support. Gawain is heartened by their quick response, and he's happy knowing he has good friends.
Gawain: Back, you curs!
Vyrn: Geez, they just kept comin'. Can't believe you used this place as training grounds...
Gawain: Fighting at death's door teaches you to discard your dependencies. It has its advantages.
Lyria: I sense something strange inside that cave over there!
(Captain) feels it too—a disquieting melancholy that emanates from the hole. The captain nods, and they enter the cave.
Lyria: Gosh, it's big enough for monsters to call home—
Gawain: Lyria, stop! Don't take another step. A monster could attack at any moment. Stay behind me.
Vyrn: I got a bad feeling about this! Looks like there's a whole swarm of 'em up ahead.
A mass of creatures catch sight of the intruders and charge at them like an angry tidal wave.
Gawain: Hmph. How foolish. They didn't have to throw a welcome party on my account.
Gawain: Teach them a lesson, (Captain), until they can stand no more.
Choose: You got it.
- You got it.
(Captain) flashes a grin and charges into the monster horde with Gawain.
Gawain: Yaaah! Die!
Gawain: Phew... That was an exhilarating party.
Gawain puts down the last monster and returns (Captain)'s smile from earlier with one of his own.
Lyria: Is that the leyline?
Gawain: Sure seems like it.
Vyrn: Only one way to find out, right?
Gawain: Wait. Just knowing its location is fine. There's no need to wander too close to it.
Gawain: I'll let the archduke and Florence handle the rest.
Gawain: We'll seal the cave entrance so that no one else can get in.
With the leyline dilemma taken care of, they start their way back to Dalmore Castle.
Vyrn: That was a toughie, but at least we got to learn more about Gawain along the way.
Lyria: Being strong takes a lot of dedication and effort, doesn't it? I won't forget this lesson!
Vyrn: Yeah, but it was good communication that got the alliance with Feendrache and Wales done, remember?
Vyrn: And that's how Gawain got to make his comeback too. Dalmore must be sittin' pretty now.
Gawain: The old me probably would have deemed the union conference pointless.
Gawain: All I recognized was power. Power meant justice.
Gawain: But traveling with the crew proved my way of thinking wrong.
Gawain: Power without justice is ineffectual and should be discredited.
Gawain: I will honor the memory of my departed parents.
Gawain: With justice and power, Dalmore shall be restored to loftier heights.
The determined knight gazes at Dalmore Castle, which stands tall in the distance.
Gawain: I'm certain the cabal will resurface again in the near future.
Gawain: When that time comes, I shall call upon your aid. I hope you're with me on that.
Gawain bows. (Captain) responds with a hearty chest thump as if to say, "I got your back!"
Vyrn: Hehe, what are friends for! You don't even have to ask!
Gawain: Heh, friends...
Gawain: It's... nice to have friends.
(Captain) notices a slight skip in Gawain's step, and it brings a smile to the captain's face.
Whatever hardships arise, they will confront them directly and overcome them together.
But until those moments of danger seek to threaten them, their friendship will continue to grow stronger.