|Battle Before Dawn|
“Two assassins in the employ of the Black Fang move in. They've been set loose in the palace to murder the crown prince, Zephiel. Eliwood hurries to prevent them from fulfilling their contract.”
- This chapter is Fog of War.
- To unlock the gaiden chapter, have both Nino and Jaffar survive, have Nino recruited, and have her talk to Jaffar.
- Only 10 units allowed in hard mode
- Door Key - Knight
- Lockpick - Hero
- Elysian Whip - Steal from a Bishop in the southeastern area
- Earth Seal - Druid in the bottom left corner has it (Hector Hard Mode only)
- Boots - Leftmost Chest
- Brave Lance - Chest one square right of Boots chest
- Rescue Staff - Closest to Brave Lance Chest on the right side
- Delphi Shield - Rightmost Chest
In the chapter, Eliwood, Lyn, and Hector try to stop Black Fang assassins Jaffar and Nino from murdering Prince Zephiel under the orders of Nino's "mother" and boss, Sonia. However, Eliwood and company are too late and the goodness in Nino's heart prevents calamity, offering to sacrifice herself rather than her or Jaffar bring harm to Zephiel, since she feels they are sort-of kindred spirits due to their common desires to please their parents.
Jaffar is moved by Nino's innocence and his long suppressed emotions finally surface. He defies his orders to kill Nino and Zephiel, and tries to escape when he is caught by Ursula and Maxime and is forced to protect Nino. Jaffar then decides that since Nino is "worthy of living," that he must sacrifice himself in a last-stand so that she may escape. Nino, however, greatly cares for Jaffar (and harboring a crush on him, which is confirmed if they get an A level support) and refuses to leave him to his death, fighting a Black Fang monk in another part of the manse.
Nino and Jaffar are then rescued by the game's three protagonists, and after being recruited by the lord who leads the path, Nino convinces Jaffar to join their cause. If she is not ultimately killed in the mission, Ursula's fate is to die at the hands of Limstella, who steals her Quintessence.
This chapter can be very challenging for players who want to recruit both Jaffar and Nino, especially because of Fog of War. There are also four chests with valuable items that are quickly plundered by enemy thieves. The best course of action in this chapter is to take two thieves (if you have two), torches, archers, and strong units with very good movement. Both groups should have the following: an archer armed with a longbow (if you have them), a mounted unit, a unit with Door Keys and Chest Keys, and a healer. Send at least one of your lords through the east hall to recruit Nino. (Nino will almost always survive because all she has to fight is a monk).
In the west hall, have a lance user(s) plunge through the mercenaries and heroes that fill the hallway. Make sure a stronger mounted unit can reach Jaffar quickly to lend him support, and be sure your archer can reach the wall behind the chest room to take out the thief, assuming you do not have the Bolting tome obtained from the previous chapter.
In the east hall, there are axe and magic users, one of them armed with a Swordslayer. Be sure to be careful so you do not attack the Swordslayer one with a sword, and make sure that any of the three lords can reach Nino quickly. In addition, position your archer behind the chest room to pick off the thief. Should you have a mounted or aerial unit, have him/her rescue Nino to bring her to Jaffar.
Jaffar can hold his own when armed, but once his Killing Edge breaks, it is only a matter of time before he is killed by the endless onslaught of enemy units. The best thing to do is to use a unit with great movement (like a Cavalier or a Paladin) to rescue Jaffar and take him to a safe place where he and Nino can talk, which will trigger him joining the group in "Night of Farewells".
As far as chests go, send a unit with high mobility down both halls to intercept the thieves and then use two thieves of your own to steal the items. Another way to do this is to use an archer armed with a longbow snipe down the thieves from over the wall, or use the Bolting tome acquired in the previous chapter if it has any uses left.
However, the real challenge is surviving Ursula's Bolting tome. If your units get close enough (past the southernmost pillars), Ursula will most likely hit them with an overwhelming blast of thunder magic that almost always hits and kills, or at least causes serious wound to her target. Though only optional, the best way to kill Ursula is to use a thief with a torch (from a safe distance) to find her position, and then use Pent or another offensive unit with very high resistance to move in and kill her. Another good strategy is to send Canas down with a Luna to take care of her while she still has Bolting equipped, while also sending a couple guards down to deal with the units around Ursula.
Results of EventsEdit
The Battle Before Dawn sends several emotional and political ripples throughout the world of Elibe. Most importantly, Zephiel is made aware of the King's desire to end his life, which plants the seed of suspicion that finally drives him several years later to kill his father and claim the throne. Basically, this means that if Nino had not been so merciful or Eliwood and co. had not come to the rescue, then maybe none of the events in Fire Emblem: Binding Blade would have ever happened.
This also greatly helps Lyn, Hector, and Eliwood in their journey. Grateful that her son was saved, Queen Hellene drops her antagonistic attitude and reveals the location of the shrine of seals to Eliwood, giving them a Heaven Seal as well. Here the lords meet Bramimond and the seals on the legendary weapons of Elibe are broken, making it possible for mortals to access them once again. This also indirectly helps Roy on his journey years later.