“Following August's advice, Leif led his troops south of the main road. However, to get to Leonster through this route, the Liberation Army would have to make its way through the thick forests of Melfiye. Why this was called the "Dark Forest"... Why travelers avoided this region... Leif was about to find out soon enough...”
The Dark Forest is Chapter 16B of Fire Emblem: Thracia 776.
|The following part of this article contains strategy; therefore, it is subjective, and may not work for everyone.|
This chapter is both relatively easy and extremely rewarding due to all the valuable items the enemies are carrying. Be sure to bring Homer so that you can recruit Shannam later in the chapter; he is a weak fighter but very helpful for his Bargain skill. Also be sure to bring your best Thief as there are many items that can be obtained the easiest by stealing them. A build stat of 10 will allow you to steal almost everything on the map. Finally, bring Dean as his mobility and Dragonpike (if you got it in Chapter 14) are incredibly helpful for capturing those you can't steal from
The only enemies to fear on this map are the Dark Mages in and around the monastery in the center. Most have Rewarp staves and will teleport directly to your group. It is helpful to steal or capture a few of their staves, but otherwise they can be used for easy EXP. The boss and his Berserk Stave may prove problematic, but can be mitigated by sending Dean to immediately kill or capture him. If Tina's magic stat is high enough you can also steal it on the first turn with the Thief staff. Once he is dead, clear out the rest of the Dark Mages and leave a unit standing in front of the monastery if you want to prevent reinforcements. You can also recruit Miranda by having Leif wait on the monastery space (note that there will be no "visit" option, you have to select wait) and Sara can be recruited by waiting for her to warp near you and having Leif talk to her. Between her good stats, growths, and skills, she is very much worth recruiting and training.
Once the Dark Mages have been taken care of, you can take your time taking the enemies' items. None of them will attack before you enter their range, so you can afford to be careful and methodical. Nearly every enemy has something worth taking, but the items of particular note include:
- A second Pugi axe on a Berserker in the lower right (the only copy you can get)
- A Master Bow on the Warrior in the lower right
- A Sleep Sword on a Hero in the upper left
- A Moonlight Sword Manual on the Swordmaster in the upper right
- A Wind Sword on a Hero in the upper right
- A Master Sword on the female Hero in the upper right
There are also Silver and Killer weapons to grab if you can. Because their movement is impeded so much by the trees, Dean can capture most all of them with ease using Guerrilla tactics and his Dragon Lance. Stealing them is also very effective. Make sure not to kill Shannam, who is standing with the group in the upper left. He will still attack if you get within range and is fairly fragile, so try to engage him with someone weak.
The most obnoxious aspect of the chapter are the warp spaces scattered around the forest. They will instantly transport your unit to a specific spot near the entrance if you have a unit wait on them. More than likely they will not put your units in danger, but they can be incredibly annoying considering how long it takes to move through the trees. There are six in all and they can only be found through trial and error or looking at a map that specifies their locations.