Aside: Since I played through this part of the session before and after midnight, I'm splitting this part into two.
After a few warm-up battles, we enter deeper into the cavern...
At the end of the passage, I see Rokurou and the Swordbreaker at a forge...
Look at all the blades!
Laphicet's awed at the scrapped swords! They look finely crafted, but probably cast aside because they weren't strong enough to break Stormhowl...
Rokurou: "That's what happens when the legendary blacksmith Kurogane toils so hard he forgets to die."
Kurogane: "I gave up everything, thinking of nothing else but forging a sword that could surpass Stormhowl. And before I knew it..."
Rokurou: "...you had traded your humanity for daemonhood."
Kurogane: "I see I'm not the only one. So great was your grudge against your brother...the inheritor of Stormhowl."
Rokurou asks if Kurogane could forge him a new sword.
Kurogane tried, but he couldn't make a sword fit to fight Stormhowl.
Rokurou: "I'll put it like this: no matter how much you've failed across the centuries, you've never broken. I'm the same way. If anything can break Shigure and his God Blade, it's the bitterness I carry."
But Kurogane feels inspired by the match between Rokurou and Shigure! He decides to make a new sword!
Laphicet asks if brightstone's needed. Nope.
Rokurou "takes it from the top" and beheads Kurogane! It turns out Kurogane's armor could be good material for the sword!
Kurogane's like Alphonse...
Velvet: "You see something new every day." Yep.
They're going to remake the "imitation" Stormhowl! Rokurou refuses, deciding to keep that one "as a reminder" for his mistakes.
So Rokurou decides to dual wield, a secret passed down his family for generations!
If I make another FMA reference, please stop me.
Kurogane accepts that Rokurou wants two shortswords this time.
Kurogane lights his detached head on fire and forges! Laphicet's creeped out...
Everyone waits outside the workshop...
Eleanor doesn't understand Rokurou or Kurogane. His tale is for another story...
Velvet questions Eleanor's perception of daemons now. Eleanor sees Rokurou and Kurogane as "passionate."
Velvet is also passionate in her purpose "ever since [the Shepherd] used [her] brother as a sacrifice."
Eleanor waves her grudge off as "typical daemon nonsense!" If only you'd have seen what Velvet's seen...
Eleanor: "Yes, sometimes cold, painful decisions need to be made to protect the many...but they'd never stoop to human sacrifice." Oh my goodness... *smh*
Velvet: "Ask the precious Shepherd yourself. Ask him just what he did three years ago."
Eleanor's still on the fence with her loyalties...
Eizen tells us the Van Eltia's coming.
He also gives us more info on the legate Shigure: He's the Shepherd's personal bodyguard.
Eizen adds that to take care of him, he needs to be taken care of alone. But he's thinking practically knowing that Rokurou can't take him down alone, despite whatever he says.
Eizen decides to take Shigure out once "Rokurou creates an opening." Hoo boy...
Velvet still finds Rokurou useful for her revenge quest.
Eizen: "Rokurou's not really a guy to care about the big picture...he'll get over it. Legate or criminal, I'll knock down anything that stands in my way. And I'll use any means necessary."
Magilou had Bienfu recon ahead to look for the port. Velvet's pitying Bienfu.
Magilou considers Kurogane "a character," mentioning his sacrifice. He's that devoted...
Velvet's still on high alert with the word "sacrifice," calling it "necessary sacrifice."
Magilou's not at ease at how the result will end up.
Magilou also brings up an illuminating question: "If what you give is mere meat for a god's morbid lunch, could there be a more trivial sacrifice? But if the offering is one's own body and soul, even a single hair can be portentious."
Magilou: (to Velvet) "There's never a dull day hanging around with you."
Laphicet's still pondering over all the things that have happened since the Ravine...poor Laphicet...
Laphicet: "How do those two find it in themselves to go so far?"
Velvet says it's because they're daemons. I don't think that's the reason why.
Laphicet calls their passion "scary," but "admires" Kurogane's and Rokurou's determination. But, he doesn't have any goal like that yet. Velvet tells him that he will have something like that in time, but not to risk his life for it.
Velvet: (to Laphicet) "You deserve a normal life." What is "normal" in Velvet's view?
Velvet: "But never mind. Just the foolish ramblings of a daemon girl."
Bienfu alerts us that praetors are on the prowl! They're probably looking for us!
Velvet decides to face them, and orders Eleanor to join along.
Eizen warns Velvet that if Eleanor is gone, Laphicet becomes a daemon!
Velvet knows, but she wants all hands on deck!
Magilou trolls Velvet about Eleanor's fall from grace as "a noble, upstanding exorcist!"
Magilou: "How quickly one falls when entering Velvet's dark orbit."
Velvet: "Ask me if I care."
We save and return to the forge...
...but we can't go back in.
Now we have to fight the exorcists!
We traverse the tunnel, and all of the exorcist praetors now label Eleanor with the word "traitor."
All the Spear Orderlies have a power link. Are they malakhim?
We get them! Eleanor feels guilt at this point. She knows Velvet's "testing" her.
She duels the praetor!