Darkling Woods is Chapter 20 of Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones. It is the penultimate chapter.
Subjective: The following part of this article is based upon the editor's personal experiences and opinions, and therefore may not be applicable for all readers.
This chapter should not be too difficult if you trained your units properly. Due to mountains in the west blocking mounted units, all aerial units in your squad should head west (make sure there is not just one!), and all non-aerial units head north. While heading north, you will be barraged with several reinforcements until turn 29, so proceed while killing off the several monsters that come at you. Due to your unit's higher avoid ratings, they should not have troubles killing enemies, unless your characters split widely apart from each other.
Be careful when proceeding, as there is an Arch Mogall that possesses Shadowshot in the western part of the map. If possible, use units with high res to wear down the usage of them, or kill the Mogalls before they attack you with the Shadowshot.
However, in the west, it is a bit more risky. Make sure one of your aerial units has a Fili Shield so he/she can ward off any bow users that are potentially nearby. Also, make sure your aerial units stick together, since none of them can wield staves, and vulneraries only heal 10 HP. Aside from that, killing monsters should overall be relatively easy due to your units' high avoid ratings.
Once your two squadrons reach the rendezvous point east of the Black Temple, it is time to attack the bosses, Riev first. Attack him with falcoknights and or an anima user that has enough luck to cancel the critical rating, and yet can survive a shot or two at most. Since he has naturally low speed (not to mention Aura's high weight), he should collapse in, at most, two turns. Be aware that monsters might still attack your troops when fighting the bosses.
Moving on to Morva, do not use Myrrh to attack him, as her low HP can enable him to kill her in just one turn. Instead, use stronger, more durable units who can survive a shot or two from his attacks, like a Berserker or Great Knight. Be sure they are armed with a sacred weapon, like Garm or Vidofnir, to make the fight quicker and easier. Units who can use longbows are also preferable as Morva is a flying class and is thus weak to bows. Since at this point you will probably have a couple of Physic staves in your possession, you should have no problem healing without harm. After a few turns of healing your bulky attackers, he should die. All you need to do next, is to let Eirika or Ephraim seize the Gate.
If you do not want to fight Morva, you can, provided that you have a staff user with high-enough magic, use the Berserk to move him out of his place.
You can also use The purge and bolting tomes to kill Morva From across the map, allowing you to use the warp staff to seize way earlier than typically possible.
- Vulnerary (Maelduin to the north west)
- Antitoxin (Cyclops to the north)
- Antitoxin (Deathgoyle to the south west)
- Steel Sword (Wight to the north east)
- Lancereaver (Wight to the south)
- Axereaver (Wight to the south west)
- Killing Edge (Wight to the west)
- Swordslayer (Maelduin to the north west)
- Elixir (Maelduin to the north west)
- Elixir (Cyclops to the west)
- Steel Blade (Wight to the west)
- Spear (Wight to the west)
- Longbow (Wight to the north west)
- Two Cyclops from the cave in the top-central cave for three turns.
- Three Mogalls from the Black Temple once every two to three turns for four times.
- Three Gargoyles from the north-eastern cave for three turns.
- Six Deathgoyles from the south-western and north-eastern cave (in groups of 3 per cave) for four turns.
- Three Deathgoyles from the cave east of the Black Temple for three turns.
- Three Maelduins from the south-western cave for three turns (it alternates between the Deathgoyles who come from there)
- One Gwyllgi and four Elder Baels from the forest west of the Black Temple three times once every three turns.
- One Gwyllgi north and south of the Black Temple will also arrive.
- The Japanese version gives Riev significantly higher stats from his previous appearance, whereas the English version reused his stats from the previous chapter.