The Empire's Reach is Chapter 5 of Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones.
You can recruit Joshua (your first Myrmidon) and Natasha here. In the cutscene before the mission, you meet Saleh, a Sage searching for an indigo haired girl. He is actually looking for the Manakete Myrrh, both of whom will join you later. There is also an Arena, and you also meet some future characters when visiting the villages, like Amelia and Tethys, who both give you items. From Tethys, you receive a Dragonshield, and from Amelia, a Torch. You also get an Armorslayer and a Secret Book, and if you save all the villages from the bandits that pop up along the east side of the map, you also receive your first promotional item, a Guiding Ring.
- New characters: Natasha (Mend, Vulnerary), Joshua (Killing Edge)
- Enemy Joshua will not attack Natasha. (English version only; he will attack her in the Japanese version.)
- Boss: Saar L8 Knight w/ Javelin
- 4 Soldier L5 w/ Iron Lance
- 2 Soldier L6 w/ Iron Lance
- 4 Fighter L5 w/ Iron Axe
- 1 Fighter L4 w/ Iron Axe
- 2 Archer L5 w/ Iron Bow
- 1 Archer L4 w/ Iron Bow
- 1 Mercenary L6 w/ Iron Sword
- Turn 2: 2 Brigand from the southeast
- Turn 6: 2 Brigand from the east
- Turn 8: 2 Brigand from the northeast
- Dragonshield (village to the southeast)
- Armorslayer (village to the east)
- Secret Book (village to the northwest)
- Torch (village to the north)
- Guiding Ring (if all villages are visited)
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 is not particularly difficult to beat, unless you are trying to go to every village. It makes it a little harder, but not by that much. Send Franz up the left side if you have been training him, and Seth if you have not. They can easily dispatch the few units in your way. Many of the items will come in handy, save the Torch, but the Guiding Ring might make the last house worth it. Natasha may be difficult to keep alive, especially when she is going to recruit Joshua (who will notably not attack her), but she will prove to be one of the most useful units in the endgame and Creature Campaign (especially if promoted to a Bishop). Joshua is definitely worth recruiting, even if you do not intend to use him, he is incredibly dangerous as an enemy (especially with his Killing Edge, a very useful sword to have as well, for Eirika, Colm, or even Seth).
If you are not planning on using Arena Abuse, then this is a good chapter for Ross to gain experience if he has not promoted to a normal unit yet. There are Soldiers in this level, and thanks to their low stats and Weapon Triangle disadvantage (they are lance wielders), they are prime targets for leveling up Ross.
The Armorslayer picked up in one of the villages might be useful for the boss, if Eirika needs experience (and you are holding on to her Rapier), or if you want Joshua to catch up with your advanced units.
This chapter is a common target for Arena Abuse, as it is a prime place with everything necessary to continue at the arena indefinitely. By use of save states in different emulators, players can effectively "undo" any turns where a unit died or even just lost money. Although the over-use of an Arena without save-states is technically not "cheating", it is generally frowned upon (even though using it without cheats is not particularly different from using the Tower of Valni over and over again).