Chapter the Sixty First: Good Deeds and Horrible Beasts"I say, now that was a bit of an unexpected agreement. Fantastic!" Franklin was easy to please.
Virgil was finally starting to warm up to the old boy, too. "All the more adventure for us, right? We got to meet the ghost of Stringy Pete and now we'll be traveling to the Bangellian Deeps."
"Why, that's brilliant! You're absolutely right! I'm liking this group more and more..." At least Franklin's loyalty was obvious. As long as I continued venturing into the darkest, most horrible pits of Hell he would be all too happy to continue following along. He was a bit scrawny, but not too shabby with a gun, so the help was much appreciated.
Stringy Pete's treasure was only about half a day's journey away, so we arrived just before nightfall.
For whatever strange reason there were hostile apes roaming around nearby. I might've expected zombies or really any form of tortured undead to haunt the treasure site, but certainly not monkeys. I was well prepared to defend myself, however, so I did what I had to and continued onward.
The treasure seemed to be loosely buried in the center of a circle of rock. If the very idea of an ancient pirate's cursed, ill-gotten gains didn't already make me leery enough of the situation, there were bones scattered about near the burial site. I didn't know if they were the bones of past adventurers trying to take Stringy Pete's treasure from him or if Pete had found a grave in the middle of nowhere, desecrated it for fun, then buried his treasure where the body was. In the end it didn't really matter, I had to dig it up.
Looks like it's all here... complete with the damned silver boot buckles. Of all the bloody reasons to kill a man... really now... I gave the treasure to Sebastian to carry and tossed the buckles loosely on top. He shrugged and grabbed it from me, not really being bothered by the whole affair. I figured if any of us wouldn't mind carrying around a cursed chest it would be him. Sebastian didn't really mind much of anything.
Truly, he complained very little as we walked. Our path took us just past the ruins of Kree. We could see the crumbling walls on the horizon as we walked further towards the shore. It was a sad sight... Kree must have been quite magnificent back when it still stood. I regretted that the technology for pictures did not exist back in the Age of Legends. Then again, the Age of Legends was called such because of the triumph of magick, and Kree likely would not have been the same if it hadn't been for that. It was an interesting contradiction, at any rate.
The Williamson homestead was run-down and filthy. The quality of the land was poor and it showed signs of being overworked. Despite being so close to the eastern shores the plants were parched and dying. I saw a poor woman wandering around the homestead in a shabby, old dress. She didn't seem to pay me much mind as I approached. "Excuse me, madam. Might I ask who you are?"
She glanced over at my companions, forming an opinion of our little traveling group before answering. "My name is Molly Williamson, ma'am." She had a thick, country accent fairly well removed from the proper speech of city folk.
"A pleasure, Molly." I tried to sound polite despite the aversion I was beginning to feel. At the very least I brought good news. "What are you doing out here, anyway?"
I coughed uncomfortably. "Actually, that's uh... that's why I'm here..."
She arched a curious eyebrow in my direction. "What are you talking about?" At least she wasn't afraid of me... that would've only made things even more awkward.
"Er, I know this sounds strange, but..." It was difficult to find the words to describe just what an incredible oddity the whole thing was. I supposed, even if she didn't buy into my reasons, the woman would be more than happy to take the treasure off of Sebastian's hands. "Uh, you see... I made a bargain with Stringy Pete's ghost... he's been cursed to live in torture forever, and breaking that curse requires making up for his past wrongs. If I help him break that curse, then he will die and I can take his boat... which I need. So, the first thing he's asked me to do is to bring your family his hidden treasure... complete with the boot buckles he stole from your great grandfather, Jonas." Well if I'm not babbling like a fool...
I cleared my throat again, uncomfortably. "Yes, it is a bit unbelievable..."
She looked over at Sebastian, noticing more fully what he was carrying. "So... you brung me that old treasure and the buckles?"
I nodded, then motioned to Sebastian. "Yes." Sebastian walked forward and set the chest on the ground in front of her, the silver boot buckles tumbling unceremoniously to the ground. He wiped his hands clean and smiled at the woman before walking back to my side.
She shrugged, hopelessly confused but accepting all the same. "Well, thank you. I suppose old Stringy Pete ain't such a bad bugger after all. Good bye, madam..." I tried not to laugh. 'Ain't such a bad bugger after all', eh? He only killed your great grandfather for sport and terrorized countless others... but he's not so bad, now that he wants to stop being tortured himself, right?
"Good bye," I curtsied lightly and the six of us left her humble little homestead. Once we were a good distance away I sighed heavily, "Well, at the very least that woman and her family will have an easy life from now on. Stringy Pete or no, we've done something good."
"Yes," Virgil smiled, "That we have."
We journeyed to Ashbury, nearby to the north, mostly because it was the closest town. Franklin was a bit eager and while we rested he decided to go chatting up the various sea captains, looking for a ride to Thanatos. It was a fool's errand, and even he knew it from the beginning, but he felt it better than resting in an inn room for the night. Needless to say, he came back empty-handed, and utterly thrilled for that fact. "Even if it's a long trip, we're off to the Bangellian Deeps! There's bound to be a whole bloody pack of vicious, bloodthirsty creatures just waiting to tear our eyes straight out from our skulls! I can't wait!" Ah, Franklin... always the optimist.
In the morning we purchased train tickets to Tarant, trying to cut what little we could out of our journey. Ultimately, Tarant wasn't exactly close to the Dark Fens, but even cutting a few days off of our journey was more than welcome. The grasslands were so damned bloody boring anyhow. As much as it made me feel like Franklin to think as much, it was just so dull when the worst thing we could really encounter there was a pack of orcish thugs... I didn't even have assassins ambushing me any longer. Once we arrived in Tarant we began our trek up to Stillwater.
I'd made the journey between Tarant and Stillwater multiple times, and nothing much about it really changed. The scenery was a sight better than the eastern grasslands, but that wasn't saying much at all. It always got so damned cold as I neared Stillwater, and I never had the presence of mind to remember to put my armor on before it became like ice. We stopped in Stillwater just long enough to warm up in a cheap inn room, and for me to change into my armor lest I continue to suffer.
From there, it still took us two weeks to travel through Hardin's Pass and then northward to the Dark Fens. The creatures in the pass were still quite disagreeable, though Franklin didn't seem bothered by it in the slightest. None of the beasts were impressive enough for him to collect as trophies, but he enjoyed the thrill of battle all the same. The Glimmering Forest was peaceful by comparison, and thankfully warmer. The ambient magickal energy amidst the trees no longer made me feel as uncomfortable as it used to, and thus I was able to enjoy that leg of the journey all the more.
I stopped in the Bedokaan village rather briefly, making a second offering to the god Makaal. The feeling of his blessing did not change, though that I could feel it anew suggested it truly had waned when I'd been blessed by Halcyon. In turn, I took a rather sizeable detour to make a second offering to Kerlin as well. Two to go, and then I begin my search for Velorien... Franklin didn't seem overly pleased at our month long detour, but the strangeness of my pilgrimmage intrigued him enough to hold his interest until it was done.
At long last we made for the Bangellian Deeps. There was much anticipation as to exactly what we would find there, but we were all aware that it wouldn't be good. "I don't like this one bit," Virgil lamented, "but I'll stand by you regardless. Together, we can handle whatever comes at us."
"That's the spirit!" Sebastian cheered. "Samantha hasn't steered us wrong yet, I trust her. If anything does go wrong, I know she'll be the first one out in front, taking on the brunt of whatever comes at us with or without our help. How could we do anything besides stand by and help out where we can?" Terry woofed in agreement and Sebastian started petting him.
I tossed Terry a piece of jerky and he devoured it hungrily. "Thanks for the sentiment, guys. I do aim not to get us all killed."
"Now where's the fun in that?!" I surely hoped Franklin was joking. "I jest, I jest!" He laughed when he saw the look on my face. "You're quite a woman to have inspired this rag tag group to such a rousing display of loyalty. I'll throw my hat in the ring, as well! Good show, woman!"
"Uh... Thanks, Franklin... I think." He laughed more at my uncertainty. One thing was for sure, he was a hard man to offend in any fashion. I rather liked that about him.
When we arrived at the Bangellian Deeps we were greeted by bones littering the entranceway and horrible grunts and screams from inside. The screams took on an otherworldly tone and I shuddered at the thought of just how many people would have to die in the same hellhole to cause such a horrid noise. We wound our way throughout the twisting, uneven caverns cautiously.
A horrid little spider leapt out at me as I rounded one corner. It sunk its pincers into my flesh and I felt my entire leg burn as it injected a massive dose of its horrible poison. I swatted at it helplessly with my axe several times when Franklin, Sebastian, and Vollinger managed to bring it down from a distance. "Hold still, please. I'll take care of that nasty poison," Virgil scolded.
After his second failed attempt it was my turn to scold him, "Don't waste your efforts on me... save it for yourself and Terry. I think I've got some antidote powder around here somewhere." I rummaged around in my purse and pulled out a rough sack, untying the thick cord that sealed the precious powder inside. I patted it liberally on the wound the spider gave me and instantly began to feel better as my body absorbed the substance. I patted a bit more on before re-sealing the bag and climbing back to my feet. "Thanks for trying, though, Virgil." I tried to force a smile. He merely shrugged.
After only another few short corners I came face to face with yet more gargantuan rock beasts, as though I hadn't seen enough of those in my lifetime already. "Fantastic!" Franklin shouted, leveling his blunderbuss, "What in blazes is that thing?! Come on, you oversized bastard, let's get to it already!" He fired at it and it charged us.
Thanks, Franklin. Really. I ran forward, slipping behind it easily and chopping it apart just as effortlessly. Franklin fired his gun at the farther of the two, but the noise attracted even more unwanted attention. More spider creatures snuck out from around the rocks by the nearby lava pool and began crawling towards me menacingly.
The gunners turned, focusing on the spiders instead after seeing what the last one did to me. I ran around them towards the remaining hunk of rock and buried my axe into its back solidly. It turned angrily with a surprising speed and my axe slipped away from me along with it. I growled angrily, deftly dodging around its stony fists. Vollinger's gun rang out and a small bit of stone chipped off of the creature's backside. While it was distracted I dove between its legs, springing up to my feet on the other side. I grabbed ahold of my axe tightly and kicked off of its back, freeing my blade.
As it turned back towards me I swung again, chopping the damned thing's arm off at the shoulder. It groaned, a deep and earthy groan, then slammed to the ground with a thud. I looked back towards the spiders, but none of them moved any longer. Sebastian, not content to believe the stony bastard was dead yet, fired one last shot, blowing its head clear off its body.
The six of us continued onward through the passageways, having little choice in the matter. There was but a single path throughout the horrible caverns, and it was wrought with all manner of horrid beasts and dangerous traps. Franklin was utterly thrilled. As we progressed deeper and deeper the beasts took on a more lethal, magickal bent. Facing a mage would've been one thing, we were well protected against spells. Magickal beasts were another threat entirely. One could not very well will a magickal beast out of existence, no matter how horrible, and rapping one on the snout with my anti-magical shield would only serve to anger it.
A spirit wrought completely in flames lumbered after me, swinging its spindly, flaming arms in anger. I narrowly dodged one of it strikes, cursing at how bloody difficult the bastard was to confront. My skin burned from being so close, and I danced off to the side to get away from the damned thing. I hefted my axe, knowing that my strike would have to be a solid one when fighting a beast made of pure fire. I slipped around to the creature's backside, reeling at the intensity of the heat upon my skin. It burned horribly, even through my armor, but I pressed on despite it. I struck a mighty blow against the damned creature, bringing it down in but a single hit.
From then on we fought more flaming beasts, and even several dragonlike creatures. My axe cut through all mercilessly, though admittedly the gunners had significantly better luck with the flaming creatures than I. Given the poor shape of my armor and the wounds I suffered even when emerging victorious against them, I was only too happy to let Franklin have his fill of combat when we encountered anything flaming. I might be a master of melee and dodging, but when the bastard I'm fighting is actively on fire it bloody hurts.
I focused my efforts on the dragonlike creatures, some of which I had previously encountered in the Lair of Bellerogrim, and others which were unique to the hellhole known as the Bangellian Deeps. It was odd for me to have such faith in my companions after such a long time of trying to do everything myself, but if I didn't rely on them to some degree I would never survive such a horrible place. Despite my initial apprehension, it felt good to place my trust in them... and for them to live up to that trust. I felt like we were a true group of friends, no matter how short or long each of us had been traveling together. ...but what about you, Vollinger? Can I still rely on you? Could I ever? I felt bad for even thinking it, especially considering he hadn't truly failed me yet. I was making an awful lot of fuss over something he might one day have done.
At last I rounded the final corner and came face to face with a cursed warrior and his own group of 'friends'. His armor was made of deep crimson and in his hands he wielded the blackest blade I have ever laid eyes on. The blade itself made a horrible wailing noise as it sailed through the air, and I could feel the evil power radiating from it. I knew in my heart it was what I had come to destroy.
I charged into the room without thinking, deftly dodging past the inept swing of the cursed paladin that wielded the blade. I could hear - and feel - the keen wailing of the blade as it slipped by my head. My axe was in my hands in a moment, laying into the bastard without mercy. I didn't want to find out what would happen if I were cut by that horrible blade, so I fought as though my life depended on it. In truth, it probably did.
My axe tore straight through the paladin's armor, cracking and splintering it even as my blade continued to cut and burn his flesh. He was a paragon of evil, and I was a demon of barbaric justice. At last he fell to the ground, his wicked blade sticking point-first into the cavern floor, easily cutting through the rock it landed on. I shuddered uncontrollably and continued my assault against the nearest one of his slaves. In only a single strike my axe managed to cut through his armor as well, and he went toppling to the ground.
The remaining slaves scattered, afraid. Here they were, in the heart of the Bangellian Deeps, serving alongside a man carrying the most horrific blade in existence... and of all the things to be afraid of, they were afraid of a woman with a perfectly mundane axe. Terry darted into the room and leapt at one of them, latching his jaws around the bastard's neck. Blood spilled out of the slave's helmet in copious amounts, and slowly his strangled scream faded to a pathetic gurgle. His body fell to the ground, Terry landing on top of it and tearing out one last hunk of flesh before setting his sights on the next target.
Virgil dashed over towards the third slave, swinging out with his axe but being deflected by the thick armor. Vollinger's gun rang out and punched a solid hole in it, and Franklin made a few holes of his own. I heard a rather unfortunate 'click' and then Franklin began cursing. Out of the corner of my eye I saw him run up, wielding Old Mary like a club and letting forth a most profound string of curses as he did so. Terry followed along and at last even Vollinger shrugged, running up and sealing the bastard in the corner he'd run to.
The fourth slave was clawing at the furnace, trying to open it for some nefarious purpose. I didn't care to wait long enough to find out what that purpose was and I charged after him, easily bringing him low with another two strikes from my axe.
I heard another terrified scream from the corner where the others were gathered and looked over just in time to see the bastard get torn to bloody pieces by Terry's vicious assault. I winced when I saw bits of his flesh being torn off and thrown aside while he looked down in horror at the lupine terror chewing him to pieces. At long last he finally bled to death, his scream dying out slowly while the life left his body. Terry turned to seek out yet another target, but Sebastian was already on it.
He aimed that strange gun I gave him at the last slave, a glowing, green orb floating menacingly towards the corner. When the orb contacted the slave's armor it slipped straight through it, the dim green light no longer showing off of the walls. An ear-piercing scream issued forth from underneath the armor and I could hear a sickeningly wet crunch. The armor shook violently, blood pouring out of its cracks, and at last it fell onto the ground in pieces, empty. I shuddered uncomfortably and turned to fetch the horrible blade. I wasn't going to leave it sit there for even a single moment longer than I had to.
I stood over the blade, staring at it with disgust, then looked over towards the furnace. Virgil had his hand on the handle and he nodded at me reassuringly. I reached down and picked up the blade, feeling it burn horribly as it contacted my flesh. I'd never felt a magickal reaction so potent that it actually caused me physical harm, yet despite all of my recent tinkering this blade could manage it. I gritted my teeth, feeling my flesh sear and stick to the blade's grip, and I yanked it forth from the rock. I ran, in spite of the pain, with all of the speed I could muster. As I neared the furnace, Virgil opened it for me. I brought my axe out with my other hand, striking it against the blade to free it from my hand. I growled in pain, feeling my flesh rip off of my hand forcefully, but it was done.
The blade fell into the furnace and a sound like a thousand whispers began to seep out of the furnace. I couldn't see them, but I could hear and feel the spirits of the poor bastards killed in the blade's making finally being freed at last. I pulled a salve out of my purse, rubbing it gently against my hand while the spirits whispered their cries of freedom and departed the room. I looked up at the others, "Let's get the bloody hell out of here."
"As much fun as I've had in this hellish place, I am inclined to agree with you!" Franklin said cheerily. "Let us tell Stringy Pete the good news and pray he plans to betray us most violently!" If it's all the same to you, I'll pray for him to hold up his end of the bargain.
The journey from the Bangellian Deeps all the way back down to Stringy Pete's cove was a long one and there was no good shortcut, but at least if everything went well I would have a way to get to Thanatos. Of all the crazy things I'd ever done, I had to say that sailing off to Thanatos being the outcome where everything 'went well' was probably one of the most ludicrous. I was growing more and more like Franklin every minute... or perhaps I'd been that way for quite awhile.
"Do you think that Stringy Pete will live up to his end of the bargain?" Vollinger inquired as we walked.
Sebastian chuckled, "No way, of course he won't. All we've done is stopped him from being tortured, now he can continue tormenting the living without anything getting in the way of his enjoyment."
Virgil shook his head, "I think... yes, he's going to give us his ship. You've not been to the other side, Sebastian... it doesn't matter how badly haunted Pete is, he's still going to be in pain here. Compared to what awaits him when he finally dies... I'm sure he'll give us his ship."
"Do you really think so, Virgil?" Even I was getting into the conversation. "Are you so sure a devil like him is going to have the same peaceful death that you did?"
He nodded, "Yes, he's already paid his dues and, through us, made up for the sins in his past... that's all that matters. If I had not confronted my past... I might very well have ended up like old Pete..."
"I... see," Virgil's words struck closely to my heart. So that's how it works... it looks like I'll get what's coming to me in the end, anyway... and I deserve it, too, for what I did to Frederick and Nathaniel.
He could see the sadness in my eyes, "I... I didn't mean... that's not..."
"It's all right, Virgil." I tried to calm him. "Nothing will happen to me that I don't deserve."
His voice was firm and resolute. "I won't stand for that, Samantha. When all of this is over, I'll do whatever it takes to make things right. Together, we'll travel to the far ends of Arcanum if we have to...." I wish there was a way, Virgil... oh, how I wish there was a way. ...but thank you... thank you for believing in me, and standing by me.
At last we arrived at Stringy Pete's cove and we used that same little rowboat to make our way to his tiny little island.
"Yes," I nodded towards him, hand nervously twitching about my axe handle, "I've done what needed to be done..."
His eyes lit up and I grabbed ahold of my axe nervously, not quite yanking it from off my belt just yet. "That be amazin' lassie! I never thought you'd be able to do it... I never thought that someday I'd be free of this bloody curse! Thank ye, from the bottom a' me pirate heart..."
Can he really mean that...? Is he really going to let me go? "It was nothing, Pete. Now about that boat..."
He nodded, the fire in his eyes dimming. "Yes... of course, lassie! She's all yours! Feel free to take her wherever you want... I'll not be needin' her where I be a'goin'..."
His sentiment seemed genuine and I unconsciously loosened the grip on my axe. "Thank you, Pete... and good luck to you..."
Pete started fading away, becoming more and more translucent as he spoke.
Virgil walked forward and put a hand on my shoulder gently. All right, Virgil... you were right... and maybe, just maybe, you're right about me, too... I hope we can find a way... Franklin's voice cut through the air like a knife. "Well, I say, that's something of a disappointment. I was rather looking forward to having a go with that bony bastard! Ha! No matter, we've got ourselves a ship! Let's get going to Thanatos! Say, can any of you sail?"
Vollinger stepped forward, walking up onto the boat. "I have not in quite some time, but I should be able to, yes. Just follow my orders and we'll have this ship on the shores of Thanatos in no time."
"Jolly good!" Franklin shouted enthusiastically. We all walked aboard the ship, and as long as we were on that ship we followed Vollinger's every command. Working together, we turned the ship around and were, indeed, headed straight for Thanatos. I suppose it's about bloody time... and further, Vollinger continues to impress.
We landed on the shores quite smoothly, actually, and I was pleased with Vollinger's ability. It wasn't him alone, of course, but he knew exactly what needed to be done and as long as we all followed along it was smooth sailing. We left the ship on the shore, tied down tightly. Sebastian left a few 'surprises' for anybody that might try to untie it without knowing about them, but I didn't expect to find any people on that godforsaken island.
We traveled around the northern peaks of the island, winding our way around towards the southern tip. The journey took about a week and a half, during which we fought just about every beast one could imagine. Compared to the legendary horrors I'd faced like the Stillwater Giant and the Lethe Wyvern they were awfully mundane, but I liked mundane even if Franklin didn't. He was happy enough fighting off the apes that stood thrice his height and the cougars that could bite clear through the elven chain he wore. Every man has his hobbies, I guess.
At last we came to a rather strange looking land bridge. I could see the shores of a distant peninsula just barely through the thick tree growth. It seemed to lead further south, however, and I needed to go as far south as possible if the Archaeon were to be believed. I really am ready to believe anything, aren't I? I never thought I'd run out of skepticism... no, I'm sure I've still got some left somewhere.
We proceeded into the thick vegetation, and I lead the way with my axe, chopping violently through the thicker portions of the foliage. The trees around us formed almost a maze-like network of walls, making it even more difficult to navigate than even the most winding of caverns. I'd never seen trees grow any more thickly, although the ones in the Glimmering Forest came close. Is this what the area around Tarant was like before Bates sold the dwarven steam engine?
The local beasts were, needless to say, not happy to see us. Franklin, by contrast, was utterly delighted to see them. It was a strange situation to be sure. I didn't want to remove any more wildlife from the forest than I had to, but it was Thanatos and I suspected I was hardly having an impact on the overall ecology of that damned island. Even if I were, I'd never know it since scientists weren't able to make it off of the damned island alive anyhow. Who could say what kind of ecology the island had, aside from 'deadly'?
As we traveled farther and farther to the south the creatures grew bigger and more deadly. Although I would've liked to let Franklin get his fill of the 'beasties', as he called them, I wasn't willing to risk anybody's lives over it. The creatures were dangerous enough that each of us had to give it our all to survive. Thankfully, it seemed as though Franklin didn't really mind all that much. He seemed to enjoy watching me fight almost as much as he enjoyed doing the fighting himself. I just hoped I wouldn't have to repair 'Old Mary' again. That blasted thing broke more than it fired.
There were yet more surprises in store for the lot of us as we continued on. I could scarcely believe my eyes when I saw it, but there were apes attacking us that could actually use rudimentary magicks! They weren't skilled enough to actually affect any of us with their crude attempts, but it was an impressive sight indeed.
We slaughtered our way through even more massive cougars, forest apes, and other giant monkeys on our progression towards the south. The forest was significantly longer than it had looked to be from the outside and after several hours of near constant fighting I was ready to be done with the damned place. My arms ached terribly and I wasn't normally one to feel sore after a good amount of fighting. Truly, the Island of Thanatos was a dreadful and dangerous place.
Suddenly, I heard a horrible wailing.
A massive ape leapt at me, landing a solid blow against my chest. I stumbled backwards, coughing from the pain. It howled and another massive ape came leaping forth, ready to attack me. Along with it I could hear the thundering of dozens of tiny feet, and a mass of utterly tiny apes emerged from behind the trees. They almost would have been cute if they weren't so obviously intent on killing me.
I leapt back to my feet, striking down the ape in front of me with a single blow. I tried to fall back, to rely on help from my companions, but it seemed that the thick foliage had put quite an uncomfortable distance between us. The other massive ape was on me, as was one of the tiny ones. The tiny bastard bit at my ankle, distracting me long enough for its larger cousin to thump me quite painfully on the head. I growled under my breath. That's bloody it, I'm through with the lot of you!
Even more of the tiny bastards began to swarm around me like vermin. I swatted at a few of them ineffectually before turning my sights to the larger, more threatening ape. Like the other ape before it I struck it down in a single blow, the smell of burnt fur assailing my nostrils as the best fell. The swarm of smaller apes went mad with rage, clawing and punching and biting at me. I stomped on one's hand, lowering my axe into its skull rather unceremoniously while it was pinned down. The others balked for just a moment, and that one moment was long enough for me to take out a third. Several more apes died before they had the chance to finally start running away. Just as the last of them was about to disappear behind the trees my companions managed to find me. Sebastian seemed rather impressed by the pile of corpses laying at my feet.
"Thank you... how good of you to notice." My voice sounded far angrier than I actually felt. I was just starting to calm down from the combat, and the tiny cuts and bruises all about my legs were rather bothersome.
Sebastian seemed at least a little hurt, "Hey, I meant it... you don't have to get mad about it."
I sighed, "No, that's not it... I'm not mad at you, I'm just rather pissed off at this whole bloody island. If I never see another bloody monkey for the rest of my life it'll be too soon. Damn, those bastards really hurt when they bite into your leg!"
Virgil stammered, "I... I'm sorry, I should've stayed closer, I should've protected you..."
"Oh shut it," I smiled at him reassuringly, "I ran off on my own, it's my own damned fault. Besides... I need a friend more than a protector..."
He sighed. "All right... I know... I just want to do what I can. I want to protect you because I'm your friend..."
"By the Gods!" Franklin shouted. We all looked off in the direction of his call to see where he'd wandered off to. "What in the bloody hell is THAT doing here?!" After sharing a brief glance with each other we all ran in Franklin's direction to see just what it was he'd found.
It seemed almost ironic that at the one moment I got completely and utterly fed up with that damned island we would emerge from that horrible forest into the southernmost clearing. Franklin was parading about the clearing curiously, poking at things he probably ought not to have been allowed to touch.
The waters were crystal clear so far south of the mainland, and they ringed around the southernmost tip of the peninsula quite beautifully. I was too distracted to really pay them overly much attention, however. I was certain that what had aroused Franklin's curiosity was the very same reason I had come to the island in the first place.
Well... if I can somehow manage to get my answers, I suppose it will all have been worth it.
Bonus ContentNow for the update 61 bonus! Actually, I don't have too much content for this bonus (especially not compared to the last one) so this'll be easy. First, a couple apparitions. Nothing makes me happy like some good exp abuse.
As you can see, they don't get me that terribly much exp anymore, but hey... it's something.
Now for our favorite friend, Gilbert Bates. Just like an idiot can return to Bates after the Isle of Despair, so can a normal character.
They aren't on the Isle of Despair. They were never there.
Gods! This is disastrous! What are we to do now?
I am on my way to talk to Loghaire of the Wheel Clan.
Yes, yes. That is our logical next step. Tell me, is there anything I can do to help you?
Uh, you forgot to pay me for searching the Isle of Despair.
I've talked with Loghaire of the Wheel Clan.
What did he tell you?
He said the elves did the actual banishing.
Well, what do the elves have to say about all of this?
I'm on my way to talk to them.
...aand the last one.
It ... can't be. What possible purpose could that have served?
The dark elves had been waiting for any excuse to banish dwarves.
[Tell him the whole story.] (Alternate: "Find out for yourself, Ebeneezer. Good day.")