Part 43: Aftermath"C'mon, guys, let's get the hell out of here."
"Scratch one evil overlord!"
"Maybe things will calm down here for a bit, eh? That'd be nice."
"We should tell those guards from Gnass that they can stand down."
"Just because we chopped the head off doesn't mean the rest of the snake can't still do some damage in its death throes."
"There's still a bunch of evil sliths out there. Doesn't pay to let your guard down too soon."
"On a different note, didn't someone in Fort Emerald want some aranea fangs?"
"Hey, Hodgson! We got some poisonous fangs for you!"
100 coins and 2 Curing Elixirs. Incidentally, Captain Scarlet, who runs this fort, has precisely one changed dialog line now, when we ask her what's on the island that she's so worried about :
"Let's swing by Gnass and let them know the news."
"Hail, chief. Sss-Thsss is dead."
"I expected more, somehow."
"It was the local priest that really wanted us to kill Sss-Thsss, actually."
"Good news! Your old boss is dead!"
"Still waiting on that reward."
"Maybe we should ask his new boss."
As far as I can tell, this just gives us some experience.
"I guess that's it, then. Oh well."
"Not every reward has to be something you can spend, One-Eye."
"I know, but seeing as fiscal security seems to be the only type of security I'm likely to ever get, I'd like to have as much of it as possible."
"Hang on, let me check my notes."
"...yeah, it was the smith who was offering a reward. Training of some kind."
"Hello, Skatha. Sss-Thsss is dead."
"Sure, let's learn the secrets of slithly smithing!"
Oh my. Training in Resistance? Yes, please! If you've forgotten, Resistance gives a percentage damage reduction to all forms of magical damage. Seeing as magical damage is our big weak point right now, and we're flush for cash, this is an easy sell...for Kane and One-Eye, who can't realistically learn it without help. For Elly and Byff, we'll probably want to wait until they hit the skill cap (of 10) before we buy ranks, so we can get them all the way to rank 12.
Annoying, because right now they need it more than our warriors do, but them's the breaks!
I am later informed that purchased training in skills does not affect the skill cap, so you can buy ranks whenever you want. This conflicts what I've read elsewhere, but on the other hand it also would be a much more sensible way to run things, and I wouldn't put it past Jeff Vogel to tweak the game post-launch.
"You know, King Micah will probably pay us."
"Hey, there is that! Let's go pay him a visit."
"Want to get drunk first?"
"No, thank you."
"Phooey, you're no fun."
On the way out, we swing by that slith guard camp.
I think this is supposed to let you bypass Fort Emerald if you want to head north, but the barrier on the road remained. Maybe I broke the script somehow. Anyway, let's go to the Castle.
"Good news, my liege! The leader of the sliths is dead! Here: I present the torc he wore."
1500 coins (!), a reputation boost (to "Beloved" ), and more experience.
"What, that's it?"
"''That's it''? I just handed you a significant fraction of our yearly income. How much money are you hoping for?"
"Oh, I'm sure we're grateful for the money, my lord. It doesn't mean that much to me though."
"I think Byff was hoping you'd let him read that book in your bedroom."
"I see I need to upgrade my security. No, that tome is off-limits."
"Come on, guys. Let's go let our sovereign leader be. I'm sure he has important things to do."
"Whereas we appear to be unemployed for the moment."
"Don't worry about it; I'm sure something will come up."
"It always does, somehow. But yeah, let's go."
"Well, sounds like we'd better go check up on Fort Remote again. What do you think, my lord?"
"Those demons had better hope they've left. If they're still there...!"
"Very well, my lord. With your leave?"
"Go on, get out of here. But return quickly!"
On the path back to Fort Remote:
"I feel sick."
"Demons have killed plenty of people before. What makes this so different?"
"We knew these people. Now come on, let's go."
"Oh, that ain't good."
"Well, c'mon, let's get them down from there."
"Sorry, Mick. Guess we won't be talking again any time soon."
"Alright, you asshole. Let's get some answers or else --"
"Kane, that's a projection. It's not really here."
"Hey, demon! We want some answers here!"
"That's really not very subtle."
"Subtle or not, I'm gonna do it."
"Alright, let's get our defenses up, then."
"What do we have to say? Kane, will you do the honors?"
"Actually, Elly, allow me, please. Ahem."
"Get over here and face us in person, you worm! Not even a worm, you're worm shit! Are you too scared of your own shadow to pop out of whatever stinking hole you're hiding in? We've killed plenty of demons before, you're just going to be another notch on my bow! I'd kick your face instead of shooting it, but I don't want to get my boots dirty! So either put up, or shut up, you sniveling, cowardly, impotent maggot!"
"Yeah, uh, what he said."
"Well! I feel a bit better."
"Catharsis! It cures what ails ya."
"Meanwhile, we should probably do something about our new guests."
"Hey guys, welcome to the party! We're having a special live performance from Demonslayer!"
The big target here is the green Mung Demon; the rest are largely chaff. We can't afford to ignore them, though; their melee damage adds up quickly, and the Slavering Imps (the sort of puke-yellow ones) have melee hits that cause slowness.
"Anyone else want to fight? 'Cause I'm just getting started!"
"I think that's all of them, Kane."
"Don't worry, we'll find more."
"Hang on, guys, I found someone!"
"Uh, kind of?"
"Belinda? What happened?"
"All the demons are gone, Belinda. We destroyed them."
"Belinda, this is important. We need to know how."
"The more information we have, the better prepared we'll be! Belinda, please: how?"
"Froze? What --"
"Enough, Byff. I think she's suffered enough already. Belinda, we're here to help."
"Of course we'll help you. Anything you need."
"Well? Can't you bring her back?"
"No. It doesn't work that way. I'm sorry."
"Then how does it work?"
"You don't want to know the answer to that question. Trust me on this."
"We'd better check the rest of the fort for any other...survivors."
"Nothing. Damn it!"
"Then we'd better get back to King Micah."
"One moment. That big green demon dropped something. We'd better check it out."
I'm uncertain why the game thinks this is so valuable, but One-Eye's current ring protects him against things that simply don't happen very often, so we'll use this instead. However, that's not the true prize here.
Here we have a worthy competitor for Demonslayer. Kane loses a decent chunk of resists, but he'll do substantially more damage against all non-demonic enemies in the game -- and of course he can swap in Demonslayer when we do face demons.
One last thing before we go. Here's the map of Fort Remote as of a few days earlier:
And here's the map now:
Goodbye Belinda, Mick, Bronwen, Tesik, and the seven other unnamed occupants of Fort Remote.
"My lord. Fort Remote has indeed been destroyed, by a force of demons controlled by Grah-Hoth. We destroyed the remnants, but Grah-Hoth remained to taunt us, via a projection of some kind."
"Lord. Who is Grah-Hoth? Why is he such a big deal?"
"So we fought him."
"I wonder if Linda's...obsession...stems from this battle?"
"It's entirely possible. No sense wondering now, though. Thank you for dealing with that little snafu, by the way."
"What I don't understand is why you didn't kill Grah-Hoth back then? Then he wouldn't be around to bother us now!"
"And then you left him in your prison, instead of destroying him later? Why can't all those mages you mentioned earlier band together to kill him now?"
"That was over twenty years ago."
"And thus it falls to us to finish what you started."
"Don't be so resentful. We did our best, and it's only thanks to us that you even have this opportunity."
"We'd better cover some logistics, then. Where do we find Grah-Hoth?"
"I do hope your defenses around Skarragath amount to more than just a few walls and some ''Do Not Touch'' signs."
"Is there anyone else who can give us information about our target?"
"That's all I have for you. Release Grah-Hoth from his prison, and then destroy him. I don't pretend that this will be easy, or safe. Indeed I expect you are not yet capable of accomplishing this feat. But I can't think of anyone else more qualified than you. Go, with my blessing. Good luck."
"We'd better find Rone, then."
"Wait, this guy? Dude's senile, he won't be able to help us."
"Be nice. He may still remember something important."
"Excuse me, sir, can we speak with you?"
"I believe you are speaking of Grah-Hoth."
"Akhronath? Micah didn't mention any place named that."
"That sounds important."
"Wait, I'm confused. Who's Patrick?"
"Do you know where we can find Erika? She has a lot to answer for."
"Angering the Empire, eh? Interesting."
"This is not the time, Kane!"
"Then when is the time?"
"After we get our affairs in order down here!"
"Like that will ever happen!"
"Boys! Calm down. Sheesh, this was easier when we were all drunk."
"I think we'd better move on. Thank you, Sage Rone."
"Let's borrow the Council chamber and review what we know. Byff?"
"Very well. Grah-Hoth is currently imprisoned in a ''bottle'' at Skarragath. However, he retains some ability to control demons and send them to harass us, as we saw at Fort Remote. It seems likely that he will eventually break free of his prison on his own. Before that happens, we need to reach him, break the prison ourselves, and then destroy him."
"That's something I don't really understand. Why does it matter that we free him rather than that he escape on his own?"
"I think I can answer that. It takes a lot of effort to influence things outside of your average magical prison. As such, Grah-Hoth must exercise himself to exhaustion to perform even minor feats, and he remains relatively weak. As his prison degrades, however, he will become stronger, and when it breaks entirely, he will be at or near full strength. By breaking the prison early, we'll be able to attack him when he's still weak."
"But we need some tools for that, yes?"
"Correct. Rone mentioned a Blessed Athame being necessary to cut the seal on Grah-Hoth's prison. Fortunately, we found one of those in Adze-Haakai's cell."
"Which just leaves the conventional defenses at Skarragath. And this Patrick person knows how to deal with those."
"Sounds like that's what we need to follow up on first, then. Any objections?"
"Alright, then let's get moving."