Part 58: Skarragath"Let's go shove this sword through a demon tyrant."
"Pointy end first?"
"I'm not picky."
The trek to Grah-Hoth's prison involves traversing all of the Abyss in reverse:
"Hm, wonder if that crazy old crone is still around."
"That was Erika? ...of course that was Erika."
"I don't understand."
"She was just playing games with us, because apparently she doesn't have anything better to do with her time or powers."
"Then let's go show her how it's done, hey?"
"Fuck, this place has seen better days."
"Better days or no, that is one hell of a wall."
"Sounds like this is right up your alley, Kane."
"Look at the guards..."
"So much for the good guys never raising people from the dead."
"Micah must have been desperate when he had this place built."
"It only makes sense, though. This way the wall doesn't need soldiers, doesn't need supplies, plus these things are probably stronger than your average soldier anyway."
"Sure, necromancy always sounds like a good idea."
"Hey now, don't go placing the blame on necromancy! Just because it's often used to do bad things doesn't mean it's automatically evil!"
"Skeletons don't kill people, people kill people?"
"Locked. So why don't we have a key?"
"I have a shitty feeling about this..."
"There sure are an awful lot of undead guards here. Where did they get so many bodies? ...don't answer that."
"Byff? Any ideas?"
"Looks like a recording device. We can activate playback by kneeling."
"Oh fuck no. We are going back to the Castle right fucking now."
"Whoah hey, take it easy. We might as well check on the rest of the place first."
"Micah fucking set us up!"
"Oh come on, I'm not walking all the way back to the Castle just so we can complain about how our lives could be easier."
"Byff, don't you have anything to say about this?"
"Okay, sure. I think this is just a delaying tactic on your part."
"What? How the fuck would I set up a giant fucking wall just to put this off?"
"No, no, I'm just saying you're looking for an excuse to not have to deal with this."
"Ohhh, he's got you dead to rights, honey!"
"Fine. But it's all of your faults if all these guards turn on us!"
"I suspect this opens the gates."
"Okay, just one of the gates."
"Must be another wheel around here somewhere."
"Wow, guilt trip much? If you guys had done the job properly the first time, we wouldn't even be here!"
The other book has the same text.
"There's the other wheel. So how do we get this gate open?"
"I think ol' Boney in the chair here might have the answer to that question."
"Buddy, a great disaster is exactly what we're trying to prevent."
"One-Eye's right, hon. Grah-Hoth's already causing problems from inside, and soon enough he's going to break free."
"No way, man! Look, we got Demonslayer and everything!"
"Hrm. Changing topics, who are you?"
"Wait, is this a lich?"
"Naw, he's just an unusually smart construct. See, if he were a lich, he wouldn't be warning us about Grah-Hoth, because he'd be too busy trying to eat our souls."
"And you say necromancy isn't evil."
"It's not my fault nobody ever reads the fine print on these spells!"
"In any case, what can you tell us about your prisoner?"
"Interesting. Who else joined this fight?"
"Linda, that bitch!"
"D'you think this is where she got her obsession with demons?"
"I suppose it makes a certain amount of sense."
"Out of purely academic interest, how is Grah-Hoth imprisoned?"
"Wish we could, buddy. I wish we could. Look, General Micah himself sent us here. We need to get through. Open that closet up. Let us at the gate controls."
"And vice versa."
"We had better prepare for a fight."
"Fucking asshole piece of shit swear I'm gonna make him eat his fucking beard for this..."
"Focus, One-Eye. We can rant at Micah later."
"Oh, you bet your ass we will. But fine. Smash undead now, smash kings later."
"That's the spirit!"
And without any ceremony, every single monster in Skarragath just turned hostile.
"See, when we started down this whole ''Oh, let's go kill a legendary demon lord!'' thing, I figured I was going to get eaten to death or something. Getting swarmed to death by a legion of undead soldiers? Not in the cards! Especially not a legion of undead soldiers that are on our fucking side!"
"Less talking, more fighting!"
The Skarragath Sentinel is indeed a lich, casting various spells and summoning (weakened) Skeletal Warriors at intervals. We also have all of the other guards to contend with. In particular, the Ghosts and Banshees are pretty awful, what with their accurate (undodgeable, apparently) freezing melee, charm spells, et cetera. And the Sentinel can give all of his buddies Battle Frenzy. Fun!
Still, this fight isn't bad; most of the guards have fallen well below us on the power curve, and we're able to chew through them quickly. And the Sentinel, for all his abilities, is not very durable...
"Hey! No fair cheating!"
You would think this means that we have to fight our way across the wall, through all the other guards, to face the Sentinel again in the room where we got the message from General Micah...but two turns later the Sentinel's charged back into action, with its health much restored.
"Could someone please -- ow! -- distract this skeleton? He's making it very hard to concentrate!"
"Little busy at the moment! HA! Take that!"
"Argh! Stop doing that!"
"We're going to have to do something about that throne!"
"Like what, sit in it?"
This time it takes the Sentinel three turns to get back to us.
"I think he's running out of buddies, anyway. Speaking of which, mind you don't trip on all the bones."
"Right, I'll hold him here, you guys start heading north."
"Oh for fuck's sake!"
"Man, how does he do that?"
"Thank you, Byff."
"Hi boss. Hold still, will you? Thanks."
All of this kill-revive-kill stuff is pretty tiresome, but not very dangerous on its own. It is very wearing, though; Elly and Byff are spending a lot of energy on AoE spells to deal with the other guards, plus healing from the occasional spell that a Ghost or the Sentinel throws out. The Sentinel, being a lich, can cast Arcane Blow. He's not very good at it, but it still hurts like hell.
We need to watch out for some of those other guards, by the way. Skarragath Reavers like the one on the podium are nasty physical monsters, able to throw out an AoE attack that even One-Eye can't dodge reliably (either that or he just got unlucky).
"I think the throne's stopped working!"
"Then put this bag of bones to bed!"
"Fuck's sake. Can nothing ever be easy?"
Total resources used: 1 Energy Potion, 1 Energy Elixir (both by Elly), one Curing Potion (One-Eye got Weakness Curse and Slow and War Curse). I'm unclear on if the Sentinel just gets three revives, or if you actually have to push north to get close to the throne before it stops working.
This fight could have gone a bit better, but mostly the energy potion usage is just down to the fact that Elly's spells are phenomenally expensive. She used Divine Retribution twice in that fight and Restore Life once (One-Eye had some unlucky dodges), and that's 155 out of her 200 energy points right there. For comparison, Byff's Fireblast is 30 energy, and most of the time you can get by with just Lightning Spray, for only 10. Arcane Blow is 40 energy, but rarely worth using.
"Next stop: demons in bottles."