The Let's Play Archive

Divine Divinity

by Stabbey_the_Clown

Part 7: Missions of Mercy

Chapter 5 - Missions of Mercy

Music - "Roads Shaded by Green Eaves"
Download (Thanks to Grawl)

"About the Game" posted:

It's now time to meet my favorite character in Aleroth.

9 Sembten 1218

After breakfast, I checked in with Seth about the Orc situation. No, there hadn't been any attacks during the night, and no, he wasn't expecting reinforcements to come to his aid today.

I had a much-needed bath and shaved off my itchy proto-beard. Afterwards, with nothing but time on my hands, I headed off to meet the last resident, the allegedly "dangerous" dwarf.

The dwarf was standing outside, nose in a book when I approached.

He exclaimed, "Gods! What's the smell of pig flesh?" He looked up and said, "Oh, there's a human here. What do you want?" He must have heard my footsteps; he was deliberately being insulting, and I wasn't in a good mood.

"Do you have a problem with humans, or are you just obnoxious to everyone in equal measure?" I asked.

"The latter," the dwarf snapped. "Now why don't you go and bother the elf? His folk like pointless chatterin' and maybe he won't mind your human stink o' pig flesh."

Well, this is off to a bad start. Let's try again.
My name is Jeremiah Liro, and you look like a redoubtable healer, sir!
Huh... you've heard about the legendary dwarven healin' powers, ain't you human? 'As skilled with flesh as with stone,' as they say. Well, know that you are standing before Otho Rignaforoxix, proud servant of the everlasting Source... Not that I've noticed a lot that's 'everlasting' about it lately damnnee...
Goemoe and Joram have already told me a lot about the problems, but it couldn't hurt for another perspective.
Tell me about the Source.
The Source is a big energy field that surrounds each and every livin' thing. By linkin' our minds to it, we can draw on life giving power. Then by channellin' it to others, we perform healin' miracles. At least, that's how it's supposed to work. Only a few, like me, got the knack.
You say that there's something wrong with this Source?

"Somethin' wrong? Somethin' wrong?" Otho sputtered with rage. "Everythin's wrong, damn-ye! I can't connect to it anymore! First I was thinkin' it was because I drunk too much o' that foul brew Goemoe calls ale, but all the healers here ha' lost their link to the Source..." He shook his head in dismay. "This'll kill those poor lads for sure..."

Otho continued, "Soldiers, both of 'em. Survivors from a skirmish with some orc bandits. Conventional doctorin' and the few minor healing spells we got to hand have failed. Only infusing them with the Source could save 'em. Or, Goemoe's healin' shrine, of course, but that busted too right now.

"What's this I hear about Goemoe's healing shrine?" I asked. I doubted I could help, but it was worth a shot.

Goemoe has a shrine that's connected with the source. It produces healin' gems which we can use to heal patients. It's something we use when we have a lot of patients, 'cause connectin' to the Source can be pretty exhastin'. Unfortunately the shrine won't recharge itself, 'cause it's lost its connection to the Source as well. There's only one charge left, an' we can't use it to save both of them. One poor sod'll have to die...
So you can't decide which patient to save with the last healing gem?

"Tain't as simple as that!" he said irritatedly. "Problem is, our healer vows stop us from killin', even by inaction, y'see? Give the gem to Goemoe's patient and mine'll die for sure, and vicey-versey. Either way, we'll be decidin' who lives an' who dies, an we can't do that."

I wouldn't like having to make a choice like that either.
That's unfortunate. It seems that there are problems all over. Rivertown is in terrible trouble. An unknown plague has broken out!

Otho gave an indifferent shrug and said "Narry a single Dwarf lives in Rivertown. There's no need for me to travel to that human infested place..."

"About the Game" posted:

No, seriously, that's what Otho, the oath-taking healer whose current patient is a human, ACTUALLY says.

Otho's attitude was once again getting on my nerves.

"And what if - due to inaction - the plague spreads to dwarf lands?" I asked curtly. "Would you care then?"

"Ach, you think yerself a clever one, do ye?" Otho said. "Well, if I were to go save lives in Rivertown, th' poor lad here'd surely die. It's not my place to choose. I just cannae do it, d' you hear?"

"What if I could find a way to cure your patient, would you go then?"

Otho's face reddened with anger.

"Thinking of taking matters in your own hands, human? Think you can judge which of two good men is more worthy to live?"

He let out a long exasperated breath and shook his head in astonishment.

"Damn! For a while there I thought you weren't as callous as you looked, but I should've trusted my nose... Only one in ten o' you pig-skinned humans has got the soul the Seven Gods gave a goat!"

Otho stalked out of his house, continuing to mutter about 'idiot humans'. I peeked in on his patient. The poor lad was out of it.

What's your name?
Please... Do you promise to stop them beating me?
Calm down boy. Nobody is going to beat you.
My name is Verlat. PLEASE DON'T HIT ME! PLEASE! *whimper*
Be at ease. You were dreaming my friend.

Otho barged in as suddenly as he'd left. "WHAT IN THE HELLS ARE YA DOIN' IN HERE?!" he stage-whispered furiously.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean -" I started, but Otho was having none of that.

"He's already under enough stress, he don't need some well-meanin' moron addin' more. Get out!" he snarled.

Please don't let them come back! I've promised to cooperate!
I'll leave you be. You'll need your sleep.

I hurriedly exited, with Otho's eyes burning twin holes in my back all the way.

I stopped in Lanilor's herb garden and picked a stalk of Drudanae for George.

"About the Game" posted:

If you don't ask Lanilor's permission before taking the herb, Otho catches you and you lose disposition with him. (It's actually a duplicate of Otho, if Otho has already wandered outside, you can watch the duplicate run past himself into his house. If you ask permission before harvesting, Otho doesn't show up at all.

"Here is the bunch of herbs you asked for," I said. "Lanilor said some of the plants in his garden are dangerous, so be careful..."

Huh! What would an elf know about it anyway...
Isn't it his own garden?

Even with the discount, I still couldn't afford anything from George's shop that looked remotely worth buying. I didn't even bother asking about the magic armor.

I sat down on a log bench and sighed. This was all so complicated. So much for the helpful advice I'd remembered from my father. I had too many problems to solve, and all of them needed knowledge or items I simply didn't have. If only I could solve just one of the problems, like the healing gem. Too bad there wasn't any way to make two from one. A memory fragment, just a sentence from my past surfaced...

"...and tomorrow, I'll teach you how you can use it to make two healing gems, from just one, hem hem..."

Use what to make two healing gems?

I pushed my memory, but it wasn't co-operating, which didn't surprise me. I went to see Goemoe, because he probably knew the most about the shrine.

Goemoe, have you ever heard of a way to duplicate healing gems?
Ssss... I don't believe sso, but if there iss one, Mardaneusss would know it. He put together mosst of the sspellsss used in its creation. The problem iss that ever ssincce Mardaneusss took ill, he'ss become quite paranoid.
I noticed.
He's desstroyed ssome of his notesss, but from my window, I've sseen him leave his housse with pilesss of booksss and paperss', making ssure no one iss following him. When he returnsss, he iss carrying nothing.
Thank you, Goemoe.

I decided to resume searching the village. I kept an eye for recently dug holes, but decided to start with the abandoned houses.

An hour later, and I hadn't had any luck tracking down Mardaneus's notes. Only one more of the houses looked abandoned. If I didn't find anything here, it'd be searching every corner of the village for holes in the ground. I wasn't looking forward to the prospect.

I entered a third abandoned house. The second thing I noticed was that the dust on the floor had definitely been disturbed. However, the first thing I had noticed I sensed it before seeing it; a mirror sitting on a wrapped package. I knew what it was; I sensed the magical aura around it. I didn't want to touch it. Something about it gave me the creeps, although I couldn't quite remember why.

I saw a book half-hidden behind some packages. As I leaned over to get it, I also saw what looked like leg armor hidden behind more packages. But before retrieving it, I opened the book.

Mardaneus himself had written it, in scratchy handwriting which seemed as frail as the man himself. Most of the pages had been ripped out, many other sections referenced things I didn't understand or remember... but there was one section on magic mirrors.

Memories stirred. Yes, I had made a magic mirror when I was at "The Mole..." I think... I think I had it at home, wrapped in special silk and hidden at the bottom of a very locked chest in the cellar, as far away from my room as I could get it. I remembered that the damn thing had creeped me out since the day I finished crafting it.

9 Fengali 1213

The first year at MOL had been difficult, trying, and above all, boring. There were courses in the history and geography of the 6 races, plus near-endless training in meditation, memory, and the physical arts.

That was all well and good, but we'd never so much as glanced at a spellbook. This frustrated some of the more impatient students so much that they quit. I suspected - correctly - that that was the point.

"Those of choleric humor have no place wielding powers of fireball or demon-summoning." One of the masters said to our class once.

We weren't learning spells... but we were learning the art of crafting magic mirrors. It was a test to see how suited we were at feeling the magic within us and bending it to a purpose.

I held the mirror up, admiring the graceful curve, and the smooth handle nearly slipped out of my grasp.

"Don't drop it," Tom grinned. "That's bad luck, you know."

"Indeed, I would be careful." Eloric said.

Keeping a firm grip, I used the mirror to watch the bickering behind me.

"Really?" Tom said in mock astonishment. "I thought you considered all human superstitions silly."

"Of course they're silly." Eloric said. "What isn't silly is having to remake a mirror through ones own carelessness."

"Hey, it jumped out of my hand of its own accord! I swear!" Tom said as he polished his second magic mirror.

As I gazed into the mirror, I saw the world seem to warp behind Tom. A magical portal opened and out strode a fearsome looking demon. The world seemed to move in slow motion and all sound seemed to vanish.

The demon raised up a huge fist. I dropped the mirror and charged at Tom, trying to push him out of the way. I shouted, but no sound came out. I couldn't reach Tom in time. The horrible fist slammed down, caving in Tom's skull, the sickening crunch was no less horrible despite the lack of sound. Eloric tried to stop the demon, but one vicious claw sent him flying backwards, with his chest torn to bloody shreds.

The demon stared at me, then it smiled and gave a deep bow, even with the blood of Tom and Eloric still wet on its hands.

I turned away from the horrible grin just in time to see my mirror finish falling and shatter into a thousand shards of glass and magic.

"Excellent work, Mr. Liro." Master Kilruun exclaimed cheerfully.

"Huh?" I said and blinked. I was staring at my own reflection in the magic mirror. I looked around and saw Tom and Eloric, perfectly fine and working on their own mirrors.

"I said excellent work," said Master Kilruun, who had come up beside me. "Take it as a compliment, boy. I haven't seen a first year student make a mirror of that potency in many years! I guess the rumors about you are true after all."

"R-Rumors? What rumors?" I asked nervously, rattled by the vision in the mirror.

"The rumors that you were born with magic in your blood; it comes as naturally to you as breathing." Kilruun said.

I smiled and said, "It doesn't seem that way to me. Of course, the only magic I've had a chance to practice has been working on this mirror."

"You know, some people say that the very best mirrors can fortell the future," Kilruun said in a mysterious tone.

"Th-They can?" I said.

"Ha! Don't I wish," laughed Kilruun. "It's just an old legend, boy. Don't take everything so seriously."

I held the mirror up, admiring the graceful curve, and the smooth handle nearly slipped out of my grasp.

"Don't drop it," Tom grinned. "That's bad luck, you know."

I returned from the memory back to the abandoned house in Aleroth. I found that despite having no memory of picking up the mirror, it was in my hand anyway.

But the reflection in the mirror wasn't mine. Instead I saw an unfamiliar blonde woman clad in white, staring at me. Her image gradually faded until only my own reflection showed in the mirror.

I carefully wrapped the creepy magic mirror in some cloth and stowed it in my pack.

I moved the packages and picked up a battered and dusty set of leather leggings. They were definitely in need of repair, but they were better protection than nothing, so I put them on. I doubted I could afford George's rates to have them repaired.

I searched the house again, but I found what was looking for. I went to the strange shrine I'd seen the day before.

"About the Game" posted:

The leggings in the abandoned house have a chance to be magical, if you save and reload. I don't know if you have to do that before leaving Joram's cellar or not, and I didn't care enough to spend time figuring out how far you close you can be to the leggings before their attributes are set find out. I could if people are really, really curious.

An item prefix like "new", "worn", or "wrecked" refers to the total durability an item has, not the current amount, which is why these "new" leggings are close to breaking.

As I approached it, the shrine's gargoyle moved and spoke to me.

Fenwythus: Welcome seeker! My name is Fenwythus and I'm the servant of the shrine. Have you come to be healed?

Aye. That would be a kindness friend...

Fenwythus: This is my last healing gem. Use it wisely, seeker. Remember, place it on the victim, remove your hands from the gem, and say the following to activate the gem...

Fenwythus uttered a string of syllables, which I committed to memory.

My thanks to you!

I picked up the odd-shaped, smooth blue-green gem. I'd seen something like this before...

4 Febirium 1218

If what I'd heard was true, I didn't have a lot of time. But I'd learned from practice and experience that rushing a pick was the surest way to waste time. I chose the right lockpick and inserted it gently into the keyhole. Slowly and carefully I felt out the tumblers; it was almost instinct by now. A wiggle here, a twist there and....

There was a click, and the doorknob turned. I shoved my lockpick set back into my pocket and crept into the dark room, closing the door behind me. I didn't have the time to waste searching in the dark among the various crates of stolen goods. I risked lighting a lamp on the wall.

A brief search and I found the familiar small package I'd seen the other day. I carefully cut it open with my dagger, I had to be sure. I reached inside and pulled out an object wrapped in velvet. I opened the velvet up enough to see the smooth blue-green gem inside. I put the healing gem in my inside pocket, and as an afterthought, I picked up the package containing the rest of the gems.

I headed for the door, but it was too late for a quiet escape. Footsteps were already approaching, and there wasn't anyplace to hide. The door opened and Simmons came in. He was surprised to see me.

"Well, well, Edwin," Simmons said, putting his hand close to his dagger. "Care to explain to me why you seem to be makin' off wit' my property?"

What the hell was that? Why did I know that that nasty-looking fellow was called Simmons? And why'd he address me by my middle name?

I waited a moment, but nothing else came to mind.

"About the Game" posted:

- Lockpicking is one of the most important skills in the game for treasure hunters. You need a set of lockpicks to use this skill, and it costs magic to use (which means you can't use it where magic is prohibited). The thing that makes lockpicking in this game different from the norm is that you cannot fail to pick a lock the same or lower rank as what you've learned. You can only fail to pick a lock if it's a higher rank than your skill. Because of this, you only lose a lockpick if you succeed in picking a lock, never if you fail. Up to two free skill points in this are available later, and  there is an equivalent item to the Skeleton Key from the Elder Scrolls series  which you can get through an optional quest.

Another reason for giving Jeremiah a colourful backstory is to explain how a mage knows handy street skills such as how to pick a lock, and pick pockets. Lockpicking won't be used until the very bottom of the Aleroth catacombs dungeon, which is when locked chests start appearing. In fact, that's when I actually put a point into it, I didn't actually put a point into it now.

Following the books instructions, I found a deep enough pond near Geomoe's house, and I carefully placed the mirror in the water. It vanished from sight. If this didn't work, I'd have a hell of a time finding it again.

I tossed the healing gem gently into the pond. There was a spark of blue light and the sound of glass cracking, but there were now two healing gems there. I took them and went to see the wounded soldiers. Otho wasn't in, which was a relief.

I placed the gem on Verlat's bare chest, removed my hands and spoke the syllables Fenwythus had said. All that time training my memory back at the university had paid off, there was a bright light and the gem seemed to melt into Verlat's body.

After a few moments, he blinked and seemed to focus. He even got up out of bed.

I don't know how I can ever repay you, my friend. All my wounds are gone! I'm still feeling a bit tired, so I think I'll stay here for a while. But thank you! Thank you so much! If you're ever in Verdistis and need help, come and see me.

I'm very relieved that you're all right. I'll leave you be now.

As I was making my way out, I bumped into Otho. Surprisingly he didn't react to my uninvited visit with anger, just mere insults.

Ah, the less-than-clever human, what d' ya want?
I've found a way to heal both Verlat and Goemoe's patient.

I explained my discovery of the mirror and book. I showed Otho the healing gem, and he went to check on his patient. When he came out, his face showed a look of grateful astonishment.

"Well I'll be... I'll have to reconsider my opinion about you, hum-Jeremiah." He said cheerfully, shaking my hand with enthusiasm. "You really are a clever-un, ain't ye? Well.... Thankee, I says, thankee from my heart..."

I couldn't keep a straight face at Otho's sudden change of heart. He saw me and scowled again. "Is that a damn smirk I see on your face? Wipe it off, or I'll do it for ye! Bloody humans... no damn manners...."

I took my leave and hurried to the bed of the other soldier.

"About the Game" posted:

Do NOT talk to Otho or Goemoe until after you've healed BOTH soldiers, otherwise, the quest registers as you only saving one of them, and then they get mad.

Also, if for some reason you only want to heal one, pick Verlat. If Verlat or both soldiers are healed,  you'll get a unique ring when you run into him in Verdistis. 

I repeated the healing gem procedure on Simon.

I... I can't believe it! The fever's gone like a morning mist! Oh, thank you my friend!
Hold tight, friend. I'll talk with you later.

I was still stuck in this village, but I felt better for being able to do something useful. I went to tell Goemoe what I'd done.

Good news! I've healed both Simon and Otho's patient!

I told him about the gem duplication trick.

A healing spell would be useful, but that alone wouldn't help with the orcs. Not enough to improve my odds by any significant amount, anyway.

"About the Game" posted:

Healing each sick soldier gives you +1 Reputation and Goemoe teaches us Restoration for healing both. Don't talk to either Otho or Goemoe until both patients are healed, or else they'll think you only healed one and their opinion will drop. Reputation is a global modifier to disposition, so everyone you meet from now on will have a slightly better opinion of you. Healing both soldiers also raises Goemoe and Otho's disposition to you by 25 and 35 points respectively. Higher disposition means lowered prices for trading, and a lot of NPC's can trade.

Savour that "everybody wins" solution to a quest in this game. As was mentioned earlier, a lot of quests you need to pick who wins and who loses, and it's not always clear what's right or even ethical.

- Restoration is the game's healing spell, and why magic is always useful for all characters. It starts out healing 40 HP, going up by 20 per rank. There are FOUR free skill points available in the game (Goemoe's point being the first free one), and the spellbook can be found on shelves, so don't spend points in this, because it's really easy to max out with a little effort and exploration. Like all spells it can be spammed, too. Restoration works on the player and their summons, but not NPC's (even allied NPC's).

The only other thing which needed doing at the moment was trying to help Mardaneus. What was it he had told Lanilor in his ravings?... 'Facing all the dragons to the north'...

I looked at the statue garden, with statues of Mardaneus... and four dragons.

I experimentally tried to move a dragon statue. To my surprise it twisted easily. I turned the statues until they all seemed to face roughly north, and the ground shook so hard I lost my balance and fell square on my arse.

The quaking stopped as energy streamed from a hard-to-notice gem in the base of each of the Dragon statues into a set of matching hard-to notice gems on the statue of Mardaneus.

The statue of Mardaneus lifted off of the foundation, hovered for a second...

Video - First statue in orbit

Video - The first statue in orbit

...then it shot up and southeast at an incredible pace, accompanied by a sound like a thunderclap, drawn out to unnatural length. The statue continued accelerating until it was a dot in the sky, and then I even lost sight of the dot!

As the sound of the statue's flight gradually faded with distance, Lanilor hurriedly rushed up.

My word! That's quite a sight!
Indeed! For the life of me, I can't remember ever seeing anything like it.

I considered this for a minute.

But since I can't remember most of my life, that's not saying much.

I looked at the statue base. It was hollow. A narrow set of steps spiraled down into darkness. I didn't have a good feeling about this, but my only alternative was doing nothing.

"Well," I said with reluctance. "Looks like I've found the entrance to the catacombs. Wish me luck."

I've searched through the belongings in my house and have found this artifact. It might help you in your quests, Jeremiah. I would like to give it to you as a token of my gratitude for all you've done.
This looks like a little pyramid. What does it do?
This pyramid is surrounded by a strong magical field. There exists an exact duplicate of this pyramid artefact somewhere else in Rivellon. If you operate this pyramid correctly, it will teleport you to the duplicate.
You mean if I use this, I'll be shot across the land like a squeezed grape pit?
Yes, in a way, but you will come to no harm. Think of it as traveling across many leagues in a single step. The pyramid will come in handy if you ever need to get well away from a dangerous situation in a hurry. The pyramids are also the perfect way to travel over long distances.
So where is the other pyramid now?
Ahh... well, to be honest, I never dared to try it myself... Thiu fingol! The duplicate could be anywhere, so be careful the first time you use it.
Of course, I should have known. There's always a catch.
You mean, for all you know, I might find myself surrounded by orcs, or at the bottom of a river?
I'm afraid so. But who knows, if you don't want to risk finding the other pyramid the magical way, you might still find it during your travels. If you do, it will become invaluable to you.
It's a strange gift, but a princely one, nonetheless. I thank you, Lanilor. How does it work?
Pay attention closely. If you twist the top of the pyramid to the RIGHT, it will activate immediately. If you twist it to the LEFT, it will activate in one second, giving you a chance to drop it.
Right-right away, Left, left behind. Right-right away, Left, left behind. Right-right away, Left, left behind. OK, I think I got it. Thank you again.

Lanilor strode back to his house. I took the pyramid in my hand and examined it.

Did I dare use it? The bottom of a river sounded downright pleasant compared to some of the other possible alternatives.

What if the second stone was locked in some chest of odds and ends somewhere? Would it still teleport me? Worse, what if it was buried in the earth? Would I materialize inside the rock? Would I survive just long enough to realize my fate before running out of air?

I sighed and ran my fingers through my silver-coloured hair, and made my decision.

I twisted the top of the pyramid-shaped stone to the left and dropped it.

My eyes filled with red light, and I had an uncomfortable feeling like my body wasn't moving through the usual three dimensions. The uneasy twisting sensation continued as y eyes filled with amber light, and then the sensation began to fade as the light turned green, which faded to firelight.

The first thing I sensed was magic somewhere nearby. It was like a deep, swirling, thrumming sound in my mind. A powerful nexus of magic was not far away.

The second thing I noticed was that it was very dark. The only light came from four small pillars with a fire dish on top. The air felt dry and smelled faintly putrid, with a hint of smoke.

The second pyramid was at my feet. As I had hoped, I was alive and still had all my limbs. I couldn't resist a whoop of joy. "I'M ALIVE!"

I should have resisted. There came a clattering from the shadows. As my eyes adjusted to the dim lighting, I saw pairs of glowing red coals advancing towards me. The eyes belonged to a group of horned skeletal archers closing in, nocking arrows into their bows.

I tried to quietly slip away, but the skeletons followed. I sighed.

I can already tell it's going to be a long day.

Next Time: Aleroth Beneath

Behind the Scenes:

Here's the map showing where we've been in Aleroth. It's been a busy day for Jeremiah and it's not even noon yet.

This update is a good example of what most of the game will be like - talking to people and solving some difficult quests in a clever way. I'm specifically mentioning that this is what most of the game will be like because the next half-dozen or so updates will be taking place in a dungeon with a lot of fighting, which is not what most of the game is like.

I trimmed out the searching of the second abandoned house because this was already an image and text-heavy update, and the looting produced a book and a potion, whoop-de-do. You'll see the book on a "Rivellon Reader's Digest" update this week.

The Teleportation pyramids are the game's equivalent to Town Portals, except almost infinitely more flexible and free to use.

Here's a bit of background on Aleroth you can get from Lanilor:

What can you tell me about Aleroth?
Mardaneus founded the healer community of Aleroth. His goal was to unite healers of all the races so that we might further our skills with mutual studies.

Mardaneus's statue is a  "Brick Joke"  in the game.

What's fake in this update?

 You don't materialize in alone and darkness, you start off in the middle of a pack of skeletons. I took that first screenshot later.