Part 17: Fresh Air and Blood
Chapter 13 - Fresh Air and Blood
Music - "Halls Beneath the Ground"
Download (Thanks to Grawl)
Video - Boss Fight: Huge Horde of Skeletons (With subtitle commentary)
"About the Game" posted:
The battle is the toughest to date because of the number of enemies and the number of tough ones. The high number of conjurers is especially tough. However most people were expecting a boss battle by this point, and likely prepared accordingly anyway. Once Thelryon dies, the door out unlocks so you can just run out if you find yourself overmatched.
Watch the video to see how the real-time-with-pause combat plays out.
I was boxed in; it was too late to run. I prepared to Swap Places with a skeleton on the outside.
I'm sick and tired of fighting skeletons. I just want to fade away...
Something in that thought resonated with a memory, and time in the outside world seemed to come to a halt as I remembered...
18 Fengali 1214 - 16'35 O'Clock
"YOU LYING BASTARDS! I'LL KILL YOU!" I screamed at the orc bandits.
"... go... save yourself..." my mother pleaded, her face pale. Her wound looked serious, but I wasn't going to abandon her.
"No! I'm not leavin-AAgh!"
I was hit in the right shoulder with an arrow, and stumbled backward... too far. I'd reached the edge of the slope and as my boot caught on a rock, I tumbled backwards and fell down the slope. I lost my grip on the borrowed sword.
I screamed in agony as my front side hit the ground, grinding the arrow deeper into my shoulder. Mercifully, the shaft snapped instead of pressing the arrow all the way through to the other side. I was sliding down towards the forest, dislodging stones and dirt, but somehow through the red haze of pain, I managed to grab onto a good-sized rock with my good arm, stopping my slide.
I heard heavy footsteps approach the edge.
"...please... don't kill... my son..." came my mother's voice weakly.
I was exhausted and so was my magic. I'd never be able to put up a fight, even if my sword hadn't vanished into the trees below. A spell came to mind... I muttered it, and faded from view, invisible to all.
It was just in time. Two orcs with crossbows appeared at the top of the hill. The rocks I had dislodged continued down until they reached the treeline. The orcs stared into the woods.
"Turn around, nothing to see here," I thought. My magic reserve was almost completely exhausted, in a few seconds I'd become visible, then dead.
The orcs turned around and walked back. "His body's gone. Must have slid into woods."
"Go check, make sure he dead."
"No. He must be dead, that fall break anyones neck. We go check, maybe we fall too."
"Fine. You two - grab bodies and we go."
"This one still alive."
"No, let go of me! Stop! Jeremiah!"
I desperately wanted to climb back up to save her, to kill the bastards... but I couldn't find any more reserves of strength in my body. All I could do was listen helplessly as the sounds faded into the distance.
I don't want to remember that pain. Damn it all.
I cast the spell I had remembered and faded into the background. When I had achieved complete transparency, I crouched down. Blows aimed for my head hit only empty space. The skeletons looked confused and spread out, giving me an opening to escape.
I couldn't stay like this for long, it was draining my mental strength fast. If I wanted to cast a spell, I'd need to become visible soon.
"About the Game" posted:
Fade From Sight
- Fade From Sight is an invisibility spell. It can be used in daytime, unlike the Survivor's special ability and Embrace Shadows. Taking any action (other then maybe drinking a potion) while invisibility is active cancels it. It's very useful. It's limited only by your magic reserve, Rank 1 drains 5 magic a second, Rank 5 drains only 1 - with the amount of magic reserve I'll have later on, Rank 5 is practically unlimited invisibility... we'll, 20 minutes, to be accurate. It's very useful for when you just don't want to be bothered by enemies. Of course, conversation and cutscene triggers will make you visible again.
They were all milling together in one spot again.
I hit the hordes with multiple blasts of hail.
With some breathing space, I summoned some skeletons to distract the enraged horde. My skeletons wouldn't last that long against numbers that huge. I grabbed a potion and felt my exhaustion fade away.
The remaining skeletons were too spread out for hail to work, so I returned to the simple fireball spell.
Finally, it was over. I picked up anything that looked useful.
I was tired and badly bruised, but I was happy. With the invisibility spell I had remembered, I knew I could finally leave Aleroth behind and safely get out of this cursed forest. Not a moment too soon in my opinion.
I walked out of the chamber and a portal appeared. Mardaneus strolled out.
"About the Game" posted:
Any skeletons left in the outer hall when you leave are automatically killed when Mardaneus shows up. You don't get any experience for that, but you may want to check around for loot dropped by them before taking the portal up.
Very well - step through the portal and you'll find yourself in Aleroth. There we can talk.
I beamed and said, "That's the best suggestion I've heard all day."
Mardaneus stepped through the magic portal. I paused at the threshold, took look one last look around, then I spat, with feeling.
If I never see another underground monster-filled hole for the rest of my life, it'll be too bloody soon.
I was nearly blinded by the bright sunlight, but the smell of fresh air was wonderful. When my vision cleared, I was standing in front of Mardaneus' house.
Greetings my friend. Uh... I'm afraid I don't actually know your name. I forgot to ask Lanilor before I opened the portal.
"I'm Jeremiah Liro," I said, extending a hand. "Please, call me Jeremiah. It's an honour to meet you. Well, uh... I mean meet you when you're all here."
Mardaneus laughed, and shook my hand firmly.
I thought foul Thelyron would destroy my mind. I'm in your debt, Jeremiah Liro, and I hope that I can repay you someday. What can I do for you?
I hope this isn't a delicate subject, but after spending all that time in his damn lair, I'd like to hear more about Thelyron.
I'm so glad that you have released me from this evil entity. Thelyron was a necromancer of great power. He searched for a way to become immortal... and he failed.
How'd he end up in the catacombs?
For a while, he lived here.
He was a HEALER? Why didn't Lanilor recognize the name from your ummm... ramblings?
He wasn't here for very long, and this was many years before Lanilor and the others arrived. Thelyron sought to uncover the mysteries of death and resurrection, and performed many horrible experiments on animals and even people. When this was discovered, he was shunned by the other healers. He grew angry. For all his knowledge and power, Thelyron simply couldn't grasp the idea that what he was doing was wrong and evil.
I had the opportunity to read some of his diaries. I know what you mean.
He grew paranoid, thinking that we were after his secret knowledge. One day, almost eleven years ago, he simply vanished. We were all just relieved that we were gone. Shortly thereafter, the catacombs were discovered beneath Aleroth. I sensed something dark and evil in them, but I didn't know it was him. Eventually, I made it down to the bottom and found him.
And you made some kind of deal with him?
Thelyron told me that he was near death, but was planning to return with the aid of a device he constructed. I warned him that what he was seeking to do was impossible, but he insisted. I promised him aid in return for a promise to leave the village of Aleroth in peace, and he agreed. I never thought that he would ever manage to contact my mind from the Lands of the Dead, let along influence me to such a degree, but it seemed that he learned much in a short time.
It's good to see that you're all right again. Now the village will flourish.
Mardaneus frowned. Worry lines creased his forehead.
We still have got problems with the Source. It's a tragedy that we can't heal the sick and suffering. I am trying to find a way to restore the Source to its former glory.
That reminds me. Can you do something about the plague in Rivertown? Innocent people are dying.
Mardaneus paced and stroked his beard. After a moment he turned to face me.
Jeremiah, I'll send Lanilor and the other healers to investigate the plague, but they'll need the protection of the Ducal army. They can't journey through the woods to Rivertown without an armed escort. Perhaps you can arrange something?
That's already on my list. It sounds like you won't go with the other healers to Rivertown?
I have to find out why we can't access the Source any longer. There must be something done about it pretty soon.
Alright, I'll take my leave from you now, and set off immediately.
Jeremiah, please wait.
I cannot linger, I have tarried here for too long.
Yes, I am sorry, but it'll be dark in an hour. You'll stand a better chance against the Orcs if you wait until it is dark. Besides, it's rude to leave without saying goodbye to your hosts.
Alright. I'll say goodbye to the healers, then I'll leave. Farewell.
I turned to leave, then slapped my forehead. "Bloody hell, I nearly forgot."
"Forgot what?" Mardaneus asked.
I filled Mardaneus in on what happened to me in the woods outside Aleroth, and I showed him the glowing tattoo on my wrist. I even confided in him that I'd been seeing strange visions and hearing voices.
"...so do you have any idea what happened to me?" I asked hopefully.
"Hmmm..." Mardaneus said, deep in thought. "I'm afraid I haven't the faintest idea. I'm afraid my research into the cause of the problems with the Source will be my top priority, but I'll try to find some time to look into your condition."
I doubted I'd have occasion to return to Aleroth.
"I'd be grateful for anything you can find. I understand about the source. ... Goodbye for now."
"About the Game" posted:
For saving his mind, Mardaneus's disposition is now maxed at 100 (Admiring). We can now trade with him. Like the other healers, he also identifies things, but he only charges 100 gold to do so, which is cheaper than Joram.
It was time to say my goodbyes to Aleroth. ... say my goodbyes...
24 Declianum 1216 - 21'45 O'Clock
Rumors travel fast. I had been in the tavern closest to the university when I heard them. Two students had been murdered by a third. They were talking about what happened with Tom and Eloric... I knew Tom was dead, but if Eloric had died too...
If it had just been me, I could have gotten off with a reprimand, but with my actions having caused the deaths of two people, I'd be spending a good portion of my life in a small, windowless magically dampened cell.
I had nowhere to go. I didn't think Father would help; what I had done would just bring shame to our family, and Jenna still hadn't forgiven me. No, there wasn't anything for me at home.
Gods, how did it come to this?
I needed time to think, find a way out. I couldn't let them catch me. I had to stay away from familiar ground. That's how I ended up here, outside some bar - "The Bloody Morningstar", deep in the underbelly of Idfren City.
As I entered, I blinked to adjust to the dim lighting, and discovered several pairs of eyes were staring at me with hostile suspicion, trying to decide if I was a predator... or prey. I ignored them and made my way to the bar.
The bartender was a fat bearded man, whose nose had long ago been broken and never set properly. "An ale," I said to him.
"Three gold," he replied curtly. I slid the coins across wordlessly, and received the ale wordlessly. "It was pretty terrible stuff, actually. But it would suffice. I realized belatedly that I had very little money with me.
What am I going to do for food and lodging?
A nasty, sarcastic part of my mind replied to my thought.
Well, you could always go back to the university, you'll get a nice warm cell and two meals a day in prison.
It was an accident...
Oh yes, an accident. You fool. They'll want to make an example out of you.
Just then the internal debate I was having with my unnecessarily sarcastic side was cut off by the taverns doors being violently thrown open. In marched a half-dozen toughs carrying nasty-looking weapons. The bartender started moving all the breakable bottles and glasses out of sight.
"Simmons!" bellowed the one in the middle, a ruddy-faced brute with scarred knuckles." He was a real bear of a man.
Many patrons were already starting to slip out, conspicuously keeping their hands visible. In a fit of complete stupidity, I stayed put. Others were drawing weapons - except for one man who had his feet up at a table. His face bore a grin of satisfaction, like he'd been anticipating this. "What can I do for ya, Mickey?" the man asked.
He must be Simmons.
Mickey pointed a finger as big as a sausage at Simmons. "One o' me storage 'ouses was hit the other day, an' most ev'ryone init was slaughtered. The survivor said it was yer crew wot done the killings!"
Simmons spread his arms wide and assumed a look of pained innocence. "You wound me wif doze vicious lies. That cain't be true," he said. "I can assure you, in all sincerity", he paused for emphasis. "...That I gave specific instructions to my crew, to leave. No. Witnesses."
Simmons' gang roared with laughter, but Mickey bellowed with rage, and the brawl was on.
At that point I realized that the best time to leave was two minutes earlier.
How do I stop remembering? I don't want to get all my memories back anymore.
I went to say my goodbyes to the healers. Lanilor and Joram were having tea.
Celiu Tenabre! The brave one returns! I'm so happy that the good Mardaneus has been freed from the necromancer! Now, what can I do for you, Jeremiah?
I've come to say thank you for all your help, and to take my leave. I'm feeling well enough to risk the orcs on the road now.
I'm pleased to hear it. You're welcome back in Aleroth any time, Jeremiah.
Good luck to you, Jeremiah.
Thank you again. Good luck dealing with the plague. I'm sure you'll wipe it out in no time at all. Farewell.
By Duna's bouncin' breasts! I didn't think ye had it in ye to find a cure for old Mardaneus' broken brain... Well done hu- ... Jeremiah! ... *grunts* Probably think you're something special now, don't ye?
Well, if my head ever gets too big, I know where to find you to deflate it, don't I, Otho? Farewell.
Goemoe was changing Simon's bandages when I came in.
So you have found the cause and a solution to Mardaneus' queer behaviour. You display great bravery and ingenuity, Jeremiah. Well done indeed. Ssss...
Thank you, Goemoe. I'm leaving town now, so I came to say goodbye. Good luck dealing with the plague in Rivertown.
One last person to talk to - in fact, it was probably the one I should have talked to first, given how the straps of my heavily loaded pack were digging in to my shoulder.
Hey George, you'll never guess what - What's happened here?
George was dead.
Next Time: Murder in a Small Town
Behind the Scenes
if you got the herbs for George, his fate is sealed once you enter the ritual chamber in the catacombs. But if you need something repaired, don't despair, Otho is a dwarf of many talents (sadly not including a good bedside manner) and can repair your equipment.
Next update, yes, we finally leave Aleroth.
That dungeon was full of enemies.
The skeletons add up to 447.
What's fake in this update?
- The shot of Jeremiah on the edge of the cliff was full of fakeness. Everything left of the cart was fake, and so was everything east of the cart (except the geography and the trees in the lower right corner) The NPC I was using for Jeremiah's mother doesn't have a death pose, she just explodes into a shower of blood, so I had to work with what I had. In retrospect, I should have had her wearing yellow instead of red.
- The shot of Jeremiah in the bar was faked, but much less so than the cliff one. You'll recognize that place once we get there. I wasn't able to disguise it very well.
- I made up what Mardaneus says about Thelyron, based on what the game gives us. There were some contradictions about who was at Aleroth first (Mardaneus or Thelyron), which needed to be sorted out. If that's too wordy, blame Glazius, it was his comment that reminded me that more needed to be said about Thelyron and Mardaneus's history.
- All the screenshots of Jeremiah saying goodbye to the healers were faked.