Part 19: Bastard Greenskins
Chapter 15 - Bastard Greenskins
Music - "A Perilous Path"
Download (Thanks to Grawl)
The heavy armor didn't slow the orc down much, so I decided to help with Limbs of Lead.
"About the Game posted:
Obviously this Heavy Orc is a mini-boss. 1254 HP is a lot at level 8, but generally I find that the HP of an enemy doesn't really matter much, only the damage they can do. However, this orc also does pretty hefty damage.
But we have Limbs of Lead and Elemental Hail, so...
Fighting orcs was very little like fighting the skeletons. Even my most powerful spell wasn't doing much damage. It didn't help that the Orc was smart enough to try and get out of the way.
Still, without any bowmen to support him, it was only a matter of time.
Finally, the orc collapsed onto the ground and moved no more. His magical shield slid off of his back.
That might have prolonged your life for a few more minutes if you'd thought of using it. It wouldn't have mattered in the -
From underneath the shield, a letter blew out. I snatched it up before the wind carried it off. Why the orc was keeping it, I did not know, but it was the letter I had been seeking! It was the letter which had prompted me to come here in the first place, unfortunately lost when I was attacked at this spot several days ago. The handwriting suggested that it had been written in a panic, it was fast and erratic, with no flourishes.
Jeremiah Liro - I'm a friend of Jenna. She's missing, I may not survive long. Hiding from assassin while writing this. Something terribly wrong in Stormfist. Don't know who to trust. Come to Ferol. Urgent.
That was it, aside from an "R" scribbled at the bottom in an even hastier fashion than the rest of the letter.
About the Game posted:
Those who have played the game before might know where this is going already...
From the south, I heard many Orcish shouts. A patrol was nearing, and I suspected that they'd found the bodies of the last patrol. I was done here.
Father's sword... it's ruined, but I can't just leave it out here to rust.
I grabbed my father's ruined sword and used the teleporter stone to return to Joram's cellar. I left the uselessly warped sword in a corner and went upstairs. Joram was surprised to see me.
Jeremiah?! What are you doing back here?
I ran into a little Orc trouble on the way, I had to escape with the teleporter stone. I'll try again. ... Ah... Can you spare an apple or two? I'm starving.
I stopped in to see Mardaneus before I left.
Jeremiah? Didn't you leave?
I gave him the same line I gave Joram.
Ah... well, I'm glad you stopped by. I've been recovering my papers from where I hid them when I was... ill, and I've found something you could use. It's my old copy of "Natural Alchemy", written by Medicus. It'll help you identify what mushrooms and herbs you find in the wild can be used for potion-making.
I'm honoured, Mardaneus, thank you.
"About the Game" posted:
As you can see, I was on the cusp of leveling before I met the Heavy Orc, so killing him took me to level 9, which means I can now learn Alchemy, rank 2. This lets me use small empty flasks on herbs and mushrooms to create potions or poison.
Each time I traded stuff I found in the catacombs with a healer, I've been buying any empty flasks I saw. Empty flasks are very cheap compared to potions, and as soon as you get Alchemy Rank 2, they become potions. Before getting Alchemy Rank 2, I had 48 small empty flasks. Splitting the empty flasks between red and blue plants gives me 24 health and magic potions each, which produce 24 Restoration potions.
Each time you get the chance to buy an empty flask, take it. Herbs and mushrooms are free and plentiful.
Speed was of more importance than stealth, so I decided to take my chances with the road.
"About the Game" posted:
After hitting level 9, I immediately started clearing the woods to the west, north and east of Aleroth of all enemies. You get a lot of experience for that, enough to get me to level 10.
Level 10 is when you can first get Lightning as a skill. I already picked up a Lightning skill book in Aleroth. I put in a natural skill point into Lightning, and then use the skill book to immediately bump it up to rank 2.
Orcs have a weakness to Lightning (and also Fire and Spiritual damage). Our Rank 1 Meteorstrike spell can only occasionally one-shot the level 2 skeletons, lightning is a lot more powerful.
From here on out, I start saving attribute and skill points, only spending them when I absolutely must.
I spotted a bit of smoke not far off the road, I snuck up and found a camp recently abandoned. The orcs hadn't bothered to put out their fire.
They must still be looking for me up north.
I could smell meat stewing in the kettle. My stomach growled again reminding me that I hadn't had much to eat.
Orc food can't be that bad, can it?
I grabbed a ladle and reached into the depths of the pot...
...only to bring out a grinning skull, stripped of all flesh, staring me right in the eye.
I dropped the ladle and fell to the ground. The skull fell into the pot with a splash. I vomited up everything in my stomach, and then I dry-heaved painfully for several minutes to be sure.
I propped myself up into a sitting position. I thought the worst of it was over. I was wrong.
25 Fengali 1214
The sun was shining brightly. Not a cloud in the sky or hint of rain. A refreshing breeze blew the scent of wildflowers through the air. All in all, it was a beautiful day for a funeral.
Mourners consoled my father, sister, and me as they left. There were quite a lot, mostly acquaintances of my father. Assorted nobles and politicians, whose names and faces blurred together. I didn't care about any of it. At least with my right arm still in a sling, no one insisted on shaking my hand.
After a while I made an excuse that my shoulder was hurting - it was - and left to sat on a nearby hill overlooking the family crypt. Tom and Eloric - who had come to the service followed me up and sat beside me in silence. We watched the birds flit merrily about in the trees.
"I wonder what was in the urn," I mused aloud.
"S-Sorry?" Tom asked.
"The urn. The thing that contains your remains after they cremate you. Not mother's urn. It's probably just full of sand. They searched for weeks, you know. Never found my mother's body or any trace of her. Didn't find the bodies of the guards, either. They didn't find the orcs, either. They got away."
Tom and Eloric didn't say anything. That was perfectly fine with me. They didn't need to do more than listen.
"I think..." I started, "I think, of all the terrible things, not finding her body is the worst. I'll never know, for sure what happened to her. She was still alive as they dragged her off. I heard her screaming."
There was silence for a while.
"I... I really, really hope that my mother is dead."
Tom and Eloric turned to look at me in shock and horror.
"How can you say that?" Eloric asked with shock in his voice.
"I've heard rumors about what the orc 'honorless' do to their captives - especially women. To think of her being alive and subject to that. I -" I shook my head. "Better to hope she's dead."
There was silence for a while.
"The worst part is that I'll never know for sure," I said.
I scrambled to my feet and ran away from the horrible pot. I came to the road and stopped, trying to flush the smell of the cooking pot from my memory. Then I saw something else.
A trail of gold coins. Fresh anger bloomed.
How stupid to these Orcs think we are. That we'll just follow a trail of gold? I shouldn't bother with this... I shouldn't...
18 Fengali 1214 - 16'20 O'Clock
We raced for thicker cover, but there was a loud cry. Samuel was hit, and he fell. He looked up at us and croaked out, "Don't... surrender..." and then he was gone.
I discovered that I had been wrong. I could get more scared than I already was.
There were six or seven of bastards closing in that I could see. A crossbow bolt slammed into the tree near my head, spraying my face with bark. I ducked my head back out of sight. That suited me just fine. I didn't need a clear path. I cast lightning. It curled around the tree I was hiding behind, zig-zagged between broken branches and zapped an orc who thought he was safe.
Three more blasts produced three more screams of pain from charging orcs.
I heard frantic cries in an orcish tongue.
I wasn't confident in my ability to kill them all, but I could have probably crippled or killed several more.
I wanted to become a healer once. I just hope they'll listen to reason.
"Approach and you will find only blazing blue bolts of... of death!" I shouted
There was silence.
I continued, "But there is no need for any further killing. You want our valuables, here, take them, and those from the carriage as well." I tossed a sack over. "You have what you want, now leave. If you don't..." I swallowed and tried to keep the nervousness out of my voice. "If you don't, not one of you will leave here alive," I bluffed. I was definitely starting to feel the exertion.
There was silence, then muttered squabbling in orcish.
"So we have a deal?" I prompted.
"Human has deal. We go now," came the reluctant reply in Common.
My mother and I waited for a while as the sounds faded, then we emerged from cover and headed for the road. Samuel and the other mercenary were both dead.
We reached the road and discovered that the orcs had looted and burned the carriage.
The adrenaline had faded, and mother was crying.
I put my arm around her shoulder to comfort her. "It's all right. We're still alive. It'll be fine." The words were useless, even to my own ears. I hadn't had time to process the shock either. We set off on the road.
Suddenly my mother cried out in pain. I turned and saw an arrow sticking out of her!
It's stupid... but I really, really, don't feel like walking away. I really don't.
You must not. You've spent too long in the same place.
This won't take long, Mysterious Voice.
They will find you!
That's the idea.
You do not understand!
I don't care.
"About the Game" posted:
- Lightning is a devastating single-target attack. At Rank 1, it does 10-60 damage for 6 magic, at Rank 5 it does 50-180 damage for 18 magic. It's good up on lightning-weak groups until we get a better spell at level 16. After that point, it's only useful on single targets. Its "always hits" nature makes it especially good at targeting enemies we want to make dead FAST. The advantages are that you don't need to aim, just hold the Control key to auto-lock on the nearest enemy, and click until the screen is cleared. The downsides are that it has a very wide damage range, and it's got a pretty high magic cost.
Use it on enemies with high health, but don't use it to finishing off badly wounded enemies, it wastes too much mana. You should switch to healthier targets until all enemies are badly wounded, then switch to a cheaper spell like Meteorstrike for the finishing blow.
All kinds of Skeletons tend to be weak to Lightning damage. Most zombies and orcs are also vulnerable.
Lightning first becomes available at level 10, which is what I was waiting for. I put a point into it manually, then used the last of my spellbooks to raise it up to Rank 2.
I followed the trail of gold. I didn't hear any orcs, which was the idea. But I also didn't hear any birds or other wildlife, which confirmed that I wasn't alone.
I followed the trail to the edge of a fast-flowing and cold-looking river. There was a large pile of gold on the bank. Thick bushes to either side of the gold made escape along the banks slow, if not impossible. It really was a good spot for an ambush. I stepped into position, playing my part.
Sure enough, a half-dozen Orcs sprang from concealment.
I clapped slowly as I smiled humorlessly, "That was a nice trick you pulled. Now let me show you one of MY tricks..."
I lashed out with Lightning at the nearest Orc, while the drummer began pounding an intense war beat on his drum...
Next Time: Don't Call Him Lizard-Jockey
Behind the Scenes
Next story update, we finally start off the main plot. It is an Important Update.
But first, there will be a "Behind the Scenes" Alchemy and potions update coming soon.
Lots of Behind the Scenes stuff today. First, here's the map, which shows where I've been, although almost all of it happened off-screen.
As you can tell, Aleroth is tucked into the northwest corner of the map. Impassible forest to the north and west, and a river to the east.
Here's what the Orc's magical shield did, for the record.
A troll and a snake. Trolls throw rocks and are weak to lightning. They move and attack slowly and are easy to defeat on their own. Snakes poison you and attack fast - at this low a level, they can be very dangerous if there's more than one.
There's an orchard east of Aleroth where the healers get fresh fruit in less orc-infested times.
There's also a zombie in the area, who is level 25 and pretty tough. Most zombies are minibosses, which means 1000+ HP. But they're weak to fire.