Part 22: Farmlands
Chapter 18 - Farmlands
Music - "The Four Seasons Singing"
Download (Thanks to Grawl)
"About the Game" posted:
OK, time for something different. The first part of this chapter was not written by me. It was taken from the backstory PDF which came with the game, which was later re-written and the images were enhanced. It's available to read for free online, but uh, please don't because it contains spoilers for later revelations.
This backstory is a lot more than what you the game gives you, so I thought it would be helpful. I have edited some spoilerish parts out under the guise of bloodstains, because the main character shouldn't know those things until later.
I have made an edit to this, it appeared that two punctuation marks were accidentally switched, which made one sentence completely incoherent. The original is at the bottom.
The clear letters I took from the PDF file, others I had to scan in.
Written by Damon Wilson
Re-Written and Edited by Darren Evans and Gillian Pearce
Illustrations (probably) by Marian Arnold and Wouter De Winter
Given the extensive bloodstains and the age of the paper, I was surprised that the document was mostly readable.
rom the pen of Zenfar Blutsporn, Chief Archivist of the Black Circle and last living member of the Legion of the Damned.
y children: I am dying. The blessing laid upon me by the Lord of Chaos is finally coming to an end, those comrades of mine who had survived the war with the foul and treacherous League of Seven, have already fallen and I know I am now the last. This does not embitter me, I know that at the last battle we failed our master and let him be banished by wicked and deceitful magic. I know that I have lived fully six hundred years since that shameful day and that is indeed, terrible proof of our dark lord's continuing and benevolent power - even though he now resides in Hell.
believe that my continued survival is due to the fact that I have more than one demonic ancestor and that our master is still in need of me. Or so I hope. But I feel that it is my place to speak some sense to you as my life draws to a close, like a final curtain. I am the last of the Damned, and although the League gave us that hated name - I am proud to be called such. But you...you are a bunch of back biting, bickering and foolish silk wearing whelps! This new so-called generation, those that call themselves the Black Ring. You may have created many fine ceremonies to glorify your insignificant doings, but none of you has felt, as I have the pure glory of standing shoulder to shoulder with your demonic allies and facing down a phalanx of battle-ready dwarves, all howling like rabid wolves and chanting the name of their goddess, Duna. None of you has cast warspells at the foe in bloody battles or slaved over a hot branding iron, marking prisoners for brutal sacrifice to our black-hearted master.
have seen all of this, and I have done all of this, and much respect it has earned me from you young fools! In the heyday of our greatness, we lived for one pure goal only, one reason: To avenge the wrongdoings done to our mighty order by those mortal fleas...they murdered our Archwizard and drove us like cattle from our home in Stormfist castle. They dared to question our research, our ways and us...so in the name of survival and vengeance we made a terrible pact with the legions of Hell. The Seven races then had the gall to call us the Damned, because our only allies were demons! They too are fools and all should be crushed. But do you know whom I despise more than those festering fools, that loose rabble of semi-intelligent drooling subspecies in Rivellon? Yes, you, you meekly lurk in the mountains dabbling in minor hate magics and petty, pathetic storm gathering...how great you are...you young whelps do not know that you are alive!
here is your fire, your spirit, where's the cold ruthless hate that we of the Damned were renowned for? You don't know how to kill; most of you have only committed a tiny amount of the killings that we once reveled in, during most of your whimpering lives added together! And what were these killings? They were the results of all the petty in fighting in your precious Black Ring. That is what they were! Heed these words that I write now, it is your duty, your purpose and right to butcher, enslave and murder those mewling pathetic fools in Rivellon...torture the Seven races of Rivellon - for what they did to us in the past, show them your heart and then tear theirs from their still living breast! But now comes the time for you young bastards to take note of my words, listen and mark these with your lives...do not ignore what I am about to share with you...unless you wish to live in those pretty mountains of yours and play at being wizards? The great Archmage once
[some sentences are illegible]
a second chance for our master. With Chaos banished from the mortal plane, it remained as a subtle link to him, a tenuous but permanent link to our beloved master. But Ulthring was slain at the last battle,
[an entire paragraph is illegible]
ut as I write this, I can feel my spirit failing me, my spies have informed me that the present servants and castle staff do not know of the artefacts presence nor of its power. So the secret of its location may be held deep within the Ferol family alone. I will take my own life at Brokentooth Crag, since I have always enjoyed the view from up there...I will not simply die and fade like a whisper on the wind. So with my last breath this I command of ye all...let old hatreds be unshackled, begin the quest once more for revenge and sow discord amongst the races of Rivellon - with the races in upheaval there might be enough disorder to bring the Chaos Lord back to us, then revenge can be ours for the taking...even though I shall be long dead. Murder and maim, cause hatred and suffering, bring the lands to a destructive brink. Remember my children that the Seven races think that the Lord of Chaos safely locked away and the Damned truly dead and gone. With my death the latter part shall be true, but I leave with you a legacy of hatred and revenge...they are ignorant of your presence, they may not even know that you exist so you can swiftly move against them. But be subtle, use their own ignorance and prides against them - infiltrate their petty lives and bend your every will to
[part of a sentence is illegible]
is the key to Hell itself. Now go forth my hateful children, rob, steal, murder and undermine...spy and torture...commit every evil act that you can think of - [a few words are illegible], open the gateway to Hell and I will be there to greet you, I and the rest of the Legions of the Damned and together with the aid of the Lord of Chaos - we shall return and turn what remains of the lands into a charnel house.
Yours in eternal darkness and hate,
Great. That gave me just enough information to tell me jack diddly except that some very, very, bad people are trying to kill me for reasons I don't understand.
Suddenly nearby, I heard a loud roar, then human shouts.
The road soon ended at a bridge. Two trolls were attacking some human soldiers.
I lent my aid with lightning.
They sure are tough creatures!
Oh, no problem! Always glad to help out.
We need more people like you. This bloody war would be over in no time.
My name is Jeremiah Liro, I'm... I'm a traveler.
I am Jupiter, a simple soldier. When I volunteered to guard the bridge, I never imagined that I would be fighting against trolls.
Ferris, at your service. I was sent by General Alix to hold this bridge so a knight named Seth could go towards Aleroth. I do hope he made it with all these trolls around...
We were ordered us to remain behind to guard the bridge so that the trolls don't reach the farmlands!
Lord Seth? I met him! He made it safely to Aleroth. The other soldiers however, died in an orc ambush.
Ugh... Those damned orcs! What has come over them to attack us!
I am glad to hear Seth is all right. He seemed to be a tough guy that could handle himself when in trouble.
What's this war you're talking about?
Oh, the orcs are attacking from the southeast of Rivertown, and now we find there are orcs in the forests from which you came as well!
Well, at least now there are fewer orcs back there.
And then there was this terrible sudden storm which came out of nowhere. It might have made the trolls mad because they suddenly came out and attacked us! Bad times are ahead!
Seth instructed me to report to General Alix on his behalf. Anything I should know about her?
You'll never meet a more courageous woman than our general. But she's quick to have us flogged if we fail to carry out her orders. If I'd lost this bridge and survived, Alix would have the skin off my back.
She's presently quartered in the barracks to the southeast. Go speak to her if you want to join the ducal army in our hour of need. Magic-users are always welcome among us fighters, it's always comforting to know there's a man behind you that can burn the enemy to ashes.
Providing that his aim is good, that is.
We all laughed.
Well spoken, stranger. Fare thee well.
Take care of yourself.
I continued across the bridge.
The road went north and south, but to the east was a farmhouse and barn, and on a hill much further to the east was a castle, obviously Stormfist.
I read the road signs.
"Hmmm... I wonder which way I should go," I said to myself sarcastically.
I spotted a man by the farmhouse and went to go talk, but I heard footsteps racing towards me from the south. Up ran a young man who seemed to be in a panic. He stopped, out of breath and panted out
STORMFIST CASTLE WAS ATTACKED! EVERYONE LIVING IN THE CASTLE IS DEAD! No, not simply dead - they were BUTCHERED! We're all DOOMED I tells ye!
I was quite taken aback by this bizarre claim.
Well, I've heard rumors about...
No, they're not just rumors! The castle is no more. I've come directly from Dwarven Bread Inn. The castle is no more.
The nearby farmer and I looked towards the castle. It was quite far way, but I could see the sun glinting off the helmets of the guards patrolling the parapets. It hadn't changed since I last looked at it about 30 seconds ago. No smoke was rising, no distant screams were heard. It was quite peaceful. I caught the farmer's gaze. He gave a confused shrug. I smiled.
There was a man there who swore two hundred mages attacked Stormfist Castle. He saw it with his own eyes, he said. Really.
Are you... quite sure?
Didn't you hear me? Stormfist Castle has been reduced to smouldering rubble!! I heard it from an eyewitness with my very own ears! We're doomed!
Something about very nearly dying stimulates you, almost makes you crazy. It makes you want to get up, move around, live... and to scare the living crap out of some poor sap too gullible to live, just to see if you can make him piss himself right in front of you.
I leaned in towards him, looked around conspiratorially and said "I don't know about that, but have you heard what has been happening out here in the Farmlands? About the trolls attacking the farmers and livestock?
What? Trolls? Oh no, not these horrid creatures! I've heard that they stand at least the height of two men and smell like the sewers in Riverton on a hot day! You say that the trolls have invaded the Farmlands? WE'RE ALL DOOMED!
That's not the worst part! They've got spies everywhere. It's said that Trolls can disguise themselves as ordinary rocks, then suddenly pounce without warning! I heard talk o' a fisherman who went down to the river, sat down on a rock and BAM!!
I pounded my palm with my fist. The kid jumped a little.
They found his hat and rod the next day, but never laid eyes on him again.
The nearby farmer watching looked confused for a second, then got it. A smile crept onto his face.
In fact... do you see that big rock over thereDON'T LOOK! What are you doing you fool, you'll get us all killed! I'm pretty sure that rock over there... wasn't here yesterday.
The listening farmer, who knew better, put his hand over his mouth to hide his smile.
oh gods, oh gods...
And have you heard about the orc raiders around Aleroth...
The kid's face paled even more, and his knees shook.
ORCS? No, don't tell me there are orc murderers besieging Aleroth! WE'RE ALL DOOMED!
They're each ten feet tall and their fists are as big as your head. I've seen 'em myself!
no no no no no no...
The nearby farmer coughed to hide a chuckle
And there are tales of a mysterious plague...
Strangely, this didn't get the expected reaction.
Oh yes, I've heard! But at least the plague won't be too much of a problem. The magical healers in Aleroth will deal with this matter...
It wasn't funny at all, but the "I'm-still-alive" part, the crazy part of me smiled inwardly.
Ah well, there are, in fact, some problems with the Shrine of...
Titus seemed to shrink down on himself further. If he didn't stop that soon he might just disappear completely.
No, no! Don't tell me the Healers won't be able to cure the plague!
And have you heard-
I didn't even get a chance to finish my next wild lie. The silly kid had reached his breaking point. He gave a whimper, and a quiet trickling could be heard.
No more! That's it! I'll emigrate! I'm leaving this dukedom immediately, before everything falls into chaos and destruction!
Aye, well good luck...
The poor kid ran off screaming, leaving a wet trail to mark his passage. The farmer and I looked at each other and burst out laughing at the same time.
"Did you see his face -" I wheezed
"-when you said-" the farmer laughed, tears streaming down his face
"I know!" I laughed back, gasping for air.
After a minute we were able to get ourselves under control. The farmer wiped the tears from his face. "Ahh... I haven't laughed like that in a long time." He extended a hand.
I took the hand and shook it. "Jeremiah Liro, traveling wizard and total jerk, pleased to meet you."
I looked up at the sky. The sun was nearly touching the mountaintops. I was suddenly feeling tired. I hadn't slept at all last night, after all, vomited up most of what I'd eaten, and oh yeah, I'd nearly died.
I don't feel like blundering about in the dark looking for the barracks. I could use a place to stay for the night. Maybe if I can make a good impression I can sleep with a roof over my head.
Tell me about Trisha.
Trisha is a fine and decent woman, and she's famed hereabouts for her coking - 'specially her tempting butter leaf biscuits.
I'd love to meet her. I'm wearied, good Sir... May I rest here a while?
To be certain, Mr. Liro! The Good Gods tell us that the unexpected guest is always to be welcomed. I'd ask you to sleep in my farmstead, but my good lady wife is very nervous of people who bear arms - no offence. I suggest you kip down in my barn, over north, yonder. Use as much of my hay as will make you comfortable.
Thank you indeed! A snug nest like that is all I could wish...
It wasn't completely what I was hoping for, but I understood Homers concerns perfectly. Hay would suffice as my mattress, with a sack of grain for a pillow.
Aye, Mr. Liro. But there is just one thing I should want you of. The stable boy said he heard funny noises coming from the barn this morn. The lad has a wandering head on his shoulders, and I doubt he heard aught untoward, but there may be some vermin already camped in there...
Probably just rats. I'll chase 'em out for you!
"About the Game" posted:
Asking Homer about his wife gives you a temporary 10-point disposition bonus to that conversation, after to goes back to normal. It's only useful to do some trading. You never really know what you'll find when you go to trade, although farmers rarely have anything of much interest.
To make a bed of hay, take a rolled up bundle of straw and click it to spread it out. Then take a second bundle and do the same. Drag one pile onto another and you have a bed of hay. You can't undo that, clicking on the bed just tries to make you sleep.
It's probably just rats in the barn. Probably.
You look famished, Mr. Liro. Come on in and join us for supper!
I smiled. "That sounds wonderful, Homer. And call me Jeremiah."
We went into the house. I left my weapons, pack and armor at the door. I noticed that the door was very heavy, and could be barred from the inside, there was a sturdy beam leaning by the wall for that purpose. It looked like a rather recent addition.
Well met, stranger! We don't get visits from townspeople that often. My name's Trisha. I see you've met my husband.
Pleased to meet you, Trisha, my name is Jeremiah. I heard you're a famous chef in these parts. I certainly hope so, I'm famished.
We sat down for the evening meal.
I couldn't help but notice the heavy bar for the door. Aren't the farmlands safe?
The problem is the damnable trolls - if you'll pardon my Dwarfish. They roam the fields at night. Mostly they stay away from houses, but...
The soldiers at the bridge mentioned something about trolls. Do you have many problems with them, Homer?
Homer laughed as if I'd made a large understatement. It turns out that I had.
Oh aye! The trolls have been raiding our farms and killing the cattle. One nasty brute even tried to attack me several days ago, while I was coming back from Five-Acre Pasture. Lucky I saw him coming and ran into the hay barn with the stable boy. The big bastard beat on the door a while then gave up - the troll I mean, not the stable boy. Lucky it was that Trisha had the sense to stay in the house. I heard her screaming with panic the whole time, and I was deadly afraid she might rush out to try and save us.
Aye, many times I thought about taking a sturdy club out to hit the brute. If it had broken through the door, I'd have been out in a flash. Though I'm glad I didn't have to.
Trisha reached out and grabbed her husband's hand. Homer gave her hand a quick squeeze.
Be sure to bar the barn door if you stay there tonight. Some trolls hunt at night.
We all live in fear and the men-folk simply can't get rid of those stinking monsters. A troll killed poor Reginald's son. It threw his torn corpse in the river. Oh, it was a terrible sight to see when they dragged it out.
Please tell me about this Reginald.
Since the death of his only son, Reginald's heart is filled with grief, poor man. You can find his farm to the east near Stormfist Castle. But you should be very careful if you talk with him. Reginald can react very emotionally - it's the grief, you understand.
Say, Jeremiah, you look somewhat like an adventurer by your looks. Why don't you go on a troll-hunt and free us of their maraudings?
I've never really thought of myself as an adventurer. Although I suppose strapping on armor and weapons, and traveling cross-country makes me near enough to one.
Alas, not at this time, Homer. You do me honour, but I'm in no state to battle a whoop of trolls. Maybe I can return to help later.
I understand your fears, Jeremiah. When that bloody troll came after me, I damn near soiled my breeches. But it can't go on like this. I'm sick of living in constant fear and my poor little Trisha is near mazed with the constant frights.
Trisha nodded her assent. Homer sighed.
I will write a letter to General Alix. Maybe she will dispatch a platoon of stout, well-armored warriors to burn-out that troll nest once and for all!
There was a moment of nervous silence. It seemed to me that Homer and Trisha were worried about the future. I felt for them, but even if I didn't have an urgent mission of my own, I really didn't feel ready to waltz into a troll nest.
Thank you for the wonderful meal. Would you like some help with the dishes?
Thank you for the kind offer, but I'll have none of that - you're our guest. I'll take care of it.
Very well. I'll go to the barn to bed down on some hay. Thank you for the food and hospitality.
Don't forget to bar the door.
I'll remember, believe me.
"About the Game" posted:
Seriously, it's a bad idea to try and take on the troll lair right away after reaching the farmlands. The trolls will be a higher level then you after the Aleroth woods. Coming back later is recommended.
I headed to the barn. It was already quite dark. It was quiet out, save for the frogs in the river. It was dark in the barn. I turned to close the door and heard the dreaded sound of steel being unsheathed.
I sighed and slowly put my hands up. "Look, I'm really tired and not in the mood to die tonight. So if you could just... not kill me, that'd be great."
"Oh, you're not him. Sorry for the confusion."
There was the comforting sound of a sword sliding back into its sheath. I took that as my invitation to turn around. I wasn't expecting to see a Knight in full armor hiding in the shadows.
Why are you so nervous, friend?
I'm on the run, stranger. My name is Richard, and I was a noble knight, stationed at Stormfist Castle, but I made a grievous mistake. The late Duke's son has sent an assassin after me!
My name is Jeremiah Liro. So why did the-
Richard suddenly stood bolt upright. "Jeremiah Liro from Idfrennia?! Is it really you?" he interrupted. I was confused.
"Yes, I'm from Idfrennia, how do you know-" I started.
Richard sighed in relief. "Thank the Gods you got my letter!"
The words electrified my nerves, all my exhaustion vanished instantly. I pulled out the letter from "R".
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.
"You're the one who sent this?" I demanded fiercely. "Tell me, please! What happened to my sister?"
Next Time: Richard's Tale
Behind the Scenes
Betcha no one saw THAT plot twist coming.
No map, I didn't go very far at all.
There seemed to be a part which had some incorrect punctuation, which gave the impression of a poor translation. Here is the original:
They dared to question our research, our ways and us...so in the name of survival and vengeance we made a terrible pact with the legions of Hell. The Seven races then had the gall to call us the Damned! Because our only allies were demons, they too are fools and all should be crushed.
That last sentence doesn't make sense at all with the old punctuation. I changed it to:
They dared to question our research, our ways and us...so in the name of survival and vengeance we made a terrible pact with the legions of Hell. The Seven races then had the gall to call us the Damned, because our only allies were demons! They too are fools and all should be crushed.
This is what I believe was the intent of the author.
I also changed the word lair to lurk in this passage:
Yes, you, you meekly lair in the mountains dabbling in minor hate magics and petty, pathetic storm gathering...how great you are...you young whelps do not know that you are alive!
There's a lot more of that PDF's backstory left. We'll get to the rest later. I didn't want to make this any more wordy then it is.
What's fake in this update?
- The images of the paper underneath the dragon rider's corpse. There is no such letter in-game.
- The real text of the "letter" is completely legible, but I'll save posting that until it isn't a spoiler.
- You can only talk to one NPC at a time, so I merged two conversations twice in this update. The lines where Jupiter told Jeremiah where Alix was quartered actually belonged to Ferris.
- You can only read one road sign at a time, and not from that far away, so the dialogue box and the second set of lines was faked.
- Titus was real, but you meet him by heading south from the bridge, not by going to see Homer. I added some extra lines to amp up the comedy.
- The dinner table screenshot was faked.
- Obviously, the Joshua screenshot was faked. To get this, I took the Warrior character, removed all his equipment, gave him the "Feign Death" skill and took a screenshot. Then I used photoshop. I turned his boots flesh-coloured, made his sash into a bloody wound, drained the colour from the body, and shrank it to 66% of its original size to make him child-sized. The rest was hiding Jeremiah, and putting in the other local farmers, which was easy.
- You can't close the barn doors, in fact barn doors do not even exist, which should be obvious from the screenshots.
- Original stories never come out fully formed. They come in bits and pieces, chunks of dialogue here and there. This part was not part of my story early on. Richard doesn't have anything to say about a Jenna, since there isn't a Jenna in the original game. When I first thought of using Richard as part of my story, it was very exciting and filled in a lot of gaps in my story with one fell swoop.