Part 30: Night Attack
Chapter 23 - Night Attack
Music - "On the Brink of Defeat"
Download (Thanks to Grawl)
Video - Defending the Barracks
My senses were more refined, sharper than ever. I hurried out to join the fight, General Alix drew her sword and followed close behind.
Alix might have been fast, but Lightning was faster. I downed three of the greenskins before she reached them.
"About the Game" posted:
Look at her max damage! We do NOT want to start a fight with her, that's for sure. Not that there's any reason to start a fight. I'm just saying that we shouldn't mess with her.
To get these screenshots, I had to record a video and export the frames. I couldn't press both the Control key, right mouse, and the Fraps screenshot button at the same time.
You'll notice that my cursor is NOT over anything in particular, that's because the Control key auto-targets the nearest enemy, so you don't have to aim. Lighting also automatically hits if an enemy is targeted.
There were more than enough orcs for everyone, though. One group of orcs had gotten surrounded by soldiers, I couldn't even see them. But my lightning bolts were able to find their way to the bastards without singing a human hair.
"About the Game" posted:
An EXP BOMB is a random combat event where you get 10 times the normal amount of experience for a kill. They're very rare and tend to crop up on common enemies most, but with luck, you'll get one to crop up on an enemy who gives lots of XP.
There was still fighting on the other side of the barracks.
What, you guys aren't done yet?
I heard more fighting coming from the gate. It seems that the orcs plan was just to rush in and hope for the best.
The mop-up was fast.
That was very impressive fighting, young man.
What's the word around the barracks, trooper?
They tell me that the boy-duke Janus, has declared himself the Divine One. Some bloody hope, I say. We'll need a demigod if we're to win this war against the orcs. At this rate, the greenskins will be baying at the gates of Stormfist Castle in half a year. We'll just see how divine little piss-pants Janus is then!
Another soldier came up and told me General Alix wished to see me at once in her quarters.
You have proven very resourceful and unafraid to risk your neck should the cause fit your morals. Can I persuade you to perform some more tasks for me?
That depends on if what I heard is true.
Alix pursed her lips.
If it's bad, then it's true.
I'm talking about the numbers. I heard there are hundreds, if not thousands of orcs massing... that you're facing odds of ten orcs for every human soldier you have.
Alix looked me over carefully, trying to decide how much to tell me.
You're very well informed. Not many people know those numbers. ... Yes, those numbers sound right. We are in trouble, Jeremiah. You seem uniquely gifted. Will you please lend us your aid?
I can't let the orcs invade. Not just because it would be exceedingly difficult to find out what happened to Jenna if the Dukedom falls, but because I can't let other families go through what I went through.
I won't become a conscript in your army; I'm an... independent mercenary. As long as we're clear on that, what would you have me do, General?
Excellent! I know a stout adventurer when I lay my eyes upon one - even if he dresses like a magician.
Alix picked up a piece of paper from her desk, and added a note at the bottom. Then she put it in an envelope and sealed it with hot candle wax, making an impression in it of her ring. She labeled the envelope "SECRET: For Captain Mitox's eyes ONLY", and handed it to me.
You are to deliver this sealed letter to Captain Mitox in the village to the south. Hurry, if the orcs attacked us here, they may have broken through the front lines.
If they broke through, won't they all have been killed?
I doubt it, you saw their style of attack for yourself when the hit us here. They probably left some troops behind to tie up the defenders while they made their main thrust right here.
My equipment was definitely below par. I hadn't been planning on fighting a drat battle today.
If I am to perform dangerous tasks, I could use some equipment, General.
As long as you are in the employ of the Ducal Army, you can have access to our armory. You have my leave to take whatever you need.
Near one of the buildings, I saw a soldier rolling a cigarette.
Excuse me, soldier, do you know where the armory is?
I snapped my fingers and created a little flame to light his cigarette.
My name is Jeremiah, so now I'm not a stranger. Dull soldiers, awful barracks? You seem to be out of place here.
My name is Gareth. Oh, indeed, I am out of place. I was a fool to enroll in the army. I really want to leave, but I can not.
Gareth... Gareth... Ah!
I rummaged in my pack.
I have this love letter for you from Isolde.
Isolde! You met her? Is she well? She is the reason why I wish to flee these barracks!
I signed up for a twenty-five year-long service in the army. There is no way I can leave, not without being hung as a traitor, anyway!
I might have a plan that can get me out of here. But there is a problem... I am missing something.
What is it you need?
I have heard of the existence of Feign Death potions. When one drinks such a potion, he temporarily goes into a deep sleep, deep enough to make others think that this person is dead! Now if I could get such a potion, I could get out of the army that way! By using the potion, the other soldiers will think I'm dead! Dead soldiers get thrown on a cart which drives them outside of the barracks.
There's a lot of death going around the barracks, is there?
Then I can jump off of the cart and leave! The army will think I'm dead!
Yeah, if no one notices that their dead body got up and walked away. You want me to get a Feign Death potion? Where can I find one?
Alas I do not know. But perhaps you might one day come across one and then bring it to me? I must be with my Isolde again, please!
You're a jackass.
You enrolled in the army of your own will. If every man would be like you, the orcs would have won this battle, even without a fight!
And if the orcs had sacked the barracks, who'd be left to protect your Isolde then, huh? Answer me?
I-I don't know.
No one wants to make sacrifices for strangers, but you are a SOLDIER. You have a duty.
I... I... .
Think about that, while I'm off looking for that potion of yours. ... now, where's the armory?
The armory is that building right there.
I turned to leave.
Umm.... Could you please go and speak with Isolde for me? And tell her I'm alright?
I was getting annoyed.
I am not your personal messenger. Frankly, I think I've done enough already by bringing you this message! Maybe if I ever meet her again, I might deliver the message.
Oh, I guess you are right. I shouldn't be bothering you with my problems. Well, thank you for bringing the letter to me, and looking for the potion.
I'll keep an eye out for it, but no promises.
"About the Game" posted:
Taking the "if everyone was like you the orcs would have won" option in the conversation declines his quest. But it's experience, so I'm doing it anyway. This is what's fun about a narrative, I can put both the "you suck" and "I'll do it" lines into the same conversation.
If you complain about being his personal messenger, you don't get the conversation option with Isolde to tell Gareth he's well. But you don't get any reward or XP for that, so it doesn't matter. It's nice to tell someone off for giving you a stupid quest every once in a while.
I entered the armory. Unfortunately, there was little there of interest. Mostly melee weapons, and armor that was either too heavy, or less useful than what I already had.
But... I sensed something... something here had a strong magical aura about it.
After a minute, I found it. There was a dagger which had fallen behind a package.
I took it to the quartermaster to identify.
You sure you want to use a dagger, and not a REAL man's weapon?
There was some tittering from the soldiers.
Did you happen to spot the smoking orc corpses out in the yard, the ones with great big holes in them where their hearts used to be before they were burned out?
The tittering stopped.
I'm not going to fight with this. I'm just using it for the enchantments on it. This is a very powerful item. Now... I just need a shield, mine's almost had it, a few more blows and it'll break.
Well, we've got plenty of shields...
I was starting to remember something.
Not that kind of shield.
"About the Game" posted:
Aura of Guarding
- Aura of Guarding is an excellent spell. It absorbs 60 damage at Rank 1, and goes up by 20 to a maximum of 140 damage. There is no time limit or mana drain, it's a cast and forget spell, and it lasts until it takes the maximum damage, or until you sleep. You can refresh it before it collapses. I could have learned this at level 10, but it can be found in spellbooks, so I made sure that I found a book with it before coming here.
I have a new dagger. It's not just any dagger, though. It's the first of the game's Super-Unique items. See an upcoming update for more details on the dagger. Also, now that I have a one-handed weapon, I can use a shield. There's a glitch where sometimes the shield appears on my back, and sometimes it doesn't. I don't know what's causing that, so just ignore it.
This dagger has the Mana Drain attribute on it, which you can't get as a skill. Each successful hit on an enemy with the theoretical intelligence to use magic replenishes your mana by a bit. The amount seems to vary a bit, but this Rank 3 mana drain seems to give me back 6 mana a hit. It doesn't do anything on animals. The boost isn't much, but if you can manage consistent hits, it's enough to keep your Aura of Guarding up indefinitely, so you don't take health damage. That means you can be relatively safe in melee combat with mana sources, as long as you have the agility to hit your enemies.
I hurried out of the barracks; I'd spent too much time talking with Gareth.
I wasn't too late though, I heard human shouts and the sounds of battle coming form the darkened village ahead. Unfortunately, there was a group of orcs between me and them.
6 Junar 1215
I rushed in, silently cursing my lateness. Master Groghammer had a short temper at the best of times.
"Oh 'an here's Mister Liro. Where've ye been, pickin' flowers in th' fields?"
"My apologies, master, I was, uh, in the privy."
"Really. Looks like we've found our first volunteer, then," Groghammer said cheerfully, to much snickering among the students.
I had a bad feeling about this.
Groghammer smiled. "Mr. Genusson over there," he said, pointing to Tom, "just asked an unusually good question about th' spell I'm teachin' yer all today, Burning Wall. Since yer missed it, I'll explain again."
I was definitely in trouble, Groghammer wasn't ever this cheerful, and he especially didn't enjoy explaining things twice.
"Burning Wall is a wall 'o electricity that follows in yer footsteps for a short time, preventin' anyone from passin' through and hurtin' em if they try. What I want from you is to try an' pass through the wall I'll make around yer."
I looked uncertain.
"Don't worry, lad it only does a wee bit o'harm. See? "Groghammer zapped me with a tiny bolt of lightning. It stung, but only a little. "Just a wee little bee sting.
"Th-that doesn't sound too bad." I said very uncertainly.
"Excellent!" Boomed Groghammer. Hold still, now.
Groghammer spoke a spell, then walked in a square around me. A purple barrier of lightning sparked around me. "Now then lad, try an' escape."
I stepped up and touched the wall gingerly with one hand. The familiar low pain of the bee sting came, but it wouldn't stop! It kept stinging and stinging. I tried to pull my hand away, but I couldn't! My muscles were paralyzed; I was locked in place with no control.
"As ye can see, Mr. Gennousson, Burning Wall may not SEEM to do much, just a wee sting, but it does it dozens and dozens o' times."
I lost all control over my body. I was very thankful that I had visited the privy.
How long was I in there? It felt like an hour!
"Ha! It was only five seconds, that was. That, class, was the lowest power an' th' shortest duration."
After that day, no one in the class was ever late for one of Groghammer's lectures again.
"About the Game" posted:
- Burning Wall is a seriously awesome skill. At Rank one, it only does 4-6 Lightning damage per hit and lasts for 5 seconds at a cost of 14 magic. The thing is that that it hits several times a second. This will decimate lightning-weak enemies like Orcs and Steel Skeletons . It's not a super-high-level skill either, I'm only getting it via a spellbook at level 15.95, and this would normally be available at level 16.
At Rank 5, it does 20-30 damage per hit (again - several times a second) and lasts for 25 seconds for only 30 mana, making it an order of magnitude more efficient at dealing with groups than Lightning.
The orcs didn't know what was hitting them six times a second.
One of the orcs was unimpressed. It was bigger and tougher than the others. It was the patrol leader. It fell into the same lightning trap as the others.
"About the Game" posted:
This is why I got Know Creature up to Rank 4, otherwise I wouldn't be able to sense the stats of the level 37 Elite Orc.
Also, I just reached level 16. I'm not sure why I keep showing these, my stats aren't going to change a lot for a while, but here you go anyway.
I didn't really like to admit it, but the dagger felt better in my hand than the staff had - especially when I plunged it into an orc's chest.
I reached the village. There was still fighting going on
Once the last of the orcs were dispatched, the only sounds were the cries of the wounded and those giving aid.
We need a medic here NOW! Eric's bleeding bad!
It's too late for him.
Hold on, Frank. Help is coming.
I only had a few healing potions, but I gave what I had to the field medic. It didn't feel like enough.
I don't recognize you. Are you an new recruit?
I have a message for Captain Mitox, where is he?
He's in the purple cloak, over there.
Greetings, soldier. Name's Captain Mitox. I'm in charge of the garrison of this village, what's left of it, that is.
I heard that war was imminent, but I hadn't heard-
On which world have you been wandering lately? There already IS a war! The orcs are invading Rivertown and currently they are kicking our asses east of this village. I was planning on regrouping the last reserves in the tent camp to kick the orcs back to where they belong, but they struck first.
The greenskins launched a sneak attack - they breached the wall and poured in like water through a dam, catching us by surprise. We tied them up well enough, but I think some of them got away.
Aye, they assaulted the barracks head-on, the bastards. You did a fine job Captain, they didn't have enough strength or numbers to do much damage. Why did the orcs start a war in the first place?
I don't know... Because they are orcs, I guess! Now, time is short. What is it you want from me?
General Alix bade me deliver this sealed note to you, Captain.
I can't let the orcs overrun this point. Still, as much as I want to give them a bloody nose, I'm not letting myself get drafted.
My name's Jeremiah, and I'm not one of your damned soldiers; I'm a freebooting mercenary. Still, tell me more about your mission and I'll see what I can do for you.
The orcs can only maintain the siege as long as they've access to plenty of supplies. I want you to ambush their supply train and destroy it with some explosives. Don't worry, they're not magical - they're some chemical concoction made by our alchemists. Just follow the instructions on the packaging.
Where can I find this supply train?
Do you have a map?
I removed the magical map Zandalor had given me. Mitox's eyes lit up when he saw the glowing points on the paper.
A teleporter map. Those are rare indeed. Where did you find that?
It was a gift.
... I see. The supply train should be about here.
Mitox picked up small, surprisingly light barrel and handed it to me.
Here are the explosives, good luck! There may still be some of my spies about. If you think you've found one, give the code phrase "Your mother was an ox," and the reply code phrase is "Your father was an oxcart."
"Your mother was an ox," "Your father was an oxcart." Okay, I've got it. But why the code phrases? I should be able to recognize them, shouldn't I?
If you could, they wouldn't be a very good spy, now would they? Just remember the code phrases. Oh, and one more thing, freebooter. I know that I'm asking a lot for an unpaid mercenary, but maybe this scroll could be useful to you. It is the activation scroll for the human teleporters.
Hey, wait, unpaid? ... Nevermind, I'm doing this so the dukedom isn't overrun while I'm looking for Jenna. And if there are more lizard-jockeys about, this scroll could be more valuable than all the gold in the Castle Treasury.
Thank you, this will come in very handy. The supply train, it's near one of the Human teleporters, yes?
That's correct, but you can't teleport to it unless you've already been there.
That's fine. It's not the way in, it'll be our way out.
You've got a plan?
Yeah. My first step though, is to activate the Barracks teleporter so we can get back.
"About the Game" posted:
The teleporter scroll you get from Mitox is the only reason why I'm doing this quest right now. It's a bargain, too. Deliver a note from Alix and agree to take on another job and you get a free teleporter scroll for the most common teleporters around. You don't even have to finish the second job! It's MUCH easier than looking for a scroll in the Cursed Abbey .
When I got back, Mitox was waiting for me. I headed for the house the refugee had mentioned.
My men told me that you shared your supplies of potions with them.
Of course. It was the least I could do.
Where are you going?
I ran into a refugee who lived here, said there's a tunnel going to the orc encampment - ah, here it is. We'll get in before they know we're even there. A small strike force might be able to get in and out practically unnoticed.
I opened up the door.
Orcs! Men! To arms! Orcs in the camp!
The orcs had caught us by surprise, and several more orcs came charging out of the tunnel, but they were quickly defeated by the determined human soldiers.
They must have found the tunnel!
Mitox turned and shouted out into the yard. "Men, get some nails and boards! There's a drat tunnel here!" He turned back to me "You'd better get going before more orcs show up, freebooter!"
I climbed down the stairs, then turned back to look at Mitox. A bunch of soldiers showed up in the house.
My name is Jeremiah. Good luck in your defence, Captain.
And good luck to you, Jeremiah. Gods be with you.
He closed the hatch shut, and there was the sound of hammering.
Wait! Hold on a second here!
They didn't stop.
You're sending me in alone? You really can't spare anyone at all? Hello?
There were the sounds of heavy things being moved on top of the door, and then there was silence.
I was alone, in the dark, with gods-only-knew how many orcs between me and the supply train. I sighed.
Well... it looks like I've really stepped in it this time.
Next Time: BOOM
Behind the Scenes
Here's the letter that Alix asked us to deliver to Mitox.
Unfortunately, if you opened the SEALED letter, Mitox will be upset with us. Don't worry; it's all bluster and no consequences. I knew better than to open the letter on my real run.
Unholy Gods! You've opened a letter that carries the seal of General Alix! Don't you realize I could have you hanged for this? If we survive this day, I'll have you dancing on the end of a rope... unless... maybe you're willing to undergo a mission for me. Succeed and I'll forget the charge of tampering with the Royal Mails.
I wanted to squeeze in a bit more experience before going into the barracks, so before I did that, I turned invisible and slipped past the orc patrol into the Ancient Battlefield area.
That's a strange warning.
There's something written on it, but it's covered in moss. I should scrape that off.
These skeletons are about level 11 or so. They're just as easy to dispatch as the ones in Aleroth. The only wrinkle is that there are a couple of conjurers among them, but that's not much of a problem.
I was originally planning to have the last line of the update be something along the lines of "A few dozen orcs between me and the target?" :grins to self: "Bring 'em on," but that felt a bit too different from his character so far. Having Jeremiah getting roped into something beyond his normal pay grade by accident seemed to be more appropriate for the LP.
What's fake in this update?
- The orcs don't attack unless you tell Alix that you want to take on some assignments from her.
- There is no magic dagger in the armoury. See the next Fake Update for details... The dagger in the armoury wasn't a photoshop, I physically placed a dagger there. Also, there is no one in the barracks who can id items, and no known Quartermaster.
- Mitox doesn't give you a code phrase to verify human spies in the orc camp.
- The orcs don't emerge from the tunnel, but they can be found in the mess hall for some reason which isn't clear. There's only the one door in. The tunnel isn't covered with debris; I moved it like that to show that it was covered until the orcs coming out pushed it aside. The hatch is in the right spot, but normally, you can't see those open. But I found an image showing an open hatch, so I put that in.