Part 37: Blood Sacrifice
Chapter 28 - Blood Sacrifice
Music - "Ominous Warnings"
Download (Thanks to Grawl)
Excuse me, watchman, a little boy named Marty has gone missing. His mother Caroline asked me to look for him. She thinks he might have wandered into a cave, but doesn't know where it is. Do you know of any caves in the area?
Yes, I think I do remember hearing about one... it's southeast of the market, if I recall. Good luck.
The watchman was correct, southeast of the market was a cave. I sensed a darkness about the place. Cautiously, I stepped inside.
Before my eyes had adjusted to the darkness, I was attacked by a Lich!
Sheloi! Undead abomination!
Liches... they're vulnerable to fire, right?
"About the Game" posted:
Liches are empty pieces of armor with some nasty spirit inhabiting it. They are annoying enemies. They have a decently high HP, Some good resistances and have dangerous spells like Lightning and Life Leech. They are however, weak against fire-based attacks.
A few Meteorstrikes later and the tormented spirit dissipated with a wail as the armored shell - the only thing holding it into a coherent form - shattered into pieces.
Yes, yes they are vulnerable to fire.
Marty? Are you in here?
It was immediately clear that Marty was not in here. The cave might have been small, but it had an ugly history. There was a table with rusted restraints, stained long ago with blood. Shackled to a nearby rack was a mangled, desiccated corpse which bore clear signs of torture even in its advanced state of decomposition.
Lying at the feet of the corpse was a magical hammer, and a magical claymore lay on a rusty cage, along with a spellbook...
"About the Game" posted:
- Polymorph transforms the target into a harmless critter, which makes them unable to attack you
for 3 to 15 secondsEVER AGAIN. It requires that the target have less Spiritual resistance than X. It also does Spiritual damage to the target, which is helpful because the Polymorphed target retains its hit points, defense score, and resistances and it can still move around. Energy cage can stop it from fleeing, though.
It turns out that this spell seems to be bugged in that it NEVER wears off. That's awesome. It even works on bosses, which I discovered. I'm trying to determine if I should use that take as the canon one or not.
I won't be using this much, it's less efficient than simply killing them, and its utility is limited to targets without spiritual resistance. It works perfectly on most humans and orcs, though, so it crops up in a few places. The free spellbook is really there, though, as are the other weapons, although their stats are random. Deathblow is a unique, but not a super-unique.
Well, I looked, that's all anyone could have expected. Sorry, Caroline, but I can't be looking all over the country for your kid. I'll just have to hope he's alright.
I headed back through the market. Thankfully I didn't see Caroline, so I didn't have to tell her I had no luck. I followed the well-traveled road north toward Verdistis.
I saw a knight fighting a large group of trolls.
I joined the battle, dispatching two of the trolls with bolts of fire. The knight finished off the rest with single expert strikes from his sword.
We fight well together, my friend. I am Jeremiah.
Indeed, it was an honour for me. Sir Markham at your service. Where are you heading from here, if I might be so inquisitive?
I'm heading for the good town of Verdistis...
Well then, be careful on your way. Verdistis is full of dangers, as you will soon see. I wish you good luck, and may the Gods' favour go with you.
I could use the favour of the gods about now. Thank you for your kind wishes. Farewell.
I started to continue down the road, when Sir Markham spoke up again.
Hmmm, if you have the time, maybe you could investigate something for me?
It depends on what it is, friend.
There's a cave nearby, in the woods a bit to the southeast - some folk call it Dark Cave.
That cave - is it south-east of the market?
No, the one I speak of is to the northeast of the market.
THAT'S the Dark Cave? Thiu Fingol! I went to the wrong one!
I thought I heard some strange noises coming from there. I wanted to investigate it myself, but unfortunately the damn trolls around here have kept me too busy.
Yes, of course. I will investigate the matter right away.
Seven Gods, I hope the boy is alright...
I hurried southeast, cursing myself for a fool. Then I spotted something I had missed before.
There was a trail of gold coins leading into the woods. I followed it, keeping an eye out for a possible ambush.
At the end of the coin trail, I found an entrance to another cave. There was dried blood outside the entrance, leading into the interior. Not a good sign.
The cave was lit with candles. The blood trail continued deeper inside. My tattoo tingled, but I didn't need the warning to know it was dangerous in here. I could sense it... a presence. I turned a corner and saw the missing boy, and beside him a man in a strange hat - it was George's drug dealer!
The man had spoken in a surprisingly sluggish voice. His shoulders were slumped and he seemed somewhat unsteady on his feet. The boy seemed unharmed, although he was staring straight ahead as if in a trance. I asked the first question which came to mind.
Don't I know you from somewhere? Weren't you George's drug dealer I met back in Aleroth?
I don't know a George and I have never been in Aleroth. I suppose you mean somebody else.
The voice wasn't the same, and as I took a closer look, the features weren't quite right either. It wasn't Creepy Hat Man from Aleroth after all.
What do you mean? Why don't you have a choice? A choice of what?
I am weak. Almost too weak... I HAVE to feed on this boy... It's a question of survival... Why should he have life while I die for want of his petty mortal blood.
The boy doesn't look that healthy.
But, the boy won't survive it!
No, he most certainly will not, but there is no alternative... I'm not strong enough to hunt down another victim.
Maybe there is another option?
The only alternative would be, if another mortal would sacrifice HIM self...
He means me...
Sacrifice? You mean, die?
Ahh, no. Someone stronger than this boy would survive. Only part of their life force and skill would be lost.
Umm, maybe I could go find someone...
No! It must be done immediately... It's either YOU or the boy...
No! You must not! Your life is too precious! Leave the boy!
What's with you, mystery entity? You don't like me killing orcs, but you want me to sacrifice a human child? I don't know what you've got in mind for my future, but I make my own decisions, and I know you don't have the ability to stop me.
What guarantee is there that you wouldn't kill me by sucking away all my life force?
I offer none, mortal. Risk your own neck or watch the boy die - it's your choice.
"About the Game" posted:
This is a real choice. Either let a child die, or let a vampire feed on us. It will cost us if we choose the path of sacrifice.
Very well, I agree. Let the boy go!
Wordlessly, the vampire pulled a lever. He laid a hand on Marty's shoulder, and the boy seemed to snap out of his trance. He looked at me with confusion and his mouth opened to say something, but I interrupted him before he could speak.
Run home, Marty. Run home to your mother, quickly!
I didn't need to tell him twice, he ran off.
Before I knew it, the vampire was on me. I didn't resist, but the pain, the terrible pain! It hurt too much, he was taking too much!
I screamed and blindly lashed out with my dagger, stabbing at the horrible vampire.
It screeched and transformed back into a bat, retreating back into the inner sanctum. The door clanged shut behind it.
I was feeling dizzy. I put a hand to my neck, it came back red with blood. I mumbled a healing spell, but I couldn't tell if it worked. My head was feeling very odd.
...need to get help...
I stumbled out of the cave. The world was spinning. My veins were starting to burn with red fire.
I hurried blindly through the woods in a southwest direction. I couldn't feel my feet, I was relying purely on muscle memory to keep them moving. My vision was turning red.
What's going on? What's happening to me?
It was getting harder to concentrate, but I managed to reach the Rivertown Market teleporter. I was feeling cold now, very cold, but when I put my hand to my forehead it was burning up, it was on fire.
Getting hard... think... gotta... Mardan's...
The teleportation process seemed to take hours. I stumbled off the platform. My veins were on fire; my vision was blurring and getting dim.
Every footstep seemed to take an eternity.
I was almost completely gone when I reached Mardaneus's house. I burst in.
Jeremiah? By the Seven Gods, what happened to you?
My tongue felt thick and heavy in my mouth. I couldn't form words. I couldn't get it out! I had to tell him, but I couldn't get it out!
The world spun one last time as I crashed onto the floor and my vision faded to darkness.
Next Time: Rise of the Vampire?
Behind the Scenes
Sorry about the map. The game crashed and I didn't feel like closing all my open stuff to restart the computer.
What's fake in this update?
- You can't ask the guard for directions, you don't need to anyway.
- The image of the pickupables in the Lich cave was altered to show them all.
- The gold trail actually leads to a small bandit camp with an archery range and chests of random loot, not the cave.
- Everything after Jeremiah gets bitten was faked. I also faked the new portrait, obviously.