Part 38: Fall of the Vampire
Chapter 29 - Fall of the Vampire
Music - "Ominous Warnings"
Download (Thanks to Grawl)
15 Sembten 1218
I opened my eyes and the bright blur of the world gradually settled into focus. Mardaneus was peering over me with a worried expression.
"Marda-" *cough* *cough*
My throat was dry and my head was throbbing.
"You've got to get away fr..." I started.
Wait... I feel better... Mardaneus? Did you...?
You were very lucky, Jeremiah. Not many people have the fortitude to survive the bite of a vampire. And even you barely made it here in time. It was lucky that I realized what happened and had enough ingredients on hand to synthesize a cure. Another hour or so and there would have been little I could do for you, except...
...except put me out of my misery before I turned into... not myself. If that happened, killing me would have been a mercy and I would have been glad of it, believe me.
I sat up and groaned. My head was still spinning, and my body ached.
You should rest, Jeremiah. You've been unconscious for almost a day.
It sure feels...like it...
You're in no shape to move. Magical healing only does so much, you're lucky to be in as good a shape as you are. Your body needs time to recover from the shock.
I can't. The vampire is still around. He nearly killed a little boy, and would have if I hadn't offered myself to feed on instead. I can't let him get a second chance.
I don't think that's a good idea... please wait until you recover.
Mardaneus hesitated, and then said, "Also, there's something I should tell you. I was able to save your life, but I wasn't able to repair all the damage. You'll... you'll never be quite the same as you were before.
Yes... I know... I can feel it ...
"About the Game" posted:
- This skill lets you transfer life from your enemies to yourself. Liches, Mummies and some other enemies have this and will use it on you if you give them the chance.
Honestly, Jeremiah isn't going to be using this one much, if ever. It's too close to vampirism for his liking.
I won't be using it because the Spiritual Resistance component means it's not effective on enemies it would be worth using on, and enemies it would work on die easily anyway.
Also note the effect of the vampire bite - Jeremiah's Strength, Agility and Intelligence attributes have gone down by one, permanently. (Your Constitution wasn't reduced, because for some combination of cursed items and a bad result from the attribute shrine, I think that you could die if your Constitution was reduced to zero. I can't confirm this, though.) This is why you should have at least 3 spare attribute points before going into the cave. This is also why the attribute shrine is so good, it gives a net gain of two attribute points after you repair the damage.
I'll try to be careful, Mardaneus, but I have to do this now.
You've already proven your bravery, there's no need to press yourself to the breaking point just to show that you aren't afraid.
I looked away. "That's just it. I- I am afraid, I'm incredibly afraid." I said, my voice breaking a little. "That's exactly why I have to do this." I got a hold of myself and looked back at Mardaneus. "If I don't prove I can do this now, I'll be afraid forever."
I walked out of Mardaneus's house. I was still feeling dizzy, but I continued on. I returned to the Rivertown Market and bought some new armor. It wouldn't hurt to be prepared.
I took a deep breath outside the cave, and tried to steady my shaking hands.
I can do this. ... I can do this.
It is too dangerous! You barely survived last time! You must not - it will be a disaster for the entire world if you are lost.!
Do you care to explain?
Then shut up.
I entered the cave. It was still and quiet. The candles created unpleasant flickering shadows. My throat was dry, but I continued on.
"About the Game" posted:
You noticed that I jumped from level 17 to 20. Know Creature Rank 5 is first available at level 19, and I felt this was a really good place to demonstrate how it can be of great help in choosing an effective strategy for a wizard.
I also wanted to see if Attribute +10/Vitality +100 attributes would start showing up at Level 20. (The answer is no, it's level 30, and even then they're still very, very, rare until you hit level 40.)
The door into the inner sanctum was locked. I took out a set of lockpicks, took a deep breath and tried to steady my nerves. But I was unable to pick the lock.
My curse echoed in the small cave. I held my breath, but nothing happened.
"About the Game" posted:
I'm lying, Lockpick Rank 2 will suffice. But Jeremiah is a wizard, and so I wanted to show off a more "wizardy" solution.
Through the bars I could see the lever the vampire used to open the door and release Marty, but it was well out of reach...
(re-write parts of the flashback below)
4 Febirium 1218
A brief search and I found the familiar small package I'd seen the other day. I carefully cut it open with my dagger, I had to be sure. I reached inside and pulled out an object wrapped in velvet. I opened the velvet up enough to see the smooth blue-green gem inside. I put the healing gem in my inside pocket, and as an afterthought, I picked up the package containing the rest of the gems.
I headed for the door, but it was too late for a quiet escape. Footsteps were already approaching, and there wasn't anyplace to hide. The door opened and Simmons came in. He was surprised to see me.
"Well, well, Edwin," Simmons said, putting his hand close to his dagger. "Care to explain to me why you seem to be makin' off wit' my property?"
"This isn't yours, it never was. It was wrong to take these," I said.
Simmons scowled. "Looks like that little reminder I gave you earlier didn't take. What a shame, Edwin. I 'ad such 'igh 'opes for you."
My jaw still ached from the punch Edwin had given me, but I resisted the urge to rub it.
"This goes beyond petty theft and turf wars, Simmons. People are dying. My- someone I know needs this."
"Really." Simmons said, unmoved. "Then why are ye takin' all of them and not just one?"
"I'm not letting you fill your coffers on the backs of the dead," I said.
"An' where did this sudden outbreak of conscience come from, Edwin?" Simmons said harshly. "Don't look at me like that, like you're BETTER than me. Your 'ands 'ave been just as dirty as mine."
"Killing some street trash thugs and stealing from fat merchants is one thing. You're crossing a line that I just won't," I said. "Now I'm walking out that door unless you mean to stop me."
Simmons drew his dagger and gestured at me with it warningly. "I strongly doubt you can best me in a knife fight. This is your last warning, Edwin. Leave the gems behind, and I'll let you walk away. We won't come after you."
"I didn't come here to fight you, Simmons. I just came for these, and I intend to leave with them."
"Instead, you'll leave feet first!" Simmons snapped.
I mumbled a spell under my breath. The door behind Simmons was wrenched open with such force that he instinctively turned around to see.
I had to give him credit, his reflexes were amazing; he'd barely turned around before he realized it was a trick, and he let off a slash at neck height before he'd finished turning back towards me. But I hadn't wasted that time. He spun around just as my fist connected hard with his stomach. His slash had gone over my head. I hit him again, knocking the wind completely from him before he could recover, then I kicked his hand hard, making his dagger slide under a table across the room.
"You're making a mistake, Edwin," Simmons wheezed. "There won't be a place in this city you can hide from me."
"My mistake was saving your life, instead of walking out of that tavern," I said, walking out. I paused and turned around. "And my name isn't Edwin."
"About the Game" posted:
- Telekinesis lets you pick up things from far away and interact with certain items. It's unlikely that you'll need more than rank 2 for a couple of things - this lever, and a Restoration spellbook in the Rivertown sewers .
The annoying thing is that it doesn't seem to work on some things it SHOULD work on, like containers. Some containers are trapped, which would be an ideal place to use Telekinesis, but you can't, and trying just makes you run up to open them.
I reached out my mind and pulled the lever. The gate opened.
I stepped inside. My heart was beating so loudly that I feared that the vampire surely would be able to hear it.
I stretched out my mind and sensed the creature resting inside the coffin.
My mental intrusion did not go unnoticed. The vampire knew I was here... but it no longer mattered. I now know how I could kill him.
The Vampire flung the lid aside and stepped out, no longer the slouching, sluggish weak creature of yesterday.
So, you survived, and managed to retain your humanity, mortal.
Why did you try to turn me? Wouldn't another vampire just be more competition for... food?
The vampire hissed.
You would still have been young and weak... and it would have been the surest way to ensure you didn't come back for me, or tell others.
It almost worked, too.
You were a fool to come back, mortal! Do you not think I can sense your lifeforce? I have regained my strength, while you are still weak. You stand no chance against me in melee combat, with only that puny scrap of steel.
Who said anything about melee combat, vampire?
A fireball materialized in my hand. The light of it reflected in the now-fearful eyes of the vampire.
Then a dizzy spell came over me and I nearly lost my balance. The vampire moved like lightning. I never even saw his fist, but I sure felt it.
Blast! I think he bruised one of my ribs!
I fired fireball after fireball. The vampire screamed, but then he fixed me with a look and cast a spell... he started leeching my life to replenish his own. I was already weak; this wasn't helping at all...
"About the Game" posted:
Appropriately, if you let the child die, the vampire doesn't get as much strength back from him, and is much weaker as a result. All its resistances are set to 0 (including the -45 to fire, unfortunately), and it has 642 fewer HP). It also does slightly slightly less damage (not enough to notice or make a difference). Compare and contrast:
I drank a restoration potion and retreated, blasting him with fireballs as I backed up.
It wasn't good enough! Everything I hit him with, he just replenished right back. Black spots began flickering in front of my eyes. I was losing.
You should have listened to Mardaneus. Now you're going to die, and so will Jenna.
No! It won't happen!
The vampire continued stealing my life, but I was replenishing it through magic. I started bombarding the vampire with a constant stream of fireballs, one after another.
The abomination's flesh was burning, it was flinching with every hit, in too much pain to steal my life.
Finally, the vampire screeched one final time, then disintegrated into a pile of ash.
The floor suddenly pitched downward and I sat down heavily.
Oh... right... I think I'll just rest here... until... the room stops... spinning.
When I regained consciousness, I felt somewhat better, although I was regretting not listening to Mardaneus's advice.
In the bottom of the vampire's coffin, I found a key, which fit in the lock of a chest in the room.
A Freeze spellbook! That could come in handy, and these plate boots have some moderately powerful enchantments.
"About the Game" posted:
The chest in the vampire's lair always contains the red/bronze Medium Strength Charm (+6 Strength) and the Boots of the Vampire. The Boots of the Vampire are a unique item, one of three pairs of unique boots in the game, but they have the best armor, so we'll be keeping them for the rest of the game. This is the first part of our final gear. I'm not terribly thrilled with the stats on the boots, but even I'm not going to reload forever, so I settled for them.
I left the cave and discovered Sir Markham waiting outside.
I was wondering why you hadn't returned, so I decided to come see for myself. You look terrible? Are you alright?
I'll be fine... eventually. I investigated the cave like you asked. A boy was held captive by a vampire. Fortunately I was able to save the lad, although it cost me dearly.
And the vampire?
A pile of ash on the cave floor.
Bravo! It's always wonderful to hear when good triumphs over evil. You're a true hero, my friend! I believe you deserve a reward for your good deeds. If you wish, I could teach you to call the blessing of the Gods onto yourself. What say you?
I would be pleased, sir.
"About the Game" posted:
- This skill boosts all your attributes. At Rank 1 it's a 3 point boost for 15 seconds, at Rank 5, it's a 15-point boost for two minutes. I would use it a lot, except that it doesn't boost your vitality or magic reserves to fill in the gaps from the improved stats, so you need to blow a potion if you want to fill up, and the boost you get just isn't worth a potion. It's useful for increasing strength and agility for a while, although Jeremiah won't really need those much.
I cast the spell and I immediately felt better - even better than I had felt before being bitten, in fact. I returned to the market.
These boots are pretty nice. I think I'll see what this gold Ylin stone will do...
"About the Game" posted:
Click on an equipped item with a point in the "Enchant Weapon" skill, and a box pops up showing all the possible charm slots in it. Then drag your chosen charm into a slot and it's done - permanently, so choose wisely. Try to only put your best charms in your best equipment.
Check it out, that gold charm I plopped in added a cool 100 to our maximum magic reserve. There are four more slots on THAT piece of equipment alone (which I can't use yet because I only have 1 rank of Enchant Weapon). With enough high-ranking charms, the bonuses you can get rapidly outstrip the teeny bonuses from your attribute points.
I continued walking through the market. Caroline saw me and her face lit up.
I hoped I would see you. My little Marty came home and told me what you did for him...I'm so grateful.
Mention it not, good woman. Any decent soul would have done the same.
I didn't do it for payment. I'm glad I could help your son, Caroline. Farewell.
I staggered. The effects of the blessing had worn off, and it had hit me hard. I was now feeling the worse for wear once again.
Are you alright? Do you need a healer?
I'll be fine... just need... to rest a bit
You don't look well. I've heard that there are some healers staying at the Blue Boar Inn to deal with the plague. You should go there.
Actually... that doesn't sound like a bad idea.
Music - "Dancing with Mirth"
Download (Thanks to Grawl)
I took the teleporter to the Farmlands and entered the Blue Boar Inn.
Huh. It sure seems slow in here today.
Actually, the healers are here because of me.
Splinter scowled even more.
Hmph! Then maybe you can arrange for their departure? And soon?
After all the trouble I went through to bring them to safety, it was my turn to scowl.
But they are paying customers are they not?
Oh yes, but they do more talking than drinking!
I didn't like his attitude. "Maybe I can arrange for them to bring the sick here?" I threatened.
Splinter nearly dropped the mug he was polishing. "Gahhh! May the gods spare me from that!"
Now then, I am feeling weary. Do you have a room available for the day?
Splinter resumed scowling. "Yes, just the one room, though. The healers have taken the others. Thirty gold for the night, whether you stay or not."
I handed over the coins and took the key he slid over. I was asleep as soon as I hit the pillow.
"About the Game" posted:
Yes, you really can threaten Splinter with bringing the sick here. But you can't actually follow through on it. I don't think you can actually stay in any of the inns in this map.
Honestly though, I wanted this next part to happen at night, and my plan for the narrative had a gap in quest things scheduled to do after killing the vampire, so I skipped to evening.
When I woke up it was dark outside. I was feeling much better. I heard the characteristic sounds of a lizard talking to himself in the next room. I knocked on the door.
Is that you, Goemoe? It's Jeremiah Liro.
You may enterrr...
Goemoe seemed happy to see me.
Goemoe, you're a lizard! Do you know anything about the activation scroll your people use to work the teleporters?
I know nothi... Ssssss. Very well, Jeremiah. You ssaved Mardaneusss and you have proven your honessty. Ssss. Yesss, I admit it. I have the teleporter sscroll containing the activation ssspell of the lizardsss.
Could you give it to me please?
Why sshould I give it to you, a human?
The wizard Zandalor told me that the teleporter system could help me to escape the evil forces that pursue me. Zandalor has already given me the mage scroll for the teleporters.
I showed Goemoe the mage scroll Zandalor had given me.
Evil forcess? Ssss. And Zandalor gave you the sscroll of the mages, did he? He must trusst you very much, Jeremiah. Ssssss. And I trusst the good Zandalor. Yess, yesss. I will give you the sscroll, human. I do not think I am misstaken about your character. Ssss.
He handed me a scroll.
Many thanks, Goemoe.
It's late, even if Sir Dante has returned to Verdistis, I doubt he'd be willing to see a stranger at this hour.
Say, would you care to join me for a drink in the bar?
"About the Game" posted:
I'm mainly only getting this for completion's sake. The Lizards only have one teleporter, and that's in the Verdistis sewers, which we won't be visiting in the course of the narrative. But I will find a use for the scroll in the course of the narrative...
All the healers were in the bar when Goemoe and I arrived.
Before I could reply, Otho grunted and said his piece.
Tis a pity that I had to leave the comfort of my home, just 'cause some idiot humans have infected themselves with Grey Death.
You make it sound like they did it to them selves on purpose, Otho.
When you leave rottin' food and garbage lyin' around yer house without cleanin' it up, ye ARE askin' for a disease outbreak. I'm just surprised it ain't happened sooner.
Otho, tell me more about the Grey Death.
We don't know much about it yet! We are still investigating it, but I can tell you it's a nasty illness. Make sure you don't catch it! Me and the other healers are working closely with Dr. Elrath to find a cure for it!
Good evening to you, Jeremiah. What can I do for you?
I'd like to know more about the plague.
We're working together with the local doctor: Elrath. He is trying everything he can to bring the plague under control.
Tell me about Doctor Elrath.
He's a brilliant and knowledgeable man. People say that he is in close contact with Janus.
But is that a good thing? ... No, nevermind. Even if Janus is a bad sort doesn't mean everyone he knows is a bad sort.
Why, it it isn't Jeremiah Liro, hero of the farmlands!
Oh, great. Looks like the last hope of concealing my last name is gone.
Gather round and raise your classes, friends! This is the man whose bravery is without limits! Not only did he defeat an entire nest of trolls by himself, but he also saved a little boy from a vicious vampire!
There were cheers and applause all around.
Oh, how I wish I could stay and have a drink with you, but I can't be having a hangover at 5 in the morning. But you're welcome at our farm anytime.
Homer finished his ale and left. A farmer at the table in the corner gestured me over. The healers were glad to not be the focus of attention and talked among themselves.
I don't like this news of the orcs massing to the south and the orc raids up near Aleroth. Sound to me like the bastards are using the teleport stones to cross the country. If all the races start doing that, it'll be the end of civilization, I tell you. We'll never know when an attacking army might pop out of nowhere and attack us from an unexpected direction!
That human teleporter scroll the poisoning orcs had...
Yes... a troubling thought indeed...
Hail, Jeremiah! Tales of your exploits are spreading far and wide. Come over here and share a drink with a simple farmer, would you?
Hello. I don't think we've met.
The name's Keldar. Long time ago, I used to be an adventurer like you. I met a lot of interesting people on the road. Yes, those were wonderful times indeed.
You've been an adventurer? But you're an old man! Adventurers don't get old and weak - they fill honorable graves before they get white hairs!
Ha! I like your sense of humor (if you are joking, that is). Yes, it's true. I really am a retired adventurer who's decided to spend the rest of his life on a peaceful farm.
I'd like to hear one of your adventures.
Well, let's see... I've been to many exotic places. Do you want to hear the tale of the assassin's hunt, or of the adventure at the Cursed Abbey?
Tell me the story of the adventure at the Cursed Abbey.
Well, one of Duke Ferol's cronies paid me to take a sealed message into the dreadful Cursed Abbey?
Yes. What happened next?
I hurried to get there and away as fast as I could. I'm a brave man, but that place has a very black reputation. But I was young and reckless in these days. Otherwise I would have thought twice about such a mission then spat it back in the fop's face. Anyway, I realized my mistake when I passed through the ancient door. Damn place was crawling with the undead. I never could stand walking corpses - they just ain't natural.
Please, go on with your story.
Aye, well the stinking undead attacked me, but I was much too quick for them to lay a rotting hand on me. Luckily I'd brought a large vial of holy water with me. I bought it off a young priest.
So you used the vial of holy water to get rid of the creatures?
Who's telling this story, may I ask, you or me? Anyway - yes, I sprayed the holy water over them and it burned them away like vitriol. They vanished like wax manikins in a baker's oven. I dropped that sealed message on the staircase - Gods alone know who, or what it was for - and left that cursed place like a rat out of a dog kennel. Never been back since, and never will again neither, if I can help it.
A wonderful tale. I think I've got a story of my own, do you want to hear it?
Well, I was walking through the village of Aleroth one day, when I saw the wizard Mardanus freeze one of his closest friends into an icy elf-sicle...
So after he identifies all four of the axes, he says to me, "Uh, none of these are Slasher."
More time passes...
And then they just collapsed into two neat piles of bones.
Ha ha! Excellent tale, lad!
Still more time passes...
So, after two days spent in that damn dungeon, after having killed more skeletons than I could count, and after helping revive him with his strange machine, the damn necromancer wasn't back for more than five minutes before he said "I've made a terrible mistake, please kill me!"
Come on, you're making this up.
I swear to the Gods, I'm telling the truth.
Ha ha ha ha! That's too much! Excellent tale!
Thank you. It's your turn now.
Huh? Oh right. Here's the tale of the assassin's hunt...
More ale, serving wench!
Well, several years ago I was hunted by a group of assassins. It was over a bad gambling debt or some such trifle. Anyway, I was walking down a dark Rivertown alleyway when two dropped down behind be and two in front. Silent as Death's laughter, they were, but I sensed they were there before they could strike...
Go on. What happened next?
I drew my twin, pearl-handled scimitars and charged the two in front. I caught them by surprise - they'd got used to fat city merchants who cowered and offered bribes in the face of death - but I was a born killer, just like them. I cut down the two of them in a single strike. Low, belly cuts - the best way to take down unarmored opponents in restricted space, I've always found. But the other two were right on my back before I could jerk my swords free...
What happened? Don't stop the story at the best part!
A strange wizard appeared out of nowhere, standing over me as I was crouched, hauling, hauling my swords out of the first two backstabbers. I thought he was another of them, but the next moment the two remaining assassins were screaming pillars of flame.
A wizard helped you out of trouble? Did he know you?
I've already said that he was a stranger to me. Don't interrupt. He looked very confused and walked past me without saying a single word. I stood in that alleyway, blood splashed everywhere and lit by burning corpses, and I just couldn't believe my luck. I spent the rest of night getting drunk, and the next morning, with a stinking hangover, I killed the bugger who sent the assassins after me.
A thrilling tale, Keldar. Wench, where's the ale? Blast it, where is she?
Ah, just go down and get it yourself.
I can do that?
Sure, through the back there's a hatch in the kitchen, go down and get a bottle. I think Splinter keeps the god stuff in storage room 1. It's on me, for bein' such a good listener, and a fine tale-teller yourself.
Why thanks, Keldar!
It probably wasn't the smartest idea, but I was half-full of ale, and it seemed like a good idea at the time. I wandered into the kitchen and found the trapdoor down.
I saw the room which had a "1" on the door straight ahead. I walked towards it, when something soft made a crunching sound under my boot. I lifted my foot and discovered that I'd trodden on a dead rat.
Sheloi! I just got these boots!
Then I noticed several other dead rats. They weren't in traps, and they hadn't been eaten, something else had killed them. Something was wrong. I focused and tried to clear the ale-fog my head, with some limited success.
I ignored the ale-storage room, and entered another door. There were more dead rats in here too, and a faint, but familiar smell. There was a door with "2" painted on it. I reached into my pocket and pulled out the mystery key I had found on the body of the poisoner Tipsix. It had a "2" carved on it.
The "2" door was locked, but I inserted the key in the lock and the door clicked open. I stepped inside...
The smell of the poison was making my eyes water. One of the barrels had sprung a small leak. I could see little green rodent tracks leaving the pool of poison. Feeling distinctly more sober now, I quickly went upstairs and confronted Splinter.
I found a room in your cellar, full of poison barrels! I'd like an explanation!
That makes some sense... but how did an orc get the key? And if he stole the barrels from here, how come no one saw him coming and going? Well, he could have come in through the back, I guess. But that's risky...
Where can I find Dr. Elrath?
At his house in the Merchant's area, or in the Quarantine area where he is trying to cure the plague.
I can't believe that a healer would do this, certainly not one as respected as Dr. Elrath... but I'm still going to check it out.
What's the matter, Jeremiah? Couldn't find the ale?
Sorry, Keldar. I can't have that drink after all. I've got to leave early in the morning. I have things to think about.
Next Time: Verdistis
Behind the Scenes
I already had Jeremiah's story planned out for the LP, and becoming a vampire wasn't part of it, which is why I didn't pull the trigger. Another good reason for avoiding that is that you can't actually become a vampire in the game at all. Going that route, even if I really wanted to would have taken the LP much too far away from the actual game for my liking.
I didn't think about making it more than what it was until much later, but the idea intrigued me enough to make doing a fake-out worth it. It's always fun to take people who know the story and throw them a curveball that they don't see coming.
Apologies to Bobbin Threadbare for borrowing his "talking about your own exploits" gag from "Quest for Glory" for the Keldar sequence.
Yes, the only way to advance in the farm poisoning quest is to be a nosy bastard who enters private areas without invitation.
What's fake in this update?
- The "I have learnt Life Leech" image had a fake Mardaneus, (the real one was off in the corner and needed to be clone-tooled out. I replaced the Skill Icon with Life Leech. Also, I obviously took it at a different time - Jeremiah is wearing the wrong helmet. The Mardaneus conversation is fake. Jeremiah didn't learn Life Leech from the vampire bite, I found a spellbook and used it.
- The vampire doesn't talk to you if you come back, he just tries to kill you.
- Sir Markham doesn't show up outside the Dark Cave, he stays near where you found him on the road to Verdistis, but I decided it would be better if Jeremiah didn't walk north just to talk to him before walking south to talk to Caroline. Plus, it also makes sense for him to go investigate on his own instead of just standing around doing nothing. I faked Sir Markham outside the Dark Cave the easy way - I used the Swap Places move to actually get him there. The conversation was real, and took place after the vampire was dead, I just physically moved his character to the location.
- The shot of Splinter complaining about the healers was slightly faked because you only get that conversation option when the healers have arrived, in which case, Joram is always in the bar.
- Only Joram is in the bar, the rest of the healers stay in their rooms. Keldar the retired adventurer is found in the middle of the farmlands, and Homer didn't show up in the bar either.
- I painted darkness over the barrels of poison so we wouldn't see them until we entered the room.
Yes, Keldar's side of the conversation was real: