Part 41: Vampire Hunter
Chapter 31 - Vampire Hunter
Music - "War and Peace"
Download (Thanks to Grawl)
This other vampire might be the man who killed George. ... Sir Dante is still unavailable... so I'm not really losing any time, am I? ... Yes, I should investigate and see if there's anything I can do.
I got directions to the city's Watch House, and headed up the street. Along the way, a man stopped me.
I took his extended hand and shook it warmly.
Thank you. It did cost me greatly, but I just couldn't stand by and let the boy die.
Well, I'm just grateful you were there. You're certainly a hero, at least to our family, Jeremiah.
I already knew that there was much unrest among the poor. I saw one of the city's nobles and decided to get a sense of how they felt about current events.
Damn. You do a few simple decent acts and suddenly everyone knows you. I'm making friends, sure, but I'm more worried about my enemies.
Good morrow noble one. Is there aught of interest that you have heard spoken of today?
"The poor are becoming a dreadful problem in Rivertown and Verdistis! The filthy vermin are everywhere one looks, begging and moaning on about their starving children," the man said, apparently confusing me for someone who agreed. "I mean, I'm not a cruel person, but one simply can't help thinking that these persons would be better off dead. Perhaps Duke Janus can force them all southward to fight the orcs: two problems solved in one policy!"
Farewell to you. Thank you for your valuable opinions.
If I ever need a lot of fertilizer, I'll know where to come from now on.
I continued on towards the watch house at the end of the street. A man with a bandaged head approached me. There was something familiar about him, but it took a minute for me to recognize him.
Hello Verlat... of course, I remember. I hope everything's fine...
Yes, fine. Thanks to you. I'm really happy meeting you again. So now I can thank you for my healing. Please take this ring as a small reward. It's been property of my family for ages. And now I want you to have it. I hope it serves you well.
With all the trouble I find myself getting into, I'm certainly not going to refuse a reward. I can use all the help I can get.
Thank you, Verlat. I'm quite sure it will. Maybe we'll meet again some day...
"About the Game" posted:
The Sapphire Ring is one of only two unique rings in the game, and this is the better of the pair. It's our second piece of final gear. It's a Rank 4 item, although it seems to have 5 modifiers. Some unique items have more modifiers then their Item Rank would suggest. +1 to Spellshield is also a very nice modifier, but we're already going to max it out via spellbooks anyway.
If you saved Verlat, he gives you the ring if you walk between those houses no matter what, even if you've completely forgotten who he is, he remembers you.
Before talking to Verlat, I put two points into Identify, and put on two pieces of +1 Identify gear which I had obtained, so I could immediately check the ring (and reload if it sucked. ... What? Hey, it's not like there are a lot of good unique rings in the game, there are just the two. Do you know how hard it is to find a decent randomly-dropped ring with 5 charm slots? Pretty damn close to impossible, that's how hard).
I entered the courtyard created by the enclosing walls of the Verdistis City Watch house. I spotted a overweight man in an ill-fitting uniform. If it wasn't Commander Kratus, then discipline must have been very lax - the man wasn't even bothering to conceal the bottle of booze in his hand.
I am Jeremiah. Have there been any troubles lately?
There's been a recent string of murders, all young women, and all by the same killer. This morning another one has been found near the park. *hic* The guards are very busy investigating the murders.
What's the status of your investigations?
I can only speculate at the moment. *hic* My men think that the Assassin's Guild killed them, but I *hic* doubt it.
Is there anything out of the ordinary about this case? What makes you think only one person did them all?
The thing that concerns me is that all of the corpses were found bloodless. Something must have *hic* sucked them dry. I think the Assassin's Guild *hic* wouldn't kill their victims in such a cruel way. This doesn't look like a clean and quick kill.
Definitely a vampire.
Who is your main suspect?
My main suspect right now is Pierce, the wine merchant.
Why is Pierce under suspicion?
On his way to the shop of the merchant Leptine, *hic* Jacob saw somebody coming out of Pierce's house at night.
Jacob was on his way to the merchant at night time? Is it normal in Verdistis to do shopping at night?
Errrr, yes.... *hic* I mean no... the simple fact is, the merchant is a suspect, and he has no alibi. *hic* Unfortunately I do not have any proof either.
Kratus focused his bloodshot gaze on me.
*hic* Sayyy... what was your name again? Jerry?
Oh, yeah... are you the one people are talking about, Jerry? The one who killed all 'em orcs and trolls?
That's right. And it's Jer-eh-my-ah, not "Jerry".
Yeah, yeah, whatever. You're building up a bit of a reputation, Jerry. People trus' you. Mor'n they trust me. Twenty years in the watch, don't get any respect. N't fair. D'you think that you, the GREAT HERO Jerry, can lower yourself enough to help out th' Watch?
He's an rear end, but there's no good reason why I should offend him, not when he has the power to lock me up.
Certainly, it would be my honour to help.
Well... Jerry the hero has manners. Maybe you can use that silver tongue of yours to get Pierce to let you search his shop.
Alright, I'll try. Where can I find the shop of Pierce, the wine merchant?
It is east of Leptine's shop, northeast of the Ducal Inn... *hic* wait, I'll mark it on your map...
Given Kratus's apparent lack of competence, I doubt this will lead anywhere. But it's a place to start, anyway. I can at least see if I can him out.
I left the drunk behind and went to see Pierce the wine merchant. On the way, I passed by a merchant's cart.
Let me have a look at your wares...
There was indeed much of minor interest, but nothing leapt out immediately, and I didn't feel like taking the time to browse.
"About the Game" posted:
M'Penzak isn't just a trader, he's also a source of useful information. We'll talk to him several more times, both in the narrative and outside it. See the "Behind the Scenes" section for more information.
I continued on to Pierce's Wine barrel. Pierce looked like an ordinary person. I didn't any bad impressions from him, no tingling from my tattoo. He didn't look like the Creepy Hat Man I had seen in George's shop.
My name is Jeremiah. I'm a travelling... mercenary.
Jeremiah... I've heard rumors... are you the one who killed the trolls plaguing the farmlands?
The very same.
Well, you're quite welcome, hero. What can I get you? I can offer a discount on some of-
While that sounds delightful at some other time, I'm not here as a customer. Commander Kratus sent me. He suspects you have something to do with the recent murders here in Verdistis!
Pierce's face paled with shock.
Wha... me? But that is ridiculous! Why would Commander Kratus believe such a thing?
Someone saw you leaving your house in the middle of the night, the same night several young girls were brutally murdered!
But, that is impossible! I am not up and walking around at night! I am asleep, as every decent person is during the hours of darkness! Who is this person saying he saw me leave at night?
His name is Jacob.
What?! That drunken idiot?! Commander Kratus takes his word seriously?
That is of no importance! What I want to know is if you will allow me to search your house!
Yes of course! I am innocent! Your reputation suggests you are a decent sort. I have nothing to fear! Go ahead!
At least there are some upsides to everyone knowing your name.
I walked through the door into his private quarters.
"About the Game" posted:
Naturally, if you are shamelessly unethical (i.e. ALL OF YOU), you can take this opportunity to steal all his stuff. I just stole the spellbooks he had on his shelves (after I reloaded until they were there, that is.)
Surely the real killer would object to a search. I was just an ordinary citizen; I didn't have the authority to compel him to comply. I looked through the items in his bedroom, but I didn't see anything out of the ordinary. I left and closed the door behind me.
Pierce wasn't the most thorough cleaner. The spacious dining room showed crumbs from past meals, which seemed to suggest that his diet might not solely consist of blood. Another blow to Kratus's hypothesis.
Perhaps I should look into this Jacob. Kratus didn't think he was a suspect, but that's Kratus.
Behind the next door I found the stairs into the cellar.
Unsurprisingly, the wine cellar was full of wine barrels.
It was very full of barrels, in fact.
I've never really cared much for wine, I've always been more of an ale man.
And that was apparently it for the cellar. Nothing here to clear or implicate Pierce. It appeared to have been a complete waste of time... except that my tattoo had started to itch again. ... something here was not as it seemed.
I concentrated all my powers into my vision, and scanned the cellar again, more carefully.
"About the Game" posted:
True Sight [Passive]
- This lets you see invisible beings and counteracts the "Blind" status effect. Unfortunately, there is only one regularly encountered enemy who turns invisible, and they're not a serious threat at all. Some bosses can Blind you, however, which is a big problem sometimes, but spending precious skill points just for one or two bosses is a bad investment.
I didn't really put a point into True Sight.
Then it became clear. What I had thought was an alcove was just an illusion... there was a room beyond.
That does NOT belong here.
I moved all the barrels and boxes to the side, and tentatively, I walked up and touched the "wall". My hand passed straight through without any resistance.
I walked through the illusion and saw a coffin lying in the middle of an otherwise bare room. I hadn't gone unnoticed, though... The lid was shoved aside and a man leapt out and to his feet. There was no mistaking it this time. It was the Creepy Hat Man I'd seen in Aleroth.
I do know you! You were George's drug dealer!
George! That pitiful human addicted to my drugs... I decided to kill him for reasons of my own.
What were the reasons you killed poor George?
He was of no use to me anymore. He could not pay and threatened to tell his colleagues about my true nature. The fool! One does not threaten the vampire Tutamun unpunished.
Gold? What does a vampire need with gold? Certainly not for groceries, and somehow I doubt that you're renting this room.
Not that it will matter, but I was planning to buy passage on a boat out of this infernal city, so damp and cold. Enough gold will buy a lot of disinterest from a ship's captain.
What are you doing in this cellar?
The owner of this house is oblivious that I use his cellar to rest during the day. It is an easy matter to twist his attention away when he comes too close. All it takes is a stare and a command. Then, when night comes, I leave this place and hunt.
Are you the serial killer that every one is feared of?
I do not like the term serial killer. Such vermin exist only among your mortal kind, killing without purpose. I kill to survive. But now that you know my form and what I am, you shall not leave alive.
And I was thinking that you cannot be left alive to continue feeding on the innocent.
Well, we are both of a mind to destroy each other. But I shall not fail. Now embrace the ultimate darkness that only a vampire can bring.
Your foul existence ends here!
Tutamun's relatively inconspicuous clothes suddenly wavered and seemed to change into something nastier looking.
While I'm flattered, I'm pretty sure I'm not your type. You certainly aren't mine!
I was now used to what to expect, so I moved out of the way quickly. The overconfident vampire charged, thinking I was trying to escape.
I cast Limbs of Lead on him.
You think that feeble magic will stop me?
No. But I bet that this will...
Finally, the vampire disintegrated into fine ash. The illusory wall vanished. I climbed back up the stairs and went to see Pierce.
It appears you had a vampire living in your cellar, sir. He was the mass murderer everybody was so afraid of.
A vampire! I have been sharing my cellar with a foul creature of the night? Oh my, I feel rather faint. I... I am so relieved that the matter is solved. I may very well have been at that creature's next victim!
If it's any comfort, I don't think he would have killed you. The last thing he would have wanted was people poking around your house looking for clues. Farewell.
Thank you, Jeremiah. You'll definitely get my best discount if you're looking for wines.
I returned to Commander Kratus
Is there anything else I can do for you? *hic* If you have some complaint, write a letter to the authorities.
Aren't YOU the authority around here?
I've exposed the murderer of the girls. It was a vampire called Tutamun.
I'll let you get back to your important dri-business. Farewell.
Mardaneus should know about this.
I found out that the man who murdered George was his drug dealer. His name was Tutamun. I killed him earlier today.
But why did this... Tutamun murder George? If George could not pay anymore, surely killing him would not pay back his debts!
That is true. But Tutamun was also a vampire and George knew this. George threatened to expose him.
Mardaneus gave me a spellbook on Restoration magic. I accepted it gratefully.
Thank you, Mardaneus. Now I must be off. It's already afternoon, and I want to reach the Dwarven Halls before nightfall.
The Dwarven Halls, Jeremiah? You'll have to pass through Teneb Tiriel - or, I should say in the common tongue, the Dark Forest. That forest has always been filled with hostile creatures, and I fear in these dark days, it has only gotten worse - especially at night.
Thank you for your concern, Mardaneus, but in recent days I've survived far more perilous things then a walk in the woods.
Next Time: Moral Imperative
Behind the Scenes
It's possible you've forgotten about Verlat, or just feel like being pointlessly rude. You can remember him after the first prompting with the conversation option I used.
Honestly... I don't remember you... What was your name again?
My name is Verlat. I was the patient of this unfriendly dwarven healer Otho. He wasn't able to help me because of this broken Source thing... and then you came.
Sorry... Still there's no bell ringing...
Hm... but I remember you, and that's everything that counts. (But with your bad memory, you should consider visiting the healer of Verdistis.)
Whatever... You were ill? I hope you're feeling better now...
That just takes you back into the line for immediately remembering who he was.
Quest for the Treasure, Part 3
We have initiated the Treasure Map quest, so Corinna directed us to M'Penzak. He does indeed have something...
I have found this strange scroll with a mysterious drawing and runes written upon it that make no sense at all. Have you ever seen its like?
I handed M'Penzak the strange magic-imbued scroll I'd found.
Hmm... It's a map with strange scripting upon it maybe? I am not sure. As a matter of fact I have seen such a scroll myself. Here, let us compare them... hmmm... No, they are not identical, but maybe they come from the same source? They appear magical though, which is why I have never thrown my scroll away.
So it is almost worthless to you?
Er...yes, but now that you ask, maybe I could let it go for...
Spit it out man, how much do you want?
A mere 2... er, no... I mean 500 gold pieces.
200, and not a penny more!
Very well, 200 gold pieces... and that's only because I like you.
There we go, we've found our second piece of the map. Only two more to go, but don't expect much progress on this for a while. I'll save one of the maps until almost the very end. The reward for this quest is extraordinary.
What's fake in this update?
- As far as I can tell, only two women were killed, both on the same night, which I guess makes him a serial killer. I embellished his record a bit. The game tends to hype up the seriousness of some things like the lethal plague, which - oops, I've said too much...
- I added Kratus and Pierce acknowledging Jeremiah's fame to give a reason why Kratus would send a civilian to investigate, and why Pierce would let a stranger roam around his house. It makes some sense given how random people on the street know about our good deeds.
- The shots of the door glowing blue and rippling were fake, nothing like that happens, but I thought a visual would be nice. You can also see the hidden room already, I painted it out.
- There isn't any explanation for why Tutamun wants the gold. Tutamun never actually says his name, the only way to find that out is to mouse over his portrait or him in combat. So I don't know how we were able to tell Mardaneus the name.