Part 53: Viper's Nest
Chapter 38 - Viper's Nest
Music - "War and Peace"
Download (Thanks to Grawl)
There was a middle-aged, bearded man with a cane behind the desk.
Who are you?
I am Yarun.
What is it you do here?
Hmph. Since you're clearly no merchant, I could ask you in turn what YOU are doing HERE. But all right, I'm in a good mood today. I am the archivist for the Merchants' Guild. It is my responsibility to keep a record of all things handled by the guild so we can check things again at a later time. Now is there anything I could do for you?
I am Edwin. Sir Dante sent me.
Hmm, yes, Sir Dante told me to expect you. Now what business have you with the Assassins' Guild?
I'm in need of the services of the Assassins' Guild.
"How surprising!" Yarun exclaimed sarcastically. "Most people looking for a contact to the guild are interested in their services... So, who's the target?"
The target is... hm... but I need the best man of the guild... a man, capable of killing the Duke, for example...
The best man, you need, eh? And capable of killing the Duke? Are we talking about the old or the young one?
But the old one is already dead...
"Yes, he is!" Yarun dropped the pretense and snarled angrily at me, "Finish this ridiculous game, JEREMIAH!"
Crap. Why didn't I think to disguise myself? Of COURSE Elrath gave them my description!
How stupid do you think I - the GUILDMASTER of the assassins - am? Bringing the name of the Duke in connection with the Assassins' Guild was not a very clever move... Nor was coming here with an active contract still on your head! Did you not think you would be recognized, you fool? Do you know what I think? You're a spy! And I don't think spies shall leave here alive. ASSASSINS... TO ME...
Yarun suddenly made a break for a cupboard, but I was too distracted to worry about whatever weapon he was going to get. From out of nowhere, three assassins sprang out and attacked. I did not know how they had escaped my sight and senses before, but I suppose that ability came with the job.
Polymorph the assassins
Unfortunately, for the assassins, they were human, and I knew Polymorph.
The screams they made as they changed shape were horrifying, but thankfully brief, as they began new lives as frogs and a rabbit.
Very short lives, that is. I sighed. I got the impression that Yarun would be hard to impress unless I got his attention. To that end, I picked up the carcasses of my would-be killers.
Now, where did Yarun go?
There was no sign of Yarun, but I knew he hadn't gotten out the way I came in. I opened up the cupboard, but it was empty. But careful investigation revealed a hidden latch. I pressed it and the false back panel slid aside, revealing stairs down.
Perhaps these are Yarun's private quarters.
I had to find Yarun, preferably without fighting everyone in this place. I opened one of the doors in the south wall.
Yarun's face paled and he ran out of a door. The assassins moved to attack.
Bad luck for you guys...
Video - Yarun Flees (Voice Acting)
Ha. I can't believe that fool followed me down here. Well, that will certainly be his final mistake.
There was a "squish" sound behind him. Yarun turned around and saw a dead frog on the ground. He picked it up with curiosity. It was still warm.
How did you get here?
There was another "squish" sound from behind him. Yarun spun around quickly. A dead, white rabbit.
A third "squish" sound came from behind him yet again. With lightning speed, he drew a hidden sword from his cane and swung it, but he hit only air. There was a second dead frog on the ground.
Show yourself! Stop playing tricks!
I magically threw my voice it. "Tricks? What tricks?" I said. My voice seemed to be coming from nowhere and everywhere. "I just thought you might like the bodies of your men back. Well, not men anymore..."
Jer-Jeremiah? W-where are you?
"Behind you." I threw my voice as a whisper in his ear. Frantic now, Yarun swung his blade wildly, and I made my move, becoming visible and smashing his arm with my shield causing him to drop his sword-cane.
You?! All right... all right... You win, I will tell you everything you need to know!
What prevents me from killing you?
Kill me and your chances of finding out who killed the Duke are gone. That's why you're here, isn't it? Information?
Among other things; I'll start with those.
What do you want me to do?!
It's really simple. First, cancel your contracts on Sir Richard and on me. I already need a third hand just to count all the assassins I've killed in the last two weeks, so this is a good deal for you. If you don't send people to kill Richard or me, they won't get killed. Sound good?
Good. Now swear an oath that you and none of your followers will ever come after Sir Richard or I again.
I... I swear.
I put on a light show and muttered some mumbo-jumbo, including Yarun's name. A large worm-like creature (an illusion) materialized on the ground and leapt upon Yarun, seemingly burrowing itself into his flesh. Yarun screamed in terror.
What was that?
Something to ensure your co-operation. It's a special magical parasite of my own design. It won't harm you in any way, unless of course you break your oath, in which case, it will wake up, and burrow it's way our of your body... through your eye, then back in through your other eye into your brain, where it will kill you. That should ensure your co-operation.
I think that the best part of illusion magic is that if he believes it, it really will work.
Here it is... the moment of truth. Now I find out...
Tell me about Jenna Liro!
He seemed confused, but it might have been a trick.
The Ambassador to Stormfist from Idfrennia! Jenna Liro! Did you fulfill your contract to kill her?
He didn't seem to recognize the name. Yarun relaxed slightly.
I don't know who you're talking about. The only contract we had at Stormfist recently was for your Sir Richard. I know nothing about the girl.
You do know what will happen to you if you're lying, don't you?
Y-yes... but I'm telling the truth! I swear!!
I stared intently at him. I detected no deception. I felt s slight spark of hope return.
Very well... Now, to the heart of the matter: Who murdered the Duke?
It was one of my Assassins. His name is Cybu.
And where can I find this Cybu?
Be there just after sundown today.
I magically increased my strength and lifted Yarun up off the ground, and brought him closer. "I do hope you are speaking truly, or I will be back for you!" I growled. "And I will tear. This. Place. Apart. And then, I'll start tearing you apart as well!"
Yarun looked appropriately terrified, so I dropped him on the ground and he ran off quickly.
"About the game" posted:
Reputation is a funny thing. It's sometimes based on perceptions and not the reality. This is why we take a reputation hit - word is spreading that we just arranged a meeting with an assassin. They don't know WHY we did that, just that we did it.
We can either talk to Commander Ralph, or meet the assassin on our own. It doesn't make much difference, although it's harder to go on your own and more steps are required. So we're going to see Commander Ralph. I'll include the version without Ralph in the Behind the Scenes part.
I know you've been of help to us, Jeremiah, but are you going to get around to that thing we talked about?
I have discovered who killed the Duke! It was indeed done through the Assassins' Guild and I've found out an assassin called Cybu was commissioned to do the job.
I knew it! The Duke was a strong healthy man, not the sort to die of a heart attack. Now, where can I find this despicable assassin?
I have arranged a meeting with Cybu at a house in Verdistis after sundown today. Here, I'll show you where on my map.
You haven't told Commander Kratus about this, have you?
Not a word.
Excellent. I will go there immediately with some of my best men. I will meet you there and we will remain hidden until you can somehow get him to confess to the crime. I can then arrest him legally. A licensed assassination is one thing, but the murder of a Duke is treason.
I'll see you there.
I had nothing else to do, and there were still a couple of hours until sundown, so I headed back up to Verdistis and went to the meeting site.
Video - Ralph in position (Really Bad Voice Acting)
But for now, just relax a bit. You look nervous. It's still a couple of hours before dark. Go have a drink in the tavern so you'll be a bit less stiff.
It was probably a good idea. If I needed a confession, it'd probably be best if I wasn't on edge so much. So I went back to the Ducal Inn for a drink.
Bah! What a bunch of worthless tripe! Why did I buy this new book? "True Tales" my arse!
The man walked away, leaving his book behind on a table. Curiosity got the better of me. I had to see for myself what was so bad about the book. The book was very new, the pages were crisp and unstained and you could still faintly smell the ink.
If only he knew...
Across the room, I spied a familiar face.
* * * * *
Video - Tart Search (Voice Acting)
Hello, neighbour...did you just arrive in Verdistis? We did, my brother Titrin and I, Codran.. True, Tit?
We were told, here in Verdistis, we could find... ahh... women with special talents, if you know what I mean. Right, Tit?
Yes, women with great big...assets. You know what I'm talking about, right?
I truly hope not.
Well, it was nice talking to you, neighbour. Maybe we can have another chat later. Please excuse us, my brother and I want to go to the bar at the Ducal Inn, right Tit?
Maybe you need a certain... key?
Well the key certainly isn't gold, I tried that! If you know what this key to the heart of a loose woman is my firend, we're willing to pay 50 gold for the information.
Maybe you should ask your husband. I've heard he's been "asking for Magdalena" a lot at Afrasam's Tavern lately.
WHAT?! THAT BASTARD SON-OF-A-HALFLING! I'LL CUT HIS PHILANDERING PECKER OFF!!
That wasn't necessary, Jocaste. Don't fling rocks from inside your own glass-walled house! I've heard you've often gone to Afrasam's to "ask for the handsome Yaniz" of late!
I talked to the Bartender.
Might you be Afrasam, owner of this tavern?
I am indeed Afrasam, innkeeper of the Ducal Inn. But Rob is the owner of this tavern, not I. My wife and I simply run the establishment. What is it you want of me?
I'll take a glass of your best, good sir.
Excellent. 5 gold, please.
I slid the coins across and received a frothy mug with a thick head on it. It was very good ale. I felt some of my stress pleasantly melt away.
That certainly hit the spot. Speaking of which...
How is Magdelena keeping? I would very much like to see her again.
Ah, this can be arranged, my friend. Please go to merchant Leptine and tell him Afrasam sent you.
I left him a decent tip and went back to the men who sought that information more than I.
Any news for us stranger?
I may have the very information you need. I heard that you simply need to visit the merchant Leptine and ask for Magdalena.
The men eagerly hurried out. I had another glass of ale and did the same.
"About the Game" posted:
Now you know the secret to visiting the whorehouse. Yes, you can patronize it, no we aren't going to do so now. It doesn't show anything interesting, just a standard fade to black. Also, yes, you can hire a same-sex prostitute. I'll show off the brothel in a fake update, probably not in the narrative, and I won't do it right now, and there is a reason for that.
The sun was setting, so I headed to the rendezvous at a casual pace. I wasn't alone.
Video - Meeting Cybu - With Ralph
Hmmmpfh... Look, I don't have a lot of time. What do you want of me?
Just to tell you that I KNOW you killed the old Duke.
WHAT!? That's ridiculous! I had NOTHING to do with his death!
He's smarter than I thought.
There's no point in denying it! I have certain proof it was you!
Oh, enough of this children's tame. Yes, I snuffed-out the goat! So what are you going to do about it?
Me? Nothing. Nothing at all.
But I think he might have some plans for you.
WHAT!? Ambushed! Trapped, by the Gods!
No, trapped by me in fact - but the effect is much the same.
Whover you are, you're going to pay for this! The Assassins' guild does NOT forget grudges, ever. There's nowhere you can hide from us. Even if it takes us decades, the guild will hunt you down!
I doubt that. Who do you think sent you here?
Yarun? That betrayer set me up?!
Don't blame him, it was either this, or I would have turned him into a frog. Who knows, I still might.
Guards! Arrest this butcher!
Cybu was outnumbered badly and the fight was over quickly, although Cybu wasn't able to be taken alive.
Glad to have been of assistance, Commander. Here, I think this paper he dropped is important.
I'll report this whole matter to my superiors and I'm sure you'll be invited to the castle for an audience with Janus, the late Duke's son. I'm certain he'll want to thank you in person. Here, this should get you in. I prepared it ahead of time.
And Jeremiah, my friend, if ever you need assistance, you can always count on the men of the Watch!
Thank you, Commander. Now I think I'll get some sleep. I've got an important day tomorrow.
Next Time: Nericon's Garden
Behind the Scenes
Loads and loads of Behind the scenes stuff today. Yes, we'll also enter Stormfist Castle in the next update, which will be the last one in Act 2.
You can ask Yarun about other things which Jeremiah wasn't interested to know.
What can you tell me about the Merchants' Guild?
The Merchants' Guild is an organization that inspects and regulates trade. It is a place where merchants gather to perform business matters.
What can you tell me about Verdistis?
Verdistis is a great city and home to the Merchants' Guild! Many merchants come here to trade.
Taking the direct approach to Yarum doesn't work any better than trying to be clever.
I am investigating the Duke's death. I believe he was murdered and I seek the murderer!
And you assume the Assassins' Guild is involved?
I do. Is my assumption correct?
I must say that you truly are the fool of fools. Walking in here, asking me, the GUILDMASTER of the Assassins' Guild if I have ANYTHING to do with the death of the Duke. I assume you also think you shall leave here alive! ASSASSINS... TO ME!
And the fight happens.
You can also do the meeting with Cybu without speaking to Commander Ralph. That still works, you just have to fight Cybu alone and take the letter he drops to Ralph to complete the quest.
Video - Meeting Cybu - Without Ralph
Heh. You might have proof it was me, friend, but you won't be telling anyone else with your throat slit! RAAUUGH!
Cybu then attacks us, but he isn't alone. HE brought friends this time, and you have 4 level 17 assassins to fight along with Cybu, who is level 23, has about 1300 HP and does 20-60 damage, which is nothing to scoff at. Of course, none of them has any Spiritual Resistance, so Polymorph will easily do the job.
You must go talk to Ralph after that, and you must have the letter Cybu drops to complete the quest. So it's more work and more steps... but probably slightly more experience. Your call.
I knew it! The Duke was a strong healthy man, not the sort to die of a heart attack. Now, where can I find this despicable assassin?
I have already dealt with him. I arranged for a secret meeting where I confronted him with the charge. He confessed and then attacked me.
I am glad you got away safe and sound and killed this assassin, but I would have preferred to deal with him myself. I need something substantial to show my superiors. Do you have proof of your accusations?
Yes I do. Look at this document. I found it on Cybu's body.
That's it! Thank you! I congratulate you on ridding the land of this traitor.
So what now?
I will send a letter to Stormfist Castle explaining your help in this matter. Here... take this letter of invitation. I am sure you will be allowed entrance to speak to Janus, the Duke's son.
The Assassins' Guild
Here's a map of the Assassins' Guild.
There's a key near the locked chest I mentioned on the map, by the way. The first time I came down, I opened the cupboard right next to the stairs and found this.
Yes, it is a fork. Unfortunately I don't have it in the end-game so I probably won't be stabbing the final boss to death with a fork. Yes, I know it would be funny. I'll think about it.
Anyway, there's not a lot of interesting things in the Assassins' Guild, but there are a LOT of assassins. There's a way down to the Verdistis sewers, but the unpickable door locks from the guild side so you have to unlock it from the guild side to allow passage.
The only other things of note are two unique items:
Heavy Leather Boots which are Identify Quality 2 or 3. I had already committed to having my Boots of the Vampire as final gear - and I placed a precious +100 Mana charm in them, so I didn't bother getting reloading to get a good pair of these.
Leather Gloves which are Identify Quality 2 or 3. I didn't have any decent gloves, so I reloaded until I got 5 charm 60 Health/60 Magic ones. These are only temporary until my final gear, though.
What's fake in this update?
- The image of Yarun alone in the room was fake.
- I added the "Or I could go alone...." line to the first image of Jeremiah just because. It was real, but an entirely separate screen.
- I added in the part about Ordan's True Tales 5. There wasn't even a book on that table, I placed it manually. It's a totally real book (and a nice Brick Joke.)