The Let's Play Archive

Divine Divinity

by Stabbey_the_Clown

Part 54: Nericon's Garden

Chapter 39 - Nericon's Garden

Music - "Ominous Warnings"
Download (Thanks to Grawl)

21 Sembten 1218

After a bath and hearty breakfast at the inn outside Verdistis, I passed through Rivertown market on my way to Stormfist Castle to sell some things.

We cannot enter the Garden of Nericon to follow the bidding of our master. The garden is locked.

Yes, well, too bad.
Yes, too bad indeed, freebooter, for it is said that there is much treasure and powerful magic inside.

Wow... I'd forgotten about that. Here is the money, I'll take the key!
Thank you, my friend! If you find the legendary treasures in the vaults beneath the Garden of Nericon, please share some of your wealth with the poor and suffering. Just a few coins can save a child's life. Oh, and I also remember something about frogs, ugh... I can't remember what exactly, but there was something about the frogs.
Frogs... I'll let you know if I find anything.
I know I shouldn't keep the duke waiting, but I could use all the help I could get. If there are magic items there, well...

"About the Game" posted:

This quest is one of only a few places where your reputation is important. Another is the Shrine of Good and Evil near Glenborus, and the other is [main quest spoiler] near the end of the game  when you have to re-enter Stormfist Castle. 

You need a reputation of over 20 to impress Blake, but if you have an invitation to Stormfist Castle, it supersedes the reputation check entirely.

As I followed the road, I remembered that I still had the book Otto had given me sitting heavily at the bottom of my pack.

Why didn't I throw this away days ago? Oh well...

Otto and his followers were still hanging around the garden.

Blake gave me the key to Nericon's Garden, but why should I give it to you?
No, no! Don't bring us the key... Simply open the gate. Look for the signs left by the master. We will follow you soon, once we have finished our meditation.
We will see...

I unlocked the gate and stepped inside. It was definitely a magical place; I could sense it in the air, even after all these years.

For a place which had been locked for dozens, if not hundreds of years, the grounds were immaculate. There were no signs of treasure, but on the other hand, I hadn't found any of the magical traps Blake had been worried about, either.

I approached some statues, and something most extraordinary happened.

Well, if I can pull this off, it might make this diversion less than pointless. I'm lucky I skimmed the book on my way here.
Errr, yes, yes of course I'm your follower... and I've understood your teachings. Test me and see. I'm worthy of your reward.

Life is based on one foundation. Name it!
Life is made of two equal parts. Name them!
Truth and Untruth.
There are three paths in life, whose balance is the key to existence. Name them!
Good, Neutrality, and Evil.
YES! You do understand my teachings! You will receive the greatest reward of all: restore your life force!
That's wonderful...

"About the Game" posted:

This is a simple multiple-choice test, but we need to get them all right.

Life is based on one foundation. Name it!
1) Money? Experience? Water?
Life is made of two equal parts. Name them!
2) Good and Evil? Truth and Untruth? Black and White?
There are three paths in life, whose balance is the key to existence. Name them!
3) Good, Neutrality, and Evil? Day, Night, and Dawn? Stupidity, Cleverness, and Naivety?

"About the Game" posted:

This is the third free point in Restoration. There is a fourth free point in the form of a spellbook in the Rivertown Sewers, but it requires Telekinesis Rank 2 to reach.

Otto and his followers had seen the display and they ran up.

Uh... thanks?

I started to leave, but the Nemris followers started following me.

Oh great. The last thing I want are damn disciples following me around and praising me as some kind of saint.

As I was passing by the pond in the center, a frog loudly *ribbit*'ed and hopped towards me.

Hello frog.

I crouched down and reached towards it. Then the damn thing glared at me and bit me on the finger.

OW! You little!

In anger, I squashed it with a fireball. My new "disciples" ran off, thankfully. But I wasn't concerned about them. As soon as the frog died, the aura of magic in the garden changed slightly.

Strange... what was that...

Oh, and I also remember something about frogs, ugh... I can't remember what exactly, but there was something about the frogs.

... Huh... I wonder what happens if I kill all the frogs?

I hunted down and blasted all the nasty frogs I could find. After each one, the magical aura changed slightly, until finally...

A magical portal appeared towards the top of the garden.

Excellent. I sure hope this isn't a trap... eh, what the hell...

I stepped into it.

I emerged into a small brick room. The air was stale, but tolerable. There was a locked gate, through which I could see many treasure chests. Large, heavy packages were suspiciously stacked in a corner.

I moved the packages aside and found they were trying to conceal a lever. I pulled it and the gate opened with a clank.

In the middle of the floor along one wall was another magical statuette, this one was of a frog. I carefully picked it up and stowed it in my pack. The chests yielded over 6600 gold.

That's a lot. I don't need this much. I'll do what Blake says and donate some of it. Or maybe I'll just give it to Blake and let him handle it.

I took the portal back to the surface. Then I hurried to Stormfist Castle. I took off my helmet. If I was going to meet the Duke - even if he was possibly a treacherous snake who sent assassins after my sister and Sir Richard - it would at least be a good idea to give the IMPRESSION of politeness.

"About the Game" posted:

This is one place where you are GUARANTEED to find a statuette. The Frog Statuette is the most useful because as a frog, you move a LOT faster, even when your stamina runs out. The only downsides are that you have low HP and stamina in frog form, but your stamina regenerates quickly. The frog statue is unsurpassed for crossing long stretches on foot quickly.

I would like to speak to Duke Janus.
May I see your invitation please?
Here it is.

I handed over the invitation Commander Ralph had given me. The Guard carefully looked it over, and checked another list he had.

Ah yes... welcome to Stormfist Castle, Jeremiah Liro! And congratulations on a job well done! We heard about your capture of the old Duke's assassin, and your exposure of Dr. Elrath. I have been instructed to direct you immediately to Duke Janus. Please proceed to the throne room at once.
I will do so. Good day to you.

I stepped through the archway and entered the anti-magic field surrounding the castle. I was completely cut off. I'd only have my own body to rely on, and unfortunately, it was less than reliable.

Finally, I'm in at last. I can only hope that the Duke will let me stay long enough to find some clue about Jenna. And also Zandalor, I suppose. Without magic, getting out of trouble will be much harder... wait... I think I sense something... something here is... something is...

Suddenly, there was a distortion in front or me as an imp teleported in!

How did he do that? Hmmm... maybe he can teleport in, but not out?

Who the hell are you?
I am Zixzax the Almost-Wise. Flix Triktrik. Zixzax gathers knowledge of past, present and future, so he does.

I rubbed my head. Talking to Imps usually ended up causing a headache.

What did you way your name was again?
Human has memory problem? Flix trillium! My name is Zixzax the Almost-Wise.
Wait, you said past, present and future?
Yes. Hilm thok! Zixzax the Almost-Wise has written many books about this subject.
What is it you want with me?
Nic nacker. I am investigating chaos and order and you... he he... you stuck in the middle, Jeremiah Liro. Trak Trix. Zixzax will write book about you, so he will!
A book about me?
Kirx krax. Yes, Zixzax the Almost-Wise give copy to you when finished. Bloot dangix. If you still alive then, of course.
Why do you say that I'm stuck between chaos and order?
Human Jeremiah carries mark! Rooblix ning. Zixzax the Almost-Wise knows importance of mark. You, Jeremiah Liro, play important role in the events to come! Yes, you will.
And THERE'S the headache...
And I suppose you can't be bothered to explain the significance of the mark to me.
Flix Trillum! Sorry, will take too much time. Zixzax is in a hurry.
Of course you are. People keep telling me that I am really important, but apparently I am not important enough to be told why I am important. Isn't that a wonderful paradox? Well, it's been nice talking to you, but I really have to go now.

Stupidly, I took it off my belt.

Pyramid? You mean this teleportation device?

Zixzax suddenly snatched it from my hand.

HEY! Give that back!
Don't worry! Zixzax the Almost-Wise find other stone now! Bring them back soon!

The imp twisted the top of the pyramid to the right and the magic sucked him away!


I was alone again. My senses were still crippled, but faintly, I was picking up something. Something I'd sensed before. It was hard to be sure, but through the interference clouding my senses, I thought I sensed something at the edges. A malevolent coldness. The sense of something evil.

I was on my own now, in the castle of a duke who possible sent an assassin after Richard, and who possibly had done something to my sister as well. I was vulnerable without my magic, and now I'd just lost my emergency escape device.

I don't really have a good feeling about this.
Things are very wrong here.

Next Time: Act 3: Stormfist
Next Time: Chapter 40: Life Sentence

Behind the Scenes

This is the end of Act 2. Next update, we start Act 3 2.5.


For those who are playing along with me, there are some things it's a good idea to do before walking through that gate. I'm not saying anything bad will happen. Just take these as casual suggestions.

- You should probably be around level 20-24 before going in. That's the ideal range. A little bit more or less won't hurt, but you probably don't want to go in at level 11 or so.

- Drop off everything you don't need somewhere else, you'll want to have a fairly light load. But don't completely empty your pack of potions and lockpicks...

- You might want 1 or more points into Repair, or to have an item with +1 repair on it.

- If you're planning to use a one-handed weapon and a shield, you might want to have 5 points into Identify. I put two points in manually, got 1 point from a quest, and 2 points from items to get my 5. If your character plan doesn't include a shield, don't worry about that much.

- I forgot to go around and make sure all the level 11-20 enemies had been cleared off of the map. That was a bunch of experience I forgot to get, and by the time I found them again, I was too high a level and got nothing.

What's fake in this update?