Part 55: Life Sentence
Chapter 40 - Life Sentence
Music - "On the Brink of Defeat"
Download (Thanks to Grawl)
"About the Game" posted:
New Music. Technically, this plays at the Barracks as well as the Castle, but it sounds much more formal and important, so I saved it for here.
Also, the video here is IMPORTANT and the voice acting is decent for this game, so watch the video. And pay attention, this is an important update.
Meet Duke Janus (Decent Voice Acting) - IMPORTANT VIDEO
Viddler - Meet Duke Janus
I didn't have much time to worry; a smiling man came out to greet me.
Welcome, Jeremiah Liro. My name is Theus.
Waiting for me? But Why?
Through your adventures you have proven yourself in many different ways to my master. He has said that he is very impressed with you.
Very well. Show me the way.
Theus started walking into the castle as he spoke and I followed.
Allow me to give you a little tour... Stormfist Castle got its name from the dwarf who first explored this area - Edgar Stormfist. It is over a thousand years old.
A human banished the Lord of Chaos?
Oh yes. Ruben Ferol was a man of knowledge and intelligence. He assembled a group of powerful leaders, one from each race, to battle beside him. Together they formed the League of Seven and together they gave their lives to banish the foul Lord of Chaos. You should read the histories in the castle library...
Theus was about to move on when I remembered something important.
Theus, is there anyone in the court or castle whose name starts with the letter "I"?
The letter "I"? ... No, there isn't... It's possible that there might be a guard with that initial, but I don't know them all by name. Why do you ask?
Hmmm... the "I" who sent the letter to Elrath implied that they were close to Janus...
Theus continued on and I followed.
We entered the throne room. It was the largest room in the place. The elusive sense of something evil appeared - stronger this time, and then the sensation vanished once again. The anti-magic field clouding my magically enhanced senses was a nuisance.
The Royal guard lined both walls. The throne was empty, but standing in front was an older woman and a boy who looked about 10 years old, who had an oversized sword in a scabbard. It was surprising that the boy could walk around without falling over. There was no sign of Duke Janus. The woman was the same one who had spoken to the guard when I tried to get a message to my sister.
Oh Divine One and saviour of the seven races, may I present to you Jeremiah Liro, the hero whose fame is known throughout the dukedom?
The what? The who? And where's the... no, it can't be... that BOY?! I knew that the Duke was young, but this is ridiculous!
Greetings to you.
SILENCE YOU FOOL! The Divine One has not given you permission to speak in his presence.
Your pardon, milady.
I said SILENCE!
Oh wonderful, she's one of THOSE "nobles."
Please excuse me, oh Divine One. I shall modulate my tones accordingly.
I've heard a lot about you, my friend. You're a hero, in fact! The bards in Rivertown are already singing songs about you. That's why I have decided to appoint you as my new Lord Protector.
What the hell?
I beg your pardon, my lord?
I can't be plainer than I have been, Jeremiah. From this time forth you will be my Lord Protector. You'll stay at my side and protect me with your life. Naturally, you accept this honour.
Of all the possible scenarios I had run through my mind, none had even come close to this one.
WHAT?! No, forget it. I didn't come here looking for a job!
An honour indeed, sire, but I must refuse. I have urgent business to attend to and can take no such posting at this time...
Ho ho! I don't think you understand the gravity of the situation, my friend. From this moment on, your previous life is at an end. Forget it and settle to your new role. And just in case you become forgetful, the guards have been told that you're not allowed to leave the castle, except with me, for the next forty years...
Be thankful that Janus, the Divine One, has chosen you to be his personal bodyguard, dolt! The only higher honour you can ever hope to attain is the sacrifice your worthless life for the Divine One.
Up until now, I'd been remarkably good at controlling my loose tongue, but this was too much.
Divine One? I see no living gods here.
SACRILEGE! Have you never heard of the Propecy of Ruben Ferol?
Actually, I haven't.
Lord Janus is the Divine One and the people are proclaiming his perfection with a single voice!
Actually, they aren't, in fact most people seem to hate him...
Thank you, my dear Elona. It is indeed my destiny to change the face of this sad world. Through my glorious guidance the seven races will attain paradise. And you, Jeremiah Liro, my hero of the people, must stay by my side to protect me. You will thus attain fame everlasting.
Maybe if I convince him that I'm wrong for the job...
My lord, if I may speak...
Very well... Theus, go about your duties.
At once, my lord.
Theus left the throne room.
My Lord, I humbly suggest may not be best suited to this task. My specialization is in magical combat, and I am unable to cast spells in this place. I do not wish my shortcomings to put the Duke in danger.
Do not concern yourself with that. Our guards and walls protect the Duke from danger in this place.
Then what am I doing here? Why can't I leave?
The duke leaves often to be with his people. He is the duke, you fool! He cannot be waiting for someone to locate you on one of your many adventures. If you feel that you are inadequate to the job, then train harder, you dolt!
Well put, Elona. And my new Lord Protector, come see me in five minutes. I shall be in my chamber.
With that, Janus left the throne room.
Tell me more about Janus.
Surely you should know by now that Janus is the glorious Divine One. It's a great honour to become his personal Lord Protector.
Why does everyone think Janus is the Divine One?
The Seven Gods themselves speak to Janus directly. His influence over people is great and, by the power of sword and strength, he'll guide them into a new age.
My Lady, my purpose to visit the castle was to find Zandalor. Can you tell me where I can find him?
You came here to find Zandalor?! ... Not because you were invited by the young Duke himself? I must say I am shocked!
I am sorry my lady, I didn't want to be rude. I... misspoke. I did come because I was invited by the Duke, but at the time, I was... unaware of the... honour the Duke was planning to bestow upon me, so the invitation was not my only purpose. So, can you tell me about Zandalor?
I don't know him. I didn't see him. Perhaps he visited the castle during my absence.
I see. Is my sister, Jenna Liro about? She is the Ambassador from Idfrennia, and I would like to see her... after my duties for the day are completed, of course.
Of course. Sadly, I cannot oblige you. The Ambassador has left us just the other day, in fact. I believe that she returned home, something about her father being ill.
Mentally, I cursed myself. Elona was using the very lie I had planted earlier against me.
Really, milady. That's odd. Our father died before she left.
Elona's eyes narrowed.
I only know what she said. If she lied to us, that was her choice. I cannot help you any further. Now, shouldn't you be getting to your duties, Lord Protector? It would not be wise to keep Duke Janus waiting.
Yes, you're right, milady. I need to return to my duties. ... Um... which way are Duke Janus's chambers?
I followed the directions she gave me.
I knocked on the door.
It is your... ugh... Lord Protector, Sire. You wished to see me?
"About the Game" posted:
I have "Know Creature" maxed out at Rank 5. That means that I can read the stats of any entity level 49 or lower. It is not unheard of for there to be NPC's which are level 50+. I can read everyone in the castle except Bronthion and Janus, which means that they are at least level 50. That's all that I wanted to point out.
What is this task you have for me, my lord?
I haven't seen Ernie all day long. Please bring him to me - he must be lurking somewhere in the castle.
And what does this Ernie look like, my lord?
Ernie is my cat, dullard! He's got white fur and my girlfriend Lela loves him. Go and find the little devil at once! (Ernie, that is, not Lela.)
I took down an orc war-camp, and he wants me to find his damned CAT?!
I think I need some fresh air. Please excuse me, my lord duke.
I've got to find out some clue to what happened to Jenna and Zandalor.
I don't think I'll find them here. I've got to get out of here... but after that... I... I don't have the first idea what to do.
Well, lucky me. Hey! Psstt...
What a talking cat.
WHAT A talking cat? I must have taken a head wound... I need a healer! ... And I'm talking to myself...
Meow. You know, you look really funny with that gormless expression on your face.
You've been waiting for ME all day? How do you know me?
I saved your life. Of course, you were unconscious at the time...
Three days ago, while I was searching for some herbs on the edge of the forest, a small white cat drew my attention. I mean, it actually seemed to want me to go with it. I followed it cautiously, and literally stumbled over your unconscious body.
Well, down to business... I was sent by Zandalor to speak to you.
Zandalor? Where is he? I haven't seen him since that dragon rider attacked me.
I'm very concerned about Zandalor. He went off investigating the cellars of Stormfist Castle, but he hasn't come back.
What kind of investigating is Zandalor doing?
An aura of evil surrounds Stormfist Castle.
Yes... I sense it too. Not very well, but I can sense it.
Zandalor is convinced that the source is young Lord Janus... and this big sword he wears. Be careful now!
You don't have to tell me twice. But if Zandalor thinks Janus is so dangerous, why did he risk entering the castle cellars?
Zandalor suspects that one of the Marked Ones is being held prisoner there. Merooowww!
That was days ago... and he still hasn't come back. Not good. Why are you staying in the castle?
As soon as Zandalor heard that the people were whispering that Janus might be the Divine One, he sent me to Stormfist Castle to keep an eye on the arrogant puppy.
You've been here longer than I have. Do you think Janus is the Divine One?
By the Gods, no! If Janus were the Divine One, we would see the end of the world as quick as a dog can break wind! No, I think that Lady Elona and Lord Janus are charlatans.
I agree. I don't like Janus or Elona at all. I think that the boy must be some kind of pawn. He's too young to shave, I can't see him masterminding any complicated plots.
Don't let his looks fool you. The boy may only be twelve in years, but he's got a cruel streak wide enough for a man four times his age.
This is all so complicated. I'm not good at politicking, I don't have the patience for it. I don't know what to do without Zandalor. I spent so much time trying to get in here without thinking about what I would do inside.
I don't know either.
My heart tells me that I should look after that old fool, powerful wizard that he may be.
The lower levels of the castle lie in the room left of the entrance to the main building. The entrance to the food cellars lies in the soldier buildings west of the main building. I do hope that nothing happened to poor old Zandalor!
How did you learn to speak Common?
Mrrrr... In former times I was a battlemage and close friend to Zandalor. A thrice-cursed member of the Black Ring transformed me into a cat. It's not funny, just in case you felt like laughing.
What can you tell me about the Black Ring?
The Black Ring is an organization of evil wizards who are the distant descendants of the Damned.
Who are the Damned?
Mrraow! Don't speak that name so loudly! In former times the Damned were a sect of renegade wizards who devoted themselves to the Lord of Chaos.
Tell me about the Lord of Chaos.
Mrrr... The Lord of Chaos was and is an evil deity who was banished from this plane by the great archmage Ruben Ferol. Chaos - pray he never returns - is the father of all demons, the ruler of Hell, and is bad news of the worst sort...
I keep hearing about Ruben Ferol and the Lord of Chaos... I think I should familiarize myself with this more. Theus mentioned histories in the castle library, do you know where that is?
From the main entrance, turn left, it's the door at the end of the hall.
Thanks. Oh, that reminds me. Janus requests your presence in the throne room.
Phew! That arrogant little brat gets on my nerves. He keeps calling me Ernie of all things. More than that, I sense that there's something terribly wrong with our young Lord Janus.
Will you accompany me to the throne room?
Meow! Oh no! I hate to be near either that arrogant boy or the aggravating Lady Elona. Just tell them that you couldn't find me.
You know if I return empty-handed to Janus, he'll probably have me slow-roasted over hot coals...
No, he won't touch you just yet - you're too valuable to him.
And I'm too well known to just have killed... that's why he gave me this stupid position...
My guess is that he'll simply send you on another damned errand. Mrrrr...
Very well. Take care, Arhu.
You as well, Jeremiah. Be safe.
Arhu ran past me down the hall. I started to head to the library.
It was time I found out what all the fuss was about, and I got the impression that what happened to Ruben Ferol was at the heart of it. I scanned the shelves and found an old tome. The faded letters on the spine read " The Prophecy of Ruben Ferol"
I sat down at a desk and started to read.
Next Time: The Prophecy of Ruben Ferol
Behind the Scenes
If you ask about where Zandalor is when you first get the option, you can no longer ask Arhu how he speaks Common, and you can easily lose that bit of backstory.
Time for a stats update. This is from just after Jeremiah has become the Divine Protector (and gotten the +10 Reputation boost)
Jeremiah is a ways away from level 24, but that's when he'll finally start getting access to some of the more powerful skills in the game.
What's fake in this update?
- Jeremiah doesn't ask Theus about an "I" in Stormfist castle.
- I added Jeremiah arguing that he's wrong for the job.
- Your mana bar isn't really greyed out, I desaturated it in Photoshop. But you really cannot cast any kind of magic at all in Stormfist - not even Lockpicking or Repairing.
- I added a bit to the conversation with Arhu, to remind you that he was the one who brought Joram to us, saving our lives. The game doesn't make this explicit, but it's pretty obviously the same cat.
- Arhu doesn't run off, he TELEPORTS away, which actually shouldn't really be possible.