The Let's Play Archive

Divine Divinity

by Stabbey_the_Clown

Part 58: It's Gonna be a LONG Forty Years...

Chapter 43 - It's Gonna be a LONG Forty Years...

Music - "On the Brink of Defeat"
Download (Thanks to Grawl)

22 Sembten 1218

I was more interested in getting information than degrading chores.

If I may ask, who is Lady Elona, my lord? What position does she fill here at court?
Lady Elona is my trusted advisor. Sometimes she can be rather strict, but she knows who is the real master in this castle. You'd do well to follow her example, you uppity peasant!
My lord, I am looking for Zandalor. I have been told he is in the castle.
Ma ma ma... Dear protector, you should learn to know your place here. In due time you will learn where he is, but first I need you to do some little tasks for me.

The tone in his irritating little voice was firm. I gave up for the moment.

Do you have any tasks for me, my lord?
I have written this magnificent epistle to my lover - the precious Lady Lela - proclaiming my eternal love! Be so kind as to deliver it to the yo-yo bloomered little strumpet, will you?
Where do I find this Lela, my lord?
I don't like your insolent tone, peasant. Still, even you shouldn't have any difficulties finding her. Naturally, as she is my lover, she is the most beautiful person in the castle.
I think I need some fresh air. Please excuse me, my lord Duke.

I left as quickly as possible and found a guard.

Do you know where Lady Lela is?

An expression of contempt flashed across his face at the mention of her name. I got a bad feeling about this.

YES SAH! She's in the room next to th' Duke, SAH!
Thank you, my good guardsman.


I gritted my teeth, but kept my tone steady. She didn't know I actually came from a "noble" family in my home country, but I doubted telling her that would matter at all.

Some of us peasants are born with natural nobility, while some of you nobles are born with none, my lady.

Alright, so I hadn't inherited my father's sense of diplomacy.

I'm sure that's not as clever as you think it sounds. Now go away you smelly dogsbody!
I have this letter for you my lady, from Duke Janus.
Aaaaaaahhhhhh! A love epistle! What wonderful things has my beloved Janus written this time?

She snatched the letter from my hand and opened it, but then stopped.

Why are you still standing here, you worthless flunky? Go away at once!
Please excuse me my lady. (Talking to inbred aristocrats always gives me a headache.)

She didn't hear that, thankfully. I left the room and sighed.

I've been here for only one full day, and I can feel it starting to erode my sanity and patience. Now I have to report back to Janus and... no. Screw that. Janus can damn well wait.

My stomach growled, letting me know it was close to lunchtime. I decided to see if the kitchen was open.

Flattery gets you everywhere.
I wanted to pay my respects to one of the most important persons in the castle. The meals you have prepared were really delicious. I've tasted none better!

The man beamed with pride.

Eh, really? Well, I'm really glad you had the courtesy to say so. Few in this castle have the manners to thank me for all my toil, but a simple word of gratitude is all I ask for. You know, I'm very ambitious regarding my cooking...
You should be proud of yourself! It can't be an easy task to cook for the whole castle, and still produce gastronomic marvels!
How true! I'm always busy, me. Especially when my kichen skivvies aren't at hand.
Is there something I could do for you?
It's good of you to ask. There is something you could do for me. The boy who normally does the dishwashing hasn't come in today. You wouldn't mind, would you?

Two days ago, if you'd asked me, I would have laughed if you had said that I would look forward to kitchen duty. That was two days ago. Any chore which kept me busy and away from the Terror Trio of Janus, Elona and Lela was a good chore.

I never thought I'd envy a dishwashing boy. But he at least can leave... say... why don't I just try to bluff my way out? ... I'll try that after.
Dishwashing? Ahh... very well, I'll help you... Um... What do I have to do?
Well, we've got one of those newfangled magic dishwashers, but unfortunately the drain is jammed. So you need to do the dishwashing in yon bowl over there...
I see...
Soap's in there already. All you have to do is put some clean water into it. Use the water in the washing tub standing beneath the table. Then simply put the pile of plates into it. You'll see it will all me done fast enough. After you're finished, bring me the clean plates and pans so I can inspect them.
All right, I'll be back as soon as I've finished.

I poured the water into the bowl with soap, and then dragged the washing bin closer to the sink, and then I spotted the pile of dirty dishes.

Ah... yes. Meals for the entire castle. Right.

I got the impression that "done fast enough" wouldn't seem fast to me. I got to work.

Finally, I was done.

Hey, presto! All done!

A flask of mystery spice, eh? Hmmm, thank you...

I left the room, the bottle was black. I uncorked it and gave it a sniff. It smelled familiar...

This bottle of spice seems to be an invisibility potion! No wonder the cook encountered "funny side-effects" when using it!

I smiled for probably the first time since arriving at Stormfist. I had just found a way out... maybe. I wasn't sure if it would work, but it was definitely a more potent potion than anything I had on me. If the magic lab had the herbs and chemicals I needed - which was a pretty big if - I probably still didn't have the skill to make anything as strong as this.

I walked outside. The wide open gate looked so inviting that I started walking for it. The Captain of the Guards - and the other guards at the entrance - blocked my way.

I felt like a stroll outside.
I'm sorry, I can't allow you to leave the castle, unless you're accompanied by the Duke himself. Orders, you see...
It's not just any stroll. The Duke has sent me town to the town to collect something.
That's surprising. Our lord, the duke, would usually send a minor flunky on such an insignificant errand. Also-
Well, judging from the tasks the duke has given me so far, I belive that I DO qualify as such.
ALSO, I have strict instructions not to let you pass. Unless you have a written counter-order, I'm afraid you'll just have to stay here in the castle.

This would be tricky, but I still had one card up my sleeve. I remembered all the arrogant and haughty aristocrats I'd ever encountered before, and combined them into one lump of ego.

Fine, I'll tell you the truth. I am on a special mission for his highness, the duke. Let me pass!
Special mission, my lord? I wasn't notified of any such mission. I'll have to send to Duke Janus for confirmation...
It's a SECRET mission, you clod! Now let me pass, or Janus will have you strung up by your codlings!

The captain of the guards was no fool, sadly, and he'd been here for a very long time. He'd forgotten the comings and goings of more arrogant aristocrats and rulers than I'd ever met in my entire life. Even my best arrogance didn't even faze him a bit.

I am sorry, but my instructions are incontrovertible. I am not to let you pass unless specifically instructed otherwise by either lady Elona or the Duke himself.
Damn it! Very well. This place is better guarded than the key to an elf-maiden's chastity belt.

drat. ... But even if I got out, then what? I still haven't found Jenna, and I can't just go home and forget about her. ... and there's still the matter of those scary dragon-riders trying to kill me. I need to find Zandalor so he can explain what all this Marked One crap is about.

I continued to walk around. I passed by Walt's house, but I decided not to knock.

Hello Theus. You said that yesterday, by the way. His Divine Divinity has sent me off on some idiotic errand. Tell me, does he annoy you as much as he annoys me?

I have been trained as a servant to the House of Ferol since birth, Lord Protector, but even I find Duke Janus rather... ah... high-handed, shall we say? But he is very young, remember.
Not too old for a spanking is what I keep thinking.
Perhaps... But you would be well advised to keep such opinions to yourself. In the short time that he has been Duke, Lord Janus has put a number of people to death for the most petty of crimes. Against the law of his forefathers, he uses torture as his main method of execution. I have been forced to watch several such horrific deaths, and I truly hope to never see another ever again.
Why can't I go down into the cellars of the castle?
I don't know Sir, ever since Janus became ruler, the cellars have been off limits or everyone!
Even the castle guards?
What's down there?
Mostly storage for unused things, and of course, the treasure vaults.
What about the catacombs? I know that this entire country is riddled with ancient tunnels and caves, and I've heard rumors that the castle is connected to them.
Jeremiah, I'm not really sure if I'm supposed to tell you about that.
Theus, I am the Lord Protector! I am charged with keeping Duke Janus safe from harm! How can I do my job properly if I don't know how secure the castle is?
That is true, Jeremiah. ... There are catacombs connecting to the castle. Long ago it was used as an emergency escape route in case the castle was ever to be besieged. It hasn't been ever used to my knowledge. The huge system of caves it opens onto has never been fully mapped.
So there could be multiple ways in and out?
Possibly, but the castle side has long since been sealed up and is under constant guard.
I thought you said that the guards weren't allowed in the cellar.
Yes, that's true.
So who's guarding the entrance now?
... I don't know sir. However, the secret passage is sealed from the castle side, and it cannot be opened from outside.
Hmm... interesting. Do you know where the passages open out to?
There is a connection with the Rivertown sewers, but the main escape route opens out into the Dwarven Woods, southeast of Glenborus. There's also another exit north of the abbey, to the west of Verdistis.
Thank you, Theus. Well, I must be off.
Perhaps... perhaps if I get out, I can use one of those passages to get into the cellars and find out what Janus and Elona are hiding down there.

I walked up on the ramparts. I would be nice to get a view of something other than stone walls. One of the guards from the barracks spotted me.

Hail, Jeremiah! You look like you've got some free time on your hands. Can you do me a favour?
Well, that depends on what you want, doesn't it... um... Brett?
It's Ben, sir. Standing watch on the parapets is thigh-slappingly boring. See, when I'm on duty I'm not allowed to leave my sentry post. Thing is, I'm also dying of thirst here. Know what I mean?
Boring? With this lovely view to gaze at?
You try appreciating the same vista for seven hours a day my friend. Sod natural beauty - give me the inside of a grotty inn every time!
So you want me to get you a nice cup of fresh water?
Fresh water?! Gods no! I was thinking that you could get me a bottle of fine ale.
I can use all the allies I can find here.
Anything for an officer of the watch, Ben. I'll bring you a bottle of ale directly.
Excellent! Here's some money for your trouble. Just don't say a word to my sergeant. She'll have my balls if she hears I've been drinking on duty.
I'm not sure I should raid the Duke's liquor cabinet two days in a row.
All that fancy stuff isn't my preference anyway. There should be a bottle in the food storage cellar north of the barracks, though.

"About the Game" posted:

You can get this quest from outside the castle, which is why he doesn't call us "Lord Protector". There's a bottle suitable for him nearby under a tree just to the east.

First I decided that it would be best to return to Janus. It only takes so long to deliver a letter.

I have no need of you for the moment. You may have some free time.
Thank you, my lord, but I have a question: Why can't I enter the cellars?
The cellars are off limits! You will not go down there!
But as your Lord Protector, it is vital to ensure the integrity of the castle's security! Why can't I go into the cellars?
Because I say so! drat you! You will speak to me no more about this matter?

The dangerous threat in his tone told me that it would be a really good idea to take advantage of the free time I had. I decided to get Ben his ale.

I walked down the stairs and suddenly, my senses came alive.

I can sense magic again! I can use magic again! This is great! But... it's not going to do me a damn bit of good.

I checked all the walls, hoping for a secret way out, but while many rooms in the castle might have hidden passages, I couldn't find any in here.

Maybe, if it comes down to it and I have to fight my way out, I could lure down the guards... no, they'd just nail the hatch shut, and I'd eventually starve... although that might take a while. ... So I can't use this to fight, and I can't use this to escape, what can I use it for?

Next Time: More Than a Mere Mage

Behind the Scenes

The map of the castle:

Yes, for some reason, the wine storage cellar of the castle doesn't have the anti-magic field in place, which is a bit odd because there are other underground areas where the anti-magic field is in place.

In Theus's house you can find the 8th or 9th chapter of the Dreaming Gem.

If you're really that curious about the "Love Missive" that 12-year-old Janus sent to 16-year-old Lela, then click here. It's work-safe, but it might not be mind-safe.

You can be even LESS diplomatic to Lela:

Come over here, you shabbily dressed dogsbody! You're not one of the royal servants are you, you dirty peasant? Why, you've got no breeding at all!
Um... I'm not a servant. I'm a beggar, my lady.
Gods! What's a beggar doing in the castle? I don't have any coins for you, peasant. Anyway, everyone knows that you people are actually rolling in money, you're just too lazy to work for a living. What do you think you are? An aristocrat? Ha ha!

But the worst of all is this:

Come over here, you shabbily dressed dogsbody! You're not one of the royal servants are you, you dirty peasant? Why, you've got no breeding at all!
Watch your mouth, you spoiled brat, or I'll put you over my knee and spank you.
What did you say?! JAAAANNUUUUUUSS! Just wait 'till I tell Duke Janus! He'll have you strung from the battlements by your ears!

She does rat you out, too. The next time you go back to Janus...

Video - Don't Insult Lela (Voice Acting)

You! Do you know what just happened? My dear precious Lela came weeping to me to tell me that you had called her a spoiled brat!
Well? She called me a shabbily dressed dogsbody.
My dear Lord Protector, an incident of this nature will not happen again, do you understand? Otherwise the guards will throw you out of the castle.
I have no problem with that.
Ahh, I'm sorry: a slip of the tongue. I meant to say that the guards will throw your mangled corpse out of the castle. Now get out of my sight, you shabbily dressed dogsbody!

If you don't flatter the cook, here's what happens.

drat you! What are you doing in MY kitchen?
Well, I'm hungry. And the smell of your fine cooking drew me like a wasp to honey.
Clammed with hunger are ye? Well, come back later - I can't be cooking when any passing guttersnipe chooses to demand a meal. You'll get food when it's the proper time, and not before. Meanwhile you could eat an apple or something to hold ye' 'till next mealtime.
Oh, aye! You're the boss here!

You can also turn down the dishwashing job.

It's good of you to ask. There is something you could do for me. The boy who normally does the dishwashing hasn't come in today. You wouldn't mind, would you?
WHAT?! Dishwashing? ME? I'm the Lord Protector to the Duke, fellow! I can't be seen doing menial work! (And besides, I hate it when the skin on my fingers gets all wrinkly in the hot water...)
Ooooh! I'm so sorry y'greatness. I hadn't recognized you. Please forgive me for even mentioning dishwashing in your august presence!

I imagine him saying this in a really annoyed and sarcastic tone.

In Divine Divinity, there is no separate "Description" field for an item, so they have to shoehorn descriptions into the item name itself, which lends itself to this.

By the way, before I forget, there's an easter egg on the roof of the castle. If you stand out front and scroll the screen up, you see that Janus isn't all that different from any other 12-year old after all...

What's fake in this update?