Part 61: Things Get Worse
Chapter 46 - Things Get Worse
Music - "Old Rivertown"
Download (Thanks to Grawl)
Previously on Divine Divinity:
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.
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...
What? Damn it, but I'm the Lord Protector. I... err... ...must make sure the cellars are safe.
I'm sorry, sir, but not even you are allowed to enter the cellars. Specific orders from Duke Janus.
What is in the cellars anyway?
It must be important... Jenna! Maybe he's keeping Jenna down there. Or at least Zandalor. I've got to figure out how to get down there.
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! Damn you! You will speak to me no more about this matter!
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?
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.
Chapter 46 - Things Get Worse
23 Sembten 1218
I think that's enough for today. I'm a bit surprised. You've done very well with the two-handed sword. I told you to be more aggressive, but I didn't think you would change overnight. What prompted this?
Go on, tell him. Tell him that you've decided that the only way out of here is to kill his comrades.
I haven't decided anything.
I guess I just took your advice to heart. The safest way to end a fight is to end it fast.
Theus ran up.
Lord Protector, you must stop your training at once! There's a meeting today with some important nobles from Verdistis. You should probably get ready.
After Lela's comments last time about the smell of sweat, I wanted to make good and sure I cleaned myself up really well. I grabbed my "towel" and wiped away my sweat. Theus, Walt and Stan stared at me in bewilderment. Finally, Theus got the courage to ask me the question on everyone's lips.
Why are you drying yourself off with a teddy-bear?
Because if petty and childish acts of rebellion are what it will take to keep my sanity, then that's what I'll do.
Eh... just because.
Jeremiah, please come by my house. Your training has gone very well, and I have a gift for you.
Walt led me into his bedroom and pointed to a shield on top of a closet.
That is the Shield of the Dragon. It's part of an ancient and powerful suit of armor known as the Dragon Armor.
Yes, Dwarven blacksmiths crafted it long ago, during the Age of Chaos. Anaron, a paladin of the League of Seven helped in its creation, and was wearing it when he slew an evil dragon, which is an unheard of feat. I don't know where the rest of the armor is, but long ago, the shield came into the hands of the Ferol family. Pendrak Ferol presented the shield to me as a gift many years ago. ... and now, I present it to you.
Walt... you can't! It's too valuable, and it was a gift to you.
I know. But my fighting days are over. A shield like this should be used in battle, not sit in a dusty old chest. I have no family to leave this to.
Surely there are more deserving or more skilled soldiers.
Perhaps... but there is something different about you. I don't know exactly what it is, but something tells me that the shield will be in good hands.
Hush! Do not offend me by refusing my gift!
... Alright... thank you, Walt.
"About the Game" posted:
The Shield of the Dragon is part of the only group of "set items" in the game. It is a Rank 5 magic item, and it's a super-unique, which means that it has up to 10 magic properties. After a lot of reloading, I settled on this, which gave me 112 health and 56 mana, and +5 to my defense rating (that translates into a 5% less likely chance to be hit). This is my third piece of final gear, after the Boots of the Vampire and the Sapphire Ring.
This is the best shield in the game, period, and if you're going to use a one-handed weapon, you should have this shield with you as soon as you can use it. It is well worth reloading a few times to get decent modifiers. With 10 possible magic modifiers, the odds are good that you'll get several decent ones.
I decided to return my sweat-towel, known to Lela as her teddy-bear.
I've found your teddy bear: Uncle Samakayne.
She wrinkled her nose.
Yuck! I'll have to have him washed and dried before bedtime. I don't want your horrid peasant smell lingering about my bed, do I flunky?
Please excuse me my lady.
You are EXCUSED!
I left, and Theus ran up, looking agitated.
I was fed up with all the nonsense.
Ye Gods! Another petty little task for our great patron! Where will it all end, Theus?
You're young, Jeremiah. You'll have to learn that youthful rulers are full of whims and temper tantrums. His father, Gods rest him, was much the same in the first year of his rule, so I was told. As Duke Janus settles to his position, I'm sure that you'll find that he matures and will treat you with greater respect.
Do you know what this meeting is about? Why does Janus think he might need his bodyguard for a simple meeting?
I've no idea, my lord, but I heard the captain of the guard mention that a number of important merchants from the city of Verdistis are visiting the castle today. I suspect that they will be attendant at the meeting, but that is all I can say. I have business elsewhere now, so I suggest you hurry to the throne room. Duke Janus has been very short of temper of late!
I hope you're right about Janus maturing. We should all pray that it happens really soon. As it is, I have to keep myself from boxing his arrogant ears for him.
"About the Game" posted:
The remainder of the update can be watched in video, but I suggest you also read the text for Jeremiah's inner thoughts.
Video - The Verdistis Conference - IMPORTANT VIDEO (Voice Acting)
There were many faces at the meeting. There was Trevor, the Guildmaster of the Merchants' Guild, Sir Patrick, Sir Dante and his secretary Rendell. Everyone else was a mystery, although one was dressed in the fancy robes of a church official.
Something's different here, but I'm not sure wh- that's it! Where are the guards? There should be 8 guards in this room at all times, even when Janus or Elona are not here. Where are the guards?
And let me assure you that Janus IS the true Divine One.
Before we start the formal meeting, I would like to introduce my fellow merchants, all decent men and loyal subjects to the royal family.
Please be quick about it man. My precious Lela is waiting next door for me. You know how impatient new lovers can be...
Trevor looked quite disconcerted, and he wasn't the only one in the crowd with that expression on their faces. I wasn't surprised. That language coming from a twelve-year old was most unusual.
Ahem... Oh Divine One, allow me to present to you the worthy Sir Dante of Verdistis. Next to him stands the honourable Sir Patrick and his charming family. Also here is the good Father Theofolous, who took time from a busy ceremonial schedule to attend this...
My dear Trevor, I must intervene before you render me catatonic. Your speech is simply too boring.
As you wish, oh Divine One. We came to Stormfist Castle to support the war effort. We've heard that you are planning a great campaign against the orcs.
You have heard correctly and I appreciate your offer. I want to finish this war and devastate the orcs before the onset of winter. I do hate living in a tent.
As if his Royal Pain-in-the-Assness would ever accept living in a tent.
I managed to cut-off my laugh into a strangled noise. Janus paid no heed, but Elona shot me a glare that would have frozen molten steel solid.
Divine One, be assured that we will contribute fully to the war effort... in return for the lower tax rates you promised us.
"Yes, yes... my administration will sign the contracts later," Janus said in a tone indicating that he found the whole matter terminally boring. "But now my dear Lady Elona wishes to say a few words to you."
Thank you, my Divine One. As you have heard, Janus is satisfied with your financial efforts. But that is still not enough. There are regions in Rivellon where the benighted people do not know of the glory of Duke Janus. I want you to spread the word that Janus is the holy saviour of the seven races. Only then will we win sufficient support to drive back and destroy the orcish armies.
Elona seemed to be utterly indifferent to the complete contradiction of her last two sentences. The priest - Father Theofolous spoke next.
I already hate him, too.
The prophecy is fulfilled indeed! Consider - the great Ruben Ferol wrote that Janus would have a wise counselor at his side and a powerful protector...
How true, Lady Elona. You are clearly the wise guide of the prophecy, and the hero of Aleroth is the Divine One's Lord Protector. We see the sacred words made flesh!
These greedy fools would say and believe anything if it meant more coin in their pockets.
Exactly, Sir Patrick. The prophecy is shown to be completely true. It promises that in times of troubles the Divine One will guide his people and protect them.
I don't recall that from the histories I read. I think that people came along afterward and added their own words and ideas to the texts.
I give you my most holy word, my children. Before the first snow of winter, the orc warbands will have been driven and scattered like chaff. By Spring I will have eradicated all poverty and, by my sacred sword, all shall live in peace and plenty!
HAIL TO DUKE JANUS, THE DIVINE ONE!
HAIL TO DUKE JANUS, THE DIVINE ONE!
Suddenly, my tattoo started tingling sharply. Something was wrong.
Yes, who dares disturb this meeting!? I'll hang them, whoever they are! Lord Protector, follow me!
He rushed off ahead.
My lord duke! Wait! I should go first!
The crowd parted to let Janus through, watching him, and getting in my way!
Out of the way, you idiots!
While I was still untangling myself from the idiot aristocrats, Janus had gotten himself into trouble.
Whaaaa! Lord Protector, HELP ME! SAVE ME!
Finally I was able to push my way through. As much as I hated Duke Janus, I realized that letting him get himself killed would not be healthy as far as my own life was concerned.
Janus might only have been twelve, but he knew how to use the giant sword he carried with him.
As the last orc fell, Elona pushed through the crowd, her eyes blazing with fury.
I was furiously sick of the attitude. "I am a WIZARD, and the magic dampening field around the castle doesn't let me cast MAGIC," I growled, barely keeping my temper in check. "I did my best, but there were too many of them."
I say slay this inept coward! The price of failure should be death!
This was the last straw.
No. I won't let them quietly drag me off to the executioner's block. If they want me dead, they'll have to pay the cost in their own blood.
My dear father Theofolus, those are brutal sentiments for a man of the Gods, like yourself. Besides, there are ways to make people suffer that do not call for the death penalty.
I won't let them throw me in jail or torture me, either. I don't care if it's treason, I don't care if it means war with my homeland, I can't believe I'm saying this, but I don't care that he's only twelve years old. If he's going to order me to be locked up or tortured, I'll put this dagger through his throat right now. I... I don't know what I'll do after that... but I think that after... after I kill him... I think I can get into the cellars.
There was an even harsher warning tingle from the tattoo.
No! You must not!
I didn't give a damn what the voice in my head said. I prepared myself to move fast. I didn't want the diminutive cretin to get a swipe in with that nasty-looking sword.
So what do you suggest we should do with this fool, your holiness?
Here it comes...
The most terrifying thing for a would-be hero is the risk of losing their reputation. I'll have this failure thrown out of the castle.
Wait, what? Is he serious?!
Think of the agony! Denied the position of bodyguard to my most holy self and cast out in ignomy.
It was all I could do to not burst out laughing in relief.
I'd better play the part.
No, your holiness! Not that! I beg your forgiveness! Please, I beg you! Have me whipped instead! Don't throw me out! Please!
It was a risk, but not a big one. Even my short time here had given me insight enough to know that Janus wasn't the kind to reverse himself in front of all those people. It would make him look weak.
Silence, wretch! I've made my decision! Guards! Take this worthless offal away!
And don't even think of nicking anything on the way out.
Ahhh... free at last. I thought I'd never get out of there.
The downside was that I was once again completely directionless. I didn't know where to go or what to do, and I still didn't know what had happened to my sister. But I was convinced that whatever Janus was concealing in the castle's cellar was at the heart of it.
I'll try and find Richard and Wouter, and try to convince them to come with me. Maybe together we can find the secret entrance to the castle's catacombs and break into the cellar. It's going to be dangerous, but there's nothing else to do.
I hurried away down the road. It took me a few steps to realize that the tingling in my tattoo hadn't gone away. Before I could think about what it meant, someone called out to me.
Lady Elona? How did she ge-
My tattoo itched like it was on fire.
May I talk with you in private, Marked One?
Thiu Fingol, everyone can see it? I may as well not have bothered with these bandages!
I got the feeling Elona wasn't going to give me a choice. I subtly moved my arm so I could draw my dagger at a seconds notice, and I prepared to cast lightning.
"So you know about my mark?" I said disinterestedly.
Assuredly I do. I knew that you bore the mark from the moment you entered the castle. It gives you a certain aura, if you understand me.
I remembered being able to sense Woden's mark through walls.
Then later, I eavesdropped on your conversation with that odd white cat, and my suspicions were confirmed.
What are you doing? Attack her, quickly!
I didn't like how this was going at all. I prepared myself for a fight.
Maybe if I pretend to trust her, I can catch her off-guard.
So, can you help me, Lady Elona?
Elona gave a nasty, humorless laugh. "You are a foolish creature, Marked One." She said maliciously. "I'm here to take you to a secret place of mine. There we can talk about that white cat at much greater length..."
Either she wasn't fooled or she's powerful enough not to care.
I don't like the tone of your voice, Lady Elona. I think I will have to decline your kind invitation.
And what makes you think you have any choice, peasant!?
With lightning speed, I drew my dagger, and raised my other hand to cast a spell. But once again, I was too late. I felt my body warp away. Elona's evil grin was the last thing to vanish.
I emerged from the teleport in a dark room, and once again my magic was blocked.
"Huh?" I said. Then something hit me hard from behind.
"No!" I slashed wildly at whatever was behind me, but the dagger swung through empty air.
Then I was hit again, the dagger fell from my fingers. My vision dimmed as consciousness seeped away. As I lay on the floor, I saw the boots of my attacker. Orcish boots.
Of course... walked right... into that... one... didn't...
Next Time: The Darkest Corner of Hope
Behind the Scenes
No more playing around. Our enemies will actively and openly be moving against us now.
Getting kicked out of the castle gives a hit of -15 to our reputation to more than counter out the +10 for getting made the Lord Protector. There's still plenty more ways to get our reputation higher, though.
Like all randomly-generated magic items, even the top-of-the-line stuff has the potential to be complete poo poo.
That line from the guard about not stealing on our way out is somewhat funny. I carefully removed everything valuable from the castle which was not nailed down. The exception was Lady Anastasia's Rank 4 magic Ruby Amulet which she keeps in her closet. It's possibly the second best amulet in the game.
There are a couple of locked chests in the castle. You can't unlock them above ground, but if you carry them to the wine cellar, well...
I was planning to try and make the "Don't nick anything on the way out." Line extra funny by having Jeremiah steal Janus's sword from his room just before getting kicked out, but I couldn't put it in and have it make sense. You can't get that treasure up above, by the way - the door into the room is locked and we can't lockpick under the anti-magic field.
I emptied the armory completely and put it into this chest. One quirk of the game is that you can't lift something that heavy and put it into your inventory, but...
...you CAN drag and drop it to toss it long distances.
Like safely outside of the castle so I can pick it up later. I will note that emptying the armory like I did doesn't change anything much later when you return at the end of the game.
What's fake in this update?
- The training with Walt, again.
- The Dragon shield is in the armory and not Walt's house, I placed that there manually, so obviously the conversation with Walt about the shield was fake.