Part 71: Just After the Nick of Time
Chapter 53 - Just After the Nick of Time
Music - "Something is Amiss"
Download (Thanks to Grawl)
Previously on Divine Divinity:
That was damn close. Who was this... creature?
That, my friend, was a dragon rider. Haven't seen one of them in a long time. Nasty specimen, too. His presence here is proof that my suspicions were right, the Black Ring is aware of your existence. It also means that they intend to put an end to you as soon as possible.
Who is this 'Black Ring' and why do they want me dead?
They want you dead because you're one of the Marked Ones - quite possibly the only living beings who have it in them to thwart their foul plans.
Yesterday, I had a seizure of some kind. It felt like a great weight was on my chest and I couldn't breathe. But after a minute or so it passed and I felt just fine.
I think that my near-death was the cause of your seizure.
So what happens if one of us dies for good? Does the other one die also?
I hope we never have to find out. I met Zandalor yesterday, he said to meet him here, and he hasn't returned. Do you know where he is?
He has gone to Stormfist Castle to find yet another Marked One, I believe.
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.
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.
Chapter 53 - Just After the Nick of Time
Stormfist Castle Catacombs Level 1 - Treasure Room
A human clad in armor raced down a hallway as fast as he could. His name was Joris. One hand was pressed to his side, trying to keep pressure on a wound. He removed a glass bottle from his belt. There were only a few drops of red liquid left a the bottom, but he upended the bottle anyway. He heard the sound of orc boots closing in on him from behind. He closed a door behind him, leaving blood smeared on the knob.
Minutes later, the door was opened cautiously. They moved through the door cautiously, with their shields protecting them from an ambush both forward AND above. Joris had taught the orcs some costly lessons. Once they had confirmed that the hall was clear, all but two orcs formed a defensive barrier around it. Joris was secretly watching from up ahead. This was a new tactic. The remaining two orcs set to work nailing the door shut.
Joris had seen enough, and slipped away. The message was clear. There would be no escape in that direction.
It's good ta see you safe! It's been days since we got separated. These damn catacombs seem ta go on forever, an' there's no bloody way out!
The sound of orc footsteps approached from all directions.
Video - Big Trouble Under Stormfist (Voice Acting)
Then we have to fall back. Perhaps we can reach the sewers in time.
Gods, it's a Death Knight!
LOOK OUT! More orcs are coming! Quickly, that way!
Joris was exhausted, and his injuries kept him from running. He also noted that the orcs weren't in any hurry to prevent them from escaping, which probably meant that there wasn't an escape in the direction they were going.
There is no escape! We have to make a stand!
NO YOU FOOL! Your life is too precious to risk. I'll fight while you run! NOW GO!
Each step Joris took aggravated his wound. More blood trickled down his armor. He knew that he did not have much strength left. If it was either go down fighting, or bleed to death... for Joris, there was no choice.
NO! Don't be a fool!
A FOOL MAYBE, BUT I'M NO COWARD! COME ON! LET'S SEE THE COLOUR OF YOUR BLOOD, YUH SWINE!!
Your decrepit friend is right, Marked One. We will be the death of you!
Joris ignored the warning from both friend and foe, and charged the orcs.
There were too many blades for one sword to parry. Joris fell.
Joris lay on the ground, gasping his last breath. The Death Knight stood over him, and stabbed his sword through Joris's heart.
Without warning an invisible hammer hit me in the stomach. I collapsed onto the ground, gasping for air.
What's... happening... to me?
Pain! Loss! We are diminished!
I felt the pain as well, burning through my veins like cold fire. I couldn't move, each breath seemed to take an eternity to arrive. The pain... it wasn't from my body, I could feel where it was coming from... somewhere to the southwest, very close.
Help... someone help...
One of the Marked Ones has died. Nearby - in this very cellar.
I can feel which direction... but if it was... him, then why... do I feel... like I'm the one... who's dying?
I broke myself into three pieces... three Marked Ones. I am one with you, and I am one with the other parts of me. When the other Marked Ones suffer great injury or die, the other parts of me, feel it as well. A part of myself has just died along with the Marked One.
Is this... it?
No, the sensation will pass. It is already starting.
The entity was right. The pain was fading slightly. I could breathe again. I slowly got to my feet.
How... how long was I like that
It felt like hours.
The wound was still raw. I could still sense the direction it came from.
Gods! I'm trapped!
There was a suspiciously empty hallway and a door ahead.
I remembered Rob's warning about the magical traps. I drank one my Purple Elixer's.
Gods! This tastes awful!
Nevertheless, I forced myself to drink several more.
"About the Game" posted:
Thankfully, we only have access to a small part of this floor at the moment , so it's not that hard to clear. However, there are some things to keep in mind.
1) You cannot escape until you finish your objectives here. This can be very bad if you entered with low health. Unlike some other areas where you get forced to as part of the plot, there are no convenient shrines to restore your health and mana, and no places to rest. Not that a mana shrine would do any good. There are some health potions around later though.
2) There are plenty of magical traps around. This is a treasure vault connected to the unpatrolled and dangerous sewers, so there are plenty of traps. Magical traps can hurt a lot, and there are a LOT of traps on this level.
3) While playing as a pure wizard has a lot of advantages, this is one place where it's a pretty bad drawback.
While under Stormfist Castle, you cannot cast any spells (well, not yet anyway) . Because you don't have to cast anything on your first visit to Stormfist, it's entirely possible for a first-time player to never realize that they can't cast spells, making this place a surprise. If you've been neglecting your Strength and Agility scores, and don't have Finnegan's lockpicks with the +20 Agility, the fighting here can be tough.
In reality, the situation isn't quite as bad as I'm making out. After you got captured by Iona, you're forced to fight your way out, and the enemies here aren't that much harder. In particular, the orcs are all level 9 and do almost no damage. And if you have half a brain, you SHOULD have come here prepared for a fight, carrying lots of potions and such. And you bypass the fighting entirely, if you have invisibility potions.
Alright, here goes.
I charged across the room. A fire trap roared at my feet, but I didn't even get warm. Lightning zapped me when I turned the doorknob, but I felt nothing. The room beyond was full of gems on tables, but I ignored the treasure and charged for the opening at the south end, towards where the Marked One had fallen.
The magical electricity found no purchase on my body.
I was sprayed in what I assumed was intended to be noxious poison.
It has no more taste than water. I could take a bath in this stuff.
I ran. More traps discharged themselves harmlessly at my feet.
I saw the opening in the north wall. I knew I was almost at the spot. I heard someone talking... in Orcish.
I stopped before I was spotted. I pulled out all my strength potions. It was all or nothing now. I drank them all at once. It tasted hot, and spicy... like liquid rage...
My body became flooded with adrenaline. I felt invincible.
Video - Duel with Ryu-Gor
Spells? I needed no spells, not with a blade in my hand and anger coursing through my veins.
The orcs weapons were no match for my shiny armor. I swung angrily, decapitating one orc, and burying my sword into the side of another. Their blood sprayed all over me, covering my armor, my clothes, getting into my nose and mouth. It tasted like victory and vengeance.
The last one must have known he was doomed, but I wasn't going to let him escape.
There was someone in nasty-looking armor standing beside the body of a prone person... the other Marked One. I recognized the upright figure as a Death Knight, a fearsome demonic foot soldier.
And here's the second Marked One to meet his doom.
You swordfight surprisingly well for a wizard, Marked One... but you are no match for a Death Knight!
The Death Knight swung his sword, trying to cut me down with a low angle.
He thought to end the fight right away, but instead I parried the blow.
I didn't come here to die! I came here to KILL!
I swung my own blade.
This time it was the Death Knight who had to make a fast parry.
There's more to you than meets the eye, Wizard. Who gave you lessons?
It doesn't matter. The most important lesson I learned...
...was to concentrate on fighting, not talking!
That was... barely... a scratch. Your magic may not work here... but mine DOES.
The Death Knight zapped me with a bolt of red lightning. It was probably supposed to do more than make a mild tingling sensation happen.
Thank you, horrible-tasting potion!
The overconfident Death Knight expected me to have staggered under the blow. Instead I delivered one of my own. He staggered and seemed a bit confused.
I raised my sword for the killing blow. He was growing more desperate and tried the lightning again. It had no more effect than the first time.
The Death knight collapsed in a shower of blood. His sword landed point first and stuck in the ground. The fight was over. As the adrenaline and the effects of the strength potions began to fade, my limbs started to feel numb and rubbery. I tried to get my breathing under control.
I sure hope I don't have to do a lot more sword-fighting.
I walked into the next room.
Hello old friend. So, what have you been up to?
Next Time: The Sword of Lies
Behind the Scenes
I mentioned that this is only Level 1 of the catacombs. We'll be seeing a LOT more of them eventually. But that's a long way off.
That was the first Death Knight we've seen in the game. There will be more of them later on. They're weak to poison, but strong or immune to all other magical damage. They don't have a lot of HP though, so Hell Spikes work well (they do physical damage, in case you forgot). Ryu-Gor has only about 1000 HP, which is low for a mini-boss, but that's likely in case you're playing a wizard, the low HP gives you a fighting chance.
This place is on the main quest and is the only mandatory place you have to visit AND fight where your skills do not work. This can be a pain for a mage like me. If you're not suited for melee combat, there are three invisibility potions on a table; you can see them in the scenes where Jeremiah fights the Death Knight. If you use them carefully, you can walk past the guards without them noticing. There are other helpful potions on nearby tables.
When I was getting screencaps, I was fortunate to get a pair of lucky accidents where it looked like our swords were meeting. That was really awesome.
Alternate Fight Scene
Said process of getting screencaps led to awkward pauses in the video, so I recorded a second fight without taking screencaps. Here's the original fight.
Video - Duel with Ryu-Gor
What's fake in this update?
- The start of the scene with Joris was fake, as should be clear if you watched the videos.
- Wouter and Jeremiah collapsing was also fake.
- I re-took some shots of the effects of the potions on Jeremiah.