Part 78: The Cursed Abbey
Chapter 58 - The Cursed Abbey
Music - "Heartbeats of Undeath"
Download (Thanks to Grawl)
This is my favorite "dungeon" music in the game.
28 Sembten 1218
Farmer Finn was in his field. He watched me head towards the abbey, but he didn't say anything, or try to stop me.
The presence of evil there was strong enough that I could feel it from a distance. It chilled me from the inside out, and the warmth of the bright sun did nothing to help. As I approached the walls, I heard the sound of screaming. It was getting closer, fast.
"GHOSTS! AAAAAARGH! THERE'RE GHOSTS IN THE ABBEY! LET ME PASS! RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!"
The man shoved me aside and took off down the road. I couldn't blame him. I wouldn't be coming here if I didn't absolutely have to.
Not really the best of omens.
In the woods nearby, a flock of birds suddenly flew away, as if something had startled them. I had the unsettling sensation of being watched.
I hate having enemies at my back. They tend to show themselves just when they're least wanted. So I decided to check the area between the walls and abbey proper.
It was full of zombies.
At the northwest corner, I found an old campsite. It clearly hadn't ended well. A note on some hay indicated that a group of mercenaries had been staying here.
It was clear from all the blood that they hadn't made it out of here. I didn't know what happened to the merc's bodies, and I didn't want to find out first-hand, so without lingering, I headed to the courtyard.
Oh, it's you guys.
I know how to deal with you guys.
Once the courtyard was clear, I activated the teleporter, in case I needed to make a hurried retreat.
After that I moved inside.
I pulled some books off the shelves at random, but the atmosphere was too unsettled for me to feel comfortable scouring all the shelves. It could take hours to see if there was anything interesting in them.
Besides, there were too many angry distractions around to concentrate on reading anyway.
In one corner of the cathedral, I found a magical halberd lying on the floor.
"About the Game" posted:
This item has been the cause of much grief and many complaints on forums.
I picked it up and started walking. But something was wrong. I started feeling tired and sluggish. I shouldn't have been tired, but my eyelids started to feel heavy.
What's... what's wrong with me?
I unstrapped the Halberd from my back. My arms started to feel heavy. The world was starting to get dim. I awkwardly threw the Halberd away. The effect was immediate. The feeling of tiredness and fatigue evaporated immediately.
I spat at the weapon, and moved on into the kitchen.
"About the Game" posted:
That weapon has a hidden attribute which doesn't show up even if you can identify it. I believe it's a Rank 3 magic item. It constantly drains your stamina. Most people pick up every weapon they find, and Identify is generally not a high priority. So adventurers will wander into here, pick this up and they probably won't notice for a while that their stamina is low. And if they're a low level, being unable to run from the enemies here could be fatal.
Yeah, Larian can be dicks sometimes.
"About the Game" posted:
Rank 5 Burning Wall is awesome. That's at MOST 3 seconds worth of damage. The wall lasts for 25 seconds.
In the last room of the east wing, I found stairs to the abbey basement. There was a cold chill wafting up from the basement. The source of the malice was down there.
The corridor at the bottom was quiet and empty. Despite the hordes above, there was no sign of the undead. I didn't like this. It was almost worse than an attack.
Oh! I remember something which might help.
Heh... such a basic spell, too.
Hiya buddy. Do me a favour and walk down this hallway for me, wouldya?
I covered my eyes.
That's what I thought. Sorry, buddy, but you've got work to do...
It was slow going. It seemed as if there were traps every few meters.
Someone with very poor luck had been standing right under a section of ceiling when it had collapsed.
Was it just an accident, or did the malevolent force I sense here cause the collapse?
I summoned another rat, but it didn't get far before a flaming arrow hit it.
It appears that the trapped section is finally over.
I dispatched the wandering steel skeletons and looked around. I came to a door. The source of the darkness in this place... it was behind there.
Locked. And I can't pick it, either. Maybe the key is nearby.
I moved aside a barrel and found a key. But unfortunately, it didn't even fit in the lock, so I moved on.
Another locked door. The key didn't fit there either, but there was a lever nearby.
After all the shiny metal bones had laid down for a rest, I found a lever in a distant area of the room. It didn't seem to do anything nearby, so I returned to the locked door which had the powerful presence behind it. This time the door was unlocked.
I took a few steps in. It was dark in here. I moved cautiously through the center of the room. And then I saw it.
"Wait, if you WANT someone mortal to come see you, then why is the place full of dozens of MURDEROUS UNDEAD and deadly traps? That's not exactly encouraging visitors!" ...is what I didn't say. Instead, I decided to be more diplomatic.
"You, um... you do not look at all healthy," I said to the hulking undead abomination. "What ails you?"
The soul would hear my story? Marvellous! Though it is a dark tale of betrayal. I was once a mighty magician - my power flowing from the demon blood that ran through my veins. My old name is not important. They called me the Engineer. During the age of Renaissance, this abbey was a great place of stored knowledge.
That does not sound interesting so far.
What happened to being diplomatic?
I've never actually been good at diplomatic.
The monks were fearful that disciples from other orders might sneak into their library and steal their documents. They hired me to construct magical traps and devices to protect their repository of knowledge.
Lethal traps to guard old books? What kind of monks were they?
I accepted, thanks in large part to the large sum of money promised that would have paid for many important items I needed in my studies of the magical arts.
So what happened next?
I spent the entire month in the library, setting up my magical traps and defenses of the most devious designs. Throughout, the monks watched me carefully. As I finally laid the final traps and completed my work, they struck and imprisoned me in a magical cage that fed upon my life force.
Ah...That's what kind of monks. Paranoid psychotics. Or perhaps they were the Order of the Holy Asshole.
I think the monks wanted absolutely no one to get access to their works.
Yes. And of course considering I had laid all the traps, they deemed my knowledge dangerous and decided to imprison me. They were fools. I placed a curse on everything within the abbey, turning the monks therein into undead creatures for their treachery. They will suffer until I have my payment.
So that document in the church library was correct.
How can I release you from this torment?
My spirit has grown restless over the years. The burning rage for revenge that flows through my heart can only be extinguished if you give me a thousand gold pieces, the sum promised to me by the monks.
What do you need gold for? You're an undead!
I don't need it for anything, but my soul can only rest once I am paid the amount promised to me.
I can afford that... or perhaps I can put his soul to rest by force... Hmmm...
I thought about it for a minute. He looked pretty dangerous.
It just so happens that I have enough money to pay that amount.
Wait, before you go, I'm looking for a book on the 3 Holy Weapons, do you know where that is?
On top of the bookcase... Thank you, and goodbye...
A book on top of the bookshelf trembled before settling again. I picked it up.
Yes, this seems to be the one.
If I'd come here before finding the other two, I'd probably have looked a long time in the wrong places. I still need that elven amulet, though. I have no idea where to look, though.
There were other things in the cellar worth investigating though.
The golden key I found fit into a chest.
On a table was a scroll for the Human Teleporter system. I already had one.
I can't just leave this out here for anyone to find...
I put it into the golden key chest, relocked it, and hid the key in the middle of a dusty and unremarkable book of hymns on one shelf.
Before I forgot, I went to the Barracks to give Gareth the Feign Death potion I'd gotten from Father Theofolous the other day. It had taken longer than he'd expected, but I hadn't heard any news on the war front, so I imagined that he was safe enough for the moment.
Here, I found a Feign Death potion.
What! You found one? It had been so long that I'd almost given up hope and feared you had forgotten about me! Oh joy! I will be leaving these barracks tonight! Soon I will be with my beloved Isolde again! Thank you so much! Here, take this key, it will allow you to enter the weapons room of the barracks!
"About the Game" posted:
Your reward is the key to the Barracks armory, which was re-locked after you did the earlier quest, so you can go back and loot it if you now want.
With my work for the day done, I returned to the Council chambers for some much needed rest.
Ah, Jeremiah! Still no luck scrying for the Dwarf and the Imp, but while I was searching an office, I found this helmet. It might prove useful to you.
"About the Game" posted:
You likely don't remember because it was 40 updates and several months ago, but Zandalor recommended that we go here to look for teleporter scrolls. He was right about this place having them, but the only one is the one for the Human teleporters, and that's easily acquired from doing a mission at the Barracks.
The Strange Mardec amulet is another unique item, but I didn't bother to reload, because I already was wearing a Royal Chain with decent stats, and my final gear will be the Holy Amulet which I came to this place to find information on.
The golden key chest always contains the book on Wizard's Sight.
The helmet is always found in a chest in the east wing of the Council of Seven. It's a Rank 4 magic item, and I didn't have a good helmet, so I reloaded until I got one. It's one of two helms in that style in the game, the second one will be my final gear.
The west wing of the Council of Seven has Golden Dwarven armor. It's got a worse weight-to-protection ratio than many other armors in the game, including the Light Plate I'm wearing, so I didn't bother reloading for it.
29 Sembten 1218
The next morning I went to see farmer Finn to tell him the good news.
Rejoice my friend! I've lifted the curse! This land is no longer haunted.
I know! I know! I saw you enter the Cursed Abbey and that very night the ghostly voices ceased to trouble my sleep! Even better, the cows are milking naturally again!
How much is a lifetime's worth of restful nights and mornings of creamy milk worth to you, Finn? I think I deserve a little reward, don't you?
Well, I reckon that you soiled your breechcloth when you entered the abbey. How about I give it a good wash for you, eh?
You need have no fear for my personal hygiene, Farmer Finn: I am quite unsoiled. Now, would you care to reconsider your impolite words?
He laughed heartily.
Just joking mate! Here, accept this present in gold as my heartfelt thanks.
Thank you kindly.
I headed for the abbey, as it was the nearest teleporter, and quite safe now. The only problem was that I didn't have a destination in mind.
I don't know where that amulet is, other than "somewhere in the Dark Forest". It wouldn't hurt to learn more tricks. ... Oh! I remember now... I could ask her...
I stepped onto the teleporter and headed for Verdistis.
Next Time: Meet Penumbra
Behind the Scenes
Here's a map of the top and bottom floor of the Cursed Abbey.
Some people recommend coming here very early on to level up. It's certainly possible, but it's dangerous - you're not likely to be more than level 10 or 11 after crossing the bridge, and these enemies here are all in their 20's. Going here early is also dangerous if you're low on cash, because the Engineer won't accept "I haven't got the money, I'll pay you later" as acceptable.
If Jeremiah says "I will not pay you!" or if he doesn't have the money, "I'm sorry I don't have the money at this time, I will have to come back later..." the Engineer gets UNHAPPY.
The Engineer is a pretty nasty boss. He hits hard and knows Rank 5 Hell Spikes, and those can seriously mess up your day if you're not careful. The horde of monsters he summons doesn't help.
But still, he has no resistances, so the same thing I used to kill everything else here works just fine on him.
You might have noticed that I suddenly jumped from level 29 to 31. Right before facing the Engineer, I decided to go try and kill the toughest boss in the game - as a test - to make sure I could do it. My test was successful. So I reloaded to before facing that boss and went around and mopped up all the other lower-level enemies I had missed so far (see the before and after maps below). I also allocated all the extra stat points I had been saving just in case that boss was too hard into Intelligence. That's where all the rest of my stat points will go from now on.
I also did the Verdistis Sewers, and activated that teleporter as well as the one in the Dwarven Woods. I won't be visiting there in this LP, so there wasn't any point in making a narrative for them. I'll do fake updates for those areas some time, I'm not sure when.
Gareth + Isolde forever
I discovered that after you give Gareth the Feign Death potion, he shows up with Isolde. I'm sure I've missed a few of these things, but I'm not going to check on every one of them.
I want to thank you for helping me escape those horrible barracks! Finally! I am again by the side of my beloved Isolde!
Nice to see you two are together again!
Isolde: It's so wonderful what you did for Gareth and me. I thought that I would never see him again! Or worse, he'd be brought back from the war in a coffin! Thank you! Thank you a thousand times over!
I hope that Gareth doesn't make any more foolish decisions, like when he joined the army. He's a gentle boy, not a soldier type at all...
What's fake in this update?
- The guy screaming about ghosts in the abbey is real, but he actually appears farther away, quite a distance from the abbey entrance, in fact.
- When you're outside, you cannot actually see the merc camp. The roof of the abbey blocks your view completely, so all you can see is a transparent view of your character behind the room. I was actually inside the abbey and scrolled the screen to take the shot of the merc camp.