The Let's Play Archive

Divine Divinity

by Stabbey_the_Clown

Part 83: The Dark Forest

Chapter 61 - The Dark Forest

Music - "Sighs of the Elvenkind"
Download (Thanks to Grawl)

Previously on Divine Divinity:

"YOU LYING BASTARDS! I'LL KILL YOU!" I screamed at the orc bandits.

Sanyasala, telor Jeremiah Liro. I welcome you to the Archer's Guild. It is a pleasure to meet you, Jeremiah Liro.
I'm sorry, but do we know each other, sir?
Yes. Well, I know you at least. Zandalor spoke to me in my dreams and told me of your situation. Forgive my manners, Jeremiah Liro. My name is Elredor.

WHAT!? But... VINNY!!! Now it is clear to me, all this time the little miscreant has been peeing in the mass wine. Of course the spirits that live in this place got enraged by this pure act of desecration!

Chapter 61 - The Dark Forest

31 Sembten 1218

I had an early breakfast at the Blue Boar Inn, then I cut through the poor quarter as I headed south. I saw a familiar face.

Hey, aren't you that boy who was peeing in the mass wine in the church?
Heh, yeah, I had to do something so they would throw me out of there. Do you think I was gonna stay there and wear that girl's dress all the time? Oh no, I prefer living on the streets! You don't happen to have some money you could spare do you?

I couldn't believe what I was hearing.

You know, Father Theofolous - the sycophantic rear end in a top hat though he may be - was just trying to give you a possibility for a better life! Now you will probably never amount to anything!

I pointed to a stain on my armor.

You see this? This stain used to be Father Danos. He DIED because of your desecration. He DIED. Do you have any idea what that means? They'll be scrubbing him out of the carpets for months. Don't you care about what you did?
I don't have time to stand around here listening to your nagging, now do you have some gold pieces for me or not?

The next thing I knew, Vinny was sprawled on the ground holding his jaw, and I had a matching (but satisfying) ache in my fist.

OWW! What was that for, Mister?
You wanted the streets? You deserve them, and you certainly don't deserve any of my gold, you callous little poo poo.

I stormed off down the road at a brisk pace, trying to cool off.

Somewhere in the Dark Forest was the talking tree whose branch I needed for Corinna's summons, as well as the Holy Amulet buried with an Elven Lord. It wouldn't hurt to start looking for Council members as well, so I decided to start off by checking in at the Archer's Guild.

Sanysala. It's an honour to speak to you, my Lord.
Ha! A telor with manners - how marvelous. But please, there's no need to use lofty titles when addressing me, so no more 'my Lord' if you will? We elves aren't as fond of titles as you humans are, Jeremiah.

I returned his smile.

As one who recently held a ridiculous title, I assure you that I fully understand
And how may I help you, friend of Zandalor?
Did you see Bronthion passing by lately?
Do you know Ambassador Bronthion? Yes, my old friend passed by the Archer's Guild a short while ago. And I have to say, he was not in a very good mood. Obviously things are not going very well at the moment...
What do you mean, not in a very good mood...?
He had encountered some troubles on his mission. Humans are often so unpredictable, so unreliable, so difficult. Please forgive me my open words. They are not meant to be personal...
I was present at the meeting Bronthion had with Duke Janus, and I served Duke Janus for a short time, so I understand. But even among his own people, Duke Janus is strongly disliked, so do not take his sentiments for those of all humankind.
Your words are wise, Jeremiah.
Where did Bronthion go?
He was headed toward Fiu Nimble, a small elven community in the Dark Forest...
Where is that in relation to the Warrior's Guild?
Just south of there, the road goes right to it.
My thanks. Farewell, I hope we'll meet again soon.

I headed into the Dark Forest, following the road. I came across a merchant caravan parked on the side, apparently waiting. There were five men there. Three of them beckoned me over.

Hail, adventurer! What's your name? I am Saphiro, and these are my friends, Kenneth and Brent.
Greetings to you. I am known as Jeremiah. I've been known to dabble in adventuring.
Good! I mean, good. We are - were a traveling merchant caravan. We need a reliable and strong person who could help us to avenge the deaths of our women. Are you able to help us?
Please tell me what has happened.
We are all that remain after the last troll attack. They killed our families and friends without mercy and now we are in desperate need of able fighters to help us.
Oh Gods! I've seen my wife smashed by the boulder thrown by a mountain troll! I will never find peace again!
You have my sympathies...
Please help us to defeat the trolls! They've killed my children! They must be destroyed as the monstrous vermin that they are!
How sad...

I sighed. I knew the pain of losing family to a roadside ambush. I couldn't turn them down.

Tell me where I might find these damned trolls?
Here, let me show you our camp location on your map. It's near the pass to the Dwarven Halls. I am certain that those foul beasts are still there, looting our wagons and tents.
The trolls must pay for this massacre! I will help you!
Thank you! Oh, thank you, Jeremiah Liro! We'll meet you there at the ambush site.
Be careful.

The three men moved off down the road. The other two men glanced at them, but they didn't seem concerned... in fact, if anything, they seemed relieved.

Monsters? You mean the trolls. I'm sorry.

The man seemed confused.

Thank the Gods we have not seen any monsters - or trolls. But tales of this place speak of ghosts, devils and other foul things. There are also reports of many merchants being attacked here too.
I'm sorry for what happened to you and your companions.
I'm sorry? Companions? You mean, those men? We don't know who they are.
They showed up a little while ago, claiming that they were merchants who'd been attacked...
It's probably nothing. They seemed a bit off. It might just have been shock, though.
And who might you be, sir?
I am Raymond and this is my companion Brian. We are merchants on urgent business with the elves at their village within this hateful place.
This damnable forest is most peculiar. I have the constant feeling that we're being watched. Like a thousand eyes staring into your very soul. I do hope we are able to leave soon.
Your nerves are quite frayed, friend. Is this your first trip through the Dark Forest?
What? Oh no, no. I'm always like this when I travel through here. I've seen too many die in this forest.
Why are you camping here? You can leave the forest immediately, if you are so afraid...
Oh, I would leave. Believe me, I would... You have to talk to Raymond. He is the one who is possessed by the thought of staying here.

Yes, there is a reason why I have to stay... You know, I'm looking for a special artifact to complete my collection... I've read it can be found here in the northern part of the Dark Forest.
And? What is this artifact?
It is an ancient burial vase. Rumor says it can only be found here, in an underground burial chamber of the so-called Ancients. It looks a lot like the vases next to the chest over there.
Ancients - you mean elves?
That's right.
An ancient elven burial ground? It's possible that's where that elven lord Umarion is buried - the one who had the amulet.
So this vase - you think while camping here, it will come to you automatically?

"About the game" posted:

Gotta love that lampshade hanging about the nature of NPC's just waiting around for someone else to solve their fetch quests in RPG's.

Hahaha, no, no, of course not. I've hired the services of a group of mercenaries. They looked quite capable, in my eyes. But they haven't returned yet... Maybe something has happened to them...
He thinks that something has happened to the mercenaries. And yet, he insists that WE stay here!
You endanger yourself - and your partner - because of a collector's item?
Obviously you don't understand... I've spent a lot of money to buy all the pieces. ... And now, my collection is almost complete...
Maybe I could have a look...
An excellent idea... If you bring me the burial vase, I will pay you the same I promised the three mercenaries. What do you say about 5,000 gold? Interested?
Sounds interesting! I have your word, 5,000 gold if I bring you the vase first...
Gold's nice and all, but I'm really hoping to find that third holy relic.
I believe that the ruins are somewhere to the east. Sorry I can't tell you exactly where.

So, my mostly-silent companion... things have been pretty hectic recently, but now that things are a bit calmer, I have some questions.
What are you, exactly?
I am the Divine Being.
Divine Being? As in a God?
No. I am a creation of the gods. My role was to wait until the time was right, and then to designate another Divine One.

When the time was right? How long have you been waiting?
A very, very, long time. I slept for hundreds of years. My slumber was only broken when the Black Ring attempted to destroy me.
So why did you pick me, Wouter and Joris?
...The Black Ring knew I existed, they struck against me unexpectedly.

What aren't you telling me?
The Black Ring was about to destroy me. I had to choose then, or all would be lost.
Wait, are you saying that I was chosen at random?
No. You were a suitable candidate in proximity.
Suitable... but not ideal.
Possibly. I did not have time to analyze every possible candidate.
So you don't know if the Gods will even approve me?

You split yourself into three. What would have happened if none of us died, and the ritual was performed?
I am not sure.
What do you mean? Would there be three Divine Ones? Would the Gods just pick one as the best - what would have happened to the other two?
I do not know.
What do you mean, you don't know? There've been Divine Ones long ago, thousands of years ago. What did you do then? Who did you select and why?
You do not understand how it works.
What do you mean by that?
Wait... something's close... Do you sense it?

"About the Game" posted:

This is a new map, so there are new enemies in the Dark Forest. The Boa's are just slightly more powerful snakes, although their damage still is low, and your spellshield will deal with it. The Beetles are fire beetles, resistant to fire, and their attacks are fire-based and will deplete your Spellshield and not your physical damage shield. The mutated toads and frogs are slightly more interesting.

They are the only normal enemy which can turn themselves invisible, but they have to become visible to attack. They aren't much of a threat. Don't waste points into True Sight just on account of them. You can still kill them with area attacks like Hell Spikes when they're invisible.

What the! Who speaks? Show yourself!
I am right here in front of your bulbous ugly nose, you fool. Come on now, pull me free, will you?

I groaned.

That last snakebite must have put an unusual poison into my veins. I begin to hallucinate and hear a sword speaking.
Do not tell me you have never seen a talking sword before? Well I have never seen such a stupid two-legger in my life! What race are you stupid one?

I saw no reason to be honest to whatever this was.

Halfling? Well that goes some way to explaining your weakness. If you pull me out I will make you the strongest Halfling the world has ever seen.

Watch your words you piece of metal.
Will you not try? Come now, pull me out. I am quite a powerful weapon you know. I will make you really strong.
Just why are you in the stone in the first place? Who put you there?

"About the Game" posted:

Eventually, no matter what choices you pick, you'll end up at a choice of three options.

1) I hope your blade edge is as sharp as your tongue, sword. Very well. I will try
2) I will pull you out if you say please.
3) You can stay in this stone and rust, sword.

All of these end the conversation, and you get control back.

I will pull you out if you say please.

The sword fell silent.

I don't trust that sword.
Yes, I sense the evil here too. But if I just leave it, what will happen then? What if someone comes along who IS fooled?
Be careful Jeremiah, this could be very dangerous.
Yeah, well everything I do is dangerous. If I'm too scared of some malicious talking sword, how can I hope to walk right into the waiting maw of the Black Ring at Stormfist?
It's not wise to justify doing recklessly stupid things with lines like that. One of these days, statements like that are going to turn into Famous Last Words.

The Sword in the Stone

I pulled the sword out of the stone. It came out easily... too easily.

The ground rumbled and the stone glowed unnaturally.

Yeah... somehow I thought you'd say that.

"About the Game" posted:

Oddly enough, despite all the buildup, this guy is WEAKER than the standard Spectre Lord (which we'll see in a minute), in both damage and hit points. The catch to this guy is that he can only be defeated, not killed.

I hammered it with magical hail, pouring it down in wave after wave until the thing spoke up in defiance. It retreated back into the stone to recover. That thing should have been killed several times over with all the magic I rained on it, but it was still alive - well, still undead, if you want to get technical. I could keep fighting it, but sooner or later, I'd get tired, or run out of potions.

I examined the sword again. Seperated from the stone, I could now tell that the Sword bore a special enchantment unrelated to any properties as a weapon.

You don't belong strapped to my back. You belong here.

I then slammed the sword back into the slot in the stone I had pulled it from.

To make sure it stayed, I used my magic to carve words into the surface of the stone, ones that would not easily be worn away by wind and rain. The words said "THE SWORD LIES". I took a little extra effort into making sure they appeared to have been written in dried blood.

Good luck trying to get anyone else to pick you up now.
It was still in there when we arrived, so it seems like I was the only one stupid enough to actually pull the drat thing out.

I was now quite far from the road. I had no idea where the ruins the mercenaries wanted to investigate were, so I decided to turn back. That's when I noticed that there were some only a few feet away.

I wandered around looking for... I actually wasn't sure what.

Do you hear that?
You mean, the silence? Yes. There isn't any wildlife around. I sense many restless spirits in this place.

I sensed it too, something dark and malevolent watching. It wasn't just the sword, either. There were healthy trees and plants, but the area was nearly a dead-zone. Something here made all the animals uncomfortable. No birds, squirrels or insects. It was quiet except for the rustle of leaves in the wind.

This area looked to be long abandoned, but it was definitely a major elven site long ago - as the teleporter confirmed.

Actually calling the area abandoned was only part of the story. It was in fact densely populated. Just not by the living.

After exorcising the area for the moment, I spotted an unusual structure. As I got closer, I saw it was a stairwell. I hadn't had any luck aboveground, so...

It was cold down there, and dead quiet. In the gloom, I spotted a body.

One of Raymond's mercenaries, perhaps?

I knelt to examine the body. It was stone cold. I couldn't tell how long it had been there. Not even the flies and maggots had touched it yet, as if this place was unwelcoming even to them. My eyes drifted to the man's hand. Something was clutched in it.

The Holy Amulet

I was so excited that I forgot to keep my mouth shut. "Excellent!" I exclaimed. My voice echoed in the silent hallways.

I got what I came for. While I'm here, I may as well see if I can find that vase.

There were more evil spirits down here as well. I found the unidentifiable remains of another person. The blood was dry. I moved further into the dark.

There's something powerful here.

Still, it was a ghost. I didn't know why, but ghosts were extra-flammable, even compared to humans.

"About the Game" posted:

This guy can do a heck of a lot of damage, and has some decent HP. There are also many ghosts down here, they don't have the HP to withstand Rank 5 Meteorstrike for more than 4 hits.

Next to two more bodies was a vase, like the one Raymond showed me.

Sorry, fellas. Guess you didn't know what you were getting yourself into.

I couldn't sense anything else especially dangerous, so I continued exploring deeper.


I emerged back into sunshine. I heard the welcome sounds of wildlife roaming around. I headed west until I found the road, and returned to Raymond's location.

I've found the vase you're looking for. I think your mercenaries might be dead. I did find some bodies, although I'm not entirely sure that they were the men you hired.
Let me see it, let me see... Ahhh yes. This is the right one... You earned your reward. Please, take it.
Thank you... so now you can leave, can't you?
Hmm, I think we should stay a while longer. In case the mercenaries are coming back... I don't want to give them the impression that I've tricked them...
I don't think they're coming back...

The sun was at the mountaintops, so I hurried to the spot Saphiro marked. He and his friends were waiting for me when I arrived. But something was wrong. There were no signs at all of a merchant camp, or a fight.

I do not see any signs of a recent massacre. Where are the trolls? Where is the camp?
It seems as if our ploy worked well. We were sent to take care of you. The witch gave us a detailed description of you and promised to reward us greatly for your death.
Really Iona? This is your plan? Are you kidding me?
How can you be really sure that I am the one you seek?
Iona told us to look for a swaggering freebooter with a terrible taste in clothing. That's you or I'm a Halfling!
Terrible taste in clothes? ME? And this is from you, who dresses like a colour-blind orc?!
Your humour will not save you!
Whatever gold the witch is giving you, I will double it if you leave me in peace.
Bah? You waste our time! Iona told us you might try this. But you do not have the means to pay us.
Er... would you accept some fake gold?
You squander your last breaths on such pathetic attempts at humour? Attack him! He must not be allowed to leave this place alive!

As they moved to attack me, I didn't bother to raise my arms or to draw my weapon. Instead, I just shook my head sadly.

Such a pity that I must waste my famed fighting skills on the likes of you.
This is an unfortunate day for you. Oh well, you know the old saying... never send a FROG to do a man's job.
Hey, what do you me-

Next Time: Lair of the Stalker

Behind the Scenes

The Map:

At some unspecified time later, I'll do a fake update about anything interesting in the northern part of the Dark Forest.

You may have noticed that my level was 33 in the last update, but is 32 here. That's because apparently, when getting the shots for that update, I used a saved game where I had already done this stuff first.

I organize my screenshots based on location, not by date, which leads to a bit of confusion in this act, where I travel all over to various places. This act is called "Council", instead of being named for a location for that reason.


As you can see, the Black Ring is starting to actively interfere with us and send people after us. I decided for purposes of the narrative that  Jeremiah would face these encounters in increasing levels of difficulty, instead of a mish-mash of hard and easy challenges.  This is why I'm doing side-quests  instead of going after the council members. Unfortunately, while I tried to recruit a certain council member early, I couldn't figure out how to do that one as the non-last member, and there's a side-quest or two which can only be done after I get that particular council member. 

The dialogue doesn't change if you haven't entered Stormfist and met Iona yet. You can get this as soon as you can come to the Dark Forest.


Heh, yeah, I had to do something so they would throw me out of there. Do you think I was gonna stay there and wear that girl's dress all the time? Oh no, I prefer living on the streets! You don't happen to have some money you could spare do you?
I hear ya! I wouldn't want to live there myself!
Uhuh, now do you have some gold pieces to spare or not?

Here, take these 100 gold pieces!
Woo, thank you! I am gonna have myself a decent meal tonight!

Here, take this coin.
A whole coin? Are you sure you don't want to split it in half?

There's a tombstone near the talking sword, it is hollow and contains this potion. I guess it's meant for melee fighters to use it on the nasty boss.

The Talking Sword, Part 1

Well, well. A talking sword. How peculiar.
Of course I am a sword. And one with a better grasp of the language by all accounts. You speak like a stinking orc.

Who speaks? Reveal yourself!
I am not hiding you blind fool. I am right before you. You really were the last from the basket when they were handing out intellect, weren't you!
It cannot be. This is some trick. You are hidden. Reveal yourself.
By the looks of you I would surmise you do not have the strength to do it. You look weak. Why not give it a go and prove me wrong?

Do not tell me you have never seen a talking sword before? Well I have never seen such a stupid two-legger in my life! What race are you stupid one?

Human? What is that? I have never heard of such a race. Are you related to the orcs? You smell and talk as bad as they do. But I care not. Will you please pull me out?

If you are an elf then you can count yourself as one among them without intelligence. Your eyes reveal a depth of stupidity I have never encountered before. Come now, make the first intelligent act of your life and PULL ME OUT!

A dwarf? What business do you have outside your precious caves? Have your women cast you out because of your stupidity and ugly appearance? If you pull me out I will make you the envy of your race.

Hah! I knew it. The dull look in your eyes, the pitiful grasp of language and that foul smell. Have you not bathed yet, surely the year is over. Listen, if you pull me out, you will be able to easily kill your clan chief using me and take his position as leader!

If you flee or keep the sword, the monster you released will gradually massacre every friendly NPC in the Dark Forest. I'll show that off later, after we meet more of them.

What's fake in this update?