Part 4: The Isle of Keire
Nidoking is telling it straight. The formula tends to make fights all or nothing outside of a pretty close range of levels or attack values. This only feels broken if you go looking for fights you shouldn't pick, or if you're bullying the weak.
okay, yes, and if you have some moves and a little patience
Chapter 4: The Isle of Keire
The plot so far, in Dragon View:
Alex, the stringy sword-warrior and acolyte of the Isle of Keire's league of stringy sword warriors vowed revenge against the wicked wizard Argos after said villain swooped in and stole away Katarina, ordinary girl of Rysis, for no humanly comprehensible reason. Armed with flimsy armor and a traditional slingblade, Alex rushed to chase the wizard, only to find the way out blocked by a small pile of rocks.
Alex traveled to Hujia, home of detonations, where he petitioned the local bombsmith, Tylon, for assistance in his quest to defeat the small pile of rocks and get on with his actual quest for revenge (or saving the girl, either way). Tylon insisted Alex brave the storehouse full of demons and retrieve the dynamite he would need to make bombs once more.
Alex so braved, posing studly while deposing Piercia, the queen of scorpions who had squatted the storehouse in order to brood the greatest heavy metal band of all time (giant scorpions in a cave full of dynamite...you tell me what she was doing).
With dynamite in hand, Alex gladly made the exchange for a handful of bombs, and blasted away the obstacle to his egress, the nemesis small pile of rocks.
We rejoin our hero as he enquires the citizens of Kazdra, gateway to Keire temple.
That would be here. You can see Galys pass on the southeast corner of the map. It is tempting at this point to simply explore all over the place and go into every nook and cranny you find. There's actually a lot of good stuff that can come of this, but you can also run into powerfully deadly monsters. Even if you do choose to explore on your own, I'd recommend stepping into town here first to save your game at the Dragon Temple.
Okay, so the town's name is actually spelled "Casdra." First and foremost we want all the information we can get, so let's talk to this bystanding citizen.
"Welcome to Casdra! Nice little town, isn't it? Among the peaks lies Dragon Temple. Many wise men reside in that temple. Among them, Giza, is the youngest. Some say he's the brightest young man ever to enter the temple!"
A sound bite worthy of a tour guide. I can already tell why you're the city's official greeter. I also presume that Alex can see the peaks that man mentioned, though like the expressions on people's faces in the game's cutscenes, I have to imagine.
"I have a hard time believing that, but what if it's true?!"
Inside the greeter's house (or perhaps merely the house of the woman he stalks) we find a local rumormonger with some hot tips. Expecting some demons in the forecast is one thing, but this missive is tantamount to saying a local landmark took water damage from a flood. This can't be good.
"Listen! Something terrible must have happened! A few days ago, I saw demons exit the front gates of Keire Temple! The seemed unhindered by the sacred place...Is it possible they have seized the temple?!"
...or is it possible that, being demons, they don't revere that place the same way you do, and thus wouldn't have to waste precious seconds genuflecting before it. Still, these rumors are getting rather scarily specific. I only learned a minute ago that Keire Temple even existed, and now I learn it's bursting at the seams with demons?
"Years ago, a brother and sister lived here together. They were inseparable...One day, the sister fell very ill. Although her brother pleaded to the gods for her recovery, she grew steadily worse until she died of her unknown ailment. Her brother was left forlorn, and grieved deeply of her death. Shortly afterwards, he disappeared, never to be seen again. Now all that remains of them is a lonely grave on the far side of town. Where could he have gone?"
The town music fades out and they start playing the sad track when this woman relates the story to you. I seem to recall a Dracula origin story going this same way. Hmmm.
Ah, no I'm thinking of Queen Elizabeth.
"The old lady who runs the shop spoke of your great deeds!"
...and the other one:
Delighted, the woman inquires, "You hail from Rysis? My daughter will be ecstatic! She believes a prince from Rysis will arrive and sweep her off her feet!"
Ah, Alex's reputation for deedliness precedes him. As for great, I'd reckon that the deed of lifting his clothes to get dressed each day is by comparison "great" given his sleight carriage. Go ahead and pose for the ladies, Alex, it may earn you the heart of a school girl across the street.
As you walk away, the pair of them start shrugging and snickering, leading me to believe they somewhat share my thin opinion of our hero.
"Hello warrior. I appreciate your help in Hujia. What? Free goods? Ha ha... you're quite a joker. But please feel free to BUY anything you fancy."
I fancy a quick exit, thanks. There's better wares to spend my jade on in this town.
The girl is on the verge of tears, "My father is a hunter. He sometimes stays out hunting for days at a time. I wait at home, all alone, for him to return! Sometimes I get so scared and lonely, I just cry...I got so lonely, I hid my father's bow in the North cave so he can't go hunting! Oops! Me and my big mouth! Please don't tell my father!"
Cool story, bro. Where did you say that bow was? Nevermind I'll go ask your dad.
"Where's that bow?" he mutters to himself, "I can't for the life of me remember where I put it!"
Gah. You're no help. Fine, I'll go get in myself. Sheesh.
We exit Kazdra and go north to a cave, called the North Cave. The bow is right there in that chest. You can go into the back room if you want a quick death.
We hasten back to Kazdra instead, and to the little girl.
Hey bro! I found that bro you mentioned in that cool story.
"That's my father's bow! You went to the North cave and took it, didn't you?! Please," she pleads, "Keep the bow, but promise not to tell my father."
Keep a promise to tell your father and return the bro? Anything you say, bro.
Returned the Bow
"I thought so," says the Hunter, "I'd know this bow anywhere. I've decided to stay in town so I can spend more quality time with my daughter. Here, why don't you keep the bow. I don't need it anymore."
Got the Bow
Or you could stay in town to be safe from the apparently common thunderstorms of demons. Can't argue with quality time, though. As long as you're not thinking of using her as a human shield like some other NPCs...
"You should speak with Rodister. Perhaps he can help you in your quest. Search for him by the lake in the east. He lives alone, in a cave near that lake. Use this map to find him, it's of no use to me."
Wait, he lives alone in a cave? Why should I speak with Rodister aga- oh, thanks for the map I guess.
"He was last sighted in Miraj..."
This time, the health upgrade sets us back 250 jade: a linear trend that will continue throughout the game, and continue to be the most worthwhile use of our bubbly hexagonal currency.
I'm still watching you, fake-merchant-watcher-lady.
"Ahh... when I was young, I was a warrior much like yourself. I fought great battles throughout the world. But one terrible place remains most vivid in my memory...West of here there is a Cave of Fire! In my foolhardy youth, I entered that cave on a fool's wager. To this day, the memory of that awful cavern haunts me in my sleep!"
The woman warns you, "Do not attempt to cross the mountains to reach Keire Temple. They are too steep, and you would surely perish. In the building next door lies the magic path to Keire Temple. If you can gain permission to use it, you will be there in no time."
Two different cautionary tales against exploring, eh? Guess I'd better pick one to listen to.
"One day my prince will come and carry me away! I hope he hurries...Wait. You came from Rysis didn't you?" She gasps, "You must be my prince!" The little girl gazes dreamily up at you, "Be careful, my prince."
Alex, you are just dynamite among the preteen demographic.
"Here lies my beloved sister. Taken from me by a wicked blight that the gods would not cure!"
It sounds like someone crying. How strange.
Hmm. Some Bostonian's sister's grave, eh? Pretty powerful stuff to be able to darken the sky, cue the sad music track and make ghostly sobbing come from off camera. Spooky.
Anyway, loads of Kazdra's townsfolk talked up the Keire Temple and it's apparent gripload of demons, so let's see if we can get to it and play exterminator.
"However...A few days ago, a great Fortress of Ice appeared in front of the temple. Now an evil presence blocks the magic path, and great pillars of ice fill the temple gates! If only we could melt that confounded ice...Then we could learn what has happened within the Temple!"
Have you tried...I dunno...anything? Perhaps a campfire, torch, or warm light? Maybe an icepick? I have some bombs you could try out.
Oh, confounded ice. He must mean it's magic. I'll need magic to deal with it then, clearly.
The next greatest hint at how to find that is to go talk to a hermit about it, so we leave Kazdra and find Rodister in his lake cave.
There's the lake map, with the connection to Galys Pass shown at the southwest corner.
"I was told you might know how to enter Keire temple." you reply hopefully.
"I see..." Rodister mumbles, pondering your request. "You need the power to melt demon's ice. Only the mystic Ring of Fire could hope to burn so hot! If you intend to enter the Cave of Fire to retrieve that ring, then remember this; You must have Serpent's Scales to withstand that blazing inferno...Return to Rysis and talk to Master Qunos about the Scales.
Alex, you may take the contents of these treasure boxes if you need them." He gestures to indicate the chests before him.
Roddy leaves nothing to chat. Just a swift kick in the short-pants towards the further elements of the plot.
Just a few stops on the way back to Rysis, if you don't mind.
"Press the X button to reveal the sword's true power!"
First, this stump, which contains a stone that possesses the wisdom of the ancients (press the X button). Don't feel bad for not trying to press X before this time, you won't get anything out of it until Alex knows the technique.
Using this technique costs some health, but does extra damage. This bonus damage is calculated before enemy defense, so you could use it to defeat any non-boss enemy in four hits regardless of your relative puniness. Attempting such an act is not for the faint of heart, but neither is it altogether difficult.
A waterfall that obscures a cave that contains the Lightning Ring. Magic is pretty useful actually, so I'm glad to finally have some. Now those stars I collect will be worth something, not to mention the crystal I just purloined from Roddy a minute ago.
A step or so to the south, and we enter a forest that has this heart container in it. There are also some lizardmans and fruit trees in this forest. The lizardmans can't withstand a single attack from me by this point, but I'm glad of the chance at more fruit.
I don't know if the trek all the way to Kazdra and a little beyond is much of a shortcut. Certainly if Galys pass were part of the overworld instead of being a dungeon, the route through it to Rysis would be shorter than the warp star. In order to make these work, you have to step on each side at least once. The first time you do, the star will turn yellow. When you find the connector, each will turn blue and you can warp. Your view spins around and fades to white, then reverses and you're somewhere else. In this case, right next to Rysis.
"A mighty warrior, that one. Long ago, he went into the Fire Cave and survived! These are the Serpent's Scales that he used. I'll give you 20 Scales. If you don't have enough, come back again."
Thanks for that. Just how many of these scales do you have, anyway?
No matter. Our path is set, our eyes ablaze in the reflection of our next destination on our road to heroism: the Fire Cave.
Join us next time, when Alex sweats away what little weight he has left.