Part 8: Here, Take This!Dear Diary,
As soon as we entered the town of Beran, the people naturally recognized us for the heroes we are. I shan't ever get used to such admiration, but I certainly enjoy it.
The marketplace was aflutter with rumors of powerful magical weapons, which I resolved to seek out as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, these rumors were not as specific as others we have heard.
Beran was also the town of information delivered far too late. Other gems the population passed along included the location of the Sun Crest, that the king of Osterfair had the Moon Crest, and the powers of the Leaf of the World Tree. Had we visited this town earlier, all of this information would have been extremely helpful.
As fine a sword as the Sword of Erdrick is, I'm afraid that the world has moved on so far as weapons are concerned. In the marketplace in Beran a fearsome blade was for sale that was a distinct improvement on our ancestor's weapon. While I might use this new sword, however, I shall keep my old one as a priceless historical relic.
Some of the people were downright rude, although I wonder what they meant asking about the time. Surely they could tell that it was mid-day as well as I.
The guard on the local jail mentioned one Roge Fastfinger while in the same breath claiming to have never heard the name. I believe the poor man might be addled in the head and thus given the task of watching the miscreants of society.
Leaving Beran, I found that our ship was mysteriously on the shore. Lars claims that this is a result of his magic, but I am skeptical. If his magic is so great as to transport an entire ship, why can it only transport us to a very few specific places?
In fact, the Return Spell and the Wing of the Wyvern will both transport the ship to you when used. It's kind of a necessity to make sure that you don't strand yourself.
Immediately upon leaving town we came upon a strange sight that I can only describe as hands made of yellowish mud and clay reaching up from the ground. These creatures, called Goopi by the locals, are not terribly threatening but are extremely persistent and come in great numbers. They can call for help through the ground, and it's not unusual to find them appearing faster than they can be killed. This can result in protracted battles, and would certainly be overwhelming for common people.
50 hp, 55 attack, 16 defense and 39 agility. 28 gold and 25 experience, which is too bad or else they'd be great for leveling.
Perhaps incensed by my skepticism of his magic and tired of wearing women's clothing, Lars has developed a new attack spell. While no stronger than Peta's Infernos spell, it strikes at a wider area and can hit all enemies around us. I have informed Lars that if he keeps going in this manner he may earn himself some armor.
Sailing east from Beran we came upon a rocky shore that appeared extremely uninviting, with jagged mountains as far as the eye can see.
Continuing along the shoreline, however, led us to an isolated town in the wilderness that I had never heard tale of.
An unfortunate wretch had been left above ground by the rest of the town, who were obviously behind a locked door. I can only assume that he was a fool or a deviant of some kind and had been locked up here for a reason.
The dog with him led us to no secrets and is probably not a transformed human, but I find it interesting that while all the humans in the world speak the same tongue dogs everywhere sound different.
As far as all the welcomes I have yet received from the towns of the world, I find having a comely woman meet us and sing a song for our benefit to be one of the best.
Wellgarth actually does have its own music, triggered by talking to this woman.
As is our usual practice, we began speaking to the locals in order to gather information. I have no idea what Water Flying Cloth is used for, but I am willing to acquire some and find out if we can find this city of Tuhn.
A local rogue slipped up and spoke of the Jailor's Key, which would presumably be the key necessary to get at the Crest we detected in Hamlin. Our search intensified.
I'm grateful that one of the old men of the town finally outlined the assistance we can expect from the Charm of Rubiss. Vague hints about seeking the help of a great wizard are all well and good, but I want to know what exactly that wizard will do for me.
Based on information from one townsperson, I have set Lars and Peta to work finding out if Hargon has been known to devise any spells. The results have not been encouraging thus far.
We are near to Rhone, which we have heard mentioned, although the fact that the valley is isolated means that this is not terribly helpful information.
The name Roge Fastfinger came up in conversation again, raising my curiosity. I have no reason to seek him out, but I do wonder why so many people talk about him.
Not all the receptions we received were so kind, of course. I suppose that if I'd introduced myself through the door my entry wouldn't have been unbidden.
The shops here carry weapons and armor found nowhere else on earth, but sadly they are so expensive that we can afford none. I find it hard to believe that we shall find better equipment, however, so when our travels make us wealthier we shall return.
Our visit to the tool shop went oddly. The merchant's signboard had a blank line and when I pointed this out to him he winked and handed over the Jailor's Key. While I am no expert on selling items of questionable repute, I find his security lacking. At any rate, he held his hand out for recompense and I dropped coins in his palm until he seemed satisfied.
Having the key, we immediately set it to use investigating the jail in Wellgarth. I'm afraid to ask what led to an old man being put in jail, but his information about finding the way to Rhone was useful.
We also stumbled upon Roge Fastfinger, who was hiding out behind the cell. Pretending to escape and then letting the furor die down before making his actual escape was a cunning plan, so I decided not to turn him in. I'm not sure why he felt a need to hand me yet another key, but I won't complain as I expect that it will be useful down the road.
Returning to Beran, we found that the criminal who was locked behind several barriers and a jail door had nothing to say other than that we should try another door in town. It was quite a disappointment.
From there we sailed to Zahan. The dire warning of the young woman in front of the wizard's house might have been true without Stepguard, but with that spell ruin was easily avoided.
What people lock away is often quite puzzling, but I've come to the conclusion that anything locked away in a treasure chest must be worth having. We now have magical yarn and a magical loom, so I presume that somewhere there is a magical weaver.
Next we returned to Midenhall, to investigate the criminal who my father had locked up behind two separate doors. The fact that he was one of Hargon's minions isn't exactly surprising, but I believe this is the sort of thing that I should have been told as part of my quest.
I intend to have the guards appropriately punished for their lax security, considering that the villain was carrying two maces despite having been locked up. His garish makeup and disturbing appearance notwithstanding, the Evil Clown was a powerful sorcerer but rather overmatched by the fact that the odds were 3 to 1 against him. Even his most powerful spells couldn't do enough harm to keep us at bay. When he died, a search of his possessions found the Staff of Thunder among them.
I considered selling it, but at that point doing so would probably have involved breaking most of Peta's fingers. She took an instant liking to the weapon and wouldn't relinquish it.
Exploit update: If you sell the Staff of Thunder, save the game, and then reset the Evil Clown will be back in the basement and will drop another Staff of Thunder when you defeat him. You can do this as many times as you want... meaning that once you have the Jailor's Key money is never a problem. I'm just not doing it because having something to save up for and getting levels at the same time helps me when I'm grinding.
The reason soon became apparent. The Staff, in addition to being a sturdy weapon to bludgeon enemies with, had the property of casting something very much like her Infernos spell without drawing on her own magical reserves. With that kind of power, all of her reserves could be used for healing and strategic magic.
Our final stop was Hamlin, where any hope of peacefully gaining access to the hidden Crest vanished within seconds.
The creatures within greatly resembled Gremlins, and behaved in much the same way. The Ozwarg were slightly tougher than Gremlins, however, and their magical abilities were commensurately greater. In addition to breathing fire, they were capable of using Healmore, Stopspell, Sleep, and even the Firebane spell that Lars had just learned. With only two of them, however, victory was a foregone conclusion.
69 hp, 80 attack, 31 defense and 57 agility. 105 gold and 139 experience.
One of them had been quite literally squatting over the Moon Crest, bringing us to 3 out of the 5 Crests located.
Having completed our tour of the jails of the world, we headed back toward Welgarth by way of passing between the Dragon's Horns and heading southward. While traveling along the coast we became distracted by a pair of rivers leading inland, appearing to offer a way into the interior of the continent beyond the mountains. Our first foray did not show anything of note, although it did reveal a number of local specimens that appeared to be unique to the region.
The first strange creature we encountered was a sentient cloud of gas that appeared to be comprised of pure malice and foul odors. The creatures were much like the Smoke haunts we had found near Moonbrooke, but were more persistent and required greater efforts to dispel. While the origin of the Smokes was obvious, I can find no explanation for these creatures.
50 hp, 60 attack, 80 defense and 45 agility. 30 gold and 39 experience.
During our travels up the river we were constantly beset by attacks of the indigenous peoples, whose crude attire and savagery attested to their lack of civilization. Their attacks were ferocious, but lacking in sophistication. Oftentimes they were accompanied by sophisticated marionettes, animated by strange magics and driven to slaughter. They were felled easily enough, but possessed the magical ability to augment their natural defenses and the ability to steal Lars and Peta's magical energy.
Hunter: 65 hp, 82 attack, 25 defense and 70 agility. 45 gold and 67 experience.
Puppet Man: 60 hp, 64 attack, 24 defense and 90 agility. 100 gold and 52 experience.
Undead horrors roamed the shores, making the distinctive noises that earn them their names. The Hork's very touch is poisonous, and the fumes of their breaths can strike a man's consciousness away and send him into a deep sleep. Their decomposition makes them easily disposable, but caution should still be used when they appear in numbers.
95 hp, 59 attack, 10 defense and 34 agility. 51 gold and 61 experience.
Our final encounter had motivated me toward a certain antipathy for the king of Osterfair. The Hibabangos he compared us to are in fact large pink gorillas that travel in hooting packs and tear apart anything they come in contact with. For all their potentially fearsome strength, comparing us to them is a vile slander. Indeed, quite often they spent more time using magic to try and weaken and confuse us rather than attacking. They were sometimes accompanied by Graboopis, a variant of the Goopi made somewhat tougher by the claylike soil of this area but otherwise essentially identical to the Goopi.
Hibabango: 60 hp, 74 attack, 29 defense and 52 agility. 83 gold and 81 experience.
Graboopi: 60 hp, 72 attack, 24 defense and 49 agility. 30 gold and 38 experience
Returning to the head of the rivers and sailing up the other led us to a dead end, in view of a town improbably located in the heart of this wild continent.
We made landfall in an attempt to find our way through the wilderness, but to no avail. The only available path was a winding circuitous route that appeared to originate from the other river we had abandoned.
Low on supplies we nevertheless trekked through the wilderness, finally coming in view of the town as Lars and Peta's magical reserves ran out.
We had reached the refuge of Tuhn, which had so recently been mentioned as the home of Don Mahone.
End of Update Summary
Level 20. Dragon Killer, Erdrick's Helmet, Erdrick's Shield, and the Armor of Gaia
Level 18. Iron Spear, Clothes Hiding, and Leather Shield.
Level 15. Staff of Thunder and Clothes Hiding