Part 44: Tiger Den and Fort RemoteUpdate 040 The Tiger Den and Fort Remote
You are crazy. This is stupid!
There is nothing here required to win the game. But for completion, and the reward at the end, I'm doing it.
Creaturez sssuch as theze sssshould be kept in check.
And we're a lot stronger now than when we were here last.
That is true.
Alright, secret passages discounted, it looks like the left and right halves of this place are separated. We'll start with the left.
And walk straight into some Cryohydras.
Look sharp, there's some stuff back here as well.
I must say, that just keeps getting easier.
You weren't trained in it, either.
Down here, everyone gets used to it.
What do you mean?
Haven't you seen it? This is the new frontier.
I'm pretty sure by this time the colonization of Valorum had begun. That would be a frontier as well.
What do you ssspeak of.
Things on the surface.
Let uz go right.
You have the Firewalk Spell.
I just wish it didn't give out after five meters.
Look at the name of this section of the map it's the hint about what you're supposed to do to get across.
Naturally, I only notice this in post-production. I just tune out that little bit of information except when I first enter a new dungeon so I can note the name for the LP.
Thesssse are not trophiessz of hunterz. But of Butcherz.
Hey, Kai-Lyss, when you get that figure out how to do that Quickfire thing, think this place will be on your list?
I do not have a... lissst, human. But I see no reazon why I sshsould not... practice.
Technically, they are called 'Puddings' because they are more fluid than Slimes, and are incapable of heavy vertical movement.
Oh, just hit them.
Hrm, not much in the way of options.
I can hear sssomzthing through the door.
The walls look thick, they might not have heard us yet.
Wow, ambushing Rakshasa. Never thought that would happen.
Even with the ambush, the immunity of the Rakshasa mean it gets a chance to summon a couple Demons before it dies. Fortunately, the non front-liners can handle them while the three beatsticks wail on the Demon-Cat.
I really should get Demonslayer for this, but there's not narrative way to justify it at this point.
Could have gone better.
And there was only one of them. We need to keep them isolated.
While you do that, I found ssssomething interezting.
Well, I can get some use out of this if we need it.
Have you every actually used the normal version of the spell?
... I don't think so?
Well, that's just great. Can we go back to beating up these reverse-handed things for no apparent reason?
Isn't the safety and security of the Great Cave a good enough reason?
Right, moving on. Feels like I've got the energy of months built up and I need to let it loose.
There iz magic on that platform.
This means we're going to step on it, right?
No, just betting with myself whether it magically extends, or floats across the abyss.
Extension it is!
No, it iz not. It iz more like only the active sssufrace phazez in when in ussse.
More advanced than your mind can handle.
You know what? We're leaving that large hall behind us unchecked. That's just stupid. Why don't we go clear it out?
That seems like a good idea.
This is a bad idea!
Oh, quit your whining, Farmboy and hit it!
That could have gone worse.
Sending Chester to keep the other Rak occupied?
Please don't. It had too many teeth.
It had lesss after you hit it.
There is that.
Now, let's see what's back here...
But I do zzee that alter on the other sside of the pit. Perhapssss thiz is sssome sssort of viewing gallery?
Maybe. But we can check it out later.
Not often I get to show off the long-distance looking in the game. I should do it more often.
Let's get back to that bridge now.
We can't go back!
No, the bridge is ssstill there, but not accesszable while we advance.
So, you're saying we're trapped?
Not exactly. The Bridge will allow us to reverse direction once we crosss.
Not that we're going to do that yet.
There is no access to that Teleporter from the outzise.
Onward it is.
Well, that's something.
I don't know what though.'
A ssstudy hall.
The things I put up with for you guys. When Demons are the easy enemies...
Might as well start looting the place.
WHO CALLS... OH.
You really want to go through with this?
No, I was expecting more Rakshasa to toy with and mentally torment. Not you.
Why does this turn of events not shock me at all?
Because I have a sense of self-preservation that many of my fellows lack, which is why I was trapped in that box.
I will be going now.
That was distinctly odd.
Nope, had to kill it because it was mindlessly violent, and not a friendly NPC. But I wanted to mix things up a little in the process.
Well, while that was going on, I decided to do the sensible thing, and keep checking the room.
What did you find?
The Vahnatai crystal here is dead.
And this box contains something neat!
So, west or east?
Let's go west instead. East just looks like residential.
Have I mentioned lately how much I love mazes?
Monsterssss az well.
That's just mean.
What are you talking about? We can't see the exit from here.
So, those Rashasa I ignored on the reload? Yeah, they came following me. As long as this door is closed, they can't target me, and right now their summons are in the way.
Behold, the Luck Stat in effect! Marianna dodged Obliteration and being merely Killed twice in a row!
Best Stat Ever!
However, because this is a bottleneck, I can manipulate the AI pathfinding for a bit to avoid getting killed while I bravely retreat.
We need to stop and rest soon, or at least spread some healing around.
OH COME ON!
Odd. Perhapz we mizzsed a key or incantation sssomewhere?
I do not like the idea that we already killed one of the demon-cats that had the information in its head.
And this secret passage just leads to a pit of magical lava.
You have developed a sssensse for that zort of thing?
No, it just seemed obvious, given LAVA!
Well, for some reason Rakshasa still show up when I detect life, so I think we'll have to fight our way past them to figure out what we have to do.
I'll take Hydras any day.
Does no one else find it odd that this pit of lava has two access passages?
Actually, if the Rakshasa can walk on fire without harm, perhaps this is how they access the hidden door?
Logical. However, we would have to resset the door firzt.
So, let's try firewalking now....
Why do I get the feeling that our travails aren't done yet?
Travails? Who taught you that?
And a blank hidden passage. Perhaps a bolt-hole, or an ambush point?
Another ressset iz required.
Right, time to wander around then.
Is it just me, or is there something about this place that is making us all on edge?
You may be right.
And kill-boxes work better when the enemy isn't breathing down the hallway.
It's almost like Vogel realized how easy it was to box in and destroy the enemy in the last game, and included more spell using and ranged attack monsters...
Alright, better plan time.
Haste everyone, Bless everyone, charge?
Isn't that the usual plan?
Right, next time we visit the tower, I am going to get Peregrine to teach Kai-Lyss Major Blessing.
That would be helpful.
Why do I do these things?
Because it's fun?
Or not so much...?
You can complain now, we've won.
Now would be the looting time, correct?
I believe thisss to be the Ring of Will mentioned in Patrick'sss Tower?
Why do we need this again?
Because it will be vital to killing the final Boss.
No one said anything about Quickfire!
Having the Quickfire spawn on your tile means it's unavoidable damage until you can get out of the room.
One last thing to check before we finally get out of here.
Even odds it summons Demons.
Right, like I'm going to bow to this thing.
Ow! This calls for the big guns!
Can we leave now?
Glad I have the energy to Firewalk us out of here. Just barely though.
This triggers after destroying the Altar.
Of course this would happen.
Time to rest up, then go west. Fort Remote is nearby.
Why is that name familiar?
Because it's the western-most fortification in Exile?
No, there's a different reason.
Eh, it will come to me.
There used to be another Fort here. What happened?
I remember now! The original Fort Remote was destroyed by demons several years ago! As a result, King Micah got a certain band of adventurers at the time to locate their leader and kill him! They were the..
The... Oh yes! The First Exile Escape Committee.... oh.
I'm glad to see the propaganda is still in full swing. The truth is a bit more complicated than that, but let me say that I live with the consequences of my actions.
If you compare this map of Fort Remote, and the post-destruction map from Exile 1, you can see that this place was built just west of the old one, on the other side of the small pools of water. It's a neat touch, and I think it also means that this new fort is protecting the remains of the old one, rather than hiding behind it.
And here is the memorial.
Well, it seems pretty calm.
Hello! There is an aging wizard here, reading rituals from a dog-eared spell book. When you approach, he closes the book and looks up at you. "I am Fraitus."
Greetingsss Mage. I am Kai-Lyss, and we work for Unssspecified Ssservicesss.
Ah! I had heard there was a group of you around here recently. Glad you could stop by. I'm just preparing spells of defense."
Spells of defense?
"Nothing complicated. Mass hastes, strength spells, and such. Things for when the Empire attacks."
Does the Empire attack often?
"This fort is well-defended enough to withstand their assaults, especially because of the runes."
I saw thosse outzide. Good work on them.
"Thank you! The central hall is filled with runes enchanted with powerful defensive magic. I helped create them. When we wish, anyone touching them is blasted to dust. Our walls are magically hardened as well.
This fort can fall, but it will take a mighty blow to defeat it, probably too mighty."
How about the old fort?
The first fell to a Demonic attack. At the time, there was no real threat past here. Even the Wurm and the Dragon stayed in their lairs.
We heard that the Empire used the Orb of Thralni to bypass this place?
Oh! You're here for that? Well it's about time. Don't ask me how they did it, but yes. They stole the thing and took it to their fortress further west. I can't tell you any more than that, I'm sorry to say. I've been assigned to keeping the defenses in order.
What a rare sight! It's a Nephilim, wearing an immaculately clean apron. He bows to you. "I am Mawrrr."
I am Dmurr. What do yo do here? Archery?
"I am honored to do the cooking at this fort."
You're the cook?
He makes a soft purring noise. "This is where I ended up. I wanted to leave my people, to do travel, you see."
Just to travel?
"I wanted to see this land. I travelled this Great Cave everywhere, but with the battles, I needed a place to stop. I ended here, where I earned employing." He gives you a proud, toothy grin. "I cook. It is strange, working for human tastes, I do do OK. Though sometimes people are joking."
Oh no. What sort of joking is going on here?
"They say I like wanting to put rats in the stew. But I would not do that. The rats here are not good enough." You can't tell whether he's joking or not, and you decide not to think about it.
This is depressing. Let's find someone else to talk to.
You meet a middle-aged woman with very long, very curly scarlet hair. She is sitting at her desk, poring over maps. Oddly, she is dressed in a simple dress, with the symbol of a Commander embroidered on the shoulders. She looks up and smiles guardedly. Her eyes, piercing and analytical, sweep over you. She says "I am Commander Lori, daughter of Rourke. Welcome."
Forgive us, commander. We're with Unspecified Services. I'm Chester.
Ah yes, I had heard from Anaxiamander that you were coming this way, to investigate the theft of the Orb. As for me, I command this fort, as my father did before me. I organize our defenses, and prepare for the Empire attack."
Yes, we talked with your magus earlier. He was quite proud of his work.
"Our defenses are much better now then they were when this fort was destroyed. They have to be."
We weren't briefed on the destruction of the fort, beyond what is commonly known. You said you were related to the previous Commander?
"My father was slain when a horde of demons destroyed the old Fort Remote. You can still find the old fort's ruins, just to the east. When he died, I joined the army, and rose up to this position in order to take his place. She looks down at her unusual garb, and smiles. "As you can see, I've made my way in my own style."
I was wondering about that...
"I don't like uniforms, and I don't like uniform thinking. The Empire's forces in this area are unusual, and we this fort needs to be unusual to deal with them."
What do you mean, the Empire is unusual?
"There are two large Empire outposts to the west, Kothtar and Akhronath. They are very unusual places."
What can you tell us about those places?
"Kothtar is a site of magic and magical experimentation. Strange creatures come from there, including huge, amazingly strong mutant giants. Not the sort of thing an ordinary soldier has to deal with."
Hence, Unspecified Services.
The mutants we were asssked to invesstigate.
And Akhronath is a huge fort. Black stone, black magic. We know nothing about what goes on inside, except that prisoners that go in never come out, and it gives our priests splitting headaches to just get near the place."
"There's a huge gate blocking access, and we can't get anyone through it. I suggest against a frontal attack, unless you want to die."
Does the Empire attack often?
"They haven't attacked in a while, which is strange, since, while the Empire doesn't have many troops to the west, if they broke past us they could run wild through the great cave. So I'm preparing our defenses, and looking for opportunities to attack. That reminds me, I'm always looking for adventurers to go on missions."
"The Empire can get small groups past us - we don't know how. We, in turn, want to send spies west. To do this, I need to see a Blue Pass, so I can make forgeries. Bring one to me, and I will try to earn you a promotion."
Here, we have a spare. Got it from a Fort north of Emerald whose construction we disrupted.
You show your blue pass to the commander. She takes it away for an hour, then returns it to you. "Thank you very much! I will send word to the Castle of what you have done for us! Hopefully, they will reward you with a higher clearance."
I love completing quests before I get them!
Interesting notes you have on the other forts there.
Yes. Not much to report, sad to say.
Thank you for your time Commander, we will be on our way.
That was an easy request. And we still have the spare Pass, just in case!
My, aren't you been chatty!
The first thing you notice is the long steel blade, shining and sharp enough to cut granite. The next thing you notice is the man sharpening it: short, muscular, and with a wickedly pointed black beard. He gives you a momentary glance. He continues running the sharpening stone along the edge of the beautiful blade. "I'm Blademaster Deltarian."
Hello sir. I'm Chester, and we're with Unspecified Services. What are you doing?
"Sharpening my sword.
That was what Master Kevtar told me to do - always keep my blade sharp."
I can't say I've heard of him.
I think we met him back in Exile 1, but I can't remember. I'll check the previous LP out before I go meet him.
"The finest bladesman I've ever had the pleasure to know. A sad story, really. He finally tired of the bloodshed, and retired."
"He lives in solitude now, hidden away in the ruin to the north. I will go visit him soon - He taught me well, and I owe him that much."
So he teaches now?
"He's a solitary man, but he often welcomes visitors and potential students. He sometimes even teaches those with the willingness to learn and the money to pay."
Thank you for your time.
Without knowing what to do with this painting to access the secret passage, I wouldn't want to try and do anything rash. We can come back later.
You meet a holy woman. She paces about, praying silently to herself. She seems agitated.
"I am Mother Madge."
We're with Unspecified Services. What are you doing here? Are you part of the garrison?
"I am preparing myself. People here need my protection."
"I am storing my energies to cast spells should we be attacked."
Are you expecting an attack soon?
"There are strong warriors here, and powerful mages. However, I am the only one who can heal. Let me know if that is something you need."
I hope your preparations go well.
"We don't know what manner of bizarre creature will come from the west next. Demons? Undead? Mutant giants? We don't know, and we prepare the best we can. Farewell."
I'm feeling better now.
So, what's the plan?
We ruin the Empire's day, of course.