Part 57: Erika's Tower, Places of Interest, and the Return to the ZiggurutUpdate 053 Erika's Tower, Places of Interest, and the Return to the Ziggurut
"So, what's back here anyways?
You know a lot about this route, dahling.
This place, we're going up?
Ssshe haz sspoken of thiz in the passsst.
Damn. We're still a few kilometers from where the exit used to be.
This place is just a little kick-in-the-pants for those who played Exile 1 before Exile 2.
And on my way back, guess what I ran into?
Random Basilisk Count posted:
Next goal? Back to the Northern Waters?
No, back to the Tower to see Erika, and get some answers out of her.
Does anyone remember the passcode to Erika's Tower?
I didn't, and went back to my guidebook. When I first played this game, I penciled in all the codes I found, wrote them on the map, and circled where they went.
This time, we shouldn't have problems beating down those holding Erika in her tower.
One completely unimpressive fight later....
You're right. Weeks of practice have paid off.
Guys, there are more Empire Soldiers inside...
They have all sssuffered from mental attackssz.
You meet an Empire soldier. However, he seems to have lost his mind. He drools, and stares off into nothingness.
The soldier doesn't respond. He just stares blankly at you.
Erika is being subtle here. That's interesting to know.
I ssuspect if we were allied with the Empire, we would be as thoze ssoldiersssz back there.
I agree, and I like my mind where it is, thank you.
There has to be a trap with this lever. There has to be. We pull it, open that distant portcullis, and suddenly this whole hallway is filled with gas, or razor blades, or... something!
Well, that was a letdown.
Next lever, this time there's pillars in the way. How crude.
Hear that click?
The gate at the far end clozed.
There may be a path we could take to get around the clicks?
No, I have a better idea. Kai-Lyss, I'll need your help for this.
I mentioned near the start of the LP that when you enter combat mode and split up the party, then leave combat mode the party will reorganize around where the center of the party should be. I promised not to abuse that, but I'm going to make an exception here.
Wait..! How? Why? What happened?
It iz a minor application of the Word of Recall ssspell. Far beyond your meager intellect.
This only worked because I could trigger the lever while in combat mode. If it was a non-combat flag, I would have had to figure out the actual safe passage the hard way.
COME ON, ERIKA!
Not going in the Random Basilisk Count as Erika is an ass like this, putting Ur-Basilisks into tight quarters. Thankfully, no one gets stoned when dealing with the three of them in here.
At least Golems work well. But wouldn't it be better for the Golems to come first in wider areas, mixing it up with the enemy while the Basilisks use their gaze from range?
Don't give the crazy witch ideas!
I don't think the statues will animate and attack us.
No, there will just be another Basilisk.
And demons as well!
Want me up there?
Nah, it's just the one. I got this.
What just happened? Razor Walls everywhere?
And how do we deal with that?
Could just walk through, let Art heal us up.
Or we could investigate that lever that my mapping revealed.'
Yess, I zee.
I can see it too, this lever will temporarily deactivate the defenses in that hall. We pull it, then run.
Totally not a trap.
No.. trap? What?
A Barrier doez not count as an obsstacle.
This is weirding me out. We can't have passed through all the defenses yet.
Oh, this is classic.
One of those places where where you move affects what doors are open?
Ugh, password statues.
Once again, I went to the thread on SA for answers. This should be the last set of questions in the game. Interesting to note, in retrospect, is that once again Vogel divides these sorts of riddle paths into two separate sections. One side is math oriented, the other is language oriented so as to prevent people who think in the 'wrong' way from getting stuck.
Each line is the individual digits added together stuck on the front of the previous line.
IE: 2+1+1=4, so 4211
edit: Easier way to figure out the next line is to take the digits you added (2 and 8 for the last line) and add them together with the number you just add (2+8+28) to get the next numbers to add, since the previous string was equal to those 2 numbers. So you can easily determine that the next next line would be 49[etc], 62[etc], 70[etc], 77[etc] and so on.
I messed up here. When I posted this riddle to the thread, I only said the three lines for 'words', 'well', and 'never', and that screwed people up. It was when I went back and posted the actual screenshot for people at the request of Vil did people solve it.
13, as the position of the word "Me" in the question.
"Barely worth my time."
"How did she get Rakshas' to work for her?"
"By promising us the flesh of any who made it this far. She has not led us to disappointment."
"That's just childish, Erika!"
"There you are, you egomaniacal introvert!"
You meet the infamous Erika. She is a tall, imposing woman, with long, raven-black hair. She watches you with eyes that seem to pierce far inside you, evaluating the strength of your material and your use to her.
"I am Erika, of the Redmark clan." She says it with the air of one who dislikes saying the obvious.
"They didn't believe me. Really? I would have thought the rest of you would trust me by now!"
"With the lowbrow creatures you normally deal with, you unthinking cretin, I am surprised they can put two words together."
"But why do you stay here?"
"I wait here in my tower, watching my defenses. I also prepare assaults against the Empire. Important assaults."
"He has a point. You should have left your Tower by now. It's not safe for you here, now that Garzahd is down here personally."
"This is my home, and I will not leave it, although my enemies work day and night to slay me. The Empire wishes me dead like no other." She thinks. "By the way, you have passed my tests, and shall be rewarded."
"Oh joy. A 'reward'. What will it be this time? An apple?"
"You have reached the center of my tower once. The next time will be easier." She casts a brief spell. "There is a portal near the entrance. Now, when you step into it, you will appear before me."
Entering that portal before now would take us back to the Tower of the Magi. Now it takes us to her.
"And what about these assaults you have planned? The last time you left your tower to fight, all you did was activate a teleporter. I did all the hard work."
"You played your part well. But right now two missions occupy my mind. They are desperately important, but nothing can be done without adventurers who can leave here and strike the actual blows. Still, I can provide invaluable information. I speak of recovering the crystal souls, and of the destruction of Garzahd."
"Nothing about the Imperial Teleporter?"
"Why should I concern myself with that?"
"BECAUSE YOU PROMISED TO SHUT IT DOWN, YOU INCOMPETENT FOOL!"
"I DID!" The air seems to darken around her before all returns to normal. "But Garzahd reopened it. Used the fact that the teleporter was there to make it such that it is there. I can do nothing about that directly, except to plan his demise. Destroy the Teleporter, and that will force him to retreat back to his fortress. There, with his back to the wall, he will not be able to escape so easily, and there, he can be killed."
"So, no help with the teleporter?"
"You already have the Scepter. Use it on the teleportation rift, and that will be enough."
"Fine. We'll be back. I think we'll rescue the last of the Crystal Souls first before killing Garzahd. Make him watch as all his plans and effort fail."
"I knew there was something about you I liked."
"You've always enjoyed my sharp tongue."
"She's in the other room. There's no way this isn't trapped beyond any ability to take a single piece."
"Would be nice, except I already learned in back at the Vahnatai Fortress."
"I would like a copy of that then, to colleate differences in magical notation."
"It's in my head."
"I do not summon."
"And before you go, check out the place of the former Prison of Grah-Hoth. You might find something there worth your while."
"This place is adjacent to the Abyss. We should be careful of Empire Patrols."
"Hey! Where did you come from?"
I love Ruby Skeletons, but this many will simply attrition us to death if I go about this in my normal method. So Art drops a Divine Thud on the middle instead of casting Curse All, which takes out 18 of them. Being able to deal 4-8 Fire Damage at range 2-3 times each means a lot when there are so many of them.
See how Art lost 110 HP? That was in one round. While slowed. And then the Vampire cast Major Haste, which gives them all double AP. If they were all there to start, and Art didn't drop her bomb right off the bat? Multiple PC deaths. Thankfully they only have 25HP, which makes them really easy to kill.
1000 more, to be exact.
What could be up here now?
I can still szmell the Demon Magics.
There is a stone island protruding from the magma. An efreet, eight feet tall, frighteningly muscled, stands on it with crossed arms. He watches you calmly.
It bows at the waist in greeting. "I know not who you are or of what you seek, but I, Balorus, welcome you to my humble home." He has calm, formal, heavily accented speech.
Forgive me, for I have not encountered one of your people who was not hostile to us.
Yes, so I have heard. It has come to my attention that some of my brethren have been made to work with the polity known as the Empire in their forges. He does not appear to approve of this. "We efreeti are an old and magical race, and sometimes we must practice our skills."
What skills might those be? This platform was formed by your magic?
"I am a weaponsmith. Such is the reason I am here."
This is an odd location to ply your trade. Why here?
"We are creatures of sulphur and ash, lava and fire. Heat is to us as water is to you. Upon heat we thrive."
And then, if I may, what sort of weaponwork do you do?
"We efreeti do not use physical weapons ourselves." He holds up two hands, with huge steely claws. "We have no need. However, some pay us great tribute for our magical augmentations to their blades."
What would be the result of this augmentation?
"I can take a non-magical weapon, and dip it into the lava. Then, when I pull it out, it will be aflame, and this flame will never be extinguished. It does not come cheaply, but if you wish to purchase this treatment, you may." He stares at you expectantly.
So, turning any non-magical weapon into a Flaming weapon that deals additional Fire damage with each strike? Sign me up! I'm sure I have something we can use in my in...
...tory. What. I mean, I can sorta buy the Giant Club being non-magical. It's just completely unwieldy. (And no, making it Flaming does not help matters in the least, despite how awesome it would appear). BUT WHY IS THE BLESSED WAVEBLADE CONSIDERED NON-MAGICAL? Is this a dummied-out effect that a few items let through? Maybe? Here are the before and after pictures:
I don't know what to think right now.
It's magic, I don't have to explain anything.
No, but wielding a sword that looks like its made of molten metal is pretty, well... metal.
Time to go back. Thank you for your time.
"Alright, rest, recuperate, and let's see what comes next."
Guess what I found in the Random Shop?
Why iz there a Ring of Will here?
You'd be surprised what we find when we clean out the dustbins around here.
Here iz your 800 gold.
Pay no attention to the out-of-order screenshots which show off the second Ring of Will earlier. Pay no attention to the LP'er behind the curtain. These are not the Screenshots you are looking for.
Now that we're back to fit, what's our next stop, Sir Ma'am?
Before we head up to the Northern Waters, there's one place I've been meaning to check out for a while now.
Another detour? Where this time?
Remeber this place? From way back in Chapter 1? The place you can't access unless you fly? Well, here we are!
You meet a graying woman carrying a shovel in one hand and a large mushroom in the other. "I'm Tori. Welcome to this safehouse."
Marianna, Unspecified Services. How are things going?
"Well, I live and think here. That's what the safehouse is for."
What are you doing up here anyways?
"I'm trying to find better ways to get coordinates for the portal."
You are far from the Tower. How can you affect the portal from here?
"There is a teleportation portal in the Tower of Magi! If you chant the right thing when entering it, you can end up anywhere in Exile! It's a wondrous device!"
I feel your pain.
I presume this safehouse is still secure then?
Of course! The Empire has been hunting down and killing Exile mages, assassinating them by magical and non-magical means. Because of that, many of us have gone into hiding."
Please tell me you don't know where they are hiding...
"Solberg is in his tower to the southwest of Formello. I am here. Erika is in her tower. And poor Thompson, nobody knows where he has gone."
"He was researching in Blosk, trying to find new coordinates for the portal. Then, he left, overnight. He went into hiding, and nobody knows where. It's passing strange. His friend Bartholomew is beside himself with worry."
"Yes! They were doing research in Blosk. You can still find Bartholomew there - he may know something about where Thompson is."
I need a drink.
That was horrific. No wonder it's next to impossible to get here.
Hello there! I'm Marianna, Unspecified Services.
There is a young, irritated-looking woman sitting at a table, making some sort of mushroom mush. She wears a battle axe at her belt, which is somewhat at odds with the runes that cover her clothes. "I'm Ethridge. Hi." She continues to concentrate on the mixture.
What are you doing? please don't reveal secrets...
"I'm working on some poison."
Oooh! What sort?
"That's right. It's a recipe Erika taught me, years ago." She looks up at you. "You're Exiles. I'll teach you the recipe, if you want. It's a good one, using Asptongue Mold. If you want to buy it, let me know."
You knew Erika?
Hey! You're Art, aren't you? Half the things she yelled were about you, you know?
Doesn't surprise me.
But yeah, I studied under her. Powerful, deadly woman. They way this war is going, we could really use her knowledge."
I was wondering about that. She's never mentioned apprentices.
I wasn't. Not really. More like a specialist. You been to see her recently?
Yeah, she's still holed up in her place, keeping a lot of Empire soldiers bottled up trying to contain her.
At least she's still alive. Thanks for telling me.
She also tells you that you can access Erika's Tower through the Portal in the Tower, but that's kinda useless information at this point. I'm seriously trying to think about why this place is here, north-west of Motrax's cave, and inaccessible for so long (you need Flight!), yet delivers such out of date information.
Well, except for Thompson. That will come in handy in a few updates.
Oh! I forgot! I got a magical message yesterday from someone named Anaxiamander. He said to tell you that you needed to take the long road, go back to that place you got the most recent crystal from, that someone named Duncan is there. Whatever that means.
Wasn't that one of her old co-workers?
It is.. was... Wait. Back to Ornotha Ziggurat?!?!
Just how important is this guy?
He was one of the leaders of Scimitar in the past few years.
Which means what?
He knows things.
Thisz iz probably a trap.
My original reason for coming back here was because my guide shows that there are four floors to the Ziggurat. And for some reason, I kept thinking that I had only seen two of them, that there were other floors I didn't reach in my haste to get to Caffren-Bok. I was wrong. You see, the Ziggurut is laid out like this:
Four floors. Once I realized that, I figured I was already here, so I would explore a bit, see what's around, then... well... you'll see at the end of the update.
There are more guards. Kai-lyss. Time to stretch out.
This is a Vahantai supply point. You know. In case they needed one.
Block off this little alcove first.
Good. Now it's time to make the fire our friend.
Sealing us off!
Now, we wait.
Can we contain it?
Fall back, and let it burn itself out. I will find these raiders myself, and make them pay for their affront.
I've been away long enough that this encounter has been reset to include Garzahd. He 'dies' to the Quickfire.
Alright, here's the plan. Kai-lyss will break down the barrier, and we rush for the ziggurat. I'll heal us as needed until we reach safety.
THAT'S YOUR PLAN?
THIS IS A BAD PLAN!
And we're clear.
No idea why we're dropped here, at the front door this time, when last time we started at the back of the Ziggurat.
Alright, lets rest up, then swing around and check things out.
This is a bit fast, even for you, isn't it?
Yes, I barely felt the trip past Formello, down to the Tower, through Olgai, across the lava river, and up to here.
No, it's because I can move fast when I need to. And this place looks like military discipline.
No idea what this place is for, so I have to assume it's the local dog house.
How nice. A commemorative plaque.
Where are all the guards?
You mean the ones we just killed?
I would have expected more.
Perhapss they were redeployed?
Perhaps. What do we have here?
Not I. Let me free, and I will aid you.
No way this man is down here. This is monster specimen storage, not holding cells.
We still have to check.
There are secret passages to get into these rooms, if you really need to kill fungi for XP at this point.
You! Where do they keep the prisoners?
Why don't you surrender and find out?
How about you?
Just die already!
These are just more barracks.
... Officer's reading room. There's nothing of interest here, unless you want books on military theory?
Ah, the galley.
Hey! Nice painting.
I do like the subject matter. What is that, anyways?
The sky. Forests, a lake and mountains.
I don't know what thoze are.
Well, that's enough art appreciation. Let's go back to looting the place before the army comes back.
Possible Efreet forge, without the Efreet?
Similar enough to what we saw when we stole the Orb.
And more traditional, or mortal forges.
Ugh... I don't think that's incense....
But that's the first floor cleared. Come on, let's head up to the second floor. There were places we hadn't checked yet.
I use this secret passage as a choke point and wipe out the local defenders, allowing me to finish this off in peace.
If no one has been back here...
No rest at all.
But it did cause a lot more enemies to spawn.
Nothing back here, except for the view... of solid rock.
May they never learn.
You know those enemies I spawned by trying to take a nap? Well, they ran into my killbox again.
Must be.. hallucinating.!
Art rushed over to her old acquaintance, and reached out to pull him free of the magical field that held him. But she couldn't. The field sparked and sizzled, forcing her hand back. Duncan bit back a scream. Kai-Lyss! Get this down!
Don't bother, Duncan said through gritted teeth. Garzahd himself set it up. The field fluctuated, and he writhed in pain. Art focused for a moment, and used some of her power to heal him. You came, you fool.
Damn straight, Art said. But he's not here right now. We gave him a quick-fire distraction outside.
Good... * hrgh * !! He gasped as more pain was applied to him. He brought me here from Bargha after you raided this place. He was mighty pissed.
Another wave of pain.
Come on, Art almost pleaded with him. What happened?
We were betrayed, Duncan said. You. Me. Rook. He ~~ee!! AAAGHT! Duncan nearly bit his tongue as the random fluctuations made it hard to finish a sentence. He vanished. Went to ground. Got to save him.
I will. After I get you down. Kai-Lyss!
The hulking Slithzerikai shook his head. The man iz right, he said slowly, forming the human words through a mouth not meant for them. I cannot redusse thissz field with my magicss. It iz beyond me, I am ssshamed to ssay.
Duncan laughed weakly. Art, working with Kai-Lyss. He didn't make a sound when the field decided to mix up how it tortured him in the absence of its creator. Desperate times, huh?
Kai-liss laughed a little to himself. I know you too, Duncan of Ssssimitar.
What do we do? Art asked for input, hoping either of them saw something that she didn't.
Find Rook, Duncan pleaded. Please. And deny Garzahd his petty vengeance.
Kai-lyss straightened up, understanding the request. I will wait outzide.
Another ripple of agony, and Art closed her eyes. I want to get you out.
Don't bother. Even if you did, I would slow you down. He would find you.
Art wanted to refuse to believe that. No, I've done more than this!
Duncan shook his head. No. One last request. Friend to friend. This is war. He already knows what I know, so this is just a show.
No. I can't leave you.
You still have the others, Duncan pleaded as he narrowly avoided biting his own tongue. You knew we couldn't all be friends forever.
We are. We will be.