Part 31: Libras and the Lost IsleUpdate 026 Libras and the Lost Isle
I am, but the water is yucky.
It shows signs of mining refuse from further upstream.
Yes, but how far?
And what problems are they having that we'll eventually resolve?
Probably those Nephil we met earlier.
I object to the implication that we are a problem simply by existing!
You do realize we're talking about the Empire, right? The whole point is that they develop by marginalizing the other.
Yes, I see your point. I apologize.
At least the ferry is cheap.
And quick enough that I barely felt it.
But I did.
Ah, a payday!
Let's read the sign first, shall we?
Named for books?
I thought those were balance scales?
Wide open plains for corps of trees around. How... relaxing.
* * *
And by process of elimination, this is Libras.
Usual survey. Spread out.
Finally! More bolts for Delilah.
Uh... Hi? The inn is run by a pale bland man. You notice he has a bundle of tickets at his belt.
My name is Sass!
He says Vincent, in a voice remarkable in its atonality.
You talk weird. What do you sell here?
You can get a room for the night for a mere 8 gold. We have find Karnold Whisky for 12 gold. Also, I have boat tickets. His voice is so flat you almost have to struggle to pay attention.
Oooh! I'm an adult! I can drink!
Don't ask me how much alcohol it would take to get an 8 foot lizard that weighs at least 200 pounds of muscle to wind up like that.
Why would people have wings? They're people, not birds! And where are your tickets too?
I have tickets to the Lost Isle. It's a town on the Remote Isle to the south. Nice town. Very peaceful. You can purchase tickets for your group for only 15 gold, round trip.
Hey, this is edible!
Knowing us, I'm really going to have to do something about my motion sickness.
Never change. Never change.
You meet a massive merchant, wearing fine silk clothes. He has thinning hair and a pock-marked face. He'd be very unappealing if he didn't clearly have so much money.
Demons Below! You're alive?
Yep. Going by Bronwyn now.
He clears his throat extensively. Just call me Mervin, please.
So, you seem to have made good for yourself. What's the angle?
I run this end of the Eastern Trade Route and we're always looking for good couriers!
Really? What's this about a Trade Route?
He sighs contentedly. Ah, Eastern Valorim. Few people. Many resources. All it takes is merchants to arrange getting the goods in and out, and good couriers to do the job. He looks you over. Were you anyone else, I'd say you looked like you had plenty of potential!
It's very simple, and very profitable. Squiggus, a town up the coast to the east, gathers and processes herbs. We send clothes and goods to them to keep them alive out in the wilderness. You purchase goods here, sell them in Squiggus and bring their fine herbs back here where I buy them. Profit for you. Interested?
What's with the generic 'herbs'? I got an offer back on Bigail from one of our old crew to move herb from Bigail to Sharimik. And now this?
I don't deal in that, he huffs. My business is above the board. I'm out of that sort of thing and I want to be as clean as possible for as long as possible before the Empire re-establish control over the region. Then I can be a recognized business with taxes and all that.
Fair enough. Good luck. So, can I see what you're selling?
Each of these weighs 20 stone, and there is money to be made thanks to supply and demand, but it's a long trip for the party right now I'll probably make a run or two after I find Squiggus naturally.
A quiet woman with a sweet smile sits behind the counter, scrubbing clean a few freshly picked bunches of leaves. A fresh, fragrant, herbal smell hangs heavy in the air.
She continues to clean the leaves while speaking to you. She seems to be doing it automatically. I'm Dot.
So, what's it that you offer?
I know a few spells, but I'm a herbalist by trade. I collect herbs.
Oh? You offer magic as well as alchemy? What spells do you teach?
She laughs. Oh, you wouldn't want to learn spells from me. I wouldn't know how to teach them! You might try a Flame spell, and end up making all your hair fall out! Or worse! No, the main thing I have to offer is herbs.
So, the herbalist job good for you?
Yes! I have a good supply of some of the more effective ones. You can purchase them if you wish. She sighs. Now if I could find some mandrake to sell! Then I'd be rich!
What's so special about the mandrake?
The king of herbs. Magically potent in the extreme! I'd love to be able to find a good supply of it. I've heard others have, but I think that's only a rumor.
Oh, you have to share these rumors with me.
I've heard there's a hermit that lives on an island somewhere east or north or somewhere who sells Mandrake. Just a rumor though. I'm sure.
Karnold Province has something going for it. Somewhere in this province are stores that sell alchemical components. All of them. From things like Comfrey Root to Greymold. Some are easy to find, others are hard. One of them is very hard. I'll try to locate all of them.
Let me guess. Merry?
Merry Count posted:
* * *
And there are islands to the south!
Isolated Islands? Sounds like a good thing to check out. Sass, get tickets.
I won't give in...
Don't worry. You'll be fine.
Says the man who needed a few minutes just now.
I wonder what they taste like...?
Ugh. That trip was harder on me than I thought.
Take a break.
Why is the warehouse at the docks so unused that there are cobwebs developing?
I don't know why we keep checking out ration stores. Art supplies.
That's not a good sign.
Where did everyone go?
Where did everyone go?
I hope the commander is in.
No, and this desk looks unused.
Hail and well met.
This man is busy chopping herbs. It's an incredibly intricate procedure ... apparently he is trying to get all the strips to exactly the same length and width. The concentration involved doesn't leave much mental room for dealing with you. I'm Harmon, he says, continuing to concentrate on the herbs.
You, uh, don't mind me talking?
He keeps chopping, speaking very slowly so that hs can devote most of his concentration to his job. For alchemy. Needs to be very precise. Want to buy ingredients? Give yo ugood price. Don't get many visitors now.
Sure, let me see what you're selling.
So, why no visitors?
This island got a basilisk nest. People have left like crazy.
I'm sorry. I could have sworn you said basilisks!
Deadly things. Turn you to stone by looking at you. Some people thought carrying mirrors would save them. They're dead now. Most everyone left. I stayed. Good ingredients here. Just don't go out much.
Well, you know that I used to count the number of times I encountered random Basilisks on my missions?
You encountered so many that you actually had a statistical means of measuring them?
That's completely ridicuous.
And yet, I'm not about to start one here. We're going into this knowing that there are Basilisks in the area.
And why are we going?
This is going to go horribly, isn't it?
No! You can actually tilt the battle in your favour with cursing the 'lisks.
Nothing on this island. So we're going island hopping?
No! We don't hop islands! We swim across!
I just hope this map is accurate. Measuring distances over the water can be difficult without access to a good clock and a sextant.
Second island, just as quiet.
I don't want to jinx us.
Never seen a petrified squirrel before.
On your guard.
Yep. A Nest.
We really doing this?
Basilisk tactics are a little different. First of all, curse them and bless the party as you would at any other fight. Matthias used Venom Arrows to start getting damage-over-time on the Basilisks.
And now I just realized that I forgot to Scry Monster on them!
The other necessary tactics involve target saturation. I'm not normally a big fan of summons, but when dealing with an enemy that can insta-kill anyone, having ablative forces to take shots is the difference between life and death.
Nothing causes me more stress than ending my turn, and watching as all the Basilisks try to stone people, worried that I'll have to reload.
We win! Hurrray!
Well, here's a source of those Mandrake Roots. We should leave them alone for now.
There's a recipe that uses them, I think. I may actually use alchemy this game, and knowing about this place will help.
And a random encountered turned into two Basilisks and this is when things go wrong.
Curious. I wonder if there are other islands...
* * *
Well, that was mostly a waste. But taking out that nest was nice.
I can't help but notice that no one offered a reward for it.
They probably thought that no one was dumb enough to do it in the first place.
Yes, who would be?
Don't look at me!
Mr. Vogel... I know you live in Washington state, so you should know better. Salmon is a freshwater fish and there are no rivers to act as an outflow in the region that can be used to justify having such a target population in the area. So either you made a mistake, or the party was lied to about what the boats were going for.
Don't mean to be contradictory, but Salmon are actually Anadromous. They're born in freshwater and reproduce in freshwater, but migrate to the ocean afterwards. They are both saltwater AND freshwater.
You can thank The Magic School Bus for teaching me that. Man, can't believe I still remember that show...
* * *
I want to investigate the whys and hows of this Nephil colony on the surface. Having one 'in the wild' so to speak is odd for all the usual reasons, and therefore I want you to handle the talking.
I can do that. Thank you.
Hey! When do I get to lead?
When we find a colony of Slithzerikai, of course.
That'll never happen. It's too cold on the surface.
I doubt they would be on the road though.
How about in the mountains?
Actually, yes. That makes sense.
Who are you?
Help. Now ready to fight!
Keeping the Kitt... Nephil alive may be a problem.
I do not know who you are, but for your aid, and for your membership, we will not contest your entrance into our valley as long as you stay peaceful.
Thank you. I am Ni'aurrl of the nation of Exile.
I am F'rruil. This is my tribe. Why are you here, Exile?
Um... Nephilim raids on a Nephilim camp? I think someone wrote the wrong word there.
We, the people of Exile, as you can see a Slith is among our number, are here on the surface to evaluate the conditions up here and to determine certain viabilities.
So many of us were sent down there, they must have gone mad. The crime of being 'different'. When the portals were closed, many of us took the chance to flee. We are but a small band.
Many more yet live in the underworld. Many of those see no difference between the tribes of humanity, Empire and Exile, and seek to punish one for the crimes of the other.
Ah, I understand. A surface colony would relieve much pressure on the mind.
And if we have allies up here, ones whom we can trust, and can be trusted by in return?
That you are here at all speaks much about the truth in your words.
Yet proof is needed. You will not, and cannot accept our aid at the mouth of the valley.
Nor the scouting party trapped south of Farport.
What about the plagues? The Slimes, the Roaches. There are Troglodytes and Giants in the region, are there not?
Yes. And things even more monstrous between here and vile Blackcrag. What of them? Are they your doing?
No. But send envoys to Krizsan and Shayder. Speak to their mayors, and ask about who removed the plagues from their lands. Exile does not take threats like this lightly.
You speak boldly. But the Empire exists. Why would be ally with you when you are their mortal foe?
There is a human saying, more accurate than some of ours. 'Either we hang together or we hang separately'. When they say that, they refer to the strength of the group overcoming obstacles, or they would be executed as indiviuals.
An alliance to strengthen us. Two tribes acting together to handle threats that would exceed either one alone.
Yes. That is the proposal we bring. Not subservience, but a recognition that what we cannot gain ourselves, that we can as one.
Your words will need to be decided upon by the tribe. Give us time. And we will verify your claims to the west.
That is all I ask. Thank you for your time.
Go in peace, you who came in peace. May your road be clear.
My road is not clear, for before me lays those who would threaten us all.
* * *
So, it went well?
River is sill mucky.
Oh hey, reinforcements for the wrong team.
Not a fight worth recording.
* * *
On the road again...
Country roads, take me home...
Hold on, something about this spur of mountains...
Short pulling out another Great Map Update, I cannot stress just how large some of these mountain ranges are. This particular spur is gargantuan, and is a massive obstacle for anyone going east or west, while encouraging travel north and south.
I agree. Those things are horrendous.
This valley there's something about it...
I feel it too. A sense of joy?
I don't see any of the signs of Lotus', so we should be good for now.
Not good enough.
Think this will satisfy that dryad?
Alright, I'll use the amulet to get us back to Emergence. That'll shave a lot of time off our trip.
Go for it.
* * *
Lady of the Wood? We have your requested item.
We have done as you asked.
I think that's it for now. We're in the clear.
Once we find Calloc.
Also, these Unicorn horns are starting to poke a hole in my pocket. We should go back to Krizsan to unload them.
Good enough for me. Southward-ho!