Part 39: Castle Troglo (1) and Under Troglo (1)Update 034 Castle Troglo and Under the Castle
I think the best way to find the Castle Troglo is to start at the temple, and follow the hills north until we find it.
That's a very sound plan. I mean, coming from you and all.
What does that mean? We're trained in surveys, and I'm good at it!
Now now, I'm sure she didn't mean much by that. Or the wrong thing.
And we already know where the Temple is, so it's an established starting point.
Yeah, but I have to wonder just how legit this document is.
We'll deal with that problem when it becomes one.
I have to wonder though. Are the Troglodytes really part of the pattern of monster plagues?
Care to elaborate?
For starters, they're not new. The Slimes and the Roaches were both artificial creations, even if you can trace their origins to some degree. The Troglodytes are a known species, even though Imperial History talks about how they were driven to extinction.
Why was that?
They were cunning and dangerous foes. The Empire likes to put down their former enemies in the history, but the Troglodytes were one of the few that were not.
So your theory is that there was a colony of Troglodytes here in central-ish Valorim that is taking advantage of the chaos to expand and entrench against the inevitable Empire reprisal?
Yes. Although the presence of the Giants to the north is also surprising.
But there are Giants to the north of Slith waters!
Yes, but why are they up here? The more I think about it, that there is another colony of them up here is an aberration. And these aberrations are building up. Once, I could write off as coincidence, but the numbers keep adding up.
You do realize you just changed your mind while explaining all that, right?
So it seems. There is a connection, whether deliberate or not.
And I think this is the place.
I go first. Got the message?
Hmph. They're almost big.
Only the giants we've met were bigger than you, Sass.
The icon for the Castle is actually the three-tile segment for the major cities, and had the middle third simply not put in. I like the difference, really, that it portrays.
Wow, we're really close to Angel's Rest. Here's the map.
How did no one notice this when the continent was first colonized!?!?
This place is quite huge.
And I won't be able to properly explore it for a while yet.
At least the exit point is easy enough to see.
Best behaviour, and if they turn hostile, we destroy everything.
You're confident that we can do that? Take on this whole place by ourselves?
Why not? We're inside. The hard part is done.
Yes. I am Art, formerly of the Imperial Center, and current resident of Avit. I have here the pass your king sent to Mayor Knight of Sharimik, and am here as his representative.
This can't be good.
It's only a security percaution.
Well, that's not good.
It's not like there was an established meeting time.
You're right. It doesn't surprise me that we're being locked up for our protection.
And we're pretty close to what looks as a throne room.
Nope, not going to get through this.
Well then, time to take a nap in turns. Not it.
... Not it.
* * *
You're trapped in that room until you wait long enough. There's no other way out except through cheating. So just Long Wait once, and you're good.
Hold on, I need to check the secret exit.
We'll keep this in mind.
I ... what?
A more conventional captive, I think.
This is not very subtle.
Dissension in the ranks?
Or a poor play to get us this scroll. What does it say?
I need a strong drink.
The Glowing Ones?
I haven't heard of them.
Worse yet, this is confirmation that the Troglodytes are connected literally. And the Giants to the north.
It's all the same source, the same problem. And these Glowing Ones are escalating.
Or getting better at what they're doing. The Empire lays to the North, right? The Glowing Ones started in the south with easy creations, and as they move north, have increased the power of their chosen implements.
But why? And who?
Also, I need to clean my pockets out. I've got a lot of papers in them.
Legitimate this time?
I hope so.
Do not wait! Speak with the King!
You must be the king.
Eh, I can totally take him.
Yes, I did. Quite interesting in the implications.
You stand face to face with the King of the Troglodytes. He wears gleaming steel armor and a massive blade. His face is scarred and deeply lined, and his hair is black and stringy. Then know this I am King Vothkaro High King of the Troglodyte People.
I am Art, Noble and Priest, Ik-tah and Mother. I have come to hear the words you have to say, and to relay them to the ones whom you wish them to be heard by.
His voice is deep and commanding. The scroll I had left for you told you the things you need to know about our people. We are a rootless people. We are a holy people. And we have an ancient Enemy!
You call yourself rootless, yet here you are. Home and hearth.
We were once destroyed wiped off the face of the earth. Then were were brought back by the Glowing Ones. We aren't sure who our destroyers were, but I have a guess.
The Glowing Ones have been active all over this continent, crafting discord and chaos in their wake. They are the creators of plagues and disease, and do not face their foes openly, as warriors should. Tell us what you know of them, so we may learn more for their punishment.
We know little of the Glowing Ones. They speak to us. They made us, or so they say. They are insubstantial, glowing forms, and we can tell little of what they truly are. They tell us to do things. We do them, but only because it is what we wish. They do not want us to fight the Giants. I wish to. One Khazi agrees with them. I do not think he is wise.
And surely you believe the humans are responsible for your ancestor's deaths? Why even guess?
The Giants! He hawks and spits. Our unholy, eternal foe! Their cries against us were unspeakable, and their punishment will be too!
Surely a holy people such as yourself could consult your gods.
Our gods are secret and powerful, and our people are always half-ruled by our holy leaders the Khazis. Khazis are generally wise. Unfortunately, there are exceptions.
Speak to me then, of this exceptional Khazi.
The leader of the Khazis is Elioc. He believes something so heretical, anyone else saying it would be killed that we should ignore the ancient enemy and concentrate on fighting the humans. Alas, he is my equal. That is why I have brought you here. I have a mission for you.
King Vothkaro, your luck is something to speak of, that we messengers are capable of such a thing. What would have happened had someone less capable arrived?
Who do you think was in the room across from you?
Very well. Speak to us of this mission?
He smiles wryly. Elhioc is wise, and the walls have ears. Let us just say that he should be made to answer for his heresy.
We don't normally deal in heresy.
Return to your cell. A new scroll awaits you. Much will be made clear to you.
Let's see what this says.
Using an external force such as ours to deal with an internal problem is very risky.
Very much so. Wouldn't a group of humans and a Nephil and a Slith doing this cause the Troglodytes to focus on us? To attack Sharimik in force first before returning to the Great Enemy?
On the other hand, we're being asked to act as agents of the King in this regard. He may be prepared already for the fallout.
What about diplomacy?
What of it? We talked, and he set conditions for us to remove the threat to the nearby human settlements. That it involves violence is only natural.
There is also the problem that despite Art's fancy introduction, she failed to mention that we're from Exile.
What point would that produce? Mayor Knight knows where we're from, and he still asked us to do this on his behalf.
Because we're expendable.
Irrelevant. What he intends happens to us does not affect what we should do.
But this Khazi wants to keep killing humans! And probably Sliths and Nephil as well. The King wants to fight Giants!
He has a point. Arrange for the two forces to fight each other, rather than the civilian populations around here will go a long way to containing the problem.
And the first step in that direction would be removing the 'Kill Humans First' faction head.
We'll do it.
We haven't reached a consensus. Why?
In the end, whether we do this or not, there is nothing that will stop further attacks on humans in the region. The Troglodytes are too entrenched that even destroying this castle wouldn't stop them. However, you are right. By taking out the one proposing escalation against Sharimik, we can manipulate their internal politics away from focusing on them. They would step back, and get ready to take on the Giants, or search for some way to reopen the tunnel they mentioned.
Are you sure of the consequences?
No, but in the end, our choice is no choice at all. That's why we have power.
Right. The King wants us to swing north, then west. I can see the edge of the Shaman's quarters that way.
It's dark. I should make light for all you.
No! If you do, they'll see us before we see them.
Like this! Now we can sneak up on them.
Fuck this guy in particular. In a practice run, this guy spammed fireballs on me, taking out Ni'aurrl and Matthias before I could get around the water to him.
We can do sneaky things then instead.
You hear that? Someone else is fighing.
I have no idea what's going on here. Why are Troglos attacking each other? There's nothing to indicate they're in open conflict yet, if at all. So, I just shrug, and take my good fortune as it lay.
Ignore it unless we have to pass through it.
So, go west from here?
Or we could get started. So, which one of you guys wants to kill humans?
All of you it is!
I think going back up at this point is a bad idea. We should finish what we started first.
And of course they would have a source of fresh water under the castle. This would make attacking it a long and arduous process.
Huh. That looks familiar.
Really, really familiar.
You're not suggesting..?
Why not? So far we have evidence that Erika is involved. The Dragons are involved maybe. So why not a Vahnatai styled barrier array?
Plenty of still-hostile Troglos in the area. And aren't we going too far south?
Just consider this securing our way out.
More stairs up. And what looks like private rooms to the north.
No, these are just as trapped as the ones in the temple. I don't want to risk it.
Oh, joys of lights.
Door popped. Let's see who's home.
Are you Ehlioc? If you are, can you stand still while we stab you?
And if you're not, could you please step out of our way?
Why are negotiations so hard?
Most likely because they're handled by the actual diplomats.
Let's be fair here. Art is good at her version of diplomacy. It's just not what most people expect.
While you guys were chatting, I found a secret passage.
Right. You know, I think I remember something about this passage from Matthias' scrying.
What was that?
I hate you.
There's the treasure.
I love you.
Alright, I really don't want to see what's down to the south. That seems to be where most of the fighting is taking place
Don't want to give them a reason to join forces?
That would be the best idea.
I wonder if there's anyone here we could release into aiding us.
Given the culture, I suspect Heresy is a crime with lethal punishments.
What is this?
I have no clue.
Anyone else smell that?
Right. Deal with these guys first.
Two drakes in close quarters like this is something I can handle now. A far cry from when one of them was enough to get me to panic.
Nice loot. I think.
And there's nothing interesting about the bodies.
This control panel ... curious.
I'm pressing buttons!
Well, at least it wasn't trapped.
Ever notice how he never triggers that sort of thing?
Yeah, because that's my job. And yours when I can't.
This ... device ... moved. In response to the buttons on the dias.
Didn't the King say his people couldn't understand this?
Perhaps. Although I think I see how this is working. Aside from this second layer, each rank is controlled by the buttons. We simply need to figure out what combination will let us through.
Guess not. We need to angle the passage south to get to the exit.
This would be a lot harder if you didn't have Magic Map, and thus couldn't see were the exit is.
This should do it. Thank you, Sass. For pressing the buttons.
And so it did.
Hey, once last chance at diplomacy?
Humans will die!
What about me?
... We will see if you make excellent slaves. If you can't, then you will die too.
Yeah, that's a bad negotiating position. Shall we?
Tougher than a general Khazi, but only Mage 5 instead of Mage 6? Oh well, the usual pattern of 'spam buffs/debuffs and whack over head' will work here.
Not even in the top ten hardest assassinations I've ever done.
Still, that was intense. We should check the altar out while we recover.
Nothing unusual here. I like the carvings though. Good craftsmanship.
Curious. This book doesn't have the same protections as the others we've seen.
Nice! Once I can cast them, mind you.
How did the Khazi close the passage behind him so that we had to open it up again, and how would he have opened it from his side?
Time to leave.
Well, that was awfully polite of them. I really wish diplomacy was more like this, and less like the last hour or so.
Wax seal and everything. I suppose this is just an official message of some sort.
And we finally take this passage out. Think we'll be back?
I'm sure of it.
Next stop Sharimik, and that dumping all our accumulated loot before reporting to the Mayor.
* * *
Complete overkill, but when I use it, it will be vital.
Five uses of Haste for the wearer? I've got 3 people who can cast Haste two of whom get Group Haste. For a less magic-heavy party, this would be amazingly useful, but for this party? Not so much.
Once again, no one with the bashing skill.
Picked this up in the Drake nest. Not as good as a Platinum Bar, but still paid for all the Identification I did.
* * *
I also did a round of training before then with my newfound wealth after selling off a bunch of stuff. This is also the first game where I can reasonably expect to hit levels 40 or higher for everyone.
In a shocking turn of events, I invest in five levels of Luck for Art, rather than more of anything else. I think it's a nice change of pace.
5 more Spell Points, and then minor improvements in Dexterity and Pole Weapons. He's still a melee person first, and a spellcaster second.
Just an extra point of Strength, what with using all her Skill Points last time.
More Spell Points, and enough points into Archery to make it worth her while with the Crossbow and Iron Bolts.
Ten more Spell Points and ... two points of luck? What was I thinking? I could have used those on more Intelligence! Or Priest 4!
More intelligence, more Spell Points, and I hard-bought more Health even though yes I know that buying Strength would be better in the long run. But I like the idea of a Mage with a Chronic Illness having limited strength.
* * *
Mayor Knight, mission accomplished.
YES! It's mine at last!
This will be sweet knowledge.
Don't forget me.
I like how the game recognizes what you have done, and knows just how useful the spell will be.
You know, I think there's a hidden chamber to the south.
We'll get this identified later.
So... you two want to take your new spell out for a try? There's three barriers right there...!
No. He's been nice to us, and we only rob bad people.
So, Lorelei next?
No, there's that damned sound again. Like that ring on the Isle of Bigail.
It was helpful last time, it should be helpful this time too!
I'm for that. And more information about what is going on with you the better.
* * *
Not here, but there's still something here.
Sorry, we'll pass.
* * *
If I knew we were headed this way, I would have picked up that delivery job for Mayor Delenn.
* * *
Back into the undead territory?
We'll have to go around to find the way in.
Note, there is literally no indication that this path is here at all. Ever.
Yes, this is the place.
And here is the other method to get Magic Map. The spell I got last update.
Back to Sharimik then. See what's next on the list, aside from investigating the Giants.
So ends Karnold Province. The next update will be the next Map Update, and I * think * I've triggered the next event in Upper Exile. If I have, I'll do that, then go back to the main plot.