Part 41: Lorelei (1)Update 36 Lorelei (1)
There's a lot going on in this update, so I had to split it into two. Then pad it out again so the two parts weren't too short. Not sorry at all!
I suppose we should head north. If the geography of the region is any indication, that's about the only way left we have to go.
We could go back and report to Anaximander.
We could, but there's nothing to report yet. We haven't done anything. No, we go north.
Naturally, your 'north' is more a nor'easterly direction.
Well, we are a little ways west of their Castle.
Yeah, I'm dominating fights thanks to all the buffs and debuffs going around. Thanks for voting for a heavy magic party, everyone!
Ooooh! Back door!
Not back enough. That would be the tunnel connecting them to the Giants.
And this particular... actually, what is this called? I mean, it's not a valley. It's more like a depression between the mountains to our right, and a smaller ridge to the left.
Well, it's not a cuesta, and the mountains aren't steep enough to form palisades. To narrow to be a ravine or canyon. Valley it is!
Well, no one said anything about being at peace with the Troglodytes.
Come on, be a challenge!
Spoilers: They're not.
You know, from the way their pictures and map icons are like, you could be forgiven for thinking that the Troglodytes of Exile are not the smaller lizard folk from D&D.
I'm going to have to agree with Sass. Valley.
Wait a moment...
Even the Empire wouldn't do this. They would rebuild a town with materials if they had to, but to completely destroy it like this? It's a waste.
The rest of you stay back, and let me handle this.
Of course I would!
Nice source here for the mage-less party. Of which I am not. There's also Dust of Cleansing and Scrolls of Flame, Slow and Fireball if you scroll down.
And we finally loop back to the road north.
Why are we going off the road again?
Because our job is exploration?
And we're back on the road.
What I did was I filled in my non-cheating map by following the mountains west then north from Castle Troglo. And even without the road, the geography does a really good job of getting you to go to Lorelei.
Huh. That's relevant.
Anything I should know about?
You're expected, by the way. I've sent a runner ahead.
Is that good or bad?
And what are you checking for?
Both, sad to say. You'll be briefed when you get to Lorelei. And to answer the Nephil's question, there's a growing Skribbane problem that is coming off Bigail and headed our way. Rumors have it that Gale has it worse than us, and Lorelei is just a distribution point.
Thank you for your time.
Even with everything else going on, there's still petty crime.
And corruption. And major crime.
Calloc! We know where that is now!
"No, that says Malloc, not Calloc.
And we do have a couple leads to investigate in that direction.
Yeah, but we're here now.
Art, going straight into a problem?
Well, we're still working on the same problem.
Yeah, everyone, stick together. We'll go around town and talk to people as we come across them.
And Lorelei is one of the densest towns in the game. I love it! It actually feels urban.
She wasn't kidding. A lot of these rocks show impact stressors.
And they're in small craters.
The streets of Lorelei are littered with rocks, a nice touch even if no attacks happen while you're in town.
Looks like a nice place.
Why thank you. You meet the keeper of this small, cramped inn. You notice his leg is in a cast. I'm Winterhouse. Welcome to the Caring Cubbyhole inn. You'll have to excuse me for not standing to greet you. He pats his leg cast. Had a little accident. We have a nice room free. It's only 4 gold for the night.
That must have been some accident.
Yeah. Accidentally stepped under a thrown bolder. My fault for going outdoors.
While I love the fact that there are so many NPCs in this town, they all have short conversations. Winterhouse here is typical. They introduce themselves, then you can do business with them, and then they have 1-3 further pieces of conversation.
Delilah, you're up.
And if you're not a member of the Anama?
You meet a priest of the Anama. He looks you over, nodding in approval at your rings. He's a tall, distinguished man, the sort to be not at all concerned with what other people thing of him or his beliefs. I am Father Mundt. Welcome to this sanctuary, fellow follower.
I am Delilah. Thank you for your hospitality. I must admit some confusion as to why we have a sanctuary here.
Of course. I guard this sanctuary, a place of safety for those who share our beliefs.
My job it to provide succour and rejuvenation for those of our beliefs who are passing through to more hostile lands.
I doubt I am in need of those services, but so that I am informed, what are they?
I can provide you healing at a very reasonable rate. Not free, I am afraid, as I must work to support myself in this city. In addition, I have alchemical herbs you can purchase. After all, alchemy is nature's great gift to us.
I would like to see those, thank you.
I miss Greymold actually being rare. You know, when it was a major effort to find the damned stuff, and people weren't certain where to find it, even on the surface?
Again, I am confused as to why we would need something like this for our beliefs.
Few believe as we do in these parts. Sometimes their reactions can be hostile. That is the reason for this protected sanctuary.
Thank you Father. I will return should it be in our fates.
You are welcome.
Got to say, I like this park. Too bad it's walled off.
We keep putting off buying them, you know.
Because you wouldn't believe me if I said this guy was Fabio otherwise.
I am Lewis, he says in a deep, manly voice.
Hello good sir. We saw your sign.
I am a horseman, by trade. I breed and raise the mighty beasts. A trickle of sweat trickles down his muscular chest as he speaks.
... Tell me about how you raise them, if you don't mind.
His chest heaves mightily. It's been a difficult job. Unsafe to take the mighty beasts out, what with the giants.
The Giants are a serious problem?
You never know when a flying rock will cripple one of them. I've been keeping them inside for some time. Not good for them.
You certainly do a good job of taking care of your mighty beasts.
Yes, the mightiest and most noble of beasts. Deserving of mighty and noble owners much like yourselves. For 600 gold, I can outfit you with a group of sweaty chargers, even one for your large scaly friend there. A purchase you'll never regret.
You don't even know how to ride!
I think we can't put it off any longer. Pay the man, Matthias.
You pay him the 600 gold. "Thank you, mightily thewed warriors. You can take one of the horses in the stables. And treat them well! They're great beasts!"
Considering who the party consists of, the idea of any of them being 'mightily thewed' is hilarious.
Oh great. Now someone has to teach Sass how to ride.
I hate you all.
When you get close, this warty beggarwoman kneels and extends her bowl. She's old and thin, and extremely brave to be out on the street like this. Greetings, bold adventurers. It is an honor. My name is Deborah.
Hello there. Why are you out and about?
She bows her head. My farm was lost in a giant attack.
Have the giants taken much from you?
My farm, and my husband. Now I am reduced to begging while trying to regain a more respectable place. Could you please give me a few coins?
We can spare a few coins.
You give her a few coins. She is beside herself with thanks. And kind adventurers, I have advice in return!
We are always willing to listen to advice.
Is Sass invisible, or what?
Seems like a narrow business. Well, let's see what's going on here
You mean, aside from the secret room?
The woman behind the counter is busy repairing a chainmail gauntlet. As she works, she occasionally looks up at you with an amused expression. She acts as if she knows much that you don't.
Oh, I deal with gloves. I love gloves. They're utterly fascinating. You detect the subtle traces of facetiousness in her voice.
I worked with a manager who used that word wrongly, thinking it meant smugly, or with arrogance. And when I corrected them, well, I didn't exactly help my case. So seeing it here is a nice reminder that what you say is just as important as how to say it.
Yes. You can sell me goods. Any goods. From anywhere. She winks. Then you can purchase my fine, high quality gloves. You may have heard I have other goods. I sure don't. Just wonderful, protective, warm, snug, five-fingered gloves.
Well, I know the sorts of goods you would purchase for your obviously fine gloves, but I don't have any on me right now. Perhaps I can see your wares in the mean time?
I hate gloves for armor as they all have at least 1 Encumbrance, and, true to old-school gaming paradigms, utterly wreck your ability to cast mage spells on top of that.
This, this is a nice place.
Shall we knock?
Oh, I have plans for this place. But for now, we'll have to leave it be.
Guess not. On with the self-guided tour!
Ah, best presentation time.
You meet an aging woman, whose hair is start to be shot through with iron bands of gray. She wears the mayor's sash of Lorelei, which seems to weigh her down as if it was made of lead. I am Mayor Bruette. Welcome, adventurers.
Hello again, Mayor. I am Art.
I am the mayor of the fair city of Lorelei. I am currently charged with maintaining the city.
Lorelei is a welcoming city, I will give it that much easy.
Yes. Being the mayor of Lorelei is currently a taxing job. I'm afraid I have the sacred duty of maintaining it as best I can.
The maintenance of a city is...
The Empire has, alas, withdrawn from this area. Fortunately, I am sure this is only a temporary thing.
The Empire ... when did that happen? We have asked many, but they haven't answered.
Hush! And no. She's just being political.
The continent of Valorim is under quarantine. Empire Troops have not come to aid us for some time. However, I am sure it is temporary. All we need to do is survive, and they will surely come to our aid soon.
Good Mayor, even if it is temporary, surely you should act?
Some of my troops criticize me for doing nothing to fight the giants. What fools they are! Anything we do may interfere with what the Empire is planning to do to help us! Do they not better see the whole picture? That is why, if you've here for a mission, you've come to the wrong place.
Mayor, a mission would be sanction to act..!
* * *
She's lost it.
Which is why the Dervish wants to talk to us.
One town where the leadership it too much, the other where it is too little. Have these people become so complacent with the presence of the Empire that they would break in its absence?
Perhaps. But then again, some rise to the challenge. Others fall.
A stocky woman sits behind the counter, polishing a new, steel shield. She looks pleased to see potential customers. I am Gertrude, the armorsmith.
Yes, I have heard rumors about your kind. To the south, and to the west. And in Exile, but there's no way for you to be up here then, is there.
I'm supposed to say no to that.
Well, it doesn't matter. I'm the town armorsmith. I'm pleased to see you things have been slow lately.
Why would they be slow? There are Giants out there!
And not likely to change any. Nobody wants to stay in a city in which death strikes those who walk the streets at random.
Random streets, or random walking?
Yes, to both.
But is death common?
The giants lob boulders over the walls, day and night. They move up, throw a few, and run before our soldiers can do anything about it. Nobody goes out. Not a good business environment, let me tell you.
You know what just occurred to me? Why are there no augmentations for armors? Just weapons?
Quiet, aren't you?
Just a random Giant in prison, apparently.
Is that important?
There is nothing like it in Exile! A place of higher learning!
Yeah, this doesn't match what I remember.
You meet a wizened, scholarly looking man with a bushy beard. He has bits of finely ground herbs under his fingernails and green stains on his robes.
Hello! I'm Matthias.
I am Carlos, of the University of Valorim.
Ah, it is a pleasure to be here. Do you work here?
I am a teacher at the University of Valorim. And very proud of it, as well.
I'm from out of town, down south. What are you a teacher in??
We had instructors in history, literature and other arts. Then the instructors fled. Now we, that is, I, only teach alchemy.
Wait. What happened to the other instructors?
There were four. Then three of them fled because of the giants. I teach alchemy now. That's all we offer. But we will be a great school one day, I'm sure of it!
Any plans for the University?
This is the first University in all of Valorim. Small, I know. One classroom. Few instructors. But it's a start!
What alchemy do you offer?
I have been teaching several valuable recipes. I know how to make potions that speed one up or restore magical energy. Both require Wormgrass and Glowing Nettle. I can also teach how to make Greymold Salve, bane to diseases of all sorts. All it requires is Graymold. If you want to purchase a recipe, let me know.
I'm done banging my head on the wall with the proliferation of a major plot element in Exile 1.
Wow. He wasn't kidding when he said it was small.
What was your formal education like?
More practical than not. It's not like I was the first born.
Making the cut here.