Part 53: Calloc and the Dragon LairsUpdate 047 Calloc and the Dragon Lairs
"Well, that's not good. The magic stone we picked up was another Airy Stone."
Still cursed due to a programming glitch.
While running over to Shayder to ID and dump stuff, I discovered that you could take horses on the boats! Nice!
"Well, there should be a town to the north anyways."
"True. And general exploration is a goal."
"And we get to ride horsies!"
"At least that's one positive."
"That sign should get changed soon."
"Speaking of positives, this grove of trees is strangely regular."
"I remember this! That dryad who we gave the flower to said to start here and go south!"
"It's <i>whom</i>, not <i>who</i>."
"Whatever. We go straight south from here!"
It's an Ivory Charm, which will go on ... someone. At some point. When I don't have something better to put around their neck.
"Enough dallying! Northward ho!"
* * *
"Hrm, nothing out of the ordinary."
"You say that as it's obvious these fields have been picked over."
"We must be careful, the guards are wary of me."
"We'll leave the horses here then. Let them know we're not fleeing.
Oh, hello Merry.
Merry Count posted:
Don't go touching anything, you whatever you are.
Yes. Yes you are.
No boats in a long time. I wonder where they would go?
You meet the innkeeper. He also wears the mayor's sash of Calloc. It's not surprising ... most mayors of these small towns have to work at a regular job. I'm Rabellino. Welcome to the Beautiful Town of Calloc.
Yes, that capitalization is in the original text.
So, what's the going rate for the rooms?
Well, we have fine luxury rooms for only 12 gold for the night, and delicious steaks for five gold. Or, he says with distaste, are you here on mayor business?
The latter, I'm sorry to say.
He grumbles. We could use more adventurers around here. The army deserters cause no end of trouble. And worse, we had the trouble with the looters and the raiders.
You'll have to forgive me for saying this, but Army deserters? I don't recall that ever happening!
And you probably would never had, had things been normal. What, with all the monsters everywhere, some of our so-called protectors are more than willing to turn coward and run, looting and stealing the possessions of good citizens. Gut'em all, that's what I say.
I'll keep that in mind. You were talking about looters and raiders?
We've had lots of trouble with people coming in and stealing our food. Are you interested in a mission?
For months, our crops have been torn up, and our animals have been stolen. We know what's causing it now. One of our farmers was out at midnight on watch and saw Nephilim around his crops. Those foul creatures must be dealt with! Their clan lives in the mountains to the northeast. Deal with them, and we will pay you.
And the fact I'm travelling with a Nephil?
He waves a hand dismissively. A civilized one, I presume. I only want the thieves punished.
You meet a mage. She looks very ill, but still works doggedly on a long, intricate scroll. I am Black. Welcome. She coughs heavily into her hand. Excuse me. I'm not well. She coughs again. I teach magic.
That cough of yours sounds... bad. Do you need healing?
She coughs again. Don't worry. I'm not contagious. I don't think. Anyway, you can purchase mage spells from me. If you want.
Ehhhh... Poison is more reliable on weapons with the innate ability, and Group Fear isn't all that great. I can trash trash mobs already, and the peer-level opponents I face are either immune to it, or have too much morale to make using this rather than sheer damage an effective option.
Forgive me for prying, but when you say you aren't contagious...?
I came here from the Isle of Bigail. She says this as if it answers your question.
You know the source of the plague was burned out, right? The magical roaches had their home nest destroyed by liberal application of quickfire.
The Anama would never resort to using Quickfire. She coughs again.
Who said anything about the Anama?
Heh. Well, good thoughts will help me heal. So thanks for that.
Well, well, what do we have here...?
Taking one step north will take me out of town. I don't want that.
That was less interesting than I had hoped. Empire deserters, really? I mean, why would you give up the safety of having more people helping by striking out on your own, weakening both you and them?
Oh hey Matthias. I heard the sounds of fighting.
Just some deserters.
Yeah, a mage and a demon? Here's an Anti-magic field.
Well, that was fun.
See you around. Going to get this soot out of my poncho.
And a little magic..
So, Empire Deserters dealt with, though I suspect we'll get no reward or recognition for that.
I want to check out these allegations of Nephilim raiding the town. Something about this doesn't seem right.
And we can ask them if they've seen the dragons. I mean, we were told the guy who saw them was up here, so it's only natural.
They are here.
We are less than a dozen miles from Calloc. This is... weird.
Ni'aurrl, you're up.
I am more comfortable hunting dire bears than my distant kinfolk.
So am I!
And the damage outside Calloc is closer in line with Ursagi than Nephil.
Well, I don't have any objections.
Then off we go!
This is literally on the other side of the small mountain range south-east of Calloc. Less than a dozen tiles. If only Calloc had more people to help reconnoitre the area, and not, say ... run away.
This fight isn't much of a problem at all. Ursagi haven't been a threat since the Isle of Bigail.
Well, that was invigorating.
The Mayor of Calloc didn't respond to me taking out the Ursagi, and the Nephil are gone. I may have missed a flag somewhere, and I'll check that out later.
Well, that's our good deed for the day. Let's go north now.
Well, that clan hadn't seen any dragons, but then again, their faces were pointed down, not up.
Well, I recognize that silhouette. Come on! We must be close!
What are those?
Me screaming internally because we're about to encounter something out of order, and I can't stop it now.
Which one... Right!
I may be the voice of reason here, but why are we trying to gain audience with a dragon who is planning on lethal force?
That's weird. I mean, I can understand Athron. She has a recently hatched brood to take care of. But Khoth? He's usually at least tolerant of people who come to him with and for knowledge.
What may have changed?
... Probably being captured and tortured by the Empire during the war, and any fallout from their murder of Motrax.
A sad day for all of Exile.
Even dragons have trash pits. Let's have a look at the other side then.
I'm sorry, but I think you said something about this particular dragon having a brood?
I thought 'brood' applied once they hatch?
Well, 'clutch' applies to eggs. Maybe they haven't hatched yet?
I'm pretty sure they have. I saw the eggs about five years ago, during the war.
At least security for them is solid.
And some intruders, I think. I can't identify anything about them.
Might as well.
Well, now that we're down here, I think that Sulfras is here.
Three dragons in the same spot?
Mutual defence, I think.
No way to get through this lock without a key.
Much like the Electrum Key in Erika's tower, we need a Gold Key to access the back areas of this lair. I honestly don't remember how to get it, and may have to cheat it into my inventory at some point.
Wasn't thinking of it.
Why did you respond before me?
Well, and invitation is an invitation.
I've never seen a dragon before!
I think the only one who has is Art.
I've met all five dragons in Exile. Killed one.
Yeah, I don't believe that.
Pyrog was a fool, and that death shall not be lamented.
Hello again, Sulfras.
You stand, quaking, before a specimen of the largest and mightiest species on the planet: a dragon. Sulfras, queen of lizardkind, towers before you, staring at you with ancient, fiery eyes. She breathes deeply and the thick, sulphurous gas makes you gag. I am Sulfras. Her words are slow and majestic, and when she speaks you can easily see her multitudes of massive teeth.
can i go home now?
That isn't doing my constitution any favors.
Art. Art. Art. Twice before you have entered into my lair. The first to pay for passage, the second to set me free from betrayal. I have allowed you to enter so we can speak of important matters.
I am alright with Art doing the talking.
As am I.
Do you know why I am here?
For two reasons. One of which you already know. First, it has come to our attention that we have fallen under the suspicions of the Exiles. Second, we wish to enlist your help.
Well then, let's get the suspicions dealt with. We found evidence of dragons in the Trash Pit south on the Isle of Bigail. It was the source of the plague that afflicted that isle.
A scale is no proof, not when those who are responsible also brought whole peoples back from the void. She emits a dry, flaming chuckle. We did not do this thing. Yes, we are planning our vengeance against the Empire. But it has not yet begun. The enemy of our enemy is our friend, and that is why we wish to reassure Exile that we have had no part in these plagues. And why we wish to enlist your help, Art, as our agent.
Well, that's not ominous at all. What do you need my help with?
We wish to retain your aid in dealing with certain irksome pests.
And what would these pests be?
What would a dragon consider irksome?
First, to the northeast corner of my lair. Enter it. Deal with the pests within. When you have slain them, come back and we shall discuss things more.
Wrong room, I think.
Yea, I think so.
Trust a dragon to keep pests in a pen.
Those things ... they're the same things we saw as skeletons out in the valley.
And here is the Sixth Plague the Alien Beasts. We haven't started the fifth one yet, and we can't progress past this point on the Alien Beasts until we deal with the Golems first.
The basic Alien beast is a respectable foe 30 skill means they are pretty accurate (except for after I'm done with the buffing/debuffing) and the 9d10 damage is huge. These are the most basic grunts of the last Plague, and they get bigger and more powerful from here on out.
This thing ... it's wrong. Sulfras was underselling what these things were. We need to talk to her.
Sulfras! What are those things?
As you can see, these 'Alien Beasts', as the humans call them, are ... mildly annoying. We know that you are fighting the monsters, and are having success. More so than we. I wish to make you a sword to exterminate them.
A sword? That seems a little, I don't know, simple?
I have a habit of helping humans. It is unpleasant, but necessary. We wish the Alien Beasts dead. I will make you a weapon to help slay them. To do this, I need two things. Instructions on how to make it, and a bar of special metal. Go up to my siblings, Khoth and Athron. They will give you these things. Then return to me.
Helping, my ass. I had to bribe you once, and the second time I had to rescue you. But fine, we'll talk to the others.
If you don't mind, so we in Exile can be prepared for it, what are your plans for vengeance?
We are not the only dragons to survive the ... pogrom of the Empire. I will gather them, and lead them against those who though themselves our masters. That is all you need to know.
Fine by me. We'll be right back. Let's talk to Athron first, and get out of the way of the paranoid mother.
I thought all dragons were paranoid to a degree?
Well, paranoid by their definition.
So, we're expected now. And remember, don't harm the dragonlings.
I think we should take that side passage there.
I think so too. I can hear many sources of hissing down this way.
You stand before the legendary, secretive Athron. She is dark gray and green, eighty feet from tip to tail, and completely lethal. She looks undecided about whether to kill you or not.
Art. Unlike my ... siblings, I am ambivalent as to your presence. You keep intruding.
Always with good cause.
And new followers as well. Very well. She snorts flame and speaks in a voice deepened by centuries of life. I am Athron. She idly gouges the floor with a claw two feet long. I intend to raise my brood. In peace.
How are they? We know you had them, but we respect your isolation that we only come now when circumstances force us.
I am the first of my kind in a century to have children. However, circumstances force me to be protective.
You're going to have to be a little more detailed where these circumstances are concerned.
She snorts. My siblings wish to do battle. I wish for our people to survive. Which is more important? That is why I wish to help fight the Alien Beasts.
Is there anything you can add about the Alien Beasts?
She growls They are pests, whom none can control. That is what Sulfras and Khoth say anyway. They cannot control them. They wish them slain. I will assist in this. I will give you help again, Art.
I thank you for your kindness.
The Alien Beasts are malevolent and sly. I can slay them, but I fear they may still sneak in and take my broodlings. In the middle chest nearby, you can find metal which may make a weapon to kill them. That is all the help I can give.
Thank you again, Athron. By all grace, we should not have to impose again for this small event.
And don't touch any of the other boxes. We're not here to raid Dragon hoards!
This is the same metal that the smith from a couple updates ago wants, which is the same metal from the Inn of Blades sidequest. We could take this to the smith, but then we would need to track down the third source of the metal before getting Sulfras' weapon. I think I'll wait on the smith for that third source.
And now for Khoth.
So many books!
Khoth is usually pretty nice about people reading. Just take the hint when something warns you away.
Are you on a first name basis with every last power in Exile?
You scare me sometimes.
That's only because you're used to the terror now!
You encounter the dragon Khoth, one of the most learned and secretive members of dragonkind. He is reading a scroll, carefully holding it in his claws. You have to wait five minutes to finish it before he deigns to speak with you. His voice is raspy, and laced with contempt. I am Khoth. What is so important that you must disturb my readings? This piece about the ethics of life creation by Solution is quite illuminating.
Khoth. How are you faring?
Better, Art. I study and learn. And the rest of the time, I meditate on my hatred of humans.
I despise humankind, especially the clump of petty monkeys that calls itself the Empire. But this is all irrelevant. Sulfras has convinced me I must assist you in other matters. By sharing with you.
I understand why you hate the Empire so. I regret every day that passed before my arrival.
Hs eyes flash with fury. He inhales deeply. You prepare for a burst of flame, but, fortunately, it doesn't come. He calms down and says I chose to speak of it no longer, Art. Instead, you may purchase a few spells from me I am always eager to add to my trove. Then, I can help you with Sulfras' Alien Beast problem.
Nothing we haven't seen and purchased before.
Search my bookshelves. You will find what you need eventually. I have a tome which will teach you how to make a weapon to slay the Alien Beasts, the culmination of months of tho tough research on my part. Take it to Sulfras. I wish to waste no more time on mere humans.
Let's start reading!
This book was right by the door!
Oooh, useful against demons.
ooohhh.... How much wood can a woodchuck chuck....
Not one of the three useful Alchemical potions.
I don't know what this one does.
Huh, so that's what that does.
Let me Firewalk us out of here.
Is that her good laugh, or her evil laugh?
Back to Sulfras.
Another locked door.
We have returned with what you asked for.
In the end, this will go on Bronwyn. However, until we start fighting Alien Beasts properly, she will stay with her flaming sword for more damage against all foes, rather than ruinous damage against one specific foe.
Alright, current plan. Go back to Fort Emergence for the first time in ages, report on the shards and everything else that's happened, get orders, talk to the Vahnatai, and then see where that leads us.
Back to Exile.
Could be worse places to go.
Actually, I think I'm going to do a Great Map Update next time. We've covered a lot of ground since the last one. And as I mentioned in the thread, coming over to deal with the Dragons has actually caused me to pretty much cover 95% of everything in the lower half of the map. That 5% is end-game content, and a event battle that I quit from when I got to it the first time.