Part 55: Moon, Bremerton, Bengaro, PoulsboUpdate 049 Moon, Bremerton, Bengaro, Poulsbo
So, what's the Moon doing here?
I know I'm going to regret this, but what are you talking about?
So, the moon is that big thing that floats in the sky at night, right?
And this place is also called 'Moon'.
Does this mean that this is where the Moon goes when it's not in the sky?
No, Sass. That's not it. Rather, it is tradition in both our cultures to name places for something else? This town is named for the moon, not because it has anything to do with it directly.
But that's no fun!
We'll, for a town that apparently has this huge library, it's pretty small.
Generic Repeat of Complaint about Towns on maps that are too big for them.
Everyone knows the drill by now, I hope.
TO THE TAVERN!
Must have run away from all the noise.
The innkeeper is clearly very nervous. She washes the counter quickly, always watching the door. I am Lumok. Welcome to my inn. Her voice is high-pitched and uneven.
I'm Sass! What do you serve here?
We have a free room for only 10 gold. We have beer for 5, and our specialty bourbon for 15.
I'll try the bourbon please! I've never had it before!
The bourbon is strong and excellent. As you sip, Lumok says Would you like some advice, friends?
If this is about me being a Slithzerikai, we've gotten plenty of advice about that.
If you're heading north, forget it. People aren't supposed to speak of it, but Valorim has been quarantined. Blackcrag Fortress has been closed off.
Everyone knows about the Quarantine. But what's this about Blackcrag Fortress?
Our greatest fort is taken from us. Now we cannot go there when the alien beasts come back.
But I thought the Alien beasts were...
She looks visibly upset. The destroyers of the Keep of Tinraya! I will not speak of it. Want to know more? Go to Dorgas?
And where is Dorgas?
Moon, my arse. Though we are tight on money after Art's little excursion, so no buying real food for now.
Not quite, but it's good to know I'm appreciated. You meet Moon's librarian. She turns to you and nods in a businesslike way. I am Cerulian, Exile. Greetings. She speaks tersely, seemingly nervous and uninterested in talking to you.
Matthias, Tower of Magi, Exile. Thank you for allowing me in.
I run the library of Moon. I also do item identification, if that's what you need.
If I may, the library?
She points at the northern doors. Through there is one of the greatest magical libraries in Valorim. Certain authorized persons can enter.
I see. And how does one obtain authorization?
People become authorized by paying a fee, which is used to obtain new tomes and maintain the ones we already have. If you wish to obtain access, it is only 4000 gold.
I'll have to get back to you on that.
Oh, blessed beauty!
Do be careful, cleaning drool out of books is a pain.
* * *
I expected more.
As did I. At least the bourbon was good.
I can't stand the stuff.
Well, good thing I took yours then!
Whatever. So, are we headed to Dorgas yet?
No, this is the first town that encircles this lake what ever it is called. We should circle around it, and see what comes of that.
* * *
* * *
* * *
* * *
You know, that journey seemed a lot longer than it should have.
Probably because we're on the north side of the lake now.
And an Appleton as well.
This must be Bannerton.
I have been sitting in this saddle for 80 miles. I'll call it what I want to call it.
Repeat of previous complaint goes here.
No. Too easy.
You meet an older woman, who looks something like an evil grandmother. Her smile is cold, and her skin seems stretched tight over her face. She is surrounded by bits, bridles and other horse riding gear. I am Craswell.
She graces you with a pinched smile. I am the horse breeder.
I saw your sign! I like horses!
Yes. With all the monsters about, a way to move quickly is greatly valued. It is futile, of course, but you could still purchase some of my horses for 750 gold.
Uh... what's futile?
Why even attempt to flee them? After all, they are so clearly a judgement!
They are a punishment for our wicked, magic using ways! The Gods have frowned on us, and this is our punishment. Do you think a mere horse will help you escape the wrath of the almighty?
Have you, perhaps, heard of the Anama?
I need an adult
We believe that magic is a demonic art, and its use will lead you into Hell. I strongly suggest you repent! Otherwise, no horse or spell in the world will save you from your cruel, eternal judgement. The conversation seems to have taken a dark turn.
Just proof that not all the Anama are warm and fuzzy people.
Despite the niceness of his ship and the quality of his clothes, this man's essential scruffiness cannot help but shine through. He is polishing a small blue crystal. I am Vargo, he says in a raspy voice. Welcome to my shop.
And what sort of supplies do you offer?
I run this fine crystal shop here. Feel free to browse.
I have crystals of all sorts for luck, for decoration, and for spell casting. Quite a nice selection, in fact. All of it for purchase at reasonable rates. He grins. Great business, eh? Definitely a step up from my sailor days.
You don't looks like the sailor type to me.
He scratches himself cheerfully. I was quite the wild one when I was younger. The stories I could tell.
Well, I have time for stories.
He chuckles. Oh, you don't want to hear the stuff I was up to. Though once, I was up to a bit of larceny with an old dog named Abruzzo. We got a big pile of loot, and he took it all and fled west. He grins mischievously. If you ever meet him, mention my name to him. It'll sure give him a start!
Another sidequest for the pile.
His prices are also not at all Reasonable.
Hrm, I suppose I should start thinking about that.
Merry Count posted:
There there, she isn't typical. Maybe something bad happened to her, and she's lashing out?
That sounds ... reasonable.
* * *
Ugh. Finding the ring that fisherman had is going to be a pain.
There are also, contrary to my previous statement no boats in Valorim. They're only in Upper Exile. Not that it would do me much good.
All the more reason to practice with my Precious!
The lack of a boat, even here, annoys me. Yes, this lake and the two rivers that flow out of it bisect the continent, allowing a shrewd navigator to cut days off their journey, but would it have been difficult to put a boat here and block off the rivers with rocks at some point?
I think I missed a spot or two.
* * *
Hrm... We're roughly west of Lorelei, so either Spineridge or Bengaro.
Bengaro it is.
Normally, I would say stick to the roads, but this is still a nice view of the inland ocean.
It's more a large lake.
I really want to swim, but I know better than to go alone.
I'm pretty sure the Giants have other things they are worried about. Like the Troglodytes.
Welcome to Bengaro. Beware of Giants throwing Boulders.
How ... redundant, being out in the open like this.
Merry Count posted:
This man walks only with great difficulty. It's easy to see why. He has a heavy bandage around his chest and struggles to carry a massive backpack.
He sets down his pack and says I'm Alonzo. You must be the ... people from down south we've been hearing about.
You can say the word.
Rather not. You never know who might take offence. He opens his pack, revealing racks filled with small, liquid vials. I am a potion salesman. I'm from Appleton. I only narrowly escaped.
What happened at Appleton?
He looks at you sadly. Appleton was a town to the east. I say was. The giants sacked it. It's rubble now. Many died. He looks down at the bandage. I only got out with a serious wound.
When was that? The Giants stopped attacking human settlements weeks ago!
It was just before then. I don't hold it against you guys.
But even then, your wound should have healed already!
A giant's bounder broke four of my ribs. I managed to get to Bengaro, but only with much agony. To make a long story short, now I'm here. Safe, for now. But the trip did me no favors, and I'm looking at months of recovery.
It's not much.
But it's better than nothing.
I'd grab some energy potions as this is a caster-heavy group, but I'm still saving up the 4000 to get into the Moon Library.
This man looks like another Empire citizen. A harmless and hard working farmer. Then he walks close to you. He clearly wants to speak with you.
And you are?
I am Kagan. I'm glad to meet you at last. Had to wait for Alonzo to leave. It was nice, helping him heal like that. He's been staying at my place on occasion. Least I could do.
It was Ni'aurrl who did that, not I. But I'll pass along the thanks.
Wait! I know I don't look like it, but I'm an Exile! Unspecified Services! I have information for you!
Sure. Pull the other one. It has bells on it.
I and one other were sent to do recon against the Giants, to try and find out what created them. It didn't work out. That's why I have information for you!
My compatriot and I were trying to sneak into the giants cavern. Unfortunately, our stealth spell didn't hold out.
We've been through there. Both of them.
Well, we got caught. My friend was slain. I escaped. But worst of all, we lost Smite.
Smite is a magical hammer, first retrieved by the First Exile Escape Committee over a decade ago. It fell back into the hands of the Empire during the war, but was recovered shortly after their teleporter imploded. It has the power to slay giants with mighty blows! The Giants took it. But maybe you could regain it!
And where did you lose it?
We lost the hammer in the forge. A lava and blacksmith filled cavern near the caves themselves. If you could, retrieving that hammer would be a huge help.
Was he talking about Smite?
But didn't we already retrieve that, and leave it in Fort Emergence?
Should we tell him?
* * *
There was supposed to be the next point for Hawke's Manse here, but it didn't trigger. I could brute force the end-game here, but I want it to play out normally.
And this is north of Lorelei, the actual way you use to bypass all the checkpoints around it. I'll be using this later when I finally do the drug smuggling run.
Now, time to find Appleton, and check that out.
Been there, done that.
This looks like the work of the Giants.
Not a destroyed town.
And a perfectly ordinary town as well.
Ordinary enough to have a secret passage on one of the outer walls.
Maybe the entrance is in the store beside it?
What is it about us that makes this a good idea?
Are you still on that?
It helps me stay awake when it's my shift on watch.
Merry Count posted:
Nope. I think we need to go outside the walls for this.
Huh. There's supposed to be a faint 'door' outline when you pass through a secret passage, but there's none like that here. I wonder why?
Or it could just be a hole for mung rats, and nothing special.
We should take them out anyway.
Except it appears that these are mere Vapour Rats. Oh well, same thing in the end.
That is not a Rat.
Those are not rats.
I can't tell what these bones used to be.
Then we had better alert the local militia.
I like these guys!
You meet an Empire soldier. Although he wears chain mail, he clearly is not a melee fighter. He is small, old and twisted with pale chalky skin and a cold gaze. I am Commander Daltrey. He smiles thinly. I wish to speak with you, Exiles.
Great! We can skip the subterfuge. We dealt with some giants trapped in your walls.
Good. They sneak in far too often, though I suspected we had a couple of refugees for a couple nights now. But as for you, I want to make one thing quite clear.
I was privileged to practice my craft on many of you during the Exile War.
His face twitches slightly. I am an interrogator.
Yes. And I was there the day you and those freaks attacked.
Want to make something of it?
No. I get answers from prisoners. By whatever means are necessary. What's past is past. I wish to tell you some things I determined from a giant who became my prisoner.
Let me stop you there. We've already got the Giants and the Troglodytes fighting each other. Is this something so important that it may already be weeks obsolete?
Yes, Assassin, I think it is. Do you wish to learn?
He chuckles dryly. The giant held up well under his torments, but twice the size, twice the nerves. He told me that the giants have four tribes, and a huge temple in addition.
I don't remember running across a temple.
The temple is in the lower network of the caverns. It has a guarded room filled with some of the loot they have taken as prizes.
Don't you think this information might be worth a little change? A fifty gold donation, perhaps?
I think I'll call it an update here. It's two in the morning for me, and my niece's birthday is tomorrow, so I have things to help out with. Like CAKE! Which none of you will get.