Part 2: Sneaking into the city
Canthar's pass was too good to be true. I wasn't about to bribe guards, either. The money to buy the farmer's clothes I felt would be better spent elsewhere. That left me with two other options. Rummaging through my things it became apparently that I didn't have enough herbs to attempt to trick the guards. It looked like I was going to be finding my own way inside.
I began to walk along the city's walls looking for an entrance. To the left of the guards I could not find any way inside and seemed to be guarded by a pack of snappers. I walked up a nearby hill to get a better look. Upon doing so, I was accosted by another of those giant insects. The field raider died fairly quickly - the reach of my club surpassed that of his claws.
I walked past the field raider's corpse and came across a giant rat. I knew that these creatures were fierce from past experience. I strapped my club to my leg and ran past and into a drainage ditch surrounding the city.
I kept running through the empty moat, motivated by the frustrated squeals of the rats that chased me. Along the way I passed several skeletons that still possessed old weapons. Unfortunately I had no time to claim them for my own.
The ditch opened up onto a hill. I slowed my pace at this point. The rats had lost interest in me. I ignored the hill and continued through the ditch.
I passed a set of stone stairs and discovered that the city had another gate! I walked toward it, hoping that my luck here would be better. Along the way I made sure to pick some swampweed stalks. One never knew when some swampweed would come in handy.
I approached the guards but was shouted at almost immediately.
"You look like a poor blighter. In this town, we have no use for people without money."
This guard would not be letting me inside without a bribe.
I tried my luck with the walls nearer to this gate. Unfortunately there appeared to be no defects, handhold or leg hold in the wall that I could exploit. Dejected I followed the road away from town.
The path wound up the side of a cliff and brought me before a lighthouse. I began moving closer to investigate. Suddenly, I paused. I heard a loud snorting sound off to my side and it began to get louder.
A wild boar didn't take kindly to me intruding on his land. With the boar chasing me, I ran toward the lighthouse. I smiled upon seeing that it was occupied. Several armed men guarded the entrance. I ran toward them.
The men brought up their bows and aimed at me. I, of course, merely assumed that they were aiming for the boar. It wasn't until an arrow whizzed by my head that made me notice that these men were not interested in saving me. I diverted off to the side to dodge the arrows.
I circled around the lighthouse. By this time the bandits had dealt with the boar and were more interested with their human intruder. Unable to turn back I was forced to continue up a grassy ramp that were soaked with fresh blood.
At the top of the hill I found yet another spot of blood. Among the gore and found a potion and leather satchel of coin.
The hostiles from the lighthouse still awaited my return. I could not sneak past them again. With no other option I continued off road through the forest. An entrance to a dark, dank cavern was before me.
I passed by the cave and continued along.
While passing by some bushes I seemed to have infuriated some bloodflys. They buzzed angrily and gave chase. I was only barely out pacing them which gave me no leeway to turn. A pack of snappers on my left saw the commotion and decided to join in.
I was quickly running out of land and would soon need to turn and fight or figure something else out. I chose the latter.
Had I been a mere foot off I would not have survived the fall. I loudly praised Adanos and Innos for my good fortune and made note of my surroundings.
Using the sun as my guide I realized that the city was off to my left.
I took a small detour to investigate the shipwreck I passed. As I came out of the water I immediately realized what an awful idea that it was. A giant lizard took note of me and chased me. This was becoming a recurring theme.
I had thought I would be safe in the water but it wasn't so. The lizard swam after me. Thankfully, the harbor of Khorinis was straight ahead.
Still being pursued by the lizard, I pushed myself up onto a wooden platform in the harbor and turned. The lizard was having trouble reaching me and, with any luck, it would go back from where it came. I walked up the ramp and was immediately greeted by an old friend.
Lares looked incredulous. "I must be crazy, what are you doing here? Did you SWIM here?" Lares laughed as I dripped sea water. "That's one way to get past the guards at the city gate."
"Hey, Lares, you old scoundrel! How did you get here?" Lares had been the man who inducted me into the New Camp a month ago.
"I was able to escape the Valley of the Mines just in time, together with Lee and some of the other boys. You remember Lee, don't you?"
"Of course I remember Lee!" I said. It would have been hard not to. Lee was the man in charge of the New Camp and a good man to have on your side.
"He and his boys are now on the farm of Onar the landowner. He made a deal with the farmer. He and his boys defend the farm, and Onar feeds them in return."
"I must talk to the paladins, by all means!"
Lares looked confused. "What do you want from THEM?"
"They've got a powerful amulet, the Eye of Innos. I need to have it."
"And you think they'll give it to you? You'll never get into the upper end of town."
I shrugged. "I'll find a way somehow."
"Sure, if you want to ingratiate yourself with the citizens or play errand boy for the militia."
"Tell me more about Lee and his mercenaries."
"What do you want to know?"
"How do I find the landowner's farm?"
"It's quite simple. You leave the seaport by the east gate, and then follow the path towards the east. I can take you there if you want."
"Why aren't YOU with Lee and his mercenaries?"
"But I am! Just not on the farm. You could say I'm our outpost in the city. We don't want the ship to sail without us."
"What ship are you talking about?
"It's on the open sea harbor, behind the cliffs. Lee and a few of his people really want to get away from here. But that could take a while.."
"Tell me more about the mercenaries."
"Well, if you're as tough as you were back then, you shouldn't have any problems with them. Most of them are ruffians and if you can't stand up to them, you won't get far. If you're squeamish, you don't have a chance of landing with them."
I had one last for Lares. "Do you know why the paladins are here?"
Lares shrugged. "Nobody knows for sure... Lots of people think it's because of the orcs, but I think there's another reason. It probably has something to do with the old penal colony."
I said my farewells to Lares and walked further into the city. Suddenly, I heard a commotion behind me. I turned back to Lares.
The lizard that had chased me here finally figured out the platform and entered the city. Lares looked quite confused as he cleaned lizard blood off of his blade. I said nothing and continued on my way.
Just ahead was a tavern. I was parched from my journey here and decided to get a drink.
I started walking into the pub but the bouncer out front stopped me.
"Hey, I don't know you. What do you want here? Are you headed for the pub?"
"Ooh. So this is the harbor watering hole. And there I was, taking it for the governor's palace." I replied sarcastically.
"Hey - cut out the bad jokes, runt, otherwise you'll be chewing the cobblestones."
"I see." I unstrapped my club and waved it threateningly at him. "I'll be forced to tan your hide in order to make any progress."
"You're welcome to try, runt. Show me what you got!" Moe said, drawing a club of his own.
The man beat me savagely and robbed me of my club and some other belongings. I whimpered and writhed in agony on the ground. I still don't know why I expected that to work. It rarely ever did.