Part 10: Onar's farm, the Monastary of Innos
The mercenaries had a small watch post on the path to the farm. One of the mercenaries stopped me to ask my intentions.
"Who do we have here? Don't I know you from somewhere?"
I shrugged. "Who wants to know?"
"I'm Buster, one of Lee's mercenaries! YOU had better be a little nicer to me, or I'll have your hide! All right, what do you want here?"
"If you say so. I'm on my way to see the landowner."
"Indeed... Hm - you don't look all that dangerous to me."
"I've killed a beast or two on occasion."
Buster laughed harshly. "You probably flattened a few weevils in the fields and chased a couple of rats from their holes. We're dealing with orcs here! Well, yeah, and with those scummy city guards."
"Impressive" I said dryly.
"That's our business, kid! We even produce our own weapons and armor! We defy deaths every day. But a country bumpkin like you wouldn't know about that."
"Whatever you say." Since leaving the new camp, the Mercenaries seem to have gotten much more cocky.
Buster, having grown tired of me, waved me along. "Get a move on, you wimp!"
The landowner's farm was massive and clearly understaffed. Nearer the road I came across a few plots infested with a good deal field raiders. I killed what I could and moved on.
A bit further down was the crossroads where Greg was waiting. I simply nodded and walked past.
Further down the road was another mercenary. He seemed to be busy drilling. I stopped to ask what he was up to.
"What are you doing here?"
He looked at me as if I was an idiot. "I'm preparing for battle."
The mercenary narrowed his eyes. "Lately the farmers have had more and more problems with field raiders." Obviously I should have known that. "A few of them even managed to get themselves eaten. Fat Onar didn't exactly find that amusing. None of us got our pay for a week. It was more or less my fault. Now Lee wants me to wipe out the creatures' nest by myself. And the other boys have already made bets on whether I'll survive."
I had an idea."We could attack the nest together..."
"You want to help me? Why?"
"I want to join you!"
"Oh, so thats the way it is. You want to prove how good you are."
Fester grinned. "All right, let's attack the beasts together."
After a moment of preparation, the mercenary led the way to the nest.
It turned out that Fester could have easily done it alone. His arrows easily pierced through the thick chitinous exoskeleton of the field raider and killed them quickly. I mostly flailed stupidly with my club.
The critters made their nest in an cave situated in the middle of a field. I was unsure whether they carved the hole or not. The nest was similar to those of the minecrawlers I'd seen in the valley. I wondered if the over sized insects were at all related.
Fester followed behind me. Inside the nest was a disgusting hoard of bone, flesh, and old items. "So this is where they dragged all the dead farmers. Disgusting. The filthy things should all be wiped out now. Let's go back." I agreed, though I stayed behind a short while longer to loot what I could. While most of it was garbage, I did find a valuable dexterity potion. I returned to the road.
Fester was walking back to his position on the road when I stopped him. "What about our agreement?" I reminded him.
"Are you kidding? You didn't do anything for it." I couldn't argue with that logic. I really had proved incredibly useless. Nevertheless, I vowed to beat my gold out of him once I felt stronger.
The road continued up a hill and into the camp but, surprisingly, I found myself face to face with another guard.
The well armored mercenary looked at me as I approached.
"Where do you think you're going?" I shrugged. He approached and reached into my pockets where he found my coin purse. "I only want 50 gold pieces from you - that's the toll here. And you only need to pay once. That's fair, isn't it?" I didn't feel I had much choice.
"I've come to join you." I said meekly as if my intent would return my money.
"Do you understand that the mercenaries are going to vote whether you get to join them or not?"
I didn't much feel like speaking any more with the man who stole my gold. I continued on my way. [The rest of the conversation seems to have been lost somehow. Sorry I'll get it later when I insult him in a most spectacular way
Another mercenary stood at the top of the hill just past Sentenza. He seemed to be another guard, though it didn't seem he took the job too seriously. I thought to approach him with my intentions. "I want to join up with Lee."
"Lee won't have much to say around here if he keeps on this way!"
"What do you mean?"
"He wants us to sit around here and twiddle our thumbs. Intimidate a few farmers now and then, and that's it."
"Sylvio says offense is the best defense, and damn right he is."
"Who's Sylvio?" I asked.
"Our next leader, if you ask me. If you plan on asking him if you can join us - forget it! You look like you're barely good for herding sheep.
"I want to have a look around the farm."
"Don't go into the building on the left. Sylvio's in there. He's not in a good mood right now. If he sees a weakling who doesn't belong on the farm, he might get the idea of venting his bad mood on him." That sounded like good advice. I'd make sure to avoid going in.
A blacksmith worked diligently at a workshop adjacent to Sylvio's building. I was in need of some supplies so I decided to see what he could offer.
The smith turned toward me as I approached."I do not sell any weapons. Khaled does. He is in the house with Onar." Oh.
I laughed nervously and pretended I'd only come to chat. "So, are you with the farmers or the mercenaries?"
He looked dumbfounded. "You're pulling my leg, aren't you? Have you ever seen a farmer who also forges weapons?"
"I was just curious" I replied meekly. I walked away feeling like an idiot.
The big building that housed Onar also provided Lee with his lodgings. Predictably, the two guards stationed outside the building stopped me on my way in.
"Where d'you think you're going?"
"To the house, of course."
"Onar pays us not to let guys like you in here."
"I want to talk to lee" I said.
The guard raised a brow. "What do you want from him?"
"He and I go way back." It was true. We did.
The mercenary looked at me with a disbelief and suspicion. "YOU'RE a pal of Lee's? I don't believe a word! But go on in, if he doesn't recognize you, you'll know it." The guard laughed harshly and moved aside to allow me entry. "Lee is in the right wing. Don't even think about wandering around anywhere else! I hoped Lee remembered me.
Just inside the building I saw the entrance to the wing. I stayed as quiet as I could and made extra efforts to make sure I did not bother the landowner.
Lee was in the midst of a meeting when I barged in. "Who the devil let YOU in here?" He pointed at me and started to gesture for a guard to remove me. Suddenly his eyes widened. "What are you doing here? I thought you were dead!"
I grinned. "What makes you think that?"
"Gorn told me it was you who brought down the Barrier."
"Yes, that was me all right."
"I never would have thought that a man could survive something like that. What brings you here? You aren't here without a reason..."
I had no need to keep secrets from Lee. We went way back, after all. "I absolutely must talk to the paladins in town. Can you help me get to them?"
The mention of the paladins brought forth a sudden distrust in Lee. "What's your business with the paladins?"
"That's a long story." I replied.
Lee simply folded his arms. "I've got time."
I sighed and recited my mission to Lee. "Xardas sent me on a mission. He wants me to obtain a powerful amulet, the Eye of Innos."
"So you're still allied with that necromancer. I see. And the paladins have this amulet?"
"As far as I know, yes."
"I can help you get to the paladins. But first you need to become one of us."
"How can you help me get to the paladins?"
"Trust me. I've got a plan. I think you're the right man for it. I'll take you to the paladins and you'll do me a favor. But first, join us!"
"What exactly are you doing here?"
"Quite simple: I'm going to see to it that we all get off the island. Onar hired us to defend his farm, and that's exactly what we're going to do. But our reward is more than just our pay. By helping the farmers, we cut the city off from its provisions. And the less the paladins have to eat, the sooner they'll listen when I finally make them an offer of peace. "
"What is your offer going to look like?"
"Essentially, it will be about our pardons and free passage to the mainland. You'll learn more when the time comes."
"I want to join you." I said.
Lee smiled. "I'd hoped you'd say that! I can use every able man here. The last mercenaries I accepted have done nothing but stir up trouble. In principle, you can start right away. Well, first there's one or two things that we need to get straight, but it's no big deal."
"What do I need to 'get straight' before I can join you?"
"Onar, the landowner, is the one who employs us. You can only stay on his farm with his approval. Then there's the boys. I can only except you if a majority of the mercenaries agree that you join us. But don't go to Onar before everything is straightened out. He's a very impatient fellow."
"How can I convince the mercenaries to vote me in?" I asked.
"By doing what is expected of you as a mercenary, I should say. Talk to Torlof. He's usually outside in front of the house. He'll put you to the test. If you can pass that, you should have earned a large part of the necessary respect. He'll tell you everything you need to know."
The requirements sounded fair, but I had a few more questions for Lee before I went on my way.
"Gorn told you about me? What happened to him?"
"You remember him, don't you?"
I nodded. Gorn was a mercenary in the New Camp that helped me a good deal. "Sure."
"He got caught by the paladins and was sent back to the Valley of Mines with a penal convoy. If the road to the Valley of Mines weren't plastered with paladins and orcs, I'd have sent a couple of boys already to free him. But the way things are, there's no point. Poor devil."
"What do you know about the 'Ring of Water'?"
Lee laughed. "I might have known. You just have to mingle in everything, don't you?"
"Come on, tell me." I prodded him.
"I'm only marginally involved in this. I know that this secret guild exists here and that the Water Mages are behind it. Since the fall of the Barrier, I am no longer bound to the agreement that I came to with the Water Mages back then. Of course, I still help when I can. But most of the time I have my own problems and barely any time for other things. If you want to know more about it, you should probably talk to Cord. He's one of them, as far as I know."
I didn't intend to stick around on the farm for much longer. I still had to look into the monastery today. Before that, however, I decided I'd chat with a few of the mercenaries.
Khaled was on the other side of the room. "Everything fine with you?" I politely said.
"So - you want to join us, then? Do you even have a decent weapon?"
"What weapons do you have to offer?"
"Only the best. Just take a look at them." Khaled showed me to a nearby weapon stand. Everything was far out of my price and ability range. I could tell from the merchandise that the mercenaries favored powerful, two handed weapons and crossbows over anything else.
"Would you mind if I joined you?"
"One you passed the test, I shall vote for you."
"How did you end up with the mercenaries?"
"I came with Sylvio from the south. We belonged to an army of mercenaries which fought against the orcs."
Outside of the house I set out to find Cord. According to Lee, he was involved with the ring of water. I eventually found him, but he was completely unwilling to speak. If I wanted to know more, I'd need to prove that I was trusted by the circle.
I decided to leave camp for now. On my way out I saw a face that I could not quite place. "How are things?" I said to him.
The feeling seemed to be mutual. "Hey, don't I know you from somewhere?"
I shrugged. "It's possible."
"I used to deal in swampweed back in the colony." Of course! I remembered Cipher now.
"And what are you dealing in now?"
"Ah, don't ask. I brought a whole package of swampweed with me from the mining colony. Many of the mercenaries like a little smoke now and then. I've earned a small fortune on the side but some bastard stole all the weed from my chest! I'm pretty sure it was that Bodo. He bunks in the same room as me, and he always grins at me like such an idiot. One of these days, I'll catch him puffing away on my weed. And then I'll find a quiet spot and teach him a lesson he won't forget. If I know him down here in the middle of the yard, the other farmers will notice, and I'll pay an arm and a leg."
"Quite simple. We can't rough up the farmers, otherwise Lee makes us pay a heavy fine. That's the way Onar wants it. And the more witnesses there are, the more of a fuss there is. That makes things more expensive. So I'll pull the thing off nice and inconspicuously." It sounded like Cipher had some work ahead of him.
It was now mid-afternoon. I knew I hadn't done much in the way exploring Onar's farm or the surrounding areas, but something told me that I needed to make a decision soon and I wanted at least some idea of what I was getting into. I set off back toward the tavern.
I was back near the Dead Harpy now. There were five paths that led to the Dead Harpy. I'd just come from the mercenaries, and two paths on the far side of the tavern led back to town. I knew that the middle path would take me further into the wilderness. That left one path to check out.
The last path wound between a high cliff and a rock outcropping.
It seemed like I was going the right way. A shrine to Innos was just ahead, complete with a meditating Magician. I approached him from behind.
The magician rose. "Innos be with you. What can I do for you, wanderer?"
"Where will this path take me?"
"The path leads to the monastery of the Magicians of Fire. However, access is permitted only to the servants of Innos. And if you want to be accepted as a novice in the monastery, you must bring a sheep and 1000 gold pieces."
"What are you doing here?" I asked.
"I am a Magician of Fire. A priest of our god Innos. This shrine is consecrated to Him, the highest god, the creator of fire and lord of Justice. People come to me in order to pray to Innos and be blessed. For a small donation, you can get many useful things from me. "
He presented me with a list of items and their required "donation". Potions and scrolls, primarily. I didn't need any of them at the moment. I continued on down the path to the monastery all the while doing my best to evade scavengers and giant rats.
The Monastery was situated on an island within a lake. A long, stone bridge spanned the edge of a cliff all the way to the monastery's island
On the other side of the bridge was a single guard. He greeted me as I came across. "Welcome to the monastery of Innos, stranger. I am Brother Pedro, a humble servant of Innos and the warder of the gate to the holy monastery. What is it that you require?"
"I want to enter the monastery."
"Only the servants of Innos are allowed to enter the monastery. If you want to pray to Innos, go find one of the roadside shrines. You will find the tranquility to pray there."
"Tell me about life in the monastery."
"We live in the monastery in order to serve Innos. We novices perform the work and study the scriptures when we have an opportunity. The magicians watch over us, and they explore the arts of magic."
"What do I have to do to be accepted in the monastery?"
"If you want to be accepted into the Brotherhood of Innos, you must learn and obey the rules of the monastery. Also, we demand the gifts to Innos for each new novice. A sheep and 1000 gold pieces."
"That's a whole lot of gold."
"It is a sign that you are beginning a new life as a servant of Innos. When you are accepted you will be forgiven all your previous transgressions. And consider - you cannot take back the decision to become a servant of Innos."
"What are the rules you live by?"
"Innos is the god of truth and law and thus we may NEVER lie or commit a crime. Should you transgress against a brother of the community or steal our property, you will pay a penalty for it. Innos is the god of rule and fire. As a novice you must show OBEDIENCE and RESPECT to all Magicians of Fire."
"Furthermore, it is the DUTY of a novice to carry out all the work in the monastery for the good of the community. If you are prepared to follow these rules and have the offering to Innos, we are willing to accept you into our monastery as a novice."
I definitely was not getting into the monastery but Pedro told me what I needed to know about the Fire Magicians. As I walked the length of the bridge I began to go over the options in my head. Were I to join the Militia would be in direct employ of the city and would be easily able to see Lord Hagen. My second choice was to align myself with the Mercenaries hired by Onar. These thugs and lowlifes have their own hidden agenda in regards to Onar's rebellion. As a mercenary, Lee promised to send me to Lord Hagen on a diplomatic mission that would secure the mercenaries' safe passage off the island. My third and final option involved gathering a suitable offering and joining the chaste and virtuous Novices in the monastery. As the Fire Magicians and Paladins are allied, I would have no trouble arranging a meet with Lord Hagen.
No matter what I chose, I needed to choose soon.
[b]Other notes: I skipped a tooooon of content in this update. I'll get to it, don't worry. I just want to get choosing a camp out of the way. Hopefully I sufficiently captured the atmosphere for both groups, though if I didn't I'm more than willing to dig into it deeper with another update. At any rate, all/most quests that I can do in each camp will be done. I won't skip the Mercenary stuff if I get voted in as a Militia, etc.
Also, here are some slight spoilers about each camp and what their second level is.
Militiamen become Paladins.
Paladins primarily use two handed weapons (Though one handed are feasible) with a limited selection of magic.
Novices become Fire Magicians.
They use magic and get cool robes. Unlike Gothic 1, Fire Mages in Gothic 2 make their own spells and unlike Gothic 1, runes are very limited.
Mercenaries become Dragon Hunters.
Mercenaries and Hunters both use two handed weapons and crossbows almost exclusively.
I don't think I missed much. I have more time on my hands now so update should start to come as they did with Gothic 1. Depending on the camp chosen, there will be a second vote about weapon of choice.