Part 32: Bloodwyn
The sound of digging echoed throughout the cavern. It was hard to hear anything else at times.
As soon as I entered I noticed that Lennar and the others had already arrived and gotten to work.
While I wasn't here to make myself rich, I did find the time for a bit of prospecting.
After what seemed like a waste of time with that last gold vein, I approached Lennar to see what he thought of my skill.
"Can you judge my gold-digging abilities?" I asked.
"For you, I'd say you're a genuine digger." That was encouraging. I decided to give it a shot again later, and I would.
"Back at work?"
He nodded."Yeah, now I'm getting the very last piece of gold out of this mine."
When I was done fooling around in the main chamber, I wandered around a bit and eventually found myself within an offshoot chamber.
"Wait a minute." a guard warned.
"Is there a problem?" I asked.
"Minecrawlers. Lots and lots of minecrawlers. We've run into a nest here."
Minecrawlers were nothing new, and certainly nothing more dangerous than what I'd already faced. "Why don't we attack the crawlers?"
"I asked that, too. But the guards had more important things to do. Bloodwyn has left it to me to remove this problem."
"I don't suppose you're planning to fight the crawlers."
"Why should I? So that we can get at the gold in the cave? Bloodwyn will just take most of it for himself anyway. I'm not risking my neck for the little bit I'd get. If YOU want to fight the crawlers don't let me stop you. Only don't lure them all out here, okay?"
"Can you tell me more about Bloodwyn?"
"Yes. He's a gold-hungry bastard. He inspects every new vein and every nugget. He can't go too far out of his way for gold. But we don't mean shit to him." Garaz didn't seem to think highly of his boss.
"He thinks he's the greatest and can't stand it if someone is better off than he is. Okay - I wouldn't go up against him, even so. Just stay out of his way and don't provoke him - unless you want him to get furious and lose control.
What Garaz had said gave me an idea. Bloodwyn was a greedy man. If I cleared the next chamber, he would surely want to get first taste of the new gold veins.
I readied my weapons and walked into the infested chamber.
The minecrawlers here were just simple drones and posed no problem. Without the guidance of a Queen they simply ran straight toward me, heedless of the danger I posed to them.
I returned to Garaz. "So that should be it. The crawlers are finished."
"Bloodwyn is already on the way. That's what you wanted, isn't it? I mean you slaughtered the crawlers so Bloodwyn would come here. So, whatever you're planning, do it NOW."
Garaz was right. Within a few moments, the greedy taskmaster had arrived.
"You killed the mine crawlers? Good. I'll take over now. Go on, beat it."
"Wait a minute." I said sternly.
Bloodwyn was growing annoyed at my continued presence. "You still aren't gone?"
"We still have to set something straight. I'm looking for Raven."
"Yeah? And what makes you think that Raven wants to talk to YOU of all..." Suddenly, a bolt of realization struck "Wait, are YOU... is it YOU? You're the guy we've been looking for the whole time. What are YOU doing here? You should be long dead!"
I smiled. "People are always telling me that."
"Those morons all failed - but you won't get past me. This time I'll finish you!"
"Like I already said - it's Raven I'm looking for - you aren't important to me."
"I'll kill you - I've survived every battle so far!"
"And I thought I did you in."
"ARGH! You miserable dog! I survived the explosion of the Barrier without a scratch!"
"And who do you think brought down the Barrier?"
"You miserable dog! You can't defeat me, I'm Raven's best friend! His right hand!"
"Obviously he's got no time to be picky. Enough talk. Let's fight."
I unsheathed my weapon and retreated into the now empty chamber behind us. Bloodwyn was seething. Deep down he must have known how unimportant he was to Raven and it really got to him. So much that he'd forgotten to use his weapon. It almost felt unfair as I struck the unarmed man down.
It wasn't pleasant and I hadn't been too keen on the idea, but I needed proof. I decapitated Bloodwyn and took the head.
Among his belongings was a key, which I'd use later, and his axe. I took both.
My next task in the mine was to free the slaves that had been captured by the bandits and put to work mining gold. It seemed that I took a wrong turn somewhere, however, as I found myself in the gold smelting room. "What are you doing? Are you melting down your gold?"
"No, I'm washing vegetables. Of course I'm melting down gold and I'm making coins out of it. Just imagine: one fine evening Raven comes along and shoves a coin die in my hands. Out of one single gold nugget, I can mint a heap of coins - I'm so good that no one can tell the difference!"
"How many coins will you give me for one nugget?"
"Well, I don't know you at all, but I'll make you a special price. For one nugget I'll give you 10 gold pieces."
"Hm, no. That's the standard price EVERYONE gets."
"I thought that was a special price."
"It is. Everyone here is special to me."
"What do you know about Raven?"
"You won't believe it. I was there. I saw what he did in the tomb! He mumbled and called some strange words. Over and over 'KHARDIMON FATAGN SHATAR FATAGN BELIAR' and then a blazing light came out of the tomb and I heard the SCREAM. Oh, ye gods, that voice. That was the sound of the end of the world! Raven spoke with it, they conversed - Raven and THAT voice. I can't remember what they said - I just know that I could only master my limbs again many hours later, back in the camp."
I took note of the phrase in the builder's tongue. It sounded like it would be important. Aside from that, I traded him the gold I'd collected for nearly one thousand coins. I then resumed my search for the slaves.
It turned out that they were in the the adjoining chamber. A single bandit guarded the hall.
"Hey, where are you going? Do you want to go into this passage?" he asked.
"Well sure, why not?"
"There are even more slaves back there. As far as I'm concerned you can go in, but don't hit them so hard they can't work any more. After all, we certainly don't want them just sitting around. They have to dig for gold."
"I see. And who ordered that?"
"That is a direct order from Bloodwyn." I decided to keep the news regarding that to myself for the time being.
"I thought Raven was the boss here."
"Right - but he gave the slaves to Bloodwyn. He doesn't have any more use for them."
It was no sense arguing. I squeezed past the man and into the slaves' chamber.
I sought out most healthy and coherent of the slaves to speak with."I've been sent by the Water Mages. I've come to free you."
The slave Patrick eyed me warily. "Really? And why should I believe you?"
"Do you want to get out of here, or not?"
"Of course I want to get out - but..."
"Vatras sent me. If that's not enough for you, you can all rot in this hole for all I care."
"All right, I believe you."
"Really? Wow, that went faster than I thought. Okay, now all we need is a plan."
"Trying to flee poses a great risk. William tried, and he bought it. The prisoners are peasants and workers - they trust me, but they won't dare to mount an escape." William, of course, was the one I'd found dead near the Water Mages' camp. Poor man, had he waited a week he'd have been successful.
"Will I have to kill all the bandits before you'll budge at all?"
"But that would be insane! That can't be the plan. Just see to it that the guards don't attack us and then we'll get out of here."
"Okay, I'll handle that. Tell the others to get ready." Perhaps now it was time to reveal that Bloodwyn was dead.
"Let the slaves go!" I demanded.
"Listen. Bloodwyn is in command here. The slaves belong to him, so he has the right to set them free. Besides, Thorus also has a say in that. And what about you? Do YOU have any say?"
I unwrapped the head of Bloodwyn and showed it to the guard. "Here, is that enough?"
He looked queasy. "Put that away. I don't want to see that!"
"It would be better for you if you let the slaves go NOW."
"Wait a minute. Bloodwyn isn't the only one who has a say here. So long as I don't have an order from Thorus, no one will be set free."
"But you just said that the slaves belong to Bloodwyn."
"Yes, but I also said that I won't set anyone free without an order from Thorus."
"You're one of those guys who won't take a leak without orders, eh?" I groaned and returned to the surface. I didn't really feel like killing anyone else.
Luckily, I wouldn't have to.
"What are you planning?" Thorus demanded.
"Now you've cleared Bloodwyn out of the way, too. I'm just asking myself who's next. Raven? Or me?"
So, the news had already reached him."Are you afraid?"
"I'm not afraid of a fight. But I am afraid of the consequences of your actions. This camp is the only thing we have left. It may not always run to perfection, but it DOES run. With every person you kill, another piece of our community breaks up. We are bandits. Outcasts, lawbreakers, desperadoes. Wherever we go, we're hunted, locked up, and killed. There is no better place for us than this, no better time than now."
"What are you getting at?"
"These men need someone to lead them. Who should that be? You? You, who is constantly roaming from place to place?"
He did have a point. Here, the convicts had a purpose. If they scattered into the winds again, they'd begin causing trouble on the rest of the island. "Then you take over the leadership of the camp." I suggested.
"Okay, but what about Raven?"
"Raven will soon have other worries. I'll take care of him. Oh, yes, and make sure that the prisoners can leave the camp in peace."
"All right. I shall take care of all the guards out here."
Back inside, I met with the slave guard once again. "I talked with Thorus. He ordered the slaves to be set free."
"Okay, if Thorus ordered it. But I have to ask myself why he decided on something like that..."
"You aren't being paid to ask questions." I told him. I made a note never to hire this man for anything.
"All right, All right. I'm obviously not needed here any more, so I'll go get me some stew."
After my last meeting, Patrick had gotten the other slaves all excited. "All's well, you can make yourselves scarce." I told him.
"Great. I know a cave in the swamp where we can gather for now. But then what?"
"Leave the swamp towards the southwest. The Water Mages have set up their camp near the old ruins of the old temple. They're going to show you the way out of this valley."
"Thanks, thank you so much. We are all very deeply-"
I really didn't care. "Nevermind." I interrupted.
With Thorus out of the way, there was only one thing left to do. I approached the main temple and demanded entry.
"Hey, slow down! You aren't getting in there - so beat it!"
"Get out of my way - I have to see Raven."
"No one enters these quarters. Direct orders from Raven himself."
I unwrapped the head of Bloodwyn once more."Here! Do you still want to stop me now!?"
"Is that.. is that Bloodwyn? Bleahh... that's... Uh... yes, uh no. I mean... uh... you can go in." It was surprisingly easy to get to these bandits. It was like they never had someone behead their commanding officer before.
(Click for video)
Just as I'd feared, I was too late. Raven had broken through the tombs defenses and locked himself inside.
There seemed to be no way through these two doors. I needed to tell Saturas of this.
On the plus side, however, I did find Bloodwyn's chest. Inside was a new set of armor. This would definitely come in handy later.
I returned to the Water Mages' camp.
I found Saturas sitting at his usual spot.
"I made my way into Raven's quarters."
"And? What about Raven?"
"I came too late. He disappeared into the Adanos temple right before my eyes."
"What?! That is a CATASTOPHE! Why didn't you follow him!?"
"I couldn't follow him. He blocked the entrance from the inside."
"I must think... The question is how did Raven get inside the temple? What did he do before he passed through the portal?"
"He spoke an incantation at the gate."
"And before that?"
"He opened a burial chamber."
"A ritual.. Yes! That's it! I fear that Raven has made the power of the guardians of the dead his own. He got his knowledge of the temple from a spirit! You must go to Myxir and tell him about this!"
I found Myxir nearby the large ruins.
"Saturas sent me." I said. "Raven has made his way into the temple and blocked the portal from the inside. Saturas thinks he got his information about the temple from a ghost!"
Myxir was stunned. "By Adanos! He must have summoned the high priest Khardimon to ask him about a way into the temple. According to the records, his grave was in the caves under the fortress. You will have to do the same but you cannot ask Khardimon any more. The grave of the warrior prince Quahodron is supposed to lie in the west of the valley. You will have to find it and awaken him. It is written in these inscriptions how a believer of Adanos can summon a spirit."
"Do you think that will really work?"
"I've read a lot of crazy ramblings. For example, the writings of Y'Berion, the leader of the Brotherhood of the Sleeper. But I believe every word of the author of THESE writings."
"Why Quarhodron? Why not the high priest Khardimon?"
"Raven has desecrated the grave of Khardimon with his summoning. We can assume that. We have to look for another spirit."
"Assuming I want to summon this ghost, what do I have to do?"
"Find his grave in the west of the valley. His ghost can be summoned by the words of the guardians of the dead which I have written for you here." He handed me a note. "That's all. Now you just have to find the grave. Good luck, my son!"
It was getting late and I was in desperate need of some rest. I walked toward my hut with my map out. According to what I'd learned, there were five major houses of the ancient city. I'd already found two, so three remained. From what I could gather, one resided within the canyon, and the other two would be within the unexplored area to the south. I marked their locations.
Tomorrow I'd find the remaining tablet pieces, speak to the ghost, and then put an end to Raven once and for all.
Other: Video from this update http://www.viddler.com/explore/Sankis/videos/68/