Part 38: Chasing the Eye- Chasing the Eye
On my way out, Ulthar called to me. It seemed he'd something to tell me.
"One more thing. Some of the roadside shrines dedicated to Innos have been desecrated by the enemy. They have lost their magical consecration."
That explained why I couldn't feel anything at the one near Lobart's farm. "I see. And now?"
"It is up to you to purify these shrines so that the situation does not escalate. Take this holy water and trickle it on the base of the shrine. With the holy words of purification, the shrine will regain its old power. Here's a map for you. The shrines which we have set up are marked on it. Now go and perform your task."
I ran out of the chapel and down the bridge in front of the monastery.
"Have you seen a novice walk past?" I asked Jorgen.
"Yeah, sure, he went that away." he said, pointing to the water. "He jumped into the water off the bridge and swam like a shark was after him."
I nodded, quickly remarked about seeing Milten if he wanted to truly join the Fire Mages, and then jumped in.
I nodded, quickly remarked about seeing Milten if he wanted to truly join the Fire Mages, and then jumped into the water below.
I swam away from the monastery lagoon toward the nearest bit of land.
I joined the road that Jorgen said the novice had gone to. An unfamiliar man stood by the river.
"What's going on here?" he demanded.
"What do you mean?"
"You're the second fellow to rush past here like he's been stung by bloodflies."
"Who was the other guy?"
"He looked like one of those brainy novices from the monastery back there. You can say what you like but somehow those guys aren't quite right on the head."
"Where did the other one go?"
He pointed up the hill. "He ran up that way like lightning."
"I need to get going."
I headed in the direction the novice ran.
The seekers knew I'd give chase. One of the robed beings stood sentry at the wooden bridge across the gorge.
I approached, sword at ready.
"We knew you would come!" it hissed. It had gotten inside my head again.
Using the sword of its master, I struck it down and continued across the bridge.
Further ahead I could see indication that I was headed in the right direction.
A dead novice was sprawled out before a corrupted shrine. I took a moment to perform the purifying ritual Ulther taught me on the shrine before continuing on.
Further down the path was yet another dead novice. I was getting close.
A third dead novice had been killed next to the island's northwest pond.
A fourth dead novice was being munched on by a lurker. I killed the creature.
In the distance, I could see a hunter of some sort standing next to a campfire.
"Are you waiting for someone?" I asked.
"Not any more. You're here now, aren't you?"
I put my hand on my sword. "I've got matters to attend to."
"Don't talk nonsense. What can you possibly have to do here in the wilderness that's so important?"
"What are you up to?"
"I want to hunt the snappers up there, but I think there may be too many for me alone."
"You look strong," he said, "I could use a fellow like you."
He was going to keep pestering me until I helped out. I sighed. "Okay. I'll help you. You go first."
"Sure thing but don't get too close to the black troll back there. He'll rip you to pieces otherwise, got it?"
I charged ahead as Grimbald fired arrows. He barely needed my help. Before I reached the pack, one snapper was already shot to death by his arrows.
I returned to the hunter. Now that he'd done what he wanted maybe he'd help me out.
"Have you seen a novice pass by here?"
"A lot of peculiar figures passed by here today - including those two jokers up by the stone arch. A while ago a novice from the Magicians of Fire was with them as well."
Having noticed that the Black Troll was sleeping, I crept ahead and picked some sun aloe off some old dung.
I'd gotten what I needed from the black troll while I was here, which was something I'd needed for a while now. I turned my attention to the stone arch Grimbald spoke of.
Two men In fur armor stood guard beneath the arch.
"What are you doing here?" I asked the nearest one.
"What's it to you?"
"I'm looking for a novice."
"That's very interesting. We're looking for someone too."
"And who would that be?"
"You!" he shouted and unsheathed his weapon.
They were both unskilled allowing me to kill them with relative ease. I pressed on.
The forest was thick ahead, sunlight filtered through the leaves.
A group of Seekers stood within an ancient stone circle performing some sort of evil ritual.
Some seekers stood on the outskirts as well, no doubt waiting for me. I took out the nearest seeker who had been standing above the body of another dead novice. I was impressed at his ability. I'd barely gotten here myself.
After cutting down on the outer guards I took the fight to the ritualists. Since they outnumbered me I evened the odds with two ice block spells.
While two of the seekers were immobilized I took out the third. The ice lasted long enough for another to be taken down. The third, too, posed little trouble. The seekers were useless in a melee. They depended on ranged fireball attacks.
While looting the bodies of the dead servants of evil, I came across the crossbow that the hunter, Dragomir, had told me about so long ago. I collected it. No doubt he'd be happy to see it again.
In the center, I finally found what had been the target of the seekers' ritual. The Eye of Innos! Whatever they did had broken it in two. Pyrokar would not be pleased. Had this all been for nothing?
With the broken amulet in tow, I used the rune of teleportation to return to the Monastery.