Part 46: Pushback
After finding out that I'd need an ore blade, I headed over to Khorinis to find Harad. He was working at his forge when I'd found him.
"Are you still working for the paladins?" I asked.
"I finished the commission from Lord Hagen. Now I'm making magic ore blades for him - but for pay this time. But I also have the time again to make a few weapons on the side for the merchants in the marketplace. So if you're looking for a good blade, you should try with them."
"Tell me about magic ore blades."
"Creating a magic blade is a very complicated and expensive process, but the result is a blade that's easy to handle and practically indestructible. The blade is certainly of good quality, but it will only show its true power in the hands of a paladin. A paladin's sword is consecrated by Innos. As a result, the magic blade becomes an enchanted weapon that does incomparable damage!
He had his assistant, Brian, bring out a selection of two blades, one two handed and the other one. "You paladins can count yourself lucky to be allowed to wield such excellent blades. By decree of Lord Hagen, I may only sell you a single magic weapon. So, what can I offer you?" Unfortunately, I had just spent a good deal of my money on potions and scrolls in the monastery. I was short of his 2000 gold asking price. I went and sold some skins to Bosper, but I was still short. I went to seek out other money making opportunities.
I found Diego near the southern gate and recalled that I'd found his pouch in the valley. "I found your gold!" I told him, handing him the jingling pouch.
"Very good. Gerbrandt had better watch out now. Listen, I still need to take care of the guards. I want you to take this letter to Gerbrandt. He is one of the fat merchants in the upper quarter. Give him my regards. I'll meet you in front of Gerbrandt's house, then."
I headed up to the upper quarter. Gerbrandt was standing outside of his house chatting to another nobleman.
"Diego says hello." I informed him.
He looked scared. "What? Who? What Diego?"
I handed him the note. "And he wants me to give you this letter."
"That can't be! No. I'm a goner! Is he in town then? Diego, of course."
I nodded. "I'm going to meet him here shortly."
"This is the end, then. All is lost." He was visibly panicked. "I've got no time. I need to get out of here. Quick. If he finds me, I'm done for." Gerbrandt went inside his house, took a few things, and fled the upper quarter.
A few minutes later, I noticed Diego approaching. "I delivered the letter." I told you.
"Very good. How did Gerbrandt take it?"
"He was rather shocked and made himself scarce right away."
Diego nodded, satisfied with himself. "I should think so. I'm afraid that, first of all, I need to attend to furnishing my new house. If I remember correctly, Gerbrandt's taste is horrible."
"The house is yours, then."
"Yes, from cellar to attic, with all the furnishings. Having spent several years in less-than-befitting quarters, I'm looking forward to sleeping in a soft four-poster bed. And then, for breakfast, I'll have a fine wine and some ham."
"You don't miss any chances, do you?"
"So how did you pull this off?"
"Did you think that Gerbrandt came by his fortune through honest business? Of course he never got his fingers dirty when it came to really shady deals. He had a helper for that. Of course, I caught on to a lot of back then. Gerbrandt finally got rid of me. He was probably afraid that I knew too much."
"You never told me about that."
He shrugged. "You never asked me."
"What about my share?"
"Looks like you haven't forgotten everything I've taught you after all. But you're right, I couldn't have done it without you. Here's your share."
Diego gave me 500 gold for my business. I now had enough for the sword. I headed back down to see Harad.
I purchased the rough ore blade. Alone it wasn't much, but when consecrated by Innos I'd be a force to be reckoned with.
Next, I followed up on Ingmar's tip about the Orcs near Lobart's farm.
It turned out that a war party was using the farm as a staging area for a future raid. My new armor made me nigh indestructible. I waded into the midst of the Orcish warriors and emerged victorious not much worse for wear.
The group at Lobart's farm had me thinking. Several weeks ago when I'd first arrived here myself and another hunter had encountered an Orcish scout in the nearby woodlands. Originally we just assumed it to be a coincidence, but now I wasn't so sure. I headed into the forest.
Sure enough another group of Orcs was located within. I took them out and remembered what Ingmar had said about the leader of the Orcs likely residing in a nearby cave.
I found a path that led to a small valley. Two orcish warlords stood guard up ahead. I'd found it.
I found the Orcish Colonel inside the cave, alongside several other warlords. Surprisingly, a group of Bandits resided within. I didn't know why they were there but they were locked in battle with the orcs.
Within one of the pockets of the Colonel I came across a marked map.
It seemed to be a map of Orcish war parties. I folded the map. Ingmar would be interested.
Map in hand, I returned to Lord Hagen's chambers to meet with the Paladin strategist and turn in the warlords' rings.
"I have been able to find the headquarters of the orcs. Their chief warlord as fallen."
"This is great news. That will keep the orcs busy for a while. Not bad, that. If we had more knights of your kind, the upcoming battle would be a piece of cake. Here. Take our gold and use it towards your equipment.
Along with the bounty for the rings and the reward money, I now had enough money to properly consecrate a blade.
Down in the merchant quarter, I paid a visit to Abuyin, the mystic. His predictions, while vague, tended to come true and I had a feeling that the end was drawing near.
"Can you make me a prophecy?" I asked.
"For a paltry 1000 coins, I shall risk a glance through time for you."
"Tell me about the future!" I said as I handed the coin to him.
"All right, Son of Knowledge. I shall now enter a state of trance. Are you ready?"
Abuyin entered a trance, a faint magical aura surrounded him. "Darkness pervades the land.. evil will triumph. The king shall lose his war against the orcs...you shall return and you shall not find peace..." His trance ended. "That's all." he said. "There's nothing more I can see."
With my business in the city concluded for the moment, it was time to pay a visit to the shrine of Innos at the Monastery.
I knelt down before it, the rough ore blade raised. I offered a prayer to Innos and offered a donation of 5,000 golden coins. The coins melted into the base of the statue. Innos had heard my prayer and personally blessed my weapon.
It was now a formidable weapon, but not enough. I recalled the Tears of Innos that I'd found in the secret library. I withdrew the small bottle, uncorked it, and poured it over the consecrated sword as I offered another prayer. I heard a faint hiss as the liquid hit the metal of the blade.
Somehow, the sea chart that led to the Halls of Irdorath had completely slipped my mind. I took it out, looked it over, and immediately went to see Pyrokar.
"I know where to find the Halls of Irdorath." I reported. "The temple is on an island. I've found a nautical chart which shows the way."
"That is great. Then you will need a ship and a crew in order to face the enemy. But remember. You need to be well prepared if you want to vanquish the Master of Irdorath."
"Where can I can a crew?"
"Your crew should consist of men you can trust. Talk to your friends and think about who could be useful to you once you are on the island. You are going to need a magician as well. But alas, I cannot spare a single man from the Monastery. You will have to ask a magician who is not working within the monastery."
I recalled Jorgen, the sailor turned novice who'd recently entered the monastery. "Jorgen is an experience sailor. He could help me get to the Isle of Irdorath."
"That will not be so easy, I fear. He has signed on to work for the brotherhood. He has neither paid the tribute, nor brought us a sheep. Jorgen must finish his work first, then you can take him if you like."
"How long will it take?"
"He used up the provisions which would have lasted a novice three weeks and all on the first day. So I cannot let him go before he has worked hard in our gardens for three months."
That wasn't going to work. There might not even BE anything worth saving three months from now. "What do I have to do so I can take Jorgen with me NOW?"
"Mmh. There is indeed one thing you could do for me. Your good rapport with Xardas could help you with that. It has come to my attention that, during these last few days, strange things have been going on in his tower. Many of the town people hear loud screams at night coming from there, and see strange lights dancing over his tower. As if we didn't have our plate full already. Go check what is going on there, and make it stop. Then you can have Jorgen."
I teleported on over to Xardas' tower, cutting my way through the necromancer's demons. At the top of his tower, I encountered a Demon Lord but nothing else of note. What was Xardas protecting, anyway?
While I was here, I took this moment to recruit my first crew member for the voyage.
"I found out where the enemy is hiding." I told Lester.
"Don't ask me why, but I feel like I should go with you."
"What do you mean by that?"
"I can't explain it, but I know that I'll only learn the answer if I come along with you."
"Then come with me and get your answers! I'll meet you at the harbor. I'll go down there once I'm ready."
On my way back to the monastery Milten, who had been watching the complex's door, stopped me.
"Hey, I heard you spent a long time in the monastery cellars. What did you find out?"
"I know now where the enemy is hiding. It's a small island, not far from here."
"This is our big chance. We have to set out at once and destroy evil forever. Have you talked to Diego yet? I think he would want to accompany you. What about Gorn? Talk to him. I heard he has returned from the Valley of Mines. I also know my role in this. I can increase your mana and be helpful in constructing runes once we face the enemy. When do we start?"
"Welcome aboard! We should meet at the harbor. Wait for me there."
Milten began the trek back to town and I went to meet with Pyrokar once more.
"The thing with Xardas has resolved itself." I told him.
"So what was going on... no, wait, I do not even want to know. If you still want Jorgen, then go ahead and take him on your journey. May Innos protect you."
I went and found Jorgen outside in the monastery courtyard.
"I took care of your bill. You're free."
"Really? How did you manage that?"
"You don't want to know."
"Oh well. Not that I really care. Thanks a million."
"What about your offer? Can I still sign on with you?"
I nodded. That was why I did this, after all. "Be my captain."
"I feel honored, but do you even have a ship and a crew?"
"I'll see what I can do. Wait for me at the harbor."
I made my way back over to Khorinis to seek out Diego. In my search, I came across a strange man in the harbor's tavern. Something about him seemed off. He knew about my need of a captain, and said that he was with the King's Royal Navy prior to his ship sinking. I turned him down. Not only did I suspect his intentions but I'd just gotten my captain.
Diego was outside his new home in the upper quarter.
"I'm going to leave Khorinis." I informed him.
"A wise decision. I wish I could come with you. This town has changed too fast - the times where you could get rich fast are over. I could instruct you in archery, lock picking, and dexterity. Also, I'm sure you could use a decent thief."
So I could. "Why don't you come with me? We'll meet at the harbor."
Gorn was my next target, but I decided to go by road. This way I could take out any orcish war parties I came across and collect the bounty which would be useful for last minute supplies.
I found a group of Orcs beneath the bridge near The Dead Harpy. I took out all but one orcish warrior. Feeling cocky, I beat him to death with a stick.
Gorn was in the mercenary's barracks within the main building of Onar's farm.
"I could use you and your axe." I said to my old friend.
"Well. I'm not surprised. What can I do for you?"
"Would you sail to an island with me and kick some enemy butt?"
He laughed. "Sure. Right away. Just tell me what to do."
"Come aboard with me. Wait for me at the harbor."
"A ship? Ha! I can say one thing for you. It's never boring with you. See you soon."
That was Gorn, Lester, Diego, Milten, and Jorgen. I still needed another crew member.
I decided to bring along another old friend of mine, Lee. While I was not a mercenary, we still maintained good relations, due in part to our shared past as members of the New Camp.
I found the Mercenary leader upstairs in his study.
"Would you accompany me on the ship?" I asked him.
"Are you kidding? Of course I'm in. I have a few old scores to settle on the mainland. Besides, I can teach you one and two-handed combat. I could be very useful to you."
Sounded good to me. "Go pack your things, then!"
"What? Right now?"
"Yes, I'm planning to get out of here and if you want to join me, come down to the harbor. We'll meet on the ship.
I returned one last time to the monastery. I'd given Neoras a dragon egg a few days ago in exchange for whatever potion he was able to make with it. I returned to him in the evening. He was pleased to see me as he'd just finished the mysterious potion. He gave it to me, warning against its unknown nature.
Uncaring, I drank it down. I felt a surge of new strength flow through me. Surprisingly, the effects of the dragon potion were quite pleasant after all! I returned above ground.
I took a nap in one of the Novices rooms in the monastery and awoke the following morning. This day would be the day we took the fight to Beliar.