Part 3: A wretched hive of scum and villainy
Update 3: A wretched hive of scum and villainy
I awoke to the loud hammering of a nearby digger. It was my second day in the colony. Pushing myself out of bed and onto my feet I prepared myself for my task of the day: This day, I would find and talk with Mordrag. Rubbing the sleep from my eyes I stepped out into the sun.
Mordrag was said to be by one of the Old Camp's gates so I set out to investigate the southern gate first. I noticed a guard and attempted to avoid him, having learned some harsh lessons the day before..
"Aha! A new face. I'm Jackal."
I tried to walk quickly by him, but he had spotted me. I stopped and responded, having a good idea of what he would want.
"What do you want?" I said.
Jackal gestured to the camp all around us. "I wanna offer you help. You're new here, an' new 'uns always get into trouble. You could save yourself a lot by makin' a small donation. Just 10 ore, man, it ain't too much to ask!"
I shook my head and quickly walked away. I heard Jackal make a snide comment as I was leaving, but I was still too tired to care.
Eventually, I came across a man that matched the description that Thorus had given me. I walked up to him and Mordrag, seeing this, quickly introduced himself
"Hey, newcomer! I'm Mordrag. You should remember that name - you can buy any kind of goods from me at a cheap price!"
Knowing that his goods were stolen from Gomez it was no wonder that Mordrag could sell them so cheaply.
After sizing him up I knew I stood no chance to get him to leave through and of course, he could be of help to me anyway. "Are you really the Magicians courier? I'd like to have a chance to talk to the magicians. I have to get inside the castle." I said.
Slightly taken aback by my bluntness it took him a moment to respond. "The magicians' couriers bear seals which allow them entry to the castle. If you were one of us, you could get such a seal..."
He can help me after all, I thought. "You have a problem"
Grinning, he responded knowingly "Really? What's that?"
"There are people around here who want to get rid of you"
"Really? Then you can tell them they should send someone along to enforce their wish."
"What makes you so sure I'm not the one to do it?" He chuckled at that, and I suddenly remembered how bruised and battered I looked.
"Cos I think you're smarter than that, boy. You'll soon realize that there are better opportunities than working for Gomez. We too need capable people in the New Camp, and nobody tells you what to do."
A tempting offer. I'd only heard what Diego had told me about the New Camp which is hardly an unbiased source "Tell me more about this new camp."
"It's the camp where you have the most freedom within the colony. We don't have any Ore Barons or Gurus bossing us around. We have our own mine. But the ore that is produced there isn't given to the damned king!"
Freedom sounded tempting, especially if it meant fewer beatings. "So what is it used for?" I asked.
"Our magicians are working on a plan to break out of here. All the ore is collected for this plan. While Gomez and his people are lazing around, we drudge for freedom - that's what's going on."
I needed to learn more about this New Camp, especially if they were actively seeking a way out. I had no desire to deal with the very King who condemned me to this place. "And if I wanted to join the New Camp.. Could you help me?
Mordrag grinned. "If you're serious we can go now! I can take you to Lares. he's the head of our gang."
There wasn't anything else here for me to do today and I could use a walk away from these brutes. "Let's go to the new camp then" I said.
Mordrag leans to pick up his belongings and I return back to my tower home to retrieve my sword. I trade a few small items to Mordrag in exchange for some ore. A few minutes later and we were ready to go.
We left through the southern gate of the Old Camp and immediately went off road. I stayed close behind Mordrag.
As we neared a tree, a loud keening screech filled the air. Moments later three creatures I've come to learn as Scavengers came charging towards myself and Mordrag. They thrust with their sharp beaks in an effort to injure Mordrag but he skillfully dodged each one. Calmly, he removed his bow from his back and quickly subdued the three of them.
A few more scavengers ambushed us on our route. Once again, Mordrag dispatched them with ease. I wish I'd had someone like him about on my way to the Old Camp.
We rejoined the road a short distance later and I believed we were now heading northwest. We followed the road down into a valley and came across a small shack nestled between two hills. Goblins, I thought, as the small green humanoids charged at us with their rusty swords raised. I withdrew my sword in an attempt to parry a blow but the goblin had no interest in me and instead turned its attention to Mordrag. I sighed in relief.
The man that owned the hut, who appeared to be a shadow of the Old Camp, gave a wave of appreciation as we passed. The goblins must have been troubling him.
The road continued past the hut and up the hill. We passed a cave, no doubt home to some foul creature.
Mordrag waved to who I assumed was another member of the New Camp. He must be hunting, I thought as I passed. The people here do whatever they can for food. It says a lot when hunting dangerous creatures is the easiest way to feed yourself.
We crossed a bridge that seemed to be in quite poor shape. On the other side, a herd of scavengers was seen digging around and, I assume, searching for food. We stayed as far away as we could to avoid needless fighting and followed the left path.
After some time traveling, Mordrag and myself arrived at a guard post. Mordrag informed me that we had arrived. It looked worse off than the Old Camp.
"Well, here we are," He said placing a ring into my hands. "When you pass through the gate, you'll reach the New Camp. Talk to Lares. He'll help you. Give this to him. It's a precious ring. It's your ticket to see Lares, you need a good reason to be allowed to meet him. Well, thinking about it, I think I'll stay here for some time. I've earned enough for now and things are heating up in the old camp." I nod in agreement, fully understanding what he means.
Mordrag then departed and said to meet him by the lakeside bar when I had a chance.
I passed through the gate quickly fully expecting to be stopped by a guard with an overinflated sense of authority. Thankfully they do not seem to care about my presence.
The first thing I saw when I arrived was a large farm.
Upon closer inspection, it appeared to be a rice farm being tended by peasants. I tried to pass through quickly as I had no desire to work here.
A man touched me on the shoulder as I walked by.
"Hey! Just arrived?" He said.
I nodded wearily.
"We need somebody to take some water to the peasants in the rice fields. This way you can make friends with a few people. What do you say?"
"Take the water to the peasants yourself." I said, and tried to pass. He stepped in front of me.
"That's no good way of treating friends! I think I'll have to teach you some manners!"
And so he does. To be fair, it was quite rude of me to decline his offer. He only wanted to be my friend. He searches my pack and takes a handful of my ore. When he was far enough away I pulled myself up and continued on. I'm was quite used to that by now.
I arrived at yet another guarded gate, watched over by at least four heavily armed men. This must be be the main camp, I thought to myself. It started to rain.
A guard who identified himself as Jarvis spoke up as I drew closer.
"Do you intend to go through this gate?" he said.
I withdrew my pack believing he was about to ask for a toll. "Do you intend to stop me?"
"No, but you should know what's waiting for you. This is not like in the Old Camp and not like being with the sect loonies either! There are no guards or templars to look after you. It's every man for himself, the only ones who stick together are us mercenaries."
"What do the mercenaries do?" I asked, suddenly aware that I was drenched.
"We - we are the mercenaries of the water mages." With luck these water mages would take my letter. "Our target is to break free from here. We're working hard for it and don't plan to take things easy like the guys from the Old Camp who are just having an easy time resting on the backs of the diggers. And we all follow Lee. He's a great man. He's the one who holds this damn camp together."
I made a note of the name Lee. With any luck this Lee and these water mages would break the barrier allowing everyone, myself included, to escape as well.
"What do the mages do?" I asked.
"They investigate the magic characteristics of the ore our scrapers collect in the mine. As far as I know, they want to blow the whole damn ore mound sky-high to free us from the Barrier."
I muttered something about how dangerous that sounds. Jarvis heard this and reassured me that the water mages said that there was nothing to worry about. I shrugged.
"You have a massive ore mound here?" I inquired. Why didn't they just purchase their freedom?
Jarvis laughed lightly "You could say that. We could buy the King's wife for that. But we don't give a damn about trading the ore with that fart. We want to get OUT OF HERE."
"And what about the other people here?"
"All crooks. They don't give a damn about the Camp. I'd rather have the peasants guarding the front gate." That was not very reassuring considering how badly beaten I was in a place with guards.
The guard Jarvis bid me farewell and told me to watch my back. I continued on, first passing atop a large dam where I encounter a man named Homer. He told me of his worries relating to a lurker damaging the dam. I told him that I'd see what I could do, though I had no real intention to help him at the moment.
I spotted the bar that Mordrag mentioned.
I approached it but was refused entry for not being a scraper, rogue, or mercenary. Mordrag never mentioned that. With nothing else to be done here, I turned and went to what I assumed was the living area.
Rogues and Mercenaries walked by me without acknowledging I was there. That was just fine, I supposed. I had desire to cause trouble. In the center of this cave I saw a bright blue area in the middle. Naturally, I went toward it.
This must have been the mound that Jarvis told me about. I approached the center cautiously. The Ore mound was below the cave inside it's own chamber. The light I saw came through a small grate in the floor.
While I was occupied examining the mound a Magician of Water approached me from the side. "Greetings, Magician" I said.
"May the blessing of Adanos be with you. I can help you to increase your magical powers or sell you some useful items."
Perhaps there WAS something else he could help me with. "I have a letter for the High Magician of the Circle of Fire."
"We are the Magicians of the Circle of Water. The Magicians of the Circle of Fire live in the Old Camp."
I had hoped he wouldn't respond that way, but it was worth a shot regardless. "But I can't get into the castle. Could you help me?"
"Well, occasionally we send messengers to our brothers in the Old Camp... but we only entrust these messengers to Lares' men" Like Mordrag, I thought. Chronos continued. "He's been seeing to it for many years now that our messengers arrive."
Chronos walked away at this point, obviously busy inside his own head. On the right side of the cavern, I came across a small band of men crowded around a fire. The standing man greets me.
"Hey. A new face."
I nodded. "Who are you?"
"I'm Gorn, mercenaries of the magicians."
"What do you do here as a Mercenary?"
"Lee has made a deal with the magicians. He hires the best fighters to be found in the colony. Which means us. We take care that the scrapers aren't bothered and keep trouble away from the Magicians. The magicians make sure we get out of here, and we get a small share of the ore as our pay."
"Can I stay here without having to kick someone out of their hut?"
"I don't think so. But if that's what you really want to do, go and see Shrike. He's taken the hut by the front but it really belongs to us."
I didn't like the sound of beating someone for their home. I changed the topic. "What would I have to do to join the New Camp?"
"Before Lee admits you, you'll have to improve your fighting skills. It doesn't matter what weapon you use, but you have to be good. Besides, you should be very experienced with the life here and everything. If you don't want to go to the other camps, you should try to join the rogues before you join the mercenaries."
At this point, another mercenary approached Gorn and whispered in his ear. He turned and waved me off saying "See you later".
A short distance away I met a rogue by the name of Wolf. He told me he's an armor maker for the rogues. I inquired as to the priced of a piece of armor but he refused to deal with me and said he only sold to people Lares' said he can sell to.
Nothing I can do about that, so I continued walking throughout the cavern.
I was now on the left side of the cave which Gorn told me belonged to the rogues. By a fire was an oddly dressed man, presumably from the sect camp, conversing with a rogue. When their conversation had ended, I approached him.
"You're from the Sect camp, aren't you?" I said as I approached.
He bowed slightly and went on to correct me. "We call it the Brotherhood. I'm Baal Kagan. The sleeper be with you." I had heard that they worshiped something in the swamps. That sleeper must be it.
"What are you doing here?" I asked.
"Originally, I was sent here to convince the people to join our Brotherhood. But these barbarians are not interested in spiritual enlightenment. Therefore I'm restricted to selling swampweed. And that is a popular occupation here. Too popular, I can hardly deliver as much as they want to have."
"Why don't they send an extra man here?"
"Baal Isidro was meant to help me, but he spends all day in the bar and trades his weed for rice schnapps. He's addicted to the spirit. I fear I can not expect any help from him."
"I can help you sell your weed to the people." I said, eagerly seeking a way to earn money and swampweed.
"I can only entrust such large amounts of weed to members of the Brotherhood. But you can help me give out gifts. Not everybody has tasted my goods yet. As soon as they've tried the weed, they'll want more, which means I can sell more."
Finally I found someone who didn't send me on a dangerous job or beat me up. Selling weed was something I could do. "What's in it for me if I hand out the weed for you?"
"I can reward you in many different ways. You can get magic spell scrolls from me, bearing the powerful magic of the Sleeper. Or I can help you join our community. I have very good contacts with both Cor Kalom and Baal Tyon. Both are very close to Y'Berion, our master. I can pay you with plain ore as well, if you prefer. 100 nuggets should be enough for your efforts"
"Okay, give me the weed. Who do you want me to give it to?"
Baal Kagan removed a small wrapped package from a side pouch and handed it to me. "You're sure to find someone who'll take it but only give ONE stalk to each person. One more thing: If you let somebody take the weed from you or you smoke it yourself our deal ceases to exist."
And so, for a short time I was a weed dealer. It was a simple matter of getting rid of the weed. Every rogue in the camp was willing to buy some.
I returned to Baal Kagan.
"I've shared the weed" I proudly stated.
"The first new customers have already been to see me. You've done a good job. What will you have as your reward?"
After a moment of consideration I decided on the ore. It was more useful in the short term and it would seem that the entire colony ran on the stuff.
After I saw how people loved Baal Kagan's weed I needed to buy some of my own.
I traded him a rusty sword and a slab of scavenger meat for a stalk of green novice, his cheapest swampweed.
It was now time to meet this Lares. During my time selling swampweed I had come across his guarded home so I returned to it. I talked my way past the two rogues guarding the walkway to his home. There was yet another guard, however, a man named Roscoe.
"Where do you wanna go?" Roscoe said.
"I want to meet Lares" I stated.
"Lares is here - But you need a good reason to disturb him"
"Mordrag sent me" I said, remembering what he told me to do.
"Mordrag hasn't been seen here for some time. He's probably changed over to the Old Camp."
Obviously Mordrag had not left the bar at all. No one even knew he was here. "I came here with him."
"Mordrag's back? If you meet him, tell him Lares wants to see him."
"Mordrag gave me something for Lares" I withdrew the ring from a pocket and showed it to Roscoe. "A ring."
"Certainly a precious piece... Okay, you can see him."
Is it? It crossed my mind that I'd not even examined the ring that Mordrag had given me.
It looks expensive. No wonder he allowed me entry. I walked inside Lares' hut.
"I want to join your gang" I lied. Truthfully, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do yet. I still had the sect camp to visit.
"Oh yeah? What have you got to show for yourself then?"
"Mordrag sent me" I said as I handed the ring to Lares. "He gave me a ring for you."
"A precious piece! It's part of normal procedure to share your booty with your gang leader. The fact that he gave YOU the ring proves that he must think a lot of you. I want you to go and tell him something from me. Tell him I want somebody in the Sect Camp. The brotherhood is planning something big - I want to know exactly whats going on there."
"Is that enough to join? What else can I do?" I asked.
Lares shook his head. "Mordrag has spoken for you but you're not ready yet. Do your tasks."
"Baal Isidro from the Sect Camp has weed worth at least 400 ore on him. I want you to get it from him. I don't care how you do it. If you have the weed, sell it. Bring me the 400 ore. Then we can talk again to see if you can be admitted into our gang." Lares waved me off. He was a busy man.
I then decided it was time for me to return to the Old Camp for now. I had enough information on the New Camp and it was time to learn about this Brotherhood. I approached the gate that marked the camp's boundary.
I took a few puffs of my swampweed and set down the path to the Old Camp.
These past couple of days had taught me a lot.
New supplements: The OP is updated with additional info.
The following videos have been uploaded:
A video of the run to the New Camp from the south gate of the Old Camp. Slightly edited.
A tour of the New Camp
Poll: The time has come for me to actually start training skills. I'll be picking up skills as I deem necessary, but I'll let the thread decide on my main weapon skill. If you choose magic I will also need another weapon skill to secondary in as magic does not become too useful until later.
The choices are: One handed sword, two handed sword, bow, crossbow, magic.
Magic doesn't really become too useful until later, furthermore only the New and Old camps get access to the higher tiered magic.
You can not finish the game using just the bow as there is at least one boss immune to arrows. That's not to say it
s not a viable weapon. I'll just need to cheese my way through at least one boss using scrolls and the like.
I actually forgot that crossbows were in the game until I started playing for this LP so I'm assuming they're pretty bad. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.
Furthermore, each weapon uses a corresponding stat. Bows use dexterity. Swords use strength. Magic needs high mana and LP invested in learning spell circles.