Part 14: Tetriandoch
Chapter 13: Tetriandoch
As I walked back to the Sect Camp, adrenaline subsiding for the first time in nearly a day, the events of the past twenty four hours finally began to register in my mind. The leader of the Sect Camp was badly wounded by the ritual. Whatever the Brotherhood had summoned did not seem to be the freedom granting deity that they all desired.
I could not get Baal Lukor's death out of my head. Something had driven him mad. I was still not sure whether it was truly the doing of the Sleeper, but I did know now that one of two escape plans was now off the table. I just wanted to get out of here. When I arrived in the Sect Camp I traveled over to the temple and met with the templar leader, Cor Angar.
"I've been to the Orc cemetery. There was NOTHING THERE. No Sleeper, no sign, no nothing."
"What about Baal Lukor and the templars?"
"They're all dead."
Cor Angar looked shocked. The best of the Brotherhood had failed. "Dead? But why, what happened?"
"The entire cave system is teeming with Orcs. They killed all of the templars. Baal Lukor and myself survived, but suddenly Baal Lukor went mad. He screamed that the Sleeper had ordered him to kill me, and he intended to obey this order."
"It would appear he couldn't handle the fact that he hadn't found anything. I don't believe that the influence of the Sleeper can cause such violent deeds. It cannot... cannot... IRRELEVANT!" Cor Angar looked quite flustered. He took a moment to regain his composure before continuing to talk. "The most important thing is that Baal Lukor did not succeed in his madness. Y'Berion is our only hope now."
"How is Y'Berion doing?"
"He won't wake of his own accord. And he is growing weaker and weaker. I know how to wake him up, but I need your help.
"What do you want me to do?"
"Get me the healing herbs from the swamp. Five of the strongest kind should be sufficient! Please hurry!"
I was exhausted from the fighting in the cemetery but I couldn't rest now. Cor Angar's last hope rested on the retrieval of these swamp herbs. I ran as fast as I could to the swamp on the other side of the camp.
I had hoped to get through the swamp relatively easily but it was not to be so. The swampsharks were quite active. My sword was not enough to pierce their thick, leathery skin and their mouths dripped with acid capable of eating through my armor. I had to avoid them as best as I could.
My plan was simple: The swampsharks had limited mobility on the land. In the swamp waters they were at their best. I would hop between the islands, quickly find and pick the herbs, and move on.
It was better in theory. While searching the second island a swarm of blood flies surrounded me and slowed me greatly. My sword cut them to tatters and I went to searching the island. I found a single plant and continued on. Had I taken much longer one of the swamp sharks would have been in range to attack.
Two islands later I hit the mother lode, discovering six plants. A pedestal or shrine of some sort also was on the island but I had no time to properly investigate it. Several swampsharks had my scent now and were closely following me.
The swampsharks left me alone as soon as I left the vicinity of the western swamp. I returned back to Cor Angar with the herbs in tow.
"I have healing herbs for Y'Berion" I said.
"Well done. Y'Berion woke up for a short time while you were out.
"Did he say anything?"
"Yes. He said that the Sleeper is not what we think he is. We must not try to awaken him again. All we can do is hope that it is not too late for Y'Berion" Cor Angar reached down and looked for the guru's pulse. He didn't find one.
"Y'BERION IS DEAD. Our spiritual leader has left us!" He turned to me and tried to console me. I didn't need it. "Even your quick help could not prevented his death."
"What now, Cor Angar?"
"I have always trusted Y'Berion. Shortly before he died, he placed all his hopes on the escape plan of the Magicians of Water."
"Then we should support the Magicians of Water in their plan." I quickly said. I'd been searching for a reason to return to the New Camp since I left the Orc cemetery. I knew that they would have wanted to hear about this.
"They'll need the focus and the almanac. Both things are still in Cor Kalom's possession."
"Where is Cor Kalom?"
"In a rage, he set out with a couple of templars to find his own way to the Sleeper."
"Damn. How can we get the focus now?" I said. It seemed like everything had to be complicated.
"I believe he left the book and focus in his laboratory. Here is the key for the chest."
I took the key and walked in the direction of Cor Kalom's hut. Cor Angar stopped me when I was a few feet away.
"One moment! Take this rune of magic as a sign of our gratitude for your great deeds. This will allow you to teleport fast and easily to the courtyard of our temple whenever the need arises."
"Thank you!" I said, genuinely surprised at the gift. I decided then that I liked Cor Angar.
I walked into Cor Kalom's hut and sought out the chest that Cor Angar had mentioned. Sure enough, the Almanac and Focus stone were there. Now that I had secured the two items I needed to deliver them to the Water Mages in the New Camp. First, however, I took a short nap.
When night fell I started my journey. I traveled by road and just as I approached Cavalorn's camp I noticed a tower that I seemed to have missed on all my prior trips. I followed the left hill up, crossed the bridge, and went inside it.
The tower had long since been abandoned. A good portion of the right wall had collapsed into the valley below. Inside the only object of any interest was a locked chest. I picked open the lock and inside I found some ore, a magic scroll, and a few other trinkets. This would have helped more if I'd found it earlier. I returned to the road and continued my journey to the New Camp.
When I'd passed the Rice Farm I spotted a figure in the darkness. I put my hand on my sword's hilt in the event that I needed it and walked closer. It was only Gorn. I released my grip on my sword and relaxed.
"Ahh, it's you! My friend Lester from the swamp camp told me all you did there. For somebody who hasn't been here for long, you've come quite a ways"
"I came quite close to becoming worm food a few times, too. I have an important message for the Magicians of Water!"
"Then you should talk to Saturas. He's the highest of the water mages and spends all day studying some writings or other."
"Can't you put in a good word for me?" I asked. Despite the fact that I was a mercenary, I still had little pull with the higher ups in the camp.
"I can't, but Cronos, the keeper of the ore, might be able to give you permission."
"Where can I find this 'keeper of the ore'?"
"If you proceed from here, you'll come across the big dwelling cave behind the dam. Cronos is usually at the grid over the big ore mound. But he's a bit arrogant. You'll have to convince him that your message is important." I thanked Gorn for the advice and made my way to the ore mound. Cronos, despite it being close to midnight, was still awake and pacing. Keeper of the ore, indeed.
"I have an important message for Saturas!" I said as I approached him.
He rolled his eyes. He clearly heard that a lot. "What could be so important that our spiritual leader should interrupt his important studies for it?"
"Y'Berion, the leader of the Sect Camp, is dead!" I said fully expecting to be ushered to the Water Mage's leader.
"WHAAAAT??? How could that happen?"
"The Brotherhood performed a ritual, invoking their God. It seems the mental strain was too much for Y'Berion."
"That's very sad. Y'Berion was a reliable ally. But it's no reason to justify interrupting Saturas' studies."
I needed to think of something to get his attention. I needed to get out of this place and the Water Mages were the way to do it. I remembered that Cor Angar had said of Y'Berion's final warning.
"The Gurus have recognized that they're praying to an evil arch demon!"
"All of a sudden they now think their Sleeper is a demon? Sounds like another mad idea of the brotherhood, but..." Cronos rubbed his chin and pondered briefly. "...should they be right all of us in the colony here might be in grave danger. You must report to Saturas at once. He must decide what is to be done."
"Where can I find Saturas?"
"Go to the upper level. Tell the guards there that you have my permission to pass. The password is TETRIANDOCH. Saturas is by the pentagram." I knew where the entrance was. They were close to Lee's quarters.
I approached the guard and, predictably, I was stopped. "STOP! Nobody may pass without the password!"
"Tetriandoch" I replied. The guard nodded and waved me inside.
I walked past the guards and surveyed the small side cavern that the Water Mages called home. Several small stone towers were along the side and another tunnel led further into the cave. As I walked toward the tunnel a Water Mage in the middle of the room burst into flame.
I rushed to his aid quickly, fearing that he was wounded. As I approached closer I saw that he was perfectly fine and simply practicing his magic. He looked at me with distaste when I then asked him for directions to Saturas. He pointed to the cavern behind him. Arrogant jerk. One day I'll be one of those arrogant jerks.
Sure enough, Saturas was in the next room. He stood on the edge of a large pentagram as Crono had said he would.
"Greetings" Saturas said when he saw me enter. He closed the book that he had been studying.
"I have important news from the Brotherhood camp!" I said loudly.
"If Cronos gave you permission to visit me, it must be important news indeed!"
"Y'Berion is dead! He died during the ritual invocation of the Sleeper."
"Y'Berion dead? That's bad news, very bad news indeed! Who's leading the Brotherhood now? That power-hungry and deceitful Cor Kalom?" Apparently my impression of Cor Kalom was shared by others.
"No! Kalom has turned his back on the Brotherhood. He's taken some templars with him. Nobody knows where they've gone."
"Why is that? He was in second place after Y'Berion!"
"Certain events have convinced the Gurus that their way is the wrong one. Their god seems to be an evil arch demon. One of the gurus nearly killed me under the influence of the Sleeper, although I had saved his life just briefly beforehand. Cor Kalom was the only Guru who didn't want to admit the true nature of the hellish creature, that's why he's left the camp in the swamp."
"I see! Well, at least we are lucky in this regard. Cor Angar is a good man. He's tough, but honest. If anybody could prevent the Brotherhood from falling apart after this spiritual catastrophe, he can."
His mention of Cor Angar reminded me of the items I carried. "I have this Almanac, I said. Y'Berion used it to charge the focus."
"Very good. We need this knowledge contained in this book to charge the five original focus stones. I'll take this Almanac!"
"I have this focus, too."
"You're holding the key that can unlock all our bonds." I liked the sound of that.
"It is one of the five focus stones which were used to create the Magic Barrier. And with the help of the very same focusing power of these stones we will tear down the great wall of energy."
"But won't that use up an awful lot of power?"
"True, but in all these years we have untiringly collected ore instead of trading it for luxuries with our jailers. As you must know, each ore nugget contains a certain amount of magic power. With the aid of the energy thus amassed in the ore mound, we'll be able to destroy the Magic Barrier."
"That sounds dangerous."
Saturas shook his head. "The explosion will be merely of a magical nature. It will only destroy everything that's been modified by the magic inside the Barrier. There is no danger to us humans." Oh.
"Here, take the focus. I hope it really will be of some use to your plans with the ore mound!" I placed the focus gently into Saturas' hands. With any luck this will get me out of here. "What are you going to do with the focus and the almanac now?"
"Nothing. We need the four remaining focus stones first! Unfortunately we don't have any of these four magic stones." Saturas looked me in the eyes as he said
"I'm willing to find the four remaining focus stones for you! After all, I'm quite keen on getting out of here sometime myself."
Saturas looked pleased with my response. "I must warn you. Searching for them will prove as difficult as it will be dangerous. Since conflict with the Old Camp is getting worse every day. I cannot give you any mercenary either. You'll be totally on your own."
"Well... That's nothing unusual for me! I'll find a way to organize these things." That wasn't unusual but it didn't mean I liked it.
"Your confidence does you credit, but you'll need some items to assist you. Take this map here. It's old, but on it you'll see the original locations of the focus stones when the Barrier was created. Also, this spell scroll will enable you to travel back to our camp faster. Finally, you need to speak to Riordian. He brews potions for the Camp. You'll find him in his hut, here, on the upper level. May you return in one piece!"
I left Saturas and went into the nearest tower. With luck, it just happened to be the tower of Riordian.
"Saturas sent me." I said.
"Ahhh, come here. I've already been informed." Riordian shoved some of the potions on his table into a sack and gave it to me. "Here, take these potions. They're potions of all kinds. Now go and bring us the focus stones. Those artifacts are our only hope."
My next stop was to Lee. He was still awake. I took this moment to purchase a new set of armor and sell my old pair.
It would do no good for me to leave in this condition. I'd not have a proper night's sleep in a day and I was exhausted from all that had transpired today. I slept in my hut for about 7 hours.
When I woke, I prepared my things for the journey ahead and looked over the map. It seemed that each point of the pentagram was the location of a focus stone. This was going to take a long time. I wasn't looking forward to it.