Part 17: The Mountain Fort
Update 16: The Mountain Fort
South of the forest was a hill that would take me onto the mountain. I ran up it, carefully avoiding some nearby lizards.
The hill eventually narrowed into a rocky ledge. A strange, thin creature entered my field of vision. It saw me not long after. I withdrew my sword and expected a fight.
The ferociousness of the thin, bony, creature surprised me. Unlike most animals that lived in the colony, it didn't even hesitate to attack me. It viciously attacked me without a second thought. They must not get much food up here.
I used the narrow ledge to my advantage and forced it into a position where it could not use its fast speed to evade my blows. A few deep cuts later and it was dead.
With the dead creature at my feet, I turned around to take in the view and get a idea where I was in relation to my map. The forest that I'd been in was just to the north and the Old Camp's towers could be seen in the distance to the west.
I continued forward and arrived at what appeared to be a crossroads. A very worn and old stone road was now visible branching off into two directions. To the south it would take me to a complex situated between the mountain's peaks, whereas the western route led further up the mountain.
I opted to take the western road. Some more of the strange creatures, which I came to call bloodhounds, attacked me. I fought off all three and returned to the road.
Just past where I'd encountered the bloodhounds was a small cave with a walled off portion. The door was unlocked and I walked inside. It appeared to be an old supply cache.
Old, broken bottles were strewn about the room. In the corner of a room was a locked chest. It took a few tries to open but eventually I managed it, only breaking two lockpicks in the process. It contained a blue potion and a hammer of a make I was not familiar with. I took them both.
I traveled a bit further down the western path, which led to an old wooden bridge that connected to some ruins. I'd considered traveling further but it appeared to be controlled by some rather well armed Orcs. I turned around, desperately hoping I would not need to go that way. I'd had enough of orcs in the past few days.
I returned to the crossroads and traveled down the south path this time. An old fort sat nestled under a rock overhang.
I walked down the hill toward the fort. On the bridge spanning the chasm was a large, gray boulder. As I drew closer, however, it quickly became apparent that this was no ordinary mound of rock. He pulled itself off the ground and into a vaguely humanoid form.
It then ran at me with surprising speed considering its weight and composition. When it was in range I swung at it with my sword but my blows glanced off uselessly. In response to my attack it swung its large rocky fists at me. The impact knocked me back a good five feet, though amazingly I was mostly unharmed. My armor absorbed much of the impact.
I realized at this time that my sword would do no good against it. I threw my sword aside and withdrew the hammer I'd found not long ago. The first strike with the hammer stunned it momentarily and gave me time to strike it several more times, knocking large portions of rock away with each hit. Whatever it was that drove the creature failed and the golem fell to the ground in a pile of rubble.
On the other side of the bridge was an unexpected surprise. It was my friend of the Sect Camp, Lester. I approached him and informed him of my mission, knowing full well that I could trust him.
"I came here by order of the Magicians of Water. I'm looking for magical artifacts, so-called focus stones."
"You're looking for the focus stones? You're really brave."
"Saturas and the other magicians from the New Camp want to use it to detonate the Barrier in order to free us from this imprisonment." I said. I would do anything to get out of here.
Lester scoffed at the idea. He must have heard that a lot. "I'll believe that when I see it with my own eyes."
"I feel the same. But tell me, why did you come here?"
"I'm weighing up if it's worthwhile paying a visit to the mountain fort. You know... there is a document I'd like to get. On the other hand it's quite risky to go in there."
"How did you manage to get past that living mountain?" I asked, genuinely curious. It had nearly killed me trying to do it.
"I've learned a lot from the Gurus. Their magic can be really helpful."
I changed the topic. "This document you're looking for... what is it?"
"Many years ago, the lord of this area lived in this mountain fort. He controlled the land and the mines. Like any other aristocrat he had, of course, a document to verify his tenure. And I'll get this document."
"But as long as we are being kept in here by the Barrier it won't be worth anything."
"That's right. But if the water mages manage to destory the barrier, the document might become quite valuable again." Clever. I need to get myself something like that.
"We could have a look around the fort together!"
Lester nodded. "That's a good idea. You go first, I'll stay near you."
A winding path took us up the hill and to the fort. It seemed we weren't alone, though. Two harpies were quite unhappy with my arrival and attacked. They didn't last very long, however. Two strikes each and they were eliminated.
Lester still trailed some distance behind me. As I awaited him, I examined the exterior of the fort. Behind me stood some statues similar to those that I'd encountered at the monastery.
When Lester arrived, I pointed out the statues and informed him about the monastery. "Right. Looks like a focus platform. Hm.. It's not that easy to reach it..." We both saw no way to it from here so we went inside.
Two corridors ran off in opposite directions. The left one looked to go into an old, empty armor whereas the right would lead us into a larger room with a ladder. We decided to go right. A harpy attempted to stop us but I dealt with it.
Lester ran to the ladder and started to climb it. "I'll go and have a look up here!" He said, climbing. I nodded, content to deal with the lower level for the time being. At the opposite end of this room was a hallway leading the other way. That was where I went next.
Old, burnt out torches lined the walls of the corridor. I continued my way through it and it let out in a room where two more of the harpy creatures awaited me. When they were dead I looked around the room I'd arrived in.
An unlocked chest sat against the far wall of the room, while a lever was installed on the wall beside it. I opened the chest first. It contained some old alcohol, a torch, a lockpick, and an old key. I took the key. I ignored the lever for the time being.
I investigated the remainder of the room. A bookshelf full of old, fading books was positioned at the corner of the room while two dusty ledgers sat on stands against the wall. With nothing else of interest, I pulled the lever. To my surprise, the bookshelf moved aside to reveal a hidden passage. To my surprise, two skeletons came rushing at me. Normally this would have been quite a shock but after the the cemetery I was willing to accept just about anything. Using my hammer, I smashed them to pieces.
I proceeded into the previously hidden room. It appeared to be an old alchemy lab. An old, dust covered workbench sat in the corner of the room, indicating that it laid unused for some time. Against the wall on a shelf sat a handful of potions. I took them, as well as a few in a chest that sat beside the table. With the bottom of the fort cleared I returned to the ladder that Lester had climbed.
I followed after him. The ladder took me to a room that was similar to the one below. Another ladder in the room would give me access to the next level. I was unsure where Lester had gone so I first tried the third level.
The ladder took me to the top of the fort where a chest sat against the wall. Inside, I found an expensive sword as well, a handful of potions, and a sack of coins. While coins were useless in the colony, they would be quite useful when we got out. It looked like Lester wasn't the only one thinking ahead.
Lester was not on the third level, so I climbed back down the ladder and this time went into the second level corridor. I eventually came across him standing on a balcony off of the main hallway.
He was having difficulty with a locked chest he'd found, lacking the proper tools to open it. I pushed him aside and, after a few moments, had it opened. Amazingly it had the very documents he was looking for. It appeared to be the real thing, too. Lester would be worth quite a good deal if the magicians succeeded in breaking the barrier.
I turned to Lester and with a grin handed him the document. "I've found the document."
"Hey. Well done. Take these magic scrolls as a reward. With them you'll be able to reach the focus. I'll wait for you down by the focus platform"
I saw what he meant. The focus sat on the platform we noticed below but with no actual way of reaching it. I looked over the spell scrolls that Lester had given me. They appeared to be imbued with a telekinesis spell, which would allow me to pick up and move the stone from a distance. I wondered when he was planning on mentioning these. It could have saved a lot of trouble.
I read from the scroll and concentrated on the focus. Moments later, power surged through my body and a small beam energy emanated from my hands. The energy seemed to grasp the focus which I then pulled toward me. The spell lacked the power to bring it any higher, though, and I was forced to drop it down. Hopefully that didn't break it.
I returned to the first level of the fort. The stone was, thankfully, unharmed and on the ground by the entrance. I picked it up as Lester found me.
I informed Lester that I would be leaving now. I'd found what I was looking for and still had more to do. He responded by saying that he'd remain to study the books in the library. I unrolled my map to chart a course to the final focus as bid him farewell.
I used a piece of charcoal to plot a possible path to the next stone. Unfortunately, the only viable method seemed to take me through lands that I'd heard were quite infested with Orcs. I wasn't looking forward to it. I left soon after. While my goal of being having all the stones before nightfall was an obvious failure, I still held out hope that I'd manage them all before daylight.
Update 16 supplement: Bloodhound fight Viddler | Original
I was hoping to do the last two focuses together but it didn't work out. I'll have that up tomorrow and then I'll finally move onto Chapter 4. I really don't like Chapter 3.