Part 18: Milten the Fire Mage and the Last Focus
I'm trying something new with a few shots in this update. You should see what it is shortly. I'm usually worried that people don't have a sense of where I am in the world at any given time so I thought of this.
Update 17: Milten the Fire Mage and the Last Focus
I left the mountain fort with and made my way to the Old Camp's southern gate, encountering no trouble along the way. While I did not need to be going into the camp, the road that I would be using to was nearby.
I headed west at the bridge and rejoined the road. A guard, previously obscured by a tree, yelled out to me as a I passed.
"Hey, you!" he said, pointing at me.
I looked around and seeing no one else he could be referring to, I responded. "Who, me?"
"No, your grandmother... Who else could I mean? I wouldn't go down that way if I were you!"
"You can't have been here that long! Man, that's the way to the Orc land. They'll make mincemeat out of you!" I hadn't been here long. I had just entered my 11th day, though I'd accomplished a good many things in that time. I ignored Pacho's warning and pressed on. I knew that this would be a dangerous trip through hositle territory but I didn't know of any other way.
A mere two dozen or so paces from Pacho's guard post I encountered the first sign of the orc's presence: Orc dogs, also known as wargs. I'd heard from some others in the camp that the orcs raised these creatures to be vicious hunters.
A pack of about a half dozen roamed the road ahead. A thrown rock drew the attention of a few, who I dispatched away from the rest of the pack. With their numbers thinned and the element of surprise on my side, I charged into the remaining wargs and eliminated them.
The orc's dogs seemed to be guarding a cave cache, one of similar design to the one where I'd found my hammer. This one contained only old alcohol and torches. Nothing of any use.
When I was finished looting the cave, I took out my map once more. I calculated my position to be just south of the castle.
I continued on the road west, passing under a natural stone arch. I paused again to look at my map when I heard a familiar, distinctly orc sound. They were close! I could see two humanoid figures approaching from the south. I slowly walked back under the stone arch and waited for them to near. When they did, I attacked.
The first one was down before the other had any clue. The second orc, having just seen his partner murdered, unsheathed his jagged sword and angrily swung at me. These orcs, while better equipped than most, were not as skilled as the warrior I'd fought in the cemetery. He went down in quick fight where I sustained a minor injury.
I pressed on, following the road as best I could. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to follow it much longer. Five or six well armed orcs blocked the road. One must have heard my movement as it headed in my direction to investigate. I ducked away and back out of sight. The orc kept at it and I was forced to subdue it. With the meddlesome orc out of the way, I sneaked around the rest of the group and continued on my way.
The road turned north ahead and then west again a short distance later. Some bipedal biter creatures attacked, though I fended them off easily. They seemed to share much of the same behavior with scavengers.
If the map was correct then the focus was just west of here. I paused to consider my next course of action. I stopped to think for a little while. Eventually I decided that I would run west through the small forest.
When I'd reached the end of the forest I noticed I was now near a stone circle. In the center of it a skeleton laid on a large slab of stone, while a passage led to a cave below the surface. Looks like I've arrived.
Just as I was ready to go down I heard something. Someone or something was nearby. I put my hand on my hilt and ran north toward the sound.
When I neared, I heard another voice that I was familiar with.
"Greetings! My friend Lester from the swamp camp told me about your great deeds there! I am impressed. You have become very strong." It seemed like everyone was out of their respective camps today.
"I do my best." I said. I really am strong, aren't I?
"Ah, yes. Always modest, aren't you?"
"I met Gorn." I said.
"By the old ruined monastery by the sea. The two of us searched it for the treasures."
"I'm sure he'll tell me about it when we meet again."
"Lester and I took out the mountain fort." I added.
"He told me about it. Apparently you can be trusted." Word sure spreads fast.
"Where have the four of you been meeting so far?"
"Oh, here and there. We meet in a lot of different places."
I moved on to more pressing matters. "What are you doing here?"
"There is an ancient ring of stone not far from here. In its center lies the entrance to an underground vault."
"Some sort of tomb?"
"Yes, something like that." That must have been what I passed. "There is something in that tomb that I'd like to have."
"I'm looking for a focus stone. It must be here somewhere."
"That almost sounds as if we were both looking for something in the same place."
"Why don't you go down into the tomb and get what you're looking for?" I asked. Milten was a Magician of Fire, one of the more powerful groups on the island.
"Oh, that's a long story. I'd have to go a long way back to explain."
I shrugged. "Go ahead. I'm in no hurry."
"Alright! After the creation of the Magic Barrier with imprisons us all... one of the magicians sealed a magic artifact down there."
"Is this artifact one of the five focus stones?"
"Exactly! So you already know the story of the five focus stones?"
"Don't tell me you're after the focus as well!" If we were looking for the same thing, there would be quite the conflict.
"No. I'm not interested in the focus stone. I'm looking for an Orcish talisman."
"The artifact was sealed away?"
"Yes. A powerful spell protects it. The first grave robber trying to swipe the focus will be cursed, and doomed to an existence as a restless undead, who will have to protect the tomb from other grave robbers."
I didn't like the sound of that. "How can you get past that curse?"
"There will be no need for that now." I gave a sigh of relief.
"Some years ago, an Ore Baron out pleasure hunting for Orcs was careless enough to enter the tomb. Now HE is the guard of the treasures down there."
"What about that talisman?" I asked.
"I believe its former owner used it to defend himself against angry Orcs. If I'm right, the talisman may be of great use."
"We should seek out the tomb together! You get the talisman, and I'll have the focus stone."
"Alright! But there is one little problem..."
I groaned. There always was. "A problem?"
"Yes. The guard down there in the tomb..."
"Can't he be cut into handy little pieces?"
"That wouldn't be too easy. He seems to be extremely resistant against the effects of normal weapons."
"Let me guess, you already got a plan, right?" Lester must have told him I was looking for the stones.
"Uhm... well... I have a plan but I can't carry it out on my own. I have a spell scroll with a very powerful spell here. The spell will destroy all the undead who fall under it."
I grinned. "Then it should be child's play to take out the tomb."
"Mhmm... Well... Not quite! The guard is not on his own any longer. Later grave robbers were no more successful than he was. I went down there once and I was nearly killed. One man on his own cannot do much there."
So that's how it is, then. "Give me the spell scroll and we'll do it together!"
"Good, very good. I hoped you would say that." I assumed as much. Milten continued. "However, we only have one spell scroll. Use it for the guard! The other undead can be defeated in normal fights. Follow me."
Milten led the way, taking me to the cave I had encountered not long ago.
"Here we are. The tunnel here leads directly to the tomb" he said.
I studied the scroll that Milten had given me, committing it to memory. I would need to take out the guardian as quickly as possible.
One I was finished, I spoke up. "Let's go and visit the guard!"
We walked down the ramp and into the tomb below. In the darkness, I could see skeletons moving toward us in the darkness. The tomb's guardian was situated in the far corner of the room. I concentrated and recited the words of the scroll. A ball of blue flame appeared in my hand.
The skeletons were within range just as I threw the spell. It hit the guardian and engulfed him in a magical energy. I turned to the other guards who were now attacking Milten.
Milten used his magic against the skeletons as I fought back with my hammer. The guardian succumbed to the magic and crumbled to the ground.
With both the guardian and skeletal guards defeated, I walked to the focus platform and investigated it. It was empty.
I checked the guardian next. He had the amulet that Milten was seeking, but not the focus stone. I turned and gave the artifact to him, as per our arrangement.
"Good. You have the talisman." Milten said, seeing it in my hand.
"Here, take it. That was our deal!"
"Thank you, my friend. I never forget anybody who helped me. I'll go back to the Old Camp, perhaps we'll meet there." Not likely.
I turned back around, growing concerned. There was only one other place it could be. If it was not in either of the chests then I did not know what to do.
I opened the chest on the left first. Some ore and old weapons but no stone. I moved on to the next. Sweating and giving a quick prayer to Innos, I slowly opened the final chest.
I let out a large sigh of relief. The focus was there and intact! I stuffed it away with the others. With my task finally completed, I took out the scroll I'd been given by Saturas. If he was correct, it would teleport me back to the New Camp.
I recited the scroll's words and was engulfed in a blue aura.
Update 17 Supplement: A sped up run to each focus location that covers a good deal of colony Viddler | Original