Part 12: The Shape of a Black CloakXII - The Shape of a Black Cloak
Hello everyone and welcome back. Today's update is probably gonna be a bit short, but it's one of the most important ones in the entire LP. Like all good King's Quest games, it has a visit with an oracle who lays out the rest of our quest for us.
The Winged Ones' guards, bored with the pointless waiting, are startled by the sound of rock moving against rock.
Shamir is also here because of course he is. Nobody in this kingdom farts without him going to tell Alhazred about it.
Celeste and Alex pop out of a nearby hole.
Lady Celeste, bide thee well?
I'm QUITE well, thanks to the bravery of a mere HUMAN! So much for your SUPERIOR intellects!
But... m'lady! Your father ordered...
This human saved me. You did not. You have weapons. This human did not. You sent him to his death and still he triumphed. I don't want to hear another word out of your mouth.
Now, bring him along! I'm going home!
I'm sure there's a graceful way to fly, but Celeste does not know it. She's so stiff even while flying.
These guards are slightly better. But... are they barefoot? The fuck kind of Lord is Azure that he doesn't give his guards greaves or something? This isn't Rimworld!
Back here again!
I see you have proven yourself the 'hero' of the prophecy. Well, I am expected to thank you for saving my daughter's life, so I thank you. I am also obliged to thank you for the restoration of our sacred catacombs. It means much to our people. We have already begun the process of clearing the deadly traps from its rooms.
I disarmed any traps I passed by.
The catacombs are rather extensive and run quite deep beneath the mountain. The minotaur also was there for a very long time. There are many floors that you did not visit. It is also my duty to grant you a visit with the Oracle, so this I do. I will grant you the freedom to leave here unharmed, despite my orders to the contrary from the Crown. But there my obligations to you end. I have no love for Alhazred, but he is my liege, and if Princess Cassima trusts him and wishes to wed him...
My guards will take you to the Oracle now. When your time with her is through, I want you to leave the City of the Winged Ones and never return. I don't know who you are or what you want here, but I will not disobey my Crown further.
I thank you, Lord Azure. I will respect your wishes.
The guards fly Alex over to the giant opening in the mountain.
Hail to thee, great Oracle! Lord Azure sends you this wingless male. It appears that he solved the Cliffs of Logic and...
...defeated the minotaur in his lair. So I have seen. So this is the one that haunts my pool of late! Welcome, young seeker. What knowledge do you desire?
Princess Cassima. Whatever you can tell me, great Oracle...
Ah! Of course, the princess! That explains my images.
She's not my sister, is she? The last time I visited an oracle, she showed me my sister in her pool.
No, silly boy, the Princess is not your sister. But tell me of this other oracle...
She had candlewax occluding her eyes.
The Maiden in Black still lives? How interesting... But let us return to your question. Let us see what we can see.
I see a maiden--lovely and pure, but surrounded by evil. She is a rose set amidst bitter thorns. It is her fate to be the pawn of dark powers...
...and yours to try to redeem her!
How? How do I redeem her?
Fate is not like the cut of a blade, young one, but rather like the myriad of paths formed when a hammer cracks ice. I will tell you what I can, but what will actually come to pass is up to you.
Translation: the oracle is gonna be talking about the two mutually exclusive ending paths.
I see that any attempt to reach the girl will force you into battle, a struggle against a dark force. If you lose, your life will be forfeit.
Who must I fight?
A great darkness surrounds your adversary, preventing me from seeing clearly.... I can only make out the shape of a black cloak. But before this final struggle, I see an infiltration--a dangerous game of hide and seek in corridors filled with enemies. The risks are high, but it is the only way to reach the one you seek.
"Hide and seek" here meaning "hide behind pillars while guards slowly patrol past." It's not exactly fun, and you have very little room for error. If you do everything right on the long ending path, you basically don't have to worry about hiding from guards.
There is more than one way into this place. Your choice will dictate much.
What else do you see, mighty Oracle?
<gasp> Oooh.... Such pain! I see two restless spirits crying out for revenge. These shades could help you destroy the dark force if they were to be brought back from their spiritual form, yet this is only one possible path to your destiny
I'm afraid this is getting beyond me. I know very little about the afterlife. I can only advise getting counsel from the Druids. Be warned--the Druids are reclusive and dangerous. They might aid you or they might destroy you. Like their island, the Druid's nature is hidden in the mists. I would not expect them to be especially friendly. My pool has shown me much of the islands' feuds of late, and the Druids are quite upset. They are not likely to welcome visitors. Keep your wits about you, young man.
This is explicitly describing the long path, the one this LP is taking. I called the two paths mutually exclusive earlier in the update, and that wasn't idle talk. Committing to the long path means that if we fuck up, we're hosed and without a safety net.
There is nothing more I can do for you except to give you this...
It is water from the sacred pool. That and my blessing go with you.
Thank you, great Oracle.
Heck of a cliffhanger, huh?
NEXT TIME: A lot has changed. Let's go looking around!
List of Points
+6 - Consultation with the oracle
Total Points: 121/231
Register of Deaths
None this time!