Part 51: Into The WoodsUpdate 10: Into The Woods
Now that we've left Kristophan, you'd think from looking at the map that there's about 3 cities we can visit with their own wacky adventurers. And you'd be wrong.
All three cities are pretty much menus with a pretty picture and some basic options. They're useful for getting rid of loot and training, but not much else.
Our next destination is in this area, which has been vaguely hinted at but is never actually pointed out to us. You just kind of have to stumble into it, unless you're looking at a guide.
"My body it's moving on its own "
"That never turns out well."
Once you're in, you can't simply find your way out. You have to wander around and slowly starve, a mechanic found nowhere else in the game, until something happens or you hit a trigger point. Each time that hunger strikes our HP is cut, but this isn't threatening since there are no enemies in this area. After a bit of wandering..
"I think that figure looks familiar "
"Oh no, not again."
"Never expected to find anyone from Ansalon here on Taladas!"
"We haven't met them yet, but now that you've mentioned them I'm sure we will."
"This woman here was saying - now where have they all gotten to?"
"Your guess is as good as mine. You're the first person we've seen in here."
"Hiding from you, I reckon. They can hide marvelously well, especially here in their wood. And they don't seem fond of foreigners, especially human ones."
"If they keep this up, the feeling will be more than mutual."
"Hey-ho, I've bashed around enough in these woods. I'm bored! Need some company? Can I travel with you guys?"
"I guess just this time let us sleep when we want to sleep."
Tasslehoff has become considerably less impressive over time, and is currently the lowest level person we've had travel with us in this game. He's actually really underwhelming, but that's okay giving the situation.
" nobody move. We don't want to scare anybody off."
"Sir elf, stay your hand and listen to me, I beseech you. Listen well. You must learn huller words to win the hearts of the Hulderfolk."
"If that is what it takes, you will find us eager students."
"Bless you. I think it was your legendary warrior, Huma, who said that the true test of a hero is humility."
"I suppose? Huma must have said a lot of things."
"You must understand that you are trespassers, albeit unwitting ones. But the Hulderfolk fear foreigners, for they often try to possess our beautiful places for their own."
"Trust us, if we were intending to take over anything it wouldn't be this place."
"I will teach you the speech you need to escape this wood. And you will do something for me."
At this point, we're entering into the second gimmick of these woods. Our mysterious benefactor will show up and teach us words in the Hulderfolk tongue, which you as the player might want to write down as you actually have to use them to answer multiple choice question with them when prompted. The words and their meanings are:
This is strung out across the next few encounters of which I'm just going to hit the high points.
"We really need to learn whatever the word is for "please don't hit us in the head with rocks."
"That would be a very specific word."
"Just don't make fun of me. It's Samantha."
"Then greetings Sir Samantha, I have something for you. But I don't understand, why would I make fun of your name?"
"It's a long story we mostly just call him Sam."
"I am Elea. Let no one know I have been here."
"You must learn to speak nicely, so let us review the words I have taught you."
"Those should help us out a lot as long as we're just asked very simple questions and they don't expect any kind of conversation."
"Wow, these guys know how to throw a party."
"Hello uh can we help you?"
"My lord and lady welcome you to your banquet, and crave your tidings. Will you come meet with them?"
"Honor the queen! She will do you ill, if you let her."
"She got something more than anybody else against foreigners?"
"It's more like that she's a huge bitch. You'll see."
"Our hearts were glad when you spoke our ancient greeting, and identified yourselves as friends. So few of our visitors are friends these days."
"We are friends to those who would be friends to us, and enemies to those who would be our enemies."
"Indeed. My queen notes your power, and is wary of you still. She insists on a royal audience, as is her right. It is a ritual. I will translate her questions, but you must answer them yourself, in our tongue. Elea! You shall go!""
"We often hear that city people describe us as dour and inhospitable."
"You speak well and truly. Will you raise arms with us against our enemies?"
"Over the eons we have learned to be wary of outsides, who invariably want our wood for their houses or our children for their own. Will you swear an oath not to destroy any of our trees, or steal any children?"
"My heart is glad. Now I know our land and trees and children will be safe for everyone knows better than to break an oath sworn to the Hulder."
"Well, that's not ominous at all."
"Limene but.. uh.. we're going to need more words for that..."
"We will feast in your honor, for a period of no less than a month!"
"By your leave, king sir, and you ma'am, I wish to be on my way. And these folks too. We all have important business elsewhere, you see. These folks are after draconians!"
"Holbani you can't be serious."
"I'm afraid you must all remain, for several weeks at least. The queen wishes to know what you know about draconians, although such evil creatures would never come here."
"Are you sure there is nothing you can do?"
"Behold! I have made you all my official emissaries who may lawfully leave this feast to see to the health of our wood."
"And how, precisely, can we do that?"
"It is high time to prove the health of the mother of trees."
"All her leaves will drop within a few days, as autumn begins. Yes, you must do it now!"
"The saddest thing is that counting the leaves on a tree isn't even the most pointless thing we've ever been asked to do."
"Go and find the mother of trees. Count her leaves, and tell us the number. Then you may be about your important business."
" we might as well get started. That sure is one huge tree, though."
"No! I will not do this! This is as uninteresting as life can get!"
"Are we sure it wouldn't have just been faster to stay at the party?"
"Yes. There are 14, 701 leaves on the Mother of Trees. Now, about our business "
"You have done well, and this proves the mother of trees is healthy! Superb!"
"The queen makes a point of order. Leaves have fallen from the mother since you counted. Your number is no longer true. I fear you must return to the mother and count again."
"You're you the fu is this one of those things where you had to marry her for political reasons and can't just slit her throat and stash her body under a tree? Because that's the only explanation I can see from here."
"We'll keep that option in mind at the very least that might make them kick us out of here."
"82 leaves? That's what all this is about?"
"Leaves have fallen from the mother since you counted. 44 of them, to be exact. Your number is no longer true."
"Oh, thank all the Gods. We were about ready to tear off all the leaves except for one and tell you that was the answer."
"We also would have accepted that as an answer, yes."
"These creatures were killed at our border. And evil dragons have been seen overhead. I believe it is time for you to leave."
"In other words, you're hoping that if we leave they'll stop looking for us."
"I have gifts for you,s grangers, that you might remember us well."
As one might hope, everything here is magical. The bow and elfin chain are +4, providing a significant upgrade for Sam and Gable respectively.
"Last, a dragon talisman for the dragon hunters!"
"Perhaps you can give it to someone with a neck stiff enough to wear it."
"Hmm I think this could have something to do with that prophecy "
"Go and feast, then rest. Tomorrow we will uncover the passage that brought you here. Although you are strangers, I say you 'wefbene' which means: depart in peace and walk in light."
" did you guys all have beards last night?"
"Hey, speak for yourself lady. I've never needed a razor."
"What the hell did they do to us?"
"I think it's pretty clear which of them is responsible for this."
"It's probably too late to go back and kill her, isn't it?"
"You have returned? No, you have never left! They have done it again!"
"Wait, this is a regular thing around here?"
"Did you know the Hulderfolk have power over time? They may cause mortals to age - an hour, a day, sometimes many years."
"While she slept, she had a baby that the Hulderfolk kept as their own."
"Was she.. was she pregnant BEFORE she came into the woods? Please tell me she was."
"She awoke and left the wood, never knowing she had borne a daughter - me."
"You'd think that's the kind of change in your body that a person would notice."
"I wouldn't know. Make haste. We must get you out of this wood and on your way."
"The clever queen made you promise not to steal Hulder children. If I left with you, that oath would destroy you."
"Pardon me, but you don't appear to be a child to me and we would not be taking you if you left of your own free will."
"By Hulder law I am a child and will be for many more years. As a child, they hold that my choices are not my own. But above all else I desire to meet my mother. I do not know her name!"
"That would make it a lot more difficult to find her."
"If you should find a woman whom I resemble, speak my name to her so she will remember me at last. I will not make you swear to do it. Oaths are dangerous. I merely humbly ask."
"We will gladly fulfill that request. Thank you for all you've done for us."
Not much change this time around, since we had no combat and only got a few experience rewards and items. The biggest upgrade is that elfin chain for Gable, which brings him down to the same range as the rest of the crew. We did pick up a few levels, however, and they'll be welcome as we move into the next major section of the game. Average level: 19.83