Back on course after our detour, we arrive at this structure...
...which promises a new ability! In this case, a spell: Energy Bolt.
Ahh, there it is now.
"The energy bolt employs magical force in its rawest form... a messy spell, but a potent one nonetheless."
Not very visually stunning at first... (See that little gob of blue light? That's our new projectile attack!)
...but the end results are oh-so-rewarding. (See those gobs of purple ichor? That was an enemy!)
It can also be used to trigger switches that we can't readilly reach otherwise.
Using our new spell to open a way out, we continue on our quest.
Nachtholm - this is our destination, but alas, there's some large stones blocking the bridge! Tricksy humans... they're too large to move and too large to jump over. Now, I could just high-tail it through the water in wolf form - it would hurt, but wouldn't kill me before I got through - but there's an easier way.
A little ways to the south, we come upon a cave, with this little gem: our first Blood Fountain. These give Kain permanent augmentations when he drinks from them, such as immunity to the ill effects of rain, faster mana regeneration, or, in this case, increased strength. Now, we can move larger rocks.
Fountain, in a creepy as fuck voice:
"The Blood of Ages flows so sweet. Come, drink from us."
"Your strength has increased, for our blood enhances."
Once we drink from the fountain, the blood turns black. If we drink a second time, the black blood actually hurts Kain, and the fountain intones:
"Do not be greedy, Vampire. You have had your fill." Oh. Alright, then.
Nachtholm never saw it coming!
Oh, what have we here?
Yes, yes that woman did in fact just slap Kain across the face. Bitch.
Ahh, our arch-nemesis itself: a bar counter. Look at that bartender, pacing around back there, so smug...
But counters are no longer any match for us!
Another point of interest in town is the brothel! Look at that art on the wall. Yes, it's really a brothel. And yes, Kain is about to get slapped again. He has a way with women!
Investigating the west wing, we find...
In other buildings in town, we discover two new items:
"Of all the methods I employ, this is perhaps the cruelest, causing my victim's body to shrink on itself, crushing bones and rupturing organs 'til the pressure inside burst the sac of fleshy skin, spraying its contents for all to see."
This is by far the most powerful ability at our disposal. It does enormous damage - far more then enough to insta-kill anything in this area of the game - to everything near the target. Hoorah!
"At times, my magic extends into very exotic disciplines such as the manipulation of time. I am able to slow time down, so I can move about quick as a wolf, while all others move as though they were mired in mud!"
This one isn't so useful at the moment, but becomes much moreso later in the game.
Once we leave Nachtholm, it's a short walk to Steinchencröe.
As we near the gates, Kain explains:
"The town of Steinchencröe bore with it the infamous aroma of its inhabitants. In life, I would not have graced the place with my presence. In death, I merely added to the stench."
Inside, we discover an old madman sitting in the mud in a corner.
"The bastards in Steinchencröe shun me as Nosgoth shuns them! I know what it means to be an outsider, vampire. I fear you not, but remember this - there are others who will speak to you, so long as you know how to look."
His advice is good - but there's more then one way to interpret it.
On our way down the road, we pass this tempting alcove - but unfortunately, it's blocked by a large stone pillar, which I definitely can't move. Perhaps later we'll be able to get past this.
The answer to the madman's riddle of sorts lies in this gypsie camp.
"There are benefits to traveling beneath a human guise. The threat to my person is lessened and much information can be gleaned. However, the illusion is flimsy, and any act of aggression on my part can break the spell."
Yes, to pass by humans unaccosted, the trick is to... know how to look. In this case, like a peasant.
And finally, we arrive in Vasserbünde.
"Nupraptor's Keep lay west of Vasserbünde. I would seek to cut the cancer from its heart."
Next update: Nupraptor, the first of the 8 Pillar Guardians. (Ariel was the 9th, but she's dead already - convenient!)