The Let's Play Archive


by Nakar

Part 5: Level One: The Vilest Beast Is Man...ners

Level One: The Vilest Beast Is Man...ners

So! Everyone was quite confident that the answers we're seeking are as follows: Brandisbane conquered Middlemark six times, and Fenn conquered Norsten twice. But are we correct?

"Correct!" shouts the Questing Beast with a voice like a gong. "Brandisbane conquered Middlemark six times. Fenn conquered Norsten but twice. Between the two, thirty wars of conquest; your race, is a bloodthirsty one."

With a sigh, he gets off your chest and wanders into the wood, leaving the path open to the east.

Of course we are. That one was easy. Onward, to the next maze!

Red walls and nighttime. The passage of time is arbitrary and in fact it will get even more confusing than this, so don't pay too much mind to the color or daytime state of the maze as anything more than an indicator of which one you're in at a given point.

Once again, we have an optional and a mandatory PoP, so we'll go for the former and end with the latter.

A hermit, eh. Or perhaps the hermit, according to the game.

The interior of the cave is clearly the dwelling of a bachelor. Shelves attached to the rude stone walls bear a haphazard assortment of objects. Dirty clothes are strewn about the floor. No one is here.

Well, everyone knows what that means: Time to look through his stuff. We could be polite and wait for his return, but that's no fun.

You rummage through the cave, finding a rusty sword, a shield emblazoned gules and or per checky, pots, pans, ragged clothing, and a 50-pound sack of potatoes. There's also a small calico cat that takes exception to your liberties with its owner's possessions.

That's not gules and/or, but "gules and or," or red and yellow. "Per checky" means a checkerboard pattern. So it's a red and yellow checkered shield. Just worth noting there because the game certainly never explains further. Oh and the guy comes back.

A large man with an unkempt gray beard, wearing homespun and cloth leggings, appears at the door. "What the devil do ye mean by this!" he shouts.

Crap. I'm sure an apology will suffice?

Glowering at you, he moves to the table. You note that he is carrying a grouse over his shoulder. He drops it onto the table, produces a knife, and begins to gut it, looking meaningfully at you. "Well then," he says, seemingly at a loss. "What d'ye want?"

Once more we have some info we can pump him for, and we may as well.

The Maze: "Nought to tell," he says. "Questing Beast to the west. Blacksmith to the north. Both best avoided." He snorts a brief laugh. "'Course, if ye're here, ye met one of 'em. And if ye're planning to leave, you'll meet t'other." He glowers at you briefly. "Hope ye're an eddicated man."

We could ask why, but his reply will be the same as if we'd made idle conversation:

Pleasantries: He ignores your conversational sallies, and continues gutting the grouse. He throws the entrails to the floor; the small calico cat begins to eat them.

Nothing of interest there. All we can do is tell him of our quest, I suppose.

Quest: He stares at you for a long time. Then, he sighs heavily. "The young are ever fools," he mutters. He grabs your jerkin in his fist, and hauls you close. "Listen. If ever you gain the Castle Perilous, mind the sea cliffs..." He lets you go, and you sit back, rubbing your throat.

We could leave now... but we have the option to ask him how he knows of the Castle Perilous, and given our little poking around earlier we've reason to suspect he knows something more than he's said.

At first, he does not appear to hear you. Then he picks up an old, rusty sword and a shield emblazoned gules and or per checky. He swings the sword tentatively. "It's a long story." He puts the weapon away. You tell him you have the time to hear it.

He turns the shield to you. "These were the colors of Good King Carlon," he says sadly, and refuses to answer any further questions. He hands you half a grouse, neatly plucked and gutted. "Cook it over fire for half an hour. It'll warm your bones."

As you leave, you look back. One hand is at his belt, the fingers moving as if to caress the hilt of a blade -- a blade that is no longer there.

And hey, speaking of smiths...

Really like the way this art works with the low end graphics. Good use of "shadow," so to speak.

The blacksmith stands under the spreading yew tree. One hand raises a mallet high; the other holds tongs that clasp a rod of glowing metal. As you watch, the smith beats the metal into a horseshoe and quenches it in water.

"Well met, good traveler." You are surprised at the cultured tone. "How may I help you?"

Huh. Guess the hermit was wrong about this guy being so bad. Let's tell him about our quest!

He has a hearty laugh at your expense. "Truly it is written that there is one born every minute."

Fine. How about a magic sword?

"Swords in plenty," he responds. "Of magic, none." Figuring any sword is better than no sword, you ask for one. "Forgive me," he says, flexing his impressive muscles, "but there is the matter of payment." You realize you have nary a copper to your name.

Ah well. Guess we'll just be on our way the-

"Not so fast, pilgrim," says the blacksmith, his hammer poised to strike should you disobey. "This land is my property. Should you seek to cross it, you must satisfy me. If you wish to cross my land, you must pay me a toll."

"But I have no money," you respond.

"Then you must answer me a question," says the blacksmith.

Of course. This is that kind of game, after all.

"Despite my profession, I am an educated man. I see many who brave the dangers of the Maze, and it distresses me that most have bad grammar, tossing 'thees' and 'thous' about like a peasant sowing grain."

Um... okay?

"I will let you pass, if you tell me when the word 'thou' is properly used."

Yep. That's the puzzle. The game offers some choices, but I'm going to be a dick here and not tell you what they are. So, medieval grammarians in the audience: Under what circumstances is the pronoun 'thou' properly employed? You should obviously know this from school, and not need to run to Wikipedia to look it up. I'll know if you did, and worse, so will the blacksmith!