Part 18: Level Two: RecurrenceLevel Two: Recurrence
Before welcoming you to the first level of the MadMaze, let's take a look at where we've been. This is the entire first level:
And this is the very first maze of the second.
7x7 and three Places of Power, all of them mandatory. We're still getting an easyish introduction to the level, but it's no longer quite so easy to just blow through multiple mazes in an update.
Oh, and lest I forget, here's the Cipher poem given to us at the end of the first level. When used, it takes us right to King Carlon seeing us off into the desert:
But enough of that. On to new adventures! To things never seen before!
...I'm pretty sure I've seen this before.
"Well met, o learned Tsoreen!" you say. "Much has happened since mine eyes last beheld your worthy self."
"Sorry?" says the sage testily. "Oh. You must know my idiot brother. My name is Tsorell."
"Ah," you say, somewhat taken aback. "What is your business?" says the sage.
A sage is a sage though, right? We'll just kick back with some ale and get a clue or tw-
"Do you take me for some drunkard like my brother Tsoreen?" he says irritably. "You'll find none of the devil's brew about my cottage, I'll warrant. Is that all now? There's work to be done."
Well, perhaps we can get some kind of aid from him all the same. Surely if he knows of what we've been through and have yet to do...
"Will you not help me in my quest?" you ask, and tell the sage how you hope to defeat the Mad One.
"Why should I?" says the sage.
"Err... well... back in the first level..."
"That was my idiot brother. What's in it for me?"
Sigh, fine, we'll do something heroic for you or whatever. Probably involves a troll, right?
"And a bloody pain they are, too," grouses the sage, "moaning and groaning to all hours. Keeps a man up at night. I'd give a great deal to have those shades laid to rest. Dispatch the ghosts -- and I shall tell you all I know that may help you in your quest."
Okay, that's a considerable upgrade in heroic deeds, but I'm down. Anything else we should know?
"You're supposed to be the hero," sneers the sage. "Oh well, if you really want to know more, you might talk to the lyon that lives here about. Don't tell him I told you so, but the Atarri used to keep him as a pet. He probably knows something about them."
Well, that's a thing to go on. And I have a sneaking suspicion the next PoP we encounter will be...
Oh dear. Danger already? We've got no recourse here, it's not as if we could just attack the thing and-
Swiftly you draw the Sword Valterre from its scabbard and snap the reins of your charger. You thunder toward the lyon. It springs toward you as you near, but you neatly spit it with your sword and hurl it to the ground beneath your horse. You whirl and dispatch the beast. Now what?
Nevermind then, we can kick this thing's ass. Still, I'm pretty sure that's the wrong answer here, so let's go back where we came and return to a point where the lyon is inexplicably alive again to try for a more useful outcome.
Alternate Endings & Deaths
Just because he's a shitbag, let's insult Tsorell.
"I'll thank you to keep a civil tongue in your head when speaking to your betters," you shout. "Your next words had best be polite, or you shall feel the flat of my blade!"
The sage looks you up and down. "Peasant makes knight," he sneers. "Still feeling the mud between your toes, eh, knave?"
I will give Tsorell this: He has some sick burns. What he does not have, however, is a magic fucking sword.
"Insolent lout!" you cry, and bring forth the Sword Valterre. The sage slams and bars the door to his hut. You begin to cut your way through the door. "Help! Help!" cries the sage from within. "I am beset by an evil knight!"
You feel eyes on the back of your head, and turn. There, standing some distance from the hut, is a majestic creature, maned, four-footed -- you recognize it as the legendary lyon. Somehow, there is an expression of unutterable sadness on its face. You feel as if you have failed some test...
Needless to say, this is not a good solution. It's pretty funny though.
Additionally, we can offer to give Tsorell our sword or horse in exchange for his aid, but as I mentioned, the game doesn't want us to:
Valterre: He looks at your blade and touches it momentarily. He smiles grimly. "I'm not such a fool as that."
Veillantif: He stares up at your spirited stallion. "And what would I want with a great, monstrous beast like that?"
Fair enough. We can also offer to help him with some chores.
"Fine," says the sage, his eyes lighting up. "I need a cord or two of firewood cut." He hands you an axe. Some hours later, you have cut, split, and stacked a cord of wood. You are sweating heavily. "Excellent," says the sage, handing you a shovel. "And now, there's the pig sty to muck out."
Since we already agreed, I guess we'll do more stupid labor.
As it turns to dusk, the sage offers you a crust of bread and a jug of water for your labors. Suddenly, in the distance, you hear an eerie, heart-rending cry.
Wonder what that was?
"Not far from here," says the sage, "lie the ruins of Al-Mugabi, once a fine city of the Atarri folk. It resisted Chugotai Khan, and he razed it. The lamentations of the defeated can still be heard at morning and at twilight; their ghosts haunt the ruins yet."
He then offers us the same heroic quest as before.