Part 28: Level Two: A Plain HintLevel Two: A Plain Hint
New maze time! This one's the only River Route map that's in darkness, for whatever reason. Only an aesthetic thing, but weird. Simple layout with one optional PoP and one mandatory, so we'll do them in order here. As has sort of been the case on this route, the optional one is much more important, making this route potentially quite nasty for skipping clues if you happen upon the mandatory PoPs first. Just remember to avoid the ones on the edges of the maps first, I suppose.
Wearily, you survey the desert stretching before you. Your horse looks none too happy at the prospect, and your water bags are running low.
We're given the option to turn back, but there's no point in doing that. Press on.
You travel for hours. The mountains in the dim distance are gradually approaching, but only gradually. Your horse is sweating heavily and clearly tired. You yourself are baking in your armor. You dismount to lead your mount, sparing him the burden of your weight. You study the sun. It has not moved. Is there no evening in this place? If not, you will surely die. You see a shadow on the ground before you, and look up. It is...
It's like the last time we met a Tercelid, but in reverse. Except this time he DOES have a lance and pony.
Before we get anywhere, let's bum some water off him.
"Water," you gasp. "I beg of you..."
He dismounts and takes a water bag from his saddle. He offers it to you, and more to your horse.
"I thank you, good sir," you say.
"No sir," he says, "just a simple warrior of the khan. You have not answered my question, Frank.
Considering we're in a bad state and he's armed, we'd better phrase an answer carefully. Fortunately, the game is a step ahead of us on this.
You tell him of your search for the Wizard Moraziel and the message you must deliver; and of your desire to overthrow the Mad One. You grow hoarse with thirst.
Maybe not the Mad One part, there, buddy.
The Tercelid chuckles, and offers you a water bag. "You are as mad as He if you think this is possible. Your path lies through the khan's palace, as you must realize; you do not hope to seize the Talisman of Chugotai, I trust?"
Uhhhhhhhhh, no, no, of course not.
"Then I must find a guide," you say.
"That might work, except that the mountain-dwellers are uniformly fanatical worshippers of He Whose Name Must Not Be Spoken. I misdoubt me that they'll guide you."
"I cannot abandon my quest," you say.
"Then," says the Tercelid, "I suggest you purchase a magic carpet."
Refreshed by the water the Tercelid warrior gave you, it does not take you long to traverse the remainder of the desert plain. Weary but grateful to reach an end, you return to the relative shade of the MadMaze.
The next PoP is nothing too special.
This guy again? Or just another, slightly different beggar?
In your travels, you come across a beggar, a gaunt man clad only in a loincloth. He holds his begging bowl toward you and bows his head.
No special options this time but to give him a coin or ignore him, and there's clearly no point in ignoring him.
"Thank you, o knight," he says. He leans close and you lean away; he obviously hasn't bathed in years. "Only the pious," he whispers fiercely, "may cross the Chasm of Despair."
"What does that mean?" you say, but the beggar is already trotting away from you, gumming your coin.
In our next update, something special will happen! It's nothing too special though, so don't get overly excited.
Alternate Solutions & Deaths
Supposing we'd been a little too cagey and a little too stabby with the Tercelid?
"I am a simple unlanded knight," you say, "wandering the land in search of fame and fortune..."
"You are a warrior of our hereditary foe, King Carlon!" shouts the Tercelid. "You will explain your presence or die!"
Well if you insist.
You pat your mount and it dances away. You draw the Sword Valterre and, sweating heavily, charge your foe. The Tercelid warrior spurs his pony and charges to meet you. Weapons clash. His lance is severed halfway up the shaft. "Nice sword," says the Tercelid. He trots away and draws a bow.
Wearily, you stagger toward him; he draws the bow and fires. The arrow hits you in the fleshy part of your arm; a wound, but not an immediately dangerous one. You close with the Tercelid and raise your sword -- but he turns and trots a distance away. He shoots again. The fourth arrow finishes you off. As you lie dying in the desert sun, you repent your hotheadedness.
Not quite what I meant, but about what should be expected.