Part 52: Level Three: Old Friends Return (Bearing Puzzles)Level Three: Old Friends Return (Bearing Puzzles)
The slide takes us all the way to the route split, putting us where we would've been in the first place had we gone down from the Great Stone Head. The way forward lies somewhere beyond this branch of the MadMaze, though there's still quite a lot to do. We start at the top left part that leaves the map (which would go back to the snow area, if we felt like it), and we're in a double maze that curiously enough only has a single mandatory PoP. We can skip everything else, but we won't; instead we'll sweep the PoPs from west to east.
It is a crude pile of rocks, a cairn marking the grave of some unfortunate traveller.
Oh no! I guess she died. Or did she?
Yup: Silently, you bow your head for a long moment, and pray for her soul, now in the afterlife. Then, you stand upright with new determination. If Persephone be truly dead, then your mission is all the more important, for you are the last one living who may carry the message to the Wizard Moraziel.
Nah: No, never! It cannot be. She was too canny, too brave, to end in such a fashion. Perhaps she merely wrote her name here, to indicate her passage; perhaps this carin was built by the Mad One's servitors to dishearten other messengers from Weith Village. Surely she is ahead of you, journeying to the Mad One's seat; and surely, you will meet again.
Hmm, anything else worth studying on the cairn?
We seem to be getting a lot of random advice lately. Ah well, time to move on.
Oh hey, been wondering where you were.
Agree: "Yes," you say tiredly. "What do you want now?"
Deny You've Met: "Err... Why no," you say. "Middlemark? Norsten? And where might these places be?" The Questing Beast peers at you suspiciously with glowing red eyes. "Well," it says nastily. "Perhaps you are so lackwitted as to misremember our previous acquaintance. I, however, remember it well."
Deny It Took So Long: "Nonsense!" you say. "I figured it out the first time. You must have some other lackwit in mind." "Oh?" says the Questing Beast in amusement. "Then you will have little difficulty solving my next conundrum."
"I have a conundrum to pose you," says the Questing Beast. "If you fail to answer correctly, I shall eat..."
You draw the Sword Valterre from your sheath and turn it so it glints in the moonlight.
"That is to say... ahem. Umm... Err... If you fail to answer correctly, we shall part in mutual good fellowship," it continues weakly.
"And if I answer correctly?" you ask.
I suppose this is why you exist, Questing Beast. Lay it on us.
"Good, good," says the Questing Beast in a voice that does not sound too positive. "Ahem. It seems that this land, once the Vale of Vojvoda, now incorporated into the MadMaze's third realm, has been conquered by five different races in the course of its history. Each race of conquerers rode a different creature (one race rode wolves, etc.); each wielded a different weapon; and each worshipped a different god (one race worshipped The Hunter, e.g.)."
Figures. Note that while it will probably be necessary to figure out everything for each race, the only thing the Questing Beast is actually asking is what mount/weapon/god were utilized by the Humans and Insectidae, so that's all we technically need to answer.
Alternate Solutions & Deaths
If we want, we can hang out at the cairn some more.
Here you are, hanging around a pile of rocks with some chalk marks on it. Real exciting, huh?
If we choose to stay longer...
Sun rise. Sun set. Sun rise. Sun set. Getting bored yet?
Nah, not yet.
Well, I see no reason to go on.
You stay there until you die of starvation. Wolves worry at your bones and scatter them across creation. Not even a bleached skeleton is left to mark your passage. The End.
Fair enough. Off to the Questing Beast. We can simply refuse his riddle.
"Um... very well," says the Questing Beast. "I'll just be going, then. Umm -- nice to see you again." And it disappears into the woods.
We can also finally just kill the son of a bitch.
"Yah hah!" you shout, plunging Valterre into the breast of the Questing Beast.
"Lackwit," it grunts in pain; and then, with a gurgle, it breathes its last.
We could try using the Talisman, but...
You hold forth the Talisman... The Questing Beast is no fool. It recognizes a great item of power when it sees one. That means you've got TWO great items of power -- the Talisman and the Sword. It turns tail and flees. You are left alone in the wood.
Last, upon hearing the riddle, let's just threaten the Questing Beast.