Part 58: Level Three: A Wizard Knight Intervenes In A BattleLevel Three: A Wizard Knight Intervenes In A Battle Between Pterodactyl-Riding Insects And Airship-Piloting Lizardmen, And This Is Getting A Bit Long But I Really Couldn't Leave Any Of That Out
Righto. Where were we?
Oh yes. This should be some fun. Now, there are many ways to handle this situation, and while not all of them are wrong, one of them is clearly more right in that it provides us with the means to acquire another clue. But let's explore our options bit by bit.
First of all, why don't we just do nothing? After all, this isn't our fight.
We can attempt to suppress the flames at this point, but a pop-up will inform us that it is too late to help.
The flying craft breaks at its midsection and floats gently downward. You can hear the screams of the dying; many plunge headlong from the vehicle, hoping to avoid the flames but tumbling to their deaths. A body thuds near you; examining it, you see that it is a lizard-like being.
Makes sense. That lizard we met at the ring of stones did say they were at war with the Insectidae.
The battle won, the ptero riders land to regroup and dispatch whatever of their foes might have survived. A search party nears you.
Fleeing lets us escape the PoP, but that's boring. Unfortunately, the other options are not terribly exciting either:
Kill It: You draw Valterre and kill the bug. You hear crashing underbrush as other insects bound toward you, weapons at the ready. Soon, you are surrounded by a veritable cloud of pterodactyl riders, who swoop in, toss spears at you, then swoop away. You cannot close enough to use Valterre. And, inevitably, some of the spears find their mark. You are defeated.
Use Talisman: You hold forth the Talisman... But before you can do aught, a spear enters your chest above the heart. The world grows dim.
The Insectidae don't seem to care about the distinction between us and the Saurosapiens. Maybe they'd be more accommodating if we actually helped their side in the battle? Let's rewind here and use the Talisman to attack the airship.
Fire/Lightning: A lance of magic darts from the Talisman toward the flying craft. Where it strikes, the vehicle burns. The flames spread rapidly, until the craft breaks in two. You can hear the screams of the dying; many of the craft's passengers plummet toward the earth, choosing to brave the fall rather than stay aboard the doomed airship. A body thuds near you; examining it, you see that it is a lizard-like being.
Earth: The earth shakes.
Air: A blast of air tears at the airship, ripping a hole in its fabric. This is not enough, however, to cripple it, and the battle rages on.
Water: It begins to rain.
Cold: A blast of cold lances from the Talisman and strikes the airship.
Time: Time freezes. And then it resumes. None of the combatants seems to notice.
Assuming we shot down the airship, the Insectidae search party then meet with us.
You stride forth, holding yourself as proudly as you may. "Greetings, warriors," you say. "I am the wizard who struck your foe from the skies."
Yyyyyyyyyyyep. They have absolutely no interest in diplomacy.
If, however, we'd failed to damage the airship...
This has no effect on the battle, but does attract the attention of both combatants. A squadron of pterodactyl riders swoops toward you.
Holding our ground just kills us, so let's try blasting them out of the skies. Technically it's turning on the side we've chosen to help, but they started it!
The battle between the airship and its foes rages on. The insects have the advantage of mobility, but there are far more warriors on the flying vehicle. They fire a continuous barrage of crossbow bolts, and insect after insect tumbles from her mount. Forced to divide their forces, the insects cannot hope to triumph over both you and the airship.
We'll get back to the basket in a moment. Let's now try to intervene on behalf of the airship. For the most part, it's the same as trying to blast down the riders after we'd attracted their attention, but there is one option that is even more effective and lets us win the battle singlehandedly.
Come on, we all know the answer by now. It's Air. Like nine times out of ten the answer is Air.
With a blast of gale-force winds, pterodactyl riders go tumbling to their doom. The airship, as large and stable as it is, is not greatly affected by the wind you summon. But soon, the insects and their mounts are swept from the skies.
The basket then descends as before. This time, we'll wait for their arrival.
You tell him of your quest and ask for information. He seems interested, but says, "I'm afraid I know little of these things. But not far from here is the city of Cesauriensis, capital of our nation. There live many scholars, who will undoubtedly be able to assist you. I, General Belisaurius, will give you a letter of recommendation bearing my seal; take it to the city, and the Council of Lizards will assist you."
Hey, that's the best help we've gotten in a while, thanks! Where's this airship going, anyway?
"We are a punitive expedition to the lair of the Prime Mother, queen of the Insectidae," he says. "If you wish to accompany us, we will take you near that place. But, as we may not survive the assault, we will let you off in a nearby maze."
This is something we shouldn't do. Not because it's bad or dangerous, but because they will drop us off in a new maze in front of another PoP we want to visit much later (and wouldn't be able to visit now anyway). Leaving keeps us in the maze we're already in, so officially we're going to say farewell to Belisaurius here.
But unofficially, let's take a ride just to see what happens.
You are drawn up into the belly of the airship, then travel for hours across the MadMaze's third realm. At last, you reach another maze; here, the lizardmen wish you to depart.
We can, at this point, refuse to go and ask to fight with them.
They insist. They grab you and hustle you toward a basket.
Now, if we wish, we can try to fight back:
But if we really want to flip them the middle finger, we can whip out the Talisman for some MAD.
You release a bolt of flame. Instantly, the world fills with fiery explosion. You do indeed destroy them all -- and yourself as well.
Never piss off a wizard. Especially an extremely stupid one.