Part 39: ARC IV: Part 2: Ruins of Rellenia.ARC IV: Part 2: Ruins of Rellenia.
That might have something to do with the fact that I feel terrible. Our female informant friend cost me a good night's sleep.
You can't see it on my face, but I didn't sleep very well either. Don't get on my nerves too much today if you can help it.
Carriage leaves pretty soon. Let's go to Laurel's new apartment here and get her.
Laurel lives on the next floor up...
... in Rana's (the necromancer) old room.
It's a tiny room too!
Morning. You enjoying your new surroundings?
This was Rana's room, right?
That's her name? I was curious as to who she was. There are strong feelings all over this room.
Strong feelings. That's one way of putting it. I'm amazed you can sleep at night.
Huh? What does that mean, Cade? I always thought Rana was a nice girl.
No more chatter. With this Rellenia trip added to our schedule, we can't afford to waste time.
Is Gino coming again?
Oh, for sure. He's been a great help and I think he's really enjoying the chance to travel.
I'll tell him to meet us at the carriage. Shall we be off?
We have one stop to make before the carriage, though.
Can't complain. Any changes here?
*sigh* Not sure why I come here anymore. Habit, I guess.
Cade, did you custom make a suit of armor for someone from Pearlton?
Umm... Yeah! That guy came in months ago and made the order. Never picked it up, though.
He came while you were gone. I left the gold he gave me in that chest over there. You might as well have it.
Are you sure? You might be able to use that to help the store.
*chuckle* No lad, that's not nearly enough. The only way I could realistically get this place back to business would be if Equipment King suddenly decided to shut down.
Who knows? That still might happen.
Ha, I ain't holding my breath! You take care for now.
If I can ever get myself to break out of this routine, maybe I'll do some sightseeing myself.
Did Cade charge this amount... or is there a tip involved...?
Gino's waiting for us at the carriages but doesn't say much.
Cade gives the driver the destination. Stopping briefly in Rellenia on the way to Artagel. Then Bones tells Finley to pay up.
DRIVER: Thanks! Now let's be gettin' along! Hopefully we won't have any more... incidents.
After a short time we cut to the wagon parked outside Rellenia. Curiously, if you leave Port Arianna to the south, you can walk all the way here and this is where the party complains about turning back. Actually, a bit behind where the wagon is parked is a path to the west that leads to the cathedral were we last fought Andau.
What's to get, man? She's in Artagel... we're going there too. Why are you upset?
"I love this city, so take all the time you need! We'll leave for Artagel any time."
"None of us can be seeing her in Artagel if we're going to be on the job! We got lucky in Boreal... Auburn never saw us in costume.
That's not a risk I'm willing to take a second time!"
I can tell you're still wondering whether you should tell her who you are. Do you think that's a good idea?
I'll answer that question. No. It's too risky and somewhere in his lovesick head, he has enough sense to know that.
Errgh... Let's just find this commission so we can get out of here.
They're not expecting Cade and Bones. They're expecting Shroud and Stoic.
She's right. I guess we'll have to get into costume.
I suppose I'll head over to my friend Kenneth's place. He's a blacksmith who works here in town.
Gino, are there any towns you don't have a friend working in?
Hmm... Not sure. I bet if we keep travelling, we'll find one eventually! Take care for now, everyone!
No kidding. Guess we better throw these costumes on, huh?
And with that, we can finally enter Rellenia, capitol of the elven kingdom.
And right out the gates there's already some tension...
There's also a few NPC conversations the party gets involved in.
GUY 1-HAND: What are you talking about? A true swordsman knows there is more power in using one sword.
Hey, it's Stoic! You use swords. What do you think on the matter of dual-wielding versus a single sword?
I think it is important to experiment. Both styles have their own benefits and you should choose the one that works best for you.
There's a short pause...
GUY DUAL: See! I told you dual-wielding is better!
GUY 1-HAND: Were you even listening? He obviously was talking about single swords!
Talking to myself here.
The store they're standing in front of is the Rellenian Equipment King, and Shroud refuses to enter, as usual.
In the........... in person.
Were you going to say in the flesh? Ha ha ha! Not quite, man!
SKELETON: You're an inspiration to all those without flesh, sir. It's really uncanny. People have been nicer to me because they have heard stories about you.
Your good deeds are helping undead all over the world.
I'm delighted to hear that. Thank you.
SKELETON: Hey, thank you! Keep up the good work!
Thank you, friend. What do you do for a living?
GOBLIN: I work to help rebuild the city. It's been ages since I first came down here... fifteen years, I'd say. I just heard about all the elves were going through and I felt a tremendous calling to come and help. It's been hard work, but we have accomplished a great deal. We created new roads through town, blocked off the crumbling areas which could be dangerous and built many new homes and businesses for the people here.
That's great thing. You should be very proud.
GOBLIN: Something I realized after Gallia's reign was that it was so important for all of us survivors of all races to come together and try to make a better life.
Recently, you have been a great inspiration to me. To hear stories about a human and a skeleton working together on behalf of good gives me hope.
I may be a hard worker, but I'm not a hero like you guys.
I think people around here would say otherwise.
GOBLIN: ... Thank you. That means a lot to me. Enjoy your time in Rellenia, friends.
Hey, what about me? Don't you want my autograph?
KID: Who are you?
*sigh* Kids can be so cruel.
There you go, little buddy.
KID: Awesome! Thank you!
Ahem. Interesting conversation going on here....
Even the shopkeeps are excited to see us.
It's nice being here.
WOMAN: I've been having mixed feelings about my baby... If it's right to bring a child into a world with so many problems, but I am glad to see people trying to make Solest a better place. I'm sure that you all will be fine role models.
Well, if you're looking for a name for your kid, Baron is always a good choice.
WOMAN: Hmm... I was hoping for something rooted in the elven culture, but I'll think about it.
We also get a small sidequest at the fruit shop.
I'll show off the Old District shortly.
What are you talking about?
MAN: Wait... so you're not here to arrest me?
No. Should we?
MAN: Of course not! I'm a good citizen! Ah heh heh heh... heh...
HM SEEMS LIKE WE SHOULD POKE AROUND
MAN: Gah! Uh... No reason.
We're going to take this back to the shop and leave you with a firm warning, understand? Don't do this again.
MAN: Yeah! For sure! Sorry!
WORKER: I'll bet it does. Nice work!
It was in a sock drawer, so I don't know how good it still is.
WORKER: Yuck! We can't sell that! That's too bad... Oh well, it's just one pear. Here guys, thanks for finding it.
He... gives us a watermelon...
Then we go to the inn right behind this store.
What? It's not for sale.
Hey man, don't be so hasty! He might offer you a lot for it... and you can just find another one.
Oh yeah? And what is he supposed to do until we get another one? Fool.
Just wrap the cape around your head for a while!
I'm sorry, sir. But the mask has personal value. You can't really put a price on it.
The Old District's pretty small. It only has these two streets, no ones walking around and only two buildings, one of which is locked. The other...
Good to meet you. We're armorsmiths ourselves, and Gino usually takes care of our weapons.
Wow, that's giving away a big hint to the identities of you and Shroud, Stoic.
KENNETH: Always nice to see fellow craftsmen.
Likewise. How's business out here?
KENNETH: Can't complain. My shop's got a quirk, though. I collect rare armor from other areas and sell them here in town.
You're definitely welcome to have a look at the goods.
KENNETH: Hey, I owe you for bringing Gino down here. I haven't seen him for ages!
Gino himself doesn't have much to say but he does have Stoic and Laurel's next tier of weapons now.
... now back to the previous district.
The building to our left is where we'll find the commission, and the one to the south is the King's residence. We can go into either right away and due to what I assume is a flaw in event programming, we can start but not finish the events that lead to us meeting King Bane.
So, let's see the commission first.
"I'll be damned! It's been ages!"
Wyre. How have you been, my friend?
Wyre was briefly mentioned in the last Clean Slate update. He was Queen Arianna's ambassador to the Gallian Rebels.
I've been excellent. What brings you out here?
You don't know? We got your message.
Message? What message?
Then another elf steps out from the backroom...
ELF: Do I know you?
You must be mistaken. I can't be letting her leave town! She's been too much help here in the office!
ERI: He's right. I've never even been to Port Arianna.
What the hell?
Well, what was this message?
We were told you put together a report on Equipment King and were going to give us a spare copy.
Really... I hadn't thought of that, but it's quite a good idea. I have heard of your clashes with those crooks.
ERI: We can get you a copy, but not right away. Hopefully, we can have it done by tomorrow morning at least.
That's so odd... But at least you're on the level. Tell me more about the report.
We wanted to do something like this ever since Don Kovak decided he was going to try and open a store here. All these strange incidents going on around that time just seemed too convenient for him. We waited until he and his entourage left for Port Arianna before we started the study.
I'm still amazed you were able to do this without risking your safety.
Oh, it wasn't as hard as you might think. Especially after having lived through Gallia's reign. Equipment King may have a far reach, but they are hardly omniscient. Back in those days, just talking sense was punishable by death. This wasn't nearly as scary by comparison.
How did you get the information?
Old fashioned detective work, my friend. Interviews with witnesses to the events make up most of it.
This worked out well for us. With this and Marin's information, we'll have more than enough evidence.
Marin? As in Cole Marin?
You know him?
Know him? He came into town to help us!
The plot thickens. So how did that man come to know so much about this, anyway?
He went undercover within a cult called The Hand. Perhaps you've heard of them?
... Yeah. You might say that.
You would not believe the stories he has. He was with them for a full year, and "retired" to write his book.
How in the name of Arcadius is he still alive?
Oh, he's a crafty old geezer, that one. Sharp as the sword of elven kings. During the time he was undercover, he wore his hair long and grew a full beard.
In addition to that, he put small stilts in his shoes to make him appear taller than he actually was. Once he was done with The Hand, he cut his hair, shaved his beard, and went back to his regular height. Even with all that, he still makes himself nearly impossible to track down.
We heard he was in Artagel.
That may be right. He talked about that place a lot while he was here.
So you'll have a copy of the report ready for us by tomorrow, then?
I guess we'll have to find something to do until then.
You ought to head over to the palace. I'm sure King Bane would be thrilled to meet you.
King Bane. You know, I'm surprised they didn't make you king, Wyre.
Eh, well... Some people seemed to like that idea. I wasn't so sure. In the long run, it was better that a younger and more visionary elf like him won out.
I'm better off with something like this.
Thank you for doing this.
My pleasure. We'll get started right away. In the meantime, enjoy your stay in Rellenia... And be sure to tell your friends.
We could use a little more attention these days.
We'll talk later. It was good to see you again.
Same here, Stoic.
During the wars against Gallia, Wyre was Queen Arianna's ambassador to the rebellion within the city. He handled communication between them for months while she gathered her forces.
He must have been pretty effective if he had a shot at being king.
Queen Arianna had no children. When she died, there was no clear line of succession. Several high-ranking officials expressed interest in the throne.
Good to see you know your stuff, bud. Having you around should save me a lot of talking.
Still... I don't know much about this Bane fellow, but if Wyre put his trust in him, that's good enough for me.
That thing with the messenger was so weird! The person I talked to looked just like that elf chick!
There was something very odd about that messenger... but I wasn't able to pinpoint what it was.
Pilc? Who is that?
Don't you remember the story I told you on the way to Pearlton?
I seem to recall he fell asleep during that story. Pilc is a lodite who can change his appearance.
Still not ringing a bell.
He's one of the Toutens!
Transformative magic... Of course. I should have realized it then. It's just such an obscure discipline.
His intelligence is dangerous. I'm sure he came here and chose to impersonate that woman specifically.
But now we can't stop them from escaping again! They'll wreak havoc all over Port Arianna!
They may not.
It was strange that they came into town to begin with... It was so far from their territory.
At first it was only Morias and his tiger that we had to deal with...
That one likes to rob banks.
How did you... Oh, right. Well, yeah. He robbed the bank and we threw him in jail. A few others came and tried to get him out of there.
But they couldn't resist trying to rob people at Kovak's party.
Yeah... A chance to stick it to the rich man. We can only hope with Kovak out of town and no longer a target, they will choose to return to the forests.
But there's no way we can be sure of that!
Even though we were fooled, the tip he gave us was legitimate! If you think about it... we owe him.
No. We will not be doing favors for those miscreants!
I say The Hand. Right now we have to get out copy of the report and find Cole Marin!
But suppose Morias wants to rob the bank again...
It's possible. This isn't an easy situation, but if we go back to Port Arianna now, we could lose precious time.
What do you think, Laurel?
Oh... I shouldn't be a part of big decisions like this. I'm not really a part of your group. I'm only here to learn.
You know them reasonably well, Shroud. If you say that they will regroup and then leave Port Arianna, I can only hope that your judgment (SIC) is correct.
Yeah... Me too.
Time to head to the palace...
The six doors on the side just lead to what are basically guest rooms. Except for one, which is locked. There's also a door on the opposite end of the hall that leads outside again to... a place we'll see shortly, but we can't go there right now.
"I don't think she heard me."
I think the King of the Elves has more important things to worry about than if you're getting enough attention.
Hmmph. If you ask me, this whole king business is stupid. We don't live in the Third Age anymore.
Maybe not, but all this pageantry is kind of fun, I think.
You really feel royalty is antiquated, Baron?
Yeah, this must be one of the only places that still has a "King." Now it's all about mayors and councils and things like that.
This guy's got to get with the program!
Laurel, you're supposed to warn us about stuff like that!
Don't mind him, sir. He's a bit of an idiot.
"comfort to the people which has been all too rare. But enough of that. It is my distinct honor to meet you two, though I am unfamiliar with your friends."
Hey, his faceset doesn't even have elf ears!
This is Laurel Hargrove. She's been helping us out. And of course we have Baron, who is our sidekick.
Good to hear. The more of you there are, the better. The stories I have heard of your battles against The Hand, as well as their footsoldiers at Equipment King, are quite stirring.
Then you know of the connection between the two?
Yes. I have suspected it for some time. That's why I established the Commission and charged them with gathering as much information as possible.
A copy of their report is being prepared for us. We're all very grateful.
*chuckle* Humans who care about the welfare of the elven people. That's something I thought had vanished long ago.
We're still hanging in there.
I'm not sure you truly understand how important your efforts really are. I suspect you do, Stoic. However, your younger companions may not.
Come. Follow me outside and see what is truly at stake as we confront this festering new group of Gallians.
We pan down at a decent rate this whole time. There's a lot of graves.
What? What do you mean?
Bane quickly looks back at the group and then back to the graveyard.
Perhaps I have said too much.
Nonsense. Don't be afraid to speak your mind.
"We called them mad when we first heard their rhetoric. Yet they managed to destroy a kingdom which had stood strong for untold centuries."
... And Arcadius did nothing.
We are told that his will is just so mysterious to us... That we could never hope to comprehend his whims.
That was good enough for me for most of my life, but now I grow tired of that excuse. Even Perditia was once known to act when she felt her vision of Solest was in danger. Yet the god who supposedly favors us does nothing.
Damn, that's depressing.
It is more than simply depressing, friend. The entire Kingdom of Relle is experiencing what can only be described as a spiritual crisis.
Restoring a destroyed city is hard work... but it can be done. Restoring a destroyed faith... that's another matter entirely.
If there's anything we can do to help before we continue on, please tell us.
Hmm... As a matter of fact, there is.
Wow, you're going to let us stay here?
Indeed. Now let us leave.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZhpXXvaWQiE 'Laurel's Theme'.... Baby's Lullaby by Ed Van Fleet.
Baron hesitates at the door as everyone else heads in...
*sob* What do you think is the matter?! Look around you, Finley!
Well... nobody expects you to try and start an argument with him. He's been through a lot... and people who are hurt usually say things they don't mean.
"and hearing something like that?" This is what Dasani wanted for me... and Lily too... but my faith is not... strong enough to deal with this."
Me? That's not important...
I want to know, please.
I... I just think that you should do what you can to try to be successful, and be good to your friends and family... and stuff like that.
I figure Aracdius probably thinks those things are important.
*chuckle* I wish it were so simple.
Yeah, I'm a simple man. Most other people I meet aren't, though. That kinda sucks.
I'm cold... I'm going inside.
Finley comes in and sits down.
I think she finally went to her room to sleep... but she's really upset.
I don't blame her. I'm still shaken up myself.
You should go talk to her.
Cause you're... you're better with words than I am. Plus, she thinks you don't like her. If you tried to cheer her up, that might make a big difference.
What? I don't... dislike her! She's all right.
*sigh* That's real touching, man.
I'm sorry, but I'm not good for this one. The truth is, I pretty much agree with the king. No priest can justify something like what we saw.
That's why I try not to even think about those spiritual questions if I can help it. People are responsible for doing good in the world.
We can't rely on any god.
Cade pauses for a moment...
Still... Someone should talk to her. Bones, she really respects you. You should do it.
She doesn't deserve to be hurt like that... She's just a sweet young girl.
I'll see what I can do.
Bones starts to get up and then...
Unwise. Most elves here are very familiar with the fauna in this area and what it can be used for. I don't want to risk anyone becoming suspicious.
I think someone may be sleeping in that carriage over there.
Don't trouble yourself with it. We won't wake anyone up.
*sigh* I can't see anything. Are you sure the flowers you're looking for are over here?
"all the ones over in this area."
Oh, yes. I forgot to mention that. Do be careful.
I hope that you are being properly rewarded for all this.
That library they have assembled at their base was more than worth it. There are historical records there that Gallia sealed centuries ago and have not seen the light of day since. I would never have been able to read those volumes had I not agreed to aid them. I'm told they have more in other locations...
Pity that they will be done with us before too long.
What happens when we finish?
Then my dear... Then we move on to the exploits I am really excited about.
Thanks for the save, fearless leader. I say we rest up and hit the bank.
What he said.
But... but... there's money.
Give it up, Morias. Let's just get back to the hideout before we're found again.
The hideout's stupid. There's nothing there anymore.
Douglas the tiger roars in agreement.
Nonsense. It has been our home for years.
I would have never come to Port Arianna at all if there was something there to keep me busy, but it's so boring!
Hmm... Perhaps that is true. We have always valued our freedoms in this group... And that includes the freedom to seek out new territory if we see fit.
But do you think we should relocate without Grinfrak?
I did not force that fool to leave! It was his own arrogance and never-ending need for attention.
Indeed. He left not long after it had become abundantly clear that his continuous belligerence and petty insults had become tired.
Yeah, forget him! Let's just hit the road.
I have this feeling that we will find him eventually... but for now let us seek greener pastures.
So we really can't get the bank first?
No. Do not ask again.
And the Toutens depart toward the south... Well, this was a bit on the longside. Next time we'll be finding out what Bane thinks we can do to help, and doing the first dungeon of Arc IV.