Part 52: ARC V Part 7: Volrath's CastleARC V Part 7: Volrath's Castle
Well, the world's become a much different place in the six weeks since my last update.
Buuuuut I saw that coming due to being way tooooooo online more than anything else. Following it all and starting up FFXIV all at once is all very time consuming though.
Anyway, when we last left off, our heroes had just chased Rana and Solich into the ruins of Volrath's ancient castle, and we'd finally gotten a detailed story on the Blacksteele Rebellion and Stoic's place in it.
No. They both are still quite far away.
They must know a different way down the mountain. But I do remember there were tunnels in here that led to lower ground.
If we find them, we should come out right near the ocean... though it wasn't a beach at the time.
... But how the hell do we find them? I remember it was complicated. I guess we'll have to just explore and see if anything reminds me.
So yeah, interesting little dungeon idea.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHbaL56eta4 Volrath's Castle. Also known as 'caught in a web' by Epica.
If we go back to the real world after moving, we wind up back where we were when we pressed Z. That's all I have to say about this system really. It's very simple. Oh and do note the synchronization bar at the top left.
Zeno assures this guy he is impressed, and the guy goes on to tell him it only took a month to build it, and when Zeno seems skeptical...
ZENO: Almost makes me want to learn some magic.
The guy says he should since its THE WAY OF THE FUTURE! According to him, the future is mages and craftsmen working together to get shit done quick.
After this, the Synch Bar fills a bit, and we're booted back to the real world, so I have to switch back.
The old man and the fairy don't have much to say upstairs, so we go out onto the top of the wall.
Zeno assumes a napping soldier is dead.
In the next tower, there's a prisoner who was caught roaming the castle. He says the castles design is about more than just being pretty, and that it holds secrets.
But a guard cuts off the chatter and we're left with the prisoner musing that he's surprised Blacksteele did not have him executed. This fills our bar a bit more.
In the next tower there's a very hard to see transparent man on this stool. We have to fill the bar up to be able to speak to him.
This woman says they could always hide in the woods if driven from the castle. She goes on to say she doesn't know any ways down, however, so she wouldn't like to be cornered there.
This leads to the both of them musing on how rugged and secldued these lands are, and eventually the idea of having escape routes ready for the day the Solendic Knighthood comes after them is raised.
Fills our bar some more. And we're done with the walls and towers now, so down to ground level. The womens last comment is that her parents used to call her Negative Nancy.
Skeleton warrior trainer... Anyway, Zeno introduces himself.
????: Pleasure to meet you, Zeno. I'm Clarence, and I'm the captain of the guard for this here base.
ZENO: Really? You?
CLARENCE: You bet! It's definitely not a position I would hold in the Solendian Knighthood, that's for sure!
ZENO: Yeah... In fact, if they saw you anywhere near their castles, you would be in some trouble.
CLARENCE: Terrible thing, isn't it? I can't help that I was raised from the dead by dark magic, but so many humans are determined to hold that against me.
... It sounds pretty funny when you put it like that, actually.
"Not Sir Blacksteele, though. He saw me fight and promised me a high position within his new knighthood. Now we're here, and he's kept his promised.
He says all magic is valuable, including dark magic. I didn't think anyone would see value in my existence since my resurrection, but now look at me."
ZENO: It seems so simple, too... Like it should have been obvious to all of us for a long time.
Clarence says Better Late Than Never and asks if Zeno wants to train with them. We don't get Zeno's response but our bar fills up some more. Looks like only one more conversation will do it...
The last bit of the bar is filled in by a mage talking about how he used magic to hide his personal belongings, by using a spell that plants something meant to distract you.
So let's go back to the guy on the stool.
ZENO: I'm still trying to take it all in... I'm sorry, what was your name again? I've just met a lot of people in a short time.
He says he's not had that problem since he's been here since the beginning, and that his name is Drikk.
ZENO: That's right... I remember now. Are you one of Sir Blacksteele's friends from the Solendian Knighthood?
DRIKK: Well... not exactly. I was in the knighthood, but I didn't meet him until after he left and the head officers made a big stink out of it.
Honestly, I'm not sure how many friends he even had in the Solendian Knighthood. He was never very approachable, from what I remember.
It wasn't until after he left that we all knew what he had been up to this whole time. A few of us knights eventually caught up with him.
He was suspicious at first, but I think we won him over in the end. I've noticed he's been different lately. Smiles more. Things like that.
ZENO: So you must have had a lot of time to get used to this castle.
DRIKK: Yeah, I know all the nooks and crannies of this place. He even showed me how to get into that tunnel in the fireplace!
ZENO: There's a tunnel there?
DRIKK: Hmm... Should I have told you that? Oh well, he probably won't care. Not just anyone can use it. Even if you have the key, you can't even see the keyhole unless the fire is lit... and if you try to use the key then, you'll burn yourself! Since he's a fire mage, he can just reach in and open it up without getting hurt.
Honestly, I think he just likes messing around with magic. I'm not sure we'll ever need that tunnel for much.
ZENO: Time will tell, I suppose.
DRIKK: Yeah... Time will tell about a lot of things. Take it easy, buddy.
Anyway, after this we can move to the next synchronization area. I'm pretty sure we can do this at any time, but why leave things half finished when you're gonna have to come back and finish them right after?
When asked what he wants to learn first, he talks about alchemy and stuff he can use to make artifacts that people can replicate magical effects with, so people unable or unwilling to learn magic can still benefit from it. Bar fill!
There's some rooms like this too.
Apparently the goblin guarding the spy is this guys brother too. This guy says he's in charge of guarding Volrath's quarters. Apparently Volrath loves visits, but he still has to have his secrets. Bar fill!!
Barely visible Volrath... We know what to do. There's another hall just south of Volrath's quarters.
Zeno meets a very tired summoner.
ZENO: No kidding. I haven't seen any creatures around here lately. You must be discreet.
ARISTO: It's... kind of a private project I'm working on with Volrath. Security stuff... Nothing for you to be concerned about.
Zeno jokes that if he sees any golems or dragons he'll know who to blame, and Aristo cryptically responds with a comment implying Zeno wouldn't see anything at all without the right equipment. Bar fill!
NANCY: Oh boy, I knew I was going to regret telling you that. Just Nancy will do.
ZENO: What do you think of these arrangements? I don't know about you, but my bed could be a bit less bumpy.
NANCY: I thought that too, at first. But check under the mattress and everything... I found a few rocks.
This doesn't fill the bar any.
ZENO: I don't know if he has everything, but I bet he would say that joining the cause was enough of a gift.
GUY: Heh, he did say that! You got some good insight, buddy. Should serve you well.
This, however, does fill our bar up a bit.
After Zeno asks, she elaborates she saw someone reaching into a fire and not being burned. Zeno asks if it was Volrath since he's a fire mage. She says no, but that the person was holding an object she couldn't recall. She invites Zeno to join her for tea later, and the rest of the bar fills up.
ZENO: Still getting to know everyone... Trying to keep everyone's name straight.
VOLRATH: *Chuckle* That can be difficult. I have to confess, I have a journal in here with the names of everyone who has joined.
It's almost become a side project for me... as if I don't have enough to do. I have everyone listed alphabetically, with notes on their race and skills.
You're easy to remember because you're right at the end.
ZENO: Any chance you can make a copy?
VOLRATH: Sure. Next time I have ten hours or so, I'll get back to you. It's a long list!
ZENO: Heh... Oh well. Do you get a lot of visitors in here?
VOLRATH: Not as much as I used to. Hopefully people are starting to realize that the onyl difference between them and me is that I was here first.
I'm not really out to create a heirarchy, it seems like that idea has failed miserably in the past. Still... I won't deny that I've been flattered by some of these gifts.
ZENO: People have been giving you presents?
VOLRATH: Yes. It's otensibly to thank me for welcoming them into this place and into our knighthood. Isn't that awful? People are so used to being dismissed that they feel they need to reward me simply for treating them like worthwhile beings? Reminds me why I started this in the first place.
ZENO: Point taken... but gifts are gifts.
VOLRATH: Indeed... Though I've had to return a handful of them simply because I felt they might be more useful to someone else.
For example, there's one former Knight of Solendus here who is a natural in the art of magical craftsmanship. He fashioned an orb that makes the owner immune to flame. It's an icnredible artifact, but I had to tell him that years of using fire magic has already given me such immunity. I hope he will find someone else to give it to or perhaps just use it himself. I'd hate to see it just sit around this castle unused.
ZENO: I might have to look into that... But I'll leave you to your work now. Still, I'm hoping for a copy of your name index!
VOLRATH: Haha! Maybe someone around here can make a copy for you. We have to have at least one writer among us.
... Time to go upstairs.
This woman talks about weird shapes in the fire place, and how she's seen people crouching down around it, looking around.
Zeno asks who he means, and is told about the mage that hid his belongings with magic. The kobold goes on to say he trusts everyone else here, and that he feels the best way to hide something is in plain sight.
VOLRATH: What can I say? You've made your food requests... hard to ignore these days.
FIONA: Ha! Get used to it. This is the least you can do for me!
If you talk to Fiona a second time...
Huh. Volrath may have descendants out there.
Volrath asks for meal suggestions from Zeno.
VOLRATH: Chicken sounds nice... maybe we'll give everyone a large salad, throw meat in it, and you can add your own spices.
ZENO: Well, don't base it all on me. Take some other suggestions. We have to keep things fair after all.
VOLRATH: Corruption in the food selection! Ha ha! We'll go with your suggestion tomorrow night and then I'll ask the others.
Neither of these conversations actually help us.
ZENO: Oh... uh, sure. I'll sit down in a few minutes. I'm still trying to get to know everyone.
DAPHNE: Sure, I understand. But don't take too long... These two seats next to me could get filled any second!
This guy goes on a rant that a secluded place like this has lots of tasty but dangerous beasts about, but their hides are so strong, it can take hours to skin them. He gives one such hide to Zeno, and Zeno says he'll make a cloak of it. No synchronization here either.
Another of the kitchen staff hopes she'll make it to church services eventually.
STAFF: Yeah, he's skeptical, to put it mildly. But the nice thing is that he doesn't stop the rest of us from practicing our beliefs.
I remember the elven churches back home were rigid about that. I wanted to go to a human church service to see what their services were like, and you would have thought I cut someone's head off from the way they reacted!
They said the human idea of Arcadius was just a lesser version of ours.
It seems absurd that we would allow our faith to divide us... when it should be a uniting force. That's why I'm grateful for the diverse crowd that gathers in the church here... Though I don't think we'll ever see Sir Blacksteele at any of our services!
This DOES fill our bar a bit, however. I get stuck here for a little bit though, since I've spoken to everyone in the mess hall int he kitchen. I forgot to visit one place though.
First, there's a hole in the kitchen. Then you need to go back out to the Courtyard which was AREA A. Where there's a building on the right side you can enter. It's the chapel and it counts as part of Area C. Not exactly the best way to handle this.
This lodite tells us to watch our head. He goes on to tell us he's in charge of keepign the church clean but he can't believe all the rice, vegetables and animal skins he finds back here.
Also, there's a transparent chest.
ZENO: Uh oh... I see where this is going. I actually thought of you during his last speech... That line about "Spitting in the face of Arcadius?"
DAPHNE: Ugh! Don't even get me started on that! I've told Volrath time and time again that those comments offend me, but they're in every speech he gives! I can't understand that... why would he lump Arcadius into the same category as the humans who have tainted his will?
He's smart enough to know better. I think he just does it to lash out. He can't stand any point of view if too many people share it.
ZENO: I guess he just doesn't want to be told what he can and can't say. I can sympathize with that.
DAPHNE: I know... I can too. I think we all can... and that's why many of us are here.
What do you believe, Zeno?
ZENO: Me? Well, I haven't really committed to anything one way or another, but I've always found some comfort in the idea of a higher power like Arcadius.
In the past, I've felt that not many people shared my feelings about Solest... and about how we should spend our time here. But I always could comfort myself a little bit if I thought that whoever created all this and was looking down on us shared those beliefs.
DAPHNE: That's... so much like me. I never had much of a chance to talk about it, though. My family was all like Volrath. They thought all spiritual beliefs were useless myths... Relics of the past. Then I strike out on my own hoping to get away from that and find myself with someone who is almost the same.
But... He does let me work here, and conduct services for those who do believe... my family would never have done that.
ZENO: Yeah... to each his own, you know?
DAPHNE: Sometimes I think part of the reason it bothers me is that I think faith could make a positive difference in his life... He feels so alone, despite all of us here.
If we could convince him that Arcadius believed in him... then I think he could feel more fulfilled.
ZENO: The problem with that is... How do you really know what Arcadius believes in?
DAPHNE: I know... you can't. You just need to have faith... and unfortunately, people either are capable of that or they aren't.
ZENO: Well... don't get too down. You may yet get him in here.
DAPHNE: Well, he has been here once. Though it wasn't to pray. He was skulking around the back. I think I saw him holding a box. Who knows what he was up to.
ZENO: Hmm... That's odd.
DAPHNE: Yeah... Oh well. Thanks for letting me go on about that. I'm glad you're here.
ZENO: Yeah... I'm glad I am too.
And that filled our bar up!
Now, there's just the problem of getting to it in the real world.
Stoic smashes the rubble out of the way. But we can't go down yet, or we'd be trapped. SO...
Finally! Enough roaming around this dusty old place! Time for some action!
Right. Let me get back on top!
Yes... We've almost caught up to them.
When this is over, you should look into bounty hunting.
For some reason, I don't think she has the disposition for that work.
What... what is that?
There's something in there with them... Something awful.
*Sigh* Please, no.
Yeah don't just ref the forum I'm LPing this on!!
Okay, that's about the tenth ominous thing you've said. What do you know that we don't?
And if you say "all," my head might explode.
There's no time for that right now. Let's go before we lose them again.
Whew. That took a bit of work on my part. Was sort of dreading it, but its over with now! Anyway, next time I believe we'll be clapping eyes on whatever it is Stoic dreads. We'll DEFINITELY be getting even more Stoic flashbacks though.