Part 33: An Ill Wind That Blows Nobody Any Good
"Castle Greywind's seen better days. At least, I sure hope it has."
"Wait! What combination?"
"No time to chat now. See you!"
"What, has he got an urgent sitting-around-doing-nothing-in-his-ruined-castle appointment? Fine, fine, I guess we're doing all the work again. As usual."
Some Fire Lizards have taken up residence inside Castle Greywind. If they pose any kind of serious threat, you're probably too low-level to finish this area right now. Since we've already done almost every dungeon in the game at this point, they're a pushover.
There's also fire traps. Fortunately, both of these hazards can be negated by having Protection from Fire active.
Screamers can still drive characters insane, but anyone in the party can one-shot them at this point so they won't get a chance to attack.
"Where the hell did this come from? If there were any of these living outside, I'm pretty sure we would have noticed them. Was Greywind breeding these things in here?"
Dinosaurs have a pretty solid chunk of HP and hit for a massive 5-500 damage twice a round, except that as usual they can't punch through the party's obsidian armour.
"Anathema... um, wasn't she the mermaid that Greywind and Blackwind fought over? The one who got both of them cursed and trapped in their castles in the first place?"
"Really, with a name like that, I don't know what else they were expecting."
"An interesting offer, but I believe our own healing magic will be adequate to our needs."
"Reharc killed his ranger brother to gain the throne, but later killed himself in a fit of remorse. Only our daughter, a beautiful cleric, was left to inherit the throne."
"Talk about a dysfunctional family. I guess the lesson here is that the kind of guy who starts a war with an archwizard over the love of a bigamous mermaid isn't going to be the best role model for his kids."
"Wait, 'our' daughter? Greywind had kids with the mermaid? I don't even wanna think about how that works."
"Later he killed himself in a fit of remorse, leaving only our daughter, a beautiful cleric, to inherit the throne."
"Hmm. That was much the same story as the other statue told us, except that now we also know the name of the firstborn son and the occupation of the second son. I suspect that will be important."
"I'm guessing this used to be Greywind's throne. Or still is, I guess, what with him being a ghost eternally bound to this castle and all."
"I do not know the combination that breaks the spell, but I do know that the solution lies in my dungeon. Will you help relieve me from my sorrow?"
"Not like there's anything else to do here. Besides, we're supposed to be heroes or something, right?"
"Well, that was helpful. Off to the dungeon, I guess. But first, looting!"
The towers the inscription here is referring to are five 3x3 squares of solid walls in Castle Greywind. Casting Wizard Eye reveals that each of them has an empty space inside.
If we teleport into one of those empty spaces, sure enough, there's treasure waiting for us.
It's not bad, either -- multiple high-tier random items from each tower. There are also other, more minor treasures hidden in some of the fire traps throughout the rest of the castle, usually with a few thousand gold or a few hundred gems.
"Ooh, great power! That's my favourite kind of power!"
"Wait, I remember something about this."
"We learned from that one old guy living in the mountains that Blackwind and Greywind had magic thrones that only worked on their wedding days, remember?"
"And, uh, we also found out that Greywind married on day 50 and Blackwind married on day 60. And it's almost day 50 now! So maybe if we wait a while..."
"There we go! Now let's see if those thrones do anything..."
"Whooooa. That's some serious magic."
We have a choice of three thrones in Castle Greywind: the Throne of Great Power (+10 to all stats for one character), the Throne of Great Riches (1 million gold and 10,000 gems), or the Throne of Great Possession (about half a dozen random top-tier items). Since they all advance time by one day when used, and are only usable on day 50, we can only use one per year. You could make a case for any of them, but I go for Great Power because we're not really hurting for money or equipment right now.
"Right, enough messing around with thrones. It's time for us to rescue Greywind from the consequences of his own stupidity."
"How are we supposed to know? None of the statues said anything about what her name was!"
"Ah, but consider his other two children: Regran the ranger and Reharc the archer. You may notice a certain pattern: the final three letters of their professions are reversed and prepended to the first three letters to form their names. It follows that a cleric subject to the same onomastic rule would be named Circle."
"If you say so. I'm just gonna smile and nod and hope that's the right answer."
Sure enough, CIRCLE is the password that gets us into Greywind Dungeon. Also, we can't save down here, which is kind of a dick move because as we're about to see the game is about to try and pull a mean trick on us.
"Wait, a gleaming mound of what?"
"Of nothing, apparently."
"You will still be able to pay us, will you not? I know that saving Terra ought to be reward enough in itself, but I do have costly hobbies, such as eating."
Yes, the game really does take all of the party's gold for having the audacity to try and collect treasure in a dungeon. And of course, you can't just save before taking each treasure, because there's no saving down here! At least it doesn't touch anything that's in the bank.
The worst part is that there are actually some real treasures down here along with the aurivorous illusions, so you can't just ignore everything (well, you can, but you'll miss out on stuff). Fortunately, Lloyd's Beacon works fine here, so you can just set one beacon in front of a treasure, set another just outside, and use those to quickly duck out, save and get back in.
The dungeon is full of Death Snakes, which have very high speed (90), and an attack that does 4-200 damage and inflicts paralysis. Their attack is physical, though, and you know what that means by now: they're just gonna chip their teeth on the party's armour.
There are three hourglasses scattered throughout the dungeon, in the northeast, southeast and southwest corners. They all start out turned to the bottom.
Let's leave them alone for now, though, and instead see what happens if we hit this gong!
Ringing the gong when the glasses are set incorrectly will cause some walls in the dungeon to disappear, revealing a bunch of Great Hydras behind them. Fortunately, all the levels and gear we got from killing off the last batch of Great Hydras make it pretty easy to deal with these ones.
Unleashing the hydras also causes the real treasures in the dungeon to appear. Each one is a million gold and some mid/high-tier items.
At any rate, though, the correct solution is to turn all three hourglasses up.
Hitting the gong when the three hourglasses are turned up will cause a fourth hourglass to appear in the upper left corner. After this one appears, you have to turn all four hourglasses down, hit the gong again, and return to Greywind.
There are some hints to this puzzle in the wall inscriptions in Castle Blackwind, but if you haven't been there yet it's not impossible to solve it by trial and error.
"Wait, ultimate destiny? Do you know something about us that we don't? What are we supposed to do with this number?"
"Dammit! Why do wizards always have to be so mysterious and disappeary?"
The code we just got is something we'll need at the very end of the game (which isn't too far away now). It's also given out by a couple of those hint-giving statues under the pyramids, so solving Greywind and Blackwind isn't strictly necessary.
"I believe we're done here. Off we go to rescue another lovestruck fool of a wizard, then."
Castle Blackwind's on another island not too far from Greywind. The enemies here are less dangerous than Castle Greywind's, but the castle itself is much, much more annoying.
"I've heard of flying fish, but this is ridiculous."
The ground floor of the castle is infested with piranas (sic). They have pitifully low HP, and 8 physical attacks for 3-9 damage each that will never, ever hit us.
Mystic Clouds are a nuisance as always, thanks to their ability to drain the party's spell points.
"Blugh. What's in these pools? It smells like something died in here, and then the person who was meant to come clean it up died too."
The real nuisances in here are all the whirlpools, which inflict poison damage and the Poisoned condition on the entire party. Protection from Poison helps against the damage, but not the poisoning.
Worse still, a couple of the whirlpools will instantly transport you straight to the Arena, interrupting your exploration. You can't Lloyd's Beacon your way out of the Arena, either, so you have to walk all the way up to the arena master, refuse to fight, get sent back to Fountain Head and get back to Blackwind from there.
Some of the pools also contain a couple of bits of mid-tier treasure, although honestly it might not be worth the trouble of rooting it all out.
There's more hidden treasure in the walls, too, reachable by teleportation.
"What? Is that supposed to help us? That second clue isn't even a complete sentence!"
"That's rather more helpful. Or it will be once we find the ladder it speaks of, at least."
There are two thrones in this castle that work only on day 60, Blackwind's wedding day. Like the ones in Castle Greywind, we have to choose one and then it advances time by a day so we can't use the other until next year. The first throne gives half a dozen random top-tier items, while the second gives half a dozen Precious Pearls of Youth and Beauty that can be traded to the Pirate Queen for a modest amount of gold and experience. The random items are pretty clearly the better deal here.
"2 million gold placed in my fountain bowl will give the magic user who places it there all the spells in his discipline."
"We've got better things to do with our money. Like count it, or flick it at goblins. Plus, I'm mildly offended by your failure to use gender-neutral pronouns. So no sale."
A similar deal was pretty tempting back in Might & Magic II, where you actually had to explore to find many of the game's spells; in this game, where all spells are purchasable at guilds, it seems sort of redundant. I haven't calculated the exact costs, but I'm pretty sure buying a membership to Eagle's Guild and all the spells in the game for any one character will cost you quite a bit less than 2 million gold, so it's kind of a ripoff unless you can somehow get here with that much gold before you're at a high enough level to learn all the spells at a guild.
"... to releasing me from this curse, but I in my present state am unable to break the spell. Will you do me the service of securing my deliverance?"
"Sure, just hurry up and tell us what to do. We haven't got all day, y'know. We've got places to go and orbs to collect."
"Um, didn't we just hang around doing nothing for nearly a week waiting for Day 60 to come so we could use his magic throne?"
"So that's all the help you're gonna give us, huh? Fine. I can deal with that. See if I care."
"O, T, T, F, F, S, S, E, N... oh, I get it! 'Near five past four and five past six' -- five plus four is nine, and five plus six is eleven, so the number 'nearest' both of them is ten. 'Think often' -- think of ten! The letters are the first letters of one, two, three and so on, and they end at nine. That makes the watchword TEN!"
Just like Greywind Dungeon, we can't save down here, and unlike Greywind we can't even use Lloyd's Beacon.
"This doesn't look so hard. It's just a maze, right? All we have to do is map it..."
This dungeon isn't just a maze, it's an invisible teleporter maze -- stepping anywhere off the one correct path through the dungeon will get you teleported away, usually to either the entrance or the far southeast corner. This is exactly as horrible as it sounds.
"Oh my. I wonder what this is doing down here?"
"Ugh, I see where this is going. We're going to have to find a bunch of statues like this one down here and pay them all to free Blackwind, aren't we?"
I'm not even going to pretend to play fair in this dungeon. While Lloyd's Beacon may be disabled, plain old Teleport is still usable -- we can happily hop across the dungeon nine spaces at a time like a pack of interdimensional bunny rabbits. The second statue we need to visit is in the southwest corner; we can do them in any order, but that one's closest.
"Place 1,000 gems at the hooves of this great steed to honour her master."
"I suppose we can spare some of our gems, if it brings us closer to freeing Blackwind and gaining vital information from him in return."
"A tribute of blood is required to exalt the castle's Warlord." Will you sacrifice a party member?
"Dude had a pet lion? That's pretty badass. Oh, right, blood sacrifice. Fine, I guess I'm volunteering again. Not like I haven't died enough times already -- after a while it stops being scary and becomes routine. So what do I do, just put my head in here and--"
"Perhaps it is for the best that Greywind and Blackwind brought about each other's undoing. Both of them seem to have had an undue taste for bloodshed."
"I hope those three statues were the only ones we had to find, because I'm just about all teleported out for today."
"Now, farewell forever!" The ghost of Blackwind slowly dissipates until it is gone.
"Wait a minute! We've got more questions to ask you! What's this number used for? Where are the final Ultimate Power Orbs? Can you at least teach us some spells or something? ... Oh, forget it. Why did I ever think I could get anything useful out of a wizard?"
"Well, we freed two ancient wizards from self-inflicted captivity and in return we got some numbers. 645 and 231. That's something, I guess."
"Really, though, what else do we need besides information? I mean, let's face it, I am so tough at this point that it's just totally unfair to anything that tries to fight us."
"Castle Greywind's throne has empowered me. I'm ready for anything!"
"Um, in all this excitement let's not forget about the Ultimate Power Orbs. We might not have until next year to track them down."
"Indeed. Fortunately, there are few places that have not already been searched. Unfortunately, that also means that the enemies of Terra and its people have few places left to search before they find the orbs."
"Their activities are cause for great concern. While we may have gained a valuable piece of information today, its use is presently unclear and we have given up precious time that our rivals may even now be using to find the orbs and return them to their dark patron."
"Hey everyone, put away the big words for a minute and come over here. I've been looking over a map of Terra, and I think I know where the last orbs are. The only problem now is actually getting them, but I've got a plan for that too. Now all of you, listen carefully..."
"... Hmm. A bold plan, perhaps risky, but no more so than our other options."
"It seems like our best chance at success to me. At least, if we're right about where the final orbs are, and if we can get there in time..."
Whew. This update's been subject to some season-related delays, but we're on the home stretch now. Next time, the evil party learns how the Maze from Hell got its name, and the fate of Terra hangs in the balance!