Part 5: Act One Chapter Two - The Battle of West Harbor
Last update, our best friend died.
The battle's still going on, however, and we have no time to lose. Wyl Mossfeld is slacking over in the corner here, next to the corpse of Lewy Jons and his prize-winning pig.
: I can still make it... but my vision's getting all cloudy... and can't seem to stand. Have you seen my brother Ward? He...
: Yes, and I was able to heal him - he's back in the fighting.
Again, we need fighting militiamen more than the satisfaction of slitting this bastard's throat.
Someone's locked and secured their door against the invaders. Let's break in!
: What? The hells I will! I'm not going anywhere!
Another coward, eh?
: But... but if I abandon all this... I won't make it through the season. Everything I have is in my chest... everything.
: If you don't, you won't make it through the night; none of us will.
This is another 'skill check for reward', just like Ian Harman in the last update. This skill check was to see if you could open the door with Lockpicking, so we don't actually have to do anything to convince Pierson to help.
: Very well... I will report to Georg, see how I can help... if only to protect my home, and this village.
Yeah, we'll join you there all right. Just after we 'steal' your 'belongings'. Heh. Heheh.
I think this is called the 'Garrett Principle'.
Webb Mossfeld is a little more competent than his brothers. Although we have to rescue him from a mob of evil dwarves, he's still in good enough condition to fight.
Tarmas said he had some goodies in his house. Let's
What Tarmas didn't mention is that his house is boobytrapped. That must be really irritating when he wants to get the salt out of the cupboard and has to disarm the trap every time.
Or, you know, when the village is under attack and you send your apprentice's friends into your house to get weapons to fend off the assault. Bastard.
Last militiaman is here, barely two steps from everyone else and crying for help. We give him some healing herbs and get the full six possible recruits for the militia. Huzzah!
We're all ready and lined up to fight, but there's one last matter to attend to: a dying invader just outside the burning Starling barn.
: My hands are drenched in their blood. If you have to come to kill me now, so be it - but it will not get their lives back.
: It's one of the attackers... it looks like he's dying.
: Then let's get what we can out of him first.
: You filthy human, your kind is weak, you cannot stop us.
Oh, man. I thought this was gonna be difficult. Put the waterboard away, guys, this pig's gonna squeal.
: We are thralls to our masters, and we carry out their words. By their word, this village is to be destroyed, and the object of silver found.
: Who are these masters of yours?
: You will meet them - and when you do, you will be butchered like the rest of your filthy kind.
Hnh. We'll try a new tack.
: Object of silver? What object?
Oh, well, that was useless. We don't have time for this.
: I... I don't know you needed to do that, Calliope. He deserved it... but...
: He would have done the same to us... just like he did to the three he killed.
Never mind the dozen-or-so dwarves we've already butchered so far. Why so squeamish, Bevil? I mean, what did you think the militia was for?
This is our militia, fully assembled.
We are going to die.
: All right, militia! Ready your weapons and move out! It's time we stand our ground!
Where are you guys going?
That's a lot of dudes!
None of them can actually hit any of us, though. We just might make it!
Are you kidding me? How many fucking dwarves are there?
: Let's go, Calliope! If we hurry, we can stop them before they find the children!
We've already lost Amie today... I don't know what'd happen if Bevil lost his family too. Actually, that's a lie, he seems to be taking it quite well. If I'd just seen a friend of mine die, right in front of me, I'd be a bit weepy at the least.
: I knew I could count on you. I hope my brother and sister know enough to hide.
: We could use your sword... but - I understand.
* * *
Retta Starling appears to be safe, at least.
: Mother! What happened? Where are those dwarves that came in here?
: When I heard the fighting, I tucked the children away and came to see what was the matter, and suddenly these... creatures burst into the house.
They're just dwarves, Mrs Starling. They're not... well, okay, I suppose they're mutants, but... you know what I mean.
: Where are they now?
: I told the children to lock themselves inside the house... but now those creatures are there, between them and us.
: Fortunately, those beasts woke up the hounds, too... and the hounds tore out the throats of two of them before they barricaded themselves inside the living room.
: I haven't heard anything from inside... and there's a large group of them... please, help!
: You're right... Nasher, Muttonchop, Locke... come on, boys, follow us, we got some hunting to do.
This can't be good for the dogs' training. It can't be. What would Cesar Millan say?!
Actually, I didn't have to worry. After the dwarves embiggened themselves, the dogs spent most of the fight running around due to their crappy pathfinding.
You might be getting the feeling that the Starling family is ten kinds of fucked up. Believe me, you have no idea.
Back outside, the third (?) wave is slaughtering the militia.
Wait a minute. The wizard that killed Amie said that the thing they were looking for - the 'object of silver' - wasn't here, then disappeared in a huff.
So why are they still fighting?
Our foster father finally makes an appearance.
: Let's see how many we can steal from death's clutches.
* * *
: What were those things, anyhow? Never seen anything quite like them.
: Well then - what in the Nine Hells are they doing here?
: Lathander doesn't illuminate all mysteries for me. We must rely on our own wit and resources.
God helps those who help themselves, huh? In a magical fantasy world where the gods literally come down to earth and meddle in the affairs of mortals, Lathander seems like a bit of a rubbish deity.
: One of those dwarves mentioned they were searching for something... does anybody know what it was?
: I understand you lost a friend of yours in the attack. A tragedy. She was a promising young mage, or so I've been told.
: That's all you have to say about it?
What the hell would you know about it, Daeghun? You weren't even here for most of the battle!
: I do not have much time to talk - there are many who are wounded, Calliope. Now, there is something you must do. Tonight.
: Those... bladelings were here to find something, and I fear I know what.
: Tonight is not a night of words - but of action.
: There is an item... a silver shard. Long ago I concealed it in the old stones outside of town.
: I fear it may have drawn these creatures down upon us.
And suddenly we have a lot of questions to ask.
: Think it through. Their kind doesn't plunder a village like West Harbor, not for a few coins and an old helm or two. They had a reason.
: Where did the shard come from?
: It is from the time when your mother died. Those were dark times for the village...
: We can speak more of the shard after you've returned. For now, all that matters is its retrieval.
Daeghun really doesn't want to talk about this with us. This is his trump card - emotional blackmail.
: You're the one that hid it. Why don't you just get it?
: There are too many wounded to care for, more than Brother Merring can handle on his own.
: I cannot go, so you must travel there in my place. There is no choice in this matter.
: Anything else?
: Bevil. I need you to accompany my daughter to the ruins. This is an important task.
Daeghun shouts and Bevil jumps.
: And that is why you must go. Together two can succeed where one might fail.
: The cries of the wounded cannot be ignored any longer. Find the shard, Calliope. Find it, and bring it here.
: Still, if we're going to do this we should make some haste. It sounds urgent.
: I'm ready. Let's go.
We're about to enter our first dungeon. Hopefully we can blaze through this in a single update, and then we'll be leaving West Harbor... forever.