Part 25: Update XXIII - Goondalf the G(renzer)Part XXIII - Goondalf the G(renzer)
Fresh off of our glorious victory over the hordes, Sir Roth's page approaches us when we return to the Inner Keep.
What does he need?
Page Entrowe: He needs to speak with you. Urgently. I know nothing more than that.
I will seek him out at once. Excuse me.
Well, I've taken care of loot selling and stuff already, so no time like the present I guess!
The decision point for whether or not to do the Scout Expansion. The game saves automatically at these points, so we can always go back if we change our minds.
Yes, Mudam, I do. What are the specifics of the mission?
Excellent. You have heard rumors of the Sha'ahoul amassing outside the village by now, have you not?
I may have heard something of the sort from one of the soldiers, sir, but rumors being what they are...
Allow me to be the first to say that these are not merely rumors. For a little while now, we've been observing activity in three locations, roughly to the southwest, south, and east of Avalon. At first, the Sha'ahoul were milling around as they sometimes do, and we thought they were once again scavenging for whatever might still be left behind. It is clear to us now, however, that since they have grouped themselves together they must be putting plans to action...
At this distance it should be easy to see what they are doing. Has anyone...??
It's what gave me the idea for this risky maneuver. You see, Olon and I, although we went along different paths in our careers... Just know, but let it not be said, that the two of us are still on good terms. I happen to know -- Olon can be quite the braggart when he partakes of the win, which is not often -- that he paid lumps of money to have a magical item made specifically for him. It has one purpose.
To make a man invisible?
Close enough. However, invisibility comes at a steep price, and Olon... eh, there is no time to waste on such... This item I speak of is a mask, and it will make a person look like one of the half-breeds of the Sha'ahoul Warrior caste. You must convince Olon to give you the mask, since I very strongly doubt you can succeed without it. I don't know if the mask's enchantment will allow you to understand and speak the tongue of the warrior caste, but I've no doubt you'll solve that problem. When you do, be sure to find out when the attack will be. Eh... Questions?
Do you suppose your name will sway him towards allowing me to use the mask?
It is possible, but one never knows with him; he may give you an assignment to pay for it. He has... a rather unique sense of honor, but he believes in repaying debts. Or should I say he believes in not being indebted? Either way, it's a survival instinct with men of his type. Before I forget, I'd also like you to keep an eye out for a scout I sent to map the Sha'ahoul encampments; although I fear the worst, I shall hope the scout and his maps are safe, for the maps will doubtless be of aid to you in the field, and he was a very brave lad.
Is there anything else, Mudam?
Is there any specific kind of information you wish for me to retrieve?
Be as thorough as you dare to be, but do not be foolish. Be prompt. I should not have to remind you that I chose you specifically for this mission because, quite frankly, failure could cost us dearly, and I need someone brave enough to believe in the plan enough to succeed.
Have you heard any news about my brother's welfare? I can't believe he's been out for this long.
Although he's not completely healed, he is fit enough to carry out new assignments. He's been rather busy, and before you ask, I did not put him back on duty; he insisted to be given assignments.
You spoke earlier about some mysterious, non-human, and sentient race to the east... What do you know of them?
It amounts to scraping, hissing, and shadows that are oddly shaped and move accordingly. For all we know, it's a Sha'man trick. Noises often carry on the wind, but as far as our walls in the still of the night? Regardless, it is worth investigating, especially since night, not magical darkness, keeps these creatures from our sight. I trust the scout who brought me this information.
Thank you, Mudam. I have no further questions and will begin this assignment immediately.
Of course, Mudam. I shall see you shortly.
mission deep into enemy territory, how could we refuse?
On our way to go get the extra credit assignment from Sir Roth, we see this new face in the Inner Keep.
I don't mean to intrude, but I couldn't help overhearing your lament. What seems to be the trouble, good sir?
Johfrit: [finally noticing you] Oh, I'm so sorry -- please forgive my rudeness. Don't worry yourself over me, young soldier. I've troubles, that's true enough, but I doubt that there;s anything you can do about it. It's a rather dark situation I'm facing, and it would take a miracle to resolve it.
At the very least I can offer you a sympathetic ear, sir.
Johfrit: Very well, I shall share my plight with you. I am -- in case you weren't aware -- Ambassador Johfrit of Aratoy. I and my entourage are only recently come to Avalon, and we suffered a Sha'ahoul ambush shortly before we arrived. Several of my men were slain, and my assistance Edgard was taken. I do not know if he lives, but I cling to my hopes even in the face of the Sha'ahoul's known cruelty.
Why would the Sha'ahoul take him captive?
Perhaps I can do something to help you.
Johfrit: If you are as brave and tenacious as I've heard, then you just might be able to save him. He is a brave lad himself, but I fear he can not hold out much longer. I don't even know where he may be being held, other than inside the Sha'ahoul main camp. Do you really think you could find him and bring him back? It would mean so much to me, as well as to my people.
I will do what I can to rescue him, Ambassador. Is there anything else you can tell me that might aid my quest?
Johfrit: He is a brave lad, but quite stubborn. He might even be wary of your aid, especially since he's never met you. You should have some way of identifying yourself as sent by me. Hmmm... what would serve? I could give you a letter, explaining who you are and that I sent you. Would that help?
A letter might be a bit long, considering how time might be of the essence in liberating him. Perhaps you could tell me some small bit of information that would convince him that I know you.
Another quest for the pile, yiss.
If we had happened to talk to the knight first, he would have asked us to talk to the ambassador.
And you as well, Sir Roth. I have been sent here by Mudam, who has given me a quest to investigate reports of activity in the village surrounding Avalon. In addition to that, I am to report to you for an assignment you need completed in the same area.
Yes, well, this is a rather daunting task, to be honest.
More of the usual, then?
I'm afraid so. You know that when Ovoron left, he took many documents with him, and because of this, the Sha'ahoul know many of what we once considered "secrets." However, they have not discovered all of them, and if I know him at all, I think the former Field Marshall keeps a few choice documents secreted away, for insurance.
I have a feeling I know where this is going, and the major problem I see lies in divining the location of these documents.
When out in the field, Ovoron had a satchel that he'd keep his battle plans in. It has not been found, so it is likely both still in his possession, and being used to carry... [ahem] Battle plans. I'm sure the Sha'ahoul don't know its significance, else he'd be found out. If he carried it about wherever he went, it would occasion comment -- he'd be discovered and dealt with -- so I'm willing to bet that he doesn't carry it around with him. Assuming that, the only other place it could be accessible to him is in his tent.
Begging your pardon, sir, but how will I know it is Ovoron's tent? Their tents are likely to be devoid of ornamentation...
If I cannot find it?
Any other questions?
No, Sir Roth. I... shall not fail you. Farewell for now.
The quest log for this chapter is shaping up nicely!
It's night again outside as we go to talk to our old buddy Olon in the Outer Bailey.
I regret that I come on official business today, Olon.
So that's it, eh? Well, let's have it.
Mudam has sent me on a reconnaissance mission in Ahoul territory...
Oh? And how does he think I can assist you in that undertaking?
He knows you have an enchanted mask that will make the wearer look like a half-breed of the Sha'ahoul warrior caste.
To tell you the truth, he doesn't. He told me you might have an assignment for me, but considering our past, I thought...
It matters not. He is mad if he thinks I'll relinquish my only piece of insurance without getting my cut! However, considering the situation, I must let you borrow it.
I'm glad you see it that way, Olon. I wasn't sure if you had such a refined sense of duty, or if...
What is it you wish for me to do to reimburse you for the use of the mask?
You may use the mask if you wish, if you agree to fetch something for me. With the aid of the mask, it should be a small task for you to find one of the dreamwalkers' prized wands and steal it.
How comes it that you know about this wand, and what is a dreamwalker?
How it comes that I know this is none of your concern, but I will tell you that some of the Sha'men have the ability to enter the dream world, which is some other plane of existence. The mask I have was made from old components, and as a result, the mask's enchantment will not stand up to strong scrutiny. Therefore, I need a new component for a new item. So. Do you wish to use the mask, or not?
It is not a question of want; I must, but this is a very dangerous assignment!
Of course, Olon. I am a man of my word.
Understood. You may pick up the mask from Pell; she has been adding an ensorcellment at my request. The sympathetic, culture-based nature of the mask means that those of true human blood -- the defenders of Avalon -- will not be affected. Only the Sha'ahoul will be affected by it, and even then, the more intelligent and more experienced of them will see through the illusion. Animals are also not fooled because they do not rely primarily on sight to distinguish between enemies and allies. I shall see you soon, yes?
Indeed, Olon. Farewell.
I'm sure it will be fine, Goondalf!
Good to see you as well, my friend. How goes it?
It goes very well, but you knew that already! [smiles] Oh, I've also been busy on a project, so that's also elevated my mood a bit, as well.
What have you been busy with, if you don't mind my asking?
Oh, of course not! I'm adding an enchantment to a magical item of Olon's. He wants his mask to be able to speak the Sha'ahoul tongue, so with Lahren's aid, I was able to invent a sort of translation spell that I have attached to the mask. It's really not as simple as it sounds, but that's why we're trying it out on the mask, first. Olon wishes to have another item made to replace it...
I've heard of this mask, and it is quite fortunate you've added this ability to it, my lady.
Oh? How so?
I have an... arrangement with Olon. I need the mask to complete some assignments I've been given. The fact that it will translate speech now makes my job a great deal easier. He wishes me to steal a dreamwalker's wand in payment for the use of the mask.
I hope he paid you well!
Oh, he didn't pay me. He will find a favor to perform for me eventually. Although some may call him "shady," he has... a sense of honor. Good luck on your endeavors, and be sure to pay your debts. Olon takes such things very seriously.
Even halfway through the game, we're still getting callbacks to the beginning. Glad all that running back and forth with the goony lovebirds was worth it.
Good day to you as well, my friend! How have you been faring as of late?
Yes, I heard that from Pell just a moment ago. The mask she has been enchanting with the spell you helped her to create is to be on loan to me for some assignments I have in Sha'ahoul occupied territories surrounding Avalon.
Lahren: For a price, no doubt?
Of course! This is Olon we're discussing, correct? I am to steal one of the wands of the Sha'man dreamwalkers. I do not relish the chore.
Lahren: I know of none who would! To infiltrate a Sha'ahoul occupation is one thing... But stealing something from a Sha'man? I apologize; I don't mean to make it sound so incredible. You've my best wishes. Be sure to come back in one piece.
It is certainly incredible, Lahren, but when I get back -- in one piece, mind you -- I'll have plenty of tales to tell. Whether or not I should tell them, however, is a valid question.
Lahren: Ah, yes, the military hush-hush. Mustn't excite the citizens or cause them undue worry. I trust your judgment. Good luck.
Thank you, Lahren, and farewell.
Look at that handsome lad. Still, the ensemble is missing something. Others have said that animals and "strong-willed" Sha'ahoul will be able to see through the enchantment, so it may be a good idea to spec out for stealth too, just in case.
Hey Wyatt, give us your stuff.
There we go.
Another quirk of this chapter is that it's a bad idea to use a party. Even if we go unseen, they have a nasty habit of blundering into enemies anyway. Plus, trying to talk to some of the enemy with two humans in tow might raise some eyebrows.
Just as well though. Goondalf is more than capable enough on his own! Definitely. Probably.
Priority 1 is to have Shadow active as much as possible. With our Mysticism it lasts for minutes, so we're not in too much danger, but better to be safe than sorry.
Using a bow in this chapter is really satisfying because most things will die in one hit if we're far enough away and stealthed.
Even dire wolves.
And with over 100 Stealth, we are basically undetectable except by the most perceptive enemies.
If Shadow drops though, our light armor and low base damage makes fighting even one wolf a risky proposition.
And of course, there are plenty of mercswogs.
The church graveyard has also repopulated with voreworms.
Which we can literally snipe through the ground, which for some reason sends them flying several feet away.
That's about it for the natural dangers. The main event is the Sha'ahoul everywhere.
As long as we're wearing the magic mask, they register as neutral. At least... most of them. But more on that later. For now, we have to talk to them to uncover intel!
Most of them only have a page or two of dialogue, I assume because Goondalf doesn't want to risk outing himself by asking too many questions. But I'm sure some of them will let something juicy slip.
(Uncropped to show changing scenery, hopefully that doesn't make the text too small.)
Then why are we not fairly swimming in meat, hunter?
Sha'ahoul Scout: Gah!! I was not meant to hunt in dirt-man lands! They bring everything the land has to offer to their musty stone towers, where they die gazing out upon the same landscape they've seen all their lives! They are as stupid as their game! Ha!
And they shall fall twice as easily.
Oh dear. This... this is fine. It's fine. They're just savages. We got this mission.
AVALON FASHION SHOW
As Goondalf will have to do without heavy armor during his upcoming mission, let's show off a bulky piece for this episode!
I call this one the Lord Humon-G-ous. Not wanting a lowly gambler like Wyatt to outdo him in fetish wear, Goondalf dons a Great Helm, Heart's Guardian cuirass, and King Tortain's Greaves and Boots. Note that no pants, tunics, or belts are included.
I wonder what the king would say about being included in this outfit? Eh, I'm sure he'd love it.