Part 38: Update XXXVI - Goondalf the G(auze)Part XXXVI - Goondalf the G(auze)
Welcome back to Avalon! First, there’s one important thing I forgot to do in the Outer Keep!
Only to remark on what a splendid job you are doing. I almost expected a mint on my pillow.
Heather: *giggle* You are so sweet! If we had any mints to give, you'd be the first to receive them.
Keep faith, fair Heather.
There. Maids flattered, we can now, at last, go to the Inner Keep.
Are you feeling well, Ambassador?
Johfrit: Oh, one of the soldiers told me that it was, as he said, "quiet... almost too quiet." Perhaps I am placing too much faith in a soldier's reflexes, or my imagination is conjuring images of Sha'ahoul pouring through shattered gates.
Don't tell me that you've taken up the belief that the end is near!
Johfrit: Oh, the end will come in due time, Goondalf the G. I wish I knew the outcome. I know you shall tell me that we will be victorious, but faces are more drawn and haggard with each passing day. Including mine.
Remember that without hope, we are doomed without lifting a sword, Ambassador. Farewell.
Now we can see what those crazy sages are up to.
I have heard rumors that the sages herein have been extremely busy lately. Could you inform me as to what is going on?
Why has sage Opias been so busy lately?
Marcus: Opias has been extremely involved in his work recently, ever since the arrival of his childhood friend. This Anthamas Shadomar has subsequently taken one of Felious' old laboratories to further his work.
Marcus: No, lad. Before Felious moved to the basement, he used to work right here in the Inner Keep. His laboratory lies upstairs. Take the stairwell to the north, and then continue north down the long hallway, east of the bar, until you reach the corner. You can't miss it.
What has sage Fenton been busy with?
Marcus: Fenton came across a few old scrolls folded in to a mishmash of a book. It is actually a collection of notes from a different people, the subject of which are legends and rumors surrounding an ancient thieves' guild. Apparently, their exploits within the city that stood here before Avalon were quite infamous.
What has kept sage Percy occupied lately?
Gronk appears to be engrossed, what is that all about?
Marcus: Gronk has, admirably, been spending a good deal of time researching the land upon which Avalon stands. He believes we might be standing upon sacred ground. Surely such news, if true, could only serve to aid in the ongoing battle against the Sha'ahoul brutes.
Sage Iolar seems aloof; why?
Marcus: Iolar has been a tad idle lately. Perhaps he grows tired of reading the works of others, and aspires to draft one of his own.
He should write a book about Goondalf too!
Why don't you tell me a little about yourself?
Hmm, I wonder
I was wondering how you felt about the Sha'ahoul just outside our castle wall?
Marcus: Well, I wish they weren't there. [He shrugs.] What did you expect to hear?
Point taken. I was curious more about how you would feel if they were to somehow manage to break into Avalon, as the bugs in our basement managed to do?
Marcus: If the Sha'ahoul manage to break into the castle, and we are forced to flee, I wonder how I'll manage to save all these books, or take them with me. I'll wager the simple-minded warriors of the Sha'ahoul would actually consider burning such treasures as a form of tribute to their gods. But no matter, their primitive tactics are about as likely to succeed in breaching the castle Avalon as Sir Roth is to lose in single combat with anyone. [He chuckles.]
Ha! Well said. I concur, but must take my leave. Farewell Marcus.
So only a couple of these are related to our quests, a couple would only be relevant if we had chosen to be a Squire or Scout at the start, but I think they're all interesting, so let's make the rounds.
Saving Opias for last since he's the most relevant to our interests as a Wizard.
What exactly has you so busy, sage?
Sage Fenton: [He sighs, apparently realize that you're not going to leave him alone.] Well, for the past few months I've been researching the truths and myths about a guild of thieves who lived in the city here before Avalon was built.
But why have you been busier than usual lately?
Sage Fenton: Well, that's because a few of the older texts I found could not be translated. Sure, I could decipher a few of the inscriptions somewhat, but never enough to fully understand them. That is, not until recently.
Oh, and why is that?
Sage Fenton: Thanks to the arrival of a few Fornax mages, we've come into contact with extremely helpful tomes that allow us to completely translate the ones we were having problems with here.
What have you learned, Fenton?
I've heard rumors about the city that was here before Avalon as well, but... a thieves' guild, you say?
Sage Fenton: I believe these scrolls, or notes, were actually taken by a sage. A sage who spent a great deal of time with these thieves, and I wouldn't at all be surprised if this person had been a member of the guild. In fact, I believe this to be the case very strongly. The details of the guild's actions, and how he seems to know more than rumors, but actual daily activities, one can deduce that he would have had to be a member.
That's amazing, Fenton. I'm happy to hear you've been so busy.
Sage Fenton: If there is nothing else, Goondalf the G, I need to get back to my research. Farewell.
May the spirits be with you.
Why yes, you could. I've heard that you all have been very busy down here lately. Perhaps you could tell me a little more about it?
Sage Percy: Well, as you know, we are always reading over as many texts as we can, and just recently a few Fornaxans arrived, and they brought with them some books. One was a translation book for ancient languages, which enables us to decipher a few of our older texts. It has really been quite splendid! It is as if whole tomes of knowledge are finally being laid bare before us. An exciting time is upon us!
Exciting, indeed. Tell me more, if you would, Sage Percy.
I wasn't aware sage Opias was so interested in potions.
Sage Percy: Well, now you have been enlightened, and that enlightenment was brought to you by Percy! [He bows and smiles at himself.] Yes, well, if you are interested in such matters, he's your man to see about them. I think it's all related to his drinking problem, to be honest.
Sage Opias has a drinking problem? Since when?
Included screenshot for the goodbye option.
Ha! So he spends a good deal of time there, then?
Sage Percy: Oh, I only say that in jest. Even though he is good friends with Gentza, he hasn't gone to visit him in a while. He's just been too busy, especially lately with his new friend in town and all.
So tell me, have any rumors broken their way into the library here?
Sage Percy: If they have, I haven't paid much attention. The only thing that comes to mind is that I heard there is a bard in the Inner Bailey hard at work on an epic about someone we know in Avalon. Anything more than that, I'm afraid I haven't subscribed any notice to.
I understand. Farewell, Percy.
I heard you sages have been awfully busy recently.
Sage Gronk: Aye, we have! Ever since Opias' friend arrived in Avalon, it's been that way.
Oh, and what has all the commotion been about?
Sage Gronk: Until recently, I was unable to translate the inscriptions within a rare book I had found. It describes the city that existed here long before Avalon was built.
What about this city?
Sage Gronk: Well, the city was thriving in an age of prosperity. Many would-be rulers attempted to take it over, but they all failed. The kingdom was protected by an order of holy knights. With that, and with the vast and developing magical abilities of the sages within the community, no one could breach their walls.
What became of the city?
Sage Gronk: It only mentions that the citizens fell under a terrible curse, which in turn caused the fall of the city.
My thanks, Gronk. I shall take my leave; farewell.
I like how Goondalf just keeps everything he has learned to himself. Secrets are power, after all!! (Plus it would have been more work to account for since Chapter Five and its Astral shenanigans are optional.)
I heard you all have been very busy lately.
Sage Iolar: Indeed we have, young one, but I seriously doubt any of us have been nearly as busy as Opias. Ever since his friend arrived in Avalon not too long ago, he's been extremely busy.
Oh? Could you spare a moment to tell me what has been happening?
Goondalf is on fire with the premature conversation exit lines. (I assume they're included since there's no other way to close the text boxes except with an end line.)
To find such information would definitely take a lot of time and effort!
Sage Iolar: Possibly an epic of research! I believe therein lies a tremendous paper, or better yet a book, to be written! I should get to work immediately! These portals and alternate realms can wait. Reading great works is a pleasant task, but drafting up one's own, and then having it read by others... or as a standard of measurement to be compared against other things in the future.. why, why that is truly the mark of greatness! I must get to work at once!
Um yeah, err... yeah. Happy to be of service, Iolar? Good luck!
Here I would have talked to Opias too, but apparently talking to Gentza first broke the quest or something. I still finished it, just had to go around and find his friends first and do their bits. Whoops.
The rest of these guys in the council don't have anything new to say yet, but the old captain who brought us here does.
I'm afraid I've no clue what you're talking about, Captain.
Nicophorus: Despair, son! I'm not the only one who has noticed. If only there were some way to raise spirits...
I'd say that was Felious' area of expertise, Captain.
Nicophorus: What? Oh... [He throws his head back, laughing loudly.] That's amusing, Goondalf the G!
You see, I've raised spirits already, Nico. Be well.
This soldier who was practically a generic before has a whole lot to say this time!
I was wondering if you could entertain me with one of your childhood stories, Beircheart. Do you know any legends that have anything to do with Avalon?
Beircheart: Indeed I do! When I was but a lad, I would pretend I was one of the holy knights sent to defend my family from monsters. A tax paradoxical, wouldn't you say? As I was saying, I would grab my broom and pretend the collections of dirt on the floor were horrid beats come to eat my family, and it was my sworn duty to protect them! My mother always wondered why I displayed such enthusiasm for household chores. [He smiles.]
Could you tell me more, perhaps something more specific?
Beircheart: Well, what would you like to know?
I've heard that this land was once defended by an order of holy knights. Is this true?
Beircheart: Quite true, actually. Although this wasn't the only place such orders convened, I believe it was probably the most formidable, or perhaps even the base of operations, if you will.
I understand, Beircheart. Have you heard the rumor that Avalon was built upon another city?
So you do not know?
Beircheart: Unfortunately, I do not. I've pestered the sages about it, but they know less than I do. Although... I've heard that they recently acquired some new books from Fornax. Perhaps one of these books allows them to translate some of the older texts they've been stumped on. You might try paying them a visit.
Sound advice. Perhaps I shall consult them. Anything else?
Beircheart: Oh, just that I heard Mudam is looking for you, that's all.
Thank you for the update. Farewell for now.
I am prepared for whatever comes, Cynric, and it is good to know that you are as well.
Cynric: I'm eager to be able to search around me and not see accursed castle stone!
As are we all, warrior. Pardon me; I have matters to attend to.
Only that they seem to be moving closer. Most of the other soldiers are a little on edge, too.
Esmond: As they should be! This unholy siege has lasted way too long. I've put in a request to be transferred to the front line. Although it may seem like a suicide solution, I'd rather go down fighting than cower in this blasted castle.
It is a sad situation, but we cannot give up hope that we will be victorious.
Esmond: Roth is a smart man. If he thinks we don't have enough resources to go to war with the Sha'ahoul, then I agree. I do intend to take at least a score of Sha'ahoul warriors with me when I fall, though.
As do I. Only I do not intend to fall. Keep faith and skill, soldier.
Fornaxans? Which ones?
Sir Beneyce: Wizards from Fornax seem to have found some sneaky way past the Sha'ahoul. I've heard of more than one group arriving in Avalon since the garrison.
I'll have to check this out.
Sir Beneyce: They say one group has set up in the Inner Keep. If the wizards can get inside, what's to stop the Sha'men?
Noted. Thank you and farewell.
I was wondering, Sir Caerleon, if you know any childhood legends that have anything to do with Avalon.
Sir Caerleon: When I was a young lad, my friends and I used to pretend that we were holy knights on a quest to defend our city from evil invaders. Ironic, eh? I wouldn't be surprised if that notion has come to the minds of others brought up on the tales of the Knights of Purest Light.
Knights of Purest Light?
Sir Caerleon: These were holy warriors selected by the spirits to defend the innocent. They were just and strong, but above all else, they were humble before their masters. Some of the other knights believed they were great because of their talent with the blade, and others speculate that they had magical aid from sages. I disagree with both those opinions.
What do you feel made them so powerful?
I understand your point, Sir Caerleon. Who are we to judge others of such power, unless we ourselves are in union with them, and therefore allow them to speak through us?
Sir Caerleon: Well said, Goondalf the G. May the light shine upon your path.
And upon yours as well, Sir Caerleon.
Now, up the stairs to the second floor. We're so close!
Err, nothing for now, Fester, but thank you.
Fester: I wonder if you'd mind if I ask you for a favor, then? Tempest asked me to procure some special oils to be used in the enchantment of a weapon. Would you mind dropping them off with him. I hear he needs it to enchant a fine sword... Since you brought the Fine Steel to Freeman, Tempest has actually had some work.
Yes good, continue the capitals for it. :nod:
That must be Sir Roth's sword; he mentioned something about it earlier. I will endeavor to find the time to drop off your oils, alchemist, as I believe I shall have to do some more running around regardless.
Fester: Thank you, Goondalf the G. I appreciate it. [He blinks a few times, and purses his lips.] I've been feeling a bit apprehensive lately. There's something in the air, but... Oh, it's probably just my nerves.
Perhaps it is, Fester. There's no use in worrying yourself about it, especially if your feeling is true. We need all the help -- and all the hope -- we can get.
Fester: Correct. I shall visit the monks today, to see if any of their cures will work. Not that mine couldn't, mind you, Goondalf the G, but sometimes a different perspective...
Agreed, Fester. Be well.
Point taken. [chuckle]
Zoe: [She smiles.] Especially lately.
Zoe: Why yes. They have been quite a busy bunch of bees down there. I'm afraid to even go in there, although I know Marcus wouldn't allow anything to happen to his favorite maid. [She winks.]
I've heard some rumors about Sir Tortain--is there anything you could tell me?
Please ignore that he is right across the room from you, and I am currently standing directly in front of him.
Zoe: Sir Tortain's family suffered a horrible fate at the hands of the Sha'ahoul. I wouldn't be surprised if there are others who know about the knights here. You might try asking Estrella or one of the other maids. If you wish to know more about Tortain's history, I'd ask him yourself though. He looks ready to burst from the insides if you ask me.
My thanks, Zoe, and may the spirits watch over you.
This will be a fun conversation I'm sure. Let's grab a drink first.
Indeed. I was wondering if you could enlighten me about some of your regular customers?
Zinestra: Anyone in particular, m'lord?
That depends on what you know. I've heard how a lot of the men come around these parts off hours...
Zinestra: Why, yes they do, and keep me quite busy, the noisy let of them.
Zinestra: Why, yes. Sir Saffire, Sir Hoal, Sir Beneyce, Sir Tortain, and even the cute Sir Caerleon stir up a ruckus when they get together here. Talking very loudly, and sometimes quite adamantly. I tell you, the more they drink, the more they talk. Sometimes I have to leave it up to myself to cut them off and hurry them to bed. I swear if it wasn't for me, they'd talk all night.
[chuckling] Ah well, I wager that's what always happens when men get together over a pint of ale.
Perhaps I'll seek him out, then.
Zinestra: Now don't you go forgetting about the others. Some might be more opinionated than the others, but Sir Saffire doesn't know everything. Try asking them all if you are really so curious about it. Oh, and before I forget, I overheard someone recently, something about Mudam looking for you.
My thanks. Farewell for now.
Alright, now let's go back to Tortain.
Sir Tortain, I believe sarcasm is your shield to bear a terrible pain.
Sir Tortain: [He blinks in surprise. Then you are either incredibly perceptive, or well-informed. My soul bears a terrible weight, one I wish someday to release, but that is none of your concern...
What is this sorrow that pulls your heart so? Please, my friend, share your pain with me so that I might help strengthen you through it.
Sir Tortain: [He takes a deep breath.] Very well; I know from others that you are a persistent individual, and confidential... Very well, Goondalf the G. My family was taken before me when the Sha'ahoul first invaded Oriam. My home... [He pauses.] was consumed in a blazing inferno. From within I could hear noises...
Noises, sir? Please... take your time, I know that this must be difficult for you to talk about.
How did you manage to survive?
Sir Tortain: When the Sha'ahoul first attacked, I stood at the front lines. The Sha'ahoul tried to flank my unit and a few of us were ordered to reinforce a position just on the other side of my farm. As we rounded my barn, a stray Ahoul arrow loosened a stacked pile of firewood, which topples on top of me. I was buried completely under it.
Please continue when you are ready.
Sir Tortain: The men I was with had no time to dig me out, and since I appeared to have been crushed to death, they proceeded to our assigned location. Fortunately, when the logs fell upon me, I managed to duck alongside a cart, and only suffered minor injury, but I was still buried under a ton of wood. I tried desperately to crawl my way free, but the progress was slow.
I can imagine.
Sir Tortain: Eventually I neared the edge of the pile, and that is when I first heard someone scream in fear...
Who was it?
Sir Tortain: The first of my family to see the Sha'ahoul approaching. Frantically, I redoubled my efforts, but in my haste loosened more logs above me, causing them to collapse upon me again. The pressure was incredible, and as I faded to unconsciousness I reached out to move one last log from my sight, which I should not have done... My last conscious vision was of my family being taken by the Sha'ahoul out in front of my burning home.
I cannot fathom how you managed to bear such terrible pain over the years. That is a truly horrible event to endure, Sir Tortain. I wouldn't wish such a fate upon anyone, including our enemies.
So has your quest for revenge turned you away from this pursuit?
Sir Tortain: No. Having my family taken from me has served to strengthen my dedication to this pursuit. Not only has my talent with a blade grown to new heights since that day, but I have also learned more about that ancient knightly order since my arrival in Castle Avalon.
What have you learned, Sir Tortain?
Sir Tortain: I have heard rumors that the land upon which we stand lies not far from one of the Order's original churches. If only there weren't this blasted war going on, I'd have time to discover the truth for myself.
Is there anything else you've learned?
Sir Tortain: Well, yes, there is. I've heard that the Order believed in a prophecy. It goes something like, "One day will come, when all is lost, one will rise from the ashes to avenge that which has been taken for granted." It is this legend that drives my search. If I could manage to find this lost church, maybe I could claim its power to rain holy vengeance upon the Sha'ahoul. Clearly my noble blood, high standing as an Oriam knight, and services I've done for my country proves me worthy of such power.
I hope that I have managed to help you release some of you pain, noble Tortain.
Sir Tortain: Indeed you have, Goondalf the G. Holding that tale inside for so long was pressing harder on my chest than those logs. I think you for your considerate ear. May the spirits guide your path to greatness.
I thank you for the kind words, Sir Tortain. If you ever need the services of my ears again, please feel free to call.
We don't actually get any Training Points or an award for doing all this, which I kind of like. The most you could say is that we're being provided clues about the Knight-specific content for this chapter. We can still see a little bit of it even as a Wizard, which is why I'm showing all this.
Speaking of knights, that barmaid said Saffire knows a lot about them, so let's see him next.
I've heard you are an expert on what a true knight is.
Sir Saffire: [He chuckles softly.] And who told you this?
A few people actually, but generally the other knights about the citadel.
Sir Saffire: [He grins.] Well, fret not m'boy, perhaps they are correct, then. I just never believed they would label me as an expert.
I guess they chose to not use such labels before your face, although I don't know why. Perhaps you could shed some light onto some legends I've heard.
Sir Saffire: What would those be?
Well, I've heard that there once existed an order of holy knights about these parts. Could you elaborate?
What do you mean?
Sir Saffire: What I mean is that it wasn't an easy task to become one such knight. Not at all, in fact. The average commoner or noble barely knew the name of but one of their order, let alone where they came from. It was hard to identify them because of the headgear they used, from full metal helmets to monk's hoods replete with cowl drooping over their faces.
Wouldn't that make people feel uncomfortable around them?
Sir Saffire: One would think so, but according to what I've heard, they wore white robes, like most cityfolk at the time, moved with a dignified grace, and treated others courteously. Since they hardly conversed with anyone outside the high council and their own, most people paid them no mind.
The people ignored them?
Sir Saffire: Well, not at first, but eventually, over time, they forgot about them. Too involved in other things, I'd wager. The people had always paid them a similar respect when in public. There were many superstitions and legends about them, but one in particular is known to me.
Could I, perhaps, persuade you to tell it to me?
I wouldn't doubt it. The power a man could accumulate from being the chosen one would surely tempt many would-be heroes.
Sir Saffire: Aye, m'boy, and it would seem that too many lusted for such power, because over time, the records keeping track of the bloodline have become lost or corrupted. Unfortunately, no one knows for certain who or when the next chosen one will arrive, but I'm certain this person will be of the highest moral caliber. Whether he comes from noble or common blood, I cannot tell, for it is not my place to judge so.
I see, Sir Saffire. With such power comes terrible responsibility and such would take a great man indeed. Tell me though, what makes a knight a true knight?
Sir Saffire: The strength of a True Knight lies not in his arm, but in his heart. Be ever humble m'boy, and maybe the light will find yours.
Thank you for everything, and may the light shine upon you, Sir Saffire.
JEEZ LADY, double exclamation points?!
Er, as you wish, Highness.
Of course, Your Highness. I will not say anything that would invoke her ire. Farewell.
Duties? All you do is stand around.
Sir Gareth: I... Er... I'm guarding the queen, you dolt!
Of course. Please excuse me.
Oh yeah, how's the other king around here doing? We did cure his poison and all.
Have you talked to him? Have you learned anything new?
Sir Natres: Now that the king's health is improving, I hope to address the suspicions he spoke of as soon as possible.
That would probably be wise.
You're welcome, Brother. I hope I can be of assistance in the future.
He isn't out of bed yet?
Lady Chadwick: Not with the constant pratter about the room! EVERYONE wants to see how the king is doing. His majesty woke five times just last night for visitors. "How is the king?" or "Is the king not well?" It is enough to made me mad. I wonder how it affects his majesty.
I will leave you be then, madame. Farewell.
Heard anything interesting?
Lady Fenshire: Oh, for the spirits sake! What is it with you wanderers? If you want gossip, go bother someone else with your silly questions!
Pardon me, madame.
Excuuuuuse me, princess.
You can take this oil from me, which Fester says you've requested from him.
Tempest: Ah! Thank you much, Goondalf the G. I was hoping I'd get this today.
You're welcome. The sword you need this for... It's the one for Sir Roth, isn't it?
Tempest: That it is, lad, and I relish the chance to work on a sword worthy of a commander like Sir Roth. I just got the balance perfected the other night. Now, after the application of these very, very special oils and a few magical words, this will be an even finer weapon than it already is, if I do say so myself!
I'm glad to hear it, Tempest. I will tell Sir Roth that his sword is nearing completion when I see him next.
Tempest: Ah, thanks be, Goondalf the G. I'd be grateful.
That's just about everything. Next time, we shall meet the infamous Anthamas Shadomar himself! Make sure to get your padded armor ready to protect yourself from cuts.
(As you've probably noticed, I haven't been doing fashion shows for a few updates. I'm out of ideas! I think I showed off a nice range of attire, but if there are any special requests, I will consider bringing it back for them.)