Part 31: Day 76: Bellower
So, here we are. The legendary city of varl.
That... is a lot of varl.
It is the third time I have seen such a thing. There are far fewer of us now than there once was.
Krumr heads up the stairs to the great hall, and returns shortly after speaking to some varl.
What did they tell you?
By all accounts, the dredge are coming here. Looks like they plan to end the varl for good this time. This place will become a killing field soon. They say the prince of men is here. They've got a mender, too.
Prince Ludin is here? From Arberrang?
In any case, we'll be given no audience today. You remember the last time you were here, Yngvar?
It's Iver. Yeah, I remember it.
We find somewhere to rest. I'd recommend keeping your people out of trouble while you're here, Rook.
In fact, keep them invisible. Jorundr won't be happy you're here.
You're shown to quarters, but could wander the city while you wait for an audience. You feel like you could sleep for a week straight.
With my whopping zero Renown, there's not much I can do here. Time to get some much-needed rest.
Greetings from Wyrmtoe, Jorundr. I've brought an ally.
Who are these people? We don't have time for games.
Wait... I know you.
Jorundr steps down from his throne to get a closer look. In the light, you spy deep wounds on the varl king.
It was my last option. You look like death, Jorundr.
The Sundr came through Grofheim. All of them. Or we would still be there.
That is what he does. What will you do?
Remain. There is no better place for us than here. We make our stand in Einartoft. But even if Einartoft falls, the varl won't be wiped out. Hakon is taking our best warriors to Arberrang, as we were discussing.
I'm not going, Jorundr. We're needed here.
This is not a debate...
A messenger bursts through the doors, cutting the tension. He says a Stonesinger has been cutting a path across the bridge.
Gods, can we not have a moment's respite? They shouldn't be here already!
I said the bridge stands, mender! I say it again to you, and the prince of men, and the whole mender council, were they here! I will not say it again! Hakon, you go to Arberrang! Eyvind! Do not even touch that bridge! Am I understood?
You are. Then I'll confront the singer myself.
Nobody tries to stop Eyvind, but many follow as he leaves the great hall.
"I won't stop you," says Iver. "Fight like it's your last." You're not sure what to expect, but ou draw your axe and soon find yourself standing behind Eyvind on the bridge, wondering if you made the right decision.
I didn't call for a vote here because it's not a significant choice. The battle happens either way - it's just a question of who is fighting it. I pick Rook's team.
We have a new warrior.
The dredge are not an army. They're an ocean.
For the actual mechanical battle, I'm facing a Slag Slinger, a Slinger Marksman, a Flame Slinger, a Scourge, a Vicious Grunt, a Stoneguard Colossus, and a Stonesinger. 7 to 6.
The Stonesinger is easily the most dangerous thing on the battlefield. It can heal allies, poison enemies, and self-destruct injured units for massive damage.
It needs to die.
On the other hand, I have Eyvind, one of the most powerful heroes in the game. He can call down lightning strikes and repair armor in mid-battle.
We're going for an uncomplicated shield wall strategy. Let the battle begin!
Eyvind is a required deployment for this mission, and starts in the first slot. I'm not sure if you can push his turn back at all, but I forgot to.
The Stonesinger is doing... something. I don't know what yet.
Iver charges right into the fray, to keep them off guard. The Scourge is the bigger threat, but it's also acting last, whereas the slinger is acting next.
It shuffles away and bounces a rock off of Iver's shield for 1 Armor damage.
Fasolt is potentially VERY useful right now. If he can get into range of the Stonesinger, he can lock it down with Malice, stopping it from using spells.
A lot of enemies are way far in the back, which I am using to all the advantage I can. Krumr burns 2 of his 4 Willpower in carving up the Scourge.
Even without that new belt equipped, Rook is a vicious Armor breaker.
The dredge seem to be confused about how to form a line - they have all their slingers in the front and the Colossus in the back.
Eyvind casts Mend, repairing all of the damage done to Iver's Armor. The Scourge doesn't attack, just putting itself in Iver's way.
Iver gets a good stab in, neutralizing this Scourge.
Stonesingers are really, really bad news.
+3 Strength means Flame Slingers with 12 Strength. I can't have that.
So far, with Eyvind's help, Iver is tanking this entire fight perfectly.
Alette was one tile short of being able to hit both slingers in one shot. So close!
This position does three things: It lets Krumr hit the more dangerous Vicious Grunt, it blocks the Scourge from moving past him, and it lets Eyvind move as close as possible this turn.
I really appreciate how they're all focusing down Iver, my sturdiest hero.
The downside of Umbrage is that it makes even my more low-Strength units capable of great destruction.
The Colossus slams Krumr back with its shield, but in doing so gives me a fine opportunity to show off Eyvind's true power.
So let's talk about Arc Lightning. It took me a long time to figure this move out.
The enemy that Eyvind targets takes 2 Strength damage, or 3 or 4 if I spend more Willpower on it (Eyvind is rank 5). After that, any units - friend or foe - who are diagonally adjacent to the first target get struck as well, taking one more damage than the initial target did. After that, it chains again in the same way, until it runs out of targets, each wave doing 1 more damage than the last. Armor does not modify the damage.
To clarify what diagonally adjacent means:
It would not chain between these heroes.
It would chain between these heroes.
It's a really, really good skill.
Iver rests. He needs the Will, and that Scourge, which is acting next, is very kindly acting as part of my frontline.
Of course, now it's summoning something. And the Stonesinger is up next.
Fasolt prods the Flameslinger down to 3 health. It moves away...
...allowing the Stonesinger to come in to attack.
1 Armor damage doesn't seem like much, but it's enough - Fasolt is now Diseased, and will take one Strength damage each turn.
Much more importantly, the Stonesinger is now next to Fasolt, who acts right before it does. If I can go through this round without killing too many dredge, Fasolt can shut it down.
While that lightning bolt did temper that Strength a bit, the Colossus is still sitting on 19 Armor. That won't be easy to crack.
WOW I hadn't been paying attention to that guy.
This goes much faster taking into account that I have Rook the Armor Destroyer.
Fortunately, he didn't use any will - this could have hurt a lot.
This was a miscalculation of sorts - a lightning storm from Eyvind kills one dredge and badly batters their Stonesinger, but it also hits Fasolt on the way around. Arc Lightning can travel very far if you're not careful with it.
Even from the back of the enemy line, somehow Iver continues to tank.
Iver uses Battering Ram to push this guy away - if I killed him, then the Stonesinger would be able to escape.
Unfortunately, the Scourge's summoning finishes...
...and a Grunt spawns right here.
Alette is about to be in serious trouble.
Fasolt taunts the Stonesinger, guaranteeing it won't get another spell off.
Alette is now at one Strength.
Doing the best she can for now, she falls back and breaks its armor, so that someone else can kill it.
The Stonesinger pokes ineffectually at Fasolt, wasting its turn. Mission accomplished!
At some point, Iver and Krumr got Diseased. I'm not sure how. The Colossus, too.
Finally, the armor is down!
The Colossus makes terrible use of its turn, pushing a few people around ineffectually.
Eyvind kills the Flameslinger, and badly damages the Stonesinger. A Scourge moves around but accomplishes nothing.
This move works out perfectly - the Grunt is diseased (?!), so after I drop it to 1 Strength, its turn starts, and it immediately dies.
This means Fasolt is able to pin own the Stonesinger again. Enemy casualties are mounting, though, so that time is over.
Alette gets one last hit in before getting picked off by slingers.
Krumr finishes off the Colossus, and Promotes. The Scourge moves in to hit him for one point of Strength damage.
Just about everyone is diseased at this point. Maybe it's contagious.
Rook finishes off the Stonesinger, then the Scourge dies of disease. Pillage begins.
Then Eyvind smites the last one.
The Stonesinger falls hard. A howl like a hurricane sweeps across the bridge. The dredge part like a black sea. From their depths steps a crimson behemoth, and a wave of sheer terror hits you like you've never felt before.
"Get the mender out of here," Iver hisses. "And run." Your legs move, almost with a will of their own, though you can't pull yourself away from watching what happens next.
And there he is. Bellower of the Sundr, god among dredge.
That's a very good question, Iver. No turning back now, though.
Let's talk about Bellower's stats for a moment.
It's not enough for him to have 20 Armor and 20 Strength. He also has the unique passive ability Indomitable. The game is unclear on what this does, but I will clarify it. Indomitable does two things.
The first is that every turn, Bellower recovers 3 Armor and 3 Strength.
The second is that, no matter what happens, Bellower's Strength will never, ever fall below 5.
In other words, Bellower is not a warrior of the world of dredge, men and varl.
The gods are dead, but the Sundr live.
And the Sundr Bellower is truly, absolutely invincible.
Iver writhes in agony, his arm torn clean off by Bellower's onslaught. The Sundr raises his weapon for the killing blow.
"Sundr! Face me!" Screams an uncertain Eyvind, stepping back onto the bridge, raising his staff high. Even from here, you can see his arm trembling. You feel practically frozen in place, watching.
Eyvind recoils in terror from the massive serpent that has appeared in the distance, and even Bellower backs away. It leans in to inspect the two armies, flicks its great tongue, and then indifferently lurches over the mountainside and out of sight.
The dredge are a knot of confusion. Some cower, others crouch in what looks like worship. Hakon shouts orders above the din. Varl rush forward, bowling over surprised dredge, gaining ground. Bellower has receded back into the horde. Jorundr watches from atop the stairs.
"Hurry," says Eyvind, suddenly pulling at your arm, snapping you out of the moment. You rush to Iver, laying on the ground amidst the fighting, still breathing despite a missing arm, and drag him back into the city.