Part 54: Chapter 13-01
I'd like to apologize for these next several updates. There's not a lot I can do to make an interesting narrative out of what's basically 20 minutes solid of killing enemies
Fionnaoch warns Mannanan
: With the Isle Tower close at hand, the long journey of the Bard was drawing to a close. Leagues away and unbeknownst to our hero, a somewhat familiar scene was being played out.
Fionnaoch: At every turn he foils my plans! First Cathbad and then my Pet! What kind of a monster have you enlisted against me Caleigh? Who is this Bard? Where did you find him?
Caleigh: He's nobody Fionnaoch. A wanderer, a simple man enlisted in a noble cause, fighting to overthrow a tyrant. It's a familiar story isn't it?
Fionnaoch: Do not mock me. An average man you say? I think not. He leaves a trail of mayhem and destruction in his wake; no ordinary man could have struck down Herne and then Lugh. Still, you give me an interesting notion.
Caleigh: Which is?
Fionnaoch: You'll find out when he's here. I begin to suspect that he might make it this far.
Caleigh: Admitting defeat? That's unlike you.
Fionnaoch: I admit only the possibility that he may reach this tower alive. Then of course he'll have me to deal with.
Fionnaoch walked over to the symbol for the third tower.
Mannanan: I sense change in the winds Fionnaoch. What is happening?
Fionnaoch: Herne and Lugh have fallen. Only you and I stand between Caleigh and her freedom.
Mannanan: Then we must stand firm.
Fionnaoch: As you say. Mannanan, this man that approaches your tower, he is powerful.
Mannanan: A single man has undone both Herne and Lugh?
Fionnaoch: Indeed he has. Much is riding on your ability to stop him.
Mannanan: If I should fail, you will avenge me.
Fionnaoch: I will.
Fionnaoch stood there quietly for a moment.
Caleigh: Is that an emotion other than anger I hear in your voice Fionnaoch?
Fionnaoch: You'd be surprised what the years can do to a man.
Meanwhile, back on the island, the Bard awoke. The wooden dock wasn't the most comfortable of beds, but it had sufficed.
The Bard looked up. The Island Tower was above him, but there was something most notable. The various floors were floating in midair, with no visible means of support.
"Well," the Bard said after a few moments, "that's something you don't see every day."
There was a path leading up into the heart of the island, which the Bard followed. It wasn't long however, before he was set upon by ferocious Red Caps.
But the Red Caps weren't alone. Some Druids were on patrol and waiting for the Bard.
Having the bodyguard summoned may prevent you from being knocked down by the Druid's spells.
The Bard swung the Ego Sword through a Purple-robed Druid. To his surprise, the Druid merely flickered as the sword passed right through.
So the Bard swung again. This time the Druid fell.
The Bard reached the tower entrance and brought out the Shadow Axe, that so many had died seeking.
Into the Island Tower
He played a tune and the Tower doors swung open.
The Bard and his group entered, and the doors slammed shut behind him.
The Bard heard spells being cast, and soon the door was glowing purple. The Bard knew that he was sealed in.
This is actually good news, because it means we don't have to do the tedious "retrace your steps through the collapsing tower while fending off Druids" schtick.
: Our hero, having proven himself more than a match for the guardians of the tower, was now sealed inside, perhaps entombed for the rest of his inevitably short life.
: I'm going to live through this, just... to spite you.
Just then a fearsome whirlwind came down form the sky and touched down near the Bard. It then dissipated and transformed into an entity that the Bard guessed was the Tower guardian.
Mannanan: Come no further. I am Mannanan the guardian of this tower, you are not welcome in this place. I give you one chance to turn back. You shall not pass.
The Bard glanced behind him at the impassable door, then looked at Mannanan.
: That sounds eerily familiar. Look, even if I wanted to turn back - which I don't - there's no way out. I might as well move forward.
Mannanan: You have been warned.
Mannanan transformed back into a whirlwind and vanished back up into the sky.
: Hmmm... this one could be tricky.
The day was nice and sunny, and the Bard set out to explore the open-air fort. He didn't notice the storm blowing in.
The Bard soon encountered some more Rock monsters.
And obliterated them.
The Bard found a chest along the way.
Only one more summon left to upgrade. Can you remember what it is?
The Upgraded Enchantress gets a new spell, Slow. It slows down enemies to a crawl. It's useful, and it'll come in handy on the lext level of the tower for a different reason.
Mana Cost: 300 -> 500
Health: 125 -> 227
Damage: (1-2) -> (2-3)
Armor (2-10) -> (4-12)
New Ability: Slow Spell
The Bard soon came to appreciate the new ability of the Enchantress.
But he appreciated a new instrument even more.
This is the last instrument. I forgot to mention that the combination Weapon + Instruments have no mana pool or summon slots of their own, they use the highest instrument you have.
The Bard came to a dead end in the maze of rocks. He glanced up. The other levels of the tower were still floating high overhead.
: Hmmm... I'll need to think about this.
The Bard sat down on a square platform. It shuddered, then lifted off, floating upwards.
: Well... that's one way to get up... don't look down... don't look down.
The platform shuddered to a stop at the second level of the tower.
: Well, even though this mysterious tower is floating in midair... things could be worse, I guess.
Thunder crashed and rain started to pour.
: It's worse.
The Bard and his party headed along the narrow, slippery railing-less catwalks suspended high above the earth. Just one slip and the Bard could plummet to a gruesome death.
: You're enjoying this, aren't you.
The Bard came to an area with swords and shields scattered around.
: That's interesting. I wonder what happened to the owners.
Then the swords rose up, seemingly of their own accord, and advanced upon the Bard.
The invisible warriors swarmed around the Bard.
"It'd be real helpful," the Bard grunted, while parrying a strike, "if I could see where the bleeding things are."
"As you will..." the Enchantress intoned, and cast slow on the invisible warriors.
"That's much better," the Bard said, "Thanks."
Once all the invisible foes were dead - or playing dead - the Bard continued along the maze of catwalks.
He opened up a chest and found a new, nasty-looking dagger which bore a nasty enchantment.
This is the best dagger in the game, although we don't have a very good broadsword, I forgot to buy it at Thorvald's.
"Shiny," the Bard commented, idly tossing the dagger in his hand, "I'll give it a twirl.
Finally, the Bard found in a chest, the last tune to complete his repertoire of Upgraded Summons.
Mana Cost: 150 -> 300
Health: 120 -> 195
Damage: (22-30) -> (34-50)
Armor: (1-5) -> (3-7)
New Ability: Poisoned Daggers.
With blows flying every which way, the Bard fought his way to the second elevator.
When he stepped off onto the third level, the Bard noticed that the sky had become deeply dark. And oddly, there was a scent of brimstone in the air.
This level of the tower was filled with Fire elementals.
The Bard realized that the Behemoth would be next to useless, so he replaced it with the Rogue.
This tower was high above the ground, which was now shrouded in fog. Mysterious balls of light that looked like fire, but did not burn decorated the tower at erratic intervals.
"If you want me to say 'I'm impressed,' then Mission Accomplished," the Bard shouted.
Eventually, the tower seemed to run out of Fire elementals to fling at the Bard, and instead relied on Rock Monsters and invisible warriors.
This is the last weapon we get. Flail users get a lot of free weapons.
The Bard came to the final elevator, and spent a rare moment considering the consequences of his actions.
: So... if I kill Mannanan, that means that this tower will probably start to fall apart like the others... and since there's nothing holding it up...
Then he shrugged.
: Eh, what can you do, anyway?
The next update will be pretty short.
Fionnaoch warns Mannanan
Into the Island Tower