Part 15: Claiming The ShoresWell, like I claimed in the OP, Warlock 2 is as much of a sequel as Dark Crusade was, which was released as a stand-alone game: same engine, includes stuff from previous expansions, new campaign, two new factions, etc. But DC was billed as "stand alone expansion pack" since Relic wanted that MP player money (how else would you make them pay for playing the original 5 races?). But that's just my two cents.
Chapter 14: Claiming The Shores
With the resurrection spell secure, King Lich VI could once again turn to the governance of the realm.
One thing was readily apparent.
Krel still seems to be crazy. Might be something with these human mages. First Miralbus, now this...
And then there were food riots. Food riots happened because of starvation, and starvation was caused by regular riots in Uglin, the breadbasket of the empire. It was unclear what was it exactly that made Svarts riot and what could be done to appease them. So in the mean time, a temporary solution would do: the newly resurrected Rurik's Men would garrison the city.
"One day an Ordained Shaman known as Muzzgol the Seeker paid a visit to Oozegak the Omnivorous and asked him: "If you saw a Monster-Eating Spider in your way, what would you do?" "I eat it", said Oozegak. "What if next you came across a troop of Paladins of Dauros?" "I eat them", was his swift reply. "But what if a Great Mage himself appeared before you?" "I'll bow before him, then gobble him up". Upon hearing these words, Muzzgol cried out: "Truly, you are the Ordained Shaman, not me!""
From "101 conversations with Ordained Shamans".
Situation wasn't helped by the fact that troops in Long Shores made a horrible discovery.
*buuuurp* Hullo! We herd or lord survived, so we traveled, and traveled. Got caught for eating Koatl young. *riiiip* So, thenk you, we are ready to serve
Why is it that goblins always survive everything, and not the more useful men...
Still, there was a little bit of cosolation in the fact that his Wolves of Helia were back and fighting the good fight. At least someone sensible from the old world!
Speaking of gods and temple warriors, said Wolves uncovered a temple ground in mangroves to the north of Long Shore shards. This proved to be a problem of a dimension previously unknown to King Lich VI: administration. Unlike undead (who only ever needed one human scribe per city to tally skeletons and occasionally feed the bats) and monster kingdoms who existed in a state of somewhat controlled (by strongweremen)chaos, Svarts needed laws, documentation and other things that ate paper and produced headaches.
And that administrative issue was made even worse by Planestriders, less pretentious humans and elves, who, without an existing werewolf nobility to scare (and scar) them into submission, where bringing up customs, court decisions and various other conflicts of interest that got in the way of solving the Great Mage conflicts of interest.
Sir Hugue, however, was far removed from such mundane trifles. He was engaged in the high art of crumpling bears and skewering life elementals.
Haha, now this is how a questing knight should live!
Come one, come all, dragons, come and taste my blade!
Public opinion manipulation or the high art of telling serfs to serve and peasants to toil because reasons for doing so are many and varied, and better know by you, penned by Master Kefkus von Zema
This might be of use to my lord, Dauros knows those peasants are always up to no good
But now... en garde, dragons!
However, he wasn't faced by just dragons...
There were life elementals, and arrows coming from a city, and some wild werewolves, too. Individually, they weren't big threats. But all together, they were too much for sir knight to handle.
And so sir Hugue Dry Branch, Grand Stubborn Master, under orders of his distant liege to expand the realm, died fighting monsters in a shard he didn't know the name of.
He couldn't have died happier than that.
Svart ships are made using unprecedented technology. Svarts do not use sails, so they build special machines to move oars. Such rowing engines allow their ships to ignore changeable winds, and slowly and steadily approach the target in any weather.
Boats, salvaged from the sands of former lake Deadlin, where transported over to long shores, where they were restored in the large dock facilities and put to good use. Like ferrying Svarts from one jungle hell hole to another.
The dockworkers had to hide, however, as rebellious Svarts peppered the docks with bolts before disappearing into the hills.
Death to the tyrant!
They even engaged the first of Krel's troops to enter Long Shores.
Any sort of help was far far away, as the elite units were engaging, among other things, swarms of giant murderous mosquitoes.
I regret ever wanting to cut a mosquito with me axe!
Skeletons AGAIN? I thought we were out of Howling Sorrow!
M'lord, we have come to a conclusion
Spiders are bad
They really are, especially the giant ones
And there's even bigger ones... and ones that live in cold climated... and mucosas...
Yes, they are all very bad. You should kill them. That would make us US all very happy
Friendship with Helia was proving to be more and profitable. Wolves of Helia were very welcome and very useful in the fight against, well, everything, but the goddess also had spells that improved the crop growth, something that was of great interest to the starving subjects of King Lich VI.
Meanwhile, giant spiders were engaged by mages of Krel. Apparently, everybody hated spiders, no matter who their were or where they came from.
Razor-1 to Lichtower. Entering Ashewind Dale. Temperature is critical, we won't be able to remain airborne for long. Transmiting what we can before RTB
There is a sizeable volcano near the gate, Lichtower, no way to make beachhead. I'm spotting some double dome up north.
Seems to be a friendly city up north...
Scratch that, Lichtower. Seeing a hostile circling over the city. Attempting to read...
"Now, where was I, before I was interrupted by that obscene drawing on the board? Ah, yes.. Gold Dragons. Like the aforementioned Red Dragons, they arrived from another world, but adapted themselves to this one and ultimately spread out all over Ardania.
"Gold Dragons are more intelligent and better educated than the red variety. Among their species one may find plenty of philosophers, poets and brilliant scientists. For this reason it is not wise to regard Red Dragons solely as warrior-beasts, a point of view sadly but widely held by our thick-headed military.
"Yes, Perkins? Has the bell rung yet? I'm sorry, I was engrossed in the lecture. Just to remind you, the test on Hymenoptera is tomorrow. Don't be late."
(From the lecture notes of Professor Fostus the Reader)
It's a 'golden boy', tower, 'golden boy'! Didn't know any of them remained in Ardania
This ain't Ardania, boys. Keep your distance, continue sweep
Lichtower, I don't know what I'm seeing...
Unidentified hostiles on our twelve... Razor flight is bugging out!
Meanwhile, back in Long Shores, King Lich VI decided to see what the runes could do. Runes of Protection didn't do much, but whenever a nearby warrior was attacked, some part of the damage was reflected by a faint golden glow.
Eating is the best a man can do, and to eat more, they have to be healthy! Heel, my pretties, heel!
Somewhere, a giant spider laid in its own ichor as a pile of crumpled chitin. And in Lichgrad, fireworks soared as concerned citizens awarded King Lich VI for his triumph against nature's horrible mistakes. Ale and firework helped people forget that while food production was on the up and up, there still wasn't enough to feed all of them.
M'lord, Silver Silks were the hardest hit by the starvation, as you see. Frozen lands, deserts, dead plains... not the best place to find food. And the fish in the river haven't come any more alive either
That's why we had to see what buildings needed manning the most
The undergound storage, for example, is very important. Many people want to keep their items safely locked away. Some of them are quite vile, but I only know that from glimpses. Our contract doesn't let us look
Regardless, this is why we needed all the hands we have to walk the halls, check the records, all that important stuff
That why the Jewelry plant is down?
'fraid so, m'lord. Jewel sprockets, gold automatons... All that is very precise equipment, needs a lot tending and care. Still more profitable than actual craftmen though we do have a few of those, masters to the last but constant overwatch, m'lord, we need it
I see. Well, the food problems will be solved, soon. We have found the riot instigators and they have been tried. Now we're looking for a certain man in a cloak...
The rainbow dragon was graceful. So graceful that he could weave his way around the shots fired by the ghost ship. So nible, so beautiful in flight, so not like the kraken that they were fighting.
Helia giveth, Helia taketh away. And if Krel crosses me one more time... Well, fading will be more of a desert world than burnouts, I'll see to that.
And to give Krel an outlet for his energy (and manpower) landbridges were raised from the sea and spells were prepared to lower hills along the way. Hopefully, Krel would funnel his people in Ashewind Dale, and whatever happened there, well...
Lichtower, this is Talon-1. Spotting another 'double dome'. Also, applying to get this shard to be declared 'the worst shard of all time', over
I don't think I want a population boom so soon after a major famine... Still, it might come in useful in the future.
Now, to find that green-clad troublemaker, wherever he is
But before that, there was a new trouble: a freshly captured city full of goblins and gnomes, with no werewolves to speak off and no ingrown fear of King Lich that had been fostered on a long sea voyage. A horrible mess, in other words.
Oh no, I am not going to deal with this illiterate mess again
Fort Gobbo! Here you will stand and if necessary die in the defense of the realm from invaders of other shards!
And probably guard the seas. I think that's the only reason why you built defensive walls in the bay
Well, best of luck. I have cities full of subjects that would understand if I was sending them to death... and wouldn't be sent to death in the first place
"Veterans are glorious warriors, hardened by dozens of battles. Their distinguished status is only given by those who can make mincemeat of a minotaur in a one-on-one fight -- and devour the entire spit-roasted pig in the merry revelry that follows. A squad of these true-hearted men can take down a dragon, especially if it has been rubbed with Lormidian spices and baked until its scales are glazed." (From "The Overall Description of Everything" by Master Alfus Bumblegate)
Hmpf. I don't like these news. These veterans might spell something bad
So far, there's only one company and I don't know Krel is paying them
There might always be more
Well, we have more and better soldiers. And ours don't stay dead
Speaking of the dead...
NOT AGAIN! NOOO!