The Let's Play Archive

Warlock 2: The Exiled

by JcDent

Part 16: Ancient Secrets, Not So Ancient Foes

I bet it can be modded that instead of dragon, you'd start with one of the flying ships or Flycraft of Order and with the ability (cooldown: 20 turns) to spawn settlers.

And heads up: Going to Nagasaki on Monday, so next week might be a little sparse on updates. Saturday will get one and there might be (unlikely) one on Monday, but then I wouldn't post anything till Friday or so.

Chapter 15: Ancient Secrets, Not So Ancient Foes

“I hate many foul creatures: thieves, murderers, traitors, mutants, heretics, archers, goblins… But there’s one thing that I hate above them all”

“And what is that?”

“Flying cravens! I’d wring whatever they have for neck if I could reach them!”

On a neighboring world, Krel’s archers were dealing with another universally (as in, in the whole universe) hated threat: sea serpents.

“So that is how it feels to be on the receiving end of a fireball… interesting…”

Two newly resurrected prospectors were brawling on the floor in King Lich’s study while the rest of them looked on.

“I think I need new army regulations about gambling in antechambers of afterlife”

“Alright, you lot, split up, I need to you to garrison cities. Your crossbows and crows will be useful in sniffing out rioters and their ringleaders”

One of the greatest mysteries of the universe was the proliferation of leviathans, krakens and other sea borne nasties, as nobody quite understood how they ended up in any source of water bigger than a river.

Still, it was an amusing day for garrison archers everywhere.

But not in Regret. Nothing was ever amusing in Regret.

“Step aside, noble warriors! Our runes will blast the windbags out of the sky! Taste fire and fury!”

“Oh bloody hell, there’s more! Signal the mages! And get the ghost ship here, no way am I putting a boat in untested waters”

“Only the dead and the elf stay in this place… truly it is damned!”

“And zombies leave the most horrid taste in the mouth”

Greater Fire Elemental, great and flaming, loomed in the center of the gently pulsing blue portal. Loomed for a spell… before launching a fireball at the Fort Gobbo and incinerating a few barrack buildings.

“In the end of the day, it all comes down to the Elite Guard and his axe”

“Ah, meta-teleportation. Rurik, have you ever been teleported?”

“Can’t say I have, my lord”

“Me neither. Well, not exactly in person… Anyways, it is a wondrous thing, meta-teleportation. Piercing the veil through magic and flinging a company of men, all through strength of will and sharpness of mind”

“And some horribly complex incantations, of course”

“Wonder what they want with Baytown?”

“Relatives? Volcano? Why did Ol’Bones leave it there?”

“To spite Regret. Or to have an interesting landmark”

“Svarts! By the blessing of Helia, we are protected from all sort of elemental harm! This includes the fiery ravages of Ashwind Dale! We will lead the way and deal with the fiercest enemies!”

“And what are we to do?”

“You will follow and walk in the green grass that will sprout from lava. I know our lord and I have seen him tame lands far more fierce than this!”

“Hold your staves high! Align the runes! Hum the tunes! And whoever misses will get a lashing!”


“Don’t think I didn’t hear that, Morrigan, you freak!”

“Apparently we’ll need our lord’s help sooner than I expected. Meditate on Helia’s wisdom until the mountain breaks apart as from a miracle”

“Our lord is ever hasty and helpful! Charge, my brethren, charge!”

Wolves of Helia, no longer truly wolfmen, surged over the broken burning ground, ignoring all the heat like it wasn’t there. In great bounds and leaps did they travel, stopping only to kick apart an imp portal.

“Now, m’lord, I’d wager a guess that your prior subjects were more pliable… or expendable. However, a Svart is no goblin…”

“…a fact for which I thank Krolm daily…”

“…well, yes. But as you noticed, that comes with certain problems, as thinking subject tend to think for themselves. Useful in a raid, but not that good in running a state”

“Es Kaliborn learned that, he did”

“Yes, and you were one of the many that taught him that lesson. All we’re saying is that we have compiled a scroll of common ways to endear yourself to your Svart subjects, lord”

“A Svart is tought as Adamantium, so you have to beat him as such…”

“Yes... No! That’s a not how…”

“Alright, lads, keep your eyes peeled! If someone moves outside the walls after curfew – pin them. If you hear a small rock fall after dark – shoot at the opposite side.”

“And keep crows circling all day, in groups of three and fire, always within visual distance of each group”

“All wings, TAC-A reporting sunrise, I repeat, sunrise. Good snooping, boys”

Life elementals might be lively buggers, but they were no match against the rune magic of the Seers. The swirling grey twisters stumbled and disintegrated, only to coalesce somewhere else in a health potion.

And so the great wheel of life (elementals) turns again…

Ordained Shamans appeared to be able to weather any storm that raged in their bellies. Somewhat paradoxically, it also translated into an ability to weather actual storms. Or magical storms. This, in turn, made everyone sad, for it was now very unlikely that the Shamans would be blown away by wind, never to be seen (or more importantly, smelled or heard) ever again.

“At least it’s not a crow with a cheese. We’ll wait it out to attack”

Archives of Tradition was a place where all the information pertaining to Svart traditions was held. Indexed and well guarded against misguided youths with notions of change and rebellions, it was a very important place that kept Svarts Svart-y and held back the decay of their culture. People employed here did their best to ensure that all the royal subjects were impressed with the importance – and meaning – of all traditions.
And, in certain times, they convened to strike out certain traiditions that no longer applied (rarely ever happened) or to enshrine new ones. But even the obsolete ones didn’t disappear, as the notes pertaining to them would be held in deep, secure vaults, and a certain group of attendants would play them out to Svarts of historical inclinations or too young an age to say “no” to their parents.

While ground didn’t shake with King Lich’s every step, it did have to bend to his whim and magical prowess. And at this point, turning a patch of inhospitable, nay, deadly terrain into pleasant meadows was basically routine work.

“Oh no, no more goblins. Tell him to sod off”

“Ffffire... my maties…”

“I hate ‘double domes’”

“Beats flying Wild Weasel runs, Razor-4. That’s how I lost my original wingcrow…”

"Rune Forewomen enjoy great respect among the Svarts, and not only as experienced warriors. They are also known for the fact that their abilities to control the runes are initially not so good, but later grow to be equal to those of Rune Witches. Sometimes the axes and armour of Rune Forewomen are decorated with dozens of runes that they use as virtuously as their weapons."
(from "Chronicles of New Worlds" written by Master Vardies Teleran)

“Nobody crosses the gate, you vagabonds. Or else”

“Our master might find a use for corpses, even if they are so badly burnt”

“Hold your shield steady, lads. Everybody knows that dragon blasts are deflected harmlessly around those who do so”

“Only fools caught with their shield down perish… Onundr, what did I just say, you oaf?!”

“Another wyrm pays for its arrogance. Loot the nest and burn it”
Wordlessly, the wolves obeyed.

There were some strange, remarkable treasures in the find. A powerful, magical ring and a spell…

“This is almost too dangerous… But Helia’s will is my will“

It wasn’t easy, to coat weapons in ‘life’, but it was possible, especially when incantations were helped by Chepleve pictures of intertwining wines.

Unfortunately, no such preparatory work could be done on the rainbow dragon, who was the first one to achieve such blessings.

“Strike lightning and slay the beast!”

“Into the pot of death I cast thee!”

The dragon, battered, burned, bruised and bloodied barely hung in the air.

The last straw was when Elite Guard attacked a group of bears. One of the men struck a bear in the heck, but his grip wasn’t tight while the blow was mighty indeed, which sent the axe flying straight at the dragon’s head.

And so it died.

“I am… alive?”

“I’m as surprised as you are. Heroes usually get taken away instantly, unless there’s a prophecy or something like that”

“Interesting. Well, you have my thanks and I promise to keep the secret of how you got here”

King Lich wished ever so badly that he had an eyebrow to raise.

“How did I get there?”

“You sent vampires and a band of skeletons with your skeleton – I have no idea how one can have ‘spares’ – on a journey through pocket dimensions. One of the vampires was a mage and they found a way into the shards. And they traveled, traveled for a long, sealing gates with spells, before they ended up in Burnouts and placed you in a cave”

“They then returned to Howling Sorrow, where they took over a city and called it Vampirium, flying your flag all the while”.

“The lead vampire set up spells to raise the dead while others convened on how to deal with lack of food… so they preyed on planestriders, goblins and others.”

“That worked until there was a clash over love, longing for home and, again, sustenance. Everyone died in an orgy of violence”

“I found all of it in journal that survived in their villa. The last entry read ‘…I hope this meeting put an end to this strife. It is unbefitting of the chosen of King Lich himself’”

“Apparently, the spells continued work even after their deaths and some skeletons eventually wondered their way to Alexiri and attacked locals, who saw your banner and assumed all of the dead were in league”

“That is… sad. Callorun was a friend, as much as a vampire could be one. It seems that I forgot more than spells in death. I thank you for the story, but please, be silent about the ‘spares’. It’s but one of many methods, and one of many that have not occurred to my… colleagues”

“Speak of undead matters…”

“Best ship them back to ser Hugue. Must miss these things somewhat fierce”

“Well, as long as WE don’t need to be resurrected…”

“Another drake bites the dust! We will conquer this shard, no matter what!”


“What... What are those things?!”

And quick like that, a spell that would eventually help Wolves of Helia hunt down Tormentors was researched. It seemed that they would spend quite a lot of time and effort in this plane.

Barbarians of Krolm, not paying attention to any monsters on the shard, managed to build a temple city in the least hospitable place of the plane.

When asked how they got to the free floating piece of shard, they answered:

“We jumped”

And nobody asked anything else.

“I wonder where the serpent from that nest went… have to check it out”

“Shields of copper and men of clay… I almost wish for Krel to betray us. Oh the disgrace, to be delayed because these so called ‘warriors’ can’t arrange in one file to get to the gate”

With wild werewolves dead (and Hugue’s death both avenged and reversed), a dragon felled, and a sea serpent chased away, little remained in the way to stop conquest of Plaguedell.

King Lich VI cracked opened the spell of the mind of the Ancients. Wisdom old beyond measure, collected when magic was young and the world was younger, filled him.

Surges of light shot into his eyeholes, burning bright the knowledge and understanding of spellcasting.

“Yes, this rune is superfluous… This gesture is all wrong… This part is just rubbish, skip that… This all seems so clear, so easy know”

“What can stand against this feeling of knowing?”

“Terrorizing elves, I see!”

“Wait, do those elves actually have… banners?”