View Full Version : The Kingdom Mine - Let's Play Betrayal at Krondor!

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12-13-2008, 09:26 PM
Betrayal at Krondor Theme (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK01-Theme.mp3)



Introduction, Part 1 (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK02-Ch1-%20Intro01.mp3)


Assassin in the Camp (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK27-Assassin_in_the_Camp.mp3)


Owyn stumbled back, and as he lost his balance and sprawled on the ground he saw Gorath spread his wrists, catching a descending sword blade on the chain with a sharp ringing sound before the elf twisted the links and sent the weapon skittering into the darkness. The elf struggled with the newcomer, and before Owyn could regain his feet or Locklear draw his blade the prisoner had spun behind his attacker and forced him to his knees.


Shock (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK-Shock.mp3)




As Locklear and Owyn doused the fire and gathered their belongings, Gorath looked for supplies. Feeling a bit like a vulture, he turned the body this way and that as he searched for anything that might be of use to them on their journey. All in all, he supposed that if he were the dead man, it wouldn't matter to him any longer what happened to his belongings.


There wasn't much. The rations were quickly distributed, and the moment Gorath opened the pouch to reveal the glint of lockpicks Locklear stepped forward, his drawn blade leveled at the prisoner while his free hand snatched the pouch. “A friend of mine taught me a few tricks with these,” he said, smiling wryly at the other two, “So I think I'd best hold onto them for now.”

Gorath said nothing, merely looking the disheveled Squire over once before turning his gaze towards the path that led to the King's Highway.

12-13-2008, 09:27 PM
Introduction, Part 2 (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK03-Ch1-Intro02.mp3)


12-13-2008, 09:35 PM
I never pictured Locklear with a rapestache like that, but I'll admit it doesn't not fit the character.

Gorath just looks wrong, though.

(I'm kind of a big Feist fan. Looking forward to this one.)

12-13-2008, 09:36 PM
Awww yeah

I remember when Sierra gave this game out for free as a promo for a barely related and much inferior sequel. Being 12 and new to video games (doubly so computer rpgs) I didn't get very far. I had plenty of fun nicking myself while applying deadly poisons to my weapons though!

12-13-2008, 09:40 PM
Betrayal at Krondor was fucking hard at the beginning. It is the epitome of Western RPG design. Drop you into a context-rich, wide-open world with very little explanation of what to do or how to do it and let you figure it out on your own.

The rewards were great, once you got over that initial hurdle though. This shit is bringing back some memories. I can still remember the terrible animation as Gorath leaped forward, his manacles making a decidedly unrealistic clanking.

12-13-2008, 09:43 PM
"Alright then, but if you've already been attacked three times, how do you know that keeping to the King's Highway is any better?" Owyn asked, his eyes darting back towards the corpse. "For all you know, there are more like him every few miles all the way from here to Krondor."

Before Locklear could reply, Gorath broke in, his lips twitching in the faintest of smiles. "The boy's right. Also, we've neither enough food for a direct journey nor enough money to purchase it. Even if the direct route was free of danger we would need to take the time to reprovision ourselves."

The squire looked ready to reply sharply for a moment, then sighed instead. "Alright," he muttered, "but what do you suggest? If we double back towards Tyr-Sog and the Inclindel Gap we can head down the eastern side of the Yabon hills, but I'd be very surprised if there weren't more damned moredhel that way, still hot on our trail."

Owyn frowned. "Well, we could continue south for a ways, then cut east towards Hawk's Hollow or Questor's view."

(Decision time, ladies and gentlemen)

12-13-2008, 09:46 PM
Betrayal at Krondor (1993, Dynamix)

Betrayal at Krondor was my introduction not just to PC RPGs, but to RPGs in general. It's based on the Riftwar books by Raymond E. Feist (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raymond_E._Feist), and because of its heritage (I guess) they decided to try and present the game in a very "literary" way, which dovetails nicely with the somewhat limited graphics of the early 90s. The game is broken into chapters, and the insanely copious "flavor text" is both relatively well-written for the time and all presented in the form of a story. So instead of the "This is a pack of rations. You eat it when you're hungry" -style of description you'd generally get when looking at stuff in most adventure games or even older RPGs, you get something like:


The rest of the game is quite solid, with a turn-based combat system I've always been fond of even if it is a little simple, and some really nice hand-drawn backdrops in places. The biggest problem a lot of people had with it at the time (the fact that there's weapon and armor degradation and repair, and that you need to keep a supply of rations on hand and avoid eating poisoned or spoiled food) is something I actually enjoy, although that's probably not everyone's cup of tea. Anyway, my plan is to try do this LP in as narrative a form as possible in order to match the the text, so we'll see how that goes. I'm going to leave things like "Which route do I go" and "do I do this or that sidequest" up to y'all, as well as any Moredhel word locks and trap-ambushes. Because I know the game pretty well (I've been replaying it about once a year most years since it came out in '93), I'll handle things like which skills to tag and when. The game mechanics are more or less “point-based” rather than level-based, and skills are advanced through use like in the Elder Scrolls games. So yes, this means that if you want to get better at Haggle or Barding relatively quickly, you need to sit around haggling for everything from every merchant and buying and playing practice lutes until they break. I'm not going to describe that sort of grinding, but I'm going to do it unless you specifically want me NOT to and to try a straight run through. It makes the game harder, but it's certainly do-able.

“Sequence-breaking” is similarly rewarding, and I use quotes because you're given very general goals in most chapters and for most of them you can wander around pretty much the entire world map. This means that, in theory, you can get a lot of very good equipment by going to certain areas, assuming you can unlock the chests and survive the combats. Also, since there's a fixed number of combats in the world, and they reset between chapters, you're going to improve your skills more by running around more. However, since it can break the immersion in the narrative, and since chests DON'T respawn like battles, it can render the later chapters a bit boring and straightforward if you take it too far (It's entirely possible to get enough gold to buy nearly the best swords and armor in the game before the end of Ch.1, for example). I usually suggest moderate exploration outside the region of a Chapter's main quest: enough to get a bit more fighting experience and money, but not so much that you're left with thousands more gold than you really need. There are some other places where it's possible to make a serious profit, but we'll go over those when the time comes.

As far as backstory goes, there's a summary of the Riftwar novels in the manual. In an attempt to keep these first posts from getting TOO huge I'm not going to repost it here unless there's massive audience interest. I'll try to work some of the back story into my narrative sections, and those who do want to see their summary can check out the manual on Replacement Docs (http://www.replacementdocs.com/news.php/).

Finally, I've included links to MP3s of the soundtrack much as DeeMer is doing for his Star Tropics LP. I think it adds a great deal to the experience, and it's pretty damn good music too, so I highly recommend you take a listen. Hosting is courtesy of poetfox, and the MP3s themselves started out life as OGGs from Quest Studios (”http://queststudios.com/”) (check them out, they're great). I would've just linked to them, but I want you all to be able to listen in-browser, and while most of you probably have something that'll do that for MP3s I didn't think you'd be able to do the same for OGGs.

With all of that established, you have a goal (Get to Krondor) and a map:


Let's Play Betrayal At Krondor, shall we? Unless everyone really wants to see starting stats/spells/items NOW, I'm going to go into those as they come up. I love how text-heavy this game is for a graphical RPG, but the downside of that is that you can become glutted with text and start skipping it all, which would be a shame.

12-13-2008, 09:50 PM
I always pictured Locklear having black hair. There is probably a very thorough description of him that I totally ignored, though.

Pointless trivia: In the novelization Krondor: The Betrayal, Owyn is the son of the Baron of Timons. In the game, I think he's the Count of Tiburn's son. Tiburn is northeast of Krondor, while Timons is southeast, so in the book, Owyn is actually on his way to Krondor and Locklear decides they should band together for a little while. This was probably to get rid of the part where Owyn is threatened to join the party.

12-13-2008, 09:55 PM
Betrayal at Krondor was fucking hard at the beginning.
Also in the middle and at the end.

I especially remember it for a bit of game design that was about 60% great and 40% frustrating. In the source books, wielding magic is difficult, draining work - few magicians, and nearly none in the part of the world the game's set in, are capable of prolonged magical combat. The game reproduces this faithfully: casting magic firsts drains character stamina (and fast), then after that's gone, it starts draining HP directly. It changes the gameplay quite a bit from your standard RPG setup - any spellcasting has consequences, which adds an interesting level of risk management to combat.

Where it goes wrong is balancing it out. The game maintains several other bog-standard '90s RPG conventions unchanged, including "magic-users are worthless in physical combat" and "lots of enemy encounters". As a result, your spellcaster ends up being dead weight and/or dead meat in most battles with random goons, and with only a three-person party, there's no room for that.

12-13-2008, 10:14 PM
Ohhh, god. I remember that ration icon.

And chests. I remember lots and lots of locked, trapped chests.

Also, as Mazian said, spellcaster died a lot.

Well, really, everyone died a lot. Lots of reloading of saved games...

Music was catchy, though.

12-13-2008, 10:16 PM
As a result, your spellcaster ends up being dead weight and/or dead meat in most battles with random goons, and with only a three-person party, there's no room for that.

Actually, if you play your cards right, your spellcasters can become incredibly potent. It's all about finding the right spells early enough in the game to get your casting accuracy up, and being willing to soak up some damage.

If I haven't gotten many suggestions on which way to go by tomorrow afternoon, I'll go ahead and choose for you. Since this is my first LP, advice is appreciated: Should I be giving people more hints as to what's available where? Should I just go ahead and make the decisions myself for the first chapter?

12-13-2008, 10:16 PM
Hawk's Hollow is closer. Let's see what they've got there!

12-13-2008, 10:28 PM
Should I just go ahead and make the decisions myself for the first chapter?

I am content to have my memory jogged. I want to say "go to LaMut" because I remember spending a lot of time around that city for some reason.

12-13-2008, 10:33 PM
Man I love this game, my brother and I spent hours trying to get the damn thing to work on XP when it was re-released with the book, and we still remember a lot of the word chests (and reference them often).

If I haven't gotten many suggestions on which way to go by tomorrow afternoon, I'll go ahead and choose for you. Since this is my first LP, advice is appreciated: Should I be giving people more hints as to what's available where? Should I just go ahead and make the decisions myself for the first chapter?

Giving a few hints is always nice, since it lets people get a general feel of pros and cons of going a certain way.

I'm going to say let's go to LaMut and visit the Tsurani.

12-14-2008, 12:11 AM
All I know is they go to LaMut in the book. I plan on playing alongside the LP anyway, so it's hard for me to decide!

12-14-2008, 08:48 AM
I remember starting this multiple times. I would always go into one cave and get consistently annihilated. Eventually I finally passed (or ignored) it and got to the rest of the game, and it was awesome.

I also actually liked Betrayal at Antara, which used a modernized version of the engine. Although I guess I'm in the minority because they never continued that series.

12-14-2008, 09:25 AM
Oh, this is going to be great... this was one of my first RPG/PC RPG exposures, as well, so I've got a lot of fond memories of this one. (They got less fond when crystals were involved, though...) This game was also my introduction to Raymond E. Feist, so I'd always thought Locklear was supposed to have a moustache. Go figure.

I also liked the weapon sharpening/food ration mechanics: it didn't feel like the game was punishing you, but rather that it rewarded you for remembering to treat your equipment well. All the armour and weapons were standard issue across the world, too: you didn't have any unique weapons to risk losing (at least, I don't remember too many).

Finally, I thought the magic system was pretty solid, actually -- if nothing else, all the spells had cool names like "Fetters of Rime". That's two vocabulary lessons right there!

First stop: Hawk's Hollow. And then: Adventure!

12-14-2008, 10:11 AM
I say we backtrack. Head to Yabon, then to Tyr-Sog, Loriel, and Hawk's Hollow. Get off the King's Highway and take the back route.

12-14-2008, 11:03 AM
((Alright, unfortunately it looks like Ringworm got thoroughly out-voted. If you're reading this and you want me to wait longer next time before calling it one way or the other, by all means speak up here or PM me. South it is.))

After several minutes' deliberation, it was decided. "Alright, we'll strike south for the Garrison of LaMut. If Earl Kasumi can't spare an escort for us, we'll cut east towards Hawk's Hollow and try to slip South to Krondor by that route," Locklear said, giving a short sharp nod. "Before we go, let's make a quick check of the area. If Haseth had any friends about I'd prefer to deal with them before we get moving.

A quick search revealed no further moredhel, but did turn up a small campsite that seemed to have been abandoned for some time.


Several pieces of charred wood and a circle of small stones were all that remained of the small campfire. "Looks like someone lost a box," Locklear said. "Might be worth investigating."


"Well, that's something, at least," Owyn noted as Locklear poured the handful of coins into his purse. "Enough for a few days' rations at the next in." Locklear just grimaced, glaring resentfully at the leather pouch's sadly deflated state. "Check your gear and let's get moving," he muttered, sighing and rolling the purse up so that it wouldn't rattle before shoving it inside his belt.


Their equipment inspected, the three made their way south. The trip was pleasant, or would have been if they had been able to stick to the road. Instead they skirted the hills to the west, slipping between the pines and keeping eyes and ears peeled for signs of pursuit from behind, or ambushers waiting ahead. Still, they made good time, and it was several hours later when the sight of a low rectangular shape just off the road caught Gorath's eye. Following the direction of the dark elf's gaze, Locklear moved forward to inspect the strange chest, and his eyes narrowed as he noted the embossed plate set below a strange set of wheels.


"I've never seen a lock like that before," Owyn murmured, crouching and leaning in to inspect the symbols marked on a series of metal wheels.

Riddles and Locks (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK10-Riddles_and_Locks.mp3)

"It's a wordlock," Gorath said. "The chest is spelled against picks, probes, and most simple opening cantrips, and so only by using those wheels to spell out the proper word can the lock be opened. Delekhan's agents have scattered chests like these throughout the kingdom, and since few of your kind can read or speak moredhel they're used as a secure way to pass goods and information back and forth."

"What's this say, then?" Locklear asked, rapping the plate below the combination lock with a knuckle.

"It's a riddle, to help the couriers remember the words," Gorath said, then snorted in disgust. "Idiocy, but there are enough of my people moving about in the Kingdom proper by now that there cannot help but be some idiots among them. Still, it may be that their idiocy is our good fortune..."


((Since this one's ridiculously easy and is basically the "Demo" Wordlock, I'm solving it immediately, but from here on out whenever I come to one, I'm pausing until someone on this thread guesses it.))


12-14-2008, 11:32 AM

Locklear finished examining the armor, then tossed it to Owyn. The mage grunted under the impact, staggering a little.

"You can't be serious..." he said, eying it dubiously.

"Dead serious," Locklear replied. "I'll show you how to fasten it. It's not much, but it's better than nothing, and since I already said we're not leaving you for dead on the roadside we might as well try and keep you alive."

"Don't worry," he added after a moment, grinning, "After a few days, you'll barely notice the chafing."

"Good to know," Owyn replied dryly, fumbling a bit with the straps before Gorath and Locklear moved to help him. With the young man strapped into his new equipment, Locklear turned to the other item in the chest.


"Well, I suppose we can always use spares, or sell it off if it becomes too much of a burden to carry," Locklear murmured, shoving the blade lengthwise through the straps at the top of his pack. "It looks like that's all there is in this one, so we should get back away from the road and keep moving.

The Day wore on, and by the time they neared the outskirts of LaMut the sun was slipping westward towards the tops of the hills, casting longer and longer shadows across the king's highway to their left. Then, just as they paused at the crest of a ridge, Owyn caught a faint sound, something that sounded like a shouted "Hold There!"

Elvandar ((Don't ask ME why they named one of the main NPC conversation tunes after the elven capital)) (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK04-Elvandar.mp3)


12-14-2008, 11:43 AM
Elvandar (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK04-Elvandar.mp3)


Having exhausted all avenues of communication, Owyn and Phillip chatted for a few more minutes while Locklear and Gorath waited, Locklear looking impatient and Gorath keeping his usual impassive expression. Finally, the young mage saw the junior squire off, and turned back to his companions.

"Well, what about that chest he mentioned. Do you think it's worth checking out?" He asked Locklear. "You admitted we needed supplies."

Locklear nodded. "We'll see if we come across it on the way, but it's starting to get late and I'd rather not make camp outside of LaMut when we're this close to it and its garrison. They moved on, and a quick check of the area revealed not only a chest, but also a suspiciously fresh mound of dirt by the roadside as if something had been recently buried...


12-14-2008, 11:56 AM
The hole was not deep, and it took only a minute or two working with their hands to reveal its contents.


"I'll keep this," Gorath murmured, slipping the liquid into his pack. "I have some skill with bow and crossbow, and should we come across any I should be the one to repair and carry them."

Locklear just grunted, moving to his feet and guiding them back towards the chest that Phillip had mentioned.


As Gorath shouldered the burden of the spare armor, Owyn slipped the shell into one of his belt pouches. "We'll see if we can't sell this somewhere along the way," he said, smiling slightly. "Although I don't know if LaMut's the best place to try."

They moved on, and it wasn't long before they arrived at the turn-off for LaMut. The sight of the town's sprawling outskirts lifted their spirits, and the thought of a warm common room and fresh food spurred them westward.


LaMut (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK13-LaMut.mp3)


Locklear led the party uphill, approaching the keep that housed LaMut's Garrison. "I don't know if Earl Kasumi will see us," he told Owyn and Gorath as they approached the outer gate. "But if nothing else I can get word of what's been going on in the region. If Moredhel raiding parties have been moving south, the garrison commander should have gotten word."

12-14-2008, 12:19 PM
LaMut (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK13-LaMut.mp3)


Owyn looked thoughtful as they made their way back down into the town. "The Blue Wheel?" He suggested, gesturing towards a brightly painted inn of distinctly Tsurani design, its colors almost garish in comparison with the more muted earth tones of Kingdom construction. Gorath and Locklear both nodded, and soon they were standing in the inn's common room.


"I've a bit of experience haggling for goods," Owyn said as the other two claimed seats at one of the vacant table. "Give me the funds and I'll see what I can do about getting us more rations."


Owyn seemed momentarily tempted, but a look at their meager funds dissuaded him from the rich liquor, and he settled for several packs of preserved rations instead, carrying them back towards the table just as another figure made his way there from the opposite direction.

The Mercantile (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK07-Mercantile.mp3)


12-14-2008, 12:30 PM
As Dubal moved back towards the wall, pipe in hand, Locklear turned towards the Innkeeper. The man had the short, broad-shouldered build and dark skin of a Tsurani, and like most Tsurani he was wrapped in layers of fur to ward off the chill of a world that would always seem bitterly cold to one from a world as broiling hot as Kelewan.

Introduction, Part 2 (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK03-Ch1-Intro02.mp3)


12-14-2008, 12:32 PM
Introduction, Part 2 (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK03-Ch1-Intro02.mp3)


12-14-2008, 12:37 PM
Introduction, Part 2 (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK03-Ch1-Intro02.mp3)


"Interesting," Gorath murmured as Locklear returned to their table. "It would seem that, if we choose, there is work to be had here to fund our trip south."

Owyn nodded. "I've heard about the Mac Mordain Cadal. There might be more down there than just the Brak Nurr and the reward, even if most of it is closed off from that cave in Dubal mentioned."

Locklear frowned, and was silent for some time before he finally replied. "I don't know," he said, staring at the table. "I know we need funds, but that mine goes for miles, and we could be a week or more working for that reward. As for Makala's ruby, that Kiefer is a lead sure enough but Loriel's quite a way from here, and north..."

((And That's enough image spamming of this thread for today. Looks like despite Ringworm getting outvoted there's now a reason to head back north. There's also the matter of the Mac Mordain Cadal which is, in RPG terms, the first "dungeon" we can explore if you so choose. Do we seek the reward in the Mac, along with enough loot to hopefully pay for Sumani's combat lessons and perhaps some lessons in weapon and armor maintenance from the dwarves as well? Do we search out the stolen ruby? Do we do both? Or do we ignore these quests and press South and East towards Hawk's Hollow?))

EDIT: ((Also, is screen-capping these conversations in their entirety too spammy, image-wise? I'm debating just capping the first couple of talking heads, then transcribing the rest to text from here on out. Thoughts?))

Red Hedgehog
12-14-2008, 12:54 PM
I'm a big fan of Feist. I remember when I got the Sierra newsletter that had a story on this game and I was thrilled - it sounded like the most awesome thing imaginable. The article had a brief piece on how Feist got started writing which was very well done. It also talked about his involvement with the game which sounded great.

Sadly, I owned a Mac growing up so I didn't play this game for the first time until 2000 - and didn't get very far because I could only play it at work after hours. I tried again a few years ago and got about to Mac Mordain Cadal before I got distracted by other things.

I think we definitely have to do Mac Mordain Cadal, but maybe we should get the ruby thief first?

12-14-2008, 01:50 PM
I plan on playing alongside the LP anyway, so it's hard for me to decide!
I know the feeling. I really shouldn't, but it's so tempting! Ah, memories...

(Actually, one of the reasons I haven't replayed the game in the last several years or so is because I do have good memories of it, but I wasn't sure if it would still be enjoyable -- a thought that arises mostly because I re-read some Feist not long ago, and it had definitely not aged well. So, hurray for LPs that will assist in this Important Decision!)

As for what to do next: BRAK NURR!

12-14-2008, 02:09 PM
Post some shots of the world road travel. The game has basically the same sort of aesthetic as Drakkan on the SNES, which wasn't used too many times.

12-14-2008, 02:10 PM
Post some shots of the world road travel. The game has basically the same sort of aesthetic as Drakkan on the SNES, which wasn't used too many times.

*nods* I intend to, I just knew that I'd be filling these early posts with all the conversation from LaMut.

Your vote on course of action, Nunix?

12-14-2008, 02:16 PM

12-14-2008, 02:38 PM
I say the dungeon since we're here, and then, maybe, swing back and solve the ruby mystery.

12-14-2008, 02:52 PM
I vote the ruby thief first.

An internal conflict has arisen in the Empire between House Acoma and House Anasati.
References to The Empire Trilogy here. Does anyone know where in the timeline Betrayal takes place? I want to say this is referencing events that happen at the climax of the first book in that series "Daughter of the Empire" but I can't really remember.

As an aside, I think I enjoyed The Empire Trilogy more than anything else REF did, and I was a pretty damn big REF fan.

12-14-2008, 03:00 PM
Does anyone know where in the timeline Betrayal takes place? I want to say this is referencing events that happen at the climax of the first book in that series "Daughter of the Empire" but I can't really remember.

10 years after Murmandamus' Great Uprising was broken at Sethanon. (ten years after the end of the Riftwar Saga and "A Darkness at Sethanon", for those who don't know the books as well).

Edit the 2nd: I haven't actually read the Empire books yet (though I plan to at some point) or any of the other books beyond the core Riftwar saga and Prince of the Blood, but according to the official chronology (chronological order of the books on Feist's website), this game and its novelization (Krondor the Betrayal) fall after "Servant of the Empire" and before "Mistress of the Empire".

12-14-2008, 05:52 PM
So far, Brer, I think you're doing a fantastic job with this one. Considering how open Betrayal is I don't think it's an easy one either. I think your summary/interjection dialogue fits so well with the game's own writing, in fact, that you could get away with doing it yourself sometimes, to shorten it up but still keep the flow and cut down on the screenshots somewhat.

12-14-2008, 06:02 PM
UPDATE: I hope to finish posting the Mac Mordain Cadal and Brak Nurr segments before I go to bed tonight. Due to the size of these updates I've decided to start transcribing most of the conversations after the first few talking heads. I know I asked for opinions earlier, but frankly transcription saves me a LOT of time formatting and uploading the images, and makes for less intimidating posts. Also, I found a nice utility for making animated .gifs, and so the combats will be in slideshow format. The first few in this update will be sort of rough, but I hope that my text will make up the difference, and I should get better at making them as we go along.

Edit: if you're wondering why "slideshow" instead of animated, it's a file size thing. I want to keep everything the same resolution, and even a jerky animation of a 4-enemy fight I did was 15MB, way too big IMO.

12-14-2008, 07:50 PM
I vote the ruby thief first.

As an aside, I think I enjoyed The Empire Trilogy more than anything else REF did, and I was a pretty damn big REF fan.

I loved the Empire Trilogy, and thought it notch above Feist's other works.

As for where to go, I've no preferences. Its been so long since I've played, most of this will be a jog down memory lane.

12-14-2008, 09:33 PM
I still have a soft spot for the original Magician book, as I found it randomly in my school library in 7th grade. Didn't know it had a sequel, and lost my library card in it and couldn't recall what the name was to find it again.

Fast forwards years, and I randomly found it again (misshelved) with my old library card still in it.

None of the sequels can match the mystique of actually finding a book you really liked rather than getting a recommendation. Same reason why I don't watch movie trailers if I know I probably want to see the movie, when possible.

I'm enjoying the LP so far Brer, I've never gotten very far into this game before getting my butt handed to me though.

12-14-2008, 10:08 PM
I was never interested in the Empire Trilogy because I had no idea how it related to any of Feist's other books. Now that I've heard more about it, I'm interested in checking it out sometime.

12-14-2008, 11:26 PM
((Damn, do we have anyone following this LP who hasn't either read Feist or played this game before? That's a pity. Knowlege of the setting and books certainly isn't necessary to enjoy this game. I came at it blind my first time. Ah well....))

"A guaranteed reward that's less than a day's travel from us is better than a possible reward we'll have to travel at least three days to even get a lead for. Given how little we have left after purchasing supplies," Owyn concluded a half hour later, tapping the very nearly depleted coin purse tucked into Locklear's belt, "I don't know if we could even reach Loriel without running into further problems."

"The Mac then," Gorath said, glancing around, “but I believe we should leave. I am starting to attract attention. Even if a few eledhel have hair as dark as mine, none have this," he said dryly, gesturing to his greying beard.

“Of all the...right, then, let's get going,” Locklear muttered, standing and offering Sumani a brief nod before following the other two into the street, and from there to the King's Highway and south. Later, just past LaMut's graveyard, Owyn was just turning to ask Gorath to explain his strange remark at the inn, was just turning to ask Gorath what he meant when the dark elf's hand shot up and smacked firmly against the young man's chest. “In the trees ahead, the blue...” the elf murmured, gesturing with his other hand. Locklear followed his gesture, eyes narrowing as he scanned the trees just south of the road.


The Moredhel warrior hadn't noticed them. “It's anybody's guess whether he's out to kill us or just taking a stroll somewhere,” Locklear said. “Probably best if we try to avoid him”.

“The hills are too steep for us to move to the far slopes here,” Gorath disagreed. “And there aren't enough trees to mask our ascent. We'd be spotted. Better to attack now while we have the advantage. I see only one.”

In the end, they agreed to attack. Going over the plan as quickly as possible, Locklear laid out a simple strategy. “We're set then,” he said. “Let's just hope our advance is undetected or our advantage will be lost.”

All three moves forward quietly, slipping further from the roadside in hopes of catching the warrior from the flank. But despite their apparent silence the moredhel warrior's head snapped around at the last minute, and he grinned widely. Side-stepping their surprise attack to try and gain the higher ground, he waggled a mocking forefinger at Locklear, his eyes alight with the anticipation of spilt blood.


“Fine,” Locklear said, preparing for battle, “Then we do this the hard way.”


The fight was almost too easy. Even as Locklear and Gorath rushed the sneering dark elf Locklear felt a strange sensation, some force rushing past him to strike their opponent in a flash of light. The moredhel cried out, nearly dropping his sword as his other hand clutched for his eyes, stumbling backwards, and it saved his life as Gorath's blade whistled through the air where the warrior had been standing. But even as the moredhel swung wildly in the direction of Gorath's heavy blow Locklear closed in, moving with surprising grace. The pair worked in concert, and with a few quick motions it was over, the only sound from the moredhel a sort of grunt as locklear's blade went home.

"That was well done," Locklear said to Owyn when he had caught his breath, "What do you call that spell?"

Owyn's face was a little pale as he stared at where the squire was turning over fresh earth to hide the blood, but he answered steadily enough, his tone mingling embarrassment and pleasure. " 'Despair thine eyes'. At least, that's what Patrus called it when he taught me," he said before looking towards the tree line just in time to see gorath re-emerge, knocking dead needles and fallen twigs about to obscure the drag marks left by the corpse's heels.

"Nothing on him of any worth but his armor and weapon, and nothing better than what we carry now," The bearded moredhel said, meeting locklear's gaze evenly. "I'll keep them against our next stop in a town." Locklear simply nodded and gestured for them to keep moving.

12-14-2008, 11:37 PM

They found the westward trail that Dubal had said led to the Mac Mordain Cadal less than an hour later, and something else as well.


The lid refused to budge. "No good," Locklear said. The only way were going to get this box open is with a set of picklocks. Luckily..." he murmured, and with a minute's work and a quiet snick of metal on metal, the chest lay open. Locklear stowed the Kingdom Armor and Broadsword that lay within, while passing the three oil-soaked torches to Owyn. "At this rate we'll be able to equip a mercenary company before we get to Sarth," Locklear noted glancing at the way both his pack and Gorath's bulged with surplus weapons and armor.

With that done, all three moved west along the path, winding deeper into the hills south of LaMut.


A sulphurous stench was in the wind. "This must be the Mac Mordain Cadal," Locklear said, his eyes glazing as he lost himself in thought. "I knew that it was somewhere close. As I recall Mac is dwarven for mine or cave or something like that. Now considering the dwarves are no friends of the moredhel, they might be of some assistance to us, assuming they don't take exception to Gorath here. Do we investigate or not?"

Gorath snorted, "I believe we settled this at the Inn. We go down."

12-14-2008, 11:55 PM
Under The City (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK24-Under_the_City.mp3)

The tunnels were damp. Though the silver seamed earthen roof which stretched over their heads was tall enough that they didn't have to crouch, Owyn felt hemmed in by the shaft. He was privately thankful the dwarves were larger than they were often given credit for in the legends.


Pausing only to light one of the torches, Owyn passed the brand to Gorath and took his place between the dark elf and the squire as they moved deeper into the mine.


Introduction, Part 2 (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK03-Ch1-Intro02.mp3)

Without warning there was a thundering crash and sparks rocketed down the corridor. Slamming Owyn flat against the mineshaft walls, Locklear narrowly leapt for cover himself as something skidded along the rocky floor. Abruptly the glowing cone of fire winked out of existence as it collided with an unseen wall. After several long heartbeats, the Seigneur peeled himself away from the wall, just in time to meet the gaze of a short tree stump of a man.

"Bah!" the dwarf shouted in disgust as he retrieved his weapon, "I thought I had a Brak Nurr!"


((Note: Bad dwarvish dialect not my choice, and I don't have time to rewrite every line. Sorry folks))

"Beastie, aye!" Exclaimed the dwarf, still apparently worked up from his hammer throw. "'alf a week ago we 'eard something fierce a'bayin' in the mine, terrible cold-like. Of course a dwarf knows the sound instant whether he's heard it before or not - Brak Nurr. Curse of every hole delver since first dwarves took up hammers."

Locklear was silent for a long moment, but eventually felt moved to resond. "I've never heard of them," he said.

"No one has in quite a while, laddie. There 'asn't been a Brak Nurr in the upper mines for well on since DeLong the Great laid claim to the Kingdom of the Isles. We thought we'd laid low the lot o' them but the kobolds are stirring them up on their quest." The dwarf replied before scowling fiercely at something that just occured to him. "Gods, where are my manners? If you've come to kill the damn thing you're welcome here. Naddur Ban Doc's the name."

Locklear introduced himself and his companions, canting his head in puzzlement as he asked "kobolds?"

"Your folk call them gnomes," Naddur said. "They used to worship a dragon that lived down here, but when the dragon disappeared, they thought the dwarven folk 'id him away. Every now and again their leader Feydhir takes a notion to undertake a holy quest to find him. This time they must've woke up a clutch of Brak Nurr. Now the Nurr have collapsed the main passage an' kilt thirty of our kin. We've a reward to whomever can do it in - if you're of a mind and 'ave the spirit that is."

"I'm not saying we're interested in killing your Brak Nurr, but if we were looking for it, what would it be like?" Locklear asked, raising an eyebrow at the thought of any creature capable of collapsing even a single section of a dwarven mine.

The dwarf chuckled to himself before replying. "'alf again your height, and made o' stone, like living rock they are. From out their nostrils they breath a green mist but I'd be wary of getting too close to look, for they'll drop a boulder on your head sure enow. We've already 'ad a few bravos what's come in to try a hand at killing the beastie, but there's not much they've been able to do themselves beyond get themselves so mangled they needed the help of a temple. I'd be as wary of them though as I would be of the beastie. They, none of them, want else but then to claim the gold that we've offered to the creature's slayer."

Locklear pondered that for a moment before replyin. "The way things have been going for us recently, perhaps we would do well to seek a little help at the temples as well. Where are the closest ones?"

"We dwarves don' much dawdle outside o' The Grey Towers or Stone Mountain, but as I ken, there's a Temple of Killian betwixt Zun and Hawk's Hollow. I think there also might be a Temple of Ishap here close, but I can't recall exact where that would be," Naddur said.

12-15-2008, 12:01 AM
Introduction, Part 2 (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK03-Ch1-Intro02.mp3)

Locklear nodded as Owyn jotted down the locations of the temples on a small scrap of parchment. And as the squire shifted his weight a jab from the edge of a steel plate that had sprung loose from its leather backing reminded him of another errand the party had with the dwarves. "The barkeeper at the Blue Wheel Inn at LaMut suggested you might be able to repair our armor," Locklear said, frowning as he attempted to bend the corner back in along his side.

"If we weren't digging ourselves out o' this pretty mess, aye, we could do something for ya, but we're all tied up to a man. Pardon my saying so, but we've problems a bit more pressing than dealing with dented armor. You might a try a hermit what lives near 'awk's 'ollow. He's gained something of a reputation for himself over the past few years," Naddur suggested, eying the trio's gear critically.

"If you can't repair our armor, do you at least think you could do something about our swords? I hate to be difficult, but we're really in a crucial situation."

"Are you deef, laddie? I told you 'afore we 'aven't the time to go repairing things at the moment. We're in a crucial situation ourselves if you 'aven't noticed!"

"We would be willing to pay you."

"I'm sure ya would, just as sure as I know the dwarves below would be willing to pay to get out from under the rock! It's a question of time, time! Bah! Look, if I show ya a trick to sharpening your swords, will ya promise not ta be bothering anybody else in the mine? I think I can turn a 'andful of sovereigns to advantage in LaMut and 'ire a few strong backs."

"You have my word of honor."

"That shall 'ave to do. I'll teach ya quick a little about weaponcrafting, but I'll expect a fee of 50 sovereigns for my trouble. Do we have a deal?"

Locklear frowned. "You do...but I'm afraid it will have to wait until after we've delt with your Brak Nurr problem. We haven't the funds at the moment."

"Well then, kill the beastie, pay me, and I'll show you how to mend all the dings you'll have put in your blades putting the thing down. Until then, I've work to be seeing to," The dwarf replied, moving past the trio and disappearing down a side passage.

12-15-2008, 12:21 AM
Under the City (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK24-Under_the_City.mp3)

The main passage twisted and turned, and soon they arrived at an intersection. "Damned if I can keep track of all these passages," Locklear muttered, glancing down one side tunnel and then the other.


"It's alright," Owyn said, pointing to where he'd been working with a bit of charcoal and a parchment. "It's crude, but I can at least map out the basic layout as we go along. With that in mind, why don't we check the side passages first."

All agreed, they turned north...


Only to run almost immediately into a dead end. "Easy enough," Murmured Gorath as they followed the southern fork.


"Too thick to listen to," Locklear finally admitted after a full hour crouched at the door's lock plate, picks in hand. "And the lock's beyond my skills for now," he added, gesturing to the uneven splinters of metal that lay discarded and broken on the mine's floor. "We might as well continue west.


At the next intersection, a quick glance north had Gorath once more grabbing at Owyn to force him back.


"Some of those bravos Naddur mentioned," he murmured, "They'll hear us in a moment. Follow me!" And with that the former prisoner lunged around the corner, growling something foul in Moredhel and lifting his blade to strike at the first of the human mercenaries.

Charge Into Battle (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK11A-Charge_into_Battle.mp3)

Their opponents were surprised. The apparent leader of the pair screamed orders at his companions, a mix of fear and anger in his voice as Gorath bore down upon him. Seizing the opportunity, Locklear barked several quick orders and the battle was joined.


Owyn repeated his spell of blindness at the nearer of the two thugs as Locklear and Gorath each chose a target. The warriors worked quickly, forcing them down the passage while Owyn followed behind, renewing his spell once before stepping in behind the beleaguered pair to deliver the final blow, felling each with a wild swing of his staff.

12-15-2008, 12:49 AM
Under the City (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK24-Under_the_City.mp3)


Owyn stared at the two fallen bravos. One would almost have certainly died anyway, his shoulder laid open and collarbone shattered by Gorath's sword, but the other...Owyn had actually felt the man's neck give way as his staff struck, forcing the mercenary's head sideways and down against the passage's wall.

Locklear paused as he was resheathing his blade and squeezed the young mage's shoulder. "Thinking only makes it worse. There'll be time to consider it later, but for now we need to keep moving," he said quietly, giving one more squeeze before he moved to help Gorath search the other body.

Owyn gulped, shook his head, and set aside his reservations about pilfering the fallen, crouching to go through the man's pockets and take what the goddess of luck had given them. However immoral he might feel about it, he was certain his stomach would quickly assuage his guilt if he found a bit of food to eat. Focusing on the task at hand helped. Some. Of the pair's belongings, only their blades were worthy of note, and Owyn frowned at their odd shape as Gorath raised them and gave each a spin with an air of easy familiarity.


Gorath finished spinning the blades, then slipped both through loops in his pack. "Your Kingdom blades are better. They cause smaller wounds, but are easier to strike with," he admitted grudgingly as they moved north, following the bend in the passage until it opened into a large chamber where the mine had tapped one section of an ore vein.


As Locklear moved towards the chest, picks in hand, Owyn frowned slightly, remembering a spell he'd learned during his abortive stint at the magical academy of Stardock. It had slipped his mind before, but he remembered hearing stories about how many of the unopened chests in the mines under the Grey Towers were unopened because of the danger involved...


Owyn muttered the incantation and then frowned, grabbing Locklear's shoulder before he could kneel before the box. "What is it?" the Squire asked, raising an eyebrow at the expression of strained focus Owyn wore.

"The chest," Owyn replied, "Give me a moment." Concentrating his thoughts, another scene overlaid the one already before him, different only in the fact that it included a man kneeling before the box, a skin of naphtha in his hand. "It's trapped," Owyn replied, dazed by the effects of the spell. "Someone's rigged it to explode the moment the lid is lifted. Shall we try to deactivate it?"

Locklear blinked once, then shook his head. "No. If I fail we'll be in no shape to push deeper. We can tackle it on the way out, or once I've acquired a bit more skill with the picklocks." And with that they turned and headed back towards the main east-west passage.


12-15-2008, 01:26 AM
They followed the passage in a long S-curve west, until it terminated in a T-junction. The north-south passage widened here, and in the middle of the intersection lay an old and battered box, its lock long-since snapped off, its wood cracked and splintered and slowly rotting in the cool, damp air of the mine.


Owyn stared at the chest. With great concentration he closed his eyes and pictured the chest in his mind, studying the wood grain and metallic bands until the image expanded, rushing towards him until he was not only seeing the chest but inside it. “It's safe,” he finally said, sighing.


Locklear grinned, and was so concerned with scooping the double handful of silver coins into his coin purse that it wasn't until Gorath kicked him sharply in the shin that he realized that they weren't alone in this part of the mines.


“I don't recall having given you permission to be here,” growled the apparent leader of the thugs. The large, bull-necked man stalked towards them, one fist balled in front of him as the other dropped to a sword hilt. “Turn Round.”

“We don't want any trouble. We're simply passing through,” locklear replied.

It's a Trap (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK26-Its_a_Trap.mp3)

Immediately, the man turned and snapped his fingers, and moments later his men rushed them, blades drawn.


Owyn and the bull-necked man with the yellow leggings recognized each other at once as fellow spell-casters. Realizing that there were too many of the bravos for Gorath and Locklear to guard him this time, Owyn charged as the other magician retreated. If he couldn't use his spells to aid his newfound companions he could at least deny magic to the other side as well.

Locklear saw Owyn's charge and cried out, moving block a second of the toughs from engaging Owyn while Gorath engaged a third. Owyn, Locklear, and mercenary magician slipped through the melee, the magician taking glancing blows from first the boy and then the squire as they pressed the attack. When Locklear finally penetrated the mage's guard, the fight seemed to go out of the group, and when Gorath struck down his opponent a moment later it was all over.

Owyn stepped back lifted his staff to blind the remaining thugs before Gorath and Locklear stepped in, then sighed as he looked at the places where freshly spilled blood had turned the dirt into a sort of rusty red-brown mud. "Why couldn't they just let us pass?" he asked Locklear, panting a little.

"Men like this only know one way to get what they want," Locklear replied, his face grim as he knelt to begin going through the belongings of the nearest corpse. "And so most end up like this. Sooner or later."

12-15-2008, 01:51 AM
Under the City (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK24-Under_the_City.mp3)

After Locklear had secured the money from the corpses and the three had divvied up their gear for sale at the next opportunity, he approached Gorath and Owyn in turn, lifting a strange blue stone towards them.


He explained as he carefully poured it out over their armor, then his own.

"It's a dragon stone. I don't know where they come from or how they're made, but once you treat armor with this liquid," he mutters, flicking a dimly glowing blue drop against Owyn's chest, "it'll douse any flame that hits your armor for a time, even naptha." Locklear nodded in satisfaction as the last of the stone's liquid was exhausted, rendering it inert, and tossed the dimming rock to the side of the passage.

"Anything else new?" Owyn asked.

"Just this," Locklear said, tossing something small and glittering to Owyn.


Owyn nodded, stowed the key, and then grimaced and groaned as he hefted his discarded pack back to his shoulders. "Nnnnf...I hope we don't find anything else down here. I don't think I could carry another silver royal."

Gorath said nothing, but his pack also bulged with looted equipment, as did Locklears. The squire glanced at each in turn, then nodded slowly. "I think it would be best if we were to rest a bit, then head back to LaMut, then. We can try spending the night there again, and see how much we can get for all this at the Fletcher's Post. I doubt the owner will touch the moredhel blades, but the garrison can always use more broadswords and armor.


They rested for several hours, dousing the torches and laying back against their packs in a blackness so complete that when Owyn slowly blinked his eyes he couldn't tell if his lids were open or shut except by paying attention to the feel of them. And then it was up and eastward, slowly climbing back through the winding passageway towards the mine's exit and the King's Highway and LaMut beyond.

12-15-2008, 02:03 AM
LaMut (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK13-LaMut.mp3)


While Gorath moved silently among the racks of crossbows, inspecting the subtle and not-so-subtle differences of style and material, Owyn negotiated the sale of their surplus equipment with the elven owner. Locklear watched, occasionally glancing out at the foot traffic that flowed outside the shop's front before returning his gaze to his companions and the store's inventory.


With their packs lightened and their funds collected, Locklear counted their coins and smiled wryly. "We've enough for a good meal at the inn, a night's rest, and Sumani's sword lessons," he said, chuckling to himself as he gestured for Owyn and Gorath to follow him. "Things are starting to look up."

((Note: Screen caps are a little out of order. I forgot to get the shop's inventory captured the first time, so the balance there is our funds after Sumani's lesson.))

Back at the Inn of the Blue Wheel, a few moments conversation with Sumani and a quick exchange of coins sealed the bargain that they had made earlier.


Locklear gaped. Striding down from the narrow doorway of the Blue Wheel Tavern was a figure that no longer bore any resemblance to a modest tavern keeper. Obviously having taken his time to refit himself, Sumani had donned a pitted suit of blue laminate armor, the greaves, breastplate and leggings all fashioned out of a light weight glazed wood which creaked as he lumbered towards them.

"Tsurani armor?" Locklear asked.

Sumani adjusted his blue-plumed helm over his eyes. "I was a former Patrol Leader. The Earl Kasumi insisted that I should keep the armor given to me by House Shinzawai. Although I no longer serve in the garrison, my oath of loyalty is still to the Earl. Are you prepared for your lessons?"

"Yes, I think so."

A mischievous glint reflected in the Tsurani's eyes. "Then defend yourselves."


Locklear motioned for a halt to the lessons as he hauled himself for the third time out of the cold LaMutian river. "Okay, mercy, uncle, whatever it is you damnable Tsurani say when you want to surrender."

"Your will, lord," Sumani chuckled, already beginning to resume his modest role as a tavern keeper. "I shall meet you inside the Blue Wheel once you have dried yourselves off."

The companions compared their bruises as they dried themselves and wrung the sweat from their garments. They were bruised and sore, but the afternoon's exertions had taught them more than a week's random skirmishes with moredhel assassins and human rogues could have.


12-15-2008, 02:10 AM
LaMut (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK13-LaMut.mp3)

They returned to the inn, and after a few hours relaxing and enjoying a rich and spicy Tsurani stew, all three moved towards the beds and the nightmaster in charge of them. The nightmaster, a pocked and unpleasant-looking fellow, seemed both tired and out of sorts. "5 sovereigns for the night," he grumbled, "and if you louse my beds I'll charge you double. We turn you out at sunrise -- oh, and there's a chamberpot in the corner if you need it. Shall I sign you in for the night?"

Locklear settled up the account, and the nightmaster grunted as he pocked the coins. "Room's upstairs," he said. "Have a good rest."

The room was cramped. Shrugging, Owyn stepped over snoring bodies and selected a spot of floor which looked like it might be comfortable for the night, while Gorath squeezed into a bed already occupied by three disheveled looking men. "Ah, the romance of travelling," Owyn said, with a chuckle. "See you all in the morning." In moments, they were all fast asleep.

Daylight arrived. His eyes rimmedred and his stomach turning, James stumbled down the steps to find the inn's nightmaster. Angrily, he pounded on the counter.

"Yes?" the man said, glaring at James. "What is it?"

"One of your patrons last night must have had some kind of sickness. I've been emptying my guts in your bedpans all morning."

The nightmaster looked unsympathetic. "I shall have to see they are cleaned out." Glancing down at his guest book, he ran his finger down the names. "I still seem to have space available this evening. Shall you be staying again?"

Locklear frowned. "Another time, nightmaster," he said, rapping a knuckle against the counter. "A bit of advice, however. You want more customers, I'd advise dropping your prices. Even the Empress of Kesh would balk at what you're asking."

12-15-2008, 02:21 AM
Damn, do we have anyone following this LP who hasn't either read Feist or played this game before

I have no idea who these characters are, or anything about the world the inhabit. Despite that i'm still interested in following this "Let's Play" thread for now, as i've seen people talking fondly about this game before. Another one of those classic PC titles (x-com, ultima) that I never got to play due to my preference for console games.

12-15-2008, 02:51 AM
The trip back to the Mac Mordain Cadal the next morning was over well before noon and without incident. Knowledge of the terrain allowed the party to make good time, and once a torch had been lit


Under the City (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK24-Under_the_City.mp3)

They moved just as quickly through the mine's passages. It seemed as if their efforts the day before had not been wasted because they encountered no one but Naddur between the entrance and the passage where they had rested the day before.


After a quick jaunt south revealed nothing but another tapped out chamber, Gorath led the trio north, stopping at another T-intersection to open another chest there. Owyn smiled as the pungent aroma of familiar plants and chemicals wafted from the open chest. "I'll take these," he said, glancing towards Locklear and chuckling. "With the way things have been going since I met you two, no doubt you'll need me patching you up again soon."


Just then, as Owyn was stowing the medical supplies, Gorath straightened. He looked left, west, and pointed that way once before slipping into a crouch that was almost silent but allowed him to move surprisingly quickly. Locklear and Owyn followed, and as they turned the corner and headed south towards a massive chamber each began to catch faint whiffs of something strange, and slightly unpleasant...


Charge into Battle (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK11A-Charge_into_Battle.mp3)

The ground shook. Startled, Locklear braced himself against the earthen wall of the mine, his widening eyes fixed on the titanic creature that lumbered towards them. “The Brak Nurr, I presume.” He sighed, glancing over his shoulder at Gorath. “This is going to be harder than I thought...”


"It's slow!" Gorath shouted as he and Locklear charged forward to interpose their bodies and blades between the Brak Nurr and Owyn. "Locklear, draw it's attention while I strike, then vice versa, Owyn, take its eyes now!"

Owyn shivered at the sight of the looming creature, but ran forward at an angle even as he did so, waiting until the creature was clearly in view before he raised his staff and began to incant "Despair Thine Eyes". There was a sizzle and a flash, and the Brak Nurr gave a grinding roar of dismay, flailing wildly while first Locklear and then Gorath darted in to slash at its flanks with blades that pinged and and clanged from rock-like hide.

Still, each strike did damage, releasing hissing contrails of foul-smelling vapor, and as the pair worked Owyn continued to hold his spell, steadily directing his body's energy through the magic's structure to sustain its effects. Despite standing rock still while his companions leapt and rolled and lunged, he was as bathed in sweat as either of them, his muscles quivering as he denied the Brak Nurr sight of its enemies.

Finally both dark elf and man delivered ringing blows, cracking and shattering the Brak Nurr's hide and sending it toppling, its fading howl of agony echoing off the walls as it slammed into the tunnel floor in a whoosh of bitter greenish fog.

Locklear backed away, retching. His tongue felt thick and adhesive, a bitter, chalky taste lingering in his mouth and nostrils. He hadn't expected the creature to emit the strange little cloud when it died, but he was glad the battle was finally over. Still dizzy from the fumes and turning unsteadily for breath of relatively fresh air, the squire nearly stumbled headlong over a grinning dwarf.

Introduction, Part 2 (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK03-Ch1-Intro02.mp3)

Naddur Ban Dok laughed, running over to deliver a solid kick to the Brak Nurr's corpse before returning to grasp Locklear's hand. “You've done it! I 'eard the conflagration down the shaft but I 'ad no idea what was a'happenin'! Congratulations!”

"Right now, I think we all could just use a rest..." Locklear replied, leaning on his sword blade and taking a slow, deep breath as he watched the ecstatic dwarf.

"A rest you'll have and you'll be a'needin' it!" Naddur agreed, laughing. "You'll 'ave to 'ave your strength to be carryin' about all the gold in rewards! Well done!"

The dwarf handed Locklear a pouch of gold coins, then disappeared down the damp shaft of the mine while Owyn and Gorath gathered by his side.

12-15-2008, 03:23 AM
Under the City (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK24-Under_the_City.mp3)


"Are we through here?" Owyn asked, mopping sweat from his brow.

"Not just yet," replied Locklear, glancing south towards where the passage was blocked by a bustle of working dwarves, then back north. "There have been several chests with valuable contents down here so far and I'd hate to leave them lying in the dirt of ages."

Gorath hmmphed, nodding towards a corner of the room. "I suggest you start there, then," he murmured, his eyes on a partially buried chest in the room's far corner.

A few moments' work with his picks, and Locklear was passing out rope, torches, rations, and another silver guilder's passkey before he gestured towards the north. "Shall we?"


North again, and North again, and east towards another closed door.


This one, however, was unlocked, and Gorath motioned for silence as he cracked the door slightly and listened. "Something about hunting the stone beast..." he whispered after a time. "It seems they have not heard that we have beaten them to their prey."

Gorath smiled wryly, and then the door was yanked open, sending the moredhel stumbling into the room. Locklear and Owyn followed quickly after, only to draw up short at the sight of the room's occupants.

Fight to the Death (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK11B-Fight_to_the_Death.mp3)

A trio of lanky figures shambled towards them. Worshippers of Guiswa, the red-jawed hunter, the group moved in a disorderly clump, the hollows underneath their vacant eyes adorned with blood-colored whorls of pigment. Splaying a three-fingered hand, a ritual mutilation of The Hunter's priest caste, the largest rasped, “Today, Guiswa ordains that you shall be his prey...”


As the leader produced a crossbow and sent a bolt hissing past Owyn's ear Locklear moved left and Gorath right, each intercepting one of the religious fanatics. Freed from direct threat, the mage blinded each of their enemies in turn, allowing his friends' blades to work swiftly against off-balance defenses. Gorath's opponent was the first to fall, and he snatched up the fallen worshiper's crossbow and sent a wild bolt flying over the leader's head, doing no damage but disrupting his aim. The leader snarled and dropped his crossbow, drawing his sword and rushing towards Owyn even as Locklear polished off his foe as well, sending the gaunt man crashing to the floor clutching a four-inch rent in his stomach.

Gorath had time for a second shot from his purloined crossbow, and this one didn't miss. It slammed into the leader's shoulder, throwing him off-balance while Locklear and Owyn moved in for the kill, Gorath not too far behind. A flurry of blows, and Gorath's blade hacked into the back of the fanatic's neck, nearly severing it and sending the priest sprawling. in the dirt of the chamber.

12-15-2008, 03:42 AM
Under the City (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK24-Under_the_City.mp3)

Gorath secured the priest's belongings, smiling slightly as he tossed the spare crossbow and a dozen bolts to Locklear before appropriating the Guiswa follower's superior armor as his own.


A chest in the corner yielded another broadsword and set of armor, and Owyn secured them in his pack before the group reassembled and headed west and south to explore the final passageway of the Mac Mordain Cadal's upper levels save for the area behind the locked door. "Do you think that's it?" Owyn asked, canting his head as they approached what appeared to be a place where the passage widened slightly before dead-ending directly ahead.

"I don't know, Owyn, I-" Locklear started to reply, then gasped and groped for his sword as figures appeared out of the darkness.

It's a Trap (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK26-Its_a_Trap.mp3)


Someone or something screamed a warning. By the time it reached their ears, Gorath had already sized up the situation and drawn his blade. The enemy was upon them in seconds.


The enemy was smarter this time. Knowing they outnumbered the intruders, one moved to cut Owyn off from his magic while three more attempted to mob Locklear and cut him down. The fight was vicious, and if not for the restoratives that Owyn had carried with him as a safeguard against roadside accident both he and Locklear would have fallen.

In the end, though, the added endurance allowed them to turn the tables and mob each of the rogues in turn, bashing them down with a rain of sword and staff blows until finally, it was over.

Shuddering, both Locklear and Owyn nearly collapsed against the wall, breathing hard as the fatigue that the restoratives couldn't wholly remove hit them all at once. Gorath looked them both over intently, and was silent for some time before he moved to secure the weapons, armor, gold, and other goods from their fallen enemies.


A dark sheen appeared as Gorath applied the holy oilcloth, rubbing his sword blade until its surface drank up some of the residue. While its effects could be countered if his opponent had used the same oil, it at least ensured that he would be on even footing with anyone hostile that he met.

12-15-2008, 03:48 AM
Under the City (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK24-Under_the_City.mp3)

Moving slowly, Locklear, Gorath, and Owyn made their way back towards the entrance, pausing only to return first to the trapped chest and then to the locked door to the south.


"You said it's an explosive trap?" Locklear asked Owyn, frowning at the seemingly innocuous container.

"I believe so. A charge of naptha vapours held in a bladder, set off by a spring-loaded flint." Owyn replied after a moment's thought. "I couldn't be sure, though. The spell isn't always clear."

"It'll have to be enough," the squire grunted, kneeling before the chest and slipping his picklocks into his hand. Over the next ten minutes Locklear worked carefully. He couldn't

Locklear sweated. Working carefully, he slipped a pick into the chest just above the locking mechanism. He couldn't keep the spring from firing, but perhaps he could remove the flint if he applied....the right...pressure...there! With a dull snap the now-empty spring slammed against the thin bladder and against a metal strike plate just inside it. But without the flint now lying dormant in the bottom of the box there were no sparks and no explosion, and Locklear carefully opened the chest to reveal a small pouch of golden sovereigns, another of silver royals, and a battered but still usable shovel.

"Good," Gorath said as he took the shovel while Locklear added the chest's money to theirs. "We passed the LaMut graveyard on the way here."

"What?" Owyn asked, aghast at what he thought the moredhel must be implying. "Are you suggesting we stop on the way south to dig up bodies?"

"Just as Delekhan's spies use wordlock chests to communicate while in your lands," Gorath replied, his expression and tone giving no hint that he was concerned by the young man's shock, "they use false graves as well. The epitaphs of the false graves give hints to their contents. If we choose carefully we could make our journey easily."

"And if we choose wrong," Locklear said as he stood back up, "we could end up facing the angry spirit of whoever's grave we violated, and Owyn here has no temple magic to dispel the undead."

Gorath shrugged, but did not relinquish the shovel, and soon the group headed south towards the door they had been unable to unlock the first time. While Locklear's was still unable to meet the challenge, the silver keys they had taken from the rogue's infesting the mine's upper level proved quite sufficient, and the door creaked open to reveal a massive chamber whose ceiling was propped up by pillars of stone. A search of the chamber and one beyond it revealed not one but two more wordlock chests, and until the three had more time to ponder the riddles they returned to the entrance and to Naddur Ban Dok.

A handful of their newly acquired gold proved sufficient to satisfy the dwarf, and as the trio gathered round he produced a whetsone and abruptly snatched Locklear's sword from the squire's side.

"Watch what I do and carefully. I don't want ta be repeating meself more often than necessary. First off, ya'll want ta have a wheetstone 'andy. Without it, my trick 'ill be as useless as knees on a fish. The most important thing ta keep in mind is the angle at which ya draw the blade 'cross the stone... It's like this." The dwarf said, slowly demonstrating the stroke and filling the passage with the distinctive zip of good steel on a sharpening surface.

"That's interesting..." Locklear murmured, leaning closer. "You sharpen the blade so the metal's edge has contrary planes. Opposite sides, opposite directions in the grain. Should make for an interesting cut."

"It'll make for a cut that yer opponent won't quick forget. The weaponcrafting lesson's over, lad. We've both got more important things to get to." The dwarf said, standing and moving away down the passage.

"Well," Owyn said, "I suppose we've exhausted the possibilities of this place for now, but I hate leaving those wordlock chests behind us. I don't suppose either of you have an idea of what those riddles might mean?"

((Do we continue with the previous plan and head SE towards Hawk's Hollow? Head straight S towards the abbey of Sarth, repository of much mystical and practical knowledge? Cut back north for a ways to see if we missed any opportunities around Loriel and Tyr-Sog or to check out the rumours that Kiefer Alescook in Loriel deals in stolen gemstones? The choice is yours! Hope you're enjoying!))

Riddles and Locks (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK10-Riddles_and_Locks.mp3)


12-15-2008, 06:04 AM
but for now I'm putting up the wordlocks for you all to guess

Man, I was hoping this would be more fun, but I instantly remembered the second and third.

Also I would recommend the Empire trilogy for anyone who hasn't read it.

12-15-2008, 06:48 AM
I've never even heard of any of this lore, so I'm gonna take a crack at it... let' see...

[Brain] for the second, and
[Drum] for the third?

12-15-2008, 11:21 AM
Man, I was hoping this would be more fun, but I instantly remembered the second and third.

Well, the later ones are a bit harder, so perhaps we can stump you with those. That's also why I'm not just giving the matrix of letters (which makes it too easy, IMO).

I've never even heard of any of this lore.

Anything you particularly want to know while I'm waiting for more responses?

12-15-2008, 11:41 AM
Yeah, I'm guessing the third one is drum.

"Birdie" is the the only thing I can possibly guess for the first one. Maybe "jumper."

12-15-2008, 11:57 AM
That first one sounds familiar. [Barrow]? Some of the letters shown line up.

You can never have enough mystical and practical knowledge.

12-15-2008, 01:57 PM
That first one sounds familiar. [Barrow]?

Under the City (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK24-Under_the_City.mp3)


Owyn slipped the blessed water into his belt. Despite his recent and rapid education in combat, he was still nowhere near as capable of defending himself as either the squire or the moredhel, and so might well need the blessing the dalatail milk could give him.


Smiling, the young mage slipped the ring of prandur onto his finger as well. "At least we have a backup if we run out of torches. At worst I suppose we can see what it would fetch at a jewelers," He said.


The first chest opened and its contents apportioned, they moved to the next, speaking quietly as the dark walls passed by to either side. After a time, Owyn glanced to Locklear and spoke up. "Gorath, Why are the Brothers of the Dark Path-"

"Moredhel," Gorath cut him off, glancing sharply at the boy. "That, is the name humans have given us without understanding or trying to understand the path my people walk."

"I'm sorry...Moredhel, then..." Owyn said, somewhat chastened. "In any case, why are the Moredhel so active again? Murmandamus' invasion of the Kingdom failed, and I thought that your people had too many clan rivalries and so on to unify under anyone but a legendary figure like Murmandamus claimed to be."

Gorath was silent for a long time. "The past few years have not been good ones for my people, but I will not speak of this here," he said. "I told Locklear that I would provide my information to Prince Arutha in Krondor or to no one, and I will hold to that. Suffice to say that Delekhan is a new power in the Northlands and that he will stop at nothing to prevent me from bringing word to the Kingdom of the Isles."

[Drum] for the third?
Yeah, I'm guessing the third one is drum.


"Got it," Locklear said in obvious satisfaction as Gorath's fingers slipped the last wheel into place and the chest's clasps snapped upwards. "Let's see what we have..."


Locklear pocketed the money as Gorath withdrew the odd slippers, passing them to Owyn. "Eledhel make," he said as he gave them a quick glance, his expression unreadable. "They will muffle the wearer's footsteps, making even a clumsy man more with a measure of stealth."

Owyn nodded, then scowled as the dark elf added "You need them."

"Thanks," Owyn said, his voice dry as dust. Sure enough, as they moved to the last chest, his footsteps did seem far quieter, even when he tried to scuffle his feet or kick a rock against the mine's walls.

((come on, guys. Nothing for the last one?))

EDIT: ((I've played this game so many times I actually know every single one of these. If you guys can't guess or give up, should I go ahead and solve it, or just move on?))

12-15-2008, 02:04 PM
"Earth", maybe?

Red Hedgehog
12-15-2008, 03:08 PM
"Earth", maybe?

Mmm... or world.

12-15-2008, 03:12 PM
"Earth", maybe?

Mmm... or world.

Those are round, but "Deep as a cup"? Also, I've decided for the sake of making decent daily progress that I'm going to go ahead and play through traps (which you should see before too much longer. They're basically movement puzzles) the way I do combat instead of waiting for the audience to figure them out. I'm still debating how to handle graveyards (of course, I could just dig up every grave, or just the ones that give out goodies).

12-15-2008, 03:17 PM
I had no idea what the answers to any of those were. I am the worst at riddles.

12-15-2008, 03:38 PM

12-15-2008, 03:53 PM
Under the City (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK24-Under_the_City.mp3)




As Gorath and Locklear each secured one of the blades, Owyn carefully lifted a leatherbound book from the bottom of the chest. Examining its binding closely, the mage turned it this way and that before opening it and beginning to read.


A journal of an unknown dwarf, the majority of the pages in the book were concerned with the creature which the author referred to alternately as a Braek Nuir, Braak Noor, and Brak Nurr. Some mention was also made about a secret chamber in the lower levels of the Mac Mordain Cadal which had once been occupied by someone named Rhuargh.

By the time they reached Naddur's usual spot near the mine's entrance, Owyn had explained the book's content to his companions, and Locklear was ready to ask Naddur about the journal.


The dwarf said, looking wistful for a moment. "It's buried somewhere beyond where our digging is at the moment. At one time there was quite a bit of treasure there - an unfortunate large amount of it concealed in chests with moredhel wordlocks - and perhaps there may still be. Come back later and mayhap we'll see it together!"

"Yes, we found this journal in a moredhel chest," Locklear said. "What do you know about these wordlocks?"

"A more bastardly lock never there has been crafted, not by dwarf nor man," Naddur said, shaking his head sadly. "It's got little wheels what a body turns, each representing a letter of the alphabet. In order to open the chest, you've got to make the letters spell out a word what the lock's designer had in mind to open it up. Most 'ave a clue plate attached to the front what's written in moredhel - in case the lockmaker forgets the word. Of course the clue plate's of no use to the vast majority of Kingdom folk. Written in bloddy moredhel!"

((Transcriber's note: You can only ask about wordlocks after you get the journal and ask about Rhuargh...which means you have to have opened a wordlock chest. Well, no one ever said dwarves were bright.))

Locklear nodded, hiding his smile at Naddur's grasp of the obvious before asking for the lesson the dwarf had promised on weapon repair. A handful of gold later, the dwarf was ready to teach, and gathered them in close as he produced a whetstone in one hand and whipped the squire's sword from its sheath with the other.

"Watch what I do and carefully. I don't want ta be repeating meself more often than necessary," the dwarf said, holding the sword out so that they could all clearly observe the way in which he set the blade's edge against the whetstone. "First off, ya'll want ta have a wheetstone 'andy. Without it, my trick 'ill be as useless as knees on a fish. The most important thing ta keep in mind is the angle at which ya draw the blade 'cross the stone... It's like this."

The dwarf demonstrated the technique slowly, repeating it several times so that each could grasp the fundamentals, and the sound of steel on sharpening stone filled the passageway.

"That's interesting..." Locklear murmured. "You sharpen the blade so the metal's edge has contrary planes. Opposite sides, opposite directions in the grain. Should make for an interesting cut."

"It'll make for a cut that yar opponent won't quick forget," said Naddur, smiling as he returned the sword to Locklear. "The weaponcrafting lesson's over, lad. We've both got more important things to get to."

"Very well, Naddur, and thank you," the squire said, nodding to the retreating dwarf before gesturing towards the mine's exit passage.


Daylight filtered in from above. Following the ascending shaft of the Mac Mordain Cadal into daylight, they emerged at last on a road leading to the east and the King's Highway.


((Unless there's a sudden change in votes, it looks like most of the active followers have posted, and so I'll be doing a bit of logistical cleanup, then heading towards Hawk's Hollow. From there, we'll see what develops with regards to Makala's stolen Ruby, shall we?))

12-15-2008, 06:09 PM
Well, the later ones are a bit harder, so perhaps we can stump you with those. That's also why I'm not just giving the matrix of letters (which makes it too easy, IMO).

It could also be that being the earliest those were the ones I obsessed over the most. I'm definitely looking forward to more of them.

12-15-2008, 07:12 PM
Excellent job so far, Brer! You're spoiling us with those animations, you know. And I forget how much of the text is Feist's and how much is your own, but they seem to blend well enough. Nicely written.

(And even though reading about the Hunters of Guiswa and Dalatail Milk is like singing along to an old favourite on the radio, I can't actually remember how this game ends. Rest assured, I'm in this for the long haul.)

12-15-2008, 08:22 PM
Excellent job so far, Brer! You're spoiling us with those animations, you know. And I forget how much of the text is Feist's and how much is your own, but they seem to blend well enough. Nicely written.

I found that screenshots couldn't capture the combat system, I don't really have a good setup to do video capture (though that might be an easier solution), and I don't have the writing chops to make all the combats there'll be before the end different and interesting. It's certainly more labor intensive than I'd like but I don't really see a better option, though I'm open to suggestions.

As for the writing, it is a mix, and thank you. Although -I- can certainly see places where I think it's shit, and the writer for this game was actually Neal Hallford, not Feist (Feist approved everything, but all the text you see in the game is Hallford. I don't know what happened to him when Sierra and its studios like Dynamix got butchered).

I'll try (no promises this time) to get one more post up tonight, and one or two more per day until wednesday assuming feedback on choices and riddles and so on, then I'll be on hiatus while I drive from CO to MI and set up shop on my father's computer. I don't know how often I'll be able to update while visiting family, but I'll try to work a couple in there.

12-15-2008, 10:09 PM
This time as they headed back to LaMut for rest and supplies, Gorath gestured towards the town's cemetary to the south of the western road. Seeing the moredhel begin freeing the shovel from his pack, Locklear shook his head once, and then a second time more dramatically. “No. You can't seriously be thinking of desecrating graves because some might contain caches of equipment or notes being passed between Delekhan's agents.”


“Would you prefer to move south in ignorance?” Gorath asked, gesturing towards one headstone with the inscription 'Rosel LaMutian: Her face was sweet and her hands could heal'. “Before I came south and met you I spoke with kin who had worked in your Kingdom for a time. They told me of this graveyard, and there are four caches here. This is one. Watch.”

Locklear grimaced in disgust, but fell silent as the broad-shouldered dark elf began to dig. After a time, Owyn shot the squire a guilty look and moved to help, and before long they found not a body or coffin, but a carefully maintained hollow of earth filled with an oilcloth sack. There was a clink of glass from inside, and when Owyn reached into the sack's mouth his hand emerged clutching a vial of bright green liquid. “Restoratives,” he murmured, glancing first towards Locklear and then towards the inscription.

“ '..and her hands could heal.'” Locklear muttered, his face darkening before he spat into the earth. “Of all the places to set up caches of goods....where are the others?”

Gorath gestured to three other graves, and as the three took turns each disgorged a small prize. From 'Goldie Crowe: In death her face was that of a sovereign' they found a pouch of the golden coins. From 'Klamontala Pechta: Touched by flames for honor's sake' they retrieved a small quarrel of bolts with naptha bladders attached to the heads


LaMut (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK13-LaMut.mp3)


The night passed quickly enough, a mixture of sleep in the Blue Wheel's rooms and careful work by Gorath and Locklear as they sharpened their swords and inspected their armor. The next morning they headed back to the King's Highway...but north, not south. According to Sumani, the nearest place they could possibly sell their moredhel blades was The Crossroads in Yabon. It was that, or go all the way to Questor's View for less than half the price.


((Note: In the books, most of the towns are way bigger than in the game. It was 1993. For the time, these were some moderately high poly counts.))

As they approached the outskirts of the town Owyn paused, looking a bit nervous.


12-15-2008, 10:23 PM

Mercantile (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK07-Mercantile.mp3)


Owyn haggled over the price for the lampreys, while Gorath carefully lifted the massive but startlingly light and razor-sharp greatsword, only to pale slightly when the shopkeeper told him the price.


Locklear busied himself by selecting more practical goods, and ones within reach of his recovering purse. "Owyn, you can deal with the man about these," he said, handing the young man a whetstone and armorer's hammer.


"You mean you'll pay that much?" the shopkeeper gushed by the time Owyn finished negotiating with him over the price of the two items. "Eh, why that will be...fine. I'm taking quite a loss of course, but it's good for business." The mage was smiling as they left the shop and turned into town, but the expression was tinged with more than a little puzzlement. He wasn't quite sure who had gotten the better of whom back there.

12-15-2008, 10:38 PM
They decided to loop through the town before returning to the King's Highway, and the trip was quick and mostly uneventful, though several times Gorath stopped to look at a band of Hadati where they passed, their twin swords and tartans marking the hillmen as warriors, or at the larger town-houses. At one, Owyn started and leapt forward to tug his companion's sleeve forcefully.

"Definitely not a good idea," Owyn said, glancing up at the house for only a moment before he renewed his efforts to move the dark elf. "This is my aunt's house. As much as I would love the opportunity to explain why I'm traveling with a moredhel, I think we should leave."

The only other point of interest was an abandoned and shuttered laundry at the town's northern outskirts. It had been closed long enough for the windows to be completely fogged over with accumulated grime, and in a moment of unexpected inquisitiveness Locklear insisted on picking the lock and was rewarded with a set of kingdom armor for his troubles.

The town thoroughly explored, the trio headed back south, soon passing LaMut and the road to the Mac Mordain Cadal as they continued south towards Zun.

12-15-2008, 11:12 PM

They had come perhaps an hour south of the road to the mine when Locklear's steps slowed, then stopped. They were being watched. Frowning and unsure where their observers were located, Locklear wheeled about just in time to see a pair of moredhel slipping from behind the trees and rushing towards them!

Charge into Battle (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK11A-Charge_into_Battle.mp3)


The fight was over quickly. Moving rapidly to execute a strategy that had started to become second nature to them, Locklear and Gorath each intercepted a warrior while Owyn held back, concentrating as he darkened the vision of first one would-be assassin, then the other. Locklear's blade flashed as he neatly deflected a heavy downward blow from his opponent off to the side, leaning left for just a moment before his arm snapped out to drive the tip of his broadsword neatly through the dark elf's neck. Gorath had slightly more trouble, but when his blade finally did connect the enchantment of the clerical oilcloth he'd used in the Mac Mordain Cadal took hold, seeming to almost pull the blade deeper into flesh. Locklear moved to flank Gorath's foe, and within moments the second moredhel lay dead as well and silence returned to the road.


Divvying up their spoils, Owyn smiled at first when he caught sight of a ration bundle in a sack at one moredhel's hip. His smile faded, however, when he took a closer look.


“Come on,” Locklear said as Owyn tossed the ruined food aside. “We're nearly to Zun, and from there it's a short jaunt to the road to Hawk's Hollow. Since it was obvious by now that staying off the roads was useless, the group made better time and in more comfort, proceeding rapidly towards the large tavern that marked where the outskirts of Zun intersected the King's Highway.


They turned west at The Green Cat, the tavern's name proclaimed by an inexpertly carved and painted feline that swung above its door. “It may be that the locals have news of the area,” Owyn said, glancing around the village. “We should ask around before we move on.”

Locklear nodded and picked one door at random, knocking firmly and then blinking in surprise as the door was yanked violently open. Bleary-eyed and smelling of alcohol, a fortyish-looking man sneered at them. “Well, what do you want?” he shouted. “Out with it!”

“We were hoping you could give us the local news or perhaps some directions,” Locklear tried to say, but the man cut him off, bloodshot eyes blazing with a mixture of confusion and anger.

“Directions?! Directions?!” He bellowed, lifting an empty wine bottle from the floor. “I'll give you directions!”

Before Locklear could react, he felt the impact of the wine bottle against his skull and stumbled backwards into Owyn's arms as the door slammed shut. Gorath strode forward, his face grim and his blade already half drawn before Locklear managed to get out “Leave it be, Gorath...it's just a bump on the, nnf, head. I'll live.”

They had better luck elsewhere. At one house a woman was preparing mushrooms she planned to sell to the local herbalist, Kege, for use in his restoratives. “You know what they say,” the cheerful woman chattered on as she chopped the fungi up and dropped each handful into a pot full of boiling water. “You can kill me but you can't eat me.”

“That's a...strange expression,” Owyn said after a moment's thought. “What does it mean.”

“To tell the truth, I don't know,” the woman admitted with a wide grin. “It was something that the Baron Kevin always used to say. Never could make any sense out of it. Now if you'll excuse me I really must be running along.”

They said their goodbyes and kept moving, stopping only long enough for Gorath to find a crossbow string in one of Zun's deserted houses.


Gorath swapped his crossbow's string for the newer one, and then they were back on the road, moving south towards the crossroads that was visible in the distance.


12-16-2008, 09:50 AM
Do you get any new spells in Chapter 1?

12-16-2008, 09:54 AM
Do you get any new spells in Chapter 1?

You can get most of the spells for Owyn in Ch.1 if you really want to and are willing to do some tricky sequence breaking (mostly by getting enough money for supplies and healing and heading into the Dimwood to raid the moredhel chests there).

There are at least three copies of Flamecast on a semi-direct route to Krondor and so I'm sure the developers intended you to at least pick that up (which I have, as you'll see once I get this next set of posts up :) ). The surplus scrolls are an excellent source of starting capital. It's been awhile, but I'm pretty sure I'll also get Fetters of Rime, and possibly others. You can buy spells (mainly at Sarth), but they're several hundred gold apiece, you can't haggle the prices down, and every spell in the game is available from combats and chests so I usually prefer to acquire them that way.

12-16-2008, 10:44 AM
I also suck at riddles, but I'm really enjoying your style. I tried to play through this game via DOSbox, but I just couldn't get it to run properly. Which is a shame, since I am a Feist fan and read through the novelization of this game.

12-16-2008, 12:46 PM
"Hold here," Locklear said, stopping suddenly and gesturing to the east. "Do you see that?" He asked, pointing a gap between two hills.

Gorath squinted, then nodded slowly "Someone has moved a heavy load along a path there and then attempted to conceal it. Recently. We should investigate."

"Investigate?" Owyn said, canting his head at the other two. "What happened to our need for haste?"

"I'm starting to think that speed won't help us," murmured the Squire as he led them to where the partially obscured footpath led towards a low saddle in the hills.


The cache was shallow and poorly concealed, fresh dirt standing out clearly against the ground cover, and while a quick search turned up only another bad ration and a few handfuls of silver, it was something and confirmed that someone had passed this way in the last few days. Gorath motioned for silence as they proceeded, rounding a bend and coming to a hollow in the hills bounded to the east by a sheer slope, almost a short cliff. A chest lay in the center of the clearing, and as they saw it Locklear and Owyn moved forward, their caution slipping for a moment even as a little rain of pebbles scattered down from the eastern slope.

Gorath frowned, bending forward to examine a part of the debris that looked odd.

It was a small brass button.

"Locklear, Owyn, ware!" He shouted, even as their attackers leapt at them from the slope above.

Fight to the Death (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK11B-Fight_to_the_Death.mp3)


The fight was quick and vicious. Despite the element of surprise, Owyn was able to tumble away, sending up a spray of twigs as one of pair of moredhel warriors swung at him, his blade whistling just over the boy's back. Gorath lept forward before Owyn's attacker could recover, sending his curved lamprey snaking in past its twin to slice a shallow but painful gash along the moredhel's side.

The dark elf howled in pain and thrust at Gorath again and again, but each time the other's guard remained unbroken. And then it was Gorath's turn as he slammed his weapon into the other moredhel's, nearly knocking the warrior off his feet and following up with a series of hard fast strokes with his curved lamprey. The blade bit hard, repeatedly slipping past an uneven defense to sink the teeth that gave the lamprey its name into wool and leather and flesh, until finally the moredhel collapsed backwards, sword falling from his hands. Gorath snarled, springing forward and swinging his curved blade in a tight arc that opened the other moredhel's throat while his body was still falling backwards, so that it was a corpse that hit the ground.

While Locklear lacked Gorath's strength, he was a better swordsman, and the squire's sword-arm twisted and then extended again and again, deflecting the moredhel's strike each time before lashing out in reprisal. Finally, he finished it, a quick parry slapping his opponent's blade aside, baring the back of his hand for a quick disarming stroke before the sandy-haired man lunged forward and neatly ran the moredhel through.

Owyn panted, kneeling by the unlocked chest and lifting its lid as the other two searched the bodies of their foes.


He blinked in surprise at the parchment and the familiar sense of power. It had to be a transcribed spell.


Locklear and Gorath approached the mage and glanced down at the scroll in his hands. "What have you found?" Locklear asked, his voice quiet.

"A spell...one meant for use in combat, I think. It's getting dark, but if we can camp here for the night I'll have time to learn it, I think." Owyn said, starting to examine the cord that held the tightly wrapped scroll closed.

They agreed, and as the day's light left them they started a small fire. Although he could have wished for better circumstances under which to study it, Owyn broke the scroll's wax seal and began to read. After a hour's laboring with the difficult language he was able to commit the incantation to memory. While the words on the parchment etched indelible patterns in his mind, the scroll grew brittle, then crumbled slowly between his fingers like sun-dried leaves.

"I have it," Owyn murmured, looking a little dazed. "The spell summons a ball of fire that will fly through the air and explode when it encounters a solid object."

Gorath nodded slowly. "You may have need of it before long," he said.

12-16-2008, 01:10 PM
A bird shot into the sky. Searching the landscape for the source of the animal's discomfort, Gorath whispered...


Locklear cursed suddenly as a low hum filled the air. “Don't move!” he called to the others, watching as several rods topped with strange crystals began to rise out of holes in the roadsize. “We wandered straight into the trap.”He'd seen the holes, but the significance of their identical size and perfect alignment had escaped him until it was too late. Now the only way out of the trap was through it. What had that damned note said?

Into the Trap (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK26-Its_a_Trap.mp3)


((You can see why turning on the grid is a good idea for traps. This was really the "tutorial" trap.))

Locklear carefully threaded his way between the odd poles and, once the other two had followed his lead, they gave a collective sigh.

Introduction, Part 2 (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK03-Ch1-Intro02.mp3)


Gorath nodded slowly. "It is entirely possible. Even before I escaped from his fortress, it was rumored that the magicians with whom he has been keeping company had such talents. I know that his assistant Nago claimed to have such powers, though I never saw evidence of such," he said, glancing north for a moment.

"And if Delekhan has the capacity, then he'll use it and his assistants," Locklear added, sighing. "We will have to be cautious and watch out for any who seem like magicians as we head for Krondor. Both of you, keep your eyes open."

Owyn and Gorath both nodded, and they set out down the eastern fork of the road, passing through a cut in the hills towards Hawk's Hollow.

12-16-2008, 01:55 PM
It wasn't too long before Locklear's fears about the Moredhel lines of communications seemed to be borne out. Not an hour later a small party of moredhel in line abreast appeared on the road, sweeping west toward them.

"They know we're here," Gorath said, drawing his sword and moving forward to place himself in clear view before Locklear could order them off the road. "We must cut through."

Locklear swore again, but nodded, his own sword rasping free while he moved to the moredhel's side. Owyn, meanwhile, swallowed hard and frantically reviewed the spell he had learned the evening before. With his heart pounding in his chest, he watched the enemy close in. Fighting the urge to turn around and run, he forced himself to remain calm, forced himself to show no fear – despite the feelings of near panic that threatened to overwhelm him. He'd killed for the first time just a few days ago, and now he was about to try and use his magic to kill again.


Charge into Battle (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK11A-Charge_into_Battle.mp3)


The mage concentrated, lifting his staff and beginning the incant the spell. The air around them grow cold even as a glowing spark of light grows between his cupped free hand and the head of his staff. The spark grew rapidly, flaring into a ball of yellow-orange fire that roared when he released it towards the moredhel, swelling as it flew until it was nearly two feet across.

It struck the center moredhel dead center, and the dark elf screamed as he was first engulfed in fire and then blown back by the fireball's explosion, his charred corpse tumbling even as the warriors to either side twisted away, seared by the heat and partially stunned by the blast. Locklear gaped for a moment, then took advantage of their enemies' surprise to unsling the crossbow he'd acquired in the Mac Mordain cadal, sending a bolt into the side of the furthest moredhel while Gorath intercepted the nearer.

Owyn shuddered, both with the effort of the spell and with its effects, but when Locklear demanded another spell Owyn gathered his will and began to pour it into the spells structure. The effect was weaker this time to spare his friends the worst of the damage, and with two more flashing orbs the second moredhel collapsed, writhing about in a vain effort to extinguish the magical flames while Locklear and Gorath cut down the last enemy.

((phew. Are these combat descs getting too long, guys? They're sort of fun to write, but I wonder if they're helpful and if I can keep them going for the whole game.))

12-16-2008, 02:11 PM
They searched the bodies, and Owyn again secured several packs of rations.


Frowning, he sniffed carefully, then set the rations aside. "I don't know," he said when Locklear noticed his troubled look. "I just don't trust these two here. We've enough food for now that we don't need to take everything we find."

Locklear nodded, and soon they'd regathered their packs and set out east once more, threading between the hills until a broad white building appeared in the distance.


Like most of Midkemia's places of worship, the temple's exterior was devoid of any kind of adornment that might be carried off by wandering thieves. "I would really like to know why it is that the priests who design these Temples can’t see fit to let someone know what god or goddess is being worshipped inside," Locklear growled. "Would a sign really be too much to ask for?"

Temple (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK17-Temple.mp3)

Incense swirled. Striding between the columns of the temple, Locklear made for the heavy wooden doors which had been sealed against the daylight and which preserved the privacy of any ceremonies in progress. Pulling a tasseled rope which hung next to the door, he awaited the response of the door warden...


Noting the odd design on the room's wall, Locklear stepped closer, frowning as he examined it's many lines and prcecise angles.

"I see the mandala interests you." Turning, Locklear noticed a thin young man standing in the archway, his hands hidden in the folds of his robe. "While the relations between the temples and the new Academy of Magic at Stardock have been cool, it is one of the treasures they have passed on of the Tsurani magic. It has given us great mobility."

"Mobility?" Locklear asked. "How can a painting help you move?"

The acolyte smiled. "It would be easier to explain by example. Tell me about a place you are familiar with, a place where you have spent a good deal of time." Locklear shrugged, describing the place he had grown up, the layout of the rooms, the various things associated with his home.

"Very good," the man replied. "As you described those things to me, doubtless you also experienced certain memories through which you were able to relive your past. In the same way, these mandalas help us locate a place. By memorizing a pattern painted on the wall of a specific temple, we may will ourselves there."

"I could think my way home with this?"

"No. The memory of your home would be too unfocused for you to make the attempt. But, if you were to memorize this pattern, you could return here by recalling its image in your mind when assisted by the power of another Temple."

Locklear looked back at the mandala, lost in thought for a moment, his eyes soaking up the intricacies of it. "I assume there would be some fee associated with moving between locations?"

The acolyte nodded. "As simple as it is in concept, it still requires a great deal of effort to move even a single individual, though I am told the Tsurani Great Ones move about with less effort. I believe Pug wished to restrict our knowledge of this in some ways until we had proven we would not abuse its power."

A bell sounded.

Abruptly a darkly robed priest swept into the room and came to a halt behind Locklear. "I was alerted that you might desire to use the mandala."

"Desire, perhaps, but I haven't seen any of the other symbols," Locklear said. "I don't suppose you could go with us?"

"I am regret that I cannot assist you," the priest said. "My duties require I stay here to guide others that wish to arrive. I am sorry."

12-16-2008, 02:24 PM
Temple (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK17-Temple.mp3)


"I don't suppose we may speak to the high priestess of this temple?" Locklear asked, and when an acolyte agreed they were shown to a chamber.

Here, there were no flagstones or chipped tiles underneath their feet, but instead a thick carpet of grass jeweled with dew. At the far end of the room, a pair of yew trees overarched a throne of woven reed, upon which was seated a striking looking woman, her shoulder length black hair bound behind her back with a green cord.

"I am the High Priestess of this Temple," she said musically. "Killian welcomes you to her domain. Come. Be seated."

Listening with keen interest to the stories told by Locklear, the priestess remained as motionless as a statue. At last, she folded her hands in her lap and sighed heavily.

"That was most entertaining," she said. "I particularly liked the part about the drunk. But I would advise you in the future to keep an eye on the food you eat. You shouldn't simply gulp down the first thing you find without taking a look at it first."

Properly chastened, Locklear shrugged his shoulders and promised he would be more careful in the future. Cheered, he didn't mind when the High Priestess escorted them from the room and the temple.


Not far east of the Temple, they came across two northern paths. While the first led to nothing but a long-disused campsite, a plume of smoke rose from the end of the second.

12-16-2008, 02:36 PM

Locklear gasped.

Severed heads spun in grey space before him as disembodied arms and legs flailed together with a sound much like the clashing of...kitchen scullery? Looking closer, he realized that the body parts were not in fact, body parts, but instead very tarnished pieces of armor that had been suspended from the shops rafters.

"You there, careful! It may all come down on our heads!" A gnomish man approached from the rear of the shop, a match held tight between his fingers. "Should have knocked. Nearly didn't hear you from upstairs - I can see why you came in though. Your armor is in quite a state. Another blow to your suit and you'll look like those lot up there. I'll fix you right up."

"If it's all the same, I'd prefer to buy an armorers hammer..."

"I'm sure you would, but I'm not in the business of ruining my livelihood. I'm an armorer and I make my living in repairs. People go fixing their own and I'm out of business. Right?"

Mercantile (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK07-Mercantile.mp3)


Locklear paid and the three rested while Joseph meticulously examined and repaired their armor, not finishing with a single piece until it was as good as the day it was made. "Thank you, Joseph," Owyn said as they retrieved their mended equipment, "but why put a shop like this way out here?"

"I'm not much for company," Joseph said as he turned to head back into his shop, "and I'm good enough that any who really need my services can come to me. It's quiet out here except for my own hammering, and I like it that way. Good day to you."

Back on the road, they turned southeast and had come another few miles before Owyn spotted something in a low area to the north of the road.


Riddles and Locks (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK10-Riddles_and_Locks.mp3)


((Alright, it's time to pause again. Feedback and any requests for changes in direction are encouraged, as are guesses for this riddle.))

((Edit: Since the Brak Nurr sidequest is complete, I'm going to go ahead and procede with recovering Makala's Ruby in preparation for my next set of posts unless people post and want me to skip it and get with the fleeing south. For reference, in this chapter there are two other quests, one relatively minor one you can start up by Tyr-Sog, and one over by Tannevers and Eggley. There's also a plot-relevant encounter between Questor's View and Sarth which we can skip or hit at your discretion. I'd like to hit it because it yields plot, good gear, and if I remember correctly a spell for Owyn))

12-16-2008, 03:25 PM
I bet the answer is fog this time.

12-16-2008, 09:12 PM
I forgot how many moredhel chests there are. Change of plans. I'm going to post them in batches to give me breathing space while I work on getting segments uploaded, and you can guess while I work ahead. If no one can guess them, I move on in the game without opening them. How does that sound to everybody? In the meantime, here are a few more to chew on:




You will invite him into your house, Yet you know him not.
Once you get to know him, This thing he will no longer be.

He gets short when he gets old. He goes out then it gets cold.

It can move over water, But cannot fly.
It can move under water, But stay quite dry.

In all the world, none can compare
To this tiny weaver,
His deadly cloth
So silky and fair.

Also, I'll try to get an update up tomorrow, but if I can't it'll have to wait until the weekend. Sorry, but I have a car trip to prep for tomorrow.

Red Hedgehog
12-16-2008, 09:22 PM
Hmm... I distinctly remember another trap. And using Owyn to "solve" it.

EDIT: Some of these locks seem familiar. I wonder if I encountered them when I played.

12-16-2008, 10:28 PM
1: KEY

And I'm always up for extra plot, by the way.

12-16-2008, 10:38 PM
If I have time before your next update, maybe I'll try taking a crack at these riddles.

In any case, if that plot-relevant encounter is what I think it is, we need to go do that. And the Makala's ruby thing, too. After that, I say we go to Krondor and look for some betrayal or something.

12-16-2008, 11:00 PM
I've white'd out my answers, thanks to everyone else that did so!

1.) KEY

please hit all plot points, we want to see the whole game!

12-18-2008, 02:24 PM
Locklear secured the picklocks and equipment from the wordlocked chest with the fog riddle, then stood slowly. “Alright, let's keep moving. We'll stop at Hawk's Hollow and see how the land lies. If it looks clear, we can push south, and otherwise we can try looping north to Loriel to throw off pursuit and to see this Alescook fellow about Makala's stolen ruby,” he said, gesturing back towards the road.


Hawk's Hollow lay tucked into the southern end of broad and hilly valley that marked the transition between the high Yabon Hills to the north, and the Calastius Mountains that separated the King's Highway from the narrow strip of civilization that ran along the Dimwood's southwestern borders. The little town seemed quiet as they approached, and when Gorath tried the door of the Dusty Dwarf Inn he found it locked. When it was apparent no one was coming to open up, Locklear shrugged. "Well, it would seem the common folk have taken Prince Arutha's laws to heart. Doors only open from midday to midnight," he said with a sigh. "But I suppose someone had to ensure the farmers weren't drinking when they should be in the fields. Sometimes he really takes all the fun out of life..."

Owyn shrugged. “Well, if nothing else we can sell the shells we saved at the Woolen Man. I've heard my father speak of it before and the owner's one of the best brokers in the Western Realm for gems and jewelry.” He said, gesturing to the low building tucked deeper into the small community.


While Owyn took their small supply of looted baubles to deal with the shopkeeper, Locklear led Gorath around the town. At an old abandoned tavern they found enough preserved vegetables and cured meats to make a week's ration for their party, as well as a pile of spoiled food. Most of the other homes were closed as their occupants were out for the day working in their fields or hunting in the valley. A few, however, were occupied.

At one, Gorath was met by a fractional crack in the door and a hissing, frantic voice from within. “Your hands,” it demanded.

“Excuse me?” Gorath said, shooting a puzzled glance at Locklear, who simply shrugged back.

“Show me your hands,” the voice repeated, sounding even more insistent. “Palms up, thumbs out, and don't make any sudden moves.”

A slight smile playing about the corner of Gorath's lips, the dark elf complied, extending both his hands for the stranger's examination. On command he turned his hands over again, waiting for the judgment of the voice in the house.

“You pass,” it finally said, though it sounded no calmer. “All right then, listen carefully and don't ask any questions.”

“What is this about?” Gorath asked, starting to scowl at the barely opened door.

“I said no questions!” the voice snapped. “Suffice it to say that I know you can be trusted with what I have to say because you don't bear The Sign. You should be be on the lookout for scrolls or anyone bearing scrolls. Read them carefully. They could save your life. Be Safe.”

“Scrolls?” Gorath asked, “Why? What's on these scrolls? Does it have anything-” And then the door slammed in his face.

“Well, that was strange,” Locklear said, shaking his head slowly. “Let's move on.”

12-18-2008, 02:52 PM
In a way, the next house was stranger still.


Shrugging, the squire lead his companion to the last house in the village, one on its western outskirts, where A man invited them inside. "Come in. My name's Lucan," he introduced himself as he slapped his guests on their backs. "Nice to meet you. I haven't had visitors in some while. You know it gets kind of lonely up here and the kids don't come down too often. You have kids? They're a marvel don't you think and..."

Locklear seized Lucan's wrist and gave it a savage twist, forcing a shiny sovereign to fall from the man's pained fingers. Everyone watched in shocked silence as the gold clattered to the floor. "I almost didn't feel you nabbing that from my purse," Locklear said. "You're not bad thief, but not good enough."

"Don't kill me," Lucan pleaded. "Please. I don't have anything to give you, but I'll do anything. I'll...I'll teach you!"

"You'll what?" Gorath sputtered.

"I'll teach you, yes, that's it!" Lucan said, his face brightening. "Spare my life and...and I'll teach you what I know about locks! Everything! What do you say?"

Locklear arched an eyebrow... "Very well, Lucan," he said. "You may teach us, but if we leave here with any less than we came in with..."

"No, no, no. You have my word. Just sit here and I'll be right back. I'll go and fetch my practice locks and I'll be right back."

"Nice try, but no. You're staying here." Locklear pushed Lucan to a seated position. "Just tell Thorgath where your practice locks are and he'll fetch them. Then we'll start our lessons..."

Having resigned himself to the fact that he wasn't going to escape, Lucan lectured and demonstrated for the better part of the day before he set his practice locks aside. ”That's it," he mumbled, wiping perspiration from his brow. "That's all I know."

"Good enough," Locklear said. "I think we will be on our way now. And Lucan, for your continued health, I would suggest that you get out of the thieving business."

As the pair walked back towards The Woolen Man in a comfortable silence, Gorath once more examined a human settlement. He was always amazed at how fast the humans bred and built, spreading like rabbits...or rats, across the continent despite feuding among each other much in the way his people's clans had since the Moredhel had been left this world by their long-departed masters.

“-ing to lose it, Gorath.”

The moredhel shook his head, setting his thoughts aside and glancing back to Locklear, noting as he did that Owyn had apparently finished in the shop and was now walking towards them. “Excuse me?” He said, head canted slightly.

Locklear chuckled and shook his head. “I said, Gorath, that if you didn't keep your head in the here and now until we get to Krondor you were likely to lose it,” the squire said, gesturing west. “But first, I noticed something when we were at Lucan's. A well-worn path headed behind that hill to the west of town. If he's been thieving in this area long I'll bet my sword that he's got a cache for his loot off that way.”

Owyn blinked as he heard Locklear's last statement, shooting the slightly older man a puzzled glance even as he handed over their profit. “Lucan?” He asked.

“Another time,” Gorath said, nodding to Locklear. “He is right, we should investigate this.”

12-18-2008, 03:49 PM

As they carefully circled the hill, Gorath cursed quietly and motioned for them to halt. "Damn. It seems that Lucan has friends. I wonder if they were waiting here before we met him, or if he somehow summoned them after we left."

"Doesn't matter," Locklear said, gritting his teeth. "The slippery bastard's no doubt long gone by now. Let's take these three and see what's in that chest they have.

Charge into Battle (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK11A-Charge_into_Battle.mp3)


This time as the first of them saw Owyn's staff and robes and identified him, Gorath was ready. As the thug charged the Moredhel readied one of the flaming quarrels they'd retrieved from the grave in LaMut. Murmuring a brief impercation, he took aim and fired...and the advancing man's shoulders burst into flame as the naptha struck him, splashing and igniting in the same moment. Owyn shuddered at the sight of the screaming figure still moving towards him, but he knew what he had to do, and in another moment a ball of fire shot from the mage's fingertips to complete the bravo's incineration, lightly scoring his companions even as Gorath and Locklear each paired off. Gorath took several light blows, and suffered one shallow but lengthy gash along his shoulder before he dropped his opponent even as Locklear fenced rapidly with his, blades ringing even as the dark elf produced another firy quarrel...and ended the fight with another burst of flame and heat and light.


Owyn frowned as he helped his companions search the bodies of the toughs. Tucked into the sleeve of one was a crumpled slip of paper, and while Gorath and Locklear closed on the chest they'd been guarding he began to read.


Mates: It looks as if I may have opened my mouth a bit too wide. I think these funny talking Elves what live in the Northlands may have caught on to the fact I've nicked some of their booty. You best go and clear out our safe box near Hawk's Hollow, but remember I puts a lock on it so none else could get in it. -Lucan

Owyn's frown deepened...and then he gasped, quickly muttering the words to the Scent of Sarig and almost immediately getting a strong sense of danger from the chest. "Locklear!" He shouted even as the squire had slipped his picks into the lock. "Do-"

Locklear glanced up, fingers jerking, one of the slender implements in the lock snapping...but not before there was a *click*-*SNAP* from inside the chest. And then, the top of the chest exploded.

The blast was focused up and out, and later Locklear would noticed that inside the chest's hollow lid was a steel plate to prevent the box's contents from being destroyed by the trap, even as distillate of naptha drove a fireball and bits of iron through the space that Locklear would have been if Gorath hadn't already been moving as Owyn shouted, tackling Locklear and driving him back from the erupting chest.

Still, both were singed, exposed skin blistering in places from the heat of the blast, stray pieces of iron that must have come from some blacksmith's scrap heap plowing furrows in cheeks and shoulders and arms. one even punched into Locklear's flesh, and while Owyn carefully sought for it with a boot knife that Gorath had given him, the dark elf examined the chest's contents, hoping that it had been worth the price.


((LP-er's note: Because I'm an idiot and forgot to screencap the gem before I sold it, this is the one you can buy at Hawk's Hollow. The one in the chest was actually 15%, not 100%))

12-18-2008, 05:48 PM
After Owyn saw to their burns as best they could and they limped back to the Dusty Dwarf for two days of careful recovery, they headed east along the valley's southern perimeter. "We won't go all the way to the Dimwood and Sethanon," Locklear said, "But I this valley's an excellent place for some of the infiltrators we've run into to set up camps. If we can clear them out before we move on it may make the rest of our journey easier."


It wasn't long before they had confirmation of the Squire's suspicions: a wordlock chest tucked in a copse between two hills...and three moredhel to guard it.

Fight to the Death


And this time, it was too much for Owyn. In no more than two week's time he'd seen more death than in rest of his life, and he'd taken life, taken it with the magic he was still learning to wield. So this time the fear and the disgust were too much for him, and as he cast his spell his hand shook, the flaming orb skitting off to the side of the advancing moredhel until it exploded against a distant hillside with a muted roar.

His second, however, did not, incinerating one of the three warriors while Gorath set another alight with those dreadfully effective quarrels with the naptha heads. As the fight went on and one of the moredhel attempted to flee, Owyn was even able to draw him back, reaching out with his magic to snare the retreating fighter and force his steps to bring him closer to the mage where Locklear's final blow spattered the young man with blood.

Perhaps it was the blood that did it. As Gorath and the last warrior traded blows Owyn readed a final Flamecast, but his hand trembled and he couldn't keep his eyes open, couldn't watch any more today. And so when the spell left his hand and lashed out it slipped past one moredhel to hit another, bathing Gorath in flame. The other dark elf was killed in the blast, but Owyn was sobbing as he rushed forward to tend Gorath's wounds, his fingers fumbling for the herbal wraps that would speed healing and ward off infection.

"I'll...be fine, boy..." Gorath managed to get out from between cracked lips. He was burned, but without Owyn's will to sustain it the damage was not as bad as it could've been, and was mostly superficial. "But you must learn better care...and better aim."

As they rested, Locklear studied the note they had retrieved from the chest after entering 'KEY' into the lock.

The Six indicate dissident activity centered near Inclindel region. Should any Moredhel not bearing the agreed upon hand tattoo pass into the Kingdom, you are to assassinate them summarily, and above all, PREVENT CONTACT WITH KRONDOR.

"They've been ahead of you the entire way, Gorath," spat the squire, tossing the note to the ground. "Unless we can find and silence whoever keeps these bands in communication I don't know that anything we do can shake our pursuers or prevent them from appearing ahead of us again and again."

"Agreed," Gorath said, then hissed as Owyn began to change his dressings. "But first, Loriel and the stolen ruby."

Locklear nodded and joined the dark elf in gazing at the young man from Tiburn. "Are you going to be alright, Owyn? I know you're no trained warrior, or even a full-fledged wizard-"

Owyn winced.

"-but this sort of journey where we're harried on all sides by enemies that seem to know our every move, outnumbered and outmaneuvered, it would be hard even for some of the veteran campaigners I've met. You've adjusted quickly and learned quickly...and I'm glad to have you along."

Owyn was quiet for a long time, and then he looked to gorath. The dark elf's face was stiff with healing skin, but he managed a very, very slight smile, "You have helped us many times. I will not begrudge you the occasional accident," he said.

12-18-2008, 06:20 PM
((Soooo, obvious that I didn't take enough screenshots this round? Or rather, that it's hard to get good screencaps of just grinding combat? I'll try to get the next post up sometime saturday night, but it may take me a few days to catch up to where I can play a bit more. I'm headed from CO to the Upper Peninsula of MI to do the "Family X-mas" thing. Hope you're all still enjoying so far, and please provide comments, feedback, suggestions, and constructive criticism.))

12-18-2008, 09:42 PM
Or rather, that it's hard to get good screencaps of just grinding combat?
A one-off post that covers the actual mechanics of combat might be an interesting diversion. (By which I mean, I like it, and can only hope I'm not the only one.) The stamina/HP mechanism is a little unusual. Drawback: can't be done without breaking kayfabe.

12-18-2008, 09:47 PM
Personally, I'm finding your narratives top notch. I can easily see you getting burnt out quicky, so if you feel at any time that it's too much please feel free to cut down on it. Even though it's awesome. And quite possibly the best part, to me. I like how you couch the game mechanics into the story.

12-18-2008, 09:53 PM
A one-off post that covers the actual mechanics of combat might be an interesting diversion. (By which I mean, I like it, and can only hope I'm not the only one.) The stamina/HP mechanism is a little unusual. Drawback: can't be done without breaking kayfabe.

I agree with this. I definitely wouldn't mind out-of-character updates that explain the game mechanics.

12-19-2008, 01:34 AM
Yeah, as much as I love your narration, I also love mechanics talk. Must be my nascent programmer self or growing up in a machine shop.

12-19-2008, 03:46 AM
A one-off post that covers the actual mechanics of combat might be an interesting diversion.

I agree with this. I definitely wouldn't mind out-of-character updates that explain the game mechanics.

Yeah, as much as I love your narration, I also love mechanics talk.

So noted. I'll take time out every now and then to add more parenthetical (()) comments explaining mechanics, and I'll use the next fight worth covering in depth to go over the combat system.

That said, it's nearly 5AM here, which means its time for me to hit the road and head east. It's 1,383 miles to Sault Ste. Marie. I've got a full tank of gas, a passenger seat full of books on CD, tape, and MP3, it's snowing, and I'm wearing glasses.

See you all sometime this weekend!

12-19-2008, 11:40 AM
It's 1,383 miles to Sault Ste. Marie. I've got a full tank of gas, a passenger seat full of books on CD, tape, and MP3, it's snowing, and I'm wearing glasses.
Hit it.

12-20-2008, 05:11 PM
Safe driving...i drove east on Thursday to miss the 10 inches of snow in Madison, WI.

On the game: can you remind us of how the inventory works? Is it space (Diablo-like) as well as weight? Are the %'s on armor/weapons how effective they are vs. the theoretical maximum of that type of item? Are spells permanently learned by Owen, because I recall in the books the 'lower' magic schools had to rememorize spells after each use (yet he blinds multiple enemies per fight?!)?

Basically, what's under the hood?

I'm really enjoying the writing, even if it's of battles.

Pajaro Pete
12-20-2008, 05:21 PM
Man, remember when digitized people was all the rage in games? I'm so glad we learned our lesson!

12-20-2008, 07:56 PM
While Brer's away, I remember a few of these....

Are the %'s on armor/weapons how effective they are vs. the theoretical maximum of that type of item?
The percentage is the remaining durability of that item; once it hits 0%, it breaks. Partial repairs in the field are possible with the right tools (whetstones for swords, for example), based on the weaponcraft and armorcraft skill ratings of that character. It's also a measure of effectiveness, but I can't remember if it's strictly linear - I think armor at 1% is still better than 0.01 normal protection. Brer?

Are spells permanently learned by Owen

Inventory: everything occupies one space, and characters have a finite carrying capacity (20, not counting equipped gear). However, not everything stacks - you can carry a bunch of crossbow bolts in one space, but potions go in one by one. Strict management is necessary, especially since you usually need to haul around a big stack of rations - there's always more worth carrying than you can.

Man, remember when digitized people was all the rage in games? I'm so glad we learned our lesson!
Dark times, indeed. I must find my copy of the manual - you should see the character photos in there. Clearly done on a budget of at least $3.

12-20-2008, 09:18 PM
While Brer's away, I remember a few of these....
The percentage is the remaining durability of that item; once it hits 0%, it breaks. Partial repairs in the field are possible with the right tools (whetstones for swords, for example), based on the weaponcraft and armorcraft skill ratings of that character. It's also a measure of effectiveness, but I can't remember if it's strictly linear - I think armor at 1% is still better than 0.01 normal protection. Brer?

Actually, I believe it IS linear. What you may be remembering is that most items cannot break: that is, they have a min. %-age they'll get to before stopping degrading. Kingdom Armor bottoms out at 10% durability, for example.

Inventory: everything occupies one space, and characters have a finite carrying capacity (20, not counting equipped gear). However, not everything stacks - you can carry a bunch of crossbow bolts in one space, but potions go in one by one. Strict management is necessary, especially since you usually need to haul around a big stack of rations - there's always more worth carrying than you can.

Not quite. I'll try to illustrate this tomorrow, but while you're right that it's about 20 slots, different items do take up different amounts of space. Most items take up 1 slot, most swords/crossbows take up 2, armor takes up 4. Because there's no fixed grid, this may not be immediately apparent to people looking at a single screen, but once you start moving things around it becomes clear.

Dark times, indeed. I must find my copy of the manual - you should see the character photos in there. Clearly done on a budget of at least $3.

The manual's available online at replacementdocs, as pimped in one of the first threads. Honestly I wonder if the devs didn't pose for the pics. That said, I actually think that photographed actors->sprites can work nicely as an artistic style...but you have to have good actors/costumes to begin with unless you're going down in resolution significantly (everyone looked quite good for 1993 in combat, I always thought.)

Anyway, obviously I'm back. Family comes first for obvious reasons but I'm going to try and start posting again tomorrow, time permitting.

12-20-2008, 09:21 PM
Clearly my memories are failing me more than I thought.

12-21-2008, 02:51 PM
As they retreated to Hawk's Hollow to allow Gorath to rest and recover, the moredhel looked troubled. "We need to clear the valley," he said.

"What? Why?" Owyn asked, blinking as he glanced up from where he was replacing the dark elf's dressings.

"Because, Owyn, Locklear's right, this area is a crossroads for this part of the kingdom, and if we do not clear it now we will be unable to go to Loriel and return without facing ambushes there and back again, not to mention possibly allowing Delekhan's agents to determine our goal and be there before us. Kiefer Alescook cannot tell us much if he has a moredhel sword in his gut."

Locklear sighed, nodding. "He's right," the squire said after a long moment. "We'll have to scour the valley before we head north to Loriel. If nothing else it will give you a chance to practice your aim, Owyn."

The young man flushed with a mix of embarrassment and anger, pricked by Locklear's words, and he was twisting to snap at the other man he realized that the other two were smiling at him, and that the squire's tone had not been accusatory. He flushed again and subsided, only muttering "alright" as he finished tying off the fresh bandages.

It took another day, but at its end Gorath was entirely recovered save for a little stiffness in the skin at one side of his cheek and neck. They moved east once more, spreading out and moving as quietly as they could through the scattered trees and over the rolling terrain of the broad valley, until they scented the reek of old smoke and burning things.


A low, dingy shack was tucked away in the far southeastern part of the valley, and when no one answered their knock they peered into the hut through an ash stained window pane. Inside they could see bones strewn across the dirt floor like forgotten toys, playthings of a death-god long gone mad. Against the far wall eyeless skulls were heaped one atop another with no particular sense of order or orientation.


Gorath emerged some time later with a surprisingly new-looking shovel. "I left our old one in there," he said as he started to stow the tool. "This one will last us longer."

12-22-2008, 02:58 PM
Let's Play Betrayal At Krondor: Special X-Mas Edition

Also known as the special "Brer is an idiot and didn't bring either a bunch of the screenshots he needs to finish the next segment, OR an old save." So, since starting over to quickly recapture those turns out not to be practical (I just don't have enough time on the computer here) I'm going to be taking this...opportunity...to focus on the various game mechanic and storyline/setting questions people have. So, if you have any beyond what we've already gone over, by all means bring them up!

I'm prepping a post on inventory and combat mechanics tonight and hope to have it up sometime tomorrow.

EDIT: Nope, not going to happen. Sorry, ladies and gentlemen, but I'm just not getting sufficient time with this computer. 30 minutes here and there is enough to post a bit on here but not to prepare a dissertation on game mechanics or advance the LP. I'll try again once I get home to CO, which will hopefulyl be sometime Saturday Afternoon/Evening.

12-23-2008, 02:47 PM
I just caught up on the thread, and as someone who hasn't read any Feist, nor played this game, I just wanted to say "Woo! Go thread! Yay!"

12-27-2008, 02:16 PM
Alright, I'm back, and I have all my resources back at my fingertips! Sorry about that brief de-railment, ladies and gentlemen, and the Let's Play will resume with a continuation of the plot AND a more in-depth treatment of the combat system as soon as I feel recovered from my road-trip (I make good time on these things, but at the usual price). Possibly tonight, more probably sunday/monday. Watch this space!

12-28-2008, 07:07 PM

They headed north again, skirting the eastern edge of the valley and following what appeared to be an old hunting track. Several hours north of the charnel hut they caught sight of what might have been an old cottage through the trees and turned east into a small draw.


Owyn frowned, gesturing to the windows. "The place looks run down from the outside, but the windows still have glass in them, and it looks like someone hung canvas or something similar on the other side," he said as he moved towards the door.

"Careful, Owyn," Gorath said, eying the house and shifting one hand to his sword hilt. "Remember what we discussed about Delekhan's rats having a nest in this area..."

The young mage never had a chance to knock. Without warning a moredhel warrior charged at them from the other side of the small house, prepared to kill or be killed. “Look out!” screamed Locklear, readying himself as two more dark elves emerged from around the house's other side. “Ambush!”

((Begin OOC Stuff:And for the rest of this post, I'm going OOC or breaking kayfabe as Mazian put it, though as I haven't worn spandex or broken a chair over anyone's head in months I'm not sure the term applies...

...anyway, I'll be using the following battle to go over how the combat system works. The battle will still be compressed, as at this stage in the game I'm still missing 33-50% of the time.

Now, first things first: Initiative. I've never figured out if individual initiative is determined by the speed stat (which is also how many squares a character can move), randomly for each battle, or some combination of the two. However, I am fairly certain that your speed stat (which you cannot increase through the game) plays a defining role, as Owyn almost always goes first in my party, and Gorath last.

Side initiative is determined based on whether or not there was an ambush. Some encounters are normal and you can see the enemy milling around before you get to them, allowing you to click on them to try and ambush -them- (you've seen me try that in earlier posts), while others like this one are ambushes that only trigger when you click on a building or pass through a certain space. There's no way to detect this one in advance, but for the ones on the road can be spotted with a successful scouting check, allowing you to try and sneak past without triggering the battle at all.


The moredhel start off by closing in and taking thrusts at Gorath and Locklear, missing both times. Before the third one can move, Owyn gets his turn.


At the moment, my combat spells are limited to Despair Thy Eyes (2 round blindness on one enemy which lowers their attack skills and makes them likely to just stand there), Invitation (drag the target one square towards Owyn for every stamina or health point spent), The Gift of Sung (1-1 transfer of health/stamina from Owyn to someone else, which I almost never use. If you see blue numbers over a character's head, that's healing.), and finally Flamecast, your classic fireball spell.

I'm using Flamecast even if it's not always the smartest tactical decision at this point in the game because I want to grind Owyn's Accuracy: Casting ability to 100% as soon as possible. Flamecast does cost x 3 damage to the target if it hits, and about 20-25% splash damage to anyone within 2 squares. Other spellcasters and certain critters tend to be resistant to damage from the spell, but that's not an issue here, so I'll be casting it at max cost.


As you can see, Owyn has 45 Health and 50 Stamina at this point. This takes him down to 45 health, 30 stamina as stamina is depleted first. The main reason this is important is that losing stamina doesn't affect you in any way, but losing health will impact all your skills.

For example, if Owyn was to get knocked down to 30 health (2/3rds of his health total), all his skills would ALSO be at 2/3rds, including his casting accuracy, melee accuracy, and defensive ability. In short, once you start losing health you are in serious danger of getting into a negative feedback loop. This is accentuated for spellcasters who use health and stamina to cast magic spells.

One final note on Health/Stamina. "How do you increase them?" I hear you cry. You get one point of each for every month or so of game time that passes. For obvious reasons, this means that this is one of those games where fighting conservatively and resting a LOT (which in turn speeds the passage of time) helps. It was my tendency to just sleep the entire (12 hour) "night" while travelling rather than popping out torches or lighting spells that gave me a much needed health boost the first time I beat this game.


Huh. You'll note above that Owyn has a casting accuracy of 73%, but only a 50% chance to-hit that Moredhel he's incinerating. This is actually pretty simple, because for all ranged combat (spells and crossbows), the skill is your unmodified chance to hit at point blank range (1 square between you and the enemy. You can't use magic or crossbows at melee range), and the number drops from there. I'll go into crossbows in another combat when everyone has crossbows, is decent with them, and they're actually a practical combat option.


In the meantime, Owyn managed to hit this time, and this early in the game a maxed-out Flamecast is enough to kill (or cripple, because the health-skills link works for enemies too) most enemies with one shot. The moredhel goes down while Locklear gears up to attack the moredhel.


Melee gets a little more complicated because you have two attack options: Thrust and Swing. Thrusts are the basic attack, while swings usually do more damage (except with certain weapons like rapiers) and usually hit less often, while costing a little stamina. If you're down to health with no stamina left, you can't swing.

The basic formula for accuracy: Melee skill +/- Weapon Accuracy. If the enemy's defending, I believe (though I'm not sure) that it subtracts the enemy's defensive skill from your to-hit without telling you.

EDIT: As I was. Damn my desire to get this thread rolling again. The enemy's defensive skill has a small effect on your to-hit at all times (which you see). It just does it for the full value as well when you or the enemy is defending (which you don't see).

Base weapon damage is strength + weapon damage. Finally, weapon accuracy and damage are modified directly by a weapon's condition, so a 50% weapon only adds 50% of its damage and accuracy mods to those formulae.

It may sound sort of complex, but from what I've seen of the actual formulae used in a lot of JRPGs or other PC RPGs that didn't start out as tabletop games, it's actually pretty simple. No worse than some of the more complicated and less user-friendly pen and paper RPGs out there. Not that I think it's directly translatable, mind you, but it's interesting that if you really wanted you COULD do almost all of this game's number crunching in your head as long as you're good at %-ages/fractions.

Anyway, since I didn't save a screencap of locklear's respective to-hits for this battle (I reproduced these shots by re-splitting one of my animated .gifs after everyone asked for a mechanics discussion), I'll demonstrate by figuring out what his to-hit and damage would've been:

Thrust: The to-hit is Locklear's skill (75%) + Moredhel Lamprey's thrust accuracy mod (+5) = 80%, because I'm not going to do the fractions of 95+% of that 5% mod. Damage is strength (18) + the sword's thrust damage mod (+3) = 21 damage.

Swing:The to-hit once more is Locklear's skill (75%) + sword's swing accuracy mod (-5) = 70%. The damage would be strength (18) + the sword's swing damage mod (+15) = 33.

EDIT, part 2: As noted in the upper edit, these accuracy figures are before the defense skill modification.

I decided to thrust, both to conserve stamina and because you gain skill more quickly for successful uses of a skill than failed ones, and...


Hey! That's not 21 damage! Brer, you fail math forever!

Except I don't (I hope), because there are two defensive factors at play here: the moredhel's armor, and the moredhel's defense skill. Both reduce damage by a fixed %-age (modded in the case of the armor by it's condition). Kingdom Armor (which I know he's wearing) absorbed 10% of the blow, and his defensive skill absorbed about another 15% (I don't know how that works because it's definately less than the full value of your defense skill). The best armor in the game actually has a rating of about 70% if I remember correctly, turning 100 damage deathblows into 30 damage taps even before your defense skill comes into play.

12-28-2008, 08:10 PM
((OOC Battle Part 2:


I debated having Owyn fire off another Flamecast here, but in the end I decided to avoid having to rest too long after the battle (and to avoid the risk of friendly fire incidents like the one you may remember from an earlier combat in this Let's play) and cast Despair Thy Eyes again, blinding and effectively nullifying Gorath's opponent...


While Locklear swings and connects for a nice chunk of damage to his opponent. Again, note how that theoretical max of 33 becomes 30 from the armor, then 26 from the moredhel's defensive ability (although again, I don't know the ins and outs of the calculations for defense and may have that order of operations wrong).


This time even though Gorath whiffed you can see the rough relationship between strength, accuracy: melee skill, and swing and thrust accuracy and damage. You don't have the other moredhel's stats, but you can infer them to an extent.


Blinding the other defender, just to ensure that Locklear and Gorath have a clear field. This becomes habit rapidly, re-casting Despair Thy Eyes every few rounds on each moredhel in the fray.


And that's all she wrote. At this point in the game, it only takes 2-3 good hits to kill your average moredhel. Of course, it only takes 5-6 good hits to kill your guys as well, so it's entirely possible for a relatively short run of bad luck (or a friendly fire incident with a Flamecast) to turn the battle around very quickly. For similar reasons, enemy spellcasters are very, very dangerous, as we'll see before the end of the week I hope.

Starting with the next post we're back in character and meeting an old acquaintance of Locklear's. Hope you're all still following this, and that you'll bring up any further questions/criticisms/thoughts about the game's mechanics or my coverage of them. I know I promised an inventory treatment, but that's not worth its own post, so I'll work that in as we go.

End OOC Stuff.))

12-28-2008, 08:44 PM
Locklear blinked. For a long moment he stared at his dead opponent, pulse pounding in his veins as he waited for yet another enemy to come on, teeth bared or blade flashing, but instinctively he knew they had won this fight. They were safe for the moment.

It took some time to get everyone on their feet again. “Let's see if they left anything behind in the house,” Locklear said.

Unfortunately, while there were signs that the assassins had been living at the abandoned house for several weeks, it appeared that the only things of value were their equipment and a pair of lockpick probes that Locklear pocketed. No maps, no notes, no signs what the trio had been doing in this part of the valley.

"Well, it was a thought," Locklear sighed as Gorath and Owyn finished looting the bodies.

"Interesting that they were apparently here with only limited external support," Gorath said, lifting a cracked and stringless crossbow that one of the three had had slung across his back. "No warrior would allow his weapon to degrade so if he had had any way of securing a new string or a bit of adventurine."

The squire nodded, then shrugged. "However long Delekhan's been seeding the western realm with scouts, spies, and assassins, now that he's lost you I suspect they'll all be getting renewed support unless Arutha can get word to tighten up the patrols along the Teeth of the World..." He replied, trailing off as his lips tightened at another thought. "And if you're right about his pet magicians even that may not stop them from reinforcing. In any case, we'll sweep back west to finish clearing this valley, then push north to Loriel and have a chat with this Alescook about that ruby."

They set off, and the sun was nearly setting before they returned to one of the main roads that passed through the area. They turned northeast then, stopping only to retrieve a few more picklocks, several handfuls of silver royals, and a pearlescent shell from two roadside caches. They were nearing the northwestern corner of the valley, where the road turned east to meet the road to Loriel, when Owyn gestured ahead towards a brightly-clad figure approaching them down the road.

Jimmy The Hand ((no, it's not actually Jimmy, yet. Again, I didn't name these tracks)) (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK18-Jimmy.mp3)

Locklear smiled. Although the approaching man seemed half a hand shorter for the passage of eleven years, his halting stride was still as personal to him as his signature. Ages past Isaac had suffered his limp proudly, worn it like an injury sustained on a field of battle and for that he had gained the respect and admiration of Krondor's young squires, Locklear among them. His tragic expulsion from Arutha's court had been a blow to them all.

“I thought I recognized you,” Isaac said, grinning as he looked the squire over.


"It has, yes," Isaac chuckled, lifting one hand to brush a few stray strands of hair back over an ear, "and the years haven't exactly been easy ones, but I've been getting by. What are you doing up here in Hawk's Hollow, though? Tell me, and perhaps I can help."

“I've just returned from a military assignment and it's imperative that I get south as soon and as inconspicuously as possible," Locklear said, pursing his lips. "I don't think I can say more at the moment. Are there any places you think we should avoid?”

"Well then," Isaac said, eying all three of them with a new interest, "at all costs, you'll want to avoid the road from Eggley to Tannerus. There is a festival to be held in Eggley and it's likely your elven companion would be spotted right away."

Locklear restrained the urge to glance at Gorath before he replied, attempting to keep the lightness in his voice. "What makes you think we're off to Krondor?"

"Elves don't come much out of Elvandar and they are even less likely to travel in the company of a boy and seigneur when they do take to voyaging," Isaac replied, and Locklear tried not to sigh in relief at the former squire's assumption. "Whatever you three are about, I assumed it must involve the good of the Kingdom. Krondor would be the only logical place for you to go."

There was a moment's silence, and then the squire shrugged. "Wherever we're bound, someone has gone to a great deal of trouble to be certain we stay clear of the eastern side of the Orseinnes. We found traps on the road leading east.”

“You assume those traps were laid for you,” Isaac pointed out, brow furrowing as he glanced down the trail. “Perhaps they were laid there to prevent someone in the east from slipping west. I can't see any real advantage in keeping someone out of Hawk's Hollow or Loriel, but I can see a very definite advantage in keeping someone out of LaMut. I think you would be better advised to move south and west, away from whatever is laying them out.”

Locklear nodded slowly before replying. "Yes, well, we've other problems as well. These roads seem littered with those anxious to anticipate our movements. Do you know of anyone in this area that seems to have unusual skills? Some one who seems like they know your thoughts?"

"No..." Isaac said, his eyebrows going back up as he eyed Locklear once more. "I can't say that I have, but a certain pokiir player that I lost a great deal of money to in Eggley comes to mind. Name of Devon, I believe. It took me quite a while to make up the funds I lost during a single night playing against him. He very nearly took every sovereign I'd made in a month's time."

Locklear nodded again, weighing the rather tenuous lead against Isaac's other comments about the festival in that area. "I'll bear that in mind, thank you...but as much as I would like to stand about gossiping, I suppose we three need to hie back to the road before Prince Arutha sends out a search party for us."

Isaac grinned, brows lifting even higher for a moment. "Ah, then the Prince is expecting you...Please send his highness my regards."

"I shall," Locklear said, smiling as he reached to clasp the other man's hand one last time. "Take care of yourself, Isaac!"

12-28-2008, 09:13 PM
Owyn frowned slightly as they moved east, glancing back towards where Isaac had stopped them. "You said he had to flee the court at Krondor," the young man finally said to Locklear, "can we trust him?"

Locklear's expression mirrored Owyn's for a moment before twisting into a wry smile. "Not completely," he said. "Mind you, I don't think Isaac would lie to me outright. But I wouldn't put it past him to...shade things...or to leave inconvenient details out of his explanations if it suited him."

"I see," Owyn said, falling silent as they approached the bend north towards Loriel. And then he stopped, reaching out to grab Gorath's sleeve with his free hand. "Look there," he said. "I think there's a moredhel hiding just over the crest of that hill, watching the road."

Gorath squinted, then cursed as he caught the glint where the setting sun flashed from something near the crest of a low hill just east of the road. "Damn. A lone scout, watching the road no doubt, and he's seen us. Come on!"

Fight to the Death (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK11B-Fight_to_the_Death.mp3)


The fight went poorly. The moredhel was quicker than most they'd fought so far, rolling clear of Owyn's first spell, then deftly deflecting both Gorath and Locklear's blades. He stepped upslope , forcing the companions into each other for a moment and allowing him to dive away once more as Owyn cast again, this time winging Locklear with the fiery orb.

Owyn gasped with effort, throwing his blinding spell at the nimble dark elf before leaning heavily on his staff to rest. Locklear swore, rolling to extinguish the flames that licked along one side of his tunic while Gorath took advantage of the scout's blindness to strike, swinging a mighty overhanded blow that sliced deep into the moredhel's shoulder.

The moredhel grunted rather than screaming, his sword thudding to the hillside, but still he remained upright and turned to run, outpacing Gorath quickly despite his wound. Gorath swore with Locklear, first when he was forced to hastily ready his crossbow, then louder as the bolt flew wide, a sudden gust of wind directing the ungainly naptha-tipped missile to set Locklear alight once more!

Locklear screamed this time, and it was all that Owyn could do to a final spell. His desperate incantation quenched the flames around Locklear and smoothed his reddening and blistering flesh even as the agony of the wounds filled the young mage's body in turn, driving him to his knees.

Gorath fired a second bolt, and a third, but by then the scout was gone into the copse on the far side of the hill, and the moredhel turned to see to his companions. "I think that the way north from here will not be free of interference," he murmured as he examined the squire's injuries. "That one will warn his superiors of our presence."

12-28-2008, 09:32 PM

It's a Trap (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK26-Its_a_Trap.mp3)

Gorath was right.


Again and again they were attacked as they moved north.


Harried at night when they made camp. Leapt upon from hilltops and from ditches by the roadside, moredhel blades and moredhel faces emerging from the shadow of trees or out from under dirt-covered cloaks to confront them.


And though each time the force that came against them was small, and though each time they beat them back or killed them outright, by the time they came to the magician and his trap they were truly tired.


Still, they fought, and fought well. The three had learned each other's styles and ways of thinking as they moved north, and while the harrying had fatigued them it had also hardened them, Owyn most of all. The young mage didn't give his opposite the opportunity to cast, summoning up his magic to wreathe the moredhel caster in flames even as Locklear readied his crossbow for the coup de grace, the bolt hissing wickedly as it buried itself in the mage's chest, opening the way between the trap's magical tripwires.

With the death of the mage, it seemed as if the moredhel in this part of the west had decided that the party was too dangerous to oppose, for the next day passed without a single skirmish or even a spotting of blue cloaks in the woods. As they rested that night, the first quiet night for several days, Owyn mentioned it to Gorath.

"He might have been the mouthpiece for the Six in this area," Gorath suggested as he carefully passed his whetstone along his blade, scowling at a place where the edge had been notched by the crossguard of an opponent.

"So we may have bought ourselves a few days or even a few weeks of quiet along this stretch before they can move in a replacement."

((That's all for tonight as I'm still recovering from my trip. Tomorrow I'll try to get us through the last of the unfinished business in this area and leave you with the choice of tackling the Tannerus/Eggley stretch or the Sarth stretch for the next section. I hope you can see why I chose a sort of "montage" style for these fights. Most weren't that distinctive, and doing them all in detail would've bogged down the pacing something fierce. Anyway, see you all tomorrow.))

12-29-2008, 12:05 PM

They were a half-day's travel south of Loriel now, and it seemed that Gorath was right once again because they had still seen no more sign of their pursuers. The way was clear now, and they made good time until they reached a large house that squatted just south of Loriel's outskirts.

Locklear glanced at his companions and then back at the house, his brows furrowed. "We might do with a bed for the night outside of town. I'd prefer not to give Alescook warning, and if his business is as shady as it sounds he may have eyes and ears in the local inn ready to bring him word of armed strangers."


A piece of paper dangled from the doorknob. "At all costs, travellers should avoid contact with Orno, known widely as Orno the Pale" Owyn read aloud. "A contagion of unknown proportions has already lead to the illness of three people. Avoid any contact with..." The door swung open. "...him."

Owyn straightened himself as a haggard looking man in his mid twenties appeared in the doorway, his face covered with a bloody handkerchief. "You are Orno?"

"Yessss," he wheezed through his handkerchief. "And you're...on...my dohstep. Get away afore you get yourselves in-fec-ted."

"What is wrong with you?"

The man shook his head. "Don't know, doctor's don't know, priests don't know. Nobody knows. Only persons that's survived is Michele the Healer, but she's a ways off in Loriel."

"I see," Locklear said. "Well, we'll be off now. Sorry to have bothered you."

Again the man nodded. "I'z sure you will be. I'z sure of it."


No one wished to speak about it. Seeing the glazed look in each other's eyes and sickly pallor each had begun to exhibit, it was more than obvious they had fallen prey to some virulent disease. Silently, Locklear hoped they would reach a temple soon before they all died of it.

They'd travelled only an hour or two up the road before the symptoms presented themselves, forcing them to camp early while Owyn inspected each of them in turn. The young man hacked, then coughed twice before giving his diagnosis. "I don't know...this hit us fast...but I think we can make it through without a temple healer...I've got some herbs that should help, and with them and a day or two's rest I think this will pass."

((You can get plagued from several sources, and it's basically like a DoT poison, but one that gets worse if you don't treat it. After 4 hours it'd be 25% instead of 21% for example, and you lose health faster. Using Herbal Packs puts you in a healing state at 100% that steadily drains away as time passes. You heal faster and recover from "sick" or "plagued" that way. So, 3 herbal packs and rest will fix this problem for far less gold than Michele in Loriel or a temple healer.))

12-29-2008, 12:45 PM
Owyn was right, and it took only a few hours of rest by the roadside for them to feel the worst of the fever and its aches leave their bodies. They were left a bit dizzy and light-headed, but after a full night's sleep all three felt fully recovered, and the only stop they made before reaching the outskirts of Loriel was to slip east into a meadow to investigate a wordlocked chest.


"Stranger" opened the lock, and they stowed the money, armor, and another whetstone before they entered Loriel and headed straight for Kiefer Alescook's business.


They arrived at Kiefer's door after asking at the local dry goods store for his whereabouts. There was no sign or shingle out front, no sign that the house was any sort of place of business. "It seems that Kiefer prefers to keep a low profile," Locklear murmured as he knocked soundly on the front door. They were greeted by a thin little man, his brown hair slicked back from a high forehead, perpetually squinting eyes peering shrewdly at his three visitors.

"I'm Keifer Alescook. Have you come to buy or sell some gems?" he questioned in a frail voice.

Locklear moved closer to the door. "We're looking for a ruby that may have been stolen by a group of Grey Warriors. Have you purchased any gemstones from such men?"

"I don't know what you're talking about," the man said quickly. "I don't buy stolen merchandise. You might try talking to a fellow I ran into north of Hawk's Hollow about it. Name's Isaac if I recall." The man looked about nervously. "I'm...er...not open for business right now. You'll have to come back later."

Before Locklear could say another word Keifer had closed the door. "Now, that was interesting," Owyn murmured, glancing at Locklear. "I guess you were right about your friend Isaac leaving things out."

Locklear nodded abruptly. "Yes. But when I press him on the matter he'll talk to me. He was headed north as well, I believe. We'll wait here for him to pass this way, and have a few words with him."

12-29-2008, 01:16 PM
They waited, passing the time by acquiring the supplies needed to repair their scavenged equipment before selling it back to the local shop.


While Gorath and Locklear took turns honing their repair skills, Owyn kept watch on the road. On the second day, Isaac came into view, and Locklear was ready.

Jimmy (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK18-Jimmy.mp3)


"'Just luck', was it?" Isaac asked, raising an eyebrow.

"Well, perhaps not 'just' luck, old friend," Locklear admitted even as he stepped closer. "It seems we may have some business together. Did you by any chance purchase a ruby from Keifer Alescook in Loriel? He told us he sold it to someone named Isaac and the description he gave us sounded like you."

"Why?" the other man replied, taking a half-step back. "You want to buy it from me? It's not like it's the only ruby in the world you know..."

"The ruby he sold you was stolen from a Tsurani magician who was passing through LaMut. The Garrison would like the stone back. We were hoping we could talk you into at least returning it to Keifer to get your money back."

"I'm sorry to hear about your dilemma, but I had no idea the stone was stolen when I paid Keifer's price and I have my own little problem. I need the stone so I can pay off a sword crafter and get my blade repaired."

Locklear blinked, not expecting the respnse. "Can't you pay him with gold?"

Isaac grimaced. "He specifically barters in gems and the ruby will cover my costs plus a little more. I should have enough left over to eat for a month or more."

"What if we can repair your sword for you?" Locklear suggested, already reaching for his whetstone.

"What, here? In the middle of the road?" Isaac asked, shooting the squire a skeptical look.

"Since I don't have a workshop, I don't see that we can do it anywhere else."

"Well...I suppose. My blade is fairly expensive and I'd hate to see it further damaged. It's conceivable you could do more harm than good, so unless you're really skilled at weaponcraft...well... Do you really think you're that good?"

"Good enough. Your blade?"

Isaac looked torn for a moment, but finally handed over a finely crafted rapier. "Please be careful, I paid quite a bit for it." He said, not quite hiding a wince as Locklear inspected the weapon. His pained expression faded, however, as the squire went to work, using the technique Naddur had taught them back in the Mac Mordain Cadal.

"Well, I have to say this, you appear to know what you're doing," Isaac said as he took back the weapon, inspecting point and edge carefully. "It looks much better than it did. And it will hold the edge?"

"You could cut up the whole of Delekhan's moss-rangers and it'd still be sharp for a month after," Locklear promised, grinning. Inwardly, he sighed in relief. He hadn't been quite sure that he could do it.

"Well...it looks as if you've come through on your end of the bargain. Remind me to give you the ruby before you leave," Isaac said, resheathing his blade and relaxing.

"So where is this miracle working weaponsmith you were talking about?" Locklear asked, glancing down towards the blade at Isaac's hip. "It might be worthwhile to go and have our own weapons repaired."

"There's a shop in Highcastle called The Battleworks. It's a long way to go, but their work is impressive," Isaac said, smiling wryly. "That's one reason I was headed north. Now that you've the ruby I'll still need a bit of money, so I'll probably be sticking around this area looking for work."

Locklear nodded, and while they chatted a bit more, it soon became clear that there was nothing more to discuss for the time being. Isaac took his leave and headed for the inn, while Gorath and Owyn joined Locklear by the roadside.


"Well," Locklear murmured, eying the ruby. "I'm thinking we should circle around. We'll pass Tyr-Sog and the southern entrance to the Inclindel Gap, then back down past Yabon to LaMut to return this to the garrison. From there, we can decide whether to head south down the King's Highway to Sarth and Krondor, or take the back way past Tannerus and Eggley."

12-29-2008, 01:28 PM
They travelled north, and soon Locklear spotted a temple nestled into the hills west of the road and north of Loriel. After a few minutes' discussion they decided to stop and speak to the high priest and to memorize the mandala, should they need to return here quickly in the future.


Temple (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK17-Temple.mp3)


While Owyn chatted with one of the acolytes and Gorath leaned silently against one of the chamber's walls, Locklear took a moment to speak with the priest in charge of the translocation mandala. It was tempting to save themselves days of travel, but the squire decided to conserve their funds for now. Perhaps if they had more to spare it would become a viable means of accomplishing their mission, but for now he suspected they needed the money more.

When they were done, Acolytes escorted them deeper into the temple. After passing through a maddening series of arches, they finally were let into a large chamber upon whose floor a seven rayed star was formed in mosaic by dark blue tiles. A small priest stood in the symbol's center, his back turned towards them.

"We are looking for the high priest of this Temple," Locklear said. "Would you know where we could find him?"

"I am he." As the man half-turned, Locklear suppressed a gasp at the priest's hideous visage. Stuck to the left side of his face was a dark brown strip of cloth, a ragged hole torn in it to allow a pinkish looking eye to peer out at them.

"What is it that you want?" he wheezed, his frame shuddering with each breath. "Are you new acolytes?"

"No." Locklear swallowed with some difficulty. "We are...travellers."

"As all under the heavens are," the man said, making a feeble gesture at the vaulted ceiling above them. All travellers. Please, let us talk a while."

When at last many of the candles in the chamber had burned low, the priest nodded his head. "I have enjoyed this," he said quietly.

"As have we," Locklear replied graciously, rising to leave. "Oh, before I forget, where was the interesting statue again that you mentioned?"

"The oracle? In the hills to the east of Malac's Cross," the priest replied. "Perhaps your journeys will take you there soon."

12-29-2008, 05:11 PM

They pressed north, crossing a small stream, and arriving at Tyr-Sog early the next day. The town was small, cold, and isolated, sitting in the Yabon foothills close to the Inclindel.


"You two settle in here," Locklear suggested once they reached the town. "I'm going to take a quick trip up the Inclindel to see what the route looks like."

Though both Gorath and Owyn were reluctant to allow Locklear to press north alone, they eventually agreed, and within two days the squire had slipped to the southern entrance to the pass.

Inclindel Gap (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK29-Inclindel_Gap.mp3)

A horn sounded in the Inclindel. Immediately several additional notes echoed the first, passed on down the bend of the canyon while shadows began to appear along the length of the defile. Rising up from behind rocks and out of ditches, a dozen scattered men responded to the call to arms. Appearing at the mouth of a previously unnoticed cave, a fortyish looking gentleman lumbered down from his hiding and seeing that his guards weren't needed, he whistled for their dismissal before eying Locklear.

"You don't want to be here," he said, frowning.


"With all due respect, Seigneur, we're digging ourselves out of a pretty mess presently," said the Lieutenant, scowling back up the pass. "Not long after you and the moredhel trounced through here, a white screamer came up out of nowhere, worst snow storm I've seen in sixteen years. Ten miles on down the dell, the pass is buried under five feet of snow. I sent out guards to help our forward positions but I'm not positive they can do much. Kind of like lighting your pipe under the Bitter Sea."

"There's no way to get through the Inclindel at all?" Locklear asked, his eyes following Finn's.

"Not unless you're a snow burrowing mole or a firedrake, no sir. Whoever may be in the Northlands or in the Kingdom, they've got a long wait on their hands if they need to get down this road."

"Well, that's it then. We'll have to turn back. Take care, Lieutenant."

Finn nodded and turned to his men, sending them back to their hides with a few curt hand gestures while Locklear turned back towards Tyr-Sog, wondering how Owyn and Gorath had been spending the time...

12-29-2008, 05:32 PM
In the meantime, Owyn had found one way for them to keep their funds from depreciating too sharply while Locklear scouted north. The largest shop in the town, an old ramshackle pawnbroker's, had had a battered but servicable lute tucked away near the back.


A bit of quick haggling, and the lute was Owyn's, and as the days wore on the young noble plucked the strings of the practice lute carefully, aware his smallest mistakes were the cause of great grief to others. He could at least say he was learning, however minutely, every time he played the single tune he knew.

The Lute (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK14A-Lute.mp3)

((Game Mechanics explanation contains narrative spoilers. Be warned: So, what's actually happened here is I popped north to the Inclindel Gap to get the Finn Dialogue, then sat at the Three Hillmen Pawn grinding everyone's Haggling skill and buying 4-5 Practice lutes, then using them all up with Owyn to grind his Barding skill to 90+ %, which took several days. Since in the actual setting the Inclindel Gap is several days' journey from Tyr-Sog, I figured to have Locklear make the trip, and Owyn take up the lute to keep himself entertained as a decent explanation. What this also means is that it's now worth my time to start singing for our supper in inns. You can (and should) play the game yourself to hear all the different levels of skill with which you can play the tune above, and to see the responses which range from "oh my god that was beautiful" for maximum income to actually getting thrown out of the inn.))

By the time Locklear returned, Owyn was quite good, and had even managed to make a little money at the tavern. "We had a stroke of luck," Locklear said as he settled by their fire. "It looks like the weather's on our side. The Inclindel's been closed tight by snow since we passed through. Delekhan may be able to slip small bands over the mountains, but without the pass itself it will be quite hard to replace all the spies we've been removing from the Kingdom."

"That is good news," Gorath murmured, "but we should not become careless. There will still be other assassins between here and Krondor, and even if this gives us time I do not think it is time we can afford to waste. These side errands are useful, but we should not overindulge."

"Yes, yes," Locklear said, his spirits still buoyed by what he had learned. "In any case, you're right and we should head west to LaMut first thing tomorrow."

12-29-2008, 06:49 PM
I used to watch a friend of mine play this game over at his house back in the day. While I own quite a few computer RPGs, I've always preferred the much more linear experience of Japanese-style ones; something about the wealth of options you're given in a game like this makes the OCD bits of my brain go into an infinite loop and lock up. So it's delightful to watch someone else play through it. Thank you, Brer.

12-29-2008, 07:05 PM

As they headed west towards the waterfall and bridge that marked the boundary between the Barony of Tyr-Sog and the Duchy of Yabon, they passed a cemetary, and in a suspiciously named grave marked "Pul Dudding: No one knew when he came or when he went" they discovered another pair of the noise-muffling elven footwear that Gorath identified as Weedwalkers.

Not much further over the bridge and an hour down the road they found another of the moredhel wordlocks as well, and before long Owyn puzzled out the answer.


Owyn examined each of the scrolls eagerly, grinning as he cracked them open and studied their contents. The first was simple enough, a cantrip that would brighten the stars at night to give them light to see by, but the second...he sighed. Although he was fairly certain when he read the first few lines that he knew the spell, Flamecast, he read it to the end to see if there were any critical variations which might be helpful to him. Finding that it was exactly identical to the spell he already knew, he put the scroll aside.

"Oh well," he sighed. "Perhaps I can find a generous shopkeeper with more use for it than I."

Meanwhile, Gorath studied the small scrap of parchment that had been slipped between the scrolls. He frowned, reading it aloud for the others:

Nighthawks should be advised that the magical traps sent earlier are of an inferior grade and are often unreliable. We have staked out two sections of the Kingdom roads to the south of Zun and west of Tyr-Sog to test a new design engineered by the Six.

Locklear's head snapped up from where he'd been examining the blade of the lamprey. "Wait, read that again," he ordered, eyes locked on the parchment, and when Gorath did Locklear swore.

"What is it?" Owyn asked, looking concerned as he stood and moved towards the other two.

"Nighthawks are the Guild of Death. Paid killers. When Murmandamus returned there were moredhel among their number, and both human and moredhel guild-members were his servants in your Kingdom," Gorath answered for Locklear while the squire continued to swear.

"Not possible," Locklear said. "The Crown cooperated with the priesthood of Lims-Kragma to wipe out all their nests in the cities and their temples both."

"You evidently missed some," Gorath said. "I have heard of men and moredhel, garbed all in black and moving silently, who came to Sar-Sargoth."

"If there are nighthawks between here and Krondor," Locklear muttered, "We may have a problem."


The squire glanced down at the blade in his hand, then smiled grimly and made a few passes with it. "This should help. It's been blessed by a temple...see the mark near the crossguard? Feels more balanced and it should bite a bit deeper."

Gorath merely grunted, and soon they were forced to move on, stopping again only when they came to an isolated farmstead to beg for water.


Three hundred pounds of madman answered the door.

"Umhumh," the greasy looking farmer said to himself, sizing up Locklear in a single glance. "Shoulda known that some kind of stranger had to be responsible."

"For what?" Locklear prompted.

"Don't play stupid! You been keepin' me up for the last ten nights with those...rackets to the west!"

Locklear shook his head. "I'm afraid there's been a mistake. Really. We'll be leaving you alone now."

Back on the road, all three of them shared a look. "What do you think," Locklear asked quietly.

"I think there is another trap west of here," Gorath replied. "We should be careful."

They moved westward more slowly after that, and when Owyn spied yet another of the moredhel chests south of the road they approached it carefully.


Despite the lack of any apparent trickery or ambush, all three were nervous as Gorath once again read the note while Owyn began to study the spell scroll:

The Six have advised the field commander that Gorath of the Ardanien has now moved south. He may be accompanied by a Seigneur of the Krondorian Court. Be careful to monitor his activities and take measures where appropriate.

Locklear sighed, then glared at their dark elf companion. "Their intelligence network is too damn thorough for my liking. How long have your people been planning this, Gorath?"

The moredhel stared back impassively. "To take back the lands the humans took from us? Since before your great grandfather was born," he snapped before falling abruptly silent and staring into the distance. When he finally spoke again, his voice was both quieter and softer, and his eyes were dark. "But this latest plan? Not long. Perhaps five years."

Owyn stared at Gorath. "If you're so angry at us, at humans...if you think we took your land, why are you coming to Krondor?" He asked.

"If you come with us to Krondor, I will tell you," Gorath said. "Not before. And yes, Locklear, you are right. There are too many of Delekhan's eyes and ears in your Kingdom. But let us continue."

Owyn nodded slowly, then returned to the study of the scroll while Gorath and Locklear divided the precious vials of healing restorative. "Eyes of Ishap" seemed to be a sort of specialized scrying construction meant to detect any "containers" with something of value in them. While he doubted it would do him much good in the cities, it could be invaluable in helping them to discover hidden chests and caches while they moved through wilderness.

12-29-2008, 07:50 PM
The spell was memorized soon enough, and so they proceded west once more. However, they'd barely made it another three miles before a moredhel wearing the yellow cloak of a magician slipped from the trees, drawing a sword with one hand while the other made a strange pulling gesture. Owyn gasped as once more strange rods tipped with colored crystal rose from the ground, barring forward progress.

The assassin was a mercenary. Locklear could tell by the hardened set of the moredhel mage's face that he hadn't hunted them down to avenge a wrong done him, hadn't chased them to collect a debt. He had come because the coin had been of the right color and in the right amount. And for that price, win or lose, he would fight them to the death...

Charge into Battle (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK11A-Charge_into_Battle.mp3)


Owyn's eyes widened at first, but then he noticed the way one of the trap's sets of rods was between them and the dark elf and his lips tightened. He raised his own hand then, and with a surge of will and a few spoken words it was the moredhel's eyes that were widening as his body moved without his volition. The other mage screamed something harsh and gutteral in his own language as his traitorous legs drew him closer to the space between the poles...and then he was between them.

The trap sprung in an instant, crackling arcs of energy connecting the two crystals and the moredhel between them, wrapping his body in light and then shutting off with a thunderclap that almost managed to drown out the choking scream of the mage as he collapsed in a twitching, smoking heap.


Owyn sighed as Locklear moved forward to place a hand on his shoulder and Gorath began to search their fallen opponent. "This is starting to come easier," the young man admitted, looking unhappy. "I don't really like that."

"Anything becomes bearable with enough exposure, Owyn," Locklear said quietly. "As long as you never come to actually enjoy using your power like that, I think you'll be alright.


They moved on then, and it wasn't long before they caught sight of another small cottage on a well-worn track just south of the main road. Investigating, they found that the face of the door was covered with a pattern; a strange semi-circle formed of oily black smudges that joined at the iron door latch. On closer examination, it seemed that the smudges were actually fingerprints of some kind.

"I really should have that cleaned, I suppose."

Locklear jerked upright at the sound of the gruff voice. Padding from around the corner of the house, a balding man stopped next to Owyn and held up a palm stained with black ink. "A scribe tends to make quite a mess. Occupational hazard."

"Scribe?" Locklear asked, glancing in puzzlement at the relatively isolated cottage a good three hours from the nearest town.

"Among other things," he said. "Currently I have accepted a commission on behalf of a travelling merchant to do a survey of all the mercantile boxes in the area. Perhaps you would be interested in helping..."

"And what would we profit from it?" Locklear asked quietly.

"Information," the scribe replied. "I've acquired a book I think you'll find very interesting. There's a box just west of Hawk's Hollow, on the southern side of a small hill. I suspect it has been trapped. Find out for me and I'll give you my book."

Locklear frowned. "As it turns out, we have already found that particular box. It was trapped," he said, eyes flickering towards Gorath in uneasy remembrance.

"Oh! Well, better that you discovered it than me," the scribe said, offering them all a rather wan smile. He walked to a small book shelf in the corner of his house and drew out a large volume. Returning he handed it to Locklear.

"Happy reading. Now, I really must be about my business."


Each of them tried the book when they stopped to rest that night. Many times each flipped back the cover of the book to reaffirm that the title had in some way been connected to the migration of birds. While the author had begun a discussion on winged wildlife, he had quickly meandered into a discussion of the famed battles of Midkemia, continued on to a reiteration of various battle songs, diverted to a rant about the prices of ale in the Kingdom's taverns, tangentially lamented about the plight of magicians and then ended on a humorous anecdote about his mother-in-law having consumed a vial of Fadamor's Formula to outslug a Tsurani warrior in a bar brawl.

"It's...interesting, I suppose," Locklear said finally, "perhaps we'll find a use for it before we come to a shopkeeper that would be interested."

((More Game Mechanics Discussion: In case it's not clear from what you just read, books raise skills the first time they're read. Thiful's Bird Migrations, as you might have guessed, raises every skill 5%, or every one 5% and one by 7% if you have one skill tagged, meaning that you're practicing it. I believe if you tag multiple skills you'll still get a bit more "xp" than you normally would, but it's not enough for you to actually increase them past the base 5%. Each time you read a book past the first time, there's a small chance that seems to vary depending on the book that you'll get a partial benefit again, but it's never as much as the first reading. Time can fast very fast using up a book, so in my actual playthrough I read it once I was at LaMut and could stock up on a bunch of rations.))

12-29-2008, 08:40 PM

As they continued southwest towards Yabon, Owyn practiced his new spell...and was rewarded. They could see the path leading to what appeared to be a low shack north of the road, but Owyn's sight revealed a chest tucked away behind it.

"I suppose we should investigate," Locklear said. "But let's be careful, this could be another of those hideouts, like that house near Hawk's Hollow."


The building creaked in a way that made Locklear nervous.

"You stay out here," he told Owyn and Gorath. "Something doesn't feel right about this place. I'm going in to have a look around." When he returned a minute later, he had a grim look on his face.


They moved north, and this time when they saw a moredhel wordlock Owyn paused to incant Scent of Sarig, checking the chest for the traps Locklear was almost certain were present. There were none, however, and once Gorath had suggested that the answer to the chest's riddle was 'Spider' they retrieved the sword, armor, moredhel brooch, and silver royals from the chest before turning south.

They passed Yabon without stopping, and as they approached LaMut they stopped each night they continued to study the odd book that the scribe had given them, each gleaning his own sets of insights from the rambling text. Then, on the morning of the fourth day since leaving Tyr-Sog, they re-entered LaMut and headed straight for the garrison.


A guard met them at the gate.

By the color of his skin and the musical way he spoke, the man seemed to have a Tsurani background, though it was also possible he was originally Keshian by nationality. Staring at them dispassionately, he barred their way.

"No entry," the guard said, shaking his head. "You may come back at daybreak."

"We were just looking to..." Owyn began, but the guard simply spoke over him. "No entry, no exceptions."

Locklear took one look at the sentry's wooden expression, then sighed. "Come on," he said, gesturing for the other two to join him as he turned back down the hill. "We'll see if Sumani has beds for us at the Blue Wheel."

The next morning they had better luck, and when they were escorted past the barbican Captain Belford met them in the garrison's inner yard. "What brings you back here?" he asked cordially.

Locklear drew out the ruby they had discovered. He held it out for Bedford to see, and as he twisted it slightly the gemstone caught a shaft of sunlight, splashing the walls with thousands of twinkling red spots.

"Ah! You found it. Are you returning Makala's ruby?" asked Belford, grinning.

Locklear simply nodded and handed the ruby to Captain Belford. "I'm glad you found this," he said, placing the gemstone into a small velvet lined box. "It will be good to get Makala off my back. I've sent so many men out looking for this blasted thing there's hardly anyone left in the garrison!"

He led them to his quarters where he retrieved a pouch from a locked chest in the corner of the room. "Here you are, 100 gold sovereigns. Thank you, Gents."

"Our pleasure, Captain," Locklear said, smiling back as he added the pouch to their supplies and, after a few more minutes quiet conversation, left the garrison and LaMut.


((So, here we are some time later, and we've explored about half of the area where you're expected to go in Chapter 1. Before us we have two "main" routes, plus a bit of connecting road to explore. The main route takes us south past Questor's View and the fortress-turned-library/monastery of Sarth, the repository of much arcane wisdom I mentioned earlier...while the eastern "back way" takes us to Tannerus and Eggley, where Isaac told us there's been a strange festival going on as well as a surprisingly canny gentleman named Devon. Which way do I take first? Do I skip one road entirely? Talk to me, Talking Time, and enjoy.))

((EDIT: I forgot to iterate two other options. As I mentioned earlier, we can also sequence break, the two main ways here being heading directly east from Hawk's Hollow into the Dimwood (where there are a shit-ton of spells for Owyn in various high-level locked/trapped or moredhel chests, as well as hard enemy encounters) or head east from Tyr-Sog along the northern border of the western Kingdom to find tougher and more numerous moredhel battles with much better equipment.). Any takers, or do we stick to taking things in order so as not to skip weapons, armor, and so on?))

12-29-2008, 08:56 PM
((Game Mechanics Post, Part 3: Move your shit so I can put my stuff here, or Inventory Made Easy.

Alright, this one's very quick and painless, and also gives you an idea of what our party's gear looks like at this point in the game:


Locklear's got the lockpicks at the moment, and the whetstone because I've ground Gorath's weaponcraft skills sufficiently and it's time for him to get some practice. Your party is determined by the chapter, so once you've played through once you learn to anticipate and build skills more evenly lest you lose your designated lockpick or repair or haggling or barding person.


Gorath's carrying the blessed lamprey because he can use the (marginal) accuracy bonus given his lower weapon skill at the moment, and a few more quarrels since he has superior crossbow skill. The delatail milk (the purple stuff that raises defense) is more something Owyn would use, but I'm saving that for later, and for now I want to keep things as even as possible.


And finally Owyn, designated random shit carrier because your repairers want the limited space for looted armor and swords they're going to repair. I can't remember if you need Lorgan's journal for something much later in the game, so I'm saving it, and he has both the scroll and the book so I can sell them at Sarth.

This brings us to inventory space. As you can see, most items take up only one space. Swords and crossbows:


Take up two spaces as you can see, while Armor:


Takes up four. You have a total of 20 spaces per character, and money (we have 969 sovereigns and 5 royals) and keys (we have 3 guilder's passkeys and 2 peasant's keys) don't count. Any other questions? ))

12-30-2008, 11:40 AM
So the weedwalkers make you more sneaky? Or more fey?

12-30-2008, 11:51 AM
So the weedwalkers make you more sneaky? Or more fey?

A bit of both, but mainly more sneaky. 30% to stealth if I remember correctly (I'll check next time I'm playing). Right now I'm trying to anticipate the way people will vote by starting a save down each of the possible routes and preparing the list of Moredhel Wordlocks and so on.

12-30-2008, 09:08 PM
So, mmm, I'll take that as a collective vote for just "do everything as you see fit and finish the chapter" then? I'll post the wordlock chests tomorrow and start working on the rest.

12-30-2008, 09:15 PM
((So, here we are some time later, and we've explored about half of the area where you're expected to go in Chapter 1. Before us we have two "main" routes, plus a bit of connecting road to explore. The main route takes us south past Questor's View and the fortress-turned-library/monastery of Sarth, the repository of much arcane wisdom I mentioned earlier...while the eastern "back way" takes us to Tannerus and Eggley, where Isaac told us there's been a strange festival going on as well as a surprisingly canny gentleman named Devon. Which way do I take first? Do I skip one road entirely? Talk to me, Talking Time, and enjoy.))
I like books. Let's go visit Brother Marc.

I also like character photos. Let's watch, shall we? Here's Locklear's shot from the manual:
"Yes, that is my real mustache. Why are you laughing?"

Likewise, the game may conceal it, but the manual reveals Gorath's Vulcan heritage.

Now let's discuss a few characters that haven't shown up in the game yet, but that readers of the books will remember well. Obviously, the list must start with Pug, protagonist of Magician, major character in subsequent books, and one of the two most powerful wizards alive. Here he is returning from a conference of top-tier mages, which was inexplicably held in San Francisco in 1971.

On to the supporting cast. Here's Duke Martin, stoic badass; and Aglaranna, ethereally beautiful Queen of the Elves.
Credit where credit is due: Martin's got the right look, no question. Aggie, well....

And, finally: BRAK NURR!

12-30-2008, 10:43 PM
Yeah, that Martin is kind of scrawny, but otherwise pretty good. The rest? No. No, nonono.

12-30-2008, 10:47 PM
I'll never look at Pug the same way ever again. I really can't wait to see what Arutha and James look like.

12-31-2008, 01:06 AM
While I'm working on the next section of the update, here's a few riddles for you all to puzzle out.






12-31-2008, 05:39 AM
"Face" for number 4?

12-31-2008, 07:01 AM
2 - RING

12-31-2008, 09:56 AM
5) Gloves

And for four? I'm gonna say wang. That's right, you tubby bastard!

12-31-2008, 10:18 AM
2 should obviously be DONUT. What's this four-letter nonsense?

I'd guess EYES for 4.

12-31-2008, 10:29 AM
I'd guess PIES for 4.

I thought the same as your answer, but wasn't sure that would apply because it used that word in the riddle.

12-31-2008, 12:14 PM
I thought the same as your answer, but wasn't sure that would apply because of pies.

That's what makes it tricky. Besides, the riddle uses plurals, so I'm with Mazian.

12-31-2008, 12:54 PM
/votes for Tannerus and Eggley.

12-31-2008, 01:21 PM
So far I have one vote for a run straight towards Tannerus and Eggley, and one vote for heading to Sarth. Anyone want to be the tie-breaker? Order matters mainly in terms of how I'll write the story, and to some extent difficulty.

12-31-2008, 03:47 PM
Besides generally liking Sarth, my thinking was... well, let's look at the map.


When last seen, the gang was heading south from Zun. Eventually you've got to get them down to Krondor so they can get their betrayal on - but in the meantime, it's a given that you get to tackle both sets of towns on the way, because everyone loves side quests. Heading to Sarth first requires less backtracking later.

12-31-2008, 04:10 PM
Besides generally liking Sarth, my thinking was... well, let's look at the map.


When last seen, the gang was heading south from Zun. Eventually you've got to get them down to Krondor so they can get their betrayal on - but in the meantime, it's a given that you get to tackle both sets of towns on the way, because everyone loves side quests. Heading to Sarth first requires less backtracking later.

Good thinking, although the backtracking is relatively easy since A) you guys don't see it and B) enemy encounters don't respawn. :) So, where's that tiebreaker so I can figure out which save to load up?

12-31-2008, 10:28 PM
Sarth sounds like an alien seasoning. I'm all for alien seasonings.

12-31-2008, 11:09 PM
Sarth it is, then. I'll try to get the next chunk of updates mostly up by tomorrow night. Aside from the wordlock chests, that's basically it for the audience input into this chapter. The last stretch is linear. That said, I'm curious about two things.

-A) how's the music going over?
-B) Should I let you guys decide when you want me to purchase weapons/armor? Because I'm experienced, I actually have enough money to get everyone either A) the 2nd best swords in the game right now, B) the second best armor in the game, or C) a mix of lower tier upgrades for everything, or to buy spells, crossbows, magical bolts, etc. Normally I'm all stingy and limit myself to looted and found gear until a few chapters in, but I could leave that to you guys if you'd like to see the new stuff faster.

01-01-2009, 06:17 PM
The pass was empty. "It's a five day journey if the sign is to be believed," Locklear remarked. "It would also be an excellent place to stage an ambush. Think we should take the chance?"

“We do not have a choice except to return to Hawk's Hollow and attempt to slip south along the eastern road to Krondor,” Gorath pointed out. “Do you really think that there will not be forces arrayed against us on that route as well?”

Locklear shrugged, reaching up to brush his moustache lightly. “We'll see, I suppose. We can always turn back north and east at Questor's View,” he said, gesturing for them to move on south.

Days passed. Disliking the exposed feeling created by the defile, they moved quickly during the nights and left the days to resting under rocky overhangs and listening for assassin's footsteps. At last, footsore and road weary, they emerged near the coast of the Bitter Sea.


Winter might be lingering in the northern reaches of the western realm, but here by the sea the bite had already left the air, and Locklear's mood seemed to lift with each step they took along the king's highway.

Every few hours they would stop and rest while Owyn prepared to cast Eyes of Ishap. He couldn't scry out ambushes, but he could at least keep an eye out for caches of equipment and places more likely to be guarded by the moredhel infiltrators.

Sure enough, they had paralleled the coast for only an hour or two before his spell detected a moredhel wordlock to the east of the road.


The riddle solved and the heavy locks clunking open, Owyn inspected the contents of the chest carefully.


Owyn inspected the scroll, and finding it familiar tucked it into his pack. "The annex of Stardock at Sarth buys scrolls like this, doesn't it?" He asked Locklear, frowning as the other supplies were distributed.

"I believe so, but the fact that we've found so many scattered in these chests bothers me," the squire replied, frowning. "I have a bad feeling that there are more mages than just these "Six" following Delekhan's banner."

((Sorry guys, I screwed up and missed a fairly key dialogue tree. It's been a while, and I forgot that if you hit a certain encounter before talking to a certain NPC, you don't get that dialogue tree and the resultant training opportunity and relevant backstory information. As a result I had to replay most of the last section. Fun for me, but it's delayed the LP a little. I should still have some posts up tonight, though.))

01-01-2009, 08:51 PM

After travelling a bit further south, Locklear guided them onto a path that paralleled the beach. The rockier beaches gave way to stretches of sand this far south, but the coastline was still rugged in places, with water-weathered crags and hollowed out tidal pools catching the boom and rush of the waves against them.


As the meandering trail headed back towards the King's highway, Locklear let out a contented sigh. "It's good to be back in the south and closer to the sea," he said, smiling and glancing back at Gorath and Owyn...just as two moredel moved into view from around one of the seaside crags and closed fast.

Fight to the Death (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK11B-Fight_to_the_Death.mp3)


The two warriors closed fast, too fast for Owyn to cast a single spell, turning the fight into a messy and confusing melee. The young mage struck again and again, blocked again and again as he flanked one of the two dark elves with Gorath. He fought until the his wrists ached and his hands were numb from the vibration of the unpadded wood in his hands. Gorath moved with surprising speed for his bulk, sword slicing into any opening Owyn's less skilled attacks could open for him, until finally a pair of heavy blows opened the other moredhel's head and sent him spinning onto the dusty roadside.

Locklear, meanwhile, fought with speed and subtlety, almost fencing despite the weight of his blade. Again and again he'd twist wrist and hip to send his opponent's sword slicing just past his body before slicing in at some vital spot. It took time, but when Gorath moved to join Locklear, the end was certain, and soon the second moredhel crashed to the ground by his companion.


01-02-2009, 04:50 PM
The three rested, and when they were ready they continued southeast, staying further from the beach and further towards the hills and the treeline after that first attack in this part of the Kingdom. Soon enough they came to an isolated cabin that looked as if it had been built at least half from driftwood.

"We should see if the locals have word of Delekhan's agents," Gorath said, pushing Owyn forward. "Knock. You do not look threatening."


The man who greeted them at the door smelled of fish. "Folks call me Chanty," he said after Owyn introduced himself. After a few more minutes of friendly conversation he revealed he was a fisherman, but he hadn't been out on his boat for several days due to his health. As he spoke he threw dark looks at an unseen thing over Owyn's shoulder. Owyn was about to ask him another question when Chanty suddenly mumbled something angrily and slammed the door closed. No amount of coaxing could convince him to open it again.


As the party continued east, they passed another house, this one seemingly abandoned, before all signs of human presence beyond the road disappeared. Hours passed, and even as the road turned east and cut inland away from the shore of the Bitter sea, another small band of Moredhel warriors came into view. Locklear cursed and quickly gestured his companions off the road.

"Once again, the best way out is through," Gorath murmurs, gesturing to the way the three were arrayed along the roadside.

Owyn slowly nodded, already beginning to gather his will for the spell he knew would be needed, while Locklear considered their situation. "We'll move up slow on the other side of the road, then rush across it to take them," he finally said. "With a little luck we'll have the level ground of the road and they'll have to fight from the bad footing of the verge. Let's go."

They moved quickly and as quietly as they could, and in another few minutes they leaned against trees. Owyn continued to marshal his will, and winced as he felt the pungent pine sap sinking into the weave of his robe. Locklear held up a hand, silently mouthed "get ready"...and then snapped his hand down in the moment before he led them in their charge towards a startled enemy.

Charge into Battle (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK11A-Charge_into_Battle.mp3)


The moredhel were startled, and in that moment while they stood stock still and stared at Locklear and Gorath, Owyn acted. He cast twice, each time sending a roiling ball of sooty fire to strike the center moredhel in his chest, wreathing his body in flames while the blasts of superheated air scorched his allies. One charged at Gorath, perhaps hoping that once he closed with the spellcaster's allies that he would be safe from the effects of the spells, but the second blast-wave caught him in the back and when he stumbled forward Gorath's outstretched sword was there to meet him. The dark elf shuddered as he was impaled, and as gorath twisted to dump the twitching warrior from his sword Locklear's crossbow sent a bolt into the base of the dark elf's skull. The body on Gorath's blade went limp, sliding free while the furthest moredhel made his crossbow ready and sent a bolt hissing past Gorath's side and out to sea.

The last remaining moredhel spat out a string of what were probably curses as he attempted to reload, but Gorath was faster. The larger dark elf swung his own crossbow down into place, and grunted as the weapon kicked slightly, sending the quarrel into his opponent's thigh. Gorath's target shuddered, his face paling as he dropped the crossbow and clutched at the thick shaft emerging from just above his knee.

And then Owyn was ready again, a sharp pain starting behind his eyes as he lifted his hand again and sent a final twisting ball of fire to strike their final enemy, sending him stumbling back against a tree so that even after he crashed to the ground dead little streamers of smoke rose from the bark where the touch of the magical flames had set small pieces alight.

((BTW, for future reference, how gory is too gory in these combat descriptions? Also, trying to write an accompanying narrative that fits with the actual in-game combat system is starting to feel very confining. Would you guys mind if I started to only do Animated .gifs for notable combats, new enemies, traps, and so on, and so free myself up to write somewhat more original text for the rest and perhaps even cut out some of the more boring ones?))


Owyn frowned, breathing hard and dropping to a knee while Locklear and Gorath began to strip the corpses. "Look there," he said, lifting a hand that shook slightly to point north of the road. "I think these three were guarding something.

Gorath nodded shortly as he carefully strapped a spare set of armor to his pack, and Locklear moved slowly north.

"Damn me," he murmured, squinting through the trees. "There are at least three chests back there. Come on!"

All three moved north as quickly as they were able...only to be brought up short when Owyn was struck with an increasingly familiar sensation.

"Stop!" he called out, then sighed as the magical trap slipped up from its carefully concealed position.

It's a Trap (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK26-Its_a_Trap.mp3)


They looked at the trap carefully...and then Owyn began to move forward carefully. "I think we can just-" he started to say, and then the strange angular device pointed towards the space between the familiar poles belched fire, a spinning ball of fire much like Owyn's own flamecast spell that streaked towards him while the mage flinched away....

...and then straightened and stared as the twisting arcs of energy intercepted the fireball, seeming to absorb its energy as the energy snapped back into the crystals that topped the two polls. Owyn blinked once, twice, and then slowly moved forward until he was several feet past the strangely assembled set of magical devices.

"I think we're safe," he said, "but we should be on our guard in case we run into any other traps, especially those ones that produce fireballs."

01-02-2009, 05:14 PM
Oh good, the blaster rifles finally made an appearance. Never quite figured out how those fit into the mythos.

01-02-2009, 10:10 PM
There were three chests, and once their riddles had been solved by entering "ring", "smoke", and "eyes", Owyn and Locklear began to distribute the supplies among themselves. Owyn raised an eyebrow as he lifted four of the familiar pearlescent shells from the chests.

Locklear nodded slowly. "The children of the villages along the Bitter Sea and the occasional shiftless type collect those and sell them to gem merchants, who shell them to anyone who needs a bit of shiny stuff for decoration. These bastards are probably using it as a quick way to acquire a bit of kingdom currency, or just bartering with it directly."


Leaving the chests behind, they continued southeast, heading for the town of Questor's View.


"Who was Questor?" Gorath asked as they approached the small community, beginning to pass by its outskirts.

"An explorer. He first saw the Bitter Sea from the high point there," Locklear explained, gesturing towards the bluff that held the largest houses of the small town. “Not much more here now than when he was here but the only other real garrison on the King's Highway between LaMut and Krondor."

Owyn frowned. "What about Hawk's Hollow, Loriel, Eggley, and Tanneurs?" he asked while they drew closer to the town proper.

"The eastern sides of the Orseinnes and the Calastius mountains don't get nearly as much merchant traffic during peacetime, and there are fewer people. If there ever is..." Locklear paused, glancing towards Gorath for a moment. "If the Lord of the West ever has to move troops to cover the Dimwood or the eastern slopes, there are enough roads and passes crossing the mountains to allow the garrisons at LaMut and Questor's View to march east."

Owyn looked thoughtful, his eyes moving north to south along the eastern skyline. "I see," he said, and his cheeks colored. "I...well, I was never a very good student when it came to politics or military matters, and even when I was studying it the West didn't come up much."

Locklear's lips twisted in an expression that wasn't quite a smile. "Ten years of war with the Tsurani along our northwestern frontier and a Moredhel invasion that reached all the way to Sethanon, and half the Eastern nobles still need to be reminded that there IS a Western Realm." he said, and Owyn winced at the bitterness in his tone.

Locklear shook his head, cutting himself off and gesturing towards an inn. "Let's get a room for the night," he said, sighing. "And I'm sorry, Owyn. It's just a sensitive point with me."

Owyn managed a smile and nodded, moving to the inn's common room once they entered. "While you pay for our rooms, I think I'll see if I can't get a little money for our stay," he said.

Inn (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK14B-Inn.mp3)


Owyn coughed as he made his way towards the lute that was hung on a peg at one wall. "You should see a priest about that," a woman said. "How long have you been afflicted with it?"

"Only just now. I have a small problem with smoke." Owyn replied, gesturing to the corner of the tavern where a wood fire was burning in the hearth. "I doubt the brothers of Sung would be much interested."

She nodded, staring down into the dregs of her winecup. "Unless you've a mortal wound or a plague or you've been stupid enough to fall prey to poison, I've never found that priests are of much use other than to babble on about the trivial," she muttered.

Owyn nodded, murmuring something he hoped sounded sympathetic as he slipped around the woman and gathered up the lute, a gesture that momentarily hushed the common room as all eyes turned to him. The young noble swallowed hard, but he hadn't spent his time at Tyr-Sog in vain, and when he began to play the noise fell from a lull in conversation to actual silence.

Lute (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK14A-Lute.mp3)

His fingers slid easily over the lute's finger board as he moved between the chords of This Kingdom Mine, the notes filling him up as well as guiding him forward. Then, quietly, he began to sing the refrain in a clear tenor, never noticing that Locklear had stopped in his negotiations with the inn's nightmaster and was watching his performance with a strange expression...

"This kingdom mine,
with my blood I've paid,
to guard against all who oppose her..."

And when he finished, Owyn found his audience still sitting in stunned silence, their gazes all fixed on him. "That...that was beautiful," the tavernkeeper said. Reaching into his pouch, he removed 60 sovereigns and placed them in Owyn's hand. "Thank you."

The Inn (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK14B-Inn.mp3)

Owyn gaped at the amount, then just nodded, mumbling a reply as he made his way back towards Locklear and Gorath. Gorath was silent, simply nodding to Owyn as he approached, but Locklear gave the young man a genuine smile and reached out to lay a hand on his shoulder.

"Now I'm doubly sorry I snapped about the ignorance of Eastern nobles," the squire said, shaking his head slowly. "If you had the experience and the repertoire you could give Laurie a run for his money. If you can understand those words well enough to sing them like that..." he trailed off, and just shrugged. "In any case I've paid up for the night. Tomorrow we can ask around for news before we move on."

01-02-2009, 10:32 PM
-A) how's the music going over?
-B) Should I let you guys decide when you want me to purchase weapons/armor? Because I'm experienced, I actually have enough money to get everyone either A) the 2nd best swords in the game right now, B) the second best armor in the game, or C) a mix of lower tier upgrades for everything, or to buy spells, crossbows, magical bolts, etc. Normally I'm all stingy and limit myself to looted and found gear until a few chapters in, but I could leave that to you guys if you'd like to see the new stuff faster.

A.) music gets two thumbs up :)
B.) you seem to be playing it in a 'role-playing' style. what would these guys really do if they had all the cash you have? I vote that locklear would kit himself right out since he ends up soloing enemies (like in that last encounter), and let the other two fend for themselves a while longer.

01-02-2009, 11:01 PM
I personally prefer the "reasonable for the chapter" level of gear - maintains a certain level of verisimilitude, and it just wouldn't feel like a Rip-Roarin' Adventure if the good guys weren't faced with long odds.

In the specific, though, there's [going to be a new face next chapter]... though for this one the change isn't too dramatic in terms of equipment.

01-02-2009, 11:27 PM
The Inn (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK14B-Inn.mp3)

((Note: There are about half a dozen variants of the "how did you sleep" messages at inns, and a couple dozen different conversations and interactions you can have with different male and female patrons, depending on whether they want to gamble with you, or whether they want to talk or not period. I'm not going to show you guys every last one, I don't think, so go ahead and play this game when you can.))


Owyn smiled. Still feeling light headed from his well-earned sleep, he waited patiently as the nightmaster stirred from his office behind the counter.

"You seem to be in a good mood," the burly man said, picking up the guest register. Owyn only nodded noncommittally, knowing the innkeeper might increase his rates if he seemed too pleased with the service. "Seeing as how you slept so well, how about another night?" the nightmaster asked. "And just to show you how generous I am, I'll keep the same rate. 7 sovereigns per night. What do you say?"

Owyn shrugged, moving past the nightmaster to the common room, then blinking as he heard Locklear's voice raised in laughter. After a few moments search, Owyn found him in conversation with a well-dressed man at one of the corner tables.

After a string of bawdy tales about mercenaries and blushing maidens, the merchant launched into a tale about a lord's daughter he'd once tried to win, though with quite a bit of resistance from a man named Luc.

"He demanded to arm wrestle you for the girl?" Locklear asked, still chuckling.

"Actually, no. Alas, it was the girl's idea," the man sighed.

"I'd have strangled her!" Locklear said with a laugh, holding his sides. "Ah well, I don't suppose you can win them all."

"Oh but I did win," the man continued, a malicious grin spreading across his face. "The girl knew Luc was the strongest man in the village and so did I, had known it for several days once I'd found out who all her possible suitors were. Any way, I had visited an herb shop and picked up a vial of some wonderful stuff called Fadamor's Formula, a potion which I'd heard mercenaries say helped sustain their strength during long fights. I waited until a few moments before the contest before downing it because I knew it would last only a short while. I marched in, sat down at the table, and very nearly took the poor fellow's arm off. When it seemed his personal honor was at stake, I took him aside and told him I would let him soundly beat me in front of everyone and let him have the girl if he gave me half the amount of the dowry. Half an hour later, I was a very wealthy man."

Owyn smiled a little, thinking of some of the "ladies" his father had attempted to attach him to, and then reached out to tap Locklear's shoulder. He glanced up at Owyn, still grinning as he bid the merchant a farewell and moved to the door where Gorath waited.

"We'll do a little asking around," Locklear said, "and then be on our way. With a little luck we can reach Sarth in just a day or two."

The three moved through the town slowly, watching as merchants unlocked their shops, fishermen headed south to the sea, and bakers set out the first completed batches of bread to cool. Finally, they picked a house towards the eastern edge of town at random, and knocked.

There were stirrings inside the house. After a short time a stout lad of about thirteen came to the door, opening it wide. "If you're looking for my brother, he's not here right now."

"Actually, no," Locklear replied. "Are your parents about?"

The boy paused for a heartbeat. "My folks were killed a year back. Mitch and I moved here several months ago to study swordplay with Tad Questor. We're gonna find the bloody brigands who did it and feed em their own hearts!"

Locklear was about to offer some fatherly advice about leaving such work to those older and more qualified, but seeing the boy's expression he decided against it. Instead he asked, "Is Tad good with a sword?"

"What, are you kidding? He's the GREATEST! Lives right over there." The boy motioned toward a large house just a few yards away, then excused himself, closing the door behind him.

"Questor?" Gorath asked, raising an eyebrow. "A descendant?"

"That, or an affectation," Locklear replied, shrugging. "I doubt that Questor himself would've chosen to settle his family here, but perhaps a descendant might have come here to benefit from the cachet of his name."

Gorath knocked loudly at the front door of the large home. Presently a finely dressed man greeted them. "Fine day, don't you think? I'm Tad Questor. Have you come for a lesson?" He asked, his eyebrows raised in a hopeful arch as he mopped sweat from his brow with a silk handkerchief.

"Lesson?" inquired Locklear. The man disappeared into his house and returned with a blunt tipped fencing foil. "Have you come to learn the finer arts of swordsmanship?" he asked, punctuating his question with several impressive maneuvers. "I could give you all a quick lesson for only 75 sovereigns. How does that sound?"

Locklear watched Questor's motions for a few more passes, then nodded. "I think we might take you up on that," he murmurs, undoing his belt pouch and giving the dandy the needed amount.

"Wonderful! Oh, I am so pleased you have accepted my offer," he said, almost bouncing with excitement as he led the three back into the house.

As they followed, Gorath shot Locklear a skeptical glance. This strutting little peacock looked as though he had never been in a fight in his life. Their doubts were quickly dispelled as Tad took them through the finer points of sword use. Though he may not have had much experience in the field it was evident to all he was a master of his art. He was even able to offer Owyn a few pointers on how best to use his staff in hand to hand combat.

The lesson lasted several hours and they were exhausted when they finished, but all agreed the money had been well spent.


The last house out of town provided little in the way of useful information, but was lucrative enough in other ways. "Come in! Come in!" chimed a courteous young woman in a brightly colored apron. She held the cottage door open. Kneeling in front of a stone fireplace a young man was placing several small logs into a crackling fire. The man looked up with a smile. "Yes, please! We just finished eating, but I had some luck fishing today so there's plenty to go around."

Locklear's nostrils flared as he welcomed the smell of the barbecued sea bass and fresh bread still lingering in the air. "Its a tempting offer, but I'm afraid we must be going," he said. A drink of fresh water will suffice."

"Of course. But won't you take some food with you then? I could have Loralyn prepare a small package for each of you - good for two days at least. She's quite a cook, you know."

Locklear shrugged, smiling. "How can we say no?"

With a smile, the young man motioned to his wife. He moved next to her and helped prepare the rations, stopping only long enough to act out several key moments in a somewhat credible fishing story about a big one that got away.

When they were through they handed several packages to Locklear who accepted them graciously. "You have been too kind," he said.

((Score 2 Ration packs for everyone, and 7.5% to everyone's Accuracy: Melee from that training. 5% x 1.5 for having only that skill tagged while training. That's it for tonight, so I'll continue tomorrow. ))

01-03-2009, 03:25 PM

The day's light was beginning to fade behind the Calastius Mountains as they approached the outskirts of town once more. Gorath glanced back over his shoulder, then gestured the others to halt. "We should examine the graveyard," he said. "Delekhan's spies are in the area, and so there will be caches."

Locklear was still unhappy with the idea of digging up graves, but the memory of the equipment they had found on earlier expeditions kept him quiet this time as they made their way between the irregularly scattered headstones.

Two graves proved valuable. The first, reading 'Baylor Dalatail: Drank his milk everyday', yielded several vials of dalatail milk which Owyn slipped into his belt, while the second, 'Todor Milbo: The Townsfolk Strung Him Up', produced a surprisingly thick crossbow string.


"If we can ever get our hands on heavier crossbows," Gorath said as he slipped the oiled string into a pouch, "this will be useful."

Even as he spoke, Locklear was well into a shallow grave marked 'Timothy Weyant: Suffers no More'. As he worked, grunting with each shovelful of dirt tossed aside, Owyn suddenly felt a strange chill. He twisted, trying to call out, but the chill seemed to still his voice as it deepened, and now Locklear felt it too, stumbling back out of the partially-opened grave.

Gorath gasped, gripping his sword tight and fighting the terror rising within him as that icy wave passed through him and yanked the breath from his lungs. Then, even as the moredhel fought to catch his breath and gather his nerves a swirling cloud of darkness rose from the broken ground and twisted towards him...

It's a Trap (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK26-Its_a_Trap.mp3)


The wraith's amorphous form twisted again, swirling forward as if bowing towards Gorath, and then shuddering as a ball of that same cloudy darkness streaked from its form to his, wrapping him in a sickly white light. Gorath moaned in pain as frost crackled across his sword and his breath froze into sparkling crystals in his beard.

But then Owyn was ready, and the young mage all but screamed the incantation that lit the night with fire to counter the creature's ice. Normal flame might not have touched the thing, but Owyn's spell made it howl and writhe while Locklear and Gorath both readied crossbows.

"Keep it off me with your crossbows while I get the next spell ready!" Owyn shouted, breathing hard as he began to marshal his will again. Gorath's bolt flew wide, but Locklear's traced a coruscating blue trail through the wraith's body, and it seemed to flinch back just as Owyn cast again. Again his spell crackled through the intervening space and again the wraith screamed as it burned...and then it sank into the ground, swirling back into its grave.

Gorath stretched, tendons creaking and joints popping as he slowly shook free of the chill. Despite the creature's disappearance he was wary to drop his guard, but a quick survey of the area seemed to confirm that it was gone for now. "I think it's gone," he said. "Not destroyed, but driven off...let's get moving. Now."

They returned to Babon's Hostel that night, and though Owyn played for the crowd once more he made no money. The night passed quietly enough, but when they left the next morning and headed for the crossroads where one of the eastern roads crossed the Calastius towards Eggley, they found their way blocked.


Owyn frowned as they eyed their opponents. "Why is there a human with them?" He asked, pointing at the hard-looking man in a loose white tunic and a bright red sash.

Locklear sighed. "Quegan. Mercenary or pirate, and either way willing to take Delekhan's gold to fight the Kingdom."

Gorath glanced to Locklear. "You fight amongst yourselves almost as much as we do. It is only sensible for Delekhan to take advantage of this."

Locklear glared at Gorath for a moment, then shrugged. "Well, they're blocking the way, and I don't see any way to slip past without being noticed," he said, loosening his sword in its scabbard. "Let's get this over with."

Fight to the Death (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK11B-Fight_to_the_Death.mp3)


They kept the distance long this time. Owyn's first spell caught one of the two moredhel squarely, sending him flying backward in a charred and useless heap, but as Locklear and Gorath started to exchange crossbow fire with both quegan and moredhel, the rest of the mage's spells missed, whistling into the hills until he had to collapse to his knees, gasping for breath.

Locklear sent bolt after bolt at the Quegan freebooter, whistling shafts digging into the thug's body until he turned to free, while Gorath abandoned his crossbow and drew his blade, closing on the last moredhel as the dark elf charged Owyn. Gorath ended his opponent with three quick blows, then turned in time to see the Quegan retreating in a stumbling and uneven run.

"Stop him, Owyn!" Locklear yelled, even as he frantically reloaded. Owyn moaned with the effort, but his invitation went winging to the fleeing human and enveloped him, drawing him backwards to meet Locklear's final bolt as it thudded into his chest...


Owyn slowly gathered his strength, resting while Locklear and Gorath stripped the corpses and glancing up only when Gorath spun some heavy piece of gold into the air.


"Interesting," the dark elf murmured, examining the key before tucking it away. "I wonder what a rogue like this one was doing with this sort of key."

"Well, we can keep an eye out for any expensive locks. A lot of these are made in sets, so this might open a lot of doors for us," Locklear said, nodding as they finished and began to gather themselves for the trip south.


01-03-2009, 03:31 PM
This thread is still fantastic. Probably my favorite LP to date. It's convinced me not only to re-read REF's books but I also picked up the Conclave of Shadows and Darkwar Saga trilogies.

01-03-2009, 04:04 PM
This thread is still fantastic. Probably my favorite LP to date. It's convinced me not only to re-read REF's books but I also picked up the Conclave of Shadows and Darkwar Saga trilogies.

You'll have to let me know if those are any good (that and the Serpentwar Saga, or really ANY of the books aside from the Empire trilogy and the core trilogy).

As a side note for people who have read the books and are wondering how wraiths are handled in the game, it works like this: They're immune to cold and resistant to normal weapons, but take normal damage from other spells. It's implied (but not stated in the game) that you drive them off but don't kill them, which is consistent with the books (where they cannot be damaged except by magic, but hate the touch of steel, iron, or fire and will flee from it.)

01-03-2009, 04:37 PM

Ch1 Introduction, Part 2 (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK03-Ch1-Intro02.mp3)

A farmer was ahead of them. Debating for a moment whether it would be more prudent to hide before they were seen or to behave normally, Locklear decided that the man was probably of no immediate threat to them.

"This is a bad time for travel," the thin, greasy-haired man said, glancing almost nervously out to the west.


"Surely you have heard," the farmer said, glancing west again. "The learned monks of Sarth have predicted a terrible storm is coming this way and I would hate to think of anyone caught out in it. Why a man could catch his death of the fevers. If you would like, you may ride it out in my barn."

"And what profit would you turn in this enterprise, farmer...?" Locklear asked, raising an eyebrow and letting his voice trail off in inquiry.

"Rowe, good sirs, and all I expect are five golden sovereigns, a reasonable sum you must admit, and the guard over my cows. You can sleep in the hay loft of my barn," he suggested, then shot a dark glance at Gorath, "but my wife and I don't take in elves."

Locklear scowled, recognizing a bargaining ploy when he heard it. "Seven gold pieces," he offered, "the elf stays with us and we each get a hard roll for breakfast."

Rowe considered for a moment before replying. "My wife's a decent cook, and we're charitable folk, but food's been dear this year. Ten sovereigns, the elf can stay, and you'll get a hot meal, but lot of you milk cows the next morning. That's the offer. Take it or leave it."

Locklear and Gorath exchanged a glance, and then the elf mimicked the nervous farmer's repeated glances west, seeing nothing but clear blue skies. Not a single cloud or even the hint of a storm building over the Bitter Sea. He glanced back at the strangely restless farmer, then gave Locklear the faintest shake of his head.

"I think we'll try our chances on foot. Good day to you, farmer," Locklear said, offering a hand even as he shook his head to refuse the offer.

Rowe just shrugged jerkily and turned away, heading north towards Questor's view as they continued south towards Sarth.

Once more, Owyn began to pause their progress every few hours to cast his scrying spell, revealing not one but two chests on the road from Questor's View to Sarth

The first was a battered and unlatched chest tucked into a crevice in one of the upthrust boulders that rimmed the coast. Owyn approached carefully, but another scrying revealed no signs of tampering, and the young man carefully lifted the lid and examined the contents.


"More shells," Gorath noted, glancing at Locklear. "I suspect you were right about my people's uses for them."

The squire shrugged. "The chest's unlocked and unguarded. It may be a peasant's cache, in which case I'd rather we left them in place."

"We need the money more," Gorath said evenly, moving over Owyn to take the shells, ignoring Locklear's uneasy expression.

They continued southeast after that, and the second chest proved of more obvious origin. Another wordlocked moredhel cache, whose contents also proved to be far more valuable than a trio of cracked shells.


Owyn grinned as he cracked the wax on the scroll and began to read quickly. "This one's new!" he cried, glancing at Locklear and Gorath. "It's called 'skin of the dragon', and should allow me to sheathe one or all of us in a sort of magical armor."

Locklear nodded. "Excellent. I'm more and more certain that dragging you along to Krondor was a good idea, Owyn," he said, smiling slightly at the younger man's blush. The squire examined the etching near the base of the broadsword's blade, but concluded that the blessing was a weak one that couldn't compare with his current blade.

Just then they heard voices speaking in low, harsh tones, and Gorath's eyes widened and then narrowed. Wordlessly, he drew his sword and gestured for Locklear to do the same before he slipped behind a tree and was still. Locklear and Owyn scrambled to follow, and were just settling behind cover when a moredhel war band lead by a yellow-cloaked magician approached the chest. The magician snapped a few orders to his guards, then crouched before the wordlock, one hand reaching out to begin spinning the wheels.

The mage's eyes widened as he realized that riddle had been solved and that the chest's lid was swinging free, and he leapt to his feet, screaming orders in moredhel even as the three companions charged from around the trees.

Charge into Battle (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK11A-Charge_into_Battle.mp3)


The moredhel magician was fast. Too fast for any of them, and even as one of his guards locked back the string of a crossbow and the other whipped his blade free there was a stunning, blinding flash of light. Owyn cried out and stumbled, flailing as his eyesight deserted him. The crossbow-wielding moredhel was nearly as quick, bouncing a bolt off of Locklear's shoulder. Locklear gasped with pain even as the quarrel glanced upward off his armor and snapped into a tree in a shower of pine needles.

Gorath charged forward, engaging the other moredhel swordsman with a series of fierce swings and thrusts even as the enemy spellcaster wove another spell. This time a swirling mass of fist-sized, rainbow-colored balls sprang from the dark elf's hands, moving to wrap Locklear and merging into a white nimbus before reversing themselves and streaking back to strike the caster, who stood straighter and breathed deep even as Locklear sagged, gasping under the weight of his armor.

The squire shuddered, suddenly feeling limp and lifeless. He moved, but slowly, and the blade he usually wielded with a deft speed and subtlety felt like a six foot chunk of solid iron in his shaky grip. Still, he forced himself to move forward, to close with the crossbowman, and even when his blow slid weakly off his opponent's arm he managed to knock the crossbow from the dark elf's hands, forcing him to defend himself.

Owyn recovered his sight, but by then Gorath's opponent was too close, and the young noble was forced to come to his companion's aid, his staff cracking soundly across the back of the moredhel warrior's knees, sprawling him onto his back where Gorath's downward blow finished him.

From there, it was chaos and confusion. Locklear, Gorath, and Owyn all rushed the moredhel spellcaster to take advantage of his weakened state. The spell might have stolen Locklear's strength, but it still sapped the mage's life force, and soon a rain of blows cut the spellcaster down. It was only a matter of time before the final dark elf fell as well, and then the roadside was silent once more save for the occasional cry of a gull as it swooped in from the sea.

01-03-2009, 06:05 PM
Here's the last batch of Moredhel Wordlock riddles for this Chapter. Have fun!









01-03-2009, 06:27 PM
7)The Dead

01-03-2009, 06:28 PM
Wordluck jumbo pack today, eh.

#1: [Some kind of nut. Six letters, so WALNUT?]
#2: [TRADE MARES], if only because the latter word shows up in the clue.
#5: [FIRE]
#7: [THE DEAD]. I mean, come on.
#8 (last): [ARROW], because of "pointed head".

EDIT: Heh, and for #6, how about [STAIRS]?

01-03-2009, 07:09 PM
((Ok, I'm going to do two more posts tonight if I can, one covering the normal parts of Sarth, and another covering the discussion with Brother Marc. After that, I pause while people guess the wordlocks and I decide which of the rest of the combats in this chapter I actually post in .gif form, which I just write so as to be a bit more creative, and which I simply skip over entirely for the sake of keeping things moving. After the riddles are guessed or people give up, I'll move on to a small bit of mine under Sarth, then following up on Rowe's offer before doubling back to Eggley, Tannerus, and the temple of Silban between Eggley and Hawk's Hollow.))


Once the three were rested, Owyn was the first to begin searching the dead this time. Carefully he sifted through the moredhel magician's belongings in the hopes of finding a spell or some other scrap of arcane knowledge. While Gorath secured the mage's heavy two-handed blade and began to examine it, Owyn found a strange leather pouch attached to the dead mage's belt.


As Owyn secured the pouch, Gorath smiled and tossed his blessed lamprey to Locklear. "You'll do better with that than I," he said. "This will do nicely."


The path turned. After a few minutes of travelling the roadbed began a steady rise, spiralling around the base of a sheer, rock faced hill.

"Sarth," Locklear said. "We probably have enough time to drop in for a brief visit, and it might break up the monotony of the road. Want to take a look around?"

Owyn stared up in awe at the ancient fortress. "Yes," he murmured, a slow smile spreading across his face. "If nothing else, we need to sell these scrolls I've acquired at the Stardock Annex."

Locklear took one look at the increasingly avid mage and resisted the urge to cuff him. "A short visit," he emphasized, frowning. "I'm not losing you in the archives."

Sarth (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK08-%20Sarth.mp3)


Locklear was interrupted in his study of the strangely unfinished mandala by the rapid approach of the abbot. A man of advancing years, his hair and beard seemed like a snow drift, starkly in contrast to his dark skin which was wrinkled like carefully crafted mahogany. Shaking Locklear's hand, he greeted them as if he had known them all their lives. "Welcome to Ishap's Abbey, travellers. I am Father John. How may we be of assistance to you?"

"We thought while we were passing through that we would come and visit the famous Abbey of Ishap at Sarth," Locklear said. "You've done impressive things here."

The abbot's eyes crinkled as he gave them a prideful glance. "We hope to do more. We've only begun our work here, but thanks to Brother Anthony and Brother Marc, we have come a long way."

Locklear bit his lip, hesitant to ask his question. "Could we impose on your hospitality a bit? We have a few questions..."

"I would love to, though alas, I have services to attend at the moment. But if you have questions, Sarth is the place to come. We have books on many things, and if you seek out Brother Marc, he can help you with a good many other questions. Good day to you!"


Owyn stared. He moved slowly between the groaning shelves, attempting to divine the principles on which the vast collection was organized. Then, he found what he was looking for. While many of the titles on the shelf were either too faded to be read or printed in foreign tongues, most of the subject matter seemed to be related to magic.

Snatching the closest volume at hand, Owyn began scanning the pages of A Gramarye of Magycke Inn The Kshyan Reallm. Flipping pages, he was nearly oblivious of the priest who marched down the aisle and snatched the volume from his hands, carefully replacing it from where it had come.

"These books are restricted," the priest said sternly. "Long ago, we learned the wisdom of making sure an initiate has some training before embarking on reading our magical themas."

"I've had some training," Owyn began, but was silenced by a hard look from the priest.

"You are more than welcome to visit our other collections, but this is restricted," the priest said, his tone indicative that he would tolerate no argument. "I am sorry."

((There are a TON of different book messages depending on what section you search, 4-6 for each of 4-5 shelves. If you want to see them all...well, you know what I'm going to say.))


While Gorath and Locklear waited, Owyn began to dispose of all the equipment they'd acquired since they left Hawk's Hollow for the last time. Swords, Armor, shells, spells, and crossbows, the Annex had need of them all. The more practical equipment, according to the shopkeeper, was used in various experiments by the Stardock Academy or provided to its small garrison, while the spell scrolls would further Pug's long-term dream of Kingdom where understanding of the basic principles of magic was universal, and where the study of magic was encouraged and systematized by a network of magicians cooperating for the good of the realm.

So, in order to overcome the prejudice many merchants and individual craftsman harbored towards practicioners of magic, the prices offered by the Annex were some of the best in the Western Realm. Whatever the reason, when Owyn returned to his companions he was grinning and hefting a large purse stuffed with sovereigns.

"Well done," Locklear said, nodding sharply. "Now, let's get going. The abbot said Brother Marc's somewhere outside Sarth's walls, and I want to speak with him before we return to the road.

01-03-2009, 07:55 PM
((Indalecio: on one of those is close, but wrong.))


Elvandar (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK04-Elvandar.mp3)

A garden was nearby. Wrinkling his nose at the smell of fresh fertilizer, Owyn pointed out a small cloud of dust that rose off the roadside. Within the cloud a mushroom shaped man was hard at work, his hoe rising and dipping over a row of budding pink potato eyes. Grinning as a sudden fancy struck him, Locklear crept up behind the monk until he was a mere foot or so from the brother's back.

"Good day, brother," Locklear said clearly, and struggled to hide a grin as the monk jumped a good two feet vertically.

"Ishap!" he cried, spinning to face the trio before taking a deep breath and letting out a little chuckle.


"No, no," the monk said, brushing dirty hands across the hem of his thick, coarse robe. "I was about to leave the garden anyway. Busy hands set the mind to work you know. On your way to Sarth?"

Locklear shrugged. "Perhaps, brother...?"

The monk of Ishap grinned and offered a dirt-stained hand, and when locklear took it his grip was surprisingly firm. "Brother Marc of Sarth. Glad to meet you. We don't get many illirati here. Books don't seem to interest the commoners as much as gold or wenching. But we have scholars enough, all going blind from reading worm eaten books and a dozen boys scribbling away their youth in our vaults. It is an unusual place."

"I've a friend who visited here once," Locklear said as he nodded his agreement. "He told me that you worship the god of Knowledge."

"They do say that, yes," Marc said, chuckling as if at some private joke. "I suppose after a fashion it is true. If there is a question that can be answered in no other place, your best hope is to look in our vaults."


Owyn stepped forward, frowning as he remembered his experience in the vaults below Sarth. "Is it permitted for outsiders to browse the books in the vaults? I would be interested in looking them over," he said, and carefully ignored Locklear's glance his way.

"Oh, It's fine with me," Marc said, shrugging, "but it's Brother Anthony you may have to convince. He doesn't like strangers wandering around down there without supervision. We have a number of rare and valuable books and it would be the worst kind of tragedy to lose them to a casual browser. I'll warn you though, you may have difficulty finding what it is you want. Many of the books have never been cataloged and unless you know very specifically what you are looking for either by the scribe's name or the title of the work, you might not find anything that will be of any value to you."

Owyn seemed crestfallen, then looked up again, his eyes bright and his face regaining some of the avidness that Locklear had noted when they first approached Sarth. "Do you know anything about spell-casting?"

The monk seemed surprised, raising an eyebrow at the young noble. "I know a little of it, though Brother Dominic knows more about it than I. As soon as he finishes his studies on Quegian civil codes, I'm certain he would be more than happy to sit down and talk to you about it. He should be only another two or three months at it I would think."

Locklear broke in, eager to move the topic along to more practical matters. "I'm afraid we don't have two or three months to wait. Why don't we leave the brother alone, nephew?"

"Tsk, tsk, tsk! Now don't discourage the boy from asking questions or he'll become afraid to question anything," Marc said to Locklear, lifting one hand. "I think I might have some time to teach him a bit about focusing if you can spare a few sovereigns, say fifty. Is that acceptable to everyone?"

"More than acceptable," Owyn blurted before Locklear or Gorath could intercede again. "Where do we start?"

Marc grinned, clapping his hands together. "Ah, an enthusiastic student! Delightful. This will be a pleasure to teach."


Owyn blanched. He had been assigned a simple enough task; cast a telekinetic spell to move his satchel closer to him. Instead, his satchel had remained obstinately stationary while hurling Brother Marc backwards into his well-tended crops...

"Are you all right?" Owyn gasped. "I didn't mean for that to happen."

"You are still depending on your eyes." Brother Marc sighed, brushing a stalk of corn out of his face as he struggled to his feet. "Concentrate. If you ever find yourself in a situation when you can't see what you're affecting, all the spells in the world will be utterly useless to you. Instead of trying to see your target, try to feel it. Now let's try this again. I know you'll learn this eventually..."

"We don't have any more time to waste," Locklear said, and this time it was his turn to ignore a pointed look from Owyn at the word 'wasted'. "Why don't you pick up your things and we can finish discussing other things with the brother, Owyn?"

Again on his feet, Brother Marc went to console his downcast pupil, patting him reassuringly on the shoulder. "Remember, feel the target. That's the key. Until then, I suggest you stock up on a good supply of Lewton's Concentrate to get you through your exercises."

Owyn nodded, then shot a quick and almost guilty glance at Locklear as he thought of one final question. "Now that I know a little more about spell casting, perhaps there's a simple spell you could teach me?" He asked.

"Owyn..." Locklear muttered, his teeth showing in an expression that seemed nothing like a smile.

"Just something simple, so we can defend ourselves in case we run in to anyone hostile on the road," The young mage added hastily.

"I don't know what you imagine is waiting out there for you," Marc murmured, "but I believe I have just the thing. I will have to run up to the Vaults to search for it, but it is a little spell called Flamecast. Of course, there will be the matter of a fee, say 30 sovereigns. I know precisely where it is if you want me to run and get it. Shall I?"

"You can be quick about it?" Locklear sighed, knowing that he wouldn't win this argument. Besides, at that price they could sell it right back to the Annex for a considerable profit.

"I won't be a moment," Marc promised, headed uphill towards the fortress-turned-monastery. "I will return as quickly as my little feet can move me."

They waited. When at last it seemed the priest was never going to return, he appeared waddling down the hillside, a beribboned parchment missive stuffed beneath one of his arms. Collecting the money owed him from Owyn, he cheerfully handed over the scroll.

Locklear waited impatiently while Owyn stored the scroll, then stepped forward to speak to the monk himself. "Are there any hazards on the road south from here to Krondor? We are in something of a hurry and I would hate to run into any unexpected delays."

"Mmmm, I haven't heard any complaints from the travellers that have been through here in the past few weeks. I don't think the mercenaries that stopped by to speak to Brother Dominic said anything of it," Brother Marc said, running fingers through his tonsured hair.

"Mercenaries? They're not in Quegian press gangs, are they?" Locklear asked, his brow furrowing.

"Not to my knowledge, no," Marc said, still in that thoughtful tone. "These lot landed just south of Questor's View on a ship called the Foamspinner. As much as they've been up and down the road, I assumed they were in on a shore leave."

All three of them exchanged slow looks. "Were there many of them?" Owyn asked.

"Many of them? If you laid them head to foot, I imagine you could walk across the Straits of Darkness without getting your feet wet. It seems one of those Quegan galleys can carry a small village from one place to an other!" Marc said, chuckling to himself and missing the dismay that the three couldn't hide for a moment.

Something about the monk's response bothered Owyn. He considered for a moment, and then it came to him. "You said no dangers...so when is the storm going to hit? We're a little concerned about finding a place to stay so we don't get soaked," he asked.

Marc blinked, looking even more puzzled than before. "Storm? It is the first I have heard of such a meteorological disturbance. Brother Gierom didn't mention it to me before I left the abbey this morning..."

Locklear's brow furrowed further. "That's strange. We met a gentleman named Rowe who said a storm had been predicted by the brothers at the Abbey."

Marc shook his head. "I wonder why he would tell you such a thing. Of course," the brother added after a moment, shaking his head sadly, "he has been acting peculiarly since his wife died. Terrible tragedy, and striking at such a time when he had to give up his farm. I really must feel for the poor old soul."

01-03-2009, 07:57 PM
Elvandar (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK04-Elvandar.mp3)

"Mmmm, well, even if there is no storm we may need shelter," Locklear said even as Gorath and Owyn moved back to exchange quiet words. "Do you know of any good inns in the area? I think I might sleep a little better if I could bed down on something other than cold ground tonight."

Marc thought for a moment before replying. "There are a few. You might try Babon's Hostel in Questor's View or the old Bywater Inn. If it weren't for my duties here, I would be half inclined to join you." The brother sighed. "Some acolyte somewhere has been trying his hand at dream sendings, and I've not had a good night's sleep in weeks."

"Dream sendings?" Owyn asked.

"It's a way to send messages over long distances. Only certain magicians have the talent for it. Whoever it is, they can't be too far away because his images are fairly strong," Marc said, shrugging.

"What do they seem to be trying to say?" Locklear asked the monk.

"I'm not certain," Marc said, frowning a little. "The images are too disjointed, though now I think of it, I thought I had seen your elf friend's face before. Now I know why. His face was in the sendings."

"Seems we have quite a few things to think about," Locklear said as he made a slight gesture for Gorath and Owyn to begin moving. "Thank you, Brother Marc."

"Always a pleasure to help," said the monk, waving cheerfully to the other two as they retreated. "Come back and visit me again!"

"Perhaps we will. Goodbye, brother, and good day," Locklear said before the three turned to climb the trail to Sarth once more.

((And that's it for tonight. Still need more guesses on those Wordlocks, so speak up while I prepare the next few updates.))

01-03-2009, 08:08 PM
#3: [RAIN]

01-04-2009, 05:46 PM
Sarth (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK08-%20Sarth.mp3)


Locklear was preparing to castigate Owyn for his over-eager pursuit of magical knowledge as they left Sarth's Stardock Annex several hours later. But even as he arranged the words he would use to chastise the younger noble Gorath distracted him, lifting a hand to point to what looked to Locklear like perfectly ordinary stretch of mountainside.

"What is it?" Locklear asked, frowning as he squinted in the direction of Gorath's finger.

"A tunnel mouth," the moredhel said.

The squire frowned at Gorath, raising an eyebrow. "I think you're seeing things," he muttered, but by then the dark elf had already left the trail and began to cut cross-slope towards whatever he had seen. Owyn shot Locklear an apologetic glance and a shrug, then turned to follow.

"Damn," the squire cursed, moving to bring up the rear.

Trees whipped at their faces. Mumbling about the inconvenience of castle engineers, Gorath lead the way down the fir covered slope, arriving at last at the mouth of a large cave. "As I said. A cave mouth."

Locklear nodded, sighing again. "You were right. Let's have a look," he said, taking a torch from Owyn's pack and lighting it with flint and tinder before they descended into the black passage.

Under the City (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK24-Under_the_City.mp3)


"This bracing seems similar to the Mac Mordain Cadal" Gorath murmured as they slowly moved down the passageway. "But older and less well-maintained."

Despite the apparent age and dis-use of the tunnel, the structural supports seemed strong. The dampness that permeated the upper level of the Mac Mordain Cadal was totally absent here. Indeed, the air had a dry, stale flavor to it, as if nothing living had been lived here in a very long time.


As it turned out, that last impression proved inaccurate. The first side passage led to a heavily reinforced door sealed with a lock that Locklear quickly sprung, and as the door slipped open a new odor filled the air. A strange, pungent odor that slipped through the gap of the opening door along with a rustling, furry sound.

Gorath stared into the dim expanse of the room in front of them, and then swore loudly as a spider the size of a small pony rushed them, hairy legs brushing against the hard-packed earth of the floor and against each other while its chelicerae made a constant, low scraping noise.

It's a Trap (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK26-Its_a_Trap.mp3)


Owyn reacted first, practically screaming his spell as he thrust his hand spasmodically towards the approaching horror. The gout of flame missed, and in its blazing passage the ball illuminated a second spider skittering towards them. Gorath moved to intercept the second beast, a cry of revulsion in his throat while Locklear's first crossbow bolt dug into one of the first spider's leg joints. The thing hissed, shaking the bolt free and writhing for a moment before flashing up to the squire and coming to a sudden and abrupt halt.

The sudden starts and stops of the spiders' movements combined with their speed made Locklear faintly ill, and even as he let his crossbow fall aside and went for his sword the harsh bristles of the spider's forelegs were dragging at his ankles while fangs the length of his hand scored painfully down his greaves. Gorath, meanwhile, was simply keeping his own opponent at bay as best he could, using long lunges and broad sweeping arcs of his blade to force the spider back until Owyn was ready to cast a second spell. This time the flame took the giant insect directly in its thorax, and it's writhing legs cast obscene shadows on the wall that danced and twisted while it burned. The moredhel spat another curse in his own language, then drove his blade through the half-dead creature's head to finish the job.

While Gorath finished the second spider, Locklear continued to struggle with the first, taking another painful gouging from the thing's fangs. He was saved a possible poisoning or worse by the elven steel, but once more it dug deep against muscle and bone. But the squire gave better than he got, his blade severing one of the spider's legs, then another, making it crouch back and hiss threateningly before the squire lunged to drive his blade nearly to the cross-guard in one of its many clustered eyes. The spider convulsed, and was still.


While Owyn tended to Locklear's gouges Gorath explored the low, broad chamber. He found several tumbled masses of silky egg sacs that he torched with a shudder and a very old moredhel chest that, after a moment, he had open.


Gorath nodded and moved back to Owyn, handing the young mage the vial of blue liquid before he glanced towards Locklear. "Are you alright?"

"Fine," the squire hissed, wincing a little and massaging his legs. "It didn't get through my armor. Let's get moving."

01-04-2009, 06:38 PM
Under the City (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK24-Under_the_City.mp3)


They pushed deeper into the abandoned mine. Down other side passages they encountered other nests of the giant spiders, but the application of Owyn's flames and Locklear's and Gorath's quarrels soon killed them or drove them back into cracks in the walls that seemed far too small to fit their bloated, hairy bodies. They found the occasional human corpse, too, dessicated things with a torch or two or a length of rope or a few scattered silvers to mark where it had fallen. Then, in a large chamber behind a particularly well-locked door they found a new threat.

Charge Into Battle (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK11A-Charge_into_Battle.mp3)


Scorpions. Huge ones that clattered and clacked forward in the dimly-lit chamber. It seemed almost as if they were guarding the large moredhel chest visible behind them, for when Gorath slid sideways to try and flank one of the beasts it moved with him, always keeping its body between him and the ancient container.

The scorpions' glistening red stingers lashed out at the companions again and again, and soon they were forced together, each fending off the claws and tail of one of the beasts. Locklear and Gorath grunted with effort, their blades ringing off the scorprions' thick carapace and doing more damage from blunt impact than from their edges. Owyn was almost totally incapable of fighting back, and soon resorted to simply blocking blow after blow, crying out in pain as ragged claws dug painfully into his hip or side, leaving jagged furrows in his armor.

And then there was a chance. Gorath moved in to come to the mage's aid, his broadsword neatly severing a scorpion tail and sending the wounded creature skittering back away from the fight...and giving Owyn the space he needed to focus on his magic. The young noble's words filled the room, echoing as his hand lifted and then filled with flame that rushed to engulf them all. Even he was singed and deafened by the blast that followed, and even as the scorpions crackled and died, juices hissing and spitting from their baking shells, Gorath and Locklear were rolling to put out the myriad tiny fires that had caught in their clothing.


They rested then, re-locking the door and taking watch in shifts to ensure that their rest was not interrupted by any more monstrosities slipping through other, less obvious entrances to the chamber. It was impossible to tell how long each was able to sleep, but it did not seem long before all were ready to examine the moredhel chest and continue.


They stared at the chest's contents, and Gorath let out a low whistle as he lifted a narrow-bladed sword of magnificent workmanship from the chest. "Dwarven make," he murmured, making a few passes with it before passing it to Locklear. "I'll stick with the heavier blade, but you should keep this."


While Locklear sheathed the sword, Gorath examined the other prize, a subtly-worked set of armor he handed carefully to Owyn. "You need protection most at the moment. It will have to be let out some, but should fit you better than it will Locklear," he said.


Owyn nodded, carefully donning the dwarven armor, blinking in surprise at its lightness. "Amazing," he murmured, twisting and stretching to test its flexibility. And then Locklear was there, helping to strap Owyn in a bit tighter before turning to Gorath. "Alright, we can push a bit deeper, but then we should keep moving south," he said.

And sure enough it wasn't more than half an hour before they came to a steeply sloping passage that seemed to lead to a more complex part of the passages. Locklear left them behind for a time, then returned shaking his head.


01-04-2009, 07:13 PM

They moved east from Sarth, passing brother Marc's field at a distance, and stopping only when Locklear spotted what appeared to be another cluster of chests set in a field to the north of the road.

"They're not even hidden in the trees," Locklear muttered, glaring at the apparently clear ground in front of them. "I know there's another trap there."

"Still, all the ones we've seen so far seemed designed with a way out for someone who understood them," Owyn pointed out. "I think that they're more like obstacles...they might kill the unwary, but for the clever they're just meant to slow you down while help is summoned."

"If so," Gorath said, gesturing to where familiar shapes were rising into view, "I suggest we deal with this one quickly."

Fight to the Death (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK11B-Fight_to_the_Death.mp3)


Owyn studied the strange, crystalline constructs that spun slowly in the air between the fire trap and the two crystal-tipped poles. "I think..." he muttered, reaching out slowly to push the opaque crystal until it bobbed away. "Yes, I've got it now."

The young noble smiled a little at his two companions, then pushed the clear crystal between the fire-spitting device and the nearest of the rods. Once more the fireball flew from the device, but this time it passed through the crystal and struck the rods, and when the smoke and sparks had cleared the rods' crystals had gone from a sullen glowing red to a dull grey.

"It should be safe to pass through now," Owyn said. He tried to put as much confidence in his voice as he could muster, but couldn't help sighing in relief when Gorath passed safely between the de-activated poles. The other two quickly followed and began to open the chests.


"Hangman" and "Fire" turned out to be filled with small pouches of gold, swords, and several light crossbows, but the chest that opened to "Rain" proved to have the most interesting contents.


"I've heard that a few of these charms are blessed by priests working for the Mockers and the Upright Man, and give a thief a lighter touch with a pick," the squire said. He looked a little self-conscious, but slipped the small amulet around his neck before dropping it down his shirt. "At this point, I'll take all the luck we can get," he said.

01-05-2009, 05:32 AM
Way back when, I remember trying to save the Grey Tower Plate for when a Dwarf would join. Sadly, none joined. Perhaps not the best choice on my part.

01-05-2009, 06:01 AM
Way back when, I remember trying to save the Grey Tower Plate for when a Dwarf would join.

Dwarf's seem to have been all but forgotten in the later books. I'm kind of surprised so many appeared in this game.

01-05-2009, 11:56 AM
((Way back when, I remember trying to save the Grey Tower Plate for when a Dwarf would join. Perhaps not the best choice on my part.
Dwarf's seem to have been all but forgotten in the later books. I'm kind of surprised so many appeared in this game.

Well, it's based more or less on the earlier books, and there -aren't- many Dwarves except for around the Mac Mordain Cadal and Caldera (A Dwarven village near Elvandar which we'll see in Chapter 6). As far as the racial mod goes, I've never really gotten a handle on just how much difference it makes or even if it's a bonus for matching it or a penalty for not matching, but it doesn't seem to be big enough to make a difference in armor choices.))


Temple (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK17-Temple.mp3)


They'd only been on the road another few hours when Locklear called another halt, this time at a temple just a half-day's travel from Krondor. "Marc mentioned the priests at Ishap being disturbed by dream-sendings," he said as they passed between the high columns of the entrance. "I want to know if this temple has been affected as well."

The squire soon had his answer when the high priestess failed to respond to his polite ringing of the bell.

"She can't see you."

Turning, they noticed a hawkish looking priest half-hidden in the shadows of the colonnade, his eyes rimmed red. He rubbed vigorously at his face before rising to stand next to the antechamber attendant. "Mariah and I just put her abed about half an hour ago. She awoke screaming this morning."

The two priests exchanged a significant look, and Gorath raised an eyebrow. "Is she ill?" he asked.

"No, no." the taller priest said with assurance. "It is only a symptom of things that have been going on here for a short while. It will pass."

"You sound very certain, Kellan," the other priest said angrily.

"None of us has slept well in weeks. Our healer is so exhausted that he may not even bind so much as a finger pricked on a spindle! There is something evil at work here." Spat the one named Mariah before shaking his head and lifting thin fingers to massage his temples.

Bemused, Locklear looked to Kellan. "Why would someone be trying to keep you from sleeping? Who could do it?"

Both priests shrugged. "The purpose is beyond us, but we know that whomever is responsible is a magician and very close by," the shorter priest replied. "I have also sensed in his dream sendings that he has others with him, soldiers perhaps. I don't actually believe he means to communicate with us, but instead with someone far away. Either way, I don't believe any of us shall have an hour's rest until he is dead or we've discovered what he wants."


When they returned to the road, Owyn was the first to say it.

"You remember our talk about mind speech and the way these moredhel bands always seem ready to ambush us?" the young noble asked, eyes bright. "Their commander, or leader, or whoever is giving out those assignments must be nearby!"

Gorath scowled. "That is no cause for celebration, Owyn," he said. "You are probably correct, but this simply means that we are in even greater danger than we would be otherwise."

Locklear nodded. "We'll have to be careful," he agreed before pointing to a small farm tucked into the hills east of the road. "I believe that's Rowe's farm," he said, smiling a little as some of his good cheer returned. "I don't see any signs of a storm, but perhaps he'll be willing to put us up in his barn anyway."

01-05-2009, 01:11 PM
Charge into Battle (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK11A-Charge_into_Battle.mp3)

Then, just as Locklear was preparing to down his pack, the air between them and the barn rippled as if the world about them were nothing more than a curtain to be yanked aside, and four figures warped into existence before their eyes. They were all moredhel and all well-armed. One of the assassins, dressed in finer clothing than the three who flanked him, bared his teeth as he spoke.

"Gorath, lwychan choi nekkad sedu Delekhan! Baka'al eledhel!"

"What's the bastard saying?" Locklear hissed at his companion, drawing his blade and watching as the moredhel withdrew his own weapon, his dark gaze fixed on the others of his kind arrayed before them.

"It does not matter. Defend yourself," Gorath rasped, his voice gone cold and strangely formal. The dark elf was badly shaken. "No moss trooper this, but a sorcerer. Nago. Of those that are said to have served Delekhan before the coming of the Six, he is known as the most powerful magician of my kin. Only we three or he and his will see the next morn..."


Nago's voice rose in more unfamiliar words, and even as Owyn began to marshal his will the moredhel spellcaster's hand lashed out, a tumbling mass of sooty ice spinning towards him. Owyn didn't even have time to cry out before the frigid mass struck him, shattering into a cloud that seemed to suck the heat from the air, fogging the space around the young mage with flash-frozen moisture.

Locklear gasped as the cloud cleared to reveal Owyn's frozen form, a thin rime of ice locking him into immobility, sparkling with blue-white glints that seemed to buffer the ice from the heat of the air around him. Then the squire turned to face the enemy, shouting a challege and charging towards the moredhel. Gorath did the same, taking a glancing cut to his cheek as he deflected one of the swords of Nago's bodyguards, twisting away from another, and lunging at the mage.

Nago twisted away, backing off quickly and shouting orders to his guards. One turned towards Owyn and sneered at the helpless mage, sword raised high as he stepped in to finish him. But then Locklear was there, leaving the other two to Gorath while he interposed his slim dwarven blade between Owyn and his attacker. The squire struck again and again, his blade ringing off the moredhel's and then biting deeply into the dark elf's side before its third thrust clanged uselessly off a wall of invisible force. The squire glanced back to see Nago grinning at him as the mage gestured for another of his guards to flank Locklear before he took another step back, regathering his spent will.

Gorath followed, and even as Locklear fended off his two opponents, Gorath slipped behind one and brought his own heavy blade down in a blow that opened one warrior's back to the spine, dropping him to the ground before he even had time to scream. The two companions spun away, matching the other unshielded guard, blades flashing to cut him down before he had time to muster his defenses, Gorath battering his defenses aside as Locklear's slim sword drove clean through the dark elf's body.

Gorath lunged back towards the shielded moredhel then. He couldn't damage the dark elf while the spell lasted, but he could keep him off Owyn while Locklear dealt with Nago. But Nago wasn't done yet, and even as Locklear charged the sorceror he prepared a final spell, another of those swirling clouds of rainbow lights spilling out to sap Gorath's strength until it was all he could do to defend himself from the shielded moredhel's attack. But Nago had a made a mistake, and even the strength drained from Gorath could not replace the energy spent in his spells. Locklear moved in, his sword opening Nago's forearm in a welter of blood, disarming the sorceror before the squire's backstroke opened the mage's throat.

The last moredhel warrior gasped, staring for a moment as Nago crumpled, and then he was on the defensive again, Locklear and Gorath forcing him back from Owyn while Nago's spells finally started to unravel. The protection faded first, and as Gorath's strength returned both he and the Squire struck, swords opening their enemy's side and shoulder and ending his life.

((Yeah, it's really hard to keep these narratives interesting while staying constrained to what you see happening in these .gifs. The writing feels very repetitive to me. I'm going to start using them less, I think, unless there's a huge public outcry.))

01-05-2009, 03:26 PM

Owyn blinked slowly, then shuddered as the magical frost released its grip on his body. He gasped, nearly collapsing before Gorath stepped in to catch an arm.

"I'm fine," the young noble panted, still shaking from the aftereffects of the chill. "Or I will be, I think. The effects are temporary. I just need...a rest."

"We all need a rest," Gorath said, lifting a finger to brush at the gash on his right cheek. "We'll see if that damned farmer is in the area, then the barn should be safe enough. Without Nago to coordinate their attacks we should have a measure of security here."

They spent two days resting in the old building, patching their wounds, sorting through their enemies equipment, and recovering their strength.


While Gorath read the note Nago had been carrying, Locklear examined the strange wand-like device that had been tucked in the mage's belt.


We have placed the false notes concerning an attack to the south of Tannerus in the chests you requested. Providing they gain access to those messages, they should fall most blindingly into your elegant trap. I applaud your stratgems.



"I don't know how many times this can be used, but I'll hold onto it for now," Locklear said, stuffing the thing in his belt, "and now I think it's time for us to get going."

Ch. 1 Introduction, Part 2 (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK03-Ch1-Intro02.mp3)

Locklear paused before the large wooden barn. The memories of combat still fresh in his mind, he pushed gently on the door and slipped into the quiet darkness. Finally convinced it was indeed empty he came out shaking his head, then motioned for them to leave.


01-05-2009, 04:02 PM

"We should return to the temple of Sung," Gorath suggested. "It would be good to confirm that with Nago dead, the dream sendings have ceased."

Temple (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK17-Temple.mp3)


Kellan greeted them.

"You look a little more lively than the last time we met," Locklear said. "Have you gotten a bit of rest?"

"The first I've had in a while," the priest admitted. "As I suspected, the dreams plague us no more. I've even heard our healer is once more on his feet. Our high priestess is still tired as yet, but I assume she will be back about her duties in no time. Things return to normal as by the will of Sung..."

Gorath hissed through his teeth at the bowing priest. "Like all priests, you credit those who watch and not those who do."

Snapping abruptly upright, a Kellan glowered at the moredhel. "What do you mean?"

"He means," Owyn interjected, "that we found the person responsible for the dream sendings. There was a moredhel magician and we took care of the problem."

Sensing that the boy might go too far in his glory-hounding, Locklear seized Owyn's arm in a tight grip. "Please forgive my companions for their outbursts. They have been on the road for quite some time and have forgotten their manners."

"No apology is necessary," the priest said, removing Locklear's grip on Owyn's arm. "They are quite proper in asking acknowledgement. How may I reward you?"

"Do you have any spells I might learn?" Owyn asked, eyes lighting at the prospect of new arcane knowledge. Seeing the anger flaring in the seigneur's eyes, he quickly amended, "If there are other magicians like them, it might be prudent for us to be better prepared to meet the challenge."

Kellan nodded. "I have one such spell I can teach you that will allow you to protect yourselves. If the others will stay here?"

Fuming, Locklear nodded his reluctant assent, taking a seat next to the reflection pool, motioning for Gorath to do likewise. Wordlessly, both sat down and prepared for a long wait. After several hours Owyn returned, a light smile flickering on his lips, but in the intervening time, Locklear's anger had not abated. Thanking the priest as graciously as he could, Locklear turned and stormed from the temple's courtyard, his charges following quickly behind him.


Locklear's angry silence continued as they headed south, and Owyn matched him, the two exchanging angry glares every mile or two until finally Gorath's patience was exhausted. Stopping the party and leading them off the road.

"Even if Delekhan's agents in this region are scattered and out of communication now that we've killed Nago, there are still those Quegan pirates," the moredhel snapped, gripping both his companions shoulders and squeezing hard.

A tense silence followed, and Locklear was the first to break it. "Damnit Owyn, I took you along for your own protection, and I'll admit that your magic has helped us, but this is not your personal tour of the scholars of the West Gorath must get to Krondor and we do not have time to waste to indulge your idle curiousity!" the squire snapped at Owyn, fists clenched and shaking.

"We've had money to make the journey for over a week now, and yet you had us track down that Tsurani magician's ruby!" Owyn snapped right back, bristling as he turned to face the older noble. "That one errand took more time than all the practice and searching for spells I've done put together! Like you said, my magic has helped keep us all alive!"

Locklear seemed ready to snap right back and his lips were even framing the first words, and then he suddenly seemed to deflate. The squire sighed, nodding slowly before looking back at Owyn. "You're right. The blizzard that shut the Inclindel gives us time to gather information and resources as we travel, and your magic is every bit as useful as knowing that grey warriors are moving into the Kingdoms. I'm sorry, Owyn."

Owyn glared for another moment, the he sighed as well and reached out his hand. "I'm sorry too, Locklear. For what it's worth, I'll keep myself to only pursuing magic that will directly help your mission for as long as I'm with you."

"Fair enough," Locklear said, chuckling a little as he took the young mage's hand, shaking it firmly. "That should work out fine."

01-05-2009, 04:56 PM
Gorath's concerns about Quegans proved prophetic. No less than three small bands of the freebooters patrolled the King's Highway. Twice they were able to slip past unnoticed, the pirates' lack of experience with land-based fighting working to their advantage.

The third time they weren't so lucky, plunging through the trees off the road late that evening only to stumble directly into a pirate camp, and their blades were out of their scabbards even as Locklear kicked out the small fire to spray sparks and flames into the face of one of the pirates before the small camp was plunged into near-darkness.

The fighting was quick and messy, and if Owyn hadn't wrapped his companions in the Skin Of The Dragon it could have gone very badly. Using the spell's protection, Locklear moved in fast, the short dagger in his off-hand deflecting the clumsy blow one of the pirates launched at his body. There was just enough light to allow the squire to see the outline of his opponent, and his sword-arm lashed out in a low arc even as his dagger drove the pirate's blade out and high, forcing the Quegan's body square to him.

The fine dwarven steel cut deep, gutting the pirate, and Locklear whipped his sword free in a fine fan of blood before kicking the dying man aside. Gorath was less elegant, but just as effective, his two-handed broadsword crushing as much as it cut when the Moredhel battered the second Quegan's guard down. The dark elf hammered on his opponent's lighter blade, driving it back and in against the man's chest, exposing his neck to a brutal sideswipe that more than half decapitated the pirate.


They pushed further south the next day, but the sun wasn't even fully risen when they ran into more serious opposition. A large band of moredhel and Quegans was stretched across the road just north of the crossroads that marked the end of the King's Highway and the beginning of the road to Krondor proper.

"Damn," Locklear murmured, eyes scanning the enemies arrayed ahead of them. "At least two to one odds. What do you think, Gorath?"

"I think that are guarding the King's highway, and that we might be able to slip past to the east," The moredhel replied. "If we rush them now, the odds are not in our favor."

"But that will add at least another week to the trip!" Owyn said. "We'd have to go all the way back to Questor's View and then down past Eggley and Tannerus."

"Do you have another option?" Gorath asked the young mage.

"No, but...."

"Then we move north," Locklear said. "The way should be clear, at least. We'll make good time."

((And we're onto the final stretch. One more sidequest, an explanation of the working of those traps you've been watching me do, and a final dungeon and that's it for the Chapter! Which is....maybe 10% of the game....))

01-05-2009, 05:30 PM
Dwarf's seem to have been all but forgotten in the later books.
Well, Dwarves keep to themselves, and as the action moved further and further south away from the Crydee/Elvandar/Grey Tower area, it only makes sense we'd see less and less of them.

Poor dwarves.

01-05-2009, 10:39 PM

They passed Questor's View quickly, turning east past a small way-station and making good time. As they travelled, Gorath and Owyn spoke quietly. The young noble described the life of a younger son of an eastern moble, while the moredhel described a little of life in the Northlands beyond the Teeth of the World.


Locklear stayed mostly silent, his own thoughts fixed on what else waited in the Northlands, and was only startled from his musings when Owyn's scrying revealed a hidden chest tucked on the far side of a saddle to the south of the road.


Gorath hefted the potent little weapon and made an appreciative noise when he tested its draw, the laminated wood almost silent despite the pressure applied to it. "This will do nicely," he said, smiling as he replaced his light kingdom crossbow with the new acquisition before carefully unfolding the parchment that had accompanied it. The dark elf's lips tightened as he scanned the note, and when he read it aloud for the others his voice was harsh, flat, and strained.

We know now Gorath of the Ardanien to be on a path to the capital of Krondor. We advise you to continue your duties, but suggest you lie in wait for him on the eastern roads into Krondor, as it is likely they will take an indirect route there so as to avoid your patrol. He must move no further south. Halt him before he reaches the Kingdom settlement of Tannerus.


Locklear frowned, raising an eyebrow at Gorath. "What do you think?"

"I think that I would not trust Delekhan if he proclaimed that the sun would rise in the east or that this winter there would be snow on the ramparts of Sar-Sargoth," spat Gorath, shredding the note in quick, hard motions and tossing the scraps back into the empty chest.

"Still, if there's a chance they're waiting for us between Eggley and Tannerus..." Locklear began before Gorath interrupted him.

"A message from Delekhan would have been in Nago's hands," Gorath said, shaking his head, "and we would have taken it from his corpse, not found it in a chest in the wilderness."

"Still," the squire said, frowning as they headed back for the road and turned east once more, "we should be careful."

01-05-2009, 10:59 PM

Passing a large farm and turning south, the trio soon found the path that led to Eggley. There was something odd about the town and the fields that surrounded it, and Locklear was the first to put a name to it.

Silden (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK16-Silden.mp3)

"The fields are deserted. It's early yet, but there should still be people working them if only to harvest rocks and repair their fences," The squire said, frowning at silent fields and still trees. "Something's wrong."


Gorath and Owyn watched along with the squire, and as they approached the outskirts it became increasingly obvious that Locklear was right. The day was chill but the only smoking chimney was that of the large inn at the center of town. They even split up, but found the houses either locked up tight or open to the elements. In one, Owyn startled a squirrel that had slipped through a half-open door and was opening a bag of grain.

Gorath was wearing a puzzled expression when he rejoined the other two.


"Something is very wrong here," Locklear said, repressing his urge to shiver before he pointed towards the smoking chimney of the Inn. "Let's see if there's any inhabitants left there."


01-05-2009, 11:26 PM
Silden (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK16-Silden.mp3)

Locklear sniffed. Stepping just inside the inn's doorway, he detected the faint but familiar scent of lye and the more pungent aromas they were meant to erase. It would be a foolish tavern keeper who neglected to have a cleaningboy close at hand where men drank to excess. Still, the scents were faded, and the common room was silent save for the crackling of the fire as the three spread out just past the doorway and stared.


The rangy man reached up to adjust his eye-patch, then stood with a grunt and moved towards them. "Welcome to nowhere, sires," he said in a mockery of a dishonest innkeeper's obsequious tones, lifted scarred arms to encompass the inn's emptiness. "I'm Devon, and I'll be your barman, innkeeper, bouncer, jongleur, cook, and fucking nightmaster this evening in The Stranger."



"Everyone is elsewhere," the man said, shrugging and then turning, snorting, and spitting into the fire before continuing. "With the exception of Rake, myself and a handful of boarders that have wandered in from off the road and are cowering upstairs now for fear you're a bunch of freebooters come to sack what's left of this sorry shithole there's not been another soul in town since the Festival."

"Is that all?" Owyn asked, still staring around the nearly deserted building. "Why? What happened here?"

"Come the eighth hour of an evening about a week back, a cloaked gentlemen entered through that same door there and took a seat," Devon said, settling back onto one of the tables with another grunt and taking up a tale he'd obviously had a chance to practice at least once or twice before. "He ordered a joint of beef, a loaf of bread and a mug of ale. I remembered these things because I'd had the same. Soon as he had finished his meal he went to the tavernkeeper and tossed down fifty golden sovereigns, turned round and was gone by the door. Before the first of those coins stopped their spinning on the counter, the rest of the people in the tavern rushed out after him like they'd all come down with the bloody flux and the nearest privy was in LaMut. The keeper didn't even latch the damn door!"

Locklear frowned. "Some sort of deal?" he asked.

The hard-looking man let out a short bark of laughter. "Nope! Some sort of damn local ritual. It seems I arrived in the middle of a ceremony called the Festival of the Stranger. Apparently the elders of the town gather in the tavern, draw lots, and the one with the longest lot is dubbed The Stranger. On the first night of the festival, The Stranger comes around and offers the members of the town fake sovereigns - they called them nimptos - and then the citizens of the town leave to sleep in the fields. Of course, I didn't pick this up until later, except the bit about the coins being fake. Thought I'd had a nice little windfall when I saw the pile left on the counter."

Locklear canted his head in puzzlement. Land's End was a farming barony and he had thought he knew most of the festivals, but this one was new to him. "And they're supposed to stay in the fields?" He asked.

"No, no, no!" Devon said, waving his hand at the squire and seeming annoyed to have had his story interrupted. "Listen. The next morning, the elected Stranger was to circle the village three times while swinging a strand of hemp over his head. When he finishes up, he cuts the length of rope and sets it on the road to let the people know that they can come back. They then know that Silban is looking with good fortune on their township and that she won't strike their fields dead. No hacked up bit of hemp? Why, it means she's right pissed, and any citizen that attempts to return gets struck dead."

It was Gorath that spoke this time, and his voice was dry when he asked "Was the Stranger killed by Silban, then?"

Devon grinned, showing where he'd lost three teeth and cracked two others, probably in one fight or another over the years. "Nope. Killed by a man called the Collector. The damn fool who ended up Stranger owed money, and the Collector either didn't know about the festival or didn't care. It didn't matter to the townsfolk. They still figured it was sign from Silban and the buggers haven't been back since. They think the place is cursed and won't return until the curse is lifted. The whole damn town's scattered to Tannerus, Hawk's Hollow, Malac's Cross, and who knows how many little family plots around this part of the Calastius mountains. They all believe they've done the right thing and have given me permission to do whatever I wanted here."

Devon grinned again. "Out of respect for them, I've decided to keep the old town name of Eggley."

"I don't know," Locklear murmured, stroking his moustache. "It seems people would have to be pretty thick to believe all of that."

The mercenary's good eye glittered. "Would they? Would you have the nerve to spit on a shrine of Ishap?"

Locklear grimaced, shuffling his feet and looking away before he answered. For a foul-mouthed freebooter, Devon had a way of cutting to the heart of the matter. "No...but...I guess I can see your point."

The newly-minted innkeeper shrugged. "Everyone has their beliefs. Most around here either are farmers or come from farmers, and it's a damn hard thing for a farmer to turn his back on the earthmother. They require her blessing before they can go on to new lives. You should remember that before you judge something to be ignorant. So - as my new job as bartender of this tavern, I suppose it's my duty to see if you need anything? Can I set you up?"

01-06-2009, 12:03 AM
Silden (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK16-Silden.mp3)


Locklear settled in with the others, and once Devon had drawn a pint of ale for each they began to talk again. "Which god did you say this Festival of the Stranger was in celebration of?" the squire asked.

"The fertility goddess - Bringer of Harvests, The Earth Mother, Silban. Pick a name, they all mean the same thing," Devon said, spitting into the fire again and making it hiss. "She's the wench to whom ma and pa ugly pray to have little runt ugly and enough wheat to eat through the winter. Can't say I have much use for her. Tith and Dala, maybe, but the last thing a mercenary needs is fertility." He paused, then shot them all a grin that was so knowingly obscene that Owyn turned nearly purple in embarrassment. "Leads to complications in a man's life if he leaves a trail of squalling brats in his wake, eh?"

Locklear's lips thinned slightly, but he tried to plaster on a game smile before he replied. "Is there a temple of hers nearby, or...

Devon snorted. "Straight west of Eggley, then north at the crossroads. Big white building with the columns, smells like a whore's bedchamber. Hard to miss."

Gorath looked up, remembering the tracks he'd seen just outside town. "Someone we ran into up the road told us they had seen a moredhel near here," the moredhel murmured. "I don't suppose you've seen him have you?"

"Him?" Devon asked, snorting in amusement. "I've seen enough moredhel to start a barrel ball city league. Whole fucking clump of them came by here a few weeks ago heading south in packs of twos and threes down the road towards Tannerus."

"Armed?" Locklear asked, focusing more closely on the scarred mercenary.

"Like Tith's own legions," Devon agreed. "Looked like they might be out to sign up as caravan guards, but who would hire their kind this far south?"

Gorath stirred at that, but a motion from Owyn beneath the table stilled him, and the moredhel settled for asking "Did you get a look at any of them?"

"None of them came close enough to the Stranger that I could get a good look at them," Devon said, then frowned, looking thoughtful. The expression seemed out of place on his weathered, pock-marked, and heavily scarred face. "Now that I think of it, it's kind of peculiar. On the off occasions when moredhel will crash through a town, they'll usually kick up some kind of ruckus with the locals to prove who's the toughest bunch of bastards. These just marched through town like they were in a parade review, like they were expecting someone to watch them come through."

Locklear and Gorath exchanged looks for a moment, the squire nodding very slightly before he turned back to the other man. Devon was on his third or fourth tankard now, and the accent that Locklear had been trying to place became a little thicker with each pint the mercenary tossed back.

"One of the brothers from the Abbey at Sarth has seen several mercenaries on the move through the principality, and he said they looked Quegan," Locklear said, glancing over the mercenary's furs before adding, "with a good Quegan name like Devonius I was thinking you might know something about them."

Devon said something in his native tongue that sounded foul even to Owyn's untutored ears. "Bah! I haven't had anything to do with the Dauphiness of Queg or her bastard father-in-law for over three years now. I burned my Writs of Passage the day Spitzer and I boarded the Dauphiness' war galley Storm's Master and sunk King Lebeus' flagship with all hands on board. Since that day, I've only worked for me," he proclaimed, slamming his mug into the table for emphasis. "Me."

Owyn sighed. "Then you have no idea why there would be so many mercenaries wandering free in the Kingdom?" he asked, his apparent innocence a contrast with the squire's more studied tones.

Devon chuckled, eying them all. "You don't get more than three Quegian mercenaries together in one spot unless you're paying the bastards to be together," the mercenary said, grinning once more. "Small little island like that, most of us have killed a member of another mercenary's family. Hell, I've killed more than my share since I'm never going back to that fucking island. Anway, pay them well, they'll put their personal vendettas aside long enough to do what's asked of them before they start on one another. Whoever's funding them must have gods-be-damned fortune in rubies somewhere."

"Rubies?" Owyn asked, thinking of Locklear's old friend and the nervous gem merchant in Loriel.

"Sovereigns from your damned Kingdom of the Isles won't buy you a thing in Queg except a month underground in King Lebeus' pain pens, boy. Rubies. That's all they'll take," Devon said, chuckling as he finished his mug and then fished a deck of cards from a pouch on his belt, raising his thick brows at Locklear.

The squire snapped his fingers, nodding sharply. "Now I think of it, a man we know told us he lost at pokiir to a Devon here in Eggley. Would you be he?" Locklear asked.

Devon grinned again, but there was a certain alertness in his eye this time as he scanned them, and despite the mercenary's seemingly limp and lazy slouch the squire had an idea that he could probably move damned fast when he wanted to and wasn't half as drunk as he seemed. "Depends on why you're asking, now doesn't it?" the mercenary-turned-innkeeper asked in return. "If you're interested in playing a hand or two, then I might say I'm the same man. If, however, your friend decided to send round a few bravos to collect what I rightfully won from him..."

Locklear raised his own hand and shook his head. "What's yours is yours as far as I'm concerned," he said, smiling. "I was just wondering how good a player you were. Isaac said that you had an unusual talent for it."

"Isaac?" Devon said, sitting up slowly. "Isaac said I had an unusual talent for it? Now if that's not the pot calling the fucking kettle black, I've never heard it at all. While we we're playing, it was as if that whoreson knew every thought I had in my head. Every time he would fold he'd just look over at his elven friends with a big smile."

Locklear started, unable to hide his surprise. "Elven friends? Like Thorgath here?"

Devon eyed the dark elf, then turned back to Locklear. "They could have been brothers by the look of them. Yeah, he looked kinda like your friend, but he damn sure wasn't one of the ones from Elvandar. He was wearing moss-trooper clothes, the sort Delekhan's scouts go about in. Moredhel. No doubt about it."

Locklear nodded slowly. "Mmmmm, I see. Thank you, Devon. I might take you up on that game another night, but for now I think we should get to bed if you've a few to spare. We've a ways to go on the morrow."

Devon laughed. "A few to spare my pox-scarred ass! You can each have a room to yourselves, providing you pay for it."

"Done," Locklear said, smiling. "And we'll see you in the morning."

((And I will post more in the morning as well, if all goes well. Seems like it's time to go have a little chat with our good buddy Isaac again, don't you think?))

01-06-2009, 11:39 AM

"Silban's Temple is between here and where we last saw Isaac," Owyn pointed out as they moved north. "It's worth the time to see if anything can be done for Eggley."

"No," Locklear said, shaking his head sharply back and forth. "Perhaps if we knew for certain just what role Isaac has in all this, but we can't afford to risk the chance that he's involved in something that we've only a limited time to affect."

"But-" Owyn began, and Locklear cut him off harshly this time.

"No, Owyn! Perhaps we can look into Eggley's problem after we speak with Isaac, but NOT before," he snapped, sighing. "Look, for all we know Isaac was Nago's eyes and ears near LaMut, Loriel, and Hawk's Hollow. We need to find out and find out fast."

"Unlikely," Gorath pointed out. "He directed us to Devon by name. He must have known that Devon noticed that he traveled with moredhel."

Locklear sighed, nodding. "Still, I'll not be easy again until we've braced the rogue and gotten the full story out of him."


Locklear led them west, neatly trumping Owyn's desire by skirting south of the road around the temple of Silban and passing it in the night. Unfortunately, this meant that when they encountered another small band of Moredhel warriors there was no time to back away.

Two of the warriors rushed them while the other two drew crossbows, and only Owyn's quick casting of flame into the grass at the moredhel archer's feet prevented them from pinning Locklear and Gorath where they stood. Still, the swordsmen were unengaged, and soon both the squire and the dark elf were locked in combat, blades flashing and bodies blocking Owyn's aim.

The young mage cursed, moving sideways carefully until he could see the archers. One was down, writhing in agony as he burned, but the other had put out his own flames and was lifting his crossbow once more. Owyn spoke again, and with a flash his spell stole the archer's sight. With that accomplished the mage rested, watching his friends strike down their opponents before moving to finish the final crippled foe.


As they examined the moredhel chest the small party had apparently been either stocking or looting, Locklear sighed.

"So much for your former countrymen being distracted and disorganized after we killed their leader," he said.

"Distracted and disorganized forces may still be encountered on the road, and may still prove dangerous," Gorath replied, lifting the small bundle of oilcloth-wrapped crossbow bolts and inspecting the strange sheen on their tips. "These were probably expecting us from the north, not the south."


Gorath carefully secured the poison-tipped bolts in a second quiver beside his primary one, and they continued north, until on the afternoon of the second day out from Eggley they caught sight of Isaac, still wandering the region looking for work, headed south towards them.

01-06-2009, 11:56 AM
Jimmy the Hand (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK18-Jimmy.mp3)

"Locky!" Isaac cried, grinning as they approached, the expression barely flickering even when Locklear's face darkened.


The squire's face darkened further, and as Gorath moved to flank him he grabbed Isaac's swordbelt and yanked him foward. "I'm not in a mood to be trifled with, Isaac. Talk!"

Isaac flinched a little, then shrugged extravagantly. "Seeing as how they've seen fit to dismiss me, I can't see it will hurt matters. They're operating out of a barn near Yellow Mule. I found an old farmer there who wasn't particular about who rented his land and harbored loyalty to neither his lord nor to the Prince. A moredhel named Nago moved in there and has been using it as a base of operations to hire Quegan mercenaries."

Locklear just nodded. "And Quegans can move deeper into the Kingdom without drawing too much attention. We know that much already, Isaac, what are they planning?"

The former squire shrugged again. "I made it a policy not to know," he said, lifting his palms and patting the air. "Knowledge has a tendency to shorten your life, especially when you're working with lunatics. Think what you like, but this was purely a business transaction. They paid me and I made the pick-ups and drop-offs to the moredhel lockchests. That was all I did for them."

Gorath watched as Locklear and Isaac locked gazes for a good long time, but finally the squire looked away and snorted. "Fine, Isaac. You're a liar and a rogue, but gods help me I believe you. You said this Nago fellow was using a barn as a base of operations. What could we expect if we run across him?"

"Trouble," Isaac said, his tone serious for the first time in the conversation. "He's a magician, well armed, and was carrying enough gold in sovereigns to hire several dozen Quegan Mercenaries for months. Rowe nearly fainted when Nago handed over a pouch with four hundred golden sovereigns."

Owyn raised an eyebrow. "Rowe?" he broke in, glancing at Gorath and Locklear.

"The old man who owns the barn. If Nago is half as ruthless as I suspect, the old fellow's probably dead now, but I can't be certain."

"What were your last orders before Nago released you?" Locklear asked slowly, eying Isaac.

Isaac grinned. "I released myself, really. I had the feeling I was coming to the end of my usefulness to the moredhel and I made my plans accordingly. When they asked me to pick up a ruby from Keifer Alescook and deliver it to a specific moredhel lockchest, I realized they were planning to take care of two problems at the same time. The moredhel courier would an assassin. They had planned to kill me and, at the same time, erase any evidence to whom the ruby had been delivered."

"You're wrong about the gold, you know," Locklear said. "Quegans demand pay in gems, and it seems that you and Kiefer were the moredhel's suppliers. You've been helping to finance the scouting party for an invasion of the Kingdom."

Isaac blanched. "What?"

"You heard me," Locklear said, his face grim. "Now get going, Isaac, and if I get word of you in ANY more trouble, let alone doing business with enemies of the Kingdom, I'll see to it the court at Krondor puts a price on your head that'll have every sellsword from the Northlands to the Keshian Confederacy hunting you down!"

01-06-2009, 01:17 PM
They turned, heading south once more and away from the still shaken Isaac.

"Are you sure it was wise to leave him breathing?" Gorath asked Locklear after they'd been on the road for awhile.

"Not entirely, but I don't think Isaac's a traitor at heart," Locklear sighed. "Not that that excuses his deeds, of course, but....hell, he was a friend for a long time and perhaps I feel I owe him something for the way he was ejected from the prince's court. Whatever it was, though, that debt is well and truly paid now."

Gorath nodded, then produced the note they had acquired from the lockchest west of Silban's temple.

I am requesting that as many moredhel soldiers as possible be moved into position into the town of Tanneurs immediately. We are anticipating the arrival of Gorath and have orders to kill him. Make certain he dies if he attempts to move down the eastern roads.


"Another note in another lockchest on the eastern roads, warning of how dangerous the eastern roads are. Between that and Rowe's kind offer of his barn, I'll bet you the Grand Duchy of Krondor against a silver royal that Nago wanted us herded west to that damned barn," Locklear said.

"Most likely, yes," Gorath agreed. "Still, there may be some resistance on the eastern road. We should be cautious if we continue past Eggley."

The squire nodded. "Of course. Still, I think we have time to stop by the temple of Silban" he said, offering Owyn a little smile. "We'll see if there's anything we can do."


As they approached the temple, Owyn gasped. Arrayed outside its columned entrance was a small crowd of panicked and angry-looking people, lead by a trio of the same Quegan mercenaries that had been searching for them up and down the coast! Everyone in the little mob looked sick, with pale sweat-streaked faces and red-rimmed eyes. Even the mercenaries, who still had their weapons, seemed disorganized and thoughtless as they bayed at the temple.

Locklear shouted to the trio. Taking advantage of their upper hand, he continued more calmly.

"Hey there, calm down. We don't want any trouble. Surely we can come to some kind of peaceful agreement and pass through, don't you think...?"

Unfortunately, the mob seemed quite insane...

Fight to the Death (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK11B-Fight_to_the_Death.mp3)


The moment Owyn's first fireball heated the air around them most of the mob scattered for the trees, shrieking. The Quegans stood, however, retaining some semblance of their battle discipline. Still, the Quegans were weak and uncoordinated with whatever plagued them, and even though Locklear's first crossbow bolt missed, Owyn's first spell had killed one of the three and Locklear and Gorath quickly dispatched the other two. It was almost sickeningly easy.


"We should get inside now," Gorath said, "and have ourselves seen to by their healers. If that mob was sick with something we may have caught it."

Temple (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK17-Temple.mp3)


A priestess escorted them. Expecting a chamber in keeping with the rest of the grandeur of the Temple, Locklear was startled when they were led into a cramped room where an old woman sat reading through a sheaf of papers. Glancing up, the high priestess squinted at them, then shook her head.

"You will excuse me, but I was expecting someone else," she said, laying aside the papers she had been reading. "A few days ago I sent a summons to one of our faithful, a Franklin that lives to the north of Eggley."

"I doubt he would have been able to get to you," Locklear replied. "We ran into a band of men just outside the temple who seemed bent on killing any that came up the road."

The priestess exhaled loudly. "The Quegian fever is spreading here, and likely those were more men infected with it. If you were to go to him and tell him the way is clear, I would consider it a very great favor." Looking back down at the tracts scattered in her lap, she rubbed at her eyes. "You'll forgive me, but I really must get back to work on these. Please see yourselves out. Goddess' blessing on you."


They moved south quickly, and within two hours had reached the Franklin's farm, the large one they had passed on their way to Eggley. At their knock, the door swung open.

"Good day to you fine sirs," said the man at the door. "My name is Franklin Hurley, how can I be of service to you?"

Owyn cleared his throat. "We were told at the Temple of Silban that you might want to see us."

"You've spoken to the priestesses?" he asked incredulously. "I wished to speak with them of next year's crops but three howling idiots wouldn't allow me to pass."

"You won't be having any more trouble with those three," said Locklear.

The franklin excitedly retreated into his house and returned a moment later with a pouch of coins that he demanded they take as a reward. Owyn tried to turn the money down, but the man insisted. They thanked him for his kindness and generosity, and soon the Franklin was ready to travel back with them to the temple.

An acolyte was waiting for them, and ushered the franklin off to his own business while the high priestess was summoned. In a few moments, a tall, proud looking woman limped from under one of the arches, her long grey hair hanging lank around her face as a plump woman trundled at her side for support. When Locklear hailed them, the shorter woman wheeled angrily. "The high priestess has been through a terrible ceremony," she snapped. "She has no time for..."

"Belandra!" The high priestess jerked her arm from her assistant's grasp, silencing her with a cold stare. "I am neither so old, nor so ill in the goddess' favor that I cannot spare a moment to speak with these gentlemen. If you were to remember the spirit of our catechisms more often than their letter, I think you might replace me someday. Our place is in service to both the earth mother and those who worship her. Remember."

Locklear bowed his head. "That is very gracious of you, high priestess, but if another time would be more convenient..."

The old woman chuckled. "Speak, noble one."

Sensing that brevity was in his best interest, he quickly related the things Devon had told him during their visit to the Stranger Tavern in Eggley. When, at last, he had finished, a grave expression was on the high priestess face.

"There is no curse upon the town, whatever this man Devon may have told you," she said. "But we share fault in this. The ritual of the Festival never was intended like this, and now it has brought shame on this Temple and misery up on our faithful of Eggley. Never more shall there be a Festival..."

Belandra gasped. "High priestess! the Festival..."

"Silence, child," she said, turning her glare on Locklear. "I will also see this Collector brought to justice! If you can find him, send him to us with word that we have a reward to give him. I will see you very well remunerated for your efforts. Goddess' blessing on you." Turning, the high priestess moved across the courtyard, followed quickly after by her plump assistant.

01-06-2009, 01:50 PM

"We'll stop in Eggley for the night," Locklear said. "I think there might be a few more things to learn from Devon before we press south to Tannerus. If we run into the Collector on the way, it will be worth our time to return to the temple, but otherwise I plan to make straight for Krondor.

Silden (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK16-Silden.mp3)

Eggley's deserted paths were even more eerie as night approached, and Owyn relaxed only when they reached The Stranger and Devon's raucous laughter as he saw them return. Evidently less than pleased with the hand of solitaire pokiir that he'd dealt himself, he drummed his fingers on his leg and grinned up at the companions.


Locklear gave the cards Devon had dealt himself a considering glance. "I'm more familiar with pashawa, but I've played pokiir a few times with men from the Shamata garrison. You play by special rules?"

Devon's grin grew sharper. "Straight game. Mercy's rules, full deck, nothing wild. Only special rule I have is you cheat, I ventilate your liver. Simple as that. Interested in playing?"

The squire considered, then slowly but firmly shook his head, sighing. "No, I guess not. Not today. It's nothing personal you understand, I just don't feel Banath's with me at the moment."

"Aye, I've had runs of luck like that," the mercenary agreed as he stood and moved to draw them each a pint. "Once I was riding high while I was working for the Dauphiness of Palanque, won fifteen straight games of lin-lan in a tavern against this miserable old seadog, but the bastard refused to give up. Middle of the sixteenth game, he pulls out a diamond half the size of my fist and says he wants to bet it. I tell him I don't have enough money to match a bet like that, but he suggests I put up the purse I'm carrying for the Dauphiness."

"How did he find out about it?" Owyn asked, intrigued by the story of a world so far removed from his own.

Devon chuckled, sighing. "Let's say the liquor told him... So, I put up the purse, and he pulls out a Blue Lady, a Red Knight, two gods-be-damned Yellow Squires and a King's motherfucking Jester! Lost the whole lot to him!" The mercenary grinned, whatever discomfort the memory brought him dulled by the passage at time. "The Dauphiness was less than pleased. I had to work for that bitch as a bodyguard for two years to pay off what I lost in that purse."

Locklear raised an eyebrow. "If you were a Dauphiness' bodyguard, you must be a superb swordsman. Perhaps you could teach us a thing or two?"

"I'm good at making the other bastard bleed first if that's what you mean," Devon said, shrugging. "You don't stay alive as long as I do without picking something up here and there. I might be able to give you a few pointers if you're willing to pay. Say eighty sovereigns for a session. Interested?"

Devon waved towards the door. Seizing a pitted schiavona from under the bar's counter, he followed them into the open yard before The Stranger Tavern, then passed them up to lead the way across a grassy field. Slowly the ground inclined, giving way to a rocky hillface and a tumble of ancient, mold-eaten gravestones.


"Eggley's graveyard?" Locklear halted behind the stocky mercenary. "I don't understand."

"Knowing how to defend yourself isn't just knowing how to hold a sword. It also has to do with where you put your feet!" Twisting a half-turn, Devon swept his blade at Locklear's face, forcing his unsuspecting pupil to stumble backwards over a half-buried stele. Lunging neatly forward, the mercenary pressed the point of his blade to Locklear' s neck and drew a single bead of blood.

"Congratulations," Devon growled. "You're dead."

After five hours of ripostes, dodges and very near misses, Devon motioned for his pupil to drop his guard. "That's enough for now. It's time to eat. We can talk while I make something."

((That's a 15% increase to everyone's defense skill for the folks at home. Missing the dialogue that led to this training is why I had to redo a chunk of my playthrough.))

((rewriting/editing note: In the original text, Devon's carrying a "salamanca". Salamanca's a city in Spain, not a type of sword, and the only time I know of a blade being called 'a salamanca' is one of the swords in Highlander. That sword was a rapier-like weapon with a somewhat broader blade, so since Queg is vaguely Italian/Roman and Devon seems more like a bruiser I gave him a schiavona instead. A schiavona (http://www.firebloodarms.com/product/fb21002.jpg), if you don't know, is basically a basket-hilted broadsword from Italy, rather like the scottish basket-hilt claymore but with a somwhat broader and more tapered blade. I am SUCH a nerd.))

01-06-2009, 02:15 PM
Ch. 1 Introduction, Part 2 (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK03-Ch1-Intro02.mp3)

Something shiny caught Gorath's eye just south of Eggley the next morning. Bending down to take a closer look he brushed aside several layers of dirt and scrub brush to reveal a badly damaged suit of elven armor. Pulling on the suit to remove it from the ground he was surprised at the ease with which he was able to free it. It had obviously been buried by something other than the years.


"More disinformation to convince us that this route is more heavily guarded than it is?" Locklear asked the moredhel.

"Perhaps," Gorath said, still frowning even as he strapped the spare armor to his pack. "But I'm not sure."

They pushed on, and around noon passed a small house that seemed as good a place as any to stop for a rest and to perhaps refill their waterskins. The house, it turned out, was home to a slight balding historian named Kellyn who talked of the ancient Valheru and the relatively recent cataclysm near Sethanon while he got them some fresh water for their packs.

"The folks I've interviewed, the ones living near Sethanon, say they thought the world was coming to an end - like the fabric of heaven was being turned back upon itself, revealing another universe in the skies. And they all talked about the explosion and fearsome flying beasts circling in the sky." His voice trailed off. "I think it may have something to do with the legends of the Dragon Lords. One day I'm going to figure it all out."

Locklear laughed, but Owyn thought it sounded the slightest bit forced. "I'm sure you will, Kellyn...some day," the squire said, patting the diminutive historian on the shoulder, "and when you do I'd like to read that book! In the meantime, thank you for the water."


As they approached a narrowing in the trail, a place where it twisted through a steep ravine a bit south of Kellyn's hut, Gorath frowned.


01-06-2009, 02:34 PM
It's a Trap (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK26-Its_a_Trap.mp3)

((Ok, as you might have guessed from that ambush warning, there's at trap at this narrow point in the map, and now that you've seen animated gifs of most of the basic trap elements, it's time to do an out of character walkthrough.


We can't see the third electrical pole or whatever you want to call those things, but the grid clearly shows us that it's there (always turn the grid on at least once while navigating traps). To avoid risking the pathfinding running our guys between the trap poles we move only one if we can help it (though later traps require cooperation to clear a path) and we move in small increments. Oh, and while it's not obvious from the screenshots, you can (and will eventually have to) push things on a diagonal, but do it one square at a time or instead of pushing you'll walk around what you wanted to push.


Step 1 is pretty obvious, circle the triangle of trap poles and trigger the left blaster with the transparent crystal...


Which de-activates the top trap pole, allowing us to cross over safely.


Then, push the solid crystal up to block the right blaster. Now it will still fire when we cross it's line of fire, but the crystal will absorb the blast.


Finally, move through the gap between the deactivated trap pole (blocking the fire from the left blaster) and the solid crystal (blocking the fire from the right blaster). Trap solved, since you only have to get one person through it. Easy huh? Don't worry, they do get harder. Oh, and I WAS thinking about making you guys solve some of the later ones. What do you think of that?))

01-06-2009, 09:09 PM
Great write-ups as always Brer, I can't believe this is still chapter 1 of....9, I think?

What struck me today was that this is one of the very few cRPG's that justify random battles well. You have an important captive that a different nation is actively trying to recapture, rather than...um...random monster X.

Have you played the sequel? How does it compare?

01-06-2009, 09:09 PM
Have you played the sequel? How does it compare?
It was fine.

01-06-2009, 09:22 PM
Great write-ups as always Brer, I can't believe this is still chapter 1 of....9, I think?

((10, but the 10th is basically the ending cutscene.))

What struck me today was that this is one of the very few cRPG's that justify random battles well. You have an important captive that a different nation is actively trying to recapture, rather than...um...random monster X.

((It sometimes gets a bit strained, but in general, yeah, I've always been pretty impressed by it.))

Have you played the sequel? How does it compare?

((I've always been interested, but not yet, no....and, since I think I've finished distracting myself in the other threads, let's see about getting this a bit more wrapped up before bed...))

01-06-2009, 09:22 PM
It was fine.

This is almost entirely uninformative, I'm sorry. Does it look and play the same? Entirely different but still has that 'flavour' of Feist? Did Feist actually get involved....hell, time to hit wikipedia.

01-06-2009, 09:37 PM
This is almost entirely uninformative, I'm sorry. Does it look and play the same? Entirely different but still has that 'flavour' of Feist? Did Feist actually get involved....hell, time to hit wikipedia.
Heh, sorry, but that's all I really remember about it. BaK was one of my favorite games ever made, and Return felt slightly better than middling. It's been long enough now that the specifics elude me and only those feelings remain.

01-06-2009, 11:12 PM

"We'll check around the town before staying the night in the inn," Locklear said as they passed a pawn shop, its eaves cluttered with a crazy assortment of items all strung up on leather thongs. "If we don't find the collector, we head straight for Krondor and god help the moredhel spy or Quegan sellsword who gets in our way. If we do find him, we can double back north, but otherwise I think it's time to finish this trek."

Gorath and Owyn both nodded agreement, and the search of the town didn't take long. One man's wife said she had glimpsed moredhel moving south on the outskirts of town, and a few farmers had had similar sightings, but none could say for sure just how many there had been or if any had been armed, let alone with what.

Their biggest surprise was in an old abandoned house whose rune-carved frames and lingering air of incense and strange things burned marked it as the former home of some witch or hedge mage. Owyn drew them to it, and when Locklear had finessed the front door the young noble was inside before the squire could finish straightening up.

The mage grinned as he tapped at a board that seemed identical to the others in the wood floor, then drew a few strange designs across its surface while muttering something neither of the other two could make out. He finished with a click of tongue on teeth and the board popped neatly out of its slot, allowing Owyn to move it aside and remove a beautifully worked horn from a shaped recess draped in red velvet.


"Well, that's one souvenir from this town at least," Locklear murmured as Owyn slung the horn from his belt.

"It's not just an instrument, Locklear," The mage said, nearly breathless with excitement. "It's magical. I don't know just how it works, but it's powerful and it's very, very old."

"Take care with it, then," Gorath said as they entered the local tavern. "Old magics are dangerous."

Inn (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK14B-Inn.mp3)


Finding no empty tables, they joined a shifty-eyed man who stared at them for a moment, then glanced away while his hands carefully slipped a set of dice into his pocket.

"No games right now, fellas," the thin man hissed, his eyes flicking to the door that led back towards the tavern's sleeping chambers. "I owe some money to a bloke in the back room and I don't think he would appreciate me giving it to you in a game of chance."

Noting the gambler's high-strung state, Owyn smiled reassuringly before asking "Who is this person you owe money?"

"He's known by folks around here as The Collector," he said, lowering his voice until it was barely more than a whisper. "They say he killed a fella over in Eggley called Stellan."

"Well, perhaps we can find a game with you on another day," Owyn said, moving to stand and drift casually towards the door the gambler's eyes had indicated. Gorath and Locklear made a bit of small talk with each other, the gambler, and the other patrons, but slowly slipped away to follow the young noble.

Locklear paused only long enough to pay for a night's lodging before following his friends, only to have a large and sleepy-looking man push him aside. Blinking, but unable to get one eye to completely open, the man stumbled to a bedroll in the corner of the room and laid down.

"Are you the man known as The Collector?" asked Locklear.

He sat up grumpily and finally managing to get both eyes open. "What if I am?" he asked, his voice thick and slow with fatigue, drunkenness, or both.

"It would appear you have a debt that hasn't been paid you by an acolyte at the Temple of Silban," The squire said, smiling slightly as he moved to join his companions, "We just thought you should know."

A glimmer of greed appeared in the man's eyes. He looked more awake, and in a suddenly cheerful voice he said "Thank you! I shall pay him a visit on the morrow!"

01-06-2009, 11:36 PM
Inn (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK14B-Inn.mp3)

The guestbook was open when they emerged from the sleeping quarters late the next morning. Intrigued, Locklear checked to make certain the nightmaster wasn't coming, then scanned the pages. While there weren't any names familiar to him, he was puzzled by a red circle that had been drawn around their false travelling names.

"Get your nose out of there!" the nightmaster snapped, appearing in the doorway. "That's private information. Only business you have here is signing up for another night. Is that what you want?"

"I think we'll pass, nightmaster," Locklear said, giving the red circles a last glance before he moved back to Gorath and Owyn. "Let's get going," he murmured, "I don't like it when someone singles me out, not even in a book and under a false name."


The collector was well gone by the time they were back on the road, and so the trip back to the temple was quiet and passed quickly enough, the hills to the right and the mountains to the left rolling away as they passed field and farm and stony ravine, coming at last back to the long and richly-ornamented hall of the temple.

Temple (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK17-Temple.mp3)


A messenger went to find the high priestess when the acolyte recognized them, and in a few moments she appeared, her grey hair floating behind her as she greeted her guests. "On behalf of the Earth Mother, we thank you," she said. "The man who called himself the Collector is now in our custody."

"What will become of him?" Locklear asked.

"He will learn what it means to anger a goddess," she replied. "After, if he still lives, we will see he is rehabilitated."

Locklear shivered as he contemplated the future that likely lay ahead for the criminal. In the few instances he had seen a convicted heretic punished, he had been forced to avert his eyes. Hesitantly, he cleared his throat. "I believe there was some mention of a reward?"

The priestess nodded. "I have arranged for a few healing potions to be given to you as well as a small sum of gold. You will have them before you leave the Temple. I must leave you now to begin dispensing justice on this Collector. Goddess' blessing on you."

They thanked her and were soon on their way. Owyn grinned as he examined their rewards. "A few healing potions," he chuckled, lifting a full flask of restorative, a good two-dozen doses.


They had a second pleasant surprised when they arrived at Eggley that evening. It was still far from a bustling farm community, but smoke was rising from a few chimneys, and Owyn saw at least one woman taking in the day's washing from a line.

Inn (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK14B-Inn.mp3)


((Heh, I guess they forgot to put in new text for the repopulated town.))

Sure enough, The Stranger was nearly full when they entered, and the bustle and noise and smoke and laughter were such a change that for a moment the scene was nearly as surreal as the empty common room had been when they'd first seen it.


"That's good news, isn't it?" Owyn asked, smiling around at the bustle and commotion.

"All taken, I think so, though I don't know what the ultimate fate of my tending this tavern will be," Devon said, chuckling and glancing at where his battered sword stood propped between a pair of ale kegs. "Still haven't heard what's become of the tavern keeper, but while I am still here, I suppose I ought to act like one. What can I get you?"

"Nothing but beds tonight," Locklear said, smiling. "Congratulations on Eggley's rebirth, Devon. I hope everything works out here so you can hold on to the tavern."

The mercenary snorted. "One way or the other, it's been fun, so I have no regrets however it turns out." he said, shrugging easily.

"That's good to hear," Locklear said, his smile widening as he paid Devon for the night. "Goodnight, barkeep!"

01-07-2009, 02:04 AM

As the companions moved south, both Locklear and Gorath seemed increasingly restless. By now the scenery along the eastern slopes of the Calastius mountains was familiar, and there were no more signs of moredhel in pursuit or Quegans in ambush. The young mage had his thoughts and his magic to occupy him, and in fact just a five or six miles northeast of the crossroads outside Krondor a casting of Eyes of Ishap revealed two moredhel lockchests containing valuable equipment.


((Wanted to show you guys what a casting of Eyes of Ishap looks like.))

Unfortunately that was the day's last piece of good news. As they drew closer to the King's Highway once more Gorath caught sight of the flash of blue cloaks and red sashes and cursed violently.

"If anything there are more of them now," he spat, shaking his head in disgust. "We are outnumbered at least ten to one. Do you know of any other way into Krondor?"

Locklear bit off his own string of epithets for the enemies blocking their way and sighed, shrugging. "We could head back north for a seaport, but the nearest one's Ylith. Even then it'd be just our luck to find that Delekhan had hired pirates to sink anything with sails or oars headed for Krondor from any port along the Bitter Sea coast."

Gorath nodded slowly. "Then we will wait until nightfall, attempt to slip past, and pray that your gods are with us."

They waited, and the enemy waited. The moredhel were still in the trees, rarely moving or allowing their armor to glint, but the Quegans were far less disciplined. They were used to the chaos of boarding actions or the furious speed of a night-time raid on a coastal village, not the careful patience of a prepared ambush.

Then, just as Owyn was prepared to give up, Banath smiled on them. A large caravan appeared on the King's Highway approaching the crossroads, then passing them and heading for Krondor. A large and well-guarded caravan.

"Come on!" Locklear cried out, leaping to his feet and gesturing frantically for Owyn and Gorath to follow him. They ran for the shelter of the wagons and the hard-bitten men who paced to either side of them. There were three or four for each wagon, and at least ten wagons that creaked and groaned under their loads.

At first the guards shouted in alarm when they saw the trio of armed figures sprinting towards them, shouts that became even more agitated as someone made out Gorath's elven features and moredhel garments. Someone in the train even loosed an arrow at them, though it veered high and wide before disappearing into the trees to the north of the crossroads.

And then Delekhan's warriors and their mercenaries recognized Gorath for who and what he was, and with a roar came charging out of the trees towards the caravan. This time the threat was unmistakable and bows twanged and crossbows thudded while the drivers fought to keep control of horses neither bred nor trained to calmness in the face of battle.

"I hate doing it, but these merchants might make the difference between the our survival and the Kingdom's, or Delekhan's flag hoisted over Rillanon," Locklear gasped as they pelted away from the melee. "Remind me to ask Arutha...to compensate them if they live through this or if we do look out!"

That last came as they cleared the front of the wagon train only to discover that not quite all the enemy had been distracted by the caravan guards. Five of them were arrayed to block the road, and there was just enough time for Owyn to begin readying his spells before battle was joined.

Charge into Battle (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK11A-Charge_into_Battle.mp3)


They fought wildly, Owyn's first spell nearly searing Gorath's brows and beard off his face as the blast of fire took a moredhel that was raising his blade to confront the rogue dark elf. Two Quegans and the second moredhel rushed to that one's assistance, obviously under orders to stop Gorath at all costs, but he was ready and his two-handed broadsword spun in a deceptively graceful arc before cutting down first the badly burned warrior and then one of the Quegan cutthroats, blood arcing across the blade and spattering to the grass.

Locklear, who had charged the left portion of the enemy's line, suddenly found their backs to him as they all turned to face Gorath. Seizing the opportunity the squire drew his narrow blade and neatly hamstrung a Quegan, stepping to the right as his blade whispered low before he reversed his grip and plunged its needle point down into the mercenary's throat to still the scream that was still just forming on his lips.

Owyn, his will fueled by the anger and frustration of over a month on the road dodging death and dealing death and realizing that his home was endangered, lashed out with his magic again and again, two more balls of incandescent energy hurtling into the backed crowd around Gorath. Quite possibly it was only their shielding bodies that kept the moredhel alive, for even Owyn was scorched by the backblast and when gorath appeared the skin of his face and arms were beet red, tight, and shining.


There was no time to stop to loot the bodies thoroughly, but Locklear did crouch to scoop up a large crossbow to replace his lighter, flimsier one. They tore down the path as if all the evil in the world was on their heels, and it wasn't until a good two miles on that any could muster enough thought to slow and turn to view the trail behind. The sounds of battle still drifted to them from behind a bend in the road and a line of trees, but no pursuit was visible, and they slowed to a quick and rubber-legged walk even as they crested a hill that revealed the final leg of the road.


The path turned. After a few more minutes of travelling, the road bed began to slope towards the sea, leading eventually through a pair of iron gates and into the majestic seat of the principality.

"Krondor," Locklear said with a sigh that seemed to indicate both relief and concern. "If any more assassins have been sent against us, it seems a safe bet they'll be lying in wait for us between here and the palace, ready to take us and assuming we'll be weak from the battle with that bunch back at the crossroads. What's your guess, Gorath? Do we go in now or not?"

"We have no other choice," Gorath said. "We go."

01-07-2009, 02:19 AM

Krondor (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK06-Krondor.mp3)


Still panting, the three passed the outer gates and slowly began to wind their way towards the palace. Locklear grinned, watching Gorath work to keep his usual stern and impassive expression while Owyn turned this way and that so quickly that he nearly ripped his own feet out from under him.

"I'd visited Bas-Tyra, once, when I was a child, but I only saw the inside of the coach and of the quarters father rented!" the young noble said. "It's wonderful."

"Aye, well, the more you display that wonderment the better you should be guarding your purse," Locklear commented, his eyes scanning the crowd. "The cutpurses and pickpockets love someone new to the city, and if I wasn't walking with you you'd have lost everything but the clothes on your back ten streets back."

Owyn blushed, but nodded and attempted to look more dignified. The effect made the squire chuckle, and he was still grinning when they reached the outskirts of the palace grounds. At least until he tried the postern and then the portcullis itself. Locklear nearly screamed with frustration shook the bars. For all the troubles he had been through to get them all alive to Krondor, the locked palace gates simply added insult to injury. Calling out to the gatemaster angrily, he pounded the hilt of his sword against the portcullis.

Stirred by the racket, a young man liveried in the colors of the Krondorian Lancers strode out of his watch house and squinted at them, snapping up the bardiche which had leaned against the interior wall.

"Would you get this gate open...please?" Locklear said, trying to keep the smile that had felt so natural moments before as he looked at the young soldier. "We have business with the Prince."

"Can't help you, Seigneur," the guard replied. "The gate mechanism's broken, has been since three nights ago. Unless you and your companions have a mind of climbing the walls, there won't be any getting through here until we can find the plans for the portcullis. The castle engineer is absolutely livid."

Locklear accepted the news with irritation, but knew of nothing else that could be done. "Could you go and get Prince Arutha for me then? It's a rather urgent matter."

Again the guard shook his head. "He's meeting with Pug of Stardock and some Tsurani fellow named Makala. Gave explicit instructions he wasn't to be disturbed unless the castle was burning down around their ears."

"Could you at least find Seigneur James..."

The guard cut him off with a shake of his shaggy head. "Been missing for two days. No one knows quite where he's off to, but you know how James can be."

Locklear nodded. "All too well. My bump of trouble tells me he's looking for whoever sabotaged the gate."

"Sabotaged?" The guard looked puzzled, as if the thought hadn't occurred to him. "Why would anyone do that?"

"I'm not sure, but if the thought occurs to me, I can guarantee that it has occurred to Seigneur James." Resheathing his sword, Locklear bid the guard farewell and motioned for his companions to follow him.

"I have a feeling that the only way to solve both our problems is by going through the sewers that lead beneath the city," Locklear whispered, hurrying them to the northern gate. "There is a secret passage that will lead us into the palace, and I also suspect that we may bump into Seigneur James down there as well."

((Come on, guys, you knew it wouldn't be THAT straightforward. But we're almost there. One final and relatively small dungeon and maybe a bit of poking around in Krondor and we'll be at the end of Chapter 1. I'm going to try and do the rest of the Chapter tomorrow, and get us started on Chapter 2 as well.))

01-07-2009, 07:03 AM
Wow, no wonder I had so much trouble with this game. I usually made a bee-line for Krondor, and missed most of the side quests that are powering you up. I vaguely remember getting James in my party shortly before encountering impossible battles.

01-07-2009, 09:24 AM
Have you played the sequel? How does it compare?

From what I remember the sequel wasn't too bad. It was fun, but not nearly as good as Betrayal. It seemed to me that they tried to make it a little more attractive to the Diablo crowd by having (I think) random weapons in chests and the like, and there was a lot more weaponry in general, with different magical effects. One small problem with the game is the sheer amount of greatswords that you find in the game when only one character can use them, and... he leaves your party in like the first chapter. Sigh.

01-07-2009, 12:42 PM
It's interesting - in *most* RPGs, given their inherent fetch-questy nature, I wouldn't think twice about a palace gate being closed for some stupid reason making me have to do more adventuring to get in. Maybe it's just Brer's writing, but the setting here seems so much more realistic -- ok, maybe realistic isn't the word for elves and magic, but grounded maybe? -- that having to go through the sewers of all things to talk to the very prince you're working for because his front door is busted seem utterly ludicrous. Couldn't they throw you a rope ladder or something? Really.

01-07-2009, 01:56 PM
Maybe it's just Brer's writing, but the setting here seems so much more realistic -- ok, maybe realistic isn't the word for elves and magic, but grounded maybe?

Thanks, but I can't really take too much credit. Remember, a lot of what you're seeing is text from the game, and I'm adding little edits and interstitial material so it flows as purely written paragraphs rather than a series of text boxes under character portraits. I've added little details where I could remember them or get them from references, but there I'm drawing as much from what Feist wrote as from my imagination, and I could even be screwing some details up.

As for the setting, it starts out lower magic than most fantasy settings (more LotR than Forgotten Realms) but seems to get more magical as time goes on as Pug founds the world's first modern center of magical study (Which is about 13 years old as of this game). Because of the lower magic, it's also a bit higher tech, sitting vaguely around a late medieval/early renaissance level.

having to go through the sewers of all things to talk to the very prince you're working for because his front door is busted seem utterly ludicrous. Couldn't they throw you a rope ladder or something?

Heh, well, for what it's worth when stuff like this comes up I'll try to do my best to come up with a rationalization that isn't too painful. I figure that Locklear knows James would be down in the sewers and wants to find him first. Would it have been better if I'd just skipped that chunk of text and instead written a couple paragraphs with Locklear explaining that they would slip into the palace via the sewers in the hopes of avoiding any more ambushes while in the city? It seems a bit unbelievable to me (since there are more guards in the city), but maybe it's an overall improvement?

01-07-2009, 03:38 PM
Krondor (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK06-Krondor.mp3)

"The sewers?" Owyn asked, his nose wrinkling as if in anticipation of what was coming. "Even if the gates to the palace grounds are broken, we could raise a ladder or they could let down a rope...?"

Locklear shook his head. "Call me paranoid if you will but I don't like the idea of waiting around for an hour or two while we talk the guards into leaving their post to make arrangements for something like that. Whoever sabotaged the gates knew we'd find a way past them, so their goal must be to hold us at a known location long enough for..." the squire shrugged, "well, for whatever they have planned. So no, the sewers it is, and with any luck Jimmy will be down there."

Gorath raised an eyebrow. "Why are you so sure a squire of the prince's court would go first to the sewers when there was trouble?"

Locklear grinned. "Because Jimmy wasn't always a squire," he said. "Come on. I know a decent inn where we can rest up for a few hours, then we'll try the low road to the palace."

They moved through the crowded streets, and soon entered a part of the city that struck Owyn as even more exotic. The scents of foreign spices and strange foods filled the air from street vendors, and the buildings they passed began to have fronts pained in unusual colors or worked with unfamiliar geometric designs. Bolts of rainbow-colored silks and blades with rippling patterns like wood grain or running water were displayed in shop windows.

"The Keshian district," Locklear said, smiling. "I was assigned to work with Ambassador Hazara-Khan for a while and he introduced me to the food here. There's a little inn near here that I've found useful when I needed a place to quietly do business."


Locklear motioned to the figure across the room. The man walked over to join them, albeit a bit unsteadily. He stood before them, eyebrows arched inquisitively.

"Glad to see you!" he said, grinning a bit blearily at Locklear. His voice was plummy, and starting to slur. Owyn figured that if they'd arrived an hour later that the stranger would have been face down in a puddle of spilled ale and snoring.


"I've been to see Nia at the Six Toe near Sethanon," Nivek begain, then glanced about as if expecting spies to come popping out of the woodwork. "Ah... I can't really talk about it right now. Why don't you come back later and see me?"

The squire chuckled. "We will good friend! Take care."

"We can eat," Gorath began once Nivek had wandered back to his table, "but before we rest we should find a smith who does repair work. We've managed to keep our armor and weapons in decent condition so far, but a whetstone and a hammer in semi-skilled hands are no replacement for a professional smith and his forge."

Locklear snorted. "The market district in Krondor?" he said, containing his amusement. "Why don't we just take all our possessions and give them away instead? The Mockers are thick as porridge in there and the local merchants hike up the prices accordingly. We'd be better off buying outside of the city."

"Where we left at least a quarter company of Delekhan's warriors and at least that many Quegan cutthroats," the moredhel pointed out.

"Mmmmm, true, true...alright," Locklear sighed, giving the pot of thick stew bubbling over a huge fireplace a longing stare before he heaved himself back to his feet. "I know a decent place not too far from here, but let's be there and back quickly, eh?


The shopkeeper whistled. Cringing at the sound, Gorath glanced up to see what bargain the merchant wished to call their attention to, but instead it seemed the man was calling someone else.

"Didn't mean to startle you," the merchant said. "Just trying to find my mender."

"Ah, then you do have a tinker in your employ," Gorath said, nodding. "I was told you did, and we are in need of one."

"Well, sometimes he's in my employ. When he chooses to show up," the shopkeeper said. Despite the words, the slightly plump man smiled amiably enough as he gestured towards an ascetic-looking young man who had emerged from the back of the shop. "He can fix nearly anything - crossbows, armor, swords. You name it. And his work looks like brand new. Shall we do a bit of business?"

They did, and within two hours their gear was all good as new. The mender thanked and his employer paid, the three returned to the Rainbow Parrot and retired to a few hours' of uneasy sleep before Locklear stirred and shook his companions awake. "It's time," he murmured, gesturing for them to follow him down a back stair that opened onto a trash-filled alley.

Owyn gagged at the odor. "Have they been dumping chamber pots into the street here?" He asked, retching.

"Quite possibly. Not everyone has a connection to the sewers. And brace yourself, because if you think this is bad you're in for a rude awakening," Locklear replied, leading them to an old door tucked away beneath one of Krondor's high arching bridges.


01-07-2009, 03:59 PM
Under the City (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK24-Under_the_City.mp3)


They made their way carefully down into reeking blackness, occasionally slipping on what Owyn fervently hoped was just filmy coats of mold or mildew. When they reached the bottom of the stairs and Gorath lit a torch, the flame flickered strangely, sometimes a normal sooty orange, sometimes turning blue at the edges as the moredhel swept it across the pools and streams of reeking waste.

Locklear stared at the color and grimaced. "Put it out, Gorath," he said. "We need a special kind of lantern down here or we're apt to ignite a gas pocket."

They pressed on then, but had barely moved fifty feet down the sloping low-ceilinged passageway when a nasal voice echoed off the walls.

"Who goes there?" It asked, and then Owyn murmured something and a faint diffuse glow outlined every surface for yards around, revealing a rake-thin and poorly dressed boy.

Ch.1 Introduction, Part 2 (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK03-Ch1-Intro02.mp3)


The youth shifted, and his eyes widened as he saw Gorath looming just behind locklear, then widened further as he realized that Owyn was the source of the strange illumination. Then he tried to control himself, not quite managing to hide his fear. "Fast with a blade I am. Step any further and I'll do you, I will!" he blustered, one hand dropping to the hilt of a knife.

The squire shook his head. He knew better than to laugh, but it was difficult. "The only thing you will do my young friend is die an unfortunate death on the point of my sword. I used to spar with Jimmy the Hand and I'm a faster blade than he. Do you still wish to cross me?"

"Jimmy the Hand? He's a bloody legend, he is," snorted the boy, eyes narrowing. "Next you'll be telling me you've lain with the Empress Lakeisha of Kesh. I'd advise you to be nice like, however cause I got five blokes waiting a little on down to make sure nothing happens to me, see."

He paused, then finally added, "I don't suppose you've come on behalf of Seigneur James have you?"

Locklear frowned. "Seigneur James? Then you don't...well, perhaps we have."

"Alright then, down to tacks," the little thief said, seeming to relax. "If he didn't send you, you'll be answering to the Upright Man and not me, so I wash my hands of it. Just watch your steps down here, as there's a bit of trouble going on down here. G'day."

"Wait," Locklear called out, raising a hand as the youth began to fade back into the darkness. "We don't know our way around down here."

The boy stopped moving way, but the look of disdain was back on his face and more firmly fixed there this time. "I look like a bloody page to you?" He asked, sniffing. "I've got affairs of me own what I need to see to."

"Just answer a few questions?" the squire said, glancing down at his coin purse slowly and significantly.

The boy considered for a moment, then grinned. "Right then, so long as you don't ask me anything what might get me in the hots with the Nightmaster. What you want to know?"

"You wouldn't happen to have an extra set of picklocks laying about, would you?" Locklear asked, producing a single hold sovereign and spinning it on his palm.

"Could be I would," said the youth, eying the gold. "That would depend on what you have to offer me, now wouldn't it?"

"How about a royal pardon the next time you end up in the hands of the City Guard?" the squire asked, smiling.

"Oh, that'd be very nice, I'm sure," the boy said, sneering. "How about the Prince's palace while you're about it? I'd have to be cockle-headed and three pence short to buy in on a fib what like you just told. No quicker than you're out the Highway, and you'd have forgotten it in a Mocker minute. You'll have to do better."

"There's always gold..." the squire said.

"That there is," agreed the young thief. "And that's the language. Twenty five gold sovereigns. Take it or leave it."

"Deal," Locklear said, nodding. "I'll hand over the money before we leave."

"Then you'll not mind my not handing over the picklocks until I have the money, will you? That's fair, innit?"

The two carefully traded a handful of slim steel for one of heavy gold, and then moved back, still eying each other like a pair of alley cats scrapping over territory.

"I'll be off now, as I've business with the Upright Man," the boy said, grinning as he tossed the couns. "You'll have to come by again sometime and tell me some more of your fables about Jimmy the Hand."

"Perhaps we will, lad," Locklear murmured, watching him go.

01-07-2009, 06:26 PM
Under the City (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK24-Under_the_City.mp3)


They moved slowly. Owyn's light was kept low, and so at times the three found themselves wading in filth before they could step aside, their boots splashing in matter none of them cared to think about. The air was so fetid and foul that before long they simply ceased to be aware of the smell, even as its utter stillness sensitized them to the faintest puff of breeze.

Several times as they followed the twists and turns of the slime-covered stone they came to chests. Most were unlocked, small equipment caches of lamp oil and torches for the scavengers who came down to pole through the muck in hopes of finding scraps of metal or jewelry or coins, but one was different. Owyn barely had time to ready the Scent of Sarig and grasp Locklear before the squire began to pick its heavy and heavily rusted lock.

"Trapped," the young mage whispered. "Do you think it's a cache of the Mockers?"

"Could be," Locklear murmured back, moving more carefully this time as he slipped the probe and torsion wrench into the hole. He worked entirely by feel, and it was nearly fifteen minutes before the spring-loaded needle was disengaged and the lock undone.

Owyn immediately grabbed the scroll, drawing the diffuse glow into a tighter, brighter orb to light it as he began to read. "It's called 'skyfire'," he said, ignoring the squire's grunt of annoyance as he lost the light he needed to inspect the rest of the chest's contents, "and I can use it to draw lightning out of any open sky to any person or thing touching or carrying a piece of metal."

"Very nice, Owyn," Locklear hissed. "Now dim the light back down. You can study the thing once we're in the palace."

Owyn nodded, abashed, and once more the light spread to a broad, low glow in which Locklear raised a large glass vial.


They moved on, finding other chests, but only one with anything of note: a familiar spell on a scroll that Owyn quickly stored in his pack. Then, just as Locklear was beginning to think it would be safe to intensify the illumination, they heard voices around the next bend of the passage.

"...tly now, or you'll have the Mockers down on our heads, damn you."

"Damn you, ya bastard, and damn your advice. I know what I'm about."

"You're about to end up floating face down in the shit with a second grin below your first one if you don't mind me. The Crawler-"

The voices cut off suddenly as Gorath slipped, his right boot skidding and then splashing loudly in a foul puddle. He swore in moredhel, then moved forward quickly, the others following even as the sound of steel being drawn filled the chamber ahead and Owyn chanted, flooding the tunnels with light.

It's a Trap (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK26-Its_a_Trap.mp3)


They charged the pair, rough-looking men carrying short blades. The nearest of the two looked almost releived when Gorath's elven features caught the light, but in another moment his eyes narrowed and he opened his mouth to shout something to his companion. Whatever the thug might have said died in his throat. Gorath moved faster than he did, and with three quick blows drove the man to his knees before he kicked him flat and drove the broad point of his sword into the rogue's chest. The man shuddered and coughed blood, and his feet were still beating on the slime-slick stones while Locklear dealt with the other.

Owyn, unable to use his only truly offensive spell, was still murmuring the words necessary to steal their enemy's sight when Locklear finished the fight. The squire moved fast, striking low and high and low again and high again, forcing his opponent into a rhythm that ensured that the next time his blade was whipping wildly upward to beat off Locklear's high downward stroke the squire was lunging forward, arm extended, needle-pointed blade slicing neatly between his opponent's ribs to shred his heart.

01-07-2009, 06:47 PM
Under the city (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK24-Under_the_City.mp3)


"Who were they?" Owyn asked as Locklear inspected and then stowed the beaker of reddish oil and Gorath wiped his blade clean on the hem of one corpse's tunic.

"Not mockers, and no one supposed to be down here," Locklear said. "And when they heard us, they drew steel. Beyond that, I don't know. We may learn more when we find James. Now, let's see..."

The squire moved to the ladder that dominated the chamber and carefully climbed it to inspect the trapdoor. He stared, squinted, then swore and brushed his hands clean on his knees. "The idiots' tampering has done this lock in," he said. "They've broken the mechanism trying to pick it. No one will be getting through this with unless they feel like ripping the damn thing off its hinges."


"We should move on, then," Gorath said. "I do not want to spend longer in this...place, than absolutely necessary."

Owyn chuckled and Locklear nodded and they pushed on. The passages branched and combined, twisted this way and that, sometimes narrowing until they were forced to move single file, sometimes widening to broader tunnels or square chambers where more ladders led up to more trap doors.

And then there were the pits, cavernous openings that filled the corridors and bore streams and rivulets of waste down to some unseen lower level. Too deep to climb into and too wide to jump, they were stymied until Owyn pointed to an old iron hook above the pit.

After a few minutes' discussion, they had a plan. Gorath carefully cut a portion of the rope they had brought with them, then fashioned one end into a looping slip knot. A careful toss hooked the loop about the iron anchor, and a few careful tugs made it fast and gave them a rope that could be used to swing across.


They turned two more bends, and came to a stairway leading even deeper into the sewers. Halfway down its spiral, they discovered a heavy iron door which prevented them from moving any further downward. "Looks like it's rusted shut," Locklear said, examining the reddish dust which caked the lock. "No going further for the time being."

Disheartened, he led the way back up to the mouth of the stairwell, and they turned back along a passageway that Locklear thought led north towards the Palace. It was almost impossible to tell how long they had been down in the dark and the reek, but Owyn felt sure that the night was well gone and the day approaching. Then, passing into another of the broader passages that ran east-west, they heard a noise.

01-07-2009, 07:22 PM
"Careful now," Locklear murmured, creeping forward towards the edge of their faint light. That was when the darkness moved.

Fight to the Death (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK11B-Fight_to_the_Death.mp3)


As the dark shapes moved forward and raised blades that had been smeared with something to dull their surfaces, Owyn lifted the horn he had carried since Tannerus and blew hard. The whole of his body trembled as he exhausted himself, emptying his lungs until they burned to create a blast that made the dragon horn thrum and add a low moan of vibrating ivory to the deep booming note that rang from the sewer walls. In answer came a distant sound like the baying of wolves or of hounds, their calls ringing closer as they responded to their master's call. Smoky at first but coming increasingly clear, figures began to appear. They twisted perspective, seeming to run in place and yet to somehow approach at the same time, as if running towards this place through a passage that didn't conform to the normal rules of space. And then they were there, huge slavering hounds that flanked two of the black-garbed assassins.

While Owyn summoned the ancient magic of the horn the figures closed, each selecting one of the companions and moving to attack, not giving any of them a moment to speak a spell or ready a bow. Locklear was moving nearly as fast as Owyn, however, and as his opponent squared off with him the squire knew what they faced. Nighthawks, professional assassins and members of the Kingdom's guild of death.

But this one seemed less skilled than the Nighthawks he remembered. Stealthy, but lacking some of the deadly grace and speed, and the squire moved to quickly take advantage of it. He used his longer, lighter sword to full advantage, moving to deny the Nighthawk a true engagement of blades even as his sword's tip flicked in to slice at the light cloth, opening minor gashes until the Nighthawk finally lost patience and charged. Locklear was waiting, and it was surprisingly simple to step side-ways and drive one of his boots into the assassin's knee. The slick footing denied him his full strength, but still the assassin twisted and stumbled and Locklear recovered first, pivoting behind the black-clad man and driving his sword deep three times before slicing across the back of his neck.

Gorath, meanwhile, gave his own opponent only a single crushing blow that staggered him before turning to help Owyn. The first hound seemed to realize Gorath's intent, and even as the moredhel flanked Owyn's attacker the great beast held other nighthawk at bay, growling wickedly and then lunging at him. Owyn beat at his foe, his staff swinging down again and again. If the nighthawk had only been facing the young mage it would have been little more than a nuisance, but with the second great dog behind him and Gorath to his side he was soon overwhelmed. The hound darted it, head twisting and then jerking sideways as it hamstrung the assassin as neatly as it might any deer its master had ordered brought down, and it was springing back out of the way as the nighthawk fell and Gorath's blade and Owyn's staff finished the job.

With two of their three enemies fallen, all turned back to the furthest nighthawk only to find him already slain, crumpled in a bloody heap with the massive dog's muzzle buried in a soft red place where his throat had been. Then, in the space between two heartbeats, the dogs were mist, and the mist was gone, leaving them alone once more in the sewers.

Owyn sighed, leaning heavily against his staff, then gagging as Gorath and Locklear both bent over the corpses and began to hack open their chests. "What are you doing?!" he cried out, shuddering.

"Cutting out their hearts," Gorath said, glancing at Locklear, "and burning them."

The squire nodded, and Gorath returned it after a moment even as he went about the butcher's work. "You have fought nighthawks before," the moredhel said, and Locklear laughed.

"Ohhh, yes, you could say that," he replied before turning back to Owyn. "Some of the Guild of Death were moredhel serving Murmandamus the last time we had real trouble with them, and those ones would rise up after they were killed, getting stronger and stronger. The only way to kill them was with special magic or to cut out their hearts before they rose."

Owyn still looked ill, but nodded, and after another minute he drew his own small knife and moved to the third body. His hands shook and his gorge rose more than once, but the young noble did what was necessary.

01-07-2009, 07:34 PM
Jimmy (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK18-Jimmy.mp3)

Someone whistled then, just as they were finishing the ugly business, and Locklear felt his stomach sink as he spun round and waited for more black figures to slip from the darkness to kill them all. To his surprise, a familiar friend stepped from the shadows and reached up to run a hand through his hair.


"-hopes that the Lancers will root out the Mockers while they are at it."

Locklear ignored the return of Owyn's sickly look at the word "imposters" and instead moved forward to take James' hand in his own. "What, take out the Guild of Thieves?" He asked, raising an eyebrow. "Doesn't seem likely from all the things you've told me from your days as a Mocker."

"More to the point, we know now a few of the Nighthawks escaped to Romney when we smashed them up after that affair with Princess Anita," said James, squeezing back before he let go. "They certainly won't dare tread Krondor's streets for a while yet. I'd been tracking around down here trying to find out more when I ran into those fellows. So...why have you come back so soon to Krondor, Locky? I thought you were going to be gone another four months or so."

Locklear sighed, and any hint of the cheer he'd shown at finding Jimmy again vanished as he spoke. "I've got bad news from the Northlands. Looks like the Dark Brothers are stirring again. They raised Murmandamus' battle standards over Sar-Sargoth and there's a moredhel army gathering to attack the Kingdom. This moredhel," and the squire paused to gesture to Gorath, "used to be one of their clan chieftains and was something of a hero during the Riftwar against the Tsurani to boot. I thought Prince Arutha would be interested in talking to him."

"I don't like this, Locky," James said, eying Gorath without warmth. "The moredhel stirring again in the north and someone mimicking the Guild of Death... My bump of trouble says that things are going to get far worse before they get better... I assume since you're down here that you're trying to get into the palace the way I showed you a few years ago?"

Locklear nodded. "Yes. I was thinking I would have to pry off the grate somehow, but if you have the key, it would save me a great deal of trouble."

"Still on me," James said, flashing a quick smile as his fingers darted into a pouch and something small and gleaming flashed through the air between them. "It's all yours. I can find my own way into the palace. I'm going to creep around a while longer down here and see if I can unravel this particular mystery."

"Suit yourself," Locklear said, managing to put a little humour back into his voice. "I, for one, am anxious to get out of this hole. Come and get me for breakfast tomorrow after I've spoken to Prince Arutha!"


01-07-2009, 07:43 PM
Just past James they found the ladder they were looking for, and when Locklear tried the key it turned in the lock with a pleasant click. Locklear turned to his companions and motioned for them to follow him up the ladder...

Krondor (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK06-Krondor.mp3)


Chapter 1 Ending (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK09-Ch1_Ending.mp3)


01-07-2009, 07:44 PM
Ambush (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK35-Ambush.mp3)


01-07-2009, 07:47 PM
((And THAT is the conclusion of Chapter 1 of Betrayal at Krondor. I might have Chapter 2's intro up tonight, but I'd also like to take a moment to collect more feedback. Towards the end of this chapter I started cutting out a lot of the random combats and either skipping them entirely or writing them in in narrative form. How did that work for you guys? Also, I left the Chapter 1 Finale without any text from me because I wasn't sure if it really needed it (what with all the animated stuff and things going boom). Would it be improved or damaged by more writing from me? Any other suggestions or criticisms that people want to make? EDIT: I R Dum. I haven't actually DONE an intro or ending with my text added for you to compare with. I'll do Ch.2's that way, and you can compare and contrast with the bookends of Chapter 1 and see which you like better. Also, I remembered that the full text pages are huge and don't need resizing, so from here on out they shouldn't be so damn big. Sorry about that.))

01-07-2009, 08:50 PM
I think the finale holds up on-


Oh god, those eyes are frightening.

01-07-2009, 09:01 PM
Oh god, those eyes are frightening.
More, or less, frightening than Locky's amazing neck twist? Straight out of The Exorcist, that is.

01-07-2009, 09:06 PM
Betrayal at Krondor Theme (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK38-Chapter_Title_Card.mp3)


Gorath's Truth (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK23-Goraths_Truth.mp3)


Confrontations (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK19-Confrontations.mp3)


The prince glanced down, grimacing as he saw the wine he'd spilled dripping from the table edge. If the dinner had not been a private one, servants would already be rushing forward to clean the mess.

"I have been tolerant while I listened to your vague speculations based on incidental half-heard conversations, but how am I to believe what you say?" Arutha continued, his face still colored. "What evidence have you laid before this council to prove what Delekhan intends to do?"


Gorath stiffened. "He is leader in name only," the moredhel said, and though his tone was more controlled than Arutha's there was no less anger in it. "However bitter a draught Delekhan may be for your kith and kin to drink, magician, his rule is black poison in the gullets of me and mine. Already he enslaves my cousins and rapes the land."

The dark elf locked eyes with the Prince of Krondor and refused to back down, and when he raised a fist it shook with rage. "Bloody his nose Prince of Krondor. Blunt his swords and the unified tribes will cast him down in wrath. Let him cross your Northern border, however, and ten other clans will join their strength to his and the legacy of Murmandamus will be but a spark next to his glory."

Arutha watched Gorath for a time, then finally looked away and let out a frustrated sigh, throwing his hands up. "Where would you have me send my troops, then? If indeed he intends a strike against one of our northernmost possessions, which castle shall I garrison for the attack? Highcastle? Ironpass? Northwarden?" The prince began to pace, turning back and forth at the ends of the long table. "If I am to fight a war then by all the gods tell me where would you have me fight it!"

Gorath matched the Prince again, tone for tone. "Would that I could tell you! Delekhan holds in good confidence only a handful of cowering dogs and among them only a few are privy to his war plans. His private counsels are restricted to choice individuals, his advisors Narab and Nago, his mistress Liallan, his son Moraeulf and...Nighthawks!"

Arutha turned back and stopped his pacing, dark eyes narrowing at the last name on Gorath's list. "He keeps foul company, that leader of yours..." he said, needling the moredhel again, probing, testing.

"Your highness," Gorath said, then paused to breathe deeply before continuing. "If you give me leave, I believe I can find the evidence of Delekhan's intent. I will need someone to accompany me to Romney and supplies for my journey and a small parcel of gold."

Arutha scowled. "Romney? What do you think you can find in a provincial river town in the heart of the Kingdom?"

The dark elf offered him a thin-lipped smile. "I aim to catch a bird in flight. Of late Delekhan has emptied a good deal of his treasury to revive the service of the Nighthawks. In exchange, he has demanded tactical information about kingdom holdings..."

"He's turned the Guild of Assassins into a guild of spies?" Arutha asked, reaching up to stroke the beard he was still not quite used to wearing.

"Only for a time," Gorath said, shaking his head. "Although the payments have been left in various hidden locales, the messengers were always to rendezvous in Romney. If I go there, I may be able to intercept information concerning a forthcoming attack. Would such evidence suffice?"

"Perhaps..." Arutha murmured, scratching at his chin as he continued to eye the moredhel. His scowl returned, and deepend this time. "Damn me but I don't trust you Gorath. How do I know that this isn't a plot of yours? We can weigh the evidence to our heart's content and your cousins could be slitting the throats of my serfs as we sit dawdling..." He turned, took two steps, then spun back abruptly and nodded. "Alright. You'll go to Romney but you'll provide for yourself. If this is part of some secret moredhel scheme, I'll not look the fool before the world."

The prince turned towards the white-robed man sitting at the table's other end and nodded to him, his face softening. "Pug, unroll the map for me..."

01-07-2009, 09:10 PM
More, or less, frightening than Locky's amazing neck twist? Straight out of The Exorcist, that is.

I didn't even notice that before, but now I can't unsee it. Thanks a lot.

01-07-2009, 09:26 PM
Confrontations (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK19-Confrontations.mp3)


"...So an attack at Northwarden seems unlikely," Arutha finished, eyes running over the map again and again.

Pug nodded. He was still no tactician, but the years had taught him more than he'd ever wanted to know of the science of war. "Leaving Highcastle..." He began,

The prince held up a finger, nodding sharply. "Which is a viable alternative," he cut in, "but neither target seems to have an obvious goal. I know you are no field strategist and you hate to become involved in state matters but I should like you to delay your return to your home at Stardock for a while. I feel...ill at ease."

Pug nodded once more. "You are not alone in that. I too have sensed something unusual in the air, but I won't ascribe it to anything as dire as magic." The thin mage grinned and reached up to squeeze Arutha's shoulder. "More likely we suffer from bad soup."


"...and James will send word to me there," Arutha murmured, sighing.

"What of the garrison?" Pug asked.

"It will remain in place, at least for now," the prince said. "I have considered the option of a full push south and it seems unlikely, but I will give Delekhan nothing. Our agreement remains. Now we wait. Gods help Gorath if he betrays us to the moredhel."


((And we sit at the beginning of Chapter 2. Once more we have a destination, but the mode of travel is up to us. Aside from the super long way around, going up to Northwarden and Highcastle and so on, the two basic choices are whether to go up and skirt the southern border of the Dimwood and pass by Sethanon, or head straight east and go by Malac's Cross. My usual game path is to go east on the southern road until I get to Lyton, which is the brown dot that sits at the crossroads between the three blue towns (Sethanon to the west, Malac's Cross to the South, Silden to the east.). From there I'll usually double back towards Sethanon to handle the sidequest that Nivek hinted he'd give us info on if we talked to him later, then go up to Romney. Now, there's a special event in Romney that you can't end the chapter without changing. As long as that event is going on, it's the worst place to BUY stuff in the game, but the best place to SELL stuff. It is so good, in fact, that you can sell things for more than you bought them for IF you bought them someplace normal. Naturally this lends itself to potential abuse. I usually save some good high-value loot to sell there if I can, but otherwise don't exploit it too much, but I can save all the loot for the entire chapter and sell it there, or go buy low and sell high and get shit-tons of money if you guys really want. So, Let Us decide how to Play chapter 2!))

01-07-2009, 09:55 PM
Arutha's being a stingy bastard and refusing to fund your little research trip. Also, you're traveling with Jimmy now, and we all know what his former occupation was. Fleece 'em for all they're worth.

01-08-2009, 02:33 PM
Maybe it's just Brer's writing, but the setting here seems so much more realistic -- ok, maybe realistic isn't the word for elves and magic, but grounded maybe? -- that having to go through the sewers of all things to talk to the very prince you're working for because his front door is busted seem utterly ludicrous.
It's worth pointing out that this sort of thing seems to happen a lot in the books too, heh. The sewer system into Krondor Keep is well-known to Riftwar enthusiasts. Keep in mind, that compared to what Arutha is actually dealing with at that moment (meeting with Pug and Makala), the guards almost certainly think it's No Big Deal for Locklear to have to wait a day in the city proper.

01-08-2009, 02:44 PM
Hmmm, I think that maybe getting tons of money from the stuff you find, rather than buying low and selling high would be the most interesting to me. That way you can buy good equipment, but you couldn't just load up on the most powerful stuff that money can buy. I like seeing all the different weapons and armor in the game since so much is written about them in their descriptions, so not going straight for the good stuff expands on that.

As for which path to take, I'm a little unsure, I guess maybe do the sidequest that Nivek hints at? Or maybe take the path that you're unused to taking...

On a side note, I played Betrayal at Krondor before reading any of Feist's books, so for the longest time, my image of Arutha was of a crazy looking, bearded jackass, rather than how he's portrayed in the boook.

01-08-2009, 04:18 PM
I agree with kaisel - playing maximizing armor day-trader while you're on a mission of no small import would be weird, but hearing that you can get a good deal for the stuff you're coming across anyway in an upcoming town and thus hanging onto it because your warchest could use the funds seems reasonable.

01-08-2009, 04:30 PM
Alright, I'll go ahead and do what I normally do when it comes to selling off equipment, then. I'm taking a bit of a break for now, playing the Das Schwarze Auge: Drakensang demo (yes, I'm playing the demo for a hardcore german RPG based on a tabletop game as a break. I know...), then I'll get back to the gameplay of Ch.2 soon....with a return to the sewers. I think skipping the more repetitive combats is a good plan.

EDIT: Hey, maybe if I really like this game I can go back and find a copy of the Realms of Arkania games (which I think were also Das Schwarze Auge games) and do those....or not. I think IF I can finish this one and I still feel up for another LP it'll be either Betrayal in Antara or Buck Rogers: Countdown to Doomsday.

01-08-2009, 10:36 PM
Ok, I'm thinking about my plan for the chapter while I do a little un-written grinding to up Jimmy's skills (which start out actually a bit lower than Gorath's were when you got him, which is to say craptastic for the beginning of Chapter 2) by doing a few combats in areas we wouldn't normally go, and I remembered something:

You can complete the -entire game- without ever having to go to most of the area around Highcastle (the middle large town/blue dot along the rim of the Teeth of the World mountains that separate the Kingdom from that upper loop of cities in the Northlands, if you look at the map). There's a bunch of stuff in that area loot and combat-wise, but more importantly there's a long-ass sidequest that gets you a fairly significant reward that you can easily miss entirely.

You can do it now or (I think) in Chapter 3, and MAYBE in Chapter 6, but probably not because of [spoilers]. The fact that [spoilers] makes me think it's now or Chapter 3 or never. Chapter 2's main storyline is all between Romney and Krondor, and Chapter 3's is between Romney and Northwarden.

The problem is, damned if I can figure out a good rationalization (in the context of my writing) for Squire James to take the Prince's "it should take you about a month to get to Romney" and say "fuck that, we're going to the other end of the Kingdom!" to do a sidequest ;P. Of course, solving one element of Chapter 3 requires you to go all the way across the kingdom the other way. I'm probably going to rationalize this in my narrative through teleportation even when I'm walking in-game.

Thoughts? Should I tackle this side-quest now, or in chapter 3, or should I leave it as something for people who actually track down and play this game to look forward to? Oh, and I know I could've edited my last post, but I wanted to bump the thread so people who read my last post would see this and weigh in.

01-08-2009, 10:53 PM
Do it now. Also, it's Highcastle, and if I'm remembering the books correctly we can meet Patrus there. And we need Patrus on our team.

01-08-2009, 10:58 PM
Could you take some liberties with the in-game plot - in essence, fabricating an additional fetch quest? I remember you need [the guild seal], but both the fellow you get it from and the [Romney guard] could conceivably send you on a further McGuffin hunt before playing their parts in the actual progress of the chapter.

01-08-2009, 11:03 PM
I'm remembering the books correctly we can meet Patrus there.

Nope. All NPCs joinings and partings are determined by the story. I'm not going to go into details, suffice to say that you end up controlling two different parties and following two storylines.

Could you take some liberties with the in-game plot - in essence, fabricating an additional fetch quest?

Well, I don't think it'd fit where you suggest because you find those well before you get to that person, but maybe I can come up with something along those lines....*hmms*

Edit: I -will- do it this chapter, BTW. I just need to figure out how to write it in now.

01-09-2009, 11:56 AM
I see a simple solution. Jimmy eavesdropped on Pug and Arutha's conversation!

He heard that Hightower is the most likely target for attack, with Northwarden less likely. He suggests they go to Hightower and discover what the point of attacking there could be, feeling clever and two steps ahead of the Prince. Obviously, there will be lots of enemy activity scouting the area, and it would be easy to find the proof requested of them at the same time.

01-09-2009, 01:42 PM
Krondor (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK06-Krondor.mp3)


Squire James led Gorath to the central hall, his lips tightening each time he turned back to eye the dark elf. "No, moredhel! Locky may have been right in bringing Owyn along to Krondor but I am not going to have my attention split between watching two potential sources of trouble on the road to Romney," he said, shaking his head sharply as they turned down a hallway that housed both his quarters and Locklears.

"Delekhan employs magic far more commonly than your Kingdom forces do," Gorath said, sighing. "And his mages are trained to fight alongside the rest of his army. Your magicians are few, and most of them are old men and young boys in smoke-filled libraries with less knowledge of the battlefield than I had when I was ten."

"Then we'll just have to be careful to move quietly and avoid attracting the attention of any mages, won't we?" James asked in syrupy tones. "You're a grown Dark Brother, after all, and I'm sure you can move quietly if you don't want your friends to find us."

"Squire-" Gorath began, his composure finally fraying, only to fall silent as a striking dark-skinned woman turned the corner and stopped as she saw them, smiling.

Gamina (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK22-Gamina.mp3) ((This track just bugs the shit out of me for some reason, and I love the rest of this game's soundtrack. Am I the only one? Also, Katala is supposed to be quite pretty, dark-skinned and dark-haired, and in her mid-to-late 30s at this point, so...not the best actor.))


"You've just missed him," the woman said, glancing back the way she had come. "He and Makala went off to discuss magic someplace and if I know my husband, that means I won't see him for a few days. Even on holiday, he can't seem to take his mind away from the art for long."

"In many ways, he and the Prince are much alike," James said, nodding. "Where is Arutha anyway?"

She smiled. "Out with his twins and the Princess Anita. It seems your famed luck is running thin today."

"Quite the contrary, for I still have your company," he replied in his best imitation of a fawning courtier. "If I may have a moment?"

She laughed, nodding. "As much time as you need. What may I do for you?"


The woman paused, then glanced curiously over Gorath. "And who is your friend, James? He looks like the elves I saw in Elvandar, but somehow..."

"He is not my-" James started to say, but Gorath spoke over him and stepped past him to offer a carefully measured bow. "I am Gorath of the Ardanien and former clan chieftan among the Moredhel. Those you spoke of are the Eledhel," he said, studying the woman carefully. "I do not believe we have met."

"We have not," Katala said slowly, but she smiled still as she reached out to grasp one of Gorath's hands. "I am Katala, Pug's wife. Your people are the ones who invaded this land ten years ago, and yet you come to warn us now? That choice must have been a difficult one for you, Gorath."

Gorath just looked at Katala, and it was nearly a minute before he replied. "Yes. It was," he murmured, stepping back behind James who shot the dark elf a dark look before turning his attention back to Katala.

"So, when do I get to meet this stunning daughter of yours?" he asked a bit too loudly. "I've heard quite a bit about Gamina, but I've been too busy to make the time to meet her."

"I imagine you will see her as soon as I do," Katala murmured, her smile growing a touch wistful. "She's more than likely trailing Pug and Makala about the palace. Any opportunity to hear her father discuss magic and she's immediately at his side. Then too, it may be she's hiding away from Arutha's twins. She's not quite interested in boys yet."

James chuckled. "You've a bit more time for peace and quiet then," he said. Then, glancing down to the strange crystal wand that Locklear had given him and that now hung from his belt, the squire looked back to Katala. "I know that quite few of the artificers in Stardock have begun exporting their goods from the Academy. Are there any good places to buy magical items near here?" He asked.

Katala looked thoughtful, glancing down for a moment and humming to herself before her eyes returned to James' face. "The most notable one that's close is a little place called Stardock Annex at the Abbey of Ishap at Sarth. There's also a fellow by the name of Dabeh who buys from us, but he lives a long distance from here, out north of Romney if I recall. Does that help?"

"It does, yes, my lady," James said, smiling. "But now I'm afraid we have to be going. Take care, and tell Pug that I said hello."

Krondor (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK06-Krondor.mp3)

The room they entered a few minutes later was a mess, and Gorath was surprised to see James grin. In the few hours he'd known the squire he'd struck Gorath as a rather humorless man, or at least a man deeply unhappy with his assigned task and the company he was forced to keep.

"Locky, Locky, Locky," James muttered, looking through the Seigneur's personal effects piled in disorganized heaps. "You may be a fine swordsman, but your personal organization leaves quite a bit to be desired."


((This is how you get the stuff you want from Locklear's inventory before your party is split. It's nice, but there's a point later on where you don't have this luxury and if you're not paying attention you can end up with one party or the other lacking important items for awhile like whetstones and so on. To avoid this, I'm just making sure that he has a full stack of all the useful stuff like a shovel, rope, etc, etc, etc, so I can have the guys who will be split off later carry that kind of stuff for the next few chapters. I'm also giving him the good gear because by the time we have control of him again he'll need it more.))

01-09-2009, 02:13 PM
Under the City (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK24-Under_the_City.mp3)

Adamant that they not be seen leaving the palace, James led Gorath back into the sewers. Both wrinkled their nose at the wave of stench that washed over them when the trap-door was lifted, and they descended slowly into the reeking blackness.

The sewers were as unpleasant as ever, and they moved slowly. James forced Gorath to move in front, as if half-expecting the moredhel to trip some ambush or trap set for them. Then, as they turned a corner towards the broad, long passage that led to the exit, a shadow moved. James and Gorath both drew their swords, stiffening as they prepared for attack, but instead of a nighthawk or one of the strange rogues they had met on their last trip through the sewers a young, robed man with an oak staff approached them, grinning.

Ch.1 Introduction, Part 2 (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK03-Ch1-Intro02.mp3)


Owyn blushed. "Well, after Seigneur Locklear dumped me off after we got here and told me I could go home, I got bored and decided to check out Krondor," the young noble began. "Unfortunately there's nothing much interesting going on here, so I decided I would come back to the palace. I tried to pay Gorath an unexpected visit last night, but discovered that the guards had been doubled with orders that no one could see him. I might have fallen for it if I hadn't heard someone snoring in his cell..."

"Gorath doesn't snore, I take it?" James asked, though he knew the answer.

"Not a sound," Owyn agreed, smiling at the dark elf. "When I realized that something was in the air I went to find Locklear and discovered that he was mysteriously absent, despite a tray of food delivered to his door just moments after I slipped away. Finally, I came down here and talked to Limm who told me you had been down here earlier this morning. At that point, I realized Arutha meant to slip Gorath out of Krondor for some reason..."

James laughed and shook his head slowly before giving the young mage a grudging nod of appreciation. "Are you sure you're not a thief by profession? You think unnervingly like a Mocker I used to know."

Owyn grinned. "So, are we ready? We should probably get moving. Where are we going anyway?"


James blinked, surprised to hear Gorath take the position he had argued against before, but he cut the moredhel off. "Quiet. I'll handle this," he muttered before stepping towards Owyn.

Owyn talked faster, raising his free hand. "But I could jeopardize your mission!" he said, blurting out his argument before the Squire could order him back to the palace. "Who knows who might take me captive between here and Tiburn? And if I go back to the palace now, I might accidentally talk to someone. Besides, I'm from the eastern part of the Kingdom. I know the area and I might be able to help..."

The squire sighed. "For better or worse, you seem determined to hitch your fate to catastrophe. But if you want to get yourself killed at a tender young age, who am I to naysay it? I used to pull the same stunts when Arutha wished to pull out of Krondor..." James paused, then smiled wryly. "I suppose turnabout is fair play, and serves me right...All right then squire, you can come along, but these are the ground rules. One, I am in charge and you do whatever I say without question. Two, under no circumstances do you reveal anything about Gorath or our mission to anyone. If someone asks, we will continue what Seigneur Locklear suggested - Gorath is an elf. Thirdly, and lastly, you don't wander off on your own. I don't care if you're watering the trees, you ask me first. Is all that clear?"

"Absolutely," Owyn said, putting on an innocent expression that couldn't hide his excitement. "Whatever you say."

"Stop smiling," James said, though his lips were beginning to twitch as well. "You're going to earn your keep. I know I'm going to regret this, but let's get moving. We have a long way to go and no time to get there."

01-09-2009, 02:48 PM
Ch.1 Introduction, Part 2 (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK03-Ch1-Intro02.mp3)

"Except none of ya's going anywhere till you tell me what you think you're doing down here," came a voice from the darkness.


"Same thing as kept every Princes Krondor from doing that very thing," Said Limm, grinning. "We'd know a week and a day before and have time for a nap in between. While they was tromping about down here, we'd be looting their houses and their barracks and be all the richer for the expedition."

James laughed. "Fourteen years away and the Mockers are just as I left them," He said, then turned serious in a moment. "I want you to send word to the Upright Man that Seigneur James needs access to the sewers, just for a few hours."

"Seigneur James?" the young thing asked, eyes widening. "Well now, that's different. You've been all the talk about Mocker's Rest for the better part of a month! The Nightmaster's been right straight that we assist you in whatever manner we could."

"Why is that?" James asked, frowning. "Are things that bad down here that they're willing to suspend the usual rules, even for an ex-Mocker?"

"I'm sure I don't know," Limm said, shrugging elaborately. "I just do as the Nightmaster says. He also said we were to answer any questions you might have."

"Mmm, in that case, have you taken anything off the men who are posing as Mockers?" the squire asked.

"They're not much for carrying treasure, but yeah, I've found a few nice bits," Limm said cautiously. "Tumbled a corpse I found near the seagate just this morning..."

"If the price is right, I might be interested in buying the booty from you," James said, rubbing thumb and forefinger together and raising an eyebrow.

"That so? Well then, my price is a hundred gold." Limm said, smiling.

"A hundred gold? You said they don't carry anything of any value!" the squire said, scowling at the thief.

"Seems it's of value to you and I say it's worth a hundred sovereigns if it's worth a pence. Besides, you know the daymaster will take the guild's cut. So, Deal?"

"It's robbery," the squire sighed, "but we'll take it."

"Good then," Limm said and grinned again at the disgruntled former thief. "I'll get my satchel for you."

The lad returned in a few minutes and handed over the contents. Most of it was junk, but there was a small note slipped into a pouch of lockpicks, and James frowned as he read it in the faint light that filtered down from the sewers' exit.


"Here, boy," James said, smiling thinly as he handed the young thief the note. "The Upright Man will want to see that."

Limm squinted at the paper, making a show of scanning it over and making little "oh"s and "ah"s and "hmm"s before tucking it in a pocket. "So he will. Be seeing you," the boy said, disappearing back into the tunnels.

"What was that production about when he was reading the note," Owyn asked as they climbed the stairs leading back to Krondor.

"He wasn't reading it," James rplied, sighing. "He can't read, and didn't want to admit it in front of us." The former Mocker paused, then smiled slightly. "Still, if he shows talent, he'll be taught to read and write and even do some figuring. Better chances with the Mockers than he'd have doing 'honest' labor in the city."

Gorath frowned. "If the intelligent and the talented are forced to live outside your society's rules..." he murmured, "then your Kingdom is being wasteful and stupid."

James bristled at the dark elf's words, but a look from Owyn and a moment's consideration forced him to calm himself. "Yes...we can be wasteful and stupid sometimes," he said. "Still, I started where he was and damned if I'm not going to be Duke of this damned city before I'm through. It doesn't always work, but sometimes it does..."

Gorath nodded. "And Delekhan would not improve things. You do not like or trust me, Squire James, but you should understand that even if I do not love your Kingdom or your kind, I do not wish to see Delekhan ruling you."

James paused before the door that led back to Krondor proper, and the light from the barred window set in the wood cast stripes of light across his face. "That much I believe...Gorath," he replied after a long silence. "Let's get going."

01-09-2009, 09:25 PM
Krondor (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK06-Krondor.mp3)


They stopped at the Rainbow Parrot in the Keshian District first, and the squire bought three hot baths and laundry service. They were led into a series of small, dim rooms with large wooden tubs in their centers already full of steaming water, linen towels arrayed along one wall, and and a glass vial of a golden oily liquid with a strong herbal scent set beside a bucket half full of pumice dust. Each of the three stepped into their bath, and after a moment Gorath's voice reached James and Owyn through the high windows that connected the rooms and allowed light in from the outside.

"What is this concoction?" Gorath asked, and James grinned.

"Soap, Gorath!" the squire called as he stripped down and tossed his clothing outside where a servant would collect it. "You have seen soap before."

"Yes, but thicker, cloudy, and fuming to sting the eyes. Ashes and tallow, mostly, not like this," The moredhel said, and the sounds of splashing came from the far room. "Is this a Kingdom refinement, or a Keshian one?"

"Keshian," James answered, "though the soap-makers here and in the bigger cities of the Eastern Realm are picking up the knack. Apparently a real Keshian Bath is an entire building separated into multiple rooms, but this is quite fancy enough. Now be quiet and get clean."

Owyn grinned as he listened to the two talk, quickly working clean his own body before the heat left the water. He splashed, lathered with the soap and rubbed with the pumice indulgently, and the water was nearly cold by the time he was drying himself off. He met the others in a dim corridor on the far side of the small bathing chambers, and they waited there with towels wrapped about them until the servants came to tell them that their clothing was clean and and dry.

Owyn slipped into his robes while the others dressed, then blinked. He paused, sniffing at his robes and then sneezing. "It smells as if these have been rolled in ashes."

"They dry clothes using the exhaust from a forge nearby," James said, smiling. "It lets us dress soon after bathing, and kills most any little beasts that might have taken up residence in our clothing."

Owyn nodded slowly. "Well, at least we're clean and dry and not smelling of human waste," he said, shrugging.

They returned to the common room, just in time for a slightly unsteady man with the monacle to accost James, grinning. Owyn recognized him as the same one who had spoken with Locklear on their last visit. Nivek.


"The ledgers are balanced," sighed Nivek, "but I daresay my thirst suffers a deficit of catastrophic proportions. Though I handle thousands of sovereigns a day, I fear I haven't the command of more than a handful for my own use at the moment. I don't suppose you might be in a position..."

"What do you say, Owyn?" said James, turning to grin at his two travelling companions. "Do we buy a drink for the honorable Lord Minister of Finances of the Western Realm, or do we allow him to expire of thirst?

Owyn smiled. "I suppose it's our patriotic duty," he murmured. "By all means..."

"Bartender, a drink for the tax collector!" called James. "Drink up friend and tell me what you know. You've always had a good ear for the happenings in and out of the Kingdom."

"Rumors?" Nivek asked, shaking his head in mock-dismay. "My goodness me, I'm not the kind to consort with the rumormongers. No sire, you should know that. Of course, I do occasionally hear a few facts that are of interest to people. Accounting is a...UHRUP...fascinating business you know, all the figures and such."

"Something a little more lively if you please, " James said, gesturing for the bartender to keep the rounds coming and slipping him several sovereigns when he returned to refill Nivek's tankard. "Stolen cows, cheating wives, dishonest traders - that sort of thing."

Nivek grinned. "The prurient and the scatological, eh? Hmmm. Well, let me think on it. I believe I heard something last week - at least I believe it was last week. Maybe it was the week before that. Couldn't have been before that annexation in Malac's Cross ---"

"If you please, Nivek. We would like to get out of here before tomorrow," said James, his smile starting to get a little strained as the tax collector began to ramble.

"I would be most pleased to accommodate you, but it seems that my mouth has grown a bit dry. What do you say to buying me another...well, isn't that capital," Nivek said, blinking as he realized another full mug was already in front of him.

"Ahh now. That's much better," the tax collector said a moment later. "What was I saying? Oh yes, about this story. Th-ere was...UHRUP...this fellow that lives near Sethanon that has filed three new claims on land in the past year. Thr-ee, ya understand that?"

"Is there something suspect about his purchases?" asked the squire, his smile fading as he leaned forward to catch Nivek's word.

"Oh, his selections of land are nice enough. Prime pieces of land matter of fact, but he's without a...AAHHHP...ti-tle! How'z a person of ignoble birth manage to buy three prime estates? Tell me that!" Nivek thumped his nearly empty tankard on the table down for emphasis with the last sentence, and the recoil up his arm nearly sent the thin man to the floor.

"What was this fellow's name?" Owyn asked, frowning and glancing towards James. "Perhaps we should look into it."

"What kind of ques- RUCHH*- question is that now? Ya think I carry my ledger about in my head? I mean you might as well ass me the name of Prince Arufa's---Arutha's wife..."

Owyn blinked at the tax collector's response, astonished to see the man more than half incapacitated on just two tankards of ale. "You mean to tell me that you can't remember Princess Anita's name?"

"No..." Nivek said, blinking slowly as he peered at Owyn, "Hmmm...what is her name?"

"You were telling me about the man near Sethanon," James said, reaching out to steady Nivek. "What else do you know about him? Tell me about the man."

"...Ahhhh...I fink his name was Fibber..." the tax collector mumbled. "NAH, that's not right, not right at all... Fleeber...Monk's Finger...Map's Flipper...Fever... FEEBER! Maxie Feeber! Thatsss it! Ya know, I'm really, really getting tired now and maybe I should go home."

"There's still a few things I need to know. Think you can hold out for a just a few more minutes?" Asked the squire, smiling even as he gestured the barman for another mug.

"Sure...RUCCHH...I kin do it," Nivek mumbled. "Need something else ta drink though. You buy-UHRUP-ing? Ohyeah, that hit the... the ahhh... What?"

"I suppose you mean that your drink hit the mark," James offered, holding Nivek's arm steadily now. "Why don't you tell us a little more about this Max Feeber character?"

"NAHnahnahnahh...that's bori--UHRUP-ng..." Nivek said, his eyes heavily lidded now as he leaned in towards James. "Let's talk about the last year. Did ya know that for every cow in Midkemia, we get a golden sovereigns a year alone just for their manure... Did ya know that? BETCHA didn't! An for every duck..."

"Max Feeber," James said, enunciating each word clearly. "I want to know about Max Feeber."

Nivek nodded, his head flopping over like a rag doll's at this point. "Dokay. Moxie Flipper. Ahm, I know that gee was tryging to buy up some of the propurtee left in Sethanon a few years back from Jared Lycrow but Jared wouldn't sell to no one, so Moxie co-AHRUP-cooked up this idea... Sure you don't want to hear about the ducks?"

James sighed. "No. Just tell us about Max. What did he do?"

"Ee gots him selk a shovel and dug...to try to skeer Jared," Nivek mururmed. "Corse Jared wasn't skeered of nuthin but it shore fri-teened *UHRUP**-Nia..."

"What was he digging up?" Owyn asked, frowning as he tried to follow the drunk's rapidly deteriorating speech.

"...Goin ta slep now... Gnite..." Nivek muttered, the words almost bubbling up through his ale mug as his face descended into it before James' free hand closed around the tax collector's collar.

"Maybe I could buy you another drink?" the Squire suggested, shaking Nivek.

"What, you haven run outta mon...mon...yet? Oh, in that case I'll have nother...if you're buying?" Nivek said, smiling happily at nothing in particular. "Grabeyurd neer Sethnon. Dats whur he wusss diggin. Up---ERRRRUP--- Frait o gosts n Jer-rud whatnt. Not at ull. Jes Nia. Littl o Nia..."

"Where do you think he got the funds to buy the land?" James asked, having to repeat the question twice more before Nivek managed any sort of reply.

"E...Ee sait that he gots it in na hole! Alz the monkeys...ARRAH...moneys in na hole! Jus got go...to get it... Ain't frait no gooset...Ya nu... Zaa unturducktur key urdn skeywers...trite to sulit tome but...UHRUP...I no crumiminal...oh gles mr...AAAGH. O Ghats! Imna be sich! Ha- ho!"

"What? I don't understand." James said, blinking as he leaned in closer towards Nivek's face.

"I sait, mna be SICK!" Nivek managed to choke out, and James had just enough time to jerk his head back before the tax collector made good on his threat.

"Okay, okay," James said, slipping off the table's bench and patting Nivek's back with one hand while the other checked to make sure none of the mess had spattered on him. "I think I've abused you enough for now. Sleep well, Nivek. I think we know all we need to know."

01-10-2009, 01:42 PM
Krondor (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK06-Krondor.mp3)


They stopped at the smithy, entering beneath the carved eagle that flapped in the wind, clacking against the other beams of the building's awning. The young mender was working carefully over a wickedly curved Tapir, the broad keshian blade seeming to ripple as light from the forge played over the patterns in the steel.

"What can I do for you gentlemen?" The owner asked, his grin nearly lost in a bristling beard burnt ragged by stray sparks. He eyed James and lifted one thick-fingered hand to mop sweat from his forehead.

"We need three fitted suits of armor," James said, smiling as he watched the ruddy-faced man puff and mop, his heavy leather smock and streaked with a mix of sweat and scorched pockmarks, both from the heat of the forge. "I had heard that you've been experimenting with the designs the LaMutian garrison came up with."

"Oh, that we have, that we have," agreed the owner, grinning widely as he led them away from the mender and the forge to the cooler air at the shop's front, gesturing towards several sets of brightly colored armor. "Uses smaller pieces of steel at all the right spots and a mix of that damnably clever laminated, glazed wood and leather the Tsurani thought up, all held together with more leather and horn. You end up with a suit that's more than a third lighter and protects even better against most blows."

"Excellent. We'll take three sets, fitted to us, and repainted grey if you can manage it," James said.

"Oh, I can manage it, but why grey," the smith asked even as he guided Owyn to the nearest set of armor, produced a knotted length of string from a pocket, and began to take measurements.

"That's our concern, master smith," James said evenly. "Now, let me see to your payment."


Gorath hmmed appreciatively several hours later as they left the city behind. "An impressive invention," he murmured. "But I am also curious about your choice of color."

"Two reasons," James replied as they reached the crossroads and turned east. "First, I've heard that the Grey Warriors who make it to this side of the Rift sometimes repaint their armor grey or brown to mark that they've severed any bonds with their old houses. Second, the entire point of getting us new armor, aside from protection, is to escape notice. We might be mistaken for grey warriors at a distance on the road in grey Tsurani-style armor, but in the colors the rest of the Tsurani favor we'd be the talk of towns for days after we passed."


01-10-2009, 02:20 PM

The road lead east. Halting for a moment to ponder their options, James stared off in the direction of the Kingdom's populated heartland. "It's a few days to Darkmoor, and then another day or so to Malac's Cross. Hopefully your former friends are still squatting on the roads between here and the Inclindel."

The landscape flattened as they traveled, and as the days went by the hills and trees began to thin, far more sparse in the grassy midlands of the Kingdom. Soon they saw the grasslands to the north fade to a darker green, and each morning mists hugged the ground in that direction. "That would be -the- 'Dark Moor'," James said when Gorath asked. "The marshes that lay between Darkmoor and what's left of Sethanon."

They passed south of the wetland that marked the edge of the Barony of Darkmoor, and soon the road took them winding through vineyards, acre upon acre of trellised vines as far as the eye could see, most of them just starting to bud.


They entered the outskirts of the town of Darkmoor on the afternoon of their fourth day out from Krondor. It was quiet, and near a communal well they stopped to refill their water pouches. The well was shuttered, however, with heavy boards laid over its top and a sturdy iron padlock keeping them in place. After a few moments' deliberation James went to one of the larger houses and knocked at its servants' entrance. While they waited, James stood back to survey the house and its surroundings. "Darkmoor seems friendly enough," he said.

The door swung open and his attention shifted to a smallish woman who greeted him with a hug. "Oh my. Aren't you a dear? My name is Caroline, what's your name?" Before James had a chance to answer she ushered them all into the house.

Inside, amidst a collection of knick knacks and odds and ends no doubt collected over three quarters of a lifetime, they introduced themselves. They talked for several minutes as she refilled their water pouches with a pitcher sitting on a small wooden table in the corner.

"Have you seen the crazy old hen that lives down the road?" she queried, breathlessly. Only comes out at night. My sister Elizabeth thinks she's a witch or something. I just think she's crazy. Can't really blame her -- husband and son were both killed by evil spirits. That's what they say." Their pouches full, they managed to work their way to the door. The woman was still talking as she closed the door behind them.

"If we've time, I'd like to take a moment to speak with this old woman," Owyn said, glancing down the road towards the small and ramshackle cottage that Caroline had pointed out to them. Weeds filled what had once been a small garden, and dead tendrils of grape vine wound up the small hut's sides.

"All right," James said, "we'll be staying overnight here anyway. Meet us in the common room of the Darkmoor's Rest when you've finished.

Fifteen minutes and several bouts of knocking later, Owyn had just about concluded that nobody was home. Just as he was preparing to leave, a shuffling sound inside the house caught his attention.

"Hello! Is anybody there?" he shouted.

For several more seconds he heard nothing but silence and again he was about to leave. This time a hoarse whisper stopped his exit, though he couldn't make out what the voice on the other side of the door was saying.

"You'll have to speak a little louder. I'm just passing through but I would like to talk to you," Owyn said, leaning in to put his lips near the door's jamb.

"Come back when the sun is no longer in the sky," said the same voice, intelligible this time but still hoarse and ragged, "and I will tell you about the Rusalki." Hissing emphasis was placed on this last word.

Owyn tried to get some further information but he was greeted with nought but silence. "I'll be back tonight then, I suppose. Take care, ma'am."


At the inn, Owyn shared his experience with the other two.

"You think this is worth losing sleep to investigate, Owyn? Really?" James asked, frowning slightly. "To be honest this sounds like another cracked old woman to me,"

Owyn shrugged. "There are supposed to be an unusual number of spirits in this part of the Kingdom," he said. "I've read of periodic sightings of Rusalki downriver from Romney, and of course there's been all the talk of the haunting of the ruins of Sethanon after Murmandamus..." he paused, shifting in his seat and glancing towards Gorath.

"That was...a strange battle," the moredhel said, his face unreadable as he stared out a window at the moon, its pale light lost in the wash of illumination from the common room's fire. "We damaged the city, yes, but the force that devastated it so completely at the end was not our doing, not even Murmandamus' or that of his Serpent Priests' magic. It was..." he paused, and Owyn was startled to see the dark elf shudder for a moment, "something else."

There was silence for a time, and then James nodded. "Alright," he said, gesturing towards door. "Best we do it quickly. Soonest begun, soonest done, and soon enough up in the morning to get back on the road."

The cottage seemed totally dark when they arrived, and for a time it seemed that the widow was already asleep and that they'd wasted the trip. Then the door creaked, sliding slowly open to reveal a hunched figure almost totally shrouded in ragged and dusty black. "Come in," she said, and as they followed it became clear that the only reason the cottage seemed dark is that heavy cloth had been nailed over the windows and even rolled into the chinks of the door.

The room was lit by close to a hundred candles, and shadows danced crazily on the walls, a sight so distracting it took James several moments before he noticed that the strange old woman had already sank to sit cross-legged on the floor. No words were exchanged, but they walked across the room and sat on the floor in front of her.

"I shall speak of the Rusalki." As the woman spoke she began to rock gently back and forth, her gravelly voice taking on a songlike quality. "Innocence lost. Lost. Spring blossoms robbed of carnal bliss, the Goddess of death their first kiss. Their first kiss." Candlelight flashed in the wetness of her eyes as she continued. "They will shrink away from her touch, they hate her so. Hate her so. Find the Magic Touch or you too may feel her icy kiss."

The woman's head dropped to her lap and James got up to leave. He started to speak, but thought better of it. They left the house as quietly as possible.

01-10-2009, 02:32 PM

They all slept fitfully that night, and were up well before dawn. By unspoken agreement none of them spoke, simply packing their gear, donning armor and packs, and slipping out into the thin pre-dawn mist that cloaked the town and the vineyards around it. It wasn't until several hours later when a pale red sunrise began to bring color back into a dim grey world that Owyn spoke, and when he did it was the words of a spell. James blinked, twisting to watch the young mage in some puzzlement before Gorath moved to take the squire's shoulder.

"It is a scrying spell. Eyes Of Ishap I believe he called it," the moredhel explained. "It served us well on the trip to Krondor for spying out caches of moredhel chests and the like. Delekhan's assassins may be clustered along the King's Highway as you hoped, but his spies permeate your entire Western Realm, and so even here we may find something of interest."

Owyn sighed, then slowly opened his eyes. "You're right, we did. There are two chests in that stand of trees," he said, gesturing north of the road. "And something else, I think...there might be a trap."

James nodded. "Still, it's worth checking out," he said, turning from the road, boots rustling through the dew-slick grass. They'd gone no more than fifty yards when a familiar sensation pricked Owyn.

"Stop, it is one of their traps," the young noble said, gasping as half a dozen of the crystal-topped poles rose from carefully concealed holes in the ground.


It took only a moment for Gorath and Owyn to explain what understanding they'd gained of the enemy's traps and the apparent paths through them before James chuckled. "Stay where you are then. I have a bit of experience dealing with this sort of thing, but it's been years since I had a chance to practice, and damned if I'm not going to take the opportunity to now," he said, flashing them a grin that seemed to take years off him. "I've been playing too much Squire James the Prince's loyal advisor and too little Jimmy The Hand."

It took only a moment to see the way out. A single push to the floating crystal to block the strange fire-spewing device and they were through, inspecting a pair of heavy moredhel chests, their wordlocks beaded from the morning's mist even as it burned away in heat of the rapidly rising sun.


01-10-2009, 03:19 PM
((It's that time again. Have fun with these while I prep for the next chunk of updates. I have one question for you all in the meantime: There's an interesting cache in the ruins of Sethanon. However, Owyn's comments about the unhealthy and unnatural goings-on in the region are not kidding. Tell me if the party should try to make it to Sethanon to see what's there.))

Riddles and Locks (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK10-Riddles_and_Locks.mp3)


01-10-2009, 04:06 PM
Pretty easy bunch this time. I'll guess at the first half.

#1: MILK
#2: RUST
#3: CHEST, and there is no way that works if it's "translated" from Moredhel
#4: KNOCKER, another entry in the "puts the answer in the clue" division

01-10-2009, 11:27 PM
6.) wind
7.) blood

01-10-2009, 11:35 PM

Wow, at first I thought you had made a typo, Brer, then I realized THE GAME made a type (Locklear instead of James there).

01-11-2009, 12:59 AM
Wow, at first I thought you had made a typo, Brer, then I realized THE GAME made a type (Locklear instead of James there).

Highlighted for irony, and nope, I'm just lazy. If you look at the file name you'll see that's an image from Ch.1, taken when Locklear was in the party. There are a couple typos I've noticed (mostly stuff like its/it's and the like), but I'm sure I've made many, many more. I'll be honest and admit that you're pretty much getting pure first draft stuff from me. It's tempting to sit down and edit and revise, but honestly I'd never get this LP done if I did that.

01-11-2009, 12:01 PM
((Ok, normally I'd like to get a few more people in on the guessing, but I'll admit that I'm sort of anxious to get as far in this LP as possible before I go back to school next week.))


The two chests yielded their contents to 'Milk' and 'Rust', and the three quickly parceled out the supplies. James raised an eyebrow as the second chest revealed a set of elven armor and a vial filled with a bright yellow liquid.

"Fadamor's Formula," Gorath murmured, eying the vial. "It dramatically increases strength for a short time. I have heard that the aftereffects are unpleasant, however, like a hangover for the muscles."

They moved east, and in another few hours a path to the north led to a small temple. "Wait," Gorath said, reaching out to grip James' shoulder. "We should stop and view the temple's Mandala."

The squire thought for a moment and then nodded. "Mmm, yes. I've never used them myself but I heard something about Pug giving that magic to the temples."

Temple (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK17-Temple.mp3)


As an hour passed, James seethed. Four times they had asked one of the temple's golden robed priestesses to send for the high priestess, and four times they had been left waiting in the alcoves of the temple's central courtyard. When at last it became apparent that their repeated summons were not going to be answered, James shook his head. "We don’t have time for this. Let's get going."

They returned to the road, and the sun was beginning to dip behind them now, casting their shadows further and further ahead of them. The three spoke occasionally as the moved, but for the most part the hours passed in increasingly comfortable silence. Then, as they approached a bend in the road, Gorath held up one hand while the other dropped to his sword hilt.


James nodded, his own hand moving to his sword hilt, but by then it was too late. There were other shadows on the road, carefully woven mats of grass and twigs tossed aside as dark figures moved to block their path. Owyn gasped as a lucky flail with his staff deflected a light crossbow bolt, sending it spinning off behind him. "Nighthawks! Real ones!" James cried, drawing his sword and trying not to show fear as he saw the grace and speed with which these ones moved, far more impressive than the imposters in the sewers beneath Krondor.

It's a Trap (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK26-Its_a_Trap.mp3)


More bolts whistled from the treeline where other ambushers had apparently been positioned, but the fire ended as the nearer nighthawks closed on them and the melee began. James had just enough time to grab one of the vials that Locklear had given him. Closing his eyes, he quaffed some of the bitter, rusty fluid. It tasted vile, but as he moved in to block the first of several strong blows aimed at his vitals he found his arms moving faster and more surely than he would've expected. The redweed brew was doing its job, helping to compensate for the past few years in which James had spent most of his time learning the ways of the court and not enough retaining and honing his more practical skills.

The nighthawk facing him seemed almost arrogantly slow at first, as if expecting his opponent to fall quickly. But then he noted the strange crystalline glitter along James' blade and he stepped back, realizing that the short wand in the squire's belt had already been used. James lunged forward, and as his blade skittered along the assassin's it left a rime of frost. The squire used the magical cold to his advantage, making the nighthawk flinch and then opening a broad, shallow gash across one shoulder. The black-clad figure screamed in pain as the edges of the cloth were instantly stiff with ice, the blood in the wound crystallizing. The cold stiffened the assassin's side, stealing most of the force of his next blow so that James was able to escape with a light gash across his side that his armor stopped, The squire grunted, then struck again, and this time the magical cold of the enhanced blade bit into his opponent's throat, literally freezing his dying cry as he crumpled.

Meanwhile, Owyn and defended while Gorath attacked. The young mage was overwhelmed once again, blocking frantically and only occasionally able to lash out and make a nighthawk grunt as his staff's head jabbed into a stomach or cracked across a knee. The dark elf was faster, spinning between no less than three opponents, sometimes lashing out in great two-handed blows, sometimes using one hand to grip a nighthawk's wrist to force his blade aside while his own bit home, sometimes just kicking hard at ankles and shins. The moredhel dropped one enemy with a sweeping gash that opened the guts of one assassin, and he was still spinning with the blow when his sword crunched deeply into the spine and side of another.

The two remaining assassins focused on James, forcing the squire back away from Owyn. Gorath came to his aid, and suddenly the young mage found himself in the clear. He blinked, gasped, then began to summon his magic, focusing his will and pouring it through the magical structure his words and his gestures created, lighting the ball of flame that he sent winging into the nearest nighthawk. That one was sent flying, and though both his companions were scorched by the magical fire at least one had experienced these near misses before and was ready to take advantage of the disorientation the noise and heat and pressure created. Gorath recovered first, and James followed his lead as both their blades rose and fell, cutting down the final assassin and washing the dirt of the roadside with the man's blood.

01-11-2009, 12:03 PM

They searched the bodies, and this time Owyn found that the grisly work required came easier to him. Hearts were removed and then set on a small fire to smoke and char while they went through their enemies belongings. James sighed as the pouch of one nighthawk revealed a collection of hollow glass beads. “Silverthorn antidote,” he muttered. “Which means one or more of these bastards are using the stuff. I swear, one day Arutha will have to call up all the garrisons from LaMut to Highcastle and march up to Moraelin to destroy every last patch of the stuff. We'll have to be careful from here on out.”


Gorath nodded, but his attention was focused on his own nighthawk. The removal of the hood and scarf revealed a face like his own, angular, dark of hair and eye, and with pointed and lobeless ears. He glanced down at the sword in the corpse's hand and sighed. “Take this, James. It is better than your own,” he said, tossing the weapon to the squire.

James blinked, looking the sword over before glancing back to Gorath. “It is, yes, but why don't you carry it?”

“Because that particular blade was made by one of the eledhel communities near the border of Elvandar,” Gorath answered, sighing. “This one no doubt took the blade as trophy from some eledhel warrior during a raid. I have no wish to carry such a thing.”

James nodded. “I think I understand, Gorath,” he said, watching the moredhel carefully. “You know, I've only ever spent a little time with the elves, but I heard that sometimes one of the Dark Bro...the moredhel would come ba-”

“Yes,” Gorath said, and his voice had an edge to it that killed any desire James had to pursue the matter further. For now, at least.

They finished packing up the rest of the gear and pressed on, and the last of the day's light had nearly deserted them when the road forked north and south. James halted them at the crossroads. He pointed south where the road rose and fell, winding this way and that and descending to a large town several miles away. “Malac's Cross,” the Squire said, “Let's get going.”

01-11-2009, 12:10 PM
Malac's Cross (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK05-Malacs_Cross.mp3)


Owyn smiled as he walked with Gorath and James through the broad streets. "It's getting late, and I know an inn not too far from here. The students at the Collegium use it."

James nodded, "We'll stop there for the night, and I think we should make a brief stop at the Abbaye Ishap and the Collegium tomorrow."


"Mind the door!" cried a man who seemed to be nominally in charge of the chaotic common room. Owyn blinked and stopped the swining door just before it struck an inebriated young man in student's robes. The thin man approached, eying them all as they closed the door behind them.


The innkeeper stared at them. "You're in the Queen's Row and you can ask that question?" He asked. "A chess match of course. It was wondrous. Jamie Tiller was defending his title against that snot nosed prat from the Abbaye, Kyle Fischer. Jamie opened, moved his queen's pawn to fourth rank. Fischer opened with Abbar's Gambit - arrogant cud - but Jamie actually maneuvered into it with his knight. I was thinking that he was going for the queen..."

"...But he sacrificed his King's rook and took the priest," James finished, grinning. "It's a brilliant move, but it left his own queen vulnerable didn't it?"

"You've got a good head for the game, Seigneur," The young man said, eying him with new respect as he mopped at cheeks and brow flushed from the heat of the room and the effort of riding herd on the chaos of the common room.

"The P...A friend likes to play, but we don't always have a board handy. Once you learn to play in your head, a board almost becomes redundant," the squire said, still smiling. "I have to admit it's tougher earlier into the game. More pieces to keep track of."

The man nodded. "True enough, but it's still fun to watch and watching is what brings in a lot of my custom. That's why the Queen's Row is here. Perhaps I can relate the rest of the game over ale, assuming you gents are buying. The name's Ivan Skaald and I'm what passes for an innkeeper. What can I get you today? Oh, and just a few quick rules for the place: No drawing steel or killing people unless they really deserve it, no pets, and never EVER try to use an En Passah here."

Malac's Cross (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK05-Malacs_Cross.mp3)


James hmmed as he turned to look at the tables where inset chess boards were studied by pairs of robed students from the Collegium. “Of course, now your rules have piqued my curiosity,” he said as he watched one student carefully isolate and remove his opponent's knight. “What is an en passah? I've seen quite a few variations of chess but I don't think I've ever heard of that move.”

“It's Keshian,” said Ivan, scowling. “One night I was playing this fellow from Durbin. I had my game swinging on one particular pawn and the game was in my favor. So what does he do but move his pawn to the square directly behind mine, then claim to have captured my piece!”

“That's an illegal move,” said James, frowning along with Ivan as he pictured the game.

Ivan nodded emphatically. “So I said. He goes on to tell me it's one of the most fundamental moves of the game! We argued about it for three hours until a student ran from the Queen's Row to the Abbaye to dig up an old book. And there it was. Back of the text, written in Keshian, the original rules to the game. En passah cost me two diamonds and very nearly the Queen's Row itself. Needless to say, I don't allow that rule to be played in here anymore. Last fellow that tried to use it on me was a fellow named Navon Du Sandau and I set him straight, though he showed me an incredible move he invented called Sandau's Retreat. Can't quite remember how it worked now, though....” The innkeeper trailed off.

James nodded, “About that game you mentioned,” he said as he slipped Ivan a few royals for four tankards of ale. “Isn't there another move like Abbar's Gambit but a little different?”

“Aye, there's Abbar's Turn,” the innkeeper agreed. “That's a brave man's gambit. In the right place it's about the most powerful structure a man can put out, but in the wrong place it can cost you dearly...”

“How does it work?” the squire asked, grinning.

“Oh, I'll not be teaching you that play!” exclaimed Ivan, holding up his hands. “If you knew how to use it, I'd have to give up playing chess against you. That you even know about that move tells me you know the game altogether too well.”

01-11-2009, 12:12 PM
Elvandar (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK04-Elvandar.mp3)

Their discussion of the ins and outs of the game was suddenly interrupted by a stooped old woman who shoved Owyn aside with a surprisingly strong elbow before she turned to face James. The young noble let out a surprised curse and turned on his attacker. "Hey now, ma'am-" he started before she thumped his knee sharply with her cane, eliciting another curse.

"The name is Gran Petrumh, young man, and you'll keep a civil tongue in your head around your elders, that's a good boy," she said, eyes lifting to James' face.


"James is it?" Cackled the thin woman, clacking her cane against the floorboards and making Ivan wince. "Ha-ho, of course it is! And I'm not your gran Petrumh either, I take it. You're masquerading again! This isn't like that time you ran about Malac's Cross for a month begging and chewed up soap is it? Oh, but you made some fine sovereigns with that act! With all that foam coming out of your mouth, a body would think you had the creeping mongus and they'd pay a pretty coin just to have you away from them! You've always been a wily one, Lysle. Did you pinch any bread for me?"

The squire winced as Petrumh's nails dug into his wrist when he tried to step back. "Why can't you buy your own bread?"

"Who pissed in your pot, eh?" Snapped the woman, apparently forgetting her instructions to Owyn the moment before. "You know perfectly well that I haven't had nothing since Jack died...unless... What are you doing with an elf, boy! Don't you know they bring bad luck?! They're the ones what killed Jack and are stirring up all that trouble in Sethanon! What's got into your head? Have you run mad?"

"What trouble in Sethanon are you referring to, madam?" Asked Owyn, stepping forward and trying to keep his voice calm and friendly.

Petrumh stepped back, alarmed, and after staring hard at James for a few more moments she began to look more and more confused. "You're...you really aren't Lysle, are you then?" She asked, her entire form seeming to slump further. "But you're his mirror image, you are. How could this be unless...some kind of faerie evil isn't it? That's what it is! Some kind of faerie magic and you finally come for me! Took Lysle's form!"

James gaped as the woman lifted her cane and jabbed at his midsection, stepping hastily back and raising his hands in a placating gesture. "We aren't brothers of the dark path, miss. Please, trust us. Perhaps I may bear some resemblance to this Lysle character you're talking about, but we're just ordinary folk. I would like to talk to Lysle, however. He sounds like...like he might be a relative..."

Petrumh made one final jab with her cane, then cracked its tip back down against the inn's floor once more. "Hmmph...I guess you don't look like evil faeries... Leastways, none I've ever heard of. So, Lysle might be your brother?"

"I don't know," James said, shaking his head. "I never knew my father and my mother never mentioned a twin, but when I was taken captive in Krondor a few of the men who were guarding me kept asking about places I'd never been to and about people I'd never met. At first I wanted to dismiss what they were saying, but then I got to thinking about some of the events that happened before the battle of Sethanon. Someone tried to slip in a double for Prince Arutha. Maybe the moredhel are repeating their old strategies..."

"This is all very interesting, but I haven't had a bite to eat in days," said Petrumh, and once more her "crazy old lady" demeanor had disappeared. "Do you think you could spare something for me?"

The squire nodded, reaching into his pack. "I've got several days' rations here," he said, lifting the bundle. "They're yours, providing you tell us a little more about this Lysle."

Petrumh snatched the food and nodded slowly after unwrapping it and sniffing over the contents. "Last I saw of him, he was heading towards Lyton. Said something about wanting to meet some gentlemen there. More than likely he'll be staying away from the main roads. Try as he might, he does have a tendency to get into trouble now and again."

"Thank you, miss," James said, nodding and offering some approximation of a bow. "Watch out for yourself."

01-11-2009, 12:17 PM
Malac's Cross (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK05-Malacs_Cross.mp3)

James turned back to continue his conversation, but found that Skaald was across the room, heaving two more of the collegium's students to their feet. The robed young men were obviously drunk, and had apparently come close to exchanging blows over some point of philosophy or theology. Neither looked able to tell who had been on which side of what argument at this point, but both were still willing to continue, and they flailed as Ivan tugged them towards the door. Gorath and James moved to help, and had quickly tossed the students into the street.

“Thanks,” Ivan said when he'd shut the door again, breathing hard. “The noble-born pups at the Collegium always have coins to spend but they tend to bring an awful lot of hassle along with their gold.”


James chuckled. “You're only young once, Ivan. Now, we've been speaking for awhile. Do I look familiar to you?”

“Can't say you do,” Ivan said, frowning. “Should I know you?”

James shook his head. “Not me, my face. I want you to take a close look at me. Are you sure you don't know of anyone with a face like mine?”

“Didn't say I've never seen anyone with a face like yours,” replied the innkeeper, smirking a bit as James made a face. “I just said I've never seen you before... The man you're after is named Lysle Rigger. Is he related to you?”

“Not sure,” the squire said, shrugging. “I don't know anything about my father and my mother died when I was young. It's possible either of them could have had another child. All I wish to do is talk to him, find out if we have any common history.”

Ivan nodded, pursing his lips. “Good enough... He's been running some sort of errand, though he hasn't told me what it was about or who hired him. He said if he should drop out of sight for any length of time, he would be hiding in Darkmoor, probably in the common storage bins there. If you get near there, call out that Ivan has sent you. He'll make an appearance. I'll warn you though, he attracts enough trouble for ten men. I'd be prepared for a rumble.”

“Sounds familiar,” James said, laughing. “If he's no brother of mine, he's at least a close cousin. Just a few more questions, though. I don't suppose you keep things that people have lost here?”

Ivan nodded. “Sometimes, if it interests me or if it seems like they would be coming back for it. Why, have you lost something here before?”

“No, I was just wondering if there was anything interesting you've found that you think it's unlikely the original owner is going to come back for,” the squire said. “If so, I might be interested in taking them off your hands.”

“Probably wouldn't do me any harm to clear out the area beneath the bar.” Ivan smiled, stroking his chin. “I believe there are probably a few things. Tell you what, I'll sell you the lot of them sight unseen for...say...fifty sovereigns. Deal?”

“Sold, barkeep. I'll take it all,” the squire said, offering a hand.

The innkeeper took it and squeezed, pumping twice before letting go. “I'll have to gather them up first. I'll give them to you before you leave and put the sale against your bill.”

“Fair enough,” James agreed. “With all the trade moving back and forth through here, I imagine you talk to quite a few traders."

"I talk to my share," Ivan said. "Mostly the Queen's Row is a haven for the students from the collegium, as you might have noticed while we were bouncing a couple of the fools off the cobblestones outside."

James chuckled, nodding. "Anything unusual going on that someone making a long trip should know? Bridge out somewhere? Bandits attacking?"

Ivan looked throughtful, frowning as he looked back over the past few days' gossip. "Only thing odd I've heard recent is that Lord Lyton's got a batch of tax collectors stopping folk trying to get in and out of Lyton. He's basically shut down the road east. They demand some ridiculous high amount of gold, and if folks don't have it the collectors just direct them the other way or end up splitting their spleens for 'em. Of course the merchants around here wouldn't make a pence if they stood for it. They've apparently found some way to sneak around the guards."

((We can challenge Ivan to a game of chess for an emerald, but we don't have an emerald or the knowledge needed to win yet. I leave where to get knowledge of either Abbar's Turn or Sandau's Retreat as an exercise for the audience.))

01-11-2009, 12:22 PM
Malac's Cross (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK05-Malacs_Cross.mp3)

They slept well once the commotion on the lower floor finally subsided, and all were ready to pay the collegium a visit.


"The Abbaye is at your service," said a large man with a broad smile under a mass of greying hair. His deep, smooth voice echoed off the walls as he gestured around him to include not just the Abbaye but the collegium as well.

Inn (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK14B-Inn.mp3)


"Welcome gentlemen," the abbot said, still smiling as he approached. "What brings you to the Abbaye Ishap?"

"My young charge here wished to visit your famed school of nobles," James said, returning the smile. "I don't think he would have let us leave Malac's Cross without paying a visit."

"Well, well, well," the abbot murmured, folding his thick fingers across a broad stomach. "I am pleased to see that our reputation precedes us. Am I to assume you are interested in becoming a new pupil, or are you visiting from our estimable rival, the Academy of Magicians at Stardock?"

Owyn smiled slightly, but it was a wistful expression. "My father would never allow me to study magic formally," he said. "Even though he more than has the financial resources to send me to Stardock, he thinks it's a waste of a young noble's time to spend ten and twenty years with his nose stuck in a book and yet be hardly capable of doing anything else. If it weren't for a magician named Patrus that I met once, I wouldn't know anything of magic at all."

The large man nodded slowly. "It is true that magicians study for longer periods of time with fewer visible results, but no course of study is a waste of time. And while magic is not a primary staple in our directed studies here, magician Pug is kind enough to occasionally send instructors from Stardock to lecture on issues that involve magicians. If you would be interested in enrolling..." he trailed off, raising his brows.

Before Owyn could reply, James shook his head. "I regret that we don't have time for that kind of detour. He is on crucial business that takes him elsewhere."

"Ah, I see," the abbot said, nodding slowly. "What about you, Seigneur? Is there anything in our curricula that interests you?"

"Books and scrolls?" James asked, shaking his head again. "I'm a bit too old for that sort of thing now, I think."

"Really? How unfortunate for you. And here I was preparing to offer you a chance to attend a lecture on tactics that is being taught by one of our guest instructors..." the abbot murmured, looking suddenly sly. "Now that I think on it, you probably wouldn't be interested. It's being taught by this, well, odd fellow, a one eyed gentleman who goes by the name of Bas-Tyra."

The squire started, eyes going wide. "Bas-Tyra? You mean Guy du Bas-Tyra? King Lyam's First Adviser?"

"Yes, I believe that's his title..." the abbot said complacently, his grin reappearing. "It's part of the Abbaye Ishap's arrangement with King Lyam. In exchange for setting aside part of our facilities here for the purposes of education, the King occasionally will loan us some of the finest minds in the Kingdom. It works to our mutual benefit. I can still arrange to allow you in if you're still interested for a small donation of twenty sovereigns. What do you say, Seigneur?"

James matched the grin with one of his own, nodding. "I think we can make time. Where do we need to go?"

"In town, near the Queen's Row, there's a small hall that we have reserved for Guy's speech," the abbot said. "Simply present this ticket at the door and they will admit you all. I believe you will be in for a stimulating evening."

"Thank you," James said as he exchanged a handful of sovereigns for the folded and sealed document. "We are looking forward to it."

Malac's Cross (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK05-Malacs_Cross.mp3)


A man took their ticket at the door. Waving smoke from his face, James was surprised by the number of young nobles seated in the lecture hall, most looking as if they would rather be drinking ale in the tavern across the street. Despite that, they made friendly company as they offered up seats to James and his companions.

"All rise for Guy of Rillanon, First Adviser to the Throne of Kingdom of Isles," a page announced from the rear of the room.

After an uncomfortably long wait, a pair of men dressed in purple tabards advanced to the foot of the rude stage and took up station, the looks on their faces stern and watchful. Quick behind them was a man dressed all in black, from tunic to trousers to the patch over his left eye. Mounting the stage between his escorts, he looked out on the assemblage as if they were all his soldiers in the field. Seeing James, a smile touched the First Adviser's face.

"It seems I'm not the only first adviser here, James of Krondor," Guy said, motioning for everyone to take their seats. "I am surprised Prince Arutha could spare your company." James shrugged and covered with a quick lie that seemed to satisfy all in the room, as anxious as the rest for the lecture to begin.

Hours passed. After a lengthy discussion of the battles at Deep Taunton and the siege of the Shamata Garrison, the First Adviser finished his lecture and dismissed his boggled students, stepping down from the podium to speak with James. A grave look was upon Guy's face as he grasped the Seigneur's shoulder.

"You are lucky most of the men in this room don't know Arutha," Guy whispered, glancing at Owyn. "If they did, none of them would believe you had been sent to Romney to fetch this puny little squire. I am also curious to know why you are travelling in the company of a Dark Brother." Seeing the fire burning in the Adviser's good eye, James realized the old man was asking the questions in deadly earnest and that his two escorts were standing close for reasons other than show.

Waiting until the rest of the students had been shunted out the door, James quickly began to explain the situation, allowing Gorath to fill in the details which he only partially knew. When he mentioned the Nighthawks and Romney, the First Adviser nodded.

"Prince Arutha is right to send you to Romney," Guy said. "There is a group of Kingdom men there. I had Duke de Sevigny send them a few months ago when we heard about the guild troubles brewing there. We had suspicions the Guild of Death was involved." Grabbing up his cloak, the First Adviser nodded to his escorts to check the streets. "If anyone in the Kingdom can find the Nighthawks, it will be those men from Bas-Tyra. They've been of great help in the cause of the Kingdom over the past few years. I'll warn you, however, that they've made quite a few enemies along the way. Watch your step between here and the Black Sheep Tavern."

Once the guards had indicated that the road was clear, Guy was gone and the building's watcher shuffled them outside.

01-11-2009, 04:43 PM

On the way north Owyn examined the small back that Ivan had sold to James. Aside from a container of aventurine and a light bowstring the main prize was a copy of the Psalms of Dala, and they all took turn reading it as they traveled.

Essentially a book of prayers, most of the psalms dealt with the mythology surrounding the defender goddess and her frequent clashes with the war god, Tith Onanka. It advised which prayers should be said upon waking, which should be used before sleeping, before eating, before entering inns, and most importantly, which should be mouthed before entering battle so that the defender goddess would add her favor to the faithful's ability to defend him or herself. It also mentioned in passing that the goddess would also lend her favor to those that drank the Dalatail Milk sometimes sold by her followers.


They followed the the road as it meandered north and east in wide curves, leaving the path only once the next day when Gorath spotted the glint of metal north of the road in a marshy field. Their boots squelched in a thin layer of muddy water, and the grass rustled loudly as James turned over a dead moredhel to reveal an old chest half-submerged in the soft soil. Working it open rewarded them with more flame root oil, and Owyn added it to his pack before they moved on.

((Gameplay Note: There are basically two types of enhancement: clerical and elemental. Althafain's Icer adds ice damage to swords, which is cancelled by Flame Root Oil on armor. Naptha sets your sword on fire, which is cancelled by using a Dragon Stone on your armor. Silverthorn adds poison damage and a DoT which is canceled by Silverthorn Anti-Venom. For clerical enhancements there's a stronger and a weaker item, and like cancels like (Clerical Oilcloth on Armor cancels Clerical Oilcloth on sword, for example).

That probably sounds a little confusing, and it is a bit hard to keep track of I'll admit. However, the biggest flaw with the scheme is this: enhancements on swords last until the end of the next battle where you hit someone with them. Fair enough, but enhancements on armor last until the end of the next battle you get hit in regardless of whether the weapon that hit you was enhanced. Since these are fairly limited-use items, this makes the defensive enhancements almost useless unless you're playing with a FAQ so you know what to apply when.

I'm not FAQ-ing it up this time around (though if I were, I'd go to the Krondor Help Web (http://www3.hi.is/~eybjorn/krondor/krondor.html), which is awesome.) and so I'm going to go ahead and sell off most of my defensive stuff except for the silverthorn anti-venom and sarigsbane. The anti-venom can protect your armor, but is more useful if just consumed after combats to cure poisoning, and the sarigsbane blocks BOTH clerical enhancements and so is useful in the late chapters of the game where almost every enemy uses a clerically enhanced weapon.

So, was that confusing enough for everyone? Is there a better way for me to explain it?))


As the sun was beginning to set on their second day out from Malac's Cross the three travelers passed what appeared to be a large farmstead south of the road. At Owyn's urging they diverted towards it in hopes of a hot meal and perhaps a night in a warm barn, but as they approached it became apparent that the farm was abandoned. The paint on the house and barn was cracked and fading. Weeds grew among the wheat fields, and a film of scum covered the standing water in the feed troughs. Several crude graves had been dug behind the house, and black ribbons hung from the door and window frames. James took a step back and scowled, staring at the ribbons as though he was trying to decide on the proper course of action.


"Let's search the barn first," suggested Owyn after a moment's thought. "It should be safe even if the house is not, and it might give us some sense of what was being searched for."

The barn was musty and dark. Searching with straining eyes and groping hands, Owyn suddenly called out. "Over here. I think I've found something." Halfway up one wall of the structure, a small "x" had been scratched into the wood, and just below this spot there was a raised area of dirt. Together they began to dig, and several feet below the surface uncovered a rotting wooden box. Inside were twelve silver royals in a small leather pouch.

"Well now," James said, his expression even more troubled as he inspected the handful of silver. "I suppose we can risk it...you have your herbs, and I think the temple of Lims-Kragma is only a few hours from here."

There was the smell of death in the air. Entering the house, it became obvious that someone had indeed conducted a fairly thorough search. Seeing nothing of interest James turned to leave. "Come on, let's get out of here. It maybe too late al-" He stopped in mid sentence as his eyes fell on a discolored floorboard in the corner of the room.

Crossing the small house in three giant strides he carefully used the tip of his sword to pry the board up, then he slipped his fingers under and gave it several hard tugs. The board came free with a splintering "crack." James slowly reached down into the dark rectangular hole and excitedly pulled out a small bag. Spilling the shiny contents of the bag on the floor, he began to count.

"Thirty four gold sovereigns!" he said. Probably the life savings of the unfortunate family that lived here. We will have need of this money, but I'll be sure to give a charitable donation of equal size to Father Tully should we ever see Krondor again. Now, let's get out of here. We may be paying for this small windfall with our lives."

01-11-2009, 06:38 PM
((For reference entering the farm house gives everyone the plagued status at 50%, but to keep things moving along and because I went over that with you last chapter I'm going to skip it. Suffice to say that in the actual game I spent a few days resting and using herbal packs.))


They left the dead farm quickly, putting distance between them and the dark and deserted buildings as fast as possible without actually breaking into a run. It wasn't until an hour later when the path ahead forked and they saw an old stone marker that they slowed to a more normal pace, stopping entirely at the crossroads as Gorath read the marker's inscription.


"Malac's Dragon?" the moredhel asked, turning back towards them with an eyebrow raised.

James stepped past Gorath and turned to squint south. While he was expecting to see the spires of some distant town or the smoke of a chandler's hearth fire at the twist of the road, he was surprised to see instead a greyish lump settled near a clump of young trees. "Have you ever heard of a grey dragon, Owyn?" he asked.

Owyn shook his head. "No, why?"

"Because that's what may be at the end of this road," James replied. "Feeling brave? Let's go and have a closer look."

Revenge (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK15-Revenge.mp3)


James wiped dirt from the statue. Although he had seen samples of the ancient Kingdom tongue, he still had great difficulty reading the old inscription: Heire, in the yar third of the reign of Delong the Greate in Mortale Combyte slew Malac the Pious the Flamewyrm Rhandra, and from that Terrible Beast forthwith tooke tooth and claw that it lay dead and troubled the land no more.

Gorath walked slowly around the large statue's base, stopping once where he found a small cluster of assorted trinkets and dried wildflowers, tokens for the statue left by superstitious peasants, most likely. Still, it was hard to fault their awe of the thing. The dark elf couldn't help but admire the sinuous curve of the dragon's back, the whole of it covered with beveled scales. Rounding the tail of the creature, he called for Owyn to come and have a look, but was startled by the clouded apprehension in the boy's blue eyes.

"Something is wrong?" Gorath asked.

Owyn gasped, as if to say something, then made a motion to the statue before collapsing to the ground...

01-11-2009, 06:59 PM
Gorath's Truth (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK23-Goraths_Truth.mp3)

Owyn shuddered. He'd looked at the statue, felt a strange tugging, a sense of vertigo, and then a dizzying rush of movement . The sensations had suddenly intensified, peaked, and then fled entirely, leaving him in what appeared to be a vast cavern. The floor and walls were damp, and the whole was lit by a strange radiance that seemed to be shining from some room down a hallway behind...behind the dragon? The young mage gasped and jerked away even as a strange voice filled his mind.

You were expected, friend.


While your body is lying, safe, still and silent in a cove near Malac's Cross, your mind has journeyed elsewhere. Here...Your arrival has been expected. I am pleased to have you as my honored guest, Owyn Beleforte of Tiburn.

"Me?" Owyn asked, gaping at the dragon for a moment, still trying to catch his bearings.

At journey's end you shall not be as you are nor may you turn back the way you have come. The times ahead of you will be filled with hardship and many times you will believe yourself far less significant than you truly are. In the days to come, you may stand at a critical juncture between Rythar and Mythar and if that comes to pass you should know this: A time comes for all things to die...

Owyn frowned and took a step towards the wondrous beast without realizing it, his brow furrowing as he examined the words that seemed to slip into his mind fully-formed, like his own thoughts and yet somehow distinct and alien. "What does that mean? Who are Rythar and Mythar?"

The dragon barely moved, eyes staying fixed on him, its expression utterly unreadable. If not for the voice in his mind Owyn could almost believe that it was another statue. I can explain in no measure more as you yet understand your world. In years and in wisdom you will come to me again and a great destiny will be upon you by then. You will be ready for the fullness of truth on that distant day. Until such time, you may consult me on other matters.

"Tales say that dragons know their own destinies, but I had not heard that they knew the destinies of others," Owyn murmured, eying the creature curiously and starting to notice other details he had missed before. It was hard to tell in the strange greenish light, but he thought that many of the dragon's scales were gold. However, many others were not natural scales at all, but gems. Rubies, emeralds, sapphires, and diamonds of all shades reshaped and molded to replace the dragon's original hide.

I am no dragon though I wear a dragon's skin. I am the Oracle of the Aal and I am the last of my race. I am ancient, older than dwarf or elf, older than dragons and older than the Valheru who were their masters. Stars that at my birth flamed with violent power have long grown cold, expired. All these things I have seen and farther yet I see into the things that might be.

"You can see the future?" Owyn said, then cursed himself as a fool. Faced with such a strange being and such a rare opportunity and he was asking such stupid and obvious questions.

I can glimpse things that may be. Such was the gift given to all those of my race.

Owyn considered a moment. He wasn't sure that he wanted to know the answer to the question that seemed most natural to ask. Still, after another few heartbeats' silence he spoke. "A moredhel travels with us named Gorath. Is he what he says he is? Can we trust him?"

He is not what he names himself to be, though even he may not know the lie of his heart. He will be a strong ally unto you and I believe he may even be a champion to the kin who now curse his name. A great destiny awaits him should he have the courage to renounce his pain.

Owyn considered the words, then asked another question. "Gorath has told us of a moredhel leader, Delekhan. Will he cross the Teeth of the World and attack the Kingdom?"

Delekhan will never cross the boundary between the Kingdom and the Northlands, but through treachery he will strike a blow against both the Kingdom and his own Nations of the North.

"Can't you be more specific?" Owyn said, and he could hear the desperation creeping into his tone. "Where is he going to strike? What is the nature of this treachery?"

I do not see futures as you imagine, but futures as they perhaps can be. I know only that Delekhan engineers a deceit with six magicians and that it concerns the fate of the Kingdom.

Sighing, the young mage nodded. "I understand...I think I do, at any rate," he said, nodding slowly. "And I'm sorry, Oracle. I don't mean to seem ungrateful, but I'm sure my friends must be worried, and I should return to them. How-"

There was another vertiginous rush, a swirling and sensation of incredible movement that ended in a thud of impact that sent him tumbling forward into the grass at the statue's feet. Then Gorath was there, helping him up, and James was beside him asking questions. "Are you alright? Owyn! What happened?"

"I...I'm fine, I think," Owyn said after a moment, shaking his head and leaning on his staff. "The statue spoke...no, not the statue, but something linked to it spoke to me. An oracle of some sort."

James frowned, glancing suspiciously at the stone dragon. "What did it say?" he demanded even as he began to lead Owyn north and away from the clearing.

"Ask me later. I need some time to think about it. It was like most oracles are supposed to be. Vague, oblique, hard to understand." Owyn said, sighing.

01-11-2009, 07:35 PM
They went north, passing the fork in the trail and rejoining the main road between Malac's Cross and Lyton near the temple that James had mentioned earlier. The squire stopped when he saw the temple, then turned them towards it and picked up his pace once more.

"When the nighthawks were last troublesome, the priesthood of the death goddess were helpful. The guild of death had infiltrated their order, and they might still know something of what the assassins are up to," he said as they approached the temple steps.

"Why infiltrate Lims-Kragma's priesthood?" Owyn asked, frowning.

"There are some in the order who worship all death, not just death's place in the natural order of things," James said, his face grim. "At least, that's about as much as I've been able to gather. Also some people come to the Drawer of Nets' temple to pray for other people's deaths. They're sometimes recruited as customers. We think the Nighthawks have feelers out in the hierarchies of Guis-Wa and Kahooli, for similar reasons."

Temple (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK17-Temple.mp3)


Once inside, an acolyte agreed to lead them to the high priestess, and they stared about them in amazement as they were led into her presence. There were no walls in the high priestess' chamber. James struggled to imagine how any such room could fit within the confines of the Temple, seeming as vast as any river valley through which he had ever passed. Even more startling had been the winding maze-like corridors the death acolyte had led them through to reach the room.

"Few rush to speak to our lady. I am curious to know why you wish to converse with us." the high priestess said softly. A gauzy black pavilion draped her throne, obscuring from view all but her lithe form limned in witchlight and a single pale foot which she rested upon a skull carved of onyx. "Why do you call on the Drawer of Nets?"

Seeing no point in lying to her, James shrugged. "Curiosity, as much as anything High Priestess. I wished to learn a little more about what awaits me when I am no longer living and you, short of the Mother Matriarch in Rillanon, are probably the one with the best answers. I do not like surprises."

"Unless you are prepared to devote your life to her services, I cannot help you. It is not something I may merely unfold for you in an hour or an afternoon," she said. I will say this. There is no joy or love in her realm, but neither is there sorrow or pain. You have nothing to fear of her unless you swear the oaths of a Nighthawk."

"Why? What would that mean?" James asked, raising an eyebrow.

"Pain everlasting," the high priestess replied. "Those who are Nighthawks have sworn a dark oath, and those of them that are known as the Black Slayers swear the darkest oaths of all, allying themselves to other gods or goddesses who would hold them free of the portal of death at the price of their souls. Once a man becomes a Black Slayer, he may only be called into her halls by an invocation of Lims-Kragma herself, the Prayer of Final Rest."

"Is there no other way, your holiness?" asked Owyn. "What of a magician's magic?"

The high priestess was silent for a long time before replying, and her answer was reluctant. "There was, I think, some cooperation between one of our order and a mage when dealing with the last outbreak of Black Slayers. They may have found some way for the prayer of Final Rest to be...mimicked by sorcery..."

Owyn nodded. "Thank you, your holiness," he said, bowing as James took hold of his shoulder and led him away from the shrouded pavilion.


Not far east of the temple, Gorath spotted another glint of metal off the road, and again it was a dead moredhel near a cache. Two chests lay on the far side of a low rise and a few scattered clumps of trees, and the three were already cresting the rise Owyn realized why the moredhel was dead. A triangle of poles rose around the corpse, and they found their way blocked by yet another of The Six's magical traps.

It's a Trap (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK26-Its_a_Trap.mp3)


James stared, and then slowly shook his head. "I wonder why that one died," he muttered, pointing to the dead moredhel. "The solution to this one is easy. Watch yourselves, though."

Before Owyn had time to ask James what he meant the squire was moving, quickly pushing the transparent crystals between the two fire traps and watching with satisfaction as their magical flame overloaded two of the three poles, shutting them down and opening a path to the chests. "See?" he said, smiling as they strode through and began to work on one of the chests.

They soon had them all open, and while most of the contents were common enough James paused at a strange key.


01-13-2009, 11:40 PM
((Ok folks, had an uneven few days and it threw me off my stride. I should have another set of posts either before I go to bed tonight or sometime tomorrow. Good news is I solved my Highcastle integration problem. It's a bit arbitrary, but hopefully no more forced than your average RPG detour.))

01-14-2009, 01:03 AM

They moved on, passing an abandoned inn around mid-day. Owyn peered through gaping holes where the valuable glass window panes had been removed. A bird nest rested in the corner of an upper floor's window, and as they passed a magpie slipped out from under the old building's eaves.


After that, there was little to look at as they travelled. The land began to grow hilly to the west as they approached the town of Lyton. Several times they stopped to investigate containers revealed by Owyn's scrying, but in every case but one they found nothing but ordinary supplies. One chest, half-buried in a field of waist-high grass, held a single small ruby, and James pocketed the stone before they returned to the road.


Lyton was a small farming community eking out a living in the plains between Dimwood to the north and the less fertile and rockier land that lay south towards the Sea of the Kingdoms. The local lord was little more than a particularly successful farmer himself, and so James was startled when they were stopped at the outskirts of the town by a half dozen hard-faced men in Lyton livery carrying battered broadswords and heavy crossbows.

"Alright, gents," said the largest of the men, grinning as he held up a gloved hand to bar their way. "We're the local tax collectors, and there's a fee for passage on the road," he said, and James and Gorath eyed each other as they looked the party of "officials" over. Their livery was clean and new as if just dyed the week before but their faces were dirty, their hair was slick with grease, and their well-maintained weapons looked as if they'd seen hard and repeated use.

"I see. And how is this new taxed assesed?" James asked even as Owyn began to gather his will and one of Gorath's hands slipped down to his waist, gripping his sheath and thumbing his sword an inch or two from its scabbard.

"Oh, it's quite simply, my lord," the leader replied, his dark eyes moving slowly over the fine doublet that was visible under James' LaMutian armor. "We put you at sword- and bolt-point, you show us what you've got, we take what you've got, and you're free to pass along your way knowing that you've done the good Lord Lyton and the King in Rillanon a great service."

"Again, I see..." the squire murmured. He doubted his status would swing much weight with the men, but it was worth a try before things devolved completely. "And if I told you I was a senior squire of the court at Krondor, an advisor to Prince Arutha, and on a mission from his highness of no small importance to the security of the Western Realm, and I demanded to be taken to speak with Lord Lyton?"

Some of the men in Lyton colors looked less certain at that, glancing at the leader, but his face only hardened. "In that case, I'd have to take steps," he growled, drawing his sword. "Kill 'em!"

Fight to the Death (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK11B-Fight_to_the_Death.mp3)

"Owyn!" James shouted, sprinting forward and to his left with Gorath while the young mage began to chant. Their one real advantage was that the thugs turned "tax collector" hadn't realized that Owyn was a mage in time, and now the young noble's hand was lashing out, casting the swirling ball of flame towards the toughs as they turned to face the mage's two companions and found themselves looking straight into the setting sun. They faltered, squinting into the glare, and so never saw the mage's spell until it struck them and filled the air with a rush of heat and a sickening smell.

Two of the men fell immediately, and a third crashed to the ground a moment later when Gorath buried a bolt in his throat. Owyn was breathing hard, but he too ran to the northwest, trying to get behind James and Gorath and put the sun at his back. The three remaining men spread out slowly, two with swords drawn, the third carefully drawing a bead on the young mage. Owyn darted right, then left, then right again before twisting and diving frantically to try and throw off the aim of the crossbowman. He failed.

The jerking and darting managed to keep the bolt from striking soundly, but its head still dug a painful gash along Owyn's arm, sending his staff clattering to the ground. Almost instantly the burn of the wound was supplanted by a feverish heat that seemed to spread down his arm and up into his chest, and the young noble's forehead prickled with sweat. He stumbled, trying to remember the words for another spell and failing. "Poisoned..." he called out to James, but the squire was busy, set upon by the two remaining swordsman while the man with the crossbow reloaded.

Gorath glanced to James, then to Owyn, and swore, rushing to help his friend. James had given them each one of the small glass beads of silverthorn antidote, and he could see Owyn fumbling at his belt pouches. But the mage's fingers were clumsy and slow, losing strength and coordination rapidly. The moredhel secured his own bead, then cracked the hollow glass bead along an etched seam and tipping the halves into Owyn's mouth. Owyn greedily drank down the contents, immediately feeling a rush of warmth spreading through his limbs as it neutralized the silverthorn coursing through his veins. He sighed in relief and slumped back while Gorath stood and spun, hoping that James was still standing.

He was. His elven blade rang off his attackers' heavier swords again and again. The squire wasn't the swordsman Arutha or Locklear was, but he held his own. Still, Gorath could see that each time one of the rogues struck, the other slipped a little further to James' side, and that soon the squire would have an enemy at his back. He changed, shouting a battle cry in moredhel that distracted the nearer of the two thugs long enough for Gorath to batter his blade down and run him through. Freed from the need to deal with two opponents James seized the initiative again, and in another minute the tax collector found James' sword gliding down his own until the crossguard's locked.

The thug grinned as he felt James' grip weaken, and he suddenly sprang forward, trying to simultaneously wrench his blade free and knock the squire to the ground. As he lunged, however, James suddenly let go with one hand, applying just enough force to his sword's hilt to keep the guards and blades locked even as his other hand darted to his belt, drew a dagger, and drove it neatly between the tax collector's ribs...

((Ok, one post only, but it's a start. More to follow.))

01-14-2009, 08:43 AM
Gorath glanced to Locklear, then to Owyn, and swore

I like the description of the battle, and I'm looking forward to the next set of posts, but I thought I'd point out the small typo (Locklear instead of James).

01-14-2009, 06:01 PM
((Thanks Kaisal, fixed it. Actually it looks like I did it repeatedly during that scene and I have no clue why.))

James gasped for breath as he crouched to pull his dagger from between the thug's ribs. "Owyn? Are you alright?" He asksed, canting his head at the mage while Gorath held Owyn steady.

"I'll be fine," Owyn said, shaking his head a little. "Just a little light-headed from the after-effects of the poison and the antidote." He frowned and nudged one of the dead men with a boot. "But who were these men? Not Lyton's picked men, attacking a Squire of the prince's court..."

Gorath's lips were thin and his eyes were dark as he looked to James and Owyn in turn. "We shall have to speak with your lord Lyton," he said. "Soon."

James nodded, and they quickly moved northeast into town. Lyton was less deserted than Eggley but no less dead once the sun had set. Every window was shut, every door bolted, every shutter barred. When the squire knocked at one of the smaller homes there was an almost immediate sound of frantic movement inside the house. Then silence. He knocked again. Nothing.

"Hello?" he called. Silence. "Is anybody there? We are weary travelers and seek only a moment of your time, and perhaps a drink of water." James waited patiently for a moment, then said sternly, "Look, we know you're in there. We heard you moving about."

Finally, with the door still closed, a man replied weakly, "We know who you really are. We will have the rest of the taxes as soon as we get the money."

No amount of arguing or explaining could convince the man of the truth. The door remained closed.

Owyn frowned as they neared the inn. "The people are running scared. We definately need to speak with Lord Lyton," he murmured, holding the door for his companions before slipping inside himself.

Inn (http://www.getmeoutofthis.net/filedump/BAKMusic/BAK14B-Inn.mp3)


James asked for company. Smiling a tad nervously at them, the man accepted the offer of fellowship and told a number of tales about his works for Lord Lyton. Unsure what in the man's manner inspired his trust, James responded likewise by telling him a few of the details of their trip to Romney, though omitting the specifics about Gorath's part in things.

"Ah we! I don't envy you that," the man said, waving his hands. "I'd not be heading anywhere near the river, not for no amount of silver. Not me."

"Why is that?" James asked.

"Awful troubles there. The Guild of the Romney and the Riverpullers Guild are as good as at war. If you ask me, some bloke down Silden way is trying to stir up things. I've heard he's even got a few sneaks what are posing as members of other guilds, even carrying forged guild seals. Saw a group of them with Max Feeber, that greedy bastard out west of here."

When the man excused himself to go answer nature's call, James pondered for a moment the things he had learned. While it seemed wildly improbable that the events that were going on around them were somehow connected, he had seen the plots of Murmandamus previous to the last uprising and those circumstances had left him jaded. It made him none the more comfortable that he was now escorting a former ally of that moredhel monster.

When the man returned, Owyn asked the question that had been bothering him ever since the bloody encounter outside town. "Why are Lord Lyton's men shaking down merchants?" he asked, and wasn't entirely surprised when their table mate darted a nervous glance towards the door.

"I don't know why the damned fool hired them," the stocky, dark-haired man said, thick fingers drumming on the tabletop, "but they're not sworn men. They're a mercenary company, a bad bunch from down by the two Keshes. I guess they made themselves unpalatable to both sides, and they were headed north of the Kingdom when the Lord hired 'em. Don't know why, but for over a month now they've more or less run the town. They've left the townsfolk proper mostly alone so far, but people are starting to get nervous."

"I see..." James said, nodding and setting a few royals on the table. "Drink on us tonight, friend, and thank you."


They slipped upstairs to their beds, and the next morning they were up well before dawn and heading for Lord Lyton's modest estate. Twice they saw six or eight-man patrols, but both times James was able to guide them past without incident, and the sun was just rising when they slipped through Lyton's corn fields and cow pastures and arrived at the manor house.

A servant met them at the door. She ushered them inside and led them to a partitioned corner of the room. Pulling back the curtain, she revealed a gangly man with a white beard and snow grey hair who introduced himself as Lord Lyton.

"Please forgive my humble accommodations," he sighed. "My financial situation has been compromised by the death of my lord, Earl Presser of Romney." Suddenly, he brightened, "Perhaps you fine gentlemen would be willing to assist me in a small matter..."

"What could we do to help you?" asked James, narrowing his eyes at the man.

"Well, Squire James," Lyton began, a feeble smile tugging at his lips. "You may have noticed that I am having difficulties controlling my men?"

"You mean the mercenaries you hired and put in your livery, and are now running your lands like bandits," James snarled.

"Now, understand, it's not like that," Lyton said, lifting one thin hand. The lord sighed again, "I was to equip six knights and send them to Romney for my former lord, but his holdings were bestowed on his half-brother following his death, and he wishes me to deliver 12 fully equipped knights to Malac's Cross."

"A knight's equippage is more than just the armor, you know. It's his weapons, his horse, his tack, his barding and the upkeep of his squires, and Lyton is not a rich land. So..." the lord trailed off, shrugging. "I made a mistake. We've only ever had perhaps thirty armed men in my service and they're mostly part-time farmers. There's nothing they can do against two hundred experienced mercenaries except get themselves killed. The same's true of the garrison at Questor's View. Romney is in chaos, and Silden is a cesspool. I could ask for help at Malac's Cross but Pashk, the leader of this band says he's men there that will know if I send to help, and that they're watching the temples for days in any direction, and that my people and my person will suffer if I try to bring Kingdom forces down on them..."

James sighed and looked slightly disgusted. "...So you want us to go to...where? LaMut? Cavall Keep? And bring you back the equipment for your knights and enough forces to drive off these brigands?"

"Yes," Lyton admitted, seeming to shrink in his chair. "And I'm afraid I need you to go to Highcastle..."

"What?!" exclaimed Owyn, jumping to his feet. "Milord, that's several hundred miles from here and clear on the other side of the Dimwood! It would take us..."

"Less time to return than you believe," Lyton said, and this time there was a hint of decisiveness in his voice, "because I am owed certain favors by the high priestess of the temple of Dala near Highcastle. Her order will use the mandala system to move you to the temple of Lims-Kragma south of here, and I have a letter of introduction to Baron Highcastle already being prepared."

James shifted uneasily. "Lord Lyton, you can select-"

"No one else for this. My men are known, as are the people under my care. I have neglected my duties to them and when these men are gone you can send a report to Arutha and see me stripped of my title if you so choose. At my age and without issue it is likely to be a moot point in any case. No. I need you, Squire James. Besides," and here Lyton's eyes seemed suddenly shrewd. "you're not going to be able to move safely east with this hanging over your heads."

There was a long, uncomfortable silence. "Fine, snapped James, nodding sharply. "But be sure, Lord Lyton, that I will be sending word to Arutha."

01-14-2009, 07:31 PM
"Yes," Lyton admitted, seeming to shrink in his chair. "And I'm afraid I need you to go to Highcastle..."

I guess this is how we're going to Highcastle.

01-14-2009, 10:17 PM
"Less time to return than you believe," Lyton said, and this time there was a hint of decisiveness in his voice, "because I am owed certain favors by the high priestess of the temple of Dala near Highcastle."
The goddess protector of those too weak to protect themselves? Appropriate.

01-15-2009, 10:23 AM
The goddess protector of those too weak to protect themselves? Appropriate.

((The optional Highcastle area quest is centered around the temple of Dala there. Serendipity, and I wanted to use the mandalas as a way of explaining rapid travel. That said, I've opened up another matter for audience vote

There are two main ways of getting to that area. Going west past the ruins of Sethanon and a sidequest with a good reward, then north to Tyr-Sog via Hawk's Hollow and Loriel, then east towards Highcastle. OR, cutting due north through the Dimwood, where there are lots and lots of chests and so on. The Dimwood is the main storyline area for one of the last chapters, but is totally optional until that point. I'll do the Sethanon-area quest either way, it's just a matter of doing it on the way there or the way back, and of whether it makes sense for them to take a day or two to solve it now that they have a "mission".))

01-15-2009, 10:26 AM
I think it makes more sense for them to do the Sethanon quest on the way back, rather than on the way there, maybe cut through the Dimwood, take the Sethanon path back out? I dunno though, I'm shocked at how much I've completely forgot about this game to be honest, I really should replay it at some point.