South Drachvald Spur

To test my newly formed theory of flower power and how it’s relates to horses, I cautiously approached the stone receiving bowl at the foot of the horse statue, conveniently located next to the temple. With great care, I took note of the form, shape, diameter, circumference and volumetric capacity of the bowl. Then, taking into account the length, weight, curvature and air resistance of the rose, I held steady so as not to detonate some needlessly complex booby trap. With a flourish, I tossed the flower into the bowl, then performed a practiced diving maneuver to ensconce myself behind a protective boulder.

When there was no explosion or flying debris, I peeked around the corner to see the result of my actions. To my shock and amazement, I heard the ethereal cry of a horse, and for an instant, the wispy silhouette of it’s magnificent countenance hovered on the breeze, then vanished.

“Splendid!” I cried. “It worked and no one was debilitatingly injured! Success all round!”

I scooped up the rest of the flowers and retraced my steps to find the rest of the prayer bowls.

I didn’t have to go far as I tripped over the second bowl almost immediately. Seeing there was no rock to hide behind, I stood bravely before this next bowl, and with a deep breath, dropped the flower in.

I expected a mighty kaboom. A scalding vapor or a face full of poison. But none of it came. Instead, the vaporous representation of a horse again appeared for an instant, and then was gone.

“It’s working!” I cried. “I have no idea what I’m doing or why, but two flowers and no death! Brilliant!”

Bounding over scrub and jagged rocks, I retraced my steps back to toward the Cultist encampment where I had first entered this area. It was there that I found two of the bowls close to each other.

Thinking perhaps my luck was running out, I closed my eyes, apologized to the Oracle for some of my previous misdeeds, and dropped in a rose. All of me clenched for an instant, some parts to an alarming degree, but again, no smell of burning adventurer permeated the air. Instead, the pleasing neigh of a horse as it’s spirit scattered to the winds.

“I’m getting good at this,” I gloated as I made my way to the next offering bowl, and with confidence and purpose, placed the flower inside.

“Be free my majestic confederate!” I exclaimed as he too graced me his presence for an instant.

“Now, back toward the temple and off toward the mountains,” I said with glee as I returned to where I had seen the glowing horse figure the night before.

Placing the flower in the bowl, the horse appeared just long enough to say goodby, then was gone. But along with his siren call, I heard a crack of thunder far behind me. Since I wasn’t shrouded in rain, I found it curious.

I turned to see an usual light coming from the open desert. “Oh, something has happened. Might be good. Might be bad. Won’t know until I get there,” I mused as I began to make my way toward it.

To my surprise, the unusual looking bell tower shaped pillar had an usual glow about it. I quickly went to investigate and discovered the light emitted from a portal at the base. It projected from an usual disk with strange markings.

And then I asked myself, “where does this portal lead to?”

High above me, I could see the glow of what I suspected was the portal exit. To test my theory and eliminate the possibility of being thrown into a void from which I may never return, I tossed a coin into the light. A moment later, I heard a noise above me, the sound of metal on stone.

“Success again!” I cried and with reckless abandon and jumped in. The light was blinding and the landing unnerving, but like my coin before me, I was at the top of the bell tower spire. The view was breathtaking and a little dizzying. I could see all the little Corpions milling about on the desert below most likely wondering where I had gone and if they had missed their opportunity to unleash a venomous stinger into my backside.

I could even see the cult members putting their ruined and charred camp back in order. I bellowed obscenities and made rude hand gestures at each, but it was all for naught as they could neither see nor hear me.

“So, what wondrous secret is hidden high atop this unusual rock formation?” I said aloud as I looked around. “For this surely!” I said with surprise as I spied a treasure chest tucked away in the shadows. “This is it! This is the one I’ve been waiting for! It most certainly is laden with treasure. No one in their right mind would go to all the trouble of carving a rock to look like a bell tower, then set a flower excreting ghost as a sentinel and require me to place completely unrelated flowers into a prayer bowl, which opes a mysterious portal, only to find a chest loaded with junk trinkets!”

With my pilferers fingers, it only took only a moment to unhinge the lock and reveal the contents. Tears welled in my eyes and I started to sob at the sheer magnitude of my discovery.

“Oh Mistress of Fortune, why are you so cruel to me? Why do you make go into these terrible places and roam from one random location to another, only to reward me with 50 coins and these damnable bundles of Corpse Wax? Why can’t we be friends again?”

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I’m sure this is of some significance, but it escapes me at the moment.

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A mysterious portal! Portals always lead to great and exciting things. Except when the lead to death.

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The treasure chest I’ve been waiting to find! Fabulous wealth awaits!

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

With the Lucky Leather delivered to all the good little boys and girls of the desert, I took stock of my location, gathered my bearings with my ever trusty astrolabe, and headed back toward the burning embers of the encampment I left earlier.

I then connected with a path snaking it’s way to the temple and climbed up the hill. I traversed some treacherous rock formations and noted some strange tithing bowls next to a rough cut statue of what I’m quite sure was a horse. It was not carved to scale and the artist was a little loose with details. Further I am not a proponent of horses due to some very misfortunate deeds that have taken place in the valley of Nightshade Pass.

The temple loomed in the distance and I was eager to investigate. However, my entry was blocked as there was no bell with which to announce my presence nor a door upon which I could knock.

“A temple without a door? I find myself at a loss.”

There was a formidable rock formation adjacent to the temple, so I did my best to scale it, then repel over. It was in all in vain and I took several severe tumbles for the effort.

“Perhaps the entrance is a subterranean one?” I mused as I made my way around and around the structure looking for a hidden opening. Nothing revealed itself and soon darkness was upon me. The prophetic words of the Master Squire came true as skeletons appeared out of nowhere, ready to stab me in the backside.

“There will be none of that!” I declared as I took control of the melee and did my best to stab them first.

I was quite successful in my initial assaults, but there seemed to be no end to the boney rascals. As soon as one brace of skeletons fell in a clump at my feet, another was on the march toward me.

Higher ground was called for and I scaled the rock formation again. This was a brilliant plan and the fighters were helpless to get me. Alas, they had archers in their ranks and I was soon alight with their flaming arrows.

“Two can play at this deadly game!” I cried as I leapt from my perch and threw my flaming self at them. To add to my web of confusion, I hit the ground with Immolation. The night was alive with the call of skeletons claiming their release. In turn, my pockets were full with the gold and weapons I relieved from them.

Although still fully alive and conscious, my situation had not improved as I was no closer to gaining access to the temple. Searching in the dark yielded no results and more than once I nearly lost an eye to the deadly scrub of the desert.

Settling my bedroll, I took refuge in the strange glow of the horse statue. I had a rejuvenating meal of Corpion tail with lemon wedges I prepared back at The Hollow. I then slept lightly until the dawn, then renewed my search for an entrance.

I tried to follow the wooden stairs, but they seemed to disappear into the rock itself. Getting a good line of sight, I judged where the stairs should be, calculated a few angles, lined up a few points of attack, plotted a trajectory, then jumped onto some rocks toward the back of the structure. So far, my plan was a success.

Choosing my marks carefully, I leapt from one outcropping to the next. There was no path, but I was ascending. With the canyon and a mighty precipice on my left, I hugged the small pathway that seemed to exist. Moving from ledge to ledge like a cat, I managed to meet up with the severely weathered stairs.

It was tricky going, but I was soon scaling toward the top and finally reached the covered tower I had seen from a distance. It was a marvelous view, and had my life not been in jeopardy from the ill-tempered ghost that came out to meet me, I would have quite enjoyed it.

I didn’t even have the opportunity to offer aid to the apparition, or ask him about his plight, as he struck without warning.

“Very well, you leave me no choice but to use the sword! I was going to ask how I could be of assistance and learn your deep and meaningful back story of how you came to be here, but no more!”

And with that, I struck him soundly. Multiple times. Then I struck him again. When I found he was still moving and causing me strife, I struck him again, hurled some fire about the place, rained down an ice field, kicked up a fuss with an earthquake and body slammed the first thing that moved.

Then, for reasons I couldn’t fathom, flowers fell from the sky. I looked around to see if a worthy crowd had gathered to celebrate my stunning victory. I looked for fair maidens throwing their accolades at me, but alas, I was alone with flowers at my feet.

With nothing left to do in this wreck of a temple, which I still couldn’t actually enter, I made my precarious way back down. I then pondered my next move.

“Why would a ghost attack me without provocation at the top of a temple, then throw flowers at me when I was victorious? I know it’s my Achilles heel, but let me think for a moment.”

Then I was struck with an idea.

“To the horses! Horses love flowers!”

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A fetching temple off in the distance. I believe I will give a knock a say hello.

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Quite a festive view up here. The stairs could use some work and putting in a door would be awfully handy.

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

After making my way through the much hated Vauban Pass, cursing the very creator of such a terrible place, I arrived in South Drachvald Spur.

“Outlander! You’re just the sort I’ve been looking for! I am very much in need of your help,” said a woman who identified herself as Master Squire Osterhild.

“Good evening to you!” I replied. “You have been waiting for me? I see my reputation precedes me.”

“Indeed it does! You are quite renowned for going into the less than savory places, digging up dubious relics, and performing all sorts of dangerous and sordid acts for a token reward.”

“I think there is a bit more to my adventuring skills and helpful nature than that,” I replied.

“Of course there is,” she said with a smile. “Nevertheless, I have a little favor to ask.”

“Very well, how may I be of assistance?”

“Well, as it happens, we set out some leather to dry and cure in the sun. For reasons you won’t quite understand, doing so imbues the material with all sorts of magical and exciting properties. However, due to the blazing sun and terrifying heat, a few of the little squires are suffering a bit of heat exposure, and I was wondering if you would be so good as to help round up the cured leather they left out in the Corpion infested desert while I wait here out of harms way with this refreshing beverage at my side? What say you?”

“You want me to go out into the desert and find some leather?” I asked.

“Not just any leather my dear fellow. It’s Lucky Leather.”

“What makes it lucky?” I questioned.

“As I explained, you wouldn’t understand.”

“Couldn’t you just make some more?”

“Don’t be silly!” she said with a laugh. “It’s vitally important that you head out into the desert risking your life for this very specific leather. Making new leather would simply be wasteful. No, no, this is much better. It’s the way we do things around here.”

“Are you sure we can’t just make some new leather? I’d be happy to help. I’m quite good at the Tanning Station. Speaking of which, where is your Tanning Station?”

“My, my, my, what a lot of questions,” she said tersely.

“Yes, but if you don’t have a Tanning Station, or even a house that I can see, how did you make the leather in the first place?” I said looking around.

“Are you going to help or am I mistaken in thinking you are a man of action, capable of great deeds? Perhaps you are not the adventurer your reputation claims you to be. No matter, I’m sure another, more worthy adventurer will be along shortly.” Osterhild was quite stern this time.

“Oh no, no need for that,” I said with embarrassment. “Have no fear. You keep an eye on the little people and I shall head out into the Corpion infested desert looking for these Lucky Leather scraps.”

And so I did. And it wasn’t long before the Corpions sensed my presence and moved in for the poisoned kill. I anticipated their desire to envenomate me and lashed out with arcing attacks of Whirling Blades. Not only did I rifle through the dirt piles and locate my treasure, I harvested those Corpions for their tasty tails and debilitating poison glands. Oh yes Halmar, just you wait until I get back to town. I have quite the “bitter” to add to your ale when next we meet.

The excavation was slow going. Many of the leather locations proved difficult to see and on many occasions I felt myself on the verge of striking gold, only to find I had already been there.

After a time, all sides of the desert began to look the same and in going the wrong direction, I strayed into an Ebon Dawn encampment. It became clear, that not only did they mean to cause harm to my person, but they intended to relieve me of my newly found leather. This simply would not stand and I had no choice but to defend myself.

I gave them a sound thrashing and out of spite, set their encampment on fire. But not before smashing up a few crates and making a general nuisance of myself. I felt they deserved that much.

In the ensuing light of the fire I left behind, I was able to pierce the night and see the path I had come. Keeping to the rock formations on the right hand side, I was able to make my way back to Osterhil while locating the rest of my quarry. With the requested Lucky Leather scraps in hand, I handed them out to the joyous children, who put down their spears long enough to make sure I didn’t take an unnecessary stab in the backside.

With the deed done, and designs on investigating an intriguing looking temple I saw in the desert, I bid Osterhild a good day.

“Steady on Outlander! No need to rush off so soon! I have a reward for you.”

“A reward? Might it be a refreshing ale to combat the ridiculous heat of the desert? Perhaps a moist cloth I can use against my brow? Perhaps I should have paused for a moment in the shade of that encampment to regain myself before I set it ablaze.”

“Much better than both of those!” she said excitedly. “Have some Lucky Leather! You’ve earned it.”

Well, how very good of you. I’m not sure what to do with it, but very kind indeed.”

“I can tell by that tone and look about you, disappointment has befallen you. Clearly, you are not aware of what you hold.”

“I fear that is correct,” I replied. “I have plenty of leather at my disposal and a vault of animals hides that still need processing.”

“Ah, but this is special leather,” she replied with a smile. “Tis magical. You should seek out Preben in the South Majestic Forest. I venture to say he could fashion you a fabulous pair of boots from those!”

“Oh, new boots you say? I like boots. I’m not normally one to slip into a pair of leather boots as I prefer something more sturdy to protect my delicate and supple feet, but I will have a chat with Preben when I next find myself lost in the forest. But first, I believe I will take my leave and have a bit of a look at that temple in the distance.”

“Do be careful Outlander. There are many skeletons out there just itching to stab you in the back.”

“Oh, if I had a coin for every time I got that warning,” I said slipping off into the darkness.

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Huzzah! What have we here? Excellent, a non-descript pile of dirt out here in the middle of desert. I’m sure this is the spot I’m meant to be looking in. And don’t think for a moment I don’t see you sneaking up on me, you dirty Corpion.

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Oh, a temple. I like temples. Now that the sun has come up, I shall make my way over there and say hello to what I am sure are docile and peaceable tennants.

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

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