Well, the journey to Vassagonia is the calm before the (metaphorical) storm.
- We sail for twenty-five days, only stopping off briefly in Port Bax.
- Hopefully the area around that harbour city is now clear of both Helghasts and Noodnics.
- During the journey, I am able to master (!!!) the Vassagonian language, having been taught by the crew in exchange for stories of my adventures.
- I initially rolled my eyes in disbelief at this rate of education, but this blog entry states that factoring in 10 hours a day you can achieve basic proficiency in another language in around 48 days.
- So, I guess the time frame was ridiculous but not OVER-THE-TOP ridiculous if you know what I mean.
Yes, I still haven’t gotten halfway through the first paragraph of the book; why do you ask?
In any event, but the time the ship arrives at the capital of Barrakesh, I have both mastered the sailors’ language and ‘won their respect’. Through my linguistic skills, I’m sure.
When we sail into sight of the city, the building are truly magnificent, although the view is marred by (ominous musical sting) black flags flying from every tower of the largest building in town (obviously the palace).
I’m thinking that can’t be good. Maybe they also heard about the results of the recent US Presidential election.
Or possibly they’re all just fans of this classic punk band
The envoy informs me with mounting horror that the black flags indicate the death of the previous Zakhan, and the goodwill of his successor is far from certain.
I’m thinking this tune is appropriate for our current mood of ‘anticipation’.
As we alight from the ship a carriage pull up along the dock, and a diplomat / functionary of some kind alights, identifies himself as Maouk, and greets us in the name of…..
The name means little to me, but the envoy who accompanied me back from Sommerlund has the (predictably) horrified reaction. This is (literally) cut short by a timely dagger from Maouk, and various soldiers move to surround me. For some unknown reason, I am able to immediately detect (!) that men these are the Sharnazim, ‘elite Vassagonian bodyguards’.
Aside : Alright, I’m going to have to take issue with the late Mr Dever here on a number of points :
- How the heck do I automatically know that ‘black-clad’ warriors are the elite agents of the kingdom? Was that lesson squeezed in amongst the impromptu language classes?
- The text specifically states that, when the ship arrives, the harbour is deserted save for a ‘few’ people, but suddenly ‘scores’ (remembering that a score = 20) of these elite assassins emerge from the shadows. Have you ever tried to hide 40+ people in shadows at a medieval harbour for days on the off-chance that the envoy’s ship will return ?? Interesting plan…
- If it was known that the mere name of the new Zakhan would provoke such fear and outrage, why not just keep that a secret (or, you know, lie) until I was securely inside the palace? Why give the whole game away at the unsecured port?
Alright, I’ll try to stop being ‘that guy’ now.
I finally get to make a choice!
I can stand and fight (!), surrender (!!) or retreat to the ship.
I know that sometimes these books require you to be counter-intuitive, but I can’t see how either fighting or surrendering is an auspicious way to start this adventure.
As I race backwards towards the still-oblivious crew, I here Maouk doing the customary scream of ‘Take him alive!’
A horseman appears as if from nowhere (!!!) and blocks my path. I can fight, dive into the ocean or surrender. Again, surrendering doesn’t seem to be worth the candle.
My MEGASWORD should be able to quickly take out one horseman (gulp!) I quickly attack, and hope that the horseman takes Maouk’s command seriously…
Lone Wolf : CS : 29, E : 26
Horseman : CS : 21, E : 28
I have to win in three rounds or it looks like, to quote Robocop, there will be…..trouble.
Round 1 : I lose 1 Endurance, my opponent loses 12
Round 2 : I lose another 1, my opponent again loses 12 (down to 4)
Round 3 : I finish him off without further loss.
I might actually make it out of this harbour alive after all!
Base Stats : CS : 17, E : 20, GC 50
Current Stats : CS : 29, E : 24
Weapons : Sommerswerd (+8 CS), Sword
Backpack : 2 Meals, 2 Laumspur potions (+4E),
Special Items : Map, Crystal Star, Shield (+2 CS), Sommerswerd, Padded Waistcoat (+2 E), Chainmail Waistcoat (+4 E) Blue Stone Triangle Pendant, Diamond, Ornate Silver Key, Dagger of Vashna
Kai Rank : Savant
Kai Disciplines : Camouflage, Animal Kinship, Tracking, Hunting, Sixth Sense, Healing, Mind Over Matter, Mindblast (+2CS), Mindshield
Paragraph : 125