What Lies Beneath
20 Season of the Zephyr 1329 AE
The wind howls around us as Chkk takes up his sword and moves towards me. He spins himself in wide sweeping circles, becoming a whirlwind of fur and blade. I successfully dodge his attack until an opening presents itself. Defeated, the mighty warrior slinks away to pout, while I hear the voice of Jalis Ironhammer laughing at the coward’s retreat.
Aiding more injured Seraph in the fields below, I continue on back to Dalin’s Pumping station, and the secret ravine leading down into Altar Brook Vale. Bandits line the path, serving as lookouts to their lair hidden beneath my feet. Wandering the valley, I come upon a Seraph scout who told me about the villainous Franklin Quickblade and his gang who guard a chest somewhere in this area. I could really use such treasure to repair the damage Chkk did to my bracers and chest piece.
However, before I set out on a search, I spot a nearby caravan in trouble from a Centaur attack. I help them fight off the aggressive beasts, then work on clearing the path of traps in the form of half buried wooden stakes.
The Altar Brook Crossing bridge creeks perilously as the pack bull moves cautiously over the tumultuous waters filled with drake and scale. We make it safe and sound to the village of Claypool and I turn on my heels and start back to the seraph outpost Altar Brook Crossing.
I stop to take a photo of the golden moa herd nearby. These beautiful creatures are raised for food, bedding, and even racing.
Searching the hillside, I see a lone ash tree, under which lies a very distinctive looking box. I approach it, but just as I begin to pry it open, Franklin and his crew show up.
I try to put up a fight as best as I can, but true to his name, Quickblade swiftly trounces me. I limp away, not unlike Chkk earlier, with the mocking laughter of the gang ringing in my ears.
While I recover, I help the local seraph by removing more traps and totems laid out by the centaurs. Life isn’t easy at the outpost, especially with the constant attacks. I spot a cave nearby, a wolf den that also contains a treasure chest. Perhaps I could get the better of Franklin after all. I killed the wolves and looted the chest which contained a softwood longbow and a doubloon. I’m not an archer, but I’m sure one of the seraph would be interested in purchasing it from in exchange for some repair work for my armor.
I wander my way back down to the river and realized that I nearly missed getting a photo of another species of aquatic carnivore in the area: the Brackish Skale.
Leaving the river behind, I head southwest following the line of the hillside. In doing so, I found myself in the midst of more bandits, who seemed unaware of my presence. With so many farms in the area, I couldn’t let them go on their way to wreak havoc, so I decide to engage them. This would be another mistake, as the nearby cleft in the hills wound up hiding their true numbers and I become quickly overwhelmed again.
After recovering at the outpost, I rush over to the nearby farmstead, only to see the fiends attacking it. The farmhands hold their own and I do my best to aid them.
Just as the action at the farm winds down, I turn to see the cows being harassed by harpies. A roar from a distant cave seems to scare off the harpies and I walk over to see warning signs posted about a cave troll. I venture into the cave and navigate its treacherous, spider-filled interior.
Just as I am about to give up my search for the troll, I find a Rune Hunter outside another entrance who gives me details on the troll and the rune stone it guards. With some misgivings, I dig out the runestone — just in time to come face to face with the massive troll, big enough to give Burt and Ert a run for their money.
Fortunately, I’m not the only fighter in the area and with much help, the troll goes down.
I notice that there is something darker around here, something that heightens the aggression of the other creatures nearby — like the pair of bears I capture fighting near a cave entrance.
Of course, the bears could have simply been fighting over the local supply of honey provided by the Hastings’ bee farm nearby. Nevertheless, I’ll stay on my guard. Beyond the farm I can see a grouping of tall mountains watered by the Clayent Falls. I remember hearing about the Altar’s Windings vista which might give a decent view of how to overcome the imposing terrain.
After braving the harpy infested Altar’s Windings road, I skirt around the lake to the docks owned by the Duran family. The roof of their hut makes for a great view of the lake and falls.
The formidable matriarch of the family, Alicia, informs me of the dangers of the lake. I take a quick swim over to Welkin in his small fishing boat.
Once the man recovers from the shock of seeing my brave move, he warns me of giant creature in the lake that is destroying his supply of fish. Its menacing presence can be felt under the boat sometimes. Gingerly, I lean over the side of the small vessel and spot the shadow of something massive.
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