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Dolores the Blacksmith at the Mountain Workshop introduces herself. “My name is Dolores. I work the forge like few alive and am ever eager to help those of stout heart.” She’s told Ronan many times no one can help him and right now she’s preoccupied with her own problems. “I’m sure he told you that my grandfather made the chains that hold him. The people of the town shun me, as if I’m responsible – is that a fair legacy?” While her life is admittedly a bit grim right now, she’s “capable of great things, but can only find work making kitchen knives and other such drudgery. I know I can forge great weapons and armor like my grandfather.”
Dolores wants nothing more than to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps. Recently asked to forge a sword, Dolores hopes her future holds promise.
While her grandfather was a blacksmith, Dolores doesn’t know if her father was. “I’ve never met my parents, and grandfather never spoke of them. So his example is all I have.” Dolores has asked herself many times if she wants to surpass the skill of her grandfather one day. “Of course, I would have to surpass him to have any hope of breaking his greatest masterpiece. From what I can tell, the chain is truly unbreakable – Ronan’s imprisonment may last forever.”
Despite studying all of her grandfather’s records, Dolores isn’t even close to a solution. “Not even grandfather knew the origin of the metal used in the chain. We’ve both spent years searching, to no avail.” Dolores isn’t sure, but maybe a weapon made of the same metal would be able to break the chain.
Level 114 cont.
She remembers her grandfather spoke of the All-crushing Hammer once, “it’s supposed to be extremely powerful. He said that during an attack on the Castle, our Champion struck the ground just once, and the might of the blow caused the enemy to flee in terror. Though, the force of the strike destroyed the Hammer.”
Dolores theorizes the parts could be anywhere and maybe some of them have been found already. “Each of the individual parts would still be priceless and indestructible – quite a gift to stumble across!” It’s possible those lucky souls possessing a piece might not even know the power of that piece. “Imagine a piece of the Hammer used as a paperweight!”
Dolores’ skills apparently go beyond mere blacksmithing. “My hammer can do more than just form metal – it can detect the presence of legendary artifacts. If I focus deeply enough, I can sense artifacts nearby – watch out, my hammer’s been known to fly from my hand!” Surprised for a second it actually worked, Dolores says her “hammer feels the artifact’s energy, but the answer is…odd.” Apparently, the artifact piece isn’t far at all. “But this can’t be right. If my intuition is correct, you and Ronan will have a puzzle to solve. Go to Ronan – tell him the location of the Hammer part is closer than he thinks, and he can find it without anyone’s help.”
Level 114 cont.
Ronan wonders if the All-crushing Hammer will break the chain and swears he “never sought immortality, only to help my dearest friend.” Confused that Dolores insists he must find the Hammer on his own, Ronan says “With what at my disposal? Let’s see…the only things I possess now are my memories. Can those save me?” Riddles rarely bring Ronan any comfort, but Dolores insisting that he’s missing something hiding in plain sight is one riddle he’d like to solve. “What treasures could a prisoner like me possibly have? Do I have any prized possessions, you ask? Well, yes, but they are mostly useless. I doubt the answer lies there. I do have the remains of my axe…it’s been in my family for ages. But how will that help me?”
There may be some unexpected value in that axe. “The Prince broke my axe before binding us, so all I have is the pommel. My grandfather found it long ago after some great battle. I guess we can take a closer look.”
Bound Ronan exclaims, “You’re saying I’ve had a piece of the Hammer all long? What luck! My pain feels suddenly bearable, if only for now. May good fortune lead you – I’ll be here waiting, as if I have a choice…” (You are rewarded with the Spiked Pommel.)
Han, the Sage at Mountain Foot knows about Ronan and the unsuccessful attempts of many who have tried to help him. Nevertheless, he wants to help. “First, we must understand what lies at the heart of Ronan’s plight – broken trust. No, Ronan did not betray his master. Prince Stronghold falsely believed that Ronan stripped him of immortality not to save him, but for personal gain.”
Han understands there are many kinds of suffering, including spiritual suffering. “Do you know the level of grief that Prince Stronghold endured? The damage to his soul was immense. He thought his only friend had betrayed him, and it fractured his spirit – it was beyond any physical pain.”
Han feels Prince Stronghold’s spirit is nearby on the mountain and calming it will restore balance to the world. Luckily, Han knows a simple pacifying ritual and begins verifying the rites and steps that must be taken. “First, I must cleanse the Prince’s spirit of all negative energy.” Once all the negativity has been dispersed, “positive energy must replace it.”
With Prince Stronghold’s spirit brimming with positivity, the waiting begins. Finally, Han exclaims “Great fortune! Stronghold’s spirit now understands the truth – Ronan was trying to save him. He says he knows of a lost item that may interest us.”
Han says “Do you know the tale of the Blessed Champion? Long ago he defended the Castle from a great enemy. In the battle, he used the All-crushing Hammer and all fled before its might. The Hammer was destroyed, but he retained a piece for himself. The Champion realized that the only way to keep the Hammer part safe was to go into hiding. Of course, the Champion knew the part would survive longer than he would – before he died, he must have hidden it.”
Level 115 cont.
Han believes the Champion was a master of magic as well as a great warrior. “He cast a powerful concealing enchantment. Great magic inevitably leaves a trace. The Champion’s spirit has in some way marked the artifact. Most likely, what was left behind was a trace of his greatness. If so, I should be able to locate it with little trouble.”
The part, while easily found, was magically sealed. To open it, Han must be found trustworthy. “Spirits be blessed! I focused on the object, and the seal simply vanished. The magic must have deemed me worthy. Well done, friend. Here you are, and may this help bring balance to all. (You are rewarded with the Unifying Grip.)
To learn about protection – who better than a people who have been living in secrecy for ages? Olympe, the Harpy, in Mountain Ledge, poses a question. “I know you’re one for perilous adventures, so I must ask…are we in trouble again? It’s not that I don’t like adventures, but safety is my priority.”
Olympe knows of Ronan and isn’t so sure it’s wise to free him. “The length of his captivity…who knows how it has warped his mind. What if he’s dangerous? It’s imperative we discover why Ronan’s chains can’t be broken by any other tool.”
Level 115 cont.
Aware of Dolores’ belief the chain is composed of a rare metal, Olympe nonetheless feels that can’t be the only reason for its strength. “Yes, there’s something else…a mysterious seal on the chain. Where did it come from? It’s a unique alloy of metal and magic. What mind came up with this? Only the coven of mages could have conceived of such a thing.”
While Olympe understands why the mages used spectral protection, the technique has its flaws. “Mainly, spectral protection cannot be undone – only broken by a powerful artifact.” Probing further, Olympe says “we’re lost in the mist of the known. The magic we speak of is ancient – far too old for any human hand.”
As luck would have it, harpies live far longer than humans; the lives of some harpies span millennia. Olympe discusses this type of protective magic with the elder and shares, “The elder spoke about the ancient battle in which the All-crushing Hammer was used, and revealed a surprising secret. The Hammer’s power lies not in its strength, but in its effect on others – the hearts of foes turn cold with fear, and magic from any other source is silenced. With the flick of the wrist, you can make enemies flee and render powerful magic meaningless – it seems best that you can only do this once.”
The elder revealed the last item needed is a leather strap. But not even the finest leather can endure the ruin of time. “On that note, I have some good news…harpies excel at leather craft, among other things. As long as we can find suitable materials, creating a new strap should be a snap.”
*** THE ADVENTURE WILL CONTINUE IN A FUTURE UPDATE
Update June 27, 2022
Level 115 cont.
Olympe the Harpy believes she found materials of sufficient quality for the strap but must confirm that with the elder. “Hmmm. The elder says there was an intricate design worked into the inner layer”, so Olympe adds that design plus a few final touches. “The strap is ready! I’ll say it one more time – respect the power of the artifact. Now go free Ronan!” The Durable Strap is the reward and the completed All-crushing Hammer goes to Bound Ronan at Cliff of Lament and frees him from his chains. (The new Primary Quest Object is rewarded, the Spindle of Time.)
Professor Pinfeathers announces Ronan is free but hopes there will be no ill effects (hmmmm).
Young Chamberlain, still standing in Throne Hall, has a little problem and is in desperate need of help. “The little problem is…I’m still little! Something is wrong.” Young Chamberlain is angry Salty won’t let him into the Inn. “He says I look too young. I can’t take it. This lack of growth is unbearable. There must be something we can do. What are my options?” But there are no good choices. “Stay a kid forever or…take a wild chance. Heavens, what a predicament. See—I even talk like an adult! With this kind of misfortune, who knows, I may even fall back into old, underhanded habits.”
But that was just frustration talking and Young Chamberlain assures there’s no cause for concern. “There’s no need for that look – I don’t intend to endanger anyone else. But I do need help.” Then Young Chamberlain has an idea. “There is one solution I can think of, though it involves fiddling with time a bit.” The first thing needed is the very essence of fate and, fortunately, Young Chamberlain knows exactly where to find some. “Here it is, the first part of the artifact. Please find the others quickly, I can’t stand to be a kid much longer.” The Thread of Fate is rewarded.
Some of the Chamberlain’s old friends may be able to lend a hand, and the first one is Anabel. Anabel in Tiara liked the Chamberlain as a kid, but “if a friend is in trouble, there’s no reason not to help.” Anabel reasons that “what we’re really looking for is the time that he’s lost.” Remembering something important, Anabel says “I’ve heard of a people with the power to bend time to their will, though…that bloodline has ended. Fortunately, I know a vampire in possession of a bit of their blood. Could it be used in an artifact?” It took some time to find the vampire in his hidden haunt, but Anabel was successful in getting the blood. “But it’s not ready to be used yet. I’ll prepare the blood, and once ready, you’ll be able to bend time at will!”
As promised, a bead of solid blood is delivered and Anabel says, “Soon we’ll have Chamberlain back to normal!” The Gem of Destiny is rewarded.
Another of Chamberlain’s old friends, Warrior Knight, wonders the reason for such look of concern. “Ah, Chamberlain. All of us were turned into kids, but he alone could not be restored to old age. It’s quite odd…for some reason, what happened to us affected him differently.” (***See Note) The Knight knows of the artifact and is aware it’s missing an important part. “The task is not without danger. Something must be found to contain the threads of time. Uncontained threads could create infinite timelines—and infinite Chamberlains! Multiple Chamberlains in our timeline wouldn’t help him, or us.”
Warrior Knight knows of a yarn spinner in town who might be able to help contain the threads. “Here, this is an enchanted whorl—it’ll keep the thread spinning in the right direction, and the artifact safe to use.” The Guiding Whorl is rewarded.
***Note: Error in Storyline - AnnaDownes brought to my attention a discrepancy in the explanation of why the Chamberlain remained a child while all other characters returned to adulthood. After finishing the June 27, 2022 Update, the following is my synopsis: Warrior Knight says (Level 116) when the Castle residents were turned into kids and then back into adults, Lord Chamberlain was the only one who remained a child. I believe this refers back to Cursed Adora when the dark magic soaked Dreamcatcher (Level 79) not only failed to make her young again, thus breaking the curse, but changed the Castle’s residents into children. They remained children until the Time Clock went to World’s Edge (Level 80), lifted the curse from Adora and all the Castle residents were returned to adulthood, including Lord Chamberlain. In Level 81, Lord Chamberlain was an adult standing in Throne Hall when he apologized for his imprudent and childish behavior when a child. In Level 82, Lord Chamberlain disappeared from Throne Hall and his wife, Gabrielle, subsequently reported he had been murdered by the Ghostly Messenger (Adrian). In Level 86, Storyteller Cat sacrifices one of his lives to resurrect the Chamberlain and this begins the very odd storyline when Gabrielle appears in Throne Hall holding the Baby Chamberlain in her arms. In Level 87 Baby Chamberlain grew to Little Chamberlain and in Level 89 became Young Chamberlain, as he is now. So it seems the storytellers either forgot the levels dealing with the Chamberlain’s murder or discounted them entirely.***
Innkeeper “Salty” Took is next on the list of friends who might help. Salty insists rules are rules, “Of course, Chamberlain gripes about not being allowed in here, but he’s just a boy! There are some rules I just don’t break.” Salty knows another part of the artifact is missing and recalls a tale about it. The “artifact bends the essence of time and weaves it into threads of fate. You’re missing a spool—where’s the thread supposed to go?” Taking what he describes as a sophisticated approach, Salty admits already having the missing item in his possession. “I have the item you need – given to me by none other than Chamberlain himself! Though I doubt he remembers. When we were both kids, we took turns flying a kite. He forgot to take back the spool, so it must be around here somewhere. It’s essential that the spool contains the right essence—without it the artifact will be a dud. Luckily, Chamberlain left his mark on this one!” The Spool of Purpose is rewarded.
Professor Pinfeathers says the Chamberlain has been lost in time, but he’s been a child long enough and the time’s come for a solution. Gabrielle, alone, appears in Throne Hall where Young Chamberlain once stood. Gabrielle extends warm greetings after so much time between visits. “You’re here because of Richard, yes? Richard doesn’t deserve this – he needs help now.” Gabrielle acknowledges good progress on the artifact, but there’s still something missing. “It’s quite clear what you’re missing – the balancing stand. I believe I can procure one.”
***THE ADVENTURE WILL CONTINUE IN A FUTURE UPDATE!