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With the final part to the portal solving Torrum’s problems, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. “Bless my bolts! The portal is almost ready. I’ll be able to leave this forsaken place soon and return to my own projects. I just need to place the final components, and I can make the journey home.”
Torrum hands over the Polar Star, with these parting words, “We work very well together! I hope we’ll meet again in our world! Good luck, my friend! (Torrum, the Weapon Maker disappears from Town of Shadows and reappears in Valley of Fallen Giants, Northern Islands)
Lilith the Huntress is happy to see you again and has news to share. She and Shadow mean so much to each other, but the Lord of Darkness stands in the way. Lilith says “Shadow has changed. He still serves the Lord of Darkness, but he’s secretly helping us from the inside!” Lilith wants to perform a small elvish ritual to protect Shadow from the Lord’s evil influence. “The ritual is as old as the Shadow Elves themselves. It is used to protect families and loved ones.” According to Lilith, Shadow is the most important thing in the world to her. “I need to brew a special elvish drink called Heart’s Warmth for the ritual. Once I drink it, I’ll sing a special song, and the warmth of my love will protect Shadow. I must remember the ingredients. I’ve never made it before, but this seems like the right time and for the right person.” Locating all the ingredients begins, “It’s not hard to find a thistle leaf, and elves all carry the blood of the tree of ancients, but the rest is going to be a challenge.”
It seems the forest heart flowers try to hide from your gaze. And the moon tea is made from special moon leaves that must be brewed for many hours under the beams of the in crescent moon. Next on the list is agate ginger root, a popular potion ingredient available from an herbalist. Lastly is the usually hard to find red lemon. “My life-defining tea is brewing. I’ll drink it and sing the song to put Shadow under the invisible protection of a girl who’s in love with him.” According to the ritual, Lilith must be alone when she sings her song of love. “I feel so alive! It must mean that we succeeded, and Shadow is under the protection of ancient elvish magic.”
Lilith wonders what Shadow is feeling. It’s still too dangerous for them to communicate so she asks you to visit him.
Shadow senses an aura of elvish magic around him and knows it must be Lilith’s doing. Shadow is all for taking preemptive steps rather than waiting for the sad consequences in dealing with the Lord of Darkness’s evil plans. Shadow says the Lord of Darkness is preparing a second wave, “The Lord of Darkness is going to strike again. He won’t stop until he’s made everyone in this world his faithful shadow servants. I feel powerful enough to save everyone but powerless to do it.”
Shadow knows the Lord of Darkness is preparing a ritual that will banish the sun from the sky. “Only moonlight will light your world.” Shadow intends to help him with the ritual, but will replace certain ingredients, sabotaging him long enough to buy some time. “The Lord of Darkness is going to notice my trick, but it will be worth it if it gives you enough time to assemble the artifact.” So far, so good. Shadow replaced a couple items unnoticed that will create complications for the Lord, but it won’t stop him. Shadow wants to replace one more thing. Shadow wants to send a gift to Lilith, a Bracelet of Good Intentions. He decides to make it himself and chooses the first stone carefully. “The pink star stone is a symbol of eternal love. They say it can only be found by those who seek true love.” Next is a pile of pearls from the depths of the Timeless Sea, but the black market will do just fine. Shadow finishes the bracelet for Lilith and wants to use the most beautiful and clever bird to send it – the Shadow Harpy.
Lilith couldn’t be happier that everything is going well and Shadow is trying to sabotage the Lord’s plans.
***Shh...Don’t bother me while I’m on the hunt. If I need help, I’ll ask. (End of Update)
***Update – February 23, 2021***
Lilith the Huntress recalls legends that mention the Northern Breath. The beginning of the tale is lost, but the ending mentions the Ice Wing. Important texts indicate the Shadow Elves kept the Ice Wing and used it to decorate the statue in the town’s main square. Lilith assures the Ice Wing is on its way and, sure enough, it arrives.
The Northern Breath is now complete and Professor Pinfeathers feels magic at work, “There is tension in the air, and soon the Lord of Darkness will sense it too. We must banish him before he learns of our plan!” The Northern Breath goes to the Lord of Darkness in the Ancient Garden and he promptly vanishes. (The Lord of Darkness appears in the Hall of Suffering in the Dark Side.)
Professor Pinfeathers knows that while the Lord of Darkness may be locked on the Dark Side, he’ll find a way back unless he’s defeated once and for all. As it is, the Lord “managed to capture some of the Midnight Castle residents and turned them into shadows. We must free them!” As a reward for a job well done, Pinfeathers hands over the Glove of Deliverance which can “free souls that are bound to our world.”
While Lilith wishes your visits were under more festive circumstances, she agrees to help. “I’ll send word to my people, the dark elves. They must know how to release the souls from the Dark Side.” Lilith knows one note won’t be near enough to tell the whole story; that might require a massive missive. And maybe a whole flock of carrier pigeons! Finally, the pigeons are sent on their way and there’s nothing left to do but wait for the messages to reach the elves. Lilith is concerned someone found a way to kill shadows, because they’ve started vanishing one-by-one. While it’s true she hunts down shadows in the world of the living, Lilith won’t tolerate killers on the Dark Side. “I must figure out how to detect the one responsible for destroying these innocent shadows. Perhaps a special mirror could help me see the shadow destroyer.”
With a little help, Lilith manages to find all the parts of the mirror, but making it is another story. Filled with righteous anger, Lilith says “More shadows are vanishing every day! One just disappeared right before my eyes! I just need to use it (the mirror) to find the coward behind these crimes.” The finished mirror does its job and leads Lilith to the shadow of an ancient tyrant who learned how to kill his fellow shadows. Lilith doesn’t care who they were in life, they’re her prey now.
Unfortunately, the hunt doesn’t go well. “I don’t know how, but the ancient tyrant hit my shadow itself. My vitality is draining from my shadow’s wound. This is more serious than I thought. Lilith’s beloved Shadow fears something is wrong and Lilith doesn’t want him to worry. But she knows this isn’t something she can handle herself and implores aide from Morisa the Forest Witch.
Morisa is sure she can help Lilith and explains, “Here in the shadow world, our shadows are as real as we are. They can be harmed, but they can also be healed. Lilith is an experienced huntress, so whoever hurt her shadow must be very powerful. Treating a shadow wound is no simple task. While her shadow is wounded, Lilith suffers as well.”
Morisa sets about working on the challenge to restore Lilith’s wounded shadow before she gets worse. She finds some usable herbs in the forest for the elixir, but will have to trade with some unfriendly creatures for the other ingredients. Morisa prepares a trade with a winged harpy, the terror of the eastern mountains, for one ingredient and finds another, a mandrake leaf, in her own garden. The mandrake leaf is needed to make a special candle before brewing the elixir.
The candle is ready, along with all the herbs and powders, and now begins the difficult part. “The elixir must be stirred from dusk to dawn without interruption!” While all this work took a lot out of Morisa, she hopes Lilith’s strength is seeing her through. The moment of truth has arrived...if done correctly, “the elixir should emit vapor as it cools.” Morisa knows her elixir will “cure Lilith’s shadow wound in moments once she takes it” but it’s taking a long time to change color. “The color is finally changing! I was getting a bit worried, but now I’ve never been prouder of my skills.”
Morisa hands you the elixir and says, “Don’t worry, Lilith will be fine. Please tell her that I’ll be waiting to hear from her as soon as she recovers.
As she begins to feel better, Lilith knows Morisa did the impossible. And for all your help, she rewards you with the Signet of Accumulation. (In her tasks 11 through 13, Lilith talks about a Stardust Glove, she knows an elf, the most skilled weaver in the world, who can weave it; then the glove must be soaked in timeless waters and it’s finally ready...but instead of being rewarded with the Stardust Glove, we’re rewarded with the Signet of Accumulation.)
Meanwhile, Nala once again casts the wrong spell. She heard something explode and a strange mist formed from which she could hear growling. She’s happy Professor Pinfeathers thinks she can help, “If he believes in me, I should too.” While the growls inside the mist seem to be getting louder, Nala fixes coffee and tries to figure out how to get rid of the mist. “I know where I went wrong! I won’t make that mistake again...though I may make others.”
Nala realizes the spell only affected her and decides to treat it as a curse. The visions intensify and Nala feels “This hallucination is getting stronger – the mist is closing in, and the beast’s growls rattle my very soul.” Nala is afraid, “My scientific mind wonders what will happen if the mist reaches me, but common sense tells me I don’t want to know. Maybe magic isn’t my thing, after all.” Shaking herself out of that negativity, she makes an ingredient list and begins searching for a two-horned root.
Preparing a new spell to lift the curse, Nala says “The mist is calling me to enter it! I don’t know how long I can resist its thrall. I’m impressed that I cast such a powerful spell, even accidentally.” Finally, Nala prepared all the ingredients but further complications arise when she loses the spell! She sends a bird to her mentor and pictures her mentor shaking his head at her misadventures.
Finally, the spell worked and the mist is receding. Shadow sends word he wishes to speak with you.
Shadow’s glad his message reached you and says “Nala is far smarter and more responsible than you’d think.” Aware the Lord of Darkness knows he’s not loyal to him anymore, Shadow wants to make sure he and Lilith are safe. “I need to divert suspicion away from myself. Lilith’s magic protected me, and it’s time I repaid that debt.”
Shadow won’t allow the Lord of Darkness’s wrath to fall on Lilith, but he’s afraid you won’t like his plan. “I must erase her from my memory. It’s the only way to make sure the Lord won’t find even a trace of her in my mind.” Desperate, Shadow knows “I’ll need powerful hypnosis to erase such vivid memories and I know of only one artifact capable of that. First, I need to order a staff base from a blacksmith. The blacksmith must make a rare alloy.”
Shadow finds the metals the blacksmith needs and now must obtain a pure rock crystal from the dwarves. They tend to be uncooperative, so Shadow must think of something to persuade them. He sends the shadow bird to the dwarves with his offer.
“Look! It’s (the rock crystal) as pure as a unicorn’s tear. Its sparkle will surely help me forget my graceful huntress.” Shadow sends the crystal to the blacksmith to place in the staff and now must find a way to keep his memories safe in case he can ever restore them. The blacksmith sent Shadow a crystal shard that can be used to save his memories of Lilith, but it needs a special metal setting to seal in the memories safely. Shadow found a famous jeweler who agreed to cut and set the crystal, but he has a strange feeling about him.
The staff arrived from the blacksmith, but Shadow found out the jeweler tried to sell the crystal. One of his shadow birds made sure he finished the job, as he promised. With the crystal and staff in hand, Shadow says “I may not be myself the next time we speak. Don’t forget to remind me who I am when the time is right.”
Sure enough, Shadow has no idea who you are but remembers you’ve helped him before. “I don’t feel well. No more talking for right now. We’ll cross paths again another time.
Nala is feeling much better and is ready to help find the next artifact. She’ll have to work harder than she expected because the artifact is guarded by a terrible beast, a toothy, loud one. “Maybe that terrible creature wants something to eat. I would guess it’s not looking for dandelions and buttercups.” The beast is full and happy, having calmed right down once Nala fed it her lunch and the Runic Paint of the Ancients is yours.
Pinfeathers is sorry to hear about Shadow’s memory, but the goal is closer thanks to his noble decision. Torrum the Weapon Maker and Ludwig Milton, Skeleton Knight, could be of help.
Torrum the Weapon Maker, now residing in the Valley of Fallen Giants, remarks you’d make an excellent dwarf and is ready for another challenge. “The Unicorn Brush was believed lost a long time ago. The legends place it in the ruins of an ancient town of craftspeople.” Torrum knows where the ruins are and plans to fire up the mechanical portal once again. “A bit of tinkering here and there and it’ll be ready. I just need a couple of parts.” The portal is missing a thingamajig, but Torrum says “a good mechanic knows how to get missing parts quickly. That’s half the job.”
Torrum receives a concerned message from his brother, Magrum, of Diamond Mountain. “Magrum’s note claims the gems mined from his mountain are turning black. He has a plan...Well, an idea, at least...Okay, just a thought.” Magrum asked Torrum to send mages to protect against whatever is happening, but most mages are afraid of Diamond Mountain. “Dwarves don’t like strangers in our lands, but sometimes we have to take radical steps.” Torrum knows the one thing mages can’t refuse and offers them gems from the very heart of his mountain in exchange for their help. “I’ve sent word to the mages. I can imagine the shock on their bearded faces! Hopefully, they accept the offer.”
While it’s said dwarven fortitude could forge steel, Torrum isn’t so sure about his. An all-consuming darkness is forming inside the gems, but the mages are still silent! Finally, the mages are sending help. “Wise old men are on their way! We prepared a generous gift for them as thanks for fighting the growing darkness.”
Torrum begins to worry, “The mages are late – I can sense that something is wrong. The mountains are still and quieter than usual with tension.”
Torrum never thought anything he could experience would cause the mix of vivid emotions he’s feeling right now. “A Fiery Redhead – a girl! Magrum says that a red-haired girl arrived! We requested a squad of seasoned battlemages, not some brash child. I have no words to express my anger about the girl that the mages sent! She says she’s a powerful artifact mage. Arrogant as well! Just what I need!”
Once the red-haired girl made her case, there was begrudging acceptance. “I barely talked by brother into allowing her into the heart of the mountain. I can almost hear his teeth grinding from here.”
Seems the girl turned out to be quite a good mage after all, “By my beard, the mage girl, Thalia, found a dark fissure deep in the caverns! My people have awakened something grim deep in the Diamond Mountain! I suspect that whatever escaped from the mountain is now troubling my old friend Lucas and his people. What bad luck! (Doesn’t that sound like the Elemental of the Abyss?)
Lucas the Minotaur, in Grim Mansion, says not to judge a book by its cover. He’s a good person who means you no harm and would like to believe you are as well. He believes you have a trustworthy face and wonders if you’ve ever considered having a minotaur friend could be useful? Lucas introduces himself as Lucas Rampant Stare of the Thunder Axe settlement.
He’s an educated minotaur, having “always had more interest in books and knowledge than combat. Are you surprised by my education? I suppose the stereotype is that minotaurs are warlike, but don’t get me wrong, I can still handle an axe!” Lucas jokes about making you his secretary before getting down to business.
“Here on the Dark Side, there’s a sacred town of minotaurs called Ariadne’s Labyrinth, but the way there is hidden to outsiders. You can’t imagine how beautiful our town is – few have even had the honor of visiting it.”
According to Lucas, something dark and horrible has appeared in the labyrinth. Something he believes is a Shadow Serpent! “The Shadow Serpent is one of the most ancient and horrible of this world’s restless shadows. It has long slumbered in the deep darkness, but something woke it, and now it’s hunting. The Shadow Serpent is small, but it grows each night as it hunts my people, growing bigger and bolder. Our town is in danger.”
Lucas remembers old tales from his youth that mention a Hidden Sword, a legendary weapon capable of destroying dark creatures. “Swords aren’t common weapons for a minotaur – we’re more comfortable with axes – but my hand won’t shake if I wield the Hidden Sword.” Lucas admits the tale of the sword “seemed clearer and more logical when I was a kid” but he vows to deal with the Shadow Serpent himself.
The legend contains a riddle, “The red stone near the rocks is hidden by the shadow of the forgotten tale.” Lucas wonders why riddles are always indirect, but finds his youth wasn’t wasted in those dusty old libraries after all. He knows where to find the sword! “I need to prepare for a journey. Jerky, clean water, my faithful axe. I don’t doubt you at all anymore. May your horns, er, your blade be ever sharp.”
Lucas casts aside thoughts of what could happen if he fails to defeat the Shadow Serpent and offers, “It’s tradition to bump horns with those close to you before you set off in my culture, but that could be dangerous for you, so let’s shake hands as the humans do. See you later, my friend.” Lucas the Minotaur disappears from Grim Mansion.
Torrum is concerned his friend Lucas is standing alone against the Shadow Serpent, but notes “his people were always a bit reckless. I guess we should trust that Lucas knows what he’s doing. In the meantime, my people are preparing for a new threat.”
As you are rewarded with the Unicorn Brush, Torrum leaves these parting words, “I hope to see you again...Hm? Oh, nothing – just the muttering of an old dwarf. Attend to your grand matters!”