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Ludwig hasn’t felt so alive in a long time and while the only thing holding his bones together is magic, he’s still able to put plans into action. Patience is a virtue and Ludwig can’t believe the Lord of Darkness’s reign is coming to an end. “The Lord of Darkness isn’t trying to stop us. It’s as if he doesn’t believe we can stop him. Centuries of doing as he pleased made the Lord less vigilant. We should take advantage of that, or we may as well only dream of defeating him. It’s time to take action! You are rewarded with the Sky Stones.
Pinfeathers says “We’re moments from triumph, yet the grasping claws of impending doom keep me in terror. One last effort and we can return all of our residents to our world! The Lord of Darkness won’t be able to withstand the power of the ancient artifact, but I still don’t know how it will affect him.
The Genie may be an ethereal being, but on the Dark Side, even he feels disconnected from this world. “I feel a connection to the Lord of Darkness. He seems to want to take control of my spirit. I’m fighting back, but I need your help.” The Genie seems to see through the Lord’s eyes, and he through the Genie’s, so the Genie tries to place a magical barrier, a mental wall, to block the Lord of Darkness from his mind. “I finally seem to be alone in my mind, so we should discuss our plans while we have a chance. I know where Ariadne’s Thread is, but I can’t get it without you.”
The artifact is with the harpies of the Dark Moon. They are reasonable, civilized creatures – as developed as humans. That’s the good news. The bad news is that harpies are generally rather unfriendly. It’s hard to establish and maintain communication with them. The Genie took a calculated risk and used magic to leave his body and scout out the lands of the harpies.
He found a strange disease plaguing the harpies and believes the Lord of Darkness is behind it. “If we offer them a cure, they may give us the artifact.” Magical diseases are difficult to cure and require a delicate mixture of herbs, magic and the Genie’s knowledge. “I’ve come up with a recipe to cure the harpies. None of the flock have died yet, but many are sick. We need to hurry.”
The Genie decides to “ask the witches of Darkwater Moors for some ingredients.” While his connections may be surprising, you make a lot of them when you exist for as long as he has.
The Genie finds it difficult to mix the unmixable, “Some of the ingredients are nearly incompatible with each other, but I am a Genie, after all. I can make miracles. I don’t believe a human mind could have come up with such a recipe. No offense intended. At any rate, I’ve started developing the cure.”
Needing several special magic stones necessitates having tedious negotiations with the goblins of the Ringing Wasteland. “It seems goblins can drive even ethereal creatures mad.”
The Genie begins experiencing terrible, unspeakable pain. “The Lord of Darkness is attempting to learn our plans, but he won’t be able to break through my mental defenses.”
The Genie puts the final touches on the cure, admitting this is the peak of his medical knowledge. “The harpies already know that I have an offer for them, and they suspect it’s related to the disease. Tah’Raa Golden Wing, matriarch and chief of the harpies, wants our cure but refused the exchange. The fate of their tribe is in our hands. They believe that we are incapable of empathy, so I intend to prove them wrong. The cure is ready, it must go to those in need, no matter what.
***END OF UPDATE*** (Genie says “I have nothing for you right now. Take your wishes elsewhere!”)
UPDATE***AUGUST 3, 2021
Tah’Raa acted very mysteriously when the Genie handed her the cure for the harpies, “The harpies were testing us. Our cure helped, and she is ready to hand over Ariadne’s Thread. The winged messengers are on their way and, despite what the Genie said before, he believes they are trustworthy. “The harpies didn’t let us down. As always, it’s been good to work with you, and I hope we’ll see each other again.” (You are rewarded with Ariadne’s Thread)
Professor Pinfeathers is jubilant, “That’s it! You’ve collected everything! The Lord of Darkness is sure we won’t succeed, but it’s time to prove him wrong! We must not underestimate the final step. We’ve assembled the Glove of Deliverance, so use its power against the Lord of Darkness and return everyone to life!
Glove of Deliverance goes to the Lord of Darkness in the Hall of Suffering, “The Lord of Darkness is imprisoned in stone for his dark designs.” Pinfeathers says the Lord of Darkness will remain on the Other Side forever and rewards you with the Recollection Crown. “This crown can break the strongest memory curse. Whoever wears it will surely remember their true feelings.”
Professor Pinfeathers senses Shadow is plotting something, having “lost his mind along with his memory” and there’s only one person who might be able to reason with him.
A while ago, Shadow came up with a plan to keep Lilith safe from the Lord of Darkness. He planned to use an artifact to keep all his memories safe until he could restore them. According to Lilith, however, “the artifact to remove memories broke and erased Shadow’s memories. Now it seems he’s fallen back into his evil ways.” Lilith knows “evil has always been a part of Shadow, but there’s kindness as well. We must make sure the kindness takes over.” Perhaps talking to Shadow might help but it’s hard to awaken kindness in an evil person.
Shadow wants to finish what the Lord of Darkness started (turning all Midnight Castle residents into shadows) and he doesn’t even remember the time he saved Lilith’s life. Lilith once “fell into a shadow sinkhole during a hunt. Shadow almost passed by, but something about me moved him to pity and he saved me. I still don’t know why.”
Shadow’s sickening delusions about immortality are alarming. According to Lilith, “I don’t know what changed his heart, or even what made me fall for him in the first place. When this is all over he’ll see himself clearly, but for now, we must make him change his views.” Lonelier than ever, Lilith is troubled by her past feelings. “How could he just forget our time together? One day he picked apples for me – real ones, not shadow apples! It was like a miracle. I wish I could perform a miracle for him now.”
Lilith is so desperate, “it feels like I’ll never feel the spark of determination again. Shadow was always so tenacious and sure around me. I must be like the Shadow I know and love. It’s the only way I can help him.”
Lilith hopes talking to Shadow will help and describes their past conversations as brief, but sincere. If talking doesn’t help, drastic actions is all that’s left. But Shadow is in a state of denial and Lilith doesn’t dare go to him herself, “There’s no denying it, words aren’t going to persuade him.” Lilith accepts the inevitable outcome, “Shadow doesn’t change his mind. One day we argued for so long about where to go for a walk that we ended up not going anywhere!” Left with no other options, Lilith asks you to speak with Shadow.
Shadow, still at Creepy Street, doesn’t remember you or Lilith, but he remembers something else. “I have a clear goal in mind, ingenious in its simplicity, and I’m ready to achieve it. Existence is finite and our lives are frail and pointless.” Shadow wishes to change that; “Imagine eternal life. Would you enjoy it? Death in all forms is despicable. But shadows...shadows are immortal.” Despite some opposition to defying death, he knows everyone will thank him in the end. Sure his actions won’t be in vain, Shadow vows to finish what the Lord of Darkness started. “I’m not merely bragging – I’ll do what he set out to do, only better!”
While claiming not to be a monster, Shadow needs “one small thing to turn everyone into immortal shadows. Eternal life requires a life. A sacrifice is my only option to ensure eternal life for all. After all, how can one life compare to immortality for all?” Shadow believes destiny will choose his sacrifice. “Ah! Ludwig Milton may die, but we’ll live forever! Our new world will be utopia!”
Lilith, greatly upset by Shadow’s plan, knows the only way out is the hard way. “There’s an artifact called the Recollection Crown. It’ll help collect the pieces of Shadow’s scattered memories.” Lilith knows part of the artifact, the Lucid Mind, is stuck in the space between this world and the shadow world. Lilith sets off for the place outside of time and space and returns with the Lucid Mind. “Now we must hope for the best – that the artifact brings clarity to Shadow’s mind.”
Pinfeathers knows that if Shadow cannot be reasoned with, he must be forced to remember his true self. Perhaps that will make him forget the atrocity of turning everyone in the castle immortal.
Ludwig Milton, Skeleton Knight has been cursed and is slowly fading away. Such a despicable deed, “the curse can only be undone by the one who cast it. Not only will I fade away, but others will suffer as well.” Ludwig describes Shadow as a madman, “his plan is eternal life for all, but my endless suffering means nothing to him. A madman like Shadow should never be able to toy with innocent lives.”
Ludwig recalls “A serenity seeker hid the artifact part you need up on the mountain. I can ask my faithful raven to fetch it for you.” But the raven travels far and wide, so patience is needed to wait for his return. Ludwig, growing concerned over the raven’s delayed arrival, tries summoning his faithful helper. The raven finally returns and gets ready for a new journey just as a blizzard starts brewing in the mountains. The blizzard ends and the raven is off, flying high in the mountains. Ludiwig Milton says “There are whispers on the wind. The artifact part should soon be ours.”
Ludwig Milton has his hands on the artifact part, but he won’t last much longer. “If my strength subsides, our work will be in vain. Luckily, I know someone that can help slow Shadow’s curse.”
Nala is thankful for the pleasant encounter, even though she wishes the circumstances of the visit were different. “Lifting the curse on the Skeleton Knight won’t be simple.” Nala knows “there are few mages who understand shadow curses. Luckily, I began studying them long ago.” She admits she can’t actually life the curse, but she can slow it with an Impediment Ritual. Since shadow curses can only be lifted by those who cast them, slowing the effect is the only hope. “Hopefully that’ll buy enough time to find the artifact to restore Shadow’s memory.”
Nala begins doubting her abilities, “What if everything goes wrong? What if Ludwig Milton dies, and everyone turns into shadows because of me?” As more doubt creeps in, Nala realizes that there’s nothing to lose. “I can’t make things worse, but they certainly won’t get better if I don’t try.” Self-confidence changes everything and when Nala is more sure of herself, she can do things she never thought possible. “Courage comes more easily now, but during my apprenticeship I was rarely sure of myself. Growth comes when one learns to fix their own mistakes.”
After collecting all the specific items for the ritual, Nala prays for Merlin’s help and goes for the first attempt. Unfortunately, an unforeseen complication actually sped up Ludwig’s curse instead of slowing it. Remaining calm, Nala manages to undo her mistake. Testing her theory as to what went wrong presents a complication...she accidentally turned her cauldron into a kumquat!
Restoring the cauldron and ready for the second attempt, Nala is sure everything will go smoothly. “It worked! I almost don’t believe it! I’ve slowed the curse down. You should have enough time to find the artifact and restore Shadow’s memory.
Ludwig Milton, feeling drained, is thankful for Nala’s help but knows it’s only temporary. He hands over the Wing of Serenity and implores you to find the rest of the artifact “or we’re all doomed!”
A new acquaintance appears at Mountain Foot in Twisted Mountain and introduces himself. “I am Han, the Sage. I aid those who seek to find themselves, just as I did once upon a time.” Han, the Sage knows about the terrible curse and the artifact, but says “it’s hard to recall an object from so long ago.” A clear mind will help him remember what the artifact part looked like, “One needs calm when attempting to remember the past.”
Han, the Sage admits his words “may sound a bit cryptic” but “listen well and you may learn something about yourself.” Introspection is the last stage of mental preparation; “never forget the power of meditation if you desire inner peace.” The words may sound lofty, but like a guiding star, they help recall memories. “I’m ready to astral project into my mind palace to remember what you need. My mind and spirit will be far away from this world.” After projecting billions of miles away, Han, the Sage returns from the realm of memories with good and bad news.
“I nearly lost myself in the infinite world of memories. The good news is that I remembered what the item looks like. The bad news is that I also remembered what happened to it. It was lost and only the harpies can find it now.” The harpies have a bad reputation, but Han, the Sage directs you to a true friend who may help.
Olympe the Harpy appears at Mountain Ledge, but blocks the way. “Halt, stranger! Prove you’re not an enemy or return the way you came!” Eventually realizing her judgment was hasty, Olympe introduces herself and says “We harpies don’t trust outsiders. These are dangerous times. Caution is wisdom.” She knows Han, the Sage well, someone whose always been very kind to the harpies. Even though everyone is in mortal peril, Olympe is still unsure your intentions are good. “I don’t know your mind, and our people have survived by being cautious of outsiders. Don’t judge our cautious ways too harshly. Our people are ancient and wise, but many believe that we’re birds of prey that should be exterminated. We are never safe.”
Olympe says her people are never cruel and value kindness and justice above all else. “My people are slowly vanishing at our enemies hands, only because of the way we look! Why won’t they accept us? We live solitary lives to prevent our extinction, but it has closed our society off.
Because mistrust has become ingrained in the harpies over generations, they’ve developed sharpened instincts. But they can still trust those that offer help. “Perhaps one day we won’t have to live in fear, but today is not that day.” Olympe decides you’ve earned her trust and says the artifact part should be just over the mountain. She begins to prepare for a long flight. “Flying can be taxing and this is no small mountain. The mountain has many dangerous twists and crags, so this could take some time.”
But Olympe has a surprise...”The gift of flight isn’t the only thing that will aid in my search. I’ll use my eagle eye to spot the item from high above.” Even though well equipped to search, the item appears to be well-hidden. Olympe feels the artifact part emitting strong magical energy and feels she’s getting close. “I’m approaching the sacred cave of the enlightened – the artifact part must lie within. I’m not allowed to enter the cave, so I’ll have to check whether the item is inside from the outside.” The part is indeed inside the cave and while Olympe can’t enter the cave, Han can.
Han doesn’t doubt his friend’s generosity and knows visualizing the goal is paramount in any task. Even though he is confident his gaze will soon fall upon the item, it proves elusive. Finally, the item is within Han’s grasp and he’s glad he kept his mind sharp all these years.
“Our patience was rewarded. The artifact part is yours.” You are rewarded with the Wing of Distinction.
Torrum the Weapon Maker in the Valley of Fallen Giants is surprised by your visit. “Cogs and gears! You startled me! Well, at least your sudden appearance is the most exciting thing that’s happened in a while. I haven’t heard from Lucas since he left to deal with the Shadow Serpent. Hammer and tongs, sometimes no news is worse than bad news!”
Seems Torrum and Lucas the Minotaur are old friends and Torrum is worried about Lucas. Torrum is aware of the task to restore Shadow’s memory and views it as a good distraction while waiting for word from Lucas. “One of my mechanical portals could teleport me to the artifact part you need.”
Readying the portal for action, Torrum knows the results can be unpredictable. “I might turn up leagues away from my intended destination. But that’s just how my portals work!” Torrum’s first step into the unknown was a fiasco. “I turned up in the dream world. Not sure what happened. Only the lucky escape the dream world. I could search for all eternity and never find the exit.” It appears when Torrum visited the dream world, the dreams corroded the portal, almost like rust, but Torrum managed to fix it.
Torrum’s second trip through the portal landed him in the tower of mages. Feeling like such a failure, Torrum says “The dreams completely corroded one of the parts. It’s an intricate part, but forging it is nothing for a dwarf!” Refusing to turn back now and sure he’ll get to the right place this time, Torrum ends up in parallel world. It’s similar to our world...with some differences. Torrum found two copies of the artifact part in parallel world, but he needs to figure out which one came from our world. “It’s a critical choice. Just as we need the part for our world, they’ll need their part as well.”
And something happened that was a little strange, “You won’t believe this but...I met myself in the other world! By my beard, it was the strangest thing I’ve ever seen! The other me told me which artifact part to take. He was quite helpful...and handsome, I might add!” You are rewarded with the Pendant of Remembrance.
Lucas the Minotaur, back from his adventure, reappears at Grim Mansion. Taking a minute to catch his breath, Lucas promises to send Torrum a message. “Torrum had no reason to worry about me. Why worry? I’m strong, resilient and...somewhat educated. What’s the worst that could’ve happened?” Lucas managed to locate and subdue the Shadow Serpent; “He told me that his elder brother, the fire elemental, would avenge him! I didn’t know shadow serpents could have fiery brothers.”