"Rite of the Warrior"
You are confronted by an officious Mutant standing in a sheltered area of the Proving Grounds. He walks up to you. The manner of the Mutant irritates you and you have to stop anger from rising up. The Task Master gives you a sly look, his voice grates along with his oily smirk. 'Well, we have a new Warrior in our midst. You have the Phantom Mark?
He takes the Mark from you and examines it closely, 'Hmmm, it is not a fake. It is also well made, you have a powerful patron. But that will not get you on the way of the Warrior.' You begin to wonder at the tiresome little man. He seems to be enjoying this far too much. He eyes you closely now, 'I have not seen you around here before, but you carry the mark. So you must be allowed here. Speak to me when you are ready for the trial to begin.'
And with that he tosses the Phantom Mark back and then precedes to ignore you.
You receive 1 x Phantom Mark
The Task Master stands in front of you pointedly ignoring your presence. You know he is forcing you to address him again – simply because he can.
The Task Master pretends not to hear you.
You take a deep breath and ask him again. The silly Mutant turns and a wide smile crawls over his face, 'So, you have decided to take the first steps onto the Rite of the Warrior. Good. We need fresh meat to replenish our ranks. Now. The first task is to fill this mug with sand.' He takes a steel cup out of his pocket. He offers it to you.
You stare at it. Then ask why you have to do this. The Task Master narrows his eyes. 'Filling the cup shows that you are willing to get your hand dirty and follow orders. When you have done this I shall tell you the second task you must complete.'
You look at the dirty metal cup before you, then ask again why you should do these useless tasks. The Mutant look at you down his nose, 'I have the missing part to the Phantom Dagger. I will only give it to someone who has satisfied the requirements I set.'
You smile back at him, draw your weapon and butcher the wretch where he stands.
From his bloody corpse you take an odd stone dagger handle. You should see if you can find a use for this.
You receive 1 x Stalker Mark
The Fight Master stands in the small hut. He glares at you, then unslings his weapon. 'So, what is it?'
The way he moves, you know that you do not want to fight this Mutant. You quickly hand him the Phantom Dagger. He takes it and examines the dagger closely, 'I see precision in this work. Well done, I accept that you have started the Rite of the Warrior. To finish the rite you must construct a Phantom Beamer. It is only used by our Warriors when we go to war. It is what makes us feared in battle. But as with all weapons – it is only as good as the warrior who uses it. Do not simply depend on simple brute power to get you through a difficult battle. Knowing the weaknesses of your enemy can turn the tide of many a conflict.'
You listen to his words and see wisdom there. You nod slowly as you digest them. The Fight Master stares at you and smiles slowly, 'I see you are one who actually listens. You will meet with success if you listen to others.'
He hands you an Blueprint, them smiles at you. 'You will need to build the Plasma Caster and return to me. The Caster is used in constructing the Beamer You will need to travel across some other areas to complete your task. Once the Caster is built, you gain the right to talk to the Cannon Keeper in Tar Thal (Gate). But the point of this task is to test the mettle of a fighter. For they prevail against all odds – or die trying. But I am confident that you will be successful, good luck.'
You receive 1 x Plasma Caster Blueprint
The Fight Master straightens as you approach. His hand moves to his weapon, 'Ah, you again. Have you built the Phantom Caster?'
He holds the Caster in his hands, 'Well it has been a while since I've seen one of these. You have done well. It is not easy making this, but you now have the right to speak with the Cannon Keeper in Tar Thal (Gate). He will give you the last part to make the weapon functional. I shall call ahead and tell him you are coming. May fortune guide you.' The Fight Master hands you back the Phantom Caster.
You receive 1 x Phantom Caster
Despite yourself you are pleased at his words. He may be a Phantom Stalker, but he seems to be different form the others you have met. You nod and turn from him and continue onward.
You should find the Cannon Keeper in the Tar Thal (Gate)
The Cannon Keeper looks over the Proving Grounds from his tower. He turns and looks at you, his eyes widen when they see what you are holding. 'Ummm, is that a Plasma Caster?'
He looks at it with admiration. 'Not every Warrior can make this. You have done well. Tar Thal is the Stalker's most ancient fortress. Our tribe has weathered many a storm here behind it's carved walls. It gains it's very strength from the bones of the lake. With the Phantom Beamer the Warrior gains the right to go anywhere within the lower levels of Tar Thal. Only Elders and the Leading Line may use the upper levels. I realize you know this, but tradition dictates I speak of it. You are just missing the final piece of the Caster to construct the Beamer. I shall give it to you, after I have asked you a question.'
'Do you know anything about the recent deaths concerning the Task Master and Grave Digger?' You smile. The Cannon Keeper looks at the knowing unblinking stare. Panic wells up in him, he fumbles for his weapon. With a leisurely practiced action, you smoothly ready your weapon.
The fight did not take long, the Cannon Keeper had obviously softened with his position. Used to giving and having orders obeyed rather than fighting for the right to do so. You go through his pockets and are surprised to find a battered Blueprint. This must build the last component to complete your weapon.
You receive 1 x Sealed Nanite Vial Blueprint
The new weapon might make searching Tar Thal for the lost Dahon easier.
To be continued, next Update!
The Cave is a welcome relief from the relentless sun outside. You see the walls have been carved from the rock itself. You feel the strength of the Cave and see an brief glimpse of the Stalkers desire to live. You are snapped out of your admiration by a whining voice. You look and see a Man sitting at a desk waving at you.
He gives you a wide grin. There is something about this individual that you dislike. His manner is too sure of himself and he is too confident that he has what you want. 'Well, hello there. Another Stalker come to my humble stall.' You bristle at the accusation of being a part of the Phantom Stalkers, but the pretense must be maintained for the mean while. You stay silent as the Man prattles on. 'We are here to help each other. You no doubt have seen the Flamers we traded with other Stalker Fighters?' You shift your weight, the memory of being singed by those Flamers is still fresh.
Then a flash comes to you. Amara mentioned that the Stalkers had weapons from somewhere. You seem to have found the source. You smile down at the odious little creep. Then ask where he is from? The merchant spreads his arms wide, 'Where we are from is not as important as what we are selling!' He takes out a Flamer. It is shining new even in this gloom. On an impulse you suddenly ask if he does rifles. The Merchant gives you a quick look.
'How odd. Most Warriors are glad for the exotic flamer. But yes, I we do have rifles. The man twists on his stool and digs in a rough crate behind him. Then sits a rifle next to the flamer. You nod, it is the same as the Stalker Blade was using. You ask again where he comes from, the Merchant bristles. He is obviously not used to being questioned a second time, used to his wares blinding everyone to such trivialities. 'I am here to trade, not to converse. If you will not trade then leave me and let another Phantom Stalker gain an advantage – Good Day!'
You hear a bell begin to toll in the distance. Turning you see armed guards running to the Gate. A Stalker nudges you, 'Looks like we might have an intruder. They get in time-to-time, but we just close the gate and the Pulse Cannons do the rest. Unfortunately the plasma consumes the corpse, so nobody get a meal afterwards. Such a waste of good meat.' You are repelled at his casual words and step aside to let him talk to the Merchant. The Merchant was smiling up at him with the wide greedy grin.
They have found the body of the Cannon Keeper, it looks like you'll need to find another way out of Tar Thal now the gate has been closed. But you get a nagging feeling that you need to find out where these Traders are from. Maybe you can find some information from their customers, or somewhere else.
You hear a gentle cough. Turning, you see that there is a Mutant in fine clothes standing in the corner.
The Mutant stands with an air of efficient superciliousness, his voice is a low murmur as not to attract anyone else's attention. 'Excuse me. I wonder if I might I ask you what you are doing here? It is obvious that you are not of the Phantom Stalkers.' You stiffen, your hand wanders toward your weapon. The odd Mutant sees this and a flat, certain smile flows across his face, 'Excellent. I have been tasked with giving you this item. Please return when you have completed the task.' He hands you a Blueprint then breaks all eye contact, you feel completely and effectively dismissed without even a word.
You receive 1 x Warrior Meal Blueprint
The odd Mutant stands in absolute silence. As you draw closer he murmers, 'Have you managed to prepare the Warrior Meal?'
In one hand he deftly balances the plate of food that took you so long to prepare. You instinctively gasp, worried that he will drop it. He looks down his nose at you, 'You doubt me Unit? Well this is acceptable. Just one more item and you may deliver it.' He places a large fizzy drink on the plate of food. 'You may now go in.' he says imperiously, then steps aside and motions that you enter the door behind him.
You receive 1 x Warrior Special
The Cozy is a strange place. The small chamber has been appointed with fine woolen mats while elaborate tapestries hang on the walls. You get the distinct impression that this is a Kings idea of a quaint cave. Your eyes fall on a familiar face. He is gazing up at you with a surprised but genuinely pleased grin on his face. The Old Gutter bows to you, 'I am astonished to see that you are alive, and that you have come with yet another feast for me. I am growing very fond of you Unit. You have made my days much more interesting of late.'
You can't really help yourself, you smirk down at him. You do not know his reasons for helping you, but you are grateful he is. 'Now, I'm starved!'
He gazes over the meal before him, 'Oooooo, this looks delicious. Freshly ground Warrior as well, yummy. The taste of fool is so much the sweeter.' He winks up at you, then bites deeply into the burger. He munches happily taking a sip of the Fizzy drink and an odd Chip. You watch him eat with a horrified fascination. He knows he is eating his own people, yet he feels nothing for them.
The Old Gutter finishes off with a deep slug of Fizz then onto the Chips with relish. It's oddly hypnotic watching him enjoy his food so much. He sets the silver plate down and claps his hands. 'All right then Unit.' He gives you a sharp glance, 'You are a Unit, Bosworth did some digging on you somewhere and said that you were! Was he right?' You nod slowly, where could the Stalkers find information on you? The Gutter continues, 'Oh, of course he's right. I said that your eyes might be cybernetic which might explain the encoding around your iris. He disagreed when I described what your codes were like.'
He takes a silk handkerchief from his pocket and dabs his mouth. 'But, I've also been digging around for some mention of any Dahon slaves taken, I found nothing concrete. But then again, I could not really make any definite remarks actually looking for something I'm not supposed to know anything about. If you know what I mean. Politics of the Court is sometimes so draining. But I felt I needed to do something for you as you so kindly made those truly lovely Kebabs.' He pats his belly thoughtfully, 'Your work is always excellent in that area I find. And excellent help is always so hard to find these days.'
He continues, 'Anyway I didn't really find out one way or another if any Dahon slaves were taken. Actually having a Dahon slave is quite something in our tribe. Mostly they fight to the death, but sometimes they can be convinced to join us. They are always highly prized as they are such proud and efficient people. Most become Consorts and those Lines are most successful, charmed almost. So even the rumor of a Dahon prisoner is a bonus to your Line. Do you follow me? The most useful rumor I heard was from one of my enemies unfortunately. They also have direct links to the Dungeons below us. Specifically the Chamber. Thats where you want to look. I'm sorry, but if they are anywhere, they are there. Not a pleasant place. Even by our standards. What goes on down there upsets even us. But that is the best place to look for any slaves recently taken.'
He stands slowly. Bows, then exits the Cozy through the door in the opposite wall. Just before he closes it he stops, 'Please do not die, I have found your company most invigorating. Our association has given me... a new... appetite for life.' He then closes the door and you hear the lock snap tight behind him.
You should explore these Dungeons quickly before you deal with these Weapon Dealers.
You move through the Dungeons. But you do not see any cells. Then the realization finally dawns. The entire area is the Dungeon. You would assume that the other prisoners would see the death of others and think twice about defying the authorities. A clever form of torture. It also would facilitate the acquisition of a new meal you.
Then in the dark a truly massive Gorgath Axeman towers before you.
The Gorgath slowly goes for his axe. He lifts it above his head, 'Gank must smoosh little one. No jailer with little person.' You suddenly know that Gank is an idiot. You say quickly that the reason you are not with the Jailer is that your master has sent you down to make sure that he is ready for the new prisoner. You speak quickly making sure that your words run into each other.
Gank's axe stops suddenly, 'You sent here from Upstairs?' The importance of that is not clear, you simply nod in agreement. You try to reproduce the arrogance of Bosworth in your words, 'You doubt it!? Come now - do you want me to go back to my Master and tell him I was not allowed to pass?' Gank tilts his massive head to one side. You know he is thinking, 'Yes.' He says with certainty. 'Then they will knowed that Gank done his job proper.'
You stare up at the beast, dumbfounded. Then with a flash of inspiration, 'I shall return with the proper authorization for you.' Gank gives off a booming laugh. 'Only Jailer or Gorgath may pass Gank. Go back to Master an' tells them that.'
You turn from Gank before he changes his mind. You need to find a way to convince Gank that you are a Gorgath Axeman some how.
There is a dark emptiness to Solitary. You feel an ache of hopelessness flower deep in your gut. Your breath becoming labored, it now comes in quick gasps. You realize that you are gripping your weapon. Your knuckles are white and the back of your hand has sharp spasms of pain shooting across it.
With an effort you draw it, only then see the Screamer gloating in the gloom. As your eyes lock it slinks away. You vision clears, a high reedy giggle makes you turn. A man in tatters is chained to the wall.
In the dark, you now see that wreckage of the poor soul before you. He mutters incoherently at you, then he tilts is head back and shouts at the top of his voice.
'There was a Girl from Taulin,
Her ankles are perfectly thin,
She dances so well,
Her skirts look so swell,
I'd love to give her a SPIN!
HA HA HA HA HA ha ha ha.'
He is clearly utterly insane, though a smirk does cross your face. As you do so you hear a yelp to your left. You see a Screamer clutching his temples in pain. You suddenly see that your positive emotion seems to be hurting him. You can't help but be further amused. The wretched thing moves off with a shambling gait. Your not sure, but you might have heard a whimper.
He might be mad but at least there is a method to it. At your feet you hear a sharp clink.
A blueprint rests by your ankle, with an effort of someone running through water the odd man speaks to you. 'I know I'm bonkers, but I was driven this way by those things. I wasn't always like this, but I know how they work now. I made this Blueprint before that thing chained me here. Make the Charm and escape. This will be my victory knowing someone left here by my hand. Don't worry about me, I'm far too gone now. I only think clearly when they leave me alone and only then in small flashes. Go now, and live. I will distract them. Just bang the door twice when you go, that is all I ask.'
You don't know what to say. You pick it up wordlessly. The poor mans eyes mist over, he has fallen back into madness.
You receive 1 x Miasma Charm Blueprint
Maybe you could find a way to use the Miasma Charm to confuse Gank.
You return to find Gank stood there in silent defiance. The memory of the Laughing Prisoner laughing at the top of his voice lingers. When you escaped Solitary you banged the heavy door twice. Then a cry of victory echoed through the halls. Along with an angered mummer from the odious Screamers. You smile as you remember his defiant yells, 'Have you been to Taulin? The girls there would dance rings around hobbling fools like yooooou! Ha ha ha haa'
Then Gank draws his heavy axe, snapping you back to the present. 'Who you? I not seen you before!'
The giant might be an oaf, but he's a strong one. You grit you teeth and move past him, hoping that your outfit will fool him. Gank's massive head follows you. But he does not stop you. The door to the Chamber opens easily. You only can only draw an breath when you are safely behind it.
Now finally you can discover if the Stalkers have taken the missing people.
The Chamber is much bigger than you first imagined it would be. You see instruments of torture along all the walls, the odd table and well used rack. You know that there is a Jailer in charge of the Dungeons. The Gutter said that the Chamber was the best place to look for your lost Dahon Tribesman.
In your brief search of the Chamber you do not find the Jailer, but you do find a Screamer scribbling on a long piece of paper.
The Screamer is concentrating so hard on his work that he does not even know you are there. You ask him if he knows if there are any Dahon slaves kept here. He does not look up from the paper, 'I cannot discuss that, you will need the permission of the Jailer to look at the Listings. You have no time for this. You have come too far to be stopped by an idiot with a pen. But as you draw your weapon you hear a rough voice call out to you, 'Oi, who are you?'
You turn to see the Jailer bearing down on you. You must defend yourself and kill the Tar Thal Jailer (Elite).
The Screamer cowers behind his long sheet of paper, 'I cannot tell you who is detained here. You must defeat to the Tar Thal Jailer (Elite) first, to get permission to read the Prisoner Listings.'
The Jailer was a tough Stalker. Used to giving pain and being drenched in misery. It was a bitter fight, but eventually he fell before you. The Idiot is still there, frozen in fear. You are not too sure why he is still there. Obviously the thought of the Jailer being killed did not occur to him. You can see the regret for that assumption written all over his face now.
In a cold fury you walk up the the fool. In a shaking hand he passes the paper to you. You see a very long list. You are astonished at the organization of the Jailer. There are names listed next to their crime and severity of punishment as well as sentence length. But the columns to the far right is what draws your eye.
Its is labeled 'Type'. Under this there are obviously different classes of social standing. You see that those from 'Lines' get a reduced sentence for the same crime than slaves. You try to ignore this and search for any Dahon. There are none...
You wheel around to the idiot who is incomprehensibly still standing there. You try to keep your voice as level as possible, you ask if the Dahon are kept elsewhere. The Screamer looks at you dumbfounded, 'Dahon? We have not had any Dahon in years. They fight to the death. But if we did they would need breaking before they would be useful. So we would have them here. This is the only place we do that to my knowledge. There are no Dahon within the Phantom Domain.'
You stare at him, the anger drains out of you and is replaced by confusion. They were not taken by the Stalkers, ever... Then the reason for the Old Gutter helping you becomes crystal clear. He even told you himself. His enemy has contacts with the Dungeon. You can only assume that the Jailer was his slave or part of his Line. You smile, clever.
But with the Gates closed you still need to find a way out of an enemy fortress. You also need to find a way to stop the Weapons Dealers arming your enemy. You had best return to the Tar Thal Cave and see what you can do about it.
You return to the Cave. The weapons merchant is still sitting by his stall dealing with his customers. You look behind him. There are only 2 rough cases behind him. You wonder where all the other are coming from.
At the sound of your voice the Merchant looks up at you. His wide grin does not touch his dead eyes. You guess he is not happy to see you. 'Ah, the Rifle man. Have you changed you mind?' It is now your turn to force a grin on your face.
You ask what the price is. Not interested, but just wanting to start the conversation. His eyes now sparkle. 'Oh, there is no monetary price. We simply ask for your most powerful weapon and a promise that you kill 35 Dahon Tribesmen. We will then give you a weapon of your choice. The Dahon are stopping us from passing through their lands you see. So we want them dealt with.'
He replaces the rifle on top of the stall. 'Do we have a deal?' Your smile almost falters at his pure conviction that you will comply. You make an obvious move to take out your weapon, but just before you place it on the stall you ask quickly, 'Where do you store your weapons stock.' The Merchant is staring at the weapon in your hands. You assume he has not seen one like it from the other Stalkers he has seen.
Without thinking he answers, 'Its just behind the door to my left.' Then hastily he adds. 'Though is has a force field for security. The keys are safe.' You hesitate for a moment longer. Then you say, 'I'm sorry, but I need to think about giving up my weapon some more. It's very precious to me you see.' The Merchant makes a big fuss about that. Assuring you that when you change your mind he will be here waiting for you. Many Stalkers go through that period of uncertainty, but they always come back at the thought of an easy Dahon kill.
You need to find the Dealers Security Key and get through that door.
You discover a silver Keycard reader, who would have the Key?
You swipe the card through the reader. There is a high pitched bleep and the forcefield dissipates from the door.
Your way is now clear to enter the Dealer Store.
At the bleep the Weapons Merchant cries out in surprise but you charge through the open doorway before he can get up from his seat. You're in the room and see a Guard.
He was not expecting anyone to enter the room. He didn't even have is rifle in his hand. He was glued to his Datapad. He died before he even looked up. You stare down at the body. It was then that you hear voices coming through the open doorway. You absently smash the locking mechanism. The forcefield immediately springs up behind you.
You are stunned by what you see. The Weapons Merchant is arming every Phantom Stalker they can. But their Store room is tiny. You expected at least a room filled with boxes. But there is just the body of the Guard and a raised platform behind him. Your heart sinks as you recognize it.
Before you sits a TIU Portable Personal Transporter.
You have no idea why the TIU would be arming the Phantom Stalkers, but you need to put a stop to it as soon as possible.
You receive 880,549 Xp + 25 Skill Points