Into the Maw of Danger
|MIN LEVEL||START LOCATION||START REQUIREMENTS|
|970||Karthak (Seastone Court) (10, 10)||SK XIII Medallion (Complete Testing the Limits)|
The Hulking Minotaur stares down at you. In a low rumbling voice he growls, 'You may not pass.'
You action stuns the Golem into silence. Obviously nobody has ever given him something before. The massive Statue gazes at your Medallion in his huge hand, 'This is a Hunters Medallion. I have heard tales of these. Only the strong gets them notched after completing deeds of consequence. I see this Medallion has many notches.' He hands it back to you.
Then lowers his huge stone head. The horns come level to your chest, 'I cannot let you past Hunter. I will regret destroying such a skilled fighter. But this is my duty, I have not been tested in such a long time. Do you still wish to continue?' Looking into his eyes you then see the intelligence within the Golem. The savagery of the carving hides the true nature of the Creature. You step back and say, 'No, I do not wish to fight such a fine Creature without reason.'
The corded muscles of the Minotaur relax, 'That is good then.' He steps back to his position by the Lighthouse door. Jamesina touches your arm, 'I have been waiting for you Hunter, I see you have met the Guardian of the Tower. He has stood here for as long as written words remember. He is famed for his strength and honor.' You see the stone chest swell slightly. 'Many have gone against him and fallen in battle. He has never been bested in combat.' You suddenly see faint Arcane Runes spinning round the Golems right hand.
The Golem stands slightly taller at her words, he nods gently. Jamesina's voice becomes smooth and soothing, 'Only he can decide who enters the Lighthouse, only he can judge who is worthy.' You see the massive shoulders straighten with power and pride. She then asks gently, 'Guardian, do you judge the Hunter a fine Warrior, victorious in many battles?' The Minotaur stares at you, the Arcane Runes spinning around his hand flare momentarily, then fade to almost nothing. In a slow gravelly voice he intones, 'I see... from the Medallion the Hunter has been tested... The Hunter stand before me... The Hunter is thus victorious and worthy of my respect.' The faint Runes begin to spin faster.
Jamesina's voice flows like a silken lullaby around you, 'If the Hunter has your respect, then surely the Hunter is also worthy of entry into the Lighthouse?' The Golem nods slowly, 'So few have been deemed worthy of battle. The Hunter may pass through the gates of the Lighthouse.'
Jamesina whispers in your ear, 'Destroy any Evil within the Lighthouse, I shall wait for you here. I need to make sure my suggestion sticks.'
A Spirit hovers before you, it looks like it's made from liquid gold.
The Spirit looks through you, 'I see that you are not supposed to be here. There has been some trickery here. But I sense that was not your doing. You should not go any further for your own safety. Few can stand before its purity.' You stare at the Spirit, then say, 'I have been told that there is a Creature of Evil lurking within Seastone Keep. This is the last place for it to hide.'
There is a shimmer through the spirit. You then realize that it is laughing at you. The Spirit tilts its head to the side as a cat looks at a mouse. 'I'm sorry, but you have been misinformed. There is more trickery at work here I fear. Please turn back, only pain can be found here for those who are not supposed to be within the Lighthouse.'
You only sense concern from the shining Spirit, this confuses you. But you have a Contract to complete. You ask, 'I'm sorry Spirit, I must seek out the Evil that I have been told that is here. Will you try to stop me?' The Spirit lowers its shining head, 'No, I shall not stop you. I am only saddened that you will be destroyed.' The Spirit then floats aside to let you past.
The Shining Spirit greets you warmly, 'Did you find the Evil that you seek?'
The massive Stone Minotaur waits by the door. You do not see Jamesina anywhere.
The Royal Quarter is immense. It's the size of a normal Quarter all by itself. You wonder at how rich the City actually is with this much wealth at its disposal. You see at the center of the Quarter a large Palace. A Royal Guard stops you, 'Who are you and what is your business within the Royal Grounds?'
The Guard stares at the Medallion, 'Are you the Hunter who was with the Seer across at Stonekeep?' You simply nod.
You follow the Royal Guard through the Palace and enter a beautifully appointed Dining Room. The King sits at the head of the table, but you are surprised to find Klines, Sathkaan and Jamesina sitting nervously for dinner.
You stand silently by the Royal Guard as the King looks up at you. 'Who is this?' He points his fork at you. The Guard straightens, 'This is the SK Hunter you were looking for your Majesty.' The King eases back on his chair, 'So you caught him did you?' The Guard gives you a sharp look and coughs slightly. 'Actually... The Hunter walked up to the Palace Gates voluntarily. I simply had to escort him here your Majesty.' All three Directors swiftly lift a spoon of soup, as if to stifle a laugh.
The King glares at you. You stare back at him. After a long moment he looks away. It is then you realize that he was trying to dominate you with his presence.
You stand there next to the Guard and wait.
You sit down next to the King, Jamesina looks up at you. Her face is pale with fright.
There is no place set for you and a Servant quietly appears at your shoulder, 'Would you care for some soup?' You nod, not wanting to cause any unnecessary problems. The Servant walks silently away.
The King glares at you again, 'So, I hear that you have only recently come to our City. What do you think of it Hunter?' You look at the table cloth in front of you. Then reply that you have found Karthak to be large and varied City. Klines relaxes slightly at your answer. The King smiles at you, 'But you think that you have the right to wander around Karthak murdering anyone you care to?
The three Directors almost choke on their soup. You meet his gaze calmly, 'No – your Majesty. I only fulfill my Contracts that I am given.' The Royal Guard suddenly walks up from his position at the foot of the table and places your SK XIII Medallion next to the King. He then walks back to where he was.
The King sighs heavily, then picks up the Medallion. 'Everyone knows that a Guild Hunter only lives a few Commissions. Only the lucky ones manage 4, expert Hunters do 6. I see here you have done so many that you have run out of space and they have had to start punching holes in the middle!' He slams the Medallion onto the table. 'Are you really that good?' His stares at you again. You simply glance at your Medallion and say, 'See for yourself.' The King shakes the Medallion in front of you, 'Well of course I can see for myself...' Then suddenly stops as he realizes that he has just proved your point for you. The Three SK Directors are all suddenly eating their soup again.
The King frowns and a dangerous silence falls on the Dining Room. 'I know that you have been completing Commissions, but who says that those Commissions are legal? Karthak has to have peace, we cannot have a murderer rampaging across the City just because he is being paid for it. I also have a witness to your crimes.' The King smiles as he snaps his fingers.
The door opens and a man in uniform is escorted to stand by the King. You look at him, for a moment you don't recognize him. Then you remember the Guards Lieutenant screaming at you for being out of uniform. The Lieutenant's eyes also widen at seeing you.
The King points a lazy knowing finger at you, 'Is this the killer of Captain Blackmore?' He leans back content that he has you. You look at the Lieutenant, you see he remembers you... He clears his throat, 'This is not a member of the Guard Sire. I clearly remember it was a Cadet that murdered the Captain as they carried a Cadet's uniform.' He then stares at the opposite wall. The King sits bolt upright, 'What!? Are you saying that this Hunter did not walk into the Guards Citadel and brutally slay Blackmore. I know that the Hunter is guilty of this.' The Lieutenant stares at the wall, 'All I'm saying Sire that this Hunter is not a member of the Guard. The Murderer was a Cadet, I might be mistaken in this. But that is how I remember it.'
A Servant appears next to you and silently lays a bowel of hot soup and spoon before you. You smile at the Servant and start to eat. After all it might be your last meal. You might as well enjoy it.
The King Stares dumbfounded at the Lieutenant.
The King waves a curt hand and the Lieutenant spins on his heel and marches quickly out of the room. The King turns to a servant at his elbow, 'Get me the Merchant. We shall prove this Hunter a killer.' Silence descends on the room like a blanket.
The door opens again, and a Merchant in his finest cloths enters. He stands next to you. You recognize Perry Tyler. The King glares at him, he withers under the look. 'Mr Tyler, did this Hunter not only commit cold blooded murder but also made a spectacale of such deeds in the Poor Quarter?'
An odd occurrence happened in the Merchant, his look changed from a cowering Citizen in the presence of the King into a Merchant battered by circumstance. 'Yes, the Hunter did.' The King of Karthak smiles. But the Merchant continues, 'He saved the Market square for being overrun by Cut Purses. There were too many of them and they were frightening away the Punters. We begged the City Guard to do something but they ignored us. And in one day this Hunter sent a clear message to whoever is in that Poor Quarter. I'm just annoyed that we didn't ask SK Acquisitions sooner, since the City Guard were too afraid or incompetent to do so. And I'll say the same in court as well!'
The King goggles at the cold fury of the Merchant. He coughs slightly and quickly dismisses the him. Tyler nods at you, the stalks angrily out of the room.
You take another sip of soup. It becoming more delicious with every passing moment.
The King glares at you, 'You may have won over the “common” man, but I believe that the ruling Class will be a harder proposition for you.' He clicks his fingers and someone you have never seen walks in. He stands next to you, his look aloof but with eyes of quick intelligence. The King smiles broadly, 'May I introduce my friend Duke Lancroft. I understand that you broke into his Ancestral Mausoleum recently, then rampaged through it without the Dukes permission or knowledge.' The Duke shifts nervously, 'I'm sorry Sire but has the Hunter mention anything about the Mausoleum?' The King blinks up at him, 'Errrr, no. The Hunter hasn't spoken to anyone about his trespass into your property.' He glances at the three Directors, they all shake their heads. Lancroft suddenly starts to breath easily, 'Well Sire, the Hunter did not break into our Mausoleum at all but was escorted into it by my son. I am sorry that this misunderstanding has occurred but there was no wrongdoing done here by the Hunter.' The King looks down at his empty soup bowel, 'I never knew you had a son Lancroft. You never mention him. I shall have to meet him. Now if you mind I need to finish my discussion with the Hunter.' The Duke bows, 'I understand my Lord.' Then with a polite glance at everyone he leaves the room he makes his exit from the room.
Your silver spoon clinks the bottom of your emptying bowel. The King see this and frowns, 'I see that you have no bread for your soup. That simply will not do, it's much nicer with something with it.' A servant appears a moment later and a large chunk of fresh bread on a perfectly white plate.
The King picks up the Medallion, 'I know that you have been killing both Guards and Citizens with abandon. I just can't prove it. But I don't need to, as King I can have you executed for Treason. I know the truth about ruling. It's not through swords, spells or even laws. It's through friends and influence. That is how true power is exerted.' He smiles and is about to call the Guards to have you carted away when you give a sharp tut-ting sound.
You say quietly, 'I have no knife to cut my bread.' The King frowns again. You say pleasantly, 'It's alright, I have my own knife.'
You place the savage black Dagger next to the bread. The snow white plate displays it perfectly. Both Sathkaan and Jamesina look at it with confused ignorance but Klines face drains of all colour. The King stands to his feet immediately, his eyes wide with horror.
You continue to eat your soup.
In even, conversational tones you say, 'You are obviously absolutely right my Lord, power is exerted with who you know. It's how you make your influence felt. I have made some interesting friends in my visit to Karthak. Those friends are not restricted simply to this table. But I must complement you Sire, you do serve most excellent food. But I assume you never have anything distasteful served on this table.'
The King starts to say something, then stops.
He then sits back down very slowly.
The King picks up his spoon and finishes his soup. You can't help but be impressed at how he can keep his anger in check. The Lord of Karthak pushes his empty bowel from him, 'I'm pleased to see that you are such a quick study at statecraft.' He then stops and looks at you directly. 'Just what were you doing murdering your way through my City anyway?'
You were not expecting such a direct and simple question. You almost laugh, then reply. 'I was simply carrying out my Contracts. Several Patrons were concerned with Undead rising within the City. I was trying to find out why that is. There were other – side issues along the way. But that was the main thrust of my time here in Karthak.'
The King blinks, 'That cannot be right, I have City Guard, Legionaries and then Arcane... locks or walls or some such not to mention a Legion of Templars stationed in the Temple Quarter. There cannot be undead wandering our streets.' The Guard at the foot of the Dining table pointedly stares at the roof. The King glares at him, 'You there! What is it?' The Guard flinches at the barbed words. 'My Lord, there have been fresh reports of several Undead within many areas of the City. We only discovered these in our investigation of the Hunter's movements.'
The King stares wide eyed at the Guard. In a whisper of disbelief he murmurers, 'No... This Hunter is a menace. Killing indiscriminately, both Guards and Citizens alike. You are telling me the Hunter was serving the City with these actions?' The Guard stares straight ahead and pretends that the King is simply not talking to him directly.
The King reaches over and picks up the Thieves Dagger. 'I cannot have you within the walls of my City. I sentence you to exile. You have three days to leave Karthak via the North Gate. The Sentries are looking forward to seeing you again Hunter. Good day to you.' He stands, picks up the SK Medallion - bows and leaves.
Klines drops his spoon, 'Let's get out of here. I don't want to lose my head tonight.' Everyone rises hastily. On your way out Jamesina catches your arm, 'I'm not too sure what just happened but I do know that I owe you my life. The King is a fair but ruthless man. He does not like the peace of Karthak upset. Since you have three days to leave the City you should go and get the final reward from Vault 8 before you have to go to the North Gate.'
You enter the small cool chamber, a tall elegant statue statue smiles at you. 'Welcome Hunter, you have come a long way before you can see me. I offer you this well earned reward.'
You thank the Golem, turn and walk out of the Chamber. With a heavy heart, you make your way back to the North Gate.