About Time I Finished This: The Empire Orb (Avernum: Escape From the Pit pt 22)

So. Last time We killed a bunch of giants, ending with us unlocking the way to some boats that would let us explore the northwestern waters of Avernum.

At this point. We’ve just about done all the exploring we can really do in this area, and with things like Pyrog and Kyass out of our reach for the moment we should handle some other major quests. Namely, it’s about time we deal with that empire orb.The orb is hiding in a cave not too far from Drath’s Crypt, easy to overlook if you’re just passing through and not paying much attention.The cave is full of gremlinsAt first the cave isn’t all that big a deal, I’m well past the point where Gremlins would be any real threat. It’s a short trip to this sort of gremlin meeting room and that’s it, there’s not even some sort of boss gremlin to deal with. If we didn’t know any better, this would be some minor diversion at best.fortunately, we know better. and quickly find the switch that reveals a hidden teleporter.We find a door with the sign of the empire nearby. Past the door is the real danger to this place. Empire soldiers and assassins, along with named mages.They’re not as nasty as other major threats we’ve faced so far, but it still takes a bit of effort to clear the place out.Once the room is cleared out and looted, we get to searching for secrets, hidden in a small alcove is a book that teaches Lightening Spray. Lightening Spray has been my hardest hitting area spell for some time now, finally having it at level 3 is a welcome improvement.

A big gimmick of this cave is hidden areas. Once you get past the initial gremlin cave and into the Empire hideout, the place is a mess of hidden rooms and passage ways. another part of this is that when you teleport to a new area, there’s no return teleport, so once you go through a hidden teleport, you need to find the other hidden way to get back out. The automap keeps this from getting too confusing, but it’s still weird.

Eventually we find the Empire Orb, though the graphics make it look more like an Empire giant-spiky-crystal-thing. Before we  smash it though, I’m curious what we can see through it.Oops! Well, they’d probably figure out something was wrong when the reports stop coming in. Still, better do what we’re hear for and smash it.Sadly, as we leave we end up in a fight with two infernal constructs. Likely because we looked into the orb. Infernal constructs are nasty, Not only can they take a beating, but worse, their attacks can both knock back and immobilize people. They can punch your front line fighters out of attack range and leave them unable to jump back into the fight, ow! Fortunately they’re not unbeatable, and we manage to slowly wear them down.Finally I should make note of those two portals, The lower one? it leads back to the entrance of this area. to leave, you have to find the switch that reveals the upper portal. Further more, the entrance to this hidden area is itself hidden inside another hidden area. Even then, it only leads back to  the previous hidden area, we need ot find another secret exit to get back into the cave proper so we can leave. like I said, the hideout is kind of confusing.As I exit the cave and head back to fort Emerald, I encounter something interesting nearby. A human/slith fishing village. how could something like this exist? I find the answer nearby.Welcome to Gnass, the friendly Slith village we’ve heard mentioned a few times so far.There’s a nursey here with a caretaker that will tell us a bit about themselves.As well as the Chieftain, who wants us to kill the commander at the slith fort near Fort Emerald.We did this already so I can just hand the quest in. He’s also happy to know we’ve dealt with Sss-Thsss. That’s about all there is here, save for a few shops. But now I can give a pretty good summery of what the slithzerikai’s story is.

The slith come from a place called Lost Bahssikava, it’s a series of caves even further underground than Avernum. The slith there a peaceful save for a group of Rebels – called the Darklings by some slith here – led by Sss-Thoss, the grandfather of Sss-Thss. Thoss and his band followed some sort of  dark power, leading to them being exiled up into Avernum, with the threat of death if they ever returned. We saw the entrance they were exiled through several updates ago, barred with no apparent way past it. Then the humans started getting exiled down into Avernum and the war between the two started.

Decades later, some of the exiled slith started to reject Sss-Thsss “let’s summon demons and kill everyone” initiative, and learning of what they were exiled from, decided to try and start over up in Avernum. Though there’s also that group we helped earlier trying to redeem themselves in hops of going home one day.

We also know that relations between friendly slith and humanity are somewhat strained. This is likely Sss-Thsss’ fault, as a lot of humanities first encounters with the slith no doubt involved crazed lizard folk trying to kill them. This mistrust is why some slith have decided to go to the freehold rather than staying in Gnass.

Suffice it to say, it’s not easy being green.Before we go. I find this altar and decide to pray at it.I’m not sure who we just talked to, but apparently our efforts in taking down Sss-Thss have gained us some free exp here.it turns out there’s a human town near Gnass Welcome to Blosk.Leith here offers to tell us what an unusual wand does for 100 coins. I decline, but will keep in mind should we ever find that wand.One of the big things he is the town has a job board. We haven’t seen one of those in ages!The existence of Lord Chuckles amuses me, if only because I’m sure it’s a reference to Ultima, We aalso dealt with the slith fort already, so that quest should be pretty simple. We find the mayor, and it turns out I already dealt with that undead problem. outside of that however, the mayor has nothing for us.There’s also a teleport pillar, but it’s not ready yet.There’s also a skill trainer here, but all of our money is still tied up in learning spells.I have to head back to the slith fort, as it turns out I never find the intel, it’s hiding in a chest in an upstairs area I somehow didn’t notice earlier.Still Scarlett’s glad to have the intel, and says she’ll have an ambush ready for them. mind with me having more or less gutted the fort, I’m not sure who they’re expecting to ambush, but hey, quest complete.Finally, I head back to the Scimitar in Bargha to let them know I broke the orb.with that it’s done. We’re rebels now. Well I guess we we’re always rebels, but now it’s official, secret handshake and everything.Rogow gives us our fist major mission as a Scimitar and it’s a big one. The scimitars have a major problem, namely, while the empire has all sorts of spies and agents in Avernum they can use to hunt down the Scimitar and their various hideouts, the Scimitar has no way to the surface to return the favor. Fortunately we have a way to fix that, The scimitar knows of an exit the empire keeps unblocked, if we can just find the password to get past it’s defenses we’ve got one of the major things we’ve been looking this whole game for: A way out!

There are however a few problems, namely the exit is near Fort Remote, which from what we know is likely demon infested. Sulfras the dragon is also nearby, who we know form the dragon Athron is the greatest of the dragons down here, She might know something about the exit, though if she’s up for being cooperative is anyone’s guess.

There is someone who might know about the password. It’s Erika, who you might remember we heard bout form Solberg, namely we heard she’s so hell-bent for revenge that the quest for it has utterly consumed her. She’d probably be all for us using the password to go cause trouble, but there’s no telling what kind of mental state years of plotting revenge has left her in. Plus we still have no idea where she is.

Still, we need to get at that exit, and the castle wants us to inspect fort Remort, so it sounds like we’ll have to start heading that way next time.

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