Tinte's Adventures in the Crystal Desert - Part 2
I had no idea what to expect at the Tomb of the Primevil Kings where I went to gain access to the overly quiet human gods. Rytlock’s theory had the gods abandoning Tyria, but Kasmeer would never accept such an idea. Regardless, I and my krewe had this one path to follow in order to deal with Balthazar.
We had to prove our worth to a variety of kings and queens that had ruled over the Primeval Dynasty. In the process we learned a great deal more about this ancient dynasty.
We had to fight Queen Nadjeh first. Being a mesmer, she would split into a group of images with only one being her at certain points in the trial. In the end, we won and she gave us information.
The Primeval Dynasty watched over Elona for 600 years. Though the house has fallen, they were the first to rule these lands. Some say the gods crowned the first king though the truth of this has been erased by the sands of time. Nadjeh founded the order of Sunspears, rallying many great warriors to her cause. Together they brought the warrior tribes of Elona under her banner and established peace. It was our desire to find peace in the current situation with Balthazar that helped us gain passage deeper into the tomb.
Once we beat King Wasi, he proved uncooperative due to our invasion of the tomb. His words dripped with sarcasm as he spoke to us.
Queen Nahlah and Queen Dahlah fought together in such a way we had to concentrate on one and then change to the other at times. After some back and forth we won the trial. They had much to tell.
These twins were crowned together, but spent most of their time seeking and enjoying whatever pleasures they liked. Elona had found the height of its glory by this time with many great scholars, master artisans and exotic merchants throughout the land. The twins believed they could do anything and nothing could get in their way. Then came the Scarab Plague. They were deaf to the people’s cries for help. Finally, the plague even took them ending the centuries of rule by the Primeval Dynasty.
We had to show proper respect to the fallen within the tomb before proceeding into a realm to meet the gods. Of course, this did not happen as expected. I found myself with my companions in a strange place, with the area we needed to get to, hidden behind a great sandstorm that was physically impenetrable. I had to interact with an item hanging from a three legged branch stand.
Then came the puzzle. In order to light all of the torches and open a way to the gods, we first had to find some wedge shaped symbols and put them in the correct locations. I am glad I had a springer or we would have never gotten all of them from the various rock designs and floating rock area. Good thing I’m not scared of heights.
Rytlock wanted to just beat up the spirits that appeared next rather than wasting time answering their questions to get the discs that would complete the symbols. I managed to keep that from happening. However, an argument about the gods probably being as crazy as Balthazar had to end. I told them we had to tread lightly. Kasmeer wanted us to show respect, regardless of what we thought.
The portal opened up with all the pieces in place and we found ourselves in a huge library with the Goddess Kormir. Balthazar was stripped of his godhood by the other gods and chained in the mists until Rytlock came along. Balthazar called all the other gods cowards for their decision to withdraw from Tyria and not fight the dragons.
Kormir wanted Rytlock to undo the wrong of letting Balthazar free.
The Crystal Sea became the Crystal Desert due to Abaddon and fights with the other gods. Kormir took on power to save Tyria despite the destruction. She was once mortal.
It felt good to know we were on the right track to fix the broken. We would find the answers in the desert without further help from the gods. I expected this since the gods had stepped back.
Kasmeer left to return to the Temple of Kormir. Canach and Rytlock headed to the desert near Amnoon. I went further to the Riverlands after a detour to see Zalambur.
At Zalambur’s office I learned about Glokk of the Durmond Priory who might help with finding anything unusual in the Riverlands. Plenty of treasure hunters went to the area besides the seekers of history.
Once in the Riverlands, I talked to a scout that gave advice of people to talk to that could help me find Glokk. Xunn was wondering if Glokk was missing again. Again? Then again we were talking of a scholar here and sometimes they could be sidetracked halfway across Tyria.
I found out a lot more about Vlast than I did of Glokk’s whereabouts as I talked to the various followers. Adisa knew the most, but Juma was the one to tell me Vlast was born in a city now buried by the sands. I was finally sent to Nyala who could give me some direction to Glokk. Glokk talked of this lost city, too, and called it Kesho.
I run around the Riverlands further after acquiring a skimmer mount. Good thing I had it with all the quick sand and water in the region. I took some time trying to figure this mount out and then ran into Defector Harun, who told me of a fissure where an adventurer disappeared. It took some time finding this despite his directions and inside was nothing but quicksand up to some rocks and an area with statues and braziers.
On the other side, I had to fend off some bats and found a giant hole in the ground. The only reason the quicksand had not flowed down it was due to the wall of rock around the hole.
I looked into it dubiously, but knew I had to go down in it. I screamed as I fell in, but thanks to riding my skimmer into the hole I did not die. I get shocked hearing Taimi’s excited voice. How did the connection work so well underground when everywhere else in the desert I had to get to a decent high point for even a weak signal? Taimi stated I had to be near a ley-line nexus.
As my exploring started, I talked with Taimi. She suggested I should poke the exalted I found that appeared to be alive. They were not sleeping like the exalted do on the pedestals in Tarir.
I decided to power up a pedestal and a door opened to reveal a small chamber with a normal looking exalted inside. He wanted to kill the creations of Balthazar, including the corrupted exalted I found. Balthazar had come to Kesho with Joko seeking the Forgotten magics and used them to make the Forsaken. Sadizi, the exalted I found incorrupt, had sealed himself away for safety. The pedestals held secrets that Sadizi helped me acquire.
Josso Esher, a Forgotten, tried to convert Kralkatorrik and failed.
Kralkatorrik’s crystal creations have some of his essence in them. They are both his weakness and his strength due to this.
Then I viewed a recording of Vlast frustrated with having to stay in Kesho. They never had a chance to teach him how to socialize with the races of Tyria and then it was too late. In the end, he stuck to his legacy for Glint. Vlast would wait to contain Kralkatorrik and cull the Branded horde.
When two elder dragons were destroyed at the same time, it caused a void and things broke down. Glint’s legacy was to restore the balance and fill the void.
This put an entirely new light on the dragons and maybe the destroying of them had not helped Tyria any more than having let them thrive. I just knew a god of war and fire posed far more threat to the world than even Mordremoth did, and that had felt dire at the time. Analyzing the truth of all this would take some time, but Balthazar definitely needed to be taken out of the picture.
The door was jammed that would let me out of the area. Sadizi believed it may have been damaged by Joko and Balthazar’s attack. Once through I easily made it back up to the desert and headed for a rendezvous with the airship, up on a spire in Skimshallow Cove.
I found Balthazar instead of an airship. It felt like the fight went on forever. At times, in trying to cast my own spells I could not avoid some of his attacks.
I pass out, but wake up in time to see Aurene fly in. Balthazar trapped her and I passed out again.
Actually I woke up dead, if ya believe that one. I had no memory of anything and no idea where I was. I was not alone in this place due to other spirits and Joko was caged. I can laugh at this image now, but wish I could have laughed at him when I found him.
A judge, set by Grenth, controlled this realm. Another spirit led me to him after I got fed up with listening to Joko’s blasphemes. This helpful spirit did not have any liking for Joko either.
So I find out I’m in the Domain of the Lost. Made total sense, since I definitely had no clue. First, he wanted me to find my name. Apparently, several other lost spirits had decided to grab parts of who I was as their own identity. And I also had to find my purpose. Not much use having a chance to live again if I didn’t know what for.
Thankfully, the helpful spirit had found her name and could help me through this. First, I needed a weapon. After some running around I actually find one and right after I do so, a spirit runs by with my name on it. I chase it down and manage to make it give me my name after a bit of forceful enticement. I wound up fighting at least three spirits to claim my entire name.
A bird spirit shows up and I have to follow it. At each place it stopped I learned a piece of my history. It took quite a few stops proving I had done a lot already in my life. However, even before gathering all of this to remember my purpose, I knew I had something else to do before I died and I needed to get back.
My story started with Zojja looking for Snaff Prize participants. It’s a whirlwind from there leading up to battles against Zhaitan in Orr, the dreadful Scarlet Briar, and then on to the jungle dragon, Mordremoth. So many friends lost in the process and more would be lost if I did not get back. I had to stop Balthazar from destroying the dragons to take on their power to be even more powerful.
I had to convince the Judge of all this, but I had one more thing to do here before it could happen. A beast had an appetite for souls in this domain and was aptly named the Eater of Souls. I looked at my weapon and my ghostly state wondering how I’d manage to pull this off because the beast stood taller than a norn and twice the width. Let alone he had a face that could stop the Mad King’s clock in his tower.
Now the thing that hindered my fight at first included his ability to regain health by sucking at my life energy. I had to figure out how to break this as soon as it started. Out in the open it did not work. Running away from him a bit, I realized he would chase me around Joko’s cage. That would help me mess with him without him having a chance of sucking my life force away. He could consume me. I had more important things to do, so had no intentions of losing.
I won! A portal was available to let me return. Of course, before I can even run for it, Joko is blathering away about stuff. Thankfully I learn I can use the Mordent Crescent to control his Awakened. I needed to find a way to make that work and use them to fight against Balthazar’s Forsaken. Joko could rot in his cage for all I cared, since he did help Balthazar make the Forsaken, let alone played with undead. That always creeped me out and I let my friend Marfach handle any necromancy needs I had.
I found myself on the spire where Balthazar had killed me, but this time he thankfully was absent and my friends had arrived. I run my idea about using Joko’s Awakened to fight Balthazar’s army. Kasmeer has the bright idea of using illusions for how we look when we have a full plan. Whatever that might wind up being and did I mention undead creep me out?
Canach had no initial ideas. He had to go double his bet on me since I came back from the dead. If he bet too much, someone might try to take me out beforehand. I wouldn’t put it past Zalambur despite the consequences, if it would bankrupt the casino. Then again, he might make more despite paying Canach in the long run.
Then I had Shadow Agent Kito willing to come along only because he wanted to know how I came back to life. He knew his order could not pull off getting Joko’s army on our side. But I stated Archon Iberu could. Kito suggested I find a way to talk to Grand Vizier Utumishi, but he spent most his time at the Bone Palace. The faster way was to lure him out though he didn’t pay much heed to things south of the wall.
I decided to lure him out with the good ole camp attack and planting of Sunspear banners. Sure, the Sunspears might not like it, but if it worked we would be on our way to having added forces to our army against Balthazar. Of course, Kito thought it too risky. No wonder I never heard of his organization before let alone it worked covertly. Did he manage to do anything besides stating all the cons? Well he did suggest the Vizier idea, but I’m thinking he did not expect me to jump on it.
It took some work, but the village proved easy to change over to Sunspear banners. The camp to the south took a bit of work due to having some fighting before I could take control of it.
It turned out after having that little warm up of fun, I intercepted Archon Iberu on the outskirts of the Bone Palace. Nice of the Vizier to send the Archon to deal with my little Sunspear insurrection. He used minions like any necromancer should, but found he had to up his tactics. It all proved futile for him.
We took care of him so we could start our imposter trick as Rytlock called it. Kasmeer had to correct him to knowing it was an illusion, not a trick. Rytlock commented about mesmers being worse than elementalists, and then made sure I took no offense to that. Poor Rytlock stuck with a mesmer and an elementalist at the same time and looking like some Awakened minion in the illusion. Served him right for letting Balthazar go.
I had to endure bad jokes from both Rytlock and Canach upon seeing the Bone Palace up close. Then came the real fun.
Posing in full illusory fashion as the Archon, I announced that I was there to tell the Grand Vizier Utumishi of Joko’s next great victory. One enthusiastic guard wound up attacking and then apologizing profusely in hopes no one learned about it. It felt too easy convincing not only the Vizier, but Warmarshal Osa Ekolo, of the great plan. I even acquired the names of the other marshals stating I could talk to them myself for this great endeavour. I stated I would make sure Joko knew of the Vizier soon enough.
Once out of there, we drop the illusion as Rytlock compliments my talents of bureaucratic butt kissing. I had almost slipped up and we had better do a little research on the other marshals to make this plan work. We agreed on splitting up and rendezvousing with the intel we manage to glean. Rytlock, before leaving, quipped about not liking the illusion and he could still smell it. Kasmeer assured him the smell existed before the illusion.
Agent Humma warned me not to see the residents of Vabbi as enemies just because Joko was seen as their revered king. They even saw it as an honor to become an Awakened. I managed not to grimace, barely. Joko wouldn’t return any time soon regardless of what they believed. I could find something else to replace him so their world wouldn’t collapse in on them. I had the scary impression of Marfach taking his place. She could keep all of Joko’s minions in line and working for the greater good. Though the crazy twig might let it go to her head. I had to laugh at that thought and thankfully managed to do so, away from anyone who would wonder.
We would deal with Troopmarshal Ogun next at his camp southeast of Vehjin where he trained the recruits. History showed the Forged loved to attack this training facility so I sold him on how Joko’s next grand victory would gain him revenge. He would go along if I cleaned out the Foundry. Great, another crazy fight and with undead no less. But with the Foundry taken care of he could leave his post and not worry about the Forged claiming the facility.
I claimed the use of quite a few captured zombies found throughout the foundry. This made the task far easier, and despite the undead stench in the heat, rather amusing. With some work and traversing the entire place to find the Forged source, the Foundry was shut down.
With the Troopmarshal on our side, we had only one more marshal, Beastmarshal Eranko, to convince. Again we split up, but not before I got a good laugh at Canach calling Rytlock Cuddles. Rytlock did not want to do the illusion again despite how well it worked so far.
I did not find a great deal of information to help us, but I did manage to update Taimi before regrouping with my friends near the Necropolis.
I found Kasmeer alone, but learned she had put the illusion on Cuddles and Canach. In an effort to get this done faster, they had headed in to see the Beastmarshal themselves. I wanted to facepalm as I ran to catch up. Once I arrived they boasted about my riding skills. Great! I would have words with them after this.
I wound up on a merry chase of a beast that I had to suck power from, at least three times before the time ran out. I managed to do it, but not at the level I would have liked. It worked well enough to get the Beastmarshal with us.
I did get even with my friends. I dismissed them, like Awakened being sent back to the grave, for their antics. It might have been over the top, but seemed to add that final touch to really cinch the Beastmarshal into doing what I wanted. None of my friends decided to bow at this point. We would see this to the end as best we could.
Rytlock handed me Sohothin, the very sword he found in the mists and broke Balthazar’s chains with. He could never take that moment back, but he sure proved he wanted to end this as much as I did. I had to make sure I did not fail, not only for Rytlock, but all of Tyria.
The place we needed to go for this final confrontation had four ways in. All of Joko’s marshals massed on the main gate. My friends took the other three with the Awakened given to help those positions. I remember fighting a great horde and then winding up on my own as I went for the heart of the place.
I had three of Balthazar’s toughest minions to face and each had a shield generator I had to destroy. None of them stood alone with plenty of regular Forged minions in the area. I managed to take them out, but I doubt I could have done it without Sohothin. That made me wonder if I could take out a god if this proved daunting enough. I had to get there and see.
Finally, I found Balthazar hovering in the air and a giant war machine sitting below and behind him. It looked worse than I had imagined based upon the parts and items found on the way to Glint’s lair. I held Sohothin up, looked at it and then at the god. I charged onto the platform to meet my destiny.
More minions came about and shields went up over the monstrosity of a machine. It took a lot of work and several iterations of fighting to break the shield and kill this great machine.
I wondered how I could face Balthazar by the time the machine died. I had to fight waves of lesser minions, take down shield generators, and hit the thing when I could. No wonder everyone thought I had lost my mind when I said I would be doing this. But here I fought, so close to facing the god himself. I had to clean this up and get on with the fight with him before I ran out of stamina to keep on going.
Finally, I got to face him. The battle became a blur of fire everywhere, lots of pain, definitely broken armor and somehow I managed to damage him. Then I reached a point that it seemed like I could not do it when Aurene showed up. What was she doing here? Such a young dragon trying to fight a god who had so easily taken care of her older sibling. I did not want her to get in the fight and lose her, but in the end she supplied a power that allowed me to break through one of Balthazar’s defenses.
What felt like eons later, the god fell. I, a crazy Asuran elementalist with a sword called Sohothin, had felled a god. So if human gods could be defeated like this, what did that really mean for Tyria? I still had to think the Eternal Alchemy made more sense, since human gods could be destroyed, chained in the mists and chosen humans could become one. I knew this would throw human religion on its ear if it hadn’t started to already.
I stood there with all my armor broken again. I did not like that trend even if I came out the other side with a victory. I saw mighty Balthazar exploding and then Kralkatorrik checking me out before I let myself fall over with exhaustion.
Of course, this led to a huge celebration in Amnoon, which I had to attend and give a speech. It seemed they forgot my height and had a human sized podium and nothing for me to stand on. The remedy came a bit late. I’m not sure what happened to the servant who did not get it there in time.
Before my speech, I did get to mingle and find out information. I also got a lot of tips on what to say or not say in my speech. I got suggestions to stay vague to putting out the full truth, which Rytlock suggested the latter. One of the Sunspears knew the gods had abandoned them, but was not ready for how the masses would respond to knowing that. I decided on being somewhat vague with truth. The humans could figure out their god stuff without my help. I just got rid of the one that would have ruined the world for sure.
Two things did amuse me. Grand Vizier Utumishi had to run off upon realizing he had helped me and not the Archon. Then Captain Ellen Kiel and Zalambur had hit it off upon meeting and had business designs in the works. The former felt like some icing on my cake and the latter I didn’t want the details of.
I needed a break, but who knew what Kralkatorrik would do. I wanted to make sure Aurene recovered okay and could keep training to grow up to be a dragon that would continue to help Tyria. Not to be forgotten by anyone, Kralkatorrik did fly over after the fireworks display. I had a feeling any vacation I got would not last long.
About the Author
Althea "Briseadh" Damgaard
Althea joined Gaiscioch back in October of 2009 and has been here ever since with only a few month hiatus between Warhammer and Rift. As soon as she knew they were in Rift, she jumped ship to Faeblight and has followed them onward through every chapter since with a few side games thrown in for spice.
She has been an avid player of RPG style games since 1980 when she first played Dungeons and Dragons. Since then she has created her own tabletop gaming world used with various rule sets as D&D progressed. Once she could get online she played MUDs. Her MMO days started with Everquest and have moved through over a dozen games with some lasting only a month's time in her life and others going for years. She has tested several games from the perspective of a disabled gamer with hand issues due to her multiple sclerosis.
When not writing about or playing games, she can be found writing novels, reading and doing various art projects. She also writes items based on her faith and is working on publishing a novel. She also does editing for a gaming developer.
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