Bardass! Quest 08 – Forager’s Banquet

I continue my march towards finishing the Sakarlands arc before Spring.  Will I make it?  Betting starts NOW!

Quest 08 – Forager’s Banquet

Surrounded!

Rhean Boar charges!
Brier guarded himself well!
Rhean Boar charges!
Arco avoided the attack!
Rhean Boar charges!
Brier received 175 HP damages!
Brier is staggered!
Brier has recovered!
Arco used Venomous Bite!
Rhean Boar received 57 HP damages!
Rhean Boar is poisoned!
Rhean Boar fled!
Brier begins playing Soothing Lyric!
Extreme hunger is afflicting Brier!  Brier fumbled the notes!
Rhean Boar charges!
Brier received 181 HP damages!
Brier is knocked down!
Rhean Boar charges!
Arco avoided the attack!
Arco used Paralysis Bite!
Rhean Boar received 65 HP damages!
Rhean Boar is paralyzed!
Brier has recovered!
Brier begins singing Anthem of Djala, 1st Movement!
Extreme hunger is afflicting Brier!  Brier is off-key!
Brier’s terrible singing scared Rhean Boar away!
Rhean Boar is paralyzed!
Arco used Tackle!
Rhean Boar received 40 HP damages!
Brier attacks with Obsidian Lute!
Rhean Boar received 110 HP damages!
Rhean Boar is paralyzed!
Arco used Tackle!
Rhean Boar received 38 HP damages!
Brier used El Kabong!
Rhean Boar received 275 HP damages!
Rhean Boar is dead!

Brier’s party is victorious!

Brier has gained 653 XP!
Arco has gained 653 XP!

Rhean Boar is divided into:
50 lbs. Tender Pork
1 x Perfect Boar Tusk
1 x Broken Boar Tusk

Burden is too high!

Brier dropped 1 x Broken Boar Tusk
Brier dropped 25 lbs. Tender Pork

Brier: Damn… It’s about time we had something to eat.
Arco: *squeak*
Brier: No, it’s fine.  If it’s just paralysis, it’ll disappear after we cook it.  Hey, Arco… Did you learn fire breath yet?
Arco: *squeak*

Arco spat out some sparks!

Brier: Good enough for a campfire, at least.

Brier and Arco made a small clearing for their camp.  The bard leaned on a tree trunk and tuned his lute while his familiar fluttered about gathering wood.

Brier: Hmm… No reason we can’t make this more palatable.  You see any edible plants, Arco?
Arco: *squeak?*
Brier: Fine, I’ll look myself.

* * *

Ranka: Are you listening?
Balken: We’ve been over this.  No.  I’m the freaking Dark Lord.  Why are you telling me all this?
Ranka: Because it’s fascinating!  Don’t you think so?
Balken: Again.  No.  I think Lodi would have more use for this information than me.
Ranka: But Lodi’s such a drag!  Cyrus is out drinking again and Caden’s doing whatever it is he does in his lab.  So I’ve got you all to myself!
Balken: Wonderful.
Ranka: I know, right?  Now pay attention.  The red ones are edible, but the pink ones, these are poisonous.  Now, the big red ones are also poisonous…
Balken: The hell?  How does that work?
Ranka: It happens all the time in nature.  The smaller ones are actually mimicking the larger, poisonous ones so they don’t get eaten.  But here’s the thing about the big pink ones… they’re poisonous too, but the poison evaporates when heated.  Gather a lot of them and it makes a great sauce.
Balken: What about the other ones?
Ranka: Nope.  But I envy Arco.  None of this stuff bothers him one bit.  Does it, sweetie?
Arco: Prrrrrrr….
Ranka: Here you go, eat up!
Balken: I didn’t know he could make that noise.  He’s my familiar.  Why does he like you better?
Ranka: I guess he’s just got good taste!  Ha ha ha!
Balken: You fed him some of your blood, didn’t you?
Ranka: Why?  You decided you want a taste after all?
Balken: I’d rather not die, thanks.
Ranka: Are you sure?  Okay, as for the magenta and mauve berries…

* * *

Brier: . . . Okay, now I’m sure of it.  These are Bloodberries.  Or… they could be Cardinalberries.  Or Firefruit.  Hm… well, one way to be sure.  Good thing I still have a couple vials of Panacea…

Brier devoured a berry and was pleased with his decision.  The taste spread throughout his entire mouth, and a gentle warmth spread throughout his body.  That warmth steadily intensified, and Brier fell to his knees, grasping his arm which now felt as if it were aflame.

Brier: Ohh, this wasn’t a good one!  This wasn’t a good one at all!

Brier reached for a vial of panacea and pulled it to his mouth, but numbness set in and he no longer had control over his own limbs.

Brier: (Damn… can’t even move my lips.  Here lies Balken, former Dark Lord and ruler of half the world, done in by a berry.)

Brier’s eyelids drew shut as his senses took leave of him.

* * *

Woman’s voice: Hey.  Wake up.
Brier: (Shut up.)
Woman’s voice: You should be better by now.  Next time don’t eat Emberries raw like that.
Brier: (Those were Emberries?  Damn…)
Woman’s voice: If I wasn’t passing by, you would’ve croaked for sure.
Brier: (I know, I know.  Enough already.  Still lecturing me even in death…)  Eh?

Brier finally woke from his near-death and faced his savior.  She was short, with smooth auburn brown hair at neck length.  She wore long, loose white robes with a light blue cross emblazoned in front.  The cloth had a darkened brown tint from the dirt of her travels.

Brier: You’re not… Who are you?
Nutmeg: I’m Nutmeg, the one who saved your life.  How about some words of appreciation?
Brier: Saved my… Oh, the poison.  How did you manage that?
Nutmeg: Well, I saw you dying with a bunch of Emberries scattered about, so I knew what happened.  You’re just lucky I know how to make a quick antidote from the leaves here.
Brier: So that’s it.  Thanks.
Nutmeg: But what kind of idiot wanders around this forest alone and eats poisonous berries?
Brier: I was trying to pick some edible ones.  I thought these were the right size and color, but it looks like I was a shade off.
Nutmeg: Huh?  You’re trying to tell berries apart like that?  That’s got to be the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard!
Brier: Yeah, well how would you do it?
Nutmeg: By the leaves!  The leaves that grow with the berries all have a distinct shape to them.  You’d have to be either a complete idiot or a certified genius to try telling them apart the way you have.
Brier: . . .
Nutmeg: By the way, I think I met your familiar on the way here.  Hope you don’t mind, but I started up your campfire.  Of course, as a reward you’ll share some of that boar meat, won’t you?
Brier: Huh?
Nutmeg: I’m starving!

Unfortunately, I didn’t exactly have a choice.  We made our way back to camp.  It seems Nutmeg had already set up a spit to roast our meat with.

Brier: Oh, that’s right… The poison in these Emberries disappear if they’re roasted, right?  I heard it makes a great sauce.
Nutmeg: I’m surprised you knew that much.  Which reminds me, that’s the reason I’m up here.
Brier: Yeah?
Nutmeg: Picked up a quest at a pub in the Sakarlands.  They want me to fill these four jars full of Emberries for their house recipe.  Lucky for them, I grew up in Rhea, so I know my way around.
Brier: You traveling alone?
Nutmeg: Hey, I may not look it, but I’m one of the toughest Monks in the Sakarlands.
Brier: Monk, huh?  I’m surprised.
Nutmeg: Are you, now?
Brier: Yeah.  You’ve got an impressive rack for a guy.

The bard was swiftly clobbered with Nutmeg’s iron mace.

Nutmeg: I’M A GIRL, YOU DOLT!
Brier: Owwww… Seriously?!  You’re not a Cleric?
Nutmeg: Oh, shut up!

The two continued to converse while the fire did its work.  Once their feast was ready, Brier took the first bite.

Brier: Hmm…  Oh… wow… Ha ha, this is pretty amazing!

Even as the Dark Lord, Balken never once had the opportunity to taste Emberry sauce with Rhean Boar.  It was more of a peasant secret recipe, not a delicacy known by the nobles of the time.

Brier: I definitely need to save up a load of these berries.
Nutmeg: And get yourself killed again?
Brier: . . .
Nutmeg: I tell you what.  We’re both heading back to the Sakarlands.  I’ll accompany you there and teach you how to gather Emberries for yourself, but you have to help me finish my quest.
Brier: Sounds fair to me.
Nutmeg: Great.  I’ll take this jar and you take these three.
Brier: Hey…
Nutmeg: Fair is fair, right?

Nutmeg taught Brier how to identify Emberries by the shrubs they grew on.  No thorns, and the leaves had triple lobes.  Once she was sure Brier understood, she left him to have him go to work.

Brier: These berries are small, and the jars are huge.
Arco: Squeak…
Brier: Yeah, how about a little help?  And don’t use your mouth.
Arco: *nods* Squeak!
Brier: Let’s see… songs, songs…

As far as he could tell, there were no songs available to him that would make the process go any faster.  The only one he could think of was “88 Grains of Sand,” a song that made affected its listeners’ sense of passing time.  He couldn’t take advantage of its effects while playing it though.

Nutmeg: Discs of Light!

The female Monk pointed her left palm skyward and a ring of light shone above her hand.  She pulled it close to her right ear, then snapped her arm forward to throw the ring.

Monks use smiting magic to make precision attacks.  Smiting magic is the only magic type that can pass through objects without harming them, striking only the caster’s intended target.  Smiting magic is also used to enchant weapons, allowing them to ignore armor.  Unlike Clerics, however, Monks sacrifice stamina to cast their spells.  Thus, while Clerics focus on disciplining their minds and learning, Monks focus on tempering their bodies and gaining battle expertise.

Using the Discs of Light, Nutmeg was able to pick berries quickly while increasing her expertise.

Nutmeg: I wonder how Brier’s holding up.

The bard managed to fill two of his jars with Emberries, but had to venture off to find more bushes.

Encounter!

Rhean Tiger appeared!
Brier begins playing Soothing Lyric!
Brier is suffering from panic!  Brier fumbled his notes!
Arco used Paralysis Bite!
Rhean Tiger’s hide is too thick!
Rhean Tiger pounces!
Brier is unable to avoid the attack!
Brier received 640 HP damages!
Arco used Flutter!
It’s ineffective!
Brier flees!
Rhean Tiger pursues!  There is no escape!

Brier: Holy shit, why is it following us?
Arco: Squeak!
Brier: The hell do you mean we’re in his territory?
Nutmeg: Is that Brier?  What’s he running fro- Oh!
Brier: Nutmeg!  Run!

Nutmeg joined the party!
Nutmeg cast Calming Beacon!
Rhean Tiger’s rage subsided…
…but it’s still hostile!
Nutmeg’s exhaustion is at 65%!
Brier begins playing Nocturne of Nightmares!
Rhean Tiger is under the song’s spell!
Arco glares menacingly!
Rhean Tiger is terrified by images of a black dragon!
Nutmeg cast Shining Ball!
Rhean Tiger is caught in the explosion!
Rhean Tiger received 635 HP damages!
Nutmeg’s exhaustion is at 80%!
Brier continues playing Nocturne of Nightmares!
Rhean Tiger is terrified!
Nutmeg cast Rays of Light!
Nutmeg is too exhausted!  Nothing happened!
Brier begins playing Endless March!
Party members ignores exhaustion!
Rhean Tiger regained its senses!
Rhean Tiger is enraged!
Nutmeg cast Rays of Light!
Struck 3 times!
Rhean Tiger received 2172 HP damages!
Rhean Tiger is dead!

Brier’s party is victorious!

Brier received 2300 XP!
Arco received 2300 XP!
Nutmeg received 1740 XP!

No usable remains were left over.

Brier: Phew.  Not bad.
Nutmeg: Hahh… speak for yourself…
Brier: Oh yeah… The exhaustion thing’s only temporary…
Nutmeg: I’ll be fine… just let me rest for a while.
Brier: You can do whatever you like.  Just make sure you keep your part of the deal.  I still have Emberries to pick.
Nutmeg: Knock yourself out.
Brier: . . . Arco, keep her company.  She’s no good to us dead.
Arco: Squeak.

Brier was able to finish bottling his third jar of Emberries and rejoined his party.  They made camp and left the Rhean forest the following morning.

The Sakarlands weren’t far from the edge of the forest, and its castle town was soon easily visible across the vast plains.

The Queendom of the Sakarlands is situated in the middle of an extensive region of grassy plains with no other landmarks to speak of.  It is the traditional training grounds for Clerics to learn and develop their skills.  Rather than a true monarchy, the successor to the throne is typically the most skilled Cleric, and her duty, aside from ruling over the land, is to pass her knowledge on to aspiring Clerics as the headmistress of the Sakar Grand Monastery.

Clerics are the most sought-out and most highly-paid profession, and many of the citizens of the Sakarlands are families of Clerics-in-training either working to support them or living off of their earnings.

Although men cannot become Clerics, they can become Monks, and they have their own, albeit smaller, annex within the Monastery grounds for their own education.

Brier and Arco followed Nutmeg into a pub, where she received her quest reward.

Bartender Holt: Wow, that was fast!  Ha ha, four full jars of Emberries.  I appreciate the hard work, girlie!  As promised, here’s your gold.  As for the contact… He’s out for now, but he’ll be by tomorrow night.  Come by then and I’ll point him out.
Nutmeg: If he doesn’t show…
Bartender Holt: I’ll pay you extra.
Nutmeg: Good.  Okay, we’re done here!
Brier: Great!  So how much do we get?
Nutmeg: Nothing.  That wasn’t our deal.
Brier: Huh?
Nutmeg: Our deal was I protect you during our trip.  Oh, and here.

Nutmeg handed Brier a small leather bag.

Nutmeg: Those are the extra berries I picked, as promised.  Travel well.  You’re not much of a singer, but you’re a better Bard than most in my eyes.
Brier: . . .
Nutmeg: Speechless?
Brier: I’m not sure how I feel about that.
Nutmeg: So… you’re going to be in Sakar for a while?
Brier: At least as long as it takes to find that Bard I’m looking for.
Nutmeg: Well, good luck.  I’m off to the Monastery for now.
Brier: You inviting us over?
Nutmeg: Not unless you’re planning on making a class change.
Brier: I can’t make the commitment.  Maybe a one night trial?
Nutmeg: Yeah, not gonna happen.

The two went their separate ways here, leaving the Bard to look for a cheap inn and search for quests.

In the next episode of Bardass!  Brier’s quest has him investigating a crime at the Sakar Grand Monastery, a place he’d rather stay away from during his stay, but he can’t ignore the reward or afford to be picky.  A bad situation gets worse quickly when the manhunt begins and he is mistaken for the prime suspect in Quest 9 – Light of the Sakar.

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