Chapter Fifty: The Bloodsoaked Foxes
For Geoffrey and the members of the Blood-soaked Fox, the first floor of Brandr dungeon was easy. The weakest of their number was just as strong as Coenbert and their strongest, well the Warden had asked them not to consider him a member of the party. He was there to observe, nothing more. That was why he did not partake in the fighting. It was okay. He did not share in the loot as well. Still, a point was to be made. They were an adept ranked party and they had come to conquer.
Geoffrey, their leader, took point. Wearing a full suit of armour, the warmonger was free to wade into enemy lines and cut them to pieces with his Kriegsmesser. A fact that annoyed their battle mage, Athart, to no end since he was effectively neutered, unable to attack for fear of hurting his own party members. The support members of the party; Ogbad the cleric and Verrin, the witch could only grumble. Thankfully, they had no work to do. Mere Badgers and pheasants could not get past Geoffrey’s rank four armour.
Their assassin laughed even as he slipped through their enemies like a handful of smoke. Only Geoffrey could continue to act so recklessly in front of the watchful eyes of a Warden of the Empire. Instead of attacking, he held back and let the warmonger have his fill of bloodshed. Waiting until his fearless leader was done hacking the last badger’s skull open before pointing out the obvious.
“We’ve been at this for half an hour. Face it! We’re not going to find a loot box. Why don’t we kill the boss and be done with it?”
Geoffrey grunted in agreement saying, “Think you can lead us there?”
“There it is!” the assassin proclaimed.
He pointed at the entrance to the final chamber. It was just like Coenbert’s party described it – a large ornate archway set in far wall of a safe room. As if the stark contrast between it and the rest of the cavern was not enough. It came with a large and legible label. [The First Trial]
“I told you to trust me”, Sirai bragged. “Honestly, I don’t even understand the need for a ranger with me around.”
Teca, the party’s ranger, tried to take the joke as it was meant but that did not prevent a slight scowl from darkening her face.
“This one doesn’t count”, their leader argued. “Even I could have found this place.”
And so, in they went, eager to conquer the first floor. It was a breeze. The wasps that had given Coenbert’s party so much trouble were effortlessly slain by Geoffrey’s. As with Coenbert, the blightwasps were unable to pierce Geoffrey’s armour or even the assassin’s for that matter. The not so defensively armoured, i.e. the magic classes were kept safe behind an E grade barrier. The wasps were also susceptible to evocations of fire and light allowing the cleric and the battle mage to wipe out tens with ease.
They were having such an easy time of it in fact, that they could afford to satisfy one of the Warden’s curiosities. Ogbad erected a barrier that trapped a good portion of the blightwasps, and Athart burned down the nest with the queen still inside it. Just as predicted, the trapped blightwasps remained alive and well proving that the death of the queen or the destruction of the nest were not the objective here. Conquering the first floor was only possible by either the routing the wasps themselves or slaughtering them to the man. The rumour of the first floor Legion Boss had been confirmed.
‘It is different’, Gauwyn noticed.
In their tale, Coenbert’s party claimed the wasps swarmed them in an unending siege of bodies. These were more spread out, attacking in split second volleys to avoid being wiped out en masse. Additionally, the light stones they claimed lit the copse was no longer there. They now lit each end of the small cavern leaving the blightwasp nest and its copse of trees cast in perpetual shadow. The fact the location of the light stone had changed did not surprise him. No dungeon pixie worth its salt would leave such an easily exploited weakness unpatched. The change in attack pattern, however, was worrying.
The Bloodsoaked Foxes did not share his concerns. They were too busy complaining about the loot.
Name: Blighting Stings (30) | Rank Three | Grade: Masterwork
Affinities: Dark, Demonic | Durability: E | Attack Amplification: E
Description: Each arrow contains the curse and hatred of a blightwasp. Any struck by one would receive this curse.
The craftsmanship that went into it is strange and otherworldly. Each arrow head is a genuine blightwasp sting and its fletchings blightwasp wings and the body, blightwasp legs. Blightwaps and blightwasps only were used in its making, an impossible task given that these arrows are not only strong but single formed.
This item is monster borne and can only be obtained after besting the first guardian in a dungeon known as the Realm of Valor located in the Eastern reaches of the Basilean Empire.
Requirements: MAG: G | Bow | Archery skills
Amplify: Each arrow can amplify the strengths of archery skills by a degree of E.
Blighten: An attack from these arrows will inflict a random curse on their target.
“Consumables?” Sirai spat. “Really? Of all the things.”
“Masterwork consumables!” Ogbad pointed out.
This time, Teca agreed wholeheartedly with the assassin. “Thirty arrows. Do you have any idea how many I use every time we dive? Those arrows will run out faster than you realise. Plus, the bow has applies that effect on every arrow shot. I shouldn’t have to tell you how much better that is.”
“What’s the big deal?” Geoffrey asked as he walked towards the entrance to the next floor. “So we make another run later for the bow. It is not like the dungeon is going anywhere.”