TEST Shadowkey: Crypt of Hearts

Stout’s Trading Post

The player walks steadily to the Crypt of Hearts. On the left side of the crypt, they notice a ramp that can be climbed. Curious, they climb the ramp. On the top, they find a teleporter. They do not know where this teleporter would teleport them if they stepped on it. Perhaps it’s dangerous, so they ready their Magicka Edge Axe and then step on the platform.

They are teleported to a high cliff and surrounded by several floaters. Frantically, they slash with their axe, while the other hand is busy with healing potions. These floaters are dangerous. Eventually, they are dead, but the player is wounded badly. Taking several gulps of a healing potion revives them. The player notices that there is a chest. Apparently, the floaters were guarding this chest. Inside is a gossamer-thin wrap of darkness to armor their arms, the Shadow Band, a powerful armor.

Upon arriving in the front of Crypt of Hearts, The player notices a familiar figure. Old Trinket!

Old Trinket

(his smile is slow, somehow dangerous, but still welcoming) “So you are going in, are you? I might be able to help a little. I scouted a bit inside.”

Player

“Help is good.”

Old Trinket

“The crypt’s caretakers have been slaughtered, although I thought I heard one to two scurrying about, trying to stay alive. The thing you are looking for is deeper down than the level I scouted, although there is plenty to do before you can safely walk the first level. Would you like me to show you a trick or two before you head out? Might keep you breathing a little longer.”

Player

“Sure.”

Old Trinket

(he teaches how to increase their awareness of their opponents actions, never once slowing down his chatter during the lessons)

“I know you were trouble, the right kind of trouble, before you killed your first rat. You had that look. I had it once.”

(The player torso-twists just in time to avoid a blow; Old Trinket nods approvingly)

“I was already yesterday’s hero when I arrived in Azra’s Crossing.”

(Trinket’s sudden leg whip drops the player to the ground)

“And you are tomorrow’s hero just waiting to step into legend.”

(The player knows that their defense has increased permanently)

“The problem is today. We cannot wait until tomorrow.”

(he looks at the player)

“Want to keep going?”

Player

“I can go another round.”

Old Trinket

(Trinket’s flurry of punches makes the player regrets their hasty decision to go another round, but they quickly learn to counter a variety of his moves)

“Anyway, Pergan Asuul and his bunch are definitely laying in the weeds for you. But the way I see it…”

(they deftly dodges Trinket’s combination; he grins)

“There are no weeds tall enough to hide them from you.”

(he pauses, huffing a little; the player knows that their defense increases again; he nods to her…)

“Go get ’em.”

Player

“Thanks. I’m on my way.”

With these words, The player enters the Crypt of Hearts – Level I

Crypt of Hearts, Level 1

Torch passed, a new hero embarks on the final journey. Ahead, death cheated three times awaits final release. Destiny’s path leads here, for one chance, a true chance… to repulse the twisted forces of shadow.

The moans, the noises are unnerving, but the smell is what will stick with the player the rest of their life… however long that may be. This entry level of the crypt is inhabited with ghosts, zombies and some nasty floaters, as well as rats.

In the southwest part of the crypt, the player finds a locked door. They try the door. From behinds the door they hear a muffled, “Go away, you undead fiends!”

Player

“I’m here to help.”

Crypt Caretaker

“You sound… alive!”

Player

“Thus far. Please open up.”

The player hears a mechanical clack of a ponderous mechanism. The mechanism stops with a thud, and the door unlocks.

Crypt Caretaker

“Blessed be! Someone whose heart still beats. That wretched Shadow Master came, conjured, and killed so many of us.

Player

“Shadow Master?”

Crypt Caretaker

“Some mage, undead by the look of him. He is nurturing some beast in the depths of the crypt’s third level. If you would be so kind as to remove the monsters at the entrance of this now evil place, I would be happy to share what I know with you.”

Player

“Consider it done.”

Crypt Caretaker

“What can I help you with? Braziers? Shadow Gate? Star Teeth?”

Player

“Braziers.”

Crypt Caretaker

“The braziers bless the worthy. Those on this level fortify the body. Those on the next level increase the mind, and the spirit is fortified on the final level.”

Player

“Shadow Gate.”

Crypt Caretaker

“The one across the way? It requires three Shadowkeys to open. Mind you, I have never seen a single key. Rumor is, it locks in some pattern for a suit of armor; lower keys produce lighter armor, higher keys heavier armor, or some such. There is another Shadow Gate on the next level, but it’s behind a maze of doors I have never negotiated.”

Player

“Star Teeth.”

Crypt Caretaker

“The Vault of the Heavens is the next level down, in the southwest. If you have enough, place the Star Teeth in the holders. The result is a powerful enhancement which can help you against creatures of shadow, but it is restricted to the Vault of the Heavens. You would have to lure the beasts in to the vault for the enchantment to help you.”

Player

“Good, I’ll be back.”

The Crypt Caretaker looks at the player with hope in his eyes, smiles, then begins to pack his belongings. The player goes back to the entrance, making sure that all the undead are exterminated. Then they goes back to the Caretaker’s room.

Crypt Caretaker

(his eyes well up, looking at her with disbelief) “You did it, didn’t you! I am going to live. I didn’t think it possible until this moment.” (he clasps the player’s hand and then exits the crypts to go look for his family)

The player exits from the room and goes directly to the Shadow Gate across the room. The familiar form of a Shadow Gate lies before them. They remember the Crypt Caretaker’s explanation of this Shadow Gate. Since they are a Battlemage, they need only a light armor, so they choose to use lower keys.

The problem is they don’t know which ones are lower keys. So they choose the earlier Shadowkeys. That means Delfran’s, Spider’s and Twilight Shadowkeys. They put those three keys one by one, and the gate opens quietly, as silent as fog and twice as cold. Inside they find Shadow Weave, an impossibly supple armor for its protection. Very nice armor, indeed!

In the southern area, she finds four braziers. These must be those braziers that Crypt Caretaker told her. She chooses one and touches it. The flames temper her sinews, increasing her agility. She touches the next brazier, and the fires toughen her, increasing her endurance. The next brazier increases her speed and the last brazier increases her strength.

Then on the southeast part, she finds maze-like path with some strange symbols on the floor. The player knows these must be traps. She tries her luck and agility to bypass those traps. In some parts, she succeeded but on the other, she had to feel some nasty stings. Luckily with her endurance she can survive those traps. In the far end of the maze, she finds a chest. Examining, she finds no other traps. She opens the chest, inside she finds the Shade War Axe. An incredible axe, more more powerful than her Magicka Edge Axe. Happily she wields the axe.

Then she meets Azra Nightwielder in the middle of a big room with some ghosts and zombies. After vanquishing those undead, she talks to Azra.

Azra Nightwielder

(he grimaces) “Good. You… are here. You must take the seven… Star Teeth to the Vault of Heavens. Find the beast and lure it there.”

Player

“First, I help you.”

Azra Nightwielder

(he shakes his head) “Destroy the Umbra’Keth and I shall step from the shadow elsewhere. If it is allowed to live, it will consume me completely. The creature is at the deepest level of this crypt. Find it now.”

Player

“Okay.”

The player explores this level a little bit, and finds nothing except more undead. Then she decides to go to the next level.

Crypt of Hearts, Level 2

The noises are fewer here. It’s quiet enough to hear their own footsteps. The smell is worse, and the feeling more oppressive.

They explore the southern parts of this level. In one of the rooms, there is a cabinet. Opening the cabinet, they find a dark metal mace with a runic ‘A’ on one end and an ‘N’ on the other. This must be Azra’s Mace. In the next room, they find gilt-edged learning scrolls containing Azra’s Sustenance and Azra’s Wrath. They wonder how these items ended up in this level.

In the southern part of this level, they find a Shadow Gate. Excitedly, they examine the gate. This Shadow Gate has a lock, which keeps shifting slightly in shape. After careful observation, they decide the lock is meant to take any Shadowkey. They take a random key and use it on the gate. The Shadow Gate swings open.

Inside, there is no chest; instead, there is only one brazier. The brazier’s flames warm them but do not burn. As the flames caress their body, they feel their heritage strengthening; their racial advantage improves.

Finally, they find a room with a teleporter in it. They step on the platform and are transported to the Vault of Heavens. Inside, they try to put the Star Teeth in the pedestals. But the pedestals do not respond. Perhaps they need to lure their prey closer before they can be activated.

In this vault, they find two braziers. One brazier increases their intelligence and the other increases their willpower.

Then the player finds a stairs to the lowest level, but Pergan Asuul guards the stairs.

Pergan Asuul

“I am getting quite tired of seeing you, whelp.”

Player

“This is the last time.”

Pergan Asuul

(he smiles, the most natural smile his distorted face can manage) “Absolutely. But I admit to being a poor host the last times.”

Player

“Your death is all I ask for.”

Pergan Asuul

(his smile stretches past the point of possibility) “Oh, but a good host always lets his guest go first. This time, you shall die!”

Player

“To the death!”

The battle begins. Pergan Asuul is indeed powerful in this incarnation. The player has to use all their magicka combined with Shade War Axe to finally crush the Shadow Mage. In the end, the lifeless body of Pergan Asuul lies broken on the floor.

Crypt of Hearts, Level 3

This floor is quiet, but there is a rhythm the player feels, like a slow powerful heartbeat.

Then, a host of zombies, ghosts and hungers attack. As usual, the combination of spells and axe proves more powerful than these creatures. As the last creature dies, its body contorts and speaks, “I, the shadow of conflict, await you.”

The player goes further, and more undead and daedra attack. Like the previous encounter, the last creature that fell speaks, “I, the shadow of conflict, welcome you. You, hero, are the soul of conflict.”

In the most eastern part of the level, a hideous creature emerges out of nowhere and attacks them. The player throws several blazing balls of fire at it, and surprisingly it falls. Umbra’Keth melts into the shadows to heal its wounds. Then the player prepares themselves for an assault from the shadows.

The player retraces their steps, and heads for the stairs to level II.

Crypt of Hearts, Level 2

As they arrive at level 2, Umbra’Keth emerges again out of nowhere and ambushes them. Its attacks are terrible indeed; the player has to run while using healing potions. Again, after several direct hits, Umbra’Keth disappears. The player knows that Umbra’Keth will be back sooner or later; they have no choice but to go to the Vault of Heavens as fast as they can and then utilize the Star Teeth.

They arrive in the Vault of Heavens and immediately go to the Star Tooth holders. They slip a Star Tooth into the holder. There is a low hum coming from the stand.

They place the second Star Tooth in a holder. The hum grows louder. They continue. The third Star Tooth produces a different tone than the first two. As they place the fourth, all four Star Teeth begin glowing. The fifth causes the shadow to shrivel and vanish from the wall. As they place the sixth Star Tooth, they feel that something deeper within the crypt notices them. Then, the last Star Tooth. Something lashes out at their spirit but recoils at the edge of the seven-pointed star. They are now ready to hunt Umbra’Keth.

Then as the previous encounter, out of nowhere, Umbra’Keth materializes. This time three times bigger, and obviously tougher. Hit and run is the tactic, and eventually the magnificent Shadow of Conflict falls, forever…

They notice that after the death of Umbra’Keth, a teleporter glows in the middle of the star. Previously, the teleporter was not functional as they stepped on it. Inhaling deeply, they step on the platform. And in an instant, they are teleported to Azra’s Crossing. Azra Nightwielder is waiting for them, and he greets them happily.

Whirling sparks of light from the Star Teeth shred the shadows of the defeated Umbra’Keth. The oppressiveness of the crypt begins to lift. A huge weight is lifted from your shoulders. The plans of Pergan Asuul and Jagar Tharn to create and control an incarnation of war have been defeated. What destiny awaits tomorrow is uncertain, but today you emerge from the Crypt of Hearts victorious… And with the true soul of a hero.

Azra Nightwielder

“I’m glad to see my teleporter came in handy.”

Player

“Ah, so that’s how…”

Azra Nightwielder

“Yes, I figured you needed all the help you could get. I wish I could have done more… but it looks like you handled yourself well quite well on your own.”

Player

“Thanks to you.”

Azra Nightwielder

“No, it is I who owes you thanks. You truly are the hero I was hoping you’d be. But, now it is time I continue my own journey. The shadows call me. Safe journeys, hero. Until we meet again…”

Player

“Until we meet again.”

Azra disappears after his last words. The player heads for the temple, and meet a happy Skelos Undriel nearby.

Skelos Undriel

“You’ve done it! You’ve put an end to the Shadow of Conflict. I had my doubt about you, but it appears I worried for nothing. You saved my life, and for that I will be eternally grateful. In fact, you’ve saved us all from a horrible fate, and for that you will always be remembered.”

Player

“My pleasure.”

Skelos Undriel

“So what’s next for our village’s very own hero? Are you off to new adventures?”

Player

“Sleep sounds good.”

THE END
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