I am going about my normal routine when a messenger brings me a parcel from Raanu, the leader of Vulcanus. Attached to it is a message titled “The Dwindling Flames of Vulcanus,” which reads:
I am not one to believe in prophecies. I am not one to place my hope in strangers. But, at this point, you may be the only hope that my people have. Allow me to explain. My name is Raanu, I am the leader of the Agori tribe of Vulcanus. We are the fire people and pride ourselves as being independent and fierce – just like the wild flames themselves. But the mighty Vulcanus flames are in danger of being snuffed out. I will be direct – I need your help. Take this sacred flame from the Vulcanus Torch and seek me out – my people will be forever indebted to you. Please, come soon.
I unwrap the parcel to discover the Vulcanus Torch that Raanu described. Moved by his message, I set off immediately for the fire village.
As I approach Raanu’s hut, I can hear his voice from inside: “For a long time I have accepted that life for me and my people must be the way of toil and trial. But I dream of a better world…”
Raanu turns to greet me as I enter. “You have come! Thank the flames! Vulcanus has been suffering under the daily raids of the Bone Hunters – a primitive and savage group that roams the wastelands of Bara Magna trying to seize every resource they can. I began to accept that our lot in life was to suffer these raids and eventually surrender. But I have hoped that someday, someone would help my people out of this bleak future. As you know, we Agori solve most of our problems in the area with mighty Glatorian fighting on our behalf. One of our champions was named Malum. His brutality was uncontrollable – and that was the reason for his exile. We need to find him and convince him to fight for Vulcanus once more. I cannot spare a single Agori to search for him. Could you track him down?”
I agree to search for the banished Glatorian, knowing how important defending the villages from the Bone Hunters has become.
“Thank you for your generosity in helping my village. We really need you to acquire Thornax plants to defend Vulcanus.” Raanu offers me a Thornax plant module, which will allow me to grow my own Thornax to help me on my journey. I thank him, then head out to find Malum.
I am nervous about meeting Malum. Malum was exiled from Vulcanus for acts of brutality in the arena. He now wanders the wastelands looking to pick a fight – a fight he will most certainly win thanks to his fire claws and spiky Thornax Launcher.
After hours of searching the wastelands, I come across him. “So you’ve tracked me down,” he says, looming over me. “Am I supposed to be impressed? Do you think that means I’ll spare you from my claws?”
I hastily explain the situation in Vulcanus to him, but his response isn’t quite what I had hoped.
“So… Vulcanus needs me now, is that it? And they send you? Pathetic. Well, I will do nothing to help Raanu or any of those other Agori weaklings.” He turns to leave, but then pauses and looks back at me. “However – if you could find me some ammo, I might be able to figure something out.”
I have grown a number Thornax during my trip here, using the module that Raanu gave me. I offer one of the explosive fruit to Malum.
“Ahh… Lock and load – Thornax launcher is ready to go now. Ok… well thanks, I guess. Look, a deal’s a deal. Here’s what I think you could do to solve Raanu’s little raider issue, at least for a bit. You know the Bone Hunters… they are a simple bunch. I bet if you feed ’em a good meal they might not be so agitated. Why don’t you make them some of this little stew?” Malum hands me a recipe for Thornax Stew. “But if you make it wrong, well, you won’t live long enough to regret it, so you should probably test it first. Try giving to a Zesk, they’ll eat anything. Just be careful, though – they might mistake you for lunch – but I guess that’s what you get for being a nice person. If the Zesk like it, try telling them the Bone Hunters have a lot more. The Zesk might get the Vorox to raid the Bone Hunter camps looking for it, which will tie the hunters up for a while.”
Looking at the recipe Malum has given me, I see that it requires one ingredient that I do not possess – rock salt. Thankfully, I’m able to trade Malum a few more Thornax for some, and I begin making the stew.
Once the stew is finished, I set out on my search for a Zesk. The bestial Zesk lurk beneath the sands of the Bara Magna wastelands, ready to attack anyone who passes by. This quest will not be easy, but I must fulfill my promise to Raanu.
While searching the desert, I suddenly hear “Zzccckkk…” I look around, sure that a Zesk must be nearby.
I encounter the Zesk as it emerges from the sands to attack. It looks hungry. Perhaps I should give it something else to consider for its lunch? I carefully place a portion of the stew in front of the creature, then wait. The disgusting beast slurps down the Thornax Stew and stares coldly. It then spits a smelly slime from its mouth that covers every part of my body. I now have the Musk of the Vorox. This will discourage the Vorox from eating me. Let’s see if I can get one of the larger Vorox enough stew to be as well-fed as his smaller brethren – maybe this, plus a little “encouragement,” will turn them against the Bone Hunters.
The primitive Vorox ambush their foes with their stinger tails, swords and spiky Thornax Launchers. Their fury makes them a fierce enemy of any Glatorian that dares to cross their path. Despite the possessing the Musk of the Vorox, I’m worried an encounter with one will not go as well as with the Zesk.
As I enter a bone-lined desert cavern in search of the horrid Vorox, I hear a noise. “Grrrzzzzcckk…”
As I turn to see where the noise is coming from, I find myself face to face with a ferocious Vorox. The creature moves as if to strike, then pauses. It seems to have caught a whiff of my scent.
Not knowing how long the Vorox will remain peaceful, I quickly offer it several servings of the Thornax Stew. It quickly gulps down the stew, then leaves something on the ground and departs. I pick up the strange object, then quickly leave the cavern.
Remembering that Malum knows much about the Vorox, I return to ask him what the object is.
He tells me that it’s called the Stinger Oath, then says “Nicely played. Take that back to Raanu and the Bone Hunters should stop their raids on Vulcanus, for now at least. Oh, one more thing, tell Raanu to never bother me again.”
After a long journey back through the desert, I arrive at Vulcanus and give the Stinger Oath to Raanu.
“Malum did it – this Stinger Oath is as close as the Bone Hunters come to a peace treaty… He must have had to face the beasts in their own lair. Perhaps he’s not so bad…”
I inform Raanu of who it was that actually faced the Vorox.
“What’s that? You did this? But… you are no Glatorian! Well I should have known Malum would not go to such great risks for us. Your courage has surprised me. Here, take this badge and wear it so that all of Bara Magna may know of your deeds.”
I take the Agori Honor Badge and place it proudly on my chest. I am glad to have completed my journey.
However, Raanu has more to say. “I hate to ask more of you, but I regret to say this is only a temporary solution. Perhaps, if you still have more bravery in your heart I could convince you to seek out another hero. Head deep into the jungles near Tesara and seek out Tarduk. He and his Glatorian champion, Gresh, may have some idea of how to save Vulcanus.”
I agree to complete this task for Raanu. I have come this far – I cannot give up now.
The next day, I journey to Tesara, the jungle village, to find Tarduk. I’ve heard of this Agori before: Tarduk knows life is hard for his Jungle Tribe, but he just sees this a challenge to overcome. He is obsessed with discovering the secrets of ancient artifacts found in his tropical home. Walking on all fours, he uses his powerful claws and spikes to climb and defend himself.
Before long, I find him, and he welcomes me to the harsh jungle that is his home: “”Not many people know how we manage to carve out a living in the jungle. It’s true, there aren’t many nights that we are dry or well fed – but it’s all worth it when we recover some clue or artifact as to how our ancient ancestors lived. This knowledge means everything to me.”
I explain my reason for coming.
“Ah, of course, you’ve come to me seeking our great Glatorian hero, Gresh. Yes, I would be more than happy to make the introduction. But it would be irresponsible for me to send you any deeper into the undergrowth to find Gresh without making sure you’re tough enough to endure. I’ll give you a little test. The jungles that both Gresh and I live in are filled with ancient artifacts. If you can bring me back an ancient scroll, I’ll point you the way to Gresh. Deal?”
Not seeing any other option, I agree to search for a scroll. I ask around the village trying to find information, and one friendly Agori offers to let me search his area of the jungle. After much searching and digging, I come across a scroll like what Tarduk described. Thanking the friendly Agori, I look for Tarduk to give him the scroll.
Before I can find Tarduk again, a messenger stops me to hand me a parcel. I am a bit unnerved to see that the sender is Strakk. Ruthless and ambitious, Strakk of the ice tribe will do whatever he must to be named champion of the arena. His ice axe is one of the most feared weapons on Bara Magna.
I open the attached letter, titled “Cut out the middleman,” and read it.
Metus – that guy. Who does he think he is? I don’t report to him. Listen – if you wouldn’t mind betraying a few of your friends, go ahead and build this ambush module. It may lose you a friend or two – but it will get you Iconox’s Favor a lot quicker – and more importantly teach Metus a lesson. By the way – I’m going to act like I never met you – no matter what. So don’t even think about snitching on me.
I open the parcel to find a blueprint for the Desert Ambush module described in the letter. According to the blueprint, I can set this device up in the desert to lure passersby into Zesk attacks. If I can trick 5 individuals into using this module and getting ambushed by Zesk, I will gain Iconox’s Favor – but it feels wrong, and besides, I currently have no need for Iconox’s Favor.
It doesn’t take long for me to locate Tarduk again, and I quickly hand him the scroll I found. “You’ve done it!” Tarduk says. “Thank you! It will take me quite some time to decipher the meaning of this scroll. I hope it will provide insight into our ancient past. Please accept this – it will show that your standing with the Agori has improved.” Tarduk hands me a piece to attach to my Agori Honor Badge, signifying that I have achieved a higher rank. “You may now go find Gresh… I told him of your courage. Best of luck.”
While searching for Gresh, I learn about him from some of the local Agori. Gresh is a Glatorian who fights for the Jungle Tribe. Gresh combines incredible speed and agility with surprising strength in the arena. Although relatively new to the world of Glatorian, he has already proven himself to be a great fighter. A motto of his is “It’s not enough to think you’re going to win in the arena. You have to know you’re going to win.”
With some help from the locals, I am soon able to locate Gresh, and I explain my mission to him.
“You’ve had quite a time getting this far, haven’t you?” he says. “And all to help the fire tribe, who are pretty much strangers to you. You know, Bara Magna doesn’t see a lot of your type, people who do things just because it’s the right thing to do. We Glatorian see things in more practical terms – we fight who we’re paid to fight.” He pauses, then continues, appearing to have had some realization. “Maybe that’s it? Perhaps we can solve Raanu’s problem not by appealing to the Glatorian’s sense of good, but simply getting them contracted to help. If you wouldn’t mind trading me a Thornax, I can extract the nectar for the ink for a contract and we can get started.”
I pass Gresh one of the Thornax fruit I’ve been growing.
“There it is.” He quickly extracts the ink, which he hands back to me. “What you need to do is get the seals of Tarix of Tajun, the water village, Strakk of Iconox, the ice village, and yes, even a Skrall of Roxtus, the rock village. These are some very nasty characters. I’m not sure what they will ask for in return, but be prepared to work hard to win their favor. You can get my seal for a small fee. Good luck.”
I trade Gresh two more Thornax – one to write up the contract for me, and another to place his seal on it.
With three seals left to obtain, I begin my journey to Tajun.
Once I arrive in Tajun, I decide to seek out Berix. Berix is an eccentric outsider who has gotten by salvaging bits of scraps from around Bara Magna. Though knowledge of repair makes him a very powerful figure, the other Agori generally distrust him and think him to be a thief.
As I greet Berix, he immediately exclaims “This shield? I’m telling you I found it! For the last time, I am not a thief. I find things and repair them. Why won’t anyone believe me?”
I try to tell Berix that I am not here to accuse him of theft, but he continues before I can speak. “Look. I know we don’t know each other very well and I’m not sure what you’ve heard about me but none of it is true. Everything I have, I’ve salvaged. I have never stolen anything from the Atero Trophy offering. I’ve never even seen it!”
Before he can say more, I cut him off and explain my reason for being here.
He visibly relaxes, then says “I can convince everybody from Tajun to pitch in and help Vulcanus, including Tarix, but I’m not sure Raanu would even want our help until my name is cleared. If you could find a means of making another Ancient Spear, we could prove to the rest of the tribes that I’m not what they think I am. When you have it, send it to Tarix. He’ll sort things out, then I’m sure he’ll help you any way he can.”
Berix then trades me a blueprint for an Ancient Spear in exchange for a Thornax. Looking at the blueprints, the first thing I need is Quick Silver Flux, which Berix has – but he will only trade it for Red Pearls.
I ask around the village, and eventually find an Agori who points me to a good area to search. Before long, I have located several Red Pearls, and I return to Berix to exchange them for Flux.
“Salvaged!” Berix says. “Look what you’ve discovered! If you still need more pieces to complete your Ancient Spear, keep checking back for another chance. Remember you can always trade with friends to complete your task.”
The other materials I need are several Ancient Spear Fragments. Unsure where to find these, I decide to go ahead and find Tarix.
It is easy to underestimate Tarix in the arena. Behind his calm, no-nonsense style is a fierce, experienced fighter that has bested many other more flashy Glatorian. Tarix is a master of his twin water blades.
Once I find the Glatorian, I explain my mission to him.
“As you might have heard from my friend Berix, Tajun, through no faults of its own, has gotten a bit of a bad name for itself,” he responds. “It seems our fellow Agori don’t trust that all of our salvaged treasure and weaponry from a recently discovered site are actually repaired and not, as they suspect, stolen. If you could help Berix and the rest of the Water Tribe clear our name by recovering another Ancient Spear, I will give you my seal for your contract and assist Vulcanus with its current Bone Hunter problem.”
I suppose I will have to locate the Ancient Spear Fragments myself. As I turn to leave, Tarix leaves me with a piece of advice: “I’ve learned a lot in my time in the arena, and I can tell you that what makes a champion isn’t their brute strength, but their focus.”
Taking Tarix’s advice, I decide to return to where I found the Red Pearls, and make a more thorough search. After a while, I successfully locate 3 Ancient Spear Fragments. I carefully construct the Ancient Spear based on Berix’s blueprints, then return to Tarix.
“You’ve done it,” he says as I hand him the spear. “I’m going to bring this around to the other Glatorian as proof we didn’t steal it from the Atero offering. If they have any doubts, they can unseal the vaults and see the original right in there in the offering coffers! Of course, you have my support, seal and my thanks.” Tarix gives me his seal, and, in exchange for some Red Pearls, a new piece for my Agori Honor Badge – I have now achieved Rank 3.
Proud of my accomplishment, I leave for Iconox, and the next seal.
Once I arrive in Iconox, I immediately find Strakk and attempt to tell him of my mission, but he cuts me off. “Show me where you stand. Despite what I may have said to you, you need Iconox’s Favor for us to speak any further.”
I then remember the letter Strakk sent me earlier. I now find myself in need of Iconox’s Favor… but still, I do not like the idea of using the Desert Trap module.
Strakk clearly finds my qualms foolish, saying “It’s them or me. It’s that simple. I will do anything I can to win – do you think my opponents see it any differently? Don’t be foolish.” Still, I will try to find another way to gain the village’s favor.
I decide to speak to Metus. Fast-talking and smart, Metus is a promoter for Glatorian matches. He has a natural talent for spotting a Glatorian’s strengths and weaknesses. He is constantly imagining and calculating the potential fights between Glatorian, scoring them for entertainment value. Being so aware of what will please and entertain the village, I hope that he will have advice on how I can gain its Favor.
As I approach Metus, I hear him speaking with another Agori. “There’s not an arena match on Bara Magna that I haven’t set up or at least had the best odds on. If you want to know about any Glatorian, you come to me.” Once he spots me, he waves the other Agori away. “Well, well…” he says to me. “You stepping in on my business? I’ve heard from a number of Glatorian about you. Surprised it took you long to come my way. So, I’ve heard you’re looking to get some buy-in on a plan to save Vulcanus? That’s real sweet and all, but what’s in it for you? There’s gotta be something.”
I shake my head. My only purpose in the quest is to help Vulcanus.
He looks skeptical, but moves on. “Okay, check it out, your last two seals are going to be nearly impossible without me. So here’s the deal. I need you to help me track down a certain piece of real estate: a Desert Spring. I want to claim it for its water and the valuable plants that grow around it.”
I am briefly tempted to use the Desert Trap module, to avoid having to spend more time searching the desert. But no, I will accomplish my mission with honor. I comb the desert for what feels like ages, and eventually come across a torn-up map that appears to show the way to a spring like what Metus described. Satisfied, I return to Iconox to deliver it to him.
“Great,” he says, looking over the map with a grin. “Deal’s done.” He quickly rolls up the map and puts it away, then holds out a small trinket with the appearance of a chunk of ice. “Here, take this and go see Strakk. And then he’ll get you in with the Roxtus bunch, Atakus and Skrall. They are a nasty group of guys, so watch your back. Take care, and see you at the arena.” I take the trinket, realizing that it is what Strakk referred to as Iconox’s Favor. Pleased that I was able to obtain it without tricking or harming anyone, I find Strakk and speak to him again.
This time, Strakk is willing to talk. “If you’re good with Iconox, you’re good with me. I see you got Iconox’s Favor. That couldn’t have been easy. You must have had to bend the rules a bit to get to me. I like that.”
Now that he will listen, I explain my goal.
“Sure, you can have my support in your campaign against the Bone Hunters – if anything, it will allow me to show off my new moves to the other Glatorian. Or maybe I’ll pretend to fight poorly so they underestimate me next time I face them in the arena. Oh, I am good. If you keep quiet about my little plan, you can trade with me for an upgrade to your Agori badge that should get you the respect of the Rock Tribe, and Skrall’s seal.”
I figure that telling others about Strakk’s plan wouldn’t end well for me anyway, so I quickly agree. I give Strakk 30 Thornax – 25 in exchange for his seal, and another 5 for the new piece for my Honor Badge. With this, I have reached Rank 4.
Now comes the hardest part of my journey. I brace myself as I begin the trip to Roxtus, the village of the vicious Skrall.
I walk cautiously into Roxtus, looking for a friendly-looking Skrall to speak to – if such a thing even exists. I eventually find a Skrall that appears slightly less frightening than the others, though he is still very similar to the rest. The Skrall are many. As custom, Skrall are not named until they achieve great standing in the Roxtus Tribe. This Skrall is like many of his brothers – vicious, cruel and nearly unbeatable in the arena.
When I attempt to speak with him, he simply says “Come back later. You must have more honor with the Agori before gaining an audience with the Skrall.”
While I walk through Roxtus wondering what to do next, I overhear an Agori yelling nearby. “The Skrall will lay siege to all that stand in our way!” I turn and see that the one speaking is Atakus, an Agori. Although Atakus is small in stature, he is extremely strong and savage. He serves the brutal rock tribe of Roxtus. Atakus knows that his tribe is the toughest and sometimes he underestimates his foes.
He notices me and walks over, saying “We here in the Rock Tribe have watched from a distance, with some amusement, as you’ve gone from tribe to tribe trying to gain their trust. Unlike the other Agori, the Skrall are direct: our loyalty is temporary and for sale. You pay me, I’ll get you to Skrall. You pay him and he’ll pledge to fight with his seal. It’s that easy.”
Pleased to hear that getting this seal may be simpler than I thought, I give Atakus 50 Thornax. In exchange, he gives me a small piece of stone with a symbol carved into it, which he calls “Atakus’ Mark.”
Hoping that this will convince the Skrall from earlier to speak with me, I return to him and show him the Mark.
“We are Skrall, for we are many,” he says. “We will never surrender. Pay me and you’ll have my seal. There is nothing more to say that does not end in your defeat.”
It appears that Atakus spoke the truth. I offer the Skrall 25 Thornax, and receive his seal for the contract. Thankful that this last step of my journey was so simple, I hurry back to Tesara to have Gresh look over the contract.
“I can’t believe it!” he exclaims. “You’ve managed to bring the Agori tribes together in action. Amazing. Go quickly – take the completed contract to Raanu.”
I am weary but excited when I reach Vulcanus and speak to Raanu. He is thrilled by the news I bring.
“By the flames, you’ve done it. You’ve managed to do what no Agori has done since… since… well perhaps ever, you’ve gotten the tribes to pledge to work together. Unbelievable. The Bone Hunters would be foolish to attack us now. Vulcanus is safe, thanks to you. Take this – it’s the highest honor we Agori can bestow on a hero like yourself. Thank you.” Raanu hands me the final piece for my Agori Honor Badge, signifying that I have reached the highest possible rank. As I attach it, my badge turns a glistening gold.
At last, my journey has come to an end. Vulcanus will now be safe, thanks to the Glatorian I have brought together from every village.