It is entertaining to see that even Kain has the good conscience to recognize Vorador for what he is. Upon leaving the mansion, he is none to pleased with what transpired within. But an ally is an ally.
Examining Vorador's ring lets the old vampire unsettle us one last time.
Freaky stuff, but not as dangerous as our impending destination, as foretold by Mortanius.
As if things were not bad enough, three of the Guardians have congregated in order to terraform Nosgoth according to their arcane design. This is also a clever way for the game to play catch-up, as we have not managed to slay a Guardian in quite a while.
"Janos preyed upon its peasants until he was finally hunted down and executed."
In the nearby village of Uschtenheim (misspelled on the sign, giving us a clue of the general intelligence of its inhabitants), we hear a name we have not seen since the very beginning. Janos Audron made quite a name for himself before the Sarafan hunted him down and tore his heart out, as confirmed by a comment I picked up while exploring:
"The poor wretch was warped beyond recognition. To think it was once human."
"Sick as it was, I could not help but admire its creator's ingenuity"
Just up the road we find the results of the terraforming going on to the north. There are zombies shooting spikes, big slime creatures with poisoned blood and giant flowers shooting gas. The game has been pretty gruesome so far, but now we are dealing with proper body horror. One can only imagine how these things would look at a higher fidelity. But they are not a big deal as long as you resist the temptation to feed.
"I knew this Dark Eden I had trespassed upon would continue to grow, until all of Nosgoth was consumed."
That weird grey thing is some sort of dog shark, which is the only mutant around without tainted blood. And with all the trees around, one needs to exercise caution with the axes in order to feed on them.
The barrier around Dark Eden deeming Kain corrupted enough is a nice touch. From this point on, the overworld is overflowing with lava and burned buildings. One would think a place named Dark Eden would be a tad more green or purple, but who am I to say no to the Diablo aesthetic?
I wanna say this is the biggest environment in the game as every screen is wide to the point of tedium. Thankfully, that means a lot of enemies can be safely avoided. I find it odd that you need to hit switches to raise the ground in order to pass through the lava though. That is some Dwarf Fortress shenanigans.
"With the powers the Circle had at its disposal, ‘twould have been simple to distort space to accommodate this strange structure."
I appreciate the game explaining the discrepency between overworld sprites versus dungeon interiors for once, but seeing as every building in Nosgoth does this, it makes it seem like the Circle oversees all construction in the land, which just sounds silly. Stranger yet, the Pillar Guardian of Dimension, Azimuth the Planer, is not one of the three holed up in Dark Eden, so maybe all of them know a bit about spacial magic.
"Inside was all manner of items arcane: pickled bodies, dissected corpses, both man and beast, and metal constructs that heaved arcs of energy into the air. I sensed more than one force being manipulated in this place. Strange. Rarely did a sorcerer condescend to work with others."
The actual dungeon is pretty straigh-forward. Beyond the expected mutants, there are traps justabout everywhere. Mist Form and Repel deals with that well enough, but I did get stunlocked to death by some wall spikes, which is never a good feeling. Thankfully, the game does feature mercy invincibility upon revival.
The placement of the Flesh Armor feels like a trap left either by the Pillar Guardians or simply the designer, as the enemies in the very next room have poisoned blood, ready to showcase the drawback of the armor. I like not having swap armor back and forth, so in the bag it shall remain.
"For these poor wretches, only oblivion awaits."
Spirit Death on the other hand kicks ass. It is expensive to cast, but it kills justabout anything that is not boss-shaped in a single cast. Relying on it is foolish, but it is a real problem solver nonetheless.
"DeJoule the Energist, Bane the Druid, and Anarcrothe the Alchemist. How considerate of them to hasten my search."
[Bane]: So, the scourge of the Circle has arrived . . .!
[DeJoule]: Fear him not, Bane - he is but a whelp; his soul is ours for the taking.
[Anarcrothe]: Don’t be ridiculous! Malek! To our aid!
[Kain]: Damn you, Alchemist! I had not come this far only to have my quarry escape!
With Anarcrothe gone and Malek summoned, Kain puts his faith in Vorador's ring and pursues the remaining tenants of Dark Eden.
[Vorador]: Whelp! As if you knew what eternity was!
"I danced their dance. When the time came, they would dance upon my sword!"
[Bane]: His magic is weak! He is an affront to Nature itself, it is our duty to purify him!
[DeJoule]: Burn! Wretched vampire! Burn!
This is the most hectic fight in the game and not helped by my current mana, which is as low as Bane claims. It is one hell of a DPS race as it is not really possible to stay safe. Bane acts like the final boss of Ys and keeps destroying the arena while DeJoule spams an ungodly amount of energy bolts. The only strategy is to pop Repel and chase after Bane and kill him before you melt in the water. It cost me a couple of hearts, but I got him down.
For Dejoule, you need enough magic both to cross the water in Mist Form and pop Repel afterwards, while also having enough health to survive the onslaught. But once you close the distance, she falls faster than any other boss in the game.
It took a lot of work, but we have very quickly gone from zero artefacts to three, meaning Kain is halfway done with his quest.
"The Pillar accepted its offering; thus it was restored. The act had taken on the feel of ritual. Isn’t it strange how we must bribe our gods to stay?"
[Kain]: At the foot of the Energy Pillar, I set the cloak of DeJoule. The Pillar accepted its offering; thus it was restored.
[Kain]: The antler headdress of the Druid Bane I lay before the Nature Pillar. The Pillar accepted its offering; thus it was restored."
"Three instruments await you, to aid you in your quest, but first you must rise and you must fall and find your salvation in between."
Ariel is being particularly vague with her advice this time. So much so that I am not sure what the three instruments are meant to be. I am certain of two, but unless the third refers to the last armor set, I am unsure of what it is. But I can ponder that on the way to Avernus.
Until then, keep our current quandaries in mind:
As always, Vae Victus!