Asheron gazed fixedly into the crystal, which was filled with an image of the empty desert. Laid over the image were the glowing patterns of magic in the area. In the center of the image, a large dome of magical energies flickered in and out of view for a moment.
“What's this then?” Asheron mused to himself, watching the image. “It seems there's something hidden over Geraine's ritual site...”
Asheron sat and watched as another group of adventurers went in to disrupt the repeated attempts to restart the ritual. As the adventurers dispatched the lead ritualist and seized another Aspect of the Book of Eibhil, the flickering dome appeared and then disappeared once again.
“Fetch my ritual supplies, and wake Borelean. We have a ward to bypass.”
From the corner of the study, a diamond golem stirred to life with a bow, “Yes, my lord. It will be done.”
While Asheron awaited the arrival of the requested supplies, as well as the young prince, he busied himself devising the specifics of the needed ritual.
Quite some time later, a rather haggard and depressed Borelean entered the room. “You wanted to see me, Asheron?”
“Indeed. Come here, have a look at this.” Asheron replied, gesturing to the crystal. “Now wait, and watch this area of the desert at the moment this next group disrupts the ritual… There! Did you see that?”
Borelean suddenly became very focused. “Some sort of barrier? Do you think Geraine's hiding in there?”
“Well,” replied Asheron, “There's only one way to find out.”
“We should be able to collapse the barrier when it fluctuates,” replied Borelean, looking alive for the first time in a while. “If he's hiding in there, he won't escape us this time.”
“Hold on there, not so fast. First, you don't randomly rip down a barrier that well hidden. We don't know what is behind it. It could very well be Geraine, or it could be something else entirely. For all we know, it could be something sealed away for the good of this world.”
“Point taken,” Borelean replied, looking very tired. “What do we do now then?”
“We don't need to take down the barrier in order to bypass it.”
“What do you have in mind?”
“Back when the Lyceum was actively exploring other worlds through the portals, we had many spells for examining other cultures while unseen and undetected. One of those spells is also useful for politely looking in on things others that may be too dangerous to go see in person. It also has the advantage of being incredibly hard to detect, even if your grasp of magic is as skilled as what it takes to create this little ritual. Come, let's get started.”
Asheron brought Borelean over to the ritual circle and began instructing him in the ritual needed to create the small scrying consctruct. It took a little over an hour, but when all was complete, Asheron was satisfied that Borelean understood his part in the ritual.
“Now,” Asheron said, “We simply need to await our next opportunity. It shouldn't take long. Many of the more adventurous citizens of Dereth have made it their personal mission to keep that ritual subdued.”
“I can sympathize with that sentiment,” replied Borelean, looking sad. “If Geraine's in there, I'm going after him.”
“I do not think that would be prudent, not without assistance. I've walked this world for a few thousand years, and Emperor Geraine is orders of magnitude older than I. Don't underestimate him … again.”
“Don't worry about that. That is a mistake I won't make ever, ever again.”
“Good. Now that that's clear, that group there is about to attack Geraine's ritual site,” Asheron said, gesturing to the image in one of the scrying crystals. “We need to start now.”
The ritual itself only took a few minutes, and shortly thereafter, they had successfully squeezed the small scrying construct through the barrier. Asheron brought another scrying crystal into the room and said, “Now, let's see what it is that someone worked so hard to hide.”
The image in the crystal was one neither of them expected. Hidden behind the barrier was a series of sandstone plateaus, forming a canyon in the center. In the heart of the canyon was a collection of rundown buildings, mostly abandoned. Moving through the area were many creatures, some recognizable, some not. “Well, it looks like this area has had some contact with the outside world,” said Asheron as he guided the construct through the warded city, “Those reedsharks and armoredillos are not native to Auberean. They both came through the portals that brought your people here as well.”
“Do you think they got dropped in there when the portals were randomly pulling creatures in?” asked Borelean.
“No. The magic that opened all of the portals wasn't nearly focused enough to breech that barrier. These creatures were brought in deliberately. The question is, by whom?”
“I think I see your answer there, up on that ridge,” replied Borelean, gesturing at a humanoid form up on one of the far plateaus.
Asheron guided the construct closer, and got very quiet as the image came into clearer view. “Ahh, much becomes clear. A Mumiyah. This must be one of their hidden desert tombs.”
While Asheron looked thoughtful, Borelean noticed another form coming into view. “What's that there?” Borelean asked, “It's no undead I've ever seen.”
The creature they were viewing was humanoid, but seemed to be made out of shifting sands. Parts of it constantly sifted off, joining a small whirlwind of sand that seemed to be reforming the body constantly. Several places along the creature's upper body were covered with glowing green runes.
Asheron glanced at the new arrival. “No, no it is not. I've seen one of those creatures before. Now, where was it... Ah, I remember.” Asheron gestured to one of the light elementals stationed near the door and said, “Fetch me research tome CX4-A113 from the Lyceum research section.”
“At once, my lord” replied the elemental as it winked out of existence.
Borelean looked startled for a second. “I didn't know they could do that.”
“The way has to be prepared for them in advance, but this castle has long had magical ties to the Lyceum. Not full portalspace ties, mind you. Too much risk that the Olthoi on the mainland would find and breach the portal, but connections specially suited to the light elementals themselves.”
A moment later, the elemental returned, bearing a large, sealed tome. “The research log you requested, my lord,” it said, as it set the large book on Asheron's desk. It then moved back to its spot along the wall, and became motionless once more.
Asheron moved over to the tome, whispered quietly over it while touching the cover, and the locks on the cover popped open with n audible click. He then paged through the book for a few minutes, while Borelean used the crystal to scout out more of the strange creatures they had found.
“Ahh, here we are,” said Asheron, carrying the open book over to the crystal and Borelean. “I knew I had seen these creatures before. They are called the “A'nekshay” in their own language. The researchers deemed them to be elemental in nature, made almost entirely of sand. Their culture was fairly advanced, and appeared to be peaceful. But, when the team tried to approach them to start a dialogue, the A'nekshay became violent almost instantly. Best that could be deciphered,” Asheron continued, skimming over the research notes, “Was some belief that the research team came from some race they called the ‘betrayers' and ‘Overseers', but that was all that was learned. The notes conclude that this race had likely encountered the Dark Falatacot at some point in their past, and it was decided to abandon overtures to their race.”
“That makes sense,” said Borelean, while still looking in the crystal, “But I don't think it was the Falatacot they had a run in with. Look,” Borelean added, moving so Asheron could see into the crystal, “The Mumiyah are treating them as slaves.”
“Well,” said Asheron, looking a little sad, “That would explain their hostility. The Mumiyah may be undead now, but they were Empyreans once. If they had found and then enslaved these A'nekshay, their animosity to the research team would make sense.”
“So, we found a bunch of undead that are not the Dericost we were hoping for?” Borelean asked.
“Well, while the Mumiyah are not directly sworn to Emperor Geraine, that ddoes not mean they are not allied with him.”
“And there's the matter of these enslaved A'nekshay they have there. I've never been very favorably disposed to beings who seek to enslave others.”
“Well, perhaps there is something we can do about that,” replied Asheron, as he gathered up a couple ritual components. “This construct has a few other things it can be used for. I think it's safe to get rid of this barrier. I'm not sure it would survive the constant fluctuations from the ritual happening underneath it anyways. The barrier itself seems to be linked to the Ley Line they're using for the ritual. Better if we undo it in a more controlled fashion.”
While Asheron began the ritual to dismantle the barrier, Borelean summoned one of his guards, and filled him in on what they had learned. “Gather some of the Royal Guard, and inform the Arcanum. I want people there ready when the barrier comes down,” concluded Borelean.
“At once, Your Highness,” replied the guard with a bow. He then set off to his tasks.
Borelean returned to the crystal and watched while Asheron performed his ritual upon the barrier. Toward the end, Asheron called Borelean over, and they finished the ritual together, using the scrying construct they had created to unravel the barrier.
As they finished, Borelean looked at Asheron thoughtfully and asked, “You didn't need my assistance to do any of this. Why did you ask for my help?”
Looking a little tired, Asheron replied, “You needed something productive to work on. You can't spend all of your time focused on your loss, or focused on revenge. Such things will consume you utterly.”
“I know, but I haven't given up hope yet that I can get her back, somehow.”
“Be very careful with that hope, young Borelean. Some losses may be very hard to bear, but the consequences for trying to undo the past can be far worse than the loss could ever be.”
Far from Asheron's castle, another pair watched on in a scrying crystal, similar to Asheron's, if darker.
“Do you think he's ready, my lord?” asked the Archon, sitting beside the throne in which Emperor Geraine watched on.
“I think it is time. Bring me the Book. We'll see how strong the young pup's desires really are.”
“As you say, my lord, but, if I may ask, isn't it risky to be spying on them both so closely?”
“You heard Asheron, my Archon. As he says, it is indeed hard to detect this form of scrying, even if you are capable of wielding the magic yourself,” replied Geraine, smiling evilly.
Greetings and welcome to the May 2011 event, Lost City of Neftet! We have quite a few changes coming this month to Asheron's Call. From a new City appearing in the desert, new amazing artwork, and more content than you can shake a Niffis at! So without further delay, let's see what is new and exciting this month in Asheron's Call!
Monthly kill tasks have been updated
The Quests of the Month have been updated
Jester Cards now stack up to 20
The burden on Alchemical Throwing vials' has been reduced
Housing Items that used to give 2 hour buffs should now provide 3 hour buffs
Moonstone now adds 500 mana to items per tink instead of 250
Void Magic added to Head of Homunculus & is now also a 3 hour buff
Void Magic and the Two-Handed skill have been added to Fists of Stone
Relic Armor has a new upgrade
There is now an Art differentiation between the salvage materials Alabaster and Marble
The Gear Knight vendor, Lintareal, now trades Black Garnet, Jet, Red Garnet, and Sandstone salvage materials for Ornate Gear Markers
There are now Resistance Augmentation swap NPCs in Zaikhal
There is now a Skill Reset NPC in Asheron's Castle
New Alternate Currency NPCs have been placed in Zaikhal
New Resistance Augmentation NPCs are now in Zaikhal. These NPCs will allow players to swap their existing resistance Augmentations
The skill increase gems from The Temple of Enlightenment no longer have timers associated to them
The Robe of Perfect Light can no longer be dyed
Any Robe of Perfect Light that was broken previously should now be fixed
The Barber now automatically fills in your current appearance upon use
Master Fletcher vendor Laurana sells top end prismatic fletching items at her new home located near Glenden Wood
Fletching update: All wrapped ammo-tip interactions now yield 500 appropriate missiles
Fletching update: Rare wrapped arrowheads produce 500 per craft as well
Fletching update: The normal craftable ammo burden has been reduced to 5 and stacks up to 500
Fletching update: The alternate currency ammunition maximum stack size has been increased to 5000
Standard prismatic ammo-tips now sold by all bowyers
Thanks to the awesome work of the team we now have new art for Skeletons & Zombies. Please note that if you use a Barber to change your Undead or Skeleton appearance to the new look, you will not be able to change back to the old style
At Nalicana Players can give Blank Augmentation Gems to gain 10k luminance, or spend 100k luminance to acquire a new Blank Augmentation gem
Quest timer for 3 augmentation gems(Sir Bellas, Societies and Diemos) have been reduced to 13 days
Barber update: Players can now suppress undead flames and the Shadow crown
All loot Shields are now tailorable
The spawns in the Gear Knight Invasion Area have been reduced to address a number of issues concerning performance
Apostate Excavation and Apostate Citadel creatures now drop more reward items
The Empyrean Rescue Robe should now be tailorable
A new area in the desert has been discovered by the explorers of Dereth
Contracts have been added to the game. You can read more about them here
Players now have the option to turn off the flames on their undead and the crowns on their shadows at the barbers
The slayer on Corsair's Arc has been changed to Niffis
The Mace Mastery spell on the Chitin Cracker has been changed to Two Handed Mastery and added Blood Drinker 8
Contracts have been added to the game. You can read more about them here!
So these are just some of the things we have in store for Asheron's Call in May. Please remember that along with everything listed here, there are several new quests and exciting things going into the game for the May Event.
Rob "Severlin" Ciccolini shares some insight into the Contracts feature coming with the May event!
Today I'd like to talk about another new feature for May.
With this patch a small number of quests in the game will take advantage of the new Contracts feature! What are contracts, you ask? Contracts are a way to track the acquisition and progress of the quests they represent. A contract initially takes the form of a written parchment. These parchments can be found in various places in the game, but most often they can be purchased from contract brokers and barkeeps who sell them instead of rumors. Contracts help track quests, and sometimes they can lead you to quests.
When you use a contract the physical parchment is consumed and the contract is added to a new panel grouped with your Quest Journal; the Contracts panel. This panel lists all of your Contracts, the progress of the quests those contracts represent, and additional information that is shown at the bottom of the panel. This additional information includes the name of the NPC that you might want to talk to, coordinates for the NPC associated with the quest, quests coordinates where you can start exploring to complete a quest (or the entrance to the dungeon that contains the quest) and notes about the quest that can be gathered from the contract itself.
Your Contract list can track up to 50 contracts at one time. You can abandon a contract at any time to make room for other contracts. Abandoning a contract will not disturb or cancel your quest progress. To fully understand Contracts, players will probably need to realize that a Contract does not replace your tradition quests and timers. Instead a contract will help track them. If you abandon a Contract, for example, your quest flags are not deleted or replaced. If you pick up the same Contract for a quest at a later time and add it to your quest list it will essentially pick up tracking the quest in its current state.
In addition to help tracking your quests, Contracts will display a repeat timer for quests that have been completed. A contract will also display a timer for the few quests that have a timed requirement. The quest can also display the progress of kill tasks; gather quests, and the like.
I am sure you all have plenty of questions on this new system, and I will attempt to answer them here.
~ How many contracts can I have in my list?
The contract list can hold up to 50 contracts at one time.
~ Do contracts take up pack space?
Generally no. Once a contract is added to your Contracts list it is consumed and no longer takes pack space. If your Contract list is full, however, it is possible for you to carry contract parchments and use them later. These parchments would take pack space.
~ So do I have to have contracts to complete my quests?
No. Though contracts track quests, you do not generally have to have a contract to repeat a quest. Existing quests will work just fine whether you have a contract for them or not. It is possible that some new quests, however, may be granted or started by adding a contract.
~ How many quests have contracts for May?
A majority of Contracts for May have been added to revamp the experience of levels 50-100. The starter towns have new contacts, called Contract Brokers, which sell contracts for many of the most popular quests appropriate for that level. Once players leave the Facility Hub they can use contracts for quests in this level range to help guide them along. Contracts have also been added for some of the new quests added to the game.
~ How much does the Contract Broker charge for contracts?
The level 50-100 Contract Broker charges 150 pyreals per contract. Hey, a broker's gotta make a living...
~ Wait, so Contracts only exist for level 50-100 and some new quests?
Yes. As time goes on we will solicit player feedback and add contracts for the most popular quests. In time much of the content for the game will have associated contracts players can obtain. In addition, sometimes information for new quests will be distributed as actual contracts instead of just rumor sheets.
~ So all Contracts come from these Contract vendors?
Not necessarily. While many of them do, it will also be possible to find contracts that lead to quests on creatures, in chests, and during adventures. In addition, it is possible for NPCs in the game to add a contract to your list directly.
~ So are contracts stored client side?
No. Your Contract List is stored with your character, and the server helps track your timers directly. Contracts and their progress update as quests add and remove quest flag behind the scenes. Once you add a contract you don't manually change them.
Now that the functionality for contracts has been implemented, we will start the long process of adding contracts for the most popular game content that currently exists. We will be looking to the players to provide feedback in the forum threads we create to indicate which quests they would most like to see with contracts. We hope this system will help existing, returning and new players better navigate the large realm of Dereth and better determine the content they can participate in.