Orange Eyes is the eighth quest zone, the second half of War in the North, and is unlocked by defeating Chieftain Kveldulf in The Savage North on Normal difficulty. Defeat Blue Dragon Vision in Blood of the Kasans on Normal difficulty to unlock Where Dead Men Walk.
"The answers lie within them."
- 1. All the King's Men 1
- 2. All the King's Men 2
- 3. All the King's Men 3
- 4. All the King's Men 4
- 5. All the King's Men 5
- 6. All the King's Men 6
- 7. All the King's Men 7
- 8. All the King's Men 8
- 9. All the King's Men 9
- 10. Berserk Rage
- 11. Masters of the Axe
- 12. Tragic Magic
- 13. Cry Wolf
- 14. Live Once, Die Twice 1
- 15. Live Once, Die Twice 2
- 16. Unexpected Ingredient
- 17. Big Bad Wolf
- 18. The High Warlord
Optional Boss Encounters
Collect 5 Torn Royal Standards from any 5 of Nodes 1-8, then defeat General Hacan at Node 9 to collect the first Kasan Standard. Collect 5 Torn Orc Standards from any 5 of Nodes 10-17, then defeat High Warlord Gormaru at Node 18 to collect the second Kasan Standard. Then fight Black Dragon Vision at Node 20.
Boss Card RewardEdit
- Nord Healer (General Hacan)
- Blessing of the Fey (High Warlord Gormaru)
- Aya of the Kamamura (Blue Dragon Vision)
- Master Archer's Tutelage (Royal Scryer)
Randoms Card RewardEdit
100% chance from named random encounters.
His eyes open. There's no disorientation, no lethargy -- no trace of that state where slumber still has hold of one's senses and the dawning realization of its end brings a weary groan to the mind if not the lips. He's simply awake, his troubled dreams scattered and replaced by the more vivid troubles that fill his re-tethered mind.
There's a soft mumble. He turns, wondering if whatever woke him likewise woke her. But the pretty face on the pillow is tranquil. Beneath the splash of pale gold hair, silvered by the moonlight, there's only contentment. He envies her, but he's also glad. Her eyes have borne far too much worry over the past months. Let her find peace here if nowhere else.
For several moments he simply watches her, drawing what comfort he can from the calm visage, from the soft, deep breaths that make her chest rise and fall in the rhythmic pattern of slumber.
A single lock of silver-gold hair slips free. It slides across her face like a velvet finger, until its end fails in front of her lips. There it flutters, dancing in time with her breath. Her mouth twitches. He reaches out with a slow, gentle hand -- as though he were a priest handling the holiest, most delicate of relics -- and reunites the soft curl with the rest of her tresses.
Perhaps if he simply lay there, he could capture some echo of her tranquility, soothe his mind until it could join hers in sleep once more. The though is tempting. But something tugs at him. And helearned long ago to listen to such inscrutable urgings.
He slides out from beneat the thin blanket like a serpent, careful not to disturb her. Not for the first time, his nocturnal furtiveness makes him think of the sycophants who forever tiptoe around in his presence and speak honeyed words, trembling at the very though of bringing a frown to his brow. Here he is creeping in his own castle, lest he displease his wife... On other occasions the notion has made him smile. But not tonight.
Perhaps it's the warm air and the enchanting moonlight which draw him to the window overlooking the courtyard. Perhaps the view that he's enjoyed during countless sleepless nights and the contemplative days. It's one few others will over experience, a vista reserved for august eyes or those of their guests and servants. From this high vantage point he can see beyong even the lofty crenelated walls and the otwers that have encircled and defended the keep for centuries. Beyond them lies Dracoshire, laid out before him as though it were one great mantle -- stretching away from the hill on which the castle rests until it meets the distant dark mass of the city wall. Over all this presides the moon, dressed in her argentine finery, Its train spilling out across the streets and rooftops.
Even at this late hour, hundred of flickering candles and burning torches lend their yellow to the celestial silver, lightning the homes and paths of those who've made the night their world. They illuminate the slums where the thieves and prostitutes ply their trades beneath the starry sky, brighten the windows of noblemen's grand houses. Nocturnal doings and revelry spanning every form of propriety and impropriety can be found here in Dracoshire. Strife may grasp the kingdom, but the city's denizens continue their lives of decency or indecency regardless. Existence rolls ever onward. He can't decide if this pleases or disquiets him.
As a boy he loved the stare from the keep's uppermost windows, his young mind wavering tales about one building or another, peopling them with fanciful characters cribbed from his readings or his imagination. He can still remember the sense of awe he felt when his father told him what he already knew yet had somehow never quite considered: that everything he saw would one day be his responsibility, his to preserve and defend.
From that moment the tableau was a source of redoubled amazement and unlimited imaginings. He saw the future when he looked upon Dracoshire. He saw destiny.
In his dreams, he's seen it burn.
Perhaps it was the warmth and moonlight that drew him to the window. Perhaps the view. But he knows it wasn't. So he watches and waits, to see what will transpire.
He doesn't wait for long.
Three dark shapes appear against the moon, a series of black dots upon her silver brilliance. Winged shapes. Two are large and serpentine. THe third is smaller, its form less distinct until they draw nearer. Then its frame is revealed -- one both aquiline and leonine. Wyverns and a griffin. Their riders are revealed as well. A single man... No, a woman... is on the griffin. Each wyvern carries two passengers upon its back. One holds the reins. The other clutches a scepter that illuminates the pair with vivid purple light from its glowing end.
As monstrous and impressive the wyverns are, ti's on the griffin-rider that his attention falls. The wyverns and their passengers are far from an unusual sight in the skies over Dracoshire. They're merely sentinels doing their duty, inspecting and escorting aerial visitors to the city -- ready to blast them from the heavens if they deem them a threat. A necessary precaution, lest a malefactor mounted atop a pegasus or other winged creature seek to cause mischief from above. But the griffin...
A cold hand touches his back, startling them with its icy suddenness.
"Sorry," she says. She moves beside him and follows his gaze. "A messenger?"
Silence slips between them. Her hand strokes his clammy skin, its coolness soothing now. Relaxation flows through the tense muscles around his spine, even as his mind bubbles like an alchemist's caldron.
Both wyverns halt and hover, held aloft by great flaps of their leathery wings. THe griffin descends towards the wall alone. More splashes of magenta light have appeared on the battlements, painting them with a lovely, regal hue -- as though decorating them for a grand celebration. Those pools of arcane illumination are host to more scepter-clutching mages, alongside archers and other warriors.
The majestic steed lands on one of the turrents, bathing both itself and the rider in violet. It raises its beak in an almost pompous salute to the men and women who gather around it, as though defying them to question the prowess which has brought it so far, or its right to occupy so prestigious a perch. But it deigns to lower its aquiline face as one of the griffin-handlers takes its reins and another feeds it. The rider receives similar treatment. A guardsman helps her off her steed. A mage passes her a wineskin. She tugs her helmet off with one hand and takes a long pull of the skin with the other.
The messenger exchanges words with some of the group, inaudible to the watchers at the window. Perhaps a full minute passes before the conversation comes to an end, and two guardsmen escort her into a stairfell. The griffin turns its head to regard her passage, then allows the handlers to lead it towards the small nest that occupies a portion of the turret.
One by one the magenta lights vanish from the battlements, relinquishing the night to the moon. The man and woman in silence for a while, as purple becomes silver.
"Marlus will send for me if it's urgent," the man says a last.
He tries to keep the anxiety from his voice. Bad enough that she's awake, her rest snatched away. No need to burden her with the presentiment that now weighs heavy at the core of his being.
His eyes are still fastened on the turret. But he senses the woman's faint smile all the same.
"He won't have you disturbed. He knows you hardly get any sleep as it is." The sigh that escapes her lips is almost imperceptible. "Get dressed. I'll go with you."
The masked resignation in her voice wounds him. But there's strength in her soft tones as well, and his comforts him even with more than her touch.
They withdraw to their dressing chambers. In times past they might have called for a maid and manservant, knowing that at any hour of the day there would be ears waiting to heed their summons. But by mutual consent they've long since shunned such decadence, both of them feeling its unseemliness in an age of turbulence and austerity.
Some minutes laster the two of them walk the corridors side by sides, acknowledging the bowws of patrolling guards and the night maids' curtsies. A few questions elicit the messenger's fate. Marlus Quent had her brought to his private audience chamber. This news suffices to confirm their shared suspicions.
When the door to Quent's innermost sanctum opens it reveals a room filled with crammed bookshilves and cluttered surfaces, and the bald pate of the man himself. He's sat on the opposite side of one the room's long tables, hunched over an unrolled scroll of parchment that occupies the island of space between heaps of books and papers shoved away to form mounds on either side. He glances up, displaying gaunt, severe features drawn in an expression of annoyance at the interruption. It slips away in the same instant.
"Crenus!" He purses his lips, and glances at the person sitting a dozen feet to his left -- at the end of the table. When he speaks again, he amends: "Your Majesty."
Marlus... Always one for propriety in front of outsiders, acting the part of a mere advisor instead of a friend.
"Majesty," he repeats, when Queen Isabella follows Crenus into the room.
He begins to rise. Soe does the women who shares his table. But Crenus forestalls them both with a gesture. The two guardsmen standing against the far wall, those who escorted the messenger from the battlements, are left to bow alone.
The griffin-rider stares at the king with undisguised awe, through bright blue eyes taht seem as wide as saucers. Two small hands twitch on the table, as though unsure what to do with themselves. Her pale skin grows paler still, giving her the visage of a mournful ghost. It leaves her looking impossibly young, a mere child.
"She's brought word from the north," Quent says. He pauses and coughs before he continues, like a soldier bracign himself for a coming bombardment. "The rumors were true."
Each crunching footsteps in the snow is a demon's mocking laugh, a merry-cruel cacophony that follows you north and gnaws away at the edges of your soul.
The place where you should have died is far behind now, strewn with the bodies of slaughtered Nords -- warriors slain by the same callous destiny that denied you your release and instead yanks you along like a marionette, scorning your freedom in the pursuit of its own machinations.
Rakshara walks beside you, her orange countenance as bright as the cool sunlight. You almost despised her for saving your life. Almost, but not quite. When she stood before you, proud and pleased, the Nord chieftain's blook on her blade and innocent joy in her eyes, you couldn't muster up any hatred. Only guilt in the face of her guileless loyalty and friendfhip. Thanking the oroc for her unwelcome aid, concealing despair beneat gratitude, was hard. But you could do nothing else. You couldn't let her and the others know.
Tessa chided you for your carelessness. She believed you'd stumbled trying to perform one of the absurd, flamboyant attacks you'be used in the past -- once again attempting to impess your companions and the onlookers with your partial prowess, making art, sport, and spectable of killing. That reminder of past folly was yet another wound. But you could only mutter disssembling apologies and reassurances, made bitter in your mouth by the sincere concern on your face.
As for Hugh... He gave you a pie. The Titaran's solution for all ills, ailments, triumphs, and tragedies. By all rights it should have tasted like ashes. But he knows his craft. Even misery wasn't equal to the task of ruining it.
Then you marched further northward, still seeking what you came to hsi inhospitable land to find.
The occasional band of Bold Wolves came upon you on the tundra. They tried to stop you, as their breathren did. They died. Curing the first of thos ebattles you again though of death upon an enemy's blade. But you couldn't withstand another failure, bestow another mélange of insincere gratitude and apology on your companions. So you fought, slaying your foes with dispassionate blows.
When the plains gave way to the forest, hiding you among the great trunks of snow-laden evergreens, the attacks stopped. The trudge has continued unbroken through the trees ever since.
"Should stop for a bite to eat," Hugh suggests.
"You're eating right now," Tessa replies.
"This doesn't count." He waves the half-eaten pastry in his hand. "It's not a meal if you're bloody well walking at the same time. "It's... exercise!"
"That's..." Tessa's trails off, leaving her opinion of Hugh's gastronomic philosophy unstated. She pulls and arrow from her quiver.
"Bad for the digestion as well. There's a reason we odn't take our meals on the go like a bunch of sodding bats."
"I know a gluttony demon who had his imps scurry around him with fully laden banquest tables on their backs, so that he could dine every moment of the day. Even in battle he would eat with one hand whilst fighting with the other."
"So what happened to him then?"
"Exactly! Poor digestion, you mark my words!"
"I disemboweled him."
"Well... That comes to the same thing, doesn't it?"
"Quiet!" Tessa hisses.
She stops moving and waves the rest of your back, causing your to halt in turn. In the absences of aruging voices and crunching snow, a fresh noise makes itself heard.
With one accord, you all draw your weapons.
The sound is familiar. It's dogged each stage of your journey like an obsessed suitor. Clashing steel... Roaring voices... Combat.
But the magnitude... As faint and sitant as it all is, the scale is clear enough. This isn't just a fight, not some skirmish between a few dozen warriors. You're hear battle. War.
You don't have to give the order. Everyone acts as one, moving through the trees with renewed swiftness.
The din grows clearer and clearer with each passing moment, even over the sound of your footfalls and the compacting now. Then at last the forest ends. The trees give way like a curtain pulled aside the reveal a stage and its players. You're at the top of a rise, the whole tabeau spread out before you.
There's a collective intake of breath, your own included.
War. War in the north. There it is, filling the field with the savage reality of its existence. SOldiers waring the purple tabards and gold dragons of Crenus' forces, marauding orcs dressed in the barbaric style of the tribe you fought in Bluselle, Nords with the emblem of the Frost Wyrm Clan emblazoned in their shields... They're all embroiled in a series of immense scrimmages, the amorphous pitched combat that transpires when formations are broken by uneven ground or exploding spells, and the battle becomes a place of primal, chaotic carnage.
And yet this isn't what snatches your gaze.
Hugh gives a low, awed whistle. KRakshara cries out in her native tonue, her amazement as evident as her words war incomprehensible.
"The blue wyrm watches..." Tessa whispers.
The sky is a scene of combat just like the ground beneath. Wyverns slither through the air, filling the heavens with fearsome roars, their vicious mmouths snapping for blood and flesh. More of Crenus' troops ride on their backs, flinging spells from glowing hands, scepters, wands, and staves. All of them are focused on one enemy, a hugh azure form that weaves its way through their midst with the grave of a swimmer.
A blue dragon...
Him. It can only be him. After so long dragged in the Dragon-Rider's wake like a keelhauled sailor, half-drowned in the ocean of relentless destiny, it has to be. Fate can't have changed its tune now, beome an indecisive bard ready to slip from one melody to another. It's him. Solus. The azure drake leading the Frost Wyrm Nords in battle as their prophecies foretold, part of the same web that's ensnared you for so long. Perhaps at its very nexus.
That epiphany gives way to one even greater.
The blue wyrm watches. and the blue wyrm knows.
You feel this in each fiber of your being, every shred of flesh and mind and spirit. Solus has the answers. He can help you make sense of it all, if only you can speak to him. You have to speak to him!
But first the Frost Wyrm Clan has to triumph.
A powerful sense of purpose floods your veins like an old, near-forgotten friend.