The Wizard in the Tower is the second zone released, and part two of Echoes (Story Volume). To unlock this zone, you first have to defeat Goresnout in Echoes on Normal difficulty. Defeat Faustus at the top of the Black Tower in Normal mode to unlock Hard mode and the next zone, Dragons Clash.
"What evil lurks within the walls of the Black Tower?"
- 1. Red Plain
- 2. Infernal Portal 1
- 3. Infernal Portal 2
- 4. Infernal Portal 3
- 5. Infernal Portal 4
- 6. Infernal Portal 5
Path to the Ruined TempleEdit
- 12. Woods
Optional Boss Encounters
Clear node 1 to access most of the map. Clear nodes 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 to gain access to the tower by collecting 5 Inert Fragment of Monolith. Clear nodes 7, 8, and kill Faustus at node 9 to complete the zone.
Beastmen. Kobolds. Blood and gore. The foes and viscera are familiar. But the setting is not. The sky is a black vault, the world encaged by a dome of moonless night. Darkness all around, broken only by the campfires. Just like... Somewhere you were, but can't remember. A dungeon? A cave?
In the distance there are walls. Great stone walls, surrounding a fortress. No, not a fortess... A town.
There are people fighting around you, helping you slay your enemies -- and this too resonates in your memories. But these men and women are different. They're strangers, but at the same time you feel you know them. There's a broad-chested warrior on your right, weaving a web of death with his twin blades, bellowing a war cry as he carves his way though the bestial ranks. An elf-woman is on your left, a small harp strapped to her body. The fingers of one hand dance across its strings, creating strange-sounding melodies, while her other hand swings a sword that seems to dance to the tune.
A tapestry of sights, sounds, and smells weaves itself around you -- an intoxicating panorama of sensation that gives life to this familiar yet unfamiliar scene. Them comes the roar, a monstrous noise that cuts through everything else. Its vastness, its sheer might, makes the howls of beastmen seem like the mewling of kittens in comparison. It's a sound you've never heard, and yet somehow you recognize it all the same.
Your eyes flash to its source, and the mass of bestial creatures seems to part as though sundered by your gaze. Across from you, in the void left by the cloven horde, are two glowing blue eyes set in a long, black, reptilian skull.
Truth washes over you like an ocean wave. It's the Battle of Fallows. You're the Dragon-Rider. That means this is a...
Before the thought can seperate itself from the drifting clouds of obscurity that fill your mind, the dragon opens his mouth. This time he doesn't roar. He speaks with the voice of a human.
You turn aside, looking around in confusion as you try to make sense of the drake's word. Your eyes meet those of the twin-bladed warrior. His lips open, and a grizzled voice comes forth.
You turn from him as you did from the black wyrm. And this time it's the elf-woman who meets your gaze. A crash of harp strings and a musical voice fill your ears.
The world swims.
Your eyes open, revealing surroundings somehow less familiar than those you witnessed but a moment ago. It's several seconds before your brain gives meaning to things, and memory embraces you.
You rise from the bed, shrugging the blanket aside, and move to the room's small window. The glass is cold and soothing against your hot forehead. Beyond it you see morning hardening across Marsonne.
You're in Jaren's house, in his guest chamber. Many miles and decades removed from the visions that haunted your dreaming mind. You sigh, and try to thrust them aside. Nothing but dreams, no doubt spawned by the ale you imbibed, the meat and cheese you consumed in the town hall.
But as you dress the word still lingers in your mind.
A good breakfast and the exhortations of the townspeople dispel any niggling echoes of your dreamtime odyssey. When it's time to leave marsonne, to contine on the journey you and Tessa planned our, Jaren Malcarius Tullian and prehaps every man, woman, and child in the settlement turn out to see your off.
"We did well," Tessa says, as their shouts and blessings fade into the distance. "A few more successes and Rhynhart may be ready to take our side. Circumstance has favored us. Or perhaps the gods."
You think back to the library of your family's keep, to the great map of West Kruna spread across the table -- bordered by its ancient black wood as though by the void itself, as if the continent depicted there comprised the sum total of all reality. You remember Tessa's slender finger pointing towards the western portion of the landmass, at the golden tokens representing Crenus' legions. The bulk of his forces, bogged down in that part of his kingdom as they attempt to quell disorder before it can spread and engulf the rest of his realm. Leaving the province of Rhynhart open to you, a fitting place for you to being your work.
The Black Tower looms in the distance, rising above the ash-colored hills. It remind you of a dagger's handle, but its blade thrust deep into the bowels of Tor'gyyl. Perhaps it's mere fancy, but even from here you can feel the sinister aura radiating from it -- just as the villagers said.
Jaren's people tested the waters before your arrival in West Kruna, gauging how your presence would be greeting in the settlements between Marsonne and your next destination. What he told you of them proved true. His neighbors to the north gave you their blessings and offered you their hospitality as you made your way onward, anxious to see you succeed where other adventurers have failed -- and royal troops have ye to even make an attempt. As in Marsonne, you poured out fine words, promising to rid the land of the blight they so fear.
But now, as your stand in sight of your goal, trepidation seizes your limbs. Whatever awaits you inside that sinister structure, it's likely to be far worse than mere beastmen and kobolds.
"I feel it too," Tessa says. She rubs her hands along her arms, as though trying to warm her body in the midst of a chill, and even her words seem to bear a slight shiver. "Some kind of warding magic, perhaps -- meant to keep people away."
"Over this distance?"
You know more of magic than Tessa does. You were trained to wield sorcery as well as steel. Thus you know full well that even that simplest of warding spells could only reach so far from its source if it were invested with great power. The foe you must face is no novice in the arcane arts.
Ignorance can be more dangerous than spells and swords, and it troubles you that you aren't even aware of what lies ahead. The locals know only that the Black Tower was occupied less than a year ago, after being left uninhabited for decades -- its previous owner having lost her life in one of the many disasters which tend to befall ambitious mages.
The inhabitants of this part of Rhynhart had always avoided the tower itself, out of the natural superstitions of the peasantry for the dwelling of mages -- whether alive or dead. But they had often visited the nearby ruins, to bring back marble which could be used to build temples or else sold further afield. It was a group of villagers engaged in such a pursuit who saw the light glowing within the tower's windows. Of their number, only one survivor made it back to the village. And he joined the others in death soon enough, succumbing to the wounds said to resemble the marks of fangs and claws. According to his kith and kin, he spoke only of 'monsters' before he died -- a word which does little to help identify the particular creatures he encountered.
Since then a few groups of adventurers have traveled to the tower to investigate, either out of altruism or in search of plunder. None was ever heard from again.
"He vanquished the forces of darkness..." Tessa muses. "It sounds pleasant to the ear."
"Then let's go add it to my story," you reply.
"Is it safe?" Tessa eyes the red grass with a wary and mistrustful glare as she asks the question.
Further ahead lies a vermillion expanse, nestled between the masses of grey-black rock that frame the valley's mouth. Tendril-like stretches of the grass snake across the ground, penetrating the green of the plain you're standing on, like the tentacles of a hideous beast reaching out for what it might devour. The nearest tip is but a few feet ahead of you, and Tessa stares at it as if it might leap up to ensnare her.
"Pass me an arrow," you reply.
She reaches into her quiver, and offers you one of her steel-tipped shafts. You take hold of it by its end, your hand closing around blue and purple fletches, and crouch down where the intruding red meets the imperiled green. You press the steel head against the ground as Tessa and the others look on, all gazes fastened upon the metal as though it were some hypnotic charm.
After a few moments the head remains unaffected by its contact with the grass. Next you thrust it downwards -- allowing it to pierce the earth. Then you draw it free, and inspect down head and shaft. Neither appears to be damaged. So far, so good. Now comes the riskier part...
You lay the arrow aside, and pull the glove off your right hand. There's a notable intake of breath from the others as you reach a tentative hand towards the grass, though you manage to suppress any outward signs of your own nervousness.
Your fingers brush across the crimson tips in a gentle caress. When no disaster ensues, your index and middle fingers darted downwards like the beak of a bird swooping for a morsel, and clamp themselves around a single blade. There's a moment of warmth, and you almost withdraw your hand in surprise before you realize that it's nothing more than the head of your fingers as they press together -- the sensation heightened by your wariness.
The blade of blood-colored grass feels odd to the touch, as though its texture is somehow... wrong. There's the smoothness you'd expect from grass, but something else as well. A slight leathery feel, as though it were part of a beast's hide. You yank the blade free from the ground, and smile as one your companions jerks his head backwards -- as though he naticipated an eruption of blood or some other such eldritch happening. In truth, you were almost ready for something of your kind yourself. But other than its unusual texture, the grass behanves as it should, parting from the ground without any protestation or unholy reaction.
You raise the blade to your nostrils, and sniff. An odor that smells vaguely sulfurous wafts from it. It reminds you of the scent of an alchemist's laboratory.
"The ground's been tainted," you say.
You drop the blade of grass, flip your glove back on, pick up the discarded arrow, and stand.
"I wouldn't feed it to any livestock," you continue, passing Tessa's missile back to her, "but it should be safe enough to walk on."
"For someone so good with a blade, you know a lot about magic," one of the warriors remarks. Her tone makes the word 'magic' sound like something sordid and indecent.
She's one of the fighters Tessa brought with her when she came to East Kruna so the two of you could make your preparations. Thus her surprise. In your native land your eclectic talents are well known.
"Swords and sorcery both have their uses," you reply. "People expect a descendant of the Dragon-Rider to be skilled at dueling. And they see something heroic in blade-work. That's why I ran the biggest beastmen though with my sword, and spilled their blood at close quarters. But sometimes the situation calls for a fireball instead."
The warriors nods. But the expression on her face is one of dubiousness, the glance she favors the tainted ground with mistrust.
To demonstrate your confidence in your theory, you stride onto the scarlet tentacle, and walk in its narrow surface by placing one foot directly in front of the other like an acrobat on the tightrope. You tread the vermillion grass down beneath the soles of your boots, and no mishap befalls you.
You companions proceed alongside you, and together you continue towards the blood-colored plain that leads into the valley.