Story ArcThe Library of Souls

Summary

Mission Index

  1. Find Edgar Torvald (Circle of Thorns)
  2. Investigate Magic Library
  3. Take crystals to Azuria
  4. Defeat kidnapper, his covern
  5. Find Akarist, his covern
  6. Talk to Azuria about crystals
  7. Recover spirit thorns
  8. Return thorns to Azuria
  9. Find landmarks
  10. Liberate the Library of Souls
  11. Take crystals to Azuria
  12. Rescue Zoria and Akarist

Rescue Edgar Torvald

Peter Stemitz

I've got a mission for you, Red Tomax. A librarian named Edgar Torvald was recently abducted by the Circle of Thorns. Torvald's been doing some research for heroes with magical conundrums, They think that the Circle might have taken him because he was trying to map out the known areas of the Oranbega, the sunken city the Circle calls home. Can you rescue Torvald before the Circle does away with him?

The Circle hates having people pry into their secretes. If you don't move quickly, Torvald probably wont last long.

Part 1: Find Edgar Torvald
Oranbega @ Random (Circle of Thorns)

The lost halls of the ancient city of Oranbega echo with your every movement.

Objective: This is the body of Edgar Torvald. You take his lifeless form with you.

ClueBody of Edgar Torvald

Though there is no sign of violence, Edgar Torvald lies dead. You notice that he seems to have scratched a crude map into the lining of his jacket. Of particular interest is a room marked 'The Magic Library.'

Mission Complete: You found Edgar Torvald's body.

Peter Stemitz

There was nothing you could have done, Red Tomax. Torvald was probably dead before anyone even knew he was missing. He did leave us a clue though. He scratched a rough map on the inside of his jacket. This Magic Library he indicates might be worth checking out. It won't bring Torvald back, but it might let his death mean something.


Pry into the secrets of the Magic library

Peter Stemitz

Well, I've talked to all the experts on Oranbega, and I've had them take a look at this map Torvald left us when he died. I think it may be possible to reach the map's Magic Library. If Torvald though the place was important enough to record with his last moments, its bears investigation. Are you ready to pry into the secrets of the Magic Library?

The Circle of Thorns have made the lost city of Oranbega their home ever since Baron Zoria founded them back in the 20s. We've always thought that finding Oranbega might have been the key to the mystic might the Baron unlocked. Maybe this Magic Library can tell is how he did it! Take anything you find to Azuria over at MAGI. She'll know how to put it to use.

Part 2: Investigate Magic Library (3 cyrstals to find)
Oranbega @ Random

The ancient stone walls seem to emanate a watchful malevolence. It is as if the dead of this city know you are there.

Objective: You found a strange crystal.

Objective: You found a strange crystal.

Objective: You found a strange crystal.

Mission Complete: You found several strange crystals in the Oranbegan Magic Library.

Part 3: Take crystals to Azuria
Delivery @ Atlas Plaza, Atlas Park
Azuria

I have felt the strange vibrations of theses crystals ever since you brought them up from the ruins of Oranbega. They hold a great deal of energy, and are wrapped in layers of spells. I would guess that they are some sort of tool used in the Circle's magical training. Each crystal is a repository of knowledge. I will study them and get my findings to Allison King at once.

I must tell you one more thing Red Tomax. You appeared in one of my visions last night. I see much danger in your future, as well as much opportunity. I do not know if it is for good or ill, I believe we shall soon learn a great deal about the Circle of Thorns.

Peter Stemitz

MAGI is studying the artifacts you found in Oranbega's Magic Library. As soon as they know anything they will pass it along.


Rescue Naomi Hutchins

Peter Stemitz

I just heard from Azuria. She hit a road block while trying to analyze those crystals you found in the Oranbegan Magic Library, so she called in a specialist: Naomi Hutchins, expert in geometric magics and earth sorceries. Trouble is, Naomi never showed up. She was kidnapped by the Circle before she even got to MAGI! I know it's a lot to ask, Red Tomax, but someone must rescue Naomi Hutchins before the Circle makes sure she's never heard from again.

I'd hate to see Naomi end up like poor Edgar Torvald. We've got to get her back before the Circle can silence her with the same brutal tactics.

Part 4: Defeat kidnapper, his covern
Oranbega @ Founder' Falls

The last time you tried to rescue one of the circle's victims, you found him dead. You can only hope the same fate hasn't befallen Naomi Hutchins.

Mission Complete: You have rescued Naomi Hutchins and defeated her captors.

ClueNaomi's story

When you rescued Naomi Hitchins, she told you:

'They were going to sacrifice me, but he saved me! Akarist! He's a circle mystic, but for some reason he told the rest of them not to hurt me. Then he took me aside, and he told me about those strange crystals you found. He told me how to get past the defensive spells set upon them. I don't know why he saved me, but I'll never forget his kindness!'

Peter Stemitz

Naomi Hutchins is safe at MAGI, thanks to you. She seems to have learned a lot from her time in the Circle's captivity. We may soon know more about those strange crystals you found. From the sound of her story, Naomi was saved by one of the Circle's own mages, this Akarist. Puzzling, Red Tomax. Puzzling.


Find Akarist

Peter Stemitz

When you rescued Naomi Hutchins from the Circle of Thorns, she said she was protected by a Circle mystic named Akarist. If he really did save Naomi and tell her how to access those strange crystals you found, maybe he's trying to get that information to us. Maybe he's even looking to change sides. I've never heard of a Circle defector before this could well be a first! I want you to find this Akarist and see if he's really on our side.

From Naomi's description, this Akarist sounds pretty powerful. I'd suggest that you ready yourself in case he isn't willing to talk.

Part 5: Find Akarist, his covern
Oranbega @ Talos Island

The ancient depths of the lost city seem endless.

Mission Complete: You have defeated Akarist. After the battle, you found a crumpled note tucked into his robes.

ClueMessage from Akarist

This message is penned in a spidery hand. It reads:

'Records show that I was a kind man once, though I can barely remember that now. Perhaps that is why I have helped you more than I should. The crystals you took are no mere baubles; they are something far greater, and far more horrifying. The knowledge I gave your researchers will point the way.'

'Now that I have lived again and felt the sunlight once more, I realize that we cannot go on as we have. And so I bring you the wisdom with which to fight the evil we have become. Soon, Red Tomax, you will comprehend the fate of all those flung into the abyssal void. You will know the truth, and you will despair.'

'Akarist'

Peter Stemitz

I hoped that Akarist was willing to leave the Circle, but that may have been too optimistic. No one ever leaves the Circle. This note he left you is so strange. At least we can thank him for telling us how to unravel the protection spells in those crystals you found. I'll check in with MAGI and see if they've made any progress.


Talk to Azuria

Peter Stemitz

I had a chance to speak with Azuria over at MAGI about those crystals you found in the Circle's Magic Library. I think you need to go over there and talk to her right away. They've found out what those crystals really are, and Azuria sounded pretty shaken up.

I've never heard Azuria sound this ruffled, Red Tomax. You better hurry.

Part 6: Talk to Azuria about crystals
Delivery @ Atlas Plaza, Atlas Park
Azuria

The Circle mystic, Akarist, pointed our research in the proper direction. Thanks to him, we now know exactly what these crystals are.

They are receptacles, crystalline cages for the souls of those who have been cast from their bodies by the Circle of Thorns!

The brightly glowing crystal contains over a dozen such souls, from an ancient Roman centurian to a Dawn Patrol hero who dissapeared in the late 30's.

That shadowed crystal is a prison for souls who have been uncooperative. We believe that there are two spirits trapped in there right now. Finally the clear Crystal is used to transport a captured soul. It seems you didn't raid a library of arcane lore, but a Library of Souls!

One of the displaced souls told us a horrifying thing about the Circle's spirit thorns. We aren't yet sure we can trust it, but we do know that the Circle plans to release several of these spirits thorns onto the black market. You must stop this.

Part 7: Recover spirit thorns
Abandoned warehouse @ Dark Astoria

Azuria's instructions have led you to an old warehouse. The prickling hairs on your arms alert you to the presence of something unnatural.

Mission Complete: You have recovered the Circle's strange spirit thorns.

ClueSpirit Thorns

You recovered these spirit thorns before the Circle could make them available on the black market. Such thorns are typically given by the Circle of Thorns to power-hungry mages. When thrust into the mage's heart, a thorn can greatly amplify his power.

Part 8: Return thorns to Azuria
Delivery @ Atlas Plaza, Atlas Park
Azuria

From the souls trapped within these crystals, we have learned the true nature of the spirit of thorns, We always assumed that they were relics of power given to the Circle's favored members. Now we know they are traps! When a mage plunges a spirit thorn into his heart, it opens a gateway into his very soul that the Circle can exploit. Through it they can possess the thorn bearer, overriding his will, supplanting and imprisoning his very soul. Red Tomax, this is a vile and evil magic. Thank you for preventing its spread.

Peter Stemitz

Trapped souls in crystals, spirit thorns that destroy souls, and the Circle of Thorns presiding over it all from the depths of Oranbega. Its unbelievable! I'm simply amazed that the Circle has been using those spirit thorns to override the souls of new devotees. I knew they were evil, but I never knew they cannibalized their own acolytes!


Help the soul within the crystal orient itself

Peter Stemitz

The souls trapped within the Circle's crystals continue to give Azuria more information about the Circle of Thorns and their sunken city of Oranbega. One of them claims to know the location of a great Library of Souls where many more spirits are kept in torment. However, the soul needs to orient himself before he can remember the library's exact location, Will you take the crystal containing a dead mans soul to find the place where he died?

I knew you wouldn't falter. Azuria sent me the crystal containing the spirit who's willing to help us. His name is Ashton Fletcher, and according to what he told us, he was a sailor aboard the Morvus Cartago Expedition in the early 1600's. Mr. Fletcher here will need to get his bearings. In order to do that, he asks to be returned to the last place he went before he met his fate at the hands of the Circle of Thorns.

Here's the crystal. The soul inside is named Ashton Fletcher. It seems he's pretty eager to help.

ClueSoul of Ashton Fletcher

The surface of htis perfect geometric crystal is inscribed with numerous magic runes. A single point of light lies at the crystal's heart, and it sheds an unnatural warmth. As you hold it in your hand, you can sense the thoughts of Ashton Fletcher, a young man who died more than 400 years ago. He seems excited to be out on an adventure again, even if it's only a small one.

Part 9: Find landmarks (3 landmarks to find.)
Cavern @ Talos Island

Ashton's spirit has led you to this place. It yearns to go inside and explore, but you can see telltale signs that the Devouring Earth have taken up residence here.

Objective: You can sense that Ashton's soul recognises these bones and feeble tatters of clothing. This body was once his own.

Objective: You can sense that Ashton Fletcher's soul remembers this place. It was this intriguing marker stone that convinced Ashton and his comrades to explore the caves further.

Objective: You can sense that Ashton's soul remembers this place. It is here that he and his comrades tried to dig their way out of the Circle's trap.

Mission Complete: Ashton's soul has found it's bearings. As you ready to leave, you find a scribbled note from the Circle mystic Akarist.

ClueAkarist's second message

This message is penned in a spidery hand. It reads:

'From your route I can see that you must have one of the Novus Cartago crew with you. Understand that such a creature's knowledge is fragmentary at best, and be on your guard. Invisible eyes watch your every step. Do you understand, now? Do you judge us? It was all we could do, once we learned the forces that threatened us. We needed flesh, and so we took it.'

'We have become inhuman, evil, corrupt. But even I have to wonder: after all we have become, is such evil not our right?'

'Akarist'

Peter Stemitz

Thanks for helping Ashton's soul get his bearings. Now that he's oriented himself, he should be able to take us to the underground library where the rest of the Circle's imprisoned souls are kept. You say that that Circle mystic was there again? Akarist? how strange. These messages he keeps sending you are so cryptic. What is he getting at?


Liberate the imprisoned souls

Peter Stemitz

With your help, one of the trapped souls you recovered has shown us the way to the Greater Library of Souls, deep within the ruins of Oranbega. The souls of hundreds, possibly thousands of Paragon's missing are trapped down there, Red Tomax. Will you liberate those imprisoned souls?

According to Ashton's soul, there are ten crystals down there, each of which holds a hundred or more trapped souls. As soon as you recover all ten, get the to MAGI. They'll know how to keep the crystals safe.

Part 10: Liberate the Library of Souls (10 soul crystals remaining)
Oranbega @ Brickstown

You hear the whispers of tormented spirits in the echo of every footstep.

Objective: You have recovered a soul crystal.

ClueSoul crystals

These crystals glow brightly with the light of the hundreds of souls trapped within. They are warm to the touch.

Objective: You have recovered a dark soul crystal.

ClueDarkened soul crystals

The darkness that radiates from this crystal draws all the warmth from the air around it. The anguished thoughts of the souls within brush against the edges of your mind.

Mission Complete: You have recovered all of the soul crystals.

Part 11: Take crystals to Azuria
Delivery @ Atlas Plaza, Atlas Park
Azuria

I am relieved to see that you have recovered all the soul crystals. As we learn more about these severed souls, I foresee a day when we may be able to release them from their crystal prisons.

Peter Stemitz

It will take MAGI years to sort through all of the souls trapped in those crystals and put them to rest. But without you, Red Tomax, they wouldn't even have a chance.

You know, I've been thinking. Do you remember Ashton Fletcher, the sailor from the 1600's whose soul was in the first crystal you found? From what we know, the Circle of Thorns started in the 1920's when Baron Zoria discovered Oranbega and unlocked its magics. So how could Ashton have been trapped by the Circle of Thorns way back in the 17th century? I have a feeling that the souls you recovered might still have some things to tell us.


Recover Zoria and Akarist

Peter Stemitz

Red Tomax, I just got word from MAGI. They've made contact with one of the souls in the strangely darkened crystal you recovered from the Greater Library of Souls. It claims to be the soul of Lord Frositimus, one of Baron Zoria's old allies from the 1920's. What's more, it claims that the Baron himself is also a prisoner in another soul crystal! It says that it was transferred from the Baron's crystal to make room for a special guest: a Circle of Thorns traitor named Akarist! Red Tomax, if half of what Frositimus claims is true, this could be the biggest break we've ever had against the Circle of Thorns. Will you recover Zoria and Akarist?

You should be able to find Zoria in a dark soul crystal, like the one you already recovered. I don't know whether Akarist's alive or dead, but keep your eyes peeled for him.

Part 12: Rescue Zoria and Akarist
Oranbega @ Talos Island

You have seen much of Oranbega, but today the crushing weight of its age presses down on you as never before.

Objective: The moment you pick up this crystal you can sense the tortured thoughts of a madman in Hell.

ClueSoul of Baron Zoria

The lone prisoner within this dark crystal lashes out at your touch. You can sense the thoughts of the spirits trapped within:

'We were fools, we were deceived. We asked for their power, and they came. They gave us the thorns, telling us they were the key to great power.'

'We stabbed the thorns into our hearts, never knowing that by doing so, we were giving up our souls. Some they flung to the void. Others they kept in these crystal prisons. Out bodies they usurped, our forms they wore as clothing. They were mere spirits, but we gave them flesh!'

Mission Complete: You have recovered Baron Zoria and rescued Akarist.

ClueAkarist's story

When you rescued Akarist, he told you:

'Fool Zoria thought to invoke us as gods, for as such we have been worshipped. We clothed ourselves in their flesh, took over the bodies of those who sought our favour. As living people, we could once again summon demons and perform all our old magics.'

'We told ourselves we sought only security. But the truth is, we wanted power.'

'Oranbega is no lost city. No empty sepulcher of abandoned stone. Every hall, every chamber is filled with us. Invisible wraiths, we have floated through uncountable eons, here in the city we built before history, before we lost our own humanity. Oranbega is no ruin. Oranbega is a living city. A living city of the dead.'

'And through the gulfs of eons, I am the first to betray it. I must now leave Oranbega.'

Peter Stemitz

So, the Circle's acolytes are really just hollow shells, inhabited by the spirits of long-dead Oranbegans? Ugh, Akarist was right. I almost wish I didn't know. This is mind-boggling, Red Tomax! All those ghosts, living under our feet fr thousands of years! you've done the city a great service by uncovering this secret. now that we know how they operate, perhaps we can strengthen our fight against the Circle of Thorns.


Souvenir: Note from Akarist

You've kept this crumpled note from the Circle of Thorns traitor. Akarist. It's a reminder of the time you liberated:

The Library of Souls

It began with a rescue mission. You were too late to save Edgar Torvald. a researcher who had been investigating Oranbega. the home of the Circle of Thorns. But you did find his last message. a map scratched into his jacket lining.

You raided the Magic Library marked on the map. but instead of books. you found several crystals containing a powerful energy. The Circle then kidnapped one of researchers MAGI would need to decipher the crystals' power. When you rescued her. she told you that she had been spared from certain death by a mysterious Circle mystic named Akarist. This same Akarist had told her how to access the crystals you had earlier uncovered.

You descended into the depths of Oranbega once more in an attempt to contact Akarist. He fought you and perished in the battle. but left behind a cryptic message full of dire warnings about the knowledge you sought.

Due to Akarist's hints. the truth about the crystals was revealed: they were receptacles for souls that had been imprisoned by the Circle of Thorns. One of the trapped souls explained that the Circle's spirit thorns could be used to usurp control of a body. Acting on this information. you confiscated a number of spirit thorns before they were sold in the city's underworld.

One of the imprisoned souls claimed to know where a much larger Library of Souls was. Unfortunately. he was having trouble getting his bearings. You took the crystal containing the soul of Ashton Fletcher to the place where he died. so that he could orient himself.

With the coordinates confirmed. you fought your way to the Greater Library of Souls and liberated ten soul crystals containing hundreds of victims trapped by the Circle of Thorns.

One of these trapped souls proved to be none other than a henchman of Baron Zoria. the reputed founder of the Circle of Thorns. According to this soul. the Baron was not the Circle's leader. Instead. he was a prisoner in another soul crystal. What's more. Akarist. the Circle mystic who had helped you. was to be imprisoned within a soul crystal as a traitor. Descending once more beneath the city. you rescued both Zoria and Akarist. and leaned the truth about the Circle of Thorns.

For nearly a century. the Circle of Thorns was believed to be a cult working out of the ancient underground ruins of Oranbega. The truth is far more sinister. Oranbega is no ruin. but a city of spectral wizards. wraith-like mages who have lived in it since before recorded history.


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