Bait and Smite
Since you're already in the castle and all, head over the Chamberlain Aldous and talk to him. It's finally time to start doing jobs for the duke. Right now you have two choices; 'Aid the Corps on a Hunting Expedition' or 'Gather Evidence for an Important Trial'. These quests aren't like the Wyrm Hunt quests; you've got two quests to do now, two quests to do later, and you must finish the first two before you move onto the next two. To start, pick the option to 'Aid the Corps on a Hunting Expedition'. A Griffin has been terrorizing the lands, and the local mercenaries hired by the duke (his own forces being patently useless) aren't quite up to the task. That's where you come in. The leader of this merry expedition will be waiting for you outside of Gran Soren's southern gate. Prepare as you need, this quest will see you just as far a way from Gran Soren as did the last one, but through more explored land. Travel as light as you can... but be sure to bring the 'Ancient Tablet' you got back in the depths of the Witchwood... with a weight of 15.80, it makes it hard to 'travel light', but you'll get putting it to good use soon enough.
Exit out Gran Soren's southern gate and cross the bridge to find a squad of soldiers assembled on the road ahead. Talk to the quest-icon bearing guard - Ser Georg - to get the show started. Listen to him advocate their piss-poor plan, then follow them uphill towards Manamia Trail. Watch as they struggle against Goblins, and you might wonder how they ever hope to match a Griffin? If you didn't think this was all going to be up to you already, it should be clear by now. They'll head into the eastern-most path south, the one leading to the Moonshower Cliffs. Follow them until the camera directs your attention to a spot on the ground. What you need to do now is find ourselves something yummy for the Griffin to eat and bring it to that spot. This will lure the Griffin to us. The squad drops into what they obviously think is cover and leave the baiting up to you.
So, head up into the hills to the north and find yourself a Goblin victim. Smite it, and drag its delicious corpse back to where the squad is gathering. Stand in the area the cutscene showed you and look up at the sky to the south-west. Wait a few moments and the Griffin should appear in air-you may have encountered one already, as they've certainly started stalking Oxen in the Estan Plains by now... but this is the first time such an encountered has been guaranteed... Still, it's not quite time to give them their monster entry. When the Griffin turns to face you in the sky, drop the snack for it and get out of the way. The Griffin will land, and your squad will attack. Now, the purpose of the fight is, on the surface, to vanquish the Griffin... and indeed If you're powerful enough, you may just end up slaying it here... but this might not be the most lucrative course to take in the long-term. If you injure the Griffin enough without killing it, it'll flee to Bluemoon Tower, giving you an excuse to chase it there, and what's more, allowing you to explore the place in its entirety. It's not necessary, but since many low-level characters are in fact unlikely to defeat the Griffin here, and since it gives you an excuse to explore more, it'll be assumed that you force the Griffin to flee here, rather than killing it outright.. Fight the good fight, but don't kill the Griffin, and after a while it'll fly off. Your mercenaries buddies will condemn the cowardly creature before deciding to chase it back to its nest.
Supply and Demands (Part 1)
The journey to Bluemoon Tower will take you back through the Northface Forest and give you an excuse to explore the Pastona Cavern, beyond which Bluemoon Tower lies. There's also a few quests to see to along the way... which you might as well do now, since it's on the way and all. First stop? Windbluff Tower, the source of so much intrigue in the realm... Here you'll find a Gran Soren soldier who happens to have a quest for us-this is none other than Ser Daerio, whom you've recently heard of... Anyways, hear him out and he'll give you a task-after giving a sob story about the hardships of a soldier's life. Simply put, his soldiers aren't getting fed, and hungry soldiers aren't happy soldiers. He wants you to head to the capital and speak to somebody in court on his behalf. He'll specifically say that his troops are one week in arrears, and that they need food to boost morale for a new training exercise coming up. He will also inform you that Lord Julien is responsible for the supply here.
The Arisens Bond
That's one little task, but you've more to do before you head back to Gran Soren. Return to Hillfigure Knoll and enter the Dragonforged's Sanctum. Talk to the Dragonforged, who will speak cryptically about the cipher you found in the Witchwood before prompting you to hand over the 'Ancient Tablet'. Gleefully hand over this heavy hunk of stone, and he will babble more. The tablet is nothing less than a disguised token that only appears to the Arisen-a bond given form. And what better form for such a thing to take than a ring? You'll get the 'Arisen's Bond' ring, whose purpose the Dragonforged will explain. In effect, it's a promise ring. Give it to somebody to massively boost their affinity towards you. It won't ensure that they'll be your romantic partner later in the game... but it does cover significant ground. Anyways, be sure to loot around here before you leave-no sense in running out this far without grabbing some goodies.
|For discovering the Arisen's Bond||10,000 XP, 30 Rift Currency, 25,000 Gold, Arisen's Bond|
Supply and Demands (Part 2)
Now, you've got a lot of exploration ahead of you still, and you'll probably end up running back to town at least once while exploring Pastona Cavern/Bluemoon Tower to stash loot, but even so, let's to get done with 'Supply and Demands' now, just so you don't have to worry about it anymore. Return to Gran Soren, rest until morning if it's night-time, and head back to the castle. There are two people you can see to complete the quest, a guard named Ser Elmest, or Julien. Write off the guard, as resolving the quest through him will lead to a less-than-optimal reward... which is a shame, since Julien can't be bothered to drag his lazy self to the castle until later in the day (must be all that cultist crap he's involved in.) Just wait around until Julien shows up (if you're tracking this quest, just wait until there are two objective markers on the mini-map.) when you talk to Julien he'll ask how many supplies they need. You have three answers; 'One week's supply', 'Enough for training exercises, ''Twas left to your discretion.' Pick 'One week's supply' and he'll decide that two more days worth of supplies are needed, and will give you five pieces of Ambrosial Meat to take back to Windbluff Tower.
Return to Windbluff Tower and talk to Ser Daerio. If you ordered the wrong number of supplies from either the soldier or Julien, you'll get the top reward. If you tell the soldier the right amount of food, you'll get the middle reward. If you tell Julien the right amount and bring the Ambrosial Meat back with you, you'll get the bottom reward. From his comments it should become clear that you played the patsy in some clandestine scheme of theirs. In addition to the quest reward, if Ser Daerio's affinity towards you raises enough (which will often happen if you complete the quest the best way) he'll have another quest marker come up over his head. Don't worry, this isn't more work, just a token of appreciation from Ser Daerio. He'll tell you how awesome you are and fork over the Windbluff Tower Key , which you can use to open the locked door along the southern edge of Windbluff Tower, beyond which lie two rounded chest with very valuable loot in them; some of the best heavy armor in the game. Or at least, some of the best you'll be able to get your hands on any time soon.
|For botching Ser Daerio's request||1,500 XP, 20 Rift Currency, 3,000 Gold|
|For successfully relaying Ser Daerio's request to a soldier||3,500 XP, 20 Rift Currency, 5,000 Gold|
|For successfully relaying Ser Daerio's request to Julien||6,000 XP, 20 Rift Currency, 12,000 Gold|
|Rounded Chest||Rounded Chest|
|Meloirean Helm||Meloirean Plate|
Note: If somehow you botched the quest, or his affinity just isn't there yet, you can always butter him up with more mundane methods... like giving him gifts. As a soldier he's partial to Foreign Knives. Once he likes you enough, he should hand over the key.
Once you're done here, you're free to explore the Pastona Cavern without any distractions. You'd be well served by grabbing three Skeleton Keys before you head to Pastona Cavern... you know... just in case some doors lie around that need to be unlocked...