Pride Before a Fall
Only one task left, talk to Aldous and select the option ‘Assist Ser Mercedes’. Apparently Mercedes tried to snipe this job from you, this impetuous daughter of Hearthstone’s lord, trying to play a knight. Aldous is worried about her lack of competence, too, and asks you to assist her in the task she was given, a task better suited to a real warrior; you. Accept the task to baby-sit Mercedes, then head to the castle gate.
Here you’ll find Mercedes. She claims responsibility for the task at hand-wishing to prove herself more than just a sorry moocher of a foreign lord. She’ll ask you to allow her this shot at glory. Say what you will, it doesn’t matter. She’ll elaborate about some trouble at the Stone of the North (Windbluff Tower), Lord Julien’s domain. He set out to take care of whatever issue arose there, and hasn’t returned. It’s your job to go see what’s up. Mercedes will reluctantly accept your presence, while trying to pretend she’s calling the shots. She intends to make a name for herself here, and wants you to wait in the shadows.
Head to Windbluff Tower-you surely know where it is by now. When you arrive you’ll see that insurrection - long suspected - has finally erupted. You can waste your time attacking the enemy soldiers, if you wish, but they’re more content to fight against the loyal Gran Soren soldiers… besides, they give crap experience and a few of them are just immortal. Continue through the courtyard past the fighting to the east. Head up the stairs to reach the battlements and you’ll get a peek of Mercedes running into the keep.
Follow the foolish girl, where she’ll confront Lord Julien, the architect of this rebellion. His reasons are simple-if Duke Edmun were able to defeat a second dragon (even presumably through your agency) Gransys would become even mightier, something its neighbors could ill afford. He’ll reveal the stark game of politics to Mercedes, who refuses to hear any of it-a duel is inevitable.
There are two ways to go about this quest-either jump in on the fight and kill Lord Julien (an easy enough task) or let Mercedes fight him alone. The latter choice is more honorable, and it’s probably what Mercedes wants (certainly Julien, as well). It will, however, result in Mercedes being defeated and humiliated, after which Julien suggests that you, as an Arisen, ignore worldly affairs and focus on the Dragon. After that, he’ll head into the interior of the keep and vanish from the game world. If you defeat Julien, he’ll taunt Mercedes before dying. Either way, Mercedes comments on her own sorry state of affairs. Go to leave the building and she’ll talk to you again, giving you a reward; either a Cutlass (if you attacked Julien) or a Silver Rapier (if you let her earn her beating, but keep her pride.) She’ll also admit she understood full well why she was sent to Gransys instead of a real knight, and what little was expected of her. She’s a token gesture of support-nothing more. Politics prevented any real multi-national effort against the Dragon from the start. She promises to head home and return with a real force to aid Gransys, but you should count this as an empty promise-only the Arisen and their Pawns will lay the Dragon low. In any event, Mercedes’ futile little errand will take her out of Gransys following this quest.
On your way out you can talk to Ser Daerio, who will explain the full scheme, how Julien searched the army for ties to Salvation, gathered rebellious soldiers here, and sparked a rebellion when the time was right. Ser Daerio is no cultist, however, his ends were more practical; the Dragon is simply an invincible foe against which all opposition, both the duke, and you, are doomed to fail. Uplifting. Outside, another soldier named Ser Francis will offer further commentary.
Head back towards Gran Soren, but on the way, stop north of the bridge connecting the Deos Hills and the Estan Plains and note the body of a large, black, bird-like creature on a hill north-west of said bridge. Around the body you’ll find three soldiers - Ser Morrison, Ser Rustom, and Ser Tulius - who are quite proud of themselves for finding the body of this monster-a Cockatrice. They’ll point out they didn’t actually kill such a foe, they merely found its corpse, and eagerly await the reward they’ll get for presenting such a trophy to the Duke. This might come up again…
Return to Gran Soren and pay Aldous a visit, who is quite relieved that the rebellion was put down… but not so relieved to see the extent of Salvation’s influence. He’ll vouch to remain vigilant against further corruption… certainly, the wise ministers in the duke’s court will never fall for such deception again… Immediately after completing the fourth and final of the duke’s directives, a guard will show up and whisper sweet nothings in Aldous’ ear. One of the duke’s soldiers showed up at the Mountain Waycastle, gravely wounded. He’s asked to speak with you, and Aldous wastes no time sending you off on this frivolous charge, casually dismissing the utter stupidity of the fact that they sent a messenger to tell you that there’s a message you need to come receive. Damn bureaucracy, this is why this duchy is falling apart.
|For assisting Ser Mercedes||18,000 XP, 30 Rift Currency, 20,000 Gold|