The Barta Crags lie before you, and includes all the land west of Heavenspeak Fort. A short ways south-west from the gate the path will fork one running uphill, one running downhill. Follow the southern, downhill path for now. As you go, watch for boulders lining the cliffs to the south which will, of course, fall as you approach. Continuing follow the path until it terminates at a lake full of foul, blackish water, marked on your map as the 'Miasmic Haunt'.
The dangers around this lake are manifold, and for once, they do not include the Brine. This entire body of water is fordable, but contact with it is extremely detrimental to one’s health-the waters will inflict Blindness, Poison, and Silence upon any who enter… which usually means your Pawns, since they’re too stupid to avoid anything. Not only is the water toxic, but the lake is teeming with adversaries; Snow Harpies in the air, and Sulfur Saurians on the ground. At least, during the day. At night the water is harmless, although Phantasms lurk over the waters. Perhaps at night the wretched spirits infecting the water come out to frolic? Another amusing thing-during the night the water doesn’t… well, it doesn’t get you wet, so it’s like Healing Spring water. Strange. In any event, search a boat along the north-eastern shore of the lake to find a square chest within it, which may contain loot (the lake is roughly circular on the map-if you think of it as a clock, (with the river along the northern end acting as a convenient '12:00' location) the chest is at about 2:00).
Now that you’ve already used the idea of a clock as a navigational aid, let’s continue that by exploring around the edge of the lake clock-wise. At about 4:00 you’ll find a large rock upon which a Giant Coin Pouch (10,000 G) sits. You should have encountered little in the way of Sulfur Saurians by now, but Snow Harpies have certainly begun to pester you.
Continue counter-clockwise until you reach the southern end of the lake, where you’ll find a campsite, complete with three tents, four chests, and a nice little fire. Who the hell would camp out here? Clearly nobody who is still alive. Search the chests, which will disappoint you with their contents, but the rounded one contains the one-time treasure, the Fourth Journal Entry . You’ve nearly collected them all now.
North of the campsite, across a narrow strip of water, you’ll find a small island. A short distance clockwise you’ll find a small beached ship that serves as an excellent bridge by which you can reach this island without getting your feet wet. On this island you’ll find a largely variable number of Sulfur Saurians… and likely attract whatever Snow Harpies still loom above the lake (it’s worth noting that neither are immune to the effects of the lake, and the sight of 'drunk' Sulfur Saurians wandering the waters in a stupor or flailing out against imaginary foes are quite common.) At night you’ll find a Wight haunting this island, although without its usual retinue of subordinate undead. Dispatch whatever foes lurk here and search a rock formation along the southern end of the island. South of these rocks you’ll find a square chest, and upon them you’ll find an ornate chest. Other than that, there’s a wooden cage which contains warrior remains for you to loot.
Return back to the campsite along the southern shore of the beach and continue around it clock-wise. Be on guard as you walk around the western shore of the lake, as Sulfur Saurians are rather thick in the forest nearby, you may encounter around a half dozen of them. Continue clockwise until you reach a stream along the northern end of the lake, which presumably feeds it. Follow the stream to where it connects to the lake to find a junky square chest lurking amidst some rocks. You need not fear such a feeble amount of water; it’s harmless… The Chimera that prowls along the stream, however is not. Dispatch it as your means allow and note that the northern path from Heavenspeak Fort (which you ignored in favor of the southern one) terminates near this stream. For the sake of completionism, follow the road back to Heavenspeak Fort-it’s only an interesting trip at night, where you’ll encounter Skeleton Knights and Skeleton Sorcerers. What? New foe? Damn…
Monster Info: Skeleton Sorcerer
Sorcerers > Mages, hence Skeleton Sorcerers > Skeleton Mages, right? Yeah, pretty much. They’re not much tougher, and also tend to prefer simple elemental spells… so… mostly pointing them out just because they are different, although you probably won’t know what you’re fighting until the experience pops up.
Return to the stream and follow it north until it terminates. From here, if you examine the cliffs to the north you should see a fortification in the distance. This is Greatwall, your ultimate destination (in more ways than one…) It’s where you’re going to end up, but you’re going to take a round-about route to ensure you see everything in the Barta Crags. Backtrack to the lake and follow it counter-clockwise until you’re at about 9:00 (along the western edge). From here, head west through the woods until you find the cliff that bounds the Barta Crags. You can, if you search well enough, find a junky square chest in the woods here, but your real goal now is to follow the cliffs as they run north and west.
Follow the cliffs faithfully and you should find a palisade (that’s a spiky wooden wall, for you dummies out there.) Continue around the edge of the palisade-around which Goblins and Hobgoblins lurk-until you find an entrance. Kill one of the Goblinoids and grab its corpse (for smart points, you’ll grab the last one, so its buddies won’t be bothering you as you abscond with the body.) Drag the deader into the palisade, marked on your map as 'Ophis' Domain’. Here you’ll find a few neutral female Bandits and Ophis’ pet Cyclops. It’s time to feed the creature. Be brave and walk up to the beast, standing near it for a moment until it notices you-and the treat you’ve brought for it. It’ll reach out to take it from you, but, like Betiah warned, it’s not too bright-it’ll gladly grab you instead. You must drop the corpse just before the Cyclops reaches you. The annoying part is-if the Cyclops grabs you it’ll take a bite. The damage sucks enough, but the delay this causes will cause the corpse to rot away, forcing you to find another. If you succeed, the Cyclops will grab the Goblinoid instead, and will enjoy itself a disgusting little snack. If the timing just isn’t working for you, check out the video, below. Once you’ve fed the Cyclops, you can turn this quest into Betiah, then to Ophis (if you just killed the Bandits, you only need to talk to Ophis). Whichever route you take, the experience rewards are below. Before you leave the palisade, search along the southern cliffs to find a trio of chests-two square, one ornate.
|For appeasing Ophis by killing her rivals||8,000 XP, 30 Rift Currency, 10,000 Gold, Ophis's Badge of Amity|
|For appeasing Ophis by feeding her Cyclops||12,000 XP, 30 Rift Currency, 17,500 Gold, Ophis's Badge of Amity|
|Square Chest||Ornate Chest|
|Black Gaiters||Forest Tunic|
|Silver Vest||Thunder Kite Shield|
Northern Barta Crags
Leave the palisade and follow the road north until it forks. Time for a profitable little detour. Follow the south-eastern fork, which will shortly veer east before running downhill and terminating in a ditch. If you follow said ditch south-east, you’ll see a natural stone bridge running over the low ground. That bridge is your destination, which requires you to walk along the southern ledge of the ditch. Cross the bridge to the north to find a plateau occupied by Hobgoblins (Snow Harpies will also be floating around during the day.) Note the obvious cage in the middle of this area. Slaughter your foes, then loot some Warrior Remains east of the cage. West of the cage, along some rocks, sits a square chest, and north-west of this you’ll find a rounded chest, also near a (much larger) rock. Circle to the northern end of this rock to find yet another rounded chest.
|Warrior Remains||Rounded Chest|
|Ring of Sable|
|Thick Fur Greaves|
Backtrack to the palisade, then follow the road north, this time taking the northern fork, which mirrors the cliffs to the west. You’ll head uphill steadily at first before the elevation levels out a bit. Your foes here will be Goblinoids near the palisade, the odd wandering Snow Harpy, and, as you continue north, Direwolves. Eventually you’ll spot a natural stone bridge spanning a dried up river channel. The road begins to turn east and runs over this bridge, which you should follow. Once on the bridge, drop off it to the north and into the river basin-it’s time to explore the forest in the north.
In the ditch under the bridge you’ll find Hobgoblins roaming about, and more in the sarcophagus-littered forest up north. At night, you’ll find a Wight with a full retinue of Skeleton Knights to keep you busy. Kill whatever needs some death, then search the bogus chests nearby. Also loot the sarcophagi strewn about, which are more generous than the chests.
Now return south, running along the dried up river basin and under the bridge. Your goal is to continue following this river channel south until you reach one of the stagnant, toxic, miasma lakes it connects to. The map doesn’t always give you cues to keep you on track, but to put it simply, if you ever find yourself going uphill, you’re not going the right way. When you reach the lake you’ll find that it’s surrounded by Hobgoblins. Like the Sulfur Saurians to the south-east, they’re not always wise enough to stay out of the polluted waters. Snow Harpies fly overhead as well, so stay on guard. At night the lakes-again like the one to the south-east-have Phantasms swarming over their waters.
Head east along the northern short of this lake-across the lake to the south you’ll spot the plateau from Step #9. There’s not much to see or do here, save loot a junky square chest near two small rocks just before the lake terminates in the east at an acute downward slope. If you head down the slope to the east, you’ll find another, smaller lake. East of this lake is a small pass that leads to the 'Soulflayer Canyon West Entrance'. It’s where you’ll be heading soon enough… but not quite yet (it’s also worth noting that this small pond is just north of where the northern road running from Heavenspeak Fort terminated.) Near this smaller lake, between two rocks along its south-western side, you’ll find a loot-worthy square chest.
From the larger, western lake uphill, turn north and look… even further uphill. You should spot a mighty fortification, surrounded by a more humble palisade. Head north up the steep side the mountain from the lake until you find a gate in the palisade… your Pawns might mumble something cryptic about not forcing a confrontation with the Dragon… why? Because beyond Greatwall - this massive fortress - lies the Tainted Mountain Temple you explored with Savan in another lifetime. Fear not, you’re not about to confront the Dragon yet, the time is not yet ripe.
You can, however, peruse the services of the Greatwall Encampment, the area enclosed by the palisade, but outside the might stone walls to the east. There’s a Riftstone near the gate, and opposite it, near some tents, you’ll find a merchant named Mathias, who sells some rare goodies. At this point in the game he sold Gryphic armor and the Cyclops Veil helmet. The former is stylish heavy armor which might be worth a buy… although you’ll be able to find it shortly. West of Mathias is a Gran Soren soldier - Ser Alfonso - who will stash items for you, allow you to rest (for 100 G) and gives you the option to learn/set skills. Empty your inventory and rest up, as Soulflayer Canyon awaits us, and you’re going to want to carry all the fine loot you’ll find therein. If you’ve got a Portcrystal handy, you might as well drop one somewhere in the Greatwall Encampment, as you’ll be coming back here later, and it’s an awfully tedious journey by foot.