The Misadventures of Three Sorceress Archmages


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22. A Vile Hole
The Black Marsh, unjustly shunned by picky travellers. Just imagine the beautiful scenery of the serene river banks the hurried wayfarers miss as they think of nothing but the next caravan to take them away from the uncouth neighbourhood.


Or the classical architecture, the height of new-old gothic spookery. Wilhelmina made that term up, it does not exist. If anyone wondered. The tower cellars promise numerous stair traps, ambushes and confined spaces and the WWW unanimously decide to leave its sickly smells for later.


The areas that Wilma, Wanja and Wilhelmina have crossed so far have been curiously free of corrupted rogue, the most formidable foes in the region. In the Black Marsh that changes. Vile archers patrol the place and guard the Hole, the local tunnels. They are not immune to cold, but to fire which is a main damage source of the WWW, which proves troublesome enough for all but Wanja since blizzards and glacial spikes take their time to work. The former is inaccurate and the latter requires the caster to remain in a spot to cast it. To add to their unpleasantness, vile archers fire poisoned arrows that all witches and their hirelings are sensitive to.

Wilhelmina encounters an especially dangerous pack as she leads the way down the Hole. The less than stylishly named Sharp Froth the Grim hits hard, very hard, and Vanjis health descends into the yellow once or twice from just a shot or two. Even with decrepification from Spellsteel, tanking the archer captain is out of the question and spectral hit makes her tedious to wear down.


Wanja for her part encounters not such an incarnation of danger, but one of obnoxiousness. Dire Touch the carver captain, immune to her main attacks and highly resistant to her feeble lightning. He curses his enemies by shouting his dreadful battle cry, or rather motto or slogan; "Can't touch it, can't touch me, AHA!". Obviously a tedious and repetitive acoustic disturbance.


Wanja may not have much luck with her lower resistance cursing but the WWW are not without aces up their sleeves...or stashes. Riphook puts the little marauder in his place, which happen to be on a cliffside where he is trapped by Wanjas timely teleporting to the other side. Open wounds, slowing and poisoning is enough to help the lightning chew through that little rascal.


Cliffs are the epitome of picturesque natural environmental beauty, at least in the opinion of the WWW. The opinion of others is rarely heard. They are obviously frozen in reverent awe of the scenery.


Wanja is the only witch to deal easily with the vile archers. Frozen orbs hit everything in their patch and therefore Wanja never needs to stop to take aim and can conduct a fighting retreat so the archers never stop their pursuit to shoot at her. They act a bit like immature football players where everyone chase after the ball and congregates in one corner instead of spreading out to assess where they can actually be useful.


Wanjas most dangerous enemies are brutish brute squads. One of the nastiest guard the second level of the Hole and she is forced to take extra care to keep Narphet away from its boss. The fire walls are rather well suited for corners like this part of the tunnels but still requires precision to aim properly.


Wilma has had a boring journey throughout the chapter and frequently found carver crowds running in and out of her blizzards radius. Chain lightning is almost starting to look like a working complement while the snow rains down, just a few skill levels more to it...

The Tamoe Highlands await the WWW and their iron wolves, all still alive.


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23. A Dark Pit
The hills grow higher and the wilderness wilder. The Tamoe Highlands await the three and the conquered Rogue monastery will soon be in their sights. Charsi has issued a bounty on the foul demon smith that has taken up residence in her former quarters and stolen her enchanted hammer. Wilma takes the lead while Wanja and Wilhelmina busy themselves with something of doubtlessly paramount importance.

The Black Marsh continues to be a vile place of vile people. It has now also become a place of vile weather, such as sudden snow in autumn.


In the Tamoe Highlands dark stalkers and spearwomen roam the land. They are dark blue, though how much of it that stems from demonic corruption and how much from the unwholesome practise of residing in mountainous lands without anything but tattered rags to wear in open for debate.

Frostbitten or not, dark stalkers are no joke when they are led by enchanted captains.


Wilma is arguably the worst trained to deal with such an adversary. Her chain lightning is slow, costly, underdeveloped and specialised for groups of enemies. She would probably have been quite concerned about that had she not spent the time practising archery instead of lightning spells. With the belt of Hwanin, an unassuming item, one shot is enough to make even the most resistant enemy's demise a matter of time and mana.


Wilma is a consummate sniper, fighting enemies at best from as far away as possible. The concept works and works quite well in some situations, but she fights over huge distances to be safe which has the drawback of requiring huge distances. If Wilma is pursued by a fast enemy her best option is to retreat to some sort of obstacle, no matter how far away really. Teleport makes a joke of even the most arduous distances and the opportunity to not only defeat but trick the enemy can hardly be turned down by any self-respecting wicked witch.


The pit lies unexplored, and that can not be allowed. So down it is into the dark.

Tight passages and confined spaces like caves and tunnels can be a trap for any mage and all depends on securing an area where the sorceress can teleport around and cast spells from a distance. Wilma sends her hydras ahead to scout. It looks like they have picked up something.


After a tense battle with scattered devilkin and a bone warrior captain Wilma holds the entrance. No more enemies are coming at her and there is enough space to teleport around to evade capture. Victory in the battle for the first level is hers then and there.

The pit holds scary archers and fast close quarter rogues that present a very real danger but the outcome is predetermined barring an outright mistake from the witch.


The second levels of such caves could often be tight and excellent spots for a trap, or so it is said that it is said among experienced adventurers. Devilkin appears next to the entrance, costing valuable effort since Wilma lacks a reliable means of quickly killing single fire immune monsters.


The devilkin are under the command of the local captain Soul Eater - dual immune, resistant to crossbow bolts and hitting hard. He corners Wilma and forces her to teleport into partially unknown areas to the east of the entrance where other devilkin comes at her. Wilma has to stay away from Soul Eater while she waits for blizzards to hit the common devilkin and most importantly their shamans, in order to clear a space where she can fight the captain without being interrupted.


Eventually Wilma and Haphet can teleport east and west across the narrow upper path of the cave that makes up the second level of the pit and Wilma's chain lightning can eat through him in time after he has lost his regeneration ability.


The pit has one last scare. Mind Eye the Dead, a walking trap of sorcery and tougher than most for an elemental spellcaster to damage. You would not want to be near when this one falls apart. Wilma casts chain lightning and shoots at him. The first issomewhat reliable damage, though still with the lightning's unpredictable wide damage range, but requires her to remain in place for a long time casting it. Shooting with her crossbow is unreliable but very quickly done and lets her teleport away before coming into the dangerous area of the frost nova range. She and Haphet moves across most of the huge hall that is the second level and at last the pit is conquered and the WWW can move forward.


Only a complete idiot would want to set his or hers foot here a second time. Running into pits is certainly a pastime for those of a feeble mind.