Amarice: Assault on the Fiery Hellforge
Sing, o goddess, the anger of Amarice the zon of EvilBill, that brought countless ills upon mercs and Valks and exp...
Amarice sighed. Another day, another load of crap to sell. Gold chinked into her stash and she idly looked through her much-thumbed, much-annotated quest log, filled with notes, doodles, idle scrawls ('Fara 4 Meshif!' 'Oh no she isn't!' - the latter looking suspiciously like her merc's writing), and something leapt out at her. She hadn't done the Hellforge quest! It was something she was apprehensive about - negative resists plus Act 4 Hell do not a nice game make. But her perfectionism demanded that every quest (except Hell Nihlathak) be completed, so she stepped onto Lut Gholein's tatty waypoint and called out the mystic words. Swirling through space, she materialized in the Pandemonium Fortress, just as she'd left it. She hated this place. It was depressing.
So it was the usual routine. Cast the Valk, twink out to the River of Flame. Start moving cautiously along the suspiciously-like-tarmac surface, stopping every few seconds to spam slvl 23 Multishot. Keep an eye on the Valk to make sure she doesn't go off into the arms of the nearest MSLEB. Avoid the - ooo crap, maybe not! Get *hit* by the chilling blast of an unexpected Abyss Knight and watch life ball slam down to less than half full! Run as fast as possible while chilled. Check cold resist - as she thought. -49. Great.
Slowly she inches back towards the blast area. Dodging an incoming chilly missile, she spots the troublemaker and nails him with a few GAs. Drinks a pot. Inches forward again.
A poison ball from nowhere followed by another cold missile! Narrowly dodging - yep, a fireball as well! - she turns to see the dumb Valk wrestling with a Grotesque Wyrm - yep, a zero-experience spawned thingy - and coming off worst. Lovely. Dumb wench.
YOU HAVE DIED
DEATH TAKES ITS TOLL OF 42978 GOLD
YOU HAVE LOST EXPERIENCE
Amarice curses vividly in several languages and wishes she had the runes and jewels and perfect gems she needed for various runewords and crafting recipes... sigh. She also notices that several full rejuvs have dropped from her belt onto the ground, so she has no choice but to attempt corpse recovery...
Re-cast valk, resurrect merc (the gold in her stash is starting to look a little depleted at this point!), back through the waypoint. She inches downwards towards her corpse again, watching as Maw Fiends hunt for corpses and Grotesque spawn their Wyrms. Her trusty Rogue merc Hannah takes care of the latter, but before Amarice can get close enough to GA the Maw Fiends and recover her body, cold missiles are in the air again! She moves aside just in time and pulls back, hoping to move into position to see her foe and avoid them... while still recovering her body and lost potions.
Running, dodging, circling... she still doesn't see the Abyss Knights and has to pull back once more, before finally moving in and picking up her body. frantically running, she catches a cold missile in the back and watches her life instantly drop from 676 to 337. "Niiiice..." she mutters in frustration. The next bolt takes out the merc - the Valk is already long-since history - and Amarice retreats to the area of the waypoint.
It was a miracle she was able to recover the dropped potions, too, but she managed it, after another merc resurrect. She's too low on gold now to do that again! Dropping what remaining gold she has on the ground, to avoid losing any, she heads for the waypoint again. "Hannah," she warns, "try to stay alive this time!"
The warning doesn't work, of course. Poor Hannah goes down pretty quickly, even quicker than the Valk, as Amarice tries to take out the Abyss Knights. It's at this point that she notices that one of them is a deep purple - a boss. Betting on it being an MSLE, she runs across the pack's line-of-sight, trying to dodge projectiles while blasting away at them with her own MS. A TP goes up to facilitate the corpse recovery she knew would come...
Good news: no charged bolts spitting from the boss. Bad news: he's MS and also PI and fires cold missiles!
More cursing in even more obscure languages follows! The dropped potions are dropped again, too! No merc resurrect this time - she just has to go with the Valk and hope for the best....
Back through the portal. Dodge the missiles. Grab corpse - take a hit! Run as fast as possible... "Come on you dumb bint!" she yells at the Valk, but the stupid minion goes down again. She recasts nearer to the boss pack and grabs her pots and runs back through a new portal.
Muttering, "I'm not gonna let these bastards get away with this!", she rearranges her pots, stocks up on arrows, gets her gear repaired and heads back - again. Blasting MS and GA as soon as she comes out the portal, she takes down three of the minions before the boss gets in her face. His name is Sin Widow the Howler, and as well as MS and PI he is an LI teleporter. The Valk, of course, is strolling uselessly in the background with most of her life left - even as Sin Widow and Amarice square off with the zon already down to half of her life. Downing pots, she bravely attacks...
"Screw this," she says. "I need help."
Nipping through the portal, grabbing her corpse and pots, and nipping back out again - still dodging missiles! she re-stashes the gold she left on the floor of the Pandemonium Fortress, and heads off to seek aid, from one SuperNova, a powerful Sorceress with an equally powerful Barbarian merc.
The Sorc enters the Pandemonium Fortress as Amarice twinks out to the River of Flame. Thankfully, Sin Widow and his friends are nowhere to be seen, and as the sounds of combat echo from up ahead, Amarice hurries to catch up with the teleporting sorc. She catches a brief glimpse of Maw Fiends and Stranglers and Grotesques and soon the air is filled with arrows. Heyfatso appears on the scene and Amarice casts a Valk into his face - he's PI, but fortunately with no particularly nasty mods. Standing at a distance and hammering on him with GA, while her sorc companion constantly chills him to the bone, eventually they're gratified to watch him fall. Amarice *yoinks* the Hellforge Hammer, several piles of gold, and a few expensive blue and yellow armours, before smashing Meph's soulstone into a thousand tiny pieces.
Miracle of miracles! the rune dropped is an Um! Amarice is very happy with this, and stashes it, along with various pots, and enough gold to resurrect Hannah and even gamble on some rings. Which turn out to suck, but that's par for the course...
Thanks to Mickey for the help! :)
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