Creative Writing

Runescape Storytime: The Blood Pact (Part 3: Beginning Of The Pact)

Coming tomorrow… a blog entry where I talk about how this is going to progress from now on. But for now… The Blood Pact, an essential early quest to do and one of the easiest quests in the game.

Chapter 3: The Blood Pact

Cassie walked outside the church where she’d spent the night, waving goodbye to a grateful Father Aereck as she did so. She’d had to rely on his hospitality due to having no money and no place to live anywhere on the mainland. Lumbridge did not have an inn worth talking about either so the Father had promised her a blanket for as long as she wished to remain in the town.

Cassie did not think that would be the case though. There was a large world to explore and Lumbridge was just a rather small town in a rather small kingdom.

However before she moved beyond the confines of Lumbridge, she would need to get some protection for herself. Her encounter with the skeleton the night before had confirmed that. The world, even in a safe corner of Misthalin, held surprises around every corner and she could not afford to go unprotected. She had wondered before about whether the life of a skilled craftsman adventurer was for her but the struggle for survival had weighed heavy on her mind all night. She needed to get herself a weapon.

Csasie felt too shy this morning to ask the guardsman she had spoken to yesterday, Dante, for help on where to find arms. Instead she headed for one of the few shops she could see in Lumbridge – a shop with an axe sign on it. Safely inside, she started to look at the battleaxes in their display cases and tried to picture herself swinging it. She couldn’t.
“Can I help you?” the proprietor of the shop asked. He was a dark, muscular man, whose arms showed a lifetime of working over the forge.

“I.. uh… what do you sell here?” Cassie stumbled over her words, not expecting the man to take an interest in her. She was the only customer.

“Hatchets and other tools,” the shopkeeper answered. “Call me Bob.”

He took a look at Cassie’s toolbelt.
“That hatchet of yours could use an upgrade,” he said. “Bronze is very ineffective at cutting down trees. I always recommend my customers upgrade to something else as soon as they can. Got this iron one incredibly cheap. 56 coins and it’s yours.”

Awake and back in the mindset of a skiller, Cassie bought his entire sales pitch.

“I’ll take one,” she exclaimed, picking up an iron axe from the rack and discarding her former tool. “I… I was here for another thing. And that thing would be… getting myself a weapon.”
“Have you fought before?” Bob asked. “That’s rather important. I don’t sell any beginner weapons. In fact, I’d recommend you’d make those instead. It’s very easy.”

“You mean I can just pick up a hammer, something I’ve never done in my life, and forge away a new death machine just by believing in myself?” Cassie said sceptically. “Take a look at me. I’ve no experience in smithing. Whatsoever.”
“You have a pickaxe and hammer in your belt, miss,” Bob said. “You sure you weren’t planning to do any of that? Ever?”
“Wow, you got me. I guess I will have to pick it up,” Cassie sighed.

A few mining accidents at the mining site later, now bathed in the reassuring light of day, and Cassie got herself the materials she needed for some bronze working. She limped up up to the Lumbridge forge, just by the general store.

The copper and tin she had pulled up melded together in a bubbling pool from the heat of the furnace. As it cooled into ingots, Cassie took one and began hammering one against the anvil according to a design on the wall which detailed how to make a helm, as protecting her head seemed to her to be rather important. Once that was done, she set aside her new armament and took a look at the weapons guide, also helpfully labelled above the anvil.

“This seems really convenient,” Cassie said. “I can just come in here and make whatever I want, no charges involved. How wonderful.”
The attendant maintaining the forge did not respond, as if he had not heard her.

A dagger seemed the most simple, so Cassie did her best to hammer a bronze bar into a small, dagger-like shape. The result seemed workable, so she did another, adapted for the off-hand. This time she felt more confident and the off-hand looked even better.

“Turns out I strangely do have a knack for this,” she murmured.

The attendant still said nothing, his eyes fixed on pumping the bellows to keep the furnace hot. For what, she could not say. Perhaps Bob or another smith was coming by.

She had her daggers now, so she walked back towards the church. From the church she would head towards the swamp. The giant rats she had seen while travelling to Urhney’s looked weak enough to practice on and she felt that there was little she could gain from joining the guardsmen on their practice green if she wanted to become a true adventurer. For that, she needed to fight real foes.

Determined and with her mind on her coming battle, she strode through the town… and straight into the path of a fair-haired young man with a bow on his back.

They collided right on, both knocking the other to the floor. Flustered, Cassie was for a moment disoriented, so the man was the first to respond.

“Anything broken?” he said, sounding worried.  “I’m sorry about that. I was in a hurry.”
“Where to?” Cassie asked, as she got her breath back and checked her weapons were secure. “I’m all okay over here.”

“Name’s Eric,” he said, helping her up. “I can’t stop, I’m an adventurer and I’ve received word that there’s a hostage situation going on in Lumbridge.”
“Cassie,” Cassie said but he was already off.

She ran after him.

“I’m an adventurer too,” she called. “Wait a minute. Maybe I can help.”

Eric didn’t stop but nodded.

“I could use the help,” he called. “Cultists have kidnapped a wizard apprentice. They were seen heading for the graveyard this morning.”

“I was there!” Cassie called back as they rounded the corner by the church. “I didn’t see anything.”
And there was nothing unusual in the graveyard. The only thing there aside from the headstones was an old platinum-haired woman, bent over with age and carrying a walking stick.

Eric stopped.
“I can’t believe it,” he muttered. “She beat me here.”
“What do you mean?”
“That’s the same old crone who told me that Ilona had been captured. That was back in Draynor, a good hour’s walk from here. I ran most of the way. There’s no way she could have beaten me.”

“I have ways.”
The old woman turned around and winked at Cassie and Eric.

“And you brought a friend!”

She nodded at Cassie.

“If someone is in danger then I want to help,” Cassie said, trying to sound as determined as she wanted to.

“Indeed,” the old woman said. “A young woman was on her way to the Wizard’s Tower to study when Zamorakian cultists ambushed her on the road south of Draynor and took her captive. They headed this way and down into the catacombs that exist below this church. Luckily I saw her being taken, but I’m not as young as I once was to take them all on at once, so I enlisted the help of Eric here. You can join the party too, if you want.”

“What’s down there?” Eric asked. He sounded a bit scared too, Cassie guessed he was about as inexperienced as her.

“I am as unaware as you,” the old woman said. “Come on, let’s go. There’s no time to lose. I’m Xenia, call me if you get lost but I won’t keep up with you, I’m far too slow.”

They hurried down into the catacombs, Eric and Cassie first and Xenia following behind. She closed the door and all fell black.

For a brief time at least, as they headed down the stairs and turned a corner they could see a torch held aloft ahead.

“Sshh,” Xenia said in a whisper. “That’s probably one of the cultists. I think we should be able to overpower him, he’s merely an archer.”

“Merely an archer?” Cassie spluttered.

“Who’s there?” a voice from the direction of the torch called. “Don’t… don’t come any closer.”

He raised his bow.
“Quick,” shouted Xenia. “Charge.”

She ran out towards the cultist. A bright shining arrow grazed her knee heavily before Cassie and Eric could react. They looked at each other and dived out, ducking behind some tombs to get in a position to pull Xenia to safety.

Eric looked at Xenia’s wound. The flesh looked burned, as if it had been seared straight off.

“What was that?” Cassie asked.

“A chargebow,” Xenia said. “He surprised me. Chargebows are enchanted to create arrows from the act of drawing the bow. Those arrows hit their opponents with a short shock, like lightning where they make contact. This may be a bit more difficult.”
“You stay here,” Eric said. “We’ll deal with these guys.”
He pulled out his bow.
“Cassie, I’m going to give you covering fire. Can you get close to him and disable him?”

Cassie nodded.

“Wait,” Xenia said. “One thing. These cultists are most likely going to create a blood pact by sacrificing Ilona. You must hurry. It’s a ritual that has no power but they probably fervently believe in it. You may have to kill them if they resist.”

“Okay,” Cassie said. “We’ll do our best. Eric, that covering fire.”

Eric notched an arrow to his bow, leant out and fired it towards the archer.

Cassie began sneaking around the other side of the old tomb. It was dark, the archer might not have seen their numbers.

A few more arrows later, none hitting their mark, and she had made it around to behind the chargebow wielder. She stood there for a few seconds, trying to muster up the courage to jump at him. A twitch of his head forced her to make her move or risk being discovered.

Grabbing him from the side and scratching his bow arm with one dagger she stuck the other to his throat.

“Surrender,” she said, triumphantly.

The cultist loosened his grip, letting his chargebow fall to the floor, and broke down crying.

“Please don’t kill me,” he blubbered. “It was the others. They made me do it. I was unsure about it from the start but they’re crazy. Crazy for Zamorak I mean, Zamorak forgive me but I never wanted this.”

“The others?”
“Caitlin and Reese. They found about a ritual they could perform in this place and wanted to try but they needed some muscle to grab the girl, one of Caitlin’s fellow students, so they dragged me into it so I could keep her under control for the journey. I knew it was wrong but Reese said I was bound to him with a blood pact, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”

Eric marched up, his bow still drawn.
“Maybe we should let him go,” he said.

“After he hurt Xenia?” Cassie said. “Are you mad? He’ll just do it all again. He’ll kidnap someone else.”
“No, no I won’t,” screamed the cultist. “I’ll completely disappear I promise, you’ll never see me again.” He sounded at the end of his tether, curious as he’d looked so confident firing his bow a moment ago.

“We need to get on quick, Ilona’s still in danger,” Eric said. “As you’ve got him, I’ll let you make the decision. But make it now.”

Cassie hesitated for a moment. The cultist looked at her.

She couldn’t do it.

She grabbed the chargebow and threw him away from her, she called as he ran for the exit. “You had better hope I never see you again.”

Eric was already entering the next room, Cassie took one look after the fleeing cultist and heard a big crash behind her.

She quickly hurried further into the catacombs and encountered a huge wind that buffeted her back out of the door of this room. To her left, Eric was pinned against the wall.
“A mage,” he yelled. “She’s using powerful wind spells. They’re coming so quick that it feels like a gale.”

Cassie could hear female laughing from across a chasm.  This room was a balcony overlooking a lower chamber. The mage, clearly Caitlin, was bathed in a torch on the other side of the room. There was a path around the room but they wouldn’t be able to get to it with the wind so strong.

Cassie ducked and crawled up against the balcony to block off some of the wind.

“Arrows?” Cassie asked.

“My bow hasn’t got enough kick to make an arrow gain headway against this wind,” Eric replied. He noticed the chargebow Cassie was carrying. “But that might.”

Cassie drew the chargebow and looked at it.
“You know how to fire one of those?” Eric asked. “It’s just like a regular bow. Easier in some ways, as you don’t have the force of the arrow before it’s created and it doesn’t pay attention to wind so it’s easier to aim. It can’t match the power that a good wooden one can reach, that’s some special wood they’ve needed to imbue but it’s a good first ranged weapon.”
“I’ve never fired one before,” Cassie admitted.

“No time like the present,” Eric said jovially. “Just draw it back like so.”
He drew back the chargebow in Cassie’s hand, the enchantment creating a shining arrow as he did so.

“Just hold that back and fire.”

Cassie stood up into the wind and fired a charge at the mage. The wind made no difference to where it was heading, but it was slightly off target.

The second one missed, but the third found its mark.
The wind stopped suddenly and Cassie found herself thrown forward towards the balcony guard with the strong force gone. Eric caught her arm before she went over but not before Cassie got a glimpse of the floor below.

She stood back up.
“Reese has Ilona tied up over a stone,” she gasped in a whisper. “He’s carrying some large swords too, he’s going to sacrifice her. We need to hurry.”
“I can see some steps over where the mage was,” Eric said. “We can get down from there.”

They ran as fast as they dared around the room, their feet making as little noise on the floor as possible. The dusty stone didn’t make large amounts of noise but it was clear Reese heard.
“Where’s the wind barrier Caitlin?” he called. “Keep it up.”

No answer.
“He’ll get suspicious,” Eric said. “No point in waiting.”

Cassie and Eric reached Caitlin. She was dead, the charged arrow having gone right through her chest. The realisation that she had killed somebody reached Cassie and she felt the overwhelming urge to be sick.

“Cassie, I know you’re shocked right now but I need to ask you something.” Eric said quietly. He picked up the staff.

“We should use this against Reese, it’ll be better than a bow. But I have no magical talent, I know that. Do you?”
“I… I don’t think so, but I can give it a try,” Cassie said. She took the staff in her hand and looked it over. A light breeze flowed out of the end of it.
“It’s a standard air staff I think, although designed differently to most of what I’ve seen,” Eric said. “Would explain how she was able to use so much air magic without using any runes.”

“I can feel something,” Cassie said. “It’s like the air staff is melding to my body.”
She could feel a rush of powerful air run through her veins. The breeze blowing out from the staff grew stronger and stronger.

“Alright, I think I’ve got this.” Cassie said. “Though I don’t think I’ll be able to hold a whole room in a gale, but I could take a few potshots.”

She ran down the stairs with Eric behind her.

“Stop!” Eric called to Reese. “Your little blood pact has come to an end.”

“I don’t want to harm you but I will if I have to.”
Cassie backed his statement up, still trying to sound confident. She put a hand back to the daggers she still had at her side in case Reese came closer.

His swords seemed so much bigger than them, though in actuality they were probably mere shortswords.

“It is almost complete and I won’t stop now,” Reese shouted back, standing over the tomb to which Ilona was tied. He held one of his swords over Ilona’s chest and stabbed downwards.

Cassie responded so quickly she barely realised it herself. The staff came up and a concentrated ball of wind shot out and struck Reese square in the chest. It propelled Reese away from the tomb and right back into the wall, hitting his head and stunning him.

Eric and Cassie raced to Ilona and untied her.

“You’re safe now,” Eric said. “The cultists are all defeated.”
“We’re Eric and Cassie,” Cassie said. “You should come with us, and find Xenia. Let’s get out of this place.”
“The blood pact must have blood,” came a yell from behind. “Dragith Nurn must be awakened.”

Eric turned, expecting an attack, but what he saw was Reese impaling himself on his swords. Blood poured out of his veins as he dragged himself over to the tomb and started piling bloody guts onto it.

The cavern shook.
“Oh this is not good,” Cassie said.

“We definitely need to move,” Ilona said.

They ran back up the stairs and away from the stone, but the cave suddenly stopped shaking.

“Aww, I wanted a full cave collapse,” Cassie whined.
“You are a bit of a masochist, aren’t you,” Eric said.

“It would have been so much more dramatic.”

Ilona looked back. “The stone has gone,” she gasped. “And Reese’s body as well. Did he really awaken Dragith Nurn?”
“Okay, you are going to have to back up a bit here,” Cassie said. “Who’s Dragith Nurn now?”
“A necromancer rumoured to have been buried in the deepest part of the Lumbridge Catacombs,” Ilona said. “But for centuries it’s been untouched and it has become just a legend for students at the Wizard’s Tower to joke about. That’s what I thought Caitlin was doing… joking, before she kidnapped me.” She gave a sad look at the body of Caitlin, still lying against the stone.

“Dragith Nurn could raise the dead and it’s said he was sealed with an army of undead…”
“And I knew him,” Xenia said. She emerged from around the corner.
“I don’t believe you,” Eric said. “You’re not that old. And…”
“Yeah, your leg has gone back to normal,” Cassie exclaimed. “You’re walking fine.”
“I heal well for an old woman,” the elderly adventurer smirked. “So, the blood pact was completed after all. It seems I was correct though, it doesn’t spell doom for Lumbridge. But what is more important is that both of you, and Ilona as well, have done very well here. The world will be in good hands with you as the next set of adventurers.”
“So there are no undead legions to spill out onto the world?” Cassie asked.

“Well, no,” Xenia said. “The undead legions are very real. But there’s no way for them to come out. Dragith Nurn had one flaw with his necromancy, he cut it too close to the bone and his methods were flawed and warped. Those legions down there will be some of the weakest walking skeletons you can find in Gielinor, and believe me, undead are more common than you think in this world.”

Well, given I’ve been attacked by one only yesterday… Cassie thought.

“They also cannot stand the sunlight. Dragith created all sorts of undead abominations from all sorts of creatures from around Lumbridge but they’re trapped in these catacombs and will never pose a threat to the surface. They may even be good for combat practice. If that’s the sort of thing you’re looking for.”

Xenia smiled again. She was good at that, slyly smiling.

“Do you want me to take you back to the Wizard’s Tower Ilona?” she asked. “Only I have places to be, and if you don’t need me…”
“We’ll take her back,” Eric interrupted. “We were on our way there anyway, weren’t we Cassie?”
“How am I suddenly in your party?” Cassie said. “We’re only together because you bumped into me on the street. What if I don’t even like you?”

Her smile betrayed her words however.
“We’re a party now,” Eric said firmly. “Ilona, do you want to come with us? Though I may want to check out how good for practice those Dragith creations are.”
“And then there’s the giant rats in Lumbridge swamp after,” Cassie said jubilantly. “You’ll have an excellent time with us, Ilona. Here, have this staff, I’m sure you can use it better than me.”

“O-okay,” Ilona said, as she took the staff that had belonged to Caitlin. “I-I have my own staff but I guess I could use this for protection. I’ll come with you to check out the undead, I’m recovered, I promise.”
“As long as you’re sure,” Cassie said. “Hey, Xenia…”
She turned to thank the old woman but Xenia was already gone, only dusty footprints on the catacomb floor betraying her swift exit.

Skills gained: Attack 2, Strength 2, Defence 2, Ranged 2, Magic 2, Mining 2

Next quest: Rune Mysteries (historical)!

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