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You'll receive this quest when you talk to Deryan near the eastern entrance to
Deryan will tell you that some Readcerans called the Iron Flail have set up a fort in the White March, and that they're planning to take over Durgan's Battery. Worse, when Stalwart sent some delegates to negotiate with them, the delegates disappeared without a trace. So Deryan will ask you to investigate the Iron Flail, and he'll recommend that you use stealth to sneak up on them.
When you reach the
Iron Flail Fort
, the soldiers patrolling the perimeter will warn you to stay away, and they'll attack you on sight. You'll have two ways to proceed:
- You can try to sneak into the fort. The patrol routes of the Iron Flail soldiers aren't really set up to make sneaking easy, so unless you've invested a lot of points into the Stealth skill for all of your characters, you probably won't have much luck trying this. But if you're patient and persistent, you might be able to make your way unseen to the back gate of the fort (#4), which you'll discover is unguarded. To get the gate open, you'll either need to have an orlan squeeze through it, or use a
Rope and Grappling Hook (#3) to have someone climb over. If it's nighttime and if the character you send has at least Stealth 10, then you'll succeed unnoticed (otherwise, you'll still get the gate open, but you'll start a battle). From there you'll need to sneak over to the command post (#6), perhaps using a watchtower (#5) as a way to avoid contact.
- You can fight your way through the fort. For that case, you can blow open the front gate (#2) using the cannons from Durgan's Battery (assuming you've completed the quest
Ready the Cannons), or you can use the logs near the gate (#1) to build a battering ram and then force your way in (taking at least one injury in the process). Otherwise, you'll only be able to get into the fort by using the stealthy approach (see above) to enter via the back gate (#4). The Iron Flail soldiers won't put up much of a fight, but they also won't drop anything interesting other than some "fine" and "exceptional" equipment.
Regardless, when you enter the command post (#6), you'll meet Commander Adaryc, and you'll discover that the delegates have been locked in a cell in the center of the room. You'll also learn that Adaryc is a Watcher, and that he saw the same vision you did -- but assumed that the thunderous army was coming from the Dyrwood, thus necessitating his acquisition of
as a bulwark against the invasion.
There are two ways to handle the encounter:
- You can work with Adaryc. To do this, you'll need to shake his belief that the Dyrwood is planning to attack Readceras. So you should seem peaceful, and you should point out some flaws in his reasoning. The conversation options that achieve this aren't obvious -- you might think you're succeeding when Adaryc suddenly decides to attack you -- but we've had success saying the following:
- (Diplomatic) I'd prefer to settle this peacefully.
- Reach out.
- You're a Watcher?
- About our mutual condition.
- I thought all the other Watchers were mad.
- Are you also Awakened?
- Do you know of a cure?
- Enough of that.
- What did these people do to make you throw them into a pit?
- What do you want with Stalwart, anyway?
- Wait. You had a vision of an army?
- I had a vision, too.
- I remember thunder and a hundred eyes gazing back at me.
- (Intellect 14) All that destruction we saw....
- (Rational) I thought the Iron Flail might be the army in my own vision.
- Think. What if you're wrong?
- (Resolve 17) I'd like to prevent more losses.
- We both know something's coming.
From what we can tell, "nice" characters have an easier time convincing Adaryc than "mean" ones, and they might not need to use the Intellect and Resolve dialogue options. Regardless, if Adaryc believes you, then he'll give you a Cell Key and the soulbound sword
Steadfast, and then he and his men will leave the fort.
- You can attack Adaryc and his men. They won't have much in the way of magic support, so the battle shouldn't be too tough. Afterwards, you'll find the soulbound sword
Steadfast, the unique breastplate
Blackwarden's Breast, and a Cell Key on Adaryc's corpse.
Either way, you'll also gain the talent Sever the Soul at the end of the encounter.
When you use the Cell Key to free the delegates, they'll be thrilled to see you. If you negotiated with Adaryc, then you'll receive a "moderate" reputation bonus with
(for freeing the delegates) followed by a "minor" penalty (for leaving Adaryc alive). If you killed Adaryc, then you'll receive a "major" reputation bonus.
Then the delegates will describe to you what happened -- how the negotiations with the Iron Flail were going well until one woman started shouting about omens and curses. However, when you turn to the woman to ask her about her actions, she'll grab a dagger and kill herself, but her soul will stay nearby. That will allow you to read it, and when you do, you'll learn that the woman came from
The Abbey of the Fallen Moon
, and that the Ondarites there are planning some sort of attack using a "Tidebringer" and the "Eyeless." You'll also learn how to reach the abbey, which will now appear on your White March map.
After reading the woman's soul, loud banging noises will start coming from outside the command post. When you go out to investigate, you'll get attacked by a pair of giant Eyeless Hammers. The Hammers are fairly nasty. They'll knock down your melee fighters with ground pounds, they'll shoot rays of fire at your spellcasters, they'll kick characters sending them sprawling away, and more. They're also immune to fire. Luckily, since you'll only face two of them, you should be able to wear them down and defeat them.
After the battle, you'll experience a connection with one of the Hammers, and you'll see that there are hundreds more of them out there somewhere. Then if Adaryc is still alive, he'll show up, and he'll let you know that he's taking his remaining men up into the mountains, where they'll guard against any more Eyeless creatures showing up.
1 - Logs
2 - Front Gate
3 - Cart
4 - Back Gate
5 - Watch Tower
6 - Command Post