Due to the unscripted nature of the vast world of Gransys in Dragon's Dogma, I decided to keep a journal of my experiences within the game to share with interested readers. I'll attempt to avoid spoilers where possible and remain vague in my description of the events of main quests, but read at your own risk if you want to avoid any possible hints as to how the story plays out. Final warning, there may be spoilers in any blog I publish with the Heading "A Dragon's Dogma Travelogue".
A fine mess we've found ourselves in. Only fools travel at night...
It's been five days since Casca, Rook, and I set out from Cassardis, and we have finally reached the capital of Gran Soren. It is an impressive city, though I miss the sea. The air here is still in comparison to the salt-smelling winds that whip through the windows of the homes carved into the cliffs of Cassardis. The city's bulwarks block the drafts coming off of the coasts; the only area open to the ocean is the Duke's grand manor, from which we have been barred. The air is rank by the time it filters through the noble quarters and reaches the streets below, an amalgamation of smells produced by the many citizens of this burg. It stinks of sweat, smoke, the cooking pots of the trade district and the filth dumped in the aqueducts. The great arches and walls of hewn stone loom oppressively over me as I walk this city's streets; I find myself climbing upon the roofs of its many homes and businesses at night to rest and catch the chill breeze above the walls. It's hard not to feel as though I am caged in a prison of mortar and rock within the city's fortifications. Casca senses I am uneasy, but she is ill-equipped to do much to help me in my disquiet. They say Pawns cannot feel as we humans can. Casca has been a loyal companion since she sprang from the riftstone at the great encampment of the Corps, but I ponder what our relationship truly is. She seems a willing participant in my travels and has sworn to follow me without fail, but do the Pawns possess free will? Their devotion to me, as the proclaimed "Arisen", seems almost cult-like. I do not know why they call me that or what they believe to see in my future. I do not know why anyone sees me as important at all.
The duke's great city.
We met a strider named Ethan at the encampment outside Cassardis on the third night after the dragon attack. She was a welcome help in dealing with the highwaymen that skulked along the roads to the Witchwood we were forced to travel to find Quina, and her bow was invaluable when we were ambushed by harpies on the long trek through the mountain passes from the Waycastle to Gran Soren with Captain Mercedes and our gift to the duke, but I fear our party has outgrown her. Rook, too, for that matter. I know the Pawns do not feel the same way we do, but I could not but help but suffer some guilt as I told them both we must part ways at the Pawn Guild in Gran Soren, particularly for Rook. He was the first to join me from the void, and I will miss the guidance and aid he so freely offered on our trek from Cassardis. Casca and I have learned much, though, and Rook and Ethan are no longer safe with us. They are unable to contribute to the constant skirmishes we find ourselves in, and they have both fallen under the blows of our ever increasingly-dangerous foes. The nightmare in the Everfall proved this. Casca and I ran from that tomb when those hellish tentacles burst from the ground, cutting a swath through their slimy stalks and cavernous, toothed maws, but Ethan and Rook could not keep up. They were mortally struck again and again, forcing Casca and myself to retreat back into the depths to rescue them, suffering grievous wounds ourselves in the process, before we were finally able to flee back to Barnaby and the safety of the Pawn Guild. Should they remain with us, they would both surely perish, and Casca and myself with them.
I can say this without doubt, as we have very nearly met our untimely end since leaving the city. Reynard, the merchant I found beset by goblins outside of Cassardis, found me again within the capital's walls. He was seeking an escort to guard him on his journey to The Greatwall Encampment, a far-off outpost to which I have never been. I found two much more experienced Pawns readily willing to join us on our journey, a mage named Lea and a ranger calling himself Mad Jack. The roads have been thick with thieves and wolves, but our newly formed party dispatched them easily enough. Jack's skill with a bow is impressive, and many a lone bandit, wounded and surrounded by the freshly broken bodies of his conspirators, has met his end from an arrow to his back as he tried to flee the crush of my greatsword. Lea's healing spells and imbuements of ice and holy magics to our weapons have made the dispatching of our foes quick work and allowed for even quicker periods of recovery.
Until the cyclops.
I was reckless. We had fought one before, but I had not realized what a help the soldiers of the Corps had been in our battle outside their encampment. The brute we found blocking the road to Greatwall was covered in armor; my blows rang helplessly against the protection on its arms and legs. I thought to run from the battle, hoping my foolishness would not doom us, but it was too late. The beast snatched Casca from the road and held her aloft, helpless, as he drew her towards his slobbering jaws. I lept upon his back and climbed, raining blows with the butt of my sword on his neck. Enraged, he dropped her, swatting at me with his long arms. I tried to avoid his grasp but could not evade him whilst maintaining my hold on his back. His thick fingers closed around me and dragged me from his shoulders. Holding me before his gaping maw, he roared in triumph, poised to bite my head from my shoulders. I struggled and strained against his iron grip in a panic and was somehow able to wrest myself from his hands. I cleaved downwards with my heavy blade as I fell and caught him squarely in the eye as I plummeted. Blinded and in pain, he dropped to his knees with a surprised bellow. There Mad Jack's precision with his longbow saved us. As Casca and I slashed at the giant's eye, ducking his frenzied swats to protect himself, Jack loosed missile after missile into the monster's single eye. The deadly projectiles whistled past my head as they sped to their target, so close I feared one would end up in my back rather than the monster. I worried for 'naught. Jack never missed. At the same time, Lea called down bolts of lightning that shattered the cyclops' armor. Staggered, wounded, and blinded, the beast could not regain its feet as we butchered it. It was all over, but not before all of us had received fresh wounds that will no doubt leave a trail of scars to remind me of my stupidity.
The fight with the cyclops was long, and our journey to Greatwall was barely half-done. Night was falling as we rushed up a mountain road that twisted around the forest we had just passed through. To the right of the path, the mountain towered above us. To the left, a steep abyss promised death to any who were careless enough to slip from the path. The road was littered with bones and debris, and I prayed we would not meet whatever had left the detritus there in our weakened state. We closed ranks around our charge as the sun slipped from the sky. I could see fires in the distance and hurried towards them along the path, hoping to reach this unknown outpost before the last light slipped from view. As we rounded a bend in the road, all hope left me. Blocking the path was a band of six bandits, mages and archers by the look of them, and with them another cyclops, this one with a great obsidian helmet protecting its eye. All was lost. We were wounded and trapped, with no hope to outrun them and no means to slip by with the great void and the scraggy heights hemming us in on the path. We braced for their coming, which was when luck rushed to our aid. In the fading light, the great cyclops strayed closer and closer to the edge of the path as it charged us. Its foot slipped from the road over the brink that it could not see in the dark. It scrambled to regain its balance and drag itself back onto the path, but it was too late. The great weight of beast dragged it over the edge of the cliff, crashing through the trees below until it stuck the ground with a thunderous impact. The brigands hesitated with the loss of their pet; we did not give them a chance to disengage. Volleys of arrows fell upon the fiends as I wade through them with my heavy blade, slashing their light armor to ribbons and crushing bone with its impact. One ran towards Reynard, daggers drawn in hopes of murdering our ward in a spiteful rage, but Casca deftly stepped between them and stunned the assailant with a crushing swing of her shield. Lea finished the poor woman with a bolt of lightning. Only one wounded mage was left, and she turned to run from our party but found that I had moved behind her on the path to block her escape. I grabbed her and dragged her screaming to the edge of the cliff. Her eyes were wide with terror and begging me not to do what she knew would come next; I felt no pity for her as I heaved her into the abyss. Her wailing brought a smile to my lips as she disappeared from sight.
Turning back to the road, my euphoria was short lived. As we drew closer to the fires I had seen, Jack cautioned me that the gate we approached was not that of the Greatwall Encampment but rather that of the ruins of Heavenspeak Fort and that more bandits undoubtedly waited within. Fury welled within me. So much hardship for a prize that turned out to be just another obstacle. I gripped the hilt of my sword tight, my jaw set and my will iron. We could not go back. We would pass through. Let us see if these brigands wish to be broke upon my steel.
We have come too far.