Grove[edit | edit source]


-Hedon OST- Alexander Brandon - The Craftsman

The Grove is the fifth level or Hedon, taking the player to the home of the Earth Mothers and Headquarters of the Reavers. The Grove is a giant cave filled with rich vegetation and fauna with only Crystals to provide it all with suitable environmental factors.

A small farm can product enough vegetables to supply the Plaza on a daily basis. After the invasion, Cultists have sacked the Grove farms and took over the food supply.

Because of this, the Grove serves as a reliable source of food production for Valc, with few farms growing various vegetables at a very quick pace thanks to the fertile cave soil and the conditions provided by the ever-present Cyan Crystals.

The forest teems with an eerie, mystical atmosphere providing the perfect environment for the Earth Mothers to perform magic rituals and quickly replenish their mana reserves.

The Plaza Park after Zan returns from the Forge.

When Zan returns to the Park with a mithril gear to fix the gate, she notices a pile of bodies (from her previous rampage) burning by the lake, courtesy to a nearby Initiate sent to research information about the Crystal Heart in the Park Library.

Beyond the access gate, the Grove forest links every point of interest found there, including the Reaver Headquarters, Great Stump, Portal Cave and Main Entrance leading to Valc's Park & Library.

Main entrance to the Grove. Two bridges cross over an underground river.

Main Entrance[edit | edit source]

In a familiar way to Valc's Main Gate, the primary access to the Grove is crossed by an underground river which serves as a moat against potential invaders. This did little to stop the Cultists, however, who ended up taking control from within, just as they did with the rest of Valc.

The player can either take the large gate and face the resistance head-on, or opt to infiltrate through a side tunnel leading up to one of the farms (this also allows the the option to stealthily take out several enemies).

As a third alternative, they can swim down the river's path to reach the Underwater Ruins.

Underwater Ruins, overlooked by the Reaver HQ's Briefing Room.

Underwater Ruins[edit | edit source]

Another Ancient temple similar to the one found near the Barracks lies submerged in the vicinity of the Grove. The Iron Division could do little to restore or recover it, concluding that they should simply allow the water to preserve it as it is without any additional intervention.

The player can swim through and break down a cracked window, thus flooding the Briefing Room behind and drowning the Cultists inside, providing an useful alternative to entering the Reaver Headquarters.

The Stone Tower is an important location where the player can find the Book of Earth.

Forest, Farms & Stone Tower[edit | edit source]

The player can also opt to simply enter the Grove from the middle, ending up in the Forest. Because it is full of sprawling pathways, the Cultists make use of Cerberi to quickly hunt down Zan, with plenty of foot soldiers to follow. Two Farms and a Stone Tower can be found around the forest, serving as dwellings for the Earth Mothers and their apprentices who help them cultivate food and gather wood.

The Cave Portal is taken over by Cultists who oversee the spread of Lith's corruption in hopes that it will end up consuming the entire Grove.

Portal Cave[edit | edit source]

Much like the Forge, the Grove benefits from its own crystal-powered Portal, where goods can be quickly received and delivered to the lower part of town.

The Portal Cave is also the player's first encounter of Lith's corruption, which uses the nearby power sources to grow and expand across the ground.

The corruption is also responsible for the malfunction of the portal, as is shown by a nearby Bear Warrior who had her leg severed by the waygate closing abruptly, not before spitting her and her squad mate in the wrong place.

Reaver Headquarters[edit | edit source]

The main hall of the Reaver Headquarters is also the heaviest pocked of Cultist forces. The player can lower the main gate by shooting its' switch through one of the windows. At the back of the room lies another gate leading towards the courtyard. Two side paths go up to the two wings of the complex.

Adepts of stealth and subterfuge, the Reavers found the Grove to be a fitting place to set up their base of operations. The Goblins train here much like the Orcish Bear Warriors do at the Barracks, except they get to leave the compound a lot more often to practice for reconnaissance missions.

A paved road leads to a reinforced stone wall, with barred windows at the sides and a large gate in the middle. Beyond, an ample hall hosts two side corridors leading to the HQ's facilities (the one on the right having been destroyed by the Cultist sappers) and one more gate, leading up to the Courtyard and Council Room.

Reaver Council Room. A round table hosts a miniature model of Outpost 3, the first objective of the Iron Division Campaign.

Courtyard & Council Room[edit | edit source]

An inner Courtyard acts as a middle node for the building complex, with the statue of a Reaver marking the very center.

The Council Room is on the opposite side of the main hall, serving as a meeting point for the high rank Reavers where they discuss strategic and administrative matters (similar to the Barracks and Lancer Temple Council Rooms).

During the invasion, one of Master Thadus' lieutenants uses the Council Room to command her Iron Maiden defenders. The room is also dark unless the player activates the auxiliary power which turns on the ceiling lamps.

Facing the courtyard is the Archive and a security room controlling the gate and a couple of Crystal Balls, one of which allows the player to spy on an Iron Maiden coming to report to her superior (assuming they haven't turned on the auxiliary power yet).

Reaver HQ Medical Bay. A Fixer attempted to revive a wounded Reaver during the invasion but ended up getting mauled by a Cerberus.

Medical Bay[edit | edit source]

A small medical bay provides Reavers with a place to get their injuries treated. Simple wounds usually get treated by a Fixer trained in basic first aid. Earth Mothers are generally called to treat various ailments and grave injuries with their healing magic.

The player can also find a Green Crystal here sent by Earth Mother Bendi to aid with healing.

Briefing Room.

Briefing Room & Officer Quarters[edit | edit source]

Here is where Reavers are briefed before leaving on a mission. The Briefing Room represents a particular attraction, as one of the wall faces towards Underwater Ruins, a set of reinforced glass allowing clear vision into this giant aquarium.

The player can break one of the cracked windows causing the entire room to be flooded and drowning everyone caught inside. Between this room and the Medical bay, a large hallway hosts a series of doors to the officers' apartments.

Archive office. An interesting machine (on the right) can deliver scrolls through pressured tubes to the other wings of the HQ.

Archive[edit | edit source]

The Archive holds record of various administrative documents such as debriefings and mission reports. Whenever the clerks here are not registering information, they use their equipment to aid the Earth Mothers with copying manuscripts.

Upstairs, a small office holds the document storage. This is also where the player comes face to face with Master Thadus, the one in charge of overseeing the Grove invasion.

The Great Stump[edit | edit source]

Clearing in front of the Great Stump. Concealed among the trees, Cultists lie in ambush to strike down Zan as soon as she comes near.

Definitely the most interesting sight to behold in the Grove, the Great Stump is a massive tree trunk which the Earth Mothers shaped on the inside to host their quarters and various other chambers. Outside, a clearing allows an ample view over the ancient bark punctured by small green windows. A stonehenge appears before the Stump, used by the Earth Mothers for magic rituals (similar to the one near the Orc Camp in the Green Wall forest). Going past it, a set of stairs leads down into the trunk's first level which hosts the Earth Shrine.

Earth Shrine, the first floor and main area inside the Great Stump.

Earth Shrine[edit | edit source]

Shaped into living wood, the inside of the trunk presents a rather unusual design. Surrounded by resin-dripping bark walls and supported by pillars made from the giant wooden vessels of the tree, the Earth Shrine extends on the entire floor. A lively area, teeming with life and nature, this is truly a sacred site for the Iron Division - the closest worshipers of Earth.

A rather unconventional hall connects to the Earth Mothers' doorsteps.

Earth Mothers' Chambers[edit | edit source]

Going up to the second floor, one will encounter a much tighter space, where the tree's veins border convoluted corridors. Here and there, a wooden door leads to an Earth Mother's house. Varying in shape and size, these chambers look as unusual as the rest of the Stump, but are nonetheless perfectly suitable for accomodating someone.

Several Cultists find themselves trapped between the secure vines protecting the access to the Stump Library. Knowing that the Orcs use magic tablets to lower them down, they seek to find the one hidden by the Librarian in her attempt to slow their advance.

Stump Library[edit | edit source]

The third floor hosts the Stump's Library, a place so valuable to the Earth Mothers that they restrict access to everyone else (including other members of the Iron Division), also using magic regenerating vines to secure the entrances.

Curated by the Librarian, this hall of knowledge holds hundreds of scrolls and books, many tracing back to the Iron Division's precursors and their ancestral magic.

A long table is used to host conferences and councils, with secondary side tables being used for copying manuscripts and crafting text tablets.

The player finds a number of Cultists being busy searching through the shelves to find a particular hidden tablet capable of opening the way up, to the Ritual Glade. They are later forced to go through the same search, many of the tablets turning out to be instilled with other magic spells.

The Ritual Glade, located at the very top of the Great Stump.

Ritual Glade[edit | edit source]

At the peak of the Great Stump, the Ritual Glade is the place where Earth Mothers perform the largest scaled magic rituals, involving their full focus, power and energy (as well as the Anti-Magic Ward being lowered). One such ritual led to the creation of the Green Crystal under the guiding hand of Grand Earth Mother Breaza.

This is where the player finds the key to the Grove Portal controls, after which they proceed to power it up. After fighting wave after wave of Cultists, they finally manage to step through the portal, but the corruption around turn it unstable, causing Zan to have a black out and wake up in the Void.

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