July 12, 2019 15 min read
Information about the 1.1 Update Pack
We've been doing our best to spend every moment, outside of structuring these Kickstarter updates and running this campaign, on the 1.1 Update Pack. We know that our returning backers are very anxious to see what exactly is included in this product. And we're anxious to show it off.
First off, we want to apologize for continually delaying the release of this information. We say one date, that date comes and goes, and backers are left wondering what's going on. The truth is that we underestimated how time-consuming running this campaign would be.
With us closing in on the end of the campaign, we'll likely see things ramp up towards the last three days. This will require even more of our time as we unlock Stretch Goals and unveil more surprises.
So, to avoid giving another deadline that we may miss, we'll be realistic with our projection this time.
We'll funnel out information in the meantime. We'll have an itemized list of all the content in the 1.1 Update Pack along with what you can expect out of the product on our Kickstarter Update on Monday the 15th.
We'll have the full 1.1 Update Beta released no later than Friday August 9th. This is a safe estimate as the campaign will be finished and we'll have two weeks to tighten everything up for release.
Thanks again for your patience and on with the unlock and story!
As one of the youngest in her tribe, Ursy always looked up to her elders. She did her duties in defending the woods and supporting her home, and was well-liked amongst her sisters. Ursy hadn’t known what evils nymphs were capable of, until the day that Alana was thrown in her cage.
From her cage, Alana screamed and yelled, claiming they’d sentenced her to death. Ursy couldn't help but think about all the things Alana said. They were strange and horrible things that contradicted what the elders had told her. It did seem cruel to lock her up like that, and Ursy felt bad. She couldn’t understand why everyone couldn’t just get along. When Alana broke free from her cage in the night, Ursy couldn't believe what she was seeing. Alana killed the elders, her wurm tearing them apart. In that moment, Ursy saw her world crumble around her as Alana devoured and killed her sisters one by one. Most didn’t even have a chance to fight back.
Ursy was taken captive. She didn’t know why Alana hadn’t killed her too, but she wasn’t the only prisoner. Over the days that followed, Ursy was forced to watch from her cage as her sisters were tortured and fed to Alana's wurm one by one. Each time Alana appeared, she’d take another nymph to toy with until their death. Each time, Ursy thought that she would be next.
Then, Alana came back with some new prisoners. They were humans who called themselves the Anointed. They seemed strong, but Ursy held no hope that they would be able to stand against Alana. After all, she had already captured them. Now, it was just a matter of time before they, too, were all dead. Eventually, it was just Ursy and the Anointed left. All of her sisters were gone, and it seemed Alana had saved her for last. Now, at any moment, Alana would come for her.
For our Day 19 unlock, we will be adding a miniature to the KS2 Promo Box for the Ursy Standee, featured in Unintentional Malum: Act 1.
To be clear, this miniature is part of the KS2 Promo Box and is being given away for free as part of every pledge level at the "Through the Portal" level or higher.
The cardboard standee version that is already a part of the contents of Unintentional Malum: Act 1 will remain a standee.
It wasn’t easy finding an airship willing to take them through the Ruined Isles. But one hefty purse of Yun’s money later, and they climbed aboard the Pontianak. She was a rough, unfinished looking vessel, assembled out of interlocking iron plates, with half a dozen long-guns and a crew Nyx could only describe as “swarthy.” But soon enough they were leaving Rhamsted behind, lifting past the broken onyx peaks.
Captain Salvador made his way over to them, his prosthetic leg grinding slightly against the deck. Salvador was a man who well-matched his ship, with a beard of rust and skin tanned and dark. At least he didn’t have a parrot. What he did have was something large rolled under one arm, which he spread before them on the railing as soon as he reached them.
“Lady Nyx,” he said, his voice slow and heavily accented. But at least he sounded like he cared that she was footing the bill. “I thought we might have a word about the course you suggested for our trip.” He pointed down at the map, which was an immensely detailed chart. The Ruined Isles were there, but also various shades and colors on the rest of the chart, indicating hostile airflows and currents. Most of the Isles were marked in red or dark orange, with various notes scribbled in the margins. “Are you quite certain this is where you want us to sail? Didn’t you say you were trying to reach the Ziggurat, here?”
Christopher seemed concerned, but Ai Chen spoke before he could agree. “We are following a known trail. We know this is a safe path, because we have seen it flown.” She removed a lump of charcoal from her pocket, tracing lightly on the map. Mostly it followed the thin curves between dangerous regions, but it cut through the orange in a few places. “Go this way, Captain. The Pontianak will not be harmed.”
Salvador stared down at the map for a few seconds more, tracing out the path with a finger. Then he shrugged, rolling up the map. “The gold was good, I give you that. But if we encounter anything dangerous, we’re turning around. We’re not a warship.”
For a few hours there was little to do but watch the sea. Nyx rested in a tiny berth below-decks, taking what little chance she might get before they arrived at the Ziggurat and faced whatever dangers it contained. I hope this was fast enough for you, Enoch.
She woke a few hours later, without any sign that she’d been visited by more Dark Mother cultists while she rested. She wandered past the engine room, but then a crewman started yelling and she went for the deck instead.
She found both of her foreign companions staring off the edge of the railing. It was easy to see why: they’d made it to the Ruined Isles.
Nyx passed Pocky curled into a corner near the stairs as she went for the railing. The Warp Hound had somehow got his paws on Enoch’s lockbox, and was trying to claw it open. Without success, as Nyx could see. The runes along its surface glowed just as brightly. If Yun’s sorcerer couldn’t get it open, then a dog certainly can’t.
Nyx gave the doggo a friendly pat, then joined the others at the railing.
Massive structures rose just past the edge of the Pontianak, towers of stone, half-melted skyscrapers, vast star-shaped temples. Nyx had never been this close, and even she was momentarily transfixed by what she saw. Many of the structures would have long crumbled to ruin by now, but strange vines had grown up around them, piercing stone and steel alike and forming living supports.
“What did this?” Christopher asked, one hand on his familiar rosary. He clutched it protectively about his chest, as though it could ward away the death below. “Another pagan ritual gone awry? Someone… summoned what they shouldn’t?”
Nyx rolled her eyes. “This predates Elenia. Might be older than Brahma for all anyone knows. No humans made it this far—or at least never made it back again to tell us.” Even as she said it, their airship passed a metal dome as large as a castle, its top broken with misshapen metal at odd angles.
Air blew about them, making Nyx wrap her arms tighter about her chest, wishing she had a jacket. The strange wind whipped through the structure far below, and for a second it seemed to twist into distant screams.
“I just hope whoever built all this doesn’t come back. We couldn’t do this… and I’ve seen Elenia, so don’t say you could.”
Nyx didn’t protest, though. “I was only going to say that Earth humans might be able to do this. It’s a little like… one of their cities.” Only centuries too early and on the wrong planet.
Christopher finally let go of his rosary. “Lucia would love to see this. She could look out at those buildings and know exactly what happened. She would want to land, see what is waiting down there. I’m sure she would figure it out. Solve your Elenian mysteries for you.”
Before Nyx could object, Christopher reached into his pocket, removing a tiny silver locket and flipping it open for her. “Did I show you, Nyx? My sister Lucia.”
She looked, mostly out of politeness. She could see the family resemblance—the same auburn hair, though her eyes were large and pink.
“She’s the same one who joined the Grim Deacons?” Nyx asked, as casually as she could. “You were waiting to hear if she made it in.”
Christopher nodded. “So many of us lose our families when we come here, but it was never that way for us. Parents brought us here together, taught us together. We both wanted to protect our country, but… she was always more ambitious. That only goes one place, in the end. Now she’s been training for… feels like years.”
“Training in… Luaderton?” Nyx asked, as casually as she could. “Along the western border?” Ai Chen is much too sharp to accidentally confirm where their secret training grounds are located, but maybe Christopher...
No luck, unfortunately. Ai Chen whistled loudly, silencing whatever Christopher might’ve said. You did that on purpose. Last time that didn’t make a sound. Pocky answered instantly—he didn’t run, just appeared in front of them, holding the lockbox in his mouth.
Ai caught it, then passed it to Nyx still dripping and slimy. “Pocky really wants to get in there. There’s powerful magic, but… he can’t. The Coven Mother didn’t know how to open it, so he can’t.”
Nyx rubbed her hands dry on her skirt, slipping the box away. “Yun Jeong couldn’t get it open. Getting where he shouldn’t is basically his thing.” Him and Halphas really have that in common. Even as she thought it, her familiar emerged from inside the bag, gleefully slipping his paws around the lockbox, dragging it deeper. “It’s not your hoard, buddy,” she whispered.
Ai reached up, gently closing Christopher’s locket. She spoke quietly, but standing this close it was easy for Nyx to overhear. “It will be easiest for Lucia to do her work if you aren’t showing her face to Elenian royal envoys. Unless you want her to be with God before her time.”
He shook his head, pocketing the locket and giving Nyx a sudden, nervous look.
She raised her hands, smiling weakly. “Hey, I’m just a professor. I teach kids how not to die in Middara, that’s my thing. And… occasionally poke around to help in other ways. If your sister isn’t going around murdering people, then there’s no reason for me to say anything about her.”
“Murdering?” he repeated, voice horrified. “Lucia would never take an innocent life!”
Before Nyx could reply, Pocky interrupted both, barking loudly. Ai met his eyes for a second, then turned and darted for the helm.
“Captain! Captain Salvador, we’ve arrived!” She pointed just ahead, where an island like a spike of barren rock rose from the ocean. “Land us there!”
The Pontianak didn’t land, exactly—there was no dock for that. At Salvador’s command, the crew flung a jagged anchor overboard, trailing a length of thick chain that sparked and cracked all the way down. Then it landed, and he gestured overboard. “Ladder on that. You can climb. But I don’t want to get closer with my ship. If it’s cursed… you can be cursed. Not us.”
She followed the anchor all the way down, scanning the floor below. What she’d taken from above to be a natural spire of stone was another structure, weathered almost smooth on the outside. But now that she looked, she could see a few irregular openings she took to be windows, and ripped stone that might’ve been balconies once, before they collapsed. Near the anchor a black chamber loomed, no sunlight penetrating to illuminate whatever was inside.
Nyx laughed, tightening her pack for a flight. She’d been itching to fly a little ever since taking off, anyway. The Pontianak was a little too slow for her liking. “Guess you get to explore the ruins after all, Spaniard. You can tell your sister what you find.”
He nodded. “I’ll find her a souvenir. A dead witch’s head, maybe, or a piece from some pagan alter after I shatter it.” He moved to climb over the edge, unintimidated by the height.
Ai rested one hand on Christopher’s shoulder. “I’ll be right behind you. And Pocky… well, he gets to warp right down, lucky dog.” The animal grinned up at her in response, otherwise silent.
Nyx watched Christopher heave himself over the edge, then down the long chain leading into the empty blue sky.
“You next, Nyx?”
She spread her wings wide in response. “I’ll glide. You go ahead, I’ll try to catch you if you fall. I… might be able to carry someone down from this high. Maybe just… try not to need it?”
“Make it quick,” Salvador said, pointing off over his shoulder. The wind that had been following them all this way bore with it dark clouds on the horizon, getting closer by the minute. “First rule of sailing the Ruined Isles is not getting caught in a storm. No ports, no shelter.”
Nyx nodded, then took off. The currents here were wild and unfriendly, trying to push her violently away from the island. Nyx angled herself down into a dive, using her weight to fight the current. She flew with all her might, but even so she barely dodged the water, skidding to a halt on the black-sand beach. She hurried ahead of the waves, to where the others watched.
When seen from below, the Pontianak’s iron bulk seemed more like a fly buzzing above this ancient structure, rather than a real threat to it. It’s just the three sisters left. It might not be so bad.
“Where are you going?” Ai asked, reaching to grab her arm as she passed.
Nyx was a little too fast, pulling away. “Isn’t this where…”
Ai shook her head, pointing to a narrow trail that wound around the ruin. Not to the ancient stone, but to swaying palm trees, and the distant calls of tropical birds. “She didn’t go in. We shouldn’t either.”
Nyx came to an abrupt halt, sighing with relief. “That’s the first good news I’ve heard today.” Even so, she couldn’t stop herself from stealing a look as they passed. Strange glass shapes rose inside, which Nyx swore moved when she looked away. But if anything was inside, it didn’t follow them.
She hadn’t even noticed the dense jungle surrounding the building, not until they stepped into the massive shadow of the ruins.
“What do you think the witch was doing here?” Christopher asked, as they followed a narrow trail through dense tropical shrubs. Leaves pulled back at their touch, slowly slinking only once their group had passed. “Why stop on this island in particular?”
“It’s a magical lock,” Nyx suggested. “Or the path is. The more complex it is, the safer the lock. If it was too easy, ships might sail to the Ziggurat by accident.” She wiped her brow, shaking away the sweat collecting there. The denser the jungle around them, the thicker the air became.
Eventually a shape rose above the tallest trees—nothing like the massive landmark of the structure behind them, but taller than any of the jungle fronds. A stone archway, into a courtyard. Far from the central tower, this structure seemed almost intact. White marble pillars supported it around the sides, with a gigantic glass dome overhead casting multicolored shadow. A roofed garden dome, with gates wide and inviting. A stream gurgled from somewhere inside, and a tropical bird chirped energetically.
Behind them, Pocky growled low. Only for a second—long enough for all of them to hear. Ai didn’t even hesitate, unslinging her gauntlets from her pack. She slowed dramatically, creeping through the gate. Nyx touched her sheathed weapon once for reassurance, but didn’t draw it. The espers she summoned were far more dangerous than anything Nyx was capable of.
Christopher ignored all subtlety, drawing his gigantic sword in both hands and stomping through the gate, past Ai Chen and directly towards the oversized fountain in the center.
Nyx followed, though she slowed quickly. The illusion frayed a little more with every step. A few marble pillars collapsed and were overgrown, though only some of the ceiling they supported fell in. Shards of glass shredded through delicate trees and flowers, and everything turned brown in a wave of death that left only skeletal remains behind. What she’d taken for comfortable benches and statues along a garden walk changed into far simpler shapes, though many crumbled like everything else.
They were graves, though the writing carved into the ancient stone was faded and withered until it became unintelligible.
Nyx looked up, at a ceiling of broken glass and chunks of stone that still had several sections intact, while many more had broken to shatter on the floor. If those things fall while we’re here, they’ll cut us to pieces.
“I can’t tell you how long it’s been since I had visitors from outside,” called a voice.
Nyx spun, but the speaker wasn’t hiding. She rested in the arms of a particularly impressive monument, strikingly like an angel. The kind that murdered you if you tried to go back to Earth after your Advancement. The head had withered to nothing, but the rest of its features were obvious enough. Nyx had seen enough of those monsters for a lifetime.
There was little to see of her face, beyond a pair of strikingly red eyes, emerging from thin cloth and never looking away from Nyx. She wore only a single ragged length of red cloth, wrapped strangely around her pale body. Every inch of skin Nyx could see was covered in scars--some arcane, others like they might still be bleeding. Her hair moved wildly in the air behind her, as though she were submerged in an invisible ocean. “Alright boys, let’s greet our visitors. Be polite.”
Figures rose from the gloom behind her, stepping out from fallen monuments or out of hiding places inside the reedy plants. They were half a dozen Incubi, each one shirtless and perfect. Nyx could barely tell them apart, wouldn’t have known if one of these was the escaped Feros. They flanked the clearing, slowly encircling them to prevent an escape.
Pocky growled, Nyx prepared her spells—but she didn’t like their odds against so many.
“We’re here for the Ortiz sisters,” Christopher demanded. “We know they’re still alive. That… Silvia kidnapped them.”
“Kidnapped.” The witch rolled forward off the monument, landing with sinuous grace beside another fallen grave. No flesh tentacles here, or any other magic Nyx could sense yet. A few of the Incubi laughed. “The Dark Mother called them to the revel. Everyone answers, eventually.”
She’s more human than the last one. That could be better—humans could be killed easier than strange demons who could harvest the souls of their companions. If she can do that, we’ll have to kill her seven times. “They were forced,” Nyx supplied. “I’ve got a boy in the hospital you forced a mark on, too. We’re here to… to demand that you release the Ortiz sisters, and remove your curse from Enoch. Right now!”
They laughed again, the witch so loudly that it rumbled off fragments of broken stone and glass above them. Nyx looked up, watching for any sign of a collapse. She saw none.
Finally one of the Incubi leaned closer to her, his voice polite, deferential. “Girtiya, I think they’re serious.”
She glided forward towards Nyx, dragging her legs behind her in the dirt. “The arrival of the marked one is a sacred thing, not to be mocked by outsiders. A boy. Blasphemy. Completely impossible.” She folded her arms. “It isn’t what Silvia did to the Ortiz sisters that you should worry about, trespassers. Fear what they have done to me. I will not be so kind to you, if you’ve come to violate this sacred place.”
“You’re the gatekeeper then?” Ai asked. She had her back to Nyx, watching the group of Incubi that surrounded them. They still didn’t look armed—for all Nyx knew, their muscular features might just be part of the lie. It might be all rot and weakness underneath. “Could we convince you to let us in?”
Girtiya nodded sharply, snapping back on her legs and circling them. She came far closer than any of her servants, close enough to strike. But she too was unarmed, and so far she hadn’t used a spell. “Our coven has sacred rules, rules I swore to abide when Silvia made me whole again. All who wish to prostrate themselves before the Dark Mother are permitted entrance, with an offering.”
Her eyes scanned over them, jerking from Ai’s hat, to Christopher’s locket, then into Nyx’s bag. “You are fortunate—you have brought objects of worth before me.”
She gestured, and Nyx’s bag unlatched itself. Her violin lifted into the air, raised by a faint purple glow. It wasn’t just her, either. Christopher’s locket drifted out of his pocket before he caught it, wrapping his fingers tightly around the chain. Ai’s hat lifted off her head, hovering just out of reach.
“I see the threads of meaning connecting you to these objects. They are… sufficient offerings to the Mother. She accepts all into her embrace. Come, join the revel. Forget your cares, and know bliss as only she can offer.
“Absolutely not,” Christopher called, yanking the chain suddenly from the air and around his fingers. “We haven’t come to join your cult, but to cast it down. Your goddess is an abomination God sent us to destroy.”
Ai yanked on his arm, her voice a harsh whisper. “We don’t have to join them. Do you want to get in or not? You can get a new picture of Lucia. And Nyx… I don’t know what that is. But it can’t be that important.”
Nyx hesitated, eyeing the violin. After all these years, and now she had something of her parents returned to her. Was she willing to give it up? All their eyes were on her—she was the deciding vote.
The Witch Girtiya requests that you sacrifice the Etched Violin of Amdusias, Ai’s Sentient Silly Hat, and Christophers Sentimental Locket. This will ensure you gain passage into the Ziggurat unharmed. (Removing the Violin from the Promo box)
Risk something greater and fight Girtiya, keeping Christopher Amaya's Locket and Ai Chen's Silly Sentient Hat. (adding them to the promo box)
July 07, 2021 13 min read
June 19, 2021 1 min read
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