Part 14: Continued
And so, on the other side of the portal...
[Saerileth's eyes wander away from your face for a moment.] If thou dost attempt this rescue, thou must be prepared to see it done, completed to the end.
Yes, crossing the Astral Plane is no small feat.
[Saerileth's blue eyes widen.] Thou arte well-versed in planar mechanics, Asim. Thou knowest then how great these planars' anger is.
Indeed, I do. Now then, to the slaying of evil and the rescuing of actors!
Listen, you little maggot! I want to know how you got your collar off, right now... or you'll find there are far worse things than being a slave!
N-no! No! I don't care what you say! I w-won't be a slave any more!
Well, if that's the way you --
T'rael! Hold! Others have come through the portal!
What? Others? Ah... the primes. How foolish of you to have followed your actor friends here. Von'ith, close the portal, please. Heh. Do you have any idea where you are, primes?
I assume I'm on another plane, naturally.
Oh, you are a sharp one, prime. I'm afraid it's much, much worse than that. This place is one of the finest prisons in the planes. There is no way out of here... except at the whim of the cambion. What fools you must be to come here of your own volition. No matter. I expect you'll bring a grand price from the cambion as new thralls. Hunters... take him!
Oh, but you are a fool, to keep slaves around us. You show no remorse at all. That just won't do.
RRRRRRAGH! MINSC WILL TEACH YOU A LESSON!
Yeah! At 'em, beefy!
We split up and successfully took out the party of slaving bounty hunters. When we were finished...
It was foolish of me, I suppose, but I would rather be dead than remain enslaved to the cambion forever. There has to be a way out of here somewhere!
What do you mean by your collar?
The warden keeps a large number of slaves here... prisoners that have been turned into thralls by a magical collar that they wear that controls them. They are next to impossible to remove. Mine had a small flaw in it, and I was able to squirm out of it not long ago... only to find that there was almost nowhere for me to go, here, and danger down every corridor.
What was this cambion you mentioned?
The cambion? The cambion, here, is the warden of this prison. I know not his true name, but he is a cruel and evil master who delights in the suffering of his thralls. He is a powerful demon, as well. You may have defeated his bounty hunters, but if I were you, I would find a way out of here and avoid him entirely.
Do you know where I might find Haer'Dalis and his troupe?
You are friends of the actors? Ahhh... then you may as well begin mourning them, my Lord. They are in the warden's cells, awaiting transport to Duke Rowan's tower, I am told. The warden is directly north of here, through the hallway... but I would advise against going down that path. You will see on the floor markings that the tanar'ri have left with their magic... portals that transport you to the other rooms of this prison. The ones in the hallway to the north you cannot avoid, and they bring you to the barracks where the warden keeps his personal soldiers and thralls. 'Tis a most dangerous path to take. There is another way to reach the warden... a safer way, perhaps, that may serve your purpose and perhaps mine, as well. Might I tell you of it?
Very well, I'm listening.
The warden is powerful by himself, true, but he is also protected by the many thralls under his control through the collars they wear. The passage to the east leads to the chambers of the Master of Thralls... a lesser tanar'ri who holds a device that I know allows him to control the collars. Destroy that device and the thralls are freed. The warden is vulnerable... and I will be able to contact my newly freed friends. Some of them are mages who will teleport us away. As well, the portals to the east may be avoided... they lead only to other cells, I understand, and are full of naught but violent and dangerous creatures. I... I would not offer this chance, my Lord, if I did not think you might have a chance against the warden, himself. I can think of no other way for either of us to escape this place, truly.
Why do I not simply free your thralls and have them teleport us away? Why must I fight the warden?
There are many old and powerful magics in this prison, my Lord. We might get away briefly, but the prison's magic would track us... and the warden would send powerful hunters very quickly. But the prison's magic dies with the warden. It is the only way.
Very well. I will find this Master of Thralls and do as you suggest.
Most excellent, my Lord. Luck is smiling upon me, truly, that the mere chance for true escape has arrived with you through that conduit. I wish you every success.
How might you command more respect, Anomen?
The life of a squire, though far better than the life I lived neath my father, is not a place where one garners respect, no matter how deserved they are of such. With my knighthood, I shall be above the petty concerns of a field officer for the Order. That is where I shall command more respect.
Really? I was going to go with "not be a self-righteous jerk with a short attention span." Anyway, becoming a knight seems quite important to you.
Aye, it is. I've worked all my life to become a knight. I've studied the holy books and I've taken the foot soldier training and combat courses offered by the paladins and JAN! STOP. DANCING.
Jan, return Boo at once!
RRRRRRAAAAAAGH YOU WILL RETURN HIM!
Oh, oh! Better flee!
I... where was I? Oh, yes. In short, I've bettered myself in every way so that I might someday be Judged worthy of knighthood.
Why are you not happy with your current position? You command respect as a warrior-cleric, do you not?
In the position that I fill now, even with my training among the clergy, I am little more than a glorified squire. At best, they would make me a field commander during a war. A knight, however, has something of the stature that a paladin enjoys.
So basically, you couldn't be a paladin and you're trying to do the next best thing? What made you want to become a knight?
It is not any one thing that pushed me into knighthood. My father's cruelty and the death of my mother gave me more than enough reason to leave home. I've always dreamed of being a knight from the first time I saw an armored column from my mother's arm. Someday I will thunder by beneath the Radiant Heart pennant. But time has passed quickly. We've adventuring to do and I suggest that we get back to it.
Quickly for YOU maybe...
You'll never get him back, Minsc! [Jan runs into Anomen and drops Boo, who is deftly caught by Minsc.]
I will forgive this this time and this time only, Jan! Remember that!
Curses, foiled again!
Get... Off... Of... Me... GNOME!
So much for respect, Anomen.
Hate you all...
Thou shouldst not linger so upon thy emotions, Anomen. Such dwelling leads to cruel acts.
Following that particular bit of purified fury and stupidity, we set off to the east and encountered some thralls.
We... we... attack them! Attack them and kill them all!
It appears we must kill some enslaved men. Be merciful!
Aye, 'tis what must be done.
Wow you agree with me way more than I'm comfortable with. This can't be a good sign.
When I tried to summon an Air Elemental, I instead made a cow fall out of nowhere onto Anomen. I love you so much sometimes, wild surges.
MY EXISTENCE IS SUFFERING AND DARKNESS
I suggest then that thee remove from atop thyself the cow.
After we killed a few more thralls, we found a talking wyvern. First and last time I encountered that, I believe.
We then met the Master of Thralls!
Jerk summoned up some air elementals and was overall more than a little difficult to crush. Especially that part where he teleported behind us.
It was a glorious battle and three of our number fell, and we were victorious!
In the first time, that went really easily. Second time I had to go through with a much different party, and as you can see, I really didn't bother with levelling anyone up or anything, so it was rather difficult but he died well enough in the end.
Do you know what device this creature has that controls the thralls?
Y-yes... it is the orb he carries... the orb of mastery! I... I cannot touch it so long as I wear this collar. But if you wish to destroy it, you can... You must take the orb to the room south of here with the magical brazier in the center... the flames will surely destroy the orb and free all the thralls, here, in the process! I... I must flee before the Warden discovers that the Master of Thralls is dead! Please... destroy the orb if you are able! I beg you!!
Well, since I'm not a total jerk or anything, I took the Mastery Orb from the demon's corpse and destroyed it.
My friends have most likely fled to the farthest corners of the prison or teleported away foolishly. I will tell them to prepare themselves once the warden is dead! You must destroy the cambion, now, my Lord! It is our only chance!
And so, a bit north to the cambion we went!
Call on the Master of Thralls... I wish to know what is occurring, here. I will tear this plane apart to have those filthy slaves returned! I will flay the skin from their... ...What is this? You are not my guards! It... it is you!! You are causing these problems!! I shall take the rest of eternity to make you suffer!!
Well, that's all well and good, but I'm afraid it's really going to work out in more of a "we are going to take the next five minutes to kill you and end your silly little prison plane, this proving both you and your existence's work thoroughly futile" manner.
Less talkin', more me cuttin' this guy to pieces! Now swing me, beefy!
And down the cambion went, about the way I predicted it.
Please... accept my most heart-felt thanks. The thralls who were once imprisoned here shall always remember you.
So, we went back and looted the cambion's corpse. He had some fun little things to sell off. Lots of gems. THEN we freed Haer'Dalis and the rest of the Sigil Troupe.
But we must go before the Duke marshals his forces. I will use what powers I have remaining to open another conduit. Are you ready Haer'Dalis?
Miss Raelis... I... I cannot come with you. Not this time.
No? No more plays, Haer'Dalis? No more theater?
I wish I could, Raelis, but I am just another moth drawn too close to your flame. To love you is to smother that flame in my own death. I shall not do it.
Don't be a fool, Haer'Dalis. There was no mystery writer of our play! I wrote "A Comedy of Terrors," it was mine! I brought all of this upon us!
Aha! Asim, I told you they were all liars!
And I told you, Anomen, that NO ONE CARES WHAT YOU THINK.
I know, Miss Raelis. You'll have my heart forever, but I must do as I must. Perhaps Asim will let me travel with him for a time, but the Prime beckons this sparrow, regardless.
:raelis: Then go, my lovely Haer'Dalis... remember us fondly in your musings. And you, Asim, go with my thanks and take yon lovely moth with you.
I would be pleased to have you join me, Haer'Dalis.
Wonderful! I have heard a little of your quest. You hold a power in your soul, my raven, that would fascinate any Doomguard.
Haer'Dalis, I must tell you that my ultimate goil is to rescue an old friend who is held hostage by the Cowled Wizards. It will be quite dangerous.
Then you seem to make a career of freeing the imprisoned from their cages, my raven... and so you should, as you do it well. Might I inquire as to the identity of this hostage? An old lover? A relative, mayhap?
It is an old friend, as I said. Her name is Imoen, and I grew up with her at Candlekeep... and I'll not abandon her to those wizards.
Ah, the raven springs off to rescue his lost friend! I know this type of tale well, berk, and this sparrow will be pleased to join you in your quest. Off we go, then!
Bonus Video - Khalabaxin - Tactics or Not? and Saerileth's Piss-Poor Voice Acting
Edit - forgot the video link!