Part 2: Chateau Irenicus, Part 1 - Jail Cells, Genies, Men in Tanks, and Tasteless Jokes
Chapter 1 - Chateau Irenicus, Part 1 - Jail Cells, Genies, Men in Tanks, and Tasteless Jokes
Editor's note -
Opening movie sequence
I awoke in a strange place to Imoen whispering frantically at me to, well, wake up. Damn if I didn't have a headache...
What... Imoen? What's going on?
He messed with your head too, huh? All I know is that we were near Baldur's Gate and got jumped. I don't think I want to remember it all. He's been... doing things... to us. M'nardran'm, we have to get out of here!
Alright, I'm moving. I ache all over, though.
Yeah, me too, but my head hurts the most. Yours too by the sound of the screaming. We just have to get out of here.
We'll get free and then figure out what's going on.
Good, because I don't know if I could get loose again if I had to. Not with the pain in my head... It isn't like a normal pain. M'nardran'm, it's on the inside, like my bones made a little dagger and it won't go away. Don't look at me like that, it just hurts, all right? Must have been the noise. There was a fight... assassins came after our captor, I think. There's people dead all over and the fighting is still going on. I could hear it. Are you going to get moving or do I leave without you?
Right you are. Let's go.
Good, I didn't want to go by myself. I need you around, M'nardran'm. Don't want to be here alone. We should look in that room to the west first, west and just a bit north. I think I saw some weapons in there. It's a room off the corner of this one. I don't think it's our gear. They probably sold our best stuff, but anything is better than nothing. Now let's go!
Man, that was the most annoying thing to wake up to, ever. Yeah, I thought about saying something to Imoen regarding her headache, something along the lines of "IT'S A TUMAH" but that overlong explanation of where to find a damned ROOM killed the impulse to make a stupid, thoroughly tasteless joke to her. It's like, "I KNOW DAMMIT I CAN SEE THE DOOR FROM RIGHT HERE YOU COULD HAVE JUST POINTED," but she had to be all about everything. Anyway, back to the story.
Once we got to the room Imoen took like 15 minutes explaining how to get to, we did indeed find the weapons. Imoen examined the paintings, thinking there might be a safe hidden behind one.
Turns out she was right, and it was trapped. Inside we found a magical dagger, some healing potions, and... Wait, the golden pantaloons that the crazy noble gave to me way back in the Friendly Arm Inn? What the HELL? The guy kidnaps us, experiments on us, apparently sells almost all our belongings, but keeps a pair of fucking GOLDEN PANTALOONS? Man, that makes me feel pretty right there. Oh, and when Imoen opened the safe, I felt as if I had passed some arbitrary level of experience and become stronger, so I shouted "Ding! LEVEL UP!" Imoen looked at me funny.
Note from me - yeah I forgot to screencap that and didn't think to give the pantaloons their own screencap. Eh, I'll do it next update. I fully intend to show you all the crazy and broken as fuck bonus shit in Throne of Bhaal that you use them, the Silver Pantaloons, and Bronze Pantalettes for just for shits and giggles.
There was also a key, which looked like it might fit one of the cells behind my old one. We headed on over there.
...Oh, yay, it was JAHEIRA. As if I didn't have enough people going all at me already... Anyway, I decided that I had enough troubles and I should at least try to be nice, at least for now. Besides, for all I knew her crazy druid powers would have let her have a clue what the hell was going on in this place
Do you know why we are here? Any clue would be helpful.
I'm sure we could navel-gaze all day about what brought us here, but it shall certainly prove pointless if we do not remove ourselves from immediate danger. I know not who has entrapped us here either, but I would rather not find out simply waiting for them to return. We are at a disadvantage in this place. I will recount this already if you wish, though I think I have little to offer that you do not know already. My husband Khalid and I have traveled with you for some seasons now, and the places we have seen number too many to name. Your... Unique heritage has proven a magnet to adventure, for better or worse, and your foster father was right in directing us to watch over you.
Oh, oh, right! Riiiiiiight. Before we get any further, you should all know that my father isn't really a mortal man, but rather Bhaal, the dead God of Murder. Kind of an important detail about me. Y'see, waaaay back when, the prophet Alaundo made a prophecy that said that Bhaal would be slain in the Time of Troubles when Ao made all the gods walk the earth as mortals because Bane and Myrkul stole the Tablets of Fate (well, except Helm because Ao commanded Helm to guard the entrance to the heavens so that the now-mortal gods wouldn't be able to just walk back and Helm is completely honorable and does basically whatever Ao commands him to), and so once all that happened he went around and had a whole lot of kids, way more than the "score of mortal progeny" that the prophecy mentions, and somehow when we all died it was supposed to bring him back to life. Sounds pretty crazy to me but, eh. Back to the story!
We remain in your company as friends more than guardians, and our exploits together have left the land for the better. We have earned many enemies, but we have dispatched them all. Whoever has trapped us here is certainly powerful to have done this so easily. Once we know, we will deal with them in due course, but for the time being it is more important we retrieve our friends and companions and leave this place.
Where is Khalid now? He is not with you?
I do not know where he is and it worries me. No doubt he was taken as we were, though it seems we were all meant for different fates. From the state of my head I think I have been drugged, though I have been spared any serious physical mistreatment. You, however, look as though you have been treated most unfavorably, and I should not like to think of Khalid receiving the same.
At this point, I said "you should not? Does that mean you do?" ...Jaheira hit me through the bars of the cell.
Then I will unlock your cage quickly. I think I found the key.
You've got the key that fits? Then open the door already. Must I hand-walk you through this?
I couldn't help myself. I said "yes." Jaheira hit me, took the key from my hand, and unlocked the door herself.
Well that is a relief, and about time too. We should be going immediately. Not only might our "host" come back, I simply must see the sun again in none too short a time. This dank place stifles me.
We will leave immediately, and celebrate once we are out of this hole.
As you would have it, though there are other friends we must find as well. It is good to share your company again.
Note from me again - I forgot to screencap Minsc's opening dialogue. This happens in really quite a few places, actually. So you get a bunch of transcribed dialogue without the right opening screencaps because I' m an idiot.
...Oh, right. See, Minsc was escorting a witch named Dynaheir for his dejemma, a ritual guardianship to be accepted into the Ice Dragon Berserker Lodge in his homeland. And.. Well... Yyyyeah that didn't exactly work out right, as you just saw... Back to my story, I'm more interesting and important than Minsc anyway. ...right?
...They... they killed her as I watched, you see? I know not who they were, but... but I will redeem myself!
Minsc, that is horrible! I am so sorry for you.
I won't cry for the dead! I won't! Ok, maybe a little, but I will staunch the flow of tears with righteous fury! Lullaby and goodnight, evil! Minsc will make you pay! Will you help me? We must join together once more, and our fury will be such that bards will run their quills dry! Yes, ink will be scarce where e're we go!
I will try and free you, but I don't know how to open your cell.
I don't know either. The bars have no lock at all, they are smithed together. I am proud that they feared me enough to imprison me permanently!
Permanently? That's going to make this difficult.
But you will keep looking, of course! You would never give up, I know this! A hero always succeeds and a hero never stops short of his goal!
He also needs the key or switch! I don't know where they are!
You... have brushed me aside with your words. You won't help... Boo can see it now! You do not intend to cut my chains! You only intend to yank them! I will make sure that you do not live long enough to abandon more friends! I will... I will... I will do all of this as soon as I get these bars open! RRAAAARRGH!!! The bars! They bend and twist with my berserker strength! Minsc and Boo are free! Now you will... nuh... now... Ooooh! Ohhh hoho... you are a smart one. I understand now! You said what you did just to get me mad! Mad enough to break free! Haha! You are as smart as Boo sometimes! Now we can resume our adventures together! There are friends to avenge and villains to smack about the face and neck! Right Boo?
Together we shall make our enemies answer for our fallen.
Answer they will, and my sword shall be the question! We shall have fistfuls of sweet, sweet justice, and our enemies will be stains beneath our feet! What... yes but... but... alright. Boo tells me that I am raving again. I did not notice a difference, but I will heed his words nonetheless. Come, we must go now. Come, Minsc and Boo and you, together again. Beware villains! I will force justice down your evil, evil throats!
Ahh, I see you still have that... rodent. Dare I ask how you have kept it hidden from our captors?
Don't ask questions much better left to aged sages. Boo is quick and evasive and there is ever so much of Minsc to search; there is no hope of getting us apart.
Eww, I... really don't want to think about that too much.
Minsc and Boo are Minsc and Boo, and we shall not be separated. Shall we go? The butts of evil await my bootprint!
Right you are, Minsc! Where e'er evil dost lay its dirty feet we shall mop the floor with its buttocks!
I have lost myself in your words but Boo thinks you're just ducky. Onward!
We headed back to the room (ohh it was just SO difficult to find I'm sure glad I had some ridiculously detailed directions! :suicide and Minsc and Jaheira selected some equipment and we got ready to go.
As we were leaving the jail cells...
We inspected the corpses there - I seemed to recall something describing the Shadow Thieves... Were we in Amn, or did our captor just anger them at some point in the past and they tried to get revenge? By the sound of the explosions, things weren't going so well for someone. Remembering the torture sessions, I didn't think it was our then-nameless captor, either...
Anyway, we rested up and I summoned a familiar with a spell I had intended to cast right before we were captured.
The little guy climbed into my pack quite readily, after I asked him a few questions.
Fire/Magical Fire Resistance 100%
Cast Mirror Image 1 time per day
Cast Invisibility 10' Radius 1 time per day
Movement rate 10
In the next room (After swiftly killing a mephit and turning off a weird device that summoned them) we met a genie!
it is more appealing than the rest.
My thanks. How is it that you know my name? What is going on here?
Your name is well known amongst those who watch. Your life's thread is bright indeed, though in your path lies many a dark and frayed end. As to easing your mind and answering such questions as those that surely plague you, it is not my place to do so. I am sorry.
Then of what use can you be to me?
Such assistance as you will get from me depends on yourself. Are you prepared to answer a question?
I will answer your question if it leads to you making some sense.
Then here is my hypothetical question: You and your sibling are captured and locked in separate cells, unable to communicate. The mage responsible appears and speaks. He explains his sadistic game: in each cell there is a magical button. If you press your buttonand your sibling does not, you will die but your sibling is free. If your sibling presses the button but you do not, they will die but you will go free. If neither you nor your sibling press the buttons, both of you will die. If both of you press your respective buttons, both of you will die. The Mage says that you have one turn of the hourglass to decide your action, then he leaves. Tell me, M'nardran'm, do you press the button?
I will press the button.
Interesting. No action can be performed without consequences. Especially that which follows the noble path. Deal with this, noble one!
He then summoned an ogre mage. We dispatched the insult to our abilities quite easily. The genie returned after that.
Well done! It appears that you can deal with the consequences of your actions. In return for your indulgence, I offer advice. Seek out Rielev. He waits for such as you. Offer him the release that he craves and you shall find that the focus of your journey will soon become apparent. Farewell!
After the genie left, I took a moment to examine the pools and crystals around the room.
We had some serious going on there.
The pool churns and swirls. Strange lights dance within. As you stare at the pool you catch a glimpse of a cityscape. For a brief moment, with absolute clarity, you watch as the city changes. Ages pass and the inhabitants drop their primitive tools and ways. Discoveries are made and the minds of the people change and grow, everyday grasping a new fact or invention. The image slips away until you see only a pool.
The pool draws you to it. Within its depths you see a wondrous sight. A strange and beautiful city rises before your eies. Metallic buildings reach as far as the eye can see and people of all races mingle and live in harmony. Extraordinary machines carry them about their daily business. Reluctantly, you draw your eyes away from the serene image.
Within the pool, the mists swirl in an unsettling fashion. You catch a brief glimpse of a wasteland, littered with corpses. Battles rage where brother slays brother and the only peace found is that of the grave. Just as quickly the vision slips away and the pool is again empty.
It was a strange sight, that pool. Perhaps it is the potential future of our world, but more likely it was truly happening somewhere in the Planes. They are, after all, most infinite...
I suspect that these crystals powered the pools and gave them their strange powers.
The churning pool clears for a moment. You see a man walk by, filthy and primitive. From a pouch of uncured animal he pulls a stick, held taut and bowed with a piece of dried sinew. He wraps the sinew around the other side of the stick and runs it from side to side, spinning the stick through a pile of tinder. Wisps of smoke rise and the man blows carefully. Soon he has a merry blaze. He grins, displaying a row of rotted and missing teeth. With the fire, he shall harden a spear. With the spear, he shall kill his brother. With his brother dead, he shall have a cave and a wife. The grin widens as the vision slowly fades. The pool is again still.
...It was a horrible vision; offensive to me in every way. I held back an urge to vomit, and am to this day disgusted by the memory. I see such things every day in reality, but I have never had such a feeling of *knowing* what was going through the minds of such evil men.
Leaving through a side passage, we saw some goblins ahead.
I threw a fireball at the goblins. I love throwing fireballs, it's very . I'm told some people think it's alarming for me to like it that much, but you know what? To the Hells with them, I like throwing me some fireballs. It's not like I've ever torched anyone's house or my own party with them. Well maybe a couple times but those were accidents.
In a large room, we found a lot of glass tanks that seemed to have people in them. Some looked alive, but the tanks seemed very, very low on power.
Imoen flipped out over these, she thought they were the creepiest thing ever. I personally think that title goes to some of what Bhaal had children with, but we'll get there eventually. We also snagged a magical quarterstaff for Jaheira and a short bow for Imoen in that room.
Fat lot of good that quarterstaff did Jaheira, she and Minsc still got knocked unconcious by a mephit. I had to try Nahal's Reckless Dweomer (and it worked yaaaaay) to cast Melf's Minute Meteors to do some damage to the stupid thing. There was really nothing in that room except a golem who asked for a control stone before it would do anything, though, so we moved on in hopes of finding the stone. Had to kill some more goblins. Stupid goblins.
Anyway, we happened to find that Rielev guy the genie mentioned pretty quickly. He was... Uhh... Another guy floating around in a tank, except his tank had power so we could actually talk to him.
Aaaaaa... who be thee... servants of the master?
By the gods, what happened to you, man?
I am dying... or dead... I remember not which. Where is the master?
Who are you?
It is difficult to... to remember... I was Rielev... dead, I think.
I am not sure what is going on here. Are you living or dead?
Neither, neither. I am... between... the master has forgotten me... not killed me.
Is it true death that you wish? You wish me to release you from this state of non-death?
Release, yes... Master! I-I no longer wish to come back! Let me slip into the oblivion that has been denied me! Please! This... Unit that contains me is powered by cells, by crystals. Take them and I can sleep... die... again die at last. I know you are prisoners. Some things do not change. You must escape this place and the master's experiments. There are others... like me but of more recent experiments... They may know how the master exits the complex. Will you take these cells to revive them and learn what you can, in return for this path to freedom I have offered ye?
I will take the cells and revive the other servants. Have peace at last.
I thank ye... go and leave me to oblivion at last.
Nature does not intend her creations to live past their allotted time. Certainly not this forgotten servant, tormented and then left for dead, but not dead. I wonder how this master came to live such a life that he abandons much of it? The fault of ill-considered magic, no doubt. We shall see when we find him.
He's... he's dead now? This pathetic creature... I can't look away, M'nardran'm. I have seen death in our scuffles before, but here I did nothing but watch his life end... I can't look away.
Death is not always to be feared, I guess. I would not wish to live like that.
Death is... pretty. Why would I think that? Oh, M'nardran'm, I've got to get out of this place.
"Imoen?" I said. "Yeah?" she said. "...Seeing as you just said that death is pretty, if any of us die here, promise me you won't do anything inappropriate to our corpses." ...Then Jaheira moved towards me and there's a blank spot in my memory for the next few hours.
I was originally going to do the whole first level of this at once, but once I started transcribing the text I noticed how much there is, and I didn't want to crush anyone with a giant fucking wall of it. Plus this gives me more time to think of more ridiculously bad jokes
edit - replaced party emotes with portraits