Part 31: This is three hours of playtime, "condensed" into one massive update.
Chapter 22 - This is three hours of playtime, "condensed" into one massive update.
As we were hunting around Athkatla for useful scrolls...
I've read the play, yes... but, Haer'Dalis, I still honestly don't think I can play this Tersis character.
And yet I hold in my surety that you can, fair Aerie. What makes you say that you cannot?
Well... the scene where the goddess confronts Lord Jhovan, the ruler of the gods. She chastises him rather... forcefully...
[giggle] Oh, Haer'Dalis... I could never do that! The words would sound like a mouse were speaking them, coming from me. I've no such voice in me...
The voice is in you, my dove. You have but to cast about for it. Come... enact the passage for me.
[sigh] I... I'll try. "H-hold, my Lord... I will n-not... not be judged..." No, no... it's just no use.
Then you are a mouse, my Aerie. A frightened little mouse who refuses to come out of her hole. Be satisfied with your stale cheese, if you will.
Haer'Dalis! What a cruel thing to say!
Enact the passage, then. You have the ability.
Fine. "H-hold, my Lord... I w-will... n-not... not be... --"
Squeak, squeak? Is that a mouse this bard hears? You can do better than that, my dove...
"H-hold, my Lord! I will... n-not... not be... j-judged --"
What was that? Are you speaking, my dove? I am straining to hear you...
Then stop interrupting me!
Then speak, woman! I am the king of the Gods! Do you have something to tell me or don't you?!
"Hold, my Lord! I will not be judged by the lowest of my brethren, nor shall I be judged by my King! I refuse to be silent! I am Tersis! And I WILL be heard!"
Bravo, my dove! A most excellent wonder, to hear your thundering talent roll forth from such a delightful form! Bravo!
I... I did it, didn't I? Th-thank you, Haer'Dalis! That... that felt wonderful!
After we rested in the most expensive rooms at the Mithrest...
With that context, this next thing makes no goddamn sense, and yet that is exactly how it happened.
It's just a little dark, Aerie... there's nothing to be afraid of.
I-I'm not scared... I'm only tired, and maybe a little unused to travelling so late at night. N-never mind... I'll be fine...
As we travelled, we finally found a scroll of the elusive Cloudkill, as well as a scroll of limited wish, which I used to summon a genie and ask for a one-time wish for an adventure like no other. Quite possibly the greatest moment of madness in my life. Okay that's an outright lie, I think we all know what the greatest moment of madness in my life is. Well it's several moments really...
I picked up and read the note.
We continued on, as I fully intended to go visit the smith that the merchant Maheer had mentioned. On the way, we encountered a crazy gnome.
Eh? You are speaking of me? How do you know this?
Well, that was... Odd. Anyway, we're near the smith's shop.
What do you have for sale, here?
I be not selling ye anything. I be the finest smith in Athkatla, and I works on commission only. I can make most anything ye desire.
What sorts of things do you make?
I've made armor from the scales of a basilisk, a helmet from a cockatrice... items to put fear into the hearts of the bloody gods themselves. Hah! All of me work be done from commissions. Give me the ingredients and I can forge an item of power, sure enough. 'Tis a good living, for a smith of me skills.
Do I have anything you could forge into an item?
Hmmmn... I couldn't rightly say. Let me have a look into yer goods, then. A minute of rummagin' and I'll know fer sure, aye? Hmmmn... what's this? Some kind of scale from a beastie, aye? Aye, ye've collected the scales of a shadow dragon. By the Soul Forger, 'tis a grand sight. I can make a suit of armor from yon scales, if ye like.
What would that involve?
Two things, me friend. It will cost ye 5,000 gp for the work, no less, and without an apprentice, ye'll have to stay here a full day and help me run the forge.
That sounds fine. Let's do it.
As ye wish. Fer such a commission, we can start on it right away. No sense in wasting time, then... it be best if we just get to it.
And he made a magnificent suit of armor made from Shadow Dragon Scale.
As we passed, we talked to that gnome again.
What is it? How do you know so much about us?
I..I.. [giggle] ..the gods speak! They speak and speak and speak! To ME!! Hee hee...
Once that was done, we went to the bridge district and were accosted by a man called Vittorio.
I can use my weapons just fine. Why do you ask?
I be in some need of assistance, me Lord. There be a fellow within Delosar's Inn, there... Dennis. He owes me a good deal of coin, an' refuses to pay! He promised to pay off me bartab, he did, in exchange for some lessons on the gong. Well, I teached him, I did... an' now he refuses to pay me tab!
Er... gong lessons? Are you serious?
The gong be a fine instrument... and it be used in many a rite here in the City o' Coin, me Lord... we honors all the gods for business deals, we does. An' besides... it sounds pleasant.
Why don't you just handle this yourself? I am no debt collector.
Ehhh, well I be kicked out of Delosar's for not having my tab paid. Dennis be a big fellow... with big friends. I need some swords behind me if I'm t' go within.
Very well, I'll help you out.
Aaaah, yer a fine and noble boy, ye are. Come... follow me inside o' Delosar's and let's have a little talk wi' Dennis, aye? I do believe he is on the second floor.
So, we went on inside.
Oy, Dennis, ye measly-faced sack o' suet! Ye owes me th' coin for me bartab! Pay up or ye'll surely face the consequences!
Don't threaten me, you sorry excuse for a thief... I owe you nothing!
Ye had yer lessons on the gong, Dennis! Pay up now, or ye're in deep trouble!
You've a nerve, drunkard! You took my sweet mother's gong! You stole it and traded it for ale, didn't you?! Didn't you?!
...Oh, er... now, I had actually gone an' forgotten about that... ...I'll just be on me way, then...
Hold, you drunken fool! You'll go nowhere until I get that gong!
Umm... me Lord? Some... assistance?
Did you actually take this man's gong? Man, there's a question I thought I'd never ask.
Well... I, uh...
He did. The gong belonged to my mother... it was her dowry and worth a great deal of coin. This damnable fool, here, stole it before my lessons were even finished! And he will pay for it dearly if it isn't returned to me...
Is there no way that this can be worked out, Dennis?
Not unless I get my family's gong back, there isn't!
...Well, I, um... I may be able to help with that...?
Then I suggest you do it, old man!
...My Lord? Would it be too much to ask for you to... um... find this gong for... this gentleman?
I suppose I could. Where is it, Vittorio?
I... I sold it, I did. To a fence by the name o' Roger... he has 'is hideout in the sewers. I... don't know where, exactly... but it were sold not long ago. He could still have it, he could!
Fine. I'll go and see if I can't find this gong of yours.
B-bless you, my Lord!
I'll just keep Vittorio, here, as my company until your return. My thanks for your assistance.
Ahhhh, I can see the bards singing it, now: the Quest for the Gong! The life of a drunkard lies in the balance as Asim and his band of merry adventurers strive to retrieve fenced stolen musical goods from the depths of the sewers! The passion! The excitement! It brings a tear to my eye. [sniff] Not since Uncle Gerhardt went on a four-day turnip beer bender and mistook Uncle Scratchy for a griffon was I ever part of such a grandiose story.
Down in the sewers...
I'd be interested in a gong, if you have one.
Eh? A gong? You mean as in an actual gong? By Waukeen's arse, I haven't had a gong since that one ol' Vittorio sold me. Sorry I can't help you there.
That's the particular one I'm looking for.
Ahhh, I see. Well, I'll tell you what... do a little favor for me and I'll tell you who I sold that particular gong to, as well as where you can find 'em, aye?
What sort of favor?
Get rid o' the beastie that has been plaguing me about here... the sea troll t' be specific... an I'll be pleased to tell you all I know. Aye?
Very well, I'll do it.
Good, good. I could use some peace from the nasty devil. Come back when you've done the deed, then. He lives in the southwest corner of the sewers.
So, we went off to find the Sea Troll. It was really no different from a regular troll. If it was a LAKE Troll, things might have been different. Lake trolls devour worlds, you know.
The troll thusly defeated, it was back to Roger.
Information on where I can find the gong.
I sold it, through an envoy, to a troll shaman. Ernr... Grae, I believe her name to be. Lives in a troll mound near Trademeet, ye can't miss it. I can't imagine she's the type to receive visitors... an' I believe the mound to be guarded by trolls a'plenty. But if ye want it, that's where it'd be.
[chuckle] The plot thickens, my raven! What would you like to wager, do you suppose, that the elusive gong is no longer in the possession of this shaman, either? I am most curious to see!
In search of the gong, we went back to the druid grove near Trademeet. 24 hours of travel fuck yooouuuuuu
We seek a valuable gong that was sold to you by a fence in Amn... tell us where it is!
[hissss] Never! I shall tell you nothing! I shall crush you with my magic and watch your bodies crumble into dust!!
[Scribbles a note that reads "Dear Gods - I AM SO SICK OF TROLLS. PLEASE STOP MAKING ME FIGHT THEM. LOVE, ASIM."]
After a very, very short battle, the troll surrendered.
Tell us now and we'll let you live!
[hissss] The gong... I sold it to Drush... an ogre mage. In the tower to the northeast, beside the house of the witch. He is gone but said he would return today.
Very well. You may go, Grae.
[hissss] You are... honorable? I... I must flee!
Inside the ogre's tower...
Yes, we come in peace... why are you not attacking us?
I have no quarrel with humanoids, unless they have one with me, first. I am a mage, and would much rather be left to my studies. May I ask why you are here?
Actually... I'm looking for a particular gong. Grae the troll shaman supposedly sold it to you.
A gong? Oh... that. Well, yes, I do thave that... I saw it the last time I made a visit to the troll mound and thought it was of an adequate size to shovel cow dung. What do you need with it?
We wish to return it to its original owner.
Hmm. Well, I shall tell you what. I happen to have a need for a Wand of Frost. Find one and I'll trade you the gong for it.
Where would I find a Wand of Frost?
Hmph. I don't know... where do you humanoids normally get such things? Do they not sell them in your cities? I am not an expert at your ways. I suppose, if you wish, Adratha might have one. She is the witch that lives in the house beside my tower. Other than that, find one on your own. Up to you.
I'll go and see if I can find one for you.
Very well. I shall be here when you return.
One boring search later!
Yes, I have. Here... let's trade.
Hmmn... yes, this will do just fine. Here is the gong. Thank you. Um... sorry for the smell on the gong... can't be helped. Ol' Bessie here has a... problem...
[sniff] Ahh, even Boo cringes from such a foul odor. Surely this instrument will never make beautiful music again.
Ew... ewwww, Asim, put something over it, at least! Acch, I had enough of these stenches when I was in the circus! [cough! cough!]
We returned to Delosar's Inn, though nowhere near fast enough for me. The gong smelled truly foul beyond words.
And you, Vittorio... you can go. But I warn you to stay out of my way... I don't even want to hear your name, you foul drunkard!
...There is... there is just th' wee little matter of me bartab...?
Grrr. You've got gall. But... I suppose I've got my gong. I'll pay half of your tab, fool. Now get out.
Y-yes, yes, of course. And thank ye, me Lord... I am most appreciative! You are so kind!
Dennis also gave us a Boomerang Dagger.
After that strange, horrific little interlude, it was time to head off to the Windspear Hills once we arrived, we were accosted by monsters... But something was a little off.
Asim! These monsters are all pure of heart! There is some strange deception at work here. I have no wish to fight ye!
After we slew them, they all turned to men.
In fact, one of them is supposed to be Ajantis from Baldur's Gate 1, but we do not have the correct party member (Keldorn) to gain this little tidbit of information. Also, a Know Alignment spell reveals them all to be Lawful Good.
[Saerileth, her breast heaving with emotion, turns towards Garren.] Sir, thou must believe that we did but defend ourselves, and all are victims of some elaborate deception.
[Garren nods and turns to you.] This is a strange, bloody business.
My name is Asim. What do you imply, friend? What did you see?
I wonder if I saw what I think I saw. You were all ogres fighting, yet deaths yielded human bodies. Now there are no monsters, only you and these slain knights.
It appears that I have been tricked into killing these knights!
That is the conclusion that I've come to, though the priests of Helm will not believe what has happened. They will seek justice, and only your heads will suffice.
That is dire news indeed. What do you suggest that we do?
I suggest that you take sanctuary with me until you can discover how this unfortunate event came to pass.
I shall be honored to accept your hospitality.
Follow behind me. My cabin is but a short distance South of here. I will meet you there.
Your kindness is welcome. How did you come to happen by when you did?
You are not the first to suffer because of falsehoods and trickery. I have undergone the same, though my trial was less bloody. I was once lord of this land, and had many holds across the heart of Amn. Taken from me, it was. It was almost overnight, and I still bear the scars in my dreams. I am content now, having found solace in the quiet of the wood, but I will forevermore curse the name of Lord Jierdan Firkraag.
I know this name. It was he that bid me rid his land of its ogre menace.
It is true to his style, organizing an elaborate plot to discredit a rival. I do not understand why he would target you, however. My case was obvious. He sought my lands, so he discredited me. There were missing people only he could find, banditry only he could stop. Solutions to problems I am sure he caused. In the end my properties were razed in a single night. The people lost faith in me, and my influence crumbled. Now, it would seem, he has targeted you.
So he undermined your barony, but why would he come after me?
I do not know. Perhaps you slighted him in some way, without even knowing. He seems quite singleminded in his purposes. What I do know is that he is not the worst of your worries. The Most Noble Order of the Radiant Heart will seek your death if something is not done quickly. I have friends among the Order. I will speak with them as quickly as possible. Perhaps I can persuade them to look on you with mercy. I can but try.
I thank you for this. You are most kind.
He has been kind to me so far. I would not wish him harm.
I am glad. He is a trusting sort. That is why Lord Jierdan Firkraag was able to usurp his lands. My father languishes while Jierdan lives the high-life. You could do much to bolster my father's spirit. Bringing that Firkraag to task would help a lot. Please, if not for my father, then for yourself.
Slow down, Jum, you'll alarm our guests. What is wrong?
Bandits! I saw them! Coming! They try not to be seen, but I saw them! Nearly here! Hide and run!
Bandits? I'll make short work of them.
Good and good! Garren away, so no one here to guard the home. I'll go hide in the hills I think!
Now, Jum, I can help if need be. We also have our guest, so I doubt there will be trouble. A fine opportunity and I'm sure he'll take care of everything.
And so, the bandits teleported in with the aid of magic and kidnapped Garren's daughter. Life's a bitch that way sometimes. Most of the time if you happen to be a Bhaalspawn, actually.
We have taken Garren's child! Now it is time for his bothersome friends to die!
Can we not talk? Why have you stormed this peaceful home?
To shatter the peace, to ruin your name, to torment that old fool Garren. Above all we are to deliver a message, a message to you! A challenge is given! Your ruin continues with the devastation of Garren Windspear in your name. Away goes his child from under your nose, and I wonder who will bear the blame! Lord Firkraag watches with amusement as you die a public death again and again! So much more entertaining than simple killing!
That friends of yours wronged him is all that matters. The magnitude is irrelevant! Now you are destroyed, and your reputation fails! Revenge against you is revenge against those that are safe in the arms of death!
...Well, they WERE bandits after all. Death came swiftly!
This must end! I cannot live under his shadow, under... his heel!
I would see it end as well. I will rescue your child, no matter the risk.
I thank you, though I don't know where you will find him. His hooligans prevent searching. I don't know... Perhaps the ruins in the north east? I don't know...
I will find your kin, rest assured!
I thank you. You will travel unmolested, for my pleas of your virtue were heard at the Radiant Heart. They demand justice for the slain, so that is your task now.
Asim, we must find this fiend who steals children and disguises knights as monsters and apply a butt-kicking for goodness! All must be avenged!
We have to find Garren's child! He... he's cleared our name with the paladins, it's the very least we could do! We have to try!
Ah, yes, off to rescue the kidnapped victim to restore one's good name! Sounds like a tale my Aunt Bertha once told me... although it was her turnip pie recipe that was being held hostage. Still, turnips are a serious business where I come from. You should have seen Aunt Bertha ride in, armed to the teeth, battling Aunt Binny for the right to her pie. The entire village almost went to war over that one... worst crisis since the griffon famine in '22. Ahhh, nostalgia...
We headed outside, and Jum gave us some more information.
He gave us Firkraag's Challenge.
This whole area is full of some things that bring back fond memories of the first game.
Remember the area just north of the Friendly Arm Inn with the ankhegs? It was a wonderful place to level up in the first game. Pity that that 974 experience just doesn't go very far at all, now...
See the little teal square to the upper left of the cursor in this one? The first game was also packed with little pixel-hunty containers of this sort that had some really good loot - the Ring of Wizardry outside the Friendly Arm and the ankheg plate in a field in Nashkel come to mind. This area's full of a lot of such containers.
However, they're all like this one - empty and saying "haha, fuck you!"
Nearby, we found the Dryad Queen that the dryads in Irenicus' dungeon had asked us to find like 40 days ago. Whoops.
I apologize for bothering you. I have brought some acorns from your dryad sisters. They have been trapped by an evil mage for many years.
I've been waiting for you. Ulene, Cania and Elyme must have their trees replanted so that they might be free. Give the acorns to me brother. Sisters! We've longed to see you again, loves!
My Queen! Asim has saved us. Can our trees be saved? Has Irenicus doomed us?
Nay, little sister. You are not doomed. Come Llyna! Plant our sister's seeds that they may again taste the wind. Ulene, Cania, and Elyme. Follow Llyna and she shall bring you back to the safety of the forest. Go well and know that I shall protect you forever more.
Thank you, my Queen.
Thank you, Asim. The forest welcomes you. There has been evil near here and I pray for your safety as you travel. Good bye!
Well... I was only wondering... um... my scenes that I read to you the other day. Was I... was I any good? Please tell me truthfully.
Truth is my mantra, fair Aerie, when it comes to matters of the stage. And, aye, you were a sight to make any man swoon, possessing a talent that many an actress I've known would envy.
You... you aren't just saying that? I'm not that good...
Your skill needs to be sharpened, 'tis true, but the talent is plenty and full. And I do not exaggerate, my dove... your mother saw it true when she mused o'er your life upon the stage.
Ha... it's too bad, then, that there's nowhere to perform our piece.
But there is, my dove! There always is! We could shout out lines from the very streets of the towns, amazing on-lookers and filling them with envy! In the wilderness, we could draw a crowd of fearsome creatures and tame them with our entertainments! Paws and claws would clatter as they approved of our efforts and lauded your great talent, my lady! Word of our acts would spread... and we would be in demand all over Amn! Bugbears would stand beside great nobles, shouting out your name and mine! The toast of Kings and Queens, my dove... just imagine it!
Ha ha ha! You are a silly man, Haer'Dalis!
Was that the twitter of amusement I heard from your lips, my mourning dove? It is good to hear you laugh.
And it is good to laugh. Thank you, my comical bard.
Somewhat to the north, we encountered a group of fighters slaying some gnolls.
Shortly after, they fell to bickering.
Then, they revealed that they were all werewolves and attacked us.
They fell upon our merciless blades/spells/what have you.
And then, we came upon this.
Yes. Yes, it seems that the note was right and that I do, in fact, know this by seeing it.
All hobgoblins will face the wrath of Abi Dalzam's or Fireball. No exceptions!
There were some interesting things in this first area, mainly the suicide bomber kobolds. ...Yeah, okay, I just hit them with Abi Dalzam's before they even knew I was there, too... I did that with a lot of things, really.
We found two treasures in this area, an Amulet of Protection +1, which is exactly like a Ring of Protection +1, but an amulet. There was also a much more useful Ring of Fire Resistance. (The Rakshasa controlling the kamikaze kobolds had the ring of fire resistance. Seems appropriate, actually.)
Other than that, there was a very large pit.
A very large, very ominous pit.
People who have played the game will know what it hit and why I find this funny. Anyone who hasn't, which I find somewhat hard to believe exist, will find out very soon!
Further in, we found ourselves "pinned" in an area where orcs could shoot arrows at us.
Well, Jan swiftly found and opened the doors, and the melee fighters had their say with the foul orcs.
There were some golems a bit a head, but it proved to be an effective strategy to just stand on the ledge and shoot them with missile weapons.
Another room held a pair of cowardly orcs.
Foul orc! You will suffer the same fate as all your kind!
Gah! No fun! Help meeeees!
And why, pitiful creature, should I let you live?
I tell you secrets! Things about this place you not know! You get good secret here, I tell you!
Then cease your whining and speak!
Firkraag run the place! He hidey-hide in special place with Garren child. He wait in dere for yous to comes.
I know this already, fool. You have told me nothing of value. Die as you should!
Gaaah!! Run and scaredy-hide! Run!
Nearby, we found a troll (which we killed) and a bunch of hobgoblins and an otyugh. Death came to them as well! We also took the troll's cookbook.
And then camped. In the dungeon. Because we're hardcore that way, apparently.
[You realize that Saerileth is not far from you.]
Is something wrong, Saerileth?
Ah, nay beloved. All is well. 'Tis only that 'tis the Day of Three, the day when Torm and Ilmater do appear before Tyr. On this day not only doth the Evenhanded Tyr give ear to my prayers, but also the Crying God and Torm the Steadfast. 'Tis the custom of the Lords of Everspring to, on the Day of the Three, offer up to Tyr and his vassals all that is dear to us.
May I join you? Please don't make me some sort of creepy sacrifice oh god that's what you mean by "offer up all that is dear to you" isn't it
Truly? Thou wouldst wish to join with me? [Saerileth claps her hands together in delight.] Then offer up to Tyr, and therefore to his vassals, all that is dearest to thy heart. [Shyly, Saerileth takes your hand and leads you through the intricate forms of the prayer. It is over an hour before she returns to her bed, leaving you with the image of her bowed head and closed eyes.]
Eh? Damn, she got you to pay tribute to me all ritual-like? Didn't see that coming.
Oh HELL yes it was intended.
Haha, you crazy.
There was also a pack of vampires. Annoying, annoying, infuriating vampires.