Part 32: Continued
As we walked, Haer'Dalis and Aerie continued to rehearse their play. Kind of.
"Aye... Tersis has come to you, my Donner. Your yearning has called to me across the void, and against all sober advice, I have come."
"Then let me sing your praises while I can, my Queen. Let me tell you how I adore your flaxen hair, your porcelain skin... let me tell you how I long to brush my hand across your pale cheek..."
"Your breathtaking beauty has captured my heart and I long to cradle your innocence in my arms for the breadth of eternity..."
Haer'Dalis, your words... your words aren't in the play.
Forget the play, my mourning dove... I speak what is in my heart. My words come unbidden to my lips, for you have captured my soul in your innocent hands. I am yours, my sweet Aerie. Can you not see that? You blossom like a flower before me and I am entranced, swept away and caught in your fragile web all at once!
I... I thank you for your words, Haer'Dalis... but...
Do you not feel some spark, yourself, my dove? Does your heart not quicken in my presence as mine does in yours? I prithee, do not crush my fragile plea!
E-enough... please. I... I am flattered... but... but I was not expecting this. Please... leave me alone but for a while...
This popping up when it did screwed up my chance at screencapping Asim killing off the wraiths lurking around in the lower room. You can kind of see the spellcasting animation in that screenshot, though...
We went a but further and found this woman who mistook me for an orc at first. I am so not an orc. I am hot. Are orcs hot? Hell no. Thus, I am not an orc.
I have been called many things, but never "orc." Who are you?
My apologies. I am Samia, and it would seem we are in the same situation. Have you come searching for the tomb as well? I was not aware of another expedition.
Expedition? No, I know nothing of this. I am here seeking a villain named Firkraag.
Hmm... I was approached by a Lord Jierdan Firkraag. He seemed to suggest that I would need his approval if I was to make it through here. I haven't had much trouble though. There were a few orcs, but they seemed to be afraid of this area.
All the better for us then. What are you looking for?
I seek the tomb of King Strohm III of Tethyr. He lost his life to treachery, a sad end for a noble man. I hope to find texts in his tomb that will detail his life. But I cannot pass beyond this area. I have the key, but something prevents my entry. Perhaps the magic was attuned to stop those of a certain heritage. Probably a hold-over from a time of war, They did not want enemies defiling the tomb. You can guess what I am going to ask, can't you?
You wish me to enter and retrieve what I can? I will be glad to help.
I thank you. Here is a key which opens the first door. Inside you should find the tomb, though I doubt it will be unguarded. According to the legend the tomb contains seven guardians. The last guards the burial chamber and is invisible even to the strongest magics. If the legends are true, I'm not sure how you would get by such a creature. There may be clues beyond this door to guide you towards such an end. The texts should be in his burial chamber. Once you get them, return to me and I shall compensate you. Good luck... you'll likely need it.
We entered and found a book which conveniently detailed a method for seeing the last guardian.
It is for this particular area that I stockpiled potions of fire resistance, actually. Most of the guardians like to keep turning invisible and reappearing with a fireball and it's really annoying, but if you have fire resistance over 100% it just heals you. I ended up having Minsc and Saerileth do the fighting, Minsc because, well, Minsc, and Saerileth because as a Cavaleir she starts at 20% fire resistance so I didn't have as far to go to get it over 100%.
The first six guardians, each with a little speech.
You are not of the scale, but you are also not of the family. You have passed the door, but shall not go further. Down, down to the ground in reverence for the dead.
I am a guardian of the King that has fallen. Here lies he that cleared the air, that pulled the scale with his life and limb. Here lies he that saw the fire, and here lies ye that would disturb his rest!
None shall follow, save those that see as far and clear as he.
Death must have beauty for the hero that falls; death must have beauty so others continue. Death... has a mask that lets others see. Death...
Burn did the sky with rage and fire, until plucked from the air by the hand of a King. He saw the weak and scarred underbelly, he saw the path to the source of the fire. The path past the fire leads to rest well deserved, the path past the fire is clear to his eyes.
Flames did take the leader, because others could not see what he did. If only they had the eyes of a King.
Each guardian held a piece of a mask, which we reassembled.
This area has a fair number of random things, like this beholder named "director".
Wearing the mask, I was able to see the final guardian and direct the party in its demise.
Well, we reached the burial chamber, but I was very suspicious of Samia, largely because I had sensed absolutely no magic that should have kept anyone out. So, I summoned up this army, and Jan laid traps. Lilarcor had something rather appropriate to say, for once. I figured we could just lure Samia back to the room if she attacked.
Well, we entered the burial chamber and removed a shield and sword.
Turns out I was half-right about Samia. Treacherous, yes. Needed to be led to that room, not so much.
Sorry to crush any illusions you had about this academic adventure, but I'm more concerned with how much I can sell these little trinkets for.
Really? If I were you, I'd be much more concerned with the fact that I would be standing in a room filled with summoned monsters and traps.
Presently, I'm more concerned with how they didn't notice the earth elementals, you know?
They are quite massive and obvious, 'tis true.
Eh? Boo says "they must have failed their Spot checks". I wonder what that means...
After the battle... (It was short!)
Oh, Haer'Dalis... I... I am not ready to...
Wait, my sweet Aerie. The touch of a moment on your lips, if you will. Lend your ear to a poem so that this bard might express himself more clearly.
"Rainbows blackn'd, flowers wilted, songs discordantly rung
for my love has come before me, my heart is flung
at her feet with his hope barely neigh
that his love might let this poor sparrow fly."
Why... that's sweet, Haer'Dalis. I'm... I'm honored.
Be more than honored, my dove. Be in love with this bard. You are full of sorrow that you once knew the freedom of flight, while I have never known it at all. But I will know it, sweet Aerie, if you but declare your love for me. Allow me to salve your wounded heart, Aerie... allow me to caress your pale skin and show you that my love is true.
I... I do love you, Haer'Dalis. You have swept me off my feet... and I can no longer deny it.
Then I am finally content, my dove. You have made me most happy with your declaration. Let us walk together for a while and talk most earnestly of what now might come of it.
There was an old glitch where this greater wolfwere's regeneration rate would increase whenever the player quicksaved, rapidly becoming almost completely impossible to defeat. It's fixed now, though. Still get a few topics about it on game forums every now and then, though.
After the battle...
But you have deferred damage away from another. That is a valiant sacrifice, Minsc.
If I protect more people by being at the forefront then so be it! I shall charge in an instant and make my enemies sorry they were born as bad as they were! Actually, this changes very little. Minsc is happy.
As we approached this area, I remembered the troll's cookbook.
So we winched it up, and an air elemental came along with it and attacked.
This is how we got the Dragon Helm.
There seemed to be a mutiny going on here:
I didn't really hear what came next, as I attacked them. Evil creatures get the spell! Or sword, if you're Minsc, I guess.
After opening a secret door in the wall, we found... Wait, is that...?
The battle was glorious and difficult. Death claimed many valiant souls! Though none permanently, and most repeatedly.
All that for a longbow and another fancy gem. Argh.
Behind another door, we were asked for help again.
You have wounded? I will help them as best I can. Lead on!
Yes, come this way. Wounded in the back here. Yes. Move in close.
You see, the best way to deal with a trap that you see coming is to "fall into it" and thus turn it into your own trap. The stupid wolfweres died most easily, and we found the Horn of Blasting in a cabinet in that area.
Then, past a few golems and a bunch of orogs, we ran into the orog chieftain once again.
"Stuck in Craw Clan"? Gods, get better clan names. Well, you won't, because we're going to kill you right now, but I guess it'll be useful in the afterlife? Maybe. Whatever. I don't really care.
He had the Delver's Plate.
Then, there was a familiar face. An... unwelcome familiar face.
Tazok? Weren't you at the battle with Sarevok beneath Baldur's Gate? Aren't you dead?
Sarevok took too much for his plate, left us in a bad position. You'll find my new master much smarter, and me much harder to kill! Seems Firkraag has a special treat in store, brought me here just for you. Got a special bug in his craw about seeing you perform. Who am I to disagree if it means I get to put my foot to you once more! Fight! And know that behind Tazok is a power greater than you have ever seen!
You shall fall before me as an insect, Tazok. Just as you did in the past.
Tazok had an interesting key which I took from his corpse.
Garren's daughter was in the nearby cell.
Noble pursuits are well and good, but I can't let you throw yourself at Firkraag. Please, do not risk your life needlessly. Get the key from the mage and we can flee.
Further down, we encountered Firkraag. Turns out he's a massive red dragon. Who knew, eh? Though, it certainly does explain his personality and such.
So here I am. Why have you done this. Why have you forced this confrontation?
For my amusement, for my curiosity, and for my memory of transgressions long since past. All of this spurred me on, but I grow bored with you.
This tells me nothing. You meander around the truth like a cat taunting a mouse.
Very well, an in-depth response. Your fathers are my interest. Your lineage crosses the mortal and spiritual, and both concern me somewhat. Gorion raised you. I know this from my spies and followers. They are subtle when I wish it. Gorion was as much your father as anyone. He was also an adventurer in his day, and crossed my path long ago. Him and his Harper friends. I bear the scars of that meeting. He is beyond my revenge, being dead as he is, so I settled for the next best thing. I can torment his spirit by destroying you. Wherever he is, he is seething.
That cannot be the whole of it. Such an old debt must seem hollow.
I had toyed with forgetting the transgression, though it has not been that long in dragon terms. It was your other father that made me curious however. You are a child of Bhaal. What an interesting subject to study, or so I thought. Really, you are not so different, despite your little personal struggles. What will be interesting is your conflict with Jon Irenicus. That is something I would very much like to see. So I leave you your life. Do with it what you will.
I suppose you are in league with that sadist, aren't you? It would not surprise me.
I will have no dealings with that creature. I am merely interested in YOUR confrontation with him. Yes, that will be something to see. For now, you bore me. I will taunt you no more. This has been such sport that I bear you no ill will. You may go.
I cannot leave without Garren's child. You know this.
Do I know this? Do I really? Oh, very well. The brat was but a byproduct of my scrutiny of you anyway. The child has proven no more interesting than its father. I had finished taunting him some years ago really. It was only your arrival that brought him into this.
Then I regret coming. I did not wish to compound his worries.
I think he is actually happier now that the burden of leadership has been lifted. Such resilience took all the fun out of his downfall. All that is left for me to do is kill him and take the deed to the land. Here, rescue the child from my servant and feel fulfilled. Do not think it will be easy. I test my subjects thusly all the time, and they know that failure is death. Conster! Go to the child. If Asim fails to take it from you, kill it.
I will save the child and return for you in the future, Firkraag. I swear it.
Do as you must, it does not interest me until the 'future' becomes 'now'. If you wish to make a confrontation inevitable you know where I lie in wait. Now walk away, and see to your little rescue efforts. Take your time. Enjoy life. You have much to face.
I... would strike for goodness, Asim... but this dragon is so... so... It would not be cowardice to come back another day with bigger swords!
Back in the prison area.
Could we not talk about this?
There is nothing to discuss! I will make my forture here or die! Watch me, Lord Firkraag! Watch!
He died pretty easily, and we took from his corpse the prison key and opened Garren's child's cell.
And so, we left Firkraag's dungeon, full of much intent to return and slay the beast.
To be forever with the one you love.
Aye, the conjoining of two who love is a supreme blessing. [Saerileth nods vigorously.] The three-fold purposes of marriage, to bring forth children, to provide mutual help and comfort, and to preserve chastity, are all of equal import and value, but oh-the joy of a shared love!
Yeah, no matter which way I look at that, I'm not really seeing marriage as preserving chastity. Not without going into horrible comedy sketches, at least.
Does that mean a marriage which fails to produce children is cause for divorce?
Nay! [Saerileth's reation is immediate.] Divorce? 'Tis a horror! Only the breaking of the marriage vow-adultery--is grounds for divorce. And in the lands of Everspring 'tis an offense punishable by death, so divorce there is unknown.
Is there no room for repentance and mercy then, in Everspring?
There is. [Saerileth's eyes are pained.] If th'offended one, the one who wast betrayed, doth choose not to make the injury public, then 'tis possible. If a lady so injured can again accept her lord, or the lord his lady, then 'tis permitted. But if the betrayal is openly known, or if the injured one doth publicly prove 'tis so, then there is no clemency. The sanctity of marriage must be preserved for all.
I had never thought about the public aspect of marriage before.
Thou shouldst think more deeply of this. Marriage is a serious prospect for those of our ages.
Also, somewhere in this dungeon, I'm not really sure where anymore, I came across a scroll of Mordenkainen's Sword. We triumphantly (somewhat) returned to Garren.
You're welcome. I shall take my leave of you now.
Then I wish you well. Safe journeys to you, my friend.
It is nothing, Haer'Dalis. Just... just some errant thoughts.
Tell me anyway, my love. Your poorest word is a sweet poem to this bard's ears... and I would not have you experience a moment of fluster, if there was aught I could do for it.
Well... I was just wondering, Haer'Dalis... where do you see us in the future? You have spoken of plays and acting... have you been serious?
Ah... the future. I see.
Your love has given me new hope, my bard... I want to see what life has to offer, no matter my lack of wings. I... I want to travel, to see this world. Will you... be there with me?
Time holds its own counsel, my dove... and destiny plays such a game with this sparrow that even I cannot forsee the outcome. I have never paid much heed to the future, myself, preferring to experience things in the moment, as it were. To do otherwise is to concern oneself needlessly.
Live in the moment? I... I have always done that, Haer'Dalis. I want to live for the future, now... don't you?
I could not, even if I cared to, my sweet dove. Here... let me sing to you...
"When Man was made it was said
he would have eyes in the front of his head.
But the first Man was scared,
as he saw before him, lay bared,
the future... and in it, he was dead."
Hmm. A limerick for every occasion, Haer'Dalis?
Aye, my dove. And I've a ready quip and a belch, as well, if it'll put a smile on your sweet face.
Ha ha! Very well, my bard, I'll smile for you. Today, at least.
I can pray for nothing more, my love.
We returned to Athkatla and sold off our loot, and purchased the Bracers of Defense AC 3 and AC 4.
After that, we went to the sewers, and found the door that the key from Tazok's corpse opened.
On the other side, ominous things occurred.
Well, they're no match for Mordenkainen's Sword, to be honest with you.
Especially not five of them under the effect of Haste.
From their treasure trove, we claimed a scroll of True Sight, the Hammer of Thunderbolts, the Rod of Wonder, and a piece of illithid correspondence.