Part 34: I swear, the world did NOT want me to finish this update...
Chapter 24 - I swear, the world did NOT want me to finish this update...
Chapter 4 Narration
And so, we arrived in Brynnlaw, after several tendays of messing around. Good thing that the multiverse was perfectly content to just wait until I decided to move on, eh?
Yes, that was quite the voyage, wasn't it? All the swaying to and fro, and there was that storm two days ago and the close brush with the dragon turtle, there. The food reminded me of the time Ma Jansen went on her trip to Smurtlepuss and Uncle Scratchy did all the cooking, too. Ahhhh, smell the air! Feel the invigoration!
And our especial congratulations to you, captain. It was fortunate that you distracted those other ships we saw in the distance. Your signals in the night; were they some type of warning?
Yes, well, I thought they might be pirates, so I merely displayed a series of lights that mirrored their own. I wished to appear as though I was one of their own.
Again, you have discharged your duties with more honor than I had expected. They truly seemed to fear to attack.
It merely proves how short of wit they can be. One must always be a step ahead of their adversaries. Regardless, we have arrived. I leave you to your mission, whatever it may be. It has been a pleasure sailing in your company, but now, I take my leave. [He leaves.]
Asim, this pirate is cunning and untrustworthy. Watch him closely; he seems to be plotting some wickedness. See how he loiters over there? Perhaps you should see what he wants.
He was definitely plotting some wickedness.
Save your words! I did not trust you from the start! I am ready for your treachery!
My apologies, as I said. This was not my intention at all, but one must do what good business dictates. You will recognize those that face you now. I do hope they make short work of this encounter; I have no tolerance for violence, really.
Goddamn I hate vampires. That Mace of Disruption came in handy once more. We explored, noticing some fights between pirates and the like (and being attacked by pirates in our own turn), but not much out of the ordinary for such a place. Well, this was:
I gotta go!
Hold it, son. Why have you taken money from me?
I'm sorry sir. I gotta do it or he'll hit me again!
Explain yourself, boy. Who will hit you if you don't steal my money?
Yes, say and we shall hit him for hitting a child! Minsc and Boo and you, we shall take vengeance, oh yes!
I can't say, sir. I don't want to die! I gotta go!
He fled pretty quickly, so we went into the tavern to see about the man we were supposed to meet. Inside...
Yes, Saerileth, but there's little we can do. Brynnlaw is the path to Spellhold.
Iniquity often travels with one down the path of necessity.
Not to mention taking one through wretched hives of scum and villainy, hmmm?
We looked around for a bit, and found Sanik, who we were supposed to meet.
I've been told that you might be able to give me some information that I require.
That depends on what it is that you wish to know. I am but a simple merchant and trader.
I wish to enter the Asylum. I have reason to believe that a friend of mine is being held there.
Spellhold? I supply them with their basic needs such as food and spell components. Some sort of magic is being planned for the place. The orders have recently increased manyfold.
I need to gain entrance to the place. Do you have any idea how I might do so?
Perhaps so, if the need is true. There is little to worry about for I must vacate the town very soon.
From what do you flee?
"Flee" is not a word I like. It is merely a misunderstanding with a local Guildmistress. My new wife and I shall take an extended trip until things settle. What in the...?? Is someone behind me?
And a diminuitive assassin magically entered the room. (This is never a good sign, actually.)
Hello Sanik! The Lady Galvena sends her greeting. She dislikes being crossed.
You!? The girl is free and you have no claim on her. Leave us be!
Free? Hardly. The Lady will not brook her property being stolen. You shall pay for your theft.
Speak not of my Claire as if she is an object! She is no longer Galvena's lackey! She is my love and she is free of your foul touch!
Hah! A romantic? Perhaps your death will serve some bard well. [Attacks and kills Sanik.]
Yeah, except, you're going to die. Most likely thanks to the angry berserker charging you right n-
You kill this man? MINSC WILL KILL YOU! GO FOR THE EYES, BOO! GO FOR THE EYES!!
...Dammit Minsc, let me finish my little gloating speeches.
Innkeep! You seem to know something of this. Why has this man been killed?
Huh? What do you care? You've only just met him.
I have need of information that only he could have given me. Tell me what you know!
Aye, if only to teach the woman to keep her affairs out of my tavern, I will tell you what I know. The assassin was sent by Lady Galvena, the mistress of the local Courtesan's Guild. You can see how, in a port full of sailors, such an undertaking would bring the woman power and wealth.
So much is obvious. What disagreement did she have with Sanik?
Sanik, the fool, fell in love with one of Galvena's girls, Claire, and she with him. He took her from the guildhouse and proclaimed her his wife. Galvena is a harsh woman. She considers the courtesans her property. She accused Sanik of theft and he scorned her in public. The whole town knows of it. This, then, was Galvena's reply. I suspect that the girl Claire suffers even as we speak.
Truly, an injustice has been performed. Where is this girl, Claire?
The Guild has a house on the west side of Brynnlaw. Customers who pay well can conduct their 'business' in a bedroom within the Guildhouse. I suspect that Galvena has already taken the girl there to be punished.
Is the place guarded? How would I enter?
You could get in as everyone else does. As a paying customer. Galvena keeps both male and female courtesans for either taste. Failing that, you would have to kill several well-trained guards. I also hear that Galvena keeps a pet wizard. Either way is foolish, in my opinion.
I thank you for your help. I shall leave.
As you like.
A ways away outside, we found a courtesan who pleaded with us for help.
Of course I can spare a coin. Why is it that you worry about returning home empty-handed?
You seem like a good person, sir. I will tell you if you promise not to tell Chremy.
I don't even know this Chremy. Speak on, girl.
Chremy is the source of my troubles, sir. Count yourself all the luckier if you don't know him. I wish I didn't. I should begin with my name... Ginia. I grew up here in Brynnlaw. My father was a tailor until he was killed, and my mother is long dead. My Lord, things have not always been like this. Brynnlaw was once a pleasant town, though my memories may be influenced by happier times in my own life.
Regardless, life was hard... but it had its pleasures. We lived on fish and our produce. The asylum offered employment to many of us. Then the pirates arrived, led by the despot Desharik. Desharik had lost a war with another pirate king. Forced to this island, his ships invaded the town. They took our homes. Desharik killed our mayor and dumped his body into the sea. We were forced out into the streets. We begged the Asylum to offer us shelter but the wizards within locked the doors against us. My father could take no more injustice.
The young lass IS talking, starling.
He tried to get back into our house and was executed for breaking the law of the pirates. Once they've stolen something, the owner has no claim on it. Desharik said that we would have to pay for our father's 'crime'. He gave us to Chremy, his lieutenant, as a reward for service. He put me to work as a courtesan for the drunken pirates. It's horrible, sir! He says that he'll kill my brother Ason if I don't do it.
'Tis a horror beyond comprehension. [Saerileth visibly pales as she continues.] Asim, we *must* help this girl.
Time out. Time out time out time out. This has been really bugging me for quite some time. Look at the goddamn portrait. There isn't even any flesh tone there. It consistently refers to her skin as "alabaster". She is already pure fucking WHITE, how the HELL can she pale anymore? Okay, done now.
I can't take it anymore!
Why have you not gathered your brother and run away from this man?
There is no escape for Ason and I. There is a smuggler who will take us but we cannot afford to pay him. There is nowhere to run on this island.
Where is this smuggler? I will pay for you and your brother's passage. I will also ensure that Chremy never bothers you again.
Chremy can be found near the inn. The smuggler's name is Calahan. He will be near the docks. Thank you for your offer but please be careful!
Don't I know you?
Calahan don't be owin' ye money, do he?
I do know you! Are you not Calahan the Sailor lately of Ulgoth's Beard? You warned me about Mendas.
The very same! Mistress Malory is a mean one, she is.
What happened? Were you forced to leave?
A sad, sad tale ti' that ye're about to here. Mistress Malory got it into her 'ead that Calahan was spreading malicious rumors 'bout her. I admit that I may o' been a bit free with th' tongue-waggin' but 'tisn't like my stories be untrue. Malory has... connections on account o' her... activities. She had Scotty McAverstein give ol' Calahan a sound beating an' a ticket to Brynnlaw. Here I been ever since. I found me place in th' smuggling trade. Things could've been worse.
I suppose. Is there anything of interest happening here in town?
Aye, 'tis a place of adventure, Brynnlaw is. If by adventure ye mean drinking an' other shore leaves activities. Why the crew of the Bleedin' Mary just got in. Drinkin' up a storm they is!
Well, I'm really here to speak to you about Ginia and Ason.
Aye, good kids... sad tale. Ye be involved in this somehow? 'Tis the first that I be hearin' of it if ye are.
I want to help them escape this island. Can you offer them passage?
That I can. For 100gp per head. If ye can pay, I'll take 'em to Ulgoth's Beard. Therella will take care o' 'em.
That sounds fair. I'll pay for their passage.
Then we be agree'n. Their passage is assured if ye can get them away from that bastard Chremy. Send 'em to ol' Calahan when ye've got things arranged.
Actually, I'm looking for a girl named Claire. Perhaps you know her?
Aye, I know who ye're talking about, sir. But I'm not one to go on gabbin' about things I shouldn't. Miss Galvena wouldn't permit it.
Perhaps some gold might make you more willing to talk?
Well... I suppose I could tell you about the lass, but it means me hide an' more if this be found out. Pay me 200 gp, sir, an' it'll worth me while.
Very well... Take it and tell me what happened to Claire.
Claire's boyo was determined to take 'er away, see? He told off Miss Galvena, said he were takin' Claire to a better place and that were all there was to it. Poor Claire believed 'im, too... believed that Mistress Galvena might not do anythin' about it. Miss Galevna doesn't let none of us go, ye can be sure of that. Claire were waitin' outside the guildhouse fer her boyo to come, but Miss Galvena had him killed, an' she took Claire inside the guildhouse an' locked her up.. I don't claim t' know what Miss Galvena's going to do to Claire, but 'tis a terrible thing, t' be sure. No one stands up t' Miss Galvena an' gets away with it.
How do I get into the guildhouse, then? I need to speak to her.
If ye wants to be walkin' around the guildhouse, ye'll need a medallion. All o' Miss Galvena's courtesan masters wear them. 'Tis how the guards recognize 'em.
Wait a minute... wouldn't they know that I didn't work for Lady Galvena anyway, medallion or no?
Miss Galvena be hirin' new masters all the time. Ye could bluff yer way past the guards if ye had a medallion. Them guards won't care enough to check.
So how do I get one of these medallions, then?
Aye, now, that's tough. All o' the courtesan masters have one, but they mostly stays in the guildhouse. Chremy be out an' about, I think. Ye could get his.
Who is Chremy?
He be one of the crueler masters, he is. I hear he's been watchin' the new lass, Ginia. Poor girl. Chremy doesn't trust her a wink, an' she's done nothin'.
So if I find this Chremy and take his medallion, I should be able to get inside?
Aye. Track 'im down. Ye may want to come back to me, an' I'll tell ye if it's the right one. Never know how much jewelry a nasher like Chremy'll have, aye?
There's no need for that. I've found the man I'm looking for.
Why would you be looking for me? I don't even know you.
It isn't worth the time it takes to give you reasons. Suffice to say, I will kill you.
You're messing with the wrong man, fool!
I killed him and took his medallion from his corpse, and returned to tell Ginia that he was out of the picture.
He is dead, Ginia. You and Ason are free of his clutches.
Then he is dead but Desharik shall merely give us to someone else. You have done so much already, but could you arrange passage with Calahan for us?
It has been done already. I suggest that you find your brother and go to see Calahan immediately.
I do not know how to express my gratitude, Asim. You have saved us in every sense of the word. Thank you so much. I shall go to tell Ason. Farewell!
Uh... I'm a new employee of the Lady. How do I get in to see her?
That's the most blatant lie I ever heard. Look, if you want to get in, there are two courtesans out front and you'll have to pay them for their services just like everyone else.
I have proof. Here! Do you see the medallion?
Thief! I know not where you obtained that but it will not serve you well! Guards!
DAMMIT! This plan sucks! Oh well, time for plan "hack and slash our way to our goal"!
A fine plan, my raven!
Minsc is very good at this plan! RRRRRRAAAAUGH!
From his corpse we took a key and headed into the rest of the place.
We found another key in one of the side rooms, and finally found our way to where Galvena and her pet wizard were.
Please! I have served you for years! Why could you not let me go? [sob]
Silence! The punishment is severe and immediate. An example shall be made of you as we made of your... 'husband' Sanik. I should think that...
Galvena! We have a guest.
Hmmm, so we do. Who are you, man? Where are my useless guards?
Well, let's see. I am Asim, an adventurer. Your guards are all lying face down in pools of their own blood, except for the ones that don't have faces as the result of being hit in the face with blunt weapons. Or having their faces melted off with acid. Your days of enslaving these courtesans are over. The Guild is finished and you must pay for your crimes.
A wonderful example of a strange mix of an evil mastermind speech and a heroic denouncement! Spectacular, my raven!
Thank you, Haer'Dalis.
How bold! Vadek, what do you make of this?
Arrogance is a common trait among the dregs of adventuring.
Well put! I would say that a lesson in humility is in order. Vadek, begin the lesson.
Unfortunately for you, a common trait among our enemies is "death by raging barbarian".
From all accounts Galvena deserved to die. You are free to go but I was wondering if you couldn't help me first.
I will do anything that I can but I must see my husband Sanik first.
I'm sorry to say that Sanik was killed by Galvena's assassin. I saw the whole thing unfold.
Killed? ... no... [sob]... No... why did she have to? [sob]
[Saerileth silently places her gentle hand on the shoulder of the sobbing courtesan, and Saerileth's lips are moving in wordless prayer.]
I'm sorry. [sniff] I suspected that she might have killed him but I didn't want to believe it. He was going to take me away from all of this. But now...
I'm very sorry. Do you have anywhere to go?
The captain of Sanik's vessel, Golin, is a good man. He would offer me safety.
I shall escort you to him and insure your safety.
He will be near the docks. I shall take you to him. Come.
Claire? We've been searching all over for you since Sanik was murdered. Are you alright? Who have you brought with you?
I'm okay now. Galvena nearly killed me to make an example to the other girls. This is the man who saved me.
Then we are in his debt. Thank you, friend, for saving Claire. Is there anything that we can do to repay you? If Sanik was still alive he would offer you his life.
Now, if Korgan was in the party, he would force you to take some money, no choice. If Keldorn was in, he would force you to take no reward, no choice. I forget what happens if you have them both, it's been really quite some time since I did that.
The girl deserved a better life. Galvena seemed to me a woman of no small evil. I only need to know how to enter the Asylum. Sanik was going to tell me when he was killed.
Spellhold? Well now, I'm not sure you would even want to get in there. People that go in don't usually come back out again. But I see that you are determined. So be it, I'll say what I know, though it won't be of tremendous help. Only two kinds of people get in there: Cowled Wizards and 'deviants,' people with special conditions of the mind.
Tell me about the Cowled Wizards.
There's really only one representative of the Cowled Wizards here, and he's long since given up their rigid discipline. This place doesn't suit it. His name is Perth the Adept, and he is seemingly free to come and go from Spellhold all he wants. Uses a ward stone to pass the gates, I think. You might... ah... 'convince' him to give it up. He might take a bribe, but likely your meeting with him will have to be violent.
Well, this will undoubtedly be interesting. Thank you for the information.
Yes, I'm taking this path. I will admit that the "Minsc talks to Desharik" entry method is better, but I find that the little guided tour we get this way results in everything making just a little bit more sense.
Hello, I am here with Asim, and I have some things to ask you.
...Asim? Asim! Test of limits! Yes, test of limits!!
We took from his corpse a Book of Endless Spells and the Asylum Wardstone. Then, it was off to Spellhold.
Yeah, sorry about this being about a day later than I expected, everyone. I ran into a few problems, most of which involve my plan for yesterday being shot all to hell. casual dining restaurants should not take an hour and a half to get you your fucking APPETIZERS
Archival Commentary - I can see myself hating the mod more and more as I through this.