Part 59: Here, there be dragons.
Chapter 45 - Here, there be dragons.
I was formed in Candlekeep in your youth, unaware of your heritage... unaware of the base evil that lurked in your soul. 'Twas I that kept you safe, that knew your limitations, that advised you caution. I am your doubt, Asim. I need not be lost forever. You need not drive me from your heart, Asim. Your struggle against the taint of our father has eroded me, but I am not gone yet. You can still reclaim me!
Putting aside why I would want such a thing as doubt, how is such a thing even possible?
This plane is an extension of yourself, as am I. I am yet a voice within you, and I needed to address you... just as you needed to address me. What you decide, here, has power, though not all decisions are conscious ones. Were you to decide to restore me, it would be so. Once you were innocent of power, of murder, of all things dark and tainted. With but a word, all could be restored... you would again be the boy you were in Candlekeep.
I fail to see how losing my confidence could benefit me.
Without limitations to act as the walls of your world, Asim, you are adrift in the void. You stumble about, blind. You grasp beyond your reach. Doubt defines limitation. You who are of divine heritage have an even greater need of me. Without doubt, how far will your power grow? When will the lust for it end? What shall be destroyed in your wake? What shall you become? Doubt is the wall that holds back the taint that you struggle to master. Without me, it would overwhelm you. Without me, you threaten everything... including yourself. Do you understand, now?
I believe so.
Then let us return to a time when I could keep you safe. Reclaim me, Asim... cast off your tribulations and let us both be born anew.
There is no going back to what has already passed. What you offer is no answer.
I see. So there is no room for doubt in the heart of an immortal? Such is as it was meant to be. With all doubt removed, the path to that which is immortal within you lies one step closer. Face it... if you dare.
It died soon enough.
So yes, as you can see, both by the fact that it was doubt and not innocence and the fact that I got an evil Bhaal power, I apparently took a slightly bad dialogue path with the Solar. I forgot to make screenshots of my dialogue choices so I had to guess based on stuff in Infinity Explorer and, well, I guessed wrong it seems.
Anyhow, off to Abazigal's lair.
You know, a lot of people seem to have trouble with Draconis. If you're cheap enough, as I am, you won't have any trouble at all. See these traps? Just lure him over after he transforms (this was tricky because he decided to chase a panicking Haer'Dalis so I had to wait for them to get near the traps, but yeah) and he'll be easy enough.
No... I see I am wrong. You are not brothers of the tattooed one. *sniff* I smell the taint of Bhaal on you.
Stand aside, Draconis. This is between me and Abazigal.
My father warned me of you, Asim... the Bhaalspawn kin who would steal his destiny. And my birthright!
Your father? Are you Abazigal's son?
As if a mere human were even worthy of having an immortal's essence flowing through their veins! My kind are the only creatures deserving of Bhaal's taint!
I sense this is going to end in violence.
You cannot stop this, Asim! The Lord of Murder shall rise again, and I shall prove myself worthy to Abazigal by bathing in your tainted blood!
Well, hel-LO there.
Spike traps - for when you really, really need to kill something quickly.
On his remains, I found some bracers and I also took a trophy.
Within the lair...
"Greater Werewyvern" eh? That just feels awkward to say.
This looked handy.
Argh, locked doors.
How about YOU? Yes, you will do nicely.
I'll show you this ti- OH GODDAMMIT
How about YOU?
Yes, yes that worked.
Kuo-toans and Greater Water Elementals.
Yes, Greater Water Elementals! Despite the fact that nowhere in the game do you encounter any other water elemental, lesser or normal, aside from the mighty (yeah right) Olhydra, Prince of Water.
The disembodied voice is right, though I'm not sure what the hell he's talking about with this "game" nonsense. Olhydra, Prince of Water was around, though.
Anyhow, that wasn't a very noteworthy battle, and afterward we found this fella in his cage.
Claws? You must be delirious from your injuries.
You... you have no scales. You are no fish man! You are a human! Please, you must listen to me. Abazigal must be stopped!
That is why I am here.
I... I can help you. Help you to defeat Abazigal. I know the secrets of this place. I feared my knowledge would die with me, but now I can pass it on to you! The tunnels. *cough* The tunnels are the key. Abazigal's caverns are connected by underground tunnels. You will have to explore them to find your way through this maze of caves.
I already know about the tunnels. That's how I got here.
Some of the tunnels are long and dark. *cough* It is easy to get lost within their vast expanse. *hack* *cough* If you had a rope, you could tether it in place and use it to guide you through the darkness.
Please tell me you have some rope.
I hid this rope within the hem of my robes, in case a chance to escape this horrid place ever came. *cough* *cough* Take it. It will guide you through even the longest tunnels.
Is there anything else you need to tell me?
There is something else. *cough* Something you must do before you can face Abazigal. The entrance to Abazigal's inner sanctum is protected by a dragon.
Worry not. I'm quite used to killing dragons by now.
The dragon does not serve Abazigal willingly. *cough* She is under a geas which compels her to defend the entrance to his inner sanctum. *cough cough* Yet even should you defeat her, the spell which seals Abazigal's gates will not be broken. When Balthazar sent me here on my... mission *cough* I brought a powerful Scroll of Reversal to break the geas and open the entrance to Abazigal's private chambers. *hack* *cough* The scroll was taken from me, but it cannot be destroyed. *cough* I suspect it is still in the possession of Abazigal's minions. *cough* *hack* You must find that scroll to break the geas and gain access to Abazigal himself.
Is there anything else you need to tell me?
Since you found your way into this chamber, you must already have discovered that certain pools within this complex contain a liquid which will allow your lungs to breathe water for a short time. *cough* *hack* *cough* You must have already found some to get this far. Don't lose it!
I still want to know why Balthazar sent you here alone in the first place.
That you shall not know. *cough* My mission dies with me. *cough* *hack* I now accept that I shall never leave this place alive. My injuries are too severe, my tortured body defiled so that even healing magics can no longer save me. *cough* I resisted death's soothing embrace only out of duty to Balthazar. *cough* *hack* But now you will kill Abazigal, and I am freed from my obligations in this world.
A shame the manner of this man's death prevents us from restoring him to life - my interrogations could have brought us much information!
Rope! And... a mummified hand, apparently.
Hah, take THAT, tunnel!
...Uhh, what? Floating eyeball? Oooookaaaaay.
Oh god, they're everywhere! DIE YOU CREEPY BASTARDS
Hello, crazy man!
I seek a Scroll of Reversal. Have you seen one?
An Untherian delicacy? About yay wide and served with leeks?
Um... no. A Scroll of Reversal. A spell to remove a geas?
Well, yes, I suppose I might have one floating about my underwear drawer like a weasel. And twisting them into the most frightful knots. You get the picture.
Yes. Can I have the scroll?
I don't know how they do things where you come from but here in Abazigal's Enclave, we work for our Scrolls of Reversal.
What do you want me to do?
To be honest, I can't really leave my experiments. They're quite fragile. Plus they smell nice. Like cheese.
You know, I consider myself something of a cheese connoisseur. Why, when I was in the cracker smuggling... uh, I mean shipping... business an intimate knowledge of cheese seemed like an occupational necessity. For some inexplicable reason, everyone in Amn wanted to put cheese on their crackers. Of course, I prefer turnips myself.
Several days ago, I caught a gauth beholder lurking around my eyes. He seemed to have a bit of a crush on one of them. Regardless, he had lovely eyes. Needless to say, I took a dagger and tried to harvest an eye for my experiments. The little bastard dived into one of the pools just east of here and disappeared. I need that eyestalk. Unfortunately, the cavern he dove into has become infested with kobolds.
Mighty heroes like Minsc and Asim cannot prove themselves against such unworthy opponents... maybe Boo should tackle them alone. Minsc is joking, of course. Let the kobold butt kicking begin!
Or perhaps it was Elder Orbs in that cave... I can't remember which. No matter. Get me the eyestalk and you can have the Scroll.
You want me to fetch this eyestalk and retrieve it for you? My standards are a little higher now.
Well, excuse me! If you're too precious for the job, why don't you subcontract?
These men here. They seemed interested in 'Quests' and 'Adventure' earlier.
They appear to be rank amateurs.
Yes, I suppose they do. You seem resourceful. Find some way to help them and I'm sure they'll take the 'Quest'. Come to my lab when you have the eyestalk. One of the other pools should get you in.
Hhhhuh. Well, I had been finding scrolls of Stone to Flesh everywhere, so yeah, I gave it a shot.
I have freed you from your stone prison, young adventurer.
Uh, thanks. Guys, are you ok?
Yes (no thanks to you... can't even backstab an eyeball!)
Shutup, Tim! Greetings, my, uh... lord. I am Bondari Quickhand, a thief. These are my companions Nanoc the Barbarian and Tim Goldenhand. He's an elf. And a mage.
So young and eager... *sigh* I can hardly believe that I was ever as naive and innocent as these three.
Uh... I guess I should thank you for saving us. Is there some way we brave adventurers can repay your kindness? Something we can do for you to fulfill our debt of gratitude. Anything? Anything at all?
A terrible evil has swept across the land and the lives of millions hang in balance. You have been chosen, Bondari, and you must not fail in your quest!
A Quest! Wow! This is great! What do we have to do?
A fiendish beholder and his kobold cohorts have infested a cave to the east of here. An evil dragon threatens the land! I must have the beholder's eyestalk to slay the dragon and save the country from certain doom!
By Mask's mask! We can't let this happen!
Go, noble adventurer, and retrieve the eyestalk. The fate of Tethyr lies in your hands!
What kind of reward do we get?
I shall give you... 100 gold!
100 gold! We're rich! You have a deal, sir. We shall fetch this eyestalk and save the world. C'mon guys!
Wait! I have to rest and memorize magic missile!
Worry not, elf. Nanoc will protect you!
I love this part. Also, you will notice that Bondari refers to Asim as "she". He was transgendered at the time because wild magic is silly.
ALTERNATE REALITY TIIIIIIIME
(But Tim is terrible. Remember the kobold king? He cast one spell then hid behind a rock while we had to slay everyone!)
(Hey! I have the healing potions! I heal you!)
(I can shrug off a blow that would fell a normal man! Unfettered by your civilized ways, I...)
(Enough! Ready...) ATTACK!!!
BACK TO YOUR REGULARLY SCHEDULED REALITY
Well done, Bondari. Here is your reward.
Thanks. It was a good quest. I found a dagger and Tim here got a scroll of identify. In a couple of days he'll be able to tell me about my dagger.
Thanks again, Asim! Bye! Good luck with the dragon!
I bid you a 'Farewell' suitably unfettered by civilization.
Oh thank god they're gone that was so damn surreal.
More surreal than a conversation with me?
Damn, time to break out the A material.
He found us the requested eyeball as well as some Bronze Pantalettes.
Incidentally, this is what you're up against if you try it the other way, but since you don't get the Pantalettes that way you're an idiot if you take it. I popped in and killed them and went back out.
And then it was time to get the Scroll of Reversal.
I have the gauth's eyestalk.
Ah, most excellent! Here then, is your Scroll of Reversal. Now, you must excuse me. I have a new son to raise.
Die, twisted fiend!
So you want to play! Let us, then, 'get it on'!
He went down swiftly, and soon after...
You have the stench of the Bhaalspawn... the same stench as Abazigal, though he tries to hide it behind the more palatable scent of his wyrm-kind heritage. Perhaps you have the power to break Abazigal's spell, Bhaalspawn. You have the scroll of Reversal. I feel... its power. Free me from... my bondage!
What is my reward if I release you from this geas?
I will... give you... the wardstone... to pass. You can... kill... Abazigal!
Very well, I shall free you. (read scroll)
With the geas broken, the dragon's glazed eyes clear. Its mighty voice rings out through the cavern, sure and strong: The enchantment is broken! I am free from this accursed servitude to that bastard half-breed! Free to leave this place and never return!
You promised to give me the wardstone to pass these gates. Remember?
You are a fool, puny human, to bargain with a dragon. We care little for promises made to the likes of you. But you are in luck, tiny man. Abazigal must pay for what he did to me, but I am not eager to allow myself to fall victim to his snares once more. Therefore, I will honor our agreement and give you the wardstone before I leave this vile place. May you extract unholy vengeance on the mongrel half-breed's head!
And you, my dear dragon, are a fool for insulting me. Pay the price.
It totally did, and we were up one wardstone and ring.
After that, into Abazigal's lair proper!
Ascension... Ascension makes this battle really fucking annoying. See the wyverny thing there? There are four of those, a purple dragon, Abazigal himself, and the usual ice salamanders to contend with. You basically walk in and start fighting for your life and thanking whatever deity you feel appropriate that the dragon isn't affected by Tactics.
Lesser creature? Maybe you'll change your tune after I end your miserable life.
Save your taunts. You are not worthy of having Bhaal's blood within you! Only a dragon is worthy of containing the Lord of Murder's immortal essence!
A dragon? From what I hear, you're nothing but a mongrel half-breed.
Those insolent words shall be your last!
Somehow, despite all the OH JESUS CHRIST, I remembered to take screenshots!
Time means nothing to me, puny dragon!
Die, beast, die!
Showing your true form eh, Abazigal?
IT SHALL DO YOU NO GOOD!
IIII AMMM AAWWESOOOOOOOOME
Know this even as I die, fool! You have been used and misled. Witness the truth to which you have been so blind!
I have. Balthazar, I have need of your --
Enough. I know what happened at Saradush. I know about the Bhaalspawn.
It is unfortunate. But I can explain, my old friend...
No. You force me to tip my hand, now. It is time for you to die.
What? What are you doing?"
You are no Child of Bhaal, Melissan. Your part in this ends here... I shall see to that. My brethren... take her!!
Time for more revelations!
I greet you once again, godchild. You near the final stage of your destiny. All will become most complicated very soon.
Then any help you could provide would be appreciated.
We shall see. You have fought against brother and sister in recent days... fought and prevailed as they arrayed their forces against you. You have done well. The most powerful children of Bhaal gathered themselves together years ago. You know them as the Five. Together, they hoped their power would destroy all others of their kind. But what you do not know is why... what purpose your siblings have for their actions. You may suspect... but hear the truth from the lips of one you have murdered...
You shall explain the truth of your actions, spirit, to the one that killed you.
Hmph. If I was killed by that one, then I don't owe nobody nothing!
You shall answer our questions of the Five.
The Five, eh? Hmph. Yaga-Shura owes them, alright. Sure... I'll speak. I was approached when I was still at the temple, still being taught the powers of Bhaal by the old witch. The greatest of all the Bhaalspawn were joining forces, I was told. We would defeat all others before us! Yaga-Shura didn't trust the others. Figured sooner or later the Bhaalspawn would turn on each other. Figured I was stronger than the rest of them, maybe. But not all of them together. So I joined. Raised an army of men and slaughtered all the Bhaalspawn we could, waiting for enough of the essence to collect in the Abyss...
For Bhaal, the dead god and your father, to be resurrected as he had planned before his death.
And we would be His right hands, all five of us. That's what we were promised. We would live as demigods, ruling Faerun with our power. Ha hahaha! It was worth taking a chance for, Yaga-Shura thinks!
So the Five sought to resurrect your father and become demigods. What does this mean to you, godchild?
It means that their plan is defeated... Bhaal will remain where he is: dead!
Hah! You are a fool to think the Five are defeated, now. Of all of Bhaal's children, who do you think possessed the most of his essence? You, certainly... but we Five, as well. How many of the Five have you killed? Myself? Illasera? Probably Abazigal and Sendai, too? That is a lot of Bhaal's essence... and still one Bhaalspawn remaining.
Yes... Balthazar. If anything, fool, you have stirred Bhaal in His slumber. He is closer, now, to awakening than ever before!
The last of the Five yet remains, godchild, and your father stirs. What will you do?
I'll just have to stop Balthazar and Bhaal, too, if it comes to that.
Then continue on your path, godchild. I shall see you soon enough.
Loot! Blue Dragon Scales, Gram, and a flail head.
Archival Commentary - damn, I just keep finding places I screwed things up for the thread. Fixed some more in this update and the previous one actually.