Part 61: Dungeon Crawlin'
Chapter 47 - Dungeon Crawlin'
Well, we walked out and got attacked by Balthazar's former subordinates. I guess that'll teach me to not ensure the man I have convinced to commit ritual suicide tells his lackeys to not try to kill me first.
Boo has an uncanny judge of character, but you... you give him trouble.
I shall give him more than that if this continues! I nearly conquered a nation! I will not be judged by a creature that stores nuts in its cheeks!
Hey! I resemble that remark.
Trust me, gnome, you do not want to partake in my wrath this day.
Food storage aside, Boo controls himself far better than you do. Do you see him ranting about mere glances? Let's look.
There, you see? No rant. In fact, right now we see him snuffing about for a comfy place to sleep. Admirable restraint.
I'm still in hell, aren't I? This is insanity.
Ah, finally a calming look across your face. Boo's handiwork, no doubt. Doesn't that feel better?
Let's... let's go kill something. Soon.
And finally, to Watcher's Keep. Wait, is that?
I will go and seek the Chosen of Tyr, to whom I owe my soul.
No, I haven't uninstalled that damn thing yet, and won't until I post the last update because, to be perfectly honest, I really don't trust it not to somehow completely destroy the BG2 installation. However, I did forget about it entirely and this was my real train of thought when I arrived in this area. This was about when I realized I had all the little idiot's equipment still in the Bag of Holding and so I sold it off to the Helmite merchant.
Ah, back in Watcher's Keep. Smell that? That's the sweet, sweet smell of vast amounts of treasure. And look at that, hints on some parchment, as well as some manner of baffling note, a golem manual, bracers, a dart, a Case of Plenty, and a bell.
Lots of enemies not really worth noting.
Also, some very nostalgic mustard jellies. I remember when these things were terrifying and could wipe out most of the party.
More loot scattered about! A candle, an ammo belt, a tinderbox, some slippers, and a mildly morbid note.
More weak enemies! Oh, and a wardstone.
A safe room, with some clue-filled parchment and another wardstone.
Still more weak enemies, a key, and another note.
And so, I returned to the kitchens and lit the fires.
Who are you?
I am Giltham, the temple archivist. I look after things around here - mostly maintaining the library and waking the old Priest for services. But I was not expecting visitors. It seems as if the outside world has abandoned us. It is just myself and the old Priest here now, wandering amongst the dusty archives.
Do you know how I can get into the lower levels?
To open the gate you must first perform the Ritual. But only the brave or foolish venture beneath, for there are dark secrets buried under this temple.
Uh... I'm a little rusty on the how the Ritual works. Can you refresh my memory?
Within the archives we once kept a Sacred Scroll describing the Ritual. But lately things have gone... missing. I apologize for this. Perhaps you should speak to the old Priest.
Can you tell me anything about the old Priest?
There is little to tell. A good man, though he has become forgetful in his old age. Perhaps you should speak with him. His chambers are near the northeast corner of the temple. Approach him with caution. He has developed quite the temper. When I wake him up in the morning, the only way to calm him down is to have his favorite slippers ready and waiting.
Slippers. You really are senile, aren't you? I think I've wasted enough time chatting with you.
I would offer to give you a tour of the library, but it is so nice and warm by this fire. I hope you understand if I prefer to stay right here.
When will I ever learn to not open coffins? The correct answer here is "never".
Oh... I see you have brought my slippers. How thoughtful. May I have them?
Sure... take the slippers.
I apologize for my... undeserved reaction. I will take my slippers and let you finish your work here. Look through the sarcophagus if you wish.
If they don't try to kill me, they just confuse the hell out of me. Anyway.
Killed the two golems in there and found another note.
I took a good look at the (rather impressive) statue over the altar.
And set about the ritual. (The book was already on the altar, I only needed to add the bell and candle.)
Upon placing the second two items on the altar, however, four of the nearby statues sprung to life.
Ring the bell.
The bell chimes once, and the glow of the altar pulsates in response. What do you do next?
Ring the bell.
The bell chimes a second time, and the temple shudders as the magic gathers. What do you do next?
Light the candle.
The tiny blue flame of the candle burns with an unnatural intensity. What do you do next?
Open the book.
You lay the book on the altar, open to the chapter and verse that were woven into the sleeve of the old Priest's cloak, and recite the passage. What do you do next?
Ring the bell.
You ring the bell a third time. Behind you, the mirrored portal begins to glow. The gate to the lower levels is now open.
However, the rest of the statues sprung to life! They were summarily dispatched and I took Foebane and Usuno's Blade and then headed into the now open portal.
Upon reaching the next level, I was greeted by a caged demon.
I am not a follower of Helm, though I willingly serve him in this cause, foul creature! Psst. Haer'Dalis. How am I doing?
This whole 'playing the hero' nonsense.
Oh, most dramatic! A fine show.
Hmmm... sounds like you have been tricked into doing Helm's dirty work. Looks like we are both unwilling participants in this little drama.
All lies! Stand aside and let me descend to face the Imprisoned One!
Listen, friend. We can help each other. The fact of the matter is, you cannot get through the gate to the next level unless I open it for you. So I'm not going to let you through the gate unless you help me end the enchantment that has kept me bound in this infernal dungeon for the last thousand years! Do we have a deal?
What must be done?
Aaaaand there it goes.
Crap. Oh well, might as well go along with it.
Glad you've decided to be reasonable. The Helmites were never reasonable. It is so much easier to deal with one who isn't a fanatic. This cage I'm stuck in was fashioned over a thousand years ago by four arch-mages, who combined the power of four diverse elements to imprison me here for all eternity.
How can I get you out?
The wizards who trapped me here each had a lab on this level of the dungeon, where they worked to fashion the enchantments of my cage. Each wizard created a scepter to focus and channel his power. Only the combined power of the four scepters can lock or unlock my cage.
I will find the scepters. What next?
Gather the scepter keys and place them in the four slots around the cage. Once free I'll be on my way, and you can go through the gate and take on the Imprisoned One - if you still want to.
Who are you?
I'm just the resident whipping imp! A menial servant. A serf. A slave. A vassal. The Masters couldn't care whether I live or die!
I assume you are talking about the wizards the demon in the other room mentioned?
You shouldn't be talking to that one. He's always stirring up trouble between the Masters, with his hints and rumors and half-truths.
I hate to tell you this but your masters are all dead. Ah, who am I kidding, I love to do this sort of thing.
Dead? Huh... not surprised, I guess. I knew trouble was brewing. The Masters must have finally killed each other off. You know, I bet that explains all those screams and explosions I kept hearing a while back. At least now I know why the fans shut down: nobody left to start them up.
You mean you've just been sitting here for centuries, doing nothing?
Hey! One of the Masters told me to wait right here for further instructions, so I waited *right here*! I'm smart enough to know better than to disobey an order from one of the Masters.
So how long were you going to just sit here and wait?
Look... I'm an immortal spirit, okay? What's a thousand years to me? And if you knew how the Masters punished disobedience, you wouldn't have moved for a thousand years either!
Would that all my audiences were as patient as you! There is little worse than hearing the shuffling of feet as the uncouth louts head for the exits while the performance is but a few hours old!
With the Masters dead, I've got no reason to stick around anymore. But since you did bring me the news that I'm free to go, I'll help you out. This whole place is powered by a magical fan - without it, all the labs shut down. If you want to find anything besides empty rooms, you should start that fan up again. There were four Masters and each kept a library and a lab. Air, Slime, Cold, and Fire were the magicks that they practiced. The Masters' pets and creations probably still inhabit their labs, so beware. Some of them are near unkillable if you don't know how to hurt them. A little hint for you, the Masters were always planning to kill each other. Each Master could use his unique elemental power against one of the others. So before you go stumbling into something you can't handle, you should check out all the libraries. The Masters were into some pretty strange stuff... but at least they kept written lab notes of their work. These notes will be invaluable.
Wait, I have some more questions to ask you!
Sorry, I've wasted enough time hanging around here already. One last tip: Go to the Air Lab first. It's behind me. The fan has two settings: high and low. That might be important. And now I'm gone.
In the Fire Library, I found a note and the Fire wizard's journal. Well, a fragment of it, at any rate.
Lacking as I was in any real solutions, we headed into the Air Lab and were immediately attacked by guardians.
The Air Scepter proved to be pretty useful in that it allowed me to turn the fan on.
Anyway, I headed to the Air Library next. It held another note and the Air wizard's journal. The Slime Library held the appropriate journal and a key. As I was running about...
If 'Boo' wishes to ask me a question, Minsc, then he should feel free to do so.
But Boo's question is of such a personal nature... well, the thought of it makes me blush right down to my buttocks.
I... see. Perhaps Boo should ask me anyway to get it off his chest. We... wouldn't want a hamster to bottle up all that anxiety, now, would we?
You are very insightful! Such bottling could lead to all sorts of un-hamster-like explosions! Well... Boo wonders why you do not perform all your duties, since you are our witch?
My duties? I thought you were supposed to protect me... I didn't know there were any duties involved. And what's so personal about this?
Well... a Rashemeni witch accompanies a ranger on his dajemma and teaches him the lore of herbs, among other things. Well... Minsc and Boo have discovered a need of some of this lore, maybe. After frolicking in a bush that we now consider to be of suspicious nature, both Boo and I have contracted the Calimshite Itch in rather... private places. A salve would be most joyously anticipated!
I... I... ah, I'll do what I can, Minsc.
Many thanks, Aerie! Soon, maybe, Boo can return his little mind to thoughts of butt-kicking instead of butt-itching, and I for one shall be very relieved!
It was your choice, Sarevok, not mine.
We shall see if my new view on life is something that will prove lasting. But... I cannot see a reason that it will not remain so. There is much in my former life that I must... atone for, I think. Somehow, I think it will be a good goal to strive for... don't you?
Having opened the gates properly so that the fumes would be blown out of the Slime Lab, we entered, destroyed its guardians (slimes, spiders, that sort of thing) and the giant snake that was a pet of the Slime wizard, as it held the Slime Scepter. The big pool in the center had, among other things, a Poison Head for the Flail of Ages.
It was then onwards to the Ice Lab, whose guardians were made quite vulnerable thanks to the fumes from the Slime Lab. It was, however, VERY cold. Really quite appropriate, when you think about it.
The Ice Golem had a Horn and the Ice Scepter. The last library held a note and a journal that I unfortunately misplaced, but it detailed the following strategy for defeating the Fire wizard's pets.
Head into the lab and get the attention of one of the fire elementals...
...and lead it into the Ice Lab, where it would promptly freeze.
Do this four times, once for each of the elementals, and the wizard's pet Fire Giant no longer regenerates, handing over the last scepter and the Helm of the Rock.
And thus, back to the demon, who was rather stereotypically treacherous. Ah well.
The Chromatic Demon is supposed to switch between four forms, each of which has different immunities and vulnerabilities. Unfortunately, I kind of killed it off before it got beyond its first form. vv
The demon had the needed Portal Key as well as the Circlet of Netheril and Ixil's Spike. At this point I headed back to Cespenar and he made, among other things, a Juggernaut Golem Manual, a much better version of the Circlet of Netheril, and reassembled the Helm of the Rock.