Part 7: Chapter 5 - Tricky questions, tricky wizards, annoying people, and scum and villainy abound!
Chapter 5 - Tricky questions, tricky wizards, annoying people, and scum and villainy abound!
I guess my sexiness was bothering Saerileth, because right after Jan joined up, she decided to drop this question on me.
It doesn't matter what a woman looks like. It only matters what *she* is like.
Thou art wise, Asim. Beauty fades with age, but if thou lovest a woman for her heart, then thou may'st be happy with her all thy days.
You are certainly wise for your age.
[Saerileth shakes her head.] 'Tis no wisdom of mine, Asim, but the grace of Tyr alone. [She smiles, and the roses in her cheeks deepen.] But I am glad that thou dost think likewise. Long love doth so.
So, what you're saying is that anyone should love for a long time?
Aye, 'tis so, Asim. Thou dost understand mine heart.
With a little grin, I said "Praytell, is't truly thine heart that thou speakest from?"
I... Why dost thou speaketh in such a manner?
Why, it is in this manner that thou dost utter thine words, and so likewise shall I.
Thou dost continue to smile, as thine speech were a joke! D-dost thou mocketh mine speech?
I heard the sob in her voice and saw the tears in her eyes. I had not expected her to react so poorly to such a joke.
I see that you do not grasp the concept of so simple a jest, Saerileth. Had I known, I would not have done so.
W-wilt thou teacheth me of such jests, Asim, that ye may ne'er again wound me so?
Yes, of course I will. My, but I need to step carefully, here...
And then we (finally...) found Madeen!
I am Madeen. I represent one of the masters of the Athkatla order of the Cowled Wizards. He seeks to employ you in a matter of some urgency.
The Cowled Wizards? They are the ones that arrested Imoen. I would be very interested in speaking to them about that.
I do not know anything about that. I represent one of the wizards, as I said, a Master Tolgerias. Perhaps you could speak to him of this Imoen?
Very well. How do I go about meeting this Tolgerias fellow?
He will be most pleased. Master Tolgerias can be found in the government building behind me... you may go within. Do not tarry overlong, my friend.
Being that the matter was just a tidge urgent, we headed in and struck up a conversation with Tolgerias.
Perhaps Madeen has let slip a little of what this is about? No? Hmm. Well, yes, I do have something I would like you very much to do, if you'd care to hear it.
First I would like to know where Imoen is.
Imoen? Ahh... the girl arrested along with the wizard. I do not have such inconsequential information on me, so put aside such demands.
I will not put it aside. Either you tell me where Imoen is or you shall not receive my assistance. You see, there are two very important rules with this whole manipulation schtick you're trying to pull off, Tolgerias. First, you can, under no circumstances, allow your target to hold any of the cards at all. Second, you ensure that you are actually superior to your target. You have failed on both points.
*sigh* I will look into the matter if you will perform the task. However I can guarantee nothing. If this means we do not work together, so be it.
If there is a chance that I will find out more, than I agree to do your task, wizard.
Excellent. Your agreement means that the Cowled Wizards shall hold you to your word. This matter must be handled with discretion and expediency. There is something that has been plaguing us for more than a week, now, and has become quite alarming. You know of the prevailing attitude against magic here in Amn, yes? Well, amongst some it is even worse than that... a burning, palpable hatred. One particular man here in Athkatla has murdered two of our number in cold blood. He is currently in hiding, and we need you to track the fellow down. We have been unable to do so, much to our frustration. Cowled Wizards cannot be assaulted without repercussions or it will lead to... serious problems.
Who is this murderer, then, and how am I supposed to track him down when you failed?
He is Valygar Corthala, last son of a wealthy family and a true brute. Ask around and you may discover if he is hiding within the city or someplace else. He has a home in the Docks district, or he may have fled to the Umar Hills. His friends and servants will not speak to us, but they may to you.
And just what am I supposed to do with this Valygar fellow once I find him? I am no murderer.
We do not ask that you commit any murder. We wish Valygar be delivered to us, that is all. He will likely resist, so if you must kill him so be it.
While surely all murderers must be brought to task, I wonder what manner of justice the Cowled Wizards would apply. It is something to consider.
But if you do kill him, I simply must have his body. Valygar must be delivered to us whether he is dead or alive, you understand, yes?
Is there anything else I should know?
There is nothing I can think of. Perform your task, and the Cowled Wizards shall be pleased.
Very well. I will hunt this murderer down and return him to you so that you can apparently rape his corpse or something, you sick, sick bastard you.
What was that just now?
What was what just when?
You muttered something.
I most assuredly muttered nothing, and the nothing I muttered certainly did not involve any possible necrophiliac tendencies you may potentially have.
Just... Get out and bring him back. You gave your word, so I expect nothing less. I await the sight of this murderer's body soon.
Well, we headed back to the Slums to check on the local hive of scum and villainy. It's a good practice, you know. Keeps the scum and villainy on its toes and all that. No self-respecting hero likes an easy time slaying evil, you know. Once in the Slums district...
Yes, indeed. I wish we could help them more.
Thy pity doth thee credit. Let us make occasion for aiding them.
Inside the hive of scum and villainy, we met up with a knight by the name of
One overly long, unimportant story later, he's a knight of the Radiant Heart and a worshipper of Helm. I let him join up as a healer, since Jaheira is even more annoying than Anomen!
I do not wish to leave your... company. Certainly you must still want me around? You have said as much, even if not using those exact words.
This is not easy, but I feel it is necessary. Perhaps I will come and collect you later.
You may, but it will not be the same. I will likely be in Athkatla, near the Harper hold that is there. Take your time in finding me.
Speaking of annoying, meet Nalia! Gods is she annoying. More annoying than Anomen or Jaheira, or even Anomen and Jaheira combined. soooo annoyiiiiiiiing and even worse she's useless too
You! Are you for hire? As a mercenary, I mean? You look capable and hearty, like you've had formal training.
I might be able to help you. Calm down and tell me what's wrong.
I need a good strong hand to help me. My land is under siege, and none of this rabble will aid me! And after all I've done for their kind, too! Please, can you assist me?
This rabble? Their kind? What do you mean by this?
Well, nothing really. Some people are just more priveleged than others. It is not my fault, but I do my part to help those beneath me. You'd think they would be grateful.
It seems like you think your wealth makes you a better person than others.
No! It's not like that at all! I just... I do what I can, and try to be a good person. Those foppish snobs that hold themselves above everyone make me ill. They have no respect for the hard life that poor classes endure. I help when I can, but I won't be able to help in the future if my lands are sacked. Please, will you help?
Perhaps I can. I will need to know my enemy, however.
There is no time! I only hope that the attackers have not made it inside. If they have... if they have breached the inner courtyard they will be hard to rout. I will tell you what secrets I can. Perhaps you will be able to sneak in and attack from a more vulnerable spot. I hope Father is all right. He... would not leave. Should I travel with you? I've spent a few weeks slumming, and am quite capable of opening the odd lock. I had to open three just to get out of the main keep. Aunty doesn't like me leaving at night, but how else can I donate to the poor and not be noticed? They have pride too, and... I really shouldn't be seen with them.
You know, you keep saying you don't think your wealth makes you better, but your wording speaks of the belief that you are. Regardless, I don't think I need an extra hand right now. I will meet you there if you point the way.
Asim, thou art needlessly cruel with thy words...
I assuredly mean no cruelties here. I am simply pointing out that the words she uses imply that she does, in fact, believe that she is in some way set above the people she tries to aid. I am not saying she believes that, but that is what the words mean. Do you see?
Aye, I believe so.
Very well, but if you reconsider, I've always wanted to travel. Do you help other people? I really like helping the less fortunate. I am told they work so hard.
A commendable spirit, to help others... although with maturity, girl, you will come to realize that not all are worthy of such attention.
I will meet you at my land. I will mark it on your map. We had best gather south of the keep, so we are not spotted. Please be quick.
Yet another random interjection by someone I didn't know followed that, but at least this one would prove to be most interesting.
Word has come to me of your actions. I see you as capable and headstrong, with the ability to handle what e'er is thrown at you. Just the type of creature that I am looking for.
Your flattery is not needed. I will listen to what you have to say.
Certainly you understand that these are dangerous times, and that extreme measures are often called for. That is why I have need of you. I am Lord of a community outside Athkatla, and while I provide for my people as best that I can, there are some things I cannot do. Battle is not my strong point. There are marauders, horrid Ogres and Trolls that must be destroyed with fire or they regenerate. I need a firm hand to push them back. I need you, Asim. I offer a grand sum, worthy of a man of your stature. I offer 10,000 gold pieces if you can free my land of this scourge. It is a fortune, you will agree.
Ten thousand? That is an astounding sum for simple monster hunting.
It is a small price to pay for safety. It is not as though I am without funds. I merely believe in paying for quality. You will be wealthy in my service, rest assured. You are the choice I make, and the offer stands whether you go now or not. There is no other decision that makes sense. I have no doubt your service will be exemplary. If all goes well, we shall all receive exactly what we deserve. My lands are on your map; the Windspear Hills await.
Ooh! To take action against monsters of great evil! Already I feel Boo wriggling in excited anticipation!
Are you sure that it's your rodent, Minsc? I once felt excitement before impending doom fell upon me, and it turned out later to be a mild case of indigestion. You should get that checked out, you know... I was laid out for weeks in a bed, eating nothing but ice cream and porridge, and we wouldn't want you turning into a chubby berserker, now would we?
Of course it is Boo. Boo is always happy when opportunities for heroism come! We shall crush these ogres, and rangers and hamsters everywhere shall rejoice!
Well... I've heard of this Lord Jierdan, Asim, if it's any help. He has the coin to back up his offer. He's not reputed to be the nicest noble in Amn, but who is?
Well, Yoshimo, that would obviously be the nicest noble in Amn, whoever that might be.
I really, really should have seen that coming, shouldn't I?
Yes, yes you should.
Then, as we walked a little further, an elf named Salvanas happened to notice Saerileth.
Let me be the first to introduce you to the pleasures of the bedchamber! Let me be your first!
[Saerileth's face is scarlet.] Sir, thou dost much offend me!
Let me be the first to handle your budding breasts! To kiss your cherry lips!
L-leave me be! [Saerileth turns away, her shame unbearable.]
So, I decided to have a little "chat" with Salvanas...
Wow, that pretty girl is quite a prude, isn't she? Makes me want to get in her pants even more! The harder the flower is to pluck, the sweeter the fruit.
HEY SALVANAS! [Look around the tavern to make sure that people are watching.] DID YOU EVER GET THAT HIGHLY-CONTAGIOUS GENITAL RASH TAKEN CARE OF?
What? W-what are you talking about? UH, I THINK YOU'VE GOT ME CONFUSED WITH SOMEONE ELSE, STRANGER! [whispered] Hey, I don't even know who you are! How did you know about my genital rash? But hey, how about this? Saerileth is obviously your girl. I'll leave her alone if you just keep this rash thing a secret. All right?
Well, that was interesting! But anyway, the real interesting stuff about the Copper Coronet would start once you got on Lehtinan, the owener's, good side.
Then let's not remain strangers. I am Asim.
[hurrm] Yes. Well. I am Lehtinan. Proprietor of the Copper Coronet, if you will. [hurrm] Welcome.
I'm looking to dispose of some coin. Any ideas on how we spend it?
[hurmm] Coin is... always... welcome. You will find the Copper Coronet able to fulfill your needs, whether drink, rest, or other sorts... of entertainment. [hurrrm]
Other sorts of entertainment? What are you talking about?
[hurrrm... hurrrmmm] Very well. You look like one who might... appreciate... such entertainments. There is more to my little place than meets the eye.
Isn't there always? My cousin Urnist... bad speller, by the way, always been the curse of that particular branch of the family... once owned a tavern that opened up into a pancake factory in the back. Best pancakes this side of the vales, too, and you wouldn't know it if you drank there. Mind you, after the Pancake Famine things were never quite the same at the factory again. I'll have to tell you about it, sometime.
Go over to the fellow by the door at the far wall and tell him I said to let you in. Talk to Frankie or perhaps Madame Nin if you wish to... partake. And enjoy. [hurrm]
Perhaps if he'd known the trouble we were about to cause, he would have thought twice. How would Minsc have put it? "Butt-kicking, for justice!" That sounds about right.
The guard let us in easily enough.
What's going on down here? What are all these cells?
I warned you, fool! Guards!! Intruders!!
Here we can see that I did some preparation. Turns out I didn't need to at all, but I'd never played this part with Tactics before so I didn't know what to expect. Lots more guards, as it turns out.
Well, since the guards were... unable to tell us what the cells were for, I decided to ask the occupants.
My name is Asim, and I am certainly not aligned with Lehtinan and his men. It is clear that they have no love of right and justice, and certainly no love of centipede bagels.
Or turnips, for that matter.
You're probably right, Jan. Anyhow, who are you?
I am Hendak, a proud warrior from the North until my capture by slavers. I have been imprisoned longer than any of these men and survived, though only barely. I have done what I can to aid these other slaves and keep them living through the battles that Lehtinan puts on to amuse his noble fiends. I beg of you, please free us! I have never begged before, and yet I do it now so that I might wreak vengeance on Lehtinan and end his sick and twisted enterprise!
I have little taste for it, myself. Very well. I will attempt to free you, if I can.
I truly hope that you will be able to, friend. The beastmaster has the keys to our cells. If you get the key from him, we will be able to escape!
We are going to free this warrior and his people? This is a task of great honor! We shall be great heroes for this, heroes doing heroic things for all to see!
May the Gods aid your task! Would that I could help, but I shall have to be content with the hope that Lehtinan will feel the cold swiftness of my blade.
Anyway, one of the guards had a scroll of Simulacrum which I quickly copied into my spellbook.
With that, we paid a visit to the beastmaster, slaying a thoroughly inconsequential winter wolf along the way.
Well, right after I summoned an Air Elemental...
(After one failed attempt that turned me invisible, I might add...)
Anomen decided to charge in and take my role of talking to people. Like the annoying jerk that he is.
They all went down easily, but Minsc was slain in the process. We gathered his gear and body to raise him when we were done. The Air Elemental did its job marvelously, and Jan cast Invisibility on Yoshimo, allowing him to get a very good backstab on the beastmaster.
After freeing some enslaved children. (Wow, what a bastard. Enslaving CHILDREN? Only the most vile of crunchy-goodness-hating fiends would do that!)
No, child. I am here to let you free. Quickly, now.
Oh... oh! [sob] I'm free? Oh, thank you, sir, thank you!
We freed Hendak and his comrades!
We are free, my brothers! Go, now, and free the women! Hendak shall strike his blade into the heart of our so-called owner, so that he shall never trouble you again! Go and savor your freedom!
Praise be! We are free! Free at last!
Thank you again, my friends. Now to the task of killing that fiend, Lehtinan. Assist me if you wish. Otherwise, stand and watch the vengeance of Hendak be fulfilled!
Run! Run! The slaves have escaped!!
Aiiiyee! Run for your lives! They'll kill us for certain!
Also, the beastmaster had a rather nice bow which we gave to Yoshimo, allowing him to rain swift death from afar.
Combat abilities: 3 shots per round.
THAC0: +1 bonus
Damage: +1 bonus
While trying to summon another Air Elemental to slay Lehtinan's small army, I was instead polymorphed into a wolf.
A very, very angry wolf, with sharp teeth. I tore the flesh of evil with my fangs! It does not taste good.
After slaying a few more guards, I tried to summon another Air Elemental to aid Hendak against Lehtinan, but instead...
I caused a dagger with a minor enchantment to appear in my pocket. Odd.
Fierce words were had when Hendak confronted Lehtinan!
Enough, fiend! You no longer own me, and I'll ensure that you no longer claim ownership over any other, as well! I have survived your hellish fighting pit for years... you are no match for me!
We shall see!
After the words, it came to swords, and Hendak's were the fiercer by far.
At last! Justice hath been served!
Yes, and it has been a long time coming. I owe you my thanks once again. As do all those you have freed. I intend to take this place as payment for my slavery, to ensure it is never used as such again. I wish I did not have to ask, but there is one more task that needs doing. The slavers remain at large in Athkatla, hidden at their base here in the slums. They have many children, yet, that they retain as slaves. I would ask of you to rid the city of this infestation once and for all.
More slavers in the city? Very well, we shall do what we can.
I knew you would not let me down. The compound is not far from here... a dry-docked boat just across the way on the east side of the slums. It may be risky to approach openly. There was talk of a secret passage to the sewer connecting the Coronet to the slaver base, but I do not know where it might be. I know nothing of the defenses of the place inside, however. My stay there was brief and very long ago.
I shall go to this compound, then, and return as soon as I am able.
Good fortune to you, my friend.
As we were going to have Minsc raised at a temple, Saerileth struck up another chat with me.
Had you ever been to the Prime before this?
No, I had not. 'Twas not Tyr's will that I leave the Temple ere I was ready, and the first place he directed me was Sigil.
Sigil? A place where evil may not be directly fought; rather, to fight it is a game of chess, wherein the loser attracts the Lady's shadow... Not a place I would like to go.
Aye... From thence came I to the Prime, to Toril. And pleased am I to be here.
At least you're among friends. Where better place is there to be?
Aye, thou seest the right of it. And I am glad that we are-friends.
Yeah, I used the f-word there. Maybe not a good idea, but it didn't have that much of an effect in the end.
I sold some of our loot to Bernard, since Hendak had left him in charge of the actual inkeeping/barkeeping/storekeeping that he had been doing for Lehtinan.
Saerileth, at this point, voiced her thoughts on my use of the magical arts.
That doesn't sound like you, Saerileth. [narrow your eyes at her] At what game dost thou play?
Forgive me, Asim. This is not an attempt at deceit but to know thy mind.
Then know that I do not wish to make a name for myself but to do what is right.
Asim, thou art a good steward of the gifts thou hast been given. It pleaseth me to travel alongside thee.
After that, we visited the nearest temple, which happened to be of Ilmater, not that that information is particularly relevant.
I would like to see your services.
Of course, my brother... please come with me.
Christ, trying to write-in things for Saerileth is a pain in the ass. I want to be a little mean with it, but there's absolutely nothing to go on, since everything in the mod is either completely adorable in a creepy 10th grade "romance" way, or so cruel it's like trying to make a field goal with a puppy instead of a football. Soon - the alternate responses to Salvanas, some of which are hilarious!
Archival Commentary - Wow was I ever too nice to this mod when I started.