Part 129: In Justice We TrustPART 129: IN JUSTICE WE TRUST
The missing warden, Kristoff, is dead, killed by an intelligent darkspawn as part of a scheme to trap Bianca and pals. One magic lightshow later, and everyone's been dragged into the Fade, the world beyond worlds. Can they escape? Will there be more irritating puzzles? What's up with this lost village? All these answers and more might be revealed in this week's exciting episode...
[A dozen Childer and other darkspawn attack us as soon as we regain control.]
[They aren't tough, but they buy time for the First to escape. Better get on that trail!]
[The Fade marsh is more straightforward than the real one. There are no branching paths, it's just one gnarly corridor with treasure in side passages.]
I cant believe you survived the Joining.
You got drunk and made a bet, didnt you?
I bet you I could crush your tiny human skull.
I bet I could drink you under the table.
Not concerned about the 'trapped in the Fade' deal?
There's probably alcohol in here somewhere.
[Scattered throughout this area are little plinths guarded by lust demons.]
[Interacting with them collapses a Veil Tear back in the real world, giving us access to some awesome treasure if and when we return to reality. There are three to find.]
At least these things are still around.
[Just like on our last visit to the Fade, there's a lot of free stat boosts to be found in here. If you're playing Awakening yourself, it's worth coming to the Blackmarsh first, although these boosts are less consequential now our stats are so high.]
The runestones are here too...
[This fucking puzzle, man. You might not even notice it is a puzzle.]
[You have to interact with the runestones in a specific order. Hit the right runestone and you get a flaming path. Hit the wrong runestone and the puzzle resets. There are six runestones and no clues on how to proceed. You have to brute force it.]
[I used Google.]
[Rage demons will spawn in one after another for a while. Once you kill the Greater Demon they stop.]
Who keeps saying that?
But I would never contradict your ladyship! No! I don't--
No! Please, my lady! Have mercy! No! No! (Screams) No!
I see that the village in the Blackmarsh is not entirely forgotten, then.
I wish I could forget it.
Why would you hang people who are already dead?
Decoration? The dead do liven up a place.
You... you're not a spirit like everyone else. How did you get here?
I didn't have a choice in the matter, actually.
You were forced to come here? That's very strange.
You're telling me.
This is where my grandfather's ashes are buried. I come to visit him often.
He was the last person to stay in Blackmarsh. Once he passed, there was nobody left in the village who remembered.
Who remembered? Remembered what?
Remembered what happened to the village, of course. The marsh was full of people, once.
Then that evil woman came and changed everything. She--
Oh no! They've come back again! Quick, come hide in the crypt!
It's only a few skel- oh, she's gone.
We'd better find her. She might not be safe, hiding in a crypt when the dead are stirring. Actually, that's probably the single worst place you could hide.
She ain't got good survival instincts, that's for sure.
We should ask her to join.
[The crypt is, as you'd expect, full of skeletons.]
So are these the remains of people who died in the Fade? Or are they spirits from the real world?
Ghost skeletons, maybe.
There's a difference?
And so you came. Fell into my little trap.
Such wonderful creatures, you mortals. So full of yearnings. So full of hunger.
So there was no girl at all? Pity.
There was a girl. You should have seen what she gave, to slake her thirst.
As now you shall slake mine.
[You can easily threaten the demon into letting you go, but where's the fun in that? Also, it'll get to keep the soul it hijacked if we let it live.]
[Good ol' Virulent Walking Bomb to the rescue again.]
After being trapped for so long by my own foolish desires... now I can at last go. Thank you.
But we're in the land after death? Where will she go to?
BACK ABOVE GROUND...
Ah, fresh air. The dream of fresh air, at least.
Halt! Who enters the Blackmarsh?
This is still the Blackmarsh, is it?
This is--I don't know where this is.
We've been here so long, at her mercy. I almost forget what it was like, before.
There is a spirit that's come to free us. Perhaps you could help him? If only that were possible...
Not a happy burg.
The countless evils I've seen her perpetrate in there... I'm ashamed to even recount them aloud!
She orders our children stolen in the night so she can--
Nol Unhand me, you thugs!
They're trapped in the past, but they can still see us?
The mansion will not protect you, fiend! Come out and face your crime!
We aren't afraid of you any longer!
The witch hides! Break down her door!
Be cautious, my friends. The baroness has power within her lair, and she well knows it. We rush in at our peril.
And who comes now? More minions of the baroness? Or yet more helpless souls she has tormented?
Do I look like a helpless soul?
No, that you do not.
I am Justice. I have watched this place and seethed at the wrongs visited on these poor folk, and now I seek to aid them.
Once, we lived in the real world, and the baroness ruled over us. She took our children and used their blood to work dark and evil magic.
And when we burned down her mansion, she cast one final spell that brought our spirits here. We have been trapped ever since, still under her rule.
We have to help these people! It must be terrible to be trapped in this grey, lifeless world.
I think that since the baroness trapped these people here, that she's our best chance of getting out.
Tell me, stranger, will you help us in this righteous task? The baroness and her minions are powerful, but you seem an able sort. Your aid would be welcome.
The baroness is a blood mage? From the real world?
From the world of mortals, as are all these people. I would have thought that obvious from all you have seen here.
It is, but sometimes I just like to ask every possible question about a situation. For completeness.
We lived in a village in the Blackmarsh, and the baroness ruled over us. That... was so long ago, it seems like a dream we once had...
We finally rose up against her evil, and this is what she did to us. I can't even imagine what happened to our families.
The village is overgrown and long deserted.
Has it been so long? How many years have we been held here?
Take heart, good woman. Justice will see you avenged, and freed.
Will you help us, stranger? If this wrong is to be undone, we will need your aid.
What are you trying to do, exactly?
These good people have been held in the thrall of this sorceress for too long. I seek to free them.
It's been a nightmare that seemed to go on forever. Until Justice arrived, we didn't even know this wasn't real!
I could no longer stand by and watch. The sorceress has fled into her lair, but a reckoning is called for. We must act, stranger.
I would gladly help you.
Then we have the numbers to challenge the baroness directly.
Ooh, a direct challenge! I like the sound of that. Less talk, more killing!
They just said she was an evil, powerful witch! Do we really want to antagonize her?
Come on, it'll be fun.
This "fun" you're talking about looks a bit more like "stupid" from over here.
My intention is to storm the gate. Are you ready?
That's your plan?
I'm open to suggestions.
...I got nothing. I'll come back to you.
As you wish. Do not tarry, for justice awaits.
Is that your catchphrase?
...I'm open to suggestions.
[We can storm the gate now, but there is an alternative.]
[We can try knocking.]
The mistress says away! Away with you, you hooligans! How dare you try to assault perfection!
I wish to speak with your mistress.
Have you come to hurl insults at the mistress? Because I won't allow it!
I have nothing to do with the others. Trust me.
Well, you do have a very trustworthy voice.
I'll leave it up to the baroness to decide what's to be done with you, then. She'll know. She always knows.
Now this is unexpected. I could have sworn I said that I was accepting no visitors, especially from out there.
Many apologies, mistress! These strangers have come to speak with you! I thought...
Hmm. From the lands beyond the Veil, I see. How interesting. I will grant this audience.
Very good, mistress. I will see to the barricades.
Ugh. I don't like her. There's ssomething about her that makes my skin crawl... and I don't think I even have skin in this place.
Now then. What brings you into my parlor, hmm? You seek my aid, perhaps?
I'd like to know what's going on here.
Treachery! That is what is "going on," mortal!
Their lives and blood were my due as their rightful ruler. They dared to turn against me! They dared to burn me in my own home!
This was their punishment. Their lives are still mine, even now. I will never give them up!
Wonderful. Why are the evil ones always crazy?
Crazy? Crazy? You dare come into my lair and insult me so!
That's a perfectly sane thing to sa--!
Justice is here!
Time for justice!
It's Justice o'clock!
And now even more of you turn against me! Is there no end to this string of indignities?
It ends here, foul sorceress! I have found assistance to make you answer for your crimes!
So the Grey Warden and the First are meeting again. And it has an ally? The mistress that is of this place, it is now a friend?
You know, we could just work together to get out of here. Us mortals should stick together.
To work with the enemy sworn? Never!
You do not strike me as a righteous crusader, creature. Why do you fight with these filth?
I would be fighting with any that could be sending me back into the world! The Mother, she must be repaid for the deceit!
Then join me! I brought us here with my magic, I know how to return! Protect me and freedom shall be yours!
It is done!
More treachery! I will stand by no longer--these crimes must be answered now!
Diplomacy has failed!
[We only have to worry about the First in this battle, Justice duels the Baroness one-on-one.]
[We could've betrayed Justice and sided with the Baroness. The First would've stayed with Justice in that case, and we'd still end up fighting each other.
Siding with the Baroness is evil, but pays significantly better. We'd get a choice of permanent stat boosts and some money.]
[The First has some Reaver combat skills, which lets it debuff enemies it attacks. Still, it can't beat our entire party plus some rando villagers whaling on it.]
No! You fool! Why haven't you defeated them?
They are too much! It must be sending me back through the Veil! Now, before it is too late!
Oh, I will sunder the Veil all right! I'll send them all back! But you--your life is going to provide the power!
Oh look, a--
That's not... good.
What... where am I? What is happening?
No! This is the world of mortals, beyond the Veil! And this... this is a mortal body of flesh! I am trapped within!
NEXT TIME: Weekend at Bernie's III
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