Part 14: The Jade HeartEpisode 13: The Jade Heart
Last time, we ventured into the ruins of old Tien's Landing. Our job is to close the Great Dam and locate the Dragon Amulet piece hidden here, but the Lotus Assassins and the Imperial soldiers under their command aren't making things easy for us. Our next stop is the old quarry, a side area we'll be visiting before we head onwards to the dam proper.
The friendly rat demon we met last time mentioned some gems behind the wall we blew up. He wasn't only talking about the Soft Petal we found, there are a couple more gems we can grab in here. Let's get moving, shall we?
We barely manage to take ten steps before running into a cutscene. Looks like some of the spectral convicts of old Tien's Landing were waiting for us. As the ghost of Stabber Yuxi told us, the quarry belongs to the convicts now and they're not happy to see us on their turf.
Wu gets hit with an acute case of cutscene stupidity and loss of peripheral vision, so this convict ghost ambushes us from behind.
The strange thing about that cutscene ambush is the fact we lost absolutely no health. Obviously it would've been a bit of a dick move if we suddenly found ourselves low on HP due to an unavoidable attack during a cutscene, but now that whole scene doesn't really serve any purpose at all. Odd.
These guys are just regular old convict ghosts, the same kind we've fought many times now. They can do some damage with Ice Shard, but it's nothing we haven't seen before.
Let's just get rid of these idiots and move on.
In case you don't remember, all the prisoners drowned during the flood because nobody would help them. Apparently a guard showed up, but Stabber Yuxi (a highly trustworthy source, I know) thought he had just come to mock them.
The quarry is really just a hallway leading to a larger chamber, nothing much of interest in here.
And this is as far as we can go. Of course, we run into another cutscene as soon as we enter this area. I wonder what's going to happen!
If you guessed "another ghost appears", you win nothing because that was extremely obvious.
Here's Strangler Jizu, another convict ghost. As you can probably tell, he's strong but not overly bright.
Strangler Jizu is king in this place. Alive, king of the prisoners alive. Dead, king of the prisoners dead.
What happened here?
Water come. People leave Strangler Jizu and other prisoners to die. Water come faster. We scramble, run, claw each other. Then water everywhere. But we not die. Strangler Jizu has too much hate to die. Strangler Jizu is king in this place. King of the prisoners, king of the dead. Dead serve Jizu. And now you join Strangler Jizu's subjects.
Strangler Jizu is the boss of this very minor side area. He attacks with Dire Flame and also punches quite hard, but those things aren't what makes this fight kind of tough.
Jizu fights with two convict ghosts on his side, and they have two jobs to do here. First one is to pester us so Jizu can sit back and shoot fire at us while we fend them off.
Doesn't really matter what they do, because we've got Jizu on the ropes and just need to get a few more hits in...
...or not. The convict ghosts' second job is to have their essence absorbed by Strangler Jizu, which fully heals him. Last time I accidentally said Stabber Yuxi had this gimmick, but I was thinking of this fight about five minutes later.
Here's a better look at his special ability.
What you want to do here is beat up the convict ghosts until they stop appearing. Without his little helpers, Strangler Jizu is fairly harmless and it just takes a bit of time to whittle down his health. Avoiding his gigantic haymakers is also recommended.
A strong fireball takes care of the Strangler. Like the Stabber Yuxi fight, this one was also a bit on the overly long and boring side (I spent entirely too much time dodging and giving myself space with area attacks) so I'm not including a video. This can be a really tough fight your first time through because of the gimmick, and I wouldn't be surprised if this was where many players had their first death.
With their ring leader dead... well, more dead, the remaining convicts bow to us and show their respect for our abilities (and probably their gratitude for someone finally taking out the fat man).
One more ghost appears, wearing a different uniform. This must be the guard Yuxi mentioned.
I am... I am... I think I am Turnkey Shiji? Is that right? Yes, I am Turnkey Shiji. I guard the prisoners.
Drowned? Yes, I remember! The water rushing in, everybody running... I went back for the prisoners. They were bad men, but no one deserves to die like that.
So yes, Stabber Yuxi was interpreting things a tiny bit wrong.
I shouldn't be too hard on the guy since he was just trying to help the prisoners in a terrible situation, but maybe releasing the dumb and angry brute calling himself "Strangler" wasn't the smartest idea ever.
Especially one who is basically a less intelligent and more violent ogre that strangles people to death.
There must be something more I can do to help you.
My spirit was bound to this place, trapped by the man who killed me. Strangler Jizu's hate kept me chained in death, just like I kept him chained in life. But you destroyed Jizu. His hold on me is broken. My spirit is free. I only hope that I can ﬁnd some release in that freedom. I had hoped that I would have somewhere to go, but I feel no pull to the underworld. Hopefully I can find my own way... somehow. Thank you for this release, great one. It is enough for now that I can fade for a time.
Turnkey Shiji and the convict ghosts fade away, and our reward for destroying Strangler Jizu is a rare gem -- The Wanderer's Jewel. The Jewel gives a +3 boost to both Body and Spirit, but the accompanying -5 hit to Mind is really not what we need. Getting this gem from a dumb bruiser enemy at least makes sense, I suppose.
Shiji also left behind a gem when he faded away. The Thick Skin Gem adds +1 to Body and halves the damage you take from traps. Pretty nice, although we can't really use it right now since our amulet only has three gem slots and we already have more useful stuff equipped. The chest next to where Shiji was just has a couple of generic gems we'll sell when we get back to town, and that's everything we can find in the quarry. Time to head back outside.
Huh, that ghost wasn't there when we came in.
I don't see any way around it. If I could just get outside I'd finally be free... but I can't walk through the puddle. I can't!
Hmm, I wonder why that would be the case...
Dont you know how I died? I drowned when the flood came. It was cold, and dark and... and now I can't touch the water. I just can't! Please help me. Please.
I'll find a way to get you out of there.
I think I know how you can help me. Look at the ceiling. It looks like there was a cave-in long ago, and somebody put these poles here to hold the ceiling up. All you have to do is break these poles, and the ceiling will collapse. A whole bunch of rocks will fall into the water, and I can skip across them and leave this place!
A cave-in could kill me!
That would be an embarrassing way for the last Spirit Monk to go out.
Okay, good. I'm convinced now.
Sure, what's the worst that could happen?
I'm pretty sure you can smash these support beams in any order you want and not die horribly.
That said, I always do this in a way that ensures I'm clear of the wreckage when it comes down. Uh, Dawn Star, you might want to watch out.
There we go, the ceiling is down and the ghost girl has a way out.
Not the most exciting of sidequests, but there you go.
We're now finished with the side stuff in this area, so let's finally go close that dam and maybe find the amulet piece as well.
This is where the Lotus Assassin went earlier. Time to see what's up with him.
Apparently he's still hanging around here, and those monkeys seem to be having a tender moment. When the Assassin sees us, he pulls the lever in front of him...
...which raises the bridge, stopping us from getting to him. Jerk.
Luckily, the solution to this problem is right next to us in form of another lever. This one controls the big crane in the middle of the river.
That "puzzle" wasn't exactly a brainteaser, but at least BioWare managed to make the game about 20 seconds longer and that was totally worth it. If this was a modern game, we'd probably have to control the crane manually and line it up so we can hit the bridge control lever.
Here's a better shot of the Gem of Thief's Sense detecting a trap. You can actually see the red particles around the cask this time.
As we continue on, another cutscene triggers. This camera angle looks familiar.
So does this effect.
And so does the blue spirit here. We last saw her shortly after we crash-landed our flyer, and she told us about the amulet piece being somewhere around here.
You are meant to learn, but not too much. To see, but not too clearly. To succeed, but not completely.
Are you saying I've been misled?
To control an outcome, control the beginning. It is godlike... the most arrogant action. That is what was done. Unh... I weaken... but listen. Endings come at their own pace. You would better serve your cause by asking where it began. Question why the path is there, not where it leads. For now, look to yourself. The guardian ahead will test and teach. He is an ally... one you can trust. Find your purpose... fulfill your destiny, and we will meet again.
Eh, we're getting used to it by now. The spirit still talks in riddles, but apparently there is an ally of some sort waiting ahead. Maybe they know something about the amulet or our destiny.
Finally. Time to go close this thing.
On the other side of the loading screen, we run into this scene. We've got a dead Lotus Assassin, undoubtedly our friend from earlier, and a mysterious little girl standing around. Wonderful.
Yep, this Assassin is very dead. WHAT DID YOU DO
That's the expected response, really.
If Dawn Star can sense her, there obviously has to be some weird spirit stuff going on. After all, that is the kind of thing Dawn Star senses.
The same guardian the spirit mentioned? She did say there would be a test of some kind. So far we can only see this creepy little girl, though.
I mean, we can probably assume that it's the one the spirit was talking about. That said, we're still the only ones here.
Oh boy. Here we go again.
The little girl runs off and gets struck by lightning, which causes her to disappear.
In her place is this creature. This must be the Guardian, and if we could see him better we could probably tell he's angry.
The Guardian, identified by the HUD as Chai Ka, is a demon and therefore immune to magic attacks, so our plan of shooting fireballs at him from a mile away is not going to work out for us.
Get over here so I can get a better shot of you!
Getting hit by that charge attack of his is probably a bad idea, so let's try to avoid that as best we can.
He also tries to grab us, but we're not into that either.
And know this before you die: I will hunt down every Lotus Assassin in the Empire until I get back the amulet your master stole!
No! I will not listen to your lies! I will not be fooled again!
Oh well, it was worth a shot. Why does everyone around here think Wu is a Lotus Assassin, anyway?
In any case, this is what happens when you get hit by Chai Ka's charge attack.
And here he manages to connect with what I guess is his area attack. Just showing these things off for posterity, you know. Yeah, that's it.
Once we get his health to about 10%, the fight automatically ends.
His followers fought me by the dozen, a distraction while he stole the amulet and fled. But you challenge me alone... and you are winning. Who are you?
I am Wu the Lotus Blossom.
Is it... is it possible? Are you... are you the one for whom I have waited?
Uh, maybe? If Chai Ka is in fact the guardian we heard about in our latest chat with the blue spirit, that would seem likely.
Forgive me, great one. This gem I guard is meant for you. Take it, and know that I, Chai Ka, am your loyal servant, sworn to protect you.
Oh, we're friends now. That's good, then.
I am sworn to serve you, the rightful owner of this gem. I am bound to guard and protect you, so that you might fulﬁll your destiny. I am Chai Ka the Heavenly Gate Guardian. In the language of your realm, I am called a demon. My mind is uneasy here, and there are many things I cannot remember. But I know my fate is bound to yours. Your path will surely lead you to the amulet that was stolen from me. I will be glad to see it in your hands, where it belongs.
The honor is mine, great one. My purpose is to help you fulfill your destiny, and I will do this to the best of my ability.
Who was that little girl?
The little girl you spoke to before is named Wild Flower. She is my anchor to your world. It is through her that I can exist here. She is... special. Without her, I could not bridge the gap between your realm and my own. With her as my host, I can manifest myself here.
Is she a sorceress?
No, she has no command of magic. She is my anchor in this world. She is an anchor binding me to the mortal realm. I could not exist in your realm without her. I protect Wild Flower from danger, and she allows me to fulfill my duties.
Kind of... benevolent demonic possession, then? That's something we've seen in later BioWare games a few times.
Chai Ka's face appears to be based on the Chinese guardian lion (appropriately enough for a creature called Heavenly Gate Guardian), but I'm not sure what's going on with the rest of him.
I was tasked with protection of the amulet and the gems that are a part of it. But to do that, I had to enter the mortal realm, where they were. To exist here, I needed an anchor. That is where Wild Flower has helped me. With the ability to influence and manipulate the material realm, I could carry out my task. But even with Wild Flower anchoring me to this world, I failed in my mission. Treachery took the amulet from me; now we must recover it to fulfill your destiny.
How did Wild Flower know to come here?
"She was already here?" This is old Tien's Landing, there should be nothing here but ruins and spirits of the dead. She doesn't look like a ghost to me, we've seen plenty of those already and Wild Flower looks to be quite alive. Unless being possessed by a demon somehow brings a ghost back to life? That doesn't seem right either. That said, it's not really important right now, and we'll surely find out more later. What is actually important is the fact we don't know where the amulet piece is, as that is sure to complicate things going forward. We only know the Lotus Assassins took it, and that's about it.
Oh yeah, that. Maybe someone can finally give us something resembling a straight answer.
I knew I was to guard the amulet and the gem. And I was to wait for their rightful owner. Now I know I must help you fulfill your destiny... whatever that may be.
I guess not. Oh well.
Two treasures were entrusted to me: an amulet and a gem. Both are items of great power, but I do not know what they do. I only know they are meant for you. I have given you the gem and fulfilled part of my mission, but the Lotus Assassins took the amulet from me. You will need them both to fulfill your desﬁny.
You said Lotus Assassins stole the amulet?
They came only a few days ago, looking for the amulet and the gem I protected. There were many of them... too many. They attacked me all at once. I was able to kill them all... all but the leader. While I was fighting his followers, he seized the amulet and fled. I could not follow. My duty bound me here. I had to stay and wait for you. But now that you are here, I am free to leave this place and go with you to reclaim the amulet.
Do you know where the thief went?
We're nearly done with the massive exposition dump, don't worry.
There's nothing else I want to ask. Let's go.
I cannot follow you in the normal sense. I exist here, within Wild Flower, and can only manifest for short periods. She will accompany you, and through her, so will I.
Makes sense, I guess. It would cause a bit of a scene if we were walking around with this goat lion man.
Hey! Welcome back!
The Guardian says we don't have to stay here anymore. He says we have to go with you now. Is that right?
I don't know why, but Wild Flower's face has always kinda bothered me. Some kind of uncanny valley thing, I guess.
Good. I like you. The Guardian likes you, too.
Stick with me for now. I want to see what the two of you can do.
Might as well bring them along when we go close the dam.
Seriously, that face looks wrong.
For getting through approximately 17 straight hours of dialog, we receive the Inscrutable Power Source (a quest item we'll find a use for soon enough) and... a shitty gem we'll never use. Great, thanks.
We'll keep Chai Ka in attack mode for now. His support skill is good, but not as useful as Dawn Star's chi recovery.
Let's look around a bit while we hit the spirit font. That's the raised bridge we saw when we were making our way to Tien's Landing, and that's a gate guarded by some guys resembling terracotta soldiers on fire. Must be the sentry golems the Lotus Assassin mentioned a while back. Obviously, that gate means progress and we'll go that way in a bit.
Another day, another scrollstand. This one just has more lore stuff about the flood, nothing we didn't already hear when we talked to Old Wei in town. Right then, let's take a look at those sentries.
The dialog triggered in a slightly awkward place, but never mind.
If we don't know the password for some reason, we have to fight the two clay golems. I'm not sure why you wouldn't know the password since it's given to you in a cutscene you can't miss, but there it is.
We're not wasting our time fighting these guys.
Now we've got a shortcut back to Tien's Landing. I said in an earlier update that Tien's Landing was on the other side of this bridge (as in this side we're on now), but obviously that's not the case. I went back to fix that error.
Here's a better look at the clay golems. Imposing fellows. They're also immune to most attacks aside from weapon styles, so that's something to keep in mind when we inevitably have to fight a bunch of them.
Finally, we are here at the controls of the Great Dam. The mechanism appears to be powered by a glowy green orb.
The river isn't looking too great at the moment, but that's about to change.
The orb, known as the Jade Heart, has been enchanted to power up the dam controls. Old Wei said he'd heard magic was involved in building the Great Dam, and that is indeed the case.
Doesn't matter, we've done everything we needed to do here. It's nice they give you a warning, though.
[You close the dam, unleashing a blast of magical energy from the Jade Heart.]
Finally, the moment we've been waiting for. We're closing this godforsaken dam.
VIDEO: Closing the Great Dam
When it's all said and done, old Tien's Landing is back beneath the water and the current Tien's Landing will prosper once more.
For completing a main quest, we get a hefty chunk of experience points. However... what if some dick decides to open the dam again?
Oh, alright then. Well, that's convenient.
Yep, that's already looking a lot better. Let's get back to town.
Or maybe not quite yet. I doubt these gentlemen are here to congratulate us on a job well done.
Whatever you hoped to achieve by drowning that sad place will soon be undone. Sergeant, if you will, eliminate this pest.
This dialog choice is weird. I'm not sure why the Sergeant wouldn't follow the Assassin's orders here, the soldiers have shown themselves to be loyal so far. Also, nobody is going to open this dam again, since we just saw that the Jade Heart is no longer powered up. I guess the Lotus Assassins could power it back up with a new enchantment if they really wanted to? Who knows.
And yeah, no big surprise there.
If a few people suffer, then they do so for the glory of Emperor Sun.
Yeah, yeah. Let's stop yammering and do this already.
Chai Ka fights one dude in the corner while the Lotus Assassin, the Sergeant and another soldier gang up on us. Seems about right.
He's actually having trouble with that one guy, for crying out loud. As we saw before, the party members are beyond useless in combat. We'll help him out and then finish off the Lotus Assassin and...
I forgot how bloody these finishing blows were, that's some straight-up Mortal Kombat shit. The Lotus Assassins are (IIRC) the only enemies in the game that can be beheaded, so you don't see this very often. Or, if you do a playthrough where you only use staves, you might not see this at all. (edit: Apparently the beheading animation may have to do with critical sword hits. This part right here is always the first time I get the animation to trigger on a playthrough and I mainly remember it happening with Lotus Assassins, so I assumed it only works on them)
I'd say we're just about done here. Next time, we'll head back to town and bask in the glory of the public's adoration.