Part 37: The Binding Of Isaac
Act Three Chapter Six - Third Time's The Charm
Barely two steps out of the Betrayer's Gate and we're accosted by an old friend.
Let's gather our wits, first. This blasted wasteland is the Fugue Plane - the realm of the dead. Ahead of us is the City of Judgement, the domain of Kelemvor. There he judges the dead - those that were true to their god pass on to their proper rest; those who failed to live up to their beliefs stay in the City to serve Kelemvor until their atonement is complete; those who did not believe at all go to serve as bricks in the Wall of the Faithless that encircles the city. That wall is what we have come to destroy.
So: this angel must be Zoab, of white wings and golden brow, born in the radiance of Celestia. For mercy, and for justice, he swore to bring down the Wall.
: They await us up ahead at the Supplicants' Gate.
: I thought there'd be more of you.
This is a cheat on Obsidian's part. The Aurora/Electron engine just isn't capable of depicting mass combat, so we get this story about a "mass attack" along the Wall. We had a similar situation in NWN2 during the siege of Crossroad Keep - but the nocturnal setting let Obsidian fake an army with visual effects. That's not really possible on the wide open plains of the land of the dead.
It's a little bit of a disappointment. Laying siege to the kingdom of God ought to be an epic event, a clash of great armies... not just the eight of us, even if we are the strongest badasses in the Realms. Especially not after the cool depiction of Akachi's crusade in the mosaic in the Death God's Vault.
: A host of celestials has accompanied me, and Rammaq will no doubt conjure servants as needed. Sey'ryu has come alone - same as before.
: It looks like they've sent people out to meet us.
No promises. I just want my soul back.
* * *
: Do you hear it... in the cries of the damned? Hope. Today we change the order of the planes...
This, then, is Sey'ryu, the vast and the glorious, who soared the desert skies, blue upon blue. For the debt she owed the Betrayer, she swore to bring down the Wall.
: Your armies gather about the city, my lady. And Kelemvor sends False souls to parley.
: Be wary... the god of the dead thinks to sway you. These are souls that once stood with us.
Uh oh. This can't be good.
: How... how did you die?
: Your Second Crusade was cut short before it could march, Kaelyn. And like your crusade, our lives were cut short as well.
: Upon returning to the Realms, our liege had us put to the sword for our intention to march on death itself. Kelemvor's priests sought to dissuade him, but it was not a question of sacrilege...
: ...it was the fact that we had disobeyed him, and taken orders from another. We knew the punishment.
No doubt Akachi felt the same way.
: Still, we can allow you to come no farther, Kaelyn. You must turn from Kelemvor's citadel or you shall join us in death.
: And the others? I recognize none of you.
Ah, it's not just Kaelyn's pals that Kelemvor's sent against us. These False souls were in Akachi's original crusade, hundreds of years ago.
: All must be judged by Kelemvor, at the end... and rebellion is a sin that he doesn't quickly forget. As we know well.
: Think carefully before you make a choice - Akachi tried this once before, and the Realms paid the price over many centuries.
We do have the choice here. We may have re-ignited the Crusade, but we're under no obligation to follow it until the end.
: The crimes of the False... they gather on your soul like leeches, or blooms of mold... unseen until the moment of your death.
: The greater the sins, the stronger their weight. We must serve the god of the dead, lest we feel the weight of our sin.
But we didn't tame bears, crush hags and converse with dead gods to wuss out now. The Crusade goes ahead!
: Please, you served the Crusade once - now we ask you to do so again.
: [Success] What you ask... is...
: Akachi belonged amongst the False - not screaming in the Wall. His fate was Myrkul's whim.
: We'll not raise our hands against you... whatever the cost in pain. But I'll warn you this - pass these gates, and you'll find no further mercies.
: Farewell, Kaelyn. I pray that in saving this one's soul, you will quench your thirst for justice...
Right then. I propose we make a beeline for this Codex-
Hrm. That might be a problem.
: During the First Crusade, Akachi successfully goaded the old Scrivener into emerging from the Temple to face Akachi in single combat. She stood no chance against Akachi's fury, and we took the Temple early in the battle.
Ah, and at last, Rammaq, the old, the dead. Thrice he has glimpsed godhood, and thrice that prize has been snatched from him. For the knowledge he was promised, he swore to bring down the Wall.
: It would take a great deal of time, time which you do not have.
Sounds equally time-consuming, but whatever. Maybe deity-grade concrete has Hardness 40 or something.
: I do not claim to know the mind of a god. It was within Myrkul's power to stop us immediately as well, but he did not.
: Kelemvor probably believes we are no threat to his city. Time to prove him wrong.
I think Kaelyn's got the wrong end of the stick here. Myrkul may have allowed the Crusade out of caprice, but Kelemvor's nowhere near the same as his predecessor. Something else is afoot.
: We will force his hand, eventually. Though he will not rush out to face us directly, neither will he stand by as we take the city apart, stone by stone.
: Let's get to it. Where to first?
Oookay, constructive comments from the big blue dragon.
: If we strike down the Voice, it will be as if we struck at Kelemvor himself. Injustice will be silenced, if only for a time.
Ah. Disagreement amongst our generals. This will affect how the rest of the Act plays out.
Rammaq's plan is:
: My servants are not intelligent enough to recognize the tomes, and thus I shall need your aid to search for them.
: Help me in this, and with my new powers I shall shatter Kelemvor's Crystal Spire itself if you so desire.
Helping the demi-lich become a demi-god would pay dividends in getting our soul back - assuming that we want to help the villainous Rammaq in the first place. It's not our debt - we don't actually have to help him at all.
All right, so what's Zoab's plan?
There isn't any tactical reason to help Sey'ryu, save to see old debts repaid as they should.
So, what's our decision?
Up to you. We'll be supporting each of our generals in turn, but there is unique content for whichever of our generals we help first. Our main advantage here is surprise: the first target we attack will be the most vulnerable, and our victory all the greater for it. Our second and third targets will be more prepared and the rewards smaller - any successes will be partial at best.
So choose between:
- Striking a blow against Kelemvor's judgement at the Basilica: Zoab will attend personally to free our soul from the Wall.
- The power and wisdom hidden in the vaults of Eternity's End: if we're okay with helping an extremely evil creature become a god, we'll get assistance from the undead with our own objective.
- Repaying old debts at the Supplicants' Gate: Sey'ryu won't enter the city itself, but we can get a magical shield from her - and an old friend may make an appearance.