Part 38: Ending I: She Died For You
Act Three Chapter Seven - Mister Kelemvor, Tear Down This Wall!
Votes are in and we're sticking with Sey'ryu first. Old debts must be repaid.
After that, it's off to Eternity's End to see Rammaq, then to the Basilica and Zoab.
: If you feel that is best, Calliope, then I will abide by your decision. I will take my forces to the Basilica and begin the assault there. Join us as soon as you can.
: So be it, Calliope. I will still take my servants to Eternity's End and attempt to retrieve what lore I can - if any.
The Crusade consists of three parts - one part for each general - and all three must be completed before we can continue the plot. Here, we help Sey'ryu hold the gate, providing a distraction for Zoab and Rammaq to fight their way through the city and keeping the way open for reinforcements from our side to enter the battle.
We'd beat the city militia handily on our own, nevermind the full party or ancient blue dragon matriarch. Unfortunately they're followed by a unit of veterans, which are tougher...
...but then our friend Ammon shows up with a pair of pit fiends and not even Kelemvor's paladins can make a difference.
: Hmmm... it's about the right size for a shield for one of your kind. Maybe you can get some use out of it.
This is our special reward for choosing Sey'ryu first: a magical shield. Each general has their own reward for helping them first, and some are better than others. They will also help us out again later in the Crusade.
With one notable exception. Her debt fulfilled, Sey'ryu returns home.
Luckily we have another friend who owes us a favour.
: I have many debts that I will be required to pay eternally. That I could settle this one while I still lived was an idea that brought some small comfort.
: I must remain here outside the Wall. I am of little use to you without my servants, and they have prior agreements that would free them from my bindings should they set foot inside the city.
Ammon (minus his fiends) will show up in Sey'ryu's place next update, once the Crusade is over.
* * *
Next up: the demilich, Rammaq.
The City of Judgement isn't just the seat of Kelemvor's power. Aside from housing the thousands of False, who serve out their sentences under Kelemvor's watchful eye, the City also holds many vaults of ancient, forbidden knowledge, dating back to the original god of the dead, Jergal. This knowledge is what Rammaq has come to claim.
: Two you must recover: the Tome of Ka'Tai and the Tome of the Dolorous Sage. I know they are stored in the vaults here, but which, I do not know. Search them all.
: You're not coming with me?
: My servants are fighting for me. I see no need to sully myself in combat.
: If you do actually manage to become a god, what do you plan to do next?
Rammaq is kind of a prick, isn't he?
Not unexpected, since he's the 'Evil' general of the Crusade. Zoab's an idealist, Sey'ryu was just paying her debts, but Rammaq... he's out for himself.
This isn't the first time he's tried to get at this knowledge. Akachi actually fought and imprisoned him for trespassing against Myrkul, only to release him years later to assist in his Crusade. Now he sends armies of undead to do his dirty work for him, and makes no bones (aha) about his lack of loyalty to the Crusade, other than as a means to an end. Good characters should feel uneasy about helping the necromantic demilich become a god; in fact, it's eerily reminiscent of Myrkul's origins as a mortal mage...
Eternity's End is easily the most involved section of the Crusade. It's the biggest area in the City of Judgement, with tons of fights between Rammaq's super-zombies and Kelemvor's ultra-paladins, and three vaults to explore. But in addition to all that, there's a cop-out for Good characters who don't want the sin of helping a bad scary skull-man on their souls: betraying Rammaq.
This is what we're going to do, by request. No, it's not 'in character,' but Rammaq needs to be taken down a peg or two, and ruining people's plans is fun anyway.
The first vault I come across has the Tome of the Dolorous Sage in it.
The second vault just has paladins and some random loot in it.
The third vault is home to the Tome of Ka'Tai. However, because we helped Sey'ryu first, the Vault Keeper had time to smuggle the Tome away before we got here. If we'd gone to Eternity's End first, we'd've caught her in the act and gotten the Tome.
Okay, so here's how this section plays out: helping Rammaq by finding one of the tomes pleases him slightly, and he sends one of his minions - a weasely lich - to fight alongside us later on. Finding both tomes makes him very happy and he sends this crazy vampire sword-expert instead.
If you fail to recover either tome (because you dropped one and were too late to get the other) Rammaq throws a hissy fit, takes his army and goes home. This doesn't have much of an effect on the plot (though it does change the endgame).
However: if you go to Eternity's End first, drop the Tome of the Dolorous Sage, then find the Vault Keeper but let her go anyway even though she has the Tome, then Rammaq realises you're deliberately sabotaging him and attacks.
We helped Rammaq second so we shouldn't be getting this response at all. But lots of people wanted to sabotage Rammaq so I'm running with it anyway, in part because it's one of those silly non-intuitive things you have to do in order to get the Best Ending.
Rammaq goes down like a sack of shit, probably because there's no Imprisonment spell in NWN2 - and thank God for that.
Sadly that's the most interesting section of the Crusade done too. There aren't any similar options to betray Zoab or Sey'ryu, nor are their sections as long as Rammaq's. The whole sequence feels a bit flat - but we're fast approaching the endgame and the last thing anyone wants is to be bogged down in hours of exposition and fetch-quests.
So we'll move on.
* * *
Finally we go to the Basilica of Lost Hope to help Zoab.
Zoab wanted to slay the Voice of Kelemvor, to stop the harsh judgement of Faithless and False souls in the land of the dead. The Voice got away (because we stayed at the Gate instead of going with Zoab) so we fight these devils instead.
The devils play the part of last-minute reprieve for those doomed souls who were naughty in life. In this instance, "reprieve" means thousands of years of unending agony serving in the armies of the Blood War.
Demons, on the other hand, just steal souls from the Wall of the Faithless, then run away before Old Man Kelemvor can get there and smite them. "Come back here you pesky demons!" *huff puff*
I take it this means you won't be helping me get my soul back from the Wall?
Okay, back to Eternity's End!
* * *
The Temple of Kelemvor is tucked away in a corner of the Eternity's End map.
: My duty is here, not on the battlefield. My predecessor forgot that, and was destroyed by Akachi because of her mistake.
: Why would I bargain with you when I can just take what I want?
: It would've taken you a great deal of time to break in here, and from what I know of your... condition, time is not your ally.
: Let's hear your offer, then.
That was the worst deal I ever heard. Why would I let him go when I can murder him effortlessly and get XP for it?
All right, this is what we were looking for: the location of our soul. Now we can go dig it out and get rid of this spirit-eater curse.
* * *
Ah, and look who's waiting for us outside the Temple... Araman. We killed him once already - but because he died in pursuit of his geas, he's free to come back as a defender of the City of Judgement.
I preferred him in Red Wizard robes, frankly.
: I'll take that as a compliment.
: Myrkul should have left him in the Wall... and you would have died under a pile of rock, like the accident of fate that you've always been.
: You are as stubborn... as deluded... as blind as my brother ever was. And I will end your Crusade here... as I should have ended his.
Araman almost literally goes down before Calliope can even reach him. That's it for him, now; there's no afterlife for the dead. This death is for keeps.
We've still got our life to recover, though. Our soul - and the end of our journey - awaits.