Part 40: Ending III: And Love Overcomes, As It Always Must
Act Three Chapter Nine - Ending I: She Died For You
No more facades or backdrops - this dark rocky plain is the very core of Calliope's psyche.
Here we must fight the Faceless Man, and destroy him... else he will destroy us.
In other words, it's the final fight of the campaign! Hooray!
Akachi is a Level 30 Cleric/5 Fighter, but he doesn't cast spells - just a small selection of spell-like abilities (the worst is Isaac's Missile Storm, which comes out rarely). Honestly it's his six attacks a round with a wicked-looking negative-energy-dealing scythe that's the bigger worry. He's also immune to most status effects and is permanently Hasted.
He can also Devour Spirits. We now have two health bars to watch, because if we reach zero in either HP or Spirit Energy then we're toast.
Fortunately we can Devour Spirit right back at him, and there's no cooldown when using the hunger on Akachi. This also means Bestow Life is useful for once, counting as a free heal/resurrect for both Gann and ourselves.
Not that Gann is much help.
The fight is more or less a straight-up beatdown. There's no gimmicks: no levers, no statues, no rituals, no portals. However, Akachi has 700 HP...
...and every time he reaches Near Death, he heals up and spawns a little Akachi to help him. These Akachi clones are a lot weaker than the real thing, with 'only' 360 HP and all 18s in their stats instead of all 30s, but they're still a menace. And if you're not careful, you can end up surrounded by the things - a very painful experience.
There are four Akachi clones to fight through before the Faceless Man can be defeated: Remorseless Instinct (chance to Confuse on hit), Infinite Despair (Doom on hit), Unrelenting Fury (Hasted) and Insatiable Hunger (Vampiric Regeneration +5). After they're dead, it's only a matter of finishing off Akachi.
: [Broken and bound, you can see the Faceless Man for what he is... empty and confused... enslaved to a hunger that he does not understand, yet cannot deny.]
Our choice was to sacrifice ourselves to chain the hunger of the Wall.
: [You concentrate upon the Faceless Man, willing him to sleep, and his hunger to fade... to be bound in the dark of your mind, beyond the realm of dreams...]
* * *
: You knew what this choice meant for you. To sacrifice your future, and take Akachi's fate as your own - to guard the City of Judgement in his place...
: Your Crusade was forced upon you... the manipulation of a dead god, and a forsaken soul, desperate to save her beloved. That sin was not yours... nor was your suffering ever deserved.
: By your sacrifice, you have more than atoned...
Kelemvor is magnanimous in victory.
: I didn't think anyone could make such a sacrifice. Whatever honor Kelemvor has promised you is... is nothing compared to what you deserve.
Safiya, the first and longest-serving of our companions. I think she knew the meaning of sacrifice more than she thought she did.
: What kind of fool would I be if I let my beloved be sentenced to guard the dead for eternity? No... that place is reserved for me, not her.
: Once, I was but a half-hag, a half-man, a half-soul. If the one I loved were sentenced here while I walked Rashemen, I would have no soul left at all.
: Stay, Gann... but only if you are certain this is what you want.
: I am certain. This is not an end for us, but a freedom of a different sort. I welcome it, as I welcomed you into my heart.
Gannayev, Gann-of-Dreams, who first joined us as a reluctant prisoner and now follows us freely into eternal service in the land of the dead. Now that's a character arc.
: I do not understand... you came so close, yet you chose this in the end. You shield that which brings suffering upon others.
We can't please everyone. Kaelyn leaves us as an enemy after we abandoned her Crusade. She believes us a traitor for supporting the Wall to end Akachi's curse - but she'd let the curse be to have a chance of bringing down the Wall.
And, at the last, Okku, once an enemy and now a friend, goes to his well-deserved rest. Only we have sacrificed more to end the spirit-eater curse.
: And one day, perhaps, you might see them again.
* * *
: But Safiya remained the woman that she had always been. She had been raised to be her own person, innocent of the Founder's crimes, and now her life was truly her own.
: Safiya rallied those who had been loyal to her mother - and many yet remained. With the magic of the Founder at her call, she drove her rivals from the Academy and took her mother's place as headmistress.
: The Academy of Shapers and Binders remains an anomaly amongst the Red Wizards - a school where magic is studied for its own sake... where those who plot against their fellow wizards are cast out, and slavery has no place.
: But she never became the leader that Akachi had been. Perhaps it was her brazen defiance of the gods... or perhaps it was the fact that you - Akachi's heir apparent - now stood guard over the Wall.
: But in the Year of Shattered Stone, a host of Thayans crossed the River Mulsantir, launching a surprise invasion of southern Rashemen.
: And what of your fate?
: In years to come, tales of your noble sacrifice - and of the many adventures that came before - spread across the Realms and beyond, carried by merchants and travelers even to the distant lands of Kara-tur.
: A series of famous plays was penned at the Veil, and though certain poetic license was taken - including a prominent narrator role for a matronly female dwarf - they achieved considerable popularity.
: The greatest actors in Faerûn vied with one another to play the part of the hero - and your story was immortalized in village squares and royal courts alike.