Part 41: One of Many
Act Three Chapter Ten - Ending II: She Fought The Reaper And WonBinding Akachi into our soul and spending the rest of eternity as a guardian of the dead is considered the 'good' ending. Our sacrifice saves the world from Akachi's curse.
It's a lot better than the NWN2 ending, aside from the whole 'being longer and finished' thing. The sacrifice isn't really that bad, all things considered - lauded as heroes in the land of the dead forever? Doesn't sound too bad to me, and it didn't sound too bad to the Norse religion either.
Plus, this way, we ensure that bastard Myrkul remains dead and in tatters. In fact I think that was the reasoning of much of the thread when they chose sacrifice over freedom.
The other benefit is that, in the sacrifice ending, we confirm Obsidian's premise of the supremacy of pure love. The second ending that we're about to see doesn't necessarily disagree with this, but, well...
* * *
Calliope is very, very angry.
Ever since we left West Harbor we've been beaten, stabbed, kicked, ensorcelled, blackmailed, arrested, vivisected, terrorised and even knighted. We've been forced into working alongside such unsavoury characters as Ammon Jerro, Axle Devrie and Sir Nevalle.
We have been the victim of the legacy of an interplanar conflict that took place thousands of years ago; the target of the mindless servitor of an ancient empire and his undying minions; the sacrifice of a war in Heaven that shook the very foundations of existence.
Trapped in the memory of the psyche of a long-dead man in the wrong realm of the wrong plane in the wrong city in a country 3,000 miles from where we were born... Calliope kicks.
* * *
: He is gone. You are free.
: Then... it's over? My soul is my own?
: As much as it ever was, yes. Perhaps more so... now that the shard is gone from your heart.
It's the wrong ending, perhaps. Heroic sagas don't usually end with the heroine saying "Fuck off, I'm not dying for this. Sort it out yourself."
But it's still a good decision. We get our freedom from the curse, from the Silver Sword. We travelled to the City of Judgement and spat in the eye of God, and lived to tell the tale. We'll go on to have big adventures and do great things - and the next time Death comes for us, we'll rip his tits off.
It's also a better choice than in most games. The ending choice in NWN2 was pretty absurd - for Evil characters to suddenly decide to join the King of Shadows in his quest to wipe out all life, despite just having destroyed his army and his pet minion Garius. The ending choice in Mask isn't just some silly nonsense, a sop to Player Freedom that lets them make an arbitrary decision to either complete the game properly or fuck up for no sensible reason. This is the game actually asking us: would you die to save the world? And what if it meant guarding a greater injustice (as shall soon be explained)?
: The curse will go on... and Myrkul's soul will persist, feeding upon the spirit-eater's pain, and the suffering of his victims.
: The chaos you have sown in Akachi's name has not won you any friends amongst the gods. But I will not keep you here. You came to my gray city before your time, bearing a curse that was not yours to choose.
Har har, unlikely.
Again, as with the other ending, half the party disagrees with your decision.
: You are free now - and I wish you luck.
: I, however, must say goodbye. Akachi rescued my soul from the torment of the Wall... and I cannot rest until he is free as well.
: I doubt Akachi can be saved... but I understand your decision.
Safiya's reaction differs depending on Influence and romantic status. This is the relatively positive goodbye.
Gann is unusual in that he's the only companion that doesn't mind what you do. Although he initially suggests casting Akachi out, as we saw he'll happily dedicate his soul to Kelemvor if you choose to stay on the Wall.
: The Crusade - your Crusade - is a great victory. It may seem a symbol, but symbols, like Akachi and the First Crusade - such symbols lend strength to others.
It's funny that Kaelyn, the Good companion, would rather let people suffer under the curse than allow the Wall to stand. Is she merely being pragmatic, or has pride blinded her? Consider that the only other companion that reacts in such a way is the Evil companion...
Oh, Okku. It would have been kinder just to devour you outside the gates of Rashemen.
* * *
: In the long years that followed, you walked many roads, across many planes, and I do not know them all... for some worlds beyond the Realms are closed even to my eyes.
: But your name emerged, time and again, in the tales of valor that swirled in your wake.
: In the lands of Rashemen, you were remembered only as the first of a new line of spirit-eaters who brought terror to the wild places for centuries to come...
: When the Founder finally died, her soul passed to Safiya. With it went her knowledge... and her sense of purpose.
: Gann had made his peace with his parents and his past, and though he never pledged himself to the gods, he found another sort of faith - not in religion and ritual, but in love... friendship... and trust.
: Yet even with the success of your Crusade, Kaelyn never grew into the leader that Akachi - or you - had been. Perhaps it was her unyielding sense of purpose... or her brazen defiance of the gods... that drove her followers away.
: Okku's mind began to fade as the decades passed. He forgot his oath, his past, and his name, becoming more and more a ghost - a fleeting shadow of the bear he once was.
: Folk claimed to have seen him in remote places - a vague spirit with eyes full of sorrow, that stood before them for a moment, and was gone the next.
: And what of your fate?
: Khelgar Ironfist, the wizard Sand, Bevil Starling... these and many others stood in respectful silence as you spoke the words that would join the two of you together.