Part 52: Ending IV: The Stars Are Right
The Truth, Part Ten - Counter-Reformation
Not much left now.
Zoab and company are ready and waiting to greet us. Sadly for him he's going to be disappointed this time around.
: You're close enough for me. If I hold this gate on your command, I'll count my debt to him repaid.
: Your armies gather about the city, my lady. And Kelemvor sends False souls to parley.
: We beg you... whether you are truly Akachi or only his heir. Turn your armies away, and spare your followers' souls.
: 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're going to side with the defenders. Not as an Evil choice, but as a Lawful one. I know the majority of us regard the Wall as cruel and unjust, but the real root of the issue is that men need gods, and gods need faith, and faith needs whips. Tearing down a wall isn't going to fix anything. You want to solve some real problems? Take it up with entropy.
: Yes. If you stand with us against the rebels... Kelemvor may grant this boon.
Siding against the Crusade breaks our hold over Kaelyn once and for all. I just want to remind everyone that she quite happily stood by and let us commit acts of evil all the time, but turns against us only when her personal hobby horse is threatened.
: Kaelyn the Dove. We have heard of your crusade, and saw it end before we could join your side. You would forsake this one?
: It is not my choice, when I have already been forsaken by this curse of Myrkul's. She is tied to the Wall, and it has weakened her, whether she knows it or not - little remains of Akachi now except an idea, and I carry it stronger than this one ever has.
: If you lead, I will follow.
And she's out of the party! Finally. Don't worry, we'll see her again soon.
After completing this update, I realised I wanted to keep Kaelyn around for the final update, so once again I'll be reverting to an old save once I've gone though the whole Counter-Crusade.
As a rule Akachi's lieutenants are tougher fights than their loyalist counterparts. Sey'ryu is probably the easiest of the lot.
Just when we got rid of one annoying priest, another pops up in her place.
: My soul has lain here imprisoned... as a hostage until I slew the Red Woman, or died in the attempt. You destroyed my body, Calliope, so my soul has awakened.
Actually he's here to replace Kaelyn. We're a man down and have no access to Cleric spells. Araman will fill the gap nicely.
: My brother's allies have already breached the Penitents' Door. Their armies are storming through the city, wreaking vengeance for Akachi's fate.
: Zoab's celestials march on the Basilica of Lost Hope. Rammaq leads an army of thralls to Eternity's End. And the tanar'ri are massing to storm the City, in their wake.
Fighting with the loyalists is not much different to fighting with the rebels. Three crises at three locations must be resolved before we can look up our soul's location in the Codex.
- Zoab will try to assassinate the Voice of Kelemvor and rally the False to his cause, and he'll succeed if we don't go after him immediately.
- Rammaq seeks forbidden knowledge in the vaults of Eternity's End. He can succeed in becoming a demi-god if we leave him until later, but that just means we get to kill a holy magic skull.
- Sey'ryu is dead but demons follow in her wake to plunder the City of Judgment. The longer we wait, the further they get into the city.
That's more or less the order I ended up choosing, as it happens.
* * *
Araman is voiced by... oh wait, we've done this, haven't we?
Araman's technically only a temporary companion, but we can control him directly. He's also technically a replacement for Kaelyn the Dove but I gotta admit, eight levels of Cleric doesn't quite cut it, However he has enough arcane levels to cast Epic Spells and that's good enough for me.
* * *
Rammaq is racing from vault to vault, trying to find the knowledge he needs before some righteous rear end-kicking catches up with him.
That's us, by the way. We're the good guys now.
: I am not a god - yet. As expected, the ascension will take some time, so for now I'll just deal with you.
Okay, so he should have said something about us being very wise for attacking him first, but once we kill him, it really won't matter any more.
I said, once we kill him-
ONCE WE KILL-
About time. I tell you, it's a stark change from Baldur's Gate 2 and its Imprisonment-spamming demiliches.
* * *
Yeah, apparently we're now the 'Twice-Betrayer' or something. Goddamnit my name is Calliope, please use it!
: Come to stop us, have you? You are too late - many of us are inside the city already.
: It is generous of you to present yourself to me, however. I shall enjoy devouring the soul of one such as you!
You know, it's been so long since we last fought tanar'ri... I'd forgotten how much I hate hezrou stink.
With Nal'grazzn's death the portal closes and the field is cleared. Huzzah!
* * *
We're not very good at this 'defending the city' thing.
: Very well. We shall see who walks away from this place.
Zoab's also a tough nut to crack, but unlike Rammaq he actually poses a danger to us. Lucky for us he's not so resistant to damage.
With all three fronts closed, the Temple is open for business. Let's go get our soul back.
* * *
Blah blah, same as before. At this point, Araman takes his leave:
: Your curse is by Myrkul's decree. Kelemvor will not intervene in the judgment of another god, even one who is dead... lest us own judgments be annulled, in kind.
: Kelemvor has done what he can for you... the rest of the battle is yours. I warn you, the Wall will fight for its prize.
God helps those who help themselves, right? Good thing this is the Evil playthrough, we've been helping ourselves all damn game.
And now we get payoff.
: You know what I can do.
: My siblings and I shall end you, no matter what the cost.
It's a chaotic fight. Kaelyn has all the powers of an Epic-level Cleric, plus she's also respecced to have access to Vampiric Feast and Epic Gate even if you didn't give them to her originally (Hey, I thought it'd be out of character!). Efrem (Eldritch Knight) and Susah (Ranger) are mostly just distractions, with two exceptions - like Kaelyn, they can both cast True Resurrection and Summon Planetar as racial abilities, making the battle potentially very long indeed.
It's a good thing the Lions, Bekkah and Josu, got cut. Five resurrections going at once just wouldn't be fair.
On that note, the only real strategy is "finish it quickly so that nobody has time to use their racial abilities or Epic spells". Just goes to show that you can have 46 AC and stats all above 20 and still get hosed over by save-or-suck spells.
Normally, this is it for Kaelyn. We crush her Crusade, murder her siblings and splatter her brains all over the pavement. This is because in 99% of cases a bug or engine glitch prevents the next sequence from firing:
That's right, Kaelyn's Grandfather is supposed to show up to rescue her. Enter rs z03_a_sp_grandfather into the console in Debug Mode to see it for yourself. It's a pretty cool conversation - a shame hardly anyone gets to see it.
: TO STAND AGAINST THE UNIVERSE IS NOT STRENGTH, IT IS PRIDE.
: YOU, SHADOW-OF-AKACHI. I COME FOR MY GRANDDAUGHTER AND HER SIBLINGS, TO BEAR THEM TO CELESTIA.
: I cannot let her live, if she does, she will come after me again.
It's a shame we're total assholes on this playthrough.
: IF YOU ATTACK, MY LEGIONS AND I SHALL RESPOND IN KIND UNTIL ONE OF US CAN FIGHT NO MORE.
: IS THIS WHAT YOU WISH?
: I'm not letting her go, she dies here, now.
Grandfather and his solars are almost as bad as Kaelyn and the Menagerie. At least Solars don't get Vampiric Feast.
Kaelyn rouses for one last argument.
: Not even Ilmater could piece him back together.
: But... no. No!
: :: Yes... they come even now. Your scent of righteousness carries far, fallen dove. ::
: You... you are a monster. As bad as Myrkul. As evil as...
* * *
Last thing for today: Kelemvor's special dialogue for characters who worship him or are priests of his faith. I thought we could do with some cheeriness after that unpleasantness with the Dove.
: You have seen this place before, spirit-eater. Do you remember?
: You are Kelemvor... my patron and god.
: My faithful ally... you've come before your time to our gray realm and empty sky.
: An unremarkable corner of my city, yet these cobbles have witnessed the greatest injustice of all. Here the curse began... and here it can finally end.
: Have you come to stop me, then?
: No, spirit-eater. You have earned more than one mortal's wage in suffering... been forced to fight for a cause that was never your own.
: All this, and still you've tried to set things right. When you come to your judgment at last, know that I will let no evil fate befall you.
: Let the other gods rage - I owe you that, and more.
: But you have yet to face the Wall... and to know Myrkul's curse for what it truly is.
: Go and claim what is yours from the Wall. Whatever passes after that... know that an honored place awaits you in my realm.
He's less happy to see you if you bargained your way into the Counter-Crusade - or if you went ahead with the Third Crusade despite your faith.
: Spirit-eater, you have brought strife to my gates... ignored every warning... allied yourself to a cause whose consequences were plain before your eyes.
: You were one of my faithful, once. Has your suffering driven you so far... and blinded you to the truth behind the Wall?
Ah, now, our suffering can make us do a lot of things. Crusades are nothing compared to what the injustice of the Planes can bring...