The Truth, Part Twelve - Ending IV: The Stars Are Right
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Okay, it's time for the final, final ending. No more fake-outs, no more what-ifs or could-have-beens... this is the fourth and last ending to Mask of the Betrayer. In this ending we explicitly reject Obsidian's arguments regarding love and sacrifice. In this ending, we confirm the immense cruelty of the cosmos, and how such cruelty can inspire us to even greater atrocities...
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: So there is nothing behind your Crusade... save Myrkul's will? Has he deceived you as completely as he did the Founder?
: The Founder wanted too much to believe that Akachi's curse could be undone. Myrkul told her what she wished to hear... and that was only a part of the truth.
: No, spirit-eater... tearing your soul from the Wall will not be enough. Myrkul's cruelties are not so easily undone.
: Akachi's hunger was born of loss - the loss of memory, soul, and self. He can only be freed from his hunger if he remembers who and what he is.
: [You extend your hand, brushing your fingers against your own face, expecting cold, damp flesh...]
: [...but instead, the flesh collapses at your touch, like brittle clay. The figure crumbles before your eyes, the mouth and face bursting apart in a rush of wind.]
: [You hear your foster father Daeghun, calling you as he did when you were a child, a note of fear in his voice... shouts and cries in West Harbor, as it burns... your old companions, screaming in warning...]
: [The shrieking rises to a deafening pitch, and the wind swirls faster. It is pulled through the pores of your skin, filling you up...]
: [Then the wind is gone, and you are gasping for air, your muscles convulsing in a sudden agony. The voices of your past become shrieks of terror and pain, rising louder and louder in your ears...]
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: Calliope... I feared I wouldn't find you before he did.
: :: Dark One, it is the bald one's doppelganger from the Mosstone. The one that bore the mask fragment. ::
: The Faceless Man... he is here.
: I know you. We met in a dream... a winter glade.
: And you accepted my gift. That has kept me safe from him...
: He is the presence you have felt, from the first moment in the barrow.
: But you have the fragments of the mask, Calliope. You can restore him to what he was... end this forever.
: I tore my soul from the Wall. Why wasn't I freed from this curse?
: Myrkul lied, and the Founder believed. The spirit-eater isn't so easily cast out.
: To restore him to what he was... that would save you both.
: Each fragment is an essence... mine or the Boy's. And the final fragment, the one you found in the Wall... that fragment is his. As long as you possess all three, he will fear you.
: His hunger is scattered, feeding at will... manifested in this dream as hooded mockeries of the priest he once was.
: Not by its will. But it fears you... loathes you... and loves you. The bond between you is fierce and conflicted, but not easily undone.
: You will see memories in this place too. Faces you loved... or hated, perhaps.
: Just as I am a remnant of Akachi, they are expressions of your soul. Lose them, and a part of you dies.
: You have cornered the Faceless Man... in the deepest recess of your soul. He has nowhere left to run.
: We promised we would be here at the end... and so we are.
: Your advice had best be useful...
: [As the Boy speaks, you realize that his words are true. The fragmented mask has somehow joined together into one - a single mask, that contains all that the Betrayer once was.]
: Just as the fragments have been made whole... so must his scattered pieces. We are willing, but the Faceless Man is not.
: He's waiting for you... beyond the portal. In the darkest recess of your soul. If you can defeat him there, make him yield... then you can make him remember what he was.
Now crossing the Moral Event Horizon
: :: Yes, yes. Observe the worry warping its face, Dark One. It knows this is true, and it fears it greatly! ::
: You... you mustn't...
: And why not? What would I become?
: No, I...
: Tell me. If I devour the Faceless Man, I can take his power, can I not?
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: [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.]
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While this ending might not tie as neat a bow around Mask as the others, in a horrible way it's also the most satisfying of them all. Calliope has been through so much. Whatever happens next, she's earned it.
And so has everyone else.
Let me just say it's been a blast showing everyone through Mask of the Betrayer and I can only hope I've done it justice. It truly is a good game and a very nice piece of writing. Whatever flaws it might have are more than made up for in the quality and coherency of the story, characters, dialogue, art, voiceacting...
I'd like to think that, in the future, developers will take one key lesson away from Mask of the Betrayer: that a good dedicated story-editor can improve the quality of the storytelling a hundred times over. Who knows, perhaps they'll even hire one themselves! We can only dream.
All right, enough words, now enjoy the ending.
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: You're in my mind... like the Founder's voice... How are you doing that?
: Your words... I can hear them, in my mind. You have traded one curse for another, and I fear you are damned by that act.
: Your words... they are like fire across my mind... your voice has sprouted blades, and their edges tear at my thoughts.
: Myrkul's essence lives in you... enslaved to the hunger of the Wall... like a twisted mockery of a god.
: :: Oh great Dark One! The Many trembles in fear and joy over your triumph at reaching your full potential. I am your loyal servant for eternity. ::
: Betrayer... Akachi wore that title unfairly... you've earned it.
: I cannot allow you to exist. Selfish as I am, what you have become... it must be ended, here.
: If this is an ending between us, so be it, but I cannot allow you to spread your evil any farther.
Everyone in the party (apart from One of Many) turns on us. Fighting Kaelyn in the Counter-Crusade path was hard enough, but all three companions at once is just nasty.
Devouring Akachi granted us absolute control over the spirit-eater curse and unlocked the final power, Spiritual Evisceration.
We devour the victim's soul whole, killing them instantly and destroying them without any chance of resurrection or even an afterlife.
: Do you understand what you have become? Akachi hungered because he had no choice, but you, spirit-eater...
: You have welcomed his emptiness into your soul, made it one with your will.
: If fear is the coin you prize, then yes... you will have it. But not here, not in my gray city.
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: You became the very monster that I had hoped you would destroy - a greater threat to order than Akachi had ever been. For you had mastered your hunger, and its power was no longer a threat to you.
: I do not know what door you took from my realm, but the vengeance that you wrought upon those who had wronged you was terrible, indeed.
: Of all who had lived in Mulsantir, only a tiny company of actors walked alive from the carnage. But their bodies were soulless husks, endlessly hissing your praises with dry, rasping tongues.
: In the Astral Plane, you devoured countless cities of the githyanki race, sparing only their children... which you delivered in chains to the feasting chambers of their mortal enemies, the mind flayers.
: Some tales allege that you hunted down those of your companions who had betrayed you in the past - even those who were already dead. You tracked them to the planes where they had gone to their rest, and gorged upon their souls.
: I was not part of that host, but I know that the gods were fewer in number when the battle was done.
Thank you for reading! That's the end of the game and the end of the LP. I hope you've enjoyed it as much as I have.
And just remember... somewhere, out there, she's waiting. And she hungers.