Part 27: Act One Chapter Twenty-Four - The Bitch Is BackThat's it, we're done with the mountains. We're back in Neverwinter for the foreseeable future.
I got a joke for you.
Hey, Axle, I just walked back from the Sword Mountains - and boy, are my feet tired!
Because, you know, there are no horses in NWN2.
: I found the emissary at Old Owl Well and Karina smuggled him out.
: Indeed? And is he unharmed?
: Does it matter? He's alive and can speak.
I didn't say it was a very good joke.
: Regardless, I think it will be regarded favorably that he was returned to Neverwinter through a daring rescue - you are to be congratulated.
: I think in time his return will bear fruit - or gold, as it were. Accept this as a down payment until that time comes.
: In the meantime, it turns out there is a more pressing concern. It seems the Watch has a pair of eyes and ears in the district - one that, until recently, escaped my notice.
This is the guy that told on our warehouse in the Back Alley. Looks like Axle and Moire were busy while we were away.
: It is my intention that we return the favor, and soon. I want you to proceed to the Merchant Quarter at once, to Fihelis' residence, and silence him before he can speak more.
: How do you want me to handle this?
I can do that, that's easy. Even if your conversation file is bugged, Axle.
: Now go seek Moire for your mission - and make haste. The sooner Fihelis' voice is silenced, the sooner our position will be secure.
: His name is Fihelis. He runs our warehouse and smuggling operations, under the guise of a legitimate shipping business.
: We always knew he helped himself to a percentage of the profits his work brought in... but we were willing to look the other way as long as things kept moving smoothly.
: Fihelis is currently at his home in the Merchant Quarter, under guard by the Watch. I want you to go there, kill him, and kill anyone else who gets in your way.
: He has some illusion that this will make the Watch believe we can strike anywhere that we wish. I, on the other hand, want the Watch dead. Tonight.
: I agree with Axle.
You can tell she's hurt we sided with Axle. It's underneath all the anger, but it's there.
Fihelis' house is out on the edge of the Merchant Quarter, right by the city park. Yes, Neverwinter has a park.
Deliveryman. I got two daggers for a Mister Fihelis?
: Business? You a watchman? If so, why aren't you in the unit's colors? Only members of our squad get in or out.
: [Diplomacy/Bribe] What if I were to pay you a small "fee" to let me in?
: You scum think you can buy anyone off, don't you? That may work in the Docks, but not here.
Crap. So much for the sneaky way.
Or is it? I have an idea...
Lieutenant Calliope, reporting for duty!
Lo and behold, all of the Watchmen are non-aggressive. Our disguise is working!
It even holds up under close inspection.
: [Success] My lucky day, then! I thought I wasn't getting off for a few more hours.
Why are we pretending to relieve this Watchman in particular?
Because he's guarding Fihelis' treasure vault. Free money!
Wearing the City Watch cloak gives us free license to strip Fihelis' house clean, apparently.
"What are you doing with that chest?"
"Should you be messing with that?"
"Relax, I'm a trained prof-"
Nobody actually cares what you do in Fihelis' house, so long as you're wearing the cloak. If you aren't wearing it, of course, you have to kill all these Watchmen.
The City Watch path gets this quest before you go to Old Owl Well, instead of after. In that quest, Shadow Thieves led by Moire have attacked Fihelis in force, and it's up to the player to save the Watch's informant from assassination. You end up killing Moire in the bargain as well, which is a pleasant bonus.
It's a lot tougher than the Shadow Thief version. Not only are you lower in level, but Moire's goons are all Rogues, so you end up getting Sneak Attacked every round. It's also weirdly intimidating, watching a group of stealthed Rogues walking steadily down the corridor towards you.
: Nice try. I know each and every one of my men, and you're not one of them.
: All right everyone! We've caught ourselves an assassin! Make sure Fihelis isn't harmed!
Bollocks. Well, I suppose it couldn't last.
At least we can put our Harvest cloak back on.
Qara's a godsend for this section. City Watchmen are all tough, heavily-armoured fighters with big swords; Khelgar can only do so much against them. A few Lightning Arcs make short work of these clunky warriors (and Khelgar as well, for that matter).
Confusion is also a perfectly adequate response.
Isaac's Lesser Missile Storm is good too. Fighters are damage sinks (I believe the technical term is 'tank') so anything that allows you to do massive damage in a short time or incapacitate them entirely is a good thing.
Fihelis is hiding alone in the corner of his massive mansion.
: Moire sent you, didn't she? I suppose it was unrealistic to believe I could hide forever.
: You don't have to do this. I have a lot of money... I'm sure we can come to an agreement.
: Keep talking.
: I'll disappear, make my way to Waterdeep... or perhaps Triboar. All you have to do is walk away, with a hefty profit of course.
: [Intimidate] What's to prevent me from just killing you and taking everything?
Aside from the fact that I've already looted your treasure vault on the ground floor.
: But I value my life more than the thought of being buried with the gems. Take them.
: They are hidden under a stone in the park, next to the statue of the hero of Neverwinter. You should have little trouble finding it.
: Just make sure no one sees you slipping out of here.
And we let Fihelis go. I'm almost positive this has no repercussions later down the line.
The guards don't seem to have noticed we're out of uniform (not that they noticed one of their guardsmen was being followed everywhere by a dwarf, a demon and a rogue mageling).
The Hero of Neverwinter. This was the PC of the original NWN1 campaign - we can assume he was turned into a male human fighter of some sort.
You know, I'm beginning to have second thoughts about letting Fihelis go. Did you ever play Mafia? Because Tommy Angelo got brought down when the Mafia discovered he'd let a couple of people marked for death leave the city. I mean, Axle's a scary guy. What if he
* * *
Aha! Got you there, Axle! Neither of those things are true!
I don't think this is a bug so much as cut content; after checking through the City Watch path, I think the game just doesn't check for how you did things and just assumes you took the violent path. Captain Brelaina (Axle's counterpart in the City Watch) makes the same noises no matter how you approach her quests as well.
: But no sooner is one rat's neck snapped then another seeks to worm its way into our house... we have gotten word that some vermin in the employ of Luskan now seek to crawl into our city... on board a ship, no less.
: I've had run-ins with the Luskans before on the Docks.
: That is why I feel you are ideal to send this message. I find Luskanites... distasteful.
: I think this act of butchery is a task you are well-suited for.
: Now go, and do not return until you've dealt with matters on board the Sea Ghost. Seek Moire if you have any questions.
: I've made sure that no one in the Docks will disturb you while you deal with this threat. Even the City Watch recognizes the danger that the Sea Ghost poses to Neverwinter.
: There is to be no misunderstanding - eliminate any and all Luskans on that ship. Force is the only message the Luskan dogs understand.
At last! A quest that I can't screw up!
* * *
: Lord Garius... forgive me, but our infiltration of Blacklake leaves me little time to watch over a novice.
: Ahja has not been sent to be your ward, Torio, and I do not want you distracted from your duties.
: Things are under control, milord. The additional agents will be more than enough to accomplish the task.
: Ahja is quite capable, and he is not burdened with multiple tasks. He will dispatch this nuisance before it inconveniences us again.
: I could lend your apprentice some help in the matter, milord, if only to oversee-
: No. Provide him with whatever he asks, but do not involve yourself otherwise with his mission. I need you focused on Blacklake, and the royal court.
: It shall be as you command, my lord Garius.
: If your apprentice is as capable as you say, I suspect our Harborman will soon trouble us no longer.
* * *
Ah, the Neverwinter Docks. Ships rocking in the tide, beautiful and serene in the pale moonlight.
Strange... that ship wasn't there before.
: It's an open city, so if you don't like it, to the Hells with you.
: Open to those with Moire's approval. I'd leave the city now if I were you.
Oh no you did not just say that
: Weapons at the ready, lads! We're about to kill ourselves more Neverwinter dogs!
The important thing to remember about Luskan is that every single one of them is a lowly scum-sucking pirate. I don't think I've ever seen a Luskan character that wasn't a brutish thug.
This guy is no exception. Ahja the Azure, Garius' apprentice.
: Destroy them, but mind the ship. We'll be needing it to leave this place once our business here is completed.
Remember Darth Bandon from Knights of the Old Republic? Remember how underwhelming he was?
Ahja's pretty much the same. At least Obsidian don't try to build him up into a super-badass villain or whatever.
Anyway, there's only one way to deal with a Wizard - a duel! May the best man win, Ahja!
We just about manage to defeat him by the skin of our teeth.
: Indeed. My master has grown impatient with the frequency with which you cross our path.
: I'm getting pretty impatient with you Luskan dogs myself.
: Luskan? Ah, you think my master and Luskan are one and the same. No, it is a sleight of hand you see, where the left does not see what the right is doing...
This doesn't make any sense. There are only four Hosttowers in the Arcane Brotherhood. For someone to become a major power in the Brotherhood from outside the hierarchy is... unprecedented. This Maugrim foe must be dangerous indeed.
Shit! I mean Garius. Garius, not Maugrim. Shit, sorry... shit.
: Yes, Black Garius, my master. But he does not serve Luskan, not at all - his ambitions lie higher than nations, I think.
: When Luskan finds our what he plots, I do not think they shall be pleased, but by then, I think, it shall be too late.
And Ahja is dead. Pretty unimpressive.
For the sake of completeness: Ahja was supposed to be our Luskan nemesis in the cut Hollows subplot. He would have led the Luskan attack on the Hollows at the end of the questline, trying to burn it down with arcane power. You'd counterattack and destroy his base in the Neverwinter slums, and he'd run off back to Luskan. Although he was Garius' apprentice, he was under the command of Torio.
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The following conversation is available in audio
We've seen Lorne and Torio pop up a few times now. Obviously they're a double act - the dull-but-sturdy oaf and the weak-but-clever manipulator. Masculine v. feminine, strength v. speed, beauty v. the beast... I'm sure you know your binary oppositions.
Originally they were supposed to alternate plots - Lorne commanded Old Owl Well, Torio the Neverwinter Wood - but all of Torio's plots got cut, so when their plans inevitably fail (as they do), we only ever get to see Lorne get a bollocking.
: Milord, there has been trouble at the Docks.
: Trouble? Oh, Lorne, please.
: Of course, Garius. I meant no disrespect.
Anyway, I just thought you'd like to say goodbye to them. Big Bad Garius doesn't trust his minions to handle shit anymore, so he's putting them away while we get on with finishing the Act.
Don't worry, we'll see them again soon. In fact, they're critical to the first half of Act Two.
: Several of our agents have been killed, others driven off.
: I can fix it, Milord, I swear it to y-
: I did not gain my title of Master of the Fifth Tower by drowning Luskan in blood - and I do not wish you to do the same to the Docks.