Part 57: Act Two Chapter Twenty-Two - Oh No, It's Happened Again!
* * *
We've found and used four of the Ritual statues - one remains. Unfortunately there's nowhere else in Arvahn for it to be.
Ah. That makes sense.
What was Annaeus thinking of when he put the fifth Ritual statue through a goddamned song portal? Then again it's not as if he's displayed good judgement previously either.
* * *
: It's West Harbor - what's left of it, anyway.
Well, no. My birth village was intact and not covered in shadowy darkness.
: Yes. Why are we here?
Shandra... I took you here earlier. You met my foster father. You met my neighbours.
We had a big long talk about our respective families right there on the village green!
: We are close to where we were meant to be...
: Are there any ancient Illefarn structures near your birth village? If so, that is where we must go.
: There is one nearby in the swamp - it's where we found the first shard.
: Then that is our true destination... yet only something of great power could have turned away our arrival from the ruins, even if they are close by.
: Something more powerful than teleporting around? Great.
: We should explore this place, look for survivors.
: Yes... I agree. Though I do not believe anyone lives, we may still wish to search - a witness to the events here would be of value.
: Let us see where our path takes us... but no matter what, we must make our way to the ruins you spoke of.
West Harbor Theme
West Harbor has been destroyed. Again.
Well, sort of. It's not supposed to have been, yet. I can't explain in too much detail right now but appearances can be deceptive.
Let's look around.
: Happy to see it gone? Well, that explains a lot about you... I guess childhood does account for something.
: Growing up here was probably a lot like growing up on a farm - you yourself might be bound for greatness one day.
: I suppose so... but I doubt it. Don't let it go to your head or anything, but you'd be a tough pair of boots to fit into.
Our old home... destroyed.
Georg and the militia, or what's left of them.
Retta Starling and her dogs.
Even Brother Merring couldn't escape the carnage.
There's a few bodies I can't see, though: Orlen (he's at the Keep), Bevil, Daeghun and Tarmas.
We're close to the centre of the village, where the big black scar in the ground is.
: It was the site of a battle a long time ago.
: There is a familiar sensation about it... it's not the sound. The vibration is in the air around it... almost metallic.
: It is powerful. Very powerful.
We're setting this up for a future quest, to take place near the end of Act 3.
We'll be back.
* * *
Back to the Swamp Ruins.
At least this time it's empty. No lizardfolk, no swamp beetles... not a sign of life.
Actually, that's probably a bad sign.
The main ruins are sealed, but we don't want to go there anyway.
We actually want to go here, down the path to the right.
This doesn't feel right one bit.
* * *
Shit shit shit
Ah Christ goddamnit
: But it does not matter - the thief has not completed the rest of the ritual, the parts you bear. Once you are slain and the other statues cast down, none shall stand against us.
: Then as long as the other one who completed the ritual lives, we have a chance. All we have to do is defeat you.
: Ah, gith... zerai, you cannot stop me. Why the illithids used your people as slaves is beyond me, it was a waste to you both.
: And why the King of Shadows would use you for a similar purpose is not known to me, but the fact that you cannot break his grip tells of your weakness.
: Weakness? My power is more than enough to defeat you, more than enough to bring these ruins down upon you.
It just keeps getting better and better, don't it guys?
Well, it's about time we got a word in. For a moment I thought this was Zhjaeve's adventure.
fuck it fuck you
: Know that speaking words does not make them truth. Prove it... thrall.
So this is a new kind of enemy: a Shadow Reaver. These are the transformed spirits of Garius and his henchmen from the 'failed' ritual at Crossroad Keep.
They're pretty good at everything - they throw lots of high-level spells around and they're none too shabby in close combat. They're also usually accompanied by a small host of undead and Shadow Priests.
And they're immortal. Kill them, and they simply reform deep in the Vale of Merdelain.
This may turn out to be a problem.
: We have only drive it off - it will return, as it said. And there will be more.
: There must be a way to remake the statue, restore it.
: No... but we do not need to.
Oh, great. And how do you propose we do that?
: Nothing? Know that we have completed four parts of the ritual, we have learned another holds the fifth, and most importantly, we know that our enemy fears our plans.
: I know... I just feel like we should do something.
: Know that this road is at an end, but time may have opened other roads to us. There is hope, you must believe it.
: Know that we have two weapons against the King of Shadows. The ritual in all its parts, and a fully-forged sword of the githyanki.
Well, that's kinda clunky.
We've run out of track for this plotline and need to move on to the next.
: But why don't we look for whoever completed the fifth part of the ritual?
: Whoever completed the ritual did so for a reason. And that reason means they will be searching for us.
: Know that the intention of completing the ritual says more than it may seem. Whoever has done this, has done so to hurt the King of Shadows. And to do that, they will need a silver sword, just as we do.
: In so doing, they have set foot upon a path that must cross ours. And if we have a silver sword, the time of that intersection will come quickly, indeed.
So we're finally back to this quest, are we?
Remember, we were all set to do this until Aldanon got himself kidnapped during our trial.
The other side of the Song Portal is just behind the ruined Ritual statue. This is where we would have showed up, were it not for the interference of the Shadow Reaver.
* * *
: My only concern is the Ritual of Purification - as it should have been yours. Are the statues intact? Can the ritual still be performed?
: The Harborman was able to finish a portion of the Ritual, milord. But by itself, it is not enough to stop us.
: By itself? Explain.
: And I do not know who it was.
: I see. So it seems there is another player in this war. It is no matter. Once we slay the Harborman, then the future for our King is assured.
: Milord Garius... the Harborman is stronger than before. She cannot destroy us, yes... but in battle, she may be a match for any of us.