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22 October 2016 @ 08:08 pm
Dorchadas Plays Baldur's Gate II, Part XXIX: Dungeons & Dialogue  
I wish that Baldur's Gate II had been able to do more with lighting, because that would have made the transition from the Underdark a lot more dramatic. And this point, Chiyo and her companions have spent days underground in total blackness. It'd be a moment like when the Lone Wanderer leaves Vault 101. Most of the party are elves or half-elves and can see in the dark--low-light vision for elves wasn't implemented until D&D 3.x's, so here they still have infravision--but Minsc and Imoen are not. Minsc probably would take everything in stride, but I'm surprised that there were no scenes of Imoen panicking. Captured by a vengeance-obsessed(?) archmage, imprisoned at the moment she thought she was freed, had her soul ripped out, and when she was rescued, dumped into a city of shark people and then into total blackness filled with what she knows are one of the most unpleasant cultures on Faerun? That's a lot to take in.

But no, I just get a chapter transition.

Chapter Six


As the party walks through the door, the elves shout at them that they will be fought off before the elf realizes that he isn't talking to drow. He demands to know what Chiyo is doing there, and when she says she's looking for Irenicus, he takes her to his commanding officer Elhan, though with a brief interrogation on the way:
General Sovalidass: "Welcome. Yes...welcome. I'll have you know I do not trust you. I have no reason to trust you. I do not feel that I have to trust you. No doubt the same applies from your perspective."
Chiyo: "I will be happy to aid you while on my own search for Jon Irenicus."
General Sovalidass: "I see. You mention some very interesting names, names you could not know unless you were enemies of our enemies...or their friends. I am undecided. Elhan will see to you. He will make sure you are comfortable, and that you reveal what you must of yourself. He is experienced and...and he has knowledge of the enemy. Mind that you obey him. Regardless of your intent, if you attack any of my elves here, I will have you killed on the spot. We are legion, rest assured."
The general steps aside and Elhan steps out of the nearby tent.
Elhan: "Well, well, I thank you for coming."
Chiyo: "Thank you for proving friendly. I was not looking forward to another fight."
Elhan: "Yes, well, I am here to determine exactly what it is you were looking for. A battle may yet be warranted. I shall keep this brief, as I have little time to waste on you. A few questions are all I need, regardless."
Chiyo: "I will cooperate. I suspect we are after the same person. I seek Irenicus."
Elhan: "I was told that perhaps you might know something of that person, and I am very interested in learning exactly what. I will ask some things of you, and you will speak what you know. My sages will detect any falsehood. They are very good at that sort of thing."
Xan: "I can vouch for my friend. Is - all this - absolutely necessary?"
Elhan: "Perhaps not, but we are all hard pressed in this difficult time. I apologize, but you will come to see it is in all our best interests. Now then, something simple and direct to begin with. You emerged from the home of the Drow. Were you fleeing or are you in league with them?"
Chiyo: "I was fleeing their dark realm."
Elven War Sage α: "Truth."
Elven War Sage β: "I concur. Truth."
Elhan: "A truth. Well, a good start. You are currently not an ally of the Drow. That tells me nothing of your motives, though. Let us continue. A name, then, that you may know something of. Irenicus. Do you know of him?"
Chiyo: "I battled my way through the Underdark seeking his black heart! Yes, I know him!"
Elven War Sage α: "Absolute truth."
Elven War Sage β: "No doubt at all, on both answers."
Elhan: "Well, that is somewhat reassuring. Your bloodlust certainly illustrates your true feelings about him. This has put me more at ease. Whatever manner of creature you are, we are on the same side in this instance, at least."
Chiyo: "It is as I told you. Why wouldn't you believe me to begin with?"
Elhan: "You are certainly less of a threat than I first imagined, but do not think you are welcome as of yet. This area is still at risk, and I will not take chances. For now, I will apprise you of the situation, and you will realize why travel in this area is to be restricted. You might have received a warmer welcome, but Irenicus has triggered the strongest of emotions where e'er he has tread. He has stepped beyond the bounds of decency, and our very city is under his thumb. Suldanessellar is simply gone."
Minsc: "Irenicus is the most vile of villains if he dared destroy a whole city! I can't believe that, and I have believed some amazing things, let me tell you!"
Elhan: "It has only been concealed, but we cannot penetrate the magics that have hidden it. We are forced to remain here, pestered by Drow while supplies falter."
Chiyo: "Drow that were incited by Irenicus and the bargains he made in the Underdark."
Elven War Sage α: "Truth."
Elven War Sage β: "Yes, she knows much of this."
Elhan: "It would seem your travels have given you quite a bit of insight into the plans Irenicus has made. I wonder if you might be of service to us."
Chiyo: "I might be. If you think you can trust me."
Elhan: "You obviously bear no love for Irenicus, making you the enemy of our enemy. Classically speaking, this might make you our friend. And even if you are not, you cannot reach Irenicus without helping us. He is untouchable, save for one possibility. Within the temple was an artifact of great power: the Rhynn Lanthorn. It is an ancient lantern, etched with the oldest of runes. The Lanthorn is attuned to the Elven nation, and no magic can bar its return to elven lands. We could simply walk to Suldanessellar if we had possession of it. Someone stole the relic when the temple fell to the Drow. Obviously it was a servant of Irenicus capitalizing on the chaos of battle. We have not been able to determine where the thief went, despite the best efforts of our sages. It makes me think the Lanthorn is no longer in elven territory."
Chiyo: "It must have been Bodhi. Only she would have been trusted with such a thing."
Elven War Sage α: "Truth."
Chiyo: "Stop that!"
Elhan: "Bodhi...hmm, you may know more about this situation than we after all. I propose we exchange our services."
Chiyo: "It would help if I knew what was really going on here."
Elhan: "I cannot say more than I have. Perhaps if I had access to the city I would have insight, but as it stands, I am in the same situation you are. The attack came without warning, born in the mind of a human we did not know. This was not in the realm of possibility, and it remains as such. He has dealt with the Drow, defiled our temple, and violated our city. His name is to be spit and spoken as little as possible. He is all that elves are not! If you know how to find the treacherous servant of the fiend, I suggest that you do it. You seek Irenicus, we seek Irenicus, to help you is to help yourself. Find the Lanthorn. Seek outside elven lands in whatever location you think an important servant of Irenicus would be. Only then will we reach this man."
Chiyo: "I will need supplies, and I might need help facing Bodhi."
Elhan: "We cannot march on human territory. As great as our problems are, they would only get worse if we appeared to be sending agents into the cities of Amn."
Minsc: "Boo does not favor the odds, but I have no doubt we will succeed!"
Elhan: "You have traveled extensively. Return to the groups you have already encountered and ask their aid. I am sure you will find some among them to help you. They may not know the nature of the emergency, only that a great evil must be routed. The less who know of the shame brought by Irenicus, the better."
Chiyo: "Shame? What shame has he caused you?"
Elhan: "It is not your concern. His deeds will be apparent when we reach him. Until then, you should begin your task."
Chiyo: "I will do what I can, though Bodhi is very strong. Have you holy water and stakes?"
Elhan: "I have such things. The water is exceptionally potent and will prove effective against those that wronged the temple. The wrath of the elven gods is in each vial. It sounds as though you know the nature of the creature you must face. Your service is now doubly appreciated."
Chiyo: "I'm sure it will. I will set to my task immediately."
Elhan: "We have talked long. I will make sure the guards know you are free to come and go."
Xan: "These are dire news, Chiyo. Our quest is now of double urgency, I am afraid. But, we are free... We are ourselves again... We are together. If I look upward, I will see the sky..."

Elhan coughs.

Xan: "Ah. Oh. Never mind then. I have been carried away, it seems."
Elhan: "All speed to you, Chiyo."
Whew! A thousand words of plot exposition later...  photo emot-sweatdrop.gif

I like the description of wizards here as "sages." The Netheril: Empire of Magic boxed set for AD&D said the elven word for wizards is "arcanist," which made it sound more scientific, but I like the connotations of calling them a sage. A sage is someone who is knowledgeable. To the elves, magic isn't some kind of supernatural ability, beyond the ken of mere mortals. It's just knowledge.

When Elhan dismisses Chiyo, another elf comes up and says the drow evaded their pursuit. Chiyo asks what they're talking about and Elhan says not to bother herself with it, but then Xan recognizes the messenger:


They seem to have known each other in wizard school and trade jabs:
Ricar: "Who... Xan?"
Xan: He sighs. "I should have expected to see you here. We are close to Suldanessellar, after all."
Ricar: "Xan of Evereska! How come you are here?"
Xan: He groans. "I am sure there is no need to recount this story again. Chiyo here has been questioned for long enough already. Suffice is to say we have a mission here."
Ricar: "Chiyo? That Chiyo? Are you traveling with a Bhaalspawn? Xan, what has become of you?"
Xan: "I suggest you choose your words carefully, or not at all. I will not tolerate you slandering her name again."
Ricar: "Back in the Academy, you never used this tone. You have changed a great deal, Xan."
Xan: "Yes, we have all changed. In any case, how come you are aware of Chiyo's heritage?"
Ricar: "I traveled to Athkatla briefly, and heard the rumors. But, considering your companion's heritage... may I ask? Chiyo, are you the infamous...er, the Bhaalspawn who was rumored to have spent some time in Irenicus' capture a while ago?"
Chiyo: "Why do you ask?"
Ricar: "The location of your prison is... quite important. I will explain further, if you agree to cooperate. Do you?"
Chiyo: "I do. Tell me more."
Ricar: "You are already aware of Suldanessellar's fate, I am sure. We are in need of allies: we require aid, and require it badly. It does not show in our manner - and shouldn't, since Tel'Quessir are a proud race. You know as much yourself. We sent messengers to the human lands. Queen Zaranda of Tethyr is our most probable ally, and we count on her help, despite the events that transpired around a century ago, when King Errilam of Tethyr perished on elven lands. However... My liege, how much should I reveal?"
Elhan: "I will continue for you. Irenicus is known to us, this you are aware of. You know he is a fiend and a criminal, who would stop before nothing to achieve his goals. Whilst he was still...tolerated...here, he had stolen most important documents from the Queen's archives. Do not ask me how; I cannot say more than I have."
Xan: "Who would have allowed this?"
Elhan: "Need I repeat myself? I cannot say more, even to my kin. Even to you. We have been searching for them all the while, but our search was fruitless. My scouts found more than one abandoned laboratory, but there were no traces of letters, journals, or chronicles there, and my men were skilled indeed."
Ricar: "However, we never got to the place where he kept you--am I correct in my guess that it is beneath Athkatla's sewers? Since it was his last permanent abode, the documents must be there."
Elhan: "Or with the drow you so light-heartedly let go."
Ricar: "I - I didn't...I was sure they were Eilistraee's followers, and the documents were not with them! I shall willingly lay down my life, if I am proved to be wrong!"
Elhan: "We are all in grave danger. Do not add to it."
Xan: "Perhaps you shall explain who these drow were? As well, why you are so sure Irenicus does not possess these...papers on this person? And why are these papers so important?"
Ricar: "Some of these...accounts could make our potential allies turn away from us. There was nothing dishonest in our dealings, ever. However, accidents and misunderstandings happened, and if they were known widely...you understand, I hope. So, it makes no sense for Irenicus to take these papers to Suldanessellar: on the contrary, he will use them, and send messengers to our allies, so his revenge is complete."
Elhan: "And the only messengers he could use were these drow."
Ricar: "Since...they were the only drow my men allowed passage, because of their allegiance to the Dark Maiden, Lady Silverhair...no. No, I do not believe it. That we did not find them again does not prove anything. Most probably, these papers are still in his abode. We need your aid, Chiyo. The dungeon's entrance is blocked, as you are probably aware of. But if Xan and I unite in communion for a few seconds, and you open your mind to us but a little--Xan will make sure I will not see more than I am meant to--I will be able to build a portal that will take us there.
Xan: "I will not stand for this. Chiyo has been through too much already."
Imoen: "Not again! I do not want to go there again, Chiyo, do not make me!"
Jaheira: "Khalid...no. No."
Minsc: "Boo says we should follow our friends, and help the pretty elves here. But Minsc remembers the place, and how his friend Chiyo was hurting!"
Ricar: "I hope we shall be able to counter the traps and dangers of this place. I shall be going with you, and Xan can confirm my words. What say you, Chiyo?"
Chiyo: "I am still confused about these drow you mentioned. Care to tell me more?"
Ricar: "I prefer to talk of this later, in private. It seems...it seems I have committed a grave mistake. Perhaps a crime, even."
Xan: "Untrue, I am sure. You have always been one of the staunchest defenders of the People."
Ricar: "Regardless, I have failed. I apologize. I realize you are tired...perhaps this very conversation tired you more than a battle would. But the matter's importance is grave indeed. Come and talk to me again soon. I suggest you rest and prepare first, but we have little in the way of time, and our supplies and numbers decrease by the hour. We need aid badly."
Ricar takes a step back, and Aerie and Imoen have a discussion amongst themselves:
Aerie: "Oh, thank Baervan we're out in the open again."
Imoen: "Being closed in really got to you, didn't it? I've never liked being underground, but you seemed ready to claw your skin off."
Aerie: "None of my people handle enclosed spaces well, Imoen."
Imoen: "I guess it doesn't come up much when you fly around everywhere."
Aerie: "Yes, but the avariel have explorers and adventurers too...but no spelunkers. It has been centuries now since the last party of avariel tried to explore underground caverns."
Imoen: "They were never seen again, right?"
Aerie: "N-no, that would have been less frightening. They came back quickly, but they had gone incurably mad. None of them uttered a coherent word again for the rest of their lives. Most killed themselves quickly."
Imoen: "Wow, being underground for even a short time was too much for them to live with? I mean, it bothers me too, but then I get outside, I get a big lungful of fresh air, and presto!"
Aerie: "You don't understand! It was terrible...unthinkable. The feeling of tons of stone above me, pressing in on me--I--I--"
Imoen: "Aerie, calm down! The Underdark is behind us, and you handled it great when you needed to."
Aerie: "Th-thank you, Imoen. I worried that you might think I was weak."
Imoen: "We've all been there, Aerie. Anybody who has and says it doesn't bother them is a big fat liar, and you can tell them I said so."
I don't want to make light of Aerie's mental state, but I do want to say that resist fear is a first level spell.

I thought this was the end, but no, Xan also has something to say:


Xan: "Chiyo, there is something I wanted to tell you. Do you remember the dream you had, back in Baldur's Gate? Not the ones of your divine father. The dream of my body lying in a crypt of blue and orange, surrounded by vampires?"
Chiyo: "I wish I didn't, but I remember it, yes."
Xan: "I had your dream, Chiyo. Your very dream about the crypts and the vampires, though I was seeing it from a very uncomfortable position: the cold, hard floor." He sighs. "I never imagined the budding undead get cricks in their necks, either... In my dreams, I was still an elf, but becoming less and less so with each passing second. A dark disease for which I can find no name was filling me. It was not true undeath, not even a pale shadow--the vision was merciful, so I felt nearly nothing. But it was a warning."
Chiyo: "What can we do?"
Xan: "I consider undeath worse than any mortal injury. You know this. If something like this happens...I would never take my own life directly, but if my moonblade will do it for me, I will accept its gift without question. I will die, Chiyo. It is as simple and plain as the stars in the sky, and just as hopeless."
Chiyo: "It is not. There is hope, or we wouldn't be talking about this."
Xan: He sighs. "Chiyo, there is always hope. There is always a chance, or there was, as tired adventurers tell themselves over their friends' dead bodies. If only they'd been a little stronger...a little faster...checked that trap...looked over a corner. But it does not work with us. When a grand story is unraveling, all visions come to fruition, and there is no way around that. None. The gods have seen to that."
Chiyo: "Tell me what I should do to save you. If it means I must die instead, I will."
Xan: "I...Chiyo, do you mean that?"
Chiyo: "Of course I do. I love you."
Xan: "Then...Seldarine forgive my cowardice." Xan sighs deeply. "Touch my blade, Chiyo. It is safe for you, but do not attempt to draw it."
Chiyo: "Alright, here I come..."

Chiyo's fingers glide over the cool surface of the sword, and suddenly a whirlwind of emotions flashes through her mind...but of what passes between her and Xan's moonblade, she can never remember after.

Xan: "You will decide when the time comes. I will just say that the blade will listen to your will now, although it may not comply. And...since it knows my heart, it may not want to, since I hold your life in high sanctity, far above my own. But I will let you decide."
Chiyo: "Then you will live, melamin. And we will have a happy ending."
Xan: "We can only hope. But I have a premonition that it is up to you now. I know you have your own mind, and a brilliant one it is. You are the Hero of Baldur's Gate, my partner, and my heroine. But the Fates are not written by us. Sometimes...we are helpless." He turns away and speaks very quietly. "And yet, I have hope."
Oh Xan.  photo Emot-loveheart.gif

Finally, finally, I have control back and the plot-important conversations are done. There's a remaining war sage nearby who explains a bit about the Lanthorn, that it was once a simple lantern used to light the elves' way as they fled to new lands. She has no advice about fighting Bodhi other than using holy water, and so I spend a bit of time looking around. The area around the temple is a beautiful arboreal wilderness:


...but none of the elves will talk to me other than Elhan, who notices that I don't have the Lanthorn, and Ricar, who asks if I'm ready to go to Irenicus's stronghold. Not quite yet. I need to sell and buy, so I leave the elves behind and head toward Athkatla.

On the way, a man named Dermin Courtierdale finds the party in the wilderness and demands words with Jaheira:
Dermin Courtierdale: "Jaheira! I would have words with you! "
Jaheira: "Dermin? What are you doing back here? I am glad to see you, I had thought our friendship..."
Dermin Courtierdale: "I am not here for a social call. This is the last time we will see each other peacefully. I have come to speak a warning."
Jaheira: "What are you talking about?"
Dermin Courtierdale: "It has been decided. You are a killer of Harpers and a traitor. You have collaborated with our known enemies. Your execution has been ordered."
Jaheira: "What? Such a thing has never been done!"
Dermin Courtierdale: "This is a very special case. You have faced little opposition from the Harpers so far. From here on the attacks will increase in severity, unless you come with me now."
Jaheira: "What do you mean?"
Dermin Courtierdale: "This is an internal matter of justice, and does not involve this Chiyo. You can spare her the attacks if you submit."
Chiyo: "What sort of deal is this?"
Dermin Courtierdale: "The only sort she will get. Think on it, Jaheira. You will receive the hearing you wish."
Jaheira: "Very well, Dermin. I will think on this."
Dermin Courtierdale: "You do that, Jaheira. There will be no other warnings."
A day later in the wilderness, I meet a very famous adventuring party:


Bruenor: "Blast it, boy, I may be old but me memory has not left me head just yet! And we would not even have to look for it had Wulfgar not knocked it out of me hand!"
Wulfgar: "I did no such thing, dwarf."
Bruenor: "But ye did, me boy! Ye were not looking where ye were flying about in the battle, and I were too distracted by the trolls to run after it. And then I forgot that ye even did it, after."
Catti-Brie: "Well, of course we be trying to help ye find it, but all Drizzt was wondering was ---"
Bruenor: "He be wondering whether I have a wit left in me head, girl! And I tell ye we'll find me hammer soon enough, I'll not leave it fer goblins to steal. Hmph."
Regis: "Umm... be that as it may, Bruenor, Drizzt... we've got company. Maybe they found your pretty little hammer, Bruenor."
Xan: "Irenicus, Bodhi, inmates, dragons, drow, and now Drizzt." He groans. "We are doomed."
Jaheira: "I know this one, Chiyo, from the Harpers. A drow of good alignment and heroic reputation. He is deserving of respect."
Wulfgar: "One more comment on me hammer, Rumblebelly, and ye'll be the first it squishes when I gets it back!"
Drizzt: "Peace, my friends, there is no need for us to fight over this. Ho there, travelers! I am Drizzt Do'Urden, most recently of Ten Towns. Are you friend or foe?"
Chiyo: "I am a friend, Drizzt. I have heard of you."
Drizzt: "Well met, then, friend. Tell me, have you perhaps seen a, ah... a pink war hammer in the vicinity during your travels?"
Bruenor: "Blast ye, Drizzt, me hammer be not PINK!!"
Regis: "Well, you have to admit, Bruenor... since Cirine cast that enchantment on it, it has been glowing a little on the pinkish side..."
Bruenor: " It be RED! RED, I tell ye!! Call it pink again, halfling, and ye'll have yerself a one-way ticket to the Abyss!!"
Wulfar: "I've been there. It was nothing special."
Drizzt: "Red, then. Might you have seen something like it, stranger?"
Chiyo: "No, I haven't."
Bruenor: "Moradin's breath! It must be about here somewhere!!"
Drizzt: "We'll look for it a while longer then, Bruenor, have no fear. We are not expected back in Ten Towns for a fortnight, yet. Tell me, though, stranger... have we met before? I feel as though your face is familiar, but I cannot attach a time or place to it. Should I know you?"
Chiyo: "We met only briefly. I helped you defeat some gnolls near Baldur's Gate."
Drizzt: "That was you? Glad I am to meet you again, friend, it is good to see others of decent nature travel these roads, especially with all the rumors of danger. If you are in need of assistance I will be glad to offer it. If not, I will wish you well and we shall be on our way back to the far north."
Chiyo: "I have a proposal for you, Drizzt, if you will wait for a moment."
Drizzt: "A proposal? Very well, stranger...I have no objections to hearing you out. If I can assist you, I will."
Chiyo: "I am Chiyo and I seek to defeat a vampire in Athkatla too powerful to face alone. Will you help?"
Drizzt: "I had heard rumors of this creature, but I also heard that she and her cohorts were destroyed. Are you claiming that this is untrue, that she yet exists?"
Chiyo: "I was the one who destroyed her guild, but she got away. She has returned now, and is stronger even than before."
Drizzt: "I have had experience with such creatures in the past, and I know well their power. If what you say is true we cannot allow it to continue to exist. I will join you in your battle, Asim, although there are things that we must do before that time. Where does this creature reside in Athkatla?"
Chiyo: "In the crypts beneath the Graveyard District."
Drizzt: "I think I know the area you speak of. Very well... we will meet you there when you are ready to venture beneath the surface. Until that time, Chiyo..."
Jaheira: "An excellent idea, Chiyo. Adding Drizzt and his companions to the battle against Bodhi will certainly tip the scales. You show great wisdom."
And Drizzt and his adventuring party leave to go find the hammer. Boy, am I glad that Drizzt doesn't remember I pickpocketed his scimitars in Baldur's Gate so Chiyo could use them!  photo emot-parrot.gif

Half a day more and the party arrives in Waukeen's Promenade in Athkatla. When they get their first sight of the city, Xan has a word with Chiyo:
Xan: "Athkatla again. After all the dangers we encountered, it seems almost...peaceful."
Chiyo: "There is a small difference. When we departed it, I had my soul."
Xan: "You will regain your spirit, I swear. I lost hope in the Underdark, but here, today, under your gaze, I am slowly regaining it. You will live. No matter the cost."
Chiyo: "Strange: you are gaining hope, and I am losing it."
Xan: "It is easy to explain. Despite the loss of your spirit, you never looked better, while I am too tired to strike a heroic pose. I find you inspiring, but it is hardly mutual. Especially after my behavior in the Underdark... I look back and see I did not support you as I should. You needed love, and care, but you had none. I was too frightened to spare any, and too anxious to notice your need. Will you forgive me?"
Chiyo: "I will always forgive you."
Xan: "Thank you. We may die tomorrow, but I will not think of it today. Not with you so near. But come--our doom awaits.
I head toward the Adventurer's Mart, and I'm halfway across the promenade when a githyanki stops me. He has a very hard time talking to non-psionic, non-planar beings:
Kruin: "Aha! It is the wielder, the thief and the defiler! All in one being...strange. I thought there would be three. You there! Have you no twin sisters?"
Chiyo: "What do you want, Githyanki?"
Kruin: "A question with a question! I see her mind is far deeper than I expected. Layers and layers of duplicity and deceit. I must be subtle with this one. Perhaps I should start again before she gets suspicious. Hm. Yes, I think this would be best. (ahem!) You there, elf woman! My freedom from limbo has a price: I must track down the thief of one of our most holy of holies."
Chiyo: "You know, I heard you the first time."
Kruin: "You did? Really? You know, being a wild mage isn't all its cracked up to be. My mentor said, 'See the spoon, see the spoon.' But I only saw frogs. So now. I've been very patient because you are a lesser being. I'm trying not to overwhelm you with my psionics just by accident. See how nice I am? So hand over the Silver Sword Blade and we'll all be happy. Well, maybe you won't be happy, but you won't be dead and that's got to be better, right?"
Xan: "I must say, the man has a point."
Kruin: "Your friend here understands implicitly, I see. So are you going to hand over the sacred blade or not?"
I'm sick of githyanki threatening to murder me and assuming that I'll comply, and I tell him that the blade is mine and he should come and take it. And he and six of his friends try. It's going pretty well until the leader one-shots Aerie because I didn't notice she was under attack.  photo emot-gonk.gif

Round two I buff up and Xan summons a planetar, and then I send Chiyo alone to talk to trigger the enemies. That time the planetar and the others murder the githyanki spectacularly, and the leader drops the Silver Hilt! Carrying that seems like the worst idea when hunting the other half, since now I have both, but I won't complain. I don't have enough free inventory space to pick up the loot, so I enter the Adventurer's Mart to sell off my excess trinkets. The proprietor offers to show me the "secret stock" for 50g, and I take him up on it. He doesn't have any items I want, but he does have a scroll of spell strike and a scroll of time stop, both of which I buy and give to Xan.

Next is the slums. On the way to the Planar Sphere, I stop at the Temple of Ilmater on top of the Copper Coronet building to deliver Yoshimo's heart. Chiyo explains that she has a strange request and when she mentions Yoshimo, the priest is familiar with the name:


Priest of Ilmater: "He donated a substantial sum of gold, and asked that I store certain personal effects here - he'd prefer not to be caught dead with them, or because of them, he said."
Chiyo: "I just hope he finds some peace in death, at least."
Priest of Ilmater: "I see. Events took him further than he expected, and he suffered as he struggled between duty and conscience. I have seen such torment in souls before. Very well, we shall take his heart unto the breast of Ilmater. The Crying God will determine what torment is deserved or not. If there is suffering undeserved, this Yoshimo will see relief in his eternal rest. Tell me, have you forgiven this man for his treachery?"
I have to think about the question for a bit. I had Yoshimo with me for most of the game. Chiyo traveled with him for months, and while he was magically compelled, he entered into Irenicus's service originally of his own free will. Eventually, Chiyo says:
Chiyo: "Yes. He was a victim as well. All I hold for him is pity."
Priest of Ilmater: "I see. If that is the case, perhaps you would like to have a look at what he left here? I believe he meant to come back for his things if he survived, but it seems you have come in his stead. If you still feel the pain of his betrayal, whatever you find may provide you with some consolation, or at least answers."
Chiyo: "I'd appreciate that. Thank you, brother."
Priest of Ilmater: "Good. Just let me get his things, then... Here. I hope you find what you seek. Fare you well."
A wakizashi, obviously the companion to the katana he carried, and his journal. Tamoko, the woman that I killed in the ruins underneath Baldur's Gate on the way to fight Sarevok, was his sister, and it was Yoshimo who captured Chiyo and her party and brought them to Irenicus in the name of revenge.

Well.  photo emot-colbert.gif But Yoshimo is dead now, and whether he is at peace or not is up to Ilmater.

On the way out, a man runs in, yells "I AM HABIB!" hurls some coins at the priest and hits Chiyo with them, and then runs out. The priest sighs:
Priest of Ilmater: "Oh... dear. You really must forgive him. He does that on occasion."
Chiyo: "Who was that?!"
Priest of Ilmater: "One of the locals. A...ah...thief, I believe, from Calimshan. His name is Habib, and as far as I can tell he feels guilty about his profession so he tolls to Ilmater for forgiveness."
Chiyo: "He throws his money into the church?"
Priest of Ilmater: "He is afraid to come into the church, for fear we will turn him in. Poor, skittish fellow. Have mercy on him, dear woman."
Xan: "Most likely, we will never see him again. Chiyo is left with a remarkable bruise, however."
This is enough experience to level up Jaheira, Imoen, and Aerie, and Jaheira and Aerie finally get some high-level abilities. Jaheira takes Elemental Swarm and Elemental Prince Call, Aerie takes Summon Deva, and I take the journal and wakizashi and proceed to the Planar Sphere, where I drop off a lot of quest items I have and pick up some of the magical items I left behind, then go to the docks to visit Cromwell. After turning down probably a dozen combinations--going through the Underdark got me a lot of components for the Item Upgrade Mod items--he suggests making Crom Faeyr Crom Faeyr, and I say yes as fast as I can click the button. That goes on Minsc, and as compensation for Jaheira losing the gauntlets of ogre power she's had for most of the game, I take her Gnasher and combine it with the bone club to make Fulcrum, a +4 club that does 4 damage to Lawful, Chaotic, Good, or Evil characters (stacking if more than one applies), has the Gnasher's thorn splinter ability, and provides grand mastery in clubs. Now Jaheira won't be complaining about her weapons having no effect against powerful enemies anymore.

That drains me down to almost no gold, so after a night in the inn where Chiyo has a dream:



Dream: "I bring visions of warning, of what is happening now, and what may happen soon. This image will speak true, for you are of two sides, and the liars have said their part. You travel in search of yourself, divided, splintered. There is a piece of you missing. The hole inside you fills with death, with darkness, while another... Irenicus... kills with your strength. Look. Look at the destruction he has wrought. See the corruption that he brings. For your sake, and theirs, you must take back what has been stolen. If their lives are not enough, then think of your own. You will lose yourself to the hole within. Yours is the potential to be your own worst enemy, or your own savior."
That night, after the rest of the party goes to sleep, Xan wants to speak to Chiyo:
Xan: "While the others are asleep, will you sit with me? There is something I need to ask you."
Chiyo: "Of course, what is it?"
Xan: "You are slowly loosing yourself. For a moment, your eyes were empty, as if you were ready to turn into that...monstrosity again. We have a mortal battle with Bodhi ahead of us, a battle where you will need all your resources, but I beg of you, do not use this one. Do not employ the avatar of your sire, or the last shreds of you will melt away. You will melt away, estel'amin. Do not use it...please..."
Chiyo: "Never fear. I will not."
Xan: "That is good to hear. Come...I will not let you out of my arms until it is time for us to go and die."

The night passes.

Xan: "Do not rise. If you do, we will have to set out, kill, die... We are much better off here."
Chiyo: "We have to. A day, a month, and I will die without my spirit."
Xan: "I know. But will a few minutes change anything? I was watching you in your reverie, and it seemed impossible that some day, you will die. It is impossible that one so beautiful can die at all."
Chiyo: "Am I beautiful to you? Even without my spirit?"
Xan: "You are. You are a living, breathing beauty, and you will not die. Not if I can help it. You will live. Irenicus and his sister have undoubtedly prepared their share of nasty surprises for us, but no barrier will stop you from regaining your spirit. You will win, and I will hold your hand all the way."
Chiyo: "That would be nice..."
Xan: "I hope so. Now, if no one has stolen my robes yet, I will be ready in a moment..."
 photo emot-glomp.gif

After that, I leave Athkatla and go back to talk to the elves and take Ricar up on his offer.

Game time elapsed: 109 days, 7 hours


Whew! That was over five thousand words of mostly transcribing dialogue. But there's a lot of plot-relevant stuff there and a lot of scenes between Chiyo and Xan, so I wanted to get all of it down in full. It does mean that it took me hours to play what would probably have been an hour or so if I hadn't been writing everything down, though.

That scene with the moonblade in the middle is very important. A couple updates ago, I realized that the version of the Xan mod I had installed was from several years ago, back when the bonded path--the path where it assumed you were continuing a romance from BG1--only had a tragic ending. Fighting the vampires would inevitably lead to Xan's death. Newer versions of the mod had a way out, but I was one version before the mod where they add that. WeiDU mods have to be installed in order, so I copied my whole Baldur's Gate II directory, uninstalled everything, reinstalled everything including the new version of the Xan mod, and hoped I hadn't thrown over a hundred hours of gameplay down the toilet. But it works!  photo emot-science.gif Or at least, it seems to. The real test will come in when I actually go to fight Bodhi.

Which will be next update! I don't have any sidequests to finish up that I know of, so it's just gathering allies and going to fight the vampires. I should be able to do that in one post, he said hopefully.  photo 3327b7f6b45a33781e80dce4e4461510-d4ipx9c.gif

Next: Part XXX: Let the Bodhis hit the floor.
 
 
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