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03 July 2015 @ 04:04 pm
Dorchadas Plays Baldur's Gate II, Part VII: Dies Eyerae  
The party enters the hall below, arriving in front of a bizarre buried statue with a discarded ribcage visible to the left. Advancing careful forward turns out to be worthless as spiders leap out from the shadows all around them, but despite their size, they're easily dispatched.

This section was actually one of the moments that really drove home how powerful the party had become since Chiyo first set forth from Candlekeep at the beginning of Baldur's Gate. In that game, a single sword spider stood a good chance of ripping my party to shreds and I'd need to stand off and kill them with ranged attacks, but in this hall I was jumped by four of them and killed them all with no casualties, though they did tear through Aerie's stoneskin spell and almost kill her, leading Jaheira to scold her for neglecting to heal herself:
Jaheira: "You musn't let yourself get so wounded, Aerie. I won't always be around to bandage you, you know."
Aerie: "I'm a healer too, Jaheira."
Jaheira: "And what good are your spells now? You should be more frugal and not cast them all at once."
Aerie: "Y-Yes, ma'am."
Jaheira: "And don't stutter, it doesn't become you."
Down the next hall is a bunch of yuan-ti and a yuan-ti sorcerer, and these yuan-ti must be higher level than the ones in the De'Arnise Keep were, because they kill me three times over. Even when I get the sorcerer down early, the remaining yuan-ti kill one of my front-line fighters while Xan and Aerie are dueling with the sorcerer. On the fourth try, I start off by summoning a fire elemental...and it turns out I'm fighting mummies, who are weak against flame. Hey, I'll take it.

The Riddlemaster
Past the mummies is...the Dread Gazebo:

Somewhat the worse for wear.

Yoshimo looks around, disarming a trap on the stairs, but there's no way to cross the chasm. When Chiyo heads up the steps and examines the gazebo, a voice booms in her head, demanding the answer to three questions.
  1. The Bridge has fallen and ends in death. Call forth the name to summon the path. What is the Bridge?

  2. You are not alone on this Bridge. Call forth the name to summon the path. It travels with you, and through it you travel, and yet it does leave you behind. Who is with you?

  3. The Bridge is not stable, and the end changes place. Call forth the name to summon the path. Choose the step which is the hardest on the Bridge.
Initially, Chiyo takes a moment to contemplate the questions, then returns to the guardian and after an initial misstep that leads the vindictive guardian to summon ghouls to punish her, Chiyo correctly answers "Life," "Time," and "the current one, for death and birth are fixed," which the guardian accepts and reforms the bridge, allowing the party to cross.

On the other side of the bridge is a group of three gauths, and I bash my head against them for twenty minutes. Frontal assaults don't work because the gauths spam paralyze effects from their central eyes, and I don't seem to have any protection from paralyzation spells on my wizards. After a half-dozen failed attempts, I have Jaheira cast entangle on them at maximum range and have Aerie, Jaheira, and Chiyo unleash magical devastation into the field of writhing vegetation until nothing is left alive.

Past the trapped hallway on the other side, I enter a large cavern dominated by a stagnant lake, with stone paths leading to a temple in the center. There are several buildings fallen to ruins on the temple's outskirts, and beings with diseased skin wander listlessly among the debris. Chiyo approaches one of them to ask what happened, and he has a very strange attitude:

Diseased One: "We are the guardians. We guard the temple. This is very important because every few hundred years someone almost wanders this way. We have forgotten what it is that we guard, we have forgotten how many generations we have been here, and we have forgotten what it is to have a purpose."
Chiyo: "But you must be serving some greater plan. Who is the temple dedicated to?
Diseased One: "The temple? It has been so long since we have uttered the god's name it has been forgotten by most. What loyalty do we owe a creature that would condemn us to this?"
Chiyo: "And this disease you appear to have? What is it?"
Diseased One: "It is the decay of our minds and souls. We grow to hate the power that sustains us, so it rots us from the inside. There is no cure. There is no escape. There is no end."
Chiyo: "Then why do you stay?"
Diseased One: "We cannot leave. We cannot even die. We are born again in an endless recycling of our souls. We learn over and over again that we are condemned to a fate we no longer want."
Chiyo: "Then I will try to release you somehow."
Diseased One: "Do what you will; there is no escape for us. We have accepted this. We teach it to the newly young, who then teach it to the old that die and are reborn. The deal which placed us here has been followed to the letter, and we are never to be released from service no matter how pointless the task. You will fail. You cannot help but fail. We know this. We expect nothing other."
Chiyo: "Is there nothing that can be done? Have you petitioned your lord?"
Diseased One: "We cannot petition the unknown. We have not seen a sign for ages and his name is lost to us now. No, nothing is directed at the temple except loathing. Take what you will. We are guardians in name only. We might as well be simple mindless skeletons."
Well, I'll do just that, then! The party enters the temple and a demon appears and attacks! But its attacks barely scratch the party, its body is covered in gaping wounds, it constantly screams of suffering and pain and death, and despite all the blows that Chiyo and Minsc inflict on it, it refuses to die. After inflicting enough wounds to kill a real demon several times over onto the thing, the party retreats from the temple to regroup and consider their options. Outside, the Diseased One sees them emerge and tells them that he knew that they would fail and they may as well give up.
Diseased One: "You have failed of course. You could do no other."
Chiyo: "What manner of creature was in there? It actually wanted me to attack it."
Diseased One: "I do not know and I do not care. You can do nothing here. There is no end to the duty. Rail against whatever beast is there, but it will do you no good."
Wow, he's more nihilistic than I am.  photo cripes.001.gif

I confess this puzzle boss stumped me for a while and I eventually had to go look up a hint, and it was one of those where the solution seems obvious in hindsight but it would have taken me a long time to figure out. The party re-enters the temple, Minsc, Jaheira, and Chiyo corner the beast, and Aerie summons up the power of Baervan Windwanderer and casts cure light wounds, which dispels the beast instantly.

With the beast's destruction the god appears.
Deity: "Whoooooo walks in the temple of I? Speak of yourself, you are almost beyond the sight of I."
Chiyo: "I could say the same of you. Are you the chief resident of this temple?"
Deity: "I am I. The Temple is I, though it is not safe for even I. The beast does kill my form repeatedly. You have slain it for but a small time. It comes again and again. The beast is a fell deity, for it has more power than I can muster. My legion of followers feed the creature, and I am weakened and fading. Such power the beast has."
Chiyo: "You are not worshipped here. Those outside feel nothing but loathing."
Deity: "But they must serve; it is the letter of the agreement. They were to guard and I would provide for their lives. This was to be for all time."
Chiyo: "There must be an end. It has been so long they do not even recall your name."
Deity: "Then it is little wonder I cannot defeat the beast. It is their loathing and pathos, and it has become their object of worship, whether they know it or not. The time has passed. I have naught here, and will not again. Even the great device has waned in power, and is not so epic a danger as once I thought."
Xan: "See, Chiyo? Will you continue to lust for the power your heritage provides, after what you have seen here? There is no point, save unrest and loathing."
Jaheira: "I...I understand. It is an avatar of a faded god, left guarding an item that has waned in power. Loathing has replaced the worship of his followers. A lingering fate."
Deity: "I weep for my children. Their hate sustains this place, though they would intend otherwise. Had they not thought of me at all I would have perished, and soon after so would they."
Chiyo: "Is there anything I can do you help you?"
Deity: "The letter of the bargain was that I protect the great device until the end of time. The creator races were very specific. I will reinterpret the words, for it is surely the end of my time. The intent of the bargain was that the great device would not be used again. If it is indeed the 'end of time,' then my last act should be to destroy it. I have not the power to do so."
Chiyo: "It is needed first. Perhaps we could help each other?"
Deity: "Yes, I see in your mind the way to release this place. You seek the great device for another, though you owe them no allegiance and they intend to kill you. The cause is simple. You will take the great device, the piece that I possess, and you shall combine it with the piece the creature already has. The assembled rod would surely destroy the beast. You must use the item upon the beast, and then return it to me. Use it but once, or you will perish under its power. Tell my people that you carry the piece that I give you, that you might deplete it; that you go to restore its components so that it may be disposed of as a whole, not in part. My people must know I intend to destroy it when you return... but more, they must know I intend to end their service. This simple act of bringing together the two parts of the rod will instill a small amount of faith, for an instant. If they are in my presence, such an instant will allow me to destroy the artifact."
Chiyo: "Have you not the power to do any of this? Why do you need me?"
Deity: "The energies of my followers are directed at this place, not at me. Should I try to leave, I would likely lose my form, only to return in the temple some years later. You must do this. Their loathing sustains the cycle. They must have a moment of hope, such that I will be powered to free them."
Chiyo: "I will help you. Give me the device."
Deity: "Take it, and plant the seed of hope within my followers. They may not believe you now, but when you return they will perhaps have a spark."
The avatar gives the party the artifact and vanishes. As they leave the temple, Xan takes the opportunity to warn Chiyo against the temptation of her divine blood, as divinity is no guarantee of power.

Outside the temple, the Diseased One starts his usual speech about futility but falters when he realizes the party has the artifact
Diseased One: "Have you enjoyed your visit? Of course you found nothing and of course you will leave empty handed. There is... you..."
Xan: "Alas, the avatar of your half-dead god seems to have the same suicidal tendencies as our exalted leader."
Diseased One: "You have the great device! What are you doing with that? It cannot be moved! It has not been moved in millennia!"
Chiyo: "It is the will of your god that it be taken from this place and weakened!"
Diseased One: "I do not believe you. Nothing has changed here in ages. If you have the great device it is only because our god is weaker than we imagined."
Chiyo: "You will see. It is to be destroyed when I return. You will be free of your duty."
Diseased One: "Nothing changes here. You will not return. We will not be freed. There is nothing to lend our faith to but hate and loathing. Go. It is the last we will see of you."
I admit, I too would take that attitude if I had to deal with millennia of unending pointless tasks. I decide to leave him to his soul-crushing depression and return to Sassar, who senses the artifact and, overjoyed, tells them they will need to speak to a contact still in the cult, but not to approach Gaal, who will sense the artifact and blow the entire conspiracy wide open.

A Poke in the Eye
In the beholder's temple complex/hole in the ground, I travels past the room where Gaal is waiting and approach Tad, who is standing on the edge of the Pit of the Faithless, where those who defy the beholder are thrown:

His plan is...unimpressive.
Tad: "Yes, pilgrim?"
Chiyo: " 'The eye is blind'?"
Tad: "You...Sassar sent you? Oh, thank the gods, I am relieved he is still alive! I am Tad...what do you need me to do?"
Chiyo: "He said that you would know a secret way to reach the small cave at the back of the beholder's lair. Can you help me find it?"
Tad: "You want to enter the beholder's lair? Well... you must go down the Pit of the Faithless. Below is a secret pathway to the small cave in the lair. I don't know exactly where the passage is. Be wary of the creatures who feed upon the bodies of the faithless that are thrown down there.
Chiyo: "You want me...to go down there? That is not much of a plan."
Tad: "I'm afraid I can do little else to help you with that, my lady. I will pray for you to succeed."
Chiyo: "Very well. Thank you for the assistance, Tad."
Tad: "Good luck, my lady!"
Having delivered his cheery news, he departs and the party descends through the side stairs.

Among the undead below that attack is a single zombie, who cries out at the sight of the living that he must tell "the mayor" and runs into one of the ramshackle huts. The party follows and are confronted by a ghoul who tells them to leave immediately while he can still control himself:
Theshal: "Hsss! Why do you come amongst usss? I begsss you to leave! The sssmell...the sssmell of food makesss usss wild!"
Chiyo: "Tell me who you are and what this place is, first."
Theshal: "I...I am the mayor of thisss town. Theshal isss my name. We havesss built it and we triesss to be good...triesss to be ssscivilized..."
Chiyo: "You...try to be civilized? But you feed on corpses!"
Theshal: "We isss fed from the hole...they throwsss the meat to usss. We mussst eat! But we triesss not to eatsss the living! I triesss to teach the ghoulsss to be good, to have town likesss the living!"
Chiyo: "So...you're the leader of this lot? Perhaps you can tell me how to get to the beholder lair above, then."
Theshal: "You...wantsss to sssee the Great Feeder?"
Chiyo: "The...Great Feeder? If you're referring to the one who throws you down all the dead bodies then, yes, I suppose so."
Theshal: "The...the Great Feeder isss beyond the bridge, he isss...we goesss there to ssserve him and cleansss him..."
Xan: "Chiyo! He is about to attack!"
Theshal: "...the...sssmell...it isss too much! I cannot ssstand it any moresss!! HsssSSS!!"
Thanks to Aerie's turn undead, I make mincemeat of the undead in the hut and rest.

Hours later, the party leaves and crosses the chasm, finding their way to the beholder's lair. They're greeted by a disgusting fleshy growth covering all of the walls and coating the tunnels, but without any other way to proceed, they press on:

With occasional pauses for beholder-inflicted status effects to wear off.

The tunnels are absolutely crawling with gauths and a couple beholders, and it takes a long time to work through them as I nuke them down from a distance, have Xan and Jaheira summon monsters to suffer the gaze attacks, cast free action on Minsc and have him run in while Xan and Aerie cast spells, rest, and repeat. At the far end of the chambers, in a pulsating room, Chiyo finds the other part of the rift device and joins them together. As they try to leave the chamber, the party is set on by the godbeholder, who proclaims, "Despair, sighted, for death is thy familiar" and attacks. Chiyo pulls out the rift device and uses it, sending flame blasting down from the heavens and severely wounding the would-be god, but not killing it, and the rest of the party sets on it with spell and sword until it lays twitching on the pulsating floor of the tunnels.

Here's where I briefly digress to wonder about whether the beholder's scheme would actually work. As far as I know, in the Forgotten Realms you can't just become a deity, you have to gain divine status from someone who already has it, the way that Bane, Bhaal, and Myrkul originally gained their divinity when Jergal got tired of the whole "god" thing. It's possible that post Time of Troubles enough worship could propel a mortal up into divine status, but there's now way a few dozen people is enough, not even if you include all those beholders I slaughtered in the tunnels. This whole plan was obviously poorly-thought-out, but I suppose most plans that end in we shall be as gods are.

After cleaning up the rest of the tunnels, killing another beholder and a group of blind priests, the party returns to Sassar:
Sassar: "You have destroyed the creature who has enslaved so many...and for that, I am more grateful than I can say. I sense you have the rift device...the rod. You have used it? I must caution you not to take it to the lands above...its power would consume you. Far better that you return it whence it came, for the safety of us all, my lady..."
So I do, slightly cursing the lack of a fast-travel function between already-cleared areas.

The Diseased One reacts with astonishment that we've returned:
Diseased One: "You return? Why? Why have you come back here? You have brought back the great device?"
Chiyo: "The device is of no further use to me. I have returned it."
Diseased One: "But it is the great device! It is all important! It has been this way for centuries! You have simply returned it? This cannot be, unless... Unless this has been arranged from the start. Unless you have been a tool for our lord. It is not possible. This cannot be. You cannot be the herald of change. It is not possible. I... I must see for myself. I must hear the word. We all must."
He gathers his people and brings them to the temple to see if there is finally a point to their long existence. When they enter, the temple is empty, and when the Diseased One points this out, Chiyo suggests they call their god by name, brushing off the Diseased One's objections by pointing out that if he wanted a sign, she's holding it in her hand. After a moment's disbelieving spluttering, the Diseased One calls out...to Amaunator:
Diseased One: "Amaunator! Your people call to you! I, Agru Tindul, Sunlord of the Third House, pursuant to your Conduct of Worship contract, do hereby give my voice to your name. We ask... please... we call to you. Please... we have need of you."
Avatar of Amaunator: "I hear. You who have suffered, who still suffer. The time is at an end. Letter of the law states that we guard until the end of time. Our time has ended."
Diseased One: "Then... what is left to do?"
Avatar of Amaunator: "Nothing. Your task is done. You will all sit by the side of Amaunator in the Keep of the Eternal Sun. The old enemies are gone, and duty is well enough fulfilled."
Diseased One: "Praise be to the keeper of time, that he should let it end for the just."
Avatar of Amaunator: "This is the end of things. Rest your mind in my heart. Rest."
Their mission finally fulfilled, all of them vanish.

Amaunator is an old sun deity--the current one is Lathander--but there's some evidence that Amaunator and Lathander are two aspects of the same god, with Lathander being more focused on the sun's warmth and curative power and Amaunator being the pitiless sun who was nonetheless strictly fair. The shenanigans he does with "well, it's the end of our mission, so that counts" are completely in character for him.

As they leave, Sassar thanks the party for all they have done and he and his compatriots disperse. Before leaving, I figure I should go head over to see how the cult is doing, and find Gaal in a bit of distress:

Thou mad?

Gaal: "You! Chiyo! You have sinned against the universe itself! We shall destroy you!"
Aerie: "Your evil is an affront to everything I believe in! These... these mutilations are going to stop, and if it takes killing you to do that then we will!!"
Xan's chaos and Jaheira's summoned fire elemental do most of the work, and on Gaal's corpse I find a girdle of fortitude which I give to Chiyo to shore up her only real weakness (a Constitution of 13). Using it raises her HP from 75 to 114 for eight hours. Not too bad at all.

I exit the sewers onto a scene of a shield knight of Helm straight-up murdering a prophet of the Unseeing Eye in the streets, and back at the temple high Watcher Oisig is pleased with the news, though he takes the chance to get in a dig that our reward will be "mere gold and trinkets," which is fine with me. He tells us to talk to one of his subsidiary priest, who might have another task for us, but not yet. There's something else I want to do.

But I can't do that quite yet either, as immediately on exiting the temple we're accosted by a woman named Valen:
Valen: "Hello, friends, might I have a word away from the ears of others? I would impart a fine bit of business your way."
Chiyo: "Would you now? And what might this be?"
Valen: "Well, truthfully it is not for me to say. At least, not in full measure. My mistress would have words with you, about concerns you have no doubt developed on your own. She has watched you for a time, though she is not the only one. Those that you are asked to trust spy as openly or more so, and she offers a solution to your problems of privacy...among others. She is worthy of your trust. If you feel worthy of hers, come to the Graveyard District in the near future and she will speak her offer. Make your visit after the sky has darkened; she will not be there before then."
Chiyo: "Who is this mistress of yours? I would know her name before I go wandering through the grave district."
Valen: "Questions, questions; all will be discussed in proper course. Meet where discussed and you will have your answers. Think on it, but the door is closing soon. Do not delay too long. Farewell."
She vanishes into an alley, but I'm pretty sure I know who she's talking about.

Immediately after she leaves, Gaelan Bayle's nephew tells us that Gaelan wants to see us to "sweeten the deal," in his words, and that he'll only get paid if we show up so we should hurry up. I ignore him, and after selling my excess gear and resting in an inn, I head back to the temple district.

The Artiste
In the Temple of Helm, Guardian Telwyn has a task for Chiyo:
Telwyn: "It is my responsibility to furnish this temple with the artifacts that speak of Helm's glory. Objects that please the eye draw the mind into the glory of Helm."
Chiyo: "And what would you have me do?"
Telwyn: "Athkatla is lucky to have an exceptional artist visiting, second only perhaps to that poor Prism of Nashkel. What a loss his death was to us. I speak of Sir Sarles, who is making a brief stop before leaving for Calimshan. We wish to use this great opportunity to commission a work from him. But nothing is ever easy. Aside from his enormous commission fee, he claims he will work in nothing short of pure illithium - a metal more valued than gold!!"
Chiyo: "Can nothing be done to sway his mind?"
Telwyn: "This is where you come in. I would ask that you convince Sarles to honor Helm. Other churches court him as well, though they have no more illithium than we. You will have to secure enough illithium to keep him happy, and convince him to accept an affordable commission. Discuss this with Sarles, he may be reasonable. Do as you must. Be stern in your negotiations. None should exceed Helm in this. Try to avoid hurting anyone, but answer threats in kind. Sarles is worth it."
Chiyo: "Will I be reimbursed if I must spend my own gold on him?"
Telwyn: "You will be paid as best as the coffers of Helm will allow. If you do not come out ahead, count it towards your service to Helm; a donation in another form. Delay will allow other temples to outstep us. Go to Sarles at the Jysstev estate in the southeast section of the Government District. Conduct yourself with discipline; you are the eyes of Helm in this enterprise.
"Illithium" sounds incredibly dubious to me, but admittedly Helm is known for brutal honesty. After some grumbling, the party leaves and heads to the government district to talk to Sir Sarles.

In the Jysstev estate I find Sir Sarles, and after putting up with the butler's condescension and Lord Jysstev's dismissive hand and request to stay out of the foyer so the important visitors he has coming don't see us, I talk to him:
Sir Sarles: "Who is it? Might I ask why you have disturbed my meditations? My creative muse must be gently awakened, and your stomping about is simply not conducive to this."
Chiyo: "I apologize, but I have come to request your talent on a commissioned artwork."
Sir Sarles: "Oh, yes, yes, yes. One of those bloody churches sent you, didn't they? Must be, because everyone else understands the word 'no.' Which one are you from?"
Chiyo: "Helm has sent me forth. His ever seeing eyes wish to gaze upon your work."
Sir Sarles: "And your offer is the same as the others. Gold and the satisfaction of serving the one true whatever."
Chiyo: "But think of the prestige you will earn."
Sir Sarles: "I have prestige now. I am the darling of every noble in town, and damned if I need any more than that. Neither do I need the payment. I am well provided for. What I really need is to work in the medium of my choice. Pure illithium. Anything less is an insult to my skills. That is all I require."
Chiyo: "Then I will find what you need. Perhaps I can get some from an ore merchant."
Sir Sarles: "I recall the name of one that was referred to me on my last visit. Jerlia was her name, I believe. Speak with her. She has exotics occasionally. Try the promenade. Now go! I will work for whatever church acquires the necessary materials! If not yours, then another! 200 pounds of illithium or I go back to enjoying my holiday!"
On the way out, I have Yoshimo help himself to the Jysslav's valuables as wergild for their rudeness and head to the Promenade.

"I am skilled in avoidance."

Jerlia doesn't have the ore, but she offers a choice: either use a smaller amount and make an alloy, or go to her source and try to get more illithium out of them. I figure someone like Sir Sarles would know fake ore from the real stuff, and after a hefty bribe, Jerlia tells me about a duergar merchant staying in the Copper Coronet that she buys from, and so the party sets off for the slums. Unfortunately, Unger Hilldark doesn't have any either:
Unger: "What are ye starin' at? Ain't illegal to be a dwarf, last I heard. Take yer eyes off o' me and put them someplace safe."
Chiyo: "Ahh, but you're not an ordinary dwarf, are you? Not by a longshot."
Unger: "I dinnae like yer tone, girl. If ye've got something to say, best you spit it out now before yer spendin' the day lookin' fer yer teeth!"
Chiyo: "No need to get angry, I meant no offense. Jerlia sent me. I need illithium."
Unger: "She did, did she? Bloody hellfire! I'll think I be needin' to have a chat with the lass. I trust ye paid her enough that there will be some for her to split with me. She will see that it is wise to do so, if the cutthroat lass knows what's good fer business. Ye seek illithium, do ye? I have none, and I nae be getting more anytime soon. Now that that is out o' the way, goodbye and good riddance!"
Chiyo: "Wait. This could be very profitable for you. Won't you reconsider?"
Unger: "It nae matter, ye blitherin' fool. I nae have any illithium. None. It be that simple. My source is inaccessible, and if I can nae get some, I nae getting it fer ye. Stoke yer forge if ye want, but it nae do ye a lick o' good."
Chiyo: "You sound like this was not a planned shortage. What is the problem?"
Unger: "Oh, so now ye wish to be me friend? Out o' the goodness o' yer heart? Found a place fer one o' me kind in that big soppy heart o' yers? Why should I bother listenin' to ye at all?"
Chiyo: "I'm not interested in harming a simple merchant. Where else will you get help?"
Unger: "Nowhere. This place is unfriendly to even those pathetic dwarves o' hill and mountain. Alright, surfacer, ye wish to share me problems, I'll let ye have 'em. Ye want illithium, ye can wait for it. We mine it deep in the earth, and it be dangerous goin'. It be rare enough when production be normal. This be all useless information though, because me latest shipment has yet to arrive! Me idiot brother, the gravel-brained halfwit, was to oversee the final shipment o' the season, but I've nae heard from him in weeks. The fool had better be dead or I'll kill 'em meself!"
Chiyo: "Perhaps I can help the both of us, then. If I agree to find your lost brother, and I am successful, will you provide me with the illithium I require?"
Unger: "If'n ye want to risk yer hide for my worthless brother, then so be it. He'll likely be lurkin' below the surface o' a temple far to the east. The fool probably caved the whole damned place down on his thick skull. Find the bastard, and I'll give ye the ore. Here, I'll even show ye on yer map."
Chiyo: "Fine. I will do what I can to help us both."
He points out the entrance to the Underdark his brother uses on the party's world map--a ruined temple east of the city--wishes them good luck, and then goes back to drinking.

On the way out, I spot Suna Seni standing by the bar and manage to pry the location of Valgyar out of her:
Suna Seni: "Is there something I can help you with, ma'am?"
Chiyo: "I was told that you may be able to help me. I am seeking a man by the name of Valygar Corthala. His butler said you might know of his current whereabouts..."
Suna Seni: "V... Valygar? I... I've never heard of him!"
Chiyo: "Are you sure? His butler said you knew him well. I could really use your help."
Suna Seni: "Very well. Yes, I do know of Valygar. We were... friends in the scouts. No, no... we were more than friends. I loved him more than I've loved any others. It pains my soul to hear his name again..."
Chiyo: "Perhaps I can help both of us. It is very important that I find him. Do you perhaps know to where he may have fled?"
Suna Seni: "His family owns some land in the Umar Hills to the east. I do not know for sure, but I would guess that he has fled to the wilderness there. If you see him, please tell him... No. I'm sorry, but I cannot speak of this further. My heart aches for my beloved Valygar. Please, just make sure that he is all right. I would like to be alone now."
She flees one step away from crying after the conversation ends.

After stopping into the Adventurer's Mart and buying Chiyo a bizarre sword that seems to shift when she looks at it, the party heads to the city gates and exits Athkatla.

Game time elapsed: 16 days, 8 hours
Imoen rescue fund: 1448/?????????

The ???'s are there because of the offer to "sweeten the deal," which I assume means lowering the price and why I spent all that money on Dak'kon's Zerth Blade. I also have a bit of an in-game reason, since Chiyo is going to want to do the Shadow Thieves guild infiltration questline to see what kind of people she's supposed to be dealing with before she picks a side, even though I'll tell all of you now that I'm almost definitely going to side with the vampires because on the playthrough that got the farthest that's who I sided with and I want to see that storyline through to the ending. The merchant who sells the Planescape items is named Deidre and I had to spawn her in using the console because even though her files are in the game, she's not. I'm not sure if it's a mod conflict or if it's just my game, but either way, the super-overpowered items like Vhailor's Helm aren't in her inventory for whatever reason, so I don't mind summoning her for the lesser ones.

Suna Seni was apparently recycled from that slaver attack that gave me so much trouble right after I got to Athkatla. The Unfinished Business people found that she was originally supposed to tie into the Valygar quest and they put her back and set up Eldarin as the slaver leader. I wonder what they were originally going to do with her and if she'll show up again?

I'm curious how the Shadow Thieves expect to actually beat the vampires in their guild war. Every in-game battle I've seen has a heavily-outnumbered vampire slaughter all the thieves that attack her, and thieves are pretty famously the worst class in pre 3.x D&D who are only around because you need someone to deal with traps. Maybe I'll figure that out when I infiltrate Mae'Var's guild.

Next: Part VIII: Wolves and ogres and Umar, oh my!
Current Mood: hopefulhopeful
Current Music: Level 99, prophetik - Threshold of a Dream (Title)