Log in

No account? Create an account
24 May 2016 @ 10:34 pm
Dorchadas Plays Baldur's Gate II, Part XIX: Escape from Sidequest Hell  
Alright, so of the tasks I have before I'm going to help the Shadow Thieves, I accomplished...one of them last time. I killed Kangaxx. Time to get to the others.

My first stop is the Temple District sewers, where the workers who have the spider-killing weapon are. Jaeggar and Hurg are in the western end of the sewers behind a pipe, which is why I missed them on my first run-through of the sewers. Chiyo approaches them and they demand to know what she wants, though in dimwitted minion sort of way:
Jaeggar: "Here then, what do you want? Don't be bothering my concentration, I've lots of work to get done after my nap."
Hurg: "Wadda you want here? Ain't nothing here for public to see. We just take care of cleanin' the sewers and such."
Chiyo: "I hear you might have a sword I seek. It should have spider-like patterns on it."
Hurg: "I don't know nothing about weapons, really. Trained a bit in hammers, but I don't keep none myself. Not sure what you want."
Jaeggar: "No, no, she wants that blade we was given by ol' Gaden. The one that he said we should pack with us when we go after them spiders in the old ducts."
Hurg: "Ohhhh, I know the one. Yeah, scares 'em good for some reason. Sure wish I knew how to swing it proper. Always end up on me arse when I take a whack with it."
Chiyo: "I'll pay you 1000 gold, no questions asked."
Their response is somewhat surprising:

They obviously don't understand the economic scales at which adventurers operate. I'm pretty sure I could outfit an army with the market value of my party's equipment. They find 200 gold a much more believable and agreeable sum:
Chiyo: "If you have no need of it, I could buy it. Say, 200 gold or so?"
Hurg: "200! Cripes a'mighty, you got a deal!"
Jaeggar: "Hurg! It belongs to the city! It's not ours to sell!"
Hurg: "You right, it's not ours. It's mine! I gots it, I'm packing it around, I gotta scare the spiders, so I'm sellin' it and you get squat. 200 is more than I make in years! Here! Take it!"
Jaeggar: "That's just great! Now we're gonna be in it up to our elbows! We sold city property! They gonna make us disappear like Bene!"
Hurg: "Bene just wandered off like a drunkard. Aw, don't get all frothed up, Jeag, it's not like we used it much any more since we got the new pry-bar. If'n this deeppockets can get some use outta it, so be it."
The sword they give me is the Spider's Bane in the unmodded game, but here it's mostly just trash, ruined by the sewer workers' excessive use of it. That doesn't make much sense for such a powerful enchanted weapon, but I'll accept it as a gameplay conceit and because no one in the party was going to use it anyway.

Potion Power
I notice a bit of fog of war in the south-west corner of the sewers, and uncovering it reveals a man named Jadarath standing on a balcony over a pit. When Chiyo approaches him, he bids her welcome to his laboratory:
Jadarath: "Greetings! So few people come to visit Jadarath in his laboratory. Now, feel free to chat, but please don't try to stymie my work. Roger hates that, and I suspect your friends would find your arrow-filled body lying in an alleyway."
Chiyo: "Laboratory? Are you some kind of wizard or alchemist?"
Jadarath: "I'm no sage or wizard, merely a humble herbalist who knows a few minor magics. All my excess potions are sold to Roger, who maintains an excellent inventory. Why not buy from him?"
Chiyo: "I see. Well, I'll be taking my leave now."
Jadarath: "Wait! Don't go anywhere just yet! What with Roger's shortcomings, I could use the help of an experienced adventurer. Someone who could leave the sewer and obtain the assortment of potions I'm lacking would be most valuable to me. You would certainly be furthering the cause of knowledge and discovery."
Chiyo: "What's in it for me? Knowledge is well and good, but I will need a greater incentive than education and exercise, I'm afraid."
Jadarath: "I can see it in your eyes. You crave it as well: the base desire, possessed by every man, yet to which few admit. Of course, I speak of power. I believe that I am close to unlocking a power that could bring all of Faerûn to its knees. Bring me what I want, and I will share it with you. You would be foolish to expect an equal share, of course, as I would be to offer one. Rest assured, however, you shall have the power you so crave."
Chiyo: "Very well, I shall do as you wish. But you'd best be speaking the truth, or you'll regret it."
Jadarath: "I'll give you a list of the potions I require. For each one you bring me, I will naturally offer appropriate payment. Heh heh! Who knows. If you're fortunate, you may well witness the culmination of my work, and receive a fantastic reward in knowledge and power!"
Chiyo: "Very well, I shall return with what you need."
Jadarath: "Your help is much appreciated, and this will most assuredly be a decision you won't regret. Here is the list of potions I require."
Roger is the man who asked the party to kill the sea troll all those in-game months ago. After the conversation ends, I check the list:

Some of those I already have! Checking the party's inventory and potion bags, I turn up a Potion of Insight, Oil of Speed, a Potion of Power, and roughly three dozen Potions of Invisibility thanks to the potion cartel. When I hand over two of them, Jadarath determines that the party is trustworthy and tells them what's really going on:
Jadarath: "It seems we are able to work together. You complement Roger's efforts well. And I think you have waited long enough for me to tell you what we're doing here. You should understand already, my friend, you who thrive on adventure and battle. Have you ever taken many potions...a dozen potions in rapid succession? I suppose not, for it has always been said that to mix too many magical effects at once is fatal. I used to believe what I was told... foolish of me indeed. I once lived in Imnesvale: a town not far from here. You must understand that when thieves attack your shop, when they threaten your wife and child, you have no choice. And so, I mixed as many potions as I could grab in time. By all accounts, I should have died that night. Yet instead, I became something more than human. The rogues were no obstacle...it seemed as if nothing in the Realms could stop me. Nothing could stop me, I said! So I ran. In the days that followed, I ran clear across Amn. I ran for the pleasure of running, killing everything that stood in my way. Such, of course, is the temptation of power. It breeds insanity, as you observe. Yet for one more taste of such sheer ecstasy, I would have given up everything. For one last taste, I did indeed. So, do you bring any other potions with you?"
He's trying to solve the limit that prevents one person from drinking too many potions all at the same time without horrific side effects--the infamous Potion Miscibility Table--but sometimes you get lucky. I think he's going to be the final boss of this quest.

Two more potions handed over and Chiyo asks what happened to his wife and child:
Chiyo: "You mentioned a family: a wife, and a child. What happened to them?"
Jadarath: "My family abandoned me! I care not for their fate! Live or die, 'tis of no concern to me."
Chiyo: "Don't you wish to know what became of them? At least tell me their names. Perhaps I can find them."
Jadarath: "Fine, if it will quiet your badgering, go scour the earth for that faithless woman and my blasted offspring. Sidhe was the woman and Janie the girl, and they shall both receive their due when I am complete! When I am whole again! Yeeeessss!"
Chiyo: "Are you kidding? Scour the world? They're right here in the city. I encountered them in the Bridge District not long ago."
Jadarath: "What? They are so close? I always pictured them far away, as slaves in Thay or colonists in Maztica. Not a few hundred yards... It doesn't matter! I no longer care for them. My work! Let's get back to work!"
Chiyo: "Shouldn't you at least talk to them?"
Jadarath: "No! The work is more important. I don't need or want them. They'll cast me out, just like all the others! Now stop questioning me! I hired you to do a job, not to be my confessor. Fetch what I asked for!"
Chiyo: "No. I won't collect your precious potions until you at least speak to the family you abandoned."
Jadarath: "You would turn your back on power? On the immense power I can offer you... just for two females who mean nothing to me?"
Chiyo: "The way you're hiding down here isn't right. It's not healthy. You need to rejoin the mainstream. You need to at least speak to them."
Jadarath: "Fine, fool! I will speak to them. They're in the Bridge District you say? As much as it pains me to return to the surface, I will speak to them and tell the sniveling brat and nagging witch what I think. With that done, we will return here and you will help me complete one of the greatest undertakings ever imagined by mortal men!"
Jadarath is a terrible human being, but Chiyo is Neutral Good and I'm playing her as pretty optimistic, which is why I didn't just murder him when he went all DOST THOU DESIRE THE POWER.

Hopefully he doesn't murder them so they'll stop "distracting" him or something...  photo stab.gif

I head straight to the Bridge District because I figure this can't end well, and when I show up, Jadarath is behaving as expected:

Jadarath: "You abandoned me when I needed you. You deserve this squalid life!"
Sidhe: "You? Stay back! I won't let you near Janie!"
Jadarath: "A man disappears after defending his family and you abandon him? You sell of all his belongings and take his child from him!"
Sidhe: "Defending your family?! Begone, you monster!"
Janie: "Mommy? Is this--?"
Sidhe: "Stay back, Janie. Be ready to run with me."
Jadarath: "Silence, strumpet. I don't need either of you! It's taken me five long years, but I've excised you from my heart. My work will give me far more than my faithless wife ever did."
Sidhe: "Then why have you returned? To open old wounds? You have some nerve, showing Janie your face, after what you did!"
Jadarath: "What I did? I protected my family, and for what? You betrayed me!"
Sidhe: "You...you really believe that, don't you? You don't remember."
Jadarath: "Remember what? Remember the day those brigands took Leah from us? Is that what you mean? I remember it all too vividly, Sidhe. I remember being powerless to stop it."
Sidhe: Sobs. "You... you don't remember. There were no thieves, Jadarath. You did it all... you, and your infernal potions. You went insane. You tore up the house. You...you...murdered little Leah before Janie's very eyes."
Jadarath: "What? No! You lie! I saved you. Ungrateful bitch!"
Sidhe: Sobs. "How can you forget such a thing?" Sniffs. "How can you forget your other daughter?"
Jadarath: "I never had another daughter, deceptive wench!"
Janie: "Mommy! I'm scared!"
Jadarath: "Janie? Do not worry, little one."
Janie: "Mommmmmy!"
Sidhe: "Run Janie! Now!"
Jadarath: "Wait! Sidhe! Janie!"
I move the party between them two of them, but Jadarath doesn't go hostile. Instead, he asks Chiyo what he should do, whether he should continue his work or whether he should pursue his family:
Jadarath: "What should I do, Chiyo? My work is... everything! Everything! And yet, in the open air, I feel that I should pursue my family, and resolve this mystery."
Chiyo: "Your work be damned! Pursue them, and perhaps there is a chance you can atone for what you did!"
Jadarath: "Does not the lonely god envy the loved man? I will stay here, for 'tis better that I am the latter. I am sorry I won't be able to offer you the power I promised, but at least take my cache of potions. I suspect... that I will no longer be needing them.
And he hands over his stash of potions and heads after his wife.

This isn't what I would do in the same situation. I wouldn't blame at all Sidhe for never wanting to see Jadarath again, and I'd probably turn him over to the city guard. But Chiyo is an inveterate optimist and always hopeful for the future, so she offers him a second chance. It's listed as a completed quest, so I suspect I'll never know what happened.

That done, I head to the graveyard, go into the pyramid tomb, and talk to Pai'Na. She gratefully accepts the broken blade and hands over a black spider figurine, a pale green ioun stone, and the web sack (Unfinished Business mod item), then leaves her lair along with the prisoners that I would presumably have freed in the unmodded game. Oops!

That accomplished, I head to the slums and the Copper Coronet.

Tarnished Copper
I've already been in the back of the Copper Coronet a couple times for various other quests, but I've never really explored it. Once inside, I head to the back, where I head past Madame Nin and look into the three rooms with heart-shaped beds behind her. The first room has a man labeled "peasant" and a woman named Virah, who demands to know why Chiyo is barging into random rooms and orders her out. The room next door has a sleeping woman who won't wake up, and the room beyond that is empty. Well, never mind then.

Down the stairs and on the other side of the kitchen is a large open area, and when the group enters, an announcer starts shouting that a fight is going to occur. A gladiator is led out into the pits, and when he emerges, he angrily says that he will not fight because the whole idea is inhumane. The announcer sneers that the gladiator is a slave and will do what he is told or he will be torn apart. They then release the troll:

I sense a wrong for Chiyo and her companions to right.

There are two noblemen nearby. Chiyo talks to one, who says that he hopes that Hendak will fight, since the slaves have been of poor quality since he showed up. The other nobleman addresses Xan, and the following conversation ensues:
Nobleman: "Such an interesting sword you have. Could I hold it for a moment?"
Xan: "That depends on how much you wish to die. If you touch the blade, you will badly singe your skin at the very least."
Nobleman: "Nonsense. Hmm...you have probably stolen it somewhere. A thief, eh?"
Xan: "I have been called many things, but this...man, for lack of a better word, starts to test my patience. Shall we move on?"
Nobleman: "You will go nowhere. Give me that sword, or I shall call the guards."
Xan: "Chiyo, you saw me warning him, didn't you?" Very well...here you go."
Nobleman: "Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!"  photo onfire.gif
Xan: " 'Aarrgh' indeed. Come, Chiyo...this world is ever full of fools."
Fortunately, the nobleman doesn't have the presence of mind to call the guards anyway. Or maybe that's fortunate for the guards, considering their odds against the party at this point.

The arena announcer is behind a fence and none of the party can reach him to talk to him, so I wander off out of the arena and down the hall to a door I haven't opened yet. As Chiyo opens it and walks through, a Copper Coronet guard demands to know what she's doing there. When Chiyo looks at the platform the guard is standing on, the spartan conditions of the room, and the barred doors behind which several people are imprisoned, she asks the guard what is going on and what all the cells are. He immediately summons other guards to kill her, which turns out to be a fatal mistake.

When all the guards are dead, I move to inspect the cells and Chiyo is hailed by the aforementioned Hendak:
Hendak: "A moment, friend! You are obviously not aligned with our captors! Might I know your name?"
Chiyo: "My name is Chiyo, and I am certainly not aligned with Lehtinan and his men. Who are you?"
Hendak: "I am Hendak, a proud warrior from the North until my capture by slavers. I have been imprisoned longer than any of these men and survived, though only barely. I have done what I can to aid these other slaves and keep them living through the battles that Lehtinan puts on to amuse his noble fiends. I beg of you, please free us! I have never begged before, and yet I do it now so I might wreak vengeance on Lehtinan and end his sick and twisted enterprise!"
Chiyo: "I have little taste for it, myself. Very well. I will attempt to free you, if I can."
Hendak: "I truly hope that you will be able to, friend. The beastmaster has the key to our cells. If you get the key from him, we will be able to escape!"
Aerie: "I think it's the right thing to do, to free these people. I was...once something of a slave, myself, locked away in a tiny cage. It...it isn't right."
Minsc: "We are going to free this warrior and his people? This is a task of great honor! We shall be great heroes for this, heroes doing heroic things for all to see!"
Yoshimo tries to pick the lock, but of course it doesn't work because this is a CRPG, so I head back out to see if anyone noticed that my party killed a bunch of guards in a back room. It seems like the answer is mostly no--one guard attacks me as I walk down the hall, but it might be one of the ones from the back room that the game put in a bad spot. No one in the main room cares at all.

I can't just walk up to Lehtinan and ask him about the beastmaster, but I can go talk to Bernard! He has something to say to Jaheira first, though:
Bernard: "Jaheira! You shouldn't be showin' your face around where it ain't safe! Not that you ain't safe in my sight but..."
Jaheira: "But...what?"
Bernard: "But I'm on good terms with the Harpers and I don't want that to change. Word's got around about what happened. Jaheira...it ain't true, is it?
Jaheira: "Not the way they tell it. You know me, Bernard, so trust in what I do."
Bernard: "Good enough fer me. Business as usual between you and me, then."
Unfortunately, he doesn't have anything else to say other than talking about the Shadow Thieves or offering drinks. There is one more door out of the prison room I haven't taken, though, and when I open it it leads to the gladiator pits, which are filled with corpses, bones, and a single winter wolf which fares poorly against my party. On the other side of the room is another door which leads to a series of smaller cells, at the end of which is the beastmaster:
Beastmaster: "Eh? I don't recognize you? Who are you?"
Chiyo: "I am here to free the gladiators from their cells. Hand over the keys!"
Beastmaster: "Fool! You'll never escape here alive! Come, Tabitha! Come...open the cages! Aid your master!"
And he releases the hounds:

"Hounds" is metaphorical here.

Unfortunately for them, that's the most dramatic moment of the battle. They're just normal animals, and against party with an average level of 12th or so, they're not even a threat. The beastmaster actually dies at some point during the fight and I don't notice until I kill the minotaur and realize that no one is left. The beastmaster drops a Tuigan bow and the incredibly useful wolfskin bag (no link because it's from the Unfinished Business mod, but it holds 10 items in one inventory slot).

I head back to the pens and free Hendak, who thanks Chiyo profusely:
Hendak: "You have the key! You have it! Thank the Gods! And thank you truly, my friend, for what you have done. We are free, my brothers! Go, now, and free the women! Hendak will strike his blade into the heart of our so-called owner, so that he shall never trouble you again! Go and savor your freedom!"
Gladiator: "Praise be! We are free! Free at last!"
Hendak: "Thank you again, my friends. Now to the task of killing that fiend, Lehtinan. Assist me if you wish. Otherwise, stand and watch the vengeance of Hendak be fulfilled!"
Nobleman: "Run! Run! The slaves have escaped!!"
Nobleman: "Aiiiyee! Run for your lives! They'll kill us for certain!"
Once everyone is free, Hendak draws steel and charges into the common room after Lehtinan. Chiyo follows, killing most guards with a single blow from Celestial Fury, and finds Hendak confronting Lehtinan in the common room:
Lehtinan: "Hendak? You ignorant, barbaric slave! You're behind all of this chaos, aren't you? I'll take it out your hide!"
Hendak: "Enough, fiend! You no longer own me, and I'll ensure that you no longer claim ownership over any other, as well! I have survived your hellish fighting pit for years...you are no match for me!"
Lehtinan: "We shall see!"
He is right, as it turns out. Without any intervention from the party, he cuts Lehtinan down and then claims the Copper Coronet for his own and swears that there will be no slaves there again:
Hendak: "There. It is finally over, Lehtinan, all the years of cruel and evil acts that you have committed for nothing more than coins in your pocket. Burn in the abyss, fiend. I owe you my thanks once again. As do all those you have freed. I intend to take this place as payment for my slavery, to ensure it is never used as such again."
Xan: "Oh, but when ruling a place such as this, you will find it necessary to relax your moral principles, and soon."
Hendak: "There will be no slaves in the Copper Coronet from now on! I shall not allow it. But you are right, friend, the slavers are many. I wish I did not have to ask, but there is one more task that needs doing. The slavers remain at large within Athkatla, hidden at their base here in the slums. They have many children, yet, that they retain as slaves. I would ask of you to rid the city of this infestation once and for all."
Chiyo: "I've already done this. The children are free."
Hendak: "You have completed the task, I see. I can't tell you how overjoyed I am that so many children were rescued, and that nobody will face slavery here again." Sighs. "At least for a while. I am not naive enough to think that the slavers will not return. I shall watch for them, however, and fight them if I can. You have done more than was required of you, and for that you have Hendak's most humble thanks. I have collected some of Lehtinan's more valuable items here for you...I hope this is at least some small reward for the good you have done."
He says that they will always be welcome in the Copper Coronet and that Bernard will offer them a significant discount on his goods, as well as handing over a bastard sword +1/+3 vs. shapeshifters that Lehtinan had.

I immediately take advantage of the discount to buy a bunch of spells, like Simbul's Spell Sequencer, simulacrum, summon fiend, summon death knight (new from the Spell Revisions mod), prismatic spray, summon efreeti, incendiary cloud, acid fog, and pierce shield. I buy them all, distribute them to the wizards in my party, then spend a well-earned night at the Copper Coronet before heading out to do more good deeds the next morning.

The Hosting of the Klan
After the minor inconvenience of a bandit attack, made minor by Xan casting chaos and Jaheira casting insect swarm the instant I spawn into the combat zone, though after two failed attempts--I can accept Sword Coast Stratagems' full pre-buffing when it takes place in the context of an ambush--I head to the government district to finally meet with Aegnor, the elf who told Xan to get out of the city months ago because something "terrible and wondrous" was going to happen.

Near the southern entrance is a nobleman surrounded by bodyguards, and when Chiyo approaches him, he addresses Xan:

Xan: "Oh, do go away..." Sighs.
I knew that Xan was a member of a noble house, but I didn't realize that he was royalty! Xan has always refused to speak of his family, and when Chiyo asks him now, he again says that he does not wish to speak of the dead and waves her off. Someday...

Aegnor is waiting in the northern part of the government district, and when I approach he leads Xan and Chiyo aside to meet with his associates, who quickly reveal that they're members of the Eldreth Veluuthra. Xan is conflicted about this:

Sorry about the Steam notification.

The conversation continues:
Hiel: "Unacceptable to humanity at large, perhaps. But to the forests they plundered? To the People they abused and murdered? The humans are a blight, which should be removed.
Chiyo: Remains silent.
Hiel: "We are going to cripple these insects once and for all. Athkatla, Baldur's Gate, Waterdeep, Neverwinter, Luskan--many human cities will suffer. And they will not be the last, of course. No, it is only a beginning."
Xan: "What are you planning. Aegnor mentioned it was not an attack...an intrigue, then? A plague? what?
Hiel: "You seem genuinely interested. Good. We are going to poison the water supply. No, no, we are not idiots. We do not plan to carry thousands of tons of arsenic to every household. Our plan is more sublime. Poison the water here, and the clerics and the paladins will fall at once. Reach the noble estates, and the city is beheaded. Touch the guard quarters, and panic will erupt. The current Shadowmaster is too well protected, but you could help us in this instance, couldn't you? Repeat this in every human city, and you will see this is a sure path to elven supremacy."
Chiyo: Remains silent.
Xan: "What path of supremacy will there be, when the human cities lie in ruins? They will rebuild, and if not, other races will come to pick what is left of them! The drow will not sit idly, either! Our race needs to be cherished, nurtured, and prepared for its rebirth, futile though this is. But not this--not like this!"
Hiel: "So, what are you going to do, moonblade wielder?"
Xan: "I should send messages to every city at once...but it would lead to paranoia, and the murder of innocent elves, there can be no doubt of that! I cannot..."
Hiel: "And there is no need to. Once the deed is done, we are going to place clues which indicate...hmm...the Cowled Wizards, here in Athkatla. Some civil war will not go amiss. Will you aid us?"
Xan: "No."
Hiel: "As I thought. You would do well to pass your blade into worthier hands."
Xan: "Yours? You are not supported by the Seldarine! The blade will destroy you!"
Hiel: "Corellon will answer our prayers...eventually. I will ask you again: will you help us, or will you hinder us?"
Xan: Sighs. "I cannot spill the blood of my people. I only hope you realize how pointless it all is. This fanaticism is more suited for the humans you readily despise."
Chiyo: "I will not allow you proceed with this evil!"
Hiel: "This is unfortunate. You have fallen deeper than I thought. I would let you go, but your companion has made her wishes clear. You are not worthy. You will not survive. To arms!"
And they attack.

Let me take a moment to talk about the Eldreth Veluuthra. To pick a more recent example, they're a bit like the Thalmor. Like the Thalmor, they're elf supremacists who blame humans for literally everything that has ever gone wrong in elven history. Unlike the Thalmor, they have no metaphysical backing for their claims--as the conversation above hints, the Seldarine themselves think that the Eldreth Veluuthra are douchebags and refuse to answer their prayers, grant them spells, or provide any sort of divine guidance to them at all. You'd think that would dissuade them in a world where relatively recently, the gods literally walked the earth, but I suppose that there have been plenty of people in real history who absolutely believed in the existence of their gods and a set of immutable commandments and still violated them for one reason or another.

You'd think that since I want a Skyrim mod that lets me side with the Thalmor that I'd be interested in the Eldreth Veluuthra, but I'm not. Part of it is that hit-and-run attacks, disguising themsleves as dark elves, or here poisoning the water supply isn't nearly as megalomaniacal as the Thalmor plan to literally turn back time to before the universe was created, and part of it is because I'm roleplaying Chiyo here and she's neutral good. There's no way she'd side on with a group that wants to kill two of her two of her friends (Minsc and Jaheira).

The battle only takes a single attempt, though Minsc gets pretty badly hurt. Xan runs away while Chiyo lays into Aegnor and the rest of the party runs in from the northern part of the district. Once they show up, it's not a contest. Hiel is the only one who takes any kind of effort to put down, and other than Minsc, only Xan takes damage. I loot the bodies, getting some chain mail +1 and leather armor +1, another pair of boots of speed that I give to Minsc, giving Minsc's old boots of avoidance to Xan, and on Hiel, I find...a set of elven chain mail. Chiyo immediately rips off her red dragonscale armor and puts on the elven chain, which raises her Armor Class from -9 to -4 but also means that she can cast blur and mirror image to boost her defenses as well as summon spells and debuffs to help Xan and Aerie against casters. It's absolutely worth it.

That done, the group heads to the city gates, rests in the Crooked Crane Inn and sells off their excess loot. That night, Xan and Chiyo talk:
Chiyo: "May I talk to you?"
Xan: "Of course. What is it?"
Chiyo: "How do you feel, now that Hiel and his companions are dead?"
Xan: "This is not the first time I have encountered elves with malevolent intent. Neither is it the first battle with my kin. I am far from alright, but I will manage, thank you. Not today, not tomorrow, but in time. And you, Chiyo?"
Chiyo: "I wish it did not come to this. I wish there was something we could have done."
Xan: "As do I. I am glad to hear this from you. Eldreth Veluuthra...I am to protect my people, all my people...but at what cost? And if there is some absolute right, who possesses it? Perhaps the Council will know. I shall alert them in any case, but..." Sighs. "I don't know. Some say 'genocide,' but they do not do it out of malice; they believe they are right, and in some cases, when the humans' intent is thoroughly barbaric, they are. And yet I am to fight our own brethren, if I am to remain defender of the others. What am I to do? No, do not answer. I think I shall collapse if I think about it too much longer. Let...let us go."
In the morning, the party finally heads off to the docks to help the Shadow Thieves.

Game time elapsed: 81 days, 22 hours.
Shadow Thief Tasks Completed: 0/3

That's the last of sidequest hell! I've completed every single pre-Spellhold sidequest that it's actually possible for me to do, with the exception of taking control of Nalia's keep--Chiyo could have done that as a fighter, but I would rather have the Planar Sphere. All that's left are the Shadow Thieves' quests and then off to Spellhold. After two failed attempts and fueled by this Let's Play, I've broken through the barrier and I'm advancing on to the rest of the game.

And after eighty hours, Chiyo finally has a suit of elven chain mail! The loss of five points of AC hurts, but while AC is king in Baldur's Gate, knock-on effects and resistances are king in Baldur's Gate II. Since armor AC tops out at 1, maybe 0 for special armors, whereas THAC0 keeps advancing literally forever, meaning eventually the enemy will hit you 95% of the time and do huge damage whenever they hit. Under those circumstances, elemental resistances and ways to mitigate the effects of damage are much more valuable, and while pure fighters have to rely on magical gear to provide those, Chiyo can do it through her spells. Especially spells like protection from magical weapons, which has an extremely short casting time such that she can probably get it off even in the middle of melee, or the various summons and debuffs I have on her so that now she can contribute to battle against anything that's immune to her weapons. I suspect that's going to help a lot when I'm going to a place called "Spellhold" in the near future.

I look forward to finally advancing the main plot again next time!

Next: Part XX: Walking in Shadows.
Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
Current Music: Faun - Wilde Rose