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30 October 2016 @ 10:40 pm
Dorchadas Plays Baldur's Gate II, Part XXX: Let the Bodhis hit the floor  
On this, the thirtieth post in of my playthrough of Baldur's Gate II, I'm glad I could provide you with such a wonderful title.

I went to talk to Ricar before I ended the last session, but when I load up I remember that the Adventurer's Mart in Waukeen's Promenade sells a girdle of hill giant strength that I never bought because Chiyo has 18/00 Strength, Minsc has 19 Strength, and Jaheira had the gauntlets of ogre power so it was pointless to get them. Well, I rended down the gauntlets to make Crom Faeyr and Jaheira only has 15 Strength without any buffs, so I went back, sold some items off, and stuck the new belt on her. With that and her new weapon, I think she'll be much more effective than she has been.

And now, back to the lab.

Papers, Please
At the elven camp, Chiyo tells Ricar that she is ready. He joins hands with her and Xan, casts the spell, and the party finds themselves back in Irenicus's stronghold.

Ricar: "Here we are--oh, Seldarine..."
Xan: "The pain...the hurt...it emanates from every stone..."
Jaheira: "Let us find what we have come here for quickly. I will not tolerate this place longer than necessary."
Imoen: "The...the cage where he kept you. Little sister...do you remember? I will never forget..."
Minsc: "The evil wizard will enslave people no longer! Boo will go for his eyes, and Minsc's sword will go for his evil belly, and give him a true thrust of Goodness!"
Xan: "We shouldn't have returned here...we shouldn't have. Can you...how are you, Chiyo?"
Chiyo: "Hurting."
Xan: "We will get you out as soon as we can."
Ricar: "It must have taken a great presence of mind to survive all this...to escape from here. I apologize for thinking so little of you before."
But after a bit of searching, the papers aren't there. Ricar mentions that he picked up a memory of "Her room" in Chiyo's memory and they might have been there, since Irenicus obviously valued that room, so that is their next teleport destination:
Ricar: "Here. This is the place."
Xan: "Such splendor..."
Imoen: "No... not again... My head is about to burst!"
Xan: "We shall leave soon, Imoen. As soon as we can, I promise."
Ricar: "These letters bear the seal of our Queen, so I shall be able to find them - but you will have to stand very still."
Xan: "Just like the Academy... do you remember, Ricar? The searching enchantments?"
Ricar: "Ha! You were lucky then - you only had to find your moonblade in the final test. I had to search for my ring, and, trust me, easy it was not. Though perhaps it will help me now... hold on..."
Chiyo: "Wait! This room is heavily trapped. Do you know what kind of guardian may appear, should you find and remove the papers?"
Ricar: "A guardian?"
Xan: "Indeed..."
Ricar: "We do not seem to have a choice, however. But be prepared. It is concealed just above the pillow, on the right of... yes. Here."
Ricar picks up the letters and begins to read them, but quickly grows distraught with what he finds.
Ricar: " 'A'maelamin, cormamin lindua ele lle...' 'Mela en' coiamin, lirimaer, amin...' Again...and again...no. They are all the same!"
Xan: "Love letters?"
Ricar: "No! That is...yes, but they are probably of no importance..."
Xan: "Indeed, of so little importance that they are most carefully hidden, and the parchment looks decades old. Worthless, I am sure."
Ricar: "This is not the point! The real documents are not here! Don't you understand! It means that she must have had them! That she lied to me, and I let her go!"
Chiyo: "Lied to you? Do you mean that drow woman?"
Ricar: "Yes, you have a perfect memory. I meant her, indeed. I used to go on patrol with my men, guarding tunnels not far from the city of Ust Natha. We killed many, and several of our number fell to the dark ones - the hatred was mutual. Not long ago, however, we encountered an unusual group. They looked humble, frightened, and they prayed to Eilistraee - a trait unheard of in any 'real' drow. I questioned them extensively, but I was unable to detect any evil in them. Their leader, Hunrae..."
Xan: He gulps. "Did I hear the name correctly?"
Ricar: "Yes, of course. Hunrae. Have you met her in the Underdark?"
Xan: "I have, but I would... rather not speak of it. Suffice is to say that yes...she was most definitely... evil."
Ricar: "I am sorry, Xan, but I simply cannot believe you. Although considering the recent events... but no. No. Hunrae explained they were Eilistraee's followers, hunted and prosecuted by the other drow. She begged me to let her and her brethren leave, begged me on her knees... She was so beautiful."
Xan: He sighs. "Ricar, Ricar... Did you believe her?"
Ricar: "I did. I let them go, and even shared what provisions we had with her group. She promised to meet me again in a day, not far from the camp, but she never did... I thought her dead or wounded, and searched for her, but to no avail. Elhan did not believe me, either. Now I see why. He thought me a green youth, unable to tell a friend from foe - and he was right. Ironic, isn't it? Considering I am well past a hundred summers already."
Xan: He sighs. "I make worse mistakes, and I hardly younger. Age does not mean as much as the younger ones think, Ricar. But what are we to do now? Where can these drow be?"
Ricar: "I think - No! Who's here?"
Ricar's speech is cut off by the arrival of someone new:

Imoen: "Another clone-thing? How many does he have here?"
Xan: He gulps. "She is... no. It... it cannot be..."
Chiyo: "What are you waiting for! She is going to utter a spell any minute!"
Ricar: "No! We must leave - we cannot touch her!"
Chiyo: "What is the problem? I killed one of her already!"
Ricar: "I am sorry, Chiyo, but we are leaving. Now, before more guardians appear and follow us through the portal! Now!"
Guardian Clone: "Thou shalt not escape!"
Ricar teleports the entire group out without answering Chiyo's questions about what is going on.

They arrive back in the elven war camp, but Ricar's relief is short-lived:

He spoke too soon.

The golem beats Jaheira to death because I took my attention away for a brief moment, reminding me once again why I prefer systems where armor provides damage reduction, but Aerie casts raise dead and gets her back on her feet. After picking up all her equipment, I go talk to Elhan and Ricar:
Ricar: "You have come. I do not know if I should feel relieved or anxious..."
Elhan: "You have established where the documents are, I trust. Now your task is to locate their current owner."
Ricar: "My liege... I cannot."
Elhan: "I will not allow you to. Chiyo> and her esteemed companion will do this, if they are willing. I trust they understand the task's importance well enough."
Ricar: "And when they will find her... ?"
Elhan: "I would like to interrogate the drow, but I know better than to suggest it. The dark ones are vicious, and most likely Chiyo will have no other choice but to kill the entire group."
Ricar: "If... if they are indeed guilty, so be it. But, if they are not... if Hunrae is not..."
Xan: He sighs. "Ricar, when will you pull your head from the clouds?"
Elhan: "Chiyo will deal with her as she sees fit, I am sure."
Ricar: "Will you... accept the task?"
Chiyo: "In the dungeon, Ricar found several love letters. What were they?"
Ricar: "Chiyo, this is not for you to know. Do not pry, or you will regret it. Here, the map of the Forest of Tethyr. And two more: Small Teeth Pass, and the North Forest."
Elhan: "The drow will not dare venture into the human lands without any disguise. A powerful enough priestess should have provided it for them, but she would likely not head into danger, herself. They must have set a meeting point somewhere. Ricar pointed out the most likely spots to you. Now all that is left for you is to check these places. You are more than capable to do this, I am sure."
Xan: "Even if they possessed the documents, they must have gotten rid of them already. What is the point?"
Elhan: "Even so, we have to be sure. They must be punished. Go. Ricar will await you, and I shall await the Rhynn Lanthorn. Hurry."
Elhan has nothing else to say, and Ricar has obviously fallen head over heels in love with Hunrae--he says that he hopes the party doesn't find her so they don't have to choose whether or not to kill her. Too bad for him. I'm doubtful things will end peacefully.  photo emot-black101.gif

I make for the Small Teeth Pass, slaughtering a group of orcs at the entrance who had no idea what they were in for. There's a bridge with some crimson deaths I mow down and a field full of ankhegs, but nothing that would have been challenging at the end of Baldur's Gate, much less most of the way through Baldur's Gate II. It's pretty much just a transition area I need to pass through to get to the other forests, so I leave the area and head to the North Forest.

As I walk in, there's a dao and an efreet in a circle of standing stones. After killing them I check the stone altar and find a ton of potions that I don't need, so continue south. Just out of sight of the stone circle is a party of Cyric worshippers who are apparently lost in the woods, and also attack on sight because that's what Chaotic Evil people do. As is sadly predictable, there's a mage there so it takes a couple attempts, including one very close attempt where the mage runs around invincible under a dozen buffs and pulls in three other groups of monsters. This isn't helped by the forested hilly terrain making it difficult to determine where I can walk and where is impassible, but I eventually kill them off, then kill off the wyvern and the group of yuan-ti. The mage that made so much trouble for me has a scroll of time stop on his body, which more than makes up for the annoyance and which I immediately give to Imoen. There's also a few random bits of magical weapons and armor that will make good vendor fodder. The only other thing around is a few trolls, so I continue onward to the Forest of Tethir where I should have gone in the first place.

The Forest of Tethir reminds me a lot of redwood forests:

...though when I visited the redwoods last year, they weren't filled with hobgoblins, crimson deaths, and homicidal panthers. In the northwestern part of the forest is a small cabin, and when I approach it, Coran, one of my party members from Baldur's Gate, is standing outside and hails the party.
Coran: "Hail good friend Chiyo! I am most pleased to see you here, you of all people! Your timing could not be better, as I am in most dire need!"
Chiyo: "Coran? What are you doing here?"
Coran: "It has been a while. I got bored and tried to find you, but after your victory in Baldur's Gate...you seemed to drop off the face of Faerun. But what is important is that I was traveling the forests of Tethyr with my beloved Safana...if you remember her...and now she is kidnapped! It is dreadful! Two days ago we were beset by giant wolves...wolfweres, I fear. They tried to take us both, but I was able to escape. Safana, however, was not so fortunate. I tracked them to an encampment near here, but not even a great warrior such as myself can beat them alone. I hoped someone to come along...and here you are!"
Xan: "Great warrior? You haven't changed at all, I see."
Coran: "We must save her and strike a blow against the foul were-beasts, Chiyo! Together we will be unstoppable! What do you say, my lady?"
Chiyo: "Very well, I will help you. Where is this encampment?"
Coran: "Excellent! The wolfweres are east of here. I will go there and wait for you, my lady. Do not take long, I do not know their plans for my beloved!"
Coran immediately goes east and I follow, scything through a few wolfweres on the way. When I reach the encampment I find a woman named Lanfear who demands to know why I am there:
Lanfear: "You! You intrude on my domain, elf!"
Safana: "No, no! This is the one I told you about, Lanfear! This is Chiyo! Kill her and the wizard will reward you and your pack with riches beyond your dreams!"
Lanfear: "This? This is the creature you spoke of? Bah! You said that Coran would accompany her! You said Coran would bring her to me!"
And then Coran arrives:
Coran: "What...? My darling Safana...what have you done?"
Safana: "Don't be a fool, Coran. Why do you think I insisted we come down here? It was to find Chiyo! Do you have any idea of the bounty that is on her head!?"
Coran: "Safana, no! I won't let you do this!"
Safana: "Just get out of the way, moron! Lanfear...kill Chiyo, as per our agreement!"
Lanfear: "I do not follow your orders, human witch! I care nothing for this bounty! All I wished for was that Coran would come to be at last!"
Safana: "No! Kill her now! I demand it!"
Lanfear: "You demand nothing from me! I curse you with oblivion, human!"
And then Lanfear murders Safana.  photo emot-commissar.gif Coran mourns Safana, but Lanfear reveals that Coran is her ex-boyfriend and she's been hunting him--literally, she's a wolfwere--ever since:
Coran: "No! Safana, my love!!"
Lanfear: "Do not wail for the human, my Coran...she betrayed you and never loved you. Not as I do."
Coran: "You...you love me? How is it that a...a beast loves me?"
Lanfear: "You do not recognize me, my love? No...not in this form. We have lain together once before, you and I, my love...and I have sought you out ever since. You avoided capture by my hounds...but I caught your woman, and her wicked plan served my needs far more than hers! Come to me, my Coran...let us be together at long last!"
Coran: "I will not! I would never take part in such foulness, creature! Safana was my beloved!! Chiyo, destroy this murderess and all of her vile pack!"
Lanfear: "Very well, Coran... if I cannot have you, then no one shall!!"
She sics her wolfweres on him and the party. It goes poorly for her, and when the pack is dead, Coran apologizes to Chiyo for not being able to see Safana's true nature:
Coran: "I... I thank you for your aid, Chiyo. It pains me that I was blind to Safana's true nature and I... I apologize for endangering you with my ignorance."
Chiyo: "If you've nowhere to go, Coran, why don't you travel with me?"
Coran: "I'm sure you have some valiant battle ahead of you. I am tempted, my lady, truly, but... no. I think I shall drown my sorrow in wine and ladies for a time. I think Athkatla is near. They say it is quite beautiful. Or perhaps Zazesspur. Wherever fate takes me, I suppose. Until we meet again, Chiyo..."
And he walks off into the night.

Right at this point, one of Imoen's random dialogue barks triggers: "Now I remember why traveling with you was always so much fun."  photo emot-stare.gif

In the lower right part of the area is a hobbit hole. Inside is a lake with some magical ammo and a Mana Bow, and further in are some kuo-toa. After I wipe them out I go west, kill a gruop of "wyvern cultists," then go all the way back to where Coran was and south, but there's nothing there either. I check inside Coran's cabin, but...it's filled with crimson deaths?

I have no idea what to make of this.

One of them explodes into an acidic fog when it dies, but the bedroom is far enough away that I can hide there until it disperses. There's some random magical treasure there, mostly +2 weapons and ammo, but no drow. There aren't anywhere in the Forest of Tethir, which means I missed them somewhere.  photo emot-11tea.gif

After a trip to Trademeet to sell off all this excess treasure, I head back to the North Forest and look around again. This time I find her in the northwest corner and speak to her:
Hunrae: "Wait...who comes?"
Chiyo: "Ricar sent us. He is worried for your safety."
Hunrae: "Ricar! Oh, how is he? I was heartsick over his fate, but I could not let him know where I was--his kin would hunt and kill me, you see. Please, thank him for me, and tell him...tell him I will remember him fondly. Will you?"
Chiyo: "What about Irenicus and his documents? What do you know of these?"
Hunrae: "What...what documents? My dear woman, I know nothing of these...we are but exiles, and our strength is fading. I am sorry...please, leave me be. I must wait for my men and guide them to safety, before we are ambushed and killed."
Chiyo: "Curse Lolth in front of me, and I shall let you go."
Hunrae: "Fool! The fool Ricar let us go, sealing the doom of his foolish kin! They stand alone, for the scrolls Irenicus left us are now in the hands of their allies! No one will aid them now! And you--you will die for thinking you could best the daughter of the First House! For Lolth!"
See, this is why Drizzt always has such a hard time anywhere. The dark elves are the Mr. Johnson of fantasy races.

Several other drow appear and I kill them all. They don't have the documents on them, just some miscellaneous magical items--not drow adamantite items, which disintegrate in sunlight--and potions. I take them all and go back to Ricar
Ricar: "Ah, Chiyo." He sighs. "Any news?"
Chiyo: "Hunrae indeed was guilty. I had to attack."
Ricar: "Is she...was she truly guilty, then?"
Xan: "There can be no doubt of that, I'm afraid."
Elhan: "What of the documents?"
Chiyo: "Nothing. They must have delivered the papers already."
Elhan: "We expected as much. Still, it is a hard blow. Regardless, we must thank you. Irenicus dealt us a great blow, but now at least we are prepared, not lulled by false hope. Hurry, Chiyo. While the Lanthorn is in the hands of Irenicus's allies, Suldanessellar's fate becomes blacker by the hour. We must stop this. As for you, Ricar..."
Ricar: "I...I am ready to take any punishment, my liege."
Elhan: "You will return to guarding the tunnels below. Do not fail me again."
Xan: "Certain death..."
Elhan: "Or redemption."
Ricar: "As you command. Xan, Chiyo...thank you. I do not think we shall meet again."
There were options to tell him she wasn't guilty, but what would be the point of that? The drow already delivered the documents, so the truth would have come out sooner or later anyway, and it would have been even worse for Ricar to find out, plus how would Chiyo look? I doubt the game would keep track of all this, but I would know about it.

The Sound of the Harp
On the way back to Athkatla I rest in the wilderness. When I wake, a traveller is in the camp, handing Chiyo a note that he found on the wind:

He hands over the note and leaves, and as I read it I notice that Jaheira isn't in my party...

Goodbye. No sappy farewells or crying over how things must be; I do neither of these things well, nor would I wish to. I have made a decision; one that is not ideal, but it is necessary. I can go nowhere without this shadow, and I wish to leave it behind. I am returning to the Harper Hold that I might face judgement there. I will plead the case as we saw it for whatever they accuse, and if they do not see reason then I will suffer what I must. Galvarey had detractors as well as allies, so I believe I can end this in my favor. If not, at least it will be an end.

I do not ask you to follow. I do this for myself, and there will be little or no gain for you. You may still be a target of violence, but perhaps their interest in you will wither beside the capture of a 'traitor.' For better or worse, I am taking control once more. I hope to see you again in better times.

With Nature's love and mine,
She doesn't ask me to follow, but I'm definitely going to! Next stop, the Galvarey estate!

I walk in and am immediately attacked by mercenaries, which seems a bit odd for a Harper stronghold. There's no one else there, so I walk up the stairs and find Jaheira standing in front of the Harper ghosts:

Chiyo: "Your troubles are my troubles, Jaheira, and you will not face them alone!"
Jaheira: "Chiyo, you magnificent bastard! I would kill you for following me if I were not so glad to see you!"
Chiyo: "Jaheira, I don't care that...what? Glad? I thought you wanted this!"
Jaheira: "I wanted to atone with the Harpers, but these are not they. I think revenge is more a factor here. The Harpers have abandoned this garish place. Notice the lack of Spectral Harpists? They were here at one time, and they would not leave their posts unless it was no longer to be guarded."
Chiyo: "But it is guarded, just not by Harpers. Our fighting is not yet done."
Jaheira: "We may still be hunted. I must ask Dermin if I see him again. He told me to come here, so I need to know if his allegiance has changed or not. Those we kill in self-defense may look like Harper allies, even if they are not. We have no choice, and I will not feel guilty over this tangled web any more. Let's get out of here, but take care: if their tactics are as simple as their motives than you may have been allowed to pass. Our exit may be treacherous.
Chiyo: "Than we will go together. Rejoin and...and walk with me."
Jaheira: "I am glad, too. We will talk later, Chiyo.
I thought that one of my mods must be interfering with things, because the Spectral Harpers are clearly still visible in that picture. They vanish as soon as the conversation ends, though, so I guess that the game is just slow at updating its triggers.

As I'm buffing up, Xan confronts Jaheira:
Xan: "I did not expect this of you at all."
Jaheira: "I beg your pardon?"
Xan: "You left us to meet certain death. It was pure foolishness; your demise would have changed anything. But I admire your resolve."
Jaheira: "Would you not have done the same? It was the only choice I could make."
Xan: "Indeed. But what do we do now? Chiyo is still hunted, you are still considered a traitor."
Jaheira: "We should watch our backs. There is no other advice I could give at the moment. I need to..think."
That's certainly true. Jaheira is a known associate of Chiyo now, so even if she did go off on her own, she couldn't exactly find peace. With the Harpers and anyone looking to get in good with Irenicus both after her, her lifespan wouldn't be very long.

After reordering my party, I walk downstairs, and--surprise--there are more mercenaries there. They have a mage, but Aerie and Xan both strip him off all his buffs and I set Minsc, Jaheira, and Chiyo on him, quickly striking him down, and without him everyone else falls as well. There's no one else around, so I pick up the loot and walk outside.

As soon as I step outside the air flashes with a teleport circle, but to my surprise it's not a Harper. It's a drow wizard, who snarls:
Drow: "You! Behold the wrath of the Matron Mother, 'Veldrin!' You killed Hunrae of the First House, and now you will pay!"
And then all his buffs activate and he attacks...so I duck back inside the Galvarey estate and take the other door out. I wait a while for all his buffs to fade, then go back inside, out through the first door, and attack him. The fight is significantly easier, though it's still a close thing when he summons a cornugon and a pit fiend.

Hey, if the NPC can take advantage of how the Cowled Wizards only respond to unauthorized magic use by the player, I can take advantage of their inability to walk through doors.

The wizard drops a dagger +4, life-stealer and a couple potions, but sadly no scrolls. Maybe he used them all up when he was buffing to fight me?

Seeking Aid
All sidequests now done, it's time to gather aid to fight Bodhi. My first stop is the Shadow Thieves, since the war between them and the "new guild" is what started this whole thing in the first place. Aran Linvail seems surprised to see Chiyo, especially when she says that Saemon betrayed her:
Aran Linvail: "Ah... you have returned, after all. And far sooner than I expected. After you left on Havarian's ship, I must admit that I half-wondered if you would reach the island, never mind return."
Chiyo: "I half-wondered that, myself, considering the fact that your captain betrayed me."
Aran Linvail: "He betrayed you? I'm not surprised. Oh, don't look at me like that, it was not because of me. Saemon Havarian was not one of my men in the slightest. I did tell you that few ships dare to visit Brynnlaw, and you saw the type of person that haunts the place. Havarian was the best available, I am afraid. And I see that you have your companion back amongst you. That was your goal, wasn't it? I trust you are no worse for the wear, my dear?"
Imoen: "Other than the fact that Bodhi has my soul, sure...I'm just fine. How about you?"
Aran Linvail: "Ah... I see. Would that I had a spare, but that's not the commerce I traffic in. My sincere regrets at your condition. I would not wish such on anyone."
Xan: "No, of course not. The fact that Chiyo is in even worse condition has apparently passed unnoticed, it seems."
Aran Linvail: "I was unaware of this. My sincere condolences to you, too, Chiyo. I hope you can turn the situation to your advantage. If you wish, I could have the good captain tracked and punished for his... misdeeds. I did pay him extra to keep you safe, gold that apparently was wasted."
Chiyo: "His ship is sunk, and he may even be dead. That's enough for me."
Aran Linvail: "Then he is left to his own fate, which is good enough. Havarian has a habit of turning up like a bad copper, so I doubt this is the last I've seen of him. I need your help in dealing with Bodhi. You were successful destroying her guild, of that I am glad, but the mistress herself seems to have survived. I don't know why she returned to Athkatla, but I can't take the risk that she will rebuild and take revenge on the Shadow Thieves...and myself, of course. I would like you to end her existence permanently. I won't fault you for your failure last time. Obviously both of us underestimated the extent of her power."
Chiyo: "I intend to do it anyway. I came here looking for your assistance in attacking her."
Aran Linvail: "Then you shall have it. You have proven yourself to the entire guild, and from your reputation you are certainly to be trusted with the lives of my men. I will have Arkanis and Yachiko and others, our best assassins, join you when you enter Bodhi's catacombs. I want to be sure Bodhi is forever out of my hair. Go to the catacombs when you are ready, then. Your assassins will meet you there. And, incidentally... good luck."
After a diversion to Cromwell to forge my ring of earth, ring of air and ring of fire into a ring of elemental mastery that lets me charm and summon elementals and has several resistances, which I give to Jaheira, I go to the temple district. To my surprise, the priests of Lathander are not interested in helping fight vampires, but there is the headquarters of the High Hall of the Most Radiant Heart, a knightly order of paladins. When I walk in, a squire exits through the inner door and says he's heard of Chiyo and that she must have something important if she's coming to see the order. Chiyo says she's there to enlist the order against a powerful vampire, and the squire, astonished that there's a vampire in Athkatla, leads Chiyo into the chamber of the Prelate:

The prelate is surprised to hear that Bodhi is still alive--er, undead--because he heard that the guild had been destroyed. Chiyo admits that is true, but that Bodhi herself was only defeated, not destroyed, and the prelate promises to send some paladins to aid the mission.

And thanks to the internet, I know that's all the aid I can get. It's time for the showdown.

Shadow and Fang
At dawn the next day, I go to the Athkatla graveyard. Somehow, when I arrive, it's night. That's disappointing--the obvious thing to do is to attack a vampire during the daytime and you'd think the game would be able to account for that. But it looks like traveling a few blocks took 16 hours, so Bodhi is on hand to greet me as I arrive:

Bodhi: "Honestly, Chiyo, I simply do not know what to do with you. I grow tired of seeing you in my shadow."
Chiyo: "I was not the one who fled our last encounter, Bodhi. Sorry if I...scared you."
Bodhi: "Hardly. It was simply more important that I report of your condition to Irenicus. He has decided that it is of no importance, interesting though it is. Regardless, I have not the time to stand here discussing what you will or will not do. I have more important duties to take care of. You follow in the hopes of retrieving something dear to you. I say to you the longer you keep this up, the more you will lose. Now, what do I see? An elven brother, and with a moonblade, no less! Come. Come to me, and you will become my brother in full."
Xan: "Give up the Lanthorn, creature, and you will live another day."
Bodhi: "Should I? No, I am afraid not. But you feel the pull, don't you? The darkness calls to you..come. Come slowly, a delicacy such as a moonblade wielder cannot be hurried."
Xan: "No..."

Xan draws his sword, and as brilliant flame dances around his pale face, Chiyo suddenly understands what is about to happen. He will direct the power of the sword at himself and die, as he told her he would. Chiyo concentrates on the sword though the link, drawing the pain away from him. The force of the blow hurls her to her knees, but she is alive. Yet, something whispers that this is only the beginning, and the worst is yet to come. Regardless of the risk, that the pain might kill her, Chiyo determines to save Xan.

Xan: His pale hand grips the blade. "Ithilmegil, tua amin!"

Both of them are hurled to the ground, hurting, but alive. Alive.

Bodhi: "You...you burned your spirits so they wouldn't survive the transformations, didn't you? Well, no matter. I have other tricks. A simple warning--follow Irenicus no more, Chiyo, or your end will be dire indeed. I will speak no more to you. Fight, and if you survive, be thankful and go home."
Vampires attack, but the party dispatches them. After they do, Xan rises from the ground, breathing heavily.
Xan: "What...what happened, Chiyo? Did you...did you influence the moonblade?"
Chiyo: "What do you think?"
Xan: "I can take a good guess. Oh, Seldarine, is this finally over?"
Chiyo: "It is over. We beat that damned vision. Just be careful in the crypt."
Xan: "I intend to be. And the same goes for you. I would hate to lose you after this. Melamin, Chiyo, you are the brightest start of them all. The only one. When I had that dream about becoming an undead in Bodhi's crypts, I fully intended to die here, in the graveyard. I...I hoped against hope, but to see your sacrifice firsthand... Thank you. It will not stay unsaid. But how are you? Are we ready to proceed?"
Chiyo: "Compared to how I'd feel standing over your dead body? I feel glorious."
Xan: "It is amazing. Do you feel it? We have the rest of our lives. I love you. This must not go unsaid another minute either. And--if you ever need my life, whether to save or prolong yours, to make me the high priest of the new Lady of Murder, to use in a magic ritual, or simply to plunge into the next heedless adventure--you need but ask."
Chiyo: "And I love you. Forever."
Xan: "Always."
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I can't celebrate too soon, though. Bodhi is thwarted, but not defeated. I still have to descend into the crypts to fight her, so that's what I do. The two entrances I think to take have been deliberately collapsed, so I start looking around. At the western end of the graveyard, next to where Viconia is standing, is a tomb that I haven't entered before, and opening that door reveals an entrance to the underground catacomb complex. As I descend, the paladins of the Radiant Heart join me:

Just down the corridor some vampires, including Valen and Del, who I've fought before, attack me. With negative plane protection on Chiyo and Minsc, they're no threat at all, and I chase the fleeing mist back through a secret door and stake them in their coffins. After that, the leader of the paladins dismisses his knights, saying that he alone will remain to face Bodhi, and the others disperse.

Drizzt and his companions are in the next room, already fighting vampires, and when Chiyo enters Drizzt shouts out that she's late and they started without her. I end up having to reload once because the paladin commander gets charmed by a vampire and when Drizzt attacks him he yells that Chiyo has betrayed him. The second attempt the same thing happens. The third attempt, I see Drizzt kill a charmed Guenhwyvar and then blame Chiyo for it. This game is not set up to handle multiple factions and charm spells.  photo pissedoff2.gif

After a bunch of attempts, all of which were ruined by idiotic AI, including some in the next room when the Shadow Thieves show up and both die because the vampire there is a wizard with some spells that I can't seem to break through for a couple minutes, I finally make it to Bodhi's room:

She runs toward me and I expect battle, but instead she has something to say:
Bodhi: "And so it shall end here. Welcome. You have been very resourceful in finding me, though I did not go out of my way to hide."
Jaheira: "You should have made more of an effort. We have an obligation to destroy you, as if we needed more reasons."
Minsc: "Boo would have found her wherever she tried to put her evil foot! That is what we do!"
Imoen: "I've come for what you stole from me! I will not leave her empty! I will have my soul!"
Bodhi: "You may try, Imoen, but you will fail. We have worked long to realize our revenge, and it will not be stopped by you. I'm sure your reasons for coming are all very important to you. Do spare me the boredom of hearing them."
Chiyo: "I will avenge what you have done to me and Imoen. You will pay for your crimes."
Bodhi: "That old tune? I grow tired of being judged by those inferior to me. First Suldanessellar, now you. They...they told you of the theft in the temple, didn't they! You help those treacherous elves?! They deserve all they received, and more! They will not even approach us as we destroy them, such is their arrogance! I am disappointed your mate survived. But his turn will come. You will all suffer! Let them shiver in fear that they will die between me and Irenicus! They would not even acknowledge us as their own, and now we will bury them all!"
Chiyo: "Elhan did not even know of you! How could he acknowledge you as his own?"
Bodhi: "Fool! They would have you think we are some foreign intruders, attacking their city for no reason! Their shame is that Irenicus and I are very familiar indeed! No elf would dare turn against others, no elf would endanger the very fabric of society, no elf would do as Irenicus and I have done!
Xan: "This filth...one of us? No. It cannot be."
Bodhi: "No? Didn't they tell you, poor dear? Who was it that plead their case? Elhan? He stood by while they echoed their crimes in their punishments! I should almost let you live so he could have the shame of an outsider questioning him about this whole matter! Almost! Your part in this ends here, Chiyo. I shall feast on the blood of the gods, while you enter death with questions unanswered!"
And battle is joined. Doors open around the room and Bodhi's vampire servants rush in, but in a bit of hilarious serendipity, Bodhi took a long time to reach me and had to run a gauntlet of attacks while she was trying to get into place. As soon as the battle starts, Chiyo hits her once, and she dies:

Right after that happens, Xan gets off a time stop and uses it to summon a planetar and cast multiple flame arrows. The other vampires all pretty much explode. The battle is over in less than ten seconds. I do notice something hilarious, though--as Jaheira is casting sunray, I notice in the combat log that she did damage to one Artemis Entreri. Apparently Drizzt's old nemesis is here to take him out, but Minsc smashes him to a pulp with Crom Faeyr.

When the last vampire falls, Xan speaks to Chiyo:
Xan: "The deed is done, it seems. I'd bury another dozen of stakes in her coffin for good measure, but that would be a waste of wood. Especially since stakes are so hard to find around the city. Kind of ironic, isn't it? A coven of vampires in the city, and not a single merchant sells simple stakes a holy water. We got them from Elhan, of all people."
Chiyo: "Xan, you are babbling."
Xan: "What? Ah, yes. I...need some time to adjust to the news, though. I had my doubts, but not even in my darkest dreams did I imagine that Bodhi had a spirit, and her brother stole a spirit from a fellow elf. Compared to this, even our brushes with death pale."
Chiyo: "How so?"
Xan: "I am a Defender of Elvendom, as you recall. Corellon is harsh, but in some matters he...advocates mercy. Redemption. A longer road, if you will. Have I made a mistake, then? Is there redemption for Bodhi? For Irenicus? For...for the Underdark, for that matter? If Irenicus cared about his sister, if Bodhi watched out for her brother, does that mean they were not devoid of empathy? That even Phaere and her wicked mother could have been saved?"
Chiyo: "And yet they died. I regret it too."
Xan: "Neither my blade nor Corellon would wish the impossible of me, I know. So this regret is likely my own indecision. But still, it lingers."
I'm not sure Chiyo does regret it, but the other conversation choices were even less suitable. Bodhi, at least, had long passed the point of redemption. Some crimes are unforgivable.

Before I pick up any loot, I make sure that Bodhi is destroyed once and for all. Imoen drives the stake through her heart, and after she does, she thanks Chiyo:
Imoen: "I feel...I feel better now. I feel whole again. Thank you for everything you have done. I am restored...and I hope your own healing is not too far off."
Inside Bodhi's coffin is the Lanthorn, as well as some scrolls that I give to Aerie and the sword Cutthroat. Entreri only had some generic loot, and I pick it up as Drizzt bids the party farewell. There's nothing else for me here, and so I heal Imoen's level draining, gather my party, and venture forth into the sunlight above.

Game time elapsed: 116 days, 10 hours.

One down, one to go!

That battle was incredibly easy, partially because I'm overleveled due to all the sidequests that my mods add, but also because I got all that damage in while Bodhi was running to talk to me. When I entered her chamber she immediately fired off a charm spell but didn't go hostile, so I assumed it was just a weird bug and manually ordered my melee to attack her. She didn't have any special defenses or anything running then since the battle hadn't actually begun, and so whatever special abilities she had weren't triggered. Oh well. Too bad for her.

I also got lucky because of the updated version of the Xan mod. Normally, if you have a romantic interest, Bodhi steals them and turns them into a vampire, and you have to fight them in addition to Bodhi and her minions. But since Xan was saved and, as Bodhi said, immunized against vampirization, I had the full six party members, one of which was high enough level to cast time stop, so that helped too. Basically, I had every advantage to put me over the top. It does make me wonder how the battle is actually supposed to go, but not enough to try to replay it and find out.  photo emot-effort.gif

Technically all I have left to do is go to Suldanessellar and fight Irenicus, but there's one thing I want to do first to prepare a bit more. Since literally every other sidequest in the game that I know of is done, I'll do that next update!

Next: Part XXXI: Who Watches the Watcher's Keep?
Current Mood: determined
Current Music: Nox Arcana - Night of the Wolf