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21 November 2016 @ 05:03 pm
Dorchadas Plays Baldur's Gate II, Part XXXII: Storming Suldanessellar  
It'd be nice if I would stop forgetting what I actually want to do in this game, but I think I've finally managed to check everything off the list. Barring a couple quests which I'm probably not going to finish, like the Jaheira quest with the Harpers, that requires a lot of randomly sleeping out in the wilderness and hoping it triggers. That's not to say I'm not going to try, but I won't feel so bad if I can't finish it off.

As part of my march to the endgame, I checked on area continuity and most of Shadows of Amn is inaccessible in Throne of Bhaal, including the Planar Sphere, where I stored all of my trophies. I could take it all to Watcher's Keep, but honestly, it's mostly pointless. With no way to display anything, there's no reason to save anything. Selling a giant chunk of magical weapons earns me almost 50,000 gold, and with that I head back to Cromwell. He combines the helm of charm protection and the helm of defense into the citadel helm, which goes on Minsc; mixes the staff of air, staff of earth, and staff of fire into the staff of elemental mastery, which I give to Aerie; and combines the golden girdle, the girdle of bluntness, and the girdle of piercing into the girdle of glory, which I give to Chiyo. And that spends almost all of my new money.

I go to the Sea's Bounty tavern, retool my spells slightly, and sleep.

The Greatest Adventure
In the morning, I duck into the cavern in the back of the tavern and Chiyo casts a might spell--limited wish. The djinn of the wish comes forth and asks what Chiyo would require, and she responds that she would like an adventure like none she has ever had before:

The djinn says her wish is granted and vanishes, and Chiyo's foot bumps a small bottle with a note in it:
You drunken bastard! Give me back the gong to face the wrath of the Mercenaries of Riatavin! We shall remain at Delosar's Inn until you get it back. Weasel! Scum! Drunken lout!
Captain Dennis
Delosar's Inn is in the bridge district, so that's my destination.

Outside of the inn, Vittorio accosts Chiyo and says she looks like someone who can handle her weapons:
Vittorio: "'Ay! You, there, me Lady! Ye looks like th' sort that can handle yer weapons, aye?"
Chiyo: "I can use my weapons just fine. Why do you ask?"
Vittorio: "I be in some need of assistance, me lady. There be a fellow within Delosar's Inn, there...Dennis. He owes me a good deal of coin, an' refuses to pay! He promised to pay off me bartab, he did, in exchange for some lessons on the gong. Well, I teached him, I did...an' now he refuses to pay me tab!"
Chiyo: "Er...gong lessons? Are you serious?"
Vittorio: "The gong be a fine instrument...and it be used in many a rite here in the City o' Coin, me lady...we honors all the gods for business deals, we does. An' besides...it sounds pleasant."
Chiyo: "Very well, I'll help you out."
Vittorio: Aaaah, yer a fine and noble girl, ye are. Come...follow me inside o' Delosar's and let's have a little talk wi' Dennis, aye? I do believe he is on the second floor."
Inside is Vittorio and Captain Dennis, who argue for a bit about the money until it comes out that Vittorio had Captain Dennis's gong:
Vittorio: "Oy, Dennis, ye mealey-faced sack o' suet! Ye owes me th' coin for me bartab! Pay up or ye'll surely face the consequences!!"
Captain Dennis: "Don't threaten me, you sorry excuse for a thief...I owe you nothing!"
Vittorio: "Ye had yer lessons on the gong, Dennis! Pay up now, or ye're in deep trouble!"
Captain Dennis: "You've a nerve, drunkard! You took my sweet mother's gong! You stole it and traded it for ale, didn't you?! Didn't you?!"
Vittorio: "...oh, er....now, I had actually gone an' forgotten about that... ...I'll just be on me way, then..."
Captain Dennis: "Hold, you drunken fool! You'll go nowhere until I get that gong!"
Vittorio: "Um...me lady? Some...assistance?"
Chiyo: "Is there no way this can be worked out, Dennis?"
Captain Dennis: "Not unless I get my family's gong back, there isn't!"
Vittorio: "...well, I, um...I may be able to help with that...?"
Captain Dennis: "Then I suggest you do it, old man!"
Vittorio: "...my lady? Would it be too much to ask for you to...um...find this gong for...this gentleman?"
Chiyo: "I suppose I could. Where is it, Vittorio?"
Vittorio: "I...I sold it, I did. To a fence by the name o' Roger...he has 'is hideout in the sewers. I...don't know where, exactly...but it were sold not long ago. He could still have it, he could!"
Chiyo: "Fine. I'll go and see if I can't find this gong of yours."
Vittorio: "B-bless you, my lady!"
Captain Dennis: "I'll just keep Vittorio, here, as my company until your return. My thanks for your assistance."
Roger the Fence is the person I helped with a sea troll a long time ago. Next up, the sewers of the temple district.

I check Roger's stock real quick, and then ask him about the gong. Roger replies that he doesn't have a gong other than the one Vittorio sold him, and when Chiyo says that's the one she wants, Roger is happy to tell her where it went because of said sea troll resolution--he sold it to a troll named Grae, who lives near Trademeet. Out of the gates I go!

Grae is in the druid grove, near the troll mound that I went to when dealing with the Trademeet animal attacks. The troll is there, and not happy to see me:

Grae doesn't notice that the party is dripping with powerful magic and says she will crush them. Chiyo single-handedly beats Grae into the ground until she...begs for mercy?
Grae: "Wait! I will tell you where the gong is! Mercy, human!"
Chiyo: "Tell us now and we'll let you live!"
Grae: Hisss. "The gong...I sold it to Drush...an ogre mage. In the tower to the northeast, beside the house of the witch. He is gone but said he would return today."
Chiyo: "Very well. You may go, Grae."
Grae: Hisss. "You...are honorable? I must flee!"
And she flees, and I let her go. The ogre's tower was empty last time I was there, but this time I enter and find a cow and an ogre mage, who greets Chiyo politely and asks her intentions:
Drush: Sniff, sniff"Humanoids? Welcome humanoids. Do you come in peace?"
Chiyo: "Yes, we come in peace...why are you not attacking us?"
Drush: "I have no quarrel with humanoids, unless they have one with me, first. I am a mage, and would much rather be left to my studies. May I ask why you are here?"
Chiyo: "Actually...I'm looking for a particular gong. Grae the troll shaman supposedly sold it to you."
Drush: "A gong? Oh...that. Well, yes, I do have that...I saw it the last time I made a visit to the troll mound and thought it was of an adequate size to shovel cow dung. What do you need with it?"
Chiyo: "We wish to return it to its original owner."
Drush: "Hmm. Well, I shall tell you what. I happen to have a need for a Wand of Frost. Find one and I'll trade you the gong for it."
Chiyo: "I happen to have one, here...let's trade."
Drush: "Hmmm...yes, this will do just fine. Here is the gong. Thank you. Um...sorry for the smell on the gong...can't be helped. Ol' Bessie here has a...problem..."
Minsc: He sniffs. "Ahh, even Boo cringes from such a foul odor! Surely this instrument will never make beautiful music again."
Aerie: "Ew...ewwww! Chiyo, put something over it, at least! Accch, I had enough of these stenches when I was in the circus!" Cough, cough.
Too bad gust of wind can't be sustained.

Gong in hand, I go back to Athkatla and Delosar's Inn and hand the gong back to Captain Dennis, who rewards me with the boomerang dagger and a bit of money.
Vittorio: "Ye has the gong! Oh, thank ye, thank ye truly! Er...Dennis...the good lady has the gong...?"
Captain Dennis: "You have the gong? Excellent. Mother will be very pleased. As I promised, here is your reward...it should fetch an excellent price, unless you find another use for it. And you, Vittorio...you can go. But I warn you to stay out of my way...I don't even want to hear your name, you foul drunkard!"
Vittorio: "...there is...there is just th' wee little matter of me bartab...?"
Xan: "I hope we are not to complete another pointless task for this drunkard's bar tab. I really do."
...but Dennis is generous and offers to pay half, and he, his men, and Vittorio all walk downstairs. Mission accomplished!

Now, back to the druid's grove to see if I can finish off Jaheira's quest.

Unstrung Harp
In the wilderness, with most of the party fatigued, I make camp. In the middle of the...well, day, since I went to sleep at noon...the party is awoken by the approach of others:

Hammertime.  photo emot-qfg.gif

Jaheira: "Do you see him? Ready yourself. Dermin! I would speak at you!"
Dermin Courtierdale: "As sharp-eyed as ever, though your choice in companions has not improved. Is your treachery not enough that you must consort with a killer? I thought you better than…"
Jaheira: "Shut up! I said I would speak at you! This matter is finished! I will not acknowledge this again! If you press it I will be forced to deal with you!"
Dermin Courtierdale: "As you were 'forced' to deal with the Harpers that died in Athkatla?"
Jaheira: "Yes, actually, and you well know it! Galvarey was no true Harper. His actions betrayed him, and all those that followed him! The garish Hold, his political agenda; he was merely using the weight of the Harper name to promote himself. Tell me: what did he offer you?""
Dermin Courtierdale: "You don't know what you are saying, Jaheira. Your association with this Chiyo has poisoned your judgement."
Jaheira: "Then I am better for it. Call me traitor, but I have followed the spirit of the Harpers. You are the traitor, and if the events were known others would see!"
Dermin Courtierdale: "Ah, but the events are not known. What is accepted is that you have killed your brethren and taken up with a known murderer. There is no evidence existing to the contrary."
Jaheira: "Of course not. Despite the ambushes you will still be able to claim the moral high ground for your actions. What happened to you, Dermin? I do not know you."
Dermin Courtierdale: "One grows weary. We would have done good works, Jaheira, just from a more profitable perspective."
Jaheira: "At the cost of the innocents. That is always the way."
Dermin Courtierdale: "Innocent?! Is that what you call Chiyo? But she is a child of Bhaal! Whether her nature is good or bad it will certainly be disruptive!"
Jaheira: "It certainly disrupted you. The innocents also include Harpers that have died thinking they were fighting for the right cause. Galvarey's cause. Your cause."
Dermin Courtierdale: "Regrettable losses."
Jaheira: "As was yours, though I suspect you have been gone for years."
Dermin Courtierdale: "Ah, your wit is still the most dangerous trait about you, Jaheira. I told you to cultivate it. Little did I know I would be on the receiving end one day."
Jaheira: "Save it, Dermin. I have no more guilt about facing you, or any other sent on this Fool's Crusade. You are the betrayers, not I. I know this in my heart."
Dermin Courtierdale: "You'll pardon me if I have a look for myself!"
And they attack.

The battle goes badly for Dermin and his party almost immediately. Minsc charges forward and gets mazed, but Jaheira, Aerie, and Xan all summon elementals and angels and Imoen casts Abi-Dalzim's Horrid Wilting, seriously injuring the enemy and killing one of them outright. Chiyo and Jaheira cut down another one, leaving only Dermin and an archer in the back, and Dermin surrounded by summoned Outsiders:

There's a thief in there somewhere too, but the fire element prince beats him to death before I even noticed he was there. When the last of them falls, Jaheira speaks:
Jaheira: "I did not wish to do this. I did not. We are in the right, Chiyo, but why does it still hurt?"
Chiyo "People do not always want to see reason. You do what you can..."
Jaheira: "Yes, yes, you do what you can, not always what you want. The Big Little Book of Alaundo, right? Insightful. ...I am sorry, Chiyo. I shouldn't be taking my anger out on you. Let's just get moving. I'll be alright in a while."
For the moment, Jaheira has nothing else to say, so I pick up the miscellaneous magical loot, go to Trademeet to sell it, and that gives me enough money to go talk to Cromwell again. He turns Adjatha the Drinker, Rashad's Talon, and Water's Edge into an improved Water's Edge that makes the wielder immune to charm and Abi-Dalzim's Horrid Wilting spells as well as draining life from those it hits, and that goes on Chiyo to replace the venerable Dak'kon's Zerth Blade. Then I go back to the elven encampment. Everyone is fatigued when I arrive, so I make camp, and that night, Chiyo talks to Xan:
Chiyo: "May I talk to you?"
Xan: "But of course. What is it?"
Chiyo: "You recognized the clone back in the dungeon, didn't you? Who was she?"
Xan: He sighs. "I thought you'd ask. Tell me, can you recall her face?"
Chiyo: "I would recognize her if I saw her again, yes."
Xan: "Now close your eyes, and try to recall the day of our meeting. Nashkel mines...red earth and stone...do you remember?"
Chiyo: "I do."
Xan: "Not far from the mines, a sculptor was working. Prism, his name was. He visited Evereska more than once; I saw his works and recognized his talent. However, the works I saw in Evereska were but pale reflections of this one."
Chiyo: "Ellesime! He stole the emeralds, to show the sparkle in her eyes! I remember!"

Xan: "I saw the Queen more than once, of course, and I recognized her. I do not want to know what her copies were doing in the dungeon, or what Irenicus had done to their bodies and minds. The very thought revolts me. Please, let us not speak of it again. The atrocities he performed were many, and we shall find and kill him regardless. But just thinking that he...he... Enough. And Chiyo, I never had a chance to tell you how brave you were. Surviving that dungeon must have been hard indeed. I salute you."
Chiyo: "Ellesime cast a curse on him. His journal in Spellhold said so. Perhaps that was his revenge?"
Xan: "i cannot say, Chiyo. Perhaps when we meet him again, you will have your answer.
Perhaps indeed.  photo tali.001.gif

The next morning, I enter the elven ruins and descend into the Underdark.

Starless Night
I've been pretty good about conquering every challenge that I've come across over the course of this game. Sometimes it takes more time, sometimes less, but through dogged persistence I've been able to beat everything. Except Ust Natha, which I ran from in terror when the drow disguise was fading. Well, it's time to see if I can rectify that. Storming a drow city for a single party is suicide, but maybe I'll manage to pull it off.

Outside the gates of Ust Natha, I buff the entire party up the gills, take a deep breath, and then kick down the gates. Things get very chaotic very quickly:

Unfortunately, I can't get very far. I blame it on lazy programming--I know that sounds like sour grapes, but let me explain. Sword Coast Stratagems changes Ust Natha so that you actually do have to fight an army to conquer the city, as more and more drow arrive to fight. However, the way it does that is by having them just appear around you, with no rhyme or reason for their appearance, no teleport signature or way to predict them, and no way to create a choke point or defense no matter where in the city I run. After multiple times when a six-drow war party appears in the middle of my casters and murders them before I can react, and after ducking into the inn just results in drow spawning on all sides and attacking no matter where I am, I give up and run. I got a bit of experience, but I'm simply not willing to deal with having to worry about constantly-teleporting ninja drow.

After I leave the Underdark, I walk to the Forest of Tethyr and make camp. That night, Chiyo and Xan talk:
Chiyo: "When I think about how you could've died in the graveyard..."
Xan: "I'd rather not think of it. When I do, there is a blackness in my mind--as if I am looking somewhere I shouldn't. It is...not a pleasant feeling, estel'amin."
Chiyo: "Imagine if there was another universe, and you died there. And kept dying again and again...until suddenly the Multiverse changed and you lived."
Xan: "Then I would pray to Corellon every second of my newfound days, except I hardly think He'd find that pleasing. Do you think we'll be punished, yet? And what about our twin dreams? Was it a plot by a sinister force, perhaps? Or a benevolent deity? Cyric's doing--or Corellon's labor?"
Chiyo: "Or maybe the vision was a warning, and we heeded it."
Xan: "It seems likely, come to think of it. Perhaps we'll meet a seer or a Solar one day, and she'll explain further." Xan steps closer to Chiyo, encircling her in his arms. "We are together, and for once in my life I do not care for how long--I just want it to be. One day at a time, if need be."
In the morning, they talk again over breakfast.
Chiyo: "Xan, may I ask you a question?"
Xan: "If you must."
Chiyo: "What happened to your moonblade? It was brighter before."
Xan: "It is fading. Perhaps it reminds me of my duties, admonishing my for traveling with Bhaalspawn? Or berates me for abandoning you in Irenicus's hands? I do not know...but I am worried."
Oh dear.  photo emot-ohdear.png

With the Lanthorn in hand, I walk the maze of fallen trees to the entrance of Suldanessellar...but I can't get in. Apparently I need Elhan to show me how to use the lanthorn, so back to him I go.

Chiyo: "How do you know that? I mentioned her name, but never said that she was a vampire."
Elhan: "Perhaps not, but you did ask for holy water and stakes. One needs only to put two and two together to make the correct assumptions."
Chiyo: "That is quite the reach in logic. Come now, should I go into detail about what Bodhi said?"
Elhan: "Anything said by her or the Exile Irenicus must be treated as suspect! You would do well not to repeat their tales to those who do not need to know them!"
Chiyo: "I can't help if I don't know what is behind all of this, Elhan. Talk to me."
Elhan: "No! This is...this is not for you to know. Even though you are an elf, you are an outsider. This should not be known to you, or anyone. It is a shame we had buried. I can't tell you, Chiyo. It is not my place to do so. The Exiles, this Irenicus and Bodhi, are criminals. Their crime was great, their punishment greater."
Chiyo: "And so he has returned for some sort of revenge. I fail to see the great shame in this."
Elhan: "You do not understand, and I am not prepared to make you. If you wish to know more, you'll have to talk to one of those involved. Demin the high priestess, she will tell you. We will have to breach the city to find her. Fortunately, my sages have instructed me in the use of the Lanthorn. We must go, but most of my elves must remain to hold the Drow. We must not be struggling on two fronts when we face what is in the city. Follow, Chiyo. We must let the Lanthorn lead us to Suldanessellar. I can only hope the Exile will have left us a city to find."
Elhan and his war sages teleport the party into the depths of the forest, by the entrance to the elven city:

He beckons the party, and enters the city.

Chapter Seven
This is the final and shortest chapter. First, the chapter crawl:

When control returns, the party is high in the trees of Suldanessellar, with the elves they accompanied around them. Elhan speaks:
Elhan: "It is as I feared. The madman Irenicus has unleashed his anger upon the city. And worse yet, I now recognize the magic he has employed. Corruption magics - illusions from a race of spirits, known as the Rakshasa. Such creatures are very predatory. it would appear that there is no depth to which Irenicus will not sink. Suldanessellar is under a heavy siege. With this number of beasts under his command, Irenicus will be very hard to unseat."
Chiyo: "I would not wish to damage the city. What would be the best course of action?"
Elhan: "We must proceed with caution. Not everyone in the city can withstand an onslaught like this and their safety must take priority."
Xan: "They are dying even as we speak...and these are people I have sworn to protect..."
Elhan: "Then, I trust, you will not fail me. My guards will assist with evacuating people, but your main target is the palace. You must seek out Queen Ellesime - she will know what to do. She has a link to the divine not unlike your own, though through a much more benevolent spirit. Failing that, find the high priestess Demin. If anyone had warning of Irenicus and made preparations, it would be one of those two. Go, Chiyo. I will garrison this area with my elite war guards. We will shepherd people to safety as you secure the inner city."
The elven guards around Elhan buff up and move out, and I move with them to the west across the bridges between the platform and am immediately murdered by a group of golems. Reload!

Round two, I have Aerie use her staff to summon some elementals and send them in as cannon fodder. It works a lot better than I expected it would, and the elementals kill over half the golems before they die, making it easy to mop up the rest. As the last golem falls, Xan speaks:
Xan: He takes a deep breath and turns to Chiyo. "At last, the River of the Shining Wind! We are in the city of High Magic, melamin, do you hear this?"
Chiyo: "I do. It is ringing in the air."
Xan: "I swam in this river once, many years ago. I only remember now, is it strange? And now the streets where I walked as a young acolyte are tainted by death. And yet the waters carry their song, as ever. Isn't reality strange, Chiyo? Or is it just me? Saved from death and undeath, and admiring every single thing?"
Chiyo: "I cannot blame you. You almost died."
Xan: "There will be much rejoicing when peace comes. And much sorrow. I...I am sorry, melamin, we probably should go. We every moment we hesitate here, another life is taken, and you are missing your spirit. I will not let my foolish ruminations delay us."
South of that are some elves fighting trolls, and I send Minsc down to help them out. Then I go west to the place labeled "The House of the Talisman" on the map. The lower level has a pile of bodies near a cabinet sealed with some strange elven puzzle, a scroll of meteor swarm, and a bit of gold. There's a note that there might be a clue to the puzzle upstairs, so that's my next stop. In addition to a scroll of time stop in a cabinet, there's an Elven Priest Stone with a note on it
"From Corellon, all began. Rillifane grew
From the branches of Rillifane the Water flowed
Granting life to the Tree
Suldanessellar owes all to the Tree."
With that in mind, I go back downstairs to the cabinet and push the stones, Corellon, Rillifane, Water, Tree, Suldanessellar, and it opens. Inside is a Talisman of Rillifane Rallathil, the elven god of the forest, which I take and leave the house.

To the west are four elves who say they're being "overwhelmed" by a few skeleton warriors  photo emot-raise.gif, and I continue down the bridges after I help them and find a demon and its master:

Things are going well until the standard enemy-wizard-casts-time-stop-and-comet problem. Post-reload, I get the drop on him by having Xan by the one to cast time stop. After he dies, I enter the house and find Priestess Demin facing three rakshasa. She begs Chiyo for aid and then battle begins. They die pretty quickly, and one of them drops a girdle of stone giant strength, which I give to Jaheira. Then I talk to Demin:
Demin: "Th-thank you for your assistance, strangers. Forgive me, also, if I reward your assistance with questions. How did you come to be here? Our city is not usually found by outsiders, doubly so with the Exile employing his magics to hide us. It is beyond fortuitous if you stumbled here unknowing."
Chiyo: "Again you call Irenicus 'the Exile.' Why? Elhan would not say and I must know."
Demin: "Elhan is like many of us, and would prefer this incident solved without involving others. Forgive him his hesitation, he only wishes for the best outcome. I begin to feel it is a mistake to keep this amongst us exclusively. The consequences have been far-reaching and have proven especially difficult to dispel."
Chiyo: "I would help for the good of both of us, but I do not know what has triggered this."
Demin: "I am not so concerned with the shame of our people over Irenicus and Bodhi. What good is our silence if the city is crushed because we would not seek help? As an elf, perhaps you would understand our hesitation in speaking of this. Hopefully it is a folly that will not be repeated again. The Exiles were not always as you know them now. They once had names I would have been proud to speak, and were as worthy as any other of praise."
Chiyo: "Then they have fallen far from that lofty perch. I see no trace of worth in them now."
Demin: "Certainly you are entitled to your misgivings. You would not be here if you were not driven by powerful emotions, and the Exile is good at provoking reactions."
Xan: "True, alas. One look at Chiyo's fading form is enough."
Demin: "He has garnered the strongest of reactions from we, his own people, for he wronged us greater than any other. He is a criminal that knows no bounds. Yes, he was elven as we are, but no longer. Queen Ellesime cast him out, for he had proven he was not elven at heart."
Chiyo: "And Bodhi? Was she involved in this too?"
Demin: "She and He were well known in the elven court of Suldanessellar. He, at least, was a great asset to our kind and kin. He was the greatest of our mages, as skilled as any of elven blood could be without divine assistance. He even had the favor of the Queen. It was not enough. Of the two, the 'sister' was the insatiable one. She was not as regarded, but she held great influence over her 'brother,' and pulled him into her madness."
Chiyo: "Go on."
Demin: "Together they sought more than was possible; they wished the power of the gods, and they were not concerned about the consequences. He of the Exiles performed a dark ritual, and committed a grave offense against the greatest symbol of our longevity: the Tree of Life. He sought to merge his essence with the divine tree, draining it and stealing its energy. He failed, but there was a price to pay for the rest of us. He disrupted the elven connection to land and nature. There was a great shock that ran through Suldanessellar, and many of our weaker citizens lay near death. That he would endanger so many for he and his sister's selfish goals was one thing, but to threaten the very nature of what makes us who we are was unfathomable."
Chiyo: "Then why was he not killed outright? It would have saved a lot of trouble."
Demin: "It fell to Ellesime to judge the crime, and she was harsh. Having forsaken everything elven, they would be outcast so they might learn how precious our ways are. Of spiritually high regard, Ellesime petitioned the gods and a divine curse was placed upon the Exiles. All their connection to the elven spirit was severed."
Xan: "But why were the Exiles allowed to walk free with the power they possess?"
Demin: "It is too late to muse on what has already been done. That the Exile lives, and threatens us all, is what we should focus on."
Xan: "No. You will not shrug off my question this easily. Not this time. Look at Chiyo. Look very closely. Do you know what has been done to her and her sister, because of your--negligence? They lost their souls, their spirits, their very beings! By a stroke of pure luck, Bodhi has fallen, but Chiyo is doomed if she does not regain it in time!"
Demin: "You have no right to talk to me in this tone! Have you been there? Have you seen what the Exiles have done?"
Xan: "I am speaking to you thus precisely because of what the Exiles had done. You let them go--have you thought of the cities that nearly shared Suldanessellar's fate? Of men, women, and children who died in agony? Of...of Chiyo? Of course not. After all, she is a spawn of Bhaal, isn't she? You'd only have been happier if she shared the fate of her many brethren. And what's worse, two years ago I'd have thought the same. What a fool I had been..."
Demin: "I shall ponder on your words and so, I'm sure, shall the Queen. But it will be of no importance if the Exile succeeds in his task! Please, heed my words."
Xan: He sighs. "It's no use. I might as well have been talking to the wall."
Demin: Ellesime thought it a punishment worse than death. A life no longer than a human's, and their elven spirits banished from the paradise all elvenkind are entitled to. The sister exposed herself to vampirism to try and counteract the divine curse, but gods are not routed so easily. The brother did not risk the same. A better man would have learned to appreciate what he had lost, perhaps learning humility and seek to make amends. He did not prove to be a 'better man."
Chiyo: "I should say not. I have experienced the hatred that drives Irenicus."
Demin: "We had hoped this would turn out better. The Exile has found a way to restore himself, has made pacts with our most despised enemies, and has resumed his original plot."
Chiyo: "And this is where I come in. He stole my divine soul through some sort of ritual."
Demin: "I have no way to accurately measure the cost of our decisions on you. Reparations will be made, if there is anyone left here to make them. I... I am still in shock that this happened. So much of Suldanessellar's defenses were away, battling the Drow and their incursion at the temple. We were left weak. One group of exiles helping another, both so full of their petty hatred and jealousy that they would stop at nothing to strike at our hearts. The Exile brought to the city magical constructs and demons, and a... a black dragon, which landed to the northwest. I have been trying to fight, but there are too many."
Chiyo: "Elhan spoke of Ellesime, and how she might be able to help."
Demin: "The Exile has seeded the streets with his minions, and taken Ellesime into the palace. I have made an attempt to enter, but it is sealed tight. Whether you search for the Queen or seek the Exile for reasons of your own, you will have to get into the palace and also deal with the monsters in the streets. And I believe there is a way to do both at the same time, though it will not be easy. No, we have seen to it that it will not be easy."
Aerie: "Of course we'll help! I can feel the Tree of Life calling out in pain... and the pain of the elves is its pain as well! We must do what we can, Chiyo!"
Imoen: "Do..do we even have time for this? We're here to get Chiyo's soul back. Maybe if it wouldn't take too long. It's horrible to see this place suffer."
Demin: "I obviously do not have the strength, myself, to complete the task. I think perhaps you do. If I tell you what is to be done, will you do it?"
Chiyo: "The temple is dedicated to Rillifane Rallathil. He can summon the spirit defenders of the forest to protect us... and has the power to break the seal on the palace. But the Leaflord must be awakened, his avatar summoned, in order for the spirits to come. The Exile's creatures have desecrated the temple and stolen the artifacts I need. The artifacts are lost in the city, held by the Exile's minions, perhaps even the black dragon in the northwest. There are three: a talisman of Rillifane, a golden cup, and a moonblade. Go into the temple, which will most likely be guarded, and place the items on the statue in the center. This will summon the avatar to our defense."
Chiyo: "Are you certain this is the solution?"
Demin: "I believe so, stranger. I cannot be sure, but only Rillifane has the power. Go, please... the longer you wait the more elves will suffer. Quickly!"
Task in hand, I leave the house and go back out into the streets of Suldanessellar.

Game time elapsed: 134 days, 15 hours.

I was planning to finish up Suldanessellar this update, but that was before the thousand-word-long infodump at the end. And the continuing conversations with Xan. Some of those were triggered by the game, but some of them were because the new version of the Xan mod added more discussion topics that weren't in the old version about various events I've already accomplished, so I tried to weave those in as best I could. They still ended up feeling a bit frantic, but that's the nature of having to write down so much dialogue.

I'm a bit disappointed in my inability to wipe out Ust Natha, but I'm not willing to deal with endlessly-spawning drow war parties. If they had teleport signatures, or a delay, or some way to determine where they were going to appear next, I could deal with it, but it seemed to be designed to just spawn right in the middle of your casters and I don't have time for that. Or much interest, really. It does make story sense that even an incredibly powerful party headed by the daughter of the God of Murder wouldn't be able to destroy an entire city of paranoid evil elves.

The next post is probably the last one of Shadows of Amn! Finally, after fifteen years, I'll beat this game!

Next: Part XXXIII: The Fall of Irenicus.
Current Mood: determined
Current Music: Steeleye Span - The Elf Knight