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22 November 2016 @ 08:29 pm
Dorchadas Plays Baldur's Gate II, Part XXXIII: The Fall of Irenicus  
I know I've said that I was out of other things to do several times before, but this time I really mean it. All that's left is to eliminate Irenicus's minions in Suldanessellar, free the elves, and take the fight to Irenicus. I have a high-level party, I have powerful weapons and armor, and I'm ready. Let's do this.

But first, Moon Prism Power Makeup!

In the Name of the Moon
Chiyo talks to Xan:
Chiyo: "Could you moonblade be holding more enchantments within itself?"
Xan: "I believe I have told you about this before, have I not? The blade has been in my family for generations. It is ancient, and powerful--more powerful than it reveals itself to be, now, this much is true. The blade adjusts to the wielder's persona, and, as such, I can only use the abilities it grants me--no more, no less."
Chiyo: "Could you persuade it to reveal more of its hidden potential to you, then?"
Xan: "At times of great need, the blade can grant additional protections to its wielder, or more edge in battle, perhaps. It is not unheard of. But such cases are truly...exceptional,a nd I am not that unique among my kind. I am sorry, Chiyo."
Chiyo: "You have come a long way as a moonblade wielder. Won't it acknowledge your prowess?"
Xan: "No. I am aiding you, a Bhaalspawn; our actions are such that sometimes I am not sure my blade will not burn me on the spot--associating with the Shadow Thieves and Corellon knows whom else! And I am an outcast...have always been. Do you know that originally wielding a moonbalde meant being gifted with the potential to reign; carrying the seed of kings and queens? But this cannot be: not in my case. I am insignificant. I am doomed. Yet...somehow, this does not seem to be impossible, now that you say this. I must think...please, leave me be for a while. It will not take long."
Chiyo gives him a moment, and then when he is ready:
Chiyo: "Do you think you will be able to awaken your moonblade's hidden potential?"
Xan: "My moonblade's...? I have indeed given it some thought...and I believe I am ready to ask the blade--to petition Corellon himself--for this boon. It is terrifying, though, is it not? I almost feel a green youth again, ready to step forward and to claim the blade...or die. But I am no longer one, am I? Doomed or not, I am a moonfighter, pledged to the service of my people. I am ready."
Xan takes a moment, closes his eyes, and:


Xan: "It is done. Who can say now, why, but the blade has deemed me worthy, after all. Corellon...it is a miracle."
Chiyo: "Wonderful. Congratulations, Xan!"
Xan: "Thank you. It means a lot to be alive, you know. I appreciate your support--after all, would I have dared to step forward without it? But still, who would've thought...Seldarine...I think I am happy..."
 photo WOOT__Emoticon_by_CaptianAwesome.gif

The upgraded moonblade is +4 (the old blade was +3), and makes Xan invisible and has a permanent vocalize effect. It'd be better if Xan ever actually used it to attack people, but it's still a great weapon. And now that it's upgraded, it's time to get the remaining talismans.

Talismans of the Leaflord
This game is called Dungeons & Dragons. Demin just informed me that Irenicus brought a dragon with him to the siege of Suldanessellar. You know what that means.

On the way I come across some elves fighting golems and manage to save most of them. They ask Chiyo where she came from, and she says that Elhan brought her to the city and she's at the gates evacuating civilians. After some curses at Irenicus, they leave to make their way to the gates, and I continue northwest to the forest clearing. When I enter, I hear the roar of some enormous creature, and moving forward reveals the beast:


Chiyo: "Why do you do the bidding of this wizard? Surely a great and powerful dragon could not be subservient to a mere elf?"
Nizidramanii'yt: "How dare you! Nizidramanii'yt is no slave! The wizard offers much treasure for easy work. I should kill you slowly, but you are not worth it. You are food. Cattle!"
Chiyo: "I meant no offense; you are no servant. How dare Irenicus think you will do his bidding like some mewling lackey!"
Nizidramanii'yt: "Hmm, that would be the gist of it. But before you judge me subservient, understand that the wizard offers a great deal of treasure for a simple task."
Chiyo: "Why work for the gold? Take it, and make Irenicus grovel for the privilege. You need not guard these trinkets!"
Nizidramanii'yt: "Your words have merit, and I may act on them, but I know your motives! Nizidramanii'yt serves his own purposes, not yours! You have found not the Goblet but death!"
Dragons may be vain, but they're not stupid. It was still worth a try. Shrug photo shrug001.gif

The first attempt is ruined when bad positioning from me leads to Aerie, Xan, and Imoen all being horrifically dissolved by acid dragon breath, but the second attempt I summon more angels and kill the dragon, losing on Minsc near the end. It drops the goblet I need, a bunch of gems and magical ammunition...and the bladesinger chain, which immediately goes onto Chiyo.

Back outside the grove, I enter the house outside of which the elves had been fighting the golems. There's no one inside, just mangled corpses, but on a table inside is the stone harp, the third talisman I need.

Past another golem is a house, and when I enter, there's an elven warrior facing down a demon:


The elf invokes his moonblade and its power destroys the demon, but the elf dies as well. As he looks at the corpse, Xan says:
Xan: "Such fate awaits us all. Moonblade wielders, moonfighters, defenders of Elvendom...it is futile." He sigh. "It is futile. What? Why are you staring at me? Yes, I have finished my epitaph; we may go. Try not to step over his body as you take his blade, if you will. I am sorry, estel'amin. That was unworthy of me. I...I just need a minute. Or maybe an hour. Do not mind me."
As Xan says, the elf is holding a moonblade, the fourth talisman that I need. There's also a scroll of gate in a cabinet and a set of boots of elvenkind on a chest, so I take those too. Hey, Chiyo's an elf. It's not really exporting.

Heading southwest triggers an encounter between elven wizards and rakshasas behind me because the game expects me to come from the other direction, but I kill them with a minimum of fuss and take the scrolls they drop--all the same scrolls, for some reason--and go back to the entrance and into the house just to the north. There are two elves and three golems, and when I kill them, the grateful elves say that the golems slaughtered the priestesses of Rillifane except Demin. Chiyo tells them that Demin is already safe and they should get to Elhan and evacuate, and they leave immediately. The various shelves have magical ammunition, a cloak of elvenkind that Imoen puts on, and the stone horn, the last of Rillifane's talismans.

The Temple of Rillifane is just to the north, and I enter after killing the iron golem and rakshasa guarding it--with some difficulty, since the rakshasa are maharajahs and are more magically talented than most of their kind. The temple is not unoccupied:


Suneer: "But it ends here. Irenicus must not be disturbed during the ritual."
Chiyo: "You cannot stop me, slave. Your master does not realize the power I wield."
Suneer: "His curse is lifted. You are nothing next to Irenicus. He need not even be bothered for I shall kill you myself."
This battle is more difficult than I expected, but in the end, it's won the way a lot of battles in Baldur's Gate II are--time stop and comet and dragon's breath, which knocked down Suneer and prevented him from refreshing his buffs. After that, it was easy for Aerie and Xan to depower him and Chiyo to cut him to ribbons while he lay on the floor.

Chiyo places the talismans on the altar and:


Chiyo: "The sorcerer, Jon Irenicus, has-"
Avatar of Rillifane: "AH... THE EXILE HAS RETURNED. HE WHO ONCE WAS OF THE ELVES BUT IS NO LONGER SURVIVES YET. ONCE AGAIN HE COMMITS HIS SACRILEGE AGAINST THE TREE OF LIFE. THE EXILE PROTECTS HIMSELF WITH POWER THAT CORRUPTS NATURE. I CANNOT TOUCH HIM. HE HOLDS SHE WHO IS OF MY BLOOD IMPRISONED WITHIN CORRUPTION. HE USES HER LINK TO THE TREE OF LIFE TO DRAIN ITS POWER."
Chiyo: "Why? What's he going to--"
Avatar of Rillifane: "THE EXILE SEEKS TO JOIN THE SELDARINE. THE EXILE SEEKS TO BECOME A GOD, AS HE SOUGHT ONCE BEFORE."
Xan: "This is madness! Once an Exile, forever an Exile, especially after these atrocities. Corellon would never-"
Aerie: "He...he seeks to join the Seldarine? The elven circle of the divine? But...Corellon Larethian would never allow it! He is mad!"
Avatar of Rillifane: "THE FIRST OF THE SELDARINE WOULD NEVER PERMIT IT. THE TREE OF LIFE MUST NOT PERISH, OR OUR CHILDREN WILL SUFFER. THE SPIRITS OF THIS WOOD WILL BE CALLED TO DEFEAT THE EVIL THAT THE EXILE HAS BROUGHT INTO OUR MIDST. RISE, SPIRITS... IT IS I, RILLIFANE RALLATHIL OF THE SELDARINE WHO CALLS YOU. DEFEND OUR CHILDREN THIS DAY. AND YOU, MORTAL... YOU SEEK TO DEFEAT THE EXILE. FREE SHE WHO IS OF MY BLOOD FROM HIS CORRUPTION, AND SHE WILL SEVER THE LINK HE USES."
Chiyo: "But Irenicus has sealed--"
Avatar of Rillifane: "THE EXILE BLOCKS YOUR WAY, SEALING THE GATES TO THE GREAT PALACE. I SHALL UNSEAL THEM....IT IS DONE. I CAN DO NO MORE."
The avatar vanishes, but outside the spirits of the elven dead arise and destroy the invading demons as the palace gates open. The avatar leaves Chiyo with a staff of the woodlands and the gates to the palace open.

Until now I didn't realize that Irenicus's plan was to pull a Raistlin. I'm curious why he thinks it would work? As the party points out, there's no way that Corellon would ever allow someone to murder an elven city and ascend to godhood and then walk into the Seldarine like nothing had happened. At best, Irenicus would be able to join the pantheon of gods around Lolth, which is a terrible place to be because Lolth is a jealous god and does not tolerate rivals. He really hasn't thought this through--but I suppose when his very being has been stripped from him, he's not thinking clearly at all.

I leave Suldanessellar, go back to Athkatla, buy a ring of animal friendship, and combine it with a ring of protection +1 to make a Staff of the Woodlands +5 that can cast creeping doom on hit. That goes on Jaheira. And after a night in the inn, I leave Athkatla for the last time.

Before bed, Chiyo and Xan talk:
Chiyo: "Why did you call me your friend in the talk with Elhan?"
Xan: "Chiyo, if I called you my love, my wife, my heart, and my world, it would only bring another round of interrogation, and I am sure that we would want to avoid that, now, wouldn't we? Besides, I would not like to discuss my personal life with Elhan. I am probably older and born of a higher station. But rest assured, you are much more than my friend, always."
Chiyo: "But when you took my hand and started to talk of the sky--he could not help but notice then."
Xan: "No, no. He had too much on his mind to notice." He sighs "At least, I hope so. It will not always be like that. This time they were worried, frightened, suspicious. Later, you will be treated with equal wariness, but with less hostility. We will go on, Chiyo. Regardless of all."
Chiyo: "Oooh, optimism! I'll change you yet!"
Xan: "Perhaps, perhaps not." He sighs. "Death will, in any case. Let us go, Chiyo."

The Harp's Final Note
On the way back to Suldanessellar, I stop off in a forest to rest. After killing a pack of wolves who decided that fighting a group of heavily-armed mercenaries was a good life choice, the party bed down for the night. In the morning, a man approaches the party and addresses Jaheira:


Jaheira: "Do I know of you? Your voice is familiar, but I cannot place your face."
Terminsel: "Perhaps we have met. We traveled in much the same circles, though not at the same time. Terminsel is the...ah...name, and I should like to ask ye a question."
Jaheira: "We met among the Harpers, did we not? I am through with them. Many a decent person I met, but damned if I'll be crucified for the failures of their own."
Terminsel: "Yes, well, calm down for the moment, if ye will. I am well versed in the events that have occurred, and I have but a simple question to put to ye."
Jaheira: "Then do so. I wish this matter behind me, once and for all!"
Terminsel: "Oh, this will clear up a great many things. I care little for the specifics of what occurred in the Harper Hold. No, Jaheira, I've a question of a different sort to ask. For better or worse ye have thrown thy fate in with this Chiyo, and she is, among many other things, a child of Bhaal. Yes, I know of this, so look ye not surprised. In the end ye have gone against thine own fellows guided by your heart; ye have seen Chiyo's actions, and served with her through battle and peace. Ye have done what ye have done, the reasons for which are thine. I trust they are valid... This is my question, Jaheira: did you do the right thing?"
Jaheira: "Undoubtedly. I would do as such again without hesitation. Chiyo is proven decent and others are all the more fools for not seeing so."
Terminsel: "Then that is the measure from which the incident shall be judged. Think no more of it. And before I forget, this little item was meant for ye. I believe it was forgotten in all the excitement. Wear it with pride, will ye? And get back to work."
Jaheira: "I...I believe I have placed a proper name to your manner, now that I have experienced it up close. I should have thought you fond of anagrams, 'Terminsel.' "
Elminster: "Yes, well, one must keep amused in one's old age. Good luck, Jaheira, and do not think thyself abandoned for the actions of a few. We simply do not work like that."
Terminsel reveals his true form and walks off, leaving Jaheira with the Harper's Pin. Even without the anagram, it was obvious. No one else in the Realms talks like that.

And that really is the absolute last thing I need to do outside the endgame. On to Irenicus.

The Tree of Life
Re-entering Suldanessellar, I stop and talk to Elhan:
Elhan: "It is a sight of wonder, watching the Guardians as they sanctify our streets once more. You have done well. The way to Irenicus is now less dangerous, though the mage himself will still prove to be a deadly foe. Seek him out...destroy his foul influence once and for all."
Xan: "So we shall. Chiyo's spirit hangs in the balance, and she will not last long without it. It seems she is fading even now; we must hurry. Thank you for your assistance."
Elhan: "You have proven worthy of it. May the spirits of the Seldarine aid you."
Xan: He sighs. "If only it could help..."
I pass a couple enemies in the streets, but they are unceremoniously disintegrated by the guardian spirits summoned by Rillifane Rallathil and give me no trouble. I go talk to Demin, who tells me that I will need the stone harp and stone horn to enter the palace. The stone horn is on the altar because I misread my quest earlier and thought I needed it to summon the avatar, so I take a quick trip back to the temple to get it. And then, with the thanks of the elven warriors near the palace, I enter its gates.

The palace is what you'd expect from an elven queen:


Just inside the palace gates is a part of the tree of life, which drops a bunch of acorns when Chiyo touches it. Past that are two statues, where I put the stone horn and stone harp. The pool of water drains, revealing a stairway, which I descend. As I approach, Chiyo feels a strange sensation:
Chiyo feels a tingling as she approaches the stairs; a familiar touch which she instinctively recognizes as her own soul. Irenicus is near, in the next room. She pauses, knowing that she may not survive the battle to come. She has little choice, however; without her soul, her fate is a grim and certain one. She turns and regards those who remain in her pat. She feels a need, perhaps, to ascertain their loyalty, their friendship, or to offer a chance to reconsider. Xan, her love and her friend, is ever by her side. He looks at the stairs with a grim look on his face, but when he straightens, she sees only warmth in his eyes.

Xan: "I am with you, estel'amin. Until the end. Come. Let us forge our legend and return your soul."

Imoen, her sister and steadfast friend, who has changed so much in the time she has known her. Shadows circle her eyes, but she smiles as she notices Chiyo's gaze.

Chiyo: "Imoen, you're my sister and my best friend. I'm going to face Irenicus now...you don't have to come if you don't want to."
Imoen: "Irenicus hurt me too, you know. He kept me in that asylum...and experimented on me, and took my soul like it was an appetizer. Uh-uh. I'm not going anywhere. I'm with you all the way."

Minsc, the scarred and loyal ranger, always ready to leap into battle with Boo at his side. Chiyo wonders if he truly understands the struggle to come.

Chiyo: "This is it, Minsc. Are you sure you are up to this?"
Minsc: "Minsc owes much to the killer of Dynaheir! I stand with you! Nowhere shall I go until the heel of justice has firmly been imprinted once and for all into the wizard's evil backside! Nowhere!"

Aerie, at times innocent, at times determined, the young elf has come far since Chiyo took her from the streets of Athkatla. Is she ready for what is to come?

Chiyo: "You know how powerful Irenicus is, Aerie, and how dangerous. You don't have to come."
Aerie: "If...if it wasn't for you, I wouldn't have escaped from Kalah. I...I wouldn't be out here, and I wouldn't have the chance to face this evil. I won't stop now no matter the cost."

There is nothing more to be said. Without a further word, Chiyo turns grimly back to the stairs before her. Her souls awaits.
What, no inspirational speech for Jaheira? Question block photo emot-question.gif Come on, Chiyo.

I exit below onto the Tree of Life, and find Queen Ellesime waiting to greet me:
Ellesime: "Wait! Who comes? You... you are the Child of Bhaal, aren't you? The one that Joneleth... Jon boasted of stealing power from? He claimed to have slain you!"
Chiyo: "Well, he didn't, and now it is time for me to pay him back."
Ellesime: "I am Ellesime, Queen of Suldanessellar. I am at the center of the tree with Joneleth, within his cage of corruptive magicks. This is as far as I have been able to send my image. Joneleth, the one you call Irenicus, he...is drawing power from the Tree of Life into himself. There are...parasites, attached to the tree, draining it for him."
Chiyo: "Parasites? What manner of creatures are these?"
Ellesime: "I do not know what manner of thing these parasites are...they are formed from corruption itself, I fear! They feed Joneleth the power and maintain my cage! Whether you are here to save my people or simply kill the one who has tormented you, I care not! One thing must be done; the parasites on the Tree of Life must die! Do that and I can sever Jon's connection to the Tree. Then, and only then, may he be killed! I... believe he has protected the parasites somehow... I do not know. Hurry!"
Chiyo: "How do I reach the parasites? There is no route I can see amongst all these branches!"
Ellesime: "Ye...he has has severed branches. Use the nuts... the nuts from the palace gardens! They will grow new branches on the tree! You can use them to cross! Do it quickly, Child of Bhaal! If Jon drains the Tree of Life, all of Suldanessellar is doomed... and Jon will have the power he craves! Please, you must stop him!!"
It turns out that the parasites are pretty obvious:


The parasites spawn elementals when I attack them, but are not particularly difficult. When I kill the second parasite, Ellesime telepathically contacts Chiyo to tell her it is working and she needs to come to the center immediately afterward, since Irenicus will be disoriented when the connection is severed. She also tells Chiyo to hurry, since the Tree is dying...so I do. When the last parasite dies, I make my way to the center and Irenicus comes out of his ritual trance. He is displeased:
Irenicus: "What..who...who dares?!"
Chiyo: "I dare! Your plans are ruined, Irenicus! You will die here!"
Irenicus: "You... you live yet?! You have less than a fraction of your soul and yet somehow you continue to oppose me? The power... the power of the Tree is gone from me. You have been successful in your little scheme, insect, but now this ends! I will take great pleasure in eradicating such a nuisance as you. And then I shall... re-establish my link, join with the Tree once again... I shall find a way, I shall have the power--"
Ellesime: "No, Joneleth. You shall not."
Irenicus: "Who...? Ellesime?"
Ellesime: "Yes, it is I, your Queen. Twice, now, you have attempted this sacrilege and nearly destroyed us all. You will not do this again, Joneleth."
Irenicus: "Do not call me that! I lost all right to that name when the Seldarine stripped me of everything that was elven, as you well know."
Ellesime: "And what shall I call you instead? 'Irenicus'? 'Shattered One'? Yes... it was a terrible punishment. But you violated everything we hold dear. You nearly destroyed us all! And for what? Power? Is that all that you exist for now, Jon?"
Irenicus: "It... is all I have now, Ellesime. There is nothing else beyond my revenge. Revenge for what you did to me, that the Seldarine did to me!"
Ellesime: "And your revenge has poisoned your heart. The Tree touched you once, long ago. Do you remember nothing of it? Is there nothing in your heart that remembers love? Is there nothing within you that remembers our love? What we once shared before this obsession doomed you?"
Irenicus: "I...I do not remember your love, Ellesime. I have tried. I have tried to recreate it, to spark it anew in my memory. But it is gone...a hollow, dead thing. For years, I clung to the memory of it. Then the memory of the memory. And then nothing. The Seldarine took that from me, too! I look upon you and I feel nothing. I remember nothing but you turning your back on me, along with all the others."



Ellesime: "Then I pity you. Would that you had used your stolen mortal years to earn your return to this sacred place. I could have loved you anew, as I loved the man you once were. But I see nothing of him here. You are Irenicus. And all that awaits you now...is death."
Irenicus: "We shall see, my former love. We shall see."
Do you remember love?  photo Emot-loveheart.gif

Ellesime teleports away, but Irenicus is not done talking.
Irenicus: "There she goes, to rouse Elhan and the others, while I am still weak. So be it; I shall crush them all if need be. I retain your power, yet, Chiyo. Your soul still courses through me. Come and make your attempt to reclaim it, if you like. I have enough power to deal with you!"
Jaheira: "Your soul is borrowed, and it will be returned! You are a blight upon nature and you shall be destroyed!!"
Minsc: "For Dynaheir and all fallen comrades, for what is good and right, for all these things shall Minsc and Boo fall upon you today! And we shall taste victory, evil man!!"
Imoen: "We're going to take back Chiyo's soul if we have to rip it out of your chest, Irenicus! And you are going to hell...where you belong!"
All his plans in ruins, surrounded by his enemies, his sister dead, and an entire city of elves ready to destroy him, Irenicus remains defiant. But in the end, defiance is not enough. I call up some summons, strip him of his defenses, and Chiyo strikes him down.
Irenicus: "I...you killed me. This...is not. This is...not..."
And then Irenicus, finally, dies. Chiyo stands triumphant over the body as silence falls, then Imoen speaks:
Imoen: "It...it's finally over, then. All the terrible things he did to us, and it's finally over. Or...or is it? Chiyo, something's not right..."
Chiyo feels a tug, then a pull, then an inexorable whirlpool. She is still connected to her stolen soul, but it is no longer among the living. It has fallen, and Chiyo falls with it, into...

Hell

Xan: "Of all places, you brought us here! Are we even alive?" He groans "No matter. We are doomed."
Imoen: "I...I feel so strange. I felt myself, my essence, coming apart...I don't know. And there was this pulling, this force, and...I knew it was you. I had to come with you, I just knew I had to. We're dead, aren't we? If I'm a Child of Bhaal, shouldn't I be...be gone, then? Just like Sarevok? Irenicus said I was different, but...I don't know. But I know I'll follow you wherever I can. But...but why didn't I follow Bodhi into...wherever she went when she died? Unless it's because she was a vampire, with no soul of her own. She just...died, and there was only my own soul left? Or maybe it had something to do with your dying at the Tree of Life. I don't know."
Aerie: "This...this place is terrible! I...I felt something pulling at me when I died, and I just knew it was you. I...I had to come. You may need my help, here..."
Minsc: "Oh, such a glorious death in battle for Minsc and Boo! We were well on our way to the great fields and halls of Rashemen, but we felt you needing us, so we came!"
Jaheira: "It...it is not finished, is it? This is death...and your strange power has dragged me here with you. So be it, then. We stand together until the end."
Until the end. It won't be long now.

Game time elapsed: 137 days, 23 hours.

Party levels:
  • Chiyo, female elf Fighter 15/Mage 15
  • Jaheira, female half-elf Fighter 15/Druid 14
  • Minsc, male human Ranger 20

  • Imoen, female human Mage 18 (dual-classed from Thief 7)
  • Xan, male elf Mage (enchanter) 20
  • Aerie, female elf Cleric 16/Mage 15

That battle was a lot easier than I thought it was, but that's because I didn't realize there was even more to the game. I figured it would be a final battle in Suldanessellar and then the endgame, not this whole psychodrama in hell! Combined with Irenicus's mad scheme, this is a series of revelations. Elves are my favorite D&D race, as you could probably tell by my elf-heavy party, so I'm in favor of any video game content involving them. Especially when it gets into elven metaphysics, even if it's not going to work.

This post was originally longer, but I had to split it because it got unwieldy. The next post will be the last, and then some final thoughts.

Next: Part XXXIV: Paradise Regained.
 
 
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