16 Mirtul 1368
We leave the cave and head northward, where we encounter a creature that resembles a female elf with green skin and hair. She appears to be a Dryad, a forest spirit I have only read about in books. Her clothes are woven out of leaves, and vines wrap around her body.
Minsc: Only the basest villains would take advantage of a gentle forest spirit! Lead on, and I will deal with them.
Dryad of the Cloud Peaks: I thank you, for although they seem dim of wit, they still could do much damage. This way.
She leads us to a couple of human men. One of them is chopping at the oak tree mentioned by the dryad, while the other watches. Minsc approaches them.
Minsc: I’ll not let you harm a branch on this tree! You’ll have to go through me first!
Caldo: First or last, we probably go through you sometime! Get them Krumm!
Krumm realises what is happening and brandishes his axe. We draw our weapons.
I attempt to command Krumm, but his strong will resists the enchantment. Edwin drains some of Caldo’s life force.
Helga places a doom enchantment on Caldo.
Verr’Sza blinds Caldo.
Minsc swiftly cleaves Caldo in half as he stumbles around.
Krumm’s axe sinks into Minsc, but he is run through by Minsc’s sword.
Minsc eats some gooseberries to aid in his recovery. The dryad expresses her gratitude for our assistance.
The potion she gives Minsc is an antidote.
I feel a surge of strength after the fight.
This marks the first time our main character has leveled up! I appreciate the gradual pace of leveling up in Baldur’s Gate. It strikes a balance between not being too frequent and not becoming frustratingly slow.
The tree-killers possess some gold and mostly mundane equipment. Krumm has a potion of healing and a club we can’t identify.
As we continue our travels we come across a pack of wolves.
They retreat from us, so we choose not to disturb them. However, our next encounter proves to be more hostile.
Minsc flies into a berserk rage and charges the ogre.
Verr’Sza prepares a Reflected Image.
Helga summons her Armor of Faith.
The ogre is joined by its companions, one being an ogre berserker, the other an ogre mage!
Shit. A band of ogres, including a mage, may prove a challenging battle for our low-level party.
To our surprise, one of the wolves we previously encountered decides to aid us in fighting the ogres.
I have never seen this happen before in any of my playthroughs. This wolf hasn’t been charmed or summoned, it’s just a random wolf.
Minsc sustains severe injuries from the ogre berserker. It doesn’t faze him in his rage…
I summon some gibberlings to help.
Verr’Sza drains some of the ogre’s health, while Minsc manages to inflict significant damage to it with his sword.
The ogre mage turns invisible, prepares a true strike.
Helga incapacitiates the ogre with a Magic Stone.
I summon more gibberlings and Minsc strikes the unconscious ogre for the last time. The wolf turns on Minsc.
Don’t trust wild animals.
The ogre mage reappears and uses a power word to put one of the gibberlings to sleep.
Helga readies her flamebolt and moves in to engage the ogres.
The mage disappears again and the ogre berserker kills Minsc.
He couldn’t drink potions since he was berserk. Still, it paid off in the damage he caused.
The ogre mage sneaks up behind us and throws a lightning bolt in my direction. I barely survive.
I start eating our remaining gooseberries to try and heal, while Helga finishes the ogre berserker.
With the berserker defeated, we shift our focus to the mage.
It nearly kills me again with a vampiric touch. I retreat so I can take care of my wounds.
Helga delivers a powerful blow with her flamebolt, nearly killing the mage.
In response, the ogre summons a lance made of ice. It thrusts through Helga, killing her instantly.
Verr’Sza cuts down the mage, permanently.
Among the ogres’ possessions, we find only a few coins and some gems. We start to lick our wounds, then gather up Minsc and Helga’s bodies. Time to head back to Nashkel.
This battle was undoubtedly the most challenging one I’ve faced thus far. We’re down to only three characters now so I’m going to have to bulk out the party a bit.
17 Mirtul, 1368
We’re grateful that our journey back is uneventful. Upon reaching Nashkel, we visit the temple and donate for the resurrection of Minsc and Helga. As soon as he is awake, Minsc can’t help but start a discussion with the Wizard of Thay.
Edwin: Oh. Exactly the type of mental exercise I required! (My irony is unrivalled, I confess…) Discussing politics with a hamster! (Better than discussing politics with its owner, however.) Speak on. Amuse me.
Minsc: Here is the story steeping lore about the death of valiant Fyrra Vsevolod and his seven retainers.
Minsc: Evil Tarchion captured once Fyrra Vselovod and his seven retainers…
Edwin: The suspense is killing me…
Minsc: Fyrra was taken to the evil Tarchion and was asked if he’d yield to Thay and kneel to Tarchion. And Fyrra Vselovod answered that until the last drop of blood he will be loyal to Rasheman and will fight Thay. Then the evil Tarchion ordered the Fyrra to be bled to death, and his body was thrown to the jackals.
Then the first of the Fyrra Vselevod’s retainers was taken to the evil Tarchion and was asked if he’d yield to Thay and kneel to Tarchion. And Fyrra Vselovod’s first retainer answered that until the last drop of blood he will be loyal to Rasheman and will fight Thay. Then the evil Tarchion ordered the Fyrra’s first retainer to be bled to death, and his body was thrown to the jackals.
Edwin: Am I experiencing a case of deja vu?
Minsc: Then the second of the Fyrra Vselevod’s retainers was taken to the evil Tarchion and was asked if he’d yield to Thay and kneel to Tarchion. And Fyrra Vselovod’s second retainer answered that until the last drop of blood he will be loyal to Rasheman and will fight Thay. Then the evil Tarchion ordered the Fyrra’s second retainer to be bled to death, and his body was thrown to the jackals.
Edwin: By the glory of Thay…
Minsc: Then the third of the Fyrra Vselevod’s retainers was taken to the evil Tarchion and was asked if he’d yield to Thay and kneel to Tarchion. And Fyrra Vselovod’s third retainer answered that until the last drop of blood he will be loyal to Rasheman and will fight Thay. Then the evil Tarchion ordered the Fyrra’s third retainer to be bled to death, and his body was thrown to the jackals.
Edwin: Incredible… and so refreshing after the story about the first and the second retainers…
Minsc: Then the fourth of the Fyrra Vselevod’s retainers was taken to the evil Tarchion and was asked if he’d yield to Thay and kneel to Tarchion. And Fyrra Vselovod’s fourth retainer answered that until the last drop of blood he will be loyal to Rasheman and will fight Thay. Then the evil Tarchion ordered the Fyrra’s fourth retainer to be bled to death, and his body was thrown to the jackals.
Edwin: Yes, yes, I see! Then the fifth of the Fyrra Vselovod’s retainers was taken to the evil Tarchion…
Minsc: It’s Minsc who’s telling the story, wizard. So the fifth of the Fyrra Vselevod’s retainers was taken to the evil Tarchion and was asked if he’d yield to Thay and kneel to Tarchion. And Fyrra Vselovod’s fifth retainer answered that until the last drop of blood he will be loyal to Rasheman and will fight Thay. Then the evil Tarchion ordered the Fyrra’s fifth retainer to be bled to death, and his body was thrown to the jackals.
Edwin: Yes… an unexpected twist. I… I need to attend to…
Minsc: Then the sixth of the Fyrra Vselevod’s retainers was taken to the evil Tarchion and was asked if he’d yield to Thay and kneel to Tarchion. And Fyrra Vselovod’s sixth retainer answered that until the last drop of blood he will be loyal to Rasheman and will fight Thay. Then the evil Tarchion ordered the Fyrra’s sixth retainer to be bled to death, and his body was thrown to the jackals.
Edwin: He cannot be stopped, he cannot be bargained with, he knows no mercy… Thankfully, Fyrra Vselovod travelled with only a small retinue, and this shall all cease soon enough.
Minsc: Then the seventh of the Fyrra Vselevod’s retainers was taken to the evil Tarchion and was asked if he’d yield to Thay and kneel to Tarchion. And Fyrra Vselovod’s seventh retainer answered that until the last drop of blood he will be loyal to Rasheman and will fight Thay. Then the evil Tarchion ordered the Fyrra’s seventh retainer to be bled to death, and his body was thrown to the jackals.
Edwin: How very… educational. I am impressed at how bored I am. I have never been so bored in my entire life. The limits of known boredom have been expanded to previously unknown size, and the size of my brain is shrinking with each word you utter. (Incredible, yet true, alas. I shall be scarred for life.)
Minsc: Boo says that he does not sense that Edwin is convinced.
Minsc brightens up.
Minsc: But we can always tell you how brave Iron Lord Yegoriy Yasnoi, his four hundred fifty best and thirty Hathrans had died defending Citadel Rashemar from evil Thayvians…
Edwin: I… I am convinced that Rashemi have unyielding spirit. Perhaps you can submit this story in writing, so I can pass it to my superiors. (Nevron will adore it, I am sure.)
Minsc: Oh… Minsc and Boo are not crazy enough to write down such a long story. But they can dictate to the evil wizard. Take out your quill! So once upon a time (Boo never had a head for dates) Iron Lord Yegoriy Yasnoi-
I love the banter between these two. It’s a shame to remove Minsc from the party right now.
He must have death on the mind after our encounter with the ogres.
Minsc and Helga should rest here in Nashkel, but Helga insists on returning to her home in Beregost. We decide to accompany her since we’ll need help if we want to reach the Gnoll Stronghold. And help is in Beregost.
If there are still bandits they seemed to have left us alone on the road. Perhaps our small group doesn’t seem worth robbing. We arrive in Beregost after nightfall, and Helga heads back to her home. We go to the Jovial Juggler, where Imoen spots us as soon as we enter.
Aegon: Sorry to have kept you waiting. Let’s get going.
Imoen: You bet! We’ll nick ourselves a whole purse o’ fun before the night is through!
She’s eager to catch up. Somehow word got to her about my strange dream.
Aegon: Dreams? Yes. More strange than bad, really.
Imoen: Huh. Well they sounded bad to me!
You were tossin’ and turnin’… mumblin’ in yer sleep too. Loudly! Kept me up half the night, you did. Anything you want to talk about?
Aegon: Yes. That would make me feel better, I think. I was back in Candlekeep, only…
I relate to her the strange dream I had in Nashkel.
Imoen: Sounds kinda creepy. Still, I’m glad Gorion seemed happy in your dream. I… I don’t know why, but I’m also glad you took the other path. Anyway, no harm done, I guess? It was just a dream… right?
Aegon: A dream yes, but also something more. I have a healing touch, though an ability not from my deity. It comes from within me.
Imoen: Well… I guess that’s useful at least. It sounds very strange, though, to wake up after some dream and just *know* you can do something magical.
You just take it easy for a bit, okay? I’ll get things packed up.
What does she mean I kept her up? Did I have the dream before Nashkel and just didn’t remember? Why did I remember it the last time? It’s still so vivid in my mind – easy to recount. Aren’t dreams supposed to fade with time?
While she packs her things, I find Jaheira and Khalid.
Aegon: I have returned to you by my own choice, not that of my foster father. If you join with me, you join MY group, not Gorion’s.
Jaheira: As well it should be. Gorion taught you as best he could, and evidently some of that knowledge has stuck after all.
She notices that I am injured and casts a regeneration spell on me.
Edwin is able to identify Jaheira’s quarterstaff.
Khalid notices we have some plate mail in our bag of holding and asks if he can take it. It fits him well.
Before we leave Beregost we take a rest at the inn. We decide to treat ourselves to the nicer rooms. After the excitement with the ogres we’ve earned a bit of luxury.
I can’t sleep this night after Imoen’s talk of dreams. After lying in bed for a while, I decide to go for a walk. I find Jaheira sitting downstairs with a glass of wine.
Aegon: Something like that. I get these dreams sometimes…
Jaheira: There is a long day tomorrow. You should get back to bed.
Aegon: You needn’t treat me like a child, you know.
Jaheira: I am responsible for you, Aegon. You may be a grown young man, but Gorion thought otherwise.
With your foster father and your old life gone, Khalid thought you might need someone to talk to. The hour is late, but if you truly need someone to share your burdens with…
Aegon: There is no need for that, Jaheira. I just thought we might talk for a bit.
Jaheira: I’ve been thinking of dangers in my life. In Khalid’s life.
Nashkel is a nice little town, as was Beregost. Once the iron crisis is over, we may settle down there for a few months.
Aegon: I, too, might do that someday.
Jaheira: What of you, Aegon? Any other changes in your life?
Aegon: Not really. Same old bounty hunters and whatnot.
Jaheira: And new companions. Some of whom may give you some… unexpected attention.
You are an attractive young man straight out of the cloister, so it is not surprising. People will be drawn to you, but it is up to you to decide whether you want that.
You should not tie up your life with a wrong person, but you know this without my advice, I’m sure. What kind of partner do you imagine for you?
Aegon: Someone calm and serious who will understand me. A best friend rather than a lover.
Jaheira: A fine choice. I hope you’ll stay true to it.
I once nearly fell in love when I journeyed to Nashkel before. But then I met Khalid…
Jaheira: First love is not necessarily true love, Aegon. Remember that.
But it is getting late. Finish your drink, and go straight to bed. I don’t want to yell at you again in the morning.
Aegon: Oh, no. Anything but that. I’m going to sleep.
Jaheira: Good night, Aegon.
After a short night’s sleep, I awaken to find Imoen engaged in a conversation with Jaheira.
Jaheira: It is not the fact that humans build towns and cities, but rather the manner in which they do so. Most humans construct their villages with little, if any, regard for the destruction of nature.
Imoen: Yea, I guess you got a point there, but what can we do about that?
Jaheira: Well you can start by-
Imoen waves her hand dismissingly.
Imoen: Later, when we get to an inn. I’m hungry and I want to take a warm bath.
Rhetorical questions aren’t Jaheira’s strong suit, it seems.
Before we depart, we make a stop at the Thunderhammer Smithy to replenish our ammunition. Verr’Sza needs more throwing daggers and we require additional sling bullets.
Once again, we leave Beregost behind and set out on a journey back to the Cloudpeaks
20 Mirtul, 1368
Apart from a few docile wolves, we don’t encounter any threats on our return. I remind my companions to remain vigilant in case there are more ogres lurking in the area.
As we pass by the Dire Wolf Cave, we stumble upon a waterfall where a ghostly figure lingers. Could this be Aaron’s beloved fiancée? Jaheira takes the initiative and approaches the ghost.
Jaheira: Marina? Is it you?
Ghost: Ma… Marina? Yes… my name is Marina. Oh, Lady, memories lost are returning, I begin to remember. Oh no!
The ghost cries.
Jaheira: Shhhh, everything will be alright. I’m here to help.
Ghost: Oh please, Lady. Release me of this wraith form! I do not want to stay here, but I’ve promised!
Aaron and I were hiking. A romantic picnic under the tree of the nymph. It is said a kiss under the tree of the nymph ensures that love lasts forever.
I was so tired and wanted to sleep, but Aaron said he had a surprise for me. And I promised to stay awake until he had given me the surprise.
And then… then there were these monster. Aaron fought but they knocked him out. And then… then everything turned black.
When I woke up everything was so cold and foggy. And I only knew that I had to wait for Aaron.
Jaheira: You’re bound to your promise to stay awake until you get your surprise?
Ghost: Yes, that is it! Aaron must tell me what surprise he had for me. My memories fade again… I’ll wait… will not sleep until I have a surprise… have it… sworn… Aaron.
Trapped in the Material World by a binding promise. We must find a way to release this ghost from her ethereal existence.
We now know with certainty that Aaron is in the Gnoll Stronghold. Two of the living are also in need of rescue. Well, as long as we can keep the red wizard at bay…