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Right Place, Wrong Bhaalspawn 1-5:Irenicus

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#1 Guest_Wyvern_*

Posted 27 July 2005 - 04:48 AM

Right Place, Wrong Bhaalspawn 1

This is the story of Shann Lightfoot, a Half-Elf fighter-mage-thief who assumes the role of the Baldur's Gate PC. This story starts in SOA, and Shann's earlier life is covered in the series Heritage of Evil. For those that are interested, Shann starts with the following stats. Str-12, Dex-17, Con-16, Int-18, Wis-12, Char-8.

Irenicus One

I awoke in pain again. I no longer remembered how many times that had happened. For a moment I thought I was a child again, being held in the cells of the N'evarn outpost, and awaiting punishment from my Drow masters.

It was a foolish thought, and soon I remembered that I was Shann Drowkiller, and the N'evarn outpost was destroyed years ago when I gave myself to the power of my father, the Lord of Murder.

But no, my memories were still mired in the past. I rejected the name of Drowkiller, and now called myself Lightfoot, the name my Mother gave me. I rejected the name of killer, and I rejected the power of my father.

I did not know where I was, only that the one with the dead eyes kept hurting me, testing me he said. Why? Because I was a Child of Bhaal, one of the few that were known. I should not be in this cage. I was the 'Hero of Baldur's Gate' because I destroyed my Bhaalspawn brother, Sarevok, but I should not be that hero. Destroying Sarevok's plans to instigate a senseless war was the destiny of my brother Tiswash of Candlekeep. Sarevok himself had found Tiswash, killed his foster father Gorion, and goaded Ti to find and destroy him. I inherited Tiswash's vengeance, his destiny, and now it seemed his torture as well.

Where is Imoen, I wondered. She was there when I (we? ) were taken by the strangers I was sure. Along with Tiswash's destiny I felt as though I had taken his role as sibling to the girl he grew up with at Candlekeep. I was the one who encouraged and tutored Imoen in magery when she took an interest in the arts. Truth be told, she is a better mage now than me, even though I have been practicing magic longer. Of course she has let her studies in thievery decline, while I have not.

My thoughts rambled on aimlessly, as my Father whispered to me, promising power and strength. I did not listen, not this time, and never again.

Soon I awoke in pain again. I was getting really tired of this. Why did I join Ti's odd group, and why did I let my Bhaalspawn heritage become common knowledge in Baldur's Gate? Bhaalspawn were sought and watched for by all the large organizations. I knew that, and I remembered that most of Tiswash's companions were spying on him, and later, on me. Jaheira and Khalid for the harpers. Dynaheir for the Rashmani Witches. Odesseiron for the Red Wizards. And Shann Lightfoot, I watched him too; but only because I wanted to protect him.

I wanted to defy Father, to keep him from controlling another as he had controlled me. I failed to reach Sarevok, and he fell completely under Bhaal's influence. I kept Father from seducing Tiswash, but Bhaal won in the end when Ti died and all that he was became nothing but dust to be blown away by the wind.

I knew why I watched Tiswash but why did the others? The harpers probably meant no harm but really, who can know for sure what their intentions were? The witches … always think they are right. The Red Wizards were the only ones I knew for certain could have no benevolent motives for seeking out a Bhaalspawn.

Sarevok was powerful, and a potential threat to all three groups, which made them reasonably trustworthy allies in the quest to stop Sarevok's rise to power. After Tiswash died, I took over the leadership of his party, and I allowed them all to aid in Sarevok's downfall. Imoen liked Jaheira and Khalid, and I suppose I did too, so we stayed together afterwards. Dynaheir, whatever her intentions, irritated the hell out of me with her constant harping on controlling my evil heritage, even before she knew I was a Bhaalspawn, and I got rid of her very soon after Sarevok's death. Odesseiron left on his own, conveniently forgetting the year of service he owed me. I doubt the witches or the wizards have forgotten me, although neither seemed likely to be behind my present captivity.

My tormentor kept talking of unleashing my power. I knew the power he talked of, and I knew what it could do. Despite my resolve to never give in to the lure of Father's promises again, I felt a strong desire to show my captor the true power of Bhaal, and tear him to pieces.

#2 Guest_Wyvern_*

Posted 27 July 2005 - 04:57 AM


Irenicus Two

Something was different when I woke up this time. I could hear the sounds of fighting in the distance, and just outside my cage a voice I thought I should recognize was speaking.

"Wake up you! Wake up! Come on, we have to get out of here!"

Imoen? Yes, it was her and she looked terrible, though I didn't tell her that. Imoen seemed about to say something, and then stopped and gave me a strange look.

"Imoen? What are you doing here, and, uh, where is here?" I asked.

"Sorry, Shann, it's just, I've never seen you with a beard that long," Imoen blushed a little, and then continued speaking with just a little hesitance in her voice. "I mean, heya, after some dungeons you've had quite the stubble, but that bush would make Yeslick the dwarf proud."

I brought a hand up to my chin, and realized she was right. My beard was lush and black, and reached half way down my chest. My hair was longer too, and now flowed almost to my waist. Unlike my beard, my hair was more grey, (not white, thank the gods,) than black I knew, even though I could not see it now.

"I'm gonna shave the first chance I get, trust me," I said, amused. I've always gone clean-shaven. With my long hair covering my slightly pointed ears I can pass for one of the darker-skinned humans, even if I am a bit short for a human, as long as I don't have a beard.

"Do you know what's going on here?" I questioned Imoen, becoming serious again. "Who captured us? What he has been trying to do?"

Imoen did not know where we were, and had escaped from her own cage when the fighting started. Assassins seemed to be attacking our captor, and with luck Imoen and I could find a way out of this place. Imoen did have a bit to say about why we were here.

"He's been doing… things… to us." Imoen said, talking of the one with the dead eyes.

"To us? He said something about testing me because I am a Bhallspawn. Imoen, I don't understand why, why he would torture you the same way," I said, trying to speak calmly even as I worried about what Imoen must have gone through. I knew Imoen was less prepared than I to withstand pain. Her eyes dart about uneasily, and I get the feeling that she is close to breaking down even as she puts on a facade of her normally perky manners.

"Maybe He was comparing Bhaalspawn to mortal reactions," Imoen mutters about our torturer. "It doesn't matter, Shann! I don't want answers; I just want out of here. Now let's go!"

We headed for a nearby room Imoen found earlier that had weapons we could arm ourselves with. Not our own weapons, unfortunately, but one makes do. I found a short sword, and then felt clever when I spotted a hidden panel behind a painting. Of course the damn thing was trapped, a trap I did not spot, but Imoen did. I silently cursed myself for my carelessness. I was better at finding traps than Imoen, but forgot to look.

Not that I worried for long, since the secret compartment held both Imoen's and my spellbooks, and even our spell components were there.

Armed with a slightly enchanted dagger and ordinary short sword, I felt almost confident as Imoen and I searched the prison. I tried not to worry about not having any spells memorized, but I have gotten used to fighting with my magical defences protecting me, and will have to adjust for their lack.

We stepped over the bodies that lay everywhere, without really noticing them, and I saw Imoen's face lighten as she spied our former comrades in a corner of the prison.

"Look Shann, there's Minsc and Jaheira! This is great we need all the help we can get right now," Imoen said, sounding almost happy. She never did like being alone; which was strange for a rogue. "I wonder if Dynaheir and Khalid are around too, we'll get the whole gang back together."

Jaheira did not know where Khalid was, and was obviously worried about her missing husband. It did not help her mood when Minsc let us know Dynaheir was dead; killed by our captor.

Imoen's reaction was typically sympathetic. "Minsc, that is horrible! I am so sorry for you."

"Why were you two taken in the first place?" I said as soon as the though crossed my mind. "It's me he's interested in, and Dynaheir should not have been anywhere near me. You two were skulking about Baldur's Gate spying on me weren't you," I said angrily, before I realized any fault would lie with the witch alone. Minsc was only a servant, practically a slave, and probably lacked the wit to understand what his Dynaheir was up to. I needed Minsc's fighting skills, and bad-mouthing Dynaheir was not going to make him happy. "I'm sorry Minsc," I said, almost sincerely. "It has not been a good day for me, and I am sorry to hear that Dynaheir is dead."

Minsc looked puzzled, but then fell back to what he knew best. "We will join together again to avenge Dynaheir and spank the evil doers of badness! And Boo too!" he roared.

I looked at the hamster Minsc carried in his hands, and wonder how he possibly kept Boo with him all this time. The relationship of the ranger and the rodent was very unusual, almost like that of a mage and her familiar. Thinking of familiars reminded me of Shredder, and a wave of nausea swept through me.

"Shann? What's wrong with ya? You look like you're about to faint!"

"Imoen, I forgot about Shredder, where is she!" I said, grabbing Imoen's arm in a panic. I could not believe I forgot about my own familiar. What had that bastard done to my mind?

"Calm down and think, young woman," Jaheira said calmly. "Use your familiar link and see where she is."

Jaheira was right, of course, and I soon found Shredder in a small cage close by my own recent home. Shredder looked alright, if a little bedraggled. She was obviously treated much better than I was. I loved her of course, but still could not help wondering how I got such a silly familiar. A rabbit. A small brown rabbit was supposed to be a match for me. I thought my familiar would at least have some useful fighting abilities, a lively little imp or maybe a nice pseudo dragon. It was obviously a myth that familiars reflected their master's inner self. Shredder was useless in combat, but thank the gods she was fast enough to hide whenever there was danger.

We left the prison area, and explored long corridors filled with goblins, but sadly leading to unopenable doors. The goblins proved little danger to us, and Imoen was able to arm herself with one of the goblin bows.

Finally, we found a storage room guarded by a mephit that we killed with only minor damage to ourselves. The room contained a golem that seemed to be waiting for orders. I wondered what kind of an idiot our captor was to have mephits and goblins as guards, and golems as servants. Not that I was complaining, none of us were in any shape to fight golems. Trying to learn something useful, I talked to the golem. It spoke of opening doors to the sewage pits, which were bound to lead outside, but it would not move without some activation stone it said was in the care of someone called Rielev.

Of course the damned golem could not tell us where this Rielev was.

#3 Guest_Wyvern_*

Posted 27 July 2005 - 05:05 AM


Irenicus Three

I told the others to wait in the room with the golem while I scouted ahead.

"Do ya think we have the time for you to scout and backtrack?" Imoen asked. "I want to get out of here before He finds us."

"Imoen, we can't keep walking into goblins and mephits," I said patiently. "Sooner or later, one of us will get seriously hurt, and Jaheira doesn't have any healing spells left."

"That is correct, but do be careful Shann, stealth is very important, you can't fight alone," Jaheira said. I am glad she supported my desire to scout ahead, but was a bit annoyed that she also tried to tell me how to do my job.

"Yes Jaheira," I murmured as I called on my innate powers to become invisible, and moved away from the group.

Just across from the golem room, I found a very strange place. I glanced through the door, and saw no enemies, but there was a collection of large glass bottles filled with, well, what looked like bits and pieces of people floating in some liquid. I closed the door and left the room behind, deciding it was better not to let the others see it. Imoen would be upset, and Jaheira … might be moved to think of Khalid. If he was in that room it would be better if no one knew about it. Sometimes it is better not to know how a loved one died.

I scouted the corridors, and found a room with more inactive golems. You'd think someone with the skill and money to make the things would use them better. Another room, this one only had one of those disgusting glass bottles. There was a stone on the table that looked like it could be the activation stone the golem mentioned, and I pocketed it. That meant that Rielev … is the … thing in the bottle, I realized. That twisted, broken creature is alive? I left hurridly.

More goblins lurked in the corridors. What were they doing there? I found a large library filled with, yes, more goblins, and a couple of those annoying mephits. Leaving the library, I found a much more troubling group. There was a smithing shop and a band of duergar who all looked well armed, and worse, there was a mage with the group. I turned back quickly, since, even though I was invisible, I might slip and give myself away. We would have to fight our way there.

I returned to the group, and told everyone we were going down the corridor. I would not try activating the golem unless I had to.

"Awww, Shann why can't we follow the golem out," Imoen pouted.

"Imoen," I said quietly. "Do you really want to crawl through sewers? We don't even know we'll be able to get out that way. The pipes could be too small, or gated, or trapped. I say we try the main corridors first."

Jaheira disagreed. "Shann, we should not go where we are certain to find enemies when we have an alternative."

"Really, Jaheira?" I said, beginning to feel a headache starting. "Goblins and duergar we can fight. How do we know this golem won't turn hostile if we activate it? I don't think any of our weapons would be effective against it. It looks stronger than a clay golem. No, we leave the golem alone."

"Very well, though every delay worsens our chances of escape," Jaheira said, and her lips pressed together in a thin line. I knew I had angered her, but she needed my help to escape as much as I needed hers. We had to work together.

By the time we cleared out the library, we were all wounded; even Imoen, who stayed behind us launching arrows. I did not like it, but we had to rest, or we would never get out of this place alive. At least this way I could fight tomorrow with my magic shielding me.

Luckily we rested undisturbed, and Jaheira healed all of us in the morning, although it took nearly all her spells. I shielded myself with the basic armour spell and blur, and then had Imoen cast strength on me before we left to confront the duergar.

Invisible, I snuck behind the duergar mage while Jaheira talked to their commander.

"Let us pass, we've no quarrel with you duergar," I heard Jaheira say.

Of course the fools would not be reasonable, and I twisted my dagger into the mage's back as soon as I heard the commander's shout of: "At em' lads! No mercy!"

The duergar fell more quickly than I thought they would. Jaheira, Minsc and I took them out one by one. Minsc's arm was almost hacked off, but the duergar bodies yielded enough healing potions to bring him back to normal.

I also found a small belt pouch with unusually large acorns. A strange snack for an underdark dweller to carry. I shrugged and gave a couple to Shredder as a treat, and let Boo have one to gnaw on too.

Past the duergar we found another unopenable door. There was a little slot in the door that looked like a mould of a statue, and it had a little air elemental symbol on it. Locks, I thought, why can't there be a simple door with a normal, pickable, lock anywhere in this cursed place.

I felt a surge of excitement when I found a nasty depression trap guarding the corridor beyond the elemental door. I disarmed the trap, and moved forward, hoping that a trapped corridor would lead to something good. What this one led to was a room with strange whirring machinery, and a cambion held by some kind of force field. The demon looked very hostile, and would not speak to me at all.

"I bet this wheel here could turn off the machine and let the cambion out," Imoen called from the depths of the machine she had been looking over. The demon looked excited, but still would not talk.

"Anybody feel like fighting a demon?" I asked.

"Hmph," Jaheira said, already leaving.

"Minsc thinks evil should always be hit, but Boo says, maybe not this time."

"Then it's back to the golem and the sewers," I sighed. I pretended I did not hear Jaheira's "I told you so."

The golem did not turn hostile when I activated it, but immediately started moving away. It moved really fast, and we had to run to keep up with it. We followed it down a corridor we had earlier cleared of goblins, and then through a door into a large central waste pit. Intent on the golem, I was careless, and got clobbered by an otyugh living among the garbage.

I cast a quick mirror image, and engaged the creature. We won the fight easily, but I feel a wave of weakness overcome me, and soon found myself doubled over with pain.

"Ugh, Jaheira," I stammered. "You got any cure disease spells prepared?"

"Unfortunately not, do not worry Shann, I can sense it's a mild spell. You'll recover soon enough."

Not to worry she said. See if I cared the next time she was on the floor puking her guts out.

Still feeling wretched, I stumbled on and found what looked to be our captor's bedroom. I made myself concentrate, and Imoen and I moved through the room disarming an unbelievable number of traps. I found a little statue that looked like the key to opening the locked door past the smithing room. Imoen found something better.

"Wow, Shann, here's your favourite horny helmet!" Imoen said, holding up the famed helmet of Balduran. I was glad to have it back, not only did it make me harder to hit in combat, but it also made me a little stronger.

There was a small room off the bedroom that held a round object that resembled a large mirror. I examined it, and soon realized it was a portal. Further investigation revealed the portal was missing a lever needed to power it. Even if the portal worked, I did not really want to go through it. A portal could be a doorway to anyplace on Toril, or even somewhere else; the Abyss, or worse places.

Then I smelled the scent of dirt and growing things, and happily moved in that direction. I glimpsed distant trees through a tunnel off of the bedroom, and felt relieved because we would soon be out of this demented maze.

#4 Guest_Wyvern_*

Posted 27 July 2005 - 05:14 AM


Irenicus Four

Outside! Sunlight, air and freedom! Was the joyful litany running through my mind as we passed rocky walls and moved towards a brightly lit forest glade.

"Be wary, this is not what it seems to be," Jaheira cautioned, instantly deflating everyone's happy mood.

I walked out past the trees, and looked up to see the sky. But there was no sky above, only more rocks. We were in a large cave, and not outside at all. Jaheira was right, and tears threatened to form in my eyes. I fought back the urge to cry, determined not to waste time indulging my weaknesses.

I scanned the false glade, and saw the barest hint of a figure moving among the trees ahead of us. I braced myself for battle, and went to see what was hidden by the trees. I was startled when a chorus of melodious voices addressed us.

"Protect me!"

"Yes, help us!"

"Free us!"

The voices belonged to three impossibly beautiful women. They were too perfect to be mortal.

"Jaheira, " I asked. "Are those dryads?"

"Yes Shann, they are," Jaheira replied, and her hands whitened as she gripped her scimitar. "They are creatures of the open wood; they do not belong here."

"Why are you here?" I asked the dryads.

"We are his possessions."

"His servants."

"His concubines. Please help us to escape!"

His slaves, I thought with revulsion. I cannot abide slavery. "I will help you," I said. "But first, can you tell us who holds you captive?"

"He is called Irenicus."

Irenicus. So that was the name of my tormentor. I asked the dryads why this Irenicus held them captive.

"He wants us to instil emotion in him."

"But we cannot."

"He is empty."

"He is barren inside."

"Why don't you come with us and we will find a way out of this place together," I offered.

"They cannot come with us Shann, " Jaheira answered for them. "Dryads are linked to their trees, and cannot leave them or both they and their trees will die."

"Then I do not know how we can help you, " I told the dryads. "We cannot move your trees."

"You can help us!"

"Yes, find our acorns, children of our trees."

"Find them and take them to our Queen in the Windspear Hills. She can use them to regrow our trees in a place far away from this ugly hole."

Acorns? Like the ones I found with the duergar chief and Shredder ate? I got a very bad feeling, but must know for sure. "Er, where are your acorns?"

I saw Jaheira and Imoen blanch when they realized we had already found the dryads' acorns. I hoped they would have the sense not to say anything to the dryads. "I'm sorry, I cannot help you," I said. Feeling guilty. "We, uh, have no time to go back the way we came."

"If you will not help us we will take your human male until you change your mind," one dryad stated before casting a charm spell on Minsc that we could not break.

Oh hells, I thought as I drew Jaheira and Imoen aside. "Imoen," I said. "Talk to them, convince them we will help them."

"But Shann, their acorns have been…"

"Don't say that, " I whispered. "If they find out about their acorns the dryads may get hostile."

"Really?" Jaheira said dryly.

I glared at Jaheira, and then turn back to Imoen. "I don't want to have to kill them but we need Minsc back. Just convince them we'll go look for their acorns, and tell them we can't do it without Minsc."

"All right Shann, but this really, really sucks."

Fortunately, Imoen is much better at talking to people than I am, and she convinced the dryads to release Minsc from their spell. As we walked past the dryads I saw Minsc holding Boo up to his ear.

"Shann," Minsc said in a troubled voice. "Boo says the pretty forest ladies' acorns …"

"Minsc don't worry about it. Really, don't think about it. Okay?" I said, and silently hoped Boo would shut up.

Reluctantly, we rested once more. The false woods around us almost made me feel safe, and I let the illusion of beauty calm my worries. We awoke and explored the dryads cave further. We found another bedroom hidden at the far end of the cavern. I moved cautiously forward, but a magic-based alarm was triggered when I entered the room, and I heard distant sirens blaring for a moment before they fell silent.

"I don't like that," Imoen said after the noise stopped.

"Yes, what has the alarm done, has it summoned guards, or our captor?" Jaheira asked, clearly worried.

I had Jaheira and Minsc stand watch when Imoen and I searched the room, disarming traps and rummaging through the chests and drawers for anything useful. I found a lever that should activate the portal off the main bedroom. We now had two potential escape routes; the portal, or the air elemental door beyond the smithing room. The uncertainty of the portal still worried me, and I resolved to try the air elemental room first.

There was still no sign of anything the alarm could have summoned, and I began to hope that, with Irenicus out of the picture, the alarm had been ignored. Caution was still called for though, and I decided to scout ahead invisibly. I headed back towards the waste pit, and was glad to be invisible when I saw what could have been summoned by the alarm. The waste pit now had two clay golems in it, and one of them said something about the sanctity of the mistress' room being violated.

"Everybody head for the portal!" I said as soon as I ran back to the others.

"What's the rush Shann?" Jaheira asked.

"There are two riled-up golems back there. Let's get through that portal before they come this way," I said as I started herding the group towards the portal. "It probably doesn't lead anywhere too unusual. I mean, how many people would keep a doorway to the nine hells near their bedroom?"

#5 Guest_Wyvern_*

Posted 27 July 2005 - 05:24 AM


Irenicus Five

We stepped through the portal, and for a moment the world disappeared. I could not feel my body, and wondered if this was what death feels like. I was relieved when I felt a floor beneath my feet again, and walls began to form around us. The walls and floor were built of the same types of stone and wood as the place we just left, and it seemed we were in another area of Irenicus' dwelling. Not the nine hells then. I tensed when a man wearing leather armour, and wielding a sinister looking blade, approached us. His features and golden skin colour suggested he was from the Kara-turan province. There was something familiar about him, almost as though I had seen him before. He did not look hostile, but I cast a blur spell, and prepared to fight if necessary.

"So there is sanity in all of this madness," he said, obviously not looking for a fight. "If you are not in league with the evil that dwells in this unholy place, Yoshimo begs your assistance."

Yoshimo? I tried to remember where I had heard that name before. "I am Shann Lightfoot. Tell us the way out and we'll think about helping you," I said, stalling for time.

"I do not know a way to escape this place. Perhaps we could search for this exit together," Yoshimo said, with a disturbing grin on his face.

Yoshimo's accent was identical to my lost friend Tamoko's, and I remembered where I had heard his name before. Tamoko spoke often of her brother Yoshimo, a bounty hunter. I mentioned this to Yoshimo, and he could not hide his reaction to Tamoko's name. This was Tamoko's brother.

"Do not try to tell me we have met by accident," I told Yoshimo, feeling anger and frustration growing within me.

"I assure you I mean you no harm," he said.

"Do not lie to me, I will kill you."

Yoshimo looked thoughtful for a moment, and then decided to end any pretense of friendliness. "You murdered my sister, and it is my duty to avenge her. I hereby challenge you to combat," he said calmly.

"Foolish little man!" Minsc roared. "Minsc will not let you do this evil thing!"

"Shann was not at fault, Yoshimo," Jaheira said, tension showing in her voice. "Tamoko died with honour; she would not want this duel."

"Yeah! And besides you are so toast if you duel with Shann!" Imoen added.

"Tamoko was my friend, Yoshimo," I said, determined not to hurt the brother she had loved. "I did not want to fight her, but she would not desert her lover Sarevok." My voice was ragged as I remembered begging her to leave my doomed brother. "She died because Bhaal's madness consumed Sarevok. I had to destroy Sarevok, and she would not stand aside."

"I do not believe you, prepare to fight."

"I will not, and you cannot fight us all. If you do not wish to die, put up your sword."

"Have you no honour? Do you hide behind your companions like a coward?"

"Bugger honour," I said, strangely amused. "I have done no wrong and you are being a fool, put up your sword."

"I demand you fight me!" he shouted, and strode towards me. Minsc and Jaheira stood between Yoshimo and me, and he finally realized I would not duel him.

"Damn you!" he sobbed as his sword dropped out of his hand, and he fell to his knees.

"Tell us who Irenicus is," Jaheira demanded of the beaten man.

"No Jaheira," I said gently. "Leave him be. We do not know for certain he is working for Irenicus. Dynaheir was taken captive because she was spying on me; Yoshimo may have been too. Besides, even if he is in league with Irenicus, his honour will not let him speak of his employer."

We left the weeping man behind us, since he was in no condition to be a threat to us. Shortly afterwards, I stepped through a door and was blinded by a flash of light. I heard the sound of wings flapping, and something clawed at my face. I struck out blindly, and heard Jaheira coming to stand beside me.

"Mephits!" She shouted, and through tearing eyes I saw vague shapes ahead of me, and moved to attack them.

We killed half a dozen of the little monsters, but more kept coming after us. I had no time to do anything but defend myself, and could not understand how there could be so many Mephits in the room. Where are they coming from?

"The portals! The mephits are streaming out of the portals! Over there, by the wall!" Imoen shouted. "Ignore the mephits, I'll keep them busy, you guys destroy those portals!"

Portals? I squinted and saw bright spots on the floor surrounded by wooden cages. What's the best way to destroy a portal? Lacking any other option, we hit the cages until they broke. We destroyed the portals, and began clearing the room of the remaining mephits. Jaheira was blinded by one of the mephits, and I stood too close to her. She struck out at her attacker, and hit me in the ribs. Fortunately, it was the flat of her scimitar that hit me.

"Ow! Jaheira watch it, that was me!"

"Well, do not crowd me, please concentrate on the fight at hand."

"I think that's the last of them," I looked around, and the floor was littered with dead mephits. Minsc was unable to stand, but Jaheira was already calling on her healing powers to restore him. Imoen looked exhausted, but did not seem to be badly hurt, and sat on the floor beside Minsc and Jaheira. I used my own small powers, one of Bhaal's more beneficial gifts, to partially heal myself, and then began to search the room.

This was a very disturbing place. Neatly hanging on the walls were various objects that I recognized as instruments of torture and butcher's tools. In the middle of all this was a table with a decaying body lying on it. My eyes passed over the corpse, but something drew me back, and I realized that the features of the dead man were familiar. I had found Jaheira's missing husband. I should tell her, but I looked over to where she was sitting, and did not know what to say.

I found my thoughts drifting to Dynaheir; did she die in this room too? I wondered if Odesseiron had been following me secretly like Dynaheir. Is he one of those things I glimpsed floating in the glass bottles? Perhaps I should have studied them more closely. I had to stop stalling, and go speak to Jaheira.

"Jaheira," I finally said. "Khalid is dead," I waved vaguely towards his body, and felt wretched because of the horribly blunt way I delivered the news.

"Kha..Khalid? Khalid!" Jaheira looked devastated, and I turned away. This was painful to watch. I let Imoen and Minsc try to comfort her. I heard Imoen ask about raising Khalid, but it is too late, and he is gone forever. Then Imoen said something about being in this room when Irenicus mutilated Khalid's body. I wondered if I have been in here before, and images of blood and tortured bodies fill my mind, although I could tell if they were of Irenicus' dungeon, or memories from my childhood.

"Sil..Silvanus guide the light ... to the source. Take this man to what he justly deserves," Jaheira said as she called on her faith for comfort.

"Shevarash* grant us vengeance," I added to Jaheira's gentler prayer.

"I thought you forswore the path of revenge Shann?" Jaheira asked, her face still streaked with tears.

"I'm feeling vengeful," I answered.

"Are you gonna be Shann Drowkiller again?" Imoen asked uncertainly. She always did look uneasy whenever I mentioned my drow hunting days.

"I think Shann Irenicuskiller has a nice sound to it," I answered, only half in jest.

*Shevarash: elven god of vengeance, loss, and hatred of Drow.

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