Pillars of Eternity: Eposide 2 – A cold welcome in Gilded Vale

A word of warning before continuing my walkthrough for Pillars of Eternity and the story of Frengard, the Wizard: SPOILERS AHEAD! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

“… We arrived in the middle of some kind of ceremony. A man just became and ashen statue as he reached out for the monument. As the biawac engulfed us I saw three more men sacrficing themselves in front of this strange building, heeding the words of their master, a high priest of some sort, talking about the necessity of leaving one’s own desires behind for the greater cause. After the last of these… acolytes… turned to a disturbing memento of these events my vision cleared and I found myself standing on a ledge in broad daylight. I turned around to ask Calisca and Heodan if they saw what I did, but they both lay dead a few steps back. The biawac, the many deaths, this vison made my head spin. I couldn’t help but drop on all fours and vomit until there was nothing left to come out.

It probably took me half an hour to compose myself. Finally, pale and shaken, I stood up, fastened the straps on my backpack left these strange ruins, heading to the south, towards Gilded Vale, the original destination of the journey. As I was walking among the old stones I noticed shadowy figures from the corner of my eyes, but when I turned, there was nothing. As I tried to focus my vision I managed to see more and more of the ghostly visages, I felt I could even talk to one or two. It was a strange sensation indeed.

Finally I got back on the road leading to Gilded Vale. I didn’t dare stray off the road after all that happened in the last few hours. My whole body was shouting for some rest, only a few minutes to rest my eyes, but I decided to rather use some mental techniques I learned at the university to keep my mind focused and go on. A brigand tried to rob me in broad daylight and kill me afterwards, but he wasn’t match for my last memorized spell. As night was approaching I was getting more and more anxious, I have never spent a night alone without a roof over my head. I felt relieved when I saw a tent at the bridge, where I met a man named Nonton, who offered to share his fire with me for the night. He told me he was a hunter and he went out to hunt game with his friend, Perly. Perly was attacked by an enraged bear and met his end in a cave to the north. I had a feeling there was more to the story he told me, but my mind was so numb by that time that I let the topic rest. We talked for a little more then finally I could get some so desired sleep by the campfire.

In the morning I woke up alone, Nonton had already left, leaving me behind. It was strange, but I didn’t care too much about it, I was too focused on leaving this path behind me and get a nice, warm bath and some hot meal in the first inn I find. My whole body was stiff and aching from the crude accomodations of nature, my expensive boots helped nothing against the rough road, and all my clothes were torn and dirty. It took me another four slow, painful hours to finally spot the silhouettes of houses on the horizon. Gritting my teeth I started walking faster, grunting as a blister broke on my left foot.

As I got near Gilded Vale I noticed something was missing. It took me a minute to realize what it was: the everyday noises. No children laughing, no music, everything was eerily silent. I walked past the first few houses and after a turn I was already at the main sqare of this hamlet. It was the strangest of main squares I ever saw. A huge, gnarled tree occupied its centre, from its crooked, ancient branches hung human bodies, like foul, ripe fruits. A tall, strict-looking man was standing beside this bizarre composition with two soldiers behind him. As I approached, he looked at me coldy, as people do who are used to authority. I knew this look all too well from my father.

He introduced himself as Magistrate Urgeat, and asked what business I had in Gilded Vale and how I got here on my own. I answered his questions, meeting his gaze calmly, asking him about the bodies hanging from the gnarly tree. He told me that I chose the worst of time to arrive, as the situation is very tense at the moment. Lord Raedric’s wife is in labor and the child can be born at any moment, and the hanged people are the ones who failed to help or gave false advice to the lord. Urgeat advised me to wait until this storm clears and rent a room in The Black Hound. We were just about to part ways when the bells rang. One… two… three times. The few townspeople on the square buried their faces in their hands. Three meant Lord Raedric’s child was a Hollowborn. A body without a soul, just an empty husk of a person. I have once read about such thing in the university library, but I couldn’t recall any details as I thought it was just a theory at that time.

I thought it was better to get out of the magistrate’s sight as I accidentally mentioned to him I survived a biawac and I came to Gilded Vale at rather strange circumstances. No use stirring up emotions this time. So I turned around and headed for the largest building of the town, The Black Hound…”

To be continued…

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