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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Pillars of Eternity: Eposide 1 – A roleplayer’s walkthrough

Last weekend I gave a second chance to Pillars of Eternity, which was annonced as a spiritual successor to the Baldur’s Gate Saga, my all-time favourite. On the first try I wasn’t really engaged, I didn’t really find the atmosphere which I was looking for, there were many minor things which just made me rather install Baldur’s Gate and play that one again instead. Now that I ran out of games I wanted to play in my free time I decided to try PoE once again. After several hours of playing I can say that this time I got hooked and hope to go on and finish the game in the upcoming weeks, being a casual PC gamer and having not that much time. So it will definitely take weeks. Months, maybe.

So, just for fun, I decided to write my first walkthrough ever. It won’t be an all-around, thorough guide however, I won’t be going into metagame and character builds. I will try and write a walkthrough from my character’s point of view, like a story being told by him. He is a human Wizard with the Aristocrat background, called Frengard. I will be probably leaving some things out, writing the posts from memory, also probably having made some far from ideal choices in the game. So this will be only a casual roleplayer’s try at his first walkthrough of a PC game. But before beginning, I should definitely say: SPOILERS AHEAD! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

“I guess I had been looking for an opportunity like this for a while now. To escape my family, leave behind this hornet’s nest for good. It took me only an hour to pack my bag, say a cold goodbye to my parents and siblings and join the caravan to Gilded Vale as a settler. I knew nothing about farming or braving the wilderness before, but I could still learn those I thought. Everything was better than staying.

I quickly reconsidered this thought on the way. A sudden sickness struck me and I felt like my intestines were burning, cold sweat covering my forehead. I had to ask the caravan master to make a stop so I could compose myself a little. He suggested I looked for Springberries and drink them as tea. He even ordered one of the caravan guards, Calisca to help me find them. It didn’t take too long, all we had to do now is to look for Sparfel, he should have come back by now. We found the waterskin, but the man was nowhere to be seen. We heard a rustling sound from the bushes and we saw Sparfel stumbling forward, then falling over, an arrow sticking out from his back. ‘Ambush!’ – Calisca cried out, axe already in hand. She engaged one of the ruffians in melee that left me with the archer to deal with. I froze for a brief moment as we locked eyes. It was the first time I had to defend myself by killing someone. I instinctively swung my wand at him the same moment he raised his bow. The bright burst of magic energy lit the clearing, and after my vision cleared I saw my attacker on his back, his leather jerking still smoldering. I felt a hand on my shoulder. ‘We should head back to camp’ – Calisca said.

We encountered more bandits, they looked more like tribesmen, their face paint indicated the Glanfathan. We arrived to a massacre, the people I travelled with lying dead around the campfire. Their leader was just about to murder the last of them, the merchant, Heodan. I did my best to buy some time with talking and managed to contradict the chief in his faith just enough for Heodan to deliver a sucker punch and break free. Calisca and Heodan fought the tribesmen with weapons, and I felt I needed to contribute as well, so pushed my thumbs together, fingers spread apart like fans and recited the magical formula of the Fan of Flames. The fire engulfed our enemies, and the smell of burnt flesh and fur filled the air.

As we were standing above the corpses of our foes I felt the wind beginning to stir. It was an eerie, strange breeze at first, but shortly stronger gusts followed. We ran for the nearby ruins to find shelter against this storm which people called a ‘biawac’. As we were making our way towards the enterance Heodan was attacked by one of the injured Glanfathan feigning death. I didn’t hesitate and knocked him back with an energy blast, granting the merchant the opportunity to break away. Just as we got inside the safety of the ruins the enterance collapsed behind us.

We stood there for a minute in shocked silence, it was Calisca who broke the trance, nudging us to move on. Although we were all winded, we pushed on, determined to find an exit. We found some leftover supplies and we stumbled upon a starved and sick xaurip. I took pity on the little fellow and gave him some skuldr meat, he was happily munching on it for minutes. There was an old carving in the wall covered in black ooze, and as I restored its sight by placing the gem I found in the empty eye socket a secret room opened. After defeating the black ooze guarding it, we found a magical cloak inside, which would prove valuable in the coming battles. In the eastern corridor Calisca pushed hard on the crumbling wall until it gave way and after killing some skuldr we finally saw natural light coming from an archway. The spiders living in the last room couldn’t stop us from escaping this sorry place, and we left the ruins behind us, relatively intact.

I wished we never did though, after what I saw upon looking around and noticing an old monument just a couple dozen yards in front of us…”

To be continued…