Beg for Mercy [BG3 Story] - Chapter 5 - GenieInABottleBaby (2024)

Chapter Text

“Gods, how are we not there yet? My feet are killing me.” Astarion complained, lagging behind the group and dramatically placing a hand on his forehead, as if the weight of the world was upon him.

Already carrying most of their supplies with ease, Karlach looked back over her shoulder with a playful grin. “Want me to carry you?” she offered jokingly.

“Oh, darling, would you?” Astarion asked, the venom almost visibly dripping from his smirking mouth.

“Sure! If you promise to swap once I get tired.” Karlach laughed, unaware of Astarion’s sarcasm. Her broad shoulders flexing as she adjusted the weight of her pack.

“Astarion, can barely manage his pack. He would perish under your weight, Karlach.” Lae’zel interjected, her tone blunt as ever.

“It’s all muscle Lae’zel,” Karlach continued, flexing her biceps and posing humorously to further her point. Her muscles bulged impressively, causing Shadowheart’s eyes to widen as they fixed on Karlach’s arms, a blush creeping up her cheeks.

“No need to decide who’s carrying who anymore.” Mercy interrupted, mostly out of concern that Shadowheart’s eyes would pop out of her head if Karlach flexed for a moment longer. “Rivington’s just up ahead, and then it’s straight through Wyrm’s Crossing to Baldur’s Gate.” She stated, nodding towards the town just ahead.

After days on the road, their journey was finally close to its end - Baldur’s Gate was in eyesight. The party could easily continue to the city, reaching it before the sun set into the sea. Part of Mercy yearned to keep going, to push her companions to lug around their packs for just a bit further. But she understood that everyone - including herself - needed rest; and honestly, she could do with another night or two before the nostalgia of her childhood home was put to the test.

The sun was still high in the sky when the party finished unpacking their camp on the edge of Rivington. Eager for even a glimpse of civilization after ‘trekking through muck and bugs for what felt like eons’, Astarion dragged the group into the town. As expected, the moment they stepped foot into the town there were a million things to do. The first being a young redheaded girl that ran up to them.

“Uhm, hello. Can you help me?” The girl asked.

“Sure kid, what’s your name?” Karlach asked, squatting down to get to eye level with the girl.

“Yenna. I just- I just need help finding my mom.” Yenna said, her eyes glistening with the tears she was trying to hold back. “She was sick, and she went to find a doctor that could help her… that was a tenday ago.”

“We should alert the guards to help this child.” Lae’zel said, looking up from the girl to spot a nearby guard that could help.

“I highly doubt they’ll be able or willing to offer any help Lae’zel.” Mercy responded bitterly, lip curling up slightly in disgust at the thought of relying on the Flaming Fists.

“Yeah, guards blow like petards.” Yenna agreed, earning a sly smile from Mercy and an indignant look from Wyll.

“Well, we can’t just leave you here,” Gale said, already worried at the idea of leaving a little girl alone by the side of the road.

“Why not? Didn’t you hear? She’s survived an entire tenday on her own already. Seems the girl has at least some skills.” Astarion said nonchalantly.

“Okay Yenna, how about this,” Mercy began. “We’ll look around town to see if we can find your mom, and you stay at our camp so we know you’re safe. Sound like a deal?”

“Okay! Thank you, thank you!” Yenna exclaimed, surprising Mercy with a tight hug around her waist, and pulling away just as quickly. “Uhm, where is your camp?”

“Ah, don’t worry, Halsin will to escort you back, and you can meet our friends Jaheira and Arabella there as well,” Mercy replied with a smile, turning to look at the unsuspecting man.

“I would be happy to Yenna, these few minutes have already been enough city life for me for today.” Halsin replied smiling at Yenna, then looked up to the rest of his adventuring party. “I will see you all when you return.”

Halsin took Yenna’s hand and began showing her the path back to their camp as a bright orange cat followed close behind.

***************************************************************************************************************************************************

With Yenna safely escorted to camp, the rest of the party ventured further into Rivington. As they walked through the town, they noticed vibrant posters plastered on walls and poles, advertising a visiting circus.

“Oh my GODS! A circus! I haven't seen one in years. We have to check it out!" Karlach exclaimed, her eyes lighting up with childlike excitement.

“What is a seer-kus? This poster makes it seem as though it is some mad istik celebration.” Lae’zel asked, scowling at the bright paper.

“That’s… actually not too far off,” Mercy contended, a small smile tugging at her lips. She glanced at the colorful poster, depicting elementals, clowns, and exotic animals in vibrant hues. “It’s a traveling show with performers, animals, and all sorts of wonders. A bit chaotic, but they can be a lot of fun.”

Karlach was busy reading the fine print when she suddenly began jumping in place. “Guys! Dribbles the Clown is performing!”

“Ahaha wonderful, clowns, because this adventure hasn’t had enough horrors.” Astarion laughed, his tone dripping with sarcasm.

“We’ll make sure to go Karlach, don’t worry.” Mercy patted Karlach’s back assuringly.

The group continued their exploration, soon passing a temple, the banner displaying two bleeding hands indicting its dedication to the God Ilmater. The atmosphere outside the building was tense, whispers of a recent tragedy hanging in the air - the murder of a beloved priest, and a violent tiefling as the perpetrator. Mercy rolled her eyes, but kept moving. A few townsfolk shot distrustful glances at her, Karlach and Wyll. Suspicious eyes glared at their ‘hellish’ features, following their every move as hushed conversations came in and out of earshot.

“Devil blood”

“Hellspawn”

“Go back”

Teach them what biased hate earns them in return, the vengeful voice spoke in Mercy’s mind, clouding her thoughts momentarily with a rage-filled fog.

Mercy felt a pang of anger twist in her heart, but held her head high and matched the gaze of anyone brave enough to look her in the eye, determined not to let their simple prejudices affect her.

As they left the stone building behind them, the sound of a shouting newsboy caught their attention. “Extra, extra! Duke Stelmane found murdered! Read all about it!” the boy yelled, waving a freshly printed Baldur’s Mouth Gazette.

Wyll had been too engaged in an upbeat conversation regarding proper astrolabe care with Gale and Astarion to give much notice to the dirty looks shot his way, but the news of Duke Stelmane’s murder seemed to catch him off guard, immediately souring his mood. His face fell, and Wyll’s usual confident demeanor was replaced by a look of sorrow. “Duke Stelmane... She was a good leader,” he said quietly.

“A friend of yours?” Gale asked, wrapping his arm around Wyll’s shoulder in a comforting gesture.

“Not really, she worked with my father and I saw her at a few social gatherings. But she a good leader of the city all the same,” Wyll responded, his gaze distant as he recalled memories of those formal events.

Astarion kept quiet, his sharp eyes narrowing as he closely observed the physical contact between the two men. His expression was inscrutable, but a flicker of something akin to jealousy passed through his gaze before he moved to join Shadowheart,

Continuing down the main road, the group arrived near what looked to be a checkpoint, blocking their entry to Wyrm’s Crossing with multiple guards and giant steel automatons.

“What in the hells are those things?” Mercy leaned back whispering to her friends to ensure her voice wouldn’t carry to the guards.

“I can’t say exactly, but they remind me slightly of those metallic creatures we found in the Underdark.” Gale replied, tilting his head slightly and bringing a hand to his chin as he scrutinized the automatons.

“Yes… at that abandoned wizard’s tower right? Though those were minuscule in comparison to these.” Shadowheart added, her eyes darting between the guards and the constructs, assessing the situation.

“They sound familiar too.” Karlach said, an uncharacteristically serious tone and look taking over her features. “I can’t quite place it… but I’ve heard them before, I’m sure.” Her usual exuberance faded, replaced by a furrowed brow and a distant look in her eyes.

Shadowheart glanced at Karlach, concern etched across her face. “Karlach, they haven’t said anything,” she said softly, her voice tinged with worry as she reached out to gently touch Karlach’s arm.

Karlach shook her head, her eyes still fixed on the towering automatons. “It’s not about voices… it’s, the sound of their movements, the way they clank and whir. It’s bringing back memories… bad ones,” she explained, her voice barely above a whisper.

“Well whatever they are, they don’t look friendly. I say we find another way in.” Astarion interjected, his voice low and cautious.

“I grow tired of hiding. If we must fight to enter the city, then let us fight.” Lae’zel said, reaching over her shoulder to unsheathe her greatsword in a move that drew far too much attention to the group.

Lae’zel!” Mercy whisper-yelled as she pushed the fighter down a side road and behind an abandoned cart.

“What do you think you are doing k’chakhi. Unhand me.” Lae’zel swore as she shoved Mercy away, the noise of their armor clinking against each other as the two wrestled slightly.

“Use your brain mragreshem.” Mercy spat out in a stern whisper. “Those barracks can hold at least a dozen or so guards each, plus the four outside now, and gods knows what those metallic things are capable of. Yes, we may survive, but look around,” Mercy swung her arm to gesture at all the unsuspecting people milling about in the streets. “Barely any of them would get away before becoming collateral damage.”

Lae’zel observed the citizens, some with barely enough clothes to survive the oncoming chill of night. A single wayward arrow or misplaced swing of a sword would fell them like ghaik to a Githyanki’s silver blade.

“Fine, she’lak,” Lae’zel responded. “Due to your planet’s refusal to train all inhabitants, we will continue to sneak.”

“Thank you,” Mercy said, feeling the tension leave her body slightly. “Now Astarion, I’m sure yo-”

“Are you all talking about the gate being closed?” A well-dressed tiefling asked, her smiling head popping over the cart. “Care to make an official comment for the Baldur’s Mouth?”

Fourteen eyes suddenly trained on the young woman as the group examined the person that had interrupted their private argument.

Nervously filling the silence, the journalist continued. “I-I’m writing an article about the Steel Watch.”

“The Steel Watch, is that what those hulking metal constructs are?” Gale asked, eager to learn more about the dangerous machines.

“The very same,” the journalist continued. “They’re all part of Lord Gortash’s new push for increased security throughout Baldur’s Gate. But I think th-”

“I’m sorry, did you just say Lord Gortash?” Karlach interrupted, her chest heaving as her breaths stoked the growing fire of her engine.

“Well I suppose it’ll be Archduke Gortash soon, gods… I better make a note of that in case this gets published” the journalist spoke mainly to herself as she hurriedly scribbled in her notepad, her pen scratching across the paper.

Seeing how the correction to Gortash’s title only increased the glow emitting from Karlach’s chest, Shadowheart sprung into action. “Alright, we need to get Karlach somewhere she can cool off,” she said, grabbing one of the barbarian’s heavy arms and began trying to pull her to a more secluded area.

“Sounds like a good idea.” Mercy agreed as she held Karlach’s other arm and began leading them down a steep hill to a secluded stretch of beach.

“Now, all of that will have to remain off the record darling, I do hope you understand.” Astarion crooned, his voice a silken purr as he hung back to look the journalist up and down seductively as he played with a loose strand of her hair.

A blush reddened the journalist’s cheeks as she smiled nervously at the ground, almost shrinking under Astarion’s piercing gaze. “Oh, y-yes of course. Discretion is key in this line of work.” She responded, a girlish giggle escaping her lips.

Wonderful.” Astarion concluded with a charming smile, releasing the strand of hair and turning to catch up with the group.

“You seem to have a silvered tongue, Astarion.” Wyll commented as he felt Astarion’s presence return to his side. His tone was half-amused, half-admiring.

“Jealous Wyll? I’d be happy to use my tongue on you some time.” Astarion smirked, his eyes twinkling with a promise of mischief.

“Ah, I didn’t- I mean that’s- well-” Wyll stumbled over his words, his cheeks growing warm as he tried to process Astarion’s flirtatious comment. He scratched the back of his head awkwardly, avoiding Astarion’s amused gaze.

Though he had just made the journalist do the same, something felt different as Astarion watched his playful words reduce the Blade of Frontiers to an embarrassed schoolboy. However, not interested in the introspection those feelings required, Astarion chose to end the Warlock’s blabbering instead.

“Don’t worry Wyll, I know you’re saving yourself for some damsel in distress. I’ll be sure to call out if I see any overgrown towers with a dragon to slay.” The words came out more bitter than Astarion intended, but he paid no mind to Wyll’s frown, choosing to snake through the group to walk the rest of the downhill journey in silence with Lae’zel.

***************************************************************************************************************************************************

A mindless walk along the water seemed to help Karlach calm down slightly, but her temper still flared occasionally as she continued ranting.

“I just can’t believe it - Gortash?! A Lord?!” Karlach yelled. “And what was she saying about him soon being Archduke?!”

“I was interested in that as well, it’s been a long time since I’ve been home, but I don’t remember the Parliament ever having that position,” Mercy replied. “Wyll? Any idea?”

“Well with my father under their control, I’m sure Gortash plans to use Duke Ravengard’s influence over the city to pass all power over to himself.” Wyll said sullenly.

“Gods what an absolute arsehole! How is that fair?!” Karlach shouted at no one in particular - maybe just the uncaring universe as she kicked an empty crab net into the distance. It broke against the hull of a broken ship a few yards ahead, drawing the party’s attention to the wreckage.

“What a beautiful ship, or what’s left of it at least.” Gale exclaimed, hurrying over to inspect the intricate carved designs into the wooden panels. His eyes sparkled with excitement as he traced the delicate designs with his fingers. “Come on Karlach, nothing helps soothe my emotions better than studying a gorgeous bit of history.”

“History? It’s half a boat Gale, waterlogged wood and soggy moss are all you’ll find there.” Astarion chided as he leaned against a large rock.

“It seems the travel has been to hard on the wizard’s mind. We should end his suffering before it is too extreme.” Lae’zel commented, her voice serious but her eyes glinting with a hint of dark humor.

“Oh yes please,” Astarion said giddily, clapping his hands together.

Mercy chuckled softly, shaking her head. “Let’s not start mercy killings just yet. Gale’s right, though. A bit of history might be just what we need to distract ourselves. Besides, who knows what we might find?”

Karlach nodded, “I did always like to play pirates growing up,” she relented, the anger in her finally fading fully. “Come on guys, let’s check it out!” The immediate shift back to her joyful self was a welcomed change, as Karlach threw Shadowheart over her shoulder and grabbed Mercy’s hand, running to join Gale at the ship.

Gently dropping Shadowheart back on her feet, Karlach turned to listen to Gale begin a lecture on the details of the ship, starting with the type of wood mainly used for their builds. Mercy noticed Shadowheart’s pupils blown wide as the cleric caught her breath, facing the sandy shore in an attempt to hide her flushed face.

“Enjoy the ride Shadowheart?” Mercy asked playfully as she nudged the suddenly shy half-elf.

“I’m sure I don’t know what you mean, Mercy. Now shoo, I’m trying to listen to Gale’s very informative talk and you’re distracting me.” Shadowheart responded, her distant tone betrayed by the friendly smile across her face.

Mercy laughed and began climbing the outer part of the ship’s hull to sit on the bow, temporarily replacing the figurehead that once hung there. The rest of the party arrived, inspecting the wreck as Gale continued his impromptu lesson, excitedly answering any questions thrown his way - mainly from Karlach regarding how good of a pirate she’d make and Lae’zel on the uselessness of floating on water when flying above it offered much safer travel.

“Now the serpents carved into the bottom-most panels are a mystery to me, possibly an artistic choice? Though I’ll have to do more research on them.” Gale said, concluding his talk.

“They’re eels,” Mercy added, her eyes trained on the open water of the Sea of Swords. “Symbols of the goddess Umberlee, the Bitch Queen of the Seas.”

“Bitch Queen?” Astarion asked from his sunny spot on the sand. “Now that sounds like a god I can get behind.”

“Carving them in the bottom of a ship was meant to signify to the underwater goddess that this ship was one to be protected while crossing the open waters.” Mercy continued, running her hands absentmindedly over the water-worn ship.

“Fat lot of good it did the poor bastards eh sis?.” Karlach joked, making Mercy chuckle. “Makes you wonder what that ship has carved below.” She added, nodding her head in the direction of a ship that had silently arrived nearby, and was now disappearing behind a large rock.

“That ship looks familiar…” Wyll trailed off, squinting his eyes while watching the the rest of the ship disappear. “Wasn’t that the one we saw docked at Moonrise Towers?”

“If it is, then whatever it’s transporting is meant to help Orin and Gortash in their plan.” Shadowheart said cooly.

“Well, seems like Umberlee has given us a chance to potentially weaken our opponents. I say we don’t let her generous gift go unused.” Mercy suggested, trying to ignore the excitement she felt at the possibility that a fight might be imminent.

“Finally,” Lae’zel said, not waiting for the others as she began stalking towards the ships last known location.

The other party members looked around at each other for confirmation and quickly followed Lae’zel further up the shore.

The subsequent fight was over quickly, the agents of this ‘Stone Lord’ didn’t offer much of a challenge for the party, especially as they were aided by another group.

Mercy immediately recognized the coloring of their uniforms - guild members. From then on, Mercy tried to remain relatively unseen durning the combat, but stealth was never her strong suit — that was more Astarion’s domain. A particularly strong thunderous smite against the Dragonborn that had hit Karlach a few too many times for Mercy’s liking, drew the attention of the Guild party. Once the fight was over, the leader of the troupe approached Mercy’s group.

“You have the thanks of the Guild, these patsies of the Stone Lord have been trying to muscle in on our territory for a while now. Good to show them who’s boss.” the Halfling woman said. “And you,” she continued, turning to look Mercy in the eyes. “Nine-fingers will want to see you once you cross into the city. Best not to keep her waiting, you know how impatient she gets.”

Mercy - not wanting to say anything in the moment - simply nodded curtly, as the guild members began unloading the items from the ship.

“Uhm, shouldn’t we stop them from taking these items?” Gale asked, eyes darting between the ship and the party.

“Let them have it, the crates at Moonrise were useless anyway, doubtful they changed while sailing down the Chionthar.” Mercy responded, after waiting until the Guild leader was out of earshot.

“Yeah, I’m not really in the mood for another fight just yet.” Karlach agreed, wincing at Shadowheart applying a balm to a burn on her upper arm. Shadowheart quickly apologized for the discomfort to which Karlach gave a reassuring smile, “No worries Shadowheart, I know you’re only doing it to take care of me.” Karlach joked, not knowing her smile was making it harder for Shadowheart’s to concentrate.

“But… aren’t the Guild criminals as well?” Gale questioned again.

“They are,” Wyll answered, “which begs the question: what does the leader of the Guild want with you Mercy?” He asked in turn, looking at Mercy quizzically.

“It’s a long story, one I don’t feel like getting into right at this moment.” Mercy said shortly, hoping to shut down any follow-up questions at least for the time being. “Now, we still need to find a way to get to Wyrm’s Crossing, so how about we focus on that.”

“Oh that? Not a problem darling,” Astarion assured confidently. “I used to sneak between Rivington and Baldur’s Gate all the time. The neighborhood was nice… quieter than inside the walls - darker too.”

“Seems it would be a good hunting ground, then?” Lae’zel commented, confident in her assumption after weeks on the road with the talkative vampire.

“Exactly - slimmer pickings, but safer targets. The perfect place to learn the craft.” Astarion smiled, purposely showing off his fangs. “Either way, I got quite good at getting back into the city without being seen. Theres a porch just a way back. From there, it’s a hop, skip and a jump to Wyrm’s Crossing - literally.”

“Sounds fun! Lead the way Astarion!” Karlach said, patting a bandaged hand against the rogue’s back.

“Careful,” Astarion said sharply, “I’m the only one allowed to get blood on my clothes. Now, follow me and don’t get caught.”

Beg for Mercy [BG3 Story] - Chapter 5 - GenieInABottleBaby (2024)
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