I've just finished the OC for the first time, with a roleplayed Paladin of Tyr.
I spent Chapter One looking up to Aribeth and Fenthick, distrusting Desther, and was right to do so. I watched helplessly when Fenthick, feeling deep guilt for his only failure of being too trusting, surrendered without a word to defend himself and got hanged as a traitor.
I spent Chapter Two worried about Aribeth, asking her questions between missions, trying to comfort her, listening to her story how she became a paladin: Saved by Tyr himself when she was dying in a blizzard during a vengeful killing spree, learning then to follow the path of true justice instead of revenge.
Then, she told me about her dark dreams, Fenthick's ghost, her growing doubts in her faith and finally seeing Tyr turning his back on her in a dream.
Then, worries in Chapter Three when she disappeared, but Aarin insisted that I had to continue my mission. Later, the utter shock in the Host Tower, learning that she had changed sides, and then having to watch her abjure her allegiance to Tyr and become a Blackguard of Morag, leading the Luskan army against Neverwinter.
Then, I met Lord Nasher, who admitted having sacrificed an innocent Fenthick to satisfy a bloodthirsty crowd, recognizing that his actions might have driven Aribeth into her decision, regretting his judgement.
Haedraline (I'm sure I've got the name wrong) told us that Morag had been influencing Aribeth's dreams, feeding her anger and thirst for revenge.
When I had to fight Aribeth, I accepted her surrender, learned her story (I've shared the dialogue in the NWN Minimal Reload thread, if anyone is interested and has never seen the peaceful outcome) and convinced her that she could still make amends to some extent. She agreed to surrender to Lord Nasher and to give him information about the Luskans, to save people, even if it meant her execution.
Before entering the Source Stone, I talked to Nasher again, suggesting that he could atone for his mistake with Fenthick by showing mercy to Aribeth. He seemed to be ready to give it a thought, at least. Then I talked to Aribeth again in her cell. She had made peace with her fate, even if she might be executed, and seemed grateful for the chance she had to make amends.
Well, and then, not a single word in the epilogue about her fate! I'll never know if Nasher had her executed or not.
My conclusion, my thoughts, especially for a paladin?
First of all, vengeance is not the same as justice. If the failure of one representative of the system makes you question your whole faith, how strong was your faith to begin with?
But Morag influenced her dreams. How much responsibility did Aribeth have for her actions, if she truly thought that the god who had been the center of her life was no longer supporting her?
Where was Tyr? I mean, it's not real life, it's a world where gods are real and intervene all the time. How much is a god of justice worth if he just watches, in a time of crisis where an old race raises to enslave the whole world, while his people are in danger and one of his most loyal servants is executed, guilty only of trusting the wrong man, driving his other most loyal servant into despair?
Where was Tyr when Morag was haunting Aribeth's dreams? Didn't she deserve a fair chance? She had already fallen into vengeful bloodthirst once in her life, before becoming a paladin, and Tyr had saved her.
Did he really lose his trust in his servant, that he didn't protect her, giving her a second chance?
Or maybe that had already been her second chance? She would have died in that blizzard, had Tyr not saved her. Died from the consequences of blind, angry revenge after losing her loved ones. She got saved, got her second chance, to learn and make different decisions in the future. Even with ancient evil infiltrating her mind, and a weak government killing her loved one, she still had her free will, and should have learned from the past. And yet, she fell into her old pattern of anger and vengeance. Does that mean she lost her chance and deserved to die? Does that mean her attempt to make amends doesn't count?
And Nasher: Would he really make the same mistake twice?
I'd like to hear some thoughts, if anyone feels like sharing them. And yes, I know, it's just a story in a game, but I think it's an important lesson and can be seen from a philosophical perspective, considering revenge, justice, mercy, redemption, free will...
(I'm writing on a phone screen during a break at work, so I can't preview or save draft. I apologize in advance for typos or lack of structure)