I went back to a later save and saved over my corrupt slot. Sorry.
Just FYI, I checked and double-checked the install and the patch install, making sure it was the right folder and reapplied the patch by replacing the files, not renaming them and even uninstalled and reintalled the game half a dozen times. I even went and downloaded a trial version to see if it was just my .exe--same issue so I think my save was just corrupt somehow. I went back to an earlier save and had no problems getting past that point.
And I did try saving from other locations and returning, I tried engaging monsters and seeing how it would affect the change, anything I could think of.