The Let's Play Archive

Exile 2: Crystal Souls

by berryjon

Part 19: Avit and Olgai

Update 016 – Avit and Olgai

“There. A ssscity.”

“Art, Dahling?”


“I know you, being the leader of this little troupe, would be our important figure, but I have a request of you.”



“I have a bit more... experience in negotiations. Allow me to speak first.”


“Diplomacy isn't my strong suit, but I think it's because you're... well...”

“You are not subtle, Art, dahling. I am.”

“You want me to hand over sensitive diplomatic relations to you?”

“Yes! I'm glad you see it my way.”

“I underssstand. By having Marianna ssspeak, with Art as known leader, ssshe can project power and control.”

“But would it not be better for Art-Tsss to speak?”

“Leaderssship includesss the power to command. By appearing to command Marianna to ssspeak, Art appearsss more in control.”

“Actually, that raises a different question.”

“Which one, Farmboy?”

“Do we have the legal or diplomatic ability to negotiate on behalf of Exile?”

“He has a point. We can say all we want, but if the government doesn't respect our decision, it will all be a waste of time.”

“Oh, don't worry about that. Nice thing about being me. I can talk to General Karmas and get him to support my actions, especially if they provide demonstrable benefit to the nation. Micah will fall into line.”

“That's very confident of you, but I will still tread carefully where diplomacy is concerned.”

“Yess. And Art doesn't speak for the Slithzerikai or the Nephilim either, so that could be a problem.”

“Not az much az one might think. The Vahanatai have stated their issue is with the Humanssss, not other ssspecies.”

“Then what will our presence say?”

“I do not know. Marianna?”

“I can truthfully say that we represent a multi-species organization. At the best it will allow us to project more power than one species could. At worst, they expand their hatred to all three.”

“You can also point out the existence of the Empire.”

“Honestly, I suspect the Empire is the source of our troubles anyways.”

“It would make sssensse.”

“Well, I have a plan now. With your permission?”


Ooops! Entering the town on the diagonal caused me to come in through the 'west' entrance. I want the 'North' one. Let me just step back out of town and come back to this part of the city later.

Ummmmm..... GLITCH! No, I have no idea what happened here. Going west should have taken me onto the bridge, not out onto the water like this. Thankfully, I can still move onto dry land from here. Just swing around to the North, and...

“Thissss place is sstill being built.”

“Yes. Weren't we told that 'Avit' was being built for our arrival?”

“Looks more like a small village to me.”

“At least they're writing in Common now.”

“Always a good sign. Everyone stick together.”

“First building is over here, it should be important.”

“Important enough. Everyone on your best behaviour. Marianna, work your magic.”


An exceptionally tall Vahnatai with a thin gold headband sits at the head of the table. “Greetings.” The Vahnatai nods, and motions for you to sit with her. "I am Tekora-Tel, leader of this village. I bid you welcome, humans." She speaks in careful, only slightly flawed English.

“I am Marianna, Speaker. As I understand the names of the Vahnatai, 'Tel' is a title. What does it mean?”

"I am a Tel, a ..." She thinks. "A mayor, you would call it. We have worked and built and learned hard, in the preparation for your arrival."

“It is my hope that our arrival will mean your duties are now easier to perform.”

“They are, and they are not. We feared you would not, or could not make the journey. But it fills us with great joy to see you here. There may be hope yet. You should now be speaking with Bon-Ihrno, who lives near. He will tell you stories of what has been happening."

"As for me..." She indicates the papers before her. "I must be back to my planning construction."

“More planning? Do you expect more Humans to come here?”

“That is up to you. Now go. I am not the one you should talk to.”

“Thank you for your time.”

“I could have done that.”

“Yes, as she wasn't a diplomat. Now, that person on the small island there. Let us talk to him. Her.”


You approach an ancient Vahnatai, who stands under an unusually tall cavewood tree. He stands with eyes closed, swaying slightly. When you approach, however, he stops and turns to you. You recognize him as the Vahnatai you saw in Formello.

He moves up to you. The amazing density of wrinkles in his gray skins betrays him and ancient, but he is quite quick and nimble.
"I am Bon-Ihrno, and I gratefully welcome you. Welcome to the land of the Vahnatai."

“We are honoured, Venerable one. We have come as you requested.”

“Thank you for coming, Humans. And Slithzerikai. We have not seen your kind since our Awakening. I am glad to see you have survived the passing of time. And you, I have not seen your like before.”

“I am Kai-Lyss, this is Aarth-Tsss. Your actions against the Humans have interfered with our people as well, so we too are here to represent our interests.”

“Dmurr. My people are called the Nephilim, or Nephar. Same.”

“Such foolishness. Our Ponders were right to counsel patience. Although my words have no weight, I apologize on behalf of the Olgai-Vahanatai for the offence made upon your peoples. There is so much work to be done.” His Common is far better than any other Vahnatai you've heard so far.

“Yes, yes. Your job must be quite a duty.”

He smiles and shakes his head. "Oh, so much work. Learning your tongue, learning of your people, struggling for peace. It is all so hard, after the theft."

“Much has been said of this theft. We know nothing of this.”

"When we ended the resting, we rebuilt the home of the souls of our greatest Bok's. Not long after, three were stolen, the guards slain by human weapons!" He quivers with anger. "This taught us of humans, and it was then the Council called for your doom."

"It is because of this that I had you come here. You must go to the Council to be scried."

“How do you know it was humans who did this?”

"I believe there may be many types of humans, with many beliefs, and using our magics to destroy all of you is, for now, wrong. If we could get the Council of Three to question you, then the truth could be known, and we could act with wisdom."

"Their magics are awesome. If your people are not to die, you must prepare. We have gifts for you."

“These charges are quite serious. We will do all we can to prove our innocence. Who is this council that holds us in judgement?”

"The Council, rulers of our tribe, sits in Olgai. We have found a way to get them to see you. Go speak with Iglit about it. We also can make you a guest of the Vahnatai, enabling you to travel our lands safely. It also enables you to speak our tongue."

"For this gift, you must perform the Ritual of Welcoming. Go to the Chamber of Meditations to do so."

“What does this ritual entail?”

"A very simple, highly magical ritual we have modified you you can take part in it. It will mark you so that you can travel in our lands free from attack."

“For that, we are grateful. We were attacked by factions of Vahanatai on our journey here.”

“That is most distressing, but not unexpected. There are those who have let their anger cloud our judgement, and we are too few here to properly guard the way to your path. I am sorry. Now go. Enact our ritual, and see the Council. Prove your innocence that no further blood may be shed.”

Peace is our hope as well.”

"Some say peace is impossible, since humans took our leader's souls and killed their guards, but I want peace with the humans not responsible. Just because some of you may be evil doesn't mean you all are. Alas, to some this is a radical, foolish view."

“This is not good at all.”

“I agree. As for you two!”


“That was stupid and ill advised! We're lucky that things didn't get worse for us!”

“But now we know more about why those Barriers were erected.”

“For the theft of the 'Bok', which is a name for those Crystals we've talked too.”

“They said human weapons did it.”

“Art, is there any chance that Exile did this?”

“There's always a chance. We're loosing against the Empire, so there's the possibility that someone took a gamble to gain some advantage. I don't know.”

“I say the Empire did it. Exile doesn't need more enemies.”

“I am in agreement.”

“As am I. It would be just like them to do something and deal with the consequences later.”

“We are here.”


On the floor before you, a Vahnatai male sits cross-legged on a prayer mat. His position and long, spindly legs give him the appearance of some strange, gray-skinned insect. He opens his eyes, revealing the usual, unsettling pure white eyes. He continues to look at the pools. "I am Sera."

“Marianna, Speaker. What duties do you attend to?”

"I am a Ponder. And I wait." As he speaks, his eyes continue to face perfectly forward. His mouth barely moves. The rest of him is perfectly still. It is very eerie.

“Forgive me, but what is a Ponder?”

"I am blessed to be a Ponder. I, and my mate Iglit. A Ponder does thinking and watching, and guides the people without bias. "

“Ah, I think I understand. I hope you have not waited long?”

"For you? No. I wait here, and keep the pools prepared for you. There is a Vahnatai ritual that we have made able for you to be performing. It is our Ritual of Welcoming, which we use to mark those from other tribes as being our guests."

"I can teach you how to do this ritual, so others may see that you are welcomed in our land."

"The ritual is skimming your fingers in a caress across all the waters, going from darkest hue to lightest, as you are now going from the dark of being outside us to the light of our acceptance." He nods to the pools, as if motioning you over to them.

“Thank you for your guidance.”

“I sense some magics, but nothing harmful.”

“Even I felt that.”

“{Do you understand me now, visitors and guests to the land of the Olgai-Vahnatai?}”


“{Then the ritual is done. You will not be attacked by our patrols, and you will be able to speak freely with any Vahnatai you meet. You may reset in the building to the south if you need time to recover.}”

“{Thank you.}”

Language, Language, Language. I decided long ago that <Slithzerikai> would be put into those brackets, while {Vahnatai} uses the curly brace. Only now do I regret this decision, as there is a lot of talking coming in the future. So, for my sanity, I will ask that you presume that discussions with Vahnatai occur in {Novah}, even if the brackets are not used. I will use {these braces} when the use of the language of the Vahnatai is out of place.



“That wasss dissturbing.”

“What happened?”

“<The ritual of Welcoming was meant to mark us as guests in these lands. But they added in a translation spell in the process.>

“{Is that bad?}”

“I doubt it. It's just the shock of it. Let me check everyone. Kai-Lyss, you first.”


“We're good. The sensations will pass, so let us rest here for now.”

“We're good to go now, all of us.”

A Vahnatai woman paces the half-done streets of this city, seemingly lost in thought. She wears the long, billowing, slightly fluorescent wrap typical of the Vahnatai. When you approach, she stops concentrating and turns to you.

“Greetings. By your dress, are you a Ponder?”

She nods. "I am Iglit, a Ponder of the Vahnatai people."

“Thank you for your wisdom, Ponder. We were told to speak with you after conducting the Ritual.”

"That is good. Right now, I am pondering the problem of the humans."

“How may we help in resolving this problem?”

“Let me explain some of the situation first, to help make things clear. Our Vahnatai Council has started to attack you humans, by putting up magic barriers. We feel this attack is hasty and may be at the wrong humans, so we want to bring you before the council for questioning. You are the first humans we have brought here."

"Right now, they unwisely refuse to see you, saying you are not of us. But I thought of a trick."

“To seek to punish without giving the accused a chance to defend themselves is unwise on our lands. That you need a trick to allow us this chance speaks highly of your desire to see peace.”

"A full member of our tribe may always see the council. A not-member of the tribe may become a full member by going through the tests. We have argued that nothing in the laws say a not-member has to be Vahnatai, so you may join us by being tested. It is clever, and tricky. But if you pass through the tests, you may see the council, and they may see sanity."

“Are these tests arduous, or complicated?”

"There are three tests. They are used to earn position in our tribe, and to redeem those who we find to be crimes." She pauses, not sure if she used the right word. "Go ask Forla-Te about the tests. She will help you."

Three guesses what I forget to do, and the first two don't count. I'll take care of it next update.

"She is not happy about the bringing of humans here, but, unlike some, she sees the wisdom of the Ponders."

“Is Ponder a proper noun, or does it have some deeper meaning?”

"It is a rough translation of our word for it to your language. A Ponder is a person who watches and advises. The advice need not be taken, but very often should be."

“Ah, we have a similar word. Sage.”

“Sage. I see. Thank you.”

“Art, I think you should do the talking here.”


A Vahnatai warrior sits here, absorbing the heat from the fire. As you approach, she looks at your weapons with great interest. She stands and says "Welcome to our circle. I am Azik." Having introduced herself, she sits again.

“I am Art. Thank you for your invitation. What, may I ask, are your duties here?”

"We're here to defend Avit, with blade and disk."

She pulls out the Alien Blade. “I have seen them, your blade and your disk.”

“Our weapons are so different from yours. I would like to learn to use one of your swords one day, even though they are so inelegant." She stops when she sees the weapon in Art's lap. “Where did you get that?”

“I found it }years{ ago... I suppose there is no word in Vahnatai for that. Um.... I do not know how to tell you how long ago. I can say that it was found on the body of a warrior who was trapped between two layers of barriers, far, far to the west, in the caverns I call home.”

“I know of these blades. They were made by the greatest of our crafts-smiths before we slept. Our weaponsmiths curve the blades to show their skill - the finer the curves, the greater the smith. Sometimes I'm not sure it is wise - a fine wave blade takes long to make. Yours... yours is old, older than some of our Boks. There will be those who would deny it to you, but I see that it has become natural in your hand."

“I did not know of the Vahnatai when I claimed the blade for battle. It has seen me through many battles, against the greatest of my foes. I will not give it up readily.”

“Nor should you, human-Art. I am curious though. Why the other blade at your side?”

“I am ambidextrous. I trained to use two blades at once.”

“I would be interested, Art, in learning that skill. We train to use Blade and Disk in each hand. Some favour one or the other. Two Blades though?”

A Vahnatai warrior sits warming herself at the fire. She often turns to look for creatures approaching the town.

“Hello, I'm Chester.”

"I am called Stal. In your tongue, it means 'swift'."

“I'm not sure I know what my name means.”

“It comes from a proto-Imperial word meaning 'Fortified'.”

“Interesting. I'm one of the too few guards for Avit. We have to keep a constant watch for attackers."

Attackers? You have enemies down here?”

“Not enemies. The hydras and chitrachs haven't yet learned that we are reclaiming our home. Just a few of them can do great damage, if we don't prevent them."

“Chitrach? Those are those insects that spit web, right?”

“Yes. You have encountered them, I see.”

“Hey there!”

A Vahnatai sits by the fire, carefully and quietly running a stone around the edge of a razordisk. He doesn't look up at you. "I am Keripa, human."

“Nephilim actually. We have way more hair than Humans.”

He holds the razordisk out for a moment, then goes back to sharpening it.

“Not big into archery, I see. They have a lot more range than one of those.”

"I have thrown these since I could stand. I can take the tip off a stalagmite at the limits of sight. The Gods help you humans if you are guilty of the theft."

“Nephil, not Human.”


A Vahnatai warrior, wave blade at the ready, sits staring into the fire. His head is cocked, as if he's listening to something far away. He whispers, so that you can barely hear, "Aif."

“What are you doing?”

"Quiet. I'm searching."


"We take turns listening. More useful than sight. Don't talk to me, human."

Alright, this has stopped being funny. The game clearly allows for non-human party members, but every last interaction assumes that the entire party is H. Sap. Sapiens. I keep having to check the dialogue for these instances and editing them to reflect the party structure.

“Home of some sort. No need to poke around.”

“Well, we've met the local garrison.”

This female Vahnatai is formidably armed. Wickedly pointed razordisks are strapped across her chest, and a heavy, two-handed waveblade is strapped across her back. And, very unfortunately, she isn't at all happy to see you.

“Greetings. I am Marianna, Speaker.”

She watches you carefully, almost seeming to hope for an excuse to rip you apart. "I am Forla-Te, commander of Avit."

“Thank you for your work.”

The pale gray of her face darkens slightly. "I am supposed to be helping to you." Her English is slow and awkward. "I am must being acting like you weren't stealing."

“{We have undergone the Ritual, you need not speak our language.}”

“I use human language for reasons.”

“... Anyways, why do you think we were the ones who did this crime? We did not steal from you.”

She smiles grimly. "I said not things about humans stealing." Her voice suddenly turns bitter. "To say humans stealing is interfere with peace. That would be wrong."

“What is wrong with Peace?”

"Yes. Peace." She spits out the word as if it was made of poison.

“We were told to ask you about the tests...”

“No! I will words you after you have proven yourself. Go to Olgai, come back.”

Me totally not covering for my mistake in the narrative.

“Very well. I suppose it would be good to learn more about your people in the process of getting to these tests.”

“And with that, we are soundly ejected from Avit.”

“Why would Forla not speak to us about the Tests?”

“Many reasons. The biggest of which is that she does not want peace.”

“Sad really. At least she wasn't hostile.”

“Ssso, it teachesss uss to read az well.”

“I'm just worried about long-term complications.”

“There will be plenty of time for that later. Olgai first, then Elgi?”

“I don't think we're in a position to do things differently than requested.”

“Agreed. And Olgai is where we are supposed to go one way or the other, so we go there first.”

“This looks like a cave-in from above.”

“Why would they not clear it out?”

“Too much to do. The road is damaged in many places.”

Hydras and Chitrachs are random encounters in the Vahnatai lands. This one only had three of them, and I almost felt sorry for the pulverizing I give them.

“Might as well follow the road.”

“So, a 'blms' is about a half a mile.”

“Marianna, you're in front. Everyone be nice.”

“{This place looks more like a Keep than a town.}”

“You know you spoke Vahnatai there, right?”

“Yesss. I wanted more practisse.”

“You know what? Change of plans. Everyone split up. Being by ourselves, we should appear more open than otherwise.”

“I don't think that's wise.”

“No, its not. But it is trusting. Which is more important.”


You meet a Vahnatai man in intricate robes. "I am Ublis-Ihrno, honored healer of my people."

“I am Art. I too am a healer, though not of your skill.”

"I am the only healer who is currently awake, which makes it fortunate that I only have one patient. I have time to heal you, if you wish, for a small donation." He seems hesitant. “Although I am not familiar with your kind. I may do harm.”

“That's alright. We have business to attend to with the Council. Perhaps we can speak again later.”

A savagely scarred Vahnatai fighter lies back on the cot. It seems like he should be in agony, but he only moans very softly.

“What happened to you?”

He looks up at you. "Chitrach," he mumbles, "Lots of them. But we beat them. We won."

“Good for you.”

“He was the worst injured of his group. Thankfully they returned him to me before the injuries became too severe. He will recover.”

“That is good to hear.”

He mumbles incoherently. He must have been given some sort of very powerful herb.

I'll come out and say it. The north half of Olgai is our 'town' for the Vahanatai lands. Healing, Inn, Training, Weapons, identification and sales. But no Spells, oddly enough. After some consideration, and going over the dialogue from everyone, there wasn't a lot of effort being put into this half of the town. And as such, it is only with slight regret that I pass most of it over.

And so, points of interest:

“Oh, hello!”

You see a rare sight - a Vahnatai child. She's slightly shorter than you, with impossibly thin limbs, barely more than bones. She wears the closed, luminescent wrap characteristic of Vahnatai females.

“I am Dmurr, what is your name?”

She looks up at you, frightened and curious at the same time. "I'm Pider."

Pider's presence is slightly at odds with what we will come to learn, but not completely irreconcilable.

“Alright, that should be that. Where is... every..



“What are you wearing?”

“You sspoke of being nice, ssso I purchassed thisss.”


“Isss thisss wrong?”

“No, not in the slightest. But why that... that... thing.”

“The {tailor} had ssspare {material that was poor for Vahnatai wear, but I convinced her to work them into this for me.} I did not pay too much asss I waz given lesszer quality cloth.”

“It's... it's...”

“Perfect, and beautiful! Such vibrant colours!”

“Got to say it is different.”

She slowly looks down at her own bodywear then back at Aarth-Tss'. “Fine. Fine. Let's just get this over with.”

“Oh, right. The Tests. Right, time to go back to Avit and get some more information.”

Map time!