Part 27: Silvar and Fort DuvnoUpdate 023 Silvar and Fort Duvno
There's going to be a lot of conversation in this chapter. As well as some reminiscing about being back in the starting area of Exile 1. You know how I mentioned back in the first update how there's a built-in transcription service for conversations that dumps to a text file? Well, that file for this update is five pages long.
If I go to 20 pages, the update starts to run into size issues for the forum. That's how much talking is going on.
"Yes, Sir Ma'am!"
"Why did it take you so long to do that? I mean, I know you've admitted to having a commitment problem, but this didn't seem like something you would just... ignore."
"The magicssss involved in the Ritual were partly derived from Slithzerikai ssourcesss. Five yearsss ago, the sspell did not exissst in Slith or Human tomesss."
"I wazz not aware of that."
"Neither was I."
"What, an Nephils get left out?"
"If you had anything to prove, I'm sssure you could contribute."
"If you had something to prove yourself...!"
"Be careful what you ssspeak next..."
"You! You will pay for your crimes!"
"Well, that village did seem to be afraid of you."
"That was years ago! And... I don't remember what we did...
Thisss ssspell is not as useful as I'd like.
Well, it did prevent him from summoning beside him.
I totally forgot that you can't summon into any field, not just an anti-magic field. And that the enemy will avoid any of them like the plague.
No real reason to go in there yet.
Well, there is that request from Mertis...
No, not yet. Maybe on our way back to the Castle.
I've heard rumors of that region. Of a dragon that resides here.
Don't be silly. That's just a rumor. Why would a dragon hide?
Have a nice day.
Ah, Silvar. Something actually close to civilization for once.
What, and Mertis wasn't?
Oh hush, farmboy. I speak of more than just mere silos and grains.
I do not underssstand why you make your homesss in the middle of nowhere. Why not usse proper cavesss?
It's a thing from the surface, Aarth-Tss. Don't worry too much about it.
And it allowsss for them to be more.... flexible in their sssettlementsss.
Welcome back to Silvar. In Exile 1, this was the first real city the players would encounter on a regular playthrough (unless they went out of the way to Cotra or Formello). And like the other cities of Exile, Silvar has been expanded to reflect the larger available map sizes in the program.
But as we're about to see, that expansion isn't just a space filler.
Alright everyone. Split up, rest, relax, and we can all meet at the inn. Just like usual.
Wow, lots of soldiers.
You meet an Exile archer, who looks to be about to embark on a major drinking spree. At the moment, we seems to want someone to talk to. He waves you over. He takes a swig of ale. "Call me Gibrain."
Chester. Unspecified Services. There's a lot of soldiers here in town.
He takes a long pull of his ale and shakes his head. "I been pulling patrols out west. Empire raiders are out there. They ain't takin' prisoners, they're just killing."
Raiders? I'm afraid I've been out of touch for a while. How far are the patrols going?
He swigs again. "And the Empire troops aren't all that's out there. We stumbled on a big nest of sliths too! Barely got away alive!"
Sliths? I hope you don't mind that I'm travelling with two of them.
"Yeah, we found this big hidden lair of 'em. Been tryin' to tell our superiors about it, but they don't even want to hear about it now!" He drinks. "Hey! You're adventurers! Look, head roughly north of Cotra a long way and look for these totems!"
"They're out in the middle of nowhere. From there, head straight west a ways and you'll find the sliths." He drinks more. Much more.
Without talking to this person, we would never be able to get into this dungeon. Like one next update, and a very minor one in act one, this is one of those cases where the entrance to a dungeon is hidden by a conversation flag.
No room at the bar.
There is a heavy-set man, with short brown hair and a wild beard, polishing the bar. He wears rough home-spun clothes and a silver hammer around his neck. "Hi! I'm Gary. Welcome to the Silvar Arms."
You're not a soldier, are you, son?
No sir. I'm with Unspecified Services.
It's good to see some honest-to-God adventurers here! Alright, I can give you a nice room - the best, only 15 gold. Also, I've been selling a lot of rations. Let me know if you want to buy some. "
Well sir, we're not technically adventurers.
Close enough. It's just been soldiers back from the front and refugees from Cotra. Everyone's destitute or lookin' to raise Hell!" He bends close to you. "I'm always lookin' to help out the people who help us out."
"So, if you want, you're welcome to keep your spare stuff in my storeroom."
"Yeah, I ain't usin' it, and I'll keep an eye on your stuff for you. It's the room at the end of the hall. There are some cobwebs in there, but there's plenty of space. Just don't leave your stuff outside that room, or someone will walk off with it, if you know what I mean."
I wonder what happened to the junk I left in this room back in Exile 1...?
Wow, some of these cobwebs have been here for years...
There is a Nephil sitting alone at the long table. It sips daintily at a cup of milk.
Hey there! Name's Chester.
He turns his round, glittering eyes to you. "I am Awrmm."
Neat! I'm travelling with Dmurr. You've probably never heard of him. Her. Her. Sorry, it's so hard to tell genders with your kind. What brings you to Silvar?
He bows he head. "Mrrrr. Much sorrow, but my affairs are private for now."
This is all I'm going to get out of him until I talk to someone else in town. I'll be back!
A sweaty woman with a leather jerkin and a belt covered with tools breezes by you. You manage to catch up with her and flag her down. She has long, reddish hair, a round face, and a harried expression. "Hello. I'm Ruth. Are you interested in boats?"
Ruth sells boats at 400g a pop. I don't buy one, as I'll be getting a free one next update. And she doesn't even say anything interesting!
Thessss are not free.
No, they're reserved for Army use. Not that you need one, Slith.
We've been told that Cotra was attacked previously. This is the first time we've seen the immediate results of this. And we haven't seen it all yet.
All but two of these 'rooms' have the same message preventing you from going in.
You meet a very dirty man in leather armor. He doesn't look like he trusts you. He doesn't draw his sword, but keeps his hand near it. "They call me Asp. I'm from Cotra."
He's back! Asp was important for a late game quest in Exile 1 being a thief that escaped from the Abyss that the party needed to talk to.
Marianna, from Almaria. You look like a man who knows what's going on.
Stupid thing to say, woman. Runnin' from Cotra. And dealin' with the brigands."
What do you mean? We've been... out of touch for a while. We heard Cotra had been attacked, but nothing that would displace so many people!
"I was there when the whole mess happened. They hit us by sea, crack troops and mages and a bunch of spell-casting monsters. They didn't want to take the city, just fry it. They blasted everything with spells. Everything!"
"I hear it's just a ruin now, with looters and monsters. And bodies. Bad place to be. Real bad."
There it is. First confirmed point about the attack on Cotra, one that took place while the party was in the Vahnatai lands.
Cotra, one of the Great Cities of Exile, has been destroyed.
And the brigands? Surely people would not be so crass as to try and steal from those who have nothing!
"Thieves are all right, sometimes. But there's a group that's pickin' on the refugees, takin' what little they got! Total scum. They got a lair near here somewhere. I'm trying to figger' out what to do about 'em."
I... may be able to do something about that.
A small lethal looking woman in black leather watches you carefully. She has a wicked looking knife in each hand, and more strapped to her chest and legs. When she sees you aren't about to attack, she relaxes, but not much.
Peace. I'm no foe. Marianna's the name. I'm with Unspecified Services.
She starts to sharpen a knife. "I'm Elspeth, adventurers. What do you want?"
Another returning NPC.
Oh, don't mind me. Just another pair of eyes, if you know.
She spits. "Keeping an eye out for the brigands can tire the eyes. And keeping an eye on the refugees."
Need any help with the brigands?
"None of your concern. We'll take care of it." She pats her knives.
What about the refugees? Anything we can do for them?
"You're adventurers, right? You travel? I'm looking for someone, maybe a refugee, her name's Nance."
"Nance is my, uh, friend. We came to Exile together, and lived in Cotra. When the town was sacked, however, I lost track of her, and haven't heard from her since" She looks very upset. "If you meet her, please mention my name to her."
I looked through the old updates, but didn't see her, so this a thread that will be carried forward.
Ah, Kai-Lyss! Aarth-Tss! Just who I wanted to see! Are either of you up for some civic duty?
What do you mean?
We have some people to talk too.
Huh... Did someone hear that?
Nope. Not a peep, Ma'am.
Ah.... sssivic duty.
Let me take care of that, Aarth-Tss.
That was refressshing. If all of uz were here, it would be...
Very much sso.
Well, that may be true, but it's time to collect the moral rewards.
He smiles. "I heard what you did to those brigands. Word got around. Nice to know some Exiles still care."
"The ones who were bugging us got slit, but more will be back. Bet on it."
See? Purely moral.
Now that the... dissstraction issz done with.
You have to shake this woman awake. She had nodded off onto a breastplate on the counter. She shakes her head to clear it. "Forgive me. I am Anastasia. Welcome to my shop."
"You can buy or sell armor here. I still have some items in stock, but things have been hectic here. Very tiring, for me and my husband."
What of him?
"The whole business with the war and the refugees has been very hard on my husband, Efram." She smiles weakly. "If you see him, ask him about Demonslayer. It'll cheer him up."
"Efram runs the weapon shop. He so loves to talk about his sword Demonslayer. It's not the real one, of course. But he's very proud of it."
Oh, good. Not the real one.
<I Greet you, Warrior.>
<And I, you, Priest and Mage. You meet a mighty slith warrior. He bows to you in greeting as you approach.
<I am Kai-Lyss. Who do I have the pleasure of knowing?>
<The soft-skins call me 'Oss-Ess', Mage. It is easier for them to say than my full name.>
<I will respect that. What do you do in this town of the soft-skins?>
<O Mage, I am a teacher in the ways of warfare. The Soft-skins have need of those such as I, who is trapped on this side of the waters from our home. Those from above see no differences amidst their enemies, so I too see no differences with those around me.>
<I do this for the hope of peace. The Empire is a threat to us all.>
<You show wisdom yet. Are you learning to become a Sage?>
<No, Mage. I am not yet ready for that.>
<Very well. Be true.>
An aging man sits behind the counter. He has a tired look and a huge paunch. There is a two-handed sword hanging on the wall behind him. He laboriously stands up to shake your hand, then plops back down again. "I'm Efram."
Greetingsss. That cannot be the real Demonssslayer.
"Oh, that?" He looks back at the sword behind him. "That's Demonslayer!" He chuckles. "Not the real Demonslayer. I just call it that. Fine blade though, Draco steel. Nah, the real Demonslayer's in the Castle, real guarded. Fine blade - I even saw it once! Some adventurers passing through had it. Beautiful work." He sighs.
What do you recall of these adventurersss?
"After some adventurers reforged it and used it to slay this big demon called Grah-Hoth, they gave it to King Micah, and it got put away in the Castle, in the Great Cave. Long ways away, southwest." He shakes his head. "They're probably afraid to let it out again, for fear the Empire'll steal it. Oh well."
<That does not match what I know...>
Actually, Poor Efram is wrong about the location of Demonslayer, as we'll see much later on.
The commander of Silvar sits at the desk. He's a muscular man of only early middle age, but the crook in his back and bags under his eyes indicate he's aging quickly. You also notice he's wearing the mayor's sash.
Oh, hi. Wrong place I think?
Dmurr! I work under Art in Unspecified Services!
Art? Good, good. I'm Captain Arlen, Commander and Acting Mayor of Silvar. I'm quite busy. I hope you can help."
"Well, I've been dealing nonstop with the refugees from the destruction of Cotra. Dealing with it every minute of every day, and so have all my men. We don't have a person to spare for all our other problems."
Here's another point where the death of a city is made obvious.
Well, Art does like to stick her nose into other people's problems.
Plenty of problems. We think some brigands are harrassing the refugees. And what's more, the Castle has a mission it wants me to find someone to do." He thinks. "Wait! You're adventurers!"
"If you want a mission, let me know. If you succeed, I'll put in a good word for you at the Castle!"
Might as well skip the part where Art comes in here directly. What's the mission?
He explains the mission. "We've been working on a peace treaty with the Nephilim tribes, uniting against the Empire. We're close to success, but first they want help from us. They want us to free a bunch of Nephilim slaves from a band of Nepharim."
I'm standing right here. Nephil? And what's this about slaves?
"Yeah, you heard right. A band of kitties enslaving another. And we're supposed to risk life and limb freeing them. But hey, if it works, the kitties would make good allies! Anyway, there's a Nephil called Awrrm, or something in town. Ask him about the mission - he'll help you."
Another point where the entire party is assumed to be Human.
Hello, fellow. I heard you had a mission?
His eyes flash. "Mrrrrow! At last, ones to help us! My peoples are held by angry mule Nepharim in cave far to north and a little east. If you were freeing them, they could revolt and help you! Mrrr. Nepharim not all bad, but these should die."
Tell me about it...
No Gremlins! Hooray!
Oh good. Something to take my feelings out on.
Wonder why Fort Exile wasn't in the Chapter Title? Well, this is why. It's an event, not a location any more. And the Empire is out in force in a region that would normally have goblins or other low level monsters; easy pickings for new arrivals in Fort Exile.
Playing this after Exile, the entire Western Gallery is the first real indication that this is all your fault, and things are going down hill fast.
Don't worry. By the end of this game, we'll have fixed... oh... 95% of all the problems. Gotta save that last 5% for Exile 3!
Glad to see that there's a place that hasn't changed in my many years down here.
She's right, the map and layout for the Fort haven't changed. The people have, a little. But not the Fort itself.
The bar is tended by a striking woman with short black hair and a pleasant smile. She's quiet for a barkeep - she just raises her eyes as you approach.
She smiles. "Room, five gold. Drinks, 2 gold. Gossip, free."
ooooh! I do love some gossip!
She leans close. "Archer in town. Name's Gourdon. Asking around about passes or some such. He doesn't want people to know about it, but he was rude to me. Oh well." She grins mischievously.
You meet a small, gorgeous woman, wearing somewhat sparse dancer's clothes. Bereft of an audience, however, she seems somewhat down. She floats gracefully over to you. "I'm Eledi."
Ma'am. You seem a little underdressed.
She sighs. "Just passing the time mostly. Tonight, I'll be dancing. You should come to the show!"
She does a twirl on one foot. It's a move both graceful and pulse quickening. "Exiles have always needed some cheering, now more than ever. I guess being thrown down here gave me my calling."
That still doesn't explain the lack of clothes. Surely your calling gives you that much?
"I was one of the last people thrown into Exile. They didn't want me to dance up there. Too ... uhh ... stirring, they said. I wouldn't give it up, so they threw me down here, where people really need some beauty in their lives." She smiles and blushes. "It's not much, I know, but it means a lot to me."
A man with the look of a refugee walks up to you and mutely holds out a begging bowl. He has a resigned, sardonic expression. He bows his head in an almost, but not quite, humble manner."I'm Dorkin, sirs."
Here's a coin.
He nods. "Thank you kindly!"
Guess what? Unlike in Exile 1, you can donate to beggars, and you actually loose a coin for it.
Hrm. Going to have to see if I can go into negative gold with this, or if there's a different reaction for being broke.
"Well, I'll tell ya' I got thrown down here for bein' poor, no more no less. So I go to Cotra, and I work hard, make a business for myself!"
Um... I didn't ask you about your life or your business...
"That's right - I was the best cobbler in Cotra! And then the Empire comes down here, and they make me poor again! So I'm startin' to figger', maybe some fellows just meant to be poor. So could you maybe give me a coin?"
You meet a tall, gaunt soldier. His face is heavily lined, and not just with age. His expression seems locked in a permanent scowl, and you doubt his eyes could ever be anything but cold. He looks you over. "I am Captain Johnson. What can I do for you?"
Art, Unspecified Services.
And I rule this fort."
"Fort Duvno, a knife aimed at the heart of the Empire."
Ah, someone who hates the Empire almost as much as I do.
He smirks. "A strong foe, but we can make things go very ugly for them, when we get our hands on them. Very ugly indeed." He gives you a close look. "You're adventurers, are you not? I often look to hire adventurers to go on missions."
"I have strong troops, but they have their hands full babysitting refugees. If you're interested, let me know."
Another mission? You know, you can ask for help from U.S?
What? And deal with the paperwork? Besides, unlike other captains, I'm not an idiot who will turn down resources because they have a different background. And I know who you are, and what you did. So, yes, I do have something for you. Somewhere to the west, to the north of Cotra, some sliths, some of the hostile kind, have a hidden lair. Find it and kill a whole bunch of them, and you'll be rewarded."
I can get behind that. And we already have a lead on their location.
We ssshould try a diplomatic solution firssst.
What if they are loyal to themssselves?
Then we will act approrpriately.
That's just...sad. And wrong.
There is a young, dark-skinned man sitting behind the table, chopping healing herbs as fast as he can. He's obviously exhausted. "Eucher the healer. Are you well?" He looks you over for ailments.
We are well, Priest. How fare your dutiesss?
Wait, Kai-Lyss, did you encourage her to chat?
"Healing all who come to me. I have some time to help you if you need it. Though, Heaven knows, everything's been nuts since the barriers came down."
All the Barriersss are down now, not jussst the onez to the north.
I know, I know. The assault on Cotra was bad enough. But when the Vahnatai barriers came, the war really started up again. The Empire was more reinforced and we were more prepared, and the bodies have come non-stop. I need more supplies, but I do the best I can."
What suppliessss do you use in your human wayz?
"Herbs. Clean gauze. Graymold salve. Comfrey root. I do what I can, but I'm always running out of something vital."
No, Aarth-Tss. We have none of those.
Rorik sells food and wine. Wine which has special names, but I haven't been able to figure out what they do yet.
I mean, who wouldn't want Eau de Toadstool?
Silly me, this lock seems to be broken.
An imposing woman with graying hair and a severe expression is setting up shop. She looks highly displeased at your intrusion. "I'm Faye. Now leave."
Oh, sorry, but your...
"I'm setting up my shop, and you are trespassing."
She looks ready to call the guard at a moment's notice. "I'm still recovering from escaping Cotra. I don't need you bothering me."
"Yes, I was there, and I've had what I have to say about it ignored enough. Now leave me alone.
She snaps at you. "Yes! Ignored! They all say they don't know where the attack came from, but I saw lights on the island south of Cotra not long before the troops arrived. And they say I imagined it, that there's nothing there."
She speaks very loud and very clear. "You won't deal with me, I won't deal with you. Now will ... you ... PLEASE ... leave?"
Without talking to her, you won't be able to find a dungeon I hit next update.
There is a thin old man sitting under the tree, fishing.
"Eh? Oh, hello. Call me Scott."
You don't remember me, do you?
Sorry, lass. I'm just an old man whiling away his last years fishing."
"Nephilim destroyed my farm years ago. Now I just do odd jobs for my keep, and relax fishing. And keeping those darned refugees away!"
"They scare the fish!"
Well, thanks anyways Scott.
Walner can Identify and teaches you Medium Healing and Curing Potions. He says nothing of interest.
Amalia also says nothing important, aside from being the 'sell anything' person in the area. She also sells Theives Tools and the like. Not that I need them.
JR here sells arrows. She's also the first reliable source of Bronze Arrows 50 for 10, so I stock up on some to improve Dmurr's ranged offense.
But here's the real reason to come to Duvno, aside form the side benefits of the Mission, and the location of the Dungeon.
You meet a very heavy-set man with a longbow slung over his shoulder and a full quiver of arrows at his side. He looks you over nervously as you approach.
Art. Unspecified Services.
So, what'ch'a doing?
"Just killing time."
Oh for crying out loud! There's no one to eavesdrop! What's up with the passes?
At first, he looks upset that you know what he's after. Then he looks you over carefully. "Ach! I know you! You're the ones who went to the Vahnatai! It's safe to talk to you." He pulls you aside.
"You see, I've been going from town to town, looking for certain scrolls from the surface."
He pulls out a vellum scroll, edged in red ink. "This is a red pass. The troops down here need passes to get into Empire lands. I'm looking for a blue and a gray pass. That's why I'm heading down to Mertis. My goal, ya' see, is to look into some rumors."
We have two of those, found them to the north near Formello and west of Fort Draco. What rumors?
He looks very worried. "I hear from prisoners the Empire's buildin' this portal, from up there to down here, so they can teleport down a whole army. They'd wipe us out if they could do that!"
"So I'm going to look into it. I'm not the best spy, but I know these caves well as anyone."
Well, someone has to! The Army is too busy being on the defensive, and re-establishing themselves after Cotra.
Yes! He huffs himself up a bit. Just like you and the Vahanatai!
How did you hear about that?
I was in Formello when you went down that crevice! I've been telling people about your actions! And you're what inspired me to act!
Kill me now.