Part 13: Guhkbar's Pit, Delis and PergiesUpdate 12 Guhkbar's Pit, Delis and Pergies
Well, I suspect that by the time we are done here, we're going to have worn a path through this valley all the way to the entrance.
Won't that assume that people are following us?
Why, when they can scry?
You know, not everyone has access to military grade magics like that. Just because a disproportionate amount of exiles were magic users of some stripe does not mean that the same is true for the Surface.
But they do exist, right?
If they existed, then they would have been busy hunting down the Slimes and who knows what else.
I'm curious if we can get across the river.
Because I want to. Because I choose to.
Because it's there.
This is the best place to try, but the runoff is too much. We can't cross here, not without flying.
Don't worry. When I get my precious, we'll do that.
Well, you are very happy to speak of it, so I can see that you will eventually find your joy.
Oh well, until then, let's head south to find the road. See where that takes us.
* * *
This is not the road.
No, but it appears to be a monster lair. Probably ignored in the problems surrounding the Slimes.
Curious. This almost appears to be a giant's lair.
No, not cool.
Oh well, the gate is closed. Not like we could brute force it anyways.
Well, if the Tower was any indication, all we need to do is mention that someone named Linda is on the other side and Art will rip the doors down through sheer rage.
Hello? Is someone down here?
Well, come on then.
Hey, we're rescuing innocent people! We're heroes!
There are a lot of bats between here and where we need to go. About 10 or 12. I lost count.
Also, nothing interesting as an enemy, we're well past them as a threat.
That's enough flying things getting into my hair for now, I think.
FEE FIE FOE THUMB!
Oh crap. Also, here's our first two tile high enemy, after the two wide Spined Wurm and the square Alien Slime.
So yeah, the Giant by himself isn't a problem. Someone with only one attack can't beat the party because of the safety catch at 0HP. What will be a problem is his armor and skill, which makes him nigh untouchable at our current level.
Let's find somewhere else to go.
The woman lying back on this pile of filthy furs has pale green skin, silvery hair and impossibly elegant features. She must be one of those legendary creatures - the dryads. She looks pale and ill, however, and stares blankly at the ceiling.
Hello. I am Art.
She turns her head weakly to you. "I am Illyree," she croaks. "I have been taken from my forest. Soon, I will be beyond help."
Your faerie asked us to help you, so here we are.
What's a forest?
"We dryads must be out in the woods to survive. If I stay in this pit long, I will die. I am doomed if you do not help me."
That's why we're here. To help.
"The giant Guhkbar keeps me here. I could slip away, but this door has a magic lock."
Who is Guhkbar? The giant?
Her eyes flash red. It's an eerie sight. "He is an ancient Giant, my long time enemy. He surprised me and carried me off. I would curse him mightily, if I could be helped from this cell."
What can you tell us about this magic lock?
"I saw some things when I was carried in. Guhkbar has a key in the box right next to his sleeping pad. It's in his lair, the cave that has a statue outside it. To get there, you would have to slip past Guhkbar." She has a coughing fit which wracks her delicate body. "I have some power left. I have a charm which could help you get the key."
Alright, we'll help. What sort of charm is this?
She makes a rough motion with her hand. She's just cast a spell on you. "There. If you don't go too near Guhkbar, you can slip by into his cave. Beware. He is crafty. Avoid diversions."
She just cast the Stealth spell on us, though as you're about to see, it isn't all that useful. Also, she can't cast Stealth in the first place as it's Mage 5:
Huh, he doesn't see us.
Or hear us.
And he keeps wolves.
And here's the problem with Stealth. It ceases to be effective if you get close to the enemy, and in this cave, there's very little room to maneuver. So, I find myself in a fight. Time to do the only logical thing.
Stack on the buffs and de-buffs, and let Art's Poison go to town.
Please note that I was able to overcome the armor and skill difference with a single Blessing on the melee fighters and a single Holy Scourge from Delilah on the Giant.
Well, well, well. Time to see what's in the chests!
This is bull!
Yeah, the non-key holding chests will automatically draw the Giant's attention to you.
This one has the key?
Why is it that the one chest we needed to open wasn't trapped?
Because it's funny?
Then you can hold this!
Eh, it's a good deed. I'm sure we'll do something to counter it at some point.
You are very blase about all this.
I stopped being surprised years ago. Now I tend to annoyance and acceptance.
What? No bargaining or denial?
I'll get this stuff ID'd later.
At lease we can leave easier than we arrived.
That reminds me there was some drunk man in Delan who mentioned the Dryad up this way. Should we tell him it's free?
Nah. He didn't know it was captured in the first place.
Does this happen often in Unspecified Services?
This whole 'helping random people' thing between missions.
Yep. Makes contacts, helps raise the Services public profile another reason why the Army hates us, by the way and encourages good behaviour in our staff. Because we've had some bad people in the past.
Delis first, as it's south, and we want to go north in the long run.
Oh, remnant slimes.
One completely one-sided battle later against a half-dozen slimes...
Glydden, huh? Alright. Good luck by the way. The source of the Slimes has been destroyed, so every victory is a defeat the slimes can't recover from.
That makes sense. They've been drying up the past few days. We just got unlucky with this bunch. Thanks again!
Alright everyone, split up. Meet you all at the north entrance in a couple hours.
How nice. Plants lining the walkway up. Hello?
As far as I can tell, there is no explanation for these bits of slime. They're always here, and no one ever makes a comment about them. Did a Slime sneak in and kill someone? It is just a really bad mould patch? What?
Shove off, ye' landlubber.
When I find a generic sailor that isn't 'blueshirt.png', I'm going to be surprised.
Don't mind him. He's grouchy.
Hey there. Pardon me, I'm Bronwyn.
A priest with a large sword sits at the bar, drinking untoward amounts of grog. She turns as you approach and you readily see the booze hasn't affected her in the slightest. "I'm Glydden. I'm captain here."
Hey! That's convenient. My team and I encountered one of your patrols to the east, on the other side of the small mountain. We helped out your patrol there with some of the slimes.
You tell her how you helped her patrol out. "Well," she says, "I never thought I'd see the day one of my troops was saved by an Exile. If you're fighting the slimes with us, I have a bit of advice for you."
Yeah. About that. Officially, there are no Exiles in Krizsan or Valorim. But advice is always good.
"Now that the slimes are almost all dead, there's still plenty of monsters to fight. Head up to Shayder, on the island to the northwest. The cockroaches aren't much tougher than the slimes, I hear."
The nice thing about having the text dump is that I can find before-and-after comments. In this case, Glydden has a different comment if you haven't killed the Alien Slime yet:
"West of Krizsan on the south shore we've seen this tower, that has slimes working for the brigands." She nods. "That's right. Slimes actually enslaved to the Brigands. Someone should check that out ... might learn something interesting."
But that never happened.
That's the plan. We're swinging west around the mountain range. Uh, what's the name of the port town that way?
You're going the wrong way! Farport is north of Krizsan, just follow the roads up past the Inn of Blades and through the pass. You can take a ferry from there.
Anyway, enough about that. Anything else you want to talk about?
What do you do around here?
"I'm the captain in Delis." She eyes you carefully. "Been here for five years since I served in the Exile campaign."
You don't dress like a normal captain
"I sent out patrols here, and keep an eye on what happens in town. Plus, sometimes, I gotta'do priest stuff. I spent a lot of years as a holy soldier."
You mentioned being part of the attack on Exile? I wasn't involved in that. What was it like?
"It was a long, bloody business. I got nothin' against the Worms. It's nothing personal. But I'll gut any one of them who messes with my boys." She watches you carefully as she says this. No doubt she suspects you're Exiles, if she isn't sure already. Except you've already helped them out, so if you were Exiles, I would be willing to give you a pass.
Well, that's enough of your time. Thanks.
Remember, unless you like camping, go back to Krizsan, then north!
Cows are different from Cave Cows. THERE ARE TWO VERSIONS OF COWS DEPENDING ON WHETHER THEY'RE ABOVE OR BELOW GROUND!
I sell food.
And I don't need to buy food ever again. In fact, let's have Art cast Manna 3 times, emptying her SP pool (which will regenerate while I canvas this town and the next).
42 food. I'm good.
Claw? Perhaps one of those names earned by physical attributes. I wonder if it's an actual claw, or more like a hook?
There is a nephil with all the markings and necklaces of a shaman sitting at the desk. It's writing with a quill pen, held awkwardly in its right hand. It's left hand is just a stump. It looks up at you with inscrutable feline eyes. "Hmrrr. I am called Claw."
Matthias. This is your inn?
It makes a low rumbling sound deep in its throat. "I run this flop. I was a sailor."
What is the difference between a flop and an inn?
"Hmrrrr. There are only rooms for sailors." It scrapes idly at the desktop with its claw.
What made you take up a sailor's life? I was under the impression that the Nephil and Nephar weren't that keen on water.
"I am not welcome with my people," It makes a brief, angry hissing noise as it says this. "I went to the sea, where a shark surprised me." He holds up his stump. "Now I run this flop and look after my fellows." His speech is unusually good for a nephil.
Alright. I hate writing Slith and Nephil accents. I tried it back in Exile 2, and I resolved to not do it here in Exile 3. That's why Sass and Ni'aurrl speak without excess consonants.
Hrm, I can off load some of our excess materials. Also, hi Merry! Merry says hi!
I also Identified things.
The Shield I'm keeping for now Shockstorm will set up a 'fat cross' field of Shock tiles, which deals generic 'Magic' damage. The 2 Encumbrance means I probably won't equip it, but will keep it for the uses. I think I gave it to Delilah. The Wave Blade would have found a home on Art for the next 2/3 of the game, except due to the overall narrative, she already has better weapons. The Spear is manifestly worse than the halberd he has.
And now, while I'm writing this, I realize that I should have given the waveblade to Bronwyn to replace her short sword! Dammit! Oh well, there are better weapons coming. Eventually.
Nothing out of the ordinary here.
Hrm, what's this?
Must be nothing, because there's a door on the other side.
Said door which is closed and cannot be opened or unlocked. Don't worry, we'll find out more about this later in the update.
* * *
... wrong direction.
Damn. Well, we know there's another town to the north, and we can't assume that around the north is nothing but emptiness. Alright. Slight change in long-term plans. Keep going around the end of this mountain range, go to the port town, travel to the island, investigate the cockroaches, and when we come back, we go down past this Inn of Blades back to the Fort.
Sounds like a plan to me.
I for one, will enjoy this trip.
One of the things I enjoy about Exile 3 that was in Exile 1 and missed in Exile 2 is the joy of discovery. In the very first game, you're exploring the caves for the first time, seeing new places and new people. In the second, you're not doing that any more. There is a 'known' quality to the world, even as the details change. Even the trips into the Vahnatai lands have a more goal-oriented paradigm than It's out there. Go look!
Exile 3 returns to that. The only place that is from the previous games is the Tower, a single town. Every place else that we set foot on and in is new, and the opportunity to just wander from Point A to wherever is something of a joy.
Too bad about that damned timer.
Welcome to Pergies. How much dust is in the air?
It's Fort Draco all over again!
One of Exile's major mining towns, the other being Dharmon. At least this place has more room to prevent the dust from building up as much.
Alright, split up. The usual.
Oh my, a broken lock. How sad.
Hrm, not much. I could have sworn he lived here now. Back room?
And here's the bad side to being a thief. I just turned the whole town hostile, and it will stay that way for quite some time. Better to just reload.
No. It's been years. He would have moved by now.
Where is this person?
I don't know either.
This girl might be about ten. So covered is she by grime and ore dust, however, that she could also be any age from four to sixteen. She looks at you with interest. "I'm Susie!" she says.
Hello Susie. I'm Bronwyn. What are you doing?
"I'm looking for slimes!"
Slimes? Well, I heard that the mother slime was killed a few days ago.
"They're big and nasty, and when I see one I yell so the guards can kill them!"
That's good. It's the guards job to do that sort of thing. Do you want to be a guard too?
"Yeah! Then I can be a big adventurer, and go to Exile!"
"I hear there are weird pale people and big evil monsters down there, and I can fight them and get treasure!"
You think Exile has treasure?
Yep! I'll kill all the monsters! And then I can be rich and famous!"
And just what will you do with your riches and fame?
"Then I can go to bed whenever I want!" She squats on the ground and picks at a scab on her knee reflexively, pondering this wondrous fate.
I hope she grows out of that. I really do.
ooh! Hello! Hello!
What are you?!
The bar is being tended by a vigorous woman in a black leather jerkin. She has dirty blond hair and a tanned face. "I'm Ilsa. Care for a drink?"
You own this place?
Yes, I do. We have the standard inn fare. Beer is two gold, and a room is eight. Room's expensive, but very, very nice. And not much worry about slimes."
But we killed their leader!
She sighs. "They say the slimes are all dead, but there's still a few of them around. I try to keep my daughter indoors, but she won't have any of it!"
Another before/after dialogue branch.
She looks very worried. "There aren't many of them out here, thank heavens, but they're coming. Mark my words. Hope something's done about it soon. I'm worried for my daughter."
Daughter? That's.. female, right?
Your kind must be very weird. Her name's Susie. She'll be around here somewhere, that little tomboy. I just hope if she sees a slime she has the sense to run instead of throwing rocks at it or trying to make it a pet or something."
So, can I have some beer? I'm a legal adult!
Oh, really? Well, you're certainly big enough. The beer is excellent, if a bit gritty from all the dust. By way of conversation, Ilsa says "Watch out for that weird priest."
An evil priest?
No, not evil. Weird. He says his name's Paulo. He's in the first room. He says he teaches spells, but I think he's a bit creepy. Still, as long as he pays for his room and doesn't bug anybody, he's not so awful."
Better tell Art. She's like a non-weird Priest. And definitely a good person.
* * *
I can't believe this.
A man with dark skin and an intense expression sits at the table, reading a prayer book. He seems strangely unconcerned that you just barged into his room. He wears ominous blood-red robes.
Hey! A notice that we're PC's and have no sense of personal space or privacy!
Morning. My name is Art. I apologize for the intrusion, but the proprietress was concerned about you, and I wound up with the task of checking up on you.
I am simply called Paulo. I am a humble priest, wandering the lands and spreading my teachings. For now, I have found this village a pleasant place to stay."
I wouldn't exactly call Pergies a village.
"Pergies is pleasant, and far from most of the monsters that afflict Valorim. I play to stay here for some time. Alas, not all in this area are entirely savory."
Not savoury? You'll find my response to be a little disbelieving given the situation.
"The Village of Delis, to the south, is a rather immoral place, for example. In fact, some people there, and I consider them only barely human, committed the theft of a package of my herbs."
I heard there was a Nephil there. Are you certain you want to use that choice of words?
I know about Claw. But it is not him of whom I speak, so rest your anger, Mother's Daughter.
Cute. Yes, I'm a follower of the Mother-Of-Us-All. But what can you tell me about this theft? I might be able to do something about it.
"Delis is the home to all manner of pirate scum! I know for a fact that one of them took a package of herbs from a ship coming from the north, and that it's hidden in a back room in the inn there. I'd reward well someone who brought that package to me. Just be careful ... those parasites protect their own."
I think I know the room you're talking about. One of my people stumbled into it by accident.
So, we've established my religious orientation. What are your teachings, Paulo?
I teach the divinely inspired philosophy of Divine Independence."
Divine Independence... Divine Independence... Not familiar to me, sorry.
"We have been given by our creators the greatest gift of all: the ability to act as independent creatures. This has a much ignored accompanying responsibility, however: the responsibility to remain independent. Those who lose their independence are parasites. One should only take from others as part of a fair trade.
The last philosophy I heard of that referred to people as parasites was a self-centered, egotistical mode of thought that started with the notion that the persons to whom the philosophy was directed were inherently infallible.
I know the one of which you speak. Their leader attempted to found a city on those principles, but it was overcome by those who had a better understanding of people as a whole, and not a narrow sliver of humanity that the founder thought themselves a member of.
But allow me to defend my position. Let's just say that the other churches are perfectly free to saddle themselves with the poor and crippled. We take only those who can help us, and who want the divine freedom to not help others."
I realize that my phrasing was poorly planned. We, as a church, recognize that the act of helping must be a mutual act, each involved party offering something to a trade that is both fair and whole. Charity is an act of helping that is not mutual, and thus is not of benefit to anyone, be it the giver or the receiver. The giver receives nothing in return and thus the act is a net loss. The receiver falls into the category of parasite for they fail to offer something anything in return.
But an act of helping does not need to be direct or immediately proportional to the reward. It is within the tenants of my faith that, for example, donation to an orphanage is acceptable for while there is no immediate help via reciprocity, the act has a multitude of consequences that are of help removing children from potential criminal starts, providing education, and other acts and results that mean that the orphanage in turn helps the giver in the long run.
I see your logic. But doesn't that mean that parties who do not share an equal notion of what is fair cannot help each other?
The answer to that question is one posed to our initiates. I see that you would not take that test, so I feel no need to press for a response. He thinks for a bit. "Fair trades take all forms. For example, I recently tried to obtain a package of herbs for my art. Parasites took my herbs from me, in a crude theft."
And now we're back to circular conversations.
Not quite, merely two different means of reaching the same end goal. I mentioned I provide knowledge, correct? Well, perhaps a simple exchange now can prove the validity of future exchanges.
If I didn't have Manna, I would get Minor Manna now. Summon Spirit is, like most summons, useless. And Move Mountains is vital in the long term, so I grab that for Art.
* * *
Ugh. I will never go to Fort Draco if it's anything like this.
This, on the other hand?
I have to do this now...
Merry count posted:
I pick up more lockpicks for Bronwyn.
* * *
How did that stick get into the wall like that?
* * *
I HATE THIS PLACE AND I NEED WATER TO CLEAN MYSELF!
* * *
No, a quick trip back to Delis. There's something there I want to poke my nose into.
At least I can get clean there. Come on, I'll lead the way.