I began the day's adventures just outside the cave Aiela had been held captive in. Though I had fulfilled both her father's request and the demands of my own sense of honor (it is a virtue, after all), I still had business in this part of the valley. Darden had not just disrupted the Kurak way of life, but his own tribe's as well, and the brute's demise brought the Urali no closer to having their idol Fabozz back. I would need all the help I could get to push back against the Myrmidex - I would get a proper sense of that before too much longer - and misfits that the Urali were, antagonistic as they had been under Darden, theirs was still aid I was certain I could use.
|At least Fabozz has some nice crystal gardens to tend here.|
We shuffled some weaponry around to account for our new party member, then decided to make a pit stop at the Kurak village, both to take some much needed rest at Intanya's hut and to give Aiela a chance to assure the tribe of her safety. Along the way, she had a chance to reunite with her friend Sahree, and to pass the time, she told us of the gem she carried with her. Apparently Darden had stolen it from the Nahuatla and presented it to her as some sort of token of his love, thinking he could get in her good graces that way. It hadn't worked, of course, but she had kept the gem anyway.
|Oh, now you've just piqued my curiosity.|
|Easy there, Dokray...|
Having spoken to all of the tribes now, Jimmy and I bent our heads over his notebook and refreshed our memories as to what they all required of us, so we could best form our plan of action. Four of the tribes had already thrown their lot in with the forming alliance - the Kurak for rescuing Aiela, the Urali for defeating Darden and retrieving Fabozz, the Disquiqui for belling the cat-I-mean-T-Rex, and the Pindiro simply because it was the wise thing to do. That left seven still to sway, and two of them could be convinced via feats in the caves in this part of the valley. So after gathering some branches, dunking some cloth strips in tar, and making some makeshift torches, we ventured into the spider caves to find the shield of Grugorr's son Krukk.
|Well that looked like it was messy...|
Our next task was to find a way over the lava to get to the sacred cave of the Jukari, and at Rafkin's suggestion I made use of the fire extinguisher from the remains of his lab to do so. For some reason or another it worked, and from there it was a fairly simple matter to navigate our way to the cave and find the hide. It was a much smaller cavern and considerably less... occupied... so it wasn't long before we were presenting Jumu with the recorded history of his people, and received in exchange his promise to join the alliance of tribes. (As an aside, yes, it's incredibly silly that the fire extinguisher works to cool lava, but at least despite its nonsensicality the game provides ways of pointing you toward it, whether it's the letter to the editor in the manual or Rafkin in the game itself. Considerably less adventure-game-logic that way, which is always a good thing.)
|Obligatory "I can't believe that actually worked" goes here.|
|My kingdom for some pruning shears!|
|"Now begone, before someone drops a house - I mean boulder -|
on you, too!"
Details are what make or break immersion. I can write a scene about a man's last moments, but it's a lot more difficult to connect with it if I don't take the time to show you his feeble, fumbling attempts to get the picture of his family out of his wallet so he can ensure it's the last thing he sees despite through increasingly unfocused eyes. I can write a proposal, but if you don't see the bride-to-be's quivering lip as she makes several attempts to speak before all the breath rushes out of her in one exultant affirmation, something's going to be lost. It's the old show-don't-tell adage - the tiny, concrete details are what make the illusion of story that much more tangible, more real.
|How'd you get here?|
Perhaps most stark were the details when it came to the tribes themselves, though. All of them have their own unique aesthetic, and while granted, some of the portraits do feel a bit caricatured at times, the tribes all feel like distinct entities. The Sakkhra caves are full of crystal gardens in contrast to the sparse Haakur caves, which again stand distinct from the stepped mesa the Barrab call home, which feels different from the Jukari by the lava, and so on and so forth. The way the villages are laid out, the fact that each tribe seems to have their preferred weaponry based on what can be found in their huts, even the manner of speech of some tribes (I particularly enjoyed seeing the importance placed on names when it came to the Haakur and Urali, the former only being bestowed upon those who've earned recognition and the latter guarding theirs to avoid another having power over them, which is why it's a big deal when Wamap gives the player his) - there's some real steps taken through the detail work to make each tribe feel like they stand out just a little from the rest, and serves to emphasize the running theme of bringing together a bunch of different tribes together to form a single alliance.
|Those totems in the corner there were a nice touch.|
Not to mention Aiela's father, as far as I could tell, didn't have much to say about the rescue of his daughter, despite the fact Sahree did have some different dialogue with Aiela in the party.
Which hasn't made the game any less enjoyable to play, when it comes down to it, it's just something my sense of narrative has picked up on. And to be fair, I'd probably be paying less attention to the lack of detail in some places if it didn't stand in such contrast to the parts of the game where it is rather effective. That's the give and take you deal with, I suppose.
In any case, time to head into Tichticatl proper, finally! Been looking forward to this.
|There are some days where I might feel the same.|