Which probably says something about how much I'm enjoying myself when it comes to Savage Empire, but I'll get to that later.
|I'll just take a bit of that...|
At least this particular step in the venture didn't necessitate gallivanting all over the valley, as the Barrab chieftain had told me I just needed any old blue stone, which I could procure by chipping off a piece of the stones near the Sakkhra caves. Said caves were just a quick jaunt away (relatively speaking), and it wasn't long before I caught sight of one of the big blue rocks atop a cliff. Of course, finding my way up the cliff was another matter entirely, but after some walking about to find a decent ascent, I pulled out a hammer that I'd brought with me from Rafkin's lab and chipped off a piece. I'd bring it to Topuru the next time I was in the neighborhood, but I figured since I was already here, I might as well chat up the tribe and see what they had to say, and what their particular thoughts on an alliance of tribes might be.
A warrior named Kysstaa (good grief, the names in this game are a bear to keep straight) offered his services to our little group, but we politely turned him down and went on our way. I was in a bit of a hurry to investigate the oddly colored platform near the entrance to the caves, and wound up spending a fair amount of time figuring out the teleportation system I'd stumbled across.
It was, quite frankly, the most fun I'd had in the game yet.
|Transit Central needs better exterminators.|
Jimmy also managed to gain another level during these particular explorations, thanks to another ambush from the Myrmidex (right on the main teleporter hub, no less, Eodon really needs to increase its transit security), and I of course gave him another point in strength. I need all the carrying capacity I can get in this game.
|Yeah, that's about what I thought.|
|That's a lot of dead dinosaurs.|
In doing so, I stumbled across a wisp, which, in its odd manner, explained a bit more about the situation in the valley, or more accurately, the reason why it remained hidden - a strong power source distorting space-time around the valley, a modified moonstone, if I managed to understand the wisp correctly (which is always a task). Further, I was warned that if left unchecked this source could cause permanent distortion and even destruction in the valley. Something for me to be mindful of moving forward.
|Flashbacks to my physics classes...|
Fabozz was being held in a cave to the north, but I was here for another purpose as well, and wanted to see that through first. According to the tribesmen (or more accurately, tribeswomen, as they were the only ones to actually talk to me and not attack on sight), she was being held in Darden's stronghold to the south, and apparently disliked him enough to direct me toward a less guarded path to his cave by following the waterfront. The poisoned darts the Urali I fought led me to believe this alternate route might be the wiser choice, so I took the women's advice and soon found myself at Darden's cave.
|I love how much the game wants to emphasize how much of|
a galoot Darden is. Even the GAME calls him a neanderthal.
With Darden defeated and Aiela now a part of our little band, we stepped out once more, feeling much accomplished in finally achieving a long anticipated task.
|Nyah nyah, can't catch meeeeee!!|
I'm still not entirely sure what caused it, but I felt that shift during this particular session of Savage Empire. Something about the game finally clicked for me, and I'm not certain why. My best guess is that I'm making it past the more talky portions of the game, which is less engaging than other Ultimas out of the fact that most of the tribe NPCs are just cookie-cutter versions of each other without much to add past a general brief 'state of the tribe' speech. Or maybe it was the aforementioned teleporter exploration that did it. Whatever it was, though, I was bound and determined to see Aiela's rescue through to the end before I called this particular session, and not just out of a sense of narrative. I truly enjoyed this bit, and spent far longer on it than I expected to simply because I was having too much fun. The wisp, the turtles, trying to skirt the T-Rex that guarded the village... my inner explorer was on cloud nine. Had a rip-roaring good time and I'm eager to get back into the game to see what more Eodon holds for me.