But first, I stopped to talk to a lizard.
One of my first tasks that I set myself upon arrival was to track down a few more obsidian swords. The Yolaru had asked me for ten of them to arm their warriors, after all, and I was only carrying a few. Scrounging around on the outskirts of town turned up another one or two, though the area seemed fairly deserted. Wondering where everyone might be, I strolled into the city proper to see what information I could get from the locals - or whether I could even find any locals. The situation in the city might have been more dire than I had first expected.
Imagine my surprise, then, when the first person I spoke to turned out to be Atlipacta, the town weaponcrafter! She excitedly told me of her work and her craft, and was more than willing to show me her wares and offer them in trade for emeralds. She showed me the armor and shields she crafted, while Triolo examined the bows and arrows in her stock. It was her blades, however, that truly drew my eye, passing straight over her knives and instead negotiating for the purchase of her swords. I walked out of her shop a few emeralds lighter, but with four more obsidian swords weighing down our packs - enough to bring my total to eleven, ten for the Yolaru and one spare left over for Aiela to use.
Naturally, I promptly abandoned the city in order to beeline it straight to the Yolaru and give the swords to their chieftain. Hey, those things were heavy and I was in sore need of space in my inventory!
|Well that's not suspicious at all.|
|Methinks something's rotten, a lot closer than Denmark.|
Remembering how much the townsfolk seemed to fear Huitlipacti, I opted for avoiding the man himself and instead talking to his shaman, a man named Zipactriotl. Or more accurately, Johann Spector - he was known to Professor Rafkin, being an archaeologist himself. At one point, at least, as he had currently declared himself shaman, and, as he himself put it, the "savoir of Earth, the bringer of peace and paradise." He spoke of stones like the moonstone, and energy similar to that which came from them in the Myrmidex caves and the Kotl city, and of his grand plans to harness that energy reactivate the Kotl's automatons, use them to get the stone in the Myrmidex caves, and promptly use both to conquer the world itself! Yes, these were dire circumstances indeed. He openly bragged of deposing Moctapotl and disposing of the previous shaman, Oaxtepac, as both of them were in the way of putting his plans into motion. He seemed intent on doing the same to me, as further questions merely provoked him into calling the guards on us!
|Yeah, that's sending up half a dozen warning signals.|
Needing allies, I sought out the prison, to see if I could find the previous shaman. Spector had implied that he was merely imprisoned, not dead, and after some effort I did manage to find Oaxtepac. He gave us clues to both the history and the location of the hidden city Tlapatla had mentioned - according to him, the ancestors of the tribes of Eodon were brought to the valley by the denizens of that city to be servants. Eventually, though, their ancestors rebelled, slaying their masters and abandoning the city. Who their captors were, legends could not agree. Some called them spirits, some likened them to the Sakkhra. Whatever the case, it was clear the key to bringing down Huitlipacti and Zipactriotl lay in the city. Supposedly the previous residents, when they abandoned the city, left a key in case they ever decided to come back. To find the city, one needed to find a device on the great mesa, and fit a large gem into it. At a certain hour, the light hitting the gem would reveal the location of the city. This gem had apparently been stolen by the Urali - but Aiela reminded me that Darden had given it to her as a present!
|Precisely what I was thinking, Jimmy m'boy.|
A quick sneak back to the palace revealed the golden head in the palace treasury, but we still felt it best to track down Fritz for his side of the story before proceeding further. The Pindiro told us Fritz was currently residing in a cave west of the great lake, so after fending off a few deinonychuses (deinonychi?), we found the man in question. He told us it was his fault that Spector had gone mad, but had tried to make up for it by stealing the crystal brain Spector had taken from the Kotl city. Whatever he may have ended up doing while working for the madman, it was more than evident that that Fritz was doing his best to make amends. So when he offered us the crystal brain to aid us in our effort, we readily accepted.
And so that was where I called it a day - in the same place where I began it, in a sense. I'd started by talking to a Sakkhra about the lost city, and now I was standing in it. All that was left was to explore it - and find a way to deal with the glow about the Nahuatla usurper in the process.
|I just can't resist wordplay.|
That's not to say that I think it's necessarily bad, but-- well. Again, I think that's something to be saved for my eventual wrap-up post.
I did have one other thought while putting this together, though, and that's an inexplicable aversion to calling my merry band of adventurers a "party." I've consciously avoided using the word while composing the narrative of my travels through Britannia and beyond, and I still can't figure out exactly why. At first I thought it was simply a term that sounded too "game-ish" to my ear, and I've made an effort to make these posts, at least the bits describing my gameplay, to feel a bit more story-like. But then I remembered that I've had no hesitation about including things like leveling up, which is very much a game mechanic aspect that I haven't had any compunction about throwing about willy-nilly.
So why this aversion to calling them my party a "party?"
Maybe it's because I feel there's a bit of a disconnect in the term. When used in a game context, it feels somewhat... well, "impersonal" is the word I'm looking for, I think. To me, it describes a group chosen solely for function and capability rather than a proper gang of characters that's developing together. And as I've tried to do the latter more than the former in this series, "party" doesn't feel much like an appropriate word to use. I mean, bare bones as it is at times, I like to think of these guys as proper characters, rather than just what use I can get out of them in a combat situation. And the connotations my brain gives "party" just doesn't fit the image I have of them.
Of course, there's another explanation, and that's simply, "language be weird, yo."
...and I think the fact I just typed that sentence is an indication that it's time to draw this post to a close. If you'll excuse me, I've got an ancient city to explore!