Seems like the rain's brought out a few worms! Don't think I'm an easy mark, exile. I've spent more than enough time around exiles to know which way the dagger's pointing, and I'll happily give it a shove in your direction if you try anything... wormy.
I'm conducting a little dig... The sort of enterprise that could make someone with your particular 'skill set' a very handsome living. Don't worry, you'll not be moving much dirt. No, no... Why smash rocks when you could smash skulls, eh?
Looks like shite, eh? Well, don't judge a mine by its entrance. Eternals used to pull all sorts of goodies out of these rocks, and they never had my secret weapon.
Just inside the mineshaft is my creaky little Crawler. Took one of the ol' Eternal torture devices and... repurposed it. Oh, it can still tear your skin off like peeling a fruit, but hopefully it won't try to. Instead, it can lay down a daisy chain of lights powered by that Voltaxic Sulphite. You'll want to be on the lookout for more of that, mind you.
This big beauty next to me? My pride and joy. Feeds Crawler with refined and purified sulphite. And it's capable of taking all sorts of the raw materials strewn below ground and turning 'em into sources of light and explosives.
How 'bout you head underground and follow the mechanical little bugger to an azurite vein, eh?
Beauty. Look at it sparkle. Glows like blue embers in the dark. My machine here can turn these rocks into something a little more useful. You might need some extra light down there, so how 'bout you put a few flares together.
Mine's also full of dead ends and things that oughta be dead themselves, so get a blasting stick while you're at it. Should have enough for both on ya.
Hot little pair of sticks you got. Mind you don't get 'em mixed up. Don't want to have to mop you up... though I suppose blowing yourself to bits is better than getting lost in the dark down there.
I suggest you bring a few sticks of dynamite and a few flares when you venture down there. Crawler will guide you to some large ore veins, but tossing a flare into the gloom might reveal some very pretty little treasures.
Since the mine's been around for so long, all the easy pickings have already been pinched. Might have to do some excavating of your own if you want something truly precious.
There're some fragile-looking walls down there. Reckon a well-placed stick of dynamite will turn those walls to rubble. Why don't you give that a go, eh? I'll let you keep whatever you find on the other side.
Not the prettiest spot in Wraeclast, but relatively dry and safe as long as you stay in the light. Never cared about a good view anyway. Much prefer a cozy spot indoors. Not many of those on Wraeclast that aren't filled with bloody flesheaters though, eh?
Used to mine the stuff for the Templar. Dunno why they needed all that power. Didn't really care to find out, neither. Less I know about their business, the better. Stopped mining it for a while when my brain turned to mush. Heard and saw things that weren't really there. All better now, though.
Grew up in Oriath. Used to love the city... Spent my youth combing the woods around it for Sulphite. No one else knew how to handle the stuff, but the Templar had a voracious appetite for it. Needed it to power whatever god-forsaken machines they were building. Made a very healthy living for myself until...
Well, let's just say, for a while I thought I was a... a prophet. The Templar don't take so kindly to people calling themselves prophets. Locked me up in a madhouse, but I dug my way out. The Templar like escapees even less than they like false prophets, so here I am, digging around in Eternal rubble.
Been working on this machine on and off for years. Hard to really test it without the raw materials from the mine. You're here now, though, so maybe that'll change.
This beauty can take the azurite you find in there and turn it into flares and dynamite. Enough azurite, and I can make this thing more efficient than it already is. Able to hold a lot more sulphite, and able to make better flares and dynamite.
Whole Eternal Empire was built on the ruins of the Vaal, so it ain't surprising that we'd run up against Vaal ruins down there. Seen some other traces, though. People who weren't Eternals or Vaal. Thought I'd just hit an old Vaal burial ground, 'til I realised just how many bones there were... and that they were used to build. Ain't a historian, but never heard of the Vaal using human bones to make buildings.
Piles of gold, eh? Ain't a goldmine, so sounds like you stumbled across an old shrine to Prospero. Any miner worth his rocksalt knows Prospero. Might've even tried to make a deal with him for riches or life. Prospero's followers think the two are more or less interchangeable. If you believe in that stuff, I've got a flying rhoa to sell you.
You'll get used to the smell after a bit. Might even start to miss it. Curious rock, that sulphite. Only found near the surface. Can't think of any other rock quite like it.
Its... interesting properties make it tricky to handle. Not many people want or need it. Not many people can stomach the smell. Kept me in business for a good long while 'til I ended up in the madhouse. Mostly better now, though. Mostly.
If you knew how to handle Voltaxic Sulphite without blowing your arms off, you could make a lot of money in Oriath. As you can see, I still have my arms. Sold piles of Sulphite to the Templar. Knew better than to ask what they needed it for. But when people who weren't really there started talking to me, I didn't know better than to ask the Templar for help.
Ever break out of a Templar-run mental-asylum? Easier than ya think. Easier than hiding from the Templar when they go looking for ya. They shipped me off to Wraeclast as soon as they found me. Easier to forget I exist than to help me get rid of the voices, eh?
Don't be surprised if you find yourself surrounded by Vaal ruins when you get deep enough. Whole Eternal Empire was built on their ruins. Might even see some of their cursed dead wandering the halls. But if you see... other ruins... best watch yourself. Nothin' collects that many bones peacefully.
Thought most of the old cults died with the Eternal Empire, but it sounds like you found a shrine to Prospero. He was supposedly in charge of all things that came out of the earth. Miners left him tributes. Guess they were hoping Prospero would protect them from a cave-in. Or an explosion. Or toxic gases.
I think they're back, exile. The voices. I can hear them talking to me down there. Just whispers, here and there. Whispers, and scratching. Like they're buried somewhere deep. Can't make out any words, but I can feel their emotions. They're not happy. Not happy at all.
Love the stuff, really. The weight, the roughness... The way it makes my hands and brain tingle, like they're covered in hundreds of tiny little ants. Need more and more to keep the lights in the mine going, which is fine by me.
Probably heard about all the weird experiments the Templar were doin' back in Oriath, eh? Probably seen some of the results around here. Need a lot of power to do something like that, I imagine... It just so happens I used to be the supplier of that power. Knew no one else who could handle Voltaxic Sulphite in Oriath. Made a lot of money selling the stuff to the Templar.
When I started hearing things... people... I went to the Templar for help. Thought they'd do a favour for their favourite miner. Locked me up instead! Me! In a bloody mental asylum! Should've bought them off, but I dug out instead. Should've bought them off when they caught up to me and tried to ship me off to Wraeclast, but my head wasn't right. Still might not be.
You'll run across plenty of ruins down there. Eternal, Vaal, and... others. You'd know if you'd seen them. Bones everywhere. Walls of bones. Pillars. Piles and piles and piles. All different sizes. Child sized bones. The Vaal were bloody and merciless, but they were better than what came before. Went no deeper once I saw that. Wish I'd not gone that deep in the first place.
A dirty deal made deep in the dirt. That's what the gold piles down there mean. A bargain with the God of Wealth and the Underworld, Prospero. That it remains there is proof that Prospero is no more. Or... maybe the offering was recent. Hope you left it undisturbed. Wouldn't want to tempt a god's wrath, would you? Eh?
Can you hear them, exile? They're locked away down there. The darkness has them imprisoned... Bait, trying to coax us out of the light. But we're not so dumb, are we, exile? No no no... We'll not be lured into the darkness so easily.
Been a long time since I was around this much sulphite. Forgot how it made me feel. Strong! But... Forgot how many others want it. How loud they are. They're after it. Might try to kill me to get it. Tear me apart, squeeze the dust from my skin. Might try to do the same to you, exile.
Made myself very rich selling Voltaxic Sulphite to the Templar. Didn't know what they were doing with it, but it wasn't hard to guess. Was a couple years ago that I started hearing... them. The voices. Talking to me. Telling me things about the people around me. Things I shouldn't know. Secrets. Wonderful, violent secrets.
Went to the Templar and told 'em what I knew. What I was getting told. Who was telling it. Templar didn't bloody believe me. Locked me up in a... in a prison! But my little messenger told me how to escape. Told me to dig. Dig, dig, dig. Dug my way to freedom. Templar didn't like that, no no. Sent an army after me. Tossed me on a slaver's ship and sent me to Wraeclast to rot. But I'm not rotting, am I, exile? I'm healthier than I've ever been, heheheh.
Can you hear 'em walking around down there? The Vaal, holed up in their ruins, still scrabbling at the walls and floors. Empire's been dead for thousands of years, but they ain't. Not dead enough for me, anyway. They're below us, but what's below them? I know... Can you hear them rattling their bones, exile? Beckoning us deeper and deeper, into their pit of bones? What's below the bones, exile? What's below the bones?
Tried to make a trade with Prospero, they did. That's why you saw gold down there. Someone wanted to avoid a dark fate. Gave away all their wealth. But it's still there, so... the God of Wealth must be full-up. Or the god never existed. Bunch of myths and stories to scare children and sap money from the mad and stupid. I'm not stupid though, am I? No... Not stupid.
Got to keep digging, exile. Got to keep digging! Need to let them out. Need to stop the chatter. They're too loud, exile. And they're all angry. Shouting at us. Can't understand a word. Probably get more done if they would be quiet for just one moment.
How do you stand the noise, exile? Can't even think with the bloody racket they're making. Wish someone would make 'em... disappear.
They're calling us... They're calling us again, exile. And we have to answer. Need to get to them. Free them. They need us, exile. You need to hurry. The darkness is crowding around us, exile. It's so hungry. It licks at our minds, tasting our fear. Lick lick lick! Only a taste though, exile. Only a taste for now.
They're definitely after it, exile. Want our pretty little rocks. Circling us like a pack of wolves. Like the darkness deep down in the mine. They want to swallow us both up and take our rocks. But we will have the last laugh. "HA!" We'll say. HA! HA!
The sulphite's ours. Pumping light into the darkness with our pretty little rocks. Carrying us deeper and deeper into the unknown and unknowable.
Machine's worth more than my life. Or yours, should it come to that, exile. No man or woman alive today could replicate it. They'll try, though. Oh, they'll try. They'll crack her open like an egg. Let her goo run across the ground and back into the mines. Back into the darkness. Gobbled up.
Won't let that happen. Would kill anyone who tries to take her in a heartbeat. Even you, exile. Even you.
Heheheh, they thought they could put ol' Niko to rest. Thought I'd die out here. Thought I'd keep the Templar's dirty little secret to myself! But I'm still breathin'. Still digging their beautiful rocks out of the ground, just like I was back in Oriath. But they ain't getting a single. Bloody. One.
They thought they'd lock me away from the angry voices in that dark room, but I got out. Ran through the square in my bloody prison garb. Hands bleeding everywhere. Must've tracked my blood to find me. Couldn't kill me though, could they. Had to send me to the cursed continent to die. Think they're still trying to get me, exile? Sending their ugly little spies my way?
Eternal relics on Vaal ruins. Vaal ruins on a living graveyard. Down and down and down. Layers and layers. Years and years. Never stopped building up so we never stop digging down, eh? Only a matter of time until we're buried too, exile. What secrets will be buried with us? What secrets remain to be dug up? heeheehee... I know a secret, exile. Do you?
What good is gold to the dead? Can't spend if you can't move or breath. Can't line the pockets of your betters, can you? Prospero, God of the Shining Rocks! He'll keep you alive down there... for a price. That's what they say, anyway. That's what they keep saying. Keep telling me to give more. Give away my beauties. But what do I get for it? Can't prove I didn't die already, can they? Can't prove we're not all already dead! Until I'm dead, the rocks are mine.
Prospero can come and get them if he wants them so badly... Heheheheheh... Wonder what the blood of a god tastes like.
Before I can take you to my mining operation I need a little something from you. Mining's dangerous at the best of times, but it's suicidal without a proper source of light. I've got lights, just ain't got no power. Run on Voltaxic Sulphite, they do. Nasty rocks. Stink like a dozen eggs rotting in the summer sun on the back of a whale carcass, and they're less stable than the High Templar on a bad day. Bloody toxic too.
I can smell some nearby, actually. How 'bout you follow your nose and find it, eh?
This is Crawler. Capable of scouting out a few of the valuables hidden down here, but needs your muscle to get to 'em. Tell it where you want to go, and try to stay alive 'til you get there. Crawler will burn through sulphite on the way, and we ain't made of sulphite, so choose carefully.
How about you follow it to a nearby Azurite vein, eh? Make sure you stick near Crawler's light. Believe me... you don't want to get dragged into the darkness.
Deeper you go, the more claustrophobic it feels. Like the darkness is closing in. Might be, exile. Might be trying to strangle ya. Might be time we try to squeeze a little more juice out of those lights. If you've got any Azurite spare, could be worth upgrading the lights at the generator.
The depths you're exploring are dangerous, exile. Not talking about the bloody monsters - if you stray into the darkness in your state, you'll be torn to shreds. Reckon you should use a little Azurite to insulate yourself from the darkness. Won't completely protect you, but... well, you won't die quite so fast. Generator ought to be able to take care of it for you, if you have the ore. Well... Go on.
Beauty. Look at it sparkle. Glows like blue embers in the dark. My machine here can turn these rocks into something a little more useful, but you'll need more than you've currently got. Come back once you've found more Azurite, eh?
Thought I was imagining things the first time I saw it. The darkness... squeezing in. Wish I was just imagining it, but... The deeper you go, the harder it squeezes. You oughta put some of your azurite towards making our lights a bit brighter at the generator.
Wasn't long ago I went too deep into the mine too quickly. Chasing glittering riches, I was. Lost track of me light. Strayed into the dark. Felt as if my skin was being eaten from the inside of my body. I was lucky to make it back. The deeper you go, the quicker the darkness will kill you. You need to insulate yourself at the generator. No amount of Azurite's worth your life.
You've seen it. I know you have. The darkness deep down there... it's growing stronger. Squeezing the light. Can't survive without the light though, can ya? Need to give it a kick up the arse. Use some of the azurite you've collected to make the lights shine brighter, else you'll have no room to bloody move.
It's angry now, exile. The darkness is angry. Angry that you are walking among it, alive. It wants you dead, and the deeper you go, the stronger it gets. Don't let it get you. Use some azurite at the generator to insulate yourself from it. Didn't hire you just to feed you to the bloody darkness.
You've done it now, exile. You've really done it now. Look how the darkness crowds around the light, waiting to pounce on you. The deeper you go, the stronger it gets. Pushes in towards the light. Only one way to fight back, exile. More light. Brighter light! Upgrade it at the generator with your ore. See how the darkness feels about that, eh? Heheheheh.
Look at yourself. Think you're ready to face whatever lies deeper in those mines, do ya? Think the equipment you're wearing will keep you alive? Ha! The darkness will eat right through that. It's strong, exile. Stronger than you. Only thing that might keep you standing is using some azurite to insulate yourself. I'd do that if I were you. Generator can take care of it for ya. Or if you'd rather, you can just submit to the darkness like all the others, heheheheh.
The darkness is coming for you, exile. The deeper you go, the stronger it pushes in towards the light. Can't stop it, either. Can only slow it down by making the lights shine brighter. Brighter and brighter they shine with the generator's help. Will it be enough? No way of knowing!
Felt the sting of the hungering gloom yet? All in due time. It's hungrier than it has ever been, the darkness. Hungrier than it's ever been, and there's nothing that will sate it. You can only try to make yourself taste rotten to it. Use some of your ore at the generator, and maybe, just maybe, you'll live a little longer. Heheheh.
You... didn't happen to see him did you? Masked man, reeking of blood and beasts. Walked right up to me. Told me the end was coming, like I didn't already know. Laughed right in his face. Called me stupid, so I left to get some dynamite... show him just how stupid I am. Only left for a moment but he was gone by the time I got back.
He comes back, I'll be here. Ready for him. Boom! Hahahaha.
See that? One moment, big blades, next moment, gone! Should be able to go in there now. Heard this place reeked of Voltaxic Sulphite back in the day. I was planning on having a wander down there, only... I think I can hear things shuffling around down there, and I'm more of a lover than a fighter.
Actually, if you're headed in there, maybe you could do us a favour. See, I run a little mining operation of my own. Mining's dangerous at the best of times, but it's suicidal without a proper source of light. I've got lights, just ain't got no power. Run on Voltaxic Sulphite, they do. Nasty rocks. Stink like a dozen eggs rotting in the summer sun on the back of a whale carcass, and they're less stable than the High Templar on a bad day. Bloody toxic too.
Keep your nostrils peeled for some Voltaxic Sulphite while you're down there, or anywhere really.
My, my! Good nose, exile. Know what you've found here? This is Voltaxic Sulphite. My name's Niko and I run a little mining operation of my own. Mining's dangerous at the best of times, but it's suicidal without a proper source of light. I've got lights, just ain't got no power. Run on Voltaxic Sulphite, they do. Nasty rocks. Stink like a dozen eggs rotting in the summer sun on the back of a whale carcass, and they're less stable than the High Templar on a bad day. Bloody toxic too.
You find more and I'll come right over. Don't touch it though. Stuff'll send you mad without the right precautions. You think I want to be dressed like this?
Tell you what - how about we take a look around my mine.
Quite liked it here, you know, right up until the bloody mountainside started bloody...well...bleedin'. Thought for sure I was hallucinating, 'til the others started screaming and scrambling. Always nice to get a little reassurance about your sanity, eh?
Well, this nice little outpost here's been, shall we say, marred. Don't get me wrong, I love a splash of colour, I just don't love that colour splashing on me and my friends here. Why do I get the feeling you were involved...?
Blood everywhere around here... Startin' to remind me of my time in that little room back in Oriath. All that digging really made a mess of me hands. The mitts ain't just for protecting me against the sulphite you know.
How can there be this much blood, exile? Where's it coming from? Where's it going? Know what I think? I think it's going back into the mountain. One big loop, exile. One bloody big loop, and someone's down there pumpin it.
This is a bad omen, exile. A real baaaad sign. What if all the water's turning to blood, eh? They say the Cataclysm did all sorts of strange things. This seems pretty strange to me! Been having a lot of dreams where I drink all that blood up. My body swells up like a big grape. Can't hold it in. BANG! I'm gone. What do you think that means, eh? Maybe I'm the only one who can stop it... Maybe I'm the reason it's here in the first place.
Somethin' about masks just put me on the defensive. Probably has something to do with my less-than-pleasant run-ins with the Templar. But she seems like an alright sort. Not exactly one to mess with, what with those bloody big blades of hers.
The thing about her is... she's so... normal. It's like she's trying to blend in so hard that she sticks out. Suspicious if you ask me... very, very suspicious. Not that I'd tell her that. I've seen what she can do with a knife.
Nice girl, she is. Very nice indeed. Too nice. Whatever it is she's hiding with that little performance, its big, exile. Big and heavy. A boulder-sized secret that threatens to sink our nice little ship.
Einhar... Bloody Einhar won't leave me alone! "We are best friends yes? We will survive the bloody first ones yes?" No, Einhar, none of that is true and you're bloody crazy. And wash yourself once in a bloody while, will ya!
That Einhar keeps lugging skins and organs over to me, like they're bloody gifts. What am I supposed to do with half a hellion kidney, Einhar? Eh? I don't want it. No one wants it. No one wants you. Just stay in your little zoo!
You know, me and him have spent a little time together now, and I must say... I really don't like him. He smells and he talks too much. I told him to piss off and he laughed and slapped me on the back! I wasn't bloody joking.
Einhar's a bloody lunatic. But you know what? He's growing on me. I don't want to actively hit him in the face with a rock, so that's something. Weird thing is, when he's not around, I still hear his laugh. Or someone's laugh... Might be my laugh.
My beasty mate. What a guy. Heck of a shot. Loves a laugh. Rips animals apart and brings me all sorts of odd giblets. Can't believe I used to hate him! Dunno what changed if I'm honest, but since we're all stuck together, I ain't complaining.
Zana's bright. Brighter than anyone else I can think of, actually, and since I live surrounded by literal darkness, I know a thing or two about bright. When I hit a wall with my own machinery, she's the one I talk to.
There aren't many people worthy of praise left in this world, but Zana is one of them. She outwitted the Templar, built a magnificent device, and hasn't tried to kill anyone in front of me yet. A rare gem indeed.
Clever and ambitious, that Zana. And with a kind heart! That's a particularly rare find in this day and age. Still... I can't shake the feeling there's something she's not telling me. Something... important.
Zana's hiding something. She's very clever, so it's not obvious, but I've seen her...fidgeting. And fretting. What is there to fret about? Something she hasn't told us, that's what. She's lucky I like her...
Shh. Don't want her hearing. I think she's found something she doesn't want the rest of us to know about. Know what I think it is?... That's right, exile... another mine. A secret load of Azurite. And she's keeping it all for herself. But her secret's safe with me! ...err... Us, I guess.
Dunno how I feel about Navali. Seems to me like the power to see the future could make someone very prosperous, but she's keeping tight-lipped about anything that could help me! Seems pretty selfish, if you ask me.
I want to like Navali. I really do. But... did you know she's bloody undead?! I've seen what the undead can do, exile, and let me tell you, it's hard to trust someone who might eat your face at any moment.
Sometimes Navali looks over at me and just... frowns. Not an angry frown, more like... pity? I know she's seeing my future... Doesn't exactly fill me with hope. If my future's looking grim, I'd quite frankly rather not know.
How can Navali sit there, knowing what's going to happen to all of us, keeping those lips tightly sealed, eh? She knows exactly where and when each of us is going to die. That's creepy. And she won't bloody tell us? That's... evil.
She knows too much, exile. Too much! And there's nothing we can do about it! Can't kill her, since she's already bloody dead. Can't make her tell us what she knows, because even if we know, we can't bloody do a thing to change it. What's the point? What's the point in anything!?
She's smart enough to know that the blackguards are bad news... Though she did join 'em in the first place. Well, we've all made bad decisions, eh? Couldn't have been easy deciding to leave 'em neither. They're not exactly the most forgiving lot.
Helena's a good egg. Her moral compass was a little bent, but Oriath'll do that to ya, as we both know all too well. Got a pretty good brain in her too. Not quite as knowledgeable as me about rocks, but who is, eh?
Been thinkin' that maybe I oughta keep an eye on that girl. She seems pretty desperate to stay hidden. Gotta ask yourself why... She says she's worried about blackguards, but who knows how true that really is, eh?
She says she's still on the run from the blackguards, but... how do we really know where her loyalties lie? Wish we could crack her head open and see what her brain's doing. She looks like a fighter though. Not really much of a fighter, myself. Just gonna keep an eye on her for now.
Helena... Clever, kind, polite... seems too good to be true, if you ask me. You ask me, I think it IS too good to be true. Reckon she's got some sinister plans... Oh, she hasn't done anything...untoward...yet, but why would she blow her cover like that, eh? No, she's biding her time. Well I'm biding mine too. Let's see who lasts longer. Let's just wait and see, eh?