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 Baldur's Gate II - Quallo's Story.

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Nakia the Rogue

PostSubject: Baldur's Gate II - Quallo's Story.   Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:04 am

I find Quallo the sadest figure in BGII and have felt there shoud be more to his story. This is my attempt to resolve this. My problem is not where to start or even the ending. It is all the stuff goes in between. This is the start. Critique is welcome.

Quallo’s Quest

Returning from a highly profitable enterprise, Nakia slips silently through the dark streets of Athkatla. Entering the Copper Coronet, she glances around. It is early morning and few patrons are present. The ever present Bernard is behind the bar polishing glasses. The bar being newly renovated because of some recent troubles and is very shiny and clean. The resident guardsman is not present.

Nakia waves at Bernard and goes upstairs to her room. She places the rewards of her labor in its hiding place, trapped in case of malicious visitors. It is still early for her to sleep so she decides to do a little exploring. She heads back downstairs but to the exit to the sewers. Recent events have pretty much cleaned out the sewers.

Easily avoiding the few traps which remain she goes to an area where a strange man called Quallo resides. She sees him sitting dejectedly at a table and moves openly to him.

“Quallo, my friend, how be thee? He shakes his head and looks sadly at her. “Ah, friend. To be my friend is unlucky.”

Nakia pulls up a box, sits down and places two bottles of honey mead and some honey cakes on the table. “Aye, ye have told me of the friend you lost. However, I would know more of you. Tell me why you are in the sewers of Athkatla.

Quallo drinks the honey mead. Picks up a honey cake and greedily devours it. Nakia watches him then pulls out another bottle of honey mead and places it in front of Quallo. She thinks that a drunk crazy might make more sense than a sober one. Quallo drinks from the bottle. Then leans back and says:

“Love lost, forever gone. Friend lost, forever gone. Damned am I to live in loneliness. My wrongs have brought me to this pass. Now I belong to the sewers, to the rubbish heap. I bring bad luck. You had best be gone before you too are cursed. All is lost. All is gone. Death would be a blessing.” He drinks the rest of the mead.

Nakia pulls another bottle out and places it in front of Quallo, wondering how much he can drink before becoming very incoherent. “Aye I know of the friend but who was the love?”

Quallo is silent. Now he sips from the bottle while nibbling on a cake. One hand makes marks on the table. Then he raises his head and looks at Nakia.

“I loved her. She was so good, so beautiful. I failed her. She was stolen. Taken from all who loved her. It was my fault. I was not there when she needed me. I traced her to Athkatla but the trail grew cold. Hopelessness o’ercame me.. To the sewers I descended. Once I had power. But power was my enemy, my downfall, my failure.”

Quallo falls silent, staring into some vision seen only by his eyes. Then his head falls. Tears fall from his eyes. He folds his arms on the table, lays his head on his arms and sobs desperately.

Nakia waits silently and patiently for Quallo’s tears to subside. Eventually he raises his head and looks at her. “Do you not understand my despair? Can you not feel my pain and let it rest? I suffer til I die. The best favor you could do me is to kill me.”

“Nay, you are me friend. I would help you but you must tell me more. Tell me what you know.” Again, Nakia places a bottle on the table, hoping it is not too much.

Now Quallo drinks slowly from the bottle and munches on a cake. A thoughtful, sad look on his face. “My love, Aginila, the most beautiful of women was stolen from our village. I was away studying, thinking that my studies were more important than anything else was. I later learned than that slavers had brought her to Athkatla. I sought her but could get no information. I had but a name, Shin Becarne. I sought but could not find him. I searched the whole of the city. I strayed into the sewers and found my proper place. I had failed my love.”

Nakia looks sadly at Quallo, feeling his pain. A halfling knows the tragedy of love as well as anyone else. She likes Quallo and wonders if she could do anything for him. She now has contacts in the city perhaps she could learn more of this Shin Becarne. She says nothing, not wanting to give him false hope but decides to do some investigating.

To be continued. This was originally posted on another forum years ago.

Blind faith is a liability: Skepticism a necessity.

Last edited by Nakia the Rogue on Thu Apr 18, 2013 10:27 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Nakia the Rogue

PostSubject: Re: Baldur's Gate II - Quallo's Story.   Tue Apr 16, 2013 9:22 pm

Quallo has another drink of mead. Lays his head on his arms and falls asleep. Nakia sits for moment thinking then rises and returns silently to the Copper Coronet. She retires to her room and prepares for bed.

Awakening in the early afternoon she makes her ablutions and goes down to the bar room. She gets some food and replenishes her stock of honey mead. Then she heads to the streets of Athkatla.

The sun is shining brightly creating shadows from the buildings but Nakia does not bother trying to hide in shadows. She merely checks to be sure that nothing is lurking in them. She walks to the Bridge District and enters the house of a halfling relative.

“Shungar, how be ye?” “I be right well, Nakia and be ye? Sit and partake of this new dish I created.” Shungar places food and drink on a table and they sit down to enjoy what halflings love best. “Shungar, I be in good health and all goes well with me. I do have a little problem though.” She tells him of her conversation with Quallo. “He be such a sad creature and I would help him if I can. Thou hast been Athkatla for many years, hast thou heard of this Shin Becarne?”

Shungar leans back and thinks for a while. Then nodding his head says, “The name does sound familiar. Methinks he was a smuggler or slaver. I do remember hearing that he has become a successful merchant. Talk to Ribald at the Adventurers Mart. He will know of any merchants in Athkatla and much else as well.”

They finish their repast while talking of various things interesting to a halfling. One of Shungar’s granddaughters was getting married soon and he invited Nakia to the wedding feast. She of course accepted gladly. Thanking him for the meal and information Nakia rises and leaves for the Promenade District to visit the Adventurers Mart.

Entering the Adventurers Mart, she notes the guard and knows this no place to try to steal anything. Looking around she sees supplies for every type of adventurer and more. She approaches the counter and when the man behind it looks at her says, “Be thou Ribald?” The man nods his head. “I was told you knew all the merchants in Athkatla. I am searching for one named Shin Becarne. Dost thou know of him?”

Ribald looks at her carefully, recognizing an experienced rogue. “Aye, I know of him. He has been successful but respectable merchants think poorly of him. What need you from him?"

“I seek information from him. He may know someone I look for.”

“He has a house in the Promenade not far from here. Go to the top of the Promenade. Tis near the place where there was a mage battle. The third house in of those left standing.”

Nakia thanks him and buys a few potions and other supplies. Leaving the Mart she climbs up the stairs. Over to her left she can see an area of mass destruction. It is being cleared but that will obviously take a long time. At the top she finds the third building. She goes around to the back. It would be easy for her to get into the house but now is not the time. So she decides to explore the Promenade.

She watches the work going on in the destroyed area for a while then wanders past the houses and down to the center of the Promenade. There are animals in cages but nothing unusual. Then she sees a ship which claims to be a flying ship. She shakes her head in disbelief and moves on. Ah, there is the circus tent she has heard about. The stories go that a Bhaalspawn rescued it from some terrible magic. Trouble is the stories vary so much. He was a great fighter. She was a mighty mage and so on. The story changes according to who is telling it. However a circus might be fun and fun always interests a halfling. Paying a small fee she enters the tent and finds a seat. The show is quite good with acrobats, animal trainers, magicians and clowns.

Exiting the tent she finds that it is dusk. She checks some of the merchants but finds nothing of interest. Night has now fallen and she decides to check Shin Becarne’s house. So back up the stairs she climbs. Sometimes she wishes she had magic ability and could do a teleportation spell. Oh well, walking was healthy and she saw a lot. She goes to the back of the house. The moon hasn’t risen yet so it is unlikely that anyone would notice her even without her special talents. She climbs quickly and silently to a ledge she had previously noted. Carefully peering in a window she sees a very beautiful woman sitting at a table examining something.

Quietly opening the window she enters the room and moves behind the woman. She quickly places a hand over the woman’s mouth while holding a dagger in front of her.

“Sh, silent, I mean thee no harm. Tis only information I wish. I seek a woman named Aginila. One scream and thou art dead.” She removes her hand from the woman’s mouth.

“I…I am Aginila. Wha…what do you want?” The woman shivers in fear but does not move.

“I know a man named Quallo who has told me a story of a lost love named Aginila. She was stolen by a slaver named Shin Becarne. Dost thou know Quallo?”

Despite her fear Aginila smiles, a mocking smile. “Know that fool? Aye, I know him. So he claims I was his love. Such foolishness. Oh, he did pay some court to me but his true love was the power he thought magic would bring him. Our village was poor and Shin Becarne offered me luxuries, wealth, servants. I am his wife now. I have borne him two children. He has given me all he promised and more. Go tell your friend, Quallo, that he is not missed nor wanted. Go now, you have your information.”

Nakia leaps quickly to the window and out. Aginila is calling to the household guards. “Help, thief, murder, ayee!” Nakia vanishes into the darkness and speeds out of the Promenade.

She goes to the Bridge District where there is a temple to Yondalla, the halfling goddess. Finding a quiet spot to sit she sits and thinks. What should she do? If she tells Quallo what she knows will it help him or hurt him? Then she perks up. It isn’t necessary for her to tell him anything right now. She has a wedding feast to attend in a few days. Reaching into a pouch she pulls out a necklace of colored stones which she happened to get from Aginila. It will make a nice wedding present for the bride.

Note: And so my friends here ends the tale. Not the ending I would choose. Poor Quallo is doomed to wander the sewers of Athkatla yet. Whether Nakia will ever tell him I know not. Perhaps it is best that he not know what Aginila said. Only the gods can say and they haven’t spoken to me.

Blind faith is a liability: Skepticism a necessity.
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Enlightened Viewer

PostSubject: Re: Baldur's Gate II - Quallo's Story.   Fri Apr 26, 2013 11:04 am

Here’s the critique – I hope it’s useful.


There is much to enjoy and much of interest in this story about Quallo. I felt one of its strengths lay in the dialogue. The style of delivery you’ve applied to language spoken by the characters works well in the setting. I also felt speech flows organically between the individuals depicted. In addition, the sentence construction of your dialogue is good.

Your story is structured and driven by Nakia’s need to know why Quallo resides in the sewers of Athkatla. I felt this was more than just: a little exploring; it is her need to resolve a question that burns in her mind – that there is more to his story. Perhaps this should be indicated at this juncture, as it gives motivation to her action of entering the sewer and seeking Quallo out.

I consider your ending to be excellent. That Quallo is a lost cause resonates clearly in Aginilla’s response to Nakia’s question. You have made Nakia’s magpie instinct clear in your second paragraph, where she hides the rewards of her labour, so for her to steal from Aginilla is totally appropriate and in keeping with the character you’ve created. A further trait which reminded me of a bird, was the quick switch of Nakia’s mentality in the final paragraph. She moves on almost abruptly to thoughts of the wedding and I could picture her head bobbing in a bird like fashion as she moved onto a new seed of thought. This works as Nakia has her answer, regardless of Quallo’s situation.

This consideration of Nakia’s character leads me onto what I felt could be improved upon. I wanted to know more about two of your characters. For me, Quallo and Aginila needed fleshing out. For instance; I have no idea how Quallo looks – is he human? What is his physique, what is he wearing? There is a sense from the style of speech that Quallo may be a monster, but I felt some descriptive attributes for him and Aginila would have given the characters more depth.

This also applied to your settings. I’d have liked to know more about Athkatla – what type of city is it? I felt the comments about dark shadows were more about Nakia and her status as a rogue than the city itself. There are parts where you do describe Nakia’s surroundings – the Promenade for instance, but I’d have liked to know if the Mart was quiet or busy, how Nakia managed to find Ribald immediately – what identified him as a possibility? Also, what is the sewer like? We know it’s been cleared out, presumably of monsters, but are there blood stains? Is it dank and how does it feel to be down there? You have a strong story here, with strong dialogue. I’d like to see your descriptive ability crank up the atmosphere in the streets and sewers of Athkatla.

There was one point in the story where I really wanted more. The conversation with Aginila reveals Quallo’s true love was magic. With her questioning mind, wouldn’t Nakia want to know more about this? I did, I felt there was a further question and answer that would have given Aginila’s story greater depth.

None of these points prevented me from enjoying Quallo’s story tho’ and I did feel the ending was perfect for the character of Nakia.

Last edited by Sue77 on Sat Apr 27, 2013 8:14 am; edited 1 time in total
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Nakia the Rogue

PostSubject: Re: Baldur's Gate II - Quallo's Story.   Fri Apr 26, 2013 3:25 pm

Thank you for the critique just what I wanted. The weak part of the story where I fail to describe her surroundings is because I was writing this story for a specific audience, people who had played the game, knew the city, sewers and Quallo well. You are correct to write for a general audience I would need to flesh out the story more. My cousin felt that I could have done more with the conversation between Nakia and her kinsman.

Thank you for the compliment about the ending but wrote itself. I had planned a happy ending but the story twisted away from me and took its own path.

one question in writing for a general audience would I need to describe Nakia more. Be more descriptive of Halflings and who they are and their philosophy to life?

Blind faith is a liability: Skepticism a necessity.
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Enlightened Viewer

PostSubject: Re: Baldur's Gate II - Quallo's Story.   Fri Apr 26, 2013 4:46 pm

I felt you gave information during the meeting between Nakia and her relative that people would key into due to The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, but it wouldn't hurt to give more background information in this area and to show the reader Nakia's mind-set.

I'm glad the critique was what you were wanting. I was worried in case you felt I'd taken your request too seriously!


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Nakia the Rogue

PostSubject: Re: Baldur's Gate II - Quallo's Story.   Sat Apr 27, 2013 4:48 am

Smile Sue, always take my request for critique seriously. There is no room for improvement when people tell you only positive things. It does help to know what you did right but helps even more to know where you need to improve. Negative criticism that is done politely, with kindness and may a little gum drop on the same should always be welcome.

Blind faith is a liability: Skepticism a necessity.
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