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From Liandri Archives
The Nali are the deeply religious and spiritual race, indigenous to Na Pali, that has been enslaved by the Skaarj Empire. They appear in two variations, regular Nali, sometimes referred to as monks, and more colorfully painted Nali Priests that tend to show up in areas of religious importance. Most Nali serve in the mines, digging out the incredibly valuable Tarydium crystals. On average, a Nali is 8 feet tall and weighs 165 lbs.
The Nali themselves are mostly passive, though some still have enough will to rebel. Nali corpses have been discovered on Na Pali with weapons nearby, suggesting that some Nali are attempting outright rebellion against their Skaarj oppressors. Other Nali have been reported to aid offworld visitors in exchange for protection. A Nali so inclined would beckon with their lower arms and say, "Batai d'va". The Skaarj were often aware of these insurrections and would lay an ambush for both the Nali and their would-be helpers. Nali diaries discovered on the planet's surface contained a surprising amount of detail about the surrounding terrain, and even a limited amount of tactical information about Skaarj movements.
Skaarj and Krall will often kill Nali on-sight, even in the presence of offworlders. Nali are also found crucified to crosses specifically built for the Nali's four arms, or hung by their feet or ankles. Particularly noteworthy occurrences of this are outside and inside the Dark Arena, in a hidden attic in the Dasa Cellars, on the rim of the Bluff Eversmoking crater, and on the way to the Demonlord's Lair beneath the Nali Castle.
Despite these periodic exchanges with offworlders, Nali are often skittish and distrustful due to their experience with the Skaarj. As such, they will often flee when they come under fire, and refuse to cooperate with offworlders thereafter.
Nali have limited kinetic powers, such as the ability to teleport away from a place through meditation.
Nali Ghosts can be seen in places such as Castles and underground Ceremonial Chambers. Nali Ghosts are like everyday Nali that you see but the difference is that they have different powers such as going through walls, teleporting the player, and summoning items instantly. They are invunerable, and sometimes turn invisible in combat. Their appearance is transparent, sometimes you can catch them flying out of idols and graves. They are very helpful, you may find them in Chizra's Temple, Cellars at Dasa Mountain Pass, the Nali Castle, Na Pali Haven and Gateway to Na Pali in Unreal 1. Sometimes, as a quite uncommon bonus feature, when a Nali ghost finds you friendly it will show you a vision of what happend when the Nali was alive, and how it was killed.
There is a sense of progression going on throughout the Nali's religious structures, and the extent to which their belief system is true is difficult to ascertain. The Temple of Chizra, for example, is an extensive temple devoted to the Nali Water God. Among other temples are the Temple of Vandora, the Goddess of Lightning; and the Temple of Velora. It is not clear what Velora is the goddess of, though she is always associated with trials and deadly traps. Velora and Chrizra seem to resemble Mayan or Aztec gods from planet Earth, depicted in wall-carvings and relief statues. They tend to be associated with large yellow bricks and wood as building materials, and always have plenty of water in their temples.
Vandora's temple seems more Gothic in design, and the depiction of Vandora herself appears closer, perhaps, to Greek or Roman depictions of deities than Velora or Chizra. There is a quote supposedly from Vandora herself written on the walls in one chamber of her temple that reads: "And Vandora came down, with fire from the sky upon her wings, and sanctified the holy fountain with her kiss. Thus, she said, whoever follows me shall cast off the bonds of flesh and become as elusive as the mist." What is most striking about Vandora is that her basic structure is human. She bears four arms, and a pair of feathered wings, but otherwise she is human, suggesting that she was, perhaps, a survivor of a crash landing farther back in Nali history who made a significant enough impression on the Nali that they revered her as a Goddess. Further research into Nali mysticism suggests a strong correlation with encounters with offworlders that defy anything else existing in their culture. Nali often revere alien crafts that land or crash on their planet, calling them chariots from the stars and the like. A standard-issue Eightball Launcher is referred to by the Nali as the "Stick of Six Fires".
However, the Nali religion is not entirely discounted as misinterpretation. In the Temple of Chizra, there was discovered a documented account of Nali lore: "Look into your own eyes, and when your courage is strongest your last step toward the prize will be upheld by your faith." Behind a hidden wall there is a pit with an obelisk of sorts in the middle and a walkway surrounding it. Around the backside of the obelisk is a mirror, in front of which floats a shield belt. There are unconfirmed reports that it is in fact possible to walk unimpeded across the pit and obtain that belt. Nali will occasionally speak of their dreams, or make prophecies that end up coming true, in one way or another. Eventually, it is never entirely sure how much truth there actually is to the Nali religion, and how much is based on exposure to extraterrestrial elements.
The Nali religion itself seems to be in the middle of a transformation. The Chizra and Velora temples seem to be in the most disrepair, whereas the Vandora temple seems slightly more modern, bearing tables, books and studies as well as the previous wall carvings. There are also churches and monasteries devoted to their Savior Princess from the Stars, who will liberate them from the Sky Demons, otherwise known as the Skaarj. The statues of the Savior appear more or less androgynous, although there is a carving in the Sky Town monastery that depicts the savior as a male figure similar in design to classical depictions of the Christian God, bracketed by four-armed human angles. By contrast, a writing in a basement of Bluff Eversmoking specifically calls the savior a Princess. This could be a representation of the beginning of different denominations or interpretations forming in the Nali culture, a feature highly prominent in early Christianity. It could also be, however, based on some dim early preception of the crash of the UMS Vortex Rikers, and in it Prisoner 849 - The reference to the saviour as a female in Bluff Eversmoking could even hint on Gina, the default player character in the game.
The polytheistic temples are obviously older and in a greater state of disrepair, but they are still maintained by Nali Priests, and it is obvious through Nali writings that the old Gods are not yet fully discounted. This suggests a sort of transitional phase from a typically more "archaic" polytheistic viewpoint to a more "modern" monotheistic viewpoint.
As peaceful as the Nali are, there are suggestions toward more brutal aspects of their culture. The Dark Arena, a Roman-style coloseum of sorts, appears to be of Nali origin, and situated in view of the large portrait of Vandora, who herself has a vengeful, hot-tempered look characteristic of the attitudes of some Roman deities, is a sacrificial altar complete with a blood groove. What exactly was sacrificed on this altar is unknown, but it is easily large enough for a Nali to lie on. The Dark Arena and Nali Castle both contain dungeons and torture chambers in their basements that appear to be of Nali construction, though they are now under the operation of the Skaarj. This element suggests that there may be more diverse elements of Nali culture than the presumption of innocent, peaceful natives enslaved by evil invaders.
The Nali will often build tests and trials, of varying lethality, and seem to value sharp awareness of one's surroundings, an ability to interpret riddles, as well as physical dexterity and daring.
The Skaarj have been a major element of Nali culture an ultimately unknown period of time, but it is clear that they have been present for probably several generations. As far back as Chizra the Skaarj are mentioned, with their aquatic cousins, the Slith depicted in carvings and mentioned in writings. There is, however, mention of a time before the presence of the Skaarj, that temples must be purified by the Savior.
The Nali religion is sophisticated and deep, making the Nali themselves far more than the "stereotyped natives" typically attributed to them. Some Nali documentation suggests that the Nali believed they had found a savior in the lone survivor of the Vortex Rikers crash, and that the end of the Sky Demons was at hand. However, the Nali are still enslaved by the Skaarj, which calls into question whether Na Pali was entirely liberated in the days following that incident. While it is unclear whether the Nali had in fact driven the Skaarj from the planet at that time, what can be confirmed is that the Vortex Rikers incident was a critical junction in the buildup to the Human/Skaarj War, which in turn led to the Tournament.
Unreal Championship 2
In Unreal Championship 2 captured Nali are used in a gametype called Nali Slaughter, invented by the Skaarj. The Nali are dressed in simple, white shorts and are forced to remain in areas filled with heavily armed Tournament competitors who will try to kill as many of them as possible. Besides regular Nali, which are worth one point, there are invisible Nali who are worth three points, and explosive self-destructing Nali, who are worth five. The self-destructing Nali can run faster, and will actually run towards competitors trying to blow them up.