Part 36: Of Mice & Crazy Sewer-Dwelling British-Impersonating Men
Of Mice & Crazy Sewer-Dwelling British-Impersonating Men
"Before we go, I'm shoving these corpses in this chest here."
"Dare I ask, you know, why?"
"It does seem slightly eccentric."
"Man, you guys don't know anything. This stuff is evidence. Evidence of a crime. A gargoyle crime. And gargoyle crime is what I do."
"I don't remember any of this being part of the Quest of the Avatar."
"I seem to recall you spending most of your time crying, flailing uselessly with a magic wand, and dying during my Quest of the Avatar, Iolo."
On the wall are ceremonial swords and shields. Now, you might be thinking "Hey, free swords!" but while 4 points of damage might seem impressive, you have to consider the metric against which this is judged.
Here's a regular sword. No magic, nothing of the sort, just a sword. They aren't kidding about the decorative part.
After cleaning out all the food and booze in the dining room (don't do this when Lord British is around or he'll call you a thief, even after telling you everything in his castle is yours to use), I head back into the kitchen to meet with Antonio Handsome, butcher extraordinaire and sex machine to all the wenches.
You see a bare chested, muscular man, his body gleaming with sweat.
"Hello there. You are?"
"Excuse me a moment." He pulls a napkin from his belt and mops at his brow. "Now, what were you saying?"
"I was just asking your name. This is like the single most basic question I can ask in an Ultima game."
"Wait a minute," he interrupts, "I recognize you... you're the Avatar! I've always wanted to meet you. From the day I first saw your portrait, I knew you must be the most beautiful woman in all Britannia."
"She can be quite the looker without the beard, I admit."
"Shut up, Iolo. Uh, thanks, I guess?"
"Funny you should mention that... it reminds me of my secret recipe for roast boar."
"Me hating Iolo reminds you of carving up a well-roasted husk of meat? Finally, someone who understands!"
"The secret is in the spices. It's an old family recipe."
"What's the recipe?"
"I'll never tell. Though for one so sweet, I must say I'm tempted."
"Are you hitting on me or talking about your meat?"
"Can't it be both?"
"I no longer feel comfortable talking to you."
"See you later. And next time you dine with his majesty, I'll cook you something special." He seems about to say more, with a hopeful look in his eyes. But then he turns away without speaking.
"They don't have roofies in Britannia, do they?"
"I don't think this is a productive line of conversation, Steve."
"We never did get his name, did we."
"But how do you-"
"I'm the Avatar, I know."
Thus thoroughly grossed out, we proceed to swipe all the meat and cheese and such from the kitchen, because we can, and we'll probably need it. The quality of food determines its nourishment; rations and simple fruit and vegetables aren't as filling as meats and cheeses. Ultimately, however, it's better to just take everything anyway.
Barrels can be opened, but not closed. Hmm, even more cheese. Does somebody around here really like cheese?
In the sitting room in the southern part of the castle, I may just have found the answer.
You see a cute little mouse.
"Squeak, squeak, squeak!"
"Talking to a mouse? Methinks you're starting to imagine things..."
"Yes, I understand now. Gentlemen, I have parleyed with this mouse and I believe we have come to an understanding."
"Go ahead and introduce yourself, Sherry."
"Pleased to meet you! Do you have any cheese?"
"Sweet crap on a crap cracker!"
"Indeed I do."
"Can I have some?"
"Sure, why not?"
"Thank you very much!"
"This is starting to freak me out, man."
"After careful consideration, I have decided to ask Sherry to join our party. I feel she will be an invaluable aid to our quest to battle giant, man-eating gargoyles."
"I have no objections."
"Great! I can help you!"
I admit, I made some of this conversation up.
I did not, however, make up the fact that the mouse can talk and can in fact join the party.
Sherry is one of the most dextrous party members you can acquire, although she has two major flaws. The first is that she starts at a very low level. The second is that she's a fucking mouse, and as such has a grand total of 1 Strength.
Understandably, this creates certain problems, such as the fact that she cannot equip anything that weighs over 1 stone and she can only carry 2 stones of stuff. As most weapons weigh at least 1 stone, this creates certain... difficulties in using her. However, she has just as much HP as a human at equivalent levels, and she technically has no restrictions on the equipment she can use and wear, if I can get her the strength to do it.
So, I suppose the question to be put forth here is: Who doesn't want to see a mouse in platemail wielding a halberd by the time this game is over?
Didn't think so.
In other news, I'm taking those potions. They are all pretty useful, for reasons not immediately apparent.
Day finally breaks, and it becomes possible to actually see things. The little turd-like object is Sherry, by the way. Activating this winch...
...lowers the drawbridge.
The portcullis is still up though, so this switch raises it. Now we can enter and leave Lord British's Castle. Before I go, though, let's poke around in the sewers for a bit. I won't stay there long, because I have other things to do, but for now let's see what happens."
Not much down here, but you can actually make good use of the sewers if you're headed for certain places it connects to. However, there are a lot of locked doors down here and I'm short on picks (though save/reload abuse can help), and I don't want or need to go anywhere just yet.
There is, however, another NPC down here.
You see a skinny, awkward looking man, wearing boots that come up past his knees.
"Hey hey hey! Welcome to the finest sewers in Britannia. You look like you need a nickname, so I'll call you 'ducks.'"
"My name's Daros, old duck." He shakes your hand.
"Is it too late to go back to the kitchen? What the hell are you even doing down here?"
"Well, ducky, I keep the sewers running the way they should. When work is slow, sometimes I play a joke or two on my friends to keep things lively." He winks at you.
"So the sewers are your... occupation?"
"Britain is the biggest city in the world, and all those people use a lot of water."
"Britain is like 7 buildings tops, that's not exactly impressive."
"All the runoff drains down here. It's not a bad place to work, really, except for the rats."
"They're pretty big, ducky, but not to worry. They usually won't eat you until after they've killed you first. Of course, if you have a set of panpipes, I hear you can just pipe them away. I don't have a set myself. I usually just run away. It's real good exercise!"
"I'm not sure I'd call this water."
"I wouldn't go swimming around here, ducks."
"You said we're under Britain?"
"Go back up and have a look! I'm sure it's still there." He grins, obviously delighted with his own sense of humor.
"Your jokes must really make you the life of the, um, sewer."
"Oh, you know, ducks, I tell the usual kinds." He nudges you in the ribs.
"Careful, those ribs are for dinner. Stolen from the castle and everything."
"Even though we don't know each other that well, I'd like to think of you as my friend already."
"Yeah, I imagine it gets hard to keep track of all your buddies sometimes. Listen, we're going to go back up where there's daylight."
"See you around!" He gives you a hearty slap on the back as you leave, which almost knocks one of the straps on your pack loose."
It's only upon reaching the surface that I notice Daros has given me a present.
Lord British has also given me presents. Son of a bitch, I knew he was hoarding all the good armor. What does he even need it for? He's invincible and can kill people instantly, that son of a bitch!
Oh well, after two full updates we're almost ready to head out to Britain proper. On our way, however, we're accosted and forced into conversation with a strange fellow.
You see a sly looking fellow, dressed in rags.
"Hello, my good woman!"
"Hi there, I'm Steve the Avatar, you may have heard of me. And you are?"
He glances around quickly, to see if anyone seems to be listening. "I'm Lord British. But don't tell anyone. I'm in disguise so I can mingle with the commoners."
"That's a disguise? I, uh, didn't recognize you."
"Very convincing, don't you think? I made it myself. Of course, nobody would dare say anything bad about me to my face. Nobody except Chuckles, anyway. But as a beggar, people will tell me just about anything!"
"I haven't run into Chuckles yet, how is he doing?'
"He's in disguise too, you know. He's really Blackthorn."
"I somehow doubt that."
"I decided banishment was too harsh for him, so I brought him back and made him my jester. The real Chuckles is tied up in my dungeons. I got tired of him making fun of my nose."
"Funny, in all the time I've known Lord B- err, known you, you've never seemed like the type."
"I'm Lord British, and I can do whatever I want!"
"If you need me later, I'll be at the Blue Boar, disguised as the tavernkeeper. But I won't admit it there if you ask me... too many people that might hear."
You see Shamino smiling - an unusual sight.
Noticing your attention, he says "Perhaps there's a little of Lord British in us all."