Part 37: In Which Britain's Kind Citizens Ignore Our Bungled Robbery Attempts
In Which Britain's Kind Citizens Ignore Our Bungled Robbery Attempts
Britain has a mint. This is good news for us, as we're quite poor. Unfortunately, nothing prepared me for what awaited within.
You see a sharply dressed, very voluptuous woman.
"Hello. My name's Terri - I run the mint. Say, aren't you the Avatar? Yes, I recognize you from your portrait..."
"If you say anything, Iolo, I will shoot you with a cannon later in this update."
"Too late, Iolo."
"My mother used to tell me stories about you when I was a girl. You probably wouldn't remember her, but she was at the big celebration right after you recovered the Codex."
"Really? Well that would explain it seeing as how I wasn't."
"Anyway... I just wanted to tell you that I always wanted to grow up to be just like you..."
"Um, okay? Who did you say you were before you started fawning over me?"
"It's Terri... but I wish I had been named after you."
"I think for your sake it's lucky you weren't."
"Is this some kind of bank?"
"By royal decree, I am the only one allowed to mint the official coinage of the realm. Copper pence, silver pieces, and gold crowns - they're all made right here. My father ran the mint before me. But I get lonely here sometimes... It's so nice of you to come by and talk to me. Kytyn will never believe it when I tell her I got to meet the Avatar in person!"
"Who is Kytyn again?"
"She's a good friend of mine. She runs the museum."
"There's a museum now, and a mint?"
"You should visit there sometime. But please stay and talk to me a bit longer first..."
"Um... okay. Let's try to talk about something that isn't loaded with innuendo. Like coins!"
"Of course, I'm sure you only carry gold crowns with you, being as important as you are." She reaches over and squeezes your shoulder affectionately.
"You'd think that, but we're actually completely broke."
"Yeah, apparently being the Warriors of Destiny isn't good enough to actually get a loan for armor or something."
"Britannia has been so prosperous lately that there's been a lot of demand for gold coinage. Of course we have you to thank for bringing us the Codex and saving Lord British."
"How did that help? They're both jerks."
"I get most of my gold from people who bring in nuggets to exchange them for coins. Do you have any gold nuggets you'd like to trade in for crowns?"
"Wait, you're saying if we bring you gold nuggets we get free money?"
"Normally there's a ten percent tax on the exchange. But since you're the Avatar, I'll give you a full hundred crowns for every stone's-weight of gold you have." She exchanges all of your gold nuggets for newly minted crowns.
Well, needless to say this was a bit of a long discussion just to reach this point, but the bottom line is that the mint allows me to exchange gold nuggets for money. Also, note we're finally getting some goddamn respect around here.
Of course she's not done, oh no!
"Here, let me show you." She takes out a sample of each coin for you to look at. The pence has an ankh on one side, and crossed swords on the other. The silver piece has Lord British's face on the front, and a serpent on the back. And the gold crown is a familiar sight, with a crown and the symbol of the Codex. All three of them look newly minted - they're very shiny.
"Weeeeeeeell, I think it's about time for us to be running away in terror now."
"You must be the bravest woman I've ever met. I can't believe it's really you! I know you're very busy, saving Britannia and all that-"
"Believe me, we're not that busy."
"-but I hope you'll come and visit me again... It really was delightful talking to you."
Well, that was an ordeal. And don't think we're done with this update.
A lever up in the corner of the bank turns on the security system, locking the place down pretty hard. Robbing it may not be quite as easy as it appears! Not that I was planning to rob it or anything. Certainly not because I'm dead broke.
Annexed to the bank is city hall.
You see a preoccupied man holding a ledger under one arm.
"Records to keep, festivals to plan, I'm so busy... but I can spare you a moment, milady."
"You're damn right you can spare the Avatar a moment to ask a bunch of irrelevant questions, Mister..."
"I am Tholden von Bazillius, Chancellor to Lord British. In my younger days, I was known as 'The Werecat of the Wine Cellar'..."
"That's an incredibly awkward thing to admit to."
"I could tell you stories... but there's no time for that now."
"Is everyone in this city hitting on me? Well, except Lord British. I think."
"A fine ruler indeed. 'Tis a pleasure to keep his kingdom running smoothly for him."
"It's not like he bothers to do it himself."
"All the little details of governing, all the paperwork falls on my shoulders. Someone must do it, and yet I miss the days when I was a carefree adventurer."
"Speaking of which, we're leaving."
Tholden goes down on one knee and kisses your hand. "I hope I have been of assistance, milady."
Apparently being a female avatar means you get hit on by all the women and all the men. Gross.
There's the museum. It's full of crap in this game, but by Ultima VII there will actually be several useful things in it. For now though, it's kinda dull, and I still don't get the joke in this chick's name.
You see a slender woman wearing a leather glove on her left hand.
"Hello and welcome, milady! My name is Kytyn," she smiles. "Perhaps that explains why I like birds."
"I don't get it."
"I used to be a falconer."
"Still not following you."
"That was before Lord British appointed me to my current position."
"Lord British appointed a falconer to be a museum curator?
"A true gentleman if ever I saw one. I'm the curator of the royal museum of oddities. It's just one of the projects Lord British has funded to provide a better life for his people. He also established the conservatory that shares the building with the museum. Sometimes I can hear their music drifting through the walls... Usually that noisy, crackling field drowns it out though. Anyway, I can tell you about any of the exhibits you're interested in."
"What kind of exhibits are on display anyway? It mostly looks like crap."
"We have the monolith, the energy field, the perpetual motion machine, the bones of Zog, the mystery fountain, and the dragon's head, wings, and egg.
"You have a dragon on display?"
"Someone named 'Gertan' donated all those parts. I think he said something about a dragon named 'Freitag.' If you want to ask Gertan, I think he's in Cove."
"And those bones belonged to Zog?"
"This skeleton seems to be about ten times older than any other ever found in Britannia. Surely it has much to tell us about our origins, if only we knew what it meant!"
"The monolith looks kind of familiar."
"I can't tell you much about that. Lord British donated it to the museum, but I can't get him to talk about it. From what little he's said, I think it's an artifact from his home world."
"I was wondering where that part of Stonehenge went. What about the field?"
"The field is generated by a curious spell. By some process not yet understood, it converts magical energy into electrical energy, producing a continuous discharge. If we understood this process better, it would probably lead to all sorts of useful applications."
"Yeah, maybe you could use it to power that machine."
"That's a very curious device. The motion of each gear turns another, until eventually the movement is propagated back to the same gear again. There's one thing I can't figure out. We've made plans of the device, and I can't see how they started moving in the first place. None of the gears would turn unless all the others were already going. What's worse, the motions serve to hold the machine together. If the gears were still, the whole thing would fall apart! How it was built is quite a mystery."
"And the fountain?"
"Somebody found a huge boulder with a jet of water spraying out of it. We had it magically teleported here, buried with its surface flush with the ground, and then we built this building on top of it. Of course we left a hole in the floor for the water to spray through. I often drink from it when I'm thirsty. The water is quite good, but there's something strange about it. It vanishes somehow before it hits the ground..."
"Well, wasn't this discussion productive."
"Be sure to have a look at our paintings while you're here. And come again soon... We're expecting some unicorn horns, and a Klein bottle from Trinsic."
North of there is the aforementioned conservatory.
You see a nervous young bard.
"I would play for thee, but I'm worried about my lute."
"Is there something wrong with it?"
"Every time I pick up my lute, spiders crawl out of it. There must be hundreds of them nesting in there!"
"I hate spiders! They're creepy, ugly, disgusting things! Why won't they leave me alone?"
Iolo says to her, "Now, now, my dear. Have you forgotten about the gloves I gave you?"
"Oh, yes. Perhaps if I wore those I could play..."
"Iolo gave them to me for my birthday."
"That's pretty lame. See you around."
"Fare thee well, and watch thy step! The spiders are lurking everywhere."
You see a lively bard with laughter in his eyes.
"Welcome, milady! I am sir Kenneth, and I'd gladly play a song for thee."
"Shhhhhhh, I'm taking a break from the Sprung thread."
"That wig is terrible."
"Eh, I've fooled people with worse.
You see a cute little girl with short hair.
"I'm not supposed to talk to strangers. What's your name?"
"Steve, believe it or not."
"Ok. Now I can talk to you."
"Well, that was kind of easy."
"Trolling for chicks again, Iolo?"
"Hey, screw you."
"And what's your name?"
She curtsies gracefully. "Ariana is my name."
"What are you doing here in the conservatory, Ariana?"
"I'm learning to be a bard. I like to play the harpsichord best."
"You actually want to grow up and be a bard?"
"I want to be a bard when I grow up. They have more fun than anybody!"
"Oh yeah? You should try being an Avatar."
"I've been studying to be a bard since I was this many." She holds up three fingers. "I'd like to play something for you, but I'm not good enough yet." She turns away for a moment, then turns back to you, blushing slightly. "Will you come back to hear my music when I am older, if you can?"
"Uh, sure, but I tend to get sucked out of Britannia the instant I finish anything."
The little girl's face breaks out into a smile bright enough to light up the whole room. "Really? I would like that very much."
A locked door at the smithy hides cannonballs and powder kegs. I wonder if there's a good way in there...
Britain also has a ship salesman...
...and an innkeeper, but they say nothing useful. The shipwright is mute, which I guess is okay.
Now here's a fellow worth chatting with.
You see a grunting and grumbling man with a large stomach.
"Hrmmph. Hello." His breathing is quite heavy. "What do you need?"
"This looks like a store or something."
"Yep. Efram the provisioner."
"Kickass, you must be the guy who sells useful things."
"I sell torches, oil, gems, backpacks, bags, shovels, and powder kegs."
See? I told you he's worth chatting with. In addition to selling us some containers, he legitimately sells powder kegs, which can be used to asplode things. There are many things (like Iolo) I wish to blow up.
Britain doesn't have a very good smith (he only sells horseshoes), but it does have Iolo's Bows, still manned by his apprentice Gwenneth (no relation to his wife Gwenno, as far as I know).
You see a petite woman with flowing brown hair.
"Iolo! And thy companions as well! I heard rumors that you were in town!"
Iolo greets his former apprentice warmly. "How goes business, Gwenneth?"
"Very well, very well indeed. Sir Geoffrey himself just placed quite a large order! Much demand for bows these days, what with the gargoyles." Turning to you, Gwenneth says, "And what can I do for Iolo's friends this fine afternoon?"
"People are stocking up to fight the gargoyles?"
"I hear from the soldiers that the gargoyles are fierce opponents. Some gargoyles move like the wind itself, and can strike you like lightning bolts! The gargoyles also have a strange and terrible weapon."
"What kind of weapon?"
"'Tis called a boomerang, and it is a most bizarre ranged weapon. It flies out to strike its target, then returns to the hand that threw it! Against such magic the soldiers chose to arm themselves with good, stout Britannian bows!"
"You guys have never seen boomerangs before. And they let you run this place by yourself?"
"Once was I Iolo's apprentice, but then he decided to retire. Now 'tis my shop, and I craft the bows sold here! 'Course, 'tis still called Iolo's Bows, out of respect for the master." At this, Iolo blusehs humbly.
The store sells Magic Bows, one of the only magic weapons that can actually be purchased from a shop. Useful, but we can't afford any of them right now. Too bad.
One last stop in town, the Blue Boar Tavern, which is an institution in its various incarnations throughout Ultima. This time it's run by Anya, who is either not the con man we met outside LB's castle or a very, very good disguise.
You see a buxom woman who looks hard working, yet contented.
"Good afternoon, milady, and welcome to the Blue Boar Tavern. Art thou here for business or pleasure?"
"There's a difference?"
"Perhaps thou might stay and talk with me a while, before I'm back about my work."
"I run this tavern to support my family. The hours are long, but my husband offers what help he can. We make enough to pay for my daughter's schooling, so 'tis all worthwhile."
"My husband Matt, and my daughter Ariana."
"I've met your daughter, but I don't think we've encountered your husband."
"He had an accident as a child which left him deaf and dumb, but I love him all the same."
"I can imagine why."
"I only wish he could hear our daughter play, just once. But 'twill ne'er come to pass. He lives in a world of eternal silence."
"I don't mean to promise anything, but are you sure?"
Her face brightens suddenly. "You have the look of one who practices the art of magic. Perhaps thou couldst find some spell that might restore my husband's hearing! I know 'tis a lot to ask, but wilt thou try?"
"I can... give it a shot?"
"Oh, thank you, milady!"
Might as well see how awful it is.
You see a gaunt fellow, with eyes that take in everything and reveal nothing.
When you address him, the man replies with gestures that appear to be some kind of sign language. When he sees that you can't understand him, he shrugs his shoulders and returns to his duties.
Dupre puts his hand on your shoulder and whispers, "Matt here had a most unfortunate accident as a child, and it left him deaf and dumb. I'd suggest you ask his wife instead, Steve."
And so we do. That's about all that's interesting here in Britain, but we have one guy left to harass before we start messing around. You've probably already guessed.
You see a carefree fellow in a ludicrous costume.
"Oh God, I was hoping I wouldn't run into you again."
"Ho eyo he hum, I've got a clue! It's important and just for you!"
"This is going to be great."
"Yes, it's crucial to your quest. Do you want to know what it is?"
"Yes, I suppose."
"Perhaps I don't want to tell you! Do you think I will?"
"I hate you, just tell me."
"How foolish of you to think so! I won't tell you the clue... But I will give you this hint that may lead you to it... Search the chest in Nystul's room."
"That's the hint? Rob Nystul?"
"If hints were mints and mints were hints, think what a world it would be!"
"I just said that!"
"You just said 'that'!"
"I hate you, Chuckles."
"I did my best, did I amuse you? If not, I hope I did confuse you. Did you enjoy my jokes?"
"Really? I'll just have to try harder, then! Why is Dupre like a horseshoe?"
"I don't know, why?"
"It's because they both have the letter 'r' in them! What did you think of that one?"
"That was terrible."
"Well, who asked you anyway? Oh, that's right, I did! Hee hee, ho ho, to spread good cheer I go! Come talk to me again and I'll give you another show!"
Chuckles is on my list.
Looks like his hint was in pretty good taste, though. Some cash, a lightning wand, and a scroll which tells me to go check under a plant in Serpent's Hold. Not much of a direction, but better than nothing.
He's still on my list though. And speaking of...
This door is locked, and leads to a storeroom in the east part of the castle, which in turn leads out onto a balcony.
Well, Lord British did say I could borrow anything in the castle.
My goodness, who left this here in the middle of the night? It could hurt somebody.
Speaking of night, sundials in Britannia work at all hours. I don't know either.
Unfortunately, it turns out Lord British is immune even to cannonballs. However, he doesn't mind when we shoot him.
He also doesn't mind me shooting Geoffrey and Nystul. Let's reload though.
"Hold still for a second, Iolo. I need to calibrate this."
"Did it work?"
Don't search the corpses of your companions, or it will dump all their stuff on the ground, which is a mess. Of course you may have to in order to haul them back.
The cannon also does not faze the locked door, forcing me to just break in and take what I want. Oh well, we'll meet again in U7, brave little cannon.
I also can't break into the mint. This sucks.
Time to get the hell out of here. I'll just toss the Orb of the Moons down this way...
Where does it lead? We'll find out!