Part 48: I Can't Blow Someone Up Every Update
I Can't Blow Someone Up Every Update
The last stop on the shrine tour is Sacrifice, which is Minoc, so we're going to Yew.
Wait, Yew? Yes. Trust me on this.
Hitting rabbits with Sword Halberd is so brutal that it doesn't actually leave a body, just blood. Hardcore.
I kind of took the roundabout way here. Ben the Logger lives west of Yew, and unlike previous (and future) Ultima games, you can't actually just walk through a forest. You've got to actually find a path, which is only on the southeasternish part of the woods near Yew.
You see a man as large as the trees that surround his cottage.
"Hah, sneakin' around in my forest, huh? I told the last one of ya that came by that I'll have nothin' t'do with yer wars, so shove off!
"Whoa, slow down big guy. What wars?"
"Ever since I won that choppin' contest, the king's had a notion I'd be good at wittlin' on men the same way. Well, you can tell him I'm not interested! You are from the king, ain't ya?"
"I like to think of myself as a separate but equal branch of the Britannian government, tasked with resolving major problems while drawing on the collective resources of the entire country for funding. By which I mean I robbed your house."
"Oh." He seems friendlier now.
"So what's up?"
"Name's Ben. My friends call me Big Ben. I guess you can call me 'Big Ben,' then." He smiles broadly.
"'Tis my name. Don't wear it out." He laughs resoundingly at his wit.
"I guess you're a woodcutter or something."
"Aye, this is where I cut trees, and I don't like strangers wanderin' through! You're welcome here, though."
"I'll get out of your hair when I feel like it, but first I need a log."
Ben takes Steve's gold and hands over a fine yew log.
Okay, now we go to Minoc.
You may already be aware of this, but Minoc's got that really inconvenient Moongate circle on the opposite side of some mountains from the city. Along the way into town is a sawmill. How convenient, I brought along a log!
You see a plump blond man with curly hair and a cheerful face.
"Hello hello! What can I do for you this morning?"
"You in charge around here?"
"My name's Aaron. I run the sawmill, yeah! Is there anything I can do for thee?"
"I want you to check out my log."
"I always wondered why they called thee Steve, though I fear I'd rather we remain friends."
"No, my yew log."
He inspects the wood with a practiced eye. "Good grain. Yes, I can make a fine board out of this log." Aaron goes to his saw and turns the log into a flat, sanded board. "There!" He hands Steve the finished product.
"Tell me again why we bought a log and had it sawed into a board without prompting?"
"Avatar stuff. I don't like making two trips."
"You just happened to know we'd need a freshly-cut board?"
"I've mysteriously known much stranger things, haven't I?"
"One would argue that the mundane nature of this particular revelation is what makes it so curious."
"I don't need you guys of all people second guessing me on this kind of thing. We need a fucking board, okay? You should see what else we're gonna need from this place."
"No. Now that you've doubted my amazing Avatar foreknowledge I'm not gonna do it."
You see a woman of elegant demeanor, wearing a finely embroidered dress.
"Ah, milady Steve, the famous Avatar! I have heard much of thy exploits, but never expected to meet you in person. 'Tis indeed an honor."
"Who are you, and how the hell is it everyone knows what I look like?"
"I am Lady Isabella. Thy name, of course, is well known throughout the land. The tales of thy exploits are known by even the smallest of children."
"I hope the parts where we robbed people and killed guards and shot things with cannons aren't included in that curriculum."
"I recognized thee from the portrait Woodroffe made the last time thou came to our land."
"I don't remember that person or posing for anything."
"One of the finest artisans that ever dwelt in Minoc. Alas, he died of the flu two years ago. A pity, that."
"Yeah, real sad. So you're in charge, blah blah, fine city dedicated to Sacrifice, blah blah entrusted with the Rune. Let's cut to the chase, gimme."
"Actually, I gave it to Selganor, the artisan's guildmaster. When teh Rune of Sacrifice was sent to our city, I entrusted it to their care. He's a fine musician, he lives just across the road from me in the guild hall. If I weren't so busy, I'd take lessons from him myself."
And now on to the annoying quest for the Rune, which I made slightly less annoying by getting the log and having it cut into a board before knowing I needed to do this.
You see a slender, graceful man tuning a lute.
"Hello. There's something I need to ask you, now what was it... Oh yes, now I remember!"
"Is this yet more copy protection?"
"Yes. What part of the nightshade mushroom is used in spellcasting?"
"The cap. I didn't have to look that one up either. Are you done wasting my time?"
"Thanks! Now what can I do for you?"
"Are you Selganor?"
"That I am. 'Tis a name with a long history... but you have the look of one with more important business."
"Yeah, I need the Rune of Sacrifice to bring an end to the imminent gargoyle invasion."
"I'd be glad to loan you the rune, but only members of the guild are allowed to handle it."
"Wait, what? Are you kidding me?"
"Of course not. You'll need to join."
"I'm the fucking Avatar. I've handled that rune twice, both times to do something a lot more fucking important than any stupid shit you've ever done. I fucking found that thing. I dug it out of a furnace while it was turned on. You're going to tell me, with a straight face, that you can't let me have the rune until I do some idiotic thing for you?"
"Fine. But the only reason I'm not killing you with a cannon right now is that I have a grudging respect for your enormous balls."
"If you want to join the guild, you need to do two things. First, you need to make a set of panpipes. Julia can teach you how to do that. You also need to commit Stones to memory. 'Tis a simple tune - ask Gwenno to play it for thee."
"God, not Stones again."
You see a sturdy woman with calloused hands and a loud manner.
"Well, then the rumors are true! 'Tis well and good that ye have returned to our land, Avatar!"
"What the hell are you?"
"Sure, and you're goin' daft, milady! I be named Julia, same as the last time we met!"
"Oh... oh, right. Sorry. What are you up to now?"
"Instruments I make, the finest in the land. Not to be immodest, but I'm respected by all the Guild! Ach, but give it all up I would for a life of adventure like your own..."
"Um, right. Look, I'm having trouble looking at you directly. Can you make me some panpipes?"
"Sent you to me they did? Aye, I can believe that. Now the panpipes are at ricky instrument. You gotta have the finest wood. If you want to learn how to make pipes, you'll need to bring a yew board. But it must be freshly cut!"
"Got one right here."
"This is uncanny."
"Ach, aye, and good wood it is, too. A fine set of pipes this will make!" Julia sets the wood down on a bench and starts carving. As you watch, the rough board slowly turns into smooth wood rods. Then she hllows out each rod and pegs them all together. Lastly, she notches each tube and cuts them all to the proper lengths. "An' there it is, milady, a set of panpipes fit for any bard in the land!" She hands you the finished pipes.
"Oh man, my own set of panpipes, this is everything I ever dreamed of! Let's go find Iolo's wife to learn the notation for a song I can't get out of my head no matter how many times I strike it against a shield."
This is Gwenno's place, but she's not home. She's on the other side of town, wandering around the streets in a daze. I don't know either.
You see a plainly dressed bard.
"Hello, Steve. It's me, Gwenno. You have been away from our realm a long time, haven't you..."
"You know, I still have to ask, you and Iolo are married and stuff, right? Why aren't you two ever living together?"
"Iolo's a bit scruffy, but he's the sweetest husband I could ever ask for."
"You're only saying that because it's true." He gives her a kiss.
"Problems in bed."
"Yeah, I figured."
"Iolo's apprentice has taken over my job at Iolo's Bows. These days I've been transcribing the folk songs of Britannia into numerical notation for the artisan's guild. The songs of the people are an imporant part of their heritage. Putting them down on paper helps preserve our traditions for future generations."
"What traditions? The only song in this whole fucking country is Stones."
"Yes, well. In the standard numerical notation, Stones reads '6789878767654.' It's also Richard Garriott's telephone number."
"Alright, I've got your stupid panpipes and song, asshole."
"Excellent!" He strums a chord on his lute, then taps you lightly once on each shoulder with it. "You are now a full member of the guild of artisans." He reaches into a belt-pouch, takes out the Rune of Sacrifice, and hands it to you. "I'm sure you'll be needing this in your travels. I know you'll find some solution to this gargoyle problem."
"I'd already be out finding it if you hadn't made me do all this bullshit."
There are other merchants in town, many of them will be fairly important later. This guy for instance.
You see a short, barrel-chested man.
"A good morning to thee, Avatar. I am Dale the Glassblower."
"I make glassware, the finest in the land!"
"This is a complete stab in the dark, but you being a glass guy, can you make glass swords?"
"Aye, I know how to make glass swords. But there is little demand for them. I require five gems for the crafting. This is too expensive for most. Aye, but things of beauty they are."
"I use them to hit monsters until they break!"
"The sword or the monster?"
Five gems is a bit steep. I could do a lot better, and next time I will, but it's worth keeping him in mind.
Or this chick.
You see an industrious young woman.
"I'm Michelle. Thou needn't tell me thy name, Steve. The Avatar is famous throughout the land! How can I help thee this fine morning?"
"Yeah yeah, fawning all over me. What is this, an arts and crafts shop?"
"I weave baskets and beehives, just like my father and his father before him. My baskets are sold throughout Britannia!"
"Well, aim high is what I always say."
"Father once told me a story of weaving a basket large enough for eight people! He never showed me the plans though."
"You need plans to make a basket?"
"Yes, without accurate plans it takes far too much time to craft a basket."
"That's a shame, because we're going to need a basket large enough for eight people later."
"How the hell do you-"
But not this guy.
You see a spidery looking man with delicate hands.
"Hello. My name is Troy. I make clocks. The movements of the various parts are very complex and interconnected. Like the moons and stars, or the pieces on a chess board."
"Making clocks is pretty difficult, isn't it?"
"The ticking of clocks is the pulse of civilization. Without clocks, people would just sit around uselessly, with no idea what to do next. Of course, the ticks would be useless without the tocks. They're much deeper sounding and satisfying than ticks."
"Ephemerides is going to build a model of the whole system. I helped him design the gearwork that makes it go. I know all about gears."
"That's, uh, interesting. Can I buy a clock?"
"The sound of clocks is so soothing... excuse me, did you say something?"
And no, I can't buy a clock. I can't even buy a watch. You might notice the Avatar doesn't have her trusty pocketwatch on this adventure. I have no idea why, and short of cheating with the Sword Halberd trick, there's no way to get a portable one.
You see a stunningly beautiful young woman.
The woman never looks up from the book she's reading, even when you speak to her. "Yes, what do you want?"
"That's not very friendly service. Who are you?"
"My name's Doris, but you can just call me hey you. Everyone else does."
"Typical," she mutters. "I'm in charge of the Tinker's Inn while my father's away. If you have any complaint, no matter how trivial, please feel free to bother me." It doesn't really sound like she means what she said.
"Your father is out?"
"My father called me back from the Lycaeum so that he could go fight the gargoyles. I'm learning the mystic arts from the great Xiao. Though I doubt you'd know much about that sort of thing."
"Ever been hit in the face with a spellbook?"
"Then this won't be a new experience for you."
I'm not sure who Doris's father is. He may not be anyone in particular. There's no way to ask her his name. I thought he might be one of Captain John[e]'s men, but she said he went to fight the gargoyles, so now I'm not sure.
We'll be back to Minoc.
For the moment, let's just finish this shrine nonsense up and get on with things.