Part 52: Of Two Men Found in the Underworld in U5, One Joins the Party
Of Two Men Found in the Underworld in U5, One Joins the Party
Everybody levels up some more. Giving ranged weapons to the party keeps them in the experience race, since they kill a lot of things before I get around to it. Everybody gets more strength except Dupre, who gets dexterity.
Steve hits level 7, which means 7th Circle spells. Including this groovy little number. I think that about says it all, doesn't it?
There's Koronada, finally. His dad was the lighthouse keeper at Greyhaven, the place I accidentally stumbled upon in U5 and got a sextant. I vaguely recall his dad being a complete asshole, but he's a cool dude. How cool? Well, for starters, he lets me join his lame Order without making me do some stupid trial, correctly pointing out that the Avatar's deeds speak highly enough as it is. He also tells me to go back to Gherick if I want a shield.
Which allows me to finally make magic shields if I give Gherick a heater shield, gem, and gold nugget.
Not too expensive, and pretty effective. Shame most of the party has absolutely no use for it.
I can also nick back the one I gave to Morchella, now that I think of it. That gives me approximately 3 more magic shields than I'll ever need.
Back to the castle to store my loot. And my dragon eggs. Hey, you never know, maybe I always wanted a dragon. Knowing my luck the maid will throw it out.
"LB, great news! I've finally remembered how to cast 7th Circle spells for like the fifteenth time since I started coming to your chickenshit country!"
"You're not going to try Kill on me again, are you? Because that doesn't work."
"No no, this time I've used my powers for constructive purposes, with the spell Enchant!"
"Really? ...well I'll be damned. I guess you can sometimes do something without being a complete jackass."
"I have enchanted one of these two staves with the In Corp (Kill) spell, affectionately dubbed Killstick. The other is enchanted with Vas Mani (Great Heal). Behold as I, without the expenditure of magical points or reagents, heal Shamino of all injuries!"
"...did that work?"
Lord British waves his hand, and Shamino is resurrected! "My God, is this what she's like when you guys aren't here?"
"I'm afraid so."
"And people put up with this?"
"Well, not exactly. She-"
"She shot everyone in Skara Brae with a cannon, for one thing."
"Dude! Be cool!"
"She made me have sex with some lady!"
"That was a birthday present! Mice have birthdays, right?"
"Steve, are you fucking serious? No wonder everyone hates me."
"I'm not the one who goes running off to Doom every five games. You know how many mirrors I've been trapped in before? I mean besides the time I went into the mirror to rescue you. And that one time in Ultima II. But other than those two times never."
"If I let you go to the gargoyle world unaccompanied I just know you're going to fuck everything up. I'm coming along."
"Right, because we can completely trust Steve after everything she's done so far."
"That's........... a surprisingly solid point, your majesty."
"Alright prom queen, let's mosey."
In-party full heals and max stats? Invincibility?
Instant kills barehanded?
NOW WE'RE PLAYING WITH POWER'
"Well, this recent change of events has really thrown the party dynamic into question."
"Maybe it's taught you a lesson."
"It really has."
"I'm glad you've come around."
"It's taught me who my real fawning toadies are. Sherry, Seggallion, Quenton, you're all fired."
"Uh, hello guys? It's Christopher Walken, a ghost, and a fucking mouse. You know I was kidding, right?"
"You mean Charles Bronson?"
"I think I mean Harrison Fired Your Ass, star of such films as Beat It, Dickface and I'm Seggallion And I'm A Big Tattling Douchebag and the acclaimed director of Dances With Cannons If He Doesn't Get Out Of Here."
But before they go. Because I promised.
"And now, off to Hythloth!"
"But you fired Seggallion. Who's going to carry the boat now?"
"I mean I would, but you've had me carrying this cauldron around..."
"Looks like somebody just volunteered!"
"I hate you so much, Avatar."
"Hey Britster Rhymes, remember when I totally didn't take the Codex from the Abyss and you and your jackass Great Council totally did and turned this whole place into a pockmarked mess and spawned the Shadowlords and also apparently killed the entire gargoyle race and then I got blamed for it?"
"Because that happened. God, you're like the worst monarch ever."
The arrangement of the Isle of the Avatar is all fucked up, so it took me a while to find Hythloth. It's mostly where it used to be, although on the wrong side of the mountains. The Shrine of Humility is now south of the Shrine of the Codex, which is also clearly erroneous.
Shamino continues to demonstrate why he's the foremost ranger within ten feet of himself.
Hythloth is large and full of lava, but unlike previous Ultimas it is reasonably light on monsters and mazes.
Lots and lots of Sulfurous Ash though. There's only 1 per stack here, but that's still a moderate handful, and there are many such pockets.
The first ladder down...
The big holes in the floor are fumaroles. They periodically (by which I mean "constantly") erupt, exploding half the party. Fortunately I have Lord British around, and he laughs at such petty attempts on his life.
The deal with Lord British is that if he's ever attacked, his HP is set to 255. That's why a glass sword can kill him: his HP is set to 255, but the sword can deal that much damage, so he dies.
I'm not sure what I was supposed to wish for. World peace? Mass production of Sword Halberds? What do you want from me, fountain!?
Finally, at the bottom of it all, a tiny little shack where our old buddy Captain John (with an 'e') resides. He's sleeping though and I'm kind of in a hurry so screw it, I'm not waiting on him.
One Mass Awaken (rudest spell ever) later...
You see a long-haired gentleman with a scholarly demeanor.
"Hey dude, doomed us all again lately?"
"Praise the virtues! Humans have arrived here at last! But what's this? Not just any humans - the Avatar! 'Tis most fortuitous that thou hast returned, noble Steve. Many cataclysms have occurred since thou last visited Britannia!"
"Ones you were responsible for?"
"No, this time it was you."
"That's what everyone keeps trying to tell her."
"Shut up dude, I put you in Doom, I could put you back!"
"Well technically it was John who put me there and you couldn't put me back because you fucking collapsed the Underworld!"
"That was totally your fault, I didn't take their stupid Codex with a bunch of crappy magic shit!"
"Do we, you know, have time to be arguing about this?"
"I have a feeling this will go on forever if we let it."
"Quite so. I should inform you of the situation. For several years I have been here in the catacombs, studying the gargoyles and working on this fantastic facial hair. I have learned much about them! They are not evil, as most humans believe; I have spent much time talking to them, and I have found them to be almost human."
"A most terrifically persuasive choice of words there, Captain Jerk."
"The gargoyle world, once as large as Britannia itself, is slowly being destroyed. The forces thou set in motion-"
"The forces he set in motion."
"What? Fuck you! You didn't leave a note on the Codex that said 'DANGER - GARGOYLE HOLIEST RELIC EVER - DO NOT ARBITRARILY RAISE ENTIRE SHRINE TO THE SURFACE OF THE WORLD.'"
"I could have if you didn't fucking send me to Earth every time I accomplish anything!"
"Let's just... let's just go on, Captain John."
"-have caused great sections of their land to fall off into the void! Only a single gargoyle city remains, their place of learning and government. It is all that is left. Thou must do something to save the gargoyle race! I know not what, however, save that thou must talk to the gargoyles."
"Do you honestly think those two are going to be able to talk to anyone?"
"Fair enough. Let me at least give you three the rundown. There are two kinds of gargoyles, winged and wingless ones."
"-make me pull a glass sword on your invincible a-"
"-smite you fuckin' dead in a second here bitch!"
"At first it seemed as if the wingless ones were slaves. But now I know that the wingless ones are beloved and valued family members. They must be told what to do, however, because they are not truly intelligent."
"Oh, kind of like-"
"OW! JESUS! Screw you and your death fists! Dupre, where is Killstick?"
"Precisely! The gargoyles live honorably, by their own set of beliefs. They are much like our own. Where we have the three principles of Truth-"
"-and the downturn in the blind herbalist industry? That was all me!"
"I've got a scepter I'd like to ram up your ass and dispel the bitch inside!"
"Hold me, Dupre, I'm scared."
"They have the principles of Control, Passion, and Diligence. Directly, these lead to the virtues of Direction, Feeling, and Persistence. Combined, they lead to Balance, Achievement, and Precision. Taken all together, they point to Order. And the sum of all principles is Singularity."
"Maybe we should write this down somewhere for Steve. She looks a little distracted."
"No, it's cool, I'm listening! AGH GODDAMNIT STOP INSTAKILL POKING ME YOU ASS!"
"Gargoyle society stresses unity and singularity in all things."
"Britannia is no differe- OH YOU DO NOT EVEN TRY PULLING THAT CLONE SHIT ON ME!"
"They have to; their world has always been harsh, even before the cataclysms. With the help of a gargoyle child, Beh Lem, I have learned how to speak their language. Wouldst thou like to learn?"
"Let's just assume the answer is 'yes.'"
"He and I meet every day at noon, where Hythloth emerges in the gargoyle lands. Go and speak with him, learn about the gargoyles. You must save them!"
"Whew! Well, I'm glad I've gotten that out of my system. Alright, let's go punch some gargoyles in the balls or whatever it was you were telling me to do or not to do."
"Wait! Thou must meet Beh Lem and travel with him among the gargoyle people. That is the only way you can save them, and save them you must! And without Beh Lem with you, the gargoyles will attack!"
"Right, right, whatever."
Studying the scroll allows me to speak Gargish, which gives me a whole new stable of insults to throw at Lord British.
Just past John is another ladder down. We're on the lowest possible dungeon level, which means this must lead...
...to another world entirely. All that's left is to wait around until noon, when Beh Lem will show up.
You see a small, light-skinned gargoyle.
"To greet you, human. To recognize you as the False Prophet!"
"Is this the kid I'm supposed to beat up?"
"No, I think this is the one we're not supposed to beat up."
"I trust your sense of judgment about as much as I trust your sense of direction, I'm getting the cannon."
"No, seriously! This is Beh Lem!"
"To be called Beh Lem, which means 'just one.' To have not yet received a true name. To not receive a true name until I have proved myself worthy. To not deserve a name yet, but to get one someday, just like my father Valkadesh!"
"To very much respect Valkadesh my father. To want to be a scholar someday just like him!"
"A scholar, huh? I bet I could take him."
"I mean, I bet he'd be reasonable!"
"To warn you that you are feared by everybody - everybody except me and my father. To go with you and guide you there! To go from the entrance to Hythloth westward, following the mountains. Then to turn north, at the Hall of Knowledge. To stay away from there, speak to Valkadesh first! To walk east along the mountains until you come to a narrow pass. To find the house of Valkadesh through the pass! But to take care!"
Most party members suck. Beh Lem does not. The kid's only lv2, yet his stats are universally high. He can't cast magic so 26 INT is kind of pointless, but he should easily be able to reinforce his physical stats. Not that he'll need to with Lord British around, and there isn't really even that much combat left in the game, but it's good to know the kid ain't complete dead weight. Like, say, Shamino.
And because I'm sure this will come up due to the confusion from people who have played Ultima VII: Beh Lem is not a Wingless, but a young Winged One. This is why he can talk and stuff.
Of course in U7, all gargoyles can apparently talk. Maybe the school system down here really sucks.