Part 55: In Which The Game Is Finished, But The Thread Is Not Quite Complete
In Which The Game Is Finished, But The Thread Is Not Quite Complete
The balloon needs wind to propel it. The fan can do this, as can Wind Change spells. As it turns out, this isn't even particularly hard...
As the distance between those "impassible" mountains and safe landing is about 15 feet. Seriously.
The Temple of Singularity is well guarded, and fumaroles are blasting all over the place too. Let's get inside before we explode.
Inside the shrine is the altar (that triangular slab) and three pedestals. They hold, or are supposed to hold: The Book of Prophecies, which the gargoyles removed to sacrifice the Avatar at the start of the game (Iolo's carrying it around now)...
The Codex of Ultimate Wisdom (oops)...
...and a third book. Note the image on the cover.
The Book of Circles
All begins with the three principles: Control, Passion and Diligence.
From Control springs Direction. From Passion springs Feeling. From Diligence springs Persistence.
But these three virtues are no more important than the other five:
Control combines with Passion to give Balance. Passion combines with Diligence to yield Achievement. And Diligence joins with Control to provide Precision.
The absence of Control, Passion and Diligence is Chaos. Thus the absence of the principles points toward the seventh virtue, Order.
The three principles unify to form Singularity. This is the eighth virtue, but it is also the first, because within Singularity can be found all the principles, and thus all the virtues.
A circle has no end. It continues forever, with all parts equally important in the success of the whole.
Our society is the same. It too continues forever, with all members (and all virtues) equal parts of the unified whole.
You see a finely-carved stone pyramid.
As you face the altar, a voice rings in your head. You understand it perfectly, but you can't recognize the language! "Thou hast far to travel and much to achieve. May the flame of wisdom imparted here help purify thy inner flame. What do you seek, Avatar?"
"Are you Gargoyle Codex Disembodied Voice?"
"I prefer not to really think about that fat jerk whenever possible. What can I do ya for?"
"I need a quest. A really bitchin' awesome quest."
"Look deep inside thyself, Avatar, and answer this: For whom dost thou truly seek the Codex?"
"She's never going to be able to get this one."
"Wanna stake your horse chops on it?"
"For everyone, of course."
"Mmmmm, horse chops..."
"Thy answer is wise. But how canst thou truly work for the good of a race whose ways thou dost not understand? Go thou into the Catacombs of Control, Passion and Diligence. In each wilt thou find the final resting place of the being who most exemplifies that principle. Return when thou hast found these catacombs."
Finding the gargoyle shrines is, in fact, quite easy, as the Orb of the Moons can travel right to them. In fact, about the only place it can't go is the Temple of Singularity.
First up, the Shrine of Control. Shamino somehow knows which shrine is which despite never having heard of them before. I guess he is good for something.
Since this is about Control, we've got a puzzle to work through. These switches control a series of gates. Only through a precise sequence of switch-flipping can the main shrine be accessed.
I'll spare you the tedium of pondering it yourself because even I have no idea how you're supposed to know this is the right configuration. But it is.
The statues in the gargoyle shrines are a bit... familiar to the Avatar. Looks like a throwback!
You see a stone statue of the evil wizard Mondain.
You remember as if it were yesterday how you defeated Mondain in your first visit to Brittania. Using the four stones, you went back in time to smash his power-gem. The statue speaks! "We meet again, Avatar. Fear not! I have but one task now, and am no threat."
"I wasn't afraid of you."
"Oh... well then. The gargoyles have enshrined my spirit here as the embodiment of control. I was once a mighty wizard. Control was the essence of my soul. Control of self and control of others. But desire for more control overcame me. I forsook my self-control in my hunger for conquest. Control must start with the self and expand outward. The strong must lead. But to be strong one must control oneself first. The gargoyles understand control. Their society is based on the strong guiding the weak. In this way, they survive in their harsh world. Contemplate what thou hast learned. Repeat after me the Mantra of Control. Un... Un... Un..."
"I can teach thee no more. Farewell, Avatar. May thy control help you succeed in thy quest."
ULTIMA I RETCONS
Technically, the world of Ultima I was Sosaria, the landmass that existed before Mondain's death shattered the worlds. The part about going back in time is true; what Ultima VI fails to mention is that you were also required to procure a starship, earn your wings as a space ace, rescue the princess of another planet, and return to Sosaria a hero first. Seriously.
Next, the Shrine of Passion.
Passion requires you to do retarded stuff because you want to, I guess, so that's why I'm forced to walk through lava and flames.
You see a stone statue of the evil witch Minax.
You remember quite clearly how you defeated Minax in your second visit to Brittania. With a mighty sword blow, you slew the witch and destroyed her evil works.
"I hope she's still not mad at me over the whole stabbing thing."
The statue speaks! "We meet again, Avatar. Fear not! I have but one task now, and am no threat."
"You were no threat the last time I killed you."
"Yeah well... your mother."
"Wow, big words from Queen Statue Bitch over here."
"The gargoyles have enshrined my spirit here as the embodiment of passion. I was once a mighty sorceress. Passion was the essence of my soul. But that passion knew no bounds. I wanted everything, and because of this strove to conquer all. Passion must be directed, focused. Unbridled passion, desire for all things, leads only to chaos. The gargoyles understand passion. Their society is based on the passionate leading those who lack motivation. In this way, they have the will to struggle against their harsh world. Contemplate what thou hast learned. Repeat after me the Mantra of Passion. Or... or... or..."
"I can teach thee no more. Farewell, Avatar. May thy passion drive thy quest toward success."
ULTIMA II RETCONS
The biggest retcon in the entire Ultima series. Even bigger than anything in Ultima IX. Ultima II did not take place in Britannia, Sosaria, or anywhere like that; it took place in our solar system, which Minax traveled to in order to get revenge on you for killing Mondain. Her fortress was on Venus or something. In the past. The sword mentioned is the Quicksword, Enlino, which was needed to slay her. It was also more powerful than a phaser pistol, which you could acquire in that game.
You'll note it was Dupre talking to the shrine because Steve got charmed. Lord British also got charmed, and proceeded to death-touch every member of the party except Steve. So I had to cast Help before heading out again.
The final shrine, the Shrine of Diligence, is a large grid of identical rooms, each more identical than the last. There appears to be no exits. What's a seeker to do?
Search for secret doors, of course. But won't that take forever, you say? Well yes, that's why it's the Shrine of Diligence, smartypants.
You see a stone statue of the evil Exodus.
You still remember vividly how you defeated Exodus in your third visit to Brittania. Using the four cards, you tricked the accursed machine into destroying itself. The statue speaks! "We meet again, Avatar. Fear not! I have but one task now, and am no threat."
"Dude, you're a COMPUTER. I defeated you with punchcards. How retarded do you have to be to have a self-destruct program as a half-computer daemon monster? LOOK OUT, IT'S KILLMYSELF.EXE! Plus it's just your freaking HEAD here, man, how am I going to be scared of that?"
"Though I no longer bear the form of the machine you destroyed, yet still I am Exodus. The gargoyles have enshrined my spirit here as the embodiment of diligence. I was once a powerful daemon... computer... thing. Diligence was the essence of my soul. Cold, unswerving diligence in my path of conquest. But in my devotion to achievement I lost sight of my original goals. Diligence without a goal is as worthless as a goal without diligence. The means cannot replace the end, and diligence cannot itself be the goal. The gargoyles understand diligence. Their society is based on the diligent leading the wayward. In this way, they maintain their fight for survival in their harsh world. Contemplate what thou hast learned. Repeat after me the Mantra of Diligence. Us... us... us..."
"I can teach thee no more. Farewell, Avatar. May thy diligence maintain thee on thy quest."
Ultima III Retcons
Exodus was half-daemon, half-computer. I don't really get it either but that's the truth. You really did destroy Exodus by forcing his computer half to self-destruct using four magical punchcards. I am not making that up. Exodus gets a bit more retconning in the Ultima VII Part 1 expansion The Forge of Virtue, and the Great Earth Serpent from Ultima III plays prominently into the events of Ultima VII Part 2.
"Hast thou completed thy journey to the catacombs?"
"Yeah. That was kind of a bitch move, Gargoyle Codex Disembodied Voice."
"Look, we got rules on this side of the world, space cowgirl. What is the Mantra of Singularity?"
"Hey Dupre, wanna-"
"You're not getting my fucking horse chops, Shamino."
"Mmm... horse chops."
"Let the principle of control guide thy quest. Let the principle of passion drive thy quest. Let the principle of diligence maintain thy quest. Then wilt thou truly achieve the unified spirit and singularity of purpose that is necessary for success in all endeavors. This is the gargoyle way; let it be thy way as well." The altar glows with a cold blue flame. You feel compelled to seek out the Codex.
"I feel compelled to seek out the Codex."
"I feel compelled to ditch you all here."
"I feel like I shouldn't have had a double helping of horse chops."
Your final quest has begun!
Off to the Codex! By Red Moongate! I love you Orb of the Moons, and it will suck when you stop functioning properly in Ultima VII, then break entirely!
The Guardian Assholes of the Shrine of the Codex apparently don't consider any quest not given by a really badass altar or book to be good enough for entry. Fortunately, I've got them this time.
And on into the shrine. Notice the symbols on the carpet.
Now, how do we banish the Codex to the Vortex? If only we had a book of all knowledge in the universe to provide us with instructions.
Oh wait, we do.
The Codex of Ultimate Wisdom
As always, the Codex is open to the pages bearing exactly the information you need.
"To return the Codex to the Vortex, place a convex lens exactly midway between the Codex and the Flame of Singularity, so that the light from the flame converges on the Codex. Place a concave lens between the Codex and the Flame of Infinity, so that its light diverges over the Codex. Then place the eight moonstones within the Vortex Cube. Set it on the ground in front of the Codex, and use it to return the Codex from whence it came."
The left is the flame of infinity; the human lens goes there. The right is the flame of singularity; the gargoyle lens goes there. They're both focusing on the Codex, so we drop the Vortex Cube at the foot of it, and use it.
After this, the official ending starts.
Oh yeah, I'm not the only one with an Orb of the Moons.
I've been waiting for a while to break continuity. British is already here, plus Dupre's got his bitchin' amulet.
I don't recall the Avatar having any official lines anywhere else in the game, but he/she does in the ending. Oh well.
Check that shit out. Now nobody can have it! Oh wait.
Christ, how come everybody else's Orb of the Moons takes them directly into this room?
"Funniest thing, ol' Draxy boy..."
Could this possibly work?
"Oh... I get it."
"To be wondering if this means..."
"Ha ha! Now you fat jackasses are stuck with each other!"
And that's the ending of Ultima VI. Well, that's the official ending. But I think I can come up with a few better endings. Stay tuned for Ultima VI: The False Prophet - The True Ending!
And by true, I mean cannonical, if you follow me.