Part 25: MOONSHADE - Much Like With Banquets, Mages Make Kidnapping Even Sexier
Much Like With Banquets, Mages Make Kidnapping Even Sexier
With the banquet over, Pothos shows back up in his freshly-looted Apothecary. In addition to finally being open for business, he's available for talkin'.
"Yes, I remember thee from the banquet -- Rotoluncia wanted to kill thee! Welcome to the Apothecary Shop. I am Pothos, the proprietor. If thou desirest potions, reagents, or other ingredients such as are customary in the practice of magic, come to my shop."
"It's okay, I haven't ever actually been to a party that wasn't completely ruined by somebody."
"Usually one of us."
"Yes, usually, but not recently."
"I apologize for disrupting the party, Avatar. Normally, I wouldn't have been there. But I had been on a special errand for the MageLord."
"Wouldn't have been there?"
"While it is true that I am a Mage, I am not an Adept. And Filbercio invites only Adepts to his banquets, as a rule. Filbercio is a man of great passions. The Mountains of Freedom are a powerful argument against crossing him in any way."
"Well, you're here, so I guess you didn't get carted off there. Count your blessings and all that."
"There is little true crime here, Avatar. Most of the offenders that find themselves within the confines of Freedom are there because they angered Filbercio in some way. The very existence of Freedom silences most of the MageLord's detractors."
"So you aren't an adept mage?"
"There are different levels of competence with magic, Avatar. It is all based on what level of spells thou canst cast. I myself can only master the third level of spells. An Adept can master the ninth level of spells. Only an Adept can become MageLord, or sit on the Council of Mages. So I make my living selling reagents to Adepts. With these storms, I have had little trade with the mainland, so I'm nearly out of most reagents. Filbercio wished me to gather some Blood Moss for him. I tried. But these storms have brought fierce monsters into that area... And I'm no Adept to deal with them. Filbercio threatened to throw me into the Mountains of Freedom if I do not obtain the Blood Moss! I'd trade my dearest secret to be able to find some Blood Moss!"
This is a hint. It's also one of the hardest and most obscure triggers in Serpent Isle. There is only one way to get past this point, and that is to trade Pothos some Blood Moss for his secret. We already found it, but the thing is, we have to know what the secret is before we can actually make the exchange. And there's only one way to find it out. Oh well, we'll get to it in a second. Regarldess, since Rotoluncia seems the villain of the hour, let's ask him about her.
"Like Filbercio, Rotoluncia doth have a will of steel and a fiery temper. She is convinced that some outside force is responsible for these abominable storms. Well, to be precise, I should say that she suspects a recent visitor -- a Mage named Batlin. I'll grant that he came through asking all sorts of questions, and badgering people to sell their Serpent Teeth. But I fail to see how she thinks he doth have anything to do with the storms. And I'm afraid that she thinks all strangers are in league with Batlin. Of course, it did not help that he had that Daemon, either..."
"Did you meet with him?"
"I suppose. Little, fat man... Small beard and mustache... Angry scowl. I'm sure thou wilt remember him if thou hast met him. Not a particularly nice person, that I recall. Seemed like any other Adept -- used to getting his way, and angry if thwarted. I dealt as little with him as possible."
"What was it that he wanted to know?"
"Batlin seemed very interested in learning more of the history of the ancient people of this land -- the ones we call the Ophidians. As I am far from my days as a novice, I do not remember all that the Magister taught us. I wasn't much interested then, or now. I sent him to Fedabiblio."
"Why would he want to buy teeth from people?"
"'Tis a tradition to steal some small item from the Mad Mage to prove that thou art a worthy Mage. A particular favorite item to purloin is a Serpent Tooth from the Mad Mage's collection. As far as I know, they are useless. But Batlin certainly wanted to purchase them. No one would sell... Who knows, perhaps he hoped to make some sort of deal with the Mad Mage for them."
"The daemon must've been Palos the gargoyle."
"Yes! Batlin had a Daemon wandering about at his heels, as tame as thou couldst please. Did his bidding without a word... Big, big, ugly red creature. 'Tis just the thing to catch Rotoluncia's eye... She's very interested in learning to tame a Daemon for her personal servant. She was quite put out that Batlin wouldn't tell her how he had done it. But I'm sure Filbercio heaved a sigh of relief when Batlin refused to tell her. Everyone knows that Rotoluncia would love to feed Filbercio to a Daemon, in small pieces."
"If Batlin wasn't responsible for the storms, what makes you think anyone was?"
"Oh, they are definitely magic-born, no doubt about it. Anyone caught outside during one risks being teleported into oblivion. Gustacio hath been working on finding a way to stop the storms. But so far, he hath not had any luck. Mayhaps now that Mortegro is helping him, they'll find the answer... I certainly hope so. Moonshade is isolated until they do."
"What is Gustacio's interest in these storms, anyway?"
"Well, Gustacio is an Adept that specializes in working with the weather... the power of nature, and all that. Gustacio said something about needing to learn as much about the storms as possible. Even babbled something about learning to see the colors... At least it sounded like babble to me. As to Mortegro, he is an Adept that specializes in speaking with the dead. He doth not bind them to service or anything, simply talks to them. Why Gustacio wants Mortegro's help, I'll never know. Unless the dead are responsible for the storms, or something."
This is not strict foreshadowing, but it's interesting that everyone outside of Moonshade thinks that mages are responsible for the teleport storms, and the mages in Moonshade also think so! Gustacio will, with our help, come to understand HOW the storms work, but the reasons why have far more to do with ancient history than anything that anyone in recent times - Batlin or otherwise - has done.
"We've heard a lot about Erstam. What's your take?"
"Oh, ah, well. Erstam was the mentor of most of the Adepts. He was a hard master, so they say. The popular story is that Erstam would never admit that any of his students were ready to be called Adepts in their own right. Apparently, he wanted the free labor for as long as he could have it. Each one rebelled against him, until he became angry and withdrew to his own little island -- forswearing any company but that of his assistants."
"Someone told us this severed hand might be connected."
"What the hell is a pun?"
"Eyeh! Please, put it away! I do not need to look at it any more to be able to tell thee that it is the damnable product of Erstam's experiments! Is it any wonder that they call him the Mad Mage?!"
"How does a severed hand factor into an experiment?"
"Erstam seeks to find the secret to creating life. I surmise that it's his attempt at immortality -- Even spells fall to the ravages of time in the end. Unfortunately, Erstam's quest for knowledge hath been at the sacrifice of his assistants. Vasel hath sidestepped the inevitable much longer than I would have expected..."
"Wait, who is Vasel?"
"Vasel is Erstam's latest assistant. He is a grinning hunchback that I had not given credit for much intelligence. But he seems to be more cunning than even Erstam anticipated."
"I guess that's why they call him the Mad Mage."
"What else wouldst thou call a man who hacks his assistants to pieces for his experiments?! That is another reason that he lives apart from the other Mages. He will never bow to their Strictures... And I doubt that any of the Adepts in Moonshade could hope to enforce them anyway!"
"One last question. You're a reagent guy. Any idea what this Stoneheart is worth?"
"How didst thou come by that?! No! I did not ask that! I do not want to know! Dost thou know that possession of that stone is forbidden? Dost thou know how much certain Adepts would pay for the reagent that that stone produces?"
"Well, that is what I'm asking."
"Prolonged exposure to Stoneheart causes insanity, Avatar."
"So, harmless for her then."
"And to have the type of power that the reagent makes in the hands of a madman is unthinkable! Of course, as an apothecary, I could buy it from thee... And find a buyer or two with clearance to possess it."
"What's so great about it anyway?"
"It produces Bloodspawn when mixed with a quantity of blood... Well, I am getting ahead of myself. If thou hast a ritual blood-letting device -- which is technically forbidden as well -- thou must fill a small container with blood. Then thou must use the blood on the Stoneheart. This produces the Bloodspawn that thou wilt need for death spells. Thou must be very careful. It is very powerful."
He also sells stuff. Among other things, two pieces of magic armor (the only infinite supply of them, as far as I know), though the boots are useless, plus glass swords and magic bolts which are nice to have. You should have enough magic axes for an entire party at this point though. A glass sword supply is good to have around at any rate, especially since money will soon become irrelevant.
In plot news, Pothos knew an awful lot about Erstam. Almost as if he'd seen him recently. Most adepts wouldn't have contact with the Mad Mage, so why would an apothecary?
Maybe we need some gossip.
And Bucia is where we'll get it. Lots and lots of it. Sometimes Flindo will cut her off, or she'll stop talking to you, so you may need to meet with her at the Blue Boar after 10pm. Her dialogue doesn't really change between the two locations though.
"Strangers are always welcome in Moonshade. My name is Bucia -- if thou needest help, thou hast merely to ask."
"We're here to, uh, talk."
"'Tis so flattering to be asked so many questions by thee, Avatar. Of what wouldst thou like to know?"
"Could you tell us about the people in town?"
"'Twould be wrong for me to speak about people behind their backs. So please, do not tell anyone! Dost thou desire to know about townsfolk, or visitors?"
Well, that was easy. Let's see what she has to say...
"Dost thou have an interest in mere Mundanes, or Mages?"
Mundanes: "Those of us who do not cast magic are a small and disrespected part of society here. Whom dost thou desire to know about?"
The Artisans: "Ducio is the Master Artisan, capable of forging or repairing all manner of magical apparatus. He hath grown lazy with prosperity, however -- his apprentice doth do most of the hard labor, while the Master wets his throat at the inn! Poor Topo! Someday he'll be the Master Artisan, but for now he must labor long hours for a mere pittance."
The Rangers: "They are the pride of our city. The Chief Ranger, Julia, hath no mercy for troublemakers. But if thou dost ask me, she's too gruff -- I think she'd like to give everyone orders, if she could. By the way, be sure to give thy greetings to Ranger Ernesto... he's rather cute."
Rocco and Petra: "I can say nothing bad about Goodman Rocco and his inn! He is a gentleman. Now, some enjoy talking about him and that female automaton living under the same roof, but not I. Petra is a fine girl, even if she's merely a magical construct."
Mosh the Beggar: "Beware of Mosh! Those rats of hers are filled with disease. Do not listen to her accusations about the Sorceress Columna -- all imaginings, not true!"
Mages: "Everything in this city revolves around the wizards and their cliques. Whom dost thou desire to know about?"
The MageLord: "Filbercio is the most powerful wizard of them all. 'Tis said that he hath some strange compelling power over women... thou had best watch thy step, lest he ensorcel thee with a love spell!"
The Adepts: "Besides the MageLord, there are two others who compose the Council of Mages. Adept Gustacio is a wise wizard, but strict in his ways and aloof from Mundanes. As for Adept Rotoluncia, she is steeped in magic and a mistress of the arcane. Do not provoke her, for her anger is terrible."
The Magister: "Fedabiblio is the Magister. 'Tis he who directs the Seminarium, where young magelings are taught. In former times, 'twas his job to go to the mainland and acquire those babies which had promise of magical powers. But each year there have been fewer students, until now the school lies nearly empty. Perhaps this hath something to do with the multi-colored storms."
Melino and Columna: "Such an odd couple! Melino is one of our eldest Mages, retired from the Council. He is a good man, but often befuddled. As for Columna, she is only one-third his age! And such an attractive woman... Between thou and me, she is too young for that husband of hers. If I were her, I'd die! There are many in this town who would like to steal her from Melino, but none hath succeeded!"
This is quite amusing for various reasons. Suffice it to say very little of this is true. The game is also a bit inconsistent as to who is actually an Adept mage. Many people only mention them in the context of the Council, which is Gustacio/Rotoluncia/Filbercio. But Mortegro is also an Adept (he's next in line for the Council and sells ninth circle spells), Bucia suggests Melino is (although he only sells up to seventh circle), and Frigidazzi probably is. Fedabiblio is also probably an Adept given his skill. Torrissio doesn't sell ninth circle spells, but someone calls him an Adept. The only non-Adepts I can be certain of are Pothos and Stefano, who are definitely mages but freely admit to not being Adepts. I'm really not sure.
The Minor Mages: "Well, there is Mortegro -- his speciality is dead things, spirits, and burial rites. Not a pleasant fellow. And Torrissio, a fine young Mage with a burning ambition. He reads books and keeps to himself. Then there is Frigidazzi, the Frost Sorceress. She hath some strange habits, need I say more. The MageLord protects her, for she is his latest paramour. But thou shouldst stay away from her, for she is the MageLord's mistress, and he is a jealous man!"
Bucia can also be asked about strange objects. For the most part, any objects that were exchanged for anything readily accessible have been covered in Fawn and Monitor, so I'm not going to run down the whole list. I'll focus on the two items that are of particular importance... and interest.
"What sort of items art thou inquiring about?"
"We have these stockings. People have admired them, but they say they come from Moonshade."
"From thy description, the stockings could only be one kind -- Moonsilk Stockings. I sell them here in the store, but not often. Only the Mages can afford luxuries like these."
"And who buys these fripperies?"
"The Green Sorceress, Columna -- she dresses in only the finest materials. She also has a moonsilk sleeping gown, which cost more guilders than I shall ever make! Please, may I see the stockings..."
"Uh, sure, I guess."
"The silk is so soft! Didst thou know that the stockings are made from the cocoons of lunar moths?"
"Don't worry, it will never come up again."
"May I... could I... wouldst thou mind if I kept this pair? No Mundane could ever own such finery!"
"And this fur cap?"
"Why, I sold that cap myself, from this very shop! Ordered it special from the furrier in Monitor. She obtained it from the far north, where the Trappers hunt bears, snow leopards, and the man-eating Gwani. With the storms, though, 'tis too dangerous to sail to the north. And we cannot trade by way of land, for the Swamp of Gorlab cuts the mainland in half."
"About the fur cap..."
"Yes, yes, yes, I remember. I sold it to the MageLord, who gave it to his favorite at the Feast of Illusions. I'm surprised that unusual fellow never bought one, what with all the other furs he was collecting."
The fur cap was given to Frigidazzi by the MageLord. That means the Magic Helm must be in her possession somewhere. As for the moonsilk stockings, they belong to Columna... but they may not have been in her possession when the storm exchanged them.
But the most crucial thing we can ask Bucia about, the absolute #1 thing we must hear from her, is about Erstam and Pothos:
"Pothos is back, and his shop is open once again."
"I think so, too..."
Gee, this sounds a little suspicious, doesn't it? We do know Erstam had a love interest, after all...
Fortunately we don't need to put the pieces together, because Pothos panics as soon as we confront him about knowing his "secret."
"Thou knowest?! It is true. I am Erstam's son... Which is why I still continue to trade with him, even though it is forbidden. If the Council knew, I'd surely be exiled."
"We didn't actually tell you what we knew your secret was."
"That's okay, I wanted to tell someone. You can get ulcers from this kind of thing."
"Well, let's talk turkey, then. We want to meet him."
"Since thou knowest, I will offer thee a deal. If thou wilt go to the swamps south of here and bring back some Blood Moss for me, I will tell thee how to contact my father."
"Thou art my savior! I shall await thy return eagerly."
"No need. We've already got it. That swamp was total pussy shit by the way."
"In exchange for thy service, I will trust thee with the information that wilt allow thee to speak with Erstam.
"Tell us more about him."
"It would not be wise for me to tell thee much. I shall merely acquaint thee with how to reach the docks, how to call thy transport, and the required password. Isn't it interesting that Blood Moss is so potent, since it is connected with the fluid of life? Blood... But I'm babbling... Erstam shall not speak a word to thee unless thou dost speak the password which I do give thee. This will be the sign that I have sent thee. The password is 'Iskatradeeth'."
"But how do we reach his island?"
"Thou must go to the docks north of the Mountains of Freedom. My father hath trained a sea creature to come on command. It will take thee to Erstam -- do not fear. But remember to not leave any of thy possessions upon it, for once it leaves thou shalt not be able to recall it. To call the creature, go to the docks. There, thou shalt find a ship's bell. Once thou hast rung the bell and chanted the mantra, thy transport will arrive. It can only take thee to my father's island... nowhere else."
"My, thou art impatient! I was just about to tell thee... I Re-Ten Bentas Juxark I! Praetimde Mir-Wis Re-Por I. To learn its meaning, translate it from the language of Magic. Alas -- as is often the case, 'tis not required to understand power to use it."
"Steve learned her lessons well in the days of the False Prophet."
The mantra's translation is something I've never figured out, as it doesn't really conform to the spell words of power. It's not particularly important though.
"We're going to meet Erstam, you idiot. What are you, drunk again?"
"I meant more this intensely unnatural sensation of having my body torn between two points in space and time."
"This is why we don't drink things that don't have labels on them, dude."
"I don't think he caught that, Steve."
"Because he's no longer here."
"Son of a bitch!"
"...and he was carrying all the extra weapons!"
"Well gee I wonder about that. Someone just randomly kidnapped Dupre."
"Why the hell would anyone kidnap Dupre? I could see Iolo, he's an easy target."
"Perhaps we should be investigating this issue now?"
"We could do that, but first I want to exchange all the currency."
"Why? I'm carrying it and it isn't like anybody is going to kidnap me."
"Let's just say I'm having an existential crisis knowing none of you guys are safe."
And so we exchanged all our gems to Topo. All of them.
"My goodness, that's a lot of money!"
"We may need it. A person I almost care about has been kidnapped."
"I am terribly sorry for thee at this sensitive time. Grief is a natural emotion..."
"Our friend is missing -- not DEAD!"
"Thou shouldst bring this matter to the attention of the Rangers. Julia would not let such an injustice stand, I am sure of it."
"My goodness, that's a lot of money!"
"Yeah well, a friend of mine has... you know what, I'm just going to drop all pretense right now, this is for me."
The Avatar is all about the papers.
This is roughly what we'll need to buy all the spells in Moonshade. Normally it wouldn't be even close to enough but I was surprisingly thorough with spell scrolls and found a few I hadn't expected to see. I also used a trick later to get some scrolls that I wasn't aware I had access to right away.
West of town is the Ranger barracks, where the guards of Moonshade hang around. It's easy to find their leader because she's the only female one. Her name is Julia, although she's not the Julia, so I don't know, I guess they were lazy.
"In what way can I help thee, stranger?"
"Who are you, and why should I care?"
"What business is it of thine? Who art thou, coming into my city and asking questions? If thou must know, I am Julia, chief of rangers. If thou dost make trouble in Moonshade, I will see that thou art sent to the dungeons!"
"Who are you guys? I mean, you'd figure mages could take care of themselves."
"We are the guardians of Moonshade. The City of Mages hath always been guarded by Rangers. The tradition doth date to the ancient city of Moon, from whence our ancestors came. Dost thou think that the mighty Mages deal with every thief or common brawler? Certainly not! That is what the Rangers are for. To stop common annoyances from bothering the Mages in their work. And if thou art not a Mage, thou dost qualify as a common annoyance."
"I think I'm supposed to remember this Moon thing but I don't, really."
"Thou art dredging up ancient history! In days long gone, there was a peaceful land called Sosaria. It was a land of many kingdoms and cultures, a paradise of individuality. But times changed. A tyrant named British overthrew the kingdoms and declared himself king."
"I serve Lord British!"
"But she doth slander our liege!"
"Big deal, I do that all the time."
"Yeah, but you can hurt us."
"Aren't you supposed to be kidnapped?"
"Mysterious ways, Steve."
"There is no need to be vulgar. The Daemon King hath been dead for many centuries. No one doth serve him now. The Daemon British enforced a radical scheme of philosophy upon his subjects, forcing them into exile if they would not submit. The Mages and Rangers were bound by the travesty known as the Oath of Honesty!"
"But what is improper about honesty?"
"Nothing is more cruel than unflinching Honesty. It doth shatter hearts, instill insecurity, and promote civil strife. Therefore, our ancestors fled the City of Moon in the land British conquered, and sailed until they found this land."
"Thus this place being Moonshade."
"Aye, the City of Mages. There is much magic here, and more than a little sorcery. The name is symbolic. Moon represents the powers beyond those of mere mortals, just as the moon is suspended over the world. As for Shade, it stands for shelter against the cruel light of Honesty. We believe in Truth here, but only within reason."
"That's great and everything, but we actually came here to report a crime. I just kind of forgot about it. Some guy we hang out with was kidnapped by magic."
"Thou wert wise to follow the advise of the townsfolk in coming to me -- the Rangers must always be consulted in criminal matters. This crime doth seem clearly to be magical. That is a problem -- 'twill be costly to proceed. A Mage should be consulted, and his fee will be steep. Canst thou afford the 20 guilders which a Mages' Analysis would cost?"
Of course we can afford 20 guilders, but the fee is completely needless. Indeed, you can ask various other NPCs about it and they'll tell you she's trying to rip you off. As an example, here's Ernesto, the other named Ranger:
"This is such a terrible crime. And it involves magic! Do not tell that I told thee this, but do not take such a matter to Julia -- She shall only extort a bribe, then send thee elsewhere. Instead, speak to one of the Adepts. Perhaps Gustacio, if he'll give thee his ear, or Fedabiblio. They can help thee."
Indeed, we can simply ask Gustacio or Fedabiblio and they will tell us to take the matter straight to Filbercio, no money asked.
Or we can ask the person who did it. I'm not totally sure how you do this since the scroll disappears the first time you read it, or is supposed to, but Rotoluncia has a surprising amount of text considering this. See the end of the update as well .
"Greetings, Stranger from Another Land. Once again, I am speaking to thee by means of a magic scroll."
"Did you do it?"
"If thou art looking for thy companion, Avatar, look no further -- I have kidnapped him. Since thou wilt not give me thy secrets, I shall obtain them from him! Farewell, Avatar..."
Well, that's kind of incriminating, isn't it?
"Ah, yes... 'Tis thee again. Hast thou good news?"
"Actually, we did have a matter. You busy?"
"As thou hast no doubt noticed, the burden of being MageLord wears heavily upon me. I spend all of mine hours in the palace. I have no life of mine own. I seldom even research new spells."
"Oh my, what a burden that must be!"
"Indeed. Sometimes I think that my subjects do not appreciate me. They have given me wealth and power, but I have given them my life! Now is that a fair exchange? Perhaps I shall go live in a hut on the coast. That would be less stressful..."
"I dunno, this place is pretty sweet."
"Is this not a grand old building? Most of the downstairs chambers are used for business of the court, while the remaining rooms are mine own. Never mind the legends of hidden treasure chambers here. If there were gold here, I would have it by now!"
"Or... I would have it."
"Not that you do."
"No, not anymore."
"So let me see if I get this straight. You gave the Avatar all the money in the entire store for large quantities of gold."
"She said the international finance market was a fad! Her broker told her so!"
"Her 'broker' is a Pikeman!"
"Well that's just racist."
Meanwhile, Back At Filbercio's...
"It is lonely to be MageLord. I have the needs of a normal man, yet I am overwhelmed by the demands of the citizens... I am grateful for thy sympathy, madam. I too am attracted to thee. Aha, thou didst not think I noticed thy glances!"
"But alas, I am spoken for! The sorceress Frigidazzi is my current love, and she allows me no trespasses. And I am jealous of her affections, as well. I have found that women are notoriously fickle..."
"That's kind of insulting, but okay."
"Is there no end to the bickering among the Mages? We have three factions here, and each elects its favorite to the Council of Moonshade. As the voice of compromise and experience, I have always been selected MageLord by the Adepts. My fellow Lords are Rotoluncia and Gustacio. The Sorceress Rotoluncia is the heart of dissension. She is ambitious beyond measure, and causes all manner of trouble. She was not always this way. I remember the summer of my last apprenticeship year. She was two years younger than I, and asked me to be her tutor... Ah, but she did tutor me as well, that summer! There have been many loves, before and since, but I shall always remember Rotoluncia."
"Gross. So what about Gustacio?"
"Gustacio doth adhere too strictly to outdated codes of ethics. Why, we could accomplish nothing in Moonshade if we followed his advice! I doubt that he shall even deign to speak with thee. He is of the old school, and speaks only to those he considers worthy of his time. Until thou hast proven thyself, he shall have little to do with thee."
"Right, anyway, about the kidnapping thing."
"Thy friend hath been taken! How foul! And by magical means! Indeed... Whom dost thou suspect of this terrible crime?"
"Rotoluncia kind of admitted to it."
"A tragedy that the two of thee were unable to settle thy differences amicably. I have heard that she believes thee to consort with Daemons, and to be a partner of the one called Batlin. Thou shouldst search her manor for clues. Open every door, for thy friend might be hidden anywhere. Thou canst find her mansion in the northeast part of town, built into the face of the southern mountains. Be careful -- the Red Witch is most powerful, and I cannot protect thee from her enchantments! Report thy findings."
Alright then, let's do that!
Rotoluncia's place is pretty ordinary aside from the demon motif. She's got a certain obsession.
Naturally, her servants don't want us poking around, and one of them attacks us, which is just adorable.
The results are as one would expect, although amusingly the patrolling automaton doesn't attack. I guess only the servant one was programmed to be needlessly suspicious and aggressive.
Anyway, there's a Serpent's Tooth in the bag here. This is the first of several we'll find. The Mages of Moonshade supposedly steal many of them from Erstam, so they probably have some... sadly, we won't be able to get them off them for quite a while yet, but since we don't want to break the game too badly, that's for the best. The teeth are of course vitally important, which is why the game designers saw fit to make them tiny brown objects you can almost never find again if you drop them.
In the back is a scroll of Fire Snake, a key to the lamia cage (what is it with these people and lamias?), and some letters from Filbercio.
The first is an angry breakup letter...
...and the second is a "baby come back please baby" kind of thing. Oh, Filbercio, you just can't keep it in your pants.
Speaking of which...
"So thou hast searched Rotoluncia's manor, and there is no sign of thy friend, or of Rotoluncia? How interesting... I have one last hope for thee, but I must first share a secret with thee..."
"If I am wrong this time, then thine enemy must not be Rotoluncia, but rather some other Mage. If this is so, I cannot aid thee. Anyway, I am reluctant to admit this, but under the circumstances, I think that I must. A year ago, the Red Sorceress and I renewed that passionate affair which we began in our youth. This was none of mine idea, but I could not resist her advances... She demanded that our love-making be done in secret, and so I built a secluded love palace. Oh, it is a modest place -- not like this great masterpiece! A mere cottage. Perhaps Rotoluncia hath gone there to hide, and taken thy friend as well. If so, then she hath betrayed me. Go quickly! See if she is there, and if so, flush her out!"
"Where is it?"
"It is located in the center of the Lake of Enchantment, south and west of where we now stand. Thou shalt need a boat to reach this place. Take my yacht. I give thee permission. The royal yacht is moored at the pier which can only be reached from within my palace. Thou wilt note that my yacht will not move unless the mystic engine is engaged."
"Will do. So... is she any good?"
"Aha, but I cannot speak of this with thee! It is a private matter... But let me say this -- in the years since our youth, the Red Sorceress learned many strange and difficult practices. Why, she even taught me a thing or two! Did she make love to me, only thinking to use me? Was her passion false, a mere pretense in order to coerce me into building that hidden citadel? Women are fickle! Never give thine heart to one of their kind, stranger. Better to love them and then leave them... I am undone! Mine heart grieves. I must go away to be with my thoughts..."
And then he teleports away for a while. Well, we're going to be busy anyway.
One of only two boat-type objects in the game, and it can't really go far because it's stuck in an inland body of water (although so is the other one). It's still a pretty sweet little speedboat kinda thing. Annoyingly, the seats are a little buggy, and as with most Ultima VII engine transports, it will not engage until everyone is seated. This can take a lot of clicking.
But eventually, it works, and we're off!
"So this is the love palace, huh? It's just a little old place."
"Where people get together."
"I can vaguely understand the restraints and whip and diaper, but why is there a banana here?"
"Sometimes a banana is just a banana, Iolo."
The key from the upstairs bedroom is needed to open the way into the downstairs... dungeon. Damn, Rotoluncia is freaky.
Yet another letter from Filbercio. You can almost understand why she's so pissed off at him.
"Cretin! So, thou hast come to rescue thy friend? Well, thou must kill me first -- I have the only key to his cell! Or wilt thou tell me the secret which I desire, the key to controlling Daemons!!!"
"But we know nothing about gargoyles... er, Daemons."
"Then thou shalt die, liar. Kill the Avatar!"
"What the hell? I wasn't even the one who said no!"
A fight ensues. Rotoluncia has some dangerous spells and summons but usually lives approximately 3 seconds, making it hard to really leverage that.
"With my dying breath, I place the Curse of the Red Witch upon thee! Arrgh..."
There is text in the game for Rotoluncia kidnapping you, which probably is a fallback if you didn't bring any of your companions to Moonshade. In that case, you'd be teleported directly here, but can teleport back to Filbercio's palace through the keys on her body. You'd never get to use the yacht though, I guess. I suppose if you were doing a speedrun you'd do this to avoid dicking around with NPCs to make Filbercio appear.
"Dupre! We're here to rescue you!"
"To be perfectly honest, I... didn't really want to be rescued."
"She's that good?"
"You have no idea."
"Well, that explains the blood in the iron maiden, I guess."
Oh, and because it's hilarious, here's what the magical scroll Rotoluncia gives you says if you read it after she's dead:
"Surprised, Avatar? I am speaking to thee from beyond the grave. I shall have vengeance!"