Part 33: MOONSHADE - Serpent Isle, Are You Coming On To Me?
Serpent Isle, Are You Coming On To Me?
The only person in Moonshade left to speak with is the sorceress Frigidazzi. She hasn't been home until now, but we can swipe this key behind a vase and check out her lab.
As you can probably guess, she's into ice spells. Note that spending time in her lab exposes you to cold damage periodically. It's not a big deal, but it is a taste of what the later part of the game will be like without warm gear.
This is also a key hint. Frigidazzi has lost her serpent's tooth, and we'll need to find it. I believe it's the one that lets you actually reach the frozen north, so you essentially have to go there before you can warp there. Makes sense, I guess.
"Oh, hey. We were just rob... looking around your place. Are you the ice lady?"
"Yes, we met at the MageLord's banquet. I am Frigidazzi, of course."
"Is that goblin running around living here?"
"Yes, I have a goblin for a servant. What of it? She is a perfect servant because she is almost completely impervious to the cold. But surely we can think of more interesting things to talk about..."
"You should talk about something smooth, Steve."
"How about Batlin?"
"No, not like that."
"That disgusting oaf! He wanted to buy a serpent relic from me, but I did not sell it to him! Cannot we find a different topic of conversation?"
"No we cannot. What was it?"
"It was not very remarkable -- merely a stone in the shape of a serpent's tooth. It had no powers that I know of... Many of us have these stones. In fact, it is a tradition for the best Mages to own one or more of them. Canst thou keep a secret?"
"Neither can I! But I had best not share my secrets with thee..."
"So can I buy some spells from you?"
"I could teach thee many things, Avatar. Come after midnight, alone, to my manor, and I shall reveal such knowledge as thou hast never before beheld. I am a heavy sleeper, so thou shalt most likely have to awaken me..."
"Well that's kind of an odd requirement but I don't see anything ominous about it. What's your specialization?"
"I am the mistress of cold-fire magic, a specialty I learned during my many travels to the north. Extreme cold is in its own way just as powerful a force as extreme heat. Over time, I have learned to bend it to my will."
"You've been to the north?"
"Some of my most memorable experiences have been on my various expeditions to the north. It is a harsh and unforgiving environment, that brings out the passionate will in one's heart to survive. It is extremely invigorating. All I shall tell thee is that if thou shouldst ever travel there thou shouldst dress warmly!"
"Which reminds me, this fur cap might be yours."
"Why, thou dost have my favorite fur cap! I have been looking for it everywhere! In fact, I have not seen it since that storm we had a while ago. Hmmm, that would mean that I have something that belongs to thee. I shall trade thee thine helm for my fur cap."
"Well, I guess I'll come back after midnight alone to buy some spells from you."
"Yes, buy some... spells."
"Yes, that's what I thought I said."
Despite claiming she'll trade the fur cap for our Magic Helmet, Frigidazzi won't actually do it. We can just walk into her bedroom and take it back though, and keep the fur cap besides!
"Okay, it's midnight, I'm here for spells!"
"Among other things."
"Hmmmwha? Oh! Tis thee!"
"Yeah. Why were you sleeping anyw-"
"I am so glad that thou hast agreed to meet me here. But this matter of the spells, it must be discussed in private. Only Mages may hear the secrets which I am about to reveal. Wouldst thou please ask thy minions to depart?"
"Well that seems a little odd but okay."
"Um, I think I will wait outside..."
"I am so glad that thou hast met me here, sweet Avatar. I find strangers... appealing..."
"I'm confused as to what this has to do with a business transaction, but alright, I'll play along with this."
"I love the night... so quiet... so dark..."
Ignore the party here, they just didn't want to leave. I fixed this with a reload.
"I feel so comfortable around thee. It is as though we have known each other before -- perhaps in some other existence? Do not be formal with me, Avatar. Please, come join me here by the pool."
"So, about those spells."
"Why art thou in such a rush? In Moonshade, we know to mix pleasure with business. I am sure that there is time for us to know each other better, before this matter of the spells must be conducted. Thou shouldst learn to relax."
"Well alright, I do like to be comfortable."
"To be blunt, there is something uncommonly... erotic about thee. I am most attracted to thee, woman."
"What the hell does 'erotic' mean? Are you challenging me or something?"
"Okay, somebody's gonna have to stop and explain this to me because I'm pretty much lost in this area without Shamino around."
"Thou hast come to learn spells, but I can teach thee some true magic..."
"Well, that sounds interesting! What do I have to do?"
"Wouldst thou kiss me, Avatar?"
"That seems like a very strange prerequisite to being taught spellcasting techniques but if you insist."
"Now that I have tasted thy lips, I think that mine infatuation with thee doth grow!"
"Are you sick or something? It's probably the temperature."
"Strange -- 'twas so cold in here when thou didst enter, but now I feel suddenly warm..."
"That could be a fever. All that working in below freezing environments has probably stunted your immune system."
"Oh no, I have not felt so alive in many months! Perhaps... I am not sure how to say this, but... Dost thou desire my body, Avatar?"
"I'm not following you."
"God. Wanna ?"
"I thought you were already dating. I don't do sloppy seconds."
"The MageLord? Oh, how canst thou think of him when the two of us are here together, becoming intimate..."
"I wasn't aware that's what was happening. Or rather, I wasn't until just now."
"Perhaps this shall arouse thine interest!"
"Whoa, sweet, you have a spell that makes people naked? I gotta get the scroll for that one."
"Beware, Avatar! I shall now begin the Dance of Passion, which no mortal can resist!"
"You know, seeing what I'm seeing now, I'm not sure this is going to help your effort."
"Some of those positions look kind of painful. You do have a spine, right?"
"No mortal can resist the Dance of Passion! Tell me that thy blood hath been stirred to a frenzy!"
"No, thou dost not understand. As I said, no mortal can resist the Dance of Passion..."
"Is that what you tell yourself because you're fat?"
"Oh man, this is fortuitous, maybe I can dump you on Filbercio. Oh wait, shit."
"What!? Frigidazzi, why is this stranger in thy chambers?! And where are thy clothes?"
"Darling! This is such a surprise... I have an explanation for everything..."
"I am not daft, sorceress. I can see very well what hath been happening here. What dost thou have to say in thy defense, Avatar?"
"I'll just be going now."
"Not so fast, peasant! I have a special punishment reserved for those who dare to play games with my mistresses..."
"No! Do not, Filbercio! Spare this one from thy wrath! Do not send her into the Pit..."
"I demand that this criminal be punished by the Council of Mages. Let the quorum of Mages be convened instantly!"
"Oh that is bullshit."
Yes, you can go along with Frigidazzi and, uh, do stuff. But I think this was ridiculous enough by itself. Besides, if we weren't accidentally sort of living up to the Avatar ideal, we just wouldn't be the Avatar, now would we?
"What the hell is it with you people and trials? Jesus, this is just getting silly."
"Order in the court! We have convened this day to hear the case of Steve, who hath committed treason. This criminal is charged with lusting after the mistress of the MageLord."
"Since when is this a crime? What doth the lady say?"
"Be silent, or thou too wilt be sentenced to the Pit -- for thine insolence!"
"Is there any way we can plea bargain and send Iolo to jail and not me?"
"Well, I tried."
"I beg of thee, MageLord Filbercio, to spare this person's life. It was all my fault. After all, no mortal can resist the Dance of Passion."
"You're aware that there is no such thing as the Dance of Passion, right? Nothing happened."
"My fellow wizards, I am sure that you are able to see beyond this criminal's denials! After all, I caught her in the bedchamber of dear Frigidazzi... Please be seated, Frigidazzi. We shall now hear from the character witnesses."
"The good lady Bucia..."
"MageLord... This stranger came into my shop and asked many strange and personal questions concerning the Sorceress Frigidazzi."
"First of all, it's Flindo's shop. And second, I'm an RPG protagonist, I'm naturally curious."
"Such curiosity seems most impudent, considering that thou art a stranger in this land..."
"And she did ask many questions about many other people, and about strange objects which I was not familiar with..."
"Hardly the act of the casual adventurer she pretends to be... Let us hear from the next witness. Merchant Flindo!"
"Lord Filbercio... I did travel with this person upon my recent voyage from the Inn of the Sleeping Bull, and I had many long talks with her. I must report that Steve is not to be trusted. She is a liar, a fraud, and is known to consort with people of the lowest type."
"What, like you?"
"See, lords? Avatar doth have a wicked tongue, which is why she is so often in great trouble... The only reason she came to Moonshade was to flee justice at the hands of the Knights of Monitor! They accuse her of bribing the Tower guards in order to release one of their prisoners..."
"Oh you are just an ass. Besides, that's complete bullshit, it was your fault."
"Denial will do thee no good, Avatar. Dost thou not understand that the MageLord will have his way? Yet all the same, Steve was a good travelling companion, able with sword and bow -- so I ask for thy leniency, MageLord."
"Thanks for thy witness, good merchant. Thou mayest be seated."
"That guy is so dead."
"You might not want to say things like that in the middle of the trial."
"If I need your help I'll ask for it, Filbercio. So don't I get to call some witnesses? Isn't anyone going to defend me? ...Iolo?"
"Ahahahahahahahhahahahahah! Ahahaha, ahaha, ahah, hahahahahahahah! Hahahahha, fuck you."
"Alright, well then. Anyone else?"
"Staying out of this one."
"Yeah, this doesn't really seem to work to my advantage."
"In all fairness, Steve, most of what has been said here was actually true."
"You guys are such great friends."
"Lords and Adepts, you have heard the evidence! Steve did come amongst us like a disease, to bring destruction upon us all. Worst of all, she hath dared to tamper with the affections of she whom I hold most dear, the good sorceress Frigidazzi. How do you judge her?"
This is going well.
"For the crime of entering the bedchamber of the MageLord's mistress, we must find Steve guilty, MageLord."
"Guilty! And the sentence?"
"As with all who offend the MageLord, this criminal must be sent to the hellhole known as Dungeon Freedom."
Well, those guys were no help at all.
"Oh, no! Not that place! She shall never be seen alive again!"
"It shall be with this criminal as with all others -- if she can find her way back to the surface world, then she shall be a free woman."
"Enough of this jabbering. Let justice be done!"
"When I get out of here, I'm going to fuck over each and every one of you. I just want to make that very clear."
"I'm sure we'll bear that in mind."
"Don't worry, Steve, we'll all miss you."
"Okay well Iolo won't."
"And I'll only kind of miss you."
"Yeah, we haven't really bonded yet, but on the off chance you get out I guess I might be willing to get back into it."
"I hate you guys."
"Yeah well, this time it's your ass on the line. Seeya!"
And so, off we go to the Mountains of Freedom. I hinted we were going here anyway, how else did you think we'd wind up inside?
"Thou art in the Mountains of Freedom... A magical prison from which none have escaped. I am the caretaker here. It is my duty to record thy name and crime."
"I am the Avatar, Steve."
"I see... Perhaps thou couldst have pleaded insanity and avoided being sent here, felon. With what crime art thou charged?"
"Ahh, thou art in fine company then, felon. Only recently we had another such felon arrive... Let us see. Stefano was his name. I will tell thee as I told him. Sleep passes thy time here, and may provide thee with new ideas for winning thy freedom. Thou shouldst be wary of two rogue mages who roam through these passages. They came here in search of the forbidden reagent, Stoneheart, and never escaped. Be mindful of the other felons... Most are quite desperate by now and will kill thee for what thou dost possess. In fact, they may prove to be thy greatest danger. There is another caretaker within the prison with a small supply of food and healing potions for sale, if thou dost need any... And if thou dost make it that far, of course. I make rounds periodically, to note who hath died for the records. Thou mayest notice later that I take great care to memorialize all who perish here. So thy passing shall not go unremarked... Remember, if thou canst find thy way out, thou wilt be free!"
Fantastic. Let's take stock of what we've got. Most all of our stuff is gone (although due to an Exult bug, the other party members' inventory is still openable; I'll fix that by manually turning off their Party flags). We do, however, have most of what we need to succeed: Spellbook and Ring of Reagents, some scale armor and a staff, the Keyring, and the Hourglass. It ain't perfect, but it'll do. The Spellbook alone should see us through this ordeal.
The area we're locked into has a few beds and some crates. A torch or two, nothing fantastic. There are a couple books in here with us though. Might as well pass the time reading.
This book belongs to Teldrono the Mage
For thee, bright reader, I have been deep in the heart of darkness in search of the Way. The Way to reverse or even negate the effects of Bloodspawn hath been my quest. Stoneheart is also on my mind, thou art right, so right... By the way, dear reader, if thou shouldst know how to obtain some, contact me immediately. I thank thee in advance for thy kindness.
Let us begin, for I am losing track of what thou art interested in. Thou art not afraid of dying, art thou? Well, then I shall proceed and tell thee what all this truly concerns. The more I would experiment with it, the closer I would come to success. That was mine intuition. Well, I must admit it did not work. Bloodspawn is bound to have some side effects. I do not know which yet.
The heart of the matter, if I may say so dear reader, is that thou art about to take possession of a secret. Darkness may fall upon thee at the very same time. I recommend thou beest extremely careful, a fatal accident is easily triggered when manipulating those forces. In the heart of the mountain, I found the red-orange mineral. I collected samples and, after many a transformation, I turned it into the Forbidden Reagent. Thou art certain, dearest reader, that thou fearest death no more? I want to make it clear this is nothing like what thou hast seen before... Many a mage's life was taken away.
THow did I turn it into a powerful magical reagent, thou askest? Yes, indeed, how? Oh! I remember, thou hast only to crush it into a fine powder. Then, thou dost combine the powder with fresh human blood. 'Tis just so! This powerful reagent, too powerful for my fellow mages who were fools enough to lose their lives, enables thee to create some spells. It might make possible the spells to flay men's minds, or set swords into dancing death, or to decimate entire cities. Mass death. Well, think of it, thou mayest be able to make matter disintegrate, and even call lightning to thy service, if I recall correctly mine experiments. These are the powers of Bloodspawn.
Dear reader, thou art now ready to experiment, or ready to lose thy life. Remember how careful thou shouldst be when carrying it. Finding safe means to avoid the Bloodspawn's side effects is of primary concern. Herein, I did give thee all thou wilt ever need to know. Thou mightest want to be prepared for fits. Experimenting with Bloodspawn and Stoneheart will trigger numerous disorders. Many a time did I attempt to delay the onset of the fits, all in vain, alas. The future doth not seem to be a long shining path. I even wonder how long I will remain sane. Thou art the reason why I wrote such a book, dear reader, it is for thee to read and for thee to take our place once I be gone. This powerful knowledge painfully extracted from the heart of darkness must outlive us. Thou shalt continue!
Needless to say, the other residents of Freedom are a few reagents short of a Mass Death. Literally and figuratively. And we're carrying Stoneheart. Oh goodie!
When the Automaton goes to patrol, he'll open the door to the supply closet. He'll sell you food and potions at exorbitant prices, but we don't have any money, and besides, we can't get anywhere in this prison without a key. So...
"Nice place you got here."
"You really shouldn't be in here. I could kill you for this, you know."
"I'm afraid you're grossly overestimating your own position and underestimating mine."
"VAS CORP HUR!"
"Oh, I see."
Now we're talking. A couple keys in here, plus nobody's going to mind if I loot it now.
But you know... something's just not quite finished here.
Yeah, now I think I know what needs to be done.
"Do you remember me killing you?"
"Good, stay close to me. We're busting out of this dump."
"Very good, master. I shall assist you."
"Excellent. I shall dub you... Robo-Iolo."