Part 35: MOONSHADE - Freedom To Get Freedom From Freedom
Freedom To Get Freedom From Freedom
"'Twould seem the enemy is flanking us."
"Yeah yeah, I see her. Robo-Iolo?"
"Master, the assailant appears to have been carrying her own infant."
"Awesome, a baby! I'd been hoping to get my hands on one of these."
"You know, for a weapon."
Beyond there is a teleporter, although this one is two-way (it has to be, the key is hidden in the previous large room).
We arrive just in time to see someone groveling.
Lorthondo the mage is one of the Moonshade wizards who traveled to the Mountains of Freedom in search of Bloodspawn. Unlike the others, he was successful in acquiring it and using it to build his power. Of course like all the others, it drove him rabidly insane, but the insanity makes him an actual threat.
For example, he turns this pathetic underling...
...into a draconic lich. Before promptly escaping via teleportation.
"A foe of Lorthondo's power is beyond thee at this time, master. Free me!"
"If I free you, how am I supposed to ever beat him?"
"I kinda like the atmosphere in here. Throne, piles of bodies all around me. I might retire here one day."
Lorthondo's bedroom. Since he's not here at present, we'll just rob him. That Firedoom Staff is nice when you compare it to most of the other weapons available in Freedom. The scroll is Great Heal, in case you somehow managed to lose your spellbook and got hurt in the last fight.
The chests in this room are trapped, mostly with poison or fire, but they're worth triggering because there are some Magic Gauntlets in one of them and a few potions in the others.
Honestly, the kinds of things the game decides to put into a character's free hand. What possible use does an automaton have for a steak?
Even though you can theoretically have a robo-buddy, he's apparently too dumb to grasp such complex commands as "flip that switch while I flip this one." Thus, we need Stefano. I believe after this point you can pretty much kill him off and leave him dead if you wish. He won't stay dead anyway .
In the next area you'll find a scroll of Telekinesis. If you can, and don't already have the spell, copy it into your spellbook. If you do, keep it anyway. You need it for the next room.
But we're not going there yet. We're going past it, into this "wrong way" area. There's a cyclops, but no other enemies, and it's worth going through here.
Don't step on that teleporter. Take a cue from the ocean of corpses. The reason you want to come back here is there's quite a bit of equipment that you could use at this point, like a halberd and another Telekinesis scroll.
And a diaper. But oh no, we can't make it a dirty diaper because we don't...
Oh no wait, we do have a baby! Oh Ultima, you thought putting a baby on an inmate would fill me with pity, not joy.
And here's why you need Telekinesis. There's no crossing that gap without it. I'm not sure what happens if you drop your spellbook and waste both of your scrolls.
Although I was under the impression that an automaton was immune to most status effects, they can apparently be put to sleep.
This next area is a big puzzle. Each switch will open a door to one of these rooms. We need to flip the lower left switch in order to open the doors out, but it won't flip. We also cannot flip the lower-right switch in that central array of eight. The two are probably connected, so we have to do something to fix this.
First, we wake this woman, who asks us to "take me to my nightmare."
This horse is, of course, a nightmare. She wakes it...
"Awww, that's sweet."
"I don't believe that it was hungry."
All we're left with is a dead crazy lady, a key, and some carrots.
The carrots can be taken to this northwest room, which warns of a "dangerous creature" inside. It's a bunny, but if you've watched much Monty Python (and believe me, everyone in the early 90s did), you know to beware. It has a plate though, so let's feed it those carrots!
Thus turning it into a chick for some reason.
A chick who turns into a bouquet of flowers. Yeah, I'm lost here too.
In the room just to the south, a ranger mourns the death of his love.
Offer him the flowers to pay your respects, and he decides to pay you back for it.
He fixes the lower right lever...
...then goes to his rest.
"This act was indeed in defiance of expected outcomes."
"Did Filbercio imagine this nightmarish sequence of events? Something is truly wrong with that man."
The teleporter the switch there opened leads to a grove. Alas, there's nowhere to escape to from here, as if you try to run too far from the grove you're just teleported back to Freedom. So flip that switch instead and head back.
Now we can open the doors out of here.
All the other rooms are red herrings, although the "Supply Room" in the far NW corner has a scroll with some hints (and extra carrots).
The nightmare woman's key opens the door to this pit of "Sure Death" according to the sign.
"I was unsure that would work. Well, naught ventured, naught gained, eh?"
"I would've probably jumped into the fire even if it weren't illusionary."
"Master, I would have fared far better."
"Yeah, but it wouldn't have been as much fun."
This next area is the "Endless Hallway" mentioned before. You escape by pressing up against the right wall until you hit a secret passage and another teleporter.
"Greetings, felon! Dost thou wish to purchase any food or healing?"
"No, just you."
"I beg your pardon?"
"You heard me."
"Geez, now that I have a Robo-Dupre as well, this is going to be difficult to tell them apart."
"Do we have time for this?"
"Yes, yes we do."
Some Time Later...
"Behold, the fruits of my labor!"
"This beard is most shoddily-constructed, master."
"This is not a mustache, master, it is a piece of sausage smeared onto my upper palette."
"Eh, good enough."
"Ring Bell For Freedom" or somesuch suggests what we need to do to escape here. Using crates and chests, we can reach the bell and ring it to teleport out.
The next area warns us to choose from three paths wisely. We'll go west, because that's the answer.
Ignore these signs, they're just assholes.
"Okay, so I've got a great one for you, Stefano: A thief, two robots and the Avatar walk into a jail, and there's a monk, a jester, and a goblin."
"'Tis an elaborate setup indeed. What is the punchline?"
The loot's a little lacking, but they've got a Gwani Cloak, of all things.
Also, we kill an eskimo. Where the hell is Filbercio finding these people to banish them here?
"Thou hast nearly escaped. But if thou wishest to be free of this place, thou must claim the key by defeating-"
"No wait let me finish my spee-"
"Looking good there, Robo-Dupre."
"Thank you, master."
"Now meet your final brother!"
"This cap is ill-fitting, master."
"It could be worse."
Well, we were just about out of here, when Lorthondo suddenly decides to show up.
"Avatar, listen to the sword!"
"Free me, Avatar!"
"I think we've been over this."
"Avatar, thou must set me free now! The stone's power is quickly diminishing, and this evil wizard will take thee before long. If thou wilt but liberate me from this crystal prison I shall serve thee once more before departing from thy side..."
"How can I even trust you?"
"My word is as strong a bond as this stone for so long as I remain imprisoned within it."
"That doesn't really answer the question, but..."
Nothing you can do can hurt Lorthondo. You've got to make... a sacrifice.
"Free! Free! Free at last! Thou art a fool, Avatar! Thou hast no idea what thou hast lost! I thank thee for thine ignorance..."
"Does this mean you're betraying me?"
"Not quite. Because thou didst keep thine promise to release me, now I shall return the favor. This dark sorcerer shall trouble thee no more... goodbye, fool Avatar!"
Surprisingly enough, Arcadion's final act in our service is to keep his word and destroy Lorthondo.
"The demon appears to have done a thorough job indeed, master. There is scarcely any of Lorthondo remaining."
"Yeah, but at what price?"
"Master, had you not released the demon within the blade, all of us assuredly would have been destroyed."
"But now it's not evil or awesome anymore!"
"At least the weapon itself is intact, Steve! A blade of that make is valuable for its craftsmanship, if naught else."
"Still... even breaking out of Filbercio's stupid puzzle jail just doesn't quite set things right again."
"We are back in Moonshade! This means that we have won our freedom!"
"Yeah... I guess..."
"What a team we made! With thy muscle and mine intellect we showed them who they can and cannot keep in that prison. Thank thee, Avatar."
"Alright, what are we gonna do now? I was thinking we could crap on Filbercio's chair."
"I must away now for other duties call. But if thou art ever in need of my talents, do but call and I shall accommodate thee."
"You can't leave! All I've got are my cheap metallic knockoff companions!"
"Avatar... we are out of Freedom. Thou canst retrieve thine real companions."
"Oh yeah. Well then screw you and screw this sword."