Part 36: MOONSHADE - Life On The Outside
Life On The Outside
"Master, I am grateful that thou dost still live! I have grown fond of thee, almost as a son looks upon a parent..."
"Boydon, have you just been sitting here since the trial?"
"Yes. It seemed like the sensible thing to do, it probably wasn't going to take you long to get out."
"Good man. See, this is why I didn't make a robo-you. You're irreplaceable. Literally. Also I didn't find a fourth robot."
"Very good. It might please thee to know that there is good news!"
"Is that so?"
"I have taken the time to speak with the Mages of this place. I do believe that the one known as Gustacio is of a mind to aid thee. He said that anyone who can survive Freedom is worthy of his time!"
Boydon was supposed to have gone and gotten a part-time job in Flindo's shop, but for some reason he didn't.
"See, this is what I like about robo-you guys, you don't constantly complain about Boydon smelling like formaldehyde and poop."
"You know how sensitive I am about that."
"Yes, and so are all the others."
"In all fairness, master, we have no noses."
"We have noses."
"Yes, but they are non-functional."
"A key distinction."
Now to find the others. Who knows where Shamino and Iolo got to, but there's only one place Dupre could be.
"And he hath developed quite a bar tab!"
"One that I shall pay, worry thou not! And I have good news for thee, Avatar. But I should let Iolo tell thee..."
"Screw Iolo. What'd you find out?"
"The wizard Gustacio bet with me that thou wouldst not survive Freedom, but I told him that thou wert made of tougher stuff than any dungeon! I think thy survival shall impress him..."
"Alright, well, saddle up."
"Who are these guys?"
"This one's a handsome devil."
"My likeness is fraught with flaws, it would appear."
"Yeah, but we love him anyway."
"That is not what he meant, master. He meant that as a facsimile of Sir Dupre, he-"
"Shut up, Robo-Iolo."
"Very good, master."
"So where the hell are Shamino and Iolo?"
"Not being as patient as I am, Avatar, our good friend Shamino hath gone into the woods to hunt wild game. He went west from here, towards the magic woods. The good bard was very disturbed by thy sudden departure, and hath been questioning the Mages constantly as to thy fate. He hath gained the friendship of the Sorcerer Gustacio, and hath taken to aiding that worthy in his studies. We can find him there."
"How long could they have possibly had to do that, Dupre? I was only in Freedom for seven hours."
"It's amazing what we can accomplish when you're not around, Steve."
"Incidentally, I'm still carrying Commander Ardiniss. I hope we didn't break causality removing his body from the past."
"Just go ahead and drop him anywhere really."
Shamino is supposed to be hunting, but he's still in his 'seated' position. I blame Exult.
"Thou hast escaped the foul mages' prison swiftly, indeed. Most wonderful!"
"Yeah, I think I set a record."
"In all fairness, master, the previous record was 'never.'"
"...Of course, I never doubted that thou wouldst return... I also have news, Avatar. I bear a message, as well as two presents."
"What's the news?"
"Quickly, let us find Iolo. He can tell thee all about the discovery! The Mages of this place are not friendly toward outsiders, but thy survival shall surely impress them. Particularly, I am sure that the one known as Gustacio will be inclined to help us now. Let us seek him out."
"And the message?"
"I have had the chance to spend a few hours in the company of the Mage Frigidazzi, on whose account thou hast been imprisoned."
"You seem to have fared better at it than I did."
"She asked me to convey her apologies to thee, and to present thee with three gifts."
"Well, out with it!"
"These earrings are of ancient devising, and I was told that they would be most flattering to thee. Note that they are engraved with serpentine runes, milady."
"Kinda gaudy, but my guess is they're quest-essential so what the hell."
"There is also a magic scroll, upon which is inscribed a spell to protect against heat. This we shall need ere we venture into the subterranean passageways."
Shamino gives us a scroll of Chill, a spell that could not be acquired previously. This lowers the temperature for the party, allowing them to survive in volcanic areas. Such as Furnace, which we'll be passing through in order to return to the mainland.
"Lastly, there is a note, but its contents are not known to me."
But they are known to us!
A thousand apologies is what I present thee with. I am the one who caused thee to be arrested and I cannot forgive myself.
Thou hauntest my dreams. Memories of thee flash in front of mine eyes and the only way I can solve this nightmare is by presenting thee with a very special gift.
I beg of thee to accept these Serpent Earrings, a token of mine affection for thee, Avatar.
"Well, at least she's actually sorry about it."
I believe Shamino may well be the only companion needed in this part of the game. He's the only one who seems to have special dialogue related to his being dead or not in the party before you left for Moonshade.
For instance, you can ask how he arrived if he was not in the party:
"The monks came and brought me here, saying that it was vitally important for me to be here. The one called Karnax said that I must fulfill my purpose, or the world itself would be in jeopardy..."
Or if he was dead:
"That is right, I was dead when last we saw one another. However, the good monks found my body and returned life to me."
This also happens with Stefano. Basically if you do anything that would screw up the game, the answer is "a monk did it."
At any rate, not long after donning the Serpent Earrings, the Avatar begins to hear things...
"Actually I'm a woman."
"She sometimes talks to mysterious voices. Possibly. She may also be insane, but in either case I wouldn't push her."
"Duly noted, sir."
Then it's off to Gustacio's place. Strange, Mortegro is nowhere to be found.
"Thank the Virtues! Thou art whole and hale, Avatar! I feared that I had lost both thee and my beloved wife, but thou hast survived the depths even as Dupre assured me that thou wouldst..."
"Yeah you sure took your sweet time waiting on me too."
"'Tis said that only a superb Mage can leave the Mountains of Freedom alive. The Sorcerer Gustacio hath been instructing me somewhat in the magic of this land, Avatar. I think that he doth have information that shall interest thee."
"It's getting awfully crowded all of a sudden."
"Yeah, this is kind of getting hard to manage."
"You guys aren't even managing anything, shut up."
Note that Serpent Isle has a soft cap on party members of about 5. However, this is only to characters you ask to join you. If the character forces themselves into your party (as the companions do post-Freedom), this restriction is removed. In theory you could get four automatons and force the other five people into your party, for a grand total of nine.
However, the game gets buggy after 6 characters, with the last two failing to fall into formation properly (a possible Exult issue).
This scroll in Gustacio's lab is a last-ditch effort on the part of the designers to explain the botched implementation of the Blink spell.
"This is it? This is your grand plan for revenge on Moonshade? You're going to make Flindo sniff a dirty diaper?"
"It's merely phase one, Shamino."
"What will the next phase be?"
"You'll find out."
"Oh my God! What is wrong with you?"
"This is for selling me out!"
"I sell you out and you shove a baby's crapwad in my face? You could've at least broken my kneecaps or something respectable!"
Also depicted: Petra follows Flindo around as he runs about in terror, dutifully attempting to serve him.
"Alright, robo-companions. Although we have had a fun run, now that I have the real thing back I need to put you guys into storage for another party-less rainy day."
"Oh come on, it's not like they're real people or anything!"
"I can't believe you dragged us two miles out of town just to murder Robo-me."
"Look, things happen, desperate times require desperate measures, but you losers are the only companions for me. And Boydon also, I forgot Boydon."
"I'm used to it."
"I suppose I have to ask why you're shoving their shattered remains into your backpack then."
"I got a feeling we may need them again one day."
You might notice that Kane and Ale the parrot have moved to Gustacio's as well. Gustacio, being a decent guy, has agreed to help Kane fine his brother, since it ties in with his research on teleport storms. Gustacio, however, is still asleep at 10 in the morning, so I'll have to kill a little time until he wakes up.
Perhaps by going downstairs, where a curious stone altar has appeared. The altar is a clue, and more to the point, useful in and of itself, but that's for much later.
Back upstairs we go to finally meet with Gustacio. If you can't seem to find him, he's probably in his garden, where 90% of the time he's covered up by a tree or plant.
"It is an honor to receive thee, Avatar. How may I be of service to thee?"
"I'm still a little miffed about the whole jail thing."
"Please do not hold me responsible for that travesty of justice! In Moonshade, one doth not contradict the MageLord! Besides, thou wast guilty of the crime, meaning that thou wast in the forbidden bedchamber..."
"Well, I suppose I was technically guilty of that, yes."
"Oh, how I envy thee! But I am old now, and have my researches to content me."
"Envy me for what? How I escaped Freedom?"
"Oh, uh... yes! Thou must indeed be a formidable Mage, Avatar, since thou wast able to survive Filbercio's dungeons. I apologize for being brusque with thee before. I had no true concept of thine abilities."
"So you're Gustacio."
"My name is Gustacio indeed, if thou must inquire!"
"What's with that altar in the basement?"
"Yeah, that wasn't there the last time we burgled your place."
"Such a curious thing happened during mine experiments, Avatar. While Mortegro and I were working to discover the secret of the teleportation storms, Mortegro was hit by a lightning strike. In his place, within my cellar, is this odd stone altar. By its look it is something from a Serpent temple, but I have no idea how to send it back where it came from... yet. If I can discern how to reverse the teleportation, perhaps I can rescue poor Mortegro. I hope he was not killed in the exchange..."
That's a hint as to where Mortegro has gone... and where the altar is from. Odds are, he's in some temple somewhere, maybe alive and maybe dead. And the altar? Well, if we knew what the temple was, we'd know what the altar is for.
"Any chance you could take a look at this sword I've got? It used to have a daemon in it, and I kinda..."
"You kinda what, Steve?"
"Things got broken, some freedom was involved, that's all I remember."
"May I see it? Well... thy daemon sword needs to have its sorcerous energies realigned. I could repair it if I had my flux analyzer. Unfortunately, it was stolen from me years ago."
"Well that's a bit of a dead end. So are you willing to sell me some spells now?"
"I would propose to thee a deal. If thou wilt aid me with mine experiments involving the teleport storms, I shall reward thee with magic. Dost thou agree?"
"Sounds like an easy job."
"This is totally going to kill us, isn't it?"
"With luck, just Steve."
"Excellent! First I shall need to tell thee what I have learned of these storms so far. They appear to have three powers: teleportation, transposition and transmutation. Also, the lightning of the teleport storms appears to have several different colors."
"Teleportation seems simple enough."
"Indeed. This is the mysterious power to move things from one place to another without passing through the space between. Transposition, meanwhile, is a more elaborate form of teleportation, wherein two objects exchange places -- neither passing through the physical space between them. Fascinating!"
"I am not quite certain that this power actually exists. I have theorized that it would involve taking one object and literally changing it into another type of object. The difficulty in proving that something like this exists is that this power must be directly witnessed. Otherwise how is one to know that an item is not what it always was?"
"That's a better grasp of the storms than anyone else has had so far. Any other leads?"
"I have a theory that the colors of the lightning somehow directly correspond to the supernatural force behind it. But I have developed an experiment to test this theory, and thou canst help me with it."
"Since thou hast agreed to help with mine experiments, take this energy globe to my special tower. Thou wilt find this tower in the valley to the north of Moonshade in the middle of the plains. Place the globe on the platform, on top of the tower structure. Next, thou shouldst engage the winch. This will seal thee within the tower, and activate the levers. It will also summon a magical storm."
"Thou dost want us to summon a storm? This is madness!"
"Madness? THIS IS MOONSHADE!"
"...it's from a movie, you see."
"We know what it's from."
"Well I thought it was funny."
"Well we didn't."
"I see... well anyway, I assure thee thou art in no danger! I would do this myself, but at mine age, climbing stairs is very difficult... Pull the levers one at a time. This will draw down lightning from the storm, and cause it to strike the objects which I have placed on the tower. Observe the effects, and most importantly -- observe which color lightning hath which effect. Then return to me with thy report."
So now we've gotta go wayyyyyyy north of Moonshade, into the fields bordered by the Mountains of Freedom. Along the way is a deep pit and this structure. The pit shoots a projectile at you if you approach, which seems to crash Exult extremely hard, so I'm going to approach this one from the exit using Hack Mover.
First thing to do is find the key. It's a sliver of purple under the west trees near the wall . That opens this door, and then down we go.
Treasure of a sort, and some gazers in the next room.
This is the bottom of the pit you can fall into. Magic Bow, and some arrows on the Ranger, but not much else of note.
Anyhow, just north of there is Gustacio's experimental rig. We need to put the globe on that south thing (already done), turn the winch to summon up a storm, then start flipping levers to strike the objects with lightning.
I tried to get screenshots of this but it's so fast as to be almost uncatchable.
"The lightning was blue. Blue?"
"Blue lightning? Gustacio said nothing about blue lightning!"
"The lightning was red."
"The lightning was red!"
"Shut up, I'm flipping another switch."
"Where did it go?"
"It destroyed that object!"
"That one came too close!"
"That strike was yellow!"
"Something new hath appeared!"
"Did anyone see that color? To be honest, I did not. The flash near blinded me!"
"That was green."
"Look! A metamorphosis!"
"The object hath been turned into something else!"
Finally, after observing the colors enough, the party will conclude what each color does. I forget specifically, but unless I'm mixed up the colors are:
Red - Teleportation
Yellow - Transposition
Green - Transmutation
Naturally, the moment we figure this out, the Avatar is struck by lightning.
Fortunately, we aren't sent far. This is the pit I couldn't show earlier because it would crash the game.
"Well, that storm was kind of weak. I'm glad you guys actually waited on me this time."
"It takes at least two hours before we get bored and wander off."
Back At Gustacio's...
"Alright, we figured out the experiment."
"But of course, thou must go to Fedabiblio for the answers."
"We already know what it does."
"Look, I have to do this to keep my grant money, alright?"
"We were looking for information on Kane's brother?"
"I couldn't get Gustacio this grant unless we claimed it was for medical purposes."
"Well, okay then."
"To the crystal ball!"
We get a vision of Edrin, Kane's older brother, out in the fields.
Shock and suspense, a teleport storm strikes!
Edrin takes cover...
...but it's too late. And what is that sneaking out from under the brush? Is that... a parrot?
"So apparently Ale the parrot is Edrin, to the surprise of absolutely no one."
"I have a plan. Thou must needs take the bird Ale to the tower in the wilderness, and place him where the lightning can strike him. I shall give thee this cage to hold the bird within. Return to the tower with this new energy globe!"
"You want us to go back to that rickety deathtrap and get Ale intentionally struck by lightning?"
"Yep, that's about the size of it."
"Alright bird, time to meet your maker."
"He's running under the bed!"
"Well, that wasn't so bad, except for the time he somehow killed Iolo."
"I'm still a bit mystified at his capacity to do that, yes."
And thus, back to the tower! Man, Ale is so fucked.
"Well I'll be damned. That actually worked."
"And nobody important got teleported or killed!"
"I am a man! I am a man! I cannot tell thee how miserable it is to be a bird. I am forever in thy debt, Avatar. How may ol' Edrin be of aid to thee?"
"What was it like being a parrot?"
"'Twas terrible! Well, I should say, flying was rather exciting and all, but I never became accustomed to the worms. Were it not for my dreams, I would surely have lost sanity! But now, thanks to thee, I have no want but to return to my flock."
"'Twas the most unusual thing I have ever known. Well, save being a bird. When I would dream, I would envision this maiden -- fair as summer's day. She called herself Siranush. Oftimes I would only see her from afar, bathing in a spring or basking in the sun. And other times, we would be together, swimming, gardening, walking... Oh, I beg thy pardon, Avatar, I did forget myself for a bit."
"It may be hard to return you to your flock at this time."
"I understand. Yet I am a shepherd, caretaker of sheep. I have never known another life. Well, excepting my time as a bird, of course! But, like one of mine own sheep lost in the wild, I long for a way to return home. After I find my brother we will return home, if possible. It will be much safer to travel by ship. Well, I suppose a ship would offer only a little more protection, but anything would be better than travelling in the open, what with the storms and all."
That's pretty much all we can do with Kane and Edrin right now, but Edrin's role in the story isn't finished yet. For now, though, we're done with Gustacio's experiments.
"Thou hast completed the experiment. As a token of appreciation, here is the Mirror of Truth."
And thus we have the third artifact of the cities of the Serpent Isle, and can move on to the second half of the game. There's still a lot to do in Moonshade and beyond before we even have the chance to cross Gorlab Swamp and head north.
More critically, Gustacio will now teach us spells. Not sell us spells. Teach them. For free. Gratis. Nothing. Not a penny. And he's got a wide selection in all nine circles. Even if you already got the spells you could get from others or from scrolls before this point, he can still teach a good 1000 Guilders' worth of spells.
"So now I have a mirror. And some other crap. And a broken Black Sword. And an 80% full spellbook. I think we've drained Moonshade dry now."
"What about phase two?"
"It'll happen, but I feel like arbitrarily waiting past a certain undefined cutoff point and doing it after that."