Part 42: NORTHERN FOREST - Cantra's Mom Is Gonna Kill Us
Cantra's Mom Is Gonna Kill Us
Cantra is apparently not too far away, in a castle to the east. We've actually seen the castle before, when we looked into Harnna's crystal ball. This is another of those places where the game chronology doesn't make a whole lot of sense, because you'd figure that by now whatever Batlin was doing with Cantra up here would be over and done with. I guess he's just kind of lazy.
But as we approach the castle, Shamino seems shocked.
"No, jackass, this castle thou dost see before thee was once mine home. This was once my kingdom -- And once, so long ago that mine heart alone remembers, within these walls dwelt the fairest lady who ever lived... Oh, my poor Beatrix! Left alone so very long ago..."
"What are you talking about, Mr. Shamino?"
"Oh man, history lesson time."
Okay, so this is kind of coming out of left field, but there's actually a rational explanation for it. Alright, let's turn the clock back to Ultima I, when the world was still Sosaria and there were multiple continents.
One such continent was the Lands of Danger and Despair, and there was a dude in one of the castles named, get this, King Shamino. As it so happens, the layout of Serpent Isle is almost identical to that of the LoDD, which is no coincidence, because that's what this place was before it became what it is now.
Basically, you had villages like Gorlab and Bulldozer (where the Sleeping Bull is now) and Shamino was one of the kings. Then the whole Mondain thing happens, with the Stranger killing him, shattering his gem, and dividing the world. The Lands of Lord British were separated and became Britannia of Ultima IV-VII. Shamino was doing something for Lord British at the time and got stranded. He never came home.
Meanwhile, the old civilized places in the LoDD fell into ruin, the Ophidian culture rose and fell, and now there's some other assholes living here. So this castle is actually one of the oldest structures on the Serpent Isle, older even than the Ophidian ruins.
This makes very little sense because it's in much better shape than the Ophidians' shit, but the Ophidians were idiots, so maybe that had something to do with it.
Anyway, back to emo-Shamino.
"But such remorse doth do us no good now... She is long since dust, I fear, and our peril now is real. If thou wishest, I can draw thee a map of mine home, as once I knew it."
"Might as well."
"I do not know what changes were made after I left, Avatar. But perhaps this will help. I seem to recall that there was a secret entrance to the west... But that was a long time ago. I doubt that the two great trees near the illusionary mountain entrance are still there. The secret entrance would be most difficult to find should its landmarks be gone. 'Tis a pity that so much hath changed without my being here..."
Shamino's map is actually reasonably accurate.
But to make use of it, we'll need to get inside.
"It's locked tight. Perhaps we should go around to find that secret entrance?"
"No, fuck that. I don't sneak in through any secret doors when I can just Telekinesis the portcullis open."
In fact, Telekinesis is a perfectly valid way of getting into the castle, although it messes slightly with a sequence that occurs elsewhere in the castle. Anyway once you get through the outer wall, you still need to open the inner castle gate. If you look closely, you can just about make out a sliver of the winch that can be TK'd to open that as well.
"All other things being equal, I'd say this is in pretty good shape considering nobody's lived here in a bazillion years."
"Or have they? I hear something outside in the courtyard!"
"Time to go beat somebody's ass in."
"It looks like someone beat us to it."
"Hey Shamino, were any of these fresh corpses or fires around when you were last living here?"
"I'm sure I would remember them if they were, so I'm going with no."
"I sincerely hope these arms belonged to the long-dead soldiers of your castle and not Batlin's now frighteningly naked men."
Fortunately, most of Batlin's troops do indeed seem to have their pants and shirts on. They're pacing about plotting to loot the place, even though I can't really see anything worth taking around here.
But let's cut to the chase and head to the throne room, where a couple nameless goons await along with Batlin's gargoyle bodyguard, Palos. Who says nothing to us, but Batlin only has the one gargoyle.
Several beatings and an invincible gargoyle later...
"Well look who finally showed up to the party. What's up fatass? We'll be with you in just a second, right after we to-kick Palos's pussy gargoyle ass."
"Thou art too late, Avatar! Nothing can stop me now! The girl is dead and the last Bane is mine!"
"We don't even know what that means."
"Soon I shall rival the Guardian himself and crush thee like the irritating insect thou art!"
"But apparently not right now, because we could pretty much beat the crap out of you."
"I shall open the Wall of Lights and destroy the world! And thou art powerless to follow me! Come, Palos! Destiny awaits beyond the frozen mountains!"
"Well now that you've told us where you're going, I guess we... can... follow you?"
"Fine whatever little miss technicality. Actually, you know what, screw you Steve, I don't have to justify myself to you. Batlin awayyyyyyyyyyy!"
"Well that was suitably pointless. So I guess Cantra..."
"I knew we were forgetting something."
"At least we can rest somewhat easy in the fact that horrific murder was all Batlin did to her."
"Seek the Temple, and with it, the Eye of the Moon."
"Dude, do you mind? We're having a moment here, I don't need your pushy snakehead ass telling me what I do or don't have to do. Show a little goddamn respect for this random act of Guardian."
"In my defense, I'm kind of blind here."
"Then try listening next time."
"Snakes don't have ears."
"...you win this round, serpent."
"Oh man, you guys really need to pick your timing better. She's getting a little stale."
"We mourn with thee, Hero From Another World, for this purposeless death of the girl once known as Cantra. We shall take her lifeless body to Monk Isle, where perhaps we can restore life where death doth now reign. Continue on thy quest. Trouble not thyself for this girl, as we shall do all that is possible for her."
"Is anyone else reading something into that? Maybe I'm the only one."
"We tend to just ignore it at this point."
And thus the monk departs with Cantra, to hopefully resurrect her back on Monk Isle. With any luck we'll see her again soon, hopefully less dead. For now, however, let's grab Batlin's medallion, which he has apparently dropped while
"Well, now we've gotta go chase Batlin around again. Wanna take a tour of your place while we've got nothing else to do, Shamino?"
"Yeah, I'm down."
Most of the doors are locked in the castle, but we can fix that soon. In the meantime, let's head to the chapel, where statues animate and attack us. When they animate, someone will exclaim "By the virtues!" They will then do this every time you enter the chapel, even if no enemies appear.
In the kitchen, some of Batlin's goons met an untimely end at the hands of homicidal ovens. Stupid haunted castles. Anyway, one has a journal:
I was hired by Batlin the first time we met, in Fawn. A recently shipwrecked pirate, I had escaped from the Storms as well as jail. Since then I have been in his service with no interruption nor reason to complain.
Our first meeting was a strange one. I remember gazing around from the shores of the bay, climbing on top of a hill and seeing no signs of life. No signs of life for miles and miles around except in a spot in the middle of the bay where I perceived a shimmering city: Fawn. On my way downhill I ran into a group of men in which I recognized an old pirate friend of mine, Pilot. They were looking for manpower and I was available. Pilot introduced me to Batlin and I was in. We marched into Fawn where Batlin had some business to conduct.
How we got to this place, I am not certain, for I was blindfolded while we were in the doing of it. All I can say is that my master knows powerful magics, which allow us to step aside from the barriers of this physical world. Thus, I find myself in the frozen north, in the abandoned sanctuary of a long dead people. Here, we have slain a Beast of Ice, and captured a Daemon's Soul.
Soon after the Daemon was imprisoned, I beheld with anxious eyes a dreadful vortex. Believe me, I have seen many a storm on various seas and continents, but never ever such a fury. It is as if Nature herself is in contortion.
On the third day of the following week:
At the first streak of dawn, we travelled overland across the snowy wastes to the great mountains which my master calls the Peaks of Skullcrusher.
In the depths beneath the mountains, we sought another of these Daemons. This proved to be a difficult task. We had to keep a strict watch to discover him in his hiding place. Finally, we trapped the second prisoner, whose name is Anarchy. We searched all over the Skullcrusher mountains for this bane.
On the last day of the week:
Then, we travelled by magical means until we found ourselves in the tangled forest of the northlands. The last Daemon had eluded us in the Plains of Ice, but in his new form he was not so swift. Now his trail hath led us to this ruined castle.
I will finish this entry later tonight.
Batlin has been looking for the 'daemons,' which he calls the Banes of Chaos, for quite a while. The journal here claims one of them is named Anarchy. Batlin wants something with these three Banes of Chaos, but exactly what he's planning to do isn't entirely obvious yet. The "new form" mentioned is Cantra, who was for some reason possessed by one of the Banes. Batlin presumably had to kill her to retrieve it.
"Uh-oh spaghettios, sounds like more problems with your ex."
We should have seen this earlier, but I chose to come in through the front door. This is the ghost of Beatrix, Shamino's old love. Understandably, she's kind of pissed about being abandoned for several thousand years. Whenever she appears, she attacks, mostly focusing on Shamino, but she's fortunately easy as hell.
The hidden stairs in the room we were just in lead down to some tunnels. The big treasure is this chest down in a room with a cyclops.
The tunnel leads out to here. Or more specifically, this is the secret entrance.
Anyway, behind a wall at the back of the barracks is a switch room controlling the locks on all the doors in the castle. Although it may initially look like a horrible puzzle where flipping one switch opens some doors and closes others, it mercifully is not; just flip the switches that are up to down, and you're done.
"To think I loved thee once! I wrote thee notes of love, letters of trust -- but thou didst remember me no more, when Lord British summoned thee to his aid!"
I killed her before displaying this dialogue, but you get the idea. I don't know why she leaves a real corpse each time you kill her off. Anyway, the chests here have some pretty decent stuff in them, but I couldn't find a key. You can just bash them open.
Among the loot is a Dragonslayer Sword. Despite its name and appearance, it's a rather lame weapon. I'm not sure if it's actually supposed to slay dragons, but it's not much better at the job than any other weapon.
"Here is where my body did lie, until the Goblins pillaged the tomb..."
"I died of a broken heart, waiting for thy return..."
"You are so in the doghouse, man."
"So, thou didst finally think to return, King? It is too late! All are dead, the Goblins conquered all..."
In addition to some reagents, there are some spell scrolls in that closet. Too bad it's locked. How to get in?
Invisible chest! They haven't used that one in a while. Not that the stuff in the closet is terribly amazing.
"Okay, I have a cunning plan. Shamino, hang on a sec."
"What the hell was that all about, Steve!?"
"It did kind of come out of nowhere."
"I figured that despite Beatrix's anger with you, when you were on the brink of death she would realize her undying love for you, saving you and passing to the great beyond."
"That's just stupid."
Well, that's what was supposed to happen. I guess it only works when Shamino is near death, not actually dead. Maybe he'll almost-die soon enough to trigger the following:
"Do not die, my sweet King..."
"Beatrix, is that thee?"
"I forgive thee for deserting us, King Shamino. To prove that my love for thee is stronger than eternity, I shall heal thee of thy wounds. Keep this book as a keepsake between us. Now I must go into the Void, but remember me always..."
Oh well, I'm sure that'll happen eventually.
If you Vibrate Batlin before he talks to you and warps off, you can get some of his spells. Unfortunately, he's not carrying the items he's supposed to be carrying, like his own serpent jawbone and the like. It makes sense because he isn't the same Batlin NPC as appears in other places, but I was hoping to break the game a little.