Part 49: SPINEBREAKER - Breaking Batlin's Back Part 2
To enter the Order Hierophant's office, we'll need to find three artifacts of Order. The plaque's hint suggests we're looking for something about Ethicality first.
Southeast of town is a shrine to Logic. The abacus is the symbol, so we'll take that for later.
To the southwest, the shrine to Ethicality. There don't seem to be any particular artifacts, but there are a couple of scrolls about Ethicality.
As a follower of Order thou must always conform to the principles of conduct as accepted by our alliance. Without these as guides we as a people would be lost. We would be no better than those who are controlled by Chaos.
We are far better than those who permit anarchy to control their lives and their thoughts. We must be eternally vigilant to insure that our system of ethics stands strong, that it must not be corrupted from within. We must insure that we remain pure, for corruption is the strength of our enemy, though it will be his own undoing should we stand aligned against it.
Student of Ethicality, take heed! Thou must be stronger than thou art in order to stand against the false truths that Chaos will tempt thee with. As iron is in a forge, thou wilt be blasted with the torrent of Chaos and corruption 'til thou wilt lose thy brittleness and harden into a core of strength. Through Ethics, thou canst become free of the anarchy and pain that lies within Chaos and ignorance.
Take one of the scrolls with you and place it on the pedestal. The plaque changes, and now reads: 'Order Symbol For the Strength of the Mind and Willpower.' That would be Discipline, so we need to find that shrine.
On the city's north side is the infirmary, plus a scroll of poetry.
What is Order?
a poem by Sschittek the Wise
What is Order?
Is it a rule?
Is it a law?
Is it a whip with barbs to control the unruly?
It is not any of these, it is more...
It is wisdom, it is knowledge, It is a sense of duty!
Ethicality is a Scroll, speaking of principles, of wisdom and of freedom from fear and hate. It is a gleam of sunrise guiding thee toward enlightenment and to thy true fate.
Discipline is strength of the mind, born of willpower and knowledge, cleansing like a noon summer shower. It is a well-honed Serpent Dagger, a blade that cuts through Chaos and corruption's foul power.
Logic is a straight path, without obstacles or brambles, free from both rock and tooth. Logic is precise and unswerving, counting Order's truth on an eternal Abacus of Truth.
The poem is a hint to the artifacts we need. Ethicality is a scroll, Discipline a dagger, Logic an abacus. We've already got the abacus and we've already used the scroll.
Northwest of town, the Discipline shrine. The dagger is what we want, although the dagger on the floor will do as well. Actually, any object that counts as one of the three objects works, I think. Not sure about the scroll, it may have to be that particular scroll type, but there are multiple copies of it.
"Do we really need another Juggernaut Hammer?"
"It's not always about what we need, Dupre. Sometimes it's just about what we want."
Despite its appearance, the scroll is not magical in any way. Also, you'll just have to trust me about the Juggernaut Hammer since I always seem to get a screenshot of the frames where it isn't glowing.
The books give some perspective on Order philosophy.
THE BOOK OF DISCIPLINE
The ultimate wisdom of life may only be reached through discipline. It takes strength and concentration to follow the guidelines of discipline. Therefore the weak and distracted mind will fail. The weak and distracted mind will not have the power to succeed. And only that power will take thee to the top. But there is no room for the weak at the top. Only the strong mind will find a place there.
Dagger goes on there next. That leaves the plaque reading: 'Order Symbol For a Straight Path of Truth.' Of course only Logic is left, so logically (ha ha!) the answer is...
"This must have been the biggest pain in the fucking ass when the Order Hierophant needed to drop a load."
"Maybe he left through the Wall of Lights to find a bathroom, since there doesn't appear to be one in here."
"I know. I hope this doesn't take too long, I got business to take care of once we've dropped Batlin."
"Perhaps it's behind a secret panel somewhere. That would be something the Ophidians would do."
Inside, another altar. This one says, 'The Sceptre Can Bring Thee to the Library.' Since we already found that scroll detailing the library, we know we need the Order Hierophant's scepter to get there. This is one of the clearer instructions in the game, so you could probably figure it out by itself.
We just need the scepter. But I guess we can't expect some random NPC to just hand it to us while we're rooting through the Order Hierophant's bedroom downstairs.
"Hierophant! Thou hast returned!"
"But, thou art not the Hierophant. Pardon, mine energy is low."
"But you just said I was the Hierophant."
"You are? I have been waiting since all of the citizens of this city left through the Wall of Lights for their new world. Since that time I have been carefully attending thy belongings..."
"But the Avatar isn't..."
"Pardon. I mean, the Hierophant's belongings. Before he led the people through the Wall of Lights, he gave me an item of extreme importance, the Serpent Sceptre. I have been guarding it for centuries now."
I thought Silver Seed said the Order Hierophant was a woman. I think some time did pass between the War of Imbalance and the Order exodus, however, so that might be part of it.
"This machine did mistake thee for the Hierophant, Avatar."
"Pardon, but did I just hear thou art the Hierophant? Is it true thou art the Hierophant of Order?"
"Uhhhhhh, yeah, I'm the Hierophant of Order."
"What? Technically speaking the position is open, and I've got half these jerks' artifacts. I'd say that, by default, I am the Order Hierophant. Among other things."
"At long last thou hast returned! I have kept it safe for all the centuries since thou wert last here! Hierophant, here is thy Serpent Sceptre! It is good that I successfully carried out mine instructions. Now, I must rest..."
And then he
Take the scepter back upstairs and stick it on the pedestal to be transferred to a new area. This one is, of course, the Library of Order.
There's an awful lot of books here, and they shed a lot of light on the Ophidians. This is the first intact Ophidian library we've really come across, so a lot of it fills in the gaps with what we know.
~~THE GREAT HIEROPHANTS~~
The last Hierophant to commission a pair of our Temples was Sessessej. He was selected because of his outstanding qualities of leadership and his overwhelming sense of Rationality. He commissioned the Temples of Emotion and Logic. The Ophidians needed a spiritual leader like him to teach them the doctrines of Balance. He was responsible for the Temples and their ways of belief. He was given the authority to perform all important ceremonies of the Serpent People, known as the Ophidians.
As we've learned so far, the Great Hierophant was the one who mediated between the forces of Order and Chaos and kept society functioning. The death of the final Great Hierophant was the catalyst for the eventual disintegration of Ophidian society.
~~HOLY BOOKS OF THE OPHIDIANS~~
Our Sacred Books will reveal to thee what thou must know to live the life of a true Ophidian.
Respect The Books for They were written with the pain, the blood and the hopes of thine ancestors.
Read our Books to know thyself.
Thou shalt be clean when touching The Books.
Thou shalt be pure when reading The Books.
Thou shalt read The Books aloud.
Thou shalt not say with thy tongue that which thou wouldst not make good with thine actions.
Now, thou mayest proceed.
~~GUIDELINES OF LIFE by Shaushauna~~
1: Tolerance becomes the chain that unites the solidarity into the whole.
2: Ethicality is a beacon to guide our actions.
3: Enthusiasm brings beauty to our rising.
4: Discipline is a weapon against faltering.
5: Emotion is a heart beating strong and proud.
6: Logic is a straight guide upon which we can rely...
These guidelines detail the principles of Order and Chaos. Together, we get Rationality (Logic + Emotion), Dedication (Discipline + Enthusiasm), and Harmony (Ethicality + Tolerance).
Too much of one without the other throws the principles out of balance (and Balance).
With Logic but no Emotion, you have Ruthlessness, the Bane of Order.
With Emotion but no Logic, you have Insanity, the Bane of Chaos.
With Discipline but no Enthusiasm, you have Apathy, the Bane of Order.
With Enthusiasm but no Discipline, you have Wantonness, the Bane of Chaos.
With Ethicality but no Tolerance, you have Prejudice, the Bane of Order.
With Tolerance but no Ethicality, you have Anarchy, the Bane of Chaos.
Batlin has been seeking the Banes of Chaos. If he's found them, then he's in possession of the forces of Insanity, Wanton, and Anarchy. What could he possibly do with them? And where would the personified forces of the Banes come from? There doesn't seem to be any mention of the Banes of Order...
...or is Order somehow responsible for this?
The darkest day of all arrives when one of our Great Hierophants lies down to close his eyes forever. The country's grief is so apparent that it seems that it may be touched. Every follower, down to the littlest child, can feel the void that unfolds with the loss of the Great Hierophant. The only way acceptable to pay our last respects is a ceremony that indicates without any doubt how important this being was to our society and how much they are missed by us.
The body must be laid in state for three full days. After the blessings, the body will be dressed in holy clothes and decorated with holy flowers, so that the ordinary folks may greet the Great Hierophant for the last time, in a quiet manner. Loud wailing and gnashing is not tolerated. The pain must be held back until the outside of the shrine is reached. People may bring small tokens and leave them with the Hierophant to show their gratitude. A state of mourning for the period of seven days is ordered for the whole country. Every temple and every shrine will be open day and night, so people may gather at all times and share their grief.
One last word to those people who never followed the Great Hierophant with all their heart: Rebellion, interruptions of the ceremony and all other possible disturbances will be prosecuted and punished. No crime will go unseen. Keep in mind: 'The Serpent Watches Over All!'
The problem with the assassination of the last Great Hierophant was the lack of a successor. The Great Earth Serpent who spoke to the Hierophants had fallen silent (in no small part because Exodus jacked him and enslaved him in Sosaria). I have to assume no successor was chosen in part because none could be found without a serpent's guidance, and the outbreak of war over the murder just tore the followers of Balance apart entirely.
STRENGTH THROUGH ETHICS
Dear reader, I intend this essay to be a guide for thee. For thou art what thou dost do. Thou dost do what thou dost judge best for thyself. But, in this matter, is thy judgement as clear as the sky on a summer day? That is the question. If thou canst not answer without a reasonable doubt, thou needest to be enlightened. The purpose of this essay is to increase thy strength through enlightenment. Ethics will enlighten thee.
Strength is to the adventurer what milk is to the newborn. Without it there is no growth, only dwindling and loss of Life. The path to fulfillment is a long climb towards the heights of the highest and greatest mountain of all.
Herein, I will show thee that there are no shortcuts, and the rewards awaiting thee are abundant.
Be frugal and be prodigal. In order to receive, thou hast need to give, give, and give again. Allow me to clarify this. Do not misunderstand my words. Do not expect to receive something in exchange for thy gift. Thy gift must come from thine heart. If thou dost expect the recipient to thank thee, thou art on the wrong path. Thou shalt thank the recipient. Meditate upon those words of wisdom and thy strength will grow with thee.
Show respect for all life forms. Unless they do attack thee, spare them. Be blameless and upright. Being sincere and fair in all of thy transactions will provide thee with more power than thou ever hadst. Thou wert strong, thou wilt be stronger. Thy strength will be exalted in truth.
Be great amongst the multitude of thy brethren. Relieve commoners and seek their welfare. Be humble. Talk no more so very proudly, let not arrogance flow from thy mouth like wisdom from the fountains of Spinebreaker. Thou shalt not use thy tongue to deceive. Remember to practice whatever thou dost advocate.
Quality should be thy rule. Quality of craftsmanship if thou art a craftsman, quality of the time spent with thy brethren, quality of the words thou speakest, quality in thine actions. Quality secures thine ascent above the multitude.
Be patient in all circumstances. That will make thee wealthy, for each minute is a priceless gem
Remember that water and ice are two facets of the same element. Be that element. Like water avoid obstacles as large as mountains. Like ice provide a solid path between two banks. Rush like water to extinguish a fire. Avoid fire as unto ice.
Strength feeds on Ethics and Ethics on strength. When trouble and anguish come upon thee, Ethics will give thee the strength to overcome. By this thou shalt overcome.
There is a certain undercurrent to the natural Balance inherent in Ethicality (you can't just be an asshole, after all), but there are also subversive Order biases in the texts. This isn't surprising, since this is an Order library, but still.
Under a book on the desk is a key (the brown one on the table just opens the lock to get out of here.
At the back, past the other locked door, is perhaps the most important book in the Order canon. Note that we have to at least read this book to get past a puzzle later, or the game won't allow us to know about it. It's kind of an interesting read all the same though.
THE STRUCTURE OF ORDER
~A collection of the Principles of Order~
~~compiled by Shaashaanna
The Philosophy of Order is based upon the Three Forces of Order. The Philosophy of Order is a set of principles meant to lead thee on the path toward strength through enlightenment. The Three Forces are as follows:
Most righteous reader, let us examine the structure of Order as it appears through the Forces of Order and the underlying principles of the philosophy of Order.
What is Ethicality? Ethicality is the belief in abiding by rules of conduct.
Those rules must be in thy mouth, in thy mind and in thine heart at all times. Doing so thou wilt understand thou art those rules. The rules are the Forces. The rules are not a part of thee, they are thee and thou art the rules. Once those rules, or Forces, are one with thee, then, and only then, canst thou abide regardless of the circumstances. Those rules of conduct are not too difficult for thee; neither are they distant so that thou art not able to achieve them. Those rules of conduct are within thy reach. Moreover, they are necessary if thou dost not wish to be torn and slain by beasts.
Beware, dear reader, for the beasts of Chaos are watching each of thy steps. Thou shalt perform the words of the Philosophy of Order that are written herein if thou art to live as a man.
What is Discipline? Discipline is the ability to finish what one hath begun, and to not be distracted.
Persevere, dearest reader, persevere! Listen carefully to these words and let those principles be with thee. Listen to silence and it will speak to thee. Discipline is patiently rebuilding thine house washed away by a solstice flood. In other words, Discipline is not surrendering thy quest even though some of thy precious belongings have been eroded or destroyed.
What is Logic? Some will tell thee that Logic is 'a little bird chirping in a meadow' or that it is 'a wreath of flowers which smell bad'. Do not lend thine ears to their confusing messages. We say, dearest reader, that Logic deals with two states in the Land of Thought: true and false.
Thou shalt realize that:
Logic is mightier than magic.
Logic turns darkness into bright daylight.
Logic will illuminate the tunnel of ignorance for thee. It will bring thee confidence and knowledge.
Logic is the ability to think clearly and to reason to a conclusion, without emotional bias.
Logic is the power from within which will infallibly guide thee throughout various realms across time and waters.
With the Three forces of Order, wisdom and might are on thy side, dear reader.
Once thou dost have the Forces of Order in thy life thou shouldst have no fear.
Once thou dost have the Forces of Order in thy life thou shouldst have no doubt.
Once thou dost have the Forces of Order in thy life thou shouldst have no emotion.
Moreover, neither bias nor conceit affect thee. Will it be well with thee when thou wilt be put to trial or wilt thou let Chaos overcome thee?
Chaos is wrong and hath no place within our philosophy.
Do not attempt any sort of combination for thou shalt count Balance as thine enemy.
Respect those words for they are words of wisdom. Honor the Great Serpent, for he taught us this system for the benefit of all.
Now wait just a second. Balance is the enemy? I thought Balance was the leader of the Ophidians. Could it be that the entire societal structure of a culture based on worshipping magic snakes while stratifying civilization into a pair of bitter opposites is somehow unsound?
There are a few more areas to check out. Two lead east into some dormitory areas, but they don't connect to each other due to collapsing rubble. To continue, we go south, but for now, we go north.
To get some foreshadowing.
A TREATISE ON THE CONSTRUCTION OF LIVING GEMS
The construction of living gems requires many a component as well as Pure Discipline.
This Treatise contains the exact formulae and incantations which thou dost perform in order to succeed in the construction of living gems.
The magical fabrication of gems is one thou shouldst be warned about. For thee and thy kindred, make no attempt if thou dost doubt thy magical powers.
Ice Worms are to be found. The Ice Worm doth have to be destroyed. Then wrest its heart from the body. The Worm Heart is cold and hard.
The soul of brave warriors who fight magnificently in combat within the Harvest Moon period, or any equinox, escape the battlefield and may be contained within such a gem. Hence the name 'living gem'.
Once infused with the soul of a glorious warrior, such gems are placed inside the automatons. This is what gives them true life.
This is a hint as to how the automatons like Isstanar were created. But it may be a hint to much more than that.
Down from this room, yet another Magic Bow. Really, we have enough, Serpent Isle.
And now back to our show. Head south and east and Palos will show up to taunt you.
"To meet at last the false hero! To serve my master and to avenge the death of many of my people thou didst slay in ancient times."
"I said I was sorry! I wore your stupid medallion thing! I sent your holy book into space! What more do you people want from me!?"
"To see thy bones with thy skin burned from thy body! To smell thy flesh as it is eaten away by fire and flame!"
"Well we're just going to have to agree to disagree."
"To avenge and to serve my master! To thy death, false hero!"
And off he runs. Yes, you can Death Vortex him as well, although I didn't manage to catch him in time.
More empty Order bedrooms, more books.
~~THE WAR OF ORDER AND CHAOS~~
No one truly knows what happened to cause the war between the Forces of Chaos and Order about 300 years ago. No one can say for sure that he knows which devilish thoughts possessed people to fight each other when they were supposed to love each other and treat each other with respect. But everyone hath been paying for it since the war ended. The Order Forces won the war, and imprisoned the Chaos Forces. But what exactly did they win? It seems that they miss their brothers and sisters now. And who is to say that the Order Forces enjoyed throwing the Chaos Forces into confinement. Going back to the days before the war, living in peace with the Chaos Forces would be a dream come true for me...
"So it appears that Order held out for many centuries after the collapse of the Ophidian system and the defeat of Chaos."
"But what does it mean to say the 'Chaos Forces' were imprisoned? We've been to Skullcrusher. They were dead."
"Perhaps he didn't mean forces, like troops..."
"Then you mean they imprisoned Chaos itself?"
"And now you guys catch on!"
"Excuse me, what? Seriously, what are you going on about? What do you know?"
"Ah ah ahhhhh, Iolo! Not until we find Batlin."
"Are you just doing this to piss him off? Because if so can you please just whisper to me and let me know?"
"Sorry, I want to lord this over you guys just another twenty or thirty minutes. Bear with me, please, this is going to be hilarious."
An Order nursery downstairs. Seems even the children made the passage through the Wall of Lights. Nobody is left.
A little pond for relaxation or something. The path to the Grand Shrine of Order lies just to the east and north.
Right after we get past yet another automaton.
"Halt! Only a true follower of Order may pass this portal. Art thou such a disciple?"
"Uhhhhh, sure, we follow Order."
"That may be, but I must test thy knowledge before I permit thee access to the grand shrine."
"Oh that is bullshit. No way did Batlin and his dumbass squad get past you without you noticing how moronic they all are."
"Though I doubt one such as thee would attempt to deceive me, many 'followers' of late do not appear to truly be devoted to Order. In truth, I believe them to be impostors, though they did answer the question I put to them."
"To insure that thou art a true student of Order, I will ask thee to complete a line from one of our greatest books and thou must name the book. Only a devout student of Order would know the answer."
"Or someone who can read."
"Either way, Steve's doomed."
"Whoa whoa, before we start I gotta know more about how those guys got through here."
"Though I should not speak such, they appeared to be, shall we say, less than intelligent. They seemed to have great difficulty with answering the most modest of my queries. One of their number even threatened to tear me limb from limb if I failed to open this portal. But it was the large one who answered all the questions correctly. He alone was no dolt."
"That sounds about right for them."
"He was an impressive man, in both size and intellect. He appeared to have the combined intellect that the rest of the party lacked."
"Not to mention the combined weight, I'm sure."
"Can't hold a candle to your wife, but Batlin gives it his all. And he's got a lot to give."
"Do we have to do this joke now, Steve?"
"He answered my questions easily, though in truth I cannot remember what I asked of him."
I wouldn't be all that surprised if Batlin raised the automaton after having Brunt, Deadeye and Palos dismantle it. As you're about to see, there's no way he could have actually known the right answer.
"Alright then. What's the test?"
"Which book tells us, 'Being sincere and fair in all of thy transactions will provide thee with more power than thou ever hadst. Thou wert strong, thou wilt be stronger. Thy strength will be exalted in truth.'"
Our choices are:
* Tenets of Discipline
* Guidelines of Life
* Strength Though Ethics
* The Structure of Order
Number four is only available if we actually read The Structure of Order.
Now, if we answer the first three:
Strength Though Ethics: "An excellent book, one that can guide a disciple of Order to new consciousness. I would recommend that thou readest it. Then thou wouldst realize that the answer thou didst give was incorrect."
Tenets of Discipline: "Shushuro was a great man indeed. If only mine hollow head could be so enlightened. But at least I realize my quote was not from that book's pages. Mayhap thou shouldst return to the city and examine thy books further."
Guidelines of Life: "A masterpiece! Indeed, its words of wisdom could educate thee very well. Then thou wouldst be enlightened to learn that the book thou didst name doth not contain any such quote. Mayhap thou dost need to study more at the Hierophant's library. 'Tis a wondrous place full of the wisdom of Order."
"The answer is The Structure of Order."
"Ah, so thou art a true accolyte of Order. I will permit thee to enter the Grand Shrine. At the end of this corridor lies the grand shrine of Order. That is where the Hierophant performs the ceremony to open the Wall of Lights. Seek Order!"
"Wait a second. You answered that wrong."
"I beg your pardon?"
"That line doesn't appear in The Structure of Order."
"Oh, I know that. You know that. But he doesn't know that."
"But how did you-"
"Av. A. Tar."
"That's the only explanation we're ever going to get, isn't it?"
"Iolo old pal, it's the only one you ever need."
Seriously though, the game is flat-out fucking wrong. The line appears in Strength Through Ethics, not The Structure of Order. Proof? Okay.
So they made us go through all that and the answer isn't even right. Thanks a lot Origin.
Note the possible plot hole here. Batlin didn't unseal the Hierophant's office or go to the Library, so he would have had no idea where the quotes came from, because he never saw the books. So either he guessed, or he cheated, as actually knowing the answer would break the plot.
Not but a second later and Deadeye drops by.
"...then feed thee to the minnows shouldst thou try to cross me sword!"
"Alright, you people are either going to have to form one line or just all show up at once so I can Mass Death you."
Looks like one of Batlin's guys got jacked trying to swipe the tableware. He's got a key we need to get through the door to the Grand Shrine of Order, though.
Supposedly there's traps in this hallway, but I missed all of them somehow by hugging the left wall. I guess do that, then.
"My guess is that Batlin's cronies are waiting to ambush us in a single desperate attack. Also possible is that they secretly hate Batlin as much as the rest of us and will stand to one side pointing and laughing while we cut his brain open."
"And exactly which of these scenarios is... more likely, would you say?"
"Honestly, I'd give it a solid 60/40."
"Well, I guess the odds prevail."
This whole sequence is a bit perplexing. Selina teleports in with Palos, Deadeye, and Brunt (who is currently lying on the ground with negative hit points since I killed him earlier). They say some stuff, but they say it so quickly and all at once that it's impossible to see what the hell they're talking about. Then they trap you inside with magical fields...
...at first I thought Selina had summoned the cyclopses in addition to Brunt/Palos/Deadeye. Then I noticed Brunt/Palos/Deadeye are no longer here, which means she's transmogrified the three of them into cyclopses. She does this with very little fanfare, so it's not really obvious what she's doing.
"Now then, I've got some diapers to spare, so we'll just put all four of you into the corner for time out while I work out a clever and non-lethal way to deal with you."
Sometimes Serpent Isle is accidentally too clever. After causing everyone to run away with diapers, I decided I'd attempt a non-lethal maneuver and spare all four of Batlin's goons. I knew that Selina carries the (one and only!) Dispel Field scroll, and if I could get that off her without killing her, I could dispel the fields to the north and continue on to Batlin.
At least that was the idea behind casting Vibrate.
Except Selina doesn't drop the scroll. In fact, all she drops is her Blink Ring. Normally when you take her ring, she takes it out of your inventory and warns you not to touch her ring.
When you Vibrate her, this breaks the script. She drops the ring, but it's not in a container, so she can't take it back or something. Anyway she permanently locks into that pose and spams DO NOT TOUCH MY RING! eternally for the rest of her rather brief life.
She'll slide around fleeing/attacking/doing all her normal things while doing this.
Now I could still avoid killing the other three if I could kill Selina. But Serpent Isle decided to be clever and makes Selina completely immortal until all three of her cyclops buddies are dead. You can neuter her with the Magebane, fear her with a diaper, anything you want, and you simply cannot escape this sequence until the four of them are dead.
Well, short of hack mover, but you can hack move around just about anything, so big deal.
"Gloat if thou wilt! Even if thou slayest me here thou hast not truly defeated me! Even as we speak, Batlin is opening the Wall of Lights in the next room! With the Guardian's help he and I shall meet in the Eternal Void to conquer new realms together! Batlin! Guardian! I await thee in the Void! Also, do not... touch... my... riii-"
"Well that was a suitable mess."
"Erm... why is Brunt still alive?"
"A funny story about that, actually. You see, when Steve killed me, I was actually teleported from the real world to a strange house in the middle of the Void filled with all those who have died or disappeared, and a corpse identical in appearance and function to my living body was brought into the world in the exact space in which I died."
"I know! I was quite surprised myself. When Selina summoned me, she therefore summoned me back into the living world from the land of the 'dead.' But as my corpse already exists, it cannot be swapped with me, and I will remain in this place, immortal and unchanging."
"You mean you're immortal now?"
"All of us are. The Magic Corpse Snatching Conspiracy must be exposed!"
"So that would make you too busy to kill us now, right?"
"What would be the point? After all, you're immortal too. Seeya!"
And there we are, the first of the last three spells in the game. Dispel Field!
Now that we've got it, we can get into a few plot-related areas the game oh-so-cleverly didn't want us to get into, as well as a few the game doesn't want us to get into even with Dispel Field, because the latter part of this game kind of messed things up.
"And that just leaves us with Batlin."
"With his men finally dead, he's all that's left of the Guardian's minions."
"At least we know this time he has no way to escape!"
"Unless he, y'know, opens the Wall of Lights."
"Yeah, we should probably hurry this one up."
Remember Silverpate's treasure map? We can finally reach it. Follow the mountain range east of Skullcrusher's exit until you find these ruins.
As per the map, there's a secret entrance to some ice tunnels here.
Ah, caltrops, the most credible threat in all of Ultima VII. At least these are actually visible.
Silverpate's treasure is quite nice, actually. Money and some magic armor, potions, magic bolts... and wait, what's this? A blackrock serpent!
This one is the Blackrock Balance Serpent. I have no idea how the Avatar guesses it's a Balance serpent, but it makes sense. Order is curved one way, Chaos is curved the other way, Balance would be the straight line between the two. Remember that symbolism, it will come in handy later.
Unfortunately, the Blackrock Balance Serpent will only really be useful at the end of the game. Might as well grab it now though.
Finally, we have Silverpate's journal.
~~ ~~ MY JOURNAL ~~ ~~
Day 3 of Week 9: Today, I had another argument with Erstam, that old crazy mage with a foul temper! I could never stand him, I never will. Who doth he think he is? Erstam and I are so different that we simply cannot work together.
Day 4 of Week 9: My precious Jawbone, I am so glad thou art mine, I use thee often and often again and still have no grounds to complain. What would I do without thee, tell me? Erstam, thou art not the only one who can travel through the Void!
Day 7 of Week 9: Thy magic telescope is merely another trick thou hadst divined when thou didst fear my powers. Useless piece of equipment for a crazy old mage. I am tired of thee. I understand why Drogeni never came back...
Thou art looking for immortality and will end alone, Erstam!
I, Silverpate, will prove thee wrong. I will discover the solution relevant to our matters.
My guess for what happened here: Silverpate found the second jawbone at some point, but was eventually killed by Erstam for double-crossing him one time too many. One of the jawbones was stolen from Erstam by Vasculio, who passed it on to Ensorcio unaware of its powers. Batlin then stole it from him.
The alternative is that Silverpate was killed by Vasculio, who seized the jawbone, but that doesn't seem to square chronologically. The former case is more likely.
On to the next cheat. East of the entrance to Spinebreaker is a little cavern.
Downstairs is another of those crazy grave things that's on fire.
And lying on the grave is the second Juggernaut Hammer of this update. But like the last time, I caught a screenshot where it isn't glowing.
Just trust me. Would I lie to you about hammers?
Here's another. What if we go west from the entrance to the Grand Shrine of Order? Crossing over a bridge, we find ourselves at...
...a dead end. But there's another path to the north.
Into some caves.
Gazers and snow leopards attack inside, and through a wall of flames is a pair of chests. I couldn't get the right one to open without a key (and I'm not gonna bother looking for it right now).
The left one can be bashed open for another Lightning Whip and some brass shields.
West from there is a zig-zagging invisible tunnel.
...which leads outside. Outside?
It's an alternative entrance to Spinebreaker. There's a temple of Chaos a little to the north from here, but we don't need to go there right now, and even if we did, waiting a few more plot events will give us the serpent tooth to warp there directly.
Tomorrow we'll see the Avatar effortlessly dispatch Batlin, prevent the opening of the Wall of Lights, foil the Guardian, restore Balance, and bring Serpent Isle to a close.
Ha ha, you wish!