The Let's Play Archive

Ultima VII Part 2: Serpent Isle

by Nakar

Part 9: MONITOR - Dumping Plot Points While The Avatar Slowly Expires Part 2

Right then. Now that we're a Knight, and have inquired about the plain shield, we can connect some dots at the pub.

"My name is Lucilla. Is there anything I can do for thee? Anything at all?"
"You for sale, or do you just work here?"
"I run the Slashing Sword, the best pub in Monitor. Thou mightest think that cooking is not a very Knightly activity, but I assure thee, feeding the warriors in this town is indeed a Quest of Courage! If thou dost want anything to eat or drink, thou hast merely to say so, Steve. If I do say so myself, I am a master of cooking poultry. Or as they say... Breasts and thighs, breasts and thighs. And which dost thou prefer, milord? But do not answer yet... If I cannot succeed in the bedroom, I might as well try in the kitchen! Homely women make good cooks, they say..."
"That is just awesome."
"'Tis a pub that hath been handed down generation to generation, originating with my great-grandfather. Although 'tis a wonderful place to have a meal, most of the men in the town come by to court me! I enjoy all the attention..."
"I hope your great-grandfather wasn't quite as forthright with customers."
"Only sometimes. He was not only the founder of the pub, but he was a Champion Knight of Monitor! He wore the Helm of Monitor for several years, before he was bested in a tournament. I can hardly speak of the Champion Knight without remembering Astrid's foul death at the hands of the Goblins. I fear that there is none worthy to fill her shoes as Champion Knight! Except, perhaps, thyself? I must believe that thou hast had thy share of conquests in thy time..."
"Are we talking about the same kind of conquests? Because I get the sense that no, we are not."
"Monitor is not the town it once was. Our ancestors founded a settlement built on the Principle of Courage. But today, greed and glory have corrupted our Knights. Monitor needs a champion that is not only a leader on the battlefield, but someone who can stir their hearts and lead them back to what it means to be a Knight. I wish a new Champion Knight would arise, one who can not only retrieve the Helm of Monitor, but also right the wrongs in this town! Could that person be thee? I would like it to be so."
"Perhaps this is a quest for the Avatar?"
"I don't want anything to do with this place."
"But what the hell, let's do it anyway."
"Now that sounds about right."
"All the Knights think about is fighting! And who do they fight? The Goblins? No! They prefer to spar with one another at the List Field! Luther is the worst. Oh, how I hate him!"
"You're not a fan of Luther, huh?"
"What a buffoon! He thinks every woman in this town wants him, but I find him repulsive! To prove his prowess, he torments the weakest Knights and challenges them to meet him on the List Field. And when they lose -- which they must, since Luther is such a powerful brute -- he gloats over them. They say that that new shield of his doth have special powers, so that now he is truly invincible!"
"New shield?"
"Well, I say if it is magical, then force him to not use it! Monitorians do not use magic weapons or armour... But no one can tell Luther anything."
"Let's see, what else... any thoughts on the traitor matter?"
"This is all so confusing. Lord Brendann is certain that there must be a traitor, and the Wolves are united behind him. Yet I have also heard that there is certainly no traitor, and that we should not indulge in hysteria..."
"Who told thee this, madam?"
"Um... no single person, actually. I have merely heard it said in conversation. In a tavern, one hears everything."
"Anything else on your mind? I can guess..."
"Dost thou not know that men are scum? Yet we cannot leave them alone..."
"Well, that's technically true."
"Wouldst thou like to know more about the men of Monitor? Avoid Brendann -- he sees women as trophies, to be won and then set on a shelf. He is shallow and insincere. Templar is very attractive, I think. But Caladin is a brute, and Luther is a clod! 'Tis just as well -- there are no great lovers in this place!"

Speaking of which, if you're a male Avatar, you can court Lucilla and... do things. Sadly, she's cheating on you. Well, technically you're helping her cheat, I guess... with Spektor.

"Surely, thou dost know Spektor the Financier?"
"I must be going. Pressing town business, that sort of thing."
"And it is so seldom that we are able to talk! Be sure to give my greetings to Lord Marsten."
"I shall! Farewell!"

Oh boy. You can get that dialogue regardless of gender if you walk in on Lucilla and Spektor together, even if, as here, they're just in the main room of the tavern.

Finally, let's ask about the ring.

"A ring so pretty must be intended for a loved one. Perhaps a ring of marriage or engagement."

Let's see, what else, what else.

"Oh, right, we were going to let you out."
"I AM FREE! I thank thee for freeing me from this hellhole! The natives of this place are ignorant sots. Imagine, thinking me to be a sorcerer!"
"Yeah, that's kind of a stretch."
"Hast thou looked in thy packs since the storm, Avatar? Nothing in my backpack is as it was when Lord British gave us the list, Avatar!"
"I am making a list of the strange items which the storm gave us."
"Then I shall add to it."

Iolo is carrying a pumpkin, which I think was switched for his lute, or perhaps his crossbow bolts. This is one of those rare exchanged items I think you're more likely to eat than ask about. In fact, I don't even think you can ask about the pumpkin. In fact, I'm not sure I ever found the crossbow bolts. Where the fuck are pumpkins in this game? Monk Isle, maybe?

"Continuing our unfinished business, hello again Lydia."
"Should I be aware of something here?"
"She gave me a dumb tattoo and then fatally poisoned me."
"Are we here to give her a medal?"
"So! Thou hast discovered me! Yes, I poisoned thee, but I will not say at whose insistence it was done! There is no antidote, so thou canst look forward to a long and painful death! I spit upon thee, pawn of the Demon British!"
"Thou hast poisoned Steve for the sake of Lord British?"
"Yes, Fiend British! I hate that monster! He represents all that is evil! Since the poison hath not killed thee, I see that I must do the job myself! Thou canst not take me to the dungeons without a fight!"

So the Lydia thing, as well as the Cantra thing, don't appear to be the work of the traitor in Monitor, whoever that is. Instead, they seem to be tied to Batlin. Harnna's crystal clearly shows that Batlin wanted Cantra for some reason (obligatory pedophile emoticon here), the letter on the invisible man in the Knight's Test reads like Batlin's writing, and Lydia recently reunited with her mage sister. Perhaps Batlin has gathered some allies in Moonshade, and casually let slip that the Avatar serves Lord British.

That suggests that not everything in Monitor is connected. There's a thread of people trying to undermine the city somehow, and a thread more specifically aimed at killing the Avatar. Not that this is anything new.

Because I hadn't fixed the dev snapshot yes, Lydia's pathfinding broke and she just stood there. So I put her to sleep with the roofies sleeping powder in her dresser and ran off. At least Lydia pulled a freaking knife.

Now let's resolve the mystery of Luther's new shield.

"So, thou hast heard of my new shield! No one hath ever seen the like of it before. It is so light, yet blows seem to bounce off of it..."
"Look! He doth have my missing shield!"
"And that mystery shield we have must be his!"
"What did he say?!"
"Give back Dupre's shield, ace."
"No, I will not! This is my shield, and it hath been mine since my father -- a great Knight of Monitor -- passed it on to me! If thou dost call me a thief again, then thou art calling me a liar -- and dishonoring the name of my father! If thou didst that, I would have to challenge thee to combat on the List Field! So if I were thee, I would think twice about speaking to me with such an insolent tone!"
"Hey, if it has to come to that, I'll whip your ass. But are you sure this isn't your shield?"
"No, that doth not look like my shield. I do not believe I have ever seen that shield before in my life. I have not lost my shield. Thou art mistaken. Besides, I have this new shield -- which, by the way, is a family heirloom. Thank thee very much."

Alright then, let's go kick Luther's ass at the List Field. This guy can be talked to, and you can train or spar. You can't actually get inside the List Field normally, unless you break the doors down or swipe the key off Luther's corpse. We don't want Luther dead though.

The weapon of choice here is the halberd, because it does the most damage. Although that's not what he thinks of it.

"A fine enough weapon for a coward. I never did care for that fightin' at a distance and all. I thinks that the only way to victory is to close and hack, and I should know, seeing that I've seen many a battle in my time."

Whatever, let's do this up right. At this time of day only Brendann and Luther are in the List Field. You have to fight everyone who happens to be there at the time, which can be tough when Brendann, Luther, Caladin and Shazzana are in there at the same time.

Luther ain't a thang, and he actually seems... impressed?

In fact, kicking Luther's ass has the opposite effect you might come to expect. Though a tremendous asshole, Luther is incredibly respectful to people who prove themselves. He's actually downright helpful now. He'll even give back Dupre's Shield without so much as a coin changing hands. He also opines on the traitor in town.

"The Goblins did not ambush that patrol without help. If Lord Marsten doth not recognize this, then he is blind as well as brainless. It doth not take a wizard to untangle this skein. Who among us acts strangely, doth do things in secret, and avoids his knightly duties? Speak to Krayg the Provisioner. Force him to spill his filthy secrets. I would do it myself, but Marsten hath ordered me to stay away from that worm."
"Before we go, are you interested in joining us?"
"Luther! Travelling with us?!"
"I do not think this is a good idea..."
"Thou couldst use a warrior like myself, to guard thee against thine enemies. With me on hand, nothing could harm thee! But alas, my duty as a Knight keeps me here in Monitor. The Goblins are a constant threat."

Too bad for that, I guess.

Luther thinks Krayg is the traitor. Let's see if we can trap him in anything.

"Hello, Steve. I am Krayg the Provisioner. If thou needest any goods, I can provide them at a fair price."
"Don't mind us, we're being nonchalant. What's up?"
"I run the supplies shop in Monitor, The Tools of the Trade. 'Tis not a glorious duty, but I cannot wield a sword comfortably because of my condition. If thou dost look closely, thou canst see that mine arm is bent unnaturally at the elbow. I was wounded as a lad, in my very first battle -- the Goblins surprised us, and it was a heated battle... I was not able to obtain healing in time. Thus I was left unfit for combat."
"Luther doesn't seem to know that."
"So thou art a comrade of that brute Luther, eh? I know that he is no friend of mine. He is suspicious of me for no other reason than that I happen to like to take walks in the woods! He is merely following his leader, Caladin -- they all think the Wolves are their enemies!"
"What sort of walks? That does sound a bit suspicious."
"Oh, let us not discuss this again... It pains me that simply because I have this natural tendency, others would viciously gossip that I was conspiring with our enemy. I seldom venture far while I am alone and I take exceeding care, thou canst well believe me. I take long walks. Well, what is wrong with that, I ask thee? I especially like to visit sites of battles, looking for antique weaponry or armour. I collect them. I collect many things."
"Then you know a lot about the island's history?"
"There must have been a great war here, in the days when the Daemons ruled the Serpent Isle. My walks have taken me deep into the most tangled woods, where I have found many mysteries -- ruins built of strange stone, artifacts made of brass, sometimes a skull or shattered weapon... and always, the Sign of the Serpent. Hast thou not wondered why our land is known as the Serpent Isle? Everywhere our ancestors went, they found the Sign of the Serpent -- in carvings, statuettes, throughout the many ancient ruins. Monitor itself was built on the site of an ancient ruin from the times of the Serpent."
"You don't seem like the sort to work for the goblins."
"They are an infestation! We have fought them since the moment our ancestors set foot on this island. We must destroy them if we are ever to be safe, but we cannot do this unless the Bears and Leopards are willing to listen to Brendann. We must track them to their village lair and slay them. And if a traitor doth exist, then we are doomed from the start... Dost thou accuse me? I am an innocent man, and soon I shall present evidence of that fact! I have reasons of mine own to believe that someone among us is selling our secrets to the Goblins."
"What reasons are those?"
"There is someone else who takes long walks in the woods. I have never seen him clearly. He is very clever, and always dashes away into the forest before I can identify him."
"But was he Goblin or Man?"
"He was not Goblin! They never travel in the woods except in war parties. Yet there was something in his gait that was not entirely Man-like, either. He could not have been Goblin, for they never walk in the woods alone. Therefore... I think he must have been the Monitorian traitor! Listen to this -- if there is a traitor, he must meet with the Goblins somewhere. I know of a place where the Goblins often gather. Perhaps I can find evidence there of who the traitor is. But of late, there have been too many Goblin patrols near the rendezvous. I have been unable to reach the place undetected. The Goblins have been thick in the woods north of Knight's Test for weeks now. They have been emboldened ever since they overran the guardtower west of Fawn. That is where they slew Astrid, the bastards! The place is easy to find, for the Goblins are attracted to the ancient ruins of this Isle. In the midst of the great cypress woods north of Knight's Test, look for a strange black obelisk. This is the gathering place of the Goblin war parties, before they strike south."

Interesting. Krayg may be lying, but I'm not too worried about a goblin ambush, so we may as well go to the rendezvous point and see if there's any incriminating evidence of a traitor. Oh, and we can ask Krayg about a couple strange items.

"Pumice? Such rocks doth come from the depths of the earth, where lava flows free and deadly gasses abound. Standarr the Blacksmith hath been to places such as these, on his Quests of Courage -- thou mightest acquire more information from him. As to the slippers, the nearest place where decorative footwear like that would be worn is Sleeping Bull. Certainly, no one in Monitor would be caught dead wearing them!"

So it's off to him! Strangely, we can't ask about the pumice, but it's pretty obvious where it probably came from. We can ask him about the breastplate though:

"I recognize this! This is the ornamental breastplate that I made for Kylista, priestess of Fawn."

While we're here, let's check out his stuff. In addition to various one and two-handed weapons (none magical), Standarr sells plate armor, leggings, and great helms. The price is a bit high, and haggling (you can haggle, although it's kind of arcane and you don't save much in the way of cash) isn't very helpful.

Of course robbery can help ease up the need to pay for some things.

"And now, at last, we can make our way to Fawn. To stop me from dying."
"Oh, are we? Are you sure we're not going to dick around in the wilderness murdering and pillaging to buy all that shiny armor you saw at Standarr's?"
"Actually, yeah, that's a much better idea!"