Part 16: The Black Gate - People Keep Getting Killed And It's Actually Not Me This Time
People Keep Getting Killed And It's Actually Not Me This Time
"So what's in the box?"
"I dunno guys, Batlin told us not to open this!"
"Hahaha, seriously, what a dope."
"Well, we're not going to open it."
"Oh come on, that's not any fun."
"Not in this universe, anyway. Are you familiar with quantum mechanics?"
"I live in the woods and make bows for a living, what the hell do you think?"
"You see, per the concept of quantum immortality, there must be some universe in which I have already opened the box and read the contents. My consciousness must, therefore, make me aware of those contents."
"That doesn't make any sense."
"You're right, let's just open the box and reload the game."
Minoc's a bit of a hike, so we'll follow the rutted wheel tracks all the way to the north side of Britannia. Normally I'd just F3 myself there, but there's an event when we arrive in town and you can screw it up sometimes.
The Britannian mine. The mine is actually Covetous, I think. Or it's where Covetous used to be, and Covetous is back where it was originally. I forget.
A camp of gypsies. They're resting right now, so we won't disturb them.
They'll need the sleep. It seems a crowd has gathered on the path to the local sawmill...
You see a cheerful woman with bright eyes and blonde hair.
"Hello, my name is Xanthia. I am a member of the Artist's Guild in Minoc. I make and sell candelabras. If thou wouldst not mind, we can perhaps get to know each other during a more sociable occasion! Two people have been recently murdered over at William's sawmill! This is hardly the time to get to know someone!"
"It is so terrible! I never knew Frederico or Tania personally, but I did meet their son, Sasha, once. He was a nice boy, if somewhat misguided. He spent the night with us once at the Artist's Guild, as a guest of Seara. With the success of the mine, Minoc is a prosperous city. Not a place where one is used to having murders happen. A good place for our Artist's Guild to do well. But things have always been hard for us here. Now I fear they may get worse."
Another set of murders!
"Pay up, guys."
"I swear, you must be psychic."
"I know, I expected it from Steve, not you."
"Actually, I need your money to pay out to Steve."
"I bet a double-or-nothing spread on a double homicide."
You see a man whose long hours of difficult, smouldering work have frozen his face into a rigid expression with eyes like hot coals.
"How may I serve thee?" says Zorn.
"Just rubberneckin' so far. Who are you?"
"I am the blacksmith of Minoc. Minoc is quite a city. Money changes hands here. But it does not keep people happy. They find something to squabble over. And now these terrible murders have everyone afraid."
"What'd you hear?"
"No one in this town ever really hated the gypsies, at least not that I have ever been aware of. Who could have done such a thing?"
"I wouldn't know, we just got here, but I'm willing to bet we'll find incriminating evidence at the scene, which we're about to ransack. Anything else that people are upset with?"
"Oh, yes. This noise over Owen's monument, for instance. People ought to tend to their own business and let others handle their own, foolish or not."
"He is our town shipwright. He is a man who has an exceedingly high opinion of himself. Owen is building a monument to himself. It is forty feet tall, depicting him holding up a roll of plans. Pigeons will have a place to sit, forevermore. Why argue over something as unimportant as that?"
Among the townspeople there are useful witnesses. Maybe more useful than they realize.
You see a weary-looking man who is missing his right arm. With his one hand he scratches his head and squints in your general direction.
"You look like you went a few rounds with the murderer."
He lets out a sharp cough to clear his throat. "Rutherford's me name. Pleased ta meet 'chur." He extends his greasy hand for you to shake and does not retract it until it is clasped. "'Tis no time for idle chatter! There have been two people murdered over at William's sawmill!"
"Yep, this town's usually bloody quiet. That was until recently!" His squinting eye suddenly opens wide and stares straight at you. "Say, when exackly again didst thou say thou didst arrive in town, stranger?" After a moment of carefully observing you, he shrugs his shoulders. "Well, I suppose that clears thee from the list o' possible murderers. If'n thou wert the murderer, thou wouldst not have to be askin' questions o'people about wha' 'appened regardin' the murders. Thou wouldst already know, havin' been there."
"Not exactly the most solid logic."
"Are you a pirate, mister?"
"Ahhhh, well, ye might say I used to be."
"I knew it! Do you know a man with a hook?"
"Hook!? I know him! He be a pirate who lives in Buccaneer's Den. They say Hook is so mean he'd kill his own mudder for the right price, an' I would wager they's right."Why, I got into a fight with this Hook once. I was lucky and I escaped losin' only my right arm and still with one good eye left. It was somewhere around that time that I started having second thoughts about my career as a pirate and now here I be. I have not seen him recently, but the description of the murder scene certainly sounds like his handiwork!"
"You don't say. Ever hear of a ship? The Crown Jewel?"
"That ship was, indeed, here of late. In fact, 'twas the night of the murders! Could there be a connection? Hmmm..."
"Before all this evil at the sawmill, the buzz were all about the monument."
"Yeah, what's with this monument anyway?"
"Oh, thou must mean thet statuer they are goin' ta build of our shipwright. His name is Owen, a local boy. I understan' it is to be as tall as a man on horseback and shows Owen gazin' through a telerscope or some such thing like that. Eh, Thank goodness that with all the town at each others' throats in recent weeks we have the Fellowship tryin' to hold the town together. I be no member or nothin', but I just a'heared of all the good things they done. Feedin' the poor an' such."
So there's a pirate with a hook (who is also named Hook), with some kind of gargoyle accomplice, and he's been spotted at the scenes of both of these murders. The question is, why?
More witnesses abound:
"I suspect the killer -- or killers -- are from out of town, and probably long gone by now. There has not been a local murder forsome time before today. Our fair measure of prosperity has made the people here mostly tolerant of each other. That is why the gypsies settled here. The apparent lack of motive is puzzling. Thou wouldst do better to ask Karenna. She is a good friend of the gypsies and would know more about them than I. I doubt that anyone in our community is the killer. If the stranger, or strangers, involved were to remain for long after the crime, they would soon be revealed. Therefore,the killers are no longer in town."
Okay then. He's actually right (as we've intuited from the Hook connection), but he's awful dismissive.
"Frederico, the leader of the Gypsies, and his wife, Tania, were good people. Why, the worst thing I ever knew either of them to do was a simple prank. Once Frederico threw a rock through the window of the local Fellowship branch... Oh, well, I thought it was amusing!"
Sounds like the gypsies annoyed the Fellowship. Just like Christopher. Could someone in the Fellowship be hiring a pirate to murder people that tick off the Fellowship? Surely nobody would be that crude. There must be a reason for these killings. Something someone doesn't want spread around.
A few members of the Artisan's Guild are also on the scene.
You see a handsome craftsman with an intense, piercing gaze.
"Man, this murder must be the only interesting thing going on in this town."
"More or less."
"And who are you, buddy?"
"My name is Gladstone, Avatar. At thy service. I am a glassblower and a sculptor. I make mostly bottles and bowls. But in my time I have constructed all manners of statuary out of glass as well."
"Thou shouldst not be so modest! Gladstone heads the local Artisan's Guild!"
"The Artist's Guild is a group of local craftsmen. We sell our wares here in Minoc. While we are organized as a guild of equal members, I am tentatively the Guild head. There is active commerce here in Minoc sufficient to keep the Artist's Guild financially solvent. But in recent weeks I have come to fear we may not keep it going for very much longer. Unlike The Fellowship or Owen's monument, we do not have much political power. The Artist's Guild is taxed mercilessly by the Britannian Tax Council. Even in our best year it is a struggle to make ends meet. It seems that we are not considered important enough to be given an even chance. Now other events make our troubles seem less important."
"What sort of events?"
"Surely thou hast heard about the murders of Frederico and Tania?!"
"Well, yeah, that's what we're here for."
"I shudder to think such foul deeds are so freely committed in our fair town. Art thou investigating it? I wish thee all success in tracking the culprit. I barely knew Frederico or Tania, but I did meet their son Sasha once. He befriended Seara and stayed the night with us once. He seemed like a nice young man, but misguided."
"I sense a certain hostility."
"We do not get along very well with those people, the Fellowship. I believe we have been unofficially marked as enemies ever since all of the members of the Artist's Guild refused Elynor's invitation to join. They dislike us because they consider us to be indisposed toward Unity."
"Guess you're too busy with that monument."
"Actually, no! Owen the shipwright is commissioning a statue of himself to be built in the center of town. The Artist's Guild decided to have nothing to do with this foolishness, of course. But just the word of this statue has spread and now orders are coming in from all over Britannia. Merchants want to have a ship built by the 'famous' Owen, master shipwright of Minoc."
"So you got frozen out."
"I fear we have grievously miscalculated by thinking that if we boycotted the statue, it would not be built. It seems all the talk of it has made Owen into some sort of bizarre legend around this area, and the bloody statue hasn't even gone up yet! But that, I fear, is not the worst of the situation. Once the statue is built, orders for ship-building are bound to increase even more! It won't take long before all local commerce will become affected by it. Owen will be purchasing more of the local resources, which will cause prices to rise, especially at the sawmill, and that will surely force the Artist's Guild into bankruptcy."
Also present is Seara, a junior member and clockmaker:
"Until the monument was to be built and now these murders I believed this town to be a good place to live. It is horrible. Frederico and Tania were looking for their son, Sasha. He had run away to join the Fellowship. How could this have happened to them?" Seara slowly shakes his head. "I met Sasha a few weeks ago when he came to town looking for the local Fellowship branch. I once let him stay the night at the Guild Hall. He said his father would beat him if he knew he was thinking of joining The Fellowship and I believed him. Sasha's father could be a cruel man. He is basically a good lad, just looking for the truth like a lot of us are. Unfortunately, he is looking in the wrong place."
"Don't care for the Fellowship?"
"No, I am not a member or anything like that, but I have heard the basic speech from Sasha so many times that I have it memorized. I never tried to dissuade him from joining The Fellowship even though I have no belief in it. I think Sasha is old enough to start making his decisions for himself. Now I truly regret not sending him home the moment I saw him."
And an old friend, and by old friend I mean "fat useless sack of crap who sucked in Ultima V and still sucks now."
You see Julia, a member of your party of adventurers from one of your previous visits to Britannia.
"It is good to speak with thee again, Avatar," Julia greets you.
"Julia! What have you been up to lately? Please say something that takes up all your time."
"Since accompanying thee on thine adventures when thou wast last in Britannia, I have become the tinker of Minoc. I repair things for the people of the town. But my duties and obligations are not so pressing as to prevent me from joining thee again shouldst thou wish it. After all, when thou art in Britannia, thou hast usually come to repair very important things and help put the world to rights. It is not really what I wish to do with the rest of my life. I do not have the patience to be a proper tinkerer. If thou didst ask me, I would say I have sacrificed enough!"
"Yeah well we're not going to sweep you away from all this so just keep talking."
"'Tis a terrible thing to be happening in our town, these murders. Minoc was once a safe and quiet place. Well, at least safe, if not necessarily quiet. Especially with all the commotion caused by Owen and his monument. Frederico and Tania were killed at the Minoc sawmill in a manner most gruesome. Frederico was the leader of the Gypsies, and Tania was his wife. They lived outside of town. I know nothing more about them. The manner in which Frederico and Tania were murdered suggests a ritual killing. From what I have been hearing it is similar to one that thou hast run across in Trinsic and one that occurred in Britain a while ago. 'Tis a most puzzling mystery."
"Puzzling? I just talked to your bartender and he told me who did it. You guys really need to compare notes on this stuff."
And finally, the local Fellowship. Funny they'd be the first ones here.
You see an elderly man struggling to maintain a regal posture.
His eyes widen at the sight of you. "I had heard thou were travelling in Britannia again, but it took mine own eyes to believe it! Welcome, Avatar!"
"Have we met?"
"Burnside is my name. I am Mayor of Minoc and have been lo these past twenty years and more."
"Everybody seems pretty riled up."
"I beseech thee, Avatar, do show some respect for the two poor souls who have been found murdered there in William's sawmill. Apart from this business of the murders we are a town run by commerce. Gold runs this town. As goes the money, so goes Minoc. Take this monument affair, for instance."
"You'd think investigating this murder would be priority, here."
"I would have to agree there."
"As Frederico and Tania were not actually residents of Minoc there is little I can do as Mayor other than increase the town guard. The investigation falls somewhat beyond my jurisdiction. It would appear the killer or killers were from out of town and are probably long gone by now. Thank goodness."
"Yeah, thank God all those murderers got away scot-free, it helps us not think about it."
"I am sure thou art aware of the plans for a monument of Owen, the shipwright. He is paying for it himself. I am usually against such public vanity but The Fellowship is very much in favor of it. In this special case it does immeasurable good for the town. It increases our prestige. People will come from all over Britannia for the unveiling. Why, even Lord British himself will be in attendance! It is a special opportunity when one gets a private audience."
"Maybe for you. It's a special occasion when I don't get kicked out for setting his bedsheets on fire."
"I see that thou art a member, sir?"
"Yes, I wear the Fellowship medallion, given to me by Elynor. Do not worry thyself. I shall not try to make thee join!" He laughs nervously at his own little joke. "Elynor tells me The Fellowship will be doing good works here in the future. I am proud to be a member of thy society although I must confess to being fairly ignorant concerning thy, umm, our philosophy. To be honest, I was given an honorary membership when the Fellowship branch was first opened in Minoc. I do not attend regular meetings. I hope thou'rt not disappointed in me?"
"Eh, no biggie."
"Thank heaven! I wear this medallion mainly for ceremonial purposes, as I suspect thou dost know. We both see that support of The Fellowship is currently the wisest course of action politically, no matter our personal feelings. Avatar, may I tell thee a secret?"
"Sure, I'm big on that I guess."
"Avatar, I must confess to thee that I feel The Fellowship promotes a philosophy that is dubious at best, and its membership seems to be comprised chiefly of fools and emotional weaklings."
Well, that's one person who clearly isn't buying into this Fellowship thing. Burnside is far more concerned with the town's economic well-being. This doesn't necessarily make him a good person, as we'll find out. However, his assessment is spot on... except in the case of the leadership, which is anything but foolish or emotionally weak. The local branch leader proves it:
You see a woman whose cultured manner is tinged with a suggestion of arrogance.
"Art thou speaking to me, Avatar?" Elynor asks.
"I guess I am now, lady!"
She straightens her shoulders and looks you in the eye. "I am Elynor. I am the head counselor of the Fellowship branch here in Minoc. We are a society of spiritual seekers, dedicated to achieving our highest potential, advancing worthiness, unity and trust in our brothers. Ah-- but thou dost know all of this. I now recall a message Batlin sent to me. I have been expecting thee. Thou has been sent to deliver our package. Thou mayest relinquish it now."
"All business, aren't you?"
"Thou hast picked a most inappropriate time to engage in such casual conversation. Perhaps thou wouldst be interested knowing that there have been two murders discovered in this sawmill!"
"I was surprised. The question is, were you?"
"I am saddened at the loss of life but cannot say I am surprised. Frederico and Tania were antagonistic people. The same may be said of most gypsies. I have nothing against them personally, of course."
"Antagonistic? That's not what I'd heard."
"Frederico and Tania treated all members of our Fellowship as if we were diseased. Frederico particularly would often bully our members. Thou dost know, it is common knowledge that we are pacifists. He had a reputation for cruelty, even among his own people. It is not surprising he came to a violent end. They have set up camp southeast of town. Near the sawmill. That is suspicious, dost thou not think?"
"Uh, sure. Here's your stupid box, lady."
You produce the package and hold it before Elynor. Her eyes shift from you to the package and then back to you."Surely thou hast been instructed not to openthe package. Hast thou opened it nonetheless?"
"Not in this reality."
Elynor takes the package from your hands."Thou hast done very well. Now as promised, here is thy payment."
"Just some advice, in the future, don't ask the Avatar to carry your evil plans around."
"I shall keep that in mind."
"The Artisans said you were supporting Owen's little vanity project."
"He is a classic example of The Fellowship making a vast difference in a person's life. Before he joined The Fellowship, he was without confidence and ready to put aside his trade. Now he stands on the verge of being recognized as the finest at his craft in the world. The Fellowship is highly regarded in Minoc. Why, even the Mayor himself is a member. I brought him into The Fellowship myself. He was the first new member of our local branch. Gregor, the head of The Fellowship here, directs the Britannian Mining Company. Many Fellowship members pass through Minoc."
"Like Elizabeth and Abraham?"
"Thou hast just missed them! They were here collecting funds. They have moved on to Paws to visit our Shelter there."
"Guess we'll be going back that way yet again. What about the pirate Hook and his ship, the Crown Jewel?"
"A man with a Hook? I am certain I would remember having seen anyone like that, and I am positive that does not match the description of any Fellowship member this branch has ever come in contact with. Many ships come and go in our busy port. I do not know of any one specific ship. Perhaps thou shouldst ask Owen."
"Yeah, I bet. See you soon."
"I have a feeling that we shall see each other again."
Oh, we shall. Like Klog in Trinsic, Elynor knows a lot more than she's willing to admit. But we'll need hard evidence or some other means to induce her to open up, because she's got a perfect poker face.
Also present is her "companion" and puppet Fellowship branch figurehead, Gregor:
"The Fellowship has done immeasurable good for Minoc, helping to counter the disunity that can plague a town such as ours where so many people are fixated upon monetary gain."
Gregor doesn't know much. He's too busy in the local mines. But his connection to the Fellowship makes him - and his mine - suspect. We'll need to investigate there. And also rob it.
The last member of the Fellowship here in Minoc seems more the sort Burnside detests.
You see a man with a very worried look on his face.
"Avatar! What is it? Why dost thou want to talk to me again? What is wrong now?!" says William.
"Hey, hey, take it easy. You look spooked."
"I ought to! I work in the sawmill here in Minoc. Why, I have just been given the fright of my life when I entered my sawmill and saw those two who have not only been killed quite dead, but torn apart nearly beyond recognition!"
"You're the first one to see them?"
"I found the bodies first thing this morning when I went to open the sawmill. It took all of the discipline I have gained from the Triad of Inner Strength and the teachings of The Fellowship to keep from going mad at the sight of it. It must have happened sometime last night but I swear to thee I never heard a thing!" As soon as he has dismissed you, the overwrought William hides his face in his hands.
A guilty conscience. But he's not guilty. Like most Fellowship members, he's too fragile and emotional to be part of the inner circle.
"Well, let's just see how bad things are in here."
"Okay, well, that's... that's pretty bad."
"Wow, is this what the murder was like? This is awesome."
"Strange that we would see a candelabra in a place like this. It adds to the ritual sense, doesn't it? I doubt William left it here."
"Steve, I think you're standing on another clue."
"Why, so I am!"
Like Christopher, the two victims here have been ritually dismembered and brutally put on display. But there's something more to it. We've got a serpentine dagger that may have been used in the act, and a candelabra that looks suspiciously like the Fellowship symbol.
If only there were an expert candelabra crafstman in this town. Oh wait, there is.
"I make simple candelabras, but sometimes I will do commissioned work, making more specific ones. I was hired by The Fellowship to make the candelabras for all of their Fellowship halls. Elynor, the head of the local Fellowship branch, showed me a picture of the Fellowship symbol and I based the design for my candelabra on that." You describe the candelabra found at the murder scene to Xanthia. Her eyes widen with recognition. "Yes, that is one of the candelabras I made. 'Twas in the sawmill at the murder site?" Xanthia looks shocked. "How horrible! I swear I do not know how it could have gotten there! Thou shouldst certainly ask Elynor about it!"
Yes, we should!
"Yes, The Fellowship commissioned Xanthia to create a candelabra which thou dost describe. Its design incorporates our three tenets: 'U' for Unity, 'T' for Trust, and 'W' for Worthiness." You tell Elynor that it was found at the murder site. Elynor registers surprise. "I cannot imagine why it was there. Someone must be trying to implicate The Fellowship!" She thinks a moment. "If thou didst ask it of me, I would wager that Frederico and Tania were murdered by their own people, and another gypsy placed the candelabra at the site to implicate us. Those gypsies would kill their own mother if it meant gaining a bit of gold!"
What a bitch. Well, we're not getting anything out of her... yet. Needless to say, her story doesn't quite stand up. Neither do her accusations about the gypsies, if we actually talk to them.
And now that they're awake, that's precisely what we'll do.
You see a young gypsy lad. He is wearing a Fellowship medallion. His eyes look down and his expression is one of extreme sorrow.
Sasha looks up. "Good day to thee, Avatar. My name is Sasha."
"Guess you heard the news."
"My parents - Frederico and Tania - vere murdered. I do not know vhy anyone vould vant to harm them." The words choke out of the boy. Suddenly he is overwhelmed by grief and is unable to speak further.
"Did you see them before they were killed? Do you know what they were up to?"
"For the past veek I have been avay from home doing vork for The Fellowship. I have returned to be vith Margareta and Jergi to grieve for my parents. They did not approve of my joining The Fellowship but I know that they vere concerned out of their love for me, just as I loved them."
"Margareta and Jergi?"
"She is very vise and knows many things but vhen I asked her if I should go back to The Fellowship or stay with them she did not answer me. Jergi vas my father's brother. He is a good man and vise. Now he is the leader of our people. He vill do what is right for us."
Sasha's in shock. Understandably so. It seems awfully convenient that his parents were killed while he was out of town on Fellowship business. Like somebody wanted to make sure he wasn't there.
You see a swarthy gypsy with soulful eyes, dressed in colorful clothes. He looks as if he has the weight of the world on his shoulders.
"Hey there, Steve the Avatar. Maybe you've heard of me. You guys seem to be grieving enough already so I'll just keep this polite."
"I am Jergi. Pleased to make thine acqvaintance. I am the King ov the Gypsies. My people have almost completely died out in this vorld. Now that I am their leader I am making their velfare my sole responsibility. Soon I vill decide if ve vill leave Minoc."
"Leave? Die out? Sounds a little depressing, man. Back in the day you guys used to be really fun folks."
"Yeah, like the time Sherry-"
"We'll just stop you right there, Dupre."
"Why did you stop him! This sounds like a great story!"
"Well, it was certainly epic, at the time."
"Ve gypsies are a people who live to vander. But there are fewer and fewer places vhere ve are velcome. Ve are victimized by the ancient hatreds that have plagued our kind since the days ov ancient Sosaria. Our people came here because ve thought ve vould be accepted. It seemed for a very long time that ve vere. But after these savage murders it looks like it is time for us to roam vonce again. Ve have alvays been subject to the prejudices ov others! Ve are called thieves and vorse! But ve are a people that only vish to play our music, and dance, and live in peace. I thought the people here understood this."
"If it isn't too much trouble, well, you know I'm the Avatar and stuff and I'm investigating."
"Frederico vas mine only brother, and no vone loved Tania more than I did, save for Frederico himself. Vhat happened to them vas unspeakable. I vish I could tell thee more. If thou vishest thou may speak to Sasha, but only briefly. Now is the time for him to mourn."
"Elynor didn't think much of Frederico."
"Some thought ov my brother Frederico as a harsh man, but those ov us who knew him could see that he vas simply governed by the same prides and passions that rule all gypsies. And Tania... she vas the most beautiful voman I had ever seen. Both my brother and I vere in love vith her. Ve both tried to vin her heart. I failed and thought that I vould spend the rest ov my life vith no vone. It vas not until last year that my vife Margareta and I vere married and my secretly broken heart vas mended."
"Do you think Sasha is involved, somehow?"
"No! He is the son ov Frederico and Tania. He left us to learn more about The Fellowship. Ov course, he feels responsible for vhat happened... But ve do not blame Sasha for vhat happened. Ve vill not punish him. Sasha vill have to decide if he vants to stay vith his people or return to The Fellowship. I believe he vill make the right choice."
These don't seem like the sort of people who would just ritualistically murder their brothers and mothers. Which leaves the finger pointed pretty firmly at the Fellowship. But perhaps a bit more guidance is in order to be sure.
You see a young, bewitching gypsy woman with wise, soul-peering eyes.
"Margareta at thy service," she speaks slowly.
"How'd you know I was going to ask your name?"
The gypsy woman smiles slightly. "To tell thy destiny."
"Now my job question? Lady, you're even creepier than I am when I'm asking one-word questions. Do you know much about the murder?"
"I knew it vould happen. I varned Frederico. He vouldn't listen."
"You knew about it?"
"I saw that it was their destiny."
"Do you think it was because of their son?"
Margareta is silent a moment."He has been led astray. It is unfortunate that he vill realize his mistake only as a result ov the death ov his parents. There are many, many others like Sasha who have been led astray. For them, I see no future."
"Who is being led astray?"
"Thou dost know vhat I mean. The Fellowship. Thou shalt learn more about them in due time."
"You seem to see an awful lot."
"I could see more."
"The fortune vill cost thee 20 gold. All right?"
"I've been ripped off for more."
Margareta takes your money. The gypsy woman peers into her crystal ball. "I see a voman standing by a shrine. She vill play an important role in thy life. Hmmm... The crystal ball is very murky... I see that thou must join The Fellowship if thou vantest to learn more about them and discover their true nature."
"Oh, uh, sure, that's exactly what I was doing in the first place."
"It is not very clear... ah, yes... there is a new evil that threatens Britannia. I see that thou shalt have to reckon vith it in the future. The crystal ball tells me that the ether ov the vorld -- the substance that controls magic -- has been affected by this new evil presence. I see further that this evil presence vill gain greater power during an event in the near future. This event has something to do vith the planets. Seek out a man at the observatory in Moonglow to learn more about this. I see that he has a device which will be very useful to thee. See him soon, for this event is drawing near."
"This is, without a doubt, the most actually useful prophecy we've gotten in... heck, ever."
"Yeah, I would probably have paid 100 gold for something this quality."
"What, with my money? I don't think so!"
"Vhat is this? I see... I see... thou dost seek a Man vith a Hook. He is not thy true adversary, but finding him vill be necessary to complete thine ultimate quest. I see that thou must seek audience vith the Time Lord. He is in trouble, although I cannot see vhat that trouble is."
"The Time Lord?"
"Warren Spector introduced us."
"The Time Lord knows much about this new evil, so do not fail to seek him out. To find the Time Lord, thou must first meet the Visps who live in the forest ov Yew. They are thy best link to him. The monks ov Empath Abbey may know how to contact the Visps. ...the ball has grown dark. I see no more."
"That's okay, that was pretty good."
Margareta looks up at you and says, "Thou dost face many dangers ahead. Take care." With those words, Margareta slumps and closes her eyes to rest. She is obviously exhausted. "Fairvell. Go in peace."
So Hook's based in Buccaneer's Den, Elizabeth and Abraham have set off for Paws, Batlin is awaiting us in Britain for a Fellowship induction, and the Wisps in Yew have switched from giving us more gold than we can carry to having the Time Lord on speed dial. The threads disperse, but they'll meet again fairly soon. But first, we've still got some business in Minoc. Messing with the Fellowship business.