Part 26: The Black Gate - The gargoyle gives you a menacing glare. Judging by his size, he would make a formidable foe.
Terfin's up next, since we need to keep following E&A and get the Ethereal Ring
Terfin has a Fellowship branch as well. It's run by gargoyles, interestingly enough.
The gargoyle gives you a menacing glare. Judging by his size, he would make a formidable foe.
"To ask what you need?" says Runeb.
"Gee, aren't we a big man."
"To be Runeb. To mean 'busy one,'" he says sarcastically. "To be Fellowship clerk. To have more important things to do now. To ask me later, human."
What a prick. Fortunately, the branch leader is a pretty good guy. Gargoyle. Whatever.
You see a winged gargoyle.
Noticing you, he turns and says, "To be welcome, human. To need assistance?"
"Are you the branch leader?"
"To be the one named Quan. To have no meaning in Gargish. To be a special name, specific to me," he smiles. "To head The Fellowship in Terfin. To be the only gargoyle city in Britannia. To have fewer gargoyles in the land than during your last visit to Britannia, human." He shakes his head.
"What do you mean, fewer? I haven't been around to kill any of you for a while, you'd figure the population would bounce back."
"To have succumbed to the effects of disease and famine that have recently struck Britannia. To tell you that gargoyles breed less frequently, and we have not had the time to make up for losses in our population. To have new hope, however," he grins, "with The Fellowship."
Note that what Quan says is kind of interesting in the context of Serpent Isle. It produces an interesting plotline that is more or less completely ignored by Ultima IX. Anyway, on to the Fellowship!
"To be a boon to gargoyles and humans alike. To have a philosophy to help all creatures of all races reach their highest level of potential."
"Okay, please tell me Elizabeth and Abraham aren't here."
"To be meaning are here?"
"If you'd tried to track them down like we have, you'd know exactly what we mean."
"To have just missed the human Fellowship officials who were here collecting funds. To have left for the Meditation Retreat near Serpent's Hold. To be sorry."
Fortunately, this is the second to last place we'll have to track them.
The new Hall of Knowledge. It's actually a fair bit like the one from the Gargoyle world in Ultima VI. What I don't get is, why aren't the Vortex Cube and Gargoyle Lens kept here? Gargoyles never even go to Britain, why would they give that shit to the museum?
You see a winged gargoyle in his physical prime.
"Hail, human! To be welcome to the house of the altars. To be helpful to you in any way?"
"Wasn't this Blackthorn's castle? And then Sutek's castle?"
"It seems they remodeled."
"Gargoyle remodeling seems to just be knocking out the roof and calling it a day."
"To be called Teregus. To be caring for the altars of Control, Passion, and Diligence. To be a position of great responsibility. To be especially important in these times of trouble."
"What sort of trouble?"
"To have been many disagreements in town lately. To be much tension between the followers of the principles of the altars and the followers of The Fellowship. To have heard rumors of threats to the altars. To be wary of Fellowship ideals. To be ignoring the altars in their search for unity, and to be losing respect for the old ways. To be not bad. To tell you our branch is run by Quan and Runeb."
"We've met them. They seem alright, on average."
"To be sad to have lost Quan to The Fellowship, human. To have been a good gargoyle when young, but to have fallen into bad company later. To have concentrated mostly on self-aggrandizement and hedonism in the last few years. To be a shame."
"To have been a sad case. To have wished to have been able to save him. To always have been uncontrollable, but to have gotten worse in the last few years. To have seemed to want to start as many fights as possible. To have found a reason for using his strength against all those weaker when to have joined The Fellowship."
"Do you think they're behind something?"
"To have heard that someone in town is planning to destroy the physical representations of the altars. To be not the same, of course, as actually destroying the basic principles of Control, Passion, and Diligence, but to be bad for us nonetheless. To be finding out for us who is planning this, if there is time, perhaps. To return to me with evidence when you determine course of action. To be very grateful for your assistance."
Also meandering around here is that asshole who didn't like us in Ultima VI and who suddenly is our best buddy.
You see an aged gargoyle, bent and withered, with a regal bearing. He smiles gently.
"To be good to see you again, old friend. To be needing Draxinusom again so soon?"
"Old friend? I thought we hated each other and you only tolerated me because I came up with a halfassed solution to the conflict."
"To have been many years, Avatar."
"So what have you been doing now that trying to kill me is no longer a valid career path?"
"To ask about Job? To be unable to say that I truly have one at this time. To notice how the young ones no longer look to me for guidance any more. To look more to Teregus, or, more often, to those in The Fellowship."
"Teregus seems to have his head on straight, yeah."
"To be truly a fine young gargoyle. To be one of the most sensible, too. To have seen fit to adhere to the old ways, the ways of the altars. To see that some of the youngest still look up to him, but the majority seem to have been wooed away by the glamor of The Fellowship. To tell you that his weanling, Inamo, is in Trinsic at this time."
"...Not so much anymore."
"To be a fine young gargoyle. To have been raised by Teregus, keeper of the altars. To have left town because of the tension between the altar worshippers and The Fellowship. To have been angry and distrustful of The Fellowship. To have news of him?"
"You could say that."
"To be excellent! To have seen him? To know how he is faring? To be well?"
"Well... I guess he is technically at peace."
"...to be terrible news! To have been such a fine gargoyle. To know Teregus will be heartbroken. To be wishing not for him to grieve, but to take to him the news immediately. To be better to hear it from you."
"That didn't work so well the last time Steve broke the news to somebody."
"We'll just pat him down for knives."
"So that horrible news aside, how have you all been doing? You have a halfway decent city here."
"To be quite comfortable for our needs. To be, however, unfortunate that it was thought necessary to isolate us from the humans. To have engendered resentment and tension in our younger generations. To remember not the old days, my friend -- the days when we had to work together to survive." He smiles, reliving old memories, then shakes his head. "To have had to give up many much when we moved."
"To have been many favorite possessions. To be too much trouble to move so much." He sighs. "To especially regret selling my Ethereal Ring."
"How did I know that was going to happen?"
"Because nothing can ever be easy for us. Ever."
"Ah. To be, indeed, a lovely treasure. To have been quite useful. A shame to have been, really, to have had to sell it. To have been one of my favorites."
"Who'd you sell it to? This is marginally important."
"To have sold most of my treasures when we were... uh... asked, shall to say, to move to the island. To have all happened rather quickly, you see. To have sold most to the Sultan of Spektran. To have seemed nice enough, for a human. To be a bit mad, he is, even for a human. To tell you he lives on an island just to the west of us. To know, at least, that my prized possessions would be safe in his hands."
"Why is that?"
To be rumored to have one of the best-guarded vaults in all of Britannia. To be supposedly enchanted. To know not details."
"We'll go hammer this out, then."
"To bid farewell, old friend. To not be hesitating to return if there is aught else I can do for you. To be lonely here now for an old gargoyle dedicated to the ancient ways..."
"Awwww, that's so deliciously pathetic."
And now to break the news.
"Hey Teregus. Uh, about Inamo..."
"To miss him greatly. To have raised him from an egg. To have been rather vocal in his disagreements with The Fellowship. To have felt it safer for him to leave." He sighs, then looks up hopefully. "To have news of him?"
"To be well?"
"To be not well? To be terrible! To think there is anything to do to help?"
"Unless your name is Lord British I think it's a bit too late."
"To be too late? To mean what by too late? To tell me what has happened!" He seems very distraught.
"He got stabbed with a pitchfork by a pirate. I'm not joking about any word of that."
"To be murdered?" He takes a step back, stunned by the news. "To be murdered? To be unbelievable. To have no real enemies!" He sighs heavily. "To tell me, please, exactly what happened." You relate to him the particulars of Inamo's death. He sighs again. "To be such a waste of gargoyle life. To be grateful if you would send news if you discover who was responsible for wanting him dead." He is quiet for a few moments, getting accustomed to the situation. "To apologize. To need some time to grieve. Please to come back later." He turns away.
The jeweler/reagent/potion guy has a powder keg and an incriminating scroll in his room, but when questioned, he snaps and blames Runeb for the plot, saying he didn't really want to go through with it.
So we'll just confront ol' Runeb and resolve this without killing anyone. Ha ha.
"To be sorry you know that. To need now to kill Sarpling." He grins at you.
"Are you serious? You're serious. You're punching me, so I can tell you're serious. Fine, fine."
One massacred Fellowship member later...
"To be sorry that we have lost Runeb. Perhaps to be for the best. To be certainly overjoyed to have avoided damage to the altars. To be glad that Quan is now running our branch. To believe that he is misguided, but to be a much more reasonable gargoyle to deal with now that Runeb is gone."
Whatever. Spektran's next.
Spektran has exactly one structure and exactly one resident... well, that we're aware of.
You see a nobleman, all alone, with a demented gleam in his eye.
"Who in blazes art thou?" the man asks. His attitude is that of someone who was just interrupted from something terribly important.
Martingo shakes your hand but acts thoroughly disinterested. "I'm thrilled." He turns to his right and speaks to no one. "What? Oh, really! I do not think the Avatar looks particularly brainless. We shall have to see, shall we not?" He turns back to you and grins.
"...and who are you?"
The nobleman looks at you with impatience. "I am Martingo, the Sultan of Spektran. Is that all right with thee?" He rolls his eyes. He turns to his right side and whispers again to an imaginary person, "I believe we have an ignoramus on our hands."
"So that would make you..."
"I am the Sultan of Spektran! What, is thy brain the size of a pea? Do not answer, 'twas a rhetorical question." He turns to his left side and whispers to no one, "Dost thou not think her brain is the size of a pea? I do!" He giggles conspiratorially with his invisible friend. Martingo then pulls out a banana and begins to peel it. "Oh, forgive my manners! Wouldst thou like a banana?"
"That's a relief. I only had one left. Broke, art thou? Too bad." Martingo sniffs. "Well, I am very rich, I must say."
"So you're the sultan of an island about fifty feet wide with one building on it."
"Come on, do not insult mine intelligence. Surely thou dost know what a Sultan is! Canst not thou see mine harem?"
"Uh, no, no we cannot."
"Lovely, are they not?
"They are not."
Martingo looks bewildered. "Then thou must have thine eyes examined! I am surrounded by ten..." He looks around quickly. "No, -eleven- beautiful women! Each day I enjoy a different one. Thou canst not imagine how much fun being a Sultan really is!" He leans over and kisses an invisible cheek. "Today, I am enjoying Lucinda." He grins broadly. Martingo looks you up and down lecherously. "Hmmm. Wouldst thou like to join mine harem?"
"I think Arcadion would like to join your harem."
"So uh, this Luncinda..."
"She is beautiful, is she not?" Martingo leans over and sticks his tongue in an ear that isn't there.
"We're here for the ethereal ring, can we just beat you up or whatever we have to do?"
Martingo looks suspicious. "Art thou wanting to steal mine Ethereal Ring?" He turns to his imaginary friend and whispers, "Thou wert right. Our guest looks like a thief." He turns back to you and smiles. "Yes, I do have an Ethereal Ring. I purchased it from the King of the Gargoyles. What was his name?" He leans toward the invisible companion on his right. "What? Oh yes, Draxinusom. I knew it all the time." He turns back to you. "It is in my vault."
"So, can we go in there?"
Martingo's eyes light up. "My vault is the most protected vault in all Britannia. No one, and I repeat, -no one- can steal anything from my vault. I have many fine treasures there." He turns to 'Lucinda' and bites an nonexistent ear lobe. "I collect magical items. The vault is full of them. Including this ring thou dost mention. The vault's security is my secret. Feel free to try and enter it. In fact, I dare thee! If thou canst succeed in getting inside, thou art welcome to take anything!" Martingo laughs. "All thou dost need is the key!" He laughs with his imaginary harem, as if they were all laughing with him. "I'm sure thou wilt find it!" He breaks up, laughing so hard that tears begin to fall down his cheeks.
"Okay, so... we will?"
"Fine. Go away. It shall do thee good!"
As you would expect, that stone harpy comes to life. And she is a motherfucker. I recommend a glass sword because it really is an amazingly difficult fight. She can dish out lots of damage and take a fair bit, and what's worse, there's a little glitch/bug when fighting stone harpies. Basically, you have to deal enough damage to kill them, then stop attacking for a second or two. If you continuously damage them, for some reason they won't die. I think this is a glitch or something, although it may not be Exult-specific (I vaguely remember having the issue back in the 90s). Either way, Hit her a couple times, then hit 'c' to toggle combat off for a sec and see if she collapses. Do this before she rips Shamino or whoever a new asshole.
This is actually a fairly good security system, all things considered.
And there's the ring. And also some other rings. Martingo isn't as rich as he seemed to think he was, but he isn't a lot of things he thinks he is.
Penumbra can help us now.
"Thou hast the ethereal ring? Good! I must enchant it! Quickly!" Penumbra takes the ring from you and intones a few magical words upon it. After a moment, she hands it back to you.
"That seemed kind of easy."
"Now thou must go to the generator. Be sure thou art wearing the ring! It should now protect thee from the ethereal attacks. Be aware that it is functional only near the Tetrahedron. And tell thy companions to wait out of range. Thou must enter the generator alone!" Penumbra thinks a moment. "By the way. How didst thou happen to know to come to me about this problem?"
At this point you're given several things you can tell her. Both of them are sequence-breaking in nature, as they refer to NPCs which, at least in this playthrough, I have not yet even met. I guess the game just assumes you won't try to get into Penumbra's house and solve her problems as soon as you arrive in Moonglow. But there's nothing stopping you from doing so, and it doesn't take any particularly special information. We can mess with things even further by proceeding to the Tetrahedron Generator in Deceit, which we'll do next. Destroying it will uncrazy the mages of Britannia, which we need to do anyway.