Part 30: The Black Gate - What Yew Talkin' Bout, Iolo?
What Yew Talkin' Bout, Iolo?
"Why are we suddenly at Empath Abbey?"
"Yeah, last time we ended in some cave, there was a definite lack of transition here."
"We're starting in media res."
"What does that mean?"
"I dunno. Anyway, we're here to find the Time Lord."
"Not that one."
"And he's here?"
"No, but we need to ask the wisps where to find him."
"Can't we just ask them, like we did last time?"
"Apparently not! Suddenly we can't do that."
"I bet it has something to do with us ripping them off."
"That was a fair trade! We didn't even get everything they promised us!"
The first monk we meet is a nice fellow. Apparently.
The friendly-looking monk signals you over to him.
"Hey! We're looking for Taylor."
"In media res!"
He smiles. "My name is Kreg, Avatar. I am a monk here at the Abbey. I am working on an alchemical mixture. Sadly, I am so involved with my studies that I have no time to visit the surrounding area or learn any new faces."
"What's the mixture for?"
"Well, Avatar, we here at the Abbey will soon be taking a vow of silence. However, it will take some time for all of us to become accustomed to the sound of silence. Therefore, I am creating a potion that enables the imbiber to become temporarily silent. The concept is very similar to a potion of invisibility."
"I hadn't heard you guys were doing that."
"Well," he looks embarrassed, "after reading a book on how we compare to our predecessors, we learned that most people expect us to take a vow of silence. "So," he shrugs, "we have chosen to do so, once I can make that potion. I realize that it sounds foolish, but I truly believe it will help us produce more wine. The monks' wine is renowned throughout all of Britannia, or so I thought." A puzzled look fills his face. "Ah, well, that is no matter. Regardless, I sincerely recommend to thee to try some of our exquisite drink."
"So how's your research going?"
"As a matter of fact, my research has reached an impasse, for I cannot determine the nature of some critical reagents. What I need is a potion of invisibility to analyze. Then I could progress from there." He looks at you, hopefully. "Wouldst thou be willing to obtain a potion for my studies? It is likely that thou couldst find one easily at the mage, Nicodemus'."
"Sure, I guess."
He sighs, obviously relieved. "Thank thee, Avatar."
The monks grow grapes for wine. You can go down into the vineyard and scavenge.
Or you can come down here and rob the dozens upon dozens of grapes. Sadly, the wine press is unusable as far as I know. I've tried using grapes on it but nothing happens.
Next door to the abbey is the High Court of Yew. It might seem strange that a building in Yew would be so close to the Abbey, but Yew is barely a town anymore. It's a collection of huts deep in the forest which are basically spread all over the northwest quadrant of Britannia.
The High Court is where you wind up if you get thrown in jail. As you can see in this screenshot, getting out is just a matter of flicking the switch, but I think you have to actually be thrown in jail once to access it. It may be possible to move the bucket with Telekinesis and flip the switch, but other than 40 gold coins on a corpse there's no real reason to want to get into the jail.
The logbook lists a variety of criminals. We'll meet all three of them in the course of the game. In fact... we've met one of them already!
Northwest of the abbey is a graveyard. Natassia's father Julius is buried here, but most of the other graves are markers not for real Britannians, but for developers and playtesters of Origin games (which would be repeated in Pagan).
I'm not sure I want to know what this means, and I definitely wouldn't wish it on anyone.
I wonder if he ever got it.
"But Chuckles isn't dead yet!"
"They dug his grave early when they heard I was comin' back."
You can confront Kreg, or give him a potion. Let's give it to him first.
He takes the potion from you and quickly drinks it. "Thank thee, Avatar, for helping in mine escape!" As he fades from view, his laughter fills your ears.
Well, that was lame. Let's see if he'll confess and surrender to the Avatar and her four heavily-armed companions.
"Ah! Found me out, didst thou? 'Tis too bad... for thee!"
I'm not even going to record the outcome of this because it's exactly the same as what happened the last time someone tried this. Kreg is at least better-armed than most retarded assailants, with a poison dagger and a great dagger. Of course the Black Sword slays him instantly.
South of the Abbey is Knight's Bridge, a chess-like game with rules I don't understand. I recall vaguely using the cheat to make the center chest drop its contents, but I can't even remember what contents, if any, they are. In a vague fever dream I could swear you could play the game and unlock it, but maybe I'm thinking of World of Warcraft.
I have no clue where Taylor goes during the day, so I had to wait until early evening for him to come back to the abbey.
You see an attractive, studious-looking man.
"Yes, Avatar," Taylor asks. "May I assist thee?"
"Are you Taylor, the monk?"
"My name is indeed Taylor, Avatar. I study the local flora, fauna, and geography here at the monastery. There are many beautiful plants in this area. I am working on learning about all of them. And many different species of animals reside in the forest. I have encountered some fascinating ones in my studies."
"I took care of your extra monk, by the way. I hope nobody minds."
"I was wondering what was happening there. One other monk, Aimi, lives here in the Abbey. She is a painter and a gardener." He smiles. "Between us, she is a far better gardener. She raises the most lovely flowers that I have ever seen! Thou must see them to believe of their existence."
"At any rate, we heard you knew about the area."
"Yes. I use my knowledge of the local landscape to aid in my studies. The better I know the locale, the farther away I can travel from the Brotherhood Abbey and still be sure I will able to return -- unlike a fellow monk of mine. He became lost some time ago while surveying the area for birds -- the Golden-Cheeked Warbler, I believe it was. Sadly, he travelled too far, and we have not heard from him since. I do not wish to suffer the same fate."
The monk in question is the one I think I found in an earlier dungeon. Or maybe I only thought I found him. Anyway he's alive and well, but you can't actually get him home to the abbey because he's confident in his own ability to find his way.
"Had you heard of a man named Julius before, Taylor?"
"Julius? I cannot be certain, but 'tis possible he may be someone who now resides in the... cemetery. I have heard that name mentioned as someone who was brought to the Abbey to be buried, though I know not who brought himand I do not remember from whom I heard it. I do hope he was not a friend of thine," he says, apologetically.
"No, just another random death we've been asked to investigate."
"And one we didn't even cause, I don't think!"
"We're also looking to speak with a wisp."
"The wisps?" he laughs. "I doubt they exist. I realize many people seem to believe in them, but I have never seen any. If thou must know, popular legend maintains that they inhabit the forest area, near the Emps. Supposedly, the Emps are able to speak with them." He shrugs. "Thou mayest look for them if that is thy wish, but I would not waste precious time, myself. There are so many exciting things to investigate... tree flowers, for example, Avatar."
"What the hell is an emp?"
"Ah, the Emps. I have not been able to glean much information about them."They live on the eastern edge of the deep forest, not too terribly far from here. They resemble apes, but only slightly. They are exceedingly shy, and will rarely feel comfortable enough to approach a human. The only way I was able to view an Emp closely occurred when I happened to have honey in my pack which I had just picked up from Bee Cave. The creature appeared, stared at me for a few minutes, and then asked -- asked, I say -- for mine honey. I believe they are empathic, hence their name. Quite an interesting species, dost thou not agree?"
"You don't believe in wisps, but you do believe in magical talking apes that eat honey?"
"The honey from the caves is quite tasty, but rarely can one get it without a fight. The Bee Caves can be a rather dangerous place. If thou art planning a trip there, beware the giant bees that live in the caves. Their venom is very poisonous. If thou wishest, I can give thee a smoke bomb that will repel the bees for a short time. Dost thou want it?"
"Never turn down free smokebombs, I always say."
"When do you say that?"
"I've been known to."
"Here it is. Be careful if thou dost happen by the caves!"
There is a bee. This is the bee cave. Shamino points this out if you want, because he's a dumbass.
It's here. You'll need to walk east past Nicodemus's house (which we'll ignore for now) and south to the entrance. It's not exactly "southwest" of the abbey, whatever Taylor says.
We could use the smokebomb and rush to the end, but that's kind of boring.
"Godspeed you, sexy black vortex."
The end result of our rampage is some honeycombs (they're big, yeah yeah yeah) and a bunch of dead bees. Bees at this point are a joke, and they're probably a joke even if you're fairly low-level. They're big bees, but they're just bees. Hell, bees are only really scary when they're small.
Oh well, let's go find some naked people.
This is a rather fortunate shot. Deep in the bee cave live some... well... nude people. And when I say nude, I do mean that; if certain limbs weren't in the right places or certain women weren't facing the wall in this screenshot, you'd see bush, dongs, you name it. I wish I were kidding.
You see a naked man who looks a bit wild. He is not in the least concerned that he has on no clothes.
"Me Papa!" The man grins, revealing several missing teeth. He nonchalantly scratches his behind.
"Uh, what are you doing here? Shouldn't you have a job? And some clothes?"
The man looks confused. "Job? Me no job. Me live. Me live here with Mama. No need job. Cave provides all."
"Yeah but your clothes..."
"Clothes?!" The man laughs heartily and slaps his belly. "No clothes, no clothes," he assures you, still chuckling.
"And the woman is..."
"Mmm. Mama! Me Papa. She Mama. We make zug-zug. Maybe someday make Boy or Girl! Cave good to us. We stay away from bees. They no hurt us. We no hurt them. We take honey when they sleep. We eat the mice in cave. Cook them up on campfire. Very good!"
"I may puke."
"Mama and me live in cave since babies."
"Avatar! They must have been abandoned in here! Why, they must be brother and sister!"
The man nods. "We babies then."
You see a lovely naked woman. She is not in the least concerned that she is wearing no clothes.
Spark's eyes widen and his jaw drops.
"Close thy mouth, boy. An insect may fly in. And put thine eyes back in thine head. They shall look strange dangling out of their sockets."
"Me Mama!" the woman exclaims proudly. "Me live with Papa here in cave!" Mama explains. "Eat. Sleep. Love."
"What else is there?"
"Mmmmmmm. Papa! Mama love Papa! Cave good. Warm. Safe."
"This is both gross and useless."
The emps are off to the east. You'll know you've found their home when you see the silverleaf trees. Finding the emps themselves, however, is harder. The overgrowth is thick and emps are tiny little guys, and they like wandering behind trees and stuff. It can take time to find one. Fortunately, you only have to give one of them honey, then they'll all chat with you.
The ape-like creature peers at you intently for a few minutes. Then, shrugging, it walks cautiously up to you.
"I am Trellek. Your name is?"
"The Avatar. Ever heard of me, monkey-boy?"
"You are greeted, Avatar."
"Are you an emp?"
"I am an Emp. Saralek is an Emp. Salamon is an Emp. You," he smiles, "are a human."
"Saralek is my bonded-one. `Wife' is what you would call her. My home is her home. Silverleaf trees are our homes," he nods.
"You mean these trees?"
"Silverleaf trees cannot be explained by me in human terms. I am sorry. Another human should be asked by you?" he shrugs, imitating the human gesture rather well.
"I hate to bug you, but I needed to ask you guys about the wisps."
"Wisps are known to me," he nods. "Wisps are found in the woods. What is your concern?"
"You can talk to them."
"Your statement is a mystery. For me to talk to wisps is what you want?" He looks around, apparently surveying the area. "No wisps are here for conversation."
"Then can you go with me to where one is? I just need to talk with one real quick."
"Your want is not conveyed to me." He shrugs.
"I'm saying join up, you little scamp!"
"Your wish is for me to travel with you?"
"That is what she said."
"My wish is that also. But that is not the wish of Saralek, my wife. Permission from her must first be gained."
"Great, blueballed by a monkey. We'll ask her."
"Before we go... did you, by chance, know a man named Julius? A friend asked us to inquire in Yew about him."
"Julius was a good human. His great deed was saving Emp family from big fire years ago." He stares at you directly. "But, his story is sad, being about his death from too much smoke in his body. His body is in the cemetery near the Abbey. He is one human that Emps call 'hero'."
Awwwww. The truth about Natassia's father isn't that he ran off, but that he died saving some monkey-guys he didn't even know.
Wait, that sounds like a sucker to me.
The female Emp appears nervous.
Saralek greets you. "Hello is said to you, human."
"Are you Trellek's wife? Are you even a woman? I can't tell."
"I often think the same thing."
She shies away for a moment, and then cautiously steps forward. "I am called Saralek. Trellek is my husband. Trellek has been met by you?" She smiles proudly, and takes another step forward. "What was said by him?"
"He wanted to come with me to speak with a wisp, just for a while."
"To join you is his desire?" She thinks for a moment. "His going away is not desired by me." She turns to look directly at you. "But, joining you may be wise action." She sighs. "Permission from Salamon must be gained first. Then permission from me will be granted. Your return to me is necessary for that."
"Goddamnit. Who next?"
"She is a very wise Emp. Many humans have been met by her. Knowledge and experience are her talents."
Salamon is off to the north. Not like you could tell unless you hung around for half an hour for her to come back from the bathroom or wherever it is she goes.
You see a wizened female Emp.
"You are hailed, human. I am Salamon," she says.
"Look, we just want Trellek's help for twenty minutes. I'm through with the eating random creatures or forcing them to commit unspeakable acts, it's old news, I'm dead serious here!"
"Permission will be given to you later. There is a task that must be performed first. There is a woodcutter who lives in the western part of the forest. Silverleaf trees are being cut down by him. Emp houses are in Silverleaf trees. Contract must be signed by woodcutter to stop. My condition is understood by you?" Not waiting for your response, she hands you a document. "You are now in possession of the contract."
Emps don't fuck around.
Some guys ambush us on the way out of Emptown.
"Who the hell are you guys?"
"WE DON'T KNOW!"
This is not Ben. This is Tseramed. He's a pretty cool guy. He has a lot of information, not all of it especially interesting or relevant. He'll also willingly join you, and is in fact an okay character. He doesn't like the Fellowship though, and he's got a pretty good reason for it:
"Not long ago The Fellowship began to spread its influence throughout Britannia. In their early days they attracted many bright and enthusiastic young people, among them my love, Lady M. A woman so intelligent could not help but rise in their ranks. Her direct superior was Elizabeth. One black evening she fell gravely ill. According to friends of mine, Elizabeth forbade her to visit the local healer. By the time I learned of this, she had already passed away. She rests now forever in the Yew graveyard, may her sleep be peaceful. I searched the land for Elizabeth and Abraham, but never found my quarry. In fact, it seems that every time I near my prey, they have already vanished! My search shall never be truly over."
Looks like we're not the only ones who can never quite track those two down. He's also able to make arrows for you:
"I fashion my arrows from the stingers of giant bees. With them one may put a foe to sleep. If thou wouldst like, I would be happy to give thee a dozen of my special arrows. Art thou interested? Use them with care, for even a scratch may put one to sleep!"
Tseramed Arrows have a rather low damage output, but as advertised cause sleep. Whether he's in your party or not, he can make his arrows from the stingers that drop off the bees in the bee cave. And speaking of which...
"One day I glimpsed a man and a woman deep within the cave as I was hunting. Since then I have seen them twice. I believe they are former citizens of Yew, though I do not know how they live in harmony with the bees."
Really? That seems interesting. What happens if we take Tseramed back there?
The man sees Tseramed and frowns. He points at you accusingly. "Hunt bees? Go away!" The man spits at you and turns away.
"This is an act, I tell thee! These people are not savages! They are Britannians!"
"He seems quite savage to me!"
"Is that true? Are you guys from Yew?"
The man's eyes widen, realizes you are serious, then rolls his eyes to the floor. "Damn! All right. Thou didst catch me. Thou art right. Mama and I are from Yew," the man speaks in a perfect voice booming with intelligence. He then laughs heartily. "We had thee going, though, did we not!"
"Uh, yeah, you guys sure did. With your nakedness."
"That's right. My real name is Murray. Mama is really Myrtle. I was a fully licensed apothecary in the town until the Britannian Tax Council came after me. They wanted the shirt off my back, so I gave it to them! Since then, Myrtle and I prefer to live down here with the bees. Life is so... carefree down here. We have chosen to live with nature. Now, if thou dost not mind, I shall isolate myself from thee and bid thee farewell."
And the woman?
"I am Mama!"
"Forget it, Myrtle. The jig is up. They know all about us."
"Murray! Didst thou give us away? How couldst thou do it? This just isn't going to be much fun anymore knowing that someone is aware of the truth!"
You tell the woman what Papa said about their past lives. "Well, blast it! Why did he tell our secret? I will never forgive him! What a knave! All right. My name is Myrtle. But I like to be called Mama."
Another mystery solved.
Oh, right, we needed to talk to that logger. Too bad I don't know where his house is. Let's visit some at random!
"Ah, home sweet home!"
"I keep forgetting you live out here. When are you ever even home?"
"That doesn't matter. Gwenno! Gwenno, dear, I'm back!"
"Damn, this place is trashed."
"But where is Gwenno?"
"She probably dumped you."
"Impossible! There must be some explanation. Perhaps she was kidnapped by the Fellowship!"
"She totally dumped you."
And if this is Iolo's house, that means Smith's around to pester and pester me!
You see a horse.
"What else did you expect to see?"
"Is this still... what's your name?"
"Yes, I have a name."
"Scoundrel! When thou art asked thy name, thou shouldst respond politely and accurately! The Avatar has just asked thee for -thy- name."
"My name? You can call me what you want, but I will only respond to Smith."
"Job? -Job-? I'm a horse, what kind of job could I have?" He looks off in the distance. "I can see it now: Smith -- Baker extraordinaire. Actually, I have gotten quite good at interior decorating. See how I arranged my abode? You like it, don't you?"
"I can't say I'm a fan."
"That's funny, I feel the same way about you!"
"Yep, that's what I told you to call me. Oh, I get it! You want something from me, don't you?
"Uh... sure, if it'll shut you up."
"I thought as much. You've always been a selfish one. What do you want? Now, let's see... Money? Advice?Happiness? No, you usually want a clue of some sort, don't you. Of course, you may have become altruistic over the past 200 years...."I know! You want to save Britannia!"
"From a horse? Right! Like I've got some to give you."
"Don't talk to horses!"
"Alright fine, let's do it to save Britannia."
"You really expect me to believe that? You're just in this for the money."
"I'm going to have to settle for a clue, aren't I?"
"Now we're getting to the nitty-gritty. O.K., I'll give you a clue, but what's in it for me? Let me guess. Money? Love? No, knowing you it's probably nothing. With any luck, you'll go away and leave me alone."
"I won't make you glue."
"Threats, huh? And how do you expect me to respond to that? With courtesy and open hooves? Tell you what: you go away and leave me alone, and I'll tell you a clue. Fair?"
"Now we're talking! Done deal. Here we go." He checks around to make sure no else is within earshot. "The gargoyles," he pauses, "are not evil. And Rasputin is a mean Martian. There, that's it! Now get!"
"Why, how dare thou speakest to the Avatar in that manner, Smith!"
"And who are you? My master?"
"Why, as a matter of fact..."
Oh yeah because that was easy to find, Ultima VII. Ben just kind of wanders the forest around his house blindly. Yet another reason to always look for critical NPCs at midnight.
Resting an axe on his shoulder, a tall, broad-chested man smiles and nods at you.
"'ello, Avatar. Good day, ay?"
"Hey, are you the guy I'm looking for?"
"...how is he supposed to know?"
"Thou kin call me Ben, Avatar. I live 'ere in the forest of Yew. I be a logger, Avatar. 'Tis what I have done all my life. In fact, Avatar, 'tis what my father did. And 'is father before 'im. And so on. We have been doin' this for more than ten generations."
"What happened to Yew, anyway?"
"It was once a large town, but now, 'tis but a smattering of cottages livin' throughout the woods."
"Actually, it has more buildings now than it did 200 years ago, they're just all spread out."
"I am afraid, Avatar, that I know no one in this area. But," he adds proudly, "I do know 'oo runs the sawmill in Minoc. I also know that monks reside in the abbey, next to the high court."
"That's okay. Actually, I wanted to ask you about the Silverleaf trees."
"Why, yes, Avatar, I cut down Silverleaf trees. They only grow in one area, so I 'afta travel quite a distance when I needs some of their wood. Why dost thou ask, Avatar? Oh, I see," he grins, "Thou wants some for thyself, ay?"
"Thou'st got another reason for askin'?"
"Actually, yeah. The Emps wanted you to stop."
"What in the bloody 'ell are emps?" After you quickly explain the Silverleaf Tree situation to him, he exclaims, "Oh, well, that's 'orrible. I did not realize anyone -- er -- any other creature used the Silverleaf trees. What kin I do about it?"
"Sign a binding legal document with forest monkeys."
"Why, o' course I'll sign. No more Silverleaf trees for me." He takes the contract from you and signs it. "And please apologize to the Emps for me, Avatar. I never meant to destroy their 'omes."
"Well, that was easy."
"Our arsenal of weaponry might have had something to do with it."
And so, at last, back to the Emps.
She takes the document from you, smiling when she sees Ben's signature. "Trellek is permitted to join you. You are wished luck and speed. My hope is for your welfare, human."
Now we just need to let Saralek know so she can...
Her eyes begin to mist over. "I am sorry. A lie was told by me. Trellek's leaving is not desired by me. Permission will not be given." Her expression changes. "What is the reason you asked him?"
"We just wanted to contact a wisp."
She smiles excitedly."Your wish is to meet wisps? An idea how you can be helped by Trellek is had by me. Wisps are contacted by Trellek's whistling. A whistle for you can be made by him, perhaps. Talking with him again should be your next action."
"For you to talk to wisps is still your wish? Then helping you is my goal. A whistle can be made by me. A whistling sound is made by Emps when talking is done by us. An imitation of that sound can be created by a special whistle," he says enthusiastically. He begins quickly searching around for a dead, hollow, fallen tree branch. Shortly he finds one that meets his satisfaction. Apparently embarrassed, he turns his back to you, and makes motions similar to one twisting a cork from a flagon.After a few minutes of this, he turns around and presents the whistle to you. "Here is your whistle."
Yeah, all that for a damn whistle. It is possible to get Trellek to join the party, but I'm not sure what circumstances are necessary to do it. Maybe you have to go straight back to him instead of his wife, or she has to be dead or something. I don't know. He's not that useful, but he does get his portrait put up in the first row with the other party member candidates, so that's something.
The wisps are found all over the forest, but they can be tough to locate. Fortunately, there's one in a very much fixed location, in an abandoned castle out in the woods. The entrance is here.
The wisp does not respond.
"Hey asshole, listen to this!"
"I didn't hear anything."
"Maybe it doesn't work on idiots."
A ball of light approaches you."'You' are not the entity known as 'Trellek'. 'You' call out in the manner of the species called 'emps'. 'Xorinia' was expecting the entity 'Trellek'. But that is not of importance. From the information 'I' have, the local manifestation before 'me' is the entity known as 'Avatar'." The Wisp glows brightly a second or two."'Xorinia' wishes to exchange information with the human entity."
"This label has been implemented by human entities to name manifestations from the Xorinite dimension since the time when this dimension was discovered by Xorinite manifestations. Another common name is 'Will-o-the-wisp'. The preceding sample of information was provided without charge. Usually there is a fee for information."
"So what was the deal?"
"The Undrian Council seeks information regarding a certain entity by the name of 'Alagner'. 'You' have access to this information. 'I' have information regarding a certain entity which 'you' are seeking. The Undrian Council proposes a trade."
"The Council represents what 'your' language defines as 'government'. The Undrian Council has information that there is a human entity in 'your' dimension that has been called 'the wisest man in Britannia.' This entity is known as 'Alagner' and lives in 'your' colony of 'New Magincia'. 'Alagner' has what the entity calls a 'notebook'. The 'notebook' is a collection of information. 'I' want to absorb the information in Alagner's 'notebook'. If 'you' bring the 'notebook' here, the Undrian Council will release information useful to 'you'. Do 'you' agree to the trade?"
"'Xorinia' recognizes 'your' usefulness. 'I' shall be here. Human entities will call 'my' activity 'waiting'."
"What's the information they wanted to offer me?"
"The entity known as 'Time Lord' requests an audience with 'you'. Before 'I' can give 'you' more information about this, 'I' must propose a trade."
And so, yet again (again), it's off to do a random sidequest which will lead to another sidequest. At least this one is... interesting.
Yew is a hateful place where all the trees look the same and treasure is few and far between, but here's where some of it is.
Walk due east from Smith's barn and you'll get this warning from Iolo. A mysterious altar surrounded by mongbats guards a magic shield and some random armor. Nothing great.
North of there is a wizard's camp. The wizard isn't home right now, but his kitty familiar will attack you.
Walk away and come back if he's not around and he usually spawns.
North and kinda east of the wisp building is another bandit camp.
To the death indeed. To the mass death!
Camp's here by the by.
I hackmoved the trees out of the way to show off the (very well-hidden) Magic Armor stashed here. There's also loads of food, multiple bedrolls (but you only need one), and a magic bow. Sweet, I guess?