Part 32: The Black Gate - No Ghost Left Behind (Part One)
No Ghost Left Behind (Part One)
There's a big string of rocks around Skara Brae. This is to prevent you from taking your own boat there. The island is also covered in crap to prevent the Magic Carpet from landing, although as you'll see in today's Cheater's Corner, it isn't really particularly difficult to break this rule. I don't even know why Origin did this, except to force an encounter with a particular NPC. It's not like there's (much) of interest on the island beyond the plot.
Skara Brae's moongate used to be on the island. Now it isn't. I think it was close to this point in Ultima VI, however.
There's an obvious reason for that. Just walk a few feet to the west.
"Wow. Dramatize much?"
"I don't think he likes you."
"I don't think he even knows we're standing here."
"Gosh, you don't think maybe death has something better to do than listen to you guys? It's obvious what needs to be done here."
"Beat him up?"
"Not yet, Spark, but I do admire your enthusiasm and problem-solving skills. We just need a way to speak with him."
"And they said this spell was a waste of page space!"
Before you stands a tall, skeletal figure in a ghostly boat.
He holds out his hand to you, and says in a sepulchral voice, "I am the Ferryman of Skara Brae... Thou must pay two coins... to cross the Misty Channel."
"Are you the Grim Reaper or just a cheap knockoff?"
"I am... the Ferryman." His voice creaks like the rocking of the boat.
"Yeah, I'm aware of that, but what do you... you know, do?"
The Ferryman doesn't respond at first, shaking his head from side to side in puzzlement. "I am... the Ferryman."
"I think he might be the Ferryman!"
"Yes, if you pay me... I can take you across the Misty Channel." He turns to the side and waves his skeletal hand in a sweeping gesture over the water upon which his boat rests. "This... is the Misty Channel."
"And this will, uh, take us to Skara Brae, huh?"
He turns all the way around and points across the water to the west. "There... "
"Er... Avatar, art thou sure we need to go over there?"
"What's the matter, Shamino? Art thou -afraid-?"
"Of course not! I just... well, I... oh, never mind! Let's go!"
Iolo's eyes narrow as he adopts a patronizing look on his face."And I suppose thou art without fear?" he says to Spark.
"No, sir. I am not afraid of a skeleton," he says. As he looks at the ferryman, however, he gulps.
"Hey, anybody wielding that weapon probably ought to be feared."
"Wilt thou pay my price... for passage to Skara Brae?" You place the coins in the shade's palm and his bony fingers close over them. "Step aboard... if thou wouldst go... to the Isle of the Dead."
Without acknowledging you, the Ferryman lowers his head and holds his pole across his chest.
The Ferryman cuts an imposing figure with his Death Scythe and all that. So am I going to put a thing on how to kill him and take it into Cheater's Corner? Sadly, no. It's not because I don't want to. It's because I can't. Despite his appearance, the Ferryman isn't an NPC or a monster. He's just an object, an object of a hooded death dude holding a scythe, who is a permanent fixture on his boat. You can take a swing, cast any spells you want, it isn't going to do shit to him.
Unsurprisingly then, the Ferryman can survive the Armageddon spell. He is one of only a few characters who does, and I believe he too has special dialogue after the apocalypse. So keep him in mind.
Once you pay, assuming everybody sits down properly, he ferries you across. If it's not working, pay him once, wait for everyone to sit, then engage conversation and pay again. That should only be an issue in Exult with its different pathfinding though.
"Wow, this place is... different."
"Not in much better shape than the last time you left it."
"Dude! Hold on a second here. I mean, yeah, maybe my investigation of Death Cannon's rogue activities went a little overboard now and then, but I didn't burn the place to the ground!"
"What about those holes in the walls of those houses over there?"
"Okay yeah, I mean that was me, but I'm not an arsonist! That just ain't hip."
"Well let's hope Spark doesn't ask too many questions about what happened here."
"This place has plenty of ghosts, Dupre. They won't mind one or two more."
"...is there something in the air here that makes you twisted?"
"If there's one place you'll find ghosts, it's the ghost bar."
"Hello! Welcome to the ghost bar!"
"Holy crap, that was unexpected."
The pale-looking ghost turns in your direction and gives you a wan smile.
"Hello, could it be that we have met somewhere before, Avatar?" You see recognition in his eyes, then it fades. "Forgive me." He shakes his head, then smiles. "I am the shade of Quenton."
"Quenton! Dude! You can talk now! And you're not nursing a 200-year-old grudge from that time I fucking fired you!"
"I've been dead for several centuries, Steve. It gets kinda hard to care about much of anything when you've been doing nothing for that long."
"Tell me about it."
"So what are you doing here?
"I live here. Well, you know, lived here. I'm haunting here."
"Why are you haunting the ghost bar?"
"Because I was bored."
"Well... you can talk now, so I guess we can finally resolve that dangling plot thread about who murdered you, since as you are no doubt aware I didn't."
"Yes, but you did kill everyo-MRPGHHHH!"
"Thank you, Dupre."
"My story is a long and a sad one. I hope thou hast some time." He appears thoughtful for a moment, and then begins. "When I was a young man, I met a lovely woman by the name of Gwen. I made her my wife, and we lived for a time, happy and carefree. She brought a light into the world and we called her Marney, which means the cool breeze after a storm." He smiles to himself at some memory, then continues with a furrowed brow. "Then, one day, my wife was taken from me. I know not where, or by whom, save that they were evil men. Soon after, my sweet Marney became sick at heart and I feared for her health. I could not take time from my fishing to care for her, but I needed gold. So I made a deal with a man who was not to be trifled with. This was mine undoing, for when I failed to repay his loan, he came to me one night and slew me. I had not a chance to fight back or call for help." He falls silent. "But that was long before the fire that turned this whole island into the land of the dead."
"You should have just asked the wisps for a loan, those guys are loaded."
"Yes, well, you know, hindsight is 20/20 and all that. After I was murdered, my good friend, Yorl, cared for her as his own. He tried his best, but her sickness only worsened. After several months she weakened, and died."
"Her condition did worsen, I guess. You don't remember what actually happened, right?"
"Huh? ...my memory is strangely fuzzy on this but." He stops here, tears filling his ghostly eyes, then, angrily, he says, "And now her spirit is held by Horance the Liche. Thou must rescue her from that foul beast!" He attempts to grab you, but his hands pass through without resistance.
"Now, now, Quen. Settle down." Markham moves closer to you and whispers, "Fergive him, Avatar. He sometimes loses control like that when he talks about his daughter. Sure'n ya can understand, tho'."
"No, not really."
Quenton regains control of himself. "Forgive me, Avatar. I've no right to inflict my woes upon thee. It hurts to think of my sweet Marney in the power of that... creature."
"I thought Horance was a senile old man. What happened?"
"Once, over two centuries ago, I knew a gifted mage named Horance."
"Yeah, I know, I bought spells from him. I was there, remember?"
"His two loves in life were the study of magic, and writing lovely poetry. The people of Skara Brae felt safe in the knowledge that this sort of mage protected the town. Then he began to change. First his beautiful sonnets became a rhyming doggerel. It became the only way in which he would speak. His spells, which he displayed before the townsfolk, became destructive and violent. People began to fear him. My death occurred at about this time. Not long after that, he became reclusive."
"He kept mumbling something about cannons stalking his dreams, that he was next, that he was the only one left."
"See, this is precisely why you never leave anyone alive."
"NOTHING SHUT UP!"
"He had a tower built on the northern point and never removed himself from it. Then, one night, the graves in the graveyard opened and the dead began to walk."
"What do you mean began to walk? You were already doing it."
"I always was a bit of a trendsetter, I guess."
Markham nods his head emphatically, "'At's right, I seen it, I did."
"They marched to his tower, and now they roam all over the island, performing his bidding."
"It be gettin' so's a ghost cannot make an honest livin' no more. Hmph." Markham looks a bit disgruntled.
"So anyway Quen, since you conveniently aren't mad at me, do you know a guy named the Tortured One?"
"Caine? He was an alchemist here on Skara Brae. Now he spends his days in eternal pain caused by his guilt from causing the fire that destroyed this town. It seems that Mistress Mordra, the town healer, thought she had a plan to stop the Liche, Horance, which she told to the Mayor. I am not sure exactly what she planned, but it involved Trent, the town smith, and Caine, the alchemist. Not long after Caine began his work, a maelstrom of fire tore over the island, destroying everything. Skara Brae burned for days." Quenton looks hopeful, "If thou wouldst like to assist us, she is the best one to speak to. She seems to know the way to rid us of the Liche, at the least."
"Who are some of these other people?"
"The mayor...," Quenton selects his words carefully. "...well, he believes that discretion is the better part of Valor. So, he may be able to offer thee some aid, but thou art likely first to need convince him that thou'rt not here to hurt him. As for Trent. Ah, the poor man knows the spirit-wrenching feeling of loss almost as well as I. His wife, Rowena, was killed by the walking dead. And Mistress Mordra claims that she saw her sitting on a throne next to the Liche's own. I believe this has driven Trent somewhat mad. He works night and day upon some oddly formed cage. Strange, though, he never seems to finish it. He doth not seem to recall that he died in the fire, either, but a great hatred for Horance still burns in his heart."
"And something went wrong with this Caine guy."
He looks as if he expected your question. "Alas, Caine, in his attempt to free us of the Liche, instead damned us to become slaves of the selfsame Liche. Yes, we are his slaves. Every night at midnight, we must go to the Dark Tower and become servants of his Black Mass. I only know this because Mordra tells us it is so. I have no recollection of ever having been to the Dark Tower at all." His expression betrays his fear.
"I have no recollection of ever reading The Dark Tower, if that counts."
"I thought it was okay."
"Goodbye, Avatar." He turns back to his conversation with Markham.
The corpulent, undead barkeep greets you with a wide, gruesome smile.
"Come, stranger. Have a seat near old Markham and tell me o' yer travels. I don't often get visitors in here anymore."
"Really? This place has great atmosphere. The black clouds, the torched walls and ceiling, the skeletons wandering in and punching me in the back... so what's your story?"
The heavy-set zombie wipes his mouth off on the back of his hand. "I be Markham. Markham o' the Keg." He pats the large keg of wine he carries.
The lovely Paulette strolls over and pats Markham's rather large belly. "Yes, he's Markham of the Keg, all right." She smiles sweetly down at the older man.
"That's enough of that!" Markham smacks the pretty young woman on her ghostly posterior. "Make yerself useful and fetch me a haunch o' venison." She turns away, giggling. He looks at you with a mirthful expression, "I just don't know what I'm goin' ta do with that girl."
"How come you guys are all in color but Quenton is still see-through?"
"I died before they invented colored ghosts."
"You thought a ghost bar was ridiculous too when you stepped in here."
"Anyhow, I run this fine establishment, the Keg O' Spirits." For a moment he becomes serious. "This place once drew folk from all across Britannia, gargoyle and human alike. Until the fire, that is." He looks uncomfortable, "Caine blew the town to the four winds, and now we're all trapped here, slaves of that bastard Horance." Tiny blue flames appear in the pupils of his glazed eyes, then go out as he regains his composure.
"Yeeeeeeeeah, let's talk about that Caine guy, if only to deflect guilt."
A look of disgust comes to his disfigured features. "That tortured soul haunts the crater made by his foolish mistake. I wouldn't go near him though, he's a bit daft, ya know." He refills his mug from the cask at his side and swigs down most of the wine in one swallow.
"Please, Markham. Have a little pity for Caine. He was trying to create something to save the town when he made his fatal mistake." The pale ghost looks deeply troubled.
"Oh, I suppose yer right Quen, he was tryin' ta help us when he called the proverbial fires o' Hell down on us. It just rankles me to have died in my prime." His roguish smile once again lightens his ghostly visage. "So anyway, that's just the name the rest of us in Skara Brae call him -- the Tortured One," he grins, embarrassed.
"So what happened with Horance?"
"For all the years I've been in Skara Brae, he's been a raving lunatic. What with all o' them silly rhymes and his crazy laughter. Then one night, we all hears thunder when there isn't a cloud in the starry sky, and I seem to recall a full moon..." He gets a thoughtful look on his face. "But as I was sayin', there was this thunder, then this deep, dark laughter coming from the tower on the northern point -- Horance's Dark Tower." After this he falls silent for a moment.
The pale ghost moves forward and whispers, "I was already living in the half world of the dead when these events took place, and ever since, I've felt a strange pull coming from the tower."
After a brief swig, he continues, "Then, even worse... I'm out checkin' on the cows when I hears a sound like moanin'. It's off to the east, so I look that way, into the graveyard y'know, and what do I see?"I'll tell ya what I seen. The graves, rippin' open like the people in 'em got a place to go." Eyes wide, he tips back another sip.
You see a pretty, ghostly girl with long black hair.
"Hello, Avatar. I am called Paulette. How may I help thee? After all, before the fire," she shudders, "I used to be the barmaid here."
"I guess you still are, then?"
"I am! Thou dost wish to purchase something?"
"I am sorry, Avatar," she giggles, "but all we serve here are... spirits!"
"That's a good one, wench," laughs the portly ghost.
"Oh ha ha I get it because you're all fucking dead and I'm not. Oh wait, joke's on you. Tell me about the Tortured One."
She appears puzzled for an instant, but then she nods her head. "Oh, thou must be referring to Caine. He was the alchemist who was responsible for the fire."
"It did a number on the place. Looks like it was a lot of fun!"
"Oh, yes. It was horrible! The tavern caught on fire. I ran to my room, hoping to escape the flames. But then I started coughing. I couldn't breathe." Her chest rises and falls quickly as if she's reliving the experience. "Finally, I could take it no longer." She brings the back of her hand to her forehead, dramatically. "I fainted. Then I was here again, just like thou dost see me now." Her smile is like that of a child.
"Yes, 'twas quite odd. When I awoke, it was as if I had never left when the fire began. In fact, were it not for the scorch marks everywhere, I would doubt the fire ever happened."
This is the old healer's hut. Everything's busted up, but there's lots of potions and a chest full of reagents. Leave the potions alone for now, you don't want to lose them because you'll be able to use them later for the plot.
Mordra, the healer of the town, is sometimes in here and sometimes in the graveyard just south of her hut. The graveyard contains one of the game's big cheats, but I'm saving it for after the plot here is resolved because it also features a few quest items that can be used to short-circuit this subplot.
Interestingly, I think Mordra can be spoken with without the Seance spell. If you can't cast it, she'll cast it on you, or at least allow you to speak with her.
The old, ghostly woman hums the tune to an ancient ballad and smiles up at you. This old woman brings to mind every grandmother you've ever seen.
"Hello. Thou mayest call me Mistress Mordra." She peers at you closely. "And thou must be Steve, the Avatar." She looks you over thoroughly. She lifts up her arms and in one of them you see an ankh. Words which you vaguely recognize flow from her lips and the ankh glows brightly. She stops chanting and the ankh dims. After her analysis of your condition is complete, "Ah, it is good to see that the world has been treating thee well. How may I serve thee, 'O Virtuous One?"
"You're kind of creepy."
"Really? I got that a lot even before I was a ghost."
"Well, at least you can put in 110% now."
"I was the healer of this town before the fire erupted that shattered the lives of those here. I also dabbled in secret magical arts for a while." She winks at you slyly.
"What kinda secret arts?"
Her eyes twinkle mischievously. "If I were to reveal them to thee, they wouldn't be secret any longer, now would they?"
"I was told you're the one who came up with a plan to fight Horance, whose madness was most certainly not caused by anything I may or may not have done 200 years ago."
"That fire... 'Twas the doom of this town, although I place no blame upon the alchemist, Caine. For I was the one who told him the recipe that I am sure will rid us of Horance the Liche. 'Twas but a simple mixture of a few ingredients. It should have worked." Her eyes narrow. "I expect that mayor of ours, Forsythe, fouled things up! That man is a bumbling idiot. It is his fault that the island was destroyed. I gave him the exact portions of the reagents to be used in the magical formula, and he paraphrased it to the alchemist, Caine. By the size of the fire, I am sure he misquoted the amount of mandrake root by tenfold. Damn that foolish man!" Her brow creases and you can see that this is a subject that she likes to avoid.
"Now those who reside here call him `the Tortured One.' That is because he is in eternal pain, caused by searing flames licking at his flesh. The pain is imagined, but to him, 'tis as real as thou or I... or, at least, as real as thou art!"
"Yeah, I was about to say."
"Thou must have Caine's assistance in creating the formula, but I can give thee the ingredients. If I tell thee, thou must be sure to get them right. Otherwise, what happened when I told that blasted mayor will happen again. And, while we here in Skara Brae have no more lives to lose, thou hast quite a valuable one! The ingredients necessary for the concoction to dissolve the liche are a potion of invisibility, a dose of a potion of curing, and one vial of the essence of mandrake -- I have one set aside somewhere in mine house. Remember, only -one- vial of the mandrake!"
The mayor is still cowering in the town hall. It's hard to take screenshots in Skara Brae because the clouds that pass overhead can get incredibly dark, and it's hard to see where things are, especially when those damn ghosts hide in walls. As ghosts are wont to do.
You see a middle-aged ghost cowering in the corner of this burned-out room. He's shaking from head to toe, and, as you approach, he jumps out, waving an ankh in your face.
"Thou'lt not have me, foul beast! Back, back I say! In the name of the Virtues, back!"
"Yeah, that's really not doing, well, anything at all."
He slowly notices that this is having no effect other than to surprise you and looks more closely in your direction. He looks from you to a picture of you on the wall. Back and forth he looks, squinting his eyes until they go wide with relief. "Oh, thank thee for coming. Lord British finally called thee to help us." He's obviously suffering from some delusion. "I am Mayor Forsythe. Dost thou think it will take long for thee to defeat the Liche?"
"I dunno, how long you got? I'd say a while."
"The Liche has been a horrible scourge on my poor town. First he drives away all visitors by raising the dead. Then, in an attempt to stop him, the town is destroyed in a terrible fire. Well, I suppose that is not strictly his fault, but, well, something had to be done about him." Forsythe looks a little flustered.
"How was this not Horance's fault?"
"Well, the alchemist is the one who started the fire! The Tortured One! That is what we call Caine. He is the alchemist who created the fire." He puts his arm around your shoulders and whispers, "Mistress Mordra, our healer, thought she found a way to get rid of Horance once and for all. All we have to do is make a gold cage, or was it an old cage. Well, no matter. We make this cage, and someone..." He smiles at you, "...lowers it into the Well of Souls to do something or other to it. When this is done, thou shalt catch the Liche off guard late at night and snap it tight around him. Sounds easy thus far, yes? Well, now. After that, thou needest only pour on him the magic liquid that the alchemist was making." He pauses here as if a little embarrassed. "I apparently got the proportions a bit off when I told the alchemist about the formula. Anyway, it should be as easy as falling off a log, for thee. I guess thou hadst better be running along now, Mistress Mordra can tell thee ever so much more about this than can I. Be careful though, she is a dangerous old wench."
"Yeah, what were the proportions there?"
"'Twas so long ago that I barely remember. A smattering of curing, a dash of a potion of invisibility, and... that's right, a -ton- of the essence of mandrake root!"
Just up the road from the town hall is the smithy. Even death hasn't kept the smith from working... although something else has.
You see in the fire of the ghostly forge a large, heavily-muscled ghost with a full beard and mustache. He does not notice your approach.
"Uh... howdy. We're some alive people."
A deep furrow, accentuated by thick eyebrows, creases the ghost's weary brow. He doesn't look away from his work. "I am Trent. Now, please, leave me to my work." He continues hammering on a strangely-shaped iron cage.
"What are you doing?"
"Art thou blind! Canst thou not see that I am a smith?" He doesn't seem the sort for idle conversation.
"I'm not blind, no. Are you dead? Oh wait, you are!"
Anger radiates from the large ghost in almost tangible waves. He looks up from the cage and you see that the light of fire isn't coming from the forge, it's coming from his eyes. "I build this cage to destroy that bastard, Horance, who took my wife from me." For a moment, you think he is going to strike out at you, then he unclenches his fists with a heavy sigh and returns to his work.
"How are you going to do that?"
His whole body tenses as you speak. "Horance..." The word comes out like a curse. "I will see his foul spirit burn before mine eyes. Then I will laugh as he cries out pitifully for mercy." For some reason you think that you'd rather avoid hearing that laugh. One hot tear slips from the ghost's eye and falls on a heated piece of the iron cage. It sizzles, and then is gone. "Rowena was my life, mine only joy in this world." His voice is almost tender, but then he returns to his guttural tones. "He killed her and took that joy from me. Now I am only a hollow shell of a man, burning with hatred."
"Kinda like Iolo."
"Yeah, kinda like me... Wait, you asshole!"
"Way to ruin the mood, Shamino."
"What happened, Trent?"
"In an attempt to steal her away from my side, the evil fiend sent his undead minions to bring her to the dark tower. The mindless creatures slew her as she struggled." The ghost turns to you in anguish, "I could do nought to save her... the sheer numbers of skeletal warriors bore me to the ground as she was bereft of life." Insane determination flickers in the big ghost's eyes, "For this I will never forgive and never forget."
"So then Rowena-"
He holds up one hand as you say the name of his late wife. "Please, do not say that name. It takes from me a little of mine Hatred, which is all I have now. Wouldst thou rob me of the one thing that keeps me alive?" It would seem that he is unaware of the fact that he is, indeed, no longer alive. An odd expression crosses his face. "I gave her a music box for our wedding, and now it is all I have left to remember her by." His tone changes. "Do thou see what thou hast done?! I cannot work when I think of her!" He returns to his work with renewed passion. You notice the music box he spoke of sitting nearby.
"Your only memory, huh... well, we'll just be going then."
If he heard you, he ignores the fact as you take your leave. You truly feel pity for this deeply wounded spirit.
I realize this looks like a spiteful dick move, but I actually need the music box.
For some reason a Roper lives in one of the buildings here. He's guarding a Magic Axe on the floor. It's cool, but tomorrow you'll see that Magic Axes ain't no thang to find in Skara Brae.
At the northeast corner of town, not far from the path to the dark tower of the liche, is the alchemist's lab. Unsurprisingly, it too is wrecked.
The non-corporeal man stares past you, seemingly past the confines of the building, and, perhaps, of the world. Then, he suddenly shudders, as if he is filled with pain.
"Greetings, Avatar." Caine breathes deeply, apparently forcing back his torment.
"Are you... that guy?"
"I," he gasps, "am called Caine. But I have also been given an alias by my... fellow townspeople. To them, I am known as `the Tortured One.'" He moves his hands in a sweeping gesture, but seems to indicate nothing. "And thou canst see why."
"...no, we can't."
"The flames, fool! The flames!" Again he gasps. He looks down at the ground, a remorseful expression on his face. "The flames are my punishment. Years ago, when the evil Liche first exerted his reign of death over Skara Brae, the healer, Mordra, conceived of a plan to remove the creature most foul. She designed a concoction that would destroy the magical bonds that form the Liche. The formula was presented to our mayor, who passed it on to me. But," he scowls, "something went wrong when I was preparing the potion. The proportions were mixed improperly, or... I don't know!" he shouts, fists clenched. "All I remember is the shop exploding, and the fire! The fire! All those people dead... because of me... because of my mistake..."
"Don't feel too bad, I mean it's not the worst thing that ever happened to Skara Brae."
"No! 'Twas a thriving town -- before I destroyed it!" His jaw tightens and his face clenches. "Why? Why, why, why!" He again gasps in agony, but quickly regains control. "There were so many innocent people," he says, staring directly at you. "I cannot believe I am responsible for all their deaths."
"I don't know, after you do it enough it kinda stops getting to you. Which reminds me. I'd love to listen to your tormented rantings, but I need the answers."
The ghost looks at you with a hint of amusement. "Thou art looking for the answers to the questions of life and death?" The Tortured One looks hard at you. After a pause, he speaks. "I will tell thee what I know if thou dost agree to help me. Free me. Free all of us. Free us from the evil Liche."
"He is an evil spirit who inhabits poor dead Horance's body. He has a hold on every being in this town -- even me. He sucks the life forces -- the little that remain -- from our souls. Please, thou must free us from his power. Wilt thou try?"
"Yeah, I guess I might as well."
"Feeling a little guilty?"
The Tortured One's eyes brighten somewhat, as he sees the light at the end of a long, dark tunnel. "Then thou hast given me hope. To begin, speak with Mistress Mordra. She can tell thee how to accomplish this feat."
"Already done it. She said you knew the formula."
"Thou trusts me to tell thee the formula! After what I have done to this town? Art thou mad? I hope at least, that thou hast checked with Mordra for the correct proportions, yes?" He shakes his head in disbelief. "Thou art truly insane. But," he shrugs, "thou hast nothing to lose but thine own life... First thou wilt need the three potions. Then, thou must place each one just below a connecting tube -- the order matters not. Take an empty vial -- I should have one here in my lab -- and set it below the nozzle. Then, turn on the burner. After but a few minutes, the mixture will form, and the filled vial will be ready for thee."
To make the potion, we'll need the black potion, red potion, one of the glowing red/yellow potions (it's hard to see in the shot, but it's the one south of the glass vase). We also need an empty vial, either the one here in Mordra's or the one on the shelf at Caine's lab.
Place the potions like so. You need to align them so the stoppers on the potion sprites appear to be "inside" the glass tubing.
Some people have trouble with this (I know I did), but using or otherwise attempting to manipulate the glass potion bong thing won't do anything. You need to activate the little burner thing beneath it, but you can't click through the glass part.
If you did it right, you should get a glowy blue and white potion.
We have the potion needed to stop Horance. We just need to help Trent finish the Soul Cage now so that we can trap him. But we'll have to invade Horance's place to do that!
Skara Brae is supposed to be closed off to boat and carpet traffic. The boat blocking is reasonably effective, but the carpet can, as expected, be used to exploit your way to Skara Brae hilarity. The only real reason to do this is if you don't have the Seance spell and want to go to the island to rob the cheat room or something, but if you're doing that you may as well just F3. Still, if you've prepared an awesome porthold-equipped carpet and want to keep your home base nearby, you have two methods to land it.
The hard way is to land near the Ferryman, ferry over, clear some stones and debris out of a particular area, then go back and fly on back. This is silly though.
See this little gap between the two trees?
There ya go. That ain't even hard.
If you're wondering, you can just land here. It's only a little way north of the Ferryman's landing. You can probably find other places. They didn't try very hard on this one.