Part 33: The Black Gate - No Ghost Left Behind (Part 2)
No Ghost Left Behind (Part 2)
Horance's Dark Tower (which sounds like a really bad Six Flags Halloween show) lies at the far north end of Skara Brae. In Ultima VI he lived on a separate island, but I guess the little channel dried up.
The skeleton guards inside carry Magic Axes, but annoyingly do not appear to drop them when killed. I thought they did back in the day but maybe I was using the cheat to make them drop them or something. Anyway they're a marginal threat because their weapons are ranged and not complete jokes, so watch yourself.
You see a ghostly lady wearing a long, black gown. Something is a bit strange about the way she looks, but you can't quite place it.
After a pause, she says, "Greetings, Avatar. I am Rowena, lady of this wondrous tower." She gestures around the room, indicating the moldering walls and cobwebbed rafters.
"You're Rowena? Trent said you'd been taken. What are you doing?"
She stares blankly for a second, then, as if on cue, "I am the Mistress of the Tower. I tend to my Lord Horance's needs and keep our place looking respectable." It would appear that she's been falling behind in the latter duty. After a moment, "This is a lovely tower, dost thou not agree?" Before you can answer, she continues. "Dost thou see the lovely rays of light playing across the flagstones of the floor? Water sparkles in the fountain. This is truly a beautiful place in which to live." Her eyes fix upon the floor.
"Horance has got you bad, lady."
She blinks once, then, "Horance... What a wonderful name. He found me lost and lonely and brought me here to be a lady. Is he not truly the most magnificent of Lords?" She pauses. "Goodbye, Avatar. I hope thou hast enjoyed thy visit to our glorious tower. Please, return whenever thou wishest." You feel as if you've been speaking to a statue.
The Well of Souls is at the back, along with Horance the lich, who is remarkably chill for an evil undead mastermind.
The Liche practically glows, power coursing visibly through its undead veins.
You step forward to confront this vile-looking creature and he slowly turns to face you. As his intense gaze locks onto your form, you almost wish you hadn't been so bold. "Avatar." A sardonic expression comes to his undead features. "How may I help thee?" You get the distinct impression that help is the last thing you'll get from the Liche.
Iolo steps near you and speaks in a whispered tone. "Do not trust this one, Avatar. Methinks he'll cause naught but evil."
"Wow, really? An undead monstrosity of vast knowledge and cruelty in command of unspeakable magical powers is evil? Do you even listen to yourself, Iolo?"
"Uh, Avatar? I am ready to go now," he says to you, cowering from the undead creature.
"Anyway, are you..."
The Liche's dry features take on a haughty appearance. "Thou mayest call me Lord Horance. It would only be prudent, as I shall one day rule all of Britannia. Surprised, Avatar? Come now. Surely thou dost not think that Lord British will stand in my way. I know how to deal with his ilk."
"Look, I know full well British can't do shit, but 'Lord Horance?'"
"Ah, it is good to hear such an obeisance from the Avatar. Perhaps thou wilt have a place in my New Order." The Liche looks at you with an expression somewhere between malice and humor.
"What new order?"
An expression of zeal lights the dead face of the Liche. "Yes, Avatar. The dead will rule! I will be their leader and thou canst become an Avatar... to ME! And there will never be cannons again! NEVER! NEVER! HHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!"
"No cannons? Over my dead body!"
"Why, Avatar. I thought that was understood. It will be my pleasure to help thee enter the realm of the dead."
"How do you plan to defeat Lord British, anyway?"
'Evil' is a mild word for the sneer that appears on the Liche's cracked lips. "It has recently come to my attention that a certain ore found in the Britannian surface can, if fashioned properly, become the bane of the vaunted Lord British. I know this ore and have used it before for other purposes. I will use it once again to destroy that so-called Lord." He gestures at the walls of the tower. "It served as an effective barrier against the ravaging effects of the disrupted ether."
"We're going to go look for some way to stop you. Bye!"
"It is truly sad to see thee go." He says with a sardonic smile. "Feel free to explore mine humble abode. Though, have a care. My guardians are none too intelligent and will most likely assault anything living." He smiles with his death's head grin.
If you try to walk upstairs you risk stepping on a teleporter that sends you out to this backyard area, shoots fire up all around you, and strikes you with lightning. It's a spooky effect but not actually all that dangerous.
We need some way to snap Rowena out of it. Maybe the music box?
The music of the little box makes Rowena turn her head in your direction. She blinks several times as if waking from a dream, or, in this case, a nightmare. "I am in control of my mind for the time being, but I know not for how long. Tell me what has transpired in the town outside." You relay to her what you know of the events you've heard in town. "My poor Trent. I cannot bear to think that he's become so hurt that he would forget our love." She wrings her hands in sorrow and notices something on one of them. "Please, Avatar, wouldst thou take this ring to him and tell him that I still love him. Mayhaps it will restore him to the beloved Trent I knew." She takes a ring from her slender finger and places it in your hand. You expect it to pass right through, but it rests neatly in your palm.
Rowena's eyes begin to look a little glassy and she blinks slowly as if entering a deep trance. She blinks slowly. "What beautiful music. My Lord... Horance, once gave me a music box like that one." Rowena turns away, distracted.
You hold out the ring to Trent. At first he ignores you. Then, recognizing the ring, he takes it from you and holds it before him. Something in him snaps and his huge frame slumps forward. You let the ghost cry for a while, and when he finishes, you see a remarkable change in his appearance.
The flames that once burned in his eyes are now gone, replaced by a deep shade of blue. He looks like a new man, or rather, ghost as it were. "Forgive my behavior, Avatar. I know not what came over me. I remember flames, but they burned no hotter than mine own Hatred." He looks pained at the memory. "Thou hast seen her? Thou hast seen Rowena? And she still cares for me. Well, all the more reason to finish this Soul Cage. We must free her from Horance's vile sorcery."
Trent needs an iron bar to finish the cage. Fortunately, the old cemetary's got plenty lying around. If you can't find one, look for a place where the fence looks "bent." It's actually usually an iron bar that you can move and pick up.
We don't really need to know this, because it's fairly obvious, but Mordra explains that it must be dipped into the Well of Souls before it will work on Horance.
He doesn't even care if we do it right in front of him, either.
Now we just need to catch him when he's vulnerable. The only time for this is midnight, when his dark mass is conducted with the spirits of Skara Brae. So we'll need to wait until midnight.
That is not exactly what I meant.
Alright, there we are. Now we just have to put the cage on him (double-click and use it, don't try to drag and drop, it doesn't work as well), then use the potion.
The power of the cage vanishes in a sparkle of fireworks, and Horance gets a little less evil.
"I thank thee, Avatar. That dark spirit had suppressed my will for so long that I was not sure I had one left. Thou hast done a great deed for Skara Brae, for myself and, indeed, all of Britannia, but then I suppose this is merely a matter of course for one such as thee. My gratitude is thine." He bows deeply to you. "Now, Avatar. I must ask this favor of thee. The Well of Souls, at the bottom of this tower, holds many tormented souls within it and binds the spirits of Skara Brae to this island. It must be destroyed." Horance looks at you intently. "I can only hope that thou wilt try to free them."
"You guys have such funny perceptions of how I roll."
"Well, wilt thou?" He looks at you expectantly.
"Yes. God, you people are so clingy."
Horance thinks for a moment then, "When the well is destroyed, the souls within will be released to float aimlessly upon the ether for a time. I have badly wronged the Lady Rowena and her husband, I would see this wrong mended. Please, lead her out of this dark place and see that she is reunited with Trent. That way they will remain together when they are released. I will know when you've accomplished this task, and then we can continue with the destruction of the well."
After taking Rowena to Trent (she joins briefly, but isn't very good and can't leave unless you cheat), we can get back to Horance and get on with this.
"Good, now we can get on with freeing the rest of Skara Brae. The destruction of the Well of Souls can only be brought about by the selfless sacrifice of a spirit."
"Can't we just make Iolo do it?"
"You'd have to be pretty crazy to sacrifice yourself for Steve."
"A living being will not do, because the soul is tied to the body. Go out into the town and find a spirit willing to make the sacrifice for the sake of all Skara Brae. I suggest that thou shouldst ask Mayor Forsythe first, as it is his right to be considered before the others." He strokes his chin thoughtfully as you leave.
Unsurprisingly, Forsythe is a colossal wimp who wouldn't sacrifice himself if somebody else would do it.
"Oh, goodness no. I do not think I'm the one thou wantest for that job. No, I should think not. Maybe thou shouldst ask all of the townsfolk first. If none of them will do it, I might just think about it. Yes, that's right, thou shouldst just ask the others, then come back here to tell me who the poor soul is." He smiles at his own cleverness.
Alright then, let's ask around. The ghost bar is no help.
"Thou wantest me to... to jump in a well?" Her eyes widen with astonishment. "Well, thou canst go jump in a lake!" She crosses her arms on her buxom chest and turns away from you angrily.
You relate the need for a sacrifice to enter the Well of Souls. Afterwards, Markham seems to think long and hard. "So, yer wantin' me to go mad as a March hare, an' jump right into this... Well O' Souls?" He looks at you incredulously. "Listen now. I haven't had courage like that since I were a young lad. Since then I got some sense, too. You'll have to look elsewhere fer yer sacrifice."
You explain that you need a spirit to volunteer to freely enter the Well of Souls in order to bring about its destruction. Quenton considers for a while, and then responds, "Please understand, Avatar. I truly wish that I had that kind of Courage. But I cannot risk doing anything that might destroy Marney. Remember, her spirit is kept in that well, along with all of the dead of the graveyard. No, I am sorry. I cannot risk it." He looks very weary.
Trent and Rowena are, understandably, not too interested in separating after having just reunited.
"No, Avatar. She is my life. If thou takest her, thou takest mine heart." Trent holds on tightly to his wife.
"I cannot leave my lord like this. Surely thou canst understand, Avatar."
The couple continue staring into one another's eyes as if to make up for all of the years they lost.
Mordra has a decent excuse.
She smiles at first, then turns serious. "I have tied my spirit to powers beyond the realm of this mortal world. Were I to enter the Well of Souls, this entire island and a good bit of the mainland would be destroyed in a magical discharge. Wouldst thou lose the town of Skara Brae for all eternity?"
"Thou knowest full well that I cannot. If thou wouldst see mass destruction, thou shalt have to cause it thyself." She turns away quickly for a woman of her age.
"You have NO IDEA who you are dealing with, lady."
That leaves Caine.
"I am sorry, Avatar, but I must spend my eternity here in constant memory of those whom I have destroyed."
Figures. We've asked almost everyone. Who are we missing?
Just for a moment you think you see a fleeting expression of hope cross the Ferryman's skeletal features, then it's gone. "I must perform my duty... until the end of eternity. Do not taunt me... with hopes of release."
Forsythe did say to ask everyone. And now we have.
"I suppose I shall have to show them what true courage is!"
"I like how you're at least willing to actually go through with this after finding out the rest of town is more selfish and cowardly than you."
"I gotta do what I gotta do, you know?"
"Yes, blowing up may be the first thing you're actually good at."
Forsythe will follow you around now and sometimes exchanges words with other townsfolk in Skara Brae. You can't bring him (or Rowena) off the island via the Ferryman, but in theory you could I suppose take him on the carpet. His exchange with Mordra is particularly good:
"Well, hello, Mayor Forsythe. Thou has finally decided to assist in the salvation of our town." She gives him a pointed look.
"Look here, I wasn't the one who gave that fool recipe to Caine, now was I?"
"That fool recipe just got rid of Horance for us." Mistress Mordra speaks through clenched teeth.
"Hmmph. Thou hast taken thy sweet time, madam. And now I am off to jump in a well."
"Thou wilt regret that, Toad." Fire flares in the depths of her eyes and electricity crackles in her hair. She lifts her arms as if to cast some dreadful spell, but Forsythe whimpers and hides behind you. She sees the look on your face and slowly lowers her arms. The flames and lightning flicker, and die. "Forgive my behavior, Avatar. What was that about a well." You explain that Forsythe has volunteered to sacrifice himself for the spirits of the others. She looks him in the eyes. He brushes himself off and stands up straight. "I didst not think that thou had it in thee, Mayor. I am in thy debt."
"Yes, well. Thou art welcome, I guess." He looks as if his dignity has been somewhat replenished.
"I suppose thou hadst better get thee hence, then. Fare thee well, Forsythe. 'Tis not all that bad, roaming the ether. At least not once thou becomest accustomed to it." She turns to you. "Goodbye, Avatar. If thou art successful, I will not see thee again. May thy fortunes be good."
Forsythe's paperdoll is actually an Automaton from Serpent Isle, which has fewer ghosts but considerably more robots.
"Alright Silver Surfer, time to do whatever it is we're doing here."
He looks into the well, at the swirling pool of trapped souls and his newfound resolve seems to diminish. "Perhaps this was not such a good idea. Art thou sure that I must go through with this?"
"Look, you're going into that well willingly or I'm going to make your unlife so fucking hellish you'll wish you had."
"H-how would you do that?"
"By making you join my party."
His resolve firms once again."Yes, thou art quite right. No time for speeches. No time for a wavering will. No time for..." He sees that you're not buying his attempt to stall. "Well then, this is it." He moves toward the well. "I suppose I didn't make a very good Mayor in life." Forsythe's jowls droop. "Well, at least in death, I'll make a name for myself and do the job right." With that, he's gone. The souls of the well rush out of their confinement, leaving the blackened remains of the powerful artifact.
"Can you believe he actually did that?"
"I know, it's hilarious."
"Well, thanks for saving our asses yet again, Steve."
"It was my mild and mounting annoyance."
"Want another Firedoom Staff?"
"Sure, why not."
"I'm going to do what I can to make Skara Brae a grand place to live again."
"I'm not sure having a lich, even a friendly one, living nearby is going to encourage many people to come back here."
"Well, a man can dream."
As if I need more Firedoom Staves.
One thing remains to do: What we came here for.
"Thou hast freed us from the Liche. Thou art entitled to mine half of the bargain. So thou dost want to know the answers to the questions of life and death?"
"Sock it to me!"
The Tortured One looks hard at you. Then, smiling, he shakes his head. "I have no secrets, my foolish friend. Thou art a fool. There are -no- answers. Only questions." He looks as if he might cry out in pain. And then Caine turns away from you. "Go away now. Leave me to mine eternity."
"I knew it was either going to be something really profound or something really trite."
"Which one is it?"
"I'm not sure."
"Dare I ask what you're doing?"
"'If you want mass destruction, do it yourself!' Bitch bitch bitch. Fucking ghosts. I'm sick of this shit. 'Oh I'll help you save Britannia Avatar, but only if you can find my fork! Oh Avatar you're so manly, even though you're mostly a woman! Oh, you are so awesome!'"
"This town is screwed. There's only one solution to this shit."
"Two coins to cross..."
"Alright, let's go. Iolo, hand me Rudyom's Wand."
"Wait. Are you going t-"
"WHAT THE HELL, STEVE!?"
"There, now we can NEVER go back to Skara Brae. Nobody can go back to Skara Brae. Ever again."
Skara Brae's got a good little secret to be found. Here in the graveyard is a mausoleum in which Marney (heh heh) is entombed. The switch beside it opens up the mausoleum but there doesn't appear to be anything of interest inside.
That's because you're not flipping the correct switch. It's literally just a couple pixels under the arm of the statue on the left here. Note that when the statue is on it looks like the statue is doing something slightly obscene.
Inside the tiny cramped compartment is a dresser containing a lot of loot. One of each kind of ring, a full magic armor suit plus shield, a two-handed hammer, another Death Scythe, and the quest items needed to solve the Skara Brae sidequest. It's probably not harmful to go here before solving the quest, but you should leave the Soul Cage and potion alone. Just in case.