The Let's Play Archive

Ultima VII: The Black Gate

by Nakar

Part 34: The Black Gate - It's A Good Thing You Got Those Answers When You Did, Alagner

It's A Good Thing You Got Those Answers When You Did, Alagner

"Alagner! Hey, Alagner! Pssssst!"
"You couldn't wait until morning, could you?"
"Hell, I don't know what time it is, I always cast Great Light."
"I haven't slept in a week, true story."
"I assume that your rush to interrupt me is because you have discovered the answers to the questions of life and death?"
"More or less. Apparently there are no answers."
The sage smiles. "Thou hast begun thy journey on the road to enlightenment. As thou hast heard, all is not what one has been taught by one's teachers. 'Tis a pity. Now I suppose thou dost want to borrow the notebook?"
"Wait, you already knew the answers?"
"Of course."
"You son of a bitch. Do you have any idea what I had to go through to learn nothing?"
"Oh come now, the world goes on."
"Not for Skara Brae."
"Very well. Dost thou promise to return my notebook?"
"Sure, sure."
"Very well. I am counting on thee to return it to me personally. No telling what misfortune may befall thee if thou dost fail to do so. And as further incentive, I just might give thee something else which will help thee in thy quest if thou dost return it to me safely. Here is the key to my storeroom, the first building to the south of here." He grins slyly. "Thou must determine how to find the notebook thyself!"
"I hope you die horribly."
"That's highly unlikely, unless you should inadvertantly sell me out to the Guardian by delivering the contents of my notebook to amoral information brokers who will allow that knowledge to filter to him."

Oh boy, another puzzle! This one involves Alagner's retardedly complex storehouse.

We want to get to that storeroom, but an invisible wall blocks the way. This happens an awful lot. There's an invisible wall along the right side of the house that leads directly to it, or you can go...

...into the west door and stand on the carpet, which teleports you to the other side of the invisible wall.

In here, flip the switch, pick the lock, and head into the switch room.

The bottom switch leads to the magic bow and a crate filled with Magic, Burst, and Lucky arrows, about 20-30 of each. The top switch leads to the teleporter.

The teleporter goes to the left hallway, which teleports you to this right hallway. Invisible walls extend from those statues to the wall, so you can't enter that door.

You need to teleport, or use telekinesis, to flip a switch on the left side of the room, which opens the center door. Then you need to go back to the center teleport room and avoid the teleporter. You can walk right through the north wall and into the next room.

The one time in the game where you're actually required to stack objects to access an area. There are lots of crates and barrels under the room, which can be stacked up on the table to reach the door.

Something like this, although the actual arrangement is much better. I eventually just hackmoved myself up there because Steve wouldn't stay on the boxes and the barrels kept clipping wrong.

Alagner's treasure vault contains some cash, a dozen or so of each reagent, a wand and one of every kind of potion, and his notebook.

"Oh snap. This is some juicy stuff. Well, let's go callously sell it to the wisps."

"The human entity is welcomed by 'Xorinia'. 'You' have brought the item 'notebook'. 'I' shall now absorb the information contained therein." The Wisp glows brightly for a few seconds. The notebook remains in your possession. "'I' have completed my absorption of the information. 'You' may now return the item 'notebook' to the entity 'Alagner'. And now for the exchange of information and delivery of a message."
"Go ahead."
"'Xorinia' must deliver a message to 'you'. The entity known as 'Time Lord' requests 'your' audience.
"The Time Lord?"

"Not that Time Lord."
"'Time Lord' is trapped at the plane known as the Shrine of Spirituality. 'You' can reach 'him' by using 'your' object 'Orb of the Moons' in the location directly to 'your' 'northwest'."
"I was wondering when this thing was actually going to be worth carrying around."
"Now for the information 'you' seek. 'This' dimension known as 'Britannia' is under attack by an entity called 'The Guardian'. 'The Guardian' lives in another dimension. 'Xorinia' sometimes trades information with this entity. Do 'you' want to know more about 'The Guardian'?"
"Uh, I guess so."
"'Xorinia' has digested information about 'The Guardian' and can state the following facts: 'The Guardian' possesses qualities which human entities label 'vain', 'greedy', 'egocentric', and 'malevolent'. 'The Guardian' thrives on power and domination. 'The Guardian' takes 'pleasure' from conquering other worlds. His sensory organs are now focused on 'this' dimension known as 'Britannia'. ...wait. 'I' apologize. 'These' traits refer to the entity known as 'The Avatar.'"
"'Xorinia' has just 'fucking burned' the entity known as 'The Avatar.'"
"High five!"
"'The Guardian' is attempting to enter 'this' dimension by means of an item human entities call a 'Moongate'. This 'Moongate' is not a 'red' color or 'blue' color 'Moongate', which 'Xorinia' knows is the standard form of this item. 'The Guardian' is building a 'Moongate' of the color 'black'. The 'Black Gate' will be fully functional when the phenomenon known as 'Astronomical Alignment' next occurs. Although 'Xorinia' does not normally seek to influence actions of other manifestations, 'Xorinia' warns 'you' that if 'The Guardian' enters 'this' dimension, it will be the end of the dimension known as 'Britannia'. 'The Guardian' is powerful in 'his' own dimension. In 'your' dimension, 'he' will be unstoppable. The Undrian Council sincerely hopes this information is useful. Transaction complete."
"You ever wonder who we sold that information to?"
"Who cares? They're in another dimension! What are they gonna do, call Hook on the dimension phone?"

And so we use the Orb of the Moons as indicated to travel to the Shrine of Spirituality. Except Exult won't let me do it, because it keeps crashing. So I have to use the F3 cheat to teleport there instead. Exuuuuuuult!

You see a vaguely familiar but intimidating figure enclosed in some kind of cylindrical cell. He looks at you intently.
"Ah, Steve. Feeling better? No, wait, don't tell me. No time. We've got an invasion on our hands."
"Well I'll be."
"Yeah, I wasn't expecting that."
"I was, but I was kind of expecting McCoy."
"McCoy? What the hell is wrong with you?"
"Jelly baby?"
"Sorry, I have a rule."
"No candy from strangers?"
"Never eat British food. Who are you anyway?"
"I am the Time Lord. I walk in eternity."
"I thought you were the Doctor."
"If that works for you."
"Is this the TARDIS?"
"It looks like the Shrine of Spirituality."
"Clearly, he has disguised the TARDIS as the Shrine."
"I was under the impression that his TARDIS lacked that ability."
"Can we argue continuity later?"
"Were you the one who sent the red moongate?"
"I suppose so."
"Was it supposed to send me to Trinsic?"
"Well you know, this old machine has its tricks. You did at least make it to roughly the correct century."
"You landed me next to Iolo. Of all the places in the universe, you had to land me three feet from Iolo."
"Perhaps we should get to the point, which is that there is a very powerful and malicious being coming to this dimension, and in addition to the Avatar we've the Guardian to deal with."
"Oh ha ha."
"Something's interfering with time, Steve. And time is my business. The Guardian has set a trap, a wrinkle in space-time, in the form of a powerful generator that has been interfering with your moongates as well as certain other difficult modes of transportation."
"It seems somewhat unlikely that you'd fall for a space-time trap."
"I will if the writers decide I will, and this one is something. Even the sonic screwdriver isn't much help."
"If I help you can I have the sonic screwdriver?"
"Look, there's a device shaped like a sphere in Dungeon Despise. Do you suppose you can handle that, at least?"

"We've been there already, it won't let me through."
"Really. I suppose you'll need Nicodemus's hourglass then."
"How does that help us?"
"Figuring out where you are in time tends to give you a tighter head on your shoulders, Avatar. Getting you mixed up is just the first step in shuffling you around. The hourglass will anchor you, apparently."
"I'm not entirely sure, of course, but fortunately you'll be the one trying to prove me wrong. Off you go."

In case, like me, you're stuck unable to reach the Time Lord the normal way, he's inside a mountain on the Isle of the Avatar.

Nicodemus lives south of Empath Abbey. Like in Ultima VI, his house is magically locked. Unlike in Ultima VI, there are plenty of mages who sell Unlock Magic so it's not as big a deal.

Your old friend Nicodemus has a far away look in his eyes.
"Hello again, Avatar," says Nicodemus. "Thou art addressing Nicodemus."
"Nice to see you back to your senses, though I never actually met you when you were crazy."
"It seems that the disturbance in the ether has been repaired! I can also sell thee some reagents or spells. The mages of the world are indebted to thee, after all."
"I wanted to speak with you about the Time Lord."

"Yes, that one, apparently."
"I have not spoken to the Time Lord in months! How is the old codger? Give him my regards. Tell him I miss our Knight's Bridge games!"
"He said I needed your hourglass to... do something to space-time that may or may not be bad."
"Mine old hourglass! Of course I remember it! I believe I sold it to an antique dealer in Paws. I might be able to re-enchant it if thou wouldst bring it to me."

You see an old woman who gives you a smile of grandmotherly sweetness. You can see immediately that her vision is poor.
"Hello there!"
"Uh, hey. Is the owner in?"
"Why, I run the House of Items here in Paws! My name is Beverlea, dear."
"What, this place?"
"Yes indeed. It is a shop that sells antiques and previously used items. Running this shop allows me to remain youthful and active. It is heartening to sell things to the poor people of this town that they might not otherwise be able to afford. Here in Paws the people have very little money, but it matters not, because they care for each other."
"There actually was something I wanted to buy, if you're available."
"There are many rare and fine things to be bought here in my shop. Bargains to be had nowhere else in all of Britannia. Let me see... There is a cradle for sale. A rocking horse. A bell. An hourglass. A spittoon. A lute. A sextant... Since I am moving a bit more slowly these days, I let my customers help themselves and take what they have bought. Providing they pay me first, of course. I do trust folks to pay me the correct amount. I am nearly blind, I am afraid."
"This is starting to sound familiar."
"Hey, hey, I stopped doing that kinda stuff. Plus we have like 12,000 gold. How much for the hourglass, ma'am?"
"I also have an antique hourglass. It was sold to me by this old man who was so daft that he could not recall how to use it! I will sell it to thee for five gold pieces. Dost thou wish to buy it?"
"Sure thing, there you go."
"I thank thee. Thou mayest take thy glass."
"You see? Your conscience is worth five gold."
"What the hell is a conscience?"
"It's a little voice in your head that tells you to do things."
"The Guardian?"
"No, he means a voice of reason and understanding."
"Sigmund Freud?"

"I would be most happy to enchant the hourglass. After freeing the ether, I am most indebted to thee. Let me see it..." Nicodemus takes the hourglass and studies it a moment. He sets it on a table and closes his eyes, concentrating. He intones a few words, throws some reagents into the air, and passes his hand over the artifact. "That should do it." He hands the hourglass back to you.

Sweet! Now we just have to destroy the Sphere Generator.

With the hourglass, we can just walk right through the moongate. It's kind of an anti-climax compared to the Tetrahedron or Cube, assuming you actually do the Cube properly, which I did not.

Though everyone can come, only the Avatar actually appears inside the generator.

"You didn't mention there'd be a puzzle."
"Deactivating a generator loop without the correct key is like repairing a watch with a hammer and chisel; one false move and you'll never know the time again."
"Nevermind. Just try Red, Red, Blue, Blue, Red."
"Step off, herr Baker, this is Sigmund's haus."

"That wasn't so bad, I guess."
"Nobody died this time, anyway."
"There's a small sphere here, Steve!"
"Oh good, another for my collection. Hey, the hourglass is talking!"
"You destroyed the sphere, that's kind of you. Unfortunately, it seems this Red Guardian of yours - I have enough trouble with two of them to be honest - has set up a little failsafe."
"Is that bad?"
"Well, it does seem that the moongates and your orb of the moons will no longer function, unfortunately."
"Eh, it's not like I used them anyway."
"It does make getting home a bit tricky, doesn't it? You'd have to use the Guardian's little Black Gate if you had any hope of leaving Britannia."
"Well, we'll jump off that bridge when we come to it."
"You should know there's one generator left to be destroyed. It's in the shape of a cube and-"
"Actually, we already destroyed that one."
"Did you?"
"We did."
"I was to tell you that you needed helmets made out of a rare mineral called Caddelite in order to bypass the defenses, but with that out of the way I suppose we can just move along. Well then, to Buccaneer's Den, would you? I have things to do. Give me a call on the hourglass sometime."
"That was, to be quite honest, the least likely thing to have ever happened in our adventures."
"Yeah... yeah. I guess we should go give Alagner his notebook back."
"Oh yeah, Alagner!"

"...oh, yeah... Alagner."
"Thank you for the information in that notebook, Avatar! It was most interesting! Ha ha ha ha ha!"
"Wait, I was selling the contents of the notebook to you?"
"Who else do you think would have wanted to know?"
"I don't know, extradimensional entities who aren't complete dicks?"
"Foolish Avatar. All extradimensional entities are complete dicks!"
"So I guess this means we don't have to give the notebook back?"

I guess not.

"Steve, I have an idea."
"Nobody cares about your ideas."
"I have an idea! Do you think Alagner's crystal ball recorded what he was doing yesterday?"
"I don't know, 'decomposing?'"
"The boy means it might be a clue!"
"A clue? We already know Hook murdered him. Look, I'll take a look, but it's just going to prove what we've figured out already."

"To be asking where the money is, Lebowski!"

Since I destroyed the Tetrahedron before moving further with the story, Nicodemus never appeared until the ether was fixed. Since you might be somewhat interested in his "crazy" conversation tree, here it is.

Your old friend Nicodemus has a far away look in his eyes.
"Who art thou?" Nicodemus asks. "Oh, I remember. Remember demember! Ha ha ha!"
NAME: "That is a very good question. Some days I can actually remember. Let's see... today... Yes! I am Nicodemus! Nicodomus! Nicodimus! Nico-nico-kukodamus! Ha ha ha!"
JOB: "To go absolutely mad! For that is indeed what is happening! My magic no longer works! Every time I attempt to change something into a drake, it only becomes a newt! Oh, newty-wewty scooty-booty!" He speaks to an imaginary creature beside him. "Who asked thee? Away with thee!" He turns to you. "Sorry. That bloody newt keeps trying to undermine my conversation. Anyway... I suppose I can sell thee some reagents, potions, or spells. I must make a living somecow. I mean somehow! That was Some Cow! Ha ha ha!"
MAGIC: "Magic? What magic!? All the magic in the world has gone completely topsy-turvy! Oh, blurpsy-flurpsy! Ha ha ha! Those are silly words, are they not? 'Tis a pity they are not magical! Ha ha ha!"
POTIONS: "Potions? What makes thee think I have potions? Art thou sure thou dost not want Lotions? I certainly have lotions! Otions, slotions, motions, votions! Ha ha ha! Wait! Oh, yes! I do have potions! I told thee so, didn't I! Let us see... I have this black potion here. I am not sure what it does exactly, but I am quite sure it turns one invisible.
TIME LORD: "Timey Limey Lord? Hmmm. I don't know him. Wait! Yes I do. Does he have a big black mustache and three pairs of pants? No! I know who he is. He's the fellow who came to fix my sundial the other day, right?
(if yes) "I thought so! Tell him that bloody thing still doesn't work! It gives me three shadows! Dadows badows whoopeee! Ha ha ha!"
(if no) "He's not? Hmmm. Then he must be the man I am not thinking of!"
"Wait! I remember! He is my Knight's Bridge opponent! We play on my Knight's Bridge court just north of mine house."
HOURGLASS: "This Time Lord told thee what? An hourglass! I have no blinking hourglass! Glassy wassy hoursplassy! Ha ha ha! Wait! An enchanted hourglass? That does ring a bell. Clang Clang Clang! Ha ha ha! Wait! I remember. I had an hourglass. I sold it. To a gypsy. Or was it an antique dealer? I think I might have sold it to a gypsy antique dealer in Britain. Or Paws. Somewhere on that side of the land. But if my memory serves me correctly, that hourglass used up its enchantment, which is why I sold it. I suppose if the ether is repaired, I could possibly re-enchant it. Bring it to me and we'll see what we can do. I know! We can play a rousing game of chess! But only if I can deal at all times. I do not trust thee."
(if you have it already) "What's this? An hourglass of some kind? Wait! It looks vaguely familiar! Thief!! This is mine hourglass! I have been looking for it for years! Where didst thou get it, scoundrel? I shall turn thee into a duck!"Nicodemus intones some spell and points at you, but nothing happens."Zounds! Thou art no more a quacker than I am. Nothing works anymore. Quacker slacker wacker flacker! Ha ha ha!"
ENCHANT: "Enchant? Thou dost want me to enchant this wretched thing? Thou must have the brain of a toad! Toady woady bloady coady! Ha ha ha!"Do me a favor, Mister Avatar. Repair the blinking ether, wilt thou? Do that and I can enchant thy glourblass. I mean floursass. I mean hourglass. Tell that to thy 'Time Lord'. Thou canst also tell him he needs a bath."
BYE: "Bye bye booby booby bye bye! Ha ha ha!"