Saturday, December 13, 2014

Ultima IV: The Path to Virtue

It's been a bit, thanks to holiday hubbub and an impending move, but there's been a little time for Ultima IV, so time to type up another chapter. Also hey, apparently my first post was around this time last year! Huzzah for me. Although at this pace I'm going to be at this for a very long time. Hopefully I can pick it up a bit once the dust settles after my move.

No need to be rude...
Anyway, after some deliberation with Iolo, we decided to head for Trinsic, taking Lord British's advice to stick to the towns early on, rather than go sailing in search of answers concerning Mondain's skull in Buccaneer's Den. We needed to build up some experience as far as fighting went, though, and since we'd both armed ourselves with fancy new slings from Britain's armory, we thought we'd walk, rather than take the moongate.

The journey went rather better than my doomed solo flight from Yew earlier. We made a pit-stop along our way at Paws, where we rested up a bit and poked around for some further clues. I stocked up on reagents, learned about a secret dungeon entrance hidden somewhere in Lord British's castle, and made a note to talk to Mentorian in a village by Lock Lake to learn about the gate travel spell, which would certainly come in handy. A lot of folks in Paws seemed like they were keeping secrets - Sir Simon and Lady Tessa both told me they were the keepers of what they could not say - but I suspect I'll have to learn more in my travels before I can get more out of the townsfolk of Paws.

After loading up on food, I continued on my way to Trinsic, chasing off the bands of orcs and rogues that pursued us on the journey. The city itself had much to offer - the money I'd accumulated from my fights meant I had enough to get Iolo a new bow, and I gave his sling to Dupre, who I'd asked to join my party. There was much to learn on the subject of honor, both of a life with and without it, and what was necessary to keep honor. I found the rune buried in the southwest corner of town on the advice of a scared child named Terrin, and with the mantra given to me by Winthrop, I thought I'd pay a visit to the shrine, which was just a short walk away through some marshes. And that made me glad I'd bought some reagents, as I had to cure a few poisonings as a result after the venture!

Worthiness precedes reward... wait...
I purchased some more bows after a few more fights, and a friendly fighter at the next counter over informed me that it might be worth my while to ask at the pub in Jhelom about sextants. I also learned from a rattling skeleton that the purple stone was to be used on two altars, and I'd need to obtain items from those altars. More threads to follow up on!

I walked back to Castle Britannia, again buying some reagents in Paws, then considered my next steps after conversing with Lord British. He'd confirmed the importance of the stones, that I should seek out eight from the land's dungeons, and to know their uses. As I spent some time donating blood, I considered the matter. I hadn't visited Jhelom yet and had a lead for information there, so that seemed like a pretty good bet. But the fastest way to get there would be by moongate, and to do that... well, the quickest method would be to go from Britain to Yew, and then use Yew's gate to drop by Jhelom. Which meant a visit to Yew would be necessary after all.

It was with trepidation that Dupre, Iolo and I entered the city deep in the forest, and nearly everyone I talked to expounded to me on the nature and value of justice, which only deepened the guilt I felt for Aric's past deeds here. It all came to a head when I was directed to talk to Talfourd about the rune, and he asked me a question: could I honestly claim to never have been guilty of any crime whatsoever?

I know I'd definitely appreciate a little understanding here.
I'd committed many within the boundaries of this very city. I told him the truth, and he sent me to do some time in a cell with the felons. And yet, there in the depths of my despair as I contemplated the nature of justice and how appropriate it was that I found myself here... there it was, right within the cell, the Rune of Justice. Perhaps there was hope for Aric yet.

So heartened, I left Yew behind to make my way to Jhelom, where I did indeed ask about sextants at the pub, and was informed that I could purchase them at guild shops - so long as I asked the proprietor in the right way. I made a note to do so at the earliest chance I got, one of those would certainly come in handy. While I managed to discover the mantra of valor, I couldn't find anything out about the rune just yet - I'd have to come back later. A ranger on his way to Yew expounded on the finer points of his native Skara Brae, so I made that my next destination.

Once there, I asked Shamino to join me, which he was happy to do. My typical rounds of the town gave me a lot of things to follow up on, and I pondered them while I bought a few more reagents. The rune of spirituality was hidden back in Castle Britannia, I was told, and it seemed I'd have to do a lot of clue hunting afterwards, too - there was a word of passage that I'd need at the last gate of the abyss, and I was told to talk to Zair the Wise about it, who I remembered meeting in Paws. The white stone was no longer in Hythloth, either, and apparently someone in the tavern back in Trinsic could point me the right way. And finally, I heard through the grapevine that those seeking nightshade should ask at the pub in Vesper about where it could be found.

Of all questions to be asked in Yew...
I considered all this as I made my way back to Castle Britannia, and after another chat with Lord British and finding the rune in his treasure chamber, I consulted with Hawkwind to see how I was doing along the path. And I must have been doing something right, as he told me I was ready for elevation in Justice, Honor, and Humility, and that I should meditate at those shrines for three cycles.

I called it a day there, but I think it left me with a pretty good plan for my next session - another journey to Trinsic to follow up on the white stone there, with a visit to Zair in Paws, then attain partial avatarhood in Honor and Justice. Then it'll be time to make my way to the ruins of Magincia to do the same in Humility.

The game begins to unfold, and there's still much more in store for me.

One step at a time.

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