|Let's just say things were heating up and leave it at that.|
There was one last thing I'd been directed to Cove to find, though, and after a little poking around I found the Candle of Love in a little alcove off of the shrine they had there. The shrine's Ankh also gave me a handy checklist of what I'd need to enter the chamber of the codex when I finally made my way to the bottom of the Abyss. I'd need to be an eight-part avatar, have the key of three parts, and know the word of passage and the one pure axiom. I only fulfilled one of those pieces, but I knew how to obtain two of the others, and I had much to consider in regards to the last. I considered myself well informed by this point.
|I wonder if he'll finally find his peace after I finish the quest...|
My next stop was Yew, as that was a quick jump through the moongate away, and Empath Abbey wasn't too far away from there. A brief discussion with the lord there confirmed that he knew one part of the word, and told it to me with the exhortation to seek out the other two parts, which I had every intent of doing. From there it was off to the Shrine of Compassion, and after three cycles of meditation there, I discovered that I had to light the Candle of Love third in order to open the way to the Abyss. I suspected the shrines of Valor and Honesty would tell me the first and second steps, so I boarded my ship and set sail, with a brief stop at Serpent's Hold to learn another part of the word of passage from Sentri and a little poking around the Cape of Heroes, where I found the wheel to the HMS Cape. From there I sailed to the Shrine of Valor, learning that I should ring the Bell of Courage as my first step at the entrance to the Abyss, then it was off to the Shrine of Honesty, which I actually found without getting lost for once, where I was told to read the Book of Truth after ringing the bell. Since the Lycaeum was close by, I stopped there to learn the last part of the Word of Passage, then headed over to the moongate to pick up the black stone. Three more to go, and the complete Word of Passage to boot! Progress was undoubtedly being made.
|The White Stone was here once.|
|A brief glimpse of what's to come, from the air.|
Only to plunge back into Hythloth and make a run of the altar rooms. I'd noticed that each dungeon connected to the altar room associated with the principles that formed the virtue that stood in contrast to each dungeon, and since Hythloth was Spirituality's opposite, that meant it connected to all three. And sure enough, after enough poking about in its depths, fighting off demons, and placing the proper stones in the right places, I pocketed first one third of the key, then a second, then finally the last. A few spells later, I was back in Castle British, who raised Mariah another level - and then told me I was ready for the Abyss.
And I paused a moment. Enlightenment in eight virtues. Tracking down the eight colored stones. Checking out the Book of Truth from the Lycaeum's library. Pulling up the Bell of Courage from the depths of the sea. Finding the Candle of Love in a small alcove. Scrounging about in the dark depths to find the three parts of the key. The Word of Passage. The wheel from the Cape. Even the very Skull of Mondain himself. Everything I needed was there, either in my hands or in my head. The knowledge I needed, the necessary items, and seven stalwart companions that had fought by my side against dragons, gazers, zorns, demons, balrons, reapers, the most terrifying creatures the depths could think to throw at us.
All that remained was the Stygian Abyss itself. And there, down in the very heart of the darkest pit in all of Britannia, lay the object of my quest. The Codex of Ultimate Wisdom.
Together, the eight of us would conquer it. And I would enter the chamber and finally view the codex itself.
The end of the journey was in sight.
|Ready for the final leg...|