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Talraen, August 4, 2009 9:49 PM (edited 8/4/09 5:49 PM)

Day 2: What are the Fellowship's True Intentions?

Mood: Hungry
Tags: Travelogue, Ultima VII: The Black Gate
My second day in Britannia was, unbelievably, longer than the first. We woke up bright and early, too early in fact to shop or sell off our treasures from the cyclops cave near Cove, and boarded our carriage to head to Minoc. The trip was long, requiring us to pass through the Bog of Desolation, but relatively uneventful. We did stop at the northern shores of Lock Lake where we managed to find Mack's shed key, which I returned to him on our return trip.

All was not well in Minoc. We first saw the gypsy wagon outside of town, but before I could have my fortune told we noticed a gathering group at the nearby sawmill. Two more murders had occurred that night, very similar to Christopher's. The victims this time were a gypsy couple, relatives of the gypsies still living near town. While there was no apparent motive for the murders, my investigations once more make me believe the Fellowship was involved here. The gypsies were no friends of the Fellowship, though their son was the lone gypsy Fellowship member in town. I don't know why they would have killed the two, but the evidence that it was them is overwhelming.

We tracked Elizabeth and Abraham across Britannia and back during the day, but they never seem to stop anywhere for very long, and travel by ship is faster than by land. Rutherford, the tavernkeeper in Minoc, confirmed that the Crown Jewel had been in town but left overnight, and the shipwright Owen told me that they were headed for Paws. Some coincidence, then, that the Fellowship branch leader told me Elizabeth and Abraham had already come and gone, headed for Paws. Rutherford also knew the name of the man with the hook - anticlimactically, he is known as Hook. I always thought pirates came up with more interesting names than that. In any case, it seems very likely that Hook is traveling with Elizabeth and Abraham on the Crown Jewel. I just hope I can catch them before more gruesome murders are committed.

Aside from the murders, Minoc had its own share of problems. The shipwright Owen, who believed himself something of a legend, was having a monument erected in his honor (backed, naturally, by the Fellowship). The local Artist's Guild was very much against the idea, fearing that an increase in shipbuilding would make it impossible for them to operate. I use the past tense because the monument has been cancelled, though not without tragedy.

We were actually aiming to leave town, but we saw a path nearby and decided to see who lived there. There was a bitter, angry man by the name of Karl, who told us that Owen was far from a legend, and that several of his ships had already sank. Karl had stolen some of Owen's plans, and asked us to show them to my old friend Julia. She confirmed that the plans were unsound, and the mayor cancelled the project. Sadly, when I gave Owen the news, he plunged a dagger into his own heart in an attempt to solidify his legend one way or another. He may have been a poor shipwright, but he didn't seem like a bad man, just full of himself.

I had, of course, come to Minoc for two reasons, the other being to have my fortune told. As in the past, I was not disappointed with the results. The gypsy Margareta told me a great many things that have shed some light on why I have returned to Britannia. She first told me that I would have to join the Fellowship in order to learn more about them. I cannot see why that would be, but I have long since learned to trust these fortunes. I hesitate to join just yet, but I will consider it if there should be a reason to. She also told me that there was a "new evil" threatening Britannia, one which was affecting the magical ether, and which would gain much power soon due to an astrological event. I am to find a man at the observatory in Moonglow to learn more of this event. I have to wonder what the Fellowship and this Guardian character have to do with this prophecy.

Finally, Margareta told me something that came as quite a shock - I needed to speak to the Time Lord, a being I have not been in contact with since before I attained the title of Avatar. In order to do so, I would need to contact the Wisps of Yew, and the monks of Empath Abbey could tell me how. I had already planned to visit Yew to investigate the disappearance of Nastassia's father, so it seems that I must travel there sooner rather than later. Indeed, I plan to do so after I have finished with my current errand in Jhelom tomorrow.

We had originally planned to travel to Yew immediately, but the northern route through the Deep Forest is highly dangerous, and the safer route passed through Britain anyway, so we made way for Paws. Our quarry remained one step ahead of us, however, already having left for Jhelom.

We stayed in Paws for some time, and I must admit, the plight of the poor town tugged at my heart strings. Once a prosperous farming village, a seven-year drought has dragged the town to its knees. The Fellowship have a shelter there, but refuse to feed those who would not join their ranks. Indeed, the son of the shelter's proprietors had stolen a vial of silver serpent venom from the local slaughterhouse and framed another boy in an attempt to force his mother to join the Fellowship. I was able to discover the truth and put the case to rest, but Feridwyn and Brita, who run the shelter, hardly seem to see their son for what he is. The woman in question, a widow named Camille, is one of the few people I've met who still follows the Eight Virtues, for which I was very thankful.

Before leaving, we purchased a sextant from a nearly-blind shopkeeper, as it would be useful for our upcoming travels and she offered quite a good price. We also found a pair of magic gauntlets under some debris on the shore of the local river, which had been discarded there who knows how long ago.

But now we had a problem. We did not have the money to purchase a ship, and the ship Lord British had provided was docked all the way in Vesper. It was tempting not to follow Elizabeth and Abraham to Jhelom, but my companions had heard that my old friend Dupre was there, and I very much wanted to see him. I decided, therefore, to risk using the Orb of the Moons Lord British had lent me. We haven't had any problems with it yet, but I do wish to use it sparingly, so as not to risk the lives of my companions.

We arrived in the Valorian Isles and decided to check out a cavern with an entrance near the Moongate. There was a fountain in the cavern, and many foul beasts, but not much in the way of money or treasure, both of which we are in need of. After leaving the cave on the other side of the hills, we made our way north to the town.

The first building we saw was the local pub, and naturally, that is where we found Dupre. He was happy to join our quest, and I am happy to have him along. He had been knighted since I saw him last, but as a paladin of some renown, I would want him at my side regardless.

Jhelom is a small town dedicated mostly to duelling these days. Indeed, not long before we arrived, the feeble innkeeper Sprellic had been challenged to not one but three duels to the death with students of the local training hall, the Library of Scars. These duels are scheduled to take place tomorrow at noon, and we will be sailing there in the morning - for I agreed to be Sprellic's champion. I have no intention of fighting the duels - I have met my would-be opponents and they seem like good people - but I do have a plan to defuse the whole situation.

The duels were brought about because Sprellic unknowingly stole the honor flag of the Library of Scars while trying to keep one of his patrons warm in bed. (The full story is beyond ridiculous, and I wonder for Sprellic's intelligence, but that is another issue.) When the students of the school demanded the flag back, Sprellic could not comply, for his patron had run off with it. Fortunately the local armourer is quite handy with a needle and thread, and offered to make a duplicate flag, which I am planning to pick up in the morning and offer to the students. If the ruse fails, I will have to fight, but I pray it does not come to that.

There were still a few hours in the day, and the Mayor of Jhelom told us that Elizabeth and Abraham had returned to Britain, so I once again used my Orb of the Moons to follow them. Batlin told us they were headed for Vesper, which worked out quite well for us, since even if we failed once again to catch up with them, we could at least pick up our ship, and use it to sail back to Jhelom for the duels. Indeed that's exactly what happened - at nightfall we sailed for Trinsic (since there is no inn in Vesper), and I write this journal from our room in the Honorable Hound.

But I found Vesper itself quite disturbing. I had heard that it was the most integrated town in the land between humans and gargoyles, but I would hardly call it "integrated" at all. True, the populations of both races are similar in size, but each has their own side of town, and few dare cross over. The gargoyles live there mainly because of the local mines, but only one still works them! Two former miners attacked us as soon as I told them who we were. Most of the gargoyles seemed perfectly friendly to me, though, and if I didn't know better I'd say it was the humans causing the majority of the racial tension. Two women handed me 'send the gargoyles back' scrolls, and the Gilded Lizard pub was filled with anti-gargoyle talk. It is quite a sad situation.

As I mentioned, we have already sailed from Vesper, but I would like to return and resolve a few issues. A nasty man named Blorn claims a gargoyle robbed him, but I find his story suspicious. And a human child named Catherine disappears each day around noon. Her parents fear that she is consorting with the gargoyles, but frankly if she is, she may be better off. Still, I would like to make sure that there is nothing untoward going on.

Tomorrow we sail for Jhelom, and then Yew. I have a mind to sail to the other Valorian Isles, as well. It would be nice to visit the Shrine of Valor - assuming it even still stands - and who knows what we might find on the unpopulated islands. But we cannot tarry too long until we know what we're up against. Elizabeth and Abraham have gone on to Moonglow, which may well be our destination after we are done in Yew. We shall see.
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