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Talraen, August 7, 2009 2:43 PM (edited 8/7/09 10:43 AM)

Day 4: Finally, Some Answers

Mood: Ew
Tags: Travelogue, Ultima VII: The Black Gate
At first light we rose in Iolo's house, had a hearty breakfast, and began preparations for our journey through the Deep Forest. We did not know our exact destination, so our plan was to follow the natural forest paths as far east as we could. It was a treacherous journey. Not far into the forest, we came across an unholy shrine of some sort, protected by mongbats. We won a magic shield there, but our journey was far from over. Further along the path, we encounter a camp of bandits with mage support. We took his lightning wand, but it was during that battle that Iolo ran out of bolts, and has since been using a sling.

Eventually we did reach the home of the Emps, which it turns out are the Silverleaf trees from which that new Britannian delicacy is made. The Emp Trellek offered to join us to speak to the Wisps, but he needed permission from his wife, who in turn wanted permission from the eldest Emp. She directed us to stop Ben the logger from cutting down their trees, unexpectedly giving me a contract for him to sign. And so we left the Emps, though I must admit I had my doubts that we would have success with Ben.

We took another path on the return trip, and ran into far less trouble. We also stumbled across the Wisp fortress that Trellek mentioned, a mostly empty building filled with nothing but books. Surprisingly, Ben did not hesitate to promise not to cut any more Silverleaf trees, and so we set back out, contract signed and in hand. The Emp elder was pleased, but Trellek's wife was not, and refused to let him accompany us. However, she did suggest that he could make us a whistle to instead call the Wisps, which he did. Trellek also knew the story of Nastassia's father, who he told me died a hero to the Emps.

With Trellek's whistle, we returned to the Wisp fortress. A Wisp calling itself Xorinia answered, confirming that the Time Lord was looking to contact me. However, Wisps only trade in information, so Xorinia asked me to retrieve the notebook of a sage named Alagner, currently residing in New Magincia, in exchange for information on contacting the Time Lord. As New Magincia was on the way to Moonglow, our other potential destination, we decided to head there next.

None of us wanted to hike all the way back to Britain, so we once again risked the Orb of the Moons. I am sorry to say that this was the last time the device has worked for me. While in the area, I wanted to pay Nastassia a visit and deliver the news. She was overjoyed that her mother's soul could rest in peace, knowing her father was a noble man. We returned to Britain, exchanging some gold while there, and boarded the Golden Ankh to sail towards New Magincia.

The trip went without incident. New Magincia is, as ever, a rural town where little ever happens. There had recently been a shipwreck there, however, and three men from Buccaneer's Den were roaming around town. They had stolen a valuable locket from one of the residents, and were plotting to kidnap the water bearer, Constance, and sell her in Buccaneer's Den. I discovered their plot, and they attacked, but the party easily overpowered the trio. It pains me to see just how many Britannians have died at my hands in these few days.

We sought Alagner, who turned out to be a friendly sage who shared our suspicions of wrongdoing by the Fellowship - indeed, that was the subject of the notebook we asked to borrow. He agreed to lend it to us on the condition that we prove we are true knowledge seekers. To do this, we would need to find the answers to the questions of Life and Death. He told us they were known by one called "The Tortured One" in the fallen city of Skara Brae, but in order to speak to the ghosts there, I would need the Seance spell. As I had not yet learned this spell, we decided to continue on to Moonglow, which is after all the city of mages.

We docked in Moonglow in mid-afternoon. I have always had a fondness for the town, and it has grown quite large and around the Lycaeum. We spoke with the residents, Iolo training with their light weapons trainer and I with a scholar in the Lycaeum, and we dealt with quite a few local problems. There were a few events of particular note, however.

First, a very strange incident occurred at the Fellowship Hall, resulting in yet another death, though not at my hands. The Fellowship clerk told me that she had overheard the new branch leader expressing doubts to a member. I asked him about this, and he assured me that it was nothing. However, he was also reminded that he forgot to deliver a vial of liqueur to the clerk, and asked me to do it for him. I did so, and upon inhaling the fumes of the vial, she immediately died! The branch leader, Rankin, professed innocence, insisting that he did not know what was in the vial, and I had no proof that he had murdered the clerk. Nonetheless, the whole situation was quite strange. Why would a Fellowship doubter kill his clerk? Simple paranoia, perhaps? Whatever the truth, I don't think it is related to the murders I have witnessed. I must keep an eye on this Rankin in the future. He did let me know that Elizabeth and Abraham had left for Terfin, though.

Taking the gypsy's fortune to heart, I made my way to the observatory. Brion, who runs the place, told me of a model he had constructed of the Britannian solar system, which would show how near the planetary alignment was. He offered to make me a portable viewer if I could find him a crystal, which I was able to buy off a traveler in the pub. This device will serve as a reminder of how much time I have left to fulfill my quest - whatever it truly is. While the alignment is certainly close, it looks like I have some time, and all indications are that I will need it.

I met my old friend Mariah at the Lycaeum, and seeing her lose her sanity pained me greatly. She did teach me the Seance spell, as well as the Mark and Recall spells that will make travel quite a bit easier in the future. I learned little else, as our haul from the Valorian Isles is finally running low, and I thought it best to save some gold for various expenses. You never know when the head of an observatory will ask you to buy crystals from strangers in a pub!

The head of the Lycaeum, Brion's twin brother Nelson, told me about Penumbra, a mage I remembered from my previous quest in Britannia. She had locked herself away and gone to sleep for 200 years, saying that only I could wake her up, and she had left some sort of puzzle at her door. It turned out to be an ever-changing plaque that suggested various items, such as a hammer, a ring, a spool of thread, and a gold piece. I had to borrow a number of these items to solve the puzzle, as I don't generally carry all those things with me (except the gold piece, whenever possible).

I woke Penumbra with a spell, and she immediately began crying out in pain. She was suffering from the distorted ether, and pleaded for me to do something about it. She asked me to retrieve some blackrock to protect her, and so I took out my Orb of the Moons to head to Cove and take some of Rudyom's stockpile. Unexpectedly, the Moongate rejected me, injuring me in the process. I tried again, with the same result. I can no longer trust the Orb of the Moons.

Instead, we sailed as quickly as we could for Britain. I made a side trip to the Royal Museum to grab the virtue stones that were required for the Mark and Recall spells to operate, then we ran to Cove. We got back as soon as we could, but Penumbra had been suffering for several hours, and it was past midnight before we were able to return with the blackrock. The trip was well worth the effort, however, because Penumbra shed some light on the problems with the ether. Magic was not dying a natural death - she saw some sort of tetrahedron-shaped object interfering with the ether, and surmised that it was nearby, perhaps on Dagger Isle to the north. However, to get near it, I would need an Ethereal Ring, which she told me was last in the possession of my old friend Draxinusom, king of the gargoyles. It seemed Terfin was my new destination. Alagner's notebook was important, but I could not pass up a chance to fix magic in the world.

Unfortunately, late as it was, and with no inn in Moonglow, we were forced to camp outside Penumbra's house. It's been a long time since I slept outside, and I like it no more now than I ever have. Tomorrow we sail for Terfin, and begin the quest to restore magic to its rightful state in Britannia.
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