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Talraen, August 10, 2009 2:19 PM (edited 8/10/09 10:19 AM)

Day 7: The Time Lord and the Sphere

Mood: Half awake
Tags: Travelogue, Ultima VII: The Black Gate
I cannot believe a week has passed since I returned to Britannia. I have learned much, and finally have a clear idea of what is at stake here. The Guardian aims to conquer Britannia, and I must stop him. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

We were in for a rude awakening, as we were not only in the woods (again), we had run out of food. I conjured some more, but no one was as full as they would have liked to be. We rode back to Britain and purchased a three-day supply of Mutton from the Farmer's Market. We left the carriage near one of the eastern farms, then Recalled back to the ship docked in Vesper. It was time to sail for New Magincia.

Alagner had, of course, already learned that there were no answers to the questions of Life and Death, and was satisfied by our answer that we were truly interested in seeking knowledge. He did not, however, hand over his notebook so easily. Instead he gave us the key to his large storehouse across the way from his laboratory, and told us we could go in and take the notebook. I knew from his smile that he was up to something, but we had no choice.

The storehouse was the most intimidating structure I had yet seen in Britannia. On the south side were six metal doors, four without handles. We opened both of the locked doors, but neither led anywhere of note. One led to a short hallway with no doors, while the other seemingly led to a door, but was barred with an invisible force we could not pass. We eventually realized that the entrance was none of these six doors, but rather an illusionary wall in the side of the building, which led to a third locked door.

It only became more devious from there. The building was filled with switches, magical Sleep Fields, and teleporter pads that led back and forth. It took some time, but we persevered and made it to the actual storeroom, but even that was a puzzle of sorts. The storeroom door sat on the second floor, above a table, but with no pathway leading to it. Cursing Alagner's sense of interior design, we stacked a number of crates on the table to use as a stairway to the door. Fortunately there were no further obstacles - the notebook was ours. It contained detailed notes on the Fellowship, the Guardian, and how the two interact. It theorized that most Fellowship members knew nothing of the Guardian, though his was the "voice" they strove to hear, but that most of the Fellowship leaders were likely privy to the full plan. While we didn't have all the answers just yet, it seemed clear that their intent was to bodily summon the Guardian to Britannia, where he would take over.

Wondering why the Wisps would be interested in such information, we sailed for Britain. I Marked the Stone of Humility near the castle, as Britain had become our unofficial home base, and we made for the western pass through Serpent's Spine to contact the Wisps. We allowed them to absorb the information in the notebook, and got two pieces of information in return. The first was about the Guardian, confirming that he was a powerful being from another dimension bent on conquering Britannia, and was being summoned through a "Black Gate" that would only be operational during the upcoming planetary alignment. More alarming was that he would be, in their words, "unstoppable" once summoned. The second piece of information was that the Time Lord was trapped in the Shrine of Spirituality, and that we could use the Orb of the Moons to find him.

I was hesitant to try the Orb after our last attempt, but we had no choice. I tossed the Orb, and we entered the red Moongate. This time we had no problems. The Time Lord was trapped in some sort of time field. He explained that he had only just regained enough power and control to open the Moongate to the Shrine of Spirituality, since the Guardian had trapped him with the same device that was making the Moongates unreliable - a "generator" like the Tetrahedron we had already destroyed, but this in the shape of a Sphere. He was not able to tell us anything new about the Guardian, but did promise to help us stop him, if we started by destroying the Sphere and freeing him. We agreed, and he sent us to the Dungeon Despise, not far from the Wisps' fortress.

We therefore Recalled back to Britain, and once again made for Serpent's Spine. This time, we followed the Lost River until we found the entrance to the Dungeon and - much to our surprise - a fully functional magic carpet. Rudyom had mentioned a lost carpet in the area, but I took it to be the ramblings of a mad mage. He had said we could use it if we found it, though he was under the mistaken impression that it didn't work. However, we had no use for it inside the dungeon, so we left it for the time being.

Despise was a large, dangerous labyrinth, but fortunately the Sphere was not hard to find. We found many dangers, including a monolith erupting flames in every direction, and a hallway that seemed endless if you went in the wrong direction. The area near the Sphere was filled with several varieties of magic field, no doubt side effects of the Sphere's power. The Sphere itself was protected by a red Moongate which we could not pass through. The Time Lord had warned us that it may have defenses, so we Marked the Stone of Compassion, then returned to the Shrine of Spirituality using the Orb of the Moons. The Time Lord told us that an hourglass enchanted by Nicodemus would not only allow us to bypass the Sphere's defenses, but would let us contact the Time Lord at any time.

We had been having success with the Orb of the Moons while traveling to the Shrine of Spirituality, so we decided to try it for a quick trip to Yew. Once again it worked without any problem. Nicodemus had bad news, however - while still mad, he had sold his hourglass to an antique dealer in Paws. Worse yet, it had lost its enchantment. It was no problem for us, though, so we Recalled to Britain and spoke to the antique dealer, obtaining the hourglass for quite a reasonable price. The return Moongate was not as smooth as the first - it took several tries before it remained stable enough to enter. I had hopes that destroying the Sphere would solve the problems with the Moongates, and make the Orb of the Moons our new best means of travel, but alas, it was not to be. That moongate would prove to be the last I would ever enter.

Nicodemus was happy to re-enchant the hourglass, as a thank you for solving the problems with the Ether, so we Recalled to the Sphere and entered it. As with the Tetrahedrom, only one of us was able to enter, so I did so. Inside was a Moongate puzzle, where the wrong choice may have sent me elsewhere or destroyed me completely. Fortunately it was a puzzle easily solved by the observant, and soon enough we had destroyed the second generator.

Unfortunately, this didn't have quite the effect we had intended. The Time Lord was now free, but moongates across Britannia had been destroyed - permanently. Even the Orb of the Moons was now useless, which meant I had no way to return home. I suppose its for the best that I have laid off the Earth pop culture references in this journal, for it will likely never be seen there.

Though losing the Moongates was a defeat, the Sphere had had to be destroyed. The Time Lord told us that the Fellowship had erected three generators as part of their plan to summon the Guardian, and our next target was the third, a Cube. However, it was hidden on the island of the Fellowship's Meditation Retreat, which we could not access without being members. While I suppose more violent means may have been used - and were perhaps even justified - it seemed prudent not to tip our hand just yet. I guess Margareta was right after all - it was time for me to join the Fellowship.

We therefore Recalled to Britain, where I spoke to Batlin about joining. He did not seem surprised by the request, either because he did not think I had an ulterior motive, or he simply thought me powerless to stop the Fellowship's plan, and offered to give me their membership test. The first test was a personality test, though I've taken enough personality tests in my time to know that there were only wrong answers to his carefully constructed questions. While he concluded that I was the sort of person who could really use the Fellowship, I could see no other possible conclusion regardless of my answers. His second test was to deliver a sealed box to Elynor, the Fellowship branch leader in Minoc. I was tempted to view the contents of the box, but it seemed highly unlikely that Batlin would put vital information in such an easily accessible box. Very likely they just wanted to test if I trusted them. Well, I had every intention of being a good little errand boy for as long as I had to.

We rode to Minoc and delivered the package, but by the time we returned the Fellowship meeting had begun, and Batlin was indisposed. Tomorrow, then, I will finish their tests, and return Alagner's notebook. The Cube is supposedly the source of the Guardian's "voice" that so many Fellowship members hear, so its destruction should loosen his hold on them considerably. Though he has spoken to me before I had even entered Britannia, so I have no illusions that the Cube's destruction will stop his plans. I fear we will need to confront the Fellowship more directly before all is said and done, but Alagner's belief that most Fellowship members were unaware of the Guardian does not make me feel any better about it. I have already been responsible for too much death in Britannia.
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