Ultima VII: Serpent Isle – Day 13

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Isle of Crypts

I was already inside the temple when I remembered that this place was home to yet another annoying bottleneck in the game – you can’t progress any further unless you possess the blackrock Balance Serpent. It’s debatable whether a plaque referring to walking in Balance is enough of a clue. So I had to go back and retrieve the damn serpent from the hidden cave north of the Temple of Emotion.

Back on the Isle of Crypts, I fought a skeletal dragon and found the Chaos Serpent Eye, but when I got to the tomb of the Great Hierophant and tried summoning him for a chat, I realised that I had left the Serpent Staff in my room at Monitor’s inn, and you need at least one important personal item for the Summon Shade to work. So once again, I had to backtrack and come back with the staff.

Bandages and greyish complexion aside, the Great Hierophant looks pretty well-preserved for someone who’s been dead for centuries:

He tells me that I must find his remaining regalia, the Serpent Armour and Crown, and seek out Chaos Hierophant to find a way to restore the Chaos Serpent.

In the Gorlab Swamp, I found Lady Yelinda, or skinless woman as she’s described, and she certainly looks a fright. How did she not instantly get an infection walking around a putrid swamp and drop dead?

I returned the Comb of Beauty, which instantly restored Yelinda’s looks, as well as wiped out her memory it seems, since she’s no longer depressed about the destruction of her city and when you meet her again in Fawn she acts like all is peachy. I doubt it’s meant to portray her as vain and superficial, where nothing else matters as long as she’s pretty again. In gratitude, Yelinda gave me the key unlocking the secret chamber with the Serpent Armour inside the Royal Palace. Fawn had copped it much worse than Moonshade, and the only other person alive in the city is Ruggs, spared by Mad Iolo because of his disfigured face and the irony.

Since I was in the area, I also found the Serpent Crown in the hollow tree described in Hawk’s treasure map:

At the Temple of Tolerance, I talked to Sethys again, and he briefly joined the crew to lead me to the resting place of the Hierophant of Chaos, but just like unfortunate Mortegro, he didn’t make it far outside the temple, and crumbled to dust under the weight of centuries past. I collected the eye of the serpent from his body, and travelled to the Temple of Enthusiasm, where I summoned the spirit of the Chaos Hierophant. Who is a bit of a cranky jerk and a total Chaos supremacist.

He’s not too thrilled about Chaos being yoked to the Order again, but he reluctantly helps you out and tells of the way to reunite the Banes into the Serpent of Chaos.

Going back to Xenka I thought that now the time came to draw the straws and see which lucky person has to incinerate themselves, but no, instead she sent me to retrieve the last serpent tooth from the Gwani tribe. Who didn’t stick around long enough to die out naturally due to the Imbalance, instead Hazard the Trapper raids their village and kills everyone except for Yenani’s family.

Inside Trapper’s ice cave, Avatar brands him murderer, which Hazard protests as unfair (and to be honest it’s a tad hypocritical to call him a murderer when Avatar and his party are all clad in Gwani cloaks). Once Trapper is dead, you find the amulet with the serpent tooth, and the long-lost Glass Sword which is now totally useless since there are no serious foes left to fight.

At Monk Isle, Xenka finally told me that a fiery sacrifice of someone not contaminated by the Imbalance (i.e. an otherworlder) is required, and Avatar draws the short straw. Wouldn’t it be interesting if Avatar did actually die in Monitor and you kept playing as one of the companions instead?

But of course, Dupre had to be a hero and jump in instead… ahhh Dupre 😦

It’s a shame that the writing for the companions suffers in the post-Bane part of the game, especially when the first half took great care with their running commentary and reactions that helped flesh them out. Once you restore Iolo, Shamino and Dupre, they’re little more than automatons, and Dupre’s outburst about feeling remorse for his actions kinda comes out of nowhere. None of the other companions react to his death, or your impending sacrifice beforehand; I wanted an equivalent of everyone bawling their eyes out after Gandalf’s death in The Fellowship of the Ring dammit! Now that was proper grieving. But you do however get a beautiful, solemn requiem dedicated to Dupre, and I stuck around until the music finished.

Intro | Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8 | Day 9 | Day 10 | Day 11 | Day 12 | Day 13 | Day 14