Ultima VII: Serpent Isle – Day 5

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Moonshade

Moonshade is my favourite city in the game by far. Its magic-based caste system is maybe not something I’d like to realistically live in, but it makes for an intriguing society to explore; there’s a sense of danger to a place ruled by a bunch of mages and their giant egos. Fawn may have been corrupted and all but it still felt vanilla and nicey-nice in comparison. Plus I like how every mage’s manor is unique and individual, rather than the more generic abodes in Monitor and Fawn.

While at the Blue Boar Inn, Rotoluncia’s automaton delivered a magical scroll from his mistress, who seems to be confusing gargoyles with Daemons and demands that you reveal the secret of controlling them. Meanwhile, in gratitude for persuading Hawk to take to the seas, Flindo arranged for us to meet MageLord. Who teleports you into the banquet hall at his pleasure – well sheesh good thing I wasn’t taking a bath at that exact moment! Rotoluncia tries to attack me and leaves in a huff, and because things happen in pairs in this game, the banquet is interrupted when Pothos the Apothecary comes in to confess that he wasn’t able to procure Blood Moss for Filbercio. Was it really that important that he needed to barge in during the feast?

Well, no point in letting all this fine food go to waste, including… a demon roast?

After getting the gossip on Pothos from Bucia, he admits to being Erstam’s son (who is the mother?) and trades the information on how to reach his father for some Blood Moss I collected in the swamps. But before I could set off for the Isle of Mad Mage, Dupre disappears into thin air and it’s pretty damn obvious who the kidnapper is. First time I tried to speak to Filbercio about it, an automaton interrupts to say that MageLord’s mistress Frigidazzi has arrived, and he immediately leaves, the selfish horny fool. After I fruitlessly searched Rotoluncia’s mansion, Filbercio gives me access to the love island where he and Rotoluncia had rekindled their youthful passion.

Why is there a torture chamber located below the cute honeymoon cottage and what on earth did Filbercio and Rotoluncia get up to there? This I think is answered somewhat when you go upstairs into the bedroom and there’s a whip lying on the floor. Despite supposedly being a powerful sorceress, Rotoluncia was super-easy to kill; she couldn’t even place a decent curse on me as she died.

After I freed Dupre I tried the Iron Maiden for fun – the game resurrects you into exactly the same spot, so no harm done.

I talked to Mortegro, who is less snooty than some of the Mages, and he performed a séance where Christopher the Trinsic blacksmith pops in to thank me for keeping an eye on his son and helping dismantle the Fellowship. It’s a neat callback.

Fedabiblio the Magister agreed to provide me with a spellbook in exchange for some fresh mandrake roots that only grow on the Monk Isle, so now there’s nothing else to do but travel to Erstam’s house of crazy.

Mad Mage Isle

The giant jolly turtle is the most fun mode of transport in the game and I’m always sorry it never re-appears again.

Erstam’s morbidly humorous mansion is always fun to visit, with its collection of animated limbs and chickens and Erstam’s highly dysfunctional relationships with his assistants, who end up scattered all over the place.

Though the weirdest thing in his house hands down is a bag on the first floor of the building, which has nothing but small rocks in it. Its sheer uselessness mystifies me.

Erstam is a surly fellow who wants nothing to do with you, until his current assistant Vasel makes a slip about the serpent jawbone, which Erstam then offers in exchange for helping him with his experiments of life and death. That involved being teleported to another island, where I resurrected a phoenix (as easy as flipping the switch) and received a precious phoenix egg in return.

Back at Erstam’s house, I restored Boydon, who joined my team to the displeasure of my companions, since he’s essentially a very smelly zombie. Erstam was over the moon with the result of the experiment, though I can’t see why; surely the most remarkable thing was preserving Boydon’s life after he was dismembered, not putting his physical body together? Whatever. Erstam gave me access to the jawbone and was kind enough to provide me with a few serpent teeth to get me off his island. It’s quite exciting to finally use the Serpent Gate. Next stop, Monk Isle.

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