The monks’ strict daily routine, governed by the bell, makes tracking them down a tad annoying, and because they’re dressed exactly the same it means you have to click through a few of them to find the right person. I spent some time in the library reading the Ophidian books and Xenka’s fevered visions, as well as a curious memoir recalling the time when Blackthorn came to the monastery as an exile and spent some time on the island. Apparently the monks taught him wisdom and humility, too bad he returns as a one-dimensional moustache-twirling villain in Ascension.
I watched the brief vision of myself swapping bodies with Petra the automaton and talked to the few monks not bound by some vow or other, including the nameless monk who maybe likes his corn a bit too much:
I had to take a few naps before the Child of the Corn declared the salt tides to be favourable, and hurried to the swamp where I collected the fresh mandrake roots and found a key in the dead tree. I then explored the dungeon below and found a crypt with another viking helmet and some magic weapons.
Back in Moonshade, Fedabiblio bombarded me with more copy protection questions, which I was actually able to answer without looking on the internet, a fact I was proud of. My new shiny spellbook opened the doors previously closed and I was able to talk to the more reclusive mages. Frigidazzi the mistress of ice invited me into her private quarters at night… surely she can’t be harbouring some ulterior motive?
I visited Mortegro at his gothic mansion and during the second séance Iolo received devastating personal news:
Come midnight I rocked up to Frigidazzi’s; my companions bade an embarrassed farewell but her female goblin servant remained standing by the bed for the rest of the scene.
I let Frigidazzi seduce me because why not, and she performed the Dance of Passion which looked more like a strange interpretive dance… but nevermind, let’s just go with the flow. Can’t the goblin chick get out of the way already? People are having an intimate moment here!
Later, Filbercio shows up and nearly explodes with jealousy when he catches his mistress and Avatar together, so after a brief trial the Adepts found me guilty and I got thrown into the Dungeon Freedom.
Mountains of Freedom
This dungeon is quite entertaining and inventive, and I rather like the fact that they take everything but your spellbook and reagents away, so you have to rely on collecting armour, potions etc. all over again to survive. So that the prisoners don’t get bored, they put a couple of books into my cell, including Lord British’s Tyrannical Adventure, a hilarious bit of anti-LB propaganda:
I ran into Stefano the thief, another prisoner and former resident of Moonshade who got sent to Freedom by Filbercio after he lost Columna’s stockings MageLord intended to use for blackmail. He also mentioned Selina, who for some reason goes under three different names in the game: her sister Lydia refers to her as Selene and Stefano calls her Celennia and a certified bitch. For a thief, Stefano is pretty well equipped with a plate mail, which I immediately swapped with my crappy chain mail once he joined me.
While fighting some random guard, I finally met my old pal Arcadion, who asks me to release him from the Black Sword, which I did. Soon after you get to defeat a female warrior and find a dead baby inside her body… that’s dark.
The endlessly looping tunnel caused me much grief when I first played the game, I think eventually I gave up and looked up the walkthrough to solve it.
The big name around this place is a mage called Lorthondo, who nevertheless doesn’t get a portrait and who you never get to talk to. At one point he turns one of his minions into a skeletal dragon that attacks you, and later you come across the wackiest part of the dungeon, a sort of menagerie that includes a nightmare (who is still referred to as “he” even though it’s a “mare”) and a killer bunny called Buggs (heh)… who transforms into a woman when you feed it carrots. Makes total sense.
When I was about to win my freedom, Lorthondo blocked my way and tried to kill me – I’m not really sure why because what did I ever do to him? But, demonstrating an unexpected sense of decency, Arcadion appeared to express his gratitude for releasing him, and blasted the evil mage to smithereens.
Freeeeedoooom! The only downside is that now, after collecting a swag of useful items in the dungeon, my inventory needs some major reshuffling.