Back at the Empath Abbey, I finally found the monk in his study and got some tips on how to contact the Wisps through the Emps. This required a visit to the Bee Cave, where I met the tax-dodging nudist couple who pretend at first to speak in broken English. Spark may be an annoying little shit, but he’s worth having around just for the priceless reactions as he’s introduced to the R-rated themes:
To avoid the angry beepocalypse, I cast Recall on the previously prepared Virtue stone. So long, and thanks for the honey, suckers!
Then I found the Emps in their Silverleaf tree grove, who naturally asked me a favour for the favour. Ben the lodger was surprisingly understanding about the whole Silverleaf tree thing, considering it would hurt his income to stop cutting them. Emps are pretty cute, but the little critters are a pain in the ass to locate in between the trees and shrubs; I’ve spent ages looking for Trellek’s wife so she could tip me off about the whistle that makes it possible to talk to the Wisps. The Wisps, or, in their own words, manifestations from the Xorinite dimension, also want you to rub their metaphorical back before they do yours, and sent me to retrieve a notebook from Alagner in New Magincia.
Before continuing with the main quest, I went back to Britain and fessed up to Batlin that my courier stint didn’t quite go as he intended, so he sent me to the “completely deserted” dungeon of Destard to retrieve some Fellowship funds (and die). But first things first, I went to Cove and brought news of her father’s heroic death to Nastassia, who promptly volunteered to be my partner for life. Avatar might want to explain to her about the whole not-aging dilemma and maybe show her the first Highlander film.
My favourite things in Destard are Lasher the unicorn, a.k.a. the foolproof virgin detector, and a poor naive young man who wants to prove his virginity so that he can marry Ophelia the bitchy barmaid in Jhelom. He’s accompanied by a warrior and a gargoyle, who are totally Just Very Good Friends.
Contrary to Batlin’s assurances, the dungeon was full of invisible caltrops which are annoying as hell, and dragons. Who, depending on your view, are either vicious fire-breathing monsters, or intelligent and rare species rightly pissed off at the jerks invading their caverns. Greed won, so I fed them sleeping potions and slaughtered them for their gems. I had to replay this part a few times because my companions kept on dying – mostly from stepping on the caltrops rather than dragons.
The dungeon was also full of gold nuggets, bars and jewels, so much so I had a problem of too much money, easily solved later by buying some expensive spells, including Armageddon spell that’s just casually on offer with no warnings. I got even richer after raiding the treasure chest south of Trinsic, which I knew nothing about until someone in the Ultima group mentioned it. Amazing, I’ve been playing this game for over 20 years and there’s still new stuff to discover. I had to abandon the fire sword though; I can put up with the vibrating sound effects from the Hoe of Destruction but the crackling just gets on my nerves.
On the way back, I solved the stolen venom subplot in Paws, then in the evening I got to join the Fellowship, to my companions’ dismay. Just for fun, I deliberately answered Batlin’s copy protection questions wrong, so that everyone around me says Oink and talks complete rubbish when you try to start a conversation. It’s quite entertaining.
To annoy my companions even further, I thought I’d do something I’ve never done when playing TBG, and attend every Fellowship meeting possible, starting with Trinsic. Friends were not impressed.