Isle of Fire
I had left the carpet near Nicodemus’ house, and when I took off for my flight to the Isle of Fire, he rudely came along for the ride as he often does. I dropped him off in the small valley on the Dagger Isle. Have a nice swim home!
Once I landed on the Isle of Fire, I talked to Erethian the mage and spotted a typo!
I also chatted to Arcadion, my future acquaintance in Pagan, who is trapped in the mirror and is pretty fed up with servitude after over 200 years with Erethian. And oh look here’s another typo. Who proofread this add-on?
Then it was onto the tests of Love, Truth and Courage.
Test of Love
I helped Bollux the golem restore his brother Adjhar, who got smashed to pieces. As always, it took a few tries to figure out how to milk the blood from the Stone of Castambre; at first I hit the tree directly with no result, then I realised you need to double-click on the pick and then on the tree, then it became clear that the bucket needs to stand directly under the tree to get filled. I’m guessing Bollux and Adjhar are a reference to Pollux and Castor from the ancient Greek myths? It’s pretty touching when Bollux sacrifices himself to give his brother his own heart.
Test of Truth
I started to explore the dungeon when I thought to myself, hmmm strange I can’t recall seeing any of these places from my previous playthroughs. I then remembered that the real Talisman of Truth is hidden close to the entrance and there’s an invisible passage hidden behind a wall.
Test of Courage
Well shit! After the sedate first two tests, I got a shock to the system as soon as I stepped into the third test dungeon. You see some mage sacrifice a baby on the altar and then you get attacked by a liche and a bunch of skeletons. Nice welcome.
After solving a few puzzles, I made it into the central chamber where I was greeted by Dracothraxus, the immortal dragon who guards the Talisman of Courage. When my companions and I fought and killed her, she was impressed with our pluck and presented me with the Ether Gem, which I used to break the mirror and free Arcadion. His triumph was short-lived, as he realised that he only traded the mirror for the portable prison, so it was back to daemonic sulking.
With Erethian’s help, I had a go at smithery and finished off the blade for the Black Sword. It’s one of the most fun things to do in Ultima.
Once Arcadion’s gem melded with the blade, I took my new Black Sword back to the dragon, who, all in all, seemed pretty happy to be released from her mortal coil. Now that my stats are all boosted after completing the tests, I could go around Britannia humiliating all trainers who’d go, sorry man you’re too good for us and we can’t teach you anything.
To summon the Infinity Talisman, I had to fly back to Britain and steal the lenses from the museum. But forget the lenses, what’s number one thing to do in Britain once you have the Black Sword? Killing Lord British of course. I caught LB while he was having dinner, so his murder turned into a veritable bloodbath; the Red Wedding’s got nothing on my senseless rampage. LB’s will is pretty hilarious to read, it’s a pity the game doesn’t program Nell so that she actually visits LB at night.
After reloading the game, I tried to get the Shade Blade to kill Batlin, but he backed away claiming that Batlin was protected by a greater power than him. Also, I realised that I actually missed the humming noise of the Hoe of Destruction and it was eerily quiet now that I replaced it with the Black Sword, so I gave the Hoe to Sentri instead. Back on the Isle of Fire, I finally banished the Dark Core into the void, and Erethian perished while trying to stop me and tripping up on his own spell.
I only really go to Vesper out of completism; it’s an unpleasant desert town fraught with racial tensions and hatred between the humans and gargoyles. Integration is obviously not going well there and everyone is convinced that it’s a matter of time before gargoyles murder them in their beds. Anti-gargoyle Britannian Purity League flyers are everywhere and the locals are keen on handing them out to you.
I remembered the bit about the two angry gargoyles in the bar who get mad and try to kill you if you reveal to them who you are, but I completely forgot about the butch miner lady who will also attack you if you tell her you’re the Avatar. She blames you for bringing the gargoyles into Britannia in the first place, apparently. I don’t like the unnecessary official killing, even if it’s stupid bigots, so I reloaded the game. The only bright spot in the whole place is a young girl who secretly visits a gargoyle across town, and listens to the gargoyle legends. I also returned the amulet to Lap-Lem, who had it stolen by a vile human local.
One of the cool things I found in Vesper is the place inside the Vesper Mine where they harvest the blackrock… from some sort of blackrock crystals? I’m not sure how this works, isn’t it supposed to be only mutable by magical means? How does the machine manage to chip it away?
While in this part of the world, I found the Drol Nagap spot in the northern jungle where the Guardian does Twin Peaks and talks backwards. The chest on the site is filled with all sorts of rubbish, but unlike other times I decided to rummage through it and found a key… for something.