The Ancient Ones
This is where the original incarnation of the game got really frustrating and confusing. I must have combed the entire world top to bottom for the birthplace of Moriens; how were you supposed to deduce that “find the birthplace” was meant to morph into “talk to the old Zealan deities” and you could never actually find the damn birthplace?? This version fixes things somewhat and makes the birthplace a thing, even if it’s not exactly an awe-inspiring experience that Vividos promises you. I’d like to know what strange circumstances led Moriens’ mother to give birth inside the Catacombs, it’s not exactly a place to be when you’re about to pop out a baby.
But the pilgrimage is a decoy anyway, since your real quest is to explore the ancient Zealan shrine, where there’s a number of puzzles to solve. The floor of the complex is mixed with dirt and you could probably summon a golem to open all the doors for you, but I decided against cheating. On my way to the main temple, I found the Skull of Quakes and the Zealan Ceremonial Shield; I always wondered if the identical shield found in Mythran’s house would do the job.
In the main temple, I talked to the old Zealan gods, Odion, Amoras and Apathas (who talks like the world’s most uninterested automatic message).
They told me that in order to fulfil my destiny, I must rob the tomb of Khumash-Gor, a great chieftain who had once united the Zealan tribes. At this point I realised that I was wrong, you do need Mythran’s secret door spell more than once in the game, to open the door to the tomb. Craaaaaaap, it’s back to the Plateau for me. I thought I would at least save myself some travel and use the Skull of Quakes in the Upper Catacombs to uncover the teleportation platform.
Back at Mythran’s, I met Shaana, the most unlikely magic student ever. Or maybe she was supposed to be related to Mythran in the original script. You never find out, because she tells you to mind your own business or else it’s chopping time.
I returned to the Zealan temple armed with the scroll, and entered the tomb of Khumash-Gor. Who was mighty angry at the intrusion, but I was prepared and smacked his vengeful ghost down with the Grant Peace spell.
He left behind a pile of money and the Scimitar of Khumash-Gor, an inferior weapon to Deceiver so I let it be. The most important loot is the blackrock obelisk tip, which, as the Zealan statues explain, is the first step in Avatar becoming the Titan of Ether. Of course I can’t hear the words fifth element without immediately thinking back to Luc Besson’s silly sci-fi classic.
True Tempest and side quests
It’s time for some political upheaval! Epic family soap opera is totally my thing, so I really enjoy this part of the game. I used Mythran’s door spell in the palace dungeon, and read Bentic’s secret diary which reveals Devon’s Tempest parentage and the fact that as a first-born his powers are superior to Mordea’s. You then get immediately caught by the guards and escorted to the docks, where Devon is about to be executed and you’re next, presumably. Once you let the truth out, Salkind dies for inadvertently confirming the secret, Darion and Shaana (rather bravely) refuse to kill the true Tempest, so Devon and Mordea have a redhead Tempest face-off which results in Mordea’s death. I just think she picked a dumb spot to stand in, right on the edge of the docks.
Devon is now Tempest and resides in the Royal Palace, but still wears the same old fisherman outfit. I’m pretty sure one of Aramina’s conversation options in the game hints that eventually she and Devon hook up.
I told Vividos that I’ve completed my pilgrimage, to which his response was, cool see you around. At least he acknowledges the pilgrimage, so even if your Necromancy stint comes to an abrupt end it’s at least not left hanging like in the original game.
I then did a couple of side quests. One concerns the abandoned house in the area between Tenebrae and the Cemetery, where you fall through the floor and explore a dungeon in search of Slayer, a magical mace. A series of books you read on the way hype it up to heavens, but in the end it’s not worth it and Deceiver is again a superior weapon.
Then I continued with the ghost side quest, exploring the dungeon behind a pile of wooden blocks in the valley north of Tenebrae. For something that’s so laborious to enter and requires so many conversations to get through first, the end results are rather underwhelming. The only thing of note is a ghost armour, enchanted to move away as soon as you come closer to it; you can’t even corner it because it will just fly over your head. I might come back with the Aerial Servant spell, though I bet it’s not as good as the magical armour I have now.