The gargoyle city turns out to be a deserted Ophidian city.
All the gargoyles are suffering from some sort of sleeping sickness in the same way as the emps back in Britannia were described to be by LB in my dream.
This city is fairly huge with all manner of buildings. I guess the culture here is vaguely Roman with a bath house and an ampitheater. When I enter the ampitheater a load of automatons attack. This does gain me a new key.
Using this key I manage to find a route to the pillars that I’ve been looking for and I grab hold of the left hand one.
I wake up in some new area with a choice of three doors to go through. I pick one and bump into Shamino who wants me to press a button which will force the women in here to be “very accomodating”. They want me to press the other button and set them free. This was described to me as a test of purity so the correct answer is apparent.
Next Dupre wants me to bash 10 worms with a mallet. This is a pretty dull job as they are quite hard to hit. All the while he tries to tempt me out of the task but I stick with it. The final door take me to a moongate which Iolo tells me leads home and I then have to refuse to step into it.
All the tests completed, I come back to the real world and the gargoyle king hands over the goodies. Now I just need to figure out how to get out of here.
I find a book which tells me how to reach the serpent gate here. I need to get two keys and combine them on an alter.
The first is in the bath house guarded by a couple of tentacles that have moved in.
The next is in the park + this body also has a serpents tooth on it which I add to my growing collection.
I find the temple, way to the North past the two pillars. I have a bit of trouble getting the keys on the altar, they have to be hanging off the top before they will stay on. Once this is done, they combine to form a new key. This key opens the door to the serpent gate. I take the first new door that opens and this gets me back to Monitor.
I still feel like I’ve not really accomplished anything that will get me past the swamp but I go and have another go all the same. I’d kind of assumed that the dream land was just a bit of fun and a way of working LB into the game but it turns out there was a lot more to do here than I realised the first time around. I can’t help but notice that I have carried the mirror of truth into the world with me although everything else has been left behind.
I run into Thoxa who tells me to look for the Moons Eye which looks like the thing behind her somewhere to the north and that is my eventual goal. I don’t get any more details before she vanishes again.
I find Iolo who is also dreaming but he also disappears again almost straight away.
In the far NW of the world, I meet someone who doesn’t vanish the moment I talk to her.
She is full of information and tells me all about her village of Gorlab which was in the area before it became a swamp. The entire village was put to sleep by one of its residents for some purpose of his own using dream crystals. Whatever his plan was something went wrong and everyone became trapped in this realm. Most have lost their sanity and I need to get the dream crystal back so she can escape the realm. As a bonus this should allow me to get through the swamp. To get the crystal, I’ll need the 3 objects of truth, love and courage which as luck would have it, I’ve already got.
I have to go back to the real world first and collect the items off my companions. Then its back into the swamp and I head for the castle at the SW of the dream world. The man here about as mad as he was described to be. He tries to test me three times but the objects of virtue hold him off.
This allows me to get the crystal which I return as promised.
After a brief conversation, she destroys the crystal and we wake up just outside the swamp again. This time however we can get through it and stay awake.
The serpent shows his face again while I’m passing through. He claims to be the great earth serpent from Ultima 3 which would explain where we met before although he wasn’t as chatty then. All he did was block the route to Exodus’s castle as I recall until I shouted the password. Ironically, for an earth serpent he spent the whole game in the sea. I don’t know if he’s on my side or not but will no doubt find out more later.
There are some ruined buildings in the swamp and a load of bodies. I don’t seem to be able to get to them. This can’t be Gorlab though or the bodies wouldn’t be fresh.
Just out of the swamp there is a castle which I don’t seem to be able to get into either. I give in on this and keep following the road.
I find a small encampment after the road peters out. This is headed by a dislikeable character called Draygan who regards himself as invincible. He tells me how he came over on a boat seeking gold – most of his companions have been killed off with just 3 remaining.
One of these, isn’t too happy about the situation and gives me a plan to get rid of him. I need to create a sleep arrow and shoot Draygan with it. To find the plant I will need to make the arrow, I need to find the forest master far to the SW.
Finding people is forests in this game seems to be a serious problem for me and this forest is big. I wander around for ages finding all sorts of stuff except the guy I’m looking for. I discover the ship that Draygan and his band sailed in on.
Next I find a dungeon which I figure I may as well explore since I’m here. This is one of the more dangerous dungeons I’ve been in since Silver Seed with a lot of fire traps.
The only thing of note that I find in here is a key on a grave.
There is a note with this which directs me to a pirates cave west of Fawn. I’ve got the notion that this pirate might have the flux analyser which I need to get the black sword fixed but this could be wrong. I can’t be bothered walking through the swamp again right now so I’ll go back and pick this up when I find the next serpent gate. This is one of the very few side quests that I’ve discovered in Serpent Isle – nearly everything else has been central to the plot.
All the time that I’m walking around here searching for the forest master I’m followed by some guy who claims not to be a spy but blatantly is. I’m tempted to attack him but I guess that wouldn’t be very avatarly so I leave him alone.
The forest master is more to the west than the south. He isn’t what I expected at all. He is a refugee of Pagan (where I’ll end up in Ultima 8) and came here after fleeing the guardian.
He can talk to plants and animals and looks to be quite a powerful being. He tells me how he put a lot of his power into an orb which Draygan has stolen and he is no longer powerful enough to defeat him with the orb. This is where I come in – I’m already on a quest to beat Draygan anyway so getting rewarded twice can’t be a bad idea so I accept.
He tells me where to find the plant I need to create a sleep arrow. Its not too hard to find.
I have more trouble finding an arrow but I should have known there would be one in the village. I shoot Draygan with it, then hit him some more while hes down. I grab the orb off his corpse and the forest master teleports in.
In return for the orb, he gives me the whistle to summon the Hound of Doskar. This goes right back to the quest for the missing child I got in Monitor 15 hours+ of gameplay back.
The hound of Doskar is surprisingly normal – I was expecting some sort of strange creature. It isn’t as helpful as I might have liked and rather than leading me to the correct location, I just get a compass direction and have to follow that and call it again.
I’m told to head east which I do and find somewhere very familiar to Shamino. I don’t know if this is where I needed to go but I’m going to have a look while I’m here. The entrance is blocked but he draws me a map and tells me about a secret entrance to the West
As soon as we enter the ghost of Shamino’s ex greets us. She’s friendly at first but not after she spots Shamino.
I’m keen to find out the backstory of Shamino’s here. Its been a long time coming since I first heard about the castle in the Sleeping Bull. The overall story doesn’t seem close to drawing to a conclusion yet – other than chasing Batlin & Gwenno + finding this moons eye thing I don’t really know what the real aim of the game is. I want to restore the balance somehow but still have no idea how. I am, however running out of map to explore and don’t have a lot left other than the icy region in the north.