I start out today by finding my second Kiran stone. It’s behind a secret door in a wall (activated by a floor switch).
There is nothing else here so its back onto the main route through the dungeon. The path doesn’t appear to branch much and the dungeon is largely linear. I find a temple in the dungeon which restores my health if I light all the candles.
Just down from here is a guy trapped in a hole, with walls moving in to crush him. I must have extraordinarily good timing as I’m just here in time to pull the lever and release him. This guy turns out to be a companion of the two people from right back at the start of the dungeon.
I find a book with some details about Kiran’s shield. The pages detailing further items are missing but it looks like there is going to be a full set of Kiran armour.
One of the Kiran stone clues I got was that it was behind a waterfall so when I get to a watery area of the dungeon I’m looking for it straight away. A lever here opens up a little area behind the waterfall with the third stone. It also has a bag there (which is incredibly useful in letting me carry more).
I’ve already passed the place to use the stones so I head back and put them all on the correct plinths. The shield appears in the middle.
There is only a tiny bit of dungeon left. This is another great looking area full of lava, a menacing looking column and a wymrguard in the way.
After a few hits I find out that the wyrmguard is Iolo himself and his soul is being held captive by the guardian so he is forced to act on his behalf. I shave a choice but obviously spare his life. I don’t especially like the idea of my companions ending up like this but I do at least get the chance to help them out.
I can walk inside the bottom of the column here and get the glyph.
Its then a long trek back out of the now empty dungeon. When I get back outside I’m accosted by Blackthorn + one of his guards only to be rescued by a mystery woman.
Her name is Raven and she wants to take me to her employer (Samhayne) but only if I prove that I’m the avatar by finding one of the runes. I need to cleanse the shrine to do that.
To cleanse the shrine I need the sigil which is in the hands of the mayor. I head to his house and am told he has gone to Paws to rescue his daughter.
I head out of Britain, to the West this time. I veer off to the North and find a little house with a tempting lever. The moment I pull the lever the house’s owner attacks me but I do at least clear a path behind the house.
This leads me to a load of brigands who have kidnapped the local farmers wife (and killed the farmer). I hack them all down and rescue her.
The bandits journal mentions a hiding place for treasure which sounds interesting.
I head off looking for this and get near enough to Paws to trigger off an in-game cutscene.
This shows the mayor of Paws being saved from a giant rat by a crippled man – cue a policy rethink.
The bandits treasure is hidden through an underware cave which I have to swim down. All the time I’m down here, a giant fish keeps nibbling at me.
This is a bit dubious to say the least but I can refresh my oxygen supply by swimming into these bubbles. This is a bit console platform game for my liking. I get a load of coins and gems from the cave anyway and swim back out.
I can hear some strange noises coming from over the hill so I jump up to have a look and find this unlikely looking place.
A lift takes me up to the house and I find a mage who’s last spell looks to have gone wrong. He is flying around making very strange noises.
Theres nothing I can do with the mage so I head for Paws. The mayors daughter has been kidnapped by goblins – he is of course just standing around doing nothing about this and gives the job to me to sort out….
The same goes for this woman. Paws has no fresh water because the cart never delivered a new valve. The townspeople are not heading out to get it because of a goblin in the way.
I find the one armed miller lamenting his lot and being sent here unfairly.
The house with the goblins is at the furthest side of Paws. I have to kill them all off to rescue the mayors daughter.
In a bit of spontaneous compassion, she decides to stay here anyway and help the poor here.
The mayor is grateful enough to give me the sigil. Time to cleanse a shrine.
On the way back, I find the missing valve. There is a goblin on the bridge who wants 10 gold – I just have to ask him how many and he spends so long figuring it out I can just run off and take this. I detour back to Paws to fix the water supply then head back to the shrine.
There are more distractions on the way back to Britain, when I run into this all-seeing blind person. She tells me a bit about karma – basically by doing good deeds I improve my stats. I think this just affects mana store but I’m not certain. After certain deeds I get a sort of sitar sound anyway which signifies my karma increasing.
I find Britains docks on my way through this time. Raven is waiting for me on the ship but I still need the rune.
I find “the avatars biggest fan” just North of here. This is another nice joke character. I remember a story about some bloke turning up naked in Richard Garriott’s house after completing Ultima 4 looking for his “reward”. This sort of thing sounds like an urban legend if I ever heard one. I can’t even remember where I heard it now.
I place the sigil and rune on the shrine…
Then say the mantra and we the light show starts.
The graphics for the shrine restoration are really nice and it feels like an appropriate reward for my efforts. I also get to pick a stat to increase and go for strength.
This cleansing has had a remarkable effect on Britain. It even has a new theme song. As ever the music for the game is pretty much unparalleled.
LB wants me to go and sort out all the other columns now.
He also tells me that there is a problem with the moons and they are not holding their regular orbits.
I notice around this point that I never got the rune from the shrine. This is a bug Natreg warned me about. Some quirk in the physics means that the rune and sigil don’t drop back down after the shrine is cleansed. I have to use a cheat code to float up into the sky and pick them up. This is no big deal anyway – I stress that I won’t be cheating like this at any other time (unless I run into more bugs).
I head back to Britain and discover that clearing out the column has opened up the first circle of magic. I ought to spend some time binding in spells but I leave it for now.
Instead I head for Raven’s ship. She sees my rune, agrees I’m the avatar and sails us both off to Bucaneers Den to meet Samhayne.
I’m getting more and more into U9 and I’m coming to the conclusion that this really is a genuinely great game despite the problems. The seamless world is superb and the dungeon design of Despise was similarly excellent. I like the way the engine is coping so well with the diverse environments – exploring Britannia itself was never better than it is here. If only Origin had been given a bit more time to polish the game up a bit, maybe this could have lived up to everyones expectations.