Now that I was back in Moonshade, the first step was to find what has happened to my companions.
Since of course they couldn’t know what had happened to be, they basically get on with their live while waiting for my return. Of course, considering how quick Freedom went this time, this feel a bit silly – but it was one of those amazing feeling when returning from Freedom the first time, and it really gave this sene that you had been stuck into this prison for a LONG time.
As it turns out, my companions weren’t far. Boydon had begun a love story with Bucia the provisionner (!), Shamino spent his time hunting in the forest, Iolo had befriended the mage Gustacio… and Dupre was at the Blue Boar, drinking ale!
Shamino also got a couple of gifts from Frigidazzi: a Chill spell scroll to allow be to survive in the heat of the catacombs. And odd Serpent Earings. As it turns out as I soon as I put them I began to hear the voice of the Great Earth Serpent in my head. Neat heh?
So I could now get the key from Julia to enter teh Catacombs… but before that it felt important to go and help Gustacio in his experiments, especially since he offeres free magic in return!
Now Gustacio is working on understanding how the magical storms works and what they cause, and notably aiding Kane find out what happened to his brother Edrin. The experiment have already taken a tole, since the Necromage Mortegro has vanished in a storm, being replaced by a Pedestal from some old temple. Whoops.
So in any case this lead me to go to Gustacio’s tower and push some levers to get some cool colored lightnings!
As it turns out the experiments workes and allowed Gustacio to get a sense of the effects of lightning. Most importantly it revealed that Edrin had been changed into Kane’s parot: Ale. So after caging it and brigning him to the tower, I was able to summon a storm to restore Edrin to his human form.
One more for the Good Guys!
As promised Gustacio rewarded me with spells, but also with the Mirror of Truth which will come in handy later.
So it was now time to leave Moonshade behind and head back to the mainland. This happens to go through the Catacombs.
Now the catacombs are the land of the ratmen which can get very dangerous and are the reason the door to this place had been sealed by the Rangers. You can actually avoid fighting them by use of a magic harp which gets them to sleep… but I kind of forgot about getting it so had to hack my way through. Oh well.
One point of note is that originally the catacombs of Moonshade were meant to lead the player to Claw Isle, which was supposed to have housed some cat like creature. From then, another passage would have led back to Furnace and the main land. But with time constraints came cuts, and Claw Isle was basically removed from the game (serving now only as a cheat area) and the Catacombs leading straight to Furnace.
But of course all the mysteries of Claw will soon be reavealed elswhere…
In any case here came Furnace, whose access was closed and guarded by a Winged Gargoyle.
Since indeed, the evil “Daemons” Monitorians are so afraid are in trugh nothing but peaceful Gargoyles!
Now Furnace is a ruined Ophidian city. While it is never clearly stated in the game, multiple elements seems to point that it was supposed to be the City of Balance as it is the only place that seems to present elements of both Order and Chaos.
As it turns out the Gargoyles were driven there upon the arrival of the Sosarians settlers on the Serpent Isle, which kind of forced them to go and live underground – altough I’d possible they had also taken Furnace as their own even before that. (Though one might ask: since they leave there how come they haven’t cleaned the place and removed all the dead humans skeletons?)
Furnace is a nice place, but I do feel there is a bit of missed opportunity there. It could have been a fullblown Gargoyle city, but conveniently, all the Gargoyles are plunged into a deep sleep due to the Imbalance and only their leader Zelkhas is still awake, waiting for a prophecized hero to come to which he needs to give the Serpent Ring artefact, assuming he proves himself worthy.
This is nice, but it means we never really learn anything about the Serpent Isle’s Gargoyles of where they came from (altough I like to believe they went through a similar path than their Britannian counterparts).
But in any case, Zelkhas did let me in. So I proceeded to get to the area of his test of Purity, which was a Column on the North-East of Furnace.
While exploring I went and find the Everlasting Goblet too – this Goblet is actually interesting because well. It’s Goblet that never gets empty. In other word: unlimited food!
One tiny point of note though: while it might feel you can’t leave Furnace without doing this test and having Zhelkas open the bridge southward to the Dungeon of Furnace… you can, because there is a Monitor Tooth to be found there.
But since I was there…. I might as well prove myself a hero!
So here I was ready to pass the test!