A Pilgrimage through Air and Water…

Moriens’ Pilgrimage. It actually is a fairly simple thing: you find the sign showing his birthplace in the Catacombs, go there, and supposedly sleep here to have a vision (which never happens). And there, it’s done!

It does in truth have a nice little altar and such.

The thing is… this didn’t existed in the original version of the game. Vividos sent you to find this birthplace (supposedly near the Pit of Death)… but you can’t find it since it nevers exist. And the place where Moriens’ Birthplace now is was simply called “Shrine of the Ancient Ones” which is an ancient Zealan temple and where you need to go to further the plot. But a far cry from the birthplace of the first Necromancer!

Now as it turns out, this is obviously one of the many plot cuts than Ultima VIII suffered, altough Origin did their to fix it a bit with the patch, by adding this sign and altar next to the ancient Zealan Shrine.

Now the Shrine of the Ancient one is pretty nice place in my book.

It’s basically a puzzle centric dungeons, but a a few traps (altough nothing to serious) but mostly puzzles (such as lever puzzles to create a stair, sending a ball on a plate to open a grate) with some use of necromantic powers. Also no combat at all, wich is a welcome thing in my book. So it is a nice place to explore, and it has a wonderful music track as well!

One point of note is that this is one of those area where a Golem can really be of use. Since if you don’t want to play through all the puzzles you can basically create Golems to open all the doors, and getting a direct passage to to the inner shrine at the end of the dungeon.
Now in the end you get to the center of Temple where statues inhabited by the three Gods of Emotions of the ancient Zealans are there – and you obviously need to summon them by putting a ceremonial shield (found either in this dungeon or at Mythran’s) in the Altar.

Now these Gods basically seek your help, but also to help you – by first asking you to go face the spirit of Kumash-Gor to get a Blackrock Artefact.

So you basically need to suffer through quite a bit of terrible voice acting (altough I guess Kumash-Gor is okay, but then he was voiced by Ev Lunning who voiced Lord British in Ultima IX so it makes sense!) and you learn that these Gods basically want you to become the Titan of Ether!

So for this purpose you need to learn the powers of allo the Titans, to eventually steal them from them, as well as in the end garnering followers. Note that this is a point that is not fully developped though… on account that it was really meant to me the central point of Ultima IX. Whoops.

After being done with the Zealan gods, you now basically decide to go wheter to see Stratos or Hydros. For reasons that will appear obvious later, I chose to go with Stratos and his Theurgist on Argentrock Isle.

Now Stratos… is the Titan of Ether. And she basically appears to be a good Titan whose only purpose is to heal people. Unlike the sorcerers and the necromancers, there Is also nothing creepy about the Theurgist as there only goal in life is to heal people! As such… this lead to a lot of debate amongst fans about whether of not Stratos was truly evil. In truth all this seems to go to be true, but there is no real hint of evil design behind the scene, altough one might assume that following the submissions of Lithos and Hydros she might have devised a more subtle approach to gain followers.

In any case, all you need to do is… join the Theurgist, which of course begin by a couple of test. First you need to answer some question with answers fitting to the Theurgist’s philosophy. And then you need to do an equilibrium test where you stand on the top of a simile mountain while wind blow and tries to get to fall and die.

After that you are officially welcomed and are sent in the catacombs below the Monastery of the Theurgist to get 8 pieces of silver in order to have the blacksmith from Tenebrae create Foci from them.

You see, Foci are the basis of Theurgism. Each focus has a different shape which represents a different spell. Casting a spell doesn’t require anything else that the focus and mana. The magic is mostly focused on healing and protection: but effective.

Before that you do need to put each of your foci on the altar of the Monastery to get them working.

And after that a final task if given to you: heal a poor hurt beast with your new powers below the monastery.

As you return however you discover that a healing focus of another Theurgist has been stolen and you need to inquire about it. As it turns out a young apprentice named Torwin stoled it… thinking he might be able to reach Stratos and learn how to resurrect his father: the poor guy you saw executed upon arriving in Pagan! Also he ends up plunging to his death, and all you can do is report his death to his already weeping mother 😦

But well… no time to grieve! There is a world to save! So the next step was actually going to talk to Stratos who appears well… somewhat nice and gave me my last Focus to allow for big ass jumping (which will be necessary later to get to the Sorcerers).

Two magic gained! Two to go!

After Stratos, the next step was going to Lake Carthax to meet with Hydros, Titan of Water.

As it turns out Hydros was trapped in her lake by the original Tempest… and asked me to free her in exchange for getting her powers. The original Tempest had locked water from her Lake, leaving just enough to keep her alive, and agreed to do so in exchange for her power. All I had to do was to well… open the valves if you get my meaning.

Now you get where this is going of course.

Yeah, once freed Hydros screwed me over so as a result: no Tempest powers! And she began to throw torrential rains and storm upon Pagan.

And it looks UGLY. Somehow having actually rain must have been to resource heavy at the time, so all you get is an ugly white filter. Which is why it is recommended to go to Stratos first.

So this lead me to return to Tenebrae and speak with Devon… who recommended that I seek the help of the Sorcerers in this matter. So I went straight to the Sorcere’s Enclave, ready to learn the secrets of Pyros: Lord of Fire!

Now one point of note to close this post: it feels pretty obvious that the Tempest plotline has been very much cut down and it was likely the plan was for the Avatar to eventually learn Tempestry. Outside of the thing I mentioned about Devon in my earlier blog… there is also the obvious fact that the Sorceres never make any reference to Hydros’ liberation. Indeed you might argue that there really was no point in limiting access to the Enclave at that point of the game since doing it before Stratos or Hydros would not change anything!

In any case I gotta say things are going very fast – and much faster that I anticipated. So I expect to be done with Ultima VIII tomorrow. But I don’t mind… Serpent Isle was so long, that the shortness of Ultima VIII does kind bring a bit fresh air!

For now, I’m gonna go set stuff on fire!

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