To begin on a totally unrelated side-note: there is actually one good side to that awful rain effet: you can actually know if you’re inside or outisde now! As great as Ultima VIII looks (and it actually aged surprisingly well, especially with Pentagram’s improved resolution and filter), the fact that it doesn’t have light & day cycle lead to the fact that it does have lightning of any kind really! So outside or inside… everything tends to feel the same. Oh well
Well… in any case I was just arriving at the Enclave.
Needless to say the Sorcerers aren’t really to happy go lucky people the Theurgist. To be fair, Pyros the Fire Titan is pure evil with no other desire than to destroy everything… he actually looks a bit like the Guardian!
But first things first. The Sorcerer’s Enclave actually provides you with a bit of a moral dilemas. Basically two of the Acolytes offers to take you as their disciple, give your their True Name… and ask that you spy on ther other one, because he/she supposedly plan to kill the Master Sorcerer and each Acolyte supposedly just want to scry using the True Name of the other.
Except of course they want to kill the other, which is rather obvious, but I guess you can argue that the Avatar really did believe them!
You basically choose to side either with the beautiful Sorceress Bane, or the ambitious sorcerer Vardion.
I basically decided to take side for Vardion, basically to honor his grandma Mordra whose ghost I met in Ultima VII.
And so Bane…. there wasn’t much left of her after Vardion sent a Deamon on her!
Sorry lass! 😦
But I was now a disciple, ready to learn more!
Sorcery is obviously the magic of fire. And it’s basically based on a ritual using Pentagrams. Basically you need to bind sorcery spells to a Focus (which can be a talisman, a rod, a staff..) by doing a ritual: which is basically about placing candles of a specific color and reagent on a pentagram at the place appriopriate for the Spell you want to bind to your focus.
The thing can seem a tad tedious, but it is also quite fun. But that is really one of those stuff that you either love or hate. To be fair, it could use a more point & click interface… but it’s still a great aspect of Ultima VIII.
(And for those who followed carefully, yes Ultima IX’s magic is pretty much a mix between Thaumaturgy and Sorcery).
So the first test when becoming a disciple is to create three spells in front of your “Master”, after which you are sent to the Obsidian Fortress to pass even more tests before geting face to face with the Master Sorcerer, Malchir.
One point of note, you actually meet Arcadian again in this Fortresse – the very same deamon for which you build the Shade Blade in Forge of Virtue. Except he doesn’t remembers you which suggests this has yet to happen in his life, and show the issues of travelling between world!
The major area of the Obsidian Fortress is pretty nice dungeon area. The concept is that you need to get 4 symbols which are each in a different part of the dungeon. And to get them, you need to use a specific sorcery spell which will help you to find the symbol: such as Armor of Flames to protect yourself from fireballs hurled as you, or Flash to teleport yourself over traps or fields of explosive mushrooms!
A very well thought out dungeon on the whole, altough with perhaps a tad too much undead for my taste.
Once you get the 4 symbols, you can then teleport to Malchir himself for the final part of your test.
This test is actually very much like the first one you do: you need to create 3 spells and cast them at Malchir, before finally banishing he Daemon he sends at you.
After that, the time of the grand summoning of Pyros has come.
This is obviously one of the most iconic moments of Ultima VIII. A lot of fuss has been about the whole summoning Daemons aspects of the game, but this particular scene has been used extensively in promo materials of the games – some people actually thinking this was the Guardian being summoned!
Also, Pyros is probably the only one in the whole game who has a decent VOID and don’t make your ear bleed when you ear him talk!
The scene is itself is impressive (altough one whould argue no very useful from a plot standpoint) and can actually go several ways depending on how well you prepared and if you follow orders carefully (the worst case scenario leading to to the death of everyone around the Pentagram, including the Avatar!)
After this scene Malchir congratulates you (or scorlds you if you screwed) and asks not to be disturbed.
But at this point you basically do need toe Tongue of Fire – the Blackrock Artefact it holds to free Pyros so that he can counter Lithos. So what is the most logical conclusion?
Aye I thought I should go see Malchir at this fortress and talk to him. Except he just doesn’t take kindly to it, and attacks you!
Now there’s actually been a LOT of fuss over this part of the game for MANY years – with many fans saying that this shows the Avatar as a MURDERER and how evil he was in Pagan (note: I’ll talk about the Avatar’s evilness in my next blog post…) and some fan projects has put a lot of focus on this scene.
Are they fracking kidding me?
Now some people obviously need to the see the definition of murder. The Avatar in now ways enters the Fortress to kill Malchir, but solely to talk to him. Malchir attacks without provocation: that’s self defense. Period.
But in any case I was know unwillingly the Master Sorcer, which lead to all the other Acolytes licking my boots.
I also got the Tonguer of Fire from Malchir’s body… and I feel it would be a good idea to consult Mythran on the matter…