The sound of thunder filled my ears, behind it the maniacal laughter of
the Guardian. Waves crashed around me. I looked around.
My companions and I no longer stood upon Buccaneer's Den. Now we floated in the middle of the Great Sea. A storm hung about us.
"Where are we?" Trevor shouted.
"Swim south!" I cried, not knowing why this direction wouldst bring safety. I hadst long since given up trying to ignore or even rationalize my heightened intuition, the simplest way my Ethereal powers mainfested themselves.
A short distance in said direction brought us to one of the eight Shrines. Yet it stood not on solid ground. The eight monoliths and stones rose up from the very sea.
"Vhat place ees dis, Avatar?" Gorn muttered as we clung to the pillairs.
"The Shrine of Honesty." I replied. "Aram-Dol sunk all of Dagger Isle in search of the Mystic Ring."
"He sank this entire isle?!" Tseramed burst out.
"Fear not, old friend. I killed the liche upon Buccaneer's Den just before we wert teleported here."
"Where to now?" The Gargoyle Inlor-Om spoke up. "To know that we cannot stay here forever."
"Indeed. Mayhaps Janus Isle yet remains. It is not a great distance. I believe we may be able to swim there."
"And what if it hast also sank beneath the seas?" Mortegro inquired.
"Then we shalt find a different course of action. Come, it is our only chance. Unless, of course, thou canst blink us?"
"Nay, (AV). I canst not concentrate enough to cast any spell with out solid ground underneath my feet."
"Tis settled, then."
A half-hour's swim brought us within sight of Janus Isle. We grasped the
shore with relief, slowly rising up onto the solid ground.
"What now?" Tseramed gasped.
"We art too far away to blink anywhere, so our only choice may be to take our chances with these Virtue Stones. Unless…" I trailed off.
Trevor caught my meaning. "Thou couldn't, Avatar!"
"Oh? The original entrance to dungeon Deceit wast upon this isle. I yet know the Word of Power to reopen the dungeon."
"But vere vill it lead?" Gorn pleaded.
"If the Underworld hast truly risen up again, then we may find an underground connection to another dungeon."
"To appear as though we have little choice." Inlor-Om spoke up.
I smiled. "Yes, thou'rt right. I do feel that our quest wilt best be served entering this dungeon. Follow me."
A short walk north brought us to a large mountain range, spreading around
three sides of the isle. In front of us was a large boulder.
"It appears the spell wast last cast from inside the dungeon." I muttered, "FALLAX!!!!!!!!!!"
There was silence for a moment. Then the ground began to rumble. The boulder shook violently. Finally, the boulder dislodged itself from the mountains and rolled to the side. Where it stood a dark passage led into the depths of Deceit. The ground stopped shaking.
"Incredible…" Mortegro spoke.
"Thine world is younger than Britannia, Mortegro." I replied. "It hast had less time to perfect magic.
"Ah, but enough talk. We must enter this lair of evil."
Rats skuttled about our feet as we traversed the murky passageways of dungeon
Deceit. Yet never wert we attacked by any large or formidible creatures.
The infamous traps Deceit wast known for had all been disabled or destroyed.
"Avatar," Mortegro peered into a magical gem, "I believe there are large quantities of life to the north."
"Then that is where we shalt travel." I responded.
We followed the maze-like corridors for quite some time. We came to a thatched hut built from wood. Inside stood a ragged man. He gasped as we entered.
"Daemons!" The man cried, pointing at Inlor-Om. He rushed out the opposite side of the hut.
"We need not follow." I sighed, "No doubt there art more like him."
Onwards we traveled. We passed more and more huts. Soon, many seemed to know that outsiders had come. Some barricaded themselves within their houses. Others gaped openly at we from the surface. I ignored all as best I could, slowly leading my party towards where I presumed the "town" wast based.
We soon came to a large area devoid of the narrow halls that so marked the dungeon. Dozens of the primitive houses wert cobbled together in a random manner. At the centre of the village wast a large building made of stone. A high double door stood in front. The building resembled a church upon my homeworld, yet wast marked with an ankh instead of a cross. An elderly man in his forties or fifties with a greying beard came out to greet us.
"Welcome, travelers! May the Avatar bless thee with His divine wisdon in bringing thee here to safe haven in the catacombs of Deceit!"
"I am Kolandro, the Avatareal Bishop of this town. Come inside, I hath
heard that Daemon Summoners from the surface arrived."
"Daemons?" I echoed. "We bring no Daemons! My companion Inlor-Om is a Gargoyle."
Kolandro chuckled. "Gargoyles are things of myth, travelers! They wert dumb brutes who waged war upon Britannia until He destroyed them and their pagan ways! Sadly, the great King British forgot Justice in favor of Compassion and spared them. Thankfully, the good people of Britannia rose up and destroyed them."
I felt my blood preasure rise, and noticed that Inlor-Om also fumed with rage. " 'He' being whom?"
"The Avatar, of course! The Savior of all Britannia! The Champion of Virtue who shall lead us out if this new Dark Age."
"Thou'rt wrong. I am the Avatar, and I did no such acts. The Gargoyles art a race equal to humans. Mayhaps even superior, for they follow their Virtues with complete devotion, whilst humans often stray from their paths."
"Do not blaspheme His name! Traveler, I forgive thee for thy mind must be addled from journies upon the surface. Yet thou hast done His work today. It twas a great deed for our people when thou opened the entrance to this dungeon."
"How dost thou know of that?"
"The entire caverns shook with fury, my friend! Even from here we canst feel the divine radiance of sunlight we hath not felt in eleven years!"
"Eleven years? Is that how long thou hast lived down here?"
"Aye, the Great Daemon's minions ravaged the land and captured the fair city of Britain. We canst only pray that He will return to reclaim Britannia."
"How didst thou enter the dungeon if thou dost not know the Word of Power?"
"Alas, our leader wast the great Archmage Nystul, British's most trusted advisor. But he died shortly after we built our cities, and did not have time to pass the incantation onto others."
"Dost thou know how far down these caverns go? Art there any other exits?"
"We hath not explored all the caverns, travelers. The first four levels of the dungeon hath been cleared of monsters, but below that few travel. A small camp rests on the fifth level, and the bravest of our knights may venture to the sixth, though heros of that sort art rare.
"But that matters not, o traveler. Thou hast opened the dungeon, and now we may leave."
"Who leads these settlements?'
"Since the death of Nystul, the cities hath been led by us Bishops. We, in turn, look towards the Archbishop Derrohn, who presides over the capital."
"Where is this capital?"
"Upon the second level of the dungeon. Tis the most heavily populated level, with three separate towns! Derrohn rules from the Golden Cathedral in the centre of the capital."
"How canst we reach the cathedral?"
"Thou hast no need to ask, travelers! Derrohn needs to know of thine arrival, so I shalt hath my servants escort thee to him."
"I thank thee, sir. Farewell."
"Farewell, travelers. May the Avatar bless thee."
Two heavily armoured knights accompanied us down to the second level. The
journey towards "The Capital" (that was all it wast known as) took several
hours. We reached the Cathedral at what I presumed to be evening.
The Golden Cathdedral wast a magnificent sight, even compared to Britannia before the Guardian's onslaught. A towering, several stories high building with high towers and spires. All appeared to be fashioned from gold, yet it felt like stone upon my hands. It wast a creation of magic, truly a wonder of Britannia.
Derrohn himself was an eldery man, at least seventy. A white beard hung down to nearly his waist. He wore robes of pure white.
"Hail, travelers. May the Avatar be with thee."
"He already is." Tseramed chuckled.
"Nothing." I put in.
"I wilt not speak to thee in the presence of Daemons, traveler." Derrohn glanced at Inlor-Om. "Whilst I am sure your servant is firmly under thine control, his sort hath no honor."
"I consider this 'Daemon' as you call him to be one of my most trusted companions." I replied. "He is an equal to the others whom travel with me."
"Then all may leave but you!" Derrohn barked. "I shalt speak with thee privately."
One by one, all others in the room left. I sat across from Derrohn.
"I shalt be quite frank, I am dismayed that thou hast come here. While His teachings state that I shouldst welcome all, I am suspicious of thou. By opening Dungeon Deceit, thou may hath doomed countless lives. The poor souls cannot resist the temptation of traveling above ground, yet there they shalt surely die at the hands of the Great Daemon. There they shalt seek material pleasures and forget the teachings of the Avatar."
"It seems to me, Archbishop, that more canst be done for Britannia above us than down here."
"Nay, thou'rt wrong. Our goal is to survive, to live until He purges the Great Daemon from the land. Then we shalt return to the surface to found a new Britannia."
"How wouldst thou know when the surface world is safe? How wouldst thou recognize the Avatar whence he came before thee?"
"We wouldst know! We hath Faith, the most important tool against the Great Daemon! We hold our Faith that the Avatar shalt save us and show us His holy actions!"
"Then thou wouldst give up Britannia, and simply wait for another to save the land instead?!"
"Do not blaspheme! The Avatar is no 'other!' He is the very embodiment of Virtue!"
"Virtue?!!" Both of us had risen now, and our shouts echoed throughout the halls. "I am the Avatar, and I am no demigod! I am another like thee! I am no embodiment of Virtue! Yet thou wouldst abandon the Virtues entirely!"
"Never!!!! The Avatar is Virtue!! To serve Him is to serve Virtue!!!!!"
"I am not Virtue!!!!!! I am merely an example of what others should try and acomplish!!!! Virtue is not meant to be served, but to be achieved!!!!! Thou'rt no different from the Fellowship!!!!! Thou tryest to find an easy path!!!!!!! The path of Virtue is one of suffering, of loss!!!!!!"
The Archbishop stared at me in dumbfounded horror.
"I am the Avatar, do you understand????!!!!!!! And thou doth not serve me!!!!!! Thou art a coward who depends upon others!!!!!!!!"
"Blasphemer!" The Archbishop cried. "Guards!!! Take this servant of the Great Daemon away!!!!! Imprison he and his companions until they repent of their sins!!!!!!!!!"
"Trevor." I spoke up.
The young fighter looked towards me. We wert imprisoned in a small room of the dungeon.
"Deceit, Malice, Dastardness, Partiality, Selfishness, Betrayal, and Pride. Seven Anti-Virtues. But what of the eighth? What of the opposite of Spirituality?"
"Eh? I know not, Avatar."
"Faith, Trevor. That is the product of Falsehood, Hatred, and Cowardice."
"Aye. Sprituality is the never-ending goal to perfect oneself and the world around you. Faith is the dependence on others to do this for you. Falsehood in denying one's responsibility, Hatred in refusing to help those in need, and Cowardice in hiding from one's destiny."
"Art thou sure, Avatar?"
"The Anti-Virtues art a system of Virtues themselves, Trevor."
"But those people in Deceit follow Virtue--"
"No, they do not. The worship our Virtues, but they do not follow them. They hath taken the easy path, just like the Fellowship. Both groups rely on Faith and dependence. The path of Virtue, however, offers no hopes. To follow Virtue is to live a life of suffering, a life of loss.
"Remember that, Trevor. Remember that always."
I opened my eyes as the cell door opened. A timid, nervous young man stood before me.
"Art thou truly the Avatar, sir?"
"If thou dost believe I am." I replied.
"I'm here to help thee."
"If-- if you are the Avatar, then we shouldn't keep you locked up."
"I've brought your equipment and this." The youth handed me the Orange Virtue Stone.
"How didst thou get this?" I asked sharply.
"My name is Alistar. I was apprentice to the Archmage Nystul. You can use it to escape, sir."
"Thank you, friend." I looked upon the young man. "Wouldst thou care to join me in my quest?"
"I cannot. I must remain here," His expression seemed to change somehow, "if only to keep these people alive."
Recognition suddenly flooded me. I did not stand in front of a young man. I knew whom I now faced.
"Shh! Speak not a word, (AV). Go! Thou art needed in Britannia!"
The mage disappeared in a flash. Rasing the Orange Stone, I chanted the words of Recall…
We stood in the middle of a thick forest. Crows flew overhead.
"Where art we?" Mortegro asked.
I peered into a magic gem. "The Deep Forest, several hundred yards south of the Shrine of Justice."
"How didst we escape, (AV)?" Tseramed pondered. "I thought twould be the end of us."
"Nay, my friend, we--"
In front of us stood three liches in flowing black robes. Two wert female.
"We hath come to kill thee!!"
"Who art thou?" I reached for my sword, but stopped. I'd destroyed the
Black Sword in my fight against Aram-Dol. I wast unarmed.
"I am Vasculio of Skullcrusher Mountain!"
"I am Zaria of the Pits of Carnage!"
"I am Rotoluncia of the town Moonshade!"
"Now we serve the Guardian," Vasculio spoke, "And we shalt destroy you!"
My companions drew their weapons and charged into battle. I dove at Vasculio, grabbing him by the throat.
An arrow from Tseramed cracked through Zaria's skull. Gorn, wielding Erion's Axe, brought down Rotoluncia.
"Heh heh heh… It is not over, Avatar…" Vasculio faded away.
The Guardian's laughter filled my head. I knew who wast behind this.
I ran north towards the Shrine of Justice. Still my mind wast clouded by
the insane laughter of the Guardian.
Three more skeletal figures stopped me. One appeared to have been a Gargoyle in life.
"I am Draygan of the Great Northern Forest!"
"I am Runeb of Terfin!"
"I am Dorstag of the Pits of Carnage!"
Dodging crossbow bolts from Dorstag, I charged at them. From behind me, Inlor-Om's magic boomerang sliced off Runeb's head.
Grabbing Dorstag's crossbow from him, I brought the weapon down upon his head, using it as a blunt instrument. The warrior drew a longsword.
Draygan charged at me from behind. Mortegro's Death Scythe sliced him in two. I grapled with Dorstag as Trevor brought the Sword of Justice down into him.
Still the Guardian chuckled. No matter. It was almost over.
"Hand me Caliburn, Trevor."
"The Sword of Justice? But--"
"I shalt need it here."
A lone figure stood at the Shrine of Justice. He drew forth a jeweled longsword.
"I am Rodriguez, the Chaos Knight. Thou killed me in the Stygian Abyss, Avatar. Now I shalt hath my revenge!"
"Nay. Thou'rt but a shadow of thine previous self, a puppet of the Red Titan."
"I serve none! Thou shalt die by my blade!"
A made not a move. The Chaos Knight charged towards me. With a single stroke, I sliced him in two using the very sword I hadst first killed him with.
"Now only one remains…" I muttered. "Saduj! Show yourself!"
From the murky waters north, a skiff made of bone approached. A sole figure stood upon it; a skeleton wielding a mourning star.
"Now we fight, Avatar." Saduj spoke.
"No. Thou'rt Hatred and Malice. But I am not. I strive for Virtue, and shalt not give in to thine principles."
"Then thou shalt die!"
The assassin charged at me. I blocked his blows with Caliburn.
"I shalt live on, Saduj, for I shalt not sully myself with the Daemonic Virtues. For Spirituality, I shalt continue to perfect myself!"
"Fight back!" The undead warrior screamed, charging at me. "Fight so that I may kill thee!"
"Since thy rebirth, thou hast nothing but Malice, and thou must direct it against something or someone. Yet I refuse to acknowledge this and give in to my own anger. Without direction, Saduj, thou shalt die again."
"Never! I canst not forgive thee for my death!!"
"So be it then. It is too late for thee."
The skeleton's attack grew weaker and weaker. He tired, and soon he wouldst be no more.
"I shalt kill thee!!!!!!!!!!"
Screaming madly, the servant of Blackthorn's Oppression ran at me once more. His bones began to crack and crumble. Halting in midstep, the undead figure clutched his head.
"NO!!!!!!! IT CAN'T END LIKE THIS!!!!!!!! I MUST TRIUMPH!!!!!!!!!!!!"
With one final effort, the Guardian's lieutenant brought his mourning star down upon me. I dodged the blow, drawing forth Caliburn. A green aura hung around the blade, filtering towards the shrine as well.
The blade wast now engulfed in the green haze, becoming one with Justice. In a final motion, I swung the blade upon my former companion, decapitating Saduj's skull.
The headless skeleton stood there for a moment. Then the aura of Justice passed from Caliburn to it and the skull. A humming sound began to emanate from the shrine. Suddenly, the Sword of Justice and Saduj's body exploded in a flash of green energy.
My companions stood there, dumbfounded. I approached the Shrine of Justice.
"After all these centuries, the blade Caliburn hast once again become one with Justice."
Slowly, the green aura faded away from the Shrine of Justice. Upon the
pedestal in the center of the shrine sat a beautiful red cloak. On its
back was a golden ankh. Removing my plain cloak, I wraped the piece of
the Mystic Arms about me.
At my feet wast Saduj's skull. The piece of debris began to crumble and decompose. In its place was a glowing gem. The gem faded away and disappeared.
Bal Lem, I thought. The Sword of Chaos thou hold grows stronger. Mondain's gem inches towards completion. Yet now I hath destroyed half thine lieutenants upon Britannia. The other four shalt also fall by my hand.
"Come," I motioned to my companions. "Let us take Saduj's bone skiff and sail elsewhere."
And He shalt come to save us all.
-Archbishop Derrohn of the Dungeon Deceit
First, I must express my forgiveness for having taken so long to get this
Book out. I've been weighed down by thises and thats, so it took me much
longer than it should of (I also hypocritically played and finished Origin's
Ultima IX, but that's another story). Anyways, down to business:
Janus Isle: A lot of you probably have no idea what Janus Isle is. It is the small islnd near Dagger Isle where the Dungeon Deceit was location in Ultima 4-6 (Deceit was moved to Dagger Isle itself for Ultima 7). In Ultima: The Black Gate (a horrible SNES version of U7; possibly the worst Ultima ever) the isle is referred to as Janus Isle. While I'd hardly consider this game to preside over the PC U7 continuity-wise, this is the only Ultima which ever gives any name for this isle.
Shrine of Honesty: I shall say this only once: I did NOT get the idea for the sunken shrine from Origin's Ultima IX (where the Shrine of Humility is buried underwater). I thought of the idea before I even got to New Magincia. Oh well, I guess RG also thought it was such a visually appealing scene.
Lastly, a hearty thanks to "Ymochel" (hope I spelled that right) who has constantly praised and promoted my project on the Ultima Horizons discussion board.
Onward to the Next Book
Back to Book Ten
Back to the Library