Okay, I got some serious questin' and avatarin' in today.
I foot it to Paws, where I discover that my horse is right where I left him. As a reward for his loyalty, he gets his own name: 'Orse. Within the town limits, I deftly scoop up the humility rune, but then accidentally attack someone while trying to learn the mantra. So I hightail it outta Dodge while the locals cry "Don't come back now, ya hear?" I reenter and, as bluefugue promised, everything's normal. "Welcome, stranger!"
'Orse and I head to Trinsic, trampling over all that stand in our way and taking their loot. My ship is still docked off the shore there, surely a sign of destiny! I christen it the S.S. Rainz. Before stepping into town, I see that a skeleton still dares to pursue me. Hubris takes hold as I pause to rip him bone from bone and open his treasure chest. Acid trap. Idiot! Will I never learn? Once again I must endure the humiliation of being resurrected by Lord British, the most conceited, delusional, and appalling computer game character I have ever met.
Having made a complete fool out of myself twice in the South, I head back up north to Yew. From there, I decide it's time to attempt my first shrine. I hike northeast and discover that the justice shrine is surrounded by poisonous marsh. That's fair! I hole up to get full health, and awaken to the sight of two slavering sea creatures arguing over whether I should be sautéed or fricasseed.
I fight them, but they whittle down my health. Desperate, I duck into the shrine and hope things work out. Wow, pretty cool! I meditate for three cycles, repeating the mantra when prompted. It's a neat, suspenseful sequence. I'm rewarded with a vision that instructs me not to kill non-evil beasts, even while they're trying to eat me.
Feeling cleansed, I trek southwest, sidestepping moronic rogues who couldn't steal a glance. I find myself in an unusual place named Empath Abbey. People here are really into love, it seems. While there, I learn that I need to fetch the Candle of Love and two other pieces of the key that will open the Chamber of the Codex. A secret passage takes me to a treasure room. Seeing no guards or closed circuit cameras, I help myself to the Abbey's wealth (catching a quick nap in the process since one of the chests is sleep-trapped).
The map website isn't working, so I stumble across the land for something, anything to do. I attract all sorts of terrors and threats along the way . . .
but somehow make it back to Britain in one piece. With my amassed wealth, I buy a new sword and make another fruitless attempt to find Cricket. I huff it to Trinsic (hmm, where'd I leave 'Orse?), board the S.S. Rainz, and set sail for the nearest shrine. Maritime travel proves to be even more dangerous, and not necessarily faster, than walking. A rival captain matches speed and launches a shell that rips open one of my cargo holds. There go the pickled sardines! Angrily, I turn my port bow to the enemy and let one fly. THOOM! His vessel splinters into a million pieces. Score one naval victory for the Rainz!
I then have to fight a pair of nixies and some rogues who try to board the vessel. Deciding that the sailor's life is not for me, I run the boat ashore and landlub the rest of the way to the shrine. It, too, is surrounded by poisonous marsh. I enter and pray, but am kicked out for being unable to concentrate. Whoa, what went wrong? I catch a fatal dose of poison on the way out. There's a moongate nearby, but it closes just before I can reach it. In my final two seconds of life, I read my notes to see where I screwed up. Oops . . . I meditated on the wrong virtue.
I run back to the shrine and get it right this time. Unfortunately, I got poisoned on the way in, and am still sick on the way out. Fortunately, with only 2 hit points remaining, I'm spared the indignity of another poisoning death by the decapitating grace of a stray cannonball.