Book the Thirteenth:


            Atop the pedestal at the Shrine of Honor sat the Mystic Boots and Greaves. Ankhs were engraved upon the knee plates.
            But none of this mattered now, for I faced another of the Guardian's servants.
            I drew the Mystic Sword from my belt. The Klep-Summ, Lord of Betrayal, brought forth his mighty sword.
            We charged upon each other, as my companions fought the Daemon's dark forces.
            Somehow, Klep-Summ, I shalt defeat thee! And I shalt go on to stop the Guardian's threat upon the realms!


            Our blades met in a flash of sparks. We fought as if possesed, detirmined to vanquish our foe.
            The Blade of Valor shattered one of the Daemon's bone shoulderplates, leaving his dark flesh exposed.
            "Well done, Avatar." The Klep-Summ appeared unperturbed. "Tis a fair fight this time. Twill be much more gratifying to kill thee here than in the arena at Trinsic."
            My companions fought on against the skeletons, some mounted upon undead horses. Whilst all wert holding their own, my friends wouldst not be able to fend off the ever-increasing legions for long.
            The Klep-Summ dealt several more blows at me with a renewed vigor. I wast forced onto the defensive, blocking and dodging his attacks. A final upward slash brought the Mystic Sword from my hands.
            "Thou fought well, Avatar, but I am the victor!!!"


            Just as the Klep-Summ brought his sword down upon me, a figure lept up at him from behind and stabbed a dagger down into the Daemon's skull. It pierced through the dark lord's bone helm and reached his flesh. The Lord of Betrayal screamed, more with rage than pain, his blow swinging away from me harmlessly. I rolled from his path and grabbed the Mystic Sword from the ground.
            My unknown rescuer continued to push the dagger into the Daemon's skull. The Klep-Summ grabbed the man, his claws impaling the attacker.
            I'd wasted enough time watching. As the Daemon threw down the dead body, I charged at him, feeling the power of the shrine engulf me. The Mystic Sword pierced through the Daemon's armour and came out his back.
            For a moment, the Klep-Summ merely stared at me, not comprehending that his life was no more.
            "It can't be…"
            The Lord of Betrayal fell upon his back, dead. Seeing their leader fall, the undead warriors fled. From the Klep-Summ's body rose the Shard of Betrayal. As it faded away, the clouds suddenly darkened. Thunder could be heard from a distance away.
            "A storm approachs." I spoke. "The Gem of Mondain needs only one more shard before it will become complete. Ah, with each victory, our quest becomes more and more difficult."


            I walked towards the man who had helped me. He lied face down, a puddle of blood forming around him. I rolled him onto his back, seeing that he was still alive. As he coughed up blood, I recognized the man.
            "Eh, Avatar!" The outcast laughed, coughing more blood. "An' you say the Outcast folk 'r'n't 's good as yeh surface men. I showed yah, didn' I?"
            "Aye, thou did."
            " 'Showed yah, got back at th' bastard f'r killing m' friend. Showed 'im…"
            I reached into a pouch at my belt and brought out some reagents. The outcast shook his head.
            "No, Avatar. I don't wan'a hafta die mor'in once. You and yeh friends 've died millions of times, y're used t' it. But it ain't right. 'Person should die once, and be th' end of it. After all these deaths, does a person still 'ave a soul? Does 'e, Avatar?"
            "I know not, Macaedon. I hath been killed countless times, each time resurrected by one wizard or another. Prehaps thou'rt right. Prehaps one shouldst only live a single life…"
            The outcast coughed out more blood, and his head fell to the ground. A man whose last moments were filled with Valor, Sacrifice, and Honor died at that instant. A man worthy of being a companion of the Avatar breathed his last.


            Macaedon was buried right next to the Shrine of Honor. I readied the Mystic Boots and Greaves, feeling surrounded by Virtue more than ever now. The only piece missing was the helmet, obviously represented by Spirituality.
            I looked out towards the sea. Yes, a storm was coming. Soon, Mondain's Gem would be complete. And then what? Uman-cor had stated that the Guardian wouldst enter Britannia through this. But what was the need? He had already conquered Britannia without personally entering it!
            "Avatar!!" Gorn came rushing up to me. "Armoured figures approach from the east!"
            I saw the warriors in the distance. Each wielded a two-handed sword and wore a full suit of armour. Long cloaks hung from the figures' necks. Their sircoats and many parts of their armour showed the image of a cross. Their armour was plate except for the helms, which were chain coifs. Emptiness stared at me from where their faces shouldst have rested.
            There were seven of these figures.


            "Avatar!" The Seven spoke in unison.
            "Then thou'rt the Seven." I asked quietly.
            "We are the Seven." The ghostly suits of armour replied.
            "What art thou to claim to be more Virtuous than I?"
            "We art seven of the eight suits of Mystic Arms. We art thy most trusted companions. None hath thou put as much faith in as thy own sword or breastplate.
            "We wert once lifeless, but he known as Tir-Mordreth gave us life. The eighth suit, that worn by thou, never gained life, for the actions of the three Serpents pervented Tir-Mordreth from gaining control of it."
            "Then thou serve the Guardian now?"
            "We do not serve Tir-Mordreth. We serve Virtue."
            "If thou fight with the Guardian's forces, than thou serve Falsehood, Hatred, Cowardice, and their axiom, Doom!"
            "Those art Virtues as well. What makes Truth, Love, or Courage superior to the Virtues you have mentioned? That is why we wear the Cross rather than the Ankh, for the Cross is the Symbol of Daemonic Virtues, just as the Ankh symbolizes Human Virtues."
            "Why do you now serve the Daemonic Virtues, then? Thou once fought alongside me with the Virtues of Humans."
            "Balance. The Multiverse is sustained by Balance. Never must the Ankh overpower the Cross or the Cross overpower the Ankh. All must remain in Balance for the Multiverse to function.
            "Both you and Tir-Mordreth shalt destroy the Multiverse if either of thou succeeds, for both seek to tip the scales of Balance. Never must this be allowed to happen."
            "Then what must I do? Leave Britannia like this?"
            "Prehaps. Prehaps this is best for the rest of the Multiverse. But it is not our place to decide this."
            "Who's is it?"
            "The Time Lord, he who created the entire Multiverse. He who created Earth, Sosaria, Eodon, Pagan, Talorus, and all the other worlds thou hast visited. He is responsible for the destinies of all of us, (AV). We are all pawns of his."
            "No, we shall not wait. Our time has come to leave. Realize, however, that if you continue to tilt the scales of Balance, we will have little choice but to kill you, (AV)."


            My companions and I stared speachlessly as the Seven disappeared. A ghostly, blue-white wind blew past.
            "Where to next, Avatar?" Tseramed finally broke the silence.
            "The Shrine of Spirituality, where we shalt find the last piece of the Mystic Arms."
            "To not know if we canst reach the shrine in the Ethereal Void." Inlor-Om replied.
            "Nay, my friend, I believe I'll be able to summon a moongate somehow with my powers, provided we reach the proper Circle of Stones."
            "The Circle of Stones near Minoc once revealed its Moongate upon the double full moons, the only time at which the shrine couldst be entered." Trevor spoke up.
            "Aye, I thought of that, but Minoc is nearly the very other side of the world from here! We couldst not reach it without some magical means."
            "Prehaps one of thine Virtue Stones, (AV)?" Mortegro inquired.
            "True, but that leaves another question. Minoc wast occupied by the Bal Lem's army the last we heard. Though we saw the Shadowknight at Buccaneer's Den, his army may still lie at the city of Sacrifice.
            "If we headed up the Bloody Plains, they'd spot us before we wert miles from Minoc. Our only chance is to enter Dungeon Wrong, find the underground entrance to Covetous, and leave Covetous to end up just a few hours' walk from the Circle of Stones."
            "Tis risky." Tseramed remarked. "We wouldst hath to pass directly in front of Minoc."
            "Indeed, but it offers less chance of detection than any other plan. I believe it is our best choice."
            "And how to Dungeon Wrong, (AV)?"
            "The Orange Virtue Stone took us near the Shrine of Justice. From there, a single blink couldst bring us near the entrance of Wrong."
            "It seems the best idea, Avatar. Let us hope Wrong and Covetous hath lost much of their inhuman populace in recent decades."


            "Kal Ort Por!!!!!"

            The rustle of birds in the trees of the Deep Forest echoed by us.

            "In Por!!!!"

            Mountains towered over us. We stood near the entrance to the feared dungeon of Partiality, opposite to Justice.


            The very earth shook. Boulders cracked and crumbled away.

            The entrance to Wrong stood in front of us. A stairway led downwards into the depths of this pit of evil.

            "Come, my friends, this shalt be one of the last legs of our journey."


            Darkness engulfed us within the passageways of Wrong. We headed downwards, knowing that the passage between the two dungeons rested at their very bottom.
            "Look out, Avatar!"
            Hearing Gorn's warning, I ducked as a flurry of arrows came at me from a wall. Whether or not Wrong wast still inhabited by creatures of evil, it's traps remained active.
            "Prehaps we hadst best consult a magic gem, Avatar." Mortegro put in. "We couldst find the best route downwards."
            "Indeed." Peering into a gem, I saw the twisting passages of Wrong.
            "To the northeast are about a dozen humanoids." I told my companions. "Come, twill not be a sufficent force if they art hostile."
            Hurrying through the tunnels, we came upon a large room. Three humans, one badly injured, cowered before seven trolls, headless, and other creatures.
            "I recognize their armaments," Trevor whispered. "They art from Stonegate."
            "Then to battle! Let us save them!"
            As we charged into battle, Inlor-Om's magic boomerang decapitated the lead troll. Drawing the Mystic Sword, I sliced down a headless and an orc.
            "Flam Por!" Mortegro called, bringing down a cyclops. Gorn cut a goblin in half with Erion's Axe. Trevor, wielding Saduj's mourning star, crushed the skull of another orc. The last goblin jumped at me, but collapsed with one of Tseramed's magic arrows imbedded in it's back.
            "What hast happened here?" I turned to the humans.
            The injured one turned to me. I recognized Haubis, one of the first residents of Stonegate I met.
            "It is I, (AV). I whom called myself the Avatar."
            "Avatar??" Haubis choked. "How didst thou get here?"
            "Through Dungeon Wrong. What hast happened to thee since the destruction of Stonegate and Minoc?"
            "We fled here into Covetous… the dungeon has been open since the days of Blackrock mining… we searched for the Silver Arrows…"
            "The Silver Arrows?"
            "Poweful weapons… hidden in the Chamber of Love, which connects Wrong and Covetous… But they were guarded by the Hydra… we couldst not defeat it… we fled this way… how do we leave Wrong?"
            "Several floors up to the southwest." I replied. "I've opened the dungeon with the Word of Power. Where might I find the Chamber of Love?"
            "Take the passage behind us… follow it east when it slopes downwards… When you come to a great moat of lava, head south until you see a doorway marked with three skulls… follow the maze from here to the north… In the center of the maze is the Chamber of Love… From there, head upwards to leave through Covetous…"
            "Thank thee, Haubis. May Virtue be with thee."
            "Godspeed, Avatar. May Virtue be with thee."


            The lava moat stretched farther than the eye couldst see. Twas fortunate we didst not hath to cross it. We came upon the gate of three skulls. Beyond it was darkness, winding and twisting passages.
            How many hours we traveled, I know not. Yet the journey through the maze proved wretchedly puzzling. We never faced stronger enemies than a few rotworms, which only increased the monotony. Magic gems didst little good, for the corridors wert too muddled to be able to get a clear picture before the gem's image faded away.
            Yet I began to hone my Ethereal abilities in navigating the maze. Where once I wouldst hath relied on Shamino or Gorn, now I felt a mystic force from within myself guiding me through these passages.
            We came to a large room lighted by several torches hanging from the walls. A pedestal lay in the center. This was the Chamber of Love.
            A low growl came from the right. A massive, nine-headed creature sat in front of a passage, too bloated even to move.
            "The Hydra!"
            The beast breathed fire upon us. Drawing the Mystic Sword, I charged at the creature and decapitated one of its heads. The creature barely reacted. I stared in dumb astonishment as a new head grew from the stump.
            We continued to fight the mighty Hydra. Yet it showed no indication of pain upon our attacks. Suddenly, a thought struck me. I remembered the legends of a mythical hero from my homeworld.
            "Trevor! Grab a torch! Light each stump as I cut this creature's heads!"
            Magnificent flame burst from each stump as all my companions with bladed weapons loped off the heads of the Hydra. As I brought off the central head of this creature, the Hydra screamed and fell to the ground, finally dead.
            But the battle wast not yet over. The final head shrieked in anger and breathed more flame upon us.
            "VAS POR YLEM!!!!!!!!!!"
            At Mortegro's incantation, the very Earth shook below us. The ground crumbled and opened below the severed head, causing it to fall below into the depths. The Tremor died away.
            "A powerful spell to use upon a single enemy, Necromage." I turned to Mortegro.
            Mortegro wiped sweat from his brow. Even for a powerful mage like him, the spells of the 8th circle wert draining.
            I turned to the passage the Hydra had been guarding. It led to a quiver of the Silver-tipped Arrows.
            We returned to the Chamber of Love. Two passages branched out, one to Wrong, the other to Covetous. A pity. Once this chamber hadst also contained routes to Despise and Hythloth, but those hath been buried away after all the years.
            "Come. Now we must escape this treacherous Dungeon."


            Light cracked out from behind the boulder. We gasped and stumbled to the entrance of Covetous.
            "I don't believe it…" I panted, seeing the boulder in our way. I couldst hath sworn that the Dungeon wast still open."
            "Prehaps twas sealed after Haubis and his companions fled in here." Tseramed replied.
            "That wouldst mean we face an enemy powerful enough to know the Words of Power. Regardless, we'd cause far too much noise by opening the dungeon now. The very southern portion of Minoc wouldst shake!"
            "Mayhaps I could blink us out." Mortegro sugested.
            "Nay, my friend, I know not how reliable a blink spell would be underground. Conserve thy energy, thou'rt still drained from the Tremor."
            "To seem that we have no other choice but to open the dungeon." Inlor-Om remarked.
            "Yes, I believe that is our only option. Shouldst we use the Virtue Stones, we'd only end up where we started, without a path to Minoc. Tis--"
            The sound of the Word of Power errupted from outside the dungeon. Rocks crumbled around us. The boulder began to slide away.
            Outside stood a massive hoard of creatures, living and undead. At their head stood Virtuebane, the mighty Lord of Pride. The hand I cut off in our previous fight wast fully regrown.
            "Welcome, Avatar. We hath been expecting thee."


            "Thou didst--"
            "Yes, we knew of thine arrival. The Guardian sees all that happens to thee. Thou hast done well against many of my fellow lords, but I shalt kill thee!"
            The Daemon's hoard surrounded us. While there were many of them, these wert weak creatures, hardly as skilled as Vasjux or Klep-Summ's hand-picked skeletal forces.
            I began to feel the Ether around me as I cut down enemy after enemy. The Daemon's forces were weakening. I saw a scowl forming on Virtuebane's face. I charged through the throngs of enemies, detirmined to bring down the Lord of Pride. But he was gone. What? How couldst he hath dodged so fast?
            From the corner of my eye, I saw two of my companions fall. I tried to turn, but was engulf in the hoards of creatures. I sensed that two more of my companions hadst also fallen. Concentrating the Ether, I raised forth the Mystic Sword. I felt a golden aura about it, I felt it controling my actions. Within an instant, all of Virtuebane's legion lay dead.
            Suddenly I felt an attacker from in front of me deal blows with lightning speed. Within an instant, my helmet had been sliced in two. I clutched my throat, realizing that a deep wound lay there, possibly fatal.
            Virtuebane stood in front of me, holding forth a one-handed sword. I recognized this blade, one of the most powerful in Britannia, one I thought I'd never see again.
            "The Quicksword…"


            "Yes, Avatar," The Daemon chuckled. "How ironic that you shalt die by this blade."
            "How didst thou come by it?" I choked, pain raging through me with every word.
            "When the inhabitants of ancient Sosaria explored the ruins of Shadowgate, a proud warrior named Nate found Enilno and took the sword for himself. He went on to become a lord of old Magincia.
            "Fearing for the valuable sword, he sent it to his brother, a smith named Zicron, here in Minoc. Zircron would later forge the Mystic Arms, using the Quicksword as a basis for the Mystic Blades. Enilno hast been stored here for centuries, until I uncovered it."
            "How do you know all this?"
            "Nate was still alive when I invaded old Magincia. He begged for his life, telling me this secret in return. I spared him, but turned him into a snake. You later killed him yourself, Avatar, though I believe you rationalized as self-defense.
            "I was still to weak to attack a city like Minoc, however, so I waited. How fortunate that the Guardian wouldst send me here to face you, for now I wield the only weapon thou canst not best, except prehaps the Sword of Chaos."
            The Sword of Chaos… the Bal Lem's blade…
            "And now you shall die, Avatar!"
            "No!" A voice cried from behind me.
            Tseramed stood with his magic bow outstretched, a Silver Arrow drawn back.
            "Dost thou think you can fight me with that foolish weapon, little human?" Virtuebane smirked.
            "I shalt kill you, Daemon. It is my destiny."


            "Do you truly believe that, mortal? With this blade, I couldst slay you before thou hast even time to release that arrow."
            "It doth not matter if I die. Thou shalt fall by my hand."
            "So be it!"
            It happened in an instant, so fast I couldst not tell what I saw. Lightning flashed, and rain began to pour. Tseramed stood in the same place, his bow having fired the Silver Arrow. Virtuebane stood behind Tseramed, the Quicksword drawn. Blood covered the blade Enilno, but a Silver Arrow stuck out of the Daemon's forehead. The two combatants hadst struck simultaineously.
            The Daemon stumbled back, not dead yet. Ignoring the pain of my wound, I charged upon the Lord of Pride. Virtuebane turned towards me, but was not fast enough to react. I decapitated the foul Daemon, his head crashing to the ground.
            The rain continued to pour, and the glowing Shard of Pride rose from Virtuebane's body. As it faded away, laughter filled my ears.
            "Well fought, Avatar, but it will do you know good. With the Gem of Mondain complete, I now control the entire Shattered Legacy! Unless, of course, you think you canst stop me… HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
            I stared around. Inlor-Om, Trevor, Mortegro, and Gorn struggled and writhed. The Quicksword hadst not dealt fatal blows to any of them.
            Tseramed still stood where he'd fired at Virtuebane. For the first time, I noticed a red scar forming across the archer's chest. Blood dripped down from his heart. My companion fell to the ground.


            The archer opened his eyes and stared at me wearily.
            "(AV)… Do not resurrect me, old friend… I know I shalt die here…"
            "Why, Tseramed?"
            "Since the night when we sailed towards Jhelom, I stared up at the moons… I knew I had nothing left once this quest wast finished… I knew I wouldst die helping you, (AV)…"
            Tears welled up in my eyes, yet I honored my friends last request.
            "Grieve not for me, (AV), for I had nowhere to turn when our quest was over...
            "Stay strong in Virtue, (AV)! Remember those still young, like Trevor… protect him, let him not die in the way you or I shall…
            "Oh beautiful Trammel and Felluca!" Tseramed cried with his last breaths. "I weep that thou must now stare down at a broken Britannia..."
            The great archer was no more. After healing myself and my, companions, we buried him upon this very spot. Still the rain poured down. The storm hadst arrived. The Guardian grew more powerful. Soon he wouldst enter Britannia.
            The sun was beginning to set. It wouldst soon be night.
            From the south, a man walked up to us. It was Julio, the final survivor of Stonegate.
            "So, is this Armageddon then, Avatar? The final battle?"
            "Aye, Julio. How didst thou know?"
            "How? I know not. How did the Great Daemon come to be what he is? What is this 'Guardian's' true nature?"
            We stood in silence, the rain pouring around us. My companions wert already heading off towards the circle of stones. I turned to follow them.
            "Avatar, wait!" Julio called to me after several moments.
            "Remember our first meeting, Avatar! Remember!"
            Thoughts suddenly flooded me. I remembered a time before I became the Champion of Virtue. I remembered a time when I traveled through Britain and met a solemn man with flowing red hair who told me of the true nature of the Virtues and the world…
            "What art thou truly, Julio?" I spoke quietly.
            "What am I? I am nothing, for I have lost all centuries ago. My desire for a champion, a Savior, who would unite the universes remains all that I have. It is not you. I knew that from the first when we met. Is it the Guardian? Prehaps. Prehaps tyranny is the price we must pay for unity. Prehaps he whom you go off to face is the Savior of us all."
            "What are you, Julio?"
            "A servant of a long-dead kingdom, vassel of a rival to British, a commoner of Old Magincia. I lived for centuries because of a wise man whose brother thou slew, who first told me of the Savior. That is all for you to know now, Avatar.
            "Go, my friend! Face the Guardian, let the final battle commence! Let the fate of the Multiverse at last be decided!"

The Soul of the Savior, a powerful weapon, to be wielded by he who unites the Multiverse, young Julio. Take it and go, your destiny shall be entwined with that of all the worlds!

-Keldran, brother to Mondain

            As must be obvious from reading this, Book Fourteen, the next chapter, will be the FINAL book, and conclude this entire story. Why is the Guardian called the Guardian? What has the purpose of everything been so far? What is going to happen? All the answers are revealed!
            By the way, Julio is a real character from Ultima IV. Look around Britain a bit and you'll find him soon enough.

Onward to the Next Book

Back to Book Twelve

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