Book the Sixth:


            The Isle of the Avatar.

            The Shrine of the Codex.

            This is where my quest truly began. Below this spot is where I first became the Avatar.

            Now the Codex is gone, banished into the Ethereal Void surrounding the Multiverse.

            All that remains is the Brazier of Infinity, with its everlasting blue flame.

            Decades ago, shortly after the destruction of the Black Gate, I cast Mondain's dark gem into that brazier.

            I wonder…

            Uman-cor said that when I killed him, the shard his amulet was made of would join with the rest of the gem.

            What awaits inside that brazier?


            It cannot be!

            The Gem is gone!

            But where??

            Sutek said whatever Guardian reunited the gem would control all the alternate Britannias of the Shattered Legacy.

            Hast the Guardian gained that power?

            I rushed from the shrine in a mad fury. I turned to take one last glance as I neared the winged statues.


            Behind the shrine, where the mountains stood, the face of the Guardian wast carved into the highest peak, rising over all Britannia.

            That mocking laughter echos across the plains.


            "I know thy name! I shall free Britannia from thee!"


            Water driped from stalactites as I led my party into the depths of the abandoned mine, Hythloth. Of all Britannia's underground lairs, Hythloth descended the farthest, reaching to the other side of the world.
            "Gorn," I turned to the scruffy barbarian at my side. "These passageways art huge, spanning countless miles. We couldst wander herein forever. Canst thou find a path leading downwards to the Gargish realm?"
            "Jah," The Baleman replied. "Vill be no challenge."
            The barbarian's tracking skills wert truly amazing. From the slightest echo, he couldst tell how far a path descended. From the smallest of marks in the floor, he couldst see how a corridor sloped.
            However, he wast not alone in leading the way. Just as I had in the Deep Forest, I began to gain a certain intuition of which fork to take. Indeed, at the only time in our entire journey through the dungeon that we wert attacked, twas I who first saw the enemy.
            "Reapers!" I yelled, drawing my mace. Ahead stood four of the imobile, living trees.
            "In An!" Mortegro intoned, negating the Reapers' magic, thus removing their threat from afar.
            As we charged at the creatures, a magic arrow from Tseramed's bow sped into the centre of one, causing it to cry out in pain. Mortegro's Death Sycthe chopped the creature in half.
            My mace felt cumbersome in my hands, as I had trained only in the art of swordsmanship for far too long. Still, twas a powerful weapon, dealing my opponent a mighty blow.
            With but a few strokes from the twin Magebane swords, Dupre had dispatched another foe. Trevor, though still with but a shortsword, fared well against the final Reaper, and found aid from Gorn, who wielded a broadsword.
            I swung my mace into the Reaper, breaking off one of its arm-like branches. A second blow shattered through the creature's bark exterior. Disconcerting as ever, blood spewed from the Reaper's wound, and at last it fell dead.
            I looked around. All my companions had also been victorious in their duels. None of us wert seriously injured.
            "Lead thy path, Gorn. These petty battles only delay us."


            Unlike many of the other dungeons across Britannia, Hythloth was formed naturally. Thus, I found that it had greatly errouded since last I journeyed through here. Not once didst we find any clear route downward. However, the paths we took began to steep noticably after some period, and we wert clearly nearing the bottom.
            At last I saw a well-furnished house of Britannian appearance. At once I knew who awaited us.
            "Johne!" I called. "Art thou here?"
            A scholarly figure in a sea captain's attire stepped out from the hut. Surprisingly, Johne hadst aged quite little, unlike many of my other companions.
            "I'll be damned! (AV)?? Where hast thou been all these years??"
            "Trapped in another dimension, Johne. Hast thou news of Britannia?"
            "Thy nemesis, the Guardian, hast conquered Lord British's entire kingdom, old friend. Lord Draxinusom hast led the Gargoyles and some humans to the other side of the world, where we live in peace for now. Tis a pleasure to see thee, indeed! Prehaps thou canst aid Britannia."
            "Aye, Johne, I hath come here to see if the Gargoyles canst aid me in my quest. Wouldst thou carew to join my party, old friend?"
            "Nay, (AV), I must decline. Having lived underground for centuries, my eyes are unused to the sun and I canst only leave these caves during the night. I am truly sorry."
            "How hast thou aged so well since the Guardian's attack, Johne? Most of my other companions show signs of age."
            "Indeed, my friend, the Gargish side of the world hast a far different climate than the human side. It allows even the lowliest to live for centuries without any noticeble aging. When you meet Draxinusom, you'll see he looks better than he didst during his entire stay on Britannia. Ah, but I babble, old friend. Here." Johne reached into his pouch and produced a familiar object. It was an Orb of the Moons. Throwing it, a red moongate sprang up.
            "How didst thou do this, Johne? The moongates hath ceased to function since I destroyed the Sphere Generator thirty years ago!"
            "Only upon Britannia, (AV). Here they work perfectly. However, they shan't take you to any locations on Britannia, only ones on the Gargish world."
            "And how didst thou come across this orb, Johne?"
            "Ah, a material called blackrock is much more common on this side, old friend. The Gargoyles forge the Orbs of the Moons from it. Nearly all citizens of distinction have an orb. I'm sure Lord Draxinusom couldst get thou one, though 'twould be of little use on Britannia."
            "Many thanks, Johne. Where does this moongate lead to?"
            "Twill take thou near Lord Draxinusom's hut. After talking with him, thou canst feel free to converse with all humans and Gargoyles you meet."
            "Again, I thank thee."
            "Always a pleasure, (AV)."


            As we stepped through the red moongate, darkness engulfed us for an instant. Then we stood on a wide, dirt road. To either side was a roofless hut. Instantly I recognized the traditional Gargish abodes. Several wingless Gargoyles saw us step out of the moongate and ran off, jabbering incoherently.
           "They appeared almost like animals." Tseramed remarked.
            "The wingless Gargoyles wert born mute and unintelligent." I replied. "Twas part of their way of life. Lord British insisted that they be educated and treated as equals once the Gargoyles settled on Terfin."
            "Indeed. And where art we now?" Trevor asked.
            "The only Gargish city still intact was Investigation. We must be there."
            Leading my party to the hut on the left, we wert greeted by traditional Gargish architecture. Walls sloped inwards like pyramids. Pots were placed near the corners of the one-room house. Several mysterious "light sources" glowed about the hut. A large, winged Gargoyle rose as he saw us.
            Indeed, Draxinusom looked far better than when I'd met him on Britannia. Much of his youth and vigor seemed restored by the climate.
            "An-Bal-Sil-Fer! To greet you! A pleasure!"
            "Lord Draxinusom, to be glad to see you once more." I knelt. "What hast become of the Gargoyles since I last met thee?"
            "To have returned to our homeland. To have restored traditional Gargish culture. But to be unable to have helped Lord British. To have rescued some humans in our flight, but to have sacrificed his kingdom." The Gargoyle king appeared sad. "To wish to know how I can help?"
            "I need to know of your people's history. I believe it is connected to the menace that now ravages Britannia."
            "To seek out Naxatilor, then. To live in the hut across from mine."
            "Naxatilor?? Then the seer is still alive??"
            "To have stayed in Investigation after I led the Gargoyles to Terfin. To have wished to die here. To be the only survivor since our first meeting, other than myself and Valkadesh."
            "Valkadesh also remains?"
            "Yes. To have remained with Naxatilor. To have fathered Inlor-Om."
            The monarch smiled. " 'Spiritual light,' it means. To have received a name, despite his youth, for he was the first winged Gargoyle born in Investigation since my people returned here. To be the hope of the future."
            "I thank thee, Lord Draxinusom. I shall speak with Naxatilor."
            "Travel where you will in Gargoyle lands. To have abolished Britannia's system of currency. To be free to take what you want. But myself to have one last gift for you." Lord Draxinusom produced an Orb of the Moons. "To be mine, but I can always forge another. Take it, so you can travel my kingdom faster."
            "To thank you, milord."
            "May your persistance and precision lead to success, An-Bal-Sil-Fer."


            Naxatilor's hut was slightly smaller than Draxinusom's. It was devoid of furniture except for a crystal ball and a single chair. Naxatilor himself showed no surprise as we entered.
            "To greet you, False Prophet. To have been expecting you."
            "Hail, Naxatilor. I am in need of information from thee."
            "To wish to know of the Gargoyles' past? To have expected this. To be a long story. To still wish to hear?"
            "Aye, seer. Tell thy tale."
            "To have oft been called Daemons by humans. To be somewhat correct. Gargoyles were descended from the Daemons of Rhiannon, creatures of evil. To have become different in that we opposed the rule of the Guardians, the four most powerful Daemons. To have escaped Rhiannon. To settle on a world safe from the Daemons. To have chosen Sosaria, for it had not attracted even the Wisps' attention yet.
            "To have known of the Guardians' threat. To have created the Virtues of Truth, Love, and Courage as opposites of Falsehood, Hatred, and Cowardice. To know that a hero would use these to stop the Guardians.
            "The wisest of the Gargoyles was my mentor, referred to as the In-Vas-Wis-Kodeks. To have written the Codex and inscribed your virtues within it, False Prophet.
            "But to have died minutes after completing the Codex. To have been his eldest disciple, was I. To have entrusted me with the task of sending the Codex into the void, where all may view it.
            "Shortly after, Gargish society fell apart. Prejudice fell against Gargoyles who began to mate with one another and form genders, much as humans do. These were hated by the single gender Gargoyles who continue to live today. The multi-gender Gargoyles were banished to the other side of the world.
            "But this experience destroyed Gargish Virtues. To have abandoned Truth, Love, and Courage, replacing them with Control, Passion, and Diligence. To have later represented these principles with Mondain, Minax, and Exodus, three figures from history of the other side of the world.
            "But to find the Codex stolen by humans. To have later caused the center of the world to collapse, destorying most of the Gargish lands. To know the Book of Prophecies spoke of a False Prophet, responsible for these events. To have tried to sacrifice you, but you have returned the Codex to the void, saving both humans and Gargoyles of Britannia from a great war.
            "To be all I can say, False Prophet."
            There was a long silence. Not only did the Gargoyles create the Eight Virtues, but they first wrote the Codex. If this In-Vas-Wis-Kodeks wast still alive, much more couldst be revealed. Mayhaps the Codex wouldst provide information vital to my quest. Alas, I had no way of finding the artifact.
            "To thank thee, Naxatilor. Farewell."
            "May your persistance and precision lead to success, False Prophet."


            Tossing the Orb of the Moons, my companions and I stepped through another red moongate. We arrived to a shocking site. We stood upon wooden planks, like those found on a pier. Yet they stretched out in all directions. Instead of sky, we wert surrounded by space and void. A winged Gargoyle rushed up to us.
            "To be the False Prophet! To be honored to meet you! To be known as Par-Bentas. To be mayor of this town. To have been informed of your arrival by Lord Draxinusom's messengers."
            "Mayor? Is not Investigation the only Gargish city? And why is the sky filled with void?"
            "To not be on solid ground like on island." The Gargoyle clearly seemed happy to demonstrate his knowledge. "To have built these Planks years ago. To stretch out into the void, where Gargish lands once were before they collapsed. To be connected to the mainland by ropes. To transport dirt and livestock from the mainland here. To be happy to say that when the mainland finally falls away into the void, we of The Planks shall be self-sufficient."
            "How do these 'Planks' remain upright?"
            "To be held by hundreds of giant balloons, all built into the edges of The Planks. More to be required as more Planks are built."
            "Thou dost speak the human language quite well."
            "To need to. To say that nearly half the Gargoyle lands are populated by humans now."
            "You said thou wert a mayor. How many cities lie upon The Planks?"
            "Three cities, two of humans, one of Gargoyles. To be mayor of Direction, the Gargish city. To know that the humans of Feeling live in Gargish houses and have converted to Gargish culture, while the humans of Achievement follow Britannian customs."
            "Very interesting. Farewell, friend. To explore thy town and those others upon the planks."
            "To give you more advice, False Prophet! To seek out Inlor-Om in Direction! To be a powerful warrior, ready to aid you on your quest!"
            "Thank thee! I am in need of more companions!"
            "May thy persistance and precision lead to success, False Prophet!"


            I spent the better part of the day exploring the Gargish lands. I met the oft-spoken-of Inlor-Om, who agreed to join my party. He wast both strong and dexterious, wielding a boomerang, buckler, Gargish helm, plate boots, gauntlets, and a kidney belt.
            In the human cities I found better armour for several of my companions. Trevor received plate arm guards, leggings, and armour, a brass shield, and a longsword. Tseramed was granted plate arm guards and leggings. Mortegro readied chain leggings. All three also gained Gargish helms. Inlor-Om, though joining so recently, bought a brass shield. Only Dupre, Gorn, and I refrained from buying anything, for we were already quite well armoured. In both cities, we were given the items for free; the humans of Feeling discouraged currency as Gargoyles did, while the humans of Achievement were all to glad to aid the Avatar.
            Just as we wert preparing to leave, a winged Gargoyle flew up to us. "To be the False Prophet?"
            "Aye, I have been referred to as such."
            "To be called Kred-Don-Wis. To be messenger."
            "What message dost thou bring?"
            "To have been entrusted with message nine years ago by Lady Nastassia. To have been instructed to give it to you."
            Nastassia. Memories flooded me of my love, whom I'd met during my quest to destroy the Black Gate. Relief that she was still alive overshrouded all else.
            "Show me the message!"
            The Gargoyle readily produced a scroll, which I took from him and read outloud slowly:

My Love,

            The years have passed like a hellish dream since thy left me and Britannia. How I have longed to see thee again! I understand, it is not your fault. You cannot be blamed for what hast happened to Britannia. But I have not the spirit to force myself to live one more moment of agony! How I grieve that even if you return, never would you turn to the poor, peasent girl you once loved. I know not even if you will ever read this, my love, but I ask only forgiveness. Forgive me that I was not strong enough to wait for thy return.

Ever thy love,

            "To have cut her throat nine years ago after finishing this letter." The Gargoyle remarked.
            Silence hung about us for quite a while. I could not put the letter down. I simply stood there, gazing until I could recite it by heart in a million years. Not one of my companions dared say a word. There was nothing to say.


            We were once more on the mainland, skimming the south coast to reach Hythloth. From here, I could see the ocean only stretched a few miles or so. Beyond that was void, with The Planks floating in the distance. Ocasionally, we passed a large rope embedded into the land, tying The Planks to the island.
            "Wait, old friend!" A voice called from behind me.
            An elderly, winged Gargoyle stood behind us. Both Inlor-Om and I recognized him instantly.
            "Father!" Inlor-Om cried.
            "Valkadesh!" I was equally surprised.
            The old Gargoyle smiled. "To wish you well on your quests. To offer farewell for my son, Inlor-Om, who departs just as his brother did before him." Valkadesh turned to Inlor-Om. "Ta-Re-Por Beh Lem. In-Ort-Le."
            They exchanged a few more words in Gargish. Valkadesh handed Inlor-Om a magical boomerang.
            "Farewell, Valkadesh!"
            "May your persistance and precision lead to success!"
            "I say," Dupre whispered to me. "What were they talking about? You're the smart one, (AV). I just hack down monsters."
            I grinned. "I only caught a few words, my friend, but the magic boomerang Valkadesh handed Inlor-Om was once Beh Lem's, it seems."
            "His death was a pity, (AV). A good warrior."
            "He died saving our lives. No, let's not talk of death for now. We must return to the surface world."


            After giving our farewells to Captain Johne, we proceded through the caverns upwards. Once again, Gorn led the way. Yet something was wrong. A dark air hung about the corridors. Each small sound brought me turning with a start.
            We were still clearly on the bottom level. Gorn found our way towards a steep path leading upwards. Yet at the top stood a single figure, wearing a full suit of plate armour.
            The Bal Lem? Could this be the Guardian's most powerful servant?
           "At last, 'Sir' Dupre, I hath found thee! And I shall destroy thee and thy companions!"
            Eh? Why would he want Dupre?
            "Who art thou?" Dupre called to the armoured figure.
           "Surely you remember he whom you killed in these passages years ago! Surely you remember I, the Black Knight, whom twice posed the greatest threat ever to Britannia!"
            The Black Knight? I'd never heard of him.
            "Black Knight??" I called.
           "So, Dupre, thy foolish companions know not of me! No matter! I shall kill you all!"
            With lightning speed, the 'Black Knight' threw three flasks of oil at us. He drew his sword and charged.
            "An Flam!" I called, dousing the burning flasks.
            Jumping through the air, the Black Knight brought his sword down at me. I dodged and, with a single weak blow from my mace, crushed his skull in.
            "Who is this dead fool, Durpe?"
            "The Black Knight? There was a pathetic, power-hungry villain by that name who challenged Britannia twice, shortly after the Gargish war. First he stole the Runes of Virtue, then he kidnapped the eight mayors. Both times, Shamino, Iolo, Mariah, and I defeated him. I slew him myself at the bottom of the Stygian Abyss."
            A demonic giggle sounded through the corridors. The Guardian! Of course! That foolish "Black Knight" was just a decoy! The Stygian Abyss is located on this same isle! These passages probably lead to it somehow!
            "This path is steep enough to be a wall, behind which might lie the entrance to the last level of the Abyss!" I pulled a magic gem from my backpack and peered into it. Sure enough, several hundred yards away was a huge cavern, fraught with pits of lava.
            "In Por!"
            Blinking through the wall, we now stood in a massive cavern, too large to see the ends. Ahead of us wast a huge swamp. Beyond that was the lava pit, directly under the Shrine of the Codex.
            Of course. This is the Underworld. If Bordermarch had fallen into the waves whence it collapsed, its rise must have brought the isle forth again!
            Still the Guardian's insane chuckles echo throughout my ears. I must concentrate. There's not much time!
            "Gorn! Tseramed! Both of you have spare swamp boots! Give them to Dupre and myself!"
            Dupre and I quickly readied the swamp boots. Gorn, who had been wearing his, put on my plate boots.
            "Inlor-Om, you'll have to fly over the swamp. The rest of you wait here!"
            Dupre and I trudged through the thick swamps. Still the giggles grew louder. Inlor-Om flew above us. At last we reached the volcano, standing before the very base of the Great Stygian Abyss. Lava spewed out, spreading through the swamps.
            "Sanct Flam!" I called, allowing us to walk safely over the lava. We stood at the center of the volcano. The Red Titan's mocking call grew still louder.
            Reaching my arms down into the volcano, I came across a jeweled longsword. Caliburn! The sacred blade forged by the mountainmen of the Abyss to represent Justice! Discarding my mace, I armed the excellent weapon.
            Yet still the Guardian's chuckling went on unabated. Bending down to my knees, I reached once more into the centre of the volcano. Though protected from burns, the heat of the lava was unbearable.
            I felt ground beneath me. Etched into the rock I felt a symbol. The key of three parts! Louder and louder wert the Guardian's cries! No! How canst I open this without the Key?
            I must! I must! I cannot let the Guardian go unopposed! I must stop his evil!
            With the Word of the Passage, I felt the ground open beneath me. Dupre, Inlor-Om, and I fell into the stary void. In front of us was a huge, red figure.
            "The Guardian…"
            A grin marked the face of my most powerful enemy ever. Maniacal laughter filled my ears. He had won. I had lost.


            "Answer me this, my nemesis…" I spoke slowly, "What vendetta hast thou against I and Britannia? Why wouldst thou destroy this world when you simply converted others?"
            The Guardian chuckled. "All the more despair it adds to thee, Avatar. You have lost! Britannia is mine!"
            "Answer me, then! Or art thou afraid of revealing even a single secret, Tir-Mordreth?"
            "Do not call me that, mortal! I am the Guardian!"
            "No longer am I a mortal. I have ascended to become the Titan of Ether."
            "You still have much to learn. You have not mastered an inkling of your powers! I did not think the Time Lord would choose such a weakling as his champion!"
            "Then I am weak, Daemon. Then I have lost. Yet still you are a coward!"
            "How darest thee! Do you not see my power?! This is remains of the Chamber of the Codex! I now have the Mystic Arms, and canst use them to their true potential! And," hatred brimmed in the Guardian's eyes, "I hath this!"
            From the Red Titan's hand a giant crystal appeared. A withered, aged figure lay inside.
            "Lord British!!!!" I called.
            "Thy liege is mine, Avatar! Sapping his magic is a plentiful source of power nearly equaling the abilities of Blackrock! None shall stand against me now that I control him!"
            "Then now we battle."
            "No, Avatar. Now your execution begins."
            "Kill me, then!"
            "Oh no. You know I would never let that happen. I will savor the pleasure of your last moments! Prehaps you wouldst hear of the conquest of Britannia."


            Such a simple world, Avatar. So easy to conquer with you out of the way. You see, my friend, Britannia simply "decays." Without any menaces, it becomes bored and lax.
            Oh, the years after your companions returned were so exicting! Entire armies mobilized to stand against possible invasion. Thousands flocked to serve their liege. Ah, but I waited! And the threat became more and more distant. I waited over a decade so that I couldst conquer this land!
            Oh, it was so simple! A famine here, a plague there. Little inconvienences couldst do more than five hundred Mondains! I did not need a Black Gate, Avatar, for I did not even need to enter your pathetic world. Simple, mortal spells acomplished everything. A few mage servants of mine, such as Aram-Dol, could easily make their way between worlds. From there, they couldst enchant small pieces of Blackrock so that they couldst enable Black Gates. The Blackrock became unstable and had to be destroyed, else it take several worlds with it, just like the Blarckrock you found on Eodon. Oh, but my purpose was acomplished!
            I raised armies of undead! I summoned countless Daemons from Rhiannon! And they marched upon thy world in countless waves. How I enjoyed these moments, Avatar! I didst not have to enter thy pathetic world! I couldst simply reap the spoils and use them to conquer other worlds, such as thy puny Earth!
            You see, poor, poor, Avatar, I no longer hadst to fear the other Guardians. The Time Lord was of no threat, with his "champion" trapped in Pagan! This world I couldst destory! I had no need of its worthless populace! Britannia is so backwater; the reason I care for the Shattered Legacy is that some of the alternate worlds still have the technology from ancient Sosaria!
            But the true, greatest reason for this destruction! Hahahahahahaha! AVATAR, DOST THOU KNOW WHY I HATE BRITANNIA SO??!!
            "Damn thee, Guardian! I shall fight for and protect all those who follow the Eight Virtues and live with goodness in their hearts!"


            "Oh, but are still wrong, Avatar. You've done exactly the opposite of that quite recently. But enough of this! Thy death is nigh!!!!!!!"
            From inside the crystal, Lord British opened his eyes. With supreme effort, he began to speak.
            "Avatar!!! He… knows… the Mystics… will… true potential… armed by you… with your… new powers…"
            "Cease thy prattle, foolish king!!!!!!!! I rule Britannia, and shall rule all the Multiverse!!!!! I SHALL DESTROY THE VERY LAST ESSENCE OF THE TIME LORD!!!!!!!! BUT FIRST, IT IS THY TURN, AVATAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
            Within the Guardian's hands, sparks of dark flame shot up. An aura of blackness engulfed the Red Titan. Suddenly, a red aura shot up about Dupre, filling his eyes.
            "Enough, (AV)!" The knight turned to me. "My time has come! Fight for Britannia!!"
            "Eh…?" The Guardian whispered.
            Drawing the Magebanes, Durpe jumped through the air, a red aura glowing about him.
            "Hear me, Wilfred! Our battle hast come!!!"
            At the opposite side, a warrior in plate armour appeared, a blue aura hanging about him. Drawing a black Infinity Bow, the warrior open his eyes, glowing a light blue.
            "Wilfred!" I called.
            "No…" The Guardian cursed faintly.
            The red and blue auras of Dupre and Wilfred began to shift and change, intermingling with one another. Soon, both were engulfed in a golden aura.
            "Earth Serpent!!!!!" The Guardian roared. "Dare you to think that thou canst stop me????!!!!"
            "Order, Chaos, and Balance are as one." The voices of Durpe, Wilfred, and the Great Earth Serpent spoke in unison. "Never again shall Imbalance destroy their lands."
            "Never! Order and Chaos shall stand again thee as one!!!!!!"
            "SO BE IT!!!!!!!!!!!! DO THY WORST, FOOLISH GODS!!!!!!!!"
            "Tir-Mordreth." My voice broke through those others.
            "Avatar, thy fool! Seek you to die first???!!!"
            "No, Guardian of Falsehood. Your powers are strained. You lost the instant you distracted yourself from I." My words were not my own. What truly spoke them, I knew not. But all of us saw that they wert true.
            I felt unimaginable power coursing through me. A white aura of purity surrounded me.
            "Even I didst not imagine it…" The Guardian whispered.
            "NO!!!!!!!" The Daemon cried. "I SHALL STILL WIN!!!!!!!! THE MYSTIC ARMS ART MINE!!!!!!!!!!! THOU CANST NOT STOP ME, AVATAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
            Our auras grew stronger. I felt strain as dark magic engulfed me from all sides. Yet my power only grew. I had won, at least for now.
            Light engulfed me. All sound was overshadowed by the Guardian's scream of anguish. I felt as the underground volcano errupted.


            Trevor, Tseramed, Mortegro, Gorn, Inlor-Om, and I sat near the rubble of the Shrine of the Codex. A gigantic crater sat where the shrnie once was, descending directly to the Underworld. Only the Infinity Brazier, still with the eternal flame, remained.
            When we were teleported out of the volcano, Dupre was nowhere to be seen. Where he shouldst have been were his backpack, chain arm guards, and swamp boots. We divided the supplies from his backpack amongst ourselves. Mortegro readied the chain arm guards. Gorn and Tseramed took back their swamp boots, giving me plate boots.
            Now we sat here, staring into the crater. I had not won. Rather, I had delayed my defeat. The Guardian still held Lord British, and had now gained the Mystic Arms.
            My new knowledge also filled my mind with doubt. All my companions, with the possible exception of Gorn, were descended from Daemons. I vowed never to reveal this secret to the outside world.
            At last I stood up. Not a word was exchanged between my companions and myself. I walked down the path towards the Guardian Statues. Even their name struck repulsion into me. Damn thee, Tir-Mordreth. I shall not let another world fall unto thy grip.
            "Greetings, seeker. I am Rahl-Shaka, Guardian of Hatred." The Western Guardian spoke.
            "Greetings, seeker. I am Carh-Endel, Guardian of Cowardice, whom you once knew as Exodus." The Eastern Guardian spoke.
            "What???" I murmurred.
            "We once guarded the Codex of Ultimate Wisdom." Both Guardians spoke at once. "The artifact alone held the power to destroy our brother, Tir-Mordreth. Now it is lost forever, seeker, because of thine actions.
            "Why the Time Lord has chosen you, we know not. But you are his champion, and must end our legacy thyself! Do not fail us, seeker."
            But the statues were silent.
            "Here me! What does Tir-Mordreth guard? Why is he the Guardian??"
            "Seeker of Truth," The Guardians at last spoke. "Thou shalt find Truth. Countless shall suffer and die because of it."
            The statues began to crack and crumble. Within moments, we stood before mere ruins.
            "Incredible…" Mortegro whispered.
            "Of course!" I cried. "Quickly! Follow me!!"
            I rushed north past the crater, towards the high mountains. My companions scrambled after me. I knew not what I sought. Yet I knew I must reach the Shrine of Humility.
            I hiked down to the other side of the mountains, panting with breath. Above, I saw my companions beginning the descent down the mountains, siloueted by the sunlight.
            I turned my attention to the shrine which lay in front of me. Eight monoliths were arranged in a circle. Within them was a smaller circle of eight stones. At the very center lay a pedestal, from which a virutous aura emanated.
            On top of the pedestal lay a simple belt. At the from of the belt was a metal ankh. I realized the aura came not from the shrine, but from the belt.
            At last my companions reached he bottom. "Vhat hast thou, Avatar?" Gorn asked.
            "Tis but a belt." Trevor remarked.
            "Nay, my friend. Prehaps I wast wrong. The Guardian didst not capture all the Mystic Arms. One suit wast freed from his grasp, and appears to be split amongst the shrines."
            "Then to find the eight parts of the suit!" Inlor-Om cried.
            "Aye. For now, we hath only this simple belt. Still, twill be good to carry some supplies on."
            I put some of my potions, gems, torches, and lockpicks in the belt, so that it wouldst be easier to use them. Yet with each object I placed inside the belt, there seemed to be more and more space.
            Removing my backpack, I placed every item I carried within the belt. No matter what its size, all fit in perfectly, and the belt still hadst space left for more items.
            "Tis truly magical, Avatar!" Trevor was awed.
            "Aye. Lord British said that the Mystic Arms wouldst reach their true potential when control by my powers of Ether. Never before hath I witnessed this ability. Once we find the entire suit, than mayhaps we canst truly hold the power to best the Guardian."

One world lies in ruin, nothing more than a charred shell!
The other shall soon follow!

-Tir-Mordreth, Guardian of Falsehood

            Wow. If I succeeded with Book Six, that's the word I want in your mind as you finish. Wow. Originally, I'd intended this to be the midpoint of Ultima IX, where the Avatar finally confronts the Guardian and must find the Mystic Arms throughout the rest of the story. However, as I write, I realize that I've got more and more happening after this and these first six books might almost just be an introduction. Don't worry, though! I'll try to keep it from running on and becoming too boring.

Onward to the Next Book

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