It would seem one more day will be required to completely finish Ultima VII, at least in terms of plot! My most recent adventure was entirely centered around Buccaneer's Den, where I encountered the great-great-grandson of the fat Budo of Ultima VI, as well as a pair of sentimental pirate buddies whom the Fellowship had driven apart. The cube proved useful in getting me access to Hook's chambers, where I found a sweet Juggernaut hammer, the first one I have found so far (save for the one in the weapons chamber of Serpent's Hold). I also found a dead Alligator, for some reason, in an otherwise inaccessible room. It occurs to me that I might have been able to get into Hook's lair with the use of a simple Telekenesis spell in the Fellowship hall, opening a secret passage in the back room! In this respect, Ultima VII suffers from the fact that it has no way of obfuscating the areas behind doors the way earlier games did.
In those secret passages I met a relatively unfriendly torturing troll, a dragon trap, and some magic weapons which I didn't pick up because I am so completely overloaded with magic stuff at present. I also spent a bit of time relaxing at the baths in the city, although without female (or for that matter, male) companionship because I don't find the portraits very attractive. I was able to get into the building, again, through the secret doors. I contemplated some gambling, but I am so close to the end of the game, it doesn't matter. I just remember my strategy in the past was to play Virtue Roulette, and simply open my inventory and place my bet while the wheel is paused, just before the final click that decides the winning color. In that manner I experienced the collapse of the universe described elsewhere, when wall start spontaneously vanishing.
After that I headed to the Shrine of the Codex, which for some reason Shamino insists is the Shrine of Humility, and also beat up on a group of pirates nearby, finding a whole suit of magic armor in the process. Those magic gorgets are hard to come by! I seem to remember the game has something like 8 complete suits of magic armor scattered around Britannia, except lacking one helmet, or maybe it was lacking one gorget. I'm not sure. I quit playing after about two hours, standing around beside the throne of the Guardian on the Isle of the Avatar.
In other news, I had a very brief conversation with a reader who reminded me that the Ultima IV on the Sega Master System is very good, and that it takes the unusual step of featuring 2D dungeons.
Finally, have I already mentioned the strange partially obfuscated backpack in Vesper, which is totally inacessible without cheating? It's positioned such that its straps are visible in a window in the Provisioner's shop, I think, but it cannot be manipulated. I wonder if I should include a list of the things you can do in Ultima VII that I neglected to do...Well, here's a few:
-Visit the lost cave where a note from a despairing fellow can be found
-Find a field of sleep-inducing flowers with the only love arrows in the game
-Find all the randoms tuff in the great forest, including a pirate hangout and a soldier encampment.