Continuing from where I departed the present time and went back to the Silver Seed...
I arrived back in the Spinebreaker mountains, and headed on to Batlon's hideout, where I promptly killed Brunt, Deadeye, Palos, and Selina. Actually, it wasn't prompt. Selina has to die last and will not die until the others are dead, yet my idiot companions invariably focused their attacks on her. So I would wait around forever and she wouldn't die; eventually, I realized the problem and had the Avatar wipe out the other three, at which point Selina finally collapsed and i could take her useless blink ring and her ridiculously convenient Dispel Field scroll that I will need soon--The second most contrived element of the game (The first was the door that won't open even if you do the right thing, mentioned a few days ago). The next scene has Batlin opebning the wall of lights, something going wrong, the Banes escaping his body an invading my Companions, and the Guardian killing him--"See how I reward those who fail me!"
Incidentally, that comment by the Guardian was my "recycle bin emptying" noise for the longest time in Windows.
I had to repeat that whole scene about six times--first, Boydon exploded, so he had to leave; later, a Juggernaut Hammer vanished after the companions turn all evil. This was followed by a myriad of other absurd problems, mostly due to my failure to save my game at convenient times. Eventually, I escaped and in short order accomplished two goals: Freeing the Gwani horn from an energy field (so convenient Selina had a Dispel Field scroll!) and freeing Gwenno from ther icy tomb with that horn (whee, I'm led along on a leash!). From there I had to cure Gwenno's sickness by acquiring the water of Discipline, which in turn required a visit to Moonshade.
Moonshade is in sad shape. Most everone is dead, save people who I need to do things for me (I think Shamino the Anarch considered this when he decided who would die). For some reason, Ale the Parrot is still wandering around, but Edrin is dead, as is his brother. Rocco is dead too, but Petra yet lives. This is good, because I need to drag her off the the temple of Discipline to change bodies with me. That same temple involved finding some Y-shaped doodads to put in slots on a machine at the front of the shrine, but humorously you can click-drag the slots around the screen! I never found one of the two, but they don't seem to be necessary.
Curing Gwenno got me some information--namely, I need soul prisms. Three of the not-dead people in Moonshade pulled that off for me, but they need items that, conveniently, I had pilfered from Vasculio the vampire back in Skullcrusher aka Skullsmasher. With the soul prisms created, it was off to White Dragon Castle!
But not really. Actually I had to visit three more shrines to get water related to three Chaos virtues: Tolerance, Enthusiasm, and Emotion. Tolerance was the most interesting, since in the process I rescued poor stranded Mortego (though he vanishes shortly thereafter) and talked to a guy who's been alive for hundreds of years because a mouse stole a key and hid in a very blocky maze. Man, narrating this takes forever! The short version of the other two shrines--Enthusiasm: Wander around a convoluted maze that has no apparent association with the concept of Enthusiasm. Emotion: Talk to a green little girl in a wall who explains how to collect some emotion-themed stones that look just like the Silver Seed (bu not silver). I dump this water on the soul prisms (hey, Gwenno references soul cages, as in the Black Gate!) and all is prepared for my journey tothe White Dragon castle.
All this leads to one of the more confusing aspects of the game--What am I doing, exactly? As my recollection goes, Batlin vanished from Britannia and went to the Serpent Isle, where he freed the Banes of Chaos, and then the universe started falling apart with the teleport storms, earthquakes, and so on. Then he opens the Wall of Lights for...the purpose of getting into the void, thinking for some reason that he will beceome all powerful? And then he announces that he's been tricked, the Banes escape his body (why was this triggered by opening the Wall of Lights?) and go into my companions. So did this kill him, or did the Guardian? Or was the "see how I reward those who fail me" just posturing? If the imbalance is causing the storms and all, why is it only happening now? The Great Earth Serpent was yoinked away all the way back in Exodus' day! I assume it's because of the Banes being freed, but the storms keep on happening even after they are trapped...But that's tomorrow!
In any case, I am afraid Serpent Isle leaves me confused if I think about it too much.