Well, it's time to end the Serpent Isle blog! But I must first acknowledge an error--In the last blog, I described killing off the Trapper, when in fact that happened on this day, as you will note from the screenshot! (Did I mention he oddly killed the remainder of the Gwani but left their bodies just laying around instead of skinning them?) It was the last thing I did before Dupre was sent to sacrifice himself.
Actually, that is a mistaken phrase. In reality, after I finished off the Trapper, Xenka informed me that one of myself or my Companions had to sacrifice him/herself for the greater good. I drew the shortest straw, and so we were all sent to Monitor, where I removed Renfry's ashes from the crematorium machine (Renfry rand the cremation service in Monitor--this was one of the more amusing details of the city's destruction) and pulled the lever, intendeding to hop in. But alas! Dupre felt guilty for all the crimes he had recently committed, and leapt in in place of me. A sad tune plays and you see a nice brass urn roll out from the machine.
So what did Dupre do, anyway? Iolo slaughtered people in Fawn; Shamino blasted them in Moonshade, but it's not clear that Dupre did anything at all, besides sit around the White Dragon Castle and plan for my doom. Anyway, this sacrifice by Dupre fulfilled the crystal ball prophesy in the ice caves of Ultima Underworld II, which I am sad to report I did not get to see due to that game's bugginess :-(
The rest of the game was a whirlwind tour. Xenka immediately sends me off to the Skullcrusher mountains (AGAIN!) to open the Chaos Wall of Lights, and send Dupre's soul into the void so that he can control the Chaos serpent while I go and release the great earth serpent. The more I think about this, the more confusing it is. Why doesn't the Order serpent need anyone to bind to it to control it, or the Earth Serpent for that matter? In any case, this qualifies as the most boring quest in the Ultima series. It entails nothing more than exploring three levels of a gigantic maze in the back of that dungeon (after blowing up some big golden doors). The maze is mostly devoid of anything interesting at all. There are a some rooms, and a few monsters (particularly a dense forest of gremlins that are extremely annoying; I didn't even try to fight them) but no treasure, no books, nothing else. Eventually you reach the Chaos temple area, and if you are lucky, notice a secret door in the back through which you enter and see the Wall of Lights. With the Chaos banes (oh yeah--maybe that's why you need Dupre to undergo this binding; I forgot about that) you send Dupre into the void, and he prevents the Chaos serpent from attacking you.
Side question--where can I download all the ultima voice files? I have a tool that extracts them from Ultima VII, but it doesn't quite work for Serpent Isle, and I am additionally way too lazy to convert the .voc files.
From there I head back through the maze, chat with Xenka, who finally sends me on to Sunrise Isle, a huge dreamland-like "island" which on the map takes the place of where the Eastern Signpost was in Ultima I (creative reference, almost as good as Bulldozer -> Sleeping Bull!) but which gives no evidence of being on the planet at all. Actually, Gwenno did freeze to death there, so maybe that indicates it is in the frozen north somewhere (I gave up trading boots between the Companions and just let her die). Sunrise Isle is largely a series of puzzles--Collect the items that symbolize each virture. Then gather cubes of ice and fire(!!!). The hardest part is the very first one--you have to remove blue and red serpent statues from some pedastals and place them on the scale. The only problem is that the "scale" looks absolutely nothing like a scale I've seen. The only clue that it's supposed to be a scale is a) a chain nearby and b) the complete lack of anything else to do.
In any case, I finally made it to the last chamber, right after I presented the Great Earth Serpent with the serpent crown, staff, and armor, the emblems of the Great Heirophant, which somehow got scattered all over Serpent Isle. As a reward, I was given the Order Serpent Eye, a blue glowing thing. This was good, because I had the Chaos Serpent Eye, and I was certain that the Order one must be around somewhere, but I never saw any mention of it! And the Chaos serpent eye just showed up in the random secret room behind the Great Heirophant's mummy. This was one of the more confusing aspects of the game, I'm afraid. Anyway, from there I took out some servents of the Order serpent (ice elementals), and heard the famous alliterative line, "Slay me! Slay me with the Serpent Sword, and send my soul back into the void!" That sword was the rusty-looking Ophidian sword Xenka gives you, and it's lucky I remembered to keep the damn thing with me.
As a side note, the last time I played this game, I totally forgot to pick up the Chaos blackrock serpent from the slot I dropped it in when I used it to send Dupre in the void, and I was so mad that I broke down and cheated to create a new one. This time, however, I remembered it and finished the game entirely legitimately!
In the void, I see the Serpents all combine with each other in a manner reminding me of the serpents-around-a-staff medical emblem, and then the Guardian snatches me out of the void and drags me to "another world altogether!" Then the game crashed, and I immediately reloaded, played through the last scene again, and finally saw the credits in a relatively anticlimactic manner. I am sad that I didn't get a "You beat Serpent Isle in XXX days!" message, so I'll end this game with a screenshot of a gigantic hand!