I am pleased and yet disturbed by the results of mine research
conducted last Thursday. I hath spent many months researching the potency of reagents, and
I hath long suspected that their power could be related to their age and growing
conditions. Unfortunately, the locations of wild plants actually growing in the wilderness
is lost knowledge.
While dining amongst friends, someone
suggested that I spend sometime looking in the maze, for it contains a myriad of exotic
and rare plants within its hedges. Since old legends say that powerful nightshade can be
found within the bounds of Spirit Wood, this sounded promising.
I gathered together a large escort party since the maze is a very
dangerous place. The party included many people, and among them were such distinguished
guilds as the Royal Britannian Army, Guignols Band and guilds under the wing of the
Pacific Guild Coalition. Through the magic of one of the fine mages present, we traveled
using a summoned moongate to a location south of the hedge maze. There was some debate as
to which entrance we should take and where to look in the maze. Scouts were sent out. One
such scout reported a large gathering of undead near the southeast entrance.
Large was an understatement. There were countless hordes of ghouls,
specters, and skeletons. The brave band, however, seemed unfazed and made quick work of
the lot. We proceeded deeper into the maze, checking the regions that hath favorable
growing conditions for nightshade. Someone spotted a swamp on the far side of the hedge.
As we walked nearer the swamp, a deep and raspy voice boomed out something about
nightshade. We saw a red liche with a lesser liche and two glowing skeletons flanking him.
The liche waved his staff and uttered strange words of power, summoning forth a large
poison elemental! The four of them proceeded to attack us.
Our first assault was a total failure. One adventurer lost his life
as we were repelled back by their dark magicks killing only the lesser liche. They seemed
extremely powerful, and we knew we were not up against normal undead creatures. The
leaders of the band rallied others that were scattered in the maze and launched a second
assault. This proved more successful as the poison elemental fell, and then the skeletons
one by one. The group converged on the red liche and struck it mercilessly. What seemed an
eternity later, the liche fell to the ground. Many lost their lives. I prayed their
sacrifice was not made in vain.
We made our way through the hedges to the swamp where we spotted the
liche and his minions. Growing out of a puddle was a nightshade plant! It was powerful
indeed! Those who walked near it were instantly poisoned. We lacked the tools and the
knowledge to take this plant from the ground.
Many speculated that the liche had found a way to manipulate the
plant in order to summon the elemental. Many others fear what this could do in the hands
of the unjust. However, I am hopeful. If the nightshade plant exists, other natural
reagents probably do too. I will continue mine research into finding them, and also
hopefully, find a way to remove the nightshade plant from the maze. The druids of Yew say
that many hath seen the red flower of a ginseng plant in the wilderness there. Perhaps
that is where I shall look next.
From the Town Cryer - The Journal of Ultima Online, Monday, June 29th 1998