Mandrake root found amid strange circumstances


UP: Pacific

    Mine research into the magical plants of Britannia continues, however, with each step along the path of knowledge comes a terrible price. Many brave adventurers accompanied me to the swamps northeast of Britain in search of the powerful mandrake root. This expedition began on the road leading to Cove near the outpost. As we trekked north towards the swamps, a small child named Morgana ran to us crying for help. Our brave warriors hurried to aid her, but she fell to one of the many giant serpents around her.

    Not long after the little girl fell were we set upon by the beasts of the swamp. Lizardmen and ratmen attacked the party in great numbers. So large was the opposition, they seemed to fill my entire field of view. Mages, archers and warriors kept them back, losing only a little ground. Many died protecting old friends and new allies. There was no bickering at the swamp, for all were united against the overwhelming odds.

    Amidst the carnage, Morgana emerged. I found this very strange as I had witnessed her death on the roadside. However, having seen many fallen adventurers brought back to life by the master mages there, I thought no more on it. She clinged to my robes for protection as a protective ring of noble citizens formed around us.

    Eventually we pushed the forces of darkness further into the swamp. A keen eye spotted the bushy leaves of the mandrake plant from beneath a lily pad. I ran to the root and felt the energies of magic coursing through its leaves. Then a moongate opened near us.

    From the gleaming portal, a man in swirling red robes emerged. He carried himself tall and proud. He went by the name of Kyren. With him were four heavily armored knights. He looked quickly at the mandrake plant then to the girl hiding near my robes. He demanded she be turned over to him!

    Morgana squealed in terror. She refused to go, and Kyren became very angry. He named her as a daemon and demanded we step aside. The hot tempered mage then accused us of aiding the daemon, then demanded the entire party turn over all their recall runes.

    We hesitated and tried to question him further. He would not listen and instead called upon the arcane energies of the land to unleash a bolt of energy at one of our party. The five descended on us like rapid animals, accusing us of unspeakable evil. We had no choice. Kill or be killed. Kyren fell to our band, just as Morgana started her insane laughter.

    “Fools!” she cried in a deep voice. “Now I know the location to the root!” She laughed again. She first marked a rune near the mandrake, then disappeared in front of our astonished warriors. We looked at the body of Kyren, and then realized what we had done.

    The mandrake could not be taken from that place; we lack the knowledge to do so. I can only hope we discover the secret to extracting the root before the foul daemon. Many vowed to find this Morgana and slay the beast, just as I am certain Kyren did.

    We hath found nightshade, mandrake, and thanks to Philindar, ginseng. I am left wondering, was it worth it?



From the Town Cryer - The Journal of Ultima Online, Friday, July 10th 1998