A box full of Virtue

Garth Rannz

UP: Sonoma

    Meeting at the Minoc studio of the sculptress Demosthena, a large group of adventurers gathered in an effort to cleanse the Shrines of Valor, Justice and Spirituality of the corruption that has befallen them.

    The power of the Shrines had taken refuge in the very earth itself; in the form of three trees!

    Guided by conversations with the Archmage Balart and the members of the famed Mage Tower, it was decided that wood from these three trees would be harvested, and that three boxes would be fashioned. The Mages explained that while energy can be neither created or destroyed, it can be redirected, given a proper container to harness the power. Only matter touched by the Virtues would be hardy enough to hold their power within them. The premise is that, with the proper rites and incantations, the energy of the Shrines and the energy of the corruption upon them could be switched, using the wood from the Virtue Trees as a conduit.

    The problem lay in the method of harvesting the wood. Scholars suggested that an unusual object was needed to do so: a golden axe. After some discussion, it was decided to approach Demosthena, for her expertise in dealing with rare and unusual minerals (Her statues on display in Minoc are the talk of the town!)

    Demosthena admitted she could do the job, but she’d need 500 ingots mined from a portion of the isle of ice known as “Ogre Point”. A sojourn was taken to find and mine the ore. Half-a-dozen miners were guarded by two score warriors, as they fended off the onslaught of the fierce ogres. Once the ore was gathered, and brought to Demosthena, she asked for a few days time to fashion the axe. It seems her studio was over-run by cats, and the fur they were shedding was all over her finest tools!

    So the adventurers returned to her studio at the appointed time, eager to claim the axe. Demosthena asked who would bear it. The axe was able to do the job, but it would only last for three strikes. Each cut must thence be perfect! Only a person with high ability could do the labor. A young girl named Ashley spoke up as to her skill in lumberjacking and carpentry, and Demosthena granted her the blade.

    Portals were opened to the first tree; that in which Valor hid. After a brief fumble with the axe (no doubt the effect of so many eyes fixed upon her) Ashley struck a perfect cut upon the tree! With the logs in hand, Balart concentrated, and conducted a magical rite as Ashley fashioned a small box from the wood. The power of the Valor flowed from the tree into the box, leaving it colored a vibrant red!

    Quickly, the adventurers rushed to the second tree, that of Justice, and did their work again. Another success quickly followed. This time leaving a lush Green box.

    Confident now, the party went to the last of the three trees, that of Spirituality. The first step proceed smoothly, but as Ashley completed the final box, a mighty pack of Gargoyles descended upon the group. Fighting to protect the young craftswoman, the assembled warriors and mages ultimately prevailed against the foul creatures. And the glowing white box was safe.

    All three boxes in the hands of Balart, all that remains are the rituals to remove the corruptions themselves. Denizens of the Mage Tower say these should happen throughout the week, and that all interested parties should go to the Mage Tower for more information.

From the Town Cryer - The Journal of Ultima Online, Thursday, August 12th 1999