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A Journey into Despise
In this week's spotlight, follow these brave adventurers as they delve deep into Despise and seek out the piper menace, Barracoon!

“When Jhered first told me of his plan, I thought surely he must be mad. To go after Barracoon, that wretched piper, with just a handful of adventurers is pure folly. And even though I had never seen the villain with my own eyes, I had heard the tales, and I had even seen some of his victims. Needless to say, I was not at all thrilled with my compatriot's idea.

“'There are creatures that serve him, Jhered,' I told my old friend. 'You'll never be able to get through them with just a small group of fighters.'

“Jhered was never one to step away from any challenge, and he assured me that our group wouldn't be alone on the battlefield. What else was I to do, but trust him? This was a man that has stared down dragons and dark dungeon-dwelling creatures - one of the bravest knights in Britannia - it wasn't my place to question him.

“It was early morning when we set out for Dungeon Despise. Our journey there was uneventful, except for the random orc camp that we encountered. And while the orcs posed little challenge for our veteran group, they provided our minds a nice diversion from the task that lay ahead. None of us would say it, but we all felt it - dread; except, maybe, for Jhered, who was loath to break from our trip for any amount of time, even to battle miserable orcs. He was intent on reaching Despise by evening.

“We arrived at the dungeon's entrance with little fanfare. In fact, there seemed to be a shroud of solemnity hanging over the dark archway into the mountainside. No one spoke a word as we entered, each clutching at the hilts of our weapons of choice, ready to strike in case we were met by anything foul once inside. Jhered was the first to charge through the entrance with a savage yell, and the rest of us followed one by one, albeit not quite as loudly. As the flames from our torches and magical incantations broke through the darkness, we were not surprised to find absolutely nothing moving. I smiled privately at Jhered's misplaced chutzpa. There would be plenty of time for battle cries and brave rushing advances later, if what I've heard about those altars was to be believed.

“We worked our way deeper into the pits of Despise, only stopping twice to fight. Our party of seasoned adventurers made quick work of pests that didn't clear out of our way quickly enough. As far as dungeons go, Despise has never been particularly dangerous. Certainly, more fearsome foes have been met wandering dark forests or terrorizing remote islands.

“Jhered's energy level was flagging by the time we descended to Despise's deepest depths. He strode purposefully and with determination, his jaw set in a slight scowl, leading our little band. Then, suddenly, he stopped. Raising a gauntleted fist, he whispered, 'Hear that?'

“I heard it, all right -- the sounds of a scuffle. And of death. We made our own little racket drawing our weapons, then advanced deeper into the immense cavern. Jhered was right -- others had come before us. There was a full-on battle in progress. Summoned from somewhere, vile and rabid-looking wolves scurried around amongst clans of Ratmen. Thalos released the bolt cocked on his crossbow at a beast headed his way, while Jhered shouted and charged. The creature was clearly knocked senseless by the bolt and certainly never saw its own coming doom in the form of the knight's massive sword. The beheaded Ratman collapsed, and we didn't even bother to search the body for valuables. Battle was joined!

“The numbers of fighters quickly grew. Warriors battled alongside tamers and their large, draconic companions - companions that were certainly intimidating in appearance, but I was glad for their presence. Even the deadly silver serpents that crawled out from beneath Barracoon's altar could do little against those magnificent winged beasts. One by one, the evil was dispatched, and as I turned to thrust my sword into the back of a Ratman archer, I heard his name shouted from within the throng of people: 'Barracoon!'

“I whirled around to catch sight of our foe, but the area was thick with combatants, all striving to lay waste to this evil piper. I spied Jhered, his features streaked with the blood of his enemies and skewed into a fierce expression, dive into the middle of the fray, sword drawn and lips parted in another feral shout. Fire sprang forth from the ground as mages attempted to burn the evil creature, and all I could do was pace the perimeter, searching for an opening. But, alas, as I finally shoved my way through, it was over. Barracoon had fallen.

“I would have been disappointed if not for the piles of gold that appeared across the small island. A curious, dark gate had also appeared after the piper's death. Where it led, I did not know, for I stayed behind with my brothers, collecting gold and healing wounds. As I was tending to an injury on my leg, Jhered placed a hand upon my shoulder, 'You missed Barracoon, my friend. But there will be plenty more battles. And we will be there for every one of them.' His fingers curled encouragingly against my shoulder, and then he was off to see to the others in our group. I sat there for a long, thoughtful moment, and then a smile dawned across my dirt-darkened features. More battles. More adventures. More excitement. These are the things that make Britannia the only place to be.”

-An Anonymous Warrior

We are pleased to continue to present these tales of your adventures in the world of Britannia. Join us next week as we turn our spotlight on another exciting tale. And as always, keep an eye on FYI for future spotlight topics!

Published: August 2002
Please Note: Some dates are estimates as exact dates were unavailable.
Ultima Online ESRB Rating
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