After being harangued by the Voice of God for taking the wrong exit out of Trinsic, I get Cate’s map of Britannia out to try and find out where she should be going. The map isn’t immediately helpful but, operating on the assumptions that the big built up area is Britain, that it’s reachable without having to get on a boat, and that Trinsic doesn’t appear to be in the middle of the desert, I conclude that she is currently somewhere to the south of Britain and that she should start heading northwards. This is a skill called orienteering long thought lost in this age of dynamic map markers and fast travel.
Unfortunately by the time I’ve figured this out the sun has started to set, and unlike most games I discover that you cannot see a goddamn thing at nighttime in Ultima VII. To make matters worse Iolo and Spark are both constantly complaining that they’re hungry. After some fiddling I manage to get Iolo’s inventory open to see if he’s got any food on him.
MOTHER OF GOD. Those are the creepiest eyes I have ever seen. Or maybe it’s just the way I have the two equipment screens arranged so that he appears to be making a squicky come-hither expression at Cate. Whatever. The inventory system in Ultima VII is quite comically bad in that it functions exactly like a real bag: fill it with too much stuff and you have to go digging through it to uncover whatever’s languishing at the bottom. After some preliminary excavations Iolo turns out to have some mutton and a loaf of bread, while Spark is carting around some grapes and sausages. I shove the meat-based products down their gullets before heading to the local inn to stock up on provisions. The innkeeper sells food as expected but attempts to gouge me horribly on the local delicacy. Cate does not fall for her ploy and instead buy fives legs of mutton at three gold each. We’re on a budget here, people.
Sadly she is unable to avoid forking out twenty more gold pieces for a room for the night as I don’t really want her to be blundering around in the dark with only a creepy old man and a street urchin for company, and I also want to see what the shops of Trinsic have to offer now that Cate’s actually got some money to spend. Iolo promises to watch Cate while she sleeps, which does no favours for his creepiness factor. In the morning I am somewhat dismayed to learn that the shops sell equipment which is no better than what Cate & co. stole from the various houses around Trinsic. It seems there’s nothing else to spend my vast fortune on except more combat training. That is, until I talk to the stablekeeper.
Who sells me a horse. A horse. It’s barely quicker than walking but who cares, I’m on a horse. This is travelling in style.
Leaving Trinsic from the north gate this time, and the Voice seems pleased. “YES, AVATAR, THAT IS THE PROPER DIRECTION!” it booms. You just wait till I find you, pushy narrator guy. We’ll see if you can still offer patronising commentary with a dagger rammed down your gullet. A couple of minutes hard riding brings Cate to what I assume is Britain from the way a very tinny rendition of “Rule Brittania” starts playing as soon as she enters the city limits.
Iolo and Spark immediately start grumbling that they’re hungry again after going all of six hours without food. Honestly, they’re worse than my cats; I’m starting to dislike the game for lumbering me with an old man and a small child as my first companions. Cate shows them some tough love by keeping a tight grip on the party’s food supply, and the group starts casting around in search of the two murderers from Trinsic. First stop, something called the “National Branch”. Sounds like a bank. If we don’t find the murderers in here we can at least rob the place, I guess.
Everyone remember where we parked!