Always having to prove my worthiness! Don't you Guardians talk to each other!?
I’ve run into a significant problem while playing Conquests of Camelot. I fear I will have no other option than to start again, but perhaps one of you can figure out a way that can be avoided. Rather than jump straight to the issue, I’ll post my way right up to the incident. My last post finished with the seeress selling me an apple that would make everyone I spoke to in Jerusalem express their “most secret and urgent need”. With this in mind, I set out to speak to all of the inhabitants, and to try to fulfil whatever it is they desired. The Lucernae shopkeeper was the first I visited, and he would be happier if his cousin Achmed “had not broken his oath to me and ruined our friendship”. I knew from my screenshots that Achmed owned the inn, so it would be interesting to see what he had to say about the situation. I moved onto the very aggressive butcher, who’d earlier called me a heathen and suggested he didn’t feel like serving anyone today. It turned out the reason for his anger was the horrible smell of fish caused by the fishmonger a couple of stores down. I was going to have to find a way to solve that little problem too. The third person I spoke to was Ismail from Antiquarius Rex, and for the first time I received an honest word from him: “Truly if I could have anything in the world, I would have your money.”
Why, that is odd! An honest salesman!
I guess they wouldn't be very good salesmen if they were completely honest.
I continued my way around the marketplace, with the next person I ran into being the leprous beggar. “At night, I suffer from the cold. I have only this brazier in which to burn charcoal, my only source of warmth. I must rely upon the goodness of stranger, such as yourself, to bring me charcoal so I will not suffer in the night.” I recalled that charcoal was for sale in Lucernae, but decided to talk to everyone before trying to cross anyone off the list. Next was Achmed, who explained the situation that had ruined the relationship between him and his cousin. The whole argument was over a broom, which Achmed needed to clean his shop, but Tariq refused to sell it to him for some unknown reason. I would have to go back to Tariq and find out why he was reluctant for the sale to go ahead. I moved onto the grain merchant, but surprisingly he still appeared too agitated to speak to me. Perhaps that had something to do with the fishmonger being right next door! I spoke to this fishmonger, aware that quite a few Jerusalem shopkeepers seemed a bit pissed by the smell his store was creating. “I want only to sell my fish in peace without the snarls and threats of my neighbours, Ali and Fawaz. What can I do?! Fish smell like fish.” I had a fair idea how to solve his problem, but there were still a few more people I needed to speak to.
I'm sure you can make your own broom without too much trouble mate! There's no excuse for untidiness.
The fish stench must be really something!!!
The owner of Fictilia had two wishes; although the first of these was that the wind would not change direction and blow the stench of fish over his shop. The second wish was simply that someone would purchase something from his shop. I figured I’d wait and see what items I might need before I fulfilled this wish, and instead moved onto the final two shopkeepers. Sarah the cook wanted nothing more than a fresh cut of lamb, since she was totally sick of eating nothing but felafel, but the story of Ibrahim the textile merchant was much more interesting! “What shall I do? I have been betrayed by Mari the wicked, Mari the vain. For my brief moment of weakness, I shall lose my beloved wife. You are a man. You will understand. I dallied but once with the woman, Mari, who lives above the shop of Mohammed. But I left behind a silken veil. Not any veil. A veil supreme in the mastery of the weaver’s art, of glorious color and pattern. Mari refuses to return it to me. I promised this veil to my wife as proof of my devotion. If I fail to bring it to her, she will leave me.” Really?! I have to help a man cover up the fact he cheated on his wife to be shown as worthy to the Goddess? I wondered if this was a test, so decided to look out for any way I might be able to avoid returning the veil.
Lamb and felafel at 3:00 AM really does sound like paradise!
You suggest that only men could do such a thing!? Have you met my wife?
Right, so I now knew all the things I was supposed to collect and do. Where to start? I bought charcoal and herbs from Lucernae for the beggar and the fishmonger respectively. The beggar was extremely grateful, blessing me a thousand times over. Giving the herbs to the fishmonger had the desired result too. “Eh, what is this? Why are you – ah, what a wonderful smell these herbs have! How very potent and aromatic! I shall hang them up at once.” This seemed to please his previously agitated neighbour and the angry butcher, which was just as well since I wanted to purchase some of his lamb for Sarah. On my way back to her store, I stopped in to talk to Tariq about the broom his cousin so desperately wanted. It turned out that Tariq had a grudge against his cousin since he’d not brought a holy relic back from his pilgrimage as he’d promised. I knew where I could purchase a relic, so I stopped in at Antiquarious Rex to buy one. The only problem was that he asked me to name the saint that I wanted a relic for. I had no idea, so had to go back to Tariq to find out. “Any relic would satisfy me, though a relic of the holy Elzer would make me truly joyous.” It cost me my last remaining gold coin to purchase the Elzer relic, so I hoped it would be worth it. Before I left the relic shop, the dodgy owner offered to sell me the Holy Grail! I ignored the offer, knowing the man for the crook he was.
This is a lesson a few of your fellow townsfolk could also learn.
This is possibly my favourite line in the game so far.
Giving the lamb to Sarah resulted in a bit more development than I’d expected. “You... you have brought this for me simply because I wanted it? No-one has ever shown me a kindness like this before. Your good example makes me ashamed!” She decided to honour my generosity by taking the starving child in as her own, which I thought was pretty cool. With that done, I took the relic of Elzer to Tariq, who was suitably impressed: “Good sir, I am speechless! Surely my cousin, Achmed, has sent this through you as an offering of peace between us.” He gave me the broom to deliver to Achmed, which I did immediately. “Ya’Allah! You have managed to part Tariq from his broom. And you give this to me? But surely... why, this can only mean it is an offering of peace from my cousin through you. He has forgiven me!” All is well that ends well I guess! Achmed offered me food and a room in his inn, so I accepted. Night time came and passed, and despite getting bitten by fleas all night, I awoke refreshed and ready to continue my quest. So who did I still have to satisfy in Jerusalem? I hadn’t purchased anything from the earthenware shop and I hadn’t recovered the veil for the adulterous tailor. The former seemed the easier of the two, so I tried buying bowls, plates, jugs and vases from Farabi. The game told me I didn’t need any of them! His only wish was that I purchase something, yet I appeared unable. Hmmm...
This may be a biblical reference??
I asked for a mirror! Not a picture of an unnaturally handsome man!
Looking through my screenshots, I noticed that when I’d originally spoken to him he’d mentioned he had a mirror for sale. I couldn’t think of a reason why I would want it, but I tried buying it anyway. I was able to, meaning I could focus all of my attention on finding this Mari chick for the tailor. He’d told me that this woman lived above Mohammed’s, which was the guy I sold my mule to, so I went to see if I could find a way inside. The front door to Mohammed’s was locked, and was unlikely to get me up to Mari’s anyway. Climbing failed, and there didn’t appear to be any way to get up there from other screens either. In the end I typed “call Mari”, although I was by no means confident that this would work. The window on the second floor opened, and Mari looked out! “Mmmmm, so who are you, with lungs like the hamsin, the all-powerful wind? I see you are a foreigner, but from the look of you, not a very rich one. I only have time for rich men.” I spoke to her again, and found her to be a far from humble woman. “I am very unhappy right now. I know I am very beautiful, but I have no way to see my own beauty as others see it. And curse that wretched Ibrahim. He left me for his wife of all things! At least I have kept his precious veil for revenge.”
What a shame! I just gave away a bloodied leg of lamb that was the spitting image!
I of course had just purchased a mirror, so figured giving it to her might just convince her to hand over the veil. I tried, yet Mari was up too high to reach it. I typed “throw mirror to Mari”, and was thrilled when it worked as planned! She caught it, and then dropped the veil down to me, completing all of my tasks...or so I thought! I gave the veil to Ibrahim, who was suitably thrilled to have it back. He promised to “never be unfaithful to my beloved wife again”, and then went upstairs and made love to her (no, I wasn’t witness to the entire act!). I made my way back to the seeress for further instructions, only to be rejected! “Nothing more will I say or give until you have completed every task.” Huh? Whose wishes had I not yet fulfilled?! I wandered around, talking to each shopkeeper, hoping to find something I’d failed to notice. I paid particular attention to the grain merchant, since he’d never told me what he wished for. I tried buying some grain, since the game seemed to tell me whenever I tried to buy something I didn’t need. Strangely, I was able to buy the grain, but for what purpose? When I walked past Mohammed and Mari’s building, the answer became obvious! There was now a young girl crying in the street. “I dropped the cage and all my mistress’ doves escaped. They will not come back and they are prize doves, hand fed by my mistress from hatchlings!”
Uh...yes...if you say so!
Oh what delight! Another damsel in distress!
I can’t be certain whether the girl only appears once the ordeal with Mari is over or whether the player must complete all the other tasks first, but I knew what to do regardless. Giving her the grain didn’t work, but putting it in the cage did. The doves flew down, ate all the grain, and then hopped back into the cage for the girl to close it. The girl’s name was Ione, and I soon discovered she was no ordinary girl! “You thought me only a simple girl, but I am an initiate of the Goddess sent to watch and test you. King Arthur, you have finished your tasks with this act of cleverness. Return to the Seeress for her judgment.” I did exactly that, excited to find out what was in store for me next! After showering me with praise, the seeress had the following to say: “Seek the star and crescent where Fatima dwells. Now that you are ready, she will admit you. She is the most powerful, though not the last, of the Guardians of the Sacred Cup.” Before I went on my way, she gave me the apple “that ends hunger, slakes thirst, and eases weariness”. I assume a time will come where I will require its sustenance. I knew exactly where Fatima would be of course, since I’d not yet been able to enter the house with a “star and crescent” above the door at the edge of Jerusalem. This time when I knocked, the door opened and I entered, wondering what could possibly await me inside.
Right...so it's an ordinary apple then. Thanks!
I entered Fatima. No...wait...that's not how it happened!
The answer was one of the more memorable moments I’ve experienced for the blog thus far! Fatima was all but naked, thrusting her hips sexually and swinging her hair around wildly in a dance that would make a pimp blush! I watched fascinated, forgetting how creepy it is for a middle aged man to stare at a few pixels moving around the screen in a shape somewhat resembling a woman. “O’ handsome stranger from a distant land, this is my dance of love. I offer you pleasures such as you have never known. I offer you my body and soul and sensual delights beyond imagining. In this enchanted place, we will take our endless fill of one another. I offer you the sweetest wine and the most succulent fruits and meats. I offer you complete freedom from all weariness and care. Kiss me and I will give you forgetfulness and bliss in an earthly paradise. All the pains of your heart and soul will be cured. Will you kiss me and be my cherished lover?” I was absolutely one hundred percent certain that declining her offer was the path to success, but my fingers had typed “yes” before my brain had any time to consider the situation. Merlin screamed at me: “No, Arthur, no!” It was too late though. Fatima kissed me, forced me onto the bed and... smothered me to death with a perfumed pillow! Thankfully I’d saved my game on entering Fatima’s abode, so was able to replay through the scenario, declining her tempting offer this time round. I soon found out that it was not her final offer though...
Um...well...if that's how it has to be!
I think you mean "Yes, Arthur, yes!".
“Then if the delights of the flesh are not enough for you, I can offer more powerful gifts, for I serve the Goddess herself and I have drunk from her sacred cup. Behold! A vision of the Holy Grail!” An image of the Grail appeared in front of Fatima, after which she once again offered herself to me, promising me immortality. “Will you kiss me and become a god in human form?” I declined again, at which point the test was over. “Then I find you worthy, King Arthur, and will help you to find what you seek. You have trials of body, spirit and heart yet to face if you are to wrest the Cup of Regeneration from the Goddess and take it with you as the Grail. From here, your path must lie through the deadly catacombs, as it did for the man who came here before you, the one called Galahad.” Fatimah then told me I must pass another test, named the Test of Symbols, which awaited me behind the door to the right. Before I was allowed to go through, the woman demanded I give her my remaining coin, as “a gesture to show that you are not bound by material possessions”. I gave them to her, and then walked through the doorway to take the test. The name of it had already given away what would be expected of me in the Test of Symbols. I was to be asked six questions, with the answer to each being one of the six Goddesses I’d read about in the manual.
I'm not sure there's anything you haven't already offered to me!
The Test of Symbols was pretty much a piracy protection attempt, in that it required me to read through each of the Goddess descriptions in the manual to figure out which one Fatima was talking about in each instance. It was important that I’d found out what each of the Goddess’ symbols were from the first Guardian I met, as otherwise it would have taken a lot of trial and error to get through. I won’t go through all the questions and answers, but I’ll give an example of how it worked. The first “question” was “She had a great shrine at Aphaca”. Looking through the manual, I found that the description for the Goddess Astarte included “her shrines were at Byblos and Aphaca”, so clearly Astarte was the answer. I’d learnt from the first Guardian that the symbol for Astarte is a circle on a triangle, with what appear to be horns on top. I selected that symbol on the “board”, and then clicked on the first cavity to move it into place. I repeated this process for all six symbols, at which point I received a message telling me that my wisdom is great and that I’d passed the test! Fatima was impressed: “Truly you are the most worthy of all men who have passed my door. Go with my blessings and find the hierophant.” Who was this hierophant and where would I find them? I thought to ask Fatima before leaving, and just as well I did!
Ooohhh I know this one! It's Mari the Goddess of Fertility right!?
Excuse me madam. Can you tell me where I can find this F6 thing I'm supposed to press?
I learnt that Galahad had entered the catacombs without passing the Test of Symbols, which could very well have resulted in his death. When questioned about the hierophant, Fatima gave me a riddle: “Ancient he is, and he is wise, yet shunned by fools who fear his guise.” Obviously the beggar with leprosy was the hierophant, so I left Fatima to go and talk to him. “Sa’alam aleikem King Arthur. You have passed many trials, yet more Guardians of the Sacred Cup wait to test you. If you are ready to follow Galahad, ask of me “open the catacombs”, and I will do so.” I did, and part of the wall moved away to reveal a passage. Before I entered, the beggar gave my reward for passing the Test of Symbols. “Because you have passed the Test of Symbols, I will give you a gift that could save your life. Within the catacombs are cursed rats whose bite is poison. One bite from these rats and you will die slowly. If bitten again, the end comes more quickly and with great agony.” He gave me a vial of elixir which held but one dosage. I would have to use it wisely! Now, you’re probably wondering what the big issue was that I talked about at the beginning of this post. Well, things got nasty after I entered the catacombs. I was able to enter ok, and to explore the first room, but then I got an error that I’m hoping someone out there can help me get past.
Are you Wonder Woman?!
Thank you! I would shake your hand...but well...(ahem)...bye now.
After taking the western exit out of the starting room and then going north, I received an “Out of heap space” error. I hoped it was just a one off, and tried to restore back to the first room. On selecting my save game, I got another error. “Oops! You tried something we didn’t think of. Try taking a different approach to the situation. SCI Version 0.000.685.” That’s ok I thought! I’ll restore back to Fatima and then make my way to the catacomb again. This worked, but as soon as I took the northern exit, I got the “Out of heap space” error again. To make matters worse, a bit of experimentation told me that trying to restore any saved game created in the catacombs resulted in the “Oops!” error message. I can only assume that my game has somehow corrupted, and searching the net has turned up others that faced the exact same error, yet in other places. None of them have found a solution to the problem, so they’ve either had to start all over again and hope it doesn’t reoccur, or use someone else’s save game to progress. I’ve found some save games online, but none of them are close to where I am. They’re either way back or right at the end of the game. Does anyone have any idea what I can do? I’ll restart if I have to, but I’m very concerned that the same thing might happen again.
Googling the error only told me that I wasn't alone in my pain.
I did something you didn't think of? I think you need to have a good look at yourself!
Session Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 6 hours 30 minutes
Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: I've written a set of rules regarding spoilers and companion assist points. Please read it here before making any comments that could be considered a spoiler in any way. The short of it is that no points will be given for hints or spoilers given in advance of me requiring one. Please...try not to spoil any part of the game for me...unless I really obviously need the help...or I specifically request assistance. In this instance, I've not made any requests for assistance. Thanks!