the artistry and psychology of gaming


Floating Monastery (Quest 64)

Floating Monastery (Quest 64)

I once visited a nation known as Celtland; a wondrous land filled with spirits.  Despite the name, it bears little to no resemblance to where the Celts live in our own world.  Aside from the masters who tame spirits to command elemental forces, it seemed to be just another ordinary adventure at first, but the further in I ventured, the more I began to realize how special Celtand really is.  The first truly spectacular locale was an open cavern filled with prismatic crystal known as Crystal Valley.  I’d like to talk more about Crystal Valley, but I’ve just told you everything of intrigue that there is to tell about it.  Instead, I’d like to talk about somewhere that few have ever been: the Floating Monastery.

To reach this spiritual edifice that floats high in the sky, one must first travel through Brannoch, a region with beautiful dark skies bathed perpetually in late twilight.  From there, one must traverse its massive castle, which has very unique interior decoration, including green floors and ornate doors.  The throne room has deep red carpet, blue and green iridescent pathways over a large chasm, and a bright purple throne.  Through here is a network of passageways leading to an altar.  Presenting the four stones as well as the Eletale Book, one can travel to the Floating Monastery through methods unknown.  Little is known at all about this monastery, but I’d hazard a guess that it exists on another plane of existence.

I landed at what seemed like dawn; the blue sky had a pale gradient as it descended.  It looked a bit like Melrode Monastery, except that it had a blue glow to it and that it was on a small chunk of land floating in the sky.  I entered the door and found myself in a seemingly impossible space.  Despite being inside, it was an endless expanse of black with blue veins and some red clouds near the top.  Suspended in the middle of this void was a path made of light blue stone bricks.  There were some archways, but it was otherwise quite austere.  I entered the only door I could see, and though I could see both sides of it, entering took me to somewhere completely new.

I was now in another black void, this one with blue webs of what looked like coral.  I was on a long, linear path of blue and gold checkerboard tile.  Along the sides were some rectangular pillars, which descended all the way down into nothingness.  Was there a bottom or was this just a cruel trick?  Deciding not to climb down, I followed the path through a building with columns on two sides and nothing on the others; it was more like a carport than anything.  At the end was a light blue door with gold patterns.  Like the previous door, I could see both sides, and when I entered, the scenery radically shifted once again.

I was in a single room inside of a house; it looked familiar, but I could not place it.  There was a thick purple haze in here, though there were no signs of a foreign gas to make it so; it seemed to be some unseen light source.  It was then that I’d realized that every area had this effect, only in different colors; it had been hard to tell because of their surreal nature.  The carpet had a pretty quadrilateral pattern mostly of purple, but with flecks of orange and yellow lines dividing the squares.  I looked around, seeing nothing of worth; just some furniture, a fireplace, some pots, and the door through which I’d entered.  Having no other options, I went back out the same door, and much to my surprise, I wasn’t back on the blue and gold pathway.

I was in an area that looked almost like a child’s candy wrapper; the sky was pink, and colorful bubbles were all about.  Orange clouds wafted in the distance, making an interesting color combination.  The ground beneath me was another stone walkway, this time in a rusty gold color.  I headed up a number of ramps and past several columns of green with a pink haze about them.  At the top was an iridescent door much like the one in the first area, except with a differently colored light shining upon it.  I headed through into an area that contrasted with it quite a bit.

If the previous area was out of a child’s dream, then this was out of a child’s nightmare.  The background was the same black with blue webbing that was in the blue and gold pathway, but it was a forest at night.  It was horrifying enough as it was, but blood red pools broke the path through this forest, compounding the effect.  There were very few trees, but aside from that, it was similar to a dream of my own from a long time ago.  After taking a moment to ponder whether this was a reflection of my own mind, I headed down the path, confident that it was not.  At the end was yet another door; I headed through and wound up inside.

This was a kitchen in a blue haze; nothing special about it.  I headed upstairs, found nothing of interest, headed back downstairs, and back out the same door.  Now, I was in the rusty-gold area, except with the pink candy skies; it seemed like the chaos was beginning to smash together.  I headed down the stairs and into a door.  I was in another forest, but this one was during the daytime.  In the distance was a magenta sky with purple mountains beneath, which faded in a gradient from sky blue to yellow.  The leafless trees in the distance were the same color as India Ink plants due to this area’s haze.  I crossed a few golden bridges with green guard rails and headed through the door.  There was yet another blue and gold pathway, though the haze was redder in this one.  At the end, I headed through another door.

I was in a small cabin with the woman I’d met in Crystal Valley, but there was something very unsettling about her, so I quickly ran out the door again.  I was now in a darkly colored version of Melrode.  The town was empty, the skies were the same as the first area, and the buildings went from neon green to neon purple in a gradient.  I followed the blood red dirt path into the monastery doors, which landed me in another forest, this time with the candy wrapper skies.  Heading through the lovely haze here, I eventually found a door, which I entered.  I was on a square platform, at the center of which was something that sent me to another area.  This final area was a long dull green path of rock, which spiraled upward to a sudden end.  Everything was black, except for some green lightning and some multicolored flecks.  When I reached the top, my vision faded to white and I was back on solid ground again, left to wonder what had happened.

There are forces in this universe that are far beyond our comprehension.  They aren’t something that you encounter every day or even in every world, but the diligent adventurer will find places under their influence.  These are locations that defy everything we know about how the laws of science work.  The thing is that there are no guides to tell you exactly what’s going on; you are merely left to wonder.  These are the places that warp your mind, but in a good way; you begin to see things in a different manner, and this is when you begin to appreciate beauty even in the mundane.  Everything looks prettier, even your own world: the place you’ve known all your life.

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