Ancient Ruins, 1647 GUE

   Ancient Ruins
          without Muses (high-quality)
          without Muses [beta version]
          Muses with proper relics equipped
          Muses with disc in trencher
   Artwork I: Prototype Artwork
   Artwork II:  (A) / (B) / (C) / (D) / (E) / (F) / (G)(alt)


One of the most famous of shrines built to any of the muses was one in honor of the following six Ancient Muses of the Arts (from left to right): Mit, Selrach, Mik, Cire, Xela and Eoj in 966 GUE. Located at the edge of the Omai Desert, at the base of the Dwarven Mountains, northeast of the Valley of the Sparrows; this shrine has been known as one of the greater archaeological enigmas of the Eastlands. It is connected to the Valley of the Sparrows by only two routes -- once is through the Dwarven Mines; the other is via traversing the various passes and ravines through the Dwarven Mountains and then taking a secret passage way into the basement of the Bel Naire temple).

In her book "Zork: The Return of Evil," Rebecca Snoot goes to great lengths to prove that Belboz played a crucial role in the building of this sculpture garden. It is no longer known which muses are associated with what art. Scholars have hypothesized that these peculiar names are actually reverse spellings of the names of various Implementors. However, these scholars are the same sort of people that insist that something significant can be derived from spelling Aragain backwards.

In 1247 GUE, just before the First Great Diffusion, the evil wizards were deceived into believing that all the magic in the world was going to be hidden behind a wall of illusion. The good wizards tricked these ignorant minions by actually constructing one of these walls as a decoy. The only thing that can shatter a wall of illusion is a Flying Disc of Frobozz. After learning of this impending event and being tricked into believing that all the magic would be hidden behind this wall (as well as these discs), the practitioners of evil broke one such powerful disc up and hid all six pieces before the good wizards could destroy it.

They also built a diabolical mechanical forge to put the pieces back together. This forge was secretly fashioned by renovating the ancient shrine of the Muses of the Arts. Part of this project involved adding a trencher (for the placement of the disc pieces) and a seventh kneeling figure known as Lib the Catcher. This statue was designed to hold an orb, needed to focus light onto the broken pieces of the disc—the final phase of the reforging process. The other statues were also converted, each one requiring at least one additional external component required for operation. The evil ones planned to wait for the right time, with the hope that any survivors of the Great Diffusion could gather the pieces together, reforge them, and shatter the wall of illusion to get the magic hidden behind it. Since it was merely a decoy, both the wall and all the magic was scattered in the Great Diffusion. Yet the disguised forge and the disc pieces survived. Ironically, their vain attempt would be a tremendous benefactor against Morphius. But in the centuries to follow, the shrine would be forgotten and slowly decay into ruin.

In 1647 GUE, the evil entity protected his dwelling place with a wall of illusion. The only germane verse related to this shrine which had been passed on for several hundred years was:

Bog down not with your staff,
     but return to throw,
          lest the vessel of sight,
               miss your boxing helmet,
                    and your brilliant defense,
                         to hit you in the orb kicker

To prevent the reassembling of the disc, it is supposed that the Legions of the Dead which encamped around the shrine to restrict access to it during the mid-seventeenth century GUE, were sent there by Morphius.

With the combined help of Rebecca Snoot, an unknown Sweepstakes Winner was able to gather the six pieces of the Flying Disc of Frobozz (also known as the Nectus) which had been dispersed throughout the Valley of the Sparrows, discover that the Ancient Ruins were in fact a forge for the disc, and solve the shrine's mystery. This nameless hero placed the pieces into the shrine's trencher in the proper order (starting and the 8:00 position and laying the rest sequentially clockwise). This placement caused the eyes of the statues to turn green and the forge's two buttons lit up. Then the red button was pressed. Due to the continual lightning strikes in this region, the tele-orb could not be placed directly in the hand of Lib without being struck by a bolt. Thus the moving statues had to be enlisted to help place the orb safely in his hand. Following the ancient verse, the adventurer palced the following items upon each statue (from left to right):

Mit bog stick
Selrach return talon
Mik thermos
Lib NA
Cire box, miner's helmet, knife
Xela shield
Eoj tele-orb
(please note that the addition of the knife is only mentioned in one ancient manuscript of debatable authorithy)

When the red button was pressed, the forge ran, and after an extended performance by the statues, the last Flying Disc of Frobozz was successfully reforged using magical properties somehow inherent in the statues themselves. It was then tossed like a frisbee at the wall of illusion, shattering it and allowing the hero to gain access to the Citadel of Zork and ultimately defeat Morphius.

SOURCE(S): Return to Zork (game, design material, A History of Quendor)