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HeledRaquiaArquaSheolRealms-negative


Arqua ARQUAW1.ward for arqua
Arqua-Ex
Device of Passage
AelfHelm Aelf's Helm
Guardian Power
TishtryaIcon Tishtrya
Audio
30px-Gnome-speakernotes Background Music

30px-Gnome-speakernotes Chirping Birds

Chronology
Chapter XIII: Sword of the Dragon
Chapter XIV: Vengeful Souls

Arqua is the Realm of Divinity and peace, thus free of Evil and its manifestations. As a consequence, Adam and Rebecca are relieved of their weapons (and most of their other belongings) upon entering this place and are only left with their MaskEgyptian Egyptian Masks and a Arqua Scroll ArquaScroll giving them a survey on what to do.

Precisely, all of their possessions that in some way mirror the elements are ruled unfit, and will only be returned at their departure,[1] as the main objective of Arqua consists in acquiring a certain assortment of items that represent the four elements in their absolute state and perform the Ritual of Eternity by the central fountain:
Eye of the Beast Chapter 13 - The Laws that Govern...

According to Hawk, in this place lies the Garden of Paradise.[2]

ArchitectureEdit

Departing from the Tower Gate and the large menhir behind it, which is carved with runes and reminiscent to some degree of the Kudurrus in the Tower, our vista is initially quite limited, as we find ourselves walking along an extensive wall. Fortunately, we soon happen upon an iron gate that opens up to reveal the formidable idyll of this Realm, fashioned from fountains of crystal clear water and viridescent poplar trees[3], fittingly accompanied by the pleasant, sporadic song of the birds we used to hear back in Raquia.

Indo-Islamic Inspiration
Arqua is dominated by a magnificent two-storey edifice of cubiform layout, with one entrance on each of the four sides leading to a pavilion of sorts. The entrance is invitingly topped with two golden spires.[4] In the centre of the edifice is a great fountain which branches off into four streams leading outside. According to Rebecca, the structure has a partially Persian design. Persian architecture in general makes abundant use of symbolically charged geometry, using pure forms such as the circle and square, and plans are often based on symmetrical layouts featuring rectangular courtyards and halls. Infact we could speculate that the designers of the in-game Arqua may have been to some degree inspired by the Taj Mahal complex, the ivory-white marble mausoleum that incorporates elements of Persian and Indian architecture.

As a further reflection of the Persian influences in Arqua, we find a reappearance of the incense burners, which we've already familiarized ourselves with during our exploration of the Mausoleum and the Crypt that preceeds the Caverns; the archways and windows in Arqua are reminiscent of the curved and pointed arches, also known as Ogee, that are an essential element in Indo-Islamic architecture:[5]

Perhaps no culture mastered the design and use of the arch more than the Muslims. Inheriting earlier arch forms from the Greeks and the Romans, Muslims developed a variety of new shapes including the horseshoe, multi-foil, pointed and the ogee arches. The passion they had for this motif is due to the regularly mystical/symbolic meanings associated with it, as well as its functional advantages.

Garden of Paradise
Apart from the similar cubiform layout, the surroundings of the actual palace deserve some attention as well. The Taj Mahal is girded by a so-called Charbagh or Paradise Garden which symbolizes the four flowing rivers of Paradise and can be considered a real-world reflection of the gardens of Paradise. According to etymological research, the word Paradise can be derived from the Persian paridaeza, meaning 'walled garden'.[6] It is hereby worth noting that, as we have seen above, the white edifice in Arqua is in fact surrounded by a massive wall. As gardens and water have for many centuries played an essential role in Islamic culture, these Charbagh are fairly common to Persian and Iranian architecture.[7]

One of the hallmarks of Persian gardens is the four-part garden laid out with axial paths that intersect at the garden's centre. This highly structured geometrical scheme, called the chahar bagh, became a powerful metaphor for the organization and domestication of the landscape, itself a symbol of political territory.

In mystic Islamic texts of the Mughal period, paradise is described as an ideal garden of abundance with four rivers sourcing at a central spring or mountain, separating the garden by flowing towards the cardinal points and representing the promised rivers of water, milk, wine and honey.[8] The fountain from which these four rivers spring may symbolize the Tree of Life.

Teleportation
The edifice in Arqua also has two one-way teleporters (one engraved with white and one with red glyphs) for the traveller to move between the first and second floor. It should be noted that they can only be used before and after completion of the riddle.[9]

Each of the four rooms on the top floor is assigned to one of the four classical elements and harbours various objects which need to be combined in the right manner and placed upon the respective tiles around the central fountain, in order to solve the riddle of Arqua and acquire the Sword of the Dragon.

Let's Solve the RiddleEdit

ArquaMaze

Arqua Maze

EscherRelativity

M. C. Escher's "Relativity"

Upon entering Arqua, Adam and Rebecca receive a ArquaScroll Scroll containing advice on what they must do in order to retrieve the Sword of the Dragon. The first task is to gather a MagnifyingGlass2 Magnifying Glass and a Chalice Chalice from inside the imposing stair maze, which is somewhat reminiscent of M. C. Escher's paradoxical lithographs. The maze can be teleported to and fro by clicking on the small AQUAT1.transporter pad eye[10] and AQUAT4.transporter to mag glass goblet[11] floor panels next to the Fountain.[12]

Returning to the fountain hall with these two items in our inventory, we can now proceed to delve into the actual puzzle. Filling the Chalice with some of the magical water from the fountain allows us to deactivate the curtains of light that block our access to the Element Rooms, the wards being a "hybrid of the magic of Passing and Stasis" and related to the Water Element, as Rebecca will explain.[13]

As we've learned from the Scroll, our main objective is to fashion the four elements in their absolute state from the various objects (ingredients) that are placed inside the Element Rooms beyond the wards, and arrange them on the tiles Ring of Eight[14] by the Fountain, according to the respective symbol.[15]

From the first room we enter, we gather a Flint Piece of Flint and a Cylinder Steel Cylinder. The Magnifying Glass allows us to read an initially hidden inscription spotted in one of the room's corners: "BURN".[16] With the two afore-mentioned items we can already create a spark, but we still miss a combustible material to kindle an actual fire.

From the second room we gather a Mortar Mortar and a Pestle Pestle for grinding. The Magnifying Glass reveals a blue tile with the inscription "BONG". Using the combined Piece of Flint and Steel Cylinder FlintCylinderSparks on any solid object in our inventory (such as the Hookah Pipe or the bowls which we'll find later on), we create a sound that will open the niche behind the tile and reveal an GemAmberFossilResin Amber gem.

From the third room we gather a BowlPowder Metal Bowl with Black Powder (a magical substance which Rebecca is unable to identify, saying it's incomplete and needs something else), as well as a FlaskPowder Metal Flask with a Fine Red Powder (which Rebecca attests a great magical quality to). The two substances react as chemical catalysts for each other and result in Snow Snow, which serves as the item representing the Water Water element.
Using the Magnifying Glass on the stone tile reveals a red inscription that says "GRIND". By combining the Mortar and Pestle MortarPestle we open the secret niche and find a Pipe Hookah, an Oriental water-pipe.

From the fourth room we gather a Fan Paper Fan with a Yin and Yang design. Curiously, the tile does not bear any inscription, but by following Rebecca's suggestion to "try fanning it," we reveal a casket that contains a piece of Burn Parchment. Using the Magnifying Glass on it, we can make out the word "Burn" (initially the paper will be stored in our Magic inventory, after examination with the Magnifying Glass it will be moved to the Documents compartment).

Returning to the Element Room with the "BURN" tile and combining the Piece of Flint and the Steel Cylinder FlintCylinderSparks at this point allows us to create a spark which will burn the Parchment. The niche behind the "BURN" tile can be opened now, revealing some very combustible Tinder Tinder that can be ignited with the combined Flint and Cylinder. The resulting object constitutes our required representative of the Fire Fire element, ready to be placed on the respective tile by the fountain. With the Fan in our inventory, we're also already in possession of the item representing the Wind Air element.

By grinding the GemAmberFossilResin Amber gem inside the Mortar, we produce a powder which we could burn as incense if we were so inclined, but more importantly serves us as the substance representative of the Earth Earth element.

Solution table for quick referenceEdit

# Name Items Tile Opening the hidden niche Niche Fashioning the Elements Fountain
1
Air Room
Fan
Blow
Blow the fan at the tile.
Burn
The fan represents the Wind element. No further actions necessary.
Wind
2
Fire Room
Flint + CylinderFlintCylinderSparks
Burn
Use the flint and cylinder to ignite the "Burn" parchment.
Tinder
Use the combined flint and cylinder to ignite the tinder, representing Fire.
Fire
3
Water Room
FlaskPowder + BowlPowderSnow
Bong
Use the combined flint and cylinder on the pipe or snow.
GemAmberFossilResin
Snow represents the Water element. No further actions necessary.
Water
4
Earth Room
Pestle + MortarMortarPestle
Grind
Combine the mortar and pestle.
Pipe
Grind the amber with the mortar and pestle, the incense represents the Earth.
Earth

Ritual of EternityEdit

Now that we've fashioned all the Elements in their absolute state, we have to place them on the respective tiles on the Ring of Eight[17] by the Fountain:

AmberMortar the ground Amber resin on the golden Earth Square symbol
Fan the Paper Fan on the Wind Cloud symbol
TinderBurning the burning Tinder on the Fire Fire symbol
Snow the bowl of Snow on the Water Wave symbol

As the Fountain will start to shimmer, Rebecca suggests putting the offering together now, prompting us to pick the items up again and add them into the Hookah Pipe in the following order:

  1. Snow (adding water to the vase at the bottom)
  2. Amber (adding the essences to the top part of the pipe)
  3. Tinder (heating the water)
  4. Fan (blowing air at the smoldering water-pipe to make it burn)

As "Gods don't pick things up for themselves", humorously interjected by Rebecca after this procedure - which is also referred to as Ritual of Eternity[18] in the official Interplay walkthrough - we offer the prepared Hookah Pipe to the Iranian God of Water himself, Tishtrya, who will materialise by the Fountain at this point along with four aqueous Angel figures (the so-called Hafaza[19], and reward us with the DragonSword Sword of the Dragon, Eternity: Eye of the Beast Ritual of Eternity

The transporter with the white glyphs inside the Element Room in which we found the Paper Fan will take us back downstairs, allowing us to leave Arqua again. If you wish to follow our walkthrough and learn about the ensuing events in Chapter XIV: Vengeful Souls, feel free to click on the following icon to continue reading about our return to Heled:


MaskEgyptian

Adam: Well, we've been to Arqua, seen the gardens of Righteousness, sampled Paradise, procured the Dragon sword. What next?
Rebecca: Sheol.
Adam: Save the best 'till last.

GalleryEdit

Stair MazeEdit

NotesEdit

ScriptEdit

Eye of the Beast Chapter 13 - The Laws that Govern...

To Which [sic] the laws that govern, he has decreed; Nothing can be brought to this realm that parallels the law. All possessions that mirror the elements have been ruled unfit. They will be returned at your departure. Further, only one device exists that may be taken from this realm - the sword Eternity. You are marked, son of Adam but are you truly worthy? Let it begin.

Adam: Iron Gate.
Rebecca: No signs of decay here.

Beholding the central Fountain

Adam: Wow! This is incredible.
Rebecca: You're telling me.
Adam: Can you sense anything unusual from this Rebecca?
Rebecca: I couldn't at first, but the more I concentrate, the more Power seems to channel itself from the water through me.
Adam: Yeah. I can feel it. It's almost as if the water's alive.

Examining the teleporter with the red glyphs

Adam: Curious design.
Rebecca: There's a trace of Power connected to this. Faint but there all the same.
Adam (on the upper floor): This connects with the pavilion.
Rebecca: The one in the gardens yes, but it's only one way.

Examining the teleporter with the white glyphs

Adam: Some mosaic or something.
Rebecca: There's a power at work here. Power of Transportation and Movement. But we're at the end of it.
Adam (on the upper floor): Strange design. Anything?
Rebecca: Probably a transporter.

Discussing Arqua

Adam: Well, we've been to Arqua, seen the gardens of Righteousness, sampled Paradise and procured the Dragon sword. What next?
Rebecca: Sheol.
Adam: Save the best 'till last.

ReferencesEdit

  1. To Which [sic] the laws that govern, he has decreed; Nothing can be brought to this realm that parallels the law. All possessions that mirror the elements have been ruled unfit. They will be returned at your departure. Further, only one device exists that may be taken from this realm - the sword Eternity. You are marked, son of Adam but are you truly worthy? Let it begin.

  2. Adam: Hawk, what do you know of Arqua?
    Hawk: Arqua; the Realm of Divinity. Therein lies the Garden of Paradise, many are the wonders to be found there, the greatest of all being the Tree of Understanding.
    Adam & Rebecca (simultaneously): The Tree of ...?
    Hawk: Your ancestral mother and father ate of it and unto them was given the power to see both Good and Evil; the power of choice.

  3. Texture name: M/DEMO1.DAS/ANTREE5.poplar tree.BMP
  4. Texture name: GSPIRE1.golden spire.bmp
  5. Rabah Saoud: The Arch that Never Sleeps
  6. Persian Gardens, concept and etymology
  7. D. Fairchild Ruggles, Islamic Gardens and Landscapes, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008, p.39
  8. "Char Bagh Gardens Taj Mahal" (in English). About Taj Mahal. Retrieved on 2007-07-23.
  9. Adam (examining the red teleporter): Curious design.
    Rebecca: There's a trace of Power connected to this. Faint but there all the same.

    Adam (examining the white teleporter): Some mosaic or something.
    Rebecca: There's a power at work here. Power of Transportation and Movement. But we're at the end of it.

  10. Adam: Some... optical design. Can you sense anything Rebecca?
    Rebecca: It's definitely some sort of Teleporter. Where it goes, well, there's only one way to find out.

  11. Adam: Chalice design. Sense anything?
    Rebecca: It's a Teleporter. No telling where it goes.

  12. Adam: Some... optical design. Can you sense anything Rebecca?
    Rebecca: It's definitely some sort of Teleporter. Where it goes, well, there's only one way to find out.

    Adam: Chalice design. Sense anything?
    Rebecca: It's a Teleporter. No telling where it goes.

  13. Adam: Curtain of light. Not going to let us through.
    Rebecca: No I don't think it will. The ward's a hybrid of the magic's [sic] of Passing and Stasis. And something to do with the Water Element.

  14. As name-checked in the ArquaScroll Scroll

    Take the four elements to the Ring of Eight and place them correctly. They will conjure the presence of the Hafaza.

  15. Adam: Hmm. What's this Earth meant to symbolise?
    Rebecca: Color's gold wouldn't you say?
    Adam: Is that Wind a cloud?
    Rebecca: Not sure. Could be.
    Adam: Fire Hmm.
    Rebecca: Can almost here you thinking.
    Adam: Can't make this Water out. Any ideas?
    Rebecca: Nn... no. Not really.

  16. Rebecca (examining the niche): A magnifying glass would be handy right now.

  17. As name-checked in the ArquaScroll Scroll

    Take the four elements to the Ring of Eight and place them correctly. They will conjure the presence of the Hafaza.

  18. Official Interplay Walkthrough: "At this point the Ritual of Eternity should be performed:
    Step One: Place the bowl of snow into the base of the water-pipe Step Two: Place the powdered Amber onto the pipe-bowl Step Three: Light the Amber with the fire. The snow will now melt. Step Four: Fan the Amber gently until it glows and catches flame. At this point it releases clouds of scented smoke."
  19. As name-checked in the ArquaScroll Scroll

    Take the four elements to the Ring of Eight and place them correctly. They will conjure the presence of the Hafaza.

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