Smith the Horse
|Smith the Horse|
Smith the Horse, from Ultima V: Lazarus
Smith the Horse is a recurring character in the Ultima series. A sapient equine who is capable of speech, Smith may often be found near Iolo's Hut in the Deep Forest, although whether or not the stallion belongs to Iolo in any capacity has never been made clear. While he has a predilection for sarcasm, Smith nevertheless tries to provide vital information to the Avatar when asked. However, this advice, while crucial in the relevant context, always relates to the hero's previous adventure.
Age of Enlightenment
Smith could first be found in the early Age of Enlightenment, during the Stranger's initial quest toward Avatarhood. Stabled in Paws, the strange horse was presumably under the care of the village's unnamed groom. Francesca, a young ostler working at these stables, could tell the hero of Smith's powers of speech should the adventurer manage to dispatch a hostile bull known as Red Eye, and the Stranger could then speak to the stallion, although he had little to say at the time.
In the years which followed the hero's ascension to Avatar, Smith came to dwell in the Deep Forest, and could be found grazing near the hut which Iolo had established there in his exile under Blackthorn's regime. Should the hero speak to him upon returning, the horse would recall that he had previously forgotten to impart a crucial piece of information during their first meeting, and would inform the champion that the "answer" was "Infinity." This knowledge of the ultimate axiom of Britannian virtue had previously been vital to the hero's final trial within the Abyss, and while its truth had been foreshadowed in visions granted by the Shrines of Virtue, no soul at the time of the Stranger's quest toward enlightenment had appeared to have full comprehension of it, save, apparently, for Smith. 
Later, during the Gargoyle wars of Ultima VI, Smith was the ultimate destination in a trans-Britannian scavenger hunt organized by Lord British's royal jester, Chuckles. Should the Avatar follow the fool's advices to ask the horse for a clue, Smith would instruct the Avatar to remember to bring Lord British's Sandalwood Box when rescuing him from the Underworld. This artifact, despite having had no immediately obvious significance, had been crucial in restoring the monarch during his previous imprisonment by the Shadowlords, as it held the king's Orb of the Moons which he used to transport himself from the depths of the Dungeon Doom. When spoken to of the particulars of his life during this age, Smith would also reveal that he was on a personal mission to curb the amount of hay present in the kingdom, lest it engulf the realm.
Later, during the Avatar's strange adventures on the Mars of the nineteenth century, Smith appeared in the machine-induced psychodrama which played out in the subconscious of lawman Wyatt Earp. In this bizarre nightmare world, Smith would offer to grant the dreaming Avatar a clue if he would be bought from Ike Clanton - an auctioneer who also held Earp, trapped in the form of a horse named "Marshall," captive. Should he hero grant Smith's request, the stallion would explain the significance of using some manner of gem in a holder on a great plateau (a reference to the use of the Kotl Gem to discover the lost city of Kotl in the Savage Empire) and would further claim that Castle Britannia and Dungeon Covetous had cook pots which could fly (a reference to the construction of a hot air balloon in Ultima VI). 
Age of Armageddon
Over the next two-hundred years, Smith demonstrated a remarkable longevity, living over three times the span of years normal to his species. Remaining in proximity to Iolo, the stallion seemed to have aged little by the time of the Avatar's return in Ultima VII, showing a slowed rate of maturation common to creatures non-native to Britannia. Should the hero approach him in the course of the quest, Smith would prove glib and sarcastic, making belittling comments about the Avatar's intelligence, and joking about his own skills at interior decoration. (No matter what the Avatar thought of them - Smith insisted the hero to be in bad taste). While initially evasive about the topic of clues, the stallion could be pressured into providing one, under threats of being used in glue manufacture. If thus addressed, Smith would inform the Avatar that the gargoyles were not evil (something the hero had learned long ago in the days of Ultima VI's fruitless warring), and that Rasputin was, in fact, an evil Martian - a reference to Raxachk's possession of the Russian mystic during the Avatar's adventures in Martian Dreams.
Later, during the Avatar's questing in far-flung Serpent Isle, Smith made his last living appearance to the champion of virtue, manifesting as a ghostly nightmare within the fractured Dream Realm of Gorlab. Here, in environs of the mad Rabindrinath's keep, the stallion explained the importance of Rudyom's Wand and the urgent necessity of destroying the Black Gate, referencing the end game events of Ultima VII. When it was explained to him that his clue was again useless, however, he apologized, and was on the verge of divulging a clue pertaining to the Avatar's current quest regarding the impending Imbalance when he was awakened from the dream which had allowed him to contact the hero and thereafter vanished.
Later, during the declines of the late Age of Armageddon, Smith died in the plagues which wiped out all equine life in Britannia. A woman known as Cleo, who had been imprisoned within the Dungeon Wrong for enacting the specicide, claimed in her protestations of innocence to have known Smith, and could direct the Avatar to where his body hung, suspended from a tree near Paws.
Ultima V: Lazarus
If the Avatar spoke to Bandaii in Paws, telling the adventurer the location of the talking horse, Smith felt it would only be fare if he started charging admission for people to come see him, suggesting to Iolo that he could use this money to purchase several mares. He further chided the hero for not keeping track of the clues he offered, suggesting the hero keep some sort of journal.
- The ongoing series trend of Smith giving belated hints came about because the character was genuinely supposed to reveal the axiom of Infinity in Ultima IV, but the programmers had forgotten to add the appropriate dialog into his conversation tree. Later, when designing Ultima V, they decided to put Smith back in the game and, as a joke, had him give the hint he was supposed to provide in Ultima IV. Following this, it became a running gag in the series to make Smith one game out-of-sync with his advice
- In Ultima IV, Smith is described as "a white stallion," which contradicts all his other Ultima appearances, where he is portrayed as a brownish roan horse.
- In the NES-port of Ultima V, which has no horses, Bandaii will give Smith's clue in his place, explaining that the horse is in hiding for fear of being eaten.
- Unlike the PC version, Smith is not a horse in the C64 version of "Ultima VI", but a strange looking cow. He will explain to the Avatar that he donned a sort of disguise, to avoid getting eaten by the Gargoyles like all the horses. He first tried on a cow suit, but it looked ridiculous. Then he came with the idea to ask Nicodemus to transform him into a REAL one. In reality, they had to remove all the horses from the game, because of the limitations of the c64. To explain their absence they all were now eaten by the gargoyles.
- In Ultima IX, Cleo was supposed to have continued her conversation with the Avatar once the hero returned from finding Smith's corpse, and would have offered up a clue relating to Ultima VIII - in typical Smith fashion. However, in the released version of the game, this dialog does trigger, save in some rare cases where a bug causes Cleo to reveal the clue when the Avatar meets her for the first time, telling the hero that the four titans are just a scheme plotted by The Guardian.
- Smith the Horse. Underworld Dragon's Ultima IV Transcript. Ultima IV. "health, job".
- Francesca. Underworld Dragon's Ultima IV Transcript. Ultima IV. "Smith".
- Smith the Horse. Underworld Dragon's Ultima V Transcript. Ultima V. "forget, tell".
- Nakar. "A Brief Smith Retrospective." Let's Play Archive: Ultima IV-VI. Retrieved: 2010-10-11.
- Smith the Horse. Martian Dreams Transcript. Martian Dreams. "name, job, hay, clue, Britannia".
- Pix. "Worlds of Ultima 2 - Martian Dreams." Pix's Ultima Adventures. Retrieved: 2010-10-11.
- "Horse". Wikipedia. Retrieved 2011-04-10.
- Smith the Horse. Underworld Dragon's Ultima VII Transcript. Ultima VII. "a clue, bedroom, job, living room, Smith, will not make you glue".
- Cleo. Quill Dragon's Ultima IX Transcript. Ultima IX.
- Smith the Horse. Ultima V: Lazarus Regional Profiles. Ultima V: Lazarus.
- Bandaii. Ultima V: Lazarus Regional Profiles. Ultima V: Lazarus.