Ultima VII Part II: Serpent Isle

Funeral Ceremonies

by Javallaja

The darkest day of all arrives when one of our Great Hierophants lies down to close his eyes forever. The country's grief is so apparent that it seems that it may be touched. Every follower, down to the littlest child, can feel the void that unfolds with the loss of the Great Hierophant. The only way acceptable to pay our last respects is a ceremony that indicates without any doubt how important this being was to our society and how much they are missed by us.

The body must be laid in state for three full days. After the blessings, the body will be dressed in holy clothes and decorated with holy flowers, so that the ordinary folks may greet the Great Hierophant for the last time, in a quiet manner. Loud wailing and gnashing is not tolerated. The pain must be held back until the outside of the shrine is reached. People may bring small tokens and leave them with the Hierophant to show their gratitude. A state of mourning for the period of seven days is ordered for the whole country. Every temple and every shrine will be open day and night, so people may gather at all times and share their grief.

One last word to those people who never followed the Great Hierophant with all their heart: Rebellion, interruptions of the ceremony and all other possible disturbances will be prosecuted and punished. No crime will go unseen. Keep in mind: 'The Serpent Watches Over All!'


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Ultima VII Part II: Serpent Isle

Back in Ultima I: The First Age of Darkness, one section of the game world was known as "The Lands of Danger and Despair". Shamino, a recurring character in the Ultima series, was a ruling lord here. The Lands of Danger and Despair vanished after the conclusion of Ultima I and became Serpent Isle, separated from Sosaria, as the world of Britannia was called before Ultima IV.

The original inhabitants of Serpent Isle, the Ophidians, had a culture where serpents played a central role. They eventually became polarized as the forces of Order and Chaos, respectively, and fought a great war that destroyed their culture and left their cities and temples in ruins. Order "won" the war, destroying the Chaos Serpent, but thereby upsetting the natural balance to the point where the entire universe is unraveling. (It turns out that the "Great Earth Serpent" that guarded Exodus's fortress in Ultima III was actually the Balance Serpent that Exodus had ripped from the void, triggering the war between Chaos and Order in the first place.)

Much later, Serpent Isle was re-settled by humans who had left Sosaria voluntarily, or who had been exiled. An alternate name for Serpent Isle is "New Sosaria", a reference to the original homeland of these settlers. Many of them referred to Lord British as "Beast British", and had a very low opinion of him. After he united the lands, and with the establishment of the eight virtues, those unhappy with his rule fled to Serpent Isle. Unlike Britannia, which has eight cities representing the eight virtues of the Avatar, Serpent Isle has three city-states, each with their own beliefs, which are warped versions of the Britannian principles of Truth, Love and Courage.

Launch Year: 1993
Ultima VII Part II: Serpent Isle Cover

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