Ultima VII Part II: Serpent Isle

Guide to Knighthood

by Graeme of Monitor

Courage is in thine heart; if thine heart is not in danger of being pierced by a blade, then thou canst not fight with courage. Courageous men choose as weapons the sword, hammer, mace, and axe. Be wary of those who wield these weapons well, for they are fierce foes. Be also wary of those who weave spells, for they have no courage, and the cowardly weave webs of deceit, lies, and trickery. Courage manifests itself on a battlefield, and the side whose courage is greatest, regardless of numbers, shall emerge victorious. A courageous man knows that one can leave the battlefield only two ways: By eliminating all of the enemies or in death. A man whose life thou hast saved, or who hath saved thine, can be trusted the rest of thy life.

A knight must never work toward personal goals in lieu of the goals of his Lord. Courage is not only taking sword up against his foe; it is the courage to admit to and remedy his own shortcomings, and if it happens that the knight is wrong, he must have the courage to admit as much. A knight must know, beyond the martial skills of the weapon of his fancy, the art of tactics, as it may some day come to him that the lives of his fellow knights may be decided by his tactical decisions.

Any knight who betrays another will never be allowed to take up arms again. A knight who perpetrates such a wrongdoing is no knight; he is like unto the goblins he once warred against. Courage is separate from stupidity; there comes a time to run and regroup in some battles, but only those which are unwinnable.

   

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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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