Ultima VII Part II: Serpent Isle

Holy Books of the Ophidians

Our Sacred Books will reveal to thee what thou must know to live the life of a true Ophidian. Respect The Books for They were written with the pain, the blood and the hopes of thine ancestors. Read our Books to know thyself. Thou shalt be clean when touching The Books. Thou shalt be pure when reading The Books. Thou shalt read The Books aloud. Thou shalt not say with thy tongue that which thou wouldst not make good with thine actions. Now, thou mayest proceed.

Herein lies the tale of the Ophidians. The Ophidians are the inhabitants of this continent. In the First Age, the world was divided into four continents. There was no magic in the land, and two Kings ruled in peace. This was before the Enlightenment came to us. Then came a great war, and the Four Lands were sundered from one another. Then, we were alone. The Destruction was great. One Kingdom fell when its liege died while abroad. Madness took the King of the White Dragon. Then the Great Earth Serpent spoke to us! Our people built beautiful cities in safe places under the ground. Six temples were built, and three special Shrines. The Serpents lived among us. This was our world.

This was the time after the defeat of Mondain, when our spiritual leader The Great Hierophant of The Ophidians explained the changes in the Universe through our ethical philosophy of Balance, and its twin properties of Order and Chaos. The Serpent spoke to us through him. The Great Hierophant was the only one who could open the Wall of Lights. The Wall of Lights is the entrance into the Void. He entered the Void to speak with the Serpents.

Our temples and shrines were organized in the following manner:
The Three Grand Shrines
The Chaos Temples
The Order Temples
The total number being nine.

The Three Grand Shrines were divided into Balance, Chaos and Order. The Chaos Temples were divided into the Temple of Emotion, the Temple of Enthusiasm, the Temple of Tolerance.
The Order Temples were divided into the Temple of Ethicality, the Temple of Discipline, the Temple of Logic. The six temples had sub-leaders: the Master of Ethicality, the Master of Discipline, the Master of Logic, the Master of Emotion, the Master of Enthusiasm, and the Master of Tolerance.

During ceremonies, the Great Hierophant was assisted by the Order Hierophant and the Chaos Hierophant. Rich jewelry and shining armour were worn at that time. Throughout the years we had different successors in charge of those functions. The deceased Great Hierophants were buried on the Isle of the Crypts. Then came the Disaster. The Great Earth Serpent was taken from the Void, no longer to communicate with us! We became obsessed with the struggle between Order and Chaos. No more Balance!

The Great Hierophant was murdered and his sacred artifacts were plundered by zealots of Chaos. Rivalry corrupted the hearts and minds of our people. The reigns of belligerent factions began. War broke out. Armies marched, cities were laid waste, and lava flowed from the deep. The Chaos people were defeated. This is when the Chaos Serpent was brought from the Void and split into three Forces. Lest they should wander the world, they were imprisoned at the three Temples of Order.

The scourges of war, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions with their lava flows and destruction reduced the isle to a desolate land. Thereupon, the Order people left the land of their Ancestors known as Serpent Isle in search of a better place. This is a foolish quest. I alone, a servant of Balance, am left. I soon will die. All is Death, and the land forsaken.

   

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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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