Ultima VII Part II: Serpent Isle

My Journal

by Maleccio

I was born and raised in the city of Moonshade, a foe of Vasculio. Then I was taken to this place, where I am a prisoner of He Who Was Dead -- Vasculio. Vasculio survives beyond death! He doth drink blood out of the living to keep himself alive. Hence his great thirst for fresh blood. His corpse is animated by means of spells and the Forbidden Reagent. I am his prisoner, fettered worse than a wild beast; manacled by mine hands and feet by day and by night. My blood is so vital to him that he is afraid I could break away. How could I in this cage. At times, I feel like survival is a meaningless word. I am exhausted. He hath been awakening me at all hours of the already too short night, thereby robbing me of mine all too brief night's slumber.

This week I managed to write more. I feel better than last month but still weak. All through these interminable weeks in this cage, I have suffered from chronic weariness. I do not believe escape is possible. I have seen Death face to face and she hath seen me. I am more than ever determined to continue to struggle for survival, for this is the primary instinct of the animal.

The following week: I am losing track of time. I can track seven day periods but do not seem to recall any other relevant information; seasons and days are not part of my realm. Like life, they escape me. Am I less than an animal? This deranged mage, frantically seeking the lost secrets of Ophidian magic, certainly treats me as such. Actually, I do not feel anything anymore. I may live like an animal, but in my mind I am a man. I still think and write, therefore I exist. If this journal survives me and thou art reading it, regardless of the time elapsed, then I am alive. I am alive because my thoughts are alive.

Today, fifth day of this present week, I am going to tell thee more about the twisted Vasculio. He boasts that his magical powers are too great to be defeated by mere mortals. I have to tell thee that he was executed in Moonshade for practicing spells too diabolical for Man. His powerful magic allowed him to continue living as a liche. Also, I shall share this with thee, so that thou mayest make good use of it: Remember that no information hath value until thou dost test it. My words, hereunder, will guide thine understanding. Vasculio hath been experimenting with eternal life theories. Once, he stumbled upon a magic formula which, when used with the blood of an innocent, allowed a dead body to live longer. Moments before his execution he intoned the spell to keep his body living. Later he escaped from his coffin and travelled to Skullcrusher. Why Skullcrusher, thou askest? The answer is simply because he knew there was a second source for Stoneheart. Stoneheart is the prime ingredient of Bloodspawn, here in these caverns.

There is also another important reason. Vasculio knew that his enemies, the Mages of Moonshade, would never follow him here. Seventh day of the present week: This undying sorcerer doth spend his time researching new spells. He is convinced that great magical secrets lie beyond the sealed entrances. He detects great power and magic in these areas. Vasculio hath not been able to locate the Grand Shrine within the great labyrinth beneath the Skullcrusher Peaks. I could tell thee that he stores provisions to support his allies, the man-eating Gwani. But this is not out of charity for them, for he also lives on with their blood. At this point I must stop writing for I can hear Vasculio howling in the tunnels. This is a sign that he is coming for me once more...

   

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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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