Ultima VII Part II: Serpent Isle

My Journey

by Shartmannah

On my journey to find the Serpent Fountain I was troubled many times with doubt about my quest. Was I doing the right thing? Was I taking the correct path? How much longer could I resist the urge to accept failure? I hunted through the master's chambers, stared into the coffins of those who once cared for the temple, and searched the library for the keys and implements necessary to complete the quest. The Master would only tell me two things; that I would have no reason to leave the temple, and that somewhere on the path my discipline would be tested. I speak only in generalities, lest my words be seen by the wild eyes of one undisciplined. I doubt not that such a person would die on the way to the water, but there are wards against death in all its incarnations.

My discipline was indeed tested, and tested harshly. The key to completing my quest was perseverance. I had to search the same place many times and not admit defeat; I had to discipline my mind to keep it from wandering. The hardest part of the path to the fountain lay just before it, and I bear the scars on my feet, but, as is taught here, if one can only discipline the mind, the body can then be trained. I pushed the pain from my mind, so that I did not feel the acid searing my flesh, eating away at my skin.

When finally I did reach the fountain, the test was not over -- to return to the temple proper, I had to brave the acid again. The test made me strong, obedient, disciplined. Had I failed, I would be as one of those whose hearts I seek to skewer; chaotic and undisciplined. Due to the lessons of discipline I had learned, I was able to not only force the pain from my mind as the acid tried to eat my legs away, but steel my flesh against it so that now only the soles of my feet bear mild scars...

   

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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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