Ultima VII Part II: Serpent Isle

Principles of Balance

I write this in great haste, for I can already hear the forces of Order breaching the keep walls. I know not how this missive will survive to reach the outside lands, or for that matter, future generations. Mine only hope is that this speedily-drafted work will offer record of our hallowed philosophy. For our culture to have any chance of enduring the ages, someone, somewhere must find this. Please, reader, I beseech thee, spread the word of our peoples.

Balance -- The harmony between the Principles of Order and Chaos -- is the one pure axiom we hold true. All three Principles are symbolized in our hieroglyphs: The Great Earth Serpent, keeper of Balance, lies on a vertical plane, around which the two opposing serpents of Chaos and Order wrap themselves. Chaos and Order each embrace three Forces. These six Forces, when combined, form the three Principles of Balance. The Forces of Chaos are Tolerance, Enthusiasm, and Emotion; the Forces of Order are Ethicality, Discipline, and Logic.

CHAOS -- Tolerance is that which encourages the acceptance of all things. Enthusiasm is the energy that allows one to perform great tasks. Emotion is the ability to perceive those feelings that come from the heart, as opposed to coming from the mind.
ORDER -- Ethicality is the belief that there is great value in abiding by rules of conduct. Discipline is the drive to complete a task and avoid the distractions that will prevent its completion. Logic permits clear, reasoned thought, free from any instinctual biases.
BALANCE -- From the marriage between two Forces, one each from Chaos and Order, come the Principles. Tolerance and Ethicality combine to form Harmony, the ability to be at peace with the self, the individual, and the world. From the union of Enthusiasm and Discipline springs Dedication, that which permits one to surmount obstacles and lead others. Finally, Emotion tempered by Logic results in Rationality, the ability to comprehend life and understand the world around us.

The Forces of Chaos and Order must ever remain in Balance, for imbalance leads to disaster. Witness the war-torn state of our world today! As thou canst surely see, my world hath been torn asunder by disregard for Balance -- our dearest axiom! If thou dost thrive in a time less violent, I can do no more than plead with thee to help restore Balance to the Serpent Isle! I must end this brief explication here, for I can hear mine attackers pounding upon the oaken door downstairs. I wish thee and thy world better fortune than mine own.
-- Ssithnos, the Great Hierophant


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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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