Ultima VII Part II: Serpent Isle

Report on the Shasrajah

by Jaljashram

O Great Hierophant, sorrow fills mine heart to tell thee the regretful news that our great hope, the Shasrajah, cannot be counted on to attach the venomous fangs of victory about the necks of our enemies. Our great experiment hath failed.

As thou hast already been told, we had found a means by which the minds of our finest warriors and the bodies of snakes could be fused with one another. The resulting warrior would wreak terrible havoc on the forces of Order, bringing them their well-deserved destruction. In the earliest stages of the experiment all was well; we succeeded in joining Adder with Man in five of seven volunteers. The resulting form was vaguely humanoid, with resilient green skin, tough as the scales of a serpent.

We found that the soldiers' minds were very much unchanged, and coupled with the quickness and sensitivity to smell of the adder, the Shasrajah were formidable in battle. Their long necks had tremendous reach, and they preferred to attack solely with their strong jaws. We were encouraged by this success, and accepted eighty-three more warriors to undergo the metamorphosis. All was well, as seventy-one survived. We believed we had found a counter to the automaton warriors the forces of Order had reputedly developed.

Much to our chagrin, however, our experiment went awry shortly thereafter. As we had them do battle to assess their powers, we noticed a disturbing trait -- the warrior would become more bloodthirsty and uncontrollable with each triumph! Soon they began to rebel against our commands. We had no choice but to exterminate them and begin anew, but the five hundred soldiers we sent against our own creations -- our monsters -- were unable to best them. We surrendered the area to them, enclosing them with stout doors in the corridors leading out. I can only assume that they have died. O Great Hierophant, I would recommend never performing these experiments again; they are more potentially dangerous than they are potentially helpful...


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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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