Ultima VII Part II: Serpent Isle

Strength Through Ethics

by Sheshemenien

Dear reader, I intend this essay to be a guide for thee. For thou art what thou dost do. Thou dost do what thou dost judge best for thyself. But, in this matter, is thy judgement as clear as the sky on a summer day? That is the question. If thou canst not answer without a reasonable doubt, thou needest to be enlightened. The purpose of this essay is to increase thy strength through enlightenment. Ethics will enlighten thee.

Strength is to the adventurer what milk is to the newborn. Without it there is no growth, only dwindling and loss of Life. The path to fulfillment is a long climb towards the heights of the highest and greatest mountain of all. Herein, I will show thee that there are no shortcuts, and the rewards awaiting thee are abundant. Be frugal and be prodigal. In order to receive, thou hast need to give, give, and give again. Allow me to clarify this. Do not misunderstand my words. Do not expect to receive something in exchange for thy gift. Thy gift must come from thine heart. If thou dost expect the recipient to thank thee, thou art on the wrong path. Thou shalt thank the recipient.

Meditate upon those words of wisdom and thy strength will grow with thee. Show respect for all life forms. Unless they do attack thee, spare them. Be blameless and upright. Being sincere and fair in all of thy transactions will provide thee with more power than thou ever hadst. Thou wert strong, thou wilt be stronger. Thy strength will be exalted in truth. Be great amongst the multitude of thy brethren. Relieve commoners and seek their welfare. Be humble. Talk no more so very proudly, let not arrogance flow from thy mouth like wisdom from the fountains of Spinebreaker. Thou shalt not use thy tongue to deceive.

Remember to practice whatever thou dost advocate. Quality should be thy rule. Quality of craftsmanship if thou art a craftsman, quality of the time spent with thy brethren, quality of the words thou speakest, quality in thine actions. Quality secures thine ascent above the multitude. Be patient in all circumstances. That will make thee wealthy, for each minute is a priceless gem. Remember that water and ice are two facets of the same element. Be that element. Like water avoid obstacles as large as mountains. Like ice provide a solid path between two banks. Rush like water to extinguish a fire. Avoid fire as unto ice.

Strength feeds on Ethics and Ethics on strength. When trouble and anguish come upon thee, Ethics will give thee the strength to overcome. By this thou shalt overcome.


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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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