Ultima VII Part II: Serpent Isle

War of Imbalance

by Suranniss

This shall be the last entry I make before following my kinsmen to a better life. 'Tis appropriate, I think, that I use a newly bound book with the finest vellum; after all, it may be an Age or more before 'tis found -- if ever.

Before I continue, I should write a few words about mine homeland -- Serpent Isle. Before the War of Imbalance, the dreadful war that did tear asunder our beloved homeland, Serpent Isle was a fair land indeed. The land was in Harmony: our people were at peace -- secure within our glorious subterranean cities. The arts prospered under the generous patronage of our most beloved Hierophant, blessed be his name, and no citizen went hungry or was bereft of a home. We were content and happy; we had no reason to suspect that our happiness would not continue indefinitely. We were so naive.

The War of Imbalance started simply enough, but by the time 'twas over most of our people were slaughtered, our cities devastated, and the land laid waste. I have been lucky, for I have survived to write about the tragedy. I cannot say the same thing about many of my friends -- they are all dead. Even as I write, the Adepts are scurrying about, preparing for the great ceremony that shall energize the Wall of Lights. Soon, I and my surviving comrades shall leave our shattered land, never to return. I am afraid of the future, but I know I cannot live in the past. I can only remember the past. I shall strive to remember the times of joy and try to forget the ashen, bitter memories of the war.

The Adepts are ready, they have begun the ceremony. I feel a great surge of power! The light! 'Tis blinding! The Adepts have succeeded. The Wall of Lights is so beautiful...

   

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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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