Ultima VIII: Pagan

The Objective History of Pagan

by Mythran

by Mythran

Ages ago, in what is called First Epoch, there was considerably more land upon which mankind could walk. The Zealans, forebears to the Pagans, worshipped three who ruled the emotions. Amoras, beautiful and spirited, was the goddess of love and joy. Her counterpart was angry Odion, ruler of war, hate, and grief. Between them stood Apathas, he who controlled indifference, representing both the balance and absence of his two comrades.According to legend, these three gods and goddesses were responsible for bringing the emotions to light in their followers, though sometimes I think it was the people's emotions that resulted in the appearance of these Ancient Ones, as they are now called.

Though the Zealans were not known for valuing peace between their various tribes, one leader did step forward to unite them for some time. He was known as Khumash-Gor, and was considered a great warrior. He brought his people together by conquering most of the other tribes and then integrating them into his own. The unified community grew and prospered under his rule, until he was assassinated several decades into his reign.After the death of Khumash-Gor, the Zealans fell again into quarrelling tribes. However, not until the coming of the Titans was their culture ever truly threatened.

Many centuries after the fall of Khumash-Gor, a strange entity known only as The Guardian began to speak in the minds of several of the people. At first those who claimed to hear the unusual voice were ridiculed, but when the message began to foretell danger, others found a reason to listen.The words of warning from the mysterious Guardian came much as a shock to the Zealans and to the Ancient Ones. No one had ever heard of the champion of evil called the Destroyer, nor were they certain of his designs upon the world. However, the few people who learned of the Destroyer spread their message quickly. They constructed the Great Temple and the black obelisk, while the Ancient Ones commanded those who still obeyed to wage war against this new religion.

The followers of the new order became known as Pagans. As they were directed, they began to concentrate their worship, through the black obelisk, choosing the very elements of earth, water, air, and fire as the objects of this worship. Soon the elements began to form into actual beings of tremendous power. When the Destroyer finally appeared, the four beings, the four Titans as we call them today, rose up to fight it.During the terrible battle, the world was ravaged as the skies darkened overhead, the lands were torn apart by earthquakes and liquid fire, and the seas overcome by raging storms. The battle was long, but the Titans emerged victorious -- the Destroyer was no more. However, the world still lay in ruin.

The few people who remained gathered on this isle, which they named after the island's volcano, Morgaelin.It was a dismal time. The Titans began to fight among themselves for power. The wars between the few surviving Zealans and the Pagans continued. It was apparent that something had to be done, yet the question of what filled everyone's mind.After the defeat of the Destroyer, the people were faced with a great many problems. The wars between the Pagans and the Zealans were costing many lives, while the bickering Titans seemed almost worse than the Destroyer threat they had so mightily eliminated.

Foremost on the minds of the Pagans was how to handle the Titans -- no simple task, I assure you. Knowing they could not best the four, nor wanting to since they considered the Titans their saviors, the elders elected instead to bargain with the elementals. They built four areas and made them sacred to the Titans, one for each.A man named Moriens went to the Hall of the Mountain King, the sanctuary of Lithos. He spoke to Lithos and begged for the quakes to end. Lithos agreed, but demanded that he receive a boon in exchange. He bade that the people would be given to him upon their deaths to serve him eternally in his Pit of Death.

The idea of burial was first introduced as a means for the people to be conveyed to Lithos. Both sides accepted the pact, with Moriens granted the magical powers necessary to honor the Pagan half of the bargain. But as Moriens began to feel the effects of aging, another pact was formed, whereby Moriens could pass on his abilities to subsequent Necromancers -- the term given to the mages responsible for sending the dead to Lithos.

Much time passed before Hydros could be placated. The hero and Necromancer Kalen found love with his Apprentice. Yet the Lurker, displeased that, unlike her brother Titan, Lithos, she had not the worship of the people, chose to take from Kalen his beloved. The angry Kalen sought the assistance of his patron, who was quite willing to assist in vengeance. Lithos told of a substance called Blackrock which could be used to seal Hydros within her Temple, for Hydros could not use her waves to wear down the mineral.Using his Necromantic powers, Kalen reshaped the Blackrock around the Temple and trapped Hydros inside.

Preparing to use the substance to completely remove all traces of water around the Titan, Kalen was stopped by the Lurker's pleas. In exchange for her life, Hydros agreed to return the body of Kalen's betrothed and confer some of the powers of Tempestry, the magic of storms and water, upon Kalen and all of his descendants. In addition, offered the Titan, she would end the torrential rains. Trapped even still in the defiled Temple of Flowing Waters, Hydros remains appeased.

More years passed and a wise man named Stellos was contacted by Stratos, Titan of Air, in the form of a mystic voice. She gave him the power to heal the sick and wounded. Kalen learned of Stellos' abilities and visited the elderly man. He brought with him the hopes of returning life to his beloved. Stellos spoke with Stratos and was told that much time had passed since the spirit was with the body. Only a great cost could she be resurrected. A giving man, Stellos agreed to pay the unknown fee.

He sent his spirit deep into the realm of Air and saw many unusual things. Finally, as the wizened man came upon a great brilliance, his body's mouth opened on the ground below breathed life into Kalen's beloved. He returned to his material form only to learn that he had forever lost his vision. So thankful was Kalen that he called upon the ground to form the foundation for a building, which Stellos opened as a place of study for those who wished to learn the tenets of Air.In addition, Stratos granted one further boon to the kind and gentle Stellos -- that of immortality! To this day, Stellos aids and teaches the magic of Theurgy upon the formation at Argentrock Isle.

Centuries after the great miracle of Stellos, five Theurgists sought to quell the raging fires of Pyros, Titan of Fire. They took their knowledge of history -- never forget the value of studying the past, my friend -- and speculated that Blackrock might be used against Pyros as well as Hydros. They set about gathering as much of the dark material that they could, as well as collecting knowledge about the magics necessary to shape it. Drawing a pentagram upon the ground, the five began to call upon the Lord of Flame as ready to offer a sacrifice.

When Pyros appeared, however, they instead used a large chunk of Blackrock to bind him within. Trapped within the fragment, Pyros was unable to hurl fire from the great volcano, and to this day must perform the minor requests of those who possess the Blackrock. I am saddened to say that the Sorcerers, as they are now called, are misunderstood and feared -- nay, loathed -- by most Pagans. Considering the dangerous tasks performed by their predecessors, it is a pity that such people would be hated so. Ah, the effects of ignorance...


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All Books from Ultima VIII: Pagan

Ultima VIII: Pagan

Following the defeat of the charismatic religious leader Batlin on Serpent Isle, the Guardian banishes the Avatar to a world that he has already conquered: Pagan. Ultima VIII has a much darker tone and a very different premise, in comparison to most of the Ultima games. The world of Pagan is entirely different from that of Britannia: the Virtues are not part of Pagan's culture, and the magic systems and monsters are entirely different.

The world of Pagan is in eternal twilight as the result of an ancient battle between the Elemental Titans and the evil "Destroyer", which resulted in the victory of the Titans. However, the people of Pagan had to pay a high price: the Titans had to henceforth be worshiped as gods. The Titans bestow powers on their most ardent followers, but they are otherwise cruel and unloving rulers, and their followers terrorize the general population.

Launch Year: 1994
Ultima VIII: Pagan Cover

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