Batlin

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Batlin
BatlinSI.png
Batlin, from Ultima VII Part Two
Species: Human
Appearances
Ultima VII Part Two
Ultima VII
Batlin.gif
Batlin, from Ultima VII
Location: Britain

Batlin, a druid of considerable magical power in the employ of the Guardian, is one of the primary antagonists throughout Ultima VII and Ultima VII Part Two.

Biography[edit]

Early Life[edit]

Batlin as a youth, from The Book of Fellowship

Batlin's origins and early history are somewhat clouded, given that the primary source describing them is his own auto-biography as included in the Book of Fellowship. He was reportedly born and raised within the city of Yew and was trained in the city's emblematic profession of druidism. [1]

After coming of age, he left to seek his fortune in the world, whereupon he claims he traveled first to the city of Jhelom during a period of civil uprising between various minor nobles, becoming a fighter in light of the conflict. Later, if his own accounts are to be believed, Batlin would go on to train as a bard at the Blue Boar Tavern in Britain, having been left penniless after his days in the war. It was in this capacity that he first met the enigmatic Elizabeth and Abraham, two individuals who would eventually serve as co-authors in his later endeavors. After journeying to Moonglow under the apprenticeship of an old mage and returning to the city following his master's demise, Batlin and his two youthful friends met again - making a pact with one another to return to the same tavern in a decade's time.[1]

After supposedly gaining admittance to an order of paladins in Trinsic, Batlin recounts that he enjoyed a number of adventures in the pursuit of honorable deeds, before suffering a grievous injury in the midst of one such encounter that left him near death. Told by a Minoxian healer that he would die without treatment, the brash youth refused to be tended due to what he considered an outrageous price for the services, eventually surviving his wounds by what he deemed a "process of the mind." He claimed that he thereafter stayed in the area as a tinker, before moving on to spend time in the company of the rangers of Spiritwood.[2]

At some point in this narrative, Batlin made a sojourn to Skara Brae. While he refused to mention what transpired there to anyone during the normal course of his life, at the point of seeing Armageddon itself, he was willing to impart that he had visited the Tortured One there - asking him fervently for the answers to the questions of life and death. When it became clear to him that the shade had no answer to give, he came to the transformational epiphany that the world existed without meaning or value - and that within such terrible nihilism, all things could be permitted.[3]

After this revelation, Batlin reports unburdening himself of most of his earthly possessions and living out the next two years in solitude as a shepherd of New Magincia.[2]

As Leader of the Fellowship[edit]

Lord British's audience with Batlin, from The Book of Fellowship

With the ten years of his pact to Abraham and Elizabeth having elapsed, Batlin returned to the Blue Boar to meet with his comrades. There they exchanged tales of their exploits and together formulated the plan to create an order known as the "Fellowship." It is unknown at what point in time the Guardian established contact with these three, or how his influence first came to fall upon their works, but inevitably the organization they sought to create would further their own goals, as well as those of this malevolent entity. After several failed attempts, they managed to secure the official ratification of Lord British for the group.

Over the next two decades, Batlin and his companions expanded the Fellowship throughout Britannia, preparing the populace for the eventual invasion planned by the Guardian, and slowly rending their followers malleable to their own desires. Three blackrock generators were created within the bowels of the Britannian dungeons - creating a disturbances to the practice of magic and the operation of the Moongates, as well as allowing the Guardian to seductively speak to those inducted into the Fellowship's outer circles. As the trio awaited the coming of the astronomical alignment which would herald their master's arrival through a black moongate, assassins were hired to slay the Fellowship's detractors.

Eventually, however, the Avatar returned to Britannia, having been summoned by the will of the Time Lord, an ethereal being of vast power which had been imprisoned by the same device which had disrupted the moongates. Batlin initially welcomed the Avatar into the Fellowship, despite sending him on several tasks possibly designed for the hero's destruction, although, the exact rationale remains unknown. After infiltrating the Fellowship and discovering its ultimate end, the hero of legend eventually managed to fight their way to the sanctuary prepared for the Guardian's arrival and to destroy the black gate. Thwarted, Batlin cursed the victorious Avatar and fled through magical means, vowing that the hero would never find him.

After the Destruction of the Black Gate[edit]

For details regarding Batlin's movements on Serpent Isle, see: Batlin on Serpent Isle

However, prior to his confrontation with the Avatar in Britannia, Batlin had, under the Guardian's instruction, set up a contingency plan involving the far flung Serpent Isle of myth. Some time before the Avatar's arrival, the leader of the fellowship had drafted a crew to journey to this realm of legend, including among their company Gwenllian Gwalch'gaeaf, the wife of the famed bard Iolo FitzOwen. Once the group had landed on the foreign isle, they were instructed to erect a blackrock obelisk - which later served to allow Batlin to teleport to their location.

After his landing, a little way from the seaside city of Fawn, Batlin took into his company the mercenary, Brunt; the sailor, Deadeye and the gargoyle Palos (Pale Bone) to accompany him on his new mission. While an enchanted scroll found among Batlin's belongings indicated that the original course of his quest was meant to further the Guardian's ends, it became clear with time that the druid made a decision at some point to betray the interests of his master, seeking power for himself alone.

The goal Batlin sought was the opening of the Wall of Lights which had previously been accessed by the archaic Ophidian civilization, an act which he assumed would allow him to ascend to a godlike status. To this end, he sought a ceremonial carving of blackrock serpent needed as "key" to activate the wall, and -more incredibly- the three Banes of Chaos - elemental beings of insane and terrible power which had resulted from the destruction of the cosmic Serpent of Chaos following the end of the Ophidian wars.

Batlin before the Wall of Lights, from Balancing the Scales
Batlin toured Fawn but briefly, possibly leaving the city in short order given the looming conflict between Fellowship practitioners and the priesthood of the region's Cult of Beauty. He thereafter traveled south to Monitor, where he stole what he believed to be the essential blackrock serpent carving from a sculptor named Andral, before being unceremoniously ejected from the city by its current leader, Marsten.

From there, Batlin came to the Inn of the Sleeping Bull, causing considerable commotion when it was discovered that his visit appeared to coincide with the disappearance and possible murder of the inn's proprietor, Angus. He likely fled thereafter to Moonshade on the Arabella, after hiring its captain, Hawk. Within the city of mages, he found an ally in the adept Celennia and further found a means of securing the Banes from the mage, Torrissio, who instructed him in the use of Soul Prisms. Thinking himself prepared for the task ahead, he journeyed north toward the frozen wastes which once formed the cradle of Ophidian civilization.

In the days that followed, Batlin's company managed to free the Banes of Chaos from their prisons within the icy temples of the north, turning back to hunt them to wherever they sought refuge. Although the exact order of their capture is unclear, the group eventually managed to capture the Bane of Wantoness (which had fled the possessed Gwenno's body) on the arctic plains and the Bane of Anarchy from within the bowels of the Skullcrusher Mountains. The Bane of Insanity, they took forcibly from its human host, Cantra, at the ruins of Shamino's Castle, leaving the child dead in the process.

Thinking himself in possession of all of the components necessary to achieve his apotheosis, Batlin pushed on to the Grand Shrine of Order, with the Avatar in fast pursuit. Moments after dispatching his allies in the chamber antecedent to the main sanctuary, the hero of legend witnessed Batlin's attempt to achieve immortality. Unfortunately for the aspiring God, he had made the critical mistake not only of failing to invoke the Wall of Lights with the correct serpent carving, but also of underestimating the power of the Banes, who broke through their inexpertly prepared prisons with little effort once the ceremony commenced, eager to create tumult within the waiting world. Batlin, realizing his failure, plead to the Avatar for help as he was slain by the escaping spirits, abandoned to his fate by the Guardian, who had relinquished his protections in light of Batlin's disloyalty.

Trivia[edit]

  • Batlin bears some similarities to L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of The Church of Scientology. He created a fictionalized autobiography in the Book of Fellowship, in which he appears to greatly exaggerate his life's achievements to make himself appear a prodigy. Hubbard's official biography, as published by the church of Scientology is also known to contain numerous facts which appear to be likewise embellished.
  • In Ultima VII, Batlin is under the protection of the Guardian and can survive the Armageddon spell. When the Black Sword is invoked against Batlin, Arcadion says, "He is protected by one much stronger than I!"
  • According to technical documents for Ultima VII, Batlin's portrait is supposed to be based off of American actor, Victor Buono.[4]
  • Design documents for Ultima VII Part Two, authored prior to the late truncation of its plot, detail a posthumous encounter with the communicative, albeit hostile spirits of Batlin and several other deceased adversaries (including cohorts Elizabeth, Abraham, and Hook, as well as Mondain and, notably, Lord Blackthorn) in Mortegro's abandoned manor during the Bane of Anarchy's perverse rule over Moonshade. Had this version of events remained in the final release, the ill-fated sage would have recounted his learning of Soul Prisms from Torrissio, as well as lamented his grave error in attempting to enter the Grand Shrine of Order's Wall of Lights with the opposing Banes of Chaos in tow.[5]

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Herman, Jack et al. "ii. The Story of Batlin - Part the First". The Book of Fellowship (Ultima VII). Origin Systems, Inc.: 1992. Pages 2-3.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Herman, Jack et al. "iv. The Story of Batlin - Part the Second". The Book of Fellowship (Ultima VII). Origin Systems, Inc.: 1992. Pages 4-5.
  3. BatlinUnderworld Dragon's Ultima VII TranscriptUltima VII. "(after casting Armageddon)".
  4. Randolph, Bill. Ultima: The Black Gate - Characters List. July 2, 1991.
  5. Armintrout, Bill. Ultima VII, Part Two: THE SERPENT ISLE - Moonshade Townplot (MOONSHAD.DOC) (Ultima VII Part Two). September 8, 1992. Page 13.

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