Erstam, from Ultima VII Part Two
Erstam is an extremely old and powerful magician living on Serpent Isle who led the original Sosarian settlers to the land following their flight from the lands that would become the nascent Britannia. He appears in Ultima VII Part Two.
Following the end of the Sosarian Age of Darkness, Erstam was one of Lord British's many subjects who were ideologically opposed to the establishment of the Eight Virtues as a state philosophy. A number of mages from the ancient city of Moon, warriors from the dual cities of Montor, and inhabitants of the coastal city of Fawn unified under Erstam's leadership and made the decision to leave Sosaria in search of a new homeland. These emigrants made their journey aboard a ship known as The Osprey, which left the world under British's rule by traversing the Serpent Pillars: two strange and ancient structures which arose from the Great Ocean. Eventually, the ship made landfall on Serpent Isle, which the emigrants named for the prevalence of Ophidian ruins throughout its lands. Upon these lands, they founded three great cities: Moonshade, Monitor, and Fawn.
While Erstam initially worked in close conjunction with the colonists, aiding in such tasks as the construction of the Monitorian Knight's Test and living and practicing his magic in the midst of the Moonshadians, he eventually grew disenchanted with the affairs of other Serpent Islanders and chose to remove himself from their society. Reports as to his exact reasons for abandoning the company men varied considerably, however. Erstam claimed that he found the petty squabbles and endless politicking of the Moonshadians to have become intolerable. Some believed that the specific reason for his alienation, however, was that the adepts who were once his pupils had surpassed him in skill, that he had attained his magical powers too quickly, or that some discovery he had made in the midst of his experiments had driven him to insanity. His servant, Vasel, would remark that the disappearance of his lover, the enchantress Drogeni, had occurred around the time of his change in temperament.
Taking up residence on a small island to the north of the Isle of Beyond, Erstam carried out strange experiments probing into the nature of life and the possibility of immortality. The only company he kept were various assistants, whom he used both as servants and as experimental material. His domain was sometimes visited, however, by other Moonshadians, who saw it as a mark of distinction to steal the teeth from the Ophidian Serpent Jawbone in his possession; his son, the apothecary Pothos, was also an occasional visitor and was one of the few souls who knew both the secret of reaching Erstam's isle and the password necessary to gain some measure of trust from the old magician.
The Avatar would find it necessary to meet with Erstam in the course of their adventures on Serpent Isle, having need of the jawbone to travel to various regions inaccessible by other means. After wresting the needed information from Pothos, the hero summoned a great sea turtle to deliver them to the mad mage's island, where they spoke to the magician about his inquiries into the nature of life and eventually agreed to assist him in his most recent experiment. After procuring a phoenix egg from a neighboring island, the Avatar worked under Erstam's instructions to unite various disembodied pieces of human anatomy (including the head of the mage's former assistant, Boydon) into a complete body, which was imbued with life via the generative power of the egg. This creation, which retained Boydon's memories and name, proved eager to travel to the lands beyond his master's island, and Erstam would give his permission to allow the man to join the Avatar's party should the hero wish for his company.
Satisfied that he had meaningfully unlocked some portion of the secrets he pursued, Erstam gave the Avatar his serpent's jawbone, along with the few teeth belonging to it that he still possessed. He indicated that he intended to explore solutions to other problems at play in the universe, having already forged one answer to the riddle of life and death.
|“|| As I sit back in momentary relaxation, free from my self-appointed task as scribe, I am able to cease observing my surroundings and begin absorbing them. I can hear the crackle of the fire and the buzzing of a bothersome fly. I can hear a roar outside — no doubt another teleportation storm preparing to rage across the landscape. And I can hear the sound of shutters clattering against the window sill.
In a moment, I shall rise to close them and then return to pursue my studies on immortality ... in a moment.
- Erstam is the author of Beyond the Serpent Pillars, a chronicle detailing the history and culture of Serpent Isle that serves as Ultima VII: Part Two's game manual.
- According to the chronicler Andrew of Monitor, Erstam was accorded the honor of being the first Sosarian to set foot on Serpent Isle following the landing of The Osprey.
- In the course of her travels in preparation for the Avatar's coming, Thoxa had a brief run in with Erstam, who attempted to recruit her for the purposes of retrieving the phoenix egg before she fled from his domain, being rather unnerved by the gruesome nature of his experiments.
- Ensorcio will mention rumors among the Moonshadian adepts that Erstam was responsible for the death of Silverpate. Supposedly, the pirate contracted Erstam to perform some manner of task for him but attempted to cheat the magician of his fee; it was claimed that Erstam trapped Silverpate thereafter in a daemon-filled pit. Silverpate's own journal offers some corroboration of this tale, as it indicates that the two men were engaged in some manner of joint venture involving a serpent jawbone in the pirate's possession. Furthermore, Erstam notes in his own chronicle that the Inn of the Sleeping Bull was once owned by an enemy of his and that this unknown personage was long dead.
- 'Erstam' is an anagram of 'Master.' Erstam's servant is Vasel. 'Vasel' is an anagram of 'Slave.' 'Boydon' (who started off in the game as a talking head) is an anagram of 'Nobody.' 'Drogeni' is an anagram of 'Ignored.' 'Pothos' is an anagram of 'to shop.'
- Morris, Andrew. Beyond the Serpent Pillars (Ultima VII Part Two). Origin Systems, Inc.: 1993. Page 3-6.
- Hobbs, Sheri Graner. Balancing the Scales (Ultima VII Part Two). Origin Systems, Inc.: 1993.
- Ensorcio. Paul Carr's Ultima Transcripts. Ultima VII Part Two. "Erstam".
- Flindo. Paul Carr's Ultima Transcripts. Ultima VII Part Two. "Mad Mage".
- Melino. Paul Carr's Ultima Transcripts. Ultima VII Part Two. "Mad Mage".
- Andrio. Paul Carr's Ultima Transcripts. Ultima VII Part Two. "Erstam".
- Bucia. Paul Carr's Ultima Transcripts. Ultima VII Part Two. "Erstam".
- Marsten. Paul Carr's Ultima Transcripts. Ultima VII Part Two. "Erstam".
- Vasel. Paul Carr's Ultima Transcripts. Ultima VII Part Two. "mad mage".
- Frigidazzi. Paul Carr's Ultima Transcripts. Ultima VII Part Two. "serpent relic".
- Melino. Paul Carr's Ultima Transcripts. Ultima VII Part Two. "Serpent Teeth".
- Erstam. Paul Carr's Ultima Transcripts. Ultima VII Part Two. "northern island, phoenix, serpent jawbone".
- Boydon. Paul Carr's Ultima Transcripts. Ultima VII Part Two. "duties".
- Erstam. Paul Carr's Ultima Transcripts. Ultima VII Part Two. "May Boydon join?".
- Erstam. Paul Carr's Ultima Transcripts. Ultima VII Part Two. "experiments".
- Andrew of Monitor. Courageous Deeds (Ultima VII Part Two - in-game).
- Hobbs, Sheri Graner et al. Balancing the Scales (Ultima VII Part Two). Origin Systems, Inc.: 1993. Pages 18-19.
- Ensorcio. Paul Carr's Ultima Transcripts. Ultima VII Part Two. "Silverpate".
- Silverpate. My Journal (Ultima VII Part Two - in-game).
- Morris, Andrew. Beyond the Serpent Pillars (Ultima VII Part Two). Origin Systems, Inc.: 1993. Page 11.