Gargoyles, from Ultima VII manual
|First appearance:||Ultima V|
|Last appearance:||Ultima IX|
Gargoyles are an intelligent and sentient race which superficially resemble daemons. They possess their own language, runic system, and architecture. Gargoyles come in two forms; The bigger, winged ones have a high intellect, magic powers and strong build. The wingless ones are not as smart and smaller, but make up for this with more muscles. Gargoyles are socially much like humans, in that you can get the good with the bad. The winged are seen as superior to the wingless, who are viewed as children in need of guidance. Only one capable of flight was able to visit the Shrine of Singularity.
The gargoyles originally lived in their own world, but they later resettled on the Isle of Terfin, with smaller populations scattered all over Britannia (notably in Vesper). Following the Great Cataclysm, they however grew apart from human society and settled in the underwater city of Ambrosia until its destruction. It is unknown where the gargoyle society was rebuilt after that. Gargoyles can also be found on Serpent Isle in the city of Furnace where they are ruled by Lord Zhelkas.
Biology and Society
In Ultima V, only one winged gargoyle is seen, Sin'Vraal. At the time he was thought to be one of the daemons (even the daemon sprite was used). The Stone Gargoyles seen in the Palace of Blackthorn are not "true" gargoyles. In Ultima VI, the gargoyles were properly introduced. The race of gargoyles are apparently (but not definitely) unrelated to those seen in Ultima III, although they are indeed very similar.
While gargoyle reproduction was never fully explained outside of the fact that they hatched from eggs, it was implied that gargoyles had only one gender and reproduced asexually. For example, gargoyles only say they have a single "parent," without gender definitions. The gargoyle Kallibrus, who had befriended humans, admitted to being confused by human courting and reproduction. However, it was revealed in Ultima IX that the eggs were being laid by a Gargoyle Queen which had apparently remained hidden until then.
Lor-wis-lem, a winged gargoyle in Ultima VI, claims to be over a thousand years old and nearing the end of his time, but still a mere youth when compared to the seer Naxatilor. This would suggest that gargoyles (or winged gargoyles, at least) have a much longer lifespan than a human.
The exact intellectual status on the wingless gargoyles has remained somewhat inconsistent through the games. In Ultima VI, wingless gargoyles do not speak, and are said to have the mental capacity of a child. However, in Ultima VII wingless gargoyles, even though still seen as less intelligent than the winged ones, appear to be smarter and do speak. In Ultima IX, the wingless ones are depicted in a way that again stresses the difference in intellect with the winged ones. Another difference seen in Ultima IX is that wingless gargoyles appear to be much larger than their winged counterpart.
The ancient history of the gargoyles is not very well known. At some point in the distant past, gargoyles developed their system of virtues, which revolved around Singularity and that all parts were as important as the others both in their virtue system and in their society. They built the Shrine of Singularity, and they housed there the Codex of Ultimate Wisdom, which Naxatilor had found in the Ethereal Void. Their world, the Realm of the Gargoyles, was a harsh one, but the gargoyles thrived and developed their culture nonetheless.
After the events of Ultima IV and the Quest of the Avatar, the Codex of Ultimate Wisdom was stolen from the gargoyles by the Great Council of Britannia. This created the Underworld between Britannia and the Realm of the Gargoyles. The Underworld was very unstable, and the Realm of the Gargoyles were wracked with earthquakes and subterranean eruptions. Later when Lord British was rescued from Dungeon Doom, the Underworld collapsed, and was much of the gargish land was destroyed and many were killed. They blamed the Avatar for these events, naming the hero An Bal Sil Fer: False Prophet. They believed the only way to save their world was to sacrificially slay the Avatar.
Following the guidance of their Book of Prophecies, they invaded Britannia and captured each of the Shrines of Virtue. The moonstones were stolen from their resting places and bound to the shrines with magical energies. Although many knights sought to rout the gargoyles from the shrines, none were victorious. This started a war between humans and gargoyles, which would be called the War of the False Prophet by the gargoyles.
The Avatar was tricked by the gargoyles, who sent a moongate to Earth to lure the hero to their lands. The Avatar was rescued by Iolo, Shamino and Dupre before the sacrifice could take place, but returned later. With Beh Lem assisting the party, the Avatar made a deal with Lord Draxinusom: if the Avatar could not find a way to save the gargoyle world within a certain period of time, return the Codex to the gargoyles, or the Avatar would willingly be sacrificed. To seal the contract, the Avatar wore the Amulet of Submission.
The war ended when the Avatar, following the instructions of the Codex itself after being sent by the gargoyles' own Shrine of Singularity, returned the Codex to the Void. Both Lord British and Lord Draxinusom were initially angered by this, but when they both viewed the Codex together it showed them something that has never officially been revealed. The two races made peace.
The Realm of the Gargoyles continued to crumble, so the gargoyles relocated to Britannia. Lord British granted them the island of Terfin to settle on, though they were welcome to live in other cities as free citizens. However, the integration of the gargoyles into Britannian society was not easy at all, and even gave rise to an anti-gargoyle organization, known in Ultima VII as The Britannian Purity League. Most of the gargoyles remained in Terfin, and only a few ventured outside their island.
Following the events of Ultima VII and the Great Cataclysm, most gargoyles had relocated to the underwater city of Ambrosia, while a few remained on Terfin. The gargoyles became largely isolated from human society, and most chose to avoid human contact. Most of those encountered in Ambrosia believed upon seeing the Avatar that the prophecies of the False Prophet were coming true again. Those encountered on Terfin immediately saw the Avatar as a threat and attacked. With the Avatar's destruction of Ambrosia, most of the gargoyle race was destroyed, save for the select few living outside of the underwater city and the queen egg saved by the Avatar during the flood. It is unknown the fate of the gargoyles after the Avatar passed the queen egg to Vasagralem to help rebuild the gargoyle race.
Gargoyles in Serpent Isle
For as long as the knights have settled Serpent Isle, the daemons (gargoyles) have remained within Furnace. Several generations of gargoyles had lived in the Lost City, but the place (being Ophidian by design) was old before they had ever come. Monitorians believed the ancient serpent ruins were once populated by daemons (beings with red skin and horns), and that they had the power to cause molten rock to flow. The serpent was their sign.
The ruler of the Lost City at the time of the Avatar's arrival is Zhelkas, meaning ‘iron helm.’
During the Imbalance, gargoyles in both Britannia and Serpent Isle were afflicted by a sleeping sickness. It was only by sheer force of will that Zhelkas alone remained awake, and he told the Avatar of a single dream, shared by all the sleeping gargoyles. They dream of an evil trinity (the Banes of Chaos) which the Avatar would fight: One with an Evil Glow (Shamino the Anarch), one with haunting eyes that mock (Mad Iolo), one with the Serpent’s Head (Wanton Dupre). They dream of disease: dying infants of minds numbed or gone insane, beings which simply waste away due to the Imbalance. They dream of giving the Ring of the Serpent to the Avatar, which will aid against the Imbalance. The dream also says the Hero will go to the Place of the Twin Pillars, to face the ordeal of the ancients.
If the Avatar attempts to wake any of the sleeping gargoyles in Furnace, they become hostile.
|“|| Frequently confused with daemons, the gargoyles are a little understood race of beings. Only fragments of information have made their way back from expeditions to the underworld habitat of these creatures. We do know that there are two classes of gargoyles--a dominant, winged variety and smaller, wingless drones. The larger gargoyle is a daunting opponent, possessing very high intelligence and impressive magical powers. But, the smaller drones are not to be ignored, for their attack is deadly, despite their apparent lack of magical ability. Scholars at the Lycaeum are feverishly analyzing all incoming information regarding these perplexing creatures.|
|“|| This red-skinned creature originally comes from the subterranean domain of the gargoyles. There are two classes of gargoyles: the larger winged gargoyles that possess keen intellect and magical capability, and the smaller worker drones that possess little thinking ability but are embodied with great strength.|
|“|| From the lands of man, the gargoyles have retreated to the underground city of Ambrosia. A few remain on Terfin and dare any man to test them. In combat, large and strong gargoyle drones lead the attack and can bludgeon the front ranks with oversized staves. Behind this vanguard, the winged gargoyles govern the attack and assist with magical strikes. When armed and angered, a gargoyle party poses a serious threat.|
- There are many gargoyles that are interesting, however, the most important one is obviously Lord Draxinusom. He is very important in Ultima VI, became a good friend in Ultima VII and is mentioned in Ultima Underworld II. His final fate is unclear.
- Beh Lem joined the Avatar as a companion in Ultima VI. He had been secretly studying the Britannian language from Captain Johne, who was living in Dungeon Hythloth. Beh Lem was young and wingless when he joined the Avatar, but said he would grow wings as he matured. He believed the gargoyles and humans should make peace. Beh Lem is not officially seen again after Ultima VI.
- The appearence of a Gargoyle Queen in Ultima IX was a very controversial addition, as many fans felt it contradicted previous episodes.
- Gargoyles appeared as a playable race in the Stygian Abyss expansion for Ultima Online. See Races of Ultima Online.
- Gargoyles were also to appear in the cancelled Ultima X. Their historical write-up can be seen here, but should not necessarily be considered canonical to the series although it does try to explain the apparent discrepancy surrounding the Gargoyle Queen in Ultima IX.
|The Races||Human ☥ Elf ☥ Dwarf ☥ Bobbit ☥ Fuzzy ☥ Gargoyle|