Isle of the Avatar

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Description[edit]

The Isle of the Avatar is a volcanic island in the southeastern seas of Britannia. Originally called the Isle of the Abyss, this dangerous and desolate land was first discovered in the early Age of Enlightenment,[1] when it became known that the Codex which lay deep within its bowels would be necessary in bringing about the revelation of the Avatar. Home also to a part of the labyrinthine dungeon Hythloth and the daemon-haunted Shrine of Humility, the isle has long stood as a place to test the mettle of aspirant heroes, and has featured prominently throughout the adventures of Britannia's champion.

History[edit]

Age of Enlightenment[edit]

In its earliest days, the Isle of the Abyss proved crucial in the Stranger's ascension to Avatarhood during Ultima IV. It was here that the questing hero managed to secure the lighter than air device necessary to pass over the Serpent's Spine mountains, and in the course of their pilgrimage toward enlightenment the Stranger would come to pray within the Shrine that lay on the isle's northern shore - deflecting the unending bands of daemons which dwelt their with the legendary Silver Horn. It's greatest role in the Quest of the Avatar, however, lay in the Abyss, where the hero at long last gazed upon the pages of the Codex of Ultimate Wisdom and was initiated into its mysteries.

Shortly after Avatar's realization of their title and subsequent return to Earth, the Great Council endeavored to raise the Codex from its resting place within the island's volcanic dungeons, and enshrined it within a stone edifice on the isle's south shores, where it lay guarded by stone sentinels until its eventual transference into the Void at the end of the gargoyle wars. Throughout their quests in both Ultima V and VI, the Avatar would often return to the isle which now bore their name, gaining insights into the ways of the virtue from the holy book of Britannia.

Ten years after the sacrifice of the Codex, the isle found itself home to the peculiar visionary colony of Sir Cabirus, who sought to establish a city which embodied the sum of the virtues in harmony - within the maw of the Great Stygian Abyss itself! In order that this experimental settlement might maintain contact with the Britannian surface, a small keep under the direction of Baron Almric was established near the mouth of the Abyss.

Tragically, this fragile Abyssal Colony fell into ruin and anarchy with Cabirus' death, and Almric ordered the doors of the great dungeon sealed, turning the knight's dream of a utopian society into a wretched penal colony for those who crossed the Baron's will. Eventually, the Avatar would return to the Isle, guided by the ghost of the magician Garamon, and would be rudely forced into the Abyssal ruins, having been falsely accused of the abduction of Almric's young daughter, Arial. Finding that far darker undertakings than the baronetess' kidnapping were at hand, the hero was forced to trigger an eruption of the island's major volcano after rescuing the remaining colonists - destroying the remnants of the failed colony and the baron's castle in the process.

Age of Armageddon[edit]

After nearly two centuries of relative peace which the realm of Britannia enjoyed follow the end of hostilities between men and gargoyles, the isle became home to the followers of the malevolent Guardian, who had his followers within the philosophical cult known as the Fellowship build a stronghold within the tunnels of the dungeon Hythloth, where they might someday summon him into their world through a blackrock moongate. It was here at the end of Ultima VII that the Avatar confronted the diociples of the Red Titan, and foiled his plans through the destruction of the Black Gate.

Years later, after weathering the changes wrought by the Imbalance and the Great Cataclysm, the Isle of the Avatar was shrouded in magical mists of the Guardian's devising, leading many to believe that the island had vanished under the weight of the disasters which had wracked the land. In Ultima IX, however, the Avatar nevertheless managed to return here, harnessing the powers of the conquered Pyros to carry them once more into the heart of the Abyss. It was here, that the weary Lord British also had his final confrontation with Blackthorn, atoning for his years of relying on the valor of his champion rather than using his own powers to assist the realm.

Lore[edit]

The Shrine of the Codex sits on the Isle of the Avatar
This enigma of nature rose from the sea when the Codex of Ultimate Wisdom was brought up from the depths of the Great Stygian Abyss. The great subterranean upheaval that gave it birth left the large island dotted with volcanic craters, steaming fumaroles, and a ready supply of sulfurous ash. Few are brave enough to risk the hazards of this place - even to behold the Codex in the Shrine of the Avatar.
While no formal city has ever been built upon the Isle of the Avatar, it is such a place of interest that it is included here in this section. This strange volcanic island - which arose from the tumultuous upheaval of the Great Stygian Abyss - receives numerous visitors on pilgrimage to the Shrine of the Codex. The Shrine is considered to be a national monument of great historical importance to Britannia and as such is under armed guard day and night.
Birthed in the fires of righteous crusade, the Isle of the Avatar is the magical monument to the trials of the Champion of Britannia. From the Great Stygian Abyss, this isle erupted when Lord British drew the Codex of Ultimate Wisdom from the depths of the Abyss. Over the rights of the Codex, a long and protracted battle ensued between man and gargoyle. It was resolved that both shall have the right to worship the Codex on the Isle of the Avatar, a testament to the man who found peace between the peoples. Yet, during the Cataclysm, the isle disappeared. In its place on the ocean lingers a veil of fog and renewed bitterness between gargoyle and man. No ready culprit has presented himself, and much needless blood has been spilt because of it. With the woe afoot in Britannia, some claim that the righteous fires that gave birth to the Isle have faded into embers and taken it and the Codex from the people forever.
- from Journal, (Ultima IX)


Things to see[edit]

Trivia[edit]

  • In Ultima IV, you sail through a bay from the west to reach the Abyss. The Shrine of Humility is accessed from north.
  • In Ultima V, you have to land by the bay and walk northwards to get to the Shrine of Humility, and the Shrine of Codex is accessed from the southern side of the island.
  • For some reason, the Shrine of the Codex and the Shrine of Humility inverted their position in Ultima VI
  • On the map shown in Underworld I, you get to the Shrine of Humility by walking southwards from the bay.
  • On the Ultima VII map, the bay isn’t connected to the sea anymore (though it is in the game). The Shrine of Humility is accessed from the north, and the Shrine of Codex from south.
  • In Ultima IX, the bay is once again connected to the sea, but it’s on the northern side. The Shrine of Humility is gone.
  • While the people of Ultima IX are meant to believe the Isle of the Avatar has sunk, it still appears on the World Map which creates some confusion.

References[edit]

  1.  The Way of the Avatar (Ultima IV). Origin Systems, Inc.: 1986. Pages 36.

Geography
Britannia
Cities YewMinocSkara BraeBritainNew MaginciaMoonglowJhelomTrinsicMagincia
Castles Castle BritanniaEmpath AbbeyLycaeumSerpent's Hold
BordermarchFarthingWindemereStonegate
Towns BritannysBuccaneer's DenCoveDawnPawsTerfinVesper
Shrines CompassionHonestyHonorHumilityJusticeSacrificeValorSpiritualityShrine of the Codex
Dungeons The AbyssCovetousDeceitDespiseDestardDoomHythlothShameWrong
Lighthouses FogsbaneGreyhavenStormcrowWaveguide
Caves Ant MoundBee CaveBuccaneer's CaveCyclops CaveDesert DungeonHeftimus CaveHeroes' HoleMoonglow CatacombsSpirit TunnelsSpider CaveSwamp CaveVesper Mines
Islands AmbrosiaIsle of the AvatarDagger IsleDeadman's IslandIsle of Deeds
Isle of FireJanus IslandMarsor's IsleSpektranValarian IslandsValorian IslesVerity Isle
Lakes Lake GenerosityLock LakeLost Lake
Major Areas Bloody PlainsBog of DesolationBritanny BayCape of HeroesDeep ForestDrylandsFens of the DeadHigh SteppesLost Hope BayRealm of the GargoylesSerpent's SpineSpiritwoodUnderworld
Serpent Isle
Cities FawnMonitorMoonshade
Settlements Inn of the Sleeping BullIsles of the Mad MageMonk Isle
Dungeons SkullcrusherSpinebreakerFurnaceKnight's TestMountains of Freedom
Ruins Shamino's CastleCastle of the White DragonShrine of BalanceTemple of DisciplineTemple of EmotionTemple of EnthusiasmTemple of EthicalityTemple of LogicTemple of Tolerance
Islands ClawIsle of CryptsGwani Death TempleIce Dragon's Lair
Isles of the Mad MageMonk IslePenguin IslandSunrise Isle
Interesting Areas Gorlab SwampGreat Northern ForestIce PlainsKnight's ForestSerpent Isle Guard TowersWestern Forest
Pagan
Settlements Argentrock IsleDaemon's CragTenebrae
Other Carthax LakeCatacombsCemeteryFishermen's ReefHall of the Mountain KingHerdsman's ValleyPlateauShrine of the Ancient OnesStone CoveTreasure CoveVengeance Bay