Lenses

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The Britannian and Gargish lenses, upon returning the Codex of Ultimate Wisdom to the Ethereal Void.
The two mystic lenses, one a violet convex of Gargish origin and the other a blue concave of human design, are artifacts that allow the transposition of objects between the Ethereal Void and terrestrial realm, and, following the events of their introduction in Ultima VI, enable the bearer(s) to read from the Codex of Ultimate Wisdom. The lenses further appear in Ultima VII and Ultima IX.

History[edit]

Age of Enlightenment[edit]

Centuries prior to the Gargish uprising in Britannia, the convex lens (often referred to as the Vortex Lens) was crafted by the seer Naxatilor and lensmaker Lor-wis-lem, that the former might observe the Codex of Ultimate Wisdom in its ethereal haven and, in conjunction with the Vortex Cube, draw it down to the Realm of the Gargoyles for the collective enlightenment of his people.[1] Upon performing this feat, the mystic tome was housed at the Shrine of Singularity, where it came to be uncovered at the culmination of the Stranger's quest to attain Avatarhood and subsequently expropriated by the Great Council, oblivious to the presence of its keepers.

The lens and cube used by Naxatilor were thereafter displayed in the Vortex Chamber of the Hall of Knowledge. Both exhibits, however, were subject to misconduct: the cube was purloined by human thieves,[2] while the glass artifact was shattered under ambiguous circumstances.

With the assistance of the very lensmaker who formed it, the Avatar was able to have the gargoyle's ancient glasswork mended during the effort to forge peace between their warring kingdoms, and was then tasked with the creation of a blue, concave Britannian counterpart.[3] The astronomer Ephemerides of Moonglow proved himself capable of casting such an optical device; observing a structural similarity to glass swords in the Gargish work, the craftsman first required the hero to deliver him one of the enchanted weapons, that he might melt it down as a foundation for the completed article.[4]

Inverse to the method once employed by Naxatilor, the Avatar used each lens to focus upon the Codex the light radiated by their corresponding flames of Infinity and Singularity, and in synergy with the collective power of the eight moonstones contained within the Vortex Cube, returned the sacred tome to its origins in the Ethereal Void. With the wisdom of the Codex able to be shared by human and gargoyle alike, peace prevailed between the two people. Both lenses would be required in unison to gaze upon its writings, with Lord British in possession of the blue lens, and Lord Draxinusom the purple.

Age of Armageddon[edit]

During the two hundred years that passed before the Avatar next returned to Britannia, the lenses came to be accommodated by the Royal Museum in Britain. It was during the hero's questing to prevent the Guardian's first attempt to gain entry to the land that the Isle of Fire, the former abode of the dreaded Exodus, arose from the Great Sea. Discovering that the hellspawn's Dark Core remained within the ruins of the Castle of Fire, the Avatar once more made use of the lenses' transpositional properties to summon the Talisman of Infinity from the Ethereal Void, that it might be used to cast the Dark Core from the material plane.

Sometime prior to the Avatar's final call to Lord British's realm, the gargoyle lens was stolen by an unknown perpetrator, and in the course of the hero's questing to vanquish the Guardian, was recovered by Draxinusom's successor, Vasagralem. Though enraged by the destruction of his people's undersea home of Ambrosia, the king would be placated by the Avatar's recovery of a gargoyle queen egg—which would allow the re-establishment of his people without the pride that had destroyed them—and relinquish the lens (now appearing red) out of gratitude.[5] The blue lens, meanwhile, had mysteriously come under possession of the gypsy Rom Baro of Minoc, who, after realizing the dangers Britannia faced if he did not cooperate with the Avatar, granted access to his wagon. Doing so brought down the wrath of a curse Blackthorn had pronounced upon the gypsies should they aid the hero, causing their sacrificial leader to burst into flame.[6]

On this final occasion, the Avatar required the two lenses in order to consult and decipher the mystic texts of the Codex—which had returned to the terrestrial realm during the champion's absence—and gain the knowledge required to defeat the Guardian.

Lore[edit]

Blue concave in Ultima VII.
Therefore, the Avatar placed the Codex into the great ethereal void where it would be possessed by neither human nor gargoyle. Two lenses, used to view the Codex, were given to Lord British and the gargoyle ruler King Draxinusom.
Violet convex in Ultima VII.
When I have completed my studies and returned to the surface world, I must seek out the great lenses to the void and view the Book of Infinite Wisdom. There I will be able to confirm my suspicions.

Trivia[edit]

  • The physical appearance of the lenses in Ultima IX is inconsistent with their previous depictions. As well as the aforementioned difference in hue of the Gargish glass, each lens is significantly reduced in size, and hexagonal rather than circular.

References[edit]

  1. Naxatilor. Kodeks Rit (Ultima VI: The False Prophet - in-game).
  2. CaretakerUltima VI TranscriptUltima VI: The False Prophet. "cube".
  3. NaxatilorUltima VI TranscriptUltima VI: The False Prophet. "lens".
  4. EphemeridesUltima VI TranscriptUltima VI: The False Prophet. "lens".
  5. VasagralemQuill Dragon's Ultima IX TranscriptUltima IX: Ascension.
  6. LaszloQuill Dragon's Ultima IX TranscriptUltima IX: Ascension.