Lord Blackthorn, from Ultima V
Lord Blackthorn is a Britannian nobleman who served as regent of the kingdom during Lord British's disappearance in Ultima V, descending into wickedness at the instigation of the Shadowlords, the once virtuous man became tyrannical and oppressive, plunging the land into an era of totalitarian fear until his eventual exile. Centuries later, seeking to regain his rule over the world, the desperate villain joined forces with the Guardian, assisting him in his machinations during Ultima IX.
Age of Enlightenment
Blackthorn came to prominence following Lord British's disappearance in the midst of an expedition to the Underworld. When the sovereign's scribe, Remoh, returned from the ill-fated voyage with an account of the king's abduction, Blackthorn seized power, hoping to quell the civil instability that followed news of British's loss.
While Blackthorn's initial ambitions were noble, the very entities responsible for the true king's imprisonment eventually beset him, corrupting his soul such that he tried to enforce British's virtues through force, placing the country under martial law as he made morality something to be enforced at the gallows. Thus seduced by the power of the Shadowlords, Blackthorn's reign became one of draconian terror, with the companions of the Avatar and the former members of the Great Council persecuted as outlaws, and those failing to submit to the laws of the Dark Lord facing with torture and execution.Shadowlords and to restore Lord British to power - and in this quest the assembles of Blackthorn's elite force, the Oppression, did their best to harry the hero in their endeavors.
Should the hero join the brotherhood of the Oppression in the hopes of evading capture, Blackthorn would welcome the seemingly corrupted hero at his stronghold on the volcanic isle which once housed Mondain's Skull, claiming that with British's former champion at his side, his armies should become invincible. Should the Avatar come to him without this pretense, however, the consequences would be dire. The depraved lord would threaten the life of one of the hero's companions, executing them by means of a bladed pendulum, should the Avatar refuse to give him information that he might defile the Shrines of the Virtues.
Eventually, however, the Avatar triumphed over the Shadowlords, freeing Lord British from his prison in Dungeon Doom and restoring the monarch to power. With the dark influence of the spectres gone from his mind, the remorseful despot faced his predecessor and successor with dignity, listening wordlessly as British gave him the options of facing the justice of the Great Council or exile on an foreign world. Choosing the latter, the fallen tyrant passed through a red moongate, leaving for lands unknown.
Age of Armageddon
It would be several centuries before Blackthorn's fate would be known. During their quests against the ravening Imbalance in Ultima VII Part Two, the Avatar would have the opportunity to read an account in a Xenkan monastery which named Blackthorn as a visitor to the order in years past, having been taken in by a monk known Markus after arriving on the shores of Serpent Isle. Apparently, Blackthorn had spent some time amongst the Xenkan brotherhood, learning humility as a man bereft of worldly titles and honors. Leaving their island a supposedly changed man, he eventually went on to journey across the New Sosarian landscape, disappearing from the annals of history until his ultimate return to Britannia years later, in the company of the Guardian.
Allied now with the Destroyer of Worlds, Blackthorn seemed to have shed his past penitence among the brothers, becoming once more perverse and tyrannical in the Red Titan's company. Returned again to the lands he once ruled, Blackthorn seemed intent on usurping the throne again from the aged British, and appeared to have gained considerable powers of magic during the years of his exile - perhaps having learned the methodology of Xenkan Void magic from his past encounters. Despite numerous attempts to capture the likewise returned Avatar, however, the Dark Lord often found himself thwarted by the hero and their allies, at one point losing the use of his left eye to the point of Raven's dagger.
In one encounter, after condemning to fiery death all Minoxian gypsies who dared to aid the Avatar in their last adventures, Blackthorn became the target of a curse by the drabarni Morganna, who proscribed that he should "die alone, defeated by a man he betrayed [and] scorned by his only ally!" This curse came to full fruition, when the ailing Lord British pursued the villain to the depths of the Abyss, slaying him in a magical duel before the Avatar's eyes. As he had before with his former agent Batlin, the Guardian did nothing to intervene, leaving Blackthorn to perish in despair.
Ultima V: Lazarus
In Ultima V: Lazarus, Lord Blackthorn was pleased to finally meet the Avatar within his palace, having heard numerous stories of the hero's return to Britannia from his Oppression followers, encouraging the Avatar to join his oppression of fears, lies, and hatred. The king demanded the hero speak the password of the Oppression, IMPERA, or would immediately throw the hero into his dungeons.
Saddened by the loss of his friend Lord British in the Underworld, Blackthorn was aghast when the various factions of the land began to fight amongst themselves. Disgusted by Lord Windemere's attempt to install the Great Council, an organization which merely represented the interest of mages, as the rulers of the land, Blackthorn had felt compelled to oppose this, believing the populace was more diverse and deserved a more inclusive representation. When the Great Council betrayed him by freeing Lord Windemere after Blackthorn had obtained proof that he slaughtered innocents, the lord believed he had no trust but to disband the organization, ultimately hunting them throughout the land. The liege commented that people throughout Britannia had risen up to champion his Ethics, which sought to impose a more rigid interpretation of the Virtues, including creatures of the darkness, the Shadowlords.
Blackthorn hoped to ultimately become Britannia's savior by learning the Mantras, Words of Power, and obtaining the Crown Jewels, using these items to restore peace throughout the land. His majesty hoped to use the Mantras to cleanse the Shrines, feeling that their conflicting messages gave different interpretations of the Virtues to all who meditated upon them. Blackthorn believed this inherently bred confusion within the people, for who could be right if no interpretation were wrong. The most powerful denizens of Britannia lay locked within the confines of the earth, daemons, dragons, and other such beasts, and the king sought the Words of Power so these denizens of the deep might be unleashed and directed to controlling the surface.
The Avatar could choose to betray all eight Mantras to Blackthorn, much to the horror of the hero's companions, at which point Blackthorn would direct the hero to Flain to provide the archmage the Words of Power.
Should the Avatar appear in front of Blackthorn wearing the Crown of Lord British, or admit to having such item, Blackthorn would immediately have the hero imprisoned.
Blackthorn once was a good ol' man
Upon good principles he would stand
But then came the Shadowlords, full of evil
Blackthorn's soul they came to steal
All at once the Tyranny began
All because of Fate's dark hand!
- Hardluck's song (Ultima V)
|“|| One of Lord British's Companions and a many whose genius lies in orderly administration. When Lord British left his castle to explore the underworld, he asked his trusted friend, Blackthorn, to act as his regent while he was away. As the days of Lord British's adsence lengthened into weeks, then months, a change came over Lord Blackthorn. Perhaps it was the all-too-human realization that a temporary honor might well become a permanent responsibility, although others have hinted that darked powers and deep-hidden flaws in Blackthorn's character might be the true cause. Whatever the reason, Lord Blackthorn holds Britannia in a tight fist and has lost all tolerance for those who disagree with him. He has disbanded the Great Council and outlawed its former members. In the Council's place he's established the Inquisition whose many members are pledged to see that everyone obeys the regent and are empowered to interrogate and punish any citizen who does not.|
- from Dramatis Personae (Ultima Saga: The Temper of Wisdom)
- Blackthorn has no counterpart in reality upon which he was originally based, although he eventually came to be associated with Starr Long, a long-time Origin employee and the co-creator of Ultima Online, who played the character of Blackthorn in the online game.
- In Ultima V, Blackthorn is unkillable in combat.
- Blackthorn, before his rule in Ultima V was once the bearer of the Shield of Valor, which he set aside during the time of his regency. This artifact later became one of the eight talismans gathered by Sir Cabirus for his experimental Abyssal colony.
- According to the original design documents for Serpent Isle, the necromage Mortegro's mansion is flooded with the angry ghosts of the dead, following the coming of Shamino the Anarch. Blackthorn was originally supposed to have numbered among these spirits, indicating that at one point in Ultima continuity the character would have been dead. 
- Brother Markus. Memoirs (Ultima VII).
- Lord Blackthorn. Ultima V: Lazarus Regional Profiles. Ultima V: Lazarus.
- Armintrout, Bill. Ultima VII, Part Two: THE SERPENT ISLE - Moonshade Townplot (MOONSHAD.DOC). September 8, 1992. Page 13.