Mondain

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Mondain
Mondain-uo-intro.jpg
Mondain, from Ultima Online
Species: Unknown
Appearances
Ultima Online
Ultima VI
Mondain.gif
Mondain, from Ultima VI
Location: Shrine of Control
U6 Transcript: Mondain
The Ultima 6 Project
Mondain-U6Project.png
Mondain, from The Ultima 6 Project
Location: Shrine of Control
Ultima I
Mondain-arrival.png
Mondain, from Ultima I
Location: Time of Legends

Mondain is a powerful enchanter responsible for numerous evils during the early ages of Sosaria, clashing with the young knight, British during the events of Akalabeth and eventually meeting his end at the hands of the Stranger in Ultima I.

Biography[edit]

Mondain was the second born son of the wizard Wolfgang,[1] the king of an unknown land of ancient Sosaria. Little about Mondain's childhood and formative events that may have shaped his early life are known, and his brother's name has never been uncovered. Whatever his circumstances, Mondain grew into a severely troubled, albeit magically talented youth, subject to frequent fits of rage and depression. By the age of fifteen, his father observed that he had taken to killing animals as a means of coping with whatever ill humors plagued him, finding consolation in his seeming power over life and death. Concerned with this sociopathic behavior, Wolfgang insisted that Mondain take a year away from his magical studies to be tutored by monks at a local abbey, hoping that this intervention would instill virtue and compassion within the violent youth. As a reward for completing such an education, the king promised his son a magical ruby gem, capable of harnessing the power of the sun.[2]

Mondain as he appears in the Hintbook for the NES-Port of Ultima III
Impatient for power and jealous of his brother's birthright,[1] Mondain slew his father the night after this ultimatum was issued. Over the rest of his life, he progressively turned the magic within the gem upon itself, twisting it into an artifact of darkness. At some point in time before the gem's final completion, Mondain took on as apprentice a young girl named Minax, who eventually grew to become his paramour and co-author of many of his evils. The couple's eventual progeny came in the form of a daemonic construct known as Exodus, which lay dormant under the sea for decades following its creation. Mondain also compiled a tome known as the Black Compendium with assistance from Minax and Exodus. The book gives elaborate instructions on how to prolong one's life through dark ritual magic.[3]

Mondain was able to release his wrath upon Sosaria, allying himself with all manner of evil beings and setting them upon the people of land. In a reality perhaps never fully realized, Mondain's terrors assaulted the Sosarians for many years, with their creator eventually seeking allies amongst the heavens themselves, creating dark compacts with savage travellers from the stars. In spite of this seeming stranglehold over the realm, the mage did meet with one early defeat in his skirmishes against the kingdom of Akalabeth, having his forces routed by the young champion, British of the White Light, a Terran youth who was granted a kingship over half of the land for his valor.

The Stranger fighting Mondain

The ill magics now woven into the black Gem of Immortality helped to ensure Mondain's desire to live forever. At the moment before Mondain's gem was completed, a hero, known to history as the Stranger, arrived from one thousand years in the future using a Time Machine.[4] Shattering Mondain's artifact, the Stranger prevented the enchanter from becoming immortal, and thereafter slew him.

Although one thousand years later, British proved instrumental in the defeat of the sorcerer, summoning the Stranger from his homeland through means of a magical amulet.[2]

Existence After Death[edit]

After his demise, the Gargish race managed to remove Mondain's spirit from its place in the Void, and placed his consciousness it into their Shrine of Control, convinced that his intense drive to master the world around him made the sorcerer a fitting representation of the Principle. It was here, upon the gargoyle homelands, that the Stranger, now the Avatar, found him in Ultima VI. In this meeting, the mage explained to the hero that he now regretted his actions, having had time to understand that in his insane desire to control the world around him, he had lost control over himself. He explained to the Avatar that without self-control as a foundation, striving to control anything proves fruitless, and imparted to the hero the mantra of Control: "Un."[5]

It is not known what became of Mondain after this encounter, as the gargoyle's lands were eventually destroyed, and it is unclear if the altar to Control later established on Terfin was the original which held the wizard Mondain or a facsimile. However, it is known that Exodus, whose psyche was similarly enshrined by the gargoyles, appeared to make an attempt to reunite itself with the Dark Core during the events of Ultima VII, implying that the construct's spirit was free from constraint. It may be that after the destruction of the world of the gargoyles, Mondain's was likewise at liberty to wander.

In Manga[edit]

Mondain in the manga

Mondain appears in Seiji Tanaka's manga re-imagining of Ultima III, in which he appears as one of the lieutenants of Exodus, along with Minax. With the hellspawn having resurrected him after his original respective defeat, Mondain confronts the heroes numerous time, with his body becoming increasingly deformed due to his progeny's attempts to sustain him. Eventually, he is slain by Genji, just as Exodus attempts to escape its prison by possessing his body.[6]

Mondain also appears in Yoko Tanaka's manga re-telling of Ultima IV, although far less extensively than he does in the Exodus' comic. In this narrative, Mondain's Skull is necessary to enter the Great Stygian Abyss, and the corrupt sage Hawkwind attempts to unify with the dead magician's soul, hoping it will grant him phenomenal powers.[7]

Legacy[edit]

Mondain's evil did not end with his death. In addition to both Minax and Exodus attempting to avenge him in the years to come, the shattering of the Gem of Immortality had powerful ramifications for the lands of Sosaria, and may have been responsible for the disappearance of three of its major continents - at least one of which was later discovered to have reformed as a world in its own right.[8] In addition to this, shards of the broken gem still existed deep within the bowels of the earth, carrying with them fragments of the evil they once represented. Many years later, the ship-wrecked crew of the Ararat came across three of these shards, which transformed three of their lot into the malevolent Shadowlords - dark beings who would come to imprison the then established Lord British, and to corrupt his appointed regent.

In addition to this, the magician's own skull proved an artifact of dark power, as Mondain had likely placed a magical matrix within it,[9] allowing it to be used to kill numerous victims even long after his death. Any who invoked such dread magics, however, were stripped of the Virtues within them for this wicked act. During the early Age of Enlightenment, this thing of evil could be found at the bottom of the Great Sea between three volcanoes, from which the isle of Terfin would eventually arise.

Lore[edit]

Mondain's hordes, as depicted in the Ultima I (FM-Towns) introduction

Hail, Noble One! Our land is in need of a stalwart hero, one who will brave perils horrific to consider. A plague has befallen the Realm, a scourge is upon the land! Our villages lie sacked, ruinous mounds of ashes where once trod peasants stout of heart and sound of mind, where once lay fields of grain and fruit, where kine and fowl grew fat upon the bounties of our fair Sosaria. All manner of wicked and vile creatures prey upon our people and ravage the land. 'Tis the doing of one so evil that the very earth trembles at the mention of his name.

Mondain the wizard hath wrought his malice well. Our nobles bicker amongst themselves, and each hath retired to the confines of his keep in hopes of watching the downfall of his rivals. Verily, the Evil One hath heaped indignity upon curse by releasing upon the Realm a host of creatures and beasts so bloodthirsty and wicked that our defenseless people fall as grain before the reaper's scythe. These denizens of the underworld hold sway over all that can be surveyed, save for the strongholds of the nobles besotted with their own ambition. Nowhere in our once peaceful country may a traveler find safe passage or lodging, save in the keeps of the self-proclaimed kings - - and they demand hard labors for their indulgences.

Only the young Lord British remains steadfast in the vision of a peaceful and united Sosaria. In his castle and his towne the pure of heart will find an ally and replenishment for the needs of one who hath chosen to fight for the Realm. Aid us in ridding our land of the scourge that hath befallen us, O Noble One. We beseech thee, for without thine aid we shall surely perish before the onslaught of the maleficent necromancer. Slay the evil Mondain!


Early in the reign of Lord British there came unto the land of Britannia a powerful wizard named Mondain. He brang forth many creatures of great evil, using the power of his magic to control them. And there was great suffering throughout the land. It was in these days that the Avatar first came unto our realm, to vanquish Mondain and liberate our people.
To extend one's life is a complicated procedure, taking years to complete. However, there is an additional side effect: invulnerability.

Trivia[edit]

  • In Ultima IV, it is possible (though not mandatory) for the Stranger to destroy the Skull of Mondain by casting it into the flames of the Abyss. It is uncertain as to whether or not this action is supposed to have happened from the point of view of later games, however. While the scholar, Erethian implies that the hero did, in fact, drop the skull into the volcano's maw, the skull itself (or something purporting to be it) later shows up as a curiosity in Britain's museum in Ultima IX.
  • Early design documents for Ultima VII Part Two make mention of an encounter with the communicative, albeit hostile spirit of Mondain, as well as several other deceased adversaries of the Avatar (notably including Lord Blackthorn, along with Batlin, Elizabeth, Abraham, and Hook) in Mortegro's abandoned manor during Shamino the Anarch's perverse rule over Moonshade.[10] With the eventual truncation of the game's plot, however, no such event occurs in the final release.

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Garriott, Richard. "The Annals of Akalabeth". Akalabeth Manual (Akalabeth). California Pacific Computer Co.: 1980. Pages 1-2.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Garriott, Richard et al. "Folklore". The Book of Lore (Ultima V). Origin Systems, Inc.: 1988. Pages 4-5.
  3. Mondain et al. The Black Compendium (Ultima VII - in-game).
  4. Barkeeper. Underworld Dragon's Ultima I TranscriptUltima I.
  5. MondainUltima VI TranscriptUltima VI. "name, job, mant".
  6. Tanaka, Seiji. Exodus (Ultima III). JICC: August 15, 1988. Pages 30, 159-189, 215-222.
  7. Tanaka, Yuko. Quest of the Avatar (Ultima IV). JICC: August 29, 1989. Pages 143-150, 220-245.
  8. Morris, Andrew. "Lessons of the Past". Beyond the Serpent Pillars (Ultima VII Part Two). Origin Systems, Inc.: 1993. Pages 3-4.
  9. ErethianUnderworld Dragon's Ultima VII TranscriptUltima VII. "skull".
  10. Armintrout, Bill. Ultima VII, Part Two: THE SERPENT ISLE - Moonshade Townplot (MOONSHAD.DOC) (Ultima VII Part Two). September 8, 1992. Page 13.

External Links[edit]