Observatory

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The Observatory in Ultima IV
The Observatory in Ultima V
The Observatory in Ultima VII
The Britannian Observatory has long served to assist scholars in their studies of the stars and planets. While the institution has at times been absent from the realm, it nevetheless has a long history of academic and culture importance, and has been rebuilt numerous times in the vicinity of the Lycaeum and Moonglow.

History[edit]

Age of Enlightenment[edit]

The first extant observatory, known simply as "Britannia Observatory" was established some time shortly after the establishment of Britannia within the grounds of the Lycaeum. Tended by the magician, Palamar, this early observatory relayed valuable information regarding the heavens to Lord British's court, in addition to providing a means of surveying the various locations of the realm.[1]

Later, during Blackthorn's regency, the Observatory appeared to have been removed from its place in the Keep of Truth, and no official replacement was extant. Still, the astronomer Zachariah of Moonglow nevertheless kept watch over the night sky from his tower on the southern half of Verity Isle, and this unofficial continuance of astrological observation eventually helped the Avatar to combat the incursions of the Shadowlords, giving the hero warning of their presence through the ill omens of comets.

By the time of the Gargoyle War, however, the small island still lacked an Observatory - or any of the equipment necessary for scanning the skies. Despite this, interest in the science still existed and Ephemerides of Moonglow would work during this age with the Minoxian clockmaker, Troy, in the hopes of eventually building a mechanical model of the Britannian Solar System.[2][3]

Age of Armageddon[edit]

Whether through the efforts of Troy and Ephemerides or not, an official Observatory was again established shortly after Lord British and Draxinusom's accord,[4] and a clockwork Orrery was eventually installed to track the course of the Britannian planets and moons.

By the time of the Avatar's eventual return immediately before the time of the Astronomical Alignment, the Observatory was headed by Brion, the twin brother of the Lycaeum administrator, Nelson. Given the mystical nature of the cosmological event about to occur, the champion of the virtue would have had an interest in consulting the Observatory as to the timing of the alignment - and after speaking with Brion and furnishing him with the correct supplies, the Avatar would be able to procure a miniature Orrery Viewer to track the impending conjunction of the planets.

After this point in history, it is not known what befell the Observatory - as the institution did not survive the storms of the Imbalance or the upheavals of the Great Cataclysm and was absent from the realm by the time of the Avatar's last journeys in the land.

Trivia[edit]

  • A commemorative golden sextant serves as the emblem of the office of Observatory head, and was passed on from one scholar to another for hundred's of years.[4]

References[edit]

  1. Albert, Dave. "Geography". The History of Britannia (Ultima IV). Origin Systems, Inc.: 1985. Page 5.
  2. EphemeridesEtherealSoftwareUltima VI. "moons, stars".
  3. TroyEtherealSoftwareUltima VI. "Felucca, moons, Sosaria, Trammel".
  4. 4.0 4.1 BrionUnderworld Dragon's Ultima VII TranscriptUltima VII. "sextant".