Ophidians

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This article is about the human inhabitants of Serpent Isle. For the snake-like creatures, see Ophidians (Ultima Online).


Ophidians were what the human inhabitants of the Serpent Isle called themselves after the arrival of the three serpents (the Chaos Serpent, the Order Serpent and the Great Earth Serpent).

History[edit]

The three great Serpents

After being separated from the rest of Sosaria by the death of Mondain, the Lands of Danger and Despair were left in a chaotic state. Shamino's kingdom fell with its liege gone, and the King of the White Dragon went mad and killed most of his people.[1] Goblins spread through the lands destroying what was left. But the Great Earth Serpent approached the human survivors of the isle to teach them the philosophy of Balance. The Great Earth Serpent somehow contacted a human who would become the first Great Hierophant. This man visited Sunrise Isle, and on the top of the mountain on the isle, the Great Earth Serpent explained the Way of Balance.[2]

This first Great Hierophant explained the Ophidian Virtues of Balance, Order and Chaos to the rest of the people, who decided to follow their path. They started to call themselves "Ophidians", after the great Serpents that were showing them a new way to live. The whole society of the Ophidians was slowly formed following these Principles, with the Great Hierophant being the central figure of their civilization. In that time the the huge underground cities of Spinebreaker, Skullcrusher and Furnace were erected. The people also developed a new alphabet, the Ophidian alphabet, which started being used for all writing purposes.

As time went by, the population on Serpent Isle grew. The citizens helped each other and relied on each other. There was no crime and people were holding to their traditions. Parents taught their children about the Virtues of Order and Chaos. These traditions were passed on from generation to generation.[1] Even though achieving Balance was the goal of the system, the followers of Balance were a small minority.[3] The sharp divide in the Ophidian society caused by the system of polar opposites between Order and Chaos created a society which was stable only as long as Balance was maintained.

Years later, when Exodus attacked Sosaria, he abducted the Great Earth Serpent from the Void. The Great Hierophant of Balance was weakened, as was the Balance between Order and Chaos. Many people started to believe that their side (either Order or Chaos) was superior to the other. [1]

These differences finally exploded when the Great Hierophant of Balance was murdered. Both sides blamed each other, and Order forces massacred the inhabitants of Skullcrusher. In the following War of Imbalance, all followers of Chaos and Balance were killed. The followers of Order had to leave the devastated lands by the Wall of Lights, looking for another world to live in. This was the end of this civilization, and of their belief system in Serpent Isle.

Even though they are gone, the ruins and writings of the Ophidians can still be found strewn all over the Serpent Isle.

Society[edit]

The Shrine of Balance

The Ophidians created their whole culture based on the Principles of Balance. Their society was divided in the forces of Order, forces of Chaos, and the followers of Balance. Each group was directed by a Hierophant: the Order Hierophant, the Chaos Hierophant, and the Great Hierophant, respectively. The forces of Order lived mainly in the city of Spinebreaker, and the forces of Chaos in the city of Skullcrusher.

The Ophidians also built several Shrines, each dedicated to one of the Forces or Principles. There were nine of these:

Each of the three shrines was led by the corresponding Hierophant. Each of the six temples had a sub-leader, called the "Master" of the Force associated with that temple, who was in charge of that temple.

During ceremonies, the Great Hierophant was assisted by the Order Hierophant and the Chaos Hierophant. Rich jewelry and shining armour were worn at that time. The Great Hierophant was the only one who could open the Wall of Lights, which is an entrance into the Ethereal Void. The Great Hierophant entered the Void to speak with the Serpents.

The Great Earth Serpent also taught the Great Hierophant how to build the Serpent Gates, in order to facilitate travel through the land.[2]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Anonymous servant of Balance. Holy Books of the Ophidians (Ultima VII Part Two - in-game).
  2. 2.0 2.1 Shavazoss, acolyte of Balance. The Voice (Ultima VII Part Two - in-game).
  3. IsstanarEtherealSoftware TranscriptUltima VII Part Two: The Silver Seed. "War of Imbalance".