Paws is a small coastal village south of Britain and north of the Fens of the Dead. Long noted for its horses, the hamlet eventually grew into a farming community. Tragically, an economic crisis brought upon its agricultural industry during a seven year drought led Paws to became synonymous with poverty and destitution.
Age of Darkness
Overview of Paws, in Ultima I
Paws likely had its origins in the early Age of Darkness
, as a city bearing this name could be found in the Lands of Lord British
, seemingly within the fiefdom of the Castle of the Lost King
. At this era, Paws was situated within a forest a little ways south of the Dungeon of Montor, where it sported a number of shops, in addition to magical waters which often gifted those casting coins into them with boons of wealth or magic.
It is unknown if this original Paws was lost to the strange sundering of Sosaria which followed the defeat of Mondain, or if it was simply abandoned and relocated. Whatever the cause, a settlement called by its name was not seen again until the early Age of Enlightenment in Ultima IV.
Age of Enlightenment
After Lord British's rechristening of the land as Britannia and the ensuing renaissance of the arts and sciences, Paws became a village known for its horses - and was one of the only locales in the nascent realm with animals for sale, in addition to being home to the legendary talking stallion, Smith. During the Quest of the Avatar, the nobles Sir Simon and Lady Tessa could also be found in this small community, guarding the secrets of the Mystic Weapons and Armour.
By the time of the oppressive reign of Lord Blackthorn in Ultima V, Paws had changed little, and was still a place of equestrians and stable-tenders. During this time, it appeared that some of the magic of old Paws' waters carried on through the ages, as the well which sprang from the ground at Wishing Well Horses still had the potency to grant wishes - like many other such springs in the land. As the years passed, Paws diversified its trades such that it developed thriving textile and agricultural industries, and was home for several decades to the Cat's Lair, an establishment run by the noted gamester and felinophile, Dr. Cat.
Age of Armageddon
Some twenty years before Ultima VII
, Paws, by then largely a farming community, was hit severely by the seven-year drought, which rendered many farm workers destitute or homeless. As Britain
expanded southward, the contrast in the two cities economies became increasingly pointed, with Paws slowly developing into a suburban slum of Britannia
's capital. In this state of hardship and struggle, Paws became host to the Fellowship
, who built and maintained a homeless shelter
to provide relief to the community. The regulations of this home for the poor, however, were such that it only took in persons who joined the shelter's parent organization, a rule which created tension with those wary of the Fellowship's aims.
After the eventual disbandment of the Fellowship which followed the Avatar's destruction of the Black Gate, the shelter was closed, and while Feridwyn was intent on reopening it independently of the now banned society, it was never established if this came to fruition. Whatever occurred regarding this, the majority of the village was flooded during the Great Cataclysm, leaving no more than a few scattered huts standing on foul swampland.
By the time of Ultima IX, Paws was a ghettoized colony of exiles who had been sentenced to expulsion from Britain by the greater city's mayor, Aidon. This man, under the influence of the Guardian's columns, had taken to displacing those under his jurisdiction who suffered too greatly from sickness or poverty, using the veneer of compassionate public interest to justify their forcible relocation to Paws. Eventually, the Avatar was able to restore the Shrine of Compassion and to convince Aidon to abandon such practices, although Paws, itself, remained a barely habitable mire.
|| A village nestled on a cove near the southern edge of the Fens of the Dead, midway between Britain and Trinsic, Paws provides food and shelter for the traveler, as well as a change of horses.|
|| This quaint coastal village lies halfway between the towns of Britain and Trinsic, where the weary traveler can obtain food, shelter and a change of horse. The mysterious islands known as the Fens of the Dead can barely be seen offshore near Paws. In these Fens, mages ofttimes seek the rare mandrake root and nightshade so necessary to their potent concoctions.|
|| Paws is a small coastal village that, because of the continuous expansion of the capital city, has essentially merged with Britain. While there was a time when this village held a quaint rustic charm, in more recent years the village of Paws has languished in poverty. A terrible, seven-year drought has forced the closure of many of the local farms. The industry of Paws consists primarily of milling flour, dairy farming and meat curing. Paws is where The Fellowship runs its shelter for the poor.|
|| In the small farming community of Paws, the fall of The Fellowship had one regrettable consequence: the closing of Feridwyn's shelter for the poor. Though embittered by the loss, Feridwyn and his wife are hard at work raising the money necessary to reopen the establishment, this time without the policy of exclusion to non-Fellowship members.|
|| Never was there a sadder tale than that of the village of Paws. Once a steady farming community, Paws was washed away in the Great Cataclysm. All that remains are a few unsteady huts clutching at the fringe of the muck. To this fetid place, the mayor of Britain has sent the sick, the tired, and the poor wherein he claims they might live in peace and dignity. It is a cruel joke. While the citizens of Britain enjoy their freedom from sickness and poverty, the people of Paws call for their king whose attentions have been occupied by other matters. Promises of food and tools from Britain have yet to be fulfilled.|
None to speak of.
Overview of Paws in Ultima IV
Ultima: The Avatar Adventures
Overview of Paws in Ultima V
Ultima V: Lazarus
The Ultima VI Project
Overview of Paws in Ultima VII
Ultima VII (SNES Port)
Things to see
A view of Paws, shown in Origin's world editor from an earlier version of Ultima IX
- Rather than the squalid, bog-ridden colony it eventually became, Paws appears to have once remained the functional and otherwise unremarkable town of previous installments in earlier drafts of Ultima IX. A screenshot of the game's world editor, originating from Bob White's tenure as lead designer, indicates little in the way of superficial deterioration in this version of Ascension.