Serpent's Hold

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Serpent's Hold

Built upon the Isle of Deeds, east of the Cape of Heroes, the fortress of Serpent's Hold has long stood as a living symbol of the Principle of Courage. It is well known for the elite military organization, the Order of the Silver Serpent, which has ruled over it since its foundation and the it has long stood as a martial outpost even as the other Castles of the Principles shifted their focus to the scholarly arts. For ages before its eventual fall in the Great Cataclysm it housed the Eternal Flame of Courage, which embodied the unwavering spirit of its ethic in the face of darkness.


Age of Enlightenment[edit]

Serpent's hold was built at some point after the final defeat of the Triad of Evil and was bequeathed to the Order of the Silver Serpent by Lord British in recognition of their service to the realm.[1] During the Stranger's pilgrimage toward the zenith of avatarhood, the keep was ruled by Sentri, a veteran of Minax's invasion of Earth and the plague of Exodus. The keep, at this point in time, was of spartan furnishings, possessing little more than healing facilities and training grounds for the new recruits to receive their instruction from the resident master, Shyra. Nevertheless, the questing hero found this outpost useful to their journey, and here learned of such matters as the tripartite Word of Passage and the fabled Bell of Courage.

In later decades, Sentri ceded his rule of Serpent's Hold and the keep eventually came under the rulership of Sir Percy, a knight awarded the barony by Lord British in exchange for clearing the local countryside of dragons. The castle's grounds were expanded during this time, and a basement and second story to the keep were constructed. By the time of the Avatar's return to the realm to combat the corrupt reign of Lord Blackthorn, the castle was headed by Lord Malone, Sir Percy's great-grandson.[2]

In this, the age of the Oppression, Serpent's Hold stood alongside the Lycaeum and Empath Abbey in resistance to the the usurper's reign, with the enshrined Flame of Courage keeping the dark wraiths known as the Shadowlords from encroaching upon it. It was here that Nosfentor, Shadowlord of Cowardice, eventually met its end, when the Avatar cast the Shard of Cowardice which birthed it into the unwavering flames of Courage.

After the true king's return and Blackthorn's exile, the keep became a sanctuary for refugees fleeing the lost keep of Bordermarch, which sank beneath the waves of the Britannian sea in the great upheavals which followed the collapse of the Underworld.[3] Bordermarch's former lord, Sir Simon eventually took his place as Serpent's Hold's castellan, overseeing the castle well into the time of the Gargoyle War, where the castle served as one of the major sources of armed forces to combat the encroaching Gargish armies.

Age of Armageddon[edit]

Serpent's Hold, unlike the other great keeps, maintained its identity as a military fortress well into the Age of Armageddon, and saw markedly little change over the centuries of relative peace which followed Lord British and Lord Draxinusom's eventual accord. By the time of the Avatar's return to the realm in the days of the Fellowship, the keep was under the stewardship of Sir John Paul, and enjoyed a culture of relative tranquility outside of the occasional act of political vandalism. At some point in time, the Bell of Courage, once used by the Avatar to open the maw of the abyss was moved to its environs.

Sadly, these days of peace were numbered, and the once great bastion of Courage eventually fell, not in battle, but rather to the volcanic eruptions of the Great Cataclysm, which sunk the Isle of Deeds and the castle upon it deep into the sea. Even in the midst of such a calamity, however, a small contingent of knights remained in the doomed castle to guard the Bell within. The company somehow managed to survive the sinking of the keep and stayed within it deep beneath the ocean for years after the disaster. Eventually, when the Avatar came at last to claim the sacred artifact, only one member of the group remained - a former trainer known as Lyssa.[4]


The headquarters for the Order of the Silver Serpent is on an island south of the Cape of Heroes. This wooded fortress was given to the members of the Order by Lord British in recognition of their outstanding service. A visit to Serpent Castle will instill within the traveler a true feeling for the ways of chivalry.
Serpent's Castle sat serene and secure on the bay of the Isle of Deeds. At each corner of the castle stood a round tower topped by colorful flags. Rounded roofs and ornate arches indicated a different architecture from that of the northern keeps.
Staunchly guarding the deep harbor of the Isle of Deeds, itself bulwarked by mountains and streams, the Serpent's Hold stands as a monument to the Courage of all those who fight for good. In this stronghold are gymnasiums to hone thy body and training fields on which to hone thy battle skills. Here also are healers to tend thy wounds, and sunny strands to heal thy soul. And finally here too are comrades in arms sharing stories of Honour, Valor, triumph, and restraint.
A bastion of Honor, Valor and triumph, Serpent's Hold is the castle headquarters of the Order of the Silver Serpent and the training center for Britannia's armed militia. Many noble and brave warriors have set forth in our defense from this garrison on the Isle of Deeds. The most skilled of these warriors, grizzled veterans all, have selflessly returned to instruct the new recruits in the ways of attack and defense. Recently, a dozen squads of the finest from Serpent's Hold went out to attack the camps of the invading gargoyles. Few returned to tell about it.
This opulent castle fortress is home of the Honorable Order of the Silver Serpent, the training camp for the armed militiamen of Britannia. Here fighting men learn more than just the martial arts. They are taught Honor and Valor as well. Instruction in the ways of the warrior may be obtained and one may purchase reliable weapons, armour and provisions here. The Meditation Retreat of The Fellowship is located on an island east of Serpent's Hold.


Ultima IV[edit]

Map of Serpent's Hold in Ultima IV


Ultima V[edit]

U5 Serpent's Hold.png U5 Serpent's Hold(2).png U5 Serpent's Hold(3).png
Serpent's Hold basement, ground floor and first floor in Ultima V

Ultima V: Lazarus[edit]

Serpent's Hold - Ultima V: Lazarus Map

Ultima VI[edit]

Map of Serpent's Hold in Ultima VI

The Ultima VI Project[edit]

Serpent's Hold - Ultima 6 Project Map

Ultima VII[edit]

Ultima VII (SNES)[edit]

Ultima IX[edit]


Ultima IV[edit]

Ultima V[edit]

Ultima VI[edit]

Ultima VII[edit]

Things to see[edit]


  • In Ultima VII, many of the inhabitants of Serpent's Hold bear a striking resemblance to characters from the popular television show, Star Trek: The Next Generation. Early technical documents even show that an additional NPC, based on the series short-lived character Tasha Yar was originally planned to appear at this location.[5]


  1. Albert, Dave. "Geography". The History of Britannia (Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar). Origin Systems, Inc.: 1985. Page 5.
  2. Lord MaloneUnderworld Dragon's Ultima V TranscriptUltima V: Warriors of Destiny. "deed, payment, valor".
  3. Lady TessaEtherealSoftwareUltima VI: The False Prophet. "earth, toll, years".
  4. LyssaQuill Dragon's Ultima IX TranscriptUltima IX: Ascension.
  5.  Ultima VII: The Black Gate - Characters List. July 2, 1991. Page 8.

Cities YewMinocSkara BraeBritainNew MaginciaMoonglowJhelomTrinsicMagincia
Castles Castle BritanniaEmpath AbbeyLycaeumSerpent's Hold
Towns BritannysBuccaneer's DenCoveDawnPawsTerfinVesper
Shrines CompassionHonestyHonorHumilityJusticeSacrificeValorSpiritualityShrine of the Codex
Dungeons The AbyssCovetousDeceitDespiseDestardDoomHythlothShameWrong
Lighthouses FogsbaneGreyhavenStormcrowWaveguide
Caves Ant MoundBee CaveBuccaneer's CaveCyclops CaveDesert DungeonHeftimus CaveHeroes' HoleMoonglow CatacombsSpirit TunnelsSpider CaveSwamp CaveVesper Mines
Islands AmbrosiaIsle of the AvatarDagger IsleDeadman's IslandIsle of Deeds
Isle of FireJanus IslandMarsor's IsleSpektranValarian IslandsValorian IslesVerity Isle
Lakes Lake GenerosityLock LakeLost Lake
Major Areas Bloody PlainsBog of DesolationBritanny BayCape of HeroesDeep ForestDrylandsFens of the DeadHigh SteppesLost Hope BayRealm of the GargoylesSerpent's SpineSpiritwoodUnderworld
Serpent Isle
Cities FawnMonitorMoonshade
Settlements Inn of the Sleeping BullIsles of the Mad MageMonk Isle
Dungeons SkullcrusherSpinebreakerFurnaceKnight's TestMountains of Freedom
Ruins Shamino's CastleCastle of the White DragonShrine of BalanceTemple of DisciplineTemple of EmotionTemple of EnthusiasmTemple of EthicalityTemple of LogicTemple of Tolerance
Islands ClawIsle of CryptsGwani Death TempleIce Dragon's Lair
Isles of the Mad MageMonk IslePenguin IslandSunrise Isle
Interesting Areas Gorlab SwampGreat Northern ForestIce PlainsKnight's ForestSerpent Isle Guard TowersWestern Forest
Settlements Argentrock IsleDaemon's CragTenebrae
Other Carthax LakeCatacombsCemeteryFishermen's ReefHall of the Mountain KingHerdsman's ValleyPlateauShrine of the Ancient OnesStone CoveTreasure CoveVengeance Bay