Serpent Isle

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This article is about the land. For the game, see Ultima VII Part Two: Serpent Isle.
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Map of Serpent Isle
Serpent Isle is a world which was formerly part of archaic Sosaria - known then as the Lands of Danger and Despair. After separating from the other three Sosarian continents following the death of the wizard Mondain, this realm became the seat of the Ophidian civilization - a race of serpent-worshiping men who eventually destroyed themselves in a violent civil war. Eventually, long after this calamity, colonists from the lands which became Britannia rediscovered this lost world, travelling through the Serpent Pillars to settle upon it as they fled what they saw as a tyrannical regime.

Ultimately, this world became the stage on which the events of Ultima VII Part Two: Serpent Isle were set, with the Avatar and companions journeying to the Serpent Isle and facing the impending Imbalance there.

History[edit]

The Lands of Danger and Despair[edit]

The Lands of Danger and Despair

In its earliest incarnation as the Lands of Danger and Despair, the lands which would someday form the Serpent Isle were jointly ruled over by two kings: the King of the White Dragon and Shamino Salle' Dacil. Shamino, at one point a simple woodsman,[1] quite possibly assumed the mantle of leadership after having courted and won the hand of Princess Beatrix, the King of the White Dragon's daughter.

The Stranger had occasion to visit this realm during their adventures of in Ultima I, needing to obtain a white gem in Shamino's possession that the hero might power the time-travelling device necessary to reach the evil wizard Mondain. This was eventually granted to the hero, and Mondain's end was eventually wrought by the Stranger's hand.

With the eventual death of Mondain and the shattering of his Gem of Immortality, however, Sosaria as it was known changed dramatically, and the inhabitants of the Lands of Danger and Despair observed the other three major continents disappear as though they had never been. Shamino, who had been abroad in the Lands of Lord British that he might consult with its ruler, was almost certainly barred from journeying home by this cataclysmic event. Back in his former kingdom, Beatrix mournfully awaited his return, eventually dying of what was deemed heartbreak when her husband to be never arrived.

Burdened by grief over the loss of his child and a burgeoning war with the goblins of the realm, the King of the White Dragon was slowly overtaken with madness, growing paranoid and violent as his insanity progressed. Eventually, he held a grand celebration in honor of the solstice festival, inviting the whole of his subjects into his castle. These unlucky guests were tortured and slaughtered down to the last man, and with his kingdom now "safe" in the realms of death, the King flung himself from one of the towers of the keep.

Ophidian Civilization and the War of Imbalance[edit]

Warofimbalance.jpg

After the downfall of the old kings of Sosaria, the island eventually gave rise to the Ophidian people. This culture recognized three cosmic serpents, struggling within the Ethereal Void: the red Serpent of Chaos, the blue Serpent of Order, and the Great Earth Serpent which mediated between the two others and kept the configuration locked in balance. Taking their religious doctrine from these creatures, the Ophidians came to worship the principles embodied within this metaphysical caduceus, giving rise to the nine Ophidian Virtues, and building grand cities and temples to the concepts they saw reflected in the serpents. The spiritual leader of this devout people was the Hierophant of Balance, a devotee of balance who was capable of opening the Wall of Lights that he or she might commune with the great serpents directly.

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Eventually, disaster overtook this proud people, when the hellspawn Exodus managed to rend the Great Earth Serpent from the Void that it might serve as guardian to his stronghold on the Isle of Fire. With their mediator gone, the celestial forces Chaos and Order fought viciously, and the people of the isle followed suite. Ssithnos, the last Great Hierophant, was assassinated by followers of Order[2] and the bloody War of Imbalance followed as the adherents of Chaos were saddled with the blame. Atrocities were wrought by both sides as the once unified Ophidian people fell into the depravity of total war. Eventually, the Order Serpent and its acolytes emerged victorious, with the followers of Chaos slain and the Chaos Serpent itself destroyed - split into marauding component spirits known as Banes.

This victory was ultimately a hollow one. With Chaos destroyed, the world gradually began to drift into a state of Imbalance, as the Order Serpent slowly went insane in the emptiness of the Void. The followers of Order took little solace in the realm now barren of Chaos, and eventually the Hierophant of Order led their people through the Wall of Lights, hoping to find a world of where Order was perfect and undiminished somewhere within the expanse of the Void.[3]

The New Sosarians[edit]

Meanwhile, on Sosaria's shores, the Triad of Evil was at last vanquished, and Lord British attempted to pull the realm into a renaissance of learning, art and virtue, declaring the Quest of the Avatar, in the hopes of inspiring a champion to arise as paragon of his visions for the newly christened Britannia.

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Such an ambitious undertaking, however, was not without its dissidents, and many people of Old Sosaria objected to the intermarriage of morality and government. Several warriors of the twin cities of Montor, objected to the relative place of Courage in British's new cosmology, feeling that it outshone all other principles. In Old Fawn, as well, dissent was raised owing to the city's observance of Beauty as it's own virtue, and many magicians within the settlement of Moon felt that Honesty, proposed as being the virtue of mages, was incompatible with the reality of magic as inherently illusionary.

Led by the magician, Erstam, many of these disenfranchised denizens of Old Sosaria left the newly unified Britannia, setting off on a voyage beyond the Serpent Pillars in the hopes of finding a world where they could practice their moralities in peace. Eventually, they landed on the shores of Serpent Isle, not realizing it had once been part of the Sosarian landscape. Initially naming the land "New Sosaria," the settlers founded three city-states, in reflection of their original homelands, giving rise to the settlements of Monitor, Fawn and Moonshade. By curious coincidence, these colonists eventually came to rename the world Serpent Isle, in reference to the many serpentine ruins dotting the landscape. Unwittingly they called it by the same name the now vanished Ophidians had given it.

The Time of Imbalance[edit]

The loss of the Great Earth Serpent and the destruction of the Serpent of Chaos had far lasting repercussions, unknown to the Ophidians who sparked them. Years after the fall of the original Serpent Islanders, a New Sosarian farm wife known as Xenka began to have troubling visions regarding the end of the times and the Stranger from another world who might be able to halt them. Dismissed by those whom she came to with her accounts, Xenka's visions were eventually recorded and kept by a monastic order on Monk Isle, who devoted their lives to deciphering the meaning of her prophecies long after Xenka herself had vanished.

By the time that the Avatar at last landed on the shores of Serpent Isle, the collapse of the known multiverse due to the displacement of the serpents was already nearing its apex, with gentle creatures succumbing to plagues of sleeping sickness and the earth beginning to rend itself apart with earthquakes and devilish magical storms. While the hero had initially come to the island in search of the former Fellowship head, Batlin and Iolo FitzOwen's beloved wife, Gwenno, the champion of virtue soon became embroiled in the unfolding drama of an apocalypse.

It was eventually revealed that Batlin had captured the three Banes which once composed the Serpent of Chaos, and sought to use them to open the Wall of Lights that he might attain power therein. Due to a grievous miscalculation, however, the sage had neglected to properly protect the Soul Prisms holding the Banes, which resulted in three malevolent spirits to be unleashed upon the world through the possessed bodies of Iolo, Shamino, and Dupre. In a wave of violent slaughter, these spirits slew the majority of the world's populace.

Eventually, the Avatar managed to vanquish and recapture the banes, and then was charged to reunite them into their original form. Dupre, guilt-wracked over the suffering he had caused, willingly offered himself up as the sacrificial oblation needed to bind the dissonant spirits together, and the Chaos Serpent was at last resurrected. Ultimately, the hero was able to take on the garments and responsibilities of the Hierophant of Balance, and on Sunrise Isle at last performed the ceremony to return the Great Earth Serpent to the Void.

With the Imbalance halted, the Avatar was snatched from the ethereal plane by the Guardian, and left adrift on the dark world of Pagan. The ultimate fate of Serpent Isle and its few inhabitants who survived the holocaust of the Banes remains unknown.


Geography: The Lands of Danger and Despair[edit]

The Lands of Danger and Despair, Ultima I

Castles[edit]

Cities[edit]

  • Lost Friends (In northwestern mountains)
  • Wheeler (In the northern woods)
  • Gorlab (eventually engulfed by the Gorlab Swamp)
  • The Brother (In the area later known as Monk Isle)
  • Dextron (Fawn appears to be built in its place)
  • Magic (Located in woods and swamp where Moonshade is now located)
  • Turtle (West of modern Monitor)
  • Bulldozer (Where Inn of the Sleeping Bull stands now)

Signposts[edit]

Dungeons[edit]

  • The Dead Cat's Life (near the modern Goblin Village)
  • The Dead Cat's Life II
  • Dead Man's Walk (possibly part of Knight's Test)
  • The Dungeon of Doom
  • Free Death Hole (now probably part of the dungeons of Mountains of Freedom)
  • The Hole to Hades (probably near Furnace)
  • The Morbid Adventure (possibly on the site of Isles of the Mad Mage)
  • The Skull Smasher (later site to Skullcrusher)
  • The Spine Breaker (later site to Spinebreaker)

Geography: The Ophidian Serpent Isle[edit]

Cities[edit]

Shrines and Temples[edit]

Geography: New Sosaria[edit]

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Cities[edit]

Settlements[edit]

Interesting Areas[edit]

Calendar[edit]

Trivia[edit]

  • If the Avatar plants the Silver Seed after the freeing of the Banes, Karnax will imply that the existence of the silver tree makes it possible for the victims of the Banes attacks to be resurrected once the balance is restored.

References[edit]

  1. Garriott, Richard et al. "Folklore". The Book of Lore (Ultima V). Origin Systems, Inc.: 1988. Pages 1-2.
  2. Ssithnos. Principles of Balance (Ultima VII Part Two - in-game).
  3.  Followers of Order (Ultima VII Part Two - in-game).

Geography
Britannia
Cities YewMinocSkara BraeBritainNew MaginciaMoonglowJhelomTrinsicMagincia
Castles Castle BritanniaEmpath AbbeyLycaeumSerpent's Hold
BordermarchFarthingWindemereStonegate
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
Pagan
Settlements Argentrock IsleDaemon's CragTenebrae
Other Carthax LakeCatacombsCemeteryFishermen's ReefHall of the Mountain KingHerdsman's ValleyPlateauShrine of the Ancient OnesStone CoveTreasure CoveVengeance Bay

Sosaria
Lands of Lord British (just Sosaria in Ultima III)
Cities BritainDawnDeath GulchDevil GuardGreyMontor
MoonFawnPawsTuneYew
Castles Castle of Lord BritishCastle of the Lost King
Landmarks The Pillars of Protection The Tower of Knowledge
Dungeons (Ultima I) Death's Awakening ☥ The Dungeon of Doubt ☥ The Dungeon of Montor ☥ The Dungeon of Perinia ☥ The Lost Caverns ☥ The Mines of Mt. Drash ☥ The Mines of Mt. Drash II ☥ Mondain's Gate to Hell ☥ The Unholy Hole
Dungeons (Ultima III) Dardin's Pit Dungeon of Doom Dungeon of Fire Dungeon of the Snake Dungeon of Time Mines of Morinia Perinian Depths
Islands and Other Sites AmbrosiaIsle of FireMt. Drash
Lands of Danger and Despair
Cities The Brother ☥ Bulldozer ☥ Dextron ☥ Gorlab ☥ Lost Friends ☥ Magic ☥ Turtle ☥ Wheeler
Castles Castle of the White DragonShamino's Castle
Landmarks Grave of the Lost Soul The Eastern Sign Post
Dungeons The Dead Cat's Life ☥ The Dead Cat's Life II ☥ Dead Man's Walk ☥ The Dungeon of Doom ☥ Free Death Hole ☥ The Hole to Hades ☥ The Morbid Adventure ☥ The Skull SmasherThe Spine Breaker
Lands of the Feudal Lords
Cities Arnold ☥ Gerry ☥ Helen ☥ John ☥ Linda ☥ Owen ☥ The Snake ☥ Wolf
Castles Castle Rondorin Castle Barataria
Landmarks The Pillars of the Argonauts The Pillar of Ozymandias
Dungeons Advari's Hole ☥ The Dead Warrior's Fight ☥ The Gorgon's Hole ☥ The Horror of the Harpies ☥ The Horror of the Harpies II ☥ The Labyrinth ☥ The Savage Place ☥ Scorpion Hole ☥ Where Hercules Died
Lands of the Dark Unknown
Cities Clear Lagoon ☥ Gauntlet☥ Imagination ☥ Nassau ☥ Ponder ☥ Poor ☥ Stout ☥ Wealth
Castles Black Dragon's CastleCastle of Olympus
Landmarks The Sign Post The Southern Sign Post
Dungeons The End ☥ The Guild of Death ☥ The Long Death ☥ The Metal Twister ☥ The Slow Death ☥ The Tramp of Doom ☥ The Troll's Hole ☥ The Viper's Pit ☥ The Viper's Pit II