Gem of Immortality

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The Gem of Immortality

The Gem of Immortality is a powerful artifact crafted by the magician Mondain, endowing him with eternal life and power for a millennium after its creation.

History[edit]

The Gem of Immortality was once the powerful Sun Ruby Gem owned by King Wolfgang, Mondain's father. It was said that this original red stone was capable of harnessing the power of the Sosarian sun. Upon seeing the growing sadistic nature of his child, Wolfgang promised Mondain that he should have the ruby, on the condition that he completed a year of study at a local abbey.[1]

The fifteen year old boy, not wishing to wait for this inheritance, and envious of his unnamed brother's rite of succession,[2] slew Wolfgang instead. Taking the sun ruby, Mondain was able to turn its powers against itself through sorcerous means, creating the black Gem of Immortality.[3]

Such a gem would have eventually enabled the enchanter to live forever, free to spread the fruits of his wickedness across Sosaria for ages to come. However, the Stranger was eventually able to travel from this dark reality through a thousand years of time, to the moment of Mondain's enchantment. The hero shattered the gem before it was completed, rendering the young magician mortal. Mondain was slain shortly after the gem's destruction.

The Shards[edit]

At the time of the gem's destruction at the hands of the Stranger, the fell magic it had been imbued with did not die with it. Centuries later, three shards of the Gem of Immortality resurfaced in the great Underworld which interconnected the dungeons of what was then Britannia, when the survivors of the wrecked Ararat discovered them. Corrupted by their malevolence still present within the shattered gem, three of the stranded sailors became transformed into creatures known as the Shadowlords, imbuing them with the forces of Falsehood, Hatred and Cowardice. Their captain, a man known as Johne was left stranded within the lands below, guilt-wracked for allowing this evil to be unleashed upon the world.[4]

The Shadowlords eventually captured and imprisoned ruler lord of Britannia, Lord British, entrapping him deep within the dungeon Doom. They further went on to corrupt his regent, Lord Blackthorn, twisting his heart and bringing his reign in British's absence to be one of oppression and terror. The Avatar, re-summoned to the realm through the hero's persecuted companions, was eventually able to destroy these shades, by locating the three shards of the gem within the underground lands where they lay and immersing each in the appropriate flame of the Principle which opposed the sin which the associated Shadowlord embodied. A chart describing the location and associations of these shards is outlined below.

Shard Name of Shadowlord Location
Shard of Falsehood Faulinei Near the Underworld exit of Deceit
Shard of Hatred Astaroth Between the Underworld exits of Wrong and Covetous
Shard of Cowardice Nosfentor Near the Underworld exit of Hythloth

Ultima Online[edit]

The Gem in Ultima Online

In the popular massively multi-player on-line game, Ultima Online, the canon regarding the Gem of Immortality is expanded upon. In the introductory sequence of the game, Mondain is shown drawing power from the gem, which appears crystalline in structure and contains an image of Sosaria embedded within it. When the Stranger shatters the artifact, each shard is shown to contain an identical image - creating a network of fractured alternate universes patterned after the original land.

Within the game, these shards of the Gem represent a quantum multiverse consisting of many copies of Sosaria, each with their own past, present, and future. The term shard, in Ultima Online (and by extension, many of the other MMORPGs that followed), is used to describe an instance of a game world in a server, and the narrative of the gem's sundering provide's a cosmological explanation for multiple servers with their own unique people and history and gives reason for Ultima Online's divergent history as it relates to the main series. In this canon, " freeshards" also exist, which are instances of the game world not run by Electronic Arts and available for free play.

In Ultima Online, shards also have facets: separate "surfaces" through which the game world may be viewed. These facets may cause moderate to extreme changes in the appearance of Britannia and the worlds connected to it, often manifesting different continents accessible only via moongates.

Accessible Facets[edit]

Trivia[edit]

The Gem of Immortality as envisioned in a Lazarus trailer
  • The tome known as the Black Compendium, authored by Mondain, gives detailed instructions as to how to extend one's life through magical means. This was likely not the basis of the formulae for crafting the Gem of Immortality, as Minax's footnotes imply that she had read it, and it is known that she was unable to later replicate the gem for herself.[5] However, such a book does indicate that Mondain may have had other means to achieve his undying state.[6]
  • In Ultima IX, the Gem of Immortality is depicted in the Tapestry of Ages as a yellow gemstone, contradicting earlier literature which describes it as black.

References[edit]

  1. Garriott, Richard et al. "Folklore". The Book of Lore (Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny). Origin Systems, Inc.: 1988. Pages 3.
  2. Garriott, Richard. "The Annals of Akalabeth". Akalabeth Manual (Akalabeth). California Pacific Computer Co.: 1980. Pages 1-2.
  3. Garriott, Richard et al. "Folklore". The Book of Lore (Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny). Origin Systems, Inc.: 1988. Pages 4.
  4. Captain JohneUnderworld Dragon's Ultima V TranscriptUltima V: Warriors of Destiny. "fear, shadowlords".
  5. Garriott, Richard et al. "Folklore". The Book of Lore (Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny). Origin Systems, Inc.: 1988. Pages 4.
  6. Mondain. The Black Compendium (Ultima VII: The Black Gate - in-game).