Ultima: The Quest of the Avatar (Manga)

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Quest of the Avatar cover
Ultima: The Quest of the Avatar (ウルティマ ~ クエスト オブ アバタール Uruteima ~ Kuesuto obu Abataar)) is an Ultima-inspired manga created by artist Yuko Tanaka which loosely retells the events of Ultima IV. It was published on August 29, 1988 by JICC and originally sold for 900¥.

Synopsis[edit]

A young paladin, Deane goes on a quest to discover what has become of his older brother, the druid, Shiva, who embarked on the quest of the Avatar some years ago. Along the way he meets a variety of new friends and eventually comes to learn the truth about who he is and what he is fated to become.

Characters[edit]

Protagonists[edit]

  • Deane: an idealistic fifteen year old paladin on the quest of the Avatar
  • Shiva: Deane's adoptive older brother, who set out on a pilgrimage toward Avatarhood several years before Deane.
  • Io: a strong-willed teenage bard
  • Kati: a ten year old orphaned shepherd boy
  • Shamino: a blustering, wise-cracking ranger
  • Mariah: a stern mage who is the object of Shamino's unwelcome affections
  • Geoffrey: a fighter traveling in Shamino's company
  • Julia: a tinker assigned by Lord British to protect Deane

Antagonists[edit]

  • Hawkwind: Lord British's corrupt adviser
  • Daranor: a dwarfish man in Hawkwind's employ

Other Characters from Ultima[edit]

Other Characters Unique to the Manga[edit]

Plot Summary[edit]


Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.



Introduction[edit]

The story opens with a young Lord British having a tense conversation with Aila, the attractive chief of the Trinsician paladins who is claiming to be the recipient of a divinely conceived pregnancy. Obviously conflicted over his personal feelings for Aila, the young king refuses to believe her and she is dismissed from her service. Some time later, after giving birth to a baby boy, she is waylaid by monsters while wandering in the Deep Forest, and dies defending her child.
the title page of the manga, featuring Deane and Shiva

Chapter I: Birth[edit]

A young boy named Shiva comes across Aila's body and her still living infant beneath the "Mother Tree" of Yew. He calls for his father, Judge Talfourd, and together they bury the woman beneath the tree and agree to raise her child, which bears a mysterious ankh-shaped birthmark on his hand. Years later, when the child, Deane, is ten years of age, Shiva feels drawn by Lord British's call for an individual to take up the quest of the Avatar, and leaves Yew to seek such enlightenment - much to his younger brother's sorrow.

Still later, when Deane is fifteen, Judge Talfourd is slain by criminals seeking vengeance for his judgments against him. On his deathbed he exhorts the young paladin to take up the quest of Avatarhood himself and to find his long absent brother. Shortly after setting out, Deane is joined by Io, a fourteen year old bard whom he found climbing the Mother Tree shortly before hearing word of his father's death.

Arriving at Empath Abbey, Deane catches the attention of Brother Antos, who is astonished by the brighteness of the boy's aura as he meditates. He tells the youth that Shiva did, in fact, stop by the Keep of Love and that he strove diligently to overcome his personal weaknesses which kept him from Avatarhood. He tells Deane that he senses that perhaps he and his brother might be able to complete their quest by working together.

Outside the Abbey, Deane and Io meet a young shepherd boy named Kati who tries to peddle a silver serpent egg to the adventurers. After the egg hatches and the young serpent appears to bond with Deane, the paladin agree to pay for it. Shortly thereafter, however, the group is beset by monsters, and Kati -impressed with Deane's prowess in dispatching them- asks to join the travelers.

From there, the group proceeds to Castle Britannia where they are granted an audience with Lord British. The monarch is struck by the boy's similarity to Aila and recognizes a pendant he wears as one he gave to her. Hoping to help his former beloved's son, he instructs a tinker known as Julia to accompany the boy in his journeys and tells Deane that he must eventually seek out his brother in the Abyss.

Chapter II: Departure[edit]

Sometime later, Deane's party encounters two warriors, Shamino and Geoffrey in the midst of battle. After assisting them, the young paladin learns that they too are on the quest of the Avatar and the two parties merge. Shamino advises that they seek out information in Trinsic and the company travels there via moongate.

Once in the City of Honor, Shamino consults with an overly amorous homosexual barkeep, who has an obvious crush on the ranger. After enduring some unwanted flirtation, he learns that Shiva was headed towards the Lycaeum and the group sets off again. Deane briefly meets Aila's father, Sentri, as he leaves the towne, unaware that he is his grandfather.

After taking another gate to Verity Isle, however, the party is attacked by a hydra, leaving Kati grievously injured. Shamino seeks help from an acquaintance in moonglow, Mariah. She heals the boy after seeing the severity of his wounds, and Deane asks her to join the group, seeing the extent of her talents. She agrees to do so, but only if the party can procure fifty mandrakes for her.

Feeling that a competent mage is necessary to complete their quest, the group sets out for Yew, where Deane's childhood mentor, Calumny, helps them to gather the needed reagents. As they leave the City of Justice, their hatchling silver serpent (named "Silver") flies away, having grown to near maturity. The group prepares to return to Moonglow, with Shamino and Geoffrey hijacking a ship from some coastal pirates.

At sea, however, the party is attacked by a kraken and their ship is badly damaged. As a whirlpool approaches, threatening to sink their frigate, Silver returns, now fully grown and flies the party to safety. The group arrives in Moonglow and Mariah, although surprised that Deane has managed to return with the mandrakes, upholds her end of their bargain and joins the party as they head to the Lycaeum.

The group looks on as Deane's soul ascends from the Abyss
At the Keep of Truth, Father Antos reveals that Shiva's struggle was with the virtue of Humility and tells Deane that he may enter the Abyss and seek out his brother only through the use of the Skull of Mondain which lies within the Dungeon Deceit. The company travels there and battles their way to the secret chamber where the skull lays enshrined, relying heavily on Mariah's magic to dispatch the monsters which guard it. Returning to the Lycaeum, Father Antos reveals that a strange new moongate has opened. Deane and his friends enter it and are transported to the mouth of the Abyss.

Chapter III: Immortality[edit]

The party fights numerous battle as they brave their way to the inner sanctum of the Abyss. Within a mysterious room sealed with the symbol of the Codex, Deane's birthmark begins to glow and the doors to the last chamber f the dungeon open. There, the group finds Shiva.

Deane's joy at finding his brother quickly fades as he realizes that Shiva no longer believes in the paths of the virtues, having found them impossible to master. The jaded druid denounces Lord British as a hypocrite and mocks Deane for his pretensions at virtue - attacking him ruthlessly in the hopes of provoking him to violence. He claims that they were never brothers and that he has found purpose in serving a new master that will usurp British as king of the realm - Hawkwind.

When Deane refuses to fight his brother, Hawkwind, orders his disciple to kill the boy, revealing that he soon will use the power of Mondain's skull to fuse his soul with the ancient wizard's. However, the older man, moved by his adoptive brother's pure heart, hesitates in doing so. Hawkwind's henchman, Daranor, attempt to shoot Deane with a crossbow and Shiva, realizing his filial love for Deane, steps in the bolt's path, saving his brother's life at the cost of his own. Daranor is slain shortly afterward by the other adventurers.

Hawkwind, undeterred by Shiva's death, begins the process of binding himself to Mondain, and Deane bids the others leave him to the final confrontation, promising that he will return. In a climactic battle, Deane manages to slay Hawkwind, but realizes that a greater evil than he exists - a growing blackness, perhaps emblematic of the darkness in the hearts of Britannia's people. Selflessly, Deane sacrifices himself to end the evil before it continues to grow, ascending to Avatarhood as he does.

Years later, Io is a young woman, telling the story of Deane's journey as she sits beneath the mother Tree of Yew. Her son, a young boy resembling Deane comes to greet her and she holds his hand to her face, revealing the same ankh-shaped birthmark Deane once had. It is implied that he is the fulfillment of Deane's promise to return.


Spoilers end here.



External Links[edit]


Ultima Manga
The Terror of Exodus Quest of the Avatar The Fall of Magincia The Maze of Schwarzschild