From Ultima Codex
Jump to: navigation, search


Yew in Ultima VII

Yew is a city within the Deep Forest of northwestern Britannia. Dedicated to the Virtue of Justice, Yew has long been home to the High Court of the realm, and has attracted a large druidic community around it. Throughout the ages, the city has coexisted with the surrounding natural world, occasionally dissolving into a series of scattered hamlets within the forests when its population has dwindled, and coming for several years to merge with the adjacent lands of Empath Abbey, the keep of Love.

Given the woodland surrounding it, Yew's economy has often been bolstered by the timber trade, and huntsmen and rangers are a common sight among its people. The legal establishment in Yew, however, has long been its defining feature and, in times both prosperous and ill, large numbers of trials and prisoners alike have been processed within this city.

A moongate, also hidden within the Deep Forest, can be found not far from the city, enabling quick passage to other settlements.


Yew is a very old settlement, having been already founded by the early days of the first Age of Darkness.

Age of Darkness[edit]

Overview of Yew, in Ultima I
The heavily-forested city of Yew in Ultima III

In Ultima I, Yew existed in what appeared to be land under the dominion of the Castle of the Lost King, a keep within the Lands of Lord British. This area of Sosaria was also home to the cities of Paws and Grey, and the burgeoning forest city sported an armoury, a weaponsmith, a transport service, a grocery, and a pub.

After the sundering of Sosaria following the defeat of Mondain, Yew still existed on the remaining continent comprising the world. During this time, Lord British commissioned a project known as the "Great Work," in which he ordered a series of exploratory travels to provide detailed maps of his realm. An individual known as Jhlona the Faithful provided the guide to Yew at the time, and indicated that an established druidic tradition already existed within the city. Eventually, during the quest against Exodus in Ultima III, the Stranger came to Yew, seeking revelations from its mystical holy place, the Circle of Light.

Age of Enlightenment[edit]

By the time of Ultima IV, Lord British had united all of Sosaria under the new name of Britannia, following the destruction of the triad of evil. It was during this time that Yew became dedicated to the Virtue of Justice, in keeping with British's newly established Eight Virtues. The High Court, presided over by Judge Talfourd, was established by this time, and the famed druids of the settlement could still be found within the city's boundaries. One of their number, a quiet woman named Jaana, was inspired to join in the Stranger's quest to attain Avatarhood during this age, and would eventually come to be one of the hero's close friends.

During the era of Ultima V, the city had become one of the bastions of Lord Blackthorn's regime, with the High Court perverted into an instrument for the Oppression's twisted justice. The city's elected member of the Great Council, Felespar, was imprisoned for the knowledge he bore of the Words of Power, and members of the citizenry lived in fear of the draconian rule of law, with even children facing torturous penalties for slight infractions. As with most of Britannia's major settlements, Yew also fell victim to the Shadowlords, and was subject to invasion by these marauding shades so long as they existed.

In spite of, or perhaps because of the extent to which Blackthorn's rule affected Yew, the city also became home to the founder of the Resistance, Landon. With the aid of the towne's blacksmith, Chamfort, this driven warrior led the revolutionary group from within his hidden war room in the Arms of Justice, where he also sheltered Jaana, now an outlaw. It is likely that the Avatar came to join with these freedom fighters during the quest to restore Lord British, helping to eventually oust Blackthorn's despotic stranglehold on the city.

By the time of the gargoyle war and the events of Ultima VI, Yew had largely recovered from the harsh totalitarian settlement it had once been, becoming again a woodland hamlet where woodcraft and simple industry flourished. The secret tunnels beneath the town, once home to the Resistance had disappeared by this time, possibly from dissuse. However, its mayor and high judge at the time, Lenora, was renowned for her severity and strictness where the Virtue of Justice was concerned.

Age of Armageddon[edit]

Over the next two centuries, Yew slowly rearranged itself, spilling over onto the lands of Empath Abbey and merging with the property of famed archer, Iolo FitzOwen, as its people dispersed across the Deep Forest. Throughout the Avatar's journeys in Ultima VII, the boundaries of Yew were extremely vague, with the High Court (now under the management of Sir Jeff) seeming as self-governing an institution as the Abbey's community of monks, and with most of the "city's" citizens living in relative isolation from one another.

By the time of Ultima IX, however, Yew's populace had converged back into a more concrete settlement, with many of its habitations now built in the treetops of the forest, in a manner similar to that of the emps who once shared the Deep Forest with man. The moongate associated with the town was moved to North just South of the Shrine of Justice. Owing to the influence of the Guardian's corrupting columns, Yew had again become a city flagrantly disregarding true justice, with the High Court under Judge Grey producing corrupt rulings and penalties in a spirit of violent spectacle. It was here that Raven—the beloved of the Avatar—was unfairly tried for the death of the gargoyle race, being sentenced to languish in the dungeons of Wrong until such a time that the hero saved her.

Eventually, after the Avatar cleansed the Shrine of Justice, the citizens of Yew returned to the virtue they had abandoned, ultimately clearing Raven of the crimes she had no part in and returning to the pursuit of impartial and merciful judgment.


Not much is known of this woodsy dell. The druids do not tell. The dwellers live within the woods; just where 'tis hard to say. But shops have they, and 'tis not all. I've been told of a magical place where good and truth are strong. 'Tis known to them as the circle of light — a vision to behold. I'm told that those who seek to pray within are granted knowledge of great worth.
Northwest from the mountains begin the vast woods known as the Deep Forest. Many a traveler has become lost among these tall, majestic trees. If thy feet stray from the beaten path, do not despair, for within the woods lies the beautiful city of Yew, home of the mystic Druids. The High Court of Yew judges all the important cases in Britannia and is famed far and wide for the wisdom of the decisions rendered here.
Found within the shady groves of the Deep Forest, the town of Yew is home to the druids of Britannia. Famed for their wisdom and sense of justice, the druids often pass judgement on the most important legal cases of the land. There is also vital information about the practice of the mystic arts to be had for the asking in Yew, should ye converse with the right personage. If ye should have the chance, miss not an opportunity to chat with Pinrod, as well as with some of the druids found about the towne. Not only do the druids of Yew dispense justice to heal the soul, but there is also a healer of the body within the confines of this towne. There is in Yew a shop where one might purchase provisions for long journeys as well.
Long a gathering place for Druids in their pursuit of Justice, Yew is the site of the Supreme Court of Britannia and nurtures the great legal and judicial minds who practice there. Besides the courts, jail and penal areas, Yew has one of the best restaurants with a fine pub, an armoury and an apothecary. Nestled beneath the trees of the Deep Forest, Yew is second in population only to Britain.
Anyone who has been apprehended in a tavern brawl, indulged in one too many cups of ale, failed to pay tribute to the new King, or otherwise offended one of Blackthorn's henchmen, is undoubtedly familiar with this once-fair city's prison. Yew is a city in bondage to Blackthorn's will; a place where Justice is no longer served with the august integrity that once governed the decisions of the Druidic court. But abandon not all hope for this towne, for the true goodness of Yew's people lies just beneath the surface... seek it there, and ye shall find it.
Second in size only to Britain, the town of Yew is the judicial and legal heart of the Kingdom, being home to the Supreme Court of Britannia. Druids and philosophers have long gathered under the shade trees of the Deep Forest surrounding Yew, exploring the subtle nuances of justice and righteousness. While visiting Yew, one will find a fine pub and a fully equipped armoury and apothecary.
Yew is known as the City of Justice, but it has changed considerably over the years. The buildings that remain where the city once stood have been abandoned for many, many years. The citizenry of Yew have chosen a life independent of normal civilization. They now live scattered throughout the Deep Forest. Their only remaining link with outside civilization is Empath Abbey. The Abbey has assumed responsibility for the Court of Yew as well as its prison. Many travellers to Empath Abbey come to visit the graves of loved ones at the nearby graveyard.
Fittingly, the road to Yew has decayed and fallen victim to banditry, and though there are other routes to the city of Justice, they are hard to pass. Founded on the druidic law of the land, the city of Yew blossomed as the need for defining order grew in Britannian civilization. Near the city for many years stood the Empath Abbey, the seat of Love. Its influence over the courts of Yew could not be denied. Yew remained a stronghold for righteous justice, yet recent times have weakened her posture. The decorous and formal courts have been replaced by a single rollicking amphitheater where drunken citizens cheer the heroes and assail the villains of jurisprudence. Trials have become acts of showmanship and conclude with someone, guilty or otherwise, being carried in chains to the Dungeon of Wrong. Wherein law stood on the stout timbers of the Deep Forest, chaos has chopped at its base. Nevertheless, Yew remains a favored destination for the traveler as the thought of a fine wine in her excellent inn can put a hop in one's step on the twisted road leading to it.


Ultima IV[edit]

Overview of Yew in Ultima IV


Ultima V[edit]

Overview of Yew in Ultima V (Ground)
Overview of Yew in Ultima V (Basement)

Ultima V: Lazarus[edit]

Yew - Ultima V: Lazarus Map

Ultima VI[edit]

Map of Yew in Ultima VI, from The Book of Prophecy

The Ultima VI Project[edit]

Yew - Ultima 6 Project Map

Ultima VII[edit]

Overview of Yew in Ultima VII

Ultima VII (SNES Port)[edit]

Ultima IX[edit]

Map of Yew in Ultima IX


Yew, as depicted in early Ultima IX concept art

Ultima (Apple)[edit]

Ultima I[edit]

Ultima III[edit]

Ultima III (Nintendo Port)[edit]

Ultima IV[edit]

Ultima V[edit]

Ultima VI[edit]

Ultima IX[edit]

Things to see[edit]


The destruction of Yew in Seiji Tanaka's comic adaptation of Ultima III
  • An unnamed cleric found in Yew during Ultima III says the words "Bonim anima teuri." - a corrupt form of the Latin phrase "Bonam animam tueri." meaning "I've seen the good spirit." In the FM-Towns port of this game, this phrase became further jumbled, resulting in a city of acolytes claiming to worship "Churi," the God of "Bonim."
  • In the manga adaptation of Ultima III, Yew plays a significant role in the early portion of the narrative. The heroes, seeking passage to Death Gulch, ask the acolytes of the settlement to use their mystic powers to reopen a Moongate, which had been rendered non-functional at the time. After the party arrives in the city on the heels of a large (but ultimately peaceable) stampede of wildlife, a horde of daemons besieges Yew, seeking to kill the adventurers. The four heroes are rescued by the holy order of the city, who places them within a protective barrier in the Circle of Light and eventually manages to teleport them away. Once the protagonists are safe, the comic shows the city's death as its inhabitants are slaughtered.[1]

See Also[edit]


  1. Tanaka, Seiji. Exodus (Ultima III: Exodus). JICC: August 15, 1988. Pages 76-105.

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

Lands of Lord British (just Sosaria in Ultima III)
Cities BritainDawnDeath GulchDevil GuardGreyMontor
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