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Know Your Lore: Why the Britannians Celebrate Easter

Discussion in 'UHall' started by WarderDragon, Apr 24, 2011.

  1. WarderDragon

    WarderDragon Babbling Loonie
    Stratics Veteran Alumni BRPA

    Oct 9, 2008
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    Know Your Lore: Why the Britannians Celebrate Easter

    Ultima Online is an expansive universe. You have played the game. You have defeated the Champions. You know the how. But do you know the why?

    This is the third of a series of articles - beginning with Sosarian Magic and the World of Daemons - where I intend to explore the controversial and often forgotten elements of Ultima Lore.

    People in Ultima Online often debate the reasons we - the Britannians - celebrate real world traditions. Christmas. Easter. Valentines. And so fourth. To some it seems ludacris that a fictional people in a fictional world recognize such events. Others have attempted to explain the apparent contradiction by suggesting certain historical personages in our parallel universe prompted the development of similar rites and festive gatherings. Some call for unique lore to explain these events - how Warcraft has turned Easter into Noblegarden and Christmas into Winter Veil - while others pretend the holidays do not exist and hope no one breaks their immersion by suggesting otherwise.

    Few on the other hand remember that the Britannians descend from Earth.

    You see, there was once a young man who was playing in the woods not far from the real world town of Cambridge, England. While stumbling through the brush he came upon a Silver Pendant in the shape of a Serpent (or Dragon, the two words meaning the same thing in Medieval lingo). When he touched it, a blue door tore itself open in the fabric of the universe, allowing him to step through and enter the World of Sosaria. On the other side he was discovered by a man named Shamino Salle Dacil, who upon learning of the birthplace of the young man, dubbed him Cantabrigian of the British Isles, or Cantabrigian British for short.

    It was not long before others began to follow Cantabrigian - who would become the Champion of White Light and King - into Sosaria. Of these we know the Stranger, Iolo FitzOwen, and Sir Dupre all hail from Earth.

    Based on the fiction we have available to us - the implication that such doors had been opening long before and after British, the shared Renaissance European and Japanese Cultures, and the fact that a Medallion of Britannian origin made it to Earth - might suggest that the Sosarians themselves came from Earth at various periods, bringing with them their languages, their art, their religions and so fourth. We do not know that all humans descend from Earth, but we do know that some did.

    There is also the question of the wider Fictional Universe. It is a little known fact that Wing Commander, and Ultima, share the same fictional domain. Britannian Solar Space is implied to be on the far end of Kilrathi Space, and thus inaccessable to the Terran Federation in 2654 A.D./C.E. Kilrathi are also found as Easter Eggs in several Ultima Prime Games.

    (In Ultima VII: Serpents Isle, there is an Isle called Claw that is inaccessable to the Avatar. A colony of advanced Kilrathi had crashed there and were forced to cope in this dangerous, dark and often unpredictable world. Considering most current lore buffs consider Ilshenar and Serpents Isle to be one and the same, it would not take a stretch of the imagination to believe the Kilrathi and Meer are of the same species. But that is a debate for a future article.)

    Then at last there is the question of the Ultima Manga. Written in 1988, the Ultima: The Maze of Schwarzchild tells the tale of Genji, a hero from Earth who crash landed on the World of Sosaria. Genji is implied to be one of the incarnations of the Stranger - defeating Exodus and Mondain - and is the first instance the character is named in Ultima Lore. While it was written about two years before the first Wing Commander Game - which was published in 1990 - one could also speculate that a Earthling in the Ultima / WC Universe who crash lands in Britannia is probably goi0g to have been part of the Terran Federation. Which would place Ultima Online somewhere between 2500 and 3000 A.D. Could the Terran Federation - or a predecessor - have been responsible for the human peoples that inhabit Sosaria? (i.e. Crashed Starship?)

    If none of the above are valid, there is at last Cantabrigian himself. We know from Ultima Online Fiction that British - wishing to bring some of his traditions and cultures to a Britannia that had been ravaged by a war - brought with him the Wizard of Oz and prompted a Lord Nicolus to wear the mantle of Father Christmas each Winter. (Yes. In Britannia we have a Red Robed Sorcerer that visits us each December to deliver presents at server up.)

    We could speculate the exact manner in which the traditions and customs of each reached Britannia. Was Britannia populated by people marching through Moongates into Sosaria throughout the history of Human Civilization? Or was it peopled by a crashed Starship centuries ago, forcing the people to adapt to the dark and unpredictable world? We will probably never know.

    What we do know is that these traditions were passed down to our characters from their Terran ancestors. So next time you find a Christmas Stocking or an Easter Basket on your mantle, consider the heritage of that character and where his traditions and values might have come from.
  2. Sevin0oo0

    Sevin0oo0 Guest

    Good job. Thanks! Long live the Pagan. Merry Meet
  3. Storm

    Storm UO Forum Moderator
    Moderator Professional Premium Stratics Veteran Wiki Moderator Stratics Legend

    Mar 18, 2004
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    Excellent !! Good read
  4. Zurhet Pebblethief

    Zurhet Pebblethief Journeyman
    Stratics Veteran

    Jun 20, 2010
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    Very well written sir, thank you for the information.
  5. Trebr Drab

    Trebr Drab Guest

    Well done, WarderDragon.

    There's been the long mystery of where the peoples of Sosaria came from after the Spell of Armageddon was cast by "The First Man" (speculation?) after the Wisps gave "him" the spell.

    Also, remember Clainin wondering where people came from in the Shard he peered into and watched as it sometimes was destroyed, then rebuilt and repopulated. As well where the peoples of Ilshenar went when they escaped through the Vasgravs (gates), which ties into the peoples of Serpent Isle, called the Ophidians, when they also left in the Ultima Prime lore. And the FOA Leaders also escaped from Ilshenar and came to our worlds.

    So it seems that the various planes/shards/Facets have a common story of people moving from one to another. Always under special circumstances.
  6. Dermott of LS

    Dermott of LS UOEC Modder
    Stratics Veteran

    May 12, 2008
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    I've never really thought of Ilshenar as Serpent Isle in the least... to me, T2A seems to fit Serpent Isle much more than Ilshenar does... the use of serpent pillars to get there, the location of Delucia is somewhat analogous to Monitor and Papua to Moonshade as well as the lay of the land in general with the arctic northern areas. Also the fact that the Ophidian creatures are there and have had at least some impact on the culture in T2A (see the mural in Delucia).

    Between the two areas, and given how Tokuno was played up as one of the earlier lands (with SIGNIFICANT changes), I'd have to conclude that T2A is the better prospect for the Serpent Isle than Ilsh either by coincidence or evidence.
  7. Trebr Drab

    Trebr Drab Guest

    According to Raph Koster (link) the Lost Lands are part of Ambrosia (ultima.wikia.

    Quoting Raph from the link:
    "Lost Lands is a fragment of Ambrosia, just a small portion of the northern end. Minax in both cases was supposed to be near the top."
  8. WarderDragon

    WarderDragon Babbling Loonie
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    Oct 9, 2008
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    Consider that Montor - or the Mountain of Passion - is located within the northeastern reaches of Ilshenar. The Township itself was once located within the domain of Lord Cantabrigian before the Shattering submerged much of the Old Continent.

    The Ophidians of UO bear no fictional resemblance to the Ophidian Religion of Ultima. In fact the Ophidians are based on the Ophites: a Christian Gnostic Sect believed to have emerged around 100 A.D. The Ophites believed that the Serpent of Genesis was a bringer of Secret Wisdom - or Gnosis - and that the act of Original Sin was an act of Good. The Serpent thus became an object of worship.

    The Ophidians of Serpents Isle were a group of humans that were separated from the Britannians and - in their isolation - had developed a Religion distinct from Virtue based on their ideals of Order and Chaos. A triad of Cosmic Beings - imagine Cthulu but much more benevolent - became the object of their worship. The Serpents of Chaos. Order. Balance.

    But when Exodus stole the Serpent of Balance from the Void the Serpents of Order and Chaos began to war upon one another causing the destruction in their land and their worshippers. This became the War of Imbalance. The War between Order and Chaos.

    Compare to development and fall of the Ilshenarian Civilization / Religion and the earlier war between the Meer and Juka. We too know that Exodus dwells in and is associated with Ilshenar.

    The Ophidians of UO on the other hand are described as Savage and Cannibalistic beasts that have more in common with the Hellenistic Lamia. The reason for maintaining the name is for the name itself. Ophite - or Ophidian - is Koine Greek for Serpent People.

    At last their is the matter of the much maligned Lord Blackthornes Revenge Expansion. Do not forget that in Ultima Online it was Lord British that represented Order (the Order Serpent) and Blackthorne that represented Chaos (the Chaos Serpent). During the aforementioned War of Imbalance in Ultima VII between the two Serpents a race of mechanical beings known as the Automatons were built to tip the balance in favor of one side.
  9. Trebr Drab

    Trebr Drab Guest

    Fantastic, WarderDragon. Nice work.

    I've often thought that it might be possible that the Ophidians of UO might be the twisted remnants of the lost Ophidian peoples who fled Serpent Isle, changed by the power of the Shattering of the Shards in our own timeline.

    (I believe after the War of Imbalance destroyed most of both cults and the civilization, with a few exceptions.)

    I used to think as Dermott did, that the Lost Lands were part of the Serpent Isles. But having found Raph's post linked above, and knowing now that it's part of Ambrosia, it brings back vague but strong memories of early UO when the Isle of Ambrosia was often mentioned (before the Lost Lands were introduced). I'm wondering why, now. And I haven't yet found much information in detail of Ambrosia.
  10. Basara

    Basara UO Forum Moderator
    Moderator Professional Governor Stratics Veteran Wiki Moderator Stratics Legend Campaign Supporter

    Jul 16, 2003
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    Also note that Ilshenar has an odd connection to Ultima III Sosaria.

    In Ilshenar, the Chaos gate is located in the ruins of a city called Montor, divided in two by a river of Lava.

    In Ultima III, Montor was a city divided by a river into Montor East & Montor West, and was located due south of Britain.

    If one looks today at the coast south of Trinsic, it is littered with haunted ruins on the shore and just inside the jungle, as if there was once a city there, now gone. Perhaps Montor once held its old position, but was wrenched from the Britannian facet into Ilshenar by the event that turned it into a demon-infested ruin (something involving the portal to the Abyss located beyond the Balron). As a portal to the Abyss is hardly an act of good, or of order, those good souls of Montor probably fled the city before the incident, and being overwhelmingly good aligned due to this divide, went on to found Trinsic, the city of paladins.
  11. MalagAste

    MalagAste Belaern d'Zhaunil
    Governor Stratics Veteran Alumni Stratics Legend Campaign Supporter Royal Knight

    Aug 21, 2000
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    *Suddenly getting the sense that I've just been to a Star Trek Convention and have been listening to the debates on how warp cores work by folk who seem to actually believe that they even exist*

    But interesting posts to say the least WarderDragon Thank you.
  12. Trebr Drab

    Trebr Drab Guest

    Warp Cores don't exist?

  13. Trebr Drab

    Trebr Drab Guest

    Not Trinsic, Basara. Serpent's Hold***.

    ***Edit here, I meant Jhelom, not Serps Hold. --------

    A quote from Montor - The Codex of Editable Wisdom, a Wikia wiki for Ultima and Ultima Online

    The twin cities started to fall into ruin after the great cataclysm that formed Britannia after Ultima III, while Jhelom became the city of Courage. The remaining inhabitants, who didn't want to accept any other virtues beside Courage, left Britannia together with the mages of Moon and beauty-worshipers of old Fawn. They eventually reached the Serpent Isle, where they founded the new city of Monitor.
    This was the end of the twin cities of Montor, and by Ultima IV, every trace of their existence had vanished from the face of the world.

    Also interesting to note that Shamino comes from the Lands of Danger and Despair, also called Serpents Isle, where he was a king. But he was trapped in Britannia when the cataclysm tore Sosaria apart.

    Edit to add: Of you look at the map at the Monitor link, you'll see that you might be right about some of the ruins in the southern jungles. I'm wondering if other towns/cities from Ancient Sosaria might be the ruins we see in UO.
  14. Shelra

    Shelra Seasoned Veteran
    Stratics Veteran

    Jan 17, 2010
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    Very interesting indeed WarderDragon! Thank you for the enlightenment.

    Personally I long for the Worf cores, if they exist ;)
  15. Adora

    Adora Guest

    wait a minute... I'm confused...

    if warp cores don't exist, how did the Kilrathi ever make it to Sosaria???