Buona Sera, I'm beginning this thread so that we might prompt some discussion regarding the nature of these anti-magus crystals, the black moongates, and the chaos dragoons that currently seek to wreck havoc upon the independent realms of our land. A Guide for the Perplexed, if you will. Please note that while you might find this information useful in the creation of stories and in your characters investigations, if you are a roleplayer and are following the storyline, you probably shouldn't magically gain such knowledge by reading this thread here. A mage might understand the history and nature of the black moongates, but the son of a peasant-farmer isn't likely to be familiar with their inner workings. With that said, here are a couple things I've found at The Codex of Editable Wisdom, an online repository of canonical Ultima lore and fiction. Black Moongates: Black Moongates are artificial creations that to allow travel through space and time, which differ from other types of Moongates in that they are made not from lunar energy but are instead constructed from a mysterious substance known as Blackrock. They are not governed by Britannia's lunar cycles as are traditional Moongates, instead Blackrock Gates must be powered by external power sources such as planetary conjunctions like the Astronomical Alignment, or Pagan's Titanic Objects. The only known Black Moongate in Britannia was the Black Gate of the Guardian in Ultima VII, which was destroyed while the Guardian attempted to enter Britannia. Other known Blackrock portals were the Black Obelisk at the end of Ultima VIII, the Black Jewel found in sewers beneath Lord British's Castle in Ultima Underworld II, and possibly the Cubic Gate manifested by the the Myrmidex Queen of Savage Empire. It makes you wonder. We've no indication as to where these mercenaries come from, only that they are rivaled by the Blue Scorpions. Blackrock & The Anti-Magus Fields: Another property of Blackrock is, that it can block the ethereal waves, which enable magic. This means that a big enough amount of Blackrock will disable any kind of magic, as long as it is based on ethereal waves. If Casca created Black Moongates in the nature described in the previous entry, it is not inconcievable that he (or Trubo) might again have used blackrock to create the anti-magus field that currently prevents ethereal magic. The Powers of the Light (Divine Magic), namely Chivalry, might prove useful if ethereal thaumaturgy (Magery) proves to be useless in this instance. Lord Blackthorn: Blackthorn was, prior to Ultima V, a close friend of Lord British, and known as a very virtuous and wise man. So it came as no surprise that Blackthorn was chosen to rule by Lord British, while he would explore the Underworld. However, the Shadowlords, once they had captured Lord British, started to twist and poison his mind, and in the end, Blackthorn became cruel and evil. He codified the Virtues into draconian laws, and erected a horrible dictatorship under the influence of the Shadowlords. This was the state of things in Ultima V, when the Avatar arrived. Blackthorn tried to imprison Lord British forever, as he also told the Avatar under the impression, that the Avatar had joined the Oppression (a lip-service done by the Avatar). But Lord British was freed, and the Shadowlords destroyed. Blackthorn, now free of their influence, became aware of what he had done, and accepted Lord British's offer of exile rather than face the judgement of the Great Council, whom he had persecuted or jailed during his rule. As I've pointed out to some of you before, and as many of you are already aware, Casca is based off of Lord Blackthorn from Ultima V (the only major difference in the storyline is that the previous developers decided to develop Blackthorn into the counterpart of Exodus, only to kill him off in a sudden and short-sighted event so they could drop the storyline altogether). What has me curious, is Casca is by all accounts a repressive and draconian tyrant. He rules through the Virtues, and seeks to impose his version of Order. On the other hand, we have the Mercenaries and the Controllers. The former were the servants of Lord Blackthorn, and his anarchist view of Chaos (remember that Chaos is not synonymous with evil, but with an Blackthorn's views of an extremely limited form of government). The latter servered Lord Exodus, who could travel through space and time in this Ultima Online incarnation (see Black Moongates). So, one cannot help but wonder two things. One, are these actually the Chaos Dragoons we are fighting? And two, might Exodus have some unseen part in our shards storyline?