The Age of Enlightment

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Thus began the Age of Virtue. Lord British united Sosaria under a new name, Britannia. In the shining glory of the new state, the old troubles of the land were forgotten. Peace prevailed, and in it, the land gave forth in plenty. Lord British withdrew from the people who, under his benevolent reign, had found a burgeoning interest in the vast and uncharted landscapes of the mind. When he emerged from seclusion, Lord British proclaimed the Eight Sacred Virtues as the essence of Britannian life. For them, he sought a Champion. As if bidden by this King, the traveler returned and began to explore Britannia, to know her gifts and her hazards. Through tests of the mind and body, the traveler grew to know himself and his unique power to hold the Virtues. Returning to his King as a pure man, the traveler was proclaimed Avatar of the Virtues, defender of the people, and protector of the land. Britannia had her Champion.

In defending the land against outside forces of evil, the King did not tend to the evil that flowers within. Wary of the newly discovered underworld, Lord British led an expedition to seal its portals from which had ascended into Britannia many hideous monsters. From the Gem of Immortality, the shattered vessel of the soul of Mondain, sprung the Shadowlords, spectral creatures from another world. These creatures gained influence over Lord Blackthorn, in whose charge the Kind had left Britannia. The Shadowlords soon overwhelmed him. When the King did not return as appointed, Blackthorn named himself regent of the Kingdom. Lord Blackthorn declared an inquisition into the enemies of the state. All were subject to inquiry and all that belonged to the soul was laid bare before the inquisitors. None of the terrorized citizens suspected the evil that lurked behind the throne. On his return to Britannia, the Avatar discovered a land in flames. He summoned eight companions to lead a rescue of his King. Lord British was found in chains in the underworld, and for his betrayal of the Virtues, Lord Blackthorn was cast into the ethereal void.

Many years of peace were torn asunder when the Avatar, living a quiet life in his own land, was captured by a band of gargoyle warriors and nearly sacrificed. Freed at the last moment by his companions, the Avatar discovered the secret of the gargoyle underworld. After the conclusion of the Avatar’s last quest the underworld had begun to collapse, and into Britannia had flooded the gargoyle people. The cleft between the races broadened and filled with blood. As the world rolled out in war, the Avatar and his companions sought the source of this conflict. At every turn, they met armed gargoyles opposed to their progress. After many battles, the Avatar learned a terrible prophesy of the gargoyle’s seers. Their histories foretold of a False Prophet who must be sacrificed, else he would destroy his people. This Prophet was the Avatar. Armed with such knowledge, he brought peace between the races, returned to his world, and opened the gate to the Age of Enlightment.

Source: Ultima IX Sourcebook

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