The Story Best Left Untold
Ultima 8: The Avatar is stuck in the Plain of Earth with a tin can on his head. He must find Lithos and kill him with the Heart of Earth.
Disembodied Voice: Avatar! It is I, Hawkwind!
Avatar: Hawkwind?? Weren't you that guy behind sleep fields back in U4?
Hawkwind: Nope. I'm a full-time disembodied voice, narrator of Ultima 9.
Avatar: Ultima 9? But that won't be out till late '99!
Hawkwind: True. But down to business, Avatar. You're behind schedule. You're still on Pagan!
Avatar: Well, I've got a few years.
Hawkwind: Sorry, but it's not that simple. The game needs to be at least three years late so that it gets enough hype. We've already canceled Lost Vale and shortened the ending to hurry you up, but to no avail. I'll have to teleport you to Britannia right now.
Avatar: Great! I'm sick of wearing this damn thing on my head!
Hawkwind: So? Look at my job! I only appear for the first fifteen minutes or so! Most disembodied voices get better jobs, like impersonating Patrick Stewart on car comercials!
Light glitters around the Avatar and engulfs him. It fades away. The Avatar is still standing there with a tin can on his head. Suddenly, the Avatar appears in a misc. part of Britannia.
Guardian's Voice: Hoo hoo ha ha! Avatar, thou art doomed!
Avatar: Huh? You've conquered Britannia?
Guardian's Voice: Of course not! That would be logical to do! Instead, I made these dumb columns which pull the moons towards Britannia!
Avatar: Why? You never destroyed Pagan or Killorn Keep or any of those other worlds. Why destroy Britannia?
Guardian's Voice: Hey, Pagan's cool!
Avatar: YOU LIKED PAGAN???!!! (laughs hysterically)
Guardian's Voice: It's good those great mushrooms!
Avatar: Ooh. Good point.
The Avatar teleports again, this time to Castle Britannia.
Lord British: Avatar, it is thee! Britannia is in dire need of thy assistance!
Avatar: Are you kidding? I thought Big Red conquered the place or something. All he's done is change the landscape a bit.
Lord British: But the columns are making everyone unvirtuous!
Avatar: So? People are always unvirtuous! They were unvirtuous in all the games except U4 and U5! Can't you actually enforce the virtues instead of blaming everything on some columns?
Lord British: Uh, that's what Blackthorn was doing back in U5.
Avatar: Yeah, and everyone was virtuous then.
Lord British: That was just to contrast Blackthorn and his flunkies, who weren't that virtuous.
Avatar: Oh yeah.
Lord British: Speaking of Blackthorn, he's off working with the Guardian now.
Avatar: Really? I thought he lived in Serpent Isle and grew a long beard to look like a hippie!
Lord British: Nope. We abducted him, Cut his beard into a sinister goatee, died his hair black, and stuck him in Ultima Online. He looked too evil to waste, so we put him in this game too.
Avatar: Wait, uh, wasn't he not supposed to be evil in U5, only misguided by the Shadowlords?
Lord British: Well, yeah, but it's not like anyone cares anymore. There isn't one accurate reference to previous games here. We're not trying to appeal to long-time fans, just to all those people with too much money to waste who play UO.
Avatar: Then what about all the Ultima Dragons and such? Won't they refuse to buy the game?
Lord British: Of course not! They've been waiting for it for years, so they'll get it no matter how bad it is! That's why we delayed so long! Besides, they can pay twice as much to get an ankh and an Ultima Collection CD with the game.
Avatar: But they all have the original games from the CD and own the ankhs that came with U4!
Lord British: Oh well. That won't stop them.
Avatar: Say, Nose--
Lord British: Don't call me that! It dates from a previous game and only old fans would catch it! Blasphemy!
Avatar: Er, sorry. What I meant to ask is why are you so old?
Lord British: It gives me an excuse for sitting on this throne 24 hours a day.
Avatar: You WHAT??!!
Lord British: Of course. No one can move around anymore, Avatar. Everyone just stands in the same place day and night. It makes the game easier. We'd confuse too many of our target audience if they had to worry about finding NPCs in different places at different times.
Avatar: Oh. Er, well, I've gotta be going, No--, er, LB…
Lord British: Wait! First meet the Gargoyle king, Vasagralem!
Vasagralem: To say hello!
Avatar: You know, all that "to" stuff is really getting annoying. It was nice back in U6--
Lord British: Shh!
Avatar: --but it's been overdone the past few games.
Vasagralem: To be even worse now. To write our signs like this now.
Avatar: Say, wasn't the Gargoyle king Draxi-something?
Vasagralem: To be sorry, but only fans heard of him. To have had to be replaced.
Avatar: So, why's your name have a meaning? I thought important people like Naxa--
Lord British: Avatar, stop that!
Avatar: Anyways, don't important Gargoyles have meaningless names?
Vasagralem: To not be like that anymore, Avatar.
Avatar: Oh. So, what do you have to whine to me?
Vasagralem: To warn you that the Gargoyles have become proud!
Avatar: So? Pride is only an anti-virtue to humans.
Vasagralem: To know that you'll destroy the Gargoyle race before the game's over. To say this to reassure you that it won't be unvirtuous to do so.
Avatar: I'll destroy the Gargoyle race??
Vasagralem: To have been fortold in the Book of Prophecies that the Avatar is the False Prophet! To say the False Prophet will destroy the Gargoyle race!
Avatar: But I went through that whole prophecy thing in--
Lord British: One more time, Avatar, and I'll summon the guards!
Vasagralem: To say it is true that you will destroy the Gargoyle race. To quote line 345.6 of the Book of Prophecies: "To say that the Avatar of Virtue is the False Prophet. To say that the False Prophet will destroy the Gargoyle race. To say that talking like this is pointless and idiotic."
Avatar: Why does it call me the Avatar of Virtue?
Vasagralem: To make sure that the player will know it's talking about him.
Avatar: Wait, so HOW will I destroy the Gargoyle race?
Vasagralem: To press a lever and it will accidently destroy all the Gargoyles. To have no idea beforehand that you'd do that. To say that if you knew, you might not press the lever. To be better to be a complete surprise, so you cannot have done anything unvirtuous.
Avatar: Wait, you're TRYING to say everything I do is virtuous? Back in Ultima IV, I was told by the Codex the achievement of virtue was a neverending quest! Now it's just handed out to me?
Lord British: That's it! GUARDS!!!!!!
The Avatar's mana goes down.
Lord British: Haha! That's how I enforce virtue, Avatar! Every time you're unvirtuous, your mana goes down!
Avatar: Oh no! You mean I can't steal?
Lord British: No, you can steal at no cost. People will watch you steal and not lift a finger. I don't want this game to be restrictive.
Avatar: Then I can't kill NPCs?
Lord British: Oh, you can kill all unnamed NPCs without losing virtue, whether or not they're attacking you. But you lose virtue when you attack named NPCs. Of course, all named NPCs are invincible, so there's absolutely nothing to gain from attacking them.
Avatar: In other words, I can do whatever the hell I want.
Lord British: Exactly! Of course, your mana goes down when you do something pointless like attack an invincible NPC, but that just keeps players thinking the game keeps track of their virtue. They can do anything else at no cost. After all, they might get upset if we FORCED you to be virtuous or anything, so we just say everything you do is virtuous no matter what.
Avatar: So, you mean I'm incapable of being unvirtuous?
Lord British: Precisely, Avatar! You're the Avatar of Virtue! Everything you do HAS to be virtuous!
Avatar: But I was unvirtuous in U8! And as I just said, back in Ultima IV--
Lord British: Alright, this time I mean it!! GUARDS!!!!!!!!!!
Suddenly, glitters of light appear around the Avatar, engulfing him. Then they disappear, and the Avatar still stands there for a few seconds. Then he miraculously appears in Iolo's hut.
Gwenno: Avatar, it is thee!
Avatar: Gwenno?? Weren't you an old fart in Serpent Isle? How come you're young and blond now?
Gwenno: No one cares, Avatar. Jaana has black hair now. The less this game resembles previous ones or fits in with continuity, the better, or so Origin says.
Avatar: Say, where's Iolo?
Gwenno: He disappeared while exploring Dungeon Despise. It's very near here, just down this road. Turn right when you see the evil-looking column and you get attacked by trolls.
Avatar: Wait, your hut is near Empath Abbey!
Gwenno: Nope. It's miraculously moved to midway between Britain and Despise. After all, it would make too much sense if our hut was in the same place, and Origin doesn't want sense in the game. If there was too much sense, people'd realize that you actually did unvirtuous thing in the course of the game, and then you'd no longer be a one-dimensional hero, like everyone wants you to be. Speaking of which, you also need to cut off that ponytail from Pagan. The Avatar can't have long hair, he has to be a blond Nazi skinhead. You also need to talk more like John Wayne.
Avatar: Is it just me, or is character creation getting more and more restrictive?
Gwenno: Oh no! Why, you meet the Gypsy and all that, which modifies your stats and starting items. All that we took away was your name.
Avatar: My NAME??!!
Gwenno: Of course. Letting the player name you, that had too much individuality.
The Avatar has to be a generic, one-dimensional character. Even naming
him might generate some individuality.
But enough of petty details! You should go down to Despise and get the Glyph so you can cleanse the shrine!
Gwenno: You're definitely new, eh? Talk to everyone in Britain. They'll all tell you the exact same things about the Glyphs and shrines over and over. Some of them will also let you in on a little secret. (whispers) The Columns are really evil. I think the Guardian is controlling them.
Avatar: But that was obvious the instant I talked to Nose, er, Lord British!
Gwenno: Not so obvious to most of the target audience, Avatar. They need things repeated over and over by the virtuous people of Britain.
Avatar: I thought the columns were making everyone unvirtuous.
Gwenno: Oh, that's just more tripe from Origin. Everyone is completely
virtuous, they just whine that everyone else in Britain isn't. So, you
can conclude that all the nameless NPCs are probably the unvirtuous ones,
so it's okay to kill them.
Now, be off with you, Avatar! I have to mope around waiting for adventurers some more so I can tell them about how Iolo is missing and the columns are evil.
Avatar: Must be rough.
Gwenno: Yeah, and I don't even get to sleep!
The Avatar heads into Dungeon Despise. A note miraculously falls from the air. It reads "Dear Avatar, We have captured thy love, Nastassia! She is held in the Stygian Abyss! Fight your way through our real-time, 3D levels with fully interactive environments! Love, Random Evil-Doers."
Avatar: This just gets more and more sureal…
Hawkwind: Tis not Origin's doing! Nastassia is from U7, she'd never be mentioned by any REAL people in the game!
Avatar: Hawkwind? You're back?
Hawkwind: Look, it's not my fault Nissan fired me, ok? Pay's better at Toyota anyways, but they don't have any openings.
Avatar: So, what do we do now?
Hawkwind: Well, we teleport to the Stygian Abyss, of course!
The Avatar is engulfed in glitters of light. He is still in Dungeon Despise. Suddenly, he appears in the Stygian Abyss.
Guardian's Voice: Hahaha, Avatar! This time, you shall be destroyed! Behold the Titans, whom you vanquished upon Pagan!
Hawkwind: It's not really the Guardian! See how he makes references to previous games!
The four Elemental Titans appear.
Hydros: I am Hydros, Titan of Hydrogen!
Pyros: I am Pyros, Titan of Potassium!
Lithos: I am Lithos, Titan of Laurencium!
Stratos: I am Stratos, Titan of, er, Boron!
Avatar: Weren't you guys Titans of Earth, Air, Water, and Fire back in Ultima 8?
Titans: yeah, but those aren't real Elements. We decided to be more realistic.
Avatar: Since when is Pagan realistic with its giant mushrooms and those Torax and Kith?
Titans: Aw, who cares? Let's just kill you, Avatar!
Avatar: Uh, er, what were my Ether powers again?
Hawkwind: You don't have any. We decided to can the whole "Titan of Ether" storyline. You got to Britannia from Earth by a moongate summoned by the Gypsy. It doesn't rely on continuity the way it would if you came from Pagan and learned those incredible powers.
Avatar: Um, uh, KABLOOIE!!
The Titans are not affected in the least.
Avatar: Ooh damn… er… wait! I know what went wrong! VAS KABLOOIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Hydros: You shall regret this day!
Pyros: No! It is not possible!
Stratos: What have you done, ungrateful child? Your grief breaks my heart with your actions!
Lithos: No! I have been defeated! No mortal could have done this! I shall return for you, live one!
Once again, glitters apear around the Avatar, then fade away with no effect. Then the Avatar appears at the bottom of the Stygian Abyss near Nastassia and an evil-looking hooded figure.
Hooded Figure: Now you shall die, Avatar!
Hooded Figure: Behold, I summon forth the Slasher of Veils!
The Slasher of Veils appears.
Slasher of Veils: Howdy.
Avatar: Aha! You can't harm me! You can't even move when you're not in that alternate dimension. Hell, I can walk into you and push you around and you won't react!
Hooded Figure: No! Damn you Avatar, damn you! No matter! I shall destroy you myself!
The Hooded Figure removes their hood. It is…
The Female Avatar from Ultima 7 and Serpent Isle!
Avatar: You! My alter-ego!
Female Avatar: Yes! I was left out of Ultima 8 and Ultima 9! Even before that, I was always second behind you! You had all the good dialogue! I had to get seduced by Frigiazzi back in Serpent Isle!
Avatar: Whoa! That would've been nice to watch!
Female Avatar: Shut up! Now I shall have my revenge, Avatar! You got a love in Ultima 7, but I didn't! Now, Nastassia shall die!
Avatar: Stop whining! Ultima 8 and Ultima 9 suck! All you'd get was a tin can on your head!
Female Avatar: AND those mushrooms.
Avatar: Oh yeah.
Female Avatar: Well, enough chatter!
Avatar: Wait! It isn't my fault! Go complain to Origin!
Female Avatar: Idiot! Nastassia is a sad creation of Origin! Her death shall be its bane!
Avatar: So be it, then! Garriot's not gonna use her in any more games anyways.
Female Avatar: Hmm… you're right… I know! I'll kill Raven, this slut you have later in the game! I'll also kill that unnamed prostitute on Buccaneer's Den!
Avatar: Wait! Where was the prostitute? How much did it cost?
Female Avatar: (disappearing into an inexplicable sunset which has appeared) Farewell, Avatar! We shall meet again!
Katrina, companion of the Avatar!
Avatar: Katrina! How couldst thou betray me?
Katrina: This bitch deserves to die, Avatar! Origin stole my portrait from U6 and gave it to her! Then they made me look like an old hag!
Avatar: So? You deserved it! You appeared in Ultimas 4-7, and you were useless every time! Hell, Sherry the Mouse had better stats than you in Ultima 6!
Katrina: How darest thou to insult me! Origin gives me stupid lines, but I shall destroy both them and you!
Katrina: You haven't been to New Magincia yet, eh? Well, Origin makes me say "Even I, the most humble of all people in Britannia, have been unable to cleanse the Shrine of Humility." That's not a joke! They make me say that! Even for their target audience, that's a bit thick! I'll have those bastards castrated and slung up by the--
Avatar: Oh shut up! VAS KABLOOIE!
Katrina: Hah! I am immune to fake spells!
Avatar: Since when?
Katrina: Since I got the fake ring of "Resist Fake Magic Spells!"
Avatar: When'd you get that?
Katrina: A few seconds ago. I made it up, of course.
Avatar: So, I have the fake spell scroll "Negate Fake Ring of Resist Fake Magic Spells!"
Avatar: Haha! VAS KABLOOIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Katrina: AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH………… Wait, I don't have any good last words.
Batlin, founder of the Fellowship and full-time asshole!
Batlin: Hahaha! I suvived the incident with the Chaos Banes, and now I shall destroy both you and the Guardian, Avatar!
Avatar: Hey, you were a girl in the last two endings…
Batlin begins to cry.
Batlin: You hurt my feelings…
The Avatar laughs hysterically.
Batlin: Please don't make fun of me… I'll go tell my mommy…
Avatar: Hehehe… and I thought last ending was good. VAS KABLOOIE!!!!!!!!!!
Valk Swadjen the Bard: And then the figure lifted off its hood and it was…
Hanhdah the Tinker: Shut up! This is even stupider than your other "What if that Guardian prop set up by Lord Britishwas real?"
Valk S: Then what do we do?
Nehsun the Ranger: Got no idea. Since you turned into Evil_Freak and killed Markadays and Lyksus, things've been boring.
Valk S: Hey! It wasn't ALL my fault! The Avatar killed Seytarn and Taota!
Nehsun: Yeah, you're right. How about you, Forude?
Forude the Druid: Yep, it was inevitable.
Valk S: You know, no one e-mailed in the sources of our names.
Hanhdah: Ungrateful bastards! We write great stories, and then they read them but don't tell us how great they were!
Valk S: Hey! I write all of them, and not even you guys appreciate them!
Nehsun: And with good reason.
Suddenly, a purple moongate opens up. The Avatar steps out.
Avatar: Now we canst fight fairly, Evil_Freak Dragon! Hast thou played Martian Dreams yet?
Valk S: Nope. No one's sent me their copy out of remorse yet. I'll have to start sending out death threats.
Avatar: Thou delay our conflict, Dragon! No matter! Some day, we shall meet again!
Two shadowy figures sit in a dark, sinister room.
Richard Garriot: So, is this Ultima 9: Version 0.0001?
Nameless Lackey: Aye, milord.
Richard Garriot: It seems good enough. Still there's too much continuity. Simplify it even more, and make the game run incredibly slowly.
Nameless Lackey: As thou doth wish, milord.
Richard Garriot: Aye. I hath more important projects, like Ultima Online
2. Once I get Todd McFarlane to design the monsters, Everquest and all
its kind shall not stand in my way! Hahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!
Well, I sufficiently insulted Richard Garriot and Origin with this, eh? It's slightly less vulgar than "Chronicle of Britannia," though you'll need to read that to understand the climactic "Ending D." Anyone know the route of the names Seytarn, Valk Swadjen, Taota, Forude, Hanhdah, Markadays, Nehsun, and Lyksus (hint: I mentioned two of them outside Ending C)? Also, anyone who's interested in selling or trading a copy of Martian Dreams, let me know!
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