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TheVirtues: Valor and Justice
Our month-long Spotlight on the Virtues of Ultima continues with tales of Valor and Justice. Not for the faint of heart, the path to Valor and Justice requires strong will… and often a strong sword.

Striding forward to stare in the eye of any foe who threatens their beliefs, are the valorous. The ideal virtue of courage, valor is foremost in those who place their beliefs above self and willingly face any danger to protect that which they hold most dear.

Our first tale Spotlights the valor of Sweet Hope, who stood tall in the face of daunting odds to protect a stranger in need.

 "Dust swirls in the wake of my mount. I scan the desert horizon for signs of bandits and murderers. Our land is a dangerous place. I have heard of other realms where only the bravest (or most foolish) murderers show themselves. Here, in this newer frontier, murderers fear little.
"Why am I out here looking for ophidians to face, risking the wrath of the organized clans of killers? Is it gold? Fame?

"'Greetings, Shadowspawn.'

"Sweet Hope.

"'Hail warrior, how goes the hunting?'

"With a dazzling smile she replies, 'Just got here, thought I would pay mother a visit.'

"I laugh, mother is an ophidian matriarch. I realize why I risk life and limb. For warriors such as Sweet Hope. Strong in battle and light of heart. Always healing those in need, giving freely of the food she brings and more than willing to share the spoils of battle.

"'My lady, you have a strange sense of family. Shall we go find your mother then?'

"BOOM!

"Rounding a ridge, a battle is revealed. A corpse lies near a horse. An archer, badly burned and spent, fires a desperate volley at a wizard.

"We charge.

"The wizard is good, but our attack comes as a surprise. He flees to a river and uses his arcane arts to teleport to freedom.

"The archer speaks. 'Thank you.'

"'You are welcome, friend. I fear this is not over yet. That wizard is well known to me. He is probably the most dangerous murderer in this land and will be back.'

"Sweet Hope, as she heals the archer, says,' I will stay and help guard your friend's body, Sir Archer. Let us hope he finds a priest and returns to us quickly.'

"I have never seen Sweet Hope leave a warrior in need. This time I fear her sense of loyalty to a stranger may mean our deaths. I move to the side of the road and hide in what cover I can find. With a smile, my comrade follows suit.

"Sounds of hooves herald the villain's attack. The archer is blasted with fire. As one we charge the murderer. Sweet Hope feels his evil magics. We manage to fight him off for the second time. My mind races back to a time when this wizard killed my friends. I think of the multitude of warriors, mages, and archers that speak of friends this man has killed.

"Once more we hide. The mage returns and faces our charge. I feel a strange sense of slowness. My steed's movements are choppy, my arm swings more slowly. The mage unleashes his fury on the archer. A running battle. The wizard's mount is fast, faster than my struggling mount. His magics are as strong as any I have encountered. My allies force him to flee once more. The cost? The life of the archer.

"Desperation takes hold of me. 'My Lady, some strangeness has over come me. My mount can not keep up with our foe and my movements are slowed.' I have felt and seen this before. I am not sure if it is a strange form of evil magic, gods of the land playing a cruel game, or just fate laughing at the struggles of mortals. At this moment it does not matter. All that matters is we face a superior foe and I have been smitten by this malady.

"I want to tell her we should take what we can and look for the fallen warriors in town. I want to say we have done what we can. One look from her eyes silences my unspoken thoughts.

"She moves to our chosen spot. In her eyes I see her death. She knows she will not win. There is no fear in her. No retreat. She will stand and die for strangers. With a sense of helplessness I move next to her.

"The battle begins. The evil mage attacks Sweet Hope. I struggle to keep up. Sweet Hope moves away from the river, the mage following close. It dawns on me that she is trying to lure him away from me and from the fallen warriors. I cry out in frustration as they outdistance me.

"Anger, pain, and desperation are my companions as I return to the arena fate has chosen to test me. I look at the fallen warriors. My mind compels me to leave. I cannot fight this man alone. I remember Sweet Hope's smile. I will not leave.

"I hide. Anger grips me when the fiend returns. He looks around, expecting an attack. He moves to the fast decaying bodies and begins his greedy looting.

"Blade flashing, I strike. Anger propels me, gives my limbs strength. My mount feels my need and answers with speed and quickness. Whatever power slowed me before flees in the face of my righteous anger. Flames engulf me. I do not slow. The mage is bleeding badly and tries to heal. His blood feeds my hunger. I strike more furiously. As he falls, an arrow slams into his body.

"'Well, that was a quick fight', the newcomer says, as he moves forward to loot the mage. These words almost enrage me into attacking. I think of Sweet Hope, take her armor off the dead mage, and leave.

"I have not seen Sweet Hope since that fateful day. Word of my victory spread in the towns of Moonglow and Papua. Since that day, my guildmates have stood against the darkness. Others have joined us in fighting evil. The tides of darkness have not been turned back. Murderers still hold most of our land. Yet now, the good people of the land are starting to fight back. I am not saying the battle at ophidian fort is solely responsible for the courage many are now showing, but it did show that the evil can be defeated. Sweet Hope inspired me to victory. Her courage rang out in a clear note across our land that day. A note of hope.

- Shadowspawn

Few choices in the world are clear as black and white, and sometimes the lines between right and wrong grow murky with exceptions and feelings. Those who strive to know the virtue of justice are willing to decide the right from the wrong, and then throw themselves whole-heartedly forward in the pursuit of that which they believe to be right.

Our second tale tells the story of the Forces of Darkness, Bob the Baker, and the virtuous inhabitants of Lake Superior who rose up to fight for justice.

"The Alliance was having our meeting. As the Forces of Darkness and the Gelidum joined together, it was time the good people of Britannia came together against this evil force. During the meeting, a man arrived delivering a message from the Forces of Darkness. His name was Bob the Baker. He was quite scared and nervous. He mentioned that the Forces of Darkness had kidnapped his family. The Forces of Darkness was putting action to their threats. They would be released if I was dead. Though his attack on me caused his death, the family lived still.
"During the next meeting, the ghost of Bob appeared. He delivered another message from the Forces of Darkness. He was to follow the Forces of Darkness' commands, for they held his family. We were to meet in two days to learn of their location. In two days, many people arrived to help save the family, and some to capture the Shadow as well. The ghost of Bob appeared once again to deliver the location: The Brigand Camp north of the Crossroads. Everyone prepared for battle.

"A mage opened a gate just south of the Brigand camp. Once we had everyone through, we went forth to do battle against the Forces of Darkness and to save the family of Bob. We arrived to meet a small force of the Forces of Darkness' army. The battle began with summoned daemons leading the battle. I couldn't tell which ones were on our side. The Forces of Darkness held their position at the entrance, but we pushed through. The Shadow watched, pleased at the battle - a mistake as he was surrounded by those who wished to put him back in prison.

"I fought my way through, taking two of the Forces of Darkness down and found the family tied next to the campfire in the middle of the camp. We untied them and opened a gate to the Chamber of Virtue in Britain. The Alliance, and those that came to help, saved the family of the late Bob the Baker and we showed the Forces of Darkness that we will fight to save the good people of our lands. Let evil see that we will not allow them to continue their evil ways. We will fight to save the people and to protect the Virtues which we hold dear to our lives.

- Jonci, GuildMaster of the Protectors of Virtue

Join us next week, as we continue to highlight tales of the eight virtues of Ultima, bringing tales of Sacrifice and Honor. And be certain to keep an eye on FYI for future spotlight topics. We look forward to hearing more of your tales of excitement and adventure in the world of Britannia.

Published: October 2000
Please Note: Some dates are estimates as exact dates were unavailable.
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