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The Dark Facet
In the original land of Britannia the shards of the Gem Of Immortality hold the worlds of Ultima Online. The following was written by a scholarly mage who made a detailed study of those shards…

Excerpt from Observations of The Shards, A Chronicle Of The Remains of the Gem Of Immortality
By Clainin
As a young mage I sometimes pondered the power that was lost when the Stranger shattered the Gem so long ago. Mondain was nightmarishly evil; he used the power of this artifact in its whole form and single-handedly captured all of Sosaria under his tyranny. Surely, in the hands of one who was good and virtuous of spirit, the Gem could have been used in a similar fashion to undo the evils of the world? I dreamed of a world where the Gem served mankind and the evils of Britannia vanished before prosperity. I regretted the shattering and wondered if another way could have been found to defeat Mondain and preserve the Gem. Over the course of my research I have learned that the dreams of a utopia I once entertained were the foolish fancies of a hopeful youth-for today I have seen the final piece of evidence I need to surmise that a dark evil resides within the Gem's remains.

As I have explained in past essays, the Gem of Immortality was linked to our world when it was broken. As a result, copies of Sosaria exist within each of the broken fragments. As previous essays suggest, it is possible that copies of actual people may exist and thrive in different lives within these alternative Sosarias (I sometimes wonder if I have a duplicate in these worlds and how he fares). Although these alternate Sosarias appear to us as small globes within the shards and a great deal of detail cannot be seen, we have learned much. We know that just as the shards themselves are not in the original shape as the Gem of Immortality, the worlds within the shards are also different. Each facet of each shard holds a different world altogether. Through the larger and more uniform of the facets a nearly identical copy of Britannia can be seen, although differences can be detected in the geography of the land within the facet and our own true Britannia. However through the smaller and more uneven facets there are worlds so changed and bent that they look nothing like our Britannia and clearly have a civilization unlike any known to us. In many of the shards one particular facet contains one single continent, wreathed in mountains and with a great white city that can be seen nestled in the center. Another facet contains an ancient looking land with swamps to the south and a desert to the north. I can only theorize that the imperfect and sometimes jagged shape of the facets formed these strange worlds from what was to be a copy of Britannia. As the vessel that held the world changed, all elements of space, time and magic would also have to adapt to fit the new form. It is entirely possible that within each facet the past, present and future changed drastically to accommodate the new shape of its facet, a sort of retroactive continuity. Who knows what strange new civilizations could have been created in the distant past or future of these worlds?

It also seems that travel between the facets has become possible for the inhabitants. Even though physical travel from one of these facets to another would seemingly be impossible within a shard, through magic or perhaps even moongates it is somehow being accomplished. Again, details are difficult to see from our bird's eye view outside of the shards, but there is visible evidence of change in some facets that could only be the result of mankind or some intelligent civilization arriving. Within one facet that I had thought empty of mankind, I suddenly noticed a castle of some sort had been rebuilt. Within others I have seen roads form and groves of forest cleared away. I previously found it confusing how these facets seemed to remain completely unpopulated for so long, then suddenly have clear signs of civilization. Now I believe I have found a clue, for a new piece of the puzzle has come to my attention.

Each shard possesses one facet remarkably different from the rest, one I have named the "dark facet". The dark facet seems to have a shadow cast over it, almost as if it absorbs light. This facet also contains a world, but it is one unlike any I have ever dreamed. The land within appears to rest over a great void that seems to extend in all directions; it is as if a massive island rests on a dark sea of stars. Could it be that the laws of nature have become so bent in this facet that such a thing is possible? Did a great magic within the world create such a place? I may speculate for the rest of my life but the puzzle extends deeper still.

More than once I have witnessed catastrophe within the dark facet. Gradually the land itself has broken, as if great tremors have shaken sections of the earth loose and allowed them to fall into the nothingness below. Each time the dark facet experiences one of these disasters, it seems that all life inside of it is also destroyed; the usual signs of human progress cease and cities gradually fade into ruin. It is as if no trace of life remains yet eventually civilization will somehow return to the facet and the process of destruction is repeated anew. Now after a review of my past notes I have come to realize that every time the destruction strikes the dark facet, a different facet on the shard seems to begin teeming with life. I now must conclude that this great cataclysm within the dark facet has something to do with other facets connecting. Is it possible that some sort of barrier is being broken? I am also forced to wonder if the malevolent shadow within the dark facet is a reflection of Mondain's evil, perhaps just as twisted as the worlds within the facets.

I fear these are mysteries I may never solve, for I can think of no way to know for sure without being within one of the worlds inside the shards. Although I once longed to see the wonders of these curious realities, I now fear for the inhabitants, as it seems something dreadful hides within their world.

Published: December 2002
Please Note: Some dates are estimates as exact dates were unavailable.
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