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
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.