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Looking Backā€¦
In our Spotlight today, we highlight the 4th anniversary of UO by sharing the memories of an old mage, who looks back on his experiences in Britannia.

"In the deep murky blackness of night, the forest of Yew was alive. Wolves hunted sleeping hares in silence, while harpies stumbled and shrieked, searching for human prey. A grizzly bear emerged from the thick forest into a clearing surrounded on all sides by a wall of gnarled trees. It stood on its back two legs and roared; the sound echoed throughout the forest. A looming tower stood in the center of the clearing. Flaming orc totems flanked the doors and spread an eerie glow over their tall, oaken frames. On the roof of the tower sat a Mage wearing a dark mage's robe and a glowing stone around his neck. He sat in a throne staring out across the untamed wilds of Yew's forest, a pipe of fine Skarean Tobacco releasing wisps of smoke as it sat in his hand.

"Within his Tower, Zsinj researched the workings of the Magical essences of the land. Yet his place of study had not always been as safe as it was now. He shook his head. The lands had changed so much since those first days, when he was but a young Apprentice in a foreign land. He relaxed, letting his thoughts drift backwards in time, to his first home in the desert surrounding the Shrine of Compassion, to the small house he had owned with his long dead partner, Chade. Memories of his friend still burned fiercely within the old mage.

"Zsinj chuckled at the thought of the two of them, and remembered the 'pet' earth elemental they had kept, Narasi, which had been too stupid to step over the chests which had trapped him. He also thought of the day they had been robbed by a smooth talking thief, who stole the key to their house and emptied it after hiding on the doorstep. Such a thing could never happen today, for homes were imbued with magical protection. Zsinj had been young and untrained, and his hesitant fireball had failed to stop the thief. The returning energy bolts had killed him instantly. He had encountered death many times in these lands.

"Yet now, the magiks had changed even that! Zsinj shook his head, thinking of the change Nystul and Lord British had wrought - the split between Trammel and Felucca. He preferred his native Felucca, where the quiet surroundings allowed him peace to carry out his research. The old mage felt a surge of pride, recalling how many of his fellow mages sold their homes and moved to the peaceful paradise of Trammel. He did not blame them. But such a life was not for Zsinj. He brought the pipe to his lips, summoned the tendrils of smoke into his mouth, and sunk further into the chair. No, nothing stayed the same. Even the people were different. Everything changes.

"Zsinj had visited the First Bank of Britain in Trammel a few times. He did not usually stay long. There were vendors shouting over each other, selling this rare item or that. Thieves zipped between people, occasionally stealing the odd purse or sword, and were summarily executed at the hands of the guards. And the battles in towns! Since the rise of the factions, Zsinj had been witness to many skirmishes between the factions. Once, he had even watched as the followers of Minax sliced the head off a True Britannian in the capitol! The chaos of it all drew distaste from Zsinj. He thought of himself as a man of solidarity.

"Zsinj stood up from his throne and took a last look at the Yew Forest, before he picked up his candle, and turned towards the glow coming from the stairwell. Yes, the world has changed, but he could not afford to sit by with his old ways, for the history of the land was in the making. And those who didn't change would be left behind to watch from afar. And those who opposed change, whom Zsinj had seen many times in his adventures, would not watch at all."

In the last four years, the roads of Britannia have been trod by hundreds of thousands of men and women from around the world. And it is those people who make Ultima Online the world it is today, and who will shape the Ultima Online of tomorrow. We look forward to joining you in the future of Ultima Online!

Published: September 2001
Please Note: Some dates are estimates as exact dates were unavailable.
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