The black Gem of Immortality was Mondain's source of power and his key to immortality.
The Gem of Immortality was once a powerful Sun Ruby Gem that could "harness the power of the sun", and was to be Wolfgang's gift to his son Mondain when he returned from his study at the abbey. But Mondain had other plans, murdering his father and stealing the Gem. He twisted the magic in the Ruby Gem and bound his soul into it, transforming the Gem into its infamous dark counterpart. At the end of Ultima I, the Stranger shattered the Gem, making Mondain mortal once again and allowing him to be slain.
The Shards of Falsehood, Hatred and Cowardice
Following Mondain's defeat the Gem was believed destroyed, but three shards of the Gem were discovered by Captain Johne and his companions when their ship, the Ararat, crash-landed in the Underworld. The shards twisted the souls of his companions, transforming them into the wraiths known as the Shadowlords.
Each shard was associated with an anti-principle and linked to a different Shadowlord, and located in a different part of the Underworld.
|Shard of Falsehood||Faulinei||Near the Underworld exit of Deceit|
|Shard of Hatred||Astaroth||Between the Underworld exits of Wrong and Covetous|
|Shard of Cowardice||Nosfentor||Near the Underworld exit of Hythloth|
In the intro sequence to Ultima Online, Mondain is shown drawing power from the Gem of Immortality. The Gem appears crystalline in structure with an image of Sosaria embedded in the gem. When the Stranger shattered the Gem, each shard had their own identical image of Sosaria. The shards of the Gem therefore represent a sort of quantum multiverse consisting of many copies of Sosaria, each with their own past, present, and future. The term shard, in Ultima Online (and by extension, many of the other MMORPGs that followed), is used for an instance of a gameworld in a server. This is used to explain how there are many such servers with their own unique people and history. It further explains how Ultima Online's history after Mondain is nothing like the history presented in the Ultima series. A variation on the shard concept, a "freeshard" is an instance of a gameworld that is not run by Electronic Arts and is available for free play.
Shards also have facets which are separate surfaces upon which one may look into the shard. In some cases, the view of the image of Sosaria through different facets may appear identical. However, in other cases the image may appear warped resulting in a twisted-looking world. In Ultima Online, facets are manifest within the shard as different continents accessible only via moongates. This includes the following:
- Trammel - The primary continent of Britannia where Player-versus-Player (PvP) is not allowed; added in Ultima Online: Renaissance.
- Felucca - The original continent of Britannia, destroyed by Minax; PVP is allowed here.
- Ilshenar - Occupied by Exodus and Blackthorn, added in the Ultima Online: Third Dawn expansion.
- Malas - A warped continent, added in the Ultima Online: Age of Shadows expansion.
- Tokuno Islands - Once the Lands of the Feudal Lords, added in the Ultima Online: Samurai Empire expansion.