The eight huge columns of the Guardian are a central plot point in Ultima IX. They were created 20 years prior to the Avatar's arrival. Each is rooted in one of the eight dungeons. The columns corrupted the meaning of the Virtues to Britannians and befouled the Shrines. They also caused powerful earthquakes, and drew the moons towards the planet.
In the end, the columns are all destroyed with a coordinated effort between the Avatar and his companions.
- The eight columns also had a major role to play in the unused "Bob White" Plot of Ultima IX. In that version the plot the columns still ripped Britannia apart - however they had no relations to Virtue and was instead sucking out the life force of Britannia, which would allow the Guardian the become even stronger as he would be reborn upon Britannia's destruction.