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When a ship goes between them, it is swallowed by a white portal, and transported to the Serpent Isle. The Pillars aren't always visible; they only appear in winter, when both Moons and the sun are at the same time on the sky. A matching pair for traveling back to Britannia exist on the Serpent Isle, but no one could find them, because the circumstances of their appearance were unknown.
Erstam and the other unsatisfied left Britannia through the Serpent Pillars prior to Ultima IV, settling the land. Gwenno also used them on her expedition to leave Britannia prior to Ultima VII. In the beginning of Ultima VII Part Two, the Avatar and company use the pillars as well.
- In the Original Serpent Isle Intro, the Serpent Pillars rise from the depth of the Ocean before engulfing the Avatar's ship, whereas the final game shows them basically just standing there in the Polar Regions of Britannia. The original depiction is actually much more consistent with Erstam's description in Beyond the Serpent Pillars, but had to be cut due a lack of space on the game disks. The water wasn't originally frozen either; it was changed to cut down the disk space used by so much animated water.
- Ultima Online actually has Serpent Pillars as well, serving as a gateway between Britannia and the Lost Lands. Unlike the ones in the core series however, they don't go in pairs, and are activated by saying a specific magical word in front of them.