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Batlin would clearly like to give to his readers the appearance that his book is neutral and objective. He does, for example, explain historical events more or less as they happened, or at least as most Britannians would prefer to think they happened. However, a closer look between the lines makes it clear that Batlin is already sowing the seeds of doubt. Most of Batlin's historical notes are somewhat revisionist (indeed, that chapter of the book is clearly labelled as a "Reinterpretation" of Britannian history), and he presents what he describes as some commonly-heard criticisms of the Avatar under the pretense of denouncing such speculation... but in so doing, he spends almost as much time talking about these allegedly "dismissed" stories as he does on the actual events he's supposedly defending.
In other words, while Batlin is not openly disputing the commonly established facts, he is saying that some people, somewhere, think this way — and those people have the right to think this way and make their views heard, even if they're completely wrong and any sensible person would ignore them completely. And of course, if Batlin were actually sincere in his stated belief that these aspersions on the Avatar's character weren't worth contemplating, he would probably not spend so much time discussing them in such great detail to begin with. Instead, he gives credence to those views by simply mentioning that they exist, and is counting on his readers — potential converts to the Fellowship — finding these "radical" thoughts more fascinating than the "official" truth.
Batlin uses a similar tactic to discredit the Eight Virtues. He first says that the Virtues are an altogether worthy and noble thing, but then spends a considerable amount of time arguing that the Virtues are too hard to follow for most ordinary human beings, and that the Fellowship offers a simpler, yet seemingly compatible path to enlightenment for the masses. In this fashion, he subtly attempts to turn his readers against the Virtues by painting them as something only an elite few could ever hope to strive for, and suggesting those who follow the path to Avatarhood hold themselves "above" the average Britannian... and thus, ultimately at odds with the Fellowship.
Contents of the book Edit
The book has several volumes.
- The Book of FELLOWSHIP, as written by Batlin of Britain
- i. Salutations to the Traveller: Batlin begins the book with "Good morning to thee, gentle friend and traveller!" - because according to him, this is a morning of a new enlightenment for the reader, and each of us are travellers in our spiritual journey.
- ii. The Story of Batlin — Part the First: Batlin tells of his early history, and how he met Elizabeth and Abraham.
- iii. The Old Man and the Bandits: Batlin tells how a man was saved from the bandits, when the bandits turned against each other and kept arguing; a parable that illustrates the "Strive for Unity" tenet.
- iv. The Story of Batlin — Part the Second: More on Batlin's travels.
- v. The Two Brothers and the Trickster: Batlin tells how a trickster conned two brothers; a parable that illustrates the "Trust thy Brother" tenet.
- vi. The Creation of The Fellowship: How Batlin, Elizabeth and Abraham formed the Fellowship.
- vii. The Ratification of Wise Lord British: Tells how Lord British eventually permitted Batlin to let the Fellowship help the people of Britannia; a parable that illustrates the "Worthiness Precedes Reward" tenet.
- viii. The Value of Virtues and the Virtue of Values: Batlin defends, yet strongly questions, the Eight Virtues.
- ix. The Triad of Inner Strength: Batlin describes the Triad of Inner Strength, and how the preceding tales illustrate it.
- x. The Philosophy of the Fellowship: "Sanguine cognition" and how most of the Britannians are trapped in a state of "feverity".
- A Reinterpretation of the HISTORY OF BRITANNIA, Being in part a collection of historical facts with a modern interpretation thereof supplied by the author, Batlin of Britain
- i. Ancient Sosaria.
- ii. The Ages of Darkness.
- iii. The Tale That is Called 'The First Age of Darkness': Recounting the events of Ultima I. Batlin suggests Mondain was, somehow, also possibly afraid of persecution.
- iv. The Tale That is Called 'Revenge of the Enchantress': Recounting the events of Ultima II. Batlin suggests that the Avatar was not at all "driven to violence by jealousy over Mondain's romantic involvement with Minax". (One might ask why such theories are even mentioned...)
- v. The Tale that is Called 'Exodus': Recounting the events of Ultima III. Again, Batlin suggests that some people might have preferred that Exodus could have been persuaded to goodness.
- vi. The Rise of Britannia
- vii. The Tale that is Called 'Quest of the Avatar': Recounting the events of Ultima IV. Batlin complains that some people suggest that the Avatar was just seeking redemption after destroying Mondain, Minax and Exodus.
- viii. The Tale that is Called 'Warriors of Destiny': Recounting the events of Ultima V. Batlin (rightfully, this time) explains how rescuing Lord British also destroyed the Underworld and thus also caused the cataclysm that effected the Gargoyles.
- ix. The Tale that is Called 'The False Prophet': Recounting the events of Ultima VI. Batlin points out that the critics point out that perhaps if no one had touched the Codex, all this would have been averted...
- x. The Last Two Hundred Years: Batlin speculates about the true nature of the Avatar, and how the history has been muddled a bit.
- The Fellowship TRAVELLER'S COMPANION guide to travelling in Britannia, as written by Batlin of Britain
- i. The Cities and Towns of Britannia: An overview of the various locations of Britannia.
- ii. The Commerce of Britannia: Various shops and where to find them.
- iii. The Rune Writing of Britannia: A chart of runic alphabet.
- iv. The Arms of Britannia: Describes weapons and armour.
- v. The History and Customs of the Adventurer Classes: Describes the character classes.
- vi. A Bestiary of Britannia: List of creatures found in Britannia, with pictures.
- The Book of ARCHAIC KNOWLEDGE a historical look at the mechanics and use of the arcane arts before the end of the Age of Magic, as written by Batlin of Britain: Batlin notes that this book is only for historical notes.
- i. The Mage's Spellbook
- ii. The Mage's Reagents
- iii. The Mage's Words of Power
- iv. Spellcasting
- v. Magical Spells
- vi. Cosmology: on the astronomical alignment and the moongates.
A real copy of the book comes with Ultima VII: The Black Gate. The booklet has 48 pages and, save for the title, has a black cover. It was written by Jack Herman. In new releases, the book is sometimes included in PDF format.
Batlin asks several questions based on the book — as a copy protection measure.
- The Book of Fellowship (PDF)
- The Book of Fellowship (PDF & text)