During the time historians call the Second Age of Enlightenment, Lord British commissioned the Great Council of Mages to draw forth the Codex of Ultimate Wisdom from its ageless resting place. The act was not without consequence, as the great Underworld was opened wide. Fearful, the Council sealed the eight dungeons of the lands; each with a magical Word of Power, known only to the Council.
As the years passed, Lord British became curious about growing reports of creatures appearing about the lands. Sir John, an astronomer and scribe of the Lycaeum, pointed to the comets that appeared over Britannia. Such heralds were seen during the Ages of Darkness as signs of evil to come. Undaunted, Lord British mounted an expedition to the Underworld. Before departing, he appointed a Regent, Lord Blackthorn, to rule in his place. Under his harsh reign, the once noble Virtues would become draconian Laws, an act which all of Britannia would regret...
The removal of the Codex from the Underworld caused three Shards, remains from the destruction of Mondain the Sorcerer's Gem of Immortality, to become uncovered. During the voyage of the ship Ararat, Captain Johne and his crew were trapped within a great whirlpool. This maelstrom pulled the Ararat beneath the waves to the Underworld. Once there, Johne was visited by the shades of the Triad of Evil, and became insane. Discovering the Shards, Johne was overcome with madness, and in his rage, murdered his three closest friends with them. Within each Shard lay a reflection of Mondain's soul, and with their violent use, they emerged as the Shadowlords.
From the first Shard appeared the Shadowlord of Falsehood, Faulinei. The next Shard summoned the Shadowlord of Cowardice, Nosfentor. And finally, as the blood dried upon the last Shard, the Shadowlord of Hatred, Astaroth, appeared. The Shadowlords attempted many times to travel to the surface world, but remained blocked by the Great Council's seals. However, once Lord British opened the seals to travel to the Underworld, the Shadowlords were loosed upon the lands. Through lies and dreams, the Shadowlords twisted and controlled the mind of Blackthorn. Through his rule, their iron fists were felt throughout the lands as the noble Virtues became tyrannical Laws. The Companions of the Avatar became outlaws, and were hunted by the Royal Guard. Truly, Britannia was in her greatest hour of need...
However, Iolo and Shamino, through the use of a magical Coin forged in the symbol of the Codex, performed a summoning to bring the Avatar to Britannia. Their plan worked, but as Shamino greeted the Avatar's arrival, the Shadowlords appeared. Through magical means unknown, a Shadowlord loosed a silver arrow at Shamino, nearly killing him. As they approached the Avatar, they were driven back by the Coin that summoned him. Through much toil and hardship, the Avatar and his Companions were able to rescue Lord British from his imprisonment within the Underworld.
As the True King returned to his throne, he offered Blackthorn a choice: he could remain in Britannia and face the charges of the Great Council, or he could step through a Moongate, summoned by Lord British through the use of the Orb of the Moons, which led to an unknown land. Blackthorn chose the Moongate, and was never seen or heard from again. Yet, rumor has placed the one-time Lord of Britannia as a simple monk of the Serpent Isle... Perhaps history has another role for the exiled ruler to play...