Charr Week - The Searing Era

The Searing. A pivotal point of history for both Human and Charr. With their Cauldrons of Cataclysm provided by false gods, the Shaman Caste broke the great wall that had long stood between them and victory. But this was a victory the females of the Legions were denied. 200 years before the Searing, Bathea Havocbringer, a renowned Blood Legion warrior stood defiantly against the practice of worship when the Titans were presented as gods by the Flame Legion. She declared boldly “I will bow before no one and nothing, be it mortal or god” upon discovering the Shamans were utilizing the magic of the Titans to garner power for themselves.

Despite her skill and the males that supported her cause, the underground rebellion she lead and the females who had joined her were doomed to fail. As punishment for defying the Shaman Caste, Bathea was captured and ritually sacrificed to the new Charr “gods”. The female soldiers of the Blood Legion were cast down from their positions and those who sympathized with her joined her in her fate. This decree eventually spread to the remaining Legions. Denied the right to join warbands to fight in service of the High Legions, the females of the Charr race were irrevocably confined to their homes and cities. 

After the discovery of the Titans in Hrangmer, the Burnt Warband ascended to positions of unrivaled power and influence. Under the orders of the fallen god Abaddon unbeknownst to the Charr, the Titans instructed their new worshipers to invade the three human kingdoms of Tyria. Hierophant Burntsoul rose to become the leader of the Shaman Caste while Bonfaaz Burntfur lead the siege against Ascalon backed by the totemic powers granted to them by the Titans. After the defeat of the ranger scout Vatlaaw Doomtooth at the hands of Prince Rurik, Bonfaaz unleashed the power of the Searing in 1070 AE and with his forces breached the Great Northern Wall. 

The barren wasteland left in the wake of the Searing and the destruction of their greatest defense left the stalwart Ascalonians little time to recover. It wasn’t long before the Legions turned their attention to the human capital Rin, one of the last bastions within the broken kingdom. While Rin did ultimately fall to the Charr invasion, the humans, with the utilization of Stormcaller in conjunction with the legendary Horn of King Doric were able to douse the flames of the totemic fires, weakening their opponent long enough for Prince Rurik and his allies to deal a fatal blow to the leader of the siege.

You will witness the triumph of your legion, but you will not be part of it. You will have to bear that shame until the day our gods bless you with death.” — Flame Imperator  

The Fireshadows were an elite espionage and assassination team in service of the Flame Imperator. Lead by Frye Fireburn they were tasked with the assassination of King Adelbern in 1090 AE. Upon infiltrating Ascalon City, rather than finding the Sorceror-King they encountered the chief courtier, Savione. For his attempt to stop the unleashing of the Foefire, the man he had served loyally repaid him by ending his life. Savione, for the benefit of the Fireshadows survived long enough to warn them of the king, his madness and his intention to summon the hidden power of Magdaer, the ancient Orrian blade that had been gifted to the Ascalonian nobility to ensure peace between their nations. For 20 long years, the humans of Ascalon held their ground against the Charr. For 20 years, a king spiraled into madness in the wake of his sons death and the Charr at his gates who refused to yield. Rather than continuing with the mission, Frye and his warband returned to the Flame Imperator with Savione’s warning of a trap. Punished for their failure in completing the mission and disregarding the information provided, the Fireshadows were staked upon the Viewing Hill to watch the invasion and denied their chance to take part in the final crushing blow that would end the 20 year siege. 

We Ascalonians may be doomed, but Ascalon will live on forever!’  — King Adelbern

The reckless abandon of the Imperator resulted in the release of the Foefire and the damning of an entire kingdom, his name struck from Charr history. Ascalon City was destroyed but it’s citizens, stripped of their lives by the Foefire rose as vengeful ghosts to deny the Charr their victory. The Fireshadows, staked far enough away to avoid the immolation that had claimed the lives of the Flame Legion soldiers who entered the city, returned to the staging grounds of the invasion to share their story where it was rumored their fur had turned snow white from the horrors they had witnessed.

Thanks for reading! Have a subject you would like me to cover or just want to discuss Charr lore? Feel free to send me a direct message or an ask with your request. Regular Monday/Friday schedule will resume next week on Monday the 23rd! 

Guild Wars Lore: Asura

‘Stealing technology, threatening innocents, standard Inquest procedure, but this time, they crossed the wrong genius’ - Zojja
Hey guys! Time for the next lore post! This time it is over those diminutive tinkerers, the Asura!

The history of the Asura prior to their appearance above ground during the Eye of the North expansion for Guild Wars 1, is pretty much unknown. The biggest reason for this is that the asura once viewed personal knowledge as something to be guarded at all cost, never sharing it for fear of it being stolen. This led to the loss of much knowledge and history for the asura as all the of the research and discoveries made by an Asura would just die with them when they passed. This has changed in the last 250 years as even the Asura have seen the benefit with cooperating with the other races (and even other asura). 
Now you’re thinking with portals!
The asura are originally from the Depths of Tyria, living far underground, they built 6 grand cities, all connected by their asura gate network. They built much of their civilization on top of places of large arcane power (leylines?), which would prove to be a most unwise decision. The heart of the asura gate network was the Central Transfer Chamber, this is where all the asura gates were linked, and it was powered by what the asura thought was a statue that leaked magical energy. They built the chamber close to this statue as a way to help power the gates, but as it turned out, the statue was actually the sleeping Elder Dragon Primordius.

Driven From Their Homes
The asura thrived for centuries in their underground home, until 1078 AE, when Primordius’s Champion, The Great Destroyer, awakened, and with it, waves of destroyers.

The gate network would prove disastrous for the asura, as the Great Destroyer used them to send waves of destroyers to all corners of the Depths. The asura had lost their homes, and were driven to the surface, desperate for help. They settled in the Tarnished Coast, among the ruins of an ancient, and long lost civilization. They made the ruins their own, and went right back to inventions and magical studies. A member of the asura, Vekk, joined the player character in their quest to rally an army to take down the Great Destroyer. Together with other heroes they finally defeated the great destroyer, and unknowingly, this action cause the awakening of Primordius to be delayed by two generations. The asura had been hopeful that the destruction of the Great Destroyer would allow them to reclaim their home, but the waves of destroyers, followed by the eventual awakening of Primordius, prevented this, and they were forced to make the surface their new home. The asura were the first to meet the Sylvari, however the first meeting was very traumatic. The firstborn Malomedies met the asura while exploring one day, the asura believed him to be a mindless plant creature, albeit in a form never before seen and so captured him. They preformed numerous experiments on him, believing he was a mindless beast, rather than a sentient being. To their credit, once it was discovered that Malomedies was an intelligent being, the asura halted all experiments and released him.
Brains, not brawn, will change the world
The single most important factor in deciding the worth of an asura in their society is their intelligence. This attitude causes the asura to come off as arrogant and rude to all other races, as confirming the asura superiority is a constant goal of the race as a whole. The education of asura happens in three stages, following an asura all their life. First, as a child, or progeny, they are taught in small labs dotted around Metrica Province, learning basic concepts about magic, and asuran history. After they are old enough, and if they are accepted, an asura will join one of the three colleges, The College of Statics, College of Dynamics, or College of Synergetics. In these colleges the asura will usually decide on what aspect of the arcane they wish to specialize in. As all asura strive to be the definitive expert on a subject of study, this leads to asura having to find very specific details of a subject to obsess over. During this education process, asura will often find a mentor to assist under. After graduating, an asura will usually join a Krewe, a work gang that is put together to solve a singular problem, after the problem is solved, the Krewe is dissolved, and the asura will move on, usually either joining another Krewe, or leading one themselves. 
The asura family life is a very nurturing environment, as any achievements made by a progeny, reflects well on the whole line. Many asura will venerate their parents and grandparents, telling tales of the achievements of their extended family, and the strong intelligence found in their line. Asura usually enter a relationship through a mutual love of a concept of study. Most relationships are treated as an equal partnership, with each member helping and pulling their own weight, and many relationships among asura also feature a firm pre-determined end date.
We are all cogs in the Eternal Alchemy
The asuran ‘religion’ is that of the Eternal Alchemy, the idea that everything in the world (Even the Elder Dragons) are part of a bigger cosmic scheme, and that no matter how small the piece, it has a place. The asura are quick to point out that they do not worship the Eternal Alchemy. While most asura believe it to be unchangeable, their is a fanatical group among them that believes it can be controlled, they are The Inquest. The Inquest are a meta-Krewe whose goal is to use any means necessary to further the asura superiority, and to seek a way to control the Eternal Alchemy and use it to their own means. Most asura detest The Inquest and their methods, as most of their work involves stealing from others, and using less then ethical experimental procedures.
Government is BORING
The asura are led by a group known as the Arcane Council who reside within the top levels of Rata Sum. This group is made up of high ranking scholars, and the Deans of the colleges. The arcane council regulate the laws and projects of the race as a whole, however this influence doesn’t seem to stretch far from Rata Sum. Membership to the council rotates, with membership being granted whenever an asura makes a discovery that benefits the race as a whole. This membership is usually unwanted however, as many asura find sitting on the council a waste of their time, as it prevents them from working on their own personal projects. The arcane council even has an Inquest representative as a member, even going so far as to protect the inquest from accusations of theft of ideas and inventions. The Arcane Council use the Inquest as a way to take care of undesired, or morally questionable experiments that are deemed necessary, but other krewes would not dare touch. The council will however use the inventions and ideas of other krewes if they are deemed more or equal in cost effectiveness to the Inquest.

Overall the asura are a proud, and at often times arrogant, race, who’s intellectual superiority is very evident to the other races. They are however, quick to share their inventions with the other races, even if it may be another way to prove they are the best, and show off their skills. The asura have as much at stake with the Elder Dragons as the other races, and with their magical knowledge (and maybe a few golems) they are sure to make up for their size in the fights ahead.

Alright guys that is my lore post this week! Sorry for being a day late, but you know… THINGS! I’ll be back next week(ish) for the next lore post detailing the next playable race!

-Karn Vileclaw

Guild Wars Lore: The Norn

“If this be my death, let it be a valiant one. I have failed my friends, I will not fail in this last Great Hunt” - Eir Stegalkin 
Hey guys! Today’s lore post is onto the next playable race, The Norn!
I already covered Charr, and Asura, if you missed them, just click the links to read them! 

Build your Legend!
The Norn are a proud race of humanoids that appear as very tall humans, but have some differences. The biggest being their ability to shapeshift into animals, representations of the spirits of the Wild. This shifting into a were-form is said to be a blur between the Norn and their connection to the Spirits of The WIld, gaining the power of the spirit. In the original release of Guild Wars, they are only shown shifting into a were-bear form, calling it ‘Becoming The Bear’ but they seemed to have now gained the ability to shift into the forms of the other spirits. They are also more long lived then humans, with most saying norn can live to upwards of 120 years, maintaining their health and vitality well into their old age. However this is, at best, an estimate to the Norn lifespan, as very rarely do Norn succumb to old age, preferring to die on the battlefield or a great hunt, securing their place as a legend told around the fire by a storyteller, or Skaald. Quick to anger, but even quicker to forgive, the Norn are always striving to be remembered as a hero, the goal of which is to have their story told as a legend. This goal has led to a more individualistic society, with most Norn deciding to approach every obstacle head on by themselves, rather than call for help. Most of the other races would call them crazy, but the Norn do not fear death, as they believe that actions heroic enough can give them immortality. No, the biggest fear for a Norn, is that they will end up weak, and forgotten by all. For most Norn, this quest for glory means tackling any challenge, fighting every foe, and never giving up on your friends, but for others it can mean, bragging, bullying, and unwise snap decisions. Another aspect of the Norn and their path to glory is the ever optimistic nature of the people. Every setback is seen as a challenge, even the loss of their ancestral homes to the Elder Dragon Jormag is just seen as another opportunity for someone to secure their place in legends by slaying the beast.

‘They’re big, tough, and very, VERY, bad tempered’- Ogden Stonehealer
Not much is known to us about the Norn prior to our first meeting them in the Eye of The North expansion for Guild Wars 1, and their origins are shrouded in mystery. There is a theory of their origins taken from another race, the Kodan. Some Kodan believe the Norn, with their ability to ‘Become the Bear’, are descendants of a lost tribe of theirs. The Kodan tell of a tribe of hunters that splintered off to search for more food farther south of their ancient homes during The Great Storm, a giant blizzard that lasted many seasons. The Kodan claim that several generations later, the Norn appeared with their ability to shift into the bear form. This is a contradiction to what the Norn say, that the power to become the bear was given to them directly from the Great Spirit, Bear. Another legend is told by a Jotun Storyteller in Hoelbrak. The Jotun, Thrulnn the Lost, tells of how in ancient times the Jotun and Norn ruled the Shiverpeaks side by side, during an “Age of Giants” with kingdoms that stretched all down The Shiverpeaks, with them protecting all the other races. He tells of how the Giants (Norn and Jotun) were favored by the Gods and given access to magic and much mechanical knowledge of the world. This changed when the Gods threatened to take the magic away from them, believing the Giants would use the magic against them. This led to much fighting between Jotun and Norn, and as such the Gods became angered and took the magic from them, and gave it to the ‘favored’ races, such as humans. The legends continue that in this time, the Jotun became enraged, and began fighting among themselves and others, destroying their once proud culture, while the Norn, turned to their Spirits of The Wild, and were able to regain much of their dignity. It is not clear which (if any) of these legends are true however, and as with most history, it is most likely a mixture of these and many other tales.

Spirits of the Wild, guide me!
The Norn have a religion based on the reverence of different animals, each representing an ideal, and comes with all the strengths and also vices, of the spirit animal. This religion is most likely inspirited by many native american cultures idea of the totem pole. The Norn revere, rather than worship these spirits, and they are seen as a way to balance the rash Norn, reminding the Norn to not despoil the land. Each spirit may a Havroun, a shaman that tends to the spirits needs, and is even capable of crossing into The Mists to visit and speak with the spirit. Some of the lesser spirits may not have a Havroun, and their can only be one for each spirit at a time. There are 4 spirits that are regarded higher than the others, and as such, have Great Lodges in Hoelbrak, they are Bear, Wolf, Snow leopard, and Raven, the most revered of these Spirits is Bear. These 4 spirits are also responsible for guiding the Norn to their new home after Jormag rose and took over the Far Shiverpeaks. The Norn, true to their nature, would have fought Jormag till they were extinct, but the spirits prevented this, and as the 4 great spirits led the Norn away, 4 of the lesser spirits, Ox, Owl, Wolverine, and Eagle actually fought Jormag to give the Norn time to evacuate. After this battle it was confirmed by its Havroun that Owl was dead, actually consumed by Jormag. The other 3 have not had a Havroun in generations, and as such their status is not known, but when visiting the shrine to lost spirits in Hoelbrak, their presence, though ever slight, can be felt. When it comes to Human Gods, the Norn do acknowledge their existence and even their power, but do not worship or revere them. They call them, as a whole, The Spirits of Action, and do not refer to them as the names said by humans, but rather their individual ideal, an example being their reference of Balthazar simply as War.

Face the Wrath of Dragon!
The Sons of Svanir present their idea of another Spirit, that of Dragon. The Sons of Svanir, are named after the brother of Jora, (and because only men are seen as worthy, so you know SWELL guys) the Norn hero from Eye of The North. Jora and Svanir were out on Drakkar Lake, an area that many Norn shunned due to a foreboding sense of dark magic. Unknown to them both, but frozen in the lake, and the source of this dark magic, was a dormant Champion of Jormag. This champion, though dormant, was still able to influence those close to it, and was able to whisper promises of power to Svanir. This led to Svanir being transformed into a monster known as the Nornbear, and stripping Jora of her ability to Become the Bear. 

Jora was eventually able to reconnect with Bear by slaying her brother, and ending his reign of destruction. This incident however led some Norn to recognize the power of Jormag, and so they created their own cult to worship Dragon above all the other spirits. They take his whispers of power, and use it to attack and kill all those that oppose it.
The Great Lodge
The Norn resist being followers, and as such, the idea of a centralized government does not apply to them. The closest they come to a ruler, is when a Norn achieves prestige and admiration from other Norn, and as such, turn to them for counsel. The best example of this today is Knut Whitebear, the current ‘Master’ of The Great Lodge of Hoelbrak, which means that as it is his Steading, he is charged with protecting those within it. He should not be called the ‘Ruler’ of Hoelbrak though, his duty is protection, not enforcing any sense of laws. Hoelbrak did not start as the central hub of Norn society however, nor was that the idea in its founding. Rather, Whitebear’s grandsire, Asgeir Dragonrender, created a Steading after fleeing from Jormag and others recognized his deeds and came to it for protection and to be near the great heroes. Asgeir Dragonrender is remembered as he was the first to ever prove that an Elder Dragon could be harmed. Aided by all the Spirits of The Wild, and said to have wielded an ancient Jotun scroll, which has since been lost, but rumored to be in Hoelbrak, he did battle with Jormag. Though he failed to kill Jormag, he was able to cut a tooth from its maw, and took it as his trophy. This ‘Fang of The Serpent’ now resides within The Great Lodge, with the legend that whenever a hero can break the tooth, it is time again to face Jormag.

The Norn are a hardy people, though focused on personal glory, many take that to mean that they must protect others and their friends in that pursuit. Their Spirits help to guide them, and keep them in check, helping to keep their rash nature from destroying them. They see all in the World as a challenge, and when the time comes that the Great Serpent’s Tooth is shattered in Hoelbrak, the Norn will know that the greatest challenge of all is at hand, reclaiming their ancestral homelands, and slaying an Elder Dragon. All the Norn today hope they are the ones The Skaalds sing of as the Slayer of Jormag.

Hope you enjoyed my latest post! Stayed tuned for the remaining races, Humans, and Sylvari, and their lore posts in the next weeks!
-Karn Vileclaw