t’s almost time for the finale of Season 3of Guild Wars 2’s Living World. Sofar, we’ve seen a resurgence of the White Mantle; the so-called mursaat Lazarus reveal himself as Balthazar, human God of War; and not to mentiona plethora of new maps to explore and yet another season without much of Rytlock! As July 25th approaches, it’s my pleasure to present to you GuildMag’s 19th digitalmagazine:Flames of the Mantle.In this issue, we explore everything you need to
prepare for whatevermay come in the finale. From lore on Balthazar,White Mantle leadership and the Warin KrytatoourSeason3:Episode 4& 5 recap and an exclusive interview with community legend that_shaman, there’s plenty to keep youbusy for the next couple of weeks. As always,we’ve also packed this magazine with hand-picked community artwork and thrilling pieces of fiction produced by our talented team of writers, all centering around this issue’s theme. In “Faithful”,a White Mantle Inquisitor’s nerve is tested asshe journeys to the bloodstone.Meanwhile,Kent
Benson continues his series with parts two andthree of “WarProfiteers” -if you missed the first instalment, make sure to catch up in GuildMag Issue 17 first!To close, I’d like to remind ourreadersthatwe’realways looking for new volunteers to join our awesome team. Fromwritersandcopyeditors to designers and streamers, there’s aposition forany skillset; if you’re looking for new skills toadd to your resume, GuildMag is the perfect place! You can find more informationat www.guildmag.com/join.
4GUILDMAG #19 | LORE - To Humble a God
To Humble a God
Like it or hate it, the reveal that “Lazarus” was Balthazar all along has dropped a bombshellontheGuildWars2story.Whileitwouldnotbetruetosaythatthetwistwas entirely without hints*, few expected that the human gods would be returning to the story any time soon, let alone that one already had in the guise of a mursaat. So, how is it that we come to find ourselves fighting against agod?
LORE - To Humblea God| GUILDMAG #19
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We can deduce Balthazar’s motivationsfortheactionswe see from the dialogue in the instances. If you stick around after the fighting ends in the Taimi’s PetProject instance to talk to NPCs such as Marjory and Taimi,a recurring theme is that Balthazar does not appear to be as strong as he should be -a human PC, in fact, will observe that viewing Balthazar’s true form should have blinded all onlookers. In the Heart of the Volcano instance, we see the culmination of this - just before the destruction of Taimi’s machine,Balthazar states “I was weak… I’m feeling much better now.” So it appears that something had caused Balthazar to lose his power, and his reason for being on Tyria was to absorb enough power to renew himself - first from a bloodstone, and then from Primordus and Jormag.This does raise the question, however: what caused Balthazar to lose his power, and what ramifications might this have for the storygoingforwards?We do have one hint to this: earlier in thefinal battle, Balthazar states that a mysterious “they” was responsible for “dimming hislight”. This suggests two things. First, it
indicates that Balthazar’s depowering was not accidental, or was atleast the result of the actions of a third party. Second, unless Balthazarisusingthesingular “they” for anadversary whose gender is indeterminate, it suggests that Balthazar’s depowering was caused by a group, not by a single entity. And his statement that “they will see me now” suggests that Balthazar will be looking forarematchwithhisrecently renewed power.Another curious thing is that Balthazar states, “I have learned there is no honour in war.” To putthis in context, Balthazar has always been portrayed as a god thatfeels thatthere is honourand
glory in war, and that wars shouldbe fought in an honourable manner (as opposedto the deception and trickery employed by Menzies).Something must have happened to cause this shift in character.So, what caused Balthazar’s depowering in the first place? Who are the mysterious “they”? In the rest of the article,I will considerthree possible scenarios, and the possible directions the story could go in each.Thefirstpossiblescenario as to how Balthazar hasbeendepoweredis thathewassupplantedby achallenger within the Fissure of Woe, ina similarmanner to how Grenth deposedDhuum. The prime suspect for thisis, of course, Menzies, who has beenattempting to supplantBalthazar since the original Guild Wars.However,it is possible that some new challenger has arisen in theintervening time, one whoproved more successful
The Dhuum Scenario
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than the Lord of Destruction. If the challenger proved victorious throughthe use of some trick, particularly one that exploited Balthazar’s sense of honour, this might also explain his changed attitude.One flaw in this scenario is that Balthazar states that “they abated me” -the “they” indicates that agroup was responsible,notasingleentity. However, the precedent of Grenth had Dhuum being defeatednotbyGrenthalone, but by Grenth andseven companions, who would become the seven Reapers. Similarly, Balthazar may have beenbroughtlowbyagroup-possibly Menzies and a group ofShadowArmycommanders and/or traitorous Eternals, or possibly some other group.In this scenario, there are at least two possible directions the story could go. One is that we support Balthazar’s replacement against the newly re-energised Balthazar. The alternative, however, is that despite the PC’s current (and quite understandable) oppositionto the formerGod of War, we will findourselves supporting Balthazar to retake his throne; as distasteful as it may be, Balthazar may be better than the alternative.
A second possibility is that, to
put it bluntly, the rest of the pantheon (or a substantial majority,anyway)hadenough
of Balthazar’s shenanigans and pulled him down themselves.Balthazar has always been presented as one of the most morally questionable of the human gods. According to the Orrian History Scrolls, it was Balthazar that encouraged humanity to go to war against the other races - against the explicit wishes of Melandru at least. The story of Kaolai gives another example: to spare a village from
punishment for a breach of etiquette, Kaolai challenges Balthazar to a game of Nui.
What the breach of etiquette was,whatthepunishmentwasgoing to be, and eventhe
One hint to Lazarus’ true identity was his usage of fire. Previous appearances had indicated that his power lay in necromancy (Saul’s Story) and air magic (the aspect in JusticiarNaveed),sohiswidespreaduseoffirecouldhave been a clue. However, this could easily be overlooked since an aspect of Lazarus was already known to use air magic, which is a branch of elemental magic - it would be entirely reasonable that a long-lived beingsuch as amursaat might have mastered both necromancy and elemental magic, and might employ fire magic in situations where wide-scale destruction is called for.
The Abaddon Scen
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nature of the game is not known - however, when Balthazar found himself defeated bya mortal seven days later,he slew Kaolai in a fit of rage. While he later repented and raised Kaolai’s spirit to a place of honour in Tahnnakai Temple, these acts showa readiness to resort to violence that could well be viewedasaliabilitybytherest of the pantheon.It’s possible that, at some stage after Kormir’s ascension, something caused the other gods to decide that the liability was too much. Perhapsitwasasingleactthat was so outrageous that the other gods simply could not forgive him, or perhaps it was simply the cumulative effect of multiple such acts that made the other gods decide that it was the last straw. Regardless, the end result is with Balthazar cast down and the pantheonneeding a replacement -perhaps this time, unlike Abaddon, they had one preparedinadvance,or perhaps they are still looking. Balthazar’s lesson, here, might be an ironic repetition of something thatone of the other gods might have said to him as
they were administering his depowering -one could easily imagine that one of the more peaceful goddesses such as Dwayna or Melandru might express suchanopinion, especially if the trigger was Balthazar engaging on an otherwise unnecessary war over some point of honour. One flawin this scenario is, of course, Lyssa’s mirror. Interacting with the mirror with a human mesmer in the Taimi’s Pet Project instance indicates that Lyssa “must have helped Balthazarfor reasons knownonly to her”- however, this may be the PC jumping to conclusions. The mirrormight have beenstolen, or it might havebeenagift given before
Balthazar’s fall from grace. Alternatively, Lyssa might have given it to Balthazar for her ownreasons (to taunt Balthazarwithhisdepowered state, or to give him a means to assume a new identity to hide from any enemies that might take the opportunity to finish him off) without anticipating the use that Balthazar would put it to. Another possibility is that there may be dissent within the pantheon, withLyssa still supportingBalthazar,possibly without the knowledge of the other gods.IfthedecisiontocastBalthazar down was unanimous among the gods, we’re probably looking at another simple “finish offor contain the fallen god” scenario, similar to Abaddon and Dhuum.Alternatively, we may be looking at a the possibility of a struggle among the gods, where the fall of Balthazar is simplythefirstsigntobeseen on Tyria. If so,it’s likely that we’ll eventually find ourselves in the positionof supporting one side of the pantheon against the other.Thethirdpossibility is that it isn’t just Balthazar that has fallen- the entire pantheonis in trouble, and Balthazar is justthe first we’ve seen.
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I’ve seen theories linking the depoweringofthegodstothe riseofthedragons,butI’mnot inclined to agree with those. The dragons, while powerful, are still fundamentally beings of Tyria, while the gods are… not. While the dragons do have some ability to influence the Mists,Idon’t think there’s any direct connection that wouldallow the dragons to siphon power from the gods.However, there are hints that there might be other threats in the Mists. The cause of the destruction of the human homeworld remains a mystery, that perhaps even the gods themselves had mostly forgotten. The Orrian HistoryScrollsstatethat“what passed beyond in the Mists, only (Abaddon) remembers” -perhaps this information was passed onto Kormir, but even if it was, it might have come withsomuchotherknowledge that it would take time for her to sift through. The Mists also constantlycreatedemonsand other beings, some of which might rival the gods, or there might be other pantheons of gods, Elder Dragons,and similar beings from other worlds. In particular,the ForgottenVirashekintheGate of Anguish passed onthe rumour that the Ravenheart Gloom links to places “worse than the Realm of Torment”, from which anattack might come. One of the battles against such afoe might have caused Balthazar’s power to be drained, causing him to
seek re-empowerment by whatever means necessary in order to re-enter the fray.Human legend states thatwhenthe gods left Tyria, they left in order to shepherd other worlds. This may simply be an exaggerationof the actual responsibilities of the gods,asmanyhumanlegends have shown to be - however, this might lead to apossible justification for Balthazar’s seemingdisregard forTyria.If the destruction of one world allowsfortheabilitytoprotect many more, thatmay well be a sacrifice worth making, although the inhabitants of that world may, of course, think differently. In this context, Balthazar may have reached the realisation that honour inwar is something you can often only afford from a positionof strength, where your existence is not truly on the line.
If the situation is truly desperate,any dirty trick or sacrifice becomes justifiedif it means that you, and the majority (or at least some) of those you protect, survive to feel bad about it later.This scenario is probably the most interesting,as it could lead to an entirely new direction for the story. The concept of a ‘mist war’ has been in Guild Wars 2from release,butithaslargelybeen portrayed as a simple battle for the resources of the Mists. Outside that, however, there may be asecond Mist War, againstafoewhichmighttruly beouttodestroyworlds…andwe may find ourselves fighting alongside the gods and their servants to protect Tyriaagainstthisthreat. It’salsopossiblethat this scenario can be combinedwith one of the others-that the pressure of a conflict of thisnature caused
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Balthazar to do something that his peerssaw as crossing a moral event horizon, causing them to depose him or to allow a third party to overthrow him.Ishouldnotethatthereisalso a theory floating around that the situation may be so bad that the other gods may also be hiding in disguise among the people of Tyria (including Lyssabeing Jennah,or Jennah and Anise). While this theory cannotbeentirelydiscounted, I consider it doubtful, at least without the additional factor of Balthazarhaving gone rogue. If the other gods are hiding on Tyria, it seems unlikely that Balthazar would have such acavalier attitude towards Tyria’s destruction as he shows inthe Heart of the Volcano instance.So, all up, we have three broad possibilities for what has happened: Balthazarwas cast down by adirectchallenger; by his fellow gods in the pantheon; or by some external force which
threatens all of the gods. Whicheveritis,theremaybea goodchance we’ll see a revisit to Orr before it’s all over, as the Season 3 Episode 6 teaser image released on July 12 suggests.It’spossiblythebest place to learn more about the gods, even if it probably won’t help much with whatever is going on with the gods now.WhileIgenerallytrytobenon-judgemental when discussing the lore,I do have concerns that a situation where we end up having to finishoffBalthazaronceandforall-or, worse, the entire pantheon if it turns out that they’re fully cooperating with Balthazar -will feel like they’ve sacrificeda key piece of the game’s lore for the sake of aboss fight (or six). WhatI’dpreferto seeisasituation where, once we get thefull picture, Balthazar’sactions and his willingnessto sacrifice Tyriabecome at least
understandable. This does not mean that we won’t end up bringing him down nonetheless -some of the best villains are people who genuinely think they’re doing what’snecessary-butitwould put it in the context of things having gone so badly that we might at least consider that the risk Balthazar took was worth it. Aparallel could be drawn to how many people believe that the mursaat were justified in sacrificing the Chosen to keep the Door of Komalie closed - while certainly a distasteful act, it may well be justified if it helps to hold back a threat which might destroy so much more.
12GUILDMAG #19 |LORE - The Alpha & The Omega
orthoseinterested in the history of the White Mantle, the update of the8th of February, despite its delays, certainly delivered. In Episode 4of the third Living World story arc,we saw the culmination for Caudecus’ plots to seize the throne of Kryta, leading to the downfall of the present Confessor of the White Mantle and,
perhaps,thedestructionofhis faction of the White Mantle at the hands of the Seraph and the Shining Blade.Meanwhile, in Bastion of the Penitent, raiders have the opportunity to learn of the fate of the founder of the White Mantle, Saul d’Alessio… and, if they have the skill and valour, to rescue him from that fate, if only to his death.
It says something about the evolution of the White Mantle that these two men almost could not be any more different.As much as the Shining Blade would like to paint things otherwise, the White Mantle under Saul weregenuineheroes,amilitia that saved Kryta in its darkest hour when its standing army and royal line hadfailed. If the mursaat had truly been
LORE - The Alpha & The Omega|GUILDMAG #19
the benevolent beings that Saul had believed them to be, he would likely nowbe listedamong humanity’s greatest heroes. However,thatwasnot the case, and Saul’s removal allowed the mursaat to reshapetheWhiteMantleinto fanatics that would murder in their name. With the defeat of the mursaat and the White Mantle evicted from Kryta (openly, at least), devotion to the religion of the Unseen would fade andsteadily be replaced by a determination to seize Kryta at any cost.In this context, it seems worthwhile to look back over the lives of the two men, and to compare and contrast to see howthis reflects on the White Mantles that they lead. Threeareasinparticularstand out as distinctions between the two men: their respective socialstandingsbeforejoining theWhiteMantle,theirdegree of faith, and how much they actually care about Kryta.We don’t knowmuch about Saul d’Alessio’s social standing before his disgrace. It’s possible that, priorto amassinghis gambling debts, Saul may have been of higher standing, making his fall analogous to that of Kasmeer’s family - however, one might suspect that if Saul had beena noble or otherwise of high station, this would be mentioned in the records of the White Mantle’s founding.
Whatever he might have been, Saul arrived at the city of the mursaat from the dregs of society. Gambling debts had driven him to commit robbery to survive, and on being caught, he was sentenced to banishment -not simply by sending him to another nation, but instead his sentence was carried out byabandoninghiminaregion of hostile wilderness where he was expected to die. He stumbled upon the mursaat as a convicted criminal on the verge of starvation.Given this background, it is surprisingthatamanwhohad effectively been sentenced to death was accepted so readily by the people of Kryta on his return.
Perhaps it speaks of the transformation worked upon Saul by the mursaat - they had taken a broken man and
rebuilt him as a charismatic
leader, and replaced his rags with the white mantle that would give the name to the organisation he would found. Orperhapsitsimplyspeaksof thesituationofKrytathatthey were willing to accept anyone who might be able to lead a defence against the charr, however dubious his past background might be.By contrast, Lord Caudecus Beetlestone has likely never experiencedadayofprivation inhislife. He joinedtheWhite Mantle as the holder of the second most powerful office in Kryta, and that only after his term of regency was ended by Jennah reaching her ageofmajority.His‘protective custody’inJennah’spalacewas certainly an inconvenience to him, but little comparison to what Saul likely suffered in the jungle. Without having been formally accused of anything, his privilege among Krytan society remained until he openly announced himself as the Confessor of the White Mantle, and by then he was firmly ensconced among his followersthatlikelycontinued to serve his every need. In the
height of arrogance, he would even return to the manor he had been forced to abandon afterhis failed attempt on Jennah’slife-anditwasthere, inhisexpansivemansion,that justice finally caught up with him.According to all evidence, Saul genuinely believed thatthe mursaat were divine beings who would protect and care for the people of Kryta in the absence of the FiveGods. Hewasthefounder and, for atime, the strongest spokesman of the religion of the Unseen. However, he also demonstrated tolerance towards the old religion of the Five Gods - his decree that the Temple of the Ages and other holy sites be left unmolested was respected by his successors, and may have been responsible for the preservation of the Krytan royal line, although he could not have known it at the time. While his faith was not unshakeable, suffering a critical blow when confronted with evidence that the mursaat were not the benevolent beings he had believed they were, according to all evidence he genuinely
believed in the mursaat as divine saviours upto that point.For Caudecus, on the other hand, the beliefs of the White Mantle were just one more tool inhis bid to ascendto the
throneofKryta.Notonlydoes he fail to share those beliefs, but when it appeared that the more devout members of the White Mantle were close to returning a mursaat to life, he saw this as athreat to his power, actively seeking to sabotage Lazarus’ return. Fortunately for Caudecus, it seems that enough members of the White Mantle agreed withhispolicythatheretained a significant army even after ‘LazarustheDire’haddeclared him to be apostate.It is, perhaps, in their attitude towards others that the greatestcontrastbetweenthe two can be seen. Where one, for all his mistakes and flaws, seemstohavebeengenuinely motivated by seeking to achieve the best for Kryta,
the other was driven only by naked ambition.Despite having been sentenced to be left to die by the judges of Kryta, Saul was willing toput his life on the line for its people. Even the
small frontier village of Demetra was worthy of his personal attention, andit was there that Saul’s faith in the mursaat was put into conflict with his desire for a bright future for Kryta… and lost. Saul recognised that in founding the religion of the Unseen, he had not been the saviour of Kryta but instead brought down a new doom. When the mursaat sensed this realisation, they took him to be tortured until he agreed to become their puppet. His refusal to help them maintain control of Kryta led to his torture being prolonged for hundredsofyears,untildeath would come as a release. Even after being confined in the Bastion of the Penitent, it appears Saul did not give up-a note planning an escape attempt stresses that “they must know the truth” andis signed with the initial ‘S’.For Caudecus, by contrast, the people of Krytawere merely pawns to be sacrificed if it brought him closerto the throne. In the human personal story we see his machinations: spawn acrime
Saulgenuinelybelievedthatthemursaatwere divine beings who wouldprotect and care for thepeople of Kryta in the absence of theFive Gods.
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wave in Divinity’s Reachand Queensdale; sabotage Kryta’s water infrastructure; and incite a centaur invasion. This caused significant loss to the people of Kryta in both lives and property, all in the name of undermining the Queen’s reign in hope of having her declared unfit to rule. His disregardfor the welfare of thepeople he would rule only becomes clearer after he is unmasked as the Confessor of the White Mantle and he declares that he would rather see Kryta destroyed than in the hands of anyone else… and backs up that declaration with afull-scale assault on Divinity’s Reach. Even his own family was not immune- when his wife and daughter realised what sort of man he had become, he arranged for each to pay with their lives.While Saul rose from a convicted criminal that was effectivelysentencedtodeath tobecomethedefacto rulerof Kryta, Caudecus had already beenthedefactorulerofKryta before,andhislifeendedwith execution for treason. Where one was empoweredby his faith only to be broken anew
after the revelation that his faith had been misplaced, the other acted purely on his own behalf, even to the point of sabotaging the resurrection of the one to whose religion he gave lip service. Where one suffered a fate worse than death on behalf of Kryta, never knowing if his sacrifice was in vain,the other was willing to sacrifice as much of the nation as ittook if it meant he could rule over the ruins of what was left.These distinctions echoed the changing face of the White Mantle. In Saul’s time, it was a militiaraisedfromthepeople, for the people, at a time when Kryta’s traditional leaders had failed them. The White Mantle of Caudecus, on the other hand,was dominated by corrupt ministers seeking to preserve and expand their power and wealth at any cost, deliberately sabotaging Kryta in order to weaken the established (and, to all evidence, quite competent when not being undermined from within) government.
Inoneironicfashion,however, the White Mantle seems to have come full circle. While Saul was a true believer in the mursaat, talking with some of his followers in the “Rise of the White Mantle” storybook instanceyieldsresponsesthat indicate that many of them are not in fact true believers,but joined the White Mantle as that was their best way ofcontributing to the defenceof Kryta. Even in the time of Guild Wars: Prophecies, it’s questionable how many of the lower-ranking members of the White Mantle truly believedorwhethertheywere just serving in what was then Kryta’sde factonationalarmy. However, it is certain that, with Saul’s death, devotion to the Unseen would become an increasing part of the White Mantle’s identity. Over the centuries where Lazarus remaineddividedintoaspects and all other mursaat were believed dead, however, this religious identity would dwindle, until for many the focus shifted from the service of the mursaat to the building of temporal power for themselves.
For Caudecus [...] the peopleofKrytaweremerely pawns.
THe war in
20GUILDMAG #19 |RECAP - The War in Kryta
BYVIAN DE BOD
RECAP - The War in Kryta|GUILDMAG #19
ryta, the last free nation of humans, has been plunged into civil war.Minister Caudecus, recently revealed to be the current Confessor of the White Mantle, has rallied his forces againstthecrown.Onceagain, the White Mantle has pulled Kryta into a bloody conflict. Onceagain,thehumannation stands divided.“Onceagain?”youask?Indeed, for Kryta was involved in an inner conflict once before. Nearly two hundred and fifty years ago, the first Krytan civil war ended; a civil war that was, in fact, instigated by the White Mantle as well.It is important to understand the events that transpired all those years ago. For those unfamiliar with the tales,it is valuable to understand history. When we understand history, it can be easier to assess the present andthe future. For those who know the old stories, it is important to refresh one’s memory. A gem, no matter how brilliant, can always benefit from a thorough polishing every now and then.So then, what exactly happened in the war? What was it that transpired during this bloody time in history? It isataleoffanaticism,betrayal, sacrifice, and loss. But it is not without hope. It is both complex and elementary. It is a cornerstone in the history of the human race. It is,as the
old tomes call it, the Warin Kryta.
In order to understand the war itself, one must first understand the reasons for its occurrence. Back during theheightofthewarbetween thecharrandthehumans,the Krytan king fled the throne in order to escape the coming charr forces. When the charr finally arrived, they found themselves not facing the Krytan army, but the forces of Saul D’Alessio: the White Mantle.After driving the charr forces back with the help of their “Unseen Gods”, the White Mantle were made the official governing body of Kryta, with Confessor Dorian taking charge in the wake of Saul’s disappearance.With noknown royal candidate to take the throne, the Krytan people gladly accepted the rule of their new saviours.Unbeknownst to the Krytans and the Mantle, the former king had sired an illegitimate heir to the throne. Her name was Salma.The discovery of Princess Salma divided Kryta. Many people believed that Salma was the rightful heir and
that the White Mantle had committed atrocities that were entirely unforgivable. Others believed that the Mantle were justified in their sacrifice of human lives in order to protect the inhabitants of Kryta, and that the Mantle had done well in protecting their people. Though limited to those who knew of the sacrifices, since the Mantle did well tohide these deeds, this divide made some inhabitants of Kryta unruly and difficult forthe Mantletocontrol.Inresponse, theMantleestablishedaforce dedicated to keeping the country in a peaceful state. This force was known as the Peacekeepers.The Peacekeepers, however, were little more than bandits paid for and sponsored by the Mantle. They constantlyextorted people out of their money and harassed locals for their own gain or amusement. On top of that, travel bans were put in place, allowing only those with permits to travel between Krytan provinces. Unfortunately, very few permits were given to those who needed them, effectively placing Kryta ina self-imposed siege.The White Mantle seemed completely indifferent to the harassment of their people as well as the economic
he War: A Brief
22GUILDMAG #19 |RECAP - The War in Kryta
impact of the travel ban, thus proving themselves corrupt in the eyes of many. Once-faithful members abandoned the Mantle and joined the ever-growing number of supporters under Princess Salma: the Shining Blade.The conflict between Mantle and Blade escalated soon after, resulting in one of Kryta’s bloodiestconflicts. However, many do not exactly understand the different forces involved or their motivations.Who were the Shining Blade? What did the White Mantle fight for? What, or who, exactlywere these “Unseen Gods” or “mursaat” that the Mantle followed,andwhatexactlydid they want from the humans? Questions such as these must be answered. We begin, then, with the most praised and better understood of these factions, the Shining Blade.The Shining Blade beganas a movement among Krytans who had discoveredwhathad been really happening to the Chosen. The ugly truthwas that the White Mantle were sacrificingthelivesofinnocent Krytans upon a bloodstone altar. This was, however, unknown by the general
public. The White Mantle had convinced them that these people, or “Chosen” as they werecalled,weregatheredup bytheMantleinordertolearn fromtheGrandMastersinthe Temple of the Unseen. It’s not knownhowthefirstmembers of the Shining Blade becameaware of this, but they formed an insurgency from early in the White Mantle’s reign, ambushing White Mantle convoys to rescue the Chosen and building their numbers to spread the word and launch further attacks.Upon the discovery of Salma’s existence, they flocked toher side; proclaiming her the true ruler of Kryta and opposed anything related to the White Mantle. At first they were a small force, nothing more than a minor nuisance for the White Mantle. That soon changed. After revealing the ugly truth of the White Mantle’s operations and meeting with agroup of Ascalonian refugees, their numbers grew and they were soon a threat with power to rival the Mantle’s.Though the Shining Blade’s initial size madethem little more than a nuisance to the White Mantle, their numbers steadily grew. Soon they were strong enough topose
a true threat and eventually became the major opposition to the White Mantle and their Unseen Gods. The Shining Blade had less-than-humble beginnings, but their determination to save the inhabitants of Kryta and restore the Doric bloodline to the throne helped them grow into Kryta’s saving grace. Though theyare now only asmall force of personal protectors to the Krytan monarch, they boast agreat history. Hadit not beenfor the efforts of the Shining Blade,Krytamaywellstillhave been under the oppression of the White Mantle and their deities.The Lionguard was originally the royalarmy and police force of Kryta. With the White Mantle’s assumption of power, the Lionguard saw its jurisdiction and funding steadily eroded until it was reduced to aglorified city watch for Lion’s Arch and some outlying settlements that the White Mantle lacked concern for.While outwardly loyal to (if somewhat envious of) Kryta’s new overlords, it was the Lionguard who sought the restoration of the throne,after discovering the lost heir, PrincessSalma,withtheaidof foreignadventurers. Formuch of the conflict, the Lionguard remained outwardly subservient tothe Mantle, hiding the rediscoveredheir
The Shining Blade
in the wilderness west of Kryta. However, they turned a blind eye towards enemies of the Mantle operating in the settlements that remained under their jurisdiction, including Lion’s Arch.The moment that the Lionguard declared for Salma was the beginning of the end for the White Mantle, as Kryta’s most important city was turned to the rebels without a fight. Within the year, the White Mantle’s strength would be brokenby the city’s defenders, and the White Mantle were forced to withdraw from Kryta.However, the Lionguard wouldnever again be theroyal army of Kryta. Queen Salma’sreforms instituted the Seraphto serve thatrole,
whichincluded former members of the Lionguard as well as the Shining Blade and reformed White Mantle. The Lionguard itself would continue to remain the city guard of Lion’s Arch alone.TheoriginoftheWhiteMantle is quite the strange tale. An organisation that ruled Kryta startedoutwithjustoneman; a man exiled for his crimes against the people. This man wasSaulD’Alessio.Thoughhe was not a wholly good man, he was not entirely evil. Saul was a man prone to his vices, one of which was gambling.With a mountain of debt facing him, he took to stealingfrommerchantsin order to pay itoff. Unfortunately for him, he was arrested andexiled.In his wanderings withinthe forest, Saul found strange creatures that he called his“Unseen Gods”. Theyasked him to return to Kryta and spreadtheir teachings. He did justthat, but when he returned, he found Kryta in ruin. The king hadfled and
the charr were in the middle of their invasion. The people were brokenandscared. Naturally, they flocked to Saul, who taught them of these gods who would save them. Hisfollowinggrewashe defeated more and more of the invading charr. However, afterone of the greatest victories against the invaders, these gods took Saul to their homeland, and he was never seen alive again.From that point on the White Mantle, now under the rule of Confessor Dorian, grew. In the peaceful years after the invasion of the charr, they became the leaders and peaceful overseers of Kryta. This soon changed, as their fanaticism drove them to sacrificing innocent civilians upon abloodstone for their gods. Whenthe heir to the throne was discovered, their claim to power weakened even more. Since then, these once-peaceful Krytan heroes became one of the greatest enemies of the people since the charr invasion.TheWhiteMantle’sbeginnings are of a noble nature. Saul merely wanted to helphis people. He was agood man, despite his flaws. Even the original leaders of the White Mantle at first tried to keep the peace and help their countrymen grow. This,of course, changed due tothe influence of their gods. These unseendeities were powerful beings we nowknow as mursaat, but not much is
The White Mantle
RECAP - The War in Kryta|GUILDMAG #19
known of their race ortheir intentions.The mursaat were some of the last remnants of the ancient races of Tyria. Unlike thejotun,whohadfallenfrom a great empire into savagery, the mursaat remained a powerful race. The previous rising of the Elder Dragons had worn away at their numbers immensely. They were a race on the verge of extinction, and thus were desperate to do what they hadtoinordertosurvive.This instinctual drive forsurvival pushed them to the extreme when aprophecyforetold their annihilation.The Flameseeker Prophecies were written by an ancient dragonknownasGlint.Within these prophetic writings, it was foretold that the mursaat wouldbe destroyed bythe Titans (great beasts immune to the mursaat’s powerful magic). Out of fear, the mursaatusedSaul D’Alessioto gatherupasmanyhumansas possible. These humans were called the “Chosen” and were sacrificed upon abloodstone within the Maguuma Jungle. The purpose of this was twofold. First, the mursaat wanted to rid themselves of the“chosenones”predictedto bring about their ruin within the prophecies. Second, the mursaat used the sacrifice of these humans to power large crystals known as soul batteries.
Soul batteries were sources of power meant to seal shut a doorway that kept their destruction,theTitans,atbay. This doorwaywas aportal called the “Door of Komalie” and led to a place called the “Foundry of Failed Creations”. Within this realm, the Titans roamed. Their powerful magic, along with their resistance to the mursaat’s greatest attacks, made them impossible for the mursaat to defeat.Though much can be said against the mursaat and their arrogant, self-serving nature, one must remember that theydidwhattheythought necessary. Though their actions were cruel and monstrous towards humans,theydidnotdo it out of any hatred for the human race. The mursaat were merely doing whatever they possiblycould to ensure their
survival. They were fighting for their lives against a seeminglyunchangeablefate. To them, the ends justified the means.Four factions fought in the Krytan civil war, and each fought for what they thought was right. The Shining Blade fought to protect the Chosen andpreventtheWhiteMantle from performing additional sacrifices. The Lionguard fought to empower the true heir of Kryta in order to keepthe bloodline of King Doric onthe throne. The White Mantle fought to remainin control and to appease their gods, who they believed sincerely cared for them.The mursaat fought in order tosurvive their
GUILDMAG #19 |
RECAP - The War in Kryta
RECAP - The War in Kryta|GUILDMAG #19
inevitable destruction, doing whatever they believed necessary to do so.In the end, it was the Shining Blade and Lionguard that were victorious over all. The mursaat were destroyed as prophesied and the White Mantle faded into obscurity. Princess Salma became the Queen of Kryta and the Shining Blade became the guard of the royal line from that day on.History is not something that can be looked at through a single lens. History is a prism that must be admired from all angles in order to appreciate the entire picture. Thoughthere are disputes about which side was right in doing what was done, and thoughsomeclaimthatthese factions weren’t appropriately portrayed within the old tales, one must not forget that each side of a conflict has its reasons. Not every party is two-dimensional. There are technically three sides to a coin.
The Cost of
S3 Recap: Episodes 4 & 5
26GUILDMAG #19 | RECAP - The Cost of Saving Tyria
RECAP - The Cost of Saving Tyria|GUILDMAG #19
The Head of the Snake
eason Three of the Living World continues to pull on more plotthreads with two of its most recent episodes: 4 - “The Head of the Snake” and 5- “Flashpoint”. Both these episodes make the fate of the human story a central concern. Episode 4, andthe raid wing that released with this episode, focuses onthe twocharactersresponsiblefor the rise and fall of the White Mantle,whileEpisode5brings one of the human gods back toTyria.Aswelookforwardto episode 6 and the conclusion of Season Three, we’re left with many more questions than we have answers.
The hunt for Caudecus Beetlestone began when I received an invitation from Queen Jennahto join her in the Upper City of Divinity’s Reach.Before setting off,I checked in with Taimi to see if she’s heard from Braham, his stinging remarks in Bitterfrost Frontier still fresh in my mind. It seems Rox was able to talk some sense into him which
is a relief. He’s formed an “exploratory committee” of sorts and is headedtowards Jormag. Knowing that he isn’t heading to face the Dragon alone is some relief; that he’s calling his group “Destiny’s Edge” thoughdoesn’t seem like he’s thinking clearly yet. Taimi’s worried about losing him to the Dragon and is determined to finish her Dragon minion research to confirm a “brilliant idea” she’s had to deal with the next primeval force on our list.Jennah’s praise on welcoming me was flattering but also felt unwarranted given the mess our fledgling guild is in. I’m not feeling like much of a leader having gotten apiece
of Jory’s mind after we saved Aureneandbornethebruntof Braham’s peevishness about not honoring Eir. The queen, on the other hand, seems to deal with her challenges with easeandgrace.Shedisagreed though and said she envies my ability to “smash things” that stand in my way. I guess someone else’s grass really does look greener. Needing my help to smash through something else for her,she confided that she expected a White Mantle attack on the city at any moment. Her plan: to suspend the Ministry until the White Mantle’s threat and influencecouldbeeradicated. To do this, she gathered the Ministers together in the Upper City hoping to bait
A Meeting of
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the Mantle into revealing themselves; my presence was meant to reassure the Ministers, but what I really did was some information gathering, hoping to find evidence of their continued interference andgive the queen a public rationale for her actions.Many Ministers with connections to Caudecus and the White Mantle were present, including Minister ArtonwhomCaudecushadset uptolooklikethemastermind behind the loss of Falcon Company, an elite Seraph squadthatachildhoodfriend, Deborah, had been apart of and which was taken out by centaurs. Arton doesn’t know that Caudecus was actually behindthis.MinisterandLady Wi were also present, though manyoftheirfriendsnowsaw them as traitorous as their daughter Valette, since word reached the Reach that she was in league with Caudecus and had helped him escape whenLazarusreappeared.To my surprise, Minister Estelle, whom Kasmeer and I had exposed as trying to blacken the queen’s name by saying shewas in league with Scarlet Briar, was also present. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer, after all. The guests were unnervedby the presence of so many Shining Blade and Ministry Guards which makes sense when you’ve got a mix of people with something tohide and those who get jumpy at the showof force. After
dealing with an asura gate golem malfunction,I founda transmitter that resembled the communicator Taimi had given me. With Taimi’s help, I used my communicator to ping and locate several other of these suspicious listening bugs guarded by Security Sparks, and reported back to the queen. The Mantle were eavesdroppinganditwastime for Jennah to make her move.During the queen’s speech announcing the Ministry’s suspension,thecitywassuddenlyattacked by the White Mantle! Jade Cannons firedbloodstone
projectiles fromoutside the city, attempting to breach its walls. Meanwhile, from within the city, White Mantle mesmers began porting in Mantle troops including Jade Constructs and, with the assistance of many traitor Ministers,they began attacking the Shining Blade, citizens, the queen and me. Our monarch is a gifted and powerful mesmer herself so she easily conjured a barrier dome to protect the city. Inside,I protected the queen (not that she needs much protection) as she set up defensive barriers at the east and west entries to the Chamber of Ministers. We fought offmany White Mantle soldiers, making ourway to the throne room so Queen Jennah could construct her final barrier. As we reached the throne room door, the White Mantle’s assassin finally showed herself: Minister Estelle, to no one’s surprise. Tasked withthe “honor” of regicide, Estelle found herself slainby me, the queen, and Seraph Captain Logan Thackeray, limping his way into battle, still visibly recovering from hisdetention in Mordremoth’s blighting pod. The queen’s battle prowess is impressive andI’d be proud to have her join Dragon’s Watchshould she ever give up her royalseat.For the time being, however,
Sheconfidedinme thatsheexpectedaWhiteMantleattackon the city at any moment.
we turned our attentionto Lake Doric, now besieged by White Mantle forces.It seems Logan wasted no time in rallying the Seraph before making his way to the Upper City to assist the queen. He’d seen tothe setup of a commandpostandinstructed me to speak to a Lieutenant Fores to gain access to Lake Doric; the citizens there needed help.Once there,I rendezvoused with Logan at the Seraph command post in Doric’s Landing. He introduced me toLegionnaireNyliaSteelpaw, a charr bent onprotecting the alliancehumans and charrhave worked so hardtoforge, no thanks to Caudecusand his campaigns to stir up the Separatists and their discord, built on the lies he fedthem.Withcharrsupport, we turned to the three areas Logan needed scouting in order to help the Seraph’s mounting forces to defeat and drive the White Mantle back: Harvest Cascades to the north; Saidra’s Haven to the east and New Loamhurst to the south. He also wanted to know how Seraphsupplies andallyforceswerelookingat Lakeside Bazaar. Since spies had infiltrated their ranks, he neededsomeone he