Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Guild Wars 2 - A Recounting of Flame and Frost

In which Syrene Harmony, she who fought alongside the members of Destiny's Edge to bring down the dragon Zhaitan, recounts the events leading up to and through the Molten Alliance Uprising.

28th of Zephyr, 1327
Wintersday was behind us, the bulk of Colossus passed, and Zephyr's winds whispered promises of a new year.  Barely a season had passed since Zhaitan was put down, and though the dragon was gone, his corruption still ran deep through the land.  I had spent the season working with Pact Forces out of Caer Shadowfain, ferreting out the pockets of risen that still plagued troops and travelers making their way through Pursuit Pass.

But news travels fast and far, and even more so bad news, and word had reached us that catastrophic events had been reported along the borders of Old Ascalon and the Shiverpeaks, forcing Norn and Charr alike to flee their homes and make for the relative safety of the capital cities. After conferring with Lightbringer Ives, and agreeing that they had matters safely in hand for the moment, I set out for Wayfarer Foothills.

45th of Zephyr, 1327
Though Asura Gate technology has greatly reduced the time required to traverse the lands of Tyria, supplies had to be gathered, old friends checked in on, and tasks completed.  Thus it was over a fortnight before I found myself in the Great Lodge in Hoelbrak, and the situation there was indeed dire.  Refugees already were camped outside its walls, and filling its interiors. They told stories of wild storms sweeping across the foothills, and volcanic eruptions of gas and flame. There were others there as well, volunteers like myself, just trying to help in whatever way we could.  We set out into the foothills proper, and all along the way we found settlers and refugees making their way along the dangerous roads and passes.  The work we did there was neither glamorous nor heroic - but necessary. We assisted those refugees as we could, lending aid, escorting them along the roads, and even preparing waystations along the route.

86th of Zephyr, 1327
Weeks of backbreaking work, travelling through both the Diessa Plateau and the Wayfarer Foothills, assisting the refugees and the displaced.  The stories surfacing began to have similar themes.  Rumors of Dredge attacking the settlements in Wayfarer, but using flame magic.  And in Diessa Plateau, the Flame Legion were driving charr from their homes, but doing so with dredge machinery and engineering.  And then the portals began to appear.  Fiery gateways, out of which poured dredge and Flame Legion alike. And these forces were armed with wicked new weaponry, fused from dredge technology and Flame Legion magic.  Volunteers became militia, and we worked together over the coming weeks, traveling through these lands, fighting back the invaders where ever we could find them.

The battle against the Molten Alliance had begun.

15th of the Phoenix, 1327
There were many stories that would come out of this time.  Stories of  heroism - acts of sacrifice.  I personally though, can only speak of the ones that touched me.  One such story was that of a young Norn named Braham Eirsson.  I happened to be in the blood legion headquarters that day he came to Rytlock seeking aid for his village, which was being overrun by the new Molten Alliance.  Rytlock was up to his eyeballs in refugees, and could spare no help, so I traveled with Braham to seek assistance from his own kin, Knut Whitebear.  But the Wolfborn were also too over run with battles already being fought, and no aid would be sent to Braham's village of Cragstead.   I was stunned the son of Eir Stegalkin could not get the aid he so clearly needed even from his own kin, and so I alone returned with him to Cragstead.  The devastation we found there was immense, but we fought as we could, and eventually drove the invaders from his home.  Once the battle was over though, as we made our way through the remains of the village, it became clear many of the villagers were missing.  Taken captive, it would seem, by the dredge.  Braham was no longer a hunter, but a warrior, and he vowed to not stop until he found and rescued his people.

There was one other whose thread crossed mine in those dark days - that of a young Charr gladium named Rox Whetstone.  Rox had lost her warband during the Molten Alliance invasion, and seeking to redeem herself, was tasked by Rytlock to secure an important devourer hatchery against the Molten forces.  Though I personally was not there to witness the battle, I'm told she fought valiantly to save both the hatchery and the other charr that were stationed within.  But as was the case with Braham's village, it was clear that many of the charr within the hatchery had been taken prisoner.  Rox, too, vowed to find her people, and rescue them if she could.

20th of the Phoenix, 1326
While Rytlock and the Iron Legion fought the Molten Forces in Diessa Plateau, and Knut Whitebear and his Wolfpack had their hands full in Wayfarer Foothills, the Ash Legion and the Order of Whispers had also been busy.  The Order of Whispers had managed to infiltrate the Molten Alliance, and began gathering intelligence on their comings and goings.  Additionally, it was learned that the Molten forces were using a series of sonic periscopes to communicate with.  Adventurers and volunteers fanned out through the borderlands, seeking and destroying these devices where ever they could find them.  Additionally, often times they were able to gather sound logs from the devices, which were delivered back to Whisper agents.

It was through this intelligence that we learned where the weapons for the Molten Alliance were being built.  The Molten Alliance had been working together for years, it turned out, creating a series of vast underground facilities.  These complexes served not only as their weapons production facilities, but also as their headquarters and gathering locations.  If we could infiltrate these facilities, and destroy or damage them enough  to render them inoperable, it might be enough of a blow to break the back of the Molten Alliance for good.  Several teams were assembled and dispatched to the entrances of facilities located throughout the Wayfarer Foothills and Diessa Plateau.  Some of us had fought in the war against Zhaitan, and some of us had just lost homes and families to the dredge, and wanted to see this thing to its end.  I led one of the teams, and among the numbers on our team were both both Braham and Rox.  As intelligence suggested that prisoners were being kept within these facilities, nothing would keep these two away.  Rox was a more than capable ranger, and I wanted to fight along side Braham once more.

And so it was, on a windy cold morning in the beginning of the second season of the year of 1327, our band made its way to one of the confirmed entrances of the Molten Weapons Facilities, and descended into the earth.

The story of what we found there, the battles we fought, the people we lost - that story alone is enough to fill the pages of a book.  But that tale will wait for another day.  It is sufficient to say that, in the end, we did indeed emerge victorious.  Braham and Rox did in fact find their people within the prisons of the facility - they were being used as test subjects for the manufactured weapons!  Their people were freed, and we ended up using the Molten forces' own explosives to bring their facility down upon their heads, while making our escape.

Throughout the Ascalon borderlands the word was much the same.  Over the next few weeks we hit facility after facility, and though are losses were many, the devastation to the Molten Alliance as complete.  Without the means to manufacture their much needed weaponry, the Dredge and the Flame Legion soon turned upon each other, and the Alliance was broken.  The invasions, battles, storms and portals had at last come to close.

45th of Phoenix, 1527
The Molten Alliance is broken - the conflict over.  But the struggle has only truly begun.  The number of displaced and homeless charr and norn number in the thousands.  They fill the lower areas of the Black Citadel, Hoelbrak, and many have even moved to Lion's Arch.  Hundreds upon hundreds more are camped outside the cities.  Their homes are destroyed, their farms burned, their villages devastated.  They cannot stay within the cities, but there is no place for them to go.  A massive cleanup effort has begun out in the fields of Diessa Plateau, but something must be done for the refugees.

In a surprising move, the Consortium has volunteered to lend assistance.  The Consortium doesn't have the best of records, and those of us that were in Lion's Arch the day they brought the Karka with them from Southsun do not hold them in the highest regard.  But in these desperate times, one doesn't turn away help from any quarter.  A good number of the refugees have agreed to accompany the Consortium back to Southsun Cove, where they have been promised assistance in the building of homes and the establishment of settlements.

Still, I remember well the trouble I found in Southsun when last I visited, and am wary for the well being of those that travel there.  I think next I might make a visit to the Pearl Islet, just to see if I can lend any assistance.

-- From the journals of Syrene Harmony, Avenger of the Dispossessed