Captain Gwen Thackeray was a commander of the Ebon Vanguard in antiquity, and the founder of Ebonhawke. As well as being a legendary hero in her own right, she is also an ancestor of Logan Thackeray, current captain of the Seraph and member of Destiny's Edge.
She was ten years old when the Searing struck Ascalon. Gwen lost her family, her home, and her childhood in a matter of hours as the sky-summoned fury of the charr shamans shattered the world around her. Thousands of Ascalonians died that day, and thousands more fled before the charr invasion. Gwen wandered alone in the wreckage of a nation searching desperately for the hand of a friend. Instead, she found the charr. More to the point, they found her.
The charr did not kill young humans. They enslaved them. For seven long years, Gwen toiled under the constant lash of her taskmasters. As fellow prisoners broke under the strain or were slaughtered out of hand, the embers of fear in her soul sparked into a blaze of hatred. When she finally saw her chance, Gwen fled into the wilderness, vowing never to be enslaved again. She did not make it far...the charr recaptured her easily. They judged her useless to them. She should have been slain on the spot, but her captors decided she could serve them, at least one more time, as entertainment.
The charr built arenas within their military camps dedicated to the glory of the legions. Inside these cruel stadiums they set unarmed humans against wild creatures, revelling in the blood sport and applauding as the beasts disembowelled helpless humans. Now it is her turn. She is just another prisoner in a holding pen awaiting a brutal death for mere amusement. She prays for the strength to endure her ordeal. And she prays for the chance to strike back...
Gwen defeated the charr's pet monster through guile and good aim, and escaped into a maze of tunnels beneath northern Ascalon. In those ruins she found more evidence of the charr's handiwork...the entombed remains of years of death matches. In the depths of this abattoir she also discovered power, in the form of mesmer spells within the journals of a long-dead researcher.
Stronger for her ordeal, but still alone in the heart of charr territory, Gwen set her sights on the distant mountains and the promise of freedom they offered from the pursuing warbands. She knew that if she were caught again, her death would be slow and painful. She would not be given the luxury of a merciful execution. Gwen's prayers were answered when she stumbled upon a group of free humans, a squad of Ascalonian soldiers operating deep behind enemy lines. They called themselves the Ebon Vanguard and their leader was Captain Langmar, a seasoned veteran.
Gwen joined the Ebon Vanguard and served them well. Years of forced labor and punishments turned this innocent girl into a ruthless woman, her hands guided by rage and a deep fear of her captors. Over time she learned to cope with her emotions. She learned when to strike and when to hold back. In her short life, Gwen has known hatred as well as mercy, and knows when to choose between the two. She has become a true champion of Ascalon.
Founding of Ebonhawke
When Destroyers began appearing in the Depths of Tyria, Ogden Stonehealer traveled north to find allies. At the Eye of the North, he found Gwen, who had temporary command of the Ebon Vanguard while Captain Langmar was on a mission in the Blood Legion Homelands. Langmar's return was long overdue, however, and a worried Gwen led a small force into charr territory, freeing Pyre Fierceshot from Flame Legion captivity and kickstarting the charr rebellion in the process. Later, she aided the dwarves against the Destroyers, and was present for the defeat of the dragon champion the Great Destroyer.
Gwen attained command of the Ebon Vanguard during the Krytan Civil War, when Captain Langmar traveled to Kryta with the Ebon Falcons (the leader of whom, Lieutenant Keiran Thackeray, she was romantically involved with) to come to the aid of Ascalon's former enemy. When the White Mantle marched on Lion's Arch, Langmar escorted Livia, Blimm, and Zinn into the city, but lost her life to the mursaat near the Ascalon Settlement. Gwen, now in command of the Ebon Vanguard, led a search for Langmar and Lieutenant Thackeray, who had also gone missing in the fighting, and accepted his wedding proposal when the two were finally reunited.
In 1080 AE, 10 years after the Searing, King Adelbern recalled the Ebon Vanguard to Ascalon City, where they were given a heroes' welcome. They were redeployed to the mountains separating Ascalon from the Crystal Desert, to guard against a dire threat the king warned was coming. On the journey, they lost many soldiers and civilians to charr, and when they found their destination, an old mining town at the mouth of the mountain pass, they began to build what would become the stronghold of Ebonhawke. When the Kingdom of Ascalon finally gasped its last breath in the Foefire, Ebonhawke was just out of reach, leaving Gwen's people the last humans in Ascalon.
- In Guild Wars 2, Charr refer to her as "the Goremonger," due to her actions in defending Ebonhawke.