Six Human Gods
The Six are a small group of extremely powerful divine beings from beyond the Mists, with powers rivaling those of the Elder Dragons. They are worshiped by the humans of Tyria and have a central position in human culture, but have retreated from worldly affairs in the last 250 years.
- 1 List of known gods
- 2 Characteristics
- 3 History
- 4 Perspectives of the other races
- 5 Statues
- 6 Notes
- 7 Trivia
- 8 References
List of known gods
- Dwayna, goddess of healing, air, warmth, and life
- Melandru, goddess of nature, earth, and growth
- Lyssa, twin goddesses (Lyss and Ilya) of beauty, water and illusion
- Grenth, god of darkness, death, and ice
- Kormir, goddess of order, spirit, and truth
- Balthazar, god of war, fire, and courage
- Abaddon, god of water and knowledge (succeeded by Kormir)
- Dhuum, god of death (succeeded by Grenth)
- Abaddon's predecessor, whose existence was hinted at by The Apostate.
The extent of power of the human gods is not known, but it is known they are not omniscient, and by their own very nature as a pantheon each is not omnipotent (though human legends do claim they are omnipotent in their own specific domainXakk in his publication The Six: Being or Playing God, states his belief that the Six are not gods, but are what anyone would become if given the amount of magical energy they possessed and allowed to live as long as they appear to have.).
All the gods seen so far have been humanoid in appearance, both in person and in cultural depictions. They can have family members (e.g. Balthazar's half brother, Menzies, and his father) and can have children with human mortals. It is also possible for a mortal to ascend into godhood by absorbing the power of a deposed god.
The gods are incredibly powerful. They blind mortals who gaze upon them for too long, and clashes between the gods have, in the past, transformed seas into deserts, and verdant coastlines into toxic wastelands. Abaddon, even while weakened and imprisoned in the Realm of Torment, was able to extend his influence to Tyria and warp the landscape to his desire.
It is immensely difficult (and perhaps unwise) to kill a god. Dhuum was sealed in the Hall of Judgment because Grenth was not powerful enough to kill him, and Abaddon was sealed in the Realm of Torment rather than killed. Whereas the Elder Dragons release their magic in the world harmlessly along the ley lines when they die, and their bodies remain intact, the death of a god causes their magic to escape unbound into the world with potentially catastrophic consequences as their bodies crumble. Abaddon's death, for example, caused his body to break apart, and the magic within to violently escape, threatening to destroy entire worlds. It has been said that the power of a god cannot be destroyed, which is a statement similar to the Seventh Law of Maginamics.
Each of the gods also has a Realm, their own shred of reality within the Mists, which serves as the afterlife for their followers. Grenth's is the Underworld, Balthazar's was the Fissure of Woe, Abaddon's was the Realm of Torment, which Kormir took over. From time to time, these come under attack from rivals, and the gods have been known to grant access to mortals deemed worthy in order to solicit their aid. Several great landscapes have also been named after the gods, such as the Grenth's Footprint and the volcano of Abaddon's Mouth, but it is unclear whether there is direct relation to the god or gods the places are named after.
Very little is known of the gods or their histories prior to their arrival in Tyria. At the time that they first arrived in Tyria, it is thought that there were six of them: Dwayna, Balthazar, Melandru, Lyssa, Abaddon, and Dhuum. Melandru is the oldest of the gods, although Dwayna is usually depicted as their leader.
The gods (in particular Dwayna) brought humanity with them to Tyria from elsewhere. In the Orrian History Scrolls it is said that Dwayna "brought with her those who would make this world a paradise", and that "as she had promised, Dwayna led her people to peace". This implies that humanity are her favored people, that she had brought humanity to Tyria because of a promise that she had made, and that wherever they had come from, it was not peaceful. The fact that no record exists of these times may be attributable to Lyssa, as it is said in the scrolls that "[Lyssa] brought with her the hope and beauty of humanity. While the other gods focused on building Arah and beginning a new future, Lyssa gave them joy and helped them forget the past".
It is also not clearly known how the gods came to form the pantheon, what their relationship is to one another, and the degree to which they understand how their own power works. What is known generally dates to after their arrival on Tyria. Grenth is the first Tyrian-born god, that he is the son of Dwayna and an unnamed human, and that with the help of his Reapers he defeated and replaced Dhuum (but did not or could not vanquish him entirely) as the god of darkness, ice, and death. Kormir was once a human, the Spearmarshal of the Sunspear Order of Elona, who rose to divinity after the fall of Abaddon. The gods have not revealed much to humanity regarding the nature of their cooperation - in the case of Kormir, no indication is given that the gods' gift to her while she was still mortal (which enabled her to absorb Abaddon's divine powers once he was defeated and ousted) was discussed amongst themselves in advance, though they apparently did know what their gift would do and were also apparently satisfied with the elevation of a mortal human to their pantheon, as well as the replacement of Abaddon (who had previously been guardian of their secrets).
The date at which the gods arrived in the world of Tyria is somewhat contentious, although it is known that they arrived sometime after the writing of the Tome of Rubicon. Human legends say that Glint was the first creature created by the gods, and Glint tells Destiny's Edge in 1320 AE that "three thousand years ago, I was set here as a guardian of the world"). The legends also say that the Forgotten were brought to Tyria in 1769 BE to help Glint, and that humanity came later. We now know, however, that Glint is a champion of the Elder Dragon Kralkatorrik, and that the Forgotten were present for the last dragonrise, which was around 10,000 years ago. The earliest known mention of humanity on the northern continent is in 205 BE, although humans were known to have a presence in Cantha as early as 786 BE.
The Gods first stepped from the Mists into Tyria at the Artesian Waters, a place of such power that they were drawn to it from across realities. Dwayna was the first to step forth, and it is said that Tyria was her choice. Next came the others: Balthazar, carrying the severed head of his father and flanked by his hounds Temar and Tegon. He cleansed Orr and claimed Tyria for humanity, believing that the other races would be easy to defeat. Melandru, on the other hand, urged peace, but was ignored. Melandru terraformed Orr into a green and flowering expanse. Dhuum is not mentioned in any early Tyrian records, but was known to have had a presence on Tyria before being usurped by Grenth. Together, the gods built Arah, and gathered artifacts of power from across Tyria to their city, including the Bloodstone and the Mystic Telescope.
For a time, the gods lived among the humans of Orr. They had a working relationship with the leader of the humans, Doric. Doric was the first to kneel at Dwayna's feet, begging for an end to the wars that harmed his people. These events are dated 115 BE in the Scriptures of Dwayna. He was later crowned as the first King of Tyria.
Because the gods blinded most humans who looked upon them for too long, they chose a sculptor, Malchor, to make statues of each of them, before retreating to Arah. Dwayna was the last of these, and Malchor drove himself mad with love for her, throwing himself to his death after she left.
At some point during this period, Grenth was born to Dwayna and a mortal sculptor, making him the first god to be born of Tyria. Grenth, along with seven mortals, defeated Dhuum in the ossuary of the Cathedral of Eternal Radiance. Grenth imprisoned Dhuum within the Underworld and took his place among the gods in a spot not far from where his father had fallen.
Exodus of the Gods
For hundreds of years, Abaddon acted as a bridge between the Mists and the world. Though each god had granted magic to humans in small amounts throughout the centuries, when the gods decided to truly spread magic to the world, Abaddon was the one who took on the task, giving a unique magic to each group of creatures he deemed worthy. However, he gave magic out too freely, and the civilizations that received magic rose to prominence and began to wage wars on each other. When King Doric saw his people's plight, he journeyed to Arah and requested the gods to take back magic. Accepting his pleas, the gods split the Bloodstone (an immense repository of the world's magic) into five parts and cast them all around the world, separating and thereby reducing the capabilities of magic use. Abaddon was furious at this and strongly protested to the other gods, but his protests were not addressed. Given the events that occurred afterwards, Abaddon apparently left the company of the other five gods at this point (while still retaining his divine power and position) but did not take any other independent action.
One particular tribe of Abaddon worshipers, the Margonites, lived within the Crystal Sea and Clashing Seas. At that time, it was a beautiful and bountiful place, nestled between Tyria and Elona. They worshiped Abaddon exclusively, and upon hearing the news of the revocation of magic, they launched an attack on the Temple of the Six Gods, a great place of worship on the northern shores of Elona. They slaughtered the priests of the other five gods, desecrated their altars, and defaced the statues and scriptures within that holy place. Meanwhile, they had turned their boats into towers and attempted to physically attain Ascension to meet with Dwayna, Balthazar, and Melandru, perhaps to appeal on behalf of their god Abaddon. While the gods were understandably furious, it was their mortal followers, the Forgotten, whose anger burned the brightest. A mighty legion, the likes which were not seen before, was gathered to quell Abaddon's insolent followers, and what followed was the largest naval battle ever seen in human history.
The crude magics and technology of humanity was no match for that of the Forgotten, and in time, the great Margonite armada was annihilated, and a lone Margonite survivor, Jadoth, desperately prayed to his god for deliverance. For a long time, there was silence. When Abaddon answered, however, the answer was clear. The waters beneath the Forgotten fleet began to bubble as large whirlpools formed. When the sky should have been filled with the light of dawn, it was torn apart by abyssal tempests, and a fearsome devouring darkness appeared from beneath the Forgotten fleet. No living being emerged from the endless darkness that came from beneath the waters, except for one: Jadoth. He became the first champion of Abaddon, and the first of the Margonites to become transformed into demonic beings. Hate and anger had overcame Abaddon completely, and with a vengeful roar, he declared war upon the gods, vowing to turn Tyria into his domain and preside as its one true god.
As the mightiest of the gods, the war initially went in Abaddon's favor. He created the Horde of Darkness and laid siege on the Gates of Heaven. However, he could not stand up against the combined strength of the five other gods. Abaddon was ultimately struck down, leaving a vast desert where there was once a sea. Unwilling or unable to destroy their brethren, the gods imprisoned Abaddon in his realm (much like Dhuum's imprisonment by Grenth in the Hall of Judgement), along with a host of his Margonite followers. A force of Forgotten wardens was sent to safeguard Abaddon's prison, and the spot where Abaddon fell became known as the Mouth of Torment. The city of Morah was established to maintain a vigil there, where the link between the world and the Mists was weakest.
Soon after, the gods left the world.
Imprisoned in the depths of the Realm of Torment, Abaddon slowly recovered his strength and plotted his vengeance. Over the millennium after his imprisonment, he sent out demonic servants to subvert the mortal realm. One servant of Abaddon persuaded Shiro Tagachi to murder Emperor Angsiyan during the Harvest Ceremony, Shiro's actions during that led to his death causing the Jade Wind. The titans, sent under Abaddon's orders, acted as gods for the charr and gave them the capability to perform the ritual of the Searing. When the charr were reaching Arah's gates, Razakel coerced Vizier Khilbron to use the dark magics of the Lost Scrolls, which caused in the Cataclysm. This all set the stage for Abaddon's plan to unleash Nightfall.
Around this time, both Balthazar and Grenth faced challenges within their own realms. Balthazar was under attack by Menzies, whereas Grenth faced the forces of Dhuum, who had been slowly accumulating enough power to break free of his chains. Through the aid of mortals, Menzies forces were thwarted and Dhuum was eventually returned to his dormant state.
Throughout the lifetime of the Kournan Warmarshal Varesh Ossa, General Kahyet, Varesh's mentor and a secret worshiper of Abaddon, groomed the Elonian leader to fulfill an ancient prophecy known as Nightfall, whereby Abaddon would be returned to the mortal plane. In 1075 AE, this plan came to fruition and Abaddon, with the help of Dhuum and Menzies, was almost successful. The prophecy was ultimately stopped by the Order of the Sunspears and the Order of Whispers, who entered the Realm of Torment itself to defeat him. But the power of a god cannot be destroyed, only transferred into another vessel, and in his final moments, Abaddon's power threatened to run out of control and bring about the world's destruction regardless. Using a power that had been granted to her by the Five, Spearmarshal Kormir absorbed the vestiges of Abaddon's power, and in the process became the Goddess of Truth.
Silence of the gods
Though the gods had left the world, they continued to maintain an interest in human affairs, occasionally blessing the world with their favor. This changed with Abaddon's death - although Kormir absorbed most of his power, the surge of energy upended the balance of magic in Tyria and stirred Primordus from his slumber, beginning a new cycle of awakening.
The gods eventually came to the conclusion that there could be no victory in a war with the Elder Dragons, believing that even in the event that they succeeded, Tyria would be ripped apart in the fight - the cataclysmic outcome of their fight with Abaddon a millennia before being proof of what kind of outcome could be wrought when beings of such power collided. The gods all decided that they would leave Tyria behind for good—all but one of them.
Balthazar, as the god of conflict, refused to turn away from the fight, and announced his intention to fight the Elder Dragons with or without the other gods, and additionally vowed that he would punish the other gods for their cowardice. Before Balthazar could act, the gods imprisoned him and stripped him of his divine power, chaining him in the Mists. There he would remain forever, powerless to carry out his plans.
Oloko, a priest of Kormir, received a vision from Kormir in which it was revealed to him that the remaining gods left in search of a new world without threats like the Elder Dragons that they could prepare for their faithful.
While chained in the Mists, Balthazar had the appearance of a ragged old man. He remained there for some time, until Rytlock Brimstone stumbled across him while searching for the legendary sword Sohothin, and though he had found it, its flame had been extinguished. The chained old man told Rytlock that he could reignite his sword on the condition that Rytlock would free him. Rytlock did as he was asked, and Balthazar was freed. A portal opened, which would lead back to Tyria, the man told Rytlock. Rytlock said that the man had looked like any other spirit trapped in the Mists, and later stated his belief that Balthazar must have followed him through the portal.
As he returned to Tyria, Balthazar utilized Lyssa's Mirror, an artifact so powerful that even the other gods couldn't see through its deceptions, to hide himself among mortals. He saw the White Mantle's fanaticism and access to Bloodstone Fen as an opportunity to absorb magic and regain some of his former power. He used Lyssa's Mirror to disguise himself as Lazarus, last of the mursaat, and began to cause divisions within the ranks of the cult.
After the death of Mordremoth, Balthazar tricked a group of White Mantle to explode the destabilized Maguuma Bloodstone, allowing him to absorb most of the unleashed magic. He revealed himself in his mursaat guise before the world once more, proclaiming to have been resurrected. Though he had hoped to have the entire White Mantle following him, his revelation instead fractured the White Mantle, the more fanatic following the disguised Balthazar while the rest following Confessor Caudecus. Balthazar used the White Mantle and their money, and threw them aside in favor of mercenaries once people were beginning to see through his deception. Balthazar had also visited the Pact Commander, hoping to utilize the hero who was critical in slaying two Elder Dragons in his own goals. In time, the Commander learned that Lazarus was a fake, and when Balthazar attempted to negotiate with the Commander a second time after learning about a machine capable of slaying both Primordus and Jormag at once which Dragon's Watch was preparing, the Commander had forced Balthazar's guise to fail. In turn, Balthazar stole the machine and retreated to his base in Draconis Mons. Unfortunately, as the Commander pursued Balthazar, it had also been discovered that the deaths of any more Elder Dragons could throw the magic of the world too far out of balance, bringing about the end of the world. The clash between the Commander and Balthazar left both Primordus and Jormag weakened and sent into hibernation, but alive. Though forced to leave, Balthazar had absorbed a significant portion of the Elder Dragons' magic and felt himself renewed.
By this time, all of the gods except for Kormir had permanently left the world and their realms.
With Primordus and Jormag off the table, Balthazar set his sights on Kralkatorrik. He deceived Palawa Joko into helping him discover the secrets that the Forgotten used to bind souls to create Exalted, and used it to create an army of Forged from the souls of the dead. He used fanatical devotees from the Zaishen Order to recruit volunteers, and otherwise pillaged the land to find souls for his armies. He had learned that Kralkatorrik's weakness was any creature that shares his crystalline power, and so he sought out Vlast, scion of Glint, intending to use him to power a warbeast that could bring down Kralkatorrik. Vlast sacrificed himself to protect the Pact Commander from Balthazar, however, so the fallen god would have to find another approach.
In their search for a means to stop Balthazar, Dragon's Watch traveled to the Mists in order to seek the aid of the gods. In The Sanctum, they met Kormir who explained that the gods had already left, that she was the last of them, and that she would soon be leaving too. Upon explaining the circumstances of Balthazar and why the gods could not fight the Elder Dragons, she told Dragon's Watch they had all they needed to win, and left to join the rest of the gods.
Following this, Balthazar ambushed the The Pact Commander, keeping them on the edge of death to exploit their connection to Aurene, Glint's second scion, to lure her there. With Aurene secured, Balthazar marched to invade Vabbi, where Kralkatorrik had recently settled. The Commander followed after, marshaling Palawa Joko's Awakened army to fight the Forged, and confronted Balthazar atop King Joko's Sky Garden, where the fallen god had Kralkatorrik on the verge of death. Wielding Sohothin and protected by Aurene, Balthazar was ultimately killed. The power that he had managed to accumulate was absorbed by both Aurene and Kralkatorrik.
With the gods' departure, the gods' realms have fallen to chaos as creatures from the Mists began to invade the realms. The gods' followers have tried to maintain control of the realms despite this. However, in the Underworld, Grenth's departure combined with Balthazar's actions have caused enough upheaval to give Dhuum a strong hold in the Ice Wastes. Having reversed the seals that imprisoned him and twisted many of Grenth's followers to his side, Dhuum had redirected the River of Souls so that he could directly consume the souls of the recently departed in preparation for breaking forth into Tyria, where he would consume the souls of every living being and bring about death eternal. At the end of Mad King Thorn's return during Halloween in 1330 AE, Desmina called for mortal allies in the fight against Dhuum. This had obtained the attention of Scholar Glenna and a group of raiders, who fought back against Dhuum's forces, eventually imprisoning Dhuum with the sacrifice of the Seven Reapers.
Perspectives of the other races
Each of the races of Tyria have different attitudes to the gods. Despite their legend of Melandru, the charr view the gods as powerful beings to fight, not worship. The norn recognize the existence of the gods, but consider them an extension of their belief system of nature spirits; they refer to the Six as the "Spirits of Action" and do not call them by their name, but by what they govern - for instance, Balthazar is War and Kormir is Knowledge. The asura consider the gods to be relatively large parts (but parts nonetheless) of their Eternal Alchemy, and the sylvari, having appeared only in 1302 AE and therefore having never actually witnessed the work of the gods, remain unconvinced they exist at all.
Throughout the current and formerly human-controlled lands of Tyria, statues of the Six Gods can be found. There are typically two designs for each of the gods, though a third has been observed for Balthazar and Dwayna, and only one statue of Abaddon remains. At least one of the statue designs was made by Malchor, whose original statues were placed at the gods' respective temples - only the statue of Dwayna made by Malchor is known to have been seen, though altered from its original form by Zhaitan's corruption.
Of the two designs, one is seen across Orr, the Desolation, and in Divinity's Reach, the latter holding inscriptions from Malchor except for Grenth and Kormir - which hold inscriptions by Desmina and Jurah respectively. It would seem that humanity had returned to older statue designs within Divinity's Reach, given the Orrian origin of this design and how Kormir, who became a god after Orr's sinking, has statues of this design.
The other design of the statues, which were the only style seen 250 years ago, can be found throughout Tyria, mainly in abandoned locations. One exception to this is Dwayna's statue which is also seen in Malchor's workshop, stated to be imperfect designs. Why these supposedly imperfect were spread throughout Tyria is unknown.
Statues of the second design can be seen in:
- Dwayna's statue: Malchor's Anguish (underwater) within Malchor's Leap; Wreckage of Serenity (Branded) within Blazeridge Steppes; Temple of the Ages (underwater) within Queensdale; Ruins of Holy Demetra within Harathi Hinterlands.
- Melandru's statue: Lake Gendarr within Gendarran Fields; Temple of the Ages within Queensdale; Wreckage of Serenity (Branded) within Blazeridge Steppes.
- Lyssa's statue: None known.
- Balthazar's statue: Deadgod's Lair within Plains of Ashford.
- Grenth's statue: Temple of the Ages (underwater) within Queensdale.
- Kormir's statue: Temple of the Ages (underwater) within Queensdale.
- Humans often refer to the pantheon as the Six Gods or simply the Six. Other races most commonly refer to them as Human Gods. They are also known as:
- the Five Gods (during the time between the Exodus and Nightfall)
- the Old Gods (archaic Krytan name; in contrast to the "new gods", the Unseen Ones, who were worshiped in Kryta for a time)
- the True Gods (archaic name; in contrast to the "false gods" of cults throughout Tyria and Elona)
- the Ancient Gods (used by Forgotten)
- the Ancient Ones (used by Forgotten)
- The name of Abaddon's predecessor is speculated to be Arachnia, as this name can be found by datamining Guild Wars. However, it is unknown if this is canon.
- ^ Something Wicked This Way Comes
- ^ GuildMag issue #1 Q&A with Ree Soesbee, GuildMag.com
- ^ Edge of Destiny by J. Robert King, page 338
- ^ The History of Tyria, Volume 1 by Thadeus Lamount
- ^ The Guild Wars Manuscripts
- ^ Edge of Destiny by J. Robert King
- ^ An Empire Divided: A Selected History of Mysterious Cantha for the Traveling Scholar by Loremaster Ermenred of Ascalon
- ^ Comment by Charlie Engelhard, Reddit.com
- ^ Comment by Charlie Engelhard, Reddit.com
- ^ Lore Interview with Jeff Grubb, GuildMag