Countess Anise

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My apologies for the deception, but I must go to unconventional lengths to protect Kryta.

Countess Anise

Countess Anise is Master Exemplar of the Shining Blade, the queen's royal guard, and an adviser to the royal court. She is a striking beauty with a commanding presence, and yet few know more about her. Anise is considered one of the most powerful mesmers in Kryta, alongside Queen Jennah.

Her exact age is unknown, and rumors claim that she uses magic to maintain her beauty and age; when confronted about it, she becomes uncommonly strict, losing her typical playful demeanor.[1] She also often treats others as children compared to her.

Biography[edit]

Early years[edit]

Anise's earliest years remain a mystery. At some point she joined the Shining Blade, took the Oath of Confidence, and eventually rose to the rank of exemplar while serving under the Master Exemplar at the time. Anise defended Jennah as her personal guard in Divinity's Reach while Jennah was a young princess, and she watched Jennah eventually become the queen of Kryta after the king's passing. The two became very close companions. Although Anise was not thought of as a powerful combatant, her cunning and ability to predict the actions of others had long served to keep the queen and Kryta safe.[2]

Citizens of Divinity's Reach took note of Anise's almost unnatural beauty which did not seem to fade as she grew older, and some gossiped that Anise was using magic to look good.[3] Anise and Jennah took note of Shining Blade Benk's acute senses and sent him to scout Harathi Hinterlands so Kryta could find an advantage over the centaur alliance in the Centaur War.[4]

Edge of Destiny[edit]

After the famous Destiny's Edge guild had left to confront the dragon Glint in the Crystal Desert in 1320 AE, Jennah and Anise visited the Stronghold of Ebonhawke alongside the Seraph to formally announce the activation of a repaired asura gate which would link Ebonhawke with Divinity's Reach and offer some much needed supplies and medics to the last human-controlled city in Ascalon against the invading charr forces. However, the queen's speech was interrupted by a strange storm on the horizon caused by the flight of the recently awakened Elder Dragon Kralkatorrik.

Both Anise and Captain Dylan Thackeray took note of the unnatural storm and suggested that Jennah retreat indoors. When Dylan told Anise to look after the queen, the countess sharply reminded him that she did not need to be told what her duty was while escorting Jennah to the keep's inner chamber. Sensing a strange presence within the storm, Jennah peered into the darkness behind it with Anise's help. As her and the Elder Dragon's minds connected, she witnessed chaotic images and a feeling of bottomless hunger and endless outrage. Although Jennah had glimpsed the Elder Dragon's tormented mind for just a moment, Kralkatorrik glimpsed her in return. The effect was terrifying enough that the queen cried out in dread before confessing to Anise that what she had peered into had been an Elder Dragon's mind.[5]

Shortly after, Kralkatorrik sent a Branded horde led by his corrupted ogre champion, Chief Kronon, to assault the city in an event known as the Ogre Revolt. The Branded caught the besieging charr forces by surprise and fought through them before breaching the stronghold's defenses and slaying Captain Dylan Thackeray. Using their mental connection, Jennah called out to Dylan's brother Logan to come to her aid, leading to Logan abandoning Destiny's Edge at a pivotal moment and teleporting to Ebonhawke when the guild had been preparing to face Kralkatorrik who was headed to the Crystal Desert to slay his former, treacherous champion Glint.

Logan's timely arrival helped buy Ebonhawke and Jennah some time as he boosted the morale of the defending troops while managing to persuade the city's charr prisoners to fight alongside humans lest they all perish to the Elder Dragon's ravenous horde. Despite the defenders' best efforts, however, the Branded were close to overwhelming the city until Jennah turned the tide with a massive mesmer spell that not only conjured an illusionary image of Kralkatorrik in the sky but also cast a city-wide glamour that held hundreds of humans and charr in place and made them look like the Elder Dragon had just Branded them. Fooled by this sight of Kralkatorrik and believing all of Ebonhawke to have fallen to dragon corruption, Kronon and his Branded horde followed the illusion's flight path south to join their Elder Dragon master's side in the desert.

Recognizing the important role which the charr prisoners had played in helping humans defend Ebonhawke until she had finished her spell, Jennah took the first steps towards a truce between humans and charr by granting freedom to those charr who had fought by her side while Anise observed the proceedings nearby.[6] Returning to Divinity's Reach, Jennah appointed Logan as the new Captain of the Seraph, replacing his fallen brother Dylan and legitimizing Logan as her champion. Jennah and Anise would eventually learn that Glint had been actively working against Kralkatorrik all along and that she as well as Destiny's Edge member Snaff had died in the battle against the Elder Dragon in the desert. Destiny's Edge disbanded as a result of their two allies' deaths, their failure to stop Kralkatorrik, and Logan's defection.

Interim years[edit]

Some time after the end of the Ogre Revolt in 1320 AE, Master Exemplar Eive stepped down and passed on the mantle of the leader of the Shining Blade to her successor, exemplar Anise.[7] Eive's retirement was made official with a document signed by herself, Anise, Jennah, and two other witnesses. In it, both Anise and Jennah expressed their gratefulness for Eive's service, while Eive stated that she had loved the Shining Blade as her own family and would continue to do so, but her responsibilities would occasionally take her away, so she felt that the Shining Blade deserved someone fully dedicated to leading it.[8]

When Lieutenant Serentine of the Ministry Guard investigated Minister Brios's death site, she noticed shattered glass and red wind spilt on the ground where the body had been found. She managed to identify that the wine had been poisoned, though the reasons for Brios entering the alley remained unknown, and deduced that the poison had been supplied by smugglers. Wondering at the reasons of a minister entering the poor area without any guards, she pondered the idea that he had been engaged in treason. Shortly after, Serentine rifled through Brios's office for any evidence and found a slip of paper inviting him to afternoon tea with Anise. She then interrogated Anise, though the Master Exemplar told her nothing of value. Her frustrating encounters with both Anise and Logan eventually drove Serentine to Caudecus who took her under his wing and appointed her as the Commander of Divinity's Reach.[2]

Personal story[edit]

Anise was heavily involved in exposing various political machinations of Legate Minister Caudecus Beetlestone in 1325 AE. Her mesmer abilities allowed infiltration of a bandit hideout in Beggar's Burrow where Two-Blade Pete's plan of poisoning the wells of Divinity's Reach was discovered. She also disguised the party involved in the defeat and capture of Commander Serentine after Big Nose Ted's bandit attack on Divinity's Reach orphanage and hospital. She was one of the guests in Minister's Manor where she gathered evidence of Minister Zamon's treason, following his trial by combat and conviction. She also helped protect Jennah from the assault of the corrupted Corporal Kellach and the Risen in the Royal Palace later that year and witnessed the queen sending Logan to Lion's Arch to reunite with Destiny's Edge in the face of the growing threat of the Elder Dragon Zhaitan.

Living World Season 1[edit]

When Queen Jennah's Jubilee celebration came around, a test of the strength of the watchknights was held at the opening ceremony of the Crown Pavilion in 1326 AE. During this display, the watchknight was turned into Destiny's Edge member Rytlock Brimstone and taunted Logan Thackeray with old insults; shortly after this, it ceased to listen to Anise's orders, and an Aetherblade airship appeared in the center of the Crown Pavilion through a portal, led by a suspicious figure. After the Aetherblade assault was forced back and the watchknight destroyed, Anise admitted to Logan that adding the Rytlock disguise to the watchknight was her idea.[9]

The festivities seemed to go with few new issues following the incident. However, during the closing ceremony, the suspicious figure returned, unveiling herself as Scarlet Briar, and took over all the watchknights and turned them into Twisted Watchwork monstrosities. Despite the increased security, the platform Queen Jennah was giving a speech from was struck with explosives and she began to fall. Though Lord Faren leapt to her aid, Jennah shattered and was revealed to be a mesmer illusion; part of Anise's security measures.[10] When Scarlet was finally defeated and kicked out of the Pavilion, Anise was confronted by Logan over being kept out of important decisions involving the queen.[11]

Living World Season 2[edit]

After Minister Estelle had accused Queen Jennah of conspiring with Scarlet before the Queen's Jubilee, Anise helped the Pact Commander and Kasmeer Meade to find out the truth by throwing a party for ministers and nobles in Divinity's Reach in 1327 AE. Anise was accompanied by Canach who soon realized that the countess standing next to him was actually a mesmer illusion while the real Anise was observing events from the shadows. The real countess told the Commander and Kasmeer to meet her at her hiding spot while the partygoers' attention was elsewhere. She revealed that she had received a note from the enigmatic E. In his message E had let Anise know that Estelle, who had claimed to have witnessed the queen's clandestine meeting with Scarlet in an alley, had actually been in a bandit gambling parlor at the time the supposed meeting had taken place in. This piece of information was used by Anise, Kasmeer and the Commander as a basis for their investigation to find a way to catch Estelle lying.[12]

While investigating at the party, the Commander learned more about Estelle's lies and confronted her. During this confrontation, the minister accused Anise of being part of the conspiracy, which the countess denied. The Commander managed to gather testimonies from witnesses with which to prove that Estelle had been lying, giving Anise enough proof to act. At the end of the party, the countess and the Shining Blade arrested Minister Estelle and assured Kasmeer and the Commander of the queen's support for the upcoming summit between nations regarding the threat posed by the Elder Dragon Mordremoth. Anise attended the summit disguised as a sylvari to keep an eye on both Jennah and potential threats to the queen while being accompanied by Canach. She took the opportunity to playfully tease Canach much to the sylvari's frustration. After Mordremoth's champion, the Shadow of the Dragon, attacked the summit, the countess commissioned Canach to spy on the Pact's plans.[13]

Living World Season 3[edit]

After the death of Mordremoth, Anise set Canach to a new task, tracking down Legate Minister Caudecus Beetlestone. Caudecus had disappeared from protective custody in the Royal Palace, where he had been ensconced due to the bandits who had invaded his manor a few years ago. Canach and several Shining Blade soldiers tracked Caudecus to Bloodstone Fen and, with the Commander, witnessed the minister announce his position as Confessor of the White Mantle. This revealed Caudecus to be the villain Anise and the Shining Blade had long believed, but could never prove in court. From Bloodstone Fen, the hunt for the traitor led to Caudecus's Manor when the White Mantle's besieged Divinity's Reach in 1330 AE. When Jennah set a trap to force White Mantle supporters to reveal themselves among the ministers and thus secure Divinity's Reach from within, Anise was occupied elsewhere; Jennah did not elaborate more on the subject.[14]

Despite a directive from the queen to remain in Divinity's Reach, Anise portalled in and joined the Commander and Demmi Beetlestone in infiltrating the manor while being suspicious of Demmi due to the latter being Caudecus's daughter. However, Demmi proved herself to Anise as a trustworthy agent of the Order of Whispers, eventually earning the countess's trust although she lost her life to the unhinged Caudecus's bullet during the assault. After helping to rescue Canach and battling Caudecus to the death, Anise released Canach from his sentence. With a new "opening on her payroll", she took Lady Valette Wi, Caudecus's atoning underling who had helped the party defeat the confessor, under her wing for rehabilitation. While Valette had been tricked into the White Mantle, she had still committed crimes against the state, and Anise intended to keep a close eye on her.

Wanting to learn more about the returned god Balthazar, Anise talked with one of his priests who was zealously eager to fight for the glory of the god. After the Commander had arrived, Anise called them aside and offered a lead on his whereabouts. According to her sources, Balthazar had one of the mursaat Lazarus's aspects, and the Eye of Janthir was tracking the aspects. To help the Commander track down Balthazar, Anise asked the Commander to find one of her exemplars, Kerida, who was hunting for the aspects. It was revealed that Anise had formed a bond with Kerida, who was otherwise known as Livia, in what was referred to as a mother-daughter relationship, and Kerida had become one of the few people Anise truly respected.

Kerida had been last heard from in northeast Brisban Wildlands, but had been out of touch for some time. After the Commander freed Kerida and assisted her with recovering an aspect of Lazarus from the White Mantle hideout, Anise sponsored the Commander's initiation to the Shining Blade's inner circle. Although it was quite unusual, Anise silenced objections from some of the exemplars by personally vouching for the Commander. She stated, much to the Commander's surprise, that she had been watching them for many years, making them worthy of the oath. Once the Commander had pledged the Oath of Confidence and questions could be answered about the aspects, Anise released Kerida and the Commander to finish the business with Lazarus, although not without warning that they could expect an "I told you so," if things went sideways. Anise eventually learned that the Commander and Livia had successfully slain Lazarus with the Shining Blade, ending the threat of the mursaat for good.

Location[edit]

Kryta

Story involvement[edit]

Personal story[edit]

Living World Season 1[edit]

Living World Season 2[edit]

Living World Season 3[edit]

Combat abilities[edit]

Effects

DefianceDefiance bar teal.png

Skills

Dialogue[edit]

(If human)
Very soon, I have to go oversee Shining Blade training exercises but it's good to see you. The job of queen's guard is never done, you know.
Talk end option tango.png I understand.
(If not human)
Oh, you look like trouble, but I know I don't need to warn you that you're in the presence of the Shining Blade, do I?
Talk more option tango.png What's the Shining Blade?
Hm, I suppose the easiest answer is that we're a military body that protects Queen Jennah. We also advise her, though. I'm their leader. Countess Anise, at your service.
Talk end option tango.png Pleased to meet you.
Talk end option tango.png Not at all.
If HOPE IV: The Catalyst is unlocked and the player has not yet received the Soul Battery Fragment
Yes, may I help you?
Talk more option tango.png I am looking for a device to capture soul energy.
It just so happens I have acquired something, used long ago, for storing soul magic. Well, a piece of something, but it should do the trick.
Talk more option tango.png Thank you, Countess. (Gives Soul Battery Fragment.)
Talk end option tango.png I have changed my mind.
Talk end option tango.png No, thank you.

Quotes[edit]

Fancy meeting you here.
Greetings.
How do you do.
Fair weather we're having.
What a pleasure to see you.

Related achievements[edit]

Notes[edit]

  • She wears a unique attire, a slightly different version of Exemplar Attire Outfit.
  • Countess Anise is simply named "Anise" while seen in the Queen's Throne Room.
  • When performing /dance in the queen's throne room for the Dance for the Queen trophy, Anise is the only NPC in the room who will not dance. Instead, she performs the /no emote once.

Trivia[edit]

  • Anise is voiced by Catherine Taber.[15]
  • Anise is a flowering plant with aromatic leaves and stems that taste like licorice, fennel, or tarragon.
  • Anise's face and body was designed by Aaron Coberly, her hair by Susan Jessup, and her dress by kristen Perry.[16]
    • Anise's dress received a significant redesign shortly before launch. Kristen Perry was asked to create "a very mesmer burlesque outfit that was high class and sexy", and at that time she had no idea about the status of the character and designed rich, fabric gothic details. The result was a risqué dress that nowadays is the Exemplar Attire Outfit. This design caused great discomfort from the art and writing teams who questioned whether the outfit properly described her role. As there was no time for a complete redo, Kristen Perry made some modifications to the existing dress. She added gloves, changed the hose or stockings to leather leggings, removed the skirt and replaced it with long leather panels, and added an asymmetrical capelet to cover half of the choker, but only half because she loved the details of it.[16]

See also[edit]

Associated items

References[edit]

  1. ^ The World Summit
    Canach: I have a thick skin. I also learn from my missteps. For example, you fooled me once with your illusions, so now I wonder if you're truly as young as-
    Countess Anise: Do not finish that sentence. Not here, not ever.
  2. ^ a b The Line of Duty – The Three Military Orders of Kryta
  3. ^ Gossiping Citizen
  4. ^ Shining Blade Benk
  5. ^ "Chapter 28: Siege and Storm", Edge of Destiny by J. Robert King:
    The Seraph applauded these closing words, and the Vanguard joined in. But another peal of thunder—louder and nearer—interrupted the ovation. The trumpeters turned again to see a black cloud eating up the sky.
    The queen signaled for the Krytan Fanfare.
    Only a few horns began it, but others joined in, swelling the refrain.
    A voice spoke in Queen Jennah's ear: "We must get you to safety." It was Countess Anise, a Shining Blade exemplar who was always beside the queen. Anise grasped the queen's arm and impelled her down from the platform.
    Dylan Thackeray met the queen on the steps. "My queen, a storm threatens."
    Jennah glanced between her bodyguards. "Since when have I feared rain?"
    "It's more than rain." Dylan fell in step beside the queen and Anise. "Something stirs the sky, my queen."
    The black cloud was spreading with preternatural speed. In heartbeats, it engulfed the sky. Waves of dark magic riled through the belly of the cloud, and red lightning flickered horribly. In the far west, a strange golden beam tore down from the cloud to rake the horizon.
    "I'm going up to see," Dylan told the queen. "Countess Anise, get the queen to the keep, to an inner chamber, and let no one and nothing through to her."
    The countess scowled. "Do not tell me my duty, Captain Thackeray. She will be safe." [...]
    Hands gripped the queen, steadying her. It was Countess Anise—pale, thin, beautiful, and angry.
    "What was that?" the queen wondered aloud. "There was mind in that stroke.”
    Countess Anise said, "Yes. I felt it, too."
    The queen stepped up to the window, drawing Anise with her. She stared out into the tormented sky and said, "We are mesmers. We know minds—how to touch them, how to turn them. Let us meditate on the mind in this storm."
    Anise channeled thoughts into her.
    Queen Jennah of Kryta, staring from a window high in Ebonhawke Keep, peered into the mind of darkness.
    It was unlike any she had wrestled before.
    A sandstorm. A chaos. Bottomless hunger. Endless outrage.
    She glimpsed it for just a moment, but that was enough. In that moment, it had glimpsed her.
    Crying out, Queen Jennah reeled back from the window. Countess Anise caught her, staring in dread at her queen.
    "That's what they look like," Jennah said, panting. Her eyes were like mirrors. "That's what it's like to look into the mind of a dragon."
  6. ^ "Chapter 33: The Sundering", Edge of Destiny by J. Robert King:
    Logan stood unmoving in the courtyard of Ebonhawke. He had been transfigured like all the rest-not transformed, but transfigured. When the dragon's eyes stared down upon him, his outer semblance became something new—stony and strange. It was as if every muscle seized up, and he had become a living statue.
    But his mind still turned, still told him that his friends had failed. They had failed because he had abandoned them. And now, Kralkatorrik held him.
    As the last of the ogres climbed through the wall and lumbered away across the rocky hills, the glamour that gripped Logan and the others faded away.
    Logan panted, only then realizing he had forgotten to breathe.
    A Vanguard warrior nearby staggered and clutched his knees.
    A charr legionnaire whipped his head back and forth, eyes blazing. "What sort of sorcery was that?"
    "My type of sorcery," came a voice high above, "mesmerism."
    Logan and the others looked up to see, on the highest balcony of the keep, Queen Jennah. From that lofty spot, she had cast the illusion of the dragon in the sky. She had poured down golden light to lave the warriors below, had made them seem creatures of stone. Her spell had been so powerful, they had not known they could still breathe.
    "I've deceived them, the minions of Kralkatorrik," Queen Jennah called. "I have saved you, human and charr alike. We have been enemies these many centuries, but now there is a new enemy for us both.
    "This is a dark day, the first of many. This is a day of dragons. We must stand together against them, or we will all fall beneath. And so I am releasing these charr prisoners." She gestured down at the group of charr standing beside the fortress's portcullis. "They have fought beside us, and they are free."
    Logan strode toward the line of charr. "Did you hear that? You're free."
    One of the warriors said, "We fought beside humans. We will be outcasts."
    "No," Logan said. "I've spent the last year fighting beside a charr. Am I an outcast?"
    The charr looked him in the eye. "I will tell them I fought beside Logan Thackeray."
    "Yes. Tell them that."
  7. ^ When Kralkatorrik's rise led to the Ogre Revolt in Edge of Destiny, Countess Anise was still stated to be an exemplar.
  8. ^ Shining Blade Secrets
    This is an official scroll with the Shining Blade symbol at the top. It has multiple signatures upon it, including Queen Jennah, Master Exemplar Eive, Countess Anise, and two unfamiliar witnesses.
    At the top, it says, "This document makes official the transfer of the power, duty, and responsibilities of the Master Exemplar office from one Eive to one Anise, Countess of Kryta."
    "The transfer is complete and immediate. The kingdom of Kryta thanks the outgoing master exemplar from her service. If the parties have anything to add, please write it below."
    "I, Eive, have loved the Shining Blade as my own family, and that will not change. I have responsibilities that occasionally take me away, and you deserve a leader dedicated to leading you."
    "I, Anise, will fulfill my duties to the best of my ability. I have large shoes to fill. Thank you, Eive, for your many years of service to kingdom and queen."
  9. ^ Opening Ceremony
    Logan Thackeray: What happened here? This was supposed to be an exhibition. How did that thing know about Rytlock?
    Countess Anise: Don't be so sensitive, Captain. When you stepped in as the sole combatant, I decided to add a slightly more personal touch.
  10. ^ Closing Ceremony
    Queen Jennah: Forgive the deception, Logan. Countess Anise's security measures depended on as few people as possible knowing about them.
    Logan Thackeray: I'm glad you're safe, but I'm your cap—a Seraph captain. How can I serve if I'm not informed?
    Countess Anise: Don't be petulant. My job is to protect the queen from her enemies. Yours is to seek out and destroy those enemies.
    Countess Anise: There were indications of a threat, so I concealed the real queen until it revealed itself. Now it has. And it's spreading.
  11. ^ Scarlet's Playhouse
    Logan Thackeray: A word, Countess? Ever since the planning phase of this event, I've been kept out of every important decision involving the queen.
    Logan Thackeray: I know that's not a coincidence. Nothing you do ever is.
    Countess Anise: I assure you, Captain: everything I've done has been for the good of Kryta and the throne.
    Countess Anise: Scarlet was a threat I couldn't fully identify, so I prepared for the worst. And my preparations proved very effective.
    Countess Anise: The only problem here is that you take things too personally when Jennah's involved.
    Logan Thackeray: I will never apologize for my dedication to the queen. I will serve and protect her faithfully until she commands me not to.
    Logan Thackeray: Keep that in mind the next time you feel like trying to keep us apart.
  12. ^ Party Politics
    Kasmeer Meade: Countess, Minister Estelle is claiming that you were there, at the secret meeting. She's implicating you.
    Countess Anise: Nonsense. I was at no such meeting. I did, however, receive a mysterious message signed only with the initial E.
    Countess Anise: The note said that Estelle was in a bandit gambling parlor when she was supposedly spying on our queen.
  13. ^ The World Summit
    Countess Anise: Very well, Canach. Playtime is over and you've passed your audition. You're to go with them.
    Canach: Why?
    Countess Anise: I want you to learn what you can about the Pact's plans. Follow them to their staging area.
    Countess Anise: I need someone there I know can get the job done, and I believe you may be that someone.
    Canach: I shall prove you correct. Until we meet again.
  14. ^ A Meeting of Ministers
    <Character name>: I'm surprised you invited me here instead of Anise. Where is she?
    Queen Jennah: Anise is...occupied, I'm afraid. As for your invitation, you're a trusted friend, and I've no doubt that your presence here is a welcome relief to the ministers as well—the loyal ones, at least.
  15. ^ Guild Wars 2 Forum - Lore & Story - The Mystery of Countess Anise
  16. ^ a b Human Clothing Art Direction | Guild Wars 2