Heart of Thorns story
The Elder Dragon Mordremoth has risen, dominating the Maguuma Jungle and destroying the Pact fleet sent to confront it. Now Tyria's bravest heroes race to find the downed Pact flagship and determine the fates of Marshal Trahearne and Destiny's Edge before the dragon's minions completely colonize the jungle and swarm out to overwhelm all of Tyria.
— Story Journal before beginning this story
While the Pact is poised to launch its campaign against the jungle dragon Mordremoth, the Pact Commander unveils a terrible truth: the sylvari are creations of the Dragon. So begins the story of Guild Wars 2's first expansion pack: Heart of Thorns!
A note about spoilers: a brief summary aside, this article assumes a basic knowledge of the plot of Living World Season 1 and Living World Season 2. Since the story of Heart of Thorns begins in 1327 AE, and the personal story takes place in 1325 AE, it is likely that this article will contain personal story spoilers, as story threads that began in the personal story may be continued with the expansion.
Heart of Thorns was released on October 23rd, 2015.
The leaders of Tyria have heeded Marshal Trahearne's call to arms, and troops of all races gathered in Camp Resolve to bolster the Pact's reduced numbers, ready to advance into the Heart of Maguuma to slay the Elder Dragon Mordremoth. With Rytlock Brimstone lost in the Mists and Caithe having run off with Glint's Egg, the remaining members of Destiny's Edge Eir Stegalkin, Logan Thackeray, and Zojja accompany the assault.
Meanwhile, the Commander and their allies Braham, Rox, Marjory Delaqua, Kasmeer Meade and Taimi are deep below the Silverwastes, following the footsteps of Caithe to retrieve Glint's Egg. It is there that they learn of the sylvari's true origins as servants of Mordremoth, a secret previously known to only Caithe and the Pale Tree.
Despite all their preparations, the Pact Fleet is annihilated above Verdant Brink, as enormous vines tear apart the airships, and many sylvari heed the call of their creator, turning on their allies in a surprise attack. The survivors are scattered across the jungle, desperately trying to survive the continuing onslaught of Mordrem; the fates of Destiny's Edge and Trahearne are unknown.
The Pact, founded by Trahearne and the Pact Commander is a multi-racial group with the sole goal of eliminating the Elder Dragon threat. Just before the events of Heart of Thorns, Mordremoth had utterly destroyed the Pact's airship fleet, killing and stranding the vast majority of the Pact within the depths of the Heart of Maguuma.
- Laranthir of the Wild - A sylvari Secondborn and second-in-command of the Vigil. After the Pact Fleet's destruction, he has sent a message to the Pact Commander and has been attempting to regroup survivors.
- Trahearne - A sylvari Firstborn and Pact Marshal. He was captured by the Mordrem after the Pact Fleet's downfall.
- Caithe - The secretive Firstborn who uncovered the terrible secret behind the Pale Tree and sylvari race's connections to Mordremoth. Her sudden theft of Glint's Egg away from the Pact Commander is ill tidings for the fight against the Elder Dragons, leaving her motives and state of being unknown.
- Eir Stegalkin - Hero of the norn, she is the leader and tactician of Destiny's Edge. She has gone missing with the destruction of the Pact Fleet.
- Logan Thackeray - Captain of the Seraph and loyal commander under Queen Jennah, Logan is a front-line fighter in Destiny's Edge, and Rytlock's brother-in-arms. He has gone missing with the destruction of the Pact Fleet.
- Rytlock Brimstone - Tribune of the Blood Legion, he was last seen leaping into the Mists after a failed attempt to cleanse Ascalon of the Foefire's ghosts. His fate was left unknown at the beginning of Heart of Thorns.
- Zojja - Snaff's successor and the short-tempered golemancer of Destiny's Edge. She has gone missing with the destruction of the Pact fleet.
- Braham Eirsson - The son of Eir Stegalkin and Borje the Sun Chaser, Braham is a brash and spirited guardian who has come a long way since his days fighting the Molten Alliance. Having just begun to rebuild his relationship with his mother, he rushes to Maguuma anxious to find the missing norn hero.
- Rox - The charr ranger and gladium who gave up her entry into the Stone Warband to defend Braham and her friends. Alongside her devourer Frostbite, she helps to survey the Heart of Maguuma and the new dangers it holds.
- Lady Kasmeer Meade - The former noble who works tirelessly to clear her family's name. Her talent as a mesmer is invaluable to the party as they traverse Maguuma.
- Marjory Delaqua - The skilled detective and necromancer. Swearing vengeance for the death of her sister Belinda, she now wields her family sword against Mordremoth.
- Taimi - The asura progeny with an unsettling obsession with Scarlet Briar. Armed with her golem Scruffy, she brings both brawn and a sharp mind to Maguuma's mysteries.
- Canach - A sarcastic and aloof sylvari. Still bound to Countess Anise's service, he aids the Commander as a liason to the Shining Blade. He struggles with Mordremoth's growing influence, but is determined to prove sylvari can reclaim their freedom from their maker.
- Ibli - A lithe Itzel scout who provides the Pact with valuable intel on surviving and traversing the Heart of Maguuma.
- Tizlak - A mighty Nuhoch warrior who aids the Maguuma hylek, he lends his strength to the Pact Commander in fighting the Mordrem, and later the insectoid chak.
- Ruka the Wanderer - An Exalted who encounters the Pact Commander seeking out the legacy left by Glint and helps them harness the power of Glint's Egg.
- Grand Duchess Faolain - Leader of the Nightmare Court, the sylvari who abandoned the teachings of Ventari and the Pale Tree. Seeking freedom from all masters, Faolain resists Mordremoth's calls to put all sylvari under his yoke.
- Mordremoth - The Elder Dragon with dominion over plant and mind. Awakened by Scarlet Briar, he has gathered immense power in the Heart of Maguuma and begun invading Tyria with his Mordrem minions. Just before the events of Heart of Thorns, he has converted a large number of sylvari to his side, turning them into the Mordrem Guard.
In the wake of the destruction of the Pact fleet, Laranthir asked the Commander to come to their aid and save what is left of the Pact. Upon arriving at Red Rock Bastion, Tactician Elke informed them that Mordrem have been attacking Amber Sandfall in an attempt to cut off the troops' only route out of the Heart of Maguuma. Along with a handful of Pact soldiers, the Commander made their way to aid Lightbringer Osa. On the way, they met up with Braham and Rox, Kasmeer and Marjory, as well as Taimi and Canach, who were all bound for the jungle themselves. Canach informed the Commander that Countess Anise sent him as a representative of the Shining Blade.
After pushing back the Mordrem at Amber Sandfall, the Commander and their team entered the heart of the Maguuma Jungle.
The reunited group traveled beyond the Silverwastes where they witnessed the gravity of the Pact Fleet's destruction firsthand; colossal vines entangling the burning remnants of airships against the night sky. Braham spotted an encampment further down the ledge and rushed toward it, anxious to learn about his mother's fate. In the camp, the Commander found Laranthir of the Wild at odds with the rest of the Pact survivors who distrusted their sylvari comrades, to no surprise to Marjory. Laranthir explained that both Destiny's Edge and Marshal Trahearne had survived the crash, but were been taken prisoner by the Mordrem and moved further into the jungle. Explorer Metella, openly hostile towards Laranthir and the sylvari, suggested fortifying their current position by scavenging turrets from the wreckage. On the other hand, Laranthir insisted on rescuing potential survivors from the Mordrem to bolster their troops. The Commander was asked to make a decision on behalf of the survivors.
If the Commander chose to salvage weapons, the group headed towards the Wreck of the Lethal Vantage with Explorer Metella and Agent Gunnard. On the way, they encounter a sylvari Pact soldier fighting against Mordemoth's influence and the remains of Zojja's golem Mr. Sparkles. It was a painful reminder of how the sylvari needed to stay strong and resist Mordremoth as weak-willed sylvari were easily turned against their friends.
When following Laranthir's suggestion to save the missing Pact soldiers, the group descended into the chasms below, accompanied by Laranthir and Crusader Gatt. Gatt mentioned that the Mordrem had been collecting prisoners and corpses for some unknown purpose. Following the trail, they stumbled upon Mordrem pods holding members of the Pale Reavers captive. After defeating the guards and destroying the pods, the Commander learned that other prisoners were ordered to be taken south to join Mordremoth's ranks.
After returning to the camp, it was attacked by waves of Mordrem as dawn approached. In the heat of the battle, Rytlock Brimstone suddenly appeared from the Mists, blindfolded and wielding a new form of magic. He helped the team disperse the enemy attack, but offered no explanation for his presence or his new-found powers. Laranthir requested permission to stay in Verdant Brink with the Pale Reavers, keeping the sylvari corps separate from the rest of the Pact. The commander agreed to his request, and left to speak with Pact scouts and gather intel on this dangerous new environment.
Verdant Brink was blazing with activity as Pact and Mordrem skirmished throughout the area. Within the jungle's dizzying heights and depths, the Commander began training themselves in gliding to keep safe and help navigate the area. They eventually reached the center of Verdant Brink where a large Pact Encampment had been set up. The soldiers there reported their sightings of Caithe who was heading west with Glint's Egg in tow. To help break through Mordrem lines, the soldiers recommended for the Commander to talk with a local hylek tribe called the Itzel.
Heading towards the village of Jaka Itzel, the Commander and their allies came across a skirmish between Mordem and the hylek. The forces defeated the Mordrem, and met a pair of hylek named Ibli and Tizlak. Ibli expressed his thanks and offered to take them to the Itzel chieftain and his mother, Kaana Miatli. To earn the hylek's trust, the Commander either helped Ibli to defend Jaka Itzel from a Mordrem force, or attacked their war camp directly with Tizlak. They also encountered a Mordrem Guard champion, Stavemaster Adryn. With the hylek safe for now, Kanna Miatli promised her alliance with the Pact and offered her scouts to help the party find their missing companions.
With the scouts' directions the Commander found their way to the outskirts of a Mordrem prison camp; with his newfound powers, Rytlock sensed that someone of Destiny's Edge was being held inside. The party broke in with force, defeating Mordrem and rescuing members of the Pact Ordnance Corps along the way.
They eventually found a Mordrem prison cell containing an unlikely pair: Eir Stegalkin, and Grand Duchess Faolain of the Nightmare Court. Faolain declared that she would be free of all masters, and that neither the Pale Tree nor Mordremoth would control her. The prison cell was broken, but a Mordrem Vinetooth approached the released pair. Faolain slipped and fell during the escape, prompting Eir to help her up. But Faolain, noticing the approaching Vinetooth, returned her aid by betraying Eir, stabbing her with a thorn and fleeing for her life. Her flight would be short-lived, as Eir threw the thorn at Faolain and left her to be entangled by Mordrem vines, her body swept into the undergrowth. However, Eir's injuries left her helpless to the Vinetooth and she too was impaled and cast aside, to a despairing Braham's cries.
The Commander and their squad rushed to Eir's side and killed the Vinetooth, but the norn hero had already passed on. Broken with grief, Braham requested that the Commander give him time to pay his respects and dispose of his mother's body with dignity. Garm, Eir's wolf companion, was also nowhere to be found. Rox elected to stay by Braham's side, worried about her friend and how he might take this loss.
Pushing onward into Maguuma, the Commander and their allies found themselves in a lush, beautiful forest. Encountering a camp of Pact survivors, scouts reported that Caithe had been seen further east. Along the way, the party saw a strange, glowing figure watching them from a distance. They reached a large golden structure, a pylon emitting strange energies. Members of the Durmand Priory had set up a camp, but had left themselves vulnerable to Mordrem attack. After the Mordrem assault force was defeated, the glowing figure appeared before the soldiers, calling itself Ruka and asking of the newcomers' purpose in Maguuma. Ruka revealed that he had been tracking energy sources similar to Glint's energy, further east.
The Commander found Caithe once again, sprawled on the ground with Glint's Egg lying nearby. She was facing a bizarre monster similar to a Mordrem Vinetooth, but with Faolain's face and voice, now proclaiming her servitude to Mordremoth. Fleeing with the egg, the Commander was infused with part of its energy and used new abilities to escape Faolain, with guidance from Ruka. Once safe, Ruka invited the Commander to take the egg south to the city of Tarir, where they could find refuge.
With Glint's Egg in their possession once more, the Commander took some time to explore Auric Basin. The Priory had set up several camps around the area's mysterious pylons, working and studying with the Exalted on their origins. The Commander learned about Exalted Markings, allowing them to use obelisks to transport themselves around Auric Basin.
At the center of the region, the party found themselves in a massive city constructed of gold. At its entrance, the Exalted Luminate welcomed them to Tarir, the Forgotten City, and explained about their race's charge by the Forgotten to protect Glint's legacy. The Exalted brought the Commander to Tarir's depths, where they underwent a series of trials to ensure their capability in fighting the Elder Dragons. The Commander fought illusions of dragon minions, navigated a maze to find magical glyphs, and led Pact soldiers against Mordrem while in a helpless rabbit form. Succeeding in these trials, the Commander found themselves in a vast chamber constructed to hold Glint's Egg. While there, the egg sent a prophetic vision to the Commander which showed Mordremoth using Trahearne, Logan and Zojja as templates for a batch of new, improved Mordrem which the dragon intended to unleash on Tyria. With the Egg safely under watch by the Exalted, the Commander left Tarir to continue their offense against Mordremoth.
With the aid of Taimi and some holograph recordings, the Commander caught up to their allies in the southeast of the region. Taimi was investigating a ruin with strange devices bearing a blend of Exalted and asuran technology. Repowering the devices, they were revealed to be a map of ley-line energy, showing its flows and concentrations throughout the Maguuma Jungle. One hub of ley-line energy, however, was unknown. The Exalted explained to the party that the hub was Rata Novus, an asuran city which had stood with them against the Elder Dragons in the past. Taimi was elated to hear of the lost rata, and asked that the Commander travel there and uncover their research or possible help for the upcoming battle with Mordremoth. Rox and Braham also returned to the party, and Braham had shaved his head and displayed a vengeful eagerness to kill Faolain, blaming her for Eir's death.
Maguuma's next region was a sprawling maze of caverns, its passages winding through roots and underground waterways. The Commander found a Pact camp near the entrance, and Lieutenant Morrison explained that they had been imprisoned alongside Trahearne, Logan and Zojja, but the heroes had distracted the Mordrem to allow the Pact soldiers to escape. Scouts tracking the prison caravan informed the Commander that they were heading south. While part of the party split off to track the caravan, the Commander, Taimi, Canach and Braham set off to find Rata Novus.
The Tangled Depths were home to a vicious insectoid race, the chak, who displayed a strange affinity with ley-line magic and could channel it against their prey. Reuniting with Tizlak at the hylek settlement of Teku Nuhoch, the Nuhoch warrior helped fashion a solvent to break through chak acid based off enzymes taken from their bodies. With this new tool, the Commander bypassed the chak and dormant asura defenses to finally reach Rata Novus.
The asuran city was deathly quiet, confirming Taimi's fear that her fellows had not survived due to the chak attacks. Nevertheless, the party pushed into the city to find anything that could help them fight Mordremoth. While progressing, Taimi expressed her frustration that her allies treated her more of a child to be protected rather than a fellow fighter and part of the team. She also proved her maturity tenfold, first by saving Braham from a falling pillar, and then using Scruffy to re-power a blast door which left her golem disabled. The Commander reassured Taimi that she was integral to her friends' success.
After fighting their way through the chak infestation, the party found what they were looking for: a secret laboratory filled with Rata Novus research on the Elder Dragons. The research confirmed that each Elder Dragon would possess some unique weakness, a fact that the Commander found comforting but Braham considered a waste of time to uncover. However, the data provided no further information on Mordremoth's specific weakness. Taimi decided to stay behind in Rata Novus as she would be unable to actively fight without Scruffy, although she was still excited at the prospect of uncovering more of the lost rata's mysteries.
The Commander reached Dragon's Stand, Mordremoth's stronghold which was swarming with Mordrem. The Pact, regrouped thanks to the Commander's efforts, had established a base camp from which they intended to directly engage the dragon and its forces. With the Pact's assistance, the Commander and their team were transported into Mordrem territory in search of those still missing.
Deep behind enemy lines, they eventually found Logan Thackeray and Zojja being hooked up to Mordrem Blighting Pods. Fighting their way to their friends, the party was forced to behold what the pods were doing: creating Mordrem facsimiles of their heroes, twisted clones who thought only of serving Mordremoth. Both members of Destiny's Edge were freed, but their ordeal in the pods had left them greatly weakened and nearly dead. The Vinetooth Faolain then re-appeared, mocking the heroes for choosing to be free of the Elder Dragon. Leaving Kasmeer to portal the injured to safety, the remaining allies chased Faolain into the Heart of Thorns, Mordremoth's inner sanctum.
The party encountered Caithe who swore she was not on Mordremoth's side and pleaded to help them kill the Elder Dragon. Although they were still distrustful after her actions, the Commander agreed to bring Caithe along. The allies ascended the Heart of Thorns and finally glimpsed Trahearne, unconscious and bound to Mordremoth, before he was swept into the undergrowth's depths. Faolain intercepted the party, and had to be slain. Braham relished that he had taken down his mother's murderer, while Caithe mourned the loss of her one-time friend and love.
While the Pact forces and their allies launched their final assault on the Mouth of Mordremoth, the Pact Commander and their allies cleared out the Heart of Thorns and prepared to follow Trahearne into its depths.
Making their way deeper into the tangle, they found Trahearne fused to the vines and barely conscious. Trahearne suggested utilizing his link to the dragon to enter the Dream of Dreams, allowing the Commander to strike directly at Mordremoth's very mind. The group agreed that two allies would accompany the Commander, choosing from Braham, Caithe and Canach, while the rest of the team would stay behind to hold off the Mordrem attackers.
Inside the dragon's mind, the allies were confronted with their fears: a twisted version of Eir Stegalkin blaming Braham for her death, a corrupted Pale Tree fully under Mordremoth's thrall, or a blighted Canach goading the original to submit to Mordemoth. During these fights, reality rifts appeared, allowing the Commander to take control of the mindscape by breaking Mordremoth's illusions. After saving both companions, the group finally faced the Avatar of Mordremoth. In the course of the fight, the Elder Dragon tried to break the Commander's will by summoning similar illusions of Rytlock, Marjory and their old mentor: Warmaster Forgal Kernsson, Magister Sieran, Lightbringer Tybalt Leftpaw, or Trahearne. Turning these illusions back on their creator through use of the reality rifts, the Commander eventually defeated Mordremoth's mind.
Back outside of the hellish mindscape, Trahearne had one final request for the Commander: to use the broken remains of the sword Caladbolg to slay him, and the last remnants of the Elder Dragon residing within him for good. As Trahearne made his sacrifice, a massive amount of Mordremoth's dragon magic exploded into the ley-lines and across Tyria. Back north in Tarir, one quarter of the magic from the ley-lines streaked towards Glint's Egg, imbuing it with unknown influences, before continuing northward.
Mordremoth had finally been slain, but it had come with terrible costs and loss. And there were still further consequences to come...
- The campaign against Mordremoth, from the Pact fleet entering the jungle to the defeat of the Elder Dragon, took around 43 days.