King Adelbern

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King Adelbern


Interactive map (floor -2)

I will have my vengeance! Join me in death!

King Adelbern

King Adelbern (1011–1090 AE), known to the charr as the Sorcerer-King,[1] was the last monarch of human-controlled kingdom of Ascalon. To prevent the charr from conquering Ascalon City in the late stages of the human-charr conflict, the Sorcerer-King used his sword Magdaer to unleash the Foefire, a spell that destroyed the capital and led to the creation of the Ascalonian ghosts who fight for their king even in death and infest the countryside to this day. The ghost of Adelbern resides deep within the Ascalonian Catacombs, guarding his kingdom against all threats from both above and below ground while waiting for the return of his son, Prince Rurik.


Early years[edit]

Born circa 1011 AE, Adelbern was blessed by the god Balthazar.[2] In his younger days during the time of the Guild Wars, Adelbern was the champion of his guild, Ascalon's Chosen, and fought against Kryta.[3] He was said to be a good strategist.[4] Adelbern was well-liked by the citizens of Ascalon because of his easy demeanor and battlefield heroics, and Duke Barradin appointed him the commander of the army after the Battle of Rin.[5]

After the assassination of the royal family in the Third Guild War,[6] Adelbern was crowned king at the Historical Monument to King's Watch by the people's demand despite not being next in line for the royal crown who would have been the previous king's younger brother Barradin.[7] However, the duke did not object to Adelbern becoming king and stepped aside to honor the wishes of the people. Barradin and Adelbern's children, Lady Althea and Prince Rurik, were intended to be wed to unite and strengthen the two bloodlines.[8]

However, some Barradin loyalists disagreed with Adelbern's crowning and became rowing bandits known as the Royalists whose mission was to harass Adelbern's supporters and place the duke on the throne. By 1070 AE, the threat the Royalists posed was great enough that Devona asked local adventurers to investigate whether people at the duke's estate were actually showing signs of disloyalty towards Adelbern's regime and if Barradin was supporting the Royalists' actions. These investigations ultimately revealed that Barradin and others at Lakeside County were fully loyal to the crown, thus putting an end to rumors of high treason.[5]

Guild Wars Prophecies[edit]

Adelbern started out as one of the most popular kings in the history of the walled nation, but towards the end of his reign, he was driven increasingly mad and obsessed by the war against the encroaching charr and suspicion towards Kryta which he had fought against in the Guild War. Although he was in need of supplies, he refused aid from Ambassador Zain, who had traveled to Ascalon from Kryta as a representative of the White Mantle, and intended to arrest him and place him on trial for suspected treachery until Prince Rurik intervened on the ambassador's behalf.[9][10]

The Searing caused by the charr drove the Ascalonians from Rin in 1070 AE, a source of shame and ire for the king. Not willing to stand down, Adelbern was determined to defend the city from the charr. However, Prince Rurik, the king's firstborn son,[11] advocated making peace with Kryta and taking shelter within its borders. This remained a source of tension between father and son, culminating in Adelbern disowning Rurik who led a faction of Ascalonians into Kryta. Rurik ultimately perished during conflict with the Stone Summit dwarves while traversing the Shiverpeak Mountains in 1072 AE. The king was devastated by his son's death and hardened his resolve towards the defense of his nation.

After Vizier Khilbron had unleashed the titans into Tyria, Adelbern fought against the titan invasion in Ascalon and pushed them back from the eastern section of the Northern Wall until he and a handful of soldiers were surrounded by the enemy. The king was saved, however, when the dragon prophet Glint sent a group of heroes to his aid at this critical moment, which allowed the Ascalonians to prevail against the titans.[2]

Guild Wars Beyond[edit]

During the Krytan Civil War in 1079 AE, the increasingly paranoid Adelbern was approached by Master Exemplar Evennia of the Shining Blade who pleaded him to commit troops to aid Princess Salma's rebel forces against the White Mantle zealots in Kryta in exchange for Salma assisting the king in driving the charr from Ascalon for good. Evennia disappeared without a trace some time after reaching Old Ascalon, however. White Mantle propaganda would claim centuries later that Evennia and her fellow Krytan emissaries had been assassins whom Adelbern had hanged from the walls of Ascalon City.[12][13]

Fall of Ascalon[edit]

Adelbern witnesses the fall of Ascalon City.

In 1080 AE, Adelbern recalled the Ebon Vanguard, who consisted of both Ascalonians who had followed Rurik on the trek through the Shiverpeaks and slaves saved from the charr, from the Eye of the North. After celebrating them for their bravery, the king ordered the Vanguard, led by Gwen Thackeray, to fortify the Stronghold of Ebonhawke in an attempt to solidify Ascalon City's supply lines and establish a last-ditch holdout position against Ascalon's enemies. Kimmes the Historian, who chronicled these events, pondered about the king's decision to add specific civilians and families to bolster the Vanguard's forces on their trek south as it was unclear whether these additions were a sign of support from the king or an act to remove those questioning his rule from sight.[14]

Adelbern's efforts to keep Ascalon isolated and rely only on his troops proved futile, however. Ascalon City, the Ascalonian capital after Rin, eventually fell to the encroaching charr army in 1090 AE. Accounts of this conflict differ between human and charr records.[15]

In human accounts, Adelbern's forces fell to the charr, and Adelbern himself was left to fight the charr alone. He eventually fought his way to the Imperator of the Flame Legion, wielder of the Claw of the Khan-Ur. The Claw clashed with Magdaer, Adelbern's sword, and caused a spark of power that engulfed the land for leagues around. This event became known as the Foefire.

Adelbern unleashes the Foefire with Magdaer.

The charr accounts offered an alternate version of the events. Rather than fighting to the death, Adelbern's forces retreated from the city, leaving their king behind. In his rage and despair, Adelbern struck the ground with Magdaer, producing the immense burst of energy now referred to as the Foefire. The king used an ancient divine ritual with his inherited crown and the sword Magdaer to cast the Foefire. Following the destruction of Ascalon City, charr forces found the crown and toyed with it, losing it in the process as its fragments were scattered throughout Ascalon.[16]

Adelbern suffered the same fate as other Ascalonian ghosts due to the Foefire and became a ghost driven to fight the charr and any other opposing force on Ascalonian soil to the end of time or until the curse he cast can be lifted. According to a legend, the curse can only be lifted in a ritual performed by the current Ascalonian ruler from King Doric's lineage who wields Adelbern's crown and either Adelbern's sword Magdaer or its sister sword Sohothin which had been wielded by Prince Rurik.[17][18]

After successfully driving charr scavengers away from Ascalon City, Adelbern spent his time patrolling the ruins of his fallen capital and collecting various armors, weapons and artifacts which he stored into his royal vault underground as trophies. One of these valuables was the Claw of the Khan-Ur which had once been wielded by the Imperator of the Flame Legion himself who had perished in the Foefire.[19]

Mysterious maps of Ascalon City, with detailed accounts of the valuables in the royal treasury, were released in the wind in the decades to come, encouraging daring treasure hunters to explore the ghost-filled ruins.

Ghosts of Ascalon[edit]

In 1324 AE, an adventuring guild consisting of the humans Dougal Keane and Riona Grady, the charr Ember Doomforge, the norn Gullik Oddsson, the sylvari Killeen, and the asura Kranxx braved the dangers of Ascalon to retrieve the Claw of the Khan-Ur for General Almorra Soulkeeper of the Vigil. The general, Imperator Malice Swordshadow of the Ash Legion, and Queen Jennah of Kryta needed the Claw so they could use it to begin talks for a ceasefire between humans and the charr High Legions so that both races could focus their attention on the growing threat of the Elder Dragons.

Killeen died to the Branded on the way to Ascalon City Ruins, but the rest of the party managed to sneak into the ruins intact. However, they soon alerted the ghosts to their presence and would have perished if they had not been saved by Savione, the chief courtier of King Adelbern and the only friendly ghost in all of Ascalon due to having died moments before the Sorcerer-King had cast the Foefire curse.

The party learned that Savione had been responsible for the suspiciously detailed maps of Ascalon City and the royal vault as he had hoped that adventurers would help him have his revenge on Adelbern who had stabbed him when he had tried to stop the king from casting the Foefire curse. The courtier also revealed that the charr account of the events of the Foefire was closer to the truth and that Adelbern had cast the Foefire out of desperation and madness rather than facing the Flame Imperator in a duel.

With Savione's help, the party were able to decipher the clues of the Claw's current whereabouts in Adelbern's trap-filled vault and proceeded to secure it. When they believed Gullik to have perished to the ghosts, Riona convinced Ember to accompany Kranxx as a decoy to lure the ghosts away so Riona and Dougal could sneak into the king's treasure vault unnoticed. Although the distraction worked for a time, Adelbern eventually spotted the intruders. Dougal attempted to continue distracting the Sorcerer-King by truthfully stating that he was a descendant from an Ascalonian family, and then lying that he had come to the ruins on the behalf of Rurik. The treasure hunter's statements caught Adelbern off guard, but the ghost king quickly regained his composure when he remembered how Rurik had betrayed his trust in the past.

Before Adelbern could attack the party, however, he was distracted again when Savione appeared near him and renounced his position in the king's court. Angered, Adelbern pulled out a dagger from Savione's chest—a ghostly version of the weapon he had originally killed the courtier with—and sliced him in two. Releasing Savione from the weapon's hold, the Sorcerer-King unwittingly freed the ghostly courtier from his remaining burden, which allowed Savione to fade away into the Mists. The courtier had bought enough time for Dougal and Riona to slip away much to Adelbern's frustration.[20]

Despite the party's attempts to evade the ghosts, the Sorcerer-King eventually found them in the ruins. Adelbern summoned his spectral army to kill the trespassers, promising to forcibly recruit the party as his undead soldiers and then lead an invasion of the surface world so he would finally have his revenge against the charr invaders and any who sympathized with charr. For a time Dougal's party believed that Ember had perished as well when the ghosts closed in on them.

Before the Sorcerer-King could defeat the party with his magic, however, Kranxx arrived in the nick of time. The asura battled Adelbern and the ghost army with a massive golem made from the bones of Ascalon's long-dead soldiers and infused with the magic of the late inventor Blimm's ruby known as the Golem's Eye. Noticing the reanimating power of the ruby, Adelbern declared that he wanted that power for himself. Although Kranxx perished in the clash, he successfully managed to collapse Sunrise Tower and his golem on Adelbern, evaporating the Sorcerer-King for a time with the sheer mass of the golem and the city's architecture. The act granted the rest of Dougal's party valuable few moments to locate the Claw and flee from the ruins before the king and the rest of the ghosts would reform.[21]

Ultimately Dougal, Ember, and Gullik were the only survivors from the journey into Ascalon City after Riona's attempted act of treachery and subsequent death. However, they had successfully recovered the Claw of the Khan-Ur, which allowed charr and human politicians to begin talks of a ceasefire and set the stage for the signing of the Ebonhawke Treaty.

Personal story[edit]

By 1325 AE, Adelbern's ghostly form had reformed underground in the Ascalonian Catacombs and was preparing to take the fight to the surface. The arrival of an adventuring party, including Eir Stegalkin, Rytlock Brimstone and the Pact Commander, stirred Adelbern who came to greet them. At first the Sorcerer-King believed that his son Rurik had returned when he sensed the sword Sohothin's presence. However, he soon realized his error when the wielder of the sword turned out to be the charr Rytlock instead. Furious, Adelbern swore to make all charr pay for what they had done. He mocked the party's efforts, daring them to face his four champions who were already in later stages of preparing the ghostly army for the invasion of the land above.

The party proved to be better skilled than Adelbern had expected, however, when they successfully defeated the four champions and returned to the enraged king to claim Magdaer. Adelbern faced them in battle himself but was ultimately bested as well. Before disappearing, Adelbern's gave the party a dire warning about greater horrors lurking within the catacombs which the party's actions had unwittingly unleashed. Eir took Magdaer, which she intended to give to Logan Thackeray, champion of Queen Jennah, to mend his friendship with Rytlock, and announced that she would hand the sword over to a blacksmith to mend the sword's shattered pieces.



Combat abilities[edit]

  • Pulls Enemies Close
  • Summons Foefire

DefianceDefiance bar teal.png

When attempting to Launch.png Launch him, Adelbern will be knocked down instead of taking Defiance Bar Damage. This is due to his old fight mechanic, where players used stones to interrupt him while bypassing his Defiance.
Stolen skills



  • 1-2 random pieces of equipment of Masterwork rarity or above.
Name Type Rarity Quantity
Bag of Jewels.png Bag of Wondrous Goods Container Masterwork 1
Gilded Strongbox.png Gilded Strongbox Container Fine 1
Gilded Strongbox.png Gilded Strongbox Container Exotic 1


  • King Adelbern is voiced by Bob Joles.
  • King Adelbern has a striking similarity to Constantine XI Palaiologos, last Emperor of the East Roman Empire who likewise died at the ultimate fall of his realm's capital city. Legend has it that he never died and awaits under the earth to reconquer his lost city as "the Immortal Emperor".
  • Adelbern means "noble bear" in Old German.
  • "Adelbern's Ghost" from the Guild Wars 2 Original Soundtrack is named after him.

See also[edit]

Gwwlogo.png The Guild Wars Wiki has an article on King Adelbern.
Associated items


  1. ^ Chapter 21, Ghosts of Ascalon by Jeff Grubb and Matt Forbeck:
    "This is why we call him the Sorcerer-King." Ember nodded at Dougal and Riona. "He worked a spell as great as the Searing itself, and in a single blow denied the Flame Legion their ultimate victory and damned the humans of his own land. Before the night ended, not a single body in Ascalon still drew a breath. The Foefire that towered over this carnage remains to this day."
  2. ^ a b The Last Day Dawns
  3. ^ Historian Cerin
  4. ^ Bellicus
  5. ^ a b Opposition to the King
    Devona: It's sad. These Royalist fools oppose King Adelbern because he was not born into nobility. They forget it was Adelbern who saved us from the Guild Wars and the old king, Grenth Be Just, who nearly brought Ascalon to ruin. These Royalists hope to depose Adelbern and place Duke Barradin on the throne, but no one dares implicate the duke in their actions. I'd like you to go to Green Hills County and search for signs of support for the Royalists. Head north until you find a road to Green Hill County, and talk to at least three people there. Sound them out to see if they have Royalist sentiments. [...]
    Kasha Blackblood: Maybe you don't remember how Ascalon was before Adelbern. The crown peddled influence to guilds for the slightest show of coin. Who would wish for a thing like that to return? [...]
    Little Thom: You've got a lot of nerve talking about that here. It's true the duke was next in line when the royal family was assassinated, but he fully supported the crowning of Adelbern. Wasn't it the duke, after all, who appointed Adelbern commander of the army after the Battle of Rin? [...]
    Duke Barradin: It saddens me greatly to see people use my name and lineage to stir up trouble. Adelbern is a great king, and I see already in his son Rurik the markings of greatness. Disloyalty to Adelbern is nothing less than betrayal of Ascalon, but you were asking in a strictly theoretical sense, weren't you?
  6. ^ Prince Rurik: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow
  7. ^ Regent Valley Defense
    Lord Darrin: It's a relief to know that King's Watch is secure. Every king of Ascalon, including King Adelbern himself, was crowned on that location. It would be a shame to see it despoiled further. Now, we must finish what we started. Let's retake the Wall.
  8. ^ Ashford History: Duke Barradin
  9. ^ The King's Message
    Ambassador Zain: A message with the royal seal? Let's see. Honored Ambassador et cetera..."Your request for permission to enter the city and address the people of Ascalon is emphatically denied. This being the fourth such denial, His Majesty bids you reconsider this ill-conceived journey and contemplate a return to Kryta."
    Ambassador Zain: King Adelbern and I have learned very different lessons from the wars of past. Isolation is not the answer. Only in peace and mutual friendship shall we find our salvation. I still have hope that in time, he will realize the truth of this.
  10. ^ Helping the People of Ascalon
  11. ^ The Guild Wars Manuscripts,
  12. ^ War in Kryta dialogues
    Councilor Vaylor: Ascalon sends a single unit and calls that aid? Where is Evennia? Obviously she failed to clarify Kryta's needs, your highness.
    Captain Langmar: Ascalon has sent no one, yet. As I told Evennia, it is not the Ebon Vanguard's place to formalize such an alliance. She now travels to Ascalon to seek audience with King Adelbern. He decides where to send Ascalon's troops. [...]
    Captain Langmar: I have faith that Evennia's strong persuasive skills and the promise of support in our war against the Charr will sway King Adelbern in Kryta's favor.
    Captain Langmar: Until Ascalon joins in full force, you have our knowledge at your disposal.
    Princess Salma: I see. Then we accept your council for now, but hope that King Adelbern doesn't take too long to commit to alliance. Kryta will need more than this to win the war against her oppressors.
  13. ^ Open Letters
    Posted Message in Ascalon Settlement: My brothers and sisters from Ascalon, you know my history. I fought with you against the charr! I bled with you, I wept with you as the once-great country was consumed by the ravenous beasts. And this is not the first time the White Mantle aided Ascalon in their fight with the charr. Generations ago, Zain the Merciful brought food and clothing for your countrymen. What did the Shining Blade send? Assassins, who your king had hanged from Ascalon City! Join me, and the White Mantle will reclaim your home from the charr, and we shall form a grand human empire the likes of which has never been seen before! —Lord Caudecus Beetlestone
  14. ^ The Founding
  15. ^ The charr and human accounts of the conflict are described in Ghosts of Ascalon.
  16. ^ Plan of Attack
    Rytlock Brimstone: I've researched the ritual, and I learned a lot about Ascalonian history. This story began a thousand years ago, when this ritual was first formulated by the humans' gods—the Six.
    <Character name>: Please, go on.
    Rytlock Brimstone: The Six gave them magic. At the same time, they also gave one of them a magical crown and two magical swords to protect the kingdom.
    <Character name>: Sohothin and Magdaer. And King Adelbern had inherited the crown?
    Rytlock Brimstone: Exactly. The crown was designed to break into four parts. When the fragments are separated, they're hard to see. This was a safeguard to keep this powerful item from falling into the wrong hands.
    <Character name>: And the crown is required for the ritual?
    Rytlock Brimstone: It is. When Adelbern enacted the ritual with Magdaer, he became a ghost. But the crown was preserved and found by charr who entered the area later. They toyed with it, and the fragments were lost.
    <Character name>: And you found them?
    Rytlock Brimstone: I found one. I'm asking you to find the others. The fragments work like magnets to each other. Once you have one, you'll feel a pull towards the others.
    <Character name>: Even after all this time, you're sure they're here?
    Rytlock Brimstone: I'm hopeful. We need the crown to perform the ritual. Might as well assume they're there. [...]
    Rytlock Brimstone: It all hinges on Sohothin, my sword. There were originally two of them—Sohothin and another called Magdaer. They were given to the Ascalonians as protection against invasion. [...]
    Rytlock Brimstone: Irrelevant. Point is that its partner, Magdaer, is the sword Adelbern used to curse the Ascalonians. I've long suspected that Sohothin is the blade that can break the curse.
    <Character name>: Okay. So, how?
    Rytlock Brimstone: I've had my snout buried in scrolls and books at the Priory. One of the scholars there has been helping me tack together the history. I finally found a reference to the ritual.
    <Character name>: And you trust the source?
    Rytlock Brimstone: It's got an Orrian stamp on it, which makes it so old, it's got to be legitimate. In any case, I have to try. If it works, we'll be free.
  17. ^ Reunion with the Pact
    Logan Thackeray: So, he had Sohothin and the crown of the Ascalonian king who set the curse in the first place. I see why he thought it might actually work. The legend says only an heir...
    <Character name>: He also found what he thought were magical words.
    Logan Thackeray: But all of that wasn't enough. And now he's gone through a portal to gods know where. If it weren't Rytlock, I'd be more worried.
  18. ^ Return to Camp Resolve
    Logan Thackeray: For the ritual to be successful, it must be performed by the current Ascalonian ruler.
    <Character name>: Well, the Ascalon line is dead.
    Logan Thackeray: Prince Rurik may have had no children, but you're forgetting that all humans come from a single source. Both Krytan and Ascalonian royalty descended from King Doric.
  19. ^ "Chapter 24", Ghosts of Ascalon by Jeff Grubb and Matt Forbeck:
    "During the first few years of my...undeath, I thought I could gain my revenge on Adelbern. I created maps and notes describing the city and the treasures in the vault. I cast them loose on the winds and watched them carry beyond the battlements. My hopes were that someone would arrive and dispatch Adelbern's ghost. There were those who came, driven by avarice and promised gold, but the army of ghosts and the mad king repelled them. Eventually I ran out of ink and patience, and I abandoned the effort." [...]
    "I doubt we can slay a dead king," he said, "but we do seek one of his treasures. The weapon borne by the charr leader—an ungue set with gems. It is called the Claw of the Khan-Ur."
    Savione nodded. "I know of such a weapon. His Majesty stripped it from the corpse of the imperator who brought it here. For many years His Majesty prowled through the city, salvaging armor, weapons, and anything of value. He sealed it in the vault of the royal treasury."
  20. ^ "Chapter 25", Ghosts of Ascalon by Jeff Grubb and Matt Forbeck:
    Dougal knew that if they fled, Adelbern would just send more ghosts after him, and their whole plan would be destroyed. He needed to play for time. He dropped to one knee and hoped that Savione's story was true.
    "No, Your Majesty!" Dougal said. "I am Ascalonian by heritage, and I have come to seek your blessing!"
    This strange request took Adelbern back an instant, but his fury resurged. "The only thing of which I shall approve is your death!"
    "But, Your Majesty," he said, "I come here on behalf of your son, Prince Rurik!"
    This blatant lie brought the ghost up short. He stammered for a moment, suddenly distracted. "Rurik? My Son?" For a moment his face softened, but then it grew dark again. "Rurik is dead! To me, he died the moment he left Ascalon!"
    "Your son is dead, as you are." This voice came from atop the battlements. The king turned to see its source, and his face grew livid.
    "Savione!" he said. "You worthless wretch! How dare you enter my presence without my bidding?"
    "No, sire! These people are here to repair the damage that you've done! I won't let you hurt them!"
    "Stand aside and let me slay this foul beast now, Savione! In honor of your years of service, I will give you one last chance!"
    "Years!" Savione threw up his hands. "Try centuries! You killed me, and you still consider me to be in your service! Well, no more!"
    The courtier stared at his king and spoke in short, cold phrases. "I renounce my position in your court. There's nothing more you can take from me, Adelbern. You cannot hurt me."
    "So you think!" Adelbern reached forward and pulled the ghostly dagger from the courtier's chest. Then the mad king stepped forward and swung his blade at Savione. The ghostly servant did not move to avoid the blow, and the blade sliced through him, cutting him cleanly in two. [...]
    Adelbern turned away from the vanished shards of his former servant but found the staircase empty. Riona and Dougal were already lost among the shadowed buildings below.
    Behind them, the human pair heard Adelbern's cry of frustration over the rooftops.
  21. ^ "Chapter 25", Ghosts of Ascalon by Jeff Grubb and Matt Forbeck:
    "You have invaded my kingdom and threatened my people," said Adelbern, his long hair blown back by unseen breezes. "You are traitors to Ascalon and to humanity. I have found you guilty, and the verdict is death! Subjects! Carry out the—" [...]
    There was a huge thumping noise, as of a building filled with kettledrums collapsing, and Adelbern, the ghostly king of Ascalon, the Sorcerer-King who had struck fear in the hearts of the charr, turned, his face contorted in shock and awe.
    Above the line of buildings behind him arose a titanic figure, humanoid at the top and serpentine at the bottom, made entirely of bones and bone fragments. It was the same shape as the tomb guardian Dougal and the others had fled, the defender of Blimm's tomb. Except it was made of every bone in Ascalon City. [...]
    "You will join my kingdom!" exhorted Adelbern. "You and all the world of the living! I shall take you, and you will join my generals, and we will march on your cities and sweep them all from our path."
    "It'll be a cold day in Rata Sum!" snapped Kranxx, and the city guardian got taller now, reaching up to the overcast clouds.
    "I will command your power!" bellowed Adelbern, ghostly spittle flying from his lips.
    "I'll give you your wish!" answered Kranxx, his eyes as mad as the ghosts. "This is for Gullik! I will send you and your minions back beneath the earth!"
    And with that, the city guardian, made of all the mortal remains of the ghosts of Ascalon, lunged forward like an arcing cobra, its huge head and massive arms before it as it descended right onto Adelbern and his spire.
    "Command this, bookah!" shouted Kranxx. The late king barely had time to scream.
    And then the centuries-old remains of Ascalon City cascaded down onto the king in a tidal wave of bone. The ossified skeletons turned to dust as they hit, but they were relentless and eternal, and the rest of the body followed, pouring ton upon ton of disintegrating legs, arms, and skulls onto the king's bastion.
    It went on for what seemed to be several long minutes. And when it stopped, a huge fog bank of dust and death hung over the city. And there was no sign of ghosts, kings, or asura.