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Palawa Joko

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Disambig icon.png This article is about the undead king. For the actor at the Garden of Seborhin, see Palawa Joko (actor).
Spoiler alert: The following text contains spoilers relating to the story of Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire and Living World Season 4.

Gods, dragons, nations—soon all will grovel at the feet of Palawa Joko!

Palawa Joko

Palawa Ignacious Joko (also known as King Joko the Inevitable, the last Primeval King, Joko the Undying, the Scourge of Vabbi, Joko the Feared, Joko the Beloved, Joko the Transcendent, and Joko the Eternal Monarch of All) is a powerful undead lich who has built an empire situated within the southern reaches of the Crystal Desert. He is the current ruler of Elona, enforcing his rule with an Awakened undead army and the Mordant Crescent.

Biography[edit]

Life and early years[edit]

It is not known who Palawa Joko was in life, although he claims to be the last of the Primeval Kings.[1] Mad King Thorn's Lunatic Courtiers seem to suggest offhand that Palawa Joko and King Thorn knew each other in life. Joko himself claims that the fig leaf was in style when he died for the first time, suggesting ancient origins.[2] Which, if any, is accurate remains unknown.

The Scourge of Vabbi[edit]

The earliest known mention of Joko is in 757 AE, when he constructed the Bone Palace in the Desolation, a sulfurous wasteland where only demons and the undead could survive. In these early years, Joko feuded with Mad King Thorn of Kryta, with some squabbles nearly escalating into a full-scale war.[3]

In 860 AE, Joko commanded hordes of Awakened followers raised from ancient tombs and made his move to expand his territory. Intent on conquering Vabbi and using its riches to make himself even more powerful, he cautiously infiltrated the unsuspecting province through the Vehjin Mines and caught Vabbian defenders by surprise. With lightning-fast raids, Joko captured wealthy estates, driving his enemies before him. His victories earned him the sobriquet Scourge of Vabbi.

With Vabbi under his control, Joko began a ruthless and systematic conquest of the rest of the nation, piece by piece. A unified Elona might have stopped him there, but the princes of Vabbi hid, and the Istani Sunspears proved too few and too divided to halt the lich's relentless assault. Over many months, Joko drove back the armies of Elona, growing stronger with each victory. He proclaimed himself the nation's sovereign, beginning an era of tyranny and oppression. Within two years, the Kournan army had been reduced to a struggling rebellion, an alliance of fugitives led by a single renegade warmarshal: Turai Ossa.

Battle of Jahai[edit]

King Joko and Warmarshal Ossa duel above the Battle of Jahai.

Using the desperate tactics of hit-and-run warfare, Warmarshal Turai hunted Joko's army wherever possible, but his forces were eventually surrounded near the Grand Cataract of Jahai, where they prepared to make their final stand against Joko's army which consisted of Awakened and corsair mercenaries. Turai's scouts learned that Joko had insufficiently garrisoned his flank in his hurry to crush the resistance, however, and Turai believed a small but powerful group might be able to fight its way through and slay the lich while the rest of the army held the line against the Awakened horde.

The resulting Battle of Jahai lasted for days; each time night fell, the battleground remained unchanged, as neither army gave ground to the other. Turai's squad was ultimately able to reach Joko's camp just in time to witness the lich gloating about his impending victory. Playing to Joko's vanity, Turai challenged him to single combat. The lich could not resist the urge to fell the Warmarshal personally, and the two leaders faced off high above the warring armies. There, in full view of their respective followers, Turai bested Joko, and the undead lord fell from his lofty height. On the plains below, the resolve of the unliving hordes wavered and broke. Turai's forces cheered at the defeat of the enemy leader as they cut down the fleeing undead legions.

Though beaten, Joko could not be slain. Turai's bodyguards used powerful magic to bind the lich within a great tomb, and eventually built a huge stone plinth commemorating the victory while forming the Order of Whispers to watch over the tomb. There, Joko would lie forgotten, trapped with his hatred and weakness.[4] As centuries passed, however, Joko's legend would live on, and many villainous individuals attempted to commune with the spirit of the Scourge of Vabbi.[5]

Return of the undead king[edit]

Centuries later, Turai Ossa's descendant, Warmarshal Varesh Ossa, attempted to summon the dark god Abaddon and bring about Nightfall. The weakening of reality freed Joko, who fled to the Sulfurous Wastelands after being disturbed by Spearmarshal Kormir of the Order of the Sunspears, who had dreamed that the Sunspears must travel to the monument to Joko's defeat to see what awaited them there. Being buried and bound for so long had cost Joko all of his power, however, so he was easily caught by the Veldrunner centaurs shortly after his attempted escape.

The centaurs' Sunspear companions promised the lich freedom in exchange for knowledge on how mortals could traverse the Desolation. Joko revealed that this was possible using great Junundu wurms, and with the help of the Sunspears and heroes he regained some control of his army and retook the Bone Palace from Varesh's rear Vanguard. With his base of operations secure, the lich focused his efforts on crushing the remaining rebellious Awakened generals and reuniting his scattered army under his banner.

Kormir's rise to godhood upon the defeat of Abaddon was a blessing to the Sunspears and a beacon of hope to people across Tyria. Although her new power was a boon to those who followed her, it also ignited a jealousy that would lead to the downfall of the Order of the Sunspears. Ever an enemy, Palawa Joko's resolve to wipe them out intensified. Ruining the Sunspears, whose Spearmarshal had reached such great heights, would bolster Joko's ego and help secure his position as a true threat to Elona.[6]

Recordings left by the renowned asuran golemancer Zinn hint that it was Joko or an agent of his that commissioned the golems N.O.X., P.O.X., and R.O.X., which attempted to assassinate the leaders of the great human kingdoms of the world—Emperor Kisu of Cantha, Princess Salma of Kryta, and Princes Ahmtur, Bokka and Mehtu of Vabbi—in order to destablize those kingdoms.[7][8][9] This suggests that Joko was actively working toward his conquest of Elona only a few short years after his release.

Conqueror of Elona[edit]

By 1093 AE, Palawa Joko had recuperated much of what remained of his forces. He began sending raiding parties into the borders of Vabbi, abducting citizens to further grow his army. Despite this, the Vabbian princes had refrained from acting out against Joko, while the Order of the Sunspears, still undermanned after the Battle of Gandara, only patrolled the borders, believing Joko would remain content to stay in the Desolation. By the end of the year, Koss Dejarin and Lonai, two famed Sunspears from the war against Abaddon, had mustered a group to confront Joko at the Bone Palace. The assault failed, and Koss and Lonai were turned into Awakened—the other Sunspears' fate remains unknown.[10]

In 1135 AE, Palawa Joko put his true plan into motion.[11] He began to spread lies across the nation, diminishing confidence in the Sunspears.[12] Following this, he launched his invasion. Having learned from his past mistakes, Joko dammed and diverted the Elon River, which both supplied his desolate domain with precious water and simultaneously deprived Kourna and Vabbi of that same resource. His forces burned crops and salted the soil, furthering the provinces' inability to grow food. At the same time, his forces began to place bounties on the Sunspears, and the people, starved and disillusioned, began to seek the bounties out. Many Sunspears, fearing being villainized by the people they had sworn to protect, or enticed by Joko's offers of power and riches, betrayed the Order and became the first of the Mordant Crescent.[13]

Starved and faced with a devastating drought and famine, the people of Vabbi and northern Kourna rebelled against their leaders, comfortably allowing Joko to crush any Elonian resistance. Vabbi surrendered in desperation, while Kourna and the Isle of Istan later became vassal states to the undead lord who subsequently renamed the Istani capital of Kamadan as Palawadan, Jewel of Istan in his honor.[13] By 1175 AE, Elona had fallen to Joko's armies.[14] During this time Joko's forces hunted down and enslaved local centaurs, using them as work force. The lich king killed many enslaved centaurs to further his experiments in bone manipulation, and ultimately used their bones to expand the Bone Palace.[15]

With his position secure, Joko found and crippled Tahlkora, the last Spearmarshal of the Sunspears, by taking out her tongue and hands as he wanted to stop her rebellious writings without turning her into a martyr for the remaining Sunspears to rally behind. When Tahlkora continued her defiance, the lich had her brought before him and resorted to killing and Awakening her so he could control her that way. However, much to both Joko and Tahlkora's surprise, the Awakened Tahlkora did not succumb to Joko's will unlike other Awakened before her. In frustration, Joko took away all but the tiniest spark of Awakening from Tahlkora and left the Spearmarshal's trapped spirit within her immobile Awakened body to rot on the remote Yahnur Plateau.

Founding an Empire[edit]

Statue of Palawa Joko in front of the Necropolis.

After conquering Elona, Joko forced tributes and loyalty from the Elonians, training them to accept him as the rightful ruler of Elona and promising wealth and fortune to those who joined his forces, with the ultimate honor being an eternity of servitude in undeath. The lich king had a harem of both men and women of various races in the Forbidden Vault, demanding their hand in marriage in exchange for protecting their respective communities; some of these betrothed joined the harem out of obligation while others were tricked or sold there.[16][17] Joko also had all of the Ossa bloodline brought to him, creating a living army to rival his undead one, and took pleasure in the irony of their servitude.[13]

Along with this, Joko continued the defamation and destruction of the Sunspears, granting his new recruits prominent roles within his army.[13][12] Those who did not betray their vows were killed and recruited into the Mordant Crescent all the same as undead, and the Sunspears were scattered to the winds, leaving the survivors to travel as secretive hermits.

To bolster his already big ego and cement his position in Elona in order to elevate himself above the Sunspears and the former rulers of the three provinces, the lich king commissioned architects to build several statues in his honor throughout his united kingdom, the most grandiose being the Colossus of Palawadan in Istan, the Great Palawa Joko Monument in Vabbi, and the Triumph of Palawa Joko in the Elon Riverlands.

With his conquest over Elona completed, Joko began rewriting history books, declaring that he had gifted magic to the races (including sylvari, when they were discovered), defeated Turai Ossa rather than the other way around, and even defeated Abaddon and took his power.[18] In doing this, the lich king had outlawed all accurate history books, and burned the Holdings of Chokhin to the ground.[12] All places of learning became heavily monitored by the Awakened, especially in Vabbi. This false history was spread across Elona as full out truth, and those claiming otherwise were branded as heretics and traitors. Any who did not support the "god-king of Elona, the Crystal Desert, and all their environs" were exiled to prison farms, if not outright killed and, sometimes, Awakened into forced servitude.

At an unknown point in time, Joko had also developed new necromantic magic, which is why he had become so uniquely powerful. He was subtle about this new magic at first, but eventually his greed overcame him and he began to teach these practices to other necromancers, dubbing them scourges after himself. However, these necromancers realized the intention of these teachings and the exploiting of souls it would lead to, and rebelled against him so as to not further Elona's desecration. Some scourges remained in Elona with the intention of using Joko's own teachings against him, and took his teachings even further. Joko also showed interest in the Scarab Plague of the past, and he and his army used dark magic resembling it to frighten their opposition.[19]

When Joko conquered Elona, Central Tyria had cut off all official contact and banned travel to the Crystal Desert and Elona.[20] Despite this, some small groups as well as the Durmand Priory had managed excursions into the Crystal Desert, and those who knew of the Order of Whispers knew that they retained access to Elona as well.[21][22][23] Refugees would occasionally manage to escape Elona and reach Central Tyria, though the last group of such refugees had arrived around 1275 AE. With the rise of the Elder Dragon Zhaitan and, more recently, Kralkatorrik, contact with Elona was further cut off, and the Desert Gate, the main land route into the Crystal Desert from Ascalon was sealed by order of Queen Jennah.

Path of Fire[edit]

After the deaths of Zhaitan and Mordremoth, Kralkatorrik flew south to Vabbi. In 1330 AE, the rogue god Balthazar returned to the world in order to defeat the Elder Dragons and take their power. The ensuing chaos allowed Elonians to flee as far as Kryta for the first time in at least 50 years, with many disillusioned defectors attempting to escape north to the Free City of Amnoon and beyond.

The re-establishment of contact with Elona revealed how much control Joko exerted over his kingdom. Joko's northern domain had become enclosed by the Bone Wall with only the work farms along the Elon (where prisoners and exiles were sent) remaining outside. Even those loyal to Joko's regime could end up in these farms if Joko's whims demanded it, though many offered themselves or their loved ones as concubines in the hope of sparing their families.

The spread of propaganda promoting Joko as a god-king had furthered during the later years of his reign, expanding to Joko being the source behind not just Zhaitan's death, but Mordremoth's as well. The people of Elona were taught to honor the act of being Awakened, and to see it as their duty to yearn for such a "gloried" position. Citizens of Vabbi, perhaps all of Elona, were subject to continuous announcements by the Awakened Affirmation System promoting King Joko's ideals, teachings, and wants of the people, furthering to aid the brainwashing of the nation.

Balthazar approached Joko to find souls for his Forged army. In exchange for a share of the new recruits, Joko agreed. Together, they journeyed to the hidden city of Kesho to learn the Forgotten's magic of binding souls to armor, and then Joko guided Balthazar to the Domain of the Lost where those who had died traumatic deaths and forgotten themselves ended up before they could move on to their rightful resting place. Instead of fulfilling his end of the deal, however, Balthazar imprisoned the lich king in a cell in the Domain of the Lost with magic too strong for even Grenth's Judge to break.

When the Pact Commander arrived in the Domain of the Lost, Joko tried to bargain with them, pointing out that it would not be possible to defeat the Forged without the help of his Awakened army. The Commander refused the bargain and hatched a plan to seize control of Joko's army, who followed the Mordant Crescent in Joko's absence. Joko was last seen imprisoned in the Domain of the Lost, swearing to take revenge on those who had put him there, who had left him there, and who had dared take advantage of his absence.

Living World Season 4[edit]

After Balthazar's death, Palawa Joko escaped the Domain of the Lost and returned to Elona. He was initially angry at the Pact Commander for leaving him behind and deceiving the Awakened army to fight at Kodash Bazaar, and turned more serious as a result while plotting his revenge.[24] Upon his return, the lich king placed a bounty on the Pact Commander, though those who knew of Joko's imprisonment believed him to be an impostor. It was not until the Commander heard Joko's own voice over Taimi's communication device that Dragon's Watch finally believed Joko's return to be truth. Joko's propaganda had also furthered to proclaim that he was the one to defeat Balthazar atop Kodash Bazaar.

As the Commander traversed the Domain of Istan aiding Spearmarshal Zaeim's Sunspear rebellion, Joko kidnapped Taimi and brought her to Fahranur, the First City of the Primeval Kings where an ancient Rata Novan lab was. At an unknown point in time, the Inquest had discovered this lab which had been subsequently overrun by the Awakened. However, Joko did not have the knowledge to access the full lab. For this, he interrogated Taimi, threatening her with being made an Awakened to get her compliance.

With full access to the lab, Joko began a full-scale invasion on Central Tyria through the asura gates in Fahranur and another Elonian Inquest lab which did not need an exit gate at the destination (much like the Inquest's prototype Gate Keno Decca Five). To justify Elona's act of aggression against Tyria, Joko used the Commander's trickery over using his Awakened army against Balthazar in Kodash as a declaration of war.

With Taimi having outlived her usefulness, Joko had Awakened Inquest lock her into Scruffy 2.0 and disable the golem's controls, intending for Taimi to suffocate inside while forcing the Commander to fight against the reprogrammed golem and watch her die an agonizing death. By the time the Commander's party reached the city and saved Taimi from the death trap, Joko and a mysterious figure had left Fahranur for an unknown destination.

While the destruction of the Fahranur gates did slow down Joko's assault, he had found yet another gate hub in Rata Primus to launch his attacks. However, the gate hub was not his primary reason for assaulting the massive Inquest base. Instead, Joko was looking to obtain their research on the Scarab Plague. He was personally on hand to collect the research in 1331 AE and, in an uncharacteristic move, chose not to gloat. Instead Joko made the Pact Commander's party watch his hasty departure with the plague samples, which he intended to unleash on Central Tyria, and left Commander Lonai, the mysterious figure from Fahranur, behind to finish the party off.

Location[edit]

The Mists

Story involvement[edit]

Path of Fire story[edit]

Living World Season 4[edit]

Related achievements[edit]

Gallery[edit]

Notes[edit]

  • Unlike in the rest of his Elonian empire where public announcements come from the Awakened Affirmation System, Joko addresses his subjects directly in the Domain of Kourna via big and small statues of himself which have been spread throughout the settlements there.

Trivia[edit]

  • Attempting to speak with Joko in the Twilight Oasis fractal results in the player getting downed.
  • "Praise Joko" is an often used saying among Joko's Elonian subjects and has become a widely used meme among both developers and the player community.
  • Joko's full name is only ever mentioned once by himself.[25]
  • Palawa is a name for Aboriginal Tasmanians, and Jok is a spirit of illness among Acoli belief.
  • When discussing who they would cast in a dream "movie-version" of Guild Wars Nightfall, ArenaNet would cast Christopher Walken as Palawa Joko.[26]
  • Joko has his own leitmotif, called "Joko's Theme", which was composed by Maclaine Diemer.
  • Joko is voiced by Nolan North.[27]
  • In the Long Live the Lich episode, the motion capture for Joko was done by Richard Sloniker.[28]

See also[edit]

Gwwlogo.png The Guild Wars Wiki has an article on Palawa Joko.
Associated items

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Departing Prisoner: I am King Joko the Inevitable, the last Primeval King, Joko the Undying, the Scourge of Vabbi.
  2. ^ a b Dialogue upon interacting with the Statue of Joko at Ntouka Pond after finishing Be My Guest
  3. ^ Open the Flood Gates of Death
  4. ^ Turai's Story
  5. ^ Guild Wars Nightfall Manual, pg. 32, 42, GuildWars.com
  6. ^ The Goddess and the Scourge
  7. ^ Zinn's Recorder
  8. ^ Zinn's Task
  9. ^ Golem User Manual
  10. ^ Koss on Koss (Extended Edition)
  11. ^ Cavalier Scout Nuri
  12. ^ a b c The Writings of the Last Spearmarshal
  13. ^ a b c d The Movement of the World: Elona
  14. ^ Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire—Road to the Desert
  15. ^ Palace of Bones: The Centaur Tragedy
  16. ^ Betrothed Noble
  17. ^ Betrothed Ogre
  18. ^ Protect the Priory explorer while he studies the academy's murals
  19. ^ The First City Spearmarshal Zaeim: Now, Joko's army uses dark magic that resembles the scarab plague to strike fear in his enemies.
  20. ^ Sparking the Flame
    First Mate Fidus Foecrush: Our navigational charts didn't say nothing about gigantic pyramids. Didn't think our info was so out-of-date.
    <Character name>: It's been hard for cartographers to keep up. This entire region has been in lockdown since Palawa Joko took over.
  21. ^ The Heart of Nightmare
    <Character name>: Have you traveled to many places?
    Aife: Oh, yes—Lion's Arch, the Maguuma Wastes, the great desert...the world is wider than you can dream, Valiant.
  22. ^ Secrets in the Earth
    Iowerth: The Priory does a great deal of research into ancient forms of magic, and this ritual was a real find.
    Iowerth: One of our explorers discovered it while tomb-raiding in the Crystal Desert. I tell you, one learns the most amazing things as part of the Durmand Priory.
  23. ^ Agent Alloa
  24. ^ a b c Comment by Jessica Price, Reddit.com
  25. ^ Be My Guest Palawa Joko: Once you're gone, everyone will flock to my embrace. They will all love ME—Palawa Ignacious Joko!
  26. ^ Guild Wars Insider: Interview with Ree Soesbee
  27. ^ Guild Chat Episode 56 - Crystal Desert History Lessons Peter Fries: Nolan North was the voice of Joko.
  28. ^ Comment by Eve Eschenbacher, Reddit.com
  29. ^ Comment by Jessica Price, Reddit.com