- This article is about the undead king. For the actor at the Garden of Seborhin, see Palawa Joko (actor).
Gods, dragons, nations—soon all will grovel at the feet of Palawa Joko!
— Palawa Joko
Palawa 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, 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 (originally composed of former Sunspears who abandoned their order and chose to join the forces of Palawa Joko).
Life and early years
It is not known who Palawa Joko was in life, although he claims to be the last of the Primeval Kings. Mad King Thorn's Lunatic Courtiers seem to suggest offhand that Palawa Joko and King Thorn knew each other in life. Which, if either, is accurate remains unknown.
The Scourge of Vabbi
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.
In 860 AE, Joko commanded hordes of undead followers raised from ancient tombs and invaded Vabbi, intent on conquering it and using its riches to make him even more powerful. He was defeated by the great Kournan hero Turai Ossa; however, he could not be killed. After the Battle of Jahai, members of Turai Ossa's elite guard formed the Order of Whispers. These great hunters used powerful magic to bind Joko within a great tomb, and eventually built a huge stone plinth commemorating the victory.
Return of the undead king
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 Wastes 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. Though being buried and bound for so long had cost Joko all of his power, the Sunspears allowed his 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 he regained some control of his army and retook the Bone Palace from Varesh's rear Vanguard.
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. Her new power was a boon to those who followed her. Sadly, 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.
Recordings left by the renowned golemancer Zinn hint that it was Joko or an agent of his that commissioned the golem N.O.X., which attempted to assassinate the leaders of the three great kingdoms of the world in an attempt to destablize those kingdoms. This suggests that Joko was actively working toward his conquest of Elona only a few short years after his release.
Conqueror of Elona
By 1093 AE, Palawa Joko had recuperated much of what remained of his forces. He had begun 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 was turned into an Awakened - the other Sunspears' fate remains unknown.
In 1135 AE, Palawa Joko put his true plan into motion. He began to spread lies across the nation, diminishing confidence in the Sunspears. Following this, he launched his invasion. Having learned from his past mistakes, he 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.
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. By 1175 AE, Elona had fallen to Joko's armies.
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. Joko 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. Along with this, he continued the defamation and destruction of the Sunspears, granting his new recruits prominent roles within his army. 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.
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. In doing this, the lich king had outlawed all accurate history books, and burned the Holdings of Chokhin to the ground. 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.
When Joko conquered Elona, Central Tyria had cut off all official contact and banned travel to the Crystal Desert and Elona. 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. 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 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.
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.
After Balthazar's death, Palawa Joko escaped the Domain of the Lost and returned to Elona. Upon his return, Joko had 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 Palawa 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 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.
- Act III
Joko defeats Turai Ossa at the Battle of Jahai.
Joko defeats Abaddon in the Realm of Torment.
Joko defeats Zhaitan in the Ruined City of Arah.
- When discussing who they would cast in a dream "movie-version" of Guild Wars Nightfall, ArenaNet would cast Christopher Walken as Palawa Joko.
- Joko is voiced by Nolan North.
- ^ The Departing
- ^ Open the Flood Gates of Death
- ^ The Goddess and the Scourge
- ^ Zinn's Recorder
- ^ Koss on Koss (Extended Edition)
- ^ a b c d e f The Movement of the World
- ^ Cavalier Scout Nuri
- ^ a b c d The Writings of the Last Spearmarshal
- ^ Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire—Road to the Desert
- ^ Protect the Priory explorer while he studies the academy's murals
- ^ The First City Spearmarshal Zaeim: Now, Joko's army uses dark magic that resembles the scarab plague to strike fear in his enemies.
- ^ Sparking the Flame
- ^ Guild Wars Insider: Interview with Ree Soesbee
- ^ Guild Chat Episode 56 - Crystal Desert History Lessons Peter Fries: What's kind of cool, speaking of Joko as well, is that Nolan North was the voice of Joko.