Path of Fire story
How do you stop a rogue god? Balthazar, one of the Six Human Gods, has returned, but with no noble deeds in mind: he intends to slay the Elder Dragons to take their power for himself. Having been denied the magic of Jormag and Primordus, the God of War has led an army of fanatical followers to the Crystal Desert to hunt down the only viable target left: Kralkatorrik, the Elder Crystal Dragon. While humanity struggles with the sudden return of one of their patron gods, the Pact Commander goes after Balthazar to stop him before the god's ruthless crusade can upset the delicate balance of magic in Tyria and lead to the end of the world. So begins the story of Guild Wars 2's second expansion pack: Path of Fire!
A note about spoilers: a brief summary aside, this article assumes a basic knowledge of the plot of Living World Season 3 and the stories before it. Since the story of Path of Fire begins in 1330 AE, and the Personal story takes place in 1325 AE, it is likely that this article will contain spoilers as story threads that began in the previous storylines may be continued with the expansion.
Path of Fire was released on September 22nd, 2017.
The direct threats posed by the Elder Dragons Jormag and Primordus have abated, with both dragons once again asleep and inactive. The White Mantle is broken, and Lazarus the Dire, last of the Mursaat, is truly dead, at last. However, research into the magical energies of the world and the Elder Dragons has suggested that, with two Elder Dragons dead, if a third were to die, the world would be destroyed from the overload of magical energy. In the moments after Lazarus's death, the Eye of Janthir revealed that Balthazar was establishing a presence in the Crystal Desert, intent on slaying Kralkatorrik. And so the Commander and Dragon's Watch travel south to the desert, to, of all things, save the Elder Dragon that broke Destiny's Edge.
The story of Path of Fire covers five new open world zones.
- Aurene — The second scion of Glint who has chosen the Pact Commander as her champion. She resides in the safety of Tarir, the Forgotten City under the care of the Exalted and is an integral part of a plan known as Glint's Legacy to ensure a brighter future for Tyria.
- Canach — A prickly Secondborn sylvari who finally has a chance to enjoy his freedom after having served his sentence under Countess Anise. He finds himself drawn to the conflicts in the Crystal Desert and lends a hand to the Commander once more.
- Lady Kasmeer Meade — Having regained her status as a noble, she acts as an envoy of Divinity's Reach. Her relationship with Marjory Delaqua has been troubled lately, and the treacherous actions of one of the Six whom she has worshipped have not made things any easier for her. She intends to find answers to Balthazar's rampage while coming to terms with her crisis of faith.
- Rytlock Brimstone — Tribune of the Blood Legion, he continues to be reluctant to divulge information about what has been going on with him lately. He travels to the Crystal Desert to fight Balthazar while coming to terms with the fact that by doing so he will have to protect Kralkatorrik, the very Elder Dragon whose actions cost the lives of two of his friends and led to the disbanding of Destiny's Edge many years prior.
- Taimi — An asuran progeny working with the Commander. She remains in her research lab in Rata Novus and aids the commander via long-distance communicator at signal spots throughout the desert.
- Archon Iberu — A high ranking member of the Mordant Crescent, he works to maintain and extend Joko's influence throughout the region.
- Grand Vizier Utumishi — The highest ranked human of King Palawa Joko I's empire, he has domain over non-military matters of the empire and works out of the Bone Palace.
- Palawa Joko — A powerful undead lich who has conquered Elona and rules over it with an iron grip. Master of the Awakened and the Mordant Crescent, he will stop at nothing to hunt down all remaining Sunspears who had once defied him so none can challenge him again. However, rumors have spread that Joko has disappeared shortly after Balthazar's arrival in the desert.
- Josso Essher — One of the leaders of the Forgotten in service to Glint. He led an assault on the Elder Crystal Dragon in hopes of cleansing it, but he and his forces were corrupted in turn. Now he stands vigil over Augury Rock.
- Kralkatorrik — The Elder Dragon with dominion over crystal. After slaying the benevolent dragon prophet Glint and the asuran genius Snaff in a battle against Destiny's Edge many years prior, he has marked many territories in the Crystal Desert as his own and grown an army of Branded minions to enact his will. Just before the events of Path of Fire, he has been empowered by the deaths of the Elder Dragons Zhaitan and Mordremoth and flown further south to the Domain of Vabbi.
- Balthazar — One of the Six Human Gods, he has gone rogue and intends to grow in power to have his revenge on the ones who have "dimmed his light" no matter the cost to the world of Tyria. He has set his eyes on the magic of the Elder Dragons, the closest and most viable target currently being Kralkatorrik. His forces consist of both his fanatical followers such as the Zaishen Order as well as the Forged, an army of constructed minions.
- Herald of Balthazar — The highest ranking member of the Forged and right hand of Balthazar, she leads the Forged in searching for what Balthazar needs to take down Kralkatorrik. She has set her sights on the Commander, believing that such a hero could aid Balthazar in hunting down the dragons either as a willing ally...or an enslaved thrall.
- Chief Councilor Imann — Head of the council in the Free City of Amnoon, she tries to protect the interests of her people and keep the city safe from those who would wish it harm.
- Zalambur — A well-known businessman and socialiate who runs the Grand Sahil Casino in Amnoon, he is rumored to have ties to the Hamaseen criminal organization.
- Captain Ellen Kiel — A member of the Captain's Council in Lion's Arch, as Elonian refugees arrive at her city, Kiel lends her ship and Lionguard to aid the Pact Commander in the new conflict.
Travel to the Crystal Desert and confront the rampaging war god Balthazar.
— Story Journal before activating the story.
Following the realization that Balthazar has moved to the Crystal Desert, the conflicts there cause refugees to flee to Lion's Arch. Queen Jennah dispatched a delegation to Elona to help out. Captain Kiel reaches out to the Commander, intent on sending Dragon's Watch along with aid to Elona. When the Commander arrives alone, Kiel admits her doubts about sending one person against a god of war, but grants them passage to Elona on her airship, the Phoenix Dawn. While speaking with Deputy Turma nearby, the Commander learned that Kiel and Magnus were not working with the full council on the aid to Elona.
The Commander joined First Mate Fidus Foecrush at the airship and traveled with them to Elona across the ocean. While approaching the main city, the team made a stop to investigate smoke rising from a nearby pyramid. The Commander accompanied the team inside the pyramid where they discovered Forged attacking villagers. Once the Forged were defeated, Balthazar's Herald arrived. She welcomed the Commander and presented an offer. Balthazar would forgive the Commander for interfering with Jormag and Primordus, if they instead join him to kill Kralkatorrik. The Commander rebuffed Balthazar's offer, calling him a liar. Angered, the Herald killed all the remaining villagers, saying that each death only strengthens Balthazar's army. Once all the villagers were dead she left and the Commander chased after her, ordering the rest of the team to remain behind and protect survivors sent their way.
The Commander confronted the Herald near Seeker's Village. She taunted the Commander, revealing that the choice to be the Herald was forced upon her. She then continued to the village where the Forged had set fire to the buildings. After defeating the Forged, the Herald left through the nearby mines and closed the gate behind her. The villagers, led by Tasa and Aksim, asked for help to save the remaining villagers and stop their homes from being destroyed by the fire. Aided by the raptors in the village, the Commander rescued the villagers, who gave them one of their raptors. The gate was fixed and the Commander pursued the Herald while learning to handle the raptor. The Herald had disappeared though, and the Commander was instead directed by the miners in Talatat Quarry to the Free City of Amnoon, where refugees were fleeing.
When the Commander arrived at the gates of Amnoon, Captain Rahim stopped and spoke with them until Lady Kasmeer Meade and Rytlock arrived. As part of the human delegation, Kasmeer vouched for the Commander and confirmed access to Amnoon. Rytlock continued to avoid questions about what happened in the Mists, but had given a report to the citadel, and Kasmeer expressed her fear about confronting one of the gods she had grown up worshipping. After catching up with them, the Commander entered Amnoon and headed to the Amnoon Cavalier Station to speak again with Rahim.
Captain Rahim recognized that the Commander was there for Balthazar, and gave three leads to investigate for information: the Chief Councilor for information on the area, Deputy Ayoub at a refugee camp for help with information from the refugees, and Deputy Qais at the casino who might have leads into the local smugglers known as the Hamaseen.
The Commander sought out Deputy Qais who pointed them towards Zalambur for information regarding the Hamaseen. In Zalambur's Office, located in his casino, Zalambur revealed he knew who the Commander was, but before they could discuss more they were interrupted by the arrival of Archon Iberu of the Mordant Crescent. Iberu had heard Zalambur had been speaking against Joko, and as punishment (or intimidation), killed his security guard before commanding his Awakened to destroy the casino. Then Commander intervened and fought off the Awakened as Iberu left. Zalambur lamented that the Mordant Crescent now opposed him, and promised to provide any information he could to the Commander for the help.
When the Commander arrived at Chief Councilor Imann's office, it was learned that the city was surrounded by Balthazar's Forged troops nearby. The city considering allying themselves with others for aid, but were at an impasse on which they should choose. Representatives from the Mordant Crescent, corrupted former members of the Sunspears, had arrived offering aid, but it would require allying themselves with Palawa Joko, a powerful undead Lich. Another option was allying with Kormir's priesthood and the remaining Sunspears, ancient guardians of Elona who may bring hope to the citizens, but doing so would incur Joko's wrath. A final option was to remain independent as before, and step up recruitment of cavaliers to protect Amnoon. The councilors were deadlocked, each preferring a different option, so the Chief Councilor asked the Commander to provide counsel on which would be best.
With Rytlock preferring independence and Kasmeer preferring the Sunspears, the Commander discussed the options with the councilors. Afterwards, the Commander put their weight behind one of the options, which swayed the Chief Councilor to choose it over the others. Kasmeer pulled the Commander aside and spoke to them about why she supported Kormir and how Balthazar's goals may be noble even if his path was not.
Outside the city, the Commander found Deputy Ayoub in the refugee camp. Realizing that the refugees would be more willing to talk if they weren't hungry and scared, the Commander helped distribute food, water, and medicine to those who needed it, and drove off Zaishen and pests in the tents. The refugees were more talkative after, and the Commander listened to their stories. They had fled their homes, and many barely escaped being slaughtered by Forged as others died around them. One refugee informed the Commander that a dragon named Vlast had swooped in and saved them. Vlast was revealed to be the first scion of Glint, and brother of Aurene.
After gathering all of this information, the Commander found a suitably high location and reached out to Taimi. She was excited to learn the news of Vlast, and informed the Commander that she was downloading all the dragon lab info into Scruffy so she can leave. A letter was received from Zalambur informing the Commander that he had some information. The Commander, joined by Kasmeer and Rytlock, and discovered Canach in the casino who joined up with them. Zalambur informed the Commander that Balthazar was not chasing Kralkatorrik, but instead was hunting down Vlast for unknown reasons. Balthazar also made appearances at the Forged camps to rally his troops. The Commander determined that might be where they could catch Balthazar, and made plans with the guild to visit one of them. Canach and Rytlock volunteered to scout the main camp, while Kasmeer left to attend to something, leaving the Commander on their own.
The Commander returned to Captain Rahim who identified two small camps outside the city walls, to the north and to the east. The Commander traveled to each camp. In the northern camp, the Commander sabotaged Forged cannon emplacements, while in the eastern camp they instead gathered intelligence. They was learned that the Forged wear armor built to withstand fire, had built equipment to fit a large machine, and were collecting Brand shards for some unknown purpose. Having put a dent in the Forged forces, but not finding any info on Balthazar, the Commander headed to the Forged Foothold to meet with Rytlock and Canach.
Upon arriving, the three began their assault on the camp. The team had to contend with several Forged, and quickly defeat sentries to keep their approach undetected, while they made their way through the camp. Along the way, the Commander discovered strange scrolls from the Herald to the Forged soldiers. As they approached the inner gates, the team ran into Forged Officers. The Commander decided that if Balthazar wasn't there they should send a message by defeating all of the officers in that camp, a sentiment that Canach and Rytlock approved of doing. The team broke into the central area and defeated the officers and several Forged, before being confronted by a powerful Forged Bastion. Fighting through the reinforcements summoned by the powerful artillery unit, the team defeated the Bastion and moved on to the Temple of Kormir to meet up with Kasmeer.
When the team reached the Temple, they found Kasmeer there praying to Kormir for guidance. The temple held many refugees hiding from the conflicts. Kasmeer began to speak with the Commander on the events at the Forged camp when they were interrupted by a strange robed man who knew of the Commander and the search for Vlast. Speaking in private, the man introduced himself as Kito of the Order of Shadows, a group that splintered off from the Order of Whispers long ago. Before they could speak further, however, they were interrupted by the Herald of Balthazar who arrived to respond to the Commander's attack on the camp. After fighting for a short time, the Herald began attacking the refugees hiding in the temple. The Commander, remembering how the Herald had done the same on their first meeting, helped bring the refugees out of the line of fire and to safety. As the Herald came close to being defeated, she set fire to the temple and escaped. On Kasmeer's plea, the Commander broke off their chase and helped the priests to stop the blaze. Afterward, Kasmeer voiced her incredulity at the Herald's power and willingness to hurt innocents. Kito informed the Commander that the Order wants to work with them as they have similar goals, and to meet up at Makali Outpost to begin tracking the Herald.
The Commander headed north to the outpost, but found it under attack by Forged. Kito was focusing on getting the residents to safety, and informed Dragon's Watch that Balthazar was supposed to be in the area. The Commander led their team outside of the outpost and into the battlefield to fight the Forged and find Balthazar or Vlast or both. The guild discovered several spots of golden, Brand-like spikes and craters, which they determined was from Vlast as they looked like the Brand but was not corrupted. As they headed towards a plateau, Vlast's roar could be heard, and the team ascended to the top to find Balthazar and his Herald cornering Vlast. The Herald confronted the Commander, once again asking if they will accept Balthazar's offer before attacking again. During the fight, the Herald revealed that she had once resisted Balthazar's control but failed due to the pain. The Commander won the fight, but the Herald seemed to come to her senses at the end and before she died she pleaded with the Commander to kill her god.
On top of the plateau the Commander confronted Balthazar, who had captured and restrained Vlast, telling him continuing would force them to treat the god of war as the enemy. Balthazar dismissed them, but called Rytlock friend and said that he alone would be spared, confusing the Commander. The battle was short, but before Balthazar could strike down the Commander, Vlast somehow broke free and blocked the attack, killing him. As Balthazar retrieved his sword, Vlast turned to crystal and exploded.
Dragon's Watch awoke surrounded by the crystalline remains of Vlast, with Balthazar nowhere to be found. The Commander confronted Rytlock about being called "friend". Rytlock believed he had met Balthazar before, while he was searching for Sohothin in the Mists. Rytlock had finally located the sword, but the flames had gone out. He had found an old man chained nearby, who said he could reignite the flames. Rytlock had not asked his name, only asked to light the sword. In thanks, Rytlock broke the chains on the old man with the newly empowered weapon. A portal opened, which the old man informed Rytlock was a passage home. Rytlock believed the old man had followed him out, and now knows that the old man he freed from the chains was Balthazar. He promised the Commander he would make things right.
The Commander informed Canach and Kasmeer about Vlast's sacrifice, and how Balthazar seemed to have disappeared with no knowledge of his plans nor why he wanted Vlast in the first place. Kasmeer noticed a nearby crystal looked very similar to the old memory crystals they found within Glint's lair. As the Commander approached, they heard Vlast's voice speaking about his power and some weapon in a secret location. Rytlock and Kasmeer guessed that the weapon's location is Glint's lair, which should be nearby if they can get in. The Commander decided to check in with Taimi and see if they could collect more of Vlast's memory crystals while the rest of Dragon's Watch traveled to Glint's lair and performed recon.
The Commander learned from Taimi that Aurene was acting angry and troubled after Vlast's sacrifice, and Taimi promised to see if she could help calm Aurene down. The Commander traveled around the Desert Highlands collecting more of Vlast's memory crystals, but found that some were too high to reach. On a suggestion, the Commander traveled to Highjump Ranch and acquired a springer, allowing them to reach the remaining crystals. Vlast's memories spoke more about the weapon, of his longing to meet his sister, the struggles of following his mother's legacy, his fear of what would happen should Balthazar kill Kralkatorrik, and his hopes that his sister would find her path a better one than his. The task complete, the Commander headed to Prophet's Fall to meet the rest of their guild.
Having acquired the springer, the Commander easily met up with their companions. Rytlock and Kasmeer noted that they didn't know where the entrance to Glint's lair was, as there's no actual entrance to be found. The team moved forward and encountered a Forged camp. After dispatching the Forged, they examined the area and noted that the Forged weren't just a hunting party. Carts of Branded crystals were found, along with a large cannon that seemed to be powered by those crystals, and parts of a large mechanical armored machine were laying around the camp. Combined with large tracks nearby, the team determined that the Forged must be building some sort of heavy war machine.
The team moved on and were ambushed by Branded. After defeating them, they noticed some crystalline essences nearby. Gathering the essences allowed a memory crystal to form, which Rytlock confirmed as memory of Glint, and listened as it spoke about Destiny's Edge and the need for the races to work together. The team fanned out around a caldera and searched for more memory crystals, encountering more Branded along the way. Three memory crystals were found, where Glint spoke of her freedom at the hands of the Forgotten, her turmoil over the suffering of Tyria's people from the Elder Dragons, and her own burden and the future burden of Vlast. After the third memory crystal was restored, a portal to Glint's lair appeared in the center of the caldera.
Upon entering the lair, Kasmeer remarked that it was where they had gone before, but the Brand had infested it. Rytlock noticed the Dragonsblood Spear, the weapon he had used in the failed attempt to kill Kralkatorrik. Soon after arriving, though, they faced a Facet Guardian that had been corrupted by the Brand, and destroyed it. Doing so revealed a final intact memory crystal of the moments prior to Kralkatorrik's awakening. Glint spoke of how she could not see beyond the upcoming battle where she had ultimately died, and that while the Forgotten told her much they did not tell her everything, hinting that perhaps the gods knew more than her. She also spoke of how she could only hope that her children could carry on her legacy. After some deliberation about whether Glint knew about the consequences of killing Elder Dragons, the team decided to destroy the dragonsblood spear to keep Balthazar from using it, a plan that Rytlock disagreed with as it left them with no method of killing Kralkatorrik themselves in the future.
After destroying the spear, the Commander spoke to a mourning Rytlock near Snaff's old golem. He told the Commander how he had met Glint in the Mists, where she taught him the abilities of the revenant, and that he had failed his guild and Glint. Kralkatorrik was still alive while Glint, Snaff, and Eir were all dead. He reiterated that he had to make things right. The team discussed their position and noted that despite stifling the god of war's plans, they were no closer to being able to take him down. Kasmeer noted that they needed guidance and made the argument that they should go to the Mists to ask the gods themselves. Despite Rytlock's reservations about returning to the Mists, the Commander agreed, and they began to head towards the Tomb of Primeval Kings, where a portal to the Mists was located.
At the tomb, the team deliberated their plan. On Kasmeer's insistence that they hope to find answers inside, Rytlock reiterated the idea that her answer is the human gods abandoned Tyria, which Kasmeer refused to accept. On approaching the entrance, they were met by Queen Nadijeh, the Primeval ruler who founded the Order of the Sunspears. Believing them to be more thieves, she fought Dragon's Watch and was ultimately defeated and let them pass. Inside, the team encountered King Wasi, a ruler who rallied the people during war. The team defeated him and gained entrance to the inner tomb, where they met the twin rulers Queen Nahlah and Queen Dahlah, the last of the Primeval dynasty.
Despite Kasmeer's insistence, the twins accused Dragon's Watch of being agents of Joko, and also revealed that Joko may be claiming the Primeval dynasty continued beyond the twins' death. They attacked the team, switching off and then attacking together. When defeated, Queen Nadijeh and King Wasi appeared to confront the team. King Wasi was unconvinced that Dragon's Watch were working with Joko, and asked the other rulers to consider that the Commander's team were not raiders. Queen Nadijeh asked them to demonstrate the proper respect for the tomb and the spirits within. The Commander did so, and promised to honor the memory of the Primeval dynasty, to prove they had no harmful intentions. Queen Nadijeh relented at this show of respect, and the team were allowed to pass through the portal to the Mists.