I see great things in your future. Yours will be a story told by generations. Your swords will be sought by many. Yes. Yes. You will do things no other man would dare. Your name will live on for a thousand years. Look for fortune to come your way.
Shiro Tagachi was a key figure in Canthan history who tormented the Empire of the Dragon both in life and death. His first death caused the Jade Wind that devastated much of Cantha and which the continent is still recovering from to this day. Shiro returned centuries later as a ghostly envoy and caused the Affliction in Cantha, and he acted as one of the fallen god Abaddon's generals in the Realm of Torment; he was defeated both times by mortal heroes.
A distant descendant of the first Canthan emperor Kaineng Tah, Shiro Tagachi was originally a loyal and ambitious guardsman. He was noticed by Emperor Angsiyan due to his prowess with weapons and thus invited to join the Imperial Guard as the emperor's favored bodyguard. As a bodyguard, Shiro famously defeated an attack by Am Fah rebels in 1368 CC (858 AE), executing all who surrendered and decapitating their leader. In 1375 CC (865 AE), he rescued Angsiyan's son Prince Hanjai from a cabal of Celestial Ministry rebels, mercilessly slaughtering all the conspirators in front of the boy and later mounting their heads in front of the Ministry without orders from the emperor. Though not often admitted by the government, Shiro Tagachi was an integral part of the peace treaties Angsiyan was forming with the bickering Kurzicks and Luxons, and was the one who convinced their champions to work together and attend the Harvest Ceremony with the emperor.
During Shiro's service as both a guardsman and later bodyguard, a demon sent by the fallen god Abaddon had disguised itself as a fortune teller and consulted Shiro multiple times, eventually telling him that he would be killed by the emperor during the Harvest Festival, a long-standing annual Canthan tradition where the emperor prayed for the blessing of the goddess Dwayna at the Kuan Jun Temple. Angered by the fortune teller's prophecy, Shiro slew her although he could not stop thinking about her words and if the emperor truly intended to kill him. This caused him to turn to forbidden magic, breaking imperial law, and led him down the path of insanity.
Beginning to fear for his life, Shiro became further confused when Emperor Angsiyan began acting oddly during the Harvest Festival, altering protocol and allowing Shiro to accompany him into the temple for unknown reasons. Using enchanted weapons, Shiro slew his master in the middle of the main ritual of the Harvest Ceremony and absorbed Angsiyan's soul along with the powerful magic granted to the emperor by Dwayna through the conduit of his enchanted swords. Shiro killed most of the soldiers that rushed to aid the emperor until only the Luxon champion Archemorus and the Kurzick champion Saint Viktor zu Heltzer remained. Before he could slay the two champions, the assassin Vizu rushed to the scene and crippled Shiro. The sudden attack allowed the two champions to deliver the killing blow, nearly slicing Shiro in half with his own blades.
Shiro's death triggered the Jade Wind, transforming the Jade Sea into literal jade and the Echovald Forest into stone as well as killing the three heroes. After Shiro's death, the Oracle of the Mists turned him into an envoy as punishment, forcing him to guide the recently deceased souls into the Mists. However, Shiro rebelled and refused to carry out his duties, instead plotting to use his new envoy powers for evil. For two centuries Shiro's fellow envoys, themselves once living beings of great wickedness who served the Oracle as penance for their mortal crimes, sought to bring Shiro into the fold.
- See also: gww:Storyline of Factions
Shiro eventually learned to use his new power in the creation of an army, unleashing first the Afflicted and later the Shiro'ken upon Cantha in 1582 CC (1072 AE). He sought to return to life by slaying Angsiyan's direct descendant, Emperor Kisu, as royal blood would allow the resurrection. He also corrupted the saltspray dragon Kuunavang to do his bidding, ordering her to guard the Harvest Temple.
While growing his army, Shiro encountered the heroes who had discovered his involvement behind the Affliction and attempted to stop him. The Betrayer unleashed his power and slew the heroes before continuing his mission. Unbeknownst to him, however, the envoys interfered and resurrected the heroes in exchange for the heroes acting as their champions to defeat Shiro as the envoys could not do so themselves. They directed the heroes to seek out help from Suun, the Oracle of the Mists, to pass the test of the celestials and become Weh no Su, Closer to the Stars, in order to see spirits like Shiro and be able to defeat him.
Shiro continued his march, having his minions invade the sacred Tahnnakai Temple where he forcibly bound the spirits of legendary heroes dwelling there to become his Shiro'ken, while the living heroes followed on his heels. Thanks to being Weh no Su, the heroes were able to free the bound spirits one by one, including the famous assassin Vizu herself. Grateful for her freedom, Vizu directed the heroes to seek out holy relics—the Spear of Archemorus and the Urn of Saint Viktor—so the spirits of the relics could help the heroes defeat Shiro.
After acquiring the relics, the heroes returned to Kaineng City where they were summoned to a private audience by Emperor Kisu himself who expressed hope that Master Togo was correct about the two relics being powerful enough to defeat Shiro. The heroes eventually located and confronted Shiro who had been growing in power and had been setting up spirit rifts to summon spirit warriors to his army. They closed the rifts and engaged Shiro in battle while he possessed one of his Shiro'ken constructs. Using the power of the relics, they were able to banish Shiro, although the envoys revealed that Shiro had been dealt a great blow but would eventually regain his strength and return. Realizing that the relics had not been enough to stop the empowered Betrayer, the envoys urged the heroes to seek out both Kurzicks and Luxons and convince them to set aside their differences and join forces so they could assist the heroes in the next battle against Shiro and his growing army. The heroes succeeded in their task to form an alliance with the rival factions and even managed to liberate Kuunavang from Shiro's control. The grateful saltspray dragon promised to lend them her power in the coming battle against the Betrayer. The heroes also learned that each location Shiro had visited previously had been part of an elaborate ritual to cast a complex spell in order to return to life and that the emperor's blood would be his final target. The envoys tasked the heroes with saving the emperor's life.
Assaulting Raisu Palace with his army, Shiro successfully entered the throne room where he cornered Emperor Kisu and prepared to deliver the killing blow. The emperor's half-brother Master Togo prevented the assassination at the last moment by rushing in and taking the fatal hit instead; however, as royal blood also ran in Togo's veins, Shiro achieved his goal and finally returned to life as a mortal of flesh and blood. Wishing to avenge Togo's death, the heroes who had been granted Kuunavang's magical blessing chased after Shiro to the Imperial Sanctum at the very heart of the palace and defeated the Betrayer after a fierce struggle. After Shiro's second death, the other envoys arrived to pass sentence on him, revealing that Shiro had cast off his envoy powers upon resurrecting as a mortal and could now be judged as an ordinary spirit. Furious at being played, Shiro swore revenge and promised to return one day. The envoys took Shiro's soul to the worst prison in the afterlife, whilst Suun, the Oracle of the Mists, turned the Betrayer's physical body into a jade statue.
As the heroes entered the Realm of Torment which had been overrun by Abaddon and his demonic servants during Nightfall in 1585 CC (1075 AE), they discovered that Shiro had become one of Abaddon's generals alongside Vizier Khilbron, and that the pair were both guarding the path to Abaddon and issuing orders to the demonic army. The pair had also collaborated to create the Hunter, a special Shiro'ken which Khilbron had imbued with the power of resurrection to effectively make this minion immortal. However, with the help of the Forgotten called Keeper Kauniss, the heroes were able to prevent the Hunter from tracking them so they could slip past him and enter deeper into the Realm of Torment while the Hunter continued searching for the party fruitlessly. Upon encountering Khilbron and Shiro, the heroes learned that Shiro had converted to worshipping Abaddon, declaring with religious fervor that Abaddon would rule the world of Tyria as the only, true god. After a fierce struggle, the heroes managed to defeat Khilbron and Shiro's spirits in the Temple of the Six Gods. Neither Khilbron nor Shiro have been seen since.
Art for Legendary Assassin training.
Shiro accompanying Emperor Angsiyan as his bodyguard in the Guild Wars Factions cinematic trailer.
Shiro dies and unleashes the Jade Wind in the Guild Wars Factions cinematic trailer.
Art of Shiro Tagachi from Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns.
- Associated skills
- Associated items
- Shiro's armor
- Plague Idol
- Shiro Tagachi: Legacy of the Betrayer, Vol. 1
- Shiro Tagachi: Legacy of the Betrayer, Vol. 2
- Shiro's Legacy Greatsword Skin
- Shiro's Legacy Outfit
- Shiro's Legacy Sword Skin
- Symbol of the Deceiver
- ^ a b An Empire Divided
- A master of the Assassin's disciplines, Shiro was the Emperor Angsiyan's bodyguard, entrusted with his sovereign's life. He famously repelled an attack by Am Fah rebels in 1368, beheading the leader of the ambush and executing even those who surrendered. He proved that a cabal of Canthan ministers conspired to kidnap Angsiyan's young son and heir in 1375. Shiro went on to rescue the child, and in the process eliminated the conspirators and their henchmen as the boy watched. He mounted their heads on pikes outside the Celestial Ministry without orders from the emperor. Though it was never publicly acknowledged by the imperial government, let alone Angsiyan, Shiro deserved much of the credit for bringing the Kurzicks and the Luxons to the negotiating table. The deadly Assassin spoke a language that the warring cultures could understand, and even their champions—the Kurzick Saint Viktor and the Luxon known as Archemorus—stood side by side to pledge their allegiance to the one true emperor.
- It may have been a stirring in his royal blood—however many generations removed—that initially drove his desire to usurp his cousin and take the imperial throne. But somewhere along the way, dark forces corrupted Shiro Tagachi, forces that he sought out against the laws of his empire and his gods. He learned the ways of forbidden sorcery and engaged in studies and rituals well beyond the disciplines of the Assassin. He found that these taboo powers were second nature to him, and the darkest forms of magic were the easiest of all.
- No one noticed the hate that burned within him until it was far too late. [...]
- No longer bound by flesh and blood, Shiro is now more dangerous than he was in life. Upon his death, the Envoys—the immortal beings tasked by the Oracle of Mists with ferrying souls to the afterlife—called him to join their ranks, and he refused. For two centuries these Envoys, themselves once living beings of great wickedness who serve the Oracle as penance for their mortal crimes, have sought to bring Shiro into the fold. Had he been content to lurk at the fringes of the netherworld, they would have searched as long as the stars shone in the sky. Now that Shiro has made his determination to return to the mortal realm clear, they have decided he must be destroyed. The Envoys cannot do it themselves, but they have foreseen that a hero will come forth with the power to destroy the Destroyer. For Cantha's sake, they had better be right.
- ^ Welcome to Cantha cinematic
- Fortune Teller: I see great things in your future.
- Fortune Teller: Yours will be a story told by generations.
- Fortune Teller: Your swords will be sought by many.
- Shiro Tagachi: Nonsense.
- Fortune Teller: Yes. Yes. You will do things no other man would dare.
- Fortune Teller: Your name will live on for a thousand years.
- Shiro Tagachi: Shut your mouth. Old fool.
- Fortune Teller: Look for fortune to come your way.
- ^ A History of Violence
- Imperial Guard Hao Li: Thank you for releasing me from Shiro's treachery. You know, he did not always have such darkness in his heart. Ambitious, yes, but loyal to Cantha and a true guardsman. I believe that evil forces from this realm manipulated Shiro to assassinate the emperor. How they managed to sway him is the true mystery. [...]
- Imperial Guard Kaichen: I'm indebted to you, friend. Although it has been many years, I still cannot believe that Shiro alone committed the treachery against emperor. During preparations for the harvest ceremony he was on edge, talking about a fortune-teller and a choice he must make. He made no sense at all, and the whole thing still doesn't. But then again, perhaps it can all be explained by how far out of his mind my poor comrade had gone. [...]
- Imperial Guard Tiendi: Ah, freedom. I will remember this compassion, hero. All of these years my anger has been focused on Shiro, but now I find darker forces were at play. Shiro can never gain forgiveness for his crime against the emperor, but know that a greater evil acted as the driving force behind his actions. Abaddon, lord of this realm, sent a minion of his evil to entice Shiro's dark side. Disguised as a simple fortune-teller, this avatar corrupted Shiro thoroughly and used his own black thoughts against him. [...]
- Imperial Captain Shi Wang: Thank you for liberating the other guardsmen. They fought too valiantly in life to deserve such a fate. You say a fortune-teller played a part in Shiro's treachery? Perhaps she ignited the spark of evil that always resided in him...or perhaps he was a pawn all along.
- ^ An Empire Divided
- Shiro kept to the shadows near the entrance to the chamber. He struck the moment the emperor had received the second blessing of Holy Dwayna, Shadow Stepping through the void to materialize directly behind Angsiyan's back. With a roar, Shiro drove both of his blades through the emperor's heart. [...]
- To her horror, she was alone with two people. One was the emperor, still barely clinging to life, a look of stark agony twisting his features into a terrifying mask. The other was in the process of tearing Angsiyan's soul from his body, consuming it with his raw will, feeding on the emperor's life force as it drained through the conduit of Shiro's enchanted swords.
- ^ Guild Wars Factions Manuscripts
- No one but Shiro Tagachi knows what made this sacred imperial bodyguard—the emperor's most trusted servant—turn on his master on the Day of the Jade Wind. Did Shiro plan to sever the unbroken imperial bloodline and crown himself emperor? Was it revenge he sought, for some perceived wrong the emperor had done to Shiro or the Tagachi family? Could Shiro have been seeking some form of power that historians can no longer comprehend?
- Whatever his motive, Shiro's act has been literally carved in stone. On the last day of the Harvest Festival, the emperor's favored bodyguard arrived at the Harvest Temple and was waiting when the emperor reached the pinnacle of the temple's tower. Shiro cut down the emperor of Cantha where he knelt on the holy floor, staining it forever with the monarch's blood. Shiro himself was slain only moments later, but his revenge on those who killed him was the most significant event in Canthan history since Kaineng founded the empire. In Shiro's final moments, he drew on all of his ill-gotten power to drain the emperor's very soul away. Seething with magic but mortally wounded, the treacherous bodyguard screamed, and his voice washed over an area hundreds of miles across. Shiro's death wail became the Jade Wind, a cataclysmic wave of energy that turned trees, animals, people, and open water into stone and crystal.
- In the wake of Shiro's fall, the empire carried on. But Shiro's legacy on the continent is undeniable and permanent. Today, many signs point to Shiro's return after two centuries in the border realms of the afterlife. A spectral force driven by rage, a thirst for power, and a special kind of madness, he corrupts everything in his wake. The Canthan people know nothing of this, and suspect that the hideous results of "the Affliction" are some kind of monstrous plague. But even those who know that Shiro stalks the shadows have no idea of the power seething within him— or what he might do with it.
- ^ Vizunah Square
- Courier Torivos: Whatever his plan is, it must be stopped.
- Herald Demrikov: But how? We are only Envoys ourselves. We cannot fight Shiro.
- Emissary Heleyne: We can combat Shiro by acting like Shiro.
- Messenger Vetaura: We are the Envoys to the next world.
- Messenger Vetaura: The shepherds who guide the newly departed to Eternal Paradise within the Mists.
- Messenger Vetaura: We were sent here to show you the path to the afterlife.
- Herald Demrikov: But it's not your time. We will not guide you today.
- Courier Torivos: We return you your departed spirits.
- Courier Torivos: We give back to you the gift of life.
- Emissary Heleyne: But it comes with a price.
- Herald Demrikov: In return, we ask your help in defeating Shiro.
- Messenger Vetaura: Seek out Suun, the Oracle of the Mists.
- Messenger Vetaura: He will show you how to become Weh no Su, Closer to the Stars.
- Master Togo: Ah, Weh no Su. The Celestial test. Mhenlo and I know it well.
- <Character name>: I do not understand. Why do you wish us to pass this test?
- Courier Torivos: Spirits in this realm can hide themselves from the view of the mortals.
- Courier Torivos: Until you have become Closer to the Stars, you will not be able to see Shiro, let alone fight him.
- ^ Tahnnakai Temple
- Master Togo: Shiro has bound the heroes into these creatures. It is worse than blasphemy: Shiro plays in the fields of the gods! [...]
- Bound Vizu You! You are Weh no Su! You can see me! Come to my aid, and I will aid you in return. [...]
- Vizu: If you wish to destroy Shiro, you must find the Luxon champion Archemorus and the Kurzick hero Viktor—
- Vizu: —the two men who struck him down all those years ago.
- Master Togo: Where do we find them?
- Vizu: The Luxons honor their great champion by keeping his spirit in a powerful spear, which passes between the clans.
- Vizu: The Kurzicks guard the Urn of their hero with a vigorous zeal.
- Vizu: Seek out these two artifacts.
- Vizu: For if you have them both, the spirits inside can show you how to defeat Shiro.
- ^ City Under Attack
- Emperor Kisu: I understand that you have procured both the Spear of Archemorus and the Urn of Saint Viktor. Master Togo believes that together, these weapons might have the power to bring Shiro to his knees, just as the heroic spirits within them did so many years ago. I pray that he is correct.
- ^ Sunjiang District
- Togo: He must be drawing his power from the four primal powers. We disabled one of his sources, but we must take out all of them before we attack, or we will never be able to defeat him! [...]
- Brother Mhenlo: Is he...?
- Togo: Gone? I do not know.
- Togo: The Spear of Archemorus and Urn of Saint Viktor were destroyed.
- Togo: Let us hope Shiro was, as well.
- Messenger Vetaura: He has left this place, but he is not gone.
- Emissary Heleyne: You have dealt Shiro a great blow, but he will return.
- Brother Mhenlo: Then we must prepare.
- <Character name>: But how?
- Herald Demrikov: Seek out the Kurzicks and the Luxons.
- Herald Demrikov: Together their combined might will help you topple Shiro once and for all.
- Courier Torivos: Two hundred years ago, the two fought side by side.
- Courier Torivos: You must convince them to do so again.
- Herald Demrikov: It is the only way to defeat Shiro.
- <Character name>: What if the two sides are just too far apart? What if we can't do it?
- Courier Torivos: Then Shiro will win, and the universe will spiral out of balance.
- ^ Unwaking Waters
- Enraged Kuunavang: You have released me from his grasp.
- <Character name>: Shiro's grasp?
- Enraged Kuunavang: Yes. It was his touch that corrupted my body and fought for control of my spirit.
- Enraged Kuunavang: His foul presence tore at my flesh and withered my bones. Still I resisted.
- Enraged Kuunavang: You brought me back to this life, and I owe you a tremendous debt. [...]
- Enraged Kuunavang: When the time is right, I will grant you the powerful magics you require to defeat Shiro, the Unholy Deceiver. [...]
- <Character name>: Judging from the locations where we've encountered him, I'd say he's doing research.
- Brother Mhenlo: Research? For what?
- Master Togo: Yes, you are right. He must be preparing a spell.
- Brother Mhenlo: A spell? To do what?
- Messenger Vetaura: To leave the spirit realm and join your world again... as flesh and blood. [...]
- Messenger Vetaura: He needs to do only one last deed to cast his spell.
- <Character name>: What deed? What will he do?
- Herald Demrikov: That which cursed him in the first place—he will spill the blood of the royal family.
- ^ Imperial Sanctum
- Shiro Tagachi: I demand that you release me.
- Messenger Vetaura: You are no longer an Envoy. You cannot demand anything from us.
- Shiro Tagachi: Of course I am. You have no power over me. [...]
- Courier Torivos: You are merely a new spirit, lost between the realm of the mortal and the Underworld.
- Messenger Vetaura: You are our charge now.
- Courier Torivos: We have reserved a special place in the Underworld for you.
- Emissary Heleyne: A place you will never escape from.
- Herald Demrikov: A place where you will finally pay for all of your sins.
- Shiro Tagachi: I will get you all for this.
- Shiro Tagachi: This is not the end of me.
- ^ Dialogue with Kuunavang in the Divine Path
- Kuunavang: Shiro will trouble us no longer. The envoys have taken him to a special place in the Underworld where he will pay for his crimes for all eternity.
- ^ Open Season
- Keeper Kauniss: It is time to strike. Your trail is now lost to him. Find the Hunter. Defeat him. Although the power imbued upon him by the Lich will resurrect his body, he will be unable to track you. Go.
- ^ Gate of Madness
- Shiro Tagachi: You are fools to come here. What can mere mortals do against the power of a god?
- Shiro Tagachi: No matter. Your journey ends here. My Shiro'ken shall welcome you to this holy place and entomb you within its walls. [...]
- Undead Lich: Did the Margonites wear you out? No? Good. We hoped you might have some strength left for us.
- Shiro Tagachi: You cannot stop Nightfall! Abaddon shall rule the world as the one and only, true god.
- ^ Shiro Tagachi's Biography
- ^ Comment by Eve Eschenbacher, Reddit.com