Story Journal/Living World Season 4
Eye of the Brandstorm
Soon after Balthazar's defeat at the Kodash Bazaar, Rytlock Brimstone, Canach, and Taimi procured a dolyak ranch outside the Free City of Amnoon where they could make necessary repairs to Taimi's golem before resuming our search for Aurene. Taimi contacted me with a progress report.
Cavalier Captain Rahim generously allowed Taimi, Canach and Rytlock to have use of the dolyak ranch as a base camp from which to search for Aurene, track Kralkatorrik's activities, and figure out what to do next. The location provides easy access to Amnoon's bustling marketplace while allowing us to keep a low profile.
When I arrived at the ranch, Taimi updated me on her progress outfitting Scruffy, her mobile lab/golem. She also relayed a message from Marjory Delaqua and Kasmeer Meade regarding Kralkatorrik's current location and activity. Their update was interrupted by a Brandstorm that appeared without warning and engulfed Amnoon. We put our search for Aurene on hold to investigate.
Rytlock Brimstone, Canach and I fought waves of Branded laying siege to the Free City of Amnoon and rescued as many Elonians as possible. The Brandstorm concealed a Branded wyvern: Kralkatorrik was clearly experimenting with new powers acquired after the deaths of Balthazar and the two Elder Dragons.
We also found our search for Aurene rendered unexpectedly moot, as she was already in Amnoon protecting its citizens. She appeared to be substantially larger and more powerful than when we last saw at the Kodash Bazaar, and her temperament seemed erratic. My concern about the effect of Aurene's proximity to Balthazar at his death has only increased after this encounter.
Under the Stars
Aurene sent us a vision of widespread chaos and destruction, and a ruined city that Agent Kito identified as Fahranur. Agent Kito and I are proceeding to Istan to contact the Sunspears, who may know of a way into Fahranur. Rytlock, Canach, and Taimi will remain in Amnoon to clean up after the attack by Kralkatorrik's minions.
At Agent Kito's direction, I was able to arrange for passage to Istan by stowing away abroad a small fishing vessel.
In Istan, I proceeded to the Astralarium, where Agent Kito suggested I might be able to contact the Sunspears. This remarkable conservatory was teeming with scholars dedicated to the study of astronomy and the history of Istan, but the academic fervor was somewhat dimmed by the presence of Mordant Crescent agents pushing the scholars to limit the history they teach and record to Joko's propaganda.
I made contact with the head archivist, Rhadha, who was fearful that my presence might draw undue attention and requested that I disguise myself as a visiting scholar. This was the only way I could gain access to the archives where the entrance to the Sunspear base was located without arousing the suspicion of the many pro-Joko researchers or the Mordant Crescent patrols who monitored the facility.
After posing as a scholar to deflect the suspicions of the Mordant Crescent guards and pro-Joko reseachers at the Astralarium, I sought out Head Archivist Rhadha, who told me the key to locating the secret Sunspear base was contained in a book called "Nightfall," located in the main archives. Rhadha advised me to contact Archivist Salwa, who controlled access to these archives.
Archivist Salwa was understandably hesitant to allow me to enter the sanctum until I could prove to her that I supported those seeking to end the vicious rule of the lich king, Palawa Joko.
I made my way to the bottom floor of the Astralarium libray. Using the key given to me by Archivist Rhadha, I deduced the incantation required in order to gain access to the archives. Saying "Joko is false" while standing in front of the door transported me into a secret Sunspear base, where I was greeted by Agent Kito and First Spear Hakima. Hakima informed me that only Spearmarshal Zaeim, the leader of the Istani Sunspears, knows the way in to Fahranur, and I should seek him out in Champion's Dawn.
I am aiding Sunspear recruitment efforts in the town of Champion's Dawn, which is being ravaged by Mordant Crescent agents and Joko's living loyalists in retribution for supporting the Sunspears. First Spear Hakima indicated I should seek out Priest Sazeer, who might be able to help me locate Spearmarshal Zaeim. I've made contact with Priest Sazeer and his father, who informed me that Zaeim was captured by a corsair named Sayida.
Generations ago, Sayida's ancestor lost a coin to a now-Awakened Sunspear. If I can reobtain this family heirloom, it may give me the leverage I need to get the corsairs to release Zaeim. Defeating the Awakened Sunspear, however, may prove to be something of a challenge.
Koss is something of a local legend, having imprisoned himself in a cave to avoid giving in to the Awakened compulsion to obey Joko's orders. I managed to defeat him in combat, and the Awakened Sunspear has given me the coin. Now I only need to convince Sayida the Sly and her corsair crew to trade me Zaeim for the coin.
Convincing the Corsair
I proposed a trade to Sayida the Sly, who informed me that while she felt honor bound to aid me in exchange for her coin, she had already turned Zaeim in to the Mordant Crescent for the bounty. We came up with an alternate plan. She'll turn me in for the bounty on my head, and I'll break Zaeim out from inside the prison at the Mordant Crescent Great Hall. Kito will summon Sunspear forces to help from the outside, and Sayida will ply the Awakened with corsair grog, which is apparently strong enough to leave even the undead incapacitated. I obtained the ingredients for this legendary brew, a quest that proved challenging since they're distributed among feuding corsair crews.
I've obtained the ingredients for the corsair grog. All the pieces are in place. Now I just need to let Sayida turn me in to the Mordant Crescent.
The Hero of Istan
I met with Sayida and her crew just outside the entrance to the Mordant Crescent Great Hall. She clapped me in irons and escorted me inside.
Sayida handed me over to Warden Amala, and with scores of Awakened looking on, she sweet-talked the warden into a toast to Joko, slyly handing over the spiked grog. All was going smoothly until Taimi called me over my communicator, raising the warden's suspicions. Amala cracked me over the head, and everything went black.
I came to in a dungeon cell next to Zaeim, the Hero of Istan. After the jailer outside toppled over from the spiked grog, Zaeim and I escaped and reached the stairwell leading out of the dungeons.
I must still make it past Warden Amala, and time is of the essence: Joko is back from the Domain of the Lost. And he has Taimi.
Amala put up a difficult fight: a dervish who had once dedicated her life to opposing Joko, she'd been executed and Awakened by the lich. Even under his control, she was still able to channel the power of the gods, but with the help of Sayida and her corsairs, Zaeim and I brought her down at last.
The skirmish outside the prison is still something of a haze: the Sunspears burst through the Great Hall's main gate with Rytlock and Canach to reunite with their Spearmarshal, while Aurene strafed the overwhelmed Mordant Crescent from above.
But it's hard to enjoy our triumph when Joko has Taimi. Zaeim has offered to guide us into Fahranur and has directed us to meet him at a cave on Issnur Bay. There's no time to waste.
The First City
With the help of Zaeim, I was able to find the entrance to Fahranur in an old underground tunnel system. Next up: rescue Taimi.
Zaeim, Rytlock, Canach, and I survived the foes and traps within Fahranur to make it deep in the heart of the First City, only to confront a bone wall guarded by an awakened abomination. Canach's explosives brought down the bone wall, along with the ceiling of the chamber. We would have been smashed if Braham and Rox hadn't appeared and saved us.
I can only hope Braham is ready to cooperate with us now.
With Braham and Rox's help, we made it through waves of Awakened and discovered that Palawa Joko forced Taimi to open the gates to Tyria so he could invade. We found Taimi just in time to see an Awakened army pass through the gates into a range of locations in Tyria.
We were greeted by a chorus of Awakened asura, who delivered a vengeful message from Joko and revealed that Taimi was trapped inside her golem, Scruffy, which had been rigged to suffocate her. Our only choice now is to take down Scruffy and get Taimi out of there before it's too late.
We survived Scruffy's meltdown, took out the asura gates that were being used to invade locations across Tyria, and saved Taimi, She's clearly weakened and frightened from the experience, but she insists she will be okay.
We asked Taimi what she learned while she was with Joko, and it sounds like he's researching bugs of some kind. We'll need to figure out where he is so we can stop him for good.
Tracking the Scientist
I received a message from Agent Kito suggesting we meet. He informed me that Joko gained control of another asura gate hub, allowing him to continue his invasion of Tyria.
I reached out to Taimi for an update on her investigation at the Inquest base at Fahranur. She sounded subdued, which wasn't surprising given her traumatic abduction by Joko. Still, she'd made two important discoveries.
First: One of the destroyed gates at Fahranur led to a big Inquest base, which was likely the location of Joko's new gate hub. Unfortunately, there was no way to know where that base was located.
Second: An old friend of Taimi's, a scientist named Blish, was working at the base.
Our path forward seemed clear: find the scientist, and we'd find Joko's gate hub.
Kito tipped me off to the location of a convert Inquest transport facility. Braham, Rox, and I disguised ourselves as a live specimen delivery convoy to get inside, and I managed to access the facility's resource database. Taimi's scientist was assigned to the Inquest's Elonian HQ, Rata Primus.
We attempted to travel to Rata Primus through the facility's asura gate, but a malfunction on the other end forced us to travel to the nearest alternative lab.
The Test Subject
We found ourselves in an Inquest lab full of signs of disease research on live subjects, including members of a local tribe of charr. We helped liberate one of these charr before Inquest researchers infected her with a mysterious and deadly disease.
The charr's escape triggered a self-destruct sequence. As we hurried to find our way out in time, we battled security forces and discovered a garbled distress message from Blish's brother, Gorrik. The message confirmed that Joko's Awakened were wreaking havoc in the Rata Primus main complex.
As we reached the roof to make our escape, we got our first glimpse of Rata Primus in the distance—a massive floating cube. We jumped from the lab's roof to avoid the lab's self-destruction, but it was clear we'd have to storm that cube if we had any hope of stopping Joko's invasion of Tyria.
A Kindness Repaid
Boticca introduced us to the Olmakhan Elders, and we spoke to them about the pressing dangers of the Inquest and the Awakened. While some agreed the time had come to fight, others believed the better course would be to move the tribe and find a safer home.
While the elders continued their discussions in private, Braham and Rox explored the village. Rox seemed particularly taken with the Olmakhan and their way of life. Meanwhile, I attempted to comfort a few of the cubs who had lost family to the Inquest's brutal experiments.
A sudden attack on the village by the Inquest's automated quarantine forces took us all by surprise. Braham and I escorted the cubs to safety and—with Aurene's help—fought to defend the villagers. The real test came with the deployment of the Inquest's colossal exterminator golem. We managed to defeat it, but sadly one of the elders didn't survive.
The village mourned their loss, and decided to avenge the elder's death by joining forces with us to take on Rata Primus.
The Road to Rata Primus
With the Olmakhan commited to helping, we were ready to assault Rata Primus. Unfortunately, we knew very little about the massive base, and it was clearly well defended. When I said as much to Aurene, she flew around the area and shared her sight with me, revealing a protective shield around the cube, a growing number of Joko's Awakened in the area, and a communications tower used to coordinate the Inquest's ground-based facilities and forces.
Braham and Rox stayed with the Olmakhan to help defend them in case of another attack. I infiltrated the Inquest communications facility and sabotaged the tower. Inside, I also discovered an uncorrupted version of Gorrik's distress message confirming that he and Blish were trapped by Joko's forces in Rata Primus. I promised Taimi I would do what I could to help them.
Sayida agreed to aid our assault on Rata Primus with her airship and guided me in tracking down and disabling the three generators powering the shield. As I neutralized the last generator, Sayida's airship arrived. Braham and I boarded and prepared to invade Rata Primus.
While Rox led the Olmakhan in a ground assault, Braham and I infiltrated Rata Primus from above with the help of Sayida and her airship. Inside, Joko's Awakened were locked in battle with the Inquest forces. We tracked down the gate hub, defeated a massive force of Awakened, and disabled the gates, finally putting a stop to Joko's invasion of Tyria.
We reached the lab where Gorrik and Blish had holed up, and we were shocked to learn that Blish's consciousness had been transferred into a golem body. Before we could fully process this, the containment-vault alarm began to blare, and Gorrik revealed some disturbing news—the Inquest had recovered samples of the ancient and deadly Scarab Plague in Fahranur, and now Joko was trying to seize it.
We raced to the containment vault, but we were too late. Joko damaged the remaining asura gate and set Mordant Crescent Commander Lonai on us while he fled with the plague. The damaged gate sucked us in, and Braham and I braced ourselves for the battle to come.
Braham and I battled Lonai while being shifted to increasingly remote and strange locations. When we finally defeated her, Blish and Gorrik managed to transport us back to Sayida's airship just as Rata Primus's self-destruct protocol detonated.
Despite my concern about Taimi's reaction to Blish's golem state, she was delighted at the reunion. The three of them planned to work together as we all prepare to deal with whatever terrible plans Joko has for the Scarab Plague.