Storyline of Factions
This storyline recounts the story of the second chapter of Guild Wars, released in the April of 2006. The following will be an overview of the unfolding events of the campaign as the players progress through the campaign. Key dates in the timeline of Cantha and the background of Shiro Tagachi will help clarify certain events.
Guild Wars Factions places the players on a mission to identify the threat behind the troubles that plague Cantha and to put a stop to it. Aiding them are the heroes of Tyria who have answered Master Togo's request for help. Master Togo is the head of the Shing Jea Monastery, and a former teacher of Mhenlo, a monk from Tyria. Unlike the first campaign, the players role in the story was sometimes relegated to a secondary role, diminished by the way the story focuses on several main NPCs.
Factions characters begin the campaign as promising trainees in Shing Jea Monastery, where they train with the headmasters and instructors to learn and master their chosen professions.
As the players are completing their training, Master Togo tells them that he wants to introduce them to Minister Cho. It is a customary tradition for him to introduce the monastery's most promising students each year. Upon arrival at Minister Cho's Estate, Master Togo and the students realize that something is terribly wrong. A horrible disease has apparently spread amongst the occupants of the Estate, turning them into monsters. Minister Cho has turned into a vile diseased creature and the players are forced to destroy him.
Master Togo is determined to seek out the source of this disease, and sets out with the players across the rest of Shing Jea Island. Their frantic search leads them to the eastern side of the island, where they finally found the point of origin - the holy valley of Zen Daijun. The players and Master Togo push forward into the valley, battling hordes of Afflicted creatures and avoiding the deadly vile miasma that has appeared throughout the area. They finally find the source of their plague in the venerable Daijun Library located within the valley and proceeded to cleanse it of the foul Afflicted guarding it.
Upon examining the library, Master Togo makes a startling discovery - the guild symbol of Shiro Tagachi, the Betrayer, is etched upon the floor of the library. Fearing that the safety of the whole of Cantha is at stake, Master Togo decides to head to Kaineng City to warn and to seek the counsel of his half-brother, the Emperor Kisu of the Canthan Empire. He also sends a request for aid to his former Tyrian student, Brother Mhenlo.
Master Togo, together with the players, arrive to find themselves too late - the plague has already started to spread throughout the densely-populated and sprawling city.
Heroes from Abroad
Characters of other campaigns join the Factions storyline at this point. Mhenlo has come to lend his aid to his former teacher, and accompanying him are Devona, Aidan, Eve, and Cynn. The heroes of Tyria also arrive at Kaineng City at around the same time. Jamei, a fellow student and very close friend of Mhenlo greets them at the pier, informing them of the current situation. Scarcely has she finished before they are assaulted by the Afflicted.
Realizing they have no time to waste, they set off immediately on Master Togo's trail. Master Togo and the players, since their arrival, have again begun searching the city for clues on the source of the plague. Their search leads them to Vizunah Square, where they find that the population of the area are all becoming Afflicted. As they attempt to fend off hordes of Afflicted, Mhenlo and his friends finally catch up to Master Togo, and together they push deeper into Vizunah Square.
Deep within central Vizunah Square, they encounter a large group of Afflicted led by a powerful bound spirit in the service of Shiro Tagachi. When they manage to defeat these monsters, Shiro manifests himself and kills everyone. Believing that this nuisance has been resolved, he leaves.
Moments later, several beings manifest themselves as well, and restore the players, Master Togo, and the Tyrian heroes to life. These beings explain that they are envoys, responsible for bringing the recently dead to the Mists. They reveal that Shiro is also an envoy, but that they are dismayed that instead of his duties, Shiro is twisting the souls and binding them into constructs. By restoring their lives, the envoys hold the players and the others to an oath; that they would put an end to Shiro's evil. Before leaving them, the envoys advise the players to become Weh no Su, or "Closer to the Stars", to enable them to see and fight both the bound spirits and Shiro himself.
Master Togo later informs the players of Suun, the Oracle of the Mists, who has the knowledge to become Weh no Su. To find them, Master Togo directs them to locate Nika, a direct descendant of Vizu, one of the heroes who played a major part in taking down Shiro when he was alive.
Closer to the Stars
After proving themselves worthy, the players receive directions to travel to Nahpui Quarter to find Suun. To become Weh no Su, the players must battle Celestial creatures that represent the four major human vices. With their success, Suun, who was skeptical at first, opens up to them and tells them to seek guidance from the spirits of the ancient Heroes of Cantha at the Tahnnakai Temple.
The journey to the temple worries them, as the Afflicted are already in the area. Upon gaining entrance to the sacred temple, a grim situation awaits the players. Shiro Tagachi has beaten them to it and has forcefully bound the spirits of the ancient heroes within his unholy constructs, binding them to his will. The players, Master Togo, and Mhenlo charge quickly through the temple to free the bound spirits. They find out that Vizu is still resisting Shiro's will, and they race against time to save Vizu from being totally consumed.
The players manage to save Vizu and free the ancient heroes, and Vizu reveals that Shiro can be defeated by using the artifacts once wielded by the champions who killed Shiro.
The Urn and the Spear
The Urn of Saint Viktor lies within Kurzick lands and is considered a sacred relic, and they would not easily part with it. Fortune is on the players' side as the Emperor turns up to inform them that Danika, daughter of Count zu Heltzer, is currently in the Imperial city. The emperor believes that Danika, with her atypical Kurzick views, may be the key to winning aid from the Kurzicks. The players manage to find her and convince her to lead them to her father.
With Mhenlo being an acquaintance to the Count, Master Togo decides to leave this matter to Mhenlo, and leaves for the Jade Sea to convince the Luxons by looking up his old friend, Elder Rhea. Mhenlo has no problems getting the Count to agree to help, but there lies another problem. The Urn of Saint Viktor is placed and guarded within the holy Cathedral zu Heltzer, and that place has been strangely corrupted. The magical wards protecting the place have failed and no longer recognize the Kurzicks.
Danika, determined to help, offers to lead the players and Mhenlo to Arborstone, and to the Cathedral. Battling their way inside through hostile denizens of the Echovald Forest and the warped guardians, they make their way to the Urn. Once they lift the Urn, the Cathedral rumbles and starts to collapse all around them. But luck is on their side, and they manage to flee the crumbling ruins.
No sooner do they return with the Urn, Master Togo excitedly shows up. The players must quickly travel with him to Boreas Seabed, to attend the Convocation, an event where Luxon champions fight one another for the right to bear the Spear of Archemorus. The winners must then wield the spear and slay the kraken Zhu Hanuku rising from the waves and the honor of bearing it until the next Convocation.
The players enter the competition and defeat the champions of the three Luxon Clans - Aurora, Daeman, and Argo. The honor of defeating Zhu Hanuku and sending it back to the depths again falls to the players and they do not let anyone down. Their victory is short-lived as soon after, Mhenlo comes bearing ill news. It seems the Afflicted have gathered and are on the march; an attack seems imminent.
When the players return to the outskirts of Kaineng City, the Imperial Guard of Cantha reports that an army of the Afflicted have gathered in the Undercity. The Emperor orders the players to lead a squadron of elite Palace Guards to support the soldiers holding the front at Sunjiang District. There, the players discover Shiro's plan. Shiro is opening spirit rifts to bring forth bound spirits into the mortal realm, binding them to his will. These newly bound constructs are more powerful than ever. The players waste no time in penetrating the sewers beneath Sunjiang District and closing the rifts. At the last rift, Shiro is waiting for them. As the players approach, he merges with bound spirit constructs and attacks them. With the aid of the Kurzick and Luxon artifacts, Shiro's constructs fall one by one. As the last falls, the last rift also closes. Shiro is nowhere to be found.
The envoys appear to the players once again, confirming their suspicions that Shiro has not been defeated at all, only temporarily set back. The artifacts are remnants of the past, and no longer have the power to fully defeat Shiro. The players must find a way to bring the Kurzicks and the Luxons together, to focus their combined might to defeat Shiro and his army. As it was when Shiro was first defeated when alive, so it must be once more.
In order to get the feuding factions to put aside their animosity, Master Togo and Mhenlo decide to split up. Mhenlo and his friends return to the Echovald Forest to convince the Kurzicks. Master Togo returns to Elder Rhea and seeks her aid in convincing the Luxon clans to lend their strength. The players are given a choice to either go with Mhenlo to the Kurzicks, or to travel to the Jade Sea with Master Togo.
(Here, the storyline splits, with players either helping the Kurzicks or the Luxons. The storyline merges at Unwaking Waters)
Befriending the Kurzicks
As the players venture into the petrified forest home, they find themselves welcomed. They are given the honor of locating three volunteers and bring them to the Eternal Grove. The sacred grove is the location of the ritual which transforms volunteers into Juggernauts, the eternal defenders of the Kurzick forest home. But during the ceremony, Luxon raiders find the site and aim to destroy the sacred trees of the grove to forever end the creation of Juggernauts. With the help of the players, the Luxon invaders are pushed back. Strangely, instead of retreating, the Luxons quickly raise the white flag and run to the grove. In another moment, the players and the Kurzicks see the reason - an Afflicted army is fast approaching. The players, taking advantage of the situation, successfully persuade the Kurzicks and the Luxons to put aside their rivalry and join forces against a common enemy bent on destroying all of them. Together, they emerge victorious. As they are burning the corpses of the Afflicted to prevent any spread of the disease, their new Luxon allies inform the players that Master Togo is on his way to the Harvest Temple within the Unwaking Waters. The temple is the point of origin of the Jade Wind, released upon Shiro's death. The players quickly make preparations to join up with Master Togo.
Befriending the Luxons
The players venture deeper into the Jade Sea, looking to convince the Luxons. Elder Rhea sets them upon several tasks to prove their worthiness and strength to gain Luxon aid. Most notably, the players are entrusted with the task of recovering and delivering the eggs of giant turtles to the Gyala Hatchery, and then to escort and protect a new batch of young turtles to the Leviathan Pits. Kurzicks raiders are about and the players have to fend off several ambushes from the Kurzicks, who are aiming to kill the young turtles that would later grow to become Luxon siege turtles. Reaching the Leviathan Pits, the raids become an all-out battle, as Kurzick raiders mass and fight the defenders Leviathan Pits. During the battle, the Kurzicks are suddenly assaulted from behind by an army of Afflicted. Shocked, it quickly becomes apparent to both the Luxons and the Kurzicks that they must join forces or be wiped out. The joint army and the players prove victorious and the Afflicted are all destroyed. Almost immediately, the tension between the rival factions begin to rise again. Thankfully, Master Togo arrives on the scene and admonishes them that it is obvious that Shiro is still alive and that they must work together. Convinced that Shiro is a huge threat, the Luxons and Kurzicks agree to an alliance. Master Togo then tells the players that he intends to head into the Unwaking Waters, to the Harvest Temple, the location of Shiro's death and the source of the Jade Wind. There, he hopes to obtain the aid of an ancient and wise dragon said to still reside there.
United at the Unwaking waters, the players proceed to enter the Harvest Temple to seek an audience with the ancient dragon, Kuunavang. Unfortunately, as the players soon discover, Kuunavang herself has been corrupted by Shiro. The players have to brave through waves of Afflicted and deflect the dragon's lethal attacks before finally reaching the temple. In there, through sheer skill and perseverance, they manage to defeat Kuunavang and break Shiro's hold on her.
Having experienced first-hand how dangerous Shiro is, Kuunavang immediately offers her aid. And with the counsel of the envoys who again appear, Shiro's true intentions become apparent. He has been attacking areas searching for the knowledge and ingredients of a spell that would return him to the mortal realm. They realize that he is missing only one more component—to spill the blood of one of the imperial bloodline.
To Save an Empire
The players hurriedly make preparations and set off for Raisu Palace, together with Master Togo and Mhenlo's group. But they are too late, as Shiro's army of Shiro'ken has overrun the palace's outer defenses, and Shiro himself is preparing to assault the inner Imperial Sanctum. With the help of Kuunavang and her teaching of celestial skills, the players and their Tyrian, Elonian, Kurzick, and Luxon allies, successfully push through the hordes of Afflicted and Shiro'ken in their path, fighting through the palace compounds, inching towards the inner sanctum.
They arrive as Shiro is preparing to strike down Emperor Kisu. Master Togo, in a burst of speed born of urgency, rushes to the emperor's defense, and takes the fatal blow. Realizing that Master Togo's blood will also fulfill the requirement, Shiro leaves to finally complete his spell. Mhenlo and the players finally catch up to the emperor, and lament the passing of a great man.
The Last Battle
Mhenlo swears vengeance against the man who killed his former teacher. The mourning for Master Togo must wait as the players follow Mhenlo deeper into the Imperial Sanctum to put a stop to Shiro once and for all. With renewed life, Shiro is once again the formidable and deadly adversary he once was. Yet the players also realize that with life comes mortality.
It is a difficult battle, with the players pitting Kuunavang's celestial skills against the terrible powers gained by Shiro. But good overcomes evil, and the players strike the final blow against Shiro's mortal form. As Shiro lies dying, Suun and his acolytes appear, and they seal Shiro's body in solid jade. The envoys also appear once again, and this time to collect the soul of Shiro, who is no longer an envoy, having died a mortal death. When asked of what will happen to Shiro, they say that they have a special place in the Underworld for Shiro to do penance for his sins, and to forever lock Shiro away from the mortal realm.
The players have saved Cantha. They have defeated Shiro, stopped the plague, united the warring factions, and saved the Emperor. This is a joyous occasion, and people from all around Cantha gather and line the Divine Path to pay their respects and offer their thanks to the new heroes of Cantha.
The Corrupted Forest Spirit
Madness in the Jade Sea
Like Prophecies, Factions does not answer questions but instead creates several.
- Where is the special prison that Shiro is sent to after his death? (Answer)
- Why did the Fortune Teller say that the Emperor would kill Shiro? (Answer)
- Did the Emperor truly have intentions to kill Shiro?
- What is the origin of Kanaxai?
- Will the Jade Sea and Echovald Forest ever become un-petrified? (Answer)
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