Hello there! And welcome back to The Chronicles of One Telaran, my weekly leveling guide through the world of RIFT. Last week, I touched briefly (and rather belatedly) on the Ashes of History world event. I never did get that mount. Or that hat. But the good news is, I’m halfway to saving up my pennies and I’ll soon be able to afford one of my own.
But this week you’re in for a treat. Because the Ember Isles update has been released, and although it’s really for levels 50+, I took my level 19 dwarf, Caedryn, on a bit of an island jaunt. Where I died for your amusement.
Over and over.
I knew I wouldn’t be able to take part in any of the Ember Isles quests, but I wanted to check the place out, to share a bit of the history and lore with those of you who can enjoy the quests.
So what’s the story?
Ember Isles takes place in the sweltering tropics, where a damp, fecund heat traps moisture in the air. Every time you breathe, the air is warm and wet, a sticky, clinging heat that coats the skin and never dries. So all of us wearing plate armor are in for a treat.
The island itself used to be a Kelari kingdom. (The Kelari are the Defiant faction of elves. The story of their split from the Guardian elves is an interesting one, but best reserved for a future Chronicles update.) The island was abandoned a long time ago. Weeds and vines now crawl through the crumbling wreckage. Fallen statues litter ivy-coated streets, now home to snakes, and spiders so huge they remind you of the face hugger from Alien. (Seriously, I live in South Africa, a similar climate, and the photographs of some of the spiders that I’ve had to catch and offload to the bottom of the garden will Freak. You. Out. One of them was so big I couldn’t even catch it inside a wide-brimmed martini glass.)
But I digress.
During the Age of Dragons, Maelforge claimed Ember Isle as his own, using it as a home base and flying out on daily shopping trips. You know how it is. Picking up some bread. Some milk. Burning alive thousands of innocent Telarans so you can hear the echoing screams of their torment as their flesh crisps up and sloughs from their bones. But eventually, a group of heroes managed to imprison the dragon inside the volcano that he had been calling home. An Order of Kelari and Dwarven monks called Keepers of the Flame was formed, and they were given a very strict set of instructions at the job interview. They weren’t complicated. But they were very, very important.
“Don’t let him escape. Seriously. That dragon? The one we just trapped? Keep him in there. At all costs. Otherwise the world will fall to eternal darkness and the lamentations of our people will echo throughout eternity. Erm, that's it really. We offer a competitive salary. Plus the usual perks. As much coffee as you want. Access to the island gym. Performance based bonuses. A pension? Hmm. Don’t know. We’ll see. What’s that? No, I’m afraid Twitter and Facebook are banned. Too distracting.”
So the Keepers fulfilled their charge for ages and ages, grumbling about the quality of the coffee and never using the gym. But recently, the appearance of the rifts has set the world off-kilter, and the foundations of Maelforge’s prison have cracked, the volcano spewing up clouds of ash and smoke. Maelforge is waking up. He has called enraged fire spirits to his side and summons the Wanton Maw to lay waste to the island, destroying everything until he is free of his prison.
Unless they are stopped, Maelforge is going to get loose. And I don’t reckon he’s going to be happy.
Ember Isle is double the size of Stillmoor, apparently. I take that at face value, because I haven’t been to Stillmoor yet. But the Isle is filled with various baddies and villains waiting to take you down. (Because Ember Isle is the location of a huge concentration of sourcestone, you see. And everyone wants it for themselves. This is possibly the reason Maelforge picked it as his home all those years ago.) So now cultists are seeking out these deposits. As are the Guardians. And the Defiant. Which means we already we have a three-way battle for dominance of the island, because whoever rules the Sourewells will have the power to lock Maelforge away again. (Or free him, depending on your inclination.)
And who is it that has the rightful claim? Well, that's not so simple. The Kelari see Ember Isle as their home. Returning here is something of a spiritual awakening for them. And with the help of their Eth and Bahmi allies, the Kelari want to reclaim the land and kick out all the squatters. But the Ascended have a claim as well. Centuries ago, a clan of Dwarves heard the song of their kinswoman Karine and journeyed to the island. Once here, they carved out a home from the unforgiving, tropical landscape (ahem) and called it Farhall. From this base they clashed with the Kelari. These “Farclan” Dwarves are still here, and Borrin Gammult seeks to re-establish contact between the Guardians and his long-lost cousins.
As you can see, Ember Isles is a dangerous place to be. Spirits, goblins, flying dragon things. Wanton Maw forces seeking Sourcewells, Defiant doing the same,. Hostile spirits and ghosts. Everyone wanting the island for themselves.
And then there’s little old me.
I arrive through the travel stones and wander through the starting zone of Ember Isle. All very colorful. I feel the stares of the others, wondering what a puny little dwarf like myself is doing amongst the big, strong, level 50’s. I want to wave at them and say, “Don’t worry. It’s research”, but I don’t because no one wants to talk to me.
I amble out of the village, following the path around the hills where I spot little fire goblins and flying dragon-lizards. I try and avoid contact, because I know I’ll die pretty quick. Around the next bend in the hill I spot a ruined city. Cool. Let’s go there.
Oh. Nope. I won’t be going there.
I realize there's no chance of me getting any farther. Not at my level. I've had a bit of a look around. Scoped the place out. Time to head back to the village I think. I turn back, only to be confronted by a Jungle Darter. One strike and I'm down.
Oh dear. Right. Come on Caedryn. Get it together. I return to my body, and this time I make it back to the village, running all the way. I ignore the sniggering from the other warriors and head back to the travel stones
“Going so soon?” asks the person who controls the stones.
“Er… yes. Forgot. I left the front door unlocked. You know how it is. Hahaha. Bye then.”
Back to Sanctum.